2 Dec
2016

hexmas

I have previously written on the importance of holiday shopping for one’s self. No one is going to get you what you really want, so save yourself the trouble of those painful, plastic grimaces you must flash when acknowledging a gift that missed the mark–if you already have a treat or two at home waiting for you, you can give a genuine smile when you thank so-and-so for that fruity nightmare Bath and Body works candle or that weird tea sampler that is mostly comprised of herbal tisanes but still has the gall to call itself “tea”. (Ugh! Major pet peeve.)

I joke. Somewhat. I’m always grateful when someone has thought enough of me to buy me a gift, but let’s be real. No one knows me and what I want better than I do. Here’s a few things on my hexmas list this year. They may already be on their way to me now! What are you going to surprise yourself with in 2016? Tempt me in the comments!

1. Chase and Scout Wolf Teeth hoop earrings $175 // 2. Babooshka Boutique symmetrical oversized tee shirt dress $77 // 3. The Holy Mountain eau de parfum $110 // 4. Stabbed (boyfriend) framed print by corpsehands $35 // 5. Many Moons 2017 journal volume 1 $22 // 6. Valley Eyewear Wolves sunglasses $199 // 7. Fluevog Pilgrim $315

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18 Nov
2016

fripperies

Time to revisit ye olde Friday Fripperies! See below for the deets on the things that I currently have on my grabby want list: blood-thirsty scents, gold accessories (I must be going through a phase), tote bags expressing my contrarian agenda, and black clothes, always.

1. UZI NYC Beams Tunic at Moorea Seal $99 // 2. Artemis Hair Ornament by AlmanacForJune $94 // 3. Euphoria Where Are You Now Dress $467 // 4. Fangs On Fleek fragrance by Arcana $19 5. Bad Vibes Only tote by K is for Black $18 // 6. EVER Hair Oil by Garrett Markenson $52 // 7. Isabelle ankle boots by Tamar Shalem $258 // Love Comes In At The Eye ring by Bittersweets at Catbird NYC $1800

Previous installments of Friday Fripperies:

🐍 Friday Fripperies {June 10, 2016}
🐍 Friday Fripperies: Bestiary
🐍 Friday Fripperies {September 11, 2015}
🐍 Friday Fripperies {September 4, 2015}

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Marine Magic

Wormwood & Rue is the creative endeavor of Carisa Swenson, a lovely, long-time friend and the uncanny sculptress/stitchy mistress of GoblinFruit Studio. Carisa’s work strikes a balance between the odd and the endearing, the familiar and the fantastical–she creates some truly remarkable, utterly unique beasties and creatures, and I would populate my entire house with their strange little faces, if I could!

Earlier this summer I wrote of Wormwood and Rue’s inaugural series of enamel pins full of woodland magics–wise owls, earthy mushrooms and the mystical mandrake.

I am pleased to share her latest, limited edition series of extraordinary art pins, this time around with a focus on wondrous marine life magics, and featuring the Southern Blue-Ringed Octopus and Chambered Nautilus.

Between the wonderful designs, the vivid, vibrant colors, and the luxurious feel of their weights in your palm (they’ve got a serious bit of heft to them!) these little works of art are incredibly special, and obviously created with a great deal of care and intention. Even the backing on which the pins are affixed is decorated with beautiful ocean flora illustrations! And if you flip them over, you will find some interesting data on these fascinating creatures…

“… providing some facts or fun info on the creatures I’m illustrating/creating is part of my desire to educate people about the wildlife that we share the planet with”, Carisa thoughtfully shared with me.

These pins are each a limited run of 100, with the opportunity to purchase each charming cephopod individually, or as a set (which saves you $2)! Click on the creatures below to be whisked away to the Wormwood & Rue site, where you can both purchase something quite exceptional and support a fantastic artist as well.

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Image: Sofia Arjam (this same print hangs above my bed)

You’d imagine that after obsessing about fragrance all throughout the day I would give it a rest, so to speak, as night falls, and I ready myself for bed. Surely, you think, there is no need for perfumes and potions while you are dead to the world for 6 to 8 hours a night.
Not so, friends!

