Coco Noir by Chanel

I have been saddened and traumatized ever since my once favorite fragrance, Coco Mademoiselle, rejected me in my late 20’s.  The scent went from heavenly in my early- to mid- 20s to overly citrus and a little sour when on my skin, and I—with great sadness– had to discontinue its use and begin hunting for a new favorite.

I wouldn’t declare that Coco Noir is my new favorite scent, though I do LOVE this perfume—especially on my adult-Ph skin.  The perfume is warm and a little spicy, inviting yet mysterious, masculine yet definitely feminine.  It strongly reminds me of Mademoiselle, just warmer and darker.

The notes blend perfectly together, and this perfume lasts around 7 hours. The sillage is about elbow’s length, which is perfect.

The initial scent of this beauty is a mildly sweet and creamy floral heavy on jasmine.

After the die-down, Coco Noir took on a woodsy, spicier, orange-ier, more masculine quality. The first 5 or so minutes I smelled mandarin oranges, orange blossom, jasmine, sandalwood with a hint of spice—maybe cloves?

After about 12 minutes the perfume settled and remained for the next several hours in this gorgeous blend:

  • orange blossom
  • grapefruit (the juiciest and least sour in all existence)
  • jasmine
  • patchouli
  • vanilla (very light and unsweet)
  • incense
  • sandalwood

No scent was overpowering.  Every note mingled superbly with the others, leaving one of the most masculine Chanel scents I’ve ever encountered.  This is wonderful for cold weather—just smelling it warms you.


Secret Agent Bean

(This was created for Stubby’s Heroes blog.)

Name: Secret Agent Bean

Breed: Pit Bull/ American Bulldog mix

Secret Agent Bean, aka Mr. Bean, is an energetic and loving little guy born around April 2011.  He came to be a member of the family in May of 2012 when someone dumped Little Puppy Bean in his Nana’s neighborhood and drove away.  Our family initially listed Mr. Bean for adoption, agreeing to foster him in the interim, but, by fall of that year, we had grown so attached to The Secret Agent that she officially adopted him.  Bean now lives with us, seven cats and two Pekingese-mixes in Lawrenceville, GA.  Bean’s favorite activities include dog park and day care visits, playing in his wading pool, spending time with his Nana and bathing his favorite kitties, Ermac and Po.  The Secret Agent is a ladies’ man at the dog park and day care, bringing his many girlfriends toys and occasionally sharing his treats with them.  When Bean is not happily sleeping on the couch, he is playing fetch, Scent Tracking, going for jogs and chewing on his Nylabones.

Faith Hill Perfume

I received this perfume as a gift.  I like the shape of the bottle– it looks a little Avon, a little modern.  I hate the little grosgrain ribbon tied around the neck, though I do like the subdued colors of the bottle and such.

As for the important stuff: I did not like this perfume.

It has a strong, grandma-like, artificial quality to it.

My boyfriend has divided perfumes into 4 categories: 1. Fruity Perfume, 2. Flowery Perfume, 3. Musky Perfume, 4. Perfume-y Perfume.

This is a Perfume-y Perfume.

I can smell some gardenia, peony, pear and musk– and, the smells are all chemical-like and synthetic.  Unfortunately, the notes do not meld well, the mixture is overwhelming and unpleasant and FAKE.  Boo.

The sillage was about arm’s length, and the staying power was about 1 hour.  It started quite strong, almost eye-watering strong, and then it quickly fades.

I don’t recommend anyone try this.

Meme: To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

In 1989 Richard Dawkins published The Selfish Gene, first putting forth the idea of the meme:  “We need a name for the new replicator, a noun that conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit ofimitation. ‘Mimeme’ comes from a suitable Greek root, but I want a monosyllable that sounds a bit like ‘gene’. I hope my classicist friends will forgive me if I abbreviate mimeme to meme. If it is any consolation, it could alternatively be thought of as being related to ‘memory’, or to the French word même. It should be pronounced to rhyme with ‘cream’.”

I, Bellepo, have created a meme of my puppy dog Secret Agent Bean.  These are pictures from when the currently large man was still a wee puppy and having good times sleeping on my bed.   I used the caption “To Sleep, Perchance to Dream” from Hamlet’s famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy for the fit and for the irony.  Enjoy!

Nostalgic Times with Cherry Vanilla Perfume

I used to adore this perfume. I wore it throughout middle school, and I thought it helped cement me as the coolest person EVER.

The perfume was cheap, and it smelled like two of my favorite things: cherries and vanilla.  How could I go wrong?

I came across the scent last week at a nearby CVS, and smelling the cap and misting some fragrance in the air overwhelmed me with a feeling of nostalgia.  It also gave me the chance to stop loving something I used to love and hold dear.  That’s not a nice feeling.  Oh well.

I must admit I was floored, because the initial smell is not very pleasant. All you get is an artificial and slightly bitter cherry smell– like candied maraschino cherries if they have fermented slightly.  I scolded my 13 year-old self for loving this and subjecting others to it.

After a few minutes, the baby powder/ vanilla scent emerges, and the cherry smell dies down and smells more sweet, though just as factitious.
The fragrance fades quickly and is gone in less than an hour. The sillage is about a medium: someone needs to be at arm’s length or closer.
It’s a decent fragrance for this 45 minutes– much like chocolate- covered cherries, sprayed with cherry air freshener and dusted with a little baby powder.

Harajuku Lovers G Perfume

I adore the energizing and clean scent of this perfume: a fresh and natural coconut, fresh apple, linen, and a little sandalwood for a woodsy backdrop. The mixture is divine, and I would wear this every summer day if the scent didn’t wear away in less than 20 minutes.

In no way is this perfume artificial or overpowering like a suntan lotion or air freshener. It is, by far, the best fragrance in the Harajuku Lover line.

While clean and fresh, this perfume is mild and sillage-less, and, perhaps, best suited for a 10 year old.  The packaging is wasteful and screams cutesy, pre-teen to me.  I bought the large 3.4 oz tester bottle online for more perfume and less embarrassing plastic “collectible”.

I love the scent, and I wish this were a long-lasting perfume… This is a perfect summer/ outdoors/ sporty/ beachy scent.

Project Update: Stubby’s Heroes

For our classroom project, my team—The Top Dogs (aka Group 4)—will be working with Stubby’s Heroes, a bully breed rescue/ advocacy nonprofit based in Lawrenceville.

Upon researching the Stubby website and the fundraiser set for October 27, 2012, our group identified 14 tasks we can undertake and accomplish this semester for the nonprofit. Stubby’s Heroes will choose 3 options that are most important, then the nonprofit will choose another 3 we can work on if we competently finish the first 3.

  1. Create “Donate” button and link to paypal
  2. Create Twitter and other social media accounts
  3. RSS feed from all Stubby social media to Stubby blog, and create widgets for Twitter/ Facbook/ etc
  4. Re-design pages (not so “texty”, etc)
  5. Marketing for 10/27 Fundraiser
  6. Try to obtain sponsorship for 10/27 fundraiser (raffle prizes, money to advertise, etc)
  7. Create video of 10/27 fundraiser and embed on blog/ FB/ etc
  8. Create and send out Press Releases for 10/27 fundraiser
  9. Create Blog section (ideas: children’s story serial, Dog of the Week, breed ban issues)
  10. Create Articles section (breed bans, BSL, descriptions of different bully breeds)
  11. Create Advocacy section (link for different petitions and contacting congresspersons)
  12. Try to obtain corporate sponsorship for non-profit (Petsmart, etc)
  13. Write grant proposal for nonprofit
  14. Photos and write-ups of adoptable animals on site and and other (link to this if info already  online)

Coach’s Poppy Blossom

This is my favorite fragrance in Coach’s poppy line.  It is also limited edition, which is a shame.   I hope the Coach/ Estee Lauder powers will make this perfume a permanent Coach offering.

Poppy Blossom really does combine Poppy and Poppy Flower.  It isn’t as marshmellow-y as Poppy or as girly and floral as Poppy Flower, though you can detect these two scents lurking within Poppy Blossom.

Poppy Blossom smells fresh and smooth with strong notes of rose and citrus.  Rose is by far the strongest scent, and while rose can often be too overpowering and crowd out the other scents, the rose- citrus combination exists beautifully.

I detected lower notes of linen, honeysuckle and maybe even vanilla. Maybe.

The best word to describe this fragrance would be FRESH.  It is not too energizing while smelling natural and clean.  I would classify this for fall or even spring, and it is definitely a great day scent.

The sillage is closer to the body, radiating maybe to the elbow of an outstretched arm.   The perfume has good lasting power– I could smell the clean floral fragrance after 6 hours and a long walk with the dogs!  It usually lasts about 6- 8 hours.

The bottle is cute and subdued– great shape, and I loved the textured gold cap! And, in case you were concerned, when you purchase the perfume, it really comes with this orange poppy flower tied around the neck.

Working with Clients: How to Make it Simpler and Easier

In my search for tips for our Group Projects, I came across the article “Working with Clients: How to Make it Simpler and Easier” by Kevin Eikenberry, a self-described “expert in converting… potential into desired results” and the author of 2 best-selling books on leadership.

Skimming the article, I felt this was worthwhile information, so I have decided to share.


Working with Clients: How to Make it Simpler and Easier

We can have greater success with our Clients when we make our work processes and agreements simpler and more elegant. This article will give you ideas for making your contracts and commitments, projects and plans, reports and relationships with Clients simpler. Here then, are six suggested ways to make your products and services more elegant.

1. Ask Why
When we understand the root cause of the client request we are better able to sort out and find simple elegant solutions. Often complex solutions come from unfocused efforts and expectations. Asking why can help you make your client contracts much more effective – helping both you and your client. Clients will appreciate the results of you helping them get to the heart of the matter.

2. Understand the Client’s real needs.
Asking “Why?” helps us get to the client’s real needs. We can also get to real needs by discovering the needs of all the relevant groups involved. A little time to build greater understanding will help you build more elegant solutions.

3. Keep the big picture in mind.
While you are building your solution, or delivering your service, keeping the big picture in mind will help you keep it simple. When we remember how hard deployment of anything(!) can be, we are reminded to Keep it Simple. Let’s say you are building a training module on customer service for new employees, as a part of their orientation. The big picture says that these new people will be inundated with new information, expectations, procedures and more. Your module on Customer Service needs to be simple. It doesn’t need to incorporate all the nuances of your 9-step model. It needs to be to the point and easy to access and understand. Do they need all those nuances? Maybe later – but the big picture helps us reign in our designs and plans.

4. Keep the communication clear.
“If you can’t write it on the back of an envelope, your idea isn’t clear enough yet.” So goes the oft quoted advise. We as consultants are often guilty of not getting our ideas clear, or well focused enough (read NOT simple!). When we have clear communication as a real goal, we will keep things simpler.

5. Make it a criterion. 
Seal all your work with a “KISS” (Keep it Splendidly Simple). Before sending a draft, a report, a template, a recommendation, whatever, to your client, as yourself if it is as simple as it could be. If it isn’t simple enough, you (or the client) will have more trouble understanding, communicating and deploying the work product.

6. Apply the Grandma Test. 
Early in my career, my grandmother asked what I was doing. I tried to explain about improving client performance, teaching useful skills, etc. As a retired schoolteacher, she eventually caught on. “Oh,” she said, “you teach adults.” Yes Grandma, that is exactly what I do. I am a better consultant when I remember this lesson. Your clients and their employees don’t care about your jargon. They care about results. Keep it simple. Tell it like it is. When you do that you’ll have better success with current projects, and more referrals in the future.

My Experience in Costume

No one has ever asked me if I have spent time in a large cartoonish costume, though I think people should.  That is a good ice breaker.

It turns out that I have been in costume– a cow costume!   In September!

The picture was taken at the 2011 Dairy Convention.  I am the fluffy cow in the back wearing converse.  I was very hot in that costume, and I had to be led around by my friend since I could not see.

We attired ourselves in these costumes in a parking lot near a Subway and piled into SUVs and pickups like real cattle.  I remember riding in the bed of a large white truck– the truck zipping one exit down the interstate, and me feeling every bump as I clutched my cow head in one hand and my friend’s arm with the other.

I stepped out onto the pavement with assistance of two interested people in front of the convention center. We cows and our handlers handed out lots of information regarding the dairy industry, talked with several media and posed for pictures.

We were there for about 2 hours, wet sponges on our heads as we sweat like mad in those hot costumes.  Afterward, we went to a Chinese restaurant, and– after washing our faces and hands in the restroom sinks and drinking lots of water, drank bubble tea and ate spring rolls.