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BPAL Madness!
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yow.

Was I really gone for that long? My sales post went to the dead area. Whoops. I didn't think I was away for that long.   Stupid school sucking up all my time.

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Worry about my nose.

Sometimes I worry about my nose. My sense of smell, I mean. Particularly about perfume.   The problem is that over the past year and a half or so I've tried so much BPAL that I can discern notes. I guess that's a good thing, but it's also kind of a bad thing.   Like, grapefruit. I used to dislike it, but I've grown to like it. I remember when I first started trying BPAL oils, when I smelled grapefruit I'd think, "Ugh. Who wants to smell like breakfast. Bleah. Next!" And now I've tried so many grapefruit ones that I appreciate that sparkle it can give to a scent. There's really nothing like it. Manhattan is one of my favorite scents.   But, when I wear it, do people who aren't used to grapefruit scents think, "Ugh! Why does she want to smell like breakfast? Bleah."   There have been many times that I get an imp and look up my old notes where it says that I thought it smelled like bathroom cleaner or lemon pledge or something else undesirable. And then I smell it again a year later with my trained nose and think something like, "Say, that's quite a nice tea and lemon scent, I wonder why I thought it smelled like lemon pledge before?" And then I start wearing it.   Maybe it really still smells like lemon pledge to most people but I just can't tell anymore?   I don't want to walk around feeling like I smell like a playful berry with a hint of some herb but in actuality I just smell like bathroom air freshener. I can smell nuances, but can other people? I honestly don't know. When I started collecting BPAL I couldn't tell. It smelled good, bad, strong, cheerful, spicy, odd, musty, citrusy, etc. There was no "gosh, I really love the grapefruit peeking out from under the violet, and the white sandalwood underneath it is a subtle but warm touch." It would have been "This smells funky. Pass."   I hope I'm not walking around smelling weird but thinking I smell fantastic.

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Favorite Honey

[see previous entries for what I'm doing here.]   Honey in large doses is not great for me. It tends to give me a play-doh scent. That's why picking a favorite scent that's primarily honey is a bit problematic for me. When it's a minor note usually it seems to lend a very pretty smoothness to the scent, so I like to try BPAL blends that contain honey. But sometimes the honey is too much. It's not just BPAL, either; I have this problem with pretty much every perfume oil brand I've tried. I guess my skin just doesn't like it.   So, in a departure from the norm (in picking a scent that is primarily one particular note), I'm going to choose just my favorite one that has honey in it that's detectable. I already know going into it that the primarily honey ones will not be favorites.   GCs THAT CONTAIN HONEY:   Alice: Milk and honey with rose, carnation and bergamot. Aaaaand this list starts off with a play-doh one. I can't wear this one. And There Was A Great Cry In Egypt: Dark myrrh, white sandalwood, amber, hyssop, frankincense, honey, cypress, red musk, cardamom and saffron. This one is spicy, sweet, and complex... but I can't really detect honey in it. Athens: voluptuous myrrh, golden honey, red wine, and sweet flowers. I tried this one twice and didn't like it either time. I don't have any idea what is going wrong for me with this scent because based on the notes it should have been okay. The honey was behaving itself nicely... but after an hour or so it smelled off. In a big way. Bengal: skin musk with honey, peppers, clove, cinnamon bark and ginger. Apparently honey WITH strong spices is a winner for me. This one is lovely. Usually cinnamon is too strong on me, but the hot cinnamon and smooth honey really balance out each other. Very nice. Bien Loin D'ici: red musk, benzoin, caramel accord, golden honey, and spiced Moroccan unguents. Ah, red musk. How do I love thee. Oh, wait, right, I'm talking about honey. Yes, the honey in this is detectable, and it's GORGEOUS. I really like this scent a lot. Sultry, sexy, and smooth. Bilquis: Honey, myrrh, lily of the valley, rose otto, fig leaf, almond, ambrette, red apple, and warm musk. Lovely. This blend is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about in which honey can be beautiful on me when its just an undercurrent that makes the scent warm and rich. In this particular one, the almonds are much too strong for my taste at first, but luckily they fade. That initial almond blast will keep it from being a favorite, though. Blood Kiss: Vanilla, honey, clove, red cherries, vetiver, poppy, red wine, and feral musk. I like this one, but I can't detect the honey in it. It does seem smooth underneath, but that could be from either vanilla or honey, I'm not sure which. Cleopatra Testing Poisons On Those Condemned To Death: Accords of peach kernel, hemlock, aconite, and belladonna, with bitter almond, saffron, honey, myrrh, hyssop, frankincense, and palm. Oops, I haven't tested this one yet. Cockaigne: milk and honey, sweet cakes and wine. This one and one other BPAL GC scent with milk and honey do NOT smell bad on me. This smells like ... well, exactly like the notes. I don't wear it, though, because although I like lotions and creams that are foody scented, usually not perfumes so much. Cupid Complaining To Venus: Apple blossom, fig, white peach, honey absolute, red sandalwood, and wild thyme. I like the scent of this one, but it's extremely faint. It doesn't last long at me at all. That keeps it from being a favorite. Dana O'shee: Milk, honey and sweet grains. This is one of the ones in which the honey is too strong for me. This smells off on me. The Death of Sardanapal: Red wine, gurjum balsam, dark myrrh, honey, cassia, lemongrass, palmarosa, elemi, cognac and olibanum. Oops, I didn't write a review of this yet. Hmm. Hope I still have that bottle. Delphi: The smoke of Sacred Incense of Apollo twined through laurel branches, bay, and honey wine. This one smelled mostly like grape juice on me. Didn't like it too much. Eve: Apple blossom, rose, ylang ylang and golden honey. I think this one is a nice scent, but I can't smell any honey in it. Hellcat hazelnut, buttercream, honey mead, rum and sweet almond. This one's more of a nutty creamy rum scent to me, not honey. Hetairae: golden honey, fiery patchouli, sweet fig and clove, and a blushing touch of ylang ylang. Mostly a honeyed fig scent, on me, with some kick from the clove. It's a great scent, and I do like it, but it'll be more of a contender in the favorite fig one. Horreur Sympathique: blood musk, golden honey, thick black wine, champagne grapes, tobacco flower, plum blossom, tonka bean, oakmoss, carnation, benzoin, opoponax, and sugar cane. This is sweet and lovely, and I like it a lot. The honey isn't strong, but it has a warm wonderful smoothness to it that I attribute to the honey. Itasô Kansei Nenkan Jorô No Fûzoku Osmanthus, white honey, ti leaf, hibiscus, and sugar cane. Kind of a dewy light floral. I didn't detect honey in it. Jezebel: A gloriously decadent blend of honey, roses, orange blossom and sandalwood. This one tends to go chalky on me (like baby aspirin) or powdery. But I can't detect any honey. Kali: This perfume is a blend of the sacred blooms of cassia, hibiscus, musk rose, Himalayan wild tulip, lotus and osmanthus swirled with offertory dark chocolate, red wine, tobacco, balsam and honey. The honey goes wonky in this one too. Les Bijoux: Skin musk and honey, blood-red rose, orange blossom, white peach, frankincense and myrrh. Honey and apples at first, but then I can't really smell the honey. Ends up being a light pretty floral. O: Amber and honey with a touch of vanilla. This one is a play-doh one. Ogun: heavy and dark cigar tobacco, gin and juniper, melon, chili pepper and a touch of honey. I really like this one, but I can't detect honey in it. Mostly melon with tobacco and a chili pepper kick. Osun: thick with honey and herbs of love, passion and desire. I thought I liked this one a lot at first and bought a 10ml of it, but I never wear it. I can detect the honey in it, but I guess I don't really like it as well as I thought I did. The Penitent Magdalen: Immortelle, lily of the valley, gaiac, amber, honey, white sandalwood, almond flower, blonde musk and hyssop. Haven't reviewed this one yet. Sed Non Satiata: myrrh, red patchouli, cognac, honey, tuberose and geranium, and body musk. Can't really tell there's any honey in this. Skuld: Ylang ylang, honey, Egyptian and Arabian musks and labdanum. Charming and bright, warm and soothing. Can't detect honey, though. Spirit Of The Komachi Cherry Tree: Cherry blossom, blue lilac, lavender monofloral honey, white sandalwood, and Asian pear. Haven't reviewed it yet. Sudha Segara: Sweet milk and warm, healing ginger with a touch of golden honey and our blend of Ambrosia. Amazingly, this one works on me. This is the other BPAL GC with milk and honey that does work. It smells like someone nearby has a big mug of chai and I'm catching wafts of it. I like this one a lot. Thaleia: honey, ylang ylang, apricot, ciste, blood orange and gardenia with earthy, warm tonka. Mostly apricot and gardenia, on me. Honey isn't detectable. White Rabbit: Strong black tea and milk with white pepper, ginger, honey and vanilla, spilled over the crisp scent of clean linen. Some days I like this one, and some days I don't. Occasionally the honey is too much for me.   Of those, the ones that are disqualified for being play-dohy are Alice, Dana O'Shee, Kali, and O. Osun and White Rabbit walk the "too much" line a little too close for my comfort.   The ones I like a lot (in which honey is detectable) are Bengal, Bien Loin D'ici, Horreur Sympathique, and Sudha Segara. Although Bien Loin D'ici is my favorite out of those, I feel like I need to pick Sudha Segara because the honey is stronger in it. It just seems like more of a "honey" scent.   LEs THAT CONTAIN HONEY:   The Brides Of Dracula: gleaming skin musk, honey and white amber, plum blossom, osmanthus, sandalwood, calla lily, and a light, sensual blend of Eastern spices. Apparently I didn't write a review of this. I like it and wear it from time to time, but it doesn't seem like I can smell the honey in it. Hearth 2005: candied chestnuts, buttered, covered in brown sugar and honey, alongside the scent of cedar smoke and soft pine. This is really a nutty buttery scent with pine. Pleasant, but not much honey. Honey Moon: five different honeys, ranging from pale and sweet to deep and heady, with hints of jasmine, white gardenia, Hawaiian white ginger and thyme. Not surprisingly, this one didn't smell great on me. Faiza, The Black Mamba: black amber, caraway, oakmoss, green sandalwood, bergamot, jasmine sambac, gardenia, orange pulp, vanilla, blackberry, black musk, white honey, ti leaf, and ginger. This one was mainly floral on me -- couldn't tell there was any honey in it. Freak Show: A strange, disconcerting embrace… to some, alarming, and to some, intimately familiar: fig, pomegranate and cocoa bean with lemon, bergamot, vanilla, mellow honey musk, calamus and tonka. Not a whole lot of honey in this one -- this is more of a fig scent. Gennivre, L'artiste Du Diable: Hyson tea leaf, pale mint, sugar cane, orange blossom, lemongrass, and honey. This is a lovely scent, but it's really more of a tea contender, not a honey one. La Fée Verte: Sugared wormwood, hyssop and melissa with calamus, angelica and Dittany of Crete, blended with aohemian perfume of vanilla musk, honey absolute and Moroccan spices. I love this scent, and thankfully the honey in it doesn't smell bad on me at all. I love wearing this one. It's really unusual and almost always gets a compliment from someone. Khajuraho (2006 & 2007): honey, date palm, tuberose, davana blossom, amber, white sandalwood, vanilla bean, Damask rose, and champaca flower. Both versions (from both years) smell the same on me. It's perfumey and pretty, but I can't really tell there's honey in it. Litha: Honey mead with honeysuckle, oak wood, ivy leaf, wild thyme, carnation, daisy, vervain, gum arabic, frankincense, yauhtli, and liquid copal. Mead yes, but honey no. Couldn't smell honey in this. Luperci (2006 & 2007): raw, down and dirty patchouli, Gurjam balsam, and essence of Sampson Root sweetened with the heightened sexuality of beeswax, virile juniper, oakmoss, ambrette seed over honey and East African musk. The 2006 version smelled mostly like juniper, which I didn't like, and the 2007 version smells mostly like patchouli, which I do like. Neither have a detectable honey, though. The Masque: Honey and carnation, rich incense and rose accord, myrtle, red sandalwood, amber, jonquil and clove, patchouli, tobacco and labdanum. I could barely detect any honey in this, mostly spicy flowers. Milk Moon 2005: Cream and warm honey soften our traditional blend of lunar oils. I really, really like this one. Not wonky at all. This is lovely, creamy, and sweet. Wouldn't say it's strong on the honey, but it's so smooth and wonderful I must be picking up honey from it somehow. Milk Moon 2007: Sweet milk, golden honey, fig fruit, pomegranate, dates, and white grape. This one I had trouble with, though. Smelled like sour milk. The Oblation: A stirring blend of dianthus, French lavender, blackberry, and white honey. Couldn't smell honey in this. Smelled like blackberry wine to me. Ostara: Orris root, bergamot, frankincense, daffodil, orange pulp, attar of rose, jonquil, strawberry leaf, benzoin, violet leaf, copal, honey cakes, sweet cream, and the blossoms of springtime. Couldn't smell honey in this one either. Pink Moon 2005: This Lunar blend is soft with phlox, tulip, daffodil, dogwood and muscari, dusted with pink sugar and honey, and a touch of the first strawberries of the season. I couldn't tell there was any honey in this. Poisson D'avril: Lenten rose, crested iris, Virginia bluebell, primrose, moss phlox, blue crocus, daffodil, and dewy tulip with a touch of sugar blossom and honey. I can't detect honey in this. Rose Moon: Bulgarian rose, tea rose, violet leaf, opium poppy, Bois de Jasmin, patchouli leaf, honey, blue lilac, balsam, woodruff, and lemon peel. I couldn't detect any honey in this, just floral notes. Selkie: The chill waters of the Orkney coast, tea-leaved willow, honey-touched Grass-of-Parnassus, sea aster, and Scottish Primrose. I couldn't detect any honey in this. Svadhinaopatika: Golden amber, oude, red sandalwood, massoia bark, honey, and currant. This is one of those fabulous ones in which the honey undercurrent gives it a luxurious smoothness. I like this one.   Of those, I really liked Svadhinaopatika, Milk Moon 05, and La Fée Verte. But La Fée Verte is by far my favorite.   Verdict on Favorite Honey Scent: La Fée Verte

