Thursday, May 28, 2009

Etat Libre d'orange and Luckyscent

First, I have to say who ever decided to start Luckyscent has my eternal gratitude. :) Especially beacuse they regulary have sample packages that are quite interesting (and most of the time I end up buying them). Therefore, I was very happy when I came home yesterday to find a little package waiting for me although for the life of me, I couldn't remember what was supposed to be in it. I'm quite forgetful these days.

Well, it was the Etat Libre d'Orange sample pack. Yeey! Finally. It is quite impossible not to stumble upon those scents wherever you read so I was very interested to see what it was all about.

Today I decided to take out 2 samples and see how will I like them.

The first I tried was Antiheros and I liked it just fine. The notes listed are 3: lavender, musc and bois (wood notes). It is exactly what you get and it smells great. I like that one very much - you cannot miss the opening lavender and after it subsides a bit, you get some musc and then a little wood and it just smells great. I would wear it definitely but I wouldn't think this might be feminine (lately I love scents that get termed as masculines but you cannot really tell that by smelling them).

I am not going to post all the text accompanying the scents, you can read it on etat libre site if you're interested.

The other one that came out of my bag today is Charogne. Beats the hell out of me how come it is called Beast in English when French wikipedia says it actually means carcass, but there you go. For this one, I was honestly tempted to put the whole text here, because it is about innocent flesh being plucked by the beast (with not very hidden undercurrents). Anyway, I thought it was going to be great, the whole innocent/beast juxtaposition, but it seems I was wrong. Or maybe, my idea of a beast is somewhat different from the rest.

The listed notes are: bergamote, notes de cuir, baies roses, gingembre, accord lys, ylang-ylang, jasmine, encens, vanille naturelle, ambrette absolu, notes animales.

It starts off quite innocently with the barest whiff of cuir and with a somewaht chewing gum idea and it keeps that innocence while vanilla, ylang-ylang make their come out and then I kept waiting for the beast, but it never showed. The perfume did progress to a somewhat less innocent idea, but if that was supposed to be a beast, it was a pretty tame one (and somewhat small because it would neither devour you or scare you). :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New book series discoveries

I've been starting to get a bit anxious, even though my free time has dwindled to almost non-existing, I didn't have anything new reading-wise to look forward to. Sure, I have dozens of unread books at home but since they are already mine and I'm not in the mood for most of them, I was looking for something new and interesting in the manner of Kresley Cole and Kim Harrison. And just in time, here come Lilith Saintcrow and Charlaine Harris. LS name came to my attention after reading about her on Keri Arthur's site and browsing Amazon for similar books to those I usually read, and I am very happy I ordered the first book in her Dante Valentine series (Working for the Devil) and although I only started, I can tell I'm going to enjoy this one. :) The only problem, I have to wait now for the sequels to come (after I order them today). And yes, she is actually working for the Devil.
It seems I'm a bit late to Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series and I wouldn't have ventured even now if my colleague hadn't borrowed me the first 4 books in the series to read. And I was asking him how come he was reading that because I thought they were children's books? Which is stupid I know, because first, I'm a huge Harry Potter fan and secondly I also read Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. But the cover for Harris's books just made me think they are not something I might be interested in - just check the cover and the heroine's name is Sookie (it sounds like a little girl to me, but I'm wrong on that account) :
Anyway, it seems I was wrong about that one - I started reading it just to see if it's interesting.
I like it and the series already already progressed to book 9, so I'm set for some time to come. Btw, I do that a lot - read more than one book at the same time. At almost any point in time, there are at least two books I started and am reading according to how I feel at the moment. Currently, it's 3, the two I just described, and Sharing knife trilogy by L.M. Bujold. :)

And it seems that there's actually a TV series True Blood made after the books. Hmmm, I do have to read the books first before going to watch them though. There is absolutely no pleasure doing it the other way.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Being pale

Someone might call it having fair skin but to me, I usually just look pale. And today's post is about the most perfect face tanner out there (ok, so I haven't tried that many but having found a great one, I don't need to).

Sometime early last spring I went to a promotional Chanel make-up thing and the make up artist was impressed with the whitennes of my tan (what was she thinking, I wonder?). So while she was doing her thing, we were discussing the "merits" of being pale which in her opinion made the geisha white look wonderful and thought I should try it. Although I didn't agree with her thoughts on the color of my tan, I have to admit she did a great job with the make-up. Anyway, she listened to my problem, and that was the fact that tanned skin just looks nicer and healthier as opposed to being pale (not, as a fact that you spend a lot of time in the sun) and that I am not able to procure a tan no matter what I do (even if I sunbathed a lot, which I can't do since my skin won't allow it, it is really hard for me to get any real amount of tan). What she proposed was to try Chanel's self-tanner for the face and gave me a sample to try. Me, scared of tanners as I was, especially using them on the face, I was a bit sceptical it might not apply as wonderfully as it should, so she told me to mix it with my daily moisturizer and try it first like that. The rest is history. :)

A month or so ago, I bought a second tube of Soleil Identite Golden (lighter version) and I look healthy. It has become a staple for me and I cannot imagine not having it around to use when I start getting too pale.

The thing is, it has never, ever made a mistake. You apply it and there is no way anyone can tell you put a self-tanner on your face. It has never streaked and more importantly, as I apply it on the neck as well, putting perfume afterwards had never made any difference to the color. All I can say, absolutely wonderful. What I've been wondering for some time now is, how come Chanel didn't produce a body tanner when they made such a great face product? And if it's possible to create a tanner that applies so well it never streaks, wth are some of the companies doing making products you can throw in the garbage after the first application, even if you are very careful with all the skin preparations...?
My pale, rosy-cheeked days are over (ok, so my cheeks are still rosy but it is not so bad when you have a light tan). ;)
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My old/new singer infatuation

I am no longer a teenager (for quite a while) but it seems I never grew out of the "falling in love with someone I never met" (actor, singer...). It no longer happens that often, but I do get hit sometimes and well, I try not to sigh too much and too loud while watching videos. :)

It happened first with Darren Hayes a long time ago when he was still part of Savage garden and then a few years ago when I heard the Lady of the sea by Seth Lakeman. Feel free to click on the videos link and at the bottom of the list you can watch the video for the Lady of the sea. And maybe you will understand. Just the song and his voice were enough to make my knees go weak and then I saw the video. That is just plain mean. There is nothing sexier than a good looking singer whose lyrics speak straight to your heart.

The reason I am talking about him today is the fact that he has a new album Poor man's heaven out and I just saw and heard the first song from it, the Hurlers so I went back to the original infatuation video and renewed the love. Well, renew might imply I actually did it consciously as opposed to, having no choice in reality. :) I wish he'd come and sing in Croatia..

So, if you have a few spare minutes, go and listen. And tell me what you think. And what you think might be the perfume for this dark, sexy, green-eyed (I'm not sure if they are green or maybe blue, but I like green more) singer...

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P.S. No, my boyfriend does not read my blog (his choice). :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

osMoz Les coulisses du parfum

For those of you who are not yet aware that I am a total beginner, this post should make it clear. :) I mean it's been only a bit more than a year that I have consciously started my perfume journey, reading, ordering, sampling, swapping... I already have so many samples and decants at home (and I only just began) that I just can't imagine what amount is that going to become in a few years. :) Honestly, I'm not bothered about the amount, I'm bothered by the fact that I don't have enough time to try them all anytime soon and keep good notes on them. Oh, well, I'll get there eventually (or at least half way there). :)

So, in the light of learning as much as I can, I ordered one of the Coulisses du parfum from osMoz and following my perfume bent recently, I decided that the one I'll spend money on is going to be Volume 3, Legendary woods and resins. Unfortunately, although I got it on Friday, I still haven't had time to properly sniff any of the scents.

Has anyone tried any other volume? I can't wait to see if after smelling them I'll be able to recognize those notes better (for some I still don't have a clue what they might smell like).

