More good…more bad

by Musette the Anxious

 Since the ‘publish’ thingydoodle boogered up the schedule, we are going to continue this chat through Monday!

I have been in a state of high anxiety for a LONG time – and most of it is my fault (well, being in a business-challenged state isn’t – well, it is but only partly my fault...oh shut up and get ON with it already!)  Anyhoo, a big reason my anxiety is super-ramped is that I have not been painting.  In fact, I haven’t been doing much of anything except scrambling to build our business (relatively successful) and trying to walk at lunchtime/early evenings (before the zombies come out) to keep my stress levels down (only mildly successful on the stress thingy).

I woke up at 5am this morning with an epiphany:  I have to paint if I am to survive.  Yes,  I love Bear Boring and am very proud of what I have accomplished, wrestling this business into being from the ground up.  But when all is said and done, in order for me to breathe normally I have to continue painting.  March told me to stop sobbing in my soup and PAINT.  Besides – you wanna talk smellgasmic?  You get me around some Archival oils and linseed.  oh, yum!

So I just came down from my ramshackle studio, where I was throwing away packing boxes and putting away suitcases, etc – yes, it had turned into a storage room – Call A&E!  I’m not quite done but I set an alarm for 2 1-hour stints.  It’s 10×10 – maybe- and the goal here is to make it so I can get to the easel and get back to work.  Will let you know how that second hour goes.  My goal is to have a canvas on the easel by 5pm and at least a dab of paint lurking somewhere near. wish me luck!




(this is my studio, pre-clean.  Shameful.  Just shaaaaameful)


During the declutter I rewound some odd body product/scent pairings.  Some of them were on purpose and a couple were accidental.  I will share them with you now, you lucky Posse.  Warning:  some of these might bring up your breakfast.  Proceed with caution.

The Good:

This one was totally accidental.  I took a shower in the vaunted Amouage Epic.  Layered a bit of the body lotion (every bit as smellolicious as the cream, btw)…and then absently grabbed the wrong sample and spritzed Opus V from the Library Collection!  Quel horror!??  Uh, not really.  I’d worn Opus V once or twice and was a bit mystified – It’s almost-luxe and because I equate Amouage with luxe before anything else I was having trouble with this one.   LOTS of orris.  a little bit of rose.  I totally missed the civet.  And the dry wood?  On its own perfume merits, I barely noticed it.

However, when paired with the Epic lotion, it really sings – in fact, I like the combo better than an all-Epic menu.  The orris and frankincense (and maybe just a touch of the sandalwood) boost the base notes of Opus V and give it the heft I have come to expect from Amouage.  Possibly not what it was designed for but hey!  It’s Amouage!  Go Big!

The Bad:

I decided to do some experimenting with complementary scents, forgetting that I don’t have a clue in class what I’m doing.  Witness:  Fracas bath and body products.  Paired with Henri Bendel Jasmine and Tuberose Body Cream (you wanna talk room-clearing?   I could clear Wrigley Field with this!)….then, hey!  Tuberose has ‘rose’ in it, right?  RIGHT?  So why not try  Rose d’Homme (Rosine).  Why not set my hair on fire while I’m at it!  The lavender-vetiver base, so lovely in that scent, went headlong into war with the buttery-oily tuberose…and got stomped into a gooey mess.   It smelled like Godzilla had eaten an entire field in Grasse (rose harvesters and all) and then threw up in yet another field, burying the lavender harvesters in his vomitous sludge.  Other than that, it was okay.

The Uuuuuugly:

There are so many in this group – but the funniest of the Uglies are accidental (the on-purpose pairings are just scary).  Accidental one:  This was awhile back but is seared into my memory.  Some cheap Taylor of London Muguet  body wash and body lotion (in itself not the worst thing in the world – I was intending to augment the decidedly-thin Coty Muguet)…then the phone rang and my sister was having DRAMA!  I grabbed…..(I swear to Floyd I am not making this up) my go-to:  Mitsouko.  Contemporary Mitsouko.  Do y’all remember Meryl Streep in ‘Death Becomes Her’?




yeah.  Just. Like. That


On purpose (but Just As Ugly):  I am having trouble with Amouage Honour (more on that later) – but there was this note I thought I should maybe/could maybe amp – so I paired it with Calyx ancillaries.  In another review I will explain why this actually works in theory – sort of (okay NOT.  but the ‘idea’ isn’t as offbeat as you might imagine).  In reality, though, it could’ve given ol Maddy up there a lurch for her money!


