Guest Post from Brie: A Mother’s Day Story and A Special Perfume Pairing + Giveaway

Sweet roses and tea for mom.
A note from Daisy: After the warm and wonderful reception to Brie’s last Perfume Pairings Guest Post, I have asked her to contribute another one in honor of Mother’s Day.

In about a week, I will finally wrap up a grueling semester of teaching. I very much look forward to getting back to the kitchen and back to my dear Readers. In the meanwhile, I am pleased to hand the reins over to Brie again for this beautiful tribute to her friend’s mother and to all mothers. Enjoy!

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age arrives alone, unaccompanied.
Woon Tai Ho, Riot Green

by Brie

Christine is my oldest childhood friend. We have known each other for 42 years. When we met, she lived one flight down from me in an apartment in NYC. Her mother, Catherine, was a bubbly woman of Greek descent who lived life to the fullest. She had an infectious laugh and the ability to always see the glass half full instead of half empty.

One Christmas, Catherine invited all of her daughter’s friends over to present us with gifts that she had chosen quite carefully for each of us. What was revealed after we tore off the wrapping paper were handcrafted ornaments of various animals. I was secretly hoping for the cat (my favorite animal) and was dismayed to see that she had given me an owl instead. Sensing my disappointment, she pulled me aside and quietly whispered, “Do you know what the owl represents? Intuitive wisdom. Never forget that you are an owl, not a cat.”

At the time, being four months shy of becoming a teenager, all I cared about was getting what I did not think I had: popularity and attractiveness. Intuition and wisdom were the very last attributes I wanted to cultivate. Sadly, Christine lost her mother to breast cancer a few years later.

Flash forward to ten years ago when I asked my parents to retrieve all of my Christmas ornaments from the common storage room in their apartment building. To my horror, all of my collectibles from Hallmark had been stolen. The only decorations left behind were worthless stragglers, including that owl from Catherine. Despite my first reaction to it all those years ago, I took it back with me. When I hung it on my Christmas tree that year, I thought of Catherine. Her words haunted me and every year following that one, I placed that owl on my tree.

Whoo likes owls now? I do!

Slowly but surely, the owl became my animal, and eventually my three children heard the story of how I came to love them through the Catherine’s wise words.

It should come as no surprise that when I saw Soap and Paper Factory’s Owl solid perfume, I bought it un-sniffed. Luckily for me, it smells fantastic! Owl is a bright, rosy geranium on top of a dry down of sandalwood, tobacco, and vetiver. For a solid and natural perfume, it lasts an incredibly long time. The tea I love to pair it with is Organic India’s Tulsi Tea – Sweet Rose. Tulsi, or holy basil, is an herb renowned in India for its healing properties: it relieves stress and protects the immune system. That beautiful Sweet Rose tea melds so nicely with the Soap and Paper Factory’s Owl perfume.

Three years ago, I included a letter with my yearly holiday card to my friend Christine. I wrote about the exchange between her mother and me. I also included a picture of my owl hanging on the Christmas tree. Last year, she confided that she keeps my letter in a special place and reads it from time to time. I hope that it serves as a reminder that her mother’s memory lives on in the heart of a woman who hopes for wisdom to accompany her into middle age.

Now that I am a mother myself, as challenging as it has been to raise children in a world that isn’t always so wonderful, I can say that motherhood is an experience that I would not have wanted to miss.

Mother’s Day isn’t necessarily about biological mothers, as far as I am concerned. We can get love and that motherly connection from our closest friends. I know because I have! For that reason, I think that is an important to stress that many of us are already “mothers” to others without even knowing it.

This story is dedicated to all mothers: past, present and future.

Happy Mother’s Day to you all!

Thanks to Brie, we also have a special Mother’s Day Giveaway: A tea sampler including Organic India’s Tulsi Sweet Rose Tea, and a small sample of Soap and Paper Factory’s Owl solid perfume. To enter, leave a comment below and tell us who is the “mother” you would like to dedicate this post to.

This drawing will close at midnight EST on May 19. Anyone in the US or overseas can enter. The winner will be drawn by Brie and her children from her special ceramic owl. We will announce the winner on this blog in a separate post and also make the announcement on Twitter.

The winner will have one week to contact us with a mailing address. In the case that the winner does not get in touch with us, we will draw again for a runner-up.

Good luck, Everyone!


34 thoughts on “Guest Post from Brie: A Mother’s Day Story and A Special Perfume Pairing + Giveaway

  1. James Dennard

    Another wonderful story and post, Brie. I can think of many people who are not biological family, who have influenced my life for the better. One such example is one of my best friends, Tosha.

  2. ginzaintherain

    A beautiful, warm, compact, and touching post. I can feel it. And I love that owl as well…

    You sent me some of this rose tulsi tea. and I really loved it actually – it was deeply soothing (and I can’t believe you say you are unattractive or have ever thought that….the photos I have seen say directly the opposite….) x

    • brie

      Thanks, Neil! I will have to send you more of that tea! It is indeed quite soothing!
      You know how it is with teenage angst and insecurities…luckily we outgrow all of that, right? That’s the beauty of being middle aged :D!!

