Scent Diary and NaNoWriMo Report, Nov. 8-14, 2010

Monday, Nov. 8:  First “free” day after the end of the Signature Scent Challenge week!  Went a little wild with excitement, and put on SL La Myrrhe.  Which I love, and which is easily the most expensive thing I own.  Luckily, a single spritz lasts a long time for me – about ten hours.  After that wore off, I went a little wilder and put on some Maison Francis Kurkdjian Lumiere Noire pour femme (one of your more unwieldy perfume names, I admit – nothing like the simplicity of Coty Emeraude!).  Which I also love.  Mmm.

Also, Bookworm was teasing me and I threatened her with Dior Poison, a.k.a. the Elixir of Death… I told her that if she ever did anything really mean to me, I was going to take that little bottle of parfum up to her room and drench her sports bras (she runs every day) in it as revenge.  So I got Poison on my fingers, too.  I was a strange-smelling cloud.

NaNo total word count: 13,420. 

Tuesday, Nov. 9:  Warmer today, should be back up into the low/mid-60s.  The dregs of MFK Lumiere Noire pf were still on my wrists when I got up, and even survived a shower, but it’s too raunchy (for me) to wear to work, so I spritzed something I thought would cover it: Natori EdP.  I love the aldehydes and plum in the top, I love the spicy-woody stuff, but there are a few balsamy moments that might possibly kill me if they got any more Opium-esque.  As it is, Natori skates juuuust barely on the positive side of “Will I be able to keep my lunch down?”  Also, it sticks around all day, so no other sampling.

NaNo total word count: 14,823.  Gosh, this is getting harder and harder – I’ve written most of the major scenes, and now am stuck with stitching them together… I have also added a mystery/crime plot twist and am hampered by not knowing what the actual police procedure would be.

Wednesday, Nov. 10: Warm and sunny again.  SOTD: Smell Bent One.  Which reminds me – my bottle hasn’t shown up yet – I’ll go email them and see what’s happened to it… okay, deal is they didn’t get info from PayPal, and it’s now on its way, along with a few samples as an apology.  Apology wasn’t necessary – mistakes happen! – but it was really sweet of Brent Leonesio to offer them.  I’ll probably do another Smell Bent roundup with these, but since four out of the five don’t sound very much like “me,” I may do a prize draw for the slightly-used samples.  It’s as good a way as any to pass on some scents that someone else might appreciate more than I do.

SB One stuck around most of the day, but before bedtime I spritzed some Alahine.  Mmm.   

NaNo Total word count: 15,853.  Still slogging through.

Thursday, Nov. 11: Another chilly morning and warm afternoon.  My fragrance choices are probably skewing more wintery than they would if I were taking more consideration of the weather, but it’s so dry and un-fall-like.  I haven’t wanted Magie Noire or Tabac Aurea at all this week, I’m going for the cuddlies.  I smelled so wonderful when I got up that I respritzed Alahine this morning.  I love Alahine.

NaNo Total word count: 16,777.

Friday, Nov. 12: Weather the same.  SOTD: Iris Poudre.  Now that I’ve finally given in to my acquisitive impulses and gotten in on a split, I feel free to spritz from the sample.

Went to a conference with Taz’s 4th grade  teacher this morning, on account of that Handwriting grade of “inconsistent,” with an “unsatisfactory effort” mark, on his report card, which was otherwise very good.  None of my children have excellent handwriting, and I don’t insist on that.  I’m going for legible here, and Taz definitely misses the mark.  Mr. Souder and I now have a plan for addressing the issue, and Taz will find himself either focusing on doing a good and careful  job, or pouting over the consequences, which include multiple rewrites,  lower test grades, loss of computer/TV time, extra chores at home, and loss of pickup football games during recess.  (The boy is capable of a mammoth pout.  He’s also capable of tremendous effort, when he chooses to exert himself.)  We’ll see if he decides to fulfill his capabilities.

The CEO took me out to dinner and then to a concert by the university orchestra (Dvorak’s New World Symphony), and I wore more Iris Poudre, which is wonderful stuff and certainly deserves more than the three stars it received in P:TG.  I think LT was annoyed that it wasn’t very iris-y – I notice that fragrances with “bait and switch” names tend to get short shrift from him.  We all have our little prejudices.

NaNo Total word count: 17,502.  Lame.

Saturday, Nov. 13: More gorgeous short-sleeves weather.  SOTD: Tauer Orange Star.  I sprayed about half a spritz on my thumb, and am enjoying it more this time than the last two, but closer to my nose, I think, would kill me.  Me n’ orange blossom iz Not Frends. 

Wrapped up three shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child – we usually do one from each of our kids, and they help shop for and wrap each one.  Passing a little bit of love around is a big thrill.

NaNo Total word count: 19,495.

Sunday, Nov. 14:  Frost on the windshield this morning again, with Taz running around outside in shorts this afternoon.  SOTD: Teo Cabanel Early Roses, from a sample sent to me by Dear Daisy, our Queen Enabler.  In the early stages, I was thinking, “Meh, simple rose soliflore,” but the drydown is lovely and woody-fresh in the best possible way.   It’s made in the same style as DelRae Coup de Foudre, a simulacrum of a living rose, but sticks around far longer than CdF.  Every Teo Cabanel fragrance I’ve tried – well, there are only five – has been well-made of good materials, nothing fakey or cliched, coherent from top to bottom, even if I didn’t fall hard for all of them.  Meloe is an un-ditzy, refreshing fruity floral done right.  Oha is a beautiful, elegant rose chypre.  Julia is a lovely, innocent mixed bouquet.  And you already know how much I love Alahine, when I hadn’t expected to enjoy it at all.

NaNo Total word count: 23,602.  I am a teeny-tiny bit ahead of the average pace – at the end of the day, on a 1667-words-a-day schedule, I should be at 23,358.  My advantage is not enough to be significant, but given my struggles during Week Two, I’m pleased.  My story has gotten tighter and more dramatic, less romance-focused, and I’m happy with that.

Image is Romantic Perfume from Ms. Tina at Flickr.

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Scent Diary and NaNoWriMo Report, Nov. 1-8, 2010

Monday, Nov. 1: Statement Day at work. First day of the Signature Scent Challenge; I chose Coty Emeraude (vintage parfum de toilette). Long, hectic and busy day… I didn’t put enough Emeraude on, and can barely smell it. This bottle is a splash type, and I dabbed. What I can smell is lovely, all warm and rich. Between wearings, it’s easy to forget just how good it is.

Took the boys trick-or-treating – we had fun. I did find myself wishing for something edgier, like Champagne de Bois, while we were walking down the leaf-covered streets. If trick-or-treating had been scheduled for last night, on actual Halloween the way normal people do it, The CEO could have taken them, but he has a late class on Monday afternoons and wouldn’t get home until 7pm.

NaNoWriMo daily word count: Big Fat Zero. Too busy.

Tuesday, Nov. 2: Chilly again. This time I grabbed my second bottle of vintage Emeraude pdt, the one I decanted into a spray bottle – and this one is way different: the topnotes have gone off a bit, and smell like gasoline, and the base smells both very powdery and very smoky, a lot more like Shalimar than it probably should. Interesting. The bottle this came from is izzackly like the one I wore yesterday, but it smells so different. Eight hours after spraying, though, it’s gorgeous, even deeper and richer than I’d remembered it being.

Voted this morning, right after I dropped off the kids and before going in to work. Turns out that 8:30-9:00 am is when the Old People vote. Not that I’m disparaging them – in general, they’re a civic-minded bunch, and I applaud that – but it was a little discouraging to be the youngest person in the building, when I’m in my 40s.

The CEO was very pleased – “his” candidate, the one he’s been supporting and putting up signs for and writing letters to the editor about, for the first time in his life, won, edging out a longterm incumbent. I’m pleased, too, since I haven’t liked the incumbent guy for a good couple of decades. I’ve been skeptical of his judgment ever since he took a luxurious, lobbyist-paid junket back in, oh, 1986 or so.

NaNoWriMo daily word count: 2152. Not enough to make up for yesterday, but a good start.

Wednesday, Nov. 3: I noticed that when the heat kicks on, Eddie Van smells like Champagne de Bois, from where I spritzed it on a few weeks ago. Yum. That is some seriously good stuff. Me and Emeraude, though, we’re still BFF. I had expected to get some new insights into wearing it so often, but that really has not happened. It smells like Emeraude, and it smells great, and it does its usual trick of melting into my skin and feeling like an exhalation of me.

NaNoWriMo daily word count: another big fat Zero. I’m exhausted.

Thursday, Nov. 4: The CEO left yesterday afternoon for a trip to Williamsburg, for the Virginia Farm Bureau Resolutions Meeting. A small number of delegates from the county bureaus are getting together to compose a slate of resolutions, on which the full delegation will vote at the annual convention later in the month. Honestly, I think he lives for these meeting things. I’m scheduled to go to the three-day convention – held at The Homestead, an old hotel and spa in Bath County, after Thanksgiving – as an alternate. With any luck, none of the voting delegates will get sick, and I can count on some good chunks of novel-writing time, in between excellent meals. Nobody begging for clean jeans, nobody asking when dinner’s going to be ready, nobody needing rides to school or home from band practice…

Anyway, I’m getting bored with Emeraude. The thrill is gone. To be frank about my feelings, ol’ Auntie Em still smells great, but I keep thinking, Hey, I’d love to smell some Iris Poudre, or Wouldn’t Le Temps d’une Fete be wonderful right now, or Somebody was talking about Lumiere Noire pour femme, now that’s a fabulous fragrance.

