Catching Up, Early December 2017

Yo, so I’m not dead after all.

It was a busy-ish fall, and to be honest I am sampling fewer and fewer fragrances these days anyway, so I suppose I was feeling less need to blog about them. And most of my news seems to be about the kids.

Which is fine, really. They’ve got things going on and I kinda don’t. Maybe that’s the issue. I’m still planning on applying to grad school, and I’m still struggling with the math in the review books. I’m still working on revising the same novel that’s been giving me fits for some time now, and I’m now also working on writing a new one. I think I have some wonky programming in the blog innards, as well, so that may have contributed to my don’t-wanna-deal-with-it attitude. (I’ve heard that readers find it difficult to comment sometimes, or that new posts don’t hit their feeds for some reason. I don’t know what’s going on, I just don’t. Waaah.)

But I have missed blogging, so I would like to commit to two new blog posts a week beginning this month, one of which will probably be a Scent Diary entry and one of which will be about something else, possibly scented but quite possibly not at all. Could be food or farm or writing or my (convoluted) thoughts on this pervasive issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. Or Something Completely Different. (But no buttocks. Sorry.)

So to catch up, I’ll share a “what’s going on in my life right now” update like the ones the Non-Blonde does.

* Right now, I am addicted to cheeseball consumption. Yeah. My Aunt Becky makes the BEST cheeseballs, and I do not have her recipe. This situation must be rectified. Forget cowbell, I need more cheeseball.
* Right now, I have decorated with my Nativity set, a burlap and red berries wreath on the door (no bling. too early.), and the snow village set up on the mantel but without lights as yet. No tree. Too early. No nutcrackers. Too early. I’ll get around to decorating more probably this coming weekend, but I find that I enjoy the Christmas stuff a lot less if I put it out too soon and/or leave it out too late.
* Right now, I am pleased by the job Kenneth Branagh did with bringing Murder on the Orient Express to the big screen — lushly filmed and enjoyable to watch — but also a bit disappointed by the plot changes and the absence of the tiny clues the reader had to find in the book. (Also, there is nobody Kenneth Branagh loves to direct more than Kenneth Branagh, and it’s pretty clear. Which is something of a disservice to the source material. We’re supposed to laugh at Poirot at the same time he amazes us, and you don’t get that with Ken.) In any case, see it has got me and Bookworm rereading all the early Agatha Christies we can find.
* Right now, I am enchanted by the sample of exclusive-to-Harrods and very-spendy Robert Piguet Knightsbridge I bought. It doesn’t smell exactly like the also-spendy Guerlain Charnel Elixir Floral Romantique that I like so much, but there are striking similarities: the jammy rose, the benzoin, the something-piquant-and-unusual-and-almost-gourmand (chestnut? I could swear it smelled like chestnut puree). I would like to wear more of it, but when the sample is gone it’s gone. . .
* Right now, I am engaged in crocheting chenille hats for my sister and nephews in the frozen wastelands of upper New York State. And also a pair of fingerless mitts, for me, out of some really lovely deep teal fingering yarn.
* Right now, I am thrilled that Bookworm has a job with a local materials-testing company and will be staying with us for the foreseeable future. You can follow Polymer Solutions on Facebook, if you are so inclined. They do some cool stuff.
* Right now, I am digging Hatnote, the “listen to Wikipedia” app that assigns low string notes and bell notes to various kinds of edits being made real-time to Wikipedia. It is not quite random, but has the same sort of calming effect as listening to wind chimes.

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* Right now, I am amused by the Intoxicated Llama sweater Gaze bought to wear for the Blacksburg Christmas parade. The Highty Tighties were supposed to wear Ugly Christmas sweaters (with boots and cadet camo pants), and this completely toasted quadruped is what he chose. Oy. That’s Gaze on the left there; pic is from the Highty Tighties’ Flickr page.
* Right now, I am kind of stunned at the muscles Taz has suddenly grown. He’s been wandering around the house bare-chested lately. You’d think  he was proud of his guns, or something. . .

