A Month of Roses: Week 2

The second week of the Month of Roses went very fast because it included a 3-day weekend (I took an extra day off to celebrate my birthday) and Valentine’s Day. Rose perfumes felt extremely appropriate.

White Rose

February 8: Floris Snow Rose

Since Vanessa (Bonkers about Perfume) mentioned in her comment on my A Month of Roses post that her bottle of this perfume, from which my sample came, went off, I felt uneasy as the date scheduled for wearing Snow Rose was approaching: I had just a little of perfume left in the sample after the previous testing, so I didn’t want to try it before the time to wear it came, so I decided to risk having to look for the last moment replacement. Surprisingly, I didn’t have to! I don’t know how it could have happened but a small part somehow had a better fate than a “whole” (whatever was left in Vanessa’s bottle).

I feel bad telling you what an interesting perfume Snow Rose is since it was a limited edition in 2009, and it doesn’t look like they are going to re-issue it. But I want to mention something that attracted my attention: it started out cold and very fitting to the name, but then it melted into very warm and cozy scent.

February 9: Les Parfums de Rosine Rose Praline (Francois Robert)

I had a couple of meetings in a small conference room so I was very discreet with the application. It’s not a bad perfume, and I might even finish my small decant but with many other great perfumes I have Rose Pralines seems a little too ordinary. I would still recommend trying this perfume if you’re looking for rose perfume with just a pinch of gourmand flavor.

Mrs Robert Shewell

February 10: Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady (Dominique Ropion)

Portrait of a Lady is one of my favorite perfumes. Normally I wouldn’t wear it to the office but since Lucas chose a work day for hajusuuri to wear this perfume, I was going to keep her company. But then I couldn’t help the urge to wear my favorite Lieber Gustav for the NTS’s community project (lavender perfumes): not only I love it but it’s much more office-friendly.

I still wore Portrait of a Lady that evening when I came home. It is such strong and elegant perfume! I think it calls for evening attire and pearls, though it might be an interesting contrast to jeans with a turtleneck – just not in the office.

February 11: Juliette Has A Gun Miss Charming (Francis Kurkdjian)

It was a perfect charming perfume for a pre-birthday trip on a beautiful sunny day to a couple of wineries, a brewery and a coffee shop in Santa Cruz. As I previously wrote, Miss Charming is my absolutely favorite strawberry perfume. I enjoy wearing it on any occasion but that Saturday it was just perfect, and it accompanied well roses that were on my mind, cider with a distinct rose flavor that I tried during lunch and my favorite rose truffles that I had with coffee from my favorite coffee shop.

Rose Truffle

February 12: Ormonde Jayne Ta’if (Geza Schoen)

Ta’if is perfume, to which I attribute to my nosedive into the proverbial rabbit hole of niche perfumery. I love this perfume and think of it as my number two all-time favorite. It is so special for me that I wear it only for special occasion – such as my birthday this year. I started my morning with Ta’if oil, then later during the day switched to Ta’if EdP, and for the evening I went with Ta’if parfum. It is such a beautiful rose! I need to come up with more special occasions to wear it.

February 13: Jo Malone Velvet Rose & Oud (Fabrice Pellegrin)

Judging by the fact that I like this perfume, no real trees had to suffer to produce this agarwood. Velvet Rose & Oud is pleasant and plays nicely on my skin. And Jo Malone just started selling their Cologne Intense collection in slightly more reasonable 50 ml bottles. If they ever go for 30 ml, I’ll probably get it. Until then my small decant should do.

February 14: Les Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Amour

I chose this perfume because I like it very much, and because I thought it would be hard to find a more suitable name for Valentine’s Day perfume. This is one of a few aldehydes perfumes that work for me. It’s a bright beautiful rose, for which I can see myself buying the next bottle when my current one is empty – it’s not something that I can definitively say about too many perfumes in my collection.

Rusty and Roses Bouquet

With the extra day off and then Valentine’s Day, half of the third week just ran away from me, but I don’t want to crumble extra three days into this post – so February 15-17 will appear on the Week 3 post.

How was your week? Did you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Or Singles Awareness Day? Did you wear any rose perfumes recently since you commented on one of the previous posts in this Month of Roses series? Did you eat any good chocolate?

Images: my own

A Month of Roses: Week 1

First seven days of not only a specific theme but predefined set of perfumes. Surprisingly, it was much easier to do than I thought: I didn’t have to think about what I would wear the next day – it was already on the calendar.

I publish this post to sum up my impressions from the first seven perfumes and to remind you that for each comment, in which you tell us what rose perfume you wore that day (or any of the days before), you are getting one entry into the draw for two bars of chocolate from a local artisan brand (my choice) – milk, dark or mix (winner’s choice) sent anywhere in the world.

Just remember: one comment – one entry, even if you tell in it about multiple perfumes worn on different days. At the same time, two comments about the same perfume posted on two different days will give you two entries. What’s the catch? You’ve probably noticed that, other than standard WordPress’ ads, there are no ads or affiliated links on this blog, so I’m not trying to get any hits or clicks from my readers; I just enjoy your company and want you to come back more often – even if I do not publish a new post.

Red Roses

February 1: Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur Esprit de Parfum (Bertrand Duchaufour)

I know that it’s called officially Mohur Extrait now. But the sample I was wearing was from the period when it still had the old name that hadn’t become official. From the first trio of perfumes, Mohur was my least favorite: I didn’t dislike it but I didn’t feel I’d want to wear it. Mohur Extrait feels different than just a higher concentration of the EdP version: it’s deeper and smoother. And agarwood doesn’t jump out on me as it happened before with Mohur EdP. Just in case you’ve missed it somehow: Mohur Extrait is a limited edition, and I’m not sure if those gorgeous bottles will be available again once they are sold out.

February 2: Guerlain Rose Barbare (Francis Kurkdjian)

While I enjoy wearing this perfume from time to time, the small decant that I have is probably all I need. It is pleasant; it fits its Guerlain collection well; but, in my opinion, Rose Barbare is neither “barbare” (whichever English equivalent you choose) nor that much “rose.” I am not trying to say that there’s no rose in that perfume but smelling it blind, I would have never thought about it as a rose-centric perfume. But still, it’s a nice perfume to wear.

February 3: Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin (Christopher Sheldrake)

I think it is a beautiful perfume. It was the second time I’ve ever worn it properly, and I will not be doing it again: I have ideological grievances against it. I decided to wear it on that day because it served two purposes: while it was a beautiful rose perfume that fitted this Month of Roses project, I used it as an anti-lemming perfume in NST’s community project. I do not feel bad if you choose not to read [into] this perfume pedigree or think of Marlene Dietrich while wearing La Fille de Berlin, but for me this is where our relationship with this perfume ends.

February 4: Amouage Lyric (Daniel Maurel)

According to the calendar, I was supposed to wear Tauer Perfumes PHI – une rose de Kandahar. I didn’t realize that my sample was empty: probably, it’s time to buy a travel spray. And since it was a weekend, and we were invited to the friends’ house for dinner, I wanted to wear something special, not just a quickly found replacement out of all the perfumes that didn’t make it to the calendar in the first place. So I moved Lyric to the earlier date hoping to find a replacement for it later.

A couple of Valentine’s Days ago I paired Lyric with one of the stories from my childhood (Ax +By = A Genetic Mystery).

This is one of classic Amouage perfumes that is worth trying even if one doesn’t like rose or Amouage perfumes: it doesn’t work for everybody, it shouldn’t (and can’t) work for everybody but it is a great illustration for opulence in perfumery. I happen to love Lyric, and I feel joy every time I wear it. I wonder though, whether I actually smell this rose as a dark one or is it a power of suggestion from the packaging?

Deep Red Rose

February 5: By Kilian Rose Oud (Calice Becker)

Agarwood and I are not really friends. There is a handful of perfumes with this note that work for my skin (or at least for my nose when I smell them on my vSO) but most of them I rather dislike. Rose Oud is one of a few that are not bad, which brings me to the conclusion that it’s not real agarwood that makes up for this perfume’s price. No, I haven’t suddenly developed better olfaction abilities. But I remember that every time I thought I liked perfumes with agarwood, those were perfumes based on the “oud accord” (if any at all). I won’t probably go beyond the sample I have but I liked wearing it for the project.

February 6: Sonoma Scent Studio Velvet Rose (Laurie Erickson)

As with all Laurie’s perfumes, there is no doubt that it is a real rose you smell. More is going on in this perfume, but rose is at center stage from the big opening until the last curtain call, if I were to stretch that theater metaphor. Velvet Rose is very Sonoma Scent Studio perfume so if you like their floral perfumes, this one should work well for you. My bottle of this perfume is slowly nearing the end (so, 3-4 more years, and it’ll be done) – ask me then if I’m replenishing it.

February 7: Tauer Perfumes Une Rose Vermeille (Andy Tauer)

As I wrote in the post In the Search for the Perfect Berry: Raspberry, I cannot say that I love Une Rose Vermeille but I like it very much. It is fruity-floral perfume that is done the way this genre of perfumes should be done. It is a very strong and unapologetic lemony rose with the added raspberry sweetness. But unless you’re a [serial] monogamist when it comes to perfumes, do not go for anything more than 15 ml travel spray of this perfume: it is so potent that even that amount will serve you a decade.

Rusty and Une Rose Vermeire

I will be back in a week with a write-up on the next seven perfumes on my calendar. I hope you like rose perfumes (and chocolate).

 

Images: my own

A Month of Roses

It all started with Lucas of The Chemist in the Bottle hearing on the radio some random person pronouncing the upcoming February to be a month of roses. While he wasn’t sure what the reason for that statement was, he came up with the idea to wear rose perfumes every day of February first, and then, once he realized that he didn’t have enough rose perfumes to pull it off on his own, he invited his readers to take a part, and based on everybody’s responses Lucas created a calendar of who will be wearing which perfume and on which date.

My guess was that February got that flower designation because of the Valentine’s Day. This holiday has enthusiastic followers, reluctant participants and “conscientious objectors.” I am firmly in the first camp but I know one of the widely used reasons – a variation on “You should show your love year round – not just on Valentine’s Day!” So the idea of celebrating the whole month, without making it into a single day occasion, appealed to me even more.

I decided that I would wear rose-centric perfumes every day in February. I created my own calendar. It follows the Calendar of Lucas for those days that feature perfumes that I like and have in my collection (presented in bold), and for the rest of the days I chose alternative perfume. To get 28 perfumes that I like and do not mind wearing, I had to make an exception to my usual rule that I wear only perfumes from bottles or decants, so there will be some sample vials (including a dab ones) but I’ll try to give every perfume a proper “skin time” during the day.

A Month of Rose Perfumes Calendar

I invite you to participate in this Month of Roses. Wear rose perfumes from either calendars, or come up with your own choice. Do a month of rose perfumes, a day or anything in between.

I know that you come here for the company (and pictures of Rusty) so I hope to have a regular conversation on or around the suggested topic. But if you choose to take a part in this spontaneous group project, each comment you live telling me, which rose perfume you’re wearing that day, will give you one entry into a giveaway. I’ll do the math in the end, and you could always refuse the prize, so I suggest we skip altogether the part where you tell me to enter, or not to enter (that’s not the question).

Use this post for comments about perfumes worn during the first week – February 1st – 7th.

What’s the prize? I’ll be original for a perfume blog draw and banal for Valentine’s Day offerings: chocolate. Winner gets two bars from a local artisan brand (my choice) – milk, dark or mix (winner’s choice) sent anywhere in the world (and I won’t even have to be creative on the customs form).

Are you going to join us?

Stash Rollerball and 6 Samples Winners

I decided to use one post to announced winners for two giveaway draws I ran recently.

The winner of the SJP Stash EdP rollerball is Vernona:

SJP Stash Draw WinnerRusty has accepted that it won’t become his toy.

Rusty and SJP Stash

And the winner of the 6th anniversary’s six samples draw – Amouage Ubar (vintage), Armani Prive La Femme Bleue (limited edition), Krigler Lieber Gustav, Ormonde Jayne Tsarina, Shaik Chic Shaik No 30 and Tommi Sooni Eau de Tommi Sooni II (discontinued) – is Lyubov:

Sixth Anniversary Draw Winner

Winners have a week until the end of Sunday, February 5th, 2017 to contact me with their shipping addresses – or the prizes will go to another random winner.

Using the opportunity, I want to show you two pictures of Rusty… that I’ve previously shown on my blog … just a week ago. The reason I’m doing it again is that I’m not sure everybody realized what one of them was. It isn’t just a blurry picture – I get those in dozens every time I’m trying to capture Rusty with my perfumes, and usually I just delete them.  These 2 pictures were taken seconds apart, from the same position: as I was taking a picture of Rusty who was sitting on the floor, he decided to jump up (he does that trick from time to time). I managed to take that second shot and catch him (you can see my foot through the jumping cat image). I was very proud of myself.

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Hitting On All Sixes

Today is my blog’s sixth anniversary. And since I like anniversaries, classifications and numbers, I prepared six by six groups of the blog-related observations and topics.

Six Lessons I Learned

When blogging and reading other blogs occupies a significant part of your free time, it’s inevitable to spend some time thinking about the dynamics of the blogs’ lives as well. The thoughts, as subjective as they might be from somebody who’s looking from inside the system, are based not only (or necessarily) on the experience with my blog, but on observations I made in the perfume blogosphere over the last six years. I do not think these are topic-specific, but that’s the topic I’m familiar with.

  1. Unless you provide a valuable “public service”-type content (such as a constant stream of in-depth reviews, industry news or reviews of the most recent releases that are “it” at the moment either in the Perfumeland, or in the mass-market); or your blog is an accepted community hangout; or you run frequent giveaways, you have to build personal relationships with other bloggers and perfumistas: that’s almost the only way to “meet people” who might be interested in what you have to say. I do not remember ever becoming a reader of any small blog from finding them on Google. Have you?
  2. Readers who come to the blog just to participate in a giveaway rarely stay as active participants. So unless you’re making money from ads on your blog or help some brand you like with their promotion, there is no reason to widely advertise giveaways.
  3. While in the author’s head some posts, series or topics are inter-connected, for most readers it’s “here and now,” so you have to repeat that your whole life you hated the smell of milk, were afraid of butterflies or loved purple things if it’s important for your current story. You’ll weed it all out later if one day you decide to turn your blog into a book.
  4. Neither loyal readers, nor more recent comers, as a rule, follow links to the previous posts, even when those links are not just formal linking to some back review but a part of the current story (hence lesson #3). Keep linking! Once in a while you get a curious reader.
  5. Very few people read blogs out of friendship or loyalty, most read them out of habit. Once the blog stops posting regularly (whatever the regularity was for the particular blog), readers disappear. Names do not matter, but I saw at least several previously more or less popular (or at least “inhabited” in the past) blogs’ attempts to come back after a hiatus – and there was never a huge cheering crowd welcoming them back. It has always surprised me: I visit blogs, to which I subscribe, whenever I get the notification about a new post (sometimes a week later – it happens if I’m busy, but I get there), so for me it doesn’t matter if I get that notification in a month, in half a year or in a couple of years. Lesson? Make sure you have all the possible subscription options – e-mail, bloglovin, Twitter, Facebook and whatever else you might think of.
  6. People who comment meaningfully on your posts regardless of the topic; who were there when you first published the post, to which you refer today; who remember that you love everything purple even when you come back after the absence, which they’d noticed – these are people who give the true meaning to all the efforts we put into our blogs year after year after year…

Six Friends I Made

Over the years I made many more than six friends but they are my virtual friends. I hope to meet eventually with each one of them (you) though I’m a little worried: out of six people I did meet in RL, half stopped blogging (I hope, it wasn’t something I said) – Birgit of Olfactoria’s Travels, Natalie of Another Perfume Blog and Judith of the Unseen Censer.

On the other hand, the other three are still going: Vanessa of Bonkers About Perfume, Suzanne of Suzanne’s Perfume Journal and Val of Australian Perfume Junkies.

Just in case, not to disturb balance in the blogosphere, I should probably stay away from significant perfumistas gatherings but I can try some targeted strikes. Are you game?

Six Perfumes I Found

If I were to tell you that in six years I found just six perfumes, you wouldn’t believe me – and you’d be right. But my list consists of six perfumes that are not available at any of the regular stores where I live or travel. If it weren’t for my perfume hobby, I probably would have never tried these or fallen in love with them. In posts, to which I link, I tell the stories of these perfumes and people who introduced me to them: Puredistance Antonia (Mals of Muse in Wooden Shoes), Serge Lutens De Profundis (Ines of All I am – a redhead), Mona di Orio Vanille (Suzanne of Suzanne’s Perfume Journal), Krigler Lieber Gustav (Natalie of Another Perfume Blog), Ormonde Jayne Tsarina (Kafka of Kafkaesque) and Shaik Chic Shaik No 30 (Birgit of Olfactoria’s Travels).

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Six Samples for a Giveaway

I want to say “Thank you!” to hajusuuri, Vanessa, Lucas, Asali, Tara, Portia, Steve, Juli, Ines, Renee, Birgit, Natalie and many others who made it easier for me during these years to test perfumes, to which I do not have easy access. Most of the perfumes that you shared with me I would have never tried otherwise.

For the anniversary draw I tried to come up with perfumes that are hard(er) to get for the testing. One winner will get a set of 6 x 1 ml samples of the following perfumes: Amouage Ubar* (vintage), Armani Prive La Femme Bleue (limited edition), Krigler Lieber Gustav*, Ormonde Jayne Tsarina, Shaik Chic Shaik No 30* and Tommi Sooni Eau de Tommi Sooni II* (discontinued).

There’s nothing to do: I will enter into the draw every commenter unless I’m explicitly asked not to.

* I have posts about these perfumes easily accessible from My Perfume Portrait but I won’t link to them here.

Six Pictures of Rusty You Haven’t Seen Before

It wasn’t that hard to find pictures of Rusty I haven’t shared on my blog before. But it was hard to choose, which to show: he’s so photogenic! I went for more unusual poses and photos that have less chances to appear on the perfume blog otherwise.

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Six Things I Plan to Change

Nah… Just kidding. I like this blog “as is.” I’ll keep writing when I have any story to tell, want to share something nice, or feel I haven’t had enough interactions in a while with you, my friends and readers.

Today I’ll wear my all-time favorite Lancôme Climat and drink one of my favorite wines – Paradise Ridge Sparkling Shiraz. Please join me (at least virtually) in this celebration.

Rusty and Red Champagne

Images: my own

My First Celebuscent

Celebuscents have that stigma in the Perfumeland: many perfumistas try to distance themselves from these concoctions; they become the butt of easy jokes; and just from time to time somebody almost apologetically concedes liking one of them despite it being a celebuscent.

Until recently I stayed more or less immune to all of those releases: the only two perfumes I’ve ever tried on skin were Dita Von Teese’s first perfume (a perfumista friend sent me a decant of it because she liked it; I vaguely remember that it wasn’t bad but not good enough to justify even the adorable bottle) and Etat Libre d’Orange Like This (it was a part of one of the LuckyScent’s sample packs – when I was still buying those; I think I rather liked it but since I do not support that brand, sampling was the end of it).

A couple more celebrity perfumes – one from Jennifer Aninston and one from Madonna – I tried on paper but don’t remember anything other than the latter looked like a coffin and had tuberose, which I usually do not like. I would have probably tried CB I Hate Perfume 2nd Cumming (I love that actor, and all the proceeds go to charities), but I’ve never came across that line. And I haven’t tried Boyfriend from Kate Walsh, even though it was widely liked at the time.

Celebuscents

The only perfume that can be classified as celebrity perfume that I like, own (a decant – thanks to Suzanne of Suzanne’s Perfume Journal) and wear is Deneuve by Catherine Deneuve. But it is classic perfume already (and regretfully discontinued) so I probably do not even have to be apologetic while admitting that.

When I started coming across multiple mentions of the new Sarah Jessica Parker’s perfume Stash, I wasn’t even tempted: I’m not interested in celebuscents in general, I’m not a fan of SJP, and I don’t like the name (it has drugs connotation for me, which I do not condone).

When hajusuuri asked me if I wanted to get a sample of Stash, I told her that I would test it at a store (how hard can it be to test something like that, right?), which I tried to do on my next trip to the mall – just to discover that none of the stores carried it. There is a chance that I would have eventually visited Ulta, the only store that currently has that perfume, but I’m not sure since I don’t like Ulta as well.

You can see how everything was against our encounter. But then hajusuuri just went ahead and, without waiting for the report on the success or failure of my shopping trip, included the sample into the package she was sending me.

The first minute I applied it, I immediately liked it (and that was my #10, undisclosed, perfume on my Best of 2016 list). I liked Stash on its own merit but also because I was reminded of another perfume I used to like – Gucci Rush for Men. These two perfumes aren’t identical (especially since I’m comparing Stash to “vintage” remains of the Rush) but the resemblance was close enough for me to rush (no pun) to ulta.com, which just happen to have a sale…

SJP Stash Set

I enjoy the woodiness and dryness of Stash, and I don’t smell any sweetness in it (I read that some people did). The most prominent note to my nose is cedar but if your nose better than mine in identifying notes, a list of those looks promising: grapefruit, black pepper, sage, cedar, patchouli, white ginger lily, pistachio, olibanum, Massoia wood, vetiver and musk. It is unisex with slight leaning towards masculine perfumes but not so drastically to scare away rabbit hole travelers, though I’m not sure about “civilians” (© Tara).

I didn’t need another 50 ml of any perfume, let alone 50 ml of perfume, another 30 ml of elixir oil and a 10 ml perfume rollerball. But the complete set was on sale for less than the smallest full bottle’s price. How could I resist? Besides, I was curious about the Stash oil, which I would not have tried (or bought) otherwise. I like it but I’m not clear on the body application: after I drop some oil on my skin, what am I supposed to do? Leave it to absorb? That can take forever. Rub in with my fingers? But then everything I touch in the next hour will smell like that perfume. Wash my hands afterwards? Not sure if that would help, but even if it did, I’ll need to add the next step – using a hand cream – to an already getting too laborious application routine… Do you have any other suggestions?

Rusty and SJP Stash

Do you own any celebrity perfumes? Do you wear them?

A giveaway: 10 ml Stash EdP rollerball needs another loving home before Rusty gets to it. If you’d like to be entered into the draw, just say so in your comment – there are no other requirements. The giveaway will be open until 11:59 PST on January 21, 2017. The winner will be chosen through random.org. I’ll ship the prize to any country (with usual disclaimers).

Images: the collage made from official images; the rest – my own

Entertaining Statistics: 2016 Year Round-up

As I was reading farewell posts for 2016 (or celebratory ones for 2017), I’ve noticed that many people were very unhappy with the year and were anxious to see it off. While I acknowledge all the madness and unpleasantness that the year had brought us, on the personal level I don’t have much to complain. All-in-all, it was a good year for me, and I’m grateful for that.

But let me show you my 2016 in numbers.

98% – 100%

Northern California finally got some relief from the drought we are having. It’s still not over, and a part of the state is still in miserable condition, but the area where I live got rainfall between 98 and 100 percent of historic average, which makes me happy (I’m not sure about Rusty, though: since the picture below had been taken, he’s developed an inexplicable phobia of umbrellas – so that he refuses to be in the same room with it. Now I have to dry umbrellas in the garage not to traumatize him any further).

Rusty and Umbrella

164 Perfumes Worn

I wear perfumes on most of the days that I work from the office and on weekends. When I work from home, I tend to use those days to test perfumes instead of wearing my favorites. Since at the new job I get less WFH days, 2016 numbers for perfume wearing went up compared to 2015 (the difference is given in parentheses): I wore 164 perfumes (+8) from 61 brands (+5) on 333 occasions (+29). And before you ask: no, I do not own 164 bottles of perfumes; some of these are travel bottles, minis or decants.

Jo Malone with a Vengeance

For many years I have been a Jo Malone’s fan. It started long before my trip down the rabbit hole but during the first several years of my descent I was so mesmerized by all the marvels of the niche perfumery world that I wore much less of my favorite perfumes from this brand even though I own more full bottles from Jo Malone than from any other brand.

Since I wasn’t doing my monthly statistics posts this last year, I haven’t noticed the tendency, so it got me by surprise when my year numbers showed that Jo Malone was the brand I wore the most often, and it was the highest number for one brand in the last three years: I wore Jo Malone’s perfumes on 29 occasions.

My Stats Year 2016 Brands

Lucky Number 13

This is how many times I wore Lancôme Climat – my all-time favorite perfume in 2016. You might think it’s not a high number for perfume that I love my whole life: just 13 days out of 365… no, actually 366. But look at it from another perspective: this is the highest number for any single perfume I wore during any of the past six years.

Testing… Testing… 275, 100, 361…

Despite being very busy and wearing perfumes more often, in 2016 I did a lot more testing (compared to 2015): I tested 275 perfumes (+ 97) from 100 brands (+15) on 361 occasions (+134). Not all the testing I’ve done was for new perfumes, I do a lot of comparison testing (e.g., a new to me perfume with the one I own or two new perfumes against each other) or just re-testing something I’ve tested before. But I did test 118 new for me perfumes (+26), 31 of which were released in 2016 (+3), and I listed 10 of the new releases that I liked in the last post of the year.

Care to guess, which line I tested the most? Told you – “with a vengeance.” I was surprised myself, and I blame it on their Garden Collection: probably I just couldn’t believe I couldn’t find a single perfume to like in those cute green bottles, so I kept trying them.

A Year of Zen [Gardens]

A year ago I changed jobs and I got myself a desk Zen Garden, about which I dreamed for years. Looking back, I can tell that it was a good decision. On both accounts – the job and the garden. It was a challenging busy year but I enjoy what I do, I like my job, and I still had time for changing my Zen Garden at least seven times (I can’t find a picture of the very first one I made but it was more traditional than the next six).

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As you can see, I used all my favorite things – cats, perfumes, chocolates and holiday decorations. Yesterday I took off Christmas ornaments, and I’m ready for the next chapter in my Zen-gardening. Any ideas for what I should do next?

Zen Garden 8

Images: my own