Vintage perfumes

Friday, January 31, 2014

I love the idea of having a signature perfume. But I have never been able to settle on a favorite. I don't know whether it's because I don't want to be tied down to one when there are so many beautiful perfumes out there, or whether it's because I've not yet found that elusive perfect one.



So I have a perfume "wardrobe." A couple of perfumes for everyday wear, another for evenings out, one for cooler weather, a lighter one for summer. I have about four or five that I currently rotate, including Angel and Azuree. Every couple years, I rotate in something new. I don't know how many perfumes I've worn since college, when it was White Shoulders and L'Air du Temps, but they must number in the dozens.

Every time I go shopping, I have to stop first at the Chanel counter or the Estee Lauder counter or go to Sephora and spritz one perfume on my left wrist and another on my right, and then let them dry down while I shop. I find myself walking around raising my wrists to my nose for the next several hours, considering.



What I'm really looking for, though, what I'm really on the quest for, is a vintage perfume to fall in love with. And that can't be found at your local Nordstroms. Many vintage perfumes, if they are available at all, need to be ordered online. So it's almost impossible to spray some on and walk around and think about it before you buy. Sometimes you can buy a sample online, but oftentimes you need to buy the whole bottle. A lack of unlimited funds has slowed down my progress in this area. It's hard to pop for a whole bottle of  perfume when you're not sure whether you'll like it or not.

In doing some research, some time ago I read a book entitled The Bombshell Manual of Style, by Laren Stover, which has a chapter on perfumes worn by 1940s and 50s Hollywood movie stars.  We all know that Marilyn famously wore "nothing but" Chanel No. 5 to bed, but I was able to discover favorite perfumes of stars like Gina Lollobrigida, Jean Harlow, and Mae West.



Perfumes included classics like Arpege (celebrity user: Jayne Mansfield), Shalimar (Rita Hayworth), and Jicky (Brigitte Bardot). Other vintage perfumes worn by old Hollywood included Femme by Rochas, Fracas by Piguet, Diorissimo by Christian Dior, and of course, many by Chanel (Nos. 5, 19, and 22 as well as Coco). There were some I hadn't heard of that sounded wonderful, like L'Heure Bleue and Mitsouko by Guerlain. I learned that Jickey, by Guerlain, is the oldest perfume in continuous existence. It was first made in 1889. I'd love to smell this one. Apparently, it, and other vintage perfumes, don't smell quite the same as they once did, however. Various European regulations regarding the use of potential toxic components have forced perfumers to change their formulations somewhat.



Despite the reformulations, vintage perfumes are still much heavier than modern-day perfumes. I actually like a heavier perfume, soft and warm and enveloping. It feels like a cozy sweater on a cold day. I have to be careful not to spritz more than once or twice though, because nothing's worse than being bombarded with someone else's overpowering scent.

Over several years I was able to either buy or sample some of these perfumes, but didn't get a hit. Some were too floral for me, like Joy. I wanted to like Arpege because it is "fragile and sumptous . . . and quietly envelops." On me, at least, it was awful.

I then found a book called Perfumes the A-Z guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez. What a great read. These "noses" are clearly experts, connoisseurs if you will, and write in an entertaining manner. There's reviews of more than 1,800 perfumes, history, rankings of different types of perfumes, such as florals or chypres, and many other fascinating details. They can be quite snarky, and several of my favorite perfumes are bashed in their book.


But, based on their reviews, I tried a few more vintage perfumes.


I almost hit the jackpot with Mitsouko. It's probably the closest to what I'm looking for, but not quite. It's in my rotation. It was released in 1919 by Guerlain. Don't you think it's wonderful to wear a perfume that someone might have been wearing as they celebrated the end of World War 1? Or that Zelda might have worn in Paris in the 20s?


Another idea I've tried is simple, single-note scents, like rose or lavender, that were popular to wear in days gone by. I did find a lovely rose spray that I like from Alteya Organics. You can find essential oils of rose and lavender at a health food store and mix them with a light oil like almond for a scented body oil. Crabtree and Evelyn and Caswell and Massey also have some old-fashioned scents.

But because I prefer more of an oriental scent with layers, I'm still on the search.

Maybe I have to redefine my idea of "vintage." One of my current favorite perfumes is Angel by Thierry Mugler.  I just recently heard it called a "classic." What?! It only came out in the 90s. I guess to someone in their 20s, it is. So if 90s perfumes can be referred to as classic, maybe my favorites from college days are vintage now?

(smells lovely on my daughter, but alas, not on me)

Love to hear any recommendations you have for vintage perfumes.

And don't forget to comment for my ***GIVEAWAY*** here.



Superbowl Sunday

Thursday, January 30, 2014

I'm not really into sports, except maybe Detroit Red Wings hockey. But Superbowl Sunday is coming up, and I'll be in front of the TV with my husband. (I watch it for the commercials, and I can get some knitting in.)

I told him I was going to decorate a table for our little party and asked which team's colors fit our decor better. Ha. He is rooting for Denver, so I guess that means orange, white, and blue.



China dishes are out for football, I think, so I went to the Dollar Store for these paper ones. I filled some beer glasses with sparkly blue tinsel.




St. Julian alcohol-free sparkling juice in Passion Fruit/Peach Spumante and Red Grape. Lucky for me they came in Bronco colors. St. Julian's winery is located in southwestern Michigan in the little town of Paw Paw (named after the Paw Paw tree), which has an annual wine and harvest festival with a grape stomping competition by barefoot locals. Wish I could go some day with Lucy and Ethel.

I gave up diet soda a couple years ago. As I was making the transition I discovered Zevia. I like the lemon/lime, ginger ale, and orange flavors the best. No calories, no artificial sugars, and no food coloring. It is sweetened with extracts from the stevia plant. I only buy it occasionally, when it is on sale as it is rather pricey, because I tend to drink it like water.





I tied an orange crepe paper bow around a blue candle.


 Football or no, roses have to be included. And what better excuse to get these lovely orange ones?



Here is what I'm wearing on game day . . .


This top also works for Detroit Tiger baseball games. Their colors are orange and blue as well. I wear an orange sweater instead of the blue sequined one to the ballpark though. And skip the necklace.

Essie's tangerine nail polish, two coats slapped on just for the day.








Postscript:  This was a fun table to put together, and I like the way it turned out. But truthfully, using paper and plastic pains me. Seems so wasteful. Using beautiful heirloom china and linen is so elegant, and really a frugal luxury, too, when you think about it. But how to do Superbowl with red transferware, Old Country Roses, or Johnson Brothers?!

I am using my heirloom stemware for my sparkling drinks, though.

* * * Don't forget to leave a comment for my Grow Your Blog GIVEAWAY! * * *
See my post here.

I am linking today with Between Naps on the Porch, Home and Garden Thursday, and French Country Cottage. Thanks for visiting!

Old Country Roses tea

Monday, January 27, 2014

Some people are planning their gardens, buying tulips for their tables, and even rejoicing as crocuses push their way through the soil. Not me. Around here, winter is a hard, solid fact for almost three more months. Especially this winter with record snowfalls and below zero temperatures. And because my husband is a CPA, I never think spring arrives until April 15 anyway, and he climbs out from underneath the pile of 1040s he's been buried under, and we, here in Michigan, can maybe crawl out from under the snow.


With that in mind, the best course of action is to decide we might as well enjoy it best we can. Truth be known, winter has become one of my favorite seasons. I love an excuse to stay by the fire with a good book and a pot of hot tea nearby.


I think the Old Country Roses pattern by Royal Albert has such rich, warm colors that it is perfect for tea in winter.


My daughter made this gorgeous from-scratch chocolate layer cake. What could be better with a cup of tea?




These beeswax votives smell so good. I love that they are all natural, and not emitting paraffins into the air. Aren't these matches adorable? They came in the box of candles. I found them at Whole Foods. The little mercury glass votive holders came from Sur La Table. They were way back in the corner near the floor, the last of the Christmas clearance.


I usually don't wear red nail polish as it shows chips so quickly. It really is only good for about three days, and that's if you're careful. But I found a new nail polish brand at Sephora the other day. The bottle was so cute I had to try it. The shade is called January. Better get it on quick before the month is over!


Here are some other winter pretties that I hope inspire you to enjoy the season, and not to rush it. Spring will come, with all its marvelous blessings, but don't miss the beauty in this season.







Linking with Rose Chintz CottageA Delightsome Life, and French Country Cottage. Thank you to these lovely ladies for including me in their beautiful link parties.

Grow Your Blog party and a GIVEAWAY!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Welcome to my Grow Your Blog party and GIVEAWAY! I'm excited to join this event as 500-plus bloggers come together to support one another and share their blogs. Thank you to Vicki at 2 Bags Full for organizing this event.

2 Bags Full

 Stay tuned until the end. I have some great prizes for you to win! Here's a sneak peek . . .


Why The Beautiful Matters? I love this name, and that "matters" can be a verb or a noun. I think of it mostly as a verb, as in the beautiful things in life really do matter. A baby's chubby little fingers, the sun breaking through the clouds at twilight after a long, gray winter's day, a velvety rose slowly unfolding its petals, sun sparkling on raindrops, a homemade apple pie fresh from the oven. We could fill pages with the beauty that surrounds us every day. Our job is to stop and notice, to see with open hearts and minds, and to be grateful.

Let's face it. Much of life is hard. All of us have suffered a loss of some kind. We listen to the news, and can become overwhelmed with the tragic events unfolding around us.

Will fixing a beautifully laid tea tray, with a flower and a plate of homemade cookies on it, solve the world's problems? No. And yet, it can change everything. So can ironing vintage linens, growing vegetables, comforting an ailing friend, putting on a pretty dress and strappy heels. Writing a letter. Basting a turkey. Organizing a closet. Trying a new lipstick color. When we notice beauty in all its forms, when we give thanks, when we walk with an attitude of mindfulness, we can change our world and bless those around us.

So in that spirit, I'll be sharing beautiful things . . . lovely heirlooms, pretty tea tables, encouragement from my heart, beauty and style tips and products, and more. I hope to inspire you that The Beautiful Matters.

. . . whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things. Phil. 4:8

****GIVEAWAY****

To win some beautiful prizes, pictured below, please leave a comment. The contest is open to everyone, whether or not you have a blog. And I will ship anywhere in the world. The winner will be announced on February 15. If you need to comment as Anonymous, please leave your name at the end of your comment. I would love for you to follow me on Google+ or Google Friend Connect, too (see top right sidebar of this blog). Follow me on Pinterest as well! I love creating boards of beautiful things (see the right sidebar for my latest pins).

The winner will receive these beauties . . . .


A vintage dessert plate and two vintage napkins from my own collection, perfect for a tea party.




Some lovely cinnamon vanilla tea for sipping by your fireside.


Beautiful nail polish by Deborah Lippmann in Baby Love, elegant and appropriate for every occasion, and this set of hand and nail lotion and body and face oil by Caudalie, a premier French natural skin care company.


Thank you for stopping by. I hope you'll become a regular reader. Now I'm going  blog-hopping myself, and meet some new friends! Maybe I'll meet you.

p.s. a big shout-out to Karen at KarenValentineDesign for designing my beautiful blog. If you need help, please visit her site!

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