Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I love color! It makes me happy

I have so many perfume reviews to do - especially my win from Elena of the amazing sample box of Puredistance I, M and Antonia!!!  Thank you E!!

Plus Olenska sent me a surprise package of samples - SQUEEEE!

But work keeps me on my toes - I have a lot of stuff going on.  So it will be a while before a decent perfume post happens. Plus we had to put down my favorite cat on Monday.  My sweetest scaredy cat Oscar.  I'm quite heartbroken.

So to lighten my heart, I look for cheap colorful nail polish, and am totally enamored with Novella's blog and her book "Farm City".

Saturday, April 16, 2011

An open letter to the Editor of Women's Health Magazine

A little background: This letter was written by Tarleisio, author of Scent Less Sensibilities in reaction to Dee's post on Beauty On the Outside Why We Need Perfume Bloggers: Your Perfect Scent.

An open letter to the editor of Women's Health Magazine

An article in the Beauty section of the April edition of Women’s Health, entitled ‘Your Perfect Scent’ was brought to my attention by a friend and fellow blogger, and several statements in the article as well as the overall tone compelled me to write you.

The article attempts to categorize women in a range of ages – from their teens until ‘40+’ according to perfume category, arguing that throughout their lives, women prioritize their fragrance choices differently and gravitate towards the perfumes that reflect those priorities. It then proceeds to cite various perfumes currently available that might appeal, and this is where I feel compelled to protest – both at the underlying assumptions that teenagers want to impersonate walking cupcakes, that women in their thirties wear perfume to feel ‘sexy and secure’ and finally the statement that women in their forties wear perfume to feel ‘elegant’.

Women at any age read magazines such as yours for information and inspiration in their lifestyle choices, and few of them are entirely aware that for print media in a competitive digital age, advertising revenue takes pride of place over relevant content. As a consequence of perfume being formulated to target certain demographics and as a result of what you choose to advocate in your editorial pages, the perfumes sold in department stores and mall chain stores are all indistinguishable from one another. One sweet, fruity floral scent segues seamlessly into the next sweet, fruity floral, and only the name of the designer on the label is interchangeable. So women are shortchanged from both sides of that equation – by the major designer houses that are often the only luxury these women can afford, and by the very magazines they read for inspiration promoting only the brands they already advertise on their pages.

The problem is that neither your readers in general nor women in particular are thrilled about being defined in demographic terms, any more than teenaged girls can be lumped into cupcake fragrance categories, women in their thirties need to feel ‘sexy or ‘secure’ or ‘forty+’ women – a term I personally find more than slightly condescending - want to be considered elegant’ above all other reasons for wearing perfume.

What surprises me more than any other aspect of a very important issue in general, namely the stereotyping of women in the media, is that we live in an individualistic age. As women and as individuals, the opportunity to make individual choices that reflect our unique selves has never been greater, and this includes the very subject matter of your article – perfume. What is more, as social media change how we are informed and entertained and inspired to make those choices, creating and maintaining a dialogue with your readers is a valuable tool to retain the very readership that underlies your role in that media landscape, whether on a newsstand or on the Web.

There is a rich and invaluable resource available to any journalist interested in her subject matter – perfume blogs. We would quite happily have participated and in the process been thrilled to share what we know – that you are not doomed to ‘elegance’ simply for a diminished sense of smell – a claim I find quite unsubstantiated by scientific evidence in the article or in my personal experience, nor are you compelled to waft cupcake as a teenager, simply because there’s nothing else to choose from. There’s not too much else to choose from in the mainstream market because a tiny number of companies determine what scents land on department store shelves, and if one sweet, fruity floral scent becomes a success, it must therefore follow – so dictate the laws of the marketing briefs of these companies promoting this or that ‘exclusive designer’ – that only sweet, fruity, floral perfumes will do.

Women’s Health is a magazine that has a broad scope – to promote a healthy, happy and fulfilled lifestyle for its readership that goes beyond the usual stereotypical ‘women’s magazines’. Even so, when you attempted to inform your readers about a very personal choice, you fell victim to that precise stereotyping, and ignored a perfect opportunity to elevate your editorial content a bit above the stereotypical content of any other women’s magazine currently available.

Which is why we read you, after all.

Yours sincerely,

Bloody Frida

This letter has also been published on the following participating blogs:

Scentless Sensibilities

Olfactoria's Travels
Eyeliner on a Cat
Beauty on the Outside
Rendolent of Spices

All I am, a Redhead

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Gifts from my Cousin - Part II: Hermes "24, Faubourg" and Chanel #5 v. Eau Premiere

The first installment here.

I am totally shocked that 24, Faubourg was made in 1995.  Here I assumed it was a old classic.  Wondering why Hermes would have made such a fragrance in 1995? 

This is not my cup of tea.  I figured there is/are my nemesis aldehydes in it, but from all my researching, I cannot seem to find that note mentioned.

And then I got tired.   Tired and annoyed at myself for trying to figure out why I don't like it. 

I also received from my loving cousin a sample of Chanel #5. I had one from over a year ago, but I mustn't have closed the sample well enough as it all evaporated.

My friend FF has recently given me a sample of Chanel #5 Eau de Premiere (EP) so I'm sniffing these back to back. 

But first - back in the day (early 1980s) I would wander amidst the perfume counters at both Higbees and Halles department stores in downtown Cleveland. I lived downtown then, and would often stop during my lunch hour or between classes to spray scent on me as I was quite poor at the time and was unable to purchase full bottles often. At one point, I was determined to purchase a Chanel, and of course I tried #5. I almost gagged. I then tried #19 and #22 (and I swear another numbered one, but cannot remember!), and I settled on #19 (which is very interesting because I am usually an woodsy-oriental gal even back then). I was an angry rebellious young woman at that time. I think my chosing #19 over #5 was colored by that screw-you kinda mentality. But I liked #19 (both the perfume and the mentality)!

So now onto my current throw-down of Chanel #5 v. Chanel EP.

Chanel #5 bursts with effervenscent flowery something or another. EP also does a little fireworks display at the opening, but not as big and loud as her older, sassier sister (or great auntie).

After a while (I tested them both on one arm, two days in a row), #5 keeps on keeping on, overshadowing EP...even as I try to coax EP to blossom and get out of the shadow; she keeps quiet but steady.

EP is a much warmer, comforting scent to me; it wears close to the skin and seems more faithful. #5 on the other hand seems shrill, confident and distant.
I have always been a sucker for the underdog.

photos of Halle Bros. Department Store   from The Cleveland Press Collection