Hello dearies, September rarely gets any love. We are so ready for Summer to end and the sweet gothy goodness of October and Halloween to begin that we treat September as a throwaway month. It has become a collection of days counting down to October 1st, when it is socially acceptable for us to put up our Halloween decorations. September is a transitional month, lots of kids going back to school, lots of changes, lots of things balancing between Summer and Autumn. So in today’s Ephemera, I’m celebrating stuff I’ve loved this month and stuff that embraces the transitional nature of September. As always, this round-up is delightfully all over the map.
Homemade Pumpkin Spice
Ok so let’s just put this out on front street, Pumpkin Spice is Jazzed Up Cinnamon. That’s it. No pumpkins were harmed in it’s making. Jazzed Up Cinnamon, as I will proceed to call it, rears up from its Summer grave in September to the delight of just…just…so many basic girls everywhere. Stuff costs a $1 more because some Cinnamon syrup gets added?! Here’s the thing, everyone likes Cinnamon, it’s glorious, we’ve fought wars over it, but you can make Jazzed Up Cinnamon at home and enjoy it all year round in seasonal dishes for pennies. Cinnamon is a unique spice in that it morphs and changes it’s character depending on the other ingredients you use with it.
Jazzed Up Cinnamon Recipe
4 tablespoons ground Cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground Ginger, 2 teaspoons ground Nutmeg, 1 ½ teaspoons ground Allspice, 1 ½ teaspoons ground Cloves
That’s it, you probably have all the ingredients in your cabinet, and you can tweak to your desired taste. What to do with it once you’ve made your fabulous concoction? You can mix it with a cup of sugar to infuse the sugar with its spicy goodness, add it to a simple syrup for your coffee or cocktails. Traditionally, these spices are used to flavour meat and make a fantastic grill rub or a Middle Eastern take on meatballs and hamburgers. Add Honey, Cilantro and Apples and you got a divine chicken or pork marinated. It is also amazing in fruit salad, Waldorf salads, and on potatoes.
In short, it’s cool to like Jazzed Up Cinnamon and transition from Summer fruit salads to tasty Autumnal baked goods with it, but don’t give The Man your hard earned money for a squirt of brown sugar water.
Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask by Elizavecca Milky Piggy
I’m in love with the Milky Piggy collection from Elizavecca. What does a carbon and clay mask have to do with a pig and/or pig milk you ask? I have no idea; I think something is missing in translation, but it is amazing. It goes on like a wet clay and then reacts with your skin’s ph and bubbles into a grey fluff monster. Being of a morbid nature, all I could think when I first used it was, “I look like a mouldy corpse”.Ok, that may not be the best selling point, but September is a weird month weather wise. The wind picks up, and there is more moisture, but it is still hot, so my cheeks are chapped, but my T-zone is still working overtime. I find using this mask once a week helps exfoliate my cheeks and dry out my t-zone, but because the mask doesn’t dry completely, it doesn’t dehydrate the rest of my face. I tend to use this around the end of Summer and Winter when changes in the weather affect my skin the most.
Speaking of transitions now is a superb time to go to GYST aka Get Your Shit Together and get your grown-up on by doing your estate planning. Now I know what you are thinking, ” Nuri, come one you were just talking about bubble pig masks don’t make me reflect on death. This is supposed to be the fun post each month!”. I get it, I do, but it is so important. I get my Death Positivity card revoked if I don’t bring it up now and again, so hear me out. I know you don’t want to have this conversation and you may be thinking estate planning is for the old and/or rich, it’s not.
Let me ask you this, if you dropped dead right now would your next of kin (which, if you are not married or haven’t assigned one, will most likely be your parents) honour your wishes (I’m looking at you non-binary, LGBTQ, and polyamorous people)? We’ve all heard the stories of unwed partners not being able to make choices for their loved one and trans people being misgendered at their funerals.
If you went into a coma does your next of kin know what you want the next steps to be? Would you like to protect your family from having to make those choices on your behalf never knowing if it was really what you wanted? If your paycheck ends today would your family be financially okay? No? Then as your internet buddy, it is my duty to tell you to your shit together by making a will, an advance health directive and/or Power of Attorney, and looking into life insurance. Since getting married, I’ve needed to update my stuff and get my husband squared away. So I’m doing it too, and I can tell you it is not hard to get sorted.
