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The Golden City. Once you visit Prague, it is clear why it is called so.

Vltava. (I keep hearing the melody playing softly in my head as I look upon the city, Bedřich Smetana on my mind). And all the bridges of Vltava river in Prague, what a sight!

As I walk the streets of Prague Castle, I deeply inhale trying to define the scent of the city. It is wintertime, crispy cold and I feel trails of humidity coming from the great river of Vltava upwards to the hill, smell of snow and wet cobblestone pavement combined with mossy scent emanating from the gothic architecture surrounding me.

Prague, Praha, Prag: an amazing city with a rich history. Dating back to times of Charles IV – the Holy Roman Emperor, hosting Habsburg Monarchy, marked by the post-IIWW Communist Era and the Prague Spring. Even the revolution against one-party rule was performed softly, thus named the Velvet Revolution. The Prague Castle also hosts the office of the Czech president: my guide speaks with contempt about freshly elected Miloš Zerman, who enters his office at 11 AM. Allegedly, he said that no one sane starts to work at 7 AM, shocks the public with his statements about migrants and calls EU Parliament „a bunch of cowards“…I wonder what would Charles IV have said about this…

Among many famous citizens of Prague, Franz Kafka lived and worked here. When I approached the Franz Kafka Museum, the scent of freshly made gingerbread cookies and chocolate filled pancakes filled the air.

I am reminiscent of Kafka, thinking about his life story, trying to recall everything I know about him. There’s a thin line between genius and insanity…there’s a thin line. Feeling thankful that Max Brod did not burn all his work, as he was ordered to do by Kafka himself.

As you already know, drinking beer is inevitable here. Czechs are very proud of their fine beers and history of beer making:

Not only can you taste different brews, but I also discovered a whole line of beer-based cosmetics in a small shop featuring different handicrafts:

I stumbled upon Manufaktura, small shops with different lines of natural cosmetics, including Eau De Toilette Men & Bicycle: a refined citrus-wood fragrance with the notes of bergamot, mint, sage, and vetiver. The Men´s range exploits unique vegetable complex of natural extracts of traditional, mostly Czech. Beer cosmetics as well, of course: all the products contain the pure Czech beer, brewer´s yeast or hops extract and are accompanied by the delicious bitter-sweet aroma, rich with vitamin B.

One thing you cannot miss: Czech glass. Glass in the Czech Republic enjoys a great reputation and is famous in every continent. Crystal as well! Crystal everywhere! When you stroll through the winding streets of Prague, all the little stores dotted around display masses of beautiful vases, chalices, necklaces, plates, beverage sets, rings, pendants and several other products made from glass, and it is difficult to choose your perfect souvenir.

One of the most famous glass and crystal manufacturers is Moser, with a truly rich history. In 1873. Ludwig Moser was appointed court supplier of glass to emperor Franz Josef I, to start with. Even today, as I am told, there is no royal court which doesn’t own Moser glasses: hand-blown, hand-cut and polished, available with gilded decorations with 24 K gold. Pricey but exceptional!

Let’s not forget Swarowski. Almost everyone is familiar with Swarowski glass. With factories in forty countries across the globe and 25000 employees, this brand offers premium quality crystal products of unparalleled design. Not many people are aware though, that this company based in Austria actually originated in the Czech Rep. Daniel Swarovski, the founder, comes from the North of the Czech Republic, where he learned the glass-making craft.

Bohemia was my choice and I found this perfume bottle:

There are so many things to do and see in Prague, but I would definitely suggest you take a boat cruise on the Vltava.

Seeing Prague from the river Vltava is a unique experience and offers a way to see the many historical buildings and monuments from a different perspective. Drink a famous beer (or two…). Walk around the St. Vitius Cathedral, stroll the Old Town Square. Take a look at the Lennon Wall, walk over the Charles Bridge. Immerse yourself in its vivid nightlife. Have an Absinthe experience. I did, just because of the combination of grand wormwood, green anise, sweet fennel, and all the other herbs.

Eat a Trdelnik! Similar to a cinnamon roll, a Trdelnik is a dough that is wrapped around a pole, grilled, and then topped with sugar. It’s a delicious treat and it can be found all over Prague and it smells yummy. Street food is fun here! Visit a beer pub and bear in mind that food portions are enormous. This serves four, so they told us. My guess is that this serves eight grown-up people:

If you have enough time, I suggest visiting Krumlov as well. is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, with specific architecture dating from the 14th century, a wonderful small town with so much to see in.

As I entered the antiques shop on the main road in Krumlov, I nearly fainted. I found a treasure of these small wonders, each one different, pendants or just perfume bottles:

Sadly, the Astronomical Clock in Prague was dissembled for repair and it will remain so until August 31, 2018. That’s a good reason for me to return to Prague… For those who haven’t visited Prague yet, I highly recommend a stay in this great city. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

 

The Plum Girl

Elena Cvjetkovic

Photos: The Plum Girl

Love.

No matter the date, day of a year or season, love is omnipresent.

One word: LOVE. So many meanings, shapes, and manifestations!

Some love to love, some love only those who are in love with them, some love often, some once in a lifetime.

Love can be strong and devouring or sweet and gentle, differ in intensity, be divine or torturous.

It has many shapes: love for one’s family is different from the love of being in love or love for money. Not to forget, self-love matters as well. A great deal too, because how can you give love if you feel no love for yourself?

Love. One word.

Greek language, however, used three different words: Eros, Phileo, and Agape. These describe different kinds of love.

Eros is sensual love, erotic, hunger-satisfying, pleasure-driven.

Phileo is above carnal yearning. It describes a feeling of a friendly kind of love, aimed toward everything that attracts or pleases us, emotional and unpredictive, but kind and gentle.

Agape is unconditional love, self-giving and uttermost happiness that results in it. An active kind of love, moving, making us do things for others with expecting nothing in return. It is constant and stable, able to love even when no love is returned, freely given. Respect, tolerance and kindness mark it, and yes, it gives a feeling of complete fulfillment.

Olfaction, the oldest sensory systems, but probably the least understood and taken into consideration, has an important role in our feelings. Various researches have proven that the sense of smell affects partnerships and social behavior. Feeling of love as well…How does love smell?

Nose IS a sexually interactive organ. Nostrils flare, breath deepens or gets shorter and quicker drawn. The French, of course, take this matter very seriously: they have a word for the scent of a woman when her perfume mingles with her body oil: „cassolette“ (from the diminutive form of the French word „cassole“, a small container).

The scent of a Woman…
What about Scent of a Man? It made me wonder and think about it.
If cassolette, is it then cassole? Which perfumes would match my feelings?

I am not talking about perfumes he wears, I am talking about the scent you feel surrounding him like an aura, a body scent of your beloved imprinted in your mind. I see him in scents and colors, eyes wide shut.

Did you ever wear your partner’s clothing to bed? I do. He is away, I miss him, so what do I do? The same thing as one study confirmed: 13% of men and 52% of women have slept dressed in the clothing of the significant other, because of the smell! I sleep in his T-shirt…do you?

What does my love smell like, I asked myself? I thought that will be a difficult question, but it wasn’t.

Early in the morning, just after the morning shower, my love smells just like Acqua Celestial by Maison Francis Kurkdijan.

Color of light blue, fresh and sharp morning sky with a touch of Spring approaching, just like now in February when the season of Mimosa has begun. With a touch of lime freshness and a bit of musk hidden beneath. Phileo.

As the day goes by, the notes of his skin turn into L’Air du Hiver, by Jean Claude Ellena for Frederic Malle: a smooth operator, he is. Gentle Iris and Heliotrope, powdery yet fresh and as it dries down sweet honey moves gently forward. Like his hug, enveloping, gentle yet strong. A soft kiss. Agape.

And his T-shirt, the one I sometimes sleep in? Pure Nassomato Duro. It gives me goosebumps. Eros at it’s best.

