Something Amazing Happened–A Very Odd & Wonderful Before and After!

Welcome to the 733rd Metamorphosis Monday! No major Before and After happening around here this past week, at least construction-wise, but I do have two interesting, fun things to share. If you’re looking for a challenging puzzle to do during the cold month of February, here it is! lol I always think of working a 1,000-piece puzzle as experiencing 1,000 little wins. Each time you place another piece, it’s a mini-celebration! Well, that goes triple for this puzzle below! Normally, I will work a 1,000-pc puzzle in 2-3 days, I’ve been working on this one for at least a week. I’m really enjoying it but, wow! It’s slow going!

Challenging Puzzle, LEGO Puzzle


This puzzle features 360 little LEGO heads/faces. What makes this puzzle so challenging is sometimes the only difference between two faces will be a single raised or turned-down eyebrow. I can easily spend several minutes searching through the pieces or searching on the puzzle to find a particular trait to place one piece. Argggh! I used a bunch of different systems to put this one together from sorting pieces by specific features (like facial hair and glasses) to eventually sorting them based on their shape. You change tactics many times during the working of this puzzle! I have really enjoyed it, despite how long it has taken to complete. I’m close now, I’ll probably be able to finish it today. I should try to frame it for my oldest grandson who loves LEGOs. If you enjoy working puzzles that take a bit of time and patience, you’ll find this one here: LEGO Puzzle.


Something Amazing Happened!

The other interesting thing I thought I’d share today was something crazy I experienced recently. When I visited family during Christmas, one family member was sick with a flu bug. I was there for a little over a week and I never got sick, but the day after I returned home, I came down with something. It wasn’t anything serious, felt like a nasty cold with a little fever. Before getting sick, I’d been fighting some kind of sinus thing, but that’s a common thing with me. I’m the Queen of sinus infections, or at least I used to be. In recent years, I’ve managed to keep them at bay by catching the start of one very early and taking something over the counter to keep it from turning into a full-blown sinus infection.

After my January cold/flu bug ended, I was still running a low fever so I finally broke down and visited the doctor who diagnosed me with both a sinus and ear infection. He prescribed an antibiotic which I took faithfully for 10 days. Well, something awesome happened after I finished the antibiotic and I didn’t even realize it until a week or so later. I was watching a YouTube video where the YouTuber had her Instagram audience share their favorite perfumes. In that list, one of the 20 favorites that she mentioned was a perfume I had purchased after a BNOTP reader mentioned loving it a few years back–that being the perfume, Lolita Lempicka below in the purple, apple-shaped bottle. I purchased that perfume several years back but have never really worn it because it didn’t seem to have much of a smell, and what I could smell, smelled kinda strange–like something was missing.

Penhaligon's Empressa


Since it made the favorites list in that YouTube video, it piqued my curiosity so I decided to try it again. This time when I sprayed it, it smelled wonderful! It was really beautiful! Ummm, that got me wondering and I decided to smell another perfume that’s very popular and that I do like, but has always had a note or something that smelled screechy, a word one of my favorite perfume YouTubers sometimes uses to describe a perfume. I don’t know how else to describe it, but whenever I smelled Penhaligon’s Empressa, which is a very, very popular scent, there was something that always came across as kinda harsh…like a note was missing and I was only getting the chemical part of it. I gave it a sniff and guess what? The screechy harshness was gone and it smelled beautifully soft and feminine!

So I can’t help but wonder if I’ve had an ongoing sinus infection for gosh-knows-how-long and getting sick after Christmas made it worse, which led me to the doctor…and you know the rest. Have you ever smelled a perfume that everyone loves but it smelled harsh to you? When I would smell these two perfumes in the past, there were parts I liked, but they always felt like they were incomplete and that empty spot was filled by something chemical or harsh. This has led me to believe if you have some kind of sinus thing going on, you really can’t fully appreciate all the notes in a perfume. It reminds me of when a person is experiencing partial hearing loss where they can’t always hear the really high-pitched sounds. I have a friend who has that kind of hearing loss. That’s sorta how I envision what it’s like to smell a gorgeous scent if you have a sinus issue going on–all its beautiful notes can’t come through. Some do, but some don’t.

Penhaligon's Empressa


I just had to share this since I am super happy that I can finally fully appreciate these two scents now! If you have a perfume in your collection that everyone loves, but there’s something about it that smells weird or screechy or like you’re not getting the fullness of the perfume, ask yourself if you could have a sinus issue going on. I noticed it doesn’t seem to affect the perfumes I have that are less complex like Penhaligon’s Lily of the Valley, Chanel Coco (not Coco Mademoiselle), or Victor & Rolf FlowerBomb. I should give my Coco Mademoiselle another try because that fragrance has always smelled kinda screechy as well. Empressa is often described in perfume reviews as being similar to Coco Mademoiselle, so maybe it will smell wonderful now, too. Ha!

Have you ever experienced this or something similar–where suddenly a perfume that never smelled as you expected (based on reviews) suddenly smelled completely different–and wonderful?! Just wanted to share since this was so eye-opening for me. Maybe these two perfumes can be my “canary in the coal mine” so to speak. If they start smelling screechy or have practically no scent, which was the case with the Lolita Lempicka, it may be time to see the doctor!

Looking forward to all the great Before and Afters linked for this week’s Met Monday! Pssst: Did you know Between Naps On The Porch is on Instagram? You’ll find me on Instagram here: Between Naps On The Porch. Like to know when a new blog post is up and available to read? Subscribe for email updates, it’s free and your email will never be shared. Subscribe for free post updates via email here: Subscribe.

Metamorphosis Monday: Metamorphosis Monday is a party that’s all about Before and Afters. Please link up your Before and After projects like DIY projects, room makeovers, craft projects even recipes. Please do not link up Table Settings, save those for our Tablescape Thursday party on Thursday. If you are participating in Met Monday, you’ll need to link your post to the party using the “permalink” to your MM post and not your general blog address. To get your permalink, click on the name of your post, then copy and paste the address that shows in the address bar at the top of your blog, into the “url” box for InLinkz when prompted. NOTE: Please do not link up more than 3 posts from your blog. In order to link up, you’ll need to include a link in your post back to the party so visitors to your blog can find the other party participants.  When linking up to the party, give the InLinkz system time to find the link in your post to avoid having your link held for moderation/approval. Thanks!


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  1. Glad you are feeling better. There is a perfume that used to be popular that has always smelled like Raid to me. Can’t remember which one. Maybe that was why. There is not a lot of use of fragrances here in So. Cal. At least where I am. I miss that.

  2. so very interesting about the fragrances. Some smell horrible to me, plastic-y maybe. Mostly this happens with foods for me. After I had surgery in 2018 smell and taste was messed with. Food tasted and smelled awful for months. I’ve never had covid so that wasn’t it. I think the anesthesia permanently damaged something. I did lose some weight because of it though! Thanks for hosting, that puzzle looks hair-pulling to me.

    • Wow, I hope it comes back eventually, Debra. I didn’t know anesthesia could do that. That’s a great description for this puzzle! lol It’s def a challenge, but kind of a fun one.

  3. 1,000 little wins. Haha. Susan, that’s cute. I like that positive attitude. However, looking at the puzzle literally fills me with dread. 😀 I am not one of those patient people. I’m afraid I’d lose my mind doing that puzzle. I’m glad you’re enjoying it so much though. And I’m very glad for you about your new-found sense of smell! Sincerely, it’s like it’s opened up a whole new world for you. (actually, that could be good and bad. Hopefully it’s mostly good!) I hope you have a great week.

    • Well, if you’re not patient, this puzzle will definitely teach you to be. I’m not either so it’s made me slow down and just savor the process.
      I kinda felt like I had just gotten two new perfumes when these two suddenly smelled the way they are supposed to!

  4. Wow. That’s interesting. I’m glad you’re feeling better and you can smell your pretty scents now. I can relate at a different level. I am on a medicine right now which has affected my taste buds. Everything tastes weird. I took the medicine for almost a year before it started to have this effect. So that’s confusing. I’m hoping since it came randomly it will leave randomly. Time will tell. Thanks for hosting. XO- MaryJo

    • Thanks, MaryJo! Interesting that it didn’t do that until you had been taking it for a year. I hope it goes away. I remember when I was sick, I cooked some bacon and when I tried to eat, I could only taste two things: bitterness and salt. No meat or bacon flavor at all. So bacon was not enjoyable to eat, at all. So weird how that works.

  5. Eloise Fitzsimmons says

    I have an unusual request. Not to long ago you had a post about future projects you had in mind. Bathrooms was one. You asked for ideas of what to include. One comment was quite lengthy and had some good ideas.Could you please give me the date of that post? I hope I saved it ! A bathroom designer is coming tomorrow and I need it ! THANKS !

  6. I received that puzzle as a gift from one of my sons last year. Like you, I knock out most 1000 piece puzzles in a few days. But, even with hubby’s help this one took awhile. Really fun though.

    • That’s awesome that you’ve done it, Debbee! It definitely takes a while! It’s teaching me that I don’t have to finish every puzzle in two days. lol I have trouble stopping once I start one but I can only work on this one for about 30 minutes before my brain needs a break.

  7. Quite interesting about the perfume and sinus infections. Since smell and taste are so closely related, did you notice a change in foods?

    • No, didn’t seem to affect how food smelled. I hope I don’t get another one. I think my sinus issues are probably food related because there are so many foods now that I can’t eat without having some reaction–like an itchy rash. I never had any of those issues until the last 10 years or so.

  8. Wow – what a great puzzle! So funny about the perfume too. It makes a lot of sense though, and how great that you get to enjoy your perfumes now! Plus, glad you feel better! 🙂 Thanks so much for hosting, and hope you have a lovely week!

  9. Hi
    My post needs to be modified. I have a back link.
    Thanks so much

    • Sorry that keeps happening, Amy. I emailed InLinkz a while back and they aren’t sure why that’s happening when there’s a backlink. I just now confirmed it at InLinkz.

  10. SINUS. One forgets with all the devastation going on around the world the wind continuously stirs up all the debris world wide scattering it even here

  11. Perfume: spray and let sit before you go out as it needs to settle and when someone near says you sure smell good that’s a good sign. Not everyone can wear the same sent.

  12. Sandra D, Jol says

    I’m retired now but my last year I took a lot of FMLA so I wouldn’t be disciplined for calling in sick. I had sinus/sore throats my entire life. Had tonsils removed in my mid 20’s but that last year I worked I would get an awful sinus infection that gave me a headaches so I couldn’t concentrate to work. The dr put me on antibiotics, I’d take a couple days off and within a month the sinus infection came back so I’d go back to the dr, repeat the cycle. Finally the dr gave me a 2nd round but after that, no more antibiotics or they would stop working for me. He sent me for x-rays of my sinuses after I finished that 2nd round and there was still some infection left in my sinus cavities. He said although it appeared to clear up it didn’t because my sinus openings were too small to blow it all out. He sent me to a specialist and they did surgery to make my sinus openings larger. Not a fun recovery but it helped in the long run. I don’t wear much perfume because I have asthma and most scents affect me.

    • Yeah, I’ve heard that surgery is no fun! I’m sorry you had to go through that, Sandra. I’m glad it helped! Sinus infections just completely zap your energy!

  13. It is really interesting about the perfume and sinus connection. I have had chronic sinus infections all of my life…even after two surgeries to open up my right sinus which was completely blocked, likely from birth. The next time I finish a round of antibiotics and my sinuses are clear, I’m going to check out all of my perfumes and see if they smell differently.

  14. franki parde says

    And…taking certain prescription medications can certainly “do that” as well…it’s a “crap shoot” out there, huh!! Makes scents though! franki

  15. Thanks Susan! That Lego puzzle would make me crazy !

  16. There are some of us who on the opposite end of that spectrum. Perfumes and scents of all types (including household cleaning products) GIVE me sinus infections. SIGH!! When I’m out shopping if someone with heavy perfume walks by I have a headache by the time I get home. I make very quick trips down aisles of cleaning products when I must. At public events I try to sit away from the crowd. Inevitably someone with strong perfume will end up sitting next to me. Mask wearing for Covid was actually a bonus for me. Saline sinus rinse has become my good friend.

  17. I’ve experienced that a lot with sinus infections Susan. I love candle scents, but had to stop burning them because the smell was too strong and would set off my sinuses. They never did before and I just didn’t get it. I live on sinus meds, winter being my worst times for infections. I’ve had sinus issues for a long time and would get so bad I’d have to have a special heavy duty antibiotic an ER doctor gave me after the ones my family doctor had given didn’t help me. Now with the candle smells or any smell really, when my sinuses are getting bad, all I can smell is this terrible smell like cigarette smoke smell. Burn a candle and it stinks and make my sinuses worse. What finally got me cleared up was nasal strips. I could never blow my nose, nothing would come out. My nose never ran, etc…But after using the strips for a couple of months, I can finally blow my nose, breath at night mostly, and things don’t stink. LOL Funny how sinuses can mess your smell up, but it makes sense since they are all over your head and nose. Even the back of your head has sinus cavities, found that out when my MRI showed a bad sinus infection that was waking me up from sleeping at night because my head hurt so bad. So trust your nose Susan! Hugs, Brenda

    • I’ve had some candles do that to me, too. I’m sorry you are having to go through this. I went through a period when I was constantly having to take an antibiotic for sinus infections, but I figured out on my own how to avoid them most of the time by taking over-the-counter stuff like Mucinex D to keep it from turning into a full-blown infection. If I get sick though, that usually turns into another sinus infection. Sooo annoying so I can just imagine how you must feel. I should try the nasal strips to see if that helps.
      For what it’s worth, I think most of my sinus issues are related to food allergies. For example, if I eat a few water crackers in the evening, I’ve noticed my sinus almost immediately block up. Basically, I should just avoid anything that’s processed or comes out of a box. I think my body is allergic to whatever preservatives or additives they use in a lot of prepackaged foods. I just discovered recently that I can’t drink any type of seltzer water. I can get away with one drink, once in a while, but if I drink a couple a day, within just a few days, I develop a miserable, whelping, itchy rash on the left side of my neck. As soon as I stop drinking the seltzer water, it starts going away. Same for mineral water. I think it has something to do with the carbonation. I found other people online complaining of the same issue. It stinks having to give up all my favorite drinks/foods, but it’s better than an itchy, miserable rash.

  18. That puzzle would have me loading a revolver and I don’t even own one. You must have the patience of Job!

  19. Ha ha Susan….I need a bit more visual reward in doing a puzzle. I’m afraid that one would make me crazy! You’re a better woman than I am….more patient for sure!

  20. Oh that is fascinating. I am very happy to learn you are no longer suffering, too.

    Happy Monday – even though I am late hopping on.

  21. Susan,
    Thanks again for hosting this charming party every week! I know how much time goes into doing so and I want you to know that it I truly appreciate it!! Stay safe, healthy and happy!!

  22. I wear Coco Mademoiselle often in the winter. I love it and get lots of compliments when I do. I take care not to overpower people by putting on too much because I’m aware that some fragrances can cause allergic reactions. But when people get close to me there’s always an appreciative reaction.

  23. Thank you for reminding me of Lolita Lempicka. It’s been years since I’ve worn it. I used to love it.

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