Sunday, April 30, 2006

A Matter of Taste or Spatial Intelligence?

I've come to realize something about myself and that is that I appreciate things that have a certain level of complexity whether they are scent compositions or musical compositions. Therefore, when I receive reviews on my music saying that the listener couldn't keep focus on certain musical parts because too much was going on, it makes me think these listeners lack in spatial intelligence. That might be a harsh assessment but since I have no trouble following intricacy in music, I conversely can't fathom how one would find pleasure in listening to anything that didn't challenge the ear in some way. Of course, it could simply be a matter of taste, or even just that the listener isn't a very skilled musician. I wonder if these people get headaches from listening to Bach Fugues which I happen to love to listen to as well as play.

For more information about Visual-Spatial Intelligence, please visit this site and its sister site,

Best of the '80s In Music 3

Let's go for three: Billy Childs 'Take For Example This' came out in 1987 and I don't remember if I heard this on the original CD101.9 or on WBGO 88.3FM, a Jazz station which hails from Newark, NJ and still plays the best music on the planet. I fell in love with a piece of music called "Quiet Girl" and that was the beginning of my obsession with this talented and unique pianist-composer. This album was on Windham Hill and what also left an impression on me was that he had the poem by e e cummings on the album sleeve. I'm a huge fan of e e cummings so I guess it wasn't a surprise that I should feel connected to Billy Childs and the sound of his beautiful soul.

Best of the '80s In Music 2

Lyle Mays is like my musical guru, a piano god whose music I have worshipped since this album came out in 1988: 'Street Dreams'. There's a radio station here in NYC where they used to play good jazz (now they pass off fuzak and Celine Dion as jazz) called CD101.9. Anyway, when this station first came out, they played "August" by Lyle Mays and I've been his devoted fan ever since. "August" is the most tender piece of music I think I have ever heard. Discover the beauty that is Lyle Mays' musical landscape.

Saturday, April 29, 2006



Best of the '80s In Music

When people flashback on the '80s, I wish we'd lay off the really bad music and just talk about the good recordings that came out. There was RATT so we need not talk about too many other bands. But seriously, when I was working on Katsuhiko Nakagawa's album as a background vocalist in 1989 at Unique Recording Studios, there was one album that was regarded by the staff and the music pros as the ultimate in production quality, the standard by which all others (and their own works) were measured.

That album was Thomas Dolby 'Aliens Ate My Buick'.

If you haven't heard it, get it. Forget all the other '80s songs they keep pumping on VH1. You'll be glad to have heard Pulp Culture and Budapest By Blimp. I know that I was very moved by the quality of what I'd heard and the experience helped shape my musical taste and direction.

I refuse to believe that All of the '80s sucked. Just the people who make an entire decade out to be about cheese are the ones that do suck. It makes me wonder what their personal beef is or if that's really all they know.

My Favorite Amber

I'm not an amber fan on the whole--I think I know why I don't wear some of my past favorites anymore and it has to do with the fact that I sometimes find the richness of amber overwhelming. L'Artisan Ambre Extreme is an exception. I don't know why, but I find this particular amber so very pleasant; as rich as it smells, it never seems cloying to me. Maybe it's the smattering of spice which lifts the composition and gives it sharpness to counteract the powderiness, or the vanillic sweetness that melds with the mellow amber and makes a deep, smoky, boozy, somewhat erotic, rounded and smooth, delicious skin scent. Ambre Extreme is probably one of the only amber perfumes I would consider wearing on a regular basis. I think it doubles as an occasion scent even though it's not very complex because it has a certain mature sophistication about it. Hardcore amber fans might find this too light and boring but for me, it's just enough oomph before going into the syrupy realm. (Edited to add: I recommend it more for cool weather because its dry down was quite warm on me.)

Red carpet, here I come! ;-D

Ambre Extrême (spicy, oriental) 2001
Notes: amber, vanilla, fresh spices

Clean Fragrances

Craving a light, clean scent after wearing nothing but heavy perfumes for a couple of days is sort of like cleansing the palate with a taste of gelato between first and second Italian dinner courses. In a world where smelling like laundry detergent or soap has become a sort of ideal among non-perfumistas, I don't want to be another one to follow the trend (I never liked that--I always want to go against the grain) but right now, I'm in the mood to find a holy grail clean scent. Unfortunately, this means white musk in most cases, a type of musk which I often have an aversion to. To me, it smells powdery and synthetic and cloying in the air even if others say it smells clean. I haven't liked any of the ones that people have raved about, most notably Philosophy Amazing Grace, Trish McEvoy No.3, Gendarme Carriere. I really tried to like them and even have decants of Amazing Grace that I've hardly touched. So what do I do? So far, I have one staple fragrance for spring and summer that I've been wearing for a few years now called L'Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons.

La Chasse aux Papillons (chasing butterflies) is a light white floral with a somewhat classic vibe. It's a young and semi-sweet but fresh, citrusy floral which, if you're not a white floral lover, will no doubt smell heavier than it does to me. But thankfully there is no white musk soapy smell in it--the base smells like oakmoss to me and it has a very natural dry down. I can think of few perfumes that are this feminine and delicately beautiful. It's not a perfume I'm wildly complimented on, yet it seems to always feel appropriate for situations where I need to be lighthanded with my scent. Of all the perfumes I own, this one seems to be the most versatile, at least during the warmer seasons. It's also not too retro-smelling--I don't care for powdery green perfumes that remind me of floral soaps, either.

If I could find a clean scent that's as effervescent and delightful to wear as La Chasse aux Papillons, I'll make a switch in a heartbeat. As for now, no other perfume has fit the bill. I might as well stick to my beloved favorite; just because gelato is served, it doesn't mean you absolutely have to have it or to even like it. Happy Spring!

La Chasse aux Papillons (Floral) 1999
Notes: Linden blossom, lemon tree blossom, orange blossom, jasmine, tuberose

For the Love of Attrape-Coeur (Guet Apens)

For a perfume that I declared to be too heavy and strong to wear every day, I'm sure going through my decant of Attrape-Coeur fast! In fact, I'm starting to fantasize about forsaking all of my other recent loves to acquire just this--the one I can't have because it's another perfume exclusive to Paris. Yes, it seems Guerlain has gone the Serge route. But there's something interesting which I've discovered and that is that if I take Parure EDT and Samsara parfum and layer them at a certain ratio on my arm, I get an accord which at least comes close to Attrape-Coeur, not enough to kill my desire to own the real thing but close enough that I find it very fascinating. I think I could spend a lot of time being fascinated just like this, so, lucky for me and my nose, I could be temporarily amused by a mere outline of my current favorite which is impossible to own.

Like I said, it's not a magic formula that replaces the real thing. Please don't come after me when a meeeellion people around the world try to copy Attrape-Coeur with my lousy non-formula. Just because I think it smells like Parure and Samsara doesn't mean it actually is just the two together; in fact, the real Attrape-Coeur is infinitely smokier, richer and sweeter than my layering experiment which, next to the real deal smells thin and sharp. Besides, anything smells good when you're as sleep-deprived as I am.

Of course I still want Jasmin 17 which right now is my top pick for my next purchase. I'm coming for you soon, my darling...don't let that Attrape-Coeur make you think I don't need you (too).

Why must there be scents we can't even have when we love them so much?

Leather Fantasies

Leather perfumes are not my usual type of fragrance but I know I can grow into them because there are some truly breathtaking, extraordinary ones: Chanel Cuir de Russie, Guerlain Parure and one of my favorite perfumes by the venerable French perfume house of Caron, Tabac Blond.

Tabac Blond was an acquired love; I didn't fall in love at first sniff although I loved the idea of a perfume which didn't contain any tobacco notes but had been created to mask the odors of smoking (though I don't smoke anymore, I appreciate that this perfume marked a time in history when women were finally *allowed* to smoke). It's a very dry scent and unisex, although it is marketed as a Women's fragrance. I think Tabac Blond is one perfume which definitely could follow in Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur's footsteps and revamp how it's marketed--be unisex already! On second thought, maybe it's best marketed as the androgynous women's perfume. There aren't many of those. Marlene Dietrich and Debby Harry are associated with this exquisite and angular perfume.

It's spicy, rich, mellow yet very heady though controlled in its sweetness...if ever a leather perfume could be called a bombshell, this is it. It's hard-to-find and the only place I have seen it is at the Caron Boutique as an urn fragrance (there are special urns of perfumes at the boutique where they hand-decant perfumes of choice for you).

Tabac Blond (Oriental Leather) 1919

Top: Leather, carnation, linden.
Heart: Iris vetiver, ylang ylang, lime-tree leaf
Base: Cedar, patchouli, vanilla, amber, musk.

Chanel Cuir de Russie--Now, don't take my word at face value because this is just a rumor I'm sure...but I'd heard that Mick Jagger liked to wear this one on his behind...don't ask. It just always comes to mind now whenever there's mention of Cuir de Russie. I hope I haven't ruined it for you. Cuir de Russie is Russian Leather, and this Women's perfume by Chanel is an elegant play on the powdery Aldehydic Floral Chanel No.5 theme. Now, some of my readers might think what I'm about to say is sacrilege but I think many of the Chanel perfumes are similar. If you've smelled No.5, you could imagine it morphing into a leathery scent. That would be Cuir de Russie. Likewise Bois des Iles to me is a woodsy No.5 and No.22 is a softer, incense-based No.5 with very subtle white floral notes. The ones I find vastly different from No.5 are No.19, Gardenia and all of the newer scents from Coco and Cristalle forward. But I digress; Cuir de Russie is another leather perfume that I think is beautiful enough to claim as a signature one day.

Cuir de Russie (Chypre Floral Animalic) 1927

Top: Orange blossom, bergamot, mandarin, clary sage
Heart: Iris, jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, cedarwood, vetiver
Base: Balsamics, leather, amber, vanilla

Guerlain Parure is the feminine leather chypre being the most floral of the bunch (although men could absolutely wear it, like men should wear whatever perfume they please--marketing scents is just that--marketing). I smell lots of Guerlinade, the Guerlain signature blend, in Parure which is best described as a classic scent of highest pedigree. I don't like Guerlinade alone but in Parure I find that the lilac note isn't as prominent when it's in a mix with dry leather to counteract its softness. Balance is everything in a blend and this one balances soft and hard elements perfectly. I'd read somewhere that Jean Paul Guerlain had created this one for his mother. I would say it's a mature type of scent but not one that a very sophisticated and individualistic young woman couldn't carry off. Of all 3 leather perfumes, I believe this one smells the most traditionally romantic.

Parure (Chypre Floral Animalic) 1975

Top: Plum, bergamot, fruits, hesperides, greens
Heart: Rose, lilac, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, jonquil
Base: Oakmoss, patchouli, spices, amber, leather

Friday, April 28, 2006

My Red Carpet Picks

Van Cleef by Van Cleef & Arpels was created in 1993. For those of us who missed out on Gem while it was still being produced, Van Cleef, the jewelery company's signature, is the younger generation, a hypersweet, plush and gorgeous Floral Oriental with raspberry notes. After testing Gem earlier, I moved onto Van Cleef and found that this might be a little easier to wear, although a part of me still misses the sophisticated and complex Fruity Chypre aspect of Gem. If ever I could find a Fruity Chypre that resembles either of these, I think I'd be in 7th heaven. Right now, I'm happily testing this olfactory jewel which is sweet enough to call dessert for my skin. A little bit goes a long way with this powerful blend (I'm testing pure parfum), and like its predecessor Gem, here is another perfume that could easily walk down the red carpet, only it might be mistaken for Givenchy Hot Couture or another sweet berry-based Floral Oriental in its sillage. Still, I think it's worth a try while it's still in production. I only wish the bottle didn't look so gaudy.

According to Jan Moran:
Van Cleef (Floral-Oriental) 1993

Top: Neroli, bergamot, raspberry, galbanum
Heart: Rose, jasmine, orange blossom
Base: Cedarwood, vanilla, musk, tonka bean

Panthere de Cartier was my signature back in 1999 or so. I didn't discover it when it first launched in the late '80s but I'm so glad I went to a perfume shop and smelled everything in the store before I got to smell this one. I'll never forget how I fell in love instantly and bought it on the spot. The parfum is the best formulation and this is one fragrance which is composed differently for the Eau de Toilette version. The parfum is richer. I've worn Panthere for big gigs and it's been complimented on as well as commented on as being "dry as fine wine". For people who like a little peachy softness with bold woods and ambery-vanillic sweetness that's not overwhelmingly sweet, I highly recommend this upscale, glamorous scent. In fact right now I can't remember why I'd stopped wearing it. As far as I know, the parfum isn't available in the double panther flacon pictured anymore. I don't even know if Cartier still offers this scent in parfum at all.

Jan Moran's notes:
Panthere (Floral-Ambery) 1988

Top: Ginger, pepper, black currant bud, peach, coriander, plum
Heart: Jasmine, narcissus, rose, tuberose, gardenia, heliotrope, carnation, ylang-ylang
Base: Musk, sandalwood, patchouli, amber, oakmoss, cedarwood, vanilla, tonka bean

I think I could easily go with a Serge Lutens perfume for a big occasion. Serge Lutens has two perfumes which I think are born for the Oscars and Grammys: Gris Clair and Tubereuse Criminelle. Let's talk about Tubereuse Criminelle. I think you have to be crazy to like this scent. Gris Clair is icy-warm, sweet with a manly edge. Tubereuse Criminelle is My Chemical Romance. Basically, it's mentholated tuberose on a bed of dark resins. By mentholated, I mean it has a wintergreen or camphor-like scent for its fresh top notes. Weird? Yes. Medicinal? You bet. Then why would I wear it and why do I love it so? Because some perfumes are olfactory masterpieces, meant to be appreciated precisely for their avant garde charms. I once likened Tubereuse Criminelle to the smell of CBGB, complete with its stinky graffitied bathrooms, beer in the air and lines of motorcycles outside. Tubereuse Criminelle is my favorite toxic 'fume in a bottle, and I'd wear it with a devastating black leather number.

Tubereuse Criminelle (1999)
Notes: tuberose, orange blossom, jasmine, musk, vanilla, styrax, nutmeg, clove, hyacinth

I would also consider wearing Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur, Guerlain Attrape-Coeur (Guet Apens) and Sisley Eau du Soir. Which perfume would you wear for a big formal event?

Remembering an '80s Bombshell: Van Cleef & Arpels Gem

You hear me complain from time to time about perfumes being too heavy for my tastes but I have to tell you that some of my favorite perfumes are indeed the heavyweights of the perfume world. My recent obsession with Guerlain Attrape-Coeur has led me to rediscover a little-spoken about beauty from the '80s, a discontinued perfume called Gem by Van Cleef & Arpels. I didn't know about this perfume until a few years ago but thanks to Paula, a perfbuddy who runs one of my favorite perfume forums on Delphi, I have a dazzling dark amber-colored sample in a vial which I'm nursing the last precious drops of. I only pull it out for moments like these, when I need to smell the most definitively "perfumey" perfume, the kind the tweens run from and call "old lady perfume" (let's have tact and leave women out of it and say "classic"), the kind the Bath and Body Works wearers think is as awful as hardcore Punk or avant garde Jazz--unfathomable and not worth a damn.

Many perfumes from the '80s are regarded as brash but they were also very complex and rich, take-no-prisoners-types of compositions, and many of them were excellently produced. Many '80s compositions such as Gem featured cool top notes (reminds me of the opening notes in Vivienne Westwood Boudoir) on a "syrupy" sweet and rich bottom. The beauty of this perfume to me is its subtle spiciness, seductive tuberose heart and a deep, dark, animalic base which brings to mind leather (but it may not contain leather--the base is mostly patchouli, vanilla and amber, a combination which appeals to me). Gem is classified as a Fruity Chypre, and it's funny how I was instantly drawn to and love this particular blend even though Fruity Chypre on the whole tends to turn me off. Perfumes such as Guerlain Mitsouko, Rochas Femme or Yves Saint-Laurent Y are all classic beauties that I can't appreciate wearing as they smell too "soft and mushy" to me, like rolling in pear or prune juice--yet Gem smells like I'm dripping in liquid gold. The fact that I love tuberose helps and again, a bold, dry base is what makes the difference for me.

How I wish we could turn back the hands of time and see perfumes like Gem make a comeback in the mainstream perfume world. While consumers swoon over "perfumes" that smell like cheap aftershave, the last remaining bottles of Gem left on earth are being sold and auctioned off at sky high prices, never to be seen again. And though I don't see myself wearing such a heavyweight perfume every day, Gem is precisely the type of perfume I would wear should I ever win a Grammy and walk down the red carpet wearing a sensational gown.

According to Jan Moran:
Gem (Fruity Chypre) 1988

Top: Peach, plum, myrtle, cypress, cardamom, coriander, rosewood
Heart: Tuberose, jasmine, rose, clove, iris, ylang-ylang, carnation, orris
Base: Patchouli, vanilla, moss, amber, civet, vetiver

Other perfumes you may want to try if you like rich, complex heavyweight perfumes with some sweetness:

Vivienne Westwood Boudoir
Guerlain Attrape-Coeur (Guet Apens)
Guerlain Vol de Nuit
Van Cleef & Arpels Van Cleef
Rochas Femme
Givenchy Ysatis
Ungaro Diva
Cartier Panthere (the parfum used to be my signature--loved it but it's not as heavy as Gem)

On a perfume forum, someone recently suggested (but I have not smelled):
Karl Lagerfeld KL
Balenciaga Talisman

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Fragrance of the Moment: Serge Lutens Un Lys. I find that if I wear this and Chantecaille Frangipane on different pulse points, they don't exactly clash. In fact they seem to bring out the best in eachother--Un Lys adds more headiness and Frangipane more vanillic sweetness. Oh-oh. Now I'll definitely need them both. I told you I'm good at this rationalizing business. But seriously, this must mean I'm missing certain elements in both, which means neither one is my perfect signature. My current desire is to find one that fulfills me in every way.

Music Playlist: Matahari "Shrine of Counterfeits" CD. Support indie music!

Sampled CB I Hate Perfume "At the Beach 1966"--This really smells exactly like beach air! It's a little salty, a little suntan lotiony (Coppertone), there's even a bit of warm sand and something tropical floral--maybe gardenia in it. I love it but I'd want it more as a room fragrance than on my skin. As it turns out, I like abstract perfumes more than perfumes that replicate exact smells in nature, no matter how interesting they are or how well-rendered. I'm really glad to have discovered this, though. It's a great mood picker-upper.

