Friday, July 19, 2019

Portos Balenciaga-Review

I have written, re-written, deleted, and started over this review so many times I've lost count. How can I be expected to describe a cologne that captures everything I ever wanted in a fragrance, and then throws in a healthy dose of leather and beaver glands-just because? I could describe the notes, but it wouldn't come close to evoking what Portos does on the body. If you were looking for a classic example of something that doesn't sound appealing on paper but is mind blowing in person, this is it.

Just look at the marketing in the advertisement above. Even in 1980 he'd have looked like a complete twat. I might be projecting because I grew up around people like that (Thanks, Highland Park!) but I know if I'd seen the ad before buying the bottle, I might not have. I guess it was just lucky that I blind bought it without any preconceptions.

Oh what a bottle of magic this is. There's leather, and then there's, Leather. This is the latter. The magic is how it starts off biker jacket and finishes Hermes handbag, or at least what I imagine an Hermes handbag smells like because they don't let people like me shove their noses inside expensive handbags. Maybe an Hermes handbag that carries around a pet beaver instead of one of those fashionable teacup Chihuahuas. Yeah, that's probably closer because as great as the leather notes in Portos are, there's no getting around the beaver in the room handbag. I appreciate that castoreum is divisive for both ethical and olfactory reasons, and perhaps that's what killed Portos as it is long discontinued*. More likely it was just too much of everything for most people. I'm not most people.

Portos was launched in 1980 but if you're expecting Kouros or similar, forget it. Portos would be better classed with the 1970s. Despite the heavy-hitting notes like leather, castoreum and patchouli, there's enough vetiver, carnation and cedar to keep it elegant. By the 80s that sort of finesse gave way to throwing everything in the lab at a perfume. Portos is intense in the first few minutes, but it settles in and becomes better behaved, though don't expect it to go anywhere. At a minimum this one is sticking around for 8 hours-days if you sprayed it on clothing. Sprayed it on synthetic material? You'll be smelling it through several washes. I have a vintage silky men's Dior dressing gown (bought it for Danny but he said he wouldn't be caught dead in it, so I kept it) that positively reeks in Portos now as it is my evening fragrance of choice. I'm guessing no amount of laundering will ever liberate it from the fibres and that seems appropriate.

A little goes a very long way, kids. I'm not kidding. Don't even think  of wearing this splashed on your palms and applied like an aftershave. Really, don't. If you think a teenaged boy over-applying Axe/Lynx is the worst possible thing you could endure, Portos can go from magical to maniacal in one drop too many. Treat it cautiously, and you'll be rewarded with one of the greatest fragrances ever created. I warned you.

I understand why Portos was marketed as a men's fragrance, but I do think today it is perfectly unisex, provided you're not a fan of sweet, fruity, candy floss fragrances. If you wear La Vie est Belle, Portos isn't going to be something you'll enjoy. If you like Bandit, Cabochard, or Azuree, it will be a better match. Again, apply it lightly the first time as it is hard to scrub off. What kind of man could wear Portos? Probably every single one except Hamptons Hal in the ad who would probably want something more expensive to impress people.

Notes according to Fragrantica:
Galbanum, artesmisia, coriander, bergamot, caraway, vetiver, carnation, jasmine, geranium, cedar, patchouli, labdanum, musk, oakmoss, incense, myrhh, castoreum, and leather.

Notes according to Goody:
Studio 54, Expensive handbag, large dam-building rodent, and my rodeo-loving uncle (whose cowboy boots were always peeking out from under his judge's robes)- I'm pretty sure he didn't wear Portos, but could have.

As it is now discontinued and difficult to find, I would encourage you to get a decant before spending a small fortune on it as there's a good chance you might find it too strong. For me, Portos was instant love, and is easily one of a handful of fragrances I couldn't bear the thought of being without. I wish they'd bring it back, but I know it will never happen.

* Castoreum is used to scent tobacco, and is also found in artificial flavourings like vanillan and strawberry. It is often listed as, "Natural flavouring" for obvious reasons. We're all probably consuming beaver glands without knowing it. Makes drinking a coffee brewed from civet shit a lot less awful sounding. Well, maybe not.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

She's Got the Look

 Can it be July already? Seems impossible. June was a blur of activity, none of it much fun, but nonetheless necessary. I'm a rather organised person but by the time the 4th of July rolled around, I was just happy to have 4 days without anything to do. Well, I did do *something*. I discovered pre-mixed sangria in a can, and worked on consuming itπŸ˜€. That went better than my adventures with cheap Rose, which I really don't recommend.

