Signature Scents

I’m not a perfume snob. You might not believe me by the time you reach the end of this post, but really, I am not a perfume snob.

A few years ago I was walking by the office of a co-worker and smelled a striking and lovely perfume. It made me think of women who have a ‘signature scent’.

How wonderful to have a go-to perfume. A scent that reminds people of the wearer every time they smell it. A scent that makes the wearer feel pulled together, confident, feminine or even beautiful. How wonderful that something that comes in a bottle could make a person feel those things.

Since I don’t want to smell like anyone else, I embarked on a quest to find the perfect ‘signature scent’ for me. I fully realize that any commercially available scent is probably being worn by lots of other people, and I am delusional enough to believe that I’d find something special anyway.

My ideal scent, I thought, would not be too flowery and would remain close to my body. It would not be something that I left in the elevator for others to enjoy or not. It would not smell of hippie, stripper or Justin Bieber fan.

After doing a little searching, I found a web site to help me figure out at least what I like. Basenotes.net provides reviews and notes on ‘notes’.

I enjoyed reading the reviews on Basenotes.net, but much of what these connoisseurs of scent had to say was lost on me. I did what any good impulsive person would do. I decided, scent unseen, what I might like. I went to theperfumedcourt.com and ordered some samples and decants.

As it turns out, I like a lot of things that I didn’t expect to enjoy, and hated some of the things I expected to love.

Today my favorite scents come from Frederic Malle (Carnal Flower and Dans Tes Bras) and Comme des Garcons (Series 2 Red: Harissa and Series 8 Energy C: Lime).

These four scents couldn’t be more different.

The Frederic Malle scents are big and very bold. Carnal Flower is a giant floral, and Dans Tes Bras is a giant synthetic. I love them both, but don’t wear them during the day.

The Commes des Garcons scents stay closer to the body and are perfect for me in the daytime. Lime is almost what you’d imagine, and Harissa is spicy and peppery, in an entirely wearable (for me) way.

A bonus is that I have never, ever noticed even a hint of these fragrances on any other person I know.

What I’ve learned in my search (and yes, I’m still searching) is that scents are different on everyone. I like to try scents at home, over the course of a few days, to see what suits me. I do not visit the perfume counter of my local mall stores.

I now have a nice idea of what I might like, and a true appreciation for the perfumers who make scent discoveries and share them with us. I’ll never have the ability to appreciate scents the way a connoisseur would, and that’s perfectly fine with me.

So, what’s your favorite scent?

Posted in scent, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Monday, already?

And so it’s Monday again. The weekend goes by so fast. If you are anything like me, by the time you are done trying to relax, it’s back to the grind again.

I looked at my calendar for this week, and it is already full. I look at my to-do list and realize that it is highly unlikely that I will even complete half of the items listed there.

The up-side to this is that life is never dull.

The down side to this is that I rarely stop to celebrate the accomplishments of the moment, the day, or the week.

This week I plan to celebrate the tasks I complete. To take a moment to smile as I cross each item off my list.

I bet that by the time I reach the end of the week, I will be amazed at how much I have actually accomplished.

Posted in achievement, schedule | 2 Comments

Couch-to-5K

I seem to always be late to the party. I’ve been noticing people tweeting about their successes in a ‘new’ program for weeks. Yesterday I visited Ellie’s blog and sure enough, saw evidence of the C25K challenge there too.

The C25K challenge is a beginners running program. It’s a baby-steps program designed for people like me, who have never run before.

Running sounds exciting. It sounds like a great way to burn off calories, energy, frustration and even anxiety. Running is also something I’ve never been able to do before.

I’ve had asthma at least since I was a teenager. I’m also pretty stubborn and didn’t think I needed to be medicated when I could just ‘control my breathing’ using my ‘will power’. For more than 30 years I did just that. Control my breathing. Of course that also meant that anything that required too much exertion was probably out of the question. The uphill part of mountain climbing, aerobic exercise, running, etc., were all pretty much off-limits. Sure, some of my huffing and puffing was from being out of shape, but more of it was evidence of the amazing talent I had for ‘controlling my breathing’. What a dope!

Several months ago, my new doctor (who is vegetarian like me,  and very awesome) convinced me that I was doing a pretty crappy job of self managing. Since then we’ve tried a variety of maintenance inhalers to try to manage my asthma in a more realistic fashion. Sounds easy, but since I don’t really remember what ‘normal’ breathing is like, even a little improvement feels amazing to me.

So for the first time in my life, I feel like maybe I can run.

It’s a little scary.

I’ve decided that Jake could use the exercise too, and I could use the company.

Jake is our 7-ish year old Border Collie mix. We adopted Jake in January, and his favorite things to do are to eat and to beg for cookies. He’s lost maybe 5 or 7 pounds since he joined our family, but could stand to lose another 20 pounds, at least.

So today I got up early, put on my special running outfit, cut up some treats for Jake, packed a poop bag, a water bottle, a collapsible water bowl and my blackberry into a fanny pack (no pockets in my special running outfit) and took Jake to the rail trail. The first day of the plan is pretty easy on paper. Eight repetitions each of jogging (60 seconds) and walking (90 seconds), with five minutes of brisk walking at the beginning and end to warm up and cool down.

Jake did great for the first six repetitions. At rep seven, he decided he didn’t need to jog any more. He dug in his doggie heels. He pretended he had to pee. He sniffed everything on and around the trail. I can take a hint. We walked for a bit until Jake decided it was time to jog some more.

So, we finished day one a little out of sequence. I’m sure we got in the 8 minutes of jogging. We did more than 12 minutes of walking, and we did a good warm up and cool down. I’m calling it a success.

I’m already looking forward to Tuesday, when we do it again.

Posted in asthma, dog, exercise, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Do you visit your local library?

In Camden, NJ there is talk about closing down the library system. There are 3 buildings and more than 187,000 books in the hundred year old system. With the economy tanked the way it is, more people are using the libraries to read, for the internet services, for a free place to spend time and in this summer, to get out of the heat.

I have to admit that while I love to read, I have not been to a library in years. I don’t use the library because I’m lazy I have the means to buy my own books and because I procrastinate know that a trip to the library means I’ll end up with late charges. I bet there are other lazy procrastinators people like me out there.

Or worse. What about the people who *gasp* don’t read? Our jobs are demanding, and there are many other activities that compete for our attention. We have 200 or more channels on our TV, we have video games and Wii. We have the internet. We have family obligations, children, pets and yard work. How does anyone find the time to read?

But to close a library system because taxpayers or local government has deemed it ‘non essential’ seems sad to me.

Does our concept of ‘library’ need to change? Is there a way to modernize the library system so it is more relevant to the community? Is there a way to continue to provide library services in a more cost-effective way? Is there a way to convince people who don’t use the library that the services provided ARE essential to some?

I don’t know.

Posted in book, library | 5 Comments

Americana

I’m listening to music today considered “Americana” or “Alt-Country”. This categorization is funny since most of this music reminds me of the very pure country music that we listened to in my house when I was a girl.

When I listen to music like this, I can’t help recall the Billboard Magazine ad that Johnny Cash and American Recordings took out to “thank” the Nashville Music establishment and country radio.  Johnny had been abandoned by the very genre that he had helped to establish. He was shoved aside, replaced by smooth sounds with pop beats. Music that to me at least, felt a little less honest.

There’s a place in the world for “New Country”. I’m just not certain that our elder statesmen and ladies of country music should have been cast aside for it.

Still, the name “Americana” seems perfect for the music of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Townes Van Zandt, Emmylou Harris and Nanci Griffith, to name a few. Their music speaks to the beauty found in the perfect turn of a phrase. It is rich with history and sung by people who are not afraid to share the raw emotion of the song.

It is lovely in its simplicity.

Posted in genre, music | 1 Comment

Overcoming Fears

Yesterday my hubby and I went to a local open mic. We were prepared to perform three numbers, and the hosts were very kind and let us do six numbers instead. We had a blast.

Were we perfect? No way! Could anyone tell? Maybe, but probably not.

Was I nervous? You bet!

I’ve been learning about overcoming fears for a long time. The one thing I know is that for me, the best way to deal with fear is to muscle right through it.

Take air travel, for example.

Once upon a time I was a terrible traveler. I didn’t sleep, sometimes for days, before a flight. I was a tearful, nervous wreck and would drive for days rather than fly for a few hours, just to avoid a flight.

Then I took a job that I really love, and for 5 months out of the year that job involves a pretty heavy travel schedule. Is it hard to travel that much? You bet it is. I miss my family and sometimes being away from home so much messes with my routine. Do I sleep before I fly? I sure do.

I can’t identify the moment that flying became easy, I only know that it did. I don’t sleep on planes and I probably never will. I might pay extra attention to where the exits are and I definitely watch and listen while the flight attendant goes over the safety features of the flight. Then I sit back and enjoy the ride.

Do I think singing in public will ever be that easy for me? Probably not. Will I do another open mic? Yep. I’ll be back next week. Maybe my hubby and I will even get a paying gig out of it.

That would be the icing on the cake.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Singing in Public

I have loved to sing for as long as I remember. I love most kinds of music, and I do not like to identify specific genres. I like to keep my options open.

I am lucky to have had the opportunity to work with 3 fantastic voice coaches over my life. I have learned a great deal about music and myself from each of them.  Susan, Paulo and Janice have taught me about technique and about appropriate styling for different genres of music. They taught me about my own work ethic and have each in their own way helped me to develop confidence in my abilities. With their guidance, I am a much better singer than I ever believed I could be.

but still, singing in public is scary for me.

I know stage fright is normal. I know to channel that adrenaline into energy for the performance. I know that I am my own worst critic. None of the things I know make it any easier for me to sing in public.

I do it anyway.

Tonight, hubby and I are planning to visit a local open mic. Today, I’ll spend at least part of the day agonizing over what songs to sing and how to sing them. I’m sure that the energy I put into worry could be better channeled into something productive. It would be really cool if I could make that happen. If I could cut myself some slack and just enjoy the moment. For now, I guess I will just accept that it can be both intimidating and fun. I will promise myself to enjoy every scary bit of it.

Are there things that you do, even though they might be scary?

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments