Scent Diary, May 29-June 3, 2018

Tuesday, May 29: Overcast and muggy, which looks to be the forecast all week. Sigh. The weeds are getting away from me, but I just don’t feel like weeding them. I’m so tired. Went to a funeral today for the spouse of a good childhood friend. I wish I’d known him better, and my heart’s broken for the family. Chanel No. 19 was again my Invisible Armor today.

When Mom and I got back, a doe went streaking down the side yard and Mom speculated that her baby must be over in the neighboring lot, in the bushes. (This lot never passed the “perk test,” so was unsuitable for building a house on, and it’s grown up in black locusts and paradise trees and thornbushes and the like, ideal for wildlife.) Instead, though, we found the fawn lying on her back deck, and it stayed there long enough for Mom to go inside and get her camera, then get a couple of pictures, before it bounded off. So pretty!

Bookworm, 2 months old. That grin!

Wednesday, May 30: Bookworm’s birthday. I’m so glad I’ve gotten to be her mother. Such a blessing.

Had a checkup with the physician’s assistant at my doctor’s office, and I dumped out all the symptoms that my doctor has been ignoring for the past several years (plus a few other issues). I’m not sure that anything positive has happened yet, but at least the PA listened to me and was able to take my concerns seriously. I hope that something will change soon. SOTD was beautiful and grounding Chanel 31 Rue Cambon.

We ate calzones and salad and apple pie for the girl’s birthday. Delish.

Thursday, May 31: Took Bookworm’s car to the lube shop for an oil change, and worked on some mending. Ignored the weeds (again) because I just. don’t. feel. like weeding. I will probably be sorry about this someday soon, but right now I just can’t. I also haven’t filled my hanging baskets with any plants. I’m just… I don’t know. I don’t think I care. The front porch needs painting so badly.

At least I do smell good, in Crown Bouquet. Another greenie, but who’s surprised by that? Now Smell This’s community project this week is to wear a scent with a creamy or milky component, and I’ve been thinking about Hilde Soliani’s Il Tuo Tulipano, which smells not like tulips, but like those frozen creamy fruit salads people used to bring to church potlucks.

Friday, June 1: Hot and muggy weather. Errands. Paid the real estate taxes, mailed some stuff, hit the grocery store, went by the bank, and stopped at the YMCA at about 4:45 to get my first Y membership in… oh, 20 years? 24? it’s been a long time, obvs. I have GOT to get my feet recovered from this plantar fasciitis. No more walking until I do… so. Swimming. Maybe some water aerobics (with all the spry old ladies!) or stationary bike.

SOTD is Guerlain Charnel Elixir Floral Romantique. I wound up bagging the NST challenge and going with one from a Facebook group, to wear something “swoony.” Floral Romantique, despite its cheesy name and its pretentious packaging, makes me swoon. When it first came out, everybody who was reviewing it said something like, “This is boring, derivative, smells like the same-old department store juice they’ve been shilling since 2008. Also, WAY overpriced for what it is, another floral woody musk. Unworthy of Guerlain.”

For one thing, I don’t revere Guerlain. Generally speaking, my reaction is Meh. (Go ahead and toss the tomatoes, I know I’m in the minority.) I mean, I like Chamade. But I only LIKE it. I like L’Heure Bleue in parfum, sorta. I like Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune, too. But I could live without them, if I had to. I nearly always prefer the Coty version of the classics, anyway: Emeraude over Shalimar, Chypre over Mitsouko. Nyah.

But this? I really like. Sure, it’s just another soft white floral (tiare, jasmine, ylang, lily) and it’s pretty sweet in that sense. But there’s a thread of something bitter and refreshing running through it, too, and it dries down just lovely on me. The notes list includes cedar, chestnut, maté, and smoked tea, so I have no idea what that bitter note is but I love it. Also, The CEO once told me, “This smells like your skin, only a little more perfumey.”

Saturday, June 2: Cooler and cloudy today. I managed to take a big box of stuff to Goodwill, and then zip over to Target to pick up some stuff, before grilling some burgers. Dinner table discussion concerned Stevie Ray Vaughan, Texas blues guitarist. I’m not a big blues person, unless it’s Chicago blues, which I sort of enjoy if I’m in the mood. But The CEO is a fan. (We once named a minivan Stevie Ray Van. Stevie Ray’s predecessor was Eddie Van, for Eddie Van Halen, so I guess you know what kind of guitarists I like…)

SOTD was the first niche thing I ever bought — Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Ete. Supposed to be based on the smell of a yellow rose, and darn if it doesn’t smell like one to me! A little fruity, a little powdery, a light and uncomplicated rose. So pretty. I still love this one, and FYI, yellow roses are my favorite.

On the negative side, I just got the response to my  request for medical records in the mail — the ones having to do with my Essure implants, from my GYN who has since retired. And apparently, these medical records do not exist. Which seems super-fishy to me. Because, you know, I was there. It happened. I just don’t quite know where to go next.

Sunday, June 3: Warm early-June day. Outside, it smells like either manure or honeysuckle, depending on which way the wind is blowing! I will be VERY glad when The CEO’s cousin finally gets his dairy manure lagoon empty and stops spraying it on all the fields around.

