Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year!

I wish everyone all the best in the year to come, that the challenges that are to come are the ones we can face, that the happiness we feel is the one we can share, that there is money we cannot spend and the health is something we don't have to worry about!

Pictures by:

Best of the Best 2009.

It was a nice surprise to be included in the group of bloggers who are participating in a joint blog project envisioned by Elena from Perfume Shrine - Best of the Best 2009. :)
I find it appropriate to end the year (and a decade) on a positive note since it seems to me we are all missing some positivism in our lives, especially at the end of this decade.

Underneath you will find links to other participating blogs to check what are their thoughts on what was best this year.

Hm, I don't know where to start from. :)

*2009 niche perfume releases I bought or plan on buying

Serge Lutens: Fille en Aiguilles
L'Artisan Parfumeur: Al Oudh
Parfum d'Empire: Wazamba

*Mainstream releases I liked enough to own
Lolita Lempicka: Si Lolita
Givenchy Harvest collection 2008: Organza Fleur d'Oranger

*Releases I didn't try but consider mention-worthy

Cartier "Les Heures de Parfum" collection
Van Cleef & Arpels "Collection Extraordinaire"

*Perfumes that knocked me off my feet

Donna Karan : Labdanum
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz: much of her work is incredible, but to limit myself to one, it would be Sandalo Inspiritu
Parfums DelRae: Amoureuse
Juliet Stewart: Juliet
Ava Luxe: Madame X
Amouage: Lyric for Woman

*Discovery of perfumers whose work speaks of their incredible talent and individuality

*Best vintage discovery

Balmain: Vent Vert - I still have no words to describe it

*The notes I fell in love this year

Labdanum, orange blossom and sandalwood

*House whose work I appreciate but cannot wear

*Author discovery

James Rollins and his Sigma series

*Authors re-discovered by each book of theirs I read

*The movie of the year

Ok, I haven't watched Avatar yet so this might actually turn into movies, but I did watch Sherlock Holmes and enjoyed it immensely. :)

*And in the end, the realization of the year

This is my first year as a blogger (still not a full year) and I would never have guessed how much joy and friendship this would bring. This is not a hobby, it is a way of life which promotes knowledge, positive thinking, intelligent conversation and the thing I appreciate most of all - friendship and camaraderie across the borders and around the world.

Other wonderful bloggers participating, so please check them out as well:

Picture by: Perfume Shrine

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I've been thinking...

At the moment I have no perfume to review and no books/authors to write about. Soon, but not today.

I don't know if this happens to anyone else but I find it annoying and strange. Over these Christmas days I didn't have neither the time nor the will to concentrate on smelling something new and interesting (or just new, or just interesting) so I didn't. Then as the new week started yesterday, I wanted to go on with all those wonders of samples I have everywhere, so I did. And what happens?! A complete fiasco. My nose and my brain seem to have lost the connection. It is like I'm a beginner once more (ok, so I'm not really far down the road, but I'm not at the beginning either). This has already happened before - right after I came from summer vacation. There seems to be a break where once was a way. It will probably take 2 or 3 days for me to get back on track, but what I find annoying is that it happens. Does this happen to anyone else?

So, yesterday I wanted to begin smelling the color series by DSH and I start with Quinacridone Violet and I got everything mixed (the fruit in the opening) and then I see the list of notes, and I realize there is so much happening in what I'm smelling and I can smell it happening, I just can't seem to verbalize it. In any manner. :(

Then I went on with Estee Lauder's Jasmine White Moss. I already smelled it before when I got the sample but since it was lying near and I saw it mentioned on MUA, I went to check it again. And this time I smelled much more than the initial time, but all I could say is after is that it would be nice to own a decant of this. Depressing really what time away from concentrated sniffing can do to me...

Well, that too shall pass.

I don't know what you are going to be doing this New Year's Eve but I'm really only up to enjoying champagne in front of the TV. And it seems that is what I'll be doing together with my boyfriend. Everyone I talk to these days is pretty much thinking the same. What about you?

This has been a difficult year, to finish off a difficult decade and I hope what awaits us in the years to come brings more light and joy to the world. The world deserves it.

Picture is mine.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

I wish everyone a merry Christmas to be spent in joy and laughter with your family and loved ones!

Here are some photos from Zagreb (taken by me) while there was still snow. :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

WoW: J.D. Robb, in Death series

Finally, it is J.D. Robb's turn. Btw, that's Nora Roberts' pseudonym for the ... in Death series which deviate slightly from her love stories located in actual time (or maybe past). This series is located in NY at around 2060. :) And I absolutely love it!

Just to let you know, if you haven't read the first book, some spoilers ahead.

Yesterday I finished Kindred in Death and got my dose of Darling Eve and Roarke (only Roarke calls her darling as she is the love of his life and wife - everyone else is pretty much either in awe or scared of her). :)

I must admit I hate her. ;)

What woman wouldn't? The brains, the looks, lives off chocolate and coffee, has the body of a super model, athletic with a disgustingly rich, beautiful and charming husband who adores her (and vice versa).

The only problem with that picture is that she is haunted by her past which I won't describe here, as that would be too big a spoiler and I'll leave it to you to discover the depth of human depravity. Anyway, she fought her way from the most horrible situation you can imagine and made her life in police force where, during a case, she meets her future husband (Roarke - and that's all name you ever know about him) who is at the same time a suspect. I read the first book several times, where they meet and fall in love, and I just realized I will be doing it again shortly because I totally love it.

The series has progressed to over 20 books (as you can imagine by now, I have all of them). :) I wish I didn't become so hooked because they are now first published as hard covers and I can't wait for paperback when Lieutenant Dallas is concerned. In each she solves a different case and each time her husband, the e-magician helps. Of course. :)

What I realized in the latest book is, that either I wasn't paying much attention before or there are some minor changes in this one. The thing is, I realized the police procedures during a case (how they start, what exactly do they do and how, what they do for the public image of their investigation, etc.) is much more clear and transparent in Kindred in Death. It's like a step by step explanation of an investigation and what goes on in minds of cops. It probably sounds terribly boring but it's never that. :) Quite the opposite.

P.S. I checked - this is book 30.

Friday, December 18, 2009

DSH round-up (so far)

I've been wanting to write this for days but it's pre-Christmas time and free time usually dwindles to non-existant in that period (at least for me). :)

When I ordered last from DSH site, I didn't realize I actually ordered so many samples. I was a bit surprised when I started unpacking them but I'm not complaining - there will be things to try and try and try... :)

So, let's start:

Silver Fir

I actually had a couple of samples that I almost thought had mixed labels. :) This was one of them. It is the season so I smelled several fir scents lately when this one came along and in the opening instead of fir, I got citrusy fresh opening. :) I was wondering what was happening and then I took a look at the notes and realized I could smell the spearmint and grapefruit/bergamot. :) Then this went through a phase that was a strange sweet vanilla? which I didn't like and subsided into a lovely drydown.


Top notes: Spice Notes

Middle notes: Fir Needle, Spruce

This was the other scent I had on my other wrist and the one that made me think someone mixed the labels because I got a strong fir note from this. I thought I was smelling lavender and rosemary at the beginning but then realized it was probably me mixing it with fir scent. :) I mix notes a lot in my head.

I really liked this one because once the fir subsides what you are left with is the atmosphere of the name. Very appropriate - like having a party around a Christmas tree, one where you smell sexy. Incredible really how she managed that.

Winter White

Top notes: Raspberry

I wasn't exactly thrilled with opening of this one - reminded me of marzipan and flowers. I guess that can be attributed to the white chocolate (which I'm not a fan of in real life) and raspberry combo. Later, the chocolate was nice but the whole idea is too powdery for me and I'm not really into that. It's not too much though and I will wear my sample because the chocolate ends up smelling great. And calory-free. ;)


Cookies, cookies, cookies. Here in Croatia (and around) we have soft cakes that are made of some kind of thin sponge cake, with orange jelly covered in chocolate (jaffa cakes). I don't think there is any ginger in those but the opening of this reminded me strongly of that. No wonder, mandarin, ambrette and cocoa. It starts a bit alcoholic and herbal sweer and then I get my jaffa cake association. This one is as edible as they get and totally yummy. I would never have guessed I would contemplate wearing something that reminds me of food so strongly and smelling like cookies, but you never know what awaits you around the corner. :) Anyway, I will smell like Gingembre this Christmas but not of cookies all the time, some clove, and labdanum and sandal as well.

Piment and Chocolat

This is definitely my favorite of today's round-up. I cannot describe it in words that will bring this forth as it deserves. I already mentioned it the other day and I need to repeat that. This is thick, dark, hot chocolate mixed with chili to better warm you up when you drink it, only this one will be drunk through the nose and enjoyed guilt-free. If nothing else of the ones I mentioned today - try this one.


I will have to give more nose-time to this one. I got the bergamot and cinammon but I kind of spaced out on the rest and just the list of notes makes me wonder how in the world did I manage to skip through the rest. So, no actual thoughts on this one yet, sorry.

On to the last two I thought got mixed up as well.

Three Kings

There is no listing for this on the DSH site. So, no notes for this. I thought it was going to smell like myrhh and incense (in the very hard to breathe church way) but I was completely wrong.

It smells more green and sharp - ish, I thought I got some smoke/incense but couldn't be sure (it was wafting barely through). My thought on notes ran like this: vetiver and benzoin?, perhaps labdanum, galbanum and oakmoss maybe, I think something smells celery like. :)

We'll see eventually how wrong I was. :)

Twelfth Night

Middle notes: Laurel Leaf, Patchouli

As you can see by the notes, this one has the notes I thought Three Kings should have. :) I thought I smelled vetiver but realized that could be the patchouli + laurel combination. And I could smell myrhh and incense. It's not a happy and festive scent like those mentioned before but it is interesting.

It's incredible how DSH can evoke specific feelings/atmosphere and still manage to make one long to wear such a scent.

Some I love completely, some I like in the beginning and some I like in the drydown more. But there is something to like in all of them. I just have to say I think that is some great talent Ms Hurwitz has.

Picture by:

Monday, December 14, 2009

WoW: Shana Galen

I'm a bit late with this, I actually skipped last week (that's because I didn't want to talk about Kresley Cole again so soon). So, I finished When Dashing met Danger yesterday and it was good. It wasn't bad and I can't say it was terribly fascinating but there might be 2 reasons to that:

1) It's that time of the month when nothing is good enough (except DSH's Piment and Chocolat I tried today and it smells absolutely wonderful, like thick, dark, hot chocolate spiced with chili)

2) The heroine is only 20 and therefore from my perspective somewhat (ok, more than somewhat) naive and full of herself in a way I cannot understand, which does not make it bad, just not something I can relate with and hence, lost on me.

The story actually gets better the more it progresses towards the end, when I actually stopped being annoyed with the relationship between the male character and female. For a novel that didn't really make it into a "read again" category, I seem to be thinking a lot about it. I'm actually wondering at the characterization of the two main characters. Since I cannot relate to her behaviour, I cannot actually tell if it is good or bad (in character with the heroine). I find that strange and any help on understanding it better will be appreciated. :)

I know I already talked about how I sometime skip books because I don't like the blurbs and I need to point that out once more. I had my copy of this book for quite some time now (measurable in years) and I only started on it the other day because it was the only romance novel I had at hand. Sometimes I think that people who write that, write it for romance beginners and not for us who have been reading this for years and years.
Anyway, I wasn't thrilled but I will definitely give Shana Galen another try, I think there might be some goodness in it for me in the future.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My favourite Serge Lutens perfume

I found my favourite SL fragrance. Not that I don't like the rest - I actually haven't smelled any of them (except Chergui) that I didn't like and wouldn't mind wearing. It is really strange after you read this that the only SL bell jar I have is actually Chergui. :) I blame it on the SL and the SA working in the Paris boutique. And if you are ever there, don't smell the strips, they are not helpful at all. I smelled all the Bois and didn't particulary like any. Now when I keep getting samples of them, I wonder how come they didn't smell this nice when I was there...

Anyway my favourite is Fille en Aiguilles and I better find a large decant soon (I'm spending much on Christmas presents so I'm not buying myself a bottle - yet).

Notes: vetiver, incense, fruits, pine needles, spices and luminous woody-oriental base.

Ok, so it's not possible to really describe any fragrance - one can get the idea out of the description but until you actually smell it, it is a vague idea you have in your head. After reading the reviews of this I understood there would be pine in it but I didn't think it would smell nice. I thought it might be too strong. I really should know better than to doubt Mr Lutens creations. :)

There is a signature in some of SL creations, especially of the woody line. This one has it as well but that pine needle note and the fruit make it perfect in my opinion (ok, vetiver and incense help as well).

It starts off like boozy pine smell with lightly burnt wood from the fireplace (only wood you would find there, not the smoke). And I couldn't believe it when I got the incense (I'm really proud at being able to discern it), especially because I was never a fan (to put it mildly). I love it here - but it is not too strong so I guess that's why I like it.

I kept wondering about the fruit in this - first I thought it might be more of the candied sort (in the beginning) but then I got this tangy-juicy vibe so I thought maybe some tangerine and pomegranate? I don't really know, I wish someone would tell me if I'm right or wrong.

Anyway, why I love this is because it is like a breath of winter fresh air over the woody-oriental loveliness of SL creations.

Picture by:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Kreativ blogger goes to...

I finally got to the part that I like almost the most as being nominated - I get to nominate blogs I've enjoyed reading very much (in no particular order):

Carol's unique way of presenting fragrance never misses - I can always imagine what she is smelling and I wish I was smelling it with her (when she is smelling something nice which is most of the time).

I think lightning would strike me if I didn't nominate Divina and her blog. :) Divina's poetic writing on perfume never fails to inspire.

I keep wondering how Diana comes up with post names. :) They are always interesting - ok, my guess is that they come from songs (great idea btw to incorporate that into posts) but unfortunately for me, I'm not that familiar with all of them. That doesn't stop me to enjoy them though.

I didn't know what the blog was about but I got fascinated by the name (which I can somewhat relate to, everyone who knows me keeps making chicken when I come). It turns out there's a wealth of fragrance, books, movies and gardening thoughts to be found there.

This list wouldn't ve complete without Simone's blog (once more thank you for nominating me). She writes about romance, history and writing all in one and transports you to a salon from a 19th century when you visit her blog - which I do regurarly because if I can't visit such a salon in real life (I as an Aquarius live in the wrong time but they get it wrong when they say it only concerns future, it does not), I can do it over at Simone's. :)

Rita from the Left Coast never fails to impress with her thoughts on perfume which are at the same time provoking and hilariously funny. I love people whose minds are free.

Last but not least, a blog that promotes positive thinking. Each time I try to give my thoughts on the idea of the week, my mind ends up somewhere unexpected. What better way to get to know oneself?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Kreativ blogger award

First of all, I have to say this has come as a surprise and a lovely early Christmas gift. I recieved a blog award - that was totally unexpected and from a blogger whose writing is something I cannot put into words - she transports you to another time and place.
So, this is what I have to do:

1)Copy and paste the award and post a link to the blog that nominated me.

Thank you Simone for nominating me. :) It means a lot coming from you!

2) Tell seven things about myself (those you will find below).

3) Nominate seven other bloggers and pass the award along, (I'll do that soon).

Okay, so 7 things about myself:

1) I realized I have a problem talking about myself when asked to do it (not helpful at job interviews).

2) I really love pilates and I plan on doing it as long as I can (hopefully till the day I die).

3) I'm obsessed with my hair.

4) I read horoscope regularly but if it's bad I say to myself it's only horoscope and shouldn't be taken seriously.

5) I spend way too much money on perfume and books. Not that I really feel so but when compared with other people, there is really no way to excuse that amount. :)

6) I never thought blogging would turn out to be such a great, addicting, friendly obsession that brings so much joy to life.

7) One thing I like about me which my mother tells me I should curb a little - generosity. I like to give and I do like to receive (hence my wish to give - I know how much joy receiving is). :

Underneath you can find a list of my fellow nominees by Simone and I'll be posting my list this week.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


If anyone is wondering why I haven't been writing much about scents lately that's because I was reminiscing about the days when I used to be healthy and didn't have a runny nose. :) As you can guess, I have a cold (again!) and my sense of smell isn't really as good as usual. Which is not stopping me anymore. I decided to just apply larger sample quantities so they can force their way through my congested nose. It's working so I won't be reminiscing on my missing health but talk about 2 Reminiscence scents I got.

My best friend was in London last week so I decided to use the opportunity to get a charm from Reminiscence and with it I got samples of Patchouli and Etoile de Rem. I've been smelling some Bonds recently and was left disappointed so I wasn't expecting that I'd like both Reminiscences.

Notes for Patchouli: cedar, patchouli, sandalwood, vetiver, vanilla, tonka bean, labdanum.

As you might remember, I'm trying to figure notes before actually reading and this time I was very happy once I read the list of notes. All those I was able to register on my own were there (along with some others I should have recognized, but, hey, small steps). :)

Anyway, it started boozy sweet which pointed me straight at vanilla and labdanum. You know it smelled like rum patchouli. I wish it remained so but the rest wasn't bad either. At some point I realized that sweetness went away and what I was getting was a rougher version of this scent, no longer rum playful but more serious and I realized that green hinting wood note was vetiver. Then it was time for the notes and when I read cedar I realized I was smelling it all along but didn't realize it. Well, like I said, small steps. :)

The second one was Etoile de Rem (which I thought spelled Rien and kept wondering how come google can't find it). :) Then I went to Reminiscence site and realized my mistake.

This is one of their summer scents and it is described as a marine scent. That didn't sound promising. Marine sounds too much like aquatic and I run in the other direction when I smell that. The strange thing is this one wafts around and you think you get an aquatic accord in the air but when I smell my wrist, I don't get it. That's really good.

So, I tried figuring out notes before reading them for this as well. No luck. The best I could come up with was airy and nice, not aquatic. And then (this is turning into a problem for me), I thought I was getting hints of tuberose. So, I checked the notes: citruses, bergamot, orange blossom, coconut, ylang-ylang, jasmine, sea water, coumarin, musk, vanilla.

