A Birthday Gift

Next month, November, is my birthday month. And, as I inch closer to 40 I’m adjusting to the idea that I’ll be definitively middle-aged in ten years. I’ll be 45 going on 46 by then.

Anyway, my list of things I want has been revised. I know what I’ll likely be receiving for my birthday this year and I’m excited to say that my antique sterling silver teapot is off my list. *happy smile* It’ll be especially lovely to use it this fall and winter. All I need now is a proper sterling silver tea strainer (I have one but it’s not particularly pretty and it’s not silver).

Downstairs in the formal dining room I have my 1930’s/40’s Japanese Phoenixware blue and white creamer, some vintage/antique English ironstone pieces by Wedgewood, a cut glass teapot warmer from a local tea shop and a few pieces of antique plated silver prepared for tea with my new English Edwardian sterling silver teapot. It’ll be fantastic! …I thought about buying some blue fluted plain Royal Copenhagen, 19th Century flow blue or a nice tea cup and saucer from Saks for the occasion but I like my English ironstone and very vintage Phoenixware.

Thankfully, as I edge into 36 I’m down a definite five lbs. and I’ll be almost at ten lbs. lost soon. What’s working for me? Well, along with eating sensibly (as I was doing) and exercising daily I’ve been taking a decent vitamin D3 and quality post-natal multi-vitamin. My D3 levels were very low and my doctor prescribed me a fairly large daily dose (you don’t want to overdose on D3 though as that’s not safe). I’m also drinking more water.

So, if you’re struggling with losing weight at all, as I was, I’d suggest checking your D3 levels too as well as your thyroid health, overall daily nutrition and really just getting a physical examination with your doctor in general to make sure your body isn’t trying to warn you of something. As many of us know, losing weight is about being truly healthy and not just about becoming your ideal image.

Also, I’m growing out my natural color. It’s still a neutral dark blond/very light brown . I’d keep coloring it a bit but I’m tired of the highlighted look for now and, as it is for all of us, my hair health improves with the less I do to it. It’s in a slightly short bob right now and I’ll just keep trimming it until it reaches about an inch and half past my shoulders. I think that’s a good length for me.

I haven’t had braces put back on my teeth yet. Although, I hope we’ll get around to that within the next year or so. My teeth used to be perfectly straight (after braces in my adolescence) but they’ve shifted over time and I’m starting to get annoyed with how they look (I’ve shared this before). My bite isn’t awesome either. Time to fix it sooner than later. I want my perfectly straight teeth back before I turn 40.

Two good friends of mine kept me from buying a strand of $300 cultured pearls (they were on sale) the other day from Macy’s. I thought, “What’s the difference? Most people assume pearls are faux anyway when they see them and these are legitimately pretty.” BUT, “No!” they kindly warned me. (They’re a godsend.) And so, I’m going to wait. My sterling silver teapot was worth waiting for and real quality always is. It’s not trendy to care nowadays about things like that but I still like classic, quality items (like silver, blue and white, Chanel and etc.). I don’t care how uncool that makes me seem to some people who have unintentionally made the counter-culture of the past the current mainstream? (Ha!) I’m the one who has to use the things I buy. Why not enjoy my life and purchases? It’s only common sense.

So, ignoring the aggressive Hyacinth Buckets of 2019, here’s my revised list of things (not including housing upgrades, things romantic, other clothes, plants, things fragranced, or things health or beauty related) to buy in the next year to few years:

1. A strand of new, quality cultured pearls. I have very vintage cultured pearls from my great grandmother (my mother wore them on her wedding day) but those are not for anything but a rare occasion. Speaking of which, I need to have them restrung and evaluated by our jeweler for safety.

2. A new Launer handbag (and ideally wallet too). I’m hoping to have this bag by next summer. I want to purchase it sooner than later. It has priority on my list. This will be my signature handbag. I’m absolutely positive about this bag.

3. A classic Burberry trench coat. I have a trench coat from 2010 by DKNY but it’s already a little dated and in less than stellar condition. I need to replace it with one that’ll stay chic for longer (and take better care of it).

4. A new Cartier Tank. I have one that’s vintage (maybe 1960’s or so?) but I want one that’ll be worn by me and me alone and that I don’t worry as much about very lightly damaging with regular use.

5. A new Louis Vuitton monogram Alma pm. I try not to care how much people hate monogram Louis Vuitton because I think the colors and design are lovely, elegant, historic and very versatile. This item is near the end of my list though. It’s more of an add-on.

6. A vintage Hermès Kelly Bag. It’s such a gorgeous bag. Hermès design is utterly fabulous always. However, as this isn’t my signature and it’s just for fun it’s at the very bottom of my list. Someday.

Vega 2006 (Repost)

So, I bought a sample of the 2006 version of Guerlain Vega for comparison. I was curious to see how much it had changed and to see how “off” my very vintage bottle of Guerlain Vega is.

They’re definitely the same fragrance and it seems the parfum of the original version stayed in good condition. None of the notes seem that altered, unpleasant or “off” and it’s easy to find the common notes in both versions (although they’re not totally identical of course). However, despite the innate commonalities there are a few noticeable differences.

Aside from a bit less depth, the 2006 version is also less powdery, less vanillic, less smoky, and but more tangy. While the original version almost makes you almost want to cry with its authentic, emotive core, the 2006 version is defiant, punchy and perhaps a bit more green. Actually, I almost think I smell lily in the 2006 edition, although that note isn’t listed.

The 2006 version would have been worn by a young, quick-witted Katherine Hepburn… And the older version would have been more suited to a melancholy Greer Garson or a particularly earnest Ginger Rogers. But that’s just my opinion. Either way my vintage bottle is from the collection of childhood star from Old Hollywood, Jane Withers.

I want one more bottle… Ha!

Top notes: aldehydes, bergamot and orange blossom. Middle notes: jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, blackcurrant blossom, carnation, iris and rosewood. Base notes: vanilla, sandalwood and amber.

Nose: Jean Paul Guerlain

Cèdre Atlas (Repost)

Lemon and black current jump around wildly at the start (Atelier Cologne 2015). Perhaps it’s the cedar that finally tethers them down and eventually mixes them together with a dash of apricot, earthy papyrus and beautiful vetiver and amber. Cèdre Atlas is expansive, a little romantic, and very clean and contemporary. It feels cheerful to wear. Of course, as with many Atelier Cologne fragrances the longevity is a problem but I believe for some of them it’s definitely worth it to just wear and reapply when needed.

Top notes: lemon, black currant and bergamot. Middle notes: apricot, jasmine and cedar. Base notes: vetiver, papyrus and amber.

Nose: Jerome Epinette

Neiman’s Part II.

So, I know what I think about the rest of the Neiman’s samples.

Pai Light Work Rosehip Cleansing Oil is fantastic! It works well to remove make-up but it also detoxes pores. Yet, as rich as the oil is it washes away like a mild soap. It also smells very good and yet doesn’t irritate the skin. I don’t use soap or any sort of cleanser on my skin but if I did this would be a top choice.

Oh La Mer. It has such a storied past… But, I wasn’t overly impressed this time around. It works well enough (both the foundation and the moisturizer) but it’s not the best. Not anymore… At least, that’s my opinion.

Amore Pacific Time Response is fine. For a $300 product it’s fine. My skin looked noticeably better with it than without and although it was very perfumed it wasn’t that irritating. It’s a quality moisturizer. However, it’s not one I would ever purchase because there are better options.

Guerlain makes some of the world’s best and most historic perfumes. Period. It’s a grand house. That being said, this moisturizer is…dull, at best. Disappointing at worst. And, I’ve heard similar stories from other people who have used Orchidée Impériale.

It’s a gorgeous name for a product and the packaging is pretty but it’s just a fragranced facial lotion that sits on the skin and doesn’t improve almost anything to a satisfactory degree. Unhappy pores, fine lines? This won’t get rid of them.

And then we have one of my favorite houses for skincare: Estée Lauder. I truly think they make some of the most effective skincare available and have for years.

Aerin Rose Hand and Body Cream is luxurious. So luxurious. The rose note in this cream is magic and this truly works to make skin softer. It’s a pleasing product in every way. I don’t use beauty products with phthalates unless I have to so I don’t think I’d buy this, but gosh. It’s worth it. And it makes me more curious about Aerin fragrances in general actually.

But Re-Nutriv Ultimate Lift? Oh my. This $300 moisturizer is utterly fantastic! It’s heavily fragranced and, again, I do try to be careful about the ingredients in my skincare and only make a few exceptions (like ANR) but goodness. It totally transformed my skin, especially in combination with my regular Advanced Night Repair. If I wasn’t worried about ingredient safety the way I am I’d buy this in a snap. It’s that good. Truly.

Of course, the lovely Estée Lauder lip liner and lipstick that came with the other samples were perfection too. I prefer Dior, Yves Saint Laurent or Chanel lipsticks (Chanel being the top favorite) but, this is undeniable quality. And these colors are so flattering. I’ll actually use both samples and love them.

So…I obviously came away realizing that Estée Lauder is indeed everything it’s supposed to be. And, isn’t that comforting? When things are what they’re supposed to be? Yes. Why yes. *smile*

Dans La Nuit (Repost)

Soft, powdery, sweet floral aldehydes are flanked by green florals, musk, amber and a pretty sandalwood. But it’s the bouquet of Dans La Nuit (Worth 1924 and 1985) that is particularly noticeable… I can easily detect numerous individual notes, in particular there’s spicy carnation, lily-of-the-valley, and rose. It’s a truly blooming scent, but the base notes are rendered boozy and juicy. And even though this vintage bottle is clearly from the 80’s formulation the mindset and heart of the original version from the roaring 20’s remains. Pleasant for a night in, much more appropriate for a night out, but certainly *night*. 

Chant D’ Arômes (Repost)

This is a chypre at its best. Vintage green floral notes are slightly sweet but far from being cloying or shrill. This Guerlain (Guerlain 1962) is like a walk through a blooming garden on a rainy day – earthy, dense, and grounded but with a musky, mysterious beauty. And although it is the first day of October this vintage Chant D’Arômes is a lovely retrospective on the recently concluded summer. It’s one last glimpse before the leaves completely turn, the snow falls and time moves forward.

Top notes: aldehydes, plum, citruses, and Gardenia. Middle notes: clove, honeysuckle, ylang-ylang and jasmine. Base notes: vanilla, vetiver, sandalwood, olibanum, heliotrope and benzoin.

Nose: Jean-Paul Guerlain

Floriental (Repost)

This is another lovely creation that reminds me of Papillon Artisan Salome and a recent one I tried by Houbignant named Demi Jour.  The notes are listed below and frankly, I can smell all of them.  It’s spicy, sweet, heady, and wonderfully warm.  I like it.

But, where Salome is erotic and Demi Jour is sweet and very warm, Floriental (Comme des Garcons 2015) turns chilly in the drydown.  At least on my skin it turns chilly.

The projection is pleasant.  It’s exceedingly polite too, unlike Salome.  Actually, if your plans are to attend a public engagement it’s a nice alternative to Salome or other potentially dicey choices that are gorgeous but could offend someone.

But, as much as it has its merits, I don’t think I’ll buy a full bottle.  The way it turns cold in the drydown isn’t quite my cup of tea.  Still, it’s a lovely one.

 

 

Notes: sandalwood, labdanum, vetiver, incense, plum and pink pepper.  

 

Balalaika  (Repost)

Ultimately very musky, Balalaika (Lucien Lelong 1939) is also a violet and bold Gardenia scent. The florals are green, spicy and woody. Doughy vanilla is sweet then smoky. Rosewood is aromatic like an old rosewood trinket box.

But Balalaika heats up as you wear it. This Lelong starts as a traditional woody floral, although somewhat mysterious, musky and sugary, but then develops into a simmering, hot vintage fragrance.

And the orange, like a pomander ball, is dry, almost overly ripe and of course… spicy.

Top notes:  mandarin orange.   Middle notes: violet, gardenia and palisander rosewood.  Base notes: woody notes, vanilla and musk. 

Fleur de Feu (Repost)

This magical beauty is very animalic on my skin (Guerlain 1948 and recreated but *not* reformulated in 2014). Of course, that’s despite a noticeable amount of aldehydes and what, for me, are a prominent lily-of-the-valley and rose (not carnation as I’ve read in other reviews 🤗🤔🤗 as I smell the carnation *much* more when sprayed on fabric and it’s a slightly sweeter fragrance too). But the aldehydes are honey drenched and there’s a passionate jasmine (I’ve seen this jasmine before in a few 1970’s fragrances) that affects the composition in such a way that it’s quite saucy. Of course, there’s a slightly cool, bergamot tinged, woody, green, muskiness too. And this combination (along with the other notes) and procession creates an overall aura of calm intensity. It’s a very sincere, unadulterated, passionate and romantic floral… But it’s a little mysterious too. And while at first I didn’t love it, when @coffeeandalgebra was so taken with it on me I started examining it more and now I think I’m starting to see what he does… It’s perfectly named.

Nose: Jacques Guerlain (recreated meticulously using the old formulation including old ingredients by Thierry Mugler in 2014)

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Top notes: aldehydes, honey, jasmine, and bergamot. Middle notes: jasmine, lily of the valley, rose, ylang ylang, violet, musk, sandalwood, and sweet acacia. Base notes: heliotrope, tonka, vanilla, and orris.

Extraordinaire Camelia 209 (Repost)


At the start, bourbon vanilla adds saucy sugar to a very supple camelia (Krigler 2009). Matter of fact this pair is so vibrant, engaging and certain in their intentions that you can’t help but be carried away momentarily to a sunlit solarium or a perfect spring day outdoors. The noble flower is flanked by delicate musk, a particularly luxurious and well done note of pink pepper, and chilled, quiet cedar. Truly, you can almost smell each petal and it’s glorious. I love this fragrance, hope to acquire a bottle someday and heartily recommend it. It’s very well blended and it has a fresh, contemporary sensibility but the brilliant detail, quality and depth are from a different time. 

Notes: camelia blossom, bourbon vanilla, musk, pink pepper, cardamom, cedar and Chinese tea.