Captured By Fragrance

Copyright: svl861

Several months ago, I read a book entitled The Emperor of Scent by Chandler Burr, which mainly explores the life and work of scientist Luca Turin. Luca Turin has made an indelible mark on the world of scent theory because he believes in a different concept of how we smell, and backs up his belief with hard science. What I did not expect while reading this book was that I learned how deeply immersed Turin is in the world of fine fragrance, to such an extent that he wrote a well respected perfume guide.

As I continued to read The Emperor of Scent, I became intensely curious about several fragrances which have been touted the world’s best scents. Turin’s description of Chamade by Guerlain captured me so intensely that I blind purchased two tiny vintage bottles of the extrait, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed, because the fragrance is sublime.

Une note de départ verte et anodine donne le coup d’ envoi à un miracle qui se produit sur plusiers heures, voire plusiers jours. A green and somewhat nondescript top note launches a miracle that happens over several hours, even several days. As soon as the initial fog dissipates, a splendid form appears, all of one piece, smooth and seamless, a strong white note, powdery and sculptural, that strengthens without losing complexity until complete evaporation. Typically Guerlain in its flattering and tender character, Chamade is nevertheless a haughty perfume, pure and distant and miles away from the slightly catty chic of Jicky and Shalimar. Its tenacity is prodigious, and one would believe it conceived to be smelled two days later. Put it on at least two hours before asking it to have its effect.

A masterpiece of elegance and poetry. One of the greatest perfumes of all time.”

How could I pass up an opportunity to obtain Chamade after reading Turin’s description?

I became obsessed with finding other vintage fragrances, such as Diorissimo (Dior) and L’Interdit (Givenchy), and also found other lovely scents which are currently being produced. However, I always try to get the vintage versions, because the newer iterations are never exactly the same as the originals. I also try to get the extrait or the eau de parfum instead of the EDT because of the staying power of perfume formulations.

I ended up finding a vintage bottle of Diorissimo EDP, which is a gorgeous expression of lily-of-the-valley, but sadly, it doesn’t last on my skin. I kept a bottle of the original L’Interdit (1957) which my mother had in her collection, and I have noted a difference between the vintage version and the bottle which I recently purchased. Nevertheless, the modern take on L’Interdit is absolutely lovely when mixed with my body chemistry.

I also found other fragrances during my recent foray into the world of scent, and stumbled upon the lovely floral Mon Guerlain (Guerlain), and the intense Sublime (Jean Patou). I revisited Byblos (Byblos) which I had kept from my mom’s collection, as well as J’Adore (Dior). Another fragrance which I absolutely love is a brand new offering from Givenchy called Irrestistible Fresh, which is a beautiful light fruity/floral.

The one mistake I made was in blind purchasing Joy (Jean Patou) based on the fact that it is the most expensive fragrance in the world. When I received the bottle in the mail, I spritzed some on my pulse points, and immediately became concerned because I could smell an imminent funk from the mixture. In addition, it was heady stuff, very grandma-esque, and just not my style. I waited for a half hour for the fragrance to meld with my body, and all I could think of was how much I wanted to jump in the shower to wash it off! The clincher for me was when my kitten approached me, took one whiff, and made swipes with his paw on the sofa as if to cover the results of a recent potty session. I took another sniff, and realized that Joy had turned into something that smelled like cat urine on me, thanks to the civet which is part of the base of the legendary scent. I returned it immediately.

Now I am just experimenting with the various fragrances I have in my collection, and will switch up my scent depending on my mood, the weather, or what I plan to do later that day. And though Marc Jacobs’ Daisy Eau So Fresh is still my go to daily fragrance, I am truly enjoying the variety which the new additions to my fragrance collection are providing.

Need To Chill Wine Fast?

Image ID: 57259324
Copyright: foodandmore

Have you ever found yourself in a situation in which you want to chill a bottle of wine fast? I found out a couple of years ago about a great hack which involves paper towels and works like a dream, and I have been using it frequently ever since. The paper towel hack is definitely better than an ice bucket, which doesn’t always chill the entire contents of the bottle.

Simply take a couple of paper towels and run them under cold water until they are soaked. Wring out the excess water and wrap the bottle with the wet paper towels, then place the bottle in the freezer for about fifteen minutes. After 15 minutes, the bottle will be nicely chilled. The science behind this nifty hack is that the surface area of the wet paper towel rapidly cools the bottle it is wrapped around through water evaporation.

A second very cool (pun intended) wine chilling hack involves grapes, but this only works on individual glasses of wine. What you do is drop 4 or 5 frozen grapes into a glass of wine. This method chills the liquid dramatically in only a few minutes. This is such a neat method that I am planning to buy a bunch of grapes to have on hand in my freezer at all times.

Beaucarnea recurvata (AKA Ponytail Palm)

Check out my video featuring Beaucarnea recurvata, more commonly known as Ponytail Palm!

