Eau du Soir

Perfectly named, this fragrance is very reminiscent of a cool evening and I think that Eau du Soir (Sisley 1990) is gender less. It reminds me a lot of CK One in that way. Actually, Eau du Soir almost seems like the concept of CK One in a more sophisticated, ethereal and elegant form and it is originally from that era, although it predates the Calvin Klein creation. Anyway, lots of juniper here, dewy, chilled florals, and aromatic, woody oakmoss. It’s a classic.

Top notes: mandarin orange, grapefruit, spruce and carnation. Middle notes: seringo, jasmine, rose and lily-of-the-valley. Base notes: musk, amber and patchouli.

Jean Marie Farina Extra Vielle

Utterly delightful on a hot day, the classic Jean Marie Farina Extra Vielle (Roger et Gallet 1806) is olfactory refreshment. The citrus is present and bright but also so refined and herbal that it’s more like a cool drink of mineral water than the bright burst of lemon. Again, it’s wonderful. Of course, I think I’m smelling lavender but it’s likely a combination of petitgrain, neroli and cedar instead? Or maybe it’s the rosemary and petitgrain? At any rate, it’s as soothing as lavender and as elegant too. Of course, it’s not all that strong and only a faint hint is left for very long but on a day like today that’s just fine. More than fine. It’s lovely.

Top notes: bergamot, amalfi lemon, orange and mandarin orange. Middle notes: petitgrain, carnation, neroli, rosemary and rose. Base notes: clove, myrtle, cedar, sandalwood, musk, white amber and vetiver.

Connemara

This is a gorgeous Lily-of-the-valley on a warm bed of pretty peach, gentle rose, cozy orris, whimsical carnation with just a dab of vanilla (Fragrances of Ireland). A slightly spicy, Samsara-like sandalwood eventually emerges. Some detect a lot of violet with this one, and I suppose I do too, but it mixes so with the jasmine in my perception that they seem to become one. At any rate, this is a very well done, underrated fragrance that I imagine could be worn the whole year. It has that unique balance of warmth and floral delicacy. Very pretty!

Top notes: freesia, lily-of-the-valley and violet. Middle notes: carnation, rose and ylang-ylang. Base notes: peach, sandalwood, orris, musk and vanilla.

After The Rain

Although it wasn’t classified as such on sites like Fragrantica, After The Rain (Aran Aromatics 2005) seems ozonic to my nose. It’s also soapy and mellow. The florals blend together to the point that it’s hard to pick one out from the other, although the supposed citrus is somewhat more distinct. At any rate, it’s a refreshing fragrance and it reminds me a little of a Francis Kurkdjian creation. I’m glad I blind bought a bottle by this Scottish fragrance company.

(I’m afraid to list notes I found online because they didn’t match with my nose entirely. Ha! I’m going to have to do more research with this one.)

Poetica

Poetica, by Scottish Fine Soaps, is another fragrance I can’t find exact notes for. Although, I believe you can still buy lotions from Scottish Fine Soaps with this scent?

I can certainly smell fruit, possibly peach and/or cherry and there seems to also be an accord of possibly sandalwood and patchouli? It’s actually a little like La Petite Robe Noire, but its soapier, lighter and less gourmand. I like it a lot!

Tara

Tara, A Legendary Fragrance is absolutely fabulous (polite but wonderful sillage too). I’ve been spraying fragrances on my husband for testing lately and this one is too lovely to keep for another day. I can’t find the notes anywhere online, but it must certainly be an opulent, green, and very strong jasmine, I believe, with a gutsy lily-of-the-valley. There’s also something warm and a little bit spicy. Perhaps it’s sandalwood, carnation and rose? Maybe heliotrope? And I’m guessing at amber and musk? Tuberose, ylang-ylang and benzoin could even be notes? It’s a little bit reminiscent of vintage Gloria Vanderbilt in its floral sweetness and warmth. I wish I could find a definite list… At any rate, I’m glad I blind bought this one a while ago.

One More Clarification…

When I wrote that only certain people say, “wealth whispers” it sounded like I might be discrediting that notion entirely. I wasn’t though. It’s simply that certain people do say that more than others.

Actually though, I’ve said that phrase myself in conversations with friends. And of course what I mean is that when you’re monied you don’t necessarily feel the need to advertise it in the same way as some people do without it who want to appear otherwise, also there’s the knowledge that once you spend the money it’s basically gone. So if you have money you’re careful with it and for some of those people there are expensive things that just aren’t worth buying.

Like, there are certain cars- Mercedes and BMW for example – that people often buy who want to appear monied but aren’t. Or they wear certain labels like Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, J. Crew or Coach (at least in the US). Sometimes those folks buy houses, especially in the US, that are much too big for their needs and/or budget. Perhaps they give their children private lessons the children don’t want such as riding lessons, violin lessons, etc.

However there are many people who drive those cars, wear those clothes or play tennis or the cello who aren’t pretentious social climbers which is part of the reason why you can’t always say that “wealth whispers.” Sometimes people just like certain things associated with wealth and can buy them or enjoy them. It may be that they’re rich, poor or otherwise. And sometimes people do brag, not because they’re insecure but because they’re proud (or for other reasons).

Still, the Michael Kors toting, heavily in debt, Lexus SUV driving person who lives in an empty big house and barely eats (because she’s broke) does fit the stereotype that formed the truth behind that saying. There is some truth there.

Really though I think upper class wealth just is. It can be loud or quiet. And it’s often very difficult to accurately determine someone’s true social class in any direction. It requires an analysis of many things or you have to know what certain very definite but subtle signs mean. It’s finely nuanced and complex. (I tried in vain to explain and therefore examine my own class on this blog.)

For example, imagine a young man who’s parents are both surgeons. And, they’re both very busy. They spoil him with gifts and other treats but ignore him most of the time. He grows up depressed with a very skewed and soft view of the world. He goes to college and graduates but doesn’t do anything with his education because he feels totally directionless in life. Time passes and most of his life is taken up by shopping, the occasional girlfriend and his own sad existential drought. He’s bad with money. He looses it. When his parents die it’s mostly gone. He’s no longer wealthy or even upper middle class financially and his friends have left him behind. He’s slipped socially and their family has gone from upper-middle almost upper class or truly upper class to much less in fewer than 50 years.

Then there’s the immigrant couple who came to the US 30 years ago, started a brilliant company, and with wisdom and hard work became very financially wealthy. And therefore, given the emotional and intellectual wealth they brought with them (despite their poverty otherwise), managed to raise themselves to the upper class or close to it. In 30 years. And if they did it right…their kids will just keep doing better and better. Soon (within two to three generations) even the cruelest snob will have to acknowledge them.

The son from the first example wears nothing but an expensive yet little known brand of clothing. Even when he can’t afford it anymore ($300.00 for a simple yet elegant cotton t-shirt). The relatively recent immigrant lady who started the business with her immigrant husband wears a somewhat loud, hot pink Coach handbag that was worth $300.00 (when it was new) because it was the first even slightly luxurious brand-name item she could afford once they started making a decent amount of money with their business, she thinks it’s good quality and she’s not one to change accessories easily or at all quickly (and she’s somewhat both practical and sentimental). Go decipher that. It’s not easy. Or is it?

Anyway. It’s complicated. And hopefully this is the last I’ll write about it.

Nevermind

I’m still mad. And I’ve tried to move on but I can’t.

This goes deep. And that’s the problem.

Whoever the individual was that commented on my blog without a good, and certainly without a scholarly understanding of class (at least in the US – which is where I’m from and where I live so that’s the context of my posts) and lacking a cognitive ability or the patience to read and detect nuance in my writing was the perfect example of the sort of person who has been driving me up the wall for a while now. There are so damn many people like that nowadays.

Seriously.

And as someone who has been very active online for several years now, I’ve put up with the covert, arrogant bragging of these people daily for years and stayed silent, although they’ve dramatically increased in numbers in the last two years or so. They kept harassing me, trying to intimidate me with their self-perceived abundance or superiority and then once I started to stand up for myself relatively recently many burst at the seams and became rude and incapable of discernment or self-control (and one may have commented anonymously on this blog). And of course, they then dishonestly began calling me a liar, tried to minimize or totally discredit my claims to a status higher than what they wanted it to be with a vicious and at least partially ignorant venom, or said that if I’m not a fake, self-aggrandizing piece of trash by default, that it’s rude to talk about such things openly (as the commenter on here did) and therefore I’m a piece of shit under their shoe for talking about myself that way (even it was done on my part out of disgust and frustration). Don’t they realize that it’s a trite bourgeois and aspirational class thing (and not in the positive slang way used by some) to believe and repeat mindlessly and self-comfortingly that, “Classy upper-class people don’t talk about money.”

Wealth whispers,” they say aloud with scorn. “That’s how you imitate wealth! You whisper it!” (They then say to themselves as a mental note, quietly)

But of course you must whisper it according to them. Compulsively. And it must be done with an obnoxious amount of dripping coyness. And if people who aren’t being coy and are just enjoying life get grouped in with them, all the better. It makes their superiority seem more convincing.

And, to be clear, it wasn’t just in the comment section of this blog that this all happened. It was mostly on Instagram actually. And I’ve put up with a lot on Instagram – including a herd of equally obnoxious men claiming to be in love with me after almost no sort of conversation or interaction with them other than the occasional polite but shallow chit chat in the comments section of my posts. I mean, if I had really been friends with them in some way it would have made some sense, but…it was clearly just about their sexual desires or some sort of conquest for them. ( They likely sexually spam many women all at once.) And while it wasn’t scary or that offensive necessarily because on some level it was most likely innocuous it was/is truly annoying and certainly awkward. I now just ignore most men wanting to direct message me. I can’t, sadly, give people the benefit of the doubt anymore. “Oh I just wanted to talk about perfume (when I asked you to send photos of yourself and called you sexy in a dm). Don’t be so mean!” they whine.

But should I have just kept putting up with the “touchy people’s” jealous poking and manipulative maneuverings? I couldn’t! And yes, that’s what it was. Jealousy. Because I’ve been fairly careful (or very careful) my whole life not to brag about money and/or class up until the last year and a half or so and therefore it was one-sided boasting on their part until fairly recently. I suppose I could have just walked away somehow. But I also refuse to stop interacting online as much as that would likely require because you have to find a way to work with people. Somehow. You can’t become a hermit, despite or not, how much I love things that some people use as status symbols and how that sadly tends to attract negativity. (But I refuse to pretend otherwise.)

But seriously what is wrong with people these days? Many people come across like an at least part-time malignant narcissist (when many are likely not?). And it seems a lot of people want to both be a certified victim of something and a genuine (although they’d never admit it) bully at the same time. And often it’s the people who pretend to care about bullying and subtly accuse you of bullying when you defend yourself who are the actual bullies. At least from my limited experience… So how do you “speak out” when wrong is right and right is wrong? How do you defend yourself or anyone else when it seems almost nobody has any regard for anything and therefore doesn’t want to be honest about any of their wrongdoing or offenses? Or they’re heading in that direction? Many people seem to be emotional cauldrons of hot gooey hatred waiting for the slightest tap to explode.

We are an incredibly crass, idiotic and failing society (western society). We are nearly destroyed. Truth, reality and measured rationality are on life-support. And I intend to try to figure out what I need to do to aid in bringing some form of sustainable life back into the future. I apologize for having useless at best, and perhaps caustic reactions so far… I just hate being forced to be quiet constantly to comfort someone’s weakness and lack of perspective. And we have to be able to defend ourselves. We have to be safe. Still, my responses were silly… And I’m sorry.

Sad thoughts.

Lavande Royal

Lavande Royal (Roger et Gallet 1899) is predominantly lavender with a start of citrus and a depth to plumb of sultry, musky, vanillic cedar. It’s good. Very good. On me it smells pleasant but on my husband it’s nearly epic. Think the crispness of a classic manly vetiver (although this doesn’t have vetiver) with a sweet, mysterious edge. And in the drydown it’s powdery, tender and elegant. I love it.

Top notes: orange and mandarin orange. Middle notes: spices, lavender and geranium. Base notes: musk, benzoin, vanilla, oakmoss and cedar.

Venting One Last Time

I wasn’t going to write any more personal posts, and I don’t think it’s at all likely after this one. But I have something I just have to get off my chest.

I think I know who commented the other day. I’ve analyzed it and I suspect the person who did it was commenting because they thought one or more of my posts were openly about them or perhaps secretly about them. That was certainly not the case.

It’d be funny, in a way, except for the fact that they became personally insulting and demeaning in their seeming anger and resentment. And I highly suspect that they had been wildly misunderstanding me for quite a while. Also, I’d bet most of what I say and post, other than perfume, here and and on Instagram went over their head. This person is smart and seemingly even more street smart but they didn’t seem (and still probably don’t) “get” my perspective on almost anything. We’re very different people with very different backgrounds and therefore it’s like we speak two different languages. They seem to keep thinking I’m like someone they knew or know but I’m most probably not… At all. And/or they likely believe that I’m some silly, cute, shallow, and truly dumb blond.

Good God in Heaven.

Sigh.

But I do have to discuss one thing: my husband. Also, his “accomplishments.”

I don’t take credit for educating him. I don’t take credit for creating him, raising him, or any credit for the hard work and many accomplishments he made on his own over the years before I married him (or started seriously dating him). And frankly, he doesn’t take credit for any of that in regard to me either. (Duh)

And I’ve done a hell of lot more with my life than I think this lady who commented realizes (because I rarely if ever have discussed it – it makes me too truly uncomfortable and I still refuse to really brag). And I will accomplish a lot… But, here’s the thing: now that Mark and I are married and building a family together (and even while dating seriously we were each other’s biggest support systems) nothing I accomplish and nothing my husband accomplishes are ever just singular and lonely prizes.

For example, until recently if my husband passed an actuarial exam it was because I pushed myself to take care of my son and tend to things without his help almost at all for months. 24/7. And if you don’t understand parenting a child because you’ve never had one don’t assume it’s remotely easy to do well. Also, there’s been the difficulty of him being grumpy, stressed-out and challenging to deal with while I am trying to keep everything running smoothly.

Oh, and then I moved to Seattle to benefit his career. And we had to stay there for at least two years, despite how much I hated it, because it was beneficial to his career. But I have never begrudged him that, especially since he had our best interests in mind as a family. It was hard though, and our marriage suffered because we were both unhappy to some degree (and we had a rough start of things emotionally in some ways anyhow).

Indeed, Mark genuinely balked at the comments made on my blog when he read them and in part because he is always quick to point out what a team we are. He truly believes that and so do I. We are still individuals with separate souls and beings of course and his labor is not my labor and vice versa, but we are one flesh and we are building something together.

Even in regard to birthing our children in the past and in the future I give him some credit. Yes, I do… He was the one supporting me and is the one supporting me the most. He tries to be there and is. And I try do the same for him… We’ve always been best friends and always will be.

And when I finish raising young children and focus more on “personal accomplishments” (as I plan to likely do) I will never for one moment not think that Mark is also to credit for the blessing of being able to do that. Again, we’re a team. But, a lot of married couples with kids feel that way and are, especially if they’re serious about making a life together beyond just a few years. (And frankly I’m sick and tired of people mocking couples who try to be positive and truly care about one another.)

But, just to further solidify my claims about making my own way if I hadn’t become serious about Mark: when I met Mark I was planning to attend school in Wales – Aberystwyth University in Aberystwyth, Wales. They had accepted me into their history program and offered a place that they were holding for me. I was going to go to school there and then live in the UK (I’m an Anglophile of course) for at least a few years if not permanently. I was very excited to go, I was just securing things financially (which was taking a while because it was overseas) when I met Mark. And I was working as a barista at a coffee shop because it was fairly simple to do so for a short time (although it was somewhat hard work and I was already tired because of my undiagnosed hypothyroidism) and it was close to home. I was fully determined to go to Wales and finish my degree there and considering the free doctors in the UK (as a college kid off my parent’s plan who was determined not to ask for their help – I thought I was just depressed) and how much I love that country I might have finished college there entirely (I was so close anyway). They might easily have properly diagnosed me with hypothyroidism. And if they didn’t correctly diagnose me, something tells me I would have pushed myself harder over there and been much more careful with my energy after trying to live a normal college life and it not working energy-wise.

But I met Mark. He knocked me off my feet. I fell madly in love with him. He was different from anyone I had ever spent much time with, although he reminded me a little of one of the first men I had ever loved (in a good way). So Wales went completely out the window… I couldn’t imagine being so far away from him. I just wanted to be around him. And frankly, he wasn’t too keen on long-distance dating. At all.

Anyway, I didn’t finish college at Messiah in Pennsylvania because I slept almost all the time. Literally. Or I drank coffee to stay awake (to lead meetings of various groups on campus I was in a leadership position in, actually have a social life, and work at the library, etc). I rarely went to class. I just was extremely tired. Truly. And they thought it was depression (because I did have serious clinical depression in high school and to some degree also in college) so they treated it like that, but actually it was my thyroid. They also thought I had ADHD for a while, and one doctor even diagnosed me with that out of exasperation, but I don’t think I did or do… I was finally diagnosed with hypothyroidism a few years ago due to pregnancy and I’m a lot less tired now, thankfully. Anyway, even though that all happened I still managed to be accepted at the University in Wales and had a lot of reason (and have) to think my plans to be a history professor, lawyer or involved in politics on some paying level (not just volunteer as I was then), would have eventually worked. I’m sure I would have found a doctor who knew I had a thyroid problem eventually (maybe in the UK even).

Sigh.

…I shared the ring today from the post I took down (also why I was thinking about this all today). I want to almost cry or punch something (not a living thing) at the thought that anyone could think $6,500.00 is too much for such a ring (as it was appraised by an expert jeweler for insurance purposes). That’s just sooo wrong and idiotic it’s angering. To put it in perspective, $6,500.00 is actually the average price of engagement rings in the US now and this ring is a somewhat unusual ring of great quality (truly) that has as much or more tcw (and one center .5 ct diamond) of all (real and natural, duh) diamonds and sapphires as an average engagement ring in a gorgeous, authentically vintage, platinum Art Deco setting. (It also sparkles oh so beautifully in sunlight.)

As much as you can find a “bargain” on some things, reputable jewelers rarely markup gemstones that much. In jewelry you often “get what you pay for.” And I know too much about diamonds in particular to buy something that is overpriced. I actually considered becoming a gemologist with a focus on grading diamonds for a while… And on a related note, I prefer a nearly perfect smaller diamond to one of inferior quality any day of the week. But it has to be actual quality (top cut, color and clarity)… The GIA or a similarly recognized and well regarded organization (there’s a different one in Europe, etc) should always certify it. Always. And if you can’t afford a truly good diamond or if you find the history of diamonds too morally offensive then there are many really lovely alternatives… Don’t fall for the hype about diamonds.

Anyway.