 I've been going easy on the makeup this summer, at least during the heatwave. We're keeping cool, and I went 10 days without using the oven. I like the forced creativity of cooking in a heatwave. We had blini with tinned fish and pickles, salads, ratatouille, that sort of thing. The garden has been growing like mad, so we have a steady supply of chard, lettuce, basil, and edible flowers like nasturtiums. I love being able to pull together a meal from the tiny spot in front of the house. We have tomatoes, but they are still green.
Outfit Particulars:
Vintage sportcoat-Goodwill

Blondin, what are YOU doing inMarysville Kansas?
I hadn't planned to visit Kansas that day, but I was already in Beatrice, Nebraska and it was such a short drive over. When I heard about the black squirrels, I had to go. You know how I feel about squirrels!
Long story short-some squirrels were let loose by a travelling circus and they became established in the town. The squirrels have protected status in Marysville.
The city park was full of them scampering about, but were hard to photograph. 

 The structure below is what Midwesterners call a "Sod house.": Stop snickering. Sod as in turf. The early pioneers didn't have much wood on the prairies to build with, so they used the turf. Because the soil here is basically heavy clay, it does a good job of insulating in winter and staying cool in summer.

 Visitors can peer inside, but it is fenced off.

Not terribly spacious but after being in a covered waggon, it probably seemed palatial.

The old train depot is in good condition, but it was closed when I visited.

 And of course, there was a train.

So that was a nice side-visit to Kansas. Back in Nebraska, there were things to see as well...

 The Homestead National Monument in Beatrice, Nebraska was my destination for the day (before I was side-tracked by the promise of exotic squirrels). That's a one-room schoolhouse behind me...let's have a look inside.

 When we moved to Nebraska there were still a few of these schools in use, but I think they are all gone now. In small communities it made sense to teach a number of grades in one place if there were only a few students. Today, they bus the children to larger schools.
Danny would be in serious trouble if he wore a cap into a classroom! He barely fit in that desk.
 Isn't it beautiful? I know our weather can be harsh, but we get to live in such a gorgeous place. Except for the litter on the side of the road. I really wish people wouldn't do that.
I called in to Et Cetera thrift shop in Seward on the trip home, because it never fails to have something great on offer. Here's the loot from the visit. The necklace with the emerald coloured stones will look beautiful with a black sweater this winter.

Not to dwell on it, but I REALLY wasn't kidding about staying away from cheap, pink, wine! Strangely though, I like this photo of myself with the smudged mascara and "The Look" I've been told I have more often than not. Some people have Resting Bitch Face. I have this vaguely embarrassed face that veers between incredulous and bored. Or so I've been told. Anyway, it just gets worse with alcohol. 

Back to the vintage clothing. Ignore the fallen hem (Why don't I notice these things before photos?) but take a look at this fun, rayon blend vintage Hawaiian dress. It has an Empire waist, which typically doesn't work for me, but in this case is just perfect. There's a zip up the back, and string ties on the shoulders giving it a perfect fit. As green is my favourite colour, I couldn't pass it up. The straw shoes and bag are also true vintage. 
I pinned the top closed with a flower brooch. It didn't need it really, but better safe than sorry. 
I wore a few bakelite and lucite bangles interspersed with wooden and bamboo ones. 
Outfit Particulars:
Vintage Hawaiian dress-Goodwill
Bangles and rings-all over
Vintage shoes-Goodwill (I think?)
Vintage straw bag-Antique mall
Shell earrings-World Market about 12 years ago
While I wasn't using the oven, I got creative with sweets. These are called Haystacks and are butterscotch baking chips melted with peanut butter and mixed with chow mien noodles. I put the candy eyes on it because it reminded me of the Philly Flyers mascot, Gritty
I do love the Gritty Memes. Anyway, haystacks are delicious even if you skip the Gritty eyes. 

 How about one more vintage Hawaiian dress? Yes?
 The "Look" again. Sorry!

