Excellent (double-excellent) news!

I love the sound of those words together: NaNoWriMo 2010 Winner… I think I’ll just repeat them quietly to myself for awhile…  winner… winner.  I like that.

I’m considering posting an excerpt or two here – as soon as I’ve edited them thoroughly, that is. 

This year’s novel has been fun. (Uh, mostly.)  I’ve lost some sleep, and the laundry has certainly suffered, but I’m getting better at plotting a story arc.  Now, to do more “showing” and less “telling.”  And to transition from scene to scene more smoothly.  All that will, or should, come with editing.  Finishing is good, building skills is better.

Thanks for being patient with me while I went off on my little side excursion.  Regular posting should pick up from here on out.

I think I’m going to go put on some Iris Poudre…

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Scent Diary and NaNoWriMo Report, Nov. 22-28, 2010

Monday, Nov. 22:  Warm, 70F. The CEO is home all this week, since the university is on Thanksgiving break.  He’s also got only five working (teaching) days from now until VT goes back into session in mid-January. 

Is it wrong of me to hate that?  He gets grouchy when he’s farming every day.  And is picky about the house.

SOTD: I’m testing the samples from Smell Bent, and I have Elf-Fulfilling Prophecies on one hand, and Dr Dreidel on the other.  I think these holiday editions need a separate post, so I won’t talk about them now.

NaNo Total Wordcount: 36,493.  Still behind.

Tuesday, Nov. 23: Cooler than yesterday. I was in a hurry this morning, so I was limited to whatever I had in my purse.  SOTD: Smell Bent One.

Went to the arts program at the high school: it’s a concert to benefit the local “Christmas Store” program, with the high school choirs and band, and presentations from the drama classes.  Taz hadn’t wanted to go; he laughed all the way through the drama skits, particularly “A Shrek-mas Carol,” and then immediately announced he was bored, so bored that he might diiiieeee.  (I foresee him getting interested in the drama classes himself.)  Wore the first thing I grabbed on the way out the door – it was Coco Mlle, from where I had it next to the laptop when trying to channel my novel’s main character.  I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really like CM on me.  I still don’t.  It’s just that tiny bit screechy, and if it didn’t have that patchouli-woody-musk stuff underneath, I’d be scrubbing it off.  As it is, it’s only mildly annoying (I may never know why it smells so wonderful on my sister.

NaNo Total Wordcount: 37, 992.  Wrote until after midnight, trying to catch up (almost!).  By then I was both tired and jumpy, knew I couldn’t sleep, so I took a bath to relax.  That worked.  I nearly fell asleep in the bathtub!  Spritzed a bit of Shalimar Light, and drifted off to sleep on a cloud.

Wednesday, Nov. 24:  Chilly. Kids home from school (wreaking havoc, although they did sweep the main floor for me).  Put on my apple-green sweater and found it redolent of Lolita Lempicka Si Lolita, so I wore that again today.  At this rate, I’ll have used up the mini in a month or two. 

Took Bookworm to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 – we read all the books together, and have seen all the films together too.  My verdict?  It drags a little, which is perhaps to be expected, given the long buildup to the Final Confrontation that’s coming in Part 2.   It was nice to see more of a focus on Ron, who’s always been my favorite character anyway, and on Hermione.  

 The boys are totally uninterested, but I don’t know whether that’s because it’s “Bookworm’s thing,” whether it’s a backlash against the general popularity of the series, or whether they just don’t  like fantasy.  Might be a combination, although I know that Gaze doesn’t enjoy reading anything that’s unrealistic.  He’d rather read history than fiction.

NaNo Total Wordcount: 39, 206.  Still not caught up, but closer.

Thursday, Nov. 25: Thanksgiving Day.  The kids were out in the yard playing football with The CEO today – it’s warmer than your average late-November day around here (I distinctly remember a Thanksgiving when The CEO took Bookworm and Gaze ice skating on a pond).  I spent most of the morning and afternoon in the kitchen, busy with pumpkin pies, green beans, turkey breast and gravy, sweet potato casserole.  Hectic.

SOTD: Teo Cabanel Alahine.  I thought of SSS Sienna Musk or Champagne de Bois, or even Givenchy Organza Indecence, all spicefests, but Alahine was easier to grab while running behind.

NaNo Total Wordcount: 41, 192. Still not caught up.  I really hope I’ll have time over the last few days.  I remember last year, when I found that the NaNo official wordcounter is more strict than my wordprocessing program, and I had to write an extra scene… I’ll have to do that again.  I’d nearly forgotten.

Friday, Nov. 26:  There is No Freakin’ Way you will get me out shopping today.  I’d rather chew off my own arm.  Also, it’s chilly.  And bare, and windy.  Essentially, it is finally starting to look like late November outside.  SOTD: Chanel Bois des Iles.  Which is beautiful if I hoover my arm, but I can’t smell myself otherwise.  This makes me too frustrated, I ought to just swap it away.

SOTEvening: Mary Greenwell Plum.  Nice.  I hope to review it soon.

NaNo Total Wordcount: 43,342.  CAUGHT UP!!  Yippee!

Saturday, Nov. 27:  Busy busy busy.  Cleaned the house, fed everybody (three times, of course), cleaned myself.  Wrote on the novel.  Showed my sister-in-law how easy it is to set up a blog.  (The hard part? finding time to maintain it.)  Romped on the NaNo writing, because I know I won’t have much time on Sunday since The CEO and I will be traveling to the Virginia Farm Bureau Convention.  This year it’ll be at The Homestead, in Hot Springs – a much fancier hotel than they usually get, but I think this is The Homestead’s slow time, before they get busy again over Christmas, and they’re giving us a competitive deal.  I’ve been there before, and I think it’s beautiful.  My favorite part?  Afternoon tea in the great hall. 

SOTD: Natori edp.

NaNo Total Wordcount: 47,312.  I now think I might actually make it!  Will be hectic busy tomorrow, so I hope this’ll be enough.  I will have through Tuesday, and looks like I’ll need that time.

Sunday, Nov. 28: First Sunday of Advent; we lit the Hope candle.  Home from church, we all threw clothes in bags and got underway – the kids to The CEO’s parents house, The CEO and I to the convention.  SOTD: Dior Dolce Vita, a delicious confection of stewed fruit, spices, and woods.  The CEO sniffed my wrist in the car while we were stalled on I81 and said, “Mmm, spicy. You smell like dessert.”

NaNo Total Wordcount: 47, 560.  Lame effort today, but I expected that.

Image is of a perfume convention from parfumgott at Flickr.

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The Thanksgiving Chair

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6znqpPaYzM4]

Saw this video last Sunday at church, and it’s made an impression on me.  Thanksgiving has always had strong religious overtones for my family, and that’s still true.  To whom to we give thanks, if not to God? 

Question:If you celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday and you’re not interested in religion, how do you celebrate it?  I’m not being snarky, I’m serious here.  I can certainly understand that Thanksgiving is attractive to people who’d prefer that God just Butt Out Of Our Lives, Please, for various reasons – getting the family together, the great food, the continuation of a tradition, the parades, the football games, the four-day weekend… 

…so if you don’t consider yourself a religious person and you celebrate Thanksgiving because it is, after all, a national holiday, I’d love to know how the day goes for you.  Is it a day for eating a wonderful meal with your family?  A shared cultural phenomenon you participate in because not participating would be weird?  A good excuse to lie on the couch and watch four football games, interrupted only by sage dressing and pumpkin pie with whipped cream?  Not that there’s, ahem, anything wrong with that.

We’re eating the main meal with The CEO’s parents and one of his sisters today, along with some other friends who are on their own.  There will be the traditional turkey breast and ham, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie on the table, as well as my mother-in-law’s  broccoli casserole and grocery rolls.  There will be football, both on TV and outside (assuming it doesn’t rain).  My father-in-law will pronounce the blessing while we hold hands around the table.

I might have burned the pies.  Taz might have made rude noises about the smoked salmon and then kicked his sister.  Bookworm might have yelled at Taz, Gaze  might have slyly prompted them to have started a fight in the first place, The CEO might have disagreed loudly with his father over some element of farm management, or with his sister over the best way to invest.  But I will have spent some quality time in the Thanksgiving Chair, and not even (unburned) pumpkin pie could beat that.

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Scent Diary and NaNoWriMo Report, Nov. 15-21, 2010

Monday, Nov. 15:  Chilly.  The afternoon turned rainy.  I picked up Cuir de Lancome this morning, hoping that the too-smoky vibe I noticed last time was a fluke.  It was.  It’s now back to being a floral leather, quite powdery near the skin.  Lovely stuff. 

I have noticed, these days when my laptop is on for a long time, that in front of the keyboard on the left is a hot spot.  Which means that when I’m typing for periods of time, my left wrist gets really uncomfortable.  Weird.  I’ve even got one of those laptop fan-thingies to blow heat away…

NaNo Total word count: 25,065.

Tuesday, Nov. 16: Chilly rain.  Finally we’re getting some real fall weather.  SOTD: Lancome Climat.  I love this stuff.  It’s a little retro, and maybe that’s why I love it, but still.  Wow.  The galbanum+aldehydes top is a little fusty, but the heart and drydown are so warm and beautiful.

NaNo Total word count: 25,513.  Falling behind.

