Monday, March 26, 2012

No Disassemble Charlie No. 5's Going On Spring Break

*Current Fragrance: Une Rose Vermeille by Andy Tauer
*Currently Listening: Hearbreaker by Pat Benatar

Well, I'm not really GOING anywhere...I'm just taking a blogging break for a week to rest the old fragrance noodle and get the creative juices flowing again. It's decidedly UN-Springy in Boston right now, but that's fine. I have a very active imagination! See you in week dear readers!

*Currently Listening: Time of The Season by The Zombies
**Photo Credit:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Perfumed Primary Project: Louisiana

*Current Fragrance: Liaisons Dangereuses by Kilian
*Currently Listening: Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? is on T.V.

- For Louisiana and its state flower the Magnolia: Guerlain's L'Instant de Guerlain.

Louisiana: The Pelican State
**Photo Credit:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Scenting Mad Men

*Current Fragrance: Green Tea and Cucumber Essence Body Splash by Bath & Body Works
*Currently Listening: Night Train by Buddy Morrow

MAD MEN COMES BACK SUNDAY! MAD MEN COMES BACK SUNDAY! Yep, just a little on the excited side. It is without a doubt, my favorite show currently on TV. I've mused about it before in my ode To All The [Fictitious] Men I've Loved Before, and will be ripping my scenting of Don Draper straight from that post, as I stand by both what I said about Mad Men and about Don (but more on that later).

Here are my "rules" as I have set them: I'm going to make believe that all the fragrances that would be available today, were available to the characters when the show is set. I do a little self projecting on a few of the characters. Can you guess which ones? Also, I'm not going to scent the entire cast, just the ones that I...well...want to! I'll do Don first, and then the others in alphabetical order...that just seams fair.

Don Draper
Taken from a previous NDC#5 post: "Don Draper is the current fictitious love of my life. Yes...he's a Cad (yeah, so much so that it gets a capital "C'), a ginormous Cad, a f'ing ginormous Cad, but an inextricably sexy f'ing ginormous Cad! He's one of those "men want to be him, women want to be with him" characters. I'm a little obsessed with "Mad Men", I love the idea of New York in the early 1960's where old world style and glamour are still holding to outward appearances, while powerful zeitgeists like the Civil Right Movement and the Sexual Revolution were taking hold in minds, news, politics, sentiments and bedrooms. Plus, men still wore fedoras. All men look just a little bit sexier sporting a fedora. JFK, I love you...but did have REALLY have to take the Oath of Office without your top-hat on?!??!?! Men's millinery has never been the same; well, sort of.

I think Don Draper would smell like leather and honey. Pretty much the two sexiest scents I could conjure in my mind for a man to smell like. My mind goes to all sorts of place I should just not type about because it's way TMI, and well...I'm pretty sure my Mom is going to read this! (On a women for the record, it's jasmine & unsweetened blackberry jam), But you see, Don drinks and smokes too much to smell just like honey and I've decided to throw in scotch and tobacco. After searching through several fragrances, I've decided that Don Draper should wear either (please make sure you click on all the links for full fragrance descriptions) Eau d'Italie's Bois d'Ombrie or Odori's Tabacco.  "

Betty Francis
Every time I think of Betty, I roll my eyes. She's turned into (OK, more of it is showing now) a petulant child. I'm pretty sure her daughter is more mature than she is! However, she still has maybe enough good sense to wear something somewhat "socially acceptable" for a lady of her age. I'm going to go with the marshmallow-y sweet, yet girlish Love By Kilian....for when she's actually out in public. In private though, when Henry's at work and she's left to her own bat-shit-crazy devices; she has a drawer where the following bottles are stashed: 1) Aquolina's Pink Sugar, 2) Taylor Swift's Wonderstruck and 3) Justin Bieber's Someday...along with a framed autographed black and white glossy of The Biebs that I'm SURE better wrote a letter to his fan club to get. (We're doing some weird time twisting things here...just go with it!)

Joan "You Make Me Just Want To Give Up Now and Quit Trying" Harris
"Oh Joanie!" There are two distinct Joans in my mind. Joan 1: The sex-on-a-stick-b!tch-in-heels-body-that-won't-quit-damn-I-wish-I-could-be-her Joan.....and then there's Joan 2: The sad Joan. The "I didn't get what I bargained for" Joan. The "under the War Paint" (if you will..) Joan. While I find Joan 1 to be much more exciting, I find Joan 2 to be much more interesting.

For Joan 1: Do I really even have to say it? I know EXACTLY where I'm going here! It's a total Diva Scent Death Match: Fracas VS. Carnal Flower! (I'm pretty sure she would have bought Fracas for herself and Roger bought her the Carnal Flower.)

For Joan 2: Something a little bit more melancholy and reflective but still somehow sensuous. I'm going with Le Parfum de Thérèse or Liaisons Dangereuses (perhaps I'm just projecting my coconut, blackcurrant, rose obsession a bit here with the latter...)

Oh, and REALLY make me miss my red hair!

I've missed ya, Red!
Lane Pryce
Mr. Price was a bit of an anomaly for me to figure out how to scent; then I started thinking of giving him something very American but with a type of "Across the Pond" sensibility. I started thinking of memorable scenes with Lane, and couldn't stop thinking about the one where he picks up his steak and drunkenly declares for all the restaurant to hear and to Don's horror, "Look at me! I've got a big ol' Texas belt buckle! YEE-HAW!" Then I had it! Yep, Lane Pryce wears Lonestar Memories. He bought the bottle himself. I'm pretty sure he thought his Bunny would like it!

Megan Calvet
I like Megan and I think she's good for Don. She's most assuredly not the bumbling moron that we thought she was at the beginning (OK I thought the was kind of a ding-bat at first) of her time on the show. I thought Faye was good for Don though....and look how well that worked out! I'm pretty sure that Megan is going to get crushed by a rogue Street Vendor Cart or is actually a Russian spy or something like that; but for now she's making Don happy and his kids are quite fond of her as well, so she gets something full of sunshine, warmth and light - yet still chic and sophisticated. I'm thinking Parfum d'Empire's Osmanthus Interdite.

Peggy Olson
 I'm a TOTAL Peggy Olson Fan Girl! I've loved Peggy from the very start! I'm always rooting for her, very seldom does she do something that pisses me off (I may not agree with everything she does, but I never feel "disenchanted" with her), and I see a lot of how I want to see myself in her. She's very pleased with herself, but not in a smug way; yet is striving for and wants MORE. (Side note, I also appreciate that Peggy's apartment is something of a hot-mess. Sister, I feel ya!) Notice though...Peggy herself, is seldom (well NOW, anyway) a hot mess. I feel that she would wear something that would not be so utterly feminine when she's in a room full of men, it reminds them that "hey....inferior being with boobs in the room!", but just feminie enough to make it clear that she's not just "one of the guys." I can see Peggy wearing both Oliver Durbano's Jade and Diptyque's L'Ombre dans L'eau. (Yes. I know I'm TOTALLY projecting upon dear Peggy, as I am rather enraptured with both of these fragrances at the moment.)

Roger Sterling
Poor Roger. Jane has cut him off at the balls and he's a total sad sack. I miss the old Roger. The one who had no moral compass but a sh!t-ton of fun. He still doesn't have a moral compass, but he's not having fun either. Poor Roger. Bring him back those twins...the ones right before he had one of his...which heart attack # was it? He needs some cheering up. I miss his first wive, Mona. She at least had a spine. Jane's just....she puts the "step" in "Stepford Wives", as in "someone should step on her, squash her, and remove her from the show. She's served her purpose in making Roger actually miserable, now go. I think Roger wears Bleu de Chanel. Jane bought it for him.

*Currently Listening: Flambee Montalbanese by The Hot Club of San Francisco

**Image Credits: 1) 2) 3) 4) my own 5) 6)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Personal Spring/Summer GONNA Haves

*Current Fragrance: Jade by Olivier Durbano
*Currently Listening: Up Around the Bend by Creedence Clearwater Revival is being a tad slow this morning, so links that I'd normally post from there will just be updated later.

Spring is here is Boston! It's a tad early due to the complete "Winter That Wasn't 2011/2012." I seriously think it snowed a grand total of three times here this winter. I mean, we were one inch shy from having the least snowy winter on record in Boston...EVER. Summer however, it trying to knock Spring out a bit early. It's going to hit at least 84 in the city today. (If I walk in anywhere that still has their heater going today, there's going to be a PROBLEM!) Growing up in the South, I'm a big fan of the concept of "bought air". There is some very simple math for this: the hotter it is outside, the more icicles I want hanging from my nose and eyelashes. Besides...ladies don't sweat, they glisten. Yes. This all sounds pretty crazy...but y'all, I just really like my air conditioning.

I tend to be a bit more picky and faithful to a handful of fragrances during the summer. While in milder weather I switch it up, during warmer weather, I try to be much more mindful that it's going to be warmer and the scent is going to carry much more as well as read/smell quite a bit stronger. (Not to say I won't totally love everything I'm ever wearing, and I still have my now kinda insane sample stash to select from...) See...I'm a nice person...unlike YOU...yeah you... Mr. Dude on the T that refuses to stash a stick of deoderant in gym bag and put some on after working out in July at 1pm and then gets on the T and grabbing the handhold to where your armpit is RIGHT in my face. SERIOUSLY. Were you raised in a barn....SERIOUSLY!?!?!


Here's what's on my wish/buying list. (Not going to do full out reviews, I'll save that for later!) What's on your must have list to scent yourself during the warmer months?

1) Bronze Goddess by Estee Lauder: The original, not the Capri flanker...wasn't a fan of that, at all.

2) L'Ombre dans l'Eau by Diptyque: Haven't decided if the solid, the perfume oil roll on, or the EDT is the right best warm weather choice for me.

3) Orange Blossom by LUSH: This just makes me smile...A LOT. I'll be getting the .3 fl oz spray stick. I like it for the summer on my skin in the 15% concentration.

4) A Minty/Green-Tea-Ish Fragrance: I'm currently working my way through samples of Oliver Durbano's Jade, Heeley's Menthe Fraiche, L'Artisan Parfumeur's The Pour un Ete, and Parfum d'Empire's Osmanthus Interdite. If none of those strike my fancy, I'll be going back old school to Elizabeth Arden's Green Tea. (No haters please!)

*Currently Listening: Down on the Corner by CCR**Photo Credits: 1) 2) 3) 4)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Musical Monday Super Continuation - Carolina In My Mind (Part II: The Crazy - A Perfume-y Take on March Madness)

*Current Fragrance: Haven't decided upon anything yet, nothing too heavy - it's supposed to get into the 80's today.
*Currently Listening: Battery Kinzie by Fleet Foxes 

Yesterday I talked about my deep love for the state and state of mind that is North Carolina; all set to the glorious soundtrack of James Taylor's "Carolina In My Mind", with a hint of March Madness and my remembrances of Fresh's Fleurs de Chocolat Lucia.

Now...watching March Madness for what seams like 8 years a day on the TV with my husband, while actually a great deal of fun, isn't exactly the most relaxing thing ever. Compound this by about 509,203,382 when Carolina is playing; and then double that when one of the teams stars (and my personal favorite player) Kendall Marshall gets hurt during to game. Mind you...we don't (Al will be so proud! I just "we-ed" myself in with the Tar Heel faithful!) find out about this injury until after the game. I should ALSO point out that the Heels had been without John Henson since spraining his left wrist in the quarter finals of the ACC tournament, and Sunday was Henson's first game back. Needless to say, even though the Hells won both Al and I were simultaneously high strung and down in the dumps.

This is when I went a new version of perfume-y crazy.

I was sitting on the best thinking of what to write for Musical Monday and had every intention of writing about another movement of Lincolnshire Posy that I already had the fragrance figured out for. Yeah, but as the fates would have it, it's also the most anxiety filled and uncomfortable feeling/sounding of all the movements. "Why in the name of all that is good and holy would I do that do myself right now, I must think of something else!"

I started to think of UNC, and baby...I mean....CAROLINA blue, and my love of the place and then the smell of Fleurs de Chocolat Lucia. "Why of why did they discontinue that? I loved it so! Well, they brought back Sexy Graffiti, maybe they'll bring back Fleu.....WAIT A SECOND! Al's a good husband! I must check the refrigerator!" (You see, Al's actually a GREAT husband, and while living in SETX we frequented the Beaumont Bath Junkie A LOT! For birthday gifts and whatnot he would find the near empty bottles of perfumes that I love which had inevitably been discontinued, bring them into the store...and along with the store associates try to recreate the scent.) He did this with both Sexy Graffiti and Fleurs de Chocolat Lucia a while back and got my a body spray of each. When he did this I was deep into musical school and close playing and breathing quarters, my fragranced life was completely body sprays save a bottle of J'Adore and Demeter's Ginger Ale.

So into the living room/kitchen I march with determination and purpose that was palpable (Al, "Whaaaat's going on?") and fling open the refridgerator (choice storage spot for my favorite body sprays). "SHIT! It's not there!!" *slams the fridge shut like it's done something personal to me*

I back to the bedroom, pacing a little with my arms folded. (I'm starting to realize that my behavior is rather crazy for a sane person, but then again...are any of us REALLY sane!?! You know, maybe Seal was right!?!?)

I totally forgot Seal used to have hair!!! Anyway....

Pacing I think to myself, "Chocolate and orange.....wait, when you were ordering samples for your Calice Becker best get on that ordered one of the ones she did for Payard,  maybe you ordered the chocolate and citrus one..."

I grab the Barney's bag that is home to my sample collection (high-tech, I know) and start combing through it with the vigor much like that of....oh my God, so many good-in-a-bad-way analogies to say here, I'll just let your imagination fill in the blanks, but I searched with VIGOR! I find the little Lucky Scent package and start to look through. "Careful," I think to myself "Glass can brea....LYCHEE MOUSE!!!!! YOU ORDERED LYCHEE MOUSSE AND NOT THE OTHER ONE!?!?!?!? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU WOMAN! WHERE IS YOU HEAD AT!? WHERE ARE YOUR PRIORITIES!?!?!? UGH!" 

I cast the sample bag away in such an uncaring and despondent fashion, that I almost felt the need to apologize to it later. A bag filled with that much emotion inducing smell-o-rific-ness HAS to have feelings, right.....

I fling my computer open and go to and type in "orange chocolate" in the search. Nothing is looking quite right. Which I think is a good thing, as me + credit card + emotional distress = DANGER WILL ROBINSON!

I then close the computer and start to move the bed away from the wall. You see... my bed is kind of my world. I've been that way since I was serves as sleeping quarters, place were I put on my makeup, place where I do homework or any other desk worthy activity. So, maybe - just maybe, I sprayed it on, left it on the bed, and it rolled off to the side flush with the wall and it's been stuck there for who knows how long. Digging for it...I was somewhat scared for what I would find lurking under the bed. Lord knows I am not exactly "Suzy Homemaker" when it comes to Domestic Tidy-ness...."FOUND IT! HELL YEAH! I FOUND IT!"

In an "end-zone-dance-esque" type of victory lap to celebrate, I pranced into the living room, stood near the TV (I'm MUCH smarter than to stand IN FRONT of the TV when baskestball related things are on the TV and Al's on the couch!) and spray the body spray all over myself while displaying a shit eating grin on my face, then promptly returning it to its rightful place on the door of the refridgerator, next to the Sexy Graffiti  recreation, next to the Zatarain's Creole Mustard (another thing that gets my obsessive love).

Without missing a beat, and I think basking in my new-found UNC-March-Madness-Inspired-Perfume-Hysteria..."Glad you found it, babe." All while not taking his eyes off the TV screen.

*Currently Listening: Strictly Rule by Vetiver

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Perfumed Primary Project: Illinois

*Current Fragrance: Still Geranium Pour Monsieur by Editions De Parfums Frederic Malle
*Currently Listening: Babylon by David Carbonara

I'll keep this short and sweet. :-)

But first, Happy First Day of Spring!

"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night."  ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

- For Illinois and its state flower the Native Violet: Tom Ford's Violet Blonde. (Full review to come later)

Illinois: The Prairie State

Speaking of springtime and purple flowers, it's Purple Flowers Week over on EauMG: violets, hyacinths and lilacs...OH MY!

*Currently Listening: You Make My Dreams Come True by Hall & Oats

**Photo Credit:

Musical Monday: *Signs That Might Be Omens Say I'm Going...*

*Current Fragrance: Geranium Pour Monsieur by Editions De Parfums Frederic Malle (My ode to the first day of Spring)
*Currently Listening: "Our Town" by James Taylor

...I'm going /
I'm going to Carolina in my mind.

