Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Few Favorite Scents for Wintertime

Before winter is long behind us, I thought I would share a few fragrances that I've been enjoying this season. They all have in common a cozy quality that I think is particularly well suited to cold weather! 

Issey Miyake L'Eau D'Issey Or Absolu

Issey Miyake's L'Eau D'Issey Or Absolu was released in 2011 as a special holiday edition. It is encased in a beautiful golden version of the trademark Issey Miyake conical bottle. It shares some of the same floral notes as the classic L'Eau d'Issey but is more subtle and warm, with an alluring softness. Its top notes are osmanthus, lotus, lily, and jasmine, followed by bottom notes of amber. It is what I consider to be a "skin scent" as it is doesn't have outstanding sillage, though it is noticeable by others in very close proximity. Or Absolu improves as it mellows, leaving behind a trail of pleasant fragrance for hours. Although it was a limited edition it is still widely available online and I recently purchased a backup recently on Amazon for less than half of the original retail price. Fortunately, this fragrance doesn't seem to degrade over time--I've had my original bottle for over a year and it still smells as lovely as it did when I first received it.

Trish McEvoy No. 9 Blackberry & Vanilla Musk

Many of you may be familiar with Trish McEvoy's popular No. 9 Blackberry & Vanilla Musk. I wasn't sure whether this was appropriate for a post on winter scents since it is more of a year-round fragrance, but the main reason why I've included it is because of my first impressions when I tried it many years ago. At that time (when it was still new to me), it called to my mind the smell of balsam fir Christmas trees after they begin to age and their scent becomes stronger and sweeter.

No. 9 contains notes of blackberry, vanilla, musk, white rose, and cashmere woods. This scent was a forerunner to other blackberry-vanilla fragrances such as Philosophy's Falling in Love and Unconditional Love, both of which are along the same lines as No. 9, but are more budget-friendly. Although I don't reach for Trish's No. 9 as often as some of my other fragrances, it has a simple, sophisticated sweetness that I never grow tired of, and it will probably always be a staple in my fragrance wardrobe.

L'Occitane Amber

L'Occitane's Amber is an oriental with amber and woody notes, and is smooth, sensuous, spicy and sweet, all at once. I consider it to be a quintessential winter scent. When the temperature dips, it helps bring a little warmth to your mood--the perfume equivalent of a hot brandy after spending time in the snow. While it has the potential to become a bit cloying on a hot summer's day, it is perfection at this time of year! 

Laura Mercier Creme de Pistache

Laura Mercier's Crème de Pistache is a sweet, dried tobacco-like scent, reminiscent of Thierry Mugler's classic, Angel, but with a distinct (albeit fleeting) nutty opening accord that sets it apart. It is similar enough that fans of Angel should like this as well, and vice versa: if you hate Angel you will probably want to give this a pass. According to Laura Mercier it is composed of notes of pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, along with praline and whipped cream (yum!). It has above-average longevity and strength (a little goes a long way). There is also a range of luxurious Crème de Pistache bath products that preceded the perfume, but of note is that the bath and body products have a different composition that seems to be a closer rendition of a "pistachio" scent, and they don't have the same Angel-esque quality as the spray perfume.

Origins Ginger Essence

Last, but certainly not least, is Origins Ginger Essence - Intensified. Of the different "Ginger" iterations over the years, the Intensified version is the one I prefer most. It has the same spicy ginger note as the original, along with a touch of bergamot, lemon and lime, but the Intensified version shown here is sweeter, softer and more balanced. It is never overpowering, yet is surprisingly long lasting. I can see why Origins' Ginger scents have remained best sellers over the years. I don't own anything else quite like this deliciously sweet and spicy elixir in my collection. It's a long-time favorite! 

Do you have any favorite scents you like to wear more often in the colder seasons? I'd love to hear your recommendations! 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Nature Photography: Lucky Ladybugs for the New Year

A few weeks ago I spotted dozens of ladybugs in different stages of their life cycle in the hedge next door to my office and decided to snap a few photos with my macro lens. I thought it would be fitting to share these at the start of this new year, as ladybugs are said to bring good luck! 

special thanks to everyone for taking the time to visit my blog and for the kind comments and conversation over the past year. I hope that 2013 brings great things to all of you!

Ladybug eggs

Larva stage

Pupa stage 

Above you can see the empty shell left behind after the ladybug has emerged.

Entomologists believe that ladybugs are brightly colored in order to defend against predators.
Their brightness and spots are a warning sign to birds that they are toxic and will taste bad if eaten. 

I wonder why some have spots and some don't? 

And the cycle continues!