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13 Fragrances to Lust After

December 22, 2015
I have an obsession.  I love perfume. Love love love it!  It’s one of those things that enhances my mood, makes me feel pretty, and it’s what I most closely associate with femininity.  When I was a child, the women in my life all wore perfume. While none of my grandmothers or my mother were super girly and into cosmetics, perfume was something they did wear.

As I got older, I wanted to wear makeup, yes. I really, REALLY wanted to wear perfume, though.  I wanted all the perfume sets that came with lotion and powder (Yes, powder was included back in the day.). Commercials for Enjoli, Charlie, Gloria Vanderbilt, Poison, Obsession, Love’s Baby Soft, Exclamation spoke to me. (Yes, I grew up in the 80s.).

If it was popular, I wanted it. I had no regard for what smelled good on me. I knew nothing about body chemistry or top notes and base notes. I just knew that to feel grown up, I needed the most popular perfumes. As I’ve gotten older, I have not lost any love for perfume, and I can still sing the Enjoli song, too.

There was nothing subtle about the 80s. Perfume was as bold as the neon colors that were all the rage. We really didn’t give a thought to how over-powering our perfume was. Times have changed, and so has the approach to perfume. Today we are more conscientious about offending others with our perfume. Our goal isn’t to go big anymore. It’s about leaving behind a tiny hint of something wonderful.

Today’s approach is more about leaving them wanting more, not have them begging for you to leave. I’ve learned to be more subtle with perfume, but I still like to experiment.  I like to change scents with seasons or on a whim. While I’ve learned what smells best on me and how to wear it, there’s always something new out there. I’m always looking.

One of my favorite things are perfume samples. Seriously!  Who wants to drop $100 on what you think is a great perfume and then have it smell horrible on you? A quick spritz in the store isn’t an accurate picture of the fragrance. Recently, I’ve made it my mission to find new perfumes to try.

To do that, I need samples.  I’ve subscribed to perfume sample boxes, requested samples in stores, used my points at Sephora and Ulta on samples, or even purchased small coffret bottles from various designers to check out the entire perfume line. There are some amazing perfumes out there. These are the ones that stand out to me. Some are individual scents. Others are complete product lines with lots of choices. Maybe you’d like to give them a try, too.

1) Roses de Chloe

I tend to shy away from strong rose scents. It always seems old fashioned to me. It reminds me of a turn-of-the-century female character in old movies dabbing on a small bit of perfume. That is NOT Roses de Chloe. This one is pleasant, subtle, and long-lasting.  It doesn’t smell old fashioned or out-of-date like some rose scents do. It’s a crisp, crystal take on a traditional scent. It ain’t your grandma’s perfume.

2) See by Chloe Eau Fraiche’

Here’s another from Chloe. I drug my feet in trying any of the Chloe scents mostly because I remember when the original came out years and years ago.  (In fact, you can still buy the original on Amazon.  I can only imagine what it smells like after decades.)
I didn’t want to smell as if I were stuck two decades in the past, but the bottle was beautiful and a quick sniff at the store had me requesting a sample. Once I gave it a shot, I appreciated this fragrance. See is a watery floral scent. Hyacinth is the top note. This Chloe fragrance is subtle and a fresh take on a traditional scent, too. It’s feminine and floral without being too much of either.  This ain’t your momma’s perfume.

3) Juliette Has A Gun Not A Perfume

I’m going to jump from two traditional scents (rose and hyacinth) to something modern. This is a fragrance that celebrates the untraditional.  There are eight different scents in the Juliette Has A Gun series. My favorite is called Not A Perfume. Not A Perfume is a one note fragrance advertised as the anti-perfume. Clear and mild, is how I’d best describe it. It really is the anti-perfume of the heavy 80s and 90s fragrances. Sophisticated and understated sums up Not A Perfume. This one is young and modern and not what everyone is wearing – but probably should be.

4) Philosophy My Philosophy

This is a line meant to be mixed together to discover your own signature scent, but each smells equally amazing alone. There are six single note scents that are never too much.  Philosophy also makes suggestions on which scents mix well if you fear doing it yourself.  My favorite is Grateful, but honestly, I like them all.  This is your chance to not smell like everyone else out there. If you ever “kind of liked” a perfume but there was just something off about it, try this line of fragrances. Start simple and add only the scents you like. Mix florals, citrus, woodsy, or marine scents for your own personal fragrance.

5) Bvlgari Au The’ Vert

I do believe this one has been around awhile but Vert is crisp, clear, and discreet. Vert is a citrusy scent. It reminds me of a sweet and fruity drink. Bvlgari Au The’ Vert is part of a line including Bleu and Blanc and there are newer Bvlgari fragrances out there. Vert is fun. It’s managed to stay relevant for quite sometime. That isn’t easy in such a competitive market.
6) Vera Wang Hippie Princess
I must admit, the name drew me in and scared me simultaneously. I worried a bit because “hippie” anything makes me think earthy, burning incense, or patchouli. I’m not a big fan of those scents. If you are a fan of those, this isn’t for you. This is a fruity-floral that lingers politely. It’s one of those fragrances that makes you happy when you smell it.  You won’t over-power anyone with this fragrance. You might even have people follow you around asking what perfume you wear. Everyone who smells this one seems to love it.
7) Olivine Atelier She Belongs There
The top note of this scent is gardenia. That has to be one of my favorite floral scents. This is a pure oil vegan fragrance and it is long-lasting and sensual without a heaviness. The scent is natural and alluring.  There isn’t an alcohol scent to this since it’s a pure oil. As it dries down, it tends to keep a similar top, mid, and base note. Think a night in Hawaii.  Who doesn’t love that?
8) Terra Nova Aire
This is a vegan scent for those who want to wear perfume, but don’t want to wear it either. It is there but it isn’t. I know, why buy and wear perfume you can hardly smell?  Just when I thought this scent was gone for the day, I’d catch a whiff and love it all over again. It’s a clean mix of floral, fruit, and white tea. If I imagined a perfect breathe of fresh air, it would be this scent. The entire Terra Nova line is simple and broad for all tastes if Aire isn’t for you. I haven’t tried them all, but if Aire is any indication, Terra Nova is a winner.

9) Clean Cool Cotton

This fragrance line is also broad. It is simple and not the least bit fussy. For days you want to convey a less formal attitude, Clean is the brand you want. It makes me feel like “yeah, I smell this way all the time.”  Cool Cotton smells like soap or laundry detergent to me. Some may turn up their nose at that description, but come on. Who doesn’t like the smell of something fresh and clean?  All the Clean fragrances have that sentiment at heart, but Cool Cotton reminds me of freshly washed sheets and towels or just stepping out of the shower.  This is another fragrance line most people enjoy–even the people who dislike perfume.
10) Kate Spade Walk On Air
I admit, maybe I like this one because I have a soft spot in my heart for an older Kate Spade perfume called Twirl. I liked Twirl because it was “perfumy” for lack of a better word. Twirl reminded me of the  smell of the cosmetic section in a department store. Walk On Air is much lighter than that, though. For those of you who hate the cosmetic section, don’t count Walk On Air out because it is opposite of Twirl. While it is heavier than some on this list, it has a pleasant scent that smells sweet and green. I’d envision this as a first date perfume. It leaves behind a scent your date would remember without drowning them in perfume.
11) Bobbi Brown Beach
Most of favorites listed here have a crisp, clean aspect. While they may be citrusy, floral, green, or marine, they all have a common thread of being lighter. This one feels different to me. It is a heavier scent in my opinion, although I see it listed and described by many as light and clean. It has a summer cocoa butter soul, but a cool beach breeze intertwined. I know, that sounds silly. It reminds me of sun tan lotion, ocean water, and sand. I think Caribbean island when I wear this one. I might not wear this one year round or everyday, but it’s different from my usual. Sometimes, we all need to switch it up once in awhile.
12) Dior Jadore–When discussing classic or iconic fragrances, Dior is usually mentioned. Some find the classics too over-powering (like the cosmetic counter scent I described). Some just don’t want to smell like everyone else or walk around wearing a scent that’s twenty years old or older.  I get that. Yet, there is a reason some fragrances are classic. They never feel old or out-dated.  Jadore just seems to do that. It smells great on everyone. It is as floral as a perfume can get. It mixes floral scents from all over the world. Jadore lingers, but in a pleasant way. It is sophisticated but not too stuffy. Old and young both identify with this fragrance. It’s a keeper on my list.
13) Marc Jacobs Daisy
I’ve worn Marc Jacobs Lola, Oh Lola, Dot, Honey, and Daisy. I like them all. I find myself at the Marc Jacobs section in stores a lot. I have for years. Somehow this designer has managed to stay in-style for a long time. Today there are several different Daisy perfumes. I’ve sampled them and worn them, but I always go back to the original Daisy. Strawberry, violet, and vanilla are all present in Daisy. Jasmine is in there somewhere according to the manufacturer’s description, but I don’t notice it much. It is advertised as “sunshine in a bottle.” I’d say that is pretty accurate. It’s bright and summery. It lingers, but with style. Although summery, wearing it year round makes me happy. Maybe it’s the hint of vanilla, but it works in winter too.
There it is–my list of the top perfumes today. Catch me in a week or two and I’ll probably have a new one to add to the list. I’m always looking and trying new scents.  Remember, perfumes smell different to different people. They also smell different when mixed with our own body chemistry. Let me know what you think about these. Feel free to share others you love, as well.


Cosmetics Cruelty Free Fragrance Skin care

Top 10 Holiday Wish List Products

November 25, 2015

We’ve been gone. Did you miss us? Sure you did.

LeeAnn wrote her list of products she’d like to try in 2016 (go on, call it a Wish List), and here is my list to go along with that. Keep in mind that we shop differently. There are products on my list that I already know I love but that I’ve just been too cheap to replace.

We hope you find some things in one or both of our lists that you decide to try and that become favorites.

1. Vera Wang’s Hippie Princess perfume ($60 for 1.7 oz)

Blame LeeAnn for this one. She suggested I smell it & tell her what it was like because she likes the other scents in this line. I now can’t go into Ulta without spraying this just all over me. My daughter also likes this one, which isn’t a real selling point for me.

2. Urban Decay Naked Palette ($54)

This is the benchmark of nude and near-nude palettes. There are multiple options to choose from within the Naked line. I prefer the Naked 2, but I swear, I’d take any of them. I’ve reached a point in life where I prefer a muted eye with a darker liner as opposed to the brighter shadows I wore when I was younger. These palettes have just everything. And Urban Decay is a Cruelty Free brand.

3. Lily Lolo Mascara ($20)

I am a dedicated user of my CK One mascara, but I’d like to try a CF brand. The Lily Lolo is the highest rated CF mascara I can find. Whether I love it or hate it, I’d like to try it.

4. MyChelle Fruit Enzyme Scrub ($18)

This is one of my favorite finds from PetitVour. This fruit enzyme scrub is wonderful. You can leave it on just a few minutes or a few minutes longer, depending on how your skin reacts. It smells wonderful and leaves my skin feels smooth and clean.

5. Tarte LipSurgence (Holiday Set $34 for 9 minis)

If you haven’t tried these lippies, you’re missing out. They feel like a balm and look like a great lipstick. Now, I’ll admit, I don’t like the matte options. But the others are amazing. For several years now, I’ve bought the holiday set (it’s a super value), and divided it up between gifts for others and for myself.

6. Tokyo Milk ($20)

I love this hand lotion. It is hydrating without being greasy, and the scent lasts forever. My favorite scents are the Dead Sexy and Kabuki No. 9. Every handbag should feature something this lovely.

7. nyl Skincare Organic Shimmer Sugar Scrub ($38 for 8 oz)

Ever since I started getting PetitVour boxes, I’ve been eyeing this sugar scrub. Who doesn’t love a sugar scrub? One that gives your a golden shimmer? Even. Better.

8. 21 Drops ($29 each)

I want all of these. Just all of them. We have the Sleep oil and love it. I’d like to try so many of these. They do have some holiday sets that might be good starting points.

9. BITE Beauty lippies

I am in love with BITE’s lip mask. In. Love. And I’d like to try one of their other lip products. Just any other one.

10. Anything LUSH

Seriously. For real.

Now, share with us your wish lists. Maybe we’ll add some of your products to our lists.


Cosmetics Cruelty Free Fragrance Skin care

10 Best Products for Sensitive Skin

October 16, 2015

Sensitive skin is the worst. The itchy red patches, the bumps or welts, all make choosing beauty products a tough job. Just because a product says its for sensitive skin, doesn’t mean it will work.  In many cases, those of us with sensitive skin have full-blown allergies to deal with, as well. But I’ve found a few products made for us that are worth the hype.

1. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Full Coverage Foundation ($39.00)
This foundation actually feels good going on. Tarte isn’t into using a lot of chemicals so their foundation is much less irritating. In fact, they pack a lot of good things into this foundation to help soothe skin. There are tons of shades to choose from so it’s easy to find a perfect match to your skin tone.  The coverage is a good medium coverage, in my opinion. It’s buildable though, so it could very easily be a full coverage foundation like the name describes.  Tarte is cruelty-free, too. Yippie!

2. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush ($28.00)
This blush glides on. You can use as little or as much as you’d like. It blends like a dream, and my cheeks don’t itch or break out after application like with many products. Again, the ingredients are minimal and great for sensitive skin. There are tons of colors so it actually made picking one difficult. Oh, and being cruelty-free like the rest of the Tarte line makes it perfect. Tarte for the win!

3.  It Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Eye Brow Pencil ($24.00)
I snickered at the term “universal.”  Not only do I have sensitive skin, but I’m a redhead. They seem to go together. Finding a “universal” product that includes us redheads is impossible. Or so I thought. This pencil works great. It makes my brows look natural, but gives them color and depth. No itching or redness around my brows either. Oh yeah, this line is cruelty-free, as well.

4. Bare Minerals Powder Eyecolor ($14.00)
Really any of the Bare Minerals powder in their foundation, blush, and shadow lines are good for sensitive skin. There isn’t a lot of unnecessary ingredients and all their products have staying power. I never worry about the sensitive skin around my eyes when I use Bare Minerals. Some brands of eye shadow have made my lids itchy and red with weird dry patches. Not Bare Minerals. It’s a great go-to brand when all the others get tossed aside. Bare Minerals is also cruelty-free. (I’m seeing a pattern evolve here.)

5. Urban Decay De-Slick Oil-Control Makeup Setting Spray ($14.00-$30.00)
This is one of my favorites that isn’t cruelty-free. While some label the brand CF, its parent company is not. Is that splitting hairs?  Maybe. I’m just giving the information. I love the spray, honestly. Something that gets put on the entire face makes me nervous. An itchy red eyelid or patch on the cheek is bad enough, but to have your entire face react to a product is the pits. Unfortunately, it happens to those of us with sensitive skin if we aren’t careful.  Urban Decay’s setting spray really works, and my skin feels great when I use it. It dries fast. Makes my makeup look dewy but not oily. It has no discernible  scent. Best of all, it makes my makeup last longer without crazy reactions.

6. Origins Zero Oil Deep Pore Cleanser and Oil-Free Moisturizer ($22.00 and $28.50)
Awhile back, I wrote about my search for a new cleansing system because Origins is not cruelty-free. I’m still on that search. Origins is hard to beat for sure. I have not found a product line I buