It’s been relentlessly snowy and grey this past week, and so it’s hard to feel all sparkly and uplifted, as good as my intentions are. So this Sparks post is less about la-la-la-radiance-glitter-cupcake and more cocoa-and-cashmere. I feel in a burrow-y type of mood these days: holing up inside with hot gingerbread coffee and slippers, typing away cozily yet industrious under my goose-down comforter, listening to early Sonic Youth and R.E.M. as the early afternoons drift into evening while I make soup. It’s fine: I can save Operation Sparklepony for springtime. Or maybe time there’s a spot of sunshine. But these were some of the things that sparked reverie and dreaming for me this week…what about you?
In Which I Contemplate a New Career as a Parfumeur
Have you ever wanted to know more about how to become a perfumer? I’ve always been curious about this, so you can imagine my great delight when I spotted this YouTube video up at Bois de Jasmin by perfume makers Givaudan on how they train their parfumeurs. Oh, if only I had a million other lives (or a few clones!) — I’d run off and join perfume school!
There’s also videos on the structure of perfume, as well as the olfactory fragrance families. I love this stuff; it’s a whole other beautiful world to enter into and become enchanted by. And I heart his French accent so much; Jean Guichard seems like such a sweetheart of a perfumer.
Oddball Yet Fantastic Iterations of the Modern-Day Fairy Tale
I was really captivated by this Nina L’Eau by Nina Ricci commercial — it’s absolute fairy tale aesthetic, and because it’s a fragrance commercial, it’s also wonderfully ridiculous in the best way possible. There’s something about a magic mirror, lots of running through frost-covered hedges, a white owl that makes me think of Harry Potter and a white tree that makes me think of Return of the King. And of course, there is a lovely white dress and bright red lipstick, which I think is a winning fashion look at any time and very, very Snow Queen-like. (It actually reminds me a lot of these Cade Martin photographs I blogged about earlier.
It gets even better, though! Cut to the next installment, where the girl’s three fairy godmothers-slash-pretty-French-models lounge around a room that’d be a perfect Tim Walker set, talking about what gifts they’ll give her:
And then one of them goes to make perfume, because that is what any good fairy godmother gives her fairy charge:
I don’t know about you, but this is how I want to make perfume, oui? Traipsing around the world’s prettiest kitchen in a floaty dress, singing about gardenias and apple blossoms, reveling in how lovely everything is…
Vespertine is My Spirit Jam
Every winter I like to rediscover Bjork’s Vespertine, her beautiful, lyrical record about cozying up, being content and getting all starry-eyed over your sweetheart. Sometimes Bjork records can be uproarious and clash-of-the-pagans, but Vespertine is intimate, even sweet — it’s my favorite one by her, delicate and beautiful, the one I put on in the background when I’m brewing up a lavender-and-blackberry tisane or making soup. But for maximum soul-for-the-balm factor, I like to just lie in bed and listen to it on my headphones as I drift off to sleep. It makes your dreams really cosmic and ethereal in feeling, like you’re casting white magic spells upon yourself.
My favorite song by her, though, will always be “All is Full of Love,” though. I think it’s a nice thing to listen to as we get closer to Valentine’s Day:
OTHER LOVELY THINGS LIFTING MY SPIRITS: +++++ Really enjoying “House of Cards” on Netflix. It’s not at the genius level of “The Wire” or “The Sopranos,” but it’s well-acted, absorbing and sucks you right into the maw of dirty politics. Kevin Spacey is really enjoying playing such a slimy politician; he manages to elevate the so-so writing into something really great +++++ Going to the symphony today, this time to hear Mendelssohn and Berlioz! +++++ I just started reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck and it’s really, really good. +++++ This video interview of Lee Radziwill, shot by Sofia Coppola! I enjoyed hearing her being on tour with the Stones, how she thought Mick Jagger was “a little repulsive,” and think it’s funny when she says, “The Rolling Stone magazine.” +++++ Also: NEW VIDEO BY THE KNIFE!!! Here is “Full of Fire” and I cannot wait for when Shaking the Habitual comes out!