Not-So-Friday Links

audrey-and-givenchy

I’m mid-viewing of There Will Be Blood and mid-studying after a kind of abortive trip to Paris.  Never trust weather.com when it predicts no precipitation. Always bring your umbrella.  Because if you don’t it will rain in the morning and snow in the afternoon.

  • The top Welsh names in Wales.  There’s something intriguing about Welsh names- from the enigmatic (to me) spelling and pronunciation to the Lord of the Rings- vibes.  Not to mention names like Angharad and Gwilym- characters from one of my favorite films, How Green Was My Valley.
  • Speaking of movies- an enjoyably extra idea for creating memorable movie nights for the family- themed invitations and menus.
  • Remembering Hubert de Givenchy, a brilliant couturier and the designer most associated with Audrey Hepburn‘s rise as a sartorial star.
  • This movie looks insane-in-a-good-way. Also excited to see Lakeith Stanfield in another role post-Get Out.
  • I would watch a Jared Kushner musical.
  • A visually beautiful article about the production of roses for Chanel No. 5. Via my Mom. (Also, I’ve been to Pegomas just this year!)
  • Am I the only person who’s thought about what I want done with my body when I eventually and inevitably kick the bucket? This natural burial ground in Tennessee is actually closest to what I’ve imagined.  Except god forbid my final resting place be Tennessee.
  • Surprise surprise: A huge MIT study finds that fake news stories are much more likely to spread and go ‘viral’ than real news stories on Twitter. Kind of expected but no less scary for that.
  • Having never been married and having no children of my own, I can’t realistically vouch for any of this advice- but I do like it.
  • The mysteriously adorable allure of maternity overalls.
  • Are intimately subtle, barely there perfumes having a renaissance?
  • Taking down the single versus spoken for binary. “Does the idea that people have to “love” — or simply feel any specific way about being single — give the concept of romantic attachment too much power?”
  • This French food waste law is changing how grocery stores approach excess food.
Advertisements

Do I Have a Signature Scent? (No really, I’m asking)

Despite the best laid plans of mice and men I wasn’t able to post for the past few days (and by wasn’t able I mean I spent too much of my time reading blogs/cutting my own hair/studying for my upcoming tests for which I need to identify over 200 raw materials and some equally outrageous number of fine fragrances by scent). But I’m in France and I can recognize aldehyde chains of 7, 8, 9, and 10 carbons (by smelling, not counting) so really who’s not to say that I’m living my best life?

Maybe the fact that it’s a rainy week and I have no adequately waterproof shoes. But pretty close to my best life.

Switching gears now away from flawed footwear and toward the actual meat of this post which, I apologize, is not in a list form.  More just something i’ve been thinking about.

I remember reading an article sometime between 1 and 7 years ago about the desire for a signature fragrance.  One that really signifies you, reminds you and reassures you of your stable identity in distressing situations and, perhaps most importantly, that other people (significant others, friends, children) will associate with you.

I’m trying to find the article online but am being deluged with all of these guides on how to find your signature scent (I feel like the answer is pretty obvious: smell stuff).
But the article was more than about just desiring a signature fragrance. It was also about the conflict between wanting that one personal element and wanting to appreciate and express yourself with different/multiple fragrances.
Which is why I have kind of thought of signature fragrances for a long time as a perfumista pipe dream/something for the uninitiated and not very into fragrance.  It’s like the person who has one pair of earrings.  Maybe they have reached accessory nirvana but it’s more likely they’re just not that into earrings.

The last time I had a signature scent was early high school and it was some variation of Chanel Chance. I think Eau Tendre, but I also believe I wore the original before after a long and obsessive internal debate over the pros and cons of the original and the Eau Fraiche. Some things (and by some things I mean me) never change.
And then I realized how wide and amazing the world of perfume is, how varied and multifaceted and worth exploring.  The idea of a fragrance kind of went out the window, which I felt a bit regretful about, but also very excited given the way my horizons were expanding. Discovering a new world and removing limitations I had placed on myself.  Deciding to discover more facets of my ‘fragrance personality’- all of the things I loved, appreciated, was fascinated by, and with which I resonated- made more sense than hunting for The One Fragrance that would encapsulate everything that I wanted in a perfume (which would obviously be futile, especially as I became more exposed to all of the things perfume could be and all of the feelings it could give me).

