Who, Why, How


She lives in New Jersey.

She was born in Chicago, but moved to the Garden State when she was four. She promptly and deeply fell in love with honeysuckle flowers, blueberry shrubs, crows, scrub pines, salt air, and the smartassed, hardheaded, tart-tongued species of human being that populates this region. She has moved to various other locales but always found them strangely deficient (Manhattan has smartasses, but no scrub pines or blueberries; Maui has salt air, but no smartasses or crows. You see she has standards.)

She is an art school dropout.

After one year of study at Pratt Manhattan, she figured that she could pursue art just as effectively without a) a college degree, b) years of crushing debt, and c) a gastric ulcer. She was right-- partially. She still labors under the strange belief that the only way she can claim her own work is to damage, discard, or destroy it. Time and time again, she gives up that addiction and then falls spectacularly off the wagon.

She has a brain tumor called Mephisto.

No joke, brother. He sits on her left frontal lobe, causes speech difficulties, migraines, seizures, and all sorts of other colorful phenomena that make her a real delight in mixed company.

And also no eyebrows.

None whatsoever. She plucked them all out several years ago in a fit of neurotic pique. For a long time, she used liquid mascara to apply Dovima-style replicas every morning, but when Mephisto started messing with her fine motor control, she quit. Now her brow is as naked as David Bowie's, circa Diamond Dogs.

She is married to a mailman who is secretly a superhero.

He didn't always push postage; the mail became his bread and butter six years ago when the video retail market (his former career) went all wobbly. It turned out to be the best career change imaginable, for he truly loves his job. Being a postal wife/daughter is like coming from firefighter or law enforcement stock; we are proud of our warriors, who do their job with plenty of guts-- but for little or no glory. And for what it's worth, she learned to say Herodotus' famous messenger's creed ("Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night...") before she learned to say the Pledge of Allegiance, and to this day, she personally finds it more meaningful.

She likes all sorts of crazy mismatched stuff.

Edith Wharton novels. Pearl Jam. Maurice Sendak picture books. Rasputina. The films of Spike Jonze, Wes Anderson, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Sofia Coppola, John Waters, Duncan Jones, Michel Gondry, and Jane Campion. Street art. Vikings. Geisha. Rocks. Radiohead. Little tiny handmade comic books. Cardinals. Coffee in big tall cups and snacks in little bitty cups. Nubbly socks.

She is full of shit.

Of course she is; look at her. What the hell is she doing with her life? She spends her time spraying stuff on her skin and writing about it. Jesus what a nerd. I wouldn't take a word she says to heart, if I were you.


She started Parfümieren in 2010 when her undiagnosed friend Mephisto began to impact her ability to make art. To compensate, she turned to two other lifetime loves-- writing and scent. The ghost of Truman Capote sniped at her as he once did towards Jack Kerouac: "That's not writing; that's typing." But when one hand can't hold a pen steady, two hands might still navigate a keyboard with moderate speed and success. What began as a therapeutic loophole of sorts became a form of self-expression that lasted just over three years before pirates boarded the ship. She jumped overboard and disappeared into the briny deep.


Through self-purchasing, thrifting/antiquing, and swapping with generous friends. Only a couple of times did she accept samples for review from perfume houses, but it didn't feel right so she stopped. If she wanted a certain perfume badly enough, she did what regular folks do and paid for it.

  • Ten-dollar words. Why else study for the SATs?
  • Opinions. Some blissfully positive, others bitingly negative, none of them by any means expert.
  • Snark. Human beings evolved with canine teeth for a reason, but it's rude to actually bite people, right?
  • Dark personal details. Profound apologies for any hives you suffer as a result.
  • Lots of random, useless knowledge. She is a magpie for loose factoids; they are so very shiny.

  • Expiration dates. A fragrance doesn't suddenly turn to vinegar or become unworthy of analysis the moment it's dropped from production. If you only want to read about new releases or perfumes in current production, this blog will disappoint you. But if you love vintage and discontinued treasures, you're on the right bus.
  • Timely, cutting-edge journalism. It's not that she doesn't pay attention to what's current or controversial in the world of fragrance. It's that so many other blogs and forums have that covered, she figured her voice would be a superfluity. Mainly she wrote about whatever stupid thing struck her myopic fancy and damn the rest.
  • PR copy. This blog is the Potter's Field where official press packets come for a lonely burial attended by no one.
  • Promotional offers and sponsored giveaways. The one time she tried doing this it was a total disaster, the pain of which made her promise never, ever to do it again.
  • Ambition. She already has one full-time job and doesn't want another.