Sunday, June 28, 2015

Episode 55: Five Scents That Make Me Happy (or, How to Cheer Up Fast)

I was meant to write a review tonight, but I got sick earlier and didn't feel like doing that today. That post will likely go upon Monday, if you want to look for it, I will be talking about Jo Malone's Cologne Intense Oud & Bergamot. Today I want to talk about the scents that cheer me up, lift my spirits or refresh me when I feel worn down, so yep. It's a new installment of the Five for All! Start.

sweet almond

Five Favorite "Pick Me Up" Scents

These aren't specific products, although they will often show up as notes in and among my faves. These are just the scents that when I catch a whiff, I feel good, or that I actively seek out to improve my mood. In no particular order...
  1. Lavender - Definitely nothing weird or strange here, lavender is well known for its soothing scent. But I tend to avoid lavender mixed with sweeter notes (vanilla, tonka, the like) and prefer it much closer to its purest, herbal form. Nothing is better than having a stem of lavender and crushing it between your hands, and the resulting scent. That fresh, sweetness with the crisp herbal bite - it makes me tingle just thinking about it. Some faves: Black Violet Lavender and Chamomile Tonique,  EO Lavender essential oil and hand sanitizer.
  2. Camphor - This one might seem odd, but hear me out. Growing up, I lived near farms where there was often standing water, and hence mosquitoes. As kids, we always put Campho-Phenique on our bites to stop the itch. Now, as an adult, the scent of camphor reminds me childhood days playing out in the summer. I know that its medicinal and topical use it something of a debate, but I still find products with camphor to be useful in soothing my skin, and of course, I love the scent. Some faves: Yu-Be Lip Balm and Soothing Skin Cream
  3. Pine - Such a generic scent, again. But I live where there are basically two seasons - Summer and Less Hot (oh and Monsoon Season, the best of all). Christmas is my favorite holiday, and to me, winter means Christmas (I know that only works in the N. Hemisphere, but hey, that's my Hemi!) and there is something about the scent of pine trees that is both reminiscent of winter, and reminiscent of the happiness of Christmas. Again, if you break a pin needle and rub the scent in your hands you get that crisp, fresh herbaceous scent that I love. Some faves: Anything Christmas-y with pine? A whole slew of candles, mostly, such as Yankee Candle's Balsam and Fir.
  4. Tobacco - I can't pinpoint a time or reason for my love of the scent of sweet tobacco. Maybe it was born wan I was nineteen years old and inhaling cheap cigars through my nose as a party trick? I'm not sure. Whatever the reason, I love scents with tobacco notes, whether they be sweet or sharp. There is just something that is both sensual and also comforting in the scent of tobacco - those fragrances evoke a different time and place, yet bring one so distinctly into the now. One of my favorite notes in perfumery, by far. Some faves: Haus of Gloi  Tabac, Solstice Scents Old Havana, Guerlain  Tonka Imperiale.
  5. Almond - Oddly, the only food-y scent on this list, the scent of almond oil is almost too much for me to bear. It is so delicious, and so warm, it's like a hug for your nose. No, really. Once again, this harkens back to childhood, when I can remember my grandma having almond extract in her pantry, for baking. I though the almond smelled so good, but never understood why it was used in baked good that tasted nothing of almond, ha. This is still a major, major comfort scent for me. When I am feeling really sad or lonely I will use almond-scented products to cheer me up. Some faves: Jo Malone Sweet Almond & Macaroon Home Candle, L'Occitane Amande Body Oil, Guerlain Tonka Imperiale (again!), Gurlain Mon Precieux Nectar.
Those are the ones, the scents that just take me to a happy place. I could make a list greater than five, for sure - bergamot, orange blossom, tea tree - just to name a few. But many of those I could have selected, I enjoy better paired with a delectable base or middle, or top note; they aren't single scents I love just as they are.

I'd love to hear what some of your single-scent favorites are! Leave me a comment down below, it would totally make my day. I'll see you later with that review and until then, pleasant journeys~

Monday, June 22, 2015

Episode 54: Bath & Body Works SAS Haul (or, Christmas in June)

Sorry for the delay, I waffled back and forth about re-filming this video because the quality is pretty bad. In the end I didn't, I don't have time and I wanted to post it before the end of the sale. So if you want to check out my (first) Bath & Body Works Semi-Annual Sale haul, you can do that now!

There is a couple of nice up-the-nose shots (soooooo sorry about all the itching and sniffing, btw. I had terrible seasonal allergies) and I am out of frame and bouncing around... I was pretty hyped, so my bad. I will be doing a full review on the Summer Boardwalk 3-Wick candle, but if you'd like to read about any of the other scents, please let me know! I'd be happy to review them!