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Favorite Mint

[see previous entries for what I'm doing here.]   Mint is often a deal-breaker note for me. I almost always do not go for the cool/chilly scents, and mint smells cool to me. In the worst situations it reminds me of toothpaste, and in the best situations it makes me think of dinner mints. Neither of those are things I'd consider favorite perfume scents. I do like some mint-scented soaps, so it's not that I dislike the scent of mint. It's just that as a personal fragrance it doesn't suit me.   GCs THAT CONTAIN MINT   Absinthe: Wormwood essence, light mints, cardamom, anise, hyssop, and lemon. Not primarily minty, mostly wormwood essence. Bess: rosemary, orange flower, grape spirit, five rose variants, lemon peel, and mint. This doesn't seem primarily minty to me because rosemary is always so strong on me. Calliope: lavender and bright mint with bergamot, verbena, thyme and a touch of sweet orange and warm almond. This is an herbal citrus scent on me and not very minty. Cathode: Ambergris, Spanish Moss, oakmoss, and mints. This one is minty, but I'm not a fan of the moss/mint combination. My notes for this scent said it reminded me of one of my dog's mint-flavored treats. Ew. Not a great association. No wonder I didn't like this scent. Cloister Graveyard In The Snow: Three white musks, ozone, frankincense, mint. This one was a surprise hit with me because I did not expect to like it. My notes said that the mint was the most captivating of the notes in the scent -- that is unheard of, with me. Death On A Pale Horse: empty white musk and mint seeped with solemn lavender, doleful patchouli and vetiver, scythe-sharp yuzu and lime, with geranium bourbon, white sandalwood and calla lily. I really didn't like this scent at all due to the yuzu. I don't think it was mostly minty, anyway. Dracul: Black musk, tobacco, fir, balsam of peru, cumin, bitter clove, crushed mint, and orange blossom. My husband has a bottle of this and wears it from time to time. I like it, but it's not primarily minty. Envy: Green herbs slithering through mint, lime and lavender. Mostly herbal, not minty. House Of Night: [see description for what may be in it -- one thing mentioned was mint.] "A sorrowful graveyard bouquet of somber blooms, funereal boughs, dismal green and laden with grief." A sweet floral. Not minty. Juke Joint: Kentucky Bourbon, sugar and a sprig of mint. I can smell the mint in this, and I like the scent. Very evocative. The Lantern Ghost Of Oiwa: Black tea, cherry blossom, ho wood, calla lily, rice wine, and white mint. The mint in this is soft and smells fresh and clean. I like this one, but I can barely smell it on my skin. Manhattan: sheer amber, black leather, white mint, lemon peel, white tea, grapefruit, kush, teakwood and orchid. I love this scent -- it won my Favorite Grapefruit scent. Not really minty, though. Melpomene: dark cypress with mint, geranium, Bulgar lavender, orange blossom and passion flower. I didn't really smell mint in this, but it smelled kind of medicinal to me and I didn't like it. The Mock Turtle's Lessons: blurry aquatic notes, with a confusing, contrary splort of iris, ambrette, green apple, vodka, white mint and a squish of lime. This is a good blend of mint and lime, and I do like it. My only complaint with it is that it disappears really fast on me. Shattered: A blend of white champagne notes, grapefruit, lotus, slivered mint and crystalline aquatic blooms. This smells like mint-menthol on me and was totally not the kind of scent I like. Silence: White sandalwood, iris, blue musk, lotus root, moonflower, plum blossom, green tea, white mint and white peach. This perfume is gorgeous, and I love it. However, not primarily minty. It's one of the peach contenders. Ultraviolet: Lush violet and neroli spiked hard with eucalyptus and a sliver of mint. The eucalyptus in this one is very, very strong at first. I mean, like knock-you-over strong. That's what keeps it out of the running for my favorite anything. I do like the violet/mint combination I get when it's dry, but I really dislike the initial eucalyptus blast. Undertow: lotus and juniper with a hint of mint. Minty when wet, but sweet when dry. My notes said that when it was dry it reminded me of Pez. I have no idea why. Utrennyaya: Osmanthus, Damascus rose, violet, delphinium, white mint, palmarosa and white sandalwood. This smelled minty AND powdery on me. Not a good combination. Vicomte de Valmont: ambergris, white musk, white sandalwood, Spanish Moss, orange blossom, three mints, jasmine, rose geranium and a spike of rosemary. This one is a little too minty for me personally, but it smells great on my husband and I like it when he wears this.   The ones that didn't have mint listed in the notes but smelled a bit minty to me were Hamadryad (possibly due to wintergreen smelling minty to me), possibly Yggdrasil, maybe Nocnitsa, maybe Szepasszony, possibly Jezirat al Tennyn. I thought Tarot The Fool and Strength smelled a bit minty as well (but again, that could be due to wintergreen), and Grr is very definitely peppermint-scented (but I don't use that as perfume, of course).   So of all the ones listed above, the primarily minty ones I like are Cloister Graveyard in the Snow, Juke Joint, The Mock Turtle's Lessons, and Vicomte de Valmont. I think my favorite out of all those is Vicomte, but I don't wear that, my husband does. So I'll have to pick something else. I think Cloister Graveyard in the Snow wins.   LEs THAT CONTAIN MINT   Frost Moon: "traditional lunar oils frozen with winter mints, shivering eucalyptus, clear lotus, a gust of wind, and a midnight aquatic note." This smells much too cold for me to like it. F5: Aloe, white musk, lime peel, fresh mint, seaspray, verbena and green tea. I did like this one, surprisingly. It smells fresh and clean. It was really nice on hot days. Not really minty, though, mostly aloe, tea, and musk. Gennivre, L'artiste Du Diable: Hyson tea leaf, pale mint, sugar cane, orange blossom, lemongrass, and honey. I like this one as well. On me it smells like a tea scent with a mild mint. Very pretty. Green Tree Viper: Snake Oil with four mints, bergamot, and green tea. I tried this but didn't write a review, and I'm trying to remember what I thought of it. I think that I didn't care for the Snake Oil + mint combination. Lick It: a candy cane perfume, minty, sweet and sugared. Smells exactly like a candy cane. Peppermint isn't my favorite mint, though. Lick It Again: "a peppermint candy cane with an extra jolt of sugar." This one also smells like a candy cane, but a bit smoother than Lick It. Like I said, though, not really into peppermint. Monster Bait: Tokyo Stomp: vanilla mint. Crisp and refreshing, but smooth as well. I was surprised and delighted that I liked this scent. It's probably the only mint scent I actually wear. Nuclear Winter: The ice, desolation and barrenness of nuclear devastation shot through by a beam of radioactive mints. I liked this one. Didn't think I would, but I did. Very much a chilly scent. Snowblind: the perfect vanilla mint. I tried this a long time ago and gave it the boot due to being minty. I don't think I even wrote a review, I just passed it along. If I recall correctly, it did smell like dinner mints and I thought it wasn't that bad. I wish I'd kept a little bit of it so I could do a side-by-side comparison with Tokyo Stomp, but I don't have any Snowblind and I doubt I'll ever get any again. Spooky: buttery rum, cocoa, coconut, vanilla and peppermint. I like this scent. I haven't written a review for it yet, so I couldn't tell you what I like about it, I just know I like it. Taurus 07: Rose, daisy, apple blossom, violet, poppy, columbine, thyme, and mint. Sweet spring floral. Not minty. Treat #2: fig meat, coconut, "buttercream bonbon," orange rind, mint leaf, cardamom, clove, ginger, and milk chocolate. Smells very Fruit-Loopy on me. Not minty. Tulzcha: "A crystalline, cold green flame: six mints with white pepper and cucumber." Mint+cucumber. This is a cool, refreshing scent, and I do like it. I just never wear it. It's one of those scents I appreciate because it smells good but it doesn't really suit me. Usher: light musk, fougere, white mint, mandarin, tea leaf, blackcurrant, "brushed by the scent of the tarn that surrounds the House, and the gloom and decay of the walls that hold him." I gave a bottle of this to my husband and he wore it maybe once or twice. I remember liking it when he wore it, but I don't think he liked it. I can't remember if it was primarily minty, but I doubt it.   The one that didn't have mint listed in the notes but smelled minty to me was Snow-Flakes. I really like that one, but because I don't know for sure that it has mint in it, I can't include it.   So, of those ones, the ones I like are F5, Gennivre, Tokyo Stomp, Nuclear Winter, and Spooky. (Possibly Snowblind, but I wouldn't name one that rare as a favorite anyway because in order to be a favorite it has to be obtainable.) Out of those, my hands-down favorite is Tokyo Stomp.   Verdict on Favorite Mint Scent: Monster Bait Tokyo Stomp.

