Friday, December 7, 2012

Comic Scents

Get it? Sounds like "common sense"? I thought of that at like 5 in the morning while I was feeding Ishmael and was so proud of myself, so that's why it's not very funny. Basically, this is kind of like a holiday gift guide post, but more just reviews of stuff that I like, and in the specific categories of comic books and perfume. Because they totally go together in my world.

Only recently have I really gotten excited about comics and graphic novels. I think that I'd just never really seen one that had art that I liked in it until recently. I'd bought 3 at a used book store several years back, strictly for the art work, but I don't think I even read the stories. Then, I read a review of Craig Thompson's "Habibi" and bought it for Jonas for Christmas. I read it first, when it came in the mail, and it was instantly one of my favorite books, both for the story and the art work, which, though only black and white, is intricate and expressive. The story explores the lengths we go to for love and is masterfully woven with history and culture from the Middle East, so I basically adore it. Thompson's book "Blankets" and his illustrated travel journal "Carnet de Voyage" (kind of a companion to "Habibi") are also in my growing and beloved collection.

Next, we have "Building Stories" by Chris Ware. I haven't read it or even been able to look at it on Amazon or in a store, but it sounds like it's basically the story of a "protagonist wondering if she’ll ever move from the rented close quarters of lonely young adulthood to the mortgaged expanse of love and marriage." The more exciting thing about this book is that - according to another review - it's actually a series of 10 books (all included when you buy "Building Stories") which you can read in whichever order you want, which obviously changes how the story is told. What a brilliant idea! 

"A Kiss Before You Go" by Danny Gregory breaks my heart. Again, I haven't seen more than a few of its pages, but basically, it's an artist (see also his other intriguing titles) watercoloring and writing through a year after his wife dies, leaving behind a son. I'm in love with the title too; it alone practically makes me cry. 

What could be more awesome than a futuristic Los Angeles, "entirely dominated by food culture"? "Get Jiro!" by Anthony Bourdain has more traditional comic book art than the previous books in my little stack, but it illustrates a world in which the farm-to-table nuts battle the fusion-crazies, and both want Jiro on their side, a sushi chef "known to decapitate patrons who dare request a California Roll." I can't really imagine a more satisfying premise. 

I accidentally got really into futuristic fantasy when I picked up "Perdido Street Station" by China Mieville a few years back at Christmastime at Powell's in Portland. Well, "really into" is probably an exaggeration - it's really more of Jonas's thing, but when you're married, sometimes interests start to bleed together, and it's certainly growing on me. "Saga V.1" by Brian K. Vaughan sounds like it's set in the midst of a similar [to Perdido Street Station] epic battle between planets populated by various mutant life forms. Soldiers from opposite sides fall in love, have a baby, and struggle to survive in the fallout. I kind of have a soft spot for stories about raising kids now. (See also, "Underwater Welder" by Jeff Lemire.)

Last, but not least, we have "Kid Eternity" by Grant Morrison. I actually own one part of this 3-book series, though I couldn't tell you which installment it is. I think Jonas picked it up at our local $1 book store, and the art is incredible, though the story wouldn't have grabbed me on its own. It's actually pretty hard to find, unfortunately. Another more traditional comic, I believe it's a retelling of the story of Kid Eternity, a more obscure character from the DC Comic universe. 

Okay, now we move on to part 2 - Perfume.

I could talk all day about perfume. I would say perfume is hobby of mine, except that you basically have to be a genius molecular chemist. Learning about perfume is a more accurate description of my mini-obsession. I might write a separate post sometime with some of the crazy stuff I've learned, as well as some of the lesser known and intriguing brands out there, but for now, I'll just review my favorite scents that you can find in regular department stores, Amazon, or Sephora.

First, we have my all time favorite, Rockin' Rio by Escada. My Dad bought this for me from the Escada boutique in Hong Kong for my 14th birthday. Sometimes I feel less sophisticated for gravitating  toward fruity, bright colored scents, because they remind me of teenager-dom, but... they're my favorite! I would describe this scent as something of a smokey grapefruit (but more complex) on my skin, and "mango-y bouquet" is what came to mind when I just smelled it from the bottle. I especially love this perfume, because it seems exceptionally well made; it sort of revitalizes its punch when it comes in contact with heat, so getting into the shower or walking into a warm room give it a second life! Oh, and how I love to smell it again when I wear something that I'd worn before when wearing this scent. As confirmed by an online review I just read, you're left with an overall sensation of softness with this scent. Unfortunately, Escada tends to make their scents limited edition, so this one can be hard to come by, though this year they re-released several of their old scents, including this one, for the summer months. I'm in danger of losing my bottle to evaporation before I can ever bring myself to use it all. And for your viewing enjoyment, here I am in 2005, very reluctantly posing in front of the only boutique I've ever bought something from. I think I saved the paper bag they gave me for a few years.

The second bottle on my list is Juicy Couture by Juicy Couture. A brand I wouldn't exactly jump at the chance to be associated with (how snobbish), except for in the case of this scent. I first fell for it from sniffing magazine pages, so that gives you a sense of how fabulous it is. Macy's describes it as "passion fruit mingling with watermelon and tuberose blossoms at the heart....all drying down to vanilla creme brulée", which touches on 4 of my favorite scents and flavors of all time, no wonder. I think it kind of reminds me of night-blooming jasmine too, which is also a pretty lovely smell.  Another reason I love this perfume is that Jonas associates it with falling in love with me. 

The Beat (Women) by Burberry is not one that I actually own, but I spray it on every time I happen upon it in a store and get little sample vials from Sephora when I go (did you know you can get up to 3 free samples per visit?). This is another one that I first smelled in a magazine, and was drawn to because the campaign face for The Beat is Agyness Deyn, who is probably my favorite model (and incidentally the inspiration for my bridge piercing, although I think hers was fake. I think of this scent as more manly, somehow, than the others (certainly not tropical), and if I had to recall one note from it, I'd say vanilla. It's much quieter and perhaps more refined than the Escadas, for example. The internet describes it in scents of  "bergamot and mandarin, settling into summer florals, soft musk, and warm cedar... as well as pink pepper." Not quite as tropical (or vanilla-y??), but still "upbeat and youthful", apparently, so maybe I'll just never be very sophisticated. Fine by me. 

For my birthday this year, Jonas bought me Escada's Sexy Graffiti, which was one of the scents they'd brought back for this summer from a previous year. I haven't worn it enough to be able to pick out certain fragrance notes, but it's already special because it's the first perfume Jonas ever bought me. Here's what Macy's says: "Sexy Graffiti is a red fruity floral fragrance with top notes of Wild Strawberry and Raspberry brought to life with hints of Grapefruit. At its happy heart, Lily of the Valley, Red Peony and Violets and at the base, notes of Cashmere & Vanilla." Turns out Rockin' Rio was not grapefruity at all, but more like coconut, pineapple, tangerine, peach, and papaya. Maybe you can tell why I'm not the one making perfumes. Who knew that cashmere had a smell? And does red peony smell different than the other colors?

Next, yet another scent that grabbed me from the pages of Vogue. Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia from Estee Lauder was "originally created by Estée Lauder's granddaughter for herself and her closest friends." That's probably why it costs an arm and a leg and you have to go to a place like Nordstrom's to find it. I think I've been in Nordstrom's to a) use the restroom and b) try on a wedding dress once, strictly for ideas. Anyway, this scent is incredible and smells exactly like what is sounds like. Which is wonderous. For now, I'm happy with World Market's tuberose candle, which is worth its price because it smells like you have fresh tuberoses in the house all the time, even when the candle isn't lit. Jonas gave that to me in the hospital when I was having Ishmael. He's always on the look out for tuberoses for me. 

And finally, Light Blue (Men) by Dolce & Gabbana is Jonas' scent which will keep my head buried on his shoulder indefinitely. I think it's one of the more popular scents on earth, but with good reason. It's described as having notes of "Sicilian Mandarin, Frozen Grapefruit Peel, Bergamot, Juniper, Rosemary, Szechuan Pepper, Rosewood, Musk Wood, Incense, and Oak Moss" and it's style is "Mysterious. Confident. Sensual." Somehow, I manage to see it much more as, clean, warm, and clear. Or maybe that's just my darling. 

One I'd really like to try someday is Tom Ford's Black Orchid (Women). If I'm not mistaken, Tom Ford commissioned a custom black orchid flower to create the main part of that scent. 

I will now leave you in peace, since that's probably way more information about my personal fragrance preferences than you ever cared to know. Happy holidays, and may all your shopping ventures be successful. 

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