Bedtime is without a doubt, my favorite time of all the times. After a long, tiresome day I have been known to run toward the bedroom murmuring  bedbedbedBedBedBEDBED with increasing urgency before flinging myself onto the bed with a satisfying thwunk! as I sink into our approximately 100 year old mattress.

Whether this is because I long for several hours of uninterrupted me-time with no one making any demands of me, or because I love my dreamland adventures, I don’t quite know for sure, but I can tell you that before clocking out for the evening, I do like to treat myself to a scented nightcap.

I don’t think I am alone in this practice. Whether you like to spritz a fragrance all over the bed linens in a puff of decadence, or just dab a soothing scented oil on your wrists–bedtime is a lovely occasion to swath yourself in cozy comfort with a scent that is neither complicated nor intricate or –on the opposite end of the spectrum–it’s a great time to test out a new fragrance you might not want to wear in public just yet.

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Some folks have favorite warm night or chilly evening fragrances that work best for them, some prefer aromas that send them straight to the snoozes, and some seek out special scents that amplify and intensify their dreams–personally, I probably do all of these things.

What scents work best for these purposes?  Well, I think it is a matter of preferences. I know that lavender oil is highly touted as having a somewhat sedative effect that is good for anxiety and restlessness, but I find the odor too sharp and camphorous to be conducive to calm. Chamomile, also said to be a calming scent, is one that I find much more tolerable with its sweetly herbal, mildly apple-y fragrance. Though to be honest, I think I prefer it as a cup of tea before sleep rather than a blanket of scent in which to wrap myself. (Actually, I don’t pay any attention to any of holistic, aromatherapeutic stuff most of the time. It either smells like sleepy dreams to me, or it doesn’t.)

One such dreamy scent is the Warm Milk & Honey Sleep Body Mist from Bath and Body Works. I don’t know that this was necessarily something I would have purchased on my own, but it was in a gift bag from my best good friend, and I was thoroughly surprised by how much I love it.  So of course it is probably discontinued (here is a link to the lotion). I think it’s like your very favorite mug–that lovely big one with the chipped ridge–filled with softly sugared, steamed milk, in which a lovely stick of cinnamon has been steeping. It’s a spice that’s been tempered and lullabied by creaminess and a warm sweetness that’s not terribly cloying–just enough to promise the best sort of dreams. For what it’s worth, my beau says it “smells like bread”.

Moonrise was a collaboration between Alchemologie’s Julianne Zaleta and Phantasmaphile’s Pam Grossman, and is inspired by plants historically connected to the moon. Notes are “…artemesia, inspired by the Greek goddess, Artemis, who represents the new moon.  Artemis is portrayed in the fragrance by a few spare drops of wormood in the top note, supported by bergamot and petitgrain.  The heart of the perfume is made of luminous jasmine, honey absolute and balanced with rose.  Sandalwood, frankincense and oak moss form the base chord.” I find most moon-inspired fragances to be pale, wan things but Moonrise is not that at all.  Upon first application it’s got a really delightful, heavy, old fashioned dressing table sort of feel, a powdery, balsamic chypre, but with time and wear becomes quite glowing and luminous. I dare you to apply this at the base of your throat while glimpsing peeks of the full moon from an open window–it’s absolutely magical and transportive.

Astral Projection from ForStrangeWomen is composed of plant essences known for their sedative & dream-inducing properties: sweet lemon myrtle in a powdery bed of chamomile, hops, and lavender creates a relaxing aura. Valerian anchors the blend to a deep undercurrant that pulls you further into your dreams. The sedative effects of these plants are combined with the lucid clarity induced by Clary sage, cedar, and clove. When dreams are vivid, lucid, and oddly profound, it is said, you have reached the astral plane.  I don’t know that I find this a very comforting scent, but I break it out when I am feeling adventurous. Unfortunately I do not record my dreams as regularly as I used to, so I can’t say what sort of subconscious thoughts or images it may have conjured! Perhaps I will give it a go this evening.

