Serenity Now

The past couple of weeks have been an all-out stressfest for many of us; even though I no longer live in the DC area, I feel for everyone dealing with the aftermath of “snowpocalypse” and all the resulting annoyances that much snow is capable of producing. When my dad passed away in January 1996, his funeral took place a few days after a major storm hit the New York area. If memory serves, there was more than 2 feet of snow on the ground, and getting around was an absolute nightmare.

In the Jewish faith, we sit shiva for the loss of an immediate family member, and quite often, family members will stay together at the home of the deceased during that time.  I resolutely decided not to stay at my parents´ house during the shiva. Instead, I drove back and forth from Long Island to Brooklyn every day for a week to be with my mother and brother. The driving was part and parcel of my grieving process; I actually found the time I spent in the car to be quite cathartic, despite the horrendous weather conditions.

Unfortunately, not every drive in inclement weather carries with it a form of catharsis. I had to go to Buffalo the other day, and almost immediately after I crossed the border, I found myself in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was about 6:45 am, and there were many trucks on the road. Before I was even sure what was happening, I witnessed a piece of ice roughly the size of a king size mattress fly off the top of a tractor trailer. I saw it break apart in mid-air, and watched, seemingly in slow motion, while a large fragment of it hurtled straight at me. I can´t tell you what I was thinking, or how I was feeling, but when that fragment landed on the road, instead of on my windshield, I was so relieved that I didn´t realize I had driven over a big chunk of it. It didn´t register until I pulled up to the toll booth on the New York State Thruway, and the person inside asked me, “How big was the deer you just hit?” I immediately jumped out of the car (while still in the toll booth) and found the driver´s side portion of my front bumper almost completely demolished. It could have been worse – it could have been me.

After obtaining a $1,200.00 estimate from the auto body shop, and reluctantly filing a claim with my insurance company, I sit here typing this tale wearing Serge Lutens´ Encens et Lavande. What better time is there to “look to the cookie” than right after you manage to escape unscathed from a life or death scenario? I haven´t worn anything from my Serge collection in a really long time, except for Five O’ Clock Au Gingembre. But something made me reach for Encens et Lavande as blindly as I´ve been reaching for Chaos over the past year and a half. What is it about the combination of incense and lavender that soothes me so? I´ve practically been bathing in it to the point where I´ve relocated the bottle to my dresser so I can reach for it periodically to re-apply. Of course, the bottle remains in the box, and the box is still in its original cellophane. I absolutely cannot get enough of it.

Encens et Lavande is one of the less controversial Serge scents. In fact, it might as well be non-existent when compared to the monsters in his collection (no need for specifics; we know who they are), and most of the reviews I found online were not generally positive. What I read ran the gamut from “uninteresting” to “too masculine”, along with the inevitable comparisons to Gris Clair. I´ve never been one to care one way or another about what anyone else thinks of the fragrances I wear. If it does it for me, I wear it. And lately, the comfort and joy I´ve been getting from my existing collection has been seeing me through some major insanity. So, what could be better than that?

Mineral Madness: Thanks to everyone who responded to my mineral makeup query in my last post. Ironically, in the midst of an insomnia attack that Friday night, I tuned in to The Shopping Channel and there for my bug-eyed viewing pleasure was Pà¼r Minerals, offering their product line along with a very tempting “Today´s Showstopper”. I resisted the urge to order, but I did punch up the website,, only to find that the line is also available at select Shoppers Drug Mart stores. Suffice it to say, I proceeded to dash around to all the Shoppers Drug Marts in the area looking for Pà¼r Minerals, but had no luck finding any. Finally, out of utter frustration, I asked one of the SAs in the Beauty Boutique at one of the stores if she knew of any specific locations that carried the line. She did, and the rest is history.

I´ve always refrained from using the term “holy grail” when talking about fragrances, makeup and skin care products, but I will say that Pà¼r Minerals has hooked me completely. The foundation is the antithesis of Bare Minerals because it is pressed, but the ease of application, the coverage, and the way it feels on my skin is a vast improvement from the heavy cream cheese frosting feeling I got with BE.  I love that I don´t need to futz with any Mineral Veil or other finishing powder; I just brush it on and I´m done. Speaking of cream cheese, Pà¼r Minerals is not without its own hokey application slogan: “Dip, Draw, Dust”, as opposed to BE´s “Swirl, Tap, Buff”. Whatever. As long as it looks good…and it does.

Disclosure: The bottle of Serge Lutens Encens et Lavande is from my own collection. I purchased a Pà¼r Minerals “Start Now Essentials Collection” at Shoppers Drug Mart.

