Sunday, August 30, 2015

Caftan Sunday-Flower Power Edition

 60's caftan purchased at Salvation Army in Lincoln (part of the vintage dress haul).
Have a finger-flipping week, everyone!

Status Handbags

Making my way through the tinned food aisle at Bakers today, my eye was caught by a teenager carrying a $2,000 handbag. Oh, I didn't know it was a $2,000 bag until I got home and did a web search, but something about the way she was carrying it (to be noticed) made me take a second look at what at first glance was a somewhat klunky, boring looking handbag. "Oh, Bally. That's an expensive bag, I get it" I thought to myself noting that her scrawny arm could barely support the massive thing.

Aside from the fact it was an ugly bag (subjective, I know) what seems sad is that fifteen year old girls are carrying bags that cost more than a good used car. Look, I'm not going to tell people how to spend their money. Buy handbags, or lose it all at the racetrack-it is none of my business. I just can't get over the fact that the luxuries are being lavished on children. Is there anything left to look forward to by the time they're adults?

OK, enough ranting, lets get to the outfit that cost about ten dollars top to bottom.

I love you sweetheart, but Bally doesn't make expensive waist-bags to hold Eppi-Pens. Sorry.

Outfit Particulars:
Polyester dress with jacket-Salvation Army, Lincoln (another of the bargains from last week)
Crown Triffari white lucite and gold pendant-Hand-Me-Ups
Mapleleaf brooches-Both Thrift World
Vintage lucite clip earrings-Et Cetera, Seward
Gold belt-Hand-me-Ups
Shoes-K Mart
Bracelet-Hand-Me-Ups (part of a parure with earrings and necklace)
Vinyl handbag-Goodwill
Fragrance-Good Old Shalimar (mood thing, but I still love it)

My hot rollers will have to wait. I opened the box to use them and noticed they were covered in blonde hair! Someone returned them, and they were clearly used. I took them back, and I'm hoping they don't end up on the shelf again. I didn't bother exchanging them at that shop because...yuck. 

Instead, I lightly brushed and re-rolled my hair into regular rollers, then sprayed the hell out of it again, and day two-no sign of it budging! All hail the power of Aqua Net!


 I spotted this nutcracker at Tuesday Morning. I want it in the worst way, but won't part with real money to buy it.


The texture on this bag is interesting. I'm sure it was a cheap bag at the time it was made, but the shape and look are just perfect today. And it didn't cost $2,000. It cost $1.99. 




If you could, would you buy a teenager a $2,000 bag? Am I just being a silly old lady? Do tell.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Munsingwear Original Penguin EDT-Review

I purchased this fragrance for Danny who upon spraying it once, promptly went to scrub it off. He tried being polite claiming it made him sneeze a bit, but I knew better. Penguin isn't particularly strong, or novel but it has a shitload of pine and apple in it. Imagine a pine tree doused in cider, then rubbed with lavender and someone tosses a gallon of vanilla ice cream at it. Sort of apple pie ala mode served on a pine tree. It deserves an absurd name like, "Spokane and Toffee Apples." That said, it isn't nearly as sweet as you'd expect.

Penguin isn't a gourmand. even with all the apple and vanilla. There's something deeper in there, beyond the lavender, and patchouli. There's musk, but I only get the tiniest bit of it, and only when sprayed on my arm-it is nonexistent on fabric. The listed notes aren't much help either. Whatever it is, after the first initial blast settles down (and the sillage on this one is on the large side) there's the bothersome neroli note that seems so out of place in Penguin. It shifts quickly and it is only when you smell the apple in concert with the patchouli that it becomes apparent what you're dealing with-drinking cider in a room where incense is being burned. That's cool, I like hippies.

Penguin is inexpensive (I think I paid about ten dollars US for it) which you wouldn't know from the quality of the juice, or the packaging. The bottle is really quite nice and sturdy-I loathe strangely shaped bottles that you end up spraying in your face, or that tip over on the tray. I don't find the penguin logo too silly, but I remember the clothing line. A good, inexpensive fragrance in a nice bottle ought to be flying off the shelves, not landing at discounters like Marshalls-so what's going on? There's nothing in the notes of Penguin I would call challenging or overly intense. Honestly, I don't know why it isn't more popular unless Munsingwear just seems too outdated a brand for young men. I would hope it sticks around for a bit before being discontinued for lack of interest. I noticed there are already a couple flanker scents, so perhaps that's hopeful.

