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…

Too Irish

Today I was talking to my best friend about why it is that insecure or angry people with an axe to grind about something to do with hierarchies…be it class, physical appearances, or whatever, seem to often choose me to take all their pent-up hostility on. We talked about why it is that they decide to compete. We discussed why they basically use me to feel better, or at least try to. This happens to me in lots of places…

And, since my friend actually gives a flip about me, they didn’t have some self-promoting answer. No. They actually tried to help.

I’m too…chill.

Remember how I said in my last post that I like my current class trajectory? I’m not terribly upset that I’ll likely (I suppose you can’t rule it out, but still…) never be a billionaire. I’m cool with who I am. But, that’s just my…way. I’m not pathetic, but I can be content with whatever blessings I have. I’m not one to strive or compete. I can be very intense, but I’m not actually a pushy person. I can be very sensitive and somewhat reserved (when I’m not writing) but I’m not insecure.

Anyway, I think some people see that gentleness and sweetness and think I’m vulnerable. And, in so far as I do tend to care more than most people do, I am. I’m resilient and determined but I do have a great deal of compassion naturally, and things affect me. As much as I prod along doggedly about class and how absurd things are…and I have lashed out…I’m not actually enjoying it. Not really. It has felt good to stand up for myself to bullies who I felt societal and group pressure to patronize and ignore for years…but I don’t like saying things that could hurt people in the areas where they’ve been unfairly bruised even a tiny bit.

This is why I had admiration for the hater I wrote about the other day. The one who overdosed. I’m not blind to the real inequalities that we all live with. I’m not blind to the real (not just self-imposed) suffering of other people.

So…why go after me? Because people don’t want to go after the people they’re actually afraid of. Why get angry when I start writing truth? Because if I become emotionally dangerous to bully…*shrug* well, there’s one less person who can be a distraction from dealing with problems in an effective way. Reality comes calling. *buzzing of a phone*

When you present a sweet image in the public-eye (to even a relatively small public) it’s endearing and a lot of people will love it, but…yes…you become vulnerable to any narcissistic tendencies in your audience, actual narcissistic people and, of course, clinical narcissists. You’re just waiting for a slap from somewhere to come flying toward your tender cheeks…

I wonder why people who are angry don’t go after people in their world who actually intimidate them. Not just the low-hanging ripe fruit. Laziness? Lack of intelligence? Lack of creativity? Mental illness? A personality disorder? Lack of confidence? Lack of self-love? *shrug* I dunno.

I mean…I can think of young ladies from high school who were so genuinely mean. And they had the sort of style and attitude and background that a lot of my bullies would have been both impressed by and…probably intimidated by. And, they knew how to “work it”. They were the Daisy-types from the Great Gatsby. They were…seemingly heartless. Almost everyone was in awe of them. And, even if you weren’t, you had to move out of their way or they’d bite you. Not literally, of course… I have never and could never be that. I get too involved. I get too affected. I get too attached to beauty or any real love…

No. I was the one trying to raise money for various charitable causes and running the literary society. I was the one playing my viola.

And…if my immediate family that I was raised in in everyday life had had the money then that we do now…I think I know at this point what would have happened. I’ve often wondered over the years. I would have skipped the liberal phase in college and my 20’s in general. I would have been…kind…but…I’d probably be holed away somewhere in academia. Hiding from people who hurt people like me as well as I possibly could. And if that didn’t work…I don’t know.

And that’s where I go forward.

I’ll be taking a break from this blog to attend to a few things in my life and I need to finish the reading I assigned myself. But I’ll break my quiet to share the emerald ring when it’s finished.

Beyond Jealousy (Warning: Yes, I’m still writing through unhappy feelings)

…My husband and I were talking about my feelings that I expressed this weekend on my blog. And we realized (as we have before) that a lot of the problems that evolved on Instagram stemmed from the way we are all limited by our own perspective. Sure, people were jealous. Sure, I got sick of it and eventually lashed-out in my own way… *rolling eyes* But…we think the element most responsible for all the mess was indeed ignorance. Not, just the sort that comes from a lack of quality education but ignorance stemming from the weird 21st Century crisis of extreme over and under exposure to objective truth (or even the acceptance of its innate existence).

Community doesn’t exist the way it used to. That’s a very well-documented and discussed fact. People aren’t as grounded by the push and pull of their own worlds as they used to be and, they also are more lonely. People are under-exposed to real, boring, genuinely scary, wonderful and tragic…objective reality.

Still, at the same time, we meet people we’d never have met otherwise online. In real life you can examine who people are so much better. We’re social creatures and we’ve evolved genius ways to figure out objective truths about each other in person. We can still make mistakes in person but it’s much less likely there than online with the fuzzy or fake portraits we’re presented. Also, you learn to deal with rejection in person in a myriad of ways as you grow-up if you’re a healthy person, so if you meet someone who you can tell doesn’t find you as funny or charming as you believe you are, you can deal with it. You develop coping mechanisms. Online, you can’t even figure out what objective reality is well enough to figure out which coping mechanism to employ. But, as social creatures, we have to try to manage it all and do so for people who not only are obscured by the internet haze but for at least some people who are types we likely haven’t had a lot of experience dealing with.

