Jolie Madame

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I’ve decided to post on Mondays now.  I realized that I want to post more, and Mondays just seem like the best day to do so.  So, now I’ll be posting Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday – Sunday will be my “weekend” post.

I tried a bottle of vintage Pierre Balmain, Jolie Madame and it’s an instant favorite. Related or not, it’s also the sexiest scent I’ve ever smelled…  Of course a lot of perfumes are labeled “sexy” but, in my opinion, this one is the most sincerely magnetic.  The thing is, it’s not obvious or cloying and it doesn’t dull your senses or insult your intelligence.  Jolie Madame is stunning, smart, breezy but warm, earthy, and more than anything passionate.

Launched in 1953 by Pierre Balmain it’s top notes are artemesia, coriander, gardenia, neroli, bergamot, petitgrain and cloves; middle notes are tuberose, narcissus, orris root, jasmine, rose, orange blossom, violet leaf, and lilac; base notes are leather, patchouli, musk, coconut, civet, oakmoss, vetiver, cedar and tobacco. I think the notes that emerged most to my nose were leather, vetiver, oakmoss, narcissus, tobacco and violet.*

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*found on

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My husband has been suggesting that we try either an estate sale, or a gallery that sells items from estate sales to find vintage perfume.  For some reason I didn’t think we would find much that way, but I was thankfully very wrong. He picked a promising local gallery and we found a bottle of Nina Ricci, L’Air du Temps edt, almost full, in perfect condition, from the 1960’s for a shockingly low price.  It was fantastic.  I will never buy from eBay again, unless I’m truly desperate…

Anyway, we also bought a bottle of Everclear and I added it drop by drop to a bottle of  gooey vintage Miss Dior, the Hové samplers, and a bottle of Evyan, Most Precious with delightful results.  I also created my own fragrances with Everclear using essential oils of Rose Otto, Lavender, Ylang-Ylang and Patchouli.  Needless to say, I had fun.  🙂

During all that enjoyment I wore two vintage campaign buttons I picked out from the pile pictured below:

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I bought these buttons at an antique store somewhere in Wisconsin years ago on my way to a wedding.  It was a long drive and my mother, my cousin and I stopped at an antique store to stretch our legs.  At the time I was a politics major (my college’s version of a political science major) and was very passionate about politics in general.  I still am somewhat, but not as much as I was then. In any case, I love these buttons…  I love thinking about who wore them and what their lives were like – the tension, anxiety and excitement of the campaigns.  It’s all so wonderfully fascinating.

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Ray Short and George got my endorsement.  If I can’t find a candidate I like for any given election this Tuesday I’m going to write-in Mr. Short or George.  Seriously.

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At the gallery…


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“History of the Civilisation of Scotland”
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And there’s my bottle – hiding…
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$7.50 a bottle!
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tan Marc Joseph driver shoes, Express jeans, Hayden gray wool turtleneck sweater, light brown vintage 1940’s/50’s wool jacket, Kate Spade black diaper bag, and vintage campaign buttons

Despite my less than serious buttons I was thinking today about the actual elections a fair amount.  In our home state there’s a man running for governor, an incumbent, who I met when I was in high school – he gave a political group I was in a lecture for some reason I can’t remember.  Anyway, I remember being in the party opposed to his at that time, and one of my friends, (who shared my political beliefs) peppered him with question after question post lecture.  They actually got into such a vivid discussion that she had to walk with him as he headed to his car in our parking-lot…

I remember my friends all poking fun at him quietly from a distance as he stammered slightly in response to her verbal attack.  She was quick, witty and full of the sort of confidence and energy that one has when you’re young enough to be a little too sure of things, but old enough to speak with an adult-like coherence.  At the time, I thought any man who could be so overwhelmed by a teenage girl’s meanderings shouldn’t be a senator, governor or anything of the sort.  He seemed sweet, fatherly, smart and even humble but definitely not glib…

Looking back at that conversation now, I realize that what I was seeing was an older adult who was trying to take time to have a real, thoughtful and very complex conversation with a difficult teenage/young adult voter.  I see a man who was sincere and likely “in it for all the right reasons.”   He wasn’t glamorous or charming like other politicians we so often idealize in our culture, but he had ideas that made sense.  I think our state has benefited from his term as governor.  I’m sure we will in his next term too, and I hope that on Tuesday politicians like him win, regardless of party, by a landslide (however unlikely that is, sadly).  We need more stammering, kindly, wise adults in office – the sort that listen to teenagers and don’t offer just the mindless, but attractive responses….

Until Wednesday.

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