 Outfit Particulars:
Vintage Hawaiian dress-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage bangle-Goodwill
Hair flower-Tiff and Tam
Vintage handbag-Etsy
Shoes-K Mart

Does this dress look familiar? I have the long sleeved version in the same fabric.
What can I say? When I find something I like, I stick with it.
 The look makes another appearance.
Outfit Particulars:
silk dress-Goodwill
Vintage stretch bracelet-Goodwill
Vintage charm bracelet-Goodwill

On the perfume front, I've been enjoying some vintage Cardin.
This is such a gorgeous perfume. Leather and oakmoss? Yes, please! The green notes are beautiful, and I barely notice the Hyacinth (not my favourite note). 
I really wanted to love this one, but it is just too sweet for me. I might try it again in the winter, but in a Nebraska summer, vanilla and fig leaf (which is very vanilla to my nose) are simply too much. 
Green water, however is perfection in a heatwave. Mint, basil, ginger...carrot? It shouldn't work, but it does. The oakmoss is synthetic, but nice. If I didn't know it, I wouldn't notice. I have no idea what the original Green Water was like, but this one is beautiful. 

 I'll leave you with one more summery outfit.
 Yellow and white is such a fresh colour combination. Like sorbet and vanilla.

 Outfit Particulars:
Top-Shop-Ko about 10 years ago
Flower-Tiff and Tam
Skirt-Thrift World

I finally gave in and ordered a new phone. It will be interesting to see if it takes better photos. I didn't want one, but our pay-as-you-go provider stopped supporting the model I had. Anyway, something new to learn. I guess that's good.

This weekend is the Wayne Chicken Show. It is the first year Danny has competed in the adult competition. He's expecting to get 2nd place because the man who wins 1st has been doing it for years and Danny wouldn't actually want to beat him. Being second to a legend is just perfect as far as we're concerned. Anyway, it will be in the 90s and humid-perfect for sitting around outside for hours. I'm bringing a cooler with cold drinks.

Cock a doodle do! See you later!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Sleeves? Can't Be Bothered

 Our summer weather finally arrived even if accompanied by loads of rain. At this point, just being able to go sleeveless is cause for celebration. I'd been waiting since winter to wear this vintage 70s sundress I bought at Goodwill during a snowstorm. What a difference six months makes!
Isn't that print incredible? I had to remove the crumbling built-in-bra and elastic, and I still need to fix some repairs made by a previous owner, but all-in-all, I was pleased with being able to rescue this dress.
The dress had such beautiful coppery tones that I wore my vintage 50s Renoir set with it.

Outfit Particulars:
Vintage 70s sundress-Goodwill
Shoes-Et Cetera, Seward
Renoir copper set-Goodwill
Vintage handbag-yard sale
Rings-all over
Fragrance-Balenciaga Portos

So, my arms aren't the only thing I like to get out in the summertime πŸ˜€ (ooh-er). Truthfully, I didn't notice how revealing this dress was until I posted it on Instagram and was met with some playful comments, but eh, whatever. They're just boobs.

 Outfit Particulars:
Eyelet dress-Goodwill
Shoes-K Mart years ago
Vintage straw and wood bag-can't remember
Fragrance-Laura Ashley No. 1

 This sleeveless, polyester maxi is a summertime favourite. How can I feel anything but fab in something this cheerful?

Outfit Particulars:
1970s polyester maxi dress-Salvation Army
Handbag-New Life Thrift
Bracelets-all over
Fragrance-Bvlgari Omnia Coral

 Something bright, you say? I've got bright! How's this Hawaiian number?

 Pardon the stern expression-this is one of those tight-fitting dresses where smiling would take away energy from shallow breathing. Hope you understand. There aren't many items of clothing I'd suffer for, but this dress is an exception. It isn't horribly tight, I'm just not used to such close-fitting clothes.

Outfit Particulars:
Vintage Hawaiian  dress-Goodwill
 African wax cloth handbag-Goodwill
Shell earrings-World Market
Fragrance-Guerlain Terracotta

I bought this gorgeous vintage  cotton dress to wear as a cover-up at the pool, but then thought better of it-this is far too nice to waste walking to and from the pool. I am only a 3 minute walk to the pool.

 Outfit Particulars:
Vintage sundress-Hand-Me-Ups
Handbag and necklace-both World Market
Vintage straw shoes-Goodwill
Vintage earrings-New Life Thrift

 I saved the best for last. Anyone for a cocktail print? Paper umbrellas, citrus slices, and olives decorate this fun vintage rayon playsuit from the 80s.

 Outfit Particulars:
Vintage 80s playsuit-Hand-Me-Ups (from the .99 cent room!!!)
Embroidery under plastic handbag-antique mall
Vintage shell earrings-Goodwill
Vintage cherry brooch-Goodwill
Fragrance-Sofia Vergara, Sofia (cheapo but delightful and the body lotion sparkles like starlight!)

What about you? Is sleeveless something you do in summer, or do you have a better way to stay cool?