Truly Lace

Punchy, sharp and green orange blossom mixes with gummy jasmine and tuberose, 90’s bergamot, and orchid in Truly Lace (Coty 1992).  Then ylang ylang, rose and lily-of-the-valley blast in although they don’t overshadow anything, especially the musk, amber and cedar that chime in slightly after. Finally, vanilla tinged oakmoss arrives. It’s very earthy and green while also being intensely floral. It perfectly matches the 1990’s does Victoriana motif of the label on the bottle.  
Top notes: orange blossom, gardenia, green notes, fruity notes and bergamot.  Middle notes:  tuberose, orchid, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lily-of-the-valley and rose.  Base notes: sandalwood, amber, musk, oakmoss, vanilla and cedar.

Vanilla Musk 

Vanilla Musk (along with Vanilla Fields) was a very nostalgic holiday scent to me (Coty 1994).  It used to remind me of the distant past and the Bing Crosby songs we listened to during Christmas.  

It is a sweet, buttery vanilla.  Vanilla Musk is an effusive scent – a bit like what Bath and Body Works (among others) intended their warm vanilla fragrances to smell like.  And what it lacks in complexity it makes up for in warmth and tenderness.   With the perfect mix of cedar and sandalwood it’s  burnt sugar vanilla. And the musk is very bright and embracing. 

Notes: vanilla, musk, cedar and sandalwood.  

Halle Pure Orchid


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.




2015-10-04 17.18.07

Sophia is a green floral scent (Coty 1980).  And, while I can only find two notes listed for it (rose and jasmine) I can’t help but experience it is a bit of a chypre…  It’s also quite amazing how much depth and change over time the two notes create?  At any rate, this celebrity fragrance (Sophia Loren) is an unusual one as far as celebrity scents go…

Notes: jasmine and rose

Sand and Sable

2015-06-12 17.45.28Thick, bold jasmine, tuberose and gardenia rip off the skin and come at you with Sand and Sable (Coty 1981).  However, despite its inherent demonstrative quality, Sand and Sable is far from shrill.  In fact, although the typically warm notes of sandalwood or the like aren’t listed it’s incredibly cozy.

Sillage of this scent of the 80’s is moderate.  Longevity is moderate as well.

Notes: tuberose, gardenia, jasmine, rose, green notes and peach.

Summer Breezes: Part I of IV

A bright summer sun filled the cerulean sky with an almost crass cheerfulness.  I felt very awkward.  First of all, sunny mornings always seemed strange to me.   They held the promise of something I doubted I would ever fully be a part of. Mornings were for people who had schedules for everything.  People who loved mornings were the same people who followed rules prodigiously with the intention of arriving at some sort of greatness.  They got faithfully out of bed at about the same time everyday, drank their coffee, took their showers and got on with it all.  I admired those people.  I was not, however, one of them.

That summer I had to get up early every morning whether it came naturally or not.  I was working on a paint crew with six other people including one supervisor and never having painted before I was nervous.  I also wondered if I would fit in with the other workers.  I was generally what many would describe as a “girly girl” and the thought of doing physical labor struck me as being potentially outside of my comfort zone.  I suspected my co-workers might wonder why I was doing the job instead of something more “typical” for someone like me and make fun of me.  I wouldn’t fit in, I suspected.  But then again, I didn’t exactly fit in with most “crowds.”

The paint crew was, surprisingly, made up of three females and two guys.  We all said hello to each other and after a quick instructional demonstration by another painter, we put on gloves and masks and started the process of sanding the walls to prepare for the next step in the process – spackling.  And after spackling was primer.  After primer came paint.  The first day would just consist of sanding.

Among the girls there was an almost instant camaraderie.  Sarah, two years younger than me (I was 22), really seemed an automatic friend and Meghan, my age, was also very easy to get a long with.  I wasn’t uncomfortable at all.

Then there were Trevor and Justin.  Trevor and Justin were both 21.  Justin had dark brown hair and green eyes.  He seemed nice enough.  Trevor was an artist.  He did drawings.  Trevor was rugged with naturally tan skin, deep brown eyes and thick dark hair.

Like I was saying, Sarah and I were almost instant friends.  We talked almost constantly the first three days and Meghan joined in occasionally.  Meghan and I discovered that we lived near each other and after the third day we decided to hang out and order a pizza after work.

“I don’t know.  I’m very quiet.”  Meghan spoke those last words carefully, as if she was trying to hint at something she didn’t quite have the courage to admit just yet.

“I am too,” I replied, trying to show empathy.

“What do you suppose it’s like to be a really outgoing person?”  Meghan leaned back and laid on the floor of my living room, staring up at the ceiling with a quizzical look on her pretty face.  Her arms were held behind her resting head.

“I don’t know.  I wish I was more like Sarah.  She seems so confident.”

“Really?  She doesn’t actually seem that confident to me.  She seems like she’s just trying to act confident.”  Meghan and I are both quiet for a second before she continues. “I mean, I really like Sarah.  I’m just not sure she’s exactly the most confident person I’ve ever met.”

I stared at the box of warm, cheesy pizza on the floor nearby and suddenly felt sick to my stomach. I had clearly eaten too much already.  I grabbed one more piece.

The next day at work Sarah and I started talking about our childhoods as we painted together on the same wall and I discovered that she was a recovering drug addict.  Her freckles and sensitive, bright blue eyes were filled with emotion and love as she talked about her father, a brilliant author of some critical acclaim and how his cancer scare had given way to her fears about the meaning of life.  I remembered her father from a speech he had given once at our high school about creative writing.  He was also on the local news and in the paper from time to time for his upcoming book releases.  Just as Sarah started telling me more about her life in junior high, when she started drinking heavily, Trevor walked in the room.

“Hey ladies!”  He sounded a bit cavalier as he lifted up a brush and started painting our wall with us.

“Hey sweet baby!”  Sarah laughed, glanced quickly at me, and was clearly joking, but it caught everyone off guard.  I loved it.  Trevor, however, was a little deflated.

“Nice.  Very nice mademoiselle.”  Trevor bowed to Sarah and then quickly shot back an air of confidence in our direction.

We turned on the radio and worked for about an hour before going on break.  During break it was decided that we would all get in the back of a pick-up truck and ride the mile down the street from our job to the local convenience store to buy various beverages and snacks.  We all lined up behind the truck. Sarah and Meghan got in the back of the truck first. Their friendly laughs filled the air and I suddenly wished I could be up there talking with them.  It had been a year or two since I had close female friends and it seemed possible that this summer I might have good friends again.

“Hey!’  Trevor reached down his hand to lift me into the back of the truck.  He had helped Sarah and Meghan get in and I watched him do it, but with me it felt different.  I couldn’t exactly explain why.

I grabbed his hand and he wrapped his arm around me, pulling me into the truck and I suddenly felt an odd sexual tension between us.  It left me slightly surprised.  He noticed.  I made my way back towards Sarah and Meghan.  He watched.

After Justin and Trevor sat down the truck started to move slowly.  The wind blew in our faces and the sun hit us in between the trees.

“So what do you guys think about painting so far?”  Justin broke out of the silence.  I wondered what prompted his sudden desire to talk.  We had all been so relaxed and quiet, but I sensed he meant well.  I sensed he was the type of person who generally always meant well.

“I’m getting the hang of it I think.”  Trevor answered with a sweetness that surprised me.  I could tell that he wanted to try to be friendly to Justin in a sincere sort of way.

“Yeah, me too,”  Sarah chimed in.  Then she glanced over at me and smiled knowingly.  “What about you?”  I wondered if I was the only one who was as disturbed as I thought we all had been by the break in the peaceful quiet.

“Ummm.  I guess I’m figuring it out too I guess.”  Everyone looked at me intently and then away.  I felt a bit stupid.

Justin suddenly laughed a very loud, hearty laugh and then said, “Man, I wish my fiance was here to see this.  She would be so proud of me for riding in the back of a truck.”

“Oh yeah?  Why is that?”  Trevor asked.

Justin shook his head, “I’m super safety conscious.  I always wear a seatbelt.”  We hit a large bump and all flew around the bed of the truck just as Justin finished his sentence.  Even though it was nearly impossible, I thought it almost seemed as if he had timed it on purpose and perhaps we all thought that because everyone stopped and looked a bit existential.

“My girlfriend is always teasing me about things too.”  Trevor laughed.

“Oh yeah?  How long have you guys been dating?”  asked Justin.

“About two years.  We met at a party in my hometown.”

“Oh yeah?  Where are you from?”

“I’m from just outside of Baltimore.”

“Oh!  Oh!  I have family just outside of Baltimore!”  Meghan spoke in a bright, energetic tone that startled everyone.

“Wow!”  Trevor smiled teasingly.  “You really have a lot of enthusiasm about the area outside of Baltimore, Meghan.”

She giggled loudly in response before saying,  “Oh, I love that area.”

We all sat in awkward silence now.  Trevor pulled out a sketch pad from his pocket and a pencil.  He looked over at me straight in the eyes and gave me a look I couldn’t decipher.  Then he started sketching something.  I wondered why he was drawing me, if he was.  He met my eyes again and gave me a flirtatious gaze before looking back down at his drawing.

The rest of the day seemed generally uneventful, but the next morning I walked to our regular location and found Sarah sitting on the curb with a hood pulled up tightly around her face.  It was the summer, but there she sat wearing a sweatshirt. It was pulled so tightly that all I could see was her nose.

“Hey, Sarah,” I said cautiously.

She opened her hood slightly and glanced up for a second before throwing her forhead on my shoulder and saying, “I’m in trouble.”

“What do you mean?”  I asked.

“Umm..” She laughed as if she had a funny secret.  Then she lifted her head and began bouncing her legs up and down and staring at the pavement ahead.  “I went to a party last night.  And… I used…”

“You did drugs?”

She nodded.  “I haven’t told anyone else yet.  I’m too scared.  Well, except everyone who was at the party last night of course.”

I didn’t know what to say.  I had never been friends with a drug addict before.  I worried I would handle the moment poorly, but decidedly responded by saying, “It’ll be ok.  We’ll talk about it and I’m sure you’ll figure something out.”  She nodded again and then said, “Ok.  I’m just so scared.”  I gave her a hug. Then we made our way inside.

All of the painters stood silently as a man with a baseball hat standing next to Mike, the owner of the painting company, waved in our direction.  He was likely the supervisor we had been promised at the start of the summer three weeks ago. He was short, in his fifties, and plump and he seemed unusually jovial for such a moment.

“Ok, guys,”  said Mike. “This is Brian. He’s going to be your supervisor for the rest of the summer.”  Brian did a little dance and shook his behind in our direction before saying, “Hey, party crew!”  Mike didn’t seem surprised by this behavior but all of us were taken aback.  But Brian didn’t stop there.  “I’m Brian, a.k.a your supervisor, a.k.a your royal hotness.”

Sarah took her hood up from her shoulders and pulled it tightly so that, once more, only her nose was visible.


I had a good conversation with a friend last night.  I realized that my selfies are tricky in part because my face, and my eyes in particular, often betray a lot of emotion.  People don’t want to see that much of you perhaps…   Although I’m quite complex, a bit hard to get to know and even private, I’m quite honest and it’s written on my face.

Then we talked about sex and I came to realize how unusual my views maybe are…

Among the many opinions about sex out there, there is the notion that it’s possible to have sex without it “meaning” anything…  And while some people of religious persuasion might argue that it is wrong to have “meaningless” sex outside of marriage or even “meaningless” sex at all (non pro-creative etc.) they would still believe that “meaningless” sex is possible.

I cheerfully disagree…

I think that sex is inherently meaningful and that the phrase “having sex” itself is an awkward way to describe an act that is a lot more profound than that rather crass phrase allows…  Do I sound like a prude?  I’m actually not…  I think there’s likely even sex in heaven – a belief many Christians (my faith) do not have.

Where does this “meaning” come from?  Well, it’s simple and complicated at the same time I think.  First, I believe our bodies and souls aren’t separated (and that we have souls).  And when people are “having sex” it’s inherently going to incorporate all aspects of our being.  And, even without the given existence of souls, we are emotional creatures.  How could we do anything without some emotion being involved?  Emotions have “meaning”  attached to them of some sort… Even if the emotion wasn’t that great or powerful, or deep, or profound, or even pleasant it still meant something.

And here’s where I’m likely to make the most enemies…  I think lust in the way we perceive it doesn’t even exist.  Yes. Exist.

Now wait, before you call me an idiot or crazy, hear me out.  Lust is emotional in a human (we’re emotional).   Again, all of us, men included (although they seem to often be stupidly taught to believe otherwise and encouraged to be) have emotions.  And before you say, oh it’s just an “animal” instinct, well…  umm…  yeah.  So?  Animals have feelings.

But wait some people might say, “I’ve had meaningless sex.”  They sometimes will cite a passionate encounter between to bodies without anyone feeling “in love.”  But, I contend that even when people have lusty, passionate sex it still “means” something.  Those people are connecting with their bodies, and a.  if our entire beings are to be taken as a whole our body links to our entire person (emotions, spirit, etc)…  and b.  a physical connection is not just some small thing.  It’s often said that men are more visual in their sexuality and women are more emotional.  Whether or not that’s even true lets just assume it is for the sake of argument. An emotional attachment is often considered part and parcel with love…   Why not the physical?  Why are men allowed out of the “love trap” with the loophole of it “just being physical?”  What if lust and love aren’t actually different?  I know plenty of women who find a particular man emotionally attractive enough to sleep with him but not physically all that great.  I know plenty of men who find a woman physically attractive but not emotionally all that great…  Why aren’t those two sides of the same thing?  Women need to find a man physically attractive just as much as men need to find a woman emotionally attractive to feel truly “in love.”  But, it’s all part of the same thing.  So, lusty sex is no less meaningful than emotionally driven sex without a lot of “heat,”  And, I would argue, the best “sex” has both…  Plus, I’ve met many women who have “fallen in love” with a man’s body because of the emotional side of the relationship and men who have seemingly “fallen in love” with a woman because they couldn’t get past her beauty.

So even if it was “just physical” it still meant something…   I think it meant you were physically in love or falling in love even if just for a time, or otherwise known as being in lust.  Still meaningful.  Not necessarily deep or fulfilling…

Now how does this affect my views of how one should have or not have sex ideally… well… that’s a different rant.  Ha!

Anyway…  just my scattered, random thoughts.

Until tomorrow. 🙂


2015-06-12 17.45.09A sharp, structured floral, Ex’cla-ma’tion (Coty 1988) is cool and very of its time.   The fruity, green punch opening Ex’ca-ma’tion is bold.

In the drydown sugary sweet, almost medicinal notes emerge.  Warming slightly on the skin it creates a dense, nearly impenetrable scent.  Ex’cla-ma’tion is definitely a statement.

Top notes: apricot, green notes, peach and bergamot.  Middle notes: orris root, jasmine, heliotrope, lily-of-the-valley and rose.  Base notes: sandalwood, amber, cinnamon, musk, vanilla and cedar.

It’s been hot here the last couple of days…  And, likely, these will be the last hot days of the year.

I keep thinking I need to use my summer fragrances quickly…


It’s Friday.


2015-06-12 17.45.55

Ici by Coty is (Coty 1995) a bit reminiscent of Guerlain’s Champs Elysées in its watery, sweet floral sensibility.   The magnolia laced with musk is particularly pretty.   It’s delightfully fresh and as it progresses into the drydown it becomes warmer and deeper with standout notes of amber and musk.  Longevity and sillage are polite but moderate.

Notes: citruses, exotic flowers, magnolia, mimosa, orchid, cocoa, sweet notes, amber and musk.

Well!  I did it.  I actually am posting this entry on time!  Although it is much shorter than usual…  I think I’m working my way back into a more regular posting schedule.


It’s been colder and rainy all week and I’ve been loving the rain, but I’m not ready for the cold yet.  Not at all…

By the way, I’m sorry I haven’t posted a short story for the month of August.  Next month I’ll start with that again…

Have a pleasant Thursday.  🙂

Cordon Rouge

2015-03-03 09.46.12 (2) Cordon Rouge (or Red Cord in English) was introduced by Coty in the early 1900’s (possibly 1909 specifically) and, when I first smelled a bit of it, from my vintage (probably 1930’s?) unopened bottle, I was gobsmacked.  It was like time traveling or seeing a ghost.  I’ve never (other than perhaps a very vintage bottle of nearly unused L’Origan) smelled anything so of the past and yet totally alive and intact.  I almost feel a bit guilty for breaking that seal after all these years…

I’m not sure what the notes of this fragrance are because it’s incredibly hard to find much of anything about it (it may have been discontinued in the late 1930’s), but it reminds me of a lot of L’Origan and No. 4711 and that’s far from surprising considering that Coty debuted L’Origan in 1905.  It’s spicy, powdery, balsamic and deeply romantic in a leisurely yet refined sort of way, with notes of perhaps vetiver, musk (?) and sandalwood.  I’m kind of in love this scent, and while I have a nice sized bottle, I doubt another one will be even remotely easy to find (hopefully I’m wrong).

2015-03-03 09.46.37 (2)2015-03-03 09.47.05 (2)

A vintage ad written in French, describes Cordon Rouge as a “…source of freshness…”  and a “…”high class product.”  And, after smelling it frequently enough to write this post, I suddenly feel a need to watch Jacque Tati’s, Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot, (Mr. Hulot’s Holiday) – a wonderful film from 1953 with a gorgeous score written by Alain Romans.  That movie, about a man who decides to take a holiday by the sea in Brittany, fits the mood of Cordon Rouge very well…

Cordon Rouge has a warm, sweet spicy opening and an airy but strong masculine drydown (it almost smells contemporary – a little like a fragance by Tom Ford).  Basically, it’s just fantastic.  Sigh.  🙂

Vanilla Fields

I was in the mood for something very vanilla this weekend.  I thought about wearing Casmir by Chopard, but it was just shy of being what I wanted.  Vanilla Fields (Coty 1993) by Coty, which reminds me a great deal of Casmir, was perfect.

2015-03-07 14.23.18 (2)

It starts out a bit confusing because it’s hard to smell the vanilla.  However, within a few minutes a warm, sweet, powdery, slightly clean vanilla finally arrives and stays for hours and hours until the late drydown when it becomes a faint, almost 1930’s smelling scent with an emphasis on the amber and cedar notes. During the main show, the notes of sandalwood, peach, musk, lily-of-the-valley and vanilla (of course) are most detectable in my estimation.   It’s a very pretty fragrance.

I think for a lot of people this scent reminds them of the early 1990’s and they either used it themselves until they were tired of it, or they remember someone who wore it frequently.  My mother owned a bottle of Vanilla Fields and either didn’t like it or was very generous because I remember wearing it so often that it got to the point where I couldn’t smell it without becoming queasy.  At the time I sprayed it on my sweaters (drenched them in it really) every morning before school.  Now, however, spraying it on my skin with moderation, I see how the fragrance is truly supposed to develop and I have a new appreciation for it (I don’t become the least bit queasy either).

This weekend we’re also able to spend some quality time outside with our son.  It’s been very nice.  I cannot believe that spring is almost here.

2015-03-07 15.49.00 (2)

A muddy March thaw.

2015-03-07 16.07.42 (2)

All bundled up.

2015-03-07 16.08.47 (2)


Until tomorrow.


DSC00104 (2)

Coty’s classic scent, L’Aimant (Coty 1927) is a rich, powdery masterpiece.  I think because it’s a “drugstore fragrance” it can sometimes be perceived poorly, but every time I smell L’Aimant (the vintage in particular) on my skin I am reminded of its wonders.  There’s a sweetness, depth, warmth and almost wholesomeness in L’Aimant that is like nothing else.  The drydown is particularly poignant, beautiful and powdery in its vanilla glow – almost reminiscnt of pipe tobacco I vaguely remember old men smoking in my early childhood.

DSC00106 (2)

DSC00102 (2)

DSC00108 (2)

Top notes: bergamot, neroli, peach, and aldehydes. Middle notes: geranium, rose, orchid, jasmine and ylang-ylang. Base notes: vetiver, musk, vanilla, sandalwood, tonka bean and cedar.

Yet again, it was a wickedly busy week and I didn’t get a chance to finish Evelyn Waugh’s Put Out More Flags, so it will be my book of the week next week too (I’m sorry) along with one other book I’ll try to finish (I may need to adjust things a bit).  However, I can already say that it’s an amazingly authentic sort of book. I am deeply engaged by how realistic the thoughts of the characters seem to be, especially about the war and intigued by the fact that they seem so accessible in the present – there’s a certain “truth” and “rawness” in this book that seems more fitting of contemporary works. In fact, it makes me wonder if other authors often simply fall short in fully making their characters true to life, or if there is something about these people in particular that make them relatable to a person, such as myself, from the present.

More on this all later…