Scent Diary, Nov. 26 – Dec. 2, 2012

Monday, Nov. 26 – Was chilly last night, but not so bad this morning. No frost on the windshield. The CEO’s car needed its tires balanced before he heads off to Chantilly, VA tomorrow, so he drove my van and I sat at the garage waiting until they were done with the tires. SOTD: Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory on one wrist, Amouage Lyric Woman on the other. They’re playing nicely together.

Made some Russian tea mix for The CEO and Bookworm, who both love it. I don’t like it at all, but then I don’t like Tang. And I HATE it when the Tang dust floats in the air and stings the back of my throat. The things we do for family…

Russian Tea Mix:

¾ cup instant tea (I always use decaffeinated)

¾ cup sugar (add more if you like it sweeter)

2 cups Tang

½ cup instant lemonade mix, or use 1 packet of unsweetened lemonade mix plus ½ cup sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

½ teaspoon ground cloves

Stir until blended. Store in airtight container. To prepare for drinking, use 2-3 heaping tablespoons of mix and 6-8 ounces of very hot water. I don’t know how many servings this will make because it gets used up at my house within days!

(I’ve adapted the traditional recipe familiar to innumerable Southern Baptists from 1970s church cookbooks, which I always found too sugary and too heavy on the Tang. I mean, seriously – the most common recipe calls for half a cup of instant tea, 2 cups of sugar, 2 cups of Tang, and a Kool-Aid lemonade packet plus the spices. This one is more weighted toward a tea flavor. It still has that 1970s thrown-together-with-convenience-foods feeling, but certain people don’t seem to mind that. Excuse me for awhile; I’m going to go simmer up a pot of chai with milk and brown sugar for myself, and I’m not going to share. Get your own.)

Made some comfort food – well for me, anyway – for dinner: pinto beans, cornbread, green beans, country ham, and stewed apples. It’s Old Home Week or somethin’ around here. Actually, I don’t care much for country ham. (It’s too salty and the texture is weird. I have a definitive preference for a nice tender spiral-sliced Smithfield.) But everybody else in my family loves it. Now me, I go and gorge myself on kale and corn muffins and pinto beans, digestive gas be darned…

SOTE: Parfum de Empire Wazamba. For a while there, everybody was waxing rhapsodic about Wazamba and its similarity to Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles. I didn’t like Fee on Eggwee, as a friend of mine terms it, because of its weird combination of incense, curried fruit, pine and amber. Wazamba, despite having the Most Fun Perfume Name to Say EVER, is actually hideous. It was supposed to be pine incense (without the curried fruit), and that’s pretty accurate. Problem is, it’s also chock-full of Youth Dew-esque balsamy stuff. Which you know I hate. After I scrubbed it with some grapefruit-scented hand soap, it smelled like a slightly lower-pitched Coco Mademoiselle: bearable, but still not very nice.

Tuesday, Nov. 27 – Chilly, but not horrible. The CEO left this morning for the annual Virginia Farm Bureau convention, this year held in Chantilly. He’ll be gone until Thursday. Did some online shopping, painted over the splotches in the entry hall where I was trying out six different paint color possibilities (winner is Vanilla Brandy), fed the orphan calves sweet feed. Also packed up two books I was selling secondhand on Amazon – one a duplicate, and one a fairly recent, critically-acclaimed fiction hardback that nonetheless depressed the heck out of me so that I never want to read it again.

SOTD: Comme des Garcons, the original one. It’s very nice, a woody rose with a bit of incense, and I realize that I’ve probably tried many of the fragrances it engendered. Quite a few of those, though, I disliked intensely: some combination of cedar, rose, and frankincense combines to smell very much like the acrid, bitter, biting smell of cold wet wood ashes to me.

Made pasta carbonara for dinner. The boys refused to eat it, as I had expected they would. They wound up eating leftover country ham and plain pasta and peas. This would frustrate me more, if I didn’t know that both of them have been broadening their food repertoire. Pickiness runs in the family, on both sides; my dad is notorious for it. We are talking Meg Ryan in “When Harry Met Sally” here, y’all. There was a point when toddler Taz would not consume anything except chicken nuggets, applesauce, Cheerios, french fries, red jello, ketchup and milk. Not bread, not cheese, not green vegetables, not steak, not hamburgers, not peaches… all things he eats now, thank goodness. He’s still not up to managing spinach, but we’re making progress.