Wednesday, Nov. 17:  Chilly and partly cloudy, but no actual rain today.  SOTD: Lanvin Rumeur (reformulated) – a skinny, lame, anemic little “modern” thing, like a ghost of Coco Mademoiselle you sprayed on your hanky last week. 

I have been sick of my hair for some time now.  It’s getting longer, which makes it lank and limp, so it’s either cut it or do something else, and I’m really sick of shoulder-length bobs.  So I finally bit the bullet and got a perm (or, as my father-in-law calls it, a temporary).  I’m… really curly.  Scary curly, actually.

SOTE: Guerlain Terracotta Voile d’Ete.  This is more like it: spicy-floral, with iris and… tonka? Really nice.  At the same time, it smells sort of – gosh, can I even say this about a Guerlain? – cheap

NaNo Total word count: 27,884.  More behind.  I’m tired, the house is a mess, there’s all kinds of things to do.  I hate it that NaNo is in November.

Thursday, Nov. 18:  Another rainy, chilly day.  SOTD: Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur… with a side dab of Dior Poison as the day wore on.  Somehow, suddenly, my kids’ feelings about Poison have changed.  I dabbed a bit on before picking Bookworm up from indoor track practice, and she got into the van and said, “You smell nice.”  Nice?  Poison?  What’s the world coming to?

When we got home, I asked Gaze what he thought of it.  He shrugged.  “Is it… tuberose? I think it’s tuberose.  It’s kind of pretty.” Huh.  Now I’m officially puzzled.  (On the plus side, my 12-year-old son knows what tuberose smells like.  That calls for rejoicing.)

So then I called over my strictest critic, Taz, and asked him.  “That one’s okay,” he said, which is high praise from him.  “Can I smell again?”  I silently offered my arm.  “Yeah, it’s okay,” he repeated.  Dang.  There goes my Ultimate Threat.

NaNo Total word count: 28,372.  Farther behind.

Friday, Nov. 19: Chilly but sunny.  SOTD: Amouage Lyric Woman.  I had been saving this for special occasions, but I’m starting to feel that I should use up what I have and enjoy every minute.  (Go read Angela’s lovely post, “Perfume and the Lavish Hand,” at Now Smell This.)  Gosh, this is such a beautiful scent.  I only have a decant, but it’s so gorgeous.  I had a frustrating, annoying, icky day at work; being able to smell myself helped.

NaNoWriMo Total word count: 30,048.  Still behind.  (Finally actually watched ‘The Runaways,” after anticipating it for several weeks.  It was a good story, but I’ll admit to thinking that the film was really more like the Cliff Notes, sound bite, let-me-catch-you-up short version, and we only got about 20% of what really happened.)

Saturday, Nov. 20: Busy busy day.  Cleaned the house, cooked two massive side dishes.  Went to my parents’ house for Early Thanksgiving – this was the only time my brother and his wife could get two days off together (they work at the same TV station, but different shifts), and a trip home, with their one-year-old, is definitely a two-day minimum.  SOTD: Um… okay, I’ll admit it.  Nothing.  (And I don’t mean L’Air de Rien, either.) 

And I wrote absolutely nothing for NaNoWriMo today, either, so my count still stands at about 30K.  I have now reached the “Will I Get Finished,” scary-behind level.  Eek.

Sunday, Nov. 21:  My hair actually looks pretty good today, no Bozo-the-Clown look.  It’s manageable.  SOTD: Lolita Lempicka Si Lolita, which apparently has yet to reach retail outlets in the US but is all over eBay (I bought a mini unsniffed).  I was a little disappointed in the staying power – it’s a floral oriental eau de parfum, but wears more like a lighter eau de toilette.  I got two good hours and one faint-whiff one.  What Si Lolita reminds me of is Coco Mademoiselle – not so much that they smell alike, but they both share that woody masculine base under a light, girly floral top.  (Wonder if that Kate Walsh Boyfriend scent is constructed that way, too?)  Si Lolita smells less… okay, I’ll say it… synthetic in the floral part than CM, and it has some more emphatically oriental notes than CM, which is probably more woody.  Also, it lacks that elegant Chanel vibe.  Even though I don’t care much for CM, it still smells “Chanel-y” to me, where Chance and Allure don’t smell like Chanels at all.  Alternately, I could have said Si Lolita smells like Guerlain Idylle edp, with less patchouli-musk…

This comparison is fairly pointless.  I still don’t like Coco Mlle at all on me, and I would have liked Idylle much, much better if it had been less heavy on the patch.  I like Si Lolita better than both of those, but its problem is that it doesn’t have much presence.  If it lasted better and projected more, I’d probably want another mini.  As it is, I’ll just use this up in lavish spritzes and be content.

