Sweet Frivolity

Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything. Thank you so much.

Do Son

I took this picture of my vanity tray in December, maybe earlier, because I thought the light was pretty and it conveniently highlighted my favorite perfume. At the time, I thought I had discovered my “signature scent,” which I put down as a life list goal years ago. It sat around in my photo library because I had serious doubts when it came to writing about the perfume my husband bought me on his first out of town business trip 6 months earlier.


Today, though, I’m feeling like writing something frivolous and shallow. Bonus points because I can finally say I have one perfume. A signature scent, thankyouverymuch.

Like I said, this perfume was a gift from my husband. It’s Diptyque Do Son, and when I first opened it I had reservations. I’m particular about my perfumes, and in the past my husband favored fragrances with amber, sandalwood, and pretty much everything I despise. Amber is only good for gnat repellent.

Newsflash: most of the world disagrees with me. Amber and sandalwood–and anything that smells fruity/brown sugary/warm–remain the top notes in perfumery.

I like rose, tuberose, almost all florals except honeysuckle and lilac, baby powder, orange, and most herbaceous scents that form “clean florals.” Anything vanilla, warm, spicy, fruity, or rich will give me a migraine. I will never burn a candle that smells like a baked good. No way, no how.

Again, I know I’m in the minority.

When I first sprayed Do Son, I thought it smelled like an all-natural bug spray. The dry down was better, thank goodness, so I started wearing it regularly. I started to really like it, but even then I wasn’t thinking it was Holy Grail perfume level until I started getting asked what perfume I was wearing. Like a TV commercial people were all gee, your skin smells nice! (No they weren’t.)

People who have asked me about my perfume:

  1. A doctor (not mine) stopped me in a hallway to ask what I was wearing and asked me to leave the name at the front desk
  2. Many of the female students
  3. A woman in church during the school honor roll ceremony
  4. My tax preparer
  5. Several parents at school
  6. My mother in-law and sister in-law
  7. A couple of the teachers at school
  8. Coaches at the boys’ swim practice
  9. Random people at Michael’s, The 99 Cent Only Store, Trader Joe’s, and Stater Bros

What people think about your perfume doesn’t matter if you don’t like it, but I love this perfume because I can’t really smell it on me. I know that sounds pointless, but if you get migraines, you know what I’m trying to say. You want a perfume that smells nice but isn’t so powerful that you end up walking around in a cloud.

Basically, it boils down to how a perfume reacts with your skin, and I think this one reacts well enough that people notice, but not so well that it’s all I can smell. Works for me! Garnier BB Cream, which I love, is like this. Many people complain about the smell of the Garnier product line, and that they can “smell their face” all day long. I love the smell of Garnier products, but even if I didn’t, the smell doesn’t last 10 seconds on me before it dissipates–at least in my mind.

So. Favorite perfume: CHECK! The Mister is so pleased with himself, he can’t even handle it. I think he’s going to hang on to this victory for a long, long time. When I asked him why he picked Do Son, he just shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t know. I thought it smelled like you.”

That’s as deep as it gets, folks.

I checked out the notes for Do Son while I was writing this post to see if it contained any of the scents I like. Yeah, it’s no wonder I love it.

Do Son is inspired directly from Yves Coueslant’s childhood in Vietnam, where he grew up in Ha├»phong, a port in Northern Indo-China. Not far from there, in the little seaside resort of Do Son, his father had a pagoda built by the sea to go to and enjoy the sea air at the end of the day.

Do Son recalls the memory of this place where flower fragrances dominate, in particular the tuberose, whose scent his mother particularly loves. In Do Son, the tuberose and Turkish rose bouquet expresses a sweet flavour freshened up with the orange blossom leaf and the rose berries. The white musk and the iris add a delicately powdered aspect to it. [link]

Dusty Rose

Over a year ago I confessed I have magical powers. I still do. I can’t read minds or levitate or make the Statute of Liberty disappear. My powers are more subtle. I predict popular colors. In 2003, I saw aqua coming. I say dusty rose is next. (It’s also possible I’m trying to justify my questionable taste.)

My obsession started last spring. A second look here, a thoughtful stare there. By summer, I was on pinterest with a board devoted to dusty rose. One evening, I pinned so many images so quickly, Erin tweeted me out of nowhere and said, “Having a dusty rose moment?”

If you ask my friend, Andrea, it’s not dusty rose. “Call it what it is: 80s frickin’ mauve.” This, after a phenomenally long email exchange where I confessed my search for the perfect dusty rose sofa. (I have a collection of those on pinterest, too.) She claims she’s not a fan. If you ask me, her Christmas cards say otherwise.

For the record, I say mauve is more purple than pink. Dusty rose is more pink than taupe. It doesn’t matter. I’m obsessed with the color and when I worked over the summer on my site redesign, that was my only color request. Here are a few of my favorite images I’ve collected over the last six months. Lately, I’ve seen the color pop up more and more. It’s everywhere! It makes pinning to that dusty rose board easy.


Dressing Your Worth

On Monday I went to the tailor and dropped off a pair of jeans to hem and three dresses to alter. This is one of those bothersome tasks I put off without a valid reason, at least not valid in retrospect. I’m saving time and money. This is what runs through my head when I put on super high heels so my jeans don’t drag; when I fasten a safety pin to pull together a dress cut too low; when my palm skims my shoulder to discretely pull up a sagging shoulder.

I don’t have time to drive to my tailor or wait days for him to hem or alter my clothing. I don’t want to spend additional money on clothing. If I paid full price, I’m increasing the cost per wear. If I paid sale price, I’m spending the money I saved.

I save time and money, but I look like the girl on Main street today, teetering her way to the heath food store on heels far too high to be comfortable. By chance I ended up behind her in line. The hems of her pants covered her feet like teapot cozies. She was an apparition, a woman without feet sweeping the floor with the edge of her jeans as she bagged her quinoa.

She looked sloppy, which means I look sloppy. I realized, as I watched her give her pants a final hitch before walking out the door, that dragging hems, drooping necklines, and sagging shoulders are the chipped quarter round of the fashion world. There is shabby that is intentional, and there is shabby that says you don’t feel you are worth an $8 hem.

I’m worth $8, aren’t you? Actually, I’m worth $50. That’s what I spent to hem my jeans and alter the shoulders and necklines of two dresses, and the shoulder, neckline, waist, skirt and hem of the third dress. We’ll see how they turn out later this evening.

If you are handy with a sewing machine, you can hem your own pants. This tutorial makes it look so easy, I might have to give it a try. Heaven knows those jeans weren’t the only pants in my closet that need hemming.


Uniforms and Wardrobes

Did you see Nicole’s Style: June ’08 post? I’ve gone back to it several times already to look at all the items featured.

  • My friend, Kara, and I have wanted a crystalyn kae bag for over a year now.
  • I’ve wanted a Manic Trout necklace for over a year, as well.
  • The shoes are just plain charming. You don’t walk in those shoes; you mince.
  • The skirt is unapologetically Scandinavian, and while I am not Western European, I’m still drawn to the pattern and color combination.

But when I first saw the style board I was disappointed and immediately thought it was nothing I could ever wear. The heels are delicate and not meant for running after a preschooler and toddler. I look best in skirts, but I avoid them because it makes bending over for strewn items in public risky. The bag has fabric panels that don’t always go with everything, and I don’t often have time to change out my purse. The necklace, too, is brass and my wedding set is platinum (I always feel awkward about mixing metals). But really? The real reason I thought the outfit wouldn’t work is because it’s too young and free for a stay-at-home-mom like me.

And then it occurred to me that I could not possibly be more uptight.

When did moms develop the uniform from which we rarely deviate? Jeans, yoga pants, t-shirts, hoodies, semi-stylish sneakers, and, of course, the ubiquitous ponytail. To lend polish to the outfit? A Coach bag, naturally. It’s all so safe it’s suffocating.

There are some moms who look outside the wardrobe of domesticity, but they veer down an equally disturbing path. I call them RockStar Momz. They showcase their fake boobs with lowcut wife-beater tank tops and have name brands dancing across their pilates-toned asses in rhinestones. Their hair is platinum blonde with the random black highlights. They have every possible “it” label in their possession because they depend on US Weekly to tell them what is cool. The look is worse than safe. It’s forced, and I can’t help but think they want everyone to think they are sexy despite being fertile.

I don’t want to be sexy, but I would like to be me. And my initial response to Nicole’s post begs the question: When did dressing young and free become incongruous with being a stay at home mom? From the looks of the other moms at schools, malls, and restaurants across the country, I am not the only one who relinquished style to embrace motherhood. I have treated my wardrobe with the same practical eye that, until recently, I used to decorate my house. Everything safe, predictable, unlikely to offend (or inspire), and guaranteed to last several years in a life without oxygen.

I have taken some steps in distancing myself from the Mom Club. I stopped using Coach two years ago (I still have a wallet I need to swap out–any suggestions?), and I cut my hair shoulder length to make it harder to put it back in a ponytail. Now I just need to work on my clothes.

Maybe Nicole’s outfit wasn’t totally wrong for me, after all. I don’t often wear shoes in the house, so the heels really aren’t as problematic as I imagined. Fabric panels peeking out of a purse probably coordinate with more items than giant interlocking Cs. If I look better in skirts, I should wear them–wardrobe malfunctions be damned. Mixing metals? There are bigger controversies– like waiting until you really are too old to buy an outfit you love.

Hi! I’m Jules.

I used to be an attorney, but it made me grumpy. Now I write about life, sweet and savory, as a wife and mother to two small boys. My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds.

You can read more, including the meaning behind the name Pancakes and French Fries here. And, yes, I really am phenomenally indecisive.