The Smell of Lazy Mornings & Blue Jeans

Picked for SPRING! First day of spring on Monday. Why not try by Rosie Jane’s Leila Lou?

LeilaLousFRONT

By Rosie Jane is a “An apothecary & lifestyle brand combing luxe and the perfection of simplicity. Environmentally friendly & sustainable. Made in California.”  I imagine she’d appreciate my environmentally friendly but entirely unluxe unsimplistic unsustainable sample hoarding thing I have going on.

Inside the sample card it says it is inspired by spring. I know I’m already ready to be inspired by spring. It won’t take much after the bullshit-blizzard winter rained down on us all amiright?

I pulled the top off the micro-vial and noticed that it was not a spray but a dabber! I had a real live perfume oil sample on my hands. See? Seasons change and things are looking up. This stuff smells good, like a fancy produce stand, a laguna beach boutique princess, being outside in the spring when you catch a whiff of honeysuckle or lilac instead of pee on concrete, and like maybe what Kerrie Walsh Jennings smells like when she goes out partying after winning gold medals.

LeilaLOUinside

Text inside says:

LEILA LOU

INSPIRED

by SPRING

a long lunch with friends.

a walk through fields of flowers.

lazy mornings in bed.

time spent with the people you love.

the perfect while t-shirt and great jeans.

 

I can tell this is a lifestyle brand product. Rosie Jane doesn’t need to use a bunch of adjectives + femininity. She just tells you the story you’re already living when you wear this.

You will never guess what I was wearing all day?  Yeah, a white (not perfect) t-shirt and (almost great) jeans!   “Lazy morning in bed” is a term that always annoys me because Mark Twain wrote entire novels sitting in bed in his pajamas. I don’t trust anyone from Los Angeles saying anything about the smell of fresh cut grass unless they work the grounds at Dodger Stadium, but it doesn’t stop me from liking the smell of this. Reminds me of Kai.

This truly irresistible perfume oil is made with essential oils. Leila Lou captures the alluring scent of freshness and innocence. This fragrance is light, refreshing and easy to wear.

Top Notes: Nectarine + Fresh Cut Grass

Middle Notes: Pear Blossom + Jasmine

Base Notes: Vanilla + Cotton Musk

I have to remember to includes notes about how easy or hard these things are to wear. Leila Lou was indeed easy. Hello spring.

 

Sixth Sample Breakdown

Terms learned: I may have to change this category to Fun Facts Learned. Like “The term Jasmine is probably derived from Persian word Yasmine meaning “fragrance,” which is adopted in Arabic as Yasym given to jasmine flowers.”

Did you know that the Fragrance Foundation awards are called the Jasmine Awards?

Still don’t know what cotton musk is.

Things to work on:  

1)  Look into natural vs synthetic fragrances. Most web searches turn up nonscientific ramblings from the antiparaben mafia so it’s hard to get real answers. Maybe the answers are in books.

2) Lifestyle fragrance stories to describe my perfect scent. Here’s one:

a bag of munchos

your favorite gemstone

a misunderstood text conversation

the right emoji

the wafting of your neighbors dinner

spilt whiskey

Magic, luck, or compliments this fragrance brought me:  

Let’s just say I put this scent on in Memphis and wound up flying a kite on a beach in the Gulf of Mexico later that evening.  

Not to mention The Secret History of Twin Peaks was available on kindle from the library

Websites discovered: 

The Fragrance Foundation

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Your Hidden Alien

I picked this one out of my sample batch thinking of all of us outsiders and because I love the movie Alien.

sigourney-alien
Sigourney and her space cat (image from amc.com)

Not to mention, I was planning on seeing an arty documentary about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that evening, so it really came down to picking the one sample with the coolest and weirdest name. 

AlienFront

Thoughts after first spray: Crushed velvet. Bell sleeves. I’m in the woods next to Sansa Stark. It’s a heavier scent, maybe even mature.  I kind of like it and I wonder if aliens would like it which makes me wonder if I will ever have the opportunity to ask one, proving that a good scent can take you anywhere. 

AlienINSIDE

Written on the card in four languages: “Enhance yourself with Aline Eau de Parfum. The magic of an everlasting precious stone bottle, thanks to the Refill Bottle of your perfumer’s Source”

I love translations with mysterious capitalization. And there’s no mention of femininity or anything of the sort, just: enhance yourself.  I like this.  Of course it’s French! I really want the everlasting precious stone bottle and I wish the sample was made of precious stone but we can’t have it all no matter what Sheryl Sandberg and perfume marketers tell us.  

