Sunday, December 29, 2013
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Thursday, December 26, 2013
It's that time of year again, and although I don't expect my taste in perfume to have changed too much since I've not been as avid a sampler as I'd once been, I've certainly discovered some new fragrances to adore that have joined my wardrobe. My permanent line-up consists of tried and true loves, with Creed Spring Flower, my all-season, all-occasion fresh Fruity Floral in the top tier; the others I love more seasonally but have stood the test of time. However, it's refreshing to keep my collection updated with new fragrances alongside my own choice of timeless classics.
There were a few additional scents worn throughout the year, as I can't even wear my favorites every day, but believe it or not, I have stuck to one or two favorites at a time more steadily than at any time since becoming a perfumista. It is possible to become a signature scentist more or less, if you're not looking to expand taste horizons, and opt to stay within your comfort zone.
It also helps if you've met the one(s) you know will always be your go-to, regardless of fashion, and oblivious to changing trends. After getting to know loads of different perfumes in all of the olfactive families and in different styles, I know I am a Floral person (mostly white flowers or a blend) who leans in other directions from time to time. Fruity Floral, Floral Oriental, Floral Aldehyde, Fougere Floral, Green Floral and straight up Floral: these seem to be my favorites since the beginning and as time goes by. I love the sweet notes, too: vanilla, tonka, amber. Which are your favorites?
1. Creed Spring Flower
2. Annick Goutal Gardenia Passion
3. Yves Saint Laurent Manifesto
4. Creed Fleurissimo
5. BCBG Max Azria Bon Chic
6. Prada Amber pour Homme
7. Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur
8. Jean Patou Joy
9. Serge Lutens Gris Clair
10. L'Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons
Hall of Fame: Christian Dior Poison Esprit de Parfum
Best New Launch of 2013: Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido La Fille de Berlin
Fragrance of the Year: Yves Saint Laurent Manifesto
As I've said before, I haven't sampled a great deal this year, but thanks to Serge Lutens, it seems I will need to read A Woman in Berlin now. I'm also feeling personally amused that the purple hourglass bottle and box packaging concept for YSL Manifesto looks so much like G by Giorgio Beverly Hills, one of the first perfumes handpicked for me. Now, once you've smelled almost everything there is to smell, and there are few mysteries left, you can delve into brand new fields of leisurely study as I have this year, like the fun and carefree, super laid back world of nail polish. Please visit my PINK MANHATTAN @ Tumblr account where I plan to post my Top 10 list of favorite nail polish shades, to be compiled before 2013 is over (I'll update you soon). Best Wishes in 2014, darlings!
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Monday, December 23, 2013
I opened an early Christmas perfume gift to myself (it was an inexpensive add-on to get free shipping for another fragrance purchase), a very nice, sweet Floral in a wild-looking Barbie pink bottle called Paris Hilton Sheer (2007). This is the version I'd tried before that I liked, a follow-up to the original pheromone-infused Paris Hilton fragrance of 2004. Three years can make a huge difference in scent technology; while the main composition is essentially the same--a sweet, traditionally feminine white floral blended with apple notes, full-bodied and very American a la Gale Hayman Delicious and Fred Hayman 273, the Haymans being creators of Giorgio Beverly Hills, respectively, the Sheer version is definitely lighter, crisper, and noticeably ozonic (post Eternity airy-musky).
Although I'm afraid of the final dry down phase turning on me the way the original did, it's been well-behaved so far, with no animalic surprise elements to speak of. If you're interested in this fragrance, look for the word "Sheer" under Paris Hilton's name on the bottle and box. Otherwise, the packaging for both 2004 and 2007 versions is identical.
One of my New Year's resolutions is to phase out coffee and other food items containing acrylamide (not completely, but enough to hopefully make a difference). As I was doing some online research about different kinds of tea I hope to try in 2014, I came upon this interesting article that breaks down global coffee vs tea drinkers by countries.
From The Economist: "EXACTLY 240 years ago today, uppity colonists barely disguised as Mohawk Indians defied the crown and ruined the private property of English merchants by dumping 342 chests of perfectly good tea into Boston harbour. This illegal act, known as the Boston Tea Party, was part of a small rebellion that eventually led to independence and to today's Tea Party movement. Americans now quaff three tmes more coffee than tea, according to Euromonitor, a research firm. Throughout most of the West, the bean bests the leaf. Yet the British consume three times as much tea as coffee, despite an invasion by the American Starbucks..." Read the article: The coffee insurgency The global rivalry of bean versus leaf - Dec. 16, 2013 The Economist
Saturday, December 21, 2013
"Ceiling Mosaic -Christus helios, the mosaic of Sol in Mausoleum M, which is interpreted as Christ-Sol (Christ as the Sun). Detail of vault mosaic in the Mausoleum of the Julii. From the necropolis under St. Peter's Mid-3rd century Grotte Vaticane, Rome. Mosaic of the Vatican grottoes under St. Peter's Basilica, on the ceiling of the tomb of the Julii.v Representation of Christ as the sun-god Helios or Sol Invictus riding in his chariot. Dated to the 3rd century AD. "Early Christian and pagan beliefs are combined in this third century mosaic of Christ as a sun-god. The triumphant Christ/god, with rays shooting from his head, is pulled aloft by two rearing horses in his chariot. The Dionysian vines in the background become the vines of Christ." Title: Christ as Sol Invictus Late 3rd century
"The First Apology" by St. Justin Martyr, an early Christian, quotes Psalm 19:5-6, a verse that was very popular with early Christians. It was associated with the ancient Christian custom of praying toward the East, the direction of Christ's Ascension and second coming, instead of toward Jerusalem as Jews did: "And hear how it was foretold concerning those who published His doctrine and proclaimed His appearance, the above-mentioned prophet and king [David] speaking thus by the Spirit of prophecy. "....In the sun has He set His tabernacle, and he as a bridegroom going out of his chamber shall rejoice as a giant to run his course." Christ was also associated with "the Sun of justice with its healing rays", a Messianic image from Malachi 3:20." Christ as Sol
"Sol Invictus ("Unconquered Sun") was the official sun god of the later Roman Empire and a patron of soldiers. In 274 the Roman emperor Aurelian made it an official cult alongside the traditional Roman cults. Scholars disagree whether the new deity was a refoundation of the ancient Latin cult of Sol, a revival of the cult of Elagabalus or completely new. The god was favored by emperors after Aurelian and appeared on their coins until Constantine. The last inscription referring to Sol Invictus dates to 387 AD and there were enough devotees in the 5th century that Augustine found it necessary to preach against them.
"The idea, particularly popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, that the date of 25 December for Christmas was selected in order to correspond with the Roman festival of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, or "Birthday of the Unconquered Sun", is challenged today." Sol Invictus
"Since 1970, the rule for the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church is: "The Epiphany of the Lord is celebrated on 6 January, unless, where it is not observed as a Holy day of obligation, it has been assigned to the Sunday occurring between 2 and 8 January."
"In the Church of England also, the feast may be celebrated on the Sunday between January 2 and 8 inclusive  although the official date of epiphany in the UK is always January 6. (...) In the Episcopal Church in the United States, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord is always the Sunday after January 6.
"Alternative names for the feast include (τα) Θεοφάνια, Theophany as neuter plural rather than feminine singular, η Ημέρα των Φώτων, i Imera ton Foton (modern Greek pronunciation), hē hēmera tōn phōtōn (restored classic pronunciation), "The Day of the Lights", and τα Φώτα, ta Fota, "The Lights".
