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. 🙂 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. 🙂

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”. 😀

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 🙂

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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 😉

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). 🙂

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. 😀 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. 🙂 Well, they did. 😀 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. 😀 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 😀

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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) 😉

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. 🙂

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 to 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, 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 quite a long time ago. 🙂

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. 🙂 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.

I’m tired

I apologize in advance for my post being the introduction to the most depressive day of the year (tomorrow, January 16) but I need to let this out.

I’ve been feeling tired for quite some time now and being who I am, I kept trying to fix that. I don’t like feeling tired. But it seems I am tired of so many things, many of which I can’t fix.  I can write them down though, hoping this might make me feel a bit better.

In no particular order of importance, I’m tired of:

… egotistical people. Lying. People having no manners. People being rude because they think that makes them powerful. Powerplays in general.

… politicians. Everywhere. Being everything I mentioned in the first bullet plus having no shame. I always wondered about that – how do you get to a place where you feel no shame? You know you’re lying, people know you’re lying and there is just no shame. How do you become such a person?

…people not being honest with themselves and consequently with no one else. I know it’s not easy to be honest with oneself, as none of us is perfect and admitting you’re wrong takes courage. But it would make all interaction meaningful. And this world a much better place.

…so much unmeaningful chatter. It’s everywhere. Maybe it’s just me not seeing meaning in most conversations.

… of not being able to run because I can’t find what’s wrong with my back because it’s impossible to get an MRI for a year. At least. Unless you want to pay for it privately. Which makes the fact that we all have social healthcare we pay for quite a lot sort of redundant.

… not having time and energy to see my friends and talk to them.

… no longer reading or writing. Of smelling perfumes.

… being required to do many things at the same time because otherwise no work will be done in time (both at work and privately).

… opening my social media feeds and reading about everything I just listed here.

… of people not taking responsibility and owning up to their own shit. Most of the time it is NOT someone else’s fault. Be an adult and admit you’re not always right and that you make mistakes.

… more and more lax educational standards. That cannot lead to a prosperous future.

… patriarchy. Wannabe patriarchy. Chauvinism. Bringing me back to human decency and powerplays. It shouldn’t be that difficult to be a decent human being and mind your own business and let others do the same.

… feeling guilty. I know this one is just my own,  letting other people make me feel so. I need to learn to stand up more for myself. But I firmly believe it shouldn’t be so. It’s again basic decency – I’m not doing anything to hurt anybody, why in the world with all the criticism?!

… feeling like no one wants to tell the truth. It’s all criticism to get someone to act the way you want them to, passive-aggressive behaviour and generally people wanting to control other people. I know what that says about them but the problem is they don’t.

… being tired because stress has caused a disbalance in my hormones. It’s nothing big but it is big enough to make me feel tired most of the time. And then it’s a vicious circle getting motivated to exercise and bring back energy.

Mostly I’m just tired of wondering where is this world going to? 

Does this mean I’m getting old? 

I used to think the world is going on with some problems but generally in a good direction. Now I no longer have a good feeling about it.

I’ll leave you with a song that’s been on repeat for me for quite some time.

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Summer vacation is over

And autumn seems to already be here…

When I looked back on my vacation, I realized I really did get enough rest and I enjoyed my time off. Even when the weather turned cold and windy. The books occupied my time while I waited for the sun’s return.

I’m not sure if you can see it in this picture, but the wind “bura” was blowing and there is a white fog over the sea.

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But then, when the wind and the rain stopped, it became possible to catch pictures of sun through the trees.DSC_0043

Most of my vacation was spent in Smokvica, we just traveled for the last few days to southern Dalmatia to watch  Maraton lađa – a famous event in that part of Croatia where teams compete on the river Neretva in rowing old-fashioned boats native to that region. For 22,5km! That is more than 2,5 hours of rowing.

But before the main event, we were lucky to have dinner at a place that features this sunset in front of it. DSC_0053

And views like this one:DSC_0056

In order to get to the start of the race boats are organized for tourists that first take you for a swim and a lunch and then to the start of the race.

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And here go the teams – there were 34 of them.DSC_0064

This is what cheering from the boat looks like. 🙂

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And now I’m back in Zagreb, just so you don’t think my hair always looks that disheveled, I have a fresh hairstyle.

(that will probably be disheveled in 2 days time) 😀DSC_0078

Summer reads – Kresley Cole: Dead of Winter

In preparation of the fourth Arcana Cronicles installment, I decided to read the previous ones. And now I did it, I realized I never published my thoughts on this one. Strange because this one ends with a massive cliffhanger. I won’t spoil it for you, but if you haven’t read it yet, wait until the 4th book is out so you can continue in peace. Which is August 15 (4 days from now).

What can I say, this installment is tense, we learn a lot about the Lovers card and a new Arcana comes into play.

I grew to like Evie (a.k.a. The Poison Princess) – she was a bit ‘stupid’ in the beginning, what with the naive thinking and getting angry at all the wrong things. But she’s 16 when all hell breaks loose, so I understand that it’s not easy to grow into seriousness and mature in a short space of time. But she managed it and it becomes apparent in this book.

I can’t wait to see if she’ll manage to stop the game and keep all of her newfound friends alive. I certainly hope so.

I’m not so happy about her being in love with two guys. Actually, that doesn’t bother me exactly, what bothers me that she has to choose. Why not keep them both?! 😉 She loves them both.

And, to finish this, I do hope Jack turns out to be Arcana as well, but so far nothing. There is only one card inactivated and I still hope it will be him – but chances are slim…

 

 

Summer reads – The 6th Extinction by James Rollins

It’s been a long time since I read a Sigma novel. I forgot how James Bondian they sometime seem what with last minute saves and getaways from impossible situations.


