Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Elizabeth Arden: Green Tea

When Green Tea first came out, it was quite a hit in the region where I lived. I had a bottle back then and I liked wearing it. Even then, I did not think it was a great perfume. But there was a freshness about it that was soothing in the heat.

I rediscovered Green Tea a few weeks back. I grabbed a 100 ml bottle for $15 at Priceline's Christmas sale. No doubt it is perfect for summer. I rarely find citrus based scents which are both refreshing and soothing. I'm generally not a lover of citrus. That is the reason why I have not explored citrus enough. Spreading my wings with this cheapie! Green Tea is like able even for me.
  •  Top: Caraway, Fruity Rhubarb, Lemon, Orange Zest and Bergamot
  • Middle: Cool Minty Peppermint, Green Tea, Sweet Jasmine, Spicy Carnation, Fresh Fennel, Crisp Celery Spice
  • Base: Oakmoss, Musk and Amber
Green Tea is not a genius. It is an average perfume that somehow works, especially for hot weather. It begins with a revitalising tea note which soon turns into citrus. It is more citrus than green. I think it should have been called lemon tea. The tea note dissipates somewhere around the 5 minute mark. It pretty much stays in the citrus territory. The dry down is something vaguely perfume-y, which reminds me that I'm wearing a perfume, not a deodorant.

Green Tea is very light, almost 'invisible' but evidently fresh. It so light that it is impossible to over apply it even if you bathed in this stuff. Actually it is something you have to apply heavy handedly. The concentration it comes in is a 'vapouriser spray', which means it is the strength of an EDT or less. I think it is a good concentration for a fresh scent. The lasting power is alright, generously applied it doesn't give you body odour at least! I have 100 mls to work with. It goes to my "Finish The Bottle" list. I'm thinking sterilising tweezers, getting rid of shoe smell, etc.

In a nutshell, it smells like this.... "Laaaa lalalalalaaaa la la la......" This song plays in my mind every time I wear Green Tea!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Villainess: Smooch! Review

Before I review Smooch! by Villainess soaps, which I am so excited about, let me sum up my shopping experience with Villainess.net

I came across Villianess soaps through Black Phoenix Trading Post. Villainess soaps is the company that makes soaps for the Trading Post using the BPTP/BPAL scents. I loved the BPTP soaps I used, so I checked out the website and everything was very tempting to me, including the theme, the packaging and the scents. Naturally I got carried away and added things to the cart like a crazy girl. I also registered with the loyalty points program and was just about to check out. I had a shock when I saw that the shipping to Australia was more than the cost of things I bought! I mean $40 odd (the cheapest rate offered) for shipping from US to Australia, who in their sane mind would pay that much?!

Larie to the rescue, thanks to my American blogger friend! I got the things shipped to Larie for $7.95. Larie had to send me a swap and she was kind enough to include my order with it. How sweet!

Apart from unjustifiable shipping charge, which I successfully dodged, everything was smooth. The communication was good. The shipping within US took about a week. The company is generous with freebies. You can choose 2 soaps as freebies with any order and I got 1 extra on top of that. The packaging is perfect and so beautiful. I'd order again just for how nice everything looks!

Now for the exciting part, review of Smooch! 
Smooch! is the name for the body products by Villainess. Aptly named so because, it gives smooch-worthy skin! The products range from sugar scrubs to salt scrubs to warming scrubs to body conditioners. The scrubs have an Abrasion Scale based on the exfoliating particles, ranging from salt foot scrub which is highly abrasive to the smooth concoctions which just give a ticklish feel. They come in gorgeous, mouth watering scents, cost $10.50 USD.

The Smooch! I got is in Bourbon Vanilla scent (in collaboration with Ivy Keep teas) It is described as "Sharp shreds of black tea in a delicate interaction with creamed vanilla bean"
It smells OMG delicious! Boozy vanilla with just the right amount of sweetness to it. Just yummy!

Like most sugar scrubs, this one is suspension of sugar crystals in skin nourishing oils. It is free from water which prevents the sugar from being melted into it. The sugar is in a mixture of skin nourishing oils (like grape seed oil, coconut oil, mango butter) Sugar and oils are in the proportion of 65% and 35%.
It is sealed to prevent leakage and spills in transit
Sugar crystals in nourishing oils
with shreds of vanilla bean and black tea
The consistency is thick, which means you only need little to get it working. Once it goes on the wet skin, it emulsifies beautifully. The sugar crystals dissolve when gently massaged onto the skin and oils mix with water to nourish the skin. By the time the sugar completely dissolves, my skin is left exfoliated and nourished at the same time. The gorgeous boozy vanilla makes my skin smell so good, though the scent is not very long lasting.

I have dry skin and stay away from exfoliating things because they can rip my skin right off the moisture but this Smooch! is non drying and actually quite nourishing for the skin. Very pleased with the experience!

Villainess website also has some more curious things with naughty names like Smack! Whipped! mud masks, skin cleansing oils and of course soaps and perfume oils. I have a lot of soaps samples that I'm using up and enjoying. The perfume oil is not very satisfying for me right now. Everything will be reviewed soon.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thierry Mugler: Alien Body Lotion

Thierry Mugler's Alien: What can I say about Alien that hasn't been said before? Alien is rightly named so. It is an other-worldly jasmine. Jasmine is somewhat cold, shrill but something about it makes me want it more. This brassy beginning has a wonderful dry down of lush feminine floral woods. From my point of view, it is an 'in your face' floral with a wow factor. This is something I normally like, but it is bit too much for me, mind numbingly so. 
How very Alien-like is this gorgeous bottle!
The words "Alien" inscribed like some space language, with the mirror image.
I recently picked up a bottle of body lotion from a run down perfume auction store for a meagre 15 bucks. Catch! Since the way Alien begins kind of blows my nose away, I thought trying a body lotion would be a tamed down version of the perfume. I was right. The body lotion has the strength of the jasmine minus the harshness. It wears really well, to the point that at some point during the day I keep wondering what gorgeous perfume I'm smelling. It has all the essence of Alien with amplified femininity and sophistication. 

The body lotion is called Voile Porridge, which is a really weird use of the term porridge because it doesn't have that consistency or texture. It is called Prodige: "extraordinarily wonderful" thing! (Thanks Lana). Well, it is a body lotion and applies that way. Light yet nourishing. It is lilac colour, like a lighter colour of the bottle. The bottle is shaped like Alien's perfume bottle only it is plastic and the two claws on the side. The bottle opens at the bottom, which is very handy, to get every last drop out. The scent is long lasting, which is a plus.

I'm glad I picked this up because it is Alien in a nicely bearable form. It has made me like Alien much more.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Haul: Soaps & Smellies!

This is what arrived in the post today. Happy!
 Villainess soaps order, huge thanks to Larie for making it happen for me! I ordered 
Soap sampler set (12 generous soap samples) 
Perfume oil in Jai Mahal, 
Smooch! (sugar body scrub) in Bourbon Vanilla
3 soaps samples were freebies

Just look at the way everything is presented. How lovely is that black ribbon bow! 
Soap Samples
Smooch! Sugar body scrub
 I just love the ampoule shaped bottle of the perfume oil. I have a very strong urge to snap its neck and stick a needle in it!
The Morbid The Merrier order also arrived today. I ordered 5 ml bottles of Horseman, Delina and got Lucy as freebie (Black Friday offer, buy 2 get 1 free) I was thrown in a 1 ml vial of Quentin as freebie.

The Swapalooza has completed one loop and has come back to me! Swapalooza is the brainchild of Ki, where we swap perfume oils based on our tastes so that we can find new favourites. Our swap panned over three continents involving Larie, Lizzy, Ki and myself. Thanks for a great Swapalooza, ladies!

I haven't sniffed them all, but I already love Flourish Woodsmoke Vanilla and Scent By The Sea Ganache.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Arabian Perfume Oils: What Doesn't Kill You Can Only Make You Stronger?!!

The world of Arabian perfumes, oud in particular is my alien territory. These mysterious and exotic perfumes have made me flex my olfactory muscles and use a bit of grey matter as well. Oud especially has grabbed me by my throat and hasn't let go. It is something that I'm undecided about, still exploring and trying to figure out what exactly I'm smelling. If you have read my previous post of my difficulty in liking Oud, you will know what I'm talking about. For me Oud is an acquired taste, that I'm still trying to acquire.

While Montale, By Killian, Amouage, etc are the exemplars of Oud in Western perfumes, Arabian perfumes are a league of their own. In my pursuit to understand oud and in an attempt to experience the "real" stuff, I took a plunge into the world of Arabian perfumes. The brands like Ajmal, Al Haramain, Al Rehab are the much coveted and reputable brands and use oud in the purest form from the sustainable agarwood plantations from all over the world.

Oud being extremely expensive, I looked for a good deal without having to spend a fortune on something I might not even like. I ordered a bunch of oils from an eBay seller, Paradise Perfumes (Thanks Michelle, for introducing me to the store). I gather that the 3 ml roll-on bottles are genuine but these "decants" (or so called "loose" samples) are from generous samples given out by the retailers. This explains the affordable price.

Generally Arabian perfume oils are very concentrated, they are 'blow-your-mind' strong! They can be extremely overpowering to the nose at first. They need time to develop on the skin to acknowledge the presence of oud and fully appreciate the depth.

The staying power is super! It lasts on the skin for the whole day, on clothes forever and I can smell traces on it on washed scarfs and sweaters. May not be a good thing if you end up not liking it!

Most of the Arabian perfumes are linear. They do develop on the skin and change in the intensity but most of these are made to highlight one note, like Oud oil which is all agarwood, Attar which is flower extracts and Mukhallat, a 'mixture' of substances like amber, musk, rose and jasmine with or without oud. More the concentration of oud, more expensive they are.