NaNoWriMo Total word count: 33,031.  I’m catching up, but just a little.  Still got about 2000 words, plus the normal daily totals, to make up.  It’s doable, but only if I really romp on it.  Thanksgiving always puts a dent in my writing routine (duh).

Image is “My Grandmother’s Perfume Collection” from SourCherries at Flickr.

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Scent Diary and NaNoWriMo Report, Nov. 8-14, 2010

Monday, Nov. 8:  First “free” day after the end of the Signature Scent Challenge week!  Went a little wild with excitement, and put on SL La Myrrhe.  Which I love, and which is easily the most expensive thing I own.  Luckily, a single spritz lasts a long time for me – about ten hours.  After that wore off, I went a little wilder and put on some Maison Francis Kurkdjian Lumiere Noire pour femme (one of your more unwieldy perfume names, I admit – nothing like the simplicity of Coty Emeraude!).  Which I also love.  Mmm.

Also, Bookworm was teasing me and I threatened her with Dior Poison, a.k.a. the Elixir of Death… I told her that if she ever did anything really mean to me, I was going to take that little bottle of parfum up to her room and drench her sports bras (she runs every day) in it as revenge.  So I got Poison on my fingers, too.  I was a strange-smelling cloud.

NaNo total word count: 13,420. 

Tuesday, Nov. 9:  Warmer today, should be back up into the low/mid-60s.  The dregs of MFK Lumiere Noire pf were still on my wrists when I got up, and even survived a shower, but it’s too raunchy (for me) to wear to work, so I spritzed something I thought would cover it: Natori EdP.  I love the aldehydes and plum in the top, I love the spicy-woody stuff, but there are a few balsamy moments that might possibly kill me if they got any more Opium-esque.  As it is, Natori skates juuuust barely on the positive side of “Will I be able to keep my lunch down?”  Also, it sticks around all day, so no other sampling.

NaNo total word count: 14,823.  Gosh, this is getting harder and harder – I’ve written most of the major scenes, and now am stuck with stitching them together… I have also added a mystery/crime plot twist and am hampered by not knowing what the actual police procedure would be.

Wednesday, Nov. 10: Warm and sunny again.  SOTD: Smell Bent One.  Which reminds me – my bottle hasn’t shown up yet – I’ll go email them and see what’s happened to it… okay, deal is they didn’t get info from PayPal, and it’s now on its way, along with a few samples as an apology.  Apology wasn’t necessary – mistakes happen! – but it was really sweet of Brent Leonesio to offer them.  I’ll probably do another Smell Bent roundup with these, but since four out of the five don’t sound very much like “me,” I may do a prize draw for the slightly-used samples.  It’s as good a way as any to pass on some scents that someone else might appreciate more than I do.

SB One stuck around most of the day, but before bedtime I spritzed some Alahine.  Mmm.   

NaNo Total word count: 15,853.  Still slogging through.

Thursday, Nov. 11: Another chilly morning and warm afternoon.  My fragrance choices are probably skewing more wintery than they would if I were taking more consideration of the weather, but it’s so dry and un-fall-like.  I haven’t wanted Magie Noire or Tabac Aurea at all this week, I’m going for the cuddlies.  I smelled so wonderful when I got up that I respritzed Alahine this morning.  I love Alahine.

NaNo Total word count: 16,777.

Friday, Nov. 12: Weather the same.  SOTD: Iris Poudre.  Now that I’ve finally given in to my acquisitive impulses and gotten in on a split, I feel free to spritz from the sample.

Went to a conference with Taz’s 4th grade  teacher this morning, on account of that Handwriting grade of “inconsistent,” with an “unsatisfactory effort” mark, on his report card, which was otherwise very good.  None of my children have excellent handwriting, and I don’t insist on that.  I’m going for legible here, and Taz definitely misses the mark.  Mr. Souder and I now have a plan for addressing the issue, and Taz will find himself either focusing on doing a good and careful  job, or pouting over the consequences, which include multiple rewrites,  lower test grades, loss of computer/TV time, extra chores at home, and loss of pickup football games during recess.  (The boy is capable of a mammoth pout.  He’s also capable of tremendous effort, when he chooses to exert himself.)  We’ll see if he decides to fulfill his capabilities.

The CEO took me out to dinner and then to a concert by the university orchestra (Dvorak’s New World Symphony), and I wore more Iris Poudre, which is wonderful stuff and certainly deserves more than the three stars it received in P:TG.  I think LT was annoyed that it wasn’t very iris-y – I notice that fragrances with “bait and switch” names tend to get short shrift from him.  We all have our little prejudices.

NaNo Total word count: 17,502.  Lame.

