Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 Christmas Hauls for a Happy New Year :)

I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday season!  Mine has been festive, blessed and lovely - filled with good food, friends and family. Everyone is healthy and happy, and my baby gifts me with smiles and giggles daily. There is truly nothing else I could ask for. But, it just so happens that we are a gift giving family, so I had to come up with a list! :)

This year I had a really fun Christmas, for two reasons. It was my first Christmas as a mother and my first Christmas as a lover of perfume! It was super fun to watch Walden rip through wrapping paper (he's too young to be excited about the presents, but he sure loved tearing up the paper) and it was also really exciting to unwrap my gifts! Everything on my list (except for 1 scarf) was scented - 2 candles, one FB and a slew of samples to keep me going for a long time. I can't remember the last time I exhibited childhood glee at opening gifts! Here's a breakdown of my haul, thanks to the warm generosity of my family.


Every year we draw names for our gift-giving and we provide fairly specific lists (often times a list of links!) - so in many ways we have a pretty clear idea of what we're getting before Christmas comes. However, one thing that made opening gifts this year so fun was the special surprise element - promotions with purchase and samples! For instance, I ended up getting 4 mini diptyque candles (Noisetier, Myrrh x2, Feu de Bois) thanks to holiday promotions by luckyscent and diptyque.

My biggest gift was the full bottle of Do Son, EDP - my love. YAY!! So amaaaazing. My MIL also took advantage of the luckyscent diptyque promotion, which scored 4 official samples plus one of the above duos of candle minis. The *only* thing I could possibly be disappointed about was the samples (NOT that I have any room to complain about free samples!!!). There are so many diptyque scents I want to try, but this time around I didn't get samples for any of them. The 4 official samples I got were Do Son EDT, L'Ombre dans l'Eau, Tam Dao and L'Eau de Neroli. I'm not super interested in the Do Son EDT (as I just got a FB of the EDP), and I already have samples of L'ombre EDP and EDT as well. 

Nicely, luckyscent also threw in 4 *more* diptyque samples, but they gave me another Do Son EDT and L'Ombre dans l'Eau EDT - so I guess they really want me to try those! Haha. They also gave me Oyedo and L'Eau des Hesperides. Sadly I already have a sample of Oyedo, so despite getting 8(!!) diptyque samples, only 3 are actually new for me. Oh well! I did give one of the Do Son samples to my sister-in-law since she seemed to really like the EDP on me. Perhaps it'll spark a love.

luckyscent pack
I was lucky enough to receive two diptyque candles - Santal and Violette. Santal smells heavenly!! Warm and rich and woody and sophisticated. Violette also smells really good, but it smells a little different than what I remembered from my trip to Nordstrom. That was a little disappointing, but I probably built up the memory too much in my head. It still smells really nice and I'm excited to burn it. I think the scent might also fit the new style of our DIY bathroom renovation. Needless to say, I'm in candle heaven!

I'm also in sample heaven - who knows when I'll even get to wearing my bottle of Do Son! I got the ridiculously cute Ineke Scent Library featuring Angel's Trumpet, Poet's Jasmine, Scarlet Larkspur, Sweet William and Briar Rose. It came in what I consider basically the best packaging ever. I love love love the old book design and the descriptive postcards tucked within. It completely fits the style of our 1911 farmhouse, and I'll probably display it somewhere. I accidentally ended up with 2 of these (I had also asked for the Ineke Deluxe Sample Collection vol 5).  I'm hoping I'll be able to exchange one for the other sampler for more Ineke fun!

is this not the cutest perfume 'book' ever?
Continuing with the sampler packs, I also received the full set of 17 Atelier samples - which was also packaged oh so nicely. I love the gorgeous postcards and can't wait to try them all.

My hubby got me a short subscription to Olfactif, which will keep the samples coming for a few months. The set looks really nice, and December's package was Vanilla themed. Included this month were Dame Perfumery Scottsdale's Black Flower Mexican Vanilla, Xerjoff's Lira, DSH Perfumes' Vanille. It was perfect timing because I've been on the hunt for some more great vanilla scents!

He also ordered me a lone sample of Hiram Green Moon Bloom. I am dying to experience it for myself!

Lastly, there were a slew of free samples that came with the gift purchases. I awesomely scored the following:

Annick Goutal - La Violette
Serge Lutens - Bois de Violette
Serge Lutens - Feminite du Bois
Frederick Malle - Lipstick Rose
Frederick Malle - Carnal Flower
Jul et Mad - Stilettos on Lex
Byredo - Bal d'Afrique
(side note - Aedes's 7 samples with purchase policy is the best!)

Von Eusersdorff - Classic Vetiver
Atelier de Geste - Blood, Sweat and Tears
Atelier de Geste - Wild is the Wind
Dasein Fragrances - Winter
Ramon Monegal - Mon Cuir

Whew! What a blast! I am so thankful for the beautiful scarf and the load of scented goodies! I am looking forward to trying and reviewing every single thing on this list.  :)  Maybe I can find another FB worthy scent in time for my birthday, hehe.


I hope you all have been enjoying your holidays. Did you get everything on your Christmas list this year? What were some of your most cherished gifts and memories?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays!  In our household, we celebrate Christmas today, and if you do too, Merry Christmas!  

If you celebrate something else, or nothing at all - I wish you a wonderful day of joy and merriment. :)  

And I wish us all good food (and perfume)!

my baby Walden's first Christmas!  <3

Friday, December 19, 2014

Diptyque - Pomander Candle (candle review)

One day as I strolled about the internet, I came across the diptyque Baies candle and was immediately intrigued. To be honest, that candle introduced me to diptyque as a whole, which was my stepping stone into the world of perfume. And despite my online obsession with Baies, I do not own that candle. The one I *do* currently own (though I'm hoping I'll own more after the holiday!) is Pomander.

Pomander is the quintessential holiday scent - orange with cinnamon and cloves. It's warm and comforting like tea, and the spices are reminiscent of holidays filled with cider and cheer. Or pomanders - if those were a part of your holidays! I have never seen a pomander, personally.

For the longest time I kept the candle in the box and put it on my headboard (the top is basically a big shelf). I would occasionally catch whiffs of it as I sat in my bed, and it was so lovely. Very good throw for a candle in a box!

Finally I took the plunge and burned it. I hear diptyque candles burn really well - evenly with good scent throw. Unfortunately I was not able to burn the candle under ideal circumstances. Though I planned to burn it long enough on the initial burn for the entire surface to become a wax pool, something came up and I had to leave the house and distinguish the candle. Since I really didn't want tunneling, the next time I burned the candle I painstakingly attempted to melt the wax outside of the tunnel and mash it down into the wax pool with a butter knife to even things out. It was going well until I somehow jammed the knife too hard into the soft and melted wax. I accidentally threw wax everywhere - all over my other candles and onto our antique factory cart coffee table.  >.<  Nonetheless, I continued working on it until I got the top fairly even again. 

Of course the next time I burned the candle something else came up and I had to leave early again... *sigh* I give up. I think this candle may just have to tunnel. On the pro side, I don't *really* have to burn it since the wax residue on the coffee table seems to be leaving a permanent pomander scent trail!

I do wish, however, that the orange would be a touch more prominent during the burn. That's probably my only complaint. On dry sniff, Pomander is the perfect mix of orange and spices, but an hour into the burn I feel that the spices overtake the orange. It's not a huge problem for me since I like plain cinnamon candles as well, but I would love a little more orange!

Compared to some of my other candles, I'd say the scent throw is medium to strong.


My rating of Pomander: 3.75

1  -  - -  -  2  -  -  -  -  3  -  -  - X  -  4  -  -  -  -  5
   Nausea/Gagging         Meh        Decent           Great         Olfactory Elation   

It would be a solid 4 with just a touch more orange...


Have you tried the Pomander candle? Do you have a favorite diptyque candle?

Friday, December 12, 2014

April Aromatics - Ray of Light (perfume review)

When I bought my bottle of San Francisco Rose, I figured it was a perfect time to order a couple other April Aromatics samples as well - one included a newer release, Ray of Light.

The opening of Ray of Light is a strong burst of minty summer citrus. Sweet, tart and green - you are whisked into a world of grapefruit, limes and lemons. It's extremely refreshing and effervescent, but the force of the citrus teeters on the edge of going full-scale cleaner. For me, it remains just shy. After several minutes, the mint fades a little and the perfume smells almost like a lemon cake (I'm thinking specifically of the amazing lemon cake from SugarBakers that my mother-in-law got for our engagement party). Delicious layers of lemon cake and lemon mousse and dusted heavily with chunky sugar crystals. Over several wears the sharpness of Ray of Light varied - some days it nearly stung my nose with it's citrus, and other days it felt creamier and sweeter.

My kitty Puff, when he was basking in the sun
True to the name, this does feel just like a burst of white rays of sun - sparkling and shining so brightly you can barely open your eyes. In many ways, this perfume feels like the scent of happiness and sweetness, with the innocence and purity that only a young child (or baby animal) possesses. There's no winning the lottery or syrupy candy here - this is the happiness of a young child finding a four-leafed clover in a sunlit field and the sweetness of him presenting a hand-picked bouquet of dandelions to his mom.

