Best Bunch’oStuff of 2014

Last week I read  Mark Behnke’s excellent post in  Colognoisseur : “Musings on the World’, covering a host of favorite non-perfume things.  Loved it!  Stole it! (the idea, I mean).    His list is pretty wide-ranging and erudite.  Mine won’t be.  I spent most of 2014 …..huh.  You know, I have NO idea how I spent 2014 this oughta be fun.  Walk with me…

Books – I did read a lot, so brain must still be working.  Whew!  I can’t name just one book,, though.  Several come to mind:  Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale For The Time Being that centers (sort of) around the aftermath of the 2011 Japan tsunami, it is a quietly lyrical,somewhat terrifying  journey through Time and emotion.  Gutenberg’s Apprentice by Alix Christie.  I’m still in the middle of it and it’s a miracle that I am writing a post about it, as I am having great difficulty putting this novel down, reading of the birth of something  that is now almost banal, it is so commonplace.   Best re-read:  Pamela Aidan’s Pride & Prejudice trilogy.  I am not a fan of this genre (zombies?  Elizabeth Bennet don’t need no steenkeeng zombies) but this is a thoughtful, unique approach to the P&P saga, from Fitzwilliam Darcy’s perspective.  Book 2, usually the least appreciated is, in my opinion, the pivotal book – it gives solid reasoning for Darcy’s behavior, from start to finish of the original novel, which I confess to never giving much thought to, until I re-read the novel (for the 3rd time) in my 30s.  It’s a worthwhile exploration into an enigmatic, almost secondary character.


Movies: I’m so far behind I might as well still have a Betamax.  I never do first release –  I don’t like crowds (Outbreak and people’s appalling manners put paid to that)  – but when I finally watch a film I am in total agreement with Mark:  movie going is supposed to be fun (if I want angst I have only to get out of bed in the morning).  Early 2014 I wondered why Tom Cruise’s lame-named  Edge of Tomorrow (aka the way better title Live/Die/Repeat) seemed to sink without even a ripple! – then I realized it was oh, so many things:  a stupid title, possibly weird distribution, Tom Cruise.  I forgot about it.  Then the DVD showed up at my library and I saw that it starred the ever-fabulous Emily Blunt.  Watched it.  I was hooked.  Watched it again.  Or was it the same watching, again?  We’ll never know.  But I realized something:  Tom Cruise, when he gets over himself, is very, very funny – and not a bad actor.  And watching him get killed every 32 seconds, is a hoot.  Yes. It. Is.  Bill Paxton (“what the hell were you thinkin’?”). Intriguing premise (and anyone who says the General’s behavior is illogical should come work with El O for a few days).  Great supporting cast of largely unknown (to me, anyway) UK actors and Cruise is NOT King of the World.    nuff said.

there is hope for you yet, Musette!

there is hope for you yet, Musette!

Favorite TV Show: My beloved Big Bang Theory lost me awhile back.  sigh.  And I realized that it’s hard as the dickens to find & keep a quality show.  Am thinking I love How to Get Away with Murder but that may be because I would pay to watch Viola Davis read her grocery list.  Foyle’s War.  Not new.  Still fabulous.

photo stolen: and I hate that jacket on her.  But isn’t she FABULOUS?

New Food Find:  Lindt Dark chocolate bar – Caramel with a Touch of Sea Salt.  I thought my first bar was a mistake – maybe I’d let it melt and reform – then I lost the damn package so I had to hunt and peck to find it again.  Was rewarded with the most perfect chocolate bar on the planet. Slightly salty and crunchy, with the caramel woven in to provide a counterpoint of sweetness to the slightly bitter darkness.  Best of all?  it’s, like, $2 (on sale.  $2.48 retail, don’tchaknow) and I dunno about you but I cannot eat an entire bar  in one sitting.  I know cuz I tried.  So you get a whole lotta bang for your little bitey buck.  And you haven’t gorged on chocolate till your eyes are spinning.  Works all around.



Second New Food Find:  Tomato Powder from The Spice House.   Pretty much perfection, especially from November – June, when real tomatoes are pretty thin on the ground around here.