Jump cut to now, maybe seven years later.  I don’t have a signature scent and I don’t have a very well-defined numbers of perfumes that I own (given a low number of full bottles but a pretty impressive number of small decants and samples that I would like to stay in possession of and wear semi-regularly).  The closest I have to a signature scent is Miller Harris’ L’Air de Rien (which I’ve mentioned before, ad infinitum), one of my rare full bottles and the first scent I bought as a perfume enthusiast, following reading reviews and the usage of a sample (the perfumista way (or at least my perfumista way)).  It smells like dust and horses and sweat and leather and cuddle musk and hay and vanilla and patchouli and soft spice.

But I still figured a signature scent was lost to me.  It’s true that in my years of testing literally thousands of fragrances I had reached a hazy understanding of what generally appealed to me and what would not, what I was excited to try and what I could pass on without a second thought.  My buying practices, sampling practices, and ‘wishlist’ practices have reached a kind of contented plateau.  There are a few things I want to own (most of which have been chilling on a want list for years) and want to test, but I feel pretty well sated.  There’s not much new under the sun, as they say.

And I had the feeling until quite recently that my preferences were all over the map.  And I tried not to read that as a sign of mental breakdown/multiple personalities/a not fully integrated personhood.

That’s one of the (relatively minor) things that being in this program has made me reevaluate.  Wannabe-perfumer conversation is obviously a bit different than the conversation of any other group of people. You could say that about any group with a shared and strong passion.  We play games where we pick a raw material to encompass a classmate’s personality.  We talk about our favorite scents. Things that we would like to mix.  We analyze one another’s personal scents.  Victor smells like frankincense and weed (which would have made for a really different but potentially more interesting nativity scene, when you think about it).  We read into each other in some kind of eerie but often quite eye-opening ways.

And so basically when I was told that I’m a vanilla-amber-patchouli-animalic girl it was kind of self-revelatory.  I’ve joked before about the disproportionate real estate amber perfumes hold in my fragrance library.  And I’ve personally avowed before that all I really want is to smell like small furry animals.

When Luis smells Musc Ravageur by Frederic Malle (amber, musk, patchouli, clovey-spice) and tells me it reminds him of me, I smile and say “Yeah, I love that and I wear Meharees by L’Erbolario, which is pretty similar”.

So I guess that takeaway here is that having a signature fragrance doesn’t necessarily have to mean one scent from one brand that you stick to for all the years of your life. Maybe it can be something a bit more fluid- shared patterns, shared notes, shared architecture in the fragrance construction. Maybe some brands do better for you than others.  Maybe some perfumers are your go to guys/girls.
Maybe your perfume collection can be more like a tapestry woven by the shared threads of your favorites.

That said.

The animal-musky-vanillic-amber family is really best suited to the colder months and climes.  I may need a reevaluation come summer.

 

Pre-Perfumista Fragrances

(Don’t Laught at Me)

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that one of my passions is for perfume.  To the extent that I hope to follow a career in flavor and fragrance chemistry.  This really got triggered sometime around 8th or 9th grade, when I bought what I think of as my first ‘perfumista’ fragrance- L’Air de Rien, by Miller Harris.  L’Air de Rien isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, as it combines musk, patchouli, vanilla, oaks, and orange blossom to get a scent that ultimately feels very sexy and ‘lived in’ (or like a cupcake in a stable, if you’re my mum).
Apparently in 2006, Jane Birkin commissioned Miller Harris to create a perfume smelling “a little of my brother’s hair, my father’s pipe, floor polish, empty chest of drawers, old forgotten houses.”
I’ve never smelled Jane Birkin’s brother’s hair, but I think MH was pretty much on target.
And then my interest in perfume really kicked into high gear in 10th grade, when I started swapping samples.

So that’s the not very necessary backstory, which was really more just an excuse to reminisce over the start of my long-enduring marriage to L’Air de Rien (sorry!).  But even if that’s really what I think of as the event that initiated me into perfumista-hood, that doesn’t mean I never wore perfume before hand. Because I did. And I’m not too proud to remember. Continue reading “Pre-Perfumista Fragrances”

To Smell Like Chanel

o-48065

When I was a wee lass I counted various iterations of Chanel’s Chance to be my signature fragrance.  I don’t know that I ever wore the original Chanel Chance, but I’m pretty sure I wore a bottle of the Eau Fraiche before switching to Eau Tendre when it was released and sticking with it for another bottle or two.
And by wee lass I mean middle school me: me pre-perfume obsession.  At some point, I don’t remember exactly how it happened, I lost interest in the Chances, which felt too easy, too impersonal a choice, and just not reflective of who I was any longer.  And so one by one I started bringing other perfumes into my life, ones that resonated more deeply with me and that I appreciated almost artistically. And some of those were also made by Chanel. 🙂

Fast forward a couple of years: Today I decided I wanted to wear Chanel’s 31 Rue Cambon, so I fished out my little sample vial (I consider myself to ‘own’ a lot of scents I only have samples of, simply because when you reach a certain number of fragrances you don’t need a large volume of any one to keep you satisfied.)  Anyway. Imagine my dismay when I pulled it out and saw that it was very much on the edge of empty.  Well, another perfume to go on my small sample/decant wish list.  But for now I’m wearing Guerlain’s Shalimar, which isn’t at all similar but has a nice anti-rain warm and toasty vibration.  Like I have a cozy vanilla-civet aura that evaporates the cold drizzle.

 

But I want to talk about my favorite fragrances from the Chanel line- now that I’m thinking about them and the notes, rather than sniffing an ad that smells as much of magazine paper and scent sample. 😉 Continue reading “To Smell Like Chanel”

Lions and Tigers and… March?

d2e0652ffdec6b16112b564dab040505

What happened, it’s March? You know how last time I did a list post it was February and I used my new desktop background as the graphic? Same thing this month, I have these fierce kitties tiled and every time I open my computer it’s like a little feline firework.

What’s going on in my life? My Music History midterm went pretty excellently and I’m going home this weekend to check on and take care of my parents… since Dad just got his leg amputated and Mom’s coming down with a sick. And I’m bringing snacks and my indefatigable self.

So links! Continue reading “Lions and Tigers and… March?”

Oscars Red Carpet ’17: The Men

Okay, let’s just get the best-dressed, all-around star of the Red Carpet out of the way first.
89th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
Objectively the best, agreed? He’s actually showing up a few (many) of the grown men. His grooming is definitely far beyond Casey Affleck’s.  The tux is on point, the shoes are super cool, and his personality is glowing out.  Sunny Pawer is my favorite.

I’m starting with the Men’s Red Carpet because its the most boring.  The Oscars seem to inspire people to play it safe because it’s such an important night in the world of Hollywood so people are so worried to make missteps.
Witness Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield, John Legend, Lucas Hedges, Viggo Mortensen, and the boys to men of Moonlight.  All of them look pretty flawless but they could all switch suits in the bathroom and I would be none the wiser.  Hell, maybe they did. 😛 Continue reading “Oscars Red Carpet ’17: The Men”

The Perfect Polish

Sometimes I try to expand my nail polish repertoire, but my preferences when it comes to le vernis are so boring classic that more outlandish or exciting or surprising shades never get much use at all and I find myself back to appreciating my trusty little wardrobe of basics even more.

 

8076374c7714bd8b0f55e7f4e51718d3 Continue reading “The Perfect Polish”