Monday, May 31, 2010

Paestum Rose - The Great Disappearing Act

A Rose without a Cause hooks me every time - the more rebellious, the better.  Le Labo's Rose 31 made me squeal with delight.  Before even sampling Paestum Rose by Eau d'Italie, I was positioned to love it.  

Come to Mama.

Paestum Rose smells like the inside of a cedar chest at first sniff. This is all good as I love cedar. Still living the dream, I coax it along, encouraging more darkness, more herbs and more rose, certain those elements are just around the corner.  For a time, it does gain depth, teasing me with the promise of more woodiness and incense.  Briefly, it intersects with Cannabis Rose.  All in all, we're heading in the right direction.  

Then, the unthinkable happens.  Paestum Rose makes a last run through cedar-ville and quickly fades away to nothing.  Nada. 

Normally, I don't have issues with the staying power of perfume, even with an eau de toilette.  But, at least on my skin, after multiple testings, Paestum Rose is memorable only for its ability to disappear without a trace.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Black Aoud Bridging the Gap

Black Aoud by Montale has been mentioned on my blog here.  What wasn't quite right about it then is exactly right now.  (This phenomenon, regarding many perfumes, will be explored in a later post.)

This morning, B-man and I made the two-hour trip to visit my father and then took him with us to Mom's grave.  I had planned to wear Jolie Madame, because she liked that, but then it hit me that Black Aoud was the one that could truly capture the essence of the day.  As I caught whiffs of myself now and then, what had previously seemed industrial had magically transformed into urbane and polished.  The sandalwood was stunning.

Black Aoud seemed particularly elegant in the way it nudged a shift in mindset from grief to my awareness of freedom following my mother's death.  Inner Critic clears his throat. "If you feel free now, this soon after the loss of your mother, that can only mean one thing; you didn't love her enough."  

But I did love her and I always will.  At the same time, I am now free to behave and appear exactly as I want without her watchful eye.  I miss her watchful eye.  My emotions are a mixed bag of weirdness that changes from day to day, sometimes hour to hour.

Honestly, I am just doing the best I can to move on with life, like anyone who has lost a loved one.  Today, Black Aoud helped with that process, creating a new space in my awareness and pointing the way into the future.  

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sur le Nil: I Might Love You

For the last three days, Sur le Nil by Hermes has been my SOTD.  Not on purpose, really.  It's just that I have rushed to work and had to forgo my usual contemplation over the right perfume.  Last summer, I experimented and concluded that Sur le Nil was just fine, but it didn't really light me up.  Like the math geek in high school that you don't realize is hot until your 15-year class reunion.  But I hate class reunions.  You already know that.

Anyway (focus!), the geek factor in Sur le Nil is the soapiness - which I usually despise - but it works here.  The best description I can think of is green grapefruit squeezed over twigs, grass and pussy willows.  I have no idea what pussy willows smell like, but the visual image works for me (I'm sure they grow along the Nile) and I feel all naughty using the word 'pussy' in my blog.

Still not focusing.

Sur le Nil is classified as a fruity floral, but it's no Paris Hilton.  True, it is fresh, but in a 'lovely to chat, get to your point' sort of way.  The fact that Jean Claude Ellena is the perfumer gives it an unfair advantage.  Would I love Sur le Nil otherwise?  Hmm.

What is your 'geek turned to love' perfume?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Ode to Chanel's Sycomore

Hot Motor Oil
Burning Autumn Leaves
Canyon Pine
Library Books
Tree House
Waxed High School Floors
 Love at First Sniff

Saturday, May 22, 2010

White Aoud - it's Darling

Perfume obsession is not a 'girly' activity.  It can't be because I'm no girly girl.  This is clear to me when I am around my sisters and my nieces, all of whom are up on the latest handbags, nail polish, hair color and make-up.  They use descriptors like "darling."  

We may be from different planets. 

Scent of the Day (SOTD) was White Aoud.  B-man likes this perfume very much but for me, it just doesn't have enough aoud, rose or smoke to create great interest.  WA continues to leave me wanting, with its sugar cookie goodness, which is only one reason I'm feeling cranky this evening.  

All I wanted to do today was lay on the bed and channel surf, read and play on my computer, not necessarily in that order.  For a while, I did just that, watching two episodes of Nurse Jackie while snuggling with Paige and Leo (our dog and cat).  It was raining outside and I was in heaven.

Inner Critic was not happy and let me know, in no uncertain terms, that I should go shopping just as I had planned earlier in the week.  It's true that I have been complaining about the accessories I need to round out my wardrobe.  Caving in to this pressure, I got off the bed, took a shower and convinced myself that shopping would be the right thing to do.  

There are several things I truly suck at (interior decorating, bulletin boards and small talk, for example), but none more than shopping for clothes.  When I'm at home, or in my mind, I am the queen of stylish accessorizing.  However, when I am surrounded by all sorts of accessories, all I can see is how idiotic I will look so I never actually purchase these items. 

B-man came with me today and thank god for that because I went into one store, did a 360, and felt myself coming down with a bad case of the fuck-its.  I finally ended up with a jacket because I couldn't face the humiliation of going home empty handed.

Here's what I want:  Clothes that feel like pajamas, colors that are earthy and perfume that is intelligent and interesting.  What do I avoid?  Darling.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Sound of Her Voice

Have you ever started to address an e-mail to one person when similar names of other people appear in the drop-down menu?  People that you have e-mailed previously?  That happened to me today and it was quite a moment.  

When Mom's name popped up, as I was casually going about my business, I froze and couldn’t go on with what I was doing.  Instead, I took a moment to close my office door and think of her and what I miss the most on this three month anniversary of her death.

I miss her hands - they are just like mine.  I pick at the cuticle of my left thumb when I am thinking, just as she did throughout her life.  Sometimes, when I am using my hands to communicate, I stop in mid gesture, certain that I have channeled her energy as my own.

I miss her stubbornness, even though it pissed me off more than I can say and more times than I can count.  We share this characteristic.  

Perhaps most of all, I miss the sound of her voice.  Never again will I be able to call her after work or early on a Sunday evening.  Mom's voice is etched in my memory forever, but tonight, I would do anything to hear it out loud just one more time.  

Scent of the Evening: Borneo 1834

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Rules are There for a Reason

Rules and rituals are important when one adopts a new perfume.  For instance, I don't let myself open the package until I complete some trumped up chore just to build dramatic tension.  Then, slowly, I open the box with a utility knife and try to guess if it is packed in bubble wrap or Styrofoam peanuts.  I'm not sure what this means, I only know it's very important.  Then, the sprayer must be tested, but not just in any room! 

In the Smellie Room.  

Usually, if I receive perfume during the week, I wait until the weekend to give it an honest whirl.  It's just too risky to wear it to work without having figured out the sillage and the exact amount to wear for maximum, but appropriate, effect.  Never again do I want to find myself thinking, "god, what reeks," and realize it's me. 

But today, I broke the rules and wore Gris Clair to work with no prior weekend spin around the block.  As a result, I sprayed halfheartedly and wimped out on Gris Clair's World Debut.  

I speak do-overs.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Heavenly Gratitude

I have come to believe that my role, as a leader, is to nurture the gifts that I recognize, assist where I can and then get the hell out of the way.  

Yesterday, our hospital held a Memorial Tribute to honor all of the children that died in 2009.   My department plans and oversees this function.  Today, I feel so much gratitude for my team and for each member's passion and grace throughout the process.

To commemorate this extraordinary event, I wore Heavenly, by Victoria's Secret.  It was perfectly empathetic; light, innocuous, the smell of hope.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Small Dogs and Gucci II

Today, I am wearing Gucci Eau de Parfum II.  If you remember, I ran out of Kelly Caleche several weeks ago.  Instead of automatically replacing it, I'm investigating others that might suit my need for a sophisticated, fresh-but-interesting work perfume.  

Gucci II is fruity/floral in the beginning, with a whiff of fresh mint.  I love fresh mint, so this appeals to me right away and interrupts my usual fruity/floral eye rolling.  My relief is short lived as the heart notes are alarmingly soapy, with a nose-burning floral.  For a moment I panic and almost scrub it off because it has lost its earthiness altogether and starts to give me a headache.  I manage to wait it out, and after 30 minutes, the base notes have mellowed everything, allowing the herbal quality to emerge again.  

Having worn it all afternoon, I would say that Gucci II is somewhat fresh and nicely herbal, but also a bit screechy - just too 'Gucci' - for my taste.  Unless I glam way up, wear stilettos and carry a small dog in my purse, it's just not going to work. 

Photo:  Our sheltie, Paige, at 7 weeks old.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Face This

If you love Facebook, you may want to stop reading right here.  

I resisted signing up for years - has it been around for years? - because everything I heard about Facebook made me think it was a study in shallowness.  

Dumbed down.  Pedestrian.  

B-man had to sign up to receive The Washington Post and the LA Times.  Well, to get the good version, that is (all the pictures and in-depth articles).  No coercion there.  Turns out, he actually enjoys it, reconnecting with high school friends before his class reunion next year.  I don't get class reunions, either, but that's beside the point.

Anyway, fearing that I was missing out on the Best Thing Ever, I signed up.  Turns out it is shallow.  Dumbed down.  Pedestrian.  Mind numbing, really.

God knows, I want to love it.  I have tried to love it.  Perhaps it is best suited to extroverts.  You know, people who befriend waiters, make conversation in the grocery line and love small talk, cocktail parties and fund-raisers. That is so not me.

Give me someone's thoughts, their obsession, their musings, their intelligence.  But please, save me from meaningless chit-chat. When did we become Twitter Nation?  It's embarrassing.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Gris Clair Notes Exposed

Smoking electrical wire
Oatmeal with blueberries
Wet concrete
Already burnt wood
Pinch of sugar

I love it with all my heart.

The Past, Again

Tonight is the millionth time I have sampled Bois 1920 Sandalo e The.  Something about it reminds me of my grandfather when I was a little girl.

Two parts aftershave, one part old guy.

Funny thing is, I keep coming back.  Whether it's the memory or the perfume itself, I will enjoy the visit.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Gris Clair - I'll Drink to That

Last night, after a beautiful martini on an empty stomach, I ordered Serge Lutens' Gris Clair.  This morning, I'm going back and forth in my mind, thinking - as Inner Critic suggests - that I should have ordered Fumerie Turque instead.  But, I have Borneo and Amber Sultan, both of which are full of spice, smoke and darkness.  Fumerie Turque seems redundant.  With summer approaching, I need a scent that is reserved, but fresh.

Every time I wear Gris Clair, I have a different impression.  Mostly, I love it because it reminds me of the wild sage growing throughout our farm right before I get that amazing, incense base note.  At times, though, it seems a bit sweeter.  Once, I even washed it off.  Inner Critic picks up on this right away. " You got buzzed and bought a scrubber.  Not just any scrubber, but a pricey one.  Nice."

Shut up, it's not a scrubber.  Not even.  Perhaps, when I washed it off, I was just having a crabby day.  Or, I was getting ready to cook a delicious meal and simply washed my hands first.  Or...maybe I knew I would be hanging out with someone who is allergic to perfume and I politely washed it off so as not to inconvenience or concern this person.  Yes, I'm sure that's it.

Would I have ordered Gris Clair stone sober?  Well, I've considered purchasing it for years, so maybe.  Besides, Dad loved the smell of Gris Clair when I first got it several years ago, and B-man has commented positively on it many times.  It has street cred.

I'm trusting my instincts on this one.  Inner Critic can bite me.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Love The One You're With

SOTE (scent of the evening) is Ambre Sultan. Initially, I went into the Smellie Room looking for my decant of Fumerie Turque.  I found the container, alright, but the juice is gone.  

I hate that.  

Nevertheless, I decided to stay with Serge Lutens because I am in that kind of mood.  The gasoline top notes of Ambre Sultan are stunning.  In about 30 minutes, the marijuana heart notes will come knocking.  Ultimately, the base notes will steal from each of the above and create a finish of herbs and molasses.  

Hippie freedom in a bottle. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hi, Mom

Tonight, I'm wearing Borneo 1834.  If you read this blog, you know it is the closest thing to a Holy Grail that I have experienced in years.  Borneo has special meaning for me because it was the last perfume my mother ever loved.  Each time she smelled it, she told me how much she liked it.  One night, as I was getting ready to leave the hospital, she stood up from her bed, gave me a hug and said, "let me just keep hugging you because you smell so good." 

Mom was the only one in my life who had the same love of perfume that I do.  When she still lived and thrived at home, before her surgery, I would bring a collection of perfumes for her to sample.  I often made a decant or left the perfume for her to enjoy.  She had discriminating taste, so if she really liked one, I knew that I had pleased my mother, which is big for us middle children.  The perfume ritual was part of every visit, and I looked forward to sharing that passion with her more than anything else.

Mother's Day is almost here.  As I breathe in the dust, oak and licorice magic of Borneo, I think of her. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ellena The Master

I just ordered a replacement bottle of Jardin en Medeteranee and a tested-but-never-owned Eau des Merveilles. I am also out of Kelly Caleche, but I can't bring myself to order two previously-owned perfumes at the same time with so many untested possibilities.  Boring. 

Over the last couple of years, I have gravitated toward Hermes' perfumes.  High quality, staying power and originality draws me to the brand.  

Well, that, and the fact that I love Jean Claude Ellena.  There's a man I would like to have lunch with. 

A)  He's brilliant 
B)  He's hot

Hermes offers some non-Ellena creations that I like very much, including both Hiris and EdM.  But I absolutely love Mediterranee and Kelly Caleche, which are sophisticated - yet accessible - masterpieces.  Ellena's compositions simply vibrate with personality.

Hermes scored when they nabbed Ellena.  He maintains the "thinking person's couture" of the house, adding both insubordination and sparkle to an otherwise stodgy image.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Rainy Day in my Mind


Today is May 1st and it's snowing.  This time last week, I was sitting in the sun, enjoying the scenery and noticing a touch of color on my skin.  Today, I am in the living room, looking out the window and thinking, WTF.

Rain, I can enjoy for days - weeks - on end. When I'm jonesing for rain, as I am today, I douse myself with DKNY to mirror that wonderful aroma of ozone, wet tomato leaves and concrete. 

The sky has suddenly brightened.

An Elephant in the Room

Yesterday, I wore Jungle l'Elephant by Kenzo for the first time in a year, at least.  I took care not to spray it too high on my neck, where the spices would sting my nose and annoy me all day (this mistake was made the last time I wore it...hence the one year time frame).  Using a light hand, I spritzed only twice.  Back was the fine suede and cardamom, as perfect as I remember.

Jungle is not the only perfume on my recently-ignored list.  Others, that I simply had to have, sit like rejected step-children among better loved siblings.  Just this week, Inner Critic gave me a tongue lashing about rotating five or so perfumes when I have many more to choose from.  IC demanded to know why I acquired so many perfumes if I'm not going to wear them?  Don't I know that they won't last forever?  Why did I have to be so greedy?  

What a dick.

Perhaps I'm simply evolving as a fume-head.  Even though I sample constantly, it makes more sense to me now to own, and wear, only those perfumes that I truly love.  I've gone so far as to tell myself that I could actually find my one and only Holy Grail if I just look a bit longer.  Evolution and denial have a lot in common.


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