Monday, July 29, 2019

The Heat Was Hot

When it is -40 F. in January, feel free to quote me but, I am so over summer. Sure, I live in Nebraska which probably has the worst climate in the United States in all seasons (with floods and tornadoes for added excitement) but this year broke me. It has been so hot going to the pool is pointless as it would be like bathwater. Yes, we have central air conditioning (unlike the farm), and yes my car's AC works (unlike the Mighty ford Tempo I drove for years) but day after day after day of sitting indoors with the lights off, curtains closed, unable to use the oven wears on a person after a bit-even if the room is cool. Oh, I know we made this mess, and we're going to be living with it probably forever, but I'm not doing a very good job of adapting to the new normal. 
I don't know how to dress in this heat. Natural fibres, I guess. 
It has now been a full 6 months since I've stopped blow drying and straightening my hair. I'm still not convinced I like it, but it would be pointless trying to do anything with it in the heat and humidity, so a nice break anyway.

Outfit Particulars:
Silk skirt-Goodwill (I think)
Straw bag-World Market
Earrings-Thrift World
Bangles-all over
Hobe coil bracelet-Thrift World
Fragrance-Bvlgari Omnia Coral (probably the only Bvlgari I like. I bought two large bottles just in case they discontinue it).

Enough moaning about the weather-thanks for indulging me. Let's talk about this dress instead. The material is a nubby, lightweight acrylic that mimics towelling/terry cloth without the weight and bulk. 
It doesn't show well in the photo but there's red blanket stitching around the neck, arms, and hem. The fabric belt is original to the dress. I'm wearing vintage Napier lucite beads here because white accessories on a white dress feels so 70s to me. Red beads would have worked too, but I can wear those all year. If there's one thing I still like about summer, it is wearing white. I went with beige shoes and bag because you can over-do white. I like the matchy-matchy look, but too much can look comical. Hopefully this was a good balance. 

Outfit Particulars:
1970s dress-New Life Thrift
Napier necklace-Hand-Me-Ups
Fragrance-Norell (I mean, what else could I possibly wear with something this 70s?)

Keeping with the 70s for a bit. This is...not me. Not, at all. Still, finding this set in perfect condition for practically pocket change made me think it was worth a try. I do wish the tee were a bit larger, but that's life. The applique on the shirt matches the skirt, and the lining also matches. The amount of work and detail is amazing by modern standards.

 Outfit Particulars:
1970s top and wrap skirt-New Life Thrift
Vintage handbag-Goodwill
Vintage shoes-yard sale
Vintage glass (or stone) bangle-Goodwill
Shell earrings-World Market
Fragrance-Vintage formulation Estee. Sigh. I found a cheap bottle and thought I might enjoy it. I do NOT! Not even a little. Oh, it brought back memories...none of them good. *shudders*. That's what I get for trying to cosplay a 70s suburban mother.

 This skirt is about three sizes too large, but the print was too good to resist. It is home sewn, and rather badly, so it needs a bit of work. I think it is worth it. The fabric is a sort of barkcloth with a shiny finish.

 Outfit Particulars:
Vintage raffia bag-Goodwill
Polka dot Lucite bangle-Salvation Army
Fragrance-Balenciaga Ho Hang (kinda meh, actually. I like the first 10 minutes, then it sort of mellows into boring).

 Helloooooo *taps lens* do you know how hot it is outside?!

 Hot enough that I wore a patio shift dress out and about! With slippers. And my hair in a banana clip.
Outfit Particulars:
Mexican embroidered shift dress-Thrift World
Cha Cha bracelets-both Goodwill
Slippers-New Life Thrift
Fragrance-L' Air du Temps

My hemline started rising with the mercury.
This is on the short side for my tastes, and I'm not a fan of cap sleeves. I am however even less a fan of 100F temperatures. 
I've probably mentioned it was kind of hot around here lately. Did I forget to tell you about the heat? Oh, OK, never mind then.

Outfit Particulars:
1980s dress-Hand-Me-Ups
Shoes- K Mart about 12 years ago
Fragrance-Knize 10 (not obvious in hot weather, but I like it)

 Know what else I did?
"I know what 'ya did!"

That's right, Beet Poot! and if you want to kiss Beet Poot (or anything else) go HERE and get yourself a shirt. 
Oh, and meet Bubbles. He screamed at me across the Goodwill, so I brought him home. He lives in my garden now between the nasturtiums and the cardoon. 

You knew there'd be a tropical print dress in here somewhere, and here it is! 

 I'm not convinced that basket was intended for use as a handbag, but when has that ever stopped me?

 Bought this gold headband from a costume shop. It was supposed to go with a Greek Goddess costume. I find such great accessories in unlikely places. I bought a few wigs recently as well, but they will need to wait for cooler weather.
Outfit Particulars:
90s dress-Goodwill-I think?
Bangles-all over
Earrings-Yard sale
Vintage straw Qualicraft shoes-Goodwill
Basket-New Life Thrift
Fragrance-Balahe (it doesn't get more tropical than that. Gosh, I love that one)

 The very second the heat broke, I went into full Summer Goth mode. This skirt looks like a vintage petticoat, but it is modern, and has a zip in back. The taffeta and lace are nicely put together. Paired with an 80s rayon top with gold flecks throughout, I was able to get a somewhat dressy look without being over-dressed for daytime. I really loved how this one came together, and would definitely repeat the outfit exactly the same. That's rare that I want to do that.
 Outfit Particulars:
Skirt-New Life Thrift
Betsey Johnson belt-Hand-Me-Ups
Earrings-Sears, before they closed
Fragrance-Aramis (yeah, again with the leather and cumin in the heat of summer. I don't know why!)

 I already shared this on Instagram, so if you were offended by a fat old lady in a swimsuit, I'm afraid I'm going to offend you again! Know how you "Get your body swimsuit ready?"

 You put on a swimsuit. There, you're ready! If you needed proof that ultra running won't make you thin-here 'ya go! I can however run an absurd number of miles day after day. I really love this swimsuit but unfortunately, it has some latex in the elastic and it just isn't worth the rash. Sigh, I've only worn it twice. I have others, but they're not hot pink. Of all the stupid allergies I could develop late in life! I can live without mangoes, bananas, avocado, etc. but latex in clothes is a real problem. Ah well, summer is almost over anyway...I hope!

I don't know if putting myself on the internet is encouraging if you've been feeling shy of wearing a swimsuit in public, but trust me, no one cares what you wear. Truth. And if you're my age, they absolutely don't care what you're wearing (or what you've waxed, or of you've polished your toenails, etc.). Go, have a good time and for heaven's sake-wear something YOU like. With any luck, it won't give you a contact dermatitis.

I'll leave you with some views of what's blooming in the garden.

And that's about it from here. Danny is off to High School in a couple weeks, and I'm preparing for life to be very different around here. I'm not looking forward to waking him every morning at 6 AM. Teenagers can be hard sleepers!

I hope your summer is treating you well.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

You Asked For It...

The fancy, men's Dior" robe"/dressing gown mentioned in the previous post. Late night look. No makeup, no photoshop, keeping it real.

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 it๐Ÿ˜€. 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!