Do you ever get so excited by a fragrance that you have to stop yourself from running out of the store with it because you need to slow down and pay for it first? I usually don’t purchase fragrances in this manner – having learned that lesson the hard way with Tom Ford’s Rive d’Ambre (citrus notes are hard for me). And so when I’m contemplating a fragrance purchase – I will pick up a sample, macerate in it, and mull it over for a few days.

To be fair, I did force myself to put the bottle back on the shelf, and while no sample was available, I spent the day smelling my Graphite imbued hand. I visited the fragrance (as well as candles from the line) a second and third time that week, before happily purchasing a full sized bottle of Graphite by MAD et LEN on my 3rd visit.

Worth mentioning first – Graphite (along with everything else in Mad et Len’s repertoire) is packaged beautifully. Each fragrance comes in a black cardboard box with a beautiful gilt label – a typography dream, and inside that box is a hand-forged black iron tin, with “MAD et LEN” emblazoned in gold. Inside of *that*, is the beautiful and weighty black fragrance bottle, which is packed tightly inside of the iron tin.

Graphite is a unisex EdP that features notes of paper, ink, pine, musk, camphor, and leather. I tend to gravitate towards smoky things – particularly in perfume and candles, and Graphite does not disappoint my smoke loving heart. It certainly conjures images of an artist, furiously sketching away on hand torn paper, raw graphite in hand and surrounded by old brick and metal. With the views of green rolling hills, and the sound of soft rain in the background. Maybe a glass of whiskey (or Madeira) and a lit clove cigarette nearby (that last bit is likely because on the days I was testing the fragrance prior to purchase, I was wearing Serge Lutens’s Chergui to begin with).

It is a fragrance that is potent and long lasting, but stays close to the skin. For me, the smoke and ink are quite strong, but it is surprisingly balanced with a sweet earthiness that I had no idea my nose was craving. I love this fragrance for me, and I admit that the combination with Serge Lutens’s Chergui is positively lethal (note that layering the two one on top of each other doesn’t work for me – but wearing them next to each other instead) – I don’t think S could resist me, even if he tried. That being said, I think the musky earthiness would be really enticing on my husband.

My excitement and overall love for this fragrance, really extends to the brand, MAD et LEN, as a whole. I anticipate blogging more about them, as I have a handful of MAD et LEN goodies en route to me.

Graphite by MAD et LEN can be purchased in full size online from Luckyscent and Kelly Wearstler in the U.S.; Orimono in Europe. Samples can be ordered from Luckyscent (when they have it in stock), or you may want to try Parfums Raffy (I’ve never personally ordered from here). Or, you might be able to find it locally from a cool shop in your town – in Houston, that would be Kuhl-Linscomb

I’m kind of a nail polish addict collector. I always have been, actually. By the time I was in middle school, I’d collected 100+ nail polish bottles. I ended up tossing them all in high school, thinking I was over it – but slowly started rebuilding it in college when I developed a Chanel nail polish habit (totally normal college behavior 🙄) 🤷🏻‍♀️.

All that to say – I’ve seen and owned a lot of polish, and I have to say – this one is a seriously special and gorgeous snowflake. It is a polish-o-holic’s dream!


The base is a beautiful emerald green, but even I question this because the oil slick effect is so strong that the base flat out changes to purple – with flashes of pink and orange when the light hits it just right. In its green state it flashes blue and purple. It’s quite incredible.

If the iridescence wasn’t special enough, it has a holographic shimmer. I normally shy away from holographic polishes (it just isn’t my thing), but here it is so subtle, it looks like stars in a night sky.



In these photos, I’m wearing 2 coats, but in a previous manicure had 3 coats. What’s fun about this is at 3 coats, it is dark and rich for Fall and Winter. But at 2 coats it was lighter in color, making it a great option for Spring (or even Summer).

Magical Mystery Machine is, at the time of this writing, available directly from Enchanted Polish here. If it happens to sell out, do not despair – the store is updated and restocked regularly.

