Fragonard’s Exquisite Fragrances

I don’t know how I never wrote this post. I thought I had, then when I was reorganizing my blog, I realized that I was either mis-remembering, or never posted it. I’m going to try to keep this short for you all. I know I tend to run on.

In December of 2017, Jim and I went to London, with a planned day trip to Paris. One of my goals for the trip was to find a perfume I loved.

I’ve tried many over the years, but none of them really did it for me. So I stopped buying perfume. But I had high hopes, especially in Paris, since we planned to visit a perfume museum.

We didn’t realize, when we planned the trip, that the museum wasn’t for all perfume — that one is in a different part of Parris. Rather, it was a museum on the history of the brand Fragonard. And the Fragonard store is immediately next door.

We visited the store first, and it didn’t take me long to find Belle de Nuit. It smelled amazing, and is still one of my go-to, everyday perfumes.

Me being me, I did some research on Fragonard once we got home. One of the things I found was their mailing list — their physical mailing list. Imagine my delight when my first mail from them arrived with perfume samples!

Fragonard single use samples.
You can get a wide variety of samples, including masculine scents (the geometric pattern packet).

On top of that, each quarter they have free gifts with purchase for various price thresholds. Some of them are, honestly, just OK. But some are rather nice. I wish there was an option to choose whether or not you want the gifts, because I dislike that some have gone to waste.

Anyway, I’ve bought multiple other perfumes from Fragonard since then, and each one has been exceptional. The scents are complex, with different top, middle, and heart notes. And the fragrances generally last all day. Their mini sets are fabulous. I wish they had more mini sets, though. Or, even better, a build-your-own samples kit. I would absolutely buy a “one of each” sample set to try out their entire line.

Smaller bottles
Two of the mini sets you can buy to try a variety of scents.

The bottles and packaging are beautiful, with some that would make great display pieces.

Fragonard specialty boxes
The specialty boxes are beautifully designed.

Over the years, I have noticed some changes. They send less samples with each mailing and purchase (down to 2 from 3 or 4). They’ve also transitioned from three gifts with purchase tiers per quarter to two. But both of these changes happened in the past year, so they may be COVID cutbacks, and I can’t really fault them for that.

Overall, I highly recommend Fragonard. If you aren’t a big perfume person, they also have lovely soaps and room scents. At the very least, you should sign up for their mailing list. It’s well worth it.

My full Fragonard collection
My entire Fragonard collection, not including the samples I have yet to use.

History’s “New” Fluidity

History has interested me for decades. While the first Dear America book, Journey to the New World, originally peaked my curiosity, I think the The Royal Diaries book series began my real interest. I read the first The Royal Diaries book on Elizabeth I and ended up reading them all, even once I was out of the “target age.”

I read all sorts of historical fiction and biographies and watched biographical and historical documentaries through the years, which fed my passion. Through my voracious consumption, I found that while an author’s perception or opinion may differ from another’s, the facts were generally the same. History was history, after all. It was practically, and sometimes literally, carved in stone.

But recently, we (humans) have started questioning historical “fact.” We’re acknowledging that history is written by the victors and may be biased or even completely fictional.

It’s been fascinating to “watch” as history is remade closer to unbiased truth. For example, rather than “promiscuous tart,” Catherine Howard, Henry VIII’s fifth wife, has been vindicated as an abused child. Henry VIII himself, while not entirely absolved of his more heinous actions, is acknowledged as likely plagued by a personality-altering brain injury. Marie Antoinette is more readily accepted as a scapegoat, rather than a monstrously selfish spendthrift.

I eagerly await future historical discoveries that “change” history. While the new information may not always be palatable, it’s important for us to know what “really” happened. It gives us a very different view of history.

If history’s fluidity is of interest to you, I suggest you look into the “Biggest Fibs” series Lucy Worsley narrates. It includes British History’s, American History’s, and Royal History’s Biggest Fibs. Three parts each for the first two, and six parts (two “seasons”) for the third. Also fascinating is The Creation of Anne Boleyn by Susan Bordo. It examines how the Anne Boleyn we “know” so well today compares to the minimal facts we have about her and where the extraneous information came from.

Have you noticed historys “new” fluidity? What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments.

Learning Languages

At the time of writing, I just finished watching a fascinating three-part video series about North American Accents. It’s definitely meant for linguists or language enthusiasts, referencing multiple terms I didn’t quite understand.

However, it got me thinking on a topic I’ve pondered before.

In order to speak a language, you must make the correct mouth and tongue movements. You have to be sure that your lips and jaw form the correct shapes, and that your tongue is in the right location to make authentic sounds.

Somehow, as children, we pick this up easily, without needing explicit tuition, for the most part. However, as adults, that seems to elude us. Dialect coaches teach, even focus on, these movements with — from my point of view — a better success rate than traditional language education.

Why then, are these movements and positions not explicitly taught in school, especially when language is taught later, as it is in much of the USA? I don’t have an answer, it’s just something that’s been buzzing around in my brain for a while.

Making Life Colorful

I’ve wanted to paint my stair risers in a rainbow for about a year now, and for the last 4-5 months, I’ve been thinking of painting the kitchen cabinets as well.

With our financial situation back in hand by the end of March, we went out to choose and buy paint. I’ve been industrially painting ever since.

Now that I’m done, I’m delighted with the results. It’s almost hard to believe we had a bland kitchen for so long.

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My Perfect Assassin’s Creed Game

Alright, this should be my last Assassin’s Creed (AC) post for a while. Should as in I don’t have any other ones planned.

We’re five months out from Valhalla‘s release date, and the rumor mill is working overtime on “leaks” and theories of varying degrees of believability for the next entry in the series. While I have precisely zero insight into the next AC game, I do have several — *cough* many *cough* — ideas about what I’d like to see in a future game.

And so, I give you the elements that would make up my perfect AC game. Be aware, this post doesn’t take into account the likelihood of any of this actually happening.

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Sometimes Technology is Amazing

I had a moment of awe the other night for just what the internet allows us to accomplish. I’ve been following Josué Gómez on Instagram for a few months now. I love his artwork, especially his more recent work.

On Sunday, he posted this painting, and I finally had to ask if his work was available to purchase. It was; yay!

It took a bit of back-and-forth, but, within approximately 20 minutes, I’d initiated a bank transfer to rural Guatemala and purchased his painting. And that’s pretty freaking cool. It would not have been possible even just a few years ago, because all this happened a 9 o’clock at night!

For those interested, the service I used was Xoom, run by PayPal. The fee was $2.99, and according to the emails I received, it took 30 minutes to complete the transaction. Seriously awesome.

This is just one example of the amazing way technology is positively influencing and changing the world.

Ritz: Shy Guy to World Class Thief

As Dante, Bumbledore, and Sandy have all had dedicated posts, it’s only fair that Ritz get one as well. However, you should read Dante’s post before this one, as I won’t be repeating much information.

Early Life

I didn’t interact much with Ritz before we abduct — erm… adopted him from “the streets.” Technically, it was an under-porch den, but that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Jim describes him as “very cautious and standoffish.”

On the day we’d planned to catch the siblings, we managed to nab Angus without too much trouble, and wrangle him into the carrier. We foolishly thought that, because they were small, we could fit them into a single carrier without much trouble. Oh, the naivete.

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Dante: Feral Kitten to “Evil Genius”

A few posts back, I wrote about silver linings, mentioning our kittens. Those two are such sweethearts. Dante and Ritz have such distinct personalities, there’s never a dull moment around the house.

In the Beginning

Dante, especially, is a unique little fruitloop. He started life as an unnamed feral kitten with 3 brothers fed by half the neighborhood. Jim, however, was one of their two primary benefactors, and decided to name them Angus, an all-black kitty; Boo, a grey tabby; Ritz, our posh tuxedo boy; and Sparky, the fancy, multicolor tabby (later Dante).

From foreground to background: Boo, Ritz, Sparky/Dante (left), Angus, and Mama Moon.
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Kudos to Etsy

With April right around the corner, the time approaches that many dread: Mother’s Day. With a deceased mother, I especially dislike the multitude of emails “reminding” me how important it is that I find the right present.

But this year, there’s a shining light of hope that I won’t have to go through this every year until I die.

I want to take a moment to applaud Etsy for being the first — that I’ve seen — to make a move that, admittedly is long overdue.

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Teleworking, 1 Year Later

As the COVID vaccine rolls out and we really start thinking about “life after COVID,” I find myself wondering what work will be like. Today marks one year since I started teleworking 100% of the time.

At first, I was concerned about it. I didn’t like working from home, mainly because I didn’t (still don’t) have a good office setup — I sit at my dining room table. Also, I was sure that the distractions and easy access to food/snacks would prove problematic for me. The lack of dual monitors struck me as an additional hurdle to leap.

It’s Not Bad, Though

As time marched on, I began to see the benefits of teleworking. My commute is seconds long. Pajama pants are perfectly acceptable. Furry coworkers are abundant.

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