Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Laurell K. Hamilton: Circus of the Damned

This is worse than first time around. Now I know what great adventures await me with Anita and I cannot stop reading, I am completely hooked. I was reading until 1 a.m. last night even though I had to get to work this morning, but I just had to finish so today I could start another (which I will do as soon as I finish this). :)

Btw, I need to warn you there may be some spoilers ahead. When I started reading it, I thought I knew which story this was. Then I got through half of the book and started wondering if I mixed some stuff. It turned out I was right at the start, but it just took longer than I expected. And I actually learned something. It bugged me the first time around when she recognizes a vampire and later figures it is a million years old and a Homo Erectus. So today I went googling and Homo Erectus really was that old. :) Wow! It just proves I wasn't paying much attention in school. Ok, I forgot.

I already mentioned in previous posts how I'm getting much more this time around when reading and it was proven again. Like when Lamia (if you haven't read, I'll let you discover her yourself) said that a woman should always have more than one man. :) Boy, is that going to become true for Anita. I can't wait for it. :) You know that means less sleep for me (and I do need enough sleep). But it's just too tense to let go. Especially now I know what to expect.
I just realized I didn't say much about the story - but it's the standard Anita, blood, violence, vampires after her, helping the police, a new guy coming into picture...

Pic by: www.laurellkhamilton.com

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Thoughts on spring and recent sniffs

I know I'm lagging behind a bit with writing about perfume. I want to do a real review of Bal d'Afrique because I think it deserves it and I'm somehow lost in the crossing between winter and spring. I cannot seem to find spring in my perfume wardrobe so today I did a bit of sample classification and put florals and those that seem spring-like and green close to my hand so I can put them on when I need something of that sort without having to go look for them.

I find it really strange that I have full bottles of stuff that is for winter and also for summer (autumn comes in between and is never really a problem) but when spring comes, I get lost and don't know what to wear.

I don't know if anyone noticed, last spring there was much talk about lily of the valley and lilies in general for spring. This year it's mostly about narcissus and hyacinths. And not only that there is much talk of it, I also feel this year I want to wear those flowers (again, am I that susceptible to trends?)

One of the things I'd like this spring seems to be Amaranthine. The more I think of it, the more I want it. You know where this is leading, don't you? ;)

In my search of spring scents, I tried again Lolita Lempicka original. I just can' see the appeal. And honestly, I get completely lost in the samples of LL stuff I have. How many flankers are there?! I'm never completely sure which one I'm testing. I also have L de Lolita Lempicka (I find that one better than LL) and I also have Fleur Defendue (I still have to try that one).

One of the things I realized this spring is that I enjoy tea in my spring scents (I'm planning a post on that soon).

And a thought to finish with, I finally get the Parfum de Therese and Une fleur de Cassie by Frederic Malle. And when I say I get them, what I actually mean is, I love them and need them in larger quantities than a sample.

P.S. I bought Cadjmere by PG quite some time ago for my boyfriend who doesn't seem to appreciate it, so it is MINE now. :) Yes! Yes! Yes!

The results are in

I decided to put everything on paper this time with preferences included to ease the process.
And here is what came out of the hat:
1. Sue was first -with Tanglewood Bouquet

2. next was the Left Coast Nose -meaning you got Ambre Gris

3. and luckily for Queen_cupcake who said if not Ambre Gris, then anything, you won Eau de Turqouise

Please contact me with your addresses (LCN, I have yours) and when they are all in, I'll send the packages.
Thanks everyone for participating (and reading the blog), more luck next time.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Anita Blake - The Laughing Corpse

Since I am participating in the Anita Blake book challenge, I will give a quick post on each of the book as I read them.

You know, those books are addictive, especially the beginning of the series. I am again enjoying them immensely (if you haven't realized that yet). ;)

I get the feeling that the series started with some very interesting and original cases (although terribly gory and dark) and that as it progressed, it got harder to keep up with such great beginning. But that didn't stop me from getting all the books. :)

Anyway, in this one, Anita is asked by a bad rich guy to raise a 300-year old corpse but in order to do that, one needs a human sacrifice and there is no money in the world for Anita to take the case. At the same time, she is helping the police with some seriously bad murders which are it seems performed by a zombie (a flesh eating, very scary kind). That investigation brings her to a voodoo priestess and from that point on, it just gets worse and worse for Anita. Did I mention that she gets hurt in each book? :) Sometimes seriously bad and sometimes just a few bites and bruises (not necessitating a hospital stay).

