Perfume Review: Amouage Fate Woman

(Yikes. It’s been so long since I did a full fragrance review that I can’t even remember the last time. That’s embarrassing.)

I finally got around to testing Amouage Fate Woman. It’s now been more than five years since this one hit the market, garnering praise from Luca Turin and Kafkaesque, and I’m just now giving it a sniff. (Probably because on occasion, I have violently differing opinions from those two respected fragophiles.)

I still have mixed feelings about Amouage fragrances. They’re all rich and complex, which is awfully nice in these days when department store frags seem one-dimensional. But they’re expensive. And given that they’re so strongly art-directed and tend to have strong characters, you really have to appreciate the concept. My feeling on them is, if you make the choice to buy an Amouage, you’d durn well better wear the thing, or you’ve wasted your cash. Generally, too, the lasting power tends to be good, and I put that down to quality materials in adequate concentration — which is important to me, given the twice-aforementioned high price point.

I’ve enjoyed several of them without feeling the urge to buy: Jubilation XXV (the men’s version), Bracken Woman, Myths Woman, Dia Woman. I do own a cherished decant of Lyric Woman from 2010, before they amped the ylang-ylang and muted the rose in it. But Gold Woman was seriously filthy on me. And I hated both Epic Woman (sour ashes) and Jubilation 25, the women’s version (curdled fruit, as most fruity chypres go on me). Beloved Woman was a greasy powder-monster, Honour Woman had this weird brackish pondwater thing (Bertrand Duchaufour’s favorite vetiver, I’m pretty sure) that ruined the pretty florals, and Interlude Woman was simply a hot mess. I thought the chemical flatness of Sunshine Woman had to be a joke. Frankly, Interlude and Sunshine put me off trying another Amouage for a couple of years, and I have never managed to get my nose on any of the Library/Opus series.

Memoir Woman blew my mind for a good couple of weeks before I fell in love with it; it took me four years of scraping by on tiny decants before I found a tester bottle and snapped that sucker up. I still adore the stuff, though I admit it is oddball and definitely not to everyone’s taste. I don’t wear it often, though, because the weather has to be cold enough or it will smother me. I mean, c’mon, a leather-herbal Big White Floral? Freaky, and a monster in summer. Plus, the thang has beastly sillage and you can smell me coming around the corner. But I lurve it when the weather is right, and in our current low-30sF temps, I’ve been craving it like nobody’s business.

Ahem. Back to Fate Woman . . . I bought my sample so long ago that I discovered I’d actually purchased two samples from different decant services: one splash 1ml vial, and one 2ml spray. Last week I decided to combine them, and in doing so, managed to spill a bit on the top of my (paper-and-cardboard) Hatbox of Current Rotation. It beaded up, and I wiped up the excess with a tissue, leaving the tissue on the dresser before going on to something else I wanted to wear. But ever since, I keep entering my bedroom and getting whiffs of something deliciously old-skool perfumery: rich florals, plus resinous woods and, as the French might say, un peu de gousset (a hint of gusset, because so many classic perfumes smell a bit naughty).

(I can’t find an attribution for this image; I found it on Pinterest, which is so awful about linking to the original source. If you know where it came from, please share.)

Fragrantica classifies Fate Woman as Oriental Chypre Floral and describes it as a “spicy floral.” I’ve already said that it comes across to me as a floral on a rich, retro base, and that shouldn’t surprise anyone given its gigantic notes list: bergamot, chili, cinnamon, pepper, rose, jasmine, daffodil, incense, labdanum, vanilla, patchouli, benzoin, leather, oakmoss.

Angela at Now Smell This was underimpressed, mentioning that on her, Fate Woman was primarily a narcissus floral with an overwhelmingly powdery cast. I don’t get huge powder out of Fate W at all, especially on paper (that tissue I blotted the spill with is still sitting on the dresser, radiating boudoir smells). I also don’t get the oakmoss/chypre angle. It’s a tiny bit spicy, but mostly a rich incense-floral on my skin, faintly dirty with castoreum and narcissus. It has moderate sillage and lasts for several hours on my scent-eating skin. Quite nice stuff. I’ve really been enjoying the waft of that tissue on my dresser.

Am I impressed? Do I want to buy it? Nope. If a bottle fell out of the sky, I’d probably sell it. But then, I’m not much of an oriental-chypre fan; it’s just not my style. And then, too, I think it seems very 1950s-elegant-dressing-table to me. If I wanted a fragrance like that, I could pick up something considerably cheaper on eBay. It’s good; it’s not to my taste.

Carry on.



Share

The January Drear

So we’re having Mud Season again, the Cold Variant: after a year in which the area where I live received 56.54 inches of precipitation, 53% more than our average yearly rainfall, this year is looking just as damp.

Bleah.

Frankly, I’m so over Mud Season. I like Winter, except when it turns into Mud, and I’m thisclose to petitioning God for a cold snap, so at least the mud will freeze. I’ll take snow. I’ll take wind. Just — if it’s going to precipitate like last year, can we please have some cold weather??

I’ve been wearing scents with notable citrus lately, due to a Facebook perfume group’s weekly challenge. Despite thinking that I was never going to make it a whole week on citrus scents — which generally last all of three nanoseconds on me, and three very boring nanoseconds they are, too — I’ve managed, and very pleasantly, too. I’ve worn Shalimar Light (bergamot, lemon), Parfums de Nicolai Vanille Tonka (lime), Alahine (“citruses”), Chanel 1932 (lemon, grapefruit), DSH Chypre (bergamot), and Pierre de Velay Extrait No. 11 (“citruses”). Of course, none of these are technically citrus-focused fragrances, which is probably why I like them. And, true, they are cheerful in the middle of January Drear.

WordPress has updated their editing platform (again), and I can no longer highlight snippets of text and change the color, the way I used to assign certain colors for each fragrance. That’s why the above paragraph looks odd: I tried highlighting “Shalimar Light” and giving it its classic blue color, but it turned the entire paragraph bloo, so I had to send it back to “dark gray,” and only then did I notice that “dark gray” is not actually the default shade. I can’t fix it now, either. I don’t mind updates, generally, but I think I’m unsure about this particular WP version.

I was born in the said middle of said January Drear. Today is my birthday, and today I’m wearing Alahine (again).

So, are you a citrus-scent lover, or are you like me??

Share

I’monna try this again . . . weekly posting schedule

I spent the last few weeks of 2018 creating some goals for this year, and one of those was to post regularly again. However, I am spending much less time trying new fragrances, so I probably won’t talk a good deal about recent releases. It’s difficult to get my hands on New Shinies without ordering samples, and I’m increasingly unwilling to do that. Not to mention that the market has simply exploded in the past five years or so, and the New Shinies number in the hundreds, possibly even the thousands. Then, too, many of the New Shinies come from niche or independent companies with limited distribution, and I just don’t have the mental space.

Sorry.

So I will talk about how certain fragrances make me feel, even if I’ve mentioned them before. If I come across a few New Shinies here and there, I’ll write about them. (Speaking of which, I have some St. Clair Scents to review; unfortunately, I bought the sample pack before the newest scent, Casablanca, was available. And I really want to try that one, because it’s a BWF and totally up my alley.)