SOTE: Amouage Memoir Woman. I should, according to my usual tastes, just haaaate this thing. Instead, it is luxurious and cozy and interesting and a little bit sexy. Wonderful.

Wednesday, Nov. 28 – It isn’t even December, and I AM ALREADY SICK OF CHRISTMAS MUSIC. My usual radio station went wall-to-wall Frosty the evening before Thanksgiving, so I can’t listen to it. (I did leave the bedroom radio set to Q99, because when the alarm goes off to Jose Feliciano singing “Feliz Navidad,” it sure makes me jump out of bed right away to hit the OFF button. No lazing in bed listening.) Even my usual contemporary-Christian music station has gone all Christmas, which means I can’t listen to Spirit FM either, at least not until next week. Grrrrrrr.

I wonder if retailers know that “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” is the main reason I do most of my shopping online? Maybe they don’t care. Maybe I’m unusual. I mean, I don’t hate Christmas music in principle, and I can probably listen to some of it by about December 15th. I am sick of “Winter Wonderland,” though. Even the Annie Lennox version, and I like me some Annie. Maybe it’s because I’ve been singing Christmas music since August in community chorus rehearsal… but what we’re singing is religious and less commonly heard. More likely it’s just that I’ve heard all these Santas and reindeer and Frostys, et cetera, until they’ve worn grooves in my eardrums. I could probably listen to Madonna’s “Santa Baby” and the “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” song a couple of times before Christmas, but Frosty can go suck eggs. Gah.

SOTD: testing some fragrance oils from an Etsy shop called Alkemia. It’s a mixed bag; I’ll review. Today I tried Yuletide Blessing and Les Mysteres. Painted off-white over the tan/beige splotches in the hall where I was trying out various paint colors; trimmed the remaining dead flowers in the front garden and took them to the shop lot; paid some bills. Boring day.

Thursday, Nov. 29 – My radio alarm woke me up this morning to Straight No Chaser’s delightful, humorous “Twelve Days of Christmas” medley, and I found that I did not, after all, want to throw a hammer at the radio. Huh. Then they played “Mele Kalikimaka” and I did want to kill my radio, so I’m not sure what my point is.

Forgot to wash Taz’s sadly-neglected gym suit yesterday, and he needs it before lunch, so I had to rush through two loads (red, to get the shorts, and light colors, to get the gray t-shirt) to get it to him. Had already washed the t-shirt before I discovered the CHEWING GUM STUCK TO IT! Thank goodness for Goo Gone. I think I got it all out.  He brings a shirt home with gum on it again, I’m just going to take cash out of his bank account and buy him a new one. Not. Doing. This. Again! SOTM: testing more Alkemia fragrance oils, La Belle Epoque and Falling Stars at Winter Solstice (great name!) to be specific.

Went to the mall and to Target (this is half an hour’s drive away, mind you) to do a little shopping and to pick up a couple of county Farm Bureau members who were riding back from the convention with The CEO, so he could go straight on to Virginia Tech and teach a class without having to come home first. I got some Christmas shopping done – I like to do most of it online, but sometimes you just can’t – and did a little sniffery as well.

Actually sprayed Tuscany per Donna on my skin, just to see how it would behave. It seems kind of like a cross between Tresor (the fruit and the rose) and Aromatics Elixir (the rose, the greenery, and the urine), and it skeered me a little but never actually developed the Dreaded Lauder Base that makes me feel so nauseous. (Didn’t TpD get a four-star review in P:TG? I think so. But then, so did Tresor. And AE was five stars, if I remember correctly.) Eventually Tuscany per Donna settled down to a nice fruity skin musk thing, and I’m pretty sure I’d never wear it but I have to say it has more character than a lot of things I smelled at the mall.

The SA – an older lady I’ve seen at Belk’s several times – tried to show me Lady Gaga Fame and then Marc Jacobs Dot, and seemed surprised that I didn’t want to smell either of those. She’d found me near the Chanels… where I had been noticing that nothing smelled good. Even the No. 5 EdT, a reliable must-spritz, smelled odd to me today. Might be the tester, though. I tortured myself a little by sniffing both the Youth Dew and Cinnabar testers – no, I must be okay, I still hate them – and then the Aromatics Elixir – yep, still smells like somebody peed all over a rose hedge.

