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Expanding on my recent tweets about perfume

My Twitter page was getting kinda full of obsessing about perfume today, so I decided to come fill up my blog instead :).

So, you know, I’ve been enamored with perfume for ever.  I always wanted to have a “nice” bottle of perfume when I was in high school, because I never was into the Bath and Body Works fruity-watery body spray thing.  (My sister could open her own B&BW store, though, with all the body sprays she owns!)  There ARE a few scents at B&BW that I like, but they’re usually the ones that get discontinued…it figures :).

Anyway…

My first foray into “real” perfume was with a bottle of Marc Jacobs Daisy that I wanted for Christmas in 2007.  I did like it a lot, but I mainly chose it because I figured a lot of other people would like it.  It was kind of a safe bet for me to choose it, I guess.  Very soon after that, I was googling things to do with H.P. Lovecraft one day and came upon Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.  Being the obsessed HPL fan that I was (and am!), I picked out six samples: Al Azif, The Music of Erich Zann (they spell it “Zahn”), Arkham, Nyarlathotep, Miskatonic University, and Shub-Niggurath.  I was really excited about Arkham, but I thought it was a little too masculine the second time I tested it.  Al Azif, though, I loved.  It’s an incense scent that doesn’t smell head shop-y, and for me it’s a comfort scent.  Miskatonic University–I loved the old book and polished oak notes underneath the coffee.  Definitely see why it’s a best-seller.  Nyarlathotep was one of the first scents to get me interested fragrance as a concept.  It DID smell dark and bright at the same time.  Often, I associate a scent with a color, and Nyarlathotep seems like a charcoal black and a pale yellow scent to me.  Even though it wasn’t conventionally feminine or “pretty”, I liked it.  Rather, I was fascinated with it, with trying to figure it out.  Shub-Niggurath was a bit too gingery for me, but again I could see why a lot of BPAL fans like it.  (Now that it’s aged for 2+ years, it smells rounder, more buttery…better!)

But the biggest shock of them all was The Music of Erich Zann.  The first time I smelled it, I was completely puzzled and a bit repelled.  I thought it was very strange and couldn’t see anyone wearing it as actual perfume.  But, still, I was fascinated with figuring out the components of the scent, and so I wore it several times, especially when reading Lovecraft or listening to an audiobook of “The Music of Erich Zann”.  (Check out the link! I’m a fan of the work of the people at Voices in the Dark.  They’ve even got audio excerpts of the Kalevala!)

(The Music of Erich Zann has since been discontinued.  After sampling more than 150 BPAL scents, I realized that Erich Zann is nowhere near their strangest perfume.  I like it enough now that I bought a bottle off eBay a few months ago.)

After that, I started googling perfume reviews, and I think that’s how I got into niche perfumery.  The blog Now Smell This was a huge source of information for me and reeeally helped me navigate the huge world of perfume to pick out some samples.  Other blogs like Perfume Posse and Perfume-Smellin’ Things were also a great help to a newbie like me.  (I’m still a big fan of all three sites…they’re the main way I keep up with new perfume and I trust all three of them to give me good advice when I’m putting together a sample order.)  I don’t remember all the details of my first foray into niche scents, but I do remember that I was reluctant to make my first order because it was a little bit more expensive of a pastime than I was able to afford at the time.  When I found fishbone96’s decant site, she was closing up shop and had a lot of discounted items for sale.  I made probably four orders from her over as many months, and got a bit of an education on perfume as a result.

Now that I can afford my interest in perfume, I’ve expanded my collection a bit.  I’ve currently got a large wishlist on The Perfumed Court that I plan to order in the near future.  I made an order from them recently, and that order is the inspiration for this blog post.

The fragrance in my last order that captivated me immediately and completely was Dzing! by L’Artisan Parfumeur.  From the first moment, I totally associated the scent with its inspiration, the circus.  It’s animalic and smells like well-worn leather, with tonka adding a vanillic sweetness.  To me, it’s a comforting scent…but it’s absolutely sexy.  My only concern (and it’s not as big of a concern as it once was) is that other people will think I smell like I rolled around with the circus animals, like I need to bathe, or something like that.  I think it stays somewhat close to the skin, though, so it hopefully doesn’t smell like I’m walking around wafting the smell of an animal in heat.  I love skanky, musky scents–as long as they’re done right.  Muscs Koublai Khan is one of my biggest perfume loves and has been ever since I first tested it.  Recently, Musc Ravageur was in the package with Dzing, but I haven’t tested it enough times to figure out what I think of it.  My second bottle of perfume was Coco Mademoiselle…and while it isn’t musky or anything, I love the way it makes my skin smell after drying down.  I’m a huge fan of skin scents, and that’s probably why I fell in love with Dzing immediately.

So, I’ve had Dzing for probably six days or so, and I’m planning to buy a bottle as soon as I can.  I’m also looking to get Muscs Koublai Khan while it’s still in the export line.  There goes $280 (plus S&H)!  I don’t mind, though.  I rarely think about dropping $100-200 on a bunch of random junk that I neither want nor need, but for some reason I have a hard time convincing myself to buy things that I actually want.  I waited years and years to get an iPod, and it was a Christmas present.  I even bought a bottle of Black Cashmere and returned it because I couldn’t justify randomly spending $50.  (But you’d know that if you read my old blog posts :D.)

I finally bought a decant of Jaisalmer, also.  It seems to be the bloggers’ least favorite scent in the Comme des Garcons Incense line, but it’s my #1 favorite.  (I can’t be too unfair to Kyoto and Zagorsk, though; I’ve only had them for the same six days as Dzing, and I’ve only tested them once each.)

So, there’s the story of my interest in perfume.  I don’t want to call it a “hobby”, because there’s a little more to it than that.  I had a few more things to say, but I don’t remember them at the moment, so I’ll save them for another day, okay?

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I can’t stand to be unhealthy any longer.

Well, look at that.  I’m writing a blog post!  I actually have something positive and substantial to write about, too :).

So, last Wednesday night, I was wearing a big ole red t-shirt.  Looked at myself in the mirror, and finally, honestly decided that I’m tired of being unhealthy and unattractive.  So a few hours later, I lugged the exercise bike into my room.  Can’t really ignore it there, can I?  I should post a picture of my new, under-construction room.  Next step is to paint the darn thing.  And convince someone to insulate the room on the other side of the wall!  I’m not joking when I say that my room is 55 degrees in the winter…I’ve got a thermometer in it :).

The cold is what keeps me from hopping out of bed in the morning.  It’s unpleasant when I first get on the bike.  But when I get going, 10 minutes in, it’s not cold at all.  In fact, it’s about right.

Really wanted to start out on Thursday because I was pumped and ready to go, but I had work piled on top of more homework, and to top it off, there was static on the phone lines causing the Internet to basically die for two hours.  Almost left to go to Laura’s to use her computer.  ANYway…

I put together an exercise playlist from a bunch of Josh Homme music.  The driving, relentless beats of Kyuss are good for endurance runs, when I crank up the resistance on the bike.  And I was listening to Kyuss when I made the decision to exercise in the first place.  “Green Machine”, I think.  Good music to exercise to if you’re trying to get out your anger!

Hey, I didn’t even think about that!  I should hop on the bike when I get angry…it’s better than what I do now to deal with anger (nothing).

Also, faster songs like Them Crooked Vultures’ “Dead End Friends” and “Mind Eraser” are good for pushing me to pedal faster.  Really, I don’t even notice that I’m working harder when a faster song comes on.  Lots of QOTSA’s stuff is good for moderate exercise.  Nothing gets you going like “Nicotine, valium, vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy, and alcohol…c-c-c-cocaine!” :D.

But, seriously…I’m proud of myself for sticking with it for three days.  Yeah, that’s not much, I know, but I need to keep reassuring myself that I’m doing well.  Last time I tried to start exercising, it lasted for two days.  One day, I listened to some of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods audiobook.  (It’s really good, by the way–the narrator does a good Slavic accent.  I’m only up to the part where the main characters visit Czernobog and the three sisters…I’ve read farther in the book, but I decided to take it at a slower pace to enjoy it more.  [That’s what she said.]  Oh, shut up.)  The next day, I watched an episode of Farscape.  Now, that was an okay idea, because you can tell when the commercial breaks happen, and at the final break, it’s time for a cool-down while the last few minutes of the show happen.  But I think I work harder with music.

The least pleasant part of it all is the darn hard bike seat.  First day, it was uncomfortable.  Second, I felt kinda sore.  Today, I’m on fire.  Bleh.  I need to find a nice, squishy seat :).

As for a diet…well, it’s not a diet.  I’m planning to eat 1500 calories per day.  So far, I’ve gone way under and still been satisfied.  The key for me is to measure my portions.  Luckily, there’s a head-shop scale lying around that works perfectly.  And I can work a measuring spoon like nobody’s business :D.  For the past few months, I’ve been eating less as it is.  Hopefully the exercise will push me out of my 5-7 pound range and have me losing weight–no, body fat.

I don’t know what my percentage is, but I do know I’ve got some muscle on me from lugging this body around for 20 years.  I used to love weight training in high school, because I wrote down my progress and could see the results.  Started out with, like, 50 pounds on the hamstring machine.  At the end of the semester, I was up to 120.  So, I’ve taken a page from good ole Mr. Bradshaw’s book and am writing my progress down: food intake, weight, exercise, and notes on how I feel physically and mentally.  I even decided to use a fancy book.  I just hate to start writing in a book and leave it unfinished.  So there’s some more motivation for me :).