I’ll talk about family, and the farm, and my fiction writing, as well as my current health struggles. I’ll also discuss whatever strikes my fancy, so that’s nothing new. Love to everyone, and here’s to a fabulous new year.

Share

Turn of Seasons, December 2018

Ah, yes.

The woods behind the house, from the back deck.

As I write, it is the tenth of December, and the winter equinox lies more than a week in the future. It snowed fifteen inches yesterday; today’s temperature was about 40 F and much of the snow is gone now. Tonight’s low, however, will be about 15 F, and whatever didn’t melt will be ice by tomorrow. Brr.

This feels, in point of fact, very much like my 1970s childhood, also here in Virginia. We typically had had at least one snow and sometimes two or three before Christmas, and then there would be several more snowfalls through the winter. (Anybody remember the widespread fear that we were entering another ice age? Seems funny now.)

My sister’s husband is stationed in upstate New York, not far from Lake Erie, and they get snow. They’ve already had two snows, and the most recent dumped more than two feet on the ground. No school closings or delays, either; my poor nephew had no respite from 9th grade despite the weather.

The CEO left before the snow started, because he and another instructor from Virginia Tech’s Agricultural Technology program had been invited to do a seminar on Virginia agriculture for some Chinese officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. That was scheduled to take place in the Northern Virginia area, near DC, and he didn’t want to get stuck in the forecast snow here, so he took off on Saturday afternoon.

The snow started around 3 a.m. Sunday. I woke up once — you know that eerie stillness in the air when it snows? I heard the silence, if such a thing is possible, and it made me restless in my sleep. There was already snow covering the ground when I went to look out the window at 4:10 a.m. It didn’t stop until late in the evening.

It was feathery, powdery, fluffy snow. Taz tried sledding, but the snow just packed down underneath him and  refused to allow sliding across its surface. It was gorgeous, though, like angel feathers.

The CEO, calling to see how we were getting along, suggested that we were in dire straits and we all should have come along with him, to escape the snow. I scoffed. Miss all this beauty? No way, man. No way.

Besides which, we never lost power, and Bookworm was able to get the all-wheel drive vehicle out and to work this morning with no trouble. So there.

With winter in the air, I changed out the contents of the Hatbox of Current Rotation.

I love doing that. I love marking the seasons with my smells. There’s undoubtedly something to the idea of wearing whatever you want, whenever you want, regardless of the weather, and I don’t make fun of those who wear incense in the summer and citrus in the winter. Matching fragrance and weather makes me happy, though.

The Current Rotation includes:
Guerlain Shalimar Light (discontinued)
Coty Emeraude (vintage)
Soivohle Centennial (discontinued)
Amouage Memoir Woman
Guerlain Charnel Elixir Floral Romantique
Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere
Lubin Epidor
Fendi by Fendi (discontinued)
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Lumiere Noire pour femme
Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur (discontinued)
Ralph Lauren Safari
Frederick Malle Editions de Parfums Iris Poudre
Prince Matchabelli Potpourri (discontinued)
Caron Parfum Sacre
Teo Cabanel Alahine (vintage)

It’s disheartening to look over that list and see so many discontinued fragrances. (Even worse: darling Alahine, my Christmas fragrance for the past ten years, has been absolutely gutted by reformulation. Over the years, so has Emeraude, but at least you can find plenty of vintage on eBay. Original Alahine — gloriously full of naturals, rococo in its concept, but European and never in wide distribution — is utterly gone. I mourn.)

Christmas preparations continue apace. No tree yet, but the nutcrackers and the Nativity and the snow village are on display; a tiny lit tree set in my grandmother’s pickle crock and my father-in-law’s childhood wooden sled ornamented with a wreath grace the front porch. The community chorus concert was snowed out this weekend, but it should be presented next week (Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise).

As for health considerations, those continue. I finally got a measure of relief from that persistent plantar fasciitis with a month’s worth of physical therapy; I’ve lost 26 pounds. But there are more (many) more pounds to go, and recently I did something horrible to my knee, so I know the joint issues continue. Also, I cracked another tooth up into the root so it had to be pulled — another dubious gift from Essure.

My mother had one of those Christmas compilation records — you know, one song by The Carpenters and one by Andy Williams and one by Robert Goulet, that sort of thing — and it contained this gem. I’ve heard a lot of versions of this song, but this is my gold standard. I never hear this song without hearing Mahalia in the back of my mind.

Onward. I leave you with this wonderful recording of Mahalia Jackson, Queen of Gospel, singing “Go Tell It on the Mountain” with such joy and conviction.
He came to redeem every sinner
and to wash their sins away — hallelujah!

Share

Still Jumping Hoops

(This post was originally begun on September 17.)
So, okay, an update.

Last time I wrote about the medical stuff, I was still in the process of seeing specialists. I have now seen the allergist and the podiatrist, and one one of those fronts I’ve had some success.

That was the podiatrist. Actually, I’ve seen the podiatrist twice, and the first prescription anti-inflammatory did not help. Neither did the insoles. At the second visit, the podiatrist gave me a prescription for a stronger NSAID and asked if I wanted a cortisone shot. “Or would you like to treat your plantar fasciitis more aggressively?” she asked.

“Oh, yes, please, let’s be aggressive,” I said. “I’ve had it three years. I need some relief, and I want to be able to walk so I can lose some weight.” So she sent me to physical therapy. (Lord knows that should’ve been done at least a year ago, if not sooner. Should’ve been done at least in June.)

The PTs have asked me to continue the stretches I was doing, and gave me another couple to try. They’ve also done ASTYM on me, twice, and I have to think that’s helping a great deal. My heel feels a lot better. I’m not pain-free, but at least I can walk about 7000 steps without being crippled the next day. I’m hoping that over the next few weeks of treatment, my heel pain will lessen more.

The allergist did not test me for allergy to the Essure device or its components, largely because he did not have those tests in-house at the time, but also partly because they’re expensive and partly because he thought there was something else going on. He did order some blood work on me; it turned out to indicate that I do not have systemic inflammation going on. So that’s a dead end for Essure removal. He suggested I see a dermatologist for the rash on my arms. (It’s not that bad. I’m used to it now, used to the scars.)

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels (no, this isn’t me).

As for the diet, well, I’m starting to get frustrated with it. I am tracking everything I eat. I am exercising regularly, 5 days a week, usually about 35 minutes a day, and keeping my caloric intake about 1000 calories under what I expend (based on Fitbit’s estimate). I’m drinking about 80 ounces of water a day and have stopped drinking the one diet soda a day I had been allowing myself. This should have led to about a two-pound loss every week. However, I haven’t lost any more weight at all. It occurs to me that this is the point where I got frustrated with South Beach Diet last time, too — when I had lost 18 pounds and the scale refused to budge any further over a month’s time. GAH.

I have to persevere anyway, because I have to get healthy. I have to.

A lot of dieters swear by weighing once weekly, or weighing not at all and only gauging success by the fit of clothes. I have found in the past, however, that if I skip weighing every day, my brain tends to go straight to thinking, “Oh, we’re not dieting. Go ahead and eat the banana bread.” So I weigh once a day, in the morning after I’ve peed and before I’ve eaten anything. And I’m generally pretty patient with fluctuations… it’s just that I haven’t seen any loss since Sept. 8 (and I’m back up 2 pounds since then, pretty consistently). It’s so frustrating.

I begin to wonder if the NSAID I am taking for my plantar fasciitis is making the scale not move. Hmm.

In other news, though: I had been having a great deal of acne, almost more than I’d had as a teenager. That’s abated, and my face is clearer than it’s ever been since I was, oh, twelve. Low-sugar diet? Maybe. Perimenopause? Maybe that, too.

And now I have a few fun outfits to exercise in, too. This is good.

Updated update, October 1.
My sleep study showed no sleep apnea or diminished oxygen during sleep, so I think we can rule that out as a cause of fatigue.

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels (also not me).

I’ve now had a full month of physical therapy, from ASTYM to stretching and icing, and can report that my heel pain is maybe 20% of the level it was in May. This is an enormous relief. I’m not completely pain-free, and might never be completely pain-free due to that heel spur, but I plan to continue for another week or two, to try to reach toward zero pain. I’m consistently walking at least 7000 steps a day, and more often 7500 or 8000, which was just unthinkably painful back in May.

I have lost all of two pounds since September 17th. This is frustrating.

Before you ask: Yes, I’m drinking enough water (at least 100 oz., sometimes more). Yes, I’m eating enough healthy food (5 cups of veggies a day, lean protein, one serving whole grain, one serving fruit, limited fats). Yes, I’m exercising 5 times a week (deep water aerobics, walking, low-impact HIIT videos). Yes, I’m logging everything I eat (including those three pecan halves I ate after dinner this evening). Yes, I’m still eating approximately 1000 calories less than I burn every day (which should lead to a two-pound loss every week). Still, no movement on the scale or in my clothes. I may need to exercise 45 minutes/day instead of 30. Gah.

I know a number of people who’ve had success on the ketogenic diet. I might not be able to sustain that diet for very long — it seems crazy, what with the extremely low carb limits — but I wonder if I should try it, just for a jump-start? I don’t think two weeks of it would kill me.

The allergist wants me to come back to do some specific allergen tests soon. I see the endocrinologist next week.

Share

Scent Diary, August 20-26, 2018

Monday, Aug. 20: Taz started his senior year of high school last Thursday; Gaze and The CEO started classes at Virginia Tech today. (Means I get the house to myself again. 😀 Maybe I can get some writing done now.) SOTD is Guerlain Elixir Charnel Floral Romantique. I always feel like I have to justify loving this thing. Yeah-yeah, derivative overpriced pink mall juice, yada yada whatever, I don’t care. It’s a floral with a deliciously bitter edge and I love it. Besides, I got a slightly-used bottle at deep discount on teh ‘Bay. Nyah nyah.

Tuesday, Aug. 21: Intermittent thunderstorms all day. SOTD was Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere. It had cleared up by 5 p.m. and the sun was shining, so I left beef-veggie kabobs in the fridge for Bookworm to cook when she got home and went on to deep water aerobics. We’d only been in the pool for about 18 minutes of class when lightning struck nearby and we had to get out. Sad — especially because by the time I got dried off and in the car to leave the YMCA, skies were clear again. I had thought I might go for a walk after dinner, but it got dark while we were eating. The kabobs were SO GOOD.

Wednesday, Aug. 22: Again, intermittent showers. I managed to do a ton of errands and wash two loads of towels. SOTD was Chanel No. 19 edp, which I love. I had planned to go do exercise bike at the Y, but then I ran across a low-impact high-intensity interval (HIIT) workout on Youtube for people with wonky knees, and decided to do that instead. WHEW. Hard. Really hard. I liked it, though.

Talked to Gaze recently. VT is so packed with new students that dorm space is extremely limited and there was talk of moving noncadet students into any extra rooms in the cadet dorms… but there’s no room in the cadet dorms. The Corps is so full that most cadets, even upperclassmen, are jammed with four people in triple rooms and three in doubles. Gaze is one of three in a double room in the basement, and Housing even had to convert the study lounges to sleeping spaces. Yikes. All this because Tech’s president is making a push to “grow the university.” Which would be fine, except that the infrastructure to do that is not yet in place. Dorm space doesn’t spring up out of the ground overnight, and although there is plenty of apartment housing in Blacksburg, freshmen and cadets, as well as the honor dorm residents like my nephew, perforce must live on campus. I hear that the dining halls are particularly crowded at midday, as well. (There are four main dining halls plus several snack places, and at least five food trucks.) Grr.

Thursday, Aug. 23: Sunshine! That means laundry! I washed six loads and hung them out on the line, brought them in, and folded them. Yay me. Also, Deep Water Aerobics this evening, which I have decided to call Happiness Time. SOTD was Hanae Mori Haute Couture, big friendly citrusy jasmine fruit thing. (Discontinued, probably because it smells nothing like the original Hanae Mori berry-‘nilla scent.)

Friday, Aug. 24: Showers again. I had two loads left from yesterday, but managed to hang them out in between the rains. SOTD was softly powdery Rose d’Ete, my first niche purchase and still a love. Delicious New York strip steaks for dinner, plus mushrooms, cauliflower rice, green beans, roasted chunky potatoes (which I didn’t eat), and grilled zucchini. Yum.

Saturday, Aug. 25: Taz overslept and missed the 6:45 a.m. bus to his cross-country meet; I wound up driving him to Blacksburg. Once I was in Blacksburg, of course, the only sensible thing to do was to . . . go to Aldi. 😛 I did some grocery shopping before coming home and doing some cleaning. SOTD was Leonard de Leonard.

There are cows in the 20-Acre Field behind the house, so we are right now suffering a Plague of Many Flies. UGH. You swat one and three more come in the door.

Sunday, Aug. 26: I don’t feel well. Went to church anyway and was glad I went. Then after a quick lunch, we all went to see a local production of “Chicago.” One of Taz’s classmates was in it, and she was fabulous as Velma Kelly. (Frankly, I wondered why she wasn’t cast as Roxie — who was also good, but in my opinion, less fabulous than Velma.) So I was glad we went to that, too! SOTD was Lubin Epidor, which is somehow both golden and dusky-plummy. I like it very much.

Share

Jumping Through The Hoops

(If you’re here for the perfume, you’ll be disappointed today.)

Photo by Julia Maudlin at Flickr, Creative Commons license, some rights reserved. Photo may only be used with attribution and a link to the source. Click through for link.

My last post was about Essure and my gradual realization that many medical problems I had dismissed under the rationalization, “I’m just getting older,” or “I’m just fat,” may actually have been caused or simply worsened by a medical device that was rushed through FDA approval without adequate studies beforehand.

This post is about the timeline of hoops that I have begun jumping through, in order to reach the goal of having Essure removed.

