Let’s Play Questions… Vol. 7: Small Pleasures

Source: Amazing Landscapes, Nature, Animals and Places Facebook page.

Source: Amazing Landscapes, Nature, Animals and Places Facebook page.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the small pleasures in life, and the new things that have caught my attention or made me happy. This summer was an extremely difficult time for me for a variety of reasons, and August was quite exhausting. These days, I am constantly behind schedule on all that I have to do, I’m frequently mentally wiped out, I will never get through my “To Do” list, and there doesn’t seem to be much joyous news in the world in general. Wherever I go, whether on social media sites or simply overhearing people talk in the post office queue, there seems to be a definite sense of grimness in the air. More than usual, I think. The headlines have been filled with an abundance of tragedies or conflicts, to the point where I’ve often had to look away from my Facebook feed, or seek mental or emotional refuge in simpler, happier things. Although one can’t live life as an ostrich sticking one’s head in the sand, there’s much to be said for trying to focus on the small joys in life.

In short, I thought it was time to bring back the Questions game, centered on the things that have brought all of you joy lately. A more leisurely post, en effet, a time to chat, as I work through my daily testing. Right now, I’m finally getting around to an Italian series which I had initially scheduled for some months ago. I will be focusing on different houses, especially some of the smaller, less widely explored ones, and will be making only a few occasional day-trips to other countries. I am working slower than usual these days, undoubtedly due to the aforementioned mental exhaustion, but I wanted to take a small break first to share some of the things that have brought me pleasure in the last few months, and then turn the floor over to hear from all of you.


Some of you loathe Facebook, and I can certainly understand your feelings on the matter. These days, I rather dread it myself, thanks to the veritable swill of bad news that is constantly inundating me, whether shared by friends or from general media sites. There seems to be no bloody escape from the deluge — ISIS! Ebola! The Ukraine! Ferguson, Missouri! Rape Gangs! Robin Williams! Plane Crashes! General political craziness! — and it simply goes on, and on, and on. Even the amazing, fantastic Humans of New York page has filled me with feelings of sadness and guilt during Brandon’s current tour of war-torn or painfully impoverished areas of the world. It puts things into very necessary perspective, and fills me with admiration for those he interviews, but it also makes me feel like the most terrible, spoilt person on earth.

In the midst of all the sadness and ugliness, two things have consistently provided a smile or a break. The first is a Facebook page that I highly recommend to everyone who appreciates natural beauty. It is called “Amazing Landscapes, Nature, Animals and Places,” and features exquisite photographs in all the aforementioned categories taken by a plethora of extremely talented people. If photography could be a form of Zen, be soothing to the soul, or capable of transporting you elsewhere, this page would qualify. Here are just a few of the photos posted there daily or hourly:

Source: Amazing Landscapes, Nature, Animals and Places Facebook page.

Source: Amazing Landscapes, Nature, Animals and Places Facebook page.

Source: Amazing Landscapes, Nature, Animals and Places Facebook page.

Source: Amazing Landscapes, Nature, Animals and Places Facebook page.

Sunset in Palmer, Alaska. Source: Amazing Landscapes FB page.

Sunset in Palmer, Alaska. Source: Amazing Landscapes FB page.

"Red beach in Panjin, China on the marshlands of the Liaohe River delta." Source: "Amazing Landscapes, Nature, Animals and Places." Facebook page.

“Red beach in Panjin, China on the marshlands of the Liaohe River delta.” Source: “Amazing Landscapes, Nature, Animals and Places.” Facebook page.

Merced River and Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite National Park. Photo by Steve Kossack. Source: Amazing Landscapes FB page.

Merced River and Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite National Park. Photo by Steve Kossack. Source: Amazing Landscapes FB page.

Source: Amazing Landscapes FB page.

Source: Amazing Landscapes FB page.

The second thing on Facebook which has constantly given me great joy is something that would only appeal to me, but since I’m sharing my small pleasures in life, I’ll mention it here nonetheless. It’s the page of a famous, elite, high-end German shepherd breeder. Some of you know that I’m hugely animal obsessive, with a particular interest in giant or large-breed dogs, but in German shepherds above all. And, it’s true, I’m wholly obsessed. I love GSDs more than perfume, more than most things in life, including a lot of human beings, I’m afraid to say. I particularly love the more unusual red-and-blacks, which is what this particular breeder specializes in.

Source: Alta-Tollhaus.

Source: Alta-Tollhaus.

So, every time I look at the Alta-Tollhaus German Shepherd Dogs Facebook page, I practically drool on myself. Some people yearn for fancy cars, big diamonds, or a penthouse suite. I want the puppies that they show, even if it would give a certain someone in my life a complete fit of jealousy. There are wait-lists for an Alta-Tollhaus puppy, and they are expensive (though they do not cost an arm, leg, and kidney as compared to some breeders who can charge $3,000, $4,000, and up), but the real thing stopping me is the realisation that I’m rather monogamous in my attentions and love. Or, perhaps it’s the certainty that “The Hairy German” really would be hurt.

Still, one can always dream, right? At the very least, the photos make me happy, whether they involve the adorable, fluffy puppies with their black coats before the “saddle” kicks in, or the magnificent red-black-gold adults. Actually, some of the best photos involve those publicly posted or shared by happy clients, showing their big Alta-Tolhaus adults with their children or in their homes. Since I don’t think it would be appropriate to use someone’s personal images here, especially not those involving kids, I’ll settle for a few less appealing photos of the handsome Alta-Tollhaus adults by themselves. First, though, the puppies. The adorable puppies!

Source: Alta-Tollhaus.

Source: Alta-Tollhaus.

Source: Alta-Tollhaus German Shepherd Dogs Facebook page.

Source: Alta-Tollhaus German Shepherd Dogs Facebook page.

Happy mother with newborns. Source: Alta-Tollhaus.

Happy mother with just born babies. Source: Alta-Tollhaus.

Source: Alta-Tollhaus German Shepherd Dogs Facebook page.

Sleepy time! Source: Alta-Tollhaus German Shepherd Dogs Facebook page.

Source: Alta-Tollhaus German Shepherd Dogs Facebook page.

Source: Alta-Tollhaus German Shepherd Dogs Facebook page.

Source: Alta-Tollhaus German Shepherd Dogs Facebook page.

Someone decided to take matters into their own paws on the first day of training, and absconded with all the training treats. Source: Alta-Tollhaus German Shepherd Dogs Facebook page.

Source: Alta-Tollhaus German Shepherd Dogs Facebook page.

Source: Alta-Tollhaus German Shepherd Dogs Facebook page.

Photo: Carole Schultz. Source: the Alta-Tollhaus FB page.

Photo: Carole Schultz, showing her GSD. Source: the Alta-Tollhaus FB page.

Protection work with one of Alta-Tollhaus' females. Source: Source: Alta-Tolhaus.

Protection work with one of Alta-Tollhaus’ females. Source: Source: Alta-Tollhaus.

Photo: Alissa Weaver. "Aiden" during IPO trials. Source: Alta-Tollhaus

Photo: Alissa Weaver. “Aiden” during IPO trials. Source: Alta-Tollhaus

Photo: Alissa Weaver of "Aiden" during IPO trials. Source: Alta-Tollhaus

Photo: Alissa Weaver. “Aiden” during his IPO trials. Source: Alta-Tollhaus FB page

With great difficulty, I will stop inundating you with more GSD photos, but you have to admit that the puppies are adorable. Day after day, there are photos posted, each one cuter, fluffier, or more majestic than the last, and I want them all.

Alas, if I even considered it, I suspect my very possessive Teutonic Overlord would respond much more intensely than what he’s doing to the retrieve bumper here:

The Hairy German. Photo: my own.

My Teutonic Overlord & Master. Photo: my own.


Fangs and fur aren’t the only things that have kept me going. As some of you know, I’m a complete television junkie, and my latest obsession is the new series on Starz called Outlander. Based on the lengthy Diana Galbaldon novels by the same name, it’s about a British woman who travels back in time from 1945 to the Scottish Highlands of 1742. I’m simply crazy about it, though I grant you that it’s a bit slow at times and part of my interest may stem from my Game of Thrones withdrawal symptoms. One thing that stands out is the incredible cinematography. Whether the subject is a Druid ceremony at dawn or the endless beauty of Scotland itself, this is one stunning show. (I won’t deny that a certain actor and his physique are part of that beauty…. Ahem.)

I couldn’t find a lot of screencaps, and the ones I did aren’t the best, but here are a few images from the Starz network:

Outlander. Photo by Starz, source: professionalfangirls.com

Outlander. Photo by Starz, source: professionalfangirls.com

The standing stones. Outlander via Rachel Blachel & Pinterest.

The standing stones. Outlander via Rachel Blachel & Pinterest.

Druid ceremony before the break of dawn. Outlander. Photo by Starz, source: professionalfangirls.com

Druid ceremony before the break of dawn. Outlander. Photo by Starz, source: professionalfangirls.com

Source: pagetopremiere.com

Source: pagetopremiere.com

Jamie in Outlander. Source: cinemablend.com

Jamie in Outlander. Source: cinemablend.com

Outlander (and that hot body) premiered at just the right time for this television junkie. Game of Thrones is in hiatus; the World Cup is over; I poured through all of Deep Space Nine in 10 days, but Star Trek: Voyager failed to arouse much passion; the second season of The Bridge has been a source of frustration for me; and True Blood went from a few years of being terrible, to simply the worst thing imaginable. Not even my determination to continue to the excruciating, bitter end could withstand the sheer slog and ineptitude of this final season. (At least it was better than Dexter‘s ridiculous conclusion?)


Source: cooktj.com

Source: cooktj.com

There have been other small joys as well. Who knew that Trader Joe’s had delicious Asian food that only requires 4-6 minutes to heat? Their frozen Shu Mai and Yakisoba noodle packages are super. Their Mushroom Ravioli with Mushroom Truffle Sauce is also very tasty, but their Indian dishes are just okay. Regardless, as someone who is perpetually exhausted these days, no longer has time to cook, and often forgets to eat the entire day when working, Trader Joe’s has been a godsend.

Perfume-wise, I was happy to get a few things on my list: MDCI’s Chypre Palatin, Papillon’s Anubis, Hiram Green’s Moon Bloom, Patricia de Nicolai’s Amber Oud, SHL 777’s Black Gemstone and Khol de Bahrein, Tom Ford’s Black Orchid, and two other bottles that I know I’m forgetting. The sad thing is that I get to wear fragrance for myself very rarely, perhaps once every 2-3 weeks and just for a few hours at night, so I haven’t even worn some of my new purchases yet!

Nevertheless, staying positive, I was happy to finally organize my most immediate “Must Test” samples, all 80+ of them, in a tiered container unit with drawers. (The 100 or so which are not pressing are scattered all over the place in piles or in shipping boxes. They are organized, barely, but in a way that only makes sense to me.) It’s far from perfect, but even a little organisation is better than none for an OCD person.

So, those are a few of my small pleasures or sources of joy over the last few months. Now, it’s your turn. It can be perfume, or something completely unrelated which has captured your interest lately. Perhaps you’ve discovered a book series that you want to rave about in detail; have stumbled across a television show that you love; or simply learnt that you have a passion for hiking. Maybe you have found a Facebook page that brings a smile to your face, would like to share a food recipe that has rocked your world, or want to gush about your own furry child? (For the latter, please don’t hesitate to share photos or links, if you don’t mind others peeking as well.) Or, perhaps, you would simply like talk about perfumes: those you have fallen for, bought, or put on a wish list? Tell me about your latest obsessions and interests!

83 thoughts on “Let’s Play Questions… Vol. 7: Small Pleasures

  1. I know what you mean about grim news. I try to limit the amount of awful that comes through the devices but you can’t always.

    Your sources of comfort sound like good ones, and to them I’d add, Top Gear ( gotta love the cars) baking the perfect flap jacks and brownies (our latest a version of the slutty brownie featuring peanut butter chips and Reeses’ Miniature Oreos) and our Nori eating cat Jersey Girl!

    • “Slutty brownie”???! *perk* The name alone sounds perfect, and it has Reese’s too?!! I’m tempted to ask for the recipe, except I know I wouldn’t have the time. More to the point, though, I’m not sure I would have the self-control. 😉

      I think having a cat who loves Nori is absolutely hilarious. Wet or dry?

      I agree with you on Top Gear. My God, that show is some sort of vortex. You start, even if only by accidentally flipping past the channel, and the next thing you know 3 hours have gone by and your jaw is on the ground at some of the cars. I actually watch Top Gear quite a bit, and last night had to drag myself away from one where they were supposed to put a kit car together from scratch in the time that it took the Stig to race up to Scotland. How very cool that you’re a Top Gear fan.

      • Was just watching Cars of the People recently (Volkswagons!) and long live Captain Slow.

        Slutty Brownies (to answer Kafka’s question) are bottom of pan chocolate chip cookie dough, middle layer Oreos, top layer brownie mix- I think Ghirardelli makes the best one.

        And Jersey Girl eats dry Nori. I figure it’s her Sushi minus wasabi.

  2. What an articulate and thoughtful post! I agree that we seem to be inundated with tragic news wherever we turn, and feeling small and insignificant in terms of being able to do much about it never helps the ensuing anxiety. I’ll share with you a few things that have made me happy lately:
    1. I’m getting married next Friday! Although planning the wedding became very stressful within the last few weeks, I have not lost sight of the fact that next Friday, I will be marrying my best friend, someone who I never in a million years thought I would ever date, let alone marry.

    2. Because of the wedding, all four of us sisters are in the same city again, and I wish so desperately that every girl could have sisters like mine.

    3. Both my fiance and I are blind and travel with guide dogs, and you’ll be happy to know that both dogs will be in the wedding! (they are also “brothers from another mother”, as their father is rather…prolific)

    4. Davids tea has their pumpkin chai out for the fall and I’m about to indulge in a cup right now, along with a novel (great reads recently have included: Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, The Rosie Project, The Perfume Lover, and Coming to my Senses).

    5. I get to go perfume shopping/sniffing in London!

    6. I’m testing a few perfumes to see if they’re fb-worthy myself right now: Seville a l’aube, Anubis (thanks to your blog!), and perhaps something from “Uncle serge” (I don’t have any sl perfumes yet!)

    Thanks again for encouraging me to mentally keep track of positive things–it can be so hard to stop and focus on them, as cliche as it sounds, when it’s just so darned easy to succumb to anxiety and worry.

    • Awwww, you’re getting married!! How absolutely wonderful, and a hearty, happy CONGRATULATIONS from me! I truly have the biggest smile on my face, though I don’t know if it’s from the “best friend” part, the really sweet bit about your sisters, or the guide dogs with their father being “rather… prolific.” (I confess, that made me snort out loud.) I may be more thrilled that your furry ones will be in the wedding than anyone else you will encounter. I think that’s fantastic, and it is certainly what I would do!

      So, your honeymoon will be in London? How lovely. I hope you can perhaps hop over the Chanel and make a pit-stop in Paris? A day at the Palais Royale mecca to find your perfect Uncle Serge, followed by time at the Aladdin’s Cave of Jovoy? Then again, you will have Roja Dove’s Haute Parfumerie to visit in London, and so many glorious monuments/sites.

      On a more serious note, I know what you mean about succumbing to anxiety and worry, especially when feeling so helpless to do anything in the face of so much heartbreak, injustice, or misery in the world. I’ve mentioned in passing on the blog that I’ve experienced anxiety issues myself in the past, but the news these days doesn’t seem to help. One doesn’t want to be shallow, superficial, or live in an vacuum, but it feels so bloody unrelenting at times, so enormous in scope. And some of the things one hears simply hurt one’s heart. So, focusing on the smallest of things to add a little joy, the simplest of pampering pleasures…. it’s the only way that I can manage not to let it get to me. If I have to stare at puppy photos while eating Shu Mai, then, dammit, I will! 😉 😛

      • Oh yes, the furry creatures absolutely had to be a part of the wedding, or else it would not have felt complete. Besides, anyone who would have been able to babysit them would have been att the wedding anyway! and thanks for the congratulations–I’ve struggled to really feel as though we’ve “earned” congratulations simply by choosing to get married, but then I realized that it isn’t the putting on of a wedding that is to be congratulated (although with a huge Pakistani family like mine, you could almost say putting on the wedding is a heroic endeavor LOL), but more the celebration of declaring to the world that you have found who you hope will be your life partner, not because they’re perfect, but inspite of the fact that they aren’t. And hell, we should all celebrate it when people love each other, because as you point out, we spend enough time feeling misery on everyone’s behalf as it is. As for our honeymoon, I would absolutely love to hop on over to Parris-you have no idea. I’ll see if I can’t work that in, although I think it might be hard given that I wouldn’t even know how to begin navigating Parris. I’ve already shamelessly begged a bunch of London-based perfume bloggers to accompany me on my sniffathon around London, and not surprisingly in the least, the community has been extremely generous. “Want to guide a blind perfume lover around London?” and people offered! I feel as though I’d be pushing my luck with Parris, haha.

