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    California, Lifestyle

    Sampling perfumes at Scent Bar

    scent bar storefrontScent Bar is a tiny boutique for unique, high-end, hard to find perfumes. The store had originally opened near the Beverly Center and I remember driving past it multiple times in college on my way home. Currently located on Beverly Blvd near a corner coffee shop, Scent Bar’s storefront is simple with glass windows allowing you to peek inside at the hundreds of bottles lining the inside of the store. The shop itself is very small, a single room with two of its walls displaying the many perfume bottles, organized by fragrance notes, and a third wall displaying body and skincare products. A long table, covered in candles, additional scents, and small bowls of coffee beans, allows clients to sit and sample the perfumes with the help of two experts. I had browsed the the website ( multiple times and had ordered a couple samples in the past but it’s a much different experience having experts recommend specific perfumes based on your preference. I personally prefer floral and citrusy notes and sampled about ten scents. Because I’m on a budget and didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars, I was able to take home four samples and rose scented hand lotion.

    Annick Goutal Petite Cherie – a light fruity and citrusy scent with pear and peach note

    Annick Goutal Ce Soir ou Jamais – a floral scent with rose as the main note

    Keiko Mecheri Les Nuits d’Izu – a slightly unisex scent with citrus notes

    Kilian Liaisons Dangereuses – a more unisex scent with coconut and rose notes

    Scent Bar is worth visiting if you enjoy unique perfumes and want the experience of sampling scents for both men and women without feeling pressured to purchase anything. It is so much different than going to a department store.


    Hiking Mt. Lemmon – Meadow Loop Trail

    Mt Lemmon is a common hiking spot in the Santa Catalina Mountains just north of Tucson, Arizona. This past weekend’s scenic drive up the Catalina Highway was populated with enthusiastic cyclists and it led to the small town of Summerhaven along with the many trail heads. In the hot Tucson summers, the 45 minute drive and subsequent hike at nearly 9,000 feet was refreshing. It’s an average 20 degrees cooler at the top than the rest of Tucson. Because of the different climate, the plant life is lush and there was a fantastic view of the city.

    The Meadow Loop Trail is one of the shorter hiking trails at 1.6 miles, but if one is not used to the higher altitude and occasionally prone to mild altitude sickness, it’s a good trail to start with.

    Arizona, Food

    Salsa and Tequila Challenge

    For the past few years, the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance has held a culinary event that brings hundreds of Southern Arizona residents together to enjoy good food, drinks, music and dancing. Upon entry, patrons were each given a bag of tortilla chips. Chefs and mixologists lined up along the walkways of the first and second floors of the La Encantada shopping center, allowing patrons to enjoy samples of different types of salsa and alcoholic drinks.

    There were many varieties of salsa, some mild, some hot, and while there are plenty with traditional tomato and chili salsas, the fruity salsa stuck out for me, especially those with ingredients I hadn’t normally seen in salsa such as prickly pear, nopales, apples, and even blueberries.

    Now the drinks were spectacular. I was careful in choosing which alcoholic beverages I wanted to sample and particularly enjoyed the more unique and carefully concocted drinks the mixologists put together. I’m not much of a tequila fan. I prefer vodka or rum since we’re on the subject, but these drinks were smooth and delicious.

    One of my favorites was “A Fistful of Rupees” from the Tequila Factory (pictured above), which not only contained spices, but coconut milk. It reminded me of a spiked eggnog since it tasted like a dessert without being overly sweet. There was also the “Gila Monster” from the Gringo Grill and Cantina Restaurant, which was a prickly pear margarita with a hint of cilantro (pictured below). Another favorite was the Patron Cafe and 1921 Tequila Creme Liqueur Salted Caramel Milkshake, coupled with a Cinnamon Sugar Cronut, from the Tucson Country Club.

    Looks like I focused more on the tequila than the salsa. But that’s okay because now I’ve got a list of restaurants to go to.


    Peach Mania Harvest at Apple Annie’s Orchard

    About an hour east of Tucson in Willcox, there’s an orchard that opens its fruiting trees to the public every summer/early fall. Apple Annie’s Orchard has weekly events depending on what’s in harvest. This weekend was Peach Mania, with multiple varieties of ripening peaches available from picking off the trees along with Gala Apples and Hosui Asian Pears.

    Visitors are greeted by the smell of freshly made kettle corn and the staff was offering free samples. “All you can eat” pancakes with homemade peach topping made for a delicious breakfast on a warm Saturday morning. A map of the orchard is provided to help visitors’ orientation and where to pick the fruit. Buckets are available for collecting the ripened fruit and are sold by the pound. You buy what you pick and it’s very easy to go overboard. The aisles of trees that are ready for harvesting are marked to ensure unripened fruit aren’t accidentally picked.

    I hadn’t picked fruit off a tree in many years. When I was younger, we had a kumquat tree in my Los Angeles home, and once they were tangerine in color, we picked them by the bushel. There’s something about picking your own fruit, finding the perfect apple, pear, or peach. The fruit tastes sweeter since it’s fresh the staff even took an extra step to add a list of tips on how to take care of the peaches and how to properly allow them to ripen.

    Apple Annie’s has many events in the upcoming weeks and I will definitely be returning to enjoy the homemade pie and taking home more handpicked fruit.