Monday, July 30, 2012

I See Them Bloom For Me and You (10 - OMG - Years Later)

*Current Fragrance: Pentachord Verdant from Andy Tauer
*Currently Listening: Olympic Equestrian Cross Country

In my personal life I tend to make impulsive, yet fully convicted decisions. ("Personal life" in this instance being my love life/sex "personal life" in regards to friends has always been a lot more thought out.) The decisions I made with my life with Al are some of the best decisions I ever made. I mean, seriously....who packs their shit in the middle of the night, moves a quarter of the way across country and it actually WORKS!? In four days I will have been married for 10 years (HOLY SHIT!)!!!! I am not on my first official paid vacation of my adult life, (CRAZY!) and Al and I will be heading to my spiritual - and his real - home of North Carolina tomorrow to celebrate.

Since this is a fragrance blog, I want to put a 'fumey twist on things...but I've already written about this. Al surprised me with a bottle of Escada's Sexy Graffiti as a Christmas gift this past Christmas. It was the same perfume that he gave me as a wedding gift. You can read all about it here.

For more on my feelings about Sexy Graffiti and the lyrics for mine and Al's "song" you should read this post! (Plus, you can see wedding pictures!)

I've mentioned that North Carolina is my spiritual home. This entry really helps explain things. How will I be spending our anniversary trip you ask? Two days in a cabin in the mountains, a day back in the town and house where he grew up to see my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, new niece Lilly (or is it Lily), niece #1 Katelyn, and Al's made of steel Grandmama Hoffman. Then a night in Chapel Hill at the Carolina Inn and a dinner at the hotel's restaurant. It's literally a block away from where Al proposed.

The Old Well - on UNC's Campus - Where Al Proposed
Now, since this IS a fragrance blog...there is the issue of what fragrance I'm going to actually pack. Here's what I've got it down to 1) Escada's Sexy Grafitti (I HAVE to!) 2) Elizabeth Arden's Green Tea (It's going to be hot and humid and I figured this was light and refreshing.) 3) Tom Ford's Tobacco Vanille (Al's mad - in a good way - about it!) 4) Gorilla Perfume's The Smell of Freedom (Because that just makes SENSE) and 5) Kilian's Liaisons Dangereuses (If I had a signature scent, this would be it...SO GOOD ON MY SKIN!)

Is that enough.... too much....? How do YOU pack and choose 'fumes for trips, dear readers?

Al's written a really nice and really sweet entry about our 10th anniversary on his blog: Intimate Thoughts of Al Hood. It really chronicles our "getting together" story way better than I could. He manages to balance the snark and the sap. I'm WAY too indulgent.

Yes, before some of you hate me for all time for being "one of them", I do realize that this is a very ooey-gooey couple centric post.... I think I should be allowed one every once and a 10 years of marriage is a BIG F-ING DEAL! I promise I'll be back to my regular 'fume-y, snarky, quirky programming next Monday when I return. Have a great week y'all!!!

*Currently Listening: Olympic Rowing
**Photo Credits: All photos are my own

Friday, July 27, 2012

Holy Smoke! That's Sexy: Tom Ford's Tuscan Leather

*Current Fragrance: Tuscan Leather by Tom Ford
*Currently Listening: Rock Center with Brian Williams

Here's the blog I was going to write about Tuscan Leather - just one single sentence & then press "Publish": "If the Marilyn Monroe that popped out of JFK's Birthday cake wearing little more than sparkles and a knowing smile had a love affair with Clark Gable in The Misfits, THAT would be Tuscan Leather!"

Yes, I understand that Marilyn was in The Misfits, but I don't want THAT Marilyn!

I firmly, FIRMLY believe that Oscar Wilde got reincarnated as Tom Ford! I'm pretty sure I would have had the hots for Oscar Wilde, like I do for Tom Ford. Granted, they're not Jon Ham/Don Draper level hots..but still. (Side note...Ford was born in Austin, TX. *The more you know....* Now, I understand that it's not ACTUALLY Tom Ford whipping up and formulating Tuscan Leather...but work with me here...

It's the overriding artistic arch that I believe SHOULD reach over the entire design house (sorry, I'm getting a bit "fashion-y". Actually - I'm not sorry. :-)

What I LOVE about Tom Ford's aesthetic is the following: it's the perfect nexus of glamor and sensuality. They don't ooze or drip sex, just radiate it.

With that being firmly established, on to Tuscan Leather! This is not Dominatrix Leather or Make a Quality Handbag or Loafer from it Leather"...NOPE! It's Home On the Range, Cowboy Hat Wearing Leather. (Yep! There's Clark Gable in The Misfits.) That leather moves and smells with heat, it's almost as if you can smell the sweat mixing in, and it's very virile man sweat. There's also the smokiness of suede adding a touch of sexy smoke. (Yes, I think suede smells different from smooth leather.)

Marilyn both glams and femmes the fragrance up with (to me the most noticeable notes other than leather) sensual saffron and a slightly raunchy raspberry. (Alliteration is fun y'all!) The saffron takes on the creamy quality and smooths out some of the leather's edges, while the raspberry sweetens it in a very natural way. PERFUMERS OF THE WORLD TAKE NOTE!!! This is a situation where a raspberry note really shines in perfumery and is super special and super yummy. THANK YOU HARRY FREMONT!

