Tabac Blond

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Ahh, the infamous, iconic Tabac Blond (Caron 1919)…  I have wanted to smell this glorious scent in vintage form since nearly I first started collecting fragrances.  It was the scent of flappers in the 1920’s, edgy and daring and I’ve read on more than one occasion (I think) that it was a favorite of Marlene Dietrich.

I was given a bottle this Christmas and I have to say, I love it…

It’s a strong leather.  The whole complex, amazing fragrance embodies strength actually…  It’s a bit smoky, a little sweet, spicy in the drydown, and in the opening a bright, perfectly citrusy, piquant note of lime compliments floral notes that are demure yet wildly appealing.  And, I can see how it was in the same generation of fragrances as Shalimar.  It has that same elegant sparkle.

Honestly, although Marlene Dietrich is associated with this rich, powerful masterpiece and I’d like to think that I can imagine how it may have suited her well, for some reason I think of Katharine Hepburn when I smell it…   It’s unafraid, intelligent, and nearly explosive but ultimately too well-bred and cerebral to lose composure, and it has that same sturdy, warm playfulness Hepburn portrays in most of her roles…

It’s one of my new favorites.  I’m going to have to eventually find more…

Top notes: carnation, leather, and lime blossom.  Middle notes: ylang ylang, iris, and vetiver.  Base notes: Virginia cedar, vanille, musk and patchouli.  

Chantilly

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As is the case so often with fragrances of the past that are still produced today Chantilly (Houbigant 1941) is an entirely different experience in its vintage formulation.  The vintage is almost reminiscent of Miss Dior in   its citrusy, gorgeous, peppery floral beauty.  Chantilly is sexy and lively but certainly not over the top…  And there’s a perfect leather note that just eases into the picture delicately enough not to upset the flawless harmony but is present enough to make an impact.  I’ll never look at Chantilly the same again…

Top notes:  lemon, neroli, fruity notes, and bergamot.   Middle notes: rose, ylang-ylang, jasmine, carnation, spices, and orange blossom.  Base notes: oakmoss, benzoin, musk, tonka bean, sandalwood, vanilla, and leather.  

Tuscany Per Donna

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Intensely beautiful, lush, and elegant, Tuscany Per Donna (Estée Lauder 1992) is a truly moving fragrance.  With a bold and gloriously citrusy rose, a pretty carnation, honeysuckle and wonderfully watery peony, it amounts to something a bit breathtaking.  And of course, the sandalwood, amber and vanilla encirles the florals with perfection.  Longevity and sillage are both mild to moderate.  This is a slightly short-lived wonder, but worth it.  Very worth it.

Top notes: rose, citrus and Mediterranean herbs.  Middle notes: jasmine, carnation, honeysuckle and peony. Base notes: sandalwood, amber and vanilla.

It’s so hard to know whether to wear a wedding ring or not nowadays…  I do wear one in public but sometimes it feels almost dishonest and yet not at the same time…   The ring I wear isn’t even a wedding ring.  I never had a ring I really cherished, mostly because I never really had a true “wedding ring.”  My husband and I were married in Las Vegas (no I wasn’t pregnant actually and no we weren’t already there and drunk) and we bought a genuine, but not particularily expensive sapphire ring to be a “stand in” until a real wedding ring could be purchased…  Well…  sadly, the buying, picking out, and then giving of the “actual ring” was just one of the many times the weaknesses in our relationship were highlighted…  It never really worked out, even though a very expensive diamond (yes I did just admit to that and no I’m not just bragging) was purchased at one point.  So, because it’s a bit painful to wear the diamond right now and the other ring too, I’m wearing a ring I bought myself last winter for a Christmas/birthday gift.  I love it…  It’s not by any means a symbol of our marriage but it is a beautiful ring that I love looking down at.

Sigh.  🙂

Sand and Sable

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

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

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

Summer Breezes: Part I of IV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Oh yeah?  Where are you from?”

“I’m from just outside of Baltimore.”

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

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

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

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

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

“Hey, Sarah,” I said cautiously.

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

“What do you mean?”  I asked.

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

“You did drugs?”

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

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

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

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

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

—-

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

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

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

I cheerfully disagree…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway…  just my scattered, random thoughts.

Until tomorrow. 🙂

Senchal

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Sharp, sweet and beautifully musky, Senchal (Charles of the Ritz 1981) is a heavy scent.  It’s frothy and rich with a warm vetiver note that surfaces from a depth of spices, florals (particularly tuberose), aldehydes and a surprisingly elegant note of pineapple.

It’s an interesting fragrance. It reminds me of a cross between a vintage scent from the 1920’s or 30’s and one from the 80’s. I’m guessing that that’s the mixture of the musk, tuberose (1980’s) and the benzoin, orris root and aldehydes (1920’s).  The drydown is especially nice – lots of floral and delicious citrus.

Top notes: aldehydes, pineapple, orange blossom, bergamot and lemon.  Middle notes: carnation, tuberose, lilac, orris root, jasmine, ylang-ylang and rose.  Base notes: labdanum, amber, cinnamon, musk, benzoin, vanilla, vetiver and cedar. The fragrance features spicy notes, amber and floral notes.

Gloria Vanderbilt

2015-07-12 17.06.53 (2)I once tried Gloria Vanderbilt Gloria Vanderbilt (Gloria Vanderbilt 1982) and I hated it frankly.  It was shrill, sickly sweet and fake.  The carnation smelled like play-doh.  So, when I found the vintage bottle pictured in the photo above, I was unsure whether or not to bother with it, but my instincts informed me that this vintage bottle may be a bit different than the one I had tried.  Reformulations are notorious for harming a fragrance’s integrity.

I’m very glad I tried it.

Gloria Vanderbilt, Gloria Vanderbilt in its (most likely) original form was sublime.  It’s the same lucious, rich, deep, buttery carnation found in the iconic L’ Heure Bleue but with a louder 1980’s flair.  And yet, despite its era being in the DNA this scent is timeless.  It’s slightly green, a bit spicy and really just gorgeous…  Given the fact that it’s now often overlooked, and surprisingly inexpensive if you can find a particularly old bottle (from the 1980’s not 90’s), my advice is to seize the opportunity.

Ugh.  I’ve had the photo of Gloria Vanderbilt up for almost a week now without a review.  I know I said I would return on the first of this month, but so much for that.  I’m sorry dear readers.  Tomorrow, will be the first post (other than this revised one) of this month and I’ll return to my “regular schedule.”  It’s been a stressful last couple of weeks and it’s been nice to have a small break from writing on this blog.   Also, I’ve been conducting an experiment on Instagram of trying to wear red lipstick and Chanel No. 22 (my signature fragrance) everyday for a month so I’ve not been wearing a lot of “new” scents.  This Friday is the last day for my experiment.

Anyway.  🙂

Sortilège

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Some people compare Sortilège to Chanel No.5 or Coty L’Aimant (Le Galion 1937), but in my estimation, while there are certainly some striking resemblances, it’s a very different scent.  Sortilege is more bitter, a bit deeper and more citrusy than L’Aimant.  Where L’Aimant is powder to the extreme, Sortilege is only a bit powdery and its sweetness is more rich and warm and less saccharine.  Chanel No. 5 is almost an entirely different scent to my nose.  Simply put, No. 5 is Chanelesque, Sortilège is certainly not a Chanel but shares more of a burning, sweet styrax glow of other vintage 1930’s scents.

Sortilège is dewy, a little green, spicy and in the drydown it transforms into a mellow, sunny embrace.  It’s a bit wild too. The styrax and opoponax mix with amber to create a little mischief…  Sortilège is a scent unto itself.

Top notes: bergamot, peach, aldehydes, orange blossom. Heart: lily of the valley, jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose, violet, lilac, and orris root. Base: musk, oak moss, sandalwood, vetiver, tonka, vanilla, oppoponaks, styrax and amber.

Summer Memories: Part IV of IV 

It all happens rather suddenly.  Mother arranges to send me to Minneapolis to be with her sister.  I’ll live there a year.

I don’t see George at all, until the day I leave.  Gracie, who is now nearly engaged to Pat, must have told George the time I was leaving.  George shows up at the train depot with a bouquet of flowers.

“Beth,”  he says, when we’re alone for the first time.  “I love you.  I’ll always love you.”