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Favorite Coconut

[see previous entries for what I'm doing here.]   Coconut's a tricky note for me. I like it a lot when it's a minor note in the scent, but when it's a major note sometimes it smells either too much like suntan lotion or like Fruit Loops (generally the fig + coconut combination does that on me). I'm going to try to figure out which primarily coconut scent is my favorite, but my all-time favorite blend that has coconut in it is Snake Charmer (which just has the barest hint).   GCs THAT CONTAIN COCONUT   Black Pearl: Coconut, Florentine iris, hazelnut and opalescent white musk. This one has a lot of coconut in it -- the kind that reminds me of suntan lotion. Blood Pearl: soft orris, blood musk, and coconut. Dry papery orris and a wonderful sexy musk. The coconut rounds out the scent nicely in this one. Brown Jenkins: dusty white sandalwood and orris root, dry coconut husk, creeping musk, and the residue of ceremonial incense. Dry and incensey, with a hint of coconut. I really like that white sandalwood and the cocounut husk. It's light and sweet, dry and hazy. The coconut in this one is light and incredibly gorgeous. Eden: fig leaf, fig fruit, honeyed almond milk, toasted coconut and sandalwood. A sweet, warm, nice scent -- but definitely of the Fruit Loops variety. Elegba: coconut, tobacco and sweet, sugared rum. Very reminiscent of Pina Coladas at first, but when it's dry the tobacco comes out a little. Tropical and sweet. Nice blend. Obatala: milk, coconut meat, shea butter and cool, refreshing water. On me this smells like a cross between suntan lotion and overly creamy coconuts. I know other people love this one, but it wasn't so hot on me. The Sailor's Den: Orris, bay rum, palm, coconut meat, oak wood, tobacco, linen, blue lilac, and leather. Quiet, subdued, and pleasant. The coconut and rum smell very good here. Classy. This is a great, unusual, all-purpose sort of scent. You could wear this anywhere and it would be perfectly appropriate. Shango: red apples, banana, chili pepper, coconut, pineapple, pomegranate and sugar cane. The coconut in this one gives it an extremely pleasant creamy background. I love this scent and have a bottle of it, but I wouldn't call it primarily coconut. It's in the background here. Shoggoth: white amber, green coconut meat, iris, palmarosa, Chinese peony, lime, water lily, snowdrop, muguet, lemongrass, osmanthus, wisteria, glassy musk, and hinoki. The lemongrass in this one killed it for me. My skin amps lemongrass so much I practically couldn't smell anything else.   Also, although not mentioned in the notes list, Perversion definitely smells like coconut to me. I bought a 10ml bottle over a year ago and I've been letting it age (because I read that aging will make the coconut scent die down a lot), but it's still strongly coconut-scented. I've noticed in both Blood Pearl and in Perversion that the coconut scent died out a lot faster in an imp than in a 10ml bottle. I bought 10mls of both Blood Pearl and Perversion after trying imps, and the coconut was so strong in the 10mls that I couldn't wear them. I sold the Blood Pearl bottle a while back because I like Perversion better, but the Perversion bottle still isn't to the stage at which I can wear it yet.   In addition, the Tarot blend The Star and the Qliphoth blend Gamaliel both smelled a little Fruit-Loopy to me, so I think they have some coconut in as well.   Of the GCs, I really like Perversion, Blood Pearl, Brown Jenkins, and The Sailor's Den. I'm having a hard time choosing a favorite between Brown Jenkins and The Sailor's Den, but I think I'm going to go with Brown Jenkins.   LEs THAT CONTAIN COCONUT   Antonino, The Carny Talker: White musk, wild plum, vetiver, black coconut, verbena, fig, and lavender. I forgot to write a review of this before I sold it. Shoot. But I know the reason I sold it was that the verbena was too strong in it for me, so this isn't a "primarily coconut" contender. Carnaval Diabolique: Opium smoke, lemon flower, heliotrope, tuberose, black musk, vanilla, coconut, apricot flower. Whoops, I didn't write a review for this one, either. But also not a primarily coconut one. More of a smoky floral. Creepy: butterscotch-kissed, caramel-smothered red apples spiked with a blast of coconut rum. Nice but mostly apples, not coconut. Dark Delicacies: devil’s trumpet accord, black orchid, tonka, coconut meat, fruit gums, osmanthus, smoky resin, myrtle, and Indonesian patchouli. This is a gorgeous scent, but I don't think the coconut is prominent at all. Death Adder: Snake Oil with vetiver, black coconut, vanilla, and opoponax. Ahhh, this one smells great. Similar to Snake Charmer but with vetiver. King Of Spades: oakmoss, vetiver and opoponax with black plum, wild blackberry, soft woods, sharp and glinting white musk under a soft, velvety robe of vanilla and coconut. I can't remember what this smells like off the top of my head, but I know the coconut isn't pronounced. My husband wears KoS, and he's not very fond of coconut scents, so it can't be very strong at all. Monster Bait: Underbed: Cassia-caked cocoa coconut over angel food cake. I smelled no coconut in this. It was all cassia, all the time. Red Lantern: Golden amber, blonde tobacco, Sudanese black coconut, rich caramel, black currant, white opium and delphinium laced with a sensual blend of Asian spice. This one smells mostly like spicy caramel on me, not so much coconut. Snake Charmer: Arabian musk and exotic spices slinking through Egyptian amber, enticing vanilla, and a serpentine blend of black plum, labdanum, ambrette, benzoin and black coconut. This one's probably my #1 favorite BPAL oil, but I can't say the coconut in it is enough to qualify it for a "primarily coconut" scent. Spooky: warm, buttery rum, cocoa, coconut, vanilla and a jolt of peppermint. This one's a smooth peppermint on me, and not much coconut. Treat #2: fig meat, coconut, and "buttercream bonbon," rolled in orange rind, mint leaf, cardamom, clove and ginger, dipped in milk chocolate. Very much a Fruit-Loopy scent on me.   Also, although not mentioned in the notes, Milk Moon 05 also had a slight coconut twinge to it.   Out of the LEs, I kind of have to pick Treat #2 by default because it's the only one in which the coconut seems prominent. However, I don't like Treat #2 any more than I like Eden from the GC.   Verdict on Favorite Coconut Scent: Brown Jenkins

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Favorite Grapefruit

[see previous entries for what I'm doing here.]   Picking a favorite grapefruit scent is a toughie for me because I tend to like it. I didn't think I would like it, when I first started trying BPAL scents. In fact, that was during the time when several of the GC grapefruit scents were discontinued because of a component problem, and that was just fine with me because I didn't think I'd like them anyway. Imagine my surprise when I discovered I liked Cheshire Cat. Weird. Then I tried other grapefruit scents and liked those too. So now I have to admit that I do indeed like grapefruit scents. I do NOT, however, like yuzu. In fact, I really hate it. I like that pretty sparkly quality that grapefruit has, and not the harsh acidic yuzu. I'm not even going to bother doing a "favorite yuzu" because I can't stand any of them.   Grapefruit always comes out strong on me when I first put on a scent, so all of these are fair game for "primarily grapefruit scents" for me.   GCs THAT CONTAIN GRAPEFRUIT Baobhan Sith: Grapefruit, white tea, apple blossom and ginger. I tried this one again because when I reviewed it I said I liked it but it didn't suit me... but that was back before I realized I like grapefruit. I do like the scent -- it's nice with the tea. The ginger makes it smell a bit off, though. Cheshire Cat: Grapefruit, red currant, dark musk, Roman chamomile, delphinium, and lavender. Smooth, crisp, bright, and shiny. I have a bottle of this and wear it pretty often. Croquet: Pink lime, pink grapefruit, white nectarine, wild rose, sage, woody patchouli, bergamot, and ornery hedgehog musk. I like this one a lot too, just like Cheshire Cat -- I'd need to do a side-by-side comparison to see which one I like better. Megaera: Orris, black amber, bergamot, plum and grapefruit. My notes on this said it was "too citrusy for me," but I probably need to re-try it. Manhattan: sheer amber, black leather, white mint, lemon peel, white tea, grapefruit, kush, teakwood and orchid. I like this one a lot, and I have a 10ml of it. It took a couple of tries before it grew on me, but it grew on me in a big way. My only problem with this scent is that it fades out on me more quickly than most BPAL oils do. Mania: Screeching white musk collides with a howl of red musk, with sharp white grapefruit and pale strawberry leaf. This is another one I like a lot. It's a lot different from the others due to the red musk. Night-gaunt: something akin to yuzu, white grapefruit, and kumquat mixed with the snow-dusted flowers of Mount Ngranek. Very, very bitter on me, and I didn't like it at all. Phobos: Chilling white musk, lemon verbena, white grapefruit and lemongrass. The lemongrass killed this one for me. Shattered: A blend of white champagne notes, grapefruit, lotus, slivered mint and crystalline aquatic blooms. Didn't work because the mint was way too much for me and seemed menthol-y.   Also, Versailles has "citrus" in it that smelled like grapefruit to me, but I didn't like that one. I thought Detox maybe had grapefruit in it too, and I liked that one all right, but not as perfume of course.   Out of that list, I really like Cheshire Cat, Croquet, Manhattan, and Mania. I tried them all on at once to compare them (plus Baobhan Sith), and I was surprised to discover that I like Croquet better than Cheshire Cat. And although I really like Mania, the red musk in it overpowers the grapefruit, so I can't say it's primarily a grapefruit scent on me. It's primarily red musk. However... Manhattan is the winner. I like its sleekness better than the pretty florals in Croquet.   LEs THAT CONTAIN GRAPEFRUIT   Hungry Ghost Moon: Offerings of ginger candy, sugar cane, smoky vanilla and rice wine mingle with a ghost's perfume of white sandalwood, ho wood, ti, white grapefruit, crystalline musk and aloe. This scent is tapered by the presence of seven herbs, woods and resins used in the purification of the spirit and the purging of earthly concerns from the soul. This one smells like sugary grapefruit on me, and I liked it. However... I haven't worn this in a year. (Wow, I didn't realize it had been that long.) I need to get out my bottle and test it again. The Ectasy Of Infatuation: Black cherry, pink grapefruit, white musk, lemon verbena, champagne grape, pikaki, plumeria, and Hawaiian ginger. This one is a little too floral for me when it's dry. Monster Bait: Biggercritters: Five vanillas with Moroccan jasmine, white gardenia, and pink grapefruit. The jasmine in this smelled pungent on me. I need to try one of the white-label bottles, though, because when I smelled one at a meet n' sniff it smelled a lot different in the bottle than the critter-label one I tried at Convergence. Queen Of Diamonds: A glittering icicle of a woman, regal, proud and cold: shimmering white grapefruit, pale flowers and lemon bark with orchid, rose and a dash of mandarin. The grapefruit in this one seems to have disappeared. I like it, but I don't think it'll ever be my favorite grapefruit scent because I can't really smell much grapefruit in it.   Out of those, I think Hungry Ghost Moon is my favorite. But I like the GC grapefruit scents better than any of these.   Verdict on Favorite Grapefruit Scent: Manhattan

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Favorite Dirt/Earth/Moss/Oakmoss

