A very happy Thanksgiving celebration to my fellow Americans! Readers from elsewhere, I hope there’s a celebration of the wonderful things you have, at some point in the year – even if it’s only, say, a Tuesday afternoon when you look out the window or around the table at the faces of your family, and you feel grateful for life and everything in it.
But down to business: you’re probably going to do the Thanksgiving celebration thing today, and you need a smell for it, right? You’re probably going to be cooking and/or eating turkey and trimmings, or some other meal that means festivity to you, you’re probably going to be cleaning up after the meal, and you might possibly watch a little American-style football into the bargain (because nothing else says “America” like violence and committee meetings).
To jump right into the discussion, choosing a fragrance for Thanksgiving can be difficult. You Oriental fans are probably over there laughing right now, because oriental perfumes lend themselves very easily to being backdrop for food. (Unless you overapply. I read a comment recently by someone whose sister had just begun wearing 1980s-style lashings of Calvin Klein Obsession before Thanksgiving, and the poor woman said that Obsession-flavored cranberry sauce is horrible. I’m shuddering right now, just imagining it.)
But us floral gals? Outta luck. Don’t believe me? Okay, imagine this: the savory smells of sage-and-onion dressing, lemon-herb turkey breast with gravy, fresh rolls, the multiple dishes of pickles that my grandmother insisted were de rigueur for a formal meal, the broccoli with cheese sauce… with the floating overlay of a green floral like Silences, or a rose scent like By Kilian Rose Oud, or a beautiful, cool tuberose like Carnal Flower. Or even Chanel No. 19.
Monday, Oct. 29 – We did get some inclement weather, thanks to Hurricane Sandy: some snow (blowing, not sticking), some rain, lots of wind. I kept expecting to lose power, because we frequently do (mountains are full of trees, ya know, and trees lose limbs, and limbs fall on power lines), but it may be that we already lost all the vulnerable tree limbs during the derecho earlier in the year, or Appalachian Power Co already did the necessary maintenance on getting tree limbs away from the power lines. Electricity is out in several of the surrounding areas.Doing a “frankenfume” – a layering experiment with the loudest perfumes one owns, proposed by a friend on my Facebook perfume group – with vintage Dior Poison and the similarly-freaky Tableau de Parfums Loretta. Whoa. People can probably smell me in town, three miles away.
Working on helping Bookworm edit her college application essays. Grrrrr. She’s so exhausted – I wish all her extracurriculars would end soon. At least she got to stay home from school today.
Tuesday, Oct. 30 – Another Hurricane Sandy day, with wind and rain. I’m planning for a semi-historical novel for NaNoWriMo – set here in a nearby town, beginning in the early 1930s and continuing to follow the same family into the 60s. SOTD: vintage Bellodgia “parfum de cologne”, which is really lovely, decant sent to me by a generous friend.Continue reading Scent Diary, October 29 – November 4, 2012
I’m sure that somewhere there exists the perfect Independence Day perfume. Somebody’s probably made one that encapsulates excitement, freshly-cut grass, summer heat, the sound of children playing, sunscreen, a baseball game, aunts gently bickering over who’s going to wash the dishes (“I’ll get this, you go sit down.” “No, you did it last time. It’s my turn.”), hamburgers on the charcoal grill and Cousin Willie Maude’s special dill potato salad, watermelon seed-spitting contests, uncles playing horseshoes, ice-cream cones, fireflies and the acrid smoke of fireworks.
No? Nobody’s managed to get that into a fragrance yet?
I’ll just go enjoy the real thing, and try to get pieces of it out of a couple of different scents. I may wangle the watermelon and good-smelling aunts out of Juicy Couture parfum. Or I may decide to get the barbecue grill, the ice cream, and the fireworks smoke out of Cartier Le Treizieme Heure. I may wear both of those in succession.
I wish everyone reading a wonderful day today. American readers, I hope you enjoy the holiday and the blessings of liberty. If you’re wearing scent today and would like to share what makes the day special for you, we’d love to read it!
The classic – some would say cliché – gift to a woman on Valentine’s Day is, of course, a heart-shaped box of chocolates, a dozen red roses, and jewelry. (My teenage daughter’s boyfriend brought her a card and six red roses yesterday; she gave him a handmade card and some candy. All together now: awwww, how sweet!) I don’t like chocolate in perfume, and the idea of jeweled perfumes will have to wait for another day, so here’s a look at some rose perfumes that I love. (Also, it’s an excuse to post beautiful pictures of roses.)
I do indeed love, love fragrances in which rose plays a major part, from light and girlish ones all the way through to dark Gothic ones. So many fragrances contain at least a little bit of rose – even if you can’t smell it on its own, it’s there, making everything smell round and full. I’ll admit up front that it is very, very difficult to find a rose fragrance that smells just like a freshly-cut dewy rose, because in order to obtain rose essence, the rose petals have to be treated in some way – from steam distillation to enfleurage (which involves pressing fresh petals in fat), to the modern scientific method called distillation moléculaire – and you always get “cooked” rose, not fresh. I figure if I want fresh roses, I’ll go to the florist.
For rose perfumes, I have a stash! Some of my favorites, starting from the light and girlish end:
Monday, Dec. 26: Busybusybusy, mostly cleaning up from Christmas. SOTD: Um… nothing. Forgot. (Forgot! That’s just crazy.)
Bookworm was packing up her stuff for the marching band’s trip to the Champs Sports Bowl in Florida, where they’ll join several other bands to provide the halftime show. They’re also going to see the Blue Man Group, eat dinner at Medieval Times, go to the Universal Studios themepark and Islands of Adventure, and march in the Mini Macy’s Day Parade at Universal, as well as attend the bowl game and play the halftime show. Fun trip – for them, anyway. (You could not pay me enough to induce me to go as a chaperone to 72 teenagers, but there are plenty of parents going, such that there is one parent for each group of four kids. Better them than me, I say.)
Curiosity and Primrose came over and spent much of the day here with us, the kids playing football out in the yard with their cousins. That was lovely. Bookworm and PETBoy went out on another of their mysterious outings in which they go to visit his mother’s grave, and then they came back to have dinner with us and watch a DVD on the new big-screen TV.
I did put on a bit of B&BW Dark Kiss lotion before bed, which I like very much but have to limit my access to since it’s become Bookworm’s default fragrance. Had to get up at 2:20 a.m. to take Bookworm to the high school; the band bus was scheduled to leave at 3:30. Aargh.
Tuesday, Dec. 27: Slept late. Who wouldn’t? Broken night, and rain in the morning… good sleeping weather, as they say around here. SOTD: Amouage Memoir Woman. I had been considering Bottega Veneta. I’m determined to finish this darn review, even though I keep getting stuck on it. Is it better to review something new and well-done I don’t particularly like, or to go back into my stash and talk about something that isn’t all over the other blogs? I think it depends. I think I should discuss Bottega Veneta and how nice it is to see a mainstream release that’s not mindless – and also why I don’t like it.
I have something of the same feeling about Prada Candy. Although I like it, it doesn’t induce rapture, and I don’t think I have much of interest to add to the discussion of it. I think perhaps instead of separate reviews, I may do a post on gourmand fragrances in general, with mini-reviews. I love writing mini-reviews anyway.
I packed up all the Christmas wrapping stuff and put it in the attic. I reuse gift bags and tissue paper and bows if at all possible, only throwing them away when they’re irretrievably battered. This approach is slightly greener than wrapping everything in paper and throwing it away when used, but then I’m not terribly green (as in environmentally conscious) except where it is economically sensible and/or convenient. I recycle, of course, which involves taking paper/plastics/aluminum to the town recycling center once a month, which is neither convenient nor economically sensible, but rather a civic duty, in my opinion. But I won’t go so far as to insist on wrapping everything in dish towels. I like gift bags.
Wednesday, Dec. 28: SOTD: Champagne de Bois. Gaze helped The CEO move a bunch of cows and then doctor them (anti-pest pour-on medication to get them through the winter without worms and lice, and the annual disease-preventing shot).
Watched part of “Men Who Stare At Goats” (George Clooney, Ewan MacGregor) with The CEO. We’ve seen it before, and it’s just So Bizarre that I couldn’t take it and went to bed. SOBedtime: Havana Vanille.
Thursday, Dec. 29: Frosty-cold. Happy 17th birthday to PETBoy! SOTD: Amouage Memoir Woman. I must have worn this thing six times by now, and I still can’t figure it out. It’s wackalicious.
