Monday, August 26, 2013

A Paean to the Cassette Tape

"Antiquated as they may seem, tapes were once both an important adjunct of teenage dating rituals and a staple of rock-show bootleg culture." Read the article: A Paean to the Cassette Tape By Jennifer Vineyard, Aug 25, 2013 New York Magazine

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Disney Collection (Ariel) Kiss the Girl by Sephora

I had such a pleasant time at a Sephora in the boroughs today that I ended up feeling extra spendy; I really wanted to get the Disney Ariel Collection storybook makeup kit for my daughter (she liked the shade Atlantica), but they were sold out of the limited edition item, so I got her a sparkly green NARS (edited: sorry, Urban Decay--if you're interested, the color is Freak) pencil instead, to wear at tomorrow's rock band show where she will be singing. As for me, I wanted a rollerball of Kiss the Girl perfume in the same line of Disney products by Sephora, but I was told by the sweet salesperson/makeup artist that they didn't carry it, and that if they had, she would have bought one, too. Luckily, the perfume was available for testing from a 1.7 fl. oz. bottle with a rhinestone collar on a turquoise band.

As you might have guessed based on the advertisement images from Sephora TV, these Disney by Sephora products are not really meant for little kids, but rather young adults and the general public that likes this sort of dreamy, sparkly thing. I usually do not go for turquoise glitter to wear myself, but I was as drawn to their take on the mermaid theme as my young daughter was. I thought the packaging was very nicely done, from the storybook palette to the compact mirror, and the fragrance packaging was no exception.

The listed notes include ambergris which I didn't catch, but at first whiff, I detected a coconut oil scent, the same one I find in many fragrances following Ralph Lauren Ralph Hot. This note lends a beachy atmosphere, but the overall composition is a light and fresh Marine Floral with melon-y accents of wet cucumber which makes it smell green, and a white floral musk redolent of lilies as I find in Chloe Eau de Parfum and Illuminum White Gardenia Petals, Kate Middleton's wedding fragrance. If I'm to choose what Kiss the Girl most resembles, I'd say it's the latter. In fact, all of these resemble Geir Ness Laila, which was (or perhaps still is) sold at Disney shops.

Perfumistas with an affinity for heavier fragrances will not care for such a sheer floral delight, but the depth of white flowers and sensuous coconut-ambery base notes might turn some people over to the lighter side of seduction. I always wish I can create a scent like this--pleasing for many people of all ages, something that's both well-mannered and effervescent, while being alluring in a not-too-obvious way. I just might go back and splurge on the full bottle.

From Sephora:
NOTES: Bergamot, Wet Cucumber, Ozonic Accord, Water Notes, Wild Lilac, Starfruit, White Musk, Sandalwood, Ambergris

STYLE: Alluring. Romantic. Confident.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Kids Rock the Plaza - Sam Ash presents Fred Kimmel's Rock Band 101, Studio Noir, Beyond Rock

Fred Kimmel's Rock Band 101 and 2 other kid bands will play on the steps of Long Beach City Hall. 1 Chester Street Long Beach, NY

Sam Ash Music presents Fred Kimmel's Rock Band 101
Ben Noir's Studio Noir featuring Ballistic w/ Jack Plunkett
Beyond Rock w/ Archdeacon

Saturday, August 24, 2013 from 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

\m/ See you there!!!!! \m/

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gioia, Acqua di Gioia Eau Fraiche

The new scent technology at Sephora that lets you smell digitally sampled perfumes released in the air is truly remarkable, but I'm glad they still offer liquid samples to try on your skin. Perfume shopping is like dating in that it requires that I can live with a scent before I commit to it. Today, I finally tested the offspring of Giorgio Armani's iconic Acqua di Gio, a fresh marine floral called Acqua di Gioia. At first sniff on paper and from the bottle, I smelled something akin to Creed Spring Flower, a longstanding favorite of mine, a fresh floral on a cedar base, with fruity accents of melon, apple and a touch of peach. I knew I liked Acqua di Gioia from the start, but it still needed a test run to see if my initial impression was correct.

On the skin, the scent turns a bit candied and powdery sweet, almost like Pez candy as a backdrop to the light floral blend. I like this stage very much, but the scent progresses into a more obviously aqueous scent with high pitched sportif-like notes. I did however detect the Spring Flower-like elements at the end, primarily a cedary base note and a pleasant heart of white flowers: jasmine Sambac, and borrowing from Acqua di Gio, its mother scent, peony.

I think this is one of the loveliest Marine scents out there, and would recommend it to lovers of other fresh florals like Versace Bright Crystal. By the way, there is an Eau Fraiche version of Acqua di Gioia (the ad features leaves arranged like sunbursts) that smells very similar to it but with slightly more citrus (to my nose redolent of grapefruit).