"The earliest reference to Epiphany as a Christian feast was in A.D. 361, by Ammianus Marcellinus. St. Epiphanius says that January 6 is hemera genethlion toutestin epiphanion (Christ's "Birthday; that is, His Epiphany"). He also asserts that the Miracle at Cana occurred on the same calendar day." Epiphany on Wikipedia
"Although probably the best-known Roman holiday, Saturnalia as a whole is not described from beginning to end in any single ancient source. Modern understanding of the festival is pieced together from several accounts dealing with various aspects. The Saturnalia was the dramatic setting of the multivolume work of that name by Macrobius, a Latin writer from late antiquity who is the major source for information about the holiday. In one of the interpretations in Macrobius's work, Saturnalia is a festival of light leading to the winter solstice, with the abundant presence of candles symbolizing the quest for knowledge and truth. The renewal of light and the coming of the new year was celebrated in the later Roman Empire at the Dies Natalis of Sol Invictus, the "Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun," on December 25." Saturnalia on Wikipedia
"The original date of the celebration in Eastern Christianity was January 6, in connection with Epiphany, and that is still the date of the celebration for the Armenian Apostolic Church and in Armenia, where it is a public holiday. As of 2013, there is a difference of 13 days between the modern Gregorian calendar and the older Julian calendar. Those who continue to use the Julian calendar or its equivalents thus celebrate December 25 and January 6, which on the Gregorian calendar translate as January 7 and January 19. For this reason, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eriteria, Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Serbia, the Republic of Macedonia, and the Republic of Moldova celebrate Christmas on what in the Gregorian calendar is January 7. Eastern Orthodox Churches in Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Antioch, Alexandria, Albania, Finland, and the Orthodox Church in America celebrate Christmas on December 25 in the revised Julian calendar, corresponding to December 25 also in the Gregorian calendar.
"Many popular customs associated with Christmas developed independently of the commemoration of Jesus' birth, with certain elements having origins in pre-Christian festivals that were celebrated around the winter solstice by pagan populations who were later converted to Christianity. These elements, including the Yule log from Yule and gift giving from Saturnalia, became syncretized into Christmas over the centuries. The prevailing atmosphere of Christmas has also continually evolved since the holiday's inception, ranging from a sometimes raucous, drunken, carnival-like state in the Middle Ages, to a tamer family-oriented and children-centered theme introduced in a 19th-century reformation. Additionally, the celebration of Christmas was banned on more than one occasion within certain Protestant groups, such as the Puritans, due to concerns that it was too pagan or unbiblical." Christmas
"Yule or Yuletide ("Yule time") is a religious festival observed by the historical Germanic peoples, later being absorbed into and equated with the Christian festival of Christmas. The earliest references to Yule are by way of indigenous Germanic month names (Ærra Jéola (Before Yule) or Jiuli and Æftera Jéola (After Yule). Scholars have connected the celebration to the Wild Hunt, the god Odin and the pagan Anglo-Saxon Modranicht." Yule on Wikipedia
"The Christkind (German "Christ-child", pronounced [kstknt]) is the traditional Christmas gift-bringer in regions of Austria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, parts of Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Portugal, Switzerland, Slovakia, Hungary, France, Upper-Silesia in Poland, parts of Hispanic America, in certain areas of southern Brazil and in the Acadiana region of Louisiana. In Italian, it is called Gesù Bambino, in Portuguese Menino Jesus ("Jesus Boy"), in Hungarian Jézuska ("Little Jesus"), in Slovak Ježiško ("Little Jesus"), in Czech Ježíšek ("Little Jesus"), in Latin America "Nino Dios" ("God Child") and in Croatian Isusić ("Little Jesus").
"Promulgated by Martin Luther, explicitly to discourage the figure of St. Nicholas, at the Protestant Reformation in 16th-17th-century Europe, many Protestants changed the gift bringer to the Christ Child or Christkindl, and the date of giving gifts changed from December 6 to Christmas Eve. A gift-bringer familiar to children in Central Europe, the Christkind bears little resemblance to the infant of Bethlehem.  The Christkind was adopted in Catholic areas during the 19th century, while it began to be gradually replaced by a more or less secularized version of Saint Nicholas, the Weihnachtsmann (Father Christmas, Santa Claus) in Protestant regions.
"The Christkind is a sprite-like child, usually depicted with blond hair and angelic wings. Martin Luther intended it to be a reference to the incarnation of Jesus as an infant. Sometimes the Christ Child is, instead of the infant Jesus, interpreted as a specific angel bringing the presents, as it appears in some processions together with an image of little Jesus Christ. It seems also to be rooted in the Alsatian-born myth of a child bringing gifts to the baby Jesus.  Children never see the Christkind in person, and parents tell them that Christkind will not come and bring presents if they are curious and try to spot it. The family enters the living room, where the Christmas tree has been put up, for the opening of presents (the Bescherung) when the parents say that they think that the Christkind who has brought the presents has now left again. In some traditions, the departure is announced by the ringing of a small bell, which the parents pretend to have heard or which is secretly done by one of the adults in the family.
