Friday, July 29, 2016

Peachy Powdered Femininity: Bellissima Parfum Intense by Blumarine

I'm not sure why I suddenly really wanted to try Bellissima Parfum Intense by Blumarine, I think it was the peachy uber-feminine packaging. I go through phases of aesthetics through the year at some point I will suddenly want to wear uber-feminine and then suddenly I want minimalist natural. Those are the two variations that happen the most often but this year I have suddenly wanted weird fruit. I think though I am suddenly veering again into the feminine category.

From what I can tell the design house of Blumarine is all about the uber-feminine aesthetic and they seem to be willing to hire very good perfumers for their scents, Sophie Labbe created this one and few others for them but taking a look at their other scents they have also hired Maurice Roucel, Christine Nagel, and more.

Bellissima Parfum Intense starts with tangy grapefruit, it's a watercolor grapefruit, this scent isn't about grapefruit so no need to begin hyper-realistic. Below that is a softly tinted well mannered passion fruit, it adds a sweet tang that then supports a really nice combo of peony and heliotrope. The combination of peony and heliotrope is my favorite part. It is a powdery duet of two rather lilting notes that smell very much like the idea of a gentle ballet in my head.

To me Bellissima Parfum Intense is very much a bedroom/Sunday lounging scent its all about pillows and comfort especially when that powdery cashmere wood note steps in. The thing is cashmere wood notes and I just don't really get along all that well, they just go rather flat on me, the cashmere wood takes over and it becomes rather chalky. If Bellissima Parfum Intense stayed in the middle area with the combo of peony and heliotrope supported by passion fruit I would be happy, in fact I might even consider purchasing a bottle, but in the end the cashmere wood note stops that. I think though if you have no issues with the cashmere wood note this is definitely a scent worth considering if you like powdery scents.

Try Bellissima Parfum Intense if you like Allure by Chanel, What We Do In Paris Is Secret by A Lab on Fire, or Love Chloe.

First image from
Second image from photo by Nina Leen, 1954

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Summer Doldrums Assuaged With a Few

Yeah, I've hit that point where Summer has gotten to be too much. I held out for a bit but its finally at that point where I just feel listless in the heat and well so much other psychic trauma from the news. It's a combination where reviewing is well not nearly as interesting as I want it to be. On the other hand I thought I would share my Summer soothers at the moment. These are basically my Calgon Take Me Aways.

Annick Goutal Nuit Etoilee eau de parfum. A delightful dark blue bottle that holds a hot cold combination of Oregon Coast summer coastline with the scent of minty Penny Royal and dark cool coniferous forests beneath it all a creamy combination of iris, amber, and immortelle. Sounds heavy? Not in the least. Full review needed.

Thierry Mugler Womanity, I get it finally. The sweet tart saline fruity wood scent is so bizarro yet in the heat it emerges as the perfect seascape refresher.

Sonoma Scent Studio Fig Tree, a tannic creamy luminous fig that makes me feel like a grown up yet totally refreshing. The dark oaky components sort of reminds me of cool barrel rooms in the summer.

Van Cleef & Arpels Rose Velours, somehow a rose of depth that can be worn in the summer heat. I have to write more about this calm spoken scent.

Lolita Lempicka Elle L'Aime, frothy girl next door tropical scent. Easy going tropical coconut floral with a whole lot of citrus.

Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Soothing Body Lotion, a cooling lovely rosewater with hints of apricot and violet, really lovely after a hot shower, has an instant cooling calm effect.

The Body Shop Passion Fruit Shower Gel, I actually love the scent of passion fruit, I mean the really juicy tart scent that has a sweet spicy edge of bell pepper (I don't think bell pepper is spicy it just has a rather robust spicy scent). For happiness it a bottle just take a shower with this.

