Sunday, October 28, 2012


After a long deliberation, I finally decided to move my blog to wordpress and get a proper domain for it.
Not that I am perfectly happy with Wordpress either after finally setting everything up, but I see it as a more useful tool than blogger (and one you can actually use without it stopping).
Hopefully I won't feel the need to switch back after a few months on Wordpress. ;)

So, please visit me at my new place and we can set on some more fragrant adventures together! :)

I can only wish I was moving to a place like this one...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Temple Mathews: The New Kid

Honestly, this is getting worrying - I don't seem to read anything much aside from YA. I just wish I would read a blurb that sounded interesting and it didn't belong to a YA novel.
I wonder what does that say about me?

And is it only me who thinks blurbs are a very good way to make you not want to read a certain book?

Ok, on to the novel in question. It is the first in series and I plan on reading on. And I read it without interrupting it with something else. :)

I wasn't terribly pleased with being immersed into Will's life without any background, just having to take it all for granted but it all got explained during the story.
These days I'm reading some strange, new stories in the YA world. Not that I mind, that is probably why I can finish them without interruption.
Anyway, Will fights demons and discovers too late why that wasn't such a great thing to do. The interesting thing though is at one point you are not sure who is doing what for what purpose and I mean that in a good way - there is just no guessing the reasoning behind some of the actions and who might turn out to be a good guy. Or who is truly evil.

So, the whole story is very action-packed, which is also why I wanted some background on the 16-year old who can do all that. And Will is a strange kind of a super-hero and a genius to boot. ;)

One thing I noticed lately, coming up often in the novels I read, is the abrupt change of voices who are telling the story, so you need to pay attention when it switches without any previous warning.

What I was left wondering after reading this book is how come the author made the people of that little town almost all lean to the evil side and choose evil? Does it really seem like such an easy choice to most people?

My ebook came courtesy of Netgalley.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Autumn sale!

I decided it's about time I cleared my perfume collection by letting go of some of the perfumes I keep for sentimental purposes and never wear and also the time to decrease the contents of some of my bottles as by the rate I'm going, I will never use them up and the most probable thing that would happen to those perfumes is they will become unwearable.

So here is the list:

Nikki de Saint-Phalle, edt, 50/59ml - 25$

4711 Tosca, 190/200ml, splash bottle - 60$

Guerlain Mitsouko, 70/75ml, edp, - 50$

Carolina Herrera by Carolina Herrera, 40/50ml - 20$

Thierry Mugler Angel Liqueur de Parfum, 34/35 ml, - 50$

Christian Dior Dolce Vita Deodorant Parfume, 60/100ml - 25$

Clarins Eau Dynamisante 90/100ml, without box,  45$

Dior Diorella  35/50ml, edt, without box - 30$
Bulgari Omnia, 50/65ml, - 40$

MAC, MV1, 17/20ml - 40$

Estee Lauder, Bronze Goddess, edt, 15ml - 10$

Parfum d'Empire, Wazamba, 10/50ml - 10$

Set of 4  decants of 4,5 ml : Santa Maria Novella Melograno, Maria Candida Gentile Exultat Sideris, Cinabre, - 30$

Malak, Rose, edt, 4ml decant, 5$

L'Artisan Parfumeur, Navegar, 10ml decant - 20$

Serge Lutens, Rousse, 10ml decant - 30$

Nez a Nez, Bal Musque, 10ml decant - 20$

Balmain, La Mome, 10 ml decant - 10$

L'Artisan Parfumeur, Cote d'Amour, 10ml decant - 10$

L'Artisan Parfumeur, Piment Brulant, 10ml decant - 20$

The shipping will depend on the size of the package, between 3-15$ for bigger bottles.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A place where summer still lives...

This weekend I went to Split to attend a friend's wedding.

As I went there with my girlfriends, of course I had the best of times. I was also lucky enough to enjoy a couple of days of summer as Split is located on the Adriatic coast, south enough to still enjoy warm days when the temperatures are over 20 degrees Celsius and the sea is as well (around 22).

Of course I took a swim while I was there - I can't believe I could actually enjoy a swim in the middle of October and that the sea and air were warm enough for it to be an enjoyable experience. :) (actually, it was rather hot in the sun)

Here are some of the photos I took:

Split Riva

View from Kaštel Stari

View from Kaštel Stari

From the beach

I'm back in Zagreb and even if I wasn't aware the summer is long gone here (the cold is a good sign), my morning choices of what perfume to apply would be a good indication - vanillas are somehow on the top of the pile. :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Kresley Cole: Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles,1)

As you could have noticed by now, I'm a huge Kresley Cole fan and I read most of the Immortals After Dark books more than once. :)
I also enjoy YA novels so after reading the excerpt from the Poison Princess some months ago, I was very much looking forward to the book.

Now, even though I enjoy YA genre, I often find those books a bit lacking.  Not that they are bad and I stop reading them, it's just they aren't as good as they could be - the characters and the story don't always come together seamlessly.

So, I started reading the Poison Princess and getting into the story and characters and I thought I detected some flaws in the storyline which could be explained in only one way. I knew what explanation that would be for me but I admit (and I apologize to Ms. Cole now) I had my doubts whether the story will oan out as I thought it should following the line.
I should have known better than to doubt Kresley Cole's style of writing and forming a story. :) It did end the only way I imagined it could.
OK, now I sound like I predicted the story's end which I didn't. I just thought that most of the story couldn't be explained well enough unless there was a reason for that type of story-telling. And I was right.

I don't want to into details of the story, anyone enjoying Ms. Cole's books won't thank me for it.
I did have some issues with Evie's naivete and ensuing stubborness but she worked through it so I was satisified in the end.
I should add that anyone who liked Hunger Games might like this one as well as there are some touching points to the story.

But basically, it's one of the better YA novels I read in a while (I'm not counting HP here) and Kresley Cole didn't disappoint by trying her hand in this genre.
Luckily, there are more books in the Arcana Chronicles to come. Unluckily, not soon enough.

P.S. I have to add, my boyfriend would agree with everything said about Ducatis in the novel. :)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I didn't disappear, I'm here and I smell great

(at least I believe I do). ;)

It's been a hectic few weeks and there are still some things I need to finish before I can say I finally closed several of my projects (some extremely long-term).
But the greater part of work is done and the things I have left to do are those that will bring me a feeling of strength, inner peace and fulfillment.

Before the race
Most if it will become apparent if I'm successful at it, after the next weekend when for the first time in my life I plan to run the half-marathon in Zagreb.
What worries me about that is that the last two weeks, due to many obligations I had (from the beginning sentence) stopped me from attending the trainings regularly. Out trainer told me that I shouldn't worry, we did run 20km once already, just to take it slowly - I mean, I will not be racing anyone, I'm a complete beginner and for me the biggest success is actually finishing. But, still, I worry.

Well, you'll know soon enough how well I did as I plan letting everyone know about the enthusiasm I will feel after running for so long (here we're talking about more than 2 hours as I'm a really slow runner). :)
And I know there will be enthusiasm as that is exactly what I felt after running 20km for the first time and how I felt after finishing my first ever race of 12,4 km - the photos are from that day.

To get back to smelling great. :)
I attended an ISO education this whole week and as I was around new people in a relatively small room, I took more care than usual to what I was going to apply.

Just before the finish line
I can say that Cruel Gardenia always works for me as a great choice when around people in a work setting. It has a mellowness to it that makes anyone who comes close to you consider you less serious than you might appear.
As I was told by one of the attendees on the last day, I completely changed everyone's initial thoughts about me being very strict and serious and looking like I'm going to only work and not have any fun at it.
So, in cases like that, a mellow perfume that is so easily liked seems like a good strategy.
The other perfume of my strategy was Iris Nobile by Acqua di Parma. Similar in the effect as Cruel Gardenia, only iris based.
I'm still wondering how different people perceive me from how I think of myself.

And as the nights are getting colder and colder, I'm finally again wearing Shalimar to bed. :)

P.S. I firmly believe the camere used for taking some of these photos adds weight. ;)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Thriving niche sub-culture in Zagreb

And I wasn't even aware of it until now! :)

I mean, I knew there must be people in Croatia who loved niche perfume as there are 3 perfumeries in Zagreb carrying niche perfumes but I never met those people who shop there and love those perfumes.
Until now.

As I'm not really a strong character, saving money is not something I am good at. Or at all. So, after spending way too much money on perfume in the last 3 months (I can't even bear to count how many bottles I acquired during that time), I figured it was time to get some of it back.

Therefore, I decided to sell off some decants from my bottles as there is no way I can possibly use up all of them, and I listed them on a Croatian forum.

What can I say?! I learned there are people here who can't wait to get their hands on some of the things I have. :) Which is a sentiment I can relate to.

Not to mention that they have some things I'd love to have so I predict some swapping in the cards as well.

Perfumes forever!

P.S. We really should come up with a good catch-phrase or a slogan for our fragrant community. ;)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Winners of Santal Majuscule samples...

Are Joan and Irina! :)

Please contact me with your addresses and I'll get these off to you as soon as possible.

Thanks everyone for playing!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Santal Majuscule (and a minuscule draw)

There is a reason why I don't review Serge Lutens perfumes often even though I wear many and like many of them (wouldn't mind owning practically the whole line).
I just never seem to be able to find the words to describe exactly what I smell - that happens with other perfumes as well, but nowhere am I so strongly aware of it as with SL perfumes.

So, I'll try and do my best ut in the end, as is always the case with Uncle Serge perfumes, the reviews won't really prepare you for what you smell in the end. :) (I find that a great thing myself)

Notes: sandalwood, cocoa, Arabian attar rose, honey, spices

I've sampled and worn Santal Majuscule many times over the weeks I have it and still, each time I smell it, I find another facet of it to be revealed. I went through so many ideas of what this perfume smells like and each time I smell it again, half of the stuff I thought it smelled like aren't there but there are new things I smell.

Until I saw the notes, cocoa and rose never entered my mind  but once I saw them, I knew they were in there, I even remembered exactly at what point the cocoa comes to play.

Before I start describing what it smells like to  me, I should say that the most obvious thing I get from it is that it is a combination of perfumes that already exist in the line. I don't mean to say by that that I think it's not good or smelling differently, it's just that there are familiar accords jumping out at you at different times.

Sometimes it's the idea of sweet, sticky, spiced (and even boozy) fruit of what I'd like to think as Arabian market variety the first thing you smell, soon to be followed by the teasing wafts of how Jeux de Peau starts, following with opening of Santal Blanc until sometimes you come across barest hints of Ambre Sultan hidden in the murky depths of this perfume.
Because there ARE depths to it, you can smell them from the start. But try as you might, sniffing at close proximity won't get you anywhere near those depths.

So, what I smell in the beginning is described in the previous paragraph, warm, spicy, boozy fruit with the general feeling of seriousness and darkness (there's not frivolity to this fruit as the feeling is dry and not sparkling and happy) with cocoa underscoring the darkness and warmth and sandalwood making you swoon.
Now I know it's there, I can smell the rose appear and the fruitiness slowly disappear. At this point is where I feel a smile blossoming on my face. It is also where I feel the resemblance to Santal Blanc is most prominent.

Being true to my smelling practices, after enjoying this phase for quite a while, all I can say about the drydown, is, it continues to dry in the vein it smells.

Honestly, I don't know if you noticed, but I'm really not a drydown person.  My attention dissipates by that time.

So, for the minuscule draw I have two samples from my bottle, tell me why you think you might like/love this or why not? Both will work. :)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I breathe in.... and relax

I've probably said this many times in my posts but I can't help being surprised again and again when it happens.

The feeling comes upon you at the strangest times, you breathe, you realize there is a smell in the air you would like to smell better, you breathe it in more fully and then you feel your body relax. The stress sort of siphons out of your body and you smile without meaning to.

It can happen anywhere and with any kind of smell (well, a pleasant one).
Breathing in the smell of freshly baked bread, sensing the seasons in the air, a new perfume discovery that not only makes you let go of all your stress but also sends pleasant shivers down your spine, the lingering perfume of a passerby, the freshly cut fruit and vegetables (especially at this time of year) and grass any time of year, in my case also snow, the freshly washed smell of shampoo in the hair....

The list goes on and on, but the important thing for me is that there is no other sense that I can use which will enable me to relax in the space of one breath.

I just wish I could utilize this consciously. :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Promoting Croatia (and my blog)

All of you who read my blog regularly are probably aware that I try and promote my country as much as I can while writing my blog (I try to be incospicuous about it but I'm not really sure I am).

Anyway, I am happy to say that a Croatian tourist/promotion portal Like Croatia posted some of my summer photos on their site recently! :)

You've seen the photos here already, but if you are thinking about visiting Croatia, checking out their site Like Croatia is probably a good thing to do. :)

I'm leaving you with a few more of my summer photos:

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Heat

I've been meaning to write about several perfumes I tried and really liked recently but it will have to wait another day or two for the heat wave we've been having to pass.
I just can't function when it's hot, not only because my body doesn't deal well with it, it makes me feel terribly upset as I can't ease my suffering. The best I can do is be still and let the fan do its thing (luckily we have A/C at work but unfortunately not at home).
In case you're wondering about the temperatures, for the fourth day in the row we're hitting 38 degrees Celsius (we got to 39 yesterday).

I just need to be still a little longer and I'll be fine by tomorrow.

P.S. If you're wondering why am I using a computer when it's so hot, I'm not, I'm testing blogger for Android phones. :-)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Alyssa Harad: Coming to my Senses

I must say, I really appreciate the names given to perfume  books I've been reading this year. I'm pretty sure you all realize the loaded meanings they carry but I still have to point out I appreciate it. :)

The second thing I really enjoyed about both The Perfume Lover and this book, is the fact they took me by surprise, once I started reading, I had to go on. And this coming from someone who never reads non-fiction unless forced by outside circumstance (which didn't apply here).

So, what can I say about this book that hasn't already been said? Probably not much - but it's not like I would know, I didn't read any of the reviews beforehand (I did glimpse some though).

Basically, what can I say - I relate to pretty much everything Alyssa had to say on the subject of perfume (and exercising) - the wedding thing is something I have no experience in.

There are so many points in the book where I was nodding my head in agreement:
  • For a long time I didn't say to anyone how much I was in love with perfume
  • Once that phase passed, I didn't mention to anyone I wrote  a blog
  • Her NY experience, the scary part and then falling in love - exactly what happened to me in Paris
  • Realizing there are smells all around me I never paid attention to and then did smelled which ever I could? - check
  • Falling in love with JAR Bolt of Lightning because it smells exactly like the electric, post-thunderstorm air? - check
  • Smelling coconut traces in fig? - check (but only after being pointed to it in the book - lucky for me I was on vacation and fig trees grow there)
And the list goes on and on. :)

Btw, one interesting tidbit I got from the book is Alyssa's realization that many of the perfume bloggers (female) tend to be petite women. I agree. :) After meeting Suzanne, and hearing about some of the others, I do see a connection there (and I know all about feeling big in their presence).

The great thing about this book is that if you are a perfume lover, it will make you smile and nod your head in agreement when you recognize the same steps you took in your perfume journey. It will also make you wonder what perfumes is Alyssa referencing by describing the way they smell.
It will also give useful advice on what to do and not to do if you are organizing your wedding.

But basically, it will confirm that enjoying your path in life with the people you love is the only way to live your life. Be it by smelling perfume and sharing it, or doing something else you enjoy.

I received my copy of the book for free from the book's PR team.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Croatian summer 2012. II

So, here are some photos I took in the last week:

My beach in Smokvica (well, not mine, the one I go to every day):

View from our terrace early in the morning:

The path I take when I go running (not that I managed a lot of that):

View from that path - the island of Krk on the other side:

One more from the running path:

Slightly better (closer) view from the path from Smokvica to Klenovica:

One more from the view from the path from Smokvica to Klenovica:

Love from Croatia! :)

Croatian summer 2012

Some of the photos I took on my vacation:

Seline, taken at 5 PM but the lighting is all strange when there is so much sun:

Seline, a view from the boat:

One more from the boat:

Beach in Seline:

One more of the beach across from Seline:

Love from Croatia! :)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Elizabeth Peters: Amelia Peabody Omnibus (books 1-2)

It’s been years since I read the last Amelia Peabody novel so I felt it was time to re-visit the series.

It all starts with Amelia inheriting a lot of money after her father dies sometime in the late 19th century and deciding to travel the world (starting with Egypt) after spending her life in intellectual pursuits as the companion of her father. She is sure of herself and has no fear of what the world might say as she is a spinster (she’s younger than me btw as the series starts, 32) and considers herself without any marital prospects (not that she would want any).

Crocodile on the Sandbank
This is the first book where we embark on Egyptian and archaeological adventures with Amelia. I would love to be able to describe her manners and style of talking (writing, as these books are published as Amelia’s diaries after her death). She is a true feminist but not that she would ever call herself that, she believes in equality and reason so she generally follows that path even when society frowns upon it. And she doesn’t care in the least. :)

Through some mishaps, she and her  companion Evelyn meet the brothers Emerson and by the end of the book, we have 2 happy couples, albeit as different from one another as can be. Emerson, as Amelia calls him is the older brother (his name is Radcliffe actually), the archaeologist, and the younger brother Walter is there to help him with excavations and translations as he is a linguist.
Anyway, in this book we follow the friendship and love growing between the four, but the communication between Emerson and Peabody (as he calls her) is what makes these books so funny to read. Everything is told from Peabody’s point of view, as we are reading her “diaries” after all.

The Curse of the Pharaohs
I must say, of the four books, I’ve read in this go, this is the one I have the least to say about. :) Peabody and Emerson, having had a child are after the initial excavation season when they left him with his aunt and uncle now spending time in England not being able to leave their child for so long, (whose real name is not that important as from now on he will be called Ramses), this time they have to leave him with his aunt and uncle to go help with excavations after a plea to Emerson from a long-time ago friend whose husband has died in a strange accident that is of course attributed to a curse from a pharaoh where they are excavating.

Of course, Peabody and Emerson get themselves entangled in a mystery, how ever much Emerson tries to avoid them and Peabody wants to solve them. :) And they return home with the cat Bastet who is to become Ramses’ best companion.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A summer break?

My vacation started this week and when I arrived, it became obvious that my internet connection is a bit unsatisfactory. :)

It’s there but it’s so slow and not really dependable that it seems now even if I wanted to blog during my vacation (I always think I would but it’s usually the opposite), it will be a rather unnerving process for me so I might not indulge in it often.

I do plan on writing down my ideas so when I come back to Zagreb, I have many posts in the making.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with some of the photos I took while here:

My usual place on the beach:

I’m learning how to make granola for breakfast (it tastes much better than one would expect):

And general view from my place on the coast:

Sunday, July 22, 2012

How I manage to forget this, I have no idea

I guess it comes down to this: I don't sample (test) any of the perfumes I have and then, a couple of days goes by, life takes all my energy and I have no more left to use for testing a sample (in order to write about it).

So, after several days pass in such a manner and the only perfume I smell is the one I apply in the morning and then forget about, it somehow slips my mind and I forget how much perfumes help with easing one's (stressed) mind.
And that is exactly what they do for me. No matter how much I like them or not, the fact is, when I smell a perfume, I can feel my mind easing off the stress and my body relaxing.
I wish I would remember for future stressful times that I don't need to apply perfume in order to write about it, I could just apply different things to my arm in order to get lost for a bit in this beautiful universe.

Although, honestly, I'm not that surprised that perfumes are the last thing on my mind (for testing and writing purposes) - so far, this has been a very difficult year, for me mostly because of the workload, but also full of bad news not applied to me directly, but hitting very close.

Perfumes and books (and now running) help me deal with all of this, I just wish I wouldn't keep forgetting how big a role perfume actually has in helping with stress.

Oh well, hopefully now I've put it down in writing, I won't forget it soon. :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How I review

I guess I should have written this long time ago and not after three years of writing a blog (I still can't believe it's been so long).
But now at least I can look back and explain how I do it. If you had asked me in the beginning how I decide what to write, I don't think I could have given a meaningful answer.

This post has mostly been prompted by the stuff happening in the book bloggers community that I managed to almost completely miss but that has been brought to my attention by this post.

So basically this is about books but is also valid for perfumes.

  • Most of the stuff I read is the books I bought. I probably should mention that in my reviews because if I think a book worth reading, I will buy it.
  • This is where NetGalley comes in - I get a lot of books for free from there. So far I only reviewed 12 of the 40 I received. Those are the ones that caught my attention amid everything else that I can choose from (and believe me, I can choose from quite a lot).
  • I don't have a problem with not finishing a book. There are many out there I won't have time to read so I don't get worked up because I stopped reading a book that didn't interest me. This also means if I reviewed it (even if not in the best of ways), I find it good enough to be read (before everything else I can choose from).
  • This brings me to the fact that I could put in action my own style of grading the books. There would only be 3 categories: Had to start reading sth else in the middle of the book as it didn't really hold my attention, Read it without stopping for something else, and Had to force myself to go to sleep because I couldn't stop reading
  • As my library (valid for perfumes as well) is rather large, the fact that I haven't yet reviewed something I received for free doesn't mean I didn't find it interesting or good (but it could mean that), it probably means it wasn't yet time for it to catch my attention - sometimes I'm in the mood for particular things and the rest lingers
  • I believe in being nice and polite to people - so if I don't like something, I probably won't get nasty about it, but then again, the topic probably won't come up unless I'm provoked
  • Lately, my tolerance for YA adult novels is diminishing and by that I mean, I look for more than a new type of story
  • I also believe authors shouldn't get all worked up over bad reviews - does everyone you meet in real life like you!? Why should then every review be a good one? Not to mention the fact that literary geniuses are rare.
  • I don't believe my book reviews are typical - I don't find it necessary to repeat the basics of the story (as that can be found everywhere), so I just try and go with things I enjoyed about a book (I just wish I was more in the habit of making notes while reading a book)
  • I'll finish this list by saying I am always up for reading a genre I haven't yet - one of those being steampunk novels (I look forward to reading my first one)

And to end with some of my thoughts on reading:

  • Have you ever noticed how everyone in novels speaks without problems? Usually all the sentences are correct from beginning to end without any hitches. I never talk like that. Then again, it might just be mine particular problem with forming and pronouncing sentences perfectly at all times.
  • The other thing I noticed from my favourite books, but it also seems books that are usually most loved,  and on top of lists, feature difficult, tragic situations where there is a lot of suffering for the main character - Is it just me, or does that sound very Matrix to you too? It wouldn't be believable or good enough if there wasn't suffering in it to balance the happiness?

Trish Milburn: Bane

I'm pretty sure that whatever idea you have on what the Bane in the title means after reading the White Witch is wrong. :)
Now you can consider the possibilities before learning what it stands for.

This is the second book in the series and we continue from where we left off in the White Witch. Jax and Egan have left their loves behind in order not to put them into more danger and now they are loooking for answers in Salem.

And the more they look for answers the more questions turn up, along with some strange happenings.
We are also following Jax's fight for good to win inside her because the dealings in White Witch left her with some strange blackness inside her that is trying to turn her into a true Coven witch.