I completely missed the citruses. I mean it did smell airy and light but I can't believe that citrus didn't occur to me. Anyway, I read all those white flowers and the list as you can see doesn't contain tuberose. The only thing I can say is that perhaps the combination of ylang-ylang and jasmine reminds me of tuberose? Or I just can't distinguish between jasmine and tuberose.

My collection does not contain a cool, fresh, non-aquatic summer fragrance. I think this might be it - it smells like tuberose/jasmine wafting on a sea breeze. Lovely really.

Pictures taken from:

Monday, November 30, 2009

WoW: Dan Brown

I wasn't planning on reading The Lost Symbol so soon because I was waiting for it to come out as a paperback. I'm really not that thrilled with Brown's work to be buying it in hardcover. But my very impatient colleague does not have such problems, so on Friday, I got his copy to read. Well, as you can see, I'm already writing about it on Monday. :) I enjoyed it, as I did Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci code but in a fun, fictional way as I would watch a Hollywood action movie made exclusively for fun.

I still can't understand what the hype was about regarding The Da Vince code. It's not like DB wrote about anything new, I mean I already read books on the topic years before that. But I guess when large portions of public who usually don't read get a hold of such "bombastic facts" - it all turns into a circus. I honestly don't bother with distinguishing "factual" from non-factual in Brown's books, I read them to have fun. And they are good if you are interested in improving the general knowledge by reading additional titles and authors mentioned in the books.

This time, Robert Langdon is not trying to discover the lost descendants of Royal Blood (so as not to give a big spoiler to individuals who haven't yet read the book and plan to - if there are any left). This time Mr Langdon is included in the hunt for the biggest Masonic secret there is. Of course, it cannot be so easily found and Mr. Langdon being a scientist is quite sceptical this time around in the search of a legend while all the Masons in the book (and some non-Masons as well) are trying to convince him that the legend is real. Anyway, the whole book sounds like an advertisement for the Free Mason society, brotherhood, whatever they are. I didn't know there was a female version as well.

While they are looking for the Lost symbol (word, legend, myth), I was trying to figure out what it might be. The whole book is about how humans have godlike potential and how that idea crops up in every religion and how focused human thinking can achieve much. I didn't guess what it was in the end, and have to admit I was a bit disappointed but it made sense so I'm not bothered that much. I won't say what is the solution but I can give you my thoughts on the subject. I thought that when they discover what they are looking for that it's going to be an idea we (humans) have to follow to discover our potential so my guesses were love, or prayer. The thing is there is so much mistery surrounding this legend/symbol that in the end when you find out what it is you cannot understand why would they be hiding it when it is readily available and it has nothing to do with being a masonic discovered secret that is suddenly going to change the perception of that symbol. But hey, I didn't write the book, so I'll go with the idea. It certainly is a valid one.

Picture by:

P.S. I completely forgot so I'm adding it here. I just started reading the book, and there we are - the Croats. :) Right from the start (and that's where we're left). Robert Langdon does not wear a cravate because for him those are symbols of modern mercenaries from office fields - what Croat mercenaries used to wear when going into battle. :) That is btw the origin of the cravate - the Croats did wear a type of cloth tied around their necks and were known by it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wow: Keri Arthur, Riley Jenson series

Whew! I'm reallyy glad the latest book from the series Bound to Shadows is behind me. I made a mistake of reading Keri Arthur's site where she said that some people are not happy with the way things turned out. Since I already had some questions regarding ends of Riley's novels when the series started, I though, Oh shit, what happens now?! I mean I kept thinking (and reading) in the novels that Fate has it in for Riley. And she really does. I do hope Keri Arthur plans to make it up to her (Riley) at some point.

Btw, I wonder how come Riley has two different surnames? Up to now I wasn't sure I remembered it correctly each time as Jenson or Jensen (and now, every book listed by Amazon has it as Jensen even though the book cover they have is the same as mine ) but on my copy of the book it's Riley Jenson and on Arthur's site it is Jenson everywhere. Strange...

Anyway, on to the book. Riley is a Guardian which means she works for an organization that keeps order among non-human populations (she herself is a dhampire - half werewolf half vampire). And she is one hot dhampire. :) She's been having problems of different kind all through the novels, one of which is her love life which seemed relatively fine (finally) until this book came along. I don't want to give any spoilers to people who haven't read and might give it a try, but the love of Riley's life is a vampire (he has her heart), but as she is half werewolf as well, it means she is bound to have a soulmate as well. Which is a problem if your heart wants one guy and your soul yearns for someone else. While chasing bad guys around. :)

After reading the book, I can say I'm not one of those who is unhappy with the way things turned out. I was totally scared it might end differently in a way that I wouldn't like. For me, it's exactly as it should be, I for one can't imagine it ending differently. I'm not sure how many books are there going to be in the series but I for one am voting to give Riley some slack. :) Please?
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Objective thinking - can I do it?

Helg of the Perfume Shrine had a really good post yesterday on Perfume appreciation and objective beauty (mostly concerning perfume). It is really interesting and quite educating but most importantly it discusses if and how to objectively assess perfumes, i.e. their beauty using several criteria. I think she has some valid points but that is not what is on my mind now.

For a while now I've been thinking that not only am I a lousy critic, I don't really think I could every successfully be one. Everything criticism can be applied to is a work of effort on someone's part. How could I ever be able to say that it isn't just good enough, beautifil enough or anything of the sort when I keep thinking in the back of my mind - I would never be able to create something of the sort, he/she really did his/her best and gave it wholehearted effort?

I know that even when people do their best and pour their souls into their work, the result might not really be good, or even remotely good. But still I cannot find it in me to criticize and say, OK, you should have done this in such a manner and if you did it like this, it would have turned out better. Maybe I'm missing the whole criticism point (wouldn't ne the first time I'm in the dark regarding a topic).

Anyway, Helg's post came at exactly the right time because yesterday morning I tested Bond No. 9 Madison Soiree. What I got from it straight away was it was exactly the perfume someone who wants to look chic, expensive and unattainable would want to smell like. By that I mean a woman. After a while, she would also remain fresh/clean smelling while still being all those initial things. Anyway, I think that the perfume is really a great creation, and I also think that it is made exactly for the right type of target audience:

"A direct hit of authentic ladies-who-lunch fragrance. Ultra-feminine elegance and unmistakable posh meet unabashed sultriness in this day-into-late-night-blooming floral bouquet."

