Tide-Me-Overs

Today, I had a small epiphany while I was eating a little snack.

And when I had it, I looked something like this:

Same euphoria as, "ME? You want ME to be the director of your Christmas play?"

So there I was, minding my own business and eating a Peanut Butter Twix, when it hit me.

“Why, this tastes EERILY similar to one of the all-time greatest snack cookies that ever existed – Tagalongs!” I thought to myself. If you don’t know what a Tagalong is, I fear for you, unless you hate chocolate and peanut butter, one of the greatest combinations of foods ever to grace our planet. (If you are allergic to peanuts, I am very sorry for your loss.)

Tagalongs are the chocolate enrobed peanut butter patties that the Girl Scouts sell every year, when they finally deign to emerge from the cookie factories with untold number of boxes, ready to be sold in offices of the parents of Girl Scouts nationwide.

A Tagalong looks like this:

I don’t really have a photo of what it tastes like but the one of Charlie Brown above is a pretty accurate representation. They’re just….little miracle cookies, is the best way to put it. Of course, I am decidedly NOT shunning Thin Mints or Samoas, because those also hold a special place in my heart. But I am one of the rare few who outright states that this is my favorite Girl Scout cookie.

According to this blog post, Girl Scouts changed up some of the names of the cookies a few years back. Since I don’t always get a chance to order Girl Scout cookies each year, I had no idea. This woman was pretty incensed about it, however. Apparently Samoas are called Caramel deLites? Pretty lame. And I don’t know who decided to downgrade Tagalongs to “Peanut Butter Cookies,” but are you kidding me?

Here’s my favorite excerpt:

The new names are depressingly literal. I loved that the old names were either bad puns (“Samoas,” like “some mores,” get it?) or filled with obscure Girl Scout references.

“Trefoils” are the insignia scouts wear; “tagalong” is a game they used to play.”All Abouts,” were stamped with Girl Scout values–like “confidence” and “character.”

They’re now called “Thanks-A-Lots,” which sounds sarcastic (“thanks a lot), although the cookies are earnestly printed with the word “thank you” in five languages. (The ad copy on my daughter’s form describes them as “heart-warming shortbread cookies dipped in rich fudge”).

I will forever be delighted to overlay the “Thanks-A-Lots” with a sarcastic tone from this day forward.

If you’re like me, and you are frustrated that Girl Scout cookies can not be available at least one extra time of year (could they not make a killing right before the holidays?), take heart! Peanut Butter Twix tastes pretty much exactly like a Tagalong, with the exception of a chocolate cookie inside instead of a vanilla one. The cookie flavor itself doesn’t make as much of a difference, but perhaps the Twix people have some kind of inside knowledge of the kind of peanut butter filling the Girl Scouts use in the Tagalongs, because the consistency is almost identical.

Basically, Peanut Butter Twix are Tagalongs in disguise (and ‘stick’ form). And! They’ve been around for almost thirty years. Pretty clever, if you ask me. I don’t regularly buy candy bars and the like but I was craving something of this ilk today when I was in the drugstore, and when I passed by the display, I pulled another Charlie Brown:

"THAT'S IT!!!"

My advice? If you haven’t ever experienced a Tagalong and don’t want to wait until February, or whenever the damn cookies are sold, get thee to your nearest drugstore and purchase a Peanut Butter Twix, otherwise known as Tide-Me-Overs. Break your Tagalong virginity. Zoe Recommends!

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Shoutout to my dawg October

There are only six days of October left, people! The last day is Halloween and then the day after Halloween, we’re in this, “Now what?” kind of mode. “Now what” being November.

I have posted before about one of my favorite months, that being the month of May. It’s not just my birth month but has some of the best weather (depending where you are in the country) and is, overall, a happy sunshiney type month.

In the aforementioned post I just referenced, I mention that it’s one of my two favorite months. However, I misspoke. I actually have three. Originally I was only referring to May and December (because I do love me some Christmas and the start of winter) but I was completely and totally overlooking October. My humblest apologies to October because I absolutely love it.

Zoe Says her reasons for applauding October:

  1. It’s the tenth month of the year. As a gal with a 5-5 birthday and lover of symmetry and all numbers being multipliers of five, its place in the calendar year is tops. 5+5=10? We get October!
  2. It’s full-on AUTUMN (okay and usually Indian Summer, too). It’s when the weather finally turns from summer to cool, crisper days. The leaves turn stunning, brilliant colors of yellow, orange, and red. They flutter to the ground in a lilting dance, aided by Mother Nature’s breezes.
  3. The leaves on the ground turn crisp and make a lovely crunching noise when you walk through them.
  4. As the weather gets chillier, especially at night, the smell of woodsmoke permeates the air, whether it’s from people conducting weenie and marshmallow roasts, folks staying warm by their fireplaces, or groups of people having a good old-fashioned bonfire.
  5. One word: hoodies.
  6. Pumpkin comes back with a vengeance and we begin consuming it fervently. It’s in our drinks, it’s in our desserts,  there’s something called pumpkin butter, we toast the seeds, we carve them for fun.
  7. Orange is really in.
  8. Halloween. Candy. Trick-or-treaters. Decorations. Ghosts. You get the idea.
  9. Apple orchards are prime for picking fresh apples, which will also become many desserts from now through December.
  10. Hay rides, scary or non.
  11. Beaucoup de autumn photos! Seriously, Tumblr this month has been crazy with posting all these glorious fall pictures. Guilty!
  12. Last but not least: another month with TONS of birthdays, including my brother’s! I’m in May, he’s in October – it’s pretty fantastic.

And because I have absolutely been taking tons of pictures of anything related to autumn this month, I am posting a handful of my favorites for your viewing pleasure. I hope October has been as enjoyable for you as it has been for me! Make these last six days count.

Last of the blooms

At the end of the path

Dappled leaves

Leaves on bokeh

Serene autumn landscape

Driver’s Ed 101

Now that I’ve been back in the driving world for over a year, I have started to add up some observations on common driving mistakes. I don’t believe that these are inherent to just the drivers in my city but there is one in particular which I’ve noticed that really shouldn’t be a problem if you are an experienced driver.

Let’s talk about backing out of parking spaces, shall we? Take this woman, for instance:


I can’t believe that the person waiting for the woman to figure out how to park waited as long as he did. I do admire him for finally asking if he could park the woman’s car for her. I DON’T believe this woman should be a licensed driver.

What I don’t appreciate is that there seems to be this misapprehension that women are terrible drivers. There are plenty of horrible male drivers in this world, as well. For some people, driving is instinctual – you just GET it. I am one of those people. My best friend has never learned how to drive and isn’t interested at all. She placed herself in a city where she has reliable public transportation. Kudos to her!

I yearned to learn how to drive at a very early age and by the time I turned nine, I started counting the years until I turned sixteen and I would finally get my license. I’m not even kidding. The day I got my driver’s license was one of the happiest in my entire life. I remember it fondly. My mom was nervous about me “tooling around” on my own but quickly realized what a boon it was to have a daughter more than willing to run errands, just so she could drive the car all by herself.

Now that I have been a licensed driver for over half of my existence, I can safely say that it is one of the best gifts a person can have. I thought about how fortunate I am to be able to own and drive my own car the other day as I was on my way to work. I still get a kick out of driving each and every day. And I think road trips are as fun as they are therapeutic.

While there were plenty of times I liked riding the subway when I lived in New York, I have an even fuller appreciation for being able to drive to work now. It doesn’t hurt that my commute isn’t a one-hour, clogged traffic jam everyday, either. Still, until you’ve sacrificed your personal space on a crowded rush-hour train in New York City, you can’t know how freeing it feels to be able to throw your things in the passenger seat, blast heat or air conditioning as you see fit, be able to sit the whole time, and listen to music as loudly as you want (or not). It’s a serious sigh of relief.

