Tuesday, October 28, 2008

SOTD: Euphoria Lotion

I am suddenly craving the scent of pomegranites well more like the interpretation of the scent of pomegranites considering to my nose pomegranites have never eally had much of a scent, so I am taking out my Euphoria lotion this morning. Which reminds me that pomegranites are another one of those incredible fall fruits; I admit I have always been fascinated by the story of Persephone.

image provided by artnet.com
image: October Moon by Miguel Padura 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Design: Appreciating the Organic Shape

Ever since I read Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future and his chapter on design, I have been having the joy of appreciating the world in a new fun way. While grocery shopping this last week I had the task of buying myself a new shampoo and conditioner. The duo I bought was Dove's Intense Damage Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner, part of this buying process came from my respect of Dove over the last few years deciding to go with an advertising campaign that celebrated the diversity of beauty in women (young, old, freckles, light, dark, thin, shapely) and also that they totally have won in the design catagory. I was immidiately drawn to the beautiful dark blue bottles with their organic shape. They won out even further with the fact the conditioner's opening was designed to rest at the bottom of the bottle (because who hasn't found themselves trying to get the last bit of conditioner in the most ridiculous ways), adding to the design is that on both bottles under the Dove heading is an extra subtle indentation to help squeeze out the shampoo and conditioner. Looking at the bottles I was reminded of another organically shaped product:

Donna Karan's Black Cashmere

Black Cashmere image provided by http://www.donnakaranbeauty.com/templates/products/sp.tmpl?ngextredir=1&CATEGORY_ID=CATEGORY13628&PRODUCT_ID=PROD11463

Friday, October 24, 2008

SOTD: Estee Lauder Private Collection Amber Ylang Ylang

Today I am going to do my first all day wearing of Estee Lauder's Private Collection Amber Ylang Ylang. So far in my wearings it has revealed itself to be a soft amber, very cashmere like, with use of the ever prevelant bergamot note that became popular with Dolce and Gabbana's Light Blue giving it a sparkle perfect for sunny autumn days. The ylang ylang note is beautifully rendered and wears gently on the skin the amber is akin to Ambre del Nepal's amber softly spiced with a good dose of vanilla. This I can see selling very well, very tasteful but at the same time very comforting.

image provided by artnet.com
image: October Canal, Lambertville by Anthony Michael Autorino

Thursday, October 23, 2008

SOTD: Bal a Versailles

Suddenly having a need for the strangely dry animalic incense of Bal a Versailles. This starts out as a beautiful dry floral incense and eventually winds down on me to a creamy milky strangly furry leather scent. I am always reminded of cats when I wear it; especially of one sleeping next to a fire in a darkened room, the tips of the its fur glowing from the firelight. It is most definately sensual but never overt.
image provided by artmagick.com
Image: October by James Jacques-Joseph Tissot 1877

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

SOTD: Chanel N.22

So it has been awhile since I did a theme with my images but I have chosen one, for the rest of October the images chosen will have the theme of October. I really haven't shown my favorite month much love or appreciation; it is going by too fast and it must be savored. For this unseasonably warm October day I am going with Chanel N.22; this was a springtime favorite but did not weather well in Summer it seems to be a scent for those seasons that are caught between weather extremes. This idea makes sense between with the constrast of beautiful pillowy sparklingy white flowers and dry vanillic incense.
And I just wanted to share a few things that have really caught my attention the last few weeks:

And too really make you feel better:

Chasing Pavements by Adele (talk about a gorgeous voice):

image provided by artnet.com

Image: Mimosas, October 2, 2006 by Donald Sultan

Biblioburro image provided by http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/10/20/america/20burro.php (also get the full incredible story here)

Chimpanzee and tiger cub image provided by http://mfrost.typepad.com/cute_overload/2008/10/chimp-adopts-ti.html (also get full sweet story there)

video uploaded by UrbanUnsigned

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Spice Hunt and Sweet Wood Syrup