I shake my head back and forth and fight back tears, but it doesn’t work.  He stands there and watches me cry for a second before he grabs me.  When he holds me it feels forced and yet I’ve been missing him terribly so mind rumbles into an internal battle.  I keep telling myself that he doesn’t care and that I can feel it, but his arms sing lies so sweet and convincing.   He grabs my head in his hands, then he kisses me.

“I love you too,” I say when we stop and then immediately wish I hadn’t.

We stare silently at each other, then our gazes look off in differing directions.  “Why did you hurt me so much?”  I ask, trying to bring myself square with reality.

“Beth, my family is in trouble.  I don’t know what to do.  I love you more than anything or anyone, but I can’t leave my family in trouble.  I simply can’t.”  He strangely sits down on the ground now and places his face in his hands and begans to cry.  I stand there unsure of what to do next.  Just then my father comes along and announces, “The train will be here any minute, Beth. Get ready.”

“I have to go now.  I have to go now, George.”  He doesn’t seem to hear me. Then suddenly he rises and brushes himself off, and stands in front of me with a pitful look on his handsome face.

“I know,” he says as he grabs me and fills my mouth with kisses  This time my sister Louisa sees us as she’s coming around the corner to fetch me.  The sky is drifting into a hazy blue and red toned twilight.

“Beth!  Your train is here,” she announces before she can fully absorb the scene before her, then her voice trails off.

“Beth.”  George pushes me an arm’s length away and then grabs my hands for a second while he locks into my eyes with a weepy desperation.   I walk away, backwards, slipping away from his grasp.  He stands there still frozen in a state of pleaading sadness.

I quickly say goodbye to my family before boarding the train and then  I find my seat.  It’s conveniently next to a window, and as I look out I see my family waving, and in the background I see George. Our eyes meet. He mouths the words, “Don’t leave.” I feel a pull at my heart to stay, but the train has started taking off and the love I felt for him has been replaced with indifference and some anger.  I cried until it died.  The door is shut. I can’t get off the train and I don’t want to, so I just stare in numb silence until I can’t see him anymore.    It gets darker by the minute as we pass small towns that light up and then fade quickly.

It’s been another difficult week…  GRR!  Enough already.

But…  we’re blessed.  We really are.  Sigh.

I hope you’re having a pleasant week though, dear reader.  Are you?

🙂

Hopefully the rest of the week and the weekend will end nicely for everyone.

Maja

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Maja by Myrurgia (Myrurgia 1921) is a powdery, rich oriental with a bit of spice at first and a lot spice in the drydown. The florals are bright, and although no leather notes are listed it’s hard not to describe this as a leathery scent.

The patchouli is muddy and the cloves and nutmeg are heated like a roaring 20’s jazz tune.  And while the lavender, cool vetiver and citrus notes lend a certain respectability, this is not a scent for the faint of heart.

Notes: nutmeg, carnation, patchouli, cloves, vetiver, rose, geranium, citruses and lavender.

Summer Memories – Part I of IV

As famous poet James Rusell Lowell once wrote, “What is so rare as a day in June,”  but I would add that a June night, or more accurately, a late June night is particularly captivating.  Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of evenings with my best freind Gracie Brewer.  She’s 19 just like me and also still lives with her parents here in Caselton.  Most girls my age here live with their family until they’re married or they move away.

Caselton is a harbor town nestled next to Lake Superior.  Our town makes ships mostly.  Although, some people in town have other occupations.  There are two schools, a bank, and a library, a dentist, three churches, two pubs, a restaurant, a barber, a movie theater just opened, and there’s Lindburg’s Department Store on the north side of town. Oh, and there’s also a drugstore next to the doctor’s office.  If you drive for about a mile just outside of town there are several farms and Gracie lives on one of those.

During the day I take care of my two yongest siblings, Emily who is ten and Frank who is eight.  My other sister Louisa is fourteen and she’s studying during the day with a woman in town to become a seamstress.  Louisa can sew better than our mother and our mother once won an award at the Minnesota State Fair for a dress she sewed for her wedding to our father.

When a movie theater first came to our town I was so excited.  It caused such a commotion.  My favorite movie starlet is Teresa Wright but I think Ingrid Bergman stunning too.  Sometimes Louisa and I like to go to the theater on our own and sit and chew gum (the only place that’s proper to chew gum is in a dark movie theater) and talk about the sort of things sisters talk about.  Louisa has become a good friend as she’s started growing into a lady.