There are many more but I’m sick of embarrassing myself.  Time for y’all to fess up.  Your Goods.  Your Bads.  Your Uglies/Funnies.


post-Hoarder – at least I can reach the easel!




Clint/Lee Marvin photo: Paint Your Wagon

Streep photo:

  • Flora says:

    I am so happy that you are getting out those brushes again! I love your art and I hope get to see some of it again soon! :-D

    I am not much of a layering person but I have tried a little bit recently. I have messed around with layering more-or-less similar juice with decent results, such as Natori and Rose Kashmirie – they are both very cozy and meshed well, at least on me. Sorry, no Mitsy/Muguet level disasters to report – I don’t even want to re-create that out of curiosity! =:-O

  • mals86 says:

    Was SO glad to see you are getting back to the painting. Feed your soul, babe!

    I found that even community chorus wasn’t doing enough to feed my soul – getting back to writing a few years ago was like coming up to the surface for air, after having been underwater with SCUBA gear for a long time.

    I don’t layer very often so I don’t have any good/bad/ugly to report, but the Godzilla barf story had me giggling…

    • Musette says:

      You posted an excerpt of a novel you are in process of? The one with the ‘attempted rape’….Mals, I was stunned at how quickly I was pulled into that story! You have tremendous talent as a writer and I’m so glad you are exercising it again!

      Yeah, some of those layering attempts are just awful…b-(….the Fresh Lemon Sugar on top of the Watkins-esque (or maybe Watkins. I have excised it from my brain) lemon body oil. 8-x It was great for gardening, though. There wasn’t an insect within MILES! ;))

      xo >-)

      • Francesca says:

        Congratulations on the decluttering and the easel and all, and thanks for another great post!

        • Musette says:

          You are such a doll! Thank YOU! for always stopping by!! 😡

          (the decluttering was embarrassing, considering how terrified I am re Hoarders! )

          xo >-)

  • mariekel says:

    Dearest Anita,

    so glad you are painting again — you are truly talented! I also love the smell of oils. I went to a very artsy summer camp as a kid and the smells of wet clay and oil paints is very evocative of that time.

    Ah, layering…how many times have I inadvertently nearly smothered myself with toxic fumes from the science lab that are my perfume samples? Let’s see…of the worst outcomes have to be trying to blend Chanel 22 with Andy Tauer Incense Extreme — I was trying to amp up the incense in 22 and pare down the white flower aspect and instead got something kind of like a a woodworker’s funeral bouquet. Ghastly. Another Dr. Moreau abomination came from trying to mate Kurkdjian Absolu Pour le Soir with Dior Mitzah (attempt to sex down the former for daytime wear). I am not even sure how to describe this one other than to advise viewers not to try this at home.

    A happy combination however — and one I still wear — is Divine by Divine paired with Norma Kamali Ceremony. The light incense weaves beautifully in and out of the florals.

    • Musette says:

      Oh, my stars and garters! =))

      “a woodworker’s funeral bouquet”. It’s a grey Monday – and I wasn’t expecting to laugh much this morning – but that description changed all that in a nanosecond!


      xo >-)

  • mary says:

    Anita! I am so glad you are painting! You inspire me.
    For layering– I have these little Tom Ford samples, Tuscan Leather and Black Violet. I like them apart–and together, they are something really bad a##. All I can say is–no wonder they are setting bonfires in downtown Oakland. Maybe I should lay off, huh?;0)

  • Homura-chan says:

    And, OMG, cadmium in oil paint smells orgiastic. Too bad it’s toxic.

  • Homura-chan says:

    Come on, I _know_ that’s not Lee Marvin up there with Clint.

    I liked your post though.

    • March says:

      That’s fricking hilarious. She’ll wander by later and see your comment, let’s see what she says.

    • March says:

      No, she’s right! Look how well I can waste time first thing in the a.m. Only it’s Paint Your Wagon and I had “The Good The Bad” in my head…. which as it turns out Lee Marvin wasn’t even in, it was Lee Van Cleef instead.

      • Musette says:

        Yes…but I wanted to see if you guys were paying attention ;))


        …get it?

        =)) (I crack myself up sometimes)

        btw PYW is hysterical! If you’ve not seen it, do so!

        xo >-)

        (and Lee Van Cleef was a HOTTIE, back in the day)

        • Homura says:

          Oh hell, LOL, it is Lee Marvin. I was thinking Liberty Valance/Dirty Dozen Lee Marvin so I did not believe that was him in the picture, he’s so uglified for the part! Now I’ll have to see Paint Your Wagon as penance for my ignorance.

          Death Rides A Horse is my favorite Lee Van Cleef western, but you need to get the widescreen print to watch it properly.

  • dleep says:

    Just want to say thank you for giving me a laugh today. I have been without power for 8 days and it is below freezing. I needed a good chuckle. Good luck with your stress management via painting!

  • Olfacta says:

    Yaaahhh! Does this mean you don’t like Rose d’Homme?

  • Daniela says:

    Hahaha! Great post :)

    I just stumbled across a great pairing today actually. Every day, I hmm and haw in front of my perfume area, trying to decide what to wear. Today, I went for my sample of Habanita to match the cold, dark weather we’ve been having. But then Midnight Poison was right near it. So, as Habanita was rearing its dirty powdered head on my arm, I doused it with a spritz of Midnight Poison… and voila! It actually smells very nice. Habanita makes MP dirty, while MP gives Habanita some class. All in all, not a bad combo!

  • Ann says:

    Great post, sweetie! It’s a wonder you’re still with us after that Mitsy mismatch. Whew! Hope one day we can discover a good shower gel/soap that echoes and enhances Carnal Flower. Wouldn’t that be loverly?

    • Musette says:

      You will probably think I’m completely nuts but I am going to ooch out on a limb and say…maybe a camphorated soap (Pagoda has one)..I don’t see the point in trying to match up the BWF aspects – Carnal would eat anything that got in its way – so why not amp up that lickery little camphor note! 😕

      xo >-)

  • HemlockSillage says:

    You made me giggle! This may have to be listed under things you’ve tried, so I don’t have to :D

    Best wishes in your painting and decluttering. Both are good for the soul. *Do* share photos of your work. I still think about the detail from one of your paintings of a woman’s face that you used for a post. What an amazing, multifaceted woman you are. Go get ’em!

    Layering for me is. . .fairly rare. I tend to use unscented products. I mentioned last week that I like scented soaps. The Agent Provocateur soap makes a nice base for most roses, but I haven’t tried it with a big, complex rose like Lyric Woman. I’m skeeert. The Wild Moss soap from the Claus Porto line has a nice oakmoss scent that I love under most leathers and chypres.

    Scented lotions? I like Diptyque’s Lait Frais under anything with neroli/orange blossom. I went through a looong stretch this summer with it beneath all kinds of things from Diptyque’s L’Eau des Hesperides and L’Eau Neroli to Atelier’s Grand Neroli and Bois Blonds. That last one was less successful, but not baaaad. . .Then I put the same lotion under all things citrus, from 4711 and Guerlain’s L’eau and it also was pleasant.

    My other summer Diptyque experiment with the Voile Satin was less successful. It has fairly potent jasmine and ylang-ylang, and I put it with a few jasmine/tiare soliflores like Montale’s Intense Tiare. . .and nearly died from JASMINE overdose. In the 100+F heat and humidity, that was, erm, a bit much. I may try it again in winter.

    Mostly I’ll stick to same scented things. Kenzo Amour’s body milk with the same scent or Prada L’Eau Ambree lotion with the same scent. Matchy-matchy and 80s like, I know, but safe. I rarely reach for those.

    My one UGLY mix was Akileine Professional Regenerating Cream For Dry Feet and anything. Weirdly, I love the scent of this cream–a touch of menthol and horse chestnut, maybe lavender. . .very clean and refreshing, but strong, and I can’t put *anything* with it or the whole schmear will smell like a chemistry lab experiment failure. Maybe I’ll be brave and put it with Caldey Island Lavender tonight, and see what happens.

    • Musette says:

      I’m very careful about layering with ‘similar’ scents unless I am just being perverse..;)) the best time to do it, imo, is if you are at home, where you can jump in the shower if it gets to be too much. I have enough silly stress as it is, I refuse to deliberately set myself up for Daylong Drama in Perfumery, y’know?

      That foot cream sounds beyond wonderful! Except for the lab part.


  • Austenfan says:

    Loved your post! It had me in stitches.
    I do safe layering though. I will put scented lotion on my legs, and unscented on my top half. In theory the scented lotion goes with my perfume of the day.
    Mitsouko and LOTV sounds EVIL!

    • Musette says:

      Babe, that pairing was so unnerving! That is the last time I will ever take a phone call before finishing my toilette! 8-|

      xo >-)

      ps. I’m glad you practice Safe Layering! ;))

  • Meg says:

    I don’t layer, yet, but I am sampling Miriam now and wanted to tell you I think I am starting to understand what you mean about “rotting meat note” in aldehydic perfumes.

    • Musette says:

      it is strange, innit? 😕 if you get a chance to sample L’Aimant (vintage) you’ll get an even stronger whiff of it. I quite like it, which probably makes me even more lunatic than normal! ;))

      xo >-)

  • DinaC says:

    I’m not a layer-er, so this is uncharted territory for me. I get a big kick out of reading about your good, bad and ugly combos, though. :-) The Opus V and Amouage Epic combo sounds glorious — love those notes — and might have to search some out in the near future.

    I’m so glad you’re going back to painting. My thing is choral singing. Even when my kids were small and a real handful, I still made time to go to choir. Doing something you love feeds your soul and recharges your batteries. I hope you’ll share the progress as it gets going. :-)

    • Musette says:

      I will. And thanks! I think I will start with the ‘Hoarders” photo of the studio. It was just absurd. But that is for Next Week!

      xo >-)

    • HemlockSillage says:

      Yay! A singer. I completely agree that singing in a choir is food for the soul. Working with others to make a beautiful sound brings such joy. I just joined my church’s choir, and am a complete novice, but our practice is my favorite part of the week! Be well.

    • mals86 says:

      Another choir person here! Even when the kids were little, I went to practice every week. Every. Week. I needed it.

  • Jillie says:

    Oh – on the subject of Calyx: I reported in May that the Illuminum White Gardenia Petals that Kate Middleton wore for her wedding smelt like Calyx. It has now transpired that I had a “duff” bottle (I have the lovely Bonkers About Perfume Site to thank for alerting me to this), and have had a sample of the correct juice sent to me. This does actually smell like gardenia, unlike my bottle! Investigations as to what happened with the batch that I had a bottle from are ongoing. But, you know what? I prefer my bad bottle ….. It perhaps also explains quite a lot of very differing reviews.

    • Musette says:

      I’d read a bit of that on BaP and was mystified. I had a bit of the Illum but since I was of Wills’s mum’s generation I had little interest in Kate’s doin’s. I’ll have to dig it out and see if I got the Calyx or the Gardenia one!

      xo >-)

  • Jillie says:

    Wow – you’re a painter, I didn’t know. I can smell the oils from here…. There’s nothing like immersing yourself in brushwork to forget about everything else.

    I accidentally mixed Lancome’s Climat and Mille et Une Roses yesterday, just because I was having a sniff of some of my Lancomes. It was a revelation because the two combined suddenly became what I remember the old Climat being like 30 years ago! Having been so disappointed with the latest Climat, I am feeling slightly cheered up now that I have added its missing dimension.

    Happy painting – can you show us any of your works?

    • Musette says:

      Ooooh! What good fortune! Now….if only I could create Vacances…:-?

      I’ll show you guys some stuff down the line – as I said below, I’ll first give you a giggle with the Hoarders studio before/after.

      xo >-)

  • March says:

    Muguet and Mitsouko — lol, that’ll bring up your lunch. Mitsy does not like to be layered.

    I am so glad you are getting back to your painting. <:-p

    • Musette says:

      Oh, honey.

      You just don’t know.

      There was about 30 minutes between lotion and spritz and with Sister DramaMama squealing on I completely forgot my original action. Just grabbed Mits. Oh….:o …..8-x

      xo >-)

  • Catherine says:

    YEAH! A studio of your own! I’m so glad you’ve found the time to get back to it, dear. :x