Until then, thanks for watching and for putting up with my hijinks, LOL. Pleasant journeys~

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Update: Posting Schedule

Well ha ha ha hello again. Okay so real quick we need to talk about the posting schedule. I am much busier than I anticipated being, and under a lot of stress. The last thing I want is for this blog to become stressful.

So, for the time being, I am doing away with a set schedule. I will try to post up to three times a week, and I guarantee I will post at least once a week. Content will vary, but I will still be doing video posts on Friday/Saturday.

I apologize for the disruption, and as always will continue to evaluate to posting schedule to meet my personal needs, as well as the demands of my readers. Thank you, and pleasant journeys~

Episode 53: Atelier Cologne Collection Azur (or, Citrus Four Ways)

Hello, we meet again! So sorry for the lack of updates. I am going to make an announcement post shortly about scheduling and whatnot, which will hopefully clear up any confusion about these long breaks.

Today, though, I am finally going to review my Collection Azur from Atelier Cologne. I received this set as a 2k point perk from Sephora, and although it is not available to purchase in this form, each individual scent can be found at either Sephora or the Atelier website. I will have all the links included, and they are NOT affiliate links!

Atelier Cologne Collection Azur

There are four different scents included in the collection, Mandarine Glacial, Sud Magnolia, Figuier Ardent and Cèdre Atlas. Each scent is available in 30mL and 100mL size. 30mL is $85 USD and includes a leather sleeve, which can be personalized if you purchase through the Atelier website. 100mL is $125 USD and the sleeve is not available. All four scents are part of Atelier's collection of Cologne Absolue, and come in a Venetian blue bottle with removable pump. There is a gorgeous leather label on the 100mL size. They look stunning on your vanity, and smell amazing, too.
atelier cologne, collection azur, olfactory exploits, mandarine glacial, figuier ardent, sud magnolia, cedre atlas
Via Olfactory Exploits. Case not included.
Mandarine Glacial - In my opinion the freshest of the collection, and extremely easy and pleasant to wear. Atelier lists the top notes as mandarin from Calabria, lemon from Sicily, bergamot from Calabria. The heart notes are ginger from China, jasmine from Egypt, petitgrain from Paraguay and the base notes are listed as heart of vetiver from Haiti, oakmoss from Slovenia, white amber. The citrus top is well developed. The mandarin stands out nicely and the lemon and bergamot support it in a way that makes this scent pleasant even for those of us who don't love citrus. The warm ginger is what stands out from the middle to my nose, and when combined with vetiver and white amber lend both warmth to an otherwise very fresh scent, as well as an impressive longevity. Mandarine Glacial wear orange.
Sud Magnolia - I briefly touched on this scent in my May Favorites, but Sud Magnolia is the floral of the bunch. It is a very clever composition of a citrus floral, and manages to make the tapestry of notes come together in something that is harmonious, and so life-like that it is hard to ignore. Atelier lists the top notes as bitter orange from Seville, pomelo from Florida, blackcurrant from Burgundy. The heart notes are magnolia from Louisiana, Bulgarian rose absolue, saffron flower from India, and the base notes are atlas cedarwood from Morocco, sandalwood from New Caledonia, musk. In this fragrance it is almost as if the warmth of the South causes that floral heart to rise up into the citrus top. The magnolia and bitter orange seem to dance on my skin, with those juicy ripe notes of pomelo and blackcurrant playing hide and seek with the rose absolue. This is a perfect example of how sandalwood can anchor a scent without getting in the way of any individual note, and here too, you find a warmth that is surprising for such a fresh citrus. Sud Magnolia wears pink.

 Figuier Ardent - This is the lightest of the four scents, but that works well to capture the delicate greenness of the fig. Fig has long been one of my favorite notes in perfumery, because of how many different ways it can change a scent. The fruit is juicy and sweet, the leaves crisp and green, and the wood has a wet earthy greenness that is ever so subtle. In this scent, Atelier lists the top notes as bergamot from Calabria, anise from Turkey, cardamom from Guatemala. The heart notes are fig leaf from Provence, salty fig, black pepper from Madagascar and the base is cedarwood from Virginia, iris from Tuscany, tonka bean from Brazil. In this scent the citrus takes a step back, holds its self back, perhaps, and the fig comes to the front in a green, soft, salty way that plays with the bergamot and anise in a manner reminiscent of walking in wooded groves near a sounding sea. Although it wasn't what I expected, there is such beauty in this delicate scent that I feel almost protective, and the sweet musky tonka bean in the base rewards me back. Although this scent is lighter, with a shorter longevity, it is well worthy of this collection. Figuier Ardent wears turquoise.

Cèdre Atlas - Now this scent has some serious tenacity. It is without a doubt the longest wearing scent in this collection, and is also by far the most masculine. I put it on my husband, and he smelled like a sexy god, but when worn on my own skin I felt out of place, a woman trying to bolster her courage and strength. Mind you, this is not something bad, merely an illustration of how utterly male I found this scent to be. Its feminine counterpart, I suppose, could be Sud Magnolia, but even that scent was more androgynous when worn. I am pleasantly surprised, to be honest. It isn't often that a collection billed as unisex contains scents that lean masculine. The top notes Atelier gives are lemon from Sicily, bergamot from Calabria, blackcurrant bud from Burgundy. The heart notes are cedarwood from Moroccan rif, jasmine from Egypt, apricot. The base notes are white amber, papyrus from India, vetiver from Haiti. Here lemon washes you in clean, fresh waves while the cedarwood muscles its' way to the forefront in an uncontested victory. The apricot is ever so softly adding sweetness and the vetiver is mossy, musky and inarguably the anchor that partners well with the cedarwood. But slightly, ever so slightly, if you give it enough time, a dry smoothness comes out that I am giving the papyrus credit for. Cèdre Atlas wears blue.
The entire collection works beautifully together. Atelier Colognes has woven a common thread in between four distinct scents that for a collector can easily be integrated into their own personal collection either as individual items to wear, or a set. The price point for this collection is well placed. Atelier scents run a gamut from around $100 USD to well over $300 USD, and the pricing for this collection falls on the lower end. The leather sleeves and gorgeous packaging don't hurt, either. For Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter, there is a scent that will carry your through in the Collection Azur.
Collection Azur Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ - It would be hard pressed for a consumer to not find something the liked among this variety, and even those who are not fans of citrus won't be able to argue with the composition of scents. Each scent has an appropriate amount of sillage, and the longevity to match. Atelier Colognes truly proves they understand the creation of a mass-market, mass-appeal collection, while still maintaining the feeling of personalized service you find with boutique brands. Shop the collection here
Mandarine Glacial: ♦♦♦♦ - The most likely to appeal to all consumers from the collection. Smells divine, wears forever and is just strong enough for your to catch a sniff of yourself every so often and think, "wow". My personal choice for best of the set. Buy it here
Sud Magnolia: ♦♦♦♦ - Floral, feminine, most likely to appeal to women who prefer this type of scent on an everyday basis. It is potent, but never too strong, and unlike some florals never goes "granny" on the skin. My favorite for personal use. Buy it here.
Figuier Ardent: ♦♦♦ - The lightest sillage, and shortest longevity, of the group, most likely to appeal to consumers who don't want a scent that could be offensive. This will work nicely in close quarters such as offices, because it is light and fresh while still separating the wearer from the pack. My personal choice for best year-round. Buy it here.
Cèdre Atlas: ♦♦♦ - The scent you want your man to wear, ladies, I promise. Most likely to appeal to consumers looking to buy a masculine gift, this scent stands out for its excellent longevity and potent sillage. Perfect for a guy, or a gal who prefers scents marketed towards men, it is sexy, yet comfortable at the same time. My personal choice for best mass appeal. Buy it here.

Finally, finally it is done and I hope it was done well. This set deserves the love, and even if I hadn't gotten it as a point perk, I would purchase all four of these scents myself. If you have an Atelier Cologne and you love it, or if one of these scents strikes your fancy, let me know in the comments below! I've tried a few other colognes from the brand, and would be happy to review them if there is interest! Until then, pleasant journeys~


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Posting Updates!

Hi all! So sorry for the complete and utter lack of updates recently. I have had really, really bad seasonal allergies, worse than I can ever remember having this time of year. I've felt cruddy, and more importantly, my sniffer has been on the fritz.

It's also been a busier month than I expected, due to an unplanned stay-cation, a vacation that will come earlier than anticipated, and working on other new and exciting projects. I'm certainly not unhappy with the activity, but piled on top of the allergies and my gastrointestinal problems, it gets exhausting, very quickly.

I should be able to resume normal posting on this blog within a week, although during that time I may have to revise the posting schedule, yet again, to give myself a little more wiggle room. I really want to do the full review on the Atelier Colognes Collection Azur, I want to do a haul and review on DarlingClandestine's summer scents, a s first impression on Ten Three Labs and a review on one of my faves - Tom Ford's Shanghai Lily, which I have a lovely 2mL sample vial here provided to me by a wonderful Tom Ford Beauty Specialist at Saks Fifth Avenue (I mentioned previously this is a scent on my must-have list). I don't currently have an series installments or video posts planned, but that could change any time!

