Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Perfume thoughts

I feel like a glutton. A perfume glutton that is. As with any other worthwhile sin, you can't do much else while in the throes of that sin. Hmm, that didn't sound very polite. :D

Anyway, I'm aware I haven't written anything about perfume in a while which doesn't mean I haven't been smelling anything, quite the contrary but most of the things I smell, evoke in the best case scenario, a sentence (that usually isn't very positive so I'm not writing them down).

It seems sometimes I'm lucky and I go days on end smelling great stuff - some of it I can't wear but I can still tell it's great and I'm glued to my wrist smelling that greatness. And then comes a period where I start going through some of my accumulated samples and I'm left wondering if it's me or there really is some stuff that shouldn't have seen the light of day (or acquired some place on my arm to be more precise). I'm in such a period at the moment so I decided (just now) for today to just spray on me stuff I know I love to mitigate the effects of the last few days.

Plus, and this will now sound whiny, I'm seriously exhausted. There is still a week left of work and then I'm off to a 3 week vacation (this year I'm taking everything necessary to stay in touch with the virtual world and my friends there) so I'm really looking forward to it. I just need to survive these last days before it's sun and fun for me.

I still have no idea what perfumes I'm taking with me - I know for sure I'm not leaving without Bronze Goddess. :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Curtis Sittenfeld: Prep

I don't know where to start. :)
Let me start be confessing my shame. I don't remember the last time I read a contemporary novel set in real life. It seems all I read these days is paranormal fiction, fantasy and historical romance and it seems now I might be missing out on some great books.
I am seriously grateful to Transworld Publishers for hosting this summer challenge and making this book available to me.

First off, let me say that I was wondering through half the book if it is possible that the author was a guy because of the name since the main character Lee Fiora is a girl and the private boarding school experience we follow through the novel is just so well written from the female perspective that I was wondering if a guy could possibly have done it. But no, Curtis is a woman. Which should have been obvious from the way the novel is written.

I was sucked in from the start. And I still don't know how to describe this book. It is a perfect picture (in my opinion) of what normal girls go through in their high school years (be it a boarding school or normal high school). I found myself in those pages so many times. :) I do wish I knew then what I know now and it seems the author feels the same - there are little windows into the future where she lets us see where some of the situations ended.

At about the third of the book, I became aware of the fact that I don't know when the story is happening - they have a pay phone in their dormitory and first I thought there were no computers and cell phones. Then it seemed there were some computers around but still no cell phones, so my guess is the high school years here are early 90s. Perhaps.

It doesn't really matter - because the high school experience seems universal. At least to me. It's exactly what I would wish every teenage girl would know but the problem is, she probably wouldn't understand it before getting through the experience and then some time passing for her to take a relatively objective view of the past and realizing how true this book is.

I found myself back in those years reading through all the irrelevant things going through her mind (I know they are quite relevant then but now that's no longer true), thinking about boys and interacting with them,  insulting her intelligence and everything else about herself (making it seem she is insignificant in the order of things) - I remember all those things. And I'm still working on them, well working against them staying in my life.

Anyway, I would recommend this to anyone who wants to take a look back to their teenage years and enjoy the view while learning something about those years and about yourself.

Pic by: http://www.booksattransworld.co.uk/

Saturday, July 24, 2010

PC & Kristin Cast: HoN Burned

Well, I survived the waiting period between books 6 and 7 (since books 6 in series in my experience always end terribly and you are left bewildered how in the world are you ever going to survive the wait until the next one).
Btw, there are going to be spoilers ahead so if you haven't read book 6, you might want to stop reading now.

Since Zoey's soul shattered in the previous book, it was a good guess there weren't going to be a lot of her in this book. Which I can't say was a bad thing, I liked following Stevie Ray's life and Stark's coming of age in psychological terms. In the end I was left wondering though what will happen between Stevie Ray and Rephaim. There are some interesting developments we might see in the future there.

I liked the fact that I feel like I got to know other characters better and the world where they live (but that I mean the vampire universe the Cast women created) got expanded and explained.

I found it funny how all the love problems seem so teenage which is what they are supposed to be like, I mean they are all teenagers after all. Even though at times they seem more serious than teenagers should be, but they are fighting evil so I don't think they could be anything other.

It seems now I'm writing this that my feelings for this book aren't very strong. :) True but that doesn't mean I didn't like it or that I'm not going to read the following book(s) (I don't know how many are planned). It's not as captivating as some other books in this series but it's good.

Pic by: http://www.amazon.com/

Monday, July 19, 2010

Matthew Reilly: The 5 Greatest Warriors

Well, it's not like I have much new to say. :) It's Matthew Reilly through and through. We start where we left off in The Six Sacred Stones. Of course that Jack West managed to get himself out of the cliffhanger situation from the end of the last novel. Was there ever any doubt? ;)

I'm lucky though that I read the previous book just a while ago because there was a 2-year pause between them.

Like I said the last time, Mr. Reilly's books are the ones that make me stop reading anything else that I might be reading at the time. Besides, you go through them really fast since the pace of the book is fast and you just have to go through it fast because you can't stop.

It was a bit of a shock for me reading through the part where it is described what some of the evil guys in this book do to their enemies (btw, not all the enemies are bad guys which makes it even worse). I sincerely hope that is not possible and never happens to anyone for real.

If you read the previous 2 books, you can probably guess the relation between the title and the story.
There's not much I can say without getting too much into the story, all the characters are back along with some new, some of them get seriously hurt or killed and of course it ends with our group of heroes saving the world. 
What I found fascinating was some interesting insights into the Catholic church and its doctrine or the origins of the faith) - I will give it more time and look for some other books on the subject.

Pic by: www.matthewreilly.com

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A stroll down history lane

It's been a while now that I received a package from Histoires de Parfums (thank you Maxime) but it took some time to get here and write about some of them . As you can see it was more of a leisurely stroll than a walk. And their perfumes tell a historical story which made me realize that even though I knew about this company for quite some time, and even though I know some French, I only realized yeseterday that "histoire" means at the same time a story and history. Which is very true in this case - most of the perfumes are related to a historically significant year and tell a story.
I'm not going to tell you what person is related to which year (ok, maybe just one masculine which I loved and I still don't know whose story that is), I'll let you discover that for yourself.
Here we go.

Top note : grapefruit, citrus, mandarin, eucalyptus
Heart Note : pepper, nutmeg
Base Note : cedar, incense, vetiver, pine cone.

This is the one. The one I needed to know who it belongs to. Turns out it's Jules Verne. Not what I would have guessed but very appropriate for me. :)
It smells dark, male, citrusy and seductive to me (I already gave my sample to my boyfriend and can't wait for him to wear it).
I get the piney incense vibe and I enjoy it very much, it smells dark and refreshing at the same time, like it's made for a seductive type of guy, one you can't resist (how appropriate then it's related to a writer in my case). ;) It also has an underlying nutty-sweet aspect, I just love the combination of everything in this.
Top note : bergamot, citrus grapefruit, liquorice;
Heart Note : lavender, star anise,
Base Note : vanilla almond, sandalwood, cedar, amber.

This one starts citrusy and bitter-clean like, the smell of nettle shampoo from my childhood (hence the clean aspect).
It has a green and slightly earthy/rooty vibe and then it gets into a cedrish-sweet stage (my guess is that sweetness is coming from the vanilla almonds, it's not too almondy for me). For me it smells slightly spicy, but not in an oriental way, more like an alcoholic aromatic-fruity drink. And also less openly masculine than 1828 (which is really strange because this one is related to Casanova).

Top note : Bergamot, Tangerine;
Heart Note : White flowers, Violet, Ginger, Cinnamon;
Base Note : Patchouli, Amber, Incense from Jakarta, Vanilla

Oops. I thought it smelled masculine but a masculine for me. :) Turns out it's feminine. Even better. I like this woman. Sweet and spicy and sligthly boozy - turns out I love ambery scents (wasn't really aware of that before HdP sample set arrived, there are several ambery scents in it which made me realize this).
Anyway, it's more dry than my opening statement might suggest.
It was really problematic for me getting to the notes in all these perfumes, they just seem so well blended, even though when they might not be something I'd like to wear.
And almost all of them have this wet and deep aspect to them. I don't know how to describe it better. Most of the perfumes I tried smelled like what I applied was actually splashed on me with water. It's not aquatic, it just smells wet, soaked in water with some serious depth going on in the perfume itself.

Moulin Rouge - 1889
Top note : Mandarine, Prune, Cannelle (cinammon)
Heart : Absinthe, Rose de Damas
Base : Cœur d’Iris, Patchouli, Musc, Fourrure (fur)

I didn't have the notes for this one when smelling it, but my thought went like this. Sweet, dry and slightly musky (guess that's the fur). I'm so proud for getting the musk because it usually flies right  by me and I'm left wondering why is everyone smelling musky stuff when I can't. It has a fruity liquor feel and I like it a lot.

Top note : Bergamot, orange, Litchi;
Heart Note : rose , iris , violet, Cumin, Cinnamon, Carnation;
Base Note : Vetiver, Guaiacum, Sandalwood

Boozy, woody in a labdanum kind of way (with vanillic hints). I found it smelling slightly herbal/medicinal and somewhat strange. Rose is in there but very well hidden (ok, blended in).
What I found interesting with this one (and some others) is that I realized how some notes work with each other. For example, here I realized that the sweaty part of cumin is held under check by cinammon so it never gets where it shouldn't in polite company. :) The cinammon gives cumin a sharp austerity that makes them work really well together. 
Top note : Tahitian gardenia, Corsica peach, Hawaiian Pineapple,
Heart Note : clove, Indian jasmine, lily of the valley, rose of Morocco,
Base Note : Sandalwood, patchouli, Benzoin, vanilla, white musk

Well, I didn't get it wrong with this one, it is so strongly a feminine, you really can't mistake it for anything eolse. It's sweet and fruity, slightly flowery  and very cool (not in smelling refreshing, but as in what a cool perfume to wear). I kept thinking what was that familiar flowery smell until I read the notes and realized it's pineapple (yes, I'm aware that's not a flower but a fruit).
After the initial fruity-tropic burts, I got a slight sea freshness that I belive was coming from muguet (it sometimes does that to me). And the muguet works great aside pineapple. Really nice.

Top note : Fruits du Soleil, Pêche Veloutée.
Heart note : Rose, Fleurs Blanches, Cardamone, Girofle.
Base note : Patchouli, Chocolat, Café, Muscs Blancs.

Honestly, to me this smells a lot like Noir Patchouli (which will be discussed sometime in the future). Sweet, very fruity and joyful and slightly ambery-musky.  Can't say I got the peach, more like juicy type of fruit mixed with rose. Very exuberant. It recalls summer through the summer fruit juiciness and fun in the sun. Well, I guess they did have fun in the sun in 1969. And, if you pay attention to this perfume, it just might evoke those type of associations.

Top note : bergamot, davana sensualis (orange flower native to India);
Heart Note : patchouli coriander, cardamom;
Base Note : cedar, elemi, leather, labdanum.
The last one for today. Boozy (again - I think there is sth wrong with me that so many scents evoke that association). :) Slighty medicinal and woody (guess that's the start of labdanum/patchouli combo). It smells leathery - juicy, and I love it. Because then it gets completely into labdanum territory where well-balanced wood dances with bare oriental hints and I'm in heaven. It seems Marquis de Sade was a much better seductor than Casanova.
Notes and pic by: www.histoiresdeparfums.com

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Julia Quinn: Everything and the Moon

Before I get on to the book, you have until the end of the week to say why you should be the one to win a bottle of the mysterious 6T by Mr. Webber.

Ok, it's been a while since I read something by Mrs. Quinn. And once I started reading this, I remembered why I liked her. She is not my typical romance novelist (I tend to go for romance including steamy sex scenes incorporated in the love story). Well, if you want that, maybe Julia Quinn's work is not for you. :) But you should still give it a go. Because even though there might not be so many hot scenes in her novels, you will remember what it felt like to be in love. You know, the kind where your heart constricts with pain when you think of losing that person, or fighting with them  or any of the things that will bring pain or joy to your heart in love.
I'm ashamed to say I wouldn't have started the book if it didn't happen that I didn't know what to do with myself at my parents' home and this was the first thing I came across. Several hours later (at my home), I had to have a serious talk with myself telling me I need to go to bed because I do have to get up for work in the morning (that was around half past one and I get up around 7). Somehow I managed to leave the last 50 pages for yesterday when I finally finished the book.

The reason I couldn't let it go is that I kept chuckling through it and I enjoyed the story very much. There are no bad guys here trying to hurt any of the characters - this time, they are more of the star-crossed variety. They fell in love when they were young (and both very positive and humorous people) but of course, due to some unexpected problems, they split and thought how the other one was not what he/she seemed when they were in love.
It's fun to see how they get back together and also painful at times because their inner processes are obviously for me portraied quite well (if I'm feeling my heart constrict on behalf of the characters).

Pic by: www.juliaquinn.com

Monday, July 12, 2010

Unlocking an Unknown

I was very happy when Carol invited me to join her blog project which came about when she discovered the Weber collection and a little stash of bottles containing perfume she named Mystery 6T.

I've been spending a lot of time with it this last week and I still feel a bit lost when the drydown comes and all the flowers envelop me. The flowers are like my little lost friends that I know but cannot name. And I'm going about this all wrong. :)

Let me start at the beginning.

Mystery 6T will remain  mysterious for me because I will never know for sure what are the notes. But I will forgive my little mischievous marvel because I don't mind letting it keep some mystery for itself when I get so much joy when it envelops me.

It's been on my mind for some time now, the smells of the seaside, especially down at the middle and southern Adriatic coast. The ambiental smellls there are different than on the northern part. The soil smells different, the plants are different, the air is more saturated with heat, it just smells different than the north where I spend my summers these days.
And that is where Mystery transported me - to the south of Adriatic, to a beach where air is saturated with heat and the smell of Coppertone, while there is a salty sea breeze carrying whiffs of spruces and firs under which people take cover from the sun.
I suppose this is quite a strong hint that I like my little Mystery? :)

And while it lets me have some fun in the sun, after some 45 minutes, it's time to get out of that sun and lay in the garden. The salty breeze can be found amid the flowers but it's the sweetness of flowers that brings joy now.  Who are my flowery friends? I seem to know you but I'm guessing at your names? Rose? Iris? Jasmine? I don't really care as long as you stick around on this sweet cloud you have me trapped on.

I don't think I'm transporting anyone near me though. Not that I mind, I like some solace when enjoying the company of such a mysterious friend.

If you want to hear what other people have to say, please visit the participating blogs:


Abigail at I Smell Therefore I Am


Grain de Musc

Perfume Journal

Bloody Frida

sponsored by WaftbyCarol
And, if you are interested in having a little Mystery bottle yourself (and believe me, you are interested) post a comment on any of the participating blogs as to why you should have a bottle of this rare , unreleased parfum and we will choose the most creative reply as the winner of a 15 ml , full bottle of Mr Webber's parfum 6T , one of the 22 bottles in existence !!
P.S. I just have to say this - this is where I found in existence what an aquatic note should smell in my opinion. Not that ozony, terrible thingie (I apologize to all those who enjoy Cool Water and the likes) but this salty summer breeze.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Summer Reading Challenge!

‘I’m taking part in the Transworld Dan Brown Summer Reading Challenge!’

Honestly, it was time for a challenge where the publisher hosting it includes residents of Croatia as receivers of the challenge books (this one is open to EU residents). Yeey!! So, I got to choose 4 books from the list below (my choices are in bold - and italic now, it seems bold wasn't really that bold) and I'm ready to go. I mean I will be as soon as they arrive.

If you want to participate, head on over to Transworld Publishers.

1. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

2. Matters of the Heart by Danielle Steel

3. E Squared by Matt Beaumont

4. If I Stay by Gayle Forman

5. Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

6. Forbidden Pleasures by Jo Rees

7. Exit Wound by Andy McNab

8. Second Hand Heart by Catherine Ryan Hyde

9. Assassin by Tom Cain

10. Bryant & May on the Loose by Christopher Fowler

11. Amberville by Tim Davys

12. After You by Julie Buxbaum

13. Lockdown by Sean Black
 14. The Wish by Sasha Blake

15. 61 Hours by Lee Child

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Carol's vintage gems II

Today I want to write about another two, one of which has left me baffled. I just started thinking how I'm starting to smell more and understand scents a bit better than before and then comes Aramis/Portos by Estee Lauder and I get lost in the drydown notes.

Notes by Carol: bergamot, rosemary, lavender, geranium, vetiver, pine, cedar, moss, fir, musk, patchouli, amber, tonka.

What I smelled was a fresh start (by that I usually mean, it gives my mind a slight fresh boost and that usually happens with citruses). It smelled to me warm, spicy, woody and old (as in vintage, not today's stuff).  Then I started getting something dry and vegetable-like, possibly smelling of mushrooms. So I thought that might be msuk (I was so glad to read musk as one of the notes). My idea was that it smelled like an old wardrobe,  where flowers were kept to keep some freshness in it.  Which doesn't sound as good as the scent smells. It reminded me of my grandfather and the way he used to smell, it gets slightly sweet and woody and possibly smoky. The smoke hint just hit me, because if it reminds me of my grandfather then it had to smell at least a bit smoky and that is why I was getting a slightly nauseous vibe from it. The cigarette smoke combined with something sweet smelling always makes me feel slightly nauseous.
I won't be wearing my sample but I will be smelling it more because there are more notes to be learned from it and I know this one is the equivalent of a really difficult math equation.

The other sample I tried today was Extra Vieille by Roger et Gallet. That one was made right for me. :) It starts green, flowery and colognish. 
Turns out the notes are as follows: bergamot, lemon, tamgerine, orange, rosemary, carnation, neroli, petit grain, rose and clove.
To me it smelled like minty, flowery grass, you know, there was a herbal fresh aspect to it making me think  mint. It feels like you are walking through a fragrant meadow where there is some rosemary and lavender growing. But since this is really a cologne, it lasts correspondingly. Not that I mind. I could walk through that meadow every day. Breathing in that green, aromatic spiciness.

Pic by: http://ideachic.wordpress.com

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Carol's vintage gems I

I was lucky enough to score some decants and samples from the already famous Carol's vintage find. So I decided to give them the attention they deserve. You should all take into account that my knowledge of vinateg stuff is seriously limited so I'm just learning my way here. And what a way that is! I wrote the other day how I finally understand all that love for vintage perfumes going around.

Today I'll talk about two samples I received and I'll cheat a bit and check what Carol already said about them because it is really hard deciphering notes without anything to go by.

I first tried Blue Carnation. The opening almost threw me off my feet. Boozy chocolate with some saffron and cinammon incorporated into a perfume structure. And I just adore cinammon. Unfortunately for all the other notes, after a while I couldn't smell anything around saffron/cinammon. :) Not that that really bothered me. It's not like it smells only of cinammon (although it's quite unmistakeable) but that's what I could smell most easily and I just couldn't figure anything else. Now I'll go see what Carol wrote.
I obviously have no idea what carnation smells like. :D I can smell something a bit flowery and slightly salty-tinged (is there some iris in this?) around my cinammon /saffron thingy - maybe that's what carnation smells like?
On my second try I kept wondering where did I get that boozy chocolate from the beginning. But I'll keep hoping it will appear again eventually.

Next off is Stepan. That was a bit more complex to figure out than Blue Carnation (not that I managed well). I thought I was smelling rose (lately, whenever I'm not sure at first what it is, I assume it's rose). It smelled aromatic in a licorice-like way, sweet and sligthly nose-pinchy  but not as lavender can do it, more in the way of green, herbal aromatics (you know rosemary type although I don't think it was that). But it could be an aromatic Mediterranean herb of some kind. It was everything - aromatically oriental and spicy. Like an aromatic rose but not a soft and feminine rose (this smells more masculine), it is easy to smell but slightly prickly. And there is this exuberant fruity feeling hidden somewhere inside. Here is Carol's take.
I will wear this a bit more trying to get more out of it because I can tell there will be more as soon as my nose acclimatizes itself to vintage stuff. I get surprised each time I smell one of them.

Pic by: http://ideachic.wordpress.com

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Perfume thoughts

I am getting ready to get back to my usual posting schedule and go back to my sample to the day posts. I've been sampling those samples (for the lack of a diferent word) lately but just don't yet feel like writing as often as I used to. Or doing much except reading Harry Potter. It somehow feels like with the end of the series, I'll be back to almost my usual self.

But that's not what I was going to write about today. My thoughts today are centered around vintage perfumes. Because I realized yesterday, I went completely wrong way when trying to understand their whole appeal. In my case that was the chypre road. Since I don't appreaciate chypres at all (yet - I'm sure I'll get there eventually), that was a completely wrong road for me. As evidenced by Carol's packages containing some of her wonderful finds. She told me in an email to my statement that I finally understand all that love toward vintage stuff because they smell the way perfume in my mind is supposed to that stuff today just pales in comparison. And that is just plain true. Where did that perfume artistry go, I have no idea, but I do wish someone would bring it back. I mean, the market today is so large, I'm sure there would be quite enough buyers of perfumes as they used to be.

And the perfume that initialized this realization was of course one of Carol's. The Rose Quad (that would be the grassy one). I am still baffled by this new-found rose love I seem to have developed. Have no idea how it came about but now I also know I love vintage perfume. Oh, I'm sure there will be quite a lot of those I won't like but there are those that will make sniffing of those not terribly great worthwhile.

And a leaving thought. Do you ever experience a scent you wore and thought you knew display a new note or feature? That happened to me today. I put on Etro's Lemon Sorbet and suddenly I was walking in a cloud of meadow flowers (for a couple of minutes only). I have no idea where it came from but it was thoroughly enjoyable. :)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A new fig for me!

As those of you who follow my blog already probably know, I really love figs in my perfumes. So it was with great enthusiasm that I tried today IO by Carthusia (di Capri) - I'm a bit lost with their name(s).  I can never pass a sale so when there was a sale at Carol's Niche Place, I took advantage of that (and of the fact that you can take some of her vintage finds if you're fast). :) But I haven't yet smelled all those.
Notes: fig, mint, tea.

Hm, I thought there would be more notes. I mean, it smelled to me like there were more notes in there. Not a typically figgy scent. I mean, not like those I already have. The mint in the beginning is unmistakeable. Not that I mind. I like mint in my perfume. It gives this a fresh, breezy-cold feel and if you know it's there, you can catch the fig on that breeze while it's lightly cooling you. Btw, tea note completely passed me by. I thought there was something flowery in this, but tea didn't occur to me. Oh, well. I did get the breeze that was blowing by the sea while carrying the fig note. I really enjoyed that part.

Then, a bit unfortunately, the soapy bit happened. It really wasn't that bad. Actually, it wasn't bad at all (just soapy a bit) - reminded me of a smell from my childhood and a shampoo my grandmother used to use when washing our hair (there were 4 of us, her grandchildren).  Anyway, I can happily testify to it going away and drydown finally letting the fig come out. The way it comes out in other perfumes at the beginning.

So, I can't say I was blown off my feet but I did like it very much and will definitely use my bottle. All fig scents I have are things I can wear when I don't want to think much about what am I going to wear but just want to leave the house smelling nice.
IO will fit nicely into my collection since it is different from the others I have.

Pic by: http://www.punmiris.com/