Ajmal Liquid Gold
Oud is generally referred to as Liquid Gold because of the rarity and the cost. Ajmal's Liquid Gold is textbook oud. At first, it is super concentrated and harsh, just like what oud would really smell like. It transforms on the skin and softens to a woody aroma, still intense with smokyness. The agarwood is nice, not plastic-y and not head achy for me. Even though the agarwood is super intense, it has a delicate nature. With agarwood, comes a light but prominent hint of sandalwood, making it woodier and more exotic. Liquid Gold is earthy and strong and has given me an example of how oud is used in Arabian perfumes. 

Ajmal Red Velvet
Fruity sweet at first sniff. Very strong. This takes a long time to mellow down, even longer than oud. It is like those celebrity fruity floral, only with an edge that makes it superior. I smell apple, melon, cucumber, mild spices like cardamom. It is a really nice perfume once it develops. 

Al Haramain Mukkhalat Burj
It is a rose based perfume. It smells like foody rose and has that Rahaat Loukhum or Turkish Delight feel to it. This perfume is like rose which is processed into a jam of some kind. There is a lot of sweetness which is honey like. The rose is accompanied by some other florals which I can't put my finger on. It is a sweet floral. Not my favourite personally.

Al Haramain Musk Amber
More musk than amber. The musk is black, animalic and raw. I also get hints of oud in it too. I don't get any sweetness that amber should have. It turns into a really enjoyable perfume with the dry down of musk on a soft woody base. 

Al Rehab Sultan
Clean and masculine. Kind of smells like expensive soap. It could easily pass off for a high end cologne. 

My verdict: Arabian perfumes have taken me to a different time and place, a great experience. These perfumes need understanding before liking them. My nose needs to develop more to appreciate them. As for Oud, I am liking what I am smelling. I can appreciate how delicate and intense it can be at the same time. It is a refined taste. Personally, I'm not sure if I can handle oud in its purest form and enjoy wearing it. For me, Oud has to come with some notes I like, to add that special something to the perfume. I'm still partial to Tom Ford's Oud Wood, which is a modern take on oud with some beautiful resins. To be honest, I'm generally partial to modern ouds than traditional ones. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

BPAL: Black Phoenix

Black Phoenix being the signature oil of the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, I have always wanted to try it. I recently got hold of BPAL's Black Phoenix (and many other fabulous perfume oils), thanks to Dee's generosity! Dee is the person who introduced me to the wonderful world of perfume oils and she is always there is enable and motivate me!

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
Black Phoenix
General Catalogue
"Our signature oil. A dark, languid scent. Promotes hedonistic tendencies and extreme self-love. You won't stop kissing mirrors for a month."
Black Phoenix is something of a mystery because the notes are not listed. What I smell is wonderful and keeps changing throughout. 
Initially all I smell is almonds, almonds, almonds! Almonds are laced with some kind of sweet booze. Almonds go on for about 5 whole minutes. Almonds being my favourite note, I love it! The perfume gradually transforms into rose with teeny hints of green, fresh patchouli. At this stage, the rose dominates and what I smell is essentially a foody rose. I can't say that I'm a fan of this at this point. But the dry down is to die for! There is a dense powdery rose, somehow dark and deep. The musk (the Lab's famous Red Musk) emerges. After an hour or so it turns into an incredibly beautiful skin scent. The musk is delicious with very light spices, very powdery and just becomes a part of the skin.

This is a definitely a big perfume. Rosy powder reminds me of old world makeup. It is deeply romantic, just tipping over to the 'bad girl' territory. It has a vintage feel to it, very charming. Usually not the kind of perfume I'd like, but I love this! It has wonderful staying power and great silage. Simply love!
I also have an old tarted imp of Black Phoenix which has aged for about 7 years or so. Compared to the new one, it is LOT boozier and sweeter. The almond phase lasts less longer. The progression to floral powder is lot a quicker and dries down a lot faster. If you are not a fan of almonds, maybe you should let it age.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

MOR Giveaway Winner

Hey guys! Thanks everyone for entering my giveaway for MOR body wash and body lotion in a special muslin bag! I loved reading your all your answers. Here are the entries and I'm just about to draw the winner.
1. BethQuahSooJing
2. Michelle
3. Michelle
4. Melanie Kuziemko
5. Melanie Kuziemko
6. Anne-Marie Day
7. Gaea
8. Gaea
9. Nidhi
10. Nidhi
11. Gator Gard
12. Andii Bell
13. Jasmine1485
14. Sarah Kretchmer
15. Sarah Kretchmer

The winner of the giveaway generated by Random.org is.......

Andii Bell
Congrats Andii! I'll be emailing you soon.
Have a great holiday season everyone!

True Random Number Generator  12Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Monday, November 28, 2011

Salty, Beachy, Marine Perfumes For Summer!

