Saturday, September 29, 2012

IXFJ: On the Cusp of INFJ and ISFJ

It's been a while since I last took the MBTI and came up an INTJ. I thought it was time to retake the test, as I like to do on more or less an annual basis because it's fun, and so as I was browsing the net for an online test, I found one I'd never seen before: Thompson-Maidenbaum Personality Inventory aka The Lenore Thompson Personality Test. For the first time ever, I have tested as an IXFJ (somewhere between INFJ and ISFJ), a shift from my usual INXJ (between INTJ and INFJ) and seldom INXP (INTP/INFP) result. In a nutshell, my conscious perception (Sensing: bottom-up approach to information; context emerges from the facts) and unconscious perception (iNtuition: top-down approach to information; pattern first, then related content) have scored evenly. By scoring as more of a Sensing individual, I hope it means that I'm becoming more detail-oriented and less likely to jump to conclusions. I also hope it means I'm becoming less self-absorbed and more aware of my surroundings, although that can also translate as my being more easily distractable, or becoming hypersensitive.

Here is an excerpt from the web site: "Extraversion/Introversion and Judging/Perceiving are attitudes, Sensation/Intuition are the Perceiving functions, and Thinking/Feeling are the Judging functions. The general idea is that people prefer one of each pair of functions more than the other, and the attitudes indicate how these two preferred functions operate. In the logic of the four-category system:

"J types use one of the Judging functions (Thinking or Feeling) in an Extraverted way—to take action in the outer world; and they use one of the Perceiving functions (Intuition or Sensation) in an Introverted way—to reflect and to determine meaning.

"P types use one of the Perceiving functions (Intuition or Sensation) in an Extraverted way—to take action in the outer world; and they use one of the Judging functions (Thinking or Feeling) in an Introverted way—to reflect and to determine meaning."

So in Jungspeak, what's changed about me is the way in which I reflect and determine meaning, from a Ni (introverted intuition) perspective to more of a Si (introverted sensing) one. Here is an excerpt from another web site where The four Ego Functions of Jung's Psychological theory of Types is explained:

"SENSATION means conscious perception through the sense-organs. The Sensation personality-type relates to physical stimulii. But there is a difference according to whether the person is an introvert or an extrovert.

"So we could have an Introverted-Sensation type, such as an artist, who experiences the physical world (sensation) from the perspective of the psychic or inner consciousness (introversion). As opposed to this, the Extroverted-Sensation type would be the person who is a simple materialist or hedonist, interested only in physical or pragmatic things. This type tends to be realistic and practical. At worst, one may be crudely sensual. This personality-type occurs more often in men.

"(...) INTUITION is like sensation in that it is an experience which is immediately given to con-sciousness rather than arising through mental activity (e.g. thinking or feeling). But it differs in that it has no physical cause. It constitutes an intuition or hunch, a "gut"-level feeling, or an "ESP" experience. It is the source of inspiration, creativity, novel ideas, etc. According to Jung, the Intuitive type jumps from image, is interested in a while, but soon loses interest."

My auxiliary function has also shifted from Thinking to Feeling again, meaning I'm primarily using my ability to empathize (Fe = extraverted Feeling) to connect to / take action in the outer world.

Here's where I'm at: I believe I am an INFJ, but shifting towards ISFJ. To recap up to this point: ISFJ = Dominant Introverted Sensation with an Extraverted Feeling auxiliary function. The primary function of the ISFJ, Introverted Sensation (Si) = conscious perceptual impressions: focuses on the realistic relationship of new perceptual events to existing bodies of meaningful information

So what does it mean to be an ISFJ, or someone whose primary cognitive function is Si (Introverted Sensing)? The information I've stumbled upon has changed the way I view MBTI, because Jung's original 8 types and the MBTI don't seem to be in sync. For instance, the INTJ type which is considered one of the Rational types in MBTI is an Irrational type according to Jung. The following descriptions draw negative images of the Introverted Irrational types as being "inferior". These types are INTJ, INFJ, ISTJ, ISFJ.

The Thompson-Maidenbaum site links to a detailed explanation of the cognitive functions: GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE TYPES - Psychological Types, C. G. Jung (1921) Translation by H. Godwyn Baynes (1923) from which I have drawn the following excerpts regarding the Extraverted Feeling function and the Introverted Irrational types.

