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Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween! Fall Favorites and a Fabulous Treat!


“There’s a few things that I’ve learned in life; always throw salt over your left shoulder , keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for good luck and fall in love whenever you can.”
Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic

So the wheel of the year has turned once again, bringing us back into the dark, plunging us deeply into the time of year when our need to move inside towards the hearth, away from the bone drenching cold into the arms of our lovers is the most important need that we have.

October 31 is the festival of Samhain in the witches year or Halloween , a time when the veils between worlds is so very thin and a time when if you dare to ask, those that have crossed over will reappear, sometimes with answers, sometimes with warnings. Today if you hear anyone whispering to beware in a voice as thin and wet as a creeping fog take heed.Today even if you don’t listen you will feel them pulling you away from danger and you will look , yet never see their misty astral bodies in the sunlight. Yet you will know that they have been there, as sure and unsettling to the soul as any horror movie could ever be. The spirit world is far reaching in a way that is more unsettling any of us could ever imagine. I know…I’ve seen, smelled and tasted of it firsthand. There ARE things that go bump in the night and you would be wise to listen for them. You’ll know that they are near when you walk through a spot that is cold for no apparent reason, or if you smell the sweet smell of spring honeysuckle or lilac on a cold autumn night. Maybe you’ll feel a hand on your shoulder as a friend of mine did one Samhain eve as she was feeding her horses, yet turn around to find no on there. All she heard was the voice of her Lakota grandfather fading fast into the cold dark night telling her to be careful of the old barn ladder.

For centuries, we have tried to make sense of that which we cannot see nor explain by burning them, exorcising them, ridiculing them or simply pretending that they don’t exist. Simple forms of banishment will never work, because how can you get rid of something that you have no understanding of. Witches like me have existed for centuries and even though you’ll try, you’ll never succeed in destroying us completely. You need us….we’re your voice into that other world that you are so afraid of, we’re the ones that know how to heal you without the medicines that will destroy you body and soul. We know how to hold your hand while you are dying and if it is part of your journey we will remove your fear. We know how to make sweet balms and perfumes that will make the homeliest among us instantly more glamourous and yes, be very careful because if we wanted your men, they would be powerless to resist us.

But I know that you’ve heard that old saying, “that there’s a little bit of witch in every woman” and it’s true. Every witch has a Grimoire, which is a handwritten journal of recipes and spells that has sometimes been passed down through many generations. If you’ve got one of your Grandmothers cookbooks, with all of her beautifully handwritten notes then you’re in possession of a book of family magic and you can use it to strengthen that bond any time you wish.

We have all kinds of magickal tools to play with, some of the most potent we learn from our mothers who never even realize what they were teaching us. There is magic in the art of preparing a beautiful meal for your family, there is magic in the art creating a beautiful home that conveys a message of comfort or status. My personal ‘Book of Shadows” is full of delectable recipes that will put all of the sparks back into your sex life and make you as bewitching as you’ve always dreamt you could be. In the spirit of celebration I’ve been asked to share with you my favorite things that I’ve been eating, drinking , sniffing or wearing this fall. I’ve been a busy little witch and my cupboard isn’t bare. So grab your brooms and meet me in my woods by the fire. Clothing is optional and the fire is very hot. There’s a bit of my favorite witches brew for everyone and of course because this is MY party, plenty of good food. So without further adieu here they are….

Some of my favorite things; all fabulously witchy , wonderful and ready for fall!

My Favorite Candle
Every good witch has to have a favorite candle and mine is the wonderful “Mary Jane” by the notorious fragrance house, Juliette’s got a Gun! When it burns my entire house is filled with the spectacular scent of Hashish, Pine and Oud. This candle comes poured into a simple silverplated cup that basically tells the story of this lovelytender creature that has been so reviled in the last century. If you’ve never been in an opium den or were not lucky enough to be a child a the late 60’s , then what I can say is that “Mary Jane” is the scent of a sweetly burning pile of maple leave and oh so perfect for telling ghostly stories on a spooky autumn night.

Favorite Lipstick
My favorite lipstick that I’ve worn this fall, the one that never fails me is Lipstick Queens “Medieval”. This is more of a stain than a lipstick and it hearkens back to Medieval times when (GASP!) full coverage of your lips was considered a sin. Alas, what’s a hot young maiden to do? This wonderful, vitamin E filled and delectably rich balm gives your lips a juicy and lusciously bee stung appearance and stains your lips to a beautiful soft red that’s appropriate for almost any skin tone.

Favorite Classic Cocktail
A vintage pre-prohibition sazerac made with Bulleit Rye, a swish of Mata Hari absinthe, a touch of sugar , a caramelized lemon peel and some very excellent bitters. Pour all ingredients into a well chilled cocktail glass and stir.

Favorite Bitters
Bitters are making a comeback and not just your garden variety Angostura bitters, but in all kinds of flavors. Fee Bitters has been open since 1863 and are still mixing up the best blends that I’ve ever tasted. Try the White Peach or my personal favorite which is of course the Aztec Chocolate. The Black Walnut is absolutely bewitching when stirred into a bit of butterscotch schnapps and hot spiced rum!

Favorite Olive Oil
The white truffle infused olive oil from New Yorks fabulous Olive and Fig restaurant is simply to die for and they WILL ship it to you! If you or anyone you know loves truffles than this is a must. I buy this in gallons for my husband, who adores it. Drizzled on a salad or grilled meats makes them a completely decadent treat, but for the most sensual meal ever whisk a bit of it into a bowl of steaming creamy risotto with fresh butternut squash, a little bit of sautéed onion, potatoes and parmesan cheese.

Favorite Boots
These are a bit silly to be sure, but my favorite rain boots this year are from DKNY, lovely black rubber things with colorful sketches of New York City all over them and my favorite incantation that says over and over again…”New York…I love the feeling of never wanting to leave and always wanting to return” I said that over and over again for an hour and poof…an opportunity to return to NYC emerged for late January…. My own pair of ruby slippers!

Favorite Fall Perfume Number 1
Tom Fords utterly ravishing Violet Blonde….This is a take no prisoners love potion like I haven’t seen since the early 80’s. With notes of Violet, Iris, musk , Suede and Vetiver , this lusciously sweet, remarkably green and thoroughly disarming perfume is just the thing to warm you and another up on a cold chilly night.

Favorite Caramel Apple
I wrote about this last week but it’s back! My favorite caramel apple recipe comes from Tartine, that lovely bakery in San Francisco that has invented the easiest , yet most delectable recipe ever for making perfect caramel apples that come out right everytime. Just mix the ingredients which include molasses, butter, sugar and maple syrup and cinnamon into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Dip the apples into the soft buttery caramel for a translucent and deliciously decadent treat that is in my experience the perfect prelude to a sugary kiss…Here’s the link

Favorite Fall perfume Number 2
I have fallen head over heels in love with Creeds Tubereuse Indiana. This amazing fusion of Tuberose, Ambergris and amber is one of the most exotic and arresting perfumes that I’ve ever had the pleasure to own. Wearing it makes me feel sexy and colorful and it’s a fabulous fragrance to go dancing in as it gets better as it warms up and blends with the scent of your skin.This one can be as spicy as you want it to be and also is the perfect fragrance to scent anything from your underwear to your stationary (You’d probably know I’m a huge fan of love letters!)

Favorite New Website
Although I’m definitely a fan of the written word, time IS limited so what’s a girl like me to do? The folks at Paperless post have created one of the best sites that I’ve seen yet for sending invitations, thank you notes and all forms of written communication. Their templates are gorgeous and of course no trees were harmed in the making of them . Hands down the best site I’ve seen yet for paperless communications that require an RSVP. Here’s the link!

Favorite Home Scent and Witches Brew
Yes, I know that you’re expecting something exotic, but this time of year I’d like to end on a simple and homespun note. When you carve your pumpkin, dip the inside of the lid in cinnamon, really coat it. When you put the lit candle inside and I always use a little scented tea light (Witches Brew from Yankee candles) your entire house will be filled with the aroma of cinnamon, patchouli and roasted pumpkin. As a bonus, just put a gallon of apple cider on the stove and let it simmer. Addcinnamon sticks, cloves and an orange and about 10 teabags of Mate’ . Sweeten with agave nectar and you’ve got my favorite warming “Witches Brew” !

I hope that wherever you are that you’re enjoying the season. In your comments please share with me some of your favorite ways to celebrate the season. I’ll choose one lucky winner who will receive from me a 50.00 dollar gift certificate from Sur La Table just in time to begin the holiday season!
To check other Fall Favorites, please visit: Bois de Jasmin, Grain de Musc, Now Smell This and Perfume Posse

Merry Meet and Merry Part and all my love until we meet again…

The Windesphere Witch

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Blogger mous said...

Full moon dianic witch drum circle-good way to celebrate Samhain.

12:10 AM EDT  
Anonymous Jiyin said...

I made pumpkin pie today, with maple whipped cream. It smells like heaven in my kitchen!

Thanks for the draw!

2:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait to try Violet Blonde - it sounds absolutely wonderful! Happy Halloween :)

2:16 AM EDT  
Blogger Tama said...

Medieval is the best lipstick EVER. I am a sucker for a sheer red and thins one is perfection.

Nice list!

2:55 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Need some magick to make the baby sleep already :) Beautiful post!Beth, I so hope to see you in NYC soon?

9:01 AM EDT  
Anonymous Opey said...

I do have a hand written "cookbook" of sorts... it's my Grandfather's pharmacology notebook! He owned his own drugstore and made his medications from scratch. I will have to investigate further! Lol! Made be the start of a very intoxicating adventure!

9:04 AM EDT  
Anonymous RusticDove said...

Wonderful article Beth! I agree about Violet Blonde - it's a really good new fragrance.

I still enjoy dressing up for Halloween - time to get the witch hat out! My neighbor will be bringing her three little ones by later in their adorable/scary outfits for tricks or treats (treats, of course). They will be the only trick or treaters we get since we live in the boonies, so I really look forward to it.

I'm going to borrow the Practical Magic quote - one of my favorite movies - for my Facebook page. I want to live in that fantastic house and enjoy midnight margaritas! Happy Halloween! XO

9:07 AM EDT  
Anonymous Alexandra said...

Thank you! Beth, we have lots in common, and I am not referring only to our favourite Medieval lipstick ;-)

9:28 AM EDT  
Blogger tussah said...

I like to bake homemade pizza. It's fun to have people over for warm cider and good conversation.

9:31 AM EDT  
Blogger ~elise said...

by far my favorite of this season is helping my kids choose costumes...and then sharing in the spoils once the "treating" is done!

9:48 AM EDT  
Anonymous Best Web Hosting said...

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11:06 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did have a voice behind me this morning as I was leaving sleep and waking up. Hmm.

At this time of year we collect the leaves and make arrangements with all their fine colours...not as good as Goldsworthy though...

And I have a nice collection of old halloween children's books.

And we have a bonfire party.


11:33 AM EDT  
Anonymous Musette said...

I've been chatting with my mother today (Dia de los Muertos starts tomorrow)...she's been gone for 20 years but is never far from me. She's got all my dogs who have crossed over - and they are delighted to be with her. Very comforting. This week is one of the rare weeks that I burn candles (sinuses) and spritz 'her' perfume (l'Aimant) at the same time. It just seems right!

LOVE bitters. Favorite drink for an upset tummy: Angostura bitters in club soda, with a lemon slice. Perfect.

11:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Katie Puckrik said...

I'm already salivating at the sound of that white truffle oil...

12:30 PM EDT  
Blogger Faylene said...

What an absolutely wonderful, inspiring post! Please send some healing energy to my husband, Don, who is very ill. Thanks.

3:12 PM EDT  
Blogger Amy K said...

Now that I have a child, dressing up in costumes and collecting beautiful leaves have become magical all over again. I really need to try this Violet Blonde that everyone is raving about!

3:47 PM EDT  
Anonymous Heather M B said...

I have carved jack o lanterns with my boyfriend and made hot mulled cider. And I'm daydreaming about a pumpkin feast, since I found all these pumpkin recipes:

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese, Pumpkin Agnolotti, Pumpkin Chili, Pumpkin Hummus yum yum yum. If the boy won't pick a few favorites from that list, then I will make stuff just for me.

4:05 PM EDT  
Blogger ccdouglass said...

What a great post! This time of year I love to carve a jack-o-lantern and roast the seeds using a recipe in my old Vegetarian Times cookbook. Thanks so much for the draw!

4:59 PM EDT  
Blogger samberg said...

Halloween is my birthday so I celebrate the Samhain season in decadent style.

This year it's a party with friends until the wee hours while playing horror board games and drinking too much wine for a Monday night.

5:18 PM EDT  
Blogger dremybluz said...

I have a small hand written cookbook that my grandmother compiled 110 years ago. It is a treasured family heirloom

5:20 PM EDT  
Anonymous FragrantWitch said...

What a lovely, evocative post! I've celebrated by carving pumpkins with my 2 y/o and 5 y/o daughters, making pumpkin butter cookies, and dancing out under the stars before the girls' bathtime.
Merry Meet and Merry Part, Have a blessed Samhain!

5:49 PM EDT  
Blogger DWR said...

Every year my husband and I go to the local 24/7 diner around midnight to watch all the college kids some stumbling in post party in their costumes. The waitresses are always dressed up and the food is always good.

That and I light a candle, one each for my gramma, grandpa, and dad.

12:09 AM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

YOu guys are fabulous...I've loved reading all of these and I hope that all of you had a fabulous Samhain. Faylene..I am keeping your Don in my thoughts. Thank you for asking. I am happy to send light and love his way.

12:36 AM EDT  
Anonymous Lilybug said...

We live near a university campus with beautiful gardens. In Autumn, the gardeners collect up the leaves in huge drifts. I take the kids down there and we play. It's a bit of a secret spot because it's off the paths, the students don't care, and other parents don't seem to know about it (at least the only times we have ever seen other people enjoying the leaves is when we've invited them). It's MAGIC and probably what I look forward to most in Autumn. I will continue to take the kids there as long as they'll let me.

2:35 AM EDT  
Anonymous hongkongmom said...

Such beautiful stories of celebration from all. Faylene, Special prayers for Don from me too. I am jewish so we don't celebrate Halloween but so much pleasure is gained from enjoying everybodies celebrations and fun!

8:07 AM EDT  
Blogger Faylene said...

Thanks you, Beth and Hongkongmom! All perspectives and faith traditions are appreciated.

8:25 AM EDT  
Blogger Elisa said...

I'm celebrating fall by wearing amber and tobacco scents (like L'Air du Desert Morocain and Tabac Aurea) and sprinkling cinnamon in my coffee grounds before brewing.

4:48 PM EDT  
Blogger annamarie said...

My favorite fall scent for the home is Creamy Nutmeg and my new favorite website is Pinterest.

7:34 PM EDT  

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