Category Archives: beauty

”La Vie en Rose” Moment

”A Cup of Water and a Rose”, by Francisco de Zurbarán, 1630.
The objects in this painting may be intended to have a symbolic character: the water in the cup perhaps refers to the Virgin’s purity and the flower recalls her title of ‘Mystic Rose’.

When years ago I was planting my rose garden, I wanted to look out the window and see ”indefensible” amount of beauty that can lift my spirits, inspire and bring clarity in my life. Sadly, once the roses have grown to give that fragrant abundance each June, I was too busy to even notice them most of the time. Until last week, when a chain of some very un-inspiring events has brought me to this Carnegie’s quote: ”One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.” I decided to fix that human error and take a day off rose-meditating. 
Many things needed to get done, but I stopped everything and firmly pushed myself to do nothing but to catch this moment. Breathe. Smell the roses. Watch the bees. Listen to the warm summer breeze. Absorb the sacredness of the nature. I meditated, I read, I did yoga, I took the warm bath with salts and rose petals. My ”universe is expanding” state slowly dwindled away and down. Nothing really mattered anymore, but a virtue of a beautiful empowering scent – a virtue of a true beauty and happiness which is always there for us. But we rarely notice it because the blooming time is short and the smell is elusive and we can not possess it … Or can we?
Suddenly I had an urge to make that rose smell last and be with me for the fall and winter and next spring until I can be back in my rose garden and catch this moment again. I found myself looking for a rose water tutorials and there I was, an hour later, collecting the rose petals and assembling my own little distillery.

”Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May”, by John William Waterhouse, 1909

The invigorating smell of roses filled up the house with some magical aura carrying away the rest of my sadness, healing my emotions and replacing them with an excitement of an alchemist. Science is wonderful! Three hours later I decanted the fragrant distilled liquid in the plastic container and placed it in the fridge to cool down to develop a full scent.

The next morning I opened it – it really smelled like an air filled with a bunch of roses on a hot summer day! I used it as a face toner and cleanser and – WOW! If there is such thing as a feeling of a baby Jesus skin, that was it. The real toner of youth and good times as if designed for ”angels and butterflies”: it softened and refreshed the skin and closed the pores instantly! I assume you can also keep it in a spray bottle and mist your face and hair with it any time you want a natural a smile. I promised myself to find a nice dark glass Art Deco bottle to keep my rose water refrigerated in it to use it for many months to come and, hopefully, until next June. But for that I have to make another batch, so I am off to go…
It’s so easy, it can actually be a great craft to do with kids. All you need is: a bottle of a distilled (or spring) water, a large stock pot or a Dutch oven with the lid slightly bigger that can fit tightly on your chosen stock pot (or a big metallic sauce pan instead of the lid), a brick or a flat stone, a small heat safe bowl that will sit securely on the brick to collect the rose water, a large quantity of fresh fragrant rose petals and a bunch of ice or a sauce pan with an ice cold water. Put the stone in the stock pot; add water to top the level of the brick; place a dry heat-resistant bowl on the brick and the rose petals around the brick; start heating and cover with the lid (upside down) filled with ice cubes or a bowl with the ice cold water. Evaporate the rose water for up to 3 hours on the low heat, refreshing the ice cubes or ice cold water to enhance the condensation process. Check out these images, or follow the instructions of this less than 2 minutes tutorial on how to make your own rose water.

Wrapping up, this was my handful of sunshine and the aha moment for the day to prove that life can be great under any circumstances. What is your way to detox the emotions?
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours
1 quart (liter) distilled or spring water
1 basket (size of your choice) of organic fragrant rose petals, freshly collected
1 big bag of ice cubes or ice cold water
1 three quart + (3 liters+) large stockpot
1 big lid that can close the stock pot well when upside down, or a big metallic bowl
1 brick or flat stone
1 small heat-proof bowl to place on the brick inside the stock pot
Place the brick in a center of a deep large stockpot. Add water to top the level of the brick; place a dry heat-proof bowl on the brick. Distribute the rose petals around the brick. Start heating and cover the stockpot with the lid (upside down) filled with ice cubes or with the bowl of the ice cold water. Lower heat to simmer. Evaporate the rose water for up to 3-4 hours, refreshing the ice cubes or ice cold water on top to enhance the condensation process. As the mixture of petals boils, the steam rises and hits the cold top, which causes it to condensate and drip down into the inner bowl. When done, the small bowl will contain the rose water, which will have a thin film of rose oil that is essential oil or extract. Decant the rose water into a container and let cool in the fridge to develop a full scent. Keep it in the fridge and enjoy as toner, cleanser, refresher, moisturizer. Equally, you can use it in baking, desserts or making other culinary concoctions, such as rose jello, apple cider vinegar, etc.