Einstein Might Be Wrong

Death By Black Hole Firewall Incineration It Shall Be By Jennifer Ouellette, Dec. 26, 2012 Discovery News

"This time, they say, Einstein might really be wrong." A Black Hole Mystery Wrapped in a Firewall Paradox By Dennis Overbye, August 12, 2013 The New York Times

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Yardley Oh! de London

Yardley Oh! de London was born in 1965. I have only smelled the reformulated version by Tuvache, so I can't properly review the fragrance except to say it's a green Aldehydic Floral with a skin cream-like character, along the lines of Paco Rabanne Calandre (1969), Lancome Climat (1967) and Mary Quant Havoc (1974), all perfumes that followed in 1962 Guerlain Chant d'Aromes' mossy "paradise island" footsteps (following in 1946 Carven Ma Griffe's debutante footsteps as per the perfumer, so the story goes). The oakmoss gives the perfumes of the era an outdoorsy and natural, damp autumn leaves-type of feel, that when combined with other notes can smell like Nivea skin cream. I love the ad featuring Jean Shrimpton!

The official notes included jasmine, rosebuds and young clover.

Last edited at 7:58 PM

Victoria by Victoria's Secret

Behati Prinsloo for Victoria's Secret Victoria

The notes listed are red berries, Victoria rose and creme brulee, but what I smell is something akin to a mango or papaya with dry, fresh ozone; it reminds me of many other perfumes like it, such as Philosophy Love Sweet Love, Ed Hardy and Escada Sexy Graffiti. The tartness should go over well with most people, as it seems geared toward young people and the occasional perfume wearers. It's pleasant, it captures the nose at first whiff, and the cakey gourmand element isn't as prominent as the fruity part, especially in the beginning. I have yet to detect any rose in it, though.

There's a picture of the eau de parfum on a polaroid picture on the inside of the sample jacket. I guess the pinstripe theme reminds me vaguely of something like Oh! de London. Were they going for the 1960s look?

Victoria rollerball fragrance (pictured on the left) and Victoria Eau de Toilette (pictured at lower right)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

My Midsummer 2013 Top 10 Fragrance List

The cream of the crop among the white florals which happen to be my ultimate favorite genre of fragrances is this beautiful beachy gardenia called Annick Goutal Gardénia Passion, created by pianist-perfumer Annick Goutal after being inspired by her trip to Japan. Even though I say it's beachy, I generally describe white florals as such; the sweet and creamy olfactive texture can be compared to the scent of coconut oil or milk, evocative of the tropics. My guess is that the perfumer had visited a subtropical region where gardenias were in bloom during her visit. In actuality, Gardenia Passion is both beachy-creamy and nature-oriented green, intensely floral but with a subtle oakmoss base giving it a foresty feel, very much evocative of a Japanese garden as the perfumer intended.

Gardenias are among my favorite white flowers, a note I use in my own perfume creations. This summer, I'm rediscovering my beloved gardenia and related tuberose perfumes from the past, those I've loved and worn extensively yet inexplicably stopped wearing, such as the now empty bottle of Creed Fleurissimo I have yet to replace in my wardrobe. I'm also getting myself fully acquainted and in tune with the new breed of rose fragrances on the market, Van Cleef and Arpels Féerie Rose des Neiges (a limited edition holiday scent from 2011) and this year's stunner by the venerable House of Serge Lutens, La Fille de Berlin. All in all, it's been a good perfume year for me, one in which I've both discovered new things to love and old things to newly appreciate again.

Inspired by a recent perfume article in a magazine, I had a brief affair with the skin scents, ranging from the new creamy florals a la See by Chloe to the fresh aquatic 1990 classic Acqua di Gio (plus I always have Kenzo Amour on stand-by), but my fragrance mood has veered toward florals and more traditionally perfumey fare in lieu of musks evocative of young nude skin. For me, the white floral scents are fleshy enough skin scents, and delectable enough to enjoy like elegant edible flowers. We're still in midsummer here in NY, where the average temperature has dropped compared to July, and the nights are noticeably cooler, but there are plenty of days left to do all those summery things; I've been to the country, the pool, and now I'm hoping to spend some time at a beach where I can waft my white florals and salty / spicy roses (my beach roses) to my heart's content.

My Midsummer Top 10:

1. Annick Goutal Gardenia Passion
2. Van Cleef and Arpels Feerie Rose des Neiges
3. Creed Fleurissimo
4. Chloe Eau de Parfum
5. Guerlain L'Heure Bleue
6. L'Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons
7. BCBG Max Azria Bon Chic
8. Cartier Panthere
9. Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin
10. Serge Lutens Gris Clair

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Outrage Over an Antigay Law Does Not Spread to Olympic Officials

From NYTimes: (...)"Just as Russia now prohibits “propaganda” in support of “nontraditional” sexual orientation, the Olympic charter prohibits athletes from making political gestures during the Winter and Summer Games.

"So it is entirely possible that any bobsledder or skier wearing a pin, patch or T-shirt in support of gay rights could be sent home from Sochi, not by Russian authorities, but by another group that suppresses expression: the International Olympic Committee.

"Would the I.O.C. inflict such a public-relations disaster on itself? Perhaps not. But Olympic officials worldwide, including those in the United States, along with NBC and corporate sponsors, have put themselves and athletes in an awkward position by only tepidly opposing the Russian law that bans “homosexual propaganda.”

"Blake Skjellerup, a short-track speedskater from New Zealand, has said he plans to wear a gay-pride pin in Sochi; if he gets into trouble, “so be it.” Harvey Fierstein, the playwright and actor, has called for a boycott of the Winter Games. Gay rights activists in New York and elsewhere have urged the removal of Russian vodka from bars.

"Olympic sponsors like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s also have been publicly muted. In effect, they are underwriting the Games in Sochi that contradict their own corporate policies against discrimination.

"Perhaps the strongest statement came several days ago from Richard Carrion, an I.O.C. delegate from Puerto Rico who is trying to succeed Rogge as president. In the future, Carrion said, nondiscrimination should be a condition for hosting the Olympic Games.

"But that will be too late for Sochi." Read the article: Outrage Over an Antigay Law Does Not Spread to Olympic Officials - By JERÉ LONGMAN, August 6, 2013 The New York Times

Related article: From ibtimes: "Actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein stirred the pot with a now-viral July 21 op-ed in the New York Times claiming Putin had “declared war on homosexuals” and that “the world has mostly been silent.” “Just six months before Russia hosts the 2014 Winter Games, Mr. Putin signed a law allowing police officers to arrest tourists and foreign nationals they suspect of being homosexual, lesbian or ‘pro-gay’ and detain them for up to 14 days,” he wrote. “Contrary to what the International Olympic Committee says, the law could mean that any Olympic athlete, trainer, reporter, family member or fan who is gay --or suspected of being gay, or just accused of being gay --can go to jail.”" Boycott The Olympics? Sochi 2014 Becomes Unlikely Platform for Gay Rights Debate by Mark Johanson, July 26, 2013 International Business Times

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Nagasaki’s Catholic heritage

"Nagasaki was first evangelized in 1549 by Jesuit missionaries from Portugal, led by the Spanish Jesuit St. Francis Xavier, who arrived in Nagasaki on August 15, the feast day of the Assumption of Mary. Providentially, perhaps, exactly four hundred years later in Nagasaki on August 15, 1949—and exactly four years after Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945—there would be a great celebration of Japan’s evangelization by this great preacher, with high Church officials and a delegate from Pope Pius XII in attendance. The coincidence of these three “Assumption events” is quite striking and, as we shall see, not isolated." Read the article: The Catholic Holocaust of Nagasaki—“Why, Lord?” by Brother Anthony Josemaria,

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Balenciaga Florabotanica

I haven't worn Balenciaga perfumes very much in my lifetime, although I have sought them out to try: Le Dix, Michelle, the new house signature and flanker, and probably my favorite among them, Florabotanica. Green is the operative word, the leaves and mint creating an aura reminiscent of galbanum; I picture an ivory white rose so verdant in its center, it competes with the color of its leaves and stem. It's a clean yet somewhat perfumey floral-soap accord; I often refer to a scratch-and-sniff perfume in the pages of a Japanese magazine when I was growing up, a scent I find from time to time in Issey Miyake perfumes and a handful of others, but I detect it in Florabotanica as well.

Fresh and bright, not very sweet but not without the nectar that makes a flower an irresistible thing of beauty, Florabotanica is a lovely balance between a salty beach skin scent with its hint of fresh air, and a citric green floral along the lines of Escada Lily Chic. The rose note is slightly warm, modern and comparable to many of the new guards including See by Chloe.

Incidentally, I love Lily Chic, a crisp green scent that smells like a bouquet of fruits, flowers, meadows and a summer breeze. Florabotanica is all that plus extra tree sap, a bit vegetal like the main accord in L'Artisan Parfumeur D'Humeur Jalouse (Jealous Mood). If Green Florals are your bet, try Florabotanica and these others, too.

Related articles:

Pierre Balmain Vent Vert - PINK MANHATTAN February 8, 2008

Prescriptives Calyx - PINK MANHATTAN March 5, 2008

Escada Lily Chic