GYST is an excellent site that will help you take care of all your estate planning in an easy step by step guide. It is gear for the US (with State by State instructions), but there is helpful info for everyone. While I don’t think you need to use GYST services to get everything done, it can help if you’re unsure about how to start. This doesn’t need to be hard or particularly expensive either. You have a chat, do some papers, and then take a breath knowing you are protecting your loved ones and that you are totally awesome. They even have the option of giving their service as a gift. Nothing says Death Postive Bridal Registry like estate planning.
Smell Babies of the Month
Some people have kids, some have cats, I have perfume. I love all my smell babies, but sometimes I need certain scents that can play nice with the mingling of my Summer and Autumnal olfactive moods. This is what I’ve been wearing this month.
- Baudelaire by Byredo I have to say I have become a Byredo fan and Baudelaire is a particular favourite. This is a celebration of Black Pepper and Patchouli that dances around and becomes ink and parchment on the skin. That Black Peper can glow in the warmth of the sun, but it also has the feel of a dusty office. If I knew any Fumies that are heading off to college, I think this would be my good-luck gift, who needs a microwave.
- Five O’Clock Au Gingembre by Serge Luten It’s the smell of crystallised ginger and warm tea. It’s perfect for cooler nights, but the ginger also adds a zingy quality that works well on warm September days.
- Theodosius the Legerdemain by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab This is part of the limited run Carnaval Diabolique collection. It is a sexy Fougere with tea and powdery musk notes that give it both a va-va-voom quality but also a delicate lightness.
- Liquid Time by Poulage I think Liquid Time is an apt name especially as this scent develops into almost separate perfumes in the dry down. At first, it is all bright green vetiver. Then there is an aquatic cypress that morphs once again into a soft and sensual sandalwood.
Books I’m Loving This Month
In this month’s smelly reading section…
- Past Scent: Historical Perspectives on Smell by Jonathan Reinarz I haven’t finished this gem yet and I already love it. If you are looking for a book about culture, perfume, history, and olfaction, that is more academic then the pop non-fiction stuff everyone recommends, this is the book. I think it would make an excellent gift for a Fumie as it is probably one they don’t have in their collection. Keep in mind this is geared towards an academic audience, and it is dense, but if you are a lover of perfume, it is worth is.
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern This first time novel by Erin Morgenstern is in the spirit of great circus-based magical stories like Something Wicked This Way Comes, but set at the turn of the 20th century. While the story itself is enchanting and perfect for fantasy lovers, what got me was the evocative scent and taste imagery. There is a tent filled with bottled memories that one smells and chocolate mice! I thought it was a delightful read that perfume aficionados will enjoy.
- The Secret of Chanel No.5: The Intimate History of the World’s Most Famous Perfume by Tilar J. Mazzeo I’m very critical of the fashion industry and their role in perfume. Most houses see fragrance as a cash cow they can milk to the general public for lots of money without damaging the elite nature of their brands. This, all while thumbing their noses at consumers they would never want to wear their clothes. I don’t think it is surprising that many of the European fashion houses have an unsavoury history with fascism because the fashion industry runs on exclusion, consumerism, and elitism disguised as culture. So I came into this book a hostile reader. I knew some of the history of Coco Chanel and to say I was uninspired by the woman is an understatement. It’s a wonder she didn’t get her head shaved for her collaboration horizontale after the war, but I wanted to know more about the production of her scent. To me, Coco will always be a villain, but it was fascinating to see the people and places that had to collide to make le monstre. Especially the people other than Coco that made Chanel No. 5 so special. I recommend the book to both Chanel fans and detractors.
Bonus: Shameless Self Promotion!
It’s my blog, and I will hawk my wares if I want to!
Mark your calendars London, I’m speaking on Friday, October 14th at the Death & Cocktails event, part of the Life.Death.Whatever festival at Sutton House. Come out and say hello, listen to some great talks, and enjoy some death-themed cocktails.
All recommendations are based on personal experience and were purchased. We do not accept paid recommendations.