30 November 2012

No. 36- Makes Scents to Me

NO. 36- Makes Scents to Me

No. 36: Find a "signature" fragrance or two.

Finding a signature scent sounds like fun.

But not for me.

I have fabulous allergies AND a horrible sense of smell.   Perfume that smells great in a bottle will smell like the cat box needs cleaning once it is on. Perfume is chemistry, chemistry, chemistry.  Chemistry was not my best subject.  Actually, I don’t even think I took chemistry.

BUT… I love it when someone smells good. I love that intimacy of getting close to someone and noting they have on perfume or cologne.

I love the memories scents can evoke.

Grey Flannel cologne on anyone totally takes me back to a cabin in Hartford, Ct. in the late 70s.  The guy that wore the cologne is long gone but that scent was such a part of him that I will never be able to connect it to any other time or place.

Aramis reminds me of my brother, Paul. I think he bathed in it when we were in high school. It’s odd that I don’t know whether he continued to wear that cologne as an adult.  The 70s again.
My brother, Paul. 1973

Diesel fuel and wood smoke on a crisp morning will immediately transport me to San Miguel. If I close my eyes I will be walking to class. I can see/feel/smell in my mind the buses belching their exhaust as they pass and the street vendors hawking breakfast tacos or corn con chile y limón being cooked over small wood burning stoves. 1975

San Miguel de Allende, Gto. Mexico

And nothing beats the smell of two teenaged girls that have dashed off to school, leaving a path of Juicy Couture and Hollister in their wake. 2012
In the land of teenage girls

(This is not to be compared with the fog of Axe trailed by teenage boys, a stage this house has thankfully passed. 2005/2006/2007)

So I want that power. For people to recognize a scent that belongs to me.
But it’s hard to find the perfect scent among all the choices. 
Where to start?

I’ve found some websites that offer samples. News to me that you could order decants of certain perfumes in trial sizes.
Some of the options, including decants from The Perfumed Court

But still, you need to have an idea of what to order.

So- what makes a scent perfect?

I’m taking suggestions. What are your favorites? 

And where do scents take you?

For samples of different perfumes- more perfumes than you could ever imagine- click here or here or here

For a really perverse but terribly entertaining read on perfume, read this .

For a little (entertaining) insight into how the brain and smell work together, click here.

27 November 2012

No. One Explained

No. One Explained

Hmmm. I like that title.  No One Explained.  No. One Explained.
That's life pretty much. No one explains it in advance.

Because I realized that unless you know me well, some of these challenges might not make sense.

So before I explain number one, let me give you a little back story.

I grew up in and still live outside of the enormous, under-estimated city of Houston.  There were a few years in San Antonio as a child, a couple of years of university in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, almost a year in Hartford, Connecticut and a couple in north Texas but mostly I have been stuck here. So many of the challenges are related to the area I live in but, like most natives, haven't fully taken advantage of.

But Houston has formed my life.

These are my high school friends:
On the ferry to Nevis

Allison, Me, Ann, Liddy, M. Anne, Peggy.
They are amazing women, one and all.

They have also formed my life.

Liddy and I go back the longest- through elementary school, church and multiple trips to San Miguel and a gazillion years since.  Ann and I carpooled together all through high school. M. Anne was in my homeroom although she doesn't remember that, probably because she seldom made it to homeroom. Peggy and Allison I knew in high school but we have grown closer since we graduated.

Every year since before I had kids we have all travelled to the Hill Country of Texas for a "girl's weekend". That's a euphemism for "ditch all responsibility, drink copious amounts of wine and grouse about the spouse and kids".

The wine count from our most recent weekend

As a group over the years we have had kids, lost parents, divorced, married and lived life.

And Ann got breast cancer.  But she beat it. She's been free and clear.

When we turned fifty we went on a fabulous, once in a life time trip to Sonoma, California.  We visited vineyards, ate amazing food and had a BLAST.

Dinner at the Lady and the Fig in Sonoma

When we turned fifty five we went on a fabulous, once in a life time trip to St. Kitts. We got tan, ate amazing food and had a BLAST.  On the plane home we started discussing where to go for our sixtieth. Paris? Montreal? Sonoma again? 

St. Kitts harbour

But then that enormous, crushing ogre that is cancer reared its ugly head.  Ann's cancer came back, only this time it is the bad kind. Metastatic. A word I cannot say or spell without stumbling.  She got the double whammy- her diagnosis and the news that her dear dad also had cancer in the same week.  He passed quickly, the same day that my brother died. I've decided it must have been a good day to move on.

So maybe we need to celebrate early. Because the reality is Ann may not be able to come if we wait until we are sixty. Those are whispering italics because I don't want to say those words out loud.
Because Ann is a girl that knows how to celebrate.  And she will not go "gentle into that good night".   She's never done anything half-ass. And she needs to celebrate with us.

So where should we go?

And to learn more about Stage IV cancer and support research, please click here.

(And I just learned a VERY important new blogger rule. SAVE as you go. I clicked on the link for "gentle into that good night" and erased my entire post.  Silent scream. )

22 November 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy, happy Thanksgiving.

Nothing from my list today.  Didn't plan ahead to make it to the beach. So much for No. 13.

Just a very sincere wish for everyone to have a very happy day.

Be thankful for all you have.
Remember those who are gone.
And eat lots of turkey.

In the spirit of stretching yourself and learning/trying/doing something new:

Go ahead. Roast that turkey. It really is easy. For last minute turkey help, click here.  (Thanks, Butterball.)

For last minute table decorations try pumpkin place-cards. Grab those leftover Halloween mini pumpkins, a bunch of flowers (or greenery)and your electric drill.   Drill a hole in each pumpkin, pop in a flower or two, then use ribbon or raffia to tie on a card with your guests' name. Keeps Great Aunt Edna away from 
your gangsta nephew.

Aren't I adorable?

Happy fall table.

20 November 2012

To Market, To Market

Number 14:   To Market, To Market….

The Nutcracker Market in Houston: Shoppers Nirvana.  Legendary shopping. A Must-Do.

Happens every November and I’ve never been.   So, of course,
it made it to my 60 by 60 list.

Well, tada, I’ve been!

Thank you, Diane and Lucy- my intrepid guides for the day.

Diane and Lucy: sisters/guides/bunko partners

In its 31st year, the Nutcracker Market was originally started as a way to fund scholarships for dancers who wanted to study with the Houston Ballet but could not afford tuition. St. Phillip’s Presbyterian Church, the very church I attended as a child and got married in, was the site of the first market. There were about 8 vendors from the Ballet Guild selling homemade cookies and jellies.  

Now there are about 300 to 350 booths in the enormous Reliant Center and the array of goods is astonishing. Christmas decorations, clothing ( heavy on the bling- it is Texas, after all) , jewelry and specialty foods dominate.  At least a gazillion women were there the day we went. Parking lots were full, aisles were full, lines were everywhere.

Early in the day before the mayhem set in!
(and before I realized I wasn't allowed to take photos)

My big score was the Donne diDomani spaghetti sauce.  Big hoopla surrounding this stuff. Lines are long. It sells out early. It's MARVELOUS. 
We'll see. I scored a half case after a short wait in line. Thank you Nutcracker for having a package check available right next to the spaghetti sauce booth. Those bottles weigh a TON. (Or 32 ounces, to be more accurate.) Bonus: I  got to visit with a high school friend who was working the booth! 

 Original Sauce- Will it be yummy? 

Will I go again? You bet! I got some fun Christmas decorations. Scored a few Christmas gifts. Got me some bling. It was a good day and now that I know what they have, I can come better prepared. There were ribbons and garlands galore to deck the halls- I just wasn't sure which halls needed decking and/or how much decking I needed.  Next time.

So, Number Fourteen is done.   Fifty nine more to go.