Perfume Chat Room, July 30

Perfume Chat Room, July 30

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, July 30, and tomorrow is Harry Potter’s birthday! I still remember getting the first book in 1997 and reading it with delight, as a young mother. The books continued to arrive during the same era when my own children arrived. When they were older, we read the earlier books aloud to them and played the audiobooks on long car trips (the American audiobooks, narrated by British actor Jim Dale, are wonderful!). A couple of years ago, I posted about my thoughts on what fragrances various characters from the books might wear. I stand by my choices!

Did you know that Ulta released a “Harry Potter” collection of fragrances last year?? I’m not sure who thought “soothing raindrops” was appropriate for Slytherin. The fragrances chosen by Scentsy for their Hogwarts wax melts seems more apropos:

Gryffindor™: Bravery and Determination
Race through daring smoky woods, while amber and a touch of dapper cinnamon leaf bring warmth to your journey.

Slytherin™: Cunning and Ambition
Forest woods
 hide dark secrets in fresh oak moss and a sweetly sinister layer of deep blackberry.

Hufflepuff™: Just and Loyal
The Great Hall beckons with sweet and steadfast notes of golden applewhipped vanilla almond and cinnamon sugar.

Ravenclaw™: Wit and Wisdom
A clever concoction of suede and sandalwood is mellowed handsomely by a ribbon of smooth vanilla.

Do you have any favorite book characters? What fragrance(s) might they wear?

Featured image from Warner Bros.

Perfume Chat Room, July 23

Perfume Chat Room, July 23

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, July 23, and it is my late parents’ wedding anniversary. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may have read this post before, My Mother’s Last Perfume, in which I wrote a bit about their long, but not always happy, marriage. Nevertheless, I honor this day because without it, my sisters and I wouldn’t exist! And because my parents made the effort to stay married until the ends of their lives and, in their own ways, they cared for each other. Their happiest times were when they traveled together, which they loved to do; and I too love to travel with my husband, though my marriage is a much more content one than my parents’, I think.

I also have some excitement to share — I’ve been asked by an accomplished playwright in my city to collaborate with her and a composer to create a “fragrance score” for a new experimental musical they are writing! I had taken part in a playwriting group she led over several weeks, pre-pandemic, and we had talked about how fragrance could and should be used more in theater. This is such an interesting creative project, I’m very excited about the possibilities. I will be the creative director for the fragrances, of course, not the actual perfumer. We are applying for a grant to develop the production, so I hope to include in the budget some modest funds to commission some scents from a perfumer eventually. For now, I think we’ll be able to use existing scents.

What are your thoughts on combining fragrance with other arts? I love reading about Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’ collaborations with the Denver Art Museum. And the ways actors can use fragrance for their own performances are also fascinating: How Performers Use Perfume.

Perfume Chat Room, July 16

Perfume Chat Room, July 16

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, July 16, and WordPress tells me it is the 6th anniversary of when I registered with them! This blog’s anniversary comes a bit later. I remember that summer so well. I spent it also working remotely, because I had fallen and broken my shoulder while on a June visit to London and couldn’t leave the house. In fact, I couldn’t sleep in my own bed because of the sling I was in and the pain it caused to move too much. I slept in a “medical lift chair” in our dining room! But after the initial week or two, I was able to work online, and one of my colleagues would come over to my house two days a week.

That was the summer I learned how to blog on WordPress and discovered some of my favorite fragrance blogs and bloggers. Some of you are regular visitors here now, and I appreciate that! I had already gone down the perfume rabbit hole in 2014, when I read Chandler Burr’s “The Perfect Scent” and then Turin and Sanchez’ “Perfumes: The A-Z Guide.” Starting my own blog in 2015 was a welcome distraction from my broken shoulder and some very nasty goings-on at work. It was a bright spot in an otherwise challenging year. The name “Serenity Now” originated in my attempts to stay mindful and calm that summer.

Speaking of work, I had my first full day back at my office this past Wednesday. Boy, it was weird to be back other than for a mail pick-up. It was great to see many of my colleagues in person instead of onscreen, though, as most of them are very nice. It’s going to take a while for my introverted self to adjust to being back among groups of people. My SOTD was Pure Grace Summer Moments, a very pleasant flanker of the original Pure Grace that I actually prefer to its predecessor. Yesterday I worked from home again, because I had to teach an online workshop and it’s easier to do that from here (and tbh, I needed to decompress a bit). I felt very contrary, so I wore Chanel No. 19. What a truly great fragrance that is! I know not everyone likes it, let alone loves it as I do, but there’s no denying its greatness.

What does your daily life look like these days? Working? Working from home still? If you’ve returned to an in-person workplace outside the home, how is that going? Have you changed any of your scents or scent-wearing habits?

Perfume Chat Room, July 9

Perfume Chat Room, July 9

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, July 9, and one of my daughters is moving into her own apartment this weekend! We’re so excited for her. Like many young adults, she has lived at home since the pandemic shut everything down, working and saving money. She started a new job last month, and she will share the apartment with her best friend from high school, who has just moved back from New York. Selfishly, we are very happy that the apartment they chose is in a neighborhood close to our home. So she’ll probably stop in once in a while, if only to visit the dog!

Yesterday I wore Dame Perfumery’s Chocolate Man for the community project at “Now Smell This“, which was to wear a scent that reminded one of ice cream or had some tie to ice cream. I enjoyed it (it’s a great, true chocolate scent) but it also confirmed that I’m not really into gourmand fragrances, at least not in hot weather. So today, I’m wearing a bargain beauty: Philosophy’s Pure Grace Summer Moments, a limited edition issued last year. I like it! I’ve tried the original Pure Grace many times in stores and haven’t been able to connect with it — to my nose, it mostly smelled just soapy. But this flanker is very appealing, and not soapy at all. It has notes of fig, lemon, sage, “green notes”, and “dew drop” (aka aquatic). Fragrantica classifies it as a citrus aromatic. This is much more my style, and it’s very pleasant on this July day that promises to become hot and humid.

Now that we’re well into July, are you turning to any particular “summery” fragrances? Do you wear gourmand scents in the summertime?

Featured image from http://www.travelandleisure.com.

Perfume Chat Room, July 2

Perfume Chat Room, July 2

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, July 2, and here in the USA, it is the start of the long Fourth of July holiday weekend. We are back home after a long road trip that included two weeks in New Hampshire so we could visit my elderly father-in-law in the assisted living residence where he lives. It was a joy to see him every day! We stayed in a little rustic lake cottage, the kind with plain wood paneling and no insulation, which was very nostalgic for both of us, having spent many happy times in childhood in such cottages. This one had one bedroom, one bathroom, living room, tiny kitchen, and a small screened porch. It was very cozy and comfortable, but wow! that bathroom was TINY.

I brought home some balsam pillows and have enjoyed sniffing them to my heart’s content. I don’t know of any manmade fragrance that quite captures the real scent of balsam fir. We also brought home a large jug of real maple syrup (I won’t use any other kind) and various other maple sugar treats. Since we drove to New Hampshire, we made several stops along the way — Antietam, site of a famous Civil War battle, on the way north; and on the way south, Gettysburg, site of the three-day battle (July 1-3, 1863) that turned the tide of the Civil War in favor of the Union and later President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and Biltmore, in Asheville, North Carolina, the famous Vanderbilt estate that looks like a French chateau.

It’s good to be home, though! We’ll spend a quiet Fourth of July here with our kids; I do hope to see some fireworks this year, as most were cancelled last summer. Do you have any special plans, if you’re in the US? And for everyone — what are your favorite “outdoorsy” fragrances? Do you know of any that smell like real balsam?

Perfume Chat Room, June 25

Perfume Chat Room, June 25

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, June 25, and we are enjoying unusually cool, dry weather. My husband and I are also indulging in a bit of second-career fantasy/brainstorming, revolving around the sudden appearance on the market of a beloved local nursery business. Maybe I’ll follow in the footsteps of Diane St. Clair, the very gifted founder and perfumer of St. Clair Scents, and combine farming with perfumery! I do love several of her fragrances, like Gardener’s Glove and First Cut. In fact, since I wore her Pandora yesterday for the “community project” at Now Smell This, I think I’ll wear First Cut today, since we were recently in New England and saw the “first cut” of hay.

What scent are you wearing today? Do you ever have second-career or side-hustle daydreams involving perfume?

