Saturday Question: Which Giveaways Do You Not Participate?

Recently, I was hesitant to use any question with negative connotations – just not to contribute to the “naturally occurring” negativity of these times. But I hope that this topic is light enough not to stir any unpleasant feelings. And I still feel a surge of positivity brought by the last week’s Saturday Question topic – thank you hajusuuri and everybody who participated.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #54:

Which Giveaways Do You Not Participate?

How do you feel about giveaways? Is there any type of giveaways where you do not participate on principle? Or are there any conditions that you wouldn’t want to meet? Why?

My Answer

If you were wondering what brought out this topic, I got annoyed by conditions of a giveaway on one of the makeup-related YouTube channels that I watch. In addition to the regular and expected “to be a subscriber” and “to leave a contact information,” strangely there was a question based on the content of the video. I’m not sure I would have entered this giveaway otherwise, but that now-children-what-is-the-secret-word-type question just completely irked me. It’s not a “who names it first competition.” It’s not a closed submission where each person will submit either the right or the wrong answer. It’s an open public forum where once the first person publishes the answer, whoever is there just to throw the hat in the ring does not need to watch the video to enter the giveaway. And loyal subscribers who usually watch those videos for the content itself should feel quite stupid pretending that they are answering the question on their own without reading the previous 50 answers. At least I would have. So, I didn’t enter the giveaway.

But that prompted my thinking about this topic in general. So, that’s what I came up with:

  1. I do not participate in draws if I suspect that results will/might be rigged. I won’t name names, but there was a blog that I caught once on falsifying results. I haven’t participated in any giveaways there since.
  2. I do not participate if I think that the requirements are stupid (as in my example above), “not proportional” to the prize offered (follow me, follow the brand, share on FB or IG story, tag N friends, etc. – and all that to get a sample of perfume you’ve never heard of before from a brand you don’t know) or unreasonable (releasing IP rights to your creation by submitting it as an entry into the competition/giveaway).
  3. I do not participate if I think that somebody else should get a chance to win (e.g., even if I could use one more free sample of perfume I tried and liked but not ready to commit yet, if it’s a private giveaway by a blogger or perfumer, not by a brand, I wouldn’t try to get it).
  4. I do not usually go for a giveaway of a full bottle of something I do not like and want already because with the number of perfumes in my collection and the success rate of testing new perfumes, I just don’t have any space for bottles that I won’t use.

Now it’s your turn.

Rusty and a Toy

Rusty is not jumping through any whoops…

 

Which Giveaways Do You Not Participate?

Saturday Question: How Did You Meet Undina?

Undina: I’m not sure if anyone has noticed that, but the last week’s Saturday Question marked exactly a year since ULG picked up the baton of running (no pun intended) this weekly series from Portia (APJ). And since I was always curious as to the various ways that led all of you to this place, I took hajusuuri upon her offer to tell her story of our virtual “meet” and be the host to this week’s Saturday Question episode that opens the second year season.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #53:

How Did You Meet Undina?

The word “meet” is of Germanic origin, meaning, “come upon.” For this question, meeting Undina means any one or all of the following: met her in person, spoke with / texted her, corresponded over email, left a comment here, replied to her comments in another social media platform (e.g. another blog, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) or saw her on some platform and decided to follow her. Tell us how you “came upon” Undina and approximately when?

My Answer

I fell into the perfume rabbit hole around 2010, no thanks to all the perfume blogs that permeated the Internet even before “social media” became a popular term. I mostly lurked and noted some of the names that appeared in multiple blogs. Among the many names, I noticed someone named “Undina” whose comments in Scents of Self (Arielle Shoshana’s currently inactive blog) were always proper, smart, knowledgeable, and humorous. One day in 2012, I happened to accidentally click on her name and voila, the world of Undina’s Looking Glass opened up to me!

While I cannot swear to have read all the posts, I most certainly looked through not only the current posts but also her very helpful tips posts. It was so timely that I learned about Parafilm on her Know-How Post on Decanting, Labeling, Packing and Shipping. Soon after, on August 22, 2012, I left my first comment on the subject of Ineke Sample Sets. Looking back, I did not introduce myself and, instead, just smoothly eased into the conversation. Since then, we’ve corresponded over email, swapped, participated in each other’s splits. Undina also paid me the best compliment by making me her first guest poster in February 2014, in time to debut the new look of her blog! My only regret is I have not met Undina in person but I am confident that once we can travel safely again, we will meet in person.

Art Card Edition

Art Card Edition Original artwork from hajusuuri’s collection

How Did You Meet Undina?

Coco by CHANEL EdP and Extrait

Coco by CHANEL EdP and Extrait

Hi ULG, Coco is one of my long term faves. It’s also a very close friends signature. There are so many happy memories associated with this perfectly poised far east dream inspired perfume. Since the mid 1980s Coco has surrounded me. Back then it was friends Mums and sometimes an adventurous young woman. It’s the fragrance I associate with smelling a lot of in the department stores for a couple of decades. In Australia CHANEL counters are mostly at the front of the beauty section and until Coco Mademoiselle came along it was like a thick miasma around the squirt bitches (men and women). Today is Monday and I’m cleaning the house. My friend Kerri B noted on a FaceBook SOTD post that she was wearing Coco so I decided to join her in glamour. Sometimes scenting for success even makes the turbines of tedium sing a happy refrain.

Coco by CHANEL EdP and Extrait

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Mandarin orange, Pimento, Coriander, Frangipani
Heart: Jasmine, Rose, Orange blossom, Ylang-ylang, Cinnamon, Iris, Angelica
Base: Patchouli, Tonka bean, Benzoin, Frankincense, Amber, Musk, Honey, Civet

Here’s the thing with Coco. It is its very own scent. I love it too much to really parse it deeply. Somehow it feels like the magic may dissolve a little if I look too closely and work out the tricks. Coco smells like luxury, travel, wisdom and sensuality. Though it is exciting and playful I also feel remarkably calm and poised when I wear it. Almost as if the fragrance has so much drama I can let my natural penchant for it go, just a little. Enough to get a really deep breath and exhale.

Whenever I hug a friend wearing Coco it’s one pf the fragrances I can usually pick. That’s another reason I love it.

Todays wearing while doing laundry, dusting and vacuuming in the 30+C (around 100F) heat was so divine. Loads of pepper and cinnamon over a honeyed, resinous amber base. It wafted off me in great, glorious gouts and I reapplied four times throughout the day to get the thrill all over again.

Has Coco ever been your thing?
Portia xx

 

Saturday Question: How Is Your Winter?

As someone who lived through a couple of really awful winters and knowing about rolling blackouts not just in theory, I am deeply concerned about people who had to experience the recent winter storm that hit Texas. But I know that all over the world these last days or even weeks were quite challenging, being either too cold or too hot, thus affecting negatively a quality of life – as if the ongoing Covid situation wasn’t enough. So, while I’ll add on a lighter perfume-related question (this being a perfume blog and all that), the main question I want to ask is how you are doing.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #52:

How Is Your Winter?

Are/were you in any area that had serious weather anomalies or especially harsh days (even if it’s not something unheard of in your area)? And, just in case I don’t know that (or you want to share with others), tell us at least your approximate location (city, state or country – whatever you keep comfortable with). Were there any negative consequences related to weather? How are you dealing with your winter in general?

What was the “warmest” perfume you wore recently?

My Answer

I know that we will be crying the next fire season, but at this point I feel really lucky: if anything, the temperature in San Francisco Bay Area was pleasantly cool this winter, and we even got some rain (though, we’re still in the state between “abnormally dry” and “moderate drought” in areas around where I live and with even more severe conditions throughout the state of California). But we have power, water and gas to heat our houses. I must say, though, that to cause the same devastation as Texas is currently experiences, in my area all you would need is a week of 0C/32F (hopefully, it’s scientifically impossible).

As to perfumes, after 10 days on a rose kick, I suddenly caught a whiff of Amouage Ubar from one of my scarves in the closet… so I’m wearing and tremendously enjoying it today. It is so warm and soft and cozy. It smells like a nice cashmere sweater feels against my skin. Today it is definitely my #3, but at any time it is in the Top 10. BTW, have you heard anything about it being discontinued? I seem not to be able to find it at online stores. I still have half of my bottle (picture below is several years old), but it scares me that I might run out of it in my lifetime…

Amouage Ubar

How Is Your Winter?

A Rose By Any Other Name?..

Historically, I like Tom Ford. The brand, not Tom Ford as a person. I mean, I don’t know much about the man to have any feelings about him, and I prefer it this way. Though over the years seeing some of the provocative ads for his perfumes here and there, I thought that those were rather disparaging and misogynistic. But since usually I do not see them (I’m not even sure where exactly those were published in the US other than somewhere on the Internet), I was telling myself that those weren’t the worst images anyone (who would want to) might find on the Internet and didn’t allow it to affect my attitude towards Tom Ford’s perfumes.

And then he (a person, since all that rotated about his personality, not just the brand) came out with that juvenile stunt of a perfume name…

In my native culture, the use of explicit language had been reserved for “uncultured” and “uneducated” social strata. So, it was unacceptable and not expected from people of “our circle.” And seeing it in writing or hearing on TV was completely out of the reality realm.

Times changed, and these days it’s much less strict even in the country that I left decades ago. And it has been different from the beginning of my life in the U.S. with the “TV-MA” rating being an Indulgence to use all those taboo words on cable TV shows. But somehow there still was some resemblance of propriety: words frowned upon by the FCC, clothes (or the absence thereof) not expected during the Super Bowl, etc.

I know that the language is fluid, and norms change over time. But I didn’t see a good reason for this particular change. My main objection to that name was trivializing misbehavior. And I was right: if three years ago, when perfume in question just was released, department stores would “modestly” cover the first word by rubber bands over the bottle and shorten the name online to just “Fabulous,” now, three years later, nobody gives a second thought to flaunting said bottle in all its unadulterated glory in front of family shoppers and other unsuspecting audiences.

I tried that perfume once, thought it was quite nice but decided that I didn’t want to support that type of behavior. And I voted against writing anything, even negative, about it – not to propagate even bad publicity for that perfume (yeah, I know, my blog is such a significant blip on the scale of Tom Ford/Estee Lauder’s PR machine…).

The next one had a still juvenile and cringe-worthy but less offensive, in my opinion, name. I also liked it but decided still not to buy any, even a decant.

And then came THE ONE. Not being a native English speaker, in the case of Rose Prick, which had absolutely no connotations for me, good or bad, until I read some explanations. I don’t even know how common that slang is compared to the literal meaning of the phrase or what is its degree of vulgarity. And while this name didn’t offend or bother me, I just habitually expected to dismiss it after sniffing at a store. But it smelled nice… so, I asked for a sample.

What I especially like about Rose Prick is that for me, while being nice in the opening, it smells wonderful in drydown. And probably from the first time I realized how much I liked the drydown, I wanted to get this perfume. But I disliked the 50 ml pink bottle, didn’t need 50 ml of either this or any other perfume, and wanted to get a travel bottle… that wasn’t available anywhere at the time.

In the Saturday Question for Black Friday, I shared with my readers my conundrum, and several people advised me to wait. Which I did. So, a travel spray of Rose Prick that appeared at the end of January on the Sephora site became my first fragrance purchase of the year.

Tom Ford Rose Prick

It is a very likable perfume, and I’m sure it is doing well in sales. Should you try it if you haven’t yet? If you can do it without paying – definitely: as far as sampling goes, 9 out of 10 perfumes we regularly try are worse than this one. Will you want to buy it? Most likely, no: it’s too expensive for what if offers, and there are other great rose perfumes that cost less while not making you pause before answering a co-worker’s question: “What are you wearing today?” (though, with the current state of getting back to any kind of normal, that aspect might not be an issue for many of us for a while).

 

Image: my own

Saturday Question: What Is Your Favorite Rose Perfume?

Regardless of how you feel about the upcoming Hallmark holiday, you’d agree that traditionally it is associated with roses more than with any other flower. So, I thought it was a good enough reason for this week’s question.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #51:

What Is Your Favorite Rose Perfume?

Do you like perfumes with a predominant rose note? If yes, which ones come to mind first? If no, what is the closest to the rose-centric perfume in your collection?

Do you do anything special for Valentine’s Day? Do you acknowledge it in any way or ignore completely?

My Answer

Even though Valentine’s Day came into my life just a couple of decades ago, I rather like it (though, I like most of the holidays, so it’s not representative). I like it despite the fact that it interferes with my personal celebration: even though my birthday is a couple of days before, everything gets harder because of the upcoming holiday. Everything – plane tickets, hotels, flowers – are more expensive and harder to get, restaurants are busier, and any possible activities are sold out if you didn’t think about it at least a month in advance.

Nevertheless, I’m trying to do something nice to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and not just as a romantic couples holiday, but in wider meaning. I think it comes from the fact that when I was growing up, similar holidays (one for men and another one for women, on different dates a couple of weeks apart), while having some romantic component, also incorporated what in the U.S. is celebrated as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, including future/potential mothers and fathers. And being that inclusive, while still slightly forced (though, is it really that different from celebrating veterans on the Veteran’s Day or parents on the mentioned above designated days?), were readily celebrated both at work, in schools and in private settings.

At home, we always make a nice dinner on February 14. If I have time, I might decorate our living room a little. Sometimes we exchange small presents. Usually I’m getting flowers. Nothing obligatory or too elaborate, but nice and quiet.

This year, since we’re not back to the office, I didn’t get to do anything “publicly” in RL, so I decided to do “the next best thing” – a mini-project on Instagram: Rose Countdown to Valentine’s Day.

I did Mini-Monday with a mini bottle of Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur EdP, Travel Tuesday with a travel spray of Hermes Rose Ikebana, Throwback Thursday with Lancome Mille et Une Roses and Favorite Friday with Ormonde Jayne Ta’if Elixir (and later I wore Ta’if Parfum for the birthday dinner). I skipped Wednesday – and not because I couldn’t think of any day-appropriate secondary project (which I didn’t – any ideas?), but because an unexpected plumbing emergency didn’t leave me any energy to even wear perfume – let alone stage a photo. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see what I’ll be doing for Saturday and Sunday (and if you don’t, check back here in the upcoming days to see the latest picture on the sidebar (web)/below (mobile)).

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Happy Valentine’s Day if you celebrate – either with someone or alone. Have a restful weekend if you don’t, and do something nice for yourself, because you do love yourself, right? You should.

Cat Rusty and Roses

What Is Your Favorite Rose Perfume?

Muguet Fleuri by Oriza L. Legrand

Muguet Fleuri by Oriza L. Legrand

Hey there ULG, I know a lot of you are caught in the depths of winter so I thought we could look forward to spring through fragrance today. Muguet Fleuri is Lily of the Valley. That glorious harbinger of spring. On May 1 the whole of Paris smells of it and little bouquets and flowering pots can be bought on street corners. It’s heavenly.

In 2014 I first visited Hugo and Franck of Oriza L Legrand at their 18 Rue Saint-Augustin, Paris store. The brand is a modern resurrection of a long lost perfume house. They took us through their collection and I purchased some soaps and a bottle of Jardin d’Armide. This was the defining moment of my love affair with the brand. The space is gorgeous and chock full of soaps, candles and fine fragrance. Since then I’ve been back to the store a few times. Their affordable product and FREE postage over €100 to Australia means I often buy their soaps and fragrances for gifts.

Did you know that the original Oriza L Legrand patented the idea of solid perfume?

Muguet Fleuri by Oriza L. Legrand 2014

Muguet Fleuri by Oriza L. Legrand

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Green leaves, grass, lily-of-the-valley
Heart : Galbanum, angelica, violet leaf, lily-of-the-valley
Base: Lily-of-the-valley, oakmoss, lily

I love the calm feeling of a Lily of the Valley fragrance, dewy and air conditioned. The Muguet Fleuri opening is cool and slightly mentholated. I get nothing grassy particularly but much more like the juice of Aloe Vera (yes, got a bit sunburned helping my BFF Kath high pressure hose her dad’s driveway). Flore by Carolina Herrera has a very similar plastic Lily of the Valley note but in Muguet Fleuri I find it subtle and refreshing, helped by galbanum and angelica to keep everything super green. None of the modern cucumber/aquatic note like in Muguet Porcelain by Hermès.

It’s excellent to me how they keep the focus so firmly on Lily of the Valley in Muguet Fleuri. The scent feels luxurious and refined while creating  a very nice silage for the first hour or so. Fairly linear througfhout its life, there are slight increments of difference and a gradual earthing of the scent towards the end.

If you often, or even sometimes, wish for a fragrance as true to cut Lily of the Valley stems from the florist as possible but still interesting and beautiful then I would send you immediately to try Muguet Fleuri. Only the first two hours are fragrant, then it hums along quietly as a soft, background wash.

Muguet Fleuri by Oriza L. Legrand

Oriza L Legrand has a €30/choose your 6 x 2ml Sample Set (delivered worldwide). My review today is from an old sample I refound in my collection, looking for something cool and summery.

Are you a Lily of the Valley fan? Do you have a favourite?
Portia xx

Saturday Question: Do You Like Skin Scents?

Tara (A Bottled Rose) has recently published a post about a newish perfume she tried Diptyque Fleur de Peaua skin scent with an iris twist. And that prompted my thinking about that category of perfumes.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #50:

Do You Like Skin Scents?

I’m not sure if there is a strict definition for the type – “your skin but better” or perfumes that sit close to skin or perfumes that do not smell perfume-y – but whatever you imagine when you hear that term, do you like skin scents? Do you own any of them? When do you wear them?

My Answer

While I do not dislike perfumes that would be characterized as a skin scent, I gravitate to louder, more pronounced perfumes. It is ironic since for the last many years I had to carefully choose what to wear to the office, not to disturb a couple of co-workers sensitive to scents. So, I would have benefited from having more of those in my collection. Instead, I have many Jo Malone perfumes that just disappear in a while, not leaving any trace, but most are quite prominent and unapologetic.

The closest I get to perfume that matches that category is probably sadly discontinued Tiempe Passate by Antonia’s Flowers. There is a chance that when I think it stays close to my skin, in reality it projects much better (follow the link to read more about the phenomenon in my older post), but for me it is beautifully quiet perfume.

Another one that comes to mind when I think about skin scents is Tauerville‘s limited edition When We Cuddle And I Can Smell Your Perfume On My Clothes. I wouldn’t have ever tried it if it weren’t for the wonderfully generous enabler, hajusuuri. Now I’m not sure whether to thank or “curse” her: I enjoy it so much, despite my preconception about that line and general dislike of such lengthy names. I regret not buying this perfume during the short time when it was available. I think it is a perfect skin scent and enjoy wearing it in the evening – so that I can take it with me to bed. But other than these two, I can’t think of any others. Considering the size of my collection, obviously it means that I don’t really like the type. How about you?

 

Do You Like Skin Scents?

Evening Water

Sisley Paris isn’t one of the brands I’m closely familiar with: their skincare prices were always outside of my budget, and their makeup has never been considered anything to aspire to (at least, I haven’t read or heard any accolades for their lipsticks or mascaras). So usually I was passing by that counter at the local Neiman Marcus without even stopping.

And then I got a tiny mini bottle of Eau du Soir in a subscription box, and that was the first time I though about approaching this brand’s perfumes at a store counter to try it sprayed. I liked it and contemplated getting it one day if I found it cheaper at a discounter site. But I was in the very beginning of my niche perfumes exploration discovering plenty of great perfumes every month, so there was no urgency.

And then one day a travel bottle of Eau du Soir was offered for a swap, and I got it in exchange for some niche decants. Several years later I thought the bottle spoiled, and I stopped wearing it. But since the bottle was nice – a small round bottle with that recognizable sculptured cap and a suede pouch – so I couldn’t make myself to through it away… When I tested it a week ago, I was amazed: I can’t smell there any more the qualities that persuaded me those years ago that it was off. I can’t explain it since it couldn’t have been wasn’t just in my head: on both occasions I compared it to the same mini bottle. Nevertheless, I put that round travel bottle back into the active rotation part of my collection. Though, I might still prefer a dab application from the mini bottle.

Sisley Eau Du Soir mini bottle

Recently, when I decided to join Mmkinpa in her “Mini Monday” Instagram sub-project, I was surprised once again by how much I liked Eau du Soir and felt slightly guilty for discounting it because of the perceived issues with that travel bottle. So, I decided to write about it again.

If you were to run a search, you’d see that Eau du Soir usually gets quite high ratings on different sites, both mainstream and more niche oriented. But at the same time, for perfume publicly released more than 20 years ago (created in 1990, until 1999 it said to stay as a personal perfume of Countess Isabelle d’Ornano), it hasn’t got too many blog reviews. And I have a feeling that had Eau du Soir been released by a niche brand, it would have been much more spoken about.

Eau du Soir is green chypre that reminds me Chanel No 19 EdT and not only in the notes combination but also in that sharpness of the scent that is present in No 19 EdT but is much rounder and smoother in EdP or extrait.

Every time I put it on, I wish it were just slightly less harsh in the opening, but half an hour later it smooths out and smells very classy and elegant. It might lean just slightly feminine but not even remotely close to requiring any audacity from a man to wear it. But regardless of your gender perfume preferences, if you are not familiar with Eau du Soir and decide to try it, make sure to apply it very sparingly: it’s extremely tenacious, so you better like it!

Rusty and Sisley Eau Du Soir

If you have tried Eau du Soir, do you like it? If you haven’t, why?

 

Images: my own

Saturday Question: Who/What Sent You Down the Rabbit Hole?

Today’s post is slightly unusual: there will be no “My Answer” since a week ago, in the post for this blog’s 10th anniversary, not only I answered it (and, for those who missed it, even managed do do an interview with the “who” responsible for “what.” But now it’s your turn. (The question was suggested by Brigitte.)

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #49:

Who/What Sent You Down the Rabbit Hole?

Rusty