Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Haus of Gloi Autumn 2011: The goodies are here!

OMG Squeeeee! Haus of Gloi goodies are here! So nicely packed! Love opening packages like these!
Can't wait to sniff everything and review. 

Thanks Matt and Britton! x

Full Size Licorice Chew from the Candy Bowl

Ghost Puffs
Pixie Sorcerer 
Pumpkin Eater
Old Cider Haus

Queen Mother 1

Litchi Milk and Honeysuckle Lemon Curd samples

Reviews coming soon. Wearing Licorice Chew already!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Prada Intense EDP: Review

Prada Intense, also known as Amber Intense, also known as pure awesomeness
Prada Intense or Amber Intense
Notes according to Fragrantica:
Citrusy top notes
Heart: Patchouli, Balsam, Rose, Mimosa
Base: Musk, Labdanum, Tonka, Sandalwood, Vanilla
I am wearing it today and just loving it! Last December, I bought the miniature as a part of a set of 4 Prada perfumes for Christmas. Out of the four, I fell in love with Amber Intense Eau De Parfum. It is heavenly, sexy and really intense, just the way I like it!

Being a huge fan of Amber and huger fan of Labdanum, this is one of the fragrances that brings to mind the Amber Accord heavily based on Balsamic notes and Vanilla. Labdanum jumps out first in its full glory, soft, full and warm. The whole thing is smoothed by Vanilla and creaminess of Tonka Bean, without being too sweet but just enough to make the concoction dreamy and delightful!

The Amber is accompanied by a beautiful, earthy and mild yet conspicuous Patchouli note that just blends into the skin. Patchouli merges very well with Amber Accord, making the whole thing sexier and much more seductive!

Prada Intense, to my nose, is a happy marriage between Amber Accord and Patchouli. Both manifest equally, don't overpower each other, they not only co exist but also enhance each other's beauty! The combination is sexy, irresistible and voluptuous! It is intense, in the nicest, softest and the most sensual way!

The Italian fashion house has a long list of perfumes to its credit. Prada original 2004 preceded Prada Intense launched in 2005, followed by Prada Tendre 2006 and Infusion d'Iris 2007, which are in my set of minis. The latest Amber version is L'eau Ambree 2009 and one for men, Amber Pour Homme Intense 2011, both of which I would love to try! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

BPAL Tarted Imps

BPAL Tarted Imps are here! Just got a package full of Tarted Imps in mail, my latest purchase from eBay!

Wondering what a Tarted Imp is? Well, I did too. I looked them up on the forums and I am here with answers! 

In BPAL lingo, an Imp or Imp's Ear is a 1 ml sample vial of a perfume oil, about which I have been blabbering away in so many of my previous posts.

Tarted Imps were the Imps that the Lab (Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab) used to send out till early 2004. Tarted Imps are these pretty little decorated Imps with a parchment paper tag on which the names are hand written. They are attached to the glass vial by tassle like, worn out black strings. It gives a nice touch of old goth and a mystical feel to it! In 2004, as the demand increased, the Lab switched from Tarted Imps to the Imps used now to keep up with the orders, as you can imagine the time and effort that took to make these!

I'm pretty impressed with myself for getting my hands on this stash. Thanks to eBay! All the perfume oils date back to 2004 or earlier. Some perfume oils like Goona Goona have been discontinued as early as 2003!

In spite of the fact that these are really, really old, they don't smell rancid or off or anything like that. They smell different from the newer ones for sure, because perfume oils get better when aged. It would be very interesting to compare the oils aged 7 years + with the newer ones. 

These are the pretties! They are rare to find, somewhat like antiques!
I usually put my Imps in tiny boxes and like to store them upright. This is where and how the Tarted Imps are going to live, for now. I need a lot of organising to do with my Imps and full bottles.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Purple Fever: Purple Ombre Hair

I've got it and I've got it bad! Purple Fever 104ºF! ℞: my new look, Purple Ombre Hair!

My hair is naturally blackish brown. Until two years ago, I was a hair colour virgin. Since then, I've had chunky golden highlights, out grown them, coloured over, had thinner highlights, coloured it chocolate brown, had balayage, coloured over with a reddish shade and now I am purple! Life is too short for boring hair!

I liked the purple hair from my previous post so much that I thought I'd go permanent, as the semi I used did not last for more than a day. Now, if you are a dark haired person, you'd probably know that you cannot get a semi permanent colour in a lighter shade to work on dark hair. You just can't get anywhere near purple without lightening which means bleaching. I don't like the idea so much as I do want healthy locks and fancy colour. Too much to ask for?

I grabbed a box of Schwarzkopf Brilliance Luminance hair colour in Ultra Violet at Priceline, the only available option. The shade I wanted my hair to be was exactly as on the box. It is a permanent colour designed for dark hair. It is supposed to lighten and colour the hair in one step, without the need to prelighten. Which means it has bleach.

It is not the best hair colour I have used. The application is messy, the nozzle is too small for the creamy dye and it stinks of bleach. My hair feels like straw! 
The result: Looking past the frizz ball texture of my just washed hair, the colour is alright. But I'm not overjoyed with it as I wanted EXACTLY the shade on the box and it didn't turn out as vivid on my hair. But it does have a purple tinge, which I hope will stay. It is more purple in natural light. The flash washes off the purple and makes it look brown. Well, anyway here it is!
Just washed hair in sunlight
The purple bug I've caught is so bad that I'm greedy for more colour. I used Cinta spray colour on the tips to give that Purple Ombre effect. I guess it worked! Yes, it transfers to everything but shampoos out. I don't want to turn up with purple shaded hair to an important interview which is in a few weeks.

My hair after blowdrying and straightening, with Ombre effect!
Indoors with flash
A day later
Natural light
Likey? Me likey!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Haus Of Gloi: Autumn/Halloween Scents - Review

It is Halloween time at Haus Of Gloi! The Halloween perfume oils will be released 17th of this month. I am really happy to see that 4 perfume oils I bought last year are being re released and even happier that there are some new ones to try! 

I bought the whole lot last year, samples of everything and full size Hex. I even reviewed two of them. But as you can see, they look untouched. They haven't gotten the love they deserve. I blame it on the lack of space to store my scents. It getting harder for me to reach for the scents I love because I don't get a full view of my collection. At least they are aged now and will smell better! 

Anyway, in the wake of the announcement of the release of the Halloween scents form Haus Of Gloi, I thought it is time to bring them out to the light of day, to test run them.

Haus Of Gloi: Halloween perfume oils '10
You’ve been bewitched! Lecherous: brackish amber, aged vanilla bean and three dark fruits, veiled in darkness and otherworldly secrecy 
This is the kind of fruity scent that I like! It is sweet, light and the fruits are so ripe that they are a little boozy. These fruits do have some darkness to them. The vanilla is beautiful, it blends so well with amber and makes me want keep sniffing my wrist! So glad I have a full bottle. Like I said last year, I've been Hexed and I'm loving it!

Saft Ernte
A merry drink of harvest and glowing with warmth: Peach juice simmering with sweet spices, pumpkin, silken hazelnut cream and made completely curious with a drop of orange blossom water.
Smells very peachy, somewhat like Peach Mama, only spicier and creamier. This does smell like something that you'd drink on a cold evening sitting in front of a fire. Very warm and toasty.

Freshly turned earth, wet leaves, and a spectre ridden wind.
Wow, I really can smell the fresh soil and wet leaves! It is so earthy and reminds me of gardening and getting my hands dirty. Too lazy for it, but I am glad I can live my gardening dreams vicariously through this scent!
At first, it smells of fresh lavender, which gives it that fresh turned earth quality. I can smell dry herbs which give the leafy quality. The mild, very mild spices (nutmeg?) along with the dryness of the herbs makes it smell windy. The combination is so peaceful and calms me down. Fascinating! I want a full bottle this time! 

Pumpkin Queen
Gentle hay pillows, pumpkin, ripe peaches dusted with clove and nutmeg, dried summer herbs, and lastly, a lovely crown of amber.
This is a spicy pumpkin scent. At first more spicy than pumpkin, but as the spices mellow down, pumpkin comes through beautifully. There is a dryness to it, which is kind of hay-like. Last year, in my review I mentioned the camphor note. Yes, still get it. But not something I would dislike. I like Pumpkin Queen very much, after I let it grow on me. It is very Halloween-y and lovely.

This year, Haus Of Gloi is releasing 6 more scents on 17th August! Take a look at the preview on the blog. Excited to try them all, especially, Queen Mother, Red Ronan and Ghost Puffs. They even have yummy soaps, pumpkin butters and scrubs in some scents! Can't wait!

Update 18/08/2011: Haus of Gloi Autumn Collection has been launched with many new perfumes! Ordered the Samplers 2 and 3 plus a full size Licorice Chew from the Candy Bowl! Can't wait for the yummy stuff to arrive!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Madison's Ultimate Perfume Guide: Perfume article

Thanks to lovely Jade, for inspiring me to do this!
A fantastic and informative feature on Madison Magazine: Issue July 2011 by Katrina Lawrence
Excuse the iPhone pictures, the lighting and the glossiness of the paper doesn't help! Click to enlarge and you may see slightly better.
Some facts, interviews, tips:
Classic Top 10 which can be found here 
I proudly own 4 from the list, Nº5, Opium, Angel and Shalimar. Love them.
I also like Fracas and Poison, due to their in-your-face-ness!

Some very interesting olfactory impacts according to Dr. Allan Hirsch. Here are the facts with figures!

*Floral spicy scents make you look like you lost 5.4 kilos making you look slimmer!
*Scents with Grapefruit make you look 6 years younger!
*Foody scents curb appetite!
*Jasmine makes time go slower!

I seriously feel like rushing to the shops and buying Miracle and Amethyst!

Great insight into some great perfumers
Karyn Khoury's favourite perfume anecdote:
Estée Lauder in Galeries Lafayette in Paris, intentionally dropped a bottle of Youth Dew bath oil on the store's carpet. Many customers began asking what the smell was and where it came from! Mrs Lauder soon had an order for her entire line.

Oliver Cresp says "Some flowers keep their mysteries and don't give their soul! Many scents are figurative and based on the perfumer's perception of the world." 

Francis Kurkdjian is hot!
To smell well, Dr. Avery Gilbert says mental training by acquainting yourself with kitchen spices helps. I am actually in the process of familiarising myself with herbs like tarragon, sage, thyme, rosemary, parsley etc and learn to differentiate from one other.

How to be a perfume critic: 
Sniff away samples! 
I don't have to be guilty buying sample after sample. Chandler Burr said!
He mentions perfume books and blogs. His own column for The NY Times is a fascinating read.

Montale: Golden Aoud - Review

Carrying on with my Oud adventures, I am playing with some big boys! Testing Montale Golden Aoud today.

Golden Aoud
"A grand harmony of roses from Bulgaria, Geranium Bourbon and Patchouli leaves with Leather's and Jamaican Capsicum's heart notes laid on woody basis of Aoud, Saffron, Teak Wood, Cedar Wood from Morocco."

The first lesson in Oud perfumes is to be light handed. A little goes a long way. Second lesson in oud perfumes is not to sniff it as soon as you apply it. Give it time to blend in with the skin and develop. Both these apply to Golden Aoud as well. Just a tiny dab from the vial on my wrist, after a couple of minutes I am ready to sniff.

First thing I feel about this perfume is the density, density of the Oud. Oud is in its full form, with subtle hints of saffron and roses humming in the background. This comes as relief because my skin doesn't love the attar-strength rose. Rose is deep but tender, which mellows down as it develops. Patchouli is present in an unmissable way. It complements the Oud well, enhances the earthy nature without making it too dirty. As it dries down, the oud softens into leather and a woody base.

I am testing Montale Black Aoud on the other wrist. Compared to it, Golden Aoud is bright, lighter and true to its name, it feels golden!

Golden Aoud is a bright rose with a rich agarwood base. Oud does not turn vile on me. No plastic or burning rubber smell, no headache. Rose is not strong. Good news! Good enough for a full bottle? Not sure yet, will try other Oud scents before deciding. I am slightly skewed towards Tom Ford Oud Wood!

I got my sample from The Perfumed Court in a set of 5 Montales for about $25 (fantastic value, great way to try Montale. Very hard to resist buying all the samples!) Full bottle from Lucky Scent costs $110 for 30mls, $180 for $100, sample for $4.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Top 10 Award

Feeling vaguely unsettled today. Skilfully practising avoidance by not trying to figure out why. Before my fingers click away adding things to cart and start typing PayPal password, I thought I'd do something to distract myself from online shopping. So, here is my post about Top 10 Award!

Lovely Jac of Chloe Blue Likes To Sparkle* awarded me with the Top 10 Award, recently. I really found it hard to narrow down my favourites to Top 10. I haven't included perfumes in the list. For a change, this is a beauty Top 10!

Rules: Mention the person who tagged you
Pass on the award to 10 other bloggers
Say 10 things about you
Name your Top 10 Products

I pass on the Top 10 Award to the following lovely ladies. I'd love to know your top 10 products!
Here goes my list of  Top 10
1. Coconut oil: This is something I can't live without. I have grown up with coconut oil. I use it as a hair mask the night before I wash my hair. It works wonders. It makes my hair soft, prevents split ends and so good for the scalp. I also sneak it into cooking (Make sure it is virgin coconut oil, not partially dehydrogenated which can be bad for the heart instead of good!) I also use a lot of cumin when I use coconut oil in cooking. It seems that cumin prevents the absorption of "bad" fat. Now I am craving for Avial! Yummm!
2. Dermalogica Microfoliant: Amazing daily exfoliant. Very gentle on my dry skin. Unlike other exfoliants, it doesn't have gritty bits that strip my already dry skin off whatever moisture it is holding. It is so very effective. Everytime I use it, it reveals fresh new beautiful skin! Love!

3. md Formulations Advanced Hydrating Complex: It is the lightest and the most moisturising cream I have ever used! I have the driest skin and this is a saviour. It must be the glycolic acid, it is working! The price is a bit of a shocker about $140 for this little jar! I don't think I can replace it.

4. Burt's Bees lip shimmers: I adore these lip shimmers, they feel gorgeous on the lips, come in great shades and don't cost a lot. My favourite shade is Rhubarb, which I am sure is somewhere in my hand bags or coat pockets, I can't seem to find it.
5. Dior Serum de Rouge: This is the ultimate lip product! It is infused with nourishing serum, so good for the lips. The colours are beautiful. Hands down, it the best lipstick ever! 
6. Estee Lauder Double wear Foundation: Great coverage, great finish and true to its name, amazing staying power. Mine is only a sample and will be getting a full size one soon and hopefully score a GWP as well!
Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick
L-R Pink, Nectar, Bronze
7. Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick: I love these babies! I love them so much that I have three. Blush/highlighter/eyeshadow all in one! It is pure shimmer, fine and not glittery. Must for glow-y cheeks! My fav shade is Nectar which is a gorgeous warm peachy pink gold colour.

8. Fair and Lovely: This is an Indian skin lightening product that is based on the shocking concept of 'fair is beautiful' with questionable benefits, no listed ingredients and no specified sunscreen. This makes to my top 10 list because, I have been using this since decades! Old habits die hard.
But it is safe lightening product unlike the ones with bleach, quinones or mercury. It is great to even out and mattify the skin, acts as a primer without the slippery silicones. Keeps my face fresh for hours.
9. Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Static and MAC pigment in Blue Brown: It has been the most difficult task to narrow down my favourite eyeshadows to two! I love eye makeup and have enough eyeshadows to make it difficult to choose what to wear for the day (but not enough to stop me from buying more!) Here are my two favourites. Illamasqua Static is a gorgeous silvery/purple shade with a 'mother of pearl' effect! It just divine! You can actually build it up starting from a beautiful sheen to a full blown shimmer eyeshadow. Breathtakingly pretty!

MAC Blue Brown pigment is a beautiful duo chrome with a brown /greenish blue effect. It is a great way to make a neutral eyeshadow glamourous. If you like this, I highly recommend Bronzed Emeralds from Ritual Eyes. Mich is a genius!
10. Eco Tools Brushes: Love them! They are soft, synthetic bristles, never shed and do the job beautifully. My favourite is the blush brush. Another favourite is Sigma SS209 which is fantastic for applying gel liner. I am so happy with these that I have never felt the need to even look at the expensive ones. Am I missing out on something great by not going for expensive brushes?!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sweet Anthem Reviews: Cordelia, Emily, Louise

The second installment of Sweet Anthem Perfume reviews. Check out the first part here

Ambergris, Black Pepper, Civet, Coriander, Fir Needle, Lavender, Plum, Sandalwood

In the bottle, spicy! On my skin, black pepper and fir needle come out beautifully. What a combination, the spiciness of the pepper and coolness of the fir needle is surprising complementary and not harsh at all. I can swear that I can smell Cardamom, at least it has that feel to it. The beautiful combination of spices is present throughout in various levels. It is not really pungent, just full, dense and mild. There is some sweetness in the background which I am guessing is from the plum. It is not overly sweet or fruity but the sweetness is gentle and much needed to balance out the other elements. The dry down is somewhat warm and creamy.

Overall, a beautiful perfume. Perfect for colder months. It makes a statement for sure!

Still she wears her red dress, and paints her toes and twirls. Emily takes it back to old times of honey, oatmeal, yuzu, almond, Turkish mocha, vanilla, coconut, and sandalwood.
Almond, Coconut, Honey, Milk, Oatmeal, Sandalwood, Yuzu

Yummy! Absolutely delicious almond, drizzled with honey! So creamy and sweet, I want to eat it! Yuzu is a great twist in the perfume. It begins with the citrusy feel of yuzu which blends away into the yummy stuff.
It is perfect for winter, something that is sweet, cosy and very easy to love!

Amber, Benzoin, Lavender, Maple Syrup, Opium, Pumpkin

First sniff, smells undeniably of Hallooween! It reminds me of an Autumn evening in the countryside. Cool night, dry leaves all around, fresh harvest everywhere, dying bonfire with smoke reaching the sky, sipping a harvest drink. If I'd give this a colour, it would be orange, the colour of the setting sun, the fire, the pumpkins!

The scent is a metaphorical translation of all the above. Pumpkin candied in maple syrup is what hits my nose first. So warm and juicy, almost boozy! Opium, amber and benzoin are so beautiful together. This has actually inspired me to make an Opium based perfume of my own. I love Louise, reminds me very much of the fall.

This scent is perfect for those chilly winter evenings. Absolute comfort!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sweet Anthem Reviews: Anastasia, Anita, Billie

Sweet Anthem, another Etsy perfume* store to love! I came across Sweet Anthem through Heartsy. I not only scored a bargain but also got introduced to a great vegan perfume company that makes unique scents. The lovely lady, Meredith Smith, the nose behind the the company hand blends her creations. She friendly and such a pleasure to deal with! 

I ordered a bunch of samples worth $30 for $7.99 through the Heartsy deal. The shipping is fast, they were well packed and Meredith even threw in two freebie samples. Here are a few thoughts about the perfumes. This is the first part, let's start alphabetically. Check out the second part of the reviews here

A bouquet from her beloved and only Friend, hung to dry during winter; the gunsmoke of an approaching revolution; the remnants from the last afternoon tea, still left steeping; and an ethereal musk, white as snow, hanging on until the thaw
Champaca absolute, Civet, Dogwood, Fresh Snow, Green Tea, Honeysuckle, White Patchouli

What a beautifully complicated perfume!  It is so feminine in a dreamy way! Out of the bottle it smells green and fresh with floral hints. On my skin, something fresh jumps out first, light and refreshing. I am guessing it the fresh snow note, interlaced with green tea. The floral notes literally blossom like fresh blooming flowers! Champaca made me smile. It is just like a freshly plucked flower, green, crisp and slightly sweet. At this stage, I realise that the perfume is centred around Champaca. When I go back to the bottle to smell it again, I can isolate the prettiness of Champaca from the bottle. Very beautiful. I expected the civet to turn animalic and the patchouli to turn into a havoc on my skin, but they did not! They balance out the lightness of the perfume and make a nice soft but dense base for the rest of the perfume to stand on.

I have fallen in love with Anastasia. She is breathtakingly beautiful. I rarely fall for florals but this is to die for! Goes straight to my full bottle list!