        • I also wanted to add that I’m sorry August has been really rough for you personally. But despite that, you continue to share so seamlessly with us the world of fragrance, and it’s so obvious the amount of pain-staking effort that goes into your reviews, even though I imagine you don’t always feel up to it. It’s a special kind of person who can keep giving when they feel emotionally drained.

        • On a small, shallow level, one definitely deserves some sort of award for surviving wedding planning, imo, and all the thousands of minutiae that are involved, even for the smallest wedding. Friends of mine have sometimes been driven to madness over it all, and I had a sibling who seriously considered eloping for similar reasons. lol.

          On a more serious level, IMO, the “Congratulations” are always for having navigated through the shoals of life to find your best friend, other half, and life partner. There are more than 6 billion people on this planet. Finding someone you love enough to marry is a big deal, at least for the normal person who takes such things seriously. (The Kardashians & the rest of Hollywood are a whole other story….) But you DO deserve a lot of excitement, enthusiasm, and celebratory words coming your way. Love — the kind that involves someone loving you BECAUSE of your flaws — is a huge, huge deal, imo! I’m always genuinely happy for others who find that rare treasure, so don’t feel guilty, weird, or anything else. Just enjoy every minute of this time.

          As for the Perfumistas Tour in London, it sounds wonderful. I hope you find several perfumes that you love but, most of all, I hope you forge the happiest memories and create many new friendships. Is your husband-to-be into fragrances as well?

          • Thank you so much. I really must do my best to not get bogged down in the details and family drama that seems pretty much inevitable with a family this size and with a culture that’s happily dramatic. Without even knowing any of the details, I’m not surprised that one of your siblings was tempted to elope–it really can feel like the right solution when everything else makes you want to throw up your hands in defeat. Wedding planning should never, ever generate more anxiety than joy, but often it can. My fiance isn’t into fragrances, although he has blessedly let me bring him into my orbit, and he will sniff and comment on my perfume a lot, sniff my perfume when I’m not around so he can think of me, and he buys me a new perfume every Christmas that he chooses himself which I always anticipate with so much joy and think is incredibly adorable. I’ve been pulled into his world as well, and so I’ve accompanied him to baseball games, am generally more politically aware, and am getting better at not being as spendy (although something tells me we’ve got a ways to go! LOL). Do your loved ones partake in your perfuming?

          • Your fiancé sounds incredibly sweet. *knock on wood, knock on head* I love that he chooses the perfume for his Christmas gift to you, but even more so that he sniffs your perfume when you’re not around so that he can think of you. Adorable!

            As for me, the people in my life either put up with my interest in perfumery, show interest in my blog news, or generally like perfume in passing, but none of them are really hardcore. And most of my friends seem very surprised that I’ve fallen into all this, as history is something they associate with me, or the law, but the whole fragrance thing completely baffles them. LOL. When I talk to a few of my oldest friends about some aspects of the perfume world, you’d think I was speaking Dutch or Chinese. They get this glazed look in their eyes, and I can see that none of it is actually computing. 😀

  3. Hmm for me a lot of it has been spent on Facebook and Fragrance Of Living, which by the way I would love for you to Like with your blog so that I can finally tag you LOL. Also been building http://www.fragranceofliving.com which finally got published last night, but still under a loooooot of work.

    Past that.. hmm.. a little bit of racing, a little bit of motorcycle riding, and a lot of time spent with my rottweilers, hubby and kiddo.

    That is definitely my escape from all the madness. Ok that and fragrance shopping… but don’t tell anyone.

    I read your reviews and smile like a child most of the time, because I really enjoy your writing and it puts me in a good mood. 🙂


    • Awww, so good to see you here, my sweet. As for Fragrance of Living, I have no idea how to like that via the blog’s FB page, since it isn’t set up as a personal page where Kafkaesque can like things. Or, if I can, I just don’t know how. I will look into it, though, or at the very least follow you on my personal, private FB account. But a huge congratulations on publishing your site! I will go look at it the first chance I get.

      As for racing, I had no idea, but it’s very cool! Give a few kisses on the paw to your furry ones, and I send you a hug myself.

      • I have no idea how we can connect either so that I can share your blog out there. If you allow it, ofcourse, I was going to add your blog to a list of links that I will put on my site. I feel that it is important for people to read what you write.

        Again, it is a work in progress and I had to spin it live so that I can test functionalities at this time. Hopefully, either by the end of this weekend, or sometime next week, I will move some of the first reviews up there. It will be a collection of reviews, thoughts, little things I like to write and I need to import a blog part for people to comment as well.

        https://www.facebook.com/Fragranceofliving?fref=ts is the FB link for it.

        Anyhow, obsessions aside, LOL, I realized that I have managed to unwind a little bit. Today I had these huge dreams of going to the mall and dealing with people, ugh, to pick up that TF you just reviewed, but then again, I ended up with a new dishwasher (YEY ME), a new gaming mouse (yes that is an event in itself) and my guilty pleasure Pumpking beer.

        If you like seasonal beers and like pumpkin, this bad boy is a MUST.

        Aside from that, I am not liking you very much because of the puppy pictures. I am nesting something fierce and love all things small and cuddly and omg those babies are cute all getout. We actually almost bought a black female before picking up my 2nd rottie.

        I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments here, and I hope I will live to have the same great quality of people grace me with their presence and awesome conversations when I grow up LOL. Thank you for sharing them :p

        In one of your comments you had stated that your friends sometime don’t expect the fragrance side of you, or glaze over when you talk about it. I feel your pain. I am nothing akin to girly. I am into guns, cars, motorcycles, computer games and well work in IT for a living… none of that even remotely spells girly. BUT, you break out niche fragrances, watches, shoes and purses, maybe a little bit of very very sexy lingerie, and I squeak like a valley girl with the AMEX in hand LOL. I guess that is what makes us different.

        But all in all, you need to know that you have managed without a doubt to successfully create a safe heaven, even for misfits like yours truly. Grats my dear. For this, you have my utmost love.

  4. Great post! Sorry August has been rough,it’s been kinda tough for me, too, but your blog is a welcome respite for me. I’m sure it seems like work for you. I love the websites you mentioned. Those GSD’s are beautiful. I have never seen the red haired German Shepherd variety before- so beautiful! I’m obsessed with sighthounds and I have a whole Pinterest board devoted to them, Italian Greyhounds, big Greyts and whippets- so gorgeous and elegant. They make me happy. Thanks for sharing these lovely sites with us!

    • Sight hounds are such sleek, elegant creatures! There are a few greyhounds at the dog park I go to. My word, watching them go is quite something. If you’d like to share your Pinterest board, don’t hesitate to do so. I know some other readers are huge dog lovers as well. BTW, I hope your September is considerably better!!

  5. August has been a very difficult month for me too……not in a heavy terminal illness way but just plain difficult back against the wall, rain hammering down and a full gale force wind blowing sort of way…
    A relationship of 15 years ended this month and no we weren’t living together but I’d always liked him – a lot – and either I’d been with someone or he had and finally this year we got it together and I was pretty happy but he really wasn’t and we went to the Lake District (UK) in August and we both realised that it just wasn’t going to work…..oh well keep on truckin as they say.
    I had a serious disagreement with my son and his wife – and its my fault and I’ve apologised but it’ll take a while and it makes me sad…….but as Tony Soprano says whatareyagonnado??
    My father who is 92 made me cry – he treated me like a little girl (I’m 60) and I was tired no hell I was exhausted…..and it was hard and I cried and cried – but thats ok now – we made up – I forgave him…..he’s been a great father to me – always – and still is…..
    Pressure of work is huge – I work as a Sports massage therapist and its physically demanding and emotionally demanding too – and I realise that I’m getting older but I have to keep going because there’s only me to pay the bills and I don’t get a pension for another 4 years…….
    Plus all the news which is awful and frightening and the pictures we now have straight into our homes in full HD colour of our brothers and sisters in the world struggling/dying/crying and its hard to remain detached….so I don’t watch tv much at the moment…..

    So on the bright side – I watch the flowers and the clouds and the colours of this beautiful world all around me here in Wales and I smell the air which is fragrant with a hint of woodsmoke now as its getting cooler….oh what JOY! To get up early and see the mist in the valley and hear the first birds singing at the start of a new day….and really its all we have – This Moment – and it is Eternal – and full of promise…..