We watched the Champs Sports Bowl (Florida State vs. Notre Dame) to see if we could get a glimpse of Bookworm and the PCHS marching band, but no dice. I hate it that you never get to see the halftime show when you watch a televised football game – except for the Super Bowl, but that’s not my kinda halftime show. You know me: I like marching bands, not the Black Eyed Peas.
The CEO and boys took down the Christmas tree today, because it was starting to get a little crunchy. We left up the garland and the electric candles in the windows, as well as the nutcrackers, which I usually leave on display until the second week of January because I lurves them so much.
Read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and enjoyed it very much. A strange novel, but delightfully strange (like Memoir, perhaps). Detractors on Amazon’s review pages don’t seem to like it because it “doesn’t make sense,” but it’s fantasy, people, it’s not supposed to “make sense.” The story’s coherent; just because you can’t explain what happens in it doesn’t mean it’s worthless. I was reminded of the bizarre and inexplicable and wonderful things that happen in Roald Dahl’s delightful classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Have these people never read Dahl? Probably not. Or they excuse the fantastic elements by saying, “Oh, it’s a kids’ book.” In any case, the author mentions Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab on her acknowledgements page, and I found that delightful as well. I hope that doesn’t mean that I’ll have to go and snap up BPAL imps now, which I have been avoiding doing. It would be so much better to go and sniff those in person. If they’ve got a Night Circus sample, I might have to get it. I’m guessing it would have notes of caramel apple and bonfire and popcorn, maybe the candles from the Wishing Tree, or the roses from the Ice Garden…
Friday, Dec. 30:My little desk, the one I keep my laptop on? It’s walnut. Well, it smells like Memoir Woman. Not surprising, of course, since I’ve worn it several times this week, but nice.
We took delivery of a new young bull today. The CEO wants to call him Hamlet, because his ear tag says… well, you guess.
I kept forgetting to put on perfume today, mostly because Memoir has stuck to me, even through a shower. Also, I am easily distracted when everybody is home. Aargh. The kids start school again on Jan. 2, so I won’t have to keep running the dishwasher twice a day. I finally put on a bit of Liz Zorn Centennial not long before bedtime. Cozy.
Saturday, Dec. 31: Warm today, in the low 50s. Fed the calf, cleaned the house. SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum. The day’s mail contained a package from France (squee!), with a sample package of some of the L’Oeuvre Noire scents and all three of the Arabian Nights scents, because I had “liked” the By Kilian page on Facebook way back in October when they were offering this sample set. I’d been thinking about Sweet Redemption, so I nabbed that one right out of the package and spritzed it on. Whoa. Full review coming up (and I mean that this time, not like with Prada Candy and Bottega Veneta, which I really should review but can’t seem to find the enthusiasm for).
Bookworm came home this evening! So glad to see my girl; I missed her. Her brothers would say they didn’t miss her at all, but I notice they were pretty huggy with her.
Sunday, Jan. 1: Happy New Year! Church today, followed by the removal of most of the Christmas decorations, our New Year’d Day family tradition. SOTD: SweetRedemption again.
My parents came by for a visit and took us all out for dinner, and that was lovely. SOTE: Mary Greenwell Plum. You know, I went back over the past year’s Scent Diaries and counted up the number of times I wore fragrances, and Plum was the thing I wore most often. (Duh, right?) The fragrance next on the frequency list was Alahine, and I wore Plum twice as often as I wore Alahine!
Monday, Nov. 21: Warm today, into the upper 60s, but cloudy, with rain off and on. Got my turkey breast out of the freezer and into the fridge to thaw for cooking on Thursday morning. SOTD: Bath & Body Works Velvet Tuberose hand cream, with a weensy spritz of DelRae Amoureuse on top.
SOTEvening: Mary Greenwell Plum. Off to the high school for the end-of-marching-band-season potluck dinner, followed by the Parents’ Meeting for Winter Sports. I cannot imagine what the coaches have to tell us this time that’s different from what they had to tell us at the Parents’ Meeting for Fall Sports two and a half months ago. I can’t believe I’m missing the video from the Wake Forest band competition, which I couldn’t go to, for this stupid sports meeting. Usually The CEO does the track stuff and I do the band stuff, but he’s off at the School Board meeting.
(Answer to “what’s new?”: nuthin’ much, except for the disturbing fact that the Indoor Track team will not be allowed to run inside the school on wet or cold days because the maintenance guys are supposed to be cleaning the new tile floor. Yeah. That’s a good reason to kick 38 kids out into the snow, right? They can’t use the gym because the basketball teams are practicing in it, and the football field house is primarily a weight room and not suited to running. The industrial arts building is better physically suited to a practice facility, particularly for sprinters. However, it houses a daycare that lets out at 5:30 pm, and school officials don’t want 180-pound sprinters barrelling down halls that could contain toddlers… they’ll have to find a solution, and soon.)
Daily NaNoWriMo word count is 2528, with a cumulative total of 41,178. Scent of Bedtime is Alahine again.
Tuesday, Nov. 22: Warm but rainy again. Poor Gaze got sick last night; looks like he’s got the 24-hour crud that hit Taz and Bookworm last week. SOTD: Parfumerie Generale Praline de Santal.(Nice. I like.)
The CEO and I went to the benefit program at the high school, in which the choir sang, the drama department presented a one-act play, and the band played. It was nice. SOTE: Amouage Lyric Woman. It rained ugly all night.
Daily NaNo wordcount 2879, for a cumulative total of 44,057.
Wednesday, Nov. 23: Kids out of school. Rain cleared off during the morning. Windy and chilly but not miserable. I hope the track team had a place to practice! SOTD: Smell Bent One, which I still like very much and should wear more frequently.
Gaze helped me make scalloped apples, a Thanksgiving tradition for us. Yeah, yeah, we made them early, but the bags of apples on the counter were getting in the way. I’ll try to post a recipe later – it’s kind of a pain, because my recipe came from my mom, and goes something like, “use all the apples you have, add as much sugar and cornstarch and lemon juice as you think it needs, cook until it looks right.” So there’s actually nothing written down, and I’ll have to write it down myself and check it for accuracy.
Daily NaNo wordcount 1749, for a cumulative total of 45,806.
Thursday, Nov. 24, Thanksgiving: Clear, lovely day with sunshine. The CEO went out early this morning to move a bull back out of a field full of cows where he ought not to be, and found a cow dead for no apparent reason. She wasn’t old, she hadn’t recently had a calf, she hadn’t been obviously sick, she wasn’t dehydrated, she hadn’t gotten her feet up the hill. (Weird, huh? If a cow lies down on a hill the wrong way, having feet up at a higher level than her head, it messes up her digestion so that she begins to bloat, and then she can’t breathe. That happens occasionally.) We’re postulating a pregnancy that went wrong, but without an autopsy there’s no way to know. SOTMorning: Si Lolita, for no other reason than it’s pretty and the mini was close at hand.
Made spiced cider and cooked a turkey breast. Added a snap to Bookworm’s new purple blouse (for modesty, her idea) and ironed it; then she went off with PETBoy to his grandparents’ house for Thanksgiving lunch. Made gravy. Heated up the scalloped apples that Gaze helped me make yesterday. The rest of us went over to The CEO’s mother’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. His sister E, brother-in-law K, sister J, and E & K’s kids – Curiosity and Primrose – were there, and Bookworm and PETBoy came and joined us for their Thanksgiving: The Sequel.
SOTD: Organza Indecence. I considered Jeux de Peau, Champagne de Bois, and Alahine, but decided OI would be just right. Also thought of that sample of Ambre Sultan, but I was leery of trying something so new before going to spend time with people who are not perfumistas.
Daily NaNo wordcount 2802, for a cumulative total of 48,608. (However, the OpenOffice wordcount tends to be pretty inflated. I’ll bet that NaNoWriMo says it’s only about 47K.)
Friday, Nov. 25: Went to validate my wordcount at NaNo, and I (oopsie!) included the whole document, not just the stuff written in November. The official total wordcount is 57,209 per NaNo (58,569 by OpenOffice’s overly generous count). I won’t consider myself a “winner” unless I can get 60,000 before the end of the month, because I wrote 9920 words in July. I certainly think it’s doable.
Clear and cold today. My nephew Curiosity spent the night, and all three boys have been building forts and shooting each other with Nerf guns all morning. Primrose wanted to come over and play, but Bookworm is out with her dad and Jeff, moving a group of cattle from the Morgan place back home for the winter, and Primrose doesn’t want to be here until there’s more estrogen in the house. Not that she put it that way… but she’s a very girly little girl, completely uninterested in Nerf guns or forts. (As an eleven-year-old, I’d probably have picked up a Nerf gun myself. Sadly, I was six years older than the oldest of my cousins, and always a bit left out of cousin play.)
SOTD: testing Rose Kashmirie again. Still a no, I think, or at least a not for me. Daily NaNo wordcount 41, for a cumulative total of 48,649.
Saturday, Nov. 26: Lovely weather! Cousins over for a visit in the morning, then a bit of housecleaning and off to my parents for Late Thanksgiving and my dad’s birthday. SOTD: Tableau de Parfums Miriam. (Poor PETBoy. He went with us, largely because Bookworm asked him to, and I think he was bored out of his skull.) It was lovely to see my brother and his wife, and their darling little boy Chopper D, who is – gasp! – no longer a baby. He’s two and talking and completely fascinated with blue cars and watches. He, um, “borrowed” Bookworm’s watch and wore it all afternoon. No, it did not fall off: he’s big for his age, and she’s small.
Daily NaNo wordcount 0, for a cumulative total of 48,649. (Except that when I verified my wordcount at NaNoWriMo, the stuff I’ve written this month has been folded into the 9920 words that I wrote in July, so it thinks I’ve “won.” I WILL get to 50K written this month. It’s coming up fast.)
Sunday, Nov. 27: Cloudy and windy again. The CEO preached at a small Presbyterian church (once pastored by his dad’s first cousin, now down to about 22 members, mostly elderly) today. Bookworm went to chuch with PETBoy, and the boys and I went to the later (11 am) service at our church today. Advent started this Sunday, which was a surprise to me. I’d stopped being in the habit of Advent, once we left our previous church for our current one, but looks like it’s back. Which is sort of nice. An advent wreath is a nice tradition – but I admit that I got sick of only singing Advent hymns for a month, because there are only about six of them, and there are alllll these dozens and dozens of lovely Christmas hymns that weren’t getting sung at all, except on Christmas Eve, and then only the first verse. There are whole generations of young Presbyterians growing up without learning the beautiful second and third verses of Joy to the World, for example.
Also, I am SO, SO not ready for the Christmas stuff. Not yet. My Christmas things will start getting hauled out gradually, beginning with the nutcracker collection the first weekend in December, the Nativity set, electric candles and a door wreath the second weekend, followed by a tree on the third weekend. And it will all come down on New Year’s Day, because that’s the way I roll. I know that the town administrations in the area have had decorations up for two weeks, and I know the official “Christmas season” has already begun, but I don’t like this whole let’s-celebrate-for-six-weeks-and-buy-lots-of-stuff thing. I just don’t like it. Now get off my lawn!
I realize that my “let’s sing Christmas carols now” and “let’s not decorate yet” preferences may seem idealistically opposed, but they make sense to me. Okay. OVER it. Shutting up now.
SOTD: Tauer Perfumes Une Rose Chypree. I don’t know whether my sample has gone off, or what: there seems mostly the ambergris-heavy Tauerade in this, where once I remember lots of dark rose and spices. I mean, it still smells good. It just smells different than I remember. SOTEvening: Caron Parfum Sacre.
Daily NaNo wordcount 1248, for a cumulative total of 49,897. Almost there… if I’d been able to stay awake last night, I’d be there already.
The Easter Lily, also known by its Latin name Lilium longiflorum, has become the traditional Easter flower. With all the different flowers available in the spring garden, it is this beautiful white flower that has come to symbolize the spiritual values of Easter: purity, life and renewal. The flower’s trumpet shape is a reminder of the heralding of Jesus, returning triumphant to Jerusalem.