Tonight though, tonight Gracie and I have decided to take a walk to the drugstore and buy two strawberry sodas and then walk down to the lake.  It’s warm enough that we might even try wading in the water a little.  Most times the water is too cold.   It’s not like an ocean.  It never warms up that much really.  It’s too big to be warm like a normal size lake and too small to be like the sea.  During the heat of the Summer that’s a delight though, because on most days the water cools things off considerably, especially when there’s a good breeze.

Tonight there are big blue clouds above, lit by a luminous moon and every once and a while the wind picks up and you can hear rustling tree limbs shaking about.  It would be eery really, if it wasn’t for the moon and the warm summer air.

We decide to walk past the new Johnson mansion located on Pine Street near the Presbyterian church.  It’s so glorious. Red brick triumphantly forms itself into peaks that are simply grand.

The sound of quick movement catches my attention and I look past Gracie and see Mrs. Archibald Johnson, Rosamund I think her first name is, running wildly across her lawn without any shoes on.  Gracie notices now too.

Rosamund is a farily young woman, only twenty-one or twenty-two. She’s around our age almost I suppose.  She was educated at a lady’s college near St. Louis where she’s from and her family is very wealthy with ties to old European aristocracy, or so I’ve been told.  You can never sure about some things you hear because there’s more than one or two gossips in town who like to make stories more interesting than they are.

She’s a pretty girl, usually when you see her in town she looks immaculate.  Her blond hair is in curls and she wears a lot of pink silk dresses.   Most days she seems a bit aloof and detached from people.  Tonight, as she’s racing about her lawn she seems like a different person.  She’s wearing a bright red bathing suit and her hair is wildly strewn about, arms thrown above her head she screams loudly.  It looks like she’s having a difficult time standing upright and she can’t seem to stand still.

Gracie and I pretend to be walking on the opposite side of the street just minding our business, not noticing a thing, but in reality we’re watching everything closely.  Our heads are tilted with discretion and we walk, but slowly .

“Say, what’s her deal anyway?”  Gracie quietly wonders out loud.

Rosamund suddenly trips, falls and stumbles back up again.  She’s acting a bit odd, sort of like people do when they’re walking out of the bar on Third Street.  I’m sure she’s drunk.

Then her husband comes into view.  He’s the young, supposedly brilliant finacier, Archie Johnson, who works with Mr. Cook who owns the shipyard.  Archie graduated from Dartmouth and was hired by Mr. Cook two years ago.  According to most people in town, he’s not a very nice man most of the time, but he is good-looking.  Matter of fact, I’m positive Gracie is sweet on him. She always points him out to me.  Actually, I’m not entirely sure we aren’t walking past the Johnson mansion tonight just because she had hoped we would see him.

“Oh he’s a devil isn’t he?”  Gracie whispers with restrained passion.

Archie is a tall, dark man and he does slightly resemble Rudolph Valentino, according to some people.  Frankly, I don’t think he’s that great.

Archie throws Rosamund over his back and spins her around in a circle.  She giggles and shrieks and then he follows this by placing her down firmly on her feet while simultaneously holding her up.  He draws her close to him, enveloping her, and places a kiss on her mouth.

Then, Archie just walks off.  Rosamund, with limbs limp follows Archie’s cool stroll back into the brightly lit mansion door with her longing eyes.  He lights a cigarette as he enters, smoke trailing behind him until the door closes. Rosamund stands in the dimly lit space around her for a few seconds longer, staring blankly now and then walks, head down, slowly and with dull movement towards the same door Archie just entered only she stops a second and rests her bent head against the door before opening it.  She kicks the door with her bare foot, and then grabs it seemingly out of pain.  She seems to be crying a little before she finally opens the door and then Gracie and I are left outside on Pine Street alone.

“I think she was drunk,”  I announce to Gracie to break the quiet, only slightly interrupted by the sound of crickets chirping.

Really?”

“Well, she seemed like it.  Didn’t she?”

“I suppose so.  I’ve only seen a few drunk people in my life.”

“Well, I’ve seen them walking out of Simpson’s late at night when I’m walking back from the movie theater with Louisa and they look exactly like that.”

“Oh.”

We walk a bit further, both thinking about what we had just seen.  Neither Gracie nor I have ever had a serious beau and at 19 we feel a bit saddened by this.  My mother says that I spend too much time at home and at the library. Seeing the dramatic display at the Johnson’s tonight was a bit thrilling and certainly fascinating to two young ladies such as us.

When we arrive at the drugstore I feel an odd mind tingling sensation, and as I open the red painted wood door that usually feels so heavy, I find that tonight it’s unusually light and swings back without much effort.  The wind picks up and the door stays open for a moment.  Our dresses puff up and away in the wind and our hair flies in our faces.  I’m caught between pulling the hair from my mouth and eyes and trying to tame the skirt of my dress.  It’s a scene.

As I manage to pull the hair from my eyes I see that there are two men, both tall and dressed in black suits, staring at Gracie and me.  Jake Olinski, the druggist behind the counter, jokes with his booming voice, “Well, look what the wind blew in.”  His smile is bright.  “What can I find you two lovely gals this evening for refreshment?”

“Hello, Mr. Olinski,” I say meekly, still trying to rearrange my locks of light brown hair.

“We’ll have two strawberry sodas please,” says Gracie sweetly.  Her blue eyes scan the men still watching us from the counter.  One of the men turns around, faces the wall behind the counter and begins to eat something.  The other man, with his eyes still on us starts to smile.

“Here you go, young ladies,” says Mr. Olinski, sitting two strawberry sodas on the counter near the cash register.

As Gracie and I walk closer to the register I see that the man is still smiling in our direction.  He walks over to the us and says, “Can I buy you two ladies your sodas?  After the trouble you went through getting in the door it only seems fitting.”

Gracie looks up quickly, eyes big and filled with surprise.  “Oh.  That would be nice,” she answers for us.

“Pat and I, we just arrived in town today from Minneapolis on the train.  We haven’t met almost anyone yet.”  He says this to everyone, including the druggist, but Mr. Olinski stays quiet for some reason.

“Well, I’m Gracie Brewer,”  Gracie extends her fair freckled arm and smiles enchantingly.  The man, with clear blue eyes and light auburn hair smiles too, but in a quiet, polite sort of way, revealing a seriousness.  “And this is my friend Beth Andersen,” she concludes.

“I’m George Calder, and this is Mr. Pat Fitzgibbons. We’re both working for Mr. Cook.  I’m an accountant and Mr Fitzgibbons works in sales.”  The man named Pat nods his head at us silently.

“How truly fascinating,” Gracie’s eyes light up as she speaks.  “Was your train ride pleasant I hope?” Gracie brightly engages the men with her genuine interest.   But in response, Mr. Calder stops looking at Gracie and instead, gazing directly into my eyes says, “Pat you should tell Gracie here about your train ride.”  Then George sits down and without lifting his gaze from mine says, “Tell me about yourself Beth. Please.”

“Oh, well, I’m Beth Andersen.  I live with my parents here in town.  I’m Methodist.”  I feel like a fool.  Then laughing, as if I was only joking with my awkward introduction, “I suppose that’s a basic description of me.  What exactly would you like to hear?”

“Anything. Everything.”  He smiles at me sweetly.  I look over at Gracie who is leaning in close to Pat, who has started wildly gesticulating; telling her a story with his entire being.  I wonder what he’s saying for a second and then return my eyes to George who is now taking out a cigarette.

“I don’t know.  I’m more interested in you,” I say, trying to avoid being boring.

George smiles again then he stands up and asks Mr. Olinski, “Say, no offense to your fine establishment, but is there another place to buy a meal in this town?”

“No.  We’re the only place still serving food at this hour.  I’m sorry sir,”  Mr. Olinski answers with wane expression as he  wipes the counter lethargically.

Then turning to me George asks, “Were you ladies planning on drinking your sodas here in the store or were you going elsewhere?”

“We were taking them with us to the lake actually.  We were going to walk next to the water.”

“At this hour?”

“Yes.”  I didn’t like his skepticism.  A lot of young people visited the lake late into the night during the summer.  It was common.  Walking next to the lake was the most enjoyable thing to do in town without getting in trouble.