It is no secret that I am a lover of heavy perfumes: intense orientals, incensy vanillas, the spices and the beautiful resins always make me happy. Come summer, when all my favourite perfumes turn too heavy for the hot weather, when I sweat out everything and when my skin devours any perfume that touches it, my search for an ideal summer perfume is on, happens every year. Usually I am left spinning endlessly on the hamster wheel of so called "fresh" perfumes and if I fall, it is into the ocean of citrus. How hard can it really be to find a summer perfume I like? Something that's non citrus, non fruity, non coconutty/non pina colada (or any drink!) non sweet, non masculine scents? So far, perfumes based on green tea, vetiver, incense and rarely melon have a cooling and fresh effect on me. 

Salty perfumes have always excited me. The idea of smelling like my skin is soaked in beach water makes me feel fresh and energetic. I just love that feeling. My first ever true blue Aussie experience was in spring/summer of 2006 at Byron Bay smelling the fresh sea breeze, feeling insignificant standing in front of the vast Pacific and being totally astonished. That was the the moment I decided to live here for many years to come! Every time I smell salty perfumes, that moment comes to mind!

In perfumes, salty note is very interesting. Though I haven't smelt real ambergris, I have heard heaps about the saltiness in it, given its marine origin. Must be my nose, I can't find any salty vibe in Hermes Eau de Merveilles, the everyone admires, unfortunately. (Please read fabulous description of ambergris by lovely Pandora's Box) Ambergris for me, is a note to explore.

2010, Thierry Mugler's Womanity enters my life and I smell the saltiness of the caviar with mildly fruity fig and the woodyness to hold it down and BAM! My perfect salty scent was found! 

One other salty perfume that comes to my mind is a perfume oil from Violette Market called Sea Dragon. It smells salty, like the deep, rough ocean and reminds me of a lost lonely boat caught in the storm! 

A perfume that has an unusual marine note is Aftelier Tango, which is a gorgeous floral with roasted sea shells (Choya Nach) not really oceanic or fresh but something earthy, smoky and dense, totally out of this world!  

Thanks to Jade and Dee, I got my hands on a boxful of beautiful perfume samples, so thrilled to try them! You ladies rock! I found some really great fresh salty scents among them. Here are my few thoughts about the wonderful ones.

Fourish Bath and Body
"There is something unmistakably oceanic about it- a watery, ozonic quality and a touch of something salty and almost a little spicy, that brings to mind sand and driftwood and sea air"

Smelling directly from the vial, whoa, I smell salt! It is like diving nose first into a jar of salt, an old porcelain jar that has been holding rock salt for ages! On my skin, it tones down to a salty smell that has hints of wood. It has an airy feeling to it, doesn't necessarily bring the sea or ocean to mind, but it is quite nice actually. 

One Hand Washes The Other
"Salt water, linden blossoms, muguet, carnation, white musk, with a base of driftwood and oakmoss."

This is a solid perfume sample. Mermaid is a pleasant floral with some aquatic/sea water feel to it. The florals are really gentle and very beautiful. The salty element adds freshness. I think it is a nice feminine version of a marine fragrance. The florals and salt combo smells like "Spring on a Beach"! 

Being a solid perfume, it melts at body temperature and applies smoothly without any waxiness or stickiness. It feels soft on the skin and the perfume lasts for a few hours before it needs to be reapplied.

Salty Breeze
"Not like other so-called "ocean" scents that are too floral or citrus-y, this fragrance is pure fresh ocean air and sea spray captured in a bottle. Close your eyes and sail away..."

The Garden Bath used to be a perfume oil company that sold on Etsy. But unfortunately, it has been shut down for a while now. Salty Breeze, the perfume is just that! It is salty and has greenness, breezy and light. So fresh that I get a lot of moss, seaweed and seashells too! It feels like smelling sea water directly from the beach. Lovely!

Smelling salty perfumes is a great experience. I think a hint of salt and freshness of the sea is perfect for summer heat, very different from run of the mill fresh scents. If you are like me, wanting a nice summer fragrance with a beachy feel these are a few to try.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Keiko Mecheri: Peau de Peche

Not an average fruity peach perfume. In fact, there is very little fruit in it. It is called Peau de Peche, the skin of peach. It is a very literal perfume. It smells exactly like the skin of fresh firm peach. The smell you get when you dip your teeth into a fresh peach, smell of the of crushing raw peach skin which is just about to turn juicy but not just yet.
Keiko Mecheri Peau de Peche
Decant from
The Perfumed Court

Keiko Mecheri Website
Japanese White Peach, Orris, Sandalwood, Musk

Peau de Peche is clean, polished and very elegant. It is green with very little sweetness from tart, white peach, just picked from the tree. It goes on powdery on my skin, reminding me of the velvety skin of peaches. The musk and very light white woody notes give the "skin" scent feel to it.

When I apply on the skin, my skin smells gorgeous, like the skin of peaches! It feels like a delicate veil on my skin. So refreshing that it makes me want to smell like this all summer. Peau de Peche is from Les Eaux Tendres collection of Keiko Mecheri, 'the tender water', should give an idea about the tenderness and the 'skin scent' feeling the perfume gives. Just when I am wowed, I'm also bit let down by this gorgeous smell. Unfortunately, it has no longevity whatsoever on my skin. But you got to give credit to Keiko Mecheri for this ethereal peach creation which is unique, charming and chic.

My sample is from The Perfumed Court  Samples can also be purchased directly from Keiko Mecheri website. I'm not sure if I'd go for a full size, even though I think the smell is well worth it, the longevity and projection make me think twice. Lucky Scent has a reasonable price for online purchase (US $115 for 75 ml, same price as on the official website) as against Libertine Perfumerie (AU $225 for 75 ml) 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

MOR Giveaway!

Hello, my lovely readers!

I have put together a little giveaway for you all, as a 'Thank you' for reading my blog and leaving wonderful comments. Thanks guys, you rock!

Here is what you can win:
MOR Marshmallow Hand and Body Wash 500ml
MOR Marshmallow Hand and Body Lotion 500ml
A Christmas-y looking muslin draw string bag from India. 
How to enter:
1. Leave a comment by answering:
 "If you made a perfume for yourself, what would it smell like?"
2. Leave your email address in the comment
3. If you are one of 108 followers as of 23/11, you get an extra entry!

Winner will be chosen by random.
Open internationally.

Open from 23/11/2011 to 30/11/2011 midnight AEST
Winner will be drawn and announced on 1/12/2011
This is not a sponsored giveaway. I own the products featured.

Enter away! Good luck!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cartier: Le Baiser Du Dragon

Cartier: Le Baiser Du Dragon
Thank God for samples!
You are welcome to consider this post as a review but in reality it is more of a rant about this perfume than a review.

Have you ever built an idea about a perfume in your heard so much that when you finally get to smell it you are devastated? I'm sure everyone has. Le Baiser Du Dragon did that to me. I'm annoyed at myself that I got carried away by the lurid descriptions. I expected it to be a dark resinous fragrance, lots of almonds with hints of vetiver. What I get is the total opposite. This fragrance is all about vertiver. Cartier says
"A timeless and mysterious woman's fragrance. 
The magical encounter of precious woods and vetiver. 
The sensuous voluptuousness of iris and deep warmth of patchouli. 
The new feminity of a great woody vetiver fragrance"

So, there you go! My bad, it is a vetiver fragrance. That's not the only reason why this didn't work for me. I am a fan of vetiver and love the idea of a feminine fragrance woven around vetiver. Le Baiser Du Dragon not only didn't meet my expectations, but also the perfume leaves me very unsatisfied. Let me dissect my feeling about this fragrance and vent my disappointment out.

1. What I get at the first sniff never matches what it dries down to. I adore how it starts, resinous, deep and slightly boozy, slightly sweet. It drastically turns into something very different. Benzoin and balsams shift into Vetiver, very starkly. Vetiver is fresh, cool and watery. I wish it stayed in the resinous phase for longer. Or I really wish there was some conjuncture between the top and the base.

Giving me a taste of something I love and then giving me something very different is like playing mind games on me. It is like luring a kid with candy. Just when the kid starts enjoying it, the candy is snatched away and the kid is given juice. Juice is good, but the kid wants the candy! 

2. I expected amaretto and almonds. The almonds get a special mention with this fragrance. I can't smell them on me! Where are they?

3. Dries down to multifaceted vetiver. I love vetiver in fragrances, especially like it when Vetiver comes with cedar/sandal combo! Vetiver and patchouli (prominent in the dry down) is terrific! But why oh why does vetiver come with ROSE? Rose is not powerful but it is present in a conspicuous way. Rose doesn't work on me, with vetiver it is making my head spin!

4. The staying power is good, annoyingly so. I feel like I'm walking vetiver roots. Every time I smell myself, my disappointment haunts me. 

La Baiser Du Dragon is a good fragrance. What ruined it for me is my expectation of what it would be like. If I had smelt it blind, I might have liked it. Even then, I still wouldn't get over the disjuncture between the top and the base. It makes me crave for resins. Please, please don't take away the candy from me! The kid cries.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Story Of My Nails

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a nail biter. Now I can say, I'm a nail biter no more! I have spent most of my childhood biting nails and most of my adulthood rationalising it, focussing away from the problem and putting forth these theories about how it began, why I keep doing it...... like it is really a behavioural issue, what would Freud say about why I bite my nails....? 

All you want is a dinkle
What you envy's a schwang
A thing through which you can tinkle
To play with or simply let hang

Penis Envy for nail biting?! I think not! Trace a couple of stages back, I may be orally fixated? I don't know, may be it's another Freudian cul de sac. But I think I have made a U turn!

As for any addiction/behavioural problem, there needed an internal switch to go off for me to change. The push I needed came with the fact that I am turning 30 next year. It is more than a push, it is like a kick in the ass.

What I did to stop biting my nails? I started to focus on growing them! I shifted the focus of my obsession to bite with the obsession to grow.

Inspiration: Alice of Alice Jane From Newcastle, if you have ever seen Alice's nails, you'll know why! Lovely Jac from ChloeBlue Likes To Sparkle* has always inspired me to grow my nails. She has fabulous nails and her nail polish collection is beautiful. She has also warned me that if I bite my nails again, she'll smack me with a virtual twitter stick! My friend Jas has promised a manicure date if I grow my nails! Carrots and stick!

Here is the progress in pictures: I didn't have really nice nails to start with, so even a few nano meters of growth is an improvement. I don't have a before pic per se.

 17/10/11 to 26/10/11
I have this really gorgeous nail polish from NARS called Schiapp. Going to wait for some more growth till I can wear it on all finger nails!

What I used: Revitanail Nail Strengthener:
This is an awesome product. It is much more than a nail hardener. My nails have not split or peeled when I use this. It is like a clear polish gives a nice natural shine to the nails. 
Sally Hansen Growth Miracle: I tried it briefly but it did not work for me. It PEELS like crazy to reveal dry nails! Doesn't harden or strengthen the nails either. Huge fail!

I have been using Sweet Almond Oil for my nails and cuticles. It works wonders for dry peeling cuticles. 

Lanolips hand creme: Wonderfully nourishing but the rose smell is so strong! 

I don't think I'll use hair/nail vitamins, I'd rather eat a wholesome diet or just take multivitamins that are good for all parts of my body.

This is the story of my nail growth. I don't know if it is something I'm proud of because it is hardly an achievement. These superficial things give me an illusion of control over my uncertain life. 30!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fleur D'Oranger

The orange blossom! The essence of fresh petals of the Orange flower, the sheer delicate smell, so intoxicating that it brightens up everything! 

Bitter Orange tree is like a coconut tree in perfumery. Every part of the bitter orange tree yields a beautiful smell, depending on how it is extracted. Petitgrain is obtained by distilling the twigs, Bigarade is by cold pressing the thick dimpled peel of the fruit, Neroli is by steam distillation of flowers and the Orange Blossom essence is by solvent extraction of the flowers. There are some fabulous illustrations, in depth descriptions and wealth of information in all the great perfume blogs. 

Disambiguation of these terms with respect to the meaning is easy. The hard part is actually telling what is what, when you smell it in a perfume. I think it comes down to a discerning nose, which needs to be cultivated. My nose is not as refined. I really can't tell the difference between the bigarade note and the petigrain. They both smell like harsh orange zest to me.

With Neroli and Orange Blossom, I can appreciate the subtlety to a certain extent. The difference is delicate. It is best appreciated by smelling the essential oil and the extract. Neroli is bright, more bitter and very fresh. Orange Blossom is more floral, delicate, sweet and light but still fresh. To me, Neroli feels masculine whereas Orange Blossom feels feminine.

That said, I need to climb down my high horse and say that, in perfumes, the Neroli and the Orange Blossom smell almost identical to me. When one is used, the other follows, or the terms are used interchangeably. In perfumes, it is more of a fusion of the two than a dichotomy because they are so much in the same vein and create an experience rather than pin pointing to the note. 

As for Neroli my reference is Tom Ford's Neroli Portofino and L'Occitane's Neroli from Voyage Mediterranean. Both are fresh, beautiful renditions to Neroli. From my little collection of samples, I found 4 perfumes that are based on Orange Blossom. Just to make it more comprehensive and for me to understand the concept of orange Blossom better, here are my thoughts on these perfumes.
Serge Lutens Fleurs D'Oranger
"Splendour and freshness: thick, white orange blossom petals, cosseted by jasmine and tuberose from India and crowned by a sprinkling of rose and musk. Timeless."

Oh my! Orange blossom woven on a fabric of white florals! Orange Blossom is so true in it. Well complemented by florals and musk, the combination is fresh, pleasing and so feminine. I love it for the lightness and delicate nature of Orange Blossom.

Smelling this perfume has been an experience for me. SL Fleurs D'Oranger will be the reference and a standard for all the other Orange Blossoms I will smell in future.

Le Labo Fleur D'Oranger 27
"A natural and extremely rare Orange Blossom that took over 3 years to compose.
Its innate nobility is enhanced by fresh floral and lemony notes, rounded out by musk and the succulent, sunny touches of bergamot, petit grain and lemon."

Oh, this is fresh, almost masculine. The guy at Mecca Cosmetica thought it smelt like Frederic Malle's Bigarade and I think he is right. It is bitter, green and brash. This is so clean and fresh that it weighs down itself on the lightness. It more citrusy than being a delicate floral centered around Orange Blossom. But it is enjoyable and would make a great hot weather perfume for citrus lovers.

Annick Goutal Neroli 
"Orange blossom absolute, neroli essence, petitgrain Paraguay essence, cypress essence, cedar essence"

I think it is a great combination of the greenness of neroli and the wispy gentleness of Orange Blossom. It begins with a really fresh blast of Neroli and fades into Orange Blossom. The way this perfume takes the turn to orange Blossom has made my nose sharper to perceive the note and appreciate it more.

Ange ou Demon Harvest 2009
Fleur D'Oranger
"the flower illuminates the fragrance with a thousand lights.  In the middle, the intriguing floral bouquet is softened with honeyed notes.  Animal facets in the base notes blend with tonka bean and oakwood"

Givenchy's Harvest perfumes were launched in 2005 to highlight a specific note in their fragrances. The harvest of the rare and precious ingredients from a particular region (something like harvest of grapes to make wines) is used to spike the perfumes creating one of a kind flankers of limited number. 

Givenchy's Harvest 2009 uses Orange Blossom of Nile River Delta of Egypt. I really like Ange ou Demon. I like the Harvest version better. The orange Blossom makes Ange ou Demon take a fresh, delicate direction. It changes the perfume in an unique way. The warmth in the original is still retained but the perfume is truly illuminated by Orange Blossom. 

I'd like to finish by sharing the most unpleasant Fleur D'Orange that I have ever smelt. Lush Orange Blossom, so synthetic, like burning plastic and headachy. 

So, these are the Fleur D'Oranger perfumes that I have experienced. If you have anything that I must smell, please recommend. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

BPTP Soaps: Snow, Glass, Apples and Snake Oil

A while ago, I placed my first order from Black Phoenix Trading Post. I'm really impressed with the service, quick postage and great communication, thanks to Puddin'! These two soaps are a part of my BPTP Haul that I talked about here.

Snow, Glass, Apples
It is inspired by the short story written by Neil Gaiman. I'm sure everyone knows the fairy tale of Snow White and Seven Dwarfs. Snow, Glass, Apples is the same story retold by Gaiman in the Step Mother's perspective. It is a chilling narrative that surpasses all the stereotypes of fairy tales and turns into something that will leave you shaken, stunned and absolutely blown away. You'll never feel the same way about Snow White, ever again after reading this. This captivating story is a must-read if you like weird and wonderful things like Dark Fantasy.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab/Trading Post have a limited edition soap (Perfume Oil no longer available) which is inspired by Neil Gaiman's Snow, Glass, Apples. It is for a good cause too, a not-for-profit venture: proceeds from every single bar goes to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
The design of the soap is ingenious. The milky white soap has dark red pattern swirled through it. It brings to mind, blood seeping through the snow. The upper surface of the soap has glistening powdery silver dust embedded on it. The soap looks freaky with the vampire-ish Snow White with an apple heart on the paper cover. There are blood drops all over the paper and a part of the story with quotes printed on the inner cover. 

The texture of the soap is soft but the soap itself is well cured. I have been a bit frugal and cut the soap into sections, to use one section at a time. The soap is soft to cut and the knife just passes through it like cutting chilled butter (maybe just a bit harder, like frozen butter!)

The soap lathers really well, into softest and creamiest lather. Like I said, the soap is well cured, so it doesn't melt away when it touches water. Actually it quite long lasting. The little piece shown above lasted me little less than a week. 

The fascinating story of Snow Glass Apples is so well interpreted by the lab (one of the reasons I love the lab) The lab's rendition of Snow, Glass, Apples is an experience in itself. The raw, apple scent combined with fresh zingy mint with a hint of skin musk. It is chilling and cold. The apple is crisp and makes me think of juicy green Granny Smith apples. It is fresh but not in-your-face fresh. It is perfect to wake up gently with this soap in the shower on a hot summer's day.

"In Neil's words, 'It smells like green apples and like sex and vampires, all at the same time. (Actually, it smells like sexy vampire apples." 
Need I say more?!

Snake Oil Soap: 
"A blend of exotic Indonesian oils sugared with vanilla.
The soap: absolutely smooth, sheer, silken lather enriched with milky kaolin and flecked with blackened vanilla bean." 

I think everyone has heard enough from me about how much I love Snake Oil. Without much ado, can I just say I absolutely LOVE Snake Oil?! Well, this is the perfume of Snake Oil in a soap. Very indulgent.

The soap is very creamy and lathers really well. It is a duochrome with dark brown outer surface and creamish white inside and the top, which is undulated and crusted. It has tiny black exfoliating beads and slightly larger white exfoliating beads scattered everywhere. It lathers with a lot of creaminess. The beads do a good job in gently exfoliating the skin. The lather gets a bit "dirty" as the coloured exterior melts into a foam. Doesn't really bother me and doesn't stain the white tiles or anything. 

It is an absolute delight using Snake Oil soap. I always wanted to bathe in Snake Oil and this is like a dream come true! It makes the whole bathroom smell absolutely gorgeous! Love this stuff! Got to get more!

A word about Villainess Soaps:
Villainess soaps are the makers of soaps for BPTP. The Villainess company specialises in handmade soaps of many gorgeous varieties and perfumes with Victorian theme. They also have fun things like Smooch, Smack and Whipped! I am pretty impressed with the BPTP soaps, they lather well and most importantly non drying. I have placed a tiny little order from Villainess, thanks to Larie! Can't wait to play with them!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Latherati Soap Foundry: Haul and Reviews.

Latherati Soap Foundry: Book-inspired bath and body
Latherati makes awesome scented goodies based on literature. If you are a literature buff or a perfume lover or both, you'll love these products! I'm a bit dense in literature but perfume always gets me!

I first heard of Latherati from Dee and don't know why I hadn't ordered from the Etsy store till a few days ago. Michelle gave me the push I needed by letting me know that the store is closing down! I had to try the perfumes before they were gone forever. Also the store has some fabulous discounts as a part of Closing Sale. I made use of it and got myself a teeny haul!

Julie Dutt who makes the soaps, perfumes, lotions and the scented goodies by hand is a lovely lady who communicates well regarding the order. The postage was lightening fast! I placed the order on 21/10/11, shipped from US on 24/10/11 and reached Australia on 1/11/11 for a very resonable postage of $5.50 USD. Got to love a good service!

Julie also let me know through the convo that the Latherati Soap Foundry is set for a relaunch early next year! Good news, they are not totally closing down after all. 

What I bought:
Queen Bee Dry Body Oil
Dairymaid Body Lotion
Freebies: Sample Lip Glossary in Thornfield
Matchmaker soap sample

THE SCENT: Queen Bee - Warm, cozy and inviting honey

THE INSPIRATION: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk KiddTHE QUOTE: “Most people don’t have any idea about all the complicated life going on inside a hive. Bees have a secret life we don’t know anything about.” August Boatwright, The Secret Life of Bees

The scent: The name and the inspiration speak for the scent. Honey lovers, rejoice! Queen Bee is a gorgeous honey scent. It has reminded me how much I love honey in perfumes. A single note honey scent may not be a genius but it is pure awesomeness! The ethereal sweetness of pure golden honey is all that is there in this and all that I really want! Queen Bee is so warm and sweet that it really makes me swoon! Love the simplicity. It is warm, cosy, comfortable, still sexy and raw!

The dry body: I have extremely dry skin and I need all the nourishment I can get to keep skin smooth and calm the itchiness I get from excessive dryness. No wonder I am a huge fan of body oils! Latherati's body oil is jojoba based body oil that instantly relieves of my post bath dryness (Did you know that water is the most dehydrating agent for the skin? This is the first sentence in one of the dermatology books!)
The body oil comes in a spray form, very convenient. It mists the oil on the skin making it easy to spread on the body. It is lightweight and non greasy, absorbs instantly without leaving any kind of residue. My skin feels fabulous afterwards, so nourished and silky! Looks like the body oil will be my bestie through the summer time for post shave/pre tan application to show off my gorgeous legs!

The smell of Queen Bee lingers on the skin and makes me smell yummy! The smell disappears after a while though, which is why, it needs layering with a complementary perfumes.

Cojure Oils Mara is a perfect match to Queen Bee. They smell almost alike and the combination would be synergistic. BPAL Womb Furie is also a good match. By Kilian Aphrodisiac Back To Black would be very well fitting too.

THE SCENT: Dairymaid - a sweet blend of milk and honey and fresh butter cream

THE INSPIRATION: Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas HardyTHE QUOTE: "As Tess's own people down in those retreats are never tired of saying among each other in their fatalistic way: 'It was to be.'" - Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

This is the 5th body lotion/butter that I have on the go right now. That is actually too many and it will take me a while to finish all of them. I ordered the body lotion in Dairy Maid just for the perfume's sake. At the time I ordered, I could not find the perfume oil in this scent and settled for body lotion. No regrets! 

The scent of Dairymaid is simple and sweet. The milk is creamy and sweetened with sugar and honey.
Honeyed milk that smells so innocent and pure, like how a baby would smell! Love its simplicity. It calms me down is a very fond way. Perfect lotion to slather on before going to bed!

The lotion is light and nourishing. I think it would suit anyone irrespective of the skin type because it is 
weightless and non greasy. The scent is quite short lived. Maybe I need a perfume oil to go with it.

Matchmaker Soap: Smells of "soapy" strawberries, a little too soapy for my taste. It lathers really well and has tiny beads like seeds of strawberry which give a mild exfoliation effect. It is non drying, makes it great for my dry skin.
Thornfield Lip Balm: I'm really not a lip balm person. Not a lavender fan. That's why I haven't used it yet. I may pass on to someone who likes lavender lip balms.

Overall, pretty impressive products and great shopping experience with Latherati. I would buy again making use of the discount. Currently there is 30% off entire store (code: OCT30) and the % discount will increase till everything is sold out. Right time to nab what you want!
Can't wait for the shop relaunch!