beauty

The Scents of Autumn

Happy Autumn! The weather is finally seasonally appropriate here in Cincinnati – crisp air, colorful leaves, and Halloween decorations creeping up everywhere! As the seasons have been transitioning, I’ve been thinking about my own changes. This has been a great year for personal growth (even though there’s a lot I still need to work through). I know I haven’t blogged much this year, but I’ve just been focusing on other things: friends, family, fitness, poetry, and discovering other things that bring me happiness. However, I am missing blogging about books, movies, and beauty/fashion. While I did delete my dedicated beauty/fashion blog when it began to feel too all-consuming, I’d like to start incorporating some of those interests here in this blog.

For my first post, I’ve been thinking about the scents of autumn. While I gravitate toward light floral scents during spring and summer, I definitely crave something warmer as the weather cools. These are my top three scents for autumn:

 

1. Amber Romance by Victoria’s Secret

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Manufacturer’s Description: “Gourmand. Deep Amber. Sugar Kisses. Chasing sunsets.”

Okay, well Victoria’s Secret definitely should have a better description for this one. It is definitely a sweet amber scent, although “gourmand” makes it sound like it smells more like a dessert than it does. While I’m not typically a fan of sugary scents, this one is warm enough that the sweetness is balanced out by the amber. It’s a great, inexpensive everyday scent that evokes autumn evenings.

 

2. Guilty by Gucci

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Manufacturer’s Description: “Created for a contemporary libertine, Gucci Guilty for Her is defined by a signature Fougère accord of Geranium usually found in men’s scents. Intimate and magical lilac flower is laced with amber to radiate warmth and grace at the fragrance’s heart.”

First we had an overly simplistic description, and now we have an overly flowery one. However, I like that it suggests a hint of masculine energy. While not really a typical unisex scent, there is something less feminine about this scent that I’m drawn to. When I need to feel like a strong, powerful go-getter, I grab this perfume. It always gives me the professional boost I need. Like the first fragrance, one if its main notes is amber, although this one is accompanied by geranium, pepper, and patchouli. It has a hint of musk which lends it maturity but it is not overpowering or matronly.

 

3. Black Opium by Yves Saint Laurent 

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Manufacturer’s Description: “Black Opium Eau de Parfum is the seductively intoxicating feminine fragrance from Yves Saint Laurent. The opening notes of adrenaline-rich coffee and the sweet sensuality of vanilla recline into the softness of white flowers for a modern, young, addictive fragrance. YSL Black Opium perfume is a gourmand women’s fragrance. The seductive perfumes of black coffee and white flowers make this a sensuous perfume with an edge.”

This is a great description of this scent. The blend of coffee and vanilla mixed with a gentle floral hint makes this a great fragrance that seems quite sensual. It’s not a sugary scent because the vanilla is quite warm already, but it does have a nice sweetness to its fragrance.

 

Well, those are my three scents for this season. I’ve found myself grabbing for one of these every single day. Do you find that your fragrance preferences change seasonally? What scent are you gravitating towards right now? Feel free to let me know in the comments section!

Thanks for reading!

-Tiffany

Book Review

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Every so often, a book comes along that haunts me long after the last page. As a voracious reader, I feel like it takes a lot to impress me, but I recently had the opportunity to read Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, and I was absolutely blown away!

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I can confidently say that this book is one that I’ll have to reread multiple times. At it’s heart, this is a character-driven narrative about a girl who grows up in near-isolation in a marsh. But it’s so much more than that. This close character study is a heart-wrenching coming-of-age tale mixed with a love story entangled within a murder mystery. Here’s a breakdown of the major elements:

Character – Kya is a dynamic character. Watching her grow up on these pages was amazing. The characterization was heartfelt and I shared in her joys and sorrows. The way the author builds this empathy was fantastic and allowed the character-building to be a main driving force in this story.

Plot – While a secondary characteristic, there was still enough plot that this book didn’t feel aimless. The murder mystery in the story is not a typical whodunnit that builds escalating suspense, but it does provide a needed structure. Since the book jumps around between time periods, it also acts as an anchor to the “present.”

Writing Style – Owens’ writing style is hauntingly beautiful. Her lyrical words and expert metaphors made me want to reread sentences over again and continually experience the poetic beauty of her prose. While also a research scientist, this is Owens’ first novel, and her love of nature is absolutely evident. Her descriptions of the setting make it come alive as if it is a character in its own rights.

I can’t say enough good things about this book! I’ve already purchased two copies because I want to lend them out to everyone I know. If you’re in a book club, this would also be a great (easy to discuss) selection.

Have you read this one? If so, please share your thoughts in the comment section.

Thanks for reading,

Tiffany

 

Personal, Update

New Short Story FREE – St. Isabelle’s Downfall

I have exciting news! One of my favorite short stories is now available to read FREE on Fiction on the Web. I wrote “St. Isabelle’s Downfall” as an undergrad, and it took a really long time to find it a home. It’s a psychological horror story about a character I was developing at the time for a novel that I finished but was never happy with. I know I’ve grown so much as a writer since this story (this was pre-MFA!) but I just have always liked the concept and couldn’t give up on it.