I’m feeling happier with myself already.  This time, I made the decision.  No well-intentioned but unpleasant “wow, put on a few pounds?” from Dad.  (And, no, Dad, I actually have been the same weight for at least 2 years.  Where have you been?)  I want this to be 100% my idea.  No barging in from Dad.  That’ll just make me want to not exercise.

Ooh, and I found out from here that playing the guitar gives a little workout.  200 calories an hour ain’t bad.  I could really stand to work on my rhythm.  Also, been playing Guitar Hero lately, and every time I play it, I can feel my forearms getting buffer.  For some reason, I love being strong.  My legs are weaker than they used to be, but I keep my guns loaded.  (That sounded kinda weird, don’t you think?)  When your dad secretly tries to make you a boy by having you haul really heavy stuff around the house, you build up a little muscle.

Yeah, I hate that.  Bo and I were talking the other day about how Dad tries to make me into a boy.  I hate it.  No amount of dragon t-shirts or men’s leather jackets are ever going to find their way onto my body.  Maybe if I’m coloring someone’s hair…but even when I exercise I don’t like to look like a total slob.  I feel better about myself when I make an effort.

And a huge motivation for me is the CLOTHING!  Ahhh…I see so many things I’d love to wear, but I’m just a bit too big for them.  Bo said something to me about how he knows people who are a lot bigger than me and dress way better than I do.  But when you’re too small for plus size clothes and too big for normal clothes, it’s hard to find things.

I can’t wait to be able to just walk into a store and buy an article of clothing that isn’t a scarf or a pair of shoes.  Accessories are my large self’s best friend…but I’d love to wear whatever I want.  I see how far Bo has come, and it’s really inspiring.  I honestly don’t think I’d be as driven to get in shape if he hadn’t done it first.  But he does pressure me to eat a pint of ice cream when all I want is half a cup…but I guess that comes down to your past and how much ice cream you ate in the past.  I’ve never been one to eat a lot of it.

So, to sum it up, the keys to my success are going to be: smaller plates and bowls, measuring out servings, lots of filling, low-cal vegetables, keeping my interest in exercise through music and diversity (hopefully we’ll be able to get the treadmill back from Grandma’s house), and the thought that I’ll be able to shop wherever I want and look good in it.

Geez, I sure wrote a lot.  I’m not really planning to keep blogging about my exercise progress, since I’ve already got a pen-and-paper log, as well as introplay.com and another calorie and exercise site.  But if I feel like it, I’ll update.  The whole idea feels right.  I’m ready and I know I can do it.

We’re finally about to leave the stone age!

Well, we’re finally getting high speed internet.  Unfortunately, Mom thinks we have to stick with our normal phone company (we might, but I don’t know for sure), and it’s all the way in Sunman.  So our connection will probably be kinda slow, but in comparison to the 45.2 kbps that we usually get, anything faster is definitely welcome.

So I’ve been cleaning up my room today to make room for the spare computer.  It’s never been hooked up to the internet because it doesn’t have a modem, so it’s pretty dang speedy and not weighed down with spyware and junk at all.  I’m going to transfer my music collection to my own computer now, so the main one will speed up some too.  And maybe I’ll actually use my 500 MB external hard drive I got on Black Friday!

I’m pretty excited. 

I’m the only one around the house who knows how to hook things up properly.  You should see me and Dad try to collaborate on hooking up a VCR.  I absolutely hate it now.  I hate having to explain what’s going in and what’s going out.  I know what I’m doing, but apparently he doesn’t think so.  How many times have I swapped out things in my room without problems?  So I just hope I can hook up DSL just as easily.

I just realized last night that we have a router/modem already.  We bought it from Goodwill for 5 bucks, and it came with three extra line filters.  It came from Cincinnati Bell, and it’s a lot crappier than the one we got from ETC.  You can only hook one computer up to it, but ours has four ethernet jacks.  So I guess it goes to show that big companies skimp on their customers sometimes.

We don’t have ethernet cards in any of our computers, so I bought two USB network adapters last night.  I picked USB, not because I’m afraid to open up a computer, but because I may be getting a laptop, and laptops don’t really have a place to stick a desktop ethernet card.

So anyway, I’m looking forward to being able to actually use the internet like normal people.  And having my own computer will be flippin’ sweet.

The other day at Goodwill I spotted a 1/4″ guitar plug with a USB plug on the other end, and Dad bought it for me.  Now I can record on my computer without all the noise I used to have from the adapter into the microphone jack.

So you might get to hear some music in the future…I’ll actually be able to upload it ^_^.

I can’t wait to get our adapters in the mail so we can flippin’ surf the internet!