Notes from Fragrantica:
Apple, neroli, musk, vanilla, patchouli, pine, lavender, pepper

I find Penguin a suitable fragrance for women, but it is woodsy. Not too woodsy, but woodsy enough that you'll think of the woods, if not a lumberjack. Maybe not the actual lumberjack, but someone that fancies lumberjacks. Or a Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Pancake Breakfast in the Wisconsin Dells. No syrup.






Dress? Robe? Drobe?

I'm not sure if this was intended as outerwear...but it is now. 


 This is another of my inexpensive dresses from the Salvation Army in Lincoln. The colours are just great, and simple enough to accessorise. I've been looking for an occasion to wear denim clogs (despite my reasoning when I purchased them, there really aren't that many opportunities to wear them) so there you are.

I did a bit of a double-take in the mirror as I was getting dressed. I'm not shocked that I look so much like my mother (I mean, obviously, that happens as one ages) but I wasn't prepared for just how much I looked like her, circa 1975. OK, the Betty Ford hairdo is a bit more than my mother would have gone for, but otherwise...it is pretty darn close-and I'm wearing her eyeglass frames. My mother would have been 80 years old on Monday, so maybe I have her on my mind without realising it.



I caved, and bought a set of hot rollers today, after being disappointed with how my regular roller-set came out. They were inexpensive, so I'll keep you updated if they work out. It was damp outside today, so I shouldn't be too hard on my hair-styling skills-but there's half a canister of Aqua Net in it. There's a learning curve with hairspray, or so I'm told. 
I spotted this whist shopping. Oh, ewwww. Danny wanted to know what was so funny. I told him to ask his dad. Sick jokes aside, what the hell is the big deal with the yoghurt? I mean, if you like it thicker, strain it and use the whey for baking. Personally, I think it is like eating straight sour cream, and being half Ukrainian I'd just go for the sour cream (slathered on a slice of good rye bread). But yeah, body wash is too much.


Outfit Particulars:
1970's Mary Roberts of New York dress/robe-Salvation Army
Beaded belt- The Limited, years ago
Valley Lane denim clogs-Goodwill
Tights-Walgreen's
Cloisonne clamper bracelet-Hand-Me-Ups
Cloisonne pendant-Hand-me-Ups
Shell earrings-World Market
1970's (I think) tapestry-front bag-Hand-Me-Ups
Fragrance-Aqua Net Extra Hold Hairspray and Reformulated Jicky EDT
Lippy-Revlon Fuchsia Flash

My copy of the Marguerite Patten Victory Cookbook arrived just in time to start teaching WWII. Strangely enough, the copy we found had to be sent from Switzerland. Anyway, I'm happy to have it, and plan to use it for home economics class. There's good, solid advice in there whether there's a war on or not. I could do better about food waste, and am looking forward to new ways to make use of what we have. The only thing of hers I've made regularly is the Christmas cake (year after year after year) which is one of the most reliable recipes out there. Exciting? No, but if you follow the directions you end up with a nice cake-speaking of which, it is nearly time to get started with that. I like to have my Christmas cakes and puddings out of the way, and soaking in booze by October. All the dried cherries from summer will be put to good use. 
 The summer garden is winding down, but there's still the cold weather plants like spinach and peas to take us through autumn. I still have a few pattypans to harvest, but they're mostly done. My mint is going crazy, but we've been enjoying it in salads along with basil. We purchased new bird feeders today as well, so the feathered fellas will be taken care of as the weather shift. I caught the squirrel burying things in my gardenia today. I dislodged a gigantic seed/nut from what we think is a nearby sycamore wedged between the branches of my potted gardenia. We've been watching Blondin building up his winter stash with similar items, but I do wish he'd bury them in the backyard rather than my plants. I suppose he figured we would be good caretakers. Ooops. 

I've checked the extended forecast and it appears summer isn't quite through with us after all. Upper-80's to lower 90's by the end of next week. I really hope they're wrong. Fingers crossed. 

Hope you're having a lovely weekend. 















Friday, August 28, 2015

Classic Young Adults

What the hell, it's Friday night and we could all use some music (and a public service announcement).

Just in case you have any do-it-yourself projects planned for the weekend.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Peachy


The dress is peachy anyway. Me? I'm just fuzzy. I'm sure it is just back-to-school jitters which aren't any better when you're the teacher! Once I start filling out the grade-book and lesson plans I feel better, but those last few days before the semester starts never fail to give me sleepless nights. Everything always seems so overwhelming when viewed from the starting point. Thank god I'm neurotic obsessive organised. I know people who can shift gears without difficulty, but classroom improvisation isn't for me. I couldn't Unschool as the lack of structure would drive me mad. Fortunately, we all seem to do well with a schedule.
Know what would make everything better? Cheese. I'm serious. When life gets stressful people tend to either pour a drink, or put the kettle on. Here, in the American Midwest, we get out the cheeseboard. I have two types of Gouda, some Havarti, and an aged Cheddar. I'm told that cheese is one of the worst things for headaches, but they say that about chocolate, wine, and caffeine-and those don't give you calcium! You need calcium in menopause, so that block of Gouda is therapeutic. You can keep the crackers, I'm just in it for the dairy.  I could fall and break a hip at my age, so I'm thinking of the cheese as insurance. A nice, soft cushion of curds. Mmmm, curds.
Outfit Particulars:
1960's polyester maxi-Salvation Army
1970's home-sewn jacket-Goodwill
1950's woven handbag-Et Cetera thrift store, Seward, NE
Massive Bakelite bangle-Goodwill, Grand Island ($1.99!)
1960's beads-Et Cetera
Vintage copper earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
Shoes-Goodwill
Fragrance-Givenchy Dahlia Noir


Hey! Where is everybody?! You damn kids, give me back my specs! You won't think it's so funny when I tell your parents what you're up to. 

I gotta go eat some cheese and chase beatniks off my lawn. 
See you (well, maybe not...everything is kind of blurry at the moment).










Aramis-Fragrance Review

I've never been able to persuade any of the men in my life to wear Aramis, so I finally gave up, and started wearing it myself. For years, my dad had a large splash bottle of the stuff on his dresser completely full and unused. It must have been a gift from someone that didn't know him very well because he could barely be bothered to shave his face with any sort of accuracy, and he sure as hell wasn't going to bother with cologne. Around 1980 I finally liberated the bottle from the dresser-top and promptly ploughed through it much to the dismay of those around me.

I recently bought a bottle of the new, reformulated Aramis, and I must say, they did an excellent job of it. Getting that oakmoss note replaced is no simple task, but they managed it, and I'd have a difficult time telling the vintage from the modern formulation. Aramis was always about the leather and cumin anyway. I'm also pleased that they resisted the urge to update the bottle-bravo to the person in charge of that!

Oh god, how I have always loved this cologne. On paper, it sounds like the sort of fragrance that would induce asthma and/or migraines with all that leather, spices, and vetiver. The only thing it comes close to inducing is a swoon-I'd be all over a man that smelled like Aramis. Unfortunately, the only person I've smelled it on in the last forty years is myself, and that might be taking self-pleasure a step too far if it ends with fainting! This has to be the butchest cologne on the market, and frankly I don't understand why it isn't more popular. It can't be the strength or heaviness because we're all swimming in a slough of oud which isn't exactly subtle, so what's the damn matter with Aramis? I repeat, what's the damn matter with Aramis?!

The new formulation has retained the grand sillage that announces your arrival ten minutes before you reach your destination. The longevity of Aramis is epic-you'd better be certain you like it before applying as you'll be living with it for a long, long time. The drydown is pleasant...but still quite strong. Leather and oakmoss are dominant here, and they don't fade easily.  On the other hand, you only need a spray or two and a bottle lasts ages, so yay, bargain! Layering with soaps and lotions might get tricky because anything floral or ozonic isn't going to compliment Aramis. In the old days, there was Aramis soap (probably even on a rope), and shaving lotion but I have no idea if they are still being made. If you find yourself wearing it regularly it might be worth investing in some unscented soap. Whatever you do, stay away from anything too fruity or gourmand.

Strangely enough, cumin isn't listed in the official notes, but anyone that knows their fragrance notes will pick up on it immediately. I don't know if this was a deliberate decision on the manufacturer's part as cumin is often associated with a sweat/body odour note, or if it is something else creating the smell. Whatever the reason, I still smell it along with a bit of "ashtray overflowing with Chesterfields" note that makes me a little nostalgic for the days when people had enormous ashtrays on their coffee tables instead of stupid hipster books about hobbyist farming of rare breed sheep. That's what I like about Aramis-the person wearing it doesn't give a toss about your raspberry shrub recipe, or your Herman Miller furniture, or whatever faux-retro coolness you're trying to project. Aramis is threatening-it is threatening to shave that stupid excuse for a beard off your face, and stick that hair back between your wife's legs where it belongs.

Ahem, shall we get to the listed notes?

Leather, patchouli, oakmoss, musk, sandalwood, jasmine, vetiver, myrrh, aldehydes, atremisia, amber, cardamom, sage, bergamot, thyme, gardenia, clover, coconut, orris root.

I don't get any coconut or gardenia. I believe it is there, because heaven knows you need something to counteract all that machismo, but as far as picking out the notes, I find it impossible. I should mention that the leather note in Aramis isn't the typical leather note you find in fragrances like Bandit. Aramis isn't offering up a suggestion of something slightly kinky, it doesn't need to. This is more like the interior of a Coach bag, back when they were still worth having.

Anyone walking through our bedrooms looking at perfume trays would think they were in the wrong rooms by the fragrances we favour. Danny's tray is filled with the sweet stuff-Shalimar Souffle, La Vie Est Belle, Dahlia Noir, several Ardens from the Green Tea line, Jaipur, Apres l'Ondee, and so on.

Me? I love a good chypre, particularly a leather one. I like a fougere as well. My current rotation on the perfume tray has V.O by Sinan, Guerlain Vetiver, Balenciaga L'Essence, Mitsouko, Penguin, and the like. We have completely different tastes, which is fine save for the times I'd like to invest in a full bottle of something expensive to share. We won't be sharing a bottle of Creed Green Irish Tweed any time soon.

Aramis is my son's idea of a chemical weapon. He can't stand being near it-at least not until the drydown is well underway. I can kid myself arguing he'll grow into something like Aramis-but I rather doubt it. Most people just don't care for it, but those who do are fanatical about it.

The feminine version of Aramis was of course the old Azuree (don't bother with the new stuff, it is a completely different creature). I like vintage Azuree quite a lot, but if I'm being honest I'd prefer to just wear Aramis-gender stereotypes in perfume be damned. It is also easier to find as the reformulation is still wearable (what happened to Azuree I'd be curious to know). Sure, the bottle is old fashioned looking, but generally (with a few exceptions) I don't buy a fragrance for the bottle.

I really don't see why Aramis isn't more widely worn by men and women-it is a brilliant fragrance. I can't help but wonder if it is a lack of marketing, where it fails to reach a new generation and is perceived as a "grandpa" scent. Perhaps what Aramis needs is a branding makeover as some sort of heritage fragrance. Whatever it takes, I hope it happens soon as it would be a terrible loss for this one to fade away (but if it does, you'll still be able to smell it decades after...).

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Bye, Bye, Birdies

video
I went with to watch the Purple Martins roosting (from a distance) and made it out of there without being pooped on.
video
I had to laugh at all the people walking down the street, eyes (and thumbs) glued to their phones oblivious to what was taking place overhead.

So that was fun. The geese will be coming through next. But this bird is staying right here, in Omaha.
Note to self-go outside in the sunlight before deciding if the hem should be let down. It looked less obvious in person. This is one of the bargain dresses from the Lincoln Goodwill. There's a faux tweed pattern in the polyester skirt which is just right for our changing weather. In a month or so, I'll switch to wearing this dress with boots, but for today a pair of suede shoes and a matching belt seemed like a good transitional style. Mentally, I'm done with summer, but Mother Nature has other ideas.
 I rarely carry shoulder bags as I have a messed-up neck, but if I make a point of keeping it light I can sometimes use one for a short length of time. I don't know how people carry those massive bags with everything they own in it.
This Giovanni brooch was a bargain at $1.99, and was so shiny I doubt it was ever worn. For costume, it is very well made-and heavy! Giovanni is best known for large rose brooches (I have a few) but I liked the autumnal feel of the acorns on this one. Again, it feels a bit early for my brooches shaped like leaves, or bundles of wheat, but the acorns feel more appropriate for late August when only a few leaves have started to change colour. Look closely, and you can see my photographer reflected it the acorns.
 Speaking of seasonal identity issues-who makes a pair of suede shoes with patent leather heels? Patent is for spring, and suede for autumn-or it used to be. Those old rules are hard to break, and I admit feeling uneasy wearing these shoes as they never seem quite appropriate. Eventually, I cave and wear them because they're so comfortable due to some sort of memory-foam in the insoles.

The tights are strange too. Not grey, not beige they go with everything from brown to black. I have no idea why, and I could never find another pair like them. At first glance it seems like such an impractical colour-until you need it.

Outfit Particulars:
Late 70's/early 80's polyester dress-Goodwill
Tights-Walgreens
Shoes-K Mart
80's Belt-Hand-Me-Ups
Giovanni brooch (50's/60's) Et Cetera Thrift Store-Seward, NE
50's Niello clip earrings-Thrift World
70's Vinyl handbag-Thrift World (.98 cents!)
Lippy-Estee Lauder Maplesugar
Fragrance-Jovan Woman

We settled on an audiobook  about president Eisenhower to listen to as we drive to Kansas for a visit to the Presidential library. Knowing that can get dull quickly, we also found a Star Wars radio play for Danny to listen to. So I'm not the meanest mother in the world...today.

Something about this outfit makes me want a set of hot rollers. I'll wait a day and see if the mood passes before splashing out on a set (they're expensive!). I'm off to fix that hem now. Happy Mid-Week!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Puritan?

The label in my polyester maxi-Puritan Forever Young. And me without Pilgrim Buckles on my shoes! I admit to having dozed off frequently during American History class, but even the heretics wouldn't have been wearing anything this bright. Still, this dress will now be known as, Anne Hutchinson, take that John Winthrop!
Come for the clothes, stay for the history lesson.

I found this synthetic beauty in the crappiest Goodwill I've ever seen in York, Nebraska. I nearly left it when the hapless girl working there couldn't figure out how to work the register ( I mean, you're working at Goodwill-it isn't like life is being great to you, ya know? I wasn't about to make it worse for her). Instead, I went down the street to find an ATM and paid cash instead-it wasn't much, and worth the effort.

Our mini-road trip went great. Here's Danny dropping off his entries in Grand Island for the fair.
Thanks to everyone for your well wishes-it means a great deal to Danny having so much encouragement. It means a lot to his mama too-you guys are the best!
By the weekend those empty cases will be filled with exhibits and ribbons. But no fair could run as well as they do without the volunteers that give so much of their time each year...
They thought I was kidding when I asked to take a photo, but were then happy to oblige when they knew I was serious. Thank you fair volunteers, you rock!
We couldn't resist posing for some pictures in the empty open-class exhibition hall.
Not that we would dream of being silly or anything.

Outfit Particulars:
Danny-Shirt and shorts both K Mart
Me-Carole Little Ultrasuede skirt-Goodwill
Peasant blouse-Goodwill
Earrings-K Mart
Fragrance-Courreges in Blue



After leaving the fair, we stopped at both Goodwills in Grand Island, and hit the vintage perfume motherlode. Shulton Friendship Garden, Blanchard Plaid, My favourite Avon ever-Charisma (still fresh!), A very old bottle of Windsong in a green crown shaped bottle, and something else that's escaping my mind at the moment. Anyway, I was thrilled to get my hands on them so cheaply. We did a few more thrift stores in Lincoln before heading back home. It was a long ride (next week will be worse, but we'll take more breaks) but the last stop at the Salvation Army in Lincoln was astounding. I came home with a whopping fifteen dresses, and spent about $25.00. I've been to that store, and it is always worth a stop, but I've never experienced anything like that. They had to belong to the same person-same size, similar style/era. I'll be wearing them in future posts.
 "Oh, that sounds lovely. Wish I had a new dress, it gets cold sitting here without clothes."
 "Aw shut up, will you? You're plaster!"
"Hey, so what if he's plaster?! Let 'em drink if' he wants to. What sort of Puritan are you that doesn't like a wee nip now and then?"


Outfit Particulars:
Vintage maxi dress-Goodwill
Vintage souvenir shopper/tote-Goodwill
Bangles-all over
Enamel 60's brooch-Hand-Me-Ups
Earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
Shoes-Goodwill
Lippy-Revlon Snowy Peach

We stopped by Mullhalls garden centre today for a bit of a nature walk around the grounds. We may be, "adopting" a few cocoons they have in a mesh cage with poles that need someone to care for them. I'm flattered that they feel we'd be good caregivers. As we were leaving an employee had lifted a large swallowtail butterfly from a spider's nest. It was dead, but only very recently so, and she asked Danny if he'd like to have it. He cradled it carefully on the ride home, and was just barely able to mount it (they stiffen badly if not put in a kill-jar). I wonder if Darwin's mother had a house full of mounted insects and various bugs captured in jars? Oh well, better a naturalist than a naturist, as I always say! I'm sure the Naked Rambler's mum has it worse.
Since I'm already dressed in my Puritan garb, I think I'll go out. Who's up for a witch burning? No? Fine, let's just stay in and watch, Bewitched. 











Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Voyage to Grand Island

 I have a two and a half hour (each way) drive tomorrow with a car loaded with entries for the fair. I prefer to think of it as an adventure, even if I'll be driving the Interstate the entire way. Danny's done the research, and found the location of the Goodwill in Grand Island, and we'll be sure to stop at the little Mennonite thrift store in Seward on the way back. Next week will be worse, with the trip to Kansas, and then hitting the last couple days of the fair on the way home to see if he won any ribbons. I wanted Danny to see the Eisenhower presidential library, and take the tour of the boyhood home next door. I did the tour a dozen years ago, and was quite impressed with it. Abeline, Kansas is a lovely little town with several good antique shops. Or it was, I hope to find it has remained more or less the same. I thought this would be a good, educational way to ease into the new school year. As I'm teaching WWII, we can learn a it about Eisenhower in his role as a General.


 For myself, I have my own special way of easing into another school year. I can assure you it wont be a pink bottle of wine called, "Relax" (seen over my shoulder). I prefer gin. And Ibuprofen. Funny story-A couple years back I was buying a gigantic bottle of Advil at Target along with a new grade-book and  lesson planner. The cashier looked at me (already looking exhausted) and then the items on the counter and started howling with laughter. I was only teaching second grade at that point!
99 bottles of cheap wine on the wall, 99 bottles of cheap wine, take one down, pass it around, 98 bottles of cheap wine on the wall. I wonder if I should teach that song to Danny to annoy the hell out of his Dad on long drives?


Outfit Particulars:
Vintage LaRue pleated skirt-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage Ultrasuede jacket-Goodwill
1970's polyester shell top-Goodwill
1950's/60's handbag-Goodwill
Vintage Naturalizer shoes-Thrift World
1960's brooch-Goodwill
1950's screw-back earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
Enamel clamper bracelet-Gordman's
Fragrance-Vintage Guerlain Vetiver

 The woman who works at the Goodwill near my house dragged me over to the case to see this, and another brooch. She knows my taste! The other was a very old piece of Niello with a barrel fastening on the back.

 I'm looking for some interesting audio books for the road trip next week. Mr. ETB came home from the library with some David Sedaris thing, but that wasn't what I had in mind. If you have a ten year old as a captive audience for hours at a time, shouldn't he be listening to something like The Long Loneliness? I've read parts of it aloud with him over the years, but wouldn't several hours in a car be a great opportunity?! Sure, Sedaris is an entertaining writer, but probably not saint material. As I typed that,  I got a great mental image of a suburban church called, "St. Sedaris" with a statue of him in the elf suit out front. Anyway, I think I should see if it is available as an audio book.  I like to remind Danny that had he been born a girl, he'd have been named Dorothy, after Dorothy Day. That typically gets a groan and an eye roll. He hasn't quite come around to the idea that "the best thing to do with the best things in life is give them away." That's okay, I wouldn't have agreed with that at ten either.
 Well, come to think of it, I have an audio books of Pepys Diary as well. Wouldn't that make for riveting listening on a road trip! Well...actually, it would. And I wouldn't hear a Pepys out of  Danny.

Be getting my hat now...
Hope everyone has a great week. See you, eventually! 



Saturday, August 22, 2015

Jean Patou 1000

I never could smell Joy, which I now know is down to jasmine anosmia, but 1000 comes through loud and clear. Whatever the jasmine is doing in the middle notes, it isn't interfering with my ability to smell the rest which is a good thing because 1000 is one hell of a grand perfume.

First things first-1000 is an oakmoss/civet/vetiver bomb, so if any of those notes are bothersome, you might want to sit this perfume out. There's no escaping the patchouli or musk either. Yeah sure, 1000 brings you some roses but then it smothers them in sandalwood and amber. If it sounds like there's a lot going on in 1000, you're right but it is so going on.

1000 does the complicated list of notes in a very 70's way. Much like Bal a Versailles throws together civet, musk, and amber, 1000 isn't just using these notes for fun-there's a point to the combination which I'm reminded of hour after hour as 1000 shifts gracefully into another phase. This is a beautiful perfume. The longevity of 1000 is incredible, even on my poor-circulation skin that couldn't emit warmth if it tried. Ten hours later, it is still with me as I type.

It seems silly to talk of a top/middle/and base with 1000 as it does all sort of come at staggered intervals. The citrus notes fade first, as they typically will, but even hours later there's that bergamot note that is more grated peel than juice. It isn't bright in the way you'd expect. Tangerine is a listed note for 1000, but I don't get that sharpness at all.

The floral notes in 1000 are unusual in the way they're combined. Violet, violet leaf, rose, osmanthus, jasmine, iris, and the completely unexpected note of geranium does make 1000 sound like something a trainee botanist might plant in a grand garden to impress a client by hitting them over the head with luxury. In person though, 1000 might have started as a bit of technical showing-off, but the end result is such a gorgeous, swoon-inducing perfume that I can forgive the long list of notes and just celebrate and enjoy the achievement of something so very grand. If I had the means to do so, I'd wear 1000 much more than I do, walking about in an oakmoss/vetiver/civet cocoon. If there's a heaven, I'll bet all the angels farts smell like 1000. Hallelujah, witness!

As you wear 1000, it will drive you mad trying to place a couple of notes. You'll ignore what your nose is telling you as it sounds so wrong in a composition like 1000. Where good music sometimes needs that discordant bit to make you pay attention, 1000 goes a bit off-key, but nothing too avant garde, you simply won't trust your nose when it relays to your brain the notes of coriander, and lily of the valley. "Impossible" you'll think, but your nose understands what your brain does not. And somehow, if you're lucky, it all works. 1000 works. Overtime. 1000 is the hardest workin' perfume on the tray. 

The notes, per Fragrantica:
(better sit down, this is going to take some time)
Oak moss, Chinese Osmanthus, civet, jasmine, rose, violet, iris, green notes, sandalwood, coriander, geranium, patchouli, vetiver, violet leaf, tangerine, musk, lily of the valley, bergamot, and amber. Whew, that's a long list!

But let's be honest, the first and dominant note you'll notice is oakmoss, so be realistic when trying out 1000. If you don't get on well with oakmoss, it won't grow more subtle as the hours drag on. On the other hand, if you love (and miss) heavy, natural oakmoss in fragrances, then 1000 probably won't disappoint.





Vivid Perfume, Liz Claiborne-Review

What a surprisingly nice perfume this is. Somehow, I missed Vivid when it was around in the early 90's, and remained completely unaware of its existence until I was gifted a small sample bottle like the one in the (not my) photo. Had I been aware of Vivid at the time I doubt I would have been too excited by it, as my perfumes of choice were solidly in the chypre camp at that point.

Iris and violet are my twin purple nemesis (is that the plural? I'm too lazy to go downstairs for a reference book to find out). I adore them both, but unless they are very carefully done, it can get unpleasant rather quickly. Vivid makes use of freesia, peony, and a whole hell of a lot of Bulgarian rose to keep the iris and violet subtle. On paper I might not get too excited by the combination, but on my wrist I can't stop sniffing, and thinking to myself that this is an under appreciated gem.

I must admit, although I'm not a perfume snob (I will wear my cheap bottle of Jovan Woman without hesitation) there's something almost generic about Liz Claiborne as a brand. Don't get me wrong, the clothes are nice, in a casual workplace sort of way, but the fragrances never enticed me over to the perfume counter to give them a try. The bottles were gimicky, and stupid looking, and I associated them with the sort of people that want to fit in, even if it means smelling like everyone else at the country club. If ever a brand screamed, "Middling Classes", it was Claiborne. At least Ralph Lauren aspired to a better country club-and a house in the Hamptons. I acknowledge that I'm probably reading more into it than I should. That's the thing though, isn't it? The marketing is designed to sell the concept of a lifestyle. My mother wore Estee until it became so downmarket that she'd smell it on everyone riding the city buses. There wasn't anything wrong with the scent, but it no longer sold the image of herself she wanted to buy. So it is for Liz Claiborne in my mind.

