Sunday, April 27, 2014

Blind Buy Gone Bad

Friday afternoon, my son JD met me for lunch.  Our German waitress, Claudia, scared the hell out of me with her laser stare and thick accent ('do you vant ranch dressing or no ranch?  Jus' tell me vat you vant and I vill brrring it!').  After lapsing into sheer stupidity under the pressure - I could neither decide on my dressing nor settle the check correctly - a perfume reprieve was in order.  JD and I sprayed and sniffed at Sephora and I decided that my trip home would include a discount store browsing session to find a perfume that could soothe my bruised lunch ego. 

Roberto Cavalli eau de parfum had been stalking me for a while, and on Friday, it was eyeballing me again as I checked my iPhone for reviews and pondered whether or not to make the purchase.   Until now, I've tried to avoid it and never even sprayed it on my skin.  However, my imagination insisted that I was cheating myself of something exotic and warm, sexy and creamy.  Plus, the box is pretty and I like the round shape of the bottle, essential criteria for a blind buy.

It's not like I came home and immediately put the perfume on my skin.  No, no, no.  The ritual always begins by carefully opening the plastic cover on the box, just in case it goes back to the store.  I open only the top end, then squish my fingers in to open the box and turn it upside down so the bottle lands gently in my hand.  Then the perfume is sprayed on a paper strip and laid aside to dry.  After about ten minutes, I go back and sniff...then sniff again...then mull things over while re-reading all the reviews on Fragrantica.  Perfume-to-skin contact never happens until this ritual is complete. I waited to apply the perfume until Saturday morning.

For almost an hour, I tried to like it.  I faked liking it.  I pondered every circumstance in which I could imagine ever liking it.  I walked outside so it could develop fully in the fresh air.  I fantasized about writing a post about not liking it at first and then realizing I loved it.  I even had our dog Paige smell it, and she took a sniff but suddenly lost interest and licked her butt instead.

That's when I scrubbed.

To describe Roberto Cavalli eau de parfum in great detail now would just annoy me even more.  Cheap, sweet and cloying pretty much covers it, and its barely touched package is going right back to where it came from.  I feel smarter already - Claudia might even approve.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Menopause Mania: Jessica Simpson Fancy

God help me, I can't stop wearing celebrity perfumes. Now, it's Jessica Simpson's Fancy.  Maybe it's menopause.  I'm blaming everything on menopause, by the way.  Can't sleep?  Menopause.  Bad hair day?  Menopause.  My soup didn't turn out right?  Effing menopause.

Of course, I'm too old for Fancy...meaning it wasn't marketed for an almost 55-year old woman.  Nope, Fancy was meant for the young, sex five times a week, oops I got knocked up again crowd.  I'm like a 20-year old that loves Paloma Picasso.  We're both out of sync with our peers. 

Last week, B-man and I went on a much needed road trip (please don't make me fly - I promise to be good).  We ended up in red rock country that was half desert and half springtime (not that springtime doesn't happen in the desert, it's just harder to tell).  After pondering what perfume I wanted to wear from my usual 15-20 on-the-road selections, it was Fancy that most matched the smell of the air and the feel of the small city.  I had never worn it before, but brought it along as part of a Jessica Simpson 4-pack of travel sprays (I Fancy You, Fancy Love and Fancy Nights came along too).  Even though I tried to talk myself into several Diptyque offerings, Tuscan Soul and multiple other earthy, gutsy, downright sexy perfumes, it was Fancy that won out.

(If you get the earthy, gutsy, downright sexy reference, will you please remind me of the men's cologne that 70's commercial was selling?)

Here's what I like about Fancy: Yeah, it's sweet and berries and a little caramel and vanilla, but what I love about it - and can't quite get enough of - is the soapy whisper of the drydown.  Who would have thought Fancy was...soapy?  Just when you think you've got her all figured out and you're ready for the crème brulee, she throws in a touch of squeaky clean.  Brilliant.

Now I'm in hot pursuit of a full bottle and I'll be damned if any TJ MAXX in my city is carrying it.  Stupid menopause.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Perfume Throwdown: Fracas vs Truth or Dare

Until now, I have avoided Madonna's Truth or Dare like I avoid stair railings at our children's hospital.  Oh, come on, you just know there are boogers all over it.   Truth or Dare was so off my radar that I never even stalked it on Fragrantica, Make-up Alley or Google, and I stalk everything.  But then I see it marked down at TJ Maxx for $7.  Seven bucks... for 3.4 oz.  Kiss it, Inner Farm Girl!  Post stalking, when I saw Truth or Dare linked to Fracas, I had to do a side-by-side comparison straight away.  That's right, I said 'straight away' in honor of Madonna's phony British accent period. 

Here's the deal: they are just alike, except completely different.

Truth or Dare starts out all floral-sweet, like hard tack candy at Christmas. B-man said the top notes smell like the opening of Joop Homme (his 'let's go play' scent, which I absolutely love).  Fracas, on the other hand, starts out green and turn-up-my-nose sour, really.  Why so serious?  Next comes the Truth or Dare lemon and citrus phase.  Fracas, on the other hand, takes a totally different direction and smells just like Thumbelina, my childhood doll that peed her pants and landed face down in a cow pie after I dangled her out the backseat car window. She had a permanent 'birthmark' on her cheek after that, but I still loved her.  That's what I told my mom then and I can't think of a good reason to tell the truth now.  Except that she was Thumbelina Shitface after that.

Next comes the lemon and citrus phase of Truth or Dare.  Yeah, I know, I already said that.  Just consider it a repeat of the 'Like A Prayer' chorus.  Finally, Fracas gets to the dark, inky part that I love.  The tuberose here must be black and wilted because it has lost the sweetness that can make tuberose so...precious and squishy.  Fracas doesn't play straight tuberose on my skin and it has a decidedly naughty twist.

In the end, both perfumes are unique from each other, but not dramatically so.  Truth or Dare is more gardenia/benzoin/butterscotch and Fracas maintains a metallic smear of ink.  I wanted Fracas to kick Truth or Dare to the curb so I could tell everyone, 'I knew it ,they are nothing alike - ha ha!'  And Fracas had 'er in a headlock there in the heart notes, threatening to graffiti her ass with a fountain pen.  But in the final drydown, they are similar enough that I can't honestly say, 'ha ha!'  Just, 'huh, look at that.'

For me, there's no clear winner, mostly because it's not an apples to apples comparison.  Fracas is the mother of tuberose that commands respect and has a hair trigger bitch slap. Truth or Dare wants to party, and it's making me happy tonight with its sweetness and just enough jasmine to keep it from smelling like the oversize gardenia corsage that we gave Mom every Mother's Day until she worked up the courage to tell us she hated them.  We hated them, too, but thought she loved them.  I thought I hated Truth or Dare until it was cheap enough I worked up the courage to try it.  And guess what?  I kinda love it.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Changing Vibrations

My siblings and I are in the process of going through our parents' belongings, sorting as best we can right now (not having the heart yet to thoughtfully disperse), and putting their house on the market.  They moved from the farm into town long after I was grown and gone, so their home doesn't have the sentimental attachment of the one I grew up in.  But they loved that house and even called it the enchanted cottage.  Moving from a small town was a statement of freedom that kept their marriage intact and strengthened the easy friendship they shared in spite of their differences. 

Before my parents both died, their things vibrated with life and meaning.  Every item my mother collected was meticulously arranged and re-arranged to reflect her own unique aesthetics.  My dad's guns were at peace and poised for attention, calmly waiting for the next cleaning, hanging proudly on display with the knowledge they were loved.  Now all of their things sit frozen like children in time out, stunned by the sudden aloneness with no idea what to do. 

Once the people are gone, it's like their stuff stops vibrating. 

Yesterday, a Jewish colleague randomly shared the story of her father's death and told me about how members of her faith observe a period of mourning.  According to her, a full 12 months are allowed for grieving the loss of a loved one, and within those 12 months, there are distinct periods of different activities and restrictions.  I don't pretend to fully understand the practice, but just hearing about it was soothing, and I knew - without saying anything - that she understood my sadness.  She could see it on me. 

Part of me doesn't want to go through my parents' things...ever.  I don't want to drive by their house and see, just like their farm, that the people are gone and the surroundings have lost their animation.
And like their belongings, I, too, am vibrating differently without them in the world.  My cells aren't responding quite the same, and I no longer have their energy to bump against to remind me where I came from.  November 19th will mark one year to the day that Dad died, which is my newly adopted mourning period.  Until then, to honor my parents and myself, I will quietly wear the vibration of loss.

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