Saturday, August 7, 2010

popsicles and perfume

Weird pair of topics, I know.

I had been thinking about making popsicles (OK, I know that's a trademarked name, so "ice pops") lately, and the other day, I stopped into one of our local 99 cent stores and saw a set of ice pop molds for 99 cents. In fact they are extremely cute and absolutely made for kids: the stick has a rabbit head on it. (I love the 99 cent stores and they're cheap, but I'm not sure I feel really good about almost everything being from China. It's not as bad as Walmart, who not only sells lot of stuff from China but pays criminally low wages and generally treats their employees like crap -- plus they burden the state economy because none of their employees can afford health insurance. They pollute. And they put American manufacturers out of business because they can't compete price-wise with the Chinese, or if the Americans do business with Walmart, their profit margins are terribly low. Oh, and I believe they don't give a crap about the environment and have caused some problems at some locations. I hate Walmart.)

But back to ice pops -- I decided today was the day, since my last batch of ice cream hadn't come out too well. I was going to buy some juice, but I stopped into a pizza place to grab a spinach roll (yes, my eating habits have gone just a bit to hell lately), and saw that they had their own brand of soda in bottles, in all kinds of classic flavors like root beer, white birch beer, cream, grape, orange...and raspberry lime rickey. The latter is usually just called lime rickey, and it's a real Brooklyn thing and hard to find any more (ideally it's made at a soda fountain, also hard to find). Actually, it's usually cherry and lime. The last time I had one was from the amazing sweet shop that was in the train station at Coney Island before they were put out for the renovations (I wouldn't have minded except they never came back). It's basically just a raspberry and lime soda, but if you get it at a fountain, it's concocted with seltzer and syrup right there, so it's not exactly blended.

Anyway, I bought two bottles, raspberry lime rickey and root beer, to make ice pops. I've made sorbet out of soda. All you have to do is sweeten them just a bit extra, because anything that's frozen tastes less strong than at room temperature. (Important ice cream fact. Which is why it's best to let ice cream soften a bit before you eat it -- it should be just about about to melt as you put it in your mouth.) So I made lime rickey ice pops, but then I had trouble getting the pops out of the mold. I did hit on a solution, since the tops have a cup shape on the handle: you warm the mold a bit with your hand, invert the mold, and pull the pop out that way (one at a time). The pop ends up kind of sitting on the cupped handle. The pops were great; nothing much better on a very hot day. I want to try root beer and also (very summery and nostalgic) Hawaiian Punch. Also some of those nice Goya fruit nectars like mango.

OK...perfume. Actually, cologne, because who can afford perfume any more? All time top four are: Bellodgia (made by Caron), Escape (Calvin Klein), Coco (Chanel), and Rush (Gucci). I wish I liked the cheap stuff.

Bellodgia was the first one I ever wore. My mother used to wear it, but when she married my stepfather, he didn't care for it and bought her a bottle of Chanel No. 5 (actual perfume, to boot). So I got all the Bellodgia -- I think I was 14. Some of what I got was actual perfume (I'm kicking myself for not saving the bottles, which were really fancy crystal, I think Lalique, and the old ones now sell for a pretty penny). My aunt used to go on cruises and buy a lot of stuff duty-free, so she kept me supplied. This was the only cologne I used until I was 28.

I got a sample of Escape in a swag bag at a movie preview (I had a boyfriend who used to get passes to a lot of previews and screenings), so then I started wearing Escape. Bellodgia had gotten hard to find. It still is; it's not a hugely popular scent. It's mostly carnation.

A couple of years later, I got a sample of Coco, and really loved it. I can't remember where I first checked out Rush, but I went crazy for that, too.

Well, Bellodgia is hard to find, and Escape, Coco and Rush are either discontinued or on hiatus. This seriously sucks, though a lot of them can be bought on eBay. Which is how I just got the first bottle of Rush that I've had in years.

Other colognes I've worn from time to time:

Rive Gauche (Yves Saint Laurant) -- always too strong, even if I tried to put on very little.

Aromatics Elixir (Clinique) -- for some reason, I tried to like this, but never did. However, my late mother-in-law wore it, and I liked it on her.

