Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tauerade...Is It Real?

I've been doing a lot of thinking.

Let me be clear:  I Want to Love Tauer Perfumes. 

I do I do I do.

However, after testing three of them on my skin, multiple times, the final drydown results are:

Lonestar Memories:  A&W Root Beer

L'air du Desert Marocain:  SL's Fumerie Turque over chopped dates

Incense Rose:  Aspirin mashed up with strawberry preserves

What sucks is that I selected these perfumes only after reading numerous descriptions and reviews.  Samples were deliberately purchased, and I hotly anticipated their arrival. 

Truth is, I'm bummed.

For those of you who have broader exposure to Tauer perfumes, I must know:  Do they all share this sweet/sour base?  

Is Tauerade real?

Mousse de saxe and Guerlinade, two famous perfume bases, add both distinction and depth to many Caron and Guerlain perfumes, respectively.  Love them or hate them, they make olfactory sense.  

But instead of gaining interest and complexity upon drydown, the Tauer perfumes I have listed wimp out on my skin and morph into something resembling...cough syrup.  

Has anyone else experienced this?

Picture from fotosearch.com

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Journals and Other Double Edged Swords

My mother left years worth of journals when she died.  She was a woman who took notes on almost everything; movies, books and conferences.  Until now, I was not ready to read her journals, even though my father had offered them to me and to my siblings.  But my grief has taken a shift, and I am prepared to begin the journey of knowing more about my mother's inner life.

Yesterday, B-man, Paige and I went to visit my father and I came home with two of Mom's journals.  As Dad gave them to me, I was overwhelmed by the reality of her death.  I always knew that someday I would read them, but to arrive at that day was a reality check and a moment of intense sadness.  Dad and I cried together in Mom's study.

My relationship with Mom was complex, like many mothers and daughters.  Reading her words, I understand better just how much we are alike.  Most of what I'm reading is enlightening. 

Some sections, reflecting turbulent times, are painful. 

Other passages make me laugh out loud. 

Mostly, I'm struck by how little we actually know of what goes on in one's mind and how much of our lives we keep to ourselves, locked away and private.

Mom was a very private person, and yet - as her journal reflects - she longed for greater connection, acceptance and friendship with others.  Today, I'm wondering if I should have done a better job of providing that.  But frequently, I was caught up in my own life, especially when there was distance - both geographical and emotional - between us.

What strikes me now is how quickly our lives pass.  Yesterday, my father and I went through boxes my mother left behind; stories and pictures of her own father (my grandfather), handwritten letters from him, a journal from his second wife and notes to him from my mother.  

All of them, once vibrantly alive, are now gone.  

How grateful I am that Mom left these journals so that we can know and remember the woman she was.  Her words, in her instantly recognizable handwriting, will provide history and context yet again when they are discovered in a box, many years from now.

Today is a time of reflection.  No perfume.

Picture: Motherhood by Picasso from Google images

Friday, August 27, 2010

Buying Perfume During Happy Hour

Paige in the pouring rain, refusing to come in the house
Don't stay in the rain and get all wet!

And don't buy perfume during Happy Hour.

We have had this discussion before.

Otherwise, after a couple of glasses of wine, you may decide that you desperately need a new bottle of Montale's Black Aoud simply because it's back in stock at Luckyscent. 

So what if I intended to wait until our Denver trip next week to buy any more perfume?  I justify it by telling B-man, 'No, no, no, this is my Birthday Perfume and it doesn't count against my annual perfume budget.'

Besides, B-man would enjoy the decant of Black Aoud I'm still working on.  As an only child, he needs the experience of hand-me-downs, don't you think?

I keep waiting for him to side with Inner Critic and agree that I have acted irresponsibly and need closer monitoring.  But here's the thing about B-man: He always wants more nice things for me than I want for myself, and he encourages me to take pleasure in buying something I love...or simply want.

'Oh, yeah, of course, I almost forgot,' he says, all earnest, and then we laugh at each other and at Paige lying in the rain. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ode to Patchouli 24 by Le Labo

Gasoline Spilled on Leather
Sweet Morning Breath
Motorcycle Jacket in Mothballs
Fresh Baked Dinner Rolls
Cold Chimney
Second Hand Cigar Smoke
Oil Painting Studio

Picture from Luckyscent.com

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sycomore on the First Day of School

School started today.  Tonight's weather is cool, and the crisp air smells of nostalgia and new beginnings.   

Scent of the Day is Sycomore by Chanel.

I first encountered Sycomore in Seattle, then bought the huge-ass bottle in NYC a couple of weeks later.  

When I mentioned to the sales associate in Bergdorf that I had tested Sycomore in Seattle, she questioned me repeatedly, eyes squinting, 'really?'  'Are you sure it was Sycomore?'  Like some classified military UFO file had been exposed.  Like no one else on earth but Bergdorf had top secret clearance.  Like I was a freaking moron.

Yeah, I'm sure.

At Nordstrom, in Seattle, a woman I had never met was also shopping for perfume and we became Sniffing Buddies for an hour or so.  I sprayed Sycomore on a paper strip first.  Not sure that I loved it, I continued with the other Les Exclusifs (yes, Nordstrom was carrying those, too - really - all except Beige, which I have yet to sample).  For whatever reason, Sycomore kept inviting me back until I had to try it on my skin.

Total Perfume Porn. 

Instead of the bitterness that is sometimes associated with vetiver, I get honey smoke, burning autumn leaves and incense.  

My new buddy, overhearing me rave about Sycomore, tried it on her skin, too. Honestly, it didn't even smell like the same perfume.  On her it was grassy, green and more bitter with a touch of fresh cut hay.

Of course, if I was going to pay the outrageous price for the hilariously large bottle, I had to wear it for several hours to see what happened when the base notes showed up.  Luckily, they held true, adding just a touch of sandalwood. 

Today, Sycomore is reminding me of another time.  

Hikes in the Canyon.

Dutch oven dinners.  

First day of school. 

That magical space where memory and scent reside.

Pictures from Fotosearch and Fragrantica.com

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Shopping and Chanel No.19: The Sequel

Friday could not come soon enough this week.  Between keeping up my schedule and allowing ample time for pouting over my lost promotion, I was exhausted.  

Feeling the need for some retail therapy, my sister and I went shopping.  

Thank god she was there.

Otherwise, I would stumble from rack to rack, trying on clothes that are the wrong fit, wrong color and wrong style.  Shopping with a buddy insures that the sales associate won't have to call B-man to report that his wife is lying on the floor in a fetal position and would he please come and pick her up.

Unlike me, my sister has a great eye for style, color, fit and fashion in general.  Shopping with her looked something like this:

Me: Holding up a shirt, 'Is this ugly?'  (No kidding, I'm that clueless.)

My sister: 'No, but that color makes your face look red because it has a yellow base.'

Me: 'Does this jacket look good?'

My sister:  'Not really, because the waist is in the wrong place.  It needs to be a little higher or lower, but the way it is now cuts you in half.'

Me:  'You really like these pants?'

My sister:  'Yes, because the slim leg makes you look taller.  And skinny.'

Huh.  I had no idea.  Of course, I bought the pants, because I am neither tall nor skinny.  

(You know the 80% off  'reject clothes that are built too funny to actually fit anyone' rack?  They usually fit me.)

Giddiness followed my purchase of a few stylish pieces that fit right and didn't make me look red-faced.  This victory meant there was only one thing left to do: the Chanel counter.  

Knowing that No.19 trumps Cristalle on my skin, I spritzed and - thanks to my sister's connections - scored a biggie sample to take home.  For some reason, I was not as enamored with No.19 as I was after my bra shopping triumph.  In fact, until the base notes kicked in, almost two hours later, I considered scrubbing because I couldn't handle its bitchiness. 

Blasphemy, I know.  It's supposed to be bitchy.

The good news is that I scored samples of both Chance Eau Tendre and Bleu de Chanel.  I'll be testing them soon, but something tells me that neither will make my heart sing.

Still, my shopping giddy lives on.  Thanks, baby sis.

Pictures from fotosearch.com and BD Fragrance Line

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wet People Smelling Bad

Today was our Big Annual Barbecue at the hospital.  You know, the one I was supposed to MC but instead passed it on as an 'opportunity' to one of my directors. 

Fortunately, blackmail was not required.

It rained like a mother.  Everything was under a tent, but it began pouring as we were standing in line for food.  Shelter was spotty so we all got wet. 

People stink when they're wet.

Nothing 'outs' one's personal hygiene like a little rain.  Clouds of stale, unwashed body aroma surrounded me.  I was standing behind a guy that looked well-groomed, but when it rained, he smelled pissy and sour.  

What IS that?

He might as well have been wearing a t-shirt that said, 'This Rainstorm is the First Shower I've had in Three Days.'  And if the top half of his body smelled that bad, imagine what his arse...

Did I really say that?

By the time we reached the food, I was longing for a tent full of wet puppies, which may have been more appetizing.  

On a positive note, Agent Provocateur smells as good in the rain as it does in the office.

Pictures from fotosearch.com

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Coming Back to Myself

What a weird week.  After two of days of 'Thank God, I'm Free at Last,' the reality of a lost dream has set in.  

I am resilient, and I'll recover, but maybe not today. Not yet.

Trying to coax my peppy back, I wore Kelly Caleche, one of my go-to perfumes.  

It wasn't right at all.

Today begged for a dark perfume.

Borneo 1834 would have been perfect to reflect the shadow of my mood and provide the pencil shavings/patchouli/dry cocoa comfort that smells like my natural skin, only more. 

Interesting how one loss triggers others.  Had this job opportunity passed me by at another time, it may not feel big at all.  But now, combined with everything else, it feels like a lingering winter resisting the thaw.

Hoping for Springtime soon.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Coco - The Smell of Friendship

My closest friend at work applied and interviewed for the same position that I did.  At the beginning of this process, we high-fived and wished each other luck.   

Neither one of us made the short list.

Today, we met to celebrate Loser Lunch.

My friend's signature scent is Coco by Chanel and it is beautiful on her.  She wore it frequently until her husband recently told her it smelled like an old lady.

Note to men: This is Always a Bad Idea. 

Even if she gives up her favorite perfume for you, she will think you were unfair and will be predisposed to criticizing your personal hygiene at the very moment you want a little nookie.  

My advice?  Don't go there.

After all, football fields exist between womanly, sophisticated (as in Coco) and old lady.  Yes, Coco is a bit spicy, with an oriental feel, but it doesn't make you reach for the gas mask or hold your breath until you find the balcony. 

Think Opium's younger, introverted sister.

Making the most of Loser Lunch, sans Coco, we hashed over the details of the first interview and speculated about who will become our new boss (we now report to the same administrator).  

Both of us have already begun to strategize our professional futures, knowing this position is off the table, at least for now.  We agreed to be there for each other as we let go and move on.

Tonight, when I got home, I dabbed from my sample of Coco to remind me that friendship shines brightly even in foggy times.  Old lady?  

Wise woman.

pictures from fotosearch.com and fanpix.net

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Cowboy Boots and Lonestar Memories

Today, I went shopping for cowboy boots.   It's 95 degrees and I am wearing my weekend uniform of capri drawstring pants, a camisole and flip flops.  

Not exactly boot weather.

Boots would not even be on the horizon except I was asked to MC our annual hospital barbecue on Thursday, which happens to have a western theme this year.

Stupidly, I said yes.  

This morning, feeling all rough and rangy, I consider Tauer's Lonestar Memories as the scent of the day.  Then, I remember how the Marlboro Man opening morphs into an A&W root beer drydown on my skin. 

Lacking further creativity, I am, to this point, scentless.

Every day in my work, I put myself Out There through presentations, trainings, project reports and meeting facilitation.  None of those things intimidate me.  

Standing in front of a huge crowd with a live band, throwing out impromptu witty banter?  

Oh, hell no.

After B-man and I work over several stores and find nothing I like in the way of boots, I begin to consider who, on my team, could take this MC assignment.  

Feeling more creative already.

Picture from fotosearch.com

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Short List

My professional progression has been extraordinary over the past eight years and I have pursued every opportunity that has come my way.  Serendipity was involved, along with my clear focus, persistence and...balls, really.  

All week, I have looked forward to Saturday because I would know exactly how the interview process, that began two weeks ago, would move forward.

Ultimately, I may not land the job, but the short list?  Please.

Preparing myself to receive this information, I paid attention to the smallest details.  A fresh manicure and pedicure, careful deliberation over wardrobe and, of course, the right perfume.  After testing several finalists, Sur le Nil by Hermes won out because it is serious but approachable, calculating but fresh.  Its dry/soapy/woody/green goodness was perfect. 

Friday the 13th has always been my lucky day.  I was So Ready.

The day was spent in alert anticipation, fantasizing about how I would break the wonderful news to B-man.  Everything from a touch of the dramatic ('do we have champagne?')  to a text that simply said 'I'm in' was considered.  

Late in the afternoon, returning to my office, I discovered a voice message from HR.  With my heart racing and headache building, I fumbled around, entering my password.  As soon as the recruiter began speaking, I knew.

I didn't make the short list.

After listening to the message two more times, to make sure, I just stood in the middle of my office, stunned.  Slowly, I gathered my belongings and began the 10-minute trek out of the hospital to my car.

Then something happened that I didn't expect at all.

As I walked, each step felt a bit lighter.  The headache that was pounding five minutes ago had disappeared.  The muscles in my face and throughout my body relaxed.  I couldn't deny it - suddenly, I felt free.

Everything's different now.  I can finally just relax into work that I love and stop chasing the Next Big Thing.  B-man and I can plan more travel and play time, without my being in the process of adjusting to a new role or pushing hard for the next one.  

Before yesterday, I had decided to skip Sniffapalooza in October, but now, we're going to New York.

A champagne toast on the deck marked this new beginning.

Picture from Fotosearch

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mom, Hope and Eau Du Soir

August is proving to be a more challenging month than I was prepared for.  

It's after midnight and I'm wide awake, flooded with memories of my mother, anticipating two significant dates.  

Very soon, six months will have passed since her death and one year since her heart surgery, which marked the beginning of the end.

This time last year, Mom had just decided to go ahead with the surgery.  It was risky and complex, but she had given it a great deal of thought and she was at peace with her decision. 

I spent August of last year marking time as the 25th drew nearer, dreading that day, vacillating between hope, numbness and terror. 

Nightly, leading up to the surgery, B-man and I sat together on the deck, drinking wine and talking out every scenario we could imagine.  With him, I could share my fears openly and he simply listened and then sat with me in silence when there were no more words.  

And every night, I wore Eau du Soir by Sisley.

For some reason, this perfume communicated emotions that were far beneath the surface.  The green opening notes seem bitter to me now, but then, they seemed...hopeful, like new life emerging.  Even though it is a chypre, Eau du Soir's floral heart was gentle and reassuring.   The warm base notes glowed deep into the evening, like the sunset against the mountains.  

I promised myself that if Mom came through the surgery, I would replace my decant with a full bottle in celebration of her triumph.

Even though she did survive the surgery, Mom's life would never be the same and neither would ours.  Suddenly, we were caught up in a drama beyond our control and we watched, over the coming months, as the vibrant woman we knew and loved slipped away. 


Memories of Mom before the surgery are triggered by the smallest things; the weather, beautiful mornings on my way to work, rainbows, music and perfume.  

We had one last gathering right before her surgery to celebrate being together and to shore each other up with our collective faith and hope in a bright future.  I will never forget how she looked that night, how happy she was to have her family close, how she and Dad stood at the door and waved goodbye as we drove away. 

Last night, feeling blue and lonely for my mother, I sat on the deck with a glass of wine, again wearing Eau du Soir, just as I had last year.  B-man joined me for this ritual and listened to me talk, then sat silently as I cried.  Secretly, I hoped she would join me.

I never bought Eau du Soir last year, but maybe now.  For her. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Samples and Other Perfume Quirks

I may be a Perfume Sample Bigot.

Perhaps this is why I keep accumulating samples but rarely use them.  Yes, I will dab them on the back of my hand for the evening, but I don't actually wear them.  

Not for realsies.

About most things, I'm fairly low maintenance.  Potatoes must be fully cooked, avocados completely ripe, and water chestnuts are out of the question.  But aside from food, I can pretty much roll with the punches.  Lately, though, I have discovered some high maintenance traits related to perfume samples.

For example, can someone please explain to me how it is that the perfume you get on your fingers, when opening the plastic top with the wand, lasts all day.  You will be reminded of this each time you scratch your nose, eat an almond or lick your fingers after an ice cream sandwich. 

On the other hand, the juice that you apply to your body from the same sample will be gone in 10 minutes.  

What's up with that?

Plus, perfume smells different if it's dabbed rather than sprayed.  According to my logic (and I will debate for hours defending this hypothesis), dabbing perfume is akin to drinking Champagne that has lost its fizz.  Why would you do it?

Then, there's the whole issue of skin contamination. 

If perfume is not sprayed, some type of applicator (or one's finger) must have direct contact with the perfume, then one's skin and then again with the perfume. Thinking of skin particles floating around and settling in the bottom of a perfume bottle is just nasty.  

Working in a hospital makes you weird.

Finally - and you already know I'm geekishly practical - if I'm going to wear perfume, I'm going to spray it simply for convenience.  It's quick, it creates sillage, and there's no skin flakes at the bottom.   

Certainly, I will miss out on some gems, but it's a trade I'm willing to make, at least for now.

What are your perfume quirks?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Goodbye Signature Scent

Do you ever miss having a signature perfume?  Years ago, when I had signature scents - kind of like serial monogamy - I loved being identified by one perfume.  People would say things like, 'we knew you were here because we smelled you when we walked in.'   

This was always assumed to be a compliment.

I've actually tried to return to a signature scent a couple of times, assigning a favorite perfume and swearing to myself that I will wear it for a full week and then re-evaluate.  My record is three days, then I start feeling like I am trapped in a cult, passing out pamphlets at the airport. 

Nevertheless, wearing one perfume every day saves a lot of time.  None of this, 'let's see...what perfume goes with this outfit and the weather and my mood and today's events?'  As B-man can attest, identifying my mood is difficult enough, but it's not likely to stay the same throughout the day.

Fortunately, God created top, heart and base notes.  

Most days, I fancy that my perfume collecting is no different than collecting art, which enjoys a legitimacy that perfume is just beginning to achieve.  After all, I spend time educating myself, experiencing perfume and writing about its presence and impact in my life.  I routinely test and evaluate perfume and share my passion freely with anyone who will listen.  

I have a blog, for chrissake.

Still, on other days, I stand in front of my collection and boxes of samples like the guy shopping for groceries on the Carl's Junior ad.  I have no idea where to start in choosing a perfume for the day, and I'm overwhelmed by all the samples looking out from their small plastic bags with puppy dog eyes, hoping to get a fair shot. 

Luckily, there are tissues within reach so I don't drool down the front of my shirt.

How did I get here?  There was no defining moment, no announcement (in my best British accent) of, 'I will begin collecting perfume today.'  And believe me, had I made such an announcement, I would definitely have added the accent.

Collecting or hoarding?  Connoisseur or freak?  Passionate or OCD?  Writing or rambling?  

Just when I think I have made peace with my perfume obsession, Inner Critic comes to spend the weekend.  After two days, he's already starting to smell a bit fishy. 

picture from fotosearch

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Fracas - Magnificently Slutty

ATTENTION:  Fracas is a perfume to be worn deliberately, not as an afterthought.  It makes a come hither statement - among others - so if you're feeling a bit wall-flowery, leave it alone.

I ran across the EdP at our local Costco a couple of years ago while I was shopping, most likely for cheese.  

Inner Critic is embarrassed for me to share these facts (both Costco and the cheese), viewing them as pedestrian details that I should keep to myself. 

To me, these trivial facts add to the charm of my first encounter with Fracas.  Had it not jumped into my path, a year would have gone by before I attended Sniffapalooza and discovered its wanton pleasures. 

My Nose on Fracas:


Lemon Pledge
Black Ink


Whipped Cream
Crayola Crayons

And then...



Fracas lasts on my skin for hours and I truly love it.  For a long time, I wouldn't wear it in front of B-man, thinking he would shrink from the Smell Me! greeting.  As it turns out, he loves it, too, describing it as 'fresh.' 


Fracas may be fresh, but it's also incredibly sexy in a way that says, 'I'm hot, but not necessarily for you.'  

Wear it wisely.

Friday, August 6, 2010

My Double Rainbow

This morning, on my way to work, I had a moment where I was overcome by a sense of peace and joy.  

During that time - and it lasted only a few seconds - I felt complete mental clarity and my surroundings were alive with perfect Hollywood lighting.   I was listening to the Alan Parson's Project, caught up in the reflective, intelligent lyrics and the originality of the music itself. 

Plus, I smelled so damn good.  (Cabaret, by Gres, was the Scent of the Day.)

In the wake of my mother's death, and the resulting weirdness, moments of sheer pleasure surprise and delight me.  More than ever before, I feel a sense of urgency to truly experience life, try things I have never done and treasure the people I love.

Peace and Joy: the double rainbow following a thunderstorm.

photo taken last night from our deck

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Luscious Poeme

Every time I wear Poeme, as I did yesterday, B-man says, "that's luscious."  No other perfume gets this response.

Poeme is a floral symphony, beginning with soprano top notes accompanied by a hint of rubber.

Seductively screechy.

Within minutes, however, Poeme adds its buttery, alto note.  This is Big Girl perfume.  Chicks Rule perfume.    I am Woman Hear Me Roar perfume.

You get the idea.

With Poeme, I find myself  moving with more grace and speaking more gently.  Not like Monday, when f-bombs were waiting to fly out of my mouth like the monkeys on Wizard of Oz.  

Poeme ensures my frontal lobe remains intact and engaged.

Sadly, I have forgotten what it's like to wear girly perfume.  For the past months - we don't know why - I've been on an anti-floral/sweet/spicy/oriental/gourmand kick.  As you can imagine, this narrows the field.

But yesterday, as I caught whiffs of Poeme, elegant and thoroughly luscious, I  thought  'it's time - unleash the girly girl within.'

That felt good.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Cranky Monday

Crankiness reigns supreme today.  I can hardly tolerate being with myself, so I must be an absolute joy to those around me.

Not even Jardin en Mediterrannee, my makes-me-happy-no-matter-what perfume, could snap me out of it.  Usually, its figgy/minty//herbal goodness can transport me to my Inner Happy Place.  

Instead, I spent the day hanging out with Inner Critic, grousing about everything, including myself.

After calling Little Mister Peppy, B-man, I decided to contain my global pouting by working on the department budget and putting together a couple of presentations.  Of course, I have procrastinated until the last minute and need to be prepared for both tomorrow, even though the deadline has been lurking for a month.  

Hey, I've had stuff.

In the morning, I'm wearing Poeme by Lancome. That's right.  Luca Turin nearly ruined it for me, but I'm going to shake off his negativity (and mine) and go Girly tomorrow as some radical act of noncompliance. 

What the hell - it's not an interview.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

MV 3 by MAC- Amber Chypre

I totally made up the whole 'Amber Chypre' thing.

As far as I know, there is no such perfume classification, and yet MV 3 seems to have blazed a new trail, boldly going where no amber perfume has gone before.

MV 3 introduces itself firmly, with the essence of bergamot, greens and oakmoss.  Amber peeks through the top notes, but its timid beginning raises serious questions of legitimacy.  

I can imagine Ambre Precieux snobbishly stating, 'it's not one of us.'

And truly, it's not.

MV 3 presents heart notes of full-on leather that has been tanned, cracked and 'sweetened' by the sun.  It reminds me of leather out on the farm, a smell that always makes me hungry.  

(Mentally, I am taken back to the hot, dry days of hauling hay.  My grandmother spent the mornings making huge noon meals for the crew, after which we went outside and laid in the shaded grass, allowing our food to settle before resuming work in the fields.)

Bitterness nips at MV 3 throughout every phase of its development in the form of moss, vetiver and woods.  However, amber has now decided to strap on a pair and claims a lead position late in the game.

B-man rocks the MV 3, so every time he wears it, I remember its appeal and commandeer it for the next day. While it has a masculine feel, MV 3 is an inexpensive, surprisingly intelligent perfume that can be enjoyed by anyone.

Picture from Fotosearch


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