The Easter Connection
According to Biblical scholars, the Easter Lily was found growing in the Garden of Gethsemane where Judas is said to have betrayed Jesus. Legend tells that white lilies miraculously sprung up from the ground where drops of Jesus’ sweat and tears fell during his last hours. The Easter Lily also has close associations with Jesus’ mother, the Virgin Mary. In early religious paintings, the Archangel Gabriel is pictured extending a branch of white lilies to Mary, symbolizing that she had become the virgin mother to the savior. Today, many churches use large bouquets of lilies to adorn their altars and crosses during the Easter season. – from holiday.net
Lilies were always a big part of Easter celebrations when I was a child – our church used those big white ones all over the sanctuary, and sometimes my mother would have one in the house – and the church we attended previously used them near the pulpit. You could donate an Easter lily in honor or in remembrance of loved ones, and there they’d be on Easter morning, lined up on the dais and on the rail in front of the choir loft, trumpeting fragrance in dizzying waves. They smelled wonderful, but every Easter Sunday, I’d be sniffly and unable to breathe by halfway through the service, with three dozen lilies all clustered less than ten feet from my face.
The church we attend now is different. For one thing, we meet in the middle school auditorium because we don’t have a building. For another, dress is very casual; it’s common for people to show up in jeans. I’m singing with the praise band, and I’ll probably wind up wearing jeans along with all of them. In some ways I miss having a new Easter dress and an orchid corsage, the way I always had as a kid. I miss not singing “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today.” And I do miss those lilies, symbols of purity and joy and new life, pollen machines or not.
I’ll be wearing the smell of lilies, in any case, and thinking about purity and joy and new life. Lily perfumes never make me sneeze, and I never associate lilies with funerals. No, for me lilies are Easter.
There are some lovely fragrances featuring lilies – here’s a short list of soliflores and lily-centered scents:
Serge Lutens Un Lys – Lovely soliflore. Notes: lily, vanilla, musk. It’s pretty but doesn’t make any emotional impact on me. Robin of Now Smell This likes it much better than I do: her review is here. Victoria of Bois de Jasmin reviews it here.
Frederic Malle Lys Mediterranee – This is beautiful; it’s mostly lilies, but with a waft of salty breeze, and a hint of floral aqueousness from water lily. I have a sample that I enjoy very much. Notes: sea water, ginger, lily, angelica, orange blossom, lotus, vanilla, musk. Bois de Jasmin review here. Review of several lily scents, including Lys Mediterranee, by Marina of Perfume-Smellin’ Things here.
Donna Karan Gold – This is what I’ll wear. It’s discontinued (what a shame!), and I got my 1oz bottle of edp on ebay for $8. Notes: lily, acacia, cloves, jasmine, amber, patchouli. Very spicy, yet satiny-cool. Robin at NST reviews it here, and Victoria of BdJ here. Also, For the Love of Perfume here.
Cynthia Rowley (for Avon) Flower – Notes: freesia, citrus, violet leaf, lily, water lily, jasmine, cashmere wood, vanilla, sandalwood. I have a small bottle of this. It is pretty, and higher-pitched than many of the other scents on the list. Like many of the Avon scents (I grew up on them), it does smell a bit cheap. Having said that, I think this would be a terrific scent for a young girl. No blog reviews available.
Annick Goutal Des Lys – I have not smelled this limited edition scent, but I am sure it’s just as uncomplicatedly pretty as the other scents in the Goutal soliflore line. Notes: lily, ivy, cassis. Angela at Now Smell This reviewed this scent, here.
Van Cleef & Arpels Collection Extraordinaire Lys Carmin – Notes: cinnamon, pink pepper, lily. Review from Patty of Perfume Posse here and from March at PP, here.
Cacharel Anais Anais – I haven’t smelled this in years, but my mother used to wear it. It’s a rich composition, but clean-smelling and focused on lily. Notes: galbanum, citruses, honeysuckle, lavender, orange blossom, hyacinth, black currant, lily, jasmine, carnation, tuberose, ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, rose, leather, sandalwood, amber, patchouli, musk, oakmoss, vetiver, incense, cedar. Reviews here: Donna at PST, Brian at I Smell Therefore I Am.
Tocca Stella – Another composition I haven’t smelled. Described as being mostly citrus-lily in reviews on fragrance forums. Notes: orange, freesia, lily, orchid, sandalwood, musk. Reviews: Victoria’s Own, Blogdorf Goodman.
I wish you a wonderful, meaningful Easter: He is risen. He is risen indeed.