"Since the 1990s, the Christkind is facing increasing competition from the Weihnachtsmann in the American version of Santa Claus, caused by the use of Santa Claus as an advertising figure." Christkind - Wikipedia
Monday, December 16, 2013
I thought I had tried Paris Hilton perfume before and rather liked it, but maybe it was the sheer version, which looks exactly the same except for the word "Sheer" under the name. I don't like the dry down on the sample of this original 2004 release that I'm smelling right now. The original Paris Hilton is reputed to contain pheromones in it. Is that the raunchy stank I'm smelling? It's so smelly, it woke me up in the middle of my sleep; it's permeated my pillowcase and won't leave my skin. Scientists don't believe in extractable human pheromones...and the ads promoting pheromones I know are bs when they urge women in their 40s to use them to reclaim the sexuality they had in their 20s. Women's sexual prime doesn't start till 35. I'm not dissing Paris Hilton's perfume because of some personal vendetta against someone I don't even know. I think any perfumista looking for the skankiest perfume possible should forget about Serge Lutens Muscs Kublai Khan, L'Artisan Parfumeur Jacinthe de Bois, Penhaligon's Bluebell and anything else I've ever thought to be animalic or indolic and just go for the PH. The scent in the bottle is pretty: a tuberose floral, fruity and sweet, like BCBG Max Azria Bon Chic and Gale Hayman Delicious put together. There's apple here, too, like YOSH U4Reahh...nice. The dry down is a pure body odor mess. Did Parlux make it smell this indolic for a reason? Is it just that tuberose notes found in so many perfumes, from Michael Kors Very Hollywood to Carolina Herrera, can actually smell this bad? I should have heeded the B.O. warning when it started smelling like bananas on me, sort of how Child perfume turns on me, except that doesn't turn into saliva and other secretion smells. I don't know whether to call Paris Hilton a failure or an utter work of genius.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
"Axel F", the theme from Beverly Hills Cop starring Eddie Murphy, hit number 1 on the pop chart back in the day. It was the reason I was motivated to practice playing keyboards, and how I got into Herbie Hancock, who I just learned is often miscredited for writing it. The composer of the funky keyboards (Roland/Moog/Yamaha DX-7) / LinnDrum synth masterpiece is named Harold Faltermeyer. My apologies for not clearing up my own misinformation before I blogged about it on my music blog.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
When I say "This is one of two colognes I want my man to wear," of course I'm exaggerating; I would never mind him in Chanel Les Exclusifs Eau de Cologne, Creed Millesime Imperial or even liberal splashes of 4711 for that matter (liberal because it's a great inexpensive scent that never lasts). However, if I'm going to gift him with one designer fragrance that I intend to buy enough of so he never runs out, it would have to be Prada Cologne for Men, aka Prada Amber pour Homme. It is my favorite men's fragrance right now, and that's not an exaggeration.
We both like the YSL L'Homme, don't get me wrong, but this Prada for Men is everything: clean (I love neroli-bergamot--very 4711), and just a bit woody-vanillic but not exceedingly gourmand sweet, just nuzzly warm like the Canoe he used to like back in the day but high end, and not so powdery-musky. It's also a bit aquatic, like his beloved and trusted Acqua di Gio (original), but even I can deal with the "manly cologne smell" and wear this. Prada for Men is a true new classic, on par with another once-beloved signature of his, Chanel pour Monsieur.
Prada for Men was launched in 2006. I would have tested it sooner had I not heard so much about Prada Amber for Women being patchouli-heavy and geared for women who dislike sweet, flirty scents. The Men's is more my type of scent: very citric fresh yet subtly ambery with a dry, lightly wooded dry down. It reminds me of Tom Ford Neroli Portofino, too, but with something deeper and a bit more complex going on. Fear not; I still prefer my cologne like I prefer my men: safe.
And why yes, I like fresh (flirty) smells, and can safely say I love this because it smells pleasant and also very importantly, unobtrusive! If you love someone, please get this for him and by all means share it with him and with all the world!