However, I do believe that having a license is something that most people take for granted; there might be many fewer accidents otherwise. I still maintain my position on minivans, by the way, as just this morning the light turned green but we all waited for the minivan flying at 50mph to plow through the intersection on a red light. (And it was a man driving.) Driving is as much about courtesy to others as it is a convenience for us to get ourselves around.

Backing into and out of parking spaces is a necessity of a driver’s life and yet, so many people can not seem to figure this out. There is a very simple rule that has served me well since I was 15 years of age and in Driver’s Ed. The coach told us it’s a 75/25 rule: back out straight three-quarters of the way before you begin turning your wheels. You will not scrape the cars on either side of you if you stick to this rule of thumb. And it really works! I frequently see people in my office parking lot turn their wheels the moment they’ve hit reverse and I’m amazed more cars aren’t stripped lengthwise of their paint. I cringe every single time.

I could probably go on for longer than most people would prefer with driving safety tips so I’m going to leave you with the one tip for today and hope it changes your life or someone else’s you may know.

Because if you are anything like this other woman below (who requires the help of yet another woman guiding her), you need to re-evaluate whether you should be driving, stat:

Amalgam Day

Hello fair readers!

For the post du jour, I’m whining writing about a couple of things that have been in the hopper for a little while but needed proper motivation to be written.

Today is that day. Hooray!

Before we get to it, an amalgam is “a mixture of different elements,” the second definition of this word according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

First things first. I have decided that instead of “Hump Day,” Wednesday should be called “Slump Day.” I mentioned this to a friend of mine this morning because I feel very strongly against using the word “hump” – gross. And also it really does feel like a slump. Is anyone really motivated on Wednesday? Anyone? I’m waiting. Or we could just call it Amalgam Day, but that wouldn’t always apply.

Next on the list:

So apparently I’m a masochist. It takes me forever to realize that something is going to suck no matter how much I want it to not suck.

<Dramatic Deep Sigh>

Today turned out to be incredibly chilly, rainy, and windy, so I decided to get myself a hot meal at lunchtime. Since I didn’t have time to go out for a real sit-down meal, I ventured to go for McDonald’s, the only fast food place close by to my office. I know, you’re probably thinking, “There’s your first mistake.” I hadn’t been to Mickey D’s in a couple of weeks and so I was ready for it to reward me for my abstinence.

I also thought that perhaps they’d be having a Good Fry Day and I would be able to benefit from it. We all know what Good Fry Days are at McDonald’s – you get your bag and these perfectly cooked golden sticks with just the right amount of salt on them await you to consume them. They become the cornerstone of the meal, though Chicken McNuggets or a Big Mac aren’t too far behind. For the record, it was NOT a good fry day. I got hot fries but they were overcooked and had a puke yellow color to them, so they were not all that appetizing.

In any case, I decided that on top of getting a regular lunch meal, I’d opt to try a hot coffee drink, since they have already begun putting their holiday beverage advertisements out at the drive-thru. (I guess it worked….)

There’s no way in hell I would try anything with “peppermint” in it from McDonald’s, so that nixed the “Peppermint Hot Chocolate” and I didn’t want a regular latte, not that I trust them to make a great one. My go-to coffee drink is a mocha when I’m feeling splurge-y, so that’s what I decided on.

I know, we’ve been here before, right? Also here. I keep signing up for the pyramid schemes and believing I’m going to make my money back.

Needless to say, it did not live up to the expectations my little heart had set.

Pros: the ‘mocha’ was hot; it had whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup on top
Cons: it was mostly just espresso with not enough milk in it and was entirely too bitter; the best part of consuming this ‘mocha’ was at the end when I got the extra bit of syrup and whipped cream mixed in with the last of the drink. I should have just gotten a regular cup of coffee.

Basically, I’m living out the cliché definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The hope here is that having written about these disastrous drinks on a couple of different occasions, I’ll actually like, REMEMBER that the next time I think I am going to manifest that perfect coffee drink I’m craving and I find myself at McDonald’s.

I have yet to hear from anyone that these things are actually satisfying, unless you’re addicted to super sugary stuff and go for the drinks that are all syrup with a drop of espresso in them.

All of this leads me to my final point, and one I didn’t think I’d ever say:

Dear Starbucks, PLEASE SET UP A NEW LOCATION IN MY CITY! Urbana has the Starbuckses because the University of Illinois is there. We Champaigners don’t have one, unless you count going up to the mall area, which I don’t. You know what we get instead? A plethora of Espresso Royales.

Don't be fooled. It's horrible.

Espresso Royale is even worse than McDonald’s AND they charge you up the ass for their beverages and baked goods. I can’t say enough bad things about that place, and after trying them at least five times before giving up (are we seeing a pattern here?), I can say with confidence they don’t know how to make coffee OR hot chocolate.

I NEED a Starbuck’s. They may be all corporate and “everything that’s wrong with America,” but I am desperate. They know how to make a freaking mocha without screwing it up and know a little something about the art of coffee, even if they’re not everyone’s ideal. Plus, they make a damn fine pumpkin spice latte.

I don’t even need a giant Starbucks with a drive-thru. I just want a little shop set up within a mile of of where I work in the southwest corner of Champaign. Is that really too much to ask? Please, Starbucks, come and put Espresso Royale out of business!! It’s a travesty that that place is even staying afloat because they’re doing everything they can to keep people out, trust me.

I actually really like my newly adopted city but if I were appointed City Planner or whoever makes these kinds of decisions, I’d ban Espresso Royale and start getting some much needed coffee shops in the coffee-less areas for the suburbanites. It’s time to get the good coffee drinks to us coffee snobs in the farther out regions. (Some of us ninety-nine percenters have spending priorities such as I do – it’s all we’ve got! Did I say the word ‘coffee’ enough in this paragraph?)

To sum up: McDonald’s keeps on disappointing and it’s annoying; Starbucks is neglecting a very important area of the country and needs only to send me an email if they want to know where to set up their next location.

Happy Slump Day.

Back away from the coffee, ma’am.

I am a Supertaster who loves coffee.

I’m not “supposed” to like bitter foods like coffee but I have a workaround, thanks to to the assistance of Splenda and cream.

As with most food items in my life, I am picky about how I take my coffee. I’m very much Sally from When Harry Met Sally with my preferences:

  • Has to be bold, flavorful, HOT coffee. I can count on one hand the number of restaurants I go to for their coffee.
  • I prefer my coffee in a cup and saucer at restaurants but a mug at home.
  • I have to have half ‘n half or cream in my coffee. 2% milk is barely tolerable and skim milk in coffee is so bad, I’d rather not have it at all.
  • I choose an artificial sweetener, such as Splenda (well, ONLY Splenda) to put in because it’s technically sweeter than sugar so I can use less, and it dissolves like a dream. There is no sinking of Splenda to the bottom of the cup.
  • I can drink coffee with cream and no sweetener but usually only if there is a sweet dessert present. I can’t drink black coffee, with or without sweetener. So you see what really takes precedence.
  • If the coffee cools too long, it becomes undrinkable and it goes down the sink. There is absolutely a Point of No Return with coffee temperature.

BUT!

Because I am so discerning with how I doctor my coffee (ratio of cream and Splenda to coffee is of utmost importance), my biggest pet peeve when dining in a restaurant where I’m happily sipping my coffee is to have my cup refilled before I’m ready.

It really gets my hackles up to sit there enjoying my food and a waiter or waitress comes along and before I can say no, s/he gives me a “warmup” with fresh coffee, thereby completely ruining the precious, perfect combination of coffee, cream and sweetener.

<Insert slow motion “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” here.>

Because I am a shy person who doesn’t want to bring attention to myself, I rarely speak up for myself in these instances, and my perfect cup goes to crap, forcing me to re-doctor my coffee all over again.

