Thursday, March 31, 2011

Time flies by when the sun is shining

I think I'm suffering from spring laziness. I'm not really tired as that is what everyone keeps talking about these days when the sun keeps shining all day long and everyone is smiling because of it. I'm actually running around, trying to do all sorts of things and I'm managing but the writing sort of got lost in the middle of all that.

During last week's fumechat, I got some wonderful recommendations for spring scents from Persolaise, only to manage to locate one of those samples and basically just try that one. One would think if I'm looking for new perfume loves, I'd put more effort into it...

So, the one I tried was Vert Pivoine by Histoires de Parfums, and while I was already amid those samples, I tested Blanc Violette too.

Vert Pivoine

Notes (in French):
Top note : Pivoine, Feuille de Lierre, Eau de Rose.

Heart note : Pivoine, Rose, Mimosa, Gardénia, Fruits Rouges, Baies Roses.
Base note : Pivoine, Santal, Cèdre, Musc, Vanille.

One of the good things about perfumes is that I learn many new words through them. Especially for flowers. :) So now I know the name for peony in both French and Croatian and thanks to google, I even know what it looks like. Before, peony was just another name of a flower.
So, what does it smell like? For me, it starts with the smell of flowers stalks that give off a slightly peppery twist. It's not sweet at all, more like spring flowers after rain when you can't smell the sweet grass and pollen residue in the air but just clear scent.
It smells serious and elegant to me with the smell of real rose (at least that's how I think of that particular smell, the one where you actually have your nose in the rose and can smell the surrounding air and leaves) complementing the elegancy.
These are soliflores by Histoires de Parfums site so it's no surprise when I say that this one smells pretty much linear with some detours - a bit greener in the drydown.
Very easily wearable if not a great love for me. It's more like a nice blouse you know fits well, even though  not the most spectacular you own.

Blanc Violette

Notes (also in French)
Top note : Violette, Bergamote, Iris.

Heart note : Violette, Ylang-Ylang, Anis Badiane.
Base note : Violette, Santal, Vanille, Musc, Poudre de Riz.

I'm not the one to fall for violets in my perfumes, but I actually liked this one better than Vert Pivoine (and I liked that one).
The interesting thing happened right at the beginning - I couldn't say what I was smelling. I was smelling it but my mind refused to put any name to it so I wrote down - white and sligthly bitter. :) I'm just so good with words. ;)
After that, it got slightly powdery and lightly irisy but I can't say I could recognize violets in there.
Then another interesting thing happened - it started smelling like it was being suffused with light. I don't know where that came from and I was very surprised to get that idea in my head. I wonder if someone else has tried this and had the same revelation?
I like it when I smell something that strongly questions my perfume knowledge as it was very hard for me to put into words what I was smelling and still can't really describe it well enough - I guess my flower notes knowledge is seriously lacking. :)
To me it basically smells good, easy, light, elegant and smoothly powdery in occasional whiffs.
Notes by:
Pic is mine of trees blooming in Zagreb.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Crazy Libellule and the Poppies: Toi Mon Prince

I think I should permanently remain in the search mode as it seems to make me try stuff in rather larger quantities every day and pick one to talk about.
This one is not as huge hit as the Vetiver 46 was but it still a very good choice for me and I believe I'll be wearing it more often now. Actually start wearing it now as I can't say more often if I never wore it before. :)

Notes: musk, jasmine, sandalwood, patchouli, bergamot, tangerine, apricot, plum, blackcurrant, rose, peach.

Yes, I know, the notes make it sound like a fruity mess. It is fruity but it's not messy. It's actually quite sunny and warm.
You can't expect some great development from this and what scared me the most was the musk but all together I have to say, it's really easy to wear and like.