They come with this interesting brochure that I leafed through and found to be quite informative. Now, I don't feel like ordering the other two as well if there is someone out there who would be willing to swap samples of other volumes? Please contact me if you are interested.
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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Quick almond thoughts

Ok, let me start by saying, I hate marzipan (and yes, that means I hate Mozartkugeln as well, marzipan and pistachio - yuck). So one would think I'd skip over perfumes having almond notes, wouldn't one? Nope, that can't be said about me. I ordered samples of Reminiscence Do Re Mi La series (they aren't actually called that I think, but that's how I remember them) and randomly choosing 2 of the 4 I have, both I chose had almond note in them. Even after I read that there is an almond note in them, it didn't register that it might be too much for me, what with all other notes (and there is a whole bunch of notes listed for all of them). Well, I was wrong. And even though they don't smell the same (Do Re and Mi Fa) they smell of almonds (in a way too sweet a manner) that all I can say is, thank god it finally washed off.

I am usually not a person who says bad things about anybody or anything, so I'll temper my initial comments with - if you like almonds and sweet perfume, you are probably going to love these. I don't think they are really bad, I mean I did get some fig in Do Re around that ALMOND, and I enjoyed Mi Fa's cocos citrus opening for the first 2 minutes (before what I thought of as cocos actually turned out to be almond mixed with citruses but not yet recognizable as almond for me). I would so much love to be a fan of sweet but I am not - I don't even eat desserts if they don't come as complete chocolate (Sacher cake is not that, having jam in it- whoever thought that was nice?! - everyone except for me it seems) or as a strudel. So, believe me, something that smells like a child dipped in marzipan and sprinkled with cookies and fruit, is not something that I will wear (I'm not going to say never, because, you know, you never know) ;) - but definitely not in the near future. Honestly, I can't say it doesn't smell happy, since it evoked a child in marzipan for me (and the only person not happy in that situation might be the child's mother) but, I think both of them call for a high sweetness tolerance.

Hmm, it now seems this wasn't so quick and not only on almonds and not really a review, but I had to get it off my chest. :)

Do Re
Head: Green Notes, Fig
Heart: Heliotrope Accord, Almond, Virginia Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Indonesian Patchouli
Base: Infusion of Madagascan Vanilla, Brazilian Tonka Bean, Siamese Benzoin, Musk

Mi Fa
Head: Sicilian Bergamot, Italian Mandarin, Florida Orange, Bitter Almond, French Lavender, Tunisian Rosemary, Indian Mint, Green & Ozone Notes
Heart: Neroli, Tunisian Patite Grain, Madagascan Black Pepper, Jasmine
Base: Brazilian Tonka Bean, Madagascan Vanilla, Virginian Cedarwood, Indonesian Patchouli, Sandalwood, Amber, Musk

P.S. Is it possible that one note can dominate so much to ruin the rest? I mean, I could detect some other notes but only around almond.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sampling Parfum d'Empire

My arms are finally better so today I decided to try the samples I ordered from Aus Liebe zum Duft. At the moment I can't really remember how I decided to order Parfum d'Empire (I must have read something somewhere, but I can no longer remember what or where). What I tried today are Cuir ottoman and Fougere bengale.

I'll start with Cuir because although I find it nice and wearable, it's not as fabulous as some others out there (primarily Cuir de Lancome which I love). It's just, you know, cuir-ish. It starts a bit sweet, nothing too much with a slight burnt aroma (all this being burnt styrax which I found on Aus Liebe zum Duft site) and at some point it gets really interesting, having this middle phase where you actually get hints of "Benjoin resine that massage the musky skin of languid bodies" by Aus Liebe zum Duft again, and I honestly thought, ok, this is it, it's perfect, and unfortunately, then all that went away and I was left with a light vanillish cuir. It is just, well, too soft for me.

Cuir ottoman notes: jasmine, leather, iris, benzoin, balsams, resins, incense

Now, Fougere bengale is another thing. And for someone who learns French for far too long, I am ashamed but I admit, I had to go and look up the meaning of fougere. That explained a lot! :) Sometimes I get to feel stupid at the most strangest of times. Anyway, it seems fougere is THE combination for me beacuse I just love the lavender oakmoss pairing.
The thing is, at the beginning this one roars fougere while in the drydown it simply says fougere (and since it tells the story of Bengalese tiger hunts, I find it completely appropriate). Thank God it doesn't whisper fougere. You get from it all the things all the sites list, lavender, gingerbread, oakmoss, the sweet, green, herbalish aspect given by lavender and oakmoss and my discovery today (= fougere). I kept thinking the drydown reminded me of something else, and after my discovery of what fougere means, I remembered, like Ilaun by Burren perfumery.