North Carolina is my spiritual home. I feel this weird connection between it and my soul. Even though I only lived there for a year and a half, it was the year and a half where I really feel like life (the life that I REALLY claimed as my own, to live on my own terms) really began for me. It's where I also want my life to come to its close. (And if you think THAT's morbid, just wait until the Musical Monday where I write about Strauss' Four Last Songs.)

WAIT! Before I get too carried away, this entry is going to come in two installments. I'll call this one Part I: The Warm and Fuzzy. Tomorrow shall be Part II: The Crazy (A Perfume-y Take on March Madness)

There's something so admirable to me in the very essence of North Carolina. It just is what it is. It doesn't try too hard, it's not the loudest or the coolest kid in the room, it's proud of its self - but not because of what it does or how it looks to the outside. There's a quaintness to it. Normally quaintness kind of makes me want to vomit, but when the quaintness is this just can't. It's also the state that raised my husband, the most Carolinian of all fellas - so yes, I am biased - thankyouverymuch!

I'm having a lot of Carolina Nostalgia as of late 1) I escaped/ran-away-to/moved to NC ten years ago in January and 2) It's March Madness right now. (This is an all-encompassing thing in the LeBlanc-Hood household.) 

I've come a LONG way from reading a Vogue as Al screamed at the Heels when he took me to a NIT game at the Dean Dome to now! Let Al explain it to you, as he so eloquently did in the forum that we've all been posting on for THE POOL ("We" being those of us playing in THE POOL)

Yes, it's a little long, and if you really only care about the perfume...skip it. However, Al's a pretty pithy guy, so you really should read it! :-)

From Saturday:

So today I'm sitting in our local laundromat doing laundry and listening to NC State further destroy my the way, for those of unaccustomed to big city life, the laundromat is actually a common destination in a place where you are lucky enough to get a place bigger than a postage stamp...and thinking about the impending game against Creighton. I couldn't help but to think, "should I have cleaned my t-shirt today."
See, for those of you not familiar with those of us of the superstitious ilk, we would be considered normal, everyday people who think superstitions are idiotic. Throw that out the window when one of our favorite teams is playing...and I notice the effect seems really strong on those of us who cheer for my alma mater.

For me, my superstitious nature for games kicked in around 1993. The Heels were down by 20 against Florida State in Chapel Hill. Frustrated, I practically tore the T-shirt I was wearing off my 8th Grade torso, and reached into my collection to find a 1991 ACC Champions shirt.

Right after I switched into that shirt, the Heels staged a furious comeback to actually beat FSU, in a game that still is talked about in Carolina lore. I would wear that shirt, on Gameday, all the way through the infamous timeout Chris Weber took in the NCAA title game. Yes, I believe that I was the one who caused that timeout.

My superstions have been varied...growing up I would "turn down the sound" and listen to Woody Durham and Mick Mixon call the games over the radio, sparing me from having to listen to the likes of Billy Packer and Dick Vitale. It was when I was listening to Woody that I realized I was no where near a close game, Woody was famous for his phrase, "Time to go where you go and do what you do.".

I'm sure all of this made no sense to our famous coach, Dean Smith, but it did to one of his assistants. The current coach, Roy Williams, is a true Tar Heel. He has been known to specifically spit in the Mississippi River whenever his team plays a game near there (so imagine my delight in knowing that should they go all the way, they will play in both St. Louis AND New Orleans). He will throw away a tie if he wore it during a loss (and if you've ever seen Roy dress, I get the feeling they don't come from Sears...). During the '09 title run, the Heels played the Finals in Detroit. Earlier in the season, they played Michigan State on the same court that would host the Final Four, and Roy had taken the opportunity to go to a nearby casino and gamble. The Heels crushed MSU that first of course Roy went and gambled at the same casino before they played MSU. They crushed them...again.

My wife has ALWAYS made fun of me for this. She finally got my perspective this past Wednesday. Her alma mater, Lamar, was in the NCAA's for the first time in 12 seasons, and playing for the right to face, of all teams, Carolina Friday. As the game started, Kat put on her LU bomber hat, and as the game went on, she became more and more tense. I was trying to talk to her and, she kept giving me the death stare. Lamar lost, so clearly her bomber hat wasn't lucky.

The upshot was that between this and her participation in the pool, she finally understands that this is completely irrational, ridiculous, silly....and absolutely necessary in order to have your team win. If they lose, well, it isn't the team's's something YOU did. She punctuated this point by playing the Clef Hanger's version of Carolina (sung to Black and Yellow) before Friday's game. The Heels won that one, so on her way home she will be listening to it again.

So, as the Heels ply Creighton today, picture me sitting in out living room, in my Heather Grey "North Carolina" T-shirt I purchased during Homecoming 2004...the same game Connor Barth kicked a last second field goal to beat Miami for the first time...watching the game, screaming at the TV, making sure to change the channel at every commercial break and halftime, doing my part to push this group of 18 to 22 year olds to win. If it works, my hope is to do it four more times this season...cause God knows my bracket is dead.
More on this type of behavior tomorrow... Back to perfume and James Taylor. Clearly there's nothing that conjures the love I feel for the State and state of mind that is North Carolina that its own James Taylor. Taylor was born in Boston, but raised in Chapel Hill, NC and now calls Western Massachusetts his home. In my mind, Mr. Taylor gets me, he gets Al; we're all spiritual kin. 
Carolina in My Mind evokes all kind of warm-fuzzy-teary-sob-inducing love within me. (And by the way, the James Taylor Pandora emotional land-mind for me!) I have a very distinct memory of Al and I driving a beautiful road (it's not exactly a back road, but picturesque nonetheless), it had to have been either Spring or Fall...the light was simply stunning...the light you only get in a transitional season filtering through the leaves...the type of the light that just in the way it shines says "yes, I won't be around that long...I'm transitory....things this special don't last that know that." We were listening to Carolina in My Mind on the car's CD player. In MY MIND this is my definitive Carolina Moment. Just like the Fall and Spring sunlight, my time as a North Carolina resident was far too beautiful to last all that long; I think it was for the best though. My memories of my time there are those of ideal perfection, beauty, peace, happiness and hope. I have a place in my mind I can go and feel secure and feel all that is good in the world. That is a priceless commodity to have and if you have some way to cultivate a memory of time and place in your life, DO IT! (Yes, I am now crying and sniffling in the most predicted Kathleen of ways.)
 This type of peace and beauty also has a smell. The now discontinued (why naturally!?!) Fleurs de Chocolat Lucia by Fresh. It smelled of fine dark chocolate (the good quality bitter kind, not sugared to death), sweetened by orange and all sorts of other good orange citrus fruits...well, maybe not grapefruit...and made sophisticated by what my nose wants to remember as mimosa, or heliotrope, or maybe even a smattering of ylang-ylang.
I remember the trip to the Franklin Street Sephora when I bought my bottle of Fleurs de Chocolat Lucia. Given that I was living in NC and it was still basketball season, I'll say this happened between early February (because I had been there long enough to feel comfortable driving places by myself and I had my job at Sears) and mid-March. I got off of work a few hours before Al did, so I decided to take the car and go to Sepohra. I was enchanted by Sephora. I'd never been to one before moving to NC. Hell...I'd lived in Beaumont and this was 2002! I was particularly taken by the little bath oil beads that were shaped like different critters and whatnot. Does anyone else remember these?
I don't know if Al warned me or not, but I decided to descend upon Franklin Street (the Street that pretty much occurs on the edge of most more "Traditional" college campuses; bars, restaurants, College-X gear, bookstores, coffee shops, and whatnot) about two hours before a UNC Basketball home game. I good part of me thinks they may have been playing DOOK. I mean, I'm sure Al warned me, and being the stubborn lass I am, I ignored him thinking, "Ha! It's busy is it really going to be." I was STUNNED! All these people wearing baby blue! HEAD TO TOE! THIS IS CRAZY! Wait, I still really want to shop. I should call Al and tell him I'm most likely not going to be there right when he gets off of work to pick him up...
 I'm pretty sure the conversation when something like this. I remember the last line verbatim though.
Me, "Hey Al, ummm...something's going on down here. It's crazy! I'm not going to make it back right on time to pick you up."
Al, "*sigh* I told you, Carolina has a home came today. Of coarse it's nuts!"
Me, "Oh, yeah. That explains it I guess.... It's just so weird to see grown-ass men get out of their super expensive cars, clad head to toe in baby blue."
 Tomorrow...Part 2: The Crazy (A Perfume-y Take on March Madness) 
*Currently Listening: "The Sound of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkel

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Little Musical Monday Preview

I thought I'd post a little pictorial preview of today's Musical Monday post.

I'll get around to having the post up this evening. It's a super heartfelt one, so I wanted to give it the time and attention it totally deserves. (AKA: Finishing writing it in a post Capital Grille steak and red wine induced haze!)

Photo Credits: 1) 2) 3) & 4)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Smells Like the Holy Spirit

*Current Fragrance: Stealing some of my husband's Eau Duelle by Diptyque
*Currently Listening: Blue and White (Black and Yellow Remix) by The UNC Clef Hangers

** Disclaimer: If you are easily offended by a complete irreverence towards religion, well...don't say I didn't warn you! :-) None of this is mean spirited, just completely irreverent. I mean, you've read this blog before, right? 

Right now in the LeBlanc-Hood household, it's March Madness (I mean, I married a UNC Grad...COME ON!) so we believe in the Church of College Basketball. Sorry Annie Savoy, the Church of Baseball will just have to wait.

"I've tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I've worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I heard that, I gave Jesus a chance. But it just didn't work out between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer metaphysics to theology. You see, there's no guilt in baseball, and it's never boring... which makes it like sex." - Annie Savoy

Yesterday I found several links on twitter about Pope Benedict commissioning his own bespoke fragrance.  You can read about it here. (Thanks to Bois de Jasmin for being the first one I saw posting the info.) My first thought, "Wow! That's one chic Holy Father!", the next thought, "Lordy, I wonder how long it is until someone starts raking him over the proverbial coals?"

I'm going to go ahead and resist any jokes that could be made here, and resist retelling what my husband asked if it smelled of. (Hint, it was SO OFFENSIVE that it made me double over in laughter and take a few steps in the other direction. I mean, hello...have you read ANYTHING I've written, EVER!?!)

Thinking about it this morning, I'm not going to look into it. I'd inevitably go to the comment section and get mad about what people are saying and have to drink yet another cup of herbal tea! Here's the story I've conjured in my mind. Maybe, just maybe - the fragrance is a vehicle that puts the Pope in the frame of mind to communicate with the Almighty. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :-)

Enough of that Old Time Religion, I want to talk more about perfume! I'm pretty sure that this topic has been covered in just about every perfume blog out there; but I know a lot of my friends aren't exactly "perfume blog readers" they just read No Disassemble Charlie No. 5 because I guilt and bludgeon them into doing so... I mean because they love me...that's it!

There's a little Sally Field in all of us!
If you could have your own perfume created for you, what would you want? Are there particular notes you'd like? Would you like it to be like a particular fragrance with a few tweaks? Is there a particular perfumer you'd like to create it for you?

