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Okay, we’re back to boring around here :)

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I’m not sure what the heck is up with WordPress lately, or whether I am just picking inappropriate theme templates, or WHAT… so I am returning to an earlier theme that seemed to work fine. I’m a little disappointed because I never felt this theme looked particularly nice, but I may need to just play around with themes for a while to see how they work.

If you don’t mind commenting to let me know if you had trouble with any earlier themes – and what browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, what have you) and operating system (Windows 7, 8, Vista, etc.) you are using – I would greatly, greatly appreciate it.  Thanks so much.

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ANOTHER New Look (sorry)

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Dior's New Look. (Not mine.)

Dior’s New Look. (Not mine.)

The CEO recently reported to me that he couldn’t read the blog because the type was blending into the background. DANGIT. (I liked that background. And it looked just fine in Firefox.)

So. ‘Nother new WordPress theme, which I hope to be playing with and tweaking around more to my liking. Meanwhile, I hope everybody can read it now.  Thanks for bearing with me.

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Vacation 2014

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Montana.  We’ll be there for several days. Never been. Should be interesting.

glacierI’m quite sure that it will be seven days of The CEO and Gaze wandering around looking at everything through their camera lenses.

We’ve got a friend house-sitting for us. Bookworm, off at her internship in Louisiana, can’t go (bummer, bummer).montana-lake

I’m taking decants of DelRae Wit, Smell Bent One, Hermes Kelly Caleche edp, and the new Dior Cuir Cannage with me. Will report back, of course.

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New look… again

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I’ve been playing around with the blog again, since the last time I changed anything I simply went to a default theme and photo.

Gah.

It may change yet again.  And I may actually begin posting some stuff here again soon, too. 🙂

I have become more and more frustrated with my web host platform, due to repeated hacking attempts and confusing fixes.  Am tempted to chuck it all and head back to WordPress.

I hate blogging, lately, and the logistics are getting to me.  I don’t want to stop writing, but it has been such a pain recently.

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Memorial Day, 2014

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memorial-day-hours-ofRemember.

Whatever you’re doing today – spending it with family, eating wonderful food together, enjoying fun activities – take at least a minute or two to remember and appreciate those who have served their country.  Pray for them, if you’re so inclined, both the ones who have served in the past and the ones who are serving now.

Today I’ll make deviled eggs and fresh corn salad and lemonade. We’ll hang out the flag and have a picnic lunch with family. We’ll water the peony on Hayley-dog’s grave.

The CEO is gone on a missions trip to Montenegro; he’ll be back on Wednesday evening. Bookworm is going to spend the week with my parents. This is the last week of school.

I’ll be wearing the first, lovely, Ines de la Fressange fragrance, which I’m sad to say that you cannot get now unless you’re willing to plop down about $15 for a 4ml mini.  I think I paid about $17 for my 30ml bottle from an online retailer, back in 2009, and when I found out how good it was I went right back and bought a 50ml for about $20.  Love the stuff.

Ines de la Fressange Ines de la Fressange for womenThis is the 1999 Calice Becker version in the octagonal bottle with silver top. Notes include aldehydes, peach, bergamot, rosewood, carnation, iris, jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, sandalwood, tonka bean, benzoin.  Yes, it’s a fruity floral. No, you don’t have to curl your lip and sneer, unless you’d curl your lip at a floral print dress. It’s not a ditz, and its fruit is unsweetened. What it is is lovely.

Enjoy the day.

 

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Testing, Testing, one two… nine ten… seventeen eighteen…

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sound checkI’ll have a Scent Diary up tomorrow. Last week was a nice one with Bookworm home, and now I miss her, so I’m mentioning something else today.

After several weeks of not really testing anything new in a serious and focused sort of way, I’m back to it. I won a giveaway drawing at Indie Scent for a set of EstherP samples, so I have those six to test and report on, and I also have a brand-new set of (beautifully packaged) samples from Oriza LeGrand, all seven, plus a five-sample set from Scent on Canvas.

Yep. Busy sniffery ahead.