We don't get an answer to this question in Bane (whether Jax will win or not, but I'm guessing the end here cannot be dark and tragic). ;)
The thing though that I find interesting is how many people are trying to convince her it's a choice to be either good or evil when from her perspective it sounds more like she is posessed by it. I guess we'll see in the end what happens and what was the cause of the problem.
If she expells evil from her body and mind, it wasn't a choice.

In the meantime, Jax is behaving like a typical teenager and that lands her in all kinds of troubles, some small but some very big and life-changing. She is also a fleshed out character and believable (as I've been having some problems with that in the YA novels I read recently).

The problem I face now is - when is the next book coming out? As this one ended with a cliff-hanger...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Random perfume (and other) thoughts

These are the things that don't require a post of their own but that keep going through my head lately:

  • After falling in love with Chypre Palatin, I cannot but think about Denyse's book The Perfume Lover and what she mentions there of her talks with Bertrand Duchafour - that he would do so many different and strange perfumes but has no financial backing for them (I now wish Mr. Duchafour could win lottery so he can create whatever he pleases and of course make it available)
  • And speaking of Mr. Duchafour and Denyse, I really want a bottle of Séville à l’Aube

  • I'm looking forward to reading Alyssa Harrad's book, Coming to my Senses, I haven't read any of the reviews as to not influence mine
  • Then again, I am looking forward to reading many books once my vacation starts (just 2 more weeks to go!) :)
  • While I'm on the subject of books, there is way too much of them I want to read and not enough time in my life to do it

  • Speaking of reviews, it's a minefield out there in the perfume community if you want to review a perfume that just came out, and you were lucky to receive a sample, but don't want to be influenced by what other reviewers wrote (especially if you're slow like me)
  • I'm still amazed by the perfume synchronicity happening - a perfume seems to find its way to you at the right moment when you need something exactly like that (latest case, Mito)
  • Hopefully, with my vacation nearing, I'll be able to write more perfume reviews as there are many perfumes I'd like to talk about (Chypre Palatin being on top of the list)

  • I also need to read my posts before I publish them because when I get to them later, I find really stupid mistakes I made while writing them

  • They might tell you (they being your trainers) that it's not easy to lose weight while running, but everyone else will think you did - you might lose a little bit but the rest gets re-arranged so everyone will think you actually lost quite a bit (I'm not going to talk about rising energy levels now which you get too)
  • While I'm on the subject of running, as with everything else in my life, I am slow but I get there in the end - you just need to let me do it in my own rhythm

OK, I'm off to finish the book I'm reading at the moment (re-reading Kresley Cole's Lothaire).

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Vero Kern: Mito (or, please bribe me)

I don't think there is anyone in our perfume community who after some time doesn't start believing in synchronicity.
It seems each season, I have the same type of a problem. I want something new (to enjoy along some of my all time favorites) but I don't feel like trying many things I haven't tested yet looking for the perfect seasonal scent.
And then sometimes, they simply fall into your lap. :) Or, well, arrive in the mail.

After being offered the opportunity to try the latest Vero Kern perfume Mito, of course I jumped at it.
I might have guessed it would take a while to get us to know each other if I were to go by previous Vero Kern perfumes (Kiki, Rubj, Onda).

Notes: magnolia, citruses, champaca, jasmine, galbanum, hyacinth, cypress, moss

While checking for notes, I saw that this was classified as a floral and even though you cannot miss the florals, it still smells more like a (floral) grapefruity chypre to me. No wonder when you see galbanum, cypress and moss listed as notes.

For me it starts off green with a bitterish undertaste, helped along with citruses and cypress I guess, but I can't help but think of the citrus in this as grapefruit. That is my idea of the citrus in Mito. And well, you cannot miss the galbanum in the opening. If you are wondering how exactly does galbanum smell like, try Mito.
But what you can miss and if you're not careful and you blink (or don't inhale at the right moment), you'll miss the sweetness of mint playing hide and seek in there. You might seek after but it will be well hidden. :)
The whole perfume is a game of hide and seek for me actually.
Try it once, and you would swear there is the greeness bolstered by citrus and kept fresh and serious until the end.
Try it again, and there is the sweet mint playing hide and seek, and the hyacinth is making you wonder if that is its trail you're picking up when smelling some sweet powdery dryness in there.

And if you are trying to find the flowers, you will really need to play hard. Their hiding place is well chosen. You can hear them in the background but look as hard as you want for them, and they will elude you.

For some reason, I am trying to fit vetiver into this perfume. :) I don't know why my mind goes, Is there vetiver in there? as it's not listed in the notes (but then again, neither is the mint).
I realize my description might not be very helpful. :)

After the beginning, the best I can do is say, the galbanum dissipates as do the citruses and the floralcy becomes more apparent  but in my case not as you might point, aha! I see you jasmine! (I do glimpse you though) but more in the line of true perfumery - the florals enveloped in the greenery.
They do have leaves and stems after all and are usually located in a garden...

P.S. As a little side note, Mito actually means "a bribe" in Croatian. :) I wouldn't mind being bribed by this. ;)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

James Rollins: Bloodline

I seem to be saying this again  and again but I am so happy with my Kindle. For the most part because I can have the books I want to read as soon as they are out, as opposed to waiting until they reach Croatia.

So, of course, as soon as the Bloodline was out it was on my Kindle as well. Because I really am a huge fan of the Sigma series.
Therefore, I didn't doubt I would enjoy the last Sigma installment as well. And I did. And again it was full of interesting premises, this time revolving around making man immortal (or just very long living).

The story though revolves aroun Guild trying to disband Sigma (and practically succeeding). I had fun as the Knights Templar made a guest appearance (I always enjoy them being mentioned).
Basically the thread Mr. Rolling decided to use as the background for Bloodline is really good.

What I enjoyed immensely in this story (one thing I haven't really noticed earlier, which doesn't mean it wasn't there) is that the bad guys really get their come-uppance in the manner I (most readers actually) find deserving. (Btw, lately I noticed my vengeance factor for the bad guys is really great).