Scent of the Day is vintage (i.e., discontinued) Leonard de Leonard, an elegant floral chypre I have probably mentioned a buncha times. They sure don’t make ’em like this anymore. Lots of patchouli in this, but a green and sweet and almost chewy patchouli without a bit of the fruit that would make it smell like the ubiquitous marshmallowy fruitchoulis on department store shelves. It smells like flowers and wood and moss, and also like it would slap you upside the head for suggesting you add candy to the mix.

How ’bout y’all?

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More Blog Housekeeping

Due to an issue that came up recently on a blog I generally admire, I have recently added the following policy on content sharing to my “Blog Policies” page:

CONTENT SHARING

If you’d like to quote from any item published on the blog, please either make it a brief quote (two or three sentences or so), or request permission to quote me. Unless you’re clearly content-lifting, I’ll probably grant permission and toss in my blessing to boot. If you quote at all, please attribute the quote to this blog and include a link. All material published here is mine, and copyrighted as of the publish date.

Official copyright logo from Wikimedia Commons.
Official copyright logo from Wikimedia Commons.

I am perfectly fine with portions of the material on this site being shared, as long as they are attributed and linked properly.

I don’t make any money from my blog. Any external links you see on it are for items that I love myself and would like to make it easier for interested parties to find. I don’t accept payment for reviews. If I accept samples for the purpose of review, I make it clear to the provider that I do not guarantee a review, much less a positive one. If I write a review at all, it will be an honest one.

Further, I promise not to quote other blog reviews to an extent that would make it pointless for readers to go and read those reviews for themselves at their original home. That is, you’ll find brief snippets from other reviews on occasion, and you will definitely find links to other reviews, but in deference to the words written by others, some of whom make a living from their online blogs, I won’t be quoting large chunks of them unless permission has specifically been granted me.

I have occasionally in the past quoted from written works such as Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, but have now removed these references until permission can be obtained from the publishers. Nobody asked me to do this, but I have become convinced that I am both breaking the law and being disrespectful to those authors by quoting more than a few words from those works.

Incidentally, the Walter Savage Landor couplet located on my home page is in the public domain. So are the images on my home page.

 

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I’m Back!

keep-calm-i-am-backAbout three weeks ago, my “saved” password for the blog stopped working. (I still don’t know why. It had worked for months…) So I requested a password reset through WordPress. But it never showed up, until I contacted Technical Support. So then I received the password reset email, and went in to change the password.

But I had somehow lost my admin status. I could log in, I could see my dashboard… but all the usual options were gone. GONE, I tell you. I spent several hours over the course of a week talking to people on WP forums and trying to get some help from Tech Support, but nothing was working. The following week I was so frustrated, I couldn’t even look at it.

Then The CEO went to San Antonio for five days, for the National Cattlemen’s Association Convention, and I went with him. I did nothing about the blog.

Then we got back, and dug out from under the mountains of laundry, and I found a tutorial on changing one’s WP password through the database on the web host. So I took a deep breath, copied the current settings, crossed my fingers, and went mucking around in the code. Which is scary, lemme tell ya.

But it worked. I changed the password in the database to what it should have been/what I believed it was, and we are back in business. And the kids have another snow day, and I have time to write, and I have some saved up Scent Diaries and mini-reviews to post.

Glad to be back.

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Well, this is embarrassing…

After all that hullabaloo about the blog format and finally going with that girly Parisienne-ish black and pink, and the back-and-forth of “I can’t read it,” from my husband and “I have no problems” from some readers and “the background’s in the way” from others…

It transpires that the black and pink was actually sort of making me feel depressed.  I don’t mean Clinically Depressed, because I have family members and friends who deal with that, and I spent a good 4-5 months being it several years ago. I know what that looks like/feels like, and I don’t mean that. I mean simply that looking at that pretty black and pink made me feel heaviness of spirit.

Frankly it made me want to avoid my own website.

This just in: that’s a bad sign.

