New Year Resolutions, Part I: 2011 Round Up

New Year resolutions… Crowds in gyms and dance classes usually subside by mid-February allowing regulars to go back to their normal routines. Healthier eating habits get buried under stress of a “holiday-less” life and kitchen catch-all drawers stay in their natural state that makes finding any useful thing we put in there at some point an adventure.

In the beginning of 2011 I decided to see at least one of my New Year resolutions through. The resolution was: I will wear one of my favorite perfumes at least two times a week. By that time I’d created already a database to hold information about perfumes in my collection. So all I needed to add was a diary part where I could record my perfumes usage.

I’m proud to report that in all twelve months of 2011 I followed my NY resolution and gave perfumes in my permanent collection the attention they deserve. In addition to that, my numbers collecting provided me with a lot of interesting though probably not that useful data points which I’d shared with my readers in the Quick stats section of my monthly reports.

I was very curious to see the numbers for the whole year. So, here they are.

Quick 2011 stats:

* Different perfumes worn/tested: 376 (303 tested for the first time and 73 previously tested – see the chart by month) from 110 brands;

2011 statistics: perfumes worn by month* Perfumes I wore just once: 191;

* My Top 10 Brands (perfume house I wore/tested most often): see the chart, click on it for a full size;

My Top 10 Brands in 2011

* My Top 10 Perfumes (those that I wore the most often):

Perfume

Times Worn

№19 EdT by Chanel

16

Heure Exquise by Annick Goutal

13

Tiare by Ormonde Jayne

12

№19 Poudre by Chanel

10

Bronze Goddess by Estee Lauder

9

Iris Poudre by Frederic Malle

9

Une Rose Vermeille by Tauer Perfumes

9

Antonia by Puredistance

8

Jeux de Peau by Serge Lutens

8

Ta’if by Ormonde Jayne

8

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Coming up in the next couple of days New Year Resolutions, Part II: Perfumed resolutions for 2012.

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Images: my own

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See also year end posts and Top N lists for 2011 from the friendly blogs:

Another Perfume Blog: Best Perfumes of 2011: A Joint Blogging Event

beauty on the outside: Highlights from 2011

EauMG: Best of 2011 – Perfume Blogging Event

eyeliner on a cat: Best Fragrances of 2011

From Top to Bottom: My 2011

Muse in Wooden Shoes: 2011: The Year’s Fragrance Releases in Review

Olfactoria’s Travels: The Best Of 2011 – My Favorite Perfumes Of The Year

Perfume in Progress: Some thoughts as the year ends

Persolaise – A Perfumer’s Blog: The Best Perfumes Of 2011 & Thoughts On Independence

Pieces of paper, squiggy lines: My Favorite Fragrant discoveries of 2011

Scent of the Day: My Favorites of 2011

Scents of Self: Forgotten Fragrances of 2011

The Alembicated Genie: Best of the Best 2011 – Perfumes and Perfumers and Best of the Best 2011 – Worn and Adored

The Candy Perfume Boy: The Candy Perfume Boy’s Best Picks of 2011

The Non-Blonde: 2011 In Perfume- Delights & Rants

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Scents of My Hawaii Vacation

What did my Hawaii vacation smelled of? It smelled of freshly mowed grass on a golf course next to our condo; of papayas, mangos and dragon fruits we were eating for breakfast; of a night ocean breeze and sun-heated seaweed as we walked along beaches; of orchids (including the one that smelled like chocolate!), plumerias and other tropical flowers, of greenery wet with rain and of dusty lava fields – as we hiked in the volcano park; of 100% Kona coffee and white Hawaiian honey we tried at different coffee farms. But since it is not a travel blog I should probably write about more important stuff – perfumes.

Hapuna beach parkFor this week-long trip I decided to be “minimalistic”: one full bottle, one mini, one travel spray and two sample vials. I’ve voted against any new perfume testing not to skew the first impression by the unusual heat, humidity and … by being on a vacation.

You know how when you’re flying any airline they start the boarding with the first/business class passengers, then members of their super-duper-exclusive clubs, then… During this trip United has overdone itself: I couldn’t imagine there were so many special privileged categories. It felt like there were more passengers labeled one way or the other than “regular” ones.

My vSO and I have many small rituals and traditions when we travel together. One of the newest rituals is sharing Voyage d’Hermes scent for the flight. We use it from a mini bottle (dabbed, not sprayed) so it’s very light and not offensive to those around us but if we lean close we can get a whiff of it from each other. So my flight was scented by Voyage d’Hermes and, on a several occasions, by my neighbor‘s very strongly perfumed but luckily short-lived B&B Works’ Orange Ginger lotion (I didn’t ask, I recognized the scent).

Bronze Goddess by Estee Lauder

Bronze Goddess with dragon< fruit>s

Bronze Goddess is such a beautiful perfume! Never too much, never too annoying but always summer-y, bright and perky. Just right for a perfect day in tropics. Being “pigmentally” challenged (©Olfactoria’s Travels – please read her very enticing and nicely illustrated review of Bronze Goddess), the closest I could ever get to being a bronze goddess is to smell like one. I did.

Speaking of [not] tanning. I know that summer is over for most of my blogo-friends, but I still want to mention three products with sunscreen by which I swear (links aren’t affiliate, just for the illustration purposes): Aveeno Continuous Protection Sunblock Spray for body – very easy to apply, not greasy, with a subtle scent (for a sunblock), doesn’t leave white residue; Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream SPF 55 PA+++ for face (for swimming or hiking) – absorbs well, doesn’t leave shine or residue, doesn’t clog pores (I have a sensitive skin); and Shiseido Urban Environment UV Protection Cream SPF 35 PA+++ for face (for less engaging activities) – the similar characteristics as for the face cream above but with less SPF and not being water-resistant, it’s really lightweight.

As I promised to my new perfume friend Tiare by Ormonde Jayne, I took her with me on my tropical vacation. In the evenings when an ocean breeze would put out a day heat, all dressed-up for dinner I would adorn myself with Tiare. I truly enjoyed her company. I think it is a perfect perfume for a tropical night out. It feels so right in place on the open terrace under the moonless starry sky, surrounded by palm trees and the sound of the invisible ocean just a hundred steps in front of you. And a slick travel spray will fit even into the smallest purse. Read real reviews for Ormonde Jayne’s Tiare at Olfactoria’s Travels and Bonkers about Perfume.

Two samples that I brought with me to Hawaii were Frangipani by Ormonde Jayne and Black Orchid by Tom Ford. I wore Frangipani one night and I was surprised that I liked it much less than I remembered. It was still nice but something was wrong. When I came home and checked my notes, I found out that I liked Frangipani a lot in winter (ok, that was a Californian winter), on cool but sunny days. So for whatever reasons a tropical flower-based perfume doesn’t work for me in tropics – go figure. On the other hand, Black Orchid about behavior of which in a hot weather I had my reservations was just wonderful. I do not know if I should partially attribute that success to the place I was visiting at the moment, so – just in case you ever decide to reproduce the experiment to a tee – I give you all the details.

Mauka Coffee FarmMauka Coffee FarmMauka Coffee Farm

If you ever travel to Big Island I full-heartedly recommend visiting Mauka Meadows Coffee Farm. I’m a coffee fan but not a connoisseur so I cannot tell if their coffee is really good though I liked it enough to buy some coffee to bring home. But it’s not the coffee that made the place special for me. It’s their garden. Their own website doesn’t do them justice! They have beautiful well-kept grounds – a coffee farm surrounded by a very organic fusion of a tropical-themed Japanese garden and a fruit orchard. This area of the island is very wet, so it’s not too hot and it rains there often in the afternoons. The first nice touch was a selection of umbrellas to borrow in a shed  on the parking lot. As you walk through the gardens, down to the main pavilion, you can not only enjoy the view but also you can sample fruits from the trees along your path. We ate very ripe and flavorful small red guavas right off the tree. Also, for the first time in my life, I tried fresh macadamia nuts (there was a special cracker placed next to nut trees). I’m glad I do not have an easy access to those nuts: it would have been an awful temptation.

Mauka Coffee FarmWhen you reach the foot of the hill you are greeted with a sample of their coffee. You can sit (either under the roof of the open pavilion or, if weather permits, outside at one of the lawn tables) and enjoy the tranquility of the view – a water pool flowing to the horizon and meditation music. There is no pressure to buy anything but if you want they offer three types of coffee in a variety of sizes and local honey. A minivan is ready to take you back up to the parking lot (unless you choose – as we did – to walk back through the garden). The first time we came there just by chance when we couldn’t find the coffee farm recommended on Yelp. But it was so peaceful and so beautiful that in a couple of days I just had to go there again. That was when I wore Black Orchid and it completed the wonderful experience.

Hawaii - Paradise on EarthIf anybody still had any doubts, here’s the proof that Hawaii is a Paradise on Earth: more than once we observed the commensalism, peaceful coexistence of local cats, birds, and mongooses (click on the image to see two mongooses eating/drinking from cats’ bowls).

The trip, as great as it was, wouldn’t be complete without some interesting new perfumed experience, right? So for those who are still reading, I want to announce that in the upcoming week I plan to publish an addendum to my vacation story to share with you my unexpected perfumed encounter. Stay tuned!

As always, feel free to post a link to your blog’s post(s) related to the topic.

Images: my own

A Friend in Need…

I like all kinds of holidays and celebrations. New Year and my birthday are two my favorite occasions and I always try to get the most of them.

For the New Year 2011 my friends and I had a party at our place. It wasn’t too big or loud but it was warm and joyful, with good food, great drinks and a pleasant (at least for me – can’t vouch for everybody else) gifts exchange. It was a wonderful night; I wore one of my favorite perfumes, was very happy and felt great.

Next morni afternoon I woke up really sick with flu. It was the worst sickness I had in many years. I felt awful and had no strength to get out of the bed for a couple of days. In my feverish mind there were two recurring thoughts to which I tried to hold on as if it was really important to keep thinking them. First – I was very glad and thankful to all the forces of the Universe that I hadn’t got sick 24 hours earlier: it would have been a complete disaster for our party and everybody involved. And second – I was happy that by the time I woke up my new perfumed love (Ormonde Jayne’s Ta’if) was already gone: I was dreading to associate the scent I cherished with the misery of that day. So while feeling horrible I felt lucky.

Ormonde Jayne TiareWhen I finally forced myself to get up and start moving, I noticed a wonderful smell coming from my bathrobe’s collar. It wasn’t too strong or persistent, I would catch a whiff of it now and then, but it was so unexpectedly comforting and supporting that I almost cried. With all the testing I had been conducting at the time it took me a while to figure out what perfume it was. Tiare by Ormonde Jayne.

Dive in to keep reading…

New Year Resolutions: January

 

One of my perfume-related New Year Resolutions this year was to slow down the testing gallop and start wearing more often those perfumes that I like already. The goal was to spend at least two days a week with my favorites – perfumes from my collection, not test vials and sample sprays. After all, why to look for a perfect scent if I will not give it enough face body time once the courting is over?

The first month of the year went by almost unnoticed. Looking in the perfume diary for January I see that somehow I managed not to get too far from the goal: I wore one of my favorite perfumes on nine different occasions. Of course, nine times does translate to “twice a week”, but I cheated a little by sometimes putting on something new in the morning – “just to see how it feels”, – and later the same day or in the evening I would wear a perfume I own and love.

Quick January statistics:

* Different perfumes worn: 46
* Favorite perfumes worn: 9
* Perfumes tried for the first time: 25

* Perfume house I wore most often: 
   Chanel (Coco and Beige, two times each)
   Ormonde Jayne (Orris Noir and Tiare, two times each).

* Most popular notes: top – bergamot and mandarin; middle – jasmine and rose; base – musk and sandalwood.

Image: my own