Sunday, March 21, 2010

Nanette Lepore Shanghai Butterfly, or, a fling with a flowery fruit basket

Shanghai Butterfly By Nanette Lepore For Women Eau De Parfum Spray 1.7 OzOk, first of all, this has to be one of the worst bottles I have ever seen. SO CHEESEY. So. Late. 90’s. In the worst way. That sort of retro-girly-cosmo cartoon aesthetic that looks oh so dated now. But I sniffed, and liked. I don’t love it, but I feel the reviews I found when I was browsing the internets for other people’s opinions about this scent and in the perfume bibles were a little harsh. Ok, it smells a bit like D & G Light Blue. So what—is that a crime?If emulation is so bad, most perfumers should be locked up by now. Luca Turin was especially hard on it—one star? Come on, it’s not that bad.
It’s nothing special, but it is certainly wearable. It is a straightforward fruity floral scent, good for a girly spring mood. It’s like carrying around a fruitbowl filled with apples, oranges, and lemons, which some fairy magicked so that the boughs of fruit blossoms were still on it. The sillage is not great, but, again, not terrible either. It’s something I imagine donning for a casual spring dinner al fresco with friends. If you want to smell like you just chopped up a fruit salad in a flower-filled kitchen, or maybe a bit like a gin and St. Germain cocktail, this will do the trick. It doesn’t strike my nose as particularly synthetic smelling, a comment I saw pop up fairly regularly in other reviews. It smells clean, naïve, and girly. No complexity or intrigue. You could give it to a 13 year old girl and it would suit her just fine, I am sure. A good spring/Summer scent.

Jack Frost


This has to be one of the very best MST3K of all! Or maybe I just like it because I'm a freak for folktales, and the comedy team lampoons their conventions so well in this show. Especially delightful are the wicked stepsister--who really does look like Tom Petty--the priggish main character, who is transformed into a bear for his misbehavior, and, of course, the somewhat creepy character Jack Frost, whose giant wand freezes anything it touches (foreshadowing, anyone?). Anyway, check it out.


I'll never forget how hard I laughed (i think I might actually have peed my pants) the first time Isaw this episode. My good undergrad friend and I were at her family's wheat farm in the middle of nowhere in North Central Montana, and they happened to have recorded this on a videotape. We laughed and laughed. A very good memory. Here's a link to the episode on Youtube . Enjoy!

Estee Lauder Sensuous



First of all, the bottle is gorgeous, and it's hard to describe the attachment I have formed to it. Something about the way the little glass ridges feel in my hand--it makes the bottle feel almost oily, but in a good way, like I'm caressing some smooth, well-oiled alien skin. The color is perfect too; it is not pink nor copper nor yellow, but somewhere in between all of them, with a sort of mid-century blocky rose gold cap. Mine stays right on my bedside table, and I find myself admiring its form from time to time. Granted, it's no exotic bottle, but something about this perfume just does it for me.


We first fell in love two summers ago, as I wandered the Bloomingdale's on Sixth Ave. in search of a gift to present some Brazilian hosts I had never met, who were putting us up for my brother's wedding to one of their nieces. Well, we didn't fall in love at Bloomingdales; we had to get to know each other better. But despite my better judgement--I was getting on a plane to Brazil later that day, and usually don't like to wear unfamiliar fragrances in case they should make me ill-- I allowed a shopgirl to spritz me. The scent struck me immediately as unpleasantly sweet, and I became concerned that I had made a major error in judgement.But the perfume on my skin stayed, and it miraculously morphed into something rich and strange, as I flew on that yucky overnight to Brazil. Gone was the initial, cloying sweetness, replaced with something deep and incensy and peppery that simply wouldn't go away, and I loved it. No Loooooved it. I mean, this juice sent up a gorgeous olfactory swan song when I stepped into my shower in Rio, -- a day and a half and a whole continent and a nasty sweaty plane ride followed by airport shenanigans followed by long taxi ride later! Serious sillage. I couldn't wait to get back to the states and buy my very own bottle to have and to hold.
According to the fabulous perfume website Basenotes, the topnotes in the Sensuous formula are Ghost Lily Accord, Magnolia, and Jasmine, the middle notes are Molten Woods and Amber, and the basenotes are Black Pepper, Mandarin Pulp, and Honey. The topnotes must be the culprits for that slightly too-sweet opening, but luckily, they fade back and just sweeten the dark core of this frag ever so subtly. Somedays, maybe when my own PH has taken a turn for the sweet side, I feel like it stays too sweet, but most days, it becomes a sort of enveloping comfort shawl; I feel sexier and more grounded when I can sense Sensuous' blanket of peppery, woody incense surrounding me.
One final note. This perfume smells INCREDIBLE on wool, or around wool. Don't ask me why, but its qualities are enhanced by that wooly smell. I know this because I live in a wet, cold climate that requires wool wearing, well, all the time, practically. And Sensuous comes into its own with wool. It becomes just a little more complex, getting an almost burnt quality, or a almost like a roasting coffee-ness that I absolutely adore.

Beyond Harry Potter: Books Every Curious, Imaginative Child Should Own, Part One

Kids watch too much TV nowadays, and as a teacher of young college students, I can vouch for tht fact that their imaginations suffer for it. When I was a little girl, I read voraciously, and I think it really impacted my life. Here is a list of books that really impacted me when I was a child, and I think it is a good place to start if you are building up a library for a young person. These are all books that will challenge not only a child's imagination, but also her sense of self, her notiosn of morality, and, perhaps most importantly, her personal aesthetic. I will surely post more lists of children's books, but this is a start. I hope to review most of these in time. Children's Treasury of Mythology-illustrated by Margaret Vollund-Smith
  • A.A. Milne, When we were very Young
  • Barbara Cooney, Miss Rumphius
  • Anything by Beatrix Potter
  • Paul Goble, The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses
  • Dr. Seuss, On Beyond Zebra
  • Roald Dahl, The BFG
  • Susan Cooper, The Dark is Rising series
  • Blanche Fisher Wright, The Original Mother Goose
  • Betty MacDonald, Hilary Knight, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
  • Mitsumas Anno, Anno’s Counting Book
  • Geoffrey Chaucer, Geraldine McCaughrean, The Canterbury Tales
  • Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
  • Lloyd Alexander, The Chronicles of Prydain Series, and the Vesper Holly Series
  • Phillip Pullman, His Dark Materials
  • The Brothers Grimm, Fairy Tales
  • Anything by Jan Brett
  • Hans Christian Andrersen, Fairy Tales
  • Molly Bang, The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher
  • J. R. R. Tolkein, LOTR, The Hobbit
  • Maurice Sendak, In the Night Kitchen
  • Pat O’Shea, The Hounds of the Morrigan
  • Anything by Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • Pamela Dean, Tam Lin

Magnolias


I can't wait for the magnolias to come into bloom. They are such miraculous flowers! I grew up in the mountainous West, and we had no such thing there, so when I moved East, they were a revelation. But they are incredible. When they bloom, I know Spring has officially sprung. Pinkish white and so delicate looking, emerging from what has to be one of the most gorgeous buds in the plant world. They are pretty in the winter too. The kind we have here has gleaming silver branches and trunk that look austerely lovely against the snow and the pewter-colored sky.

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