First image 'Toxic Synthesia' by Alexandra Levasseur
Second image from
Third image from
Fourth image from The Body Shop

Monday, July 18, 2016

Books and Scents: A Mid Year Review

If you were ask me about my other passions, I would tell you one of them is reading. I also really like the idea of scenting the books I have read. Sometimes it will be a perfume or a scent idea. I also wanted to share the best books I have read so far this year. This isn't all that I have read but these are books I recommend wholeheartedly.

1. The 6:41 to Paris by Jean-Philippe Blondel
-The scent: a green scent that encompasses regret and reflection with a bitter edge. 

2. The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells
-The scent: Dilmun by Lorenzo Villoresi, as much as Dilmun is about creamy gorgeous orange blossom there is also incense and hints of full jasmine green tea. Jasmine and green tea are mentioned through out the book and orange blossom and incense reflect the sense of flight and danger throughout it.

3. A Practical Wedding Planner: A Step-by-Step guide to Creating the Wedding You Want With the Budget You've Got (Without Losing Your Mind in the Process) by Meg Keene
-The scent: Le Temps d'une Fete by Nicolai, just as A Practical Wedding  is about the earthier aspects of wedding planning with great direct frankness about the subject and so is Le Temps d'une Fete about the earthier fecund qualities of spring but it is also joyous as a wedding should be. 

Nada, I was in the midst of overtime wedding planning, my reading was put aside. 

4. Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein
-The scent: the most popular youthful scent of now combined with an entitled fury over the shit education girls receive about their sexuality. 

5. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki
-The scent: L'Ete en Douce by L'Artisan, only a perfectly magical summer scent could go with gorgeous graphic novel about the moment right before your tween years. Loved this so hard.

6.  Sex Object by Jessica Valenti 
-The scent: Gris Clair by Serge Lutens, something needed for the resigned world weary anger and exhaustion of carrying about psychic pain all the damn time. 

7. An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by P.D. James
-The scent: Trussardi Jeans by Trussardi, Cordelia Gray deserves Trussardi Jeans because it fits her character in that she seems youthful but is world weary in many ways. The violet seemingly youthful but the blue rain like quality of the scent keeping it different from most scents. 

all images from

Friday, July 15, 2016

So You Want to Smell Like the Goddess of Spring (extreme bargain edition): Orangers en Fleurs Pure Parfum by Houbigant

Let me first start with the bargain part and just get it out of the way. At you can get .33 oz of Houbigant's Orangers en Fleurs pure parfum for $20.00. That is a steal!

I originally tried Houbigant's Orangers en Fleurs years ago when somehow it randomly ended up on my local Nordstrom's counter, I admired it, and recognized immediately that it had a whole lot in common with Serge Luten's Fleurs d'Oranger, a scent that had never quite moved me, but had most definitely required testing as an orange blossom lover. I did note that Orangers en Fleurs worked a tad bit better on my skin when compared to Fleurs d'Oranger, but at its price point acquisition was not going to happen. And now to the present, I was doing that thing of trawling for perfume bargains as so many perfume lovers do when randomly I decided to do a search for Orangers en Fleurs, part of the search was I am simply wanting an orange blossom, when I suddenly spied pure parfum attached to the listing of it. Needless to say I went for it, pure parfum is sort of the unicorn of perfumes, because it is usually supposed to be the concentration of the scent at its best form because you are getting the clearest vision of what the perfumeur is trying to communicate.

Orangers en Fleurs pure parfum opens with a blast of cold root-y crystalline tuberose that is made all the more cooler by a dash of nutmeg, I will admit the opening is a bit scary because it really does not register to my nose as orange blossom, it is a bit like the orchestra is getting situated before everyone is ready to play. The tuberose plays the icy handmaiden of Spring who has come to announce the lady of the house has arrived. What enters is the queen goddess herself of Spring one of the most intense no holds barred heady orange blossoms I have ever encountered. There is nothing wan or pastel about this orange blossom, regal and powerful, this orange blossom sits on the throne. This is basically the Targaryen of orange blossoms and the dragons ridden on are tuberose, jasmine, and ylang ylang. Jasmine adds the radiance note that it can sometimes add and thankfully the indoles are kept in check. Ylang ylang keeps the scent from getting too hot. There is also to my nose a linden blossom like greenery running all through the background it keeps the heady melange of flowers from going into dour territory.

Houbigant Orangers en Fleurs pure parfum smells rich, you can tell that someone was allowed to play with good stuff and basically decided that they wanted an orange blossom queen. Every time I sniff it the commandment running through my head is "Bow to the Queen." I would love to know who the perfumer is behind this.

Try Orangers en Fleurs if you like Fleurs d'Oranger by Serge Lutens, Azahar by Madini, or Dilmun by Lorenzo Villoresi.

First Image
Second Image 'Lady Flora, Goddess of Blossoms and Flowers' Evelyn de Morgan 1880
Third Image Yakovlev and Aleeva

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Deep Green: Bella Basura by Haught Perfumes

There is something deliciously modern and vintage about the perfumes created at Haught Perfumes by Jarekhye Covarrubias. They almost always start very fun and modern and yet frequently morph into the lovely tasteful classical. I don't usually encounter this combo in perfumes so it was nice to see someone playing with these ideas.

I am not the sort of person who usually wears green floral fragrances, I most definitely admire the ideas they convey, but frequently when I try to wear them I run into a few issues. Bella Basura joins the very small cadre of green florals I can wear (the others I can wear are Le Temps d'une Fete by Nicolai, Phenomene Verte II by Lalun Naturals, and Climat by Lancome).

Bella Basura starts with a big bitter blend of lime and bergamot beneath it I get hints of basil and spices enough that for a moment there is a hint of mossy freshness that reminds me of good clean soap scent.

Yet, before anything mundane can happen smoky creamy jasmine incense note enters. This is my favorite stage. I didn't realize I could like a green florals until I realized that they could have green creamy incense notes, Bella Basura is one of those few scents that does that, yet before you go running to the hills thinking that this scent is going to get vanillic it never does. No, Bella Basura reverberates a constant bitter green, it's like a good amaro in the summer.

Bella Basura reminds me of the things I have always wanted to appreciate but never quite could, Jarekhye has tempered the green notes that frequently cause me so many problems, and made a green scent that is wearable for me. I am in fact reminded a bit of the classic Vent Vert by Balmain but made more wearable. The dry down is a consistent bitter green with the citrus and jasmine weaving back and forth there is a smoky blend of olibanum and vetiver that reverberates through out it.

Try Bella Basura if you like Vent Vert by Balmain, A Scent by Issey Miyake, or Jasmine White Moss Private Collection by Estee Lauder. 

Disclaimer: I received the sample from Haught Perfumes.

First image from Haught Perfumes
Second image 'Tropic (Tortuguero)' by Ben Blatt 
Third image 'Dahlia" by Inside A Black Apple

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Pop Culture Fun: Rebecca Bunch and Valencia Perez of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

I'm not even half way through Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and I am seriously in love. It's insane, absurdly smart, creative, funny, heartbreaking, cringe inducing, and showcases some obscene talent. It's good.

Rebecca Bunch is about five million contradictions, she is probably best thought out portrait of someone with some serious issues, who is very smart, but also makes so many terrible terrible choices. She is the best example of I can think of right now on television of hilarious and heartbreaking. Can mental illness be funny, yes, but nuance is rarely applied with social commentary in a combination with s much biting madcap humor as depicted in the character of Rebecca Bunch.

Rebecca has the fatal flaw of deeply deeply wanting to impress and please everyone she wants in her life, except for the very few that get her aka Paula or Heather. Her intense desire to be wanted frequently involves her being willing to use all of her advantages to various extremes. So the first scent pick for Rebecca is Lancome's La Vie Est Belle, if there ever was a scent trying so damn hard and trying to have it all this is it. This scent is Rebecca to the ninth, when she is at her most manic in competition and trying to win Josh Chan's heart.

