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Scent Diary, Jan. 11-17, 2016

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Scent Diary’s been AWOL for far too long. Agreed?

Monday, Jan. 11 – Weather is windy and chilly, but sunny. It’s my birthday, and Bookworm took me to the new place in town for lunch. We shared potato skins topped with shredded beef, cheese, and fried onions, and then I chose a sandwich of sliced turkey and pepper jack with chipotle mayo on a toasted baguette while she had a mushroom swiss burger. Yummy.

MG Plum smells like this vibrant lantana looks.

MG Plum smells like this vibrant lantana looks.

SOTD is Mary Greenwell Plum, over some Juicy Couture body creme because the two smell startlingly alike, especially in the top and heart: a tangy-fruity white floral with rose that just makes me smile every time. The Juicy Couture in parfum and body creme diverges, in my opinion, from the more-commonly-worn EdP, which I find ridiculously Watermelon Bubblicious-y. You know, that highly artificial watermelon flavor? That’s all I can smell in JC edp, but the creme and the parfum skip the watermelon for citrus and green notes. JC never actually gets to its gourmandy basenotes on me, it’s all top/heart. Which is okay, because it’s so closely related to Plum and Plum has a lightweight modern-chypre base that I like very much.

No birthday party yet; the boys had a MACC (academic challenge team) match and then I had to attend a band booster meeting. Bookworm was on the MACC science team, so she enjoyed watching the meet. Gaze and Taz, however, are on the social studies team; Gaze is the geography expert and Taz specializes in 20th century Western history. Social Studies has been good for the past several years, and they did win convincingly tonight.

Tuesday, Jan. 12 – Warmer today. Wore RL Safari during the day and did some errands with Bookworm, in between loads of laundry.

The box for Ostara is simply gorgeous, with what seems to be a cut-paper applique. This photo from stephanielim.net.

The box for Ostara is simply gorgeous, with what seems to be a cut-paper applique. This photo from stephanielim.net.

Then my MIL brought fried chicken from the local grocery store deli for dinner. I made my own cake, which was fun although I couldn’t get the icing swirls to go where I wanted them to go (boooo). I did get to unwrap the deeply-discounted bottle of Penhaligon’s Ostara I had bought for The CEO to give me. It’s really nice stuff.

The highlight of the gifts, though, was the copy of The Dragonbone Chair which Taz picked out for the kids to give me. I had a copy, but it’s been read so often that its pages are falling out, so he thought I’d like a replacement. I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I’ll plug it again: if you like classic epic fantasy and don’t demand a fast pace, give this Tad Williams three-book series a try. There’s a lot of world-building and character introduction in the first, oh, 200 pages, but if you can slog through that, things pick up afterward. Taz is not naturally a thoughtful person, but I think he’s developing some sensitivity. Proud of him.

Gaze's lambWednesday, Jan. 13 – COLD again, windy and well below freezing. Gaze had to gather up his sheep and put them in the small lot near the hay barn, so that they could have access to shelter in this weather. He kept the one ewe lamb born last year, and he’s borrowed a ram, so there are seven sheep… and one lamb! Wish I had a picture, but they’re pretty far from the house (that’s the drawback of the hay barn) so I haven’t snuck out there with my camera. This is a shot of a lamb from last year. #sorrynotsorry

Ostara, though it’s ostensibly a spring floral, has enough heft to it that it hasn’t been overpowered by the cold. I’m getting a good deal more ylang in my bottle, as opposed to the manufacturer spray sample I had used up. I’ve heard some complaints about the white musk in the drydown, but I don’t smell a lot on me; it just sort of tails off into a quiet woody thing. (Maybe I’m anosmic… no, I did get a whiff of it in my sample spray, but very little in this bottle. The base here reminds me a little bit of the drydown of Chamade, actually, though less vanillic. It smells a bit like Amaranthine… hmm…) It actually smells yellow.

Thursday, Jan. 14 – It’s far less cold than yesterday. SOTD is Mariella Burani.

Bookworm is packing to go back to school. I’m not looking forward to being the only person in the house that’s lacking a Y chromosome… sigh. Also, I just miss her when she’s gone. We did some errands, like picking her car up from the garage; it needed a current inspection sticker, and it was burning a good deal of oil on its trip home last month, so we had the local garage check it out. It needed its head gaskets replaced (!!! $$$!! ouch) and a tie rod end.

We also had to hit the DMV for a valid registration, because I had renewed it online but we hadn’t received the updated copy and the 2016 stickers for the license plate. I know people love to hate on the DMV… but I have to say, I’ve never had any extended wait times or poor service at ours. It might be because it’s a small office, but I give my local DMV workers kudos. We hit the door at 11:10 a.m., took a number from the check-in station, and were called to the first of the four service desks before we’d even sat down.

Watched the Kenneth Branagh-Emma Thompson noir thriller “Dead Again” (trailer here) with Bookworm after dinner, while the boys were at another MACC match. I do love “Dead Again,” especially for Robin Williams’ scene-stealing, disbarred psychiatrist, who dispenses advice from the meat cooler of the Hispanic grocery store he’s now working in. And for Andy Garcia’s sexy, chain-smoking reporter, who “misses the war.” (I wonder if Ken or Emma ever watch this thing and get a pang; they were married at the time it was filmed, and the attraction shows, but only a few years later, he left her for Helena Bonham-Carter.)

Fri., Jan. 15 – Chilly again. No SOTD; instead, I tested several samples.

Bookworm left to go back to Yale. She called around noon, to tell me that the car was making funny noises and she was concerned. We called the local garage; they put her in contact with a garage close to where she was (somewhere in PA). Turns out the car needed its alternator belt replaced, yikes. They got it fixed and she made it back to her dorm room by 11 pm – several hours late, but safe.

Sat., Jan. 16 – Spent the day cleaning and doing laundry, so I was commando all day. Tired. My ankle where I have a cracked bone (stress fracture) really hurt from all the up-and-down-stairs hustle. The CEO made it safely back to LA, and from there back to Dulles. He went to his sister’s house to spend the night.

The CEO's Virginia Tech Wintermester class, at Arthur's Pass on South Island.

The CEO’s Virginia Tech Wintermester class, at Arthur’s Pass on South Island. The focus of the study abroad was on international agricultural trade, and where better to study it than New Zealand?

Sun., Jan. 17 – I was expecting The CEO to show up around lunchtime, assuming his body clock didn’t get completely bollixed up and he slept too long. However, he came in at quarter to seven in the morning SURPRISE!!! He managed to go to church with us and have lunch before collapsing into a good long nap.

SOTD was Ostara again, and I am increasingly puzzled by the resemblance to Amaranthine. Now this is not bizarre in itself; these two are both from Penhaligon’s. Also, I have begun to notice that many of Bertrand Duchaufour’s creations have a certain indefinable something in common. When I was testing Ostara this past summer, it seemed similar in feel to Neela Vermeire Pichola. But I really should get out my manufacturer spray sample of Ostara and compare it to the bottle, which I bought considerably discounted. I’m starting to wonder if perhaps there was a compounding incident at Penhaligon’s and somebody decided to add the little bit of Amaranthine that might be leftover (it was discontinued this past year, I think) to the Ostara mix, so when someone noticed, the company decided to shove that batch of bottles off to a discount site. No factual basis for this guess, of course, but I’m exceedingly puzzled. Will report back on the wrist-to-wrist, sample vs. bottle test.

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Off to New Zealand!

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The CEO will be leading a class/overseas trip next December & January, during Virginia Tech’s 3-week Wintermester class period between fall and spring semesters. It will focus on international agricultural trade in New Zealand, which has a fabulously diverse and strong export business in agriculture. He won a grant that enabled him to go to NZ this summer (their winter) to set up and “test-drive” the trip… and I’m going with him.

Don’t know if I’ll get the chance for sniffery, or to meet up with any perfumistas, but I’ll enjoy the trip very much, I’m sure. I loved it when I visited for two weeks in 2007, and I’m thrilled to go back. It’s a very beautiful place.

I’ll be back with posts in a few weeks!

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September Start

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Here-Comes-September-August-2013Yay, it’s September. Have I mentioned how much I hate August? I hate August.

On the other hand, somebody forgot to tell Mother Nature that the calendar flipped over, and it is mizzzzerably muggy around here. They’re even letting the kids out of school two hours early today because of the projected heat index.

(I’m quite sure all the Floridians are laughing. However, I bet all the schools in Florida are air-conditioned. They’re not, here. Both county middle schools and at least one elementary school are un-air-conditioned.  Heat on the upper floor of the middle school where Taz goes has occasionally topped 85F, and it is even worse at the elementary school all three of my kids attended.  The elementary school – built on the cheap according to plans drawn by an architect who specialized in strip malls – has tiny, tiny windows, and its halls are not constructed for air flow. The heat at DES can be over 90F. The school board has been trying, for the last two and a half years that The CEO has been on it, to convince the county Board of Supervisors to build a new consolidated middle school to replace these badly-aging structures and to substantially renovate that one elementary school. I think everyone agrees that something must be done at the elementary school, but there is ongoing argument about what should be done with regards to the middle schools. AAAARRRRGGGHHH. If  one new school had been built in the 1990s and another in the early 2000s, as planned, we wouldn’t be in this mess. However, it was apparently felt that the buildings were “adequate for now,” and construction/substantial renovation was put off until renovation is no longer a good and inexpensive option. But nobody wants to spend the money to build a new school, even though renovating two schools is nearly as expensive as building a new one, centrally located near the high school.)

Gaze is going to go to cross-country practice with Taz – there’s a meet on Saturday – for the short workout Coach O has planned, then come home, shower, eat something, and zip back to the high school around 4 pm for a trombone sectional before the band has their pregame practice at 5.  The football game will start at 7 pm, assuming that the storm seen approaching on the weather radar misses us.  I’m supposed to help sell pizza on the visitor side of the stadium – I cannot imagine that it will be any more comfortable for us than it will be for the band, or for the football team, tonight.

plumNow Smell This has a scent challenge going on this weekend: Wear the same fragrance for four days, starting Friday, and see if you notice something new about it, or simply describe the experience. Most of us fragheads switch every day, and sometimes wear more than one fragrance a day (I frequently do), so this ought to be interesting.  I’m going to go with Mary Greenwell Plum, which I love.

Incidentally, it is getting tough to find Plum in the US nowadays. If you go to the Mary Greenwell website, it’s still listed, but clicking on  the picture takes you directly to Harrods. Harrods, in case you don’t know, is an iconic British retailer, and they don’t ship perfume to the US. LuckyScent no longer carries Plum (they still have Lemon), and I suspect that Ms. Greenwell’s low brand recognition in the States has led to a loss of US distributorship.  It’s a shame, too.

Hunter Dog is kind of driving me nuts, just Being a Puppy.  He’s a funny thing – but he came into the bedroom this morning and sort of flopped his head down in my lap so I could pet him. It was sweet. He’s still doing weird stuff like licking the carpet and the dishwasher, ripping covers off paperback books (my blood pressure just spiked, writing that), and whining like a baby when he wasnts to go sniff things, but he’s sweet too. He went with me in the car to drop Gaze off at school today, and as soon as Gaze got out, Hunter commenced the pleady I want to get out! whine. It lasted until we got home, too.

Hope your weekend is good.  Feel free to share plans, if you like, and your scent of the day.

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Posting delay

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Okay, so… we got a dog.

Which, YAY!

But, not YAY quite yet. Because said dog needs some adjustment time, and so do we. We’re doing a trial period.  He’s not used to us, we’re not used to him, and he’s got some issues. We have the leash-pull-y issues, the whining-to-go-out-at 4-am issues, and the growl-at-family issues. We’re dealing with a lot of stuff, okay?

So please bear with me, and I will update with posts and a couple of mini-reviews when I can. Mwah.  Meanwhile, Gunnar (I don’t like his name, and we’re thinking of changing it) says hi.Gunnar

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Band Camp Again, uh-huh

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It’s that time again.

Santa Rita HS (Tucson, AZ) drumline.

Santa Rita HS (Tucson, AZ) drumline.

It’s going to be an interesting year, I think. You know the new high school band director we got last season, right before band camp started? And there was all this worry that we wouldn’t transition well from Mr. Butler, who’d been with the program for several years before leaving to take a position with a large high school near his wife’s job in North Carolina? And then Mr. Wilner came and we had another successful band year, with PCHS being named a Virginia Honor Band for the 13th time?

Well, Mr. Wilner found a new job. Yeah, right before band camp.

We met our new band director today. I think we’re going to like Mr. Shrewsbury. He grew up in the county and has been director of the marching and pep bands at a university in South Carolina, as well as assistant director of their concert bands, but I understand he was interested in returning home.

I’m very proud of the kids for taking the initiative to behave well, to claim the band as their own regardless of director.  Look for more updates soon.

As well as Scent Diary.

And a review of Byredo Flowerhead, as well.

 

 

 

 

 

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Okay, we’re back to boring around here :)

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I’m not sure what the heck is up with WordPress lately, or whether I am just picking inappropriate theme templates, or WHAT… so I am returning to an earlier theme that seemed to work fine. I’m a little disappointed because I never felt this theme looked particularly nice, but I may need to just play around with themes for a while to see how they work.

If you don’t mind commenting to let me know if you had trouble with any earlier themes – and what browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, what have you) and operating system (Windows 7, 8, Vista, etc.) you are using – I would greatly, greatly appreciate it.  Thanks so much.

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ANOTHER New Look (sorry)

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Dior's New Look. (Not mine.)

Dior’s New Look. (Not mine.)

The CEO recently reported to me that he couldn’t read the blog because the type was blending into the background. DANGIT. (I liked that background. And it looked just fine in Firefox.)

So. ‘Nother new WordPress theme, which I hope to be playing with and tweaking around more to my liking. Meanwhile, I hope everybody can read it now.  Thanks for bearing with me.

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Vacation 2014

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Montana.  We’ll be there for several days. Never been. Should be interesting.

glacierI’m quite sure that it will be seven days of The CEO and Gaze wandering around looking at everything through their camera lenses.

We’ve got a friend house-sitting for us. Bookworm, off at her internship in Louisiana, can’t go (bummer, bummer).montana-lake

I’m taking decants of DelRae Wit, Smell Bent One, Hermes Kelly Caleche edp, and the new Dior Cuir Cannage with me. Will report back, of course.

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New look… again

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I’ve been playing around with the blog again, since the last time I changed anything I simply went to a default theme and photo.

Gah.

It may change yet again.  And I may actually begin posting some stuff here again soon, too. 🙂

I have become more and more frustrated with my web host platform, due to repeated hacking attempts and confusing fixes.  Am tempted to chuck it all and head back to WordPress.

I hate blogging, lately, and the logistics are getting to me.  I don’t want to stop writing, but it has been such a pain recently.

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Memorial Day, 2014

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memorial-day-hours-ofRemember.

Whatever you’re doing today – spending it with family, eating wonderful food together, enjoying fun activities – take at least a minute or two to remember and appreciate those who have served their country.  Pray for them, if you’re so inclined, both the ones who have served in the past and the ones who are serving now.

Today I’ll make deviled eggs and fresh corn salad and lemonade. We’ll hang out the flag and have a picnic lunch with family. We’ll water the peony on Hayley-dog’s grave.

The CEO is gone on a missions trip to Montenegro; he’ll be back on Wednesday evening. Bookworm is going to spend the week with my parents. This is the last week of school.

I’ll be wearing the first, lovely, Ines de la Fressange fragrance, which I’m sad to say that you cannot get now unless you’re willing to plop down about $15 for a 4ml mini.  I think I paid about $17 for my 30ml bottle from an online retailer, back in 2009, and when I found out how good it was I went right back and bought a 50ml for about $20.  Love the stuff.

Ines de la Fressange Ines de la Fressange for womenThis is the 1999 Calice Becker version in the octagonal bottle with silver top. Notes include aldehydes, peach, bergamot, rosewood, carnation, iris, jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, sandalwood, tonka bean, benzoin.  Yes, it’s a fruity floral. No, you don’t have to curl your lip and sneer, unless you’d curl your lip at a floral print dress. It’s not a ditz, and its fruit is unsweetened. What it is is lovely.

Enjoy the day.

 

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Testing, Testing, one two… nine ten… seventeen eighteen…

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sound checkI’ll have a Scent Diary up tomorrow. Last week was a nice one with Bookworm home, and now I miss her, so I’m mentioning something else today.

After several weeks of not really testing anything new in a serious and focused sort of way, I’m back to it. I won a giveaway drawing at Indie Scent for a set of EstherP samples, so I have those six to test and report on, and I also have a brand-new set of (beautifully packaged) samples from Oriza LeGrand, all seven, plus a five-sample set from Scent on Canvas.

Yep. Busy sniffery ahead.

I’ve already worked my way through the Scent on Canvas ones and have tried half the EstherPs, so look for those reviews to arrive over the next week or two.  What is interesting to me is how varied the concept and approaches are among these three producers. (I hesitate to call two of them perfume houses, as their business focuses – foci? that sounds so wrong in English – are very different from the classic perfume houses.) Oriza LeGrand is the only one like a traditional French perfume house, in operation since the time of Marie Antoinette and producing fragrances, scented soaps and candles, and skin care items. EstherP is a design house – not unusual in itself, but its boutique shops are based in Canada; the company offers perfumes composed in Grasse. Scent on Canvas is located in Barcelona and attempts to marry their perfume creations with original art.

4th January 1973:  A girl tries some perfume at the counter.  (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

4th January 1973: A girl tries some perfume at the counter. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

(I love this photo, don’t you?)

EstherP fragrances include Barbara, Barocco, Boteh, L’Eau d’Emma, Fugue, and Queen of Persia.

Oriza LeGrand fragrances include Chypre Mousse, Deja Le Printemps, Horizon, Jardins d’Armide, Oeillet Louis XV, Relique d’Amour, and Reve d’Ossian. (There’s another fragrance, Foin Fraichement Coupe, but it isn’t included in the sample pack.)

Scent on Canvas fragrances include Blanc de Paris, Brun Sicilien, Noir de Mars, Ocre Dore, and Rose Opera.

(Sorry, didn’t bother to put in the diacritical marks since I am lazy was writing directly in WordPress.  Oh well.)

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