Unpacking Fragrances After Moving Countries

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Sandra

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Hey there APJ! Hope everyone is doing well and I am sure smelling fabulous.

To be perfectly honest with you I am completely out of ideas here. It has been a week of living in a daze. The house is set up but we still have boxes to unpack in the basement and to be frank, in order to make it livable we just threw items into cupboards and closets with the intention that things will be organized in the near future. (I still have not found my favorite erasers for sketching or my favorite kitchen scissors.) Hence, the foggy brain .

Unpacking Fragrances After Moving Countries

I have quite a bit less closet space here and what used to be a perfume cupboard has now become one for clothes. In order to save valuable space, I took all the perfume bottles out of their boxes (into the basement they went) and randomly set the bottles into the cupboard, an old CD rack and into two boxes. Now, I need to organize them. So, here is a peak into the mess that awaits behind doors and under lids. Any suggestions?

Sanity may be fleeting at the moment, but here are my three go-to perfumes of the week to help clear the mind: Dior Bois d’Argent, Guerlain Spiriteuse Double Vanille and Chanel Misia EdP.

Until next time.
Sandra xo

(Ed: All photos donated by Sandra. VERY nice collection love. XXX)

CHANEL: Scented Journey

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Sandra

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Hi there sexy smelling APJers

About a week before I left Vienna I was sniffing my way through the new Eau de Parfums of the Chanel Exclusives when a lovely SA came up to me and asked if I would like to go on a Chanel Scented Journey. Intrigued, I signed myself up and asked a friend to come and join me.

Not knowing what I was about to embark on, I went in open minded and happy to get away for a little bit of scented fun. Now, I will be perfectly honest here, I did not come out and tell her that I was going to write a post about it, nor did I tell her that I looovee perfumes and have more than 2 bottles at home. I thought it might make her uncomfortable and clam up. I did ask permission to take one picture of her with the essences in front of her and she agreed (no close up of the box was allowed).

CHANEL: Scented Journey

So, to begin with she asked me several pointed questions about my scented memories or what I find to be the perfect scented experiences. We spoke a bit about flowers and colours and then we dove right it.

Now, if you think that this is all hogwash and you do not want to read any further, I understand completely. However, take into consideration the most amazing Chanel box that came out full of essences that Chanel uses in its perfumes. My jaw dropped when I saw what lay before me and I wanted to go through each and every one of the mini bottles. Unfortunately, that is not how it works. Taking into account my answers, she had me go through 10 essences where I had to guess what I was smelling and then give an opinion on how I liked it.

Well, after about half an hour of sniffing and swooning or cringing, she walked away for 5 minutes and then came back with what she thought would be my perfect Chanel perfumes. I was told that Beige or Boy would be to my liking. Now, she hit the nail on the head with Beige as I already have gone through a bottle of it and still love it. But Boy? Unfortunately she did not have any samples of Boy left but she gave me samples of several of the other perfumes to test at home.

You may wonder if I walked away with anything. Yes, sure did – after several wearings I fell in love with Misia EdP as I find it a tad rounder, less sharp in the opening and overall more tenacious than the EdT which tends to fall flat on me after about an hour of wear. I received a decant of Boy from a dear friend and will be giving it a full wearing when it warms up a bit here and wonder if she got that one right too.

If you have the opportunity to take the Chanel Scented Journey, please do. It was such a joy being able to see the essences lined up like that and actually smelling some of them. I would love to hear if you have had the chance the smell the new EdPs and what you think of them.

Till next time,
Big smoochy woochies,
Sandra xxx

Moving: Vienna To Rotterdam 2016

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Sandra

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Happy New Year APJ! May 2017 bring peace, love and joy to our lives.

Let me just come right out and say it. Moving is terrible. Leaving the comfort of my flat and all the luxuries of the known has been the most challenging aspect. Please do not take this post as a complaint, rather as a funny side to the moving experience.

Moving: Vienna To Rotterdam 2016

The bandaid has been ripped off and we landed safely in Rotterdam. The movers got us into the house and then promptly abandoned us at 2 pm stating that they did not want to unpack all the boxes because there was not enough flat surface to place the items on! WTF?! Seriously – we have four floors!!! Too emotionally spent to argue with them, we let them go home. Now, imagine us climbing, sometimes on all fours, the three crazy steep stairs with boxes – no stairmaster is needed. We have it in the house and no health club membership will be necessary.

