Days of Rumors

Days of Rumors

In February of 1982  I married my husband, O.V. on Valentines day and the same month bought the salon business I had worked at for a few years. I renamed it Rumors, in honor of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks, my obsession at the time. Originally I sold my collection of vintage clothes I had worn and accumulated for years called “Sylla’s Fancy”. (I was later known for this kind of attire, dripping lace, antique slips for dresses, layers of slips showing some lace up boots. I loved finding something to add to my style of dressing. Once my friend Michael’s son now adult told me that when small “I thought you were the goddess or the good fairy with your dresses”….so cute.

Pretty soon I also sold my first aromatherapy products and essential oils. Eventually my line was called “Rumors Aromatics” with oils, blends, natural perfumes, with Aveda products on the side. I created a scent bar where my clients could to sit and play with oils, to find the right scent or just smell and look.


Being the first in Tampa offering aromatherapy, I had a bit of publicity with many articles in the papers, talks on local TV news, and newspaper interviews and articles. Early on my clients thought I was saying I did “roman therapy,” wondering what the heck that might be. Now of course they know more than most people thanks to their early education in what was then a little known therapy.


My signature salon scent became rosemary and geranium (2:1) blend. Clients would just come and sit and relax as they passed by, others would know they had been there due to their smiles and subtle scents. Students from nearby University of South Florida would come get a “study blend snifie” (cotton ball of basil and rosemary), then a fresh one for exams. I made custom blends for massages, giving clients the remainder to “bring them back” to my table when they used it. Aromatics, aromatherapy massage, and natural facials became the rage as we became a community gathering place for looking and feeling good. I did consults and helped a lot of people find essential oils. My first blends included my own personal scent with a patchouli base that has changed yet remained the same they say over the years; a blend for protection during meditation of 33 essential oils, an earthy grounding blend with vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood; and most asked for,  our famous rosemary and rose geranium house blend.

After half a decade of playing around with oils on my own, I wanted to expand my offerings a share the knowledge I had collected and many were requesting classes and courses. My first classes were live but eventually I created the Aromatherapy Practitioner Correspondence Course for mail order; and in 1989 the Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy was created as my official educational arm, separate from the oils. A few years later, after ten years open I closed my salon, Rumors, and I quit selling oils as I could not do both teaching and selling as it became clear about this time that it is unethical (illegal if medical?)to make claims and sell product. and I had seen enough so called educational classes really there to sell product in the hair industry. So I moved my office and salon/treatment room to my home so I could focus on devoting myself to the collection of knowledge and experience within this field that had become my passion. I remain here today, working out of my home, seeing clients and working in my yarden…

Featured Pioneer: Gerri and Pat of Natures Symphony Inc.

Featured Pioneer: Gerri and Pat of Natures Symphony Inc.

The same year I opened my salon Rumors, Natures Symphony Inc. opened in Boca Raton, FL. It was one of the first true aromatherapy stores in Florida and has been a pioneer in the field of Aromatherapy in the US for since its beginning.



The company was formed by a French medical doctor, William Amzallag, and Gerri Whidden in 1982. Pat Ashford then joined Gerri to create one of the first and most complete aromatherapy stores on the east coast that is still in business. They attended many conferences and we had wonderful times together in the aromatherapy adventures. When I sponsored a lecture day with special guest Maggie Tisserand they came and showed their wares. 


Pat, Gerri, Sylla, Emilee Stewart, Lisa Fulmer, Maggie Tisserand, Cynthia Haas, way back in 1990’s hosting Maggie Tisserand in Tampa.


They were the best source from oils to bulk supplies, skin care, books and all things aromatic. Their shop is still located in the heart of Boca Raton. Do stop in if you are near.


Recently we met up in St. Pete with Shellie Enteen and many others. (Sylla, Shellie , Pat, Gerri). they were two of the 5 that received the Pioneer Vintage Aromatherapy awards, and I am so thankful they came here for the presentation.

I taught basic aromatherapy there with them for quite a few years and watched as Natures Symphony became the aromatic presence in South Florida for the last 30 years. Gerri has been directly responsible for the education of over 30,000 students in Aromatherapy. She is recognized as a leading aromatherapy expert and has been invited to lecture at seminars in the USA and internationally. 


Besides sponsoring Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy teachers Martin Watt on medical aromatherapy and Robert Pappas on chemistry, they also brought quality education to Florida early on by sponsoring leaders in aromatherapy including in 1989 the first east coast two-day seminar with Robert Tisserand. This seminar included a class with Colleen Dodt, a sometimes forgotten pioneer of aromatherapy in the US. Stay tuned for more information about Colleen.

