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.

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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. :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Subrina hair color

I colored my hair yesterday and was surprised in more ways than I expected. I wouldn't even be talking about this color today if there wasn't some kind of promotion so I decided to try it. It's not like it can be that bad, but since this is a Slovenian company and not my usual L'Oreal, Garnier or Schwarzkopf which I trust, I never before bought Subrina (by Ilirija). I know it's not nice to be prejudiced against small cosmetic companies but sometimes I can't help it.

Anyway, it's in the lower price range regarding what's on offer (L'Oreal Preference being higher price range for hair colors here).

Anyway, I took the box after seeing the hair color in the book the SA offered without actually reading the name of the color. It looked the right kind of red. Even when opening the box yesterday to mix the color and reading the instructions for the color named Orange, I still thought it was going to look the same as on the box. Well, as you can imagine, I was wrong. :)

But truth to tell, I am not disappointed with the color - it does hint toward orange but it's actually a really strong copper tone. Which is what I aim for most of the time. Only this copper leans more toward orange than red. This will be then the tone of the month - it's good it's so lively because the weather here is grey and we had our first snow today! :) Yeey! It was mixed with rain and it's too warm for it to stick, but I love watching it fall and it has made my gray rainy day much happier.

Back to the color. I wanted to talk about it today because I was pleasantly surprised to find that the gloves that come attached to the instructions are much better quality than what can usually be found in the package and that there was more color in the end than I was able to utilize. That has never happened before. I mean, I do have short hair but lately I started asking myself is it possible that they put less and less product into those bottles and tubes because one color is barely enough for my hair. Well, Subrina obviously does put enough which is certainly a plus for them. Another plus is that their instructions say that after washing off the color shampoo, you need to shampoo the hair one more time with a color save shampoo and then apply the conditioner that came in the package. The problem with the conditioner satchet is that it is not perforated which luckily for me, I noticed before starting to wash the color off so I cut the top off.

Now, I cannot as of yet say how lasting it will be (I mean they all wash off, it's just the question of how soon and how much) but it washes of your skin incredibly well enough. Hopefully it will remain this vibrant long (at least the SA said it would).
REMINDER: You still have time to win a copy of the latest Stephanie Laurens romance (I mean, who doesn't want to win a book), just leave a comment saying so here.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

WoW: Stephanie Laurens and The Black Cobra Quartet, and... - a prize draw

The way I'm going, this writer of the week might turn to be every two weeks. It's the end of the week and I barely made it. But I have a good excuse. :) I got offered a new book by Stephanie Laurens to read and review, so when it arrived, of course I left everything else and went to read it.

Well, what can I say. It's a typical Laurens novel and that's really good. The fact that this book comes with short info on all Cynster and Bastion club novels written so far has been some good thinking on someone's part. It really made my reading much easier because it put into perspective what year each of the stories happened. You know, after, what? - 16 Cynster books and 8 or 9 Bastion, you kind of lose the details, so having them at the end of the book is really helpful. Especially so, as both Cynsters and Bastion club members feature in The Untamed bride and in the rest of the quartet to come.

I'm not going into the story and how the Black Cobra situation came about, but I'm happy to say that I can't wait for the next book. The bad thing is those sequels never come soon enough. :)

What I really liked about this novel is that I could relate with the main female character, she's 29 (I'm 30) and her state of mind is in accordance with her age. At least from my perspective. Though it seems, the more stubborn you are, the more likely you are to burst into flame with the right man. And the older you are, the less likely you are to debate on the possible consequences for your social status if you decide to enjoy the man of you choosing. Like I said, totally in accordance with age. ;)

I know that real-life love stories usually do not look like those in romance novels, but there are times I wish they would. At least for a while. I mean I can tell myself I can paint my love life in more romance-like way but in the end, it's not really the same. Maybe it's me, maybe it's the time we live in, but I cannot imagine letting go the way you are supposed to for true love. And sometimes, I do wish I was the kind of person who can do that with the right man. You know, all those real virile, patriotic, handsome, honest, fit, large men are a girl's dream come true. :)

So, if I cannot have them/him in real life, I'll live in the novel for a while and enjoy myself. You can certainly enjoy yourself while reading Laurens romance.

Now, who of you wants to enjoy yourself reading the latest Laurens romance? :) The lovely people who sent me my copy, also offered 2 copies to my readers (they've made me very happy, I have to say). The only unfortunate thing is the copies can go only to US, Canada or UK. If you're interested in one, please say so until Thursday midnight and on Friday, I'll announce the winners.

I do hope you will enjoy it as much as I have. :)

P.S. This book made me realize the time has come to read some of the love stories from the beginning of the Cynster line. I've forgotten some of the stories but I know I enjoyed them very much. After all, I wouldn't own all of them if that was not the case. :)
Like I said, addicted.