Dreaming about Le Labo Jasmin 17. I haven't heard too many people talking about this one yet. Perhaps that will change once Le Labo puts in a shopping cart on their website. Soon, I hope! I already have it pegged as my sexy floral (not that Pink Manhattan is too shabby, but it's not quite as shockingly animalic as this one. We all have our moods. Meow!), and I have a feeling it will be very fulfilling once I have more of it to wear (I'm still only sampling from a generous decant from a perfbuddy right now).

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Into the Deep

Sandalwood is on my mind. I decided to let the cat out of the bag and announce that my next blend is a sandalwood blend of sorts, although it's not going to be a sandalwood perfume for a sandalwood lover per se but for someone who wants a semi-sweet sexy skin scent with some warm woods to back up the other notes. Does that sound good? I sure hope so because it's absolutely a favorite of mine.

There are various types of sandalwood but as I've written before, ever since the IFRA has decided to regulate the use of essential oils in the perfume industry, the perfumers are all buying out the best oils on the market, leaving nothing for the indies like myself. Please note that I am not using any banned ingredients but that some of the best oils have been bought up nonetheless by perfumers that fear they will be the next to be pulled. Fortunately, I had bought some of the essential oils I needed before they became impossible to find. With the addition of woods, it won't be as sweet a blend as Pink Manhattan; think of it as going a few octaves down.

I honestly don't know how many batches of the new blend I could make with the little I have of the precious ingredients, so it may be even more of a limited edition than my Pink Manhattan turned out to be. I'm very grateful that PM has done so well since its launch; I never thought it would come this far, but today I found yet another boutique, Luilei of Brooklyn, NY, had completed its website which looks beautiful, and my perfume is indeed one of their featured products. I hope that the next one will do just as well, and I guess when the time comes, I will do everything I can to find comparable ingredients and keep offering the best quality to my customers as I can.

The launch date for my "deep skin scent" will be sometime this fall. Thanks to some of my perfume buddies who have been testing the new blend over the past 8 months or so; they say it takes about a year to launch a perfume, and that's what the development time period has been for each one of my scent babies. Perfume is still a new venture for me as I've been doing music much longer, but I feel like I'm learning all the time and this journey is rewarding in and of itself.

I'm still writing and recording for the new album as well, and I think most of my friends and fans won't be surprised when I say that my musical direction is gonna be more hard-hitting songs than sweet ballads this time. After all, I'm all about the Song and Scent Sensorium, and sandalwood means fire and earth--serious business.

Thanks for your interest, love and support.


Fragrance of the Moment: Guerlain Attrape-Coeur (Guet Apens)

I have an interesting relationship with sandalwood; there are types I love and types I don't care for. I think sandalwood basically smells heavy, musky and dry, headshoppy and incensey, and it can smell warm and sexy or like I should be meditating at the nearest Buddhist temple, depending on my mood. My initial reaction to Attrape-Coeur was "wow, this is musky". I thought of Keiko Mecheri Loukhoum and Kiehl's Musk. I thought it was an obtrusive scent in the air and wanted to find fresh air around me. Then I gave it a second try and then I fell in love when I found the signature Guerlain scent in it.

The sandalwood in this perfume is so strong that I couldn't believe it was classified as a chypre by some sources until I found the spirit of Parure (1975) in it. Parure is a rosy-plummy-leather chypre which is sold here in the US but not in Japan where leather scents apparently do not go over well. I have Parure in EDT and in a tiny parfum mini, the parfum which has been long discontinued. It's a rich, mature, classical, haughty, sickeningly tasteful and elegant scent that evokes jewel tones and fine upbringing, the scent of a woman who's proud of having ben able to afford the best things in life. The character is so unlike me it's not funny, but it's a character I like to play through my scent once in awhile. Parure is quite powerful with a mannish edge and so serious it rarely cracks a smile, but somewhere deep down, its heart is full of romantic ideals. I can see myself making Parure a signature in about 20 years but not while I still refuse to fully grow up.

Attrape-Coeur is like Parure except it's got that megadose of sandalwood which takes it to the Samsara level of muskiness. Samsara (1989) is a younger perfume and it's one of those scents you'll either love or severely dislike because it's heady as well as heavy. Attrape-Coeur is warm and soft like Samsara and wearing Attrape-Coeur reminds me of how I felt when I first discovered Samsara: I thought the scent was above all else "creamy". So basically, Attrape-Coeur to me is a haughty, creamy, warm and musky...and beautiful scent.

I do love this Parure-Samsara incarnation but I know myself: If I bought it, I would wear it once a year and call it a day, the same way I have worn Parure and Samsara in the years I've had them in my collection. Still, it would be a distinguished perfume to own and wear on a big night out, perhaps for a monumental event for which I must dress to impress.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Steamy Love Triangle

So I've decided that a full bottle purchase of Serge Lutens Gris Clair can wait for two reasons: 1. because it's so strong that my small eBay decant should last me till summer. I felt the same way about Tubereuse Criminelle which I have a couple of decants of, and I'm glad I didn't break my back trying to acquire a bottle that I'll never use up in my lifetime. 2. It (like Tubereuse Criminelle) simply has not earned a single rave so far, which astounds me because it's such a gorgeous scent. I don't blame the perfume for this but my own chemistry with the perfume. By the way, I know many people feel funny about wanting to wear a scent that gets raves, in the same way people don't want to admit to wanting positive attention of any kind, but I just want you to know that I am a singer and I'm very much over trying to hide the fact that I prefer positive attention over wanting to be discovered whilst trying to hide in the background like a heroine in a romance novel. Geez, they're just different fantasies that still stem from wanting to be noticed by someone, aren't they? Let's be real; one isn't a better fantasy than the other--just that most people can't handle being in the spotlight, period.

But I love Gris Clair and I must own it one day! Now we're down to just two: Chantecaille Frangipane and Le Labo Jasmin 17, and I'm sure I'll rationalize a way to get them both because, after all, my birthday in May is coming up and I'll give myself a fragrance gift like I do every year. :-)

I wore Le Labo Jasmin 17 today and it is every bit the animalic musky scent that true jasmine is. I know this is probably hard for many people to fathom but sometimes I enjoy smelling dirty more than clean, and by dirty I don't mean unwashed per se but definitely not clean and soapy. It's a good musky, like sex, or a lover when he sweats. The scent of jasmine has been compared to the smell of a woman's vagina as well, and a perfume like Schiaparelli Shocking is an example of a very animalic jasmine scent meant to evoke exactly that. Now mind you, I don't mean I'm going around smelling like a vagina although that wouldn't be a bad thing at all--I have no hang-ups about vaginas--but there's something a little naughty about the scent of a jasmine dry down and it doesn't smell of spring flowers that you may have expected when you first put the scent on. Perfume changes on skin over time and the degree of musk can make the difference between a perfume that's appropriate for daytime and one that's best for evening.

The dry down of Jasmin 17 is animalic enough that it reminds me of another perfume by the same perfumer, a decadent Oriental unisex perfume called Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur. The name alone is a clue as to how animalic-musky it is. The notes do not list jasmine but I'm quite sure that that's the ingredient that gives it its sexual undertone. The two perfumes are very similar, only the jasmine is made more suggestive with the addition of heavier, sweeter base notes in Musc Ravageur. Basically, Musc Ravageur is Jasmin 17 at night wearing sweaty black lingerie in the heat of passion. Jasmin 17 is Musc Ravageur the day after, wearing a crisp white suit to work but had no time to shower so she spritzed herself with a nice and flowery cologne splash.

Musc Ravageur is another perfume that is strong enough that I never needed a full bottle of, but Jasmin 17 is one that I would actually use more of since it's lighter. So my question is: do I want to smell like what I described above, or like the other love of mine, Chantecaille Frangipane, which is like a very nice young woman who doesn't smell like sex at all but like the aforementioned romance novel heroine who waits to be noticed because she's shy and "doesn't feel the need" to be in the spotlight because her prince will discover her as she tries her damnest to be a humble servant in the world wearing her floral cotton dress that covers her up to her neck? OK, I'm exaggerating; she's actually a sweet island girl--she at least wears a sundress and now and then shows a little decolletage. Better?

Sali Oguri On Modern Rock Top 10 Chart

Um...Sali, you've drastically changed your look! No, no, I'll explain. My Broadjam fans probably already know this but I've been on and off the Broadjam Top 10 Rock: Modern Rock chart for a few months now, and it's kind of wild because the song I charted with isn't mine (though I did co-write some of the music) and is in Japanese. It's a wonderful world where a song in a language most people don't understand could be loved anyway. But I'm like that, too, loving songs in languages I don't speak. Some of my favorite songs are in foreign languages and some songs I've learned to sing have been in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German and I'll say I have only attempted French and Albanian because my pronunciation seriously needs work!

So if you're interested in hearing a song that sounds like it was written for an anime soundtrack but really rockin', please check out Namida No View Finder by artist Fred Kimmel (my producer, owner of WUJ Productions) here--Namida is currently at #3. While we're here, congratulations to Fred because his song, Gone, Gone, Gone is #1 today! So check 'em both out (charts are moving in real time and standings may be different by the time you log on).

Thanks to all of our fans--You make it happen for us!!

Monday, April 24, 2006

"Still Dating", Comfort Skin Scent, Flavors from Texas!

I'm in the process of elimination in trying to find my signature scent for spring. I'm "still dating" because no commitment's been made to any one of my recent loves (even though a perfume commitment is one I can break at any time). Well, Serge Lutens Un Lys is beautiful--ask anyone and they'd almost all agree--but I've decided that I'm not a straight lily soliflore type after all and I could probably be happy with a small decant instead of a whole bottle. I prefer Chantecaille Frangipane which is still a tad quiet for me but a very lovely and slightly more abstract blend of fruits, flowers and sweet notes, so I'm down to three choices: the other two are Serge Lutens Gris Clair and Le Labo Jasmin 17, respectively.

Meanwhile, I'm actually wearing my own new blend today because I looked outside this A.M and saw the most comforting, softly misty warm sunny day beckoning outside my door (just after the rain) and it somehow reminded me of this scent, not that such a vision was the direct inspiration when I created it but in a way it indirectly was. Sorry to be so cryptic again. Just to give you another clue, this one is a warm scent, not a cool one, but it's also a modern composition using a high percentage of natural ingredients which are getting harder to find. I think lovers of soft, slightly sweet but tempered skin scents in the Chantecaille Frangipane vein will probably like this one (except my blend is not a tropical floral this time). Please stay tuned for updates!

The highlight of my day has been an enormous surprise package from Sand, a lovely and talented blogger-perfbuddy of mine who sent special Mexican treats, games, toys and regional goodies from her hometown in Texas. I'm floored by her random act of kindness. I believe I'm going to attempt at cooking something tonight (ha!)--how wrong can one go with this amazingly rich and spicy-smelling salsa sauce? It's funny--I'm not a huge spicy perfume lover but when it comes to food, I absolutely love spice! For dessert there's cajeta and Mexican hot chocolate. Oh, gosh, does life get better than this?

Happy Spring! If it's winter where you are, do enjoy your warmest and most comforting foods and perfumes! ;-)

Metallic Scents and Music

Is it possible that the timbres I enjoy in music and the scents I enjoy have some correlation? The perfumes that I like have been described by some people as being "metallic". I think what they mean is that there are high-pitched notes they can't tolerate for whatever reason. I wonder if the same people dislike metallic timbres in music, too.

Paco Rabanne Eau de Metal is a discontinued perfume that I used to love. I always thought it smelled light and fresh. Recently, someone described it as smelling like metal, literally. So I went and smelled the bottle that I have that I only keep and don't wear anymore and thought "no, it's a slightly powdery light rose scent with maybe a touch of berry note". Jan Moran classifies it as an Aldehydic Floral, so naturally I start to detect powder, but I get no sharp notes, just freshness and a cool, light, barely discernable powder.

Maybe some people hear screeching loud guitars and think I'm a freak for liking that as well, but I don't care.

(Image: From The Morris and Helen Berkin Art Gallery, Berkin Satellite. Gunnar Larsen (Danish, born Copenhagen, 1930; died Paris, 1990) Metal dress and headdress by Paco Rabanne; worn by a model on the glacier at Les Diablerets, Switzerland, 1968)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

r-H: Rhythm-a-Ning

If you wanna check out a unique and gifted rhythmmeister, I highly recommend that you take a listen to r-H and his BlackAsia Volume 1 album. Not only is this guy a total sweetheart of a person through the online contacts we have had, his sense of timing and musicality are so "on". He's got a #1 song on the Broadjam Top 10 charts right now under Electronic: Experimental with a song called "Indian Blues" which is one of my favorite recordings. My other favorite tracks by him are "Salvation Man" which showcases his sophisticated sensibilities with layers of avant garde musical phrases comfortably laying back like you learn to feel time in jazz, and "Chameleon" which is a very positive Rap which to me sounds like it's in the tradition of feel good acid jazz a la Groove Collective but with r-H's signature Asian influenced style. Who said Electronic music had to lack soul and meaning? Look out for his upcoming album, BlackAsia Volume 2 and check out r-H's website!

It's Like Choosing a Spouse

This week, I had planned to wear so many more perfumes than I got the chance to, but I got to wear things I hadn't planned on and even discovered more perfumes to love, so it was a good perfume week. Now, I can't just go buying every single perfume I fall in love with, so I'm trying to narrow my choice down to one (for now--because eventually I plan on buying them all *evil laugh*).

Serge Lutens Un Lys: I got a decant of this on eBay after I realized that the one I had was either used up or had evaporated/leaked out of the decant container. I'm glad I got it to test with because I can now test it side-by-side against Chantecaille Frangipane, the one I think is similar to Un Lys. I haven't had the chance to give it the full test run it deserves, but from first sniff I can tell you that Un Lys is a much headier flowery scent, one that really smells predominantly of lily even with its vanillic base. I have to ask myself whether I like smelling like an actual lily (with a tinge of lilac note) or not, and if I do, how often, or perhaps more importantly for me, how *much* I want to smell like this flower, no matter how infrequently.

Chantecaille Frangipane: This one seems to be a winner so far, but sometimes I wonder if in the long run I'll get bored because it's just a nice-smelling perfume, not particularly evocative and not a knockout that smells like a true classic-in-the-making. It just doesn't smell like a Joy or a Chanel No.5 or even a Poison or an Angel. Maybe it's a great perfume and I just fail to see its merit but I tend to believe that classics are made of some aspect about it that's bold and/or extreme, and Frangipane just isn't any of those things as it doesn't seem to have any element that makes it stand out. By the same token, it's very pretty! What more does a perfume have to be? I'll take it a step further and say it's also yummy! You know what? It's a great perfume and one day I will live to eat my own words.

Serge Lutens Gris Clair: Wow. Here is a bombshell perfume and I don't care that it's manly. It's got a big personality, belongs in the city, has its own career and knows how to party and by god, it's practical since the cool top notes can help clear your sinuses! I feel bold enough for it and it was pretty much love at first sniff, except it would be one of the only non-white floral perfumes I would have ever loved. The question is this: could I make a spicy sweet scent a signature or will I inevitably go back to my white floral addiction? It has to be said that I think Gris Clair is a great perfume. As sophisticated as it is, it's sweet enough that it satiates my need for Gourmand, which is another plus since I love vanilla so much. But if I had to pick either vanilla or gardenia (or another white floral), I might not be able to choose since I love the combination even more than either note alone - neither of which is found here, and yet, I'm smitten.

Le Labo Jasmin 17: If I didn't have such a discerning nose, I'd be happy with Marc Jacobs Blush, but even though this is similar, it blows Blush out of the water being higher quality, more natural-smelling and more complex. As a blend it's still rather simple, not drastic or cutting edge, which is fine. It has character, leaving the impression of a delicate springlike floral even if deep down it's really a sexual, animalic, musky and challenging scent (it shows its true self on dry down). I think Jasmin 17 is a great blend that's underestimated because it's so light (and some people who prefer heavy blends like to hate lighter blends condescending them as airhead scents--I think what they don't like is that lighter scents are often perceived as smelling more youthful) and effortlessly beautiful (too easy to hate that). ;-) So would this fit the bill as a signature? I'm not sure if animalic is the way I want to smell most of the time (the dry down lingers the longest), which takes me back to the mainstream yet loving high tech arms of Blush.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Fragrance of the Moment: Chantecaille Frangipane

This was a surprise: my perfpals had sent me samples and generous decants of this perfume and I hadn't fully appreciated them till recently--I had never liked the opening notes because I was reminded of lilacs--one of my least favorite scents--but I tested it the other day (to compare with Un Lys, remember?) and wow, I'm so in love with the dry down which is like a dollop of fresh cream on me. Do you have perfumes like this, that smell better as time passes? These usually end up being my favorite perfumes because after all, it's the dry down that lingers the longest. The dry down is the stage when the top notes have evaporated and the heart and base notes are the most prominent. It's also the stage when the scent has melded with your skin to give the perfume a unique scent all your own. It's a quiet scent but on the sweeter side of the spectrum, not overly flowery (except in the beginning) but more vanillic with a touch of skin musk, and on me I find a very subtle but deeper, darker note like cocoa that gives it some edge and keeps it from being too soft and bland. Orange is one of its notes and although I don't find it orangey per se, I think it supports the cocoa note I smell. I never did find the frangipani (plumeria) note in it but I think the name is fitting in an abstract way. My overall impression is of a fleshy tropical white flower that meets modern technology (water hyacinth, musk) on a bed of cocoa, powdered sugar and milk. It's a soft perfume, not my usual head-turning bombshell perfume, but I'm smitten enough to want a bottle of this beauty soon. This could be my ideal floral "skin scent".

On Bergdorf Goodman's site:
Notes: vanilla, jasmine, Moroccan orange, and water hyacinth

According to
Chantecaille Frangipane (2004) Floral-Oriental

Top note : Exotic Orange, Water Hyacinth, Violet Leaves

Middle note : Jasmine, Frangipani Blossom, Ylang-Ylang

Base note : Vanilla, Musk, Vetiver

Friday, April 21, 2006

Remembering Katsuhiko Nakagawa

One of my earliest and most memorable recording sessions was on Katsuhiko Nakagawa's album, "Human Rhythm". I remember being at Unique Recording Studios which closed up shop in 2004, but it was among the most famous recording studios where anyone who's anyone in the music business had recorded.

Katsu died at 32 (1962-1994). He was somewhat known but he remained a fairly underground artist whose songs were loved by devoted, select fans. I think he was unfairly pegged as a J-Pop idol because to me, he was an artist with real substance. Influenced by The Beatles, and often compared to David Bowie, his concepts were often very abstract and his songwriting had so much more musicality than any average J-Pop has to offer. I just wanted to share that he was a gentle soul, always a beautiful person toward me no matter what he was personally going through, and there was a lot going on, though I knew little about the particulars. He once told me that his mission in life was to spread love and kindness, which inspired him to name a prior album "Lover People". RIP--I have not forgotten you.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

My Long Distance Love Affair

How crazy am I to want Serge Lutens Un Lys now that it's no longer available here in the US? It wasn't my favorite scent while it was available, but now that it's gone, exclusive to Paris once again, I'm thinking about paying more than retail for it. Ha! Maybe that's been Serge Lutens' plan all along--to play a joke on us. Well, earlier today, I wore Chantecaille Frangipane (because I had finished up the Un Lys decant after all) which always reminded me of Un Lys and vice versa, and honestly, it never really grabbed me because it's a soft floral (jasmine + vanilla) on a musky base (the musk in Frangipane reminds me of the musk in Marc Jacobs if anyone is familiar with it; it's a little BO-ish but a nice skin scent) but today, I'm appreciating the sweet, almost chocolaty, velvety smooth dry down. And I'm sure it's only because I'm wanting Un Lys! Oh, man...I might have to hunt down a bottle of Un Lys if it's even better than this, and it will be because it's Serge.

I'm also in love with Serge Lutens Gris Clair and Le Labo Jasmin 17, so I think these will be my new acquisitions for Spring 06. Speaking of Le Labo Jasmin 17, the perfumer's name is Maurice Roucel (actually, he may represent a team of perfumers but he gets the credit), and I seem to be a fan of his. I've worn quite a few of his creations: Tocade, Musc Ravageur, L'Instant and now Jasmin 17. I think his perfumes are ultrafeminine, classic but sexy--he knows how to use jasmine and vanilla so well, and they are among my favorite notes.

But why do I find Chantecaille Frangipane and Un Lys challenging, then? They're both floral-vanilla blends. Ah--maybe I'm just looking for a challenge. What's the challenge in a nutshell? To love lilacs. Don't worry, I don't expect you to understand that but if you do, you're no doubt another perfume addict!

I'll write about Un Lys again. It really is better than I've described it. Think creamy soft Madonna lily that blooms on skin like a Leonardo Da Vinci painting.

Back to rehearsal I go...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Fragrance of the Moment: Serge Lutens Gris Clair

OMG--Thank you, Trina, for sending me a generous sample of Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal (Shiseido) Gris Clair (clear grey: ashes and lavender) to test with. This is an awesome perfume, totally signature-worthy--excellent quality but also an imaginative, somewhat quirky, perfectly balanced blend of contrasts: cool and warm, sweet yet airy, spicy yet subtle and not a sexy scent per se but it's pretty sensual stuff, not a wallflower by any stretch. Maybe it's not office-appropriate because it's somewhat gourmand-Oriental sweet but I feel a professional and confident presence and a bold, intelligent character in it, and there's passion there. I smell a bit of the menthol note I find in Tubereuse Criminelle in it but very lightly. It seems versatile; I'll say it has a unisex, somewhat masculine fresh-spicy herbaceous lavender overtone, yet the delicious ambery-woodsy base is cotton candy light and ethereal. Gris Clair is simply heaven in a bottle, and I see a Serge Lutens purchase in my future.

My other favorite Serge Lutens perfumes are Un Lys and Tubereuse Criminelle. One is a heady and rich, superflowery lily-vanilla-musk blend that's creamy, soft and manages to remind me of lilac; the other is a heady, heavy yet fresh and gorgeous, bold and sophisticated menthol-medicinal tuberose that breaks every rule of how nice a perfume should be by being intentionally weird. I would still buy them both given the chance, but as beautiful and exclusive (literally--they're only sold in Paris--not even in Japan and Shiseido is the company that makes them!) as they are, they were acquired loves whereas I instantly liked Gris Clair from the first sniff out of the vial. I'm still sometimes unsure about the aftershave-y aspect of it, as it can remind me of Creed Green Irish Tweed or Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel...OK, I'll think about this more before I jump on an impulsive buy. It also reminds me of Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb which I know Trina is a fan of.

If Calvin Klein Euphoria can smell as manly as it does and be feminine, why not Gris Clair? I mean, I was hoping for an everyday scent with more cojones after all, so this is perfect. Gris Clair is called an Aromatic fragrance, and it happens to be one of my favorite fragrance families. Oh, how I recommend this to anyone who can handle a little sugar and spice with woods and herbs. All this time, I was sure I wasn't a spice girl. See; there was a reason I put some spice in my Pink Manhattan, too. Oh, Gris Clair, Gris Clair, GRIS CLAIR...and I even love the grey color of the perfume inside the simple tall rectangular bottle like a skyscraper.

Gris Clair is the newest addition to Serge Lutens’s “export” line of fragrances. Notes: Mediterranean lavender, amber, tonka bean, iris, dry wood and incense.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

In Search of a Signature Perfume

I made the same annoucement on a makeup forum earlier but here's the lo down: Eau de Cartier and I might be breaking up. I love how softly herbaceous and peachy it is, and I even like the transparent floralcy that feels very sporty and modern but not overwhelmingly marine...however, I think I'm wanting it to give more than it can give. I'm a dynamic woman--I'm the in-your-face lead vocalist type. I demand some power from my perfume so it can keep up with me. Therefore, I think Eau de Cartier, as unisex, modern and fabulous as it is, just seems too soft and quiet for what I need, even for just casual everyday spritzing. I'm going to give it a few more wears this week and decide whether I'll need the Prestige Edition 200ml megabottle after all, not that I'll ever finish a bottle half its size.

So I'm left with Pink Manhattan PURRFUME which of course is my favorite perfume--I mean, I made it, and lovingly I would add--but PM, in my mind, is a sexy date/occasion perfume, a perfume that wows, that meets a particular demand. I've heard from more than a couple of people who made PM their wedding perfume which I think is the ultimate compliment. It could be a casual scent, too, being sweet, young and fresh in its character, but it's not "Friday at the office casual" but more "going out on the weekend in heels casual". If PM is my special day/night/occasion-make-his-head-turn perfume, I need an everyday scent that goes politely to the office like a white linen suit, too. So you see, no one should have to live with just one signature. We need at least two.

I was hoping Eau de Cartier would fit this "office 'fume" bill but it turns out to be much more muted-fruity than I want. The texture on me ends up vaguely like syrupy canned peach on dry down (which I blame the violet leaves for, or perhaps yuzu), only powdery and unsweet (ok, maybe more like fuzzy peach skin). Such a shame because I like the sharp and fresh green aspect of it. Maybe it's just that I haven't been wildly complimented on this scent, and I'm used to getting raves on my other favorites, particularly on the ones with more floralcy and sweetness weaving through.

Jasmine is a note I can wear well (although it depends on the type of jasmine, too), and I'm constantly complimented on Marc Jacobs Blush (although cool and light, it's got pervasive floral sweetness), Le Labo Jasmin 17 (as animalic-musky as it is, it creates pretty sillage, plus it's very high quality and lasts on me--it vaguely reminds me of Pecksniff's Natural Floral and Marc Jacobs Blush) and even though it's not even a personal favorite, Creed Jasmal (green, clean, unsweet jasmine) and Patricia de Nicolai Eau d'Ete (musky jasmine with real lime essential oils--lovely and sensual but again, musky). Men have stopped me for the name of my perfume with Creed Spring Flower (rose-jasmine-apple-melon-peach which is one of my signatures but now and then feels too musky and appley-sweet), and yes, I get raves on my PM as well (not jasmine but gardenia, another intoxicating white floral). Does getting compliments affect how much you love a perfume? I feel like Eau de Cartier must not be wowing anyone because it's just not wow enough of a scent, and I like to wow and to be adored and all. Can a fragrance be an office scent and still be sexy or is that asking for too much?

This week, I plan to wear the following: Marc Jacobs Blush, Le Labo Jasmin 17, Pecksniff's Natural Floral (which I think I prefer in lotion than in EDP due to its strength), PdN Eau d'Ete, Montale Aoud Rose Petals (powerful agarwood (oud)-rose blend), L'Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons (ultrafeminine floral-citrus-oakmoss blend with a classic vibe), Chanel Chance (peppery transparent floral--pretty and chic but so very mainstream as in everyone wears it, and kind of chalky), Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle (medicinal tuberose--way too bizarre as a blend to wear everyday, plus it's not even available in the US--I can only buy decants on eBay), a take off (some say rip off) of Tubereuse Criminelle named Frederic Malle Carnal Flower (medicinal tuberose with a more animalic jasmine, a sharp and simple blend that doesn't really wow but can be nice in small amounts), Prescriptives Calyx (sparkly lotion--I don't need another fruity scent but it never fails to get a comment), maybe Pierre Balmain Ivoire, Sisley Eau du Soir, Frederic Malle Lys Mediterranee (I don't have any yet), Serge Lutens Un Lys (another Serge that's no longer sold here but thankfully, as gorgeous as the Madonna lily-vanilla scent is, I don't think I loved anyway), Creed Spring Flower (which is closest to being my signature but I might be too tired of), and Eau de Cartier for what might be our final run.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Vintage Perfume: Worth Je Reviens

(This review is for the yellow-colored vintage parfum, not the blue juice which I find to be a bathroomy floral, just vastly different.) The skyscraper Lalique bottle is my favorite presentation of Je Reviens by Worth; if I ever could find one in a reasonable price range, I might want one (I have a small empty bottle without the blue stopper but I want a complete presentation). The chrome box that went with the vintage is also gorgeous but I don't have a jpg. The perfume itself isn't really my type but it's the loveliest of its kind: it's classified as an Aldehydic Floral (Soft Floral) and to me it's soft, powdery but not overwhelmingly, and it's round (the shape of the mix in my head), spicy (like carnation or clove) with spring flowers on a warm incense base. It reminds me of Nina Ricci L'Air du Temps (which I don't like, especially because every one of my mother's friends must have bought it for me saying it's a "young" perfume...yeah, thanks, but I wanted Poison) but less powdery and fresher, and it also reminds me vaguely of the beautiful and mysterious Guerlain L'Heure Bleue, only softer and more delicate, perhaps easier to wear. L'Heure Bleue is a bit too spicy for every day, at least for me because I'm not a spice girl (it depends on the spice and the amount of it in a blend). If Je Reviens were any stronger, I think it would be the original vintage Givenchy L'Interdit which was created for Audrey Hepburn. This was another Aldehydic powdery-spicy scent, but again, the newer version smells nothing like the original.

Vintage Je Reviens unfortunately turns a bit musty on dry down for me, most probably due to hyacinth which doesn't usually wear well on me, and also because the juice is a bit old (Does that stop me? I live dangerously), but it's one of those perfumes I would recommend serious perfume lovers to experience once because it's a true classic. I've only tried the newer version in a mini but it's nowhere near as lovely as the original vintage (which I have a tiny bit of in a sample vial in parfum, sent by a perfume buddy). The new version is still nice and fresh-flowery at first but the dry down is harsh and very incensy to me. You may, of course, prefer it that way which is just fine. :-)

I think it makes a nice Easter perfume. Now and then (or once a year), a delicate sprinking of spice mixed with dainty flowers and powder makes a well-mannered, polite skin scent. Maybe it could be a holy grail church lady scent. Is that your cup of tea? Well, there ya go.

(Image: Je Reviens vintage magazine ad, 1972. The emphasis of the text is on luxury and a scent that's "smooth and soft", that "never comes on strong" and "gently blends with your essence". The perfume first launched in 1932.)

(Image: 1952 ad,


Wonderful by Circle Jerks is one of two favorite songs of the moment. Circle Jerks is no ordinary punk band--they are really good!! The other song I'm loving is Jenny...yeah, that song. My Fragrance of the Moment is nothing yet, a perfume I want to test badly is Shalimar Light, the word that comes to mind is "paz" or peace in Hebrew. Happy Easter, Happy Passover for those of you celebrating since Wed. night. I went to seder No.2 yesterday and it was Wonderful!

Math Rock? Art Rock? WTH??

Who's willing to bet that Prog will be the next big thing? I learned some new industry terms recently: Art Rock and Math Rock. No musician I know has ever called Prog either of those but apparently these are going to be really cool one day. Do you like Rush a lot? I guess you're in for a treat then! Someone put Tool under Art Rock (not to be mixed with the Art Punk of Talking Heads) on Wikipedia. Whatever!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Heavy Metal, Prog, Disco, Glam

Here in NYC, we have been without a Rock radio station since January and I'm starting to think it's just part of some bizarre movement to get the hippies off the air. I just can't believe we have no Rock station. I don't count Oldies and I can't even count Popunk ala Killers which our Pop station will play next to Rap and the new Country Pop showtunes of Disney fame. The sudden mainstream fascination with all things late '70s Punk ala The Ramones says to me, "anti-disco and hippies" as well. I wish more people knew that all of these forms of music share the same roots.

Let's talk about my rigid classical upbringing again, because it explains why I hear music in the ways that I do. It occured to me recently that the reason I can relate to Metal so well is because it's music that showcases musical proficiency, particularly on the guitar which is one of my favorite instruments (which I don't play). It seems natural that technical brilliance would lead to a form of Rock in which I get to hear an array of lofty musical ideas such as passing chords, common tones and for lack of a better term, "good" voice leadings. I also like aggression and loudness in music, all the things that I could get out of Punk except with a heavier sound. Punk is actually airy compared to Metal.

To me, Prog is just a less aggressive or jazzier form of the same musical head, although it scares me now to read in music magazines that Punk is merging with Prog, and the industry seems to prefer the Prog sound of Rush, not Peter Gabriel. Last I remember, Tom Sawyer, as much as I appreciate everything Neil Peart played on, was nowhere near as cool a song as In Your Eyes, but what say do I have against the whims of musical fashion? I guess Peter Gabriel is just too FUNKY for people who want those pesky hippie-disco elements out of the scene.

Disco is Funky Dance music. Ain't nothing wrong with that in my book--just don't call it Rock even though Disco Came Out of Rock. Disco Rock--OK, that actually exists, folks.

Glam then I guess is basically the element that helps bring Punk and Metal (or Punk Metal ala Anthrax, a band I love) into a form of rock that becomes more mainstream (Pop--that which Anthrax never did become). Thus, New Wave is the Pop version of Punk, and Glam Rock the Pop version of Metal. Do I like Glam? I do and I don't. Any time there's a downgrade in musical proficiency for the sake of the band's looks, I will have a hard time accepting, but if I have some time to digest what's going on, I might learn to like, even love it for what it is (and there's always RATT, an excellent glam metal band). But in the case of New Wave coming out of Punk, it was (generally) an upgrade, at least proficiency-wise (but not always - I mean, as much as I love New Order...).

I have no point with this post. I just like Metal and hope I stop getting reviews on Broadjam saying that my guitar sounds are too heavy. Too heavy--is that like perfumes being too sexy? Bring Rock back, damnit!!!

Punk, Jazz, Beatnik, Mod

"Mozart was a punk, which people seem to forget. He was a naughty, naughty boy."--Shirley Manson (whose perfume is Guerlain Nahema) Photo by Ellen Von Unwerth.

It amuses me that I'm loving Punk music more and more these days. You see, as a classically trained musician who's far from a technical wiz on an instrument but one who has just enough proficiency that I can recognize good technique in others, so much of Punk just sounds wrong. It amuses me how Punk is Punk because of the lack of musical proficiency that makes the sound extra ruff cut unlike the polished gleam of corporate Pop (disclaimer: I know there are very proficient, clean-sounding punk bands out there, too). I have a good friend in the radio business (she's a producer-director-engineer and also a musician-singer in her own right who had once been signed to a major label) who says she got tired of listening to clean, well-performed, well-produced music a long time ago and she could now only tolerate bands than can hardly play at all but that sound interesting because of that fact. I guess after awhile, you just need to be surprised and challenged more than wowed by fancy moves, and listening to a band that's not so good is like being challenged--to see if I can follow them, for instance. Timing can be very interesting when you either don't have the chops or don't care to be in any pocket at all.

But what I'm learning is that the pocket isn't everything, that there's a different groove in the Punk genre which is not only valid but beautiful. I have no problem following where non-proficient musicians take their music now because I've also come to the point in my musical walk where I can deduce most of what's going on. It's not too far off from getting used to tritone substitutions and extension chords so that I never have to actually hear a V7 again, to hear it when it's merely implied. Granted it takes a lot more time and effort to learn to play altered chords than to strum 3 power chords in 4/4, but in the end, maybe good music is not so much about good and bad technique as much as it is an issue of taste. Just because a song is well-performed doesn't make it good, and even the best jazz is noise to someone who doesn't love the genre to begin with.

Minimalism/modernity is about tasteful editing but I think modernity in music can also be about complexity; think of how Coltrane said what he said with a whole lot of notes as opposed to sparse Miles Davis, and he still sounded totally mod. Where does Punk fit into a discussion about Jazz? Somewhere down the line in beatnik history, they were part of one movement, a shared attitude and outlook on life. Jazz said it with a lot and Punk broke it down but they were pretty much saying the same things. One important point was that there was no such thing as wrong notes. How freeing is that? There's still so much I have to unlearn.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Addiction To One Fragrance

Ooh, I love this site and this Perfume Addiction article! Of course, it is a fashion-based article that's obviously written from a biased industry standpoint of trying to get women to choose a lifetime (signature) fragrance (loyalty to a brand being the goal), but it's still harmless fun if you could ignore that fact. You can read it here: SANDRA SYMONS reports

According to their system, I think I'm a mix of extroverted/spontaneous and one who wants an ordered life (Fruity Floral, Chypre, Floral Oriental-Sweet). I'm apparently idealistic too, but professional.

This is such a fun , well-written article that it actually makes me consider having just one perfume to be faithful to for the rest of my life. Of course I may still prefer to play the field for the rest of my life, too. How do you listen to just one type of music?

(Image: The beautiful Josephine Baker with her cheetah. She is said to have worn Jean Patou perfumes which are now part of Ma Collection.)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Scent and Discipline: The Prima Ballerina's Life

(Image: Maya Plisetskaya) Many of the world's most celebrated ballet dancers such as Isadora Duncan, Anna Pavlova, Carla Fracci and Mikhail Barishnikov have launched their own perfume at some point in their careers. The relationship between the Dancer and Perfume is even deeper than that. Did you know that in the Russian ballet, a prima ballerina was assigned one signature perfume?

A signature in this case means a perfume that was chosen for a prima by her teacher which she would wear on stage and off, throughout the rest of her life, so she may fully saturate herself in her given character as a dancer. For instance, if she were cast as Giselle, she wore a perfume that was perceived as being "Giselle-like". Perhaps if her character had been cast as a sweet and delicate type, she would be assigned a light Floral perfume to reflect that, and if she had been cast as evil, she would wear a devilish and intense one. If Dance was going to be the prima's life, her scent was going to be part of her discipline.

Bolshoi ballerina Maya Plisetskaya wore Robert Piguet Bandit, a powerful leathery Chypre that came in an angular black flacon. Balanchine assigned Maria Tallchief to Guerlain L'Heure Bleue, a Floral Oriental which is known for its ethereal yet complex beauty. La Sublimova wore Shalimar, described as being dark and exotic. A ballerina's perfume is a translation of the visual sensory impression to an olfactory one.

Would I personally give up my freedom to wear whatever perfume I wanted for the chance to live as a world renowned prima? I would think never because I don't like rigidity or being told what to do in general, but I do think it's an interesting part of history to learn about, and I can see how a person might find in such discipline, for better or for worse, a unique existence and perspective of life.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Art In Fashion: Ruben Toledo

Ruben Toledo, Vivienne Westwood for Paper 1998

(Image: from FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology)

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Ozone/Marine Perfumes: Cool and Airy Trend 2

Recently, I came across an online article about the most popular Yankee Candle scents in 2005: Splash of Rain and Clean Cotton. Marc Jacobs was onto something: Ozone is the trend of the moment. Scents that synthetically mimic clean laundry, cotton, linen, air, ocean, T-storm--I admit I've never been a huge fan of these scents myself but they seem to be gaining momentum since their birth in the environmentally conscious '90s.

Ozonic fragrances are a new category. They are described as having "a watery, limpid feeling with a humble beginning and a feeling of freshness". I would describe them as sporty. Many of these start out fresh and dry down powdery on me, which might explain why I usually don't love them (I have to be in the mood for powder scents). Examples of these fresh, sporty ozonic perfumes are New West by Aramis, Dune by Dior, Eden by Cacharel and Escape by Calvin Klein.

Michael Edwards calls Ozonic fragrances "Marine". I think of Ozonic as a subgenre under Marine since they've become two different genres almost. This is how he describes this family of scents:

"Redolent of the scent of soft sea breeze, the marine notes were created in 1990.
The early water note captured the ozonic aroma of wet air after a thunderstorm.
Today, the water notes are often used as an accent to enlive florals, orientals and woody fragrances."

So, basically, Ozone and Marine are the same. When I hear "ozone", I think of a more metallic scent than I do with "marine/aquatic/aqueous" but they share the same roots.

I can think of a bunch more perfumes that fit into this genre: Issey Miyake L'eau d'Issey, Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gio, the new Marc Jacobs Splash series and Clean Fresh Laundry by Dlish, Comptoir Sud Pacifique Aqua Motu, Davidoff Cool Water (also categorized as Fougère), Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers, the list goes on to include what feels like 90% of all new launches. Why are there so many of these? Remember when I say this that I'm not against the use of synthetics in perfume on the whole, for everything has its uses; however, synthetics are by far the less expensive forms of fragrance compared to, say, Grasse jasmine oil, and so they're going to be the preferred choice of the industry that wants to keep production costs down. I like some marine-ozone notes within a composition but generally not when they take over the blend and fall under this category. However, I do like Lily Lambert No.66 which is without a doubt a fresh cotton-type of scent--one that mimics nature but in truth is a technologically advanced modern creation.

Here's a new term I've been seeing lately: Green Marine. What is this? Michael Edwards calls Clinique Wrappings a Marine, which gives me a hint: perhaps the industry will be fusing Green and Marine/Ozone together, maybe because green notes are now all synthetically rendered as well? I don't know enough about what goes on inside the labs of the top perfume houses--I'm just an indie perfumer who mixes choice oils in her humble home studio. But what the bigtime folks are doing are of interest to me because fashion all moves as one consciousness to bring about or reflect social change. Welcome to the era of synthetic smells of nature.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Green Perfumes and the Cool and Airy Trend

Remember a few posts back, I'd said that I thought Green perfumes were coming back with the 1950's-Country Western trend? Marc Jacobs fits right in with his new Splash series, 1 (Rain), 2 (Grass) and 3 (Cotton). How quaint, how simple, how COOL & AIRY! And how do these smell? As cool and airy as marine (synthetic watery) perfumes can be (though you may feel differently). I liked Grass the best, the obviously green comeback kid--nothing since GAP Grass of the '80s has anything smelled so grassy--and I might have bought it if it didn't remind me so much of another mariney Green, Donna Karan Be Delicious, which I've had for about a year and think I've worn all of twice and ended up passing onto someone else. But these new Marc Jacobs scents are easy to wear for many people and are selling well, so when you have a chance, test these out, and do Holly Hobbie and the country town of Clover proud.

Green is perfect for bridging us over from the prim and proper '50s trend to the simple and down-to-earth Country Western trend because both seem to promote the clean, virginal, traditional (in a sexless, modest or puritanical way) type of femininity. I would be interested to see if the new Men's scents will now play into the Wild Cowboy trend and be all Wild Musk and Wild Leather, perhaps? If you have any cowboy fragrance sightings to report, be sure to let us know here on Pink Manhattan!

I have friends who will not go near Green because to them they smell too old-fashioned. I happen to love Green perfumes, however, and here are some famous ones: Estee Lauder Pleasures, Aliage and Private Collection, Jessica McClintock, Bulgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert, Elizabeth Arden Green Tea and my favorite classics Christian Dior Diorissimo, Pierre Balmain Vent Vert and Ivoire and Chanel No.19. There are many complex perfumes that incorporate green notes within Floral, Oriental and Chypre genres such as Christian Dior Miss Dior, Estee Lauder Beautiful, Giorgio Beverly Hills and Vivienne Westwood Boudoir. The first perfume to start the Green trend was Carven Ma Griffe (1946) which became a favorite of young debutentes of the time. Greens have been popular in the '50s and '60s into the '70s but overall, they have not been as popular as Floral and therefore have not been produced as much.

I personally prefer my Greens to not be too powdery; on the other hand, if the green notes add bright lift within a composition, I adore them. Many of my favorite perfumes have green top notes such as leaves, apple, galbanum, lily-of-the-valley (muguet), cucumber or violet. I use Calla lily in my perfume, Pink Manhattan, to add freshness to my blend. Greens are sharp notes, which is why they register in our minds as "fresh". Because they're sharp, they're often seen as aggressive scents as well, which might explain why entrepreneur Coco Chanel herself loved No.19 which, although it's clean and crisp, I wouldn't call a dainty, virginal scent. All this is to say that not all Greens are alike, either. Green was also the preferred choice of gamine beauty Audrey Hepburn (sources say she loved Ivoire) and free-spirited bombshell Brigitte Bardot (Vent Vert). I'm interested these days to see where the fresh scent trend is going, since it's not the '90s anymore and the types of fresh notes that are available to perfumers have vastly upgraded with technology (similar I think to how the electronic musical instrument sounds get better, too). ~More to come~

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Dr. Bronner's--Soap I Couldn't Live Without

You might think that because I love perfume so much, I would be using nothing but scented products. Actually, no; I use an all-natural liquid castile soap called Dr. Bronner's 18-in-1 Hemp Pure-Castile Soap, Unscented Baby-Mild. It's highly concentrated and a little goes a long way. This soap gets me squeaky clean and the best part is that there's no perfume in it to compete with my fragrance of the moment. Occasionally I use their Peppermint which contains real peppermint essential oil--refreshing on a hot summer day. Happy bath time!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Soft and Powdery Scents: Is This Love?

How hard should we work at trying to like something? I think I've given powdery perfumes a fair chance and I just don't seem to like most of them. There are some that I like: for instance, Florals that I perceive as being more floral than powdery, I can tolerate. I love Eau de Cartier and that is powdery soft enough for me, even if many people say it smells sharp and green to them. By the way, we're both right. (Image: puff by Too Faced)

Powdery vanillas--love them, although I prefer them to have strong woods supporting them so they're not so powdery soft.

The ones that are primarily powder to my nose, regardless of how the powder was rendered--by aldehydes, amber, vanilla mixed with citrus or green--whatever the method, whatever the flava, I just don't think I like these on the whole.

Powdery musks--from Serge Lutens Clair de Musc to Bonne Bell Skin Musk--not into them.

Powdery baby products--not for me.

Don't get me wrong; I still think Chanel No.5 is amazing but I find that I can't wear it all the time because the powder annoys me. Kenzo Flower--even sharp powder doesn't do it for me.

Does that mean I'll quit testing powdery perfumes? No! I just keep going where I haven't gone before, the infinite universe that is my love of perfume for which I'm glad because perfume adds so much to my life. I have something to look forward to each day that I wake up with the simple desire to ponder a perfume creation as someone might gaze at a garden for inspiration, and through it I often find interesting new perspectives on life.

But call me crazy: of all the perfumes in the world, I find these among the most cloying of all. Why? I don't know, but in reality, we're not supposed to actually breathe in powder, are we? I thought for sure it was my own bias that turned me off to powdery 'fumes (the fact that they're marketed as "soft and quiet = feminine" doesn't sit well with me) but it might just be an honest physical reaction that I'm having.

Sometimes you grow into love, sometimes you don't.

Gourmand: Food, Sex and Perfume

"Flowers are for funerals" explained one perfumista when confronted with the question as to why she doesn't like Floral perfumes. Many young people, like my friend, scoff at the idea of wearing anything flowery; perfume is no exception. But give her anything that smells like dessert--she's there. Gourmand, or foody perfumes, are the most popular perfumes among the new generation of fragrance aficionados. Fragrances such as Thierry Mugler Angel, Aquolina Pink Sugar, Serendipity 3 Serendipitous, MOR Pistachio, Ralph Lauren Ralph Hot and Demeter Brownie are classified as Gourmand, the newest subgenre of the smoldering and sensual Oriental fragrance family. Oriental perfumes are base-heavy blends which contain vanilla, resins, amber and spices in large quantities; Gourmand emphasizes "edible" notes such as vanilla, chocolate, almond, fruits, maple syrup and pralines, all resulting in blends that literally smell more like gourmet than least if you're a lover of conventional Floral perfumes like myself.

I do love Gourmand; in fact my own perfume creation, Pink Manhattan PURRFUME, can be considered Gourmand because it contains French Vanilla which, when combined with succulent peach and flirty tropical florals, creates a sweet and sensual blend that's (almost) good enough to eat. However, PM also contains equal amounts of fruity, floral and green notes, taking it out of the "strictly dessert" ballpark and leaving the impression of being more Fruity Floral than Gourmand. You might smell PM and feel differently. Anyway, Gourmand is among my favorite fragrance families and I have many personal favorites in this genre such as Molinard Vanille, a straightforward vanilla on a bold, woodsy base, and Comptoir Sud Pacifique Tiare, a fabulously hedonistic blend of island flowers, sweet vanilla and a tasteful, subtle touch of coconut.

Associations are everything when it comes to perfume; while some people associate flowers with funerals, flowers make others think of timeless elegance and romance. While many regard Gourmand as sexy scents (chocolate = sinful, perhaps, or the idea of being pampered itself can be very sexy), still others regard them as comfort scents that have nothing to do with sex. I think of Gourmand first and foremost as a young and rebellious scent type. To me, Gourmand is definitely non-traditional and it's what I love about them. I also feel that Gourmands aren't meant to be taken too seriously (Maybe they're not office scents, although they could be)--the bottom line is that they're fun scents that make me feel scrumptious! Next time you come across a tester of Pink Sugar at a mall, give it a try--dessert is for anyone to enjoy, and you may find that sweets are even more fun to wear than to eat.

Country Western Chic and a Mystery Solved!

What's with the photos of Edie Sedgwick? I guess I just like her. I'm kinda looking forward to the movie about her that's coming out this year.

OK--Just to reassure myself that I'm not imagining the overwhelming Wild Wild West trend that I've been going off about, the NYTimes confirmed that Western is "back" en vogue in this 3/21/06 article.

Remember my post about how TAXI (independent music A&R company that signs artists to labels) kept saying in their rejections that the current trend is "cool and airy" and I need to tap into that aesthetic with my music? Eureka! Here's a site I found that pretty much uses the same words to describe the current trend in fashion, per chance on a website for a mall in Alabama. Note how similar the clothes are to what we've been seeing in the pages of top fashion magazines, from crochet to long tiered skirts. Behold the new cool and airy aesthetic.

One singer got on the ball--Michelle Branch is singing Country with a new band, The Wreckers. The album, 'Stand Still, Look Pretty' will be released in May. I believe it's part of a huge movement to bring Country back into the Pop mainstream full force. Read about the Wreckers here.

So how big is your belt this season?

Monday, April 03, 2006

A Little Light

Sometimes, all we could do is make a wish, offer a prayer.

(Image: Smart Women Light the Way votive candle at

Perfumes For the Young and Old

One of the best pieces of advice I got when I first joined a perfume forum was to not let the older ladies on the board bully me into wearing only the vintage classics. This (older) poster thought young(er) members should feel free to like and wear newer perfumes which many of the older members couldn't get into (citing low quality as their main gripe--I can see it's hard to go ultra-synthetic once you're used to real essential oils in perfume). I appreciated her vote of support because even though I'm not so young, I tend to like "younger" scents, which to me means they're light or aqueous or whatever the term means to me at the moment--all in all, it means they don't smell "retro", like something that launched decades ago. Perfumes often smell like the eras they came out of--that is a reality, like music can sound dated. Fortunately for me, as a musician, music is music, not fashion, and I only care about the quality. Newness means nothing to me without good execution of solid musical ideas.

I don't want to villify the older people now. I think younger people need to stop calling scents "old ladyish", a term I only use in context here because I agree it's impolite to objectify/generalize women in this way (you don't say Oriental perfumes smell like Asian people, do you?). Perfumes can smell mature, and it could be that the scents remind us of an era or people we know, or it could be that the richer, base-heavier blends (amber, woods, heavy florals, spices, leather) are generally perceived as being more sophisticated and mature. Maybe that's because younger people tend to prefer lighter blends, but here again, I'm only generalizing, and my line of thinking excludes many (maybe millions of) young people who love perfumes with depth and substance.

I just know that I have always detested age-casting. I detest marketing music by demographics. I refuse to wear age-appropriate clothes. I have always worn whatever I liked, clothing or perfumewise, and I've kept likeminded friends in my life. I couldn't imagine telling someone that their perfume choice was too old or young for them.

However, I do speak my mind when I think a perfume smells young or mature. I hope no one is offended by that, but you never know.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Fragrance of the Moment: Dolce & Gabbana Sicily

My fragrance is Sicily by Dolce & Gabbana and I wonder if you're a fan of anything Italian as I am. One thing I love about Italian culture is--you know it--the food. I also loved singing in an Italian band in which I used to sing Mina and Giorgia songs. So on this beautiful day, I'm going for a promenade...maybe pick up some black olive bread and, as the Sicilians and Calabrians say it around here, fresh "mozzarel".

Sicily (2003)
The sensuality and heat of the Mediterranean vibrate in unison with notes of Sicilian bergamots, honeysuckle, jasmine, black pearl rose, hibiscus and musk. Inviting as a whisper, as bold as a mouth poised for a kiss, as subtle as intuition.

According to Michael Edwards: Sicily (2003) Classical Floral Oriental
Top: Bergamot, Honeysuckle
Heart: Hibiscus, Jasmine, Black Pearl Rose
Base: Sandalwood, Musk, Heliotrope

Jan Moran's notes are pretty much the same. You could read her description of Sicily here. I thought it was in her book Fabulous Fragrances II but it turned out the book came out in 2000.

Mouthless Flowers

How do we feel about quiet perfumes? Should quiet, soft scents be marketed to women as "feminine" in lieu of other types of fragrances today? Are we subversively sending a message that women should keep silent by taking the notion of "soft = feminine" at face value or does perfume have nothing to do with fashion and the way it shapes belief systems in our society?

Today I'm wearing Dolce & Gabbana Sicily again, a scent I would describe as a soft scent. I do like it a lot and I think there's something to be said for perfumes that are well-mannered and aren't too strong, but strong scents can be worn subtly in small amounts, too, so what's everyone talking about when they say soft scents are feminine?

It's my theory that many people think of soft (powdery) scents as feminine, and sharp (high-pitched, bold or bright) scents as loud and therefore unfeminine. Everyone's entitled to each their own perceptions of scent and femininity but I don't want the quieting down of women to take over the way perfumes are marketed to women, especially not right now when the 1950s trend is taking over everything else, from our clothes to our TV programs.

We might not think of advertisements as messages but they are. Words themselves are messages--I think of how the word for "gardenia" in Japanese is "kuchinashi" which sounds like "mouthless" (kuchi (mouth) + nashi (without)).

Perhaps I'm just thinking too much and should go arrange some flowers or something like a proper lady ought to.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Recording With Jazz Great Yoshiaki Masuo

Earlier this year, I was blessed with the opportunity to record with a legendary jazz guitarist named Yoshiaki Masuo on one song for an album scheduled to be released sometime this year. Masuo (as we lovingly call him) is known for having played with Sonny Rollins. What I remember about working with Masuo aside from his mind-blowing musical proficiency is his beautiful character. Like many people I've met who are involved in music at that level, he's a kind and sensitive person who's completely professional in his demeanor and goes out of his way to create good vibes for everyone involved. You can see in this photo the totally infectious smile of his that lights up a session. What a memory, what a delight. This is a photo taken of us at The Studio located in Soho, NYC. Clockwise from upper left: me, engineer Eiji Takasugi, jazz guitarist Yoshiaki Masuo, lyricist Mrs. Shirley Masuo. Yoshiaki Masuo is scheduled to tour in Japan starting in May--please check out Yoshiaki Masuo's official website for details. (Photo by Wuj)

Private Dreams Made the Earth Chart On Broadjam!

It must be an April Fool's Day joke on me! LOL! Link from below:

Broadjam Earth Top 10

Thank you all for your undying support over these past few months that I've been on Broadjam. If I've come this far, it's only because of people who have taken the time to listen, to review, to keep the hype going, to care. I'm honored and glad to have my songs up on the coolest indie music site on the net through which my life has been enriched in unexpected ways. Most of all, I feel fortunate to have in some way connected with people from around the world who share this passion for music.

Shout-outs: Sand (¡Ombligo!) who was the first person to lend a helping hand in setting up my mp3s online, Wuj, Roy Elkins, Robin (Now Smell This), Paula (PA on Delphi), Katie (Scentzilla!), people who actually bought CDs and downloads and all the fabulous perfumistas who have bought my product and/or said only the kindest things about me and my perfume. If you wanted to buy and couldn't, I thank you for your heart--I feel your love.