1) In September 2017, after I find out that the FDA has recommended a black box warning for Essure, I decide to get rid of these things which have caused me so much insidious trouble. The doctor who placed my Essure (and delivered my first baby via C-section), retired seven years ago and I haven’t been to see another since. I call to request an appointment with another GYN, who is well-regarded, who used to practice with my implanting doctor, and who delivered my third baby, but it takes THREE MONTHS to get on her schedule. It’s now December 2017, and when I go in, she refuses to consider the possibility that all might not be well with my Essure. To humor me, she orders an ultrasound to locate my coils. I ask for a hystero-salpingogram (HSG) or an x-ray, so we can be sure they’re where they’re supposed to be. “They don’t move,” she says flatly. “Ever. Put that right out of your head. But I guess we can do an US, to make you feel better about it.”

2) I have the ultrasound in January 2018. It doesn’t locate my coils.

3) I see another doctor in my GP’s practice in March, for a sore throat that hasn’t gone away in two weeks. Unlike my usual GP, Dr. Kelly actually listens to me, considers a concern I have, and answers my questions without making me feel like an idiot and a fussbudget, instead of a woman with a bachelor’s degree who can understand some basic medical science. It is a revelation. There are doctors who do this? I NEED ONE OF THESE.

I notice that when The CEO began having pain in his ankle, Dr. Kelly prescribed an anti-inflammatory and sent him straight to physical therapy. Did I get PT for my foot and ankle pain? Did I get meds? I did not. I got the standard “Lose some weight and don’t wear those shoes.” I begin to realize that it might not just be me: my doctor might be part of the problem.

4) In May, I schedule a regular checkup and request to see Dr. Kelly instead of my regular doctor. The office manager tells me I can’t see him because he’s not my primary physician, and he’s not taking new patients. I’ve been seeing him, and other medical practitioners in this “family medicine practice,” for the past 20 years. How am I a new patient? “He’s not taking new patients, period,” the office manager says. I agree to see the female physician’s assistant. I weigh the most I have ever weighed, and I know I’m going to get fussed at for it.

5) I have my checkup with the PA. She listens. I think she’s skeptical, but she listens. We talk about Essure and my ongoing foot pain and my diet. She agrees to refer me to an allergist so I have testing done to see if I’m allergic to the materials in Essure. She agrees to test me for thyroid issues. She puts me on 9 Advil a day for 3-4 weeks, to combat my foot pain and inflammation. She suggests low-carb dieting, particularly because my blood pressure is creeping up. She suggests checking to see if my insurance will cover the new shingles vaccine, and she strongly suggests I get a screening colonoscopy. My blood work indicates no pre-diabetes or other issues. It also indicates that my thyroid is normal.

6) Into June now. The 9 daily Advil help so much that I actually do not feel like crap every day. The whole time I’m on them, I’m feeling good. I buy Chaco sandals. I put fresh plantar fasciitis-fighting insoles in my shoes. I don’t walk much, but I start water aerobics with the Fabulous Old Ladies at the Y, and sometimes I use the exercise bike. The pain in my elbow goes away. The pain in my right foot goes away. The pain in my left foot (always worse) is greatly lessened. I lose four pounds. I schedule my colonoscopy for the end of July.

7) I finish 3.5 weeks of daily Advil. The pain in my left foot is still there. I make another appointment with the PA. My appointment with the allergist will not be until August. I ask about the endocrinologist, and the PA sighs and says that if I really want an appointment she’ll try to get me one, but she doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with my thyroid. I ask about a referral to the podiatrist, and she says she’ll order one. She also orders an x-ray of my left foot, to see if I have bone spurs. My BP is up to 140/103, so she wants to put me on lisinopril.

8) In June/July, 10 mg lisinopril makes my BP go down to 120/85 most days.  I read on the Essure Problems group site about a woman who had been suffering for days with pain in her pelvic area, until she was taking a shower and felt a sharp pain in her vagina. She reached down and found… yep. One of her Essure coils. Go right ahead and tell me “they don’t move,” Dr. Howell. Sure, they’re not supposed to. But that doesn’t mean they can’t.

9) In May, Carilion’s medical records archives unit cannot locate any records of the placement of my Essure, which is part of what Dr. Monteith in NC needs in order to talk about scheduling Essure removal. I call the office twice in June and get a response of, “Oh, sure, I’ll call the archives in Roanoke and tell them what we need. We’ll call you back,” both times. Neither person calls me back. In July, I go to the hospital for my x-ray, and stop by the medical records office to ask one more time. I get, “Oh, sure, I’ll call the archives in Roanoke and tell them what we need. We’ll call you back.” I also get a printout of the doctor’s transcribed notes from the procedure, which might be most of what I need, but it does not contain any of the pictures taken with that teeny camera, showing the coils in place. I do not get a call back, either. (Third time. Carilion medical records, you suck.)

10) July. The x-ray of my foot indeed shows bone spurs. Yay. (“Don’t wear those shoes” seems horribly callous to me right now. I’ve been having pain for three years. Did I get sent to physical therapy? Noooooooo.) The pelvic x-ray shows two Essure coils that seem to be intact and approximately in the right place. (Which is relatively reassuring, but also a potential block to getting someone other than the elective surgeon to remove them.) I talk to Dr. Monteith’s office staff about sending them the disk with the x-ray results on it. I fill out the preliminary form and email it to the office. The scheduling nurse calls me back and says that my BMI is too high for the surgery there.

11) The endocrinologist’s office in Salem is overwhelmed because another specialist in the area retired, and they refuse to see me for a full thyroid panel, saying I can just see my GP. (Who thinks my thyroid is fine, and never mind that my mom needed a full panel to be diagnosed.) Also, I am too fat for the surgery to remove the thing that made me too fat in the first place.  If this is not discouraging, I do not know what would be.

12) I will keep my appointment with the allergist August 31. I may have recourse to removal if my tests show sensitivity to nickel. My dad says he will ask his endocrinologist if he’ll agree to see me since I’m getting the run-around.

13) I decide to try to lose the 50 pounds it’s going to take to get my BMI low enough for Dr. Monteith’s surgery. I may fail — Lord knows I’ve failed to lose weight often enough in the past — but I am going to try, and try really hard. It’s not going to be fun.

I check out the Paleo diet my college friend Heidi says works well, but it doesn’t allow cheese. That’s not going to work for me. I check out the ketogenic diet that a friend from church is on for his diabetes, but I do not think I could manage that food plan for the time it’s likely to take. I decide to do South Beach (the original reduced-carb/low-fat one from cardiologist Dr. Agatston’s book, not the new one where they sell you food like Nutrisystem) again. I lost about 20 pounds on SB a few years ago, but as soon as I started eating carbs again the weight came right back. I am going to have to say goodbye to favorites like mac-n-cheese and cake, like, forever. I mean, I can live without fruit for the first two weeks, and I can skip carrots and corn and beets for a while, and I can live indefinitely putting my fish tacos and burgers and sandwiches on lettuce leaves instead of tortillas or bread. I can probably live with pizza made on a cauliflower crust. (Although I LOVE beets.) But no baked potatoes? ever? 😥

14) I go for a walk the third day of my diet. My feet feel okay, and I go fairly slow for forty minutes. The next day, my left foot is killlling me, and I’m limping around as badly as I ever did. It occurs to me that the GP’s office has never gotten around to referring me to the podiatrist and I will have to call myself. AGAIN. I need a new doctor.

15) I call Dr. Monteith’s office back and ask if I can stay on their list. Sure, the scheduling nurse says. They’re expecting a rate increase (up from $7500) next spring, but they hold on to records for at least two years, so if I want to start an account I can do that. I say yes, please.

16) In late July, I see the podiatrist. Yep, I’ve got plantar fasciitis. I get new insoles and a prescription for anti-inflammatory meds. The insoles don’t really help. The hard massage ball does. The stretching does, a little.

17) On August 10, I manage to get in to see my dad’s endocrinologist in Roanoke. Dr. Bivens says that while I do have some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism, he doesn’t think that I have it, but we’ll wait for the labs to come in. My full thyroid panel comes back normal. Dr. Bivens suggests a sleep study; I could have sleep apnea. (The sleep tracker on my Fitbit seems to fit a fairly normal pattern most nights, but it’s not a real medical diagnostic tool. We’ll see, I guess. As of now the sleep study is not yet scheduled.)

Summary to date: There are likely more hoops to come. I am very lucky that The CEO has good health insurance.

I have currently been on the original South Beach Diet for one month now, and I’ve lost eleven pounds — that’s 15 pounds down from my heaviest. I’ll need a lot of support, but I continue to press toward a lowered BMI so that I can have surgery. That will be forty pounds from now.

(As a show of support for me, please do not send me chocolate. Or chocolate-scented perfume, for that matter. I will take commiseration, prayer, and hugs.)

Share

In Lieu of Recent Scent Diaries

So, heads up: medical stuff goin’ on, y’all. Life stuff, really. Sorry, no perfume at this point, though I hope to get back to it eventually.

A few years ago, I stopped getting regular checkups. I got discouraged at hearing my doctor say to me, “There’s nothing wrong with you. You just need to lose weight. Eat less. Exercise more.”

And when I would say to him, “Look, my feet hurt. I’m tired all the time. I’m not eating burgers and ice cream every meal; I eat grilled chicken and veggies; I try to eat healthy. I’ve been on a diet. I’ve been exercising,” he would say, “Well, eat less. And exercise more.”

I asked for a thyroid test, since I have a strong family history of thyroid disorder on both sides. “Your tests are normal,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with you, except you weigh too much.”

The pain in my feet and ankles? “Lose some weight. And don’t wear those shoes.” (The shoes in question were not flip-flops or flats; they were a sturdy pair of leather mules with 1 1/2″ heels and arch support.)

The numbness in my hands? The brain fog? The constant fatigue? Could I please have a referral to the endocrinologist, because I’m the same age my mom was when she was finally diagnosed after 8 years of symptoms and “normal” test results, with a full thyroid panel? “Your thyroid is normal. No.”

The intermittent pain in my abdomen on the left side, the one that felt like something inside pinching me? “I can’t feel anything there. There’s nothing wrong with you.”

What about this rash on my upper arms, that I keep getting especially in summer when I’ve been outside? “Sun sensitivity. Cover your arms up. Wear sunscreen.”

And so my doctor secretly labeled me a complainer. A fat complainer. A fat, lazy complainer. A fat, lazy, non-compliant complainer. I got used to asking questions and being told not to worry about it. It was all in my head. There was nothing wrong with me.

Just lose some weight, and don’t wear those shoes.

I was tired of the not-so-secret judging. I quit seeing the doctor, unless I had a illness that needed medication. I do realize that this was an ostrich kind of move, but I don’t know if I can explain how much it affected my confidence, knowing that my doctor thought I was a big fat whiner and didn’t believe my pain or concerns were worth investigating.

Then I got a big wake-up call last August from an unlikely source: Consumer Reports magazine. See, I thought the vacuum cleaner was dead (as it turned out, it had just gotten too hot). I had gone to CR’s website to find their vacuum ratings — and found a gigantic ominous banner across the top of the website saying something like, “Essure Black Box Warning.”

My immediate reaction: Oh gosh. I have Essure. I’ve had it for, what, 10 years? What’s wrong with it? I haven’t had any problems with it.

So I go read the brief article, which says something like, “The FDA has recommended a black box warning for the Essure device. A black box warning is the strictest warning put in the labeling of prescription drugs or medical products by the Food and Drug Administration when there is reasonable evidence of an association of a serious hazard with the drug or product.”

My immediate reaction: Oh wow. Serious hazard? Well, I knew that it might not work, and I did have to sign a waiver thingie before Dr. Young put it in, about understanding that it might lead to complications. But he said that complications were super-rare, and that this was a good option for me, given that I was aging out of birth control pills and I had a history of IUD failure¹.  Essure wouldn’t involve surgery or hormones; it was all done in the office, so that must’ve been safe, right?

¹And thank God for that, or we wouldn’t have Taz. He was an unexpected blessing.

So then I go read this article, “The Consumer’s Guide to Essure Birth Control,” at Consumer Reports, which details the serious complications many women have with Essure. (It’s short. Go read.) I’m not convinced yet — but I’m wary. So then I go and look up the Facebook group called Essure Problems. I ask to join. I read the posts. I’m thinking, Wow, these ladies are very quick to say that Essure caused all their health problems. Gynecological ones, sure, that makes sense. But other stuff? I don’t see the correlation. And I have not had any serious gynecological problems.

There’s a frequent commenter on the page who says, “If you didn’t have it before Essure, it’s because of Essure,” often, probably at least once a day, and I still think that’s too simple. It’s bad science to rely solely on anecdotal evidence; commonality is not causality. Women who have never had Essure do develop illnesses, after all. I had my gallbladder out before I had Essure, for example, so I’m not sure we can say that every single case of gallbladder disease developing after Essure is definitely due to it. I am skeptical.

Two days later, someone posts, “Anyone having pain on the tops of their feet? Like the tendons on the tops of their feet are strained and inflamed?” and my jaw drops. I have that. Sure, Dr. Kincaid said not to wear those shoes, but I get those pains even when I wear good supportive athletic shoes, with good supportive insoles. And in real time, within 20 seconds twelve people reply, “Yes. I have that.”

The next day, two other people are talking about how their upper molars are just crumbling in their mouths, and how their dentist thinks they grind their teeth at night, and that they must never brush or floss. Eight others mention a metallic taste in their mouth. A doctor in the group comments that he thinks that Essure changes the chemistry of saliva.  And my jaw drops, because I have that. I’ve had that metallic taste in my mouth since 2006! Less than a year after I had Essure put in, I lost two upper molars which just cracked for no apparent reason. My dentist has given me a night guard, which probably saved a third upper molar via a crown procedure last year ($1200, thanks very much).

So I read some more, and I research some more, and it becomes clear to me that Essure is at the very least an agent provocateur in kick-starting medical problems that might not have developed, or might have developed later in life. In particular, it seems to be associated with problems in a few broad areas:

1) Gynecological. Heavy and too-frequent menses, early menopause, cysts, pain with sex, uterine/cervical/vaginal atrophy or enlargement, ectopic pregnancy, device migration, endometriosis, unexplained sharp pains in the abdomen, puncture of uterus or fallopian tubes, frequent UTI’s, repeated yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis resistant to treatment, etc.  I have some of these symptoms.

2) Auto-immune and unspecified inflammatory. Auto-immune, Hashimoto’s, thyroid, Crohn’s, gluten sensitivity, IBS, gallbladder disease, allergies (particularly to metal), weight gain resistant to diet and exercise, tendonitis, etc. I have some of these symptoms.

3) Dental. Severe cavities, teeth crumbling, gum disease. I have these symptoms, too, after decades of good dental hygiene and good teeth.

You can read more about Essure and its incomplete studies here, in an article from the New England Journal of Medicine.

If you have Netflix, you can check out a documentary called “The Bleeding Edge,” beginning July 27, about how the Essure device was rushed through FDA approval and how it has ruined thousands of women’s lives. As of a few weeks ago, Bayer — which bought Conceptus, the company that originally produced Essure, in 2013 — announced that they would end sales of Essure in the United States as of the end of this year, due to declining profitability. (Interestingly, or maybe suspiciously, the current head of the FDA, Scott Gottlieb, was a significant investor in the company that originally brought Essure to market in 2002 without a study of its long-term effects.)

So once I figure out that my Essure coils might be contributing to health problems, I get to researching how I can get them removed. Typically, a doctor would do some laparoscopic surgery, reach in with forceps or whatever, and pull out the thing that’s causing problems and then sew you up — but that would be a disaster. If Essure coils are cut or pulled or tugged in any way, that is likely to leave both metal fragments and PET fibers behind, and many women who had their coils removed have had excruciating medical problems dating to the improper removal. If you want to have them out, and they are “in the right place,” that is, mostly inside the fallopian tubes with a small portion trailing into the uterus, you will need at the very least a bilateral salpingectomy (both tubes removed) with a cornual resection (upper part of the uterus removed), or salpingectomy with hysterectomy (removal of the uterus and possibly the cervix as well).

Removal is a big problem for me. I don’t have any of the gynecological disorders that would induce an OB-GYN to agree that I need a hysterectomy.

Then I found out that there’s a doctor in North Carolina who, though primarily focusing on reversing tubal ligations in order to restore fertility, also removes Essure using microsurgery. He’s had good results in getting all of the coil without leaving fragments behind, and without needing to take any part of the uterus out.

So what do I do now?  I start jumping through the hoops. That’s been my year since last August, pretty much, and I’m going to detail it in the next post.

 

Share

Scent Diary, July 2-8, 2018

Not literally my class at the Y, but yeah, it pretty much looks like this with all the fabulous old ladies (including my wonderful MIL, who is about to be an octogenarian). Stolen from Faster In Water blog, click through for link.

Monday, July 2: Overcast today, but humid. I think it’s definitely going to rain. I made it to water aerobics with the fab old ladies; I’m still finding it very easy and trying to really work hard at it. Afterwards I like to swim for 15 minutes or so — I started with 200 meters, then went to 300 meters, and now I’m up to 400 but it makes me winded so I need to keep working and move up. I have no memory of how fast I used to swim a 400, back in the day, but I know for sure it was faster than this.

Post-shower, SOTD is Moschino Funny! It is so muggy, and the zippy grapefruit-rose-tea-cassis of Funny! is helping.

Tuesday, July 3: It never rained yesterday. Heard thunder, saw lightning, saw rain over toward Parrott and Fairlawn, but it never rained on us here at the farm. Today is just as muggy. Ugh. (To all those people who were posting pictures of the beach on Facebook in January, and talking about how much they missed summer: I kinda hate you a little bit right now.)

Stationary bike at the Y today, plus a short stint on the Nautilus machines that work arms. My high school friend George, who runs a gym, would sneer because there are only a few free weights, but hey. It’s what the Y has, so it’s what I have.

SOTD was Arquiste Flor y Canto, which is just the prettiest perfume name, “Flower and Song.” Gorgeous tuberose with a dash of marigold; a sunny, happy perfume.

The CEO water-sealed the deck, porch, steps, and porch swing, plus his mom’s brand-new birthday-present porch swing! By dinner my back was stiff. Clearly I need to be doing the weight machines more.

Wednesday, July 4: Happy Independence Day! We went to a nice cookout/potluck gathering with some friends from church. Wore Van Cleef & Arpels California Reverie, because I’m still trying to love it, and I still don’t. I really enjoyed my sample of it, and I remember the gorgeous orange topnotes taking my breath away, but this bottle is mostly jasmine with a tiny edge of citrus — nice, but nothing compelling, or at least not to me. I wonder if this got seriously reformulated before they discontinued it; my bottle from Fragrancenet was deeply discounted. Shrug. Dunno.

The CEO got tickets to the local baseball team, so he took Bookworm and Gaze. I was completely exhausted for no good reason, so I stayed home with Taz and rested.

Thursday, July 5: Hot again. Muggy. Exercise bike at the Y again today. Did 40 minutes and 8 miles but no weights. My feet hurt. I am unaccountably tired. SOTD was Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Yuzu. Which is nice, yeah, but honestly? far too much in the line of a traditional eau de cologne like 4711 Kolnwasser for my taste. I mean, sure, it smells good, but I frankly find it pretty boring. Maybe this one needs to get pushed over to my eBay sale too. (Wonder if I still have the box…)

Friday, July 6: Muggy again. SOTD was Guerlain Floral Romantique (Bookworm said, “Ooh, you smell pretty.” That’s what I go for most days, I tell you: to smell pretty. I’m not judging those of you who want to smell like a smokehouse or vanilla cupcakes or a garden overlooking the Nile  😉 but I am nearly always a sucker for just smelling pretty.)

Grilled some chicken and veggies for dinner, while the air became increasingly humid. We had a free HBO weekend, so we sat down as a family to watch “Dunkirk” again. And then, finally, rain. Pouring rain. So glad!

Saturday, July 7: Still cloudy and humid, but I think we got all the rainfall we’re going to get. You value every drop you get in July! Hay is up in the Pond Field; it smells wonderful.

Testing Oscar Flor, which was one of the Calice Becker frags given a 4-star rating in the 2018 Perfumes: The Guide. My initial opinion was that it’s nice, and it smells a lot like Tommy Girl, when it’s not smelling like Moschino Funny! Not that that’s a bad thing at all, but why wouldn’t you just buy Tommy Girl or Funny! instead?

My revised opinion, two hours after the single spritz, as I left the produce stand with a Vidalia onion, two garden cukes, four Better Boy tomatoes, a pint of blueberries and an enormous canteloupe, is that the drydown is extremely attractive and quite fresh, in a real, just-picked, melon-and-cucumber sort of way. I was nearly home when it finally dawned on me that I wasn’t smelling the produce, but myself.

I didn’t get tired of that ubiquitous melon-cucumber thing in the 1990s, probably because our budget was limited and I wasn’t buying anything scented at all back in the day, though I expect people who were into it at the time are probably really tired of it now! IMO, Oscar Flor is excellent for summer, y’all. Also likely to be a cheap thrill like Tommy Girl and Funny!, so that’s a plus.

I am unaccountably tired again. Doctor visit on Monday, a follow-up about my feet (and also, probably, a mini-rant about the lack of referral to the endocrinologist).

Photo from JapanConsidered.com blog; click through for link.

Sunday, July 8: Cooler than it’s been lately, and that’s awfully nice. Week 2 of Worship at the Lake this month, which usually I suffer through because where we have set up in past years — near the gazebo — doesn’t have enough shade to suit me, though it’s pretty and you get a great view of the lake. However, this year we’ve been at two different shelters at the state park, both of which had more shade, so hallelujah! Paleskins like me rejoice. Besides, I could still see the lake. SOTD was DelRae Wit, another one of those just-pretty florals I can’t resist.

The boys tended to mowing and weed-whacking today; The CEO tended to laundry. I tended to some sewing. All in all, a nice relaxing day.

Share

Scent Diary, June 25-July 1, 2018

Capitol Hill; photo by JW Guthrie

Monday, June 25: A little cooler today, overcast, and it’s supposed to be cooler over the next few days too — which bodes well for the Washington DC trip. The CEO and other elected county boards of supervisors members in Virginia* have been invited to the White House for a tour and a conference, so we drove up (5 hours) to stay in the city this evening. Two other supervisors and the county administrator drove separately, so that the journey itself couldn’t be called an illegal private meeting. SOTD was sparkling, spicy DelRae Wit.

Had dinner at a restaurant owned by the brother of a guy who works in business development in one of the nearby towns — Brookland’s Finest was terrific. The guys all had T-bones, but I ate catfish with spicy greens and polenta. Yum.

Tuesday, June 26: After a delicious hotel buffet breakfast, The CEO and his compatriots headed off to meet with the National Association of Counties and then do their tour and conference, which was going to be followed by a private tour of the Capitol building led by our Congressman. * As it turns out, all county supervisors are being invited to the White House on a state-by-state basis; it just happened to be Virginia’s turn.

I, on the other hand, eschewed perfume for the time being and drove out of the city to meet a college friend I hadn’t seen for years. Our plan was to have lunch, talk, do a little shopping, talk, visit Arielle Shoshana in the Mosaic District, talk, and walk around Holly’s yard where she’s been trying to shift over to all native species plants. Oh, and talk, of course. We managed to fit in coffee/tea and excellent cupcakes, too.

I sniffed a lot of things at Ari’s shop (which is amazing, and you should go visit if you possibly can manage it). It was a thrill to meet her in person! I left with a sample of Vilhelm Parfumerie’s Poets of Berlin — not my usual sort of thing, but very nice stuff. Notes include blueberry, lemon, bamboo, vetiver, sandalwood, vanilla; the overall effect is a powdery, fruity wood, not really edible. Holly was quite taken with Maison Francis Kurkdjian A La Rose, which I think is very pretty. (I’m already stocked up in the very-pretty rose department.)

Wednesday, June 27: Cloudy and rainy early in the day — especially leaving D.C. — but then the sky cleared up as we were approaching home. The Hunter-doggle was super-pleased to see us. The kids seemed happy to see us, too, or at least Bookworm and Taz were. Gaze was gone most of the day.

SOTD was Hermes Kelly Caleche edp, pleasant summery citrus-rose-leather. I like it.

Thursday, June 28: Hot. Humid. I’m sure it’s nothing compared to the weather in DC today, but still, summer in Virginia. Went to the Y for some quality time with the bike; it’s getting easier but today my feet are hurting. The fragrance I was testing today was House of Matriarch Two of Cups, an aldehydic floral with a jaw-droppingly animalic aspect. There’s jasmine in it, I’m guessing probably the French ho-panties kind, and cassie (acacia), which can sometimes smell, um, ripe and maybe a tad decayed. Then there’s honey, which can sometimes go really wrong on me as well. I don’t know that I’d ever be able to wear this in public, but it is lovely and the drydown is wonderful.

SOBedtime: Lubin Epidor. I don’t care if 2018 Perfumes: The Guide (Turin/Sanchez)* gave it two stars, called it “plum jasmine” and said, “I cannot bring myself to like this fragrance, which strikes me as an overly loud 1980s heavy, somewhere between Loulou (Cacharel, 1987) and Poison (Dior, 1985), but less confident than either.” LT
*
Yep, this dropped for Kindle today — and I bought it today. And read it today. Review of the book coming.
Also, Luca is wrong on a few counts: Epidor is more hay than jasmine on me, it is definitely not loud, and to me has little to do with the bombastic LOOK AT ME SMELL ME NOTICE ME attitude of Loulou (which I hate. which I always hated.) and Poison (which I worked around to enjoying but still didn’t want to own). Epidor doesn’t lack confidence; it just doesn’t scream or do cartwheels wearing sequins. It’s relaxed.

Friday, June 29: Even more hot and humid, and we’re supposed to have temps in the upper 90s over the weekend. YUCK.

I frequently see mentions, on blogs or Facebook groups, of oriental fragrances being at their best in the heat. I cannot imagine. Now, big white florals blooming in heat? Yup. They are at their most seductive, their most heady, their most attractive, when they bloom big on summer skin. Incense scents? Yeah, I can see those being great when it’s warm. But orientals? Heavy fur-rug and chenille-blanket things like, God forbid, Amouage Memoir Woman in the heat — I just shudder, imagining. And I LOVE Memoir, but not in 90F weather.

SOTD is Jacomo Silences parfum de toilette, eerie meditative cool green thing.

Saturday, June 30: HOTTT. Bleargh. All you people who were posting things like “I want summer” and “Life is best at the beach” back in the fall and winter? I’m kinda mad at you now. June just finished and I am officially DONE WITH SUMMER. I want nothing else to do with it.

Silences pdt again, because it’s like liquid A/C, and I need it.

Taz mowed, Bookworm vacuumed and cleaned bathrooms, Gaze ran the power washer and cleaned the deck. And in the afternoon, we went to see Incredibles 2. We liked the first one, and in some ways the update is even better. (Jack-Jack vs. the raccoon is worth the price of admission, IMO.) Also, this clip IS TOTALLY BOOKWORM AND TAZ. Literally, I have witnessed this exact conversation between the two of them more times than I could count.

After that, a rare meal out for the five of us, at Sal’s Italian restaurant. The boys ate pizza with pepperoni and Italian sausage; Bookworm and The CEO ate calzone. I ordered my favorite Sal’s dish: Godfather Ravioli. Three big round ravioli with crab filling, and three with spinach, and all topped with a creamy pink sauce containing tiny shrimp and baby scallops. It is THE BEST, y’all. It may not be authentic Italian — it probably isn’t — but I do not care. Delish.

Sunday, July 1: Church at the lake again. I think some people like this arrangement a lot more than I do. But under the shelter was nice, because we had shade.

Worship at the lake; photo by Dave Farris.

SOTD was Carven Le Parfum. Most of the time I think it’s very pretty, and then sometimes the patchouli in it bothers me, like today. Sigh. I went to a bridal shower after church and came home to a pressure-washed porch! Thanks, Taz and Bookworm. And then… I NAPPED. It was awesome.

 

Share

Scent Diary, June 18-24, 2018

Monday, June 18: A nice day, with temps in the mid-80s and not much humidity.  The CEO had expected to be in the hayfield (with the boys) today, but apparently it’s supposed to start raining on Wednesday and stay rainy for a few days after that, so they did some other stuff around the house/shop today. Poor Gaze, I think he would rather have been mowing.  SOTD was Silences pdt, which is pretty much liquid air-conditioning.

Tuesday, June 19: Warm. Not terribly humid. Really nice, for June.  Worked hard on the stationary bike at the Y today and went 7.2 miles in 35 minutes . . . then I noticed that my Fitbit was fussing at me for getting my heart rate up too high (and that’s a clear indication that my heart is not all that healthy).

SOTD was samples that I will speak more about later. There’s a company that’s planning to rerelease one of four classic scents that they’ve updated, and I got in just under the wire with ordering samples of the four. I’ll post my feelings about these sometime soon, probably before they announce which one of the four was chosen, based on the votes of those who have tried them.

Wednesday, June 20: Hotter and muggier than the last two days. I worked my tail off in Water Aerobics today and actually managed to sweat while standing in the water (okay, so the sun was shining through the big window onto me too). Gaze moved bales today and Taz cleaned out the farm shop; I did some laundry and worked on my eBay sales (which are going okay, thanks. Not ‘going gangbusters,’ as my dad would say, but I am selling some stuff I don’t want, and generally for a fair price. I’m really happy to be sending these unloved bottles to new homes).

My elbow is not hurting me anymore. Neither is my right foot. The left, though, is still quite painful, and not just during or after walking on it. Sometimes I get sharp shooting pains in the heel for no apparent reason. Gah.

It did not rain today. SOTD is once again Silences. #notsorry #greengorgeousness

Thursday, June 21: Good stationary bike workout today; I only went 6.4 miles in 30 minutes but I kept my heart rate in the “cardio zone.” Also went about 3 minutes on the elliptical, and now my foot is killllling me. Dangit. Really no more elliptical for me; I need to quit trying.

SOTD was Chanel No. 19, and a tiny bit of vintage Max Factor Epris, which wears like a classic chypre formula with an oriental growl in the base. I think the citrus notes up top are gone with this one (first released in 1981).

It only rained a little bit today, so The CEO was saying that he could have mowed hay on Monday after all. Oh well.

Friday, June 22: Summer solstice! It crept up on me! I usually do notice.  It was sunny, then overcast, then it rained hard, then it rained steadily, then the sun came out. Weird weather.  SOTM was sunny Chanel 1932, glorious citrus-jasmine-iris.

Went to the Y to try their Deep Water Aerobics at 2 pm, but lightning closed the pool so I went to the cardio room for more stationary bike. Went the same distance over the same time as Tuesday, but kept my heart rate mostly in the “cardio” range, with only a few forays into “peak.” Which is probably the zone I should be in, anyway. SOTD post-shower was vintage Fendi. (That’s tautological, isn’t it? All Fendi by Fendi is vintage because they haven’t made it since, gosh, the mid-1990s or so.)

First local minor league baseball game of the season! The CEO got four tickets from a friend, so he took Bookworm and Gaze and Gaze’s friend and fellow cadet LM who is spending the summer away from home, in Blacksburg, taking some courses. I think he’s an engineering major, and it usually takes those students 5 years to finish the degree. Taz and I stayed home.

Saturday, June 23: Got up early and did Father’s Day Version 2.0, because for various scheduling reasons, The CEO didn’t get the FD meal he’d requested last week. We had French toast with real thick-cut bacon and mixed berries. Yum.

I am for some unaccountable reason exhausted. Cleaned up some today, but I’m soooooo tiiiiired.  No SOTD.

Sunday, June 24: Church. (Blue maxi dress, white crochet shrug. Chacos. SOTD was the friendly Rome souvenir Ferre 20.) Baby shower for a church member in the afternoon.

Sooooo tiiiiired again. Need to go see my doctor again. I don’t think she wants to send me to the endocrinologist, but I also think I really need to.

Share

Mini-Review Roundup June 20, 2018

Here’s today’s collection of reviews of some new-ish mainstream fragrances. (I dunno, is Guerlain mainstream? The only Guerlain you can buy in a department store around here is Shalimar. On the other hand, none of the department stores in my area would carry Prada or Tiffany either.)

Mon Guerlain – This was a freebie tossed in by the eBay seller because she was out of one of the carded samples I had bid on. I wouldn’t have chosen it on my own (as you might remember, I am truly not much of a Guerlie-girl). In any case, without checking the notes, I threw the sample in my gym bag and spritzed a bit on after my shower. Within three minutes I was sporting a massive lavender hangover headache.

Which is pretty much a deal-killer for me. I shriek NO LAVENDER!!! the way Faye Dunaway shrieked NO WIRE HANGERS!!! as Joan Crawford in “Mommie Dearest.”

And I can barely tell you anything else in there except the flat powdery vanilla (also a note I dislike) and that weird powdery-chalky baby-aspirin orange thing (double-hate), because I scrubbed. Bleargh. I’m sure there are people who love this thing, but the only way I would have hated it more would be if they crammed it full of fig leaf, too.

Tiffany & Co. – I liked the first Tiffany fragrance. It was a 1987 release, and it smelled like an 80’s release: a jam-packed, rich floral, the opposite of “light.” This one was getting some decent reviews so I thought I’d give it a shot. The first sniff was not promising: some screechy Coco-Mademoiselle-type patchouli, a high-pitched citrus, plus the clean and quiet iris-musk familiar to us from Prada Infusion d’Iris, which should surprise no one because Daniela Andrier did the Prada as well. Within a few moments, though, it settled down into a very pleasant blackcurrant-peach-rose floral not all that far from my beloved Ines de la Fressange. Too bad the drydown isn’t nearly as good, but I swear I think there’s real sandalwood in the Fressange. This one eventually subsides into a lighter, sweeter Coco-Mademoiselle-ish drydown, which is still fairly pleasant. I give this one a B-minus because it could have been much worse, and because it is such a no-brainer pleasant thing. The drydown, which is my favorite part, lasts several hours on me and stays pleasant, reminding me just a tad — in feel, not smell — of another no-brainer just-pretty that I love, Carven Le Parfum. I won’t buy this, but I won’t mind smelling it on someone else.

Prada Infusion Amande –  This smells like they started with Infusion d’Iris and added a clean, sweet heliotrope. It’s soft, powdery, not quite sweet. Listed notes are almond, heliotrope, tonka bean, musk, and anise, and I smell all of those plus a dry satiny iris, and just mayyyybe a bit of orange blossom. It’s fairly linear in my experience. However, it’s very nice stuff, and for an almond/heliotrope scent, seems to avoid all Play-doh references, which is unusual and refreshing. I don’t need it, but I enjoyed it.

 

Have you smelled anything mainstream-ish lately that’s good? Tell us about it!

 

 

 

Share