I’ve even pretended to be mid-sip so that the waitress will think I don’t need a refill. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. If I were a server, I would definitely wait to get a response before taking the liberty of filling up my customer’s cup.

Coffee doctoring takes precision, people! I even have pictures to prove it. Yes, I’m that person.

Polished Silver

Cold cream awaits the coffee.

Coffee_altered

Perfectly good coffee in a saucer receiving cream.

Clouds in my coffee

The cream begins to work its magic.

Coffee and spoon_NYC

The swirls of deliciousness unite.

Doesn’t that just make you want to get yourself a yummy cup of joe? It does for me. But that delicate balance of java, cream and sweetener can be ruined in a heartbeat with the addition of extra coffee before it’s consumed.

So servers, I beg of you: back away from the coffee. Wait for a “Yes, please!” before you give that warm-up.

It’s also with a heavy heart that I inform you all that the place in which I took these photos earlier this year has now closed. It’s one of the only restaurants in my town that served really wonderful hot coffee (with cold cream!) and I am sad to see it gone. R.I.P. Uncle Jack’s.

It’s okay to laugh.

The man I love has one particular quality which I admire and value more than I thought I ever could.

He’s able to laugh at himself. Quite effortlessly, in fact.

Maybe this isn’t a big deal for some of you but for me, it’s really up there.

I am not very good terrible at laughing at myself. I pride myself on having a good sense of humor but there are just certain things I don’t find funny. I was never one of those who appreciated practical jokes or prank calls, especially if I was the recipient. And I’ve been the recipient.

One of the traits I always loved about my brother when we were growing up was his ability to make me laugh when he was making fun of me; I held this in the highest esteem, of course, because I didn’t like poking fun at things I said or did. It’s always made me feel as if my flaws were on display and I could just never lighten the hell up about it.

I think that’s why even now, when someone goes out of his or her way to try and make another person feel stupid, I get really defensive, whether it’s myself or not. I’ve always valued any person’s ability to have patience and explain things if I (or someone else) doesn’t know something.

Nonetheless…one thing that will get me in hysterics every time is physical humor. Specifically, people tripping. Kevin is the first person to admit that he’s klutzy, and most of the time, it’s endearing.

But after the thirty-seventh time of listening to things crashing in the kitchen or watching him come home completely torn up and bloodied because he tripped while walking, it starts getting frustrating. (The most recent incident had him scabbed up for a few weeks – thankfully he had his bike helmet still on when he tripped or he would have given himself a head injury. I can’t make this stuff up.)

The best part about Kevin being clumsy is that he takes it all in stride and doesn’t stress out about it at all. Me, I fret. I’m constantly wringing my hands and telling him, “For the love of God, be careful!” He just laughs and shrugs his shoulders.

I so wish I could be like that when it comes to myself. I’ve had several people in my life make fun of my pronunciation of certain words. I think it’s when I get particularly Midwestern and say something with a classic nasal A or E sound. I have a friend who was in absolute hysterics listening to me order a “lamb sandwich on a pita” in NYC one day. I’ve never heard the end of it. I still don’t get it. I’ve laughed along as best I can but I seriously don’t get it. And it’s not one of those, “You had to be there” moments because I was there. I can “heh” a little bit that she finds it so hilarious but since I don’t understand where in my pronunciation I went wrong, I can barely crack more than a confused smile.

It’s in those times that I want to channel Kevin and just bust up laughing with everyone else. I think he’s a good influence on me, though, and I get the biggest laughs when we’re teasing one another at home about something or other. I like to impersonate him in different voices which always ruffles his feathers a bit but he’s such a damn good sport about it, so I never stop doing it. I’m in stitches every time!

Little side story: when we were first dating and Kevin was learning about my likes and dislikes, especially when it came to food and cooking, he told me I was a really picky eater.

At first I was kind of appalled, because I never considered I was picky, just someone who had very particular taste. (I know. Denial.) Over time as we’ve lived and grown together, I have to admit he was right and I don’t know how I ever thought I wasn’t but I am one picky mofu.

Today’s lunch was a perfect example. I went to the store to get something from the deli and I wanted to add something from the produce section. I wandered amongst the fruit and veggeis, undecided. Then, I spied the most perfect thing I’ve ever seen:

DICED PEPPERS!

For those of you wondering what the BFD is, they’re diced peppers. Diced! I have a thing with veggies where they have to be diced in order for me to eat them with gusto. Otherwise I’ll just pick at them. I know it sounds so oddball but anytime I’m given a salad and the veggies are in big slices or chunks vs. nicely quartered or diced, I never finish them. That includes lettuce leaves, usually, as well.

But with this? I managed to eat the entire 6 oz. container with NO salad dressing as I ate my chicken lunch. This is a proud moment in Zoe history, I’m just saying.

And I know that this is weird, I know it’s funny, and I feel good about laughing at myself. It’s progress! Kevin will no doubt shake his head when he finds out since I still eat vegetables like a five-year-old but hey, whatever works, right?

I don’t know if I’ll ever get to the point where I can laugh at myself when everyone is staring at me after a particularly embarrassing moment, say, if I tripped. But let me tell you. There is no stopping the mirth from flowing when I see someone trip and just completely bite it. I just CAN’T HELP IT. I will – between gasps of laughter – ask the person if s/he’s okay, of course. I’m nice like that. And I so wish I weren’t a hypocrite on this one but it’s never funny when I do it and always funny when someone else does it.

No matter what movie it is, if someone can pull off a successful natural looking trip, I will crack up. And so, if you’d like to join me, this YouTube video has some of the best physical trips I’ve seen in a long time. Favorite moments: waitress, hurdling, Mercedes honking.

As I get older, I sincerely hope I can keep working on this and be able to tell others, “It’s okay to laugh.”

Arachnophobia or just being a girl?

I don’t know about you guys but I love to self-diagnose via the Internet.

WebMD anyone?

If something goes wrong, whether it’s mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, or whether I simply need to know when Johnny Depp’s birthday is, the trusty World Wide Web is there at my service.

After today’s incident with the Spider From Hell, I am on the edge of declaring myself as an arachnophobe.

Hear me out.

Here I was, minding my own business at my desk at work, tra la la, and suddenly from behind my desk against the wall crawls a huge brown spider. This thing had a long body and creepy legs and caused me to choke at first sight. I really started to panic because I didn’t know if I could kill it with a paper towel because it was so big. (Because squishing them gives me the heebie jeebies.)

It crawled up towards the ceiling but then it started rappelling down on its silky strand things. I really started freaking out that it was going to decide to jump either on me or onto my desk, also known as the Forbidden Land, as far as it was concerned.

Practically putting a fist into my mouth to keep from screaming, I went down the hall and I asked a male coworker (who is very busy) if he could help me with a girl problem I was having. I said, “Are you afraid to kill a really big spider?”

Mercifully, he was so nice about it and happily obliged me. He came around the corner and said, “Whoa, that is a big one.” So I’m not being irrational. It was huge. It didn’t belong in an office, hovering over me and watching me with all of its eyes. And legs. And possible fangs.

In trying to smash it with my recycling bin, Big Scary Spider decided to do the equivalent of what would be committing suicide for us humans and simply let go of the wall and dropped back behind my desk. My coworker even went so far as to look for it with a flashlight but it had disappeared.

So far, it hasn’t reared its ugly head again.

Yet.

My weapons are Kleenex and a can of electronic duster spray. I know that from the movie Arachnophobia, they used fans to get the spiders to move where they wanted to, so my thought is, if it decides to pull a Terminator and comes back, I’ll be ready. I also don’t think I could keep myself from screaming for a second time should it rear its ugly head.

After I calmed down and I checked behind and under my desk no less than thirty times to make sure it wasn’t there, I decided to Google “common spiders Illinois.”

Big mistake. Big. Huge! (Sorry, channeling a little Pretty Woman there.)

I can’t even LOOK at the enlarged photos of spiders while trying to read about them. I start to shudder and get goosebumps. And, I forgot to mention this, but if I think about the spider long enough (especially if I were trying to eat), I could easily make myself throw up.

Then I decided to look up arachnophobia and while I’m not having a panic attack, I am still looking for it as I write this.

So what do you think? Am I just overreacting and being a total girl about this? Or do I qualify for my Arachnophobe Card? 

Daniel Stern's reaction is what I would do.

Perfume That Doesn’t Cut the Mustard

After purchasing some perfume in May that I had been drooling over since I first rubbed it on myself from a magazine, I have made the decision to give it a negative review.

It pains me to do it. I really wanted this perfume to be right up there with my go-to scent, Premier Jour by Nina Ricci. (Aside: I have been told that this has been discontinued but I have not had a problem finding it online for years now.)

I adore perfume. I love having at least five or more different scents available to me year round so I can spray on some ‘extra personality’ for the day. I don’t go crazy or anything but wearing perfume definitely makes me feel more feminine and pretty, even when I’m not wearing makeup.

I ask for perfume every year for my birthday and at Christmas. I always have an on-going list. Nine times out of ten, I prefer an eau de parfum over an eau de toilette, since I prefer having more “scent” in my perfumes, enabling them to last longer. There are a handful of EDTs out there that are pretty solid, though.

However.

I can now officially name one EDP that I will strike from the Zoe Recommends list. And, it is definitely not worth $80+ (retail). In fact, I paid over $90 when I purchased this particular bottle when I was in Seattle.

The perfume in question is:

Narciso Rodriguez for her - eau de parfum

How pretty is the packaging? Would that the contents were worth this bottle!

The notes of this particular perfume are: pink pepper, lavender, patchouli, violet, amber, and woody accord. So very Zoe. It even has a pink smell, which is appropriate, considering the pink pepper and it’s beauteous glass bottle. I really love the hint of woods or musk. (Favorite musk perfume? Chance from Chanel. To die for.)

Unfortunately, despite the hefty price and it being an eau de parfum, this one doesn’t cut the mustard. I wanted it to so badly.

The perfume does not last. It goes on slightly heavier upon first spray but dissipates quickly. No matter how many sprays I get on to my left wrist – the one that emanates smell more out of my two wrists – no scent lingers at the end of the day. If I spray some on my neck and a little gets on my clothes, which is part of the point to perfume, the scent that remains on my shirt hardly even resembles the original.

It’s entirely too light and non-lasting for a very expensive bottle of perfume. It doesn’t match up to my mantra of “you get what you pay for.” And I really hate being wrong, but especially about something like that.

Last but not least, what I can’t get from this perfume I can get from Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker. Which I already own!! The notes from Lovely are: amber, lavender, orchid, musk, and apple. Similar overtones and you would think that Lovely would smell lighter or not last as long but it beats out Narciso by a mile on both accounts.

To add insult to injury, so to speak, the sprayer for this bottle – at least mine – sucks. It takes entirely too much pressure to depress it for a single spray. I do like that it comes out in a nice, light mist. You aren’t doused. But because less is more when it comes to perfume, I still feel as if I have to pump the sprayer ten times to get any kind of decent scent. See photo below for the sprayer – nothing unusual.

As I’ve said, regardless of how much one sprays initially, the scent will not last. And it does go on quite prettily, I might add.

Sucky sprayer

I feel as if I’m saying something really controversial here, which is SO SILLY. There are infinitely more shocking and actual awful things in the world. But to read the reviews of this perfume (especially the ones who say the black bottle and pink box, the EDT), you would think that Narciso invented the sense of smell.

I’m sorry to say I am the whistleblower on this one: save your money and buy something else. Take my word for it.