“I see.  What do you do next to the lake?”  He looks sincerely intrigued.

“We just walk along the water, and sometimes if it’s not too cold I might stick my feet in.  We talk too.   It’s very peaceful at night.”

“We should go.”  He stands up and walks over to Pat who is now resting his face on his hand, listening to Gracie.  They exchange words and then Gracie turns around and looks at me grinning.  I can tell she’s having a pleasant conversation, as she says, “You go on without me kid.  I’ll see you tomorrow.”

This seems sudden.  I wonder if we should part ways.  “Are you sure Gracie?” I look at her with concern.

“Yes.” She’s emphatic.

“Alright then.  I’ll see you tomorrow.”  I don’t know what’s going on right now, but I have the sense that I’m leaving the store so I turn to Mr. Olinski, “Goodnight Mr. Olinski.”

Without looking up he says, “Goodnight Miss. Andersen.”

“Say, I’d still like to go with you to the lake if you like.  That is if you like,” George says with enthusiasm.

“By ourselves at night?  Without a chaperon?”

“Yes.”

It’s very likely that we’ll be moving soon.  As I’m writing this I’m exhausted, but I’m excited at the thought of a new adventure on the horizon…  Sigh.

How has your week been so far? Good, I hope…  🙂

Mystery Lanvin

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When I purchased these two unmarked bottles of vintage Lanvin fragrances at an antique store (the bottle is a Lanvin bottle) they came in a set of three.  Not realizing what I was looking at I only took home two of them.  Now I know that Lanvin seems to have sold their most popular fragrances (Rumeur, My Sin, Scandal, Arpége, Prétexte) in sets during the 1950’s.  I shouldn’t have separated them…

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I’m quite sure that the flacon on the right in the photo above is Scandal.  It has the same juicy, warm drydown that heats up versus the drydown for My Sin, which can resemble Scandal a bit.  In the drydown for My Sin a smoky quality emerges that is very strong and certainly not sweet in the same almost fruity way as Scandal’s drydown.

I don’t know what the contents of the flacon on the left are because I can’t get it open (despite all the tricks I’ve tried that usually work).  My guess is that it’s either Prétexte or Rumeur though because it doesn’t smell anything like Arpège, My Sin or Scandal from the bit that is stuck on the bottle between the grooves.  I wish I could get it open.  And, I’ll have to try again because smelling Rumeur or Prètexte would be a treat…

A lot of things are in limbo right now but we’re doing well…  Hopefully we’ll finally make it to the Farmer’s Market today.

I look around me and I see so many things to be thankful for…  And I see so much pain in the world too.  Lots of prayers…

Thanks for reading this blog.  🙂

English Lavender

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Compared to Potter and Moore English Lavender, Yardley English Lavender (Yardley 1873) is not as crisp, and with much less emphasis on citrus.  It’s still refreshing but where I envision Potter and Moore’s lavender bouquet being suitable for a warm day outdoors, Yardley’s seems much more suitable for the indoors.  Matter of fact, it almost has the scent of old books (Clary sage, musk and bergamot? Or is it the geranium?)…

Eucalyptus adds an herbal edge, and the tonka bean mixes with all the notes to almost hint at the smell of pipe tobacco. But, of course, in the midst of all the unhurried and tasteful notes is the almost incandescent lavender.  It’s dewy and youthful but with a seriousness and reserve.

Truly though, despite its innate youtfulness, I think Yardley, English Lavender could be worn by a man or a woman; both young and old.  It’s a lovely, timeless scent…

Top notes: rosemary, eucalyptus, lavender and bergamot.  Middle notes: clary sage, cedar and geranium.  Base notes: tonka bean, musk and oakmoss.

I hope whoever read my first “story of the month” enjoyed it a little, despite the many edits I missed and the fact that it’s my first attempt at a short story in a long time.  I’m currently working on two novels and writing a short story is good for me.  It helps me realize my weaknesses as a writer and, best case scenario, gives me a chance to improve.  Thank you again for reading.  Hopefully next month’s story will be better.  🙂   I’ll edit each part much more vigorously before each post.

Tomorrow is Friday…  Wow this month is going by fast.  Again…

Have a pleasant rest of your day.