Parmesan-sage pork chops for dinner. Plus lemon rice and steamed green beans and baked pineapple, yum. Wanted to put on more perfume, something I actually like, so two hours before chorus rehearsal I managed a light spritz of Mariella Burani. Ahh. That’s more like it.

Friday, Nov. 30 – Frosty cold this morning; The CEO sent me out to check on a cow that appeared to have a dead calf with her out in the field. I didn’t think that collection of dark lumps could possibly be a calf, but it turns out I was wrong. Poor cow. Poor calf.

We finally got Bookworm’s senior portraits back this week. I had delayed and delayed in ordering them, because they were ridiculously expensive and I had had thoughts of asking a talented amateur photographer friend to do them instead, but I finally realized that trying to find a time for her to do a sitting was just going to be impossible. I mean, the kid barely sleeps, and I’m going to make her set aside two hours to sit for photos, just to save some money? No. Not this time. And two of the four formal shots taken at school last spring were so flattering that I knew it would be a risk to turn them down and simply hope that the friend could get some that would be just as good. For unknown reasons, photos of Bookworm are rarely as attractive as she is in person. It’s hard to get a bad photo of Gaze, but you have to get just the right expression out of Bookworm or she looks somewhat severe.

(And Taz? Oh dear… wonder if I’ve still got a digital version of that dreadful school picture from a couple of years ago? Hmm, can’t find it. It was SO awful that at first I thought I’d demand my money back, but the more I looked at the photo, the more I laughed, and then I realized that that dreadful photo was worth every single penny! The deal was this: fall photos you have to preorder. They don’t even send proofs. But he’d missed the first photo day when he was sick, and I hadn’t gotten the memo from the school about make-up pictures, and we were running late, and his hair was sticking out every-which-way, and he’d put on an old t-shirt that neither one of us liked, but he didn’t have time to change, and I didn’t think it would matter… Of COURSE that would be the day they did make-up pictures. Oh, and that face he made in the photo? Completely priceless. Utterly Taz. It still cracks me up. Worth. Every. Penny.)

SOTD: Mariella Burani edt. This is one of those scents that I had overapplied once, and people around me kept saying, “Do you smell baby powder?” Eep. I put it away for awhile. Now I know, don’t employ the “spray until wet” technique for MB. But gosh, it’s nice.

Saturday, Dec. 1 – Warmish. My parents stopped by to bring me the poinsettia they usually give me (I know, they’re sweet, aren’t they?) and give some hugs. We cleaned up, of course, and made a nice meal. Unfortunately, The CEO found an enormous water leak in a field we rent, and the cows all standing around the waterer thiiiiiis close to dying of thirst, so he spent the day trying to fix it, and when he was home, he was in a horrible mood. I don’t think he appreciated the steak. SOTD: Vintage Emeraude. So pretty.

Sunday, Dec. 2 – Slept late. It’s December, so no morning church. This is the third, or maybe fourth (?) year that we’ve done “December Nights,” services in the evening only. Last year we were in a small venue, and did services at 4 pm and 5:30, but this year we’re borrowing a larger space, with one service at 5pm. I like the experience, but it feels odd. And we always miss out on at least one Sunday night service because of my community choir concert, which is always at 3pm on the second Sunday of December, and 7pm the next day, in two different locations. The CEO spent most of the day trying to fix the waterer in that rented field; lack of a necessary repair to the hose caused water not to get to the container that the cows drink from, and they get all pushy and start banging into the waterer, and then IT gets damaged, compounding the problem… I think he finally got it fixed.


Bookworm with the district track trophy, spring of 2011. That’s Grace behind her.

Watched “The Blind Side” together and talked about some of the things we’d like to do this holiday season. Bookworm left at 4:30 to drive to Roanoke College, about an hour away, for an overnight recruiting visit. A good friend of hers, Grace, attends Roanoke on an excellent academic scholarship, and since Grace has been something of a mentor to Bookworm in a number of areas (she was track and cross-country team captain, drum major, and Governor’s School student) and encouraged her a lot – well, Bookworm has not been all that interested in Roanoke College, except that Grace is involved! Proud of my girl for driving herself and stretching her wings a little.

SOTD: Black Cashmere. It’s relatively warm for this time of year, with daytime temperatures in the 60sF, but I really love the clove-benzoin-incense thing BC has going on. It’s not too heavy at all.