Visit their website

Early stirrings

I grew up in North Carolina in the 1950-60s and moved to Florida in early 1970. At that time I didn’t know aromatherapy had started with Gattefosse’s work, followed by Valnet’s book Aromatherapie which came out in France. Then  Marguerite Maury, an Austrian biochemist, began teaching in Paris and London in the 1960’s. In the 1950’s, Marguerite Maury pioneered the beginning of modern or true aromatherapy – the use of essential oils for the promotion of holistic well-being. While she was working with a surgeon in Alsace she read a book: Les Grandes Possibilitiès par les Matières Odoriferantes, by Dr Chabenes (published in 1835). The author later taught R.M. Gattefossé, one of the founders of aromatherapy. The book became Marguerite Maury’s Bible.

Through Maury’s years of research and practical application, she discovered the value of the active zone aromatic particles and recorded the effects with scientific probity. She lectured and gave seminars on the subject throughout Europe and opened aromatherapy clinics in Paris, Switzerland and England.

Madame Maury felt that the external application of essential oils by way of massage could be especially beneficial, and she established the first aromatherapy clinics in Paris, Great Britain, and Switzerland, and studied the rejuvenating properties of essential oils. She developed the early massage techniques from which today’s aromatherapy derives. Her treatments were initially designed for skin rejuvenation but her clients reported many additional benefits such as better sleep, pain relief and general well-being. Such results inspired Madame Maury to pass down her ‘hands-on’ knowledge to a select group of aromatherapy students at her private practice in London.

Maury trained many students including Daniele Ryman, who became her protégé, or “spirit child,” as she says. Early in her life Daniele attended the Institute des Beaux Arts in Paris. She met and became the protégé of the legendary pioneer of aromatherapy: Marguerite Maury, working with her in research and development in both the Paris and London clinics.

I was privileged to be the spiritual child, pupil and disciple of Marguerite Maury. She inspired and changed my life. I have continued her work for over 30 years. She possessed some of the eccentricities of genius, but she was also one of the most generous and lovable of women, a magnetic and charismatic person. She was a veritable whirlwind of energy and enthusiasm, working ceaselessly until quite literally she died on the 25th September 1968. Her last manuscript was found beside her bed. It began: ‘The aromatherapy involved in cosmetology can lead to the most extraordinary of results. -Daniele Ryman


Visit her site here.


I recently communicated with Daniele and she informed me of her new book on her memoirs with Maury called The Gift. She also recently found a movie that Maury made when her book Le Capital Jeuenesse originally came out in French in 1961. Daniele republished in English as Marguerite Maury’s Guide to Aromatherapy, The Secret of Life and Youth in 1989. She has never been here to the USA and I think that we need to correct that and bring her here in the near future, before she is gone too.  You can find a taste of her expertise in her “Aromatherapy Bible, found here.

Other students who studied with Maury, include Wm. Arnold-Taylor who created the ITEC programs in the UK, and Micheline Arcier, one of the very few people to work at her pioneering salon and to be trained personally by Marguerite Maury. Micheline Arcier studied and worked with Maury and Valnet and their combined techniques created a form of aromatherapy that is now used around the world. She opened a clinic in London and taught many early aromatherapists. Sadly, she and her daughter have passed away but you can read her story here.

One of Arcier’s students was Emilee Stewart. I will focus on Emilee on the next blog as she may be the first USA first Pioneer Vintage Aromatherapist.

Re Start Me Up

A few days ago I turned 63 and decided it was time to start a blog. It may seem strange to start on my birthday but I decided I had to just get started, and get it done. We never know how long we have in this earth suit, and I need to put some things down on paper for my legacy. is about my aromatherapy colleagues and I, and what better time to start!
I follow Jeff Brown on Facebook  and recently saw this quote “Essential lessons cannot be avoided. Callings don’t go away. When we turn away from our lessons, when we ignore our truth-aches, the universe jumps into action, orchestrating our return- a symphony of self-creation dedicated to our unique expansion. This is the nature of karmic gravity- we are returned back to our path until we fully walk it. Return to sender, address now known.”  This is so true…the patterns return. Fully walking means discovering and releasing, too.
So here I am: newly updated with two new sites being revealed and realizing I am not finished with my life’s work. I am back on the ride again, back in the arena, showing up for my path. I have been Re Started up, like the Rolling Stones, back in the aromatherapy world and ready to pass the torch, but not before I share all I know so I can retire with no unfinished business.
This blog stuff is very revealing, and a little scary, but I learned long ago that vulnerability can be fun, challenging, and life changing. Some things just cannot be denied! (There is a great Ted Talks on the subject. Like our Facebook Page to get that link!)
So stay tuned for an interesting read on my history and the history of aromatherapy as it has grown in this country over the last 40 yrs.