I very rarely review perfume on this blog nowadays. I used to have about a thousand reviews (?) that I’d written over a span of five years. But, I ordered some things from Saks (a store we no longer have in my area) and they sent me a sample of this new Yves Saint Laurent fragrance.

According to Fragrantica the top notes are: mandarin orange, lavender, black current and petitgrain. The middle notes are: jasmine, lavender and orange blossom. And, the base notes are: Madagascar vanilla, cedar, ambergris, and musk. The noses behind the fragrance are Anne Flipo and Carlos Benaim. It’s classified as an Oriental Fougere.

It’s pretty ordinary for a designer fragrance. At first its depth, unisex charm (think of a nod to 90’s men’s scents) and sharp lines reminds me a bit of something by Prada from the 2000’s. But into the drydown it’s very similar to my Chanel Gabrielle and Dior Joy. Too similar. As if those two aren’t considered derivative enough.

But…all that being said…sometimes ordinary is nice. And for matching a somewhat melancholy but pretty mood on a sunny, late summer day it’s perfect. I’d never buy it as it’s already far too redundant for my collection, but it’s genuinely enjoyable. At least, I think so.

The sillage and is mild, actually, at least with my chemistry. But again, for a summer day that’s nice. They picked the right time of year to debut it.


I was taught, as most Christians are, that astrology is evil. That being said, I’ve had my chart done twice by professionals. Both times I’ve been told I was a Scorpio given my birth location and actual time of birth (ascendant Libra). And I’ve always felt like a Scorpio (except for loathing non-sports related competition and non-romantic jealousy, and disliking being the one “in charge” in a romantic relationship). God will have to perhaps explain to me how it all works someday if it’s wrong, I suppose.

My Myers-Briggs type is INFJ/INTJ. I’m a mix of both. I’m publicly more INTJ though.

It’s funny though. More than once I’ve been met with disbelief when I’ve shared the information above. For example, people are often floored that I’m a Scorpio. “Are you a Leo?” they ask confidently? I shake my head no. “A Taurus?” I shake my head no. They look confused. “A Cancer?” they ask with decision. No. “You’re a Sagittarius.” most people say after hearing my birthday (not knowing the particulars). Maybe it’s a load of rubbish after all.

But, regardless, my birth stone is orange. I’ve been snowed out by blizzards or sick on more than one birthday. And people often read too much or the wrong thing into what I’m saying or doing and don’t realize my actual meaning or tone. *sigh*

If I could pick a birthstone I’d want it to be emerald, actually. I think it suits me. Orange looks good on me as a clothing item but that’s as far as I take it (except for coral lipstick). Leo has a lovely sound to it. And I think it’d be fun to be born in June.

I’ll stay with INTJ/INFJ though…

Homes For Millennials

A recent article in The Atlantic jarred me yesterday when I read it: Here.

As a Millennial, I can say that we have indeed lived in apartments or condos we didn’t own until the last year when we bought a house. We actually could afford to buy, but it wasn’t financially prudent. Buying a home you don’t plan to live in for at least five years is generally just a luxury and won’t really benefit your overall financial health. At least that’s what a financial advisor told my husband in his 20’s and he agreed when he did the math himself and it’s also proven true over time.

Of course, on the other hand, we were very kindly and generously offered a lovely downtown row house/townhouse to live in and be given to own, years ago when I was first pregnant with our son, that my husband’s parents own (they have a few personal residences). But, it was out of state and we wanted to live in a specific place nearby. Perhaps many people would see refusing that gift as a very financially foolish choice, but I think when it comes to finances it’s all about balance. You don’t want to spend more than you should for appearances sake on your abode (i.e. just to convince certain people of your social status) or buy solely for the pure luxury of ownership if that’s unwise and yet you also don’t want to make your life significantly less enjoyable if you truly have a choice.

