Monday, January 31, 2011

Rant - The Most Absurd Television Commercial

Some TV commercials make me cringe.

For example, ads for tampons, pantiliners and, of course, feminine deodorant are paraded out at prime time just to remind us we're not All That.

Yesterday, I mentioned this post to Baby Sis and she brought up the commercial where a woman says, 'I found out the hard way that my feminine spray wasn't working.'  

Together, we explored the ideas that might lead to this awareness, but I will spare you the details of our raucous phone conversation.

My dad reads this blog.

Currently, the most WTF? commercial, in my opinion, is for Latisse, the eyelash-growing solution.  You know, the one with Brooke Shields batting her lashes on the dance floor.

Throughout the commercial, a silky voice tells us the solution could not only change the color of our eyes, but permanently darken the surrounding skin.  


Latisse is designed to address 'inadequate or not enough' lashes.

Aside from no lashes at all, what exactly qualifies as 'inadequate' on the eyelash front?  And, like the feminine deodorant failure, how, exactly, does one come to this traumatic awareness?

'I would have landed that job if my eyelashes were fuller.'

'No wonder the relationship didn't work out; my lashes are obviously inadequate.'

'These suicidal thoughts would subside if I just had enough eyelashes.'

Granted, I'm not what you'd call a beauty buff, and I don't work with women who spend time talking about the latest in beauty products.  

But, if you think about it, keeping women focused on beauty is a brilliant distraction.

Challenging the status quo is certainly more difficult when we're searching for the products that will hide our many flaws and make us visually acceptable. 

No need to worry our pretty little heads over what's happening in the world. 

Everything will be fine once our eyelashes are adequate.

image from

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Say Hello To...


Congratulations, *jen!  

(Please provide your contact info via e-mail to receive the winning samples.)

Thank you all for your wonderfully creative 'nose name' suggestions - this made the selection process great fun!

Photo my own

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ode to Piment Brulant by L'Artisan

Mole Poblano
Cheese Whiz on Celery
Butcher Paper
Johnson's Baby Lotion
Red Brick
Orange Zest
Hot Sidewalk

Photo from

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Don't Think About Comet Cleanser

My mad search for the perfect incense perfume has taken an ugly turn.

For a week, after multiple testings, I thought Annick Goutal's Encens Flamboyant might be my new holy grail.  After all, I had an OMG moment the first time I put it on my skin.

I pay attention to those. 

To confirm my choice, and fall even more deeply in love, I read every blog review I can find.  

Then, like one cocktail too many, I go to Makeup Alley.

Someone there comments that Encens Flamboyant smells like Comet Cleanser.  


I try hard to put this out of my mind because it's killing my OMG buzz.

But that's kind of like, 'Whatever You Do, Don't Think About Elephants.'  

So tonight, in a final attempt to prove the reviewer is misguided (i.e. fucking wrong), I march into the kitchen, reach under the sink, pick up the green container and smell the Comet, because I'm certain it's not even

Encens Flamboyant smells like Comet Cleanser.


Images from and

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

'Name That Nose' Contest

Yesterday, I was nose needs a name.

Everything else in my life has one; my car (Beaner), my laptop (Abby) and even my Blackberry (Zach).

So why not my nose?

I need your help!

Whoever suggests the most original and appealing name (to me, that is) will receive a 2 ml spray sample of each of the following:

Piaget's Bandit EDP
Niki de Saint Phalle EDT
Caron Nuit de Noel EDT

Give it your best snort snot shot!

Like naming a baby, I knew you'd need to see it first.

Picture my own, taken last night by B-man.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Perfume Soaked, Reality TV Weekend

Right now, I'm on the bed with Paige, lounging in my weekend (and weeknight) uniform of sweat pants, a cami and a sweatshirt over it.  With the collar cut out.

Collars on sweatshirts make me feel like I'm choking.

Paige is making little snorting noises while she sleeps.

Earlier today, she and I went on a walk and we both gave out at about the three mile point.  

My hips were killing me (now that'll make you feel old), and Paige started walking at a snail's pace.  We were almost a mile from home, but we made it.

Pathetic as we were.

Last night, hanging out with B-man, I made plans to run around today and do some shopping (for god knows what) while he watched football.

This morning, I couldn't, for the life of me, remember why I wanted to go anywhere.

So instead, after our walk, Paige and I assumed our position on the bed and watched three back-to-back episodes of 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.'

For realsies.  Paige wanted to.

And all the while, I sampled perfume. 

Since receiving the L'Artisans from Chelie, and my own order of incense perfume samples, I have gone ape shit crazy, plain and simple.  

Different perfumes are dabbed all over my body and I have sniffed until my nose and my 'smellie mind' is maxed out.  That's not easy to do.

You know this has happened, however, when suddenly, you hate them all.

To top it off, I said 'no wine on Sunday' because I have a 7:00 meeting tomorrow morning and need to be chipper.  So absolutely no drinking tonight.

But wait...I just remembered that this time next week, we'll be looking February square in the face.  

If that doesn't merit a glass of champagne, I don't know what does.

Photo from

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Incense Perfume Progress Update

 I'm in Sample Heaven.  

Smelling incense perfumes has to count for attending church at least once, don't you think?

Front Runners in the 'Full Bottle' Category:

#1  Encens Flamboyant - Annick Goutal
Had an OMG moment over this one.  Smells of plants alive in the attic.  Dry, with some incense powder, but 'bright' with a Hail Mary vibe. 

#2 Black Tourmaline - Olivier Durbano
Night snow tubing in the mountains.  Cold with a gasoline top note.  Incense that just stopped burning. 

#3 Dzongkha - L'Artisan
Paper and iris with a touch of incense.  Polite but nicely heavy on the weird factor. 

Runners up in the 'Thought I Would Love It But Don't' category:

CdG Avignon 
CdG Kyoto
Josef Statkus

Winners of the 'Not Only No, But Hell No' category:

Le Labo Oud 27
Montale Pure Incense

Outlier in the 'WTF Do I Find It?' category:

Messe de Minuit - I'm resistant to falling in love with a sample, only to discover it's unavailable for purchase.

Still pondering and re-testing.  Watch for the 'I Must Have A Full Bottle' selection, which will show up in an Ode in the coming weeks.

Image from

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ode to Fumerie Turque by Serge Lutens

Mud on Wingtips
Smoke Shop
Leather Shoelaces
Tractor Seat
Plaster of Paris
Dr. Pepper
Wool Sweater

Image from

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Magic Touch Of A Surprise Gift

Paige eyeballing my new samples

Morning weather is messing with me lately.  

Not just because it's January, but because the landscape reminds me of last year when each day was greeted by the realization that Mom was in hospice care and slowly fading from our reach.

Yesterday, I found myself standing in a stairwell that looks out over the city.  I remembered how many times I left work to be with her, to connect one last time.  

Never knowing which time was going to be the last.

At work, I am surrounded by people who assume I am over losing my mother.  She died almost a year ago, after all. 

The rest of the world is over it.

Last night, after working late - exhausted and hungry - I called B-man on my way home, happy just to hear his voice.  'Hi, little monkey,' he said, all sympatheticHe had cooked pasta and chicken, which was waiting for my arrival.  


When I walked in the door, I saw a Fed-X package on the kitchen counter from my cousin, Chelie.  She has been following this blog.

Chelie owns a high-end boutique in another state and she, too, is a perfumista, as it turns out. 

She also just happens to carry the L'Artisan line and sent me a collection of samples.

Talk about feeling twirly.

Food will wait.

My 'care package' includes:

Ananas Fizz
Piment Brulant
Poive Piquant
Mimosa Pour Moi
Mure et Musc
La Chasse Aux Papillions
Premier Figuier

Through the coming month, and the anniversary of Mom's death, I expect my memories and my grief to be close to the surface.

How wonderful it was to be touched by the familiar kindness of a loved one at exactly the right moment.

Through perfume, no less.

Thank you, Chelie.  Your gift brought light into my day.

photo my own

Monday, January 17, 2011

My New Perfume Phase: Incense

2010 was my Year of The Rose. 

Prior to that, I had never been attracted to rose perfumes, thinking they were So Not Me, believing they were too refined, proper and...boring, really.

Then I got more boring.  

For whatever reason,  I was not only drawn to rose perfumes, but craved them - especially the dark, woody, dirty roses - like other people crave chocolate. 

Chocolate will never rival Cheetos.

My favorite rose perfumes of 2010:

Black Aoud
White Aoud
Rose 31
Agent Provocateur
Tea Rose
Memory and Desire

Now, I feel myself changing again and moving into another phase, which is a familiar theme in my life.

B-man asked me once, 'Why is it that you change almost everything in your life on a regular basis, but you continue loving me?'

It's a fair - and poignant - question. Perhaps because he allows me to evolve and doesn't cling to one image of what he thinks I should be.  Perhaps the stability of us allows me to risk, and change, other parts of my life.  

But I suspect it's simply because, 25 years later, I know I never want to be without him.

Yesterday, I wore Silences by Jacomo, feeling in the right mood for it after posting an 'Ode' the day before.  It was perfect, both fresh and cold, melancholy and odd.

I love odd. 

No reflection on B-man.

Incense perfumes have piqued my interest because they signify a shift, but avoid the floral, oriental or gourmand territories.  I have dabbled in knowing them better, but a vast territory remains unexplored.

To those of you more seasoned in the incense genre, what do you recommend as the best churchy, woody, dark and most...odd incense perfumes?

Image from

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ode to Silences by Jacomo

 Patent Leather Belt
Dry Erase Marker
Troll Doll
Broken Pine Needles
Wet Oil Paint

image from

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January Sucks But There's Tea for Two

Raise your hand if you think January sucks, too.

Yeah, yeah, I know; it's a new beginning, it's the calm after the holidays and it's chock full of hope.


Typically, I'm an optimist.  For example, I know that when the 'hey, dumb ass, you have a flat tire!' light comes on in my car, it's just because it's cold.  Silly car, I think, smiling, everything's fine.  

The light always goes off.

And if my food is slow in arriving at a restaurant, I can give the wait staff a break for a fairly long time.  My food isn't out yet, I tell myself, simply because they are trying extra hard to get everything right, just for me. 

That's how damn cheerful I am.

All the other months.

But January?  Even I can't Pollyanna myself out of this one.  It's colder than hell, I'm chubby from eleven days of  'holiday festive' and my hair's bugging me.  

All I really want to do is stay home, channel surf, eat cheese, artichoke hearts and kettle chips - all together - and look forward to Happy Hour.

Everything else seems pointless.  

As I listen to others during the day (well, pretend to listen), I have to concentrate so the 'who gives a shit?' fog horn in my mind doesn't actually show on my face.

Plus, I'm swearing more than usual, which is quite a bit.

The one thing that doesn't totally suck about January is that I sometimes reconcile with perfumes I haven't worn in a long time.  

This year, it's L'Artisan's Tea for Two.  We've been on again/off again for awhile now (mostly off), but when I applied T42 this morning, it actually made me happy for just a minute.  

In January, that's no small thing.

What perfumes are getting you through this month?

image from

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Letting Go Again

Yesterday, my boss retired, six months after giving notice.  Her position is not yet filled, leaving an odd blank in the organization.

A reception was held in her honor at the hospital and people stood in line outside the boardroom to thank her for all that she has done over the past 30 years.

And to say farewell.

She referred to this event as 'the viewing,' and in a way, it was.  One last chance to say goodbye to her as my boss, mentor and colleague.

One more thing to let go.  I'm languishing in self pity.

All day, I fought the urge to escape.  I considered driving to Park City, going to Bath and Body Works for more nighttime lotion or making the journey to Mom's grave.

I've never been there alone.

But I stayed at the hospital and went to the open house instead.  We both got teary.

Last week, she invited me to a bar afterward with her and some friends from work.  I considered this, but decided to go home and have a martini with B-man.  

I couldn't really handle another goodbye.

She and I will connect soon enough at a different time, in another place.

Scent of the Day?  Ambre Sultan.

Image from

Monday, January 10, 2011

Want Your Perfume to Last? Try These Tips

How often do you hear people say, 'perfume just doesn't last on me?'   

What I often discover, after asking a few questions, is that people often under-apply perfume, expecting one or two squirts to last all day. 

Over the years, I have learned - through trial and error - how to apply perfume so that it lasts and creates the perfect level of sillage without being overbearing.

 Note:  I prefer spraying perfume and find dabbing annoying for so many reasons.  However, the following tips - and the principles behind them - may be just as effective for dabbing application. 

Josephine's Recipe for Lasting Perfume Power and Perfect Sillage

-  When wearing a new perfume, give it a 'test run' at full body application before wearing it in public.  This will familiarize you with its strength and sillage and you will learn exactly how it interacts with your own skin.  Adjust future application up or down accordingly.

-  Apply perfume within five minutes of showering.  Your pores are open then and you'll get more lasting power.   Plus, this gives your perfume time to dry down between the moment you apply and the time you reach your destination.

-  As a general rule, I apply 8 sprays for appropriate sillage and lasting impact.  Front, back and sides of my neck, then wrists and inside each elbow.  If I know I'm going to be in a large, outdoor space, I may add an additional spritz right below my breasts.  

-  If perfume has monster sillage, cut the number of sprays in half.  But don't wimp out altogether.

-   Position the bottle approximately 12 inches away from you before applying perfume.  This allows the perfume to land evenly, and broadly, on your skin.

-  Breathe in and hold your breath while you are applying your perfume.  Walk out of the 'cloud' before inhaling again.  Otherwise, the perfume will burn your nose and you will  have a distorted perception of the sillage you are producing.

-  When applying to the front of your neck, make sure you don't hit the area right under your chin.  Again, this will irritate your nose and make you feel like the Sillage Monster From Hell.  Aim down a bit.

-  When attending a wine tasting or a dinner, reduce the number of sprays in half and wear an eau de toilette that is citrus, herbal or green.  Not floral.

-  If you're going to be in an early meeting, in a confined space, apply less perfume with the expectation that your sillage will diminish earlier in the day.  A small decant in your purse can provide a nice refresher mid afternoon.  Usually, one spritz is enough. 

-  When layering perfume, spray each ( not more than two) on different areas, not on top of one another.  For example, spray the front and back of your neck with one perfume, and the sides with another; one perfume on your wrists, another inside each elbow.

-  Be thoughtful about the occasion, the weather, your wardrobe and your mood when choosing a Scent of the Day.  The right perfume is the perfect start to your day!

What are your secrets to perfume application?

Image from

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Return of Hormone Nose

This short, 4-day work week certainly didn't feel short.  But maybe returning after eleven days off had something to do with that.

Yesterday was a particularly big day, so I wore Borneo 1834 to shore me up with its wintery, roast beefy, magical patchouli goodness.

Borneo is the quintessential January perfume.

As I was driving to work, I sniffed my wrist while waiting for a light to change to get one last direct hit to propel me into my day. 

Guess what?  It smelled exactly like Calvin Klein's Obsession.


I know, that's what I said, too.

Last time my nose went wild, Vanessa and  JoanElaine tactfully suggested that shifting hormones just might - possibly - be responsible.

Damn it.

Borneo image from
Obsession image from

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy Birthday, Paige!

Paige at 7 weeks old

Paige was born two years ago today.  B-man fell in love with her at first sight and chose her from a litter of five.  I will never forget the memory of him holding this little 5-pound puppy to his chest.  

We both knew she was The One.

Paige has definitely upped the goofy factor in our life.

Sleeping on her head
Sharing a laugh with Mom now that she's all grown up
Fortunately, we love goofy.

Happy Birthday, Girlie!

Pictures my own

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Blogging Balance - What Does It Look Like?

One of the best things about 2010 was starting this blog.  Creative and therapeutic, it was an outlet that opened my mind and soothed my soul following Mom's death.  

Now, I’m addicted to the process.  

And - bonus - the friends I have met from all over the world are amazing!  You entertain and motivate me, but you'll never come over, have too much to drink and then puke on the deck.  

It’s a near perfect relationship.

This morning, over coffee, I tell B-man I am going to post a lot more often this year when he says, ‘That's great, but do you realize how many different phases you've gone through in our life?   I'm just sayin'.'

Yes, but he loves my phases.

‘You might want to pace yourself blogging so you’ll enjoy it for a really long time.’

The man knows me.

But what, exactly, does 'pacing myself' mean?  Because blogging isn’t just about writing posts, it's also about reading, commenting and responding to comments from other bloggers.

That's what's fun about it. 

And it could eat my entire life.

As a relative newbie, I must ask:  How much of one's time should blogging occupy? 
Fellow bloggers, have you found your balance?  And if so, how?

Image from

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ode to Sel de Vetiver by The Different Company


Ammonia on Linoleum
Kiwi Shoe Polish
Ground Black Pepper
Radio Flyer Wagon
Early Spring Dirt
Pike Place Market
Hickory Wood Chips

Image from

Monday, January 3, 2011

Wow, Really?

When it comes to fashion, I'm a practical girl. You already know this.

Nevertheless, I wear heels to work (mostly boots in the winter) along with jewelry, light make-up and the occasional scarf.  Usually, I regret the scarf, but still.

Thumbing through my latest issue of Oprah magazine last night in bed, I come across an article featuring wardrobe makeovers.  Several of the women are wearing Christian Louboutin shoes.

Now, I get that these pricey, red soled shoes are all high fashion and 'Sex and the City,' but I just have to ask one question: are ya freakin' kiddin' me?

Aside from stripping, I can't imagine an occasion for which they would be the perfect footwear.  Even then, you might tip over.  

Or put an eye out.

Here's what I'd really like to see:  Mr. Louboutin himself teetering down the fashion runway in a pair of his 5-inch stilettos.  You know, to elongate the line of his legs.

For that, I would pay real money. 

Picture from

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Perfume Resolutions for 2011

Do you remember, yesterday, when I said my only resolution would be 'to find joy and embrace it?' 

I may have lied about that.

Perfume resolutions are warranted, too.

Last year, I set what seemed like a reasonable - but generous - perfume budget for myself.  This was quickly shot to hell because...well, I wanted stuff.

'Resolution' is a word that freaks me out, if you want to know the truth.  Historically, if I set rules, I can hardly wait to break them.  Even though I'm gung-ho in the beginning, before you know it, I'm neener-neenering myself.  It's crazy.  

This might explain why I embrace neither dieting nor teetotalism.  

How about we go with guidelines instead?  Yes, here are my Perfume Guidelines for 2011:

1.  Buy a full bottle of perfume only if I love it.  Like, Oh, My God love it.

2.  If a perfume smells like ass when it is applied, the odds are really good that it will smell like ass thirty minutes to an hour later.

3.  Host perfume drawings on this blog!

4.  After addressing two annoying comments or questions about perfume, I have Inner Critic's permission to fake an urgent phone call.

5.  Loving perfume obsessively is not an indication of my shallowness.

6.  Buying more perfume than I could possibly wear in this lifetime is an indication of my shallowness...and hoarding.

7.  Inner Critic needs to shut the hell up.

8.  Consider a signature work scent.  Evenings and weekends are still a free-for-all.

9.  Just because there's a sale does not mean I have to place an order.  Necessarily.

10.  Figure out how to blame B-man when I go over my perfume budget.

How about you?  What are your perfume resolutions guidelines for 2011?

Picture from

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Welcome 2011!!

A sunny and beautiful New Year's Day

2011 is finally here!

Don't make me drink any more champagne.

Last night marked the return of our annual pre-New Year's Eve party.   After attending numerous, painfully long parties in our past, B-man and I decided to take a fresh look at the holiday.  

We want to play on New Year's Eve, but neither one of us necessarily wants to stay up until midnight.

Morning people suck at that.

Paige the Snow Dog

So we created another option; the pre-party.  Our favorite people come and play until 9-10:00, then go forth and bring in the new year however they want.   

Last year, Mom was in the hospital, and none of us were in a party mood.

It feels good to be back.

My New Year's Resolution? 

Simple: To find joy and embrace it.

A cold and snowy wonderland

Pictures my own, taken this morning from the deck


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