Saturday, Nov. 13: More gorgeous short-sleeves weather.  SOTD: Tauer Orange Star.  I sprayed about half a spritz on my thumb, and am enjoying it more this time than the last two, but closer to my nose, I think, would kill me.  Me n’ orange blossom iz Not Frends. 

Wrapped up three shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child – we usually do one from each of our kids, and they help shop for and wrap each one.  Passing a little bit of love around is a big thrill.

NaNo Total word count: 19,495.

Sunday, Nov. 14:  Frost on the windshield this morning again, with Taz running around outside in shorts this afternoon.  SOTD: Teo Cabanel Early Roses, from a sample sent to me by Dear Daisy, our Queen Enabler.  In the early stages, I was thinking, “Meh, simple rose soliflore,” but the drydown is lovely and woody-fresh in the best possible way.   It’s made in the same style as DelRae Coup de Foudre, a simulacrum of a living rose, but sticks around far longer than CdF.  Every Teo Cabanel fragrance I’ve tried – well, there are only five – has been well-made of good materials, nothing fakey or cliched, coherent from top to bottom, even if I didn’t fall hard for all of them.  Meloe is an un-ditzy, refreshing fruity floral done right.  Oha is a beautiful, elegant rose chypre.  Julia is a lovely, innocent mixed bouquet.  And you already know how much I love Alahine, when I hadn’t expected to enjoy it at all.

NaNo Total word count: 23,602.  I am a teeny-tiny bit ahead of the average pace – at the end of the day, on a 1667-words-a-day schedule, I should be at 23,358.  My advantage is not enough to be significant, but given my struggles during Week Two, I’m pleased.  My story has gotten tighter and more dramatic, less romance-focused, and I’m happy with that.

Image is Romantic Perfume from Ms. Tina at Flickr.

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Scent Diary and NaNoWriMo Report, Nov. 1-8, 2010

Monday, Nov. 1: Statement Day at work. First day of the Signature Scent Challenge; I chose Coty Emeraude (vintage parfum de toilette). Long, hectic and busy day… I didn’t put enough Emeraude on, and can barely smell it. This bottle is a splash type, and I dabbed. What I can smell is lovely, all warm and rich. Between wearings, it’s easy to forget just how good it is.

Took the boys trick-or-treating – we had fun. I did find myself wishing for something edgier, like Champagne de Bois, while we were walking down the leaf-covered streets. If trick-or-treating had been scheduled for last night, on actual Halloween the way normal people do it, The CEO could have taken them, but he has a late class on Monday afternoons and wouldn’t get home until 7pm.

NaNoWriMo daily word count: Big Fat Zero. Too busy.

Tuesday, Nov. 2: Chilly again. This time I grabbed my second bottle of vintage Emeraude pdt, the one I decanted into a spray bottle – and this one is way different: the topnotes have gone off a bit, and smell like gasoline, and the base smells both very powdery and very smoky, a lot more like Shalimar than it probably should. Interesting. The bottle this came from is izzackly like the one I wore yesterday, but it smells so different. Eight hours after spraying, though, it’s gorgeous, even deeper and richer than I’d remembered it being.

Voted this morning, right after I dropped off the kids and before going in to work. Turns out that 8:30-9:00 am is when the Old People vote. Not that I’m disparaging them – in general, they’re a civic-minded bunch, and I applaud that – but it was a little discouraging to be the youngest person in the building, when I’m in my 40s.

The CEO was very pleased – “his” candidate, the one he’s been supporting and putting up signs for and writing letters to the editor about, for the first time in his life, won, edging out a longterm incumbent. I’m pleased, too, since I haven’t liked the incumbent guy for a good couple of decades. I’ve been skeptical of his judgment ever since he took a luxurious, lobbyist-paid junket back in, oh, 1986 or so.

NaNoWriMo daily word count: 2152. Not enough to make up for yesterday, but a good start.

Wednesday, Nov. 3: I noticed that when the heat kicks on, Eddie Van smells like Champagne de Bois, from where I spritzed it on a few weeks ago. Yum. That is some seriously good stuff. Me and Emeraude, though, we’re still BFF. I had expected to get some new insights into wearing it so often, but that really has not happened. It smells like Emeraude, and it smells great, and it does its usual trick of melting into my skin and feeling like an exhalation of me.

NaNoWriMo daily word count: another big fat Zero. I’m exhausted.

Thursday, Nov. 4: The CEO left yesterday afternoon for a trip to Williamsburg, for the Virginia Farm Bureau Resolutions Meeting. A small number of delegates from the county bureaus are getting together to compose a slate of resolutions, on which the full delegation will vote at the annual convention later in the month. Honestly, I think he lives for these meeting things. I’m scheduled to go to the three-day convention – held at The Homestead, an old hotel and spa in Bath County, after Thanksgiving – as an alternate. With any luck, none of the voting delegates will get sick, and I can count on some good chunks of novel-writing time, in between excellent meals. Nobody begging for clean jeans, nobody asking when dinner’s going to be ready, nobody needing rides to school or home from band practice…

Anyway, I’m getting bored with Emeraude. The thrill is gone. To be frank about my feelings, ol’ Auntie Em still smells great, but I keep thinking, Hey, I’d love to smell some Iris Poudre, or Wouldn’t Le Temps d’une Fete be wonderful right now, or Somebody was talking about Lumiere Noire pour femme, now that’s a fabulous fragrance.

NaNoWriMo daily word count: 1703, just a little bit over the average recommended daily word count.

Friday, Nov. 5: Just above freezing today. I’m getting on fine with Emeraude today – it is quietly wonderful, and I’m reminded again that I shouldn’t be pining for good stuff I don’t have, when there’s so much good stuff I do have. All the same, I’m ready for the experiment to end.

The CEO and I took Gaze to the last high school football game of the season. I hadn’t been to even one this season, and I had really wanted to see the band – and Bookworm, of course. While sitting in the stands, I realized that this is only the second high school football game I’ve been to since I moved here… 18 years ago. Yes, really. (If I was still living in my hometown, close to my own high school, I’d probably have been to at least one game every year.) We nearly froze – temps were hovering right at 36F, and during the last quarter it started to rain. Brrrr! Surprisingly, our team won the game, beating our longtime rivals and thrilling the hardcore fans.

NaNoWriMo daily word count: 3588. Starting to catch up a bit.

Saturday, Nov. 6: Beautiful weather, in the high 50s. SICK OF EMERAUDE. Resenting having to wear it. Gritting teeth. Seriously considering ditching the experiment, because now I’ve found out what I wanted to know – can I wear only one scent this week or not? – and the answer is no.

Persevered. Wore it again. Found that my animosity is not due to the fragrance itself, but the idea that I couldn’t pick something else. This does not surprise me, really. The mantra “only two more days” worked fine. Especially since, having decided that my main novel character wears Coco Mademoiselle, I spritzed a bit of CM, from a spray sample I bought for my sister, onto a handkerchief and set it by my laptop so I could smell it frequently.

NaNoWriMo daily word count: 3757. Yay! I’m caught up. It was a good, productive writing day.

Sunday, Nov. 7: Hard frost when we got up. Brrr. Emeraude was friendly again, and warm and rich, and again I was thrilled by the waft of Champagne de Bois in my minivan when we got the heat pumping.

NaNoWriMo daily word count: 2206. Weekly word count: 13,406 – pretty good, compared to the standard 7-day benchmark of 11,669 (but still very far behind some other people, notably Chicken Freak of Chicken Freak’s Obsessions!).

Onward and upward. I certainly hope that the coming week will be more interestingly-scented.

Image is Parfumesse in Holland, by parfumgott, at Flickr.

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A Week of Violets III: Penhaligon’s Violetta

The last review of this week’s joint blog project concerns Penhaligon’s Violetta.  You can go check out Redolent of Spices and Scent of the Day for more violet scent reviews, as well as my list of violet scents

Violetta, created in 1976, is a straightforward violet fragrance.  That’s more or less what you need to know – except that where many other violet soliflores tend toward either the powdery (Borsari Violetta di Parma) or candy-sweet (Berdoues Violettes de Toulouse), Penhaligon’s is all flower and leaf.

The official notes, according to Penhaligon’s,  include citruses, geranium, violet, sandalwood, cedarwood, and musk.  However, I’m almost sure there’s some violet leaf in there too – it’s quite sharp and green for quite some time, and has a spicy, aromatic quality that seems to indicate violet leaf.

From the Penhaligon’s website:

Created in 1976, Violetta is a dark, dusky and mysterious fragrance suffused with the achingly nostalgic purity of violets. Surprisingly green and sharp to begin with, it becomes lush and velvety as it develops. The sweet violets are complimented by green notes of garden geranium and supported by subtle woods and musks at the base. One of our most surprising fragrances, it captures the elusive violet with incredible clarity and potency.

“Surprising?” Not really; like I said earlier, it’s pretty much all violet leaves and blooms.  Violetta begins with the bright, clean green note of violet leaf, and the intense sweetness of deep purple violets.  It stays here for most of its three-hour experiment, with an interesting spicy accent and a floral freshness to its heart – it’s violets All The Time, but for me very much like crushed fresh plants: no powder, no candy.  Which is the way I like my violet scents, to be honest.  The light woody drydown gradually becomes apparent during the last hour.  There’s a whisper of musk, too, but not enough to be distracting, and I think this restrained, woody drydown may be the part of the fragrance that really sells me on it.  It’s not entirely masculine, but there’s a dryness from the cedar and sandalwood that keeps Violetta from being wholly girly, like the Goutal La Violette.    Too, it’s reminiscent of a walk through the woods, complete with patches of blooming violets among the trees. 

This is an Eau de Toilette, and like most EdTs, it doesn’t have great staying power.  I don’t mind that, though – three hours of this beauty is well worth it.  After testing as many violet fragrances as I could get my hands on (oh, there are more I haven’t gotten to yet, but at last count my Violet Scents Tested list numbered 24!), I still think Violetta is my favorite violet solflore, with Soivohle Violets and Rainwater as runner-up.  It blends well with other fragrances, it stays fresh and clean and woody-floral, and that bottle is just darling.  I need one.  My decant is rapidly disappearing.

Here’s a review of the talcum powder formulation of Violetta, by Jessica at Now Smell This, and a brief review by Abigail at I Smell Therefore I Am.

Image of perfume bottle is from Fragrantica.com; image of blooming violet is from Wikipedia Commons.

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A Week of Violets II: Annick Goutal La Violette

My second review for Violet Week, a joint blog project along with Redolent of Spices and Scent of the Day, is for Annick Goutal’s La Violette.  This scent is actually a violet soliflore, where Caron Aimez-Moi is not, though it’s not as violet-focused and simple as some of the other violet scents I’ve tried. It’s part of Goutal’s “single-flower” series, which also includes Le Chevrefeuille, Le Jasmin, Neroli, Rose Absolue, and Tubereuse. Released in 2001, it was composed by Isabelle Doyen and Camille Goutal.

The Perfumes: The Guide review is fairly complimentary, giving it four stars and the description “vivacious, fresh and pink-cheeked,” while also mentioning a slight off smell of glue or paint thinner and comparing it to L’Artisan’s girly Drole de Rose (also four stars). I don’t get the “vivacious” description; to my mind, it’s shy and pretty and romantic instead.

Here’s part of the ad copy from the Annick Goutal website:

This fragrance is mischievous and flavorsome like a violet candy, tender as an ancient lipstick, shallow like the little stem once worn in women’s décolleté.

And from Lucky Scent:

Annick Goutal loved the subtle and extremely feminine smell of this flower. This is why Camille decided to dedicate this perfume to her mother with whom she liked to nibble lightly on violet stems to get its sweet taste.

Harmony of flower, leaves, and stem, for a floral fragrance subtly touched with a green note. When a touch of rose is added, the violet becomes even more seductive. This scent is mischievous and savory like a violet candy.

The notes for La Violette are bare-bones notes: violet leaf, violet, and rose, and darned if that isn’t just about as simple as the fragrance actually is. There may be other materials in there, but if so, they’re awfully quiet and serve only as supporting cast members technical crew. There is indeed a very fleeting haze of paint thinner or nail-polish remover in the top, but it is literally gone within seconds. There seem to be no basenotes to this fragrance: no musk, no woods, no moss… My experience with it is this: fresh green and intense violet to start, then powdery-woody violet and a bit of pale rosewater later, and then a fade into skin. The scent experience, even “sprayed wet” the way I do to increase a gentle scent’s impact and staying power, is ephemeral and light, and only lasts two to two and half hours on me.

The whole thing is about as girly and innocent and sweet as you could ever want – if you’re looking for the perfect smell for the flower girl in your wedding, this is it. If you’re looking for a fragrance to announce, “I’m harmless and lovable” to your dorm mates or new neighbors or prospective in-laws, this is it. This is actually a terrific handkerchief scent, too: the tiny hint of powder along with the sweet violets makes it extremely ladylike without calling to mind the dreaded “old lady” soubriquet. It’s perfect for wearing while lifting a flowerlike face to your young swain for that first chaste kiss, or for worshipping from afar.

It is definitely not a scent for seduction, however – it’s far too innocent for that. It’s too gentle and retiring for an office scent, too (you don’t want to smell innocent and romantic at the office, or people will dump their work on your desk and expect you to do it for them).

That said, La Violette is downright pretty. It’s as pretty and shy as the flower that inspired it. If “just pretty” tempts you, you couldn’t go wrong with this one.

Here’s a lovely review from Abigail at I Smell Therefore I Am.

Top image is from LuckyScent; lower one from Rainbows4All.

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A Week of Violets, Part I: Caron Aimez-Moi

Today kicks off A Week of Violets, a joint blog project at Redolent of Spices and Scent of the Day.  We’re each reviewing three violet scents this week, so be sure to go read their reviews today, and then check back later in the week for more reviews.   First up here: Caron Aimez-Moi.

