My Favorite Things – The Winter Issue

Quickly, before the season is over, I want to talk about my favorite things of this past winter.

Perfume: Aside from enjoying my ususal ambers, I fell for the Guerlain L’Art et la Matiere line (Angelique Noire is here, other reviews coming soon), but that obsession is alive and well and will certainly continue into spring and beyond.

We have all been sick a lot, probably because this was such a harsh and cold winter. Being sick is not fun, but being so sick that I can’t even wear perfume is torture. Enter Jean-Claude Ellena and his lovely new Hermessence Santal Massoia, this was my savior this season. Calming, cooling, soft and tender it was the nurse that made us all better.

Beauty: I didn’t buy any new make-up this season but I’m going through my Chanel Glossimers and I enjoy them a lot. One of the best lip glosses out there, in my humble opinion.

Skincare: Shiseido’s Bio-Performance Advanced Super-Revitalizer N is pure indulgence. I don’t believe in any of the claims it makes regarding anti-aging, but it definitely is a superior, non-irritating moisturizer and one that feels awesome. It does nothing simple Nivea wouldn’t do either, but it is a wholly different feeling. I thoroughly enjoyed my little golden pot as long as it lasted and plan to use it again next year, when the cold sets in.

Books: It is constantly nagging at me that I can’t find the time to read for pleasure. I used to read at least 50 books a year, but sadly that is a distant dream… I know that eventually I will get there again (probably needing reading glasses by then).

But what I did read (finally!) was Tarleisio’s Quantum Demonology. Once you start it is well nigh impossible to stop. Sheila Eggenberger aka Tarleisio has an inimitable style that draws you in from the very first page.

Also I’m saving for the new book by Frederic Malle. I’m so looking forward to that one. Has anybody read it yet?

Music: Nothing clears my head and calms my frazzled nerves as well as listening to baroque music. Especially Vivaldi has such a power to lift my spirits.

This is a good example of what I listen to a lot recently.

What are your current favorites? What helps you get through the winter? Or are you already in a spring-mood?

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48 Responses to My Favorite Things – The Winter Issue

  1. Philipp says:

    I am definitely looking forward to spring and to wearing the Hermes Jardin series.

    Nevertheless, my favourite winter scent this year was Traversee du Bosphore, which I enjoyed both in the form of fine fragrance and in the form of a scented candle.

    As far as books are concerned, I have a stack of them on my nightstand waiting to be read. I currently read a selection of Gogol’s short stories and after that I will continue with a tome about Russian cultural history.

  2. Tatiana says:

    Hope you and your family are feeling completely well, soon. We are having a mild winter here, but I have still managed to come down with a viral thing that is messing with my breathing. But at least I can still smell. Frederic Malle’s Portrait of A Lady seems to have become my cool weather scent this winter.
    My daughter is home from university for a week, so today we went to Barney’s and explored the Frederic Malle line. Jonathan Addy was so very attentive and helpful. He brought out that beautiful book and it made me want it so very much. I found it on-line at Amazon for a discount. Although, for some reason the German language version is more expensive.
    Not sure how much I’m looking forward to spring and summer, since we haven’t really had winter here. I think I’m afraid that since we’ve had a mild winter we will pay for it with an extremely hot summer.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, Tatiana, I hope so too. It’s been a bit much with the various illnesses lately. 😦
      Your Barney’s outing sounds very nice, I hope you had fun.

      I want the Malle book in English anyway, but it is still a lot more expensive to buy on amazon.de than on amazon.com…

  3. lady jane grey says:

    We had 3 wonderful spring days now and it immediately lifted my spirits ! My winter scent were Mona di Orio’s Oud and Jo Love’s Bitter Orange. I know the last one sounds strange for winter, but it’s a creamy orange scent with sillage (not really a cologne).
    As of beaty I’m besotted with shellac nail lacquer – it looks completely natural, leaves my own nails unharmed and holds for two weeks without chipping, fading, etc. The working woman’s nail polish !
    My spring mission : find a nice compact or loose powder, suitable for my dry skin.
    I read a lot and should probably make a strickter choice of what comes onto my kindle. I however found the right crime writer for last wwinter’s cold evening : the Canadian Louise Penny.
    Last winter’s music discovery is Brazilian-born singer/songwriter Dillon, sensitive melodies with sensitive lyrics.

    • Olfactoria says:

      The susnshine is balm for the soul isn’t it?
      That shellac thingy sounds interesting, you must tell me more when I see you.
      Thanks for sharing your favorites!

  4. civava says:

    I’m really looking forward to get more sun and warmth and to get over the illness finally and get my sense of smell back.

  5. Eva S says:

    Baroque music is the very thing for frazzled nerves, I’ve used it myself a lot this winter! Have you listened to the singer Phillipe Jaroussky, that man has a voice so beautiful it hardly seams human…
    I’ve been been using scented candles this winter which is new to me, Voluspas French Bourbon Vanilla is a favorite, comforting but not overpowering. As to skincare I swear by Estee Lauders Verite, perfect when you like myself have sensitive skin and suffer from rosacea.
    When it comes to perfume I guess “love is constant but the object of desire ever changing” 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      I must look out for Jaroussky, thanks for the tip!
      I’ve often eyed the Verité line…
      I absolutely agree with your last line. 😉

    • ElizabethW says:

      Another fan of Phillipe Jaroussky here! I was lucky enough to hear him perform a few months ago with Apollo’s Fire, a dazzling Baroque-style orchestra. Jaroussky is a countertenor. I wasn’t sure that I would enjoy hearing a countertenor soloist–I’ve heard plenty of Baroque singing, including countertenors before–but his musicianship and the gorgeous, nuanced colors of his vocal sound completely overtook me.
      Other favorite things I enjoyed this winter: The House of Niccolo by Dorothy Dunnett (a series of historical novels set in the 15th century), Etro Shaal Nur, pumpkin bread with dates and walnuts, vintage silk scarves by Liberty of London (1950s).

  6. lissa wolsak says:

    Jaroussky is ~sublime~!!!

  7. Neroli Portofino is my winter champion, I’m such a hopeless freak 🙂

  8. judith DM says:

    Birgit,
    We in Los Angeles have had lovely, mild weather, some very sunny and warm days. Unfortunately for me, I cannot enjoy much of it, other than sitting in my backyard, due to injuries from a slip and fall. This will pass! Until then, I amuse myself with Facebook, exploring on the internet (amazing discoveries every day), classic movies and lots and lots of reading! I did pop for a Kindle Fire. While I love the real deal, the Kindle is wonderful for instant gratification. I use it more for lite reads and a few magazines, but lament that once read I cannot pass on, and books can live on and on and on. But, ideal for the situation I am in! If I stumble upon something interesting, I check it out on Amazon, and about 1/2 the time it ends up in my saved for later or on the Kindle.
    I am loving Mona DiOrio’s Vanille and the city exclusive Paris. Also By Kilian’s Amber Oud (LOVE!!!!!), and Back to Black and Sweet Redemption. I am one who does not pay attention to seasons in regards to fragrance, we don’t have much of what one would call seasons in Southern California. I have not been able to climb the stairs to my bedroom/bath in six weeks, but do ask friends to go up and see what they find. I am loving Edward Bess’s Black Sea moisturizer, like you not sure what it really is doing for me, other than making my very dry skin feel good to the touch. Now, how to deal with the dry skin all over my body and expecially my legs, which are encased in braces, one ankle to high thigh, other ankle to mid calf. I have to be careful what goes on the incision area (from the surgery) as somethings can make scars worse. Read mineral oil is a no-no. I will have a long scar over my kneecap, however hoping it won’t be severe. As my mini skirt days are over, it really doesn’t matter to me. Ah, now, what else?

    Rarely do I use makeup as I rarely go out, but when I do I use my Edward Bess, love, love, love it. He recently introduced a neutral palette, and I use it alot, a dab at my cheeks, lips, a bit of highlighter. I feel it is enough for going to a doctor appointment! This is the perfect line for me. Mostly natural, some beautifu pinky/brown color, not over glitzed or shimmery. I don’t care how many layers it takes for me to makeup, as long as the finished result is somewhat neutral, natural. As for music, other than American Idol, I am not into it right now. I am hearing impaired since my 20s and the devices I use to listen to music are upstairs, I am downstairs, but you are right, Baroque or classical I prefer right now, and the Barefoot Diva, Cesaria Evora, who makes my world light up and sadly passed away recently. I use TV Ears watching TV (cannot recommend this system enough, changed my life) so many great classics on Turner and other channels as well as Netflix take up the rest of my time. Seems I am busier and more entertained than before my accident. Sorry this is sooooooooooooo long!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I love long comments! 🙂 Thanks for sharing all those great tips with us, Judith! I will surely check out Edward Bess’s moisturizer, as I use his make up almost exclusively now – it’s so very sophisticated. 🙂

      I hope you find something that works well for your scars, I used almond oil on a big scar on my abdomen and it looks very unobtrusive two years on (it took a while though).

      • judith DM says:

        My skin is horribly dry, and on my legs peeling in places. It is getting uncomfortable, all night I wanted to scratch. This isn’t the itch one gets under a cast, but the aftermath of having a cast! My dermatologist is open today, Sat., and very sympathetic, and squeezing me in. She will know what to use on the peeling, itchy, dry, dead layers of skin. She will probably know about what to use,and to avoid, on the scar! And as with you, Edward Bess almost exclusively. Very sophisticated with its lack of sparkle and shimmer. A few items have a touch. I probably have everything in the line, or almost. This was my birthday splurge to myself!

        • Olfactoria says:

          Oh, you poor thing! I hope the visit to the doctor helps! Sending a hug!

          • judith DM says:

            Saw dermatologist, prescribed steroid cream for the itchies, and a multi vitamin cream for the dryness (my legs look like I have scales)…and the itchies are better, but not gone and won’t for some time! I also spoke with them about scar cream or scar strips. the cut (surgery, maybe 5-6 inches long) is healing nicely, but it will leave some kind of scar, too early to tell, and that is OK as my mini skirt days are over! So, here I am, doused with By Kilian Amber Oud, and ready for more steroid cream! All I did was trip over a step outside my front door! CRAZY!

          • Olfactoria says:

            At least you smell of Amber Oud – that is a pretty good smelling silver lining. 😀

  9. Suzanne says:

    Birgit, the winter here has been so unusually and wonderfully mild (and knock on wood that it continues through March) that it has been easy to get through it. These days I’m feeling very upbeat, so on my favorites list is:
    Indie British pop (currently can’t get enough of The Kooks)
    Thai food (for some reason, Thai food makes me feel happpy; must be all the heat in it)
    Vetiver and green-noted fragrances (SL Vetiver Oriental, Marron Chic, Hindu Kush)
    Sandalwood (Love the PG Indochine you sent!!!)
    Running (Which I thought I’d have to abandon for a few months, but no, the lack of snow allowed me to run all winter)
    Netflix movies (recently watched the Italian movie “Malena,” which was sad but had a good ending)

    Are you at the cottage this weekend? Hope the husband is making you some good soup or something to help you get over your cold!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I love Thai food as well! It does make people happy! 🙂 I’m glad you could keep running the whole winter, here it was so cold that even going outside for a few minutes was a challenge. Thanks for sharing your favorites! And I love your new haircolor btw, very chic! 🙂

    • Tara says:

      Suzanne, it really made me smile that you are into Indie British Pop at the moment. Pulp are as good as it gets in that genre IMHO, although we’re going back in time a bit.

      • Suzanne says:

        Tara, wow ~ thanks for the recommendation. I just spent the evening going through Pulp’s YouTube vids. All I can say is, Jarvis Cocker was quite the hottie in his day. I think I watched the “Babies” video enough times to break the “replay” button, just to see him dance. (Not to mention that voice…!)

  10. Tara says:

    Oh dear I feel very unsophiscasted reading your (and everyone elses) choices. I don’t know Baroque or Classical music or Edward Bess! I like the look of those Glossimer lip glosses though.

    I’m just obsessed with my vintage Vol de Nuit parfum right now.

    Desparately need good book suggestions. As for music, the only new CD I’ve got in ages is by The Civil Wars – accoustic, folksy songs with beautifully intertwining male and female vocals.

  11. susan says:

    Here in Austin, TX we had such a mild winter I barely got to break out any true winter perfumes. I didn’t wear my Opium, reserved for the coldest of cold days, at all this winter. Overall, this winter was characterized by Tableau de Parfums Miriam and the By Kilian line, which I tried for the first time! As for spring, I’m not uber-excited about it since we barely had winter, but there are a few colognes I’m excited to pull out again.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Many in the Kilian line are wearable year-round. Did you find a favorite?

      It will be interesting whether the summer in Texas will be very hot this year after such a mild winter…

  12. Nina Z says:

    Your review of Angelique Noire finally prompted me to get a sample. And I was instantly smitten with it! I have that experience very rarely with a perfume. But it was just so beautiful and unusual, and it did that thing to my nervous system–PING!–that only happens once in a blue moon. Luckily I have a friend who will sell me a split, so I don’t have to live without it.

    I’m really enjoying your blog, by the way. Your writing is so fresh and straightforward–your personality really shines through. And I’m living vicariously through the photographs of your beautiful collection and your one bottle a month future acquisitions!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Nina, I’m so glad AN was a winner for you! It is such a lovely and unusual scent.

      Thank you so much for your kind words, it makes me happy when I hear that my blog is enjoyable for others. ❤

  13. Vanessa says:

    Lovely post, apart from the references to you all being sick, which can’t have been easy with children to care for. Thanks to you for the tip off about Angelique Noire, of which I have a sample coming – the favourable trial in Harrods with Tara made me realise it could be one for me as well!

    Also, in the spirit of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, I just won 15 ML of Santal Massoia on Ebay in France, and a small split of La Femme Bleue! I decided I didn’t want to let that one slip away…

    Thanks too for the reviews of those Chanel lip glosses and the moisturiser – I’m just getting into high end make up, though so far I have only bought a tester lipstick on eBay! I do have my eye on Edward Bess, however, as Judith DM mentioned above, and also the Sunday Riley range of eyeshadows.

    And I guess you could say I am getting into spring mode, call yesterday I helped a friend rip up her old lawn and lay a new one. Today, perhaps unsurprisingly, I can barely move and am still flat on my back in bed!

    Apologies for any iPhone mistakes – there usually are a few!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Ah, I’m happy I could help inspire a few lovely perfume purchases in you. 🙂 I hope you will let me know what you think of LFB especially.

      I really hope the sick wave is now behind us… At least tonight I can breathe freely and smell almost normally again! Yay for antibiotics!

      Edward Bess is a must! You’ll see! 😉

  14. James Dennard says:

    Vivaldi is an excellent choice :). And I certainly want to check out “Quantum Demonology”. It sounds very interesting!

  15. Natalie says:

    I am also looking forward to reading the Malle book, although I’m hoping it comes to my library so I can read before deciding if I want to buy. It is one pricey book!

    Spring weather has been peeking out here lately. Today it is sunny and almost 60 degrees, so I’m starting to feel like there’s hope. (I’m not a big fan of winter!) The thing I am most excited about is being outside in very, very hot weather. It’s been a while since I’ve lived in a hot climate, so I expect this summer will be fantastic!

    • Olfactoria says:

      The library is a good idea, but if I wait for that I’ll be old before it shows up in a library in Vienna, I believe…

      I hope it gets warm enough for you soon, Nat! 🙂

  16. Dionne says:

    Perfume favorites: I got Coromandel for Christmas, and have been wearing that one a lot. Soooo comforting and elegant at the same time.
    Beauty/Skincare: Splurged and bought Nars Orgasm blush and I love it! Also, baths with dollops of organic coconut oil. Smells good and really moisturizes (the downside is it makes the tub slippery).
    Fashion: Introduced several friends to the world of thrifting. The thrill of the hunt!
    Books: I am first and foremost a reader. Last year for the first time ever I started recording the books I read. Uhhh, book count for 2011…. 115.
    Music: Birgit, you are so much classier than me. Music that helps in the wintertime is the music that gets me movin. Club Can’t Handle Me Now by Flo Rida, Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO, So What by P!nk, Keep Your Head Up by Andy Grammer, this is the kind of stuff that’s heard in my house.

    And last of all, what get’s me through the winter is the amount of sunshine we have here. I moved from an area that was overcast 6 months of the year, to where I live now: ranked third in Canada for year-round sun, 1st in the country for sunny days in winter. Doesn’t matter how cold it gets; if there’s blue sky, I’m great! I love where I live.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Oh, I love your choices, Dionne! Also the music ones! 😉 Vivaldi is not all I listen too… Coromandel is a perfect winter scent.

      A place that is ranked N°1 for sunshine sounds like a wonderful place to live, I would love that too.

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