For me it starts fruity sweet and for some reason green and very warm. It's the smell of fruit warmed in the sun. But not open fruit, more like you put outside on the table and it heated up in the sun and now when you're close to it, you smell the sun in the fruit. I hope this makes sense to someone else beside me. :)

And that's basically it until the drydown where musk is more sniffable to me but it's never too much (actually, it's barely there, luckily for me). It loses the fruity  warmth and retains some flowery feel - very enjoyable. All together, a very nice experience.

P.S. Have no idea what the name has to do with the smell.

Pic and notes by:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Found one! - Le Labo Vetiver 46

So after an enthusiastic search yesterday for samples and decants of spring lovelies to try from the suggestions I received, one of those I found and wasn't looking for was Le Labo's Vetiver 46. (I also found MAC's linden one and Le Temps d'un Fete by PdN and Reverie au Jardin but that's another story).

Today, while looking for notes, I realized that the 46 from the name stands for 46 essences in there. Well, there is certainly more in there than they listed as notes: pepper, gaiac wood, labdanum, cedar, olibanum, incense, tahitian vetiver.

While I said there is more in there, in the beginning, you wouldn't know it, getting hit by some serious pepper. Which I don't mind, I enjoy that but it did smell, well, I hate to say it - masculine. It's slightly citrusy, very peppery and lightly smoky.
I also saw that this was a Mark Buxton perfume and I seem to be getting an idea when smelling perfumes that they are bearing his signature as this one hints at some CdGs.

The initial pepper blast doesn't last too long and soon something slightly sweet starts to appear in the background, while in the front, incense is slowly taking center stage. The perfume keeps smelling better and better and this is the point where it reminded me a bit of Timbuktu. But it's more lively and refreshing than Timbuktu. Which sounds exactly like the thing one needs in spring. :)

And this is where I come to the part of the missing notes. Ok, yes, I smelled vetiver at some point but it was very delicately done. This is not a fragrance dominated by vetiver for me (or after some googling for everyone else), unless there is a facet of vetiver I'm not aware of. In the drydown I started getting this flowery-blackberrish radiance on top of the lightly sweet,  woody-vetiver breeze. The drydown smells so great to me that I keep thinking with those 46 essences in there, someone must have accidentally hit on the perfect ratio to produce this effect. I simply love it. :)

Oh! Just found better notes on Luckyscent: bergamot, black pepper, clove, cedar, vetiver, labdanum, olibanum, gaiac wood, amber, and vanilla.

Pic and notes by:

Rachel Hawkins: Hex Hall

This book made me wonder how come I like to read YA novels and enjoy them a lot. My perspective of the teenage years has changed a lot since I'm no longer one but I guess, the outlook teenagers have on life and the strength of emotions pouring out of them will always be fun to read.

So, Hex Hall.
It seems there is a recipe out there on how to write a  supernatural YA fiction. I couldn't help but notice some plot/structure similarities with the House of Night novels, only in this case it's about witches (and fae and shapeshifters) and not vampires.
This might not sound good but I actually enjoyed the book very much. The pace is fast, there are no superfluous information, it feels and reads very compact.

I liked Sophie, the main female character, and for once, I found a character who despite her teenage years didn't seem to have problems reasoning. That seems to be a problem often with YA fiction, that characters somehow "miss" the obvious conclusions (you know, the underlying idea being they are young and still have problems with logical thinking, I just can't buy that).
Not with Sophie. Yes, she is a typical teenager but she is strong and smart and I love her.

Luckily for me, the next book just came out in the beginning of March - Demonglass and I'm sure my Kindle will love having it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's spring - what should I wear?

I realized I face the same problem each spring. It doesn't happen with any other season, only spring.

The sun is shining, the weather is warmer and I re-organized my perfumes so those warm weather ones would be closer at hand but I'm not feeling them. I mean, the easiest choice seems to be tuberose these days but I'd like to expand that (and not use up what's left in my bottle of Vamp a NY).

The way I see it, spring feels like a new beginning so I need to smell something new to go with it. None of my last year spring favorites seem to be working no more. They will though, as soon as I start the spring season with something new to satisfy my spring flightiness.

