Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Book Review!!!!!!! Echo of a Song

This image was gotten out of Amazon, which is why it is not so good. 
Echo of a Song is about a business woman who throws herself into her work at the cost of her relationship with her husband. She has an underlying need to be successful and that really drives her life. Her philosophy is "when life gives you lemons, fight to get your fair share, do your damnedest to make a buck, and don’t let anyone get in your way.” But when she has a terrible day that includes losing her job and being told that her husband is cheating on her, she flees out of town to the house of her deceased aunt where she just wants to be left alone. While there she encounters some quirky neighbors who are determined to draw her out of her shell.

My favorite part of the book, to be honest, was the prologue. It was the greatest way to start the book. I had a friend read the prologue shortly after I got the book and read it and she agreed: it's very intense and draws you in like no one's business. If you are someone who likes to skip prologues (shame on you) and you read this book, you're really missing out on a very interesting and very important part of the story.
The story, in my opinion, is a little slow at the start when it talks about her career, but that is just because it's business-y. It's really cool though too, because the main character is a writer and she starts out with the business aspect of her writing and then throughout the book rediscovers her artistic writing side. I think the fact that business shtuff is not everyone's cup-o-tea is well acknowledged though because she intersperses it with other non-business related segments.
The book does focus on emotions and emotional turmoil, but it focuses are more underlying emotion rather than dramatic outward emotion. The nice part about it was that I wasn't ever reduced to a teary blubbering mess, which was good because sometimes I find that really tiring. If you don't like crying when you read, I don't think you have to worry about that too much here and I think that is because the character often turns her negative emotions into sassy-ness. So the heavier emotions are more palatable.
So for me, the ending of the book is the most important. If I don't like the ending, I probably won't like the book just in general either. At the end of this book I was very happy that I read it. And I spent the next week or so thinking a lot about it, but in a pleasant manner. (Not like the movie Dancer in the Dark (<3) where you think about it for months after and feel terrible whenever you do.)

I definitely recommend this book. It was sweet and sassy and thought worthy and really funny. I actually was reading the book in class (instead of paying attention of course) and I burst out laughing out loud in a very quiet classroom. I think it's hard to make people actually laugh out loud in books but I don't see why you wouldn't with this book.
If you are interested in this book, you can get it here.

I hope you all have been reading sassy books and are having a good day! <3

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Keyboard Review: Steelseries Apex

So, my birthday is in a couple of days and I have decided to take this time to upgrade some of my computer's counterparts. The first upgrade, an early birthday gift, was a new keyboard. I got the Steelseries Apex Gaming Keyboard.

So this is my keyboard, you can see some of it's features right of the bat. For example, the keyboard has custom-color back lighting, which is a mostly cosmetic feature but can be helpful if you prefer certain colors. Each region of the keyboard can be lighted to different colors, you can see the regions in the top image. They include the letter area of the keyboard (the main area of sorts), the keys on the right side of the keyboard such as the home, page up and down keys, the number pad and the arrow keys, the third region is the F-keys and M-keys, the fourth region is the MX-keys and the L-keys, and lastly you can change the color of the Steelseries logo simultaneously with the lights on the sides of the keyboards. Some people might find this helpful, I mostly like it so I can have pink back lighting, to be honest. But if you are a visual aesthetics person like me, you'll love this feature as well as it's sleek design. It's much prettier than my last keyboard, which was the Logitech G15.

It also features a large space-bar, which you can see in the above picture. It's not very attractive, but it is comfortable for gaming. You thumb lays across it and it's very responsive and click-able. I thought it was a little weird at first, but it's definitely an improvement on classic space-bars. 

The keyboard has macro keys above the F-keys, called M-Keys. These are raised so you can reach them easily and if needing a quick key combo, you could slide you finger down from the M key to the number key. I didn't think I'd use the M-keys because I thought they were going to be out of reach for my fingers, but they are very reachable and I started using them immediately after getting my keyboard.

Along the left side of the keyboard is more macro keys called MX-keys. There are ten total. These were a requirement for me when looking at keyboards. I love macro keys on the right hand side for gaming but also for extra keys to open documents or the internet or Teamspeak. Above them are the L-Keys. These are your different profiles for your keyboard, there are four. I don't really use multiple profiles, but I did change L2 to a lights-off mode so I could easily turn the back lighting on and off.

It should also be noted that all the other keys on the keyboard can be key bound and is fully customizable so you really have a complete keyboard of macro keys. If you need that many. 

