My secret Shalimar habit

It’s not a secret thatย  I am a huge Shalimar fan.

I still chuckle at the irony of that, each time I write it, due toย shal2

the fact that I hated it the first time I tried it.

The bad thing is that experience has shown Shalimar not really being appropriate for work. And that is where I wear perfume the most.

So, in order not to take away from myself the pleasure of smelling Shalimar, I put it into my routine of changing bed sheets.

All I can say is, it’s a win-win situation.

I spray my matress with several spritzes of Shalimar each time I change the sheets

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This is what Shalimar in bed feels like

and then I go to bed with a light misty feel of Shalimar in the air. And the best thing is it lasts for a few days!

The upside to this? Additional one I mean.

I change my sheets quite often nowadays.

Ok, that didn’t come out as it should have. ๐Ÿ™‚ But you know what I meant.

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When you can’t run, walk

Or crawl as that was what I almost did this Saturday.

You all know how much I loved running and was a bit depressed upon learning that I couldn’t anymore. Well, it turns out there is this thing called trail running/trekking (I know it’s not exactly the same but as I walk in both cases it’s pretty much the same to me) which comes close to the same thing as running.

I decided to try trail running and see if my back could support it. So far I only did one training where I actually did some running, the rest was fast walking or just walking uphill.

Which brings me to last Saturday.

There was a B2B trail in Croatia and my company decided to participate, so 20 of us went to the island of Krk to try our best in trail running.

Not to keep you in suspense, I did no running at all. ๐Ÿ˜€ The path was rocky and steep and at one point I moved at a snail’s pace. I wanted to say literally at a snail’s pace but it wasn’t, turtle would be more appropriate. In my defense, it was extremely steep and everyone in my category of ‘only being able to walk’, was slow getting up that part.

It won’t be an exaggeration when I say this was one of the most difficult races I ever finished and I only walked. But getting up on a rocky mountain and then climbing down those steep hills is actually quite difficult. It’s a rather sharp uphill battle when you start climbing. Turns out getting down that kind of mountain is not as fast as one might think.

And since I made it in the time allotted I am very happy with myself. It is a bit painful walking these last two days but I don’t mind. It just means it will be less difficult next time. Although next time I’ll carefully checkย in advance what the trail looks like. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Saturday was an amazingly sunny and beautiful day so I’ll leave you with some of the pictures we took that day, and show off my colleagues that were as enthusiastic to participate as was I.

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P.S. Forgot to say. The air on Krk was amazingly fragrant! The spring was in the sea air.

A Month of Irises

I am really glad I decided to participate in Undina’s Month of Irises. First, I really needed a kick-start to begin writing about perfumes again, and secondly, I seem to haveย  a hidden love of iris. ๐Ÿ™‚

When I started thinking about what iris perfumes I have that I could write about, only Hiris came to mind. And then I rummaged a bit through my collection and in no time, 6 of them came to light.

I really enjoyed smelling them again, having forgotten I actually had some of them. It’s funny, if anyone had asked if I enjoyed iris perfumes, I would say not so much but it turns out, I actually love them and enjoy wearing them.

Washington Tremlett: Iris Absolute

This one smells old-fashioned, quite aldehydic and buttery underneath. This is one very proper iris. ๐Ÿ˜‰ With time the musk comes to bring the white flowers in this perfume to more prominence. As I’m usually not a fan of white musk, I must admit here it performs its job perfectly. As do the vanilla and tonka bean, making for a quite sweet drydown.

Notes: iris, Bulgarian Rose, jasmine, absolute of iris, heliotrope, lilies of the valley.
white musk, vanilla and Tonka Bean.

 

Aedes de Venustas: Iris Nazarena

It has a very earthy, carroty fruity opening, and all I can think is ‘god I love that perfume’. Then I read the brief and it made sense, loving it the way I do,ย  with that special iris: “rare Iris Bismarckiana is also known as Iris Nazarena because it grows mainly in the mountains east of Nazareth”. I’m not sure how special this iris smells, but I’m fine with giving it special properties.iris_nazarena_1

This is the most earthy of the bunch. At some point it gets a rosy, spicy feel due to the base notes. The longer you wait, the more the spiciness starts to come out.

Notes: iris and incense accord, ambrette, rose, juniper berry, star anise, patchouli, vetiver, incense, clove and oud.

 

 

Hermes: Hiris

Smelling Hiris after Iris Nazarena gives me no carrot hints even though that note gets mentioned often in this perfume.ย  It actually smells more grassy and dewy, very springlike and maiden-like, unblemished. It’s the happiest of iris perfumes in this post. It’s the type of perfume that makes you relax and smile. Soft like summer rain but fresh like spring dew. The best I can come up with in the end is that it exudes softness.

 

L’Artisan Parfumeur: Numero 8

Now this is one I struggled with, it’s the most austere of them and at the same time teeming with strength and nuance. No sweetness in the beginning,ย  it smells calm, cool and poised. And when the initial cool dissipates, you can feel a smile forming on your lips because the cool facade gives way to a heart that sings of spring. It just starts smelling so buttery soft and pleasant. It smells like flowers are starting to come out of it making it feel more approachable.

Notes: Coriander, apricot, carrott, violet flower, jasmine, narcisse, rose, mimosa, iris, vanilla, white musk

 

Van Cleef and Arpels: Bois d’Iris

Bois d’Iris smells quite unlike the other irises. All afore-mentioned perfumes have this recognizable iris opening note, you cannot miss it. This one smells more green and vetivery, more than it smells like an iris perfume.

Notes: Iris, exotic wood, and ambergris

Now that I took a look at the notes I have a better understanding of what I smell. The ambergris in this is very reminiscent of the Amber Gris by Balmain. The common thing is this slightly metallic tinge of the ambergris. With time the amber and woody notes start taking over and it gets more woodsier and amber loses the metallic tinge. The funny thing is that by the time it dries down, no iris remains, but I don’t mind – amber can never go wrong with me.

 

Which brings me to the first iris perfumeย  I fell in love with.

 

Prada: Infusion d’Iris

It makes me smile smelling this and thinking of how much I loved it. Compared to the rest of iris perfumes in this post, this one comes a bit short. I still love its citrusy opening, and the fact that it’s the most bitter iris of them all. I also love the fact that it contains vetiver and that I can smell it and enjoy it (that is still one of my favorite notes).ย  This one is the most obviously a summer perfume. The rest are seasonless, for the lack of a better word,ย  but this one would go best for summer.

Notes: Mandarin, Orange blossom, Iris, Vetiver, Frankincense, Benzoin, Galbanum, Cedarwood

 

I realized writing this and smelling all these iris perfumes that the iris note makes perfumes containing it very elegant and distinguished. Smelling of irises makes you instantly feel more classy. Just in case you needed something to make you feel like that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The good thing is it is often paired with frankcincense and green notes. Green notes are never amiss in my case, but the fact that I don’t mind (or smell) the incense is quite astonishing.

Iris truly is an amazing note.

Snowflakes

Are the kisses of winter.

I only realized this today, walking home while snow was falling.

I’m a winter child. I have always loved winter and especially snow. There is that special smell in the air before it starts falling, crisp and clean, like the snow itself.

Just one more reason to love snow – because it smells right.

But today, walking while snow falls on my face, I realized snowflakes feel like little kisses of winter. They lightly fall on the face and feel like little butterfly caresses all over. I especially enjoyed those touching my eyelashes because nothing can actually touch your eyelashes so softly. And one fell on the top of my nose and remained there as a drop to remind me winter loves to kiss the tip of my nose too.

I can’t help it, I’ve been waiting all winter for snow to fall in Zagreb, and now it did, it feels like a present for my birthday month.

One that came with thousands of winter kisses.

Kresley Cole: Wicked Abyss

Or, is it possible that my love of reading is coming back?

The song You’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’ย (the one from Top Gun) keeps playing in my head when I think of books and perfumes. ๐Ÿ™‚ I mean, it’s true, I did. (lose that loving feeling)

I’m not sure how (although I have my thoughts on that) but I did.

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Well, hopefully it will slowly come back. I actually read the book from the title and I’m in the middle or reading another one.

I’m also using perfumes outside the 2 I kept in rotation. Baby steps. ๐Ÿ˜‰

But to get back to the book.

I’m not going to go much into details. What struck me as a bit strange was the use of Abyssian’s powerful position to hurt Lila (psychologically) because he could and had the need to. Considering the atmosphere we live in now.

 

Ok, so he’s had a really tortured childhood and is not in the best psychological frameย of mind to accept goodness but still, I couldn’t help but think of all the excuses made for such cases.

 

And before this turns into a critic, the story turned around and I felt happy with how Ms Cole resolved the whole situation.ย  I love strong female characters (even when I can’t understand where they are coming from) and a good love story can’t hurt. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Btw, when I say a good love story I mean, steamy sex scenes. ๐Ÿ˜‰ There is a reason after all why these romance novels (of any kind) are so popular. ๐Ÿ˜€

Oh, and yes, there is a love story in there as well. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Merry Christmas!

To all my readers – people who still think this blog might be brought to life and haven’t lost faith –ย  and to those who think otherwise (whom I hope to prove wrong ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) – I wish you all the most fulfilling Christmas – may it bring you the true happiness and contentment we all deserve to feel in our lives.

This is one my trees this year – the other one is on the wall but somehow isn’t photogenic (I really tried taking a good photo but failed).

 

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P.S. I’ve been trying to re-ignite my love for perfume and the farthest I got so far is enjoying immensely the original Feminite du Bois.

God, that perfume is so good!

And it makes me remember the initial enthusiasm I had.

A tale of friendship and love

I’ve been meaning to re-read this book for 15 years. Ever since the movies came out and I started forgetting why I was upset with them when they didn’t stick to the story but were good enough that I watched them again and again until the story of the book lay forgotten in the background of my mind.

This summer I finally read it again. And even though I said in the title it’s a story about friendship and love I would actually call it a story about friendship=love. Because one is so inextricably connected to the other.

So much so that by end of the book you feel your heart constrict with feelings of love and friendship you feel for the characters and you actually feel the depth of the emotions they have for each other.

I wish for so much pure love and friendship to be felt by everyone. What I don’t wish so much is the pain you need to go through to get to the point where true love is forged from it. Because roads like that don’t always end with people becoming true.

But as one of the characters says in the book:

It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it’s only a passing thing this shadow, even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines it’ll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something even if you were too small to understand why. But I think Mr. Frodo, I do understand, I know now folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going because they were holding on to something.

I guess that is enough of a clue to say that true and pure emotion never comes without some hard effort. Although in this case it’s vice versa. Sacrifice came because the heart was pure and love of life made them go forth.

I guess now it’s clear what book is it that I re-read. โ˜บ

I remember now why I loved this book so much. And why later Harry Potter made such an impact too.

It is so easy to turn your eyes to the other side and pretend it’s none of your business. I admit I do it too. I have a hard time dealing with the harsh realities of life. But I do wish to be brave and not give up. And I wish it was everyone’s wish. Just to be a bit braver.

Because even if it’s fantasy, it was conceived by a real life person – the possibility of resilience born out of friendship and love to succeed over all odds and win in the end.

Why shouldn’t that be possible in real life?

Ragazze in Bologna

Some of you might have seen on Tara’s blog the mention of an upcoming trip to Bologna. The idea came from Natalie and then she and Tara teamed up to invite Asali and myself. All I can say to that is that it was some brilliant thinking on their part. I don’t remember the last time I had so much leisurely, unhurried fun with such wonderful people.

I’ve met Natalie 4 years ago when she was traveling through Croatia with her husband and it’s known that Asali and I have been friends for a while now. The person I was so eager to finally meet was Tara. I don’t want to gush now about how the perfume world has given me a chance to meet amazing people, but it has. I always imagined Tara as a strong but kind woman and the reality was very much like that. You might not be aware of her strength when you see her waify form but when you hear her voice, there is no mistaking the strength there.

Anyway, to get on to the actual trip. ๐Ÿ™‚ We all met in Bologna, arriving one after the other and the six of us did some true Italian holidaying. If you are wondering who is number 6, well, a friend of Natalie’s husband also arrived from New York so we were truly an international band of tourists. Which actually turned out to be great because we did different things to make everyone happy and we shared stories from our particular backgrounds – making us get to know each other better and learn more about cultural differences. This was all underscored by sightseeing (churches and museums mostly), having lazy Italian lunches and dinners, and gelato and aperitivo in the meantime. Honestly, Italians know how to enjoy life. ๐Ÿ™‚

And I miss the espresso now. I got quite used to it. And the fact that Italian guys don’t mind some causal flirting – hence the title of the post. We loved being called “ragazze”. ๐Ÿ˜€

So, in no particular order, here are some photos from the trip.

