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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Scent Diary: August 16-22, 2010

Monday, Aug. 16: I still hate this new NAPA software, but I can’t exactly tell you why. Similarly, I don’t know why I don’t like Eau d’Italie Paestum Rose. A woody rose with incense should be right up my alley… but this one never is. It’s just wrong. I think perhaps the patchouli and cedar in the drydown are pushing it sour. You probably already know that I have Issues with Patchouli, and this isn’t helping.

It rained this afternoon, dropping the temperature from 87F to 71F and making me think longingly of autumn scents like Tabac Aurea. SOTE: Clarins Par Amour. This is a nice, quiet woody rose too – it’s a lot simpler than Paestum Rose, but more relaxed too.

Okay, I know why I hate the new NAPA software: it’s unwieldy and difficult to use.  There are places where you have to use both the mouse and the keypad, which is just stupid and inefficient.  I expected that the new system would cause some delays while we tackle the learning curve, but it’s beyond ridiculous.  Turns out the IT guys never bothered to consult with the counterpeople, or the accounting people, on what would make it easy to use – always a bad idea to leave out the input of people who are actually going to utilize the thing.

Tuesday, Aug. 17: The school year is gearing up again. I took the boys for their school haircuts yesterday. Gaze had a tetanus booster shot today (mandatory for all rising 6th graders), and there’s a pool party this evening for new middle-schoolers, sponsored by a local non-profit anti-drug coalition.

SOTD: Guerlain Liu (reissued). This, like Vega, has a top-to-heart structure similar to that of Chanel No. 5: aldehydes and a classical floral blend of rose and jasmine, over the common Guerlinade base. One wonders why Guerlain felt they needed both Liu and Vega. I do actually have a preference – Vega is sparkly and romantic, and Liu has a slight flatness (from amber?) that I can’t place. I’m still puzzling over why Guerlain hasn’t reissued Ode, their 1950s version of Joy, as promised in 2005. Certainly there already existed duplicate aldehydic florals, so it’s not that. Wonder if the IFRA restriction on the percentage of jasmine grandiflorum put a stop to Ode? I don’t know that I’d particularly care, except that every time I run across a mention of a fragrance in a novel, I want to smell it. Ode was the scent worn by the girl James Bond chose to marry, the gambling, fast-driving daughter of the Corsican Mafia, whose child died of cancer and whose first husband turned out to be a slimeball. Tracy, of course, doesn’t live out the book (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) – she’s shot by Blofeld and Irma Bunt – and Bond becomes ever more of a womanizer.

While The CEO took Gaze to the pool party, I put up another thirty ears of corn and four quarts of peaches. Whew. SOTE: vintage Coty L’Aimant pdt. It’s a little too sweet, but I think that makes it cozier for sleeping in, especially with the rain we’ve been having.

Wednesday, Aug. 18: Happy Birthday to my favorite mother-in-law! I couldn’t have wished for a better one. Love you, B.

Cooler and rainy again today. I know it’s not fall yet, but I think half the fun of the changing seasons is anticipating the next one. SOTD: DSH Perfumes Special Formula X-treme again. This still smells like laundry and vague flowers to me, without the warmth of traditional musk scents. It’s very pleasant, and very quiet yet persistent. It’s also a little bit on the dull side, if you ask me. I like my fragrance lightly applied, but I like it to smell like perfume, too.

SOTAfternoon: That Slut Tocade, because I wanted a perfume that smells like, yes, perfume. Today I’m rereading How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell – the book that spawned the recent animated film. Which I haven’t seen, because the book is hilarious, and according to the previews, the movie doesn’t follow the book’s plotline. I’m not sure I’m ready for the politically correct movie version. The illustrations in the book are half the fun – imagine Beavis & Butthead drawn as teenage Vikings, and you get the idea. The other half of the fun is the names: Gobber the Belch, Stoick the Vast, and our unheroic hero, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, not to mention Hiccup’s annoying little Chihuahua-like dragon, Toothless. I know this is a kids’ book, but it’s flat out funny. (You may infer what you will concerning my sense of humor.)

OH! And I smelled something new today: Limburger cheese. No kidding – one of the drivers at the NAPA store brought in some today, along with some German sausage, for his lunch. I’d heard that it smells like feet, but really it’s more like extreme body odor: cheesy, yes, but overripe and sweaty and pretty rank. To quote a coworker, “Good Lord, that smells like butt!” I concur. Really long-unwashed butt, too – think hobos that have been eating nothing but warm cottage cheese and haven’t bathed in six years. I wasn’t inclined to gag, though some other coworkers were. However, the thought of eating Old Unwashed Hobo Cheese was just hideous.

Thursday, Aug. 19: Chilly-rainy again, in the low 70s, although the sun came out and temps rose to the low 80s by 6pm. SOTD: Lancome Climat. Longing for autumn.

Took Bookworm to Open House at the high school and went around with her to check all her classes. Looks like she’s got a solid academic year ahead of her. Then, after coming home and cooking Parmesan Tilapia and steamed green beans for supper, I took Gaze to Band Parent Night at the middle school. He’ll be playing the trombone.

I’m exhausted. I had this whole significant, interesting (to me, anyway) post in mind earlier in the day, but couldn’t get to a computer to record my thoughts, and of course now they’re gone, and I’m tired, and who cares, anyway? Gah, I’ll be glad when school actually gets going.

Friday, Aug. 20: Much warmer, in the upper 80s. I got up feeling like a truck had run me over in the night, and I just don’t feel well. I only have enough mental space for a no-brainer, Just Pretty smell today: Rochas Tocadilly. I like the spring florals + musk.