      • ginzaintherain

        STOP SAYING THOSE LAST TWO WORDS!!! So am I, though I don’t actually think I am. Then again, I haven’t had any children. Just been living my second teenage, hedonistically ridiculous lifestyle….still, ENOUGH

      • brie

        Oh goodness I am laughing hysterically right now!!!! I guess those two words have been ingrained in my brain from my teenage daughters who look upon me as though I am ancient (and quite often remind me of that!). But you are right….I think we get along so splendidly for in my heart of hearts I am also that person who wants to live the “second teenage ridiculous lifestyle” and quite often I do it vicariously through you !

      • brie

        From everything you have written thus far about your mum I already adore her! I need a bit of her sass in my personality!

        I once caught Courtney on the computer painting lines on a digital photo of me…when I asked her what she was doing she replied matter-of-factly, “Oh I’m just erasing your wrinkles”…can’t make this stuff up :D!!!

        and may I add, D, how thrilled I am to hear that you will be returning with more cool cooking style…I need all the advice and inspiration I can get in the kitchen!

  3. Jordan River

    Sweet Rose, you are everywhere. Hope your children had a lovely day with you. We have an owl here called the Ruru or Morepork. Heard her tonight. Have a google.

    • brie

      I do enjoy an owl’s hoot myself! And from your post it sounds as though you had a wonderful day with your mum as well!

  4. poodle

    What a nice post. I’ve had a few people who were motherly to me. The one I miss the most is one of my aunts who died many years ago. She was the best.

    • brie

      Happy to hear you’ve had motherly influences in your life….and it’s nice to see you here as well!

  5. Ro

    Brie..That was such a touching story. It brought tears to my eyes. We all have a memory of someone who became a #2 mom either by their generosity or by that and their understanding of us as a piece of clay being molded by love, understanding & caring. That #2 mom is my Aunt Alice. She lived upstate( now resides in Fla) and would take me out of the city from where I lived to stay a month every summer to be with my cousins and to enjoy the beauty of nature and all its amazing offerings. It’s there that I remember learning my love of nature & everything about it..the smells of the earth the sun, flowers and just comunicating with my inner love of my “nature goddess” as I became a bit older we would enjoy a cup of tea and walk her gardens and there I would smell her flowers and her vegtables & fruits coming to maturity and between the comfort of the tea the smell of her herbs such as sage, oranges & lavander I felt I was in another place like a “secret garden” I think that is where my love for teas infused with citrus, lavander and sage come from and my love for earthy musk perfumes began. Wow Brie! you took me on a walk down memory lane, thank you! I think I’ll call my Aunt Alice right now 🙂

    • brie

      You realize that I was talking about you when I referred to motherly loving friends! I am glad that your aunt gave you an appreciation for good tea as this is one of many,many things we share in our friendship…..Go call aunt Alice :D!!!

  6. theperfumeddandy

    Dearest Brie
    I adore this wise bird’s tale and The Dandy loves owls!!
    I have three, one stuffed (not taxidermy but teddy) and two ceramic.
    The creatures in flesh to never disappoint. Their ability to turn their heads almost right around is surely the next best thing to a super power.
    And now I discover there a perfume worthy of these magnificent perching animals… and it it a rosy geranium to boot you have not only made mother’s day but a Dandy’s day too.
    For that, as ever. I thank you.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • brie

      Mr Dandy,
      I should have known that someone as dashing as you would be a fellow owl lover! They are magnificent creatures, n’est-ce-pas? And you have a collection that rivals mine :D!!!

      • theperfumeddandy

        Dearest Brie
        One has to be on one’s guard at all time lest I almost unconsciously keep purchasing more of our strigine friends for the home.
        Perhaps three more and then I think I shall be at my limit. Though I do have a few pieces of owl-themed clothing too.
        Taweet tawooo.
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

      • brie

        And I have a purse that is covered in owls and an owl necklace/earring set recently gifted to me by my children as a birthday surprise…we are owl nutters, are we not, Mr. Dandy??

  7. rachel

    My youth pastor’s wife Nicole…she let a bunch of young teen girls into her home and heart, gave us guidance and steered us right!

  8. Purely.. Kay

    Wait, how come I never heard of Soap and aper factory before? i can not believe how cute it is. And the smell asy ou described sounds heavenly. I have to go to their website after visiting here. I enjoyed your writing Brie, this was an amazing Guest Post.

    • brie

      Thank you, purely Kay!
      May I add that their all natural hand creams are absolutely amazing! My teenage daughters and I have gone through six different scented tubes thus far and one tube (Bois de Santal) I had to mail to my friend in Japan as he loved it so! Do check them out!

  9. *Wisher*

    wow.. such touching story you have and I agreed no more that we can receive motherly love from our friends too..although the official Mother’s Day has past, I just wanna say, we don’t have to wait for the official day to celebrate.. to me, everyday is Mother’s Day to love our Dearest MOM.
    and Yes.. I want to enter the contest too.. cheers..

  10. Currie Rose

    Hi Brie,

    Thank you for sharing and I’m so glad you embraced your owl. Isn’t it funny how the most deep and profound knowledge or experiences often come around in a way that makes us uncomfortable? Well that has been my experience, anyway and that is what i was reminded of as I read your words. Thanks again and I hope you have a lovely day.


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