Musette’s Holiday Gift List 2014

Yikes!  It’s almost Christmas!!!!  I’ve had a blast picking out some fun gifts for friends & family  – they run the gamut from perfume (expected) to micro-local (gorgeous turned-wood pieces by some fabulous old guy who lives somewhere around here – he and his wife were at our Autumn Fair and I fell in love with his work.  Got some and forgot to get his card.  The pieces are gorgeous, turned walnut and birch with turquoise dust embedded in the whorls and cracks.  Stunning.  Then there’s the Stunningly Practical.  El O mos def falls into that category (you should’ve seen the look on his face the year I bought him dress clothes.  You’d thought I gave him scabies.)   One of his gifts this year is so stunningly practical, I almost want it myself.  Almost.

for those hard to reach spots

for those hard to reach spots

But I doubt most of you want to hear about pivot adaptors.  So let’s get to the Beauty!!!

Beauty ‘stuff’ is so personal that I used to be afraid to give it – then I realized that nothing makes ME happier than getting ‘beauty’ – especially new and obscure  – so why not surprise some of my fellow Beauty freaks with some new fun things:

Alteya Organics Bulgarian Rose Water.  I spritz the daylights out of this stuff.   Every. Single. Day.   Heck, several times a day.   The rose scent is very, very subtle and it feels soooo good on my poor, tired skin!  I get the 500ml bottles and decant into a small mister for office and travel.  At $19 for 500ml this is an affordable luxury – and it’s a great way to introduce newbies to the art of hydration.  Available at Beautyhabit 


Diptyque Rich Butter for the Body.  My beloved Andy has a lot to answer for.  Ever since he tucked a sample of this in one of my bags, I’ve been a slave to this rich, richly-scented creme.  Even though it’s rich in scent, it’s weirdly neutral – and very, very luxe. Get it from Andy at NM for $90.  I still hate that damn glass jar, though.  I think the designer was Struck by Evil.  I would like to strike the designer with this jar.  But…oh, the stuff inside!!!!



Cheap & Cheerful Soaps & Such.   Portia and I vie for Queen of Soap.  I love me some soap!  And it doesn’t always have to be an insanely expensive soap, either.  I get a kick out of trolling the shelves at TJMaxx & Marshalls – oftentimes I find cool, no-name soaps that lather beautifully and smell fantastic!   I found this little beauty (a perfect accompaniment to Iris 39 & Xerjoff Iriss)  $3.99!  I would happily give this as a gift (and would love to receive it!) – if ever I find an accompanying body lotion/cream you will hear the SQUEEE! on Jupiter.  Step in front of me to take it and I Will Knock You Down (rrrarrwww!).   Both TJ & Marsh are a bit passive-aggressive with their price stickers (I think they take a secret delight in putting the sticker RIGHT ON THE FRONT OF THE PACKAGE)  but a bit of alcohol or lighter fluid on a cotton ball and a razor blade takes care of that.   Saturdays Francine and I both lunged for a gorgeous Almond soap (Jergens LOVE!)  -with any luck you’ll stumble upon a Claus Porto for the price of a bag of potato chips.  And your bathroom will smell DIVINE!

iris pallida soap

so pretty!!!







Smellin’ Good

The two new Surrender to Chance Jasmines  decants – great little gifts that will make a huge impact on the fragrance lover on your list.  And no, I am not saying this because of my connection to Patty & Lisa.  I don’t even like jasmine!  But there’s something about these two exquisite scents.  I don’t think it matters if they love jasmine or not – they need to smell these.  I am giving little bits of these to some very lucky friends…

Surrender.  I did.

Surrender. I did.

and Smellin’ Good While Doin’ Good

A lot of you know Tama Blough, perfume blogger and Scent Event coordinator in SF – she has been the driving force behind most of the really wonderful Perfume Events in the Bay Area, is an accomplished, artist-level quilter…and ..well, she’s in a challenging, terminal way, without health insurance or any other safety net to make her remaining time here comfortable or dignified.  That’s when the Perfume Community stepped in and said HELLZ NO!  A beautiful offering to help offset Tama’s ongoing medical and living expenses:  Tanja Bochnig of April Aromatics worked with Michelyn Camen of cafleurebon to create a signature scent for Tama – San Francisco Rose.   It’s a gorgeous scent, made even more gorgeous by Tanja’s incredible generosity – all of the net proceeds go directly to help support Tama’s care during this time.

San Francisco Rose Notes: : Rose Otto Turkey, Rose absolue Bulgaria, Orris Root, Pink Pomelo, Tonka Bean, Rosewood, Sandalwood, Precious Woods accord, touch of Patchouli and others. Infused with Herkimer Diamond and Rose Quarz which have healing properties.

Price: $138,00 (111,00 Euros), without tax if ordered from the US, so for US customers the total will be around: $113.00 plus shipping $7.00 – I just got my bottle, it came quickly and is beautifully packaged.  And did I mention it’s gorgeous?  It is!



Doin’ Good Feels Good.

As much as I enjoy giving and receiving gifts, there comes a point in a gal’s life where she just doesn’t NEED anything – at least not anything that anyone she knows can afford (I’m still hoping His Majesty the Sultan comes through with that diamond but in the meantime…….)…

ummm….Your Majesty?  Helllooooo?

this can be a challenging time of year for so many of us.  Last year was really wonky for me, financially and you’d think I would’ve reveled in getting ‘stuff’ – but you know what?  The thing that eased my Crazy the most was GIVING!  Huh.  Who’dathunkit.  Ironic that the place that gives me the biggest emotional bang for my buck is one I found right here on the Posse:  Modest Needs.   I write about this organization every year for one simple reason:  It’s a GREAT organization!!  I am leery of giant charities where, if you take a look at their structure, seems more about administration than actual giving (and some purported ‘charities’ are actually private, for-profit corporations!).  What I like about Modest Needs is this:  it’s a practical, boots-on-the-ground organization.  I think I called it ‘for want of a nail’ and a ‘weld in the chain of Life’ – cliche as can be, I know – but there is truth in most cliches (which is how they get to be cliches, duh!).  I think my introduction to the organization was reading about a working single mother whose refrigerator had crapped out.  Typical story for so many people – she could work, feed her kids, pay her bills…but there was no real money for a new fridge (or repairs on the crappy one).  Something as simple as that, standing in the way of her being able to keep her household afloat.  She only needed a small amount of money – but that money would go directly towards the repair or purchase of that refrigerator.  I dunno – something so sublimely simple, so direct, just resonated with me.  As did the fact that $5 or $500 – all was meaningful and goes directly to the vetted recipient (there is a separate line for donating to MNF’s admin costs.  Charities do have to be able to pay their own bills, too!).  Whenever I find myself mindlessly trolling the shopping pages of the Internet I stop to see if I’m trying to fill a hole in my spirit.  Another pair of shoes prolly ain’t gonna do it but you know what?  Donating $ to MNF fills that hole quite nicely, thank you!  Funny how that works, innit?

Yourself.  Give Yourself.  This time of year is rough on a lot of people.  Unhappy people, lost people, shy people – even people who bounce around.  Old people (yeah, they get picked up and taken to Aunt Esther’s for Christmas Dinner but…honey, Winter is LONG!  Especially in the Northern climes).  Pick up the phone.  Call somebody. Go visit an isolated or  elderly neighbor!  Bring something and have a cuppa with them.  Maybe more than once!  Make eye contact with someone who’s alone in a mall or something. Smile.  You don’t have to spend the afternoon with them – perhaps just a compliment on their lipstick or choice of footwear – I do it all the time because I like to do it and it’s stunning how many wonderful people I’ve had the pleasure to chat with.  You can’t spare 5 minutes to hear about how they chose those shoes or about their dog?  Yes You Can.  Loneliness isn’t always someone sitting at the kitchen table, sobbing.  Sometimes it’s standing right in front of you in the pickle aisle at Kroger.  Smile.  Say hello.  It makes a difference.  And you’ll be surprised at how much of a difference it can make to you, too!


