Thursday, October 28, 2010

JD Robb: Big Jack

I really, really wish I could keep track of all the things that interest me. But as I'm learning, that is just not possible. or just not possible for me. I happened to miss this when it came out (although I believe it came out in an anthology) so I read it now as a standalone novel.

Sometimes I get amazed at the synchronicity at play in my life. I already talked about how I'm not really my 100% self these days, and this last Saturday, I was actually so down that not even the thought of reading a book could pick me up (and that is the worst thing that can happen to me, not being able to read). And that's when I remembered I had a Eve and Rourke novel I haven't yet read. That book was a life-saver. Not because it was brilliantly better than all other In Death novels but because that series has the capability of making me pick up a book even when I don't feel like reading anything. I simply love the stories of Eve Dallas and Rourke. They are there for each other in the novels, and they are there for me when I need a pick-me-up.

The story revolves around a big diamond heist that happened sometime around now and in the book we are looking for a quarted of diamonds never found by going back and taking a look at what happened at the time of the robbery.

It's a typical Dallas story with a crime that needs solving and of course gets solved. It's really good how JD Robb (or Nora Roberts) gets these crimes to sometimes be terribly transparent who did them and sometimes completely non-transparent until Dallas lets us know who's guilty.  But that is true to that line of work - not all crimes are equally difficult to solve.

And this is all the details I'm going to give. If you're a fan of the series, it should be enough, if you never read a book from it, well, you really should and you better start at the beginning.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Caron: Aimez-Moi

I started swapping much earlier than I started blogging. So when I decided I wanted to write about perfumes, I already had a significant collection of decants and samples. One of them being Aimez-moi (or Love me).

What I should mention is that, even though I had this decant for quite some time, I never actually wore it. I must have tried it at the time I recieved it, but after that, forgetting what it smelled like, I sort of went around it each time I chose a perfume to wear.
Well, today is the day Aimez-Moi finally got some wear space. And I'm glad I decided to do it.
I can't say I was smitten, then again, I tend not to like statements as the name of this scent so that is definitely a deterrent.

I was pleasantly surprised when upon application I smelled mint. :) As some of my readers might know, I'm a huge fan of Charmes et Feuilles by TDC which is heavy on mint (more than Aimez-Moi). So, I thought, all right, we're off to a good start. Some sweet and peppery smelling mint - I'm always ready for that. Especially when I got little whiffs of green grass peeking through. I found the opening totally fascinating because it is not often that I come upon mint in perfume, especially mint not hinting at toothpaste.
 I will give you the notes now so you can see that what I'm getting  is not exactly the stuff listed.

Notes: anise, freesia, violet leaf, bergamot, mint, caraway, magnolia, cardamom, jasmine, peach, iris heliotrope, tonka bean, amber, musk and cloves

The more I smell scent, the more I realize that the list of notes can't come close to making you imagine what a scent might smell like.
I mean, I can't say I got to smell the fruit in this one. I mean, I could say it was underlying what I was smelling and giving it sweetness that only fruit can give but that's about as much as I cansay about the fruit in it. I did smell a flowery accord but getting to particular flowers, not really. Which I think gives credit to the perfume - it is so well-blended that individual notes escape me.
The drydown was what really made me decide I will be using my decant more often. It also made me realize I need to distinguish better between vanilla and ambery sweet drydowns. In this case, the drydown is lighty sweet amber with floral nuances. Quite lovely really.

In the end, I can't say I was swept off my feet and I love this, but I do like it a lot and that's a good start for love, don't you think?

Pic by:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I'll skip morning and proceed straight to the evening

It is a very delicate thing, trying a scent by a house you never before tried. I don't think it's possible for anyone to like all the fragrances made by a particular house, so when approaching a new one, you should take care to try something that might appeal to you. Or, you order a Luckyscent sample bag and take your chance. :)

I've heard a lot of good things about the Maison Francis Kurkdjian (actually read, I don't think many people I know would recognize the name). So, it was with optimism that I tried the Absolues from the Luckyscent pack. Well, the optimism was half valid. I'll stick with the Absolue pour le Soir for the whole day and simply skip the Matin one.

I mean, ok, yes, people emerge fresh in the morning from their homes, but I still don't want to smell sweetly soapy floral like. Exactly like the washing product I use? OK, I don't use products that smell like that because I really don't like that smell, but I can see the appeal for other people.

Notes: Calabrian bergamot, Sicilian lemon, Moroccan white thyme, lavender, Tunisian neroli, woody iris accord, dry amber accord, violet accord

The citruses in the beginning could have fooled me. I didn't get them but it seems that in this scent, the longer you wear it, more citruses appear along the way. In the end (drydown) I kept thinking it smelled like a summer cologne. But in the beginning, all I could think was oh no, the violet accord is there putting the soapiness into this (and I have no idea why I think violets smell soapy but they do to me). I think it sounds bad now but it's not if you're into that kind of stuff. And I loved the fact that I could smell thyme but that's the best thing I can say about it. I do imagine though this will sell wonderfully.

You know, it's becoming more and more apparent that I'm more of an evening person. Not night, but evening. My best hours in the day are between 5 and 10 P.M. (which doesn't sound real good for my work efficiency).
Anyway, I wouldn't mind smelling like Absolue pour le Matin all day long, although people might wonder where did I spend the night. Which brings me back, I think I will have to upgrade my own estimate of my perfume tolerance on Flittersniffer's scale.
I can definitely see why this would be named an evening scent. First of all, it smells like you've already been naughty with someone. Yeah, cumin is in there. :) You're smelling sweet and floral but oh boy, are you a naughty girl under there.
And I still can't believe I wrote that. Because when I started this perfume journey, I kept thinking when seeing stuff like that on other blogs, What in the world are they smelling?! I never smell stuff like that.
Well, now I do. And more importantly, I like it! :) Yep, definitely an upgrade on my own estimated place on that scale...

Here are the notes: Infusion of benzoin from Siam, cumin, ylang-ylang, Bulgarian and Iranian rose honey, incense absolute, Atlas cedarwood and sandalwood

Before anyone starts thinking that it's a bit too much, the cumin wears off eventually and incense kicks in more seriously (it's there but it gets amplified as the time passes). I'm not always tolerant of incense but here I'm fine with it. although, I would catch a whiff of APLM and think, oh great, another one that reminds me of Caravelle Epicee and then the next moment, incense would make it go away. That is also why I though that there must be some spices in the opening but I didn't see them listed. Of course, it could be just a combination of cumin and wood but I really thought some clove or cinammon (or even something more peppery) found its way in.
So the incense note gets stronger before it subsides draping itself with benzoin and sandalwood. I am just very satisfied with the way this one turned out.

Pic by:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Personal perfume trivia

And all thanks to Luckyscent. :)

I got their fall sample package the other day and it sparked a whole bunch of interesting situations.

I was happy to try Amouage Memoir Woman and almost instantly got reminded of Frapin's Caravelle Epicee. So I tried them side by side and luckily they are not the same. CE is much sweeter in a spicy way while Memoir gets a boozy thing going more than CE. I like Memoir quite a lot, but not that a lot to buy a bottle.

Then, Luckyscent tried to trick me and they switched labels on Andy Tauer scents. :) Shame on them.
Imagine my surprise when I finally happily applied some Eau d'epices I waited for so long to try and it turned into a wet smelling something resembling a rose. Now is a good time to say I wasn't expecting Une Rose Vermeille to work on my skin because it's a wet rose floral. I was very right, it fell splat and didn't move anymore. And I do mean no movement at all. So I tried the sample labeled Une Rose Vermeille and imagine my surprise when it turned into this juicy sweet thing that lasts and lasts (I keep wondering how do you make that fruity juicy note last so long?).

Which brings me to Vero Onda Rubj and resemblance between Rubj and La Prairie Threads Sapphire. Well, Sapphire only resembles Rubj which is much richer and fuller but the resemblance is definitely there. And one is called Rubj and the other Sapphire.  Interesting. :) Although, to be completely honest, I only smelled Sapphire on a strip and didn't give it a lot thought because after trying Rubj just the day before, there wasn't
any chance it would be better than Rubj.

Here are the notes.
Rubj: Bergamot, mandarin, neroli, passion fruit, cumin, orange flower absolute, tuberose, basil, cedar, oak moss, musk.

Sapphire: Top notes are green notes, apricot and freesia; middle notes are jasmine, narcissus and gardenia; base notes are woodsy notes and amber.

And before I leave, I just licked my fingers (I admit, I'm eating potato chips while writing this, yes, I don't really live a completely healthy life) and afterwards I realized there was still some myrrh absolute on them (barely but still) and that is the reason my tongue tastes bitterness in my mouth. Oh well, outside, inside, who cares if it smells nice. :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I've been thinking - about being in balance

When I said the other day that I meant to write more, I did actually mean about perfumes but it seems now I'm still at the point where I'm talking more about my thoughts than perfume. Oh well. It'll get better.

I noticed these last years that autumn is just not my time of year. Not that I don't like it, I like it very much. The colors, the smells, the cold seeping slowly around my city, curled with a book while it rains outside and I'm warm, there is just so much to love about autumn. But it just isn't the time of year when I feel at 100%. Or 90 %. Well, at the moment, I don't think I'm more than 60% of my own self.

The things is, this spring, I felt I was completely in balance. I had managed to set my life so I would have time for all the things I love, I was able to write often and everything was moving at the right pace. Then came the time of bad stuff and after that, I just can't seem to regain my balance. I try, and it seems I'm getting there and then something happens, and it seems I'm more behind than I was before.  At least, that's the way I feel now.
I know life will eventually move into my "perfect" balanced routine but I wish it would happen sooner.
One of the things I noticed that happens each autumn is that I cannot get back into my training routine. I start normal when I get back from my vacation and it lasts a few weeks and then everything falls apart.
It seems to me I need to either learn to go with the flow of annual life for me (which is difficult because it makes me feel lazy) or I need to do something with my subconscience and convince it that it needs to let me pursue my ideas and needs at 100% of my usual self. Because I'm usually more concentrated and healthy and optimistic than I am now (or any other autumn until now for that matter).

At the moment, it's only perfume that has the capability to make me sigh in relief. It's worrying when I lose interest in books.  But perfume still holds the mystery and even when it's bad, it's still a new mystery to discover.

Like what I'm smelling today. Tom Ford's Champaca Absolute. I'm baffled by it. I didn't fall in love with it, for that matter, I'm not even sure I like it but it mesmerized me with this austereness emanating from it. That was my initial thought. Bitter and austere (and white). Then I took a look at the notes and noticed Tokaji wine and cognac mentioned first. They don't seem to be in my decant. :) I have no idea where they went, but believe me, I would have noticed if they were around. :)
Champaca Absolute certainly doesn't qualify (IMO) as a winter scent and I need to try it once weather turns warm again. It holds an appeal I cannot understand. It is by no account my type of scent. But I cannot help smelling my wrist over and over again. I'm entranced by a perfume I would never have guessed had that ability. But then again, you never know what awaits you around the corner...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I'm spoiled!

Or as I'd prefer putting it, I know exactly what I don't want and I have a relatively good idea of what I do want.

The realization really came about quite unexpectedly.

I was going home from work and had some chores on the way home which made me pass by my local Douglas (well, I mapped the walking route so it would pass my Douglas) and I went in to see and try if they have something new.
And they did! They had the new Calvin Klein Beauty and Carolina Herrera 212 VIP something (there comes a whole sentence in the name after the VIP part). Anyway, it took VIP approximately 2 minutes to display its nasty, throat-raspy side (my experience so far is that it's some kind of a synthetic musk or flower accord, whatever it is, please, stop using it!). Beaty kept its pace ok, not that I would consider buying it ok, but it wasn't in my throat. Until there wafted a freshly washed accord out of it and not exactly raspiness, but my nose wasn't grateful.

My question now is, why on earth aren't those ingredients banned by the IFRA because they are the only ones that actually have a physical effect on my body? And they are going to have it even if someone else puts it on. I've smelled a lot of essential oils so far and I can tell you none of those ever made any similar impact.
I want IFRA to ban this. It irritates my throat.

I'm more and more for the natural stuff.

Which got proven later today. I came home and went to take a shower and decided to use my all natural peeling on my body as well (it's a small bottle so I was saving it for my face mostly). I got it from the Scented Djinn - their Etsy shop.

I don't know their names, I have two peelings (I couldn't find them on their site now). One is made from oat flakes and the other from cane sugar, ground almonds and ground raw coconut.
Usually when I use a regular peeling, I need to moisturize my skin a lot because even though it makes my skin smooth, it dries it at the same time. Not this natural one. I feel good all over just thinking about it. My skin is both soft and moisturized at the same time. I cannot describe how wonderful it made me feel to walk out of a shower feeling my skin was refreshed and not dry.
I admit, I'm as obsessed with my skin as I'm with my hair. :)

And here is where I return to what I started with. I'm now spoiled for perfumes that don't make my throat ache (or smell freshly laundered) and I want to use products on my body that work with my skin and not against it (meaning I need to use another product to supress the negative effect of the previously used one). I'm not usually the conspiracy theory type but this is definitely making me re-think the basis on which the whole cosmetics industry resides.

Pic by:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Finally Shalimar! Or how orientals are taking me over

There's just no point denying it, I'm on oriental perfume freak. I seem to be falling deeper and deeper into the mysterious cloud they are creating around me and more and more are in that cloud.

As you can see from the title, my new oriental find is Shalimar. Or, more like, we finally hit it off. All we needed was a second meeting and we're ok now. Well, more than ok actually.

The thing is, lately, Shalimar has been jumping out at me from all over. First, I saw a Katie Puckrik clip where she's also all over it. Then, I was browsing through a store here, and it winked from a shelf. I never ever noticed it before on a shelf anywhere. Only to end this weekend with Angelology and one of the girls (the rich one) wears it as her signature scent at the beginning of the WW II.

So, I located my mini bottle and re-acquinted myself with Shalimar. We've been hanging out ever since. :)

Btw, if you are ever in search of notes, there is quite a lot of them to be found if you keep searching. Here are all those I managed to gather.
Notes: bergamot, lemon, jasmine, rose, iris, incense, opoponax, tonka bean, vanilla, tangerine, cedar, patchouli, orrise, benzoin, peru balsam, leather, vetiver, heliotrope, civet, sandalwood.

I have no idea if all of them are in my EdT but it certainly smells great. I guess you just can't barge into the world of perfumes and know what stuff is great or what family you prefer. Some perfumes are going to reveal their secrets only after you cover a lot of ground.

So, what I like about Shalimar is that on me, it is not a sweet oriental. I was actually surprised by the beginning which is dry, spicy, slightly almondy but austere in appearance. It strikes me as being quite strict, no soft smiles on this lady. Only after a while it mellows a bit but don't you dare think it is a nice and lovely girl. Oh no, it's a strong woman with serious backbone, one that will seduce you and you won't know what hit you.
One of the reasons I kept on searching for notes was because I was surprised by smelling patchouli in there (some dryness and earthiness combined) so I felt quite good when I saw it listed together with cedar which I realized was alongside patchouli. The things is, you just can't describe Shalimar through the notes. Although I can say that jasmine was hiding each time I tried it. :)
As soon as I can, I'll try the EdP to see if the underlying booziness will get stronger (I would love that benzoin to get a more prominent role).

In the meantime, I'm falling asleep each night with my wrist under my nose...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Are angels evil?!

According to Danielle Trussoni, yes and no. Or, some of them might be since they are sociopathic in such extremes that it can't be termed anything else. Then, again, if we talk about Nephilim, they aren't angels strictly speaking, they are the children of Watchers and Daughters of Men so I guess they are only half-angelic? Have I lost you? If yes, go read Angelology, if not, well, go read it anyway. It's definitely an interesting take on the problems of human kind.