I’m afraid that some of the scents I’ve mentioned here are discontinued…though I find, as with most things in life, it never hurts to ask! Sometimes businesses have excess stock lying around that they may sell to you. Sometimes not. But you never know if you don’t reach out to them and ask the question.

I will, however, add that for before bedtime in warm weather I love a cooling spritz of  Comme des Garçons Incense Series Kyoto (incense, cypress oil, coffee, teak wood, vetiver, patchouli, amber, everlasting flower, Virginian cedar), which is austere and meditative and calls to mind a dark prayer in a cool, shadowy forest temple. In cool weather I’ll envelop myself in Serge Lutens Chergui (honey, musk, incense, tobacco leaf, hay sugar, amber, iris, rose and sandalwood), which is an intoxicating scent that smells foreign and familiar all at once; like maybe if your idea of “exotic” is from the sumptuous illustrations in a well-worn book of fables from a far-away land. It’s all lofty sandalwood, honeyed musks, and and liquid amber tea on me, and it makes me feel like a desert queen in a strange, dusty tale.

What about you? Do you have special bedtime scents? Fragrances that encourage sweet slumbers or crazy dream trips? Tell me all about them in the comments!

If you are interested in reading previous installations from my Year In Fragrance series, see below for 2016’s entries thus far:

A Year In Fragrance: “Inexpensive” Stuff
A Year In Fragrance: Youth Dew
A Year In Fragrance: a dude thinks on stinks
A Year In Fragrance: Witch’s Workbench
A Year In Fragrance: Willow & Water
A Year In Fragrance: Tea Rose

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20 Jul
2016

things i loveFor a while now I’ve been wanting to do another Stinkers & Duds post but oddly enough, there’s really been nothing I’ve hated enough to include in a round-up of loathesome stuff.
I guess that’s a good thing?

Instead, here are a few things I have really been enjoying lately.

Le Baume Absolution has a concentrate of Marula, Perilla and Calendula in it and is absolutely fantastic, but whatever– I would love this lip balm for it’s chubby, stubby, easy-to-fit-in-the-hand shape, regardless. It is a wonderful formula, though–not too greasy or too heavy, and not mentholated (which is a huge NOPE for me.) This is, without a doubt, my favorite lip product ever.  I have already replaced it three times now.

L.A. Splash Studio Shine Lip Lustre in Catrina is a gorgeous deep brown base color with a strong metallic blue-green shift, or at least that’s how it is described, but on me, this is definitely less of the beetle-winged color and almost straight-up shimmery green-blue.  Also, you may never have to re-apply this stuff. It doesn’t fade, it doesn’t wear off. Hell, you can barely even get it off your face. (Hint: I use this stuff and a really scrubby washcloth).

Ear Scoops! Yes, yes, I know–we’re not supposed to be sticking anything in our ears. But there’s nothing quite so satisfying as cleaning the gloopy, glunky stuff out of our ears with a q-tip, after a shower, right? That’s what I thought, but then I read this and was immediately intrigued and had to stock up. I’ve already had one weird scare, but I’m an idiot and won’t let that stop me. I’m gonna stick things in my ears and there’s really nothing you can do about it.

The Uncanny Valley by Perturbator is both eerie and energizing and is full of aggressive retro-synth and jazzy noir and groovy bits and I yeah, everyone I know is over this 1980s sci fi/horror sound, but I can’t seem to get enough of it. It’s perfect writing music if you need some melodic noises in the background but you don’t want someone distracting you with a bunch of lyrics. *See also: thisquietarmy’s entire discography.  It’s different sound (ambient/drone/post-rock), but perfectly suited to this use.*

Sunday Riley Luna Oil is a product I have mentioned before, but it’s really just that good.  Advertised as a “next generation retinoid oil [that] reduces pore size, improves appearance of damaged skin, and helps fight wrinkles.”–it’s basically a nighttime vitamin A treatment oil.  It gets mixed reviews for the ingredients (here’s a list), the price, the blue tint, but I wake up with the most velvety skin after having applied it before bed. When I run out I would love to find a more cost-effective version of this stuff, but for now it is pretty amazing.