One major challenge with which we are faced is figuring out what foods are safe for my allergic son. To give you an example – the first night in Rotterdam we mistakenly thought that a sushi restaurant would be safe. The waitress tried telling us to leave because she could not handle my request. All I wanted to know is why there was egg in an avocado maki! The manager came and told me it was because all the sushi has mayonnaise. Really?! I kindly requested that he makes the maki without the mayo and voila we have safe food! So, it will take us several weeks to get our bearings and figure out which grocery stores have the right foods for us and which restaurants we can visit.

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On another note, I know that I am short – but I feel positively elflike here. Both men and women tower over me! We needed to buy a step stool to actually climb into the bath tub – my legs are just not that long. My husband placed one step stool on every floor as there are even light switches I cannot reach on tippytoe. Don’t even get me started on the cupboard space in the kitchen – I don’t remember what I placed up top and cannot even see all the way up there from the ground.

With all the stress and now culture shock setting in, I have two favourite perfumes giving me the much needed comfort and hugs.

Knowing how stressful this would be, I decided several weeks before the move that for the five or six days that it would take to pack, move, stay in a hotel and then move into the house I would be fragrance free.


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Once unpacked, I spritzed Shalimar EdP lavishly and was in scented heaven. It has grounded me when I found myself wanting to whimper in a corner.

spiriteuse-double-vanille-guerlainGuerlain

At night I require an extra dose of sugar and reach for Spiriteuse Double Vanille which sends me off to dreamland with its wonderful boozy vanilla cloud.

All in all, I am excited about the adventure and am looking forward to discovering new places and meeting new people. The Dutch are some of the friendliest people I have ever met. People smile and are willing to help us and most go out of their way when we explain that we are newly implanted foreigners in their country.

Here are a few pictures of the last night in Vienna and then my first impressions living in this vibrant city. If you are interested, you can follow my Instagram (vienna_living) to catch a glimpse of my latest discoveries.

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APJ Crew: What We Loved In 2016

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Post by APJ Crew

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Hi APJ,

The end of the year hurtles towards us faster than I was ready for. A year filled with fun and adventure, a year fraught with political upheaval, a year of fragrance, travel, friends and families. For many 2016 has been the year of war, displacement, challenge, heartache and despair. Most of us have had a year of good and bad, a year of work, home and regular life with its ups and downs, drama and spots of magic that make it all worthwhile.

Here’s what the crew at APJ loved the most in 2016. Not all of it fragrant. I hope you enjoy a little look into what we rated high. The order is the order the pieces came into my inbox.

APJ Crew: What We Loved In 2016

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Claire Vukčević

Honestly? Apart from perfume, the biggest discovery in 2016 was how brilliant Tretinoin is. Northing I’ve ever used before has had such an effect on my skin – small wrinkles minimized, pores reduced, overall skin texture improved. I love the stuff. I can’t find a doctor to prescribe it to me here, so I will have to source it out on the Internet – always a crapshoot, no? But still, it’s great and I will take the chance. For 2017, I am also excited about exploring a more extensive, Korean-style skincare regime. Next year will be all about getting that chok chok, or Korean glow. We’ll see. I just turned 40 and I think that Irish skin might have a finite stock of chok chok and that perhaps I used mine all up in 1997. Call me in 2018 to see how that works out for me.

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Sandra
Hey APJ! Wishing ya’ll a very happy and safe holiday season and hoping that 2016 was a good year. 2016 has been tumultuous for me but we survived and we are currently setting up our house in Rotterdam. My favorites for 2016 are not necessarily new but new experiences for me.
Perfumes: Rahele by NVC, Galop and Muguet Porcelaine both by Hermes, discovering the pure decadence of Shalimar in all its variations and last but not least finally getting my hands on the gorgeous Dior Privee Bois d’Argent.
Movies: watching A Christmas Story with my son and hearing his squeals of laughter.
TV shows: I enjoyed Narcos and The Crown (I know – two wildly different shows!). Flowers: finally smelling a vanilla orchid.
Books: all the Robert Galbraith crime novels and rereading Roald Dahl books with my son.
Bring on 2017! Sandra xoxo
Week July 2016 #25 CHANEL Boy

Robert Herrmann

Phew. 2016. What a tumultuous year it was and all I can say is “Buh-bye 2016! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out! A year of highs and lows, and what got me through much of it was perfume. Always there at my beck and call…

In 2016 there were in excess of 1100 new releases averaging out to almost 100 a month. Did I try even 10% of them? Possibly, but not likely. There were some standouts that I ended up loving. So in no particular order, here’s what was new to me in 2016….

