Saturday, August 25, 2012

Obsessing Over My Birthday Perfume...Again

I do this every year.  Feeling the self-imposed pressure to choose the perfect birthday perfume, I go into full blown obsession mode.  This includes spending hours researching perfumes online and reading reviews and revisiting samples and ordering more samples.  This is followed by bouts of real live shopping to spray and sniff until I make myself crazy.

Even Daphne, my nose, is begging for mercy.  And Daphne never begs.

This might sound like I'm complaining, but you have to know I'm jazzed to have a legitimate excuse to indulge my inner perfume-hoarding-nut-job self.  Because birthdays are a big deal, right?  And it's not just any old birthday, it's my 53rd birthday, which is really special...because five and three are two of my favorite numbers.


Just for the record, B-man encourages this behavior (I try to make all of my bad stuff his fault), saying he loves to see me 'getting into perfume again,'  like it ever really stops.  Even when I say, 'I'm not that into perfume right now,'  I know deep down it's a lie, and that my obsessive pursuit of the perfect perfume is simply napping.  Probably faking it.

While I'm deciding what perfume I really want, I keep ordering other, non-birthday perfumes as a warm up for my big purchase.  For example, I just bought my third - third - bottle of Hermes Un Jardin en Mediterrannee, which is a perfume staple.  I must have it in the house, like cheese, if I am expected to function.  Then I had to have Eclat, the perfume that is so not me because I was going to lose my mind otherwise.  Of course, I was right - it's not me, but it is nice enough and now I can stop dreaming about it every night.

Yesterday, I returned from a business trip to Minneapolis, and I have new knowledge about many current release perfumes to feed my birthday search.  Most of them suck.  At least the sales associates at Neiman Marcus left me alone after the first time I asked to sniff and make notes on my own. I even scored a couple of samples, but not without a passive aggressive lecture on the inconvenience of this customer service.

Me:  Do you happen to have samples of these two perfumes?

SA:  Oh, sorry, we ran out of samples.

Me:  Are you able to make them?

SA:  (Sigh)  We don't usually make samples, but I suppose we could do one or two at the very most.

Me:  Two would be perfect.

SA:  (Sigh)  I'll have to look for the spray containers.

Me:  Okay.

SA:  I'm not even sure where we keep them (fumbling around, sighing continues).

Me:  Silence

SA:  These mini spray bottles sometimes leak, so make sure they are upright.

Me:  Thanks for letting me know.

SA:  I can't get the top on this one - it won't click.

Me:  Silence

SA:  Okay - finally - here you go.

Me:  Thank you so much.

Dude, I'm sorry you don't know what you're doing, but I'll wait as long as it takes, then thank you kindly and walk away with my samples feeling no guilt whatsoever for your reluctant service to me, your customer. 

My samples were Cartier's Basier Vole and Eli Saab Le Parfum.  Basier Vole smelled herbal and minty on the paper strip, then revealed itself as powdery and beyond boring on my skin.  Eli Saab is simply a stronger version of Rumeur by Lanvin.  And as it turns out, they are both made by the same perfumer.  Coincidence?  Hmm.

Armed with this knowledge, I just placed an order for six other samples, one of which may become a contender for this year's birthday perfume. 

Le Labo Iris 39
Le Labo Vetiver 46
Montale Roses Musk
L'Artisan Voleur de Roses
The Different Company Rose Poivree
Frapin 1697

I'm ready for the challenge.  SMFAO

Image from

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Meet Our New Grandpuppy....Bruce!


B-man and I are thrilled to announce the arrival of our much anticipated grandpuppy, Bruce.  JD has been talking about him for years...'what I really want is a chocolate lab named Bruce.' 

Bruce isn't so graceful at the moment, running into stuff, thinking he can jump over things that he can't and making cute whining noises when things don't quite go his way.  Of course, I'm the annoying grandparent, with all sorts of advice about what Bruce is and isn't ready for, like sleeping outside and 3-mile hikes (so not ready).  And I try to keep him from stumbling, because come on, no puppy's feet should be that big.  This means he's going to be an 80 pound, tail wagging wrecking machine before his adult dog brain catches up with his  puppy instincts.

Yeah, good luck with that.

Nevertheless, we're all in love with him, and he actually looks a little like JD.  I am not bullshitting, he has the same green eyes rimmed with blue, which only freaks me out a little.  I do appreciate JD tolerating my suggestions and at least responding with a smile and a nod before doing exactly what he wants (as it turns out, Bruce loves 3-mile hikes).  I have no idea where he gets that stubborn streak.  Probably from B-man.

Welcome to the family, Bruce.  Glad you're finally here.

Photo taken by JD

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Perfume I Love That's Totally Not Me

Last week, I spent a few days in Napa Valley, California at an exclusive conference that my boss asked me to attend in her place.  Envision a group of thirty national healthcare muckety-mucks doing muckety things at a muckety hotel.  We ate delicious food for three days and addressed a number of first world problems. On the last night, we boarded a bus and visited a winery that was hosting our group.

All part of the conference, of course.

Perfume filled the air with the usual suspects; D&G Light Blue, Estee Lauder's Sensuous and Clinique's Aromatics.  But during lunch on Thursday, I sat by a woman who smelled...intriguing.  At first, I didn't know how I felt about her perfume, but it grew on me over time.  For the rest of the event, I could tell exactly where she was in the room, even if she was out of sight.  And I began loving that perfume with the perfect sillage; fresh but sweet, powdery but elegant.

So not me. 

The fact that I couldn't identify it - at all - was bugging me to no end.  At the winery, after tasting the Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet, I finally had the guts to approach her and say, 'I've been smelling you for the past two days and I must know your perfume - it's really beautiful.'  She turned around with a surprised look and said, 'it's French.'  To which I said, 'yes, the best ones often are.'  To which she said, 'it's by Fragonard, but I can't remember the actual name.'

She may have been blowing me off, but being a buzzed perfume stalker, I didn't really care.  Plus, I immediately felt better about not having recognized the scent, as I'm not at all familiar with that line.  (Why couldn't it have been Caron or Guerlain or Montale, dammit?)  Then she said, 'I'll look tonight and let you know tomorrow.' 

On the bus back to the hotel, she turned around from a seat up front and yelled toward me, sitting near the back (this behavior is acceptable, even to mucketys, after a certain amount of wine), 'I just remembered - the name of my perfume is Eclat.'

Of course, I googled all reviews of Eclat from every source I could dig up as soon as I got back to my room.  Top notes are listed as bergamot, lemon and freesia.  Middle notes are frangipani, orange blossom and gardenia.  Base notes are marshmallow and amber.  Eclat is likely not suited to me at all.

But it is beautiful.  And I remain intrigued.

Image from


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