It’s funny how much color affects us, isn’t it?  I’m sure there are those of us that it affects more than others, and the marketing gurus absolutely know that. There’s a reason why McDonald’s uses red and yellow, for example. I’d like to think that I’m at least aware of the practice, and I do try to stick to my shopping lists (and coupons) wherever possible. As a matter of fact, I buy a lot of house brands, so unless I’ve found a house brand to be unsatisfactory (i.e., house brand Cheerios always get the texture wrong), I’m usually spending the least amount I can.

My bedroom walls are painted the color of this door. I love this color, though I admit it isn't particularly flattering ON me.
My bedroom walls are painted the color of this door. I love this color, though I admit it isn’t particularly flattering ON me.

But I digress. There are colors I like to live with, and colors that make me feel down, unenergetic, just-plain-wrong. I like the colors in my house. My bedroom is painted a soft buttery yellow, and the wall hangings and bed linens are a gentle silvery blue and cream, with accents of sage green (in summer I switch to a white comforter). I love turquoise and coral and pink and apple green; I love tan and tomato red and Delft blue too.

I don’t want to live with black, and I suppose that furnishing my blog with that much of it was a bad idea for me. So. I’ll be trying this blog theme out to see if I can live with it.

As for fragrance? I’m in that transitional niche, where as the weather is changing to Really Autumn, I’m setting aside my light florals. Ralph Lauren Safari, Parfums de Nicolai Le Temps d’une Fete, and Cuir de Lancome are getting a lot of wear these days. And I need to go dig out my decant of Dior Cuir Cannage, because I think it would be lovely in this cool, rainy weather.

Oh, and I’m behind on Project Perfume Divestiture. The dog has now eaten three perfume boxes (an Ungaro Diva mini box, the box for Rochas Tocadilly, and the one for… oh, a Love, Chloe mini I think it was). He has not yet tried to eat any actual perfume bottles, but GAH it is like living with a toddler, and I’m kind of frightened to get the To-Be-Divested box out of the cabinet again.  I’m WORKING ON IT, I swear.

 

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Delay in posting Scent Diary, and an explanation of sorts regarding what I’ll post later today

My trusty orange Dell laptop was baaaaadd.  It ate last week’s Scent Diary.  Bad laptop! Bad girl!  No treats for you!  Go sit in the corner.

(Or maybe I did something to it that made it hungry enough to eat last week’s Scent Diary post.  Whatever.)

So, while I wrack my brains to recreate the week – my memory is, perhaps, not as sharp as it once was! – I’ll go ahead and post a recounting of my experiences with Mitsouko.  I’ve tried and tried and tried with Mitsouko, and I’ve finally come to an epiphany, which you’ll get to read later.

I’m leaving the house in ten minutes to volunteer at a local soup kitchen and won’t be back until this afternoon, so please check back later today for my Mitsouko post.  It should be up by 3pm EDT.

In the meantime, you can read Marina’s moment of epiphany with Shalimar here at Perfume-Smellin’ Things.

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Help out one of our favorite fume bloggers!

Another terrific perfume-related project is getting off the ground, and you can help!

Barbara Herman of the wonderful blog Yesterday’s Perfume is writing a book.  About, you guessed it, perfume, to be called Scent and Subversion: A Century of Provocative Perfume (via Lyon Press, due out fall of 2013).  And she’s raising money through Indiegogo.  And you can help.

Barbara’s fundraising page introduces her book in more detail, and offers some fun perks for donators (you don’t have to accept them, but who wouldn’t want a vial of vintage goodies?).  Briefly, her book will present some beautiful vintage ads, discuss perfume in the context of culture and gender studies, and interview modern perfumers.

Go check out some of her writing on Yesterday’s Perfume, if you’re not already familiar with it.  It’s well worth reading, even if you have nothing but disdain for scent from another era.  (She might just change your mind!) 

THERE ARE ONLY FOUR DAYS LEFT.  The goal’s almost reached, but every little bit counts, of course, so check it out and consider helping to get this book published.  As for me, I might go gloat over my vintage miniatures and reread some of Barbara’s reviews…

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Announcing a Change, and Coming Attractions

Paramount Theater Marquee

Regular readers will probably already have noticed that my posting pace has slowed down, from 4-5 posts a week to about two. Partly this is because it’s summer: the kids are home, there’s lots to do, yada yada… Mostly, though, this is because I’m working on a story and a novel, and my thoughts are going in the direction of my nonblog creative writing.