Something I really like about Tom Ford's Private Blends is how truly unisex they are! I - personally - can see around 95% of them going both ways. But hey, who am I to tell people what they can and cannot wear....

I take that back....Man should not smell of Eau de Cotton Candy!!! This goes for women as well... but I digress....

I would just like to also point out that Tuscan Leather is available in candle form. I'm sure it's AWESOME!

Perfect time to give 'fume help credit, where 'fume help credit is due: MANY thanks to the awesome Ellen Hildebrand who is the Kilian Specialist at the Saks Fifth Avenue in the Prudential Center here in Beantown! Thank you for my lovely samples, the nice 'fume chat, and for being everything I would want in a perfume S.A. Go see her Boston! She's great!!!!

Yet, I still think this COULD have been the entire blog and still gotten my point across, "If the Marilyn Monroe that popped out of JFK's Birthday cake wearing little more than sparkles and a knowing smile had a love affair with Clark Gable in The Misfits, THAT would be Tuscan Leather!"

*Currently Listening: Down by 311
**Photo Credit: 1)

Thursday, July 26, 2012


*Current Fragrance: Nothing yet, but the day is young!
*Currently Listening: Tongue Tied by Grouplove

"[James], no matter what happens today, DON'T let me buy any bottles of perfume today."

Famous Last Words
This statement should be rephrased as, "[James], please help me have a clear head and not do any TOTAL impulse perfume buying."

Al and I spent our "weekends" (our overlapped a bit due to our work schedules) in NYC this past weekend with our friends Bartles and James, or as Al likes to call them, "Mr. & Mrs. H-Bomb".

Monday was a downtown shopping day for James and I. I really, REALLY wanted to go to MiN New know....just to look..... James also wanted to smell Lonestar Memories. I fell head over heels with Pentachord Verdant's strident green bite that mellows into a languid sweetness. But this entry isn't for me to get all goo-goo ga-ga over my newest Tauer purchase, that's another blog entry... This is to talk about what happens when a fume-head and a non-fume-head go perfume shopping together.

James doesn't DISLIKE fragrance. It's just not really her thing (nail polish and nail arty things are), although I have gotten her hooked on Hermes Pamplemousse Rose! She is pretty particular about what she likes to smell like, however.

Sniffing with her was refreshing...and also gave me one of my favorite blog titles in a LONG times. First there was candle sniffing. I couldn't quite argue with any of her assessments, although I had to giggle a little when she just couldn't get the smell of one she wasn't a fan of off her hands!

I saw the Etat Libre d'Orange and decided to play a little game...*picks up Secretions Magnifiques*

K - Smell this!
J - What is it?
K - No ma'am...just smell.
J - *sniff, sniff* ummmm, it smells like... What is it called?
K - *flips bottle*
J - it IS bodily fluids!

While J's way of describing the scents a rather different from what I would say...there wasn't much I could argue with...until she told me that Rossy de Palma smells like olives. I had to draw the line somewhere! :o)

Although my favorite part of the sniffing trip was her reaction to the Montale display. "What is, this...fancy Axe?" I. FRACKING. LOST. IT! I looking at the bottles, she does have a point....

Yup...Fancy Axe!
J was raised in the South, not far from where I grew up - actually in a smaller town. We were greatly amused by (and now I'm slightly sad I did not get a picture) of the mounted plant inside the store. We're used to seeing mounted deer heads. I now want a mounted plant.

I really appreciate James going sniffing with me and not body checking me when I handed over my credit card to pay for my purchase! Also...she did a bit of her own awesome for me, and put nail wraps on me, that we found on sale at Duane Reade Drugs on sale for $4!

Also...a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Ari from Scents of Self! HAPPY BIRTHDAY ARI!

*Currently Listening: Will You Love Me Tomorrow by The Shirelles
**Photo Credits: 1-3) my own, 4)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gaga Fame Formulation Video (Ooops! I Lied!)

*Current Fragrance: Gris Clair by Serge Lutens, plus a smidgen of...well, I'll explain later...
*Currently Listening: Gruppen by Karlheinz Stockhausen

I lied by saying I wasn't going to post until at least Tuesday, but I just can't stay away - the fragrant pull is too strong! I know I'm not doing any sort of earth shattering "fume-reporting" here, as both Candy Perfume Boy and Australian Perfumes Junkies have already posted this video....but dam nit, it's worth sharing! (Plus, a lot of my friends that read my blog...I'm pretty sure they're not reading any other perfumes blogs.)

It's dark, creepy, odd, overtly artistic in the tacky/farcical way that just makes it even MORE awesome. TheLandThatExistsInOnlyKathleenMind Land, all perfume is manufactured by guys that look like these strapping young chaps!

If the juice is black, and the adds are dark...Gaga...THIS STUFF BETTER SMELL DARK! The video put me in the mood to go straight to my perfume stash and layer Kilian's Back to Black with Tom Ford's Tuscan Leather....and it's actually quite nice!

Gaga + McQueen + Gaultier = this photo

*Currently Listening: String Quartet No. 2 by Gyorgy Ligeti
**Photo credit:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Need More Cowbell! WAIT, NO! Need More Audience Parcipitation

*Current Fragrances: The left over strains of Tom Ford's Tobacco Vanille that I wore to bed last night. My right wrist is particularly fond it of!
*Currently Listening: Let's Have a Kiki by Scissor Sisters

Sine I put my Perfuming the Posy series to bed yesterday, I'm looking for some Musical Monday help from my lovely readers! This is going to be easy on your party and I hope A LOT of FUN!

We need a little audience participation if you will! In the comment section (or tweet me - @klhood123, email, or comment on facebook, can send smoke signals or telegraph if you wish) please tell me what song of piece of music you would like me to "scent" for a Musical Monday post!

The musical world is your oyster (with just a few simple restrictions)...

1. I'm not going to fragrance Wagner entire Ring Cycle for you!
2. No Nielsen Clarinet Concerto! A) Composed for someone who was a bit CRAY CRAY and there is not enough perfume in my scent arsenal to do it's characters justice. B) I fear that if would trigger some strange sort of PTSD in me, and that's just NOT COOL, man!
3. Given that criteria, if you're going to suggest something from the "art music" realm, please suggest just a movement.

They can be ANY kind of music your heart desires! I love all kind of music and all kind of fragrance! Let's get this party started!!!

Comment away, lovelies!

Currently Listening: Shady Love by Scissor Sisters
**Photo Credit:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Perfuming The Posy (Lincolnshire That Is): Mvt. 2 - Harkstow Grange

First and foremost, this post is a love letter.

I can assure you that this is written through gobs and gobs of tears. Tears that I just can't help but cry at how remarkably beautiful and special this music and this perfume is.

Some things in this world (people, places, pieces or music, paintings, fragrances) just get their hooks into you from the get-go. There's nothing you can do about it. It's not a BAD thing; far from it - it's actually good. You didn't really choose to love it, you just DO!

I have been avoiding writing this post for I think at least a month now. I knew it was going to be very bittersweet. 

It is very easy for me to remember where I was...not just the place, but the room and exactly where I was IN the room. I was 15, and it's had its grip on my ever sense. Speaking of grip, that's what this movement is like to me. It's an amazing sonic hug or handhold. The sound is continuous, yet ever changing (which, is true of all emotions worth their salt) up to the final grace note...which is an aural squeeze of sorts, like what you do just before you left go.

There's this melancholic yearning to Harkstow Grange. It's the most beautiful kind of heart breaking sadness - sadness isn't even the right word for it - it's far too dynamic to be sad. There's just a sort of unexplainable beauty there. If you haven't listened to it before, please take the time now.

Finding a perfume to stand up to my unabashed love of Harkstow Grange wasn't exactly an easy task, but I settled on Edmond Roudnitska's creation Le Parfum de Thérèse. A scent of this movement alluded me for a very long time, until it just suddenly hit me what it should be. There's beauty, there's a bit of melancholia and just by sniffing LPdT, you get the sense that it is a deeply personal creation, which it is!

I've talked about LPdT before, and  don't really want to COMPLETELY reinvent the wheel, so perhaps just some very appropriate quoting! :o)

"I can say with absolute certainty that I have found "My Malle" in Le Parfum de Thérèse. I love Lipstick Rose, Carnal Flower and Geranium pour Monsieur, but they just weren't making the emotional connection that I wanted. Every time until today that I tried Le Parfum de Thérèse, I loved it, but felt a subdued melancholic elegance, mixed with a twinge on nostalgia...for what, I wasn't quite sure....

...The retro yet ahead of its time vibe coupled with the fact that it was made for the perfumers wife and was worn exclusively by her for so many years, it all made sense to me. A close familiarity with something, wanting to hold on to it while still looking ahead. This is a sentiment that I hold very dear. So there you have it, now I have "My Malle". Now, anyone want to lend me that cash to buy a proper bottle? ;-)"

But Kathleen, does DOES LPdT smell? It's REALLY hard for me to describe, because I'm just so emotionally wrapped up in it. The best way I can describe it is this: take a Classic (your favorites of the perfume days gone by), something you know you love, and wrap it in something unexpected (in this case, it's a watery melon). It's the familiar swaddled in the unexpected. You know you love it, you know you're going to love it; yet every time you get a whiff - it simultaneously breaks and overjoys your heart. THAT is why I scented Harkstow Grange with Le Parfum de Thérèse!

I've really, REALLY enjoyed this "Perfuming The Posy" series! I can't wait to tackle Strauss' "Four Last Songs"! I hope to get more in depth breaking things apart and not just giving one movement a fragrance, but giving all the different components a fragrance - kinda of like analyzing the piece, but with scents, not symbols.

In case you missed any of the "Perfuming The Posy" posts, here they order!
1) Lisbon = Bond No. 9's Coney Island
2) Harkstow Grange = Le Parfum de Thérèse
3) Rufford Park Poachers = Gorilla Perfume's The Smell of Weather Turning
4) The Brisk Young Sailor = Jo Malone's White Jasmine & Mint
5) Lord Melbourne = Serge Lutens' Muscs Kublai Khan
6) The Lost Lady Found = Diptyque's L'Ombre dans l'Eau

Friday, July 13, 2012

Scent Mapping

*Current Fragrance: Actually nothing...yet.
*Currently Listening: Are Years What? (From "Analog") by Philip Glass

Hang in there with me, as this is my first attempt at scent mapping - yet I think it may be more aptly called scent journaling.

I'm using my day from Wednesday, July 11th. I was off this day, and quite honestly it was one of the most perfect days I'd had in awhile. I had no where to be until 3PM, so it meant I would be TOTALLY lazy in the morning. YAY!

(I did voice memos to myself when I was in the house & typed things on my phone when I was in public, so I could keep track.)

I wake up and realize that I'm very used to the way my apartment smells, I don't really smell much of anything. This is actually a good think, as it means that Harley kitty has decided to be a fan of using the litter box for the past oh, say 8 hours.

I have whole wheat bread and butter for breakfast. This is the first thing that really registers in my nose. I smell wheat bread and plastic. (Plastic being from the wrapper.) I tend to smell plastic much more in the summer/warmer months. Does this happen to anyone else?

Time to get ready. *runs shower water* As I am getting my hair cut later on in the day, I see no reason to wash my hair. It's a waste of shampoo, conditioner, and my time and styling energy. This is going on be one short shower.

Being as that I'm not washing my hair, I need to put on my shower cap. I realize that it's actually sitting in the bottom of the tub, with a bit of standing water inside. I am convinced it's going to smell like mildew. After sopping the excess water from the shower cap, I sniff doesn't smell like mildew. I momentarily convince myself my nose has stopped working. CRAP!

Never fear, my nose is fine! I proceed to wash my face. During the summer I wash my face in the morning with Herbalism. Now begins my daily struggle of trying not to eat my facial cleaner. Here's why: to me Herbalism smells like rye bread with a delightful combination of jalapeno jam and UNSWEETENED pickle relish. NOM! I wash my body with Olive Branch Shower gel, a very creamy mandarin. It smells like summer and evokes some kind of memory...but sadly, I just can't put my finger on it. Nonetheless it makes me smile, as does the kick of jalapeno I smell at the very end. I smell this a lot on the end of shower gels (with the exception of the very tutti frutti ones.)

Post shower I spritz and wipe my toner on and off with such swiftness and familiarity that I don't really notice a smell. Time to moisturize. Also, time to indulge in some rather bizarre behavior. I open my moisturizer and breath in the smell of orange blossoms laced with a bit of honey and sunscreen. There is no sunscreen in there, it just evokes the smell in my mind. This is fine, I LOVE the smell of sunscreen. I momentarily have to convince myself that slathering my moisturizer all over my body would be disastrous to my bank account. Common sense prevails. I pat on my powdered deodorant, that I'm OBSESSED with. To me it smells like liquorish, charcoal and rosemary - but there is not liquorish or rosemary in it. My body sucks the sent in. The most I smell it is as I'm tapping it out of the bottle, which I good. I don't want to walk around smelling like charcoal all day.

I realize the towel that I grab for is slightly damp, which means that it's the towel Al used this morning after finishing his shower. I sniff at it hoping that I'll get a whiff of him. As I'm sniffing I can't help but wonder: is this slightly sick or quite sweet? I can't smell anything other than towel. I wrinkle my nose and give up.

Post shower I put on a clean night shirt as I'm don't really tend to traipse around my apartment in a multi-layered chiffon maxi dress (which is what I was planning on wearing that day). I put on pink cat PJs. Yep. I'm that girl! I love the smell of unfolding garments that haven't been moved since they were put up after being laundered. Plus, my night shifts live next to my Fabreeze and Downy Wrinkle Release bottles.

I'm not realizing my "getting ready chronicling" is getting pretty boring. So I'll skip over most of that. Although, I must mention and show that dry shampoo + fan blowing on your face to keep you cool = it looks like you have a drug habit!

BUT WAIT! I need to talk about perfume! Since I was going out to dinner with Dear Friend that evening, I decided upon Histoires desParfums 1889 Moulin Rouge. DF gave it to make as part of my Christmas gift last year. I talk about it in this blog entry (you know, just so I don't have to repeat myself). Every time I wear this perfume, ESPECIALLY if I'm with DF, awesomeness and/or some type of mischief ensues. There's just something very magical about it. (I try to apply it in a scant way, as it is rather warm out.)

Out the door we go! Outside it smells like sawdust and heat. Does heat have a smell? It's really hard for me to explain. It's almost akin to the warm plastic. The sawdust, why the sawdust? As I get to the bottom of the street it is explained.

As I'm waiting for the T, I smell the hot asphalt and hot tracks. It makes me think of riding my bike around the neighborhood as a child. FINALLY I get on the T. The AC is BLASTING. YAY! It smells of freon. I LOVE THE SMELL. It is clean and ozone-y. It's the smell of NOT HAVING TO SWEAT!