I’m only four samples in and already addicted to reading the glamorous wordcasserole descriptions of perfumes so I checked the web hoping to find more information. I found a very satisfying description on Thierry Mugler’s site:

“Feel extraordinary… Mysterious and fascinating, ALIEN perfume has the power to illuminate and reveal a radiant, feminine aura. ALIEN fragrance brings out the solar goddess in every women. The rich and bewitching ALIEN Essence Absolue is captured in an everlasting drop of gold that radiates a divine nectar. This new fragrance is a modern and decadent interpretation of ALIEN. Thierry Mugler ALIEN perfume at the ALIEN perfume Source, or with refill bottles and ALIEN eco-refills!”

WHOOAAAAA.  Yes I want to feel extraordinary mysterious AND fascinating. 

A radiant feminine aura. Solar goddess. Divine nectar. Refills.

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better I click on the video titled “Celestial and Mythical Beings

 

The whole video is magical.  In only a few minutes it manages to give a full creative background on Mugler while convincing me to buy three more fragrances and move to France to join the underworld of alien insect fashion.  The background info says something about how “the star” has long inspired the designer but I don’t know which one they are referring to or if they mean “star” in the royal sense or if it is just lost in translation. I love stars. I could totally hang on a spaceship with this guy. (I don’t know much about him and now I’m so hoping this dude isn’t known for racism, sexism or brutality because I’m digging his galactic sense.) Apparently Theirry is a former dancer and a worldly imaginative dude. He scores his fashion shows with Edith Piaf, has other fragrances in bottles shaped like stars and totem poles, and his fashion shows include robots and insect women.  His goal? “Extravagant and immoderate creations for women that put nature and fantasy within one’s reach.”     

May we all strive for immoderation. #blessup

ALIEN
Fragrance Family: Floral
Scent Type: Warm Floral
Key Notes: Jasmine Sambac, Cashmeran Wood, Amber Gris
About:
Alien is a floral-woody-amber fragrance that borders the realms of spirituality and sensuality. It exudes a positive energy, charged with sensual and intriguing mystery.
Alien is a radiant fragrance, and its deep purple-hued glass bottle is designed to mimic an amethyst, a precious gem that symbolizes femininity and refinement. This sacred talisman can be layered with any Alien Body product.
What else you need to know:

“It is named Alien because inside every woman is something so unique, so special, it is Alien to everything around her.”

Fourth Sample Day Breakdown

Terms learned:

Jasmine Sambac (Arabian jasmine): A species of jasmine native to a small region in the eastern Himalayas in Bhutan and neighboring India and Pakistan. (wikipedia)

Cashmeran Wood:  The diffusive, musky-woody scent is reminiscent of concrete (especially the abstract woody scent that concrete gives when hit upon by rain, a cityscape in the rain), also lightly spicy, lightly powdery.  (part of description from Fragranctica – I like the mention of concrete, particularly light, powdery concrete)

Ambergris:  Used as a fixative to help scents last much longer and its perfume can be best described as marine, animal and sweet. (Found on GQ of all places) 

Things to work on:   

  1. Magnifying the goddess within.
  2. More contemplation of the star (or stars).
  3. Resistance of Russian radio waves and other negative forces.

Magic, luck, or compliments this fragrance brought me: 

I feel like this scent increased my magic, but  also feel like I still have powers that are alien to those around me.  Maybe I need a few days with this scent. Maybe I need to spray it in the face of people that don’t get me or won’t give me a job or funding for my films. It was a generally powerful experience wearing this though – I got to hang with my boyfriend, see an excellent (if not terrifying) documentary, and celebrate a friend’s landmark birthday. 

Websites discovered:   Frangrantica  and of course Thierry Mugler

Trying to Stay Fresh: Moschino

My choice this time was based on 100% packaging. Moschino’s Fresh is in a cut out folder that looks like a tiny bottle of windex. Maybe this is one of those dual-use products. Should I try to clean my cell phone screen or countertop with it too?

FreshMoschino

I don’t know how to pronounce Moschino. I can’t get the idea of maraschino cherries out of my head when I see the name, so there’s no way I’m going to get it right unless I got help from Youtube:

My first spritz, on my wrist again, sends me back to a yellow can of Designer Imposters body spray – I think it was called “Primo”.

Turns out you can still buy Designer Imposters and I think they have expanded the line into something called, oh I don’t know – Axe body spray.

Primo

Fragrance tangent: Primo! is formulated with rare and costly essences normally used only in the most expensive perfumes. Primo! is a soft, all-over body fragrance and gentle effective deodorant. For a delightfully clean, fresh and feminine feeling all day, spray over entire body. Made in USA.       

Even though it was a gray and rainy Monday, I felt motivated and got stuff done. One could say that yes, I was feeling Fresh.  I like to sign off emails and text conversations with “Stay Fresh! XO” to let people know that I know how fresh they are. If you didn’t grow up on YO! MTV raps, It means cool, fly, and of great quality.

I’m not going to worry that this fragrance is evoking major association from the 90s because sense memory is a real.   

I was about to leave to meet my Fresh friend for happy hour and I noticed I didn’t smell Fresh at all. It was reminder that Freshness fades. I re-sprayed and sprayed again, this time in my hair and all over my coat.  I was pretty determined to have someone comment on my freshness.

Even though I’d emptied the entire bottle, by the end of the day I had received zero comments or compliments. Learning yet again that we suffer if we seek external validation of our Freshness. 

But why does this scent stink to me? 

The Moschino site shows the full size perfume bottle as an actual windex bottle.   Like the sample folder, the website has no information about freshness OR femininity.

FreshInside

The joke is on you for buying an expensive bottle of perfume that looks like windex and smells the teen that babysat you while you were watching Muppet Babies.

I need more description so I visit Sephora.

“A surprising and ironic perfume, Fresh Couture plays with fresh and joyful accents and a tempting femininity. A sparkling and compelling top note of bright mandarin and bergamot is enriched with the intense and exotic character of ylang ylang. A juicy and inviting touch of raspberry adds colorful and amusing contrast to the floral heart of elegant white peony and velvety osmanthus. The dry down underlines the refined and contemporary character of the perfume with a luminous, sensual trail of clear woods, white patchouli, and ambrox.
The ironic fun of the bottle makes the aspirational accessible to us all. A touch of gold detailing adds a nod to refinement and luxury.
Notes: Bergamot, Mandarin, Ylang Ylang, Raspberry, White Peony, Osmanthus, Cedarwood, White Patchouli, Ambrox.
Style: Fresh. Joyful. Feminine.”

Fresh. Joyful. Feminine.   Nothing makes you more joyful than a reminder that you have to clean your windows.

And there it is: Tempting femininity.  I’m going to compile a list of the adjectives used alongside femininity in fragrance descriptions.  I will probably write an analyst of it called “The Adjectivefication of Femininity”.

Seeing the list of fragrance notes tells me why I don’t really like this scent.  Too much going on. And they use Bergamot, the scent of two-and-a-half-star hotel body lotion.

Also, the smell doesn’t match the bottle. Everyone knows that a perfume in a windex bottle should smell more like ocean spray or fresh cotton or some other kind of Febreeze flavor.

Second Sample Day Breakdown

Terms learned:

Osmanthus:  a flowering tree native to China, valued for its delicate fruity apricot aroma.

Ambrox: a synthetic compound created as a replacement for natural Ambergris; it has a musky-ambery odor. This definition lead me to an article about Escentric Molecules Molecule 02 that explains: “Real ambroxan is found in ambergris, but the stratospheric cost of its extraction makes it prohibitive for use in fragrances. Ambergris itself is one of the few natural animalic fragrance ingredients that has no connotations of cruelty because it is produced and excreted by the sperm whale. It can float on the ocean for years evolving under the influence of sun and salt water. Then it is collected when it washes up on shore, by which stage its distinctive nutty, warm scent is a symphony of boronal, ambrinol, dihydro ionone gamma – and its best-smelling aromatic part, ambroxan.”

Things to work on: 

  1. Forcing people to notice my perfume. Should I remove the spray mechanism and just dumping it on my head?
  2. Project Adjectivefication of Femininity: My list of perfume adjectives used along with femininity.

Magic, luck, or compliments this fragrance brought me:   Cleaned up a bit, stay mostly fresh, got tons of errands and work done, and met a friend out for happy hour.

Websites discovered:  Now Smell This Perfume Glossary

Evoking warmth and pleasure: “Deep Euphoria”

I picked the first loosie in my stash: Calvin Klein’s “Deep Euphoria”.   

DeepEuphFRONT

Right away Calvin Klein makes me think of TJ Maxx and euphoria reminds me of the website bluelight.  This fragrance claims to be deep euphoria.  We’ll see who is the expert on that one, but a search on bluelight for euphoria will turn up more results (about 101,000 results actually) than on Sephora (8 products, 4 videos, and 1 article). 

It’s in a typical fragrance sample mini-folder (this reminds me to look up the industry term for this). The cover is all black with a nice hot pink labia slash across the front. Inside it’s very maroon and very 90s, but the absence of capital letters on the packaging (aside from the C and the K in Calvin Klein) really advances the style to the mid 2000s.

DeepEuphInside

The text inside the card:

“liberated, empowered, sensual; an alluring freshness gives way to a steamy magic, rose of the heart; leaving a trail of undeniable femininity”

Hmmm, unfortunate that the copy team used the term “undeniable femininity” in the midst of a cultural shift redefining gender.   Surely there are cultural studies academics looking into fragrance terminology and feminism.  I wonder, what perfume does Gloria Steinem wear?

Before looking anything up online about this fragrance, I guess that “undeniable femininity” means flowers and musk and I sprayed it on my wrists and neck. I know how risky a neck spray can be if it really stinks.

But I happen to like it because it is floral and smells like roses. That’s good for the Venus retrograde right now so I sprayed it on all my chakras, including the in-between ones. 

After I checked the CK website I realized I probably do have a gift for fragrance identification: 

Deep Euphoria is a new expression of euphoric fantasy. The scent opens with notes of cascalone and black magic rose enhancing the signature of sensuality and modern femininity. The drydown of musk brings a smooth, sensual texture immersing you deep within the fragrance, evoking warmth and pleasure.

Musk drydown. Eurphoric fantasy! Is it any coincidence that I watched Amy Schumer’s Leather Special later that night? 

First Sample Day Breakdown

Terms learned:

Drydown: This term from the world of perfumery describes the last stage in the evolution of a fragrance. After the top notes have faded (usually 30 minutes to an hour after application), the middle and base notes remain to mingle, forming the body of the scent.   Thanks POPSUGAR

Texture: Haven’t found an internet definition but I will say it is how much the fragrance burns or graces the nostrils. 

Cascalone: a fragrance ingredient which has been created or synthesized in a lab. It adds a fresh aquatic feel to fragrance compositions.

Things to work on:   My own euphoric fantasy expression.  

Magic, luck or compliments this fragrance brought me:  The text on the sample card had me ready for a euphoric, sexy day but it was more a warm and friendly one. I had a lunch with a good pal and the waitress checked on us 12 times. I also got a spontaneous text invite to go out for cocktails. I did leave a wake of undeniable femininity at Circle K, three different parking lots, and in a rock shop where I picked up a spear of kyanite so we’ll see what happens. 

Websites discovered: One stop shop for all fragrance terms: Oo La Lab 

This Stinks, Let Me Tell You Why

In the past month and a half, I’ve been unexpectedly laid off from my job, found out my employer hadn’t been contributing to unemployment, dodged bullets in a bowling alley shooting, was notified that my apartment lease is up, and was bitten by a tick. I sent that little vampire to a lab at Northern Arizona University for testing to see what kind of ticky diseases I was exposed to and it got lost in the mail.  My anxiety levels are pretty high so I won’t know if I have Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever until I croak from it.  Like that tick adrift in a sea of mail, my future is uncertain.

I’m doing what people are supposed to do in times of transition: control what you can.  Doing things like applying for jobs, working on film projects, cleaning and organizing in good times. Reading news, watching The Leftovers, and ruminating on people and things that make me angry in the darker times.

In the spirit of balancing both good and bad times, I’m starting a productive purge with something pleasant and easy: the hoard of fragrance samples collected from online Sephora purchases and sample box subscriptions. I like writing and mental health professionals recommend it, so I plan to tell you all about it.

I’ve always thought of fragrance samples as the filler item in a subscription box and have even (in darker times) contacted Birchbox customer service about their overuse of fragrance samples.   Yeah, I kept the samples even though they are reminders of excess and consumerist filler and plants I will never take care of and yachts I won’t be on and sequin-gown-galas I will never attend.  I kept the samples because despite my best efforts to resist, I’m far too indoctrinated in our materialistic culture to be able to throw something away that has a fancy brand name. 

I really thought I’d find a use for them.

Some ideas I’ve had but never acted on:

  • Gift them to my sister. 
  • Use as stocking stuffers. These gifting ideas are great, right? Nothing says “I thought of you” like a tiny watered-down sample of perfume.
  • Use to spritz checks and paper bills. Imagine the delight of a billing rep at Methodist Hospital getting a Marc Jacobs Daisy-soaked payment! 
  • Hope one scent becomes so rare that .0001 ounces would sell on eBay for enough money to pay one of the above mentioned bills.
  • Create a stand near a carwash for “Hi-Class Air Freshnerz 4 Ur Ride”. 
  • Keep a few in my purse as ice-breakers for social gatherings and long elevator rides. 
  • Collect enough to trade in for a plane ticket or laptop. I haven’t checked on any exchange programs so that one might have been more of a dream than an idea.

My most recent idea:  use the samples on myself, one day at a time, and see what kind of magic they bring.

I’m not a fragrance connoisseur, but there is only one way to become one. You start with the closest teeny tiny spray bottle.  Maybe I’ll be able to, you know, pivot and find work in the fragrance game.  I do like roses and peonies. I wear perfume (usually Nest’s Citrine or Elizabeth&James Bourbon or White) and I’m scent sensitive: one time I had to ask a coworker to not wear her perfume to the office that we shared. She told me her scent was Shalimar.  I looked that up online and fell in love with the commercials.   You will too:

and

See you tomorrow for my first full report.