The home offered to us would have been nice and people who judged us for not owning a home would likely have been singing a very different tune if we’d accepted it from my in-laws, but again, the residence was in Pennsylvania and we lived in the Midwest. I went to college in PA and I love the East Coast, but I wouldn’t want to move back to Pennsylvania to live permanently and my husband didn’t feel he could advance as much in his career there either, unfortunately. Seattle or Boston are actually the optimal cities for what he does, but Midwestern larger cities aren’t too bad either. I also like raising my children closer to my family than Pennsylvania, although I have friends from college I still miss who live in that area.

Anyway, we fit the Millennial form, I guess.

And, when I read an article like the one above I feel panic. We have been very fortunate but as that article points out, real wealth isn’t just about specific people. It’s about the overall health of a country. Having generational blessings doesn’t make you immune to the effects of a diseased overall economy (as genuinely grateful as I am). We all affect each other.

No, as the Baby Boomers age and leave behind a crippled world, I do hope they realize that things mattered. It was all real and meaningful and worth fighting for after all. And as we wheel most of them down the hall to their lonely rooms someday (at best) hopefully they’ll have the dignity and self-worth to admit a few Godly (or moral) regrets after all.

Green And Gold

The center emerald is mine from before (a natural Columbian emerald) and the other two are natural aa to aaa (the one on the left is aaa) emeralds like my original stone. My husband chose the one on the left yesterday at our jeweler (as pictured). They’re all around a half a carat or so.

When I recently bought the white gold (10k) Art Deco antique/vintage setting I had the center emerald in mind. I’ve had it for years (since 2011) and I’ve been looking for just the right setting for years, but alas…the emerald is a tiny bit too big (to set it safely). *rolling eyes* Can you see the slight difference in size between the center stone and the two on the sides?

Actually though, if you look closely enough I think you can notice that the two on the sides are a bluer green too. The center was mined in Columbia and I’ve read that Columbian emeralds tend to be warmer and more truly verdant in color as opposed to Zambian natural emeralds (and I suspect these other two natural stones are from Zambia, although they could be Columbian as my husband forgot to ask for where they were mined from yesterday, likely assuming our jeweler would just find Columbian stones). I love the look of Columbian emeralds… BUT…last night I did look back at my original post about the ring and I realized that a bluer emerald might look better with the white gold of the setting.

*sigh and shrug*

The irony is that I had no intent to create a ring entirely from scratch when I bought that setting. *shrug* Truly. I just saw the setting while I was looking for antiques at an auction and…well…oh well. I feel bad. But I have an emerald ring I’ll wear with some regularity until my husband creates the diamond ring inspired by my grandmother’s ring because my other rings aren’t as appropriate for daytime casual use on my left ring finger (that ring was originally going to be a sapphire of course but it’s evolved).

Gosh, I love gemstones.

Here’s my finished jewelry armoire with one of my silver plated tea and coffee sets. This set seems circa 1930’s in my estimation…

Anyway, here are some numbers with a few hints.

The original loose Columbian emerald I bought in 2011 was purchased for about $150.00. (Yeah. That’s basically nothing for a natural emerald that isn’t that opaque.) Since I bought it myself and not through a jeweler I got a great price. It’s worth around $1,000.00 (or a little more). Lovely! Right?

The 10k white gold setting was purchased for a mere pittance at auction (less than $100.!), BUT if I had made a setting fitted for the Columbian emerald it would have cost thousands. That’s the catch. I have to find that rare loose setting that will fit the Columbian emerald to truly save any money. But, it’s an adventure. It’s a hobby. Right? And the emerald my husband chose yesterday was only around a thousand (singular) so combined with the setting it’s still a very good price for a truly unique piece that’s partially vintage/antique in origin but totally in the aesthetic sense, and that’s worth a thousand or two more (or more?) than what we actually paid for it when finished. Very good! It always pays to put in a little effort with certain things (and have fun).

*happy face*

An Emerald Ring Continued

My husband is off to our jeweler on Monday to pick out a slightly smaller emerald for my vintage/antique 1920’s/30’s (Art Deco) white gold setting. Smaller than the loose emerald I have. The jeweler is just waiting for the emeralds to arrive for my husband to choose from. I’m looking forward to seeing whatever my husband decides on since the ring should be finished in about a week. If they do a good job with this ring (I fully expect they will as they always have in the past), we’ll likely use them for the other.

The Lillian Hellman book (actually a collection of three books) is over 700 pages so I’ve decided to post about just that first, since I’ve finished it, before finishing Hitler’s Generals.

It is astoundingly good. Like fresh air. Hope.

Reading Hellman’s words about her experiences was like a hug from Heaven or the nurturing presence of a parent as you recall them being in youth. Clarity. Truth. Wisdom. I’m at a loss to describe it well, but I plan to look for more work like An Unfinished Woman: A Memoir as I can tell that my soul is longing for its literary companions.

No, it isn’t a short read, but it’s so enjoyable. Remember how deeply intelligent and cathartic and cerebrally comforting Woody Allen films used to be before “Me Too”? (I still watch them) Well, imagine that sort of shredding honesty and insight (beauty) from the eyes of one of the most brilliant playwrights in history, who also happens to be female. As the forward says, Lillian Hellman manages to describe in a few sentences what some authors can’t get around to in a whole book. Her descriptions of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and her family, Hammett and other friends at home and abroad are profoundly aware. In just a few paragraphs here and there she genuinely describes them.

But Hellman was a gift. Truly. If you need a vacation from 2019 find an old copy of An Unfinished Woman, sit in a tub with Epsom salt, drink chilled lemon water, put on old jazz and enjoy. And hey, if it makes you feel like crying for the past, all the better…

Soon I’ll write a quick bit about the other book… Intriguingly, as Hellman writes so eloquently about World War II, her book seemed particularly appropriate paired with the other one. And of course, it prompted more thoughts on the topic.

Here goes:

…My great grandmother’s family back in Norway were very actively involved in the resistance during WWII. Her sister, a teacher, was a spy and eventually had to flee to England to escape the Nazis (who occupied Norway) as they had discovered her.

And, of course, there were two heavily decorated American fighter pilots (great uncles), and other brave soldiers among my family in that war too. However, my mother’s father had something wrong with his legs or feet (?) that prevented him from being a soldier, and my paternal grandfather, who was a foreman at a Naval shipyard in San Francisco (where they made the huge ships for the Navy), actually didn’t go overseas as well.

But, my maternal grandmother sacrificed an incredible amount. She lost her absolute true love (and first love) in Pearl Harbor, as he was in the Navy on a ship when it was bombed. When my grandmother died (many decades later) we found the ring he had given her (about 70 years earlier) hidden in her pocket. She’d be over 100 years old now…

Anyway, I’m off to read more about Nazis.


I started searching for the perfect handbag a few years ago. Growing up I never was that fascinated by them… Although, in the suburb I grew up in luxury handbags were ubiquitous. And I saw relatives wear them. It’s not as if I had never seen them before.

And now, as I’ve written too often, after acquiring three used bags I still haven’t found my true “it bag” other than my beloved Noé. I have considered buying an unusual vintage one…but I worry it would wear out too quickly. Vintage clothing and accessories are inherently somewhat fragile. So, I’ll cherish the alligator bag from earlier but it’s not my “it bag” despite the fact that I love it.

There are some bags I’d never buy and others I’m confused about. Despite how chic some friends and previous friends and influencers make Goyard look, with their innate charm when they carry it, I can’t see myself ever buying one. Something about the pattern and texture of Goyard seems more suited to a luxury trunk than a bag in my estimation (like the one Wallis Simpson used). People could say the same about canvas Louis Vuitton, but I love the vachetta and the overall colors of the monogram bags. …Although, as far as Goyard goes, I knew a man once who carried the clutch very well. It really worked for him.

I’ll find my bag. I really will…

We went to the site of Jaffee’s tonight. It’s a glass skyscraper now with nice lighting. I’ve been inside the building at a bar with my husband once years ago, so I didn’t feel the need to go inside.

Here’s a photo of my husband and I on a date back then (my teeth are less straight now *rolling eyes*):

I’ll be changing the feeling of this blog a bit. I realized how much I truly long to talk about certain things based on my last post. So, my next few posts will be about books! The two below are what I’m reading now, although a cousin just published his first novel (!) so I should add that to my list too…

I love history so these will be my starters (my second signature Orangers En Fleurs is in the background):

This is such a good history of WWII in general. It gives genuine insights into the mindset of the Nazis and that’s something that feels so relevant these days, unfortunately. If you’re going to compare people to Nazis this is worth reading. Ha!

And I love Lillian Hellman.

I don’t think I’ll post again until I’ve finished these and can properly review them. See you then!

Alligator Handbags

About two years ago I purchased this late 1960’s (genuine) alligator handbag from an estate sale. Working as an antique dealer occasionally allows me to find fashionable little treasures.

The receipt inside is what really caught my attention though, when I examined it. Given inflation this handbag would now be priced at around $650. (new at the rate from 1967.) I paid $15. *huge smile*

And yes, I love to calculate inflation. You can do it here too if you’re intrigued. Economics is really genuinely fascinating stuff. It’s like looking at the engine(s) of our civilizations.

Anyway, do you ever wonder what experiences you missed (like majoring in economics)? I do.

When I was 14 I had a huge crush on a teenage boy I’d met through my aunt one summer. He was so handsome. His parents owned about many acres on the side of a mountain in Montana. They lived in a beautiful old stone house from the 1800’s and he and his sister went to a private prep school in Connecticut in the winter. Not Loomis Chaffee where my husband would have gone if his mother hadn’t decided against it (because she wanted her son at home as a teenager). But another one (Choate?)…

They would ride home on the train with Tom Brokaw from Connecticut as he was a neighbor of theirs in the mountains. When I heard the news about Mr. Brokaw with the “Me Too” Movement I was saddened as my image of him was as a kindly older man who cared about his neighbor’s kids enough to go out of his way to be kind, keep them safe and ride home with them.

My aunt was very close friends with this young man’s mother. Very close. I have to assume they still are close…

But…boy did I have a crush on him. Somehow, I knew nothing would ever come of it because it seemed too good to be true and life rarely is that truly charmed. But I wish I’d been less of a hopeless romantic at that age and tried more to introduce myself to him anyway. I was more overwhelmed and smitten by his good-looks than anything else, I think. Thankfully when I met my husband I was wise enough not to expect him to be so deep as to take my sweet and coy glances as an invitation to talk and I just…talked to him. Imagine that.

But I was shy as a teenager. Very shy.

People said I was beautiful. But, I was also dorky. My favorite class was orchestra (I play a viola). I loved classical music, had for years already and still do. I was passionate about it. But, I really was decidedly not cool… Ha! I knew that and it held me back from flirting. I think I thought if such a handsome young man was ever going to notice me it’d be against the odds. Ha. I was not a popular, buff 15 year old’s ideal girlfriend at that age. *laughing* Here’s evidence:

(I still love fishing. …And I wore pearls, foundation and blush. Look at those brows! Ha!)

I never do photograph well though.

Anyway, tonight I’m going to investigate that handbag. I’m not going to miss the simple little opportunity now to track down this old store’s location and look around the area. You have seize moments even if you think it’s insignificant and others like it will come along. There were many cute boys (with a rugby physique). There are lots of fascinating vintage or antique items with a past, but…you have to fully engage with what’s in front of you.

More later.

Greed And Indoctrination

One of my uncles (on my father’s side) owns a large business that employs lots of people. But, he doesn’t like unions. He also pays well and I’ve always known him to be an honest, intelligent and considerate man. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t run his company with genuine integrity and he’s been interviewed and his business discussed in business journals for his leadership and innovations. He’s a very smart person.

But, for a while he was targeted viciously by a man who works for a local union. Things got out of control. However, my uncle stayed-the-course and refused to be bullied or controlled by force.

…Not all “liberal”, “progressive”…stuff…is completely truthful or good. (unionization is depressingly tricky for both sides) Honestly, too many people are manipulative and can be manipulated. …So, really, I don’t think it’s wise to trust any one point of view to have all of the answers or most objective truths.

Still, if you read the thoughts of many “cool” (is woke still in as a word?) people under the age of…70 (?) most of what you read is obsessively progressive. And, frankly, many of them seem to have unfortunately and strangely absorbed the negativity they claim to be against. Like those people in horror films who are overtaken by the very demons they “don’t believe in” and then start losing their minds… (Yes, I’m thinking about “The Shining” still.)

Part of me wonders if any of the hateful and emotionally violent women who “hate the patriarchy” (Not everyone who espouses such a viewpoint is hateful of course!) realize that their intellectual shallowness, dishonesty and conceit are no less wrong than that of a man? Actually it’s funny. They maliciously rail against the “stupidity” of other women who they secretly envy and admire (or some men) but who don’t bow to their ego in one way or another and then, after being abusive, still seem to think (at least subconsciously) that they’re “innocent”. They’re resting on the premise that women are allowed to be jerks because of…well…our “weakness”? (Irony) …So they can be “cranky” to other people and it should be excused because of…hormones? “Their time of the month”? Or? What? They have “little minds” and “big emotions”? Being level-headed and mature isn’t “cool” though… I guess?

It’s all such bullshit (please forgive my language).

And again, we wonder why Trump will probably be re-elected. Because, just to warn you, he likely will be… And I’m saying that as someone who’s rather sad and detached about the state of things, at present.

…Actually, that uncle dated Josh Duhamel’s mother for a while before they decided to be just friends (yes Fergie’s Josh) …and then he fell in love with his secretary (who’s not young by the way, and that’s lovely). His first wife died of cancer. And I miss her.

Anyway, like many shrewd business folks he’s very on the fence right now about Trump… But, as he said to my father, “I have to think about the future. I have to have hope. I’m trying to grow my business. I can’t think that the world will just end next week…” (I’m slightly paraphrasing his words.)

And then I wonder if these women who think that “the patriarchy” is the problem (based on what their most persuasive professors told them)…would continue to think it was as much of an issue if my uncle was their father. If they met someone young who is like him and then they dated and became serious? Lived together? …He’s a kind and handsome man.

While the vacations for months and the estate with stables and the private plane rides or truly luxury automobile took over their life and schedule…would they still…feel so “woke”? …I doubt it. Sorry. Some maybe. But not most. These are normal humans we’re talking about not saints or angels. Or idiots necessarily, for that matter, either.

No, I think we can all fall into our own Overlook Hotel. A place where toxic groupthink and our flaws circumvent our sanity or we realize we didn’t know what or who we were as well as we had arrogantly assumed. Perspective changes things and you have to be honest with yourself all the time to be truly good…

But again, I hope we find our middle path in this country.

By the way, my analogy of the river as American politics from posts ago was inspired by a brilliant book called, River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candace Milliard. I read it years ago, but it’s still one of my favorites. Where’s a good Roosevelt when you need one? Right?

…And so my random thoughts for a Thursday conclude. Thank you for reading.

A Hotel In Purgatory

As a Christian I believe in Heaven and Hell and God and the Devil. I believe they exist as explained in the Bible.

However, I suspect that there may be Purgatory too. Rather Catholic of me, perhaps… And while there are ghosts there are demons and angels as well.

And…I tend to think these places exist in a place we have yet to scientifically define, account for, or explain. Perhaps these places occasionally intermingle with our current spot.

“The Shining”, a work of Kubrick’s genius based on a King’s genius, is probably one of the most honest and terrifying films ever made about many things, including and foremost the supernatural realm. There’s something about it that’s…genuinely otherworldly. Whenever I watch it I can feel it. Something about every little detail and essence captures reality to an astounding degree. Better than any “ghost hunters” show ever did.

Kubrick’s version of the 1920’s has haunted me since I saw it for the first time years ago one dreary fall day. The scenes in the bar are…much more eerie and scary than any of the bloody that’s also everywhere. At least partly because they involve the actual unknown and I suspect real entities from that era somehow were involved in the filming. Is that possible?

And then there’s all the interpretations of the film. Personally I have two favorites, with one of them being that it’s an abstract representation of American History. American History up until 1980 and all the pieces of World History that we’re connected to (ie The Holocaust, The Cold War, the slaughter of the Native Americans, etc.). But…why the 1920’s was chosen especially fascinates me.

It’s almost like…it was when we stood on a precipice as a country, towering over our golden treasures below, drunk as a skunk, naïve about our own limitations but not innocent. Clever yet foolish. Filled with ennui but paradoxically charmed and brightened by old-fashioned optimism. Handsome. Risqué. Wild. Refined.

Jack…gave up his soul to the Devil for a drink and because he was a reincarnation of the old caretaker and he longed desperately to return “home” forever. That lady in the green bathroom was likely his ex wife one way or another.

He was still in love with that past life and the Hotel had a certain draw to him. It called him just as it called to Grady (there were two Gradys but I suspect they were the same person with the same last name just incarnated twice). …And both men went mad. Both men had existed there before. The Hotel maybe was like a sort of purgatorial soup…

Grady wanted Danny dead because he wanted someone to play with his daughters? Or was he a sacrifice? Maybe? And who knows…maybe it was only a test. Maybe the idea was to find a way to trap Jack. Because they really just wanted Jack to come to them to be tortured? Maybe they knew he’d always be the only one in his family to die and the death of the brave cook was only an accident. Poor planning on the part of the ghosts.

And all those sentences about Jack being a dull boy? I wonder. What did they say in Jack’s mind? Or were they written in the past?

Actually, I tend to think Jack actually ceases to exist in the natural world entirely before he dies. It’s why Wendy can defend herself so easily. He’s mostly just a ghost at that point. He’s being washed slowly back into the past. He’s more in the past than the present. Or more dead than alive. More in Purgatory or Hell than life. And perhaps his sanity is being tortured in the hereafter while his body is being used. The book sort of points to that a bit.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on it.

Disrespectful People

Who are disrespectful people? Almost everyone is rude nowadays compared to how we all were ten or twenty years ago. If you look back farther you’ll be mortified.

You’re not supposed to tell people about your background. Your wealth. But nowadays people look at you with savage narcissism and idiocy in equal measure and assume they can “take you down” with smoke and mirrors, and leaky canoes. They call it confidence but they secretly know it’s just tragedy.

So, I made the decision a while ago to rudely point out the obvious. And to stop letting people’s narcissism and my fear of the way it bursts with the intent often to destroy you, control me. I’ve made people furious. I’ve been lied to. I’ve been stalked. I’ve made new friends…

The last film I saw was “The Shining Hour”. Ha! And…so I watched “The Shining”. And I was reminded of the people I’ve met who want to “keep me”. “Wendy, darling, light of my life! I’m not gonna hurt you. You didn’t let me finish my sentence. I said I’m not gonna hurt ya. I’m just gonna bash your brains in. I’m gonna bash ’em right the f*** in! [laughs]” You know. That sort. They lack a sense of their own humanity to varying degrees… They’re like black holes.

Among the many things we need to solve, helping people organically develop a better sense of great purpose, good proportion and empathy would be…Heavenly. It’s always been needed but more now than ever.

But…I can’t keep writing about it. I love who I am in a healthy way. It’s not based on my accomplishments, my appearance, my family or my collections. It’s just that I’m a soul God created. That’s enough. And I wish everyone could love themselves…

More later about “The Shining”.