When I was first reading AB, I have to admit I was a bit astonished at the violence, blood, guns and all those aggressive parts but they are part of Anita Blake universe and probably one of the reasons the series is/was so popular. I mean, I don't know how popular it is at the moment, but for me it's one of the cult series of the genre. Like what Lord of the Rings did for fantasy. Ok, LOTR is a category by itself and nothing can ever be compared to it, but you get my meaning.
Btw, I just realized with this book that Anita is only an animator in book 1, it is by the end of book 2 she realizes she is actually a necromancer. Biiig difference as will be revealed. :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My sample storage is wrong

I just realized this two days ago when I wanted to bring forth spring-like samples and decants to see what am I going to wear this spring. Well, I didn't do much with that idea.

The thing is, a year ago I decided to arrange my ever growing sample/decant collection by houses, so I would be able to find them when I need to. They used to be all over the place with no order to them. It seemed like a nice, rational way of storing them and making them easily available. Well, now I have a problem. :)

I don't really know/remember how all of them smell like and since they are by houses, the best I can do with those I'm not sure how they smell, is to try them again. Which would take an enormous amount of time and I need the spring scents now.

So now I decided to first find the time (that is one of the things I miss these days) and then to see what I don't know what it smells like and locate some notes/reviews for those so I can re-order my collection into seasons, colors and genres. Depending on which strikes me as most important for that scent. Rita from the Left Coast Nose wrote some time ago how some smells bring forth colors for her, so that is going to be one of my sample categorizations (some do it for me as well). Also, notions like spring, autumn, summer, winter, leather, incense, fruit, green, marine, etc. I know this is going to take a while but I think it will be a good way for me to find things later by the way my nose categorized them.

I will let you know how it goes. :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Laurell K. Hamilton: Guilty Pleasures

With the beginning of this year, I decided to participate in several reading challenges. One of them was Anita Blake. Ah, Ms Blake. :) She feels like a real person to me now. We've been hanging together for 5-6 years now. Practically friends. Even though she doesn't have that many female friends. One or two maybe. Even though we have nothing in common. She is a petite tough as nails vampire hunter. That's what you get from book one. I am not going to discuss what I already know about what happens with Anita in books to come since I am re-reading the whole series. I've been meaning to do that for some time now (it gets hard keeping track what happened at the beginning of the series when series reached book 17 or something similar) and this challenge came at the right moment.

So, I think I already talked about Anita and that she is a necromancer (raises the dead, i.e. zombies) and is also a bounty vampire killer. There is no vampire hunter, once you get to hunt them, the end is going to be someone's death. Even though she is very young in the book (I am not 100% sure but I think she is either 24 or 26), she already has life experience for a life (and scars as well).

She is a terribly dark personality, by that I don't mean she is negative but has a seriously dark outlook on life even though she is a firm Catholic. Now, that I think of it, it kind of isn't that strange. :)

This is the first time I am re-reading Anita Blake and while doing it, I realized that every book you read and enjoyed should be read at least one more time. You just can't get everything from a book from just one reading. I was seeing so much more now that I was reading it again, since I knew what was to come, I could better understand many of the situations. And even though the story is dark (as always), I was genuinely happy to be back in the world of Anita Blake. I could actually feel her feelings towards vampires this time around. In the beginning, they are quite bad. But, there are interesting things to come, and I will let you know what happens.

And just a short recap of what goes on in this book - Anita is asked by the head vampire of St. Louis to look into some vampire murders (she works as a necromancer and is on retainer with the police regarding supernatural crimes) but when she refuses, through some manouvering, she is forced to help them and she should do it fast. And this is the book where we meet Edward. :) But more about him (a.k.a Death) soon when there is more to tell.

Kresley Cole: Pleasure of a Dark Prince

Finally I get to talk about this book! :)

I've read it during the weekend and to say I enjoyed it would be an understatement. I don't know if it's because I know what to expect from Kresley Cole's work or she is just getting better and better, but this is one book I will be reading again and again. Ok, all Immortals after Dark are books I re-read and will be doing that for quite some time. and even though I know what to expect from the story, the lovers who are not suited and one (or both) are against the relationship, a terrible problem they have to deal with and cannot for the life of them see it will ever be resolved in a positive manner, a whole lot of sexually charged situations and interesting twists, each book reads better and better. :)

This time we have Lucia the Archer and the prince is of the Lykae clan, his brother is missing so he is the heir but the brother re-appears (that's actually the first real book in the series - a great one as well). Anyway, there are some dark misteries in Lucia's past (in my mind I'm calling her now the way he calls her in the book) and she just cannot imagine there is a future for her with Garreth. She is of course his mate so he needs to look no further (even if he could, there is only one mate for life).

