Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy Autumn!

Just a quick note to say hello to everyone and a Happy Fall!

David and I went on a real date tonight.  He took me to see a movie and bought me a giant slurpee.  He even let me pick the movie, which was Easy A.  And it is SUPER FUNNY!  Really.  Loved it.  I haven't laughed that hard in a while.

In about three weeks, David and I will celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary.  It's nice how, even after all tis time, he can still make me blush.

And in case you are wondering, I wore L'Artisan Vanilia, which I still cannot believe has been discontinued.  I love it.  When my sample finally runs out, I will be crushed. Completely crushed.  I really wish I'd bought a bottle while I still could.

Monday, September 20, 2010

You can't change things; we're all stuck in our ways.

I <3 you, PNW!
Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia trip.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any significant amount of time, you’ll know I m a fan of the inexplicable in books, tv, and movies. Werewolves, ghosts, vampires, slayers, witches, necromancers, angels, demons…you get the picture. If it reeks of otherness, I love it. My favorite section of the library as an eight year old was the section with nonfiction books documenting haunted places in America.

When I was eighteen and I got to visit the Pacific Northwest for the first time, it should have no surprise that the one place I wanted to go was to Snoqualmie Falls, the filming site for David Lynch’s cult classic tv show Twin Peaks. But it’s one thing to go to a place where a movie or television show was filmed. You know it’s real. You’ve seen video and pictures.

It is entirely another thing to step right into the middle of a fantasy novel.

Forks welcomes you!
Because my Mister is currently toiling away 3 day, 4 hours a week (plus homework!) in a LSAT prep class (apparently one lawyer wasn’t enough), I find my weekends very free and not a little bit lonely. To rectify this situation, I have endeavored to get out and about more. Trips to the beach, hiking Multnomah Falls, street fairs, open air markets, gardens, outdoor movies in the park, whatnot. But I wanted more. I have a lot of friend who do not enjoy traveling alone, but I’ve always liked it. I like the sense of adventure and discovery and independence I feel, though I generally don’t like to be gone on a solo vacay for more than four or five days at a time. So I started looking at weekend trips I could road trip to, since I love to drive, and came up with a few interesting options.

So I decided, on a whim, take a little trip to one Forks, Washington. For those of you who fall outside the teen novel phenomenon loop, Forks is the setting for Stephenie Meyers Twilight series. I’ve been all over Washington and Oregon, but I had never been west of Olympia and into the Olympic National Forest, where Forks is located, so I googled it.

And no one parks here. Really.
I was overcome with information vis-à-vis the wonders to be found. I was totally overwhelmed. It’s one thing for Universal to build a theme park that creates a fictional fantasy world that one can visit. It’s entirely another thing for not one, but essentially three communities (Forks, Port Angeles, and the La Push Reservation) to embrace their fictional personas to the extent there is a reserve parking space at a real hosptial for a fictional person. There is, apparently, a weekend long celebration in honor of protagonist Bella Swan’s birthday, which falls on September 13, every year and includes a proclamation from the town mayor.

Ah, young love...
Suddenly, I was possessed. I had to go. How often in one’s life can you step into a real world place, where real people live real lives, and yet simultaneously feel overwhelmed by a sense of otherworldliness, or the kind of possibility that can only be wrought with magic. And the fact that, in this particular case, the author went to the area and researched it and kept in enough detail that when the book says it’s a fifteen minute drive from point A to point B it actually is only a fifteen minute drive. Even if the local communities had not seized the opportunity to cash in and save themselves from economic obsoleteness, if you were familiar with the books you’d still find yourself amazed by continuity. There’s no other word for it. The fictional and the real weirdly flow together, and the locals embrace of it so that there is fictional graffiti on a real desk in the real high school the fake characters attend make it that much more of a mind trip.

But enough about the trip. This is where the weird Jo Malone sample laying comes in. Packing for the trip, despite having my car, meant I didn’t want to take all that many different bottles with me and I am desperately low on decanting supplies. So I took CB I Hate Perfume Black March, S-Perfume 100% Love, Jo Malone Orange Blossom, L’Artisan Dzing!, and a handful of Jo Malone samples. (Yes, for three days. Yes, I considered this light packing, scent-wise.) I tried Jo Malone Red Roses layered with Black March and liked the results.

Another Jo Malone I tried was the new English Pear & Freesia. Jo Malone describes it as follows:
The World of Jo Malone introduces English Pear & Freesia, a scent that is inspired by a walk in an orchard and captures the luscious scent of just-ripe pears, cooled by the autumn air, ready to twist free from the tree. Experience the surprising, sensuous freshness of sweet pears, wrapped in a bouquet of white freesias, on a subtle background of scrambling wild roses and skin-warming amber, patchouli and woods. 
Notes: pear, quince, green rhubarb, white freesias, wild roses, patchouli, white amber, musks 
English Pear & Freesia is a wonderful liquered delight to start off, reminding me strongly of my favorite desert wine, Moscato d'Asti. About half an hour in, though, it becomes a floral syrup-fest. For my part, I love that almost too sweet thickness. Lots of people will hate it, I’d wager, or think it’s the perfect scent if you are a fifteen year old girl. To me? Positively delightful, and a scent I’d wager will make a lovely Spring to Summer transition scent.

On the recommendation of the Jo Malone rep at the Pio Square Nordstrom, I tried layering it with the Jo Malone Orange Blossom. It’s nice enough, I guess, but not nearly as nice the scents are on their own. However, if you are a person who would like English Pear & Freesia if it felt less like layering on syrup, then you might try to convince your local rep to give you samples of both to try layered.

On the other hand, you could also just find another scent you really liked in and of itself. As it stands, I’ll probably buy a bottle of English Pear & Freesia. I think it will go perfect with some spangly earrings and my favorite little black dress on a night that’s more Cajun Tapas and a modern dance performance and less fine dining and the symphony.

You can buy Jo Malone Red Roses in a 30ml for $55 or 100ml for $100 direct from Jo Malone and in a number of department stores.

"Like when you wake up behind the bar
Trying to remember where you are
Having crushed all the pretty things
There but for the grace of God, go I.
But I still believe.
And I will rise up with fists..."

- "Rise Up With Fists" by Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins

Want more? Try...
~ a review from I Smell Therefore I Am
~ a review from Perfume Shrine
~ a review from The Scented Salamander
~ a review from My Perfume Life
~ a review from The Jet Set Girls
~ a review from Scentsibilities

Saturday, September 18, 2010

When your perfume tries to kill you....

Sometimes I smell things and think,
 "Yeah, this is assaulting me, and not in a good way."
Penny Arcade has now provided me a visual.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I've been wanting to touch you since we met. You don't give a girl a chance to forget.

Jo Malone Red Roses

Sweet and neglected reader, it's been too long. It's always so hard to come back when I've been gone this long because I forget my train of thought.

So let me just jump in here in the middle and let's see where we end up, shall we?

I'm finally settled into the new job. It's boring, but better than no job. I got a new laptop. I bought some perfume, significantly changed my diet, made some new friends, some significant work on creative projects beyond this blog got done, took a fabulous solo weekend trip...'s been a busy few weeks.

But let's talk a little more about the perfume I bought. I bought two bottles from Jo Malone -- Pomegranate Noir, which I have a long held and seemingly unwaivering affection for, and Orange Blossom, a scent that surprised me when I reviewed it because I liked it more than I expected. I am pleased to say that I continue to enjoy them both post-purchase and I am happy to say I have no buyer’s remorse. In fact, the saleswoman at the downtown Nordstrom was so happy to sell me a bottle as a blogger thaat she plied me with about six 4ml sprayer samples, and made some interesting suggestions for layering the various scents.

Which brings me to the topic of this post – layering.

I’m of a very divided mind about layering. On the one hand, it opens up a world of scent combinations one might otherwise never experience. On the other hand, I feel very strongly that perfume is art, truly a real art form, and that layering subverts the artist’s true vision of the scent they intended to create and put out in the world. But on the gripping hand, it’s my perfume, bought with my money, and my scent wardrobe to wear, so if I want to expand it by buying scents and layering them, then who has the right to tell me not to, even me?

So, having never really tried layering since, quite frankly, there’s so much out there in the world standing alone and waiting for me to try it, experience it…judge it, that I never bothered. But I was having an adventure on my adventurous weekend, so I figured what the hell? They are small and easy to pack. It’s a weekend of weirdness, let’s get weird!

I received a sample of and Jo Malone Red Roses. I like Roses and try them a lot. As roses go, this one isn’t bad.  You might even call is "classic;" certainly some reviewers have.  To my mind, it just does not particularly stand out. The words I’d use to describe it are “average” and “unremarkable.” In a world heavy with remarkable, unique, innovative roses, that might as well be a condemnation. However, when I layered it with CB I Hate Perfume’s Black March, it was a delightful experience. Now, honestly, most of the uniquenesss to the combination came from the CB scent, but in this case it was a good thing. I can’t imagine layering Black March with Teo Cabanel Oha, L’Artisan Voleur Rose, Juliette Has a Gun Miss Charming, or Agent Provocateur, just to name a few. But the general unremarkableness of Red Roses, much like it’s bland name, made it a great compliment to Black March, like burying your face in a blooming bush, not in sunny summer, when it’s easy to stop to smell the roses, but in the cold, creeping wetness of winter, when appreciation is hard won and, perhaps correspondingly, more deeply felt.

I don’t know if I’ll end up buying a bottle of Red Roses. I doubt it. But I have loved the experience of seeing Black March in a new way, and that was worth quite a lot to me. Plus, I’ll probably forever associate the combination with my trip, and that might make it worth owning both.

What do you think, dear reader? Layering -- an invitation to bliss or a crime against the art of scent? Is a bottle of unremarkable worth owning if it’s really only good for sentimental reasons and because it’s association with a higher quality scent? I think it will end up falling into that category of "would love to get a bottle as a surprise gift, but don't think I'd go out to buy it for myself" category.

Inquiring minds want to know.

P.S. And just so you don’t think me a tease, I will get to trip specifics. In another post, which I promise will come as soon as I can write it down and convince Blogger to cooperate.

You can buy Jo Malone Red Roses in a 30ml for $55 or 100ml for $100 direct from Jo Malone and in a number of department stores. If you are a PDX local, I'd suggest hitting the Jo Malone counter at the Pio Square Nordstrom. You can tell the lovely woman, whose card I have tragically lost, that I sent you for a layering lesson.

"You came up behind me, grabbed my wrists in the dark
And said, 'Don't look at what you can't see.'
Now all night, all night.
I've been looking for you all night.
All night. All night.
I've been looking for you all night..."

- "All Night," Sam Phillips
( You can listen to the song here)

Want more? Try...
~ an incredibly comprehensive guide to roses including this one from Muse in Wooden Shoes
~ a review from The Scented Salamander
~ a mention from I Smell, Therefore I Am
~ a review from Scentsibility
~ a review from Bees Who Buzz
~ a review from We Heart This!
~ a review from Brainspam

Thursday, September 9, 2010

You come on with a come on. You don't fight fair.

Tyron Creek Park
Fall has come to Portland.  Really, truly, overcast days and rainy nights Fall. School has started here on the hill, the kids are all back in their rooms, and the sky is gloriously overcast. It's just like I like it best here. Also, the new season of Vampire Diaries started tonight, which considerably brightened my day.

I'm heading out of town this weekend, so I don't have time for a full update, but I'll tell you this: I've been buying perfume while I've been away.  I bought a bottle of Guerlain L'Heure Bleue, Jo Malone Orange Blossom, Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir, and L'Artisan Tea for Two. I'm averaging two bottles for every three pay checks, which is pretty conservative after the desert of unemployment curtailed my purchasing power pretty significantly.

I'm enjoying everything I bought, but I'm especially in love with Pomegranate Noir.  I think it's the darkness lurking underneath that fruity heart.  This fall, I'm in the mood for darkness -- leathers and dirt and musk and chypres. So I'm looking for suggestions, my friends.  Hit me with your best shot.

For now, I've got to get back to packing and watching my 'wamp-iiiires.'  It's a great day for television when one vampire show run's its season finale and goes on hiatus (True Blood) and another one starts right up in it's place.

"That's okay -- see if I care.
Knock me down, it's all in vain
I'll get right back on my feet again."

"Hit Me With Your Best Shot," Pat Benatar

Monday, September 6, 2010

Oh where, oh where, has our perfumista gone?

Cape Lookout, August 2010

Just a quick word, Dear Reader, to assuage any lingering doubts you have.  I am coming back.  My new laptop arrives on Wednesday, allowing me to regularly write again.  I have so many perfume-y things to tell you!   It just may take a few more days.  Thanks for your patience, and I promise that in exchange I'll have hilarious and wonderful stories and even a drawing to make it up to you.

Until then, I'll leave you with two things -- a couple of photos from my recent trip to the beach, and the following horoscope, which was written for Pisces (which I am) a week or two ago by Free Will Astrology's Rob Brezsny. It is a LOL and a half!
Allure magazine sought out Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, the women who wrote the book Perfumes: The A to Z Guide. "What are the sexiest-smelling perfumes of all time?" they asked. Turin and Sanchez said Chinatown was at the top of their list. Their explanation: "If wearing Opium is like walking around with a bullhorn shouting, 'Come and get it!', Chinatown is like discreetly whispering the same thing." The Chinatown approach is what I recommend for you in the coming weeks, Pisces.
Chinatown!?!  First of all, Bond No. 9 has some waaaaay nicer scents.

Secondly, I'd be more inclined to listen to you if you had not INCORRECTLY IDENTIFIED Luca Turin AS A WOMAN.

Lastly, and more philosophically:  forget it, Astrology man.  I'm going with Opium -- it's go big or go home in my world.

See you in a few days, dear readers!