Perfume Chat Room, June 18

Perfume Chat Room, June 18

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, June 18, and we have been having some post-lockdown adventures! Most importantly, we have been able to visit my husband’s elderly father for several days, going over to the assisted living facility where he lives for a few hours every afternoon. Since our kids are young adults, they are holding down the fort at home. We are in New England, the part of the US where my husband and I both spent parts of our childhood and that feels like “home” in so many ways. Staying in a rustic lake cottage surrounded by the scent of balsam trees and other vegetation brings back a lot of happy childhood memories! Not to mention the distinctive sounds of loons, which takes me right back to childhood and earlier vacations when our own children were very young.

We also went to a big restaurant the other night, for the first time in over a year. People here are literally giddy with happiness at the ongoing return to normalcy. As we waited for our table, a total stranger turned to me, beaming, and said “Isn’t it wonderful to be in a crowded restaurant again, full of happy people?” Yes, I said. And it was. This particular restaurant is by the side of a lake, with most of the seating in a huge screened porch that runs the length of the building, so we enjoyed plenty of fresh air circulating as well as a gorgeous view.

Since I’m partially on vacation (working remotely most mornings, taking off most afternoons), and it’s easier to focus on fragrance when I’m more at leisure, I brought with me a box full of fragrance samples to try, but I haven’t pulled many out yet. Mostly I’ve been enjoying the smells of New England summer, which are so different from the smells of a Southern summer. Have you been trying any new fragrances lately?

Perfume Chat Room, June 11

Perfume Chat Room, June 11

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, June 11, and we are still processing a very enjoyable wedding weekend just past! It was the wedding of our nephew (also our godson), in Baltimore, and we had such a wonderful time! I was able to see my two sisters for the first time in a year and a half (last visit was October 2019), as well as some cousins. My kids spent the whole weekend with all their first cousins on my side of the family, and it was a joy to see how much fun they have together. We spent part of Saturday poking around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, which has grown so much in the thirty years since my husband and I were last there, and we ate wonderful crabcakes. The wedding itself was beautiful, as were the bride and groom.

I wore Sonoma Scent Studio‘s Champagne de Bois, from a travel spray that was a kind gift from Undina, and it was just right — thank you, Undina! I am so glad that Sonoma Scent Studio has been revived by a new owner with the original fragrance lines. Support the independent artisan perfumers! They’ve had a tough year. Last weekend was a tonic for the spirit. I’m an introvert and quite a homebody, so I haven’t minded most of the past year in terms of working from home, not going out, etc., but it was lovely to be able to gather, and socialize, and even dance.

Have you been on an airplane recently, or a large gathering?

Perfume Chat Room, June 4

Perfume Chat Room, June 4

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, June 4, and I had a facial yesterday for the first time in years. I rarely get facials anyway, and of course getting one seemed unthinkable for the last 15 months. But we have a wedding to attend — in person! — this weekend, and my skin was looking dreary, so off I went. What an improvement! No miracles here, just nicely exfoliated skin with lots of healthy oil massaged into it, including my neck and arms. All the products smelled wonderful, too.

I mostly use unscented skin products, so as not to interfere with whatever fragrance I’m wearing, and also because unscented products are supposed to be healthier for daily use. I’m quite partial to products from The Ordinary company, though I don’t use them as regularly as I should. I am religious about wearing sunscreen every day, though. Do you have any favorite skincare products, scented or not?

Perfume Chat Room, May 28

Perfume Chat Room, May 28

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, May 28, and it’s the start of the Memorial Day weekend here in the US! I don’t have any big plans but wow, it’s such a relief to have so many of us fully vaccinated so we CAN make plans. What a contrast to Memorial Day last year, when the pandemic was really accelerating and little was known about prevention or treatment. This Memorial Day, I will be remembering the many Americans and others who died from COVID-19, as well as those who have died in the military service of our country, the original purpose of our Memorial Day.

On a more cheerful note, today I am testing one of Chanel’s Eaux: Paris-Venise. I like it a lot so far! Have you tried any of the Eaux? I know Undina has, including the newest one, Paris-Edimbourg. (It feels so weird to spell Edinburgh that way). Or, what else are you sampling this weekend?