Here is a very interesting explanation of the Feeling type: "Feeling in the extraverted attitude is orientated by objective data, i.e. the object is the indispensable determinant of the kind of feeling. It agrees with objective values. If one has always known feeling as a subjective fact, the nature of extraverted feeling will not immediately be understood, since it has freed itself as fully as possible from the subjective factor, and has, instead, become wholly subordinated to the influence of the object. Even where it seems to show a certain independence of the quality of the concrete object, it is none the less under the spell of. traditional or generally valid standards of some sort. I may feel constrained, for instance, to use the predicate 'beautiful' or 'good', not because I find the object 'beautiful' or 'good' from my own subjective feeling, but because it is fitting and politic so to do; and fitting it certainly is, inasmuch as a contrary opinion would disturb the general feeling situation. A feeling-judgment such as this is in no way a simulation or a lie -- it is merely an act of accommodation. (edit)

(...) "In precisely the same way as extraverted thinking strives to rid itself of subjective influences, extraverted feeling has also to undergo a certain process of differentiation, before it is finally denuded of every subjective [p. 447] trimming. The valuations resulting from the act of feeling either correspond directly with objective values or at least chime in with certain traditional and generally known standards of value. This kind of feeling is very largely responsible for the fact that so many people flock to the theatre, to concerts, or to Church, and what is more, with correctly adjusted positive feelings. Fashions, too, owe their existence to it, and, what is far more valuable, the whole positive and wide-spread support of social, philanthropic, and such like cultural enterprises. In such matters, extraverted feeling proves itself a creative factor. Without this feeling, for instance, a beautiful and harmonious sociability would be unthinkable."

OK, so here again it sound to me like the Feeling individual believes in certain values based on the status quo, or what one believes (s)he should believe. I have always considered myself a free thinking individualist, so I'm not sure I'm liking this description for myself (thus my INTJ / INTP readings in the past), but there might be a reason I'm functioning this way for the time being, that I'm not understanding yet.

The excerpt continues, "Such overstressed, extraverted feeling certainly fulfils æsthetic expectations, but no longer does it speak to the heart; it merely appeals to the senses, or -- worse still -- to the reason. Doubtless it can provide æsthetic padding for a situation, but there it stops, and beyond that its effect is nil. It has become sterile. Should this process go further, a strangely contradictory dissociation of feeling develops; every object is seized upon with feeling- [p. 448] valuations, and numerous relationships are made which are inherently and mutually incompatible. Since such aberrations would be quite impossible if a sufficiently emphasized subject were present, the last vestige of a real personal standpoint also becomes suppressed. The subject becomes so swallowed up in individual feeling processes that to the observer it seems as though there were no longer a subject of feeling but merely a feeling process. In such a condition feeling has entirely forfeited its original human warmth, it gives an impression of pose, inconstancy, unreliability, and in the worst cases appears definitely hysterical."

Oh my, after all these years of being immersed in the arts, I have finally appropriately died inside! To whom or what hierarchy have I given in? Have I watched too many episodes of Master Chef this summer? Am I becoming a classist / traditionalist!? Either that or, I'm just gettin' old. They say types mature and shift throughout life, which I'm guessing is true even for the more "rigid" (as opposed to "flaky") Extraverted and Introverted Rational types (ENFJ, ESFJ, ENTJ, ESTP, ISTP, ISFP, INFP, INTP).

And before you think Feeling types are the world's worst people, the negative aspects of the Extraverted Thinking type don't sound so great, either, so bear with me as I continue onto the description of the Si and of the ISFJ (the following description also fits an ISTJ who shares Si as a primary function but whose auxiliary function is Te (Extraverted Thinking)).

The Introverted Sensation Type "(...)Relatively speaking, this type has only archaic possibilities of expression for the disposal of his impressions; thought and feeling are relatively unconscious, and, in so far as they have a certain consciousness, they only serve in the necessary, banal, every-day expressions. Hence as conscious functions, they are wholly unfitted to give any adequate rendering of the subjective perceptions. This type, therefore, is uncommonly inaccessible to an objective understanding and he fares no better in the understanding of himself.

"Above all, his development estranges him from the reality of the object, handing him over to his subjective perceptions, which orientate his consciousness in accordance with an archaic reality, although his deficiency in comparative judgment keeps him wholly unaware of this fact. Actually he moves in a mythological world, where men animals, railways, houses, rivers, and mountains appear partly as benevolent deities and partly as malevolent demons.