If Rebecca was more honest with herself she might choose something that is not La Vie Est Belle because she might have to admit certain qualities about herself. I rather think she would be far better in the more eccentric gourmand of Carner Barcelona's Tardes.  Tardes, a strange concoction of almond, cream, fresh watery celery, and fluffy musk. The scent is intelligent but charming and has a certain edge of rambunctious just like Rebecca when she isn't flying all over the place trying to be so damn pleasing. I think Rebecca is a gourmand wearer, she need a comforting scent but she doesn't quite get that about herself.
At the other end of the spectrum and Rebecca's nemesis, is Valencia, Josh's girlfriend. Valencia is played as the classic pretty mean girl but is able to be shown as having her own needs and desires that are not to be considered foolish. She does have all the right reasons to be wary of Rebecca and her overtures
towards Josh.

What is perhaps the most amusing thing is that like Rebecca, Valencia has a vision of herself that is not quite reality. In her head she is a zen yoga instructor who is peaceful. Her obvious choice of perfume is Sage Machado's Onyx a "spiritual" mix of tobacco, coconut, and musk. It is the obvious choice of hot chicks who love "spirituality" it is very Southern California. Valencia represents the classic Southern California "hottie" the woman who loves yoga, pilates, juice cleanses, and chia seeds and is perfectly in control of her super-toned body. She is supposed to be easygoing and sweet with hints of health food store.

Valencia is sharper than her scent of choice, she might not be as bookish as Rebecca, but this woman has aspirations and has started her own yoga studio. She also can see through Rebecca's delusions and overtures. Valencia should be wearing Lucy B's Royal Green Fig and Vanilla Woods. Royal Green Fig and Vanilla Woods is a simple but attractive sharp green fig scent, it is bohemian enough to fit Valencia's ideas about herself but sharp enough to show the intelligence beneath her choices.

First image from
Second image from Herald Review
Third image from
Fourth image from
Fifth image from
Sixth image from
Seventh image from

Friday, July 08, 2016

Therapy in a Bottle: Izu by MikMoi

I am a person who stresses easily. I am just sensitive edged. So inherently fragrance for me is usually on the peaceful side, lets be honest while I frequently admire "loud" fragrances I'm not one to usually wear them.

MikMoi earlier this year came out with a series of bath products inspired by a recent trip to Japan. The collection features three scents and the one I was most smitten with is Izu. I ended up buying a lovely little bottle of the bath and body oil. As always Mik's perfumes evoke a sense of lightness and yet have excellent tenacity and longevity.

Izu smells like neroli to me at first and yet it does not contain neroli.. Rather the combination of yuzu, ylang ylang, and green tea create the fresh plush dense tart note of neroli in the opening. Eventually the neroli quality takes a step back and what enters is the scent of ylang ylang, for lovers of ylang ylang, Izu is most definitely worth a sniff.

As I've mentioned before ylang ylang does not get enough love in my book, the scent with the most prominent note of ylang ylang that can now be easily found on the market is Chanel No.5. Unless you know what you are looking for the aldehydes of No.5 can easily cover up the ylang ylang. I'm mentioning No.5 because the ylang ylang of that scent combined with the powderiness of the other notes has always created the image for me of No.5 being the scent of the just bathed. Izu also evokes this bathing quality, yet obviously it evokes none of the formal-ness or extreme architecture of No.5. Rather Mik has highlighted the lovely sensual musky just bathed skin quality of ylang ylang in Izu.

Izu is lovely natural contemplative scent yet the sensuality of ylang ylang has not been scrubbed away. An excellent scent for those of us who have a sensitive edge

As for my tiny bottle of oil, it has excellent longevity, and plenty of sillage. I rubbed a little bit of in my palm and ran it through my hair and floated around in a lovely cloud of ylang ylang therapy all day.

Try if you if like Chanel No. 5, Smell Bent's Pepper Ylang, or the scent of Mustela.