I’ve already worked my way through the Scent on Canvas ones and have tried half the EstherPs, so look for those reviews to arrive over the next week or two.  What is interesting to me is how varied the concept and approaches are among these three producers. (I hesitate to call two of them perfume houses, as their business focuses – foci? that sounds so wrong in English – are very different from the classic perfume houses.) Oriza LeGrand is the only one like a traditional French perfume house, in operation since the time of Marie Antoinette and producing fragrances, scented soaps and candles, and skin care items. EstherP is a design house – not unusual in itself, but its boutique shops are based in Canada; the company offers perfumes composed in Grasse. Scent on Canvas is located in Barcelona and attempts to marry their perfume creations with original art.

4th January 1973:  A girl tries some perfume at the counter.  (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

4th January 1973: A girl tries some perfume at the counter. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

(I love this photo, don’t you?)

EstherP fragrances include Barbara, Barocco, Boteh, L’Eau d’Emma, Fugue, and Queen of Persia.

Oriza LeGrand fragrances include Chypre Mousse, Deja Le Printemps, Horizon, Jardins d’Armide, Oeillet Louis XV, Relique d’Amour, and Reve d’Ossian. (There’s another fragrance, Foin Fraichement Coupe, but it isn’t included in the sample pack.)

Scent on Canvas fragrances include Blanc de Paris, Brun Sicilien, Noir de Mars, Ocre Dore, and Rose Opera.

(Sorry, didn’t bother to put in the diacritical marks since I am lazy was writing directly in WordPress.  Oh well.)

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Welcome 2014

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blank journal from inknouveauIt’s a fresh new page in the journal of our lives… metaphorically, anyway.

It’s funny, you know, I always loved the beginning of a new school year much more than I ever appreciated New Year’s Day. There’s always carryover, I suppose – I might have been going to school on the first day with new school supplies and possibly new shoes (almost never new clothes, as my mom insisted that all her kids usually had a growth spurt in November, and she refused to buy new clothes before we went through that), but it was the same old me carrying them.

Still, there was always the hope that this year, new and exciting things would happen. And that carries through.

Wishing you the best on your fresh new page.

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No. No, I’m not dead. Why do you ask?

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I’m just busy.  Christmas, you ever hear of that? Yeah.  Although I have been pretty sick with this nasty cold.

Also, and probably more significantly, I updated my WordPress version and the blog blew UP. I mean, I couldn’t even access it. I could SEE it… and could not access the admin page. GAH. I coulda bit nails in two, I was so mad. I have drastically revamped the blog in order to deal with the very slow loading time, and may change it again. Or I may not, I don’t know. The blog links have disappeared for now – if I get the blog speed decent again I will re-add them.

I have reviews to be posted: Micallef Mon Parfum Cristal, Hermes Kelly Caleche EdP, and a candle from Rive Sud Interior called Via Della Basilica.

Candles I’ve been burning recently, besides Via Della Basilica, include the “el cheapo” Wal-mart one called Pumpkin Spice (yeah, yeah, don’t judge me), Thymes Frasier Fir votives, and my favorite B&BW candle, simply called Winter. It smells like cold air and cloves, with just a hint of pine and smoke and vanilla.

Fragrances I’ve been wearing: B&BW Dark Kiss (at least until Bookworm got home from college), Serge Lutens La Myrrhe, PdN Vanille Tonka, and of course Teo Cabanel Alahine, without which it would not even feel like Christmas to me anymore.

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Mini Scent Diary, Nov. 21-24, 2013

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Mini Scent Diary over the previous few days (plus a mini-rant about football in the northeast):

Thursday, Nov.21 – Have been working on an old piece for NaNoWriMo. Really struggling with it, and I’ve only got about 24K words done, most of which are crappy and ill-chosen. Gah. SOTD: Shalimar Light. Sooooo nice.

Friday, Nov. 22 – Got a late start heading north to go to New Haven, but only about half an hour. It was a dreary, cloudy day, and halfway through Pennsylvania, our GPS – which we like to call Miss Direction – got confused and kept telling us we were NOT on I-81North, which we were. I’m not sure why; I updated it quite recently. In any case, it was all of 7:30 when we got to the Yale campus and picked Bookworm up to go get some dinner. We ate calzone and pizza and wings and Caesar salad at Est Est Est, and then we let her show us all over Pierson College. Played a game of pool in its rec room, too. SOTD was the lovely Le Temps d’uneFete. I so love LTdF. Still can’t believe it’s been related to the “limited availability” section of the Parfums de Nicolai website.

Yale Precision Marching Band at the beginning of halftime. Photo by The CEO.