Favorite New Handbag:  LV Capucines.  I’m not a LV fangirl but oh, this bag.  Oh.  The Capucines is a significant departure from their logo-laden bags of yore.  Black with  fuchsia lining.





the preciousss





Favorite New Skill:  Restraint.  Not everything needs to happen Right Now and I don’t need 3  (unless it’s that chocolate bar.  Then I need 3).  Instant Gratification is vastly overrated (unless it’s that chocolate bar).


What are your bests of 2014?  Your worsts?  Would love to hear about them!!!

  • odonata9 says:

    So glad you mentioned Edge of Tomorrow. Loved that movie and nobody I know saw it! I think it was the name that did it in. Sounds like a James Bond movie or something. My husband and I are always saying “on your feet, maggot!” to our 17 month old girls when we want them to stand up. Once they start understanding things, I guess we’ll have to stop. 2014 was crazy and exhausting but fun (see 17 month old twin girls), looking forward to the new year.

  • silvrolive says:

    Best book I just read in one big gulp even though it was non-fiction: The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. She is is awesome, funny, weird, honest, and just rocks (literally- she’s a musician). A lot of the book is about creating an online community and reaching out to ask for help when you need it. Sound familiar to anyone?

    I also just got to see Interstellar, which is pretty much gone from theaters at this point. It was great because of black holes and space travel, but also because it focused on the story and the people. Definitely add it to your list!

  • greennote2 says:

    Amen to the Lindt chocolate. Salted caramel, Touch of Salt, Orange. All fabulous and on high rotation here. Interesting year. Rough in patches, great in others. Still grateful to be here. Discovered Mona di Orio (as samples). Be still my quivering wallet. Bought my first full bottles after 6 years of sampling. I think this year will be perfume consolidating year rather than expansion. And finding a job after 6 months of being at home and loving it. Still haven’t figured out what I want to be when I grow up… Thanks Musette for making me laugh out loud so many times this year, it’s been a hoot.

  • Ann says:

    Great post, darling A!! I just finished reading “All the Light We Cannot See” and really enjoyed it, although the back and forth voices and times were a bit confusing at first. Also loved Masterpiece Mystery’s “Pemberley” as did someone else above. And that bag is too cool for school!! Is that leather the Epi leather (striated)? If so, I think I’m in love. I had a trapezoid-ish shaped tote in the black Epi, and it was very understated and elegant, with gorgeous gray suede lining. BTW, love that chocolate bar, too (as well as Lindt’s dark chocolate with a touch of sea salt). Yum! Happy New Year and big hugs all around!

    • Musette says:

      I will have to watch Pemberley. I did not like the book at all, alas.
      what happened to your tote (I noted the word ‘had’). The Capucines is regular calfskin – it looks like it should be heavier than it is (and it probably would be if I loaded it up). Very, very structured, as are pretty much all my bags. My Jasmin (the only other LV) is Epi and it wears like iron.

      xoxoxoxo and Happiest Year to you, darling!

      • Ann says:

        Amen to the Epi wearing like iron! As does the Chanel caviar leather, which I adore best of all. BTW, I still have the LV tote; it’s just not in the rotation much anymore (I used it mostly on trips as it traveled well and still looked elegant when I got to my destination). Speaking of, here’s to seeing you in 2015. Xoxoxoxoxoxo to you, too!

  • Lisa D says:

    I’m a huge fan of Emily Blunt – Tom Cruise, not so much. I can’t even remember what I did this past year. There was lots of work on my house, lots of work at my job, and not a lot of down time. I’m in the middle of changing that tune, though. Eating healthier, starting yoga again, and trying to spend quality time with my friends and my feline furballs. I’ve noticed that one of the high points of my day is after I’ve quit working for the day, and I spend some time preparing a quality dinner. It makes me feel outrageously content, to know that I’ve been productive, and then fix myself a really good (good being delish and healthy) meal. Small pleasure, I know, but I think I’m going to run with it. Who couldn’t use a little outrageous contentment once a day?

    • Musette says:

      Honey, that sounds like a plan! I have made a point of shutting down at the end of the day, rather than just wasting my time doing Busywork. A glass of wine, a good book or a movie….

      Give LDR (aka Edge of Tomorrow) a chance – Tom Cruise is actually a pretty decent asset to the film (I KNOW! surPRIZE!) and Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton and the largely unknown (US anyway) cast is pretty swell. I bought the DVD. I KNOW!!! I bought a Tom Cruise DVD. Ballso’FIRE!


