smell this: Hermès, Vétiver Tonka

On May 31, 2013 by theseventhsphinx


The rich earthiness of vetiver never fails to attract me, even in its less palatable interpretations (straight vetiver essential oil, for example, is incredibly powerful and basically unpleasant to smell. It has to be significantly diluted for use in perfumery…still I am drawn in).  I have smelled many now (and there are many to smell – there was a good guide to vetivers on Perfume Posse a bit ago) and really two stand out for me well above the rest. The first is Guerlain Vetiver (1961), which is a clean, unclouded, classic  vetiver, crisp and bright with an effect not unlike that of citrus while being so much more interesting than citrus. Wonderful on anyone, especially on me this summer.

The second is Vétiver Tonka from the Hermessence line by Hermès in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena (of whom I am a great admirer). This is simply one of the best smelling things I have come across. Here the earthy quality of vetiver is offset by the sweet caramel of tonka bean, which I often think of as a mild, toasted vanilla scent. Scent is subjective, so it may just be the perfect storm of hazelnut, vetiver, and a touch of sweetness that makes this smell, for me, like that of some gorgeous otherworldly fruit at the moment of ripened perfection. My reaction is the biological opposite of our instincts to avoid the poisonous and the rotten. I want to approach it, to move ever closer to it, to consume it. It is me. The experience of smelling something you find without fault, something you truly like, without any effort or doubt, is a moment of recognition. It is me with the edges softened and sweetened, rather me shown truly as I am and not as I seem.

But you might like it, too.

The longevity is not excellent but I reason, trusting in Jean-Claude, that this is because if it were any better, the result wouldn’t smell as good. So I don’t care.

If you are near an Hermès boutique, investigate. Many of the other fragrances are wonderful as well. They give generous samples, which will comfort you when you learn the price. I plan to get the discovery set one of these days, with all four slots given to Vétiver Tonka.


neon with ice cream

On May 28, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

It started with wanting to wear these neon yellow [P-Heaven] flats from Steve Madden. I am not entirely behind the annual summer neon rush* but when confined to the realms of shoes, nails, and exercise gear… maybe certain accessories, I can support a bit of neon.

*personally, I mean. As one friend from Alabama’s mom says: to each it’s own.



Then [perfect day for it – a gorgeous Memorial Day] I wanted ice cream. In a waffle cone.

Off I went to get the ingredients. Of course, this day just happened to be the day that I discovered that my ice cream scoop was broken (whaaa? Nooo! Awww.). The handle of the ice cream scoop is about as key as you would expect, which amount of keyness is: extreme. BUT I PERSEVERED.



Ben & Jerry’s Imagine Whirled Peace, exorbitantly priced organic waffle cone, Swatch watch. I almost forgot I had this watch. The ticking is slightly audible so I put it in my sock drawer a couple of months ago…it’s great for this summery girl-next-door kind of look, though. Not that I’ve self-identified as a ‘girl’ for a while.

On the nails: Sally Hansen in Lacey Lilac.


American Apparel U-neck tank (this kind of generous scoop neck tank is my preferred style), Zara shorts. Cheap eBay version of my other orange mirror sunglasses.


The cone did not disappoint. Note to self: the act of eating ice cream is not photogenic.



acquisitions: two-tone oxford pumps

On May 27, 2013 by theseventhsphinx


OK, I’ve been liking my Bass Thea Oxfords so I was looking at what else Bass has to offer. Found this discontinued design in brown & white that is so school-marm chic. Bass Glenbrook Oxfords. Oxford pumps! I’ve been looking for these.


Really, though, I’ve bought and returned a few uncomfortable pairs. Some of the now sold out shades in this style look slightly more appealing to me, two-tone browns…but these ones had the virtue of being acquirable, and the white lends a certain formality in addition to that air of impracticality it always does.

I find white so appealing. It really might be the color I find most compelling, most desirable in any given context. This would fit with my inherently impractical (yet versatile, so versatile) nature.

♪ ♫ ZZ Top – Sharp Dressed Man ♪ ♫

Imagine with colored tights? A blazer?

Actually I find myself just now wishing they were entirely white, or if the brown sections were a very pale honey color instead?…maybe I could find something like that…

weekend distraction: tastespotting

On May 26, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

I’ve been browsing tastespotting a lot recently, looking for presentation ideas and just any ideas. It usually ends badly, with me wanting to make eight different meals simultaneously, not quite having the ingredients for any of them, feeling very hungry and cheap (because I won’t just go out and buy them, if that is even a possibility, as I am always saving my money for something or other (which thing is invariably of either limited or outright dubious utility, but that is beside the point) and food is most often cheaper (and simply better) to make yourself, especially in the long run). I compromise by making a list of what I want to make ‘sometime soon’.

Here are some of the dishes currently on the list.

[When I ultimately get around to making the dish I usually look up several recipes and cobble the most appealing elements together. These links, then, are just starting points. Images link to source blogs/recipes.]

1. Pho!

I love pho. I have really only had it a few times but it is for me so comforting and warming and delicious. There is also an undeniable pattern involving me liking dishes that feature some complex system of garnishes.

I was craving this so decidedly that I went out and bought a Thai basil plant. Beef, chicken, vegetable…any which way. This is going to happen soon.

2. Coconut cardamom rice pudding with blueberries

There is something hearty and rustic about rice pudding that always appeals. Not exactly the first thing you think when the weather warms, I suppose, but it’s what I want lately. [Keeping the arsenic issue in mind when sourcing the rice.] I love both blueberries and cardamom. And coconut.


3. Burger with bourbon caramelized onions

More cooking with alcohol. This is maybe what started the burger cravings? Though I also like the idea of putting these onions on a pizza. With…artichokes, maybe. And sardines? I’m pretty into sardines at the moment. No! Sausage.


4. Gingerbread caramel corn

This needs no explanation.


on the menu: comté burger + mango guacamole

On May 25, 2013 by theseventhsphinx


A burger formed with garlic, hot peppers, and Comté, topped with mango guacamole and sundries, all perched precariously on a ciabatta roll. It was extremely messy to eat and I am very much inclined to have it again tomorrow.

I’d been craving a burger with such single-minded intensity, which is unlike me. I eat very little red meat, on the whole.


Unabashedly stacked without reference to the dimensions of my mouth.