5 Books about Dance and Resilience

Dance, like all arts, is about making a connection with others. I was thinking lately about Gelsey Kirkland, a dancer with whom I was fortunate to study when she gave her much beloved classes at Steps in NYC. Kirkland was one of George Balanchine’s star dancers and an American ballerina with a striking style. I will never forget how she told us that when dancing, we should remember that we are holding our beating hearts in our hands. That image solved the problem of dropping the wrist even during the most complicated movements, but it stayed with me even when I changed into street clothes and put my pointe shoes away.

These days I also think about Kirkland’s comment often, whether I dance or write. Making a connection with others is much more difficult in this time of Zoom and social distancing, but being genuine and honest and not being afraid of being vulnerable towards others is still important. My ballet training has influenced my attitude to life and shaped my personality. I admit that not all  such influences have been entirely positive–the relentless push for perfection comes with a price, ballet taught me what resilience means. Reading about other dancers and dance has always inspired me, and I would like to share my list of favorite books with you.

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Spring Fragrances with Green and Floral Notes

I’m in the mood for spring, although the weather doesn’t yet cooperate. No matter, the beauty of perfume is that it can transport us out of our routine and into the place of our daydreams and fantasies. Mine today is to take a picnic basket into a blooming cherry garden and to drink tea while watching the pink petals swirl around me. So, the topic of my new video is fragrances that evoke spring for me.

The selection I made doesn’t simply include perfumes that I enjoy all year around, but also fragrances that fit the spring mood during the season. Of course, everyone has their own idea of what spring smells like, but having grown up in a temperate climate where the difference among seasons was pronounced, I associate spring with exhilaration, verdancy and soft floral hues.

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Recommend Me a Perfume : February 2021

Our “Recommend Me a Perfume” thread is open this week. You can use this space to find perfume recommendations, to share your discoveries and favorite scents, and to ask any questions about scents, aromas and flavors. Or you can just tell us what perfume you are wearing!

How does it work: 1. Please post your requests or questions as comments here. You can also use this space to ask any fragrance related questions. To receive recommendations that are better tailored to your tastes, you can include details on what you like and don’t like, your signature perfumes, and your budget. And please let us know what you end up sampling. 2. Then please check the thread to see if there are other requests you can answer. Your responses are really valuable for navigating the big and sometimes confusing world of perfume, so let’s help each other!

To make this thread easier to read, when you reply to someone, please click on the blue “reply” link under their comment.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Scent Diary : Radiant and Sheer

What perfumes smell light and gauzy to you? I bought a bunch of hyacinths the other day, and while the scent of these flowers is usually heavy and rich, the white variety had a delicate, sheer fragrance. It also made me realize how much I enjoy bright florals at this time of year, perfumes like L’Artisan Mimosa Pour Moi, Hermès Muguet Porcelaine or Prada Infusion d’Iris.

Please jot down any interesting scent observations in this thread. You can write about your favorite  fragrances or interesting scents you’ve encountered.

You can also use the Scent Diary to sharpen your sense of smell. As I wrote in How to Improve Your Sense of Smell, the best way to do so is to smell and to pay attention to what you’re smelling. It doesn’t matter what you smell. The most important thing is to notice scents around you. It’s even better if you write it down. Feel free to ask any questions here too.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Sultry Perfumes and Hollywood Glamour Fragrances

What is the hallmark of the ultimate bombshell perfume? I wonder this as I’m enraptured by the first glimpse of Ava Gardner in The Killers, a 1946 film noir. She sits at the piano, wearing a black satin gown that elegantly drapes over her curvy figure. She gives Burt Lancaster one look, and he is ready to follow her anywhere, even it will all lead to trouble. Such is the power of a bombshell.

My average day is more about routine than glamour, but perfume is my way to pretend otherwise. When I wear Etat Libre d’Orange Jasmin et Cigarette, a smoldering potion reminiscent of a smoky jazz bar straight from a film noir set, I feel like a femme fatale.  It seems like bombshell material to me, but to find out for sure I turn to a couple of experts on the subject of the temptress—Farran Smith Nehme and Laren Stover, who also happen to be perfume connoisseurs.

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