"(...) His unconscious is distinguished chiefly by the repression of intuition, which thereby acquires an extraverted and archaic character. Whereas true extraverted intuition has a characteristic resourcefulness, and a 'good nose' for every possibility in objective reality, this archaic, extraverted intuition has an amazing flair for every ambiguous, gloomy, dirty, and dangerous possibility in the background of reality. In the presence of this intuition the real and conscious intention of the object has no significance; it will peer behind every possible archaic antecedent of such an intention. It possesses, therefore, something dangerous, something actually undermining, which often stands in most vivid contrast to the gentle benevolence of consciousness. So long as the individual is not too aloof from the object, the unconscious intuition effects a wholesome compensation to the rather fantastic and over credulous attitude of consciousness. But as soon as the unconscious becomes antagonistic to consciousness, such intuitions come to the surface and expand their nefarious influence: they force themselves compellingly upon the individual, releasing compulsive ideas about objects of the most perverse kind. The neurosis arising from this sequence of events is usually a compulsion neurosis, in which the hysterical characters recede and are obscured by symptoms of exhaustion. [p. 505]"

Comparing the Si function of the ISFJ to the Ni function of the INFJ:

The Introverted Intuitive Type

"The peculiar nature of introverted intuition, when given the priority, also produces a peculiar type of man, viz. the mystical dreamer and seer on the one hand, or the fantastical crank and artist on the other. The latter might be regarded as the normal case, since there is a general tendency of this type to confine himself to the perceptive character of intuition. As a rule, the intuitive stops at perception; perception is his principal problem, and -- in the case of a productive artist-the shaping of perception. But the crank contents himself with the intuition by which he himself is shaped and determined. Intensification of intuition naturally often results in an extraordinary aloofness of the individual from tangible reality; he may even become a complete enigma to his own immediate circle. [p. 509]

"If an artist, he reveals extraordinary, remote things in his art, which in iridescent profusion embrace both the significant and the banal, the lovely and the grotesque, the whimsical and the sublime. If not an artist, he is frequently an unappreciated genius, a great man 'gone wrong', a sort of wise simpleton, a figure for 'psychological' novels."

So, am I moving from a Ni artist/artsy-type person who likes to reinvent herself for lack of other subjects to manipulate at will, to a Si + Fe type of artist who has no self-consciousness to speak of, a sort of empty vessel for instruction (stereotypically like classical musicians)? Could I interpret this as meaning I'm losing my self-obsessed post-TV personality ego in lieu of becoming a faceless humble servant, the stereotype of the ISFJ depicted as a homemaker, or someone who does everything out of a sense of duty?

Finally, here is the depressing recap of the Introverted Irrational (INFJ, INTJ, ISTJ, ISFJ) types, the big picture for me being that it's irrelevant whether I'm an INXJ or IXFJ if they are both deemed inferior types of man according to Jung. The Extraverted and Introverted Irrational types are INTJ, INFJ, ESTP, ESFP, ISTJ, ISFJ, ENFP and ENTP. What is it about these types that Jung (himself an INTP) deemed inferior?

Recapitulation of Introverted Irrational Types (Irrational Sensation, Irrational Intuition) "The two types just depicted are almost inaccessible to external judgment. Because they are introverted and have in consequence a somewhat meagre capacity or willingness for expression, they offer but a frail handle for a telling criticism. Since their main activity is directed within, nothing is outwardly visible but reserve, secretiveness, lack of sympathy, or uncertainty, and an apparently groundless perplexity. When anything does come to the surface, it usually consists in indirect manifestations of inferior and relatively unconscious functions. Manifestations of such a nature naturally excite a certain environmental prejudice against these types. Accordingly they are mostly underestimated, or at least misunderstood. To the same degree as they fail to understand themselves -- because they very largely lack judgment -- they are also powerless to understand why they are so constantly undervalued by public opinion. They cannot see that their outward-going expression is, as a matter of fact, also of an inferior character. Their vision is enchanted by the abundance of subjective events. What happens there is so captivating, and of such inexhaustible attraction, that they do not appreciate the fact that their habitual communications to their circle express very, little of that real experience in which they themselves are, as it were, caught up. The fragmentary and, as a rule, quite episodic character of their communications make too great a demand upon the understanding and good will of their circle; furthermore, their mode of expression lacks that flowing warmth to the object which alone can have convincing force. On the contrary, these types show very often a brusque, repelling demeanour towards the outer world, although of this they are quite unaware, and have not the least intention of showing it. We shall form a [p. 512] fairer judgment of such men and grant them a greater indulgence, when we begin to realize how hard it is to translate into intelligible language what is perceived within. Yet this indulgence must not be so liberal as to exempt them altogether from the necessity of such expression. This could be only detrimental for such types. Fate itself prepares for them, perhaps even more than for other men, overwhelming external difficulties, which have a very sobering effect upon the intoxication of the inner vision. But frequently only an intense personal need can wring from them a human expression.

"From an extraverted and rationalistic standpoint, such types are indeed the most fruitless of men. But, viewed from a higher standpoint, such men are living evidence of the fact that this rich and varied world with its overflowing and intoxicating life is not purely external, but also exists within. These types are admittedly one sided demonstrations of Nature, but they are an educational experience for the man who refuses to be blinded by the intellectual mode of the day. In their own way, men with such an attitude are educators and promoters of culture. Their life teaches more than their words. From their lives, and not the least from what is just their greatest fault, viz. their incommunicability, we may understand one of the greatest errors of our civilization, that is, the superstitious belief in statement and presentation, the immoderate overprizing of instruction by means of word and method.

"The irrational introverted types are certainly no instructors of a more complete humanity. They lack reason and the ethics of reason, but their lives teach the other possibility, in which our civilization is so deplorably wanting."

And there's the small consolation to go with my humble pie. If it means anything to anyone, I have read somewhere on the net before that Japan is an example of an ISFJ country. FWIW.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ralph Lauren Big Pony Collection: Blue, Pink, Yellow, Purple

Boy oh boy, I love this collection from Ralph Lauren, both the concept and the scents themselves. This is a great launch, and the coffret should sell well this year, especially come holiday-time. I've never smelled the Men's Big Pony Collection (2010) but if it's as good as the new 2012 Women's line, I ought to. Each color-coded and numbered fragrance represents a personality type; Big Pony RL Blue (#1) is said to be for a sporty leader type. It is a citrus Floral with official notes of grapefruit and blue lotus, and as you might have read on this blog before, citrus is often associated with born leaders. I smell Jolly Rancher green apples, watermelons and a pencil shaving-like cedary woody backdrop, not unlike that of Chanel Chance. It has a fresh and dry musky dry down, and is one of my favorites. If you're a fan of Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, Carolina Herrera 212 or Creed Spring Flower, try this.
Probably my favorite in the collection (although Blue #1 is a strong contender), Big Pony RL Pink (#2) smells sweet and soft with a bit of oomph, like berries and vanilla. The official notes are cranberry (which could pass for strawberry) and tonka mousse (which smells like vanilla). I smell a touch of pineapple, making this composition almost a cross between Rihanna Reb'l Fleur, PacSun Kirra Pink and L'Artisan Parfumeur Ananas Fizz. The overall structure of this luscious fruity Floral Oriental reminds me so much of my own indie creation of 2005, Pink Manhattan Purrfume (peach vanilla with white florals), I feel as if I never would have composed it had this scent been in existence back then. RL Pink is sweeter, and maybe a tad less green. I think it smells scrumptious and divine, and feel the "sensual" personality reading for this fragrance is spot on.
Big Pony RL Yellow (#3)...ahh, I love this, too. With official notes of pear and mimosa, this is a Green Floral, green often being representative of assertiveness in the olfactive universe. Characterized as a fragrance for the individualistic free spirit, it is most reminiscent of other Green beauties such as Donna Karan Be Delicious and Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Tutti Kiwi. My daughter says this is her favorite, and it smells to her of strawberries. It's the most classically Floral of the bunch, fresh but not sharp, with a tender heart vaguely reminiscent of Annick Goutal Petite Cherie, Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers, and even of the slightly tart hidden fruity pleasure within Guerlain Idylle. Aqueously modern yet well-mannered and classic, it might be a nice change of pace for the Elizabeth Arden Pretty wearer--it's very pretty!
Cherry and amber didn't sound appetizing to me, the only cherry perfume I've ever liked for a time having been Chantal Thomass, yet this composition for the seductive, attention-getting and unforgettable woman has a sumptuously smoky dry down, not far off from the "Turkish bath and incense" feeling I craved in the now-discontinued La Sultane de Saba body line. A true Oriental but with a sheer, modernized aura, Big Pony RL Purple (#4) is most similar to Bath and Body Works Blackberry Amber, with that ever-popular "fruitchouli" (fruit + patchouli) accord being the most prominent. The dramatic royal purple packaging color suits this fragrance well. If you like fruity scents but prefer warmer, deeper ones with maybe a hint of chocolate like Thierry Mugler Angel or Vera Wang Rock Princess, here's your speed.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Korres Iris Lily of the Valley Cotton