Celebrated MIL’s birthday with The CEO’s sister and her kids, and some cousins of my FIL’s. A lovely meal. I am exhausterated.

Saturday, Aug. 21: Nice day in the mid-80s. Cleaned house, the cousins Curiosity and Primrose came over to play for awhile, then Bookworm and I made three quarts of tomato juice and prepared another twelve quarts of tomatoes for freezing. SOTD: Ines de la Fressange, Vol 1.  Had a mini-sniffa with Bookworm over my warm-weather bottles, with the following ranking generated by her:

  1. PdRosine Rose d’Ete
  2. Ines de la Fressange
  3. Hanae Mori Haute Couture
  4. Diorissimo
  5. Mariella Burani
  6. Rochas Tocadilly
L to R: Bookworm, Primrose, Curiosity, Gaze, and Taz, with Hayley Elizabeth Wigglebutt Dog in front

Sunday, Aug. 22: Cloudy morning, sunny-hot afternoon. SOTD: Cuir de Lancome. Probably one of the butchiest scents I own, which isn’t saying much. The CEO took our kids, and his sister and her kids, to a Salem Red Sox game. He came home with a nice, heavy, $75 official Red Sox jacket (“They were having an end-of-season sale! I saved $50!”) that he says is his birthday present. I don’t mind, of course – and I’m trying to encourage him to spend small amounts of money on things he knows he’ll enjoy, instead of pinching every penny. I believe miserliness is just as damaging to the spirit as wastefulness.

Some years ago, The CEO’s Scottish-roots family had t-shirts printed up for a reunion, with the family crest and motto emblazoned on the front. I thought it was the real deal until recently, when I did some investigation and found that the family motto is really Sto Pro Veritas, “I stand for the truth,” and not the one that somebody with a sense of humor picked for the shirts: Pietas et Frugalitas. Which although not strictly historical, is pretty hysterical, given the clan proclivities. I’ve never known so many people to boast about giving the money they saved on gas to the church.  They all seem to be Presbyterians, too – except for one of The CEO’s cousins, who converted to Catholicism when she married an Italian-American she met at college.  Seriously, they’re ALLLLL Presbyterians.  Even my brother-in-law, father of Primrose and Curiosity, who’s second-generation, 100% American with 100% Chinese genes…

Top image is “perfume bottles” from michellealincoln at Flickr; center image is from Amazon.  Bottom image is from my own camera.

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Scent Diary, Aug 9-15

Monday, Aug. 9: I hate my job.  Well, either that or I hate my boss.  Grrrrr. 

If you own two auto parts stores, and you hire someone to do your accounts collections for you, and you have a credit policy but make exceptions for nearly half your three hundred regular customers, and when your bookkeeper, following the credit policy, stamps the message “Account is on COD until past due balance is paid” on a customer’s statement,  the customer is annoyed at the reminder of having not paid his bill and calls you to complain, you discuss the matter with your bookkeeper and ask her not to “do that again”… well.  Why have a credit policy at all?  Why not just let people pay you when they feel like it? 

Oh, yeah… because that’s only valid for certain customers – the ones we mustn’t annoy, apparently.   Certain other customers, having gotten behind in the past when my boss has instructed me to “give them a break,” are now past due enough that I’m supposed to be harassing them for money.  Efficient? NO.

I cannot seem to explain sufficiently to my very bright, but confrontation-avoiding, adult-ADHD, boss, that not sticking to the credit policy for ALL customers, even the guy who’s active in the local Commerce Association, backfires every time.  Every single time!  Not to mention that ditching your *%#$ credit policy on an inconsistent basis makes your bookkeeper hate you.

SOTD: the original Victoria’s Secret scent, Victoria – a lovely, ladylike floral chypre with rose and lily of the valley.  The top notes are totally crap: maple syrup and nail polish remover, which is probably the primary reason why this scent was yanked from the VS lineup.  It’s not that old.  I’ve got bottles of other scents, thirty years older than the two bottles of Victoria I own, that are in much, much more wearable shape.  Yet Victoria’s top notes have decayed dreadfully.  The rest of the fragrance is terrific. 

I’ve mentioned it before, but since I’m already cranky, I’m going to do it again.  Some of you are thinking, Victoria’s Secret?  That stuff’s all teen-mall-princess juice.  (You know who you are.)  But the original scent is both elegant and warm-hearted, both restrained and shyly open.  Basically, it is Princess Diana’s beloved public image, ca. 1984, in a bottle.  This scent was released when VS was selling lovely ivory silk charmeuse camisole-and-tap-pants sets.  And knee-length teal chemises in heavy satin with godets and four-inch-deep cream lace.  And white cotton ankle-length nightgowns with pintucks and eyelet lace and mother-of-pearl buttons.  And pale peach lace balconette bras, very French, sexy but demure, with darker coral hand embroidery and high-leg briefs to match.

Those were the days, lemme tell you… not a hot pink nylon thong in sight.

Tuesday, Aug. 10:  Things were better at work today.  SOTD: DSH Perfumes Parfum de Grasse, what Dawn Spencer Hurwitz calls “a hymn” to the city of perfumes.  I know a lot of people find this one lovely.  I don’t.  The dreaded powdery-mildew note from Bvlgari Pour Femme and Hiris showed up early and never left.  I could discern the rose and carnation, and the beeswax is really lovely, but the powdery stuff killllllls me.

