The Essence of Happiness: or "Me in a Bottle?"

Last fall I put up a post about winning the Fresh "Eat, Pray, Love" essay contest. If you haven't read it, you can read it here. It was a prize beyond what I had imagined. In many ways it was a SUR-prize because not only did I get to have a bespoke fragrance created for me by Fresh co-owner Lev Glazman, but I was treated like family by Lev and all of the Fresh employees. On top of that I learned so much about fragrance - and by proxy, about myself.

Who are we really? Are we what we do? What we look like? What we say? Think? We are a collection of cells, nerves, genetic material, and senses. They say that vision trumps all senses, but I don't believe that. I watched this video yesterday about a young man named Patrick Henry Hughes who was born without eyes, but when you hear him play piano- you can feel the beauty of his soul. He can see. It's just not the same way we do. 

Lev Glazman can see just fine, he is not visually impaired like Patrick. But his sense of smell is not like yours or mine. His world is multi-layed with bottom notes, middle notes and high notes. Yes, that sounds like music, doesn't it? Every fragrance has those layers. Every person has those layers- some of us are more deep and earthy and heavy on the bottom notes. Some of us may be as fragile as a cherry blossom, light and airy, and bound to fly away. We all have a unique signature just like we have a scent.

It was my great fortune to have Lev "find my scent." Ironically, I've never been a big commercial fragrance user. My mother loved her "Y" by Yves Saint Laurent. My paternal grandmother was rather fond of Chanel. I can't remember which number. Maybe it was #5. For a brief period I tried Ysatis by Givenchy. Lev told me that is an "oriental" fragrance. My husband liked it, but it didn't really suit me.

This suits me. This is me in a bottle. I know that makes me sound like Barbara Eden in "I Dream of Jeannie." That's actually an apt metaphor. Everyone knows that if you rub on the bottle the genie comes out and makes your wishes come true. In this case you don't rub- you open it and dab... and you know what? My wish came true. 

I won an incredible contest based on my writing. I met and became friends with a fascinating man. I already had loved his company, Fresh and their products which I use daily. I had a gorgeous fragrance designed for me that is the essence of ME. And the label- it's me, too- designed by co-owner of Fresh, the lovely Alina Roytberg. I have not met her, but someday I hope I do. 

...and the wish? When I open the bottle and inhale that fragrance and put it on me, I feel happy. I always wish for happiness. What else is so important in life? This gift will make me happy every day. Thank you Lev, Alina and Fresh for this amazing gift.

I also wish you could experience this, but sadly there is no scratch and sniff on the internet. (At least not yet. Mark Zuckerberg what are you waiting for? Invent it!) But I hope you find that essence of what makes you happy. We all need to practice the art of happiness on a daily basis. 

Writing is what led me to that bottle of happiness. I won't forget that.
And I'll keep writing, too.

With Love,


  1. Gail Martini-PetersonApril 13, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    If we could smell scents over the Internet, we'd get the bad ones, too. I think we're just fine the way we are.

  2. Dear Gail,
    I hope you know I was just kidding! ;)


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