Tag Archives: Rome

2013. The year that was

I have no better words to describe it. It was, it’s over now.

I look back on it and all I can think is, thankfully, it’s over. Nothing bad happened to me but it still felt like a bad year, full of bad news (both domestic and international), lethargy, indifference, deaths – generally, a year that didn’t display human kind at its best (an understatement) and did display it at some of its worst.

I always feel guilty for thinking like this, I feel I am being ungrateful. Compared to most of the world, I lead a life of plenty. And realistically speaking, it’s true. I lack for nothing, quite the contrary, I have a great family, a nice job, a good education, great circle of friends. I live in a beautiful country. I travel. I can buy perfumes and books. I am also healthy and hopefully will remain so.

So why feel like my year was one I just went through? Because it was. It mostly feels like a year where I went through all the motions of my everyday life when actually it felt more like hibernation with some small sparks of life.

But I want to focus on all the positive things this year brought me (because it feels like the hibernation period might be over) and one should always bring in the new year on a positive note. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

PERFUME

This year has brought me some true treasures. ๐Ÿ™‚black smoke

I discovered Cuirelle by a lucky chance and fell in love completely.

Suzanne opened my eyes to what incredibly happy perfume 24, Faubourg is.

I listened to Maurice Roucel give a talk on perfumes and met some new perfume friends.

And then the new Puredistance Black came out. And speaking of black, it really has become my favorite color to wear.

 

 

BOOKS

I discovered I am hooked to post-apocalyptic novels of any and every caliber – YA, horror, zombie, romance – you name it, I’ll probably enjoy it. I do wonder about what that says about me because I’m scared of the actual possibility (some of them sound too realistic). Am I preparing for the possibility?!passage

I haven’t read World War Z but I did see the movie and loved it. I’m guessing the book is better. When someone asks me what I want for birthday, that will be on my list (although I can already see the eye-rolling accompanying my wish for more books). ๐Ÿ˜€

I also think I will never reach my annual goal of 100 books. Last year I came closest, but this year, I think it’s the worst so far. Maybe I should sign up for the 50 books a year challenge, I would be able to finish that one. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

THE REST

The highlights of my year have been the trips to Vienna and Rome. In Vienna I finally got to meet the lovely Birgit and her boys, with an additional surprise of meeting Sandra and her son as well.

Rome was a trip we planned while in Paris in 2012. I cannot say how happy I am that I got to meet with Suzanne, Mark and Asali in Rome again. I thought there wasn’t a city in the world that could remove Paris from the top of my list of places I would love to live, but there’s Rome. I love that city and I hope to visit it again soon.

View from the park above Spanish steps

View from the park above Spanish steps

It might seem like I had a very active year, what with finishing 4 half-marathons in 3 different countries, but that was an uphill fight all the time, as all I wanted to do was stay home and read, and not go out and run. Still, you can’t tell that from the races, so at least it looked good on the outside. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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See how tired I was?!

But I took time off for the last two months as I needed to replenish my physical and psychological energy levels. I actually feel better now.

So, without further ado,

Wishing you all a successful, fulfilling New Year full of happiness, laughter and joy!

*off to toast to that with a glass of champagne*

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The Roman holiday (part II)

Where I talk about perfumeries and put in a little give-away. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Even though Paris might sound like the city for a perfumista, Rome definitely has perfume merits of its own. Personally, I am generally not one for Italian perfumery but among all the available choices, even I found an Italian perfume to like. More on that later.

Our perfume wanderings started with the Alรฉ parfum perfumery which we discovered by accident as it was just down the road from where we were staying.ale

It’s a small shop full of wonders. ๐Ÿ™‚ I find it incredible how many different perfume brands were there. The perfumes that stand the most in my memory are Iris Nazarena I finally was able to try and the new Jovoy perfumes which I would need to smell better at leisure. I did like Iris Nazarena just not that much to warrant the price tag.

The next shop on our perfumista quest was HB Profumeria. It is a rather large shop with many cosmetic and perfume brands and here is where we spent the bulk of our perfume money. ๐Ÿ™‚

Of all the Italian perfumes I smelled there, I decided to take home Electra by Sigilli which is a really strange perfume with metallic/ozonic vibes and radioactive longevity. It really requires you to spray it sparingly. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s labeled as an amber which it is but only after being so much more.

One of the main reasons to visit this perfumery became obvious after Asali’s talk with the SA after she spied an old version of L’Heure Bleu. ๐Ÿ™‚ It seems the owner of HB Profumeria goes out of his way to procure the old Guerlains. So, who knows, if you’re lucky in Rome you might come across one for you.

The last perfumery we visited has several stores in Rome and after visiting the first, smaller one, we were told to go and visit their main store where they have more lines and which they use for perfume events (F. Kurkdjian’s event was this past week which unfortunately we missed).

If you’re going to visit just one Campomarzio 70 store, my advice is to go to the flagship store at Via Vittoria 52 and hope the beautiful blonde, blue-eyed SA is there. Unfortunately, I don’t know her name and didn’t think to ask at that point but it is very rarely you come across such a great SA. After learning a bit about our general taste in perfume, she proceeded to offer perfumes to try that would fit with what we had said. And she was guessing unbelievably well. As luck would have it, they ship all over Europe so if I decide I need a bottle of Isabey’s L’Ambre de Carthage, I’m getting it from there. She was also kind

giulietta

enough to help me on that way by giving me a sample. ๐Ÿ˜‰

She also gave us Giulietta Capuleti perfume to try which you get on a cloth tissue. It has 20 different rose essences in it (and the price shows it, over 400 Euros for 100ml) but smells wonderful (if you like rose perfumes).

This ends our Rome perfume journey and as it was such a good one, I would like to share a 10ml decant of Electra with one lucky winner. Just state your interest in the comments. ๐Ÿ™‚

Pics for Ale Parfum and Giulietta taken from their respective sites.

The Roman holiday (part I)

Where I talk about Rome (the perfume will be part II).

I never expected to like Rome so much, I always thought Paris was my city. Now it seems I have two cities where I wouldn’t mind living if it weren’t in Zagreb.
It’s so very easy to fall in love with Rome and its smiling citizens, hordes of tourists, local wine, great food, even better desserts, and don’t let me start on the coffee…
Did I mention the weather?! The summer one, with temperatures reaching 32 degrees Celsius?

Not to mention it’s probably heaven if you have an archeological streak, or a Catholic one as each street either has a ruin or a church, or both.
I also finally understood there is a political background to everything anyone with any power does. Walking around St. Peter’s basilica is a testimony to that – making you feel small and insignificant in front of such a monumental shrine to a god you should worship. I could actually feel my religious sentiments waking, luckily it didn’t last long. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Walking around Rome is like walking on a movie set. At least for me. I suppose I saw it in the movies so many times now I walked through it, I couldn’t help but feel like I was a part of one.
One where I spent my days having fun with fellow perfumista. Basically, the best kind of a movie, friends, in a lovely city, smelling many perfumes, enjoying good food and each other’s company. Who wouldn’t want to star in a movie like that?

Ok, no more talk, here are some of the photos.

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Amfiteatro Flavio – better known as the Colosseum

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Pictures don’t do it justice

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The Roman forum

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Colosseum

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The Roman forum

Detail from Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo

Detail from Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo

The Trevi fountain

The Trevi fountain

The Pantheon - incredible is all I can say

The Pantheon – incredible is all I can say

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St. Peter’s Basilica

Inside the basilica

Inside the basilica

One more inside the basilica

One more inside the basilica

View from the park above Spanish steps

View from the park above Spanish steps

Suzanne and Mark in the park

Suzanne and Mark in the park

When the Carabinieri pose, you take a photo ;)

When the Carabinieri pose, you take a photo ๐Ÿ˜‰

There is no photo of the Sistine chapel as you areย  not allowed to take one (which I didn’t see so I got shouted at for trying to take one).ย And there is also no photo of the leather goods you can buy in Rome (like gloves and a jacket…). ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sam Cabot: Blood of the Lamb

The Historian meets The Da Vinci Code in this exhilarating supernatural thriller set in Rome, where rival groups are searching for a document that holds a secret that could shatter the Catholic Church.

This document, dear friend, will shatter the Churchโ€ฆ..

Reading these words in a letter in a dusty archive, Thomas Kelly is sceptical. The papers to which they refer have vanished, but Father Kelly, a Jesuit priest, doubts anything could ever have had that powerโ€”until the Vatican suddenly calls him to Rome to begin a desperate search for that very document.

Meanwhile, standing before a council of her people, Livia Pietro receives instructions: she must find a Jesuit priest recently arrived in Rome, and join his search for a document that contains a secret so shocking it has the power to destroy not only the Catholic Church, but Liviaโ€™s people as well.

As cryptic messages from the past throw Thomas and Livia into a treacherous world of art, religion, and conspiracy, they are pursued by those who would cross any line to obtain the document for themselves. Thomas and Livia must race to stop the chaos and destruction that the revelation of these secrets would create. Livia, though, has a secret of her own: She and her people are vampires.”

Well, calling vampired by another name just seems superfluous as it’s obvious from the beginning (I admit I haven’t read the blurb to the end so I was rolling my eyes waiting for the “v” word to appear).

Calling this book a mix between Da Vinci Code and The Historian is actually pretty accurate. It’s not as thrilling as Da Vinci Code but it’s not as boring as The Historian either.

I also seem to be becoming rather jaded when it comes to Church and Catholics (Christians in general blood lambactually). Honestly, the whole premise of Church being destroyed by the information about to be revealed is rather weak from my perspective, but then, I see Church as a human-led organization which basically means it’s liable to be as good/bad as humanity is. Which isn’t exactly an optimistic thought. But I would call it realistic.

Which also brings me to Father Kelly and his reaction and behaviour once he finds out Livia is a vampire. I mean, really?! As a well educated priest of the Catholic church, displaying such incredible prejudice seems a bit opposite from what the Catholic religion is all about.

He does get over it though, so I wasn’t upset with him all the time.

I might be over-reacting to all things connected to Catholicism at the moment as I’m rather upset it is being used here in a movement to get a definition into the Constitution saying marriage can only happen between a woman and a man. The whole movement is based on the religious beliefs of “true” Catholics trying to “save” the family notion. I am not sure from what though, because if they think their beliefs are based on the teachings of Christ, they are sorely mistaken. I find it rather ironic that I, who no longer consider myself Catholic, believe more into Christ’s words (I was raised as a Catholic after all) and try to live my life in a similar manner, than all these people going regularly to mass (and I’ll stop here not going into their hipocrisy).

My tolerance for narrow-minded religious beliefs is dwindling, if I have any left. And I am not really an atheist.

I apologize for hijacking this book review for my rant but it’s something I get very frustrated over. And over.

Back to the book – I enjoyed the fact that the Noantri (vampires) track one another by perfume. Well, they track Livia’s personal blend which gets her noticed and makes her trackable through the city. These vampires don’t fit the usual description though, which is why Bram Stoker wrote Dracula (he was one too) in order to misdirect humans into believing what vampires should be like. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think that is a brilliant idea.

I also enjoyed the ending a lot – didn’t see that coming. ๐Ÿ™‚ Which is always a huge plus in any book I read.

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