SOTE: DSH Perfumes Special Formula X-treme (oil).  This is the extra-strength version of the “diagnostic tool” that Dawn uses in her shop to classify customer’s skins with regard to smell.  I don’t know all that much about it, although reviews on Basenotes and Makeup Alley compare it to various kinds of Egyptian musks, and also to Creative Scentualization Perfect Veil, SSS Opal, and some other skin-scent thing from Ava Luxe.   March at Perfume Posse comments that it smells really musky and almost body-odor-like, and based on that info, Dawn told her that she must be a “skank magnifier.”  (I think March said something like, “Well, duh.”  I love her.  We rarely like the same things, but I love her writing.) Special Formula doesn’t smell like musk to me.  It smells like very subdued flowers and clean linens, and if that were truly my kind of fragrance, I would love this.  Jennifer Aniston’s non-perfumey perfume should have been this.  Now I’m off to send an email to Dawn asking what it means if Special Formula smells like flowers and laundry on me.  My guess is that she’ll say something like, “White florals and florals in general love your skin.”  Anybody want to bet me?

Wednesday, Aug. 11: I mentioned this before, in my “Busy” post, but the software change that we’ve all been dreading for two years finally happened.  Despite the Tech Support guys’ reassurances that everything would work the way we expected, it was just in a different format… well, you know.  NOT!  I’ll get used to it, though.

Dropped the boys off with my parents, meandered back through the mall, sniffed stuff.  By the time I got there, my SOTD, DSH Perfumes’ Secrets of Egypt: Susinon (1000 Lilies), the perfume version, had faded to a very-discreet skin scent.   Nearly everything on the shelves at Macy’s suffered when compared directly to it, except Shalimar and the drydown of No. 5 edt.  Actually, No. 5 parfum could give the Susinon a run for its money in terms of smelling natural and composed, but there’s no tester for the parfum at Macy’s.  I don’t really like Shalimar edt, but it still smells so real and rounded next to, say, the Jessica Simpson vanilla things, or MJ Lola or Coach or Chance. 

Thursday, Aug. 12: It’s been hot and humid all week.  I hate August.  SOTD: Septimanie Pavillon des Fleurs, nice little green-fresh jasmine thing.  Can I be honest here? I really prefer Hanae Mori Haute Couture, which is available at a quarter of the price.  I love it when my taste agrees with my wallet.  The CEO and I went out to dinner, which is a rare-enough occurrence.  With no kids in the house, we took the opportunity for Date Night.  Whee!  SOTE: LeLong Pour Femme, such a pretty satiny thing.

Friday, Aug. 13:  SOTMorning: none, really.  Except I had bought a $2 trial-size lotion of B&BW Dark Kiss on Wednesday, and put a bit on my scratchy elbows before leaving the house.  Dark Kiss is “Angel Minus the Patchouli, Add Extra Berries Instead.”  Which should be a description of the original Hanae Mori, and yet Dark Kiss does not smell like Hanae Mori.  It smells like Angel Berry.  It’s not hideous.  It’s just… I dunno… very high school.  SOTRest of my Life, apparently: the Designer Impressions version of Angel from the tester at Walgreen’s.  I’d smelled this way back in winter, when the teeny spritz of it on my fabric glove smelled really lovely, and I dared to put it on skin today.

Mistake.  One spritz to the elbow is still going strong 9 hours later.  The bit I put on my scarf smells nice – a bit candy-shop, but nice.  A lot of people who wear Angel actually smell like this to me, all sugar-berry-vanilla.  But on me, Fake Angel smells like Drakkar Noir drank way too much cherry Nyquil and passed out into a vat of cotton candy.  On fabric, I don’t get so much patchouli, but on skin it’s really dreadful.  I haven’t washed because I wanted to see how long it would go.  Nine hours… nine.  I have scent-eating skin, people, and am almost guaranteed of getting less wear than the average with any given scent.  It boggles the mind.  Bookworm, who just got home from band camp, told me to get away from her while wearing it: “It’s just… well, it’s disgusting, Mom.”  She put on a bit of the Dark Kiss lotion, though, and proclaimed it “nice.” 

Saturday, Aug. 14:  Standard Saturday chores: Cleaned bathrooms.  Vacuumed.  Mopped floors.  Straightened my room, which desperately needed it (especially the Putting Fragrance Samples Away part).  SOTD: Marc Jacobs Daisy, which still proves to be one of my favorite Wallpaper Scents – pretty yet unobtrusive.  Drove to my parents’ house for my sister’s birthday dinner – Mom’s homemade lasagna and salad, followed by white cake and peaches.  Delicious. 

We brought the boys home with us.  Taz barely made it up the stairs to change into pajamas and brush his teeth, he was so sleepy… and then for some unexplained reason, while The CEO and I were in the basement family room trying to fix the satellite dish, he came back downstairs with his pillow and collapsed on the couch.  He looked like a… a steamed dumpling, lying there – all curled at the edges, plump and shiny of cheek.  Utterly adorable.

Sunday, Aug. 15: We took about twenty pounds of ripe tomatoes to church with us, to give away.  There’s still plenty in the garden, and I canned another seven quarts this evening (running count, 41 quarts).  Plus I have three quarts of Salsa Cruda and six quarts of fresh peaches in the freezer.  I’ve been a very busy girl.