  • Civet says:

    Great, sweet post.

  • odonata9 says:

    Thank you Musette for the reminders, and of course, your always hilarious posts (“I think the designer was Struck by Evil. I would like to strike the designer with this jar.” made me LOL. So what’s wrong with the jar – too heavy?). My family is cutting down on the gifting this year – just small things and only things we know they want. Gifts for the sake of gifts is just often money wasted, and there are so many better things we could spend it on, and you gave some great ideas. And really, I just want to spend time with my family and friends now – the gifts are not so important. Kind words are really so important. Sometimes I wonder why we are so stingy with them since they don’t cost any time or money. I know how excited I get when getting a random compliment.

    • Musette says:

      odonata, that jar is the most poorly ergonomically designed thing in the Universe. If your hands are the least bit damp the heavy bottom slips right through – and the narrow neck means you can’t get a real grip on it.

      And it’s glass. HEAVY glass.


  • Mary K says:

    Such a good posting about the things that are really important. And thank you for the links for where we can do some sharing.

  • Kandice says:

    Having been at times in a lonely and sad place, I know how much a kind word in the pickle isle can mean 🙂 Thanks for reminding everyone of that. And thanks for the reminder on the charity. I had meant to look into it last year and didn’t. I will now. Have a lovely Christmas and thanks for reminding us of what’s important.

    • Musette says:

      Please remember, Kandice – you always have family and friends here! What’s important is that you remember that!

      And Modest Needs goes on ALL YEAR! and I swear to you, the amount doesn’t matter in the slightest. When I was broke, I often could only give $5-$10. And that was just fine!!!


  • Dina C. says:

    What an inspiring, uplifting post! Thanks so much for sharing your gifting and giving challenge, Anita. I loved it and agree with it wholeheartedly.

    • Musette says:

      hey, Dina! Haven’t seen you in awhile (might be me, btw – I can’t keep anything in my poor ol’ head these days!! Thanks and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

  • Beautiful Musette: yes you are beautiful. You inspire me. XOXOX

  • kathleen says:

    I loved this, Anita. I never fully understood how lonely and sad some people felt at this time of year. I do now….

  • rosarita says:

    Lovely, lovely post, Ms A.

  • Ann says:

    What a great post, my darling friend! Great gift ideas, but also love the giving back part, which really, when you get down to it, is the most important of all. Modest Needs sounds like a great charity and I will get over there posthaste. And you are so right: the simple gift of kindness, a smile or a word makes can make a difference. I always try to chat with the other residents of my lovely MIL’s nursing home when I’m there for a visit, and it amazes me how just a minute of your time makes them light up. So many people in this world are starving for love, a kind word, a smile, so let’s give them all we’ve got!

    • Ann says:

      P.S. Forgot to add — there is a saying that I love that I wanted to share (author unknown): “No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” Even if you don’t see the fruit of it, or get rebuffed, you have put a ripple of goodness out into the universe and that’s what matters.

  • Portia says:

    Love you Musette. to the sky and back,
    Portia (and the crew)

  • poodle says:

    Another fabulous post. Sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most this time of year. Unless your treating yourself, then by all means the bigger the better.

  • I love choosing gifts to friends and family, it’s fun and satisfying. I finally finished with all the gift buying phase, all I need to do now is to wrap them up! I absolutely love this time of the year. Only thing I’ve forgotten so far is to buy a Christmas gift for myself. 🙂

  • einsof says:


    may every gift of kindness you inspire flow back to you!

  • HemlockSillage says:

    You amaze me, and make me get misty eyed all in the same post. I’m reading this at 12:30am, after a really long day that starts again tomorrow at 05:30 ack emma. You are so right about refocusing on giving to others. Modest Needs sounds like a foundation I can get behind. Giving from a spirit of abundance makes most things feel better. That and sleep 😀 May you be blessed this season with joy–your measure shaken, packed down and overflowing. You certainly bring laughs, awaken feeling (connection) and spread love out here in the blogosphere. Hugs!