First, I think, most (not all) of the people I was having issues with came from socio-economic backgrounds that I’ve honestly had little experience with. And I think most (not all) of them never really moved beyond that background very much, if at all. …I grew up in a very nice (and genuinely sophisticated) family in very nice (read affluent and educated) areas in a nice state in the US. I had an excellent education. I’m white and a cis female. And, I’m now at least upper-middle class. And, someday, before I’m 40 I’ll technically join the upper-class according to the Pew Research Center.

I have to spell these things out… And, I’ll continue.

…I didn’t grow up in anything like real poverty. My parents had to be careful with their money but we weren’t poor.

I never lived in a trailer park or even near one. I never lived on a poor farm or in an impoverished rural area. I never lived in a poor or working class southern region in the US (a lot of the south in the US is like that, unfortunately). I lived in a hood (very bad neighborhood) for six months once to help someone in need, but other than that I’ve never lived in a “hood”. And I’ve never lived anywhere but in a “first world country”. Honestly…I’m clueless as to the type of insecurities that could develop if I’d experienced something otherwise.

I get bourgeois arrogance. The middle class, I pretty much understand… And I intimately understand those in between the middle and upper class. …And the lower parts of the upper… I grew up around those people. And, again, not people who pretend to be like me or the people I’m describing. Those. Actual. People. And…those are the people I have subconsciously in my head as a reference.

I do not understand (NOT saying that this is a good thing)…how someone could go into serious debt to buy an expensive car (for a general rule of thumb anything over $35,000.00) when they can’t buy a house. And when I say I don’t understand I mean that literally. I don’t get the emotional (or any other) process that makes that seem like a good choice to make. But I’ve met plenty of people from a background that’s of a lower class who do that very thing and seem to think it’s fine.

Or, ironically, I don’t understand what it’s like to be the most well-off family in your neighborhood…

I really don’t. *smiling* Even though I grew-up around money and was raised in the family I was raised in and married and dated who I did I never was with or was “top dog” of any community financially (except my husband’s friends when we first met did see him as their leader).

I’ve always looked up. And I’m comfortable with that. I like that. It seems scary or somewhat undesirable to me to think of being at the top of the hill, even. I’d do it if I had to for a good reason, but it’s kind of nice to feel…surrounded by people who have more than you do when you’re doing ok too. It feels quiet and yet pleasant. It’s actually really underrated.

Anyway.

I have a sneaking suspicion that some or most of the people I’ve ever had trouble with…are used to being at the top of whatever community they are in. At least in some way. And so, they got jealous and just went for it… Because that’s what they know? It’s like, “Yeah, I’m the best! And if I ever meet someone who threatens that self-perception I ‘take them down’.” ?

I mean, in my world, you could ignore the fact that you don’t own and maintain a private jet for personal use (I do actually have a cousin who owns a plane, but it’s from WWII) and truly couldn’t afford one by telling yourself that…I dunno….you’d never use it? That it’s bad for the environment? That it seems too insensitive to the plight of the working-class and/or poor? And that’s all true for those who may accidentally (or more callously) abuse such a privilege, sadly. You could find ways to make someone who does own a private plane seem less “classy” in your own mind if you really wanted. And then, I dunno, you’d be able to start imagining yourself as almost their equal financially if you could buy just enough of the stuff they have (in your understanding) to sort of get a taste of their lifestyle. Then, when you try to greet your desired rival at the regatta like a socio-economic equal (or the secretly deeper, cooler, more environmentally aware individual you have come to fervently believe you are), embarrassing yourself, and they are nice but find you odd and basically snub you…you pout and tell yourself (and everyone else) that they’re obscenely backward. I mean, that must be it! Right?! You convince yourself that if they don’t recognize your bounty and find it threatening (what you want it to be) that they must be inferior in some way financially after all. You’re always going to be the best anywhere and everywhere. So, they just must be wrong somehow. I mean, who knew they were lying this whole time and actually as jealous as you had hoped for (eventually when you conquered them)? Right?! Yay!! *ironic and yet triumphant sigh*

Why? Why that farce?

Because you’re the “cool girl” in Minneapolis society comparing yourself to the Duchess of Cambridge. You have a 4 million (US Dollars) estate on Lake Minnetonka. A 3 million apartment in Paris that really means a lot to you for status reasons… A $500,000.00 cabin in Minnesota’s Northwoods and a summer home in Florida. (Not me I’m describing but within view in my world) …You’re wealthy. And you likely are a very big deal where you come from, but…you’re not that wealthy or powerful. It’s absurd. But…again…you’re used to being the best in your world.

“Oh my gosh!” you yell insanely at the Duchess of Cambridge from a crowd as she passes by. “We’re a lot alike! I love you!” Or, if you’re truly dense or unhinged enough, “Oh my gosh!” you yell (absurdly) at the Pope in his Popemobile. “I walked past an old abandoned Catholic church once and thought it looked kind of pretty. People thought my observations about it were deep. We are probably soo much alike on a spiritual level. I mean, I might even be closer to God than you?” Or the people who critique truly famous people like, “Ugh. Ivanka Trump is so basic with her straight blond hair and constant, huge smile. I mean, so Barbie.” That said by someone who wore Uggs for years and only stopped wearing them last spring…and who is trying to “take down” (Really? From your Twitter?) a lady who for better or worse has some of the top security clearances in the world. BUT, they did own UGGS when they were actually cool (they just wore them for far too long).

En fin.