United States of Summer

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Perhaps the summer theme is not over- the season certainly isn’t.  In fact, if anything, I would say that we’re only just entering on high summer.  That’s what my garden says, and the weather, the heat, the downpours and lightning.

Perhaps resuming from a spot near where I left off is the best way to pretend that I didn’t take a short break from posting somewhere in the middle.  By way of an explanation but not by way of an apology, HA! I was in the middle of nowhere, backwoods, hinterland Pennsylvania.  Where I’ve gone every summer around the 4th of July for as long as I can remember (and in utero, though less memorably).

As I’ve become an ‘adult’/a more physically developed child with more responsibilities, I’ve had to leave a lot of the places that I traditionally visited in the summer by the wayside, to clear room for working (and novel trips abroad, which my family is, for myriad reasons, in a better place to take now than when I was younger.
Despite seeing Venice last summer and the prospect of visiting Paris for the first time only a few short weeks away, I miss these familiar destinations and their imperturbable permanence in the face of the passing years. Continue reading “United States of Summer”

Decants and Minis (Part Three)

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Part 3/3! The final leg of the journey through my decant collection is dedicated to warmer weather scents.  But because I’m mostly a fan of heavier notes (incense, amber, animal whiffs- I even prefer my flowers robust and rubenesque), this is a grouping sort of patched and cobbled together of warm weather outliers.  I try hard to find a connecting theme and I can’t quite do it, other than that they all feel like me and make me happy.  Which is, I suppose, all that matters. Continue reading “Decants and Minis (Part Three)”

Decants and Minis (Part Two)

Day Two of my armory of decants, during which we roll out the big guns.  Well, not exactly… I don’t have many cannons, but I do have ‘bigger guns’ than the tiny ladylike pearl-handled revolvers handled yesterday.  No disrespect to Chanel and Dior; sometimes a dainty pearl-handled revolver is just the thing one needs to complete the mood.
Well, that was a tangent. And a tangent that shouldn’t be read as an assertion of the feminine nature of yesterday’s fragrances. Men can carry off dainty pearl-handled revolvers just as well. Handsomely.

And the latter two scents discussed in Part One are more in line with today’s offerings, which include my Amouages, among other things. Continue reading “Decants and Minis (Part Two)”

Decants and Minis (Part One)

When I was talking about my full bottle perfume wardrobe (God, isn’t that such a lovely phrase?) I believe I made it clear that my preference these days is decidedly for purchasing decants or relatively small mL volumes of the perfumes I want to have on hand.
I’ve too many fragrances at this point to wear any single perfume with any great regularity and I don’t want to fall into the trap of having a volume of perfume beyond my life expectancy…
Add to that that decants are more easily storable and travel well, and it’s a bit of a no-brainer. I make exceptions for vintages and limited editions, where the possibility of replenishing one’s stash is slimmer.

Part One of my decant list contains my choices from the Dior and Chanel private collections, both of which I find to be consistently well done.  And no, I have not tried the entirety of both lines (and there are scents from both that I want but have not yet acquired- stories for another day). Continue reading “Decants and Minis (Part One)”

Top Books of the Month

It has been four weeks minus a day since I got home from my junior year of college (!) which means it’s been exactly four weeks since the most dehumanizing test of my life (Physical Chemistry II, anybody?)
Here, a list of the best of the books I’ve read since my triumphant return.  Spoiler warnings.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers: I love Carson McCullers, if I post an addendum to my list of favorite authors, she will be on it.  My Mom has been recommending this book to me for a long time and I’m very glad that I finally heeded her always-sage advice.  The Heart is a shaking book. And my Mom lied to me. I asked if Mr. Singer would be okay in the end and she assured me that he would be. Of course if you’ve read this novel you know that Mr. Singer shoots himself.  It’s a book that explores the deep loneliness, searching, and successive disillusionments that is human life. The failure to understand the people around us, the pain of not being understood. Continue reading “Top Books of the Month”

Familiar Film Faces

For a person of 20-going-on-21, this list is… um…. a bit embarrassing.
I like old movies (classics, please) just as my literature preferences lean more toward the 19th century.

Naturally, my favorite actors and actresses are similarly timeless/currently deceased.  Mostly.
And my favorite actors are not necessarily the ‘best’ actors, but rather the people I am always happy to see on the screen.  Just as when a book is written by my favorite author I try to read it, if a movie has one of these people in it, I try to watch it.

Jimmy Stewart: I date my film obsession back to when my grandmother showed me Rear Window the summer before my freshman year of high school.  In reality, it had probably been seething beneath the surface before then- but the breathtaking combination of Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly (see below), and director Alfred Hitchcock caused a veritable explosion in my conception of what films could be.  I like Jimmy Stewart for his self-effacing, foot-shuffling charm, whether he’s bringing it to a screwball romantic comedy (Philadelphia Story), a Western (Destry Rides Again), or the quintessential Christmas film (It’s A Wonderful Life). Continue reading “Familiar Film Faces”

FBW

Or my full bottles, and why I cherish them like a dragon cherishes gold. A generous dragon.

For people in and outside the perfume community, the following is a list of the full perfume bottles I own and the feelings they inspire in me.  In perfume community parlance, FBW is an abbreviation for ‘full bottle-worthy’- a perfume that you love enough to invest in 50 mL of at least. No mean feat when you’ve established a healthy collection of beloved scents.  I don’t know that that much of anything is FBW to me anymore- few things are even worthy of 5 mL decants.  Usually I work through my samples and those that I grow attached to become wish list items for future sample or decant purchase. I just don’t see myself needing (or finishing) full bottles now that my collection is so well-rounded and satisfying.  As such, most of the perfumes I have in full bottles are ones that I bought earlier in my perfume career, when the urge to amass was still strong (now I prefer to just rest upon my laurels and an avalanching mountain of samples and decants).  But my bottles and I have long histories (and tender feelings), let me introduce them.

Continue reading “FBW”

A Little R&R

It’s easy enough to think of ways to treat yourself. But for some reason reality is set up so that money and time both need to be taken into consideration and I can’t elect to mosey across the world to Switzerland for a frangipani scalp massage or even take a quick Mediterranean cruise in the hour before my final exam.

One can’t even do what my Dad seems to like (going to a Russian steam bath and sauna to be beaten with oak leaves) on the daily.

So what can one do to coax away the stress? Continue reading “A Little R&R”

My Favorite Authors

What qualifies an author to be counted among my favorites?
I have very high standards, as befits such a coveted distinction.  You know Orwell is just rolling over in his grave because he’s not on here.

It’s a fairly simple standard actually: if a book is written by one of these authors, I don’t have to worry too much about the risk of disliking it… because I generally won’t.

So in no particular order:

 

Henry James

The first book I read by Henry James was The Portrait of a Lady and it took me so long to begin because the first sentence was so convoluted I was terrified. But it’s an absolutely beautiful book, as are most of his novels and short stories.

Continue reading “My Favorite Authors”