Fougere bengale notes:Lavender, tarragon, patchouli, geranium, tobacco, tonka beans, vanilla

P.S. For all those who, like me, don't know what's tarragon (or dragon's wort), it is a perennial plant that looks strangely a lot like rosemary and is used in cuisine.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cloudy musings

After several days of almost summer heat, today it is cold and very cloudy and although I don't want to be influenced by that, it seems I cannot help it (much). I am finally getting better (physically) because on Monday morning I woke up to find my arms covered in rash and I was very upset. Because the day before I put on a self-bronzer nad I thought that was the reason. It turns out that the places that it appeared signified it had something to do with something I ate, not something I applied all over my body. Huh, that was a relief! :) The thing is I cannot use solariums any more, my dermatologist almost had a heart attack when she heard I went ocasionally because I am pretty pale and have a light skin tone (hence the wish to go) and I am prone to birthmarks (I even had to have some removed). Imagine then my fear that I will not be able to use self-bronzer just when I finally found a good one (by Decleor), I know that it's good because I already used it twice before so I did think it strange that suddenly it caused an allergic reaction.

Well, it turns out it's not that, although I don't know what is it that I ate that might have caused it. And I am still a bit upset because I'm waiting for my arms to clear completely and I'm not putting any perfume on to try, so I feel a bit depressed.

The other thing is, each morning I look at my perfume shelf and cannot choose anything with the feeling, this is IT. I am looking for a perfect spring scent and I don't have one. All of those on the shelf are great but none of them strikes me as the ONE. I was giving it some serious thought and what I came up with as what I would like it to smell is that it has to be warm and not in a summer or winter way, but in a spring way. I enjoyed the spring this year so much, smelling all those budding flowers and trees and that it the kind of smell I'd like. Warm like a spring day, sweet smelling of growing flowers and slightly wet grass, with just a hint of dust and traffic in the background... Am I looking for too much? Or, more likely, is it somewhere out there but I just don't know its name and where to look for it? Any ideas would be very welcome.

Today I'm wearing Belle en Rykiel EdT and thinking where did it go? It's one of the things I bought while smelling it on a strip and on me, it sort of disappears. OK, so I'm exaggerating a bit, it does not disappear but it is too close to the skin, and that's not what I like at the moment.

I promise I'll be more optimistic in my next post. :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Your blog is F*ck!ng Fabulous Award

Well, I have to say reading new posts on perfume blogs has been a surprise today. :) Lovely Divina from Fragrance bouquet has awarded me a F*ck!ng Fabulous award and caught me completely by surprise (a very nice surprise I must admit). Now, all I have to do is explain the procedure, add 5 of my addictions and name 5 fabulous blogs.

Rules and instructions:

1. You have to pass it (the award) on to 5 other fabulous blogs in a post.
2. You have to list 5 of your fabulous addictions in the post.
3. You must copy and paste the rules and the instructions below in the post.
Instructions: On your post of receiving this award, make sure you include the person that gave you the award and link it back to them. When you post your five winners, make sure you link them as well. To add the award to your post, simply right-click, save image, then “add image” it in your post as a picture so your winners can save it as well. To add it to your sidebar, add the “picture” widget. Also, don’t forget to let your winners know they won an award from you by emailing them or leaving a comment on their blog.

My addictions (huh, this might get embarassing):

1. Books. Ok, so not all books but the fact that I like to read a lot means I have a lot of books (and a serious lack of space) and I am not happy about the fact that 10 years from now it will be much more difficult to buy them as paper copies instead of just downloading them to my Kindle or whatever else might come along. And honestly, I am seriously addicted to Harry Potter and Kresley cole's IAD series.