Perhaps I should have sprayed my 1889MR on earlier, as I'm still smelling it rather strongly, but I'm not getting any strange looks or fragrance annoyed coughs pointed in my direction. I think I'm OK. Someone gets on the train that smells like cotton candy. She's over the age of 12, so I roll my eyes under the darkened protection of my sunglasses. A man gets on wearing a suit and he smells of mothballs. He looks nervous. Job interview, perhaps?

A few stops up, I'm sturck with Eau de sweaty male. It's not sexy sweat. It's stanky sweat. I then realize that my "bucket seat" by the steps is pretty much putting me at crotch height as they pass by. Perhaps I shouldn't be so judgey. Busy stop at a pretty major intersection it smells like McDonald's food and peppermint.

As the train "inches", yup it's moving that slowly (stupid "Front Door Only" rule), towards Boston University I spot a guy in camouflage shorts who smells like apple pie. That's weird. He's also a dead ringer for someone I went to High School with. Well, everyone has a twin they say. Como Shorts guy moves and I still smell apple pie. I then wonder, "Is there someone on this train wearing Hermes  Ambre Narguile?" I need to find this person; as we WILL be friends!

Finally off the T and I am running late, I don't really notice much of anything fragrance wise until I'm at the salon. Shampoo time...AHHHHHHH! I spend way too much time and energy deciding exactly what the shampoo smells like. I finally decide that it's the smell of pulling apartment plastic pre-formed kiddie pools (the blue kind with Puff the Magic Dragon-esque characters printed on them) apart to buy one from Walmart, mixed with the smell of freshly cut Granny Smith Apples. (Told you I put a lot of thought into that one!)

I get distracted from smells during my hair cut as my hairdresser and I get to chatting. She's fantastic! I've NEVER found anyone that does a better blowout that she does! (SHE = Jessye Lockward at the Newbury location of Salon Marc Harris.) Seriously, if you're looking for someone to do you hair in Boston, give her a try. I'm sure you'll be quite pleased!

Feeling rather Mad Men-esque
As I leave the salon, two things happen: 1) I really forget that I'm supposed to be scent mapping. Why? 2) I notice that I'm starting to strut. Rarely do I strut. Normally that only happens when I am rather intoxicated or mocking someone...usually it's a combination of both; I'm feeling really good about myself though. Awesome hair cut, I'm wearing my favorite dress, red lipstick, the weather is awesome, I don't feel like vomiting for the first time since Sunday....why SHOULDN'T I strut!?!?!? I then make the VERY bold statement to myself. "Today I could give Joan Harris a run for her money! Fetch me Don Draper! Fetch me Roger Sterling!"

I'm snapped back to reality by the smell of cupcakes. I've been wanting to try Georgetown Cupcakes for a while now. (They opened not too long ago on Newbury.) I decide I'll see if my tummy can handle one. Plus I'm STARVING! I have an hour and a half to kill until meeting DF for dinner. The shop smells of sugar and freon. GLORIOUS!
Cupcake Porn
 I purchase a Raspberry Lemon and a Coconut Chocolate cupcake and am off to the Public Garden. I'm still strutting and now on a sugar/freon sniffing high. I'm sure atmospheric fragrances are whizzing past me, but I'm oblivious.

I removed my trusty scarf from my purse to use as a makeshift blanket and settle under my favorite willow tree that has a nice view of the Swan Boat Pond. It's my second favorite spot in the city; the first being the end of the Long Wharf.

I enjoy my Raspberry Lemon cupcake and save the Coconut Chocolate one for later. There's a woman leaning against the next tree over, smoking a cigarette. I find it amazing how nature and the open space diffuse the smell of the cigarette. It just smells clean and fresh out, with the small whiff of dirt that I am absentmindedly digging with my right thumb. You can take the girl out of the Country..... This is the last "scented observation" I make for the day, as I get too wrapped up in the utter perfection of my day thus far. Seams like a good time to end this blog entry. OH! For what it's worth, dinner with DF at Petit Robert Central was FABULOUS!

 *Currently Listening: La Vie Est Belle by MC Sollar
All Photos Are My Own

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I'll Show You Mine, If You Show Me Yours

*Current Fragrance: Vestiges of yesterday's SOTD - Moulin Rouge 1889 by Histoires des Parfums
*Currently Listening: Pumps by Amy Winehouse

Get your mind out of the gutter, y'all! I'm talking full bottle WISH list!

Here's mine, in no particular order

- Pulp by Byredo

- Le Parfums de Therese by Frederic Malle

- Gris Clair by Serge Lutens

- L'eau Froide by Serge Lutens

- Rossy de Palma by Etat Libre d'Orange

L'Ombre dans L'Eau by Diptyque

What's on your full bottle list? Anything match up with mine? Reading my list, do you think that there are any other perfumes I need in my life? Tell me in the comments!

*Currently Listening: Kiss by Prince

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer Guides: Eau the T!

