walking through that Valley

Lord I’ve been tryin to be what I should

Lord I’ve been tryin to do what I could

But each time it gets a little harder

I feel the pain

But I’ll try again.


-“Try Again,” Big Star


there’s nothing i’d like better than to fall

It’s officially Spring now, and here the weather is beautiful. Sunny and warm, a little breezy, absolutely lovely, and it does not suit my mood at all. I’m sad and unfocused and scattered, I cry a lot. What I would give for a day or two of rain. I don’t have a whole lot to say today, as I am exhausted from the latest crying jag. But I thought I’d just mention what I’ve been wearing lately, and hopefully that will be good enough for now.

Bottega Veneta- Woody, leathery, wonderful. A bit defiant, like wearing backless chaps, but obviously more subtle…and just as tough.

Jour d’Hermes- A light floral, modest and unassuming. This one made me smile (how rare is that?) and want to put on a sundress and go pick daisies. I would like to get some and make it my Official Springtime Fragrance.

Prada Candy- For comfort. The vanilla and benzoin are always wonderful to wrap up in, safe and warm.

Estee Lauder Private Collection Amber Ylang Ylang EDP. Lovely, dark, and deep, to borrow from Robert Frost. Very soft and cozy, perfect for cooler nights.

Moving on to the Product of the Day: Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow in 2E, which is a matte dark brown. I use this as a liner every day. I used to smudge it on and then put a line of black liquid liner on top, but lately I’ve been giving myself a break and skipping the liquid liner. Now I’m just using Aqua Shadow to line the top lids, then mascara. It’s a slightly softer look, and I couldn’t be happier to no longer be a slave to my liquid liner (though i’ll surely pull it out for certain occasions). Plus I find that with a simpler eye, I can play around more with my lip color. Anyway, I love Aqua Shadow. It goes on dark and creamy, smudges nicely, and sets beautifully. Holds up pretty well through torrents of tears.

safety, home, and a demoiselle

Where the hell was I when Coco Mademoiselle (Chanel) came out? Why did I not notice? It must have been in the days when I hid my head in the sand far too often. Well, in the past few months, I have been tempted by it by way of magazine scent strips. I know, not the most reliable source. But still, enough to pique my interest. So finally I’ve got a sample of it, and what have I been wearing for the past ten days in a row? Coco Mademoiselle. Without any desire of sampling new scents or wearing old favorites. I’ve been wearing it as I go through some changes in my world, and there is something about this blend of jasmine, bergamot, and orange that is keeping me gently grounded. I’ve been needing to stick close to home as of late, and my situation couldn’t be farther from the ad for Coco Mademoiselle, with gorgeous Keira Knightley tumbling in the sheets with her lover, then speeding away from him on a motorbike. Mine is not a world of romance, adventure, and intrigue. A good day, for me, is one where I don’t have to venture out at all, but can spend hours reading with my dog lying on top of me. So why am I so head-over-heels for this modern oriental? It has a slight edge to it, compared to original Coco, which is a bit like me: having a slight edge that few ever get to see. Me wishing they could but knowing I’m just not brave enough to put it out there for all the world. Not the kind of edge that would have me on a motorcycle, but the kind that would put me in random public restrooms with posters and wheat paste. (In a bathroom? Yeah, see, even then, my edge is contained and protected.) At any rate, I am not tiring of Coco Mademoiselle. I do feel slightly disloyal to all my pretty bottles in the cupboard, but this is somehow getting me through a time of change, and it’s strong and it’s soft at once, and I will be happy to buy some Coco Mademoiselle and place it front and center of my arsenal.

Product of the Day: (not a lippy this time!) On a Clear Day Retinol Clarifying Lotion by Philosophy. I recently started using this again, wanting to see if it might ease up my skin’s predictable pms breakout, and treat some fine lines while we’re at it. Well, my breakout this month was minimal- just one spot, and not a bad one at that- and this stuff is gentle! I have super-sensitive skin and I haven’t had any redness at all. I use it twice a day, and for the morning application I follow it with Neutrogena Shine Control Primer, and my makeup goes on like a dream. Even better than with just the primer alone. As for wrinkles, it’s still early in the game for me, though I am starting to see them. But with the Retinol, hopefully we can keep the status quo for as long as possible.

what we do in paris is secret

She sits on the roof of her building, six stories up, her legs dangling in the air. It’s a grey morning: the sky is grey, her building is grey, the street and sidewalks below are grey. It’s drizzling, but wrapped in her sweater, she is determined to not go back inside. Felt plays on her headset (“You should see my trail of disgrace, it’s enough to scare the whole human race”). Six stories down, people are reading newspapers (grey) and drinking milky coffee. Her coffee is sweet and contains a healthy dose of whiskey. She clutches the cup to warm her hands, lets the steam float up to her face, where its dampness mingles with her slowly falling tears. It’s all so hopeless, she thinks. I am nothing, she thinks, nothing but my shame. Not one of those people down there will look up and see me, she thinks, and indeed, none of them do. It would be so easy to lean forward and just…fall. Her secrets have become almost too much to bear. One day, there used to be friends, neighbors, confidants. Now there is no one. Nothing to tether her. She could almost float away off the roof if it weren’t for the heaviness of her heart. She writes in the dust with her finger: I was here. I really was here. But soon the drizzling rain will wipe out her message to nobody and she’ll be as good as gone. Her secrets will be the end of her.

What We Do in Paris is a Secret (A Lab On Fire) notes: bergamot, honey, lychee, Turkish rose, tonka bean, vanilla, heliotrope, tolu, sandalwood, ambergris, musk.

in heaven, everything is fine

When the long hours of stress break down into fatigue, when the turmoil of the day turns to quiet tears, when that Essential Ache clenches my heart in its relentless fist- There is nothing left to do but sleep. Not all days are so bad. But regardless, by the time night falls, I’m ready for a sweet escape, a safe haven, a soft place to fall til morning comes. My bedding has been chosen with great care, and the light that comes in my window from the street is perfect. My dog curls up by my side, or sometimes on top of me. Night is my heaven. Hours to spend in the dark, listening to music and drifting in and out of sleep. These past few nights I’ve been wearing Lann-Ael by Lostmarc’h to bed. It is the perfume equivalent of a soft, warm, cottony blanket. It is gentle and sweet and dreamy. The name means “Moor of Angels” and notes are buckwheat, red apple, milk, vanilla. I was so happy to find something with that milky note- I’ve found it in Thymes’ Ginger Milk (sadly, discontinued some time ago) and in Ed Hardy’s Love and Luck, but both those are far too zesty for bedtime. And so I came upon Lann-Ael, which is heartier than I thought it would be, with the apple and buckwheat, smooth but not too delicate. Solid enough to see me through the night, as it turns out. A lovely veil to reassure me when I wake in the dark.

Today’s lip: LA Colors Lipstick in Matte Blackberry. This is a great drugstore find. It’s not superdense, but the amount of color it deposits is just right if you aren’t up for a full-on lip. The finish is matte but still moist. The scent is a delicious vanilla. The color is a deep neutral plum.  I’ve been wearing this one alot during the day lately because I haven’t been in the mood for a really bold lip, and this lipstick fits the bill. I get so excited when I find a drugstore product I really like, and I haven’t had to drop twenty bucks for it. Even though it doesn’t last as long as some of my other matte lipsticks, I don’t mind reapplying this one. A great lipstick for everyday.

over and over we flatten the clover

Today I am wearing an old favorite, Cristalle Eau de Parfum by Chanel. This sparkly green fragrance I usually save for Spring and Summer, and I know it’s only the end of January, but I am chomping at the bit and I thought wearing Cristalle might bring me an early burst of Spring. And it has! But so have the long walks I’ve been taking with my dog the past few days…the sun has been shining and people have been tending their yards. So I’m not the only one. Cristalle is fresh and bright, a perfect daytime scent. I’m tired of being wrapped in layers of wooly things and the heavy perfumes that go with them. Cristalle is like a new start. Last night it came to my attention that I hadn’t worn it in far too long. So I set my bottle out on the counter so I wouldn’t forget, though I was so excited to wear it I doubt I’d have forgotten! Now I am ready for some fresh air and another long walk in the sunshine. I have to thank an old friend, Ileen, whom I haven’t seen or spoken to in years, for turning me on to Cristalle. Ileen, wherever you are, I always think of you when I wear it. Always.

Another scent I wore recently is Baiser Vole by Cartier. This one is so delicious that it’s easy for me to overdo it, to apply too generously…so I am learning to rein myself in. Baiser Vole is mostly lily, but with an amazing clovery green note that makes it not just another powdery floral. It would be perfect to wear to a picnic with a paramour, rolling off the edge of the blanket into the damp grass. I have the Eau de Parfum, and they’ve more recently come out with an Eau de Toilette that I haven’t yet sampled. But honestly, I’m happy to stick with the Eau de Parfum. I’ll be wearing this alot when the weather gets warmer. I also have the Baiser Vole bath gel and lotion, and they are as true as true can be. No disappointing variations there. Since I don’t have a beau to picnic with, I’ll wear it to the park with my dog and spread out on the grass, and listen to folks playing their guitars and take in the wonderful sounds and scents of the promise of Spring.

Today’s lip is Super Saturated High Gloss Lip Color in Apocalypse by Urban Decay. Oh, this is a good one! I bought it after reading reviews that mentioned it’s not really that glossy. I wanted a pigment-packed pencil, and that’s what I got. Apocalypse is a deep burgundy, on the cool side. I like to soften the outline with my fingertip, and blot. It has pretty good staying power. I know it probably seems all my lip colors are variations on a theme, that I don’t really branch out much, and that would be true. But within the range I do possess, there really are slight differences. So I’ll continue to try to describe them as best I can, and you can be sure you’ll always recognize me on the street: the redhead with the burgundy lips.

a care package from home

A few days ago my mom sent me a care package full of wonderful scents. As soon as I opened the box, I caught a whiff of lavender and a hit of eucalyptus. I’d been telling my mom how I’ve been using lavender essential oil in my ceramic diffuser from Aromatherapy Associates, and how much of an impact it has on me. And we’ve spoken also about the wonderful scent of eucalyptus that comes from one of our neighbor’s trees, how it smells like home, how it takes us back. In addition to telling my mom these things, I’ve told her how I’m having a difficult time adjusting since the big move. There’s no place I’d rather be but here, still, getting settled is proving to be a real challenge. Add to that my hormonal mood swings, and you’ve got a recipe for stress and depression. So when my mom said she was going to send me a few goodies, I knew whatever she sent would help me feel better. Here’s what was in the box: Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Shower Tablets in Relaxing Lavender and Purifying Eucalyptus, Aura Cacia Eucalyptus 100% pure essential oil, Now Essential Oils 100% pure eucalyptus, and Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Mist in Lavender Harvest. I tried the eucalyptus oils in my diffuser and whew! a blast of fresh green goodness filled my room. I find the camphorous quality very, very comforting. So while the oils do have an exhilarating effect, it’s more like, “Oh wow, I can really breathe now!” as opposed to, “Oh wow! I’m gonna go run around the block a hundred times!” The two eucalyptus oils are so similar, I wouldn’t be able to tell one from the other. I used a lavender shower tablet this morning, and the steam surrounding me transformed into this magical lavender mist…is that what a spa is like? And the bathroom still smelled great long after the shower.  The Lavender Harvest Mist is very gentle and pure, and can be used on the body as well. (Points to Aura Cacia for that formula!) So now I need to find a store around here that carries these products. My mom found them at a gourmet grocer, and I am going to look at health food stores. There’s no better feeling than the one I get at the end of a long, hard day, when I put on my pajamas, plug in my diffuser, and crawl into bed with my dog for a little tv before sleep: the oils create a dreamy sort of atmosphere and even after I unplug the diffuser, I am ready to drift off, feeling peaceful and safe.

Lip du Jour: Butter London Lippy in La Moss. This is a vibrant gloss of a pretty violet/burgundy color. As you can see, I’m branching out and trying glosses more. What I like about gloss is that with the way it catches light, it really shows off the shape of your lips. And I am branching out in color too: La Moss doesn’t have the brown, muted tones I usually look for. It’s straight-up bright and bold and kinda great, really. A new look in the new year…what could be more perfect?

PS. I forgot to mention, Lippy smells like vanilla cake batter!! Ogg, ogg, ogg, ogg (say in Homer Simpson voice).