The arrow keys have two additional diagonal keys. I didn't really care about them when purchasing the keyboard because I don't really use the arrow keys, but they might come in handy if you do. The only time I use arrow keys is to move the bar when I'm typing and the diagonal keys don't seem to work with that.

I know this is a bad picture, but on the right hand side beside the number pad is volume and cinematic keys. I really like the volume keys this keyboard has and use them all the time. I think it works a lot better than the volume wheel on the G15.

The keyboard features two USB plug-ins on it, which was a must to me because I keep my headphones plugged into them for easy connect-disconnectivity. It's good that there are two because it takes up two USB ports on the back of your computer. (One if you don't want the USB plugs on the keyboard to work). The USB ports have an odd angle to them, so it takes some wiggling to get whatever you plugging in in. I assume that once I get use to the angle (It's a very straight angle) then it will be just fine. You can also see in this picture that the cord is braided, it feels sturdy and protected so that's good.

These two pictures show the feet of the keyboard. They do not fold out like the G15 does, they are just rubber. Which I really think will be helpful for anyone whose like my dad and smashes their fists on the keyboard when they get mad. My G15 was a hand-me-down from him and one of the legs were missing... These legs would not break off though so that's cool. There are two different legs you can put on your keyboard, they just pop in. The top picture is the flatter leg, which I use because the keyboard has a nice natural curve to it that is upright enough for me. But if you really like your keyboard to sit up, Steelseries also sends a taller leg which is in the second picture.

The typing, compared to the G15 is heaven. I hated typing on the G15. But the Apex is much easier to type on, the keys are low to the board so the response is faster since you don't have to press down as far. They bounce up nicely. I think they are easier to press than the G15. I'm typing this review on the keyboard and I really like it. I have also been working on Google docs throughout this week and last on the keyboard and can type pretty fast on it. My favorite part about the keys on this keyboard in comparison to the G15 is that they are a lot quieter.

The Steelseries Apex is not a mechanical keyboard, it is a normal membrane keyboard. So if you're looking for a mechanical keyboard this isn't for you. Even though it's a membrane keyboard, it's a really nice membrane keyboard. I think it was a very smart purchase on my part. I'm really into this keyboard. Like, really into it. So if you want a keyboard that is good for both writing on Word Documents or Google Docs or whatever as well as a keyboard that rocks MMO's and other games, I seriously suggest you look into this keyboard.

Here is a link to the keyboard on Steelseries webpage.
Here is a link to the keyboard on Amazon, it is cheaper on Amazon than it is from the manufacturer last time I checked.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Strength and Fragility of Horses

My riding lesson today was a test of strength-- emotional strength, mental strength and physical strength.
There was once a horse named Annie. I knew her for only a year, but rode her fairly consistently throughout that entire year. There reached a point when I would go to the stable and not have to ask who I was riding, I just had to get her out. She was strong and skinny and imperfect, but she was also spirited and graceful (most of the time) and fun.

I feel so lucky to have gotten to watch and ride her throughout the year. We both grew so much. When I first started riding her, we had communication problems. she was quick towards the jumps and strong against the bit. I was nervous, I'm still a nervous rider but I was way worse. When my instructor would ask me to do something I'd think "Well okay Jimmy, if you think I can." Annie helped me harden up my confidence and my "Okay, we're going to do this" attitude. By the end of our time together it was almost like we could read each others' minds (as long as I was being decisive). We were doing courses where before we could hardly do a single line. We went from only starting canters over a small jump to starting canters on the rail (That was a big deal). In fact, I even saw a rider canter her over a jump. I was so proud of her, she was very mannerly. She was even starting to work with more beginner adult riders. She was like a completely different horse. The best part was her personality change. She was a bit stingy when she first arrived but by the end of her stay at the stables she was quite a bit more affectionate, (although I'm not sure she always wanted to admit it), accepting hugs and kisses and coos. She just seemed generally happier. (Actually, I seem to remember riding her for a while where she'd duck out of turns and corners, which was rather alarming, but by the end of our year together I don't think she was doing that at all, so I don't really remember if I'm mixing her up with another horse...)

I was different too. I was a bit bossier and a bit more confident. I didn't just point a horse at a jump and ride through whatever happened, I was more involved in the approach and the away. I learned to have a presence, so that whether I was on the ground or in the saddle Annie didn't forget I was there. (Sometimes when I'd lead her she'd try to lead me, for example). I know she taught me a lot more than I probably know and I know this because every year I look back at where I was a year before and I cannot believe how much I've grown as a rider. When I think of myself pre-Annie and now, I can't believe it.

Annie was an old horse and the lessons were hard on her, but through wonderful luck, or fate or whatever, Annie was reunited with her original owner and able to spend her pasture days with her. Unfortunately, Annie slipped on ice and broke her leg. Today she was put down because of that injury. I know that death was mercy for her, and would not wish life on her for my sake. This is not the first horse who I have ridden and known to die. Plus just in general, I know animals and people die. But still it is sad. And today I am sad, not because she died but because I miss her.
So much personality!
What amazes me the most, is the fragility of horses. Horses seems so strong. I certainly bore witness to their strength today with Captain when he (for the lack of a better phrase) took off, and I pulled and pulled and pulled and thought "This isn't going to work, he can't even feel me pulling, he could just keep going and going and there would be nothing I could do," (In retrospect, I wonder if I should've pulled him in a circle. I feel like somewhere once I learned that when a horse takes off you should try to make them go in a tight circle because they can't do tight circles all that quickly. I thought momentarily while I was leaning back and pulling that I should make him do a circle, but I wasn't sure I would stay on if he suddenly spun so I thought maybe straight was a better option.) But also, horses are very, very fragile. A broken leg can end a horses life, pretty easily it seems. Or make them completely un-rideable. Most of the health problems I've seen in horses have been in the leg or hoof region. Legs and hooves seem very fragile to me. So much strength on such delicate pedestals. It's good to be reminded of that occasionally, I think.

As far as my lesson with Captain today goes: I was definitely startled when he got... energetic. And when I felt powerless to get him to stop, it was scary. The fact that you're riding a living, breathing, thought producing, emotion feeling, opinionated and clever animal is what makes riding magical, precarious, beautiful, scary, comforting. And I was basically asking for it. Here was Captain, pissy because I had him on a tight rein (Major lesson today, difference between a tight and short rein) and he had earplugs in, which he doesn't really like. Plus it's spring jitters time and there were scary motorcycles. We were plodding along and I thought "this horse has no energy, he needs energy, we're supposed to be cantering" well... got what I asked for. And it's not like I wasn't forewarned about that happening. From Jimmy, and from Captain himself. I just had never experienced it. (Now that I have, it's like, totally cool now for the future... maybe?) I handled it okay, so that was good. (Major lesson 2, I don't really think I'm that good of a rider, and that's holding me back a bit. I still consider myself a beginner.) I still was very startled, which made me cry. I don't do well with surprise. It's a little embarrassing but, it happens. And it doesn't happen all the time. Actually, I was doing pretty good at holding back tears during the lesson, but I was already holding back tears from news about Annie, then we started riding so I didn't think about it. Then the thing with Captain happened and I was like "I did good, it's good, every things good. Except Annie's accident and impending euthanasia." then it was all over. Thanks memory for your impeccable timing.

But I've never had a lesson where I haven't learned something and today was no different. In fact, today was jammed packed with strong in your face important lessons. (It was tiring). Luckily, I've never had an experience where I've thought "I don't want to ride horses anymore." This isn't the first time I've dealt with horses that do something that intimidates me. In fact, it's not even the first time a horse has decided to go for an unwarranted run. Sometimes I'm a little apprehensive about riding that same horse again. But I'll still ride them and I'll still ride. Mostly because I can't imagine a life not riding now that I am. And really the thing that gets hurt the most is my pride because whatever I did to cause whatever, or to not handle whatever or whatever, is a little embarrassing. In any case, today's lesson with Captain reminded me a lot of what I learned from Annie. I think as I ride Captain I'm going to need some of that attitude I had with Annie. I think I've softened up a bit. But also a lot of understanding that I learned with Annie and Roanie, and really all horses way back to my very first lesson on Gracie. Attitude, but still understanding that horses have feelings too. Leadership and horsemanship. It always seemed to me that riding was more about balance than strength.
R.I.P. Annie <3

Monday, March 24, 2014

Geek Unveiled! Alternative Easter Eggs

I am a pretty big geek, I'll admit and I am a pretty big gamer, mostly computer games but every now and then a ps3 or 3ds gamer. I thought my geeky gamer side would be great to add to my blog, so I thought I'd start out with what to me is the geekiest game ever: World of Warcraft. (That's right, a post about WoW). I started playing WoW when I was maybe twelve years old, both of my parents play it (obsessively), we all play together; it's been a huge part of my life.

 For those who don't know, World of Warcraft is a Massively Mulitplayer Online Role-Playing game, (aka an mmorpg), where you create a character on either the alliance, ruled by a king, or the horde, ruled by a warchief and you quest and level and become a hero of your faction. The storyline of the game is fairly complex because of the expansion packs that have come out. There are currently four expansion packs, the fifth one (Warlords of Draenor) is coming out supposedly sometime this year. The great thing about WoW is that there are so many different things you can do so it helps stave off boredom; you can quest, fight against other players in pvp, do pokemon like pet battles or sit on a dock and fish. And that isn't even touching a lot of end game content. 


Of course, my favorite thing about World of Warcraft are the Easter eggs. These are a little pop-culture references in the game who don't really serve a function beyond making you go "Hey, look at that." So here are six alternative-y Easter eggs that I know about in WoW. (It was going to be five, but I remembered another and had to add it) *some of them are a stretch to alternative.

Siouxsie and the Banshees:
  • My favorite Easter Egg-- there is a NPC in Acherus named Siouxsie the Banshee, which is the most obvious reference possible. This of course was added in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. 
  • There is also a NPC named Tsu'zee in Dire Maul. She is flanked by two banshees. This is a much older reference, it's not nearly as blatant but it does get the point across. 
  • There is a quest in Silverpine Forest called "Cities in Dust" which references the Siouxsie and the Banshees song. 
Emilie Autumn:
  • There is a NPC named Emil Autumn in the Howling Fjord, he is an enchanting trainer, which could be a reference to her album, Enchant.
  • There is a NPC in Undercity named Royal Overseer Bauhaus (of the Undercity Census Bureau) which may be named after the band. It could also be a reference to the German Staatliches Bauhaus school of architecture and art, so I put it in tentatively. However, when I first saw it I thought of the band, so I'm still putting it into my list.
Alice in Wonderland:
  • In Kun-Lai Summit there is a tuskarr named Wally and a hozen named Tic Tak the Carpenter. When you talk to Wally he says "The time has come, my little friend, to talk of other things" this is obviously a reference to the walrus and the carpenter. 
  • On top of a mushroom in Zangermarsh is a hookah and a skeleton, I'm not sure why the skeleton is there, but the hookah is a reference to the caterpillar.  
  • The NPC guild master in Undercity is named Christopher Drakul, which is possibly a reference to Christopher Lee and his role as Dracula. It wouldn't be a stretch, WoW likes to mix character names and actors names together, for example, there is a character named Harrison Jones, who has a quest line that is basically an Indiana Jones movie.  
Sweeney Todd:
  • There is a traveling salesman who wanders around Elwynn Forest and Darkshire named Antonio Perelli, which references the hair elixir salesman in Sweeney Todd the musical.
  • The goblin who runs the barber in Stormwind was originally named "Sween Neetod." His name is now Jelinek Sharpshear, but you can still see skeletons under a floorboard on the second story of the shop, right under a shaving razor. 
So that's all for this post, I had so much fun writing it. A year ago, I would've been too embarrassed to even admit that I played WoW (highschool, you know), let alone do a post on it, so it's an interesting post for me. Thank you so much for reading, I hope you have a wonderful day. <3

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Book Review: The Descent of Alette

I've been mulling over these past months on this blog and I realized that there are more things I want to add to the blog in terms of what I write about. I was really into posting in January but quite frankly I ran out of ideas for posts. So I'm going to be expanding topics to other areas I'm passionate about.
But for now, a book review!

The Descent of Alette, by Alice Notley
I was introduced to this book in my literary arts class. My teacher assigned it as homework, but honestly I couldn't wait to read the next section at the end of each assigned chunk. The Descent of Alette is an epic, which means it's a long poetic piece of writing that focuses on a main hero. It is separated into books and sections rather than chapters. It has a very unique style where every "Few words" "Are marked with" "Quotations." Which is supposed to cause people to slow down and appreciate the words and sentence structure. It takes a bit of getting use to, but it really does make you pay attention more and it's a perfect book for it. It's a book that I recommend reading out loud because it really is beautiful. I read every page out loud to myself, which I found helped me accept the punctuation and begin to read it as sentences.