SOTD was Teo Cabanel Early Roses. After church, the family went to see Solo: a Star Wars Story. It’s getting a lot of complaint (from my friends, at least) so we were a little apprehensive. Especially after The Last Jedi, which we all enjoyed in the theater and then immediately started finding things we thought were badly written in the car on the way home. (We liked Rogue One — a lot.)

We liked Solo, too. Not as much as Rogue One, which was an extremely tight plot, both simple and tremendously emotionally affecting — but we liked Solo. There were things we’d have done differently, and things that confused us, but generally speaking we thought it was a creditable effort. What didn’t we like? All the explosions and flying through the air on dodgy platforms: basically all the superhero movie crap that has been done to death. And the ending, that bothered us too. Possibly it’s setting up a Solo II sequel? I don’t know, but there were a LOT of loose ends there. Also, sticking some young actor in front of a camera and telling him, “Be Harrison Ford,” is a very tall order, because so far as I know, there’s only one Harrison Ford. All the same, I thought Ehrenreich did a decent job. Watching him fall in love with the Millennium Falcon was almost worth the price of admission in itself, and when you add on Donald Glover’s slick-as-snake-oil Lando Calrissian, that filled out the rest of the ticket value.

Anybody have a differing view of Solo?

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Scent Diary, May 21-27, 2018

Ah, lilacs. Too bad we’re not getting any sunny weather.

Monday, May 21-23: Um. I can’t remember. Too much stuff going on, and I got distracted and didn’t journal. I think I wore No. 19 one day, and Silences another, and Safari the third. I think. All greenies, of course. Rainy and muggy, bleagh.

Thursday, May 24: Warm, sunny, on the verge of “too hot.” Went to my old high school, which was hosting the regional track meet, to watch Taz run. Gaze went with us and wound up doing some assistant coach stuff, like calling splits. The CEO does that at every meet already.  Taz ran well but not enough to lower his PR time. Came in 10th in a very strong field of 24, and that despite running in the slower of the two heats (i.e., his time was better than some of the times run by guys in the fast heat).

And my parents got to drive the few miles over from their house to see him run, which was pretty awesome. I smelled good, in Tauer Carillon pour un Ange.

In other news, I am again making the unpleasant discovery of a truth I prefer to forget about summer: I must choose to either be sunburned or pimply. It is always one or t’other, y’all, always one or t’other.

Unless it’s both. The worst of both worlds!! Like if I put on sunscreen (pimples) but not enough of it (sunburn). Or if one day I remember the sunscreen (pimples) but the next day I forget it (sunburn). Or if I forget the sunscreen one day (sunburn) and remember it the next day (pimples AND stingy pain on the sunburn). Which is just unfair, world, and stoppppittttttt. You’re annoying me. Only the zinc-y stuff seems to not break my face out, but that’s in a little tub you have to smear on with all your fingers, and often that’s an inconvenient package. Whine.

Friday, May 25: It is cloudy, but cooler than yesterday, and I am wearing YSL Paris parfum today. (Because PARIS, that’s why.) I am resplendent in neon-pink roses.

Graduation at the high school this evening. The CEO attended, as a member of the Board of Supervisors, and Gaze went to see some friends graduate. Bookworm and Taz and I went to a showing of Jumanji — the new one, with Dwayne Johnson — at the local revival theater instead. We laughed our heads off.

Saturday, May 26: Hot and humid BUT also raining. Ugh. Wearing a tad of Delrae Wit today for the Cleaning of the House. The CEO, Bookworm, and Gaze decided to go visit nearby Dismal Falls (on Dismal Creek, apparently, and no one is certain why it’s called Dismal. We’re nowhere near the Dismal Swamp), and then it started pouring down the rain, while Taz and I went around frantically shutting windows.

Sunday, May 27: wearing the never-wrong Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere today, for church. The fans were going full-tilt in the YMCA gym where our church meets, so it was hard to hear the sermon until the sound guys turned everything up. Contrarily, the band was FREAKISHLY LOUDDDD this morning. Like, hurt-your-ears loud.

At least it’s not raining.

Photo by the Southwest Times.

Monday, May 28: Memorial Day. Gaze went to the Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery to lay a wreath with a few other cadets from Virginia Tech; The CEO attended as local elected official.

Everyone else stayed home and got ready for hosting a birthday lunch for darling Bookworm, who is about to turn 23. Roast chicken, baked potatoes, fresh spinach, Nana’s scalloped apples, plus cake with strawberries and ice cream. Yummy. SOTD was a tad of Carillon pour un Ange again.

After lunch, my mom was asking about perfumes so I took her in my room and horrified her with some of them: Soivohle Centennial, Cuir de Lancome, MDCI Rose di Siwa. And as I could have postulated, she absolutely hated Carnal Flower. The beautiful floral-chypre Fendi was, in truth, just awful on her, but at that point I was wearing about four other things so I didn’t put it on for her to smell.

Heard some terrible news, that the husband of a childhood friend of mine has died. So very sad.

