A Blue Box (Repost)

My son is almost entirely well.  I am, of course, very relieved by that.

Today I was looking at photos from just a few months ago and it’s amazing how much he’s changed in that short amount of time.  That cliché about how fast children grow up is true.

My grandmother had the theory that children were more likely to get sick during a growth spurt.  I wonder if she was right.  I haven’t researched it, but I suppose it makes some sense.  Perhaps the immune system is weaker during a growth spurt? In any case, my son does seem to have grown an exponential amount in the last couple of weeks.

Tonight we actually had the chance to enjoy our new place.  I tuned my Pandora to the Cole Porter Station and my husband and son danced around the living room to the likes of Fred Astaire’s, Puttin’ on the Ritz, and Ella Fitzgerald singing, You’re the Top.  An Ikea plate was broken and my son’s shoes had to be put back on at least once.  It was beautiful.

🙂

I really do love almost anything and everything vintage and have since I was a young girl.  I think it started the first time I watched the movie musical, An American in Paris (1951). In my ten years of life I had never watched anything that charming or gorgeous.

In the early 1990’s, my usual entertainment included the Cosby Show, Growing Pains, and Full House, and they were all wholesome enough and presently are considered classics, but they weren’t the glistening, heavenly rainbow that I saw when I watched Gene Kelly dance around Paris looking chic and fantastic to the sound of Gershwin. Even the Disney movies I saw didn’t really compare, in my opinion.  I felt as though I had stumbled into some sort of alternate world where new, brighter colors, glamour and happiness drenched every moment.  I had always unknowingly longed for something this lovely to be real, and there it was, right in front of me on PBS.

I sat, alone in my room, with a tiny TV, mouth hanging open in astonishment, feeling a sense of hope.  It was like waking up from a bad dream. That might sound exaggerated, but it really was a key moment in my life….  I’m abundantly affected by aesthetics.

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I’m in a bit of a scent mystery right now and it involves a totally unmarked vintage blue and silver box, a nameless Mid-Century perfume bottle, and a delightfully balsamic, powdery, lingering fragrance that strongly resembles Guerlain Shalimar.  I don’t recall ever seeing Shalimar in a bottle like this before, but it smells so much like Shalimar.  I wonder if someone actually poured Shalimar into a random perfume bottle…  The bottle was made in France, but of course that doesn’t help/mean anything.

Could it be a vintage impostor fragrance?  It does smell slightly, “cheaper” than Shalimar…   It doesn’t even have the quality of vintage Emeraude really…

In any case, if anyone reading this has any idea what this scent could be, please let me know.  I would deeply appreciate it, because, despite it’s lesser qualities, I still like it..

DSC06469 (2) A Blue and silver box…

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Smells like Shalimar... Smells like Shalimar…
DSC06484 (2) But what is it?!
made in France... made in France…

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Halle Pure Orchid (Repost)

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Halle Pure Orchid (Halle Berry 2010) has a slightly fruity, sweet but very clean opening in a manner almost reminiscent of White Linen.  As it progresses, notes of star anise, blackberry and orchid become much more noticeable.  And a quiet papaya gently introduces itself.  The drydown is somewhat modest with definite tonka bean and patchouli and actually reminds me a bit of  Ex’cla-ma’tion (another Coty fragrance).  Overall, it’s a happy, pretty, and fairly sweet fruity floral.

Top notes: Amalfi lemon, cactus and papaya.  Middle notes: blackberry, orchid and star anise.  Base notes: patchouli, tonka bean and sequoia.  

Noses: Rodrigo Flores-Roux and Christophe Raynaud.

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Sud Magnolia (Repost)

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It opens with a bright, slightly sweet, citrus fruitiness (Atelier Cologne 2015) that is refreshing, and uplifting, but in a way that is almost otherworldly.  It reminds me of the way the air smells in the winter, on a truly cold morning – frozen and fresh but with an added glamour and dazzle.  Then, into the drydown, Magnolia Sud warms and softens.  It reminds me a great deal of a few scents from Tocca actually.  It has that floral, watery, elegance the speaks of youtfulness and joy.  Magnolia Sud is irrepressible.

Top notes: bitter orange, pomelo, and black currant.  Middle notes: saffron, rose, and magnolia.  Base notes:  Atlas cedar, musk and sandalwood.  

My Perfume Collection

I read something else that made me think today about collecting perfume. It was written by arguably one of the most prolific and serious collectors of fragrance that I have ever seen. She claimed that the difference between a true collector of fragrance and a normal person is that a normal person would buy a large bottle of perfume that they could actually use whereas a collector would buy a smaller but much rarer bottle of the same perfume that they may never even use at all, purely to have it as part of their collection. I agree with her.

When I started seriously collecting perfume back in 2014 my idea was to try all different sorts of perfumes but to start from the past and work my way forward. I believe that study in the fundamentals of something is essential to understanding the whole and therefore comprehending and fully appreciating the past of perfumery is important in enjoying and fully comprehending the present.

I did review each fragrance I encountered one by one on my blog with the hope that eventually years into the future I’d gain a better understanding of perfumery overall and I’m still in that process. And of course understanding the chemistry behind perfumery as well as the artistry involved in creating a masterpiece is essential. It all goes beyond just sampling and analyzing notes and involves understanding the history of perfumery in general as well as the science and art behind it. Again, I am still in that process.

Lately I have started to collect bottles that I never intend to open and that are almost in pristine condition but that part of collecting and honoring perfume has not been my focus other than the rare bottle that catches my eye for its uniqueness and/or nostalgic charm. But I have more regularly purchased talismans into the past instead of potential heirloom pieces in and of themselves.

I do intend to change that into the future. I’ve always occasionally indulged in a more “collectible” rare bottle but my focus has been on width and not depth as I needed to understand more in that arena first. I’m not a pretentious person. Someday I’ll likely add more and rarer bottles but I first needed to experience a breadth of fragrances. Hopefully someday I’ll even have my own little perfume sanctuary somewhere in a closet or basement. Ha! *smile* No, I have deep respect for the art, history and science of perfumery – the whole concept perfume (including the aesthetics of course and that should obviously go without saying).

What about you? Do you take perfume that seriously? That’s not necessarily better than just letting yourself sensually (and also unpretentiously) enjoy fragrance with your heart? I have the utmost respect for the lady or gentleman who buys one fragrance their whole life because it truly means that much to them and because it genuinely works for them. There’s so much to understand in this universe. Perhaps it’s wise to not imagine we can ever truly conquer things in this world, even if we should still try on principal to forge ahead in progress and hope, but more meekly and respectfully enjoy them.

My Perfume History

I recently read something that prompted me to reflect on my fragrance history. A lot of people who are serious about fragrances and collecting them started their passion early. In other words, they started collecting and wearing the masterpieces of perfumery from a young age. I kind of did that and yet didn’t the same time.

My first perfume was a bottle of Max Factor Le Jardin given to me by some adult, possibly my father who thought it was an age-appropriate floral. And it did in fact have a pretty bottle and scent that seemed right for a cheerful, golden-haired little girl who loved wearing dresses. I doused myself in it often and kept it on my dresser.

Later I saw an add for Covergirl Navy and thought it was elegant so that became my fragrance in elementary school for a while. I even bought a navy and white stripped comforter (that resembled the box) and faux sunflowers for my room that were inspired by those adds, at least in part. I also had “Full House” and “The Little Mermaid” posters, of course. And that silly decorating trend of the 90’s of using a wall-paper border without the wall-paper was in my room as well. It consisted of bright florals. There were toys. Books. A globe. A tiny television. A rocking chair and other furniture.



I liked Gloria Vanderbilt V in the early 1990’s too. And later I wore Coty Vanilla Fields with oversized plaid shirts with turtlenecks worn underneath and leggings. To complete that look I added scrunched socks that were worn over my leggings with tennis shoes. My hair was slicked back in a ponytail and my bangs were curled, fluffed and then held in place with hair spray. If you are old enough you may have worn something quite similar…

I went through Le Jardin, Malibu Musk, Tinkerbell, Gloria Vanderbilt V, Navy, Exclamation, and Ici in my childhood. Then I used GAP Dream, Elizabeth Arden Splendor, Tiffany & Co. Tiffany, Guerlain Shalimar edc, and Burberry Burberry Brit. GAP Dream, Shalimar, Burberry Brit and Malibu Musk have the most vivid scent memories attached to them.

I also made mistakes.

My mother was never that interested in cosmetics. She’d host Jaffra or Mary Kay parties for friends, but she rarely wore makeup and that hasn’t changed a lot. She’s a very liberated lady when it comes to that, to be honest. She’s not against it and will occasionally wear makeup for fun but it’s not her priority. So, she only occasionally wore perfume too.

Back in the 80’s and early 90’s she wore Avon Imari and that was almost was it. It was what she liked. Most perfumes were too “flowery” for her taste or they gave her terrible headaches. She did wear something by Cardin though I think. And later, she wore Burberry Weekend. Now, she actually wears perfume more often. Perhaps the huge shift in perfumery away from allergens has actually made for more fragranced fun for my mother. She wore La Belle Est Vie for a while and now wears several others. I’m not sure which is her favorite at the moment.

But, anyway, one year in my elementary school years my father and I were shopping for a Christmas gift for my mother and I told him she liked Halston. She’d sprayed it on her wrist once at a department store and I got carried away and decided she absolutely needed a full bottle. She hated that gift. Honestly, if I’d felt permission to wear it I’d have probably asked to keep it for myself, but I did not. It was a good lesson in giving gifts thoughtfully, however.

Don’t get me wrong though, I didn’t appreciate then what I do now. Except for Shalimar in high school and my momentary fascination with Halston, which both did truly open my eyes, I liked to be somewhat trendy. I loathed Jontué, Charlie, Love’s Baby Soft, and Giorgio Beverly Hills. Chanel No. 5 was masculine at best and blasé in my estimation at worst, which is weird and hilarious to me now. AND at around nine years of age, I threw away a lovely bottle of early formulation Paloma Picasso that I bought at a garage sale on a whim. It was in great condition and basically full. Ha! But I just thought it was that offensive. Someone gave me Pivoine and I didn’t like that either. A family friend wore Pavlova and I found that fragrance genuinely depressing. I did however adore Chloé Narcisse as it was stunning in my estimation and worn by an aunt I loved dearly.

But then came the Crème Brûlée years (my favorite dessert in high school) and Shalimar. And I momentarily tested an Aqua Allegoria that haunted me for years until I could figure out what it was. I also started wearing makeup around that time. My first makeup was from Victoria’s Secret. It smelled good too. That’s also when I first dyed and bleached my hair.

I designed a dress for two friends in college and attempted to sew them myself. Neither dress worked out. I still feel terrible about it. But I loved dresses. Always.

No, it wasn’t until 2014 I really took notice of perfumery in a more deep way. Coco Mlle., Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang, Miss Dior Chérie, Aqua Allegoria No. 2, Armani Code, vintage No. 4711, vintage Muguet Des Bois and Juicy Couture had joined my collection. But there were so many I’d ignored. Sadly. Actually, I wasn’t much into shoes or handbags until then either. I had Nine West bags in high school. I loved Steve Maddens. But…I didn’t care enough. I wasn’t raised to care about them.

Shoes? No. I’d rather go barefoot. Handbags? Too much to carry. Perfume? Sure. I’d wear something fun or pretty or that I’d seen a poignant ad for. I did like pearls and watches. Earrings? Yes. And headbands were constant in the early 90’s. I even liked hats.

But, I’ve had the joy and sadness of only truly discovering the full wonder of olfactory magic as an adult. Same with handbags and shoes. Makeup is still so reserved in my routine, although I have definite opinions. I’m curious to see if that ever changes.

If you’re still awake and reading: Hello. Ha! *smile* What about you? Did you find shoes fantastic in your youth? Start wearing Après L’Ondée at age three? That’s a lovely thing to have in one’s childhood…

(All images via Google Images)

Azalea (Repost)

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Hové Parfumeur of New Orleans, Azalea is a greenish, jumpy, crisp and then milky scent.  It’s a literal fragrance with a predominant note of azalea, but it’s a well done Azalea in my estimation.  I find it to be a very becoming floral.

If you want to smell like a sweet, elegant flower then this is the perfume for you.  Longevity and sillage are good.

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The Clarisonic Mia 1 has been very very popular now for years, of course.   There’s been many pieces written about it. I’m certainly “late to the game.”   And, not surprisingly, I echo the sentiments of many reviewers who have claimed that the Mia irritated their skin and caused more breakouts.  I know people might say (like salesperson at Sephora when I returned it) that the skin goes through a “purging” process and will clear up within a few weeks, but I disagree. My skin didn’t look or feel better in any way (blackheads dead skin etc.) and I don’t entirely buy into that whole “purging” idea to begin with.  I’m glad I returned it.  My skin has cleared up since I stopped using it and my pores look about the same if not smaller.  Anyway, now I know it’s not for me.

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I found Derma e, Hydrating Serum after doing a bit of searching to find a decently priced, safe, anti-aging moisturizer with hyaluronic acid.  I used it both morning and night for a while (with my regular German Nivea) and noticed that I broke out (too irritating I think) but then I tried just using it at night and I’ve been happy with the results.  My skin does seem brighter, tighter and my fine lines are at least somewhat dimished.  While I’m not sure if I will repurchase this product I can at least say that it wasn’t a waste of money and it has produced acceptable results…  I just think there might be something even better.

Yesterday I had a lovely Mother’s Day.  In the morning my husband made me a nice brunch of scones, fruit, potatoes and salmon eggs benedict with a grapefruit mimosa and tea.  And then we spent the remainder of the day just relaxing.

As a side note, I didn’t know what to do with the left-over champagne from the mimosas so my husband looked up ideas online and discovered that it could be used as a hair rinse to add body.  Ha!   So, since it was a cheap champagne (we were just using it for mimosas) I did in fact douse my hair in champagne yesterday…    I highly recommend the experience.  Even if it’s not Mother’s Day.

Until Wednesday.

Niche Surprise

My husband gave me Athalia for Valentine’s Day and it’s bizarrely perfect for me. I don’t usually fare as well with niche fragrances, however this is very becoming on me. And I truly love it now. Tons.

So…since I’m too heartbroken to wear vintage No. 22 as my overall signature as it now has bad memories attached to it, and Bergamote Soleil is too much of a daytime fragrance this will be my signature at night. When I go out with my husband or when we all go out as a family for special occasions it’ll be heavenly. I love it. It works beautifully with my chemistry and my husband adores it on me. It’s openly sensual yet still tasteful according to him.

*smile*

I’ll always have No. 22, Orangers En Fleurs and the others as “signatures” but Soleil Bergamote and Athalia are a bit different. No. 22 was me as a young and melancholy adult. Still my soul but in the past now. Orangers En Fleurs is just really lovely with my chemistry. And the others were about mourning. These two are just the unvarnished me and they smell very good on my me too. People should wear what compliments them most honestly and best.

Thank you to my sweetie, Mark for making today special. I love you.

Black Satin (Repost)

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Black Satin (Angelique 1946) is a soft, warm, sparkling oriental gem. The straightforward aldehydic opening and powdery, green notes are sassy but comforting in a way that only a vintage fragrance can be.  Notes of orris root, benzoin, styrax, amber, coriander, oakmoss and galbanum are strongest from my observation.  Black Satin is an oriental fragrance of true beauty.

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Top notes: aldehydes, citronella, lemon, geranium, and galbanum. Middle notes: oil of cardamom, coriander, lily of the valley,  lavender, jasmine, and iris.
Base notes: Arabian myrrh, oakmoss, Indian sandalwood, orris, amber, patchouli, cedar, benzoin, vetiver, and styrax.

J’Adore (Repost)

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Bright, blooming and luminous florals delight in the opening of J’Adore (Dior 1999).  It’s pear, peach, plum and citrus in a fluid warmth that is both uplifting and playful.  A bit reminiscent of Chamade it has a soft sultry loveliness that is both mesmerizing and prone to induce melancholy upon its departure…  This a fragrance meant to be worn by those who do not wish to be soon forgotten.

Top notes: melon, magnolia, peach, pear, mandarine orange, and bergamot.  Middle notes: tuberose, plum, violet, lily-of-the-valley, jasmine, rose, orchid, and freesia.  Base notes: blackberry, cedar, musk and vanilla.

Nose: Calice Becker


So…  this blog has been a mess and I apologize for that.  I have been distracted by deaths, illnesses, and sleepless nights…  It’s been an interesting last couple of weeks to say the least.

But… life goes on, time goes on and that’s good thing.

So on we go…

Bergamote Soleil Part I.

My husband and I have to devote time intentionally to be together alone. Our lives are just that busy.

My husband decided to treat me to tea and finger sandwiches recently. Along with that he purchased a new fragrance for me from Sephora from the phthalate-free Atelier Cologne. No, I am not pregnant again. Ha! But, I have decided to change my signature fragrance again because ADP Colonia in vintage form was too masculine for me for every day use (I still love it though) and I wanted something new and fresh but without phthalates. I asked my husband to pick a fragrance based on who he believes I am, and he chose Atelier Cologne Bergamote Soleil.

I’m still processing my opinions on it and I purchased a few other things from Sephora that I’ll review too so for now I’ll just say that he was very perceptive. Bergamot Soleil really is very me. I have a feeling I’m going to love this one for years… It even smells nice in winter. Although, vintage No. 22 and the others are still signatures too. Perhaps I’ll just use them for special occasions. Like, very vintage No. 22 for evening and night as it’s more appropriate than this bergamot note.

And I bought a new teapot from an antique store for the tea. We bought very good Darjeeling and it deserved its own teapot. This is an English made, early 20th Century (1930’s or before) Woods & Sons Enoch Woods English Scenery teapot. It reminds me of the teapots my mother used while I was growing-up and I love it.

May I suggest two Darjeeling varieties if you ever buy Darjeeling? Castleton and Margaret’s Hope (I’ve had Margaret’s Hope from another brand before and it was nice then too). They’re amazing. So perfectly tart but delicate and fresh and rich and yet light… Yum!!

I’m really, really liking Bergamote Soleil. And no, I’m not sharing my tea source. Ha!

More later. Let’s hope the new fragrance works long-term.