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Photo by Yoss Cinematic on Pexels.com

Going back through the short stories I’ve workshopped over the years has really reminded me that I prefer shorter mediums. I just don’t think I have the attention span needed to be a good novelist, and I honestly prefer the brevity and experimentation that are allowed in short stories and flash fiction. Hopefully, I’ll have more stories to share soon!

Thanks for reading,

Tiffany Renee Harmon

Personal, Update

Making Progress…Slowly but Surely

It’s already June! It’s crazy to think about how quickly this year is flying by, but it’s been a great one so far.

Regarding writing, I’ve had three acceptances so far this year: two short stories and one poem. The more I try to write longer works, the more it seems apparent that writing shorter things just comes more naturally. So, I think that’s what I’m going to focus on for a while.

black hanging bridge surrounded by green forest trees
Photo by Kaique Rocha on Pexels.com

Anyway, I just wanted to check in and share a bit:

Here’s one of the short stories from this year – “Appendix A

And here’s a poem that won’t be in print until February but is available online already – “The Vanishing Act

And stay tuned for July 8th when my short story “St. Isabelle’s Downfall” comes out in that issue of Fiction on the Web. It’s one of my favorites of all the stories I’ve written, and it’s taken literally 7 years to find it a home!

Thanks for reading!

-Tiffany

Personal

May 2019 Favorites

I can’t believe how fast this year is flying! It’s nearly the end of May! Well, here are some of the things I’ve been loving this month:

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Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com

Rain! 

This month has been super rainy here in Cincinnati, OH, but I actually kind of love it. I really like how relaxing and cozy a spring storm can be. It makes me want to curl up on the couch with a cozy mystery and a cup of tea. Also, the smell right after rain is one of my favorite natural scents. I want a candle that actually smells like this.

 

Recumbent Bikes!

I’ve been dieting and exercising a lot in may – actually I’m down about 10 pounds this month! While I’m not going to lie and pretend I suddenly enjoy broccoli, I have discovered that I love the little recumbent bike setup that I have in my apartment. It’s a great way to burn calories while also watching a movie!

 

Southern Charm!

Southern Charm is my new favorite reality tv show on Bravo. It’s not actually new – just new to me. It follows a bunch of socialites of various ages who live in Charleston, South Carolina. It is FILLED with drama! My two favorite people on the show are Patricia (a very fancy, matriarchal figure who is hilariously direct!) and Cameran (a super down-to-earth person who isn’t afraid to point out the absurdities of her friends).

 

Fit-and-Flare Dresses!

I bought my Easter dress online on Amazon and got a fit-and-flare dress from Oxiuly. It’s super flattering, even on my curvy shape. I loved it so much that I bought 5 more in different colors and patterns. They’re so comfortable too and even have pockets! Afterwards, I even saw this Buzzfeed article which shows that my experience with this dress is apparently nearly universal.

 

Well, those are the highlights for this month! Thanks for reading,

Tiffany

 

Book Review

Book Review: Murder Lo Mein by Vivien Chien

I love a good cozy mystery series, and Vivien Chien’s Noodle Shop series is quickly soaring to the top of my list of favorites. I was recently able to read Murder Lo Mein, the third installment in this series.

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In this book, the protagonist Lana Lee continues to work in her family shop while also stumbling across a murder intertwined with a local noodle competition. While the general plot is a familiar one for a cozy mystery, what sets this one apart is its humor. These books are just so funny, and I love that the protagonist is in her 20s and is Chinese-American, which is a refreshing change for the genre.

Sure, the mystery plays out like most cozies do, but the heart of the story is really the continuing dynamic between Lana Lee and her family. Her relationship with her parents is complicated and believable. I also love the progression of her relationship with Detective Adam Trudeau. Overall, this has been a great mystery series that I highly recommend to people who love cozy mysteries! Just know that you’ll also develop a huge craving for noodles while you read this one!

Thanks for reading,

Tiffany

Book Review

Book Review: Beginner Chunky Knitting Patterns

While I love knitting and helping run Warm Up Ohio, the local chapter of Warm Up America, I’ll admit that it’s hard for me to follow most patterns. I gravitate towards simple knitting projects because I love the meditative repetition. Also, I like to to multitask and knit while I’m watching TV, which really only works for basic patterns that require minimal counting. Because of this, I was super excited to read Beginner Chunky Knitting Patterns: 14 easy to knit patterns for women, babies, and the home.

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This book was written by Gina Michele, whose website has long been one of my favorite resources for craft ideas! This e-book is also a great resource. I love the variety of patterns here. Plus, they really are all for beginners. They’re easy to follow and knit up quickly since they use chunkier yarn and bigger needles. This is a fantastic book for those who are still learning to follow knitting patterns. I highly recommend both this book and Gina’s website! I’ve so enjoyed following her life journey with her blog (and it’s even inspired me to give a few vegan recipes a try!)

Thanks for reading,

Tiffany