 

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Scent Diary, May 14-20, 2018

Pic by Photokip at Pexels (click through for link)

Monday, May 14: Sticky hot. Man, it’s like we totally skipped late spring. We got the “cold and wet” early part of spring, but not the “warm with soft, frequent rains” part. It’s dry. And HOT. Bleargh. SOTD was Ines de la Fressange again, because it is so pretty. Tested Jo Loves No. 42 The Flower Shop later in the day, and it’s lovely, but could have used some rose in my opinion. Flower shops smell of roses as well as freesias. (I note, however, that I really like Smell Bent Florist’s Fridge and have drained a 4ml already, working on a second one — and that was my minor complaint about Florist’s Fridge too, that the green notes and hyacinth/freesia were terrific but I didn’t smell any rose in it. Just a touch would have been perfect.) But good radiance and staying power on Flower Shop, though.

Tuesday, May 15: Muggy. Hot. I hope it rains. It’s been SO muggy, and we really need moisture. (Well, okay, not like Arizona needs moisture. It’s just dry for here, at this season; mid-May is typically our wettest time of year.) I started out in Un Air de Samsara, and then noticed that the black locust trees are blooming, so I had to bring out the Amoureuse. Gorgeous honeyed green floral Amoureuse!

And it started raining in the afternoon. Ahhh. You can feel the earth sigh in relief.

But when Taz tried to leave in the Ford Ranger this morning for school, it wouldn’t shift into reverse. The CEO went to check on it, and it wasn’t a lack of transmission fluid, so it has gone to the Good Local Garage for diagnosis and repair. It’s been a good little truck. We bought it used in 2003 when it was five years old, and it was a farm truck for long enough that the grille got banged loose (rogue cow) and the tailgate got dented (The CEO says a tree jumped out while he was backing up). Bookworm drove it to school, then Gaze did. Now it’s Taz’s turn, and despite his scraping it alongside the other farm truck last fall when he was in too big a hurry, he’s doing fine with it. I hope it’s not time for Walker (Texas Ranger, obvs) to go to the big junkyard in the sky, but it’s 19 years old. We’ll see.

Wednesday, May 16: Still cool and damp, intermittently pouring rain. (Is this our spring? I’ll take it.) SOTD: that “greenest of green florals,” Crown Bouquet. I was definitely in the mood to get smacked around by galbanum, marigold, and hyacinth.

Took Hunter-doggle to the vet for annual checkup and vaccinations today. He did well. Totally did not bite anyone (though I did hear him yelping when he had his glands expressed and his nails clipped, poor baby).

Taz time-qualified in the 1600 meters (the mile) for Regionals at his meet this evening! Very proud of him. Gaze went to the meet with a friend to cheer him on; both of them came home absolutely soaked. Because while Bookworm and I were working on sewing her apron and watching Survivor, Taz and Gaze were out in the rain with no shelter.

The CEO was in Philadelphia this evening to attend a dinner honoring the retiring president of Eisenhower Fellows, Gen. Colin Powell, whom The CEO particularly admires.

Thursday, May 17: More rain, interspersed with occasional glimpses of sunshine. Got in the car to take Taz to school and discovered a flat tire, like ALL THE WAY FLAT… so pumped it up fast, dropped him off, and went straight to the tire store. Waited 2.5 hours, but they were able to patch it. SOTD: DelRae Wit, glorious spicy spring floral. Beautiful.

The CEO got home late, exhausted from seeing water hit his windshield all day, driving home from Philly. Glad to have him back.

Friday, May 18: MORE RAIN MORE RAIN EVEN MOAR RANE. Okay, I know I said we needed rain, and we do need it . . . but that’s enough for now, thanks. I had to run errands today, and that was not fun in the deluge. Ever tried dropping off clothes on hangers at Goodwill¹ when it’s raining so hard you can barely see? Well, don’t.  SOTD was Lubin Epidor‘s golden plummy-wheat sweetness.

¹There are people who are disgusted by the fact that the CEO of Goodwill earns a giant salary, mostly because the entire inventory of Goodwill stores consists of donations. Is that fair? Probably not. If I had another option — say, the Salvation Army or Disabled American Veteran thrift stores — within 20 miles of my house, I’d take it. But I don’t. I can barely manage to gather things up, without also having to schedule a 45-minute drive to take them to a different donation location. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Saturday, May 19: Rain cleared up in the morning and only came back intermittently in the afternoon, after The CEO had hung several loads of laundry out to dry and brought them back in. SOTD was beautiful Fendi, from a vintage mini you might have to pry from my cold dead fingers. I had no idea I’d like it this much.

My peonies are about to pop open! I’m so excited! I love peonies. And I’m glad that we’ve (I hope) gotten the storms out of the way, because there have been too many years when the peonies bloomed all glorious for two days, and then had all the petals beat off them by driving rain.

Sunday, May 20: No rain today. SOTD was happy-making Ines de la Fressange. Twelve hours in, I can still pick up whiffs of peach and sandalwood from my wrists. Such elegance for a fruity floral.

After church and our member-meeting potluck, The CEO and the boys mowed and weed-whacked and straightened up the shop lot beside the house, and it looks great. Let’s hope for warm (not hot) temperatures and sunshine this coming week!

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Mini-review Roundup: Three from Ava Luxe

I tried a few Ava Luxe scents early on in my perfume journey, and then not again until recently. Ava Luxe is one of those indie perfumers whose work is the darling of the bloggers… until the next New Hotness comes along and everybody goes flittering off to admire the New Hotness and forgets what was hot yesterday. (Humans. We’re like tha — OH LOOK A SQUIRREL!) On top of that, I have some vague memory that the house went offline for a period of time, during which the line was revamped and many people, including me, forgot it existed.

Back in the day, it seems that I tried the following: Thé Noir (black tea with wood, amber, and spices, very nice, still in production), Oeillet Rouge and Oeillet Blanc (straight-up carnations, one pleasant and the other really really not, and since I can’t remember which was which, it’s probably a good thing that these have vanished), and Love’s True Bluish Light, a milky skin-musk/vanilla that many fumeheads were raving over but I found not to my personal taste. During my intensive Tuberose Exploration, I also tried Tuberose Diabolique (interesting and pretty up top, and savagely weird with an interesting bitter note in the drydown).

The Ava Luxe website is attractive, and while the interface is a tiny bit clunky (I did a fair bit of flipping pages back-and-forth to read scent descriptions and choose which samples I wanted), it’s no harder to use than the much-maligned DSH Perfumes’ site. (I will put up with that website because DSH fragrances are so good, and I feel the same about Ava Luxe.) Indies are awesome. There is a person behind the products, and if you have a question, it’s pretty easy to shoot an email to that person… and very often, unless the matter is proprietary, you get an answer!

This go-round, I chose the following to test: Amande, Crepe de Chine, and Vintage Apple Blossom, all in eau de parfum format (parfum and perfume oil are the other formats available) and a small spray bottle.

Amande: “The deliciousness of sugared almonds, with a base of creamy vanilla and sweet musk. Notes: bitter almond, apricot, almond milk, vanilla, cream, heliotrope, sandalwood. A gourmand.”

I do love almonds, would love to smell like marzipan, and consequently have tried a fair number of almond scents. The One Almond For Me seems to be Montale Amandes Orientales, so you have some idea of what I like. This one sounded like it would be up my alley. However, after a queasy moment where it reminded me of a lip gloss I owned ca. 1979, it settled into plain ol’ sweet musk without the almond or milky notes I was hoping for. It stayed sweet musk from minute T+22 to minute T+260 or thereabouts, whereupon it faded away.

Crepe de Chine: “A stunning feminine chypre fragrance with a full bodied green floral accord and creamy woody base notes. Notes: bergamot, basil, neroli, aldehydes, bourbon ylang-ylang, gardenia, rose, jasmine, oakmoss, patchouli, Mysore sandalwood, Indian musk, Vetiver Haiti, vanilla.”

I was excited about this one. I wasn’t exactly expecting the classic F. Millot Crepe de Chine (which I have tested from two sources, and which, seriously, tried to bite me both times), but given that it’s described as a floral chypre, I thought I would enjoy. Alas, no.

It sounds great, right? Given the notes, it sounds stunningly like Soivohle Centennial, or Pierre de Velay Extrait No. 11, both based on classic floral chypre formulae. But on me, Crepe de Chine smells like herbal soap. It smells like Dial, actually. It smells like my great-aunt Leacy’s bathroom. Which was pleasant, mind you, but (again with my whine) I don’t want to smell like soap. I got a headache wearing it, into the bargain. I had to scrub it off, with real soap, and immediately felt better.

Vintage Apple Blossom: “A lovely fresh aldehydic floral fragrance based on the vintage apple blossom perfumes of the 1940s. Notes: Aldehydes, Hawthorn blossom, Acacia Farnesiana, Aubepine aldehyde, Lilac, Lily, May Rose, Sampaquita blossom, Jasmine, Rainwater, Sandalwood.”

Apple Blossom is probably an homage to fragrances of the same name from, I think, the 1940s, when it was a popular motif. I do love apple blossoms and their pale, fleeting fragrance, but it can’t really be captured naturally. And I like aldehydic florals, too. However, this Apple Blossom is strongly lilac on me, and very powdery. I retested it at various times, trying to find the individual floral notes listed, but never caught anything except lilac and a hint of the rose. It was pleasant but not memorable, and for some reason I did not feel comfortable in it. I felt like a room freshener.

Sometimes there is a consensus that certain perfume houses seem to “work” for certain individuals, while others don’t see the appeal — or actively dislike that house’s offerings. For example, I myself tend to do well with the classic and boutique Chanels (leaving aside Chance, Allure, and Coco Mlle.), and even if a de Nicolaï scent is not to my taste, I tend to appreciate it. Guerlain is more misses than hits, and Caron, with a few exceptions, is a Don’t Bother house for me. So are Diptyque and L’Artisan.

I’ve only tried, at this point, fewer than ten of Ava Luxe’s 100+ fragrances. But the only one I liked was Thé Noir, and not enough to buy it. I did spend a good couple of hours reading fragrance descriptions when picking out my recent samples, in the attempt to choose scents that appealed to me. All were not just fails, but big fails, with two being scrubbers (Crepe de Chine and one of the Oeillet scents). I’m not going to say these are badly done, because I found them very nice on paper and would probably like them on someone other than myself. Maybe I’m being too picky — I’ve long looked for the perfect almond, and have found only a few I like — and maybe I’ve tested the wrong scents. However, I will say that based on my limited sampling, they do not suit me and I’m probably done with testing any more Ava Luxe fragrances. Your mileage may vary, obviously, and it might be a skin chemistry thing. I still believe that matters, at least in some cases. It seems to matter here.

Ava Luxe’s website is here. It was a pleasure to shop there, and I like to throw some business to independent perfumers from time to time (ahem, as well as buying unsniffed vintage minis, of which I have FAR TOO MANY). These weren’t for me, but they might be for you. You never know.

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Scent Diary, May 7-13, 2018

Monday, May 7: Warm, sunny and breezy — in fact, very comfortable (although The CEO is not happy with breeze). Perfect weather for Le Temps d’une Fete.

Gaze moved his clobber back home last Friday evening and will be home most of the summer. He’s had a successful freshman year at Virginia Tech and seems to have settled in to the Corps of Cadets quite well. Nice to have him home! He mowed the yard for me today, right before it rained. (Unfortunately, all the stuff he brought home — WAY more than he took with him, since now he must have 20 sets of uniforms, a gigantic rucksack for ROTC, and a bunch of other official stuff — is now in my sewing room. I can barely get to the sewing machine, and I have projects started. Grr.)

Bookworm has asked to learn how to use the sewing machine, so we started with a simple project, an apron. We cut it out last night, and then this evening did a hands-on tutorial on sewing straight stitches (complete with installing thread and bobbin, threading the needle, finding correct tension, choosing stitch and stitch length, and turning a corner). She sewed all the straps. I’m proud of her.

Tuesday, May 8: Another day of pleasant temperatures; another day of Le Temps d’une Fete! Took Gaze to his annual vision check-up in the afternoon. It’s an hour’s drive there and an hour back, and I knew he’d have his pupils dilated so wouldn’t be capable to driving safely home. Last time I had an eye exam was five years ago (I know, I know, I need to do it again, but my eye doctor has retired so I need to find a new one), and skies were gloomy with rain, so I had no trouble seeing and drove the 6 minutes home without worry.

While tidying up my perfume collection I found a large-ish decant of vintage Guerlain Vega that I’d forgotten about. Gosh, this is lovely stuff. To be sure, it’s full of aldehydes, so if you hate No. 5 Vega will not change your mind, but Vega is gentler than No. 5 and, I think, easier to wear. I wore it to bed.

Wednesday, May 9: Happy anniversary to The CEO! 26 years and we haven’t killed each other yet. SOTM was a mishmash, miscellaneous sprays from various fragrances I’m selling, just to make sure that they haven’t gone off since the last time I smelled them. Amazone, 24, Faubourg, Chamade, Deneuve, Vanille Tonka, Ostara… I must say, I smell like the perfume section of a large department store.

Packaged up some minis and bottles from the blog sale to send out. Showered and put on some Guerlain Floral Romantique, because The CEO likes it. We went to dinner at Outback (because we had a gift certificate. because steak. Duh.), came home and watched Survivor. (You go, Donathan! And Laurel. Send Kellyn home.)

“La passione di Roma.” What a beautiful piece of advertising. (Also, her HAIR. That rope-twisted braid is lovely… not to mention the fur.)

Thursday, May 10: SOTM was original Fendi by Fendi, eau de toilette from a manufacturer sample vial, and eau de parfum from a mini bottle. Found both in a box of unloved decants (how’d they get there? I had never even tried them!). GOSH, this is gorgeous stuff. Gorgeous. Truly. Very 1980s, in that Fendi is a big floral bouquet atop a serious, weighty, beautiful base of oriental and chypre notes. According to Angela’s review of it at NST, “Fendi includes top notes of bergamot, aldehydes and rosewood; a heart of rose, lily of the valley, geranium, jasmine, tuberose, orris and carnation; and a base of cedarwood, patchouli, sandalwood, moss, musk, amber, vanilla and benzoin.” Fragrantica adds ylang-ylang and omits mention of several notes. What stands out to me is rose, geranium, muguet, patchouli, moss, sandalwood and benzoin, and the whole thing seems familiar without being recognizable.

It does strike me, somehow, as being very Italian. I can’t say why. Maybe it’s the ad? I do remember the ad, though I had never smelled Fendi before today. It reminds me of a whole slew of other scents: Magie Noire (though it lacks MN’s witchy, eerie herbal cast), La Perla’s original scent (though I think La Perla is somehow “dirtier,” with more of an intimate-skin angle), perhaps Ungaro Diva (though it doesn’t have Diva’s leather). It even reminds me a tad of the old Karl Lagerfeld Chloe, which you might remember I wore for thirteen or fourteen years, right through from middle school into the early years of my marriage. Chloe is more white-floral and much less chypre, but there is that sense of richness and detail, of tapestry, that it shares with Fendi.

(Gosh, Eighties perfumery was good. Wasn’t it?)

SOTA was two spritzes of Diorissimo, which I bought early on in my perfume journey (2009), and which I had always thought to be a tester from 2006. Today I discovered that it was actually bottled in 2001. It is beautiful, but somehow it never seems to hit the spot for me for very long, and it needs a new home.

And Gaze went back to campus tonight for a dinner honoring the sponsors of student scholarships. He cleans up good, doesn’t he? The HT under his ribbons stands for Highty Tighties, the regimental band, and the white shoulder braid (worn backwards, deliberately, due to some unexplained tradition) is also a band thing. The 1 on his right sleeve stands for the first-place score of his rifle drill company among other companies. I love it that he’s allowed to have hair now.

Friday, May 11: Uh-oh. I can feel the heat coming. Tomorrow is supposed to be at least 90F, and today will be muggy.  SOTD, for Now Smell This’s community project (“Wear a musk fragrance”), is Ferre 20. The CEO bought me this on our trip to Rome in 2010. This one never got much blog attention, and it’s aldehydes-heavy, so not to the taste of many people, but it’s good stuff: under the aldehydes are blackberry, rose, iris, vanilla and powdery wood (they say sandalwood, but it’s not the real thing), plus lots of fluffy, clean (but not laundry-ish) musk. Pretty, sweet, and smells like lipstick, kind of über-girly.

I managed to finish sewing a reusable shopping bag last night. I made it similar to this pattern, and it came out great! I think my MIL might get this one as Mother’s Day swag, but I have it in mind to make more.

The CEO and I went to a live-theater production, the first from a new local theater group. “Murder at the Howard Johnson’s” is a farce, which is never my favorite genre, but they did a good job with it. I wore some No. 19 edp, but it was somehow the wrong choice. It was dull.

Saturday, May 12: gorrrrrgeous weather. Warm and sunny, light breeze, and the only clouds are puffy ones high up. The CEO wound up coaching half the track team at their meet today; the elite ones are at a meet farther away, and Coach O is with them. (Girl on our team just ran the fastest 800 time in the state last night! 2:10.95, and her mom calls her “Amazing Grace.”)

Wearing beautiful Ines de la Fressange (Calice Becker version) today, because it is so nice outside — like summer without the brutal heat.

The CEO served as assistant track coach at a meet today, and since there is no shade whatsoever at this particular school, he came home miserably sunburned. Ouch.

Sunday, May 13: Mother’s Day was sunny and hot today. Wore Ines de la Fressange again, and was presented with French toast and sausage that I didn’t have to cook! Went to my parents’ and took my MIL along; a lovely meal and a Skype session with my sister’s family rounded out the day.

REMINDER: SALE OF MY PERSONAL COLLECTION IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW THROUGH THE END OF MAY!!  New items have been added and will continue to be added until sale ends.

 

 

 

 

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Full size bottles now for sale here at the blog through May 2018

My last post indicated that I had minis for sale, from my attempt to reduce the amount of my personal possessions.

Fragrances For Sale, May 2018

I’ve now added several full-size bottles from my personal collection that I think perfumistas might enjoy owning because they’re good juice. Anything labeled as vintage might have a few off notes up top, but they’re all what I would call excellent vintage condition, eminently wearable.

Please read the sale parameters carefully. I am so sorry that I’m unable to ship perfume internationally. I think the USPS is making a huge deal out of nothing (when was the last time a bottle of hair spray, liquor, or perfume on an international flight caught fire? I’ve never heard of it actually happening)… but. You know. I’d really prefer to avoid going to jail.

XO

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The Lure of Vintage Mini Perfumes

Selection from “Les Meilleurs Parfums de France,” The Best Perfumes of France. Apparently collections like this, of 5, 7, or 10 mini perfumes, were often sold on European air flights from the 1950’s through the 1980s. This one seems to be from the early 1970s, and is in super shape — except for Molyneux Vivre, which leaked itself empty. Sadface. Photo by me.

Aren’t these things cute? They’re adorable, aren’t they?

I first came to collecting vintage minis when I realized that many of the fragrances I wanted to try were discontinued, long-gone, and even unavailable in tiny amounts at the decant services. It’s the pull of trying something not otherwise available that I’ve never smelled — old, yet new to me. The possibility of smelling the party-in-Rio that is Balenciaga Rumba? Yes, please! The chance to try Jean Patou‘s lovely, tender Ma Collection version of Vacances? YES PLEASE. The opportunity to smell YSL Paris in its neon-pink, nuclear-strength, no-longer-made parfum? DOUBLE YES PLEASE!

Samsara mini parfum.

I’d go to eBay and search “vintage perfume mini”¹, and delight in what popped up: Here’s a tiny bottle of Ralph Lauren Safari parfum in lovely cut-glass; here’s a promotional mini bottle of No. 19 eau de cologne with spare, elegant Chanel lines. Here a micro-mini of Guerlain Samsara parfum; there a small bottle of Hermes Amazone. (Also, everywhere, figural Avon perfumes.) Etsy is another buying source, although I think that prices, particularly for vintage, are noticeably higher at Etsy. Or I’d play around in the sandbox at Miniature Perfume Shoppe and find that sometimes it was cheaper to buy a mini bottle than a sample at the decanters’, especially when I figured in the shipping.

I’m not saying anything that you haven’t heard before, but buying vintage is always a gamble. Not all of those minis contained wearable perfume, but more of them did than didn’t. In fact, there were only a handful I remember as being too age-damaged to wear at all: a tiny Emeraude parfum, one of Fath de Fath (1953 version, not 1993), a micro-mini of Carven Ma Griffe and one of Paco Rabanne Calandre. The rest? After a few moments of nail-polish remover or spoiled aldehydes, they smelled like perfume – probably not how they should’ve smelled when brand new, but recognizably like fragrance.