Green, sunny and not too floral - ideas please?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My vintage miniatures find

Actually, it's more the case of them finding me than vice versa. :)
Last autumn I decided to try my hand at possibly finding some vintage gems in Croatia so I put an add in the most read add neswpapers here and it keeps re-appearing. I only got two calls so far. One was for a vintage Max Factor Hypnotique with a cat and the other one was a week ago, for two little cabinets containing vintage miniatures gathered over the course of 40 years or so.

Yesterday, I went to check them out. :) As you can probably guiess by now, I'm the proud owner of those 2 cabinets and the 220 miniatures they contain. Yeeeeeeeey!!

I just can't decribe how happy that makes me feel. :)

Here are my (not well taken) photos of them:

I do wish I could take better photos of them - it's not very visible what's in there.

These were too big for the cabinets so they came in a bag of their own.

I don't even know what some of them are but it's going to be so much fun smelling them, discovering what the ones I'm not familiar with are and talking about them.

Pics are mine.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hilde Soliani: Conaffetto

I'm sure most of you found some information regarding this perfume among other blogs out there. Conaffetto (con affetto) meaning "with affection" and the confetti reference of weddings.

For that matter, I remember my parents bringing home confetti when going to weddings, it used to be a tradition here as well.
There is still the tradition of giving your guests a little gift but it evolved and can now be almost anything.

This is my first perfume by Hilde Soliani and if I were to choose where to start with her line, it probably wouldn't have been with this one. But as I won a draw on Fragrance Belles-Lettres, I was eagerly awaiting this to see for myself what the fuss is about.

There is not a wealth of notes for this one: orange blossom, almonds, sugar.

I seem to be smelling gourmands these days. :)

Btw, I am ashamed to say I had my suspicions when first trying this and getting hit with the smell of vanilla and almond ice cream. Vanilla-sweet and almondy? I thought, Oh, please, it's not going to keep smelling like that?!

Luckily for me, and really ashamed here for being the doubting Thomas (is that the phrase in English?), that opening didn't last long and next time I braved my arm, I was surprised by what I found on it. The ice cream sweetness was gone and something different was left in its place.

I've been trying to figure what exactly it is for several days now but the best I came up with the 3 little notes given for this is - the smell of almonds turns slightly bitter (and for a little while citrusy) and the orange blossom maintains the balance between the sugar and almonds. It's not like I can actually smell sugar , well, now I think of it, yes I can. I know the smell of sugar, I just never thought to look for it in perfume.

The bottom line is, I'm glad if I were to win something by Ms Soliani, it was this because it made me realize there is hope for me and almonds in perfumes without me even getting the hint of the idea of marzipan.
And bravo for making these notes into a perfume (I would never have thought this possible before).

So, as I was lucky, I want to spread it around a bit more, and if anyone is interested in trying this, first 3 commenters to state their interest will get a sample. :)

Pic by:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Linari, take two - Notte Bianca and Angelo di Fiume

It seems I'm good at picking my favourites out of a line without having any prior knowledge of what they smell like or who made them.

Today I tested the other two eau de parfums from the Linari line (I don't have the last two though) and these were not made by Egon Oelkers and don't speak to me as Eleganza Iluminosa and Vista sul Mare did.
I didn't know all  this when I tested them as I don't like my opinion influenced more than I can help it.

One thing I do need to say though - these are some seriously strong perfumes as I only put 2-3 drops of each of them when testing (the previous two as well) and they both last and are easily smelled even hours later (and even through my still congested nose).
So here are my thoughts.

Notte Bianca

Notes: delicate fruity accents of pink grapefruit, fresh bergamot and Italian orange combine with the vitalising spicy notes of star anise, elixir of absinth, clove, sage and the finest cashmere wood. Accords of Haitian vetiver and tonka bean provide a seductive sensual character to the base note, highlighted by white musk and amber.