*Current Fragrance: Angeliques Sous La Pluie by Frederic Malle
*Currently Listening: Short 1, Op. 58 performed by Kari Kriikku (clarinet and bass clarinet) and Anssi Karttunen (cello) - composed by  Paavo Heininen (I've put my entire iTunes library on shuffle and have vowed not to skip anything, this should be interesting!)

Welcome tho the second installment of No Disassemble Charlie No. 5's Summer Guides! If you missed the first installment, "Choosing Perfume for a Crawfish Boil", please follow the link and read - summertime is such a fleeting time!

MBTA System Map
When I say "the T", I mean the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority), but more specifically what non-Bostonians would think of as "the subway." Granted that's a bit of a misnomer, as much of "the T" isn't subterranean. That's kinda of beside the point though...

I have lived in Boston long enough to have a true love/hate relationship with the T. This will continue for as long as my monthly pass remains under the cost of a monthly pass in NYC. Then I'll just be in a RAGE! I ride the T for pretty much everything, it's my main mode of transportation. Al still has the Honda that he drives to work - his office is actually in the 'burbs. There is no way in HELL that I'm going to pay for daily parking near Newbury St.! Cabs excluded, I ride in an car an average of 2 or 3 times a month.

But, Eau the T!

Smells on the T are an interesting thing. I've decided there are some things you can deal with, some things you can't, and then some things are just common freakin' courtesy! First I want to list my "summer guidelines" (they're really good for any time, just more pertinent in the summer) for when riding the T - fragrance wise.

1) BATHE! This is a non-negotiable. If you're going to ride the T in the summer, where sometimes the AC can be a bit on the shoddy side: BATHE! Either the morning of or night before riding the T. Exceptions: deathly ill or EXTREME emergency, but I would appreciate seeing the distress to let me know.

2) Please wear deodorant! ESPECIALLY if you're riding the T at a time where you're going to be on the T at a time where there's a good chance that your entire ride will be spend holding a hand hold WAY above your head with some other poor sap's mug in your armpit.

3) I'm pretty OK with cigarette and cigar smoke...hell, I'm an outright FAN of the smell of a pipe smoking, but should you choose to use your bong on the way to the T...PLEASE AIR OUT! Your Mary Jane skunky-stank will transfer to my clothes, and I don't want to smell like a the tail end of your roach as I walk into work. (Get a clip, finish smoking it - yes, I can smell it smoldering in your pocked - and change clothes before getting on the T, please!)

4) On the flip side, if you choose to wear <insert name of random Raspberry Hoe Juice here> in EPIC QUANTITIES, I will glare at you disapprovingly, with my sunglasses off - just so we can be clear. The only way I like massive quantities of sugared raspberries is in my mouth, without the sugar. (Hey perfume bloggers: Who coined the term Raspberry Hoe Juice? I want to give credit where credit is due!)

I know you are all TOTALLY asking, "but Kathleen, how do I deal with fragrantly navigating the T in the summer months?" Two simple tips my dears:

1) Light weight summer scarf, slightly spritzed. There's a reason I'm always sporting a lightweight scarf draped over my shoulders in the summer: smelly MBTA customer combatance. (Plus, I just like scarves...A LOT. Plus, it covers my cleavage from unwanted leering.) It's a nice and subtle way to get a whiff of peace.

Proof given by the two different hair styles that I wear the scarf A LOT! I almost feel like it's part of my identity. It also doubles as a great blanket for a work-break picnic. (R.I.P. Filene's Basement; this scarf was the last thing I ever purchased from you.)
 2) SOLID PERFUME IS YOUR FRIEND! Carry them in you bag or on your person at all times! They can effectively be used as smelling salts.

Every now and then, when I'm on the T and there's a fowl smell, I can't help thinking, "could that be Charlie's sandwich?"

or "maybe it's Skinhead's grenade?!"

***In an interesting experiment, I'll be "scent mapping" my day on Wednesday for (potentially) Thursday's blog. I've never done this before, so it should be interesting. I'll be spending plenty of time on the T. Should be interesting.

*Currently Listening: In Freundschaft: I. Zyklus Composed by Karlheinz Stockhausen & performed by Markus Stockhausen
**Photo Credits: 1) & all other photos my own

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Strange Flirting: Gorilla Perfume's Ladyboy

*Current Fragrance: After My Own Heart by Ineke
*Currently Listening: Keep Your Shoes On by Scissor Sisters

I really wanted to name this entry "Banana Flirting" - but I was a little weary of the traffic it would bring to my page

Here's some advice that I have: embrace the strange in life. "Strange" comes in all sorts of manifestations. There's strange bad, strange good, strange fun, strange wrong, strange what the F just happened, strange get my point...

BUT WAIT!!!!!! THERE'S PERFUME! (and bananas!)

This blog entry is going to break one of my initially set blogging rules. I was going to not really "review" any of the perfumes that LUSH creates through for their Gorilla Perfume range. I've decided I think my rule is hogwash! The actual readership that my blog gets is small; and I'm pretty sure that what I say here isn't going to effect the bottom line for ANYONE! Besides, I really don't do that much "review-ing" as I do story-telling the perfume scented key-strokes. (I've found that I've been talking a lot more about Gorilla perfumes, but I thought I'd just clarify things now.) Perhaps the fact that I work for a company that sells perfumes will "tarnish" my "reputation" as a creditable perfumer blogger - oh well. I don't have any REAL qualifications to be a perfume blogger....wait, what do I think my qualifications are? Here we go....

