Links 6/4

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Due to a weekend-trip hiatus (NYC was great, thanks), this links post is a bit later than usual.  Coincidentally, many of these links seem to have a bit of an LGBTQ theme.
Happy Pride!

Let’s get the smell stuff out of the way first:

  • Auklets are a bird species in which males demonstrate fitness not only by very fancy and sexy crests, but seemingly also by emitting a strong tangerine scent, research finds.
  • Study finds that activation of a certain smell receptor speeds the progression of prostate cancer, suggesting new treatment methods via blocking of the receptor.
  • Department stores reevaluate traditional beauty and fragrance marketing techniques as the beauty industry changes.

All the feels:

Film thoughts:

Current events:

Odds and Ends:

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My Book Wishlist on Amazon

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It was a long time ago that my default Amazon wish list was renamed ‘Book Wish List’ and colonized by- you guessed it- books.
But not just any books- the books that my library doesn’t carry.  I’m aware that I pretty frequently sings the praises of the Boston Public Library conglomerate/system, which allows you to check out any book in the Greater Boston area and have it shipped to your local library.  But that doesn’t mean they have every book I have ever wanted to read. Almost, but not quite.

I don’t usually buy books. I also don’t usually shop on Amazon anymore (given that they still advertise on Breitbart and I find it problematic). But Mom (who originated this politically-minded ethic) recently told me that we have a fair number of Amazon points. So maybe I’ll make an exception for some new used books around my birthday time…

And that inspired a visit to my list, and then, as per my usual compulsions, some much needed pruning.  The oldest book had been added to the list two years ago.  Which isn’t too bad, but still almost 1/10th of my life.  So some stuff was eliminated and some had been acquired by the library (!).

Here’s what remains:

  • Mad About the House: A Decorating Handbook
    It hasn’t been published yet, so finding it used on Amazon is not an option, as of now.
  • Paris in Stride: An Insider’s Walking Guide
    I recently started following this illustrator on Instagram and am always on the lookout for Paris recs.
  • Home Sweet Maison: The French Art of Making a Home
  • Parisian Chic Lookbook: What Should I Wear Today?
    I enjoyed the original Parisian Chic by Ines de la Fressange. I’ve heard that this one isn’t nearly as good, but I’m still interested.
  • My Little Paris
    I subscribe to the My Little Paris newsletter via email. They share lots of fun news about the city and favorite locations.
  • Une Femme Francaise: The Seductive Style of French Women
    Clearly books about Paris, style, and the intersection of the two are one of my pets.
  • Don’t Be a Tourist in Paris: the Messy Nessy Chic Guide
  • The New Paris
  • Impressions of Paris: An Artist’s Sketchbook
  • Am I There Yet?: The Loop-de-loop, Zigzagging Journey to Adulthood
    Mari Andrew, whose illustrations I sometimes share in links posts, published a book!
  • Yours Always: Letters of Longing
  • The Book Lovers’ Miscellany
  • The Milk of Dreams
    Children’s stories by an excellent surrealist author.
  • How to Break Up with Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life
  • The She-Devils
    So hard finding this one in English (Les Diaboliques in French).
  • Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman
    Stefan Zweig.
  • The Story Cure: An A-Z of Books to Keep Kids Happy, Healthy and Wise
    I liked The Novel Cure, and as a big fan of children’s literature I feel like this one seems pretty promising.
  • How to Live Like Your Cat
  • What Flowers say: And Other Stories
    George Sand short stories.
  • Book of My Mother
  • A Book of Book Lists: A Bibliophile’s Compendium
  • The Book of Forgotten Authors
  • The Joy of the Snow
    Elizabeth Goudge, noted children’s author.
  • Gio_Graphy: Fun in the World of Fashion
  • The Place to Be
    The best destinations for different moods, according to Lonely Planet.
  • Dress Scandinavian
  • I’d Rather be Reading: A Library of Art for Book Lovers
  • The Art of Discarding: How to Get Rid of Clutter and Find Joy
    The original KonMari method.
  • Siddhartha’s Brain: Unlocking the Ancient Science of Enlightenment
    Buddhism and neuroscience- pretty up my alley.
  • Tryst
    A mid-20th century ghost story like The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.  hard to find.
  • Ladurée Savoir Vivre: The Art of Fine Living
  • Quiet Houses
    Intertwining yet distinct ghost stories.
  • A Child Again
    Robert Coover cynically and nostalgically retells childhood fables and tales.
  • The Name Therapist: How Growing Up with My Odd Name Taught Me Everything You Need to Know about Yours
  • The Diary of Lady Murasaki
  • The Library
    Zoran Zivkovic is an excellent name.
  • The Blood of the Vampire
    Like Dracula, one of the original Gothic vampire novels. Also check out Sheridan’s Carmella.
  • Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances

It’s kind of funny because the books tend to fall on one of two extremes.  the library doesn’t carry them because they’re more obscure, but half are more light/frivolous obscure while the others are foreign/old/scholarly.

Links 4/07

I hope you had a lovely Saturday. I took a forty minute detour to claim a vegan cinnamon roll, visited the Louvre’s special Delacroix exhibition, and ate a pizza (also vegan).
Keep an eye open for an upcoming ‘best vegan pizzas in Paris’ post. The sequel to the Boston edition- we’ve relocated.

So here’s what’s happening on the interwebs, carefully avoiding the trend for snorting condoms.

  • The city of lights from the sky
  • I’m fantasizing less about these outfits and more about the swoon worthy descriptions of spring weather
  • Body glitter is now the only appropriate use for the Kira Kira filter. I am entranced.
  • What happens when you add illustrations to those random snippets of overheard conversations
  • I would stay here– books and beds are the only things I need in life
  • For it to really be Paris he would have an accordion
  • Infernal Affairs and The Departed– for me The Departed wins because Boston, but I have yet to see Infernal Affairs (it’s been on my list SO LONG) so that’s not worth much. It does look excellent, doesn’t it?
  • If you’re a Royal Wedding fan, maybe you want to enter this social media contest to suggest its defining ice cream flavor?
  • The unstoppable rise of veganism, about which I have mixed feelings (more people want to eat my cinnamon bun but more places sell vegan pizza).
  • The benefits of a plant-based diet for health and the environment.
  • Congrats to Yale and congrats to Nathan Chen.
  • An interview with my favorite makeup artist
  • A follow up on the Orientalism inherent in Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, and in the broader world of American cinema (with a very interesting segment on 2015’s Met Gala theme).
    “It’s Japan purely as an aesthetic — and another piece of art that treats the East not as a living, breathing half of the planet but as a mirror for the Western imagination.” And perhaps the only thing that will lead to a more fair, just, and equal portrayal of Asians in cinema and pop culture is the spending power of that huge sector of the world population.
  • Turkish Rondo in finger snaps
  • Molly Ringwald reflects on the problematic legacy of John Hughes movies in the era of #MeToo

Friday Links: 4/1

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I’m weirdly exhausted by life/final exams/the sporadically broken heating system in this  house. But I have a backlog of links and they’re all exciting so there’s no putting them off any longer.

And because it’s a new month, the picture above is my new desktop background. Set to tile, as per usual. People swimming in a sea of stars.

What else? 19 days. So close yet so far.

  • Reviews of Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs. I’m still pumped because I like Wes Anderson (and dogs), but it sounds like there are some pretty ishy us vs them components.  Won’t be seeing it in the theater. Here’s a review from MovieBob and here is a deeper plunge into the problematic nature of the Japanese setting, the estrangement from the Japanese human characters created by the language barrier,  cultural tourism, and the white savior complex.
  • The movies that influenced Call Me By Your Name. Be right back, adding ALL OF THEM to my list. (Except A Room With A View- I honestly didn’t love that).
  • Other things I’m adding to my film list? These twisted fairy tales (from female directors).
  • A trailer for The House With a Clock in it’s Walls– speaking of twisted fairy tales. Cate Blanchett! Luscious steam-punk-y visuals! Jack Black doing his character actor thing! Creepy! Childlike! I’m kind of tentatively intrigued. Post-Jumanji, is Jack Black due for a resurgence?
  • A discussion of Saoirse Ronan’s costumes for the film Brooklyn, and the deeper meaning behind them. So interesting (and a great film, if you haven’t yet seen it).

Let’s talk about perfume:

  • Five fabulous orange blossom scents, courtesy of Angela at Now Smell This. Of these, the Serge Lutens is my favorite, but I would add Rubj by Vero Profumo to the list if I could. (And on the more gourmand side, Hansa Yellow by DSH and Unknown Pleasures by Kerosene).
  • Carlos Benaim (love) and Frederic Malle on their new lavender-focused fragrance, Music For a While.
  • Hermes releases a new cologne. Unfortunately I missed the Saut Hermes (a jumping tournament at the Grand Palais), but here’s a photo.
  • If you’re feeling science-y (I always am) here’s a study that shows evidence of significant interactions between perfumes and individual body odor.  The takeaway: “The odor mixture of an individual’s body odor and their preferred perfume was perceived as more pleasant than a blend of the same body odor with a randomly-allocated perfume, even when there was no difference in pleasantness between the perfumes. This indicates […] that people choose perfumes that interact well with their own odor. Our results provide an explanation for the highly individual nature of perfume choice.” So cool.

Fashion and celebrity people:

  • Lena Waithe is amazing and I love her style and attitude.
  • Bill Cunningham’s secret memoir. When can I read it?
  • I know I’m late, but in honor of spring (and Easter) some floral looks from Moschino’s S/S 2018 RTW collection: and 2.

Relationships?

  • The maternal grandparent advantage. Rings true for my family (although that also has something to do with geographic proximity). And congratulations Mom and Dad, you are likely to be more involved with my future children than my future parents in law!
  • Your friendship Myers-Briggs. As an INFJ, apparently I’m a bandaid and I’ll take it.
  • For work relationships. I’m living vicariously through the drama of this twitter thread.
  • In old age, shoplifting to find community. Heartbreaking.

Books and other tidbits

  • I saw this adorable kid’s maze book at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris. It reminds me of an immense Sesame Street board book I once had. But rather more portable.
  • Mari Andrew’s book is out! Love her illustrations and down to earth wisdom.
  • Another reason to go home for the summer? Archery tag.
  • A French waiter in Canada says firing for rudeness is discrimination against his culture. He’s not wrong.
  • If you’re not a fan of the lack of privacy re: data and personal info online, console yourself with the fact that if you ever disappear in a national park, amateurs can keep looking for you for decades. But it’s actually a very interesting, well-written article.

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My Weekend and Potential Future Blog Plans

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The most significant piece of news is that there is currently no heat in my house.  Let’s just say it’s not the most ideal of circumstances.
However, with the help of twice as many blankets, two sweaters, and a hot water bottle I spent an adequately comfortable night.  My landlords predict that they will have someone in to fix the heat on Friday morning. Or maybe it was Monday- I may have misunderstood the French.  Suffice it to say, I’m hoping for Monday.

The second most significant piece of news is that it’s 26 days until my flight back to Boston- WOOOO!

And how am I spending the interim, besides being unreasonably cold?

Yesterday:

  • I revisited the Petit Palais for the new exhibition, Les Hollandais a Paris.  It was absolutely gorgeous, well set-up, and interesting. Highly recommend if you’re in Paris.  My only regret is not having waited to see the pastel exhibition until now so I could have gotten the joint ticket and saved a few euros.
    The exhibit is a collection of the work of Dutch artists who have studied and worked in Paris, showcased along with the work of their friends and contemporaries.  It’s arranged chronologically and really demonstrates how artists inspire one another, fads for different subject matter come and go, and styles change over time.  Covering the period from 1789 (French Revolution) to 1914 (WWI), you get to see the procession from very detailed and lifelike floral still lives to realistic landscapes to impressionism to gritty realism to fauvism to cubism and cubist-inspired pieces.  Unfortunately pictures weren’t allowed but I wrote down the names of my favorite works for future reference.
  • Post Petit Palais I went to lunch at Happiz, a completely vegetarian pizza restaurant (with vegan options, including vegan cheese) located in Les Sablons.  I did a build-your-own-pizza thing (the large was 12 euros, a steal for everything I’ve ever wanted in a vegan pizza- vegan mozzarella, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and vegan chorizo). They also offer gluten free pizzas.  It was an absolute mess (my pizza did try valiantly to stand up to the heaps of toppings I ordered, but did cave under the pressure a few times) but the restaurant (a pretty small place) was quiet when I got there around 2 pm, very casual and very welcoming and personal.
    I’m pondering the right way to post about my favorite restaurants (vegan of course) in Paris, and whether it’s better to do a big lump post (which would probably be overwhelming for both you and me) or to divide it into manageable ‘types of cuisines’ bite -sized chunks (pardon the pun)- like best lunch sandwich places, best pizza places, etc.  And how to handle the places I haven’t gone yet?
  • After pizza, I rounded out my day with yet another activity beginning with the letter P- protest (the theme was unintentional, I assure you).  I visited the March for Our Lives protest, Paris edition, in the Place du Trocadero, just across the river from the Tour Eiffel.  Lots of Americans and lots of French who feel strongly about kids being shot up at institutions of learning. Can’t understand it.
    It was a great way to feel connected to America.  I’ve followed politics fairly closely but it’s hard not to feel pretty impotent from here.
  • My second to last stop was Citypharma, maybe the most famous (and most crowded) pharmacy in Paris. They have pretty much everything (but were unfortunately out of the Sensibiafine baume visage that I was looking for).  I’ll just have to stop back another weekend.
  • Lastly, I swung by another eatery called Brasserie 2eme Art to check out their menu, which isn’t available online.  It’s a bit expensive for me (pretty much everything is still under 20 euros, but a fair amount is over 13, which is my arbitrary cut off).  Still, it looks like there could be some more great vegan pizza there- so maybe that will be in my pizza round up.  Except lord knows I’m more interested in getting the banana split. 😉

Today, Sunday, is a grocery shopping and cooking day, and I also need to do some studying as we have two exams this week. Unfortunately that’s very difficult when your hands are freezing.  Whatever- it’s all bout doing your best, isn’t it?

In terms of future blog plans- not now, but over the summer, I’m considering doing themed weeks to organize my thoughts more around what content I want to be posting.  possible topics include nostalgia, food, films, reading material, perfume, etc.

Grasse is Always Greener

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I think the real hallmark of a good pun is when you feel secondhand embarrassment for the person making it.

Today I’m taking a trip in the way way back machine to the three day field trip (+bonus weekend) my class took to Grasse back in February.  Since coming back we’ve had many tests and a two week break, which will maybe explain why I’m only getting to the Grasse lowdown now.

For those who don’t know, Grasse is a region of the South of France instrumental to both the development of the perfume industry and the production of many raw materials today.  IFF, which sponsors my training program, has one of its LMR centers there, which coordinates the production of high quality natural raw materials around the world (including in Grasse).  We’ve smelled many of these materials as part of our course.  Granted, because it was February, there was very little in bloom and not much ready to be harvested- except the mountains and mountains of mimosa, which was absolutely spectacular and perhaps the pivotal experience of our visit.  Not to mention that the city was beautiful, we were lucky with weather, and it wasn’t snowing like it was in Paris and Versailles.  Plus meals were included.

On Day One, we took taxis from our school in Versailles to the Orly airport.  There was a little singing on the ride and some playing of Contact, a game I’m pretty fond of.  Of course, because it was snowing, our flight was delayed by maybe an hour, but it wasn’t too late when we got into Nice airport and I slept on the flight anyway.  We then took a hired bus to our hotel in Grasse, Hotel le Patti, and promptly collapsed in our shared rooms.

Breakfast at the hotel was provided and opened at 6, which was excellent for me because I always wake up too early, even if the breakfast wasn’t too exciting (or at all vegan friendly).  That day we visited the LMR facilities and listened to a talk about their purpose and practice.  We split into two groups for a tour of the factory and the smelling of some raw materials.  Lunch was brought in for us.  Though we had been asked about our dietary requirements (and I identified myself as vegan/vegetarian), the choices were fish and chicken.  Which caused me to have a bit of a hunger panic attack.  After more smelling we left LMR and were left with a free evening.  Somehow (everyone accepted my suggestion based on frantic vegan research) we all ended up at a little Vietnamese restaurant, which was great fun.  Then groups of us splintered off for exploring.

The next day was my favorite.  After another early wake up and early breakfast, I took about an hour to wander around the city of Grasse on my own, which was absolutely beautiful.  I love discovering new cities.  When it was time to leave, we departed for the mimosa harvests.  We visited a small shelter that was housing already harvested mimosa and took an hour’s break for a photoshoot, wine, and nuts.  I may have stolen a lot of leftover cashews.  I may not yet have finished them.  The bus then took us on a tour through the mountains and Tanneron, the mimosa city.  the whole place was covered with blooming yellow puff bubbles.  Lunch was a fiasco similar to that the day before.  This restaurant did make me a special vegetarian meal- unfortunately it was fish.  Struggles.  I had a lot of table bread. After lunch we visited the LMR experimental field to see what was growing and being worked on.  It was definitely not the season for it, but I imagine in later spring and summer it must be very interesting.  We returned to the hotel and once again converged on the same place for dinner (once again a place I had suggested- Achiana, a fantastic Indian restaurant that I very much recommend if you’re ever in the area).  But there was a bit of a SNAFU in the form of a very dramatic house fire that almost entirely blocked the path.  It was an amazing and terrible sight.  After dinner we frolicked in the city and got up to mischief.

Friday was our last day, and the most rushed.  I followed my pattern of the day before of an early breakfast followed by a walk around Grasse.  By the time we left I was starting to get familiar with the area- the city center is pretty small, but very varied in elevation.  We visited the Perfume Museum in Grasse, which was pretty cool but very rushed.  Highlights included a mummy hand, a mummy foot, a toilette case that had belonged to Marie Antoinette, many gorgeous old bottles, and a visit to the greenhouse where we were shown labdanum, among other things, which I was later able to identify when I visited my grandparents in Spain over vacation.  We were given free time for lunch and splintered off in smaller groups for the first time.  I was with a group that had a very splapdash meal at Achiana- because we couldn’t leave Grasse without going back!  But of course we didn’t have time to finish. Thankfully I got to carry some food out to eat later.  We visited the museums gardens after lunch, which were somewhere between Grasse and the Nice airport.  Again, February was certainly not their peak season, but there were a few interesting things to see.

Many of us had decided to stay in Nice for the weekend and made our way to our respective abodes after being dropped off at the airport.  Because I don’t have any notes or a schedule from the weekend, I’ll just rattle off some memorable moments- walking high up to view the city, seeing a beach for the first time in forever, riding the ferris wheel (it was Luis’s first time!), waking up to see the sunrise over the water, and just generally exploring the city.  I have to admit, Nice isn’t really my cup of tea.  My classmate George says it reminds him of Florida, his home state, and that’s pretty accurate to me.

Museum Hopping in Paris: Last Weekend

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I’m still way behind on my actual life (as exemplified by the fact that I’m writing about Paris museums while sitting in my grandparents’ breakfast nook in Spain…). I have yet to write  post about what I did during my class trip to Grasse, but I truly and sincerely believe that it will someday be written and public.

In the meantime, I’ve really enjoyed my ‘new tradition’ of checking out the lesser known Paris museums on the weekends- and finding some real hidden gems.

Here’s what happened this most recent weekend- because my flight to Spain was only yesterday.

  • Musee Marmottan Monet: Absolutely adored this museum. It’s a bit out of the way but chock full of beautiful pieces by Monet and Morisot. I’m a bit biased because I’m already a huge impressionism fan, but standing and absorbing some of the basement rooms with the hugest Monet waterlily paintings actually gave me tingles.
  • Maison de Balzac: I visited Balzac’s house too! It’s out of the way in the same out of the way that Marmottan Monet is, so they made the perfect joint Saturday excursion.  I haven’t read a ton of Balzac (Eugenie Grandet, Pere Goriot, and Cousin Bette) but what I have read I really enjoyed.  The garden is lovely and has a great view of the Eiffel tower.  Inside there are some busts of Balzac done by Rodin, but my favorite room would have to be the one with all of the character sketches. There are tons of etchings done that were used to print illustrations and I looked at them for maybe an hour. It was fun to recognize characters I had read about (Vautrin was a standout), but even the unknowns were so full of character and individuality. Bonus: the museum is free.
  • On Sunday I went to the Catacombs. Dad and I had tried to go when we visited Paris two summers ago and bailed out because of the long line. Thankfully Sunday was pretty blue-skied and sunny, so I went with the intention and understanding that I would have a long line wait to reflect and meditate on my life. I even packed some study materials. That worked for about an hour and a half of queued up equanimity and then I started getting cold and lost feeling in my feet.  The last hour was a bit of a doozy (for a total of about 2.5 hours in line). The upside: the catacombs are pretty cool and the report I did on the Paris underground junior year of college gave me some fun insight.  I wouldn’t go again because there are only so many bones you can look at, and I’m not sure if it was worth the long wait, even i hindsight. But I do think satisfying my curiosity and checking it off my list was worthwhile.  It’s a very French thing, there are stone placards with meaningful and poetic bits of Latin and French text which I had fun reading and translating to myself. There are a whole lot of femurs and skulls take second place. Frequently they’re artfully arranged (there was a heart and a cross and a pillar in there, I remember).  Still, with the exception of a few sacra, I do wonder where the other bones went. Also, has it ever occurred to anyone that old femurs look rather like cinnamon bark?

So that was my weekend, briefly summarized as art, literature, and bones.