See it in full technicolor action below:


Plate: Anthropologie (old) | Glass: Schott Zweisel, Williams Sonoma | Fork: Almoco Flatware in Copper, Design Within Reach
A few months ago, S took me out to dinner at one of our favorite local places, Theodore Rex, for my birthday dinner. They’d just undergone a reinvention of sorts – new name, decor, menu and pricing structure. But they kept the same staff, and the type of the food remained the same. We always enjoy chatting up their resident sommelier, who delivers her pairings with a lot of knowledge, humor, and wit.

During this particular dinner, we decided to pick her brain about Madeiras. We weren’t necessarily unfamiliar with dessert wines (S’s dad is a Port fan), but neither one of us had ever tried a Madeira. After a brief lesson, we sampled 2 of their 3 offerings with our last two courses, and our interest was piqued.

Things kind of got busy – we got married, had family in town, followed by the holidays… but we found ourselves back at T-Rex a few weeks ago, this time for S’s birthday. Remembering our mini Madeira tasting from the previous visit, we opted to split 2 pours of two different Madeiras again. 1 we had tried on the previous visit, but we were told was leaving the menu (we may have even been tapping the last bottle), and 1 that had been recommended to pair perfectly with our Paris-Brest – D’Oliveira 5 Years Medium Sweet Madeira.

The recommendation was perfectly on point, and we are slightly hooked now. Their version of the Paris-Brest is filled with a “sweet” Swiss cheese cream, unlike the traditional hazelnut cream filling (one of my favorites), and the D’Oliveira Medium Sweet complimented the tartness nicely. The Madeira has a beautiful nuttiness to it, as well as notes of toffee and dried fruits. Honestly, to my tastebuds – the combination tasted like an otherworldly tiramisu.

We’ve since been able to purchase a bottle locally to enjoy at home. This Madeira pairs super well with not too sweet desserts – cobblers and cheesecake for sure, but it is also nice to just sip alone or as an aperitif with some savory nibbles.

 

The D’Oliveira 5 Years Medium Sweet Madeira can be purchased online here or here, if you live in one of the states they can ship to. Otherwise, it should be pretty each to procure through your local wine merchant!

 

 

Happy Sunday!

It will become abundantly clear that one of my biggest loves and weaknesses in fashion (and home decor, and paper, and, well…pretty much everything) are stars! And constellations, planets, and other celestial bodies. Cue angels singing…


Gucci Sequin-embellished metallic jacquard midi skirt
Unfortunately, I don’t currently lead a lifestyle where I would get a lot of wear out of this, or it fits into my budget. (Or…fits my body! I’m a pear shape, and at this point, it is nearly completely sold out – still one or two left for some lucky size 40s)

But, picture it.

Option #1 – you work in a fashionable office


1 (there is a 15% coupon available when you sign up for their email list) / 2 / 3 (also here) / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7
 

 

Option #2 – you work in a creative field / job / office

1 / 2 (on sale here) / 3 / 4 / 5 (we’ll chat more later) / 6 / 7 / 8
 

 

Option #3 – you like to be a little extra on the weekends


1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

A couple of years ago, I decided it was time to revisit my old hobbies – web design and blogging. I’d just bought my first house (moving in with my boyfriend), and was feeling inspired by all of our plans for said house and DIY adventures.


Well, life and stress got in the way, despite my best-laid (or so I thought) plans. Don’t get me wrong – DIY adventures, misadventures, and decorating have happened. As have life, love, and travel – it just wasn’t captured here!


Flash forward nearly 2 years, and I’m feeling the itch again. This, arguably, has been the busiest time of my life – I’m going through a major career/job transition (ongoing for about 6 months now); I’ve been dealt some health issues that I’m doing my best to tackle; life continues – family, friends, doggies, commitments and obligations… but most exciting of all – we are getting married!


Engaged engaged2


I’ve always loved weddings, but actually planning my own has been a blast. Not only does it have my creative juices flowing again, but it has uncovered some hidden passions of mine and awakened old ones. Besides the obvious – forming a true unit with my best friend and the love of my life, and all of the adventures that will come with that – this journey will hopefully generate a different type of voyage entirely. But – that is a topic for another time!


In the meantime, you may notice that this space has changed a bit, and may continue to do so in the short-term, as this blog finds its stride. However you may have found your way here – I am glad to have you, and hope that you will stay with me!