The way this one is named, I was sure it would be a white flower fest. Not at all (as you can see from the notes). It does start like creamy whiteness but not that of the white flowers, instead it is that of the nuts (almonds, hazelnuts and coconuts). Not too sweet as there is some green stuff underneath. God, I sometime wonder why anyone would read my reviews when phrases like "green stuff" appear. :) Oh well.

The first two hours or so were great. Terrific actually as it progressed from that creamy nutty whiteness into a sweet, fresh and sagely green loveliness.
Only to surprise me with the next step that transported me straight to a June walk on the Adriatic coast amid the still green and fragrant shrubbery, a walk to the next town from the one where I'm staying. And I so wanted a perfume that smelled exactly like that! It's undescribeable for me and the middle stage of this perfume smells perfectly of that.
Unfortunately, the drydown leaves me completely unmoved. :( It's a perfectly unisex (grey) ambery -musky drydown. And it had so much potential.

Angelo di Fiume
Notes: gourmet of opulent, fruity notes of wild cherries, raspberries, Italian orange and bergamot merge with floral accords of ylang ylang, rose leaves and jasmine, rounded off with sweet caramel. The complex base note seduces with Madagascan vanilla whilst smooth accents of finest sandalwood and Siamese benjoin resin are subtly flattered by white musk and patchouli.

I can't say this is exactly me but if I had a bottle, I imagine I would wear it often enough. It's a perfect epitome of a sweet gourmand which would be a pretty good initiation into gourmands for those braving the perfume waters.

I love the opening that starts with a whack on the head sweetness of fruity candy. And that candy smells of oranges and raspberries to me. It makes me smile the way that lollipop idea springs into my mind with this fruit candy.

And if you thought the candy opening was sweet, just wait a minute until caramel hits you. :) I can't say I smelled the flowers but that could be because of my still congested nose, but I have to say I'm doubting it a bit what with the caramel being so strong. It feels stupid saying it's not too sweet as caramel cannot smell but sweet. But you should take into consideration that I don't have a sweet tooth so if I don't consider it too sweet, I'm thinking most people could live with it. Besides, I love the smell of caramel.
I do find the drydown of this better than that of Notte Bianca but it's a toned down fruity candy with some caramel remnants. I'm pretty sure the sandalwood and patchouli are the ones responsible for toning it down.

P.S. There is one more perfume in this line made by Egon Oelkers and I definitely plan on getting my hands on a sample of Fuoco Infernale.

Pics and notes by: Linari site

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Kristin Cashore: Graceling

I want to read as much as I can lately. It's probably due to two facts, I have so many great books on my to-be-read pile and I need some serious relaxation time (as there won't be any skiing trips for me this year and I cannot describe how much that makes me sad).

Anyway, I feel I'm getting better and better at choosing new books (not series installments I follow) as this year I already read several new authors (to me) and all were good/great. In any case, better than expected. Which sounds condescending even to me but I've been known to purchase books I never finished.

One of the ways I determine how great a book was is whether when I stopped reading it for whatever outside influence, I go back to it or take something else into my hands that seems more interesting at the time, and when I finish it, I'm left wondering if there is a sequel.
This one made me think both. I love good fantasy and I love it when the author manages a new perpsective (because honestly, it's all been re-done so many times, I forget who wrote which series).

The children born Graced are recognized by their unmatching eye-color, and even though eye-colors are recognized early, the Graces take a while to manifest.
The female character we follow, Katsa hasn't had the greatest childhood at her uncle's court (her parents are dead) as her Grace first manifested (a slights spoiler) when she bare-handedly killed a man at court.
Her uncle being a king and being a child able to kill with her hands, she is of course trained as a killer. and this is only the barest part of the story which I'm not going to describe here.

I love the way she thinks, I find it endearing how her childhood prevented her from learning to decipher people's actions and how it takes forever for her to come to terms with her own emotions, while it takes her very little time to decide on the most proper way to act (unless again her emotions are at stake).

Life for the main characters in this book is not easy and the book doesn't end in the manner of "They lived happily ever after" but it still leaves you feeling glad things came out the way they did.

I don't think I'll read the prequel but I will definitely read what comes next.

P.S. I won't read the prequel as from what I've been able to gather it's about the seriously evil character from this book and I'm just not up for reading a book about him, however great it might be written. I could be wrong in my assumptions though...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spring is here II.

These were taken at my boyfriend's yard  - a week ago, spring was being hinted at. :)

I didn't realize it was already time for shoots to start becoming flowers.

And then yesterday, crocuses are open.

And enjoying the spring sun.

Pics are mine.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Spring is here!

Although not in my step. I have a terrible cold for days now so I'm not able to smell anything and if something is strong enough to register, it hurts my nose and throat. 

But the weather is warm (incredibly so for this time of year) and the sun has been shining all week and should keep doing so in days to come even though it shouldn't be this warm.
So, it's the perfect time to dive into spring scents and I'm dying to do so, but at the moment, it is only a heartfelt wish that will have to wait.

In a vain attempt to smell spring, I sprayed Dawn's Dutch Blue Hyacinth this morning only to smell the barest whiff of something first 5 minutes and nothing from then on. I couldn't  decipher what it was that I was smelling before even that disappeared (as only the first strongest whiff managed to pass through my runny nose).

Oh, I am so very much looking forward to the moment I can enjoy spring through my nose!

Pic by:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Unexpected surprises - Linari

It's been said over and over again how the perfume community is both friendly and generous. It's true but I still get surprised each time the generosity ends up in my lap. Not that I mind, especially when it comes from Paris and one of the most intriguing and knowledgeable bloggers out there - Denyse a.k.a. carmencanada of Grain de Musc.
I took advantage of her perfume spring cleaning (I love those!) and she, knowing it was my birthday at the time, sent over some amazing things. Some of which I want to talk about today.

Honestly, sometimes I feel ashamed for not knowing about some of the perfume houses out there. And after smelling these two, I really ought to have at least had an idea of them.

Vista sul Mare

Notes: "fresh citrus notes of Calabrian bergamot, pink grapefruit, lemon and Italian tangerine with a cool ozonic accord, ingeniously surrounded by a spicy-floral bouquet of red pepper, cloves, lily of the valley and wild roses. White musk and seductive amber merge with natural cedar and hints of patchouli to create a sensual, elegant base note".

I let you go through the notes because I like the way they sound. I didn't get to distinguish them all but I enjoyed the perfume immensely. It certainly did evoke the feeling of a thrilling summer  seaside affair (this time we're talking about the Mediterranean) with a sexy stranger. Who smells of green citruses, sea breeze (ozone air) and when you get closer after the dinner you had, you can smell his salty skin lightly wafting a citrusy floralness over the cedar base.
I do wish I could describe this better. It's so much more than I said but the atmosphere is the one I described. It might not be novel or strange but it's wonderful, absolute enjoyment to smell from the beginning to the end without ever becoming boring. And that is saying quite a lot.

Eleganza Luminosa

Notes: "enticing freshness of sun-ripened bergamot, luscious lemon and lively orange contrasts appealingly
with the lavish floweriness of finest rose oil, tantalizing jasmine, yellow freesia, powdery iris and lily of the valley. Warm woody notes of cedar and sandal merge with the sensual accord of white musk, whilst Javan patchouli and amber radiate to emphasise the long-lasting, timeless elegance".

This one on the other hand doesn't evoke summer breezes and sexy strangers, unless the sexy stranger is you. If you know how Ambre Gris by Balmain smells like, well, this one is similar but better. And Ambre Gris is good.
For me it starts florally-fruity (in an elegant way not celebrity way) with a touch of muskiness. Soon I can detect the grey amber note as it's so similar to Ambre Gris. I probably should have stated up there with you being the sexy stranger that you are probably a woman as this is more feminine than Ambre Gris.
I just realized that I'm not really distinguishing the notes so well as they are so well blended as to create a story and not a sequence.
Both of them are perfumes for me in the real sense as each time I smell my arm, it is slightly different. I thought the drydown of Eleganza was a lovely ambery dust over the wood notes, only to smell it a bit later and realize amber is gone and floral woodiness is now in charge.

