Monday, June 28, 2010

I've been thinking

It seems that's pretty much all I do these days and it's rather unfocused as is. I've been unfocused and deconcentrated so even though good ideas for posts keep popping out of my head, I just can't seem to find the focus and energy needed to write them down. But I guess we all have times like these...
Not to mention that on top of all that it's that time when I get to feel sorry for myself, then I get angry with myself for feeling sorry but since I can't do much about it, I get back to feeling sorry and I go in circles. :) At least I know why.

But you know what? Even though my mind is unfocused, most of the time I feel seriously happy to be alive. I love my life. Oh, I see a lot that could make it better, but I also see a lot that makes it full and happy and fulfilled. And that is what is important if you want to feel happy. I love the people around me (my family, my friends, my colleagues, my virtual friends, my dog...), I love the little things that fill my life - books, perfumes, cosmetics, pilates...

I really have a lot to make me grateful. So I get doubly angry with myself when I start feeling sorry for myself for reading a post that was written sincerely and without trying to make anyone feel like he/she doesn't belong to this perfume blogging community. There were actually two good posts written on the subject, the original by Denyse from Grain de Musc and the additional thoughts on the subject by The Non Blonde (you should read the comments as well).

I don't feel like I've been blogging about perfumes for long or like I know much, but I like to learn and garner much pleasure from it. And there will always be people who might find their way to my blog and perhaps enjoy something I've written.

It is true that there are so many new scents turning up everywhere and perfume blogs as well, but it is still not as crowded as book blogs (although it seems the amount of new perfumes might be catching up with the amount of new books being published - hopefully not so many perfume blogs will appear as there are book ones).

And then, it also seems that if you are writing about perfume, you should probably decide where you want to go with it because there is just no way one person can keep up with everything. This of course does not apply to me because I never know where exactly I want to go with anything, I let myself be taken along. So anything that appears interesting or something by a perfumer I've come to love will definitely find its way to me. But also, all those lovely interesting samples coming from swap packages and Luckyscent sample packages.
Of course, these last two options are the ones where you are most likely to come across a mine. Like I did recently. I feel really bad for saying this but there is not a single thing made by Yosh that I like (and I'm wondering who does because they all end up smelling like some kind of washing detergent or fabric softener). They are not scrubbers but they just don't even come close to being interesting to me.

So, this is what's going through my mind these days. Hopefully, it didn't come out as jumbled as it seems to me it has. :)
I hope soon I'll be back to my usual posting.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Harry Potter musings

I don't want to write reviews of Harry Potter books - I could write about the Croatian translation which I was forced to read when starting the series again as I couldn't locate my English one. It's incredible how a translation can be at the same time brilliant and completely miss the point. The words JK Rowling invented were put into Croatian geniously but the language in which the book is written is in my opinion completely wrongly translated. This is a children's book and is written in such a language (I recommend it to my friends whenever someone wants to brush up on their English) but I cannot read the Croatian one in the same manner. It displays the richness of Croatian language but I have to concentrate on what I'm reading in order to understand, and I keep wondering how are the children reading it managing. And if there is one thing this book has to do, it has to be approachably written (translated) for children. But this is not what I wanted to discuss.

I wrote recently about the depressing turn my life has taken and the first thing I could think of of alleviating that pain and depression was Harry Potter books. And I'm happy to be reading them from the beginning (I usually re-read just the last 3) because the movies made me forget how many things are actually missing from them.

But the point I'm trying to make is, Harry Potter is my therapy. When I need to feel better and want to lose myself in a world where my problems don't exist, I go there (sometimes I go to Middle Earth as well, but HP is more approachable). With each reading, I get more and more from these books. The friendship, the loyalty, the bravery, all in the face of much adversity, human evil and pain (both physical and emotional).

The books are progressively darker (and longer which is a great plus) and even though people start to die, the evil starts to spread, and friends are sometimes not there for you, the reader never loses the thread of hope that being true to the human ideals we should all posess is what will win in the end and bring about a happy future.

I just finished the fourth one and I wouldn't be writing this post but reading the book 5 if only I was able to find it. Like I said, I keep offering them to people. :) So now I have no idea where it is. I'm not really worried about that (although I do wish I could have started with it tonight) - tomorrow I'm off to my favourite bookstore because they notified me that some other books I ordered have arrived, so I'll just add this to the pile. I can live with not starting to read it tonight, but tomorrow I have to go on. :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

SOTD: Eau Egyptienne by Cinq Mondes

Turns out I'm reviewing Ms Giacobetti's work two times in a row without doing it on purpose. I really didn't know it was made by her until I went to check the notes some time into smelling it. Now, I'll have to give it more effort and find her other creations to smell because I love this.
I have no idea what's happening to me that I'm getting more and more into roses.

Notes: lotus, caraway, rose, mint, myrrh, cypress, geranium, jasmine, juniper, pistacchio.

I'm not going into how this came about, there is enough written about that. What I want to talk about is how incredible it smells to me. My initial thought was that it was a surprisingly good citrusy, spicy, flowery, warm thingie. I say thingie because it just seems so delicate, feminine-like but it turns out it's only delicate because I think of it as feminine in the general sense of people who don't understand women. I don't think women are really delicate - quite the contrary. I think they are strong and solid while at the same time they are caring and warm. And this is what I get from this, the warmth in the heart around which the spices and flowers dance making it seem girly and feminine but the warmth giving it solidity and strength. If that makes sense. And the rose-lotus-geranium combo underscored by caraway definitely helps.

It's warm and at the same time fresh with something that makes your senses come alive. And if I got the prices right, it's 48 euros for 100ml. Which seems quite reasonable to me. :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

SOTD: Vamp a NY by Honoré des Prés

What a better way to return to my blogging life than with this gem, I am sure I wasn't the only who set her alarm to be on time for the 50 samples being given at Grain de Musc almost a month ago. :) I didn't want to forget and miss out. And I didn't. Lucky me.

I should probably call it the sample of the week, I've been sampling for several day now, in small quantities so it lasts a bit (I'll divulge why a bit later). And the sample is a large one (thank you H des P).

What I could find of the notes mentioned is rum, tuberose and resins. That is true but also not enough.

This has made me smile through the last week when smiling wasn't something I was prone to do. I do have to say that I don't find it vampy (which is a good thing because I probably wouldn't like it so much) but actually, I find it sexy in a different way (I'm sure many see vamp idea as sexy).

For me, this is sexy the same way a girl/woman having fun at a party in the sun, smiling and laughing around a bunch of guys who are there vying for her attention is sexy. The completely natural, unforced in any kind sexy. The best kind.

And that is why I'm saving my sample. I've been thinking for some time what perfume am I going to wear to a dear friend's wedding in a few weeks - and this is it. I knew that the first time I smelled it. It's perfect for a summer day wedding at the seaside (I'm sure it's perfect for many other occasions as well) - it is just so easily loved. And I know why that is so in my case. To me, it smells like L'Artisan's Vanillia mixed with a lot of tuberose (I love Vanilia and I adore tuberose, so this is a direct hit for me).

Yes, I got the rum (although much more strongly on paper than on me) and it's a particular smell, not really as boozy as some perfumes containing boozy factors are. And then, there's tuberose and anything else that appears in Vanilia. :) I think that is the best way of summing up what it smells like. And if you have a chance, try it.

Btw, Nathan Branch wrote a great review of another perfume from the We love NY series, Love Coco. From what I read there, I pretty much think I will love it, so now I'm wondering if that means I'll love the carrot thingie as well. Probably. I really like carrots. :)
And last but not least, I think the marketing strategy that enabled people like me (bloggers who are seriously interested in new creations) to be able to get a sample just by reading one of the (best) perfume blogs is straight on target. I wish more companies would consider this tactic. The word will spread wider before this hits US and the way it's going, it will have a seriously positive vibe. :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Time for grieving

As I hinted yesterday, this has been a hard period for me and my boyfriend and there is some additional hardness in store for us. His father died last night after a fight with cancer so this is going to be a time for grieving for all of us.

Joža wasn't my father but I knew him for 8 long years and my boyfriend's family has become an additional family to me.

He was one of the nicest people I know - forgiving of everyone, with a kind word for everyone, a silent pillar of strength with a lot of knowledge (some of which included making great wine and spirits).

We will miss you!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The best part

The best part of this perfume love of mine (probably other people's as well) is coming home to packages waiting there. :)

That's what happened today.

I got the package from Carol that contained some vintage gems that I am still too excited to write about so here is a quick photo:

The one in the middle is the one that started it all and my quick first sniff told me that I will fall in love (it already started). This has really made my day which I don't want to go into detail but was seriously depressing as will the next few weeks be as well.

The second package came from Switzerland as an MUA swap. But was this swapper generous! Thank you Jindra!

I was swapping for 10 ml of Palais Jamais and I ended up with a little bottle of vintage L'Aimant and a bunch of samples and candies:

I really feel bad now because I only put a few samples in her package. :( I will make it up to her next time (we already swapped before).

So tomorrow is Palais Jamais day for me. But tonight it's party with Carol's bottles!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

SOTD: Ava Luxe, Red Tara

I received a swap package today and it held a sample of this. So, I gave it a go. It's a really nice, warm, spicy, woody scent.
And I went in search of notes which I found at Perfumed Court: sandalwood, iris absolute and myrrh.

I wasn't able to find this perfume listed at Ava Luxe site so these are all the notes. I really like this one, even though the lasting power is a maximum of 3 hours.
If I didn't read iris absolute, I'd never have guessed it - I mean I still don't know that I was smelling it. :) I get the sandalwood and I kept thinking from the beginning there must be something else in it making it slightly sweet and warm (my guess was benzoin).
Unfortunately I don't have much more to say. It's really nice and right up my alley but can't say it's spectacularly different or great. It's exactly what I said the other day regarding Vetiver/vanille, perfectly wearable (in cold weather probably better) without thinking too much about what you are wearing.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Can there ever be enough figs?

Not for me. Turns out at the moment I have four different fig scents and if I can get my hands on more, I won't mind (so after you read this post, please comment with some new choices for me).

Today it was actually (finally!) a real summer day here so I wore Fleur de Figuier by Molinard. Did you know that a 100ml bottle of this costs 31 euros? I couldn't believe it and once my decant is empty, I'm buying a bottle. The only thing that angers me a bit is that I don't have to pay VAT so it's even cheaper, but the shipping cost is 27 euros (more than the bottle without the VAT).

This is a green, fresh fig that has some serious lasting power and feels refreshing when you wear it.

Then, of course I have a decant of Diptyque Philosykos which is another great fig (one it seems everyone is familiar with). There's not much to add to the name. :) It's similar to Molinard and just as great.

One more decant, L'Artisan's Premier Figuier, my introduction into fig category. And a love at first sniff, the one that started all this fig love.

In the end, a fig that passed under my radar, Ninfeo Mio. I'm ashamed to say that I went down another path when smelling this for the first time and haven't even realized there was a fig in it. But after wearing it for some time, now I cannot mistake it even though this is not a fig scent like the other three before.

So, I told you my favourites. Now, let me know what are the scents that make you feel figgy too?

Stephanie Laurens: The Elusive Bride

This is the second book in the Black Cobra Quartet and another one of the original four soldiers/spies is on a quest home to bring the scroll which will bring down the Black Cobra cult in India (which is of course run by evil Englishmen). I actually do not remember whether in the first book we realize there is more than one person at the top of the cult (I read so much, I cannot keep it all in my head).
Anyway, this time we follow our brave English aristocrate (of the warrior type - that's what they usually are like) on his road home who gets followed by the woman who delivered the original scroll into their captain's hands at the beginning of book one (we see it from her perspective this time around). She is on the lookout for her "one" (hearing a lot about that kind of a man from her married sisters) and since her first encounter with Gareth Hamilton who moves her senses, she decides to pursue him and see if that is the beginning of her finding her "one". And now the adventure starts.

What struck me quite strongly in this, is again the warrior theme. All male characters in Mrs. Laurens' books are these types of dominant, agressive towards bad guys, possessive males that fight against falling in love and thus being weak. Here it struck me as the strongest theme so far. Especially since they travel a part with Berbers where the separation between females and males is strongly enforced but the women know their men love them and protect them (and therefore show their love in such a manner).

But our female hero will have none of that male dominance crap, and wants to be seen as a partner, not someone to be saved who cannot take care of herself. She is actually quite brave. And of course in the end she gets what she wants. But what I find fascinating and admire a lot, in all these relationships and encounters, when one of the characters "wins" in a situation, it is never used as an advantage over the other and spelled out so. It's a partnership and one that involves compromise. We could all use some of that kind of behaviour in our lives.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

SOTD: Le Jardin Retrouvé, Vétyver Vanille

I am really glad I made myself go through a sample a day. I finally have something to say about this sample I received from Le Jardin Retrouve's Mr. Gutsatz.

As I can't find a list of notes on their site, I'm citing here what they have to say with regards to some notes:

"Each Perfumer interprets Vetyver perfume in his own manner, and that of Le Jardin Retrouvé with its tangy head note (Bergamot, Lemon), its bouquet - warm, woody with a touch of tobacco, and its base note that is spicy and peppery, makes this a classic and original fragrance. Vetyver Essence is one of the best-known elements for creating the core and base notes for several feminine and masculine fragrances."

It seems I'm actually a vetiver fan even though at the beginning of my perfume journey I was quite sure of the opposite. Just a little advice, do not begin your vetiver journey with Frederic Malle Vetiver Extraordinaire because it's seriously vetivery.

Anyway, this started for me instantly flowery (have no idea where that came from) and then went on to a vetiver dominated scent. I mean that in a good way, you cannot forget it's there but you can smell different things displayed on its surface. It felt warm and sunny, and I thought some hay may be hiding in there.

In the drydown I got some saltiness (I really get that a lost) that led me to believe there might be something irisy in it but thinking more about it, I realized vanilla could probably give off the same thing. And it finally appeared in the drydown.

I cannot say that this was instant love for me but I really like it. It's easy to wear and for me it's one of those scents you can grab when you don't want to think too much what are you going to wear but fall on things that are reliably good (I just wish I didn't have half a sample left but a bottle I can fall on to). :)

New books challenge! Summer at Hogwarts

This one is definitely for me (yes, I'm aware I said the same for the Romance Summer challenge too). :)

But the thing is, I love Harry Potter books and I was thinking about reading some of them again but not sure where to start so now I know. At the beginning. :)

If you are interested in participating, head on over to Loving Books and enjoy. You have 2 months (summer at Hogwarts) starting June 1 to finish all 7 books (which is plenty of time).
Hope you join!

P.S. It seems she was a bit mistaken (I realized it only when I started reading the series again). Summer holidays at Hogwarts start with the July 1.

Friday, June 4, 2010

SsOTD: Colognes in lieu of summer

Yes, I know, summer officially starts on the 21, but here it sort of sneaks in before that date. Not this year though. It came for a few days preview and now we're back to early spring rains (but that is supposed to end tomorrow).
So today, instead of enjoying summer warmth, I enjoyed some colognes. One of them brought summer to my room instantly, the other was a feminine cologne (if that is possible?).

Notes for Penhaligon's Eau de cologne: orange, lemon, bergamot, rosemary, neroli

Since colognes are not the type of scents that are famous for their longevity, I don't expect them to last long and don't take it against them.

Unfortunately, I think this is one of those scents that works much better when sprayed. It was very light on me, smelling like a cologne with rose wafting through. Lovely actually, and that's why I thought feminine. It was elusive and stayed close to the skin so that's why I think I should spray it on before seeing if it's really that soft and elusive.

Notes for Heeley's Oranges and Lemons Say the Bells of St. Clement's: oranges, lemons, bergamot, mandarine, neroli, petitgrain, earl gray tea, ylang-ylang, vetiver.

While I was copying the notes, I started wondering if I perhaps mistakes the scents on my arms, but I know I didn't. It's just that I was expecting to see here a note pointing toward some evergreen tree.

This is the one that transported me straight to a beach in Croatia, lying in the shade of firs, the smell of sunnscreen wafting on a breeze.

Yes, there was that typical citrusy opening (which was much more stronger in this one) with something peppery in it (I like that very much) and then my beach fantasy started. I don't want to think about which note in combination with some other brought me my beach fantasy, I just enjoyed the fact that on this dreary, rainy day I got to experience it. :)

P.S. I just read the Luckyscent desription of Penhaligon's Eau de Cologne and now I'm wondering againg if I mistaked this two. I just re-applied and no, I wasn't mistaken, although both open with lemon peel astringency.

Notes and pic by:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

SOTD: B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful - Breathe of God

It seems I'm late to the party and I only realized it when trying to find notes for this - they are out of business. Their site says some of their products might appear in Lush stores but that's it.

Notes: vetiver, sandalwood, Virginia cedar, amber, musk, neroli, Amalfi lemon, jasmine, rose, melon.

This is going to sound awful - but if the rest of their products were like this, it's really not a surprise they are closed. It really does sound awful. But I had to say it.

It's not that the Breathe of God is bad - it's just not really good.

I don't have much to say about it. It started smoky for me (although I read that it's supposed to be leathery), sweet and I thought slightly almond-tinged. But what felt wrong with it, is that it floated on nothing. It lead me to expect some kind of base behind it, not feeling like the notes were nowhere. Then it smelled like some kind of a soda (Fanta, Schweppes, sth of that sort) mixed with that leather and I couldn't figure out what it was in there that was disturbing my stomach but now I see the notes, I realize it's melon. I just don't like it - in real life nor in perfume.

My thanks to Rita from the Left Coast Nose who sent this with some other surprises some time ago but I only got around to talking about it now.
Rita I hope you get the urge to talk about perfumes again soon - we miss you! :)

Pic by:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

SOTD: Penhaligon's Orange Blossom

I think someone broke my sample. Or more clearly the juice inside. This was made by Mr. Duchafour and as I said the other day, there is almost nothing of his I don't like - and I was already starting to worry I put my foot in my mouth. Luckily for me, that wasn't true but it was a bumpy ride for a while (almost an hour!).

Notes: neroli, violet leaves, bergamot, cedrat, cardamom, pink pepper, orange, jasmine, tuberose, rose peach blossoms, orchid, sandalwood, cedar, white musk, vanilla.

It seems there is never a shortage of notes in Mr. Duchafour's creation. :)

It started great, like a bitter jasmine (or possibly some other white flower, orange blossom included) and then, not 5 minutes into it, it morphed into a powdery violet. And remained like that. What?! I'm not a violet fan (especially in this talc manner) and this is the part where it got scary for me. I mean, everyone was singing praises for this and I'm getting a violet thingy?! A nice violet thingy (actually made me wonder if I might find this violet wearable) but still - a violet?!
That's why I thought someone broke my sample juice.

It helps though when you know that really good perfumes are going to change, so I waited. For almost an hour but was it worth it!

After the passing of violet, things started happening and I was beginning to enjoy the ride for real. None of the notes seemed especially prominent but they all seemed to be there at some point in time. I was waiting for an orange blossom tropical seductiveness and I got it. Not the orange blossom or tropical but seductiveness made by rose, jasmine, juicy orange, probably orchid as well but I cannot say for sure since I'm not positive yet on the orchid smell.

The drydown on this smells like an opening on something, it's that good and strong. Reminded me a bit of Ninfeo Mio due to sweetness and floral juiciness. And each time I smell my arm, I'm seduced more and more.

Turns out, I can live with violets on me. :)

2010. Summer Romance Challenge

Oh, this one is right up my alley. If you haven't figured it out, I'm a sucker for romance so it's really no problem participating in this.

So, if anyone else wants to join, head on over to Book Chick City to gather the supplies (button)
and you can read the details down here:

1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.

2. 4 months, 8 books. Or you can go to advanced level and make it 16 books (I'm taking that one).

3. Any book format counts.

4. The books you choose can crossover into other challenges you have on the go.

5. If you decide to join, use the link and the button from Book Chick City who is hosting this and post the button on the sidebar so other people can find it and come and join.

6 You can link your reviews here to be entered for a prize at the end of the challenge.

My books:

1. Stephanie Laurens: The Elusive Bride

2. Julia Quinn: Everything and the Moon

3. Amanda Quick: The Perfect posion

4. Danielle Steel: Matters of the Heart

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

SOTD: Palais Jamais by Etro

Sometimes a day goes by and I wonder how come I couldn't find a little time to post a short review of a perfume, book or a sample. Today it's the sample day and I finally have a little time to post my thoughts.

I love this. :) I could end here with - it's a mimosa-vetiver cologne for me and I love it.

I thought of it as a cologne but it's actually an EDT which is basically the same.

Notes: tuberose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, mimosa, violet, tangerine, sandalwood, vetiver, musk, leather, tobacco, oakmoss, civet (there are some variants on the notes but not much).

As I already said, it starts as a green cologne to me (cologne meaning it's citrusy for me) with something familiar that I just couldn't figure out until I read the notes. It's mimosa! This is the best mimosa for me so far. Ok, so I didn't try that many but this one is still the clear winner.

And for an edt, it has some serious lasting power (more than the last 2 samples I tried).

I read somewhere it has some spiciness, and I agree. At some point, you feel that tingling in your nose that tells you there are spices in it but out of the notes, I cannot figure out what can it be. Besides, it doesn't last long. It goes on to some white flowers peeking through but I can't say I actually smell one of those listed. What surprises me is that for an edt, it goes through a lot of phases. At some point it gets really flowery until settling down into a vetiverish mimosa (I can still feel it a little in the drydown) with a salty sandalwood drydown (I have no idea what it this with me and salty drydowns, I promise I don't sweat much).

I find this a wonderful summer fragrance and quite long-lasting. It's really good I tried this before summer so I can get some before it starts (it's raining and quite cold these days so there's no hurry yet).
P.S. It reminds me of Guerlain Vetiver with some mimosa on the side that turns it into summer freshness personified (not that the Guerlain Vetiver is not like that, I love that one as well).

Pic by:

Lynda Hilburn: The Vampire Shrink

What fun this book was! I enjoyed it tremendously. Kismet Knight Ph.D. is a delight to read.

The thing is, what happens in this book is exactly what any of us would think if someone was trying to convince you vampires existed. Especially when you are a psychiatrist and you have all the knowledge of conditions that might be causing these types of self-illusions. Because that is what she is, a psychiatrist. And I have to tell you, it's hilarious reading her inner thoughts which are interspersed throughout the novel.

What I'm wondering now is how come I haven't heard about this before? The first book came out in 2007. I already have the second book in the series (Dark Harvest) and I plan on reading it as soon as I can (in the next couple of days).

Anyway, Kismet has to deal with a lot in this book (including her budding sex life after a 2-year pause) and is falling in love with two men. What I loved especially is that her thought process is well explained through those comments we follow and completely understandable (except the part where she is totally in love, I'm not sure I can identify with such love in such short span of time but it's fiction after all).

I though the end was a bit so-so and a lot of underlying history is missing but hopefully that will get better explained in the second book (not the first author whose first book left something to be desired regarding the background, but that is easily fixed in the following books).

Soon, I'll let you know if the second book is as much fun as the first. :)

P.S. Ooops, I was wrong, Kismet is a psychologist.

Pic by: