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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Scent Diary and Vacation Travelogue, July 12-18, 2010

Monday, July 12: We got a later start than we’d planned (when do we ever leave on time?), but the trip was smooth and uneventful. SOTD: Mariella Burani. Cheapie Wendy’s lunch, with trail mix and Gatorade in the car later in the afternoon. On the way to Charleston, we went so close to Columbia that The CEO thought it would be good to stop there and have a look at the SC State House. When we parked on the east side of the State House and put coins into the parking meter, Eddie said it was 97° F. My MB was pretty much gone at that point, and that was a good thing in the heat…

Side note: I’d better warn you, The CEO and I are those irritating people who give things cutesy names. As in, his vehicle, a Toyota Camry, is for obvious reasons called Cameron. My bought-used Dodge Caravan is Eddie Van, as in Eddie Van Halen. And the microwave is Mike Jr., the water pressure booster pump is Hans-and-Franz (it’s here to Pump YOU Up!), and the ice maker is Fidel (it’s always cubin’). There are more, but I’ll stop now. You’re welcome.

The SC State House is indeed quite beautiful: marble floors and glass mosaic windows and gorgeous wrought iron balustrades and handrails. They have cool bronze statues of George Washington and John C. Calhoun, and portraits in oil of historically significant South Carolinians, including Mary McLeod Bethune and Edgar Allen Poe. We were surprised to see portraits of Virginians Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson (okay, okay, he was actually born in what is now West Virginia, but lived much of his adult life in Lexington, VA) prominently displayed in the SC House of Representatives room.  

Another side note: How about those South Carolinians keeping the War Between the States alive, hmm?  I thought we Virginians were bad. Funny/sad/true story: for years, beginning in the early 20th century, there was a state holiday in January called Lee-Jackson Day, celebrating RE Lee’s birthday.  (A kid from Pennsylvania asked me once, “Who’s this Lee Jackson guy?”)  Then when the federal government declared a national holiday celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., guess what day that fell on?  Yep.  So in Virginia, for about a decade or two, we celebrated Lee-Jackson-King Day, until the state holiday was moved to the Friday before MLK Day.  If that isn’t irony for you… 

The State House grounds were lovely as well, and I finally got to smell live osmanthus! A gorgeous floral-apricot smell. And magnolia is too – it smells like creamy, floral lemon custard. Which I knew, but I don’t get to smell magnolia much since it’s just a wee bit too cool where we live for most magnolia trees to thrive. We can grow a variety called the sweet bay magnolia, though it doesn’t smell quite as lush as the ones here in SC.

Tuesday, July 13: Visit to Ft. Sumter via ferry. Hot. Honestly, it’s like living in a sauna… (said the spoiled mountain-dweller). SOTD: Moschino Funny!, a lovely grapefruit-rose-tea thing that I liked much, much better than the way fancier Hermes Pamplemousse Rose, and that I once denigrated for being a pretty little wisp of nothin’ special. Which just goes to show that weather is important. First time I tried it, I wasn’t sure I was wearing anything at all, but it lasted several hours in miserable heat today.

I’m not sure whether we enjoyed Ft. Sumter, or the ferry cruise to the island that houses it, more. Taz found the cannons and their emplacement in the remains of the original fort engrossing, and we practically had to drag him away. “Look, Mom, you could slide it along this curved track like this, and you had to get away from the back, or it would recoil after you fired it, and it would knock you dead! And see… this one’s got a rifled barrel…”

After Ft. Sumter, we drove over the coolest bridge I’ve ever seen – the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, that’s it up top – and visited the naval museum on the decommissioned WWII-era aircraft carrier USS Yorktown. The Medal of Honor museum aboard the Yorktown was very moving. The boys were in absolute heaven exploring the flight deck and captain’s bridge, as well as the numerous types of military aircraft stored on the flight deck. They were less impressed with the crew quarters and mess hall, not to mention the machine shop and torpedo shop. (Although I think it gave them a new appreciation for their granddad, who served aboard a destroyer tender – a much smaller ship – based in Norfolk, VA in the early 1960’s. “Wow… he had to sleep on a weird bed like that? And climb up ladders like that? It smells like the cabins at summer camp in here…”) The WWII-era diesel submarine, the USS Clamagore, surprised us all with how tough, and how impervious to claustrophobia, sailors had to be to serve on a tin can like that.