1) I f-ing LOVE perfume and fragrance. Always have.
2) I like to tell people about things I love.
3) I have a computer.
4) I can type.
5) I have an internet connection.
6) My blog brings joy and happiness to my life in the same manner perfume and fragrance does.

Wait...what do you know!!!??? I think I'm qualified! YAY ME!

Back to Ladyboy!

There are scents that I like, there scents that I love, there are scents that I fulfill a purpose in my life, and then there are the scents that feel truly "at home" on my skin. This is a rather short and quite special list (in order of "discovery"):

1) Sexy Graffiti by Escada
2) Liaisons Dangereuses by Kilian
3) Ladyboy by Gorilla Perfume

There's something about these three that just meld with both me, my memories, and my body chemistry in a way that I find to be blissful; they just BELONG! (Dear Lord! I am rather glad that one of them is SUPER light hearted!)

I never had a chance to smell Ladyboy (or any of the fragrances) from the Be Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful days, so I really can't compare if this Ladyboy is the same as that Ladyboy. Here are the main notes that the website lists: banana, seaweed, violet, chamomile, labdanum, and oakmoss.

Just in case you weren't quite clear with how I feel about the banana in Ladyboy: THERE SHOULD BE MORE BANANA LIKE THIS IN PERFUMERY!

You know, for clarity's sake...

On my skin, Ladyboy starts as a flippantly-fun blend of banana, and ultra-mild currants. You know when you're trying to be that cute/snide/endearing combination and you do the combination closed mouth smile/nose scrunch/head tilt/shoulder shrug? THAT! IT SMELLS JUST LIKE THAT! It's silly, but rather earnest at the same time - rather whimsical!

Right after that initial banana/currant hit wears off is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE part of the perfume. It's my favorite because it is just flat out weird, but in the most endearing way possible. It transforms into a chewy/yeasty/putty smell. Dare I say that I detect a play dough note in there? It's subtle and I don't want to scare you off by saying that Ladyboy smells like play dough, because it doesn't; there's just a play dough-like feel to a part of it, and it's bloody marvelous!

As Ladyboy lingers on my skin, the banana is still faintly on my skin, there's a "skin" note on top of your actual skin (more on this later), there's violets handing out...really doing nothing more than smelling like violets (that's their job anyway, right?), all being held together by a slightly creamy amber.

I think the "skin" note is the play dough/chewy/yeasty/putty note mellowed out. It's no longer yeasty, just fleshy. (This is now the most oddly sexual perfume writing I've ever done!) It's like another skin on top of yours. It smells familiar, it's just not yours - yet it still belongs.

As I write this, I realize that my descriptions of Ladyboy, might seam more bizarre than whimsical in an odd sexual-fleshy sort of way. After all, I DID title this post strange flirting.

If Ladyboy - in its entirely as a perfume - were an "action" it was be closing your eyes, smiling, shaking your head while silently laughing. If you know me - even if the slightest - it should be pretty clear, given this description, why Ladyboy feels so at home on my skin.

*Currently Listening: Today Was A Fairytale by Taylor Swift
**Photo Credit:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Of Gallstones and Lavender

*Current Fragrance: Cruel Intentions by Kilian
*Currently Listening: Oh What a World by Rufus Wainwright

 My gallbladder is a nasty little bitch. There's no need to mince works. That's just what she is. She decided to fill herself with stones (and not the good kind like diamonds or rubies, or in the awesome way of "having" stones) and then decided to rear her ugly, UGLY head when Al and I were enjoying a stay-cation night in the city, at Hotel Nine Zero - enjoying room service from K.O. Prime , instead it was a 4am trip to the ER at Massachusetts General Hospital - so yes gallbladder, you (my not-so-dear) are an angry little bitch! Don't let the door hit you on your inevitable way out! (I mean, who really needs all those silly little secondary organs anyway? Thyroid!? Don't need it. I'll be fine without you gallbladder! Especially since I was considering asking my husband to perform a mercy killing with the hotel's wine opener. Yep. I was in that much pain.) In one awesome movie line, I can sum up how I feel about my gallbladder at the moment: "Boo you whore!"

You know what's NOT a nasty little bitch? LAVENDER!

By the time I made it to the ER early Sunday morning, I was feeling all kinds of gross. Not only was I in pain, I just felt plain icky. I thought perfume would cheer me up. (This was when the stone had passed, and I had finally stopped actually wishing for death. Just to really know what the hell was wrong, a bath and bed.) Sadly, the stock of what I had in my purse what just a little too on the sweet side (NOT a good idea with "stomach troubles"), and I REFUSED to ruin my beloved Liaisons Dangereuses with ER memories. Through this, my mind couldn't help but think of the icy, medicinal lavender in Lutens' Gris Clair. (I dabbed on some my sample from Aedes the SECOND I got home!)

Hospitals really don't freak me out. There's something actually quite soothing about the cleanliness and the order. Granted, this is coming from someone who LOVES the smell of freshly opened gauze and band-aides; so it's easy to see how I would find the comfortable yet bracing quality of Gris Clair quite desirable in this particular context - or at any time for that matter.

Gris Clair is NOT your Granny's lavender. I'd like to thing that "Granny's lavender" is blended with a bit of "Granny's rose", which would be not for me. I like my lavender not bracing, but with a backbone - where it's so herbaly-true, you get a bit a lemon in there. There's nothing in it that's going to be cloying. (Which is good when any type of digestive track issues come into play.)

I think adding to Gris Clair's charm in this situation is its, well...for lack of a better term, crisp mountain air note. (Note that I find.) It's frosty, not frosted. Can a perfume be "cold brewed" like a beer is? If so, to me - that's Gris Clair.

Also add in a little cool mint (one of the most soothing things IN THE WORLD to me) and some incense. It's not really "churchy" incense...and there's only a kiss of it. Like something is burning to keep you calm and content. Almost like someone lit a candle for your well-being. (Well, that IS "churchy")

There are perfumes that cuddle, there are perfumes that transport, there are perfumes that transform, and then there are perfumes that stand beside you. I feel like Gris Clair is that for me. I didn't need to be swaddled or comforted (only morphine could do that), no sense in being transported (I was there to get better), I just needed something of an herbal and cool strength to help me through. (Luckily, my fragrance memory is pretty strong; but to be on the safe side, I treated myself with a decant order today along with Bronze Goddess and L'Ombre dans L'Eau.

PSBTW - Hotel Nine Zero, if you're listening...can my husband and I have a do over...AFTER my angry bitch of a gallbladder is gone? Pretty please!?!?!

Every been caught in a situation without the fragrance your soul NEEDED? Share how you coped in the comments. Or, you can just tell me gallbladder stories. ;-)

***It's nice to be back after such a lengthy absence / spotting posting record. Expect more regular No Disassemble Charlie No. 5 posts coming to you!

*Currently Listening: Everyday People by Sly and the Family Stone
**Photo Credits: 1), 2)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

James Taylor and The Smell of Freedom

*Current Fragrance: Tuscany Pour Donna By Estee Lauder
*Currently Listening: Carolina in My Mind by James Taylor

There are very small and treasured group of people, places and things (this case being music) that bring me to a place of both emotional piece and emotional stirring. This song, is most definitely on the list!

MUSICAL MONDAY IS BACK! I'll get to perfume in a bit, I promise....please bear with me. It's been a pretty busy few days; OK week and some change... Now things are transitioning to the Independence Day holiday (which tends to get pretty big in Boston). Al and I are both taking three days off. Monday and Tuesday we'll be out in western, MA - James Taylor is playing a Tangelwood. We must do this. It is an odd sort of pilgrimage.

To avoid being the Chief of Staff for the Department of Redundancy Department, my husband's latest blog entry can really explain why the concert Monday night will be a true pilgrimage.

I've also touched on my feelings about James Taylor and my love for North Carolina in one particular blog entry, but this particular paragraph REALLY explains things:

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.)

If Taylor sings Carolin in My Mind at this concert here's what will happen: my husband will mist up the appropriate human amount, but I will COMPLETELY LOOSE MY SHIT!

Which actually brings me to perfume. The concert is at an outdoor venue and we have lawn seats. Given that we'll be out in the sun for a few hours to make sure we secure a GOOD spot on the lawn (as well as an opportunity for some pre-concert munching and imbibing) they'll be some weather warmth to navigate 'fume wise. This nixes two things: 1) nothing too sweet and 2) no silage monsters.

I have to say, when it comes to travel and/or portability, I'm a total sucker for solids or roller-balls. For the JT concert, I decided to go with the solid version Gorilla Perfume's The Smell of Freedom. (Admittedly, it was RATHER EASY for my to access!) This isn't really what I'd reach for on a regular basis as it has more of an "Earthy" vibe than I'm personally drawn to. I'm in love with it's story of the finished fragrance being an evenly distributed combination of three scents that were inspired by three very different people that all dealt with immense struggle in their lives. (Quite poetically fitting given the emotional symbolism of the concert!)

On me The Smell of Freedom reads lemony-herbal-ginger-sandalwood. It's like an old church that's built mostly of wood...the kind where you can smell the almost painful combination of age, slightly faded beauty, history AND neglect: but it's FLOODED with optimistic light and the pews and alter are COVERED in fresh growing herbs and vines that reinvigorate the old, yet wise wooden structure.

Oh yeah...Taylor Swift is going to be performing with James Taylor, y'all! For the 15 year old girl that still lingers a bit in my Soul; this is my theme song! (Thanks Life for making it all come true!)

*Currently Listening: Tiny Dancer by Elton John 
** Since I'll be out of town for two days, and then Al and I will be handing out at the Esplanade on the 4th; there will be no new NDC#5 posted until Thursday!