Korres Iris Lily of the Valley Cotton is among my favorites in the musky floral family of fragrances. It's also an ozonic fragrance, most reminiscent of Lise Watier Neiges in that it's a soapy-musky-powdery Floral with a bit of sharpness, and not much sweetness. It also resembles Elizabeth Arden Splendor, but less flowery, much milder in its "skin scent" disposition. At this genre's most "perfumey" extreme, one might find Estée Lauder White Linen; at the other, or least perfumey, "detergentesque" side (another extreme), Clean by Dlish. Korres Iris Lily of the Valley Cotton is somewhere in the middle, leaning towards the perfumier "Neiges" side and the milder, more commercial "Bath & Body Works body spray" side at once.

Overall, it's one of the few ozonics I can tolerate in the vicinity of food. It doesn't smell like I'm being forced to dine inside a laundromat, but it still smells like something clean and freshly laundered is in the building. I feel like this is as commercially soapy as I can go when it comes to scents that will actually be worn on skin rather than on clothing. There's a natural floralcy that helps it cross over from soapy clean to a delectable and pleasant aroma; on dry down, this fragrance smells subtle but like lily nectar or paperwhites. While many musks containing lily of the valley such as the classic Rain fragrances, J. Lo Glow or Sarah Jessica Lovely smell indolic on dry down, Korres stays unsweaty and more dry linen--or cotton-like.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Happy Rosh Hashanah (plus my September Top 10 Fragrances)

Greetings, dear reader, and Happy Rosh Hashanah to all my Jewish friends everywhere! May the new year bring you peace, prosperity and happiness. I have been kind of swamped with life lately, but I'm hanging in there, trying to stay creative, active and up-to-date with current trends and exciting events happening all around me. I hope you are hanging in there with the hustle and bustle of September, even enjoying it as another new season begins with all its lively colors of nature taking exciting new shape, like a metaphorical backdrop to our ever-changing lives. I'm looking forward to sharing my journey towards completing my first book (ambitious, I know), and also to let you in on my other on-going projects, like that music CD I'm back to working on...yes, I work slowly, but I think of it now like slow food--in that without an absolute deadline, I'm free to explore and follow the inspirations that come my way. It feels organic and alive to "let it be", making me feel that whatever will be born of this process will be authentic and rewarding in the end. So, I'm not sweating it; rather, I'm learning to breathe, to become more aware of the little things, including life's small pleasures like slow food, quite literally!

I'm still very much in tune with the world of fragrance, and so, I'd like to take this moment to share my current favorite perfumes. My biggest discoveries for me this year so far have been Serge Lutens Chergui, L'eau de Chloe and Tom Ford Neroli Portofino, all of which I've worn extensively throughout the summer. I've rediscovered Fifi Chachnil and 4711, and am now getting into a new phase, in which musks have returned with New York's cooler weather. Today, I'm sampling a spectacular cotton scent by Korres called Iris Lily of the Valley Cotton, and I hope to find more cotton / ozone scents to review, a new (or rather, maybe a sort of neglected) genre for me to explore. My young daughter, who doesn't wear fragrance on a regular basis but who enjoys scents enough to have her own fabulous style, taste, and a keen awareness of different notes, has recently discovered, as much as she enjoys trying different celebrity scents with me, that she likes a light cotton / fresh linen scent for herself most of all. So I'm currently intigued with the notion of trying everything from Marc Jacobs Cotton to Bath & Body Works Sea Island Cotton, but I think the type of cotton / linen she likes is more detergentesque à la CLEAN than a sharp, powdery, soapy musk like Lise Watier Neiges.

If you have a cotton / linen suggestion that resembles the scent of Slatkin & Co. Fresh Cotton candles, please let me know through Twitter or my Facebook page. Thank you also for the shout-outs from fellow perfumistas who have reached out to say hello in recent weeks. I'm happy to feel like I'm still part of this great community of thinking-sentient-artistic perfume aficionados around the globe.