NaNoWriMo daily word count: 1703, just a little bit over the average recommended daily word count.

Friday, Nov. 5: Just above freezing today. I’m getting on fine with Emeraude today – it is quietly wonderful, and I’m reminded again that I shouldn’t be pining for good stuff I don’t have, when there’s so much good stuff I do have. All the same, I’m ready for the experiment to end.

The CEO and I took Gaze to the last high school football game of the season. I hadn’t been to even one this season, and I had really wanted to see the band – and Bookworm, of course. While sitting in the stands, I realized that this is only the second high school football game I’ve been to since I moved here… 18 years ago. Yes, really. (If I was still living in my hometown, close to my own high school, I’d probably have been to at least one game every year.) We nearly froze – temps were hovering right at 36F, and during the last quarter it started to rain. Brrrr! Surprisingly, our team won the game, beating our longtime rivals and thrilling the hardcore fans.

NaNoWriMo daily word count: 3588. Starting to catch up a bit.

Saturday, Nov. 6: Beautiful weather, in the high 50s. SICK OF EMERAUDE. Resenting having to wear it. Gritting teeth. Seriously considering ditching the experiment, because now I’ve found out what I wanted to know – can I wear only one scent this week or not? – and the answer is no.

Persevered. Wore it again. Found that my animosity is not due to the fragrance itself, but the idea that I couldn’t pick something else. This does not surprise me, really. The mantra “only two more days” worked fine. Especially since, having decided that my main novel character wears Coco Mademoiselle, I spritzed a bit of CM, from a spray sample I bought for my sister, onto a handkerchief and set it by my laptop so I could smell it frequently.

NaNoWriMo daily word count: 3757. Yay! I’m caught up. It was a good, productive writing day.

Sunday, Nov. 7: Hard frost when we got up. Brrr. Emeraude was friendly again, and warm and rich, and again I was thrilled by the waft of Champagne de Bois in my minivan when we got the heat pumping.

NaNoWriMo daily word count: 2206. Weekly word count: 13,406 – pretty good, compared to the standard 7-day benchmark of 11,669 (but still very far behind some other people, notably Chicken Freak of Chicken Freak’s Obsessions!).

Onward and upward. I certainly hope that the coming week will be more interestingly-scented.

Image is Parfumesse in Holland, by parfumgott, at Flickr.

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Scent Diary, Oct. 25-31, 2010

Brief Note:  A Week of Violets kicks off Monday, Nov. 1 – check here at noon Eastern Daylight Time for the first review of the week.

Monday, Oct. 25: Rain.  Rainrainrain.  We needed it, but I must say that I was juuust a wee bit miffed that it started to pour only after I got to work, and so missed out on hauling the Lancome Climat out.  I don’t know why, but I like Climat in the rain.  The samples I had in my purse were thoroughly overmatched by the weather, so I waited until I got home to be scented.

And by then it had stopped raining.  SOTE: Shalimar Light.

Tuesday, Oct. 26: Another warm day – where is our fall weather? I miss it.  Also, I’m still mowing the grass every two weeks.  (This pleases The CEO because it means the grass in the pastures is still growing, and this puts off the time when he’ll have to start feeding hay.)  SOTD: Champagne de Bois, which the grocery clerk liked so much she asked where she could get some.

Took the boys to pick out new glasses, since they haven’t had new ones for two years, and Taz’ lenses are so scratched he can barely see out of them.  Gaze’s glasses are still in good shape, and I’ll keep his current pair as a backup since his prescription didn’t change very much.  I think The CEO is getting to need glasses as well – not surprising, since he’s heading into his mid-40s, when many people’s eyes begin to change.

Wednesday, Oct. 27: Rained again this morning.  Sunny again this afternoon.  Weird violets today – I have CBIHP M4 Room With a View on one wrist and Stephen Jones for Comme des Garcons on the other.  In contrast to my previous explorations of these, I’m liking RWaV much better and SJ much, much less… this is very strange.  Must retest on another day.

Thursday, Oct. 28Happy Birthday to The CEO!  Smooches.  Cake and presents after supper…

Another warmish day today, in the 70s, and I’m wearing the girly-wirly Annick Goutal La Violette while finishing up my review of it for the Week of Violets.

Thursday, Oct. 29: Chillier today, highs in the mid-50s.  Well, this is more like it!  I’ve been waiiiiting for this kind of weather.  SOTD: Penhaligon’s Violetta, while finishing up my review for Week of Violets.  These reviews were already mostly-written, but I wanted to re-wear La Violette and Violetta to see if I had missed anything significant. 

I notice that Eddie Van, my minivan, smells like Champagne de Bois from where I spritzed it the other morning.  Yum

SOTA: That Slut Tocade.  I’ve been missing her, and her rosy, smoky vanilla is just right wafted about on this chilly wind.  I mowed about half the yard before it got too chilly… and then I got brave, and dabbed some Rochas Femme (new) on the back of my left hand, and Houbigant Apercu on the back of my right.  Femme is pretty freaky – definitely cumin and crushed peaches for a good hour, and then it’s got a deliciously warm drydown.  I’m thinking now of Balenciaga Rumba.  Apercu, as I expected, is a dry restrained chypre, and although it’s very nice, it’s not comfortable for me.  But then, I’m not an automatic chypre fan; generally chypres have to be very, VERY floral before I can appreciate them.

Friday, Oct. 20:  We had frost last night!  My begonias are (finally) done for, but miraculously the salvia is still fine.  SOTD: Cuir de Lancome.  This is smokier than it was last time I wore it – is my bottle deteriorating? or is it my nose?  I can’t believe how tired I am, and how much stuff I have to do before November starts…

Saturday, Oct. 21: The cousins – Curiosity and Primrose – are visiting this weekend along with their mom, The CEO’s sister, and the boys are all excited.  Bookworm’s gone; the marching band left this morning for a band competition and then were going to head on to an amusement park and stay until the park closed at 1 am before heading home… we’ll have to go to the high school to pick her up around 3 am early Sunday morning.  (Grrr.)  SOTD: Smell Bent One.

As late as Thursday, Taz was insisting that he wanted to be a knight for Halloween.  He had an old cheapie knight costume I bought several years ago – helmet, breastplate, and sword – of which only the breastplate survives, so I was planning to make him a new helmet and sworn out of a gallon milk jug and craft foam, and a shield out of aluminum pizza pans.  Instead, today he insisted that he wanted to be a Viking instead.  GRRR.

Gaze was planning to dress as a cowboy for Halloween, since we had most of that costume just lying around, except for a hat.  We couldn’t find the old cowboy hat, and it was in such badly worn shape the last time I saw it, I’m sure I had thrown it away.  So I picked up the only one I could find – and of course, it’s too small for him!   I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised: this was the kid who made no progress down the birth canal, and when he was finally born by C-section, my OB-GYN took one look at him and said, “No wonder! Look at the head on this kid!”  His head is, literally, bigger than mine.  And then we realized he’d outgrown the set of cowboy boots too… so that was out the window.

SO.  I therefore spent the entire weekend making Viking costumes.  Horned helmets (supplies: milk jugs, newspaper, masking tape, duct tape, brown paper bags, elastic, fake fur), armor straps and wristbands (more duct tape), and furry capes (faux fur, ribbons and my sewing machine).  Long shirts made good tunics over sweatpants, and the black work boots we already had completed the clothing.  While I was fiddling around trying to make shields, it finally occurred to me that the lids from my big canning pots have handles!  They were great, with some colored tape for decoration, as shields.  Taz had an old “pirate” sword, and Gaze took an old bent curtain rod with a fleur-de-lis finial for a spear. 

Sunday, Oct. 31:  The CEO graciously got out of bed to go pick up Bookworm when she called us at 3:17 a.m.  Sigh.  SOTD: Mauboussin.  Boy, this is a nice fragrance.  I notice that I was using the dregs of my mini bottle, so I’m officially out.  I’m still puzzled as to how I managed to spend so many years thinking I hated Oriental scents, when so many of my current favorites are of this genre… oh, yeah.  Opium, that’s how.

Halloween is officially being celebrated in our town tomorrow night, purportedly because the merchants who participate in the Treat Trail wanted to move the date to a business day.  Crazy, I think – why wouldn’t they just host the Treat Trail on the next business day after Halloween?  Anyway, here’s a picture of Taz (at left) and Gaze as a pair of adorably stern Vikings:

Top image is from Parfumgott at Flickr.  Bottom photo taken by The CEO.

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Scent Diary, Oct. 18-24, 2010

Monday, Oct. 18: Temps in the mid-70s… I sure wish for some rainy-windy weather.  It’s lovely for talking walks, but everything is getting dry and crunchy, and I don’t mean just the leaves.  SOTD: Laura Tonatto Eleanora Duse.  I have been getting out alllll my violet samples and wearing them.  I was surprised to get about 25 minutes’ worth of wear out of Eleanora Duse (I almost abbreviated it ED, but we watch enough sports around here that I am sick to death of the commercials for medications that treat erectile dysfunction).   Last time I  wore it, it lasted at least three hours.  Huh.  Wonder if I underapplied. 

I think I’m getting sick with Bookworm’s virus thingy – I may have missed out on the strep throat, but I have gook running down the back of my throat and I’m coughing those deep rattly coughs that hurt your chest.   SOTE: Alahine.  Sigh, then smile.

Tuesday, Oct. 19:  Low 70s today, expecting rain this evening.  SOTD: Stephen Jones for Comme des Garcons (or the other way round, I forget which).  I hope to wear this often enough to get a handle on it and write a real review.  It is a freaky thing.

I also broke down and bought a small bottle of Moschino Funny! on eBay, after using up two samples this summer and still loving it.  I’ll be putting it away for some time, since it will probably be a birthday present in January and winter would surely suck the life out of this happy grapefruit-rose-tea scent.

Wednesday, Oct. 20: Wet morning in the mid-50s, dry afternoon ten degrees warmer.  SOTM: Serge Lutens Chergui.  Which I don’t like, and which I keep trying because I keep expecting to love it.  I still don’t.  I officially give up.  There are only a few scents I keep trying, hoping that the beauty that others sense in them will someday be mine, and Chergui is one.  The other is Mitsouko.  I think I may hang on to my small decant of Mitsy edp, and retry once a year, but then again I may get sick of the whole fruitless, bootless pursuit. 

SOTA: SSS Tabac Aurea.  Mmmm.  One spritz on my inner elbow, and I have Virtual October 1985 escorting me around everywhere.  “That’s interesting,” Gaze commented as I breezed through the room on the way out the door to pick Bookworm up from cross-country practice. I had put it on about twenty minutes before getting her, and when she got into the van she commented, “You smell weird.”  Oh yeah? I asked.  “It’s not bad or anything, just… strange,” she explained.  Interesting, weird and strange?  Not really.  It’s the far-off hint of cigarettes, mossy forest floor, leaf mould,  leather bomber jacket, gingersnaps, a perfect golden autumn afternoon, old bonfire, and the warm skin of your beloved.  If a man walked by wearing TA, I’d follow him down six miles a’ bad road.  At least.  (Sadly, The CEO has refused.  He has no idea what he’s missing.)

Thursday, Oct. 21: Sick.  Coughing my head off.  I didn’t really want any perfume until later in the day – I eventually thought it might cheer me up.  Although my nose is running, and I’m coughing and sneezing and blowing my nose every third minute, I actually can smell somewhat.  So I put on Cuir de Lancome.  Delicious.  Such a smoky smell, I always think, the P:TG review notwithstanding. 

Just checked Incendiary, the novel by Chris Cleave, out of the library.  Saw the movie on DVD, and Michelle Williams is extraordinary as the unnamed Young Mother whose bomb-squad cop husband and four-year-old son are killed in a suicide bombing at a football game, while she’s at home rooting around on the sofa with the neighborhood journalist/playboy (Ewan MacGregor, by turns really sexy and loathsomely selfish, the sexy part surprising because I’ve never found him attractive before).  Her guilt and grief and loss of purpose drive her to extreme ends.  Added into the mix is her husband’s former boss (Matthew MacFadyen, who like Michelle Williams is an amazing actor – his performance here is a blend of vulnerability, self-righteousness, and irrational stalker behavior, and it set me to actually squirming in my chair from the creepiness), and what he did or did not know beforehand about the bombing.   Excellent, disturbing movie.  The ending, while not exactly Hollywood Happy, is satisfying.  I cried.  (If you’ve seen the film, please mention whether or not you picked up on a David-and-Uriah sort of reference, or whether you think I’m reading too much into it.)

I ran across this line in the book, and have been thinking about it all day – the Young Mother, thinking of her son, writes, “His room smells of boy.  Boy is a good smell it is a cross between angels and tigers.”  Boy is a good smell, one of my favorites in the world, and I especially love the smell of my sons’ and nephews’ heads when they’ve been outside running around.  “Sweat,” my mother says, but that’s not entirely it: wind, leaves, skin, candle wax, and – yes – a bit of skin and sweat.  It’s been a great sadness to me to realize that as Gaze has gotten older, he’s lost that boy-head smell.  Now if he goes outside to play football with Taz, and they both come in and hug me, Taz smells of boy head, and Gaze smells sweaty.  (Well, Taz’s armpits smell locker-room sweaty – but his head is still young.) 

Little girls smell good too – but different; they keep the sweet baby smell longer but never develop that outdoorsy-boy-head smell, no matter how long they play outside.  

Friday, Oct. 22: I feel a little better.  I was scheduled to work the concessions at the football game tonight, as a band parent (what do the football parents do to raise money, or do they not need to?), but since I am still hacking like Doc Holliday, The CEO offered to step in for me.  Sweet man.  SOTD: SSS Champagne de Bois.  I thought surely someone would tell me I smelled nice, but no one did.  However, they might have been simply staying a safe twelve feet away from me and my runny nose, and thus could not smell me.

The CEO related to me something that happened while he was working the concession stand: a kid named JT that he recognized from Gaze’s baseball team walked up to buy a hot dog, accompanied by a couple of other kids, and they were talking to each other: “That’s Gaze Woodenshoes’ dad!” “Yeah, really?”  Then JT asked, “Hey, aren’t you Gaze Woodenshoes’ dad?”  The CEO said yes, and one of the other kids said, “Gaze is awesome!”

Well.  Well, yeah.

Saturday, Oct. 23: Beautiful weather, sunny and 75F, with a bit of breeze.  State marching band festival at the high school.  Left the house at 8 am, spritzed with my darling Le Temps d’une Fete.  Picked up 32 hot dogs at the grocery store as the sophomore band student’s contribution to the day, then helped set up and run the registration table.  I did get to see our band’s performance today and thought they did very well; however, they didn’t score the Superior rating they were aiming for.  Bookworm is an excellent marcher: crisp and precise, with a good sense of place and turns so sharp you could cut your finger on them.  I’m proud.

Sunday, Oct. 24: More beautiful weather.  SOTD: L’Artisan Parfumeur Orchidee Blanche, candy-sweet, innocent little thing.  Pretty, but has not captured my heart like Iris Poudre did for “just pretty.”  (Sigh.  Iris Poudre… I want some.  Somewhere, my lemmings have started a demanding chant of DE-CANT, DE-CANT, DE-CANT!  Which would be bad, actually, because if I had it, I’d get used to wearing it, because it’s seasonless, pretty and comfortable, and the more I wear it the more I like it.  And then I’d want a full bottle.  Of a Frederic Malle.   Ouch.  And it’s not even complicated or terribly unusual, it’s just pretty.  Really, really pretty.)

Image is Vintage perfumes from pas89 at ebay.com.  (No, the auction is no longer live. )

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Scent Diary, Oct. 11-17, 2010

Monday, Oct. 11:  Lovely day, in the low 80s as it has been for the past few days: Indian summer.  I’m actually wishing for a bit of cooler weather, so I can wear more autumnal stuff like Jolie Madame and Tabac Aurea.  And after smelling the woods at Monticello yesterday, I’m wanting just a tad of vintage Magie Noire.  However, since I’m working on a review of Caron Aimez-Moi, to be posted with some other reviews of violet scents the first week of November as part of a joint blog project with Scent of the Day and Redolent of Spices, I wore that.  I like it.  I have a small bottle, and I have to say it’s one of the prettiest bottles I own.

Came home from work and found the front door wide open – and dog tooth marks on the doorknob.  Bad Hayley dog!  I  mean, smart Hayley dog, but bad dog!  Guess we’re going to have to start locking the doors.  I know, I know…  But we live on a road nobody can find, and we have a few neighbors close by, at least one of whom is nearly always home.  She was outside because yesterday she got into something really incredibly foul-smelling (Fresh manure? Something dead?  That stinky plant I don’t know the name of?  All three?).

I think Bookworm has got Gaze’s strep throat.  I figured we’d eventually be paying for this hectic schedule of hers, and although her grades are still excellent, the late nights and constant running around are really messing with her health.  This is her second illness of the school year.  I think Cross Country and marching band is just too much. 

The CEO just gave Hayley a bath in the basement tub, and I can hear him singing to her, “Towel time, it’s towel time – time to dry off the doggie!”  Awwwww.

Tuesday, Oct. 12:  Took poor Bookworm to the doctor – yep, it’s strep.  Wore Moschino L’eau Cheap & Chic, which P:TG says “for a time, does a pretty good imitation of Serge Lutens’ insanely wonderful… La Myrrhe.”  You know how I feel about La Myrrhe (love it), so I was interested enough to pick up a mini bottle for nottalotta $.  So does LC&C resemble La Myrrhe?  No.  Not the least little bit.  It’s not bad, mind you, but it isn’t congruent to any of what I’d call La Myrrhe’s salient points.  Shimmering aldehydes? Umm, sort of, a few soapy ones… okay, I’ll be generous.  Aldehydes, check.  Vaguely medicinal air?  Well, no.  Cooking herbs, maybe.  We’ll call that one “close but no cigar.”  Rose and jasmine shot through with light? (crickets)  Resinous myrrh with sun glare?  (more crickets)  Nope.  No, as a La Myrrhe smell-alike, LC&C is a big FAIL. 

I know P:TG says “for a time.”  But how long a time, I’m wondering – a nanosecond?  During the aldehydic part?  As far as I’m concerned, even the aldehydes aren’t the same.  What LC&C really reminds me of is L’Artisan’s Passage d’Enfer, with the herbal stuff, the resiny pine bits… PdE is more shaving cream, while LC&C is more bar of Dove soap, but still: herbs, pine, and lather.

SOTE: F Malle Iris Poudre.  Which is still terrific.  Still almost delicious up top, and still reminds me of Mariella Burani in the drydown.  And I have a nearly-full bottle of MB (which is discontinued but still available for around $30 at the discounters, if you can find it).

Wednesday, Oct. 13:  Happy birthday to Gaze!  He’s 12 today. 

I have recently gotten very excited about the upcoming Hermessence, Iris Ukiyoë, which is supposed to focus on the iris blossom, not the usual iris root.  I’ll predict right now that there are going to be a lot of iris-lovers annoyed by it, because it won’t be what they were expecting (and they didn’t do a lot of research on it before jumping).  IU is supposed to be released by the end of November in Paris, but apparently the tester’s available, if hidden, at the Paris Hermes location.  Denyse at Grain de Musc called it a “sweet wet blossom” (here’s her review) – and it’s supposed to have been inspired by Jean-Claude Ellena’s collection of Japanese Ukiyo-e woodcut art, many pieces of which focus on iris.  Iris blossom is very delicate-smelling, and I love the scent.  My guess is that IU is exactly the sort of delicate, streamlined scent likely to be a thing of beauty in JCE’s hands.  I do have a few reservations: Denyse hints at aquatic notes (lotus, perhaps? I liked it in DSH’s Secrets of Egypt Susinon/1000 Lilies) and orange blossom.  OB tends to go quite soapy on me, but if there are just aspects of OB plus other stuff that add up to “iris flower,” I’ll be very happy.  We’ll see.

SOTD: PdN Vanille Tonka, because apparently the last time I wore this pink blouse a spritz of it landed on the fabric.  Oops.  It was too distracting and too near my face to wear something else today.  Good thing I love VT.

Thursday, Oct. 14: Busybusy rushrush.  SOTD: Nothing.  Too tired, and I don’t feel good.  Hope I’m not coming down with strep.

Friday, Oct. 15:  Feeling much better – and The CEO came by work to take me to lunch at the Mexican restaurant, too.  SOTD: Guerlain Idylle edp.  I’m not sure why all the complaints about this one – it’s nice.  The florals are very well-blended and remind me somewhat of the floral portion of Alahine, which you know by now that I love, and then the base is sort of patchouli-woody-musky, deeper than your usual mall swill.  Apparently there are people who firmly believe that Guerlain should never release a scent that could be described as “merely nice,” but honestly, why not?  Chant d’Aromes, Champs-Elysees, and even Chamade were the equivalent of “nice girl” fragrances for the times in which they were created.  I think people are snarky because a) the card for this sample mentions “floral chypre,” and chypre it is definitely not and b) it does rather smell a bit like an upscale Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely.  Difference is, I don’t like Lovely, and I do like Idylle.

On the other hand, if someone is going to give me a bottle of “merely nice” perfume, I want a bottle of Marc Jacobs Daisy instead.

Better yet, someone could save up and get me a bottle of Frederic Malle Iris Poudre!  Which, I admit, is not terribly distinctive and original and shocking and quirky, the way serious perfume nuts often like their scents to be – but I can assure you I’d wear the toothpicks out of it. 

Saturday, Oct. 16: A gorgeous day, sunny, breezy, with temps in the mid-50s F.  Took Bookworm to the high school for PSATs, then came home and cleaned up the house.  The CEO and Jeff the Hired Guy loaded up two bulls with wanderlust – after the fifth time we found them four fields away where they should have been – and took them to an entirely different part of the farm where they couldn’t jump fences.  (Actually, it may have been the plain old-fashioned variety of lust rather than wander-, because we kept finding them in with the heifers.) 

SOTD: Nothing, because I went shopping for a few birthday presents for the boys, having been unable to find what I wanted online, and I tested a few things.  Victoria’s Secret’s new scent, Bombshell?  No.  Just… no.  Went to Bath & Body Works to try to check out those Halloween Pocket-Bac things Jessica reviewed on Now Smell This, and sad to say, they were all gone.  They had Christmas scents, though, so I bought a few Pocket-Bacs in scents like Vanilla Bean Noel (a minty vanilla thing) and Comet’s Ginger Mint (self-explanatory).  Smelled all the Slatkin candles they had out, both the autumn ones and the winter ones, and disliked most of them.  Leaves, Autumn, Spiced Cider, Holly Wreath, Pumpkin Spice, Frosted Cranberry – all of them trying too hard, or something.  I do like the Fresh Balsam one.  And I did fall pretty hard for the candle called Winter, which has a sort of icy-crisp smell, with evergreens and clove and bayberry, maybe even a hint of citrus in there.  For something that sounds like every holiday cliché in the book, it’s restrained.  I even fell hard enough for it to jostle my wallet loose: I bought a small candle in a metal-topped  glass for $5 (half-off sale).

I sprayed some of their new men’s scents on paper to test.  Ocean is, predictably, a Calone marine scent.  Oak was marginally better but still noticeably synthetic.  Noir is, in my opinion, the best of the bunch, a classic aromatic fougere, but unless you were desperate and down to your last $30, you’d be better off with Polo or Drakkar Noir.  In all honesty, you’d be better off still with a 5ml miniature bottle of DN – they sell it at Wal-Mart now, for about $9.  I also smelled the “Summer Vanilla” body spray series (Lemon Vanilla, Coconut Vanilla, and Berry Vanilla), largely because someone mentioned the Lemon Vanilla favorably on one of the blogs I follow.  Coconut and Berry are, as you might expect, toothache-sweet.  Lemon Vanilla I went so far as to actually spray on my left thumb because of its lovely tart lemon-curd topnote, which lasted for a good twenty minutes before the ethylmaltol showed up (Hello there, Angel!). 

Sunday, Oct. 17: Chillier today.  SOTD: Honore des Pres Vamp a NY.  I still dig it, but perhaps less than I did in the summer… it is a bit trashy.   It appears that I don’t mind that trashiness in the summer, or maybe it just goes better with beach novels and sunburned noses.  It lasts alllll day, which is nice as so few things hang around on me.  Also, it blended pleasantly with Bookworm’s Hanae Mori.  (Her samples are almost gone, she tells me.  Time for a small 1 oz bottle?  Or just a few more samples?)

Had the boys’ Family Birthday Party this afternoon, with cake and presents and grandparents and whatnot.  It was nice.

Image is from ScentStash.  

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Scent Diary, Oct. 4-10, 2010

Monday, Oct. 4: Another chilly day with 60F temps.  I’m doing a double-header test: Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile edt on my right wrist, and Frederick Malle Iris Poudre on my left.  For the first 15 minutes, Iris Nobile was winning  hands nostrils down, with a delightful, summery citrus-anise-floral air that charmed me.  Then the Dreaded Orange Blossom showed up and went soapy, which is the DOB’s standard practice on me, so IN is now off the list.  Dang.  I was so enjoying it.   Eventually it settles into a beautiful, light woody skin scent. 

Iris Poudre, on the other hand (literally), is not the powdery thing I was fearing it would be.  It’s another one of those weirdies that smell very different, depending on whether you’re smelling near the skin or smelling the waft in the air.  The sillage is gorgeous, smiling and beckoning in a flirty way.  It’s a) aldehydic, b) floral-girly, c) wafty, and d) lush with vanilla and tonka and sandalwood, approaching the wonderful drydown of Mariella Burani, with perhaps less musk and more sandalwood.  Of course, it’s right up my alley, and thanks very much to Elisa for passing on a sample she didn’t enjoy. 

My bank account is currently screaming, “No, not another Malle!  You have a decant of Carnal Flower!  That’s all I can take!”  The CEO gave me double thumbs up on Iris Poudre, but I’d bet that’s because a) he’s a sucker for “girly” scents on me, and b) he has no idea how much this thing costs.

Tuesday, Oct. 5: Happy birthday, Taz!  After I tucked him in last night and went to kiss the other two, I heard him singing away to himself in his bedroom, “Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me…”  He slays me.

Chilly day today in the low 60s, with mixed clouds and sunshine.  Another busy day at work – boss not there, but little notes all over the place asking for unusual things, like wrapping and delivering a birthday present to a special customer.  SOTMorning: Smell Bent Prairie Nymph, which I thought was terrific for a good four hours, with a juicy orange top sliding into carnation and, possibly, rose, and then a nice not-too-clean musk.  Eventually the musk starts wearing on me – it persisted at least 13 hours – but it’s really nice up until then.

Also, had to take Taz and Gaze to the eye doctor for appointments.  On the way home, Gaze started running a fever and feeling bad.  (Did I mention it’s an hour and ten minutes’ drive to the pediatric opthalmologist’s office and the same distance back?  It is.  And $35 co-pay each time we visit.  That’s per kid, and all three of them have amblyopia… at least we’re out of the every-six-months-visit stage.)  SOTA: Chanel 31 Rue Cambon, which actually played rather nicely with the dregs of Prairie Nymph’s super-tenacious musk.

Wednesday, Oct. 6: Took Gaze to doctor.  Diagnosis: Strep throat.  (Ack, hope the rest of us don’t get it…)  SOTD: Iris Poudre again.  Gaze’s take: “That’s nice.  That’s like… furry bunnies.  Furry bunnies and flowers.  And vanilla cupcakes.  In the kitchen, so you only smell them from far away.” 

Furry bunnies and cupcakes.  I think he’s onto something there.

Thursday, Oct. 7: Warm and sunny again, in the low 80s.  I decided to try that tiny decant/largeish sample of L’Artisan Fleur de Narcisse (you know, the ‘spensive limited-edition one, the one that ScentScelf loves to little pieces, the one that’s supposed to smell like hay) that Dear Daisy sent me.  I expected to love it.  I didn’t.  The last time I tried it, she’d suggested layering it with… gosh, what was it? Anyway, I did that a few weeks ago, and it was nice.  On its own, though, I find a powdery-raspy, back-of-the-throat sting that I sometimes get from orange blossom.  Urgh.  Not loving it.  I waited through half an hour before giving up and covering the spot with Le Temps d’une Fete, which is also narcissus but which never does that raspy thing.  (Neither, for that matter, does my tiny sample of narcissus absolute – which smells amazingly like drying hay.  I’d wear it on its own, but it only lasts a couple of hours.) 

I love LTdF.  I know, I know, my saying that is very like commenting that the sky is blue… everybody knows already, Mals, shaddup already, Mals!  But seriously, my LTdF love is one of the very best things to come out of my perfume interest.  I could wear this thing the rest of my life, and very likely I will.

Friday, Oct. 8: Another sunny warm day.  Tried Fleur de Narcisse again, but the dusty-raspy stuff lasted for hourrrrrs.  Gah.  After the rasp wore off, at T+4 hours, it got nice.  Haylike, golden, warm.  (Still not a patch on LTdF, iffen you ask me.)  

I have whined before about the powdery-raspy-mildewy thing in the heart of Bvlgari Pour Femme.  First I thought it was violet – but it isn’t.  Then I thought it was iris – but it doesn’t appear to be that, either.  Now I’m wondering if it’s mimosa… there is mimosa in BPF.  I thought I liked mimosa.  I’ve got to go check notes again, but if there’s mimosa in Hiris and DSH Parfum de Grasse, I may have identified the culprit…  I feel very Sherlock Holmes.

While I’m checking, I’ll mention the Smell Bent I tried today: Never Never Land.  This is supposed to be rose, dry woods, incense, and possibly vetiver.  I put it on right before going out to mow the yard, and it was wonderful for ten minutes.  After I jumped on the lawnmower, I smelled something so totally incongruous that I had to first check if it was me (it was) and then whether I was really imagining it (nope): Play-Doh.  NNL stayed Play-Doh for two hours.  Man, I cannot imagine Smell Bent was going for Play-Doh with this scent… it must be my nose.  All the same, it’s Play-Doh and I’m not wearing it again.

Back from note-checking. Parfum de Grasse lists mimosa.  Hiris does not.  Hmm.  Inconclusive.  Besides, other scents have mimosa – Grand Amour, Cacharel Eden, Caron Montaigne… wait, maybe I’m just reinforcing my point.  I hated Eden.  Montaigne did not impress me, and Grand Amour is so quiet I can barely smell it.  Amarige has mimosa,  but the synthetic tuberose in it is so loud that you can’t smell much else.  Kenzo Summer, too, but I hated that because it smelled like rancid butter to me.  On the other hand, Cerruti 1881 has mimosa, but I like it.  Same deal with YSL Paris.  And I love Vacances and Rose d’Ete, and they have mimosa.  Huh.  I dunno.  Still inconclusive.  I will have to test Kenzo Winter Flowers  (thanks for the sample, Joe) and see if that changes anything.

And who knows? It’s so common for perfumers to not list every detail of the recipe that it could very well be some note that’s never occurred to me. 

Saturday, Oct. 9: We’re hosting another international Eisenhower Fellow this weekend – after Olanike and her husband Biodun from Nigeria, Somkiat from Thailand, and Erik from Brazil, we’ve got Dong Qing from China.  Nice lady.  She has a 17-year-old son at home, but hardly looks old enough to have a kid that age!

SOTD: Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy Energy Orange Ginger lotion and body mist.  I was a bit rushed for time.  The CEO and the boys took Dong Qing around the farm, and then she made us Chinese green tea.  (Delicious.) 

Sunday, Oct. 10:  Beautiful weather, in the mid 80s and not a scrap of humidity.  We drove to Charlottesville, ate Chinese food, and visited Monticello… we were crazy to do it, since the entire trip wound up taking 13 hours.  Yikes. 

SOTD: a light spritz of Mariella Burani.  By the afternoon, it had worn off, which was probably good as we went up and down the recently-restored 100-yard-long vegetable garden, sniffing herbs: oregano, three varieties of lavender, comfrey, sage, clary sage (which I hated, by the way), artemisia, tansy, thyme, two varieties of rosemary, mint, fennel, and basil.  The basil was in three different places in the garden, separated by several rows, but we could smell it before we could even see it.   I’d actually never seen either lima beans (I like those), okra (hate it) or kohlrabi (have never eaten it – it’s a weird little space freak of a root vegetable, isn’t it?) growing before.  And we walked back down the hill through the woods instead of waiting for the shuttle bus to the parking area, and that smelled wonderful as well: earthy, leafy, green and spicy. 

Maybe I should try Chergui again…

 Image is Perfume Bottles from carpe noctem, at Flickr.  Photo of the vegetable garden at Monticello from the Monticello website.  And, by the way, if you are within driving distance of Monticello, just go already!    It had been a long time since I’d been there – 22 years, I think! – and there were some welcome alterations to the tours and and informational exhibits.  I was particularly glad to see the emphasis placed on the people who did the actual work on the estate.  That’s a relatively recent change, and long overdue.  It’s still ironic to note that Thomas Jefferson, who placed great value on individual freedoms and the equality of persons, owned more than 150 slaves in his lifetime, and freed only seven of them.  Yes, seven – and five of those in his will. 

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Scent Diary, Sept. 27-Oct. 3, 2010

Monday, Sept. 27: Rain!  Rainrainrain… which we needed desperately.  SOTD: Donna Karan Chaos, which I was getting kind of tired of reading about without ever having smelled it.  My carded sample vial, purchased for $3 on ebay, must be from the 2008 re-release.  Word is that the new is just a bit thinner, with more spice and less incense (I think).   The top-heart is really dense with spice, an intense version of the “gingerbread accord” I love so much in Bois des Iles, and then the whole thing settles down and gets very soft and close to the skin.  The incense is nice, too.  I don’t know why I don’t love this, but I don’t.  I do love the spices, and then they up and leave!  Oh well.  I’ll probably use up my sample.

Tuesday, Sept. 28: More rain.  (Good.)  SOTD: Tauer Carillon pour un Ange (second wearing), as I prepare a review.  I had been worrying about wearing this in the fall, since LotV is such a springy note to me, but it actually works okay since the weather is cool.

Wednesday, Sept. 29: Still cool, clouds but no rain.  SOTD: Carillon pour un Ange again (3rd wearing).  Jonathan, the calf that the boys are bottle-feeding, is growing but not thriving as he should.  The other two orphans, Andy and Jean, are fine – still grazing in the shop lot near the house, still intensely interested in watching Jonathan take his bottle.  They must be envious. 

Thursday, Sept. 30: Rain again.  Still a good thing; the water table must have been getting low.  Ponds are starting to fill back up.  I wanted Climat today – something about the gray weather, the clouds and leaves turning, makes me crave it.  But I need to finish my Carillon pour un Ange review, so I’m wearing that again. 

To wear to chorus rehearsal, after CPuA wore off, I spritzed on some of my dear Le Temps d’une Fete.  Mmmmm.   Interestingly, I think you could actually layer the two – they played nicely together.

Friday, Oct. 1: Cool but sunny today, temps in the 60s.  It’s Statement Day at work, so while I printed and folded and stuffed statements in envelopes today, I wore a sample that I just got in the mail –  Smell Bent One, meant to celebrate the independent perfumery’s first anniversary.  The sample pack is such a wild gumbo of different stuff that I think I’ll have to do mini-reviews on all of the scents I tried.

Saturday, Oct. 2: Another crazy Saturday, slinging poor Bookworm around from cross-country meet to band competition.  She came in sixth in the varsity race, a quite respectable finish given that she’s been running junior varsity.  I’m proud.  Smell Bent One on one wrist, and Smell Bent Chile Vanilli on the other.  I have a definite preference.

Sunday, Oct. 3: After church, Bookworm and I went to a performance by the US Marine Band at Virginia Tech.  Wonderful concert!  I wore Amouage Lyric Woman, and she wore DK Gold – which she mentioned is still her favorite.  I’m proud.  It didn’t go so well with Lyric – I thought she’d be wearing her woody-rose thing Clarins Par Amour – but it was independently lovely.  Gold is only faintly ambery on me, and not at all on her – it’s all cool satiny petals. 

I opened my purse at church today to pull out a pen, and got a big whiff of Carillon pour un Ange.  My sample is still in there, and although CPuA IS tightly capped (I double-checked), it wafts.  I mean, it really wafts.

Image is “Romantic Perfumes” from Ms-Tina at Flickr.

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Scent Diary, September 20-26, 2010

Monday, Sept. 20: Big stressful catching-up day, since we were gone all weekend and didn’t do any of the normal house-maintenance things.  There must be a gazillion loads of laundry…

Okay, maybe just eight or nine, but that’s still a lot of laundry.  SOTD: Mariella Burani, which is like a virtual hug from my mom.   

Tuesday, Sept. 21:  With all this laundry,  it was a spectacularly bad moment for the well to start running dirty… but that’s what it did.  The CEO’s uncle, who lives on a portion of the farm, had to replace a section of 80-year-old pipe from the older well to his house, and (unwittingly or not) shut off water access to a group of cows in a particular field.  He didn’t bother to call us, and it was sheer good luck that The CEO happened to go check on a certain cow in that field, or we wouldn’t have known they were out of water.

Know what happens to cows denied access to water for hours in 90-degree heat?  Go ahead, take a guess.  Yeah – they die!  Luckily, these were only without water for about four hours – and when we got their waterer switched over to the other well, they drank so steadily and quickly that it overburdened the second well, and our water got dirty. 

 So we’re on bottled water here for a few days, and the Laundry Monster grows by the minute.  SOTD: DK Gold.

Wednesday, Sept. 22:   Busybusybusy morning, and didn’t want any of the samples I had in my purse (Donna Karan Chaos, TDC Rose Poivree, Kenzo Winter Flowers, DSH Bat Sheba “designer duplicate,” ELd’O Vraie Blonde).  When I got home, I went straight for SL La Myrrhe, which is about as close to perfect as there is, IMHO.  Swoon.

Thursday, Sept. 23:  Again too busy for picking a scent before leaving the house.  But it’s hot again today – supposed to be in the 90s – so most of the things in my purse are too heavy.  Went for the ELd’O Vraie Blonde even though I didn’t expect to like it, since I think aldehydes and heat are made for each other.  What was worrying me about this one, sent to me by a Fumie Friend who loves the thing, was the “milky bruised peach” aspect that P:TG mentions – that combo of lactones and peach just tends to make me ill.  Notes for VB, from Fragrantica: aldehydes, white pepper, patchouli, peach, rose, suede and myrrh.  Having put it on, I must say it’s rather nice in the top and heart.  I don’t get lactones out of it until the drydown, and the patchouli’s pretty clean, so it smells mostly like peachy suede for most of the experience.  After that it gets a bit like… buttermilk.  Which makes great biscuits, but that’s the only time I really want to spend with buttermilk.  I don’t want it on my skin.

Friday, Sept. 24:  I rushed out the door in order to get Bookworm to school early to take a Spanish test she missed by being sick last week.  Ergo, no perfume except the stash-o-samples in my bag, which I was looking forward to rooting through when I got to work…

… except that when I got to work, I found an email from my sister commiserating with me over the domestic tragedy involving some high school friends of mine.  I hadn’t known – had missed the morning radio news – and was utterly shocked and saddened. 

I did not feel like wearing perfume at all, until The CEO called me and said he was done with classes for the day, and could he take me to lunch?  I said yes.  And found that I did want perfume after all, something sweet and melancholy, and in my purse was a vial of Soivohle Violets & Rainwater, which is all sweet showery violets, with an earthy drydown.   

By evening, V&R had worn off, and I spritzed some Caron Aimez-Moi (which I’ll be reviewing the first week of November, as part of a multi-blog project on violet fragrances). 

Saturday, Sept. 25:  Fed Bookworm and The CEO a good breakfast, and saw them off for Bookworm’s cross-country meet, followed by a band competition.  Cleaned house.  Wrote a little on my second novel.  Tried a sniff of L’Artisan Fleur de Narcisse, the pricey LE one, from a care package sent to me by the Queen Enabler.  Decided it would go great, as promised, with Champagne de Bois.  I don’t layer often, but I did this afternoon, and wore the combo to our county Farm Bureau annual dinner/membership meeting.

 Excellent news: Bookworm won the junior varsity race!  And the band received a Superior rating for their performance.  They won their division too, but they seem to have been the only band in it, so we’ll just concentrate on the Superior rating and be happy about that. 

Sunday, Sept. 26:  Worked with preschoolers during the 9 am church service, and then attended the 11 am service.  I like this age, but I’ll be absolutely honest and tell you that these guys wear me out.  Whew.  SOTD: Ormonde Jayne Ta’if.  After weeks of Hot and Dry, temps have cooled off, and we’re supposed to get at least two inches of rain over the next few days.  We really need it. 

Image is Perfume Bottles from carpe noctem at Flickr.

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Scent Diary, September 13-19, 2010

Monday, Sept. 13:   I think I’m getting sick.  SOTD: another wrist-to-wrist comparison between Champagne de Bois and Bois des Iles.  Hope to have that throwdown written soon…

Tuesday, Sept. 14:  I don’t feel at all well: runny nose, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, possibly some fever.  SOTD: Champagne de Bois

Wednesday, Sept. 15:   I can’t smell anything.  No scent today.  Bookworm is home sick from school, and The CEO stayed home in bed all day too.  (Alert the media and Guinness Book – he never takes a day off, except if he thinks he’s dying.)

Thursday, Sept. 16:  Sniffer still busted, Bookworm still sick.  CEO somewhat better.  No scent today.  Fed our new orphaned calf, who’s named Jonathan.  Andy and Jean, the ones we were bottle-feeding over the summer, have left the small lot and moved into the adjacent lot near the equipment shed, where they seem happy eating grass.  They are intensely curious about the new calf and keep coming to that part of the lot to investigate, especially when the new one’s getting his bottle of milk.

Friday, Sept. 17:  Sniffer marginally better, but no SOTD yet.  Maybe tomorrow.  Since we had had to cut our vacation short a day, we had promised the kids we’d take them to an amusement park “in the fall.”  Well, turns out that this is the only weekend that Bookworm does not have a football game that she has to attend as a band member (it’s a bye week), a band competition, or a cross-country meet.  There’s another Saturday without either a meet or a competition in October, but that day she happens to have PSAT testing, so that’s not going to work.  

Then we found out that Kings Dominion had tickets for $25 per person, 9/18 only. Snapped up those tickets right away, and headed out this evening, so we could get halfway there.

Saturday, Sept. 18:  I can smell!  SOTD: Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur.  (Why does this smell so different from the original Black Orchid?  It’s supposed to be the edt version of the original – which smells like cucumber and dirt to me, which is fine if you’re actually in the garden, but not so good as an intentional perfume IMHO.  Whereas VdF is just a shimmering veil of loveliness.

Kings Dominion isn’t nearly as good a park as, say, Carowinds or Busch Gardens Williamsburg, two other parks we’ve visited within the last five years, but they do have at least a couple of really great rides.  The way our usual amusement park day works is that we’ll ride a few rides all together as a family – Scrambler, Spider, possibly a carousel or around-the-park train, a small suitable-for-kids roller coaster, and then Bookworm and I will head off for the roller coasters you have to be strapped into, while The CEO takes Gaze and Taz on gentler stuff like the big swings or bumper cars.   I can’t do a straight round-and-round ride, either, it makes me sick.

I have a moderate fear of heights, and cannot stand close to the edge of anything that I might fall off of without getting the willies.  The CEO likes to pick on me a bit – we went up to the observation deck of the “Eiffel Towel” scale model that Kings Dominion has, and I had to stay close to the inner platform, while he pretended to lean over the railing.  I suppose, though, that it’s not so much a fear of heights, but a fear of falling: I love roller coasters.  If I’ve got a shoulder harness, I feel secure.   Wooden coasters don’t need shoulder harnesses, but I think anything else does. 

Those Da Vinci’s Cradle-type rides? The CEO loves them.  I hate them.  Big steel coasters with those thigh-bracer harnesses, like Busch Gardens’ Apollo’s Chariot?  I  hate them.  I don’t feel safe in them. 

But turn me upside down, take me on loops and barrel rolls and inversions and long drops – as long as I’ve got a shoulder harness, I’m happy.  I’m not much of a coaster aficionado; bigger/badder/faster/thrillier doesn’t do all that much for me.  Especially since I also hate the chain lift on traditional coasters.  Besides the aforementioned Apollo’s Chariot, I hate and despise and fear Carowinds’ Carolina Cobra, with its double lift chains.  Argh.  Rode that  one with Bookworm last year, and hated every second of it.  TWO lifts? Kill me now.

Favorites of mine: The Shooting Star, my first coaster ever, and a terrific wooden coaster it was.  This was at the now-defunct Lakeside Amusement Park, and while the Shooting Star is no more, it’s still my gold standard.  The Loch Ness Monster at Busch Gardens, which was my first steel coaster, and still a terrific ride.  Afterburn (formerly Top Gun) at Carowinds is pure exhilaration.  And the new one, Volcano Blast Coaster at Kings Dominion, my first LIM (launch) coaster, really is a blast.  Seats are suspended from the train as in Afterburn but instead of the teeth-grinding stress  of the  lift chain, you get shot straight up into the air, then go through multiple barrel rolls, corkscrews, and complete inversions in which your upside-down weight is all on the harness.  I love it. 

Philosophical question:  Why do people wear Angel to amusement parks?  For that matter, why do people wear heavy hoop earrings and tight jeans and thin strappy sandals, all uncomfortable sexy-date attire to my mind, to amusement parks?  I don’t geddit.  Is the amusement park hot date material? I’ve only visited amusement parks with my family, or in a group of high schoolers…

Sunday, Sept. 19:  After the park yesterday, we drove to my parents’ house and spent the night.  I’d been invited to sing at their church, the one I grew up in, in a service honoring a former minister – he’s now 81 but doesn’t look or sound it.  SOTD: Voile de Fleur again, since it was the only thing I took with me.  I’m still very fond of that church, but I don’t think I’d be happy there now; I like the contemporary service at the church we belong to.  I don’t mind dressing up on Sunday (attire at our current church ranges from jeans, tee shirts and thong sandals to dresses and heels), and I sometimes miss the old hymns, but I love it that church services are not just something to be checked off on your “good deeds” list – more a celebration of the God we try to follow all week.  Our pastor has a motto: “Don’t just go to church; be the church.”

After church services, we had lunch with Mom and Dad, and my sister and her son, whom I  call Doodlebug. (A’s husband is in Afghanistan right now, and if you’d like to send up a prayer for his safety, it wouldn’t go amiss.) 

It was nice to come home and be greeted enthusiastically by the pets, but the house is a wreck.

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Scent Diary, September 6-12, 2010

Monday, Sept. 6: Labor Day.  Time to put away your white shoes if you haven’t already (I no longer own any white shoes, even sandals!).   Gorgeous weather, sunny and cool.  Virginia Tech had classes today, so The CEO went off to his office/classroom and missed my family cookout.  I made a completely new recipe that turned out well: Root Beer Float Cake.   The NAPA store was open, but I didn’t go in.  I don’t think it’s all that unfair that I didn’t have to go in – I’m part-time help.  As such, I don’t merit health insurance or paid vacation or overtime (when I work more than I usually do), so the occasional (unpaid) holiday is kinda nice. 

Wore PdN Le Temps d’une Fete, lovely sunny-grassy-meadow thing.  Gosh, I love it.  In this weather, it’s more hay-wood-moss-patchouli than floral, and bears very little resemblance to Chamade, but in the spring it will smell more like spring blooms to me.

We made the kids go to bed at halftime, but The CEO was up late watching VT battle Boise State at FedEx Field.  It was either an exciting or a nerve-wracking game, depending on whether you care who wins.   

Tuesday, Sept. 7:  Because The CEO cared who won that game last night, I have been instructed to hide the sports section of the newspaper from him today. 

SOTD: Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere.  The weather was much hotter today, in the low 90s, but 5EP has never been the wrong choice.

Wednesday, Sept. 8: Another hot day, in the upper 80s.  SOTD, from a tester at Walgreens: Calvin Klein Euphoria, which smells like a cross between Coco Mlle. and B&BW Dark Kiss – i.e., not all that pleasant.    Three cheers for my boss, for giving everyone a performance bonus!  Now… how shall I spend it?  Serge Lutens?

Kidding.  Kidding kidding.  It’s $50, and I need a new pair of brown leather casual shoes, to replace my square-toe heeled mules.  I love the way they look, actually, but the insoles are disintegrating, and if I put a new insole in there, they won’t fit.  And to be honest, they’ve never been exactly comfortable.  I’m not seeing this style currently available, so they must be dated now, but there ain’t no waaaay I’m buying those peep-toe wedge booties I keep seeing on models lately.  Urgh.  That trend’ll be gone next year, I’ll bet, or at least I hope so.  I don’t find it flattering to anybody’s legs, even slender models’ legs.  Maybe a shoe-boot would work for me – one with a snip-toe, less square than the old ones but not pointy?  $50 will get me at least partway to a new pair of something, anyway.   Shoe shopping is always a pain if you have weird feet (mine are wide, with both a high instep and a narrow heel – which is why mules tend to work great for me).  

Thursday, Sept. 9:  The furniture guys delivered new mattresses for the boys today, as well as a TV stand to replace our old hand-me-down entertainment center.  And instead of taking Gaze to the doctor, I took his stitches out myself, since two of them had already worked their way out and the other three came out easy as pie.  His hand seems to be healing fine – it’s  going to have a thin scar, but it’s faded to pink already, with no oozy bits or pus at all.  SOTD: Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur.  I still love its pretty-slash-dangerous vibe.

Friday, Sept. 10:  Hey, I just picked up a vintage bottle of Poison Esprit de Parfum via eBay. Just think of the wrath I can visit upon my children in the future – Don’t make Mom angry, or she’ll summon the Cloud of Poisonous Death!  Bwa-ha-ha!  At the very least, I’ll have something to compare the modern version with for a review.  I’d like to get back to retesting for the Bois des Iles – Champagne de Bois Throwdown, but the latter part of the week has been too hot.  I’m not breakin’ out the woody scents until the mercury stays under 74F.  Arpege, anyone? Samsara?  No?

 SOTD: L’Arte di Gucci.  It too is an intense sort of scent, but the hot pink rose and the green gardeny chypre stuff keep it from being too heavy in this weather.  I still prefer to dab it very lightly, so I’ve decanted from my spray bottle – which is an awkward, unwieldy thing to hold – into a roll-on bottle. 

The high school football game was Away and the marching band went, so poor Bookworm got home a little after midnight, tired and starving.  This bodes ill for Saturday’s track meet – a really big multi-regional one.

Saturday, Sept. 11:  The CEO was able to get tickets to the Virginia Tech – James Madison game in Blacksburg today, so he took Gaze with him.  Bookworm was off to that big track meet, and Taz was coughing and running a fever yesterday, so I stayed home and cleaned per usual. 

It started raining shortly before kickoff, rained hard all afternoon, and VT lost.  Lost.  To JMU.  I decided it might be wise to take down the VT flag and put up the US flag before Gaze and The CEO got home.  Losing to JMU? Utter disaster.  The only good thing about this is that nobody in this house will be making jokes about UVa football for quite a while.  (Go Cavs!)

Bookworm came in 7th out of 144 girls in her section of the race; I think she was 23rd overall out of about 320.  Which isn’t bad, mind you, not at all.  And her time dropped about 9 seconds from last week’s time, but this was a flat course as opposed to the hilly one they ran last week.  She might do comparatively better on rough terrain, though – not because she runs better on it, but because she’s not as affected by the hills as some of the other girls are.    I’m proud of her – especially since she’s doing so much and working so hard.

SOTD: Bois des Iles, since the rain has cooled things off quite a bit.  Later in the evening, I wore Champagne de Bois.

Sunday, Sept. 12: Taz is better.  (But now my throat hurts, so I’m probably getting his bug.)  SOTD: Bois des Iles on my right arm, Champagne de Bois on my left.  It’s been fun getting input from family members on which one they like better at which stage, and why.  The answers keep changing.  Throwdown review is being written at the moment, so you should expect to see it by Wednesday at the latest.

I am behind on swaps and ‘fume stash transactions, so I beg your patience if you’re waiting for a package from me!  I’ll get to it, I promise…  soon, I promise!

Photo of perfume collection is from user true68 at Fragrantica.  I’m not fond of the new Chloe, but the bottle is really pretty, and isn’t this an attractive, well-framed shot?

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Scent Diary, August 30 – September 5, 2010

Originally uploaded by ChuChuChewbacca
 

 

Monday, Aug. 20: Hot. Didn’t sleep well. Stopped by the CVS to pick up a few things for Bookworm today, and saw a tester bottle of S by Shakira. It wasn’t hideous on the scent strip, so I got brave and sprayed some on skin. This is new (and cheap, $17 for a 15ml bottle), so if you haven’t heard about it, the notes include jasmine, sandalwood, vanilla, and benzoin. Sounds like Samsara, right? But on skin, it smells strikingly like Light Blue for about three hours and then eventually settles into a warmish, not-very-sweet drydown. I actually think it’s nicer than Light Blue. With some real jasmine, and a better grade of synthetic woods, it could have been pretty good. As it is, it has that Inoffensive And Cheap Drugstore/Avon Scent sort of vibe. (Mind you, at one point in my life, I wore both Avon AND stuff you could buy at the drugstore. Considered next to a lot of those fragrances, it’s a winner.)

In the afternoon, as I’ve already mentioned, Gaze came a cropper on his bike and wound up in the emergency room with five stitches in his hand. On the way out the door, panicky and tense, I seized a spray of Cuir de Lancome. I find it a great marriage between Floral Prettiness and No-Nonsense Leather, and it was fairly calming. In Eddie Van on the way to the hospital, Gaze said, “Mom, you smell nice,” so taking ten seconds to spritz was worth it.

Tuesday, Aug. 21: Picked up Gaze’s antibiotics at the pharmacy (the CVS clerk, who seems to like me, was surprised to see me back so soon). Then I went and did battle with the nurse at the middle school, who was disinclined to allow anything that hadn’t been duly documented on the Official Medication Form and directly signed by a physician, as if I could have filled out the form at Open House last week with foreknowledge that my son would slice his hand open and therefore need a dose of Keflex every six hours for a week. I finally convinced her that a copy of the prescription would suffice if attached to the form. I’ve never before met a school nurse who was so unpleasant to deal with. She was rude (to everyone I witnessed her dealing with) when I was turning in the required health form at Open House last week, too. Turns out she’s substituting until the regular nurse returns in mid-September, following some minor surgery. Thank goodness.

SOTD: Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Ete, my favorite simple rose scent. The summer’s nearly gone, so I wanted to enjoy this one while the weather is right for it.

Wednesday, Sept. 1: Statement Day at work again. Annoying due to the new-and-NOT-improved software. (My Personal Statement of the Day: I Am Not The Maid! Repeat as necessary.) SOTD: Mariella Burani. Wonder how often I wear this on the first day of the month? It just quietly smells good, and lasts a long time. A Go-To Scent if there ever was one.

SOTE: Mauboussin. I always forget how nice this is, a spicy-fruity-woody vanilla for grownups. My mini bottle is sadly depleted, which just goes to show that I’ve been wearing it. It’s not as good as Organza Indecence – but you just TRY to go and find that for a decent price now. 5ml bottles of OI are now going for the same price at which I bought my 15ml bottle on ebay 16 months ago.

Thursday, Sept. 2: Rushrushrush… I was so busy this morning, I forgot to grab a scent. I usually keep samples and my decant of Eau Premiere in my purse, but yesterday I had a Purse Disaster: a can of diet soda in my purse leaked without my knowledge, and by the time I picked up my purse to go home, the entire inside of my purse was wet. Yep. 12 full ounces of Diet Rite alllll in my purse. My cell phone is now residing in a container of dry rice on top of the fridge, in hopes that it will dry out. And I had to dump out the purse contents and dry then out, too. SO. No perfume today.

Wore Guerlain Liu to the first fall rehearsal of the community chorus, though. It’s nice to get back to that, after a summer break.

Friday, Sept. 3: Another rushrush morning. I did scrounge around in my desk and find a sample of ELd’O Hotel Slut (Putain de Palaces), as well as a sample of Fresh Sake that Tamara sent me. I don’t know about the Sake – I sniffed from the vial and thought, Oh Dear, Citrus. So today it was Putain de Palaces, until it wore off in the afternoon.

Just before I left to pick up Gaze from school and take him to have his hand looked at by our family doctor (it’s healing fine, thanks, and the stitches come out next Wednesday), I spritzed on some YSL Paris Pont des Amours – my LE Printemps version from, I dunno, 2006? It’s a sheer-chiffon veil of Paris, not the elevator-clearing version from the 80s. Um, not that there’s anything wrong with Paris, mind you – it’s just a bit… big. Kind of like a life-size model of Godzilla, made with chicken wire and and a gazillion roses, and then a gazillion violets on top of that.

Saturday, Sept. 4: Gorgeous weather – it’s in the mid-70s, sunny and breezy. Good weather for running, as a matter of fact; Bookworm ran in her first-ever cross-country race (5.2 K, over hilly ground) and came in second in the junior varsity division! I’m so proud of her. Her time would have put her 18th overall, out of 152 girls.

SOTD: SSS Tabac Aurea, a golden fall afternoon in a bottle. I find that if I put more than just a teeny spritz of this on, it’s too heavy, and the patchouli, even in my custom 50% patch version, tries to mug me. It’s quite concentrated, which just goes to show that Sonoma Scent Studio is an excellent value for your money. Where else could you pay just $60 for an ounce of complex, well-composed, highly-concentrated scent made from excellent raw materials?

Sunday, Sept. 5: Another beautiful day. SOTD: Ines de la Fressange (first version), with its cheery peach-rose happiness. After church, we went by the furniture store and dropped a bundle on mattresses and box springs for the boys’ beds. Both of them have been sleeping on mattresses, handed down from grandparents, that are at minimum 25 years old, and probably older. They should have been replaced long since. (Bookworm’s mattress is ten years old and still in relatively good shape. I suppose when she moves out on her own we’ll give her a new set. Gosh, that won’t be all that far into the future. Six years? Maybe eight, if she goes to grad school…)

The cell phone can make and receive phone calls, but the screen is blank. Rats.

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Scent Diary, August 23-29, 2010

Monday, Aug. 23:  Lovely weather, for once: sunny and in the low-to-mid-80s.  Humid, but not unbearably so.  Classes started at Virginia Tech today, so The CEO is officially Back to School as of now.  SOTD: La Perla Eclix, from a swap friend.  It’s nothing like the original La Perla scent, which was a classic rose chypre hiding some Opium-esque balsams in its drydown.  (I liked it until then.)  Eclix – which comes in a bizarre, sci-fi bottle that looks like a golden eye – is supposedly an Oriental Vanilla, according to Fragrantica.  It starts out with some light citrusy florals, but quickly slides into a strange, smooth, pink, spongy-powdery  thing that has the smell of artificial vanilla extract and the exact, weird texture of those rubber balls we used to play with in gym class at elementary school.  I’ve heard people discuss “doll head smell” on fragrance forums, and had not yet run across anything I’d describe as that until today.  I don’t like it.  But it’s funny: people who love this scent really love it.  Go figure.

Mom’s Taxi Service was rolling today: Bookworm to cross-country practice, and then Taz to the elementary school and Gaze to the middle school for their respective Open Houses.  Gaze managed to open his locker two times out of five… he’ll get it soon enough.  I was sick of Doll Head Smell by 4 pm (it being a truism that the more you hate something, the longer it sticks around), so I put on some Lancome Mille et une Roses, as being a quiet, pleasant sort of perfume.  It has enough vanilla in it that it didn’t fight with the Eclix.

Tuesday, Aug. 24:  Rainy and chilly this morning.  SOTD: Lanvin Arpege, the recent reformulated edp, because of the cool weather.  Also because I had been planning to mow the lawn this afternoon, and for some totally inexplicable reason, mowing always makes me think of Arpege.  I like Arpege very much, but every time I wear it I remember too late how uncomfortable the floral heart of it can be – it’s so rich and ripe, and almost dirty.  This one’s a definite Old Lady Perfume in the best sense: distinctive, solid, powdery, perfume-y, with nothing at all “clean” or “fresh” about it.  The drydown of the vintage parfum is absolutely stunning, a beautiful sandalwood-vetiver base decorated with moss and musk and, yes, civet.

The sun came out early in the afternoon, and I was able to mow the entire yard – it’s too big, it takes me an hour and forty minutes to mow it on the riding mower – before we left for Bookworm’s marching band event.  Just as we left, the skies opened up again, and I knew we wouldn’t get to see the marching preview.  We did get to hear the band play inside the Commons area at the high school, but it was too wet to march.  SOTE: Cuir de Lancome, because I’ve been craving its dry, restrained, smoky-floral, “Mother’s Best Handbag” goodness.

Wednesday, Aug. 25: Gaze’s first day as a 6th grader!  In a rush this morning, I had to stick with the scents available in my purse: a decant of No. 5 Eau Premiere, a sample of ELDO Putain de Palaces, and one of Guerlain Liu, which I chose.  It’s pleasant enough, but I like Vega, and No. 5 itself, and Eau Premiere far better. 

Thursday, Aug. 26: BACK TO SCHOOL!!!  Thank the Lord.  That’s all I have to say about it – except that this year, and next, promises to be fairly hectic due to the fact that I have one kid in high school, one in middle, and one in elementary.  Arrgh. Three PTOs?  Just Kill Me Now, please.  SOTD: PdN Vanille Tonka, one of my first loves of the current scentmania, and still a favorite “Just for Happiness” scent.

Friday, Aug. 27:  I am totally digging this weather – in the low to mid-80s, with the occasional rain shower.  It’s green and it’s cool, but most days the sun comes out, a little preview of fall.  First high school football game tonight, and the first official marching band performance – which I didn’t go to because I didn’t feel well.  SOTD: Van Cleef & Arpels Bois d’Iris, an attractive, quiet woody iris that certain bloggers fell in love with – but not me.  Honestly, I think I’m just not much of an iris fan – I love it as an accent, as in No. 19 and 31 Rue Cambon and Silences, but as the focus of a scent, not-so-much.  

Saturday, Aug. 28:  A gorgeous day today, with the light all golden and warm.  I was too busy for perfume until bedtime (housecleaning, tomatoes, corn, ugh), and then I put on some Thierry Mugler Alien, which I find too sweet for everyday wear but just right for sleeping in.

Sunday, Aug. 29: Another warm pretty day.  SOTD: Parfums DelRae Mythique, which is still attractive with its apricot-iris focus, but so quiet that I might as well not have bothered with scent.  More proof that Iris and me are not BFF, it made me want something with much more presence.  SOTA: Honore des Pres Vamp a NY

I’ve been rereading Alice Hoffman’s reworking of Wuthering Heights, Here on Earth.  I continue to be charmed and amazed (and made envious) by her mastery of the art of Point of View.  Technically, I suppose, it’s an “omnicient narrator POV,” but it is both so specific-personal and so completely seamless that it is more like “shifting third-person POV,” to the power of genius.  Sigh. Must work more… why didn’t I just major in English Lit?

Image is “I am a perfume lover” from marina_ht at Flickr.

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