Yale Precision Marching Band at the beginning of halftime. Photo by The CEO.

Saturday, Nov. 23 – Harvard-Yale game. Known colloquially as The Game, it’s marked by intense and scornful mutual animosity – which is interesting, because there are few other universities in the US with such similar histories and prestige. They’re more alike than not. However, Bookworm says that individually, there are warm friendships spanning the rivalry, and it is commonplace for students from the visiting school to stay with other students in preparation for The Game.

Traffic was terrible. Seating was terrible (if we go again, we’ll get reserved seats and not general admission). Fans of both teams were too busy tailgating outside to bother to come in and support their teams by cheering – students were still wandering in in the THIRD QUARTER.  People apparently take their tailgating and social connections far more seriously than the actual football, which is not only unheard-of in the ACC but incomprehensible! There’s a lot of tailgating and social interaction involved in, for example, the Virginia Tech/UVa game, but it all takes place BEFORE the game, and nobody wants to miss the game. They just take it inside the stadium.

 

 

Boston College v Virginia TechUVa, in particular, has some football traditions that you won’t find elsewhere: for one, everybody dresses up for football games, and by dressing up I mean according to the maxim “guys in ties, girls in pearls.”

UVa footballFor another, serious swearing is Frowned Upon In The Establishment, even if the ref just missed a call to an egregious degree. It is permissible to boo and cheering is encouraged – expected, even. But drop an F-bomb, as one University of Maryland fan did a few years ago, and UVa fans will actually chastise you in public for inappropriate behavior. This despite the fact that UVa fans are also famous for their inventive methods of sneaking alcohol, and by alcohol I mean the hard stuff, into the game and consuming it to excess. By all means, get plastered, but don’t be rude about it. VT fans are more traditional-football-culture in terms of appropriate attire for the game, and they take wearing team colors very seriously. They’ve also got a great opening sequence for when the team comes out onto the field: the PA plays Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” while the team runs out (see it on Youtube here), and the students jump up and down on their metal bleachers in the end zone (the resulting disturbance has actually been measured on the Richter scale, and no, I’m not kidding).

 

 

I don’t expect that the oldest college rivalry in the US should be celebrated in the same way that many other colleges play football, but I do strongly suggest that Yale take a few lessons from the people who do know how to organize and handle big crowds for football games. It would go much more smoothly. If every other year you’re going to have 60,000 fans in your city for one event, it would behoove you to figure out how to do it from the universities who handle those crowds six times a year, every year. The research has already been done, Yale people.

 

 

Bookworm (green headband) as an X-wing fighter. Photo by The CEO.

Bookworm (green headband) as an X-wing fighter. Photo by The CEO.

IN ANY CASE. It was very cold and windy in the early quarters of the game. Yale has an inadequate defense and it was 28-0 Harvard at halftime. We were surprised to still see people rolling into the game after halftime. Odder still, nobody was cheering. Nobody. Harvard’s band presented a show that involved Viking-like sailors in red and an evil blue sea-dragon; of course the Vikings hacked the dragon to pieces. The Yale Precision Marching Band presented a Star Wars-themed show which involved “Har Vader’s” Death Star balloon and red TIE fighters, which were overwhelmed by blue X-wing fighters (including a really really cute little strawberry blonde who put down her alto sax to fly a cardboard X-wing). Great show. SOTD: Donna Karan Black Cashmere. That’s SUCH great stuff, all warm and spicy and comforting at the same time.

 

 

Afterward, we took the boys around the campus some more, showing them the Beinecke Rare Book Library and several of the buildings. Bought some Yalie stuff. Went to dinner with Bookworm at one of the two dining halls that were open. It started blowing snow for awhile, which was super-exciting for Bookworm’s roommate, who is from Singapore – where the temperature never drops below 65F. However, then she said, “Civilization should not take place when it gets this cold!”

pierson college

 

Sunday, Nov. 24 – Drove home from New Haven, CT, with Bookworm, for her Thanksgiving break. We had thought her roommate might come home with her, but Stephanie has some distant relatives in New York City that she’ll be spending time with (and eating authentic Chinese, she was excited about that!) instead. Chilly this morning, about 26F. We were cozy in the van, though, and Guerlain Metallica – which I would call a spicy-creamy carnation, no metal perceptible to me – smells rather nice with my B&BW Orange Ginger lotion. We came home a different way than we drove earlier, opting to let Miss Direction take us down I-95S through NYC so the boys could see it. They’ve never been there (c’mon, it won’t hurt ’em, I was in college before I went to NYC).