Right now is that time of the year when I want to surround myself with the scent of spices and the taste of spices and the delightful rich liquor flavor of maple syrup. The last two days I have been experimenting with making my own chai masala, so far my favorite part is the use of fresh ginger. I admit fresh ginger has become an addiction for me in my cooking lately, I love the spicy crunch it offers to dishes, I love the versatility of it, melding perfectly with sweet, sour, savory, sour, and salty. My experimenting in chai masala has left me realizing that I need clove and loose leaf assam tea for the base. That I prefer my chai without fennel seed and that it must have cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, and of course ginger! Another interesting realization maple syrup is wonderful possibility to use as a sweetner for tea adding the wonderful resinous sweetness that can only be had from maple syrup. So the question is what are your favorite spices?
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Image: Striped Cloth and Ginger Jar by George Van Hook

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

Well it finally happened I got tagged, by the wonderful Helg at http://perfumeshrine.blogspot.com/(ack blogger is acting weird and won't allow me to link this in a prettier way). So let us begin, first the rules and regulations :-):
1. Link to the person who tagged you
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Write six random things about yourself
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them
5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

So six things about me:
1. I don't like mushrooms because of the texture, I enjoy the flavor though, but the texture wigs me out. The exception woodear mushrooms.
2. I know how to make a mean fire. I grew up on a ranch and we used a wood burning stove to heat the house, I still have this awesome skill after so many years.
3. My first pet was a rat, I named it Peaches and Cream, turned out it was a boy rat.
4. The first perfume I was given was on my eleventh birthday and it was Vanilla Fields.
5. I am fairly good at belly dancing for someone who has never taken classes.
6. The first words my Aunt heard me say as a toddler were "Fuck duck." Leading to the lesson of always be aware of what you say in front of your kids; although I suspect my father got a hoot out of it.

Blogs I enjoy and love:
Pepper over at http://frugalcuisine.blogspot.com/ (a great cooking blog with wonderful glimpses into Chinese street food)
Rose over at http://arosebeyondthethames.blogspot.com/ (always offering a lovely perspective on beautiful things and keeping me jealous of the fact she lives in London)
The Daily Connoisseur http://dailyconnoisseur.blogspot.com/ (a great blog about appreciating everyday pleasures and not everyday pleasures)
Scentscelf at http://scelfleah.blogspot.com/ aka Notes From The Ledge (I love mixture of nature, perfume, and music. Always a unique perspective)
Divina at http://fragrancebouquet.blogspot.com/ (Great fragrance reviews and a warm soul)
TMH256 at http://fortheloveofperfume.blogspot.com/ (Lovely fragrance reviews)

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image: Hi Jinx by Jessica Snow 2006

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Celebration: What I Wore For My Two Birthday Dinners

So I feel really silly right now with the poll in the corner asking what I should wear, considering my birthday was on Monday. This year I had a fairly quiet birthday, my Sunday night was spent with friends (hard to ask anyone other than direct family who live near by to do dinner on a Monday night) we had dinner at a restaurent and headed back to my place for cake and presents. For that night I wore Fifi Chachnil to go with my somewhat Joan Hollowayesque inspired dress (What can I say part of my adoration for Mad Men is Christina Hendricks and finally seeing someone on the screen who's body I can actually relate too and who is dressed so wonderfully. The only other woman I felt the same way about is Nigella Lawson; who I actually kind've look like). Madame X would have also gone wonderfully with the outfit, but Fifi Chachnil is little bit more cheery so it won out. The next day I had lunch with my grandmother and later on that evening dinner with my family, overall the day was very casual so definately no vavavoom scents, instead I spritzed on the expensively delicious Ambre Narguile by Hermes.
As for the lasting powering of these and taking into consideration the sillage:
Fifi Chachnil edp: Wow this one is incredible 2 spritzs you are good until the next day and it has perfect sillage. I'm just trying to imagine this in parfum.
Ambre Narguile: 3 spritzs and you good for most of the day, has fairly good sillage until about 2/3's of the way through. Interesting in that you really need a full spray on to smell the tobacco note.
As for fragrance presents, well I got a couple of gift cards to sephora, but the truth is Ambre Russe was my present to me for my birthday.
image provided by artnet.com
Image: Untitled #16 , The Birthday Party Series by Vee Speers