  • Dust can be controlled through religious use of a dust collection system, even if it’s just a

  • Mary says:

    Wow! That was an amazing near miss. Thank goodness it was your bumper, not the windshield. I had the almost moirrir image experience years ago, with a palm tree falling off a gardener’s truck into the freeway. A definite “ha ha you missed me” moment. Encens et Lavande sounds heavenly. Thanks for the description!:)>-

  • nozknoz says:

    Nava, I am very glad that you are fine and have Encens et Lavande by your side. Your post is a timely reminder for me to take a sample to the office and try it out on “one of those days,” and your experience certainly puts everything else in perspective. Thank you @};-

  • Kate says:

    Nava, glad you survived the ice episode and sorry the car got mangled. I got a decant of Encens et Lavande a while back having love it in the wax sample. But when I wore it, I sensed and bit of “aftershave” wafting. So the decant is now in the hands of a more masculine admirer.

    What do you think of the L’eau Serge? Its comfort in a bottle!

    • Nava says:

      Thanks Kate. I’d rather the car get mangled than me. My bumper isn’t so easily replaceable! :d

      I haven’t sampled L’eau Serge yet, but it sure does sound like one I’d like. I’ll have to look into tracking some down.

  • aotearoa says:

    Nothing like a bit of comfort after a near death experience!
    Unfortunately to me Encens et Lavandre smells like shaving foam – no comfort there….
    I think scents can be comforting in many situations. Douce Amere and Ormonde Jayne Woman(does anyone else feel these smell similar?) are intriguing and comforting to me. I wore L’air du Desert Marocain through a busy stressful work day this week and whiffs of it kept some peace in my heart.

    • Nava says:

      I can see how EeL can be a bit “after-shavey”, but it dries down to mostly incense on me. Lavender can go either way depending on what it’s mixed with. As I mentioned above Donna Karan’s Essence Lavender is a more florally, green lavender, which I’m guessing makes it more feminine.

  • Disteza says:

    Ah yes, we call those ‘pucker moments’; no comments as to which orifice is doing the puckering. Glad to hear you emerged physically unscathed, but it sounds like your wallet took as big a hit as your car. You have my sympathy. >:d<

    • Nava says:

      Ha! I think there was a moment when they were all puckered! :d

      Yeah, my wallet is pretty “scathed”. I was planning to stop at Walden Galleria again before heading home, but my “brush with death” precluded me from doing so. These days, automotive repairs (along with everything else) are far from cheap.

  • maggiecat says:

    Patty – I had a similar experience some time ago – caught in the middle of a five-car chain reaction crash, from which I emerged unscathed, only to sit helplessly and hope that the brakes of a very large truck worked (they did, fortunately). I crave lavender when I’m stressed – I recall Encens de Lavande as being a bit strong on me but will revisit it to see if it helps get me through the rest of this $#@ winter!

  • Lee says:

    This puts our supposeddly worst winter for decades into perspective N! Crikey! Be safe…

    As for Encens et Lavande – I just don’t get the comparisons to Gris Clair beyond the one factor. GC is loud with french lavender and steam iron hiss and smouldering ashes. EetL is simply what it says it is. So quiet. Plus a little bit of magic. It is serenity, bottled. And I don’t mean the film of the Joss Whedon TV series.

    • Nava says:

      The funny thing is, we’re not having a bad winter!

      Gris Clair is like depression in a bottle, compared to EeL. Another one of those “What were they thinking?” scents that makes you scratch your head and say, “Why on earth does something like this need to exist?”

      EeL IS serenity in a bottle. And my title is from the “Seinfeld” series. IMHO, that series (for me at least) has become more quotable than “The Godfather” movies. I’ve never had an opportunity to say, “Leave the gun, take the connoli”, but “Serenity Now” is one I use all the time. 🙂

      • mals86 says:

        Well, *I* for one say, “Leave the gun, take the cannoli,” all the time. I’m usually saying it to my children, and meaning something like, “Leave the marshmallows alone, kid, grab the granola bar.” Or, “Leave your brother’s toy, take your own toy, and get out of his room or you’re in Momcatraz until you have cataracts, buster.” :-w

        “Take the cannoli” is just so much more fun to say. Although in my case, it’s more like “Take the incense, leave the lavender,” so no EeL for me.

        Glad you survived the ice.

        • Nava says:

          “Momcatraz”? Literally no escape from that one, is there?

          Since you have children, you’re use of “Leave the gun, take the cannoli” works. I’ve yet to find the proper context for it, but maybe one day I will.

          I used to feel that way about both lavender and incense. When you hit it right, it completely changes your mind.

  • chayaruchama says:

    I’m so grateful that you’re safe !
    MOST important.

    Encense et Lavande was a revelation when I first smelt it, years ago.
    so soothing.
    Sounds like YOU could USE some soothing…:x

  • Shelley says:

    Gulp. Those moments are terrifying–by which I mean the very moment you talk about, when it’s all over, but you get slammed by the potential of it all.

    Having not yet had a chance to try Encens et Lavande, I think your story will always be a part of EeL’s story, once I *do* make its acquaintance. I tend to be fond of lavender…definitely in nature, usually in perfume. When I finally do come across Serge’s “not so Serge” lavender, I’ll be sure to take a moment to be thankful all of us are on the safe side of the flying ice floe.

    • Nava says:

      I hear that. It was just so startling to see all that damage when I literally had no idea what happened. Makes you think…

      Lavender is another note that for me, needs to be mixed with something. The exception is Donna Karan’s Lavender Essence which is gorgeous on its own.

  • DinaC says:

    So glad you’re OK, Nava! What a scary thing. We’re finally dug out of the snow here in DC, but the snowbanks can be up to 8 feel tall. It’s unreal. I feel like the snow won’t melt until July!

    Encens et Lavende sounds nice to me. I like lavender scents, and have just begun exploring incense.

    • Nava says:

      Thanks Dina. I’m not a long time fan of lavender and incense myself, but once they grab you, there’s no letting go.

  • Francesca says:

    I’m glad you’re OK, too! I recently had an “OMG I could have been killed” moment, and my fragrance response, once I returned to work, was to wear whatever the hell I felt like wearing to the office; Party in Manhattan, Bal, Mitzy…in neighbor-considerate amounts, but still…

    • Musette says:

      I’ve had those – but it’s usually during the actual event. Last year I ended smack in the middle of a tornado (srsly) – it was terrifying (we couldn’t pull over because we couldn’t see where we were and that road runs along a ravine). Anyway, I was wearing Mitsouko parfum and it got me through!

      xo >-)

    • Nava says:

      Wow, I think I need to reconsider Mitsouko…

  • carter says:

    How terrifying, Nava! I am so glad you’re okay. Such a fine line, isn’t it?

  • Musette says:


    Holy cats and crackers!

    SO glad you’re okay!

    Can’t say much about Serge – we’re still trying to get past the handshake phase….

    xoxo >-)

    • Nava says:

      Thanks A. 😡

      Serge’s stuff is definitely not one of those “I feel as if I’ve known you all my life” propositions. A handshake is always a good place to start. :d

  • tmp00 says:

    I feel for you on the driving thing. We have this idea especially when we’re in the car that somehow we’re in control, since we’re all good and careful drivers, right? I remember once driving through a construction zone that lasted for miles with nothing on it and sailing along like everyone else, rounding a curve and slamming on the brakes because it was at that point that the traffic was stopped. I could see in the rear-view mirror a Semi that was locking it’s brakes and was preparing to drive into a ditch to avoid death. Luckily he managed to stop about a foot from my rear bumper.

    Would there have been some Encens et Lavande handy!

    • Nava says:

      I am a “reformed” SUV driver and that feeling of invincibility definitely didn’t carry over when I traded it in for what I’m driving now. Regardless, we do sometimes take our driving abilities for granted, especially in those miles-long construction zones. I’ve had a couple of close calls myself in a few of them.

      Encens et Lavande is definitely the scent you want to have around in a stressful pinch. But, there’s still lots of room for Chaos and a handful of others I’ve got. It’s just that “Serge” thing I’ve been craving, and I have no one to blame but myself!

  • chasa says:

    Oh, yay! I was one person who mentioned Pur Minerals in that last post — I’m glad you like it! It’s also carried at Ulta, for anyone looking for a brick-and-mortar store (I order via the website). I’ve used some of their other cosmetics as well and found them to be generally high-quality. Aside from the foundation, I also particularly like their blush/highlighter powders. Their “Live, Love, Laugh” collection (yet another cheesy name) has been very good for me…much to my surprise, the Pur Radiance powder (which looks uber pink) has worked better as a highlighter and overall “I didn’t get enough sleep, am feeling old and tired and need a movie lighting dude to soften my rough edges” softener than anything else I’ve tried.

    • Nava says:

      You enabler, you! :d Really, thanks.

      So far, I’m loving the foundation, Mineral Glow and the Pink Marble Powder (the items in the starter kit), and I’m planning to go back for more. Everything is just so much easier than BE, and it looks a lot better too. The SAs I’ve spoken to at Shoppers Drug Mart say they’ve heard good things about the skin care, as well.