( ...)"Venezuela's socialist government has promised to import 50 million rolls of toilet paper (or maybe 25 million double-rolls?) and 760,000 pounds of food to make sure all citizens can eat and poop in comfort once more. “The revolution will bring the country the equivalent of 50 million rolls of toilet paper,” the country's commerce minister said. “We are going to saturate the market so that our people calm down.”
"As Dan Gross explains, the Venezuelan T.P. shortage is a fairly textbook case of well-intentioned safety-net planning run amok.
(...)"Price controls are a decent idea in theory, but when combined with strict currency controls and protectionist trade policy, they often do more harm than good. A onetime Charmin injection can't change the basic laws of economics." Read the story: The People of Venezuela Are in Dire Need of Toilet Paper by Kevin Roose, New York Magazine, May 17, 2013
Friday, May 17, 2013
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Many of us give and receive flowers for Mother's Day, and they're always a pleasure to receive, but how many of us also appreciate the flowers to come in a bottle of perfume? There are gorgeous bouquets and soliflores out there for our picking, and no, they don't have to be traditional carnations to be the right gift. Roses are beautiful, luxurious and appropriate for any occasion--plus this year, I happen to be mad about them.
I've smelled many roses on my fragranced life path, but one rose soliflore that stands out is a work of realism by Serge Lutens called Sa Majeste la Rose (2000). Now, as much as I love roses, I don't always feel like smelling of a pure, heady rose, because the scent can be strong and overwhelming, but this one is not only magnificently rich and velvety, so extraordinary in its charismatic reach, it's practically made for the red carpet, it's a textbook rose, almost too perfect to be so natural-smelling. The notes listed include Moroccan rose absolute, geranium and clove; maybe the natural aroma is thanks to copious amounts of eugenol, but that doesn't stop me from wearing it, because the positive responses don't stop.
Among the truly notable soliflores are Creed Fleurs de Thé Rose Bulgare (tea rose), Shiseido White Rose (rosa alba), JAR Golconda (carnation), Christian Dior Diorissimo (lily of the valley), Santa Maria Novella Tuberosa (tuberose) and Annick Goutal Gardénia Passion (gardenia); Serge Lutens Sa Majeste la Rose belongs in the collection of single note beauties, for it shares with the others many true-to-the-flower details, such as a subtle nuance of dewy greenery accompanying the living flower essence, perhaps a hint of honey, but especially the element that instantly transports the smeller to a florist's cooler or, in an abstract sense of realism, a still life oil painting. With Sa Majeste la Rose, the effect seems ever more permanent, as the radiant scent doesn't change throughout the course of wear.
If I'm to compare Sa Majeste la Rose to Creed Fleurs de Thé Rose Bulgare (not to be confused with Creed Rose Bulgarie, a heavier, muskier rose), Creed's is lighter and more tempered with greener notes, while Serge Lutens' is deeper, borderline animalic in its natural rose carnality but still robustly fresh. If comparing with Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin, a more recent launch featuring the rose, La Fille de Berlin is a similar type of rose to Sa Majeste la Rose but peppery, with a resinous dry down.
For me, the additional pink pepper doesn't make a rose more or less youthful or mature; both smell as virginal or carnal as one cares to perceive the masculine/feminine perfect flower that is the rose. Being the simplest type of perfume, the one note perfume with strength yet minimal dynamics, which fades out like a popular record, it can bypass the volatile virgin/whore dichotomy of attributes assigned to more complex perfumes, and smell androgynous, elegant in its simplicity, or maternal for its confident, enveloping, and timeless warmth.
Friday, May 03, 2013
Darryl Cunningham's cartoon bio strip on Ayn Rand has now started its run on the Activate Comix website.
Visit the Ayn Rand pages at Darryl Cunningham Investigates.
For the record, I'm only on Chapter 6 of Atlas Shrugged, and I already despise that Dagny Taggart, Ayn Rand's heroine, is in love with a man who hit her. It seems to me this so-called book with a strong feminine character written in 1957 would appeal more to apologists of violent men than women that know better. I can only hope the book in its entirety has more to offer than The Little Red Hen, an old folk tale, most likely of Russian origin (according to Wikipedia), a cautionary tale about reaping what we sow.
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Back in April, I went on a self-guided sniffathon through Manhattan. Although I was on limited time and didn't buy anything new, I kept a mental list of everything I tried, as well as everything I wanted to smell again.
Firstly, congratulations to Fragrantica for launching their own perfume, The Vagabond Prince Enchanted Forest, available now at Henri Bendel! How cool is that? I grew up in (the enchanted, as a friend of mine would say) Forest Hills, Queens, so they get an extra hurray from me. I should write a full review worthy of this beautiful fragrance, but for now, suffice it to say it's a fruity (almost peachy) black currant blend with spring-fresh light florals. It was my favorite discovery at Bendel's. It really stood out among the other linear, heavy incensey stuff, and I noted how refreshing it was to see a disconnect between the fresh Floral scent and the very oriental-looking packaging. The hefty bottle kinda looks like Arpége-meets-Sun, Moon and Stars: mystical like the Tarot.
Shopping is like hiking, considering all the walking I did between Bergdorfs, Bendel's and Saks, but I managed to smell pretty much everything there was to smell. I encountered some niche brands I'd only read about and hoped to sample, and also bumped into old favorites, things I once wore and loved. Perfume is lovable because "every scent is connected to a memory," as the charming salesperson at the Guerlain counter at Saks noted.