Content-wise, the book is feminist/transformation story about a woman who lives in a surreal underground world which is ruled by the Tyrant who doesn't let the citizens go above ground. The woman goes on a journey to discover herself and to defeat the Tyrant. I don't want to give anything away, so I'm going to stay vague. The best part about this book is that it is basically one huge metaphor, but at the same time really concrete. The metaphors are definitely metaphors, but you also have to take them as what actually happens in the story. The story has tons of twists and turns, I was often very surprised at what was happening (and I'm usually pretty good at guessing what happens next in books) and best of all, I had no idea how it was going to end.

I cannot recommend this book enough, it is one of my favorite books. I plan on buying myself a copy since I had to return the copy that my teacher gave out. At the time I read it I was having trouble writing and this book inspired me. It's one of those books that makes you think about it weeks after you've finished it. What I really liked about it was that it was fantastical-not-so-sweet-fairy-tale-ish. Reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland almost. It's very abstract, so if you're an abstract person you'll love this. If you're not abstract you'll still love it. It's one of those pieces of writings that goes beyond mere story and to art.

So that's what's been going on with me, sort of. I hope all of you are doing well and reading inspiring books. <3

Monday, January 20, 2014

Graphic Novel Giveaway!

Sary over at The Walrus Room is graciously having a giveaway of the graphic novel Will o' the Wisp. She wrote a lovely review of the book here. It's got great art. If you are interested in joining the giveaway, (which I would recommend because giveaways are more fun when they are successful) you can find it here.

Goth Confessions

In the past few months, I've really fallen away from dressing in a way that makes me feel good about myself. It started during the summer and continually got worse; basically, I've been bummin' it. I understand why I started dressing worse, but I think it's continued for too long.
I could come up with excuses, of course. I need new clothes but don't have the money or places to get them. But you can find clothes at good prices and you can purchase items at local stores that still have an alternative flare. And it's not that I don't have any good wardrobe pieces, I'm just not wearing them. I've been wearing riding clothes. Instead of clothes I care about, I'm wearing clothes that I don't mind getting dirt or horse slime on.
Another issue I'm running into is the winter weather. I don't have a winter jacket, and the temperatures are usually in the negatives, so I have to wear outfits that involve some sort of thick sweatshirt or sweater. I've been looking hard for a good coat. Preferably one that looks okay with various types of skirts. but I haven't found one that I've liked yet.
So I've been making some changes so that I'm happier with the way I'm living, and what I wear is one of those things I'm changing. Hopefully there will be some outfit posts, or purchase posts. And hopefully I find a winter coat in the next few months.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Why Horseback Riding is a Sport

Recently, I've had a lot of people approach me after learning that I ride horses and say, "I don't understand why horseback riding is an Olympic sport, it's not that hard and the horses do all the work." Where I immediately ask, "Have you ever ridden a horse?" and they say, "Once, when I was like, ten, but a lot of horseback riders are overweight so it can't be that hard." So I'm going to give my thoughts on this in an informative and hopefully non-ranty manner.

I'm going to address the overweight comment right away. There are overweight people doing all sports. Just because you see someone ride a horse who happens to be over weight, doesn't mean anything. If you saw an overweight person play football (both footballs) or baseball or whatever, you wouldn't suddenly think that it's not hard to play. You'd just assume that that person happens to be overweight. It also depends on how serious of a rider that person is. If they only ride once a week, and that is their only exercise, they probably will be overweight. Riding everyday is extremely expensive. Whether you pay someone to ride their horse, or have your own horse, or you lease a horse, riding every day can cost you thousands a month.
It's also important to consider the difference between sport and recreation. A person can shoot hoops but never play basketball, they can play catch but never play baseball. Similarly, someone can get on a horse and dink around without actually choosing a riding related sport.
But I have not seen an Olympic rider who is obese. I think where people also go wrong is that some Olympic riders are much older than the contestant of other Olympic sports. This isn't because the sport is easy, it is because the sport takes years to get a grip of. I've been riding for over six years and I know that I'm still getting the basics down. And not because I'm inept, because I ride with people who have ridden longer than I, rather because knowledge in the sport is measured in years and decades.
 Of course, I speak about English riding only. I rode Western for one summer and I don't really know anything about it. And in this post I'm focusing on the Olympics. The Equestrian Olympics actually involves three different sports, all under the English riding style: Dressage, Show Jumping, and Eventing.
Show Jumping: At it's very basics, show jumping is a test of strength, dexterity and speed. The riders and horses jump over obstacles in an arena as fast as they can without knocking down poles. If they knock down poles or the horse refuses to jump, they receive time penalties. There is also a time limit, and penalties for going over the time limit.
Dressage: Dressage at it's basics is a dance. It is a routine done to music. The riders tell the horses what to do without any noticeable movement, so it seems like the horse is reading the rider's mind. The movements of the horse replicate how they move when they are at play in the field without a rider on their backs.
Eventing: Eventing involves three events, Show Jumping, Dressage, and Cross Country. So it really requires a well rounded horse. Cross Country is a show of stamina. It is similar to show jumping, however it takes place along a vast outdoor track and the jumps resemble more natural looking objects. Cross country courses also involve multiple routes that riders can choose between.
I know from experience that riding is hard, because of the way my muscles feel afterwards. Horseback riding is a full body sport. It takes your core muscles, back muscles, leg muscles, arm muscles, plus these weird muscles on the inside of your thigh that you just don't really ever use any other time. It is also mentally challenging. You have to think about all your body parts, what you're doing, what you'll do next,what the horse may or may not do and how you are going to respond that what they do. The horse is the thing that is so unique and challenging to the sport. You not only have to think about what you are doing, but how the horse is as well. Horses are not machines, they have opinions on what you are doing and they may not love it like you do.