So please give me your patience as I sort out my daily life, and posting will resume, well, post haste. In the meantime, shop for a new scent at one of my valued advertising partners?***


It won't be long until I see you again, and until that time, pleasant journeys~

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Friday, June 5, 2015

Episode 52: Five Favorite Citrus (or, Summer Zest!)

So I am really behind on posting, but due to my personal circumstances, I didn't get the posts researched or written. I am going to do the Five-For-All instead, and then a review tomorrow. I may film a video post for Saturday, but since there has been zero interest in a potential giveaway, I will continue to hoard perfume items, and do that at a later time - 100 posts? 1 year anniversary? We'll see.

Five Favorite Summer Citrus Scents

I've mentioned before how I don't care for citrus, but I also don't care for generalizations, so there are, in fact, citrus scents I enjoy. Summer is the perfect time to wear citrus. The heat makes the fragrances sparkle, and if you live in a humid climate,  a light cologne is perfect for cooling the skin and covering, well, one's natural scent. These are my five current favorites for Summer wear.

  1. Atelier Cologne, Cédrat Envirant: This woods-y, fresh scent tips to the masculine side, but is easy for women to wear, ass well. Sparkling cedrat (a fancy perfumier word for citron), line and bergamot make this scent easy to wear, but tonka and vetiver at the base ground it and give it enough warmth that even someone not particular fond of citrus can enjoy it.
  2. Acqua di Parma, Blu Mediterraneo Fico Di Amalfi: Another woody citrus, Fico Di Amalfi is one of my favorites from this collection because although it is a citrus, the warmth of the woods never let it be too fresh or too cool. Bergamot, citron and lemon on top are warmed by pink peppercorn, fig, cedarwood and benzoin for a scent that can be perfectly appropriate well into fall. 
  3. Jo Malone, Earl Grey & Cucumber: Umm, this is barely a citrus in my library of scents, but I guess the bergamot in the Earl Grey qualifies? This is an excellent scent if you just need a quick pick-me-up. The bergamot makes me happy, and cucumber (popular nineties ingredient that it is) is refreshing and slightly aquatic here. A somewhat sweet, musky base keeps this scent warm, not harsh, but the lasting power is low on me, even compared to other Jo Malone cologne scents.
  4.  Commodity, Mimosa: I'm straying, I know. I don't do well with pure citrus scents. I've talked about my love for Commodity scents before, and Mimosa is probably my favorite from the White collection (I do love it more than Tea, but I love them for different reasons). The citrus of the orange scents here (blood orange and mandarin, according to the ever so helpful internets) sparkle and fizz like the drink the scent is named after, and my favorite tonka bean with sweet, heady heliotrope making sure that the scent doesn't fly away. 
  5. Hermès, Un Jardin sur le Nil: I'm stretching now, I'm reeeeeally stretching. le Nil is probably one of the only scents with a grapefruit top note that I like - but it's sweet and somewhat fruity and has a gorgeous warm drydown, that I can forgive the insensitive choice of citrus. I kid, I kid, of course. I've mentioned my enjoyment of the Un Jardin collection by Hermès, and le Nil is one of my favorites. Definitely a nice line for fresh scents crafted in a quality deserving of it's brand.
Soooo... I mean, I've mentioned it before but I'd say this list makes it apparant, that citrus scents aren't really my bag baby. I have totally fallen in love with Atelier's Collection Azur, but since I will have a whole post reviewing that collection coming tomorrow, I left them out of this particular one. Another scent not included in this list is the ubiquitous 4711. This is the classic citrus scent, and a lot of people love it dearly. Here's the thing - I don't like citrus. I bought a bottle, in Germany, years and years ago. It was only ever a counter decoration until I lost it in a fire, with a good portion of my early perfume collection. If there is one thing I want my blog to emphasize, it is this - you don't have to like something just because it is a "classic" or because it is "popular" or because of it's "quality". You can like, or dislike, anything you want. I feel like perfumery, and perfume blogs tend to be elitist - but if you've only ever worn Bath & Body Works Coconut Lime Verbena/Breeze (one of my faves from the brand, I might add) as a citrus scent, that's okay. I've loved fragrance for 20 years, ten of those years as an adult who could pay for my own products, and there are still so many scents and brands I haven't tried, and even more that I never plan to try - either due to preference, or availability, or in a very few cases where I have had quite bad reactions to scent notes. My point is this, that I don't want anyone reading this blog to mistake me for an expert, or think that they have to be part of some club of experts to love perfume.

Wow, that went off on a tangent. You may also notice that no indie scents were included in this list, simply because I don't buy citrus-based indie scents. It represents too big of an investment for me, if I don't like them. So that's all, nothing personal. You've caught me on quite a bad day today, I daresay, so I hope I see you all tomorrow, in a much better mood. Pleasant journeys~