If I Could Have Only 10 Perfumes…

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My collection has never been very large (at least by the standards of most perfume lovers) but I still have a lot of trouble playing the ‘pick only ten perfumes’ game- a favorite masochistic mental exercise of the fragrance community.
The game is presented in different forms- 10 perfumes for a deserted island, 10 perfumes to save from your burning house, 10 perfumes to wear exclusively for the rest of your life.

Anyone who collects has an idea why this is so difficult- and it’s really tempting to turn to logical shortcuts to make the list-making easier.  Which of my perfumes are the most expensive? The most irreplaceable? Which ones do I own in rare vintages? Which are discontinued and gone?

I went through my collection a few days ago with the goal of culling the perfumes that no longer *sparked joy* when I held them (Thanks Marie Kondo). And I came out with only a 5 mL decant of Montale’s Patchouli Leaves ready to be let go of (it’s a cruder, more brutish version of Chanel’s Coromandel, which I prefer- but both are excellent chocolate patchoulis, with the Montale feeling more resinous).  Even if I didn’t make significant inroads into diminishing my perfume collection, I reconfirmed for myself my love of and attachment to what I do have. Continue reading “If I Could Have Only 10 Perfumes…”

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Kenzo x H&M

The launch of Kenzo’s collection with H&M happened today and already the H&M website has crashed and burned, bitten the dust, and kicked the bucket.

I never pay much attention to these collaborations- they’re fun to look at but tend to be overpriced (considering the quality of the clothes) and impossible to find unless you’re willing to go through the frustration of being in the first rush.  Or buying off an eBay super seller.  So as with Lanvin’s and Marni’s collections, I’m happy to look at the pretty but realistically- I’ll be smiling at the website crash. Such schadenfreude. Continue reading “Kenzo x H&M”

Plants of the White Mountains

Weirdly, I’m feeling homesick for the White Mountains.  It’s not an autumn thing- we always used to go in late spring, around Dad’s (and, incidentally, Patrick Henry’s) birthday.  We haven’t been in years.

In fact, I think the last time we went was in the winter.  We’ve been a few times in the winter too.  It’s better for skiing and snowshoeing- I used to be a pretty good skier.  And the first year we went I think it was around Autumn times.  In any event, it was cold enough that I was able to feel my metabolic processes shut down when I jumped into Lonesome Lake like an idiot.  I also lived on Hershey bars that trip. Continue reading “Plants of the White Mountains”

More Fashion Documentaries

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One of my posts recently was the fiftieth List Mimsy post, so that was exciting.  And I think keeping up with it amidst the cyclone that is college is going pretty well.  And also I’ve had time to watch movies (sort of) which is why I can still write posts like this.

Basically, I had wanted to write that list of my favorite fashion documentaries and then I stumbled on a whole lot more of them that had been released since my first favorites were amassed.  Clearly it was time to hold some new auditions.

So what is this second cream? Continue reading “More Fashion Documentaries”

Psych Up Music

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I don’t write enough posts about music- I think because I cycle through music fairly quickly- songs are short whereas books and movies are rather long, more of a time commitment.  And my fashion and perfume debates last a pretty long time.

But there’s this ‘genre’ of music that will never stop being incredibly useful to me (and maybe to many of you too). This is the psych-up song.  The one you listen to before a rough final exam.  Before going into battle.  Before your speech at the Democratic Convention (yes, Obama and Eminem did partially inspire this post).  I also have  habit of watching a favorite inspirational speech medley before big-deal things. It’s become quite the long-standing tradition.  But music still does the trick better than most anything else. For the speeches, the visual component feels necessary.  For music, the audio is the complete point. Continue reading “Psych Up Music”

My Favorite Authors: An Added Addendum

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Let’s wrap this one up!  I have something like eight authors to go through on this round (and eight is my favorite number) so let’s get started.

Shirley Jackson:
Namely, her hazy and suspenseful fiction.  You may have read The Lottery, an excellent short story.  You may have been introduced to her, as I was, through We Have Always Lived in the Castle.  There’s a cat in that one.  And a character named Connie (more people should be named Connie).  Funnily enough, a friend who actually asks for and heeds my book recommendations tells me that the Connie in this book reminds him a lot of me. And I’m flattered- which says something about the character but possibly more about me because (spoiler) she’s quite possibly poisoned her family.  Also a girl whose nickname is Merricat, which is kind of freaking awesome.  The Haunting of Hillhouse is also really really good.  And the movie is good but diverges from the book regarding some important plot/character developments- but both are enjoyable and gorgeously atmospheric.  I have to admit that I like her nonfiction less (Raising Demons and Life Among the Savages are about her family life and I think her husband and children sound impossible to live with (and she does too, tbh)) (But also I’m a misanthrope so maybe don’t take my word for it?)  If you’ve disentangled my convoluted parentheses, points to you! Continue reading “My Favorite Authors: An Added Addendum”

My Favorite Authors: The Playwrights

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Alright, playwrights; come on down!

Also I’m home this weekend and it’s f’ing awesome (do I not want to swear because I’m in the sanctity of my parents’ kitchen?- Probably not because I swear all the time here too).  But I’m typing this in fuzzy pajamas at the kitchen counter: As I said, f’ing awesome.

So hey, playwrights! Also I finished Play It As It Lays (Hi Joan Didion) on the train yesterday (I kind of accidentally sneaked onto an Acela, but that’s a story for another time) and it was a soul-flattening look at the empty abyss. Good stuff. Probably going to need to read a Cliffnotes summary today so I can order my feelings around someone else’s cut-and-dried academic structure.

PLAYWRIGHTS!
Okay, back on track.  A disclaimer: I really considered including Henrik Ibsen. I really like Henrik Ibsen.  But I fell out of love with him a few years ago and haven’t read anything of his since Peer Gynt (that was weird).  But maybe he’ll join us in the upper echelons of my love someday.  And Eugene O’Neill. I’ve only read Long Day’s Journey into Night.  Gorgeous and sinister.  Do read Eugene O’Neill, even if he’s not on my list yet (because I know you’re just waiting for my recommendation, hahaha).  I also need to read more Moliere. And Racine.  But I like novels better than plays, so who knows when that will happen. I’ve also read a fair amount of Euripides in my life (I don’t know why). They’re pretty good, but not my favorites.
But who is?

  1. Tennessee Williams
    Someday I will have read all of Tennessee Williams’ oeuvre and I’ll have nothing left to live for (except maybe Eugene O’Neill).  Almost every single one of these plays is deeply affecting, interesting, and beautifully crafted.  The Glass Menagerie, *A Streetcar Named Desire, *Suddenly Last Summer, *Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Rose Tattoo, Clothes for a Summer Hotel. Loved all of them. Except Camino Real. I couldn’t read Camino Real.  Bonus: a lot of these plays were made into equally amazing movies around the 1950s.  I put an asterisk next to ones with excellent movie versions (that I’ve seen, anyway).
  2. Peter Shaffer
    First, I didn’t know that Peter Shaffer had died this year until I stated writing this. May a great writer rest in peace.  Don’t recognize the name?  He wrote Amadeus (speaking of plays with astonishing movie adaptations).  He also wrote Equus, which became famous as the play that Daniel Radcliffe/Harry Potter stripped naked for.  Yeah, that’s not why I like it. It has horses in it.  Who needs naked Daniel Radcliffe when you have horses.  I haven’t read Shaffer’s other works (yet) (there aren’t many), but both of these really grabbed me.
  3. Arthur Miller
    So I’ve only read The Crucible and Death of a Salesman.  And I’ll start with Death of a Salesman because I have so much to say about The Crucible.  Death of a Salesman has one of my favorite lines: “Life is your oyster, but you’re not going to crack it open on a mattress.”
    The Crucible is one of the most gorgeous things that I’ve ever read and perhaps that has ever been written.  It’s one of those pieces that makes you want to become the devil incarnate (No? Just me?).  Abigail is one of the most interesting and badass women in literature.  The Salem Witch Trials are a fascinating topic, even when fictional (Hi ParaNorman)- and not only to those of us born and raised in New England.  They performed The Crucible at my high school (before I was in high school) but because my Dad was a teacher we went to see it.  I remember it being very well done, riveting even.  The book is like that too. And my memory is that the movie version, with Winona Ryder as Abigail, is fairly good.
  4. Shakespeare
    Very unoriginal, but I’m a fan.  Without getting into whether he wrote the plays or who he was or whatnot…  My favorite is Midsummer Night’s Dream.  It was the first one I read, I think the summer after fifth grade.  Dad and I read it together. I remember being on vacation, he smashed a mosquito with the book (No Fear, Shakespeare- we were reading one side and discussing the meanings) and there was a smudge on it forever after.  It’s funny, but I guess I’ll remember that mosquito forever. I wonder if he would be pleased to know that he was murdered with Shakespeare rather than Twilight or People Magazine or something.  Anyway, Shakespeare is prolific- there’s something for everyone, whether you like romance, tragedy, comedy, war stories, history, what have you.  Just try to erase from your mind all of those times you had to do class readings in high school English. (Now let me shout a few titles: OTHELLO! HAMLET! THE SCOTTISH PLAY (superstitious?)! THE TEMPEST! AS YOU LIKE IT! ROMEO AND JULIET! MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING! THE TAMING OF THE SHREW! KING LEAR!)