By Bond no. 9 site.

Notes are: gardenia, jasmine, oakmoss.

I won't go into the 3 notes I didn't distinguish. :) From the beginning it was obvious this wasn't the perfume for me, in the way it is publicised, in the way it smells and in the end, obviously not meant to be taken apart by me. I still think it is beautifully done though. Just not my kind of beautiful.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My DSH package

has arrived the other day. I didn't order much but what came in it made me very happy. Then I started smelling what was in it and I was no longer that happy, I was quite distressed. I know I ordered sampled according to notes I usually like, but I didn't expect them to smell so nice that I decide I need those in larger amounts, and I only tried 2. There are 3 more left!

Notes for Nourouz:

I don't know how many of you are familiar with Pomegranate Noir by Jo Malone but once you smell that, you'll recognize pomegranate anywhere. I love it here! It smells like the real deal, so juicy. It made my mouth water. The other thing I realized except for that top note, I get lost in the wonderful smell of the DSH perfume. Don't ask me if I got the other notes, I just smelled my wrist and wondered how much more money was I going to spend on DSH site. :)

Notes for Cimabue:

For those of you who might not have realized it yet, I'm a total clove fan. I grew up smelling it each winter when my parents made hot wine and lated, tasting that same wine and smelling those wonderful aromas. Actually, while at university, I tried the Swedish variant (glög) and that's where I learned I liked the smell of cardamom as well.

But on to Cimabue. I smelled it before reading the notes (you can get lost in them, there are really many) and straight away I got the nice sweet smell of clove. Then I went to see if I was imagining it these days and saw the list of noted. It is not listed in the top notes but I guess all those citrusy fruits are the ones that made me not think of clove in terms of hot wine. I tried my best and only managed to catch whiffs of cinnamon, the rest was again lost in the wonderful smell that emanated from my wrist. In the end, I got some vanillic undertone to my clove but I'm sorry to say, my nose wasn't able to distinguish much else.

The good thing about my new infatuation with DSH is the fact that they are going to have a holiday sale! And it will be starting this weekend! Yeey!

20% means I'll be able to squeeze something more in the package for the same amount of money. :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Perfume shopping in Zagreb - Institut Parfumeur Flores

I think I shoud stop for a while with this feature. :) You know, let my credit cards recover. Thankfully, there aren't that many niche perfumeries in Zagreb. I do have to say though that Flores easily tops the list. The address is Dežmanov prolaz 2.

Yesterday when there, I felt like a kid in a candy shop. Later I reflected back and thought that the SA must have thought so herself, I didn't know where to start and what to try and had a serious problem concentrating on perfumes she was handing me to smell. I tell you, kid in a candy shop. :)

There are soo many different brands on such large shelves that go up to the ceiling that you get lost just trying to figure out what they have. Then I made a mistake asking the SA to tell me what brands they carry (I already had some I knew of before written down) but in the end, I didn't manage to write them all down and I felt bad asking her to repeat. It would even be a bit embarassing for me because I've never heard of some of them.

Since the last time I was there, they have enlarged their offer with, for example, By Kilian. And they have Back to Black (no Pure Oud yet). And Carol, if you're reading this, I didn't have enough time and wrist space to try it properly there, but I got a sample for home. I am so looking forward to trying it since hearing so many wonderful things about it (mostly by Carol). :)

Ok, on to the list of (almost) every brand of perfume Flores carries:

- By Kilian

- Parfum d'Empire

- Santa Maria Novella

- Amouage

- L'Artisan Parfumeur

- The Different Company

- Washington Tremlett

- Mona di Orio

- Mark Buxton

- Bond no. 9

- Frapin

- Villoresi

- Profumum Roma

- Clive Christian

- Nobile 1942.

- Miller Harris

- Les Parfums de Rosine

- Teo Cabanel

- Juliette has a gun

- Nasomatto

- Sud Pacifique

- Demeter

- Robert Piguet

- Carthusia

- Morgane le Fay

- Truefitt and Hill

- Comptoir Sud Pacifique

- Ortigia

- Czech and Speake

- Profumi del Forte

- Jovoy Paris

- Eau d'Italie

These are all I managed to gather, I probably missed some. It's just wonderful in there and you'll excuse me for getting a bit lost.

Although I did get lost among all these wonders, in the end I managed to come out with Clove Absolute (again something that qualifies as a more masculine scent) and Wazamba. I know. I have no control over my spending. :)

But that wasn't the end. They also have a little part of their space dedicated to delicacies - I concentrated on tea this time (olive oil, cakes and jams didn't interest me). I still haven't tried the tea I bought by Mariage Freres but will soon. I bought Pharaon because I fell in love with the way it smells.

Btw, they also have a small coffee (more like tea) shop where you can enjoy most of the delicacies they sell.

Going to Flores might be a bit problematic for the credit card but it's a world of pleasure for the nose and the palate.

Monday, November 16, 2009

WoW: Kelley Armstrong, Otherworld

This week my writer of the week is Kelley Armstrong. She is slowly but surely climbing the list of my favourite authors to read. Unfortunately, she is as fast as the rest of them (I have to vent my frustration sometime) :) - so as soon as I get hooked, I have to wait months on end to read sth new. Good things is that in the Otherworld series I'm lagging behind so I just finished Personal Demon. Which is something that cannot be said for the Darkest Powers series, which is actually a YA series and very good in my opinion, but unfortunately lacks the ending (for now). Due to come out May 2010. Considering I read the last this summer, you can imagine how unhappy I am I have to wait for almost a year for the last one. But hey, that's life. Unless you are patient enough to wait for the last book of something you find interesting to come out, and then start reading. Which I strongly urge you to try and stick to - it will save you a lot of frustration.

Now I ended up writing about the wrong series. :)

Ok, the good thing about Otherworld series is that although some characters get more than one novel and appear in other characters' stories, you can read almost all of them as separate and they end as a story by itself. But since characters start to appear in different books, going chronologically is the best course.