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One of many beautiful buildings in Bologna

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I love churches so I enjoyed visiting them but no longer remember which is which ๐Ÿ™‚

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Basilica di San Petronio

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The Neptune sculpture that’s supposed to be on the fountain but is actually in Archeological museum as the fountain is undergoing reconstruction

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A canal running through Bologna

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Turns out there is no river in the river Po

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The most amazing theatre I’ve ever seen (in Parma) – Teatro Farnese

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Part of the Farnese palace is the library (HUGE!) – I want to live there

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Parma cathedral

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Baptistry in Parma

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Basilica di San Luca

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View from the San Luca basilica (it’s on top of a hill)

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Asali doesn’t give up so we finally had a good enough selfie ๐Ÿ˜‰

Yoga retreat in Istria

For the May 1st weekend I decided to see what a yoga retreat looks like and went to one with a friend. It was organized by Slovenians who seem to have more free days around May 1st so the long weekend turned out to actually be 5 days.

And let me warn you for future reference – if you want to participate in a retreat organized by Slovenians, you better be in really good shape because they seem to be able to exercise all day long and continue that days on end (it turned out I can’t). ๐Ÿ™‚

The retreat we went to was an acro yoga retreat that Danijela (friend I went with) and I practice occasionally. I actually thought we were doing fine until this retreat. ๐Ÿ˜€ The people who came practice acro yoga for much longer (and most of them are actually yoga teachers who have daily practices) so it turned out us beginners had some problems following the more advanced poses. Still, we did our best and I’m quite happy with that.

Even though it was an acro yoga retreat, we would start each day with a yoga session – the sessions were organized by the elements so we went through earth, water, fire and air. I found it really interesting that the hardest one for me was water because when I look at my natal chart (astrological) water is the one element missing in it.

And as if yoga wasn’t enough, we did some rock climbing as well. ๐Ÿ™‚ Well, they did. ๐Ÿ˜€ I tried one day, realized it’s not the thing for me and when the next day they went for more, I enjoyed the sun and the beach and went for a really short swim (the sea is still very cold!).

To sum up my experience – I loved it! I ached all over for days but had the greatest time and met some wonderful people. I also realized I’m in terrible shape. ๐Ÿ˜€ At least compared to everyone else who was there. My body still feels weak, like all the energy went out of my muscles and is very slowly finding its way back. Still, wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Here are some pictures of what it all looked like:

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Did not climb far ๐Ÿ˜€

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One of the best Istrian sunsets

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What acro yoga looks like
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Swimming at 14 degrees Celsius (not for long though) ๐Ÿ˜‰

Decants – optimism and irony

I know I’ve been MIA for a really long time (I’d rather not think about how long) and I can’t say I’m back, even though I would love to, but I will certainly try to be back. ๐Ÿ™‚

So, in my wish to get back to writing about perfumes and just generally enjoying them more, I did a switch the other day, finally bringing out my spring and summer bottles and decants – only toย have weather suddenly change back to winter. It seems to be getting back into spring luckily though.

But that’s not the point of this post.

Going through my decants, I realized I have some unnamed ones. And I am the person who didn’t label them after decanting them. The optimistic past me thought my nose and brain were so good I would remember what I decanted. But the optimistic me forgot how bad I am at remembering names. And I suck at remembering names – ask anyone who knows me.

The irony of me thinking I would remember what I decanted years after the fact, knowing how unable I am to remember names wasn’t lost on me.

So, imagine my surprise when I smelled a decant and knew that I could remember this perfume because it was so very familiar to me. But the name just wouldn’t come no matter how much I smelled my arm. And it was a perfume I really loved at one point in my perfume story.

So I let myself not think about it anymore and went on with chores.

Honestly, I love lightbulb moments and I wish I’d have more of them. My nose and my braing finally made the connection half an hour later.

It was Chinatown by Bond No 9.

A brand and a perfume I totally forgot about. I don’t read blogs much anymore but it feels like no one ever talks about Bond No 9 anymore (and I know the brand is probably responsible for that).

The thing is, I don’t really care what kind of brand is behind that perfume because I realized I still love it and think it’s absolutely wonderful in all its sweet,ย gourmand glory. I guess it evokes the initial gidiness of learning about a new obsession of mine (perfume), at a time when my life was much more carefree and optimistic. And now I think about it, it was quiteย a long time ago. ๐Ÿ™‚

I don’t want to lose my newly found perfume optimism, but I feel old when I think about stuff like my old carefree days. ๐Ÿ™‚ Luckily, it just makes me laugh at myself. Besides, I am not that young anymore – and the irony is not lost on me here too, because I feel younger in my mind than I did in my 20s. Probably because I don’t take things so seriously anymore even though I feel more serious. glass

I realized I never actually reviewed Chinatown. It won’t happen today either but I would actually love to talk about it a bit more.

So here’s me hoping the perfume that originally got me into loving niche is the one that brings me back into enjoying perfumes and writing about them again.

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