    • Oh, Katie, what a dreadful, horrible time it’s been for you. I am so touched by your openness, as I know it cannot have been easy, but perhaps sharing helps in a tiny, tiny way? Sometimes, for me, venting is the only way to get through the stormy times. Still, what a lot you’ve had to deal with, especially emotionally. I’m truly, truly sorry it didn’t work out with your chap. After all this time, all those missed connections or wrong timings, to finally get together and then…. it didn’t turn out as you had dreamed. That must have hurt a lot, and I wish I were there to give you a hug. Let’s hope your September marks a new start, and a much happier time.

      • I love that you bothered to reply – Thankyou and yes it did help to vent! :)) There are many who have more troubles – that I know – so I AM grateful for all the positves….and for the joy of Per-fume!
        Today I’m going to wear Chypre Mousse…..aaahhhhh!

  6. This is a lovely article,Kafka!I’ve truly enjoyed it and what stunning perfumes you’ve added to your collection! Looking forward to testing some of those myself.
    Summer in my world was quite boring,but there were a few things that kept me going:

    1.Some incredibly beautiful weather,especially considering that we’re talking about Ireland.Lunch breaks on aforementioned sunny days,in a wonderful park overlooking the sea
    2.Music.A lot,and I mean A LOT of Depeche Mode.Some Nick Cave too for good measure.Straight to my pleasure centers through the earphones.
    3.Perfume sales.Got a large back up bottle for my Alahine,Miller Harris L’air de rien and Fleurs de Sel,also L’Artisan Parfumeur Passage d’enfer
    4.Walks in the fresh morning air along the beautiful Portobello canal.It feels like walking through a magical green tunnel,with swans,ducks and other unidentifiable for me water birds species.There’s also a little boat.
    5.Books.Read Goldfinch, Shantaram and Perfume Lover this summer
    6.Lastly,but in actual fact firstly,my partner.Still the greatest source of delirious joy of my life

    • It’s so nice to see you again, Ana. I’ve missed your sunny face, and it sounds like your summer was lovely. Relaxing, serene, and filled with small joys. Not to mention, the big, main one which is your partner. 🙂

      Depeche Mode!!! You’re the only other person I know who loves them, Ana. I’ve heard the Goldfinch is amazing, but I haven’t had time to read for a while. I will have to look up Shantaram. (BTW, I laughed that you got a back-up bottle for your Alahine. She really weaves a magical spell around those she hits, doesn’t she?)

      • I think you would like Shantaram,Kafka.It’s a real story,although at times it feels pretty surreal,like a Hollywood movie filled to the brim with unexpected twists.It’s written by Gregory David Roberts.I’m surprised that DM is not popular in your neck of woods.To me they are so evidently perfect that I simply cannot understand how others don’t see it like that☺.I’m Eastern European and in our region they were absolutely huge in the nineties.And yes Alahine is irresistible, I didn’t stand a chance,and how could I say no to a 60%off sale?

  7. Right now I’m enjoying the fact that I have my first one person show at a gallery and it’s been very well received. It came about quite organically, so the whole thing, even though I’ve been working on it for months, feels like a surprise. I am grateful that I am able to create work that others derive pleasure from.

    Aside from that, I have been enjoying what I usually enjoy: a slow life. I’m usually not busy. My hubby and I both work from home and enjoy the fact that we can go for a walk whenever we want. Sounds like a small thing, but I don’t think so. It’s a leisurely pleasure that I am lucky to have.

    I love my small town. I can’t sample any perfume here, but we live in the 2nd best state in the US for local food from organic veggies to locally made cheese and lovingly raised and happy animals. The farmer’s market is right across the street from my front door!

    One of my small pleasures is your blog, y’know. When I get an email that you’ve got a new post I’m quite happy!

    I’m wearing Khol de Bahrein right now. If it weren’t for you, I probably wouldn’t have been so keen to try it. Now, the price of some of the other gems in SHL’s line give me some grief, but I’ll put that feeling aside, for I live good life and not having a bottle of perfume is not something to obsess about (or is it?)

    Just kidding. I’m looking forward to another evening of fine local veggies, locally made sauerkraut, locally made wraps, and maybe some of my hubby’s kefit. And wow, the internet has made it possible to watch films and television shows from all over the world (and, I think, raised the quality of much television). It’s like a miracle. I grew up in New York City and even there we didn’t have as much access to so many movies as I do now right in my own home. I have to say I am VERY grateful for the internet!

    • CONGRATULATIONS on your gallery show! That’s fantastic, Jules. I hope it’s the first of many.

      I rather envy you all those locally-sourced cheeses. The FDA seems to be doing to cheese what the EU/IFRA is doing to perfumery. And cheese is one of my top food obsessions/passions. You must have some glorious, glorious things up there, you lucky devil! (The locally made sauerkraut sounds good, too.) What I would give to a farmer’s market just a few feet away from my front door. Then again, with my cheese passion, I’d end up being 300lbs, so it’s probably just as well it isn’t.

      BTW, I bet you smell delicious in your Khol de Bahrein.

      • There is a cheese and bread renaissance here in New England. We are even allowed good raw milk which makes everything made from it even better.

        My show has been quite informed by my love of scent. I would have liked to write about it in my artist’s statement, but I found I could not without going into detail about things no one would have got save for the folks I know online, such as yourself. I would have liked to put vials of perfume next to some of my work for gallery patrons to smell, but the gallery owners said no. Hopefully I’ll be able to do that some day!

        • What a shame that you couldn’t incorporate scent into the show, as I think that would have been so lovely on a multi-dimensional, sensory level. I mean, it’s not as though you were planning on spraying people with stuff against their wishes! Why not have simple vials for anyone who was interested and which would have perhaps gone with the mood, feel, or vibe of a particular piece?! 🙁

          As for the cheese issue, I had to snort at your “We are even allowed good raw milk” bit. Bloody fascists screwing around with cheese, raw milk, and pasteurisation the way other governments are with perfumery and oakmoss. Sheesh. Half the cheeses I love aren’t even allowed into this country! Bah! The whole cheese thing is a sore point for me.

  8. Simple pleasures, huh? I feel like these days my life has been very simple, but I have been enjoying it.
    1) My new job gives me every other Friday off. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that. Yes, I work longer hours on the days I do work, but having more 3+ day weekends than two day weekends is simply awesome. Sometimes I do something fun, sometimes I don’t do anything but work off my to-do list, but it’s nice to have that extra day every two weeks to do as I please!
    2) Google Flights. I’ve known about it for a while, but I realized now you can choose travel dates and a departure airport and look at a map of all the destinations you can go with ticket prices listed. It’s awesome to play with, and I hope soon I can plan a weekend jaunt somewhere fun. Even without booking, I like fantasizing about all the places I could travel if I had the money. I know some may find that depressing, but I enjoy the escapism. Same reason I will buy a lottery ticket when the jackpot is $100 million or more — sure, the chances of me winning are infinitesimally small, but I derive a lot of pleasure from the few dollars invested in fantasizing a life of never having to worry about cash.
    3) My running group. I never would have thought in a million years I’d say I liked running, and I’m still not sure I do, but I keep setting personal speed and distance records and I’m among the fastest in the group and it’s a nice ego boost. The group members are super supportive and fun, which has been nice when moving to a new city. And I have my first half marathon coming up! And now I am pretty sure I will register to do a marathon in March. The training schedule is ludicrous and tough, but I think it will be a nice feather in my cap to say I did it.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t been in a TV/movie/reading mood lately. I just can’t seem to get into anything lately. I think my attention span may be irreparably broken! I like that someone mentioned Top Gear – I honestly couldn’t care less about cars, but I do/did love the show. We used to watch it all the time in college – always good for a laugh!

    • So many wonderful things, Kevin. The new job sounds like it’s going great, and I’m so impressed about the overall running thing, not to mention your marathon plans! Way to go. You make me feel like a slug, but I’m very proud of you, my dear. When is the half-marathon?

      • The half is October 26 here in Downtown LA. 🙂 I should be taking my training a bit more seriously, but the ambiance of this race is pretty fun and non-competitive. I ran 12.2 miles recently and it wasn’t that hard, so 13.1 shouldn’t be too bad. Of course, every runner has good days and bad days so I’m hoping it falls on a good day when I can perform well! I think the LA Marathon is the first week in March. Honestly, in addition to 26.2 miles just being a f***load of miles to run, the training schedule is pretty grueling and requires a lot of dedication — I think the time commitment may be worse than actually running the damn thing. I suppose we’ll see if I can make the goal a reality — perhaps it’s too ambitious, but if I can’t make it happen while I’m in good shape I’m afraid I’ll let the goal pass me by!