Satanic Panic has got Kier-La Janisse’s name attached to the project, so I already love it, but how does this sound? “In the 1980s, everywhere you turned there were warnings about a widespread evil conspiracy to indoctrinate the vulnerable through the media they consumed. This percolating cultural hysteria, now known as the “Satanic Panic,” was both illuminated and propagated through almost every pop culture pathway in the 1980s, from heavy metal music to Dungeons & Dragons role playing games, Christian comics, direct-to-VHS scare films, pulp paperbacks, Saturday morning cartoons and TV talk shows —and created its own fascinating cultural legacy of Satan-battling VHS tapes, music and literature. From con artists to pranksters and moralists to martyrs, Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s aims to capture the untold story of the how the Satanic Panic was fought on the pop culture frontlines and the serious consequences it had for many involved.”

I am only a few pages in, but I am already deeply engrossed.  The link above is a pre-order on Amazon; I got my copy directly through the publisher, but I think that version is sold out now.

Wow. I just realized there is no perfume on this list! I think it’s because I am testing a bunch of stuff right now and I’m not ready to talk about any of it yet, ha.
What’s got you excited lately? Books, musics, perfumes? Tell me all!

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15 Jul
2016

Well, last year my fascination was with all things K-Beauty; this year I have moved on to an utter obsession with the ubiquitous lapel pin. I received my first pin, a little death’s head moth, as an extra when I purchased a piece of grim stitchery from embroidery artist Adicopere …I remember looking at it and thinking “huh, this is cool… but what am I supposed to do with it?”

Not long afterward, I spied this image on instagram, via bloodmilk, and it all became clear.

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A search on instagram for #pingame or #pingamestrong will show you many such images of heavily laden, pin-studded jackets, but no doubt most of you already know that by now–and are either in on the madness as a collector, or if you are an artist you are cashing in on the trend hand over fist. And I don’t blame you–the people want what they want, so if you can make some money off of their desires with a gorgeous, high-quality product, you should totally do that!  Sadly, I fall into the money-spending, not money-making camp.

Not a wearer of leather jackets (in Florida? Good lord no), I began impaling an asymmetrical black jacket/sweater/thing that I had on hand, but was acquiring these marvelous little pins at an unholy speed (as far as my obsessions go, this one is pretty cheap and led to frequent purchases) and I soon ran out of material and space!
What to do?

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I had something in mind for display purposes: a special corkboard for the pins that were not being worn at the time.  But in my minds-eye, this was a very specific design. It must be coffin-shaped, and the cork pinning part must, must, must be black. Finally, at the end of an exhaustive search, I found Life After Death Design, whose etsy shop held a few things that might fit the bill.  I contacted the exceedingly helpful Rachael for a custom order, and in a flurry of emails she revealed that they had just made the exact thing for another customer…for the very same reason. Perfect! And if you are in the market for a coffin-shaped lipstick orgaziner, (why wouldn’t you be, right??) an exquisite spiderweb filigreed coffin-shaped shelf, or probably whatever coffin-shape thing you can dream up, these folks will take care of you.

It arrived yesterday, and I could not have been more pleased…

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If you are interested in any of the artists/designers, I have mapped them out for you below! {Note: some of these were limited editions and may be sold out!}

Are you a pin collector? Are you in on the pinsanity? What are some of your favorites? How do you wear them, or display them? Tell me all!

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1. spooksvilla // 2. cat coven // 3. haute macabre // 4. adipocere // 5. ladybones press // 6. segovia amil // 7. kate logan // 8. amy earles // 9. leila + olive // 10. haute macabre // 11. cultural void // 12. omnia studios // 13. wormwood & rue // 14. cat coven // 15. monpetitefantome // 16. Jon Wye // 17. thora ford // 18. wormwood & rue // 19. caitlin stout // 20. bunny miele // 21. vacvvm // 22. monpetitefantome // 23. hogan mclaughlin // 24. midnight mauve // 25. bill crisafi // 26. caitlin stout // 27. vacvvm // 28. strange women society // 29. inner decay // 30. maddy young // 31. cat coven // 32. monpetitefantome // 33. wormwood & rue // 34. monpetitefantome // 35. humongous x // 36. haute macabre // 37. hannah kristina metz / 38. dana glover

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20 Jun
2016

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Wormwood & Rue, a small pin and design company located in NYC, released their first series of pins today, Midsummer 2016. Inspired by the unceasing wonders of nature, mythology, folklore, this initial collection includes three enamel lapel pins: the magical mandrake root, the iconic fungi fly agaric, and the ghostly, intuitive barn owl.

Wormwood & Rue is the creative endeavor of Carisa Swenson, a lovely friend and the uncanny sculptress/stitchy mistress of GoblinFruit Studio (whom I have written about previously.) Carisa’s work strikes a balance between the odd and the endearing, the familiar and the fantastical, and these charming new creations have a similar quality: predatory night birds, hallucinogenic botanicals, and things that thrive in dark forests, rendered splendid and soft, with a folksy, charming storybook appeal. In gazing upon these small treasures,  I’m reminded of the illustrations that might accompany an obscure, vintage gem, a children’s book of mysterious folk tales and legends.

Per this marvelous artist, in her own words: “So many ideas and interests have coalesced within this new venture… small pieces of art that are relatively inexpensive, jewelry as personal amulets, a desire to apply my illustration skills to projects that are quick and fun. All the designs chosen for this first series contain my own personal interests: ornithology, mythology; the use of herbs, roots and mushrooms as medicine, poisons or pathways to other worlds. These pins have been incredibly helpful in freeing me from blocks I’ve been experiencing lately with my other work. If all goes well, I’d like to release 3-4 series of pins per year, released on the turn of the seasons, with limited run pins dropped in between each solstice or equinox. Creature from folklore and myth and endangered species designs are already being planned.”

I, for one, cannot wait to see what marvels Carisa conjures for us next! In the interim, click on each of the image below to be whisked away to her shop!

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10 Jun
2016

frips

 

Just a roundup of some frips and fancies that have caught my eye recently.  Or, well, let’s say “in the past few months”, for there is quite a backlog of links and lovely things that I would like to share! And, of course own for myself.  And it’s all certainly seasonally appropriate, full of light colors and summery things. Ha.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted one of these, hasn’t it? The previous one is from November of last year!

1. Wyrd Words & Effigies X Frida Engeset Løfoll Ram shirt // 2. olgafacesrok triple birds earrings // 3. Morph Knitwear bamboo kimono robe // 4. Samantha Pleet Premonition Passion dress // 5. Aakasha leather wedges // 6. Camille Chew Full Moon tote // 7. Arcana Obscura Tapophile ring

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Photo credit, Mika
Photo credit: {Mika, flickr}

If cleanliness is next to godliness, then I’ll be honest with you here–I’m closer to Divine than The Divine when it comes to wallowing in my own filth.

Simply put: I hate bathing.  Or spelled out even simpler than that: I hate being wet.

OK, so maybe the title of this post is a little misleading.  I am not an ablutophobe, per se– that is, I am not afraid of bathing. And don’t misunderstand me, I like the feeling of being clean and nice smelling and having hair that doesn’t fall in a dank, greasy mess across my face, but I absolutely detest the process it takes to get there. The prospect of undignified, soggy nudity and a sopping wet, 50-pound mop of tangles on top of my head that takes all day to dry is one that I dread and avoid for as long as I possibly can get away with.

No doubt if I polled my friends regarding when they showered I would  hear things like “oh, every morning”.  Or “oh, at night after I work out”, or sometimes even twice in one day (you weirdos).  For me, it prompts a rather different question, “when did I last shower?” Was it 3 days ago? 4? Hmmmm.

Clean clothes, clean underwear, deodorant, and perfume go a long way in upholding my decent citizen status.  Most of the time I even receive positive commentary on how lovely I smell! But I know, I know–there’s the question of hygiene. I mean, I guess there is…right?  That’s what people seem to think, anyway. Personally, I like to think me and my bacteria are great friends, so I am not overly troubled by it.