Oh, I’m still wearing perfume and reading books! And I do keep the blog in mind throughout the week. But other things are calling me, and because this blog has always been an outlet for writing, I don’t feel guilty about changing the format here from time to time.

For the moment, I plan to continue with at least two weekly posts. One of those will, of course, be Scent Diary. The other post will be either a Mini-Review Roundup, a full-fledged perfume review, a Fragrance Throwdown, or a book review. There may also be a rant or a Random Thought Explosion in the mix as well. I’m not going away, and the blog will be updated, but not as frequently as I’ve done in the past. I hope you’ll stick around.

Posts I am currently working on and that will be published in the coming weeks include the following:

Perfume Review: Sonoma Scent Studio Forest Walk

Mini-Review Roundup: Opus Oils Burlesque Collection, plus Dirty Sexy Wilde and Dapper

Mini-Review Roundup: Neela Vermeire Bombay Bling, Trayee, and Mohur (if I FIND my Mohur sample, that is)

Tuberose Series Perfume Review: Dior Poison

Tuberose Series Perfume Review: Miller Harris Noix de Tubereuse

Tuberose Series Perfume Review: JPG Fragile

Tuberose Series Perfume Review: Versace Blonde parfum

Perfume Review: Vintage Muse de Coty

Book Review: Mockingjay (part 3 of The Hunger Games trilogy), by Suzanne Collins

Book Review: The Selection, by Kiera Cass

Book Review: Coming to my Senses, on Perfume, Pleasure, and Becoming an Unlikely Bride, by Alyssa Harad

(Okay, I’ll come clean: I’ve only started writing three, no, four, of these. The others I’m still taking notes on and deciding where the review will go. But STILL. They’re IN THE WORKS. I PROMISE.)

I’m also still working on/revamping “Bright as Day,” and starting to take notes and make plans for a fictional book based on an incident in my late grandmother’s life. It’s a fascinating story, really, and I’m probably going to be in hot water with my mother when she realizes what the book’s about – because it’s a family secret that I didn’t find out until I was in my twenties and some of the parties involved were already deceased. By now, of course, most of the family members have died, and the only ones left are my mother and two cousins.

The big issue here is, how many details of the debacle will I have to change? Which facts are necessary to the story, and which can I fudge? Which facts should I fudge, to make it more dramatic? More to the point, my most frustrating struggle with the story is that my narrator isn’t speaking to me yet.

Yet. She will, though. I just have to be patient. I don’t, in fact, know which of the four major female characters will be my narrator, or whether they’ll take turns. I’ve got to go into my box of family photos and stare at people for awhile to see if anybody will start to talk.

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Perfume Review: Hilde Soliani Il Tuo Tulipano, plus a giveaway

Tulips

This is from the TI AMO series, in which each scent is focused on a flower that begins with the letters in the phrase.  T is for Tulip, and Ms Soliani has commented that this fragrance reminds her of her father’s voice and his warmth. Tulips, of course, have very little smell, but this take on them does smell very vibrant and cheerful.  Il Tuo Tulipano was released in 2009.

My favorite part of this scent, which I’ll refer to as “Tulipano,” is the opening, because it’s one of the most delightful, cheery, sparkling fruity florals I’ve ever smelled.  I know these days “fruity floral” is a despised phrase among many perfume fans, and I’ve been known to wrinkle my own nose at much if not most of the ubiquitous genre, but there are a number of fruity florals I like.  The criteria? It has to smell like real fruit, not froot flavor, and the florals have to smell pretty close to real flowers.  Should be simple to do, right?  Fact is, due to their bare-bones budgets, most fruity florals are highly synthetic and do smell like functional products: soap, shampoo, “spring fresh” bleach, that sort of thing.