Almost all the characters appearing here were previously mentioned in other books and were important to those stories. Half-demons, sorcerers, witches, werewolves etc. live in Mrs. Armstrong's novels in the same world as we do, but people are not aware of them. Which makes the problems characters face totally real - dealing with your demon half of which unfortunately you were unaware until hitting puberty and ending up in a mental ward sounds very plausible.

That's only one of the possible consequences of not being entirely human but trying to blend in as a normal human being.

The thing I loved about Personal Demon is that I couldn't figure out who did what, I mean who is behind everything (the evil master mind) until the story started unraveling. I love that! :) What fun is it when you know who's the killer?!
You know, I'm no literary critic but I feel Kelley Armstrong is getting better and better. I will certainly enjoy her books as long as she keeps writing them.
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

How susceptible am I?

Yesterday I read a comment by Rita from The Left Coast Nose and she said how she's not sure if she loves Bulgari Black or is it a cliche so I decided to go and see for myself. Smell for myself. After The Guide had so many great things to say about it, I thought it was time to try it (after smelling it, I realized I had already smelled it before).

Anyway, I went to Martimex to try it and ran across a really good SA. I tried it and while discussing my foundation problem with her, ended up ona stool to have my face submitted to a new serum, concealer, foundation etc. While she was doing that, I kept smelling Black. Trying to see if I'll get the whole rubber angle. Once you know what you are looking for, it seems to quite stand out.

Rita, just so you know, I'm upset with you. First of all, I wouldn't have smelled it anytime soon and thought, Oh my, this is really interesting and I can see myself wearing it. And then I started thinking, Am I influenced by what she said and what I read in the Guide? And then in then in the end, How in the world is it possible I cannot tell the difference? Aargggh.

While doing my make-up the SA discussed Black with me and said that it was meant as a rendition of city life (hence the rubber angle?). Honestly, the city does not smell like Black to me - maybe there's not enough polution to make the air sweetish like in Black.

Notes by NST: black tea, rosewood, bergamot, cedar, oakmoss, vanilla, amber, sandalwood, and musk.

I can see where the sweetnes came from, but these notes really cannot convey the smell of Black. And now, what am I going to do? I do not want to buy another bottle of perfume if not absolutely necessary. In this case it is not but I would still like to have some. I'll go check the MUA and see if anyone is up for swapping it. :)
P.S. The SA (whose name I don't know) was excellent yesterday. I came to try Black and see if they had a Clarins foundation and ended up going home with a Guerlain foundation and concealer and 3 Carita facial products - happy of course. :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Finally a wax for my hair - Subrina again

Yes, ok, I admit. I'm obsessed with my hair. The fact that it is short at the moment does not influence that obsession in the least. As any good hair fanatic will know, short hair displays very obviously if something's not right.

All I wanted from my styling product to do was leave my hair soft (not glued together or dry) and styled the way I wanted it to stay with addition of it being shiny. One would think it wouldn't be too much too ask.

Now it isn't. I love my new wax. It does all this, gives a real shine and just intensifies the color. Wonderful!

After checking Subrina site, it seems they only have this one wax on offer which is fine with me. At the moment, I don't need anything else.

The only thing that might work against it is the intensity of its smell. I mean, it smells wonderful and I like it, the only problem is that it is so strong that when I put it on it tends to drown out my perfume. :( I don't count it as a problem since I like the smell and I don't mind people smelling different kinds of wonderful around me ;) but it could be slightly weaker.

Everyone have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Perfume shopping in Zagreb - Viktor Koncept

My hometown might not be Paris, London or New York but we do have our share of niche perfumeries. :) Thank God for that.

I don't how many people will visit Zagreb and decide to to go niche perfume shopping, but in case some get the urge, I decided to do a series of posts after visiting each of the stores. Those visits might prove a bit hard on my credit card account but will certainly make me happy, like the one yesterday to Viktor Koncept proved to be.

All the shops I plan to visit are located in the centre of the city but since that is a relatively large area, I am attaching a map to the address, Kralja Držislava 10.

Viktor Koncept is not only a niche perfumery but as the name might indicate, also a concept store. I wasn't interested yesterday in perusing the rest of the store that contains clothes, shoes and accesories for men and women, and some cute house accesories as well (I checked those the last time I was there).

I have to admit, I wasn't there for quite a while, so I got terribly upset with myself after entering and discovering that they have significantly improved their offer with new lines. I mean, I know why I didn't go (trying not to spend money) but I still should have. At least there is still time to change that and try everything I find interesting, or the SA finds interesting. I didn't achieve a rapport with the lady there but she was still nice and at some point in time, seeing my obvious interest, presented some of the Comme des Garcons fragrances I might find interesting (I was mostly focused on them yesterday).

My most pressing concern in going there yesterday was trying the L'Artisan's Vanillas since I know Viktor holds the line. They still didn't have the Havana Vanille on offer but had one bottle left of Vanilia. So I tried the Vanilia and while I was discussing my wish to compare it to Havana, another SA came and said that they just got yesterday the sample and if I wanted, they could spray it for me to try. I mean, what they had was a 10 ml decant bottle, not the actual sample bottle. Not only Havana Vanille, but they also had a small bottle of Al Oudh as well. :) And of course I tried that one as well. What can I say - I've learned to appreciate and respect ouds but I still have a problem wearing them. I had no more space on my wrists so I only tried a strip of this one, but that was enough. I not only find it wearable, I find it sexy of all things (I'm not sure if that was the intended idea). It's obviously an oud fragrance but it is so much more (it takes you to faraway places that speak to your soul and seduce you).
This oud is going to find it's way to me sooner than later. :)

Actually, this was not the point I was trying to make, I got sidetracked by oud.
After spraying Havana Vanille on a strip and smelling it, it was obvious straight away that this was not the vanilla I was going to take home. I got hit by sweet vanilla, rum and dried fruit and had to remove it from my nose straight away. I am planning to give it space on my wrist in the future but I'm not holding my hopes up for it. I do understand now why people are upset that Vanilia is going out of production. But my bottle is safe now. :)

This is turning into a long post. :) So, to get to the point. If you are interested in tracking down the following lines in Zagreb, Viktor Koncept is where you can find them:
- I already mentioned L'Artisan and CdG

- Parfums de Nicolai (including home fragrances and lovely bottles for holding them)

- Etat Libre d'Orange (no Fat Electrician yet)

- Penhaligon's

- Byredo (and candles)

- Villoresi

- Carthusia

- Juliette has a gun

- Escentric Molecules

- Boudicca

- Parfum D'Empire

- Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier (can't wait to try them)

- Parfumerie Generale
- Parfum d'Orsay

- and lastly, they have Cire Trudon candles.

My appetite for discovery is only whetted now. I plan to visit in a month or so (just before Christmas) since that's around the time they are expecting some new additions (like CdG Daphne, Penhaligon's Amaranthine and I have high hopes I might find Al Oudh then as well).
Come back next week and see what else can be found in Zagreb.

Pictures by: Viktor Koncept facebook page.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Discovering Haydria perfumes

There are so many perfume houses out there waiting to be discovered and some of them are never going to be (by me I mean). I don't think I would have ever come across Haydria perfumery by myself but that's why there is this lovely perfume blogosphere where one can learn great things. I learned about Haydria from Divina's post on them.

For now I only tried 4 and of those 4, I really like 3 - and for the price they have, I believe I'll purchase at least 2. Still not decided which two though.

The description for Gypsy Queen is lush florals and rich spices with deep woody notes. Divina had better luck deciphering individual notes. What I thought it smelled like in the beginning it reminded me of a syrup I used to have to drink when little that was made from some sweet plant and a bit of alcohol. The syrup my mom made actually tasted and smelled great and this reminded me in the beginning of that boozy - syrupy combination. Then it turned into something having a distinct bitter dirt-like feel. And then the florals came. I thought I smelled iris and jasmine but it's not like I can say for sure. I seem to have discovered that iris turns salty on me which is something I like very much. In the end, what I thought of it is that is a no frills, serious floral and I enjoyed smelling it.

I got my dose of cat piss - finally. :) I've been wondering how is it possible people smell it in some perfumes and I never came across any. Well, now I have. But before I go on, I have to say that Mrs. Haydria Bish (the perfumer) seems to know what she is doing. She certainly has the background. Anyway, all of the perfumes I tried seemed very well done to me and Pure sin seemed more like an exercise in perfume than something actually wearable (at least for me).

The description said it was passion fruit, champagne, dark chocolate and white musk.

It started wonderful - like a coffee caramel that smelled so comforting. I seem to associate chocolate in perfume with other caramel-like sweets. Anyway, there I am, smelling this lovely opening when something strange happens. At first I thought it was only going to be a hint of dirtiness. But did it roar afetr that. :) I have no idea what's the matter with my skin chemistry but the dirtiness turned into something smelling of cat piss (for real!) with bare hints of the coffee caramel underneath. And it lasted. And lasted. Finally subsided with the drydown (some 3 hours later) but was still quite noticeable. I didn't want to wash it off beacuse I coulnd't believe it and just had to smell it again and again (although I could smell from afar as well). :)

Now, on to one that I would have never have guessed would be wearable for me (containing violets). Tainted love was quite a surprise. The opening reminded me of Gypsy Queen with that bitterlike, nettle smell (my association). Are there perhaps some violets in there as well?
Anyway, the description is:violets, berries, light amber and honey.

Now, I've been reading a bit about the smell of violets and Im confused. I finally detected the violet smell and liked it (it does not remind me of old ladies violet smell), it was more stringent smelling (probably the berries influence). It seems violets contain this compound called ionone "which temporarily desensitises the receptors of the nose, thus preventing any further scent being detected from the flower until the nerves recover" (by wikipedia). I guess when listed as a note it might not contain ionone because I didn't realize I couldn't smell it whenever I tried. Maybe that's the catch, I smelled it every once in a while so I didn't have time to desensitise myself?!

Since this is the first violet scent ever I liked very much, I definitely need to include in my collection. Any excuse for shopping is a good one. ;)

And the last one was Harem girl.
Description: powdery iris, musk, opoponax, incense.

Again the opening reminded me of both Gypsy Queen and Tainted love. Unfortunately, I can't say much on the subject of this one. I liked it. :) It's a lovely oriental with hints of incense (I'm pretty much falling for smoke and incense these days wherever they appear). I don't know how opoponax smells, I barely found the iris, but the whole picture is great.

Btw, has anyone else noticed the latest uproar regarding the L'Artisan's Vanillas? :) Some like the original more and are not happy it's getting discontinued, some like the Havana V. more and are completely in love with it... I'm going to try and locate them here so I can see what the fuss is about. I'm not a vanilla fan but it turned out they are not the gourmand vanillas - I read that in a post by Diana on Feminine things so there might be something there for me to love.

Monday, November 9, 2009

WoW: Kresley Cole, IAD series

I don't know how many of you read that I absolutely love Kresley Cole's IAD series. I was actually starting to read again one of the previous ones (Dark Desires after Dusk) when I got a call fromAlgoritam that a new one by KC arrived. :) Yeey! This one is Dark Kiss of Winter in combination with Gena Showalter (who I haven't read yet but will soon because I keep reading good things about her). Anyway, Untouchable is the story of Daniella (the Ice maiden/queen who is half Valkyrie, half Icere fey) and Murdoch Wrath (a good vampire - there are bad ones as well in this world), the last of the 4 Wroth brothers to get his love story. That does not mean there will be no other books in the series. Oh, no. There are Valkyirie, vampires, demons, witches and all other kinds of creatures turning up in these novels and of course, they are all immortals, meaning they won't die of natural causes but can be killed (not easily though).

What I love about KC novels is that they are so unpretentious, easy to read and the dialogues are totally funny (sometimes going into absurd but in a positive way). I can't wait to read the next one that is to come out in February 2010. There are several stories I hope she writes, although whatever she writes, I'll be reading it. Some thing just can't be helped. :)
Anyway, back to the story. I have to admit, I felt like an idiot after I read the final paragraph where everythings turns out right. I don't want to say much about the story, but the heroes have a serious problem consumating their desire and when the solution presented itself - I thought to myself - What an idiot! It was so logical and obvious if you actually used your brain. Which, as you can see, I did not. :) I wonder how many people thought of it before it was actually announced.
As usual, the book is intertwined with stories and characters from other novels because they are all happening at about the same time, getting prepared for the Ascension.
So, if you're looking for something witty, interesting, a bit different and containing a love story (with some hot sex scenes), Kresley Cole should be your first choice.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

I hate the fact that...