2. Body and hair products. I simply have to try all the body lotions/creams/butters I can get my hands on (I have dry skin and use them up pretty fast) and even when I find something great, I just have to try something new. The same goes for hair - for someone with such short hair, I spend more time thinking about it and loving it than anyone I know (personally). :) Favorites at the moment: body - Korres, hair - Tigi.

3. Perfume. You knew that one was going to be on this list. :) This might sound superficial to someone not sharing this addiction but I honestly feel like the world has opened its doors and shown me new vistas that bring so much joy and learning into my life.

4. I'm trying to curb this addiction - underwear and bathing suits. Don't know where this came from but I simply love underwear and I mean all kinds: sporty, elegant, sexy, casual, whatever catches my attention. The same goes for bathing suits (and I blame VS site for that one). I have way too many for the amount of time I spend actually at the sea side.

5. And I'm up to five and don't know which one to put here. So, I'll simply list something I enjoy very much - whisky and wine. I love the taste of whisky (favorites being Johnny Walker Black, Jameson and Chivas) and enjoy very much a glass (or two) of good wine. :)

Ok, onto the fabulous blogs out there:

1. First and foremost, Divina's Fragrance bouquet. I simply love the poetic way she has of describing perfumes. I feel like I'm following a scented story when reading her reviews. Wonderful!

2. I smell therefore I am by Abigail and Brian. They bring simplicity (by that I mean they are easy to follow and understand) and love of perfume to their reviews and are great to read.

3. The initial blog that put me on my way Now smell this - for a beginner that one is a well of information on just about anything a beginner perfumista needs to know and also keep track of new houses, perfumes and shopping hints. :)

4. And following straight behind that one and also deserving for spiking my perfume interest is Perfume posse. The way they write about perfume shows how it becomes one's way of life (in a good sense) and gives you glimpses into their lives as well.

5. And last but not least, and a relatively recent find, WAFT by Carol - I love her short and to the point reviews that are often making me laugh. It feels to me that she brings so much joy into her reviews.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Oranges blossoming around me

I never thought I was a flower girl. By that I mean I never thought I might like floral perfumes that much. But then again, 2 years ago I wasn't aware there was a perfume world beyond the doors of my local stores into which once you enter, you never leave. :)

Anyway, it seems to me that this spring/summer (I believe we are seeing the last days of spring here), I'm into orange blossoms. Today I'm wearing SL Fleurs d'Oranger which I got from a lovely MUA swap. And even though I know that orange blossom does not smell like the fruit, the first thought this morning in my head was - wow, where did this flower bomb come from? :) Kinda stupid when the name itself declares that it is about flowers. :) The initial flowers didn't last that long and now I'm enjoying myself feeling the softness of all those white flowers in it. It seems we hit it off perfectly today, because I don't think I'll be able to wear this when the real summer hits. Today it makes a fresh spring day warmer, but I don't think I'd want that in the middle of summer.

That's why there is Fleur d'Oranger 27 by Le Labo. That one seems to be the fresh orange blossom that is going to bring some fresh air into the summer heat of Zagreb. I have a fondness for grapefruit both in perfume and in my diet, so getting a whiff of that citrus bitter smell is perfect although kind of hard to detect around bergamot. But that's ok, I like bergamot as well. :) So, I'm preparing to battle summer heat with this fresh, summery-green orange blossom.

And on to my third orange blossom scent. I have to admit, in the end I did buy the Givenchy's 2008 harvest Organza Fleurs d'Oranger. :) But I am proud I limited myself to only that, didn't buy the Amarige Ylang-Ylang. In the end, Fleurs d'oranger spoke to me much stronger and convincingly, so it came home with me. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to smell it properly and with concentration, so no more information about that one today, but it falls somewhere in the middle of the first two.

SL Fleurs d'Oranger notes by Luckyscent: Orange blossom, white jasmine, Indian tuberose, white rose, citrus peel, hibiscus seeds, cumin, nutmeg

Fleur d'Oranger 27 Le Labo notes by Luckyscent: bergamot, petitgrain, grapefruit, amber, musk and vetiver

Organza 2008 Orange Blossom notes by Harrods: neroli, honeysuckle, petitgrain, orange blossom, soft spices, vanilla

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Random thoughts after weekend and pictures

I was trying out what kind of pictures one can take with a digital camera so I'll post some here. Some of them are of a rosemary bush that will hopefully survive its accident (the wind turned it over and now we have to see whether the stem will heal itself).

