Letter 007: We're tired and horny

Expect us on Thursdays from now on.

Hello!

First off, we apologize for the brief ghosting. Christine and I were forced to buckle down and concentrate on the jobs that actually pay us (unless you guys feel like doing that!) but we’re back, with some housekeeping news. We’re shifting our letters from Tuesdays to Thursdays from now on, so twice a month, we’ll be gently ushering you into the weekend with our compelling, unmissable content.

Taylore: Fragrances are categorized too generally by season, and it bugs me. Sure, I’m not throwing Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille in my beach bag or spritzing on some sparkling fruit accord mid-blizzard, but the idea of holding oneself to a particular scent profile based on the weather is so boring. That said, there have been a bunch of enticing releases ahead of Spring 2021, and I wanted to share a few of the standouts. For some reason, they’re all a little horny? But my fellow New Yorkers: aren’t we all feeling a little tingly this week? Horny for warm weather, horny for the prospect of herd immunity, horny for life? Anyway, here are the scents worth investing in for an *energizing* Spring.

If Pirates of the Caribbean Was Your Sexual Awakening...

D.S. & Durga St. Vetyver

If Jack Sparrow (and Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan?) sent your adolescent self spiraling into self-discovery, it’s time to relive the moment. David Seth Moltz, the nose of the brand, says was inspired by the deep history and local perfume culture of the Caribbean islands when formulating the scent. “Super old world, a little ‘rich grandpa,’” he describes it, citing the highly concentrated vetiver in the juice as the hero ingredient. He nailed it, with additional notes of citrus and aged rum that add a sunny warmth to the skin. To me, this is bottled pirate swagger with a sophisticated tilt, and I’ve gotten compliments on it for weeks. 

If You’ve Got a Thing for Outlander and Expensive Shit...

Krigler Abrakaadabra 221

I’ve tested a conservative zillion different fragrances, and I’m always delighted to discover a note I’ve never experienced before. In the case of this scent, it’s Scottish Hawthorn, a plant that’s said to heal broken hearts and boost sensuality in Celtic lore (It’s all very ‘Claire falling through the stones of time and landing in the arms of a strapping highlander.’) I’m unopposed to anything uplifting these days, and I just happened to love the earthy punch that comes with that. It’s green at first sniff, but rich base notes like Reunion Island Vanilla and Tonka Bean keep it grounded. It’s almost confusing on the nose, but I find some of the best fragrances are. 

If Your Vibe Is ‘Goth Spring’...

Tom Ford Tuberose Nue

A floral? Hear me out: tuberose is also known as the ‘mistress of the night’ because it blooms at night, and was used as a funeral flower during the Victorian era, which is oh-so-morbidly romantic. (Think locks of hair in lockets, love letters stuffed in desk drawers, and miscellaneous memento moris.) I’m no fan of sunny floral scents, but I love strolling through the olfactory gardens of what I like to call the ‘dark florals,’ or formulas that mix white flowers with deeply woody, sexier base notes that keep them rich. This is one of them, and it reminds me of Gucci’s latest iteration of their hit scent Bloom, which pumps up the tuberose, too. (Back when I interviewed Florence Welch, the face of that launch, she described the lingering scent it leaves  as “like there’s a ghost in your house.”) Co-sign, Flo. Tuberose is the Corpse Bride of the bouquet, and I love her. 

If Your TikTok Algorithm Has Been Showing You Cottagecore Lately...

Malin + Goetz Strawberry

I only discovered this brand new launch earlier this week, when it showed up to my door with an incredible ceramic bowl by Helen Levi and a pack of what seem to be the most coveted strawberries in the country right now. (The following night, a couple friends and I paired them with a hazy orange and some Alp Blossom.) I wasn’t expecting to be into the scent—I’m typically turned off by fruity fragrance—but this is not your little cousin’s berry-scented spray from the mall. The juice is green and sophisticated, brightened up by pink peppercorn and bergamot with a mellow touches of musk. It brings to mind the pile of leafy tops you leave next to your sink while you slice up the actual strawberries. I own one of those nap dresses, and this scent is a perfect springy accessory for the swishy frock. 

If You Want to Smell Like Rihanna...

By Kilian Love, Don’t Be Shy Extreme 

You know how everyone says Rihanna smells good? Eventually, an internet sleuth figured out her secret signature fragrance: By Kilian’s Love, Don’t Be Shy. It’s creamy, marshmallow-y, downright slutty, and I mean that in the best way possible (I wore it for almost the entire first half of 2020.) It’s so enticing that you want to EAT it, and it became so popular that the brand released a second version of the scent, but pumped up some of the more sultry floral notes like orange blossom and Bulgarian rose for a more intense throw. 

Honorable Mention:

If You Desperately Need to Get Laid…

A still-embargoed candle that was described to me by the brand’s nose as “a hardcore bedroom candle” and he is correct. The candle was poured for intercourse, or at least spinning the ones and twos solo. Hint: more funeral flowers and chocolate. (I will, of course, post on the grid when it’s available.)

Christine: Wow, Taylore’s section is so much funner than mine! Am I kind of a bummer? Will I even be invited to parties once they resume? Would I even care if that were the case? Anyway, hello!

It’s funny that we took this unscheduled break, because rest has been on my mind for a while now. My relationship with rest, like my relationship with the rest of my body’s realities, has been skewed by shame and capitalism and unhealthy comparisons, and I’m not sure I’ve sorted it all out yet. Frankly, I don’t know what sorting it out would even look like.

But, in the meantime, I wanted to share a few of your answers to the rest survey I sent out a month or so ago. Thank you to those who shared your insights! I loved reading your responses.

What is your relationship with rest?

“Not good in my real life. Extremely poor/non-existent during pre-covid. Being inside the house I thought would be more *restful* but it just means I’m really close to a computer all the time and there’s no reason to unplug other than to walk to the kitchen for a snack. I miss the forced unplugging of a commute, drinks, a yoga class...”

“I work myself into an oblivion until my body begins to rot, and then I call out of my job for a week to paint. Repeat every year.”

“I'm learning (the hard way), but I still bristle at the notion of 'rest'. Admittedly, I still associate productivity with worth, and the idea of relaxing and sitting idle feels indulgent in the worst way possible. After being knocked down by fatigue and burn out, I've learned a lot about the restorative power that rest can have, but I still grapple with permitting myself to take a random afternoon to just relax and let myself recharge because I can't completely dissolve the negative connotations with 'rest' that I've formed for myself.”

Does rest feel political to you? Why or why not?

“Hell yeah. Well, the economics of rest are political. Even if you love your job, it should not own all your waking hours. You should be able to be unavailable. Particularly if you’re existing in a body that experiences an atmospheric onslaught of micro aggressions.”

“Good rest is an act of rebellion. Rest calls us to pause, to rewire ourselves, to actually say ‘fuck everyone and everything else because if I don’t sleep tonight, I will burn out.’”

“Yes! It feels very linked to capitalist ideas about my day/time/ability only being valuable if I am laboring in a way which one would dub ‘productive.’ Now that I work for myself and don't have a non-me boss telling me when I can take a break, deciding to rest really feels like a rebellious act. The thing that sucks is that I am still in the phase of just shaming myself for this, instead of basking in a big "fuck you" to the system. This is forcing me to really examine my inner thoughts and separate them from capitalist-informed judgement. It's really fucking hard and I am glad you are talking about it tbh.”

“No because I was raised in México and rest is not belittled like it is in the US but I do see my friends here in the US run themselves ragged. The political part may be more about the privilege of being able to rest, some cannot afford to.”

Do you nap?

Most of you don’t, but this answer was my favorite:

“Since I started working from home I take the occasional workday nap (I keep an oscillating fan connected to my mouse so it looks like I'm online), but I always wake up feeling guilty and anxious”

How do you rest? Yoga, naps, sleeping enough at night, breaks, etc?

You mentioned yoga, sleeping enough at night, cooking, napping, weed, reading, walks, finding new hobbies, watching TikTok in bed.

Also, can the person with the aggressively pink couch share where you got it? I would like one of those.

Do you think you rest enough?

“No. I know it must not be normal to move through each and every day feeling a weary tug on my body from the time I get up until I go to bed, so in that respect I'm sure I don't rest enough. I still feel immense guilt when I do sit down to read or close my eyes for a few minutes in the middle of the day, but I'm trying to learn that it's necessary, that it's completely normal and permissible, and that it's not something I should associate with self-worth and productivity.”

(hi, I want to give you a hug!)

“That's a hard question to answer. I rest, but I don't know that I do it particularly well. Usually I push myself to the brink, fall into Youtube videos, come to my roommate with some great new resolution to quit Youtube, and then the cycle repeats. I think the challenge for me is that I always feel like I need to get everything possible done before I can give myself a break for the day.”

“I think I sleep enough but I don't know if I rest enough. The amount of awake time I have that's not consumed by thoughts or stress is smaller than it should be.”

CC: We obviously are going to need to talk more about this. I’m sorry if I’m not giving you enough cheese content, but this feels more important and more timely to me.

BUT ALSO, HERE’S SOME CHEESE

Christine: Through lockdown, there is one cheese that has consistently been in my fridge and that is Swallow Tail Tomme (not an affiliate link, just trying to be helpful!). It’s a raw cow milk cheese from Stony Pond, a tiny pasture-based producer about an hour away from me. I shared it with a friend once who’s not in the food world and she was kind of like “Yeah, I dunno, I don’t really taste anything.” I was like “YEAH, ISN’T IT GREAT?” (then I fed it to her with some blueberry lavender jam and she was into it)

Especially in America, we want our cheeses to have a thing. We want them to be crystalline, butterscotchy aged gouda or SHARP! cheddar or brie-styles so oozy that they’re practically ejaculating on us. I can be down with all of those things, but sometimes I want a cheese that has personality without begging for attention. I can snack on it mindlessly or melt it over bread for a quick cheese toast situation, but if I want to, I can also tune in and taste pasture and earth and long summer days. That, for me, is Swallow Tail Tomme. It’s perfect for snacking, and I love that it’s sunshiney yellow from the pasture-based milk. And yes, you can eat the rind, which will add some cavey, mushroomy notes. TBH, I generally feed the rind to my dog Maizy, who is VERY grateful.

While we’re on the topic of the rind, I should warn you that its mottled appearance—what cheese nerds call a “natural rind”—makes the cheese look much more intimidating than it is. If you were gallivanting around France or Italy and stopped by a local’s house for lunch, they would probably have a wheel of something like this on the table. It’s a type of cheese that beautifully conveys terroir, or taste of place, and frankly, it fills me with love for the place that I live. Though there are many cheeses made in this style, it’s impossible to make exactly this cheese somewhere else.

If you end up buying it, serve it with apple slices or some berry jam. Drink whatever the fuck you want with it—this cheese can handle whatever you’ve got.

As always, thank you for reading! It’s nice to be back in your inboxes.