Jil Sander No.4 -- I don't know if they make this any more. I liked it a lot; it's a similar type to Coco. (I am kind of a numbnuts as far as knowing the components of scents, all of the top-note and middle-note stuff, and even if a cologne is "spicy" or "floral." I'm not even sure how I found out that Bellodgia is mostly carnation.) I think I stopped using it because at that time, about fifteen years ago, I "had" to get the cologne and the lotion for every scent (I would keep around two of three of the ones I liked -- for many years, it was Escape in warm weather and Coco in cold weather). It was running into a lot of money, and I guess the Jil Sander just didn't make the cut. I think I only ever had one bottle of the cologne and one of the lotion.

Jean Nate. I'm wearing it now. I sometimes go for ultra-light sprays in the summer, so I can use a lot, although Jean Nate does have a fairly strong scent. I'm sometimes not sure if I like it, but it's a very nostalgic smell for me. I associate it with my aunt -- I'm not sure if she wore it or just had a bottle in her bathroom that I liked to sniff. (My aunt had a lot of scent in her bathroom.)

Sometimes I used to wear Enjoli, which was also a cheaper brand, and I'm not sure if they make it any more.

Another summer scent I'm wearing right now is something called Ohm, which was made by Olay but I don't think they make it any more. The scent I have is citrus ginger, which makes you smell exactly like a glass of ginger ale.

I also have the dregs of a bottle of Sublime (Jean Patou); I used to get it fairly cheaply at Cosmetics Market (don't get me started on that place -- tons of discounted brand-name makeup, which I love to buy and don't wear much).

I also like 1000 (pronounced "Mille" in French or "meel" if you don't know French -- also made by Jean Patou). Most of the colognes I've mentioned run about $45 for 1.7 ounces; things like Ohm and Jean Nate are much cheaper; and the Jean Patou scents are more expensive. I had a bottle of 1000 in the mid-eighties which I did not have to pay for, and haven't had it since.

I like those cheap light drugstore sprays but not the fruity or overly sweet ones. I like stuff like cucumber melon. I also love plain vanilla and have been known to dab vanilla extract behind my ears. I used to wear amber oil, but somehow Barry took to it, and it's become his scent. I like it on him.

I don't like too many sweet, flowery colognes (especially things with a lot of gardenia or the ones that are mainly rose -- I assume that some of the ones I use have a rose component, but I don't like the ones that are mostly rose). But I am fascinated by Shalimar (Guerlain). It has a lot of vanilla in it, and it's really sweet. It's also possibly the oldest of all of the scents I've mentioned here. I always think of it as an old-lady scent...I'm fairly sure that my maternal grandmother wore it. I don't really know how it would smell on me, but I'd love to have some and try it out. (Also an expensive one.)

That's one the reasons I like Sephora -- you can test colognes on paper strips, and if you like one, you can spray some on yourself and walk around to see how it smells on you and how it holds. Some colognes smell better on paper than on you, but it varies from person to person. Same with hold -- some scents just fade away fast, and some stay strong, which I assume is also a chemistry thing. Apparently the one that smells best on me is Escape -- I used to get stopped all the time by people who wanted to know what I was wearing, or who knew it but (I guess) thought it smelled particularly nice on me. (The ones who stopped and said, "Hey, is that Escape?" tended to be black men. I have no idea why.

Although I don't wear makeup that often, I put on scent pretty much every day. Even if I'm not going out, I put it on. So I think about it a lot, and always try to have as wide a selection as possible. I also get kind of miserly with it when a scent runs low, so I now have last little bits of Bellodgia, Escape, and Sublime. But I have a brand-new Rush (thanks eBay, got it unopened, and the price was about $15 less than I used to pay), and it smells really good. I like to smell nice to myself all the time.

I am also careful not to overdo it, for the sake of others. Nothing quite like the agony of too much scent on someone nearby. (My first serious boyfriend reeked of -- eek -- Brut.) I often don't wear any when I go to a job interview, because some people are allergic or just don't care for it. But that's probably the only time I leave it off -- that, and if I'm going to be somewhere that has a lot of mosquitoes (like Jannah's deck and yard).

Oh -- my mother and my aunt had their own special word for scent: stinkwater. Barry calls it something similar in Yiddish: schmecksaltz. (As always, all English spellings of Yiddish are only approximations. Cause that's how it is.)


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