The wonderful tangerine top note fades quicker than some of those "unauna" elements at the bottom of the Periodic Table. Blink, and you'll miss it. Bergamot is also listed, but hell if I can smell it. There's some sandalwood, vanilla, and musk in the base, but I never smelled them as individual notes. On my skin, the fragrance went from a lovely bit of citrus right into the florals, Freesia has a way of dominating other notes, so it could be that it is dampening the emergence of the base. I really do wish there were some way to hang onto the top notes a wee bit longer, because the tart, bright citrus note is just heavenly. I keep sniffing wanting a bit fuller experience than what Vivid is able to provide me. The overall longevity isn't bad-about six hours, but it stays close to the skin, and even after waving my wrist at Mr. ETB he had to make an effort to smell it. I suppose that makes Vivid the ideal office fragrance for the 21st Century.

Vivid was briefly discontinued, and some people feel the current reformulation is lacking something. Mine is a vintage sample, so I can't really offer an opinion on the newer bottles out there. It does seem a shame they changed the bottle design as the cobalt blue is not only useful for blocking light, but is attractive as well.

The official notes:
Freesia, violet, Mandarin orange,bergamot, jasmine, iris, Egyptian sage, Bulgarian rose, peony, sandalwood, lily, amber, musk, tiare flower, vanilla.

What I smell:
Freesia, violet, Mandarin orange, bergamot, Bulgarian rose, iris, freesia, freesia, and freesia.

Inexpensive mini bottles are all over Etsy and eBay for a couple bucks a pop, so it is worth trying if you like freesia, iris, and violet. $50.00 striped tee shirts, and application to the country club optional.

The Natural Habitat of Vintage Maxis...





...in front of the Goodwill, of course.  What can I say, they have the best walls for photography. This particular Goodwill also has a mini-nature preserve in back of the store...
Outfit Particulars:
Batik cotton maxi dress-Goodwill
Necklace-K Mart
Shoes-Hand-Me-Ups
Collins-esque bag-Goodwill
Bangles-Gordmans
Fragrance-Bvlgari Omnia Coral


 We like visiting this location as there's always good bird watching...



 Like this goldfinch with a beak full of thistle.

Closer to home we spotted this butterfly on my coneflowers.

 And this praying mantis outside the art supplies store. He was happy enough to sit for several minutes having his photo taken.
 "Be sure to get my good side."
When Danny was small, the occasional praying mantis would jump onto the window. They move their hands back and forth, and I had the kid convinced it was waving to him. Sadly, he no longer believes the praying mantis is waving, but he was concerned it might leap out at me after a bit. I backed off to finish the photos.


 Back home, we tried photographing this maxi in a gale. The sun was shining, the wind blowing, and every single photo had me making some sort of stupid face. Every. Single. One. So here's my very nice polyester maxi dress and a stupid face thrown in just for fun.


 Outfit Particulars:
1970's maxi dress-Fairytale Costumes, Omaha
Shoes-K Mart
Collins-esque bag-Goodwill
Earrings-Target
Bracelet-Yard Sale in the abandoned mall
Trifari brooch-Hand-Me-Ups
Fragrance-Courreges in Blue, vintage formulation

Such a great print, but maddening to photograph. 



Monday is drop-off day for the fair which means Danny will be furiously baking this weekend. He's entering two breads, a white cake, cinnamon buns, oatmeal cookies, quick bread, and of course seven different jams and pickles. The excitement around here...can you feel it?! I know you can. Probably. Well try, damnit.

 I'll leave you with a dead easy way to make a meal out of tomatoes.

6-7 large-ish ripe tomatoes
A handful of herbs-thyme, basil, oregano, etc.
Black pepper and salt to taste
Olive oil to taste

Toss it all together in a pan, chuck it in a 275 degree F. oven, and leave it alone for an hour or so. Once the skins peel easily off, remove them, then coarsely chop the tomatoes. Serve with some grated cheese over pasta, or on toast with additional olive oil and freshly torn basil leaves.

I told you it was easy. I don't like complicated in the summer.

Uh oh, the weather alarm just sounded. Tornado watch? In August?! Well I'll be damned. I just took a look out the window, and it is indeed looking ripe for severe weather. This is madness, at this time of year. Oh well, at least we have a proper basement here with a cement foundation unlike the dirt storm cellar on the farm . Guess I'd better go harvest the last of my pattypan squash before the weather comes through-I'd hate to lose them. *Grumbles about severe weather season being in Spring, not Summer*

Have a great weekend, everyone!