Wednesday, July 14: The CEO just realized that he has to be back home for a very important meeting on Friday (what, he couldn’t have read his email messages from three weeks ago? Apparently not.), so we’re going to go home a bit early. That pushes up some of our plans. Today we drove around historic downtown Charleston, visited Ft. Moultrie, and hit the beach at the Isle of Palms. SOTD: Miller Harris Fleur de Matin. I really like FdM – a bit of galbanum up top, then a hint of citrusy-herbal stuff like lemon balm, and then light florals like jasmine and freesia. For something so light, it wears fairly long (4 hours) in the heat.

The old part of Charleston, particularly near The Battery (the row of cannon facing Ft. Sumter across the Cooper River) is what people have been cooing over for a couple of centuries now: charming, tall, gracefully-proportioned houses with beautiful wrought-iron details, in ice-cream pastels like pink and lemon and cream. There is a sense of these houses being delicate, lacy, decorative, and hedged in by whalebone and wrought iron fences and cast iron cannons – the Flower of Southern Womanhood guarded by Masculine Might. It’s a little eerie, to be honest. I do see why Charleston highlights this part of town, and its military history. It’s good marketing, and it pays off in terms of drawing paying tourists to the area. But I imagine it’s not so much fun to be black and living in the unkempt area five blocks from The Battery. There’s a sort of willful neglect of the downtown area that isn’t historical, and I find myself wishing Charleston would spend a little money putting in some civic improvements in places that really need them.

We’re not really Beach People. I enjoy the beach for a few days at a time, and then I get sick of it and want to go home. I like the ocean, I love bouncing around in the waves, I like building sandcastles, and eating ice cream cones and seafood, and sitting in a beach chair watching the tide come in, and walking on the wet sand early in the morning to watch the sun come up and pick up shells. Doing it for more than a few days feels unproductive and just plain wrong to me. That said, the beach at Isle of Palms is really nice. The sand’s clean, and I couldn’t see any detritus of horseshoe crabs or dead jellyfish, like you see at Virginia Beach and the Outer Banks. The houses along the shore are even brighter than those in Charleston: an apple green-and-white one flanked by a sherbety pink-and-lemon one and a periwinkle-and-sky blue one. Farther down, there’s a cream-and-mint green house, and a peach-and-dove gray, and on the other side of the hotel, a purple-and-lime ice cream shop. It’s pretty and bright, and the houses seem at home here against the sand and sea grass. I just know I couldn’t live here.

Thursday, July 15: I’ve been noticing: unlike home, where it’s so dry that our grass has started to go brown, SC has been getting lots of rain. It’s really humid here. I know saying that is a little like commenting that it sure is cold at the North Pole, but I was surprised at just how humid it is. It’s been a good twenty years, maybe, since I traveled south of Virginia in the summer. Yikes. I’d probably enjoy cologne more if I lived here. Temps have been running in the mid-to-upper 90s, too, while at home it’s been upper 80s to low 90s.

No fragrance this morning; we visited the waterpark just north of Charleston, and of course scent would have been wasted. This was a lot of fun: a mat slide, a wave pool, a climbing obstacle course with various fun water things, some slides, and a “lazy river” ride. We all got a little bit sunburned, despite putting on water-resistant SPF 50 sunscreen three times during our five-hour visit. Gaze, despite being the blondest of us, only had a bit of pink on the bridge of his nose and cheekbones. Bookworm, who’s a freckly strawberry blonde, is diligent about her 70 SPF, and applied it four times, but still wound up with pink ears, nose, and shoulders. So did I. The CEO, who has a classic “farmer’s tan,” with forearms and neck tanned brown, got his shirt area burned despite the sunscreen. He’s still uncomfortable, poor baby.

SOTDriveHome: Vamp a NY. I love the Vamp – big ol’ white flowers, root beer and vanilla. What’s not to like? It’s like vacation in a bottle.

Friday, July 16: The dog was really happy to see us when we got home last night. (The cat was simply annoyed that we had gone away. If she was glad to see us, she gave no indication of it.) Since I have the whole week off work, I stayed home today and we worked through some of the Laundry Mountain we brought back with us. Ever notice how, even if you put the dirty clothes in a big garbage bag instead of in your suitcase, the clothes you didn’t wear come home smelling weird anyway? I think I need some sachet things to keep the duffel bags and suitcases fresh when they’re not being used. SOTD: Mariella Burani, for comfort.

Saturday, July 17: How on earth does a house get dirty when you haven’t even been in it all week?? But it was a mess: dog hair and crumbs all over the floor, dirt on the carpets (guess we dragged that in on Thursday night)… sigh. We cleaned. SOTD, once I finished mopping floors and cleaning bathrooms: Manoumalia. I keep hoping.

We had a thunderstorm that dumped a very, very welcome 1.3 inches of rain before moving off and leaving the day about 20 degrees cooler. That brings us up to a total of about 2 inches this month. We’ve been getting far less than our average 37” annual inches of rain so far this year. Good thing we’ve still got hay left from last summer.

Sunday, July 18: Lovely day, mid-80s and not humid, but the grass has greened up since yesterday. SOTD: Carnal Flower, which is sooooo beautifully green and florist-case chilly over that big lush warm tuberose. Swoony stuff.

We were all set to host a group of inner-city kids from Atlanta for a hayride and lemonade this afternoon, when the heavens opened up and just dumped down the rain!   Luckily the storm didn’t last long, and we did get a bit more much-needed rain.  The kids from Bright Futures Atlanta, as usual, were terrific and lots of fun.  Some of them have never been out of the city, so taking them close to the cows is like going on safari.  There’s a lot of “Wow, they’re big!” and “What do you do with the dead ones?” and “How big is this place?”  Hayley, our beagle-yellow lab mix, is in absolute heaven with this many people around to pet her.  We had thirty people visiting (26 kids, 4 staff), and we blew through 4 1/2 gallons of lemonade and two pans of brownies in record time.

All images except the last two are from Wikimedia Commons.  The image of the woman washing clothes is from Flickr’s commons.  The photo of the kids on the wagon is from Bright Futures’ website, of last year’s visit, and yes, that is indeed The CEO piloting his John Deere 4230.  The kid in the orange shirt – not that you can see him – is Gaze.  I also notice how very, very green things looked last summer, as opposed to now.  Boy, did we need that rain!

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Scent Diary, July 5-11, 2010

Monday, July 5:  A little cooler today than last week – and very dry.  The grass is getting really crunchy.    SOTMorning: Kate Spade.  Someone asked me whether it was the first one or the second, and I have to admit I don’t know.  It’s an attractive, soft Big White Floral with muguet as well as tuberose.  Although I don’t know much about Ms. Spade except that she designs handbags coveted by many fashionable women, of which I am definitely not one, I like this.  It is discontinued, of course.

SOTE: Les Nez Manoumalia.  I thought it would be another Big White Floral of the tropical variety, but holy crap.  Remember how Tubereuse Criminelle had aspects of menthol and camphor (which didn’t bother me) and of raw meat (which did)?  Manoumalia – while escaping the Rotting Raw Chicken of Death that is TC – is similarly disturbing.  Review coming soon.

On a positive note, after dinner we watched the 1954 movie Moby Dick, with Gregory Peck as Ahab, and I am very proud to say that Bookworm and Gaze were picking up on some of the symbolism with which the story is rife.  This is second nature to Bookworm – she began noticing symbolism in books when she was about 9 and I was reading her The Lord of the Rings (editing some of the archaic language on the fly). Gaze is less sure of himself with language-arts-type-stuff, and I was glad to see him looking for layers of meaning.

Tuesday, July 6:  Temps in the mid-90s, back to HOT again.  SOTD: Tauer Une Rose Vermeille, delicious little thing.  Funny: Bookworm and Gaze are Not Fans, although Gaze thought it was nice in its raspberry-rose stage.  The CEO liked it.   I hereby dismiss the kids’ opinions – these are the people who thought Manoumalia was “just pretty flowers.”  (Gah.) 

At some point today, Gaze and Taz got into one of their frequent pitched battles with their Nerf guns.  (Should this bother me?  It doesn’t.  They’re boys – if it weren’t Nerf guns with foam bullets, it would be water pistols.  Or water balloons.  Or wrestling.  Or plastic light sabers.  Or something.)  In any case, I overheard the following exchange:

Taz (trash-talking as he fires):  IN YOUR FACE!   POW POW POW!

Gaze (philosophically): Actually, that kind of was in my face.

Taz (with glee): HA!  Literally and metaphorically!

I thought I was going to die laughing.  What nine-year-old uses that phrase, and, moreover, gets it right?  I called him on the carpet for shooting at faces, though, and threatened the permanent removal of the Nerf guns.  He knows I’m serious.  (The boys in the pic are not mine, by the way – mine are older.  And blonder.  But when I went to Flickr and searched for “boys nerf guns,” no fewer than 118 photos popped up, and my point is, Boys Love Nerf Guns.)

Wednesday, July 7:  The CEO and I are finalizing vacation plans for next week.  Good thing we’re not waiting for August – this weather is hot enough, thank you.  SOTD: Nuit de Tubereuse.  I still hate the jungle-dirt-mildew opening.  But I like the friendly tuberose shading into light woods and incense.  (Bookworm really enjoys it.  I’m still not getting the reason for her intense dislike of the Tauer scents, except that they tend to be rich and opaque.)

Thursday, July 8:  Still hot, still dry.   SOTD: Marc Jacobs Daisy. Go complain about my pedestrian taste somewhere else if you’re unhappy.  There are some days you just need a wallpaper scent, and for that purpose I like Daisy a lot.     

Friday, July 9:  Planning for vacation next week.  Taz needs a haircut, the dog needs a bath, Bookworm’s trying to schedule around band and cross-country practices… how to get it all done?  Groceries… laundry… I already paid all the bills… honestly, this is like playing Whack-a-Mole.

SOTD: Lancome Mille et une Rose.  Back in January when I bought the La Collection set (Magie, MeuR, Sikkim, and Climat), this one struck me as dull.  It must have been a weather thing, because it’s nothing short of comfortable, ladylike elegance now.  Basically, it just smells good: lemony, peppery, ambery rose, all of it muted and swirled into a bold sort of prettiness, if that isn’t an oxymoron.   Another wallpaper scent, but one that reminds me of those Jacobean fabric prints.   

SOTE: Les Nez Manoumalia again.  This is a schizophrenic sort of thing – lovely big white flowers, and… um… meat?

Saturday, July 10:  It rained last night!  Not enough, but it did rain.  And I trimmed Taz’s hair myself.  It’s not entirely straight, but I absolutely dare you to notice it upon casual observance.  Oh, well, Nancy the friendly local hairdresser can fix it in a couple of weeks, he’ll need another haircut by then anyway.   SOTD: Manoumalia.  Because I’m writing a review.  The things I suffer through to write these reviews… sigh.

Sunday, July 11:  Church.  Then getting Bookworm’s new cross-country shoes.  Then packing up for vacay.  SOTD: Nuit de Tubereuse.  I mentioned it before, but I’m getting accustomed to the mildewy bit.  I don’t like it, but it’s bothering me less.

Just found out that our hotel suite (one king size bed, one sofa bed, one pull-out reclining chair) will have free wi-fi.  So we’re taking my laptop, and I may get the chance to pop by and respond to comments.  I have two posts (a Manoumalia review and a post on the Raspberry Pavlova dessert that Tauer Une Rose Vermeille reminded me of) already scheduled to publish while I’m gone, so there will at least be something for you to read here, even if I don’t get back to you in the comments until the following week.

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Scent Diary, June 28-July 4, 2010

Monday, June 28: Wearing Parfums DelRae Coup de Foudre again, writing a review.  We have a plague of wasps in the toolshed – I haven’t been able to get the lawnmower out, thanks to the wasps.  Ack. 

The boys are spending a week at Camp Nana, AKA my parents’ house, so the three of us still here will be eating Things They Don’t Like this week – lasagna, cucumber salad, potstickers, Thai noodles, chicken satay… Yum.  How is it that I have one really picky kid, one sort-of-picky kid, and one eats-pretty-much-anything kid?  

My sample of Une Rose Vermeille from Andy Tauer arrived today – along with four other samples, in that darling little aluminum sample box!  Yay!!!  Also included in the box were samples of Une Rose Chypree, Incense Rose, Le Maroc Pour Elle, and Orange Star.  I’ve enjoyed my sample of URC, but didn’t care much for IR (too much Tang Dust Effect).  Haven’t tried Le Maroc or Orange Star, but will soon. The Rose Vermeille is lovely, sniffed from the vial.  Hope to give it a real spin soon. 

Tuesday, June 29: In a rush to get out the door, I just grabbed a decant and hoped that it would be suitable; it turned out to be Divine L’Ame Soeur.  Which I like and which I should review along with all those other aldehydic florals I like so much.   Bonus: the juice is a really, really pretty pale coral-pink color. 

The CEO and I went on a search-and-destroy-wasps mission this evening – he was moving the basketball goal from where it had fallen in yesterday’s thunderstorm, and got stung pretty badly.  I hate wasps.  This is probably not fair to the wasps, who are after all simply going about their wasp business when these giants show up and disrupt everything, but there you have it.  I still hate them.  Bees only sting you if you swat at them, or step on them, but wasps are infinitely grouchier.

Wednesday, June 30: The CEO and I have seriously discussed my quitting my part-time job to concentrate on getting my novel written.  We’re still considering the issue.  SOTD: Miller Harris Rose en Noir, because I was wearing this necklace I have, composed of reddish-brown oval beads interspersed with square peridot-colored beads, and a pendant made of green-and-russet agate.  Rose en Noir, instead of reminding me of the colors in its name, pink and black, is green and russet: galbanum, rose, spice, with something balsamic that bothers me on some days and doesn’t on others.

SOTE: Alahine, just a weensy spritz.  It’s so quiet here without the boys… I hear they’re having fun.  Talked to them on the phone last night, and I could hear my mother in the background, insisting to my nephew Doodlebug (age 6) that he must go and put on his pajamas because it was bedtime.  “Yes, you do.”  Pause.  “Because it is bedtime.”  Pause.  “Yes, it is bedtime, and you need your pajamas.”  Pause.  “Because I said so, that’s why!”  I had to laugh.  Moms never change, do they?

Thursday, July 1: Statement Day again at work.  I really should go about Making Pronouncements, but I wind up too busy.  Coup de Foudre again today – man, the level in the decant bottle goes noticeably lower every time I wear it.    So of course it was gone by the time I got home from work, and I still wanted rose but not my usual suspects, so I put on some Silences.  I love how cool and satiny it is, galbanum-rose-iris-moss.  It always makes me think of that kind of taffeta that changes colors depending on how you hold it in the light — one way it’s green, one way it’s purple.  That’s Silences.

Bedtime scent, Citizen QueenRrrowwr

Friday, July 2: I felt like being frivolous, so the SOTD was Ines de la Fressange.  Bellini in a bottle – all fizzy tangy peach — plus rose, jasmine, violet, and a bright sandalwoody drydown.   A very happy sort of smell.  SOTE:  Maison Francis Kurkdjian Lumiere Noire pour Femme Double rrrowwr.

Saturday, July 3:  We are practically inundated in really big cucumbers.  Big, mammoth, nearly obscene cucumbers.  By the dozens.  We’re getting a little sick of them – even with tomatoes and feta cheese and herbs and cracked pepper.  SOTD: Tauer Perfumes Une Rose Vermeille.  I like it.  Bookworm doesn’t… picky picky.

Sunday, July 4:  Happy Birthday, America!   SOTD: Hanae Mori Haute Couture, nice fizzy jasmine fruit mocktail thing.  We had a family-n-friends picnic at the Methodist Church picnic shelter (my aunt and uncle are members there, and my grandmother used to be, before the Alzheimer’s sped up), with the usual Too Much Food.  Which we ate, because we’re like that:  “Don’t want to waste it.  Here, have some watermelon.  There’s some more of that ham – and how about a little sliver of Ann’s pie?” 

Remember when I opened the vial of Serge Lutens Clair de Musc last week and found my mother in it?  Turns out she did wear Jovan Musk for Women for some period of time, as an everyday scent, when I was little.  Those smell memories get hard-wired… wonder what will conjure me for my children later on in their lives? 

I was really glad to see my boys, back from their week at Camp Nana. Taz must have really missed me, because he headed straight for me and got me in one of those totally involved leg-lock hugs he’s famous for.  And kept hugging me – which I enjoyed, because he’s nine.  The days of “don’t touch me, Mom,” are rollin’ on down the road toward us, and in five years we’ll be lucky if he speaks to us in public.   Although, you know, Taz isn’t much of a talker unless he’s telling you what he knows about things like American history, the digestive systems of animals, or baseball.  Instead, he’s physical.  He’s gonna want to wrestle me or something, instead of telling me he loves me. 

The CEO took Bookworm and Gaze to a baseball game after lunch; I didn’t go.  Why?  I was tired and hot and I wanted to talk to my sister, who is emotionally frangible lately since her husband was deployed to Afghanistan until December.  Taz said he wanted to be with me, and after we went home, he went straight for the History Channel and turned on America: The Story of Us.  You know, I think he’s one weird little kid… weird, but actually sort of great. 

Okay, actually wonderful.

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Scent Diary, June 21-27, 2010

Monday, June 21: I’m going to stop bothering to note the weather.  We’re into summer now, and it’s basically going to be the same every day: hot. And humid.  Except when it rains, and then it will be wet and hot and humid.  Of course, it hasn’t rained enough recently, and the grass is getting crunchy, and the wasps are proliferating.  Urgh.  SOTD: Vamp a NY, which I love for being a big flirty happy tuberose-vanilla party.  Complicated it’s not.  Pretty, it is.  Where’s my tropical-floral-print cotton sundress?

Taz’ baseball team lost their tournament game.  They’re done.  It’s over.  Thank goodness, now we can start eating dinner at home every night like normal human beings.  (Okay, fine, I know plenty of people don’t do that.  I mean, normal for us.)

Tuesday, June 22: The CEO and guys have made 340 bales of hay over the past few days – about 70% of an average year’s usage.  And this is just the first cutting!  They’ll make more in August.  These are big bales, too – 6 feet 3 inches in diameter.  They dwarf me.  Gaze went with his dad and helped bale for awhile.  He’s not quite tall enough to reach the foot pedals on the tractor, so he sat on The CEO’s lap and just steered.  The CEO says that it’s a tricky thing to keep the bale even, so that you don’t wind up with lopsided bales that fall apart when you try to move them – but that Gaze is really, really good at it.

SOTD: Vamp a NY again.  Despite my short attention span and despite wearing it for several days in a row, I still like it.  At bedtime it was gone but I still wanted tuberose, so sprayed a bit of TF Voile de Fleur.  Mmm.

Wednesday, June 23: DANGIT DANGIT DANGIT.  My laptop “lost” my review of Vamp a NY (which I wore again today), which was to be posted this morning.  AAAARGGGHH!  I had to go to work with it dangling; only managed to retrieve the file and get the review up on the blog by 11 pm.  Shoot.   

I think Bookworm’s having fun with this PE-class camp thing she’s doing.  Besides basic health, physical fitness tests, and some basic classroom Driver’s Ed, they’ve gone whitewater rafting at the New River Gorge in WV; canoeing on the river; bowling; waterskiing and other water sports at the Boy Scout camp on the lake; and today they went spelunking.  I had not known that there was a cave within a mile of our house, although it shouldn’t have surprised me: most of the local geology is highly karsticLimestone Rock + Underground Water Makes Caves, Duh.  On our farm alone, 610 acres, there are no fewer than three sinkholes, one big enough to swallow a tractor (if you were stupid enough to try to drive a tractor in there).  In any case, she came home utterly covered in mud today, and smiling.

Thursday, June 24: I could have happily worn Vamp a NY again, but decided to wear a sample.  Picked Frederic Malle Lys Mediterranee, which is lovely.  I am always surprised by how aquatic it is.  The effect is very Sitting on a Windy Mediterranean Seaside Stone Terrace, Surrounded by White Lilies.  That’s an enviable place to be, even if it is only in my mind.   Is it wrong of me to prefer Donna Karan Gold, which evokes the heady summer blast of my very own stargazer lilies wafting past me as I sit on the front porch swing watching the sunset?  My wallet is happy with my choice.

Oh!  Great news – I just won an advance sample of Tauer Perfumes’ Une Rose Vermeille, which I understand to be the next in Andy Tauer’s Memorables line after Une Rose Chypree, which I liked very much.  It was a random drawing from among commenters on his blog, but I asked Andy if I could review it here and he said, “No problem – just explain how you got your sample.”  So.  There’s that to look forward to.  It sounds great, by the way – red raspberry (I know some of you are covering your ears, but c’mon, it’s Tauer – I can’t imagine fruity mall blah in a Tauer), rose, vanilla, sandalwood, violet.  Sounds soooo pretty.  

Went to sleep wearing a teeny spritz of Teo Cabanel Alahine.  I love that stuff.

Friday, June 25:  In a hurry this morning, I grabbed Mariella Burani for a quick spritz.  It’s such a great wallpaper scent.  The more often I wear it, the more often I smell musk in it – a pleasant, quiet musk that doesn’t smell too laundry detergent.  Yesterday I uncapped my sample  of Serge Lutens Clair de Musc, and in it I found – my mother, of all things.  Of course there is a lot of musk in Chanel No. 5 – but now I’m wondering if she also wore something like Jovan Musk Oil from time to time.  I should call her and ask.  (I should call her and just chat, I don’t do that often enough.)

Saturday, June 26: At the risk of repeating myself once too often, it’s hot.  SOTD:  Welll… nothing, really.  After bringing in the fifth load of laundry from the clothesline, all sweaty, I grabbed my decant of 4711 out of the fridge and spritzed the back of my neck, in the hopes that it would cool me off.  It did, but I still don’t like it.  Luckily, it disappeared within half an hour.  (And the clothes smell great.)  Went to pick up The CEO from where he and Taz had been mowing a hayfield, and they’d picked me some tiger lilies and Queen Anne’s Lace, wasn’t that sweet of them?  They know I love those side-of-the-road specials.

True story: the flowers at my parents’ wedding, 45 years ago today, consisted of armfuls and Mason jars full of Queen Anne’s Lace, picked from every roadside and vacant lot my grandmother and the bridesmaids could get to.  They couldn’t afford anything else.   The life lesson, of course, is that when you can find beauty in the most commonplace things, love lasts.  Congrats, Mom and Dad.

Sunday, June 27:  A momentous occasion – the first-ever unsolicited compliment on my perfume from Taz.  He hugged me and then exclaimed, “Oh, you smell nice!  I like that one.”  The scent?  Parfums DelRae Coup de Foudre.   Taz has good taste.  Review coming sometime this week. 

Top image: My Grandmother’s Perfume Bottle Collection from SourCherries at flickr.  Lower image is New River Gorge Bridge from Wikimedia Commons.

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Scent Diary, June 7-12, 2010

Monday, June 7: Cool, in the mid-70s F, with low humidity. My desk was piled with stuff from the long weekend, and I wasn’t enjoying work today. SOTD: Hermes Eau de Pamplemousse Rose, which I thought I’d like. Grapefruit and rose? Yum. Perfectly summery. Unfortunately for me, EdPR is an hour of wonderful followed by a couple hours of the Ghost of Cologne. It is basically a classic cologne structure topped off by a citrusy rose, and since I find cologne dull in the extreme, I can’t make a case for this scent for personal wear. I think I’ll go back to DSH Rose Vert (where’s my sample of that?) for citrus-green-rose. Or Moschino Funny!, that was a nice grapefruit-rose.

Tuesday, June 8: Warmer (80s) but still low humidity. If the weather stayed like this all summer I would enjoy summer a zillion times more. Typically we’ve got mid-90s and sticky, and that’s not pleasant. When I was a teenager, I read the following phrase and wondered greatly at it: “The two most beautiful words in the English language are ‘summer afternoon, summer afternoon.’” Whoever wrote that has got to be out of his gourd, I thought then – but it must have been written with a day like today in mind. SOTD: vintage Coty L’Aimant parfum de toilette. These vintage 1970s Coty scents like Emeraude and L’Aimant, and even the chypreish Imprevu, are far, far more attractive than their current drugstore iterations.

Gaze is sick with stomach troubles. I’m having trouble getting him to keep anything down, even ginger ale and jello, so we’re off to the doctor’s office tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 9: HOT. 90S and humid. Gaze has “the bug that’s going around,” poor baby. SOTD: Divine L’Ame Soeur, more aldehydes. I really love them in the heat, they’re so sparkly.

Thursday, June 10: Hot again, our standard summer weather. LAST DAY OF SCHOOL, AAAAARRRRGHHGH! Gaze was somewhat better, and I managed to convince him to shower before school today. It was 5th grade “graduation,” and the enticement of coming home right afterwards, as is customary at this elementary school, got Gaze moving in the right direction. I was proud: he had all A’s this year and three perfect scores on his standardized tests. (To be fair, Bookworm took two of the Standards of Learning, or SOL tests this year and made perfect scores on hers as well – and Taz, who’s been downright lazy about homework this past year, made FOUR perfect scores. I’m proud of all of them. Especially since Taz has recently managed to make his cursive handwriting, as opposed to his printing which is dreadful, actually legible. I do get to brag on them a little bit, don’t I? I’m their mommy. Of course I do.) SOTD: Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere, still more aldehydes.

Gaze went to his baseball game and played four innings (two hits, a walk, an RBI, three stolen bases, and two runs scored) before getting overheated and tossing his cookies right behind second base. I felt so bad about that. He’d claimed to be feeling well before the game, and hadn’t run a fever for more than 40 hours.

Friday, June 11: Hot, humid, and miserable. We didn’t get the rain we should have gotten on Wednesday night, so everything is getting crunchy. I’m having to water my hanging baskets every three days. SOTD: Honore des Pres Vamp a NY, from that terrific giveaway at Grain de Musc. You know I love tuberose, and this one is fabbo. I’ve sniffed that little bit of Nuit de Tubereuse which everybody is going on about and been less than impressed (what is that weird opening – wet dirt? Potting soil? Mildew?), but the HdP is just lovely.

Saturday, June 12: Same weather we’ve been having all week. Two baseball games – Gaze (who’s feeling much better!) at the local park and Taz at the one twenty minutes away. As soon as I unlocked the van for Taz to chuck his bat and glove into the back, it started raining – and has really not stopped all day. You can feel the grass go, Ahhhhhh, that’s better. SOTD: L’Aimant again.

The bad news of the week? Busted mower. One of the discs got maladjusted in its timing and started banging into the one next to it, and that caused wear in the gears on the cutter bar (okay, I admit that I don’t really understand what I just said, either). But I understood how much the repair bill’s going to be: $4000. Ouch. This is a mini-lesson on How Expensive It Is To Run a Farm – you have to have some hefty cash reserves, or you’re just toast.

Sunday, June 13: Cooler again, in the 80s. SOTD: testing Van Cleef & Arpels Orchidee Vanille. Which, to be honest, is not very orchidee and lotsa plasticky vanille. I get about fifteen minutes of amorphous floral, um, thingy and then sticky generic vanilla, and I was wondering what was wrong with my nose until I asked the kids what they thought. Bookworm turned up her nose: “Smells like cotton candy, the kind in the plastic tub at the store.” Gaze was more direct: “I don’t like that at all.” So then I go and check out Octavian’s take on it at 1000Fragrances and he says something like, “Cheap generic cotton-candy vanilla.” Vindication!

SOTE: Petite Cherie, straight outta the fridge. It’s the only bottle I keep in the fridge, just because of the accusations of instability in the pear topnote, which is the part I love best. I love this innocent white-eyelet sundress of a scent, and I don’t apologize. Sometimes it’s just what I want.

Image of Guerlain perfumes at perfume convention from parfumgott at flickr. If you get the chance, click on the photo to enlarge it so you can check out what’s there.  I’m lusting after that gorgeous Vega bottle on the bottom left, but there’s also L’Heure Bleue and Chamade and Djedi as well as something I’ve not heard of, Elixir de Guerlain.

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