First image from
Second image from Ctesthetic
Third image from Chen Bolan

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Tackling a Classic, Tackling the 90s: Laguna by Salvador Dali (1991)

Somehow I am continuing the themes of the 90s and summer perfumes. Today I am going to tackle a lesser known classic, one that was created in 1991 and has kept on going even when so many 90s fragrances are gone. I think Laguna came to my attention with a fairly recent review of it on Now Smell This, and looking at the date, not so recent review. So I can't explain why suddenly I was rather determined to get a sample of it. Apparently Luca Turin has good things to say about it,but honestly that wasn't the reason why I wanted to try it, and the legendary perfumer Mark Buxton created it, still not the driving force of why I wanted to try it. No, I think the main reason is it is weird fruit. I have suddenly very much wanted to smell fruity perfumes but not the insipid clean fruity florals of my late teens to present. These weird fruit perfumes do not have to smell natural either, although a plus if they do, but some how in this craving I have been okay with fruit notes that are really just the idea of a fruit.

Putting on Laguna by Salvador Dali is like taking a time travel trip. The scent is basically what  'Groove is in the Heart' by Dee-lite sounds like.

What you are doing at the moment is probably watching Cameron Crow's Singles and wishing you had Jane Fonda's fashion from that film but you are most likely dressing like Clarissa from Clarissa Explains It All. You watch Friends and want Rachel's style. You sit through Real World marathons. Like I said this scent is nostalgia, it's not even necessarily my own nostalgia, but it does make me nostalgic for ridiculous 90s fashion and culture.

Laguna is 90s retro goodness, it is a saturated over the top neon fruit scent that is emblematic of the 90s perfume era. That weird era when 1980s powerhouses was replaced by the hyper color chunky fruity floral orientals before the uber fresh scents took over. The start is rum caramalized pineapple with hints of citrus and a bizarre dose of tonka and below it all some salty goodness. Going forward the tonka walks out and you left with strange concoction of a peppered coconut pineapple vanilla shake with what feels like something like neon lime thrown in. Laguna is like someone decided to blend a pina colada, a daiquiri, a margarita, and salty sea air together. Strangely Buxton makes this work.

For sheer nostalgic purposes I suggest you hunt down this bizarre beach classic, it feels like the last of its kind considering calone would rise up and for a very long time take over the idea of what a beach scent should smell like.

Try if you like Plus Plus Feminine by Diesel, Onyx by Sage Machado, or Womanity by Thierry Mugler.

First image from
Second image from Clarissa Explains It All

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Perfumes That Have Caught My Attention

So as we all know perfume releases are constant and frequently well not all that exciting but every once awhile you read a review or you see a release that really catches your eye. These a some that have caught my eye.

Eye, Hatshepsut by Charenton Macerations, I love ancient Egyptian history and for someone to finally go beyond Cleopatra and Nefertiti, is awesome. Notes sound intriguing.

Journey by MikMoi, mentions of apricot and magnolia with incense, yeah this has my nose attention.

Eau de Iceberg Sensual Musk, two people describing it as musky apricot ice cream, that deserves attention.

Flor de Naranjo by Coqui Coqui, heard about this orange blossom years ago, and luckyscent is finally carrying the line.

Orange Blossom and Peony from Dame Perfumery. Ever since I sampled Dame Perfumery's soliflores I have come to one conclusion this is probably one of the most intense soliflore collections I have run into, these are not cutesie wootsie water scents. I'm curious to see what he has done with Orange Blossom and Peony.

Istanbul by Al Faransi, peach, saffron, rose, nuff said.

Prada La Femme by Prada, if its Prada it goes on my must sniff list.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Elegant Fig: Fig Tree by Sonoma Scent Studio

Apparently I am having a moment of rediscovering fig scents. First there was Ninfeo Mio by Annick Goutal and now I have had the pleasure of the smelling Fig Tree by Sonoma Scent Studio.

Fig Tree is one of the most airy elegant figs I have ever come across. Part of me wants to describe it as a fig flower because this fig is supported by an incandescent musk that illuminates the fig in such a way that the first image that pops into my head is a big giant creamy magnolia blossom. Yet, this scent doesn't smell like magnolia it creates that perfect idea of a creamy giant blossom though.

You are probably thinking at this point that Fig Tree is coconut accented as happens in so many figs, it isn't, it has a creamy quality but at no point do I think of tropics. Rather at times I am reminded just a little bit of the classic peach lactonic chypres such as Femme by Rochas, Champagne by Yves Saint Laurent, or Mitsouko by Guerlain. Yet, Fig Tree is far more wearable than any of those have ever been on me. The support of earthy patchouli and cedar creates a firmly grounded fig, but the use of musk with just the slightest hint of vanilla is used to smooth out any rough edges in this fig.

I am reminded of the gentle sun filled Autumns that happen here in Northern California, they still retain quite a bit of summer but there is an earthy change in them that I can smell in Fig Tree. It's when the oak leaves begin to fall and they crunch beneath your feet and the leaves of the grapevines begin to yellow and redden but the days are still so warm.

What I want to try and convey is that Fig Tree is one of the most sophisticated fig scents I have ever tried. It is so well rounded and polished, I don't want to use the word glamorous to describe it but worldly and intellectual come to mind with this scent. This is a scent that perfectly sits in between autumnal and summery, which is precisely when figs are the best here.

Try Fig Tree if you like Philosykos by Diptyque, Ninfeo Mio by Annick Goutal, or Vol 870 YUL-CDG by Monsillage.

First image from Sonoma Scent Studio
Second image from Life Inspired
Third image from Pierre Mornet

Friday, July 01, 2016

Beyond the Spritz: Sun Bum Sunscreen SPF 50

Here is to age letting me learn to love the beach again. In my twenties I hated going to the beach, overly self-conscious being the culprit but thankfully I entered my thirties and have come to the point of not giving too much thought anymore if I have the perfect "beach body". I don't, I'm pale and my figure is not lean, but fuck it I want to enjoy the beach and that is what I am going to do.

The thing is though with that severe paleness, a token of my Normandy French heritage I have to wear sunscreen, like intense high SPF stuff, and in addition I have sensitive skin so a good amount of my beauty routine is spent finding new sunscreens that don't irritate me. I should add everyone should where sunscreen, Baz Luhrman is correct about that. My everyday sunscreen is scentless yet last weekend I found myself on the way to my future sister-in-laws bachelorette weekend and knew I needed a good sport sunscreen. Enter Sun Bum, I've seen it everywhere, it is the "it" sunscreen at the moment.

Sun Bum will never be an everyday sunscreen for me for one simple reason: it is highly fragranced yet it makes for the perfect beach scent. I feel like Sun Bum must have hired a perfumer and said "Give me the most coconut-ty pina colada scent you can think of. We want people to think "This is BEACH in the Summer."" Sun Bum starts off intensely pina colada, it's caramalized pineapple and coconut cream. That scent remains the same for quite awhile yet as time goes by below all that is a vanilla soft serve scent with just a hint of woods but still very much laced by coconut.

As for the formula of the sunscreen itself. This stuff works. That day I was the only person who did not get a sunburn. Inherently I believe part of the problem was many people opted for spray sunscreens that in studies have been shown to not work nearly as effectively. Also I intensely re-applied. The nice thing about Sun Bum is the formula is not too sticky, it moisturizes well but does not leave me feeling greasy. Other things to consider before applying sunscreen, moisturize well before applying sunscreen it will help with even out distribution of your sunscreen.

As for my beach song today, doesn't seem quite right but I love it:

My other summer jam Mitski's "Your Best American Girl"

The book: American Housewife: Stories by Helen Ellis. Amazing bizarro story lines, surreal biting humor, and satire.

first image from Sun Bum
second image from