Archive for December, 2005

Best of What’s Around

best of fragrances
I love perfume. I’m obsessed, really, and my collection would embarrass most people. It’s weird. I know. I can’t help it. The bottles, the juice, the scent, the EVERYTHING.

I can see most of you thinking that you’d rather poke your eyes out than meet me, for I likely waft a cloud nine feet thick around me, right? Wrong. Because I like perfume so much, I respect how it should be applied: LIGHTLY and carefully. Sillage is one thing, but pre-announcing one’s arrival with a viscous vapor of scent is the surest way to ruin a lovely fragrance and terrify your friends and neighbors.

Last summer, a bunch of my fragrance blogging buddies did a circle of their Top 10 Fragrances for Summer. Because I was so busy moving to the tropics, I couldn’t participate. However, I’m thrilled to report that we’re doing our top 10 scents of 2005! Hoo-rah!

I should note that these are not scents that launched in 2005, nor are they those that I even discovered throughout the year. Rather, they are those scents that either captured me during the year, or continued to be an important mainstay above all others (and there are many, many others to compete with!). So, without further adieu, my top 1o favorite fragrances of 2005 :

1. Clinique Wrappings. In many ways, this is a summer scent – the cool notes lend a bright, refreshing glow to the fragrance that is wonderful on hot days. However, it’s limited holiday availablility demands that it be worn in winter: Clinique, in a moment of sheer insanity, discontinued this fragrance in favor of more insipid, yet likely better-selling offerings such as Happy, Happy Heart and Simply. Commence vomiting at any time. After what I can only imagine and/or pray was an uproar, they opted to bring it back each Christmas in a limited edition holiday set. Wrappings is neither insipid, nor typical – it’s green, crisp notes are refreshing, yet appropriate for the holiday season – think ice-cold fragrant pine needles fallen on a forest floor on a cold snowy night. The result is a wonderfully unique, cool and wintry scent that is perfect for any occasion. Stock up each holiday at your local department store or at Gloss.com.

2) Dinner by Bobo. Yes, yes, the name is ridiculous. Big deal. And yes, yes, the risky inclusion of cumin makes this a precarious wonder, subject to the mysteries of skin chemistry. On the wrong wearer, this has been observed as a sweaty man eating a taco, post-workout body odor on an obese horse, and other truly appetizing olefactory images. On me, however, it’s marvelous, and one of the few winter scents that doesn’t make me feel like puking in the perpetual Florida heat (remind me to tell you of playing tennis wearing Ambre Sultan. GROSS). It starts off with a blast of cola with citrus – like a slightly warmed Coke with Lime with some cloves floating on top. While that sounds disgusting, it’s actually lovely, if too sweet. The sweetness quickly disspates, however, to the briefest moment of violet – dry violet, not candied violets – mixed with incense. This is by far my favorite phase, and it’s terribly short-lived. In the end, it morphs into a warm, soft skin scent touched with sweetened spices, amber and incense. I never tire of this, and it’s one of the few scents I’ve gone through multiple bottles of.

3) Chanel Allure Parfum. The lovely Debra B is going to have my head for this, for I’ve fought a somewhat tenuous, good-spirited battle with her over the beauty of Allure in its many concentrations. I was firmly in the EDT camp, insisting that EDP and parfum were too rich for normal people to wear, while she was adamantly pro-parfum. Upon first sniff, I found this to be way too heavy and rough – powdery, like a snootful of talc, with a sandpapery quality that felt a little like having a low-grade headcold. Mmmm. However, after obtaining a proper-sized mini of the parfum, I was able to test this extensively, and found that it really is as stunning as D. has insisted for all this time. Chanels have a wonderful quality that always feels sparkling and slightly aldehydic, even if aldehydes aren’t present. The Allure parfum has that odd, lovely quality, but it’s warmed with a non-foody dry vanilla tempered by warm vetiver and what smells like a crisp, slightly unripe peach. While the other concentrations smell similar, they lack the softness and subtlety the parfum affords. Available everywhere.