Friday, October 10, 2008

Things To Be Loved: A German Shepherd

I will admit I consider myself most often a cat person, but the truth is since I was a baby I have grown up with dogs. Many of baby photos include me sitting with our family dog, Tucker, a gorgeous mixed breed, who had some of the softest hair I could remember. Many of the photos from my baby period include me inquistively grabbing his tail and him just looking at me with patience, he could have easily got up and left, but as the pictures show he let my little toddler self happily grab his tail, and explore. Years later as I went through my baby book it becomes apparent that my earliest friend and protector was Tucker; most of the stories written about me by my mother include him.
After Tucker passed away we ended up adopting a beautiful grey standard poodle puppy, Argus although for most of his life he would be called Velcro because everything stuck to him. You are probably at that point wondering how earth we ended up adopting a standard poodle, we went to the pound, and quite frankly it is amazing how unkind people can be to their dogs. Velcro was full of energy, he was a puppy afterall, and who ever had him before us had beat him with a broom. They eventually dropped him off at an animal shelter, we fell in love with him, and took him home. We only later learned about the broom issue when we took him home and we're sweeping and noticed his utter fear of the broom. What amazes me is that we poor at the time and we took home a very expensive dog. Velcro was never treated the usual life a of a standard poodle constant expensive grooming, in fact for the most part he lived the life of a ranch dog. We would shave him in the summer so that he would not over heat and believe it or not under all that fur is body very similar to a grey hound, he adored to run. Out of the all dogs we ever had he was probably the most protective, he wasn't violent, but it was quite obvious that he was a dog who took his role of protector seriously. The one creature he was scared of was our cat. A couple years later we adopted a german shepherd/labrador puppy, Jake, we only had Jake for a short time though, he was accidently hit by car. What strikes me most about this incident, was that as much a we were grieving, Velcro was the one who got it worse, not knowing what had happened, he spent a week searching for the puppy.
A year later we once again adopted another puppy, Ben, who was also another german shepherd/labrador mix. He was one of the gentlest dogs I have ever met, sweet beyond words, and utterly perfect around children. If you ever look into getting a mixed breed dog and have children I highly recommend this mix. They usually end up having the best qualities of a german shepherd and labrador, besides they are utterly cute.
I must segway to my grandparents, ever since I have known them they have had german shepherds, this is my grandmother's favorite dog.
So this all leads to something I wasn't aware of until 2 years ago, the reputation of german shepherds. As you can see I have spent a great deal of my life with this breed of dog, I have always considered them good natured dogs and perfectly fine to be around children and people. I wasn't really aware of their reputation of being vicious attack dogs until my aunt. My aunt had to move and at the time she had a young child and her german shepherd, Rex. She checked out many places and found that it is basically impossible to rent and have a german shepherd, because they are considered one of the top 3 most violent dogs. This story ends well though with Rex finding a new home with my Dad and my stepfather Jay.
What kills me though is this reputation. Rex may be the sweetest gentlest dog I know. He never barks at people, when he is taken on walks he never barks at other dogs, he will most often show happy interest towards other dogs, but if that dog barks, his attitude is to just ignore them. He is just utterly gentle and lovable. I have seen people cross streets to not walk by him, in truth he probably looks the very image of a strong violent looking german shepherd, the reality is that he is the sort of dog who great around children and strangers. His sisters are the same way, my Grandmother ended up adopting one of this sisters, and my other aunt another one of his sisters. My grandmother keeps chickens and a cat, I have never once seen, Lexie, her dog chase either of these animals. My other aunt's dog, Brenna, is best friends with their small grey cat, you can literally see these two playing, and apparently the first creature to be greeted after a long trip by the cat is the dog.
So last night I decided to go to youtube (because in general I am missing Rex and dogs in general) and look at videos of german shepherds, what amazed me was all the comments of "Wow I can't believe you let your kids/cat/puppy around them." or "Wow I can't believe how affectionate they are." This just floored me, considering my upbringing. The fact is if you properly socialize your dogs there really should be no issue of that animal being around children, puppies, or cats. Want to see this in action watch Cesar Milan, if your dog is behaving badly the issue is you and how you treat that dog. So please keep in mind that german shepherds are not inherently vicious dogs, but as with any creature, when treated poorly or not properly trained will not have the best character.
I know this is completely off top topic from the usual, but right now I really want a dog or a cat.
image provided by artnet.com
image: Dog and Judge by Tessa Newcomb