This month, I've been most devoted to Chergui and L'eau de Chloe. What I love about L'eau de Chloe is that it's the exact rose-sandalwood-patchouli blend I've been hoping to find after my favorite body cream by La Sultane de Saba was discontinued. It is a sort of "hippie rose" scent, but it's light (for a Chypre), with a barely detectable, clean "steamy towel" (or fresh-out-of-the-shower) musk as its architectural framework (similar in this regard to Cartier Baiser Vole). It's also very elegant, if an "earthy-dirty" hippie scent can be that (certainly Jean Patou 1000 is both hippie and elegant at once--another rose patchouli Chypre, but a very potent and decadent one). It reminds me of the very lovely Guerlain Idylle without the pear notes, and of Narciso Rodriguez for Her without the techno-animalic tone. It's all that and fresh, like wine red petals pressed between pages of a book with leaves and stems, remnants of summer green, a touch of sunkissed, honeyed hay. My "signature" dark yet liltingly sheer, happy and ebullient rose Chypre...I love it. I feel it will continue to be a favorite co-headlining my current collection of beloved essences ranging from the simple gourmands and even simpler airy linens to the rich and complex Serge Lutens masterworks.

I want to resample Cartier Baiser Vole, the first fragrance I can recall liking that has that clean "steamy towel" accord, and I want (maybe for my holiday wish list?) Kenzo Amour Florale, the kind of clean yet mild floral scent I'm very much in the mood for these days. Miss Dior Cherie L'eau is similar but I feel it's sharper, saltier, and the musky dry down more pronounced compared to Kenzo. I've learned I prefer Floral perfumes when it's not too least that's my assessment for this year.

As for food, I will have to develop a diet plan after the hedonistic summer I've indulged in, but I have no regrets, and plan to share in my book the kinds of easy yet fabulous gourmet items I've been learning to whip up, to make my every day another day to look forward to. Come what may, together we'll make it divine, Pink Manhattan neighbors. Please do keep stopping by. xo

My end-of-summer Top 10:

1. L'eau de Chloe
2. Serge Lutens Chergui
3. Kenzo Amour Eau de Toilette Florale
4. Tom Ford Neroli Portofino
5. Fifi Chachnil
6. Kenzo Amour
7. Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque
8. Serge Lutens Gris Clair
9. Nina Ricci Nina
10. Demeter Blueberry Muffin

Friday, September 07, 2012

Yves Rocher: What's Your Plant-sonality? Take the Quiz

Yves Rocher: Take the Quiz--What's Your Plant-sonality?

"What's Your Plant-sonality? Feminine or fearless? Charming or Sparkling? Sweet or Seductive?

"Are you a sweet Vanilla or charming Raspberry?" It turns out I'm a little of both (hmm...a trendy homebody of sorts) but mostly "sweet and sensuous--with a wicked sense of fun" Vanilla.

"Uncover your unique plant-sonality by answering a few fun questions about your favorite foods, vacations or activities...

"At the end, you will learn which Yves Rocher botanical suits you best and why!" Alas, I think you have to enter the sweepstakes to find out which scent suits your Plant-sonality, but I saw that Yves Rocher has several different vanillas for me to choose from, between Vanille Noire, Vanille Bourbon, Vanille Pistache and organic Vanille Agriculture Bio from their 1995 CAP NATURE line. I'd love to try them all, and also their Fraise, Framboise, Mûre Sauvage, Pêche jaune, Soufflé, Marron de Noël--oh, my! Floral essences such as Magnolia seem to be calling me, too. Why, they have more than 150 fragrances to choose from, so they're bound to have something for everyone.

(Image: from Les Eaux Gourmandes by Yves Rocher, April 8, 2011 -

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Questioningly: The Worst Job in Literature

"In last week’s contest, we asked for the worst jobs in literature. Not actual jobs, necessarily, but jobs implied by the text. Granted, the notion is a bit abstract, which is why we were pleased to find that readers..."

Continue reading: Questioningly: The Worst Job in Literature - Posted by Ben Greenman, September 4, 2012 The New Yorker

Monday, September 03, 2012

My Butter Pecan Ice Cream Experiment

If you've been following me on Twitter this summer, you'd have seen my tweets about my new-found love for butter pecan flavored ice cream. Now, this might be neither here nor there but this passion for butter pecan changes my personality assessment as found on websites dedicated to ice cream personality tests (Try one at Ice Cream Flavorology). Whereas the vanilla person is supposed to be a risk-taking perfectionist (and not boring, as the common belief about vanilla people purports them to be), the butter pecan lover is a devoted worker and leader type (Here's another personality reading at I'm not sure how different these types really are, since butter pecan is essentially vanilla ice cream with extra butter fat and nuts added, but I suppose those things say a lot more about people than, say, that they like how those things taste. Reason, my friends, can be fun to delve into, or drive a person into the madness of minutia.

I hope everyone in the US has enjoyed their Labor Day weekend. As the official beginning of fall looms ahead, I'd like to dedicate one post to my favorite flavor of Summer 2012, the mighty Butter Pecan, and compare some of the brands I tried over the summer. If there are good brands I missed, come gimme a shout on the Twitter or that Facebook page o' mine. Flavor, like fragrance, is one of my favorite topics, something I'd like to get into more often and in depth; I'd love to hear from you.

Häagen-Dazs Butter Pecan: Häagen-Dazs is a brand that makes real ice cream as opposed to frozen dessert, and it's very popular in New York. I think their best flavor (of the ones I've tried) is Coffee, but I have yet to try their Salted Caramel Truffle. I could do with just Salted Caramel, minus truffle, but of course Chocolate lovers will balk at the blasphemous idea. Chocoholics always pick chocolate over anything else, and are entitled to do so. Anyway, their butter pecan is rich and creamy but also among the less sweet ones, so if you like elegant, natural tastes, you'd probably choose this butter pecan.

Breyers Butter Pecan: I grew up eating Breyers All-Natural Strawberry, so this is among my favorite ice cream brands. This is the butter pecan that got me hooked on the flavor, actually. The one I tried might have been a frozen dessert, but it was delicious, and I'm sure I'll keep buying more. The butter pecan offering by Breyers is pleasantly sweet, with a caramel toffee or butterscotch flavor weaving through, with a bit of a salty kick. The butter flavor might be a bit rich for some people, but I really enjoyed it. If you love Werthers candies, or hey, salted caramels, this butter pecan might be your pick.

Edy's Butter Pecan: If you're a fan of maple syrup and brown sugar, this is your butter pecan. There are several breakfast cereals out there on the market with a similar flavor, like Brown Sugar and Maple Mini-Wheats, so if you're a fan of these types of cereal, you'll like this butter pecan. As for me, I prefer my butter pecan less maple-y and brown sugary, as I find those flavors a bit overpowering. I'm a vanillaholic, so if you think vanilla's boring, go against my taste preference and get this.

Turkey Hill Butter Pecan: I enjoy this butter pecan as much as I do Breyers, although it's less buttery-tasting. It's not as sweet as Breyers and Edy's but it has more sweetness than Häagen-Dazs; it has a nice balance of flavors, and it tastes like classic butter pecan as I remember it from my childhood. This brand makes both real ice cream and frozen desserts, but if I recall correctly, I've tried them both and I thought they tasted great.

America's Choice Butter Pecan: I like this butter pecan, too. It tastes classic and well-balanced as far as sweetness and saltiness levels are concerned. It's got that All-American flavor, like butter pecan should. I think it's similar to Turkey Hill butter pecan, so one of these days, I need to do a taste test between these two side-by-side to see how the brands differ. I believe their price point's about the same. Maybe they are the same...

Baskin-Robbins Butter Pecan: This is probably one of the first butter pecan flavors I ever tasted, so it was a pleasure eating my nostalgic feelings while mentally skipping down memory lane. Alas, my longterm memory is skewed; I find this butter pecan a bit spicy, like almond extract or pistachio (kinda like their green pistachio flavor but not as strong). I'd say if you're a fan of cinnamon, cherry or almond flavor, perhaps any nutty flavor besides pecan, you'd prefer this. The best part? The pecans themselves. I'd buy a single scoop on a sugar cone if any Baskin-Robbins still offered it. My longtime favorite of theirs is Mint Chocolate Chip.

Next time, I'd like to give you my analysis of Ben and Jerry's Butter Pecan, once famous in the headlines for temporarily being renamed "Yes, Pecan!" in honor of Barack Obama ("Yes, We Can!"), but I have yet to find this flavor anywhere.