Riding is a mixture of art and sport, much like dancing. The only difference is that dancing is considered an art and riding is considered a sport (by some people). (Also I suppose gymnastics applies as well.) But they have a lot in common:
-They both take years to learn, at least in my opinion.
-They require the whole body.
-The point of them is to look as easy as possible and be graceful.
-Appearance matters during competitions. 
-The Judging at competitions is very particular and harsh.
-It is both a team sport and a singular sport at the same time.

I wish everyone would try to ride a horse a few times in their adult lives. I remember the first time I rode a horse I was extremely sore and I barely did anything. I feel if people just went on a trail ride and came away from that sore, when all they did was walk or trot around, and still woke up the next morning sore, that they might respect the sport riders who actually pull their weight in the ride. After all, you can't just sit on a horse and expect them to do everything. Look at the show jumping picture, her butt's not on the horse at all. That is not because it's a big jump, that is little jumps too. (To be honest, when you just sit on the horse as they go over the jump, it's very unpleasant to them and they start to hate you.).

So that is my two cents worth. (Trust me, I could give you five dollars worth but I think it'd be a bit tiresome). I think everyone should ride a horse at some point in their lives. Horses and humans have so much history. I know many people are afraid of horses, but I think there is a lot that horses can teach people. Plus then people might realize that horseback riding is a hardcore sport! 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

BPAL Review: Epitaph

So since Friday I've had the flu, or something akin. I thought that today I'd be better, but I'm still feeling awful so I cancelled riding again. It's disappointing, but I did try my final perfume. I saved Epitaph for last because it was the scent I was sure I would love. So, it's description:
"Roses and funeral lilies perceived, faintly, through an indistinct, ghostly mist."

In the Bottle: In the bottle it smells like lilies with a background note of rose. I can also smell the mist over the top of the lily, but it's very faint and fresh. 
On Skin: On my skin I smelt the rose more than the lily, which I really like. However, it has a good balance of not having too much of either flower. I can barely smell the mist, mostly it is a light scent. But it didn't disappear like Maiden did, instead it's just gentle. 
Longevity:  I put this on at 9:00am and it disappeared by 7:00pm. It was strong for the first fifteen minutes, then it mellowed out into an even, light scent. 

Overall, this is very pretty. I thought I'd like it because it was light, and I normally don't wear perfume. In all this perfume excitement I've been eager for perfumes that I can smell, but I think this would be a good daily perfume.

So those were my seven perfume samples. I am thinking about doing a final post to wrap up all these perfume posts, but I'm not sure. I might leave it where it lies. I will say that my favorite scent was probably Zombi, which is surprising because I thought I wouldn't like it. But I didn't smell any perfume that I thought smelt bad, just smells I personally don't relate to. 

If you are interested in Epitaph, the link is here.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

BPAL Review: Maiden

Today I wore Maiden. When I was choosing my scents for imp ears, this was the first one I knew I wanted to try. Of course, that is partially because of the order I was going in. The description for Maiden goes:
"A gentle vision of purity, goodness and virtue: white tea, carnation and Damask Rose."

In the Bottle: Maiden smells like carnation with just a hint of white tea. To a point it smells like shoving your nose into a carnation, but it's more white than it is green and a little sweeter. It smells very pretty and promising. 
On Skin: I can smell the carnation in the front and rose in the back. I don't smell the tea as much. It's definitely pretty and innocent. It's very light once it dries. 
Longevity: I put this scent on at 9:00am and by 3:00pm it was completely gone. I'm not surprised because it was so light. I could barely smell it by 1:00pm. 