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Getting Creative: Home Fragrance Oils

This morning I had the urge for the scent of lavender and oranges, I'm not quite sure why I am so fond of this mixture of scents, but I suppose I like that it is calming and awakening at the same time. My answer to the problem; a mixture of home fragrance oils. I really enjoy the creativity you are allowed with home fragrance oils. They allow you to play perfumerer of your home in a non-expensive way. I admit I get the most fun out of my discontinued Les Couvents des Minimes Orange & Cinnamon home fragrance oil (truth be told though it doesn't really have any cinnamon), the orange used is mild and warm unlike the potent Satsuma sold by The Body Shop. The blends well with other scents and offers a wonderful orange zingingness to other scents most often I blend it woud Henri Bendel's Holiday (also discontinued; rats!) or Lavender oil, I admit right I am on the hunt for a good vanilla home fragrance oil.

Another offering of beauty The Decemberist's Engine Driver, beautifully melodic and lyrical:

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image: Koi with Small Bowl by David Kroll 2006
video uploaded by xXBerlinXx

Monday, October 06, 2008

SOTD: Angelique Encens

I just can't get over the beauty of this scent, I love the beautiful herbal green liquor of angelica juxtaposed against a cedary incense and then cocooned in a gorgous soft blend of heliotrope and vanilla. I imagine the perfumer and Marlene Dietrich were going for the idea of being cocooned by wings. It is beautifully comforting but at the same time serenely cool. You just want to surround yourself in it. It is a perfect hazey scent.
image provided by artmagick.com
image: Winged Figure by Abbott Handerson Thayer 1889

Sunday, October 05, 2008

SOTD: L de Lolita Lempicka pure parfum

The vanilla craving continues, today I am going with pure parfum variation of L de Lolita Lempicka. I'm going to be honest most of the time I prefer the edp variation of this; the notes are more pronounced and sparkling. But today I suddenly want the earthier parfum, it seems right on this glorious fall day, a mellower fragrance for Sunday, which is what I always try to go for. Hope everyone has a lovely Sunday.
image provided by artmagick.com
image: The Mermaid by Howard Pyle 1910

Saturday, October 04, 2008

SOTD: the discontinued L'Occitane Vanille extrait de parfum

I feel like October has continued the mountain of problems from August and September which were mainly car issues, until the last week of September which involved a filling falling out an a wisdom tooth that needs to be removed, and then this last Thursday which involved my computer hitting its death bed (I knew it was coming but still it was sudden and now I am typing on a brand new computer), and best of all to top that Thursday off my satellite dish decided that it would no longer receive a signal (worst part all I had wanted to do Thursday was watch the vice-presidential debates). So here I am spending my Saturday waiting for the technician to come fix my dish. I will say one good thing happened on Thursday my package that both me and my swapper were getting worried about possibly being lost in the mail because it took half a month to arrive, arrived. It contained a much sought after vanilla fragrance (that for many is Holy Grail vanilla): L'Occitane's Vanille Extrait de Parfum.

I wish I could say I was one of those woman who only wore dry leathery green mossy intellectual scents, but the truth is quite frankly I am a vanilla lover. I am a proud to say I have moved beyond the stage of loving vanilla just because it is vanilla and can see the many variations in vanilla from the candy/cupcake vanillas to the woodsy/smoky/resinous vanillas, I tend to be a lover of the latter finding them closer to the vanilla extract scent that so many of us vanilla lovers are obsessed with finding.

Where does L'Occitane's Vanille lay in the spectrum of vanillas? This is a pure vanilla but not dark and smokey enough to be an extract, althought it does hint at extract with notes of dark caramel. It quite frankly reminds me of a really good flan, the creamy custard flecked with vanilla beans, the kind that is never sickeningly sweet but wonderfully perfumed with vanilla so that you can taste that dark bittersweet flavor that comes from using a vanilla bean and really good vanilla extract. Of course topping off the flan is that gorgeous bittersweet caramel sauce, that makes a beautiful contrast to the creamy custard. This is a gourmand no doubt about it and very much vanilla at that, in fact I might call this a vanilla soliflore there is so litte change, but I should say this is really good for it offers exactly what it promises: vanilla. This has great strength and really does bloom on the skin. Perfect on a rainy day waiting for the technician to come.

On a side note, the vanilla that comes closest to this is Molinard's Vanille, but that vanilla is still just a sad shadow of this.

****Update: Wasn't the satellite, turns out it was the receiver box, don't even ask me how, I never once played with receiver. Now watching the most wonderfully anal retentive cooking shows out there: Cook's Illustrated which hosts America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country. Off to cook. Testing out another Mark Bittman recipe.
image provided by artnet.com
image: Naughty Boy by Brandi Milne

Thursday, October 02, 2008

SOTD: Fifi Chachnil edt

Somedays you need that glamourous scent that has a million layers, my answer to that is what I think was one of the great surprises in the perfume world: Fifi Chachnil. When I put it on two images always pop into my head 1) The heavily kohled eyes of female stars in the 1960's and 2) one of my favorite color combos pale pink with black. What amazes me about Fifi is that it is so feminine and flirty but does not the usual cupcake fruity floral note to get the effect, instead it is smokey, powdery, ambered, with hints of greenery, rose, and citrus. It is highly addictive scent.

And now more song re-interpretations (going along with the whole 1960's theme):
The Original Led Zeppelin version of Dancing Days:

And the better version by The Stone Temple Pilots (I know I am sacriligious, but many agree):

image provided by artnet.com
image: Elizabeth Taylor Pink by Russell Young
video uploaded by floydianslip73
video uploaded by fckrocknroll

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A Scent For A Night Club

Along with candles, I also enjoy fragrancing my home with home fragrance oils, this is often a life saver in the hot conditions of California, where even a fairly large fragranced candle can be source of overheating in the summer. But the advantage of home fragrance oils is they also immediately fragrance a room. Yesterday, I walked into Bath and Body Works, while I wanted a nice little fragrance treat, I did not want to spend much money. I admit I was eyeing the Black Amethyst candle, but it wasn't such a bargain at full price, but then I noticed they were having a sale on their home fragrance oils, at $3 each this was the perfect option for me. So I took a bottle of the Black Amethyst and bought a package of tealight candles. I got open and immediately took out my oil burner and was surprised at how well the scent held up in this form.

It immediately made me think of the perfect loungy night club where slow atmospheric music plays in the background and hushed conversations are spoken over classic drinks and slinky dresses are worn.

The scent is unique in that it plays with ripe tropical fruits and flowers yet offsets these notes with an edge of coolness. The top is a rather ripe tart note of pineapple and plum before segwaying into a cool earthy tuberose that hints at Dior's Poison, before coming to a background of cool creamy vanilla and subtle woods. I must say that Bath and Body Works seems to be really making a point these days offer better fragrances especially in their fall collections.

This a fragrance that is perfect for swank little cocktail parties that are serving ice cold cocktails. Not meant to smell cozy but utterly sensual.

The perfect song to go with it, Cibo Matto's Sugar Water:

Official notes:
Fragrance top notes: Bergamot Italian Oprur, Juicy Mandarin, Sparkling Tangerine, Zesty Orange, Waterfruits, Crisp Melon
Fragrance Mid Notes: Lily of the Valley, Magnolia Blossom, Sheer Gardenia, Tuberose, Freesia, Peony Petals, Camellia
Fragrance Base Notes: Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Vanilla, Musk

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image: Big Jazz by Gage Mace
video uploaded by RhinoEntertainment

Most Worn In September: Ambre Russe by Parfums d'Empire

So Ambre Russe won out as the most worn in September, I consider it a response to me really being sick of summer, and suddenly having my love for amber come back. I just can't get over this decadently gorgeous amber.
image provided by artmagick.com
image: Holyday by James Jacques-Joseph Tissot 1876