The scent of that special place under his collar-bone, his elbow pits, skin, feeling dark, fiery and animalistic, very masculine (although I love wearing Nassomato Duro as well, it is unisex…or do I wear it because it reminds me of Him?).

Description of the perfume says oud, leather, wood, and spices but for me…it smells very sexy. Reliable. Desirable. Strong and impressive. Wild. Now I’m blushing. But that’s just me. And his T-shirt…

When we talk about romantic love, one perfume couldn’t possibly capture all phases we go through.

Love inspired many perfumes, and perhaps the most famous story is the one about Christian Dior who commissioned perfumer Paul Vacher to create a modern fragrance, and giving him this brief: “Make me a fragrance that smells like love.”

Miss Dior, an elegant green chypre that became legendary. Millions of consumers all over the world fell in love – with this perfume, and many interpretations followed.

Francois Demachy, the Nose at Parfums Christian Dior, explains: “Making a fragrance that smells like love is a renewed challenge. The composition has to be exciting and stirring, somewhat wild, and yet accessible. To that end I sculpted its florals facet, emphasizing the power of its Roses in order to make it sensual and suggestive. I also doted it with extremely lively and exuberant notes, so that it would be instantly expressive and attractive. Lastly, I eliminated any dark, earthy notes. It had to burst forth like love at first sight.”

Love at first sight. This is what it’s all about. Is that all? No. There are many phases of love. Different authors seem to disagree on a number of stages, these tend to range from three to twelve stages of love!
Let’s just take a closer look (or sniff?) at the ones I singled out:

Phase – one: falling in love is characterized by physical symptoms like flushing and trembling, excitement, obsession, and fantasy. Obsession. Flushing. Lust. I immediately think about rose-themed perfumes, even some rose-oud combinations. Well, this is the Eros phase, so feel free to find the perfume that represents it in the best possible way, or puts you in the right mood. If you are looking for a rich, well balanced and blended Ta’if Rose Perfume, just enough fresh, spicy and dark at the same time, Ormonde Jayne‘s Rose Gold might be what you are looking for. Do an experiment, sniff something new, niche, artisan or indie: your perfect phase-one perfume will find you!

Building trust and becoming a couple is the next phase: it’s all about communication, empathy and listening. Can you think of perfumes that make you feel trustworthy, self-confident, and positive? You might even consider wearing these as typical “office fragrances”, or maybe incense based ones will do the trick for you?

A most recent perfume that gave me this feeling is “Volume 1 – Intelligence & Fantasy” – The Beautiful Mind Series, created by Geza Schoen in collaboration with Christiane Stenger, Memory Athlete, featuring a fresh invigorating opening followed by exotic tiare, a gardenia native to Tahiti – and very rare.

The drydown is calming, cashmere/cedar and musks – reliably soothing. ISO E Superpowers it up, so it does resemble in some way Molecule No. 02, but this perfume is more masculine peppery. It is also very unoffensive, unisex, and quite complex.

Phase 3 of love is about building true commitment and loyalty. Attachment. Feeling connected. A soothing feeling, making you feel secure and cared for. The most gentle hug, refreshing and uplifting smile, woody, earthy or mossy notes – seek the perfume that makes you feel like this.

For me, this is all about fougere-group perfumes with green notes, or one of the fragrant pearls coming from Parfums Dusita: Erawan. This is a beautiful fragrance, exhibiting the exceptional talent of Pissara Umavijani. Lush hay note is blended softly with perfect vanilla.

It moves and shifts into woody notes, but you can also feel flowers protruding gently, quite addictive. This is a very natural and unisex fragrance, very multifunctional.

Scents of love! There are so many…

I hope you will find perfumes that reflect your feelings perfectly! Perfumes you’ll fall in love with.

Elena Cvjetkovic/The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl Archives, Ormonde Jayne, Dior Official, Parfums Dusita, The Beautiful Mind Series – official photos.
Disclaimer

I had a dream, not long ago.

I found myself in the wood of dark and tall oak trees, cold and leafless, and the air smelled of damp wood, wet leaves, moss, and rain. At first, this place felt threatening, no path was visible in the fog surrounding me. Yet, as I walked on, carefully placing one foot in front of the other, I faced a clearing in this forest and begun to hear birds chirping in the trees, and felt a ray of sunshine touching my face. I felt relief and determination to find my way out. When I continued to walk my own way, not feeling lost anymore, I suddenly and unexpectedly came upon a clearance.

There was a field amidst high trees before me. The trees were dark and gloomy but the field I saw was a field of spring flowers! Colors of yellow and white and lilac, Crocus, Hyacinth, Primrose, and Snowdrops protruding from the fresh green grass, what a sight! I was happy. I woke up smiling.

Now, Mr. Freud surely would have analyzed this, asking me more questions about this dream, and what my feelings were while experiencing all events and images described.

At the turn of the last century, Sigmund Freud published his book, The Interpretation of Dreams, arguing that our dreams are nothing more than wishes that we are looking to fulfill in our waking lives. Born in Freiberg, when he was four years old, Freud’s family moved to Vienna, where he lived and worked until he fled Austria in 1938.

My line of thought that morning: ok, I am spending a vacation in Vienna, I should do some planning in advance. While I’m there I will visit the Freud Museum because I never managed to do so on previous visits. And I will explore perfumes, of course.

This led me to reading everything I could find about WienerBlut perfumes and ta-naaa! There it was. The perfume Freudian Wood! Bingo. And yes, this blog falls under my caterogoryWhat’s Up In Da City- Vienna.

„The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind.“ – Sigmund Freud

Let me paraphrase you, Mr. Freud: I would say that scents are the royal road to our olfactory memories, conscious and unconscious! Also, nowadays we have aromachology, the psychology of understanding how we react to certain smells.

Yes, the fragrance designers are well aware of the power of scents, or as Proust put it, little Madeleine cookies planted in our memory. Scents have evocative powers. By stimulating the olfactory pathways to the brain’s limbic system (which processes smell, mediates mood and stores memory) a fragrance CAN bring back or forth a sense of energy, sensuality, confidence or exhilaration!

Wien, Vienna, Beč, the city I love to return to. What are the scents that define Vienna to me? As I walked the streets surrounding Stephansdome, it was a mixture of humidity in the air coming from Danube, Christmas Market hot Gluehwein and punch at the corner of Kaertnerstrasse, the scent of warm plums served with Kaiserschmarn coming from a restaurant I passed by, the smell of the carriage horses strolling around in slow pace and fresh-baked Sachertorte at Demel‘s.

Olfactory impressions aside, I did visit to experience specific scents from Vienna, focusing this time on WienerBlut collection, one fragrance in particular: Freudian Wood.

The term WienerBlut was coined in 1873 and describes the unique blend of archness and hedonism attributed to the Viennese. It implies never-ending nostalgia, the longing for turn-of-the-century Vienna and its unique atmosphere. It’s the essence of Vienna, lifestyle and spirit of the city, although you might know the term because of the waltz or operetta by Johann Strauss II, an album by Falco, a song by the Austrian metal band Stahlhammer or a song from Rammstein. I will remain by these positive interpretations of this term, sticking mostly to the one which translates it as Viennese Spirit.

Perfume making has a long tradition in Vienna, blooming in the times of the Habsburg monarchy. Lavender water variations, Kniže as an Imperial Court supplier, even today a timeless classic. WienerBlut was founded in 2009. by Alexander Lauber and creates fragrances based on original formulas and frags of 19th century Vienna, bringing back these imperial period scents but with a modern twist.

It is a small company, niche-oriented, featuring an Austrian perfumer, Yogesh Kumar. The first fragrance line was introduced in 2009., some perfumes were discontinued, but the new lineup is truly worth a sniff.

They are niche by every possible definition, being authentic and minding the quality of the ingredients, sporting a Nose and a certain degree of sustainability.

The packaging concept is simple, the bottle does not take attention away from the perfume and overall packaging is more about the content and less about the frills. My cup of tea.

As I wrote to Alexander, he recommended that I visit KussMund, located in the center of the city. So I did, and a wonderful place it is, check the link. With a very helpful and perfume storytelling SA. Here you can find the whole WienerBlut collection:

Allow me to focus on the perfume Freudian Wood- created by Mark Buxton. This is what I came for, right? This is the official description by WienerBlut:

In the world of Freud, wood stands for
sexual desire in general and the female
bosom in particular. A milky fragrance
that captures intimate skin feeling –
with animalic and lactonic notes
vibrating around a luscious woody core.
Notes: Ambrette Seeds, Cypress, Milk,
Cumin, Costus, Mimosa, Sandalwood,
Ambergris, Labdanum“

My olfactory impression: This perfume is composed of intriguing notes, playful and powdery at the same time, with a very sensual woody aftertaste. It is seductive in a refined and elegant way. The first note that strikes me is Mimosa but it is layered upon Cypress, which is rather surprising in a good way. Then milk rises, almost buttery milk, warm, combined with Cumin making it creamy and caressing, soft and gentle as the skin on skin. Ambergris plays softly but quite strong and sandalwood is present but not loud. It is like a dream after which you wake up smiling: sensual, warm, encompassing but providing joy of life feeling and making you feel good in your own skin. Longevity is very good and sillage noticeable. I feel I could wear it all year round, morning to evening. It works very well on me in cold weather, and I can’t wait to test it on a warm Spring day.

What can I say? It was worth my trip. To Vienna and to WienerBlut I shall return…Oh, wait! Did I tell you about Sale Marino?

There I go again: unable to determine which one I like the most! Have fun exploring these fine perfumes!

The Plum Girl

Photos: The Plum Girl, installation photographed at the Sigmund Freud Museum by Austrian multimedia artist Peter Kogler

Samples provided by KissMund Wien

Disclaimer

I outed myself. I am a perfume addict.

To be precise, I am a niche perfume addict. Not a hoarder of bottles, mind you. I collect olfactory experiences…

As far as I can remember, I noticed scents around me. I have vivid olfactory memories. Even as a little kid, I smelled intensely the world around me. I remember the scent of my first big plastic doll. The olfactory Madeleine’s of my grandmother baking Christmas cookies. The scent of a field of wildflowers and high grass near a cold creek on a hot summer day in June. Sea and sunshine on my hair and skin during the summer holidays. The scent of snow in the air, before it starts to fall. Wet autumn multicolored leaves on pavements. Little, daily entries in the “scent library“ section of my brain.

Then came perfumes, my mother’s, aunt’s, grandmother’s, grandfather’s, friends, people known and unknown. I explored classics, for many years: Chanel, Dior, Lancome, Este Lauder, Guerlain, all that I could get my hands on. Nose on, to be exact. First thing I do when meeting someone? I sniff them. I remember people and places by scent.

Niche perfumes? I can even pinpoint when it all started. The one that got me down that rabbit hole is famous Comme Des Garcones and it happened in London, 1995. I will never forget that moment when I held that little vial tightly in my hand after being exposed to it (I had no money to buy that specific bottle of perfume. I never did buy it.). That’s yet another story, kind of happy and sad and I will write about that episode as well, as soon as I gather some courage to do so because it is a very personal story. I realized that nothing ever will be the same again. My hunger for strange and unusual perfumes grew, it became more and more sophisticated and demanding.