Tulipano starts out smelling something like rhubarb, which by the way I don’t like much and try to avoid eating. It’s got a weird sour whang that grates on my nerves (yeah, yeah, so sue me: I don’t like mango either).  And there’s no rhubarb in the notes.  I’m guessing that lime and blackcurrant are combining to say “rhubarb” to me.  But the tangy, fruity bit plays against the soft, powdery base of woods and musk, and the juxtaposition is very pretty.   Tulipano is quite fruity; the list of topnotes includes bergamot, blackcurrant, lime, peach, kiwi and passionfruit.  (If you just shuddered, you’re probably going to hate this, so do yourself a favor and don’t even try it.)  It stays fruity for quite a long time, but the fruit becomes tempered by other notes. Continue reading Perfume Review: Hilde Soliani Il Tuo Tulipano, plus a giveaway

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No review today.

m-118 ~totcupcakes~

I’ll be spending the day with Gaze, my mother-in-law B, my nephew Curiosity, and my sister-in-law E, at the Virginia Geography Bee, and wearing Mary Greenwell Plum.  Gaze and Curiosity are participating in the competition – congrats and good luck to them!

(In other news, Gaze is suddenly a quarter of an inch taller than his older sister, and she’s pretty ticked about it.  Which makes him even happier.)

Wishing everyone a fun and fragrant weekend, as March goes out (like a lamb, we hope).  See you on Monday for Scent Diary, and look for some more mini-reviews of Serge Lutens fragrances next week.

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Still painting. Reviews delayed. Sorry.

I said yesterday that, Lord willin’ and the crick don’t rise, there would be a review of The Perfume Lover and L’Artisan Seville a l’Aube today.

One hates to blame the sovereign deity, so I suppose it’s my fault that I do not have a review ready today.  Yesterday was just a heckuva day, a whole comedy-of-errors, and I still have some facts to check out for the review and a photo to find and that sort of thing, so it’s not ready.  (Why,yes, I do research for some of my reviews.  I do indeed.  Why do you ask?)

The two walls I’ve gotten painted look great.  I like the deep green.  But I haven’t painted the entire space – I have one long wall and the bits of kitchen wall that stick out from behind cabinets yet to paint.  And I’m still worried that, some time in the depths of a gray winter, I may start to feel suicidal, all hemmed in with dark colors… we’ll see.

I will definitely be back on Monday with Scent Diary, and I will push off my review of book and new L’Artisan scent until Tuesday.  Hope to see  you then. 

(Oh yes… The CEO and I are visiting a financial planner today – three college tuitions coming up fast in the rear view mirror! – so I’ll get to any comments when I can, probably late tonight or Saturday.)

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Paint.

It’s a beautiful spring day outside – our neighbor’s forsythia is in full exuberant bloom and my tulips are out – but I’m stuck inside.

I start painting the living room-dining room-kitchen today. 

Gah.

Mind you, I like painting.  But the ceilings on our main floor are 9.5 feet high, and I am short.  And unlike the bedrooms I’ve painted over the last couple of years, these walls are dirty.  They require serious cleaning, as well as the moving of some very heavy furniture.  We had bookcases and a pie safe and a secretary and an antique sideboard and a dining room table and a coffee table and couch and chairs and a piano to move.  The piano, by the way, is a converted player piano built of ebony in the 1920s, still retaining most of its real-ivory keys, and this sucker is heavy.  It took four muscle-y guys and me and a dolly to get it into the house.

The CEO and I managed to scoot it on its wheels far enough forward that I can clean the wall and set up a ladder for painting.

Olympic Smoky Emerald C61-5

But, gah.  Also, I am nervous that I am going to hate this paint.  I hope not. It’s such a big, open room that I don’t think the deep green is going to make the space seem too small, and I think it will really set off the crown molding.  I don’t think I’ll hate it… I really, really hope not.

I am wearing that greenest of green scents, Jacomo Silences.

I will be back tomorrow with, Lord willin’ and the crick don’t rise, a review of Denyse Beaulieu’s book, The Perfume Lover, and of the associated fragrance by Bertrand Duchaufour and L’Artisan, Seville a l’Aube.

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