The other thing is I learned a lot about Somalia - and that MI6 doesn't employ women? I still find that one strange.
Anyway, this time around, one more thing about Mr. Rollins' writing became apparent but I'm not saying this as a complaint. He is a guy after all. ;)
The thing is, there are many strong female characters in Mr. Rollins' novels. Smart, strong, capable and scary. But when you take a closer look, it's always the men who have more power, understand the situations (where the bad guys are coming from) and generally seem to take care of those strong women in the end.
Once again, I am not complaining about this or trying to make it into a feminist issue, it's just something I found interesting while reading Bloodline.

As expected, this was again an action-packed, intriguing story full of interesting concepts we get explained in the end (not of the novel but the book).
No wonder I am such a huge fan of it. :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Voyage à Paris

By Asali

Being slow to start writing about our recent trip to Paris, has meant that it’s now a bit difficult not to just be repeating what you already know... But wait, there was a wish from Tara, and maybe a little bit of this and that that I can add along the way, and not just feel like an imitator, but hopefully add something new to the mix as well.

Starting on this very blog only 6 months ago was a conversation to follow the last trip to Paris that Ines and I went on, individually, but none the less to meet up. I copied the exchange because it was what ignited it all; it went like this:

Suzanne; Oh boy, that could be a problem -- or do they let saucy little redheads run wild and loose in Paris these days? ;)
Love you, Ines, you lucky duck!

Ines; Suzanne, of course they let redheads roam the streets of Paris.
Paris actually makes them feel quite welcome. :D
I should get a picture of this redhead roaming the streets - one just for you (as proof of course). ;)

Suzanne; I like your response, Ines! And I would love to have a picture of you roaming the streets (especially with Asali in tow - I've enjoyed reading her guest posts here).

Me; <3Thanks Suzanne <3, I'll make sure that Ines makes no mischief- without me that is ;-) About the not so lucky ducks, I plan for us to eat their livers and wash it down with champagne :-D

Suzanne; LOL! That's a very good plan, Asali. If I'm ever in Paris, I think I'll call you up to see if you might be available to meet me there as a tour guide. (Or at least to point the way to a good foie gras.) <3

You can imagine that with this conversation, we had to go... And there we were 6 months later, Suzanne, Ines and I, plus a special guest star Mark, Suzanne’s husband, meeting up in the city of lights at a small but (as Suzanne aptly named it) ‘serviceable’ hotel in the old and lively Marais quarter of Paris.
Meeting Ines again was lovely, it was just like a further conversation of our mails and letters, and although this was only the second time we met, it already felt so familiar, catching on where we last left. I love meeting new people, and through our e-mails and her authoritative and deeply personal style at her perfume journal, I never doubted that I would like Suzanne very much, but I think I could never have anticipated what a magnificent time we would spend together, the four of us.  We spent almost all wake time in each other’s company, only to part shortly before passing out in our beds from sensory overload. Like Ines, I kept thinking ‘have we talked too much perfume now?’ Or a bit guilty every time we passed (on) Louvre to go and sniff perfumes.

'Popsicle trees at Champs Elyssees for Suzanne'

It’s true that with Suzanne’s fragrant writing and sniffing skills and her generous and wise spirit I did imagine her taller, but she’s in fact rather delicate but with these strong eyes that make you at once seen and seen through, in that friendly way which makes you feel that you don’t have to explain everything, because she already knows. She had brought along her husband Mark, who not only patiently came with us to every perfume shop, but enthusiastically threw himself into full perfumista mode, with a playful and open mind, and ready to jump any fences or provide extra skin space where needed, he was a bonus to the already wonderful company. 
Also, I feel obliged to report that we did get to eat quite a few of those unlucky ducks’ livers and wash them down with a kir royale or two. One place the Kir royale was particularly interesting and was served with fig liquor instead of cassis, very memorable stuff. And since I was so lucky as to be gifted by Ines with a Croatian fig liquor I am now in the fortunate position of being able to recreate this little bit of Paris in Copenhagen.
Yes, I praised Jovoy before, and I cannot say it enough times; if you go to just one place- go there! For all the reasons already mentioned by Ines and Suzanne (and me last year), and because I’m sure afterwards you’ll have your very own Jovoy story to tell, it’s that kind of a magical space. Time stops, new spaces are created and the rest is perfume...
But perhaps you did want to hear a bit more than that? Since I last wrote about Jovoy, they got the opportunity of opening a second shop in a superb location, between the Tuillerie Gardens and the Place Vendome, a prominent position, neighbour to the most expensive hotels in Paris. This was where we went. It’s a much larger shop than the first in Rue de Danielle Casanova, with an even bigger selection, yet the shop is made to seem inviting and cosier through its crimson walls, the sofas at the back of the shop, and not least because of the very warm and welcoming spirit of M. Hénin which embraces the space. Yes, he’s a grand host; he makes everyone seem special and always has time to spare and a perfumed story to tell.
 (This one’s with Tara in mind)
It was a must to go visit Maison Guerlain at the Champs Élysées. First catching my eye, were all the gorgeous extraits. I had a serious struggle to not just pour Vol de Nuit all over me, and forget all about saving skin space, or concern for other peoples perfume space tolerance or lack of same, but since even Mark’s knees had been spoken for that day, much to a concerned bar owner, with newly reupholstered chairs‘s dismay, I restrained. The restraining exercise was due to the new and much talked about release of orientals; Les Déserts d’Orient.
As it turned out, they had only just got them in the day we arrived, which was great luck; I would have been guttered to miss them. They are really so deep and interesting, and as a literally red thread though all three runs one of my most beloved perfume notes; saffron. Merci, M. Wasser.
An incense in name ‘Encens Mythique’ is something as unusual as an aldehydic oriental, or the beautifully deep and dark rose oud; Rose Nacrée. My main attention was instantly focused on the woody dry Songe d’un Bois d’Éte though, and it was sprayed for a test drive. After Suzanne and Mark had left (to go looking for an obscure perfume wish from Undina) I had Ines ask for some help at the Guerlain make-up counter, since she seemed very interested, but equally because I had high hopes that I could rest on some very inviting sofas in the meantime. For Ines the make-up artist chose a gorgeous copper colour to match her hair, and did a pretty wonderful make up on her.

So a lot of words to get to my Guerlain point; On my last day in Paris, Ines had left the night before and Suzanne and Mark had left early that morning, so I was on my own and the weather had once again turned; it was now cold and rainy and it was sad to be alone after the days spent in such loving company. In that way I suppose the weather quite mirrored my state of mind, which is sometimes better than feeling mocked by bright sunshine on an introvert day. A lot of thought had already gone into deciding and thinking about what perfumes to potentially buy - I had suffered severe perfume stress - and I had narrowed it down, through as extensive a wearing as you can do when you go perfume sniffing. I’m just not very good at deciding which ones are truly mine, it’s like the perfumes take a bit of time to reveal their true self to me, or maybe that’s just me not asking the right questions?
Anyway, I decided to see if they would have the orientals at the Place Vendôme Guerlain shop. And not only did they have them, I also met the wonderful SA Patricia, who turned out to be exceptionally knowledgeable and helpful, chatting IFRA and lamenting discontinuations. She just knew it all, and - hold your breath - she even admitted to reading perfume blogs when she had the time!
Mostly we met truly dedicated and wonderful SAs. However, I think some were a cut above the rest. I’m happy to say that between us we must have mentioned them all. And Patricia should get on that list too. So Guerlainistas, now you know your next G-stop in Paris when it sizzles.
I’ll end with the text of G. Apollinaire, which Poulenc sat into music.

Voyage à Paris

Ah! la charmante chose
Quitter un pays morose
Pour Paris
Paris joli
Qu'un jour dût créer l'Amour.

Translates approximately into:
Going to Paris
Ah, how delightful it is
to leave a dismal place
and head for Paris!
Beautiful Paris,
which one day Love had to create!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Marilee Brothers: Moonstone series

It seems lately I'm reading YA novels which are fine and I go through them quickly, not because they are short, (well, they aren't really long either) but because they are interesting even though they seem to have some things going against them. Well, for me at least.

So far, I've read the following four novels in the Moonstone series: Moonstone, Moon Rise, Moon Spun and Shadow Moon. And considering where Shadow Moon stopped, there will be at least one more book in the series.

Generally speaking, the series is easy and fun to read as the main character enjoys easy banter (and she's very good at it). But the problem is that even when the situations are difficult and Allie faces trouble and death, it is hard to see those situations as such - they just don't translate into something seriously important and dangerous. And I believe the idea is that they are supposed be.

Also, as with the other series I read recently (My Blood Approves) it seems the love stories are getting more and more platonic. I suppose it's the Twilight phenomenon but honestly, I find it a bit strange.
Allie seems to have a boyfriend at all times but most what they do in a way of a relationship is share a kiss. Which really seems strange to me for a teenager of some 16 years with really hot boyfriends.  But what do I know what's modern now for that age.
Or, is it the current political climate overseas influencing the steam level of teenage books? Because I am pretty sure I read some that weren't as platonic.

The story seems to be easy to predict most of the time but there are some surprises. Though not enough to counteract the fact that the rest is predictable. :)
The only unpredictable book for me was Moon Spun but for some reason that was also the one I had most problems finishing. The whole fae world and everything just felt completely unreal inside the story. Not that it wouldn't fit the story, just that it was written in such a way that it somehow felt disconnected and again not really dangerous, even though fae people were killed during imprisonment and others might have gotten killed during the story.

In my opinion, the last book is the best one (even though predictable again) but still, it finally felt connected, easy to read and actively interesting.

I can't help but wonder if the fact that authors are writing everything in series now waters down their stories. You know, series aren't necessary if you can tell a good story in less than 4 not really  big books.
Although, I'm not sure how big the books are as I have them on my Kindle, but they didn't seem long when I was reading them.
I seem to be in a rather critical mood these days. :)
It's just, I like this series so I can't help but think if the story was a bit more condensed (and less predictable and less scattered at times) it would make for much better book(s).
Because the idea is really good and I like Allie and her mother. Her boyfriends I cannot understand at all though.

So, before you all go and think I didn't like the series, on my scale of reading books straight or with pauses, I didn't stop reading the series until I reached book 3, and once I finished that one, the Shadow Moon went by in one go.

P.S. I realize I didn't say anything about the actual story. :D Well, the story is interesting as we have warring witch factions, fae coming into the story, some seriously scary powers being unlocked through the moonstone and good looking boyfriends (some of which aren't completely human).

Monday, July 2, 2012

Amanda Hocking: My Blood Approves series

Luckily for me, the first book I read by A. Hocking was the Hollowland which is why I went in search for other titles by her. I say luckily because if this was the first series I read, I don't think I'd go in search for other books she has written.
That said, I still read the 4 books without stopping so it's not as bad as it might sound from my introduction (and the review that follows).
Books in the series I read are: My Blood Approves, Fate, Flutter, Wisdom.

I don't know if it's me or the writing but I kept getting upset. :)
The main character, Alice, comes off as really stupid at times (as in ignorant and slow to make connections) but in such a manner that when she has moments of intelligent thinking, they don't sound like her, they are a bit unbelievable.
The other thing that I really didn't enjoy is the fact that this reads like a Twilight spin-off. There is a family of vampires that really like her and want her to become one of them (only in this case she has a brother so he's included as well). There are two possible love choices, and she loves them both but goes with her heart instead of her blood bond, the  feelings of love are very melodramatic and in the end, they fight some bad vampires off.
Oh, and Alice and Milo (her brother) are more special than other vampires but I won't say why (which is part of the story that was rather obvious at some point).