1. I go to sleep and while falling asleep I get this great idea for a post which is at least half - if not completely lost by morning.

2. You cannot tell which wine is going to cause a headache in the morning, even taken in small amounts and tasting great.

3. It's raining and raining and raining. No end in sight to all the rain and cloudiness here in Zagreb.

4. Someone names a perfume "Naughty little minx" getting my hopes up and it turns up smelling like fruit candy. Yuck!

5. I'm paying the price of recession because someone was greedy and is not being sentenced to a life in jail, while I'm the one who got her pay reduced because of it.

6. Continuing the previous point, our goverment for the last 20 years stole from wherever they could (including the state budget) and now when they have no more money, they decided we have to give them another 4% from our pays because they don't have enough money for government obligations. How totally "nice" that we have to pay for their incompetence and stealing!

7. Nobody wants a free book. Of any kind.

8. I don't have enough free time to do everything I want.

9. I need to start thinking about having children even though I feel so young and unready.

10. I can't do something I love and earn a lot of money doing it.

11. It's much easier for men to lose weight.

12. I keep forgetting things I want to say or do. Then I remember them, and forget again. Eventually I remember and do them, but not as soon as I wanted to.

13. I cannot find a shampoo and conditioner appropriate for this time of year and the fact that my hair is more dry than usual.

14. You have to take great care what you eat and drink in order not to feel and look bloated.

15. Living in Croatia is so frustrating, and nobody in power takes notice and feels badly for causing it, while more and more Croatians feel the need to take antidepressants.

Friday, November 6, 2009

WoW: Karen Marie Moning, The Fever series

Before I start, there is still one copy of Stephanie Laurens' Untamed bride left - so the first commenter will win the second copy. The Romantic Query Letter won the first by commenting on a post containing the reminder.

On to Mrs Moning. :) Just so to let her know, if she ever comes across my blog, I'm angry with you! The third book in the series Faefever ended on a terrible cliff hnager and now she did it again with Dreamfever. I don't want to put any spoilers into the post, so I'll just say, it better not have ended the way I think it has.

It frustrates me to no end when I come across a series (that has a definite ending in sight - not those that go indeterminately) and then it gets more and more interesting and I have to wait for the next installment for months. If you get interested in the Fever series, wait for the last book to come out and then start reading.

This series revolves around Fae (Seelie and Unseelie - i.e. good fae and bad fae) and the fact that people can't see them as different (they cast glamours) unless you're one of the sidhe-seers, which MacKayla Lane is, but has just found out. That's the beginning and then well, all hell breaks loose. Actually, all fae breaks loose. :)

A bit on the dark side, but still interesting to read. I had some serious problems with Mac's look on life (sometime still do) - she begins as young and frivoulous and although her experiences in the book make her grow up and become stronger, her young and optimistic side still peeks out of her.

There's only one book left before the end and now I wonder what will happen in it, because even though there's been a lot happening in the last 4 novels, there are many threads left hanging. And I still have no idea who half the characters are or what their agenda is and what motivates them or drives them to act the way they do.

Hopefully, I'll find out soon (or soon enough) - there is still no release date on Shadowfever but I do hope it will be out before summer (so I can take it to beach with me).

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Checking my perfume learning progress

It seems I found a way how to check how much I learned (or more likely didn't) by smelling Andy Tauer creations. Yep, a good way to test how little I know.

I tried Lonestar Memories and Reverie au jardin. Ok, I did smell a bit more than the first time some months ago but there's so much more there that my nose cannot get hold of. :)

Notes for Lonestar memories: geranium, carrot seed, clary sage, birch tar, cistus, jasmine, cedar wood, myrrh, tonka, vetiver and sandalwood.

The smoky tar hits you straight off, it has a bit strong opening (like all Tauer creations I tried). I get some herbal and fruity notes (got surprised by the fruit, I wasn't expecting that). I did get hints of carrot (yeey for me) and supposed what smelled somewhat herbal was sage but that's about it. The rest of the notes are a blur in a smoky, slightly sweet leathery setting that ends in the drydown with a burnt caramel note I completely love.

I have a bit of a problem with all Tauer creations so far - they are strong on the initial spritz and although I actually love all of those I tried, and I tried them on my wrist, I cannot imagine what it would feel like wearing them. They really need to be used sparingly since not only do they come on strong, they stay on forever. :) Well, not forever but longer than anything I've been wearing/smelling lately.

I find them all terribly serious. They cannot be taken lightly or worn indoscriminately otherwise it might happen that the perfume is wearing you. :)

The second one I mentioned was Reverie au jardin. I realized lately I have a tenuous relationship with lavender - although I like the essential oil and the real-life plant, there are not that many perfumes that have a strong lavender that I find wearable, or even nice.

Notes: green and fresh lavender, galbanum, fir balm, bergamot, rose, frankincense, ambrette, flowery orris, vetiver, tonka bean, oakmoss.

It striked me as a clean and floral lavender before I read the notes. Than I realized it does smell fresh and that the clean part was probably my association regarding fir (so many cleaning product having that smell). Then I got a really strong citrusy feel for the lavender and after that, my smelling fell apart. I mean, everything coalesced into this joyful, loud, sunny, happy creation that I couldn't for the life of me take apart. So I just kept smelling it and enjoying it. Of all those I tried recently, I don't think I'll be able to wear this one as often as others. I wish I could, but at the moment I don't see myself as how I described it so we woulnd't suit. But who says that's not going to change come spring? :) I certainly hope that the sun and greenery will be what it takes for us to get together again.

So, of the 4 I tested recently, my favourite is Lonestar memories. It even sounds like I feel these days.

REMINDER (again): You still have time to win a copy of the first novel in The Black Cobra quartet series, by Stephanie Laurens which, trust me, shouldn't be missed. You never know, you might get hooked like me (and that's not a bad thing). :) Or at least have a little fun and spend a cozy evening reading a book that is made for anti-stress therapy.

P.S. I still have Une Rose chyprée to try and see how far I go. :)