Awkwardly So…

You know, it’s my epiphany tonight that I’m an outlier. Only once in my life has it been said that I lack self-awareness and that was within the past year (although, as a caveat, that is a trendy insult these days *shrug*)… But, I think in a certain way I have lacked self-awareness in recent years.

How so? Well, I care about my well-being and the well-being of those I love, but I’m not terribly attached to status (I’m not competitive either). I love beauty but that’s different… And because of my love of beauty I do have collections… But, I’m really, really, really not one to worry about my status by nature. Really. Some other people I’m SURE think otherwise. And many of those other people are either wildly mistaken about a great many things in regard to me (likely always have been) or they’ve lied to themselves about me for some personal reason only they probably fully understand.

And that sounds good doesn’t it? I mean, it sounds good that I’m not attached to possessions (beyond for necessity and of course I believe in property rights) or status. Right? But the problem is I truly, truly, truly don’t “get” feeling differently. And beyond that, I sometimes forget that I’m an anomaly in that way. Most people do care about such things. I’m not sure why I don’t. I just don’t? *shrug*

So…when I get angry I get angry on principle (as in that’s actually why I’m angry not as in this is my excuse for secretly being what I say I’m not). I get upset when people lie, or try to be controlling, or try to “put you in your place” or “win” at the expense of the greater good or absolute truth. And I’ve been known to explain my social position to great length for the purpose of either trying to piss off people who I found obnoxious and/or deeply hurtful or to bring a reality check to those who seemed to be high on their own self-deception.

*clearing throat and smiling*

But…I do wonder if I’m too tough on people sometimes. Perhaps…I need to realize how unpleasant it must be to care about things I don’t care about that much. And that sounds condescending but it’s not meant to be. I just mean…if I did care about how people perceived me what would that look like and I should try to think of things from that perspective. Like, I do care in a way on principle because other people care and so I have to be aware of it and care to form relationships and etc., and it’s annoying and hurtful when people misunderstand me or try to insult me or etc. (obviously) but…I don’t care as much about being perceived as rich or beautiful or successful as most people.

If I did I would have done better in college (health issues notwithstanding). I would look different now and have looked different in the past. Very different. My whole life would totally be different. I’m sure I’d be nicer too. Not kinder or more caring or more honest. Certainly not more honest… But I’d be “nicer”. Ha! I’m sure people would like me more. And I mean truly like me not just…pretend to like me or…”like” me out of obligation of being a decent person who respects other decent people.

*sigh*

So…*shrug* I just wonder. *shaking head* If you’re reading this blog and you care about the fact that I “have more than you” or you’re hoping I “have less” or are relieved I “have less” (ha!)…umm…can you step away from that? Have you tried? If it’s too complicated to do, please know that I’m sorry if I’ve made it more painful to let go of. I meant to do the opposite but I doubt that worked… It’s just, as I’ve said for years (on this blog): If I don’t care and I “have more than you” why do you care? Oh wait…because you want more than others? Right. Darn. *laughing* But really though, would you be that much happier if you did? Relieved maybe? I can see relieved… But truly happy? I highly doubt it. *sigh* You’d just be mad at someone else (other than me) who “has more”. And we’d all still be the same people…just with different stuff. *shrug* That’s the rub.

Robert

My parents had a friend from Ethiopia who introduced them to each other. He was a close family friend. His name was something else, but for privacy reasons I’ll call my parent’s friend Robert.

When I said that I’ve not had a ton of experience with people from a different background than my own (in a previous post) I meant that in a very nuanced way. It’s not just that I haven’t known anyone ever from different backgrounds… Instead I was trying to summarize my main experiences in life and make generalizations in order to make a broader point ( This article describes my concept exceedingly better than I did, but you have to read it with honesty and not in a defensive mode of thinking to “get it”.). I’ve been acquainted with people from many different backgrounds. Although, Robert has been one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met…

Robert was from a war torn African country and he was not a wealthy man… But actually, Robert’s family while he was young was very wealthy and when the former government of Ethiopia was overthrown in the early 1970’s a lot of his family was murdered as part of that, including his father. Miraculously he escaped and then made it to the US where he went to college. He then returned to Ethiopia afterwards to start an orphanage and mission.

Eventually, in his middle-age he died there in Ethiopia from malnutrition because he was a genuinely heroic and sacrificial man who always put others first. He gave his all. When he would visit the US to gain financial support for his mission from his American friends he’d purposefully gain weight at their dinners so he could return to his country and not eat as well if necessary. Once he was eating a salad at our table (where I grew up) and he added an extra amount of dressing with a laugh and a grin and we all knew why (although it worried us). He was a truly amazing man. Not much scared him. He was also brilliant and impeccably considerate. I was truly grieved when he died. I’m positive many people were.

No…what I meant was that…we all live in a bubble. Online we interact with all sorts of people but in our real, tangible, everyday lives divisions still exist. And they always have. And they’re there for profoundly complex reasons…

The thing is…it’s wonderful to meet people from different backgrounds than your own online. BUT, I think the same care and thoughtfulness we used to use to relate to people different than us in person should be used online. At least those of us who weren’t arrogant, delusional or conceited. And obviously, some people are not kind people and were never thoughtful to begin with. But, I think for those of us who tried to be truly understanding and/or open-minded we need to remember that we’re dealing with real people behind screens. Some of them are different than us. And, most importantly, we can’t change everything but we can control how we treat each other…

Found It! Figured It Out!

…I’ve got a plan.

I realized that an antique or vintage sterling silver teapot is what I need. As in, “true silver”. Sterling silver.

Of course, that’ll cost more. So much more that I either will have to wait way too long to buy it to even begin to look forward to using it currently or I’ll have to adjust a few things here and there. *smile* Luckily, I’ve been getting frustrated again with the Hermès-Kelly-bag-as-my-signature plan. …It’s a weird thing to some people maybe (and not to others), but I just can’t think of a bag literally named after someone else as appropriate for a signature handbag. And this time around I’m going to take a completely different exit and see if a vintage alligator handbag should be my signature. Yes. A bag that’s truly unique. And one that’s stylistically everything I want but without the instant audience that follows around an Hermès. I’ll buy my Alma and Kelly down the road just because I love them but this will be my signature? … Done?! (I really hope I don’t change my mind.)

AND…I might buy a new Burberry trench. …Sterling silver teapot. Burberry trench. Alligator handbag. Heck, I might even use the bag I already have as my signature, although I think I can find one I like more.

Voilà!

(Via Etsy)

(Via Saks)

Also, after this month that I’ll dedicate to Fitzgerald because it was the month of his birth (and he was beyond fantastic)…I’m going to literally read/reread everything I can find written by Henry James. You can join me if you like. I’m excited.

Here’s a basic game plan of books to start with:

-The Short Stories of Henry James

-The Portrait of a Lady

-The Bostonians

-Washington Square

-The Ambassadors

-The American

-The Real Thing

-The Europeans

Vs

When you have to choose between two great options you learn a lot about who you really are. Or you realize there must be something even better?

For example on a truly skin-deep level (pun intended): There are tons of great beauty products out there but skin does best with some consistency (from my experience) and certain ingredients work that much better for certain people. But, beyond in general (beyond skin care obviously), we all have to genuinely decide on one good thing over another eventually for a plethora of small and big matters and the nuances of the final decision usually speaks to our deeper selves. Or we find the ultimate best… …But, I mean, that’s how a lot of those personality tests on Buzzfeed work. Right? It’s also what our “signature” pieces are about. They’re an outward display of our inner selves.

The combination of all of what we love also matters. You can appreciate many popular things but only your soul has the exact set of loves. We’re all impossibly unique.

My main (and true) signature fragrance has been for years and always will be very vintage Chanel No. 22 parfum (unusual nowadays). But I also consider Houbigant Orangers En Fleurs a sort of secondary signature fragrance (more popular). My favorite author is F. Scott Fitzgerald (has been for years and he’s very popular of course; I’m also even more fascinated by his personage). But, I’ve also realized in recent years that I’m haunted by the work of Henry James (somewhat less popular).

If you know me well you know that I make a signature roasted whole chicken dish but I’m also known for my soups and stews, specifically beef, wild rice, mushroom and potato leek (common enough)… I think most people who know me would also recognize my particular shade of natural dark blond hair and brown eyes (fairly uncommon relatively speaking).

Anyway! There are other things less certain of about my outward expressions of my true inner self…

There are lots of people who like Louis Vuitton monogram, some people who genuinely adore it and others who go beyond and become associated with their LV bags. I just like it. And, it’s versatile. I have two used pieces. I wouldn’t call it my signature… *sigh* I’m still trying to figure that fashion puzzle out…

And, actually, that’s the trouble – those unidentifiable facets. Right now I’m deciding between an Italian Blue teapot (and accessories) by Spode and the Emperor Blue teapot by Prouna. I love them both in different ways… But, actually, neither are truly “me”.

What’s the style equivalent of the durable (and often popular) charm and poignant whimsy of Fitzgerald’s work and the bittersweet beauty Henry James’? And no, I’m not trying to give myself a compliment. …Who makes that teapot? *laugh* Wedgewood Edme doesn’t count.

Is the Kelly bag Henry James enough? Fitzgerald enough? No. It’s not. But I love it. A lot. Doesn’t work, does it. *sigh and shrug* Actually very vintage Chanel No. 22 parfum comes extremely close, in olfactory form, to combining the parts of me that love the work of those two writers…

We all have a need to be known. We all have a need to express ourselves and find acceptance and genuine agape love for the being God (our best selves are from Him in my opinion) truly made us. We all have flaws. But we all have that part of us that’s really lovely too… Really who we are in God’s eyes. It’s fun to find ways to express that self. It’s also healthy.

Now to try once again… Or to give up and just choose…Spode? No! Emperor Blue. …Mmm. No. Italian Blue is too pretty not to pick. Or? Well…

Neiman’s Part I.

So, I ordered my now regular (again) Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair and Pai Daytime Moisturizer from Neiman Marcus to participate in their recent beauty event. They sent tons of free samples and a cosmetic bag and beach tote. I won’t show the bags (although they’re not bad actually). However, I must do the reviews! *grin*

Umm… R+Co Gemstone Shampoo and Conditioner is incredibly “meh”. *sigh* It’s a drying line, ironically, and harsh relatively speaking (given their supposedly quality ingredients). There’s a strong fragrance to it too and it’s not a luxurious one. Rather, it’s the sort of fragrance you find at fairly upscale hotels that aren’t quite truly luxury hotels but are really trying to be (like some Hiltons or Sheratons here in the US). Do you know what I mean?? …It’s usually that the hotel tries to seem posh by using some huge company to make hotel labeled beauty products but they go overdo the fragrance in the products and they unfortunately just smell cheap and unpleasant despite the fact that there’s not actually an offensive smell. Anyway, that’s what these products smell like. Overdone.

After I used these my hair looked ok, I guess. I mean it was a bit drier and I’d never purchase them in a million years but they worked to clean and moisturize my hair as a shampoo and conditioner should. I had to use all of them though (at once) because as harsh as they were they weren’t concentrated. But all is well with my hair because now I know…

Oh pthalates… I wish they weren’t a problem. *sigh* I tolerate them in some contemporary fragrances because you have to if you’re going to enjoy perfume but I don’t use most scented products otherwise in order to avoid them.

That being said, this is a really lovely product. The amount of scent produced by this little stick is amazing. I placed it in the formal dining room of our house and most of that floor was filled with this fragrance within in an hour. And, not overly so. No, the Nest Scentstick is powerful but not overpowering. It’s perfect.

Sparkling Cassis is nice. It’s particularly nice in our September weather here. It feels somewhat autumnal but not too obviously so. So again, if only… Nest Scentstick is exactly the kind of fragrance product I’d love to use: discreet, elegant, lovely and yet genuinely noticeable. *shrug*

And speaking of healthy living…

I’m definitely one to take vitamins. My mother has been deeply involved in such things since the 1970’s and so I grew up eating very carefully and taking vitamins. Now I’m like that too as an adult. So, I’m not one to dismiss the benefits of supplements.

Still, I’m not at all sold on this product by 8 Greens. It’s easy enough to drink the filmy, somewhat fruity tasting beverage created by putting this tablet in an 8 oz glass of water. It didn’t taste great but it was ok. But, fresh greens are best. Right!? It’s hard to think that tablets laying around for weeks, months, etc. can truly replace beautiful raw greens. *shrug*

Anyway, I’ll review everything else from the event later. Many of the products will take time to investigate so part two might not be for weeks or a month. But, here’s my start. *thumbs up* Have you tried any of these? Anyway… Until later! *smile*

Haunted (trigger warning)

Serious thoughts…

I have been mesmerized by the footage left online from 9/11 lately. It started with the anniversary of the event earlier this month and I still can’t stop analyzing it as of today.

That day in September of 2001 I was a senior in high school sitting in Honors English and when they announced it on the speaker for the whole school I instantly knew who likely did it. Journalists for major news sources had been warning of the possibility of terrorist attacks for over a year. People don’t talk about that very much now, but it’s true. And somehow I had it in my head that New York City was a prime target.

When I got home from school after they let us out for the day early I rolled my eyes when the news anchors on television kept thinking it was an accident. I was also deeply annoyed when they thought it was a commuter plane. That seemed very naive to me.

Lately environmental concerns have felt similar in scope… Either way, I’ve felt unsettled lately about the state of the world. And, I think something about the way there were people who sat in their extremely dark, Hellishly smoky offices before feeling themselves tumbling to Earth and then losing their lives is profoundly haunting to me at this particular moment in my life. Maybe having children makes you see things differently or maybe I feel more of a connection in some other way to those victims that day than I did as a very young adult.

Back then I was in shock but it felt like war. I felt defiant. 9/11 felt like the harbinger of battle and I felt prepared to tackle the situation with my youth. For a second I even considered enlisting in the military. I had political ambitions back then and I wondered if I should volunteer. But, then I realized quickly that I wasn’t cut out for military life…

However now, as I listen to the final phone calls and see the photos of the jumpers I…feel connected to their helplessness. I understand their fear in a different way. And I find profoundly mind-twisting puzzles in considering what became of them all after their passings.

Where did they go?

Did they vaporize and float through the air and that’s it except for the memories and love they left behind? Did they linger for a bit; their consciousness outside their mortal form standing confused by the quickness of their deaths? Are some of them still there pondering it all? Did they recognize their end and then find their way to Heaven? Have some of them come back? Do some of them still follow around their loved ones just waiting? Only God knows.

Either way, I keep feeling drawn to those final moments. I keep wondering how it all fits into the larger picture of things for all of us. And I know that whatever evil misunderstandings caused it all, it’s a day that however mysterious exists profoundly on a face-value level as well as in enigma. You don’t have to question whether or not it was real or a genuine tragedy. People fell from the sky and died. People were killed. Thousands…

Lalique Soleil

I’m going to be posting lots of reviews. I thought I’d start with Prouna. Now, I’ll move on to this…

*sigh*

When Chanel Gabrielle debuted in 2017 most people thought it was boring and trite. Very disappointing. I actually disagreed, but either way, now it seems like all these new releases remind me of it… And I wonder. What does that mean?

So yes, Soleil (Lalique 2019) reminds me of (the original) Gabrielle. A lot. Except it’s more seductive and syrupy and it doesn’t suit my skin chemistry as well as Gabrielle. Still, it’s nice.

Created by noses Alexandra Monet, Barbara Zoebelein and Benoist Lapouza the notes are: Mandarin, bitter almond, jasmine, pink praline, and coffee with milk. Its drydown is admittedly the most lovely part. The opening is what really doesn’t work with my chemistry. In the drydown it’s a clean, uplifting fragrance in a pretty sort of way (the bottle looks like it’s pretty too).

Will I buy it? No. Absolutely not. Was it intriguing to sample? Yes. *smile*

Emperor Flower

South Korean Prouna is lovely fine bone china. I recently bought this jewelry box in Emperor Flower from Saks (one of the shops it’s sold in in the US) for my rings and watches. I always take those pieces off when I get home so I thought it was time to invest in a proper home for them. Putting them in a jewelry box with my other pieces never works. I always absentmindedly take them off on a table or counter someplace somewhere and it’s not wise. I’ve actually (genuinely as opposed to tossing) lost jewelry this way, unfortunately.

I love this pretty box. I love this pretty pattern.

Now the question is: Do I like Prouna more than Royal Copenhagen? Do I want a whole set of Emperor Flower?

I love my one piece of Royal Copenhagen (from the 60’s). A lot.

But, there’s something very lovely about Prouna. And it’s fresh and new (relatively speaking). I rarely go for “fresh and new” but this might be an exception. Truly. I might buy a set for tea or breakfast of Royal Copenhagen but my main “nice set of china” might now become Prouna (Wedgwood Edme not considered as I use that for both casual/formal settings.) I don’t know, but I love it….

Prouna Emperor Flower (fine bone china with 24K gold detail) can be purchased here (where they have the boxes) and here .

Done!

They finished sizing and appraising my emerald ring. It’s perfect! And as I predicted we saved money (over a thousand) finding the setting ourselves.

My natural (and untreated) emerald in an 18k (white gold) restored vintage (possibly close to antique) Art Deco setting. Yay! I love it!

Émeraude

My husband went into our jeweler with one of my rings today for a sizing of the now mostly completed emerald and white gold ring. The jeweler decided on a size 5 and that was that.

My husband models my new ring on his pinky finger at the jeweler for the camera.

I’m extremely excited for this ring to be totally finished and appraised. It’s already my absolute favorite ring ever (so far). Emeralds and I get along well apparently.

And I read an excellent article about Caroline Calloway written by Naomi Reghay for Vox (not to mention the way the New York Times has been expertly covering her story since yesterday – LOVE that news source.). It’s been fascinating to watch the way everyone participates in the current discussion around her. Personally, I just wish her a better tomorrow…