All in all, I had fun, and most sales associates were great (I appreciated Bendel's for letting me sniff to my heart's content without intrusion). Only one SA at Saks berated me for not saying hello to him when I first walked in, which is ironic because in Japan, I was told I shouldn't feel obligated to smile and chat up with SAs who were trained to greet customers but didn't expect replies. Welcome to NYC where you can get told off by salespeople for not engaging with them personally. Actually, you can meet people like this every day, and we wonder how a show like Celebrity Apprentice gets popular. Haha! (I mean besides the fact that Ivanka Trump is why I watch.)
Onto the scents: Along the way, I came across the softest fig of all in a dreamy pale blue bottle in Annick Goutal Ninfeo Mio, and got to reminisce about Japanese temples and modest home altars upon sniffing the spicy Agonist Black Amber. I was almost knocked out by the intensity of an oud-patchouli by Boadicea the Victorious, and among the most memorable and noteworthy were Guerlain Eau du Coq, Mouchoir de Monsieur, several other new ones in the line, and Van Cleef and Arpels Feerie Rose de Neiges at Bergdorfs, presented by a lovely SA who showed it to me even though I almost passed it by.
I think I'm in love with Feerie Rose de Neiges, which smelled like a soft, fresh and somewhat milky rose floral with a subtle saltiness, like Cartier de Lune but a bit sweeter and prettier for lack of a better word. The milky opaque bottle matches the scent, and although the design with the silver fairy is too literal to be my style, the bottle is a beautiful objet d'art, substantial and luminous, like a diamond-cut moonstone. My full review can be read here.
Guerlain perfumes with their timeless quality and character are always a respite to smell. Guerlain was my last stop, the highlight to store in my memory before I called it a day. I finally got to sample Mayotte, Mon Precioux Nectar and the floral one with Amour in the name. These testers with bulb spray atomizers caught my eye as soon as I reached the counter, as they were placed right up front, easy to test. They all smelled very nice, of course, the floral one drying down a tad peachy, Mon Precioux Nectar even peachier but with the same dusky feel, and Mayotte spicy, fruity and luxuriously vanillic.
I was able to confirm that L'Heure de Nuit smelled almost identical to L'Heure Bleue but transparent (but it's heavier than L'HB, I was told), and the new lingerie / linen sprays which were modern-smelling white musks, as expected. The classic Mouchoir de Monsieur (1904) reminded me of Jicky (1889) with its lavender-vanillic Fougere character, and the legendary Eau de Cologne du Coq (1894) was as perfectly handsome as a citrus can be, not too lime-sharp, warm but not musky, and not spicy but dry, still a bit astringent, distinctive and for me, sweet enough. One of these days, I will return for Eau de Coq, and my man and I are going to love smelling like Paul Newman.
On my way out, I think I would have given Jour d'Hermes a test if the salesperson hadn't suggested that it wasn't "too sweet." OK--cocktails I can have on the dry side, but there's nothing more disappointing to me than desserts and perfumes that aren't sweet. Besides, my feet were tired and I was rushed to leave by this point. Next time! I ended the afternoon with a nostalgic whiff of Jardins de Bagatelle, conjured in my mind by this wonderful SA as a magnificent floral garden...and that it truly was.
Compiled on a mild and drizzly April day, and edited on this cool night on the first of May, here is my current list of Top 10 favorite fragrances:
1. L'Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons
2. Serge Lutens Gris Clair
3. Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin
4. Van Cleef & Arpels Feerie Rose de Neiges
5. L'Artisan Parfumeur Orchidee Blanche
6. Santa Maria Novella Tuberosa
7. Guerlain Eau du Coq
8. Creed Spring Flower
9. Serge Lutens Sa Majeste la Rose
10. BCBG Bon Chic
Friday, April 26, 2013
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Monday, April 22, 2013
Van Cleef & Arpels has always impressed me with their high quality line of perfumes to complement their fine jewellery collection. Like Cartier and Boucheron, the company has invested in beautiful, timeless fragrances, each one a grand overture to the luxury of the entire brand. Van Cleef & Arpels in particular has always offered traditionally soft and sweet feminine fare mixed with the sharper, ever-scintillating mark of a prestige perfume, the brilliant-cut sillage that sparkles across a room to be noticed. From the sweet and opulent raspberry-infused boozy amber of Van Cleef to the assertive and sexy Fruity Chypre that is Gem, and for contrast, spring flowers strewn across a green meadow under peach blossom trees for the Fruity Floral Miss Arpels who could very well have a seductive arsenal of succulent melons and pineapples in her picnic basket, each perfume is an unspoken tale.
Each one seems fit for a certain kind of Cinderella, but perhaps none more than their recent offering, Feerie Rose de Neiges, which I tried at Bergdorf Goodman a couple of weeks ago. I haven't smelled the original Feerie to compare with, but this limited edition winter offering of a snow rose is so downy soft and pleasantly Floral with the subtlest brush of powder sans musky heaviness, it seems perfect for spring, and virtually year round. The transparent quality lends itself to smelling slightly aqueous but elegantly along the same line as Cartier de Lune which it resembles most.
The aqueous quality doesn't smell sporty, but like rice husks and rosewater, a Belle Epoque scent interpreted as a completely new and wearably modern composition fit for any room, be it a conservative office or candlelit dinner table. I find Feerie Rose de Neiges to be the type of quintessential Floral for anyone who prefers a blush of rose to a garden of roses on her delicate skin. If you like clean fragrances that leave you lightly scented with the unmistakable scent and texture of an authentic French perfume, this one is a pearl, as opalescent and creamy as its lovely translucent diamond-motif bottle, as serene and dreamy as a humble, meditative moonstone on which a literal figurine of a fairy is perched. If the fairy flacon seems a bit juvenile for your taste, rest assured the scent held within is not.