4) Serge Lutens’ Fumerie Turque. Not all of Serge Lutens scents do it for me, but I really do appreciate all of them, if only as strange little works of liquid art. The man does some seriously complex compositions, with notes that seem bizarrely out of context in a personal fragrance. Fumerie Turque is a mix of smoked leather, tobacco, honey, candied rose, patchouli and a ton of other things I can’t smell, but add to its loveliness. On my skin, it’s a rich, smoky leather mixed with loukhoum, a rich almondy-rosy candy – like edible, candied leather with a dusting of powdered sugar. I realize that sounds kind of gross, but trust me, it’s amazing. And, perhaps most unfortunately, Fumerie Turque is only available at the Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido in Paris. They will not ship outside of Europe, alas, so pick one up on vacation, surf eBay for overpriced bottles, or find a friend who’s heading there who will pick one up for you (that’s what I did!).

5) Chanel Coco Mademoiselle. It’s ubiquitous, yes, but that does not diminish its beauty. The wonder of Mademoiselle is that each of the different concentrations affords a wholly unique and gorgeous experience. The EDT is crisp, fresh and fruity, with an air of creamy citrus, while the EDP is a journey in fruited vanilla and patchouli. Do not fear the patch! This is not your local stoner’s patchouli – It’s friendly, soft and lends an important grounding element to the rich fruit. Unlike other Chanel creations, Mademoiselle was not originally designed in parfum, and the formulation launched earlier this year. Also unlike most Chanels, Mademoiselle parfum is not its best showing. They took the fruit notes and amplified them to a dangerous degree, and the overall composition is far too sweet and chewy, reminiscent of an overripe cantaloupe. Go for the lotion, EDT or EDP. And, as with all Chanel products, the bath products are beyond divine, so pick some up at your next trip to the department store!

6) Robert Piguet Fracas. Pronounce it however you like, Fracas is one incredible, classic scent. Many claim they can discern other notes such as jasmine, gardenia and musk, but I am simply clubbed into submission by the buttery tuberose, where it maintains the starring role it so richly deserves. If you’re not familiar with tuberose by name, I’m fairly certain you would be by scent. It’s a rich, sweet, heady flower with a creamy, buttery quality that prevents it from poking you in the eye and driving white-hot needles through your frontal lobe. Fracas takes advantage of its natural butteriness, and mixes it up with cream. The result is a soft, creamy tuberose milkshake without a hint of candied yuckiness. Here the parfum is essential, as it clings close to the skin and prevents one from wafting mad Fracas everywhere and screaming “HI, I’M WEARING TUBEROSE!!!” to everyone who comes within nine feet of you. I got mine on eBay for a song, and I’m sure you can, too – it’s perpetually available.

7) Serge Lutens’ Bois de Violette. Perfumers who work with violet have a tendency to destroy it by preying upon its natural melancholy sweetness and turning it into a candied nightmare. Violet is a sad little flower, for most perfumers believe that she needs to be dressed in vanilla or sugar to be palatable, and in no way can she stand on her own two stalks. My first experience with violets was with Frederic Malle’s Lipstick Rose, followed shortly by the dangerously sweet Bond No. 9 Broadway Nite – both cloying, tooth-rotting compositions evocative of candy, and I wrote off the little flowers as pathetic little wanna-be pretty girls. Mercifully, Lutens’ interpretation is simple: fresh, clean, dry violets on a bed of cedar and soft leaves. Nothing more than the beauty of the flower with a little help from nature. Simply elegant. I dare you to feel frumpy wearing this. Like Fumerie Turque, Bois de Violette can only be found in Paris at the Salons, but unlike Fumerie Turque, I do not own a bottle. So if you’re in Paris and feeling benevolent, give me a ring. I’ll pay you.

8) L’Artisan Tea for Two. Cardamom’s most shining hour. Perfumer Olivia Giacobetti created a stunning blend of cardamom, spices, black tea and honey blended with milk for a truly incredible chai latte experience. The ultimate comfort fragrance, the composition is warm, soft and spicy without being overpowering. To prevent it from being too sweet, a touch of smoke is added to the opening, like the vaguest hint of clove cigarettes. But it’s the cardamom that really glows here: blended with tea, honey and milk, the spicy warmth of the pod is evident, with none of the greasy, meaty weirdness that many cardamom-based scents fail to conceal. Pick it up at LusciousCargo or Aedes.com.