  • poodle says:

    I discovered American Horror Story this year which was good. Disturbing but good. Just started season 2 since season 4 is on hiatus for two weeks.
    I sniffed some good perfumes this year and went to NY twice. Once for Sniffa and once for Portia. Good times. I spent too much money on tea and other frivolities because I needed retail therapy. The year itself kinda sucked so I’m happy to put it behind me.
    The best thing that can be said about the year 2014 is that it is over.

    • Musette says:

      Oh, HELLZ no, Poodle!! My nerves are not up for that! LOL! After much consideration I’ve decided to bless every day – after all, it beats the alternative. Here’s wishing for wonderful 2015s for us – Floyd knows there were some extremely rough times this year.


  • Katherine says:

    I like the Edge of Tomorrow so much that I bought a used copy at the video store. Aliens? Check, Time Travel? Check, Strong Female Lead? Check…. It has everything, plus the dialogue is super funny and it never drags. Very enjoyable. I saw the Theory of Everything which was good, but made me cry and the Imitation Game which was good and it made me cry again. I’m wearing Shangri La, Maai and Girl. Looking forward to a great new year.

    • Musette says:

      Happy New Year to you, too! I bought EoT, as well (blushes) My nerves are still shot from 2013-mid2014 so no Cryin’ Films for me. I bailed on my book club because they were reading SAD and I wasn’t having it. Not for awhile anyway. xoxoxoxoA

  • Caroline says:

    Tee hee re the Tom Cruise comments–will have to look into the movie. Don’t usually care for him, but cable tv recently reran The Firm and Minority Report, and he’s not annoying in either–they’re both worth watching. Reading Jane Smiley’s Some Luck, about farm life in the early 20th century, and it’s interesting because the story is told through the eyes of the various family members, including babies! Also got Alice Munro’s Family Furnishings, which probably doesn’t cover any new ground for me, as I’ve already read most of her stories.
    I discovered the best tv show: on F/X, called The Americans. It’s about Russian spies who work/live under cover in the U.S. (the “Americans”) during the Reagan era in the early ’80s. Absolutely gripping and so well done. If you have Prime, you can watch the 1st season for free.
    No 2014 perfume releases really grabbed me. My current love is Moon Bloom, interspersed with occasional applications of Eau Premiere, Profumo or Une Fleur de Cassie. Oh, and now that it’s cold again, I can actually wear Shalimar!
    Happy New Year, everyone!

    • Musette says:

      Happy New Year to you!!! The last Smiley book I read was the fabulous Moo! It’s been ages since I read some Munro (I think I read pretty much everything prior to 1990) – lmk what you think of Family Furnishings xoxoxoA

  • Jen says:

    We binged-watched ‘Rectify’ and “Justified.” Have major crush on Walton Goggins. Discovered Siracha and carry my own bottle with me to lunch! Binged watched “Orange is the new Black” and cant wait for the new batch. New author Ha Jin (sp) is fave of year. Heavily into Jo Malone Amber and Lavender.

  • Eloquaint says:

    Fresh flowers make a big difference.

    My cognac leather saddlebag by Patricia Nash and I will be together until it rots off of my shoulder.

    Honestly, I only like wearing boots or sandals, so I’m giving all my shoes away and my new winter boots with wedge heels are the best leg-elongating thing evah.

    Being autistic is much more fun if you’re hanging out with other autistics.

    Exercising consistently makes you feel better. So does going to the chiropractor at the first sign of trouble.

    There’s more to life than bran muffins (though not much if they have a lot of raisins in them).

    Perfume is a special interest of mine and it’s going to stay that way.

    • Musette says:

      Patricia Nash makes gorgeous bags! and there is something very luxe about fresh flowers, even if they’re only daisies!

      Can’t get with you on the muffins, alas. Alas.


  • tammy says:

    This year, I discovered scarves, tacky but fun jewelry ( statement necklaces, mainly) lipstick, smoked paprika and chipotle chicken tacos. Needless to say it was a fabulous year! Oh and subscription boxes, which I thoroughly enjoyed, even though I’ve had to cancel them all going in to the new year.

    I am not a TV watcher, or a movie goer, but I do hope to see Unbroken and American Sniper this weekend.

    As far as reading goes, my lipstick obsession ate so far into my book money that I have been relying on free selections from Book Bub.

    I am here to assure you there is a reason most of them are free. 😛

    That bag is gorgeous and I am not even a bag person. In keeping with the year’s overall Tacky theme, I did buy myself a Betsey Johnson wallet/clutch thing at Ross. It’s black with white polka dots, and a ginormous hot pink bow across the full length and width of it.

    SO perfect for a 16 year old, perhaps not so much for 51. But f*ck all the haters, I adore it. I get more compliments on that darn clutch than anything else I own except for perhaps my leopard print scarf with fuchsia hearts. ( I believe I mentioned my theme this year was Tacky?)

    I wish each of you a peaceful New Year, with just enough tackiness to keep things fun and lively!

    • poodle says:

      My pink flamingoes and I salute you in all your tacky glory.

      • Musette says:

        I love you both, more than you’ll ever know! xoxoxoA

        • tammy says:

          Right back atcha, O Fabulous One! And how can I have forgotten to mention the JERGENS you have got me addicted to? Lawsy…

      • tammy says:

        My psychedelically colored tin rooster (which in my defense was a gift) standing proudly amongst the hens-and-chicks along my driveway (because I think I am so very funny) crows mightily ( and lustily) at your pink flamingos!
        Life is too short to have a boring garden!

  • Melissa Pham says:

    Thank you for sharing this article! Hope to hear more from you!

  • Dina C. says:

    I discovered Louise Penny’s mysteries because of you guys this year and read all nine or ten of them. Those are truly can’t-put-them-down-not-even-to-make-dinner books! I can’t say enough good things about them and how much I enjoyed reading them.

    I had many favorite TV shows, but at the top of that list would be Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife and Bletchley Circle. Best mainstream movie: “Guardians of the Galaxy” because my family had so much fun together watching it. Best movie adaptation: “Death Comes to Pemberley,” this was one of those rare times when the adaptation was even better than the book. The actors imbued it with more gravitas and excitement than the book had.

    My teenagers have lately gotten into the specialty teas at the new Teavana store near us. So I guess that’s my new food find, though I’m a tea drinker since childhood. It’s nice to share it with my kids.

    As for fashion, I found a couple pairs of jeans at TJMaxx that fit me this year, and that felt like a real victory. 🙂 I love the idea of a black bag with a fuchsia lining. Sounds killer fierce!

    I think I might have read Pamela Aidan’s trilogy when it was online in fan fiction form. I read a lot of that kind of thing in the past. I’ll have to check it out!

    • Musette says:

      Oh, I am SO glad you enjoyed them. Louise Penny is a world treasure, imo. Sharon C sent me the first book, bless her forever. I read it and was hooked. Still am. Such depth to that series, from start to finish. And she’s working on her next! I loved the first Bletchley – scared to continue since (crap, what’s her NAME?) left the series.

      Re-read the Aidan trilogy. I think you will enjoy it. I’m finishing up Book3, loving it even more than the first read.


      • Ann says:

        Howdy, Dina! Seconding the love for “Pemberley:”! At first, I was a little disappointed by the actress who plays Elizabeth, but she grew on me. 🙂 Also hear, hear for the tea drinking — bottoms up! Happy New Year!!

  • rosarita says:

    I’m glad to know that Tom Cruise movie is good, I love Emily Blunt. I also share your love for the Lindt bar and I have to explore the tomato powder, sounds versatile! I have had a rocky year and it’s nice to think of the good stuff: I discovered Ernie Pyle, the American newspaper columnist turned war correspondent during WWII. His dispatches from the front lines are excellent but it’s the columns from the 1930s that really fascinated me – he was the first Charles Kuralt, traveling America and meeting regular people of all sorts, then writing about them. Reading is like time travel to a much simpler era that really wasn’t so long ago. And we discovered the tv show Justified and devoured every season on Vudu. Can’t wait for the new season to start, we just got cable again after a very long absence and it’s nice to have during the long winter. Gee thanks for listening, didn’t know I had so much to say 🙂

    • Musette says:

      A, you have had a rough year! I’m glad you took a minute to recount some of the fun stuff! Justified “my guns are always loaded”!

      You would LOVE the tomato powder! It’s stunningly intense, perfect for augmenting homemade chilis and gravies.

      Happy New Year, sweetie!! xoxoxoA