Overall it is exactly how I think Maiden should smell. I wish the rose had more of a frontal note than the carnation. Also I wish I could smell the tea more on my skin. I'm a bit disappointed at how short it lasted. It disappeared really quickly to the point where you really had to sniff to get a whiff. I really liked it though when I could smell it. It has a really nice balance, but if you don't like the smell of carnation you might not like this. 

I have one more scent, but I will not be wearing it tomorrow. I have a riding lesson tomorrow and the stable isn't really a place to wear perfume. I'm excited about my last scent, but I'm sad that I'll have tried out all my new perfumes. But it feels good to be back in blogger mode. I'll have to be creative on other things to post. 

If you are interested in Maiden, the link is here

Friday, January 10, 2014

BPAL Review: Nyx

Today's perfume was Nyx. I allowed a friend of mine to pick a scent out for me because I couldn't choose; she chose this one. Nyx's description is:
"Night-blooming jasmine, warmed by myrrh, lifted by the promise of rose."

 In the Bottle: Nyx smells like what I imagine a Victorian mansion would smell like. It's a cool jasmine with just a hint of myrrh. I am impressed by the jasmine scent, it actually smells like crisp jasmine. 
On Skin: Immediately on skin it got really sweet smelling and I was bummed, but after about an hour it had toned down. It was a warm myrrhjasmine smell, that jasmine was still crisp. I could barely detect the rose. I was hoping it'd be a cooler scent, but it is still really pretty.As it faded it became sweeter again.
Longevity: I put this on at 11:00am and by 7:30 pm the smell was gone. I had read some reviews that it disappeared off of their skin quickly, but this lasted a long time on me.

The thing that I really liked about this scent is that the jasmine scent reminded me of smelling a flower, not some perfume copy. Nothing is too over powering in it. It's really well balanced. I think my friend made a good choice on this one. 

Sometimes, BPAL descriptions are artistic and lovely, but not really something you can picture. Or they'll include ingredients that you have never heard of before. I really suggest looking at the "Review" section of their forum before making a purchase. The members of the forum describe how it smelled to them and their descriptions can help round out your expectations of what you're about to buy. 

If you are interested in Nyx, the link is here.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

BPAL Review: Dragon's Bone

Today I tested my second complimentary imps ear, Dragon's Bone. I was excited to get this scent because it is not something I'd normally go for and I had never smelled many of the scents in it. The description for Dragon's Bone goes as such:
"The dry, thin scent of a draconic ossuary. Dragon’s blood resin with white sandalwood, dusty orris and crisp blondewood."

In the Bottle: Dragon's Bone immediately reminded me of incense or fireworks, even though it doesn't completely smell like either one of those. It smells slightly bitter. It must smell like dragon's blood resin; I've never smelt that before so I'm not sure. 
On Skin: On my skin Dragon's Bone smells floral, that maybe the orris, and woody. It is almost sweet and tangy, if you can picture that. I can still smell what I assume to be the dragon's blood resin. This one is harder for me to describe because I'm not familiar with the scents. 
Longevity: I put Dragon's Bone on at 11:00am and I could still smell it by 6:00pm. I took a shower after working out, so I can't say for sure how long it would've lasted, but I wouldn't have been surprised to smell it at 8:00pm. 

Overall, Dragon's Bone is a strong, warm, musky smell. It has more attitude than I'd go for, I like pretty delicate scents, but this is feminine without being too girly. While this isn't my cup of tea, I haven't come across a scent yet who's imps ear I wouldn't be willing to finish. 

On a side note, my mother wore White Rabbit today and the smell that was prominent was the fresh clean linen. 

I swipe the oil across my collar bone and then on my wrist. Other popular places to place oils is in between the breasts, on the neck, behind the ears, in the hair and various pulse points. The imp ears come with an applicator wand. The larger bottles do not, but for a dollar you can buy a cap with a glass wand attached to it for application. People also use eyedroppers, drink stirring rods, and other various glass or plastic objects. Glass and plastic are usually preferred over say Q-Tips or your finger because they absorb less of the oil, so it lasts longer. Heres a link on their forum about ways to apply oil.   

If you are interested in Dragon's Blood, the link is here.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

BPAL Review: White Rabbit

My Black Phoenix Alchemy scent for the day is White Rabbit. It is a part of their Alice in Wonderland collection. I ordered White Rabbit because I really enjoyed the idea of a black tea scent. I love the smell of black tea. Their description White Rabbit is:
"Strong black tea and milk with white pepper, ginger, honey and vanilla, spilled over the crisp scent of clean linen."

In the Bottle: I get the floral smell of black tea with a hint of ginger. I can barely detect the smell of white pepper. It's a very pretty black tea smell that still smells like an attractive scent, rather than just smelling like a cup of tea. 
On Skin: Once I put it on, the black tea smell disappeared. All I smell is milk, honey and vanilla with a hint of ginger. I still don't smell the clean linen. I'm a little disappointed that the smell of tea disappeared, but not surprised because my skin seems to exude sweet smells. It is still pretty, I just wish I smelt more tea, because that was the reason I got it. 
Longevity: I put the perfume on at 8:00am and by 2:00pm I lost the smell. I keep getting little whiffs of milk and honey, but I can't tell if it is my lotion or the perfume making a come-back. 

The thing about perfume oils is that they smell different on everyone. This week I'm starting to learn a lot about what scents my body absorbs and what scents it exudes. This is a pretty scent, it smells amazing in the bottle, but I'm not much of a honey and vanilla person. That said, I will definitely use the rest of the imp ear, I just don't plan on buying a big bottle of it. 

If you are interested in White Rabbit, the link is here.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

BPAL Review: Black Hellebore Honey

The scent I wore today was Black Hellebore Honey. This was one of the two free samples that were placed in my order. This is the scent of Black Hellebore, with honey added to it. Black Hellebore's description is:
"Hellebore resembles the wild rose, but does not belong to their family. The scent is a pale green herbal, darkly rooty, with a faint rose and peony-like overtone."

In the Bottle: In the bottle the scent is dark and rooty. It smells like green plants. Almost earthy, but not like dirt in the way that Zombi smells. 
On Skin: The root smell seems to have almost completely disappeared once it was on my skin. It smells floral, I can smell the rosey smell in it. My father said it smelled like a perfume that gets left behind in an elevator. It's a sweet smell (that may be the honey), but it has that certain tint that perfume gets. If I smell closely I can just barely smell the green of the plant. 
Longevity: I forgot to put this on my Zombi post, but where I could still smell Zombi faintly at eight hours, this smell was gone much faster. I put it on around 11:30 and it was gone by 5:30, when I reapplied it.

Overall, I like the smell but it's a little more perfumey than I prefer. I've never smelt a Black Hellebore so I can't vouch for the scents accuracy. 

The Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has many, many types of scents. I recommend looking through them. Sometimes it's over whelming because there are so many of them, but it is good to pick a category that sounds interesting and go with it. The imp ears cost 4$ and the bottles seem to cost between 17$-27$. 

If you are interested in Black Hellebore Honey, the link is here.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Review: Zombi

I know it's been forever, and I've missed everyone and their blogs so much! The next seven days, I am determined to blog though, so that I can review my latest purchase.
I have purchased 5 imp vials from the Black Phoenix Alchemy lab (and got two free imp vials!) which means for the next seven days, as I wear them, I will tell you what I think.

The first one I decided to wear is Zombi. They describe Zombi as:
"Dried roses, rose leaf, Spanish moss, oakmoss and deep brown earth."

I chose this scent to be adventurous, because that is the fun of sample sizes. Also, my cats name is Zombi, and I thought I was the only one that spelt it that way.
In the Bottle: It smells like dirt. Wet, mossy dirt. It reminds me of the moss I mix into my snake's bedding. My grandfather smelt it out of the bottle and said it smelt like a barn. (I think he was being a little dramatic.) The smell in the bottle is why I decided to wear it today, when I have no school. Because I didn't know if I wanted to be in school smelling like dirt.
On Skin: Once I put it on my skin and it started to dry, the roses started to shine through and the dirt subsided. It ended up being a really pretty scent of mossy roses with just a tint of soil. I like it a lot more than I thought I would. I definitely wouldn't mind smelling like this in public.

This was my first order from BPAL, and I have to say I am very impressed. They make their perfumes to order, so I assumed I wouldn't get them for weeks. But I placed my order on the 31st of December, and they showed up today (the sixth of January).
The imps ears are smaller than I imagined, but I'm curious to see how long they last, because you don't need to use very much perfume oil to be smelly. The nice part of the imp ears is that the caps have applicator wands. They cost 4$ each.
If you are interested in Zomi, the link is here.