 

My laptop is busted. I can’t close it; the hinges that hold the screen are broken. Also, it’s now 7 years old and sllloowwww. (The technician who fixed my battery issue last spring was marveling at its still being functional. “Wow, you’ve got one of those old Dell D600’s, and it still works. That’s incredible.”) SO. Guess what I’m getting for Christmas?

 

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Mini-reviews, late October 2013

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I am so behind on sending samples to people I owe them to.

I am SO behind on testing samples and reporting on them.

November starts on FRIIIIIDAAAAY. I will be NaNoWriMo-ing again this year, working on a novel I started earlier and ran into trouble with. (I needed help with the “serious” part of the plot, which involved embezzlement and someone being framed for it. Still haven’t figured that out, but in writing some fanfiction over the last few months, I have developed some decent Google research skills, so I feel better about it. Also, I have been averaging about 2500 words a day with that, which is considerably better than the necessary NaNo1667 words-per-day, and if I can recast my fanfic as completely mine, changing the details and background which belong to someone else, it might actually be pretty good as a standalone.)

And The CEO’s Red Sox won a third World Series in this century last night.

But anyway. Here are two mini-reviews for you:

April Aromatics Liquid DreamsThis youthful, light scent is reminiscent of an open field of greens and flowers. Fresh and clean notes of citrus, narcissus absolute from France and sweet osmanthus blossoms from China make Liquid Dreams refreshing, yet intoxicating to the senses. (Copy from the April Aromatics website.)  I don’t know why on earth I wanted to try something described as “youthful and light,” when usually such things bore the pants off me.

But I’m glad I did. This is that rare citrus scent that does not bore me.  It is quite floral, of course, and there may be a tiny touch of galbanum in here too because it does smell “green” under the flowers.  Linden isn’t mentioned in the above copy, but the website does list it as an ingredient, and it is very present. Linden tends to smell very harsh and detergenty on me (gah, do not ask what Tauer Perfumes Zeta did to me, and L’Artisan’s ostensibly-tuberose La Chasse aux Papillons was even worse), but Liquid Dreams only spends about three minutes making me wonder if I accidentally spritzed myself with Bathroom Fresh Cleaner before it heads in a truly fresh floral direction.  You probably remember how much I love narcissus, and osmanthus is awesome too – the effect of this fragrance is very uplifting, a big smile in a little spray sample.

True fresh florals that don’t smell synthetic are rare in my opinion. This one is all-natural (and correspondingly expensive) and smells like it. Like most naturals, it does not last past two or three hours on me, but then sometimes I have that happen with mixed-media perfumes too. Lovely stuff.  I warn you, though, it’s 30ml of eau de parfum for about 200 euro (including shipping to the US).

Robert Piguet Petit Fracas – This Fracas flanker is designed to appeal to younger wearers. Which suits me fine, because I think Fracas is the perfumery equivalent of those old-school film noir chloroform attacks. You are going along minding your own business, when somebody who wants something from you claps a chloroform-soaked hanky over your nose, and down you go, completely overwhelmed.

And I love tuberose, too. There are people who cannot staaaaand it, and I’m quite sure that Fracas hits them like a Mike Tyson punch. Fracas is thick, complex, creamy, heavy, narcotic, a real diva of a fragrance, and it can be… well… a little much.

Petit Fracas is less.  It’s meant to be a fruity-floral, the cheerleader type of the perfumery world – not that that’s bad, the world needs more genuine cheer. And it’s quite nicely done. Not overdone, not cheaply or cynically done. Lots of pear, and the tuberose is somewhat sheer. There’s enough citrus and enough lightweight musk and woody stuff in the base to keep it both simple and attractive.

What’s killing me with it, though, is the cocoa note. I hate cocoa/chocolate notes in perfume, just hate them. Ugh. (Weird, though, I can take vanilla and berries, and sometimes caramel. Chocolate is always a no-go for me.) It’s even nice cocoa, as far as that goes, but I can’t do it. Can’t.   Oh well.  I won’t mind smelling it on someone else.

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