I have nurtured my addiction carefully, fed it, yearned for some specific perfumes, cried over the impossibility of online ordering, spent money on it. I have grown comfortable with my addiction over the years, learning how to control the impulse of hoarding, insisting on quality over quantity. Taking it slow, constantly trying to train my nose to do better, to explore ideas and stories behind the product, styles, and handwriting of various perfumers, all that jazz. Art. It is art, you must be aware that it is! Like all art, it elicits emotion, thought, and reaction. And face it: your scents memory IS so much stronger than sight or hearing, for instance! I could ramble on and on about artistry of perfumes, but for now, let’s just come to an agreement that there are masterpieces of art in perfumery. For instance, anyone can learn how to play a musical instrument. You produce notes, right? But to compose music? To perform beyond mastery of reproducing notes? Now, that is what for me niche perfumes are. Art. Furthermore, I do cry over great pieces of art. I cried over some ballet pieces, I cried at the piano and classical music concerts, I shed tears at Ermitage, Louvre, Prado…just to name a few. I stood for half an hour in front of Tutankhamun’s Mask in The Egyptian Museum of Cairo, crying, sobbing – amazed by its beauty. I cry over some perfumes as well…the ones that touch my soul. Ok, so I am an art addict. That sounds better.

Many people consider smell as the lowest sense of them all, a mere animalistic drive. Some even think that perfumes are either a trivial luxury or an utterly unimportant part of their lives. If you ask around which sense people would give up first, it is mostly – the smell. Well, precisely that is one of my greatest phobias: to become anosmic!

The issue with this addiction is that you don’t easily find “soulies”. You shy away from Muggles, appreciate groups and people with whom you can easily share, discuss, debate, argue, learn, grow. I found a group of perfume enthusiasts, on Facebook. It is called Eau My Soul, it is international and a safe place for many of us. There is even a perfume named after this group! Group hug scent, how amazing!

Just recently I asked members of this wonderful and supportive group of people from all around the world what are their greatest phobias. Fifty members wrote about their greatest fears, commented and shared.

These are our 15 most common perfume addict phobias, more or less in order of importance!
FEAR OF:
1. Discontinuation. (Perfumes disappearing into the „dead perfume black hole“!)
2. Reformulating.
3. Missing out. (Not buying, holding yourself back and then the fragrance gets discontinued! Fear of not being at home when a package with samples arrives…and many more that fall under the same umbrella…)
4. Perfumes and decants evaporating (and that you are not wearing them…)
5. An empty bottle. (50% is a warning sign!)
6. Not being able to afford a beloved fragrance. („My fear is always having champagne tastes on a beer budget!“)
7. Not being able to use all of your perfumes before retiring to another world/Universe/parallel reality.
8. A husband/wife finding out that you just bought another one!
9. Never finding the energy or mindset to sell the ones you need to sell, having more perfume than you could ever possibly use in a lifetime.
10. Forgetting your juice at home/office, going „naked“.
11. Becoming allergic to any perfume. Ending wearing nothing but aroma-free shampoo.
12. Inferior reformulations and price hikes.
13. Children/natural disasters/accidents destroying your collection.
14. Hyposmia. (a reduced ability to smell and to detect odors. A related condition is an anosmia, in which no odors can be detected at all.)
15. Reading this while ordering online: „Dear Customers, unfortunately, we are only allowed to deliver this fragrance to the European countries of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. If your shipping address lies in another country we will have to cancel this item from your order and refund you.” (It made me cry, I swear.)

And that’s not all: we all do have common idiosyncrasies too.

If you recognize any or all of your own phobias while reading this, bear in mind: You are not alone. You are never alone with your perfume.

Just be aware that addiction is an addiction, no matter how much you deny it. Loving perfumes is beautiful and has nothing to do with compulsive-obsessive hoarding of bottles…

Love you all.

The Plum Girl
Photos: Dreamstime, Fragnatica

„Dance is poetry made visible, the fragrance is a dance of molecules invisible.“

My story about dancing dates back to early childhood. One day, a seven-year-old, freckle-faced, green-eyed girl with thick and long braids asked her mom to take her to ballet lessons. It was something other girls talked about, elegantly raising their arms, swirling around, pretending to be ballerinas performing on stage.

So she did, my mother took me to a ballet school and signed me up for an admission, done by means of a training period at the end of which pupils take an entrance examination to the ballet school. I was so proud and happy, bright-eyed and could hardly wait for a class to start. Unfortunately, it seemed that I was the one who did everything – wrong. Splits? My hips weren’t that flexible. Routine? I seemed to be always the one who couldn’t repeat it without adding something of my own. Surely enough, one day after rehearsal my ballet teacher called me aside and said: „In my opinion, you’d make a perfect handball team player. Go and play handball! Ballet is not for you.“ My mother did not take me to ballet classes anymore after that day. I did start playing handball, never enjoyed it much (it is a quite rough sport) and quit playing in the 8th grade.

I grew up thinking that I cannot dance. Of course, hopping up and down and some feet shuffling was involved in rock concerts, in a disco or any other social event where people danced, but dancing? Like amateur dancing? No, that was just something I thought I had absolutely no talent for.

I admired every dancer, knowing it is such hard work. I loved to watch people dance, just any dancing, classical dances, hip hop, anything really. Especially ballet. To have all the strength of a beast and the fragility of a butterfly? I knew there is a dark side to professional dancing: it is mostly composed of blood, sweat, and tears. Literally.
The agony and ecstasy.

Years passed and I continued to avoid any thought of active dancing training. Work, family, friends, life happened. Until one day, when a young woman I met invited me to come and see what training looked like in her studio. It is a pole fitness studio, and all the insecurities emerged: I am not fit, I am not flexible, I cannot dance. Never could. So many self-limiting thoughts, too many not to be dealt with. I decided to go and give it a chance. The rest is history, really. I am now almost six years in active training and dancing routine, and yes! I have experienced the famous „zone“ quite often when dancing freely! I can dance! And how! Not in the way I thought about dancing as a little girl, not being a classical ballerina, but hey! I dance.

During hard, core muscles and flexibility training, I also learned that pain is a part of the process. That accepting pain is necessary, as is listening to your body. And that the body remembers, oh, it does! Pain is a fact, but suffering because of that pain is subjective. Along with anatomical control, every dancer, in my opinion, develops an expectation of a certain amount of pain or soreness. Maybe this acceptance is best learned at an early age, I like to think that an adult person can embrace it as well.

Yet, I am a recreational dancer. I can only imagine what professional dancers go through…What I have learned is that the body has laws of its own to be respected, though tamed. The satisfaction comes from the complete fusion of body and mind, letting go of all the rational thinking, having confidence in your body and being in the dance flow. The flow is what gives you the most pleasurable moments on the dance floor, or anywhere. Flow is a relationship between the level of challenge and skills: when both skills and challenges are abundant, you can reach the flow!

Precision is a prerequisite of grace.
As with perfumes, as with perfumes!

Those were my thoughts after my first encounter with „Precision and Grace“ perfume. I really admire Geza Schoen, and I was very curious about this perfume (for those who are unfamiliar with names of „Noses“, Geza created Eccentric Molecules, described as anti-fragrance, breaking the rules of fragrance composition). Even more curious when I read that his creative partner was Polina Semionova, an internationally famous ballet dancer. Let me quote her: „The precision only comes with hours of work in the studio. Then, when I go on stage, I don’t think anymore. I release myself to the music. I fly.“

„The Beautiful Mind Series celebrates women – not in the conventional way of the fragrance industry, as objects of desire – but for their intelligence and creativity. The imagery for the series, by design house Me Company, depicts the beauty of the brain in action. Instead of the faces of Stenger and Semionova, the packaging features neural pathways. These are imaginative representations of synapses connecting during memory retrieval, and of the kinesthetic intelligence of the dancer. Here, the non-conformism is all in the concept of the anti-celebrity fragrance, and the tribute to the dazzling female brain.
The dots and triangles are a series of placements, they represent the precise steps she must take,” explains Paul White of Me Company. The color flows reflect a different way of mapping a balletic gesture. “Dance is precise, but it’s also semi-airborne. The pulses of color reflect the flux of the dance, almost like motion capture trails. They represent the dancer’s freedom, her joy.”- The Beautiful Mind Series


I find the fragrance very feminine, but not in an overly powdery, sweet or sultry way, oh no. The opening is crisp and fresh, like when you sit in the wardrobe, preparing to dance. You can feel the adrenaline kicking in, but it makes you feel light and energized. The top note of Williams Pear is so delicious!

When you start to dance, making your first moves, still listening to the music, still rationally thinking, you feel the floral notes, jasmine mostly, mixed with a sweet and ripe plum. As you lose yourself to the music, florals of mimosa and osmanthus give in to warm and velvety tones. Everything surrounding you disappears. You are flying, emotions are your wings. Eyes closed, your body has a life of its own, its warmth and movement generate musky, sandalwood tones which breathe with your body, gently enveloping it, making you feel safe and secure. With a warm drydown of pure happiness, soul-deep joy! And it lasts and lasts…

In my opinion, this perfume gives the flow you experience in dancing an olfactory description. Enjoy it. Dance. Wherever and whenever you can. Yes, you can!

„The sexiest thing about a woman is her mind.” – Geza Schoen

The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl private collection
Perfume Sample Provided By: TOP

This will be probably the shortest perfumes travelogue ever written in my blog series: what’s up in Paris?

Everything!

I wanted to write just that and post some photos, but couldn’t resist, so here it goes…

Call me a Francophile if you wish: for me, Paris is the capital of the World. Fine perfumes world, too.

What can a perfume geek like me do&see&visit in Paris?

Now, here we have a problem: that depends on how much time you’ve got. A day or two will drive you crazy, a week wasn’t enough for me.

If you have a one day stay in Paris, I suggest making a quick tour of grands magazines: GalleriesLafayette, BonMarché and Colette.

Or Nose, 20 rue Bachaumont. Here you can find some well-known perfumes, all in one place, a fine selection. Running around from one to the other will be a race with time, so dress properly and get those metro tickets ready!

If you find the time, visit Le Grand Musée duParfum, I find it really fascinating!

For a bit longer stay, let’s say a couple of days, I suggest a visit to some major flagship stores, like the famous Guerlain shop on Champs Elysees.

Run quickly to see Serge Luton at Palais Royal. Do drop by AnnickGoutal’s at 14 rue de Castiglione, for some real chic Parisien, lingerie included (both in 1st arrondissement). I skipped Fragonard simply because I’ve spent days researching it in Grasse, but as long as you are running around the 1st, have a go. Oh, while you are there, drop in at Maitre Perfuemur et Gantier, yet another famous Parisian perfumer.

The man I adore, Francis Kurkdjian resides nearby as well:5 rue d’Alger was the one I rushed into. Then move over to Saint-Germain-des-Pres district, there you’ll find the flagship boutique of one of France’s most beloved modern noses, Frédéric Malle. My beloved as well… Don’t forget Parles Moi de Parfum, run by Benjamin and Romain Almairac. Their fine boutique has a selection of over 200 raw materials, which serve as a basis to create their niche perfumes.

If you are planning to devote a whole week to this kind of sightseeing, there are ooh! So many! Niche houses! I can’t really name them all here, but I know the next time I visit Paris I will certainly find time to go to Le Jardin Retrouve Salon…

Is that all? Not in your dreams. There’s more. And more. So much more. I already have a very long list of “must do’s”!

One thing is certain, though: I’ll be back…over and over again. Feeling like Alice in Wonderland…

The Plum Girl

Photos: The Plum Girl private collection

Update: February 2018.

Short, business visit: this city gives me more and more each time I visit! Ok, Seine has flooded terribly but the spirit is high.

Since I didn’t have much time I planned a visit to Le Jardin Retrouve showroom. Apart from meeting Clara in person (finally!), she showed me everything: the history tree, concept, novelties, plans for new products and the lab!

Next time I will definitely save some time for JAR experience, which is on my bucket list as well. Enjoy the pics!

And, of course, some Guerlain classics at Guerlain flagship store, including the monster bottle spotted at Sephora, 68 Champs Elysees, just next door to Guerlain:

Love this city! ❤️💙❤️

 

Elena Cvjetkovic

The Plum Girl

Photos: The Plum Girl