20 thoughts on “Scent Diary, Nov. 26 – Dec. 2, 2012”

  1. I never noticed the similarity between Wazamba and Fille en Aiguilles, but I can see it now, the fruity pine thing. To my nose FeA is quite dark and raisin-y, whereas Wazamba is bright and cheerful and fun, like dried apples and pine with tons of labdanum. MORE FOR ME, as they say!

    I totally agree on the similarity of Tuscany per Donna to Tresor, except I hate Tresor. I think it’s the lilac that ruins it for me, but I’m not sure. Anyway, I have a big ol’ bottle of Tuscany per Donna, and I’d be happy to send you some if you ever have a hankering for more.

    1. I didn’t notice the similarity on my own, but seems like all the bloggers were talking about it when Wazamba was first released. “Bright, cheerful, fun,” is definitely NOT how it smelled on me. Gaze actually jerked his head back in horror, and he’s a fairly sophisticated sniffer for a 14-yo.
      But yes: more for you.

      I do not think I could wear TpD again either. Where’s that emoticon for the slightly queasy face? Urgh. Tresor that’s been peed on… I can handle the nursing home smelling like that, but I just can’t put it on my skin on purpose.

        1. Dunno. It’s usually cassis bud, I think. (Which I like in some settings: Pamplelune. L’Arte di Gucci.) But I don’t care much for vetiver, that’s true.

          Just checked Fragrantica, and neither cassis bud nor vetiver are listed notes. Huh.

          1. Yeah, I checked the note list once before and think it must be bunk. There’s vetiver in there for sure!

            Also, I love cassis bud, pissy hiss and all.

  2. LOL, school pictures. My daughter gets daycare school pictures done – this year’s, which we just got the proofs for, were quite charming, but last year’s were so funny – she was in that toddler stage where their on-demand “smile” is just crinkling their face and showing their teeth. Hard to describe but maybe you know what I mean. I remember a lot of drama about my own senior class pictures – a bunch of my friends had gone outside the school to a very expensive, fancy photographer, and I wanted to, too – but my mom would not pay for it. Le sigh. Looking back, I think my photos were sort of nicer anyway – more traditional and less “sexy”. (Not that these outside photos were super-sexy… just a little, but looking back, mine seem more appropriate!).

    I love me some Tuscany per Donna. It’s on my wishlist. Funny, I’d say our taste is quite similar, with a few exceptions: one being that I love the Lauder archive, and you despise it!

    I find Tuscany per Donna kind of similar to Mona di Orio’s Musc (Elisa and I were talking about this on Twitter over the weekend) and also to Malle’s Iris Poudre.

    1. Ah, school pictures. I am really glad that we paid (way too much) for these formal shots, because they’re so GOOD and that doesn’t happen very often with Bookworm’s posed photos. I can’t see the point in having lots of informals done, though.

      Tuscany per Donna something like Iris Poudre? Girrrrl, whatchu smokin’?? Nope, don’t get that at all. Not familiar with that Mona (actually, the only two Monas I’ve tried were Jabu and Tubereuse), but I see the relationship with the concept of musk. But to me, Iris Poudre is all about that fluffy benzoin-iris-aldehyde combo, and if it has a color at all, it’s shades of pastel pink and blue tinting the underside of those poofy clouds… Angelic and feathery. TpD, OTOH, is richly colored like its box – dark pink and burgundy and hunter green and mustard gold, sort of a Victorian drawing room color scheme.

      I know, I know, perception. Sigh.

        1. I had missed that post at Undina’s blog! Fascinating… and I still don’t get the relationship. There are several other things that remind me of some part of IP’s development, but I’m pretty sure it’s not snobbery that makes me shake my head at TpD=IP. Probably it’s something to do with differing perceptions of the notes that are prominent to each of us in those two – TpD was “rose-orange-amber-wood” for me, and very colorful. IP is all “iris-aldehydes-musk-tonka,” and as I’ve said, IP has practically no color at all except that of shadows on snow. Perceptions…

    2. I have an almost full 100 ml bottle of Tuscany per Donna that I very rarely wear–it’s nice enough, but didn’t work very well for me the first time I tried it, so I’m not sure why I thought it would be more suitable a second time. If you would like it, I’d be glad to send it your way. My email is snchamness at msn dot com.