One last thing about the books, I couldn't find any point to the story.
It feels stupid saying this, as most of the books I read are the type of fiction that doesn't really come with a moral of the story, but the endings usually have some kind of a point. I didn't feel there was any here but then again, I could be wrong, Wisdom might not be the last book in the series, even though it felt like it was.

Ok, all that said, the first book hooked me because the tragic parts of the story really brought tears to my eyes. And then it was also very intriguing by not revealing much (albeit, Alice comes with the idea Jack might be a werewolf but vampire never crosses her mind?!).
The second book was still ok, but with the third all  my notes were revolving around Alice's ignorance (not to say something worse).

So, if you're looking for something similar to Twilight, look no further. You will probably enjoy the series a lot.
The good thing about the books is the pace. It feels like there is always something happening even though it might just be the usual running of their lives. Which shows that A. Hocking certainly knows her way around with words.
And she obviously got better when it comes to characters and story because Hollowland is much better in my opinion. And I'm looking forward to the next book in that series very much.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Vetiver for all seasons: D600 by Carner Barcelona

Luck hasn't been on my side lately when it comes to winning anything. So, when I learned I was the lucky winner of D600 samples on Ca Fleure Bon, I took it as a good sign.
And I was right to do so. :)

I might be repeating myself with my love of vetiver, but I really can't help it when many of those perfumes hit the right spots for me - warm, dryishly sweet and green (sometimes more yellow) and spicy enough to tickle your nose and refresh it in summer and give off warmth in winter.

Therefore, it was really to be expected I would love D600 as it's one of those vetivers. :)

Top notes: Madagascan Black Pepper, Sicilian Bergamot, Grapefruit.
Mid notes: Guatemalan Cardamom, Italian Iris, Egyptian Jasmine Absolut.
Base notes: Virginian Cedar Wood, Madagascan Vanilla Absolut, Vetyver

It is difficult to put into words the notes of this perfume. For me it starts dryishly sweet, lightly fruity and peppery (it really just tingles your nose a bit). You can smell from the start that this is a vetiver perfume and it took me several wearing to finally locate that grapefruit (and bergamot).
There is a masculine quality to this perfume (masculine in terms if what is sold today as masculine) as there is a bitter and sharp quality to the vetiver in the beginning, even though it has a sweetness underlying all that (I guess vanilla is doing its thing).

And I do believe vanilla is doing its thing from the beginning because at some point there is a spicey-warm quality to the perfume, possibly of the rum variety and I thought there might be some clove in this, but as the notes don't mention it, I'll settle for cardamom, iris, cedar and vanilla working their magic.
Basically, I love it from the start to its dry, woody and hayish finish.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sharing the wor(l)d

Like I said many times before, I'm slow, but I get there in the end (can be applied to my running as well). ;)

So, I finally have a page up with Undina's great informational post on perfume shopping around the world.

I sincerely hope it comes useful to many a perfumista traveling the world and visiting these places.

Happy sniffing!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Paris perfume highlights

Even though we managed to visit and sniff our way through many perfume shops (Serge Lutens, Costes/Iunx, Colette, Rosine, Guerlain, JAR, several stands at Printemps) there are two places that stand out in my mind as the highlights of the trip.
I knew Asali was disappointed we didn't get to visit Jovoy together in December and we decided this time around, it was one of the non-negotiable stops.
And I now understand completely why someone who's been there would be disappointed if another perfumista in Paris skipped the store and the experience.

I don't think my words will do justice to the whole experience. I believe we spent over 2 hours there, taking some time to rest on the couch and sofas located in the back for just that purpose.
Even the espresso we all received upon arrival couldn't keep us on our feet after the sniff-a-thon we had there.

As Asali is already known there, she was the one discussing perfumes with Monsieur Hénin the most while we slowly worked our way through the store, coming together to check who tried what and sniff each other's arms and then went on our own again to discover new fragrant wonders.

At some point we all converged on the oud range by Xerjoff and had a lively discussion with Monsieur Hénin there over oud while smelling the Oud Stars. And when I say lively, I mean we all had fun and laughed a lot as Monsieur Hénin is this charming, smiling, elegant man with a slightly wicked sense of humor which he wields as part of his charm. And he even burned oud chips for us. :)

If I remember correctly, the whole Xerjoff oud series is very good - there is something to be found for every taste (possibly not wallet). ;)

I will let the girls tell you their side of the story - I just know I'd go to Paris just so I could go and have fun at Jovoy again.
The bottles  I came out with were Mona di Orio Vetyver (which I knew I would finally buy in Paris) and Brecourt's Haram - another oriental for my ever growing collection.
(I should also mention a bag full of samples of everything I wanted to get to know better)

Mark's photo of the three of us outside Jovoy

The other place that stands out in my mind as a great smelling experience was a stand at Printemps which holds several collections, among others: Nez a Nez, SoOud, Boadicea and Nasomatto.
Asali is also known there, and she recommended the place as there is a great SA working there who, lucky for us, was there when we arrived.
His name is Alexi(s) (we didn't get to hear it right) and he also remembered Asali (like Suzanne said, men love her).
So he proceeded to familiarize us with the ranges and we smelled our way through many of the perfumes on display there. At the end of the session I fell madly in love with Nez a Nez Bal Musqué and promptly took the bottle home with me.

In the end, an honorable mention goes to the nice man at the JAR boutique who was very generous with his time since we entered the boutique after its closing time (the doors weren't locked) and we asked if it would be ok to smell the perfumes even though it was after closing time, and he was very nice and said we had enough time for a quick tour (only it didn't seem quite that quick and he was displaying the perfumes for the four of us rather elegantly, without any hurry).
The one I fell for is the Bolt of Lightning. It is THE perfume I imagined in my post here. It has that metallic smell of lightning in the warm air and the smell of wet asphalt is in the mix. The fact that all this is possible through white flowers never ceases to amaze me. (I knew the price would amaze me too, so I didn't even ask) ;)

The pic of all of us in front of Jovoy is Mark's and Suzanne's.