The scent doesn't change much over time. Throughout the wear, Ray of Light remains sweet and citrusy - with just a touch of green to mellow it out. 

For my tastes, it stays a little too sweet and a bit high-pitched (I would love a little bit more of the tobacco notes, or even some heavy wood or dark vanilla in the base) - but it is certainly pleasant nonetheless. Definitely worth a try if you like sweet citrus fragrances!


Clint's 3: Acidic, Ocean Breeze, Soap

Clint didn't like this one - but I've gathered that he's not a fan of citrus scents. He thought it was sharp in his nose. Ocean breeze was an interesting take though!


My rating of Ray of Light: 3

1  -  - -  -  2  -  -  -  -  3  -  -  -  -  4  -  -  -  -  5
   Nausea/Gagging         Meh        Decent       Great         Olfactory Elation    


Ray of Light as described by the April Aromatics website:

Notes: Accord of lime, lemon, pink grapefruit, orange and bergamot, galbanum, green mint, vetiver, tobacco

Perfumer: Tanja Bochnig


Do you like Ray of Light, or other April Aromatics perfumes?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Histoires de Parfums - Moulin Rouge 1889 (perfume review)

After giving myself an ample buffer of time following my bad experiences with Vert Pivoine and Blanc Violette, I figured it was finally time to start trying some of the other Histoires de Parfums samples I had purchased. Next on the list was Moulin Rouge 1889.

Photo from Histoires de Parfums Press Visuals
Moulin Rouge is definitely one of the more interesting scents that I've tried so far.  Upon first spritz, I'm greeted with a rather strong plastic smell - but warm plastic - the smell of plasticky dashboard baking in a sun-drenched car. Then when I take a closer sniff of my wrist, there's a definite acridity, delicately wrapped in sweetness, that's reminiscent of rotting fruit. The two scents are clearly separate entities and somehow they dance briskly together without merging. I can't help but think of Johnny reminding Baby to lock her wrists and her arms, emphasizing what was his space and what was her space. (Important side note: BEST MOVIE EVER!!)

After a few moments the forceful plastic relents, making room for powder and the previously distinct auras begin to meld into one. Now I can almost feel the puffs of compact powder swirling about my nose and the creamy dark red lipstick smearing onto my lips. The zing of cinnamon adds energy to the scent and one could easily envision the experience of the Moulin Rouge - the glitz, the glam, the lights, the excitement. The costumed performers back-stage applying their make-up, the drinks, the laughter, the perspiration...

From here the scent gets softer. Instead of being in the middle of the excitement at the Moulin Rouge, I'm now opening a velvet-lined make-up drawer, inhaling the combination of powders, lipsticks, blush and perfumes that have left their caresses upon their vermillion cocoon.

Moulin Rouge never loses its powder and lipstick accords, but in the dry down it mellows out and veers into the territory of a skin scent. While being powdery, it flirts with creamy beige leather. The musk grounds the powdery sweetness and brings a touch of human warmth to the composition.


Clint's 3: Masculine (reminds him of his grandpa), Coffee, Mint Chocolate

Wow - Clint was all over the board on this one! It really goes to show you that everyone's noses are different. I think he was struggling to describe the warm sweetness of the dry down when he came up with coffee and mint chocolate. It's also interesting that he thought it smelled masculine and reminded him of his grandpa. I've heard of tons of perfumes being 'old lady' but not many being 'old man'!


My rating of Moulin Rouge 1889: 3

1  -  - -  -  2  -  -  -  -  3  -  -  -  -  4  -  -  -  -  5
    Nausea/Gagging         Meh        Decent       Great         Olfactory Elation     


Moulin Rouge 1889 as described by the Histoires de Parfums website:

Family: floral powdered; feminine

Top Notes: Tangerine, Prune, Cinnamon
Middle Notes: Absinthe, Rose of Damas
Base Notes: Iris, Patchouli, Musk, Fir

Perfumer: Gerald Ghislain


Given that Vert Pivoine and Blanc Violette were disasters on me - this is easily my favorite of the three Histoires de Parfums perfumes that I've tried so far. While I can't claim to love the opening of Moulin Rouge 1889, I can appreciate its interesting combination of notes and evolution on the skin. I was surprised by how much I do actually enjoy the powdery sweet lipstick pleather dry down.

As an added bonus, this is the first scent I've tried with patchouli that I don't hate! *Cheers* 

Nonetheless, there's a world of love-worthy perfumes out there so I wouldn't classify this one as FBW for me (especially given Clint's lukewarm response). 

Have you tried Moulin Rouge 1889? What's your favorite Histoires de Parfums scent?