        Of course, still haven’t used the Friday to go to Scent Bar as was my intention, but I will make it happen. Someday. LOL. I tried to go last Friday but time got away from me and I was already facing a weekend/holiday traffic battle. It took me an hour to go from the Westside to downtown at about 2pm. I shudder to think what would have happened had I gone to Scent Bar and tried to make that trek closer to 4 on the Friday of a holiday weekend.

        • Just take it day by day, milestone by milestone, and before you know it, you’ll be in perfect shape! If you think of the specifics of the time commitment or the overall total of miles, it will seem huge, but I know you can do this easily. 🙂

          And let’s not talk about traffic issues, given that it’s not much better where I live! I always plan my appointments, errands, or outings around the traffic patterns in this blasted city. LOL.

          • Ha! Yes, traffic. Always an issue. DC traffic is awful, too — but honestly I had forgotten just how terrible it is in LA ALL THE TIME. All the damn time. The only time I’ve ever *not* had traffic was driving home from my parents’ house at 3am on a Sunday. LOL. Mercifully, I don’t really have to deal with it unless I choose to. I live close to work and take a bus there (but could easily walk) so I only ever use my car on the weekends, and even then, sometimes I just take the bus anyway. It’s longer, but less of a pain in the ass since it doesn’t require me to pay attention…or find parking! 🙂 And I know how bad it is where you are too — God, how I hate sitting in traffic.

            You’re very inspiring re: the marathon! The issue is less the physical aspect, I think, and even more the mental side of things. At least I think so, never having come remotely close to doing one! LOL. And of course, once you get up to the 15, 18, 20, 22, 23 mile runs it just eats away a solid portion of your weekend day (especially when you account for necessary recovery) unless you start at 5 or 6AM! A 20 mile run at 8 minutes a mile ends up being a nearly 3 hour endeavor! So if I commit to this, I’m pretty much tethered to a running schedule prior to the race — unless I have a deathwish for the day of the marathon! Still, I know I can do it if I put my mind to do, so I’m going to try!

            Half marathons are so reasonable in comparison. They are a challenge, but not to nearly the same level.

  9. Hm, a thoughtful post, Kafka. Seems to be a rather difficult time for loads of us. I’ve been full of questions recently, mostly to myself, but missing the answers. I’m turning to good books – and away from social media. Spending good time with friends and anticipating a holiday : the first ever in the US. Right now testing the trilogy from Papillon – they’re beautiful (atypically I like Angelique the most…). Small pleasures, the spice of our lifes – in this very moment a rare tea and an essay from Joseph Brodsky. A bliss !
    I hope times get better for you very soon.

    • Turning away from social media seems to be a very wise answer to some of the smaller stressers in life. I’ve tried to disconnect as much as I can, but I rarely seem to be successful. As for difficult times, the worst for me was earlier this summer. End June/late July was truly difficult. August has merely been exhausting and frenetic. I’ll take that over the other any day. lol

      It makes me happy to hear that you find the Papillon scents to be well done and beautiful. How funny that it was Angelique you liked the most, as it is definitely not to your usual tastes. I was really pleasantly surprised by that one, too. When you get the time, you’ll have to let me know how all of them are on your skin.

      Where are you thinking of visiting in the U.S.?

      In terms of your questions without answers, I’ve found that the answers can sometimes sneak up on one when one isn’t actually thinking about them. It’s as though the mind works better when mulling things over on a subconscious level, and without being put on the spot. I hope it works out that way for you, perhaps while escaping into one of your books.

      • Dearest Kafka, thank you for the wise words, I’m hoping for reaching that subconscious level, when the answers might seep in during my holiday. I even plan to write a diary, also the first time in my life. I’m flying to New York first, spending few days there, then rent a car and drive up to Vermont (stopping here & there on my way: Berkshires, etc). Then a day or two on Lake Winnipesaukee and via the southest corner of Maine and Salem to Cape Cod. I found a wonderful B&B in Falmouth, with a room to the Ocean…The circle will be closed at JFK again.
        As of Papillon : Anubis is majestic – but I’d like to have it as candle not on my skin, it has a meditative quality for me. I even bought Tobacco Rose – and then sold it again… There was something slightly disturbing, something soapy on me. It’s strange with Angelique, it’s everything else than love for the first sight – but that’s the one I’m coming back again, and again, and cannot stop smelling my wrist. You know that feeling and state for sure 🙂

        • You’re going to some lovely places, all of which are perhaps in their most beautiful light in the Fall season. New England is really lovely, and going up north to Cape Cod will be fantastic as well. When you’re in NYC, you should stop into Osswald’s in the Soho area and, if you have time, go to Twisted Lily in Brooklyn. They have very different things, with Twisted Lily having a lot of edgier, cooler, smaller brands, while Osswalds has perhaps more luxurious ones. And Josie at Osswalds is the best!

          Re. the Papillons, very interesting. I’m not completely surprised you experienced some soapiness with Tobacco Rose, though that doesn’t seem to be the usual norm for most. Still, I have heard of one or two people who got that, and I did as well. I wonder what came across as “disturbing,” though? Did you experience an underlying darkness or earthiness? As for Angelique, I think it is exquisite and beautiful. Was it primarily iris on you, or did you get any of the smoky woods later on that I experienced? Any booziness as well, or just silvery, ethereal florals from start to finish?

          • Oh, it will be easy to go to Osswald’s, the place I’ll stay is in walking distance – thank you for the recommendation, dear Kafka !
            I don’t get boozyness in Angelique – it’s silver floral Iris, with woods and a hint of smoke to the end. I had a feeling of clarity – without any simplicity. It’s the one I should have bought…

  10. Those puppies! They are so beautiful! I love the side ear flops. German shepherd ear flops kill me – they are so adorable!

    It’s so true that sometimes we need to take a step back and remember what makes us happy when there’s so much to depress us these days. Human nature is not always so grim.

    Those landscape photos are gorgeous and make me want to dig out all my photos from the National Parks trips my fiance and I have taken. This year we went to Mt. Ranier in Washington, which was gorgeous.

    Good things lately for me have been coming in floods. After being laid off from the worst job I’ve had to date I got hired by the funnest place ever. I really love my new job and the people are fantastic! I’ve never had such a laid back (but very organized) boss before. It’s like night (old job) to day (new one). There’s so much to be said for a positive and supportive work environment. Also the building we rent office space in is amazing. It’s an old aeronautics building from 1949 that trained pilots and NASA astronauts because it’s got a centrifuge! The ‘fuge (as it is called) doesn’t work now, but it is still in the building and the room it’s in is used for event parties. I get to go in and look at it each day (and all the crazy fun space decor / wild lighting they set up in the ‘fuge room).
    My boyfriend of 10 years proposed two weeks ago. He opted for a vintage ring from the 1940s for me – and it’s gorgeous! We are aiming for sometime in the autumn of ’15. We’re not big on ceremony stuffs, so we’ll probably just sign the paperwork with family as witnesses and then have a party, because that’s the best part. 😉
    I’m so glad Doctor Who is back on! I love that ridiculous show. And I am also another Top Gear fan. I’ve seen a few other comments here about that show. I’m also a ridiculous anime fan. Normally the pickings are slim for really good shows each season, but this summer has had a whopper of good series! I think I’m watching 10 simulcasts (shows currently airing in Japan), which is really rare. It’s nice to have that nice 24-minute morsel of fantasy to escape to at the end of a long day.

    • A proposal! Congratulations! What wonderful news, Jennifer, and I love the fact that the ring is a vintage one from the 1940s. That’s special and different, and I’m sure it’s gorgeous. Also wonderful to hear is how much you love your new job. Bad working environments can be so corrosive, like constant Chinese torture where little drips eat away at you, make it hard to get motivated, and the time seems to pass like sludge. The fact that you feel supported at this place is important, and your tone sounds so happy. *knock on wood* May things continue like this, my dear.

      How funny that Top Gear has such a huge number of fans here. I bet it’s the fantasy escapist element, just as with perfume, mixed in with their general carefree attitude and irreverence.

      BTW, I really envy you having seen so many of the great National Parks in this country. I think I’ve been to one of them (can’t even remember which one it was now), but it was only a tiny corner where I went fishing. I’ve always heard so much about the really big, famous ones, and would love to go. Especially to Yellowstone and the one in Wyoming, I think it is.

      • Loved the Chinese water torture analogy, because that is exactly how it felt at my old job.

        If you get the chance, definitely visit Yellowstone. The other National Park next to Yellowstone, Grand Teton, is my absolute favorite! It’s very small, but really beautiful with tons of wildlife. My fiancé and I came across a moose on one of the trails we hiked. We saw more animals there than in Yellowstone, but Yellowstone is amazing for all the geothermal activity. There’s something surreal and awe inspiring about seeing mud boil!

    • Congrats on the new job and engagement! Glad I’m not the only Dr. Who loving, otaku perfumista. I recently gave up and set Crunchyroll as my homepage 😉

      • YAY! I saw your comment on my phone and nearly spit my tea out. Another otaku! I’ve got a sub to CR too (and Funimation, although their streaming is horrible, but I use a roku so it’s not as bad).

        I knew I couldn’t be the only one (that would be naive of me), but I am glad to have proof there are others. 🙂

  11. I am normally a very private person. But I had something happen today that still has me smiling ear-to-ear.

    I had a boyfriend the latter half of high school and the first half of college. After we broke up, the following summer I invited his sister down to visit me in college. I admit I had a great time in college. I studied hard but also knew how to party. We had a fantastic weekend. I had saved a photo of Gretchen all these years- holding up her drink with a guy next to her who she had been dancing with all night. Clearly she was having a great time.

    I found the photo and gave it to her sister to give to her (she lives hours away). When she told Gretchen about the photo, her sister told me she said it was the best weekend of her life and proceeded to talk about it for half an hour. For the past twenty years she has had a disease that causes her great pain and to think she was able to be transported for a few precious moments to a good, happy memory gave me such happiness.

    • I find this incredibly touching. The joy you gave, and the joy you received back in return from her reaction. It’s really special, particularly as your friend’s condition sounds like a truly challenging, difficult one. It’s hard to see those one cares about being in distress or difficulty, so your thoughtfulness was incredibly sweet. I’m sure you brought her more than a few precious moments of joy, more than just half an hour of reliving that weekend, and far more than you can know. Bless you for that, Ann.

  12. It has been an emotionally difficult year for me too. Fortunately I have many lovely perfumes and two adorable Papillon dogs to lift me up when I am down. I avoid TV and social media like the plague, but books are a great solace. And I have not one but two trips to Hawaii planned for the next 6 months, which I am very much looking forward to (Honolulu Cookie Company stock up time!). Four more months of 2014… may 2015 be a damn sight better than 2014.

    • I’m sorry to hear that the whole year has been a tough one for you. 🙁 Some years really are just like that, and one can’t wait for them to be done with. Fingers crossed that 2015 is infinitely better! As for Hawaii, I think that will be a welcome escape and treat. What a stunning place. Where are you going specifically, other than Honolulu? I haven’t been to Hawaii in years, nor have I gone to all the islands, but I always thought Kauai (pre-devastating hurricane) was beautiful. And I will have to look up the Honolulu Cookie Company!

        • Kona is where the volcanos are, isn’t it? If so, that should be fascinating. Some of the photos I’ve seen are really quite spectacular, and I think there is a black lava sand beach somewhere around there as well. What a wonderful trip you’ll have, Tara. And a well-deserved break from your lousy year. I hope you have an utter blast!

  13. I love all those ways you have mentioned! And I am so glad you found some perfumes that you can wear and just be blissed out by. That site with the uber German Shepard dogs is pretty amazing.

    I am a bit of an ostrich, though. Steve keeps me well informed of world events as he devours the NY Times, on line and TV news. But, I really do keep my emotional focus very local. I worry about my family, my friends, my patients, my dog, the lady at the grocery store who just went through a horrible time. That is the world I like to ‘stay’ in. I feel so powerless when I hear the news. It makes me want to retreat. I feel a little less powerless when I can take on patient who cannot pay, or do volunteer work, or send money to Greenpeace and the like. That seems to be as far as my healing reach goes. I would like to throttle a few politicians, make peace in the middle east, and soothe the wounded, and feed the hungry children of the world….well, you know….

    Thank goodness for great TV shows (Outlander!!!), and great books for the wonderful escapism it provides. I would not be able to fall asleep at night so easily without a steady diet of good books. Instead of reading the newspaper in the morning, which would just depress me, I read the two perfume blogs I follow (Kafka and Neil). I test a new perfume, and that alone makes me happy. And I love reading about what other people are wearing on perfume facebook groups.

    I know that my mental health is very much dependent on getting daily vigorous exercise. Working out is my Prozac…my sunshine.

    But most of all, more than anything else, no matter how sad I am, My dog Bella Always brings a smile to my face.

    • Sometimes, being an ostrich is better for one’s sanity. At least, it can sometimes feel that way these days, when it all becomes too, too much. Focusing on the things that you mentioned or having a world with a more personal focus on loved ones isn’t bad by any means, especially as you give in your own way and you’re generous about so many things.

      Aren’t those GSDs beautiful? I have never once gasped over a perfume bottle the way I do almost daily over photos of those puppies. So fuzzy and fluffy, and the adults have such gorgeous fangs. (I’m a sucker for a good fang shot. Oh dear, that doesn’t sound very good, does it? lol)

      But speaking of beauties, your Bella brings a smile to my face when I see photos of her, too. You can see her character and gentleness in all of them. Really, what would we do without our furry children, and their endless love?

    • I have to admit, I’m very similar in that I can be oblivious to lots of world events unless it’s really huge or I see my friends mention it on Facebook or something. I almost always hear about the more serious things second hand. I get that feeling of powerlessness as well. It’s truly wonderful that you feel empowered by helping others. Testing new perfumes is a great pick-me-up too. 🙂

      Your comment on the mental health really struck a cord with me. That is exactly what I do! Exercise is necessary to keeping myself feel balanced and chase away any anger or depression.

  14. Thanks for the cat photo-as you well know, they’re just as capable of giving & receiving love as dogs are, which brings me to my 1st simple pleasure, sharing a small piece of my almond butter sandwich (on German dark wheat bread) with my cat. This is a morning routine! My afternoon routine also involves Tommy, my cat. He demands attention as soon as I arrive from work, so he gets lots of affection, neck rubs, & caresses once I walk through the door (it’s also very therapeutic for me). He has never been hit or yelled at , so he is very secure & extremely affectionate.

    “Modern Family” is one of the few sitcoms to make me laugh out loud every time I watch it.

    Watering & pruning the trees & plants in my yard is a very relaxing, weekend routine.

    My favorite simple pleasure is reading. I’m currently devouring “Mona Lisa-A Life Discovered.” It’s a new bio of the famous Lisa Gherardini. It tells her story, Da Vinci’s, & it also describes Italy during their lifetimes.

    My current perfume pleasures are: Cuir Mauresque, George (fb on the way!), Wilde & Ambre Soie (I get compliments EVERY TIME I wear it). DVDs-a great documentary on Moms Mabley, the famous comedienne, is something I saw last week. Food; I always have walnuts, almonds, plain Greek yogurt, prunes, apples & cheese in my fridge. There’s nothing better than having a mixture of Kashi Go Lean Crunch, dark chocolate covered raisins, nuts & yogurt after dinner.

    I’m not a runner like Kevin, but I do exercise regularly & I feel so much better when I’m done, and I don’t feel so guilty when I indulge my sweet tooth with the occasional bowl of chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream!

    Today’s simple pleasure was learning that you enjoy Top Gear!

    • The Mona Lisa book must be fascinating!! Tommy loves almond butter sandwiches? How adorable. And what a wonderful morning routine to have, I must say.

      Has Jardins d’E.’s George seriously turned into a full bottle love for you? That’s putting me into hysterics. With pride and joy, though. Still, it’s damn hilarious given your initial reaction to the scent. What a long, long, LONG way you’ve come, Ed. Bravo. No, truly, BRAVO!

      I wish I shared all of your love for exercise, as you, Tora, and Kevin are all making me feel like quite a slug. Alas, I’ve always seen exercise as a form of torture, mixed with incredible boredom. I’ll do it, but never with any enjoyment except for the relief I feel when it’s all finally over and done with. LOL. Your healthy Kashi mix, though, sounds very tasty!

  15. Ha ha! Yes a full bottle of George is on its way. Parfum 1 sent me a 20% off code, so I got it for $88.00 & free s & h.
    Your pride in my perfume adventures is my newest simple pleasure! I’m proud of myself, too. I’m really developing my nose & tastes. And don’t forget my newfound appreciation for patchouli. It’s the best part of Gothic !.
    Please have a better month.

  16. 1. My family first and foremost and seeing my girls grow up. My eldest now spritzes before bedtime (Sweet Honesty) and I love both of their honest opinions on fragrances.
    2. Hubby’s homemade lattes – better than Starbucks! His pancakes are pretty yummy too.
    3. Rediscovering Pinterest – a more relaxing social Media outlet than Facebook and Twitter and their real time stream of good/bad news.
    4. My cats who either think they’re dogs or kittens because they always come when I call them and want to sit on my lap
    5. Being 3 blocks from the beach and ocean. I don’t know how I ever lived far away from water
    6. The entire Le Couvent des Minimes line. Cologne of the Missions is a dead ringer for SDV at a fraction of the price. The other fragrances are great too
    7. Last but not least the return of Sons of Anarchy is next week, and Boardwalk empire isn’t far behind.

    • Great list, Vicki! And it’s wonderful that your girls have a passion for fragrance at a young age.

  17. Because I have quit the crazy working life quite a while ago, all I have to do now is baby-sit my 10 month old grandson. I am living practically in a cocoon. Baby and child care is not all that hard and I hope to leave a good impact … so that later when he is in College, he remembers that grandma letting him play and develop … unhindered … safe … calm … and cheerful has something to do with his fitness then. Sure I see the terrible TV news but I am thankful to live in this good country and be content.

    • I’m sure he will remember his grandmother with endless appreciation and love. It’s wonderful that you have such quality time with him, Ursula. 🙂

  18. Yep, extra stress everywhere lately. My husband has a job too far away for daily commute so I’m leaving a job I love to face the unknown. I don’t do well with the unknown. I dread house hunting, packing (soooo much stuff!), and job hunting but really like the spouse so want to join him. We also will be losing another of our cats to injection site fibrosarcoma soon. Watching him decline is just so hard. We lost one to the same cancer just before Christmas last year and I don’t wish it on any pet parent ever. I hope our remaining guy will dodge the bullet and live a long happy life.

    As for simple pleasures, perfumes and perfume blogs are always such a good distraction. Yours in particular is always so well written and honest. I rarely comment but truly am thankful you share with us. I’m an anime fan and agree that nothing zaps you out of reality faster than the craziness from Japan. I am also a compulsive reader of books and comics and have recently forced my husband to try reading the Girl Genius comic series which gives me an excuse to read them for the bazilliontieth time. The good thing about spending weekdays apart is that I appreciate my husband more when we get together on weekends and we tend not to waste our time off. We have been doing fun vehicle projects lately like updating his suspension and prepping my truck for larger tires. I just love taking things apart and putting them back together!

    My healthy cat is currently trying his darnedest to get in to my perfume closet. He knows that means instant attention and, like a teenager, can’t tell good attention from bad. I hope the child proof safety catch holds as he is a wiz with doors. Animals sure keep life interesting.

    • So sorry to hear about one of your cats being ill like that. It’s very disheartening to see that. I lost my beloved Bijoux (grey tabby) this past November. She was 16 and had a tumor. But the fiance and I now have a new little terror named Bento. He’s a rescue and around 1.5 years old, so there’s lots of hyper activity I have to get used to all over again with a younger cat.

      Hopefully you’ll find work you love when you move. It can always be daunting, but taking on challenges like that usually make us better people 🙂 Good luck with the house and job hunting!

    • I’m sorry to hear about your two furry ones, Mikasminion, and I hope the third one will dodge the bullet to be safe. Watching one of them go must be torturous and incredibly hard. 🙁 It seems you have a lot of other big stressers on your plate as well. Moving, packing up, house hunting, then settling back in — all very hard without having to toss in job-hunting into the mix as well. It seems like an enormous amount of things to deal with all at once, so you have my utmost sympathy. I would be stressed out of my MIND with all that! Hopefully, by the end of the year, things are all in place for 2015 to be a calmer, smoother, less turbulent time.

  19. Don’t Facebook and don’t tweet. Nothing against them, but with my limited time just not what I want to do. I understand about the news-bleech-and don’t get me started about the “wisdom” of letting a 8 or 9 year fire an uzi (sp). OMG!!!! It seems to have been an off summer for a number of people. I’m sorry to hear about yours, yet you manage to still write so beautifully.

    I’m a numbers person and my spring and summer went badly with the budget season for the outfit I work for. Weekends, late nights, stress. Thought it would never end. Then my 90+ mother fell. She didn’t break anything, but was badly bruised. After two weeks in rehab she decided she liked being in a wheelchair and wanted to stay there. She couldn’t. So we spent (and are spending) time moving her into a nursing home and dealing with her house and finances. This is a real lesson to us.

    But I’ve taken much joy in our kitten fosters. My dh and I are foster parents for a local animal shelter. What little bundles of joy and laughter they are. Also our hummingbirds-who apparently had babies who stuck around. They REALLY let us know their displeasure when their feeder runs dry. All I could with the puppy pictures was smile and laugh. What dolls-especially the little guy with the treats!
    Not a TV person, but I do miss Game of Thrones. Look forward to its return.
    And my perfumes. I haven’t grown my collection recently (despite the enabling done by everyone in this community). I’ve really been enjoying revisiting ones that I’ve not worn in a while. I hope the rest of the year will be much better and more peaceful for you.

    • It sounds very difficult with your mother and her situation, from the move to a nursing home, the finances and the rest. 🙁 I hope she finds the nursing home comfortable and better than being on her own. It probably will be a comfort to you to know that she has someone to watch over her in case she falls again. I hope all the difficult minutiae in the meantime go as smoothly as they possibly can.

      I’m impressed that you foster kittens/cats, and really admire that. There aren’t a lot of people who do that for cats. I tried to look up cat foster places here in my city last year, when a wild cat gave birth to kittens in a friend’s garden beds, but couldn’t find anyone. In the end, my friend ended up basically keeping them, though outside as they could never really be tamed.

      Fostering is a really special act, and your kittens are incredibly lucky to have you. 🙂 Also, as a side note, how cool that you have hummingbird babies!

  20. Hi Kafka – thank you for the adorable puppy photos – always a mood raiser. I agree with you about the deluge of awful world news atm. I feel quite powerless in its wake. Life for me is about small pleasures and sharing them with others. I have been enjoying The Killing and am sad that this may be the last series. I have enjoyed reading this summer and particularly The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair. I heard just now that Damien Rice will release his new album in November, which has me pretty excited. I saw him live twice in 2008 and just adore his other work. I am working in Kuwait, although home is South Wales. I miss the ‘mist in the valley and woodsmoke’ that Katie so eloquently described. I won’t get to experience it again until Christmas so am consoling myself with a half term visit to Dubai in a few weeks for perfume shopping :). But I long for the day I can retire and return to my beloved Wales where everyday is so full of small pleasures – the scenery, greenness, forests, fantastic local organic farm shops, fragrance in the air of the lavender farm over the hill, lovely, friendly people – and own the corgi pup that I am constantly dreaming about! (Facebook Corgi Nation). Your reviews,of course, always cheer me when they pop into my mailbox, yours along with Neil’s are all I tend to read. I am grateful for the time and trouble you go to to provide us with them, and am sorry to hear of your mental fatigue lately. I hope your small pleasures go some way to contending this.

    • I’ve heard Wales is beautiful, but you make it seem even more so, Jane. It’s a long, long way from Kuwait — in more ways than just geographic distance! What contrasts you must experience. Do you think there is a chance that you might find the new Outlander series to download? I think the visuals would take you back home a little.

      Corgis are a great breed! Both Princess Anne and the Queen seem to own some naughty ones, but Corgis seem to be full of character as a whole. (It’s hard for me not to think of the Queen when the subject of Corgis comes up, for obvious reasons.) It seems like a shame that you would have to wait for a move back to Wales to get one, since you love them so, but I realise that living in Kuwait may not make quite as easy or as practical as living in a place with endless space and greenery.

      • Yes, I should have said that I immediately headed off to find Outlander! Haven’t had a chance to watch yet. I did enjoy Hinterland this year as it seemed so close to home. Corgis and apartments are not a great mix as they need lots of exercise. I like the idea of working towards this vision and not having everything now. Oakmoss and lavender distillations in the Muji diffuser help with thinking of home. But then the Middle East is close to my heart too and I spent a happy day yesterday in Ajmal and ASAQ trying to track down a patchouli and woods blend similar to the expensive Al Hindi oil in Harvey Nicks, and then had a feast of Arabic food in the evening. Hummus with muharrama, tahini and walnuts, charry Baba Ganouj, tabbouleh and some BBQ Arabic breads. As you say, small pleasures. Now that my sons are finally settled into solid careers, it is nice to be somewhat self indulgent. It has been a long, hard road to this as the jobs market is so competitive in the UK and I imagine elsewhere, even for the well qualified.

  21. Ooooh, thanks for the Outlander tip! I will be definitely putting that on my list of things to watch in the near future. At the moment I’m swamped with so many things, I still haven’t gotten round to watching GoT. 🙁
    It’s been a difficult few months for me but I’m finally better (even though exhausted from so many things I do during the day).
    This post has come at a great moment as I’ve been feeling enormous gratitude towards my friends and family who’ve been behind me and supported me this year. I am also grateful for my life and the opportunities it gives me.
    Small everyday pleasures these days include cinema, dinners with friends, stealing moments to read, sparkling wine, running (I’m including that as I’m having problems finding time for it).
    Hearing Mr. Monegal speak about perfumes, the coming of colder days…

    • You have to carve out some time for Game of Thrones, Ines, as it is such a fantastic, mesmerizing, absorbing show. I think you’d love it!!

      Your schedule sounds very busy indeed, especially if you only have moments to read these days. You are such a voracious reader normally. And you used to run quite a bit, didn’t you? Even a half-marathon at one point, if I recall correctly? I hope your schedule eases up in the months ahead, as we can’t have an Ines who doesn’t have a lot of time to read. That won’t do at all! 😉 😀

      • I quite agree. 🙂 I’m not even reading a book per week which is really strangely little for me.
        But I do plan on 2 half-marathons this autumn, Zagreb and Ljubljana so I’m slowly getting back into running. I definitely need that because it’s the best thing to deal with stress.
        And last GoT season is high on my list of priorities. 🙂

  22. Every day I feel better about my decision to avoid social media like the plague… though the day is fast approaching when I’ll have to dip a toe in those waters for career reasons [shudders].

    Love the photos of the Alta-Tollhaus beauties! I had no idea the pups are entirely black at birth and then develop their adult colors later on (sort of like Lipizzaners).

    I’ve been very busy this summer and have been doing the Trader Joe’s thing as well because I have so little time for cooking. If you like mac & cheese, try their frozen Macaroni and Cheese Bites – quick and delicious, and to counteract the decadence eat ’em with a green salad. 🙂

    And TJ’s frozen croissants are incredible (and super-easy)! You take them out of the freezer the night before, leave them out all night to rise, then pop them in the oven for 20 minutes in the morning. I had guests about a month ago and the Almond Croissants (with a lovely almond-paste filling) were a big hit for breakfast.

    Perfume is my biggest small pleasure (is that like Jumbo Shrimp?) these days. Poking around with vintage perfumes, checking out new releases, trying to find that perfect (and ever-elusive) rose perfume… so much fun, and a great way to de-stress.

    Thanks for everything you do at this blog, and I hope the next few months will be much less stressful for you!

    • Yes, German shepherds are usually born all black, then their colouring develops over time, with their markings coming in and the solid blackness of their center/body changing to the more usual “saddle.” It’s lovely to see them develop. I had no idea that Lipizzaner horses went through the same thing. How fascinating.

      I will definitely look for Trader Joe’s Almond Croissants, particularly as I’m a sucker for that almond-paste filling in a lot of things. Mmmm, sounds delicious. I had to laugh that you compared perfume to “Jumbo Shrimp.” HILARIOUS!! No, truly, I’m grinning even typing this. Jumbo Shrimp! Perhaps a Filet Mignon as well, at least when one finds a really, really opulent one? 😀

  23. Fantastic post, Kafka! The pictures are beautiful and now I want a dog (not really, but in my fantasy, I have a 24×7 doggy-nanny). Ixnay Facebook!

    Life’s pleasures abound: (and I’ll stick to the “F” theme)

    1. Fall – 7AM walking through Bryant Park in New York…hot and humid, leaves on the ground, harbinger of my favorite season

    2. Family – my niece, who was born with a rare disorder deemed “incompatible with life”, graduated from college this year and is working her first job

    3. Foodie Friends – we get together 3-4x per year for a private dining experience, primarily in New York City, and we go all out. I get to plan the next one scheduled for early next year. Any suggestions?

    4. Fulfilling work – yes, I am very busy but I love what I do and look forward each day (am I sick or what???)

    5. Forester – Every time I see / drive my Subaru, I am reminded that my Father survived a major crash a year ago (he was driving my car which I replaced with the Forester) with not a scratch on him other than one fractured rib. Love you, Dad!

    6. Future travel plans – 3 planned over the next 12 months! The upcoming one is a trip to New Orleans

    7. FB to join my collection – Guerlain Cuir Beluga!

    • I like all the F-Themed answers! Most of all, I liked the Forester entry, as I recall you telling me just how massively and badly the old car was damaged when your father was hit in that terrible accident. God, what a ghastly scenario that was, and what an incredible relief that he was …. *knock on wood, knock on head* barely hurt.

      The thing about your niece… a huge Congratulations to her!! That’s fantastic, and a testament to her. The label the doctors gave to her condition years ago — “incompatible with life” — made my jaw drop a little. Talk about harsh, cruel, and dismissive. Ugh. I’m so glad she proved everyone wrong, and I wish her endless success in her first job, as well as in all other milestones to come.

  24. Just a short riposte, this issue of the small pleasures in life that give us sustenance amidst all this chaos, and the violence and the ugliness, bears upon one’s emotional resources in a profound way …
    I thought I should send you a link to this Kate Bush song that your thread has brought to my mind, “Moments of Pleasure”, with the chorus going

    Just being alive
    It can really hurt
    And these moments given
    Are a gift from time
    Just let us try
    To give these moments back
    To those we love
    To those who will survive


    And it is also the moments from the past that keep recurring and enveloping our present, and they acquire new meanings all the time as we relate them to our life today. They might help us somehow preserve a sense of identity and a hope of fulfillment for the days ahead.

    To me, lately it is the prospect of revisiting familiar spots in Canterbury, Kent, and probably up north, in the Midlands, that has been the focus of my thoughts and at the core of my nostalgia for my beloved England. Suffice for the moment. A wonderful thought of yours, dear K, to start this thread.

    • Lovely words in the Kate Bush song, Dimitris, so thank you for sharing. 🙂 And I hope that you get to return for a visit to your beloved England very, very soon.

  25. I also bought Anubis, Moon Bloom, Tom Ford Mandorino di Amalfi, Imaginary Authors Yesterday Haze among others. I went way over my perfume budget from June through September.

    • You may have gone over your budget, but there are some gems on that list. Moon Bloom is simply fantastic, and I really wish it would get more attention, love, and praise in the perfume community. I think it’s a must-try for lovers of BWF (Big White Flowers), and a superb creation from top to bottom. But I’m sure you’ll smell amazing in all of them, Filomena. Enjoy!

      • I’m late on the scene again. Your Teutonic overlord has impressive pearly whites. How could I not know of Alta Tollhaus? I’ll look at their FB page. Gorgeous dogs. I haven’t been on FB in two months because it’s just not normal lol.

        I’ve read all of Diana Gabaldon’s books at least twice because she[Gabaldon] makes me feel as though I was there. I haven’t watched the series yet. Sam Heughan is a good cast for Jamie with the added benefit of being easy on the eyes(I didn’t say that).

        Game of Thrones is addictive, despite the gore, blood, gore, and gore. :/

        Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos of nature. I love photography. One of my hobbies is landscapes. My brother is a wildlife photographer in Montana. He’s not far from Yellowstone. He’s surrounded by beauty. By chance, he met Leonard Lee Rue at Yellowstone. Mr. Rue is a well known wildlife photographer.

        You’ve got good taste in music if you like Depeche Mode.:) I was into the British music scene. Most of my friends gave me blank stares if I mentioned Depeche Mode, Kate Bush, New Order, Siouxsie, or Cocteau Twins. Despite being an ardent Anglophile, I have yet to visit Britain.

        • LOVE New Order, too, as well as the others you’ve mentioned. I laughed at your description of Game of Thrones with the repeated use of “gore.” Those weddings are always fatal, aren’t they, but they’re not the only example, that’s for sure.

          Sam Hueghan is HOT as Jamie. Totally HOT. 😀

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