Still, I love these novels because Mr Rollins has a way of looking at information from different strata of life and incorporating them into an incredible story that actually makes sense. Even when it’s incredibly unbelievable. 🙂 (INCREDIBLY!)

I don’t want to go into details about the story, I think it’s better if you read it for yourself when you are up to some good adventure/thriller fun.

The most important thing about this book is that it presents genetic research and gene manipulation from two perspectives which are opposite to one another but which cannot be dismissed as completely wrong. Or right for that matter. It always comes back to ethics and morality. And some people not having them. 

But to make a long story short, I always learn a lot from these novels and go away wanting to learn more about different subjects. 

Even when it seems learning more might make me see the future of mankind in a bleak perspective…

Long time, no sea

Sorry, couldn’t help myself. 🙂 It’s been a long time since I wrote anything, and well, this post will come with sea photos. 😉 

Yes, I’m on vacation. Finally.

I had (still have) time to think about what’s been going on in my life and pondering the reasons why I no longer have the time and/or energy to read and write. Honestly though, I haven’t come to any smart conclusions. Life takes you on a path and before you know it, all that once brought you pleasure as a hobby suddenly no longer fits into the hours in a day. I hate that.

So I spent my first week of vacation basically doing nothing. Just resting from the hectic pace my life is when I go to work. 

I sleep a lot, go for a swim, do some yoga and pilates and read. I’m just doing things I enjoy and that bring me relaxation and hopefully, one of these relaxed days I will have an epiphany and realize how to make time in my routine for things that make me happy and relaxed.
Because when I’m happy and relaxed, nice things happen to me. Like talking to a neighbor and discovering a new perfume gem I now covet. 

Cartier’s La Panthere. 

I was so surprised to find myself enjoying a perfume I thought was for older ladies. 😀 Oh, well, I’m the first to admit I’m prejudiced. 

Anyway, I hope to do a review sometime in the near future. So far, I can only say that after reading the notes, I am no longer surprised I fell for it. There is gardenia hidden in its heart. 🙂 

And to leave you now with typical Smokvica sights:

I won’t be powdering my nose – Narciso Poudree

I’ll be powdering everything else I can. 😉

It’s funny – one day you’re lamenting how you can no longer find a perfume that will make you fall in love and then, suddenly, from the most unexpected place, one appears.

I’m not complaining though. Ok, maybe a little as it’s not yet out so I can’t get a bottle of  my own but in the overall scope of things, I can live with that. I can even live with the fact that I’ll be encountering many other people smelling like me once it’s released.

I think Narciso himself introduced this perfume in the clearest of ways:NARCISO image9.indd

“With the original NARCISO fragrance, I wanted to create an extremely sexy fragrance. NARCISO eau de parfum Poudrée captures femininity at its core in an even more seductive way. It is both tender and powerful and immediately addictive.”

I cannot but agree with everything stated here. I liked the original Narciso perfume but it is this one that is at the same time sexy as hell and feminine and not overpowering. It speaks to me like in all the ways I didn’t think a perfume can. It reminds me of younger days when I thought Very Irresistible by Givenchy was all the rage. There is a character note they share (rose) and where Very Irresistible made the air in the room unbreathable with its overbearing silage, Narciso Poudree is the wisp of air that makes you turn your head in search of the sensuality you think you noticed and want to make sure you didn’t imagine, because it smells too good to be truly there.

Yes, it’s obvious I’m in love, isn’t it? 🙂

Notes from I gathered from the press release include: jasmine, Bulgarian rose, vetiver, black cedar, white cedar, powdery musc.

Before going on to what I smell, I want to say a big thank you to Raquel Zimmerman who made me re-think the fact that synthetic muscs will never work for me. It is obvious this was made expertly as this perfume never veers off into territory where muscs take over, even though the longevity is here – my blotter still smells amazingly strong after 3 days and it smells great.

I admit with shame now that when I first smelled this I have no  idea what it was I was smelling, I just loved it from the first spray. The best thing I can say for myself is I understood why they named it Poudree. 🙂 It took me a while to understand that rose was the one seducing me from the start, accompanied by her minions whom I ignored. It is only now that I smell the drydown again and again I can understand where vetiver comes into play (I would never have guessed it was there by myself) and I would swear there is some vanilla in the base as the warm, seductive sweetness it exudes cannot all be attributed to the mentioned notes.

I love the powdery feel of this perfume as it keeps the rose in check and I love that the creaminess you feel in this perfume is a sleight of hand done by jasmine. And even though I would say that vetiver adds its dryness and sweetness to the poudree part of the name and the perfume drydown, I still think a drop of vanilla helps. 😉

So, I hope now you are all as eager as I am to see Narciso Poudree released.

Please let me know what you think once you get the chance to smell it.

 

And I would like to say a big thank you to Ivo who shared this gem with me. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traveling in France – skiing in Val d’Allos

It’s funny how I haven’t been to France in years and then in the span of a month I traveled both to Paris and to Val d’Allos for skiing. We were there in early January, it’s just that I’m slow in posting.

I missed skiing so much these past few years we didn’t go so I enjoyed myself immensely this time around.

Even though the snow wasn’t much in attendance (all over Europe), we still had enough to be able to ski every day. Most days the weather looked like this:

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Lots of sun and luckily not too warm most days so the snow didn’t melt.

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How could you not feel happy when all day long this is what you see:

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Not that much snow around though…DSC_1510[1]

Enjoying a little sun while taking a break (and practicing taking selfies) 😉

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The only cloudy day when a storm was coming – with lots of snow!DSC_1525[1]

View from the balcony:

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And for the first time around, I’m sneaking in a photo of my boyfriend (he doesn’t like his pictures published online but I’m thinking this one is fine):
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