Here's what I think I'd like: A fresh floral-gourmand: Dewey-Rose-jammy. Some geranium, Some coconut, some black currant, some sparkling (yet contextualized) aldehydes dancing on the top, perhaps a little cardamom, some type of tea in the dry-down.  I'd love, LOVE to see what the perfumer of my beloved Liaisons Dangereuses (and J'Adore) Calice Becker would come up with. Also, the Gorilla Perfume guys (Mr. Constantine and younger Mr. Constantine) would come up with using all natural materials. (i.e.: What could be aldehyde-esque?) Oh yeah, and my Geode idea...some one get on that. Just, pretty please - credit me with the idea.

Comment below with your own wishes and ideas! The sky's the limit and there are NO WRONG ANSWERS, YAY! You know..."Pure Imagination" and all! :o)

Have a great weekend weekend, dear readers! I'll be back Monday for another movement of Lincolnshire Posy for Musical Monday. :o)

*Currently Listening: Halo perfumed by Pitch Slapped
***Photo credits: 1) 2) 3)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I Want a Girl With a Mind Like a Diamond...Well, Sort Of

*Current Fragrance: Vanillary Solid Perfume by LUSH
*Currently Listening: Poison Arrow by ABC

....and by "girl" I mean fragrance, and by "mind" I mean inside, and by "diamond" I mean calcite, pyrite, kaolinite, sphalerite, millerite, barite, dolomite, limonite, smithsonite and quartz. Most likely it would be quartz.

"People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within." - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

So, I'm a little obsessed with geodes. We had a good deal of them that fund out around trees in my front yard growing up. I talk about them a good bit in this entry. "Wait...what's a geode?" you ask. OK, I'm going to grant you a pass if you actually asked that. Hell, I don't know....I grew up with a father who taught 7th and 8th grade science and we scoured the ground for interesting "Earth goodies" for fun. (Yep. Strange child was I.) I also said really odd, yet COMPLETELY endearing if you ask me, things - like, "a spider left a delirious rash on my right thy." Needless to say, never really hung out at the cool kids table, but that's really here nor there.

A geode is a sparkly (most times) mineral compound inside of a more dull shell (chalcedony - which is a cryptocrystaline form of silica). They form in cavities of sedimentary (normally limestone) or volcanic rock. If this phenomenon took place in a "crack" rather than an "cavity", it'd be called "vug" not a geode. 

Wow, that sounds boring and dorky even to me when I read it!! Here's a little geode math, Cadbury style. Consider the Cadbury Cream Egg (just think layers and not relative thickness here): foil wrapper = sedimentary or volcanic rock, chocolate = chalcedony & creamy filling = most likey quartz.

I think this really shows the distinct parts quite well.

I've always been enchanted by geodes. On the outside, they just look like a rock, just an ordinary rock, but inside - that's where the magic is, all the sparkly-ness lies within. I identify with this. Actually I think just about all of us, in some form or another identify with the geode. But before I go into the poetic/ooey-gooey-ness of this sentiment, just think of what an incredibly cool feat of chemical compounding and perfumery it would be to compose a scent that emulates what a geode does!?!? You'd have to bury the aldehydes and any other sparkly notes on the inside of everything else. The perfume would read backwards, or inside out. How freaking cool would that be?!?!?!?

While I have grown through a long process of self acceptance about my looks as of late (now, I don't want to be "thin" or "like other people", I just would like to be "healthy", and it's a process); I wasn't always that way. Elementary first it was my eyes. They're pretty small. Between my dad's small eyes and my mom's high cheek bones that I inherited, I was SCREWED. In Jr. High (pre-Chi-era) it was my naturally frizzy-curly hair. (My Mom would actually iron my hair with an actual iron, iron on the ironing board. Violet, you're turning violet, Violet!) Then in High School and early college it was the size of my breasts. Yeah, yeah....we all have our crosses to bear. 

As part of my acceptance of physical things I didn't like about myself, I try (life is an ongoing process) to think of internal qualities that I developed around the same time as feeling insecure about my exterior. Elementary school: I'm a tender and caring heart (Yes, I STILL AM! The bitchy, aloofness is a facade people!) Jr. High: My quick and acerbic wit that is best used in tension diffusing situations. High School, College and beyond: The realization that anything difficult I've gone through in my life gave my the empathy and understanding to be very helpful to dealings with others in their times of need. Also, I have my Mom's "No really. Tell me your life story" stamp, scrawled across my forehead as well. Perhaps this all explains the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross quote at the top of the post a little better.

Talking about my insides being far "superior" to my outsides (in my mind anyway), really touches on why I love perfume so much. For the younger me it would make me feel so pretty when I would spritz it on. "I smell, therefor I am"?  Then during my more troubled times I would find the sunniest scents to counter-act some very dark times. A type of olfactory "fake it 'til you make it." Now, at a much more balanced time in my life, I think it's a good mix. Sometimes I spritz how I feel, how I want to feel, to match the weather, to go with a color I'm wearing, to go with a song I'm into. It's my skin...I do what I want! *MUST BE SAID IN CARTMAN VOICE!*

Back to my idea about the geode inspired perfume: I just think geodes are f'ing cool! Both literally and metaphorically. I think it would be awesome to have a scent that would turn the (and I'm using this term loosely) "basic structure" of perfume inside out as well as something that would on an olfactory level represent how much of us (I think there are quite a few of y'all nodding in agreement) really view ourselves. Who's with me?

I find this one to be ESPECIALLY beautiful!

 *Currently Listening: Ding-Dong! the Witch Is Dead by Harry Connick Jr.

**Photo Credits: 1), 2) and 3)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Perfumed Primary Project: Alabama, Hawaii & Mississippi [Plus March Madness]

*Current Fragrance: Nothing now. I really don't know what I'm in the mood for today. The weather is supposed to change before I leave the house today, so we'll see.
*Currently Listening: Body and Soul by Amy Winehouse & Tony Bennett

Let's jump right in!

 - For Alabama and its state flower the Camellia: Keiko Mecheri's Camellia. (Full review to come later.)

Alabama: The Yellow Hammer State
 - For Hawaii and its state flower the Yellow Hibiscus: Escada's Island Kiss.

Hawaii: The Aloha State
 - For Mississippi and its state flower the Magnolia: I was going to go with Serge Lutens' L'eau Serge Lutens, but that just didn't seam very "Mississippi", so I'm going to go with Chloé by Chloé. (Full reviews of both to come later.)

Mississippi: The Magnolia State
Now, in TOTALLY non perfume related news: March Madness is really starting to take hold in my little household. Granted, I'm not the biggest sports fan, and I totally used to roll my eyes at my husband's basketball-crazed-ness. OK, I still do from time to time; but there's something about the NCAA that I really enjoy. Al went to UNC and grew up about an hour away from UNC, Duke & NC State. (Yes, they really are that close together!) I really do enjoy filling out my bracket every year (based on nothing more than my limited knowledge of college hoops and pure instinct); plus, this year I have vested interest as my undergrad & Master's alma mater is going to The Dance. I HIGHLY doubt that they'll get past their second game, however. Sorry Cards, it's pretty much true, and well the happiness of my marriage depends upon it.

That all being said; Al and some of his friends are organizing a Pool. It'll totally be fun! There's no gambling involved, 'cause well...that wouldn't exactly be legal now would it!?! I'll let Al tell you about it:

"Good morning! Jump into THE POOL! Each person gets (say it like LeBron) "not one, not two, not three, not four..." but FIVE, yes, FIVE brackets...and we are doing this totally for free! Wanna see what your animal thinks? DO IT! Want to pick a bracket purely by a coin flip? DO IT! This pool is about fun and re-establishing a long lost tradition..."

Click here to join THE POOL and please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions of trouble signing up and I'll put you in contact w/ the Mister!

*Currently Listening: On the Road Again by Me First & the Gimme Gimmes.

**Photo Credits: 1) 2) 3)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Perfuming the Posy: Lincolnshire That Is (Mvt 4 - The Brisk Young Sailor)

*Current Fragrance: L'Ombre dans l'Eau from Diptyque
*Currently Listening: Like a Prayer by Madonna

Eeeek! I'm incredibly excited about starting in on these types of Musical Monday posts! But first...sweet baby Jesus in the in all of the world did THIS happen!?!? If Lamar beats Vermont on Wednesday, then I am in store for a problem that I NEVER thought I'd encounter in mine and Al's life: An Alma Mater vs. Alma Mater face-off during The Dance. I keep just laughing and shaking my head. Yes, God has a sense of humor about many things. Basketball and my life is one of them.

Back to perfume and the Posy. I'm really hoping that I don't turn this into a six part installment of program notes with some fragrancing thrown in. I was going to reference my score from time to time, but 1) (and mostly) I can't quickly put my hands on it, and 2) if you really, really are that curious about the context of instrument x's entrance in measure y, then YOU should probably be looking at the score yourself. Minor translation: This is supposed to be fun for me, DAMN IT!

I must say, though - a little background information is in order. Australian composer Percy Grainger and Lucy E. Broadwood (ok, she did one) collected folk-songs in Lincolnshire, England with the help of a wax-cylinder phonograph in 1905-1906. After going through several reincarnations, the settings found their way into Grainger's "Lincolnshire Posy" for wind band in 1937.

Percy Grainger: Careful, he's quite the character.
Grainger dedicated his bunch of "musical wildflowers" to "the old folksingers who sang so sweetly to me." Each movement is just as much of a portrait of the singer and his/her singing style and delivery as it is a resetting of the melodic content. Compared to all the other movements, there least is said of The Brisk Young Sailor: "Mrs. Thomson (the singer of The Brisk Young Sailor), though living in Barrow-on-Humber, North Lincolnshire, came originally from Liverpool."

I don't so much want my...ehhh...shall I call them, "fragranced representations" of the movement be a very literal interpretation of the score, or how it was sung to Grainger, or the emotional content of the lyrics; for that is a pretty static use of fragrance. I had a lot of gut reactions for some of these movements with what fragrance to do with. I know this piece pretty well, and it's very special to me. Conversely, fragrances close to my heart are going to crop up in the process. I really want the scents I choose to reflect my experiences and emotional ties to the movements. These are to varying degrees, as you will find out as this process skips around the piece and unfolds. First, take a listen to the fourth movement... (It takes less than 2 minutes)

This was the second of the six movements that came to me fragrance wise. The first was a particular fragrance that I IMMEDIATELY linked with a particular movement (I'm thinking it will be next week's Musical Monday), then for this movement, it the fragrance House was abundantly clear - "Jo Malone!" I though, "British, not too froo-froo flowery, and oh-so-fleeting. Just like this movement!"

Picture this if you will: Yours truly, standing at my local Saks Jo Malone counter with my ear-buds in, listening to my favorite recording of The Brisk Young Sailor on repeat, spray and sniffing what I thought was the best fragranced "fit". I'm sure I came off as a complete loon, but that's OK, because I'm quite happy with what I came up with! Ultimately I ended up choosing White Jasmine & Mint, with Peony & Moss being a very close second.

I think this movement sparkles in its refinement. It wants to go outside the lines, it can't...just can't...and in a flash it's gone. Also, when the clarinet player in me hears this movement, my inner monologue just goes, "shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!" It's that little revelation that I was reminded of while I was standing at the Jo Malone counter and I felt my heart start to beat a little faster. (It wasn't the "oooh, I just smelled something that really got me going sort of way," NO in a "OMFG, I think I'm about to get eaten by a [metaphorical] bear, I best go eat a banana before I perform" sort of way.) This is why the mint won out in the end, as it is the single most soothing note to me, and as this is my little narrative, my rules...I win! ;-)

I imagine our "hero" The Brisk Young Sailor who, subtitlely, is returning to wed his true love; strolling up a shoddily paved road picking picking wild flowers as he goes, with the sea-breeze at his back subtly swirling a minty, herbal, saline effervescence at his back. The bouquet starts off small, maybe just a few lilies to begin with. As the music progresses, so does our sailor. The bouquet, just as the music becomes more dense and sonically fragrant; as the sailor added roses, jasmine and orange blossom as he continues to walk. All the while the leaves and petals flutter in the subtle agitation of the breeze continuing to blow at his back, much more minty now - as he is much more inland, ever closer to his beloved.

Jo Malone's White Jasmine & Mint

Super personal note: This one really makes me smile! After some more skin testing, a full bottle just may be making it into my summer fragrance wardrobe, as I have been wanting "a mint", but first I need to fill my Spring "green tea" and "lily" want list.

*Currently Listening: Beautiful Child by Rufus Wainwright

**Photo credits: 1) & 2)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Smell Good, Do Good Perfume Sale is STILL Going on

*Current Fragrance: Last vestiges of Nuits de NoHo from Bond No. 9 that I wore out last night to Drink
*Currently Listening: Rock the Casbah by The Clash

Raising $750 in its first day, The Scents of Self Smell Good, Do Good Perfume sale still has lots of yummy smelling goodies to be snapped up to help raise funds for Refuge.

Refuge is a British domestic violence charity that provides safe houses for women and children escaping domestic violence.

The sale has been going swimmingly smooth and I can vouch from personal experience that Ari is a delight to deal with.

I've donated a few things to the sale; some which have been snatched up and some that are still waiting to find their new home. :o)

*Currently Listening: Dancing on the Ceiling by Lionel Richie

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Perfumed Primary Project: Kansas and Wyoming

*Current Fragrance: Still Kilian's Liaisons Dangereuses (Trying to get the jump of the blogging!)
*Currently Listening: Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap

And we're back at it again: Caucus day in Kansas and Wyoming. I'm trying to get this done the night before, as I know my left hand is going to be supremely stiff tomorrow morning! A word to the wise....

Close your closet doors! If they are open, you run the risk of of hitting your hand on them, jamming your left ring finger (yep, I'm left handed), instinctually running to the bathroom, removing your wedding band & engagement ring, run your hand under cold water as your convince yourself that vomiting from the pain is a bad idea.

Once you have convinced yourself that vomiting is a bad idea, you wonder, "what's in my freezer"? I don't want to deal with getting flower and dolphin shaped ice cubes from ice trays and put in a zip lock baggie with my non-dominant hand; so my, pork tenderloins, frozen dinners, and oooohhh winner.....The Jilted Elf shower jelly!

Wakes me up AND is the perfect size to wrap my poor jammed finger around.
Moving on....

- For Kansas and its state flower the Wild Native Sunflowerr: Elizabeth Arden's Sunflowers (which has no sunflower in the notes...)

I'd also like to offer up Rigaurd's Tournesol candle. I think it would be super yummy. (I'm a sucker for anything with blackcurrant in it!)

Kansas: The Sunflower State

- For Wyoming and its state flower the Indian Paintbrush: Love Potion Magickal Perfumerie's Song of the Desert.

Wyoming: The Equality State / The Cowboy State
No Disassemble Charlie No. 5 will be back Monday for its second installment of Musical Monday, we we start with Perfuming the Posy [Lincolnshire That Is]. Which movement will we start with? Oh the suspense!

*Currently Listening: Skinhead On the MBTA by Dropkick Murphys

**Image Credits: 1) my own, 2), 3)

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Perfumed Primary Project: NEW Super Tuesday Style

Current Fragrance: Liaisons Dangereuses by Kilian
Currently Listening: White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane

*Work like a soul inspired till the battle of the day is won
You may be sick and tired but you'll be a man my son
Don't you remember the famous man who had to fall to rise again?
They picked themselves up, dust themselves off and started all over again*

So here it is, the remainder of the Perfumed Primary Project's Super Tuesday edition, with a bit of a paired down, face lift of sorts.

 - For Idaho and its state flower, the Syringa (Lewis Mock Orange): Guerlain's Aqua Allegoria Flora Nymphea.

Idaho: The Gem State

- For Massachusetts and its state flower, the Mayflower: YSL's Paris. (Full review to come later.)

Massachusetts: The Bay State
- For North Dakota and its state flower, the Wild Prairie Rose: Sonoma Scent Studio's Velvet Rose. (Full review to come later.)

North Dakota: The Peace Garden State

- For Ohio and its state flower, the Scarlet Carnation: YSL's Opium. (Full review to come later.)

Ohio: The Buckeye State
 - For Oklahoma and its state floral emblem, the Mistletoe: Demeter Fragrance Library's Mistletoe.

Oklahoma: The Sooner State
- For Tennessee and its state flower, the Iris (sorry Passionflower): Tocca's Brigitte. (Review to come later, included in with the Tocca Eau de Parfum Sampler.)

Tennessee: The Volunteer State
 - For Vermont and its state flower, the Red Clover: Montale's Sweet Oriental Dream. (A real stretch, saying it's "red clover" honey. Review to come later.)

Vermont: The Green Mountain State
 - For Virginia and its state flower, the American Dogwood: Baroque Bath and Body's Flowering Dogwood.

Virginia: The Old Dominion State

*Currently Listening: Little Lion Man by Mumford & Sons

**Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3 & 5), 4), 6), 7), 8)

***Song Lyrics: Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields' Pick Yourself Up from the film "Swing Time."