Boy by Chanel, a VERY unisex Fougere Cologne. Addictive.
Amouage Lilac Love, a truly gorgeous non-lilac lilac.
Amouage Opus X, “The Red Violin” in a bottle. A weird and wonderful rose.
Aroma M Voluptuous Nostalgia and Camillia Extrait, two of the finest contemporary but vintage-style perfumes. Gorgeous!
En Voyage Rainmaker, like walking through the Pacific Northwest rain forest. Amazing.
Dusita Infini, One of the finest oudh’s. Really. Even if you’re not an Oudh fan, try this, it’s stunning!
MFK’s Grand Soir, my new cold weather go-to. Gourmand heaven.
Zoologist Civet (releasing Dec.31st) exquisite. I can’t even.

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Anne Marie

I had fun in 2016 exploring Cuban culture. I can’t remember what brought this on, but somehow I got interested in Cuban food, music, literature and of course, Cuban-inspired perfume. It’s easy to get carried away by a romantic idea of old Havana so the quite gritty novels of Cuban writer Leonardo Padura Fuentes brought me down to earth with a thump. Still, I taught myself to make mojitos, discovered the Lecuona Cuban Boys, and bought a Cuban cookbook (more read than cooked from, I have to admit). Of course bottles of Guerlain Pour Homme and Aramis Havana were obligatory!

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Val the Cookie Queen

Seeing MUSE on the Drones Tour. After having attended hundreds of gigs in my lifetime, including so many in the mid seventies punk era, to see MUSE at aged 56 and be absolutely blown away was the definitive highlight of 2016.
Celebrating my grandmother-in-law`s 100th birthday gathering was a great privilege. She can still tell a joke to turn your hair white. We have had a close relationship for nearly 25 years. I love her.
Fragrance wise would be receiving a bottle of Hermès Doblis as a gift. The humorous side to this was having to Google it to see exactly what I had. It is the prize possession in my small ( but not as small as it used to be!) fragrance collection.

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Erica Golding

2016 was the 10th anniversary of my favorite perfume house, NAVA (Nocturne Alchemy). They are poised to revamp their website and packaging over an extended winter hiatus, and like most fans I went on an ordering spree in December! My favorite 2016 NAVA release was the now Sold Out limited edition Icons II: Inferno, a luxuriously smooth and resonant amber oudh that is in a league all its own.
This year, the novel City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin was finally released, completing a long-anticipated trilogy. His writing is infused with vivid poetry and complex character development, elevating a storyline that could otherwise be classified as Sci-Fi. Deeply moving literary fiction, highly recommended!

TinaG

My travels this year took me to the Islay Festival, or Feis Ile, a whisky festival on the Scottish island of the same name. I fell in love with Islay, not only because of the wonderful people and magnificent whisky, but for the wild island itself. My cottage was 9 kms from Port Ellen along a windy single track road which took my past Lagavulin, Laphroaig and Ardbeg distilleries (for those who know their whisky) and then along little beaches & craggy coves. One of my favourite things to do on my way home was to pull in at one secluded beach, and sit for a while watching the local seals. It was ridiculously cool to hear them slapping the water, blowing bubbles, and chasing each other around. Just me & them, chilling out enjoying the last few rays of the golden evenings. Magical.
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Tina’s Ireland cottage
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Seal Bay
15435648_10154621357945115_144390778_nThree distilleries near thecottage

Portia

What did I love this year? I particularly loved everyone who took time to read and comment here on APJ. Thank you. Loved all our contributors, I know how hard you all work to continually pull interesting posts out of the hat. BRAVO!
Perfume: The things I purchased most of this year in mls are Granville and vintage Miss Dior by DIOR, vintage Mitsouko by Guerlain and BOY + Misia by CHANEL. New niche faves for me have been Morn To Dusk by Eau d’Italie and Rahele by Neela Vermeire.
Travel: Jin & I had a great time in Japan, we also loved seeing Venice with Tara of A Bottled Rose and our friend Anna-Maria. Unforgettable times.
Books: The Herland Trilogy by Charlotte Perkins Gilman blew my mind, can’t stop thinking about it. Erin Watt’s Royal Trilogy is non-stop pot-boiling reading, could not put this terrible trash down and did nothing except read them for a week. When It Rains and How To Get There are two books by Australian writer Maggie MacKeller on her dealing with grief and moving on, all set against the backdrop of the Australia that I know & love.

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What did you love about 2016?
Portia xx

Christmas in Vienna 2016: Photo Essay

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Post by Sandra

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Hiya APJ! I hope ya’ll are doing well and enjoying the holiday season.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a kid once a year when the holidays come around and that I love every moment. This year is a weird year as we are moving to the The Netherlands on 21 December and into the house on 23 December. Santa will definitely have to show up but how much decorating will get done depends largely on how many of the decorations I can find. My priority this year is to mark a box which will contain my son’s presents so that he at least can enjoy some of the magic.

Christmas in Vienna 2016

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The holidays are an onslaught to my senses in Vienna and this year is no different. The streets are finally all decked out (they prepare for weeks) and lit, brightly lighting our way. It sure makes the darkness of winter seem more friendly and inviting. The Christmas markets are full of bright coloured ornaments, toys and knick knacks which bring grins to many children and panicked faces of their parents trying desperately to ensure that nothing breaks (picture my son reaching for one snowglobe in a stand with over 100 snowglobes). However pale I may be from fear of breaks, I still love seeing his face light up and his eyes twinkle with joy. There are stands selling hot mulled wine all over the city too. The kids can have warm spiced juice and enjoy the delicacies of roasted chestnuts and cookies. Magic is in the air but also the despair of so many who live on the streets. And with this despair I also see strangers performing random acts of kindness on an almost daily basis.

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sandra-christmas-in-vienna-2016-10My son and his friend Maxi who were great sales assistants at the Christmas market today.

The holidays are a feast for my senses but especialy for my sense of smell. The caramelized almonds, roasted chestnuts, hot mulled wine, ornaments made with cloves, anise, cinnamon and dried fruits, incense in the cathedral and even the smell of pine needles all around are pure sensory overload. How do I find a perfume that wraps up all of these into a perfume that is even wearable? I have not found a perfume that suits the holidays yet, but I tend to reach for gourmands and vanilla or almond notes. So I tend to veer off on a tangent and think of what perfume would I like to receive for Christmas and I then go and have a sniff.

Chanel Misia Chanel FragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Powdery notes, violet, iris, orris root, Turkish rose, Grasse rose, Laos benzoin, tonka bean

Well, needless to say I have found two that I would love to see under the tree – so let me dream please. How about Chanel Misia EdP and Chanel Beige EdP please – and if Santa is being more than generous I would love Chanel Boy too.

I did not read about the Chanel EdP releases because I wanted to form my own opinion and to be perfectly honest with you – I like several of them more in the EdP strength. Beige and Misia smelled pretty similar to the EdT but lasted quite a bit longer. 31 rue Cambon I am torn about – something is different but it does somehow resemble the EdT and yet it lasts. I wore both versions of Coromandel on the same day and even though the EdT has more incense I liked the EdP quite a bit.

What are your scents for the holidays – be it culinary, perfumed or floral? Do you have any perfumes on your wishlist?

Wishing you all a joyful, peaceful and safe holiday season.
Sandra xoxo

Fêtes Persanes by Cecile Zarokian for MDCI Parfums 2016

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Post by Sandra

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Hey there fellow perfume lovers! Hope ya’ll are doing well.

The pea soup has arrived in Vienna, as it does every year, end of October. The mornings are dark and lately have become murky. My son’s bedroom window overlooks the cathedral steeple and every morning we open up the blinds to see if the steeple is shrouded in thick undulating fog. It is either the pea soup or David Copperfield has managed to sneak into Vienna over night and make the St. Stephen’s cathedral disappear as a Halloween magic trick!

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But with all of this looming grey comes the start of my favourite season in Vienna. Namely Christmas! The city goes whole hog and decorates the streets, shop windows, grocery stores with dazzling lights and brightly coloured ornaments. It takes them several weeks to set up which is great for building up the anticipation.

This year I have found a wonderful perfume to accompany me during this transitional phase in the city.

Fêtes Persanes by MDCI Parfums 2016

Fêtes Persanes by Cecile Zarokian

fetes-persanes-mdci-parfums-fragranticaFragrantica

Fragranticagives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, black pepper
Heart: Rose, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves
Base: Guaiac wood, vanilla, cedar, patchouli

This is a beautiful spicy oriental fragrance that smolders quietly for hours shifting ever so slightly so that the embers can finally die down leaving me warm and cozy.

The perfume starts out quite spicy with a large dose of black pepper and a hint of the spices that are to come. The pepper is thankfully not abrasive or sharp nor sneeze inducing. After spending the summer with family members who are pepper aficionados (seriously – they import pepper corns from all corners of the world – and yes, they do all taste different), I really appreciate the way that Cecile Zarokian has incorporated pepper throughout the entire development of the perfume.

There is a sprinkling of cardamom and cinnamon – but not too much. It never veers into the gourmand territory of a sweet fragrance. The spices bring to mind a celebration where family members gather around together to feast and catch up.

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Several hours in the rose is making a debut with just a few tendrils reaching my nose. But with it comes the guaiac wood, cedar and patchouli. Truthfully I do not detect much vanilla but perhaps my skin is just amplifying the woods. The drydown is my favourite part of Fêtes Persanes with the woody notes really whispering and teasing all of my senses. I would love to sit down in a room full of lit candles, surrounded by my family and friends basking in the glow of a big celebration.
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Further reading: Now Smell This and Colognoisseur
LuckyScent has $250/75ml
Surrender To Chance has samples from $6/0.5ml

Please give this a try – MDCI Parfums have a marvelous selection of perfumes offering something for all tastes.

Do you have a favourite pre-holiday season perfume?

Let me leave you with some images of fog and grey and holiday décor set up.

Sandra xoxo

(Ed: Photos donated by Sandra unless specified. thank you princess, they’re lovely)

Stress and Perfumes!

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Post by Sandra

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Hi there fellow perfume aficionados. Hope ya’ll are doing well.

We received a life changing phone call a couple of weeks ago and it is now official – we are moving from Vienna, Austria to Rotterdam, The Netherlands! Yikes! I thought I would never leave Vienna, and yet here I am planning our move which comes unfortunately during the holidays this year.

Stress is of course the norm now but so is the anticipation and excitement. I have lived a largely nomadic lifestyle until I landed in Vienna and got married. Being a global nomad brings its challenges but also its treasures. Home is everywhere. Learning a new language and culture feeds my soul. Meeting new people and making new friends adds color to my life. As I grew up living in a number of countries I find the process of moving painful but the end effect and the nesting period exhilarating. For my husband and son it will be a different experience and I have to try and make it as smooth as possible for both of them. Hence, the stress.

Stress and Perfumes!

Perfumes have always given me a sense of comfort – a cloak in which I am invisible and I can be stronger than I am currently feeling. Here are a couple of perfumes I have been frequently wearing lately.

vanille-cuir-m-micallef-fragranticaFragrantica

Micallef Cuir Vanille has given me a shield with which I protect myself. I can face the day knowing that the leathery vanilla will be there to soothe my anxieties.

guerlan-cuir-beluga-fragranticaFragrantica

Guerlan Cuir Beluga is my old trusted friend whose shoulder I can lean on for support and guidance. The soft suede laced with vanilla done as only Guerlain can do.

I tend to reach for amber or vanilla in stressful situations, but the other day I encountered a stunning perfume which made me feel like I was prepared for anything that may come. I wore Hermes Le Galop and was blown away at its morphing capabilities. It started out all fruity and slightly sour then moved to a leathery suede which made me feel strong. In the evening I noticed that the gorgeous gentle rose tinged with suede. My world seemed ok.

neela-vermeire-creationsFragrantica

Last but not least – Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur – deep velvet red cushions embroidered with royal purple and golden threads. I rest my head and breathe a deep sigh of relief. Home.

ambre-sultan-serge-lutens-fragranticaFragrantica

My husband has turned to Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan – it smells completely different on him – smooth, rich, dry amber deliciousness. He has never before been complemented by a man on his choice of perfume until the other day … .

un-jardin-sur-le-toit-hermes-fragranticaFragrantica

My son, seven years old, has always enjoyed a spritz or two of Hermès Un Jardin Sur la Toit until recently when he keeps wanting a spritz of Stéphane Humbert Lucas 777 Mortal Skin. It must be that he is also needing an extra layer of perceived protection with all the stress.

mortal-skin-stephane-humbert-lucas-777-fragranticaFragrantica

As the moving date nears I will find it interesting which perfumes I will reach for most. Let me leave you with some of my recent pictures of Vienna which has been home for 22 years.

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What perfumes do you wear when you are under a lot of pressure and stress? On another note, have any of you shopped for perfumes in The Netherlands? Any suggestions?
SX