I would probably never, ever set foot inside the shower if I thought I could get away with it, but sometimes you have to get cleaned up for work, or family, or maybe it’s been a really hot, sweaty Florida day and the soapy angel on my shoulder is giving me a really hard time about it. The dirt devil on my other shoulder is like “eh, whatevs!” but my swampy butt-crack and I know that we have to do the right thing.

So I trick myself!  That’s right. Like a toddler that you are bribing with candy or shiny toys, I too must be lured into doing the thing I just don’t wanna do. Fancy soaps, shower gels and lotions are my incentives of choice to entice me into the cleansing waters and I usually end up making a bit of an evening of it.  I’ll light some incense, play some soothing music and generally turn it into a ritual of sorts, like I’m sacrificing my dirt and funk up to the gods.

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Below I’ve listed for you some of my favorite ritualistic ablutions:

Tom Ford Oud Wood shower gel is, at $68, no doubt the most expensive shower gel you could ever buy, but it smells like woods and incense and secret forest temples and is totally worth it.

Atelier Vanille Insensee soap has a lovely, clean vanilla scent. Very mild and tempered with some citrus and woodsiness. Nice for hot weather, actually. Not a bit foody or too cozy smelling. I don’t like equating a cozy feeling with the process that serves up stinging needles of water on my skin anyway, so this is a fragrance that works fine for this purpose.

Villainess Peal Diver soap is nice and scrubby with Irish moss, dulse and kelp to thoroughly exfoliate, and a scent that’s not quite tropical, not quite spa-like, but conjures visions of standing on your 5-star ocean-side hotel room balcony and gazing out at the vast, black sea at midnight, the moon low on the horizon.

Madame Scodioli’s soaps are a wee luxury I picked up at Carmine Boutique in Orlando; both are on the perfumey-musky side but Oracle has a bit of spice and lush, dark fruit, whereas Widdershins has a sweet, smoky quality.

Haus of Gloi Troika pumpkin butter is made from shea butter and pumpkin seed oil and despite its heavy appearance goes on quite nicely, non-greasy and sinks right in.  Troika smells of “a trinity of soft milks: almond, oat and coconut, lashed with sweet agave nectar and the ethereal scent of clean whiteness” and really that’s exactly what it smells like, I can’t do any better than that. Haus of Gloi is a totally vegan company.

Ether body butter made exclusively by Naked Eye Beauty for Sisters of the Black Moon has a different texture than the previously mentioned pumpkin butter.  It seems…spongier…somehow?  I think it takes a little bit longer to sink in, but I obviously adore it since I am now halfway through my second jar of it–and I’ve got to like something quite a bit for me to buy it a second time.  It’s got a light, powdery musky scent that makes me think of a “stripper with a heart of gold” character from a bawdy comedy.  I also think Stormer from the Misfits probably smells like this. That probably makes no sense to anyone but me.

Cinnamon Projects incense is designed to “create transformative space”, with the various scents offered to portray an infinitely inspired day. On a whim, I chose 2AM, which is scented with cedarwood, cinnamon, honey, and vetiver, and is utterly gorgeous and somehow magnificently restrained.  It’s warm without being overly spicy, it’s sweet but not cloying and it’s strongly scented–but not suffocating.  It’s perhaps the most perfect stick of incense I have ever burned.

Blackbird Violet Hour incense made for Catbird NYC, on the other hand, is smoky and potent and just this side of harsh. These are no demure shrinking violets…they are violets who have set themselves on fire in protest, smoldered in revolt, and their sooty purple petals are going to haunt you for the rest of your life.  I am not certain if this particular scent is still available anymore on the Catbird site but Blackbird makes all sorts of intriguing scents (both incense and perfumes)that are for sale on their own site, and they are worthy peeking in on.

And finally, I did mention candy, didn’t I? Persephenie’s Rose and Frankincense heart opening candies, made with ingredients like cane sugar, rose water, wild Harvested frankincense, and vanilla, seem like old world magic and a terribly special sort of treat. I could certainly do to keep my heart open to the wondrous possibilities that spring from a proper cleansing, so there’s that too, I suppose.

Do you hate to bathe as much as I do? It’s okay, you can admit it here, you are amongst stinky friends! Do you have any special treats or bribes that you must resort to rouse yourself to do the things you don’t like to do?  Tell me all about it in the comments!

 

 

 

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Your late teens, very early 20s are such a strange bit of limbo, aren’t they?   Or…at least they were for me. Along with the angst of trying to figure out what you are going to do with the rest of your life, you are sometimes trying to figure out, quite literally, where you are doing these things from, where are they taking you…sometimes even trying to come to terms with where, exactly, your home is, anyway?  At that time I was living with my sister and my ex-step-father in one of his longtime friend’s home, and it was an awfully peculiar arrangement.

This friend had a fairly sizable house, and I believe he was going through a divorce, so it was empty, save for him.  And he needed help paying for it.  In the meantime, my mother was in rehab for her addiction and my grandparents were selling the house that we had grown up in.  Actually, why were they selling that house? My sister and I still needed a place to live! She was maybe 17 years old, I was about 19…we weren’t ready to move out and we didn’t have any place to go! This is really weird, now that I think on it.  Well, maybe they needed to sell the house to pay for my mother’s rehab.  Who knows?

So this guy needed help paying for his house and my sister and I and my ex-step-father needed a place to live, and it seemed to be a decent arrangement.  There were two extra bedrooms, which my ex-step-father insisted that we take, and he turned the living room into his bedroom.

At this time I was in my second year of community college and working pretty much full time at my first job, a local fast food chain. College was tough for me–while I like to learn, classroom settings made me terribly anxious and I resented being tested on what I was taught.  Often times I could not even drag myself out of bed to make it to my one or two morning classes.

I would lay under the covers, paralyzed, wondering if this is all there was to life. I couldn’t see beyond my immediate issues and neuroses to any sort of future that made any sense to me.  And then I would get out of bed and take a shower and wash my hair because that, at least seemed a good first step.

This was probably 1996ish; my hair was growing out after a hair dying catastrophe wherein we had to cut it very, very short.  My stylist convinced me that I needed a “Rachel” cut, and anyone who was of television watching age at that time knows precisely what that looks like. Of course my hair was coarse and puffy and frizzy and the cut looked less like Rachel and more like Rachel’s deranged cousin. I don’t have many physical photographs, but here is one with myself and that haircut, in that particular house, along with my sister who I think was trying to tickle me til I puked.

seestra

Revlon Outrageous was the drugstore brand shampoo and conditioner that I used at that time and it was the most splendid smelling thing I had encountered up until that point–sort of a sweet, musky floral? I’ve never been able to describe it accurately, but in any event, it was a very “perfumey” scent. Quite sophisticated smelling, at least for something in Walgreens that you were picking up for $3.99 a bottle. My sister once sniffed my head and delightedly told me that I smelled amazing and if she wasn’t my sister she’d want to be my girlfriend.  She claims now that she has no memory of saying this, but I know what I heard!

The shampoo eventually became very difficult to find and as I grew older, I’m afraid my tastes became a bit more expensive and so I stopped purchasing it…but I never forgot about that scent.

Many years later–just last autumn, actually!–I stumbled across a tiny store in Portland that had a few offerings from Library of Flowers, whose whimsical storybook packaging I had often admired online, but the scents I had never actually sampled.  And wouldn’t you know, the first one I sniffed, Willow & Water, smelled EXACTLY like my beloved Outrageous shampoo!

The notes are as follows, but don’t let them turn you off:
Top: Cut Greens    Middle: Flowering Lotus    Bottom: Watercress

…which doesn’t sound like it smells anything like what I’ve described, and yet it is.  It captures the worldly complexity of that cheap shampoo,  the existential crisis of figuring out my early twenties and tinge of sadness that goes along with remembering the last time I would ever live at “home” with one of my beautiful sisters.

Despite the uncertainty and instability of that time, Library of Flowers Willow & Water conjures such a lovely, nostalgia for me…although I suppose it is of the bittersweet sort.

Sometimes I wonder if there is really any other kind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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