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.