        1. I think the comment reply indents are just not very distinct, but if I squint and follow the comments up, it’s probably in the right spot.

          Yeah, I know. Not very helpful. Unlike you and your generous offer to her! how sweet of you.

  3. Russian Tea! I had totally forgotten about this stuff, but we used to make this at home when I was a kid. And I guess it was usually around the holidays too. Was just talking about Tang with my husband and he said he’d only had it once – it was a staple of my childhood. Too bad I don’t have any of those items at home since I don’t think I’m feeling nostalgic enough to go buy lemonade mix, tang mix and iced tea mix just to try some again! I did love it though.

    1. Tang was a special treat at my house, too, and my mom only made Russian tea a few times. The CEO would probably live on Tang if he could.

  4. The Russian Tea sounds interesting, except that I don’t like Tang. Never did. Give me a good unsweetened Chai with steamed milk any day.
    I’m laughing about the SA not getting that you didn’t want to try Lady Gaga or Dot. I had one two weeks ago practically beg me to try those and something similar and I just looked at her and said, “Don’t you agree that I’m a bit older than the target demographic for those scents?” Then again, I am letting my gray hair go au natural.
    Ah, outrageously expensive school photos. Always hated those things. My daughter almost always had a forced expression or she’d get her hair the way she liked it and then the photographer would mess with it when she sat down. Freshman year the retake day was during spirit week, so my daughter has on face paint and a green tank top. Lovely! Senior portraits weren’t great and we waffled on ordering them so long we missed the deadline. My daughter didn’t seem to care and DH was happy to not spend the $$, since senior portraits seemed to be three times more expensive than regular school photos. Yeah, I know, I’m a bad parent. I know you’re supposed to do things like senior portraits, but no one in this family wanted them, so it seemed like a waste of $.

    1. Face paint! You’d think they’d have been more careful with the scheduling…

      I feel slightly guilty about spending money on those portraits, but I know good and well that a) we don’t have any really good pictures of our first baby, not since her Christmas pictures the year she was three, so I WANTED PICTURES! b) other senior parents are spending way more than we did, and c) she’s already so stressed and overscheduled I just couldn’t put her through any more sittings. Okay, maybe that’s justifying my decision, but maybe not. When’s the next time I’m going to see another good portrait of her? I have no idea.

      That SA seemed particularly anxious to make a sale. She’s an older lady, maybe in her 60s, and her hair and makeup seem very dated. Also, every time I’ve been in Belk’s she’s been wearing a skirt suit and orthopedic sneakers. Which of course makes me feel bad for her – she’s older, she has to be on her feet all day, and you just KNOW that when she was younger she was wearing the highest heels she could manage. (Wonder why she doesn’t just switch to some nice trousers? They’d look less strange with the granny-gout shoes.)

      1. If the senior portraits of Bookworm are nice, you shouldn’t feel guilty about getting them. Of all the poses done for my daughter’s senior portrait, the best one was just “meh” and the rest went down hill from there. Somehow, spontaneous, candid photos of my daughter tend to come out better than posed portraits.

        That SA at Belk’s sounds like she’s been working hard for a long time. I had a friend who worked as a SA at Saks maybe 15 to 20 years ago and she said part of the dress code was that female SAs had to wear high heels. She hated it. When she finished grad school, she went to work for a corporate recruiting firm.

  5. Wazamba (yes, most fun name ever) is one of my favorite incenses. But the moment I read “balsamy” in your reviews, I know it’s going to be an evil scent twin moment. 😉

    Russian Tea! That brought back some memories. It was a winter staple in our house when I was a kid. Light on the Tang, heavy on the lemonade and iced tea mix. Mom was under the impression that it was a healthy drink (eh, not so much), and I probably had it just about every winter evening.

    I’ve got a couple of Alkemia oils which I purchased and then stuck away in a drawer somewhere – I need to pull them out and finally try them. One is a honey/tobacco scent the other something resinous if I remember.

    1. Russian Tea healthy! Heh. Pretty funny. I’d rather have had Constant Comment, actually.

      Yeah, you are SO Right about the balsamy Evil Scent Twin thing. I just can’t stand it. I think I saw that Alkemia honey-tobacco thing… Miel Sauvage et Tabac or something like that. Wonder what the other was – Arcanum? Hippie Gypsy? Vamp? Interesting names Alkemia’s got, anyway.

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