9) Coty Wild Musk. My Aunt Anne Marie wore Wild Musk when I was growing up, and I loved it then, but I adore it even more now. Musk is hit or miss for me, and too much can smell overly bodily – like animals having sex in a dark alley. Here it’s just perfect, and the overall effect is of soft flowers in the woods, with incense burning somewhere in the distance. Interestingly, a friend and I noticed, through literal and repeated side-by-side comparisons, that it is a dead-ringer for Lorenzo Villoresi’s Musk, which is infinitely more elusive and expensive. And at less than $10 a bottle, you can afford to pick this one up on your next trip to Target.

10) People of the Labyrinths Luctor et Emergo body cream. I’ve owned the parfum concentration of this for about a year. While it’s lovely, it’s difficult to truly deconstruct and appreciate consistently. A perpetual chameleon, one day it could be stunning semisweet black cherry incense, and the next, Play Doh. Just Play Doh. The body cream, however, is consistent, pure perfection. Sweet hay mingles with grass, fresh cherries and incense, while a small, non-sweet vanilla comes late to the party to help the scent last all day and into the night. The lasting power is truly amazing for a body cream, and the strength, quality and astonishingly long-lasting moisture help to justify the $95 pricetag. I was lucky enough to score this one on a sale at BeautyHabit, but would gladly shell out the $95 when this one is through.

Want to see more Top 10 Lists? Visit our blogging circle o’ perfumistas.

33 comments December 30th, 2005

Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others

Adam and I exchanged gifts last Saturday, well before the hustle and bustle of the holidays really got into full swing. Truth is, we like the privacy, and shipping packages to and from our final destination is astonishingly impractical. This year would have been particularly difficult, given that I got him a circular saw that weighs about eleventy million pounds, and would have cost as much to ship.

Adam is an avid online shopper, being an Internet geek and all, and despite his best efforts, one of my gifts didn’t arrive on time – it was part of a set of three items, and I easily figured out what it was supposed to be (He got me three Philosophy three-in-ones bodywash/bubble bath/shampoo in delicious scents. The third mysteriously didn’t arrive). On Thursday, before we left, a package arrived from the store he ordered it from. He handed it to me with an offhanded “Merry Christmas!” and I opened it excitedly since, like a goldfish, I’d forgotten what it was.

I stared into the package.

And stared.

And stared some more.

It was a six-pack of SlimFast.

Orange Creamiscle. Flavored. SlimFast.

Slim.

Fast.

From my husband.

For Christmayulikah.

There was much confusion, hollering and panic involved on all sides, with some screaming about the size of my albeit-ample-yet-still-only-a-fucking-size-EIGHT-you-insensitive-jerk ASS, until we finally looked at the packing slip, which, Adam should thank mother of fucking GOD, read, “Eggnog Philosophy Three-in-One.” The third and forgotten Three in One. It was a packing mistake, and thank EVERY POWER ON THIS EARTH, because there would have been a brutal murder, and I don’t think anyone would have blamed me. We’d have made CNN, I’m sure, and been immortalized in every “Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader,” from now until all of eternity as the Christmas Couple Diet Murder-Suicide of 2005.

And what’s worse, some poor creature ordered some much-needed Orange Creamsicle SlimFast and is instead washing themselves with the rich, creamy and no-doubt TEMPTING, scent of Philosophy’s Eggnog. It even has a recipe for homemade eggnog on the bottle. The poor, doomed soul.

I hope y’all had a happy holiday and that Santa brought you everything you wanted. I’ve got my husband, family, friends, cat and my SlimFast and I couldn’t be happier.

*The Smiths

11 comments December 26th, 2005

The Celibate Life

I thought I was pregnant today for the second time in as many months. I still might be, though I’m not late for anything, and I won’t tell you if I am for some time. But I’m pretty sure I’m not, so put down the knitting needles. The only reason I thought so is that my own perfume made me physically ill, and last night after dinner I thought I might die from the Sickness to End all Dinner-Related Sicknesses and Miserable Neverending Sickess from Homemade Pasta Carbonara Sickness.

In truth, I think it was the eggs in the carbonara. I don’t do well with eggs, historically. And the fact that I was trying a new parfum today is likely the reason I stank myself out of the newsroom (Newsroom! I may never get over the excitement. So what if it’s a small-town paper!). And last month, I was terrifyingly late, which turned out to be a happy side effect of my thyroid medication. I hadn’t had a cycle longer than 19 days in about two years, most were closer to 15. Having one that was a whopping THIRTY TWO DAYS nearly had me shopping for maternity gear, pronto.

Fifteen days. That means I had my period 7 days on, 7 days off, approximately. Yes, it was about as miserable as it sounds.

But still. This is the first time in my life that if I got pregnant, it would be okay. Good, even. No, we’re not trying, but we’re not killing ourselves NOT trying, either. Careless, but not reckless. You don’t need the details. But I’m likely not, and in fact, it would be a near-miracle if I were. And with the Thyroid Rollercoaster, no one knows if I actually *can* yet, so let’s not go there.

Before we left Boston, I was so beyond ready to start popping them out. What’s scary is that I think the primary reason I was so keen to do so is that I wasn’t happy with my life, and having kids seemed a reasonable way to move forward with my life. It’s ugly, but I’m being honest. Now that I’m actually satisfied I’m on a happy path, I’m not so anxious to jump in and I’m not sure how I’ll know that I’m ready. I guess you just “know,” according to my hundreds of wiser friends.

And what’s also making me a little sad is that I have, alas, become boring. I’m happy. Happy is boring. I don’t like it here all that much yet, and I don’t know a soul down here except for my coworkers. But it’s really all good. I have a job that I love, a great husband and a cat who sleeps so close to me I can feel his breath on my face at night. And we’re slowly meeting people, even if they aren’t in our age range.

We will. And in the meantime, I’m hopelessly happy with what I’ve got, which makes for horrendously sappy and pathetic entertainment. However, there is hope for a painfully entertaining Christmas. We’re going to Boston for a week, which will include, but is not limited to:
– A full week at my sister’s house. She will be lovely at first, then quickly degenerate into Annoyedville and become Annoyed with the presence of Everyone in the House by Wednesday. This is always entertaining, if cruel. My nephews also provide entertainment.
– A Chanukah dinner at Adam’s cousin’s apartment in Somerville. There will be guitars, Chanukah carols and latkes. I’m really looking forward to the latkes. And Grandpa, whom I adore beyond all reason and I will spend the entire time smooching him.
– Thirty. I turn fucking thirty. This alone is enough, but my entire family will be having dinner at The Kowloon, which is the world’s most kitchy, touristy, cheesy Chinese restaurant in all of Boston. I chose it for that very purpose and I plan to drink lots and lots of drinks with umbrellas in them.

And thus concludes the Boringness that is Happiness. You deserve better. Cynicism returns over Christmas.

*The Shins

8 comments December 21st, 2005

Movin’ On Up!

Christmas came at the Jonniker household. We usually do Christmas the weekend before Christmas so that we can celebrate privately, and DID SANTA EVER DELIVER. Most noticably in the form of MY VERY OWN URL and unlimited tech support from my incredibly rockin’ hubby.

So yah, from now on, here’s where you’ll find me. It’ s not totally done yet – I’m getting some help designing the header (um, Eve…that will be you, if you don’t mind…), but other than that, I’m pretty fucking excited.

Merry early Christmas. I turn 30 in T-minus 9 days. Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck.

9 comments December 18th, 2005

Deck the Halls

I dread becoming a mother only because I have a sneaking suspicion it will be ALL I WRITE ABOUT. This is the first time I’ve written about my nephews, but the amount of material they offer my sister is truly staggering. My sister has two sons – Nicky and Marco, ages 7 and 9, respectively. Sadly, I think this will likely be the last year that Marco believes in Santa, although you never know. Mercifully, he’s the polite, thoughtful sort of kid who won’t insist on ruining it for his younger brother.

Last night, my sister reported that the two boys sat down to write their letters to Santa. Marco was concerned with simply listing items as he felt it sounded rude and demanding. Ann suggested perhaps he soften the letter with some polite introductory language, such as, “Dear Santa, I’ve been pretty good this year, so if you think it’s okay, I’d really love to offer some suggestions…”

Marco’s ironic interpretation:

Dear Santa, I’ve been perfect this past year, so I really deserve the following items: a Nintendo DS, etc. etc. And another thing, while I’m at it, actually. Since I’ve been so good, I would like an actual digital VIDEO camera, since I broke my digital camera, which also took videos. And anything else you can think of you can throw in there for me. Love, Marco XX.

4 comments December 17th, 2005

Take the Time

An interesting thing has happened since I stopped working.

I started living. I had missed my entire life working like that, and I didn’t even know it. I’d missed everything. Dinners. Cooking. Reading good books. Learning about new things. Knitting. Politics. Shortly before I decided to leave, Adam and I were out to dinner and an ’emergency’ arose and I had to leave the restaurant immediately, before dinner was served, dragging my poor, starving husband with me.

I missed everything. I know I’ve talked about it before, but I worked a lot. 90 hours a week wasn’t uncommon. I would wake up around 7 a.m., get coffee, and check email. Get caught up in massive onslaught of unhappy people and start answering email. Panic around 8 a.m. that I hadn’t showered and needed to leave. Showered. 8:30 a.m., do one final check of email and leave at 8:45.

Commute. Sit in traffic. Make work-related phone calls. Answer email in traffic, including those that were wondering where the hell I was (WORKING, you idiots!). Arrive at work around 9:30 a.m.

Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Eat lunch hovered over desk if there was time to actually grab it. Work. Answer phone. Work. Explain to disgruntled stockholders why stock was in the toilet. Work. Get yelled at by angry investors. Work. Answer crazy wild goose chase email by president of division who is wondering why our biggest competitor has more lines in a BusinessWeek column than we do. Work. Contemplate crying. Work.

6:45 p.m. Leave. Make leftover phone calls in car. Check email on the road. Work in car. Get yelled at by Adam for not making it home for dinner. For the third time in as many days.

7:45 p.m. Arrive home. Shove food in gullet. Log on to computer. Check email. Answer flurry of IMs from boss. Work. Write miscellaneous press releases that I didn’t have time for during the day because of Angry Investors.

9:30 p.m. Go for run. Shower. Read email in-between the two events.

10:30 p.m. go to bedroom. Answer emails.

Midnight. Proof release and send off. IM with boss one last time.

Sleep fitfully due to vast amount of terrifying work hanging over head, not to mention thinly veiled threat that job was precarious and could be eliminated at any time.

7:00 a.m. Weep at sound of alarm.

THIS IS WHAT I DID FOR EIGHT YEARS. I am not exaggerating. And what’s worse, this was on a normal day. When it got “really busy,” it was worse. I would work straight through the weekend, eating dinner at the office and managing phone calls in my pajamas because there wasn’t time for the luxury of a shower. No fucking WONDER I have anxiety issues, for God’s sake. And it’s a fucking Christmas miracle that I’m married and that my husband didn’t leave me (he considered it more than once, I’m sure).

I’m so lucky to have been given the opportunity (thank you, Adam) to get off and actually live. I’ve been cooking. Interviewing for normal jobs. Working on my book and thinking about what’s next. Exercising in a gym like a normal person. I’m spoiled, I know, and my husband is nothing short of fucking amazing. Amazing for letting me do this, and for putting up with me all of those years. My salary, albeit lovely, was NOT WORTH IT.

If you see any of yourself in the above, please stop. Take out a loan, go back to school, move to an area that’s more affordable. Because you have no idea how little living you’re actually doing until you start.

*The now-defunct but wonderful Freddy Jones Band

7 comments December 1st, 2005


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