Sadly, this plant took a turn for the worse in August of 2021 (right after we had no central A/C for three weeks in July), so I banished it to my balcony, where it continued to decline. I had no choice but to dispose of it in early October of 2021. However, even though my ponytail palm didn’t fare well, I still think it’s a cool plant to have, and it is relatively easy to care for. Mine just didn’t like the sweltering heat!

How To Have A Social Life While Recovering From Addiction

It was the partying and bars that helped bring you to this point. After years of self-destructive behavior, failed relationships, and even some run-ins with the law, you’ve finally managed to walk that straight edge. You’re clean and sober, and you have every reason to want to keep that going. 

But you also deserve friends, fun, and the rest that comes with having some kind of social life. That can be tough when you’re recovering from addiction. Society as a whole is not designed to be supportive to those in recovery. But without social interactions and good times, the resulting depression and loneliness can trigger a relapse. 
To help, Karen Weeks of Elderwellness.net shares some tips for staying clean and sober while going out and having fun.

Image Source: Pixabay

Finding The Right Activities

One of the keys to staying sober while going out for fun activities is picking the right ones. This takes some of your history into account. If you spent way too much time in your previous years in dive bars, heading to hear a band at one might not be the best idea. Here are some activities that help support you in your addiction recovery. 

  • Play some games: This doesn’t mean sitting alone on a couch playing video games. You need social activities. Instead, get some friends together for board games. Bring a pack of cards to a restaurant and play there. And yes, video games with a bunch of friends in the room does count. 
  • Go see some live sports: Sports loyalties bring out a passion from their fans. Even if you barely know people, you can quickly bond over a game. But instead of hitting the bar scene, go see the game live. Professional leagues can be expensive, but minor leagues can be even more fun. 
  • Join a local league or sports club: Speaking of sports, you can have a social life by joining a local league or amateur sports club. Many adults get together on weekends to play some football, basketball, and more. 
  • Check your local library and park district: You’d be surprised how many social activities are now being offered by your hometown’s library and park district. Visit their website and look to see what clubs, events, and happenings you can attend. 
  • Reconnect with former friends: If you lost touch with friends along the way, rekindling old friendships can be a healthy way to heal and move forward in your sobriety journey. If you have trouble finding old classmates, try a site like ClassFinders, which makes it easy to track down school friends by graduation date and alma mater.

Going Along With The Group

You can’t be that person who’s always telling the group where they need to go. Sometimes, you’ll have to head with your friends to some place that can challenge your sobriety. It’s not inevitable, but it is something you can handle. 

First, explain to your friends why certain activities are just not for you. There’s a difference between going to a restaurant that serves alcohol and a dive bar that serves nothing but cheap booze. Your friends will understand. 

Once out, a big way to stay sober is to change your focus. Instead of thinking about how you can’t enjoy a few drinks, focus instead on how you can mingle, talk to people, eat great food, that sort of thing. In other words, give your mind something positive to think about. 

Just make sure you have an exit plan. Hanging out at a club can be great, but what happens when you suddenly realize everyone around you is high? You need to know when to leave. But you also need to know how. 

A Sober Companion Can Save You

When you’re out and about, having a close friend who can leave with you can be a lifesaver. Suddenly leaving a club or house party is embarrassing, but it’s less so when someone is heading out with you. Find a friend that you can depend on like that, and be sure to make it up to them if you have to leave early. 

It’s not always easy living the sober life. You’ve already made many big changes to your lifestyle, and more are probably on their way. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a social life. Just pick your activities carefully, focus on something fun and sobering, and make sure you have an exit plan. 

Living Room Makeover

Have you ever lived with the same furniture and decor for so long, you just need a change? I had the same living room sofa, throw pillows and area rug for 15 years, and was so tired of looking at the same color scheme and the same items, that I was itching to switch it up. Another compelling reason to redecorate was the fact that the living room I have had for the past 3-1/2 years is much smaller than two previous living rooms I had before, so the dark color story which I had selected made my living area feel very dark and cavelike, to the point where it just depressed me. It was also painfully obvious to me that when I moved into my current space three years ago, I had thrown the living room furniture into the space without any regard for design, flow or mood. At no point did I take any pride in that particular space. It took three years of me avoiding that one room in my house, only because the colors were too drab, before I became aware of how much it was affecting my mood.

Living room before
Living room after

Since I could not afford to replace the espresso leather sectional I have had since 2004, I decided to purchase a light colored rug, light colored blankets, and light colored pillows. By June of this year, I began searching for and purchasing new items for the space. I also sold the 8 foot tall artificial palm which was wedged in one corner of the room, and I got rid of the second ottoman which took up much needed space. When I chose the textiles for the living room makeover, I made sure to select soft, cozy fabrics, so that when people sat on the sofa, they would feel snug and comfortable.

What do you think of the redo?

Corner before
Corner after
Entertainment unit before
Entertainment unit after
Entertainment unit form above
Living room from above

Beautiful wool lotus rug is the centerpiece of the living room redo