You can't see the stem, this is just a picture of the bush.

After smelling rosemary over the weekend, it seems to me now that the essential oil does not smell exactly like the bush. But then again it is a bit more concentrated than the smell wafting through the air. Anyway, both my boyfriend and I love the smell, so I do hope the bush survives.
There is also a laurel tree which is just fine. :) And quite useful for its gastronomic purposes.

This last one I have no idea what it is, but it grows in the garden as well, so I took a photo of it. If anyone knows, feel free to enlighten me (I don't really recognize many plants, or flowers for that matter).

And the last one is of a blackbird which seems to have taken permament residence in the garden because all day long he/she just wandered around looking for food and making rustling noises (making me wonder who is walking around the garden). Hope he stays.

One other thought that came to me yesterday while I was smelling Amouage Lyric woman (and how great is that one - wonderful!) is how I've been reading about brands trying to sell their fragrances by making customers fall in love with the top notes and going home with something that might not prove so great later. What has been happening to me lately is that I came across many fragrances that didn't smell so great at the first sniff but then later became absolutely wonderful. Which is pure luck because I don't usually give it much thought if it doesn't smell interesting from the beginning (shame on me, I know). :) And that brings me to Bulgari Omnia Green Jade which I still need to try again and see if that was one of those days when everything smelled great or do I truly like it?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Books and the sun

After spending Labour day not working, it's back to the work routine this week. Which I don't find so bad because I managed to truly rest body and soul, body by laying in the sun and mind by reading. Last week I was starting to get worried because I no longer felt the need to read anything (that is a terribly worrisome state for me because it signifies sth is very wrong since I read to relax and I do it all the time). And from all the things I can choose from (having quite a lot of books in my room) nothing seemed interesting. So, I was saved when I got a call from Algoritam last week that some of my ordered books have arrived and having a long weekend to read them. :)

I finally got my hands on Deadly desire by Keri Arthur (Riley Jensen series, book 7) and I liked the fact that Riley's love life got complicated (again) but in this book she managed to keep the one relationship (I'm keeping my fingers crossed to survive the next books), living. We'll see what happens in the next Riley installment that should be out sometime in October I believe.

I also got my hands on another of Mary Balogh's historical romance, Simply perfect. The moral of the story is you're not too old to find love when you're 35 and a spinster school teacher. lol :) And good clothes and hats, a positive outlook on life, some strength of character and a good hair-dressing maid are what is needed to transform a non-descript woman into someone of beauty. Sounds familiar?

The third book I'm only halfway through is First king of Shannara by Terry Brooks. Usually I'm scared of starting to read fantasy series because when they are good I can't stop and I do have everyday obligations that cannot be put aside just because I can't stop reading. :) You wouldn't believe how often I am faced with that problem... I first came into contact with TB when reading his Genesis of Shannara trilogy and I loved it. He writes somewhat differently from most of other fantasy writers I read (similar to Raymond Feist) in the manner that the story proceeds fast and you do not follow every day occurences through the book (that sometimes makes me lose interest which almost happened with Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series). Anyway, this is just a prequel, so what follows is another good trilogy for which I will somehow have to pace myself and read it as I usually read.

Regarding sniffing during the weekend, I didn't do much of that - sun cream being the reason (smells too strong to get a good feeling what something else might smell like). I did try Cococabana by PdN after reading Abigail's post on it. I thought I'd get more coconut from it but I don't think that detracts anything from the loveliness of this. I was trying to figure out which note is the one that smells similar to sth in Eau Turquoise which displays it more prominently and which is why I cannot bear to wear it, but I was unsuccessful. Smells aquatically-sweet and it's an understatement when I say aquatic is not my thing. :)

I did finally get my hands on some of Andy Tauer samples and I look forward to smelling them more conscientiously. I kept smelling Reverie en jardin and thinking something here smells so familiar but unfortunately, couldn't figure it out. Like I said, they deserve more of my time. :)