Honestly, I didn't see the end coming. Ok, I couldn't even begin to imagine how was Kresley going to resolve it, so I enjoyed the suspense.

And if all this didn't get you the idea how much I liked the book - I LOVED it. :) And can't wait for the next installment.

Ms. Cole can you please hurry with writing the following novels? Please?

Pic by: http://kresleycole.com/

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Celebrating year one with a give-away!

I can't believe it's already been a year since I started with this blog. :) It is definitely one of the smarter things I did in life - the happiness and friendship that run through the blogosphere are incredible.

I want to thank everyone who found their way here during that year, for reading and commenting and enjoying my perfume journey with me. I just know there are better things to come for all of us.

And in order to celebrate this first anniversary I want to give away the following:

1. A bottle of PdN Eau Turqouise with some 15ml left (I will not decant this but send the bottle).

2. 10ml decant of Ambre Gris by Balmain

3. 10 ml decant of Tanglewood Bouquet by Crown perfumery

If you have a preference, please say so in the comments, and this will run for a week (meaning until next Saturday, 27 March) when I'll announce the 3 winners.

I want to wish you all a wonderfully scented spring and here's to another year of new perfume discoveries!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Comfort scents for Uncomfortable Times

I am really happy that I got invited into another joint blog project, this time hosted by Ayala Sender of the Ayala Moriel perfumes andthe Smelly Blog.

I almost made a mistake and started reading what other participating blogs wrote but stopped myself just in time. I don't want my thoughts to be influenced by interesting things I am bound to read there. :)

So, on to my ideas for this post. When I got the email, my first thoughts went to my winter scents and which of them I find comforting (since the idea is to welcome spring by saying good-bye to the winter). I've been giving this some thought over the last few days and I realized several things.

First, the last 6 months were really difficult all over the world, and for me as well. The other things is that even though we all probably need comfort all through the year, it seems to me it is needed the most during dark winter months when there is no sun to be seen and no warmth to be found outside of our homes (at the moment I am elated to see and smell the spring outside my wide open window). :)

And then the last thing I came up with was the fact that I have three categories of comfort scents (I only just now realized that it's not 2 which I started writing but is actually 3).

The first and easiest category is comfort scents that are no brainers. They aren't complicated, might not last long but feel more like putting on your favourite cotton underwear.

One of those that always works for me, during the whole year is Jo Malone's Nutmeg and Ginger. It has spices that make it right. It's my round the year comfort wear.

The other two categories are much more interesting though.

This winter I went through a phase of discovering DSH line. There is still much left to be discovered but since it was winter, and I was going through a spices phase, I tried several of her creations and fell in love with quite a few. What I loved about Cimabue, Piment and Chocolat, and Gingembre is that when I smell them I am reminded of childhood freedom and smell of warmth and I feel happiness radiating around me.

Then, I discovered Back to Black, By Kilian. Which if you considered the name might not sound like a very comforting scent but to me it feels like I'm cocooned in my favourite blanket reading something and a cup of hot wine on the table beside me (there is no wine in it, it just gets me to this place).

One other comforting winter scent for me is New Harleem by Bond no.9. It is a perfect combination of comforting and energizing and can be used as a really good pick-me-up during the winter. I gave some to my boyfriend and I can tell when he puts it on - not often but also when he is in a need for some happy thoughts.

I could talk more about some of the scents I wore this winter that enveloped me in comfort (like, Santal Blanc which not only gives comfort but strength to face the world as well) but while reading my winter notes, I realized many of the scents I really enjoy during those months are those that have a boozy-warm feeling to them (I don't want to delve deeper into why a boozy aroma seems to calm me). ;) But those that fit into that category are Lucifer Sin by Damien Bash, Ambre Russe by Parfum d'Empire and Spiriteuese Double Vanille (which I only have a sample of but would love more).

In the end, there is my third category and it's a very special one. Those are scents (for the time being only two) that are not so comforting per se but are actually scents that lift the weight off your shoulders and make you breathe easier (for me, they also help clear my thoughts and ideas). A lot of work for a scent to do. A big thank you for those achievements to Timbuktu and Sandalo Inspiritu by DSH.