According to the perfume ad copy, George Takei's shared fragrance, Eau My..."will delight you when dry." Eau My George Takei: Fragrance With a Hint of Hikaru Sulu - Next Gadgets
Monday, December 09, 2013
Sunday, December 08, 2013
Friday, December 06, 2013
Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme is one of two Men's fragrances that I want my guy to wear forever and ever (and ditch the obnoxious Bleu de Chanel--no more Brut/Axe type fougeres!). This one seems to go especially well with his handsomely tailored wool winter coat, new and devoid of strong, unwanted yesterday's cologne. Woody (Sephora lists both "cedar" and "cedarwood"), a little vanillic sweet with tonka, a little hesperidic with classic bergamot, and green with violet leaves, the initial impression is that of a modernized, slightly gourmand Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel, Christian Dior Fahrenheit or Creed Green Irish Tweed.
It smells unmistakably like a Men's cologne but women can easily wear this warm and dry, slightly musky but very upscale, gentle and elegant scent. I have yet to find a cologne that smells this delicious in a woody men's scent, especially one so Green--it doesn't seem to overwhelm me at all, even in close quarters (still, one big spray will do on most days; it's gentle but has presence).
I'm wearing some now and I really enjoy it, but my true hope is that he can wear this, and I can be his YSL counterpart in Manifesto for Women, also redolent of vanillic tonka within the context of a gentle, clean and modern citric musk accord. The Men's is a little floral, but the Women's is even more so, although discreetly and in a powdery "skin scent" way, like Chanel Les Exclusifs Beige. That puts L'Homme in perspective; it could be conceptualized as a "skin scent" woody floral musk for Men, like "Beige Intense."
Launched in 2006, Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme has several flankers now that might also be worth checking out.
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Literally fit for royalty, Creed fragrances make superior gifts for the ladies and gents who have it all. I'm a devoted lover of Spring Flower, Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie and Fleurissimo, perhaps predictable choices for a Floral / Vanilla (amber) / Fruity fragrance fan, but not everyone shares my olfactory taste. How well do you know your giftee? Visit Creed boutique's online SCENT FINDER: BROWSE BY CLASSIFICATION - Select a scent classification to display its details and associated fragrances. creedboutique.com
This Lancôme Vernis in Love Happy Holidays collection is going to get me into textured nail polishes after all. Who can resist snow cone nails? Those PR photos on the fabulous nail polish blogs have shown the most ice queen-worthy nails I've ever seen. The space age-looking and densely sparkly (with rainbow / holographic glitter) titanium / silver Neige Argent is also cool; what a fun, versatile duo for lacquer lovers of any age. Lancôme nail polish In Love in Flacon Blanc and Neige Argent, lancome.com
I also wanted to feature some traditional, modest gift ideas for Christmastime such as hand-milled soaps, books or holiday votive candles, and wanted to take this opportunity to share that flameless candles are now available in many different styles, both scented and unscented, safe and ideal for gift-giving. I don't have particular ones to recommend, but I also have to share this beautiful blog where you can see the author's many creative uses for flameless candles: Daily Thing of Beauty: Crowns - Swede - Celebrating Euro Style Interiors and Gardens 12/29/2012
Here's more eye candy: Decorating for the Holidays: Unusual Ornaments, 12/9/2010
Finally, do you need a gag gift? Here's something funny yet practical (arguably). Although I haven't read through the whole Japanese slanguage book, I can tell you teaching relatively close pronunciation without proper intonation is only so helpful. These pronunciations are difficult for native speakers to understand in real life. Nevertheless, some knowledge beats none; the use of pictorials is a smart teaching and learning technique. Mildly stereotypical images (faux Japanese hair bun) might amuse the ironic hipsters in your life:
Slanguage Language Learning Books by Mike Ellis, available at The Lakeside Collection: "Start out on the path to speaking a foreign language with Slanguage Language Learning Books. Illustrated prompts help make it easy to master simple phrases and commonly used terms. Books have chapters like Greetings and Responses; Adjectives; Family, Food and Restaurants; Labor; Law Enforcement; Health and Medicine; and Travel and Tourism. Softcover books are easy to carry with you on the road." lakeside.com
Enjoy, and Season's Greetings!