As the Linari site listed their perfumer, I wanted to put his name in the post as well, I do hope I remember his name from the first try as I am looking forward to trying his other creation - Egon Oelkers.

Notes and pics by: Linari site
All Linari perfumes cost 140 Euros but a sample pack is available for 9 E.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Kresley Cole: Dreams of a Dark Warrior

I couldn't wait for this book to arrive. As I'm a huge fan of Kresley Cole, I eagerly await each new book that comes out. And luckily for me, now I will no longer have to wait until it reaches Zagreb but will be able to instantly download it to my Kindle - yeeeey! :)
That wasn't the case with this one though, as I've been on the waiting list here in Algoritam long before it came out.

Honestly I think Ms. Cole outdid herself this time. I recommend her books to anyone interested in paranormal romance as the place to start (even though that might set the bar high).

A slight spoiler ahead.

I loved Regin's and Declan's story. And when I say Declan's, I do mean that. Aidan the Fierce being reborn through the ages because of his love for Regin, only to die in every lifetime (as someone else) each time they make love is some seriously tragic material. And I suffered through their tragedy, I laughed at Regin's banter, my heart clenched at the strength of their tragic love, and well, the hot scenes did what they were supposed to as well. ;)

The romance I read usually manages to do one of these things, either I read one for the emotional satisfaction, or the great steamy scenes, or the characters' conversations are fun to read. Sometimes two of those, but rarely all of it in such a strong (even cathartic) way. And that's why I loved this book (maybe even a little better than all the others in the IAD series).

The best thing - this is not Aidan's story, this is Declan's story and he deserves it.

P.S. I'm left wondering what's the deal between Nix and Lothaire. And who is this person he so badly needs to save.

Pic by:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Going straight for summer - Nobile 1942, Casta Diva

It seems everywhere I turn, everyone is talking about spring and waiting for it. I am too, but the thing is, we haven't really had a real spring in years, it feels we go straight from winter into summer, with two weeks of spring in between. And I know spring is supposed to last longer. :)

So, expecting spring, I am valiantly trying to separate myself from my lovely warm, winter orientals (I just don't want to let them go yet) and I sprayed on some Casta Diva, the sample of which was found in my bag after my last Flores visit.

I'm not even sure I should be reviewing lush, white florals anymore as I love them so much, I keep thinking I will never try any I won't like. And I love this one. It would certainly fit well into my growing white floral collection. It's actually one I would recommend people start with as it's not as heavy and heady as they can get, so I find it acceptable work perfume.

Notes: green and fruity notes, jasmine, ylang ylang, frangipani, osmanthus, neroli, oakmoss, amber, white musk and vanilla.

It starts off smelling fresh and not yet completely tropically lush, you can detect it's somewhere in there, but the sun hasn't risen to its zenith yet and the lushness hasn't permeated everything, there is still a fresh, green breeze wafting. The fruity sweetness you smell is more the cocktails on the beach variety than actual fruit, it has that slight plasticky, candy smell that actually works here. I personally find it great. :)
And then as the sun heats you up on the beach while you're drinking your cocktail, the jasmine and yland-ylang sneak up on you and seduce you into feeling even more relaxed.

I need to see what other people think of this as I find this a very polite lush, white floral, I am not the most objective person in that regard as I could drown in them. But I do think this one will not raise any eyebrows if you wear it to work. It just might get your colleagues to wonder where did you spend your weekend exactly.

After the initial fruity sweetness, it's no longer that sweet, just what the flowers and vanilla give you and it's also very polite. And it dries down into a soft, vanillic floral just hinting at that lushness of white, sandy tropics.

A thoroughly enjoyable ride. :)

Pic by: