Archive for August, 2010

I now know not to post a rant (“Please tell me why…”) on a potentially controversial topic and then go make dinner… because Things Will Happen.

Right after I shoved the Jerk Chicken into the oven yesterday afternoon, Gaze stalked into the house, fairly dripping blood.  He’d fallen off his bike and cut his hand, and it was bleeding freely.  I took him into the bathroom to wash it – poor baby, his lips were pale but he was pretty calm – and saw that it was deep enough to need stitches. 

So I left Bookworm in charge of dinner and Taz and took Gaze to the hospital, where we proceeded to spend the next three hours getting X-rays and having his hand stitched, in between periods of staring at the wall posters of burn victims and telling each other terrible jokes.  (“What’s purple and conquered the world?  Alexander the Grape.”) 

Five stitches this kid got in his hand, and did he cry? No.  This is in stark contrast to Taz, who fell off his own bike ten days ago, scraping his knee and elbow, and who wailed nonstop for forty minutes.  But there you have it: Taz is Drama King, and Gaze is the King of Calm.  The CEO and I have been saying to each other for several years now, “If we wind up in the emergency room with any of these kids, it’ll be Taz.”  That’s twice now that we’ve been wrong – last fall, we had an appendicitis scare with Gaze, and yesterday the stitches.  Go figure. 

And then this morning I had to get a prescription for Keflex filled, and take it to the nurse at the middle school, where I spent another half an hour filling out paperwork sufficient that she would be legally able to give Gaze one antibiotic pill a day for the next five school days.  Half an hour!  I know, she’s Just Doing Her Job… it’s annoying to be so hemmed in by rules, though.  I had to leave her the original prescription container with five pills in it and come home with the other 23 pills in a (sterile) plastic bag.

SO.  I’ll get back to everyone who commented on the Fashion Blog issue soon, but for now I’m going to work.

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Please tell me why…

… if you know, why are fashion bloggers so snarly and disdainful?

Are they like that in their private lives?

Do they go about their everyday business sneering at those of us who are perfectly happy in black contour-waist trousers and princess-seam blouses?

Just wondering.  I never watch award shows, but I am a sucker for those “On the Red Carpet” photo albums on Yahoo.  It never fails, though – I’ll find some dress that I think is interesting and attractive, and the blogger will call it “pedestrian.”  I’ll see some classic hairstyle that makes the actress wearing it look grownup and glamorous, and the blogger will call it “crunchy” or “dull.”  Or I’ll see some frou-frou garment of hideosity, like this dress that’s hung on the frame of the cute-as-a-button and very-talented Emily Deschanel:

And the blogger will give the look an A and say it “makes waves.”  Also that her hairdo is “bangin’.”  Say whuuhhh?   Okay, okay, I like the skirt.  But the bodice looks like Wilma Flintstone’s dress made of shredded tissue paper.  Not to mention that you can barely see Emily’s pretty eyes under that hairstyle, which, incidentally, I sported for several unfashionable grade-school years.

So then I got sucked into investigating several fashion blogs (some of which I discovered linked to some of my favorite perfume blogs)… and I’m appalled.  I’d be the first to admit that my tastes are, ahem, conservative – and for conservative, feel free to substitute boring, pedestrian, predictable, or bourgeois.  But I wouldn’t be caught dead in the outfits these people pull together and then post pictures of themselves wearing!  And I look at these photos and think, “This person has the nerve to dismiss [for example] the classic Chanel jacket?” 

Is it a requirement for fashion blogging to be disdainful?  Is the only way to distinguish yourself to make fun of other people? Do these people bring up fashion-averse children – or, more likely, do these people ridicule those who are so un-self-aware as to have children and thus spend their money on baby sleepers rather than Balenciaga? 

Luckily, I live in the boonies, where as long as I’m decently covered,  no one really cares what I’m wearing.

Photo of Emily Deschanel at the Oscars from Yahoo.  I’m certainly not making any money from it, by the way.

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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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… and here’s how I’m feeling today:


YIPPEE!   In case you’re wondering, I’m wearing my Happy-happy-joy-joy scent, Parfums de Nicolai Vanille  Tonka, the first scent I ever reviewed for this blog and still a favorite.

And a bonus Staples back-to-school ad, with Alice Cooper of all people:


Image is “School Buses Stop” from Steve McCoy at Flickr.

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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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Don’t tell my sister, but I hate August.

Hate it.  (But please don’t tell her, because her birthday’s in August, and she takes things, ahem, personally.  I mean, for all I know, she hates January, which holds my birthday.  However, I don’t really care if she, or you, or half the population of the Northern Hemisphere, hates January, because I wouldn’t see your hate as a personal attack on my very existence.  She would.  Which sort of begs the question, why am I blogging about it then?  She’ll still get mad.)

I hate the sticky-hot weather.  I hate the way the grass starts going dull, the way the pool announces its limited hours, the way the garden looks all bedraggled and sprawling, like it has just given birth to some hulking inhuman monster and might not recover… I hate the way my kids get in August, right before school starts – they’re cranky and touchy and everybody has these unwritten rules about how they can be touched and how  loud they can stand someone else’s voice, and how to play some game they made up last Thursday…

I hate the way the sky goes all flat and no-colored in the mornings.  I hate the bushels of tomatoes piling up on the deck because I just canned a load of those already!, and I can’t get to them all before they go bad.  The house is full of dust from the gravel road.

None of my fragrances seem right for the weather.  None of my clothes do either: too casual or too formal, too bright or too dull, too warm or not warm enough, wah wah wah.

I don’t get to go back to school with fresh notebooks and a new pair of shoes.

Which wouldn’t be so bad, except I’m not lying on a beach somewhere with a Mai Tai and a new Elizabeth George novel, either.

This Is Me, right now:

So I need an attitude transplant.  I’ll try reminding myself of the good stuff about August.

The flowers in front of the house are gorgeous right now, and there are swarms of butterflies around – little white ones and sulfur yellow ones, little brown-and-orange ones, those big black ones with startlingly blue spots on their wings. 

I have 40 quart jars full of tomatoes in the pantry, plus 80 ears of corn and 10 quarts of peaches in the freezer.  We’ll be eating good this winter.

Football weather and the things that go with it, like marching band and blue skies and autumn leaves, are right around the corner.

Even if nothing seems quite right in terms of scent or raiment, I have choices.  Frankly, I should probably have fewer choices and be happier with them.

I could probably go back to school if I really wanted to.

The CEO doesn’t really do lie-on-the-beach vacations.  (Ever seen a caged tiger? Then you’ve seen him with “nothing to do” on vacation.  It’s a thing to be avoided.)  But he has taken me some really cool places, and here’s a pic of one.

This is the Marine Parade on Manly, just a half-hour ferry ride across Sydney Harbour from the city.  It was taken on July 30, 2007 – and keep in mind that an equivalent date in the Northern Hemisphere would be January 30.  Note the people wearing shorts.  That day, The CEO and I did go and sit on the beach.  We talked instead of reading, and drank Cokes instead of Mai Tais, but we dug our feet into the sand and relaxed.  It was nice.  I can go there in my mind.

Images, from top to bottom: “2010 Book Lovers Calendar” from BookLoversStuff at Flickr, “Have a nice day somewhere else” from Indoorcat629 from icanhazcheeseburger.com, and photo Marine Parade, Manly, Australia from my personal files.  I don’t remember which one of us took this one, actually.

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Several of us have been wondering how to interpret this fragrance, which Ms Hurwitz uses as a diagnostic tool.  I sent an email asking for more information, and this is what Dawn has kindly sent me.   Please note that this information is copyrighted to DSH Perfumes, and I am merely sharing it. 

The formula that I developed to “test” my clients’ skin types in order to get a better impression of
their chemistry. SO many have remarked, “I love THAT… I want THAT!” that I have decided to
give it you. I feel this is my ULTIMATE skin scent! It truly (and simply) amplifies your own skin and
reflects it back as soft clean skin.
It’s YOU… only better!
Now, you can use my DSH Special Formula X at home to test your own skin (and your friends! ) to
see which skin scent you have and get a better sense of what families of fragrance are best for you.

How to use DSH Special Formula X to analyze your skin scent at home:

– Try ‘Formula X on your wrist or forearm.
– Notice how the scent changes from a super light, slightly musky aroma to either a more floral,
powdery, warm- woody, creamy sweet, acrid, bitter, green (grassy) or salty – musky type of scent.
(* If there is no noticeable change in the scent then you have a “neutral” skin type. This means that
you can wear most fragrance families with relative ease. You have the greatest number of choices
when finding a perfume to suit you.
(some of the most common) SKIN TYPES:

Powdery-sweet: With this skin type, be careful of perfumes that are too sweet or floral as they may
get too powdery or cloying as they wear. Fresh Citrus and green scents may be the best families of
fragrance for this skin type.

Creamy-sweet: Be careful of Gourmand and Fruity fragrances with this skin type as they may be too
sweet, syrupy and heavy. Light florals, citrus, green and ozone-marine scents are recommended for
this skin type. Spicy Orientals can also be worn.

Floral-sweet: This skin type should be careful of too heady- tropical floral scents such as Gardenia
and Tuberose. Light, fresh florals, light fruit scents, citrus and warm, oriental scents tend to work
best for you.

Woody: Woody, Conifer (piney) or too fresh scents tend to turn either dull or spiky (too sharp) on this
skin type. Warm incense, oriental, spice and citrus scents work best for this skin type. Gourmand
scents can also be worn to good effect.

Green: With this skin type, be careful of too fresh,grassy-sporty scents as well as acquatic-ozone
scents as they tend to be sharp and cloying. Soft florals, warm – woody scents and rich orientals are

Acrid: This is a more unusual skin type, unless you are a smoker. This imparts a slightly burnt aroma
to the skin. Simple citrus scents (lemon or bergamot), deep incense, spice or woody scents are
recommended. Be careful of floral and fruity scents as they tend to ‘turn’.

Salty-musky: Light fresh citrus, green- sporty scents , conifer, woody and spicy oriental fragrances
are recommended for this skin type. Be careful when attempting an acquatic-ozone scent or fruityflorals
as they tend to overpower and become cloying.

Bitter-sharp: With this skin type, light fruity florals, soft musks and even sweet gourmand scents may
be best. Fresh scents, spring green florals and woody – conifer scents tend to become too sharp or intense.

 800.551.0701. www.dshperfumes.com
copyright © 2005 DSH / PARFUMS des BEAUX ARTS LLC ~ All Rights Reserved

Okay, this is me again.  I’m not really finding “my” skin up there on Dawn’s list.  Am I neutral?  I can’t tell, because a) in the sample vial, Special Formula X doesn’t smell like anything at all to me, and b) what it does smell like on my skin isn’t described.  What it smells like to me is clean sun-dried linens, with some florals waaaaay off in the background.  It’s a lovely quiet smell.  I suppose that the “super light, slightly musky” smell that neutral skin gets might be closest, because “Floral – soapy” is how I’d describe what I’m getting.  It could simply be a difference in semantics that’s throwing me here.  Remember that discussion on scents that smell like floral soap?  Well, it’s basically that.  
“Floral-sweet” isn’t quite right as to what SFX smells like, and I adore the heavy white florals that this skin type is supposed to avoid.  “Powdery-sweet” isn’t right either, and neither is “Creamy-sweet.”  In fact, it’s fairly floral but not sweet at all on me.  It could be “slightly musky,” assuming that “slightly musky” means reminiscent of laundry.  It certainly doesn’t smell like the scents that come to mind when I think of Musk – Jovan Musk for Woman, Skin Musk, or Serge Lutens Clair de Musc – SFX is much, much lighter on the musk aspect.  But I’m thinking that Neutral is closest to how SFX behaves on me than anything else.
What I find really interesting about this list is the categories of scents each skin type should avoid.  Again, though, I don’t see the fragrance types that bother me anywhere on the list: citrus, balsams, and herbal-woody (like the dreaded patchouli, which I would swear on a stack of Bibles feeds on my skin and grows, the way yeast feeds on sugar).
Anybody have any thoughts?
Image is “Cupide430 testing” from opacity at Flickr, some rights reserved.  Seems that the photographer was at Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs, sniffing with friends (you go, girl!). 

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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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Manly Cupcakes


A former securities attorney in NYC, fed up with the tendency of cupcakes to be frilly-pink-sparkly-unicorn thingies, has opened Butch Bakery, which produces Manly Cupcakes.  

These things come in flavors like Driller (maple cake with bacon and milk chocolate icing), Sidecar (lemon cake soaked in brandy with white chocolate/ orange filling) and Beer Run (chocolate beer cake with beer buttercream icing and crushed pretzel topping), with each cupcake  topped by a flat sugar decoration in your choice of Camo, Plaid, Houndstooth, Wood Grain, Checkerboard or Marble. 

The owner says he wanted to eschew the usual “make it masculine by adding a golf tee or a baseball” idea, and concentrate on things that just make men happy.  I approve.  (Now, if I could get my hands on some tools that are made for women: handles that fit our hands, easy to use – and not pink! – I’d be happy.)

And whether it’s manly or not, I want a Tailgate (caramel cake, salted caramel swirl filling, vanilla buttercream)… mmm.

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Yesterday, I…

Went to work, where the IT guys had upgraded our software without letting me know they were going to.  I mean, I knew it was coming, but I didn’t know it was coming yesterday.

Tested DSH Perfumes Susinon (1000 Lilies), from her new Secrets of Egypt Collection.  Review soon.

Packed up the boys and took them to my mom’s house, 75 minutes’ drive, to stay for a few days.

Picked up 13 of her old quart jars for canning use, and a bushel of peaches from the local orchard.

Went by the mall to pick up some Lavender Vanilla body mist for my sister’s birthday at Bath and Body Works.  Smelled the new Dark Kiss fragrance there (Angel Berries, if you ask me).

Meandered down to Macy’s for some higher-end sniffery than I usually get.  Drove home. Started an outline for a post on the experience.  It’s coming soon, probably Friday, definitely before the 1000 Lilies review.

Proofread The CEO’s letter to the newspaper editor (he’s annoyed with an AP story with a really-misleading headline).

Cleaned, blanched, packaged and froze 42 ears of corn.

Washed, blanched, peeled, chopped, cooked, and canned another seven quarts of tomatoes.  One jar didn’t seal – one! out of the 34 I’ve done so far… it’s in the fridge, I’ll make salsa out of it or something.


Image is “backyard bee” from jennyw47 at Flickr.

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