The only problem I had with the book is that it took forever to get my bearings and to finally understand the origins of the problem. In the meantime, I got familiar with psalms, angel theory, apocriphal works and other religious texts connected with angels. It gets a bit complicated before it gets cleared because in the middle of the book you are taken to World War II and from there, for a bit to the times of Crusades. That was actually quite well written because I had to remember that that is not what the book is about and think back to what happened in the beginning.

I'm not really familiar with angel ranks or spheres, but that is how the book is portioned, 3 spheres and a choir (which works great as thematic parts of the book). There was a reference in the text regarding spheres and the choir but I didn't give it much thought as it was hidden among all other information in there.

What I did give a lot of thought to (and anxious at that) was the question - is there going to be a second book coming out and how soon?! Because the end just leaves you hanging out there - or would that be flying out there? (shame on you Mrs Trussoni!). :)
The answer to that question is yes.

I know there's a lot of talk about this book (it was translated quite quickly into Croatian and I see banners all over the place) and if you are seeing similarities with The Historian by E. Kostova, you're not the only one. The only difference is, Angelology is in my opinion much better.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Perfume thoughts

Hopefully, this post brings an end to my post draught lately.
My mind is just scattered all over the place and I have some serious trouble both concentrating on any type of mental work or remembering things I'm supposed to do (I'm writing all sorts of notes these days in order to remember to do everything).

I saw on some other blogs that the autumn perfume picks started appearing. I wish I could do one as well, but as with my mind, my nose is all over the place and I'm still not in an autumnal frame of mind completely (even though the weather is, for over a month now).

I have no problem getting into summer or winter perfume frame of mind, but both spring an autumn sneak up on me and I'm left wondering what is appropriate and it's a hit and miss kind of wondering.

In my mind, it's like this: Is autumn appropriate time to start with all those warm winter scents I have or am I supposed to ease my way into some seriously warm orientals and woods with something less heavy? And what exactly is less heavy? Which then leads me to thinking I might need to buy something more autumn-like even though I'm still not sure what would that be.

So, these days, I'm easing my way into autumn with some ambers (which seems a good color choice for autumn) and some patchoulis, but those that are more dry and earthy so I can still warm them up before it gets too cold.

Yesterday I also realized what a labyrinth of choices the perfume world presents and I still get lost in it regularly. To give you an example.

I've read wonderful reviews of Fendi Theorema all over the blogs and I got a sample of it last winter. I tried it then  and I liked it very much and contemplated the need of a bottle.
So, yesterday, in my autumnal review of which scents are appropriate and which aren't, I put Theorema on one arm and another oriental (which is coming up for review quite soon) on another. And it started in Theorema's favour but it didn't last long.  I finally understood that other oriental and why it got some serious love and even though I wouldn't mind wearing Theorema if someone gave me a bottle since it is perfectly nice and easy to wear and just feels right, but in comparison to the other one, it will never bring forth some serious feelings from me.
And there are enough perfumes out there which are going to make me feel strong about them so I decided not to buy any of those that don't do that anymore.

We'll just have to wait and see if I actually manage that. :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Laurell K. Hamilton: Bullet

Who thought Mother of all Darkness was dead?!

I for one didn't. I mean there's no way they were going to kill her so easily. Turns out that was true and boy, is it going to be even more difficult killing her now.

But, they do have a plan by the end of the book, one that requires a lot of metaphysical pondering for us readers (I for one just went with the flow and didn't try thinking it through). I mean it really sounded complicated who had what powers and how they kept each other in check, and who went behind whose back in order to keep thing relatively even and then who is going to get killed slowly and painfully because of what they did... Anyway, I just wanted to get to the action so I just read through it and didn't try to find my way through the maze of political/metaphysical labyrinth.

One thing I can say for Mrs. Hamilton more than for any other author I've read is, she can sure take you a bit beyond your comfort level. Although I'm no longer surprised by that and it doesn't deter me from finishing the book. 

At the beginning of the series, it was all the gore and gruesome killings with some incredibly awful creatures. Then it went into sex and we're still in that territory but this time around, there are some man on man situations that might not be for everyone (and a bit girl with girl). Not much really and in my opinion not badly done. The one thing that surprised me though (and quite a lot as I still cannot really understand it but then again I could never understand Anita's mind) is the fact that she doesn't get jealous at one point in the book where I got the feeling it would be required. Although it's best for everyone that she doesn't.

I steered away from the Mother of all Darkness but there's not much else to be sadi. After realizing the mess they are in, the rest of the book is about what needs to be done to deal with it. And at the end of it, almost everything is in place for the next book to take us to war.

Laurell K. Hamilton: Flirt

I've been a bit disappointed when I first got that book but that was because it's not the standard Anita Blake size. It's a novella so I got to enjoy the excitement of Anita Blake's life for only a third of the usual story. Oh well, at least I got some.

I'm going to give some spoilers so you know not to read on if you don't want them. :)

I was a bit surprised to see that Anita got a bit more relaxed  in her dealings with men, so much so that she flirted a bit with a waiter until the bad stuff started happening.

This time there is no Mother of all Darkness (she got killed in the previous book, but I mean, who ever believed that was the end of it?) but Anita's everyday work (raising zombies) is what gets her in trouble. Anyway, she is kidnapped and forced to cooperate unless she wants her lovers killed and I'm not going into details how it was all set up but it works. The group that kidnapped her took into account everything except the fact that she carries weretiger strain of  lycanthropy as well. That's all I'm going to say on the subject.

The good thing about this book is that there's not too much sex and Anita's musings on how she's a bad little Christian and battling with her own conscience. What needs to be done that everyone is safe, needs to be done, even though the consequences are a bit grey (to say the least).

Friday, October 1, 2010

Enveloped in lovely flowers

You know how I said the other day I was smelling perfumes that I didn't feel I had the right words to describe? Well, I still don't, but I don't think I'll be coming up with them any time soon and I do want to share with you this new-found classic that was born in the 21st century.

The two creations by Annie Buzantian for Puredistance are recent but they smell elegantly classic and as if they weren't produced in these times.

As with Puredistance I, Antonia comes without any notes listed. Oh, I adore a good mistery. I just wish later someone would tell me how correct was I in my assumptions.
So let me tell you what captivated me with Antonia. Because that is what happened, even though when I first tried it, I still thought it couldn't possibly beat Puredistance I for my affections.

It starts green, powdery and slightly earthy, there is a bitter quality to that greeness but at the same time, it evokes softness and warmth. A friend told me it smelled fresh to her which made me consider my own idea of fresh. My nose seems to have evolved in time when  fresh in my mind is linked with aquatic, ozonic, fabric softener ideas of fresh. This is not it. I realized later that this is what fresh must have smelled like in historical romance. Classic, soft, green and flowery.

After the initial slightly bitter feel to greeness (and brief flirting with soapiness), it just gets better and better. I cannot stop myself smelling it, I feel like someone perfumed my favourite cashmere sweater with lush flowers so that at the same time I feel warm and enveloped in a cloud of white, velvety flowers. It is like your favourite elegantly stylish aunt hugging you and the warmth and perfume that envelops you with all the love that is in that hug. Elegance and style are forever and smelling like that can never be wrong.

Today I'm finally wearing it not just testing it on my wrist. What can I say? It feels like it's blooming on my skin. For something so soft and feminine, it has some serious tenacity and wonderful wafting capability. And I absolutely love the fact that 7 hours after applying it, I can still smell it around me.
It is never too sweet, something is hiding in there making it just perfectly poised with florals dancing around a base hiding a note that won't let them drown in their own lushness and sweetness. It also makes me wonder if there is some kind of a juicy fruit note hidden in those flowers?

I want to thank Ninja of  Puredistance for sending me a sample of their new perfume. There is also one more reason I need to thank them. They made me realize that I actually love classic perfumes (I really didn't think that before).

Picture was received as part of Puredistance release package.