That's all from me, now please visit other participating blogs and enjoy the coming spring. :)

Katie Puckrik Smells

Roxana Illuminated Perfume

Savvy Thinker

BitterGrace Notes

Perfume Shrine

Notes from the Ledge

Scent Hive

The Non-Blonde

Perfume in Progress

A Rose Beyond the Thames

I Smell Therefore I am


The Smelly Blog

"This article's title is an homage to Michelyn Camen's original article of this same name on Sniffapalooza Magazine in 2008, in which interviewed several perfumers to comment on what botanical elements make their perfumes comforting.

Michelyn Camen is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of www.cafleurebon.com and the Editor-at- Large for www.Fashiontribes.com. She is a formerly an Editor for Fragrantica, the Fragrance Editor for Uptown Social, a Senior Contributor for Sniffapalooza Magazine, the New in Niche Columnist forBasenotes, the Managing Director for BeautynewsNYC and the former publicist for www.luckyscent.com and Scent Bar, Los Angeles. She has been awarded Brandweek Magazine Marketer of the Year, Ad Age Magazine 100 and is a two time recipient of License Magazine’s 40 under 40 and recipient. She slipped off her corporate power suit to pursue her passion for fragrance."

Picture by Ayala from the Smelly Blog

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rick Riordan: Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth

This is the book 4 in the series, there is only one more left which I mistakenly thought that I have bought and was searching frantically at home trying to locate it after finishing this one, only for it to turn out, I didn't buy it. :) I definitely needed a vacation and everything I did before it is a bit blurred because I was already so tired that my mind kept wandering off and I was forgetting all sorts of things.

All that is no longer important, spring is here, I'm relatively rested and in a good mood and there are all sorts of new spring scents to find and wear. Which has nothing to do with the book. :)

So, let me tell you something about the book.
Well, in this one you can tell the whole story is getting to its end and that the bad guy (in this case the Titan Kronos) is on the brink of seizing power. The last book is the one where Percy decided the future of the Olympic gods and I can't wait to see what happens.

Before this series I thought I had some bacis Greek mythology knowledge but it didn't take long for me to realize I actually missed quite a lot of minor characters (most of the time monster type). It's fun to read a book written for fun and then finishing it and realizing you learned something. And in this one you actually get proof that there is something going on between Percy and Annabeth (finally!) but I'm still wondering what will happen in the last sequel with Annabeth and Luke (who turned bad guy in book 1). I definitely didn't see coming what happened to Luke at the end of this book.

The whole series somehow reminds me of Harry Potter, each book sees the characters slowly grow up and the story gets richer and more complex. I guess that is normal when your characters start young and grow up to deal with more darkness around them. :) Standard hero stuff. :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Quick post-ski thoughts

First day after a vacation is always filled with so many different things to do, so I'll just give you a quick rundown of what I wore while skiing, hot it behaved and some photos of the mountains.

Even though I thought skiing in March will prove to be a sunny, warm activity, I was quite wrong. On those days when it was actually sunny, it was still cold and windy and although not as cold as on non-sunny days, cold enough not to mistake the weather for spring.

Bal d'Afrique is definitely something cold cannot kill. :) And 3 spritzes of it are too much. It got trapped between my layers of clothing and I could smell it all day. A large plus for it. The same goes for Alamut which managed to reveal new facets in the cold (wet and rose-smelling). That one is strange - I'm not sure what I think of it.

I had high hopes for Sushi Imperiale but they were dashed by the coldest day I ever experienced. I don't think I was ever that cold in my life (it was a windy -15 degrees Celsius). The cold killed the Sushi Imperiale. The same happened to Vetyver Vanilla by Gutsatz house.

On one of the sunny days I wore Keiko Mecheri Iris Pourpre which turned quite sweet in the sunny cold.

In the evening I mostly kept to my new discovery - Nuxe dry oil for body which has a lovely smell that combines great with By Kilian Back to Black (and feels great on skin).

That's all for today - here are some photos:

The last one is me of course. :)

Friday, March 5, 2010

And I'm off

Just a quick word before I leave for a week of sun in the (I hope sun) but on snow definitely.
I hope everyone has a productive week of sniffing and discovering new loves, and hopefully, there won't be that many posts to read once I'm back but since I will be de-stressed, happy and full of energy, I won't mind one little bit even if that will be the case.
I will be back on Monday 15, probably with photos and my musings on how the scents I'm taking with me performed in the snow and while skiing. I sincerely hope that it's not going to be a week where I'm lazy enough not to put anything on and just let my scentful hobby disappear. I really want to see how it's going to work out.
So, have a great week (I know I will) and read you soon!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New purchase and some detective work

I really, really should learn from experience. Especially when it's mine. :)

All I wanted to do was doi a quick visit to Viktor Koncept store, try Bal d'Afrique and Amaranthine and leave because I was in a hurry to the next appointment I had. Of course, what happened is that I was more than 20 minutes late and with a new perfume purchase I never planned on doing. I blame it on SAs there. They were really helpful and we were discussing different houses they have and what should I try for my ski trip (he, he, I'm mobilising people right and left to help me choose) and at that time, while smelling some very interesting things on strips (like Tilleul, Eau de Gantier, etc.) I realized my right wrist smelled great and mistakenly thought it was Bal d'Afrique which was on my left wrist. Or, I thought right but everything got messed up in my head because I was in a hurry. So, I decided to take Bal d'Afrique home with me because even though the name doesn't suggest it, it feels right for skiing. :) Unbelievable. I'll let you know when I come back if I was right.

Notes: lemon, neroli, African marigold, cyclamen, vetiver, jasmine, violet, bucchu, cedar, black amber? and musk.

At this moment, I cannot give you a coherent opinion on what this is because mostly what I'm thinking is what it's not. :) It reminds me of many different perfumes but it's not them. Even though I'm not madly in love with it, I am completely fascinated. It feels like it could hypnotise my nose and not let it go.

On the other hand, I could fall in love with Amaranthine if I give it some time. At the moment we are eyeing each other and flirting, considering what might happen in the future. Are we going to go for the real thing or just flirt a bit?

Notes: green tea, white freesia, banana tree leaf, coriander, cardamom, rose, carnation, clove, orange blossom, ylang-ylang, jasmine, musk, vanilla, sandalwood, condensed milk and tonka bean.

I won't even try to decipher the notes I smell. Do you see how many are there?! At first, I didn't think there was going to be anything happening between us. It started like a bitterish green floral (I attribute the bitter part to tea and coriander) and then the bitter edge dissipated and what I was left with was a green floral going for vanilla. I kept thinking why so much vanilla and where is it coming from - making its way through the green floralcy. I guess the condensed milk and tonka bean are helping there.

So, I came home and went in search of notes and found at NST that it was “reminiscent of the scent of the inside of a woman’s thigh” - once I read that and the notes, I could totally see it, the muskiness and dissipating bitterness giving one an idea like that. This is not something to turn you away from this, just try and see if you get it as well. :)

Now on to the part where my bad streak of things not happening as they should continues.

We were talking about Viktor Koncept getting some new perfume brands for their store, here you can see what they have so far, and me being in a hurry, I paid, and since I was in a hurry and the bag they packaged for me wasn't close, I asked if I could get the bag and wave good-bye, and they gave it to me. Unfortunately for me, there were no samples in it which I realized once I got home. And I'm not blaming the SAs, they always put interesting samples when I'm there, but I asked for my bag right after the discussion and I don't think they even realized there were no samples in it. :( I'm so sad I'm not going to try anything new, but hey, these things shouldn't be done in a hurry.

And, here is where some detective work comes into play. ;) They plan on adding some new brands to their store but those that are not yet present here. That means brands that aren't at the Institut Parfumeur Flores either which narrows the field. My first hope was that someone was finally going to have the whole SL line. Which of course, I don't know beacuse Viktor is keeping it a secret.

The others that might come as per my detective work (and they are going to Paris to talk to them): Boadicea, Caron, Divine, Ego Facto, Fifi Chachnil, Fragonard, Frederic Malle (oh, yes please!), Le Labo, Montale, Nez a Nez, Reminiscence...

I didn't put here houses that are present here but have exclusive lines (Chanel, Guerlain, Van Cleef and Arpels, etc.). I mean I hope they arrive but sincerely doubt it.

There are also some lines that are not from Paris but which I would LOVE to see here. Tom Ford if anyone who can make a difference is reading. :)

Huh, that was a lot to go through.

Big thanks to the NST team which helps with pretty much any investigative work relating perfume (I used their list of houses and notes).

Pic by: www.firstluxe.com