And it's a very special thing -- she makes the people clap and sing. Be happy all the time in this nearly drinkable peppermint mocha perfume. (Gourmand)
Moroccan Mint, Peppermint, Pink Sugar, Turkish Mocha, Vanilla

Anita is all about mint and coffee. It is a refreshing coffee but not as foody as it seems. In the bottle, it smells more of peppermint than coffee. Not a toothpaste kind of mint, but something like a spearmint bubble gum. On the skin, some how they work together, creating a fresh coffee scent. Unusual combination of fresh mint and dense coffee. The dry down is sweet coffee, laced with a teeny bit of vanilla. Nice!

BILLIE {resurrected}
Agarwood, Fig, Gardenia, Lily of the Valley, Suede

This was one of the freebies with the order.

Meredith describes it as "Jazz singing gardenia" I see Billie as a metro sexual, sophisticated, intelligent and I picture him as a powerful corporate man. Billie begins with a soft density of the florals, which sets him apart from the crowd. The dry down is amazing! Agarwood surprisingly is not plasticky on me. It is pleasant and somewhat smoky. Combined with suede, it is kind of murky making him sexy and irresistible! He is a ladies man for sure!

I am yet to try it on my man but I love it on myself. The floral part is beautiful and the agarwood and suede combination adds a ton of personality. Amazing composition!

*Sweet Anthem is in the process of moving right now. 

The book goes to.....

Larie from Eye Heart It! Larie, I am very happy to pass on the copy of Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer to you! Please email me with your details:
Thanks everyone for the comments! Hope you are all having a great week! x

Monday, August 1, 2011

Marc Jacobs: Daisy Eau So Fresh - Review

Q. How many Daisies can a person have?
A. As many as Marc Jacobs can make.

Apparently, there can't be too many Daisies. Since the introduction of Daisy by Marc Jacobs in 2007, there have been 8 versions. Inspired by art, Marc Jacobs has been creating bottles of different colours, filling them with the same juice or just spiking it up a little. Call them spin off's, call them flankers, they go to show the insane popularity of the original Daisy.

Q. Is popularity the hallmark of mediocrity?
Food for thought.

Daisy somehow hasn't been my thing. It just seems unremarkable on me. At the risk of sounding snobbish, I have to say it screams mass market. I have never owned a bottle as I never felt the need to. Until, I was introduced the brand new flanker Daisy Eau So Fresh!

Q. If you have one Daisy, do you have them all?
A. Not really!

Daisy Eau So Fresh is the flanker introduced in 2011. I enjoy Eau So Fresh much more than the original Daisy. It is much younger and much less boring. Being a fruity floral, Eau so Fresh is aimed at girls who are a decade younger than the target audience of Daisy. Well, I am a decade older (at least feel so!) than the target audience of Daisy but I really like Eau So Fresh much better!

Notes as per Marc Jacobs website
Top: Sparking Grapefruit, Raspberry, Pear
Mid: Wild Rose, Violet, Apple Blossom
Base: Plum, Cedarwood, Musk

Eau So Fresh is has a fruity start, very refreshing and juicy. Fresh berries and litchi notes spring out right at the beginning. The fruits are fresh and luscious, not sweet at all. Then, I get a powdery, violet note that actually polarises the whole fruitiness and paves the way for some florals to emerge. The florals are not as harsh as in the original Daisy but equally unexciting. But it somehow seems to gel with the rest of it. The powderyness of the violet remains through till the dry down mingling with some more powdery musk. It settles on my skin like a light perfume-y powder.

Eau So Fresh is young, vibrant, fresh and perfect for summer. It has a happy vibe to it. I can see myself wearing it in the warmer weather. It would be great to wear on a hot summer's day, feeling fresh and juicy, without the cloying sweetness.

Having said all that, Eau So Fresh is not something I would buy a full bottle of. Lucky I won one, thanks to Beauty Heaven and people at Coty! Sometime ago, to promote Eau So Fresh, "Daisy Cabs" - London-style cabs decorated with greenery and flowers - were introduced to the streets of Sydney. The contest was to spot one, send a picture and score the bottle. So I did!
Daisy Cab