SOTD: Guerlain Cruel Gardenia, that pretty, outrageously overpriced floral-soap scent.  Reminds me of Coty L’Effleur, which my mother used to wear, and which she liked because it smelled both flowery and clean.  I could probably buy 20 bottles of L’Effleur, even though it’s discontinued, on eBay for the cost of a bottle of CG.  I’m starting to get annoyed at Guerlain.  They discontinue Shalimar Eau Legere, they discontinue Attrape-Coeur, they mess with formulae and fail to reissue Ode as promised… worse, they put out stuff like Insolence and Aqua Allegoria Tutti Kiwi and La Petite Robe Noire – and they charge the same amount for Cruel Gardenia as they do for a genuine gem like Vega.  I’m sick of this.  It’s no wonder I’d rather shop with Sonoma Scent Studio or DSH Perfumes. 

Image is Vintage Jewelry Bits Perfume Bottle from glassbeadtreasures at Flickr.

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Scent Diary, Aug. 2 – 8, 2010

 Monday, Aug. 2: Statement Day at work again. It finally occurred to me today why so many of my Statement Days fall, so annoyingly, on Monday. If you have half a brain, you’ll figure it out without my explaining it to you: I work Monday-Friday. Every time the first of the month falls on a weekend, Statement Day by default is Monday. Not to mention that sometimes the first of the month falls on Monday anyway, so almost half the time, I’m sending out statements of account on evil Mondays. Which I’m hating recently anyway, because they underline to me that Yet Another Week has gone by, during which I have not worked more than a couple of hours on my novel.

Chilly again today, in the low 70s and cloudy. It’s a little piece of autumn in the summer of my discontent, if you will. I thought seriously of my fall scents this morning – of Mauboussin, Arpege and Tabac Aurea, among others – but I persevered with my sampling. SOTD: Guerlain Cruel Gardenia, which Dear Daisy sent me, and which has languished in the to-test box for at least a couple of months. I was unduly influenced by Luca Turin’s review in Perfumes: The Guide, in which his disappointment at the bait-and-switch of the name is palpable. It’s actually one of the funnier reviews, once you realize that LT habitually gets rabid once teased with nonexistent gardenia. From PTG:

“This is a late-fifties formula (somewhere between a knockoff of Ma Griffe and Camay soap) found in a dumpster in Holzminden when Symrise decided to clear the archive. Would be perfect if the spray button said “sucker” each time you pressed it.”

Ouch. I do get his points, though: it’s definitely not gardenia, it’s definitely soapy, and it’s wildly expensive at something like $300 for 50ml. This morning, though, I read about six other blog reviews of CG, and every one of them says something like, “Well, it’s not very gardenia, and it is somewhat soapy, but it’s so pretty!” I concur. Not very gardenia, although there’s a hint of EL PCTG in there, but very much what I call a Scented Hanky sort of perfume: vaguely floral, friendly, inoffensive, feminine, and clean. Andy Taylor’s Aunt Bea would have worn something like CG along with her short white gloves to grocery shop at the Piggly Wiggly. Not that that’s bad or anything. I repeat myself, it’s really pretty. My mother, with her penchant for pretty, soapy florals, would dig this right down to the ground.

SOTE: Teo Cabanel Alahine, just a wee squidge on the inner elbow. Mmm.

Tuesday, Aug. 3: Warmer today, with temps in the low 80s, but cloudy. SOTD: a new one, Tauer Perfumes Carillon pour un Ange. I will probably review this soon, after I’ve worn it several times, but let me just say that if you love lily of the valley (I do) and missed out on the fabulous vintage Diorissimo (I did – my bottle’s a tester from 2006, very lovely but not the gorgeous thing it apparently used to be), lift your eyes in hope.

This afternoon, the boys and The CEO brought me another big load of ripe tomatoes, plus one green pepper and what seems to be the last of the squash. Then they brought me 21 ears of corn, telling me that there was certainly plenty left in the garden. I cooked some for dinner, and still have 15 ears left for blanching and freezing, when I get some more freezer bags tomorrow. I can’t help but gloat just a weensy bit. All we did was plant this stuff… granted, we planted it over the septic drainfield, so it’s getting plenty of water and nutrients from what soaks out through the pipes (don’t worry, no solids)… and keep the weeds down for awhile, and here we’ve got actual food on our hands. Food for now, food for later – such a great feeling.

SOTE: Guerlain L’Heure Bleue parfum, which is wonderfully anise-y when it’s hot. A dab only, please, else you will asphyxiate yourself. It’s rich.

Wednesday, Aug. 4: HOT again, upper 90s and humid. SOTMorning: vintage Lubin Gin Fizz edc, a sample from a generous fumie friend. I expected to dig it. I expected the standard nail-polishy top one typically gets from old aldehyde-bergamot openings. What I got was My Grandmother’s Nasty Old Gone-Wrong Perfume, the one that should have been chucked in 1958 after getting sun-toasted on the dresser. She was still wearing it in 1975, kid you not. Bleargh. I stood the Gin Fizz as long as I could – about two hours, as it continued to get more and more dusty/powdery – and then had to wash. I usually like vintage stuff; I generally have a fairly sturdy tolerance for the off notes. Not this time, I’m afraid. SOTAfternoon: I picked Diptyque L’Ombre dans L’eau to take my mind off. It was up to the task – super green, with an sour herbal twang, followed by rose. Nice. It doesn’t exactly thrill me, but it’s very pleasant.

Packaged up 25 ears of corn for the freezer. Canned another 7 quarts of tomatoes. Made a batch of fresh Salsa Cruda con Maiz for the fridge, and the tomatoes that didn’t make it into the canner load made a lovely pint of tomato juice, which The CEO loves. Whew. Food prep over, kitchen cleaned up, I spritzed a bit of Mariella Burani and collapsed on the couch with the phone, so I could talk to my sister.

Thursday, Aug. 5: Weather just like yesterday, punishingly hot – so hot that the sky seems bleached and wan. I don’t know if the sky gets like this anywhere else (I’ve never noticed, not having traveled outside the southeast US at this time of year), but I’ve known from childhood that a sky this pale usually presages a thunderstorm. Just yesterday I was buying green peppers at the farm stand, because our plants never produced anything, and the woman working there was telling me that she’d just moved to the area last year from Missouri, and she missed the summer storms they’d get. “You could sit and watch them as if were fireworks,” she said. True, we don’t get those, or at least not often: the mountains tend to break up storms, scattering their moisture and preventing them from making really big thunderheads. We usually just get the rain.

About half an hour after I wrote that, we did have a short but intense thundershower. Hayley, our beagle-lab mix, headed for the shelter of The CEO’s desk in the family room, and no amount of coaxing could convince her to leave it until the thunder stopped, poor baby.

SOTMorning: DSH Perfumes Rose Vert, which I’ve mentioned before as one of the loveliest “green roses” I’ve ever smelled. It’s not the galbanum green of Silences, or the mossy-chypre green of L’Arte di Gucci, or the snap-bean green of L’Ombre dans l’Eau. It’s both a vivid and a gentle green – grassy-herbal, like lemongrass and basil and mint and meadow. The rose note, too, is both vivid and gentle. Nothing in this fragrance demands your attention, but you notice it all the same. Dawn Spencer Hurwitz typically does a beautiful job with rose scents, and this is my favorite of her roses. (Beach Roses is pretty, too: rose, salt, herbs, a bit of wood.)

SOTEvening: Another DSH rose scent, Arabian Rose. This one, an oil, is a favorite of Daisy’s – or of her daughter’s, I can’t remember which – but it’s not grabbing me: it’s a fairly straight-up rose soliflore, and perhaps a wee bit screechy, as sometimes happens with this type of scent. (Best non-screechy rose soliflore, IMO? SSS Velvet Rose, hands down.).

Friday, Aug. 6: Hot again. The air is hazy with heat. The mountains that will be a clear greenish blue come October are now only dimly visible: blue-gray, almost formless, like dreams of mountains. SOTD: Serge Lutens La Myrrhe. I love it. It was calling to me.

I got home from work and found The CEO standing on a pallet balanced on the hay forks of one of the tractors, which was sitting right next to the house. Over the noise of the tractor, I could hear him yelling to Jeff the hired guy, “Okay, take me up higher.” What the heck? Then I realized that he’d decided to scrub the mildew off the side of the house, and because you can’t balance a ladder on the slope at this place in the yard, he’d decided to get up there some other way. This was it. “I hope you called Mr. Mills at Farm Bureau and made sure your life insurance is paid up,” I yelled to him. “It’s okay, I know what I’m doing!” he yelled back, and picked up the sponge. I had to go inside – couldn’t watch, too nervous. You may be pleased to know that he’s fine and the house looks great. (I wish he wouldn’t do stuff like that. But that’s a little like wishing he didn’t have any testosterone, which would be an extremely stupid wish if you ask me.)

SOTE: Santa Maria Novella Melograno. I do enjoy aldehydes in the summer, and although I’ve tested this one before, I wanted to retest and see if my initial impression held. It did: Melograno is like… gosh… like the aldehydes in my mother’s No. 5 got together with my father’s Old Spice talcum powder, and made a baby. (Theoretically, I would assume this would be me, but it’s so not. I suppose it could be my brother, but any fragrance designed to evoke my brother would probably have to include essence of Cheetos.)

Saturday, Aug. 7: A little cooler today, in the low 90s. I took Taz with me to a family reunion, while Bookworm and Gaze went with their dad to a church festival thingy. Taz actually helped me pick out my scent today:

Me: “How about this one?” (Glancing over my summer bottles and skipping over anything that could possible be deemed “difficult,” then holding up Ines de la Fressange for him to sniff.)

Taz: “Ehhhhhh. I guess it’s okay. Maybe.”

Me: “Try another – this one?” (Mariella Burani.)

Taz: “NO.”

Me: “I know there was one of these you really liked… hmm… was it a decant? I can’t remember. How about this?” (Rose d’Ete.)

Taz: “Not that one.”

Me: “I wish I could remember which one you said was nice. This one?” (Haute Couture.)

Taz: “I like that. Wear that, it’s good.”

Me: “Wow, you never say anything’s good. Guess I’ll wear that one, then. Thanks!”

So, SOTD was Hanae Mori Haute Couture, and it was just fine for the weather and the casual afternoon. It only occurred to me later that the one he had liked earlier was DelRae Coup de Foudre.

The food was good, but the reunion itself was boring. Honestly, since the members of the older generation have either left us behind or become ill, these get-togethers haven’t been any fun at all. The greatest hilarity always seemed to arise from the table where the older cousins were sitting together and reminiscing, or just telling jokes. No more. Within the last couple of years, my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, two cousins died, and the two more cousins developed medical problems and no longer travel. Mawmaw Nell’s sister, whom I always called Big Aunt Doris to distinguish her from my father’s sister, died last year. (She would always insist, with a smile, “No, honey, I’m your Great Aunt Doris, and you can tell Nell I said so!”) I miss her. I miss my grandmother, too – she’s still living, but she’s not herself.

In the evening, Taz and I met up with the rest of the family, plus two kids that are friends of Gaze and Taz, for a minor league baseball game. It was a nice evening – The CEO spent some time explaining what was going on to Kadie and Isaac, and I think they enjoyed it better once they had a better understanding of the game.

SOBedtime: Shalimar Light again. I so enjoy it in the evenings.

Sunday, Aug. 8: Packed Bookworm off to band camp this morning – she’ll be back next Friday. Seems like she’s been gone half the summer. And she missed out on spending a week with her grandparents this summer, too.

SOTD: L’Artisan Nuit de Tubereuse. I’m coming around to this a bit more. I still have to grit my teeth through the opening, and then it’s lovely. (Why will I put up with half an hour of Nasty – nail polish remover, swimming pool, and maple syrup – when I put on Victoria’s Secret Victoria, but complain about 20 minutes of mildew in NdT? Dunno.)

Canned another 6 quarts of tomatoes this evening, and froze another 24 ears of corn. I have probably another 6 quarts’ worth of tomatoes that’ll be ripe on Tuesday, as well – but I’m completely out of quart jars, so maybe I’ll freeze them in freezer containers instead. Less work? Dunno. My mom says cooked tomatoes freeze well, although she must have started doing that after I moved out on my own. She always canned when I was young. Also, I love the metallic thwop of a jar’s vacuum seal closing.

Top image is another one of parfumgott’s terrific pictures at Flickr.  The second one was taken by my sister; it’s odd to see Nell not smiling in it, but I don’t think she was feeling well that evening (Christmas dinner with the whole family, 2006).  Big Doris looks great, though.

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Scent Diary, July 26 – Aug. 1, 2010

Monday, July 26: I’m dreading Mondays lately. I don’t really know why, except that I’d like to leave my paid job and write. Which would be an unbelievably luxurious thing to do. SOTD: Etat Libre d’Orange Putain de Palaces (Hotel Slut), a sample from Joe. I have snarked about ELd’O long enough… I hate their ad copy, I hate their “we’re so cool and you’re so not” attitude, I hate their whole pretentious arty juvenile shtick. (Seriously, don’t get me started on this. I really feel like ELd’O is saying to me, “We don’t want your business. You’re too old, conservative, suburban, and just plain boring to be our target customer.”) But if I’m being honest, Hotel Slut is really pretty good. It reminds me quite a bit of Citizen Queen, except it’s, somehow, less slutty. Rose, violet, almond, face powder and glove suede – that’s good stuff right there. I mean, PdP is good enough that if there were a significant price break on it, I’d get some of it instead of CQ. However, there’s not a huge difference… and I adore CQ, so when my decant is gone, I need another one of that, not of PdP.

And Angela had another one of her interesting, lovely reviews up on Now Smell This today: Caron Parfum Sacre Intense. You might remember that I once said that when I die, I want to be wearing Parfum Sacre. AnnS was kind enough to send me a sample of the Intense version, and the sample had been waiting on my desk for several weeks. PS is fairly heavy, so I kept thinking that I should really wait for cooler weather. I’d open the sample… sniff… check the thermometer… sigh and recap the vial. Well, I broke down and hauled out the Intense for a test drive this evening, remembering that it is an oriental and needs a light hand. It’s spicier than the edp but less peppery than the extrait; it’s rosier than the extrait but less so than the edp. It’s got less incense than either the edp or extrait, too. I had expected it to be lighter than the extrait, but it also seems thinner than my edp. I’m cynical about the “Intense” thing. Shame on you, Caron! My supply of PS edp seems to be older stock, and I hear the original has been watered down. Shame, shame

Tuesday, July 27: Took the boys to the dentist for their cleanings this week. I got mine done last week, so I didn’t have to stick with the wallpaper scent this time. SOTD: Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Ete, which I love. SOTE: Citizen Queen. Rrowwwr.

Wednesday, July 28: I feel like writing on my novel allll the dang time.  Unfortunately, work intervenes.   And laundry.  And those annoying things called “meals,” for which I am responsible in this household.   Grr.  Do Real Writers have this happen?  Am I going to be this distracted if I indeed quit my job?  Grrr.  SOTD: Etat Libre d’Orange Rossy de Palma Eau de Protection, which may have one of the longest non-flanker names I’ve ever seen on a fragrance.  It’s kind of nice, a greenish rose chypre thing.  Unfortunately, it has a soapy angle (the rose, maybe?) that bores me stupid.  I think I might need to go spritz some L’Arte di Gucci now that Rossy has worn off.  Now there is your Edgy, Dangerous Dark Rose, bay-bee!  (What is UP with the font fail?)

Thursday, July 29: The boys and I dragged all my canning stuff out of the attic, where it’s been for at least three years. I used to can a lot of fruit preserves, but haven’t done that for awhile since I’ve been working steadily. My stash is all but gone now – we used up the last of the Cordon Rose Raspberry Conserve this past winter, and there’s only one half-pint of Cherry-Plum Jam left. Anyway, the tomatoes have been a’comin’ IN, baby, and we’re up to our knees in them, so I decided to can a bunch. The CEO brought in every tomato from the garden he thought would do for canning, and it added up to… drum roll please… 48 pounds of tomatoes. Yes. About a third of those were not quite ready, so I have set them aside for a few days until they ripen up. The rest I canned… they made eight quarts. Eight! Quarts! I’m running out of quart jars.  (Is that not a gorgeous photo?  I love the sun shining through the jars.)

SOTD: Parfums DelRae Mythique. I was surprised to learn how much I love the top notes – I get apricot, of all things! It’s not listed in the notes.  Apricot (suedey texture, tangy fruit, nutty kernel and all) and iris are really, really beautiful together. Sadly, though, half my sample vial – an extravagant application, compared to my usual habit – lasted only two hours and stuck close to the skin the whole time. Spraying would probably benefit the lasting power, but I know the DelRae price structure… I might want a bottle, but my budget would only extend to a decant. Which I think would be unsatisfying for this particular scent. SO. I should save my pennies for another decant of La Myrrhe. (Maybe larger than 3 ml this time. Oooooh.)

Friday, July 30: SOTD: L’Artisan Safran Troublant. I like it very much, although it hasn’t squeezed my heart – lovely spices and rose, followed by a drydown of deep, clear, unpowdery vanilla, the same sort of thing I found in Havana Vanille and liked so much there.

And Bookworm’s home from running camp! Missed my girl. We packed up and drove the 50 minutes to our minor league stadium for a game. SOTE: Annick Goutal Heure Exquise Dry Oil. (I’d tried the edt and edp, and although I think it’s a lovely scent, I still prefer both No. 19 and Silences.) The Dry Oil, though, seems to be mostly rose and sandalwood, and it’s a dry, refined thing, rather spare and lovely. I enjoyed this version very much.

Saturday, July 31: After the basic housecleaning chores, Bookworm and I went to a fundraiser for her marching band (SOTD: Hanae Mori Haute Couture). It rained. My feet hurt. Nevertheless, there were more tomatoes to be canned, so after dinner, guess what I did? Yup. Seven and a half more quarts. And there are more tomatoes to be eaten raw… not to mention about a dozen big 12-14” cucumbers. Egads, guess we’ll be taking some bounty to church tomorrow to share with friends.

It rained all day, pretty much, and temperatures stayed in the low 70s. We got something like .7” of rain, which did wonders for the grass, and probably the garden too.

Sunday, Aug. 1: Another chilly, cloudy 71F day, although it wasn’t raining. SOTD: Le Temps d’une Fete. I love this thing, it’s so gorgeous – cool and warm at the same time. I notice that the more I wear it, the more I pick up on the patchouli and moss in it, and those are not favorite notes of mine. However, they just seem right in LTdF, all yellowy-green and quiet.

Funny how many of the fragrances rated with five stars in Perfumes: The Guide have no impact on me – that is, I either don’t care much for the materials or the style, or the fragrance simply has no emotional resonance. For example, in the first case, I don’t care for fougeres, so Caron’s Le Troisieme Homme’s star rating is immaterial. In the second case, I really like Bvlgari Black, but I could happily live the rest of my life without it. Furthermore, there are some five-star fragrances I actively despise: Angel, Missoni, Bandit, Poison, Secretions Magnifiques…

Too, there are several three- and four-star fragrances I absolutely adore: Carnal Flower. Black Orchid Voile de Fleur. Parfum Sacre. Amouage Lyric Woman. Clearly, Turin and Sanchez are nuts. PdN Vanille Tonka, the most wacky fun-in-a-bottle thing I’ve ever smelled, wuz robbed.

But sometimes they get it right. Le Temps d’une Fete would make my all-time Must Have List. Heck, it would make my Top Three. It smells wonderful and squeezes my heart to a degree that makes me happy to be alive. Here’s Dr. Turin on LTdF:

… something close to perfection, rich, radiant, solid, with the unique complexity of expensive narcissus absolute braced by olfactory bookends of green-floral notes and woods. Very classical, and truly wonderful.

 Top image is from parfumgott; lower image is from Sine86, both at Flickr.

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Scent Diary, July 19-25, 2010

Monday, July 19: Just signed Bookworm up for Running Camp – next week, all week, at a college not too far down the road. Hope she doesn’t die in the heat. My desk at work was piled a good foot high with papers, even though Allan and Brad managed to keep things fairly well up to speed while I was gone on vacation (thanks, guys). SOTD: Vintage Emeraude pdt, mmm. It had worn off by the time I finished work and headed to the grocery store, and I had a spray sample of Vamp a NY in my purse, so I put on a spritz of that. It’s just this side of delicious.

Tuesday, July 20: The kids spent the day at their grandparents’ house, because The CEO’s mother needed to go to an all-day meeting, and these days his dad needs the same kind of care a toddler might. My FIL, while still quick with a joke or a story, is physically rather frail – he’s 85, he has a hereditary blood clotting disorder for which he’s been on Coumadin for 40 years, he has Type II diabetes, he’s rather deaf (I blame the farm equipment), and a few years ago he was diagnosed with a degenerative type of ailment that is similar to Parkinson’s disease. In the past ten years he’s suffered a broken arm from being knocked down by a cow, a back injury from falling off a truck, a moderate stroke, a heart attack, a milder stroke, and now the Parkinson’s-like thing, which makes it hard for him to get around. So he needs help in the bathroom, and he can’t prepare his own food. (To be honest, he’s never prepared his own food. My MIL used to ask me to come over while she was gone on the occasional 3-day trip, so that I could heat up his meals in the microwave. Seriously. He was perfectly capable of choosing his food and carrying a plate to the table, and of putting dishes in the dishwasher afterward, but he didn’t know how to run the microwave, and refused to learn.) In any case, the kids went to “ride herd” on their grandpa while I was at work. I think they were bored silly, but nobody complained… what sweethearts.

SOTD: one drop of vintage Guerlain Parure edc (courtesy of Queen Daisy the Enabler) on my thumb. I hate this thing. (Sorry, Daisy.) This is a fruity chypre, isn’t it? Bleargh. Every single one of those I’ve tried, I’ve hated, and I mean I hated them all enough to blowtorch the lot. Parure? Mitsouko? So Pretty? Yvresse? All utter, utter disasters. After a couple of irritable hours, I gave up, washed my hand, and got out the never-wrong Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere. This is the thing I always keep in my purse, because while there might be another choice that would be more perfect for the situation at hand, Eau Premiere seems to fit just about anytime. I’m never sorry I put it on.

Wednesday, July 21: We have garden TOMATOES! I’monna make myself a mater sammich for lunch: two slices white bread, the softer the better, real mayonnaise (Duke’s, please), a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper. And a 3/4-inch slice of the biggest, ripest tomato I just picked right off the vine. It’s best if your tomato is big enough to cover most of the bread slice, but you can layer slices from a smaller tomato if you must. Yum. Some people add American cheese, but I think that’s sacrilege. SOTD: Divine L’Ame Soeur, because I was in a hurry and aldehydes are my no-brainer choice in the summer. P:TG calls this one “pale, vegetal, and sour.” Pale I get. Vegetal, no. Sour? Huh-uh. It’s actually rather sweet on me, not quite the sugary crunch of Chanel No. 22, but heading in that direction.

SOTEvening Two Hours Right After Supper: Parfums DelRae Coup de Foudre. Gorgeous for an hour, then it’s gone. I ought to swap this thing (a 10ml decant) away, because it just frustrates me. Actually, I ought to swap away several things I’m not wearing… like maybe keep a small decant of my 2006 Diorissimo and trade the rest. Or the Ivoire de Balmain, which is pretty if I’ve got enough time to let it bloom, but the weather never seems quite right for it. Or the Le Prince Jardinier Labyrinthe Libertin, which is a nice herbal cologney thing but I just don’t care much for colognes. Gah.

Thursday, July 22: Hied Bookworm and myself to the dentist for maintenance cleanings, and while we were there they kindly fixed my tooth where an old filling had broken off and gotten rough. SOTMorning: AG Heure Exquise edp, from a sample sent to me by AnnS, who loves the stuff. We split the difference on HE and No. 19: I love 19, and just like HE, and she feels the opposite. She’s still trying to convert me, and I’m still wearing samples of HE and saying to myself, “You know, this stuff is pretty good, but it makes me want to wear something else. Like No. 19. Or Silences.”

So after taking Bookworm shopping for a few things she’ll need for running camp next week, I applied Silences where HE had worn off. Then I went to work, which freaked all my coworkers out. They hate it when I come in to work in the afternoon, instead of my usual morning hours. I think it messes with their brains. “You’re here? My gosh, is it Friday already?”

Friday, July 23: HOT HOT HOT again, mid-90s and humid. I’ve been feeling guilty about wearing old favorites, thereby neglecting samples people have been kind enough to send me. SOTD: Guerlain Metallica. Which I knew had been renamed/rereleased as Metalys, and judging by its name, I thought it was some sort of lily+helional thing. Wa-RONG. It’s aldehydes +carnation +vanilla. Which I totally dig, although the vanilla (the official notes say amber, but it’s the same variety as in Bvlgari Black) is a little more powdery than I would find ideal. And now I find that Metalys is still available (at “discontinued Guerlain” prices), but it’s less carnation and more vanilla, which is the exact opposite of the proportions I’d like. And then I went looking for a source of real carnation absolu, which is a whole ‘nother story…

SOTE: Shalimar Light (blue juice). Shalimar would probably kill me in the heat, but SL is great for bedtime. I happen to find it a lemon-vanilla heap o’ sexy.

Saturday, July 24: SOTD: the dregs of Shalimar Light, which does hang around a long time. We’ve been cleaning the house and mowing grass, and this afternoon we planned to visit the local pool, and that meant I didn’t bother with applying more scent.

Post-pool, though, I put on a bit more Shalimar Light. I don’t know why it’s so appealing to me right now, but it is. It’s probably a little too heavy. Watched The Bourne Identity again on TV. Chris Cooper is, as absolutely always, pitch-perfect. And I love Franka Potente – you know she doesn’t get cast because of her looks (although I think she’s lovely in an unusual sort of way) , but because of her talent. Her face is so open and expressive. I like Matt Damon a lot; I think he’s a talented actor and a really bright guy. But I keep wondering if he wasn’t the wrong choice for Jason Bourne because Damon is so patently nice. He doesn’t look like a hardened assassin who has suddenly developed a conscience.

Sunday, July 25: Saw Bookworm off to running camp (thank goodness for carpools! We didn’t have to drive her ourselves) and went on to church. I was working with the preschoolers again and didn’t want to be radiantly perfumed, so went with Prada Infusion d’Iris. It’s a nice little wallpaper scent, but I wish I’d picked something like Lancome Mille et une Rose instead.

I finally mowed the yard, after three and a half weeks of dry weather.  It rained about two inches this week, and the yard has greened up and started to grow again.  It’s full of weeds, of course, because poor weather favors the brazen plants: Queen Anne’s lace and chicory, pigweed and sandbriers, plantain and chickweed, bull thistle and musk thistle and the truly-prickly Scotch thistle.  Oddly, you know, thistle blooms smell really lovely: a milky, honeyed sweet fragrance.  Butterflies love them. 

Image is “Inside display cabinet” by yarnwench on Flickr.

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