Gumption: Lauryn Hill

The artist who composed the few sentences that all women should recite to themselves:

“Girlfriend, let me break it down for you again
You know I only say it ’cause I’m truly genuine
Don’t be a hardrock when you’re really a gem
Babygirl, respect is just a minimum”
-Lauryn Hill in “Doo Wop, that thing”

Nuff said.

Scent of a man

Not being in close proximity to one for several months made me consider how much I love the scent of a man.  When I was living abroad I obviously did not hug a man on a regular basis and so I started to actually long for physical contact.  One time, I was walking down the street in Chiang Mai and a guy that I wouldn’t usually even bat an eye at made me physically turn my head and look after him like a teenager.  As someone in her late twenties, I usually have a mental filter for men in their early twenties wearing a white tank-top undershirt as a shirt, Ray Ban aviators and army shorts.  They do not appear in my radar at all, but this dude smelled seriously good.  So it got me to thinking, why do I love the scent of a man so much?

For me personally, I feel that the perfect man smells like a mix of perspiration and good cologne.  One of my favourite activities to pass time at an airport is investigating new fragrances.  Now, there is a limit to this hobby since I usually feel like I’m going to pass out after a few minutes but there are a few I would recommend.  I like cologne to be more on the fresh side with strong citrus overtones and woody undertones.  Here are a few great ones:

1) Bleu de Chanel

I recently bought this for my partner and he loves it.  The only thing that troubles me is that I am so easily influenced by marketing campaigns.  This ad was on repeat at Siam Centre in Bangkok when I was missing him the most.

2) Calvin Klein Escape

3) Acqua di Gio

Both of these products are pretty classic and subtle enough to suit many occasions.

4) Ralph Lauren Pony collection

The RL brand is founded on the image of clean lines so this also translates into their fragrances.  The Pony collection is fairly new and there are four different variations with subtle differences to suit the scent you’re looking for.

In closing, I would definitely say that the sense of smell can evoke emotion and help us recall memories.  We are living in an increasingly fragrance-free world in North America in the workplace and at certain public places so there may be fewer opportunities to spritz on your favourite scent.  While I appreciate catering to allergic sensitivities, there is something to be said about the ritual of prepping for the night with some perfume behind the ears, looking forward to the fun to be had.  So I say spritz on, but in moderation of course.

Gumption: Rivers Cuomo

To be completely honest, I don’t know very much about Rivers Cuomo.  Rather than reword facts from Wikipedia I’ll just list off the general info I know.  As the front-man of Weezer (which was a staple for me during my angst-ridden teen grunge days), Cuomo is a vegetarian who was raised on an ashram by liberal parents.  He also attended Harvard.  And…that’s basically about it.  He came to mind for this post because I saw him perform at a Canada Day concert where he belted out hit after hit (Say it ain’t so, Undone…the sweater song, My name is Jonas, Island in the sun etc), sounded great and danced around the stage like a rock star.  Now, for a shorter man with thick-rimmed glasses, there was something so “cool” about his presence and energy.  He really is the forefather of “geek chic” and maybe I like him because he seems genuine, not arrogant in spite of his Ivy League degree, and he is not “too cool for school.”

“I took you to Best Buy, you took me home to meet your Mom and Dad
Your Mom cooked meatloaf even though I don’t eat meat
I dug you so much, I took some for the team”

-Weezer from “If you’re wondering if I want you, (I want you to) “

Two magazines

I don’t know about you but I used to spend so much money on magazines.  Prior to living in Thailand for a few months where it was just absurdly expensive to buy English-language fashion publications, I could easily buy a magazine or two a week.  Folks, it does add up, especially when they are now about $6 a pop.  So, when I returned home I decided to evaluate what I liked about each magazine and try to find two monthly staples.  The two magazines I’m discussing focus on fashion and culture since I read most of my political issue articles online.  Forced to limit myself to two they are: Vanity Fair and Vogue.

And here are some of the reasons why:

1) They both have absolutely gorgeous advertisements.  Some complain that most fashion magazines are just that–ads–but this is one of the reasons I love them.  Not only are they visually appealing images of beautiful people and products, but you can also analyze them for the audience they are looking for.  When you frame it this way it becomes fascinating!  For example, a Chanel ad features a very different woman from the Gucci ones.  Why is that?

2) Vogue has a bit more depth than other magazines targeted towards women.  Although the strength of each issue varies, the feature articles profile the work of interesting people, beautiful homes, travel and some light political pieces.  I personally prefer these articles to finding out “10 ways to please your lover” or the number of stomach crunches you need to have a flat stomach.

3) While the clothes and accessories featured are extremely expensive and for a certain portion of the elite, they are still artistically beautiful.  Much of it is obviously not ready to wear but isn’t that the point?  If I wanted to see practical clothes I could just go ride the subway.

4) Vanity Fair has an amazing mix of cultural and political articles that you can gradually read throughout the month.  The quality of the writing is also pretty consistent.  I almost compare reading VF to having whole wheat bread–it will keep you satisfied much longer.

So, with that I’m looking forward to next month’s issues.