The classic Chanel parfum bottle — and look, it’s even retained its barbichage (the cord around the neck). So pretty. EXCEPT… that’s not perfume. This bottle is actually filled with colored water.

Mind you, not all of them were things I wanted to wear. For example, Lucien LeLong Indiscret turned out to be a heavy balsamic oriental, a genre I typically hate (and I passed it on to a friend who likes that kind of thing). Scherrer was, as a perfume friend of mine whose tastes I often share recommended, a green floral chypre, but far more “chypre” and less “floral” than I tend to like. The original Armani — for me, surprisingly, meh. Of the several versions of Shalimar I’ve tried over the years, the smoky chiaroscuro of that 1980s parfum de toilette mini came closest to being a version of Shalimar I might actually like, but I eventually decided it wasn’t for me. The adorable black-and-red bottle of Jean Patou Joy parfum was utter Ho Panties on my skin, though the friend I sent it to thought it was marvelous.

But sometimes there would be a sparkling gem in those small bottles. One tiny 1.5ml micro-mini bottle of Balmain Jolie Madame extrait, evaporated or used down to half, turned out to be difficult to hold. I spilled one fat amber drop on my favorite white shirt, and out billowed this nearly-perfect marriage of flowers and leather: a good purse, stuffed to the brim with fresh flowers, leaves and moss. It was so beautiful tears came to my eyes.

Not to mention that trying all those vintage fragrances gave me an appreciation and understanding of earlier styles that I couldn’t have gotten by wandering around the fragrance counter at Belk. Or, for that matter, even by exploring those niche and independent perfumers who specialize in producing retro-style perfumes.

BUT. (There’s always a but.)

I have too many. I have pretty much explored the vintage fragrances I want to explore. I’m keeping the ones I love: Jolie Madame, Karl Lagerfeld Chloe, original Victoria by Victoria’s Secret, Vacances, Dolce Vita parfum. Maybe that Paris parfum. Maybe the Samsara, I haven’t decided yet. Everything else? Outtahere. I’m paring down, and I’m hopeful that I can give others a chance to smell the past.

I have already listed a few things for sale on eBay. I will be posting the things I think might be of special interest to perfumistas here on the blog by Friday of this week.

Whatever does not sell here within ten days of posting, I’ll be selling on eBay, where there is a trove of mini treasures for your investigation well beyond my small collection! Also check out Miniature Perfume Shoppe, which has some really cool stuff (especially if you’re into the bottles) and good inventory right now.

¹ Try “Collectibles: commercial perfume miniatures” as well as “Health & beauty: Fragrances.”

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Scent Diary, Jan. 29-Feb. 4, 2018

Monday, Jan. 29: Warm for January, in the upper 40s. I did errands and made lasagna for supper. The CEO went to Taz’s academic challenge team match (which they lost, by one question, because Taz didn’t buzz in with the answer quickly enough).

I’ve been in communications with my webhost tech support about disallowing comments. They keep thinking they’ve gotten it fixed, but since I haven’t had comments for several weeks, I don’t think so.

SOTD was Mary Greenwell Plum, which was nice for about two hours but then shrank down too close to the skin. (Maybe the house is too dry? my skin is too dry?) I put on some Tabac Aurea before bed, when the wind picked up and temperatures began to drop outside. We got a robocall from the school system alerting us to a two-hour delay for Tuesday, due to expected high winds, low temperatures and snow.

The project for the week is Finding My Vanilla Scent. More info to come, but it’s not exactly going well.

Tuesday, Jan. 30: School was canceled early this morning, though why I don’t know. We only got a dusting of snow! And the temps aren’t that bad, either: 10F with the wind chill. (I’m feeling smug and puzzled because I had a 1970s childhood and would wait for the bus outside in this kind of weather on a regular basis in the winter. What, they don’t make coats and gloves and hats anymore?? The buses can’t run if there’s a quarter of an inch of snow??) The high for tomorrow is supposed to be in the 40s again.  Taz, of course, was jubilant at getting a day off until The CEO ordered him to do some housework.

SOTD is Ralph Lauren Safari. Good stuff, so good. I notice the ambery drydown more in cold weather, but this is a year-round favorite.

Wednesday, Jan. 31: Testing Guerlain Cuir Beluga today. Not impressed. Powdery vanilla suede, sorta kinda. Meh.

Thursday, Feb. 1: Warmer, with rain on the way. I’ve been testing Tom Ford Vanille Fatale today. I’m on the fence about it. It starts odd, with a twangy herbal thing, then slides into pretty-much-straight-up-vanilla extract. After that, it goes through a couple of weird stages that I don’t much like, with odd effects including smoke, slightly-rancid butter, and wet dog. But the drydown is gorgeous and reminds me quite a bit of PdN Vanille Tonka: a root-beery vanilla leather smell. Which is quite nice. On the other hand, if you were wishing (as I was) for the long, long delicious drydown part of TF Tobacco Vanille, that gorgeous clear nonpowdery vanilla-liqueur portion of it, you are out of luck.

Also, Vanille Fatale runs $230/50ml and Vanille Tonka, even with its originally wonderful lime topnote reformulated out, runs $155 for 100ml. I think the choice is clear, friends.

I think I might be coming down with something. Hope it’s not the flu, but I’m achy and my head hurts.

Friday, Feb. 2:  Groundhog Day, and a happy birthday to my cousin Holly! We were awakened at 6 a.m. with a robocall from the school system again: 2-hour delay. Then at 6:50, another call: school closed. It has been blowing snow all morning and the accumulation is about half an inch, if that. Temperature is 23F at 10 a.m., and with the wind chill it feels like 13F. So. Yeah, cold, but I can remember waiting for the bus in below-zero temps (and hey, metric system peeps, I mean below-zero Fahrenheit, so -18C). WIMPS.

SOTD is Amouage Memoir Woman. I love Memoir, but it is an all-day commitment, and sometimes it can get A Bit Much. Today I just don’t care. I’m luxuriating in cozy weirdness. And I feel better.

Saturday, Feb. 3: Cold again. The CEO built a lovely fire and then took some wood to a friend; the rest of us cleaned up the house and drank hot chocolate. SOTD was delicious Prada Candy, and we went to see the high school’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” (Which I admit I’ve never thought much of. It’s like somebody’s senior high school music-writing project — great for an early effort, not great as a product of a mature composer.)

Sunday, Feb. 4: Woke to a light snow turning to sleet. It’s getting icy out there. No church today. Bleagh. Worked on structure for the new novel — I know where it starts and where it needs to go, but the middle part is nebulous. SOTD began with some vintage Arpege extrait, but I suspect this one has gone off. It’s not pleasant. I scrubbed and put on Organza Indecence for the rest of the day.

We ate snacky food (boneless buffalo wings with celery and bleu cheese dip, mozzarella sticks and marinara, spinach dip with pita chips) for dinner and watched the Super Bowl. GO EAGLES!

Well, okay, I’m not a big Eagles fan, but I hate the Patriots. Hate ’em. They’re a trashy organization from the administration down and I’m glad to see them lose. (Feel free to lob rotten tomatoes if you like.)

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Scent Diary, Jan. 22-28, 2018

Pulled by light on a winter’s day by Simon Matzinger, via Pexels

Monday, Jan. 22: Wow, three weeks into January already. The CEO just commented that January lasts forever, but I think it’s been zipping by. I’ve been working on the new novel, but after the weekend’s conference I have an idea how to deal with the structure problem that’s been making the old one tough to revise, so I’m rewriting some scenes for it. SOTD is Mariella Burani.

Tuesday, Jan. 23: More writing, and some cleaning up. Bleah. SOTD was Parfum Sacre, after testing Abdes Salaam Attar Benzoin

Wednesday, Jan. 24: Taz has a MACC (academic challenge team) match this evening — hope they win. Tested Guerlain Spiriteuse Double Vanille in the morning. SOTA was Hermes 24, Faubourg, which is still just a tad too orange-blossomy-soap to be a love for me, but which reminds me in a pleasant way of the  Karl Lagerfeld Chloe I wore as a teenager. I miss Chloe and it was a genius scent, but I really cannot wear it now. I’ve tried.

Thursday, Jan. 25: Chillier in the morning, but warmed up by the afternoon. Decent choir practice this evening, and I like most of the music selections for this semester. SOTM was a sample of Seveline Vanille de Madagascar (as part of my unofficial Vanilla Exploration Project); SOTE was Parfum Sacre.

Friday, Jan. 26: Weather is still warmish for January, which I don’t like. SOTD was Parfum d’Hermes. I continue to try with this one, but I just don’t love it. It reminds me a little of Chamade, and a little of Deneuve, but I can’t put my finger on why it fails to hit a sweet spot for me.

SOTE was a goodly spritz of Sonoma Scent Studio Tabac Aurea, which has hit that sweet spot for me since first sniff in fall 2009. I’m sad that SSS perfumer Laurie Erickson is ceasing production, but I wish her well in her new endeavors (I think she may be pursuing photography) and I do hope she is able to sell SSS to someone who will be able to keep the company going and producing Laurie’s wonderful fragrances.

Sharry Baby orchid image via Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, Jan. 27: Taz had an outdoor indoor track meet today. (Ha. I mean Indoor Track, the sport, held a “polar bear” meet outside today. Temps were middle 50sF, so not all that cold . . . but still not great running weather. He PRed in the 1000M, but didn’t run his 2000M well.) The CEO went with him. Bookworm and I went shopping for a baby shower gift, and did some house cleaning. SOTD was LeLong Pour Femme, which is a pretty, smooth floral-oriental — it’s mostly orchids and sandalwood, and pink in a very grown-up way.

The CEO and Bookworm and I went to see a Tom Petty tribute band at the local theater tonight. It was fun, Free Fallin’ was good, I love TP music, so an enjoyable evening. More LeLong pour femme.

Sunday, Jan. 28: SOTD was a half-spritz of Memoir Woman. Which is big. And rich. And weird. And probably too intense for temps in the upper 40s, but I don’t think I gassed anybody out at church. The drydown was amaaaazing. Sometime around 5 pm I was sniffing my arm with delight. So I respritzed after my evening bath. 😀

Beautiful service at church today.

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