In general, I haven’t been a big fan of Caron scents so far.  It’s true that I’ve largely limited my Caron testing to the currently-available fare, without resorting to the vintage ebay finds that make up most of my vintage experience, so I’ve never smelled, say, Narcisse Noir or Tabac Blond as they were before the current round of Richard Fraysse reformulations.  Those classic Caron scents are fairly rare and sometimes available, but at long-lost-love prices.  It’s true that, with a few exceptions, I haven’t been all that impressed with the current Caron offerings.

Aimez-Moi is one of the exceptions.  Two years ago, I was trolling along looking for recommendations for violet scents, and ran across a review of Aimez-Moi by Robin at Now Smell This.  It would eventually become clear to me that Robin’s tastes and mine share a very small area of overlap, but I didn’t know that at the time, and her description of Aimez-Moi as “deep, cool and mysterious” pulled me in.  Shortly after that, a sample became available to me via swap – and I was hooked.

The scent opens with a dry, almost nail-polish-y overlay, which is more noticeable on fabric than on skin, and which might be a bergamot note beginning to go off.  It doesn’t matter, because very quickly, AM blooms into an anise-violet accord which is both sweet and pungent.  If you think of candy at all – you may – you’ll think of those odd, old-fashioned British candies called Liquorice Allsorts, which are bits of stiff, chewy licorice, tougher and less sweet than the American stuff, encased in thick, chalky-tasting pink, orange, or green candy coating. 

Shortly after that, a pleasant rose note appears, staying to hang out with the anise and violet for at least an hour or two, while gradually a dry, powdery vanilla-heliotrope accord surfaces under that.  It actually reminds me a good deal of Apres l’Ondee, if Al’O were less misty and ephemeral.  Aimez-Moi becomes cheerful and friendly, a sort of perky, quirky yet wholesome ingenue version of Apres l’Ondee’s ethereal, wispy poetry-writing maiden.  Think Emma Woodhouse, from the Jane Austen novel, and you’ve got a pretty good idea.  She’s known some sadness in her life, but generally things go her way, and since all she really wants is to make all the people in her life happy, she’s optimistic and rather naive.

The first time I wore Aimez-Moi, I thoroughly enjoyed it, only realizing toward the end of the four-hour ride that I wished that I’d known of it when I was young and optimistic myself.  I thought it was the perfect scent for falling in love – and then the moment that thought occurred to me, I became terribly sad that I was no longer that young, optimistic, in-love person.

Heliotrope tends to make me unaccountably wistful. 

The second time I wore Aimez-Moi, and every time since then, the entire experience was cheerful.  No sadness – which after all had more to do with my life than with this scent – at all. 

 If Apres l’Ondee is a silk chiffon scarf in lavender and silver, Aimez-Moi is a fluffy, girly sweater in mauve and pale silvery purple, cuddly as a basketful of blue-eyed kittens.  It is a fairly quiet scent, and not very sweet beyond the brief initial blast of weirdness.  It’s also good for what I like to call a “handkerchief scent,” one that’s feminine and unobtrusive enough for spritzing your linen handkerchief before tucking it into your purse.  If you just said to yourself, “Tucking a what into my what?” then it’s possible that Aimez-Moi may not be for you.  But, of course, I might be wrong, and who am I to say that biker chicks in black leather who carry wallets chained to their belt loops might not love it? 

Notes for Aimez-Moi, which was composed by Dominique Ropion (Dominique, will you marry me? I’d at least like to thank you for Carnal Flower, Alien, Ysatis, Jungle L’Elephant, Safari and Une Fleur de Cassie, as well as Aimez-Moi) and released in 1996:   Top notes include bergamot, star anise, mint, and violet.  Middle notes are jasmine, iris, magnolia, vanilla, peach, rose.  Basenotes are musk, amber, woody notes and heliotrope.  What I mostly smell, as I mentioned, is anise, violet, rose, vanilla and heliotrope. 

I bought a small 1-ounce bottle for about $17 at one of the discounters, and I’ve been very happy with it.  I was lucky enough to discover one of the pretty, original-release bottles; it looks like an ornate Victorian cushion with tassels on each corner, interpreted in cut glass.  I don’t care much for the standard Caron bottles, and have been known to call them “butt-ugly,” but who cares about ugly bottles when the scent inside them is so pretty?

A few more reviews for your consideration: Robin at Now Smell This, Bois de Jasmin, Marina at Perfume-Smellin’ Things .  Tania Sanchez, in Perfumes: The Guide, says of Aimez-Moi (****)  that it “begins with a pretty fresh violet and ends in sweet powdery vanilla, and has a humor and cheer largely missing from Caron’s current lineup of feminines.”

Images of Aimez-Moi ad and bottle from Fragrantica.  Image of Liquorice Allsorts from Wikimedia Commons.

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