[see previous entries for what I'm doing.]   I've lumped these all together because they smell sort of similar on me. I generally dislike dirt and earth notes because they amp so much on me, and often I don't like moss or oakmoss either. Sometimes, though, I find a moss/oakmoss blend that really works on me.   GCs THAT CONTAIN DIRT/EARTH/MOSS/OAKMOSS   Arkham: maple, birch, dogwood, cypress and pine softened by a garland of New England wildflowers: bergamot, columbine, rue anemone, blue violet, creeping phlox, bloodroot, toadflax, and pixie moss. Bayou: Spanish moss, evergreen and cypress with watery blue-green notes and an eddy of hothouse flowers and swamp blooms. Burial: The Dark Side of Earth: deep, brooding forest scents, including juniper and patchouli. The scent of upturned cemetary loam mingling with floral offerings to the dead. Cathode: Ambergris, Spanish Moss, oakmoss and three electric mints. Crossroads: A chill twilit garden of blooms over dry earth and mosses, heavily laden with incense and offertory herbs. Danse Macabre: Black cypress with oakmoss, frankincense, oude, and a sliver of toasted hazelnut. Death of the Gravedigger: Snow, soil, opoponax and myrrh. Destroying Angel: Papery white notes evoke the grace of this fungi, grounded by thin, crisp soil. Fae: white musk, bergamot, heliotrope, peach and oakmoss. Greed: patchouli, heliotrope, copal and oakmoss. Horreur Sympathique: blood musk, golden honey, thick black wine, champagne grapes, tobacco flower, plum blossom, tonka bean, oakmoss, carnation, benzoin, opoponax, and sugar cane. I Died For Beauty: The Venusian splendor of ylang ylang and violet stirred by hyssop, frankincense, and grave loam. [grave loam, in this case, is oakmoss and Spanish Moss] Jazz Funeral: Bittersweet bay rum and a host of funeral flowers with a touch of graveyard dirt, magnolia and Spanish Moss. Jezirat al Tennyn: smoke and fire, earth and wind. Kiyohime Changes From A Serpent: Salty ocean spray, red kelp, black plum, lychee, sea moss, green musk, hachiya, plum blossom, and matcha. Les Anges Déchus: Khus, blonde tobacco, life everlasting, orris root, black currant, cabreuva, Spanish moss, leather, and ambrette. Les Infortunes de la Vertu: A pain-tinged, pleasure-soaked blend of leather, oakmoss, orange blossom, amber, and rose with A breath of virginal French florals and a hint of austere monastic penitential incense. Lyonesse: Golden vanilla and gilded musk, stargazer lily, white sandalwood, grey amber, elemi, orris root, ambergris and sea moss. Mad Meg: Fire-scorched earth, black mandarin, cinnamon bark, bitter almond, sage, vetiver, and balsam of peru. Nephilim: Holy frankincense and hyssop in union with earthy fig, defiled by black patchouli and vetiver, with a chaotic infusion of lavender, cardamom, tamarind, rosemary, oakmoss and cypress. Nocnitsa: Her scent is that of a lightless fir wood, nighttime air, wet forest mosses and upturned earth. Nosferatu: desiccated herbs and gritty earth brought to life with a swell of robust and sanguineous red wines. Nuit: Her perfume is starry and crystalline, a jewel-clad and glittering paean to night: dazzling white musks, white rose and night-blooming jasmine with the soft moss of moonlit meadows, a waft of Egyptian incense, and a gentle breath of moonflower. Omen: oakmoss, juniper berry, myrrh and patchouli. Penny Dreadful: Soft perfume evocative of noir heroines over rich red grave loam. Phantom Queen: Black orchid, apple blossom, meadowsweet, and rue over Irish moss, hawthorn and red clover. Robin Goodfellow: Dark musk, moss-covered wood, ragwort, heather, and sage. Salomé: almond with star jasmine, oakmoss, red sandalwood and Egyptian musk. Sunflower: Sunflower bouquet, black amber, creeping black moss, wilted greenery, and scorched, dry stems. Thanatos: Dry white sandalwood and soft Siamese benzoin over a lugubrious blend of myrrh, Moroccan rose, mastic, tomb moss and a thin whiff of Greek incense. Two Monsters: Oakmoss, vetiver, black musk, champaca flower, leather, patchouli, ginger, Japanese pittosporum, ambergris and white pepper. Urania: Moonflower, Moroccan jasmine, benzoin, white musk, iris, moss and a flash of ozone. Vicomte de Valmont: ambergris, white musk, white sandalwood, Spanish Moss, orange blossom, three mints, jasmine, rose geranium and a spike of rosemary. Viola: Gentle tea rose, lilac, Calla Lily, and Somalian Rose layered over golden Peruvian amber, Spanish moss, red sandalwood, rosewood, and myrrh, with the lightest touch of Mandarin. Wilde: A sophisticated traditional gentleman's cologne, with just the slightest taint of patchouli's passion, tonka bean's decadence, the philanthropy of bergamot, moss' cynicism, the sharp wit of lavender, and the hopeless romantic longing of jasmine and thyme. Zombi: Dried roses, rose leaf, Spanish moss, oakmoss and deep brown earth.   Of those ones, the ones that seem to be primarily dirt/earth/moss scents are Bayou, Burial, Cathode, Crossroads, Jazz Funeral, Jezirat al Tennyn, Nocnitsa, Nosferatu, Penny Dreadful, Robin Goodfellow, and Zombi. Of those, I like Bayou, Jazz Funeral, Nocnitsa, and Robin Goodfellow. My favorite is Robin Goodfellow.   By the way, although it isn't mentioned in the notes, Ulalume smells like it has a little bit of dirt/earth in it too, and I like that one as well. Death Cap and Masabakes smell like they have some dirt/earth in them as well, and I don't like either of those at all.   LEs THAT CONTAIN DIRT/EARTH/MOSS/OAKMOSS   Annabel Lee: wild peony, sweet pea, cucumber and white sage with sea lilies and moss. Bad Luck Woman Blues: Spanish moss, black pepper, mullein, sweet sage, vandal root, cypress, cigar tobacco, and a puff of goofer dust cloaked by a swarthy cologne of vetiver, lime, dark musk, caramel accord, and lilac. Banded Sea Snake: Snake Oil with oakmoss, sea moss, and olive leaf. The Castle: A distant whisper of pine, wet moss and dry leaves passing through vast halls and winding dungeons whose scent bears the memory of blood, faded splendor, imperial elegance and stunning violence. Fée: Auoyant, dulcetlend of vanilla, sunflower, carnation, honeydew, peachlossom, lychee, oakmoss and white tea. Faiza The Black Mamba: black amber, caraway, oakmoss, green sandalwood, bergamot, jasmine sambac, gardenia, orange pulp, vanilla, blackberry, black musk, white honey, ti leaf, and ginger. Gnome: No notes listed, but when I tried it, it clearly had dirt/earth in it. Graveyard Dirt: This is the scent of pure graveyard dust, spattered with grave loam and dusted lightly with tombstone moss. Hunger Moon: Ozone, white sandalwood, crystallized white amber, verbena, oakmoss, clary sage, and a hint of white citrus rind. Jólasveinar: Their scent is a mishmash of snow, dirt, Icelandic moss, marsh felwort, and the smushed petals of buttercups and moorland spotted orchids, with the barest hint of the scent of pilfered Christmas pastries. King of Clubs: deeper, darker [than Queen of Clubs] earth notes with dark musk, tobacco leaf, oakmoss, amber, leather, sage and vetiver with fig and bitter almond. Luperci: Raw, down and dirty patchouli, Gurjam balsam, and essence of Sampson Root sweetened with the heightened sexuality of beeswax, virile juniper, oakmoss, ambrette seed over honey and East African musk. Oborot: Balkan fir sap, dark mosses, Greek Mountain tea flower, black pine, salty ocean spray, deep black earth, and a moon-touched magickal incense of sandarac, frankincense, and ravensara. The Premature Burial: Oppressive darkness, expressed through black orchid and patchouli, smothered by wet soil, a coffin’s teakwood, and the funereal gloom of cypress. Privilege: Armoise, tuberose, white citrus, rose absolute, oakmoss, tiare, tuberose, vanilla, linden, and lemon tree blossom. Queen of Clubs: Soft, deep earth notes with myrrh, amber, pomegranate, dark incense, red currant, rose and vanilla. R M Renfield: moss, cumin, patchouli, Balsam of Peru, and neroli. Roux-ga-roux: Spanish moss, swamp jessamine, bog water, cypress, hickory wood, lobelia, sweet flag, wisteria, and marsh milkweed. Samhainophobia: Menacing Haitian vetiver, patchouli, and clove with a shock of bourbon geranium, grim oakmoss, and dread-inspiring balsams pierce the innocuous scent of autumn leaves. The Sleeper: Night-blooming jasmine, opium poppy, wild rosemary, Calla lily, oakmoss and crypt musk. Swadhisthana: Vanilla, nutmeg, orris root, gardenia, damiana, jasmine, patchouli, ylang, tangerine, bergamot, sandalwood, oakmoss. Vipralabda: benzoin, Greek sage, hay, melaleuca ericifolia, oakmoss, and blue chamomile. Whipporwill: Spanish moss, cedar, black pepper, oakmoss, juniper, bamboo reeds and cardamom. The Wild Men of Jezirat Al Tennyn: red amber, Spanish moss, Indonesian patchouli, ambergris, red pepper, two cloves, and vanilla flower.   Of those ones, the ones that seem to be primarily dirt/earth/moss scents are Bad Luck Woman Blues, Graveyard Dirt, King of Clubs, Oborot, The Premature Burial, Queen of Clubs, R M Renfield, Roux-ga-Roux, and Whippoorwill. Of those, I like the last three in that list a lot. I'd have a hard time choosing a favorite among those three actually, but if I had to, I'd pick R M Renfield.   Verdict on Favorite Dirt/Earth/Moss/Oakmoss Scent: R M Renfield.

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Favorite Chocolate/Cocoa

[see previous blog entry for an explanation of what I'm doing here.] BPAL's chocolate note is usually not so great on me, but my luck is much better with cocoa. So I'll give chocolate/cocoa a whirl.   GCs THAT CONTAIN CHOCOLATE/COCOA   Bliss: The serotonin-slathered scent of pure milk chocolate. This one wasn't my fave. The chocolate didn't work so great on me. Centzon Totochtin: Bittersweet Mexican cocoa with rum, red wine, and a scent redolent of sacrificial blood. I like this one, but it's not my favorite because of the red wine. Gluttony: Thick, sugared and bloated with sweetness. Dark chocolate, vanilla, buttercream, and hops with pralines, hazelnut, toffee and caramel. Not primarily chocolate on me at all, mostly nutty/creamy. The Great Sword Of War: Mandarin, tonka, saffron, black tea, cocoa, tobacco leaf, sanguine red musk and five classical herbs of conflict. Mainly herby on my skin. Didn't like it. Intrigue: Black palm, with cocoa, fig and shadowy wooded notes. I like this one a lot; it smells mainly like a cocoa/fig scent on me. Kali: This perfume is a blend of the sacred blooms of cassia, hibiscus, musk rose, Himalayan wild tulip, lotus and osmanthus swirled with offertory dark chocolate, red wine, tobacco, balsam and honey. I like this one okay, but it's not primarily chocolate on me. Mostly honey and wine. Tezcatlipoca: Deep cocoa laced with patchouli, leather armor, ritual incense, and a touch of Xochiquetzal's flowers. I like this one a lot. I used to have a bottle and I gave it to someone who was looking for it. I miss that bottle and often wish I still had it. Vice: A deep chocolate scent, with black cherry and orange blossom. The chocolate just didn't work that well on me. Smelled like tootsie rolls. Velvet: gentle sandalwood warmed by cocoa vanilla and a veil of deep myrrh. I like this one a lot. A lot of sandalwood and myrrh with just a little bit of cocoa.   Favorite GCs are Intrigue, Tezcatlipoca, and Velvet. (Not a surprise that they all contain cocoa and not chocolate.) The cocoa is prominent in all of them, but it's hard to choose a favorite because they all smell so different. I think my favorite is Velvet, though.   LEs THAT CONTAIN CHOCOLATE/COCOA   Boomslang: Snake Oil with cocoa, teakwood, and rice milk. Ahhhh, I love this one. Have 2 bottles. The Candy Butcher: Dark chocolate with a heavy cream undertone. Didn't work on me at all. Enraged Groundhog Musk: Cranky groundhog musk sweetened up by chocolate-covered black cherries, cardamom, French vanilla, and caramel. The cardamom amped too much in this for me, to my disappointment. Freak Show: fig, pomegranate and cocoa bean with lemon, bergamot, vanilla, mellow honey musk, calamus and tonka. I really like this, but the cocoa bean isn't prominent. This one is similar to Intrigue and Carnal from the GC. I have a bottle of this. Monster Bait: Underbed: Cassia-caked cocoa coconut over angel food cake. The cassia is really really strong in this. I have a bottle of this... not sure why though. I never wear it. The Pumpkin Patch #2: Pumpkin with cocoa, hazelnut and walnut. Largely pumpkin with just a little cocoa. Spooky (Yule 2003 & 2005) A maddeningly festive blend of warm, buttery rum, cocoa, coconut, vanilla and a jolt of peppermint. Mostly minty on me, not too cocoa-ish. The Tell-tale Heart: blood musk, cocoa, black pepper, allspice, dragon's blood resin and vetiver. This is a fantastic scent but seems like mainly spicy dragon's blood on me. I have a couple of bottles of this. Thirteen (4/13/07): A base of cocoa absolute and white chocolate with thirteen baneful and beneficial bits: cardamom, fig meat, grains of paradise, rice flower, chamomile, sandalwood, catnip, clove, and a bundle of five blessed blossoms and herbs. This is the purple label one. Too herby for me. Thirteen (10/13/06): Cocoa and vanilla beans, Mysore sandalwood, star fruit, orange rind, red amber, fig leaf, mimosa, rooibos tea, bourbon geranium, rose otto, nutmeg, and lavender. My favorite of the 13s so far. I have one bottle of this. Thirteen (5/13/05 & 1/13/06): thirteen lucky and unlucky components, including white chocolate, tangerine, currant, mandarin, white tea and iris. I like this one (the white label one) but I liked Oct 06 (the orange label) better. Treat #2: A fine confection for discriminating trick or treaters: a fig meat, coconut, anduttercreamonbon rolled in orange rind, mint leaf, cardamom, clove and ginger, dipped in milk chocolate. Not primarily chocolate on me at all, more like Fruit Loops. Wulric, The Wolfman: cocoa absolute, French vanilla, birch tar, lavender, bourbon vetiver, wild musk, clary sage, and cistus. This smelled a little weird and not harmonic on me.   Of those, the Oct 06 (orange label) is my favorite of the 13s, but Boomslang is clearly my favorite. I'm so glad that has cocoa in it and not chocolate. I would say that Boomslang is mostly Snake Oil rather than mostly cocoa, but Velvet is my favorite GC and that one's more myrrh & sandalwood than cocoa. Between Velvet and Boomslang I prefer Boomslang, but I'd love to have a bottle of Velvet too. They're really different. (Of all of these, I'd like to have bottles of Boomslang, Velvet, Tezcatlipoca, and 13 orange label.)   Verdict on Favorite Cocoa/Chocolate Scent: Boomslang

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Favorite Violet

A long time ago, when I was wending my merry way through the BPAL GC, I thought that some day I ought to figure out which BPAL blend was my favorite of all the BPAL blends that had one particular primary note. For example, I noticed that I LOVED about 12 dragon's blood blends, but I didn't think I needed bottles of all of them so I thought I should figure out my favorite out of those and just have one bottle of that one.   I utterly failed with the dragon's blood one. I bought about 5 different bottles of those. But, there are a few other notes that I like only occasionally, and I really need only one bottle. I don't need to keep around all the various imps, either.   So I'm going to try to do this, now that I've made it through the whole GC. I'm starting with VIOLET.   GCs THAT CONTAIN VIOLET   Arkham: A shadowy, unapproachable forest of maple, birch, dogwood, cypress and pine softened by a garland of New England wildflowers: bergamot, columbine, rue anemone, blue violet, creeping phlox, bloodroot, toadflax, and pixie moss. Light pretty floral, but not primarily violet. Bluebeard: Violet, lavender, white musk and vetiver. Smells more of lavender than violet to me. Ephemera: sorrowful violet and chamomile with muguet, white geranium, calla lily and tea rose with a hint of autumn leaves. Pretty, but soft and wistful. Not the sort of loud VIOLET! scent I was thinking of. Fallen: Cherubic white sandalwood and golden musk with a dark halo of amber, a breath of imperial florals, unbending woods, and the shadow cast by vetiver and violet. Not primarily violet at all. Faustus: frankincense and cinnamon, darkened by violet. Not primarily violet. House Of Night: (Maybe has Primrose, violet, Daisies, Narcissus, spotted pinks, yew, myrtle, elm, cypress, cedars, osier, pine, tamarisks, weeping willows, poplar, lotos, lime, poppy amaranthus rose, mint, laurel.) A sorrowful graveyard bouquet of somber blooms, funereal boughs, dismal green and laden with grief. Need to try this again because I can't remember if the violet is a stand-out in this. I Died For Beauty: The Venusian splendor of ylang ylang and violet stirred by hyssop, frankincense, and grave loam. [grave loam, in this case, is oakmoss and Spanish Moss] Not heavily violet, and didn't like it that much. Le Serpent Qui Danse: Violet entwined with vanilla and gardenia. I like this one. Libertine: Rosewood and chamomile with bergamot, violet, red sandalwood, primrose and Arabian musk. This was one of the first BPAL oils I tried, but my husband told me it smelled like old ladies and didn't like it. I swapped it away and haven't tried it since. Need to try it again. Lucretia: Iris, black amber, sage, Kashmir wood, vanilla musk, mandarin and violet. I like this a lot, but it's not primarily violet. Lysander: Lilac musk, tonka, wood violet, and urbane lime rind, with a Venus-kissed tangle of myrtle, blackberry leaf, and benzoin. The myrtle killed this one for me. Marie: A blend of sinuous violet and elegant tea rose. Didn't smell good on me at all. Monna Vanna: Russian rose, mimosa, gardenia, bois du rose, parma violet, calla lily, red currant, ambergris, and bourbon vanilla. Haven't tried it. Morgause: A bouquet of five night-blooming flowers deepened by dusky violet, purple fruits and the barest breath of medieval incenses. I would include this one in the "primarily violet" family. However, I liked other ones better. Nocturne: Deepest violet touched with lilac and tuberose. I like this one, but it seems mostly lilac to me, rather than violet. Queen Gertrude: Imperial violet softened by wisteria and chrysanthemum, but edged with the regal iciness of delphinium. I need to try this again. It did seem to be strongly violet, but it reminded me so much of Libertine that I sort of ignored it. The Raven: Violet and neroli mingled with iris, white sandalwood and dark musk. I need to try this one again too. I don't remember it well enough to try to do a side-by-side comparison based on my memory of the scent. Saturnalia: Violet deepened with vetiver. Smelled awful on me. Sybaris: Bright violet with sweet clove, Mediterranean spice notes and tonka bean. I like this one a lot, but it seems like it's mostly spicy on me with just a moderate violet undertone. Ultraviolet: Lush violet and neroli spiked hard with eucalyptus and a sliver of mint. The eucalyptus blast at the beginning really turned me off, but I like the violet+mint combination in dry-down. I think the eucalyptus will keep this from ever being a favorite for me, though. Utrennyaya: Osmanthus, Damascus rose, violet, delphinium, white mint, palmarosa and white sandalwood. Smelled not quite right on me for some reason. Veil: White sandalwood, lilac, gardenia, violet, orris, lavender and ylang ylang. The lilac and gardenia were strongest in this one, for me. Venice: lemon, red currant, wisteria, red rose petals, heady jasmine, Florentine orris root, waterlily, red sandalwood, violet plum, and violet leaf. Not primarily violet, but I didn't really like it anyway. Wings Of Azrael: Warm myrrh swirled with a bittersweet blend of violet, Lily of the Valley, juniper, cypess and cajeput. Not primarily violet at all for me, and it was only OK.   So far it seems like I like Le Serpent Qui Danse the best, but I need to re-try Libertine, Queen Gertrude, and The Raven. I don't have any of those imps.   LEs THAT CONTAIN VIOLET   The Agony Of Longing: Attar of rose, violet, white pear, Queen Elizabeth root, and freesia. I LOVE THIS ONE. Don't have a bottle of it, but I really want a bottle of it. Bearded Lady: Turkish rose, stargazer lily, violet, honeysuckle, amber, star jasmine and vanilla. I like this a lot and have a bottle, but it doesn't smell primarily violet to me. Crow Moon: vervain, black violet, white musk, and Chinese cedar, is brushed by the last cold wind of winter on their wings, and the scent of evergreen boughs touched by the season's final flowers and the first blossoms of spring: wintersweet, green-barked dogwood, primrose, snowdrop, and lenten rose hellebore bouquet. Like this one too (and have a bottle), but also not primarily violet. The Darkling Thrush: Snow, darkness, and icy air illuminated by the thrush's song: warm amber, soft orris, and melancholy violet. The cold/snowy note dominates in this one. This is one for the cold/snowy decision rather than the violet decision. Faith: Sugared violet. I like this a lot and have a bottle. Flower Moon: a bouquet of vivid, sexy blooms… tulip, daffodil, violet, dewdrop, rhododendron, iris, daisy, and a mix of California wildflowers. Doesn't smell primarily of violet. Melisande, The Puppet Mistress: Jasmine sambac, dark musk, violet water, vanilla bean and mimosa. The jasmine's way too strong in this for me. Ostara: orris root, bergamot, frankincense, daffodil, orange pulp, attar of rose, jonquil, strawberry leaf, benzoin, violet leaf, copal, honey cakes, sweet cream, and the blossoms of springtime. I liked this okay, but I sold my bottle. Purple Phoenix: myrrh, plum blossom, African violet, cognac, fig, orris, lilac, wisteria, black plum, and Burgundy wine grapes. Have a bottle, but doesn't smell mainly of violet to me. Rose Moon: Bulgarian rose, tea rose, violet leaf, opium poppy, Bois de Jasmin, patchouli leaf, honey, blue lilac, balsam, woodruff, and lemon peel. Largely rose, not violet. Taurus 2007: Rose, daisy, apple blossom, violet, poppy, columbine, thyme, and mint. Not primarily violet, and it's not my fave. I'm trying to sell my bottle. White Moon: Lilac, calla lily, wisteria, white sandalwood, moonflower, night musk, phlox, and violet. I like this, but it's definitely more of a white floral than a violet scent.   So! Favorite LEs are The Agony of Longing and Faith. If I had my choice the only primarily violet blend I'd ever wear is The Agony of Longing, but I don't have a bottle of it. Faith is pretty, and I have a bottle, but I like the Possets Silver Violets scent just as much if not more than Faith.   Verdict on Favorite Violet Scent: The Agony of Longing.

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On hiatus from the forums for a while. (I hope it's just a while.)

I know a lot of people think that cat-macro-speak is really cute and funny, and I'm glad that people are enjoying themselves.   Personally, though, I really dislike it. A lot. It was sort of cute the first time I saw a cat macro about a year ago, but it got old fast, and now it's pretty much into clenched teeth territory.   It wasn't so bad when the macro thread first came out and it was contained just to that thread, but that way of writing and arranging words/letters has now leaked into posts in other threads and it's been showing up on the LJ BPAL communities too. It's gone beyond just being annoying for me. I can ignore it if it happens once in a while, but all of a sudden it's everywhere.   I guess that means I have to avoid the forums and the LJ communities for a while. It's kind of weird because I feel like I've put up with lots of things -- being swaplifted, being snarked at, trying to avoid the drama -- and in the end it was cat-macro-speak that ended up being more than I could deal with.

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More Than This

More Than This, by The Cure   For a second of your life Tell me that it's true Waiting for a sign It's all I want of you Your heart hides a secret A promise of what is Of something more than this   Just a second of your time Any one will do A taste of any other Is all I want from you Offer me the world And how can I resist Something more than this?   Make-believe in magic Make-believe in dreams Make-believe -- Impossible Nothing as it seems See, touch, taste, smell, hear But never know if it's real (But never know if it's real)   For a second of your life Tell me if it's true Anywhere we are Is all I want of you On your lips lies a secret A promise of a kiss Of something more than this   Just a second of your time Any one will do To know from any other Is all I want from you You've given me the world You know I can't resist Something more than this   Make-believe in magic Make-believe in dreams Make-believe -- Impossible Nothing as it seems Never really understand What anything means (What anything means)   Another second of my life Not knowing if it's true Make-believe in nothing Is all I want of you Whispering the secret Whispering there is Always something other Something more than this   ------------------------------- I've been listening to this song a lot lately. There was a time in my life when the emotion/longing described in this song was at the forefront of my mind all the time, and I listened to this song a lot then too. One of the reasons I've always loved The Cure so much is that a lot of their songs really resonate with me. Not too deep but not too shallow either, and there's a heart-on-your-sleeve quality to a lot of them in addition to a rawness, which I generally think of as intrinsic characteristics of passion.   I also love The Cure because Robert Smith is a hottie. Oh, right, and also a genius. But, yeah. A hottie. He looks like he'd be ready to cuddle and take a nap at any moment, and he has a killer smile that he sort of saves up and suddenly unleashes when you're not expecting it. My kind of guy.

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Favorites

I'm making a list here of my favorites from the GC, mainly just for my reference. The ones I don't have bottles of yet have an asterisk. The ones that are next on my list to get are purple.   Bewitching Brews Jack Scherezade   Sin & Salvation Anathema Dorian   Love Potions Bathsheba Bordello Perversion Snake Oil - AGED Vixen   Diabolus Fenris Wolf *Kitsune-Tsuki Marquise de Merteuil   Mad Tea Party Eat Me Frumious Bandersnatch Mouse's Long and Sad Tale The Unicorn   Illyria Tamora *Titania   Wanderlust Tintagel Tombstone - AGED   Ars Draconis Dragon's Milk Dragon's Musk   Rappaccini's Garden Cobra Lily   The Salon Silence Two Monsters Three Gorgons   A Picnic in Arkham Miskatonic University   Excolo Loviatar Ogun Osun Santa Muerte Shango   Sephiroth Chokmah   And these ones are the ones I like a lot, but they're a step down from the "love" category. I wear them often.   Bewitching Brews *Blood Kiss *Intrigue *Lampades *Omen *Sudha Segara *Velvet *Voodoo Wilde   Funereal Oils *Midnight *Nocturne *Thanatopsis   Sin & Salvation The Bow & Crown of Conquest *Fallen *Hellfire Lust *Oblivion Sin   Love Potions *Carnal Loralei Salome *Spellbound Vicomte de Valmont   Diabolus Dracul *Hell's Belle *Hellcat Villain   Mad Tea Party Cheshire Cat *White Rabbit   Illyria *Lady Macbeth   Wanderlust *Hollywood Babylon Manhattan Morocco *Lyonesse *Pontarlier *Prague   Ars Draconis *Dragon's Heart *Dragon's Reverie   Rappaccini's Garden *Black Hellebore *Love-Lies-Bleeding *Moon Rose *Strangler Fig   The Salon *Three Brides *The Ecstasy of St. Teresa *Judith Victorious *Les Anges Déchus *The Sailor's Den   A Picnic in Arkham Al-Azif *The Music of Erich Zahn   Excolo *Grandmother of Ghosts *Kali *Mania *Oya *Queen Mab *Tezcatlipoca *Xiuhtecuhtli *Aglaea Vechernyaya   Voodoo Blends French Love *Love Me *Wolf's Heart   The Chakras Swadhisthana

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Psychology of Retail Therapy

I'm really enjoying my psychology class. It's Psych 110, just the basics. I resist the temptation to play amateur psychologist armed with only half a quarter of 100-level knowledge (because it ANNOYS THE HELL OUT OF ME when college kids think they're an expert on a subject after taking one semester of it), but my professor has a PhD in cognitive psych from the University of Chicago and she's a damn smart woman to boot, so I trust what she says.   Last night we were talking about motivation and emotion. She was discussing the various reasons why people are motivated for certain behaviors, and she briefly touched on compulsive shopping and hoarding. Her explanation was that people use this behavior to fill the void in their lives that is usually caused by depression. If someone experiences a sadness mood, they are motivated to change circumstances in their lives. Some people misdirect this motivation into changing material things in their lives (selling a bunch of their own crap on eBay and then buying a bunch of other stuff) rather than changing the things that SHOULD be changed (i.e. their partner, their job, whatever). Ultimately this makes the person more depressed because they've just racked up a bunch of new bills and the new material things didn't make a difference to their depression.   I was all set to get defensive and huffy about this because I hoard perfumes and bath/body stuff, and I also sell stuff I don't want and buy things that other people didn't want. I don't think it has anything to do with trying to fill a void that's caused by depression -- I actually LIKE swapping and hoarding. I feel very pleased and happy when I look at all my BPAL bottles. They're little bottles of beauty, and I'm glad that they're in my life.   If I feel particularly sad one day and I try to soothe myself by buying a BPAL bottle from somebody's swap post, I don't think I should feel bad about it from someone telling me that I'm screwed up psychologically for doing this. Dammit that perfume DOES make me feel better, and I love the anticipation of waiting for some lovely BPAL to show up in my mailbox.   So as I was feeling all defensive and ready to raise my hand and tell the professor "You're WRONG, I indulge in retail therapy on occasion and it's not due to depression it's because I LIKE IT."   And then she said, "People who exhibit this behavior will buy 40 sweaters in one day and never even take them out of the bags, they'll stash the bags in hiding places around the house so that their significant others won't see them. They get no pleasure from actually having the things they bought, they just feel a compulsive need to buy something. Then they'll have no money when it's time to pay the rent or the electric bill or the car payment, so their depression becomes even worse."   Oh. THAT kind of compulsive shopping. Um, yeah. That's not the kind that I do.

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Politics.

One thing I hardly ever talk about is politics. I'm not the type of person who likes to get involved in endless debates between groups of people who will never agree, and all the name-calling and finger-pointing depresses me a lot. I've learned to keep my mouth shut about these things at family functions because both my family and my husband's are Republican and devoutly Catholic. There are certainly aspects of their views that I respect -- they're not fanatics, and they're not ill-informed. They just have different priorities and principles than I have. They don't preach their views at me, and I give them the same courtesy. I'm pretty comfy in this setup. Live and let live, as it were.   I'm not a demonstrator, a protestor, or an activist. I write letters and emails, and occasionally I give a little bit of money, but in general I stay away from public rallies and things of that nature.   So! Lil' ol' politics-shy filigree_shadow received an email from Barack Obama's exploratory committee a few minutes ago suggesting that I might be interested in attending an event in Springfield, IL, on Saturday morning. They say he will be making an announcement concerning his presidential campaign. I can only guess, judging by the list of locations currently on his tour schedule (Iowa next, and then New Hampshire), that he will, in fact, be announcing that he definitely is going to run.   For the first time in my life, I actually want to go to an event like this. Springfield is about three hours away by car. I have no plans for Saturday. The only thing stopping me from going is possibly inclement weather.   I've never heard Obama speak in public, and I'd like to. Of course, there's also an Obama Rally in Chicago on Sunday afternoon, which is much closer to me, so perhaps I should just go to that.   Still, I'd kinda like to go to the Springfield announcement. It could end up being an historical event.

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Bullet point mania!

I organize thoughts with bullet points. I'm sorry. I spent 12 years writing technical manuals, and this is a habit I cannot break. Again, my apologies. On with the blog!   - This is bordering on TMI, but: One of my dogs (or maybe both, I'm not sure) has been tooting all night. We had to evacuate the room twice. It's driving me crazy. As far as I know they've eaten nothing except kibble and their usual treats today, so I'm worried about what they've gotten into that I don't know about yet.   - When we got our tax forms back I looked at my income from last year and started to wonder how much I'd be getting back. My husband said, "You mean WE'll be getting back." He reminded me that we split my income 50/50. I sputtered, "But, but... that was MY money, that I made, and I'm broke..." (I haven't worked since April.) He was right though, we did agree two years ago that my income was used as our discretionary money and it was split 50/50. I haven't worked in so long that I forgot. I was mad and stomped around and behaved like a jerk. I finally said I was REALLY looking forward to that extra $20 I'd be getting in the tax refund, in the most sarcastic voice I could muster. He said he expected my half of the refund would be much larger than that, considering that we split HIS income tax refund 50/50 as well. Whoops! I forgot about that agreement too. Here I was being all pissy that he was taking half of my paltry refund when he was also giving me half of his much larger one. I slinked off silently feeling like a toad.   - I've been watching Father Ted on DVD for the past couple of days, and today I found this: www.doogle.org. This will make no sense to you unless you've seen Father Ted, but I think it's hilarious.

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What's in a blog?

Andrabell's recent blog entry made me think about why I like to write blogs -- I started replying to her blog and then I realized that was WAY too much for a comment so I'm transferring it over here.   ----------------------------------------------------   Here's why I write personal stuff in blogs and LJ: I'm extremely indecisive and I like to talk through things with other people, in case they have ideas or points that I just haven't thought of. Or maybe they can see possible outcomes of decisions that I haven't considered. Or maybe sometimes I just want to hear "Yeah, you're on the right track."   The thing is, I just don't have very many real friends. Except for my three sisters and my husband, I have a total of three friends. One of them is a male drinking-buddy type that I see once every few months, one of them is a super-busy role model type (also male) that I talk to about my plans and ambitions, and the other one is so wrapped up in her own self and her own problems that mainly our friendship consists of her calling me and me listening to her. As far as "girlfriends" go, I am extremely lacking. I haven't chatted on the phone or in person with anyone about my own problems/issues in months. Literally.   In real life it's hard for me to make friends. I don't seem to have much in common with most women I meet, and men usually have wives or girlfriends who disapprove of them hanging out with me. I'm extremely introverted, and I'm a housewife who leaves the house twice a week to go to class (plus running errands and stuff like that). Even if I did make friends easily, I don't have much opportunity to meet anyone. The women I've met through the forums and LJ have pretty much become my "real life" friends.   I was watching the movie Tombstone yesterday, and in it a guy asks Doc Holliday why he puts his life on the line for Wyatt Earp. Doc says it's because Wyatt is his friend. The guy says "Hell, I've got lots of friends." Doc says: "I don't."   I guess most people have a network of friends they can call up and talk to whenever they want. I don't.

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My grandparents' farm.

My mom is an elementary school teacher, and she's getting ready to retire at the end of this school year. Last year she bought her parents' farmhouse after my grandma died. She has many siblings, and although the land was divided up between them they weren't sure what to do about the house and buildings. A couple of my first cousins were interested in it, but they couldn't afford it. So, since my dad passed away a year and a half ago and my mom would like to live closer to her siblings (who are all in the same general area except one), she bought it.   Her original plan was to tear down the old chicken coop and the old barn that Grandpa built (they really needed to come down, and they're already gone now), and then tear down the old farmhouse and build a new house on the same site. When it was time to really make decisions about the house, though, she started thinking of all kinds of reasons why she didn't want to tear it down.   A couple of months ago she finally decided to stop talking about building a new house and just fix up the old one. By the time she's done, it probably will be more expensive than just building a new house. But it wouldn't be that house. The house she grew up in. She was the first child in the family who was born in the hospital instead of at home, so she wasn't technically born there, but her older sisters were. Grandma died in that house, too.   In the 1950s Grandpa added on a new kitchen and bathroom (before then they only had an outhouse) plus an extra upstairs bedroom. He built it himself, with timber he had cut down out back. He also built all the cabinetry in the kitchen and bathroom. Grandpa was a farmer, not a carpenter, but he built it. The wallpaper Grandma had hung in the 1950s was still there. There was some flooring in the upstairs that dated to the 1920s. That house had not changed one iota since before I was born, with the exception of new furniture in the living room and new carpet in the downstairs. That's it. My mom couldn't stand to think of tearing it down.   I'm glad she's fixing up the old house. I can't imagine that house not being there. Throughout my childhood we lived in four different houses, and my parents lived in several different places since I left home, but Grandma and Grandpa always lived in the same spot. The house my other grandparents lived in has already been torn down -- the people who bought it only wanted the riverfront property and wanted to put up a whole new house. So my only real "home" link any more is to that farm.   My grandparents moved into that house the day they got married in 1938 and never moved from it. Grandpa bought it from someone in his family -- his mother grew up on that same farm (different house at that time, but the same farm). That little plot of land there at the bend in the road with a creek running behind it and the best well water you've ever tasted in your life has been in my family since about 1850. The big red barn has my family's surname and the year 1891 etched into one of the doors. It was never a big farm -- only a few hundred acres -- and it was nothing fancy, but it was clean and well-kept.   My three sisters have no interest in living in the middle of nowhere on midwestern farmland, but I love that little 20 acres that is now my mom's. So my sisters and I kind of have an agreement that whenever that land gets passed on, it'll be mine to retire to. I told my mother than I have no problem putting a clause in my own will specifying that the land will be sold only to a descendant of my grandparents no matter what other offers may be. My ancestors have lived on that land for so long, it feels like it belongs to us -- even without the deed.   So many things in life change so fast... but some things need to stay the same.

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Oooo, update!

I had just decided to put away my laptop and go to bed when the announcement email popped up in my InBox. I didn't even know there was a chance it might go live tonight, so it was a big surprise. But YAY, I didn't miss the update!   Here are my thoughts (apart from the general about Neil Gaiman scents!):   THE CAROUSEL: AMERICAN GODS BILQUIS: Honey, myrrh, lily of the valley, rose otto, fig leaf, almond, ambrette, red apple, and warm musk. I will love to try a decant of this because I like a lot of those notes. I had to be picky about which bottles I got, though, due to a rather small PayPal balance, so I decided against ordering a bottle of this. The honey, ambrette, and red apple are possible no-nos on me.   MAD SWEENEY: Barrel-aged whiskey and oak. Not sure on this one... I like oak but whiskey is iffy.   MAMA-JI: Spices, cardamom, nutmeg, and flowers. I don't think that one's going to work on me either. I usually stay away from spices.   MR. IBIS: Papyrus, vanilla flower, Egyptian musk, African musk, aloe ferox, white sandalwood. I have to try this one as soon as possible. I really like all those notes. I ordered a bottle.   MR. JACQUEL: Golden amber, hyssop, North African patchouli, and embalming spices. This could be really great -- when I was reading the description I accidentally read "embalming spices" as "embalming herbs" and remembered that the herbs haven't worked on me. I didn't order a bottle because of that, and now that I realize I mis-read the description I wish I would have tried a bottle.   THE CAROUSEL: ANANSI BOYS MR. NANCY: Sugar cookies with bay rum, tobacco, and lime. I love sugar cookies and I like those additional notes! This was the first one I saw that I didn't even have to consider -- I knew instantly that it would be in my order.   SPIDER: White ginger, artemesia, vetiver, nutmeg, King mandarin, bergamot, and lime. This one threw me for a total loop. I have no idea what that will smell like. I'll be on the lookout for decants for sale as soon as people start getting their bottles.   LIMITED EDITION: LUNACIES CROW MOON: This is the final Full Moon of winter. The call of the crow signals the end of the frost, and their scent, of vervain, black violet, white musk, and Chinese cedar, is brushed by the last cold wind of winter on their wings, and the scent of evergreen boughs touched by the season’s final flowers and the first blossoms of spring: wintersweet, green-barked dogwood, primrose, snowdrop, and lenten rose hellebore bouquet. I got this because I get all the lunacies, but I am almost positive that the "cold wind of winter" aspect is going to mess up the scent for me. It always does.   OBOROT Balkan fir sap, dark mosses, Greek Mountain tea flower, black pine, salty ocean spray, deep black earth, and a moon-touched magickal incense of sandarac, frankincense, and ravensara. I got this one too for the same reason, but fir, pine, moss, and earth are all bad on me. I don't expect I'm going to like it, but I'm willing to give it a shot.   LIMITED EDITION FIRE PIG A new year’s blessing! Peony, China’s national flower, with bamboo for flexibility, plum blossom for perseverance, courage, and hope, tangerine for wealth, orange for happiness, lychee for household peace, pine resin for constancy, golden kumquat, pussy willow, and quince for prosperity, narcissus and King mandarin for good fortune, and peach blossom for longevity, with a splash of blazing red of dragon’s blood… to help you scare away the rampaging Nian. Well, I did like Peony Moon, except that I thought it didn't seem to be too terribly complex -- this one sounds a lot more interesting. I'm not sure about it though, and since it'll be up for a while I figured I could take some time deciding on it.

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Well, this is not good.

I just caught myself in the act of chewing a fingernail. It had a little tear in one side, and now it's gone.   This upsets me because my new year's resolution for 2006 was to stop chewing my fingernails. It's a habit I'd had since I was a kid. I bit my fingernails all the time, and my hands never looked pretty and womanly. They always looked beat-up and rough because of having terrible fingernails. So I quit. I reallly, honestly quit. I spent all of 2006 trying to figure out how to care for fingernails because I'd never had them before. They'd get long and I'd say "Wow, look at my long fingernails!" My husband would say, "Yep. Here's the nail clippers." It took me almost a year to use the clippers because I was so upset about the idea of cutting down the fingernails that I had been so good about growing. I was filing, filing, filing constantly.   This winter I've learned about nail brittleness. Almost all of my fingernails have started to get cracks on the edges, fairly far down. I tried to glue a couple of them, but that only held for a few days at the most. Plus I messed with them absent-mindedly. Yesterday I realized that so many of them had those cracks that I'd better just cut them all down. I cut them to a reasonable short length. A little white crescent moon on the ends of my fingernails.   The problem is that now they're so short they're the perfect biting height. Earlier tonight I was feeling annoyed and irritated about something, and before I knew it I'd lost a fingernail. Crap! Now I have to go through that whole agonizing torture of forcing myself NOT to mess with my fingernails all over again until these grow out. Luckily they grow fast (I never knew my fingernails grew so rapidly until I started letting them grow -- they're like weeds!), but it'll still be several weeks before I can stop thinking "DO NOT BITE FINGERNAILS!!!" in the back of my mind at all times.   But, hey. If a bitten fingernail is the worst thing to happen to me this week, that's a damn good week, in my book.

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TMI.

I've been inspired by the recent spate of blogs about bringing out the inner sex kitten, so...   I woke up my husband at 4:00 in the morning for purposes of sex.   This was a pretty common thing when we were first together, but after six and a half years it's not as common as it probably should be. I'm not even sure if you can say "not as common" if it's like once in three years.   When he got home told me he was tired at work all day today but he was also happy. Maybe I should do that more often.   Next on my sexy agenda: Tweezing my eyebrows into pinup-style arches!

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University-related question.

Here's a strange question for you. What do you do when you realize that your professor is giving wrong answers in class?   Last quarter I had a 300-level anatomy class. This quarter I have a 100-level physiology class. This is the first time this professor has taught at Northwestern -- usually she teaches at a community college.   Last week she mis-identified a bone on her own lecture slide as a humerus when it was very clearly a femur. She sort of hemmed and hawed over it for a couple of seconds and then said humerus. So it wasn't just an oral typo.   Last night she spelled the muscle sternocleidomastoid wrong on her lecture slide, and then she mispronounced it as well. But the real kicker was that she had it up there as an example of how muscles are sometimes named based on their points of insertion. She said this muscle is named for its three insertion points: the sternum, the clavicle [both true] and... "mastication, which is chewing, which means it goes into your neck." Ummm... no. It's attached to the mastoid process, which is a piece of the temporal bone of the skull that sticks down behind your ear.   I realize she may need to simplify some explanations because it's a 100-level class, but simplify does not mean the same thing as "tell students the wrong answer." When a student asked her what the difference was between "extends the thigh" and "extends the leg" when we were talking about different muscle functions, she didn't know the answer. Our anatomy professor beat us over the head with learning to call the upper part of the lower limb the "thigh" and the lower part of the lower limb the "leg." She told us specifically not to call the whole lower limb the "leg" because that was anatomically incorrect. So why did my physiology professor not know that?   I don't know what to do here. I paid full Northwestern tuition for this class, and this is the first time at Northwestern that I felt like I was getting a crappy education for my money. All my other Northwestern professors have been stellar.   Should I go to the dean? Should I ask my advisor what I should do? I've never been in this situation before and I don't know how to approach this.

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January is a jerk.

Bleah. I feel crappy. Several people I know feel crappy. Why does January always suck?   People have taken down their Christmas lights, and there's only a dusting of snow on the ground right now, so when I'm driving around everything just looks stark and icky. I wish that "Christmas lights" were actually "winter lights" and people would leave them up for the entire winter. I can't stand the interval between having no Christmas lights and spring. It's so bleak and dreary. Another two months of this. Gah.   The sky is white instead of blue. No birds are singing. The only thing I smell outside is automobile exhaust.   Probably what I need to do is start a fire in the fireplace, hang some colorful Christmas tree lights all throughout my family room, burn a yummy-scented tart, bake some bread, and load up some energetic happy music on the stereo.   But I don't have the energy for that, so I'll settle for happy music and a yummy tart.

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De-crapification in effect.

Hubby and I have too much stuff. It's taking over our house. I am something of a packrat (if by "something of a" you might mean "HUGE")... I have:   - bright fuschia-colored socks that were in style for about a minute in 1986. They don't have holes and are still kinda cushiony (probably because I've worn them twice), so I never got rid of them. With the exception of a few pairs, most of my socks can be dated to the early- or mid-90s. - underwear that I bought 10 years ago. If it still fits and doesn't have any holes, I still have it. Those account for, and I'm not kidding, at least 40% of my underwear drawer. - any piece of paper that hasn't been written on. If there's 2 pages left in the pad of paper, I keep it. This includes spiral notebooks from college (which was 15 years ago). - casette tapes I've had since college. I had a vast tape collection before CDs. I meant to replace them with CDs, and I did, for most of the ones I listened to most frequently. And now we're in the age where even CDs are being phased out... and yet I still have casette tapes. - VHS tapes. Same thing. I haven't looked at a VHS tape since we moved into this house 4.5 years ago. But I still have every VHS tape I ever bought. - clothing. I keep everything I've ever bought unless it is too worn to wear. I have sizes from 5 to 18, small to 2X. Some of them still have tags. And let's not talk about concert/band t-shirts. - and just plain crap. Half a cross-stitch thing I never finished. Half a bottle of shampoo I stopped using in 1998. A metric ton of various candle holders I never use. Junk I bought on various vacations. Books I read half of and will never pick up again. CDs I bought 12 years ago and are still in plastic.   This crap has got to go. We have a four-bedroom house with a basement, and it's FULL. We are two people. This is no way to live.   My sister (a single mom, she and her son live in a house they share with my mother) is currently unemployed and is wondering how she's going to make her car payment. I take one look around my house and see the answer. This is a great incentive for de-crapifying my house. It would benefit my sister.   So I called her up the other night and said, "Hey, if I give you a bunch of stuff, would you be willing to sell it on eBay and keep the money for yourself?" She said sure. I told her I'd come over next weekend or the one after with the stuff. I bet she has no idea that my Subaru Outback will be FULL of boxes of clothes, DVDs, CDs, and books. She's in for a surprise.

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What an update!

I can barely believe how much gorgeousness the Lab has created in the past few months. I have been thinking that after the hugeness of Carnaval Diabolique, Halloweenies, Order of the Dragon, Yule, a whole new Salon set, and the ToT inquisition, they'd probably be taking a break for a while. I thought that the next CD act would be kinda small, the size of one of the first two acts, and I thought that Lupercalia would be on the small side as well. Maybe 6 or 7 bottles.     Here are my thoughts and what I got:   HUNGER MOON. Ozone, white sandalwood, crystallized white amber, verbena, oakmoss, clary sage, and a hint of white citrus rind. I bought a bottle because I always buy Lunacy bottles. However, I don't expect to like this. Citrus and herbs are usually bad for me.   BAKENEKO. Warm amber musk, Satsuma tangerine, black tea leaf, cardamom, cherry blossom and cinnamon. Again, I bought a bottle because it's a Lunacy blend, but I'm not sure it'll work on me. My skin amps cardamom and cinnamon to overwhelming proportions. Both in the same blend is very probably a deal-breaker.   ABHISARIKA. Damascus rose, African orchid, cream accord, and Kashmir musk. I love the idea behind these. I would have bought the whole set if I had enough money. I heavily debated whether to buy a bottle of this one, and I probably should have. But I just wound up joining a decant circle to buy a decant of it. At least it'll be up for a while so I'll still have a chance to get a bottle later. I don't usually like blends that are too rosy, but the orchid, cream, and Kashmir musk sound wonderful.   KALAHANTARIKA. hyssop, lavender, balsam of Peru, jonquil, and elemi. Potentially too strong for me. I'll be interested to find out what it smells like, but I'm not going to go out of my way for it for a while.   KHANDITA. fiery saffron, neroli, severe black musk, rose otto, and a harsh splinter of rosemary. It's funny, I was all prepared to order this one until I saw the rosemary, and then I balked. Maybe I shouldn't have. I usually like the other notes.   PROSHITAPATHIKA. blue iris, fennel, dark musk, verbena, and a drop of star anise. This is the other one that probably won't work for me. I tend to dislike sharp scents, and the fennel and star anise might be too much for me. Also I usually don't like verbena at all.   SVADHINAOPATIKA. golden amber, oude, red sandalwood, massoia bark, honey, and currant. Um... yeah, I got a bottle of this one. Holy crap. That sounds marvelous.   VASAKASAJJA. skin musk, wild orchid, champaca flower, amaranth, tonka bean, and French vanilla. Had to get a bottle of this one too. It sounds feminine but not overly so, and rich and slightly decadent. I love the description, too.   VIRAHOTKANTITA. blue lilac, snowdrop, bergamot, night-blooming cereus, frankincense, Himalayan cedar, and stargazer lily. This definitely sounds like it will smell like sadness. I bet it'll be very pretty, too. I'd like to find a decant of it.   VIPRALABDA. benzoin, Greek sage, hay, melaleuca ericifolia, oakmoss, and blue chamomile. I have no idea what that will smell like. I'd like to try a decant of it.   DOLCE STIL NUOVO. rose otto, carnation, vanilla flower, lavender and jasmine with the clarity of crystalline white musk and the warmth of golden amber. Eek. Those flowers are usually much too strong on me. I'd try a decant of this, but I doubt it'll work for me.   CHINTAMANI-DHUPA. Pound well together sandal-wood, Kunku, costus, Krishnaguru, Suvasika-puspha, white vala and the bark of the Deodaru pine; and, after reducing them to fine powder, mix it with honey and thoroughly dry. Got a bottle of this because I'm dying to know what it smells like. The description is very intriguing.   KANISHTA. black opium, Haitian patchouli, jasmine sambac, French magnolia and kush. I didn't realize until after I submitted my order that I did NOT have this one in my order. Stupid oversight. I really meant to buy a bottle of this. It will be in my next order. This sounds like exactly the sort of scent that I love.   KHAJURAHO 2007. honey, date palm, tuberose, davana blossom, amber, white sandalwood, vanilla bean, Damask rose, and champaca flower. I had a bottle of this from last year, and although I thought it smelled fine, I never wore it. Sometimes I'd pick it up thinking I might wear it that day, but I always put it back down and picked something else. I like the scent, it's just not me, I guess.   LUPERCI 2007. raw, down and dirty patchouli, Gurjam balsam, and essence of Sampson Root sweetened with the heightened sexuality of beeswax, virile juniper, oakmoss, ambrette seed over honey and East African musk. I had a bottle from last year, and I thought it was going to smell good on me. I was really excited to try it. But both times I tried it, all I got out of it was juniper. One of my least favorite notes. My husband didn't like it on me either. So I swapped the bottle, and I've never regretted it.   NIGHT'S PAVILION 2007. White musk, osmanthus, Nile lily and frankincense. I may have tried this last year, but I don't remember it very well. I do know that every time I've seen it up for swap/sale I've passed it over rapidly. I believe that I did try it and I thought it was too sweet and feminine for me.   THE OBLATION. A stirring blend of dianthus, French lavender, blackberry, and white honey. I think that poem is wonderful and moving. In the old days when I had a job I would have bought a bottle of this just from the poem alone. However, now that I'm unemployed and my husband decides how much money I can spend, this would have been a risk for me because of the lavender. I couldn't resist signing up for a decant, though. I bet I'll like this despite the lavender.   THE PERFUMED GARDEN 2007. Myrrh and Moroccan jasmine with apple peel, Indian sandalwood, myrtle, quince, citron, and thyme poured over soft musk. I had a bottle of last year's version, and I thought it was too feminine so I sold it. Then I got together with another BPALer and she had a bottle of it she wanted to swap. I sniffed it and tried on a little bit, and I realized that I do like it. It is feminine, but I'm not as anti-feminine as I used to be. So now I have that bottle.   RED LANTERN 2007. Golden amber, blonde tobacco, Sudanese black coconut, rich caramel, black currant, white opium and delphinium laced with a sensual blend of Asian spice. I had a bottle of last year's version for many months, and I finally realized that I never wear it and I might as well sell it. I just sold it a couple of weeks ago. It's a great scent, and I liked it, but I see no reason why a whole bottle of it should be sitting in my BPAL box getting no love when they are lots of people around who would wear it and enjoy it.   SMUT 2007. Three swarthy, smutty musks sweetened with sugar and woozy with dark booze notes. I still have at least three bottles of last year's version. Maybe four. This is one of my husband's very favorite scents on me. I'm not allowed to wear it out of the house.   ELIXIR X: GRR. Headache relief. ELIXIR XI: OOF. Sinus pain relief. ELIXIR XII: UGH. Muscle ache relief. I didn't try any of these, but that imp three-pack is very tempting. I think I'll order the imp pack with my next order.   And now for the OMG Carnaval Diabolique scents:   THE PARLIAMENT OF MONSTERS. Dust, incense, wet tobacco, and a curl of opium smoke. I signed up for a decant of this. I expect to like it, but I'm not sure I'll like it enough for a whole bottle. I already have other bottles that have a similar scent.   ARACHNINA, THE SPIDER GIRL. A swirling, hypnotic perfume of black currant, poppy, red and black musk, lilies, nicotiana, and patchouli. I signed up for a decant of this too, but that was sort of dumb. I should have bought a bottle. There is no note in there that I don't like. In fact, I like them all a lot. I'm a huge sucker for red musk.   ESHE, A VISION OF LIFE-IN-DEATH. The perfume of life-in-death: embalming herbs, black myrrh, white sandalwood, black orchid, paperwhites, tomb dust, and Moroccan jasmine. The description for this one creeped me out. In a good way, of course. I didn't sign up for a decant of this because I was put off by the embalming herbs. Those usually overpower a blend on my skin. I will eventually swap for a decant of it to try, though.   FAIZA, THE BLACK MAMBA. black amber, caraway, oakmoss, green sandalwood, bergamot, jasmine sambac, gardenia, orange pulp, vanilla, blackberry, black musk, white honey, ti leaf, and ginger. I got a decant of this because there are quite a few notes in there that are usually not good on me. (oakmoss, jasmine, gardenia, ginger). However... those are all notes that have on occasion surprised me by not ruining a blend. So, we'll see.   ASP VIPER: Snake Oil with red mandarin, myrrh, and almond. Want to try a decant. Might be great.   AUSTRALIAN COPPERHEAD: Snake Oil with acai berry, amber, cardamom, neroli, and smoked vanilla. Not sure about the cardamom, but the other ones sound good. Will like to swap for a decant eventually.   BANDED SEA SNAKE: Snake Oil with oakmoss, sea moss, and olive leaf. Hmmm. I'll try it eventually, but I'm in no hurry on this one. Oakmoss and sea moss are usually not so great for me.   BOOMSLANG: Snake Oil with cocoa, teakwood, and rice milk. Bought a decant of this. I bet those notes smell lovely with snake oil.   CORAL SNAKE: Snake Oil with blood orange, red apple, lemon peel, plumeria, and gardenia. Hmmm. Probably not. Apple, lemon, and gardenia are usually no-nos for me.   COTTONMOUTH: Snake Oil with linden blossom, calla lily, passion flower, and narcissus. Snake Oil with a bunch of floral notes? I'm not sure what that will smell like. I'd like to try a decant of it, though.   DEATH ADDER: Snake Oil with vetiver, black coconut, vanilla, and opoponax. I allowed myself to buy ONE Snake Pit bottle unsniffed, and this is the one I chose. I bet I'll love this. Opoponax, vanilla, and vetiver are three of my favorite notes.   GREEN TREE VIPER: Snake Oil with four mints, bergamot, and green tea. Mint is usually not my thing.   HABU: Snake Oil with ho wood, teak, black musk, and bamboo. I carefully considered this one. I didn't buy a decant of it but probably should have. This will be one of the first ones I'll be looking for when people start swapping/selling their decants.   KING COBRA: Snake Oil with orris, frankincense, and copal. I like copal but frankincense tends to make blends too high-pitched and sweet on me.   SAW-SCALED VIPER: Snake Oil with cinnamon, cassia, and red ginger. Much too hot for me. I had a vial of Beth's experimental cinnamon Snake Oil, and it was too cinnamony for me. I like plain Snake Oil better.   TEMPLE VIPER: Snake Oil with sugar cane, frankincense, champaca, opoponax, labdanum, and hyssop. This one might be one I like despite the frankincense. I truly love champaca and opoponax, so I bought a decant of it.   WESTERN DIAMONDBACK: Oil with leather, tonka bean, red sandalwood, and sage. I didn't get a decant of this, mostly due to my dumbness. I should have. I will look for this one first when people start selling/swapping decants.   HOPE & FAITH, THE SIAMESE TWINS. Hope is sugared violet, Faith is sugared rose. Love the description for this one, but those florals usually don't work for me.   ISAAC, THE LIVING SKELETON. Bourbon, tobacco, dry bone, bay rum aftershave, and sleazy cologne. I bought a decant of this because I think my husband will like it.   KATANIYA, THE CLOCKWORK WOMAN. Gentle flowers over hot metal, shocked to life with electricity. I don't know what this will smell like. I'd like to try a decant eventually. I often like the metallic blends, but I already have several of them.   MESKHENET, THE VULTURE MAIDEN. Frankincense, hyssop, hibiscus, river reeds, orris root, palm frond, and olibanum. I don't think those notes will work for me. I'll try a decant eventually, but it's not high up on my list.   THALASSA, THE GALAPAGOS MERMAID. Seaweed, kelp, salty ocean spray, bitter almond, night-blooming jasmine, frankincense, and benzoin. VERY unlikely to work for me. I don't like the scent of seaweed and kelp at all.   TIRESIAS, THE ANDROGYNE. Dark, moody, and bittersweet: black currant, patchouli, tobacco, cinnamon leaf, caramel, muguet, and red sandalwood. Great description, and I love the song Gloomy Sunday. I think I might like this one a lot -- I bought a decant of it, and I'm betting it will be my first CD Act III bottle purchase (after Death Adder, of course).   THE WILD MEN OF JEZIRAT AL TENNYN. Fiery, primal, and precociously diabolical: red amber, Spanish moss, Indonesian patchouli, ambergris, red pepper, two cloves, and vanilla flower. I wonder if my husband would like this. He liked Fire Eater. It's just too hot-sounding for me.   WULRIC, THE WOLFMAN. Friendly, charming, and cuddly, but possessing one hell of a mean streak: cocoa absolute, French vanilla, birch tar, lavender, bourbon vetiver, wild musk, clary sage, and cistus. This might smell very good on my husband. I bought a decant of it so he can try it.   ZARITA, THE DOLL GIRL. white carnation, iris, orange blossom, and sugared cream. This will probably be too feminine for me, but I wouldn't mind trying it.   PRIALA, THE HUMAN PHOENIX. Three deep, dark myrrhs, smoke, and cinnamon bark. I bought a decant of this, and I'm really impatient to try it. I love myrrh and smoke. I wonder if I will end up wanting to buy a whole bottle.

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On Christmas and Bad Manners

Although I like my in-laws, sometimes I feel very uncomfortable in their house. I get tired of being interrupted mid-sentence to be told, "Let's talk about something else," or "New topic!" It appears that new additions to the list of things not to be discussed in front of them are: human anatomy, common cold symptoms (I'm not talking snot here, I mean saying that your throat feels dry and scratchy), and dogs accidentally becoming pregnant.   If anything could be construed as even slightly gross or possibly related to sex in some way, apparently it's entirely off-limits.   My husband's mom asked me how my classes were going, and when I started talking about the anatomy paper I wrote about macular degeneration, she asked what causes it. I began to tell her that it's often caused by blood vessels bursting or leaking, and oh no, that sounds AWFUL, I can't talk about that. While we were having this conversation and she was telling me that she didn't want to hear anything that "sounds awful," she was tearing apart a cooked turkey with her bare hands and splitting it up into storage containers. I shit you not.   Look, I've got no problem with being proper and avoiding certain topics. I don't waltz in there and start describing the way my dog's poo has looked strange lately or give graphic descriptions of gunshot wounds. But it's gotten to the point where I feel like every time I open my mouth they tense up and wait for something even remotely unsuitable to come out so they can shout "New topic!" at me.   They really pride themselves on having what they think are good manners. Thus the restricted conversation topics. At some point I will probably tell them that their methods of telling people that a topic is inappropriate are exceedingly BAD MANNERS. A cultured person would gracefully redirect the conversation or excuse himself or herself and go to another room.   But, these are the same people who hang up the phone without saying "Good bye," blow their noses at the table, and drop quotes from Rush Limbaugh into the conversation. They think it's perfectly fine to attempt to correct an adult's behavior the same way you'd correct a child. His mom knows that I like crossword puzzles and has seen me working on them about 80 times, and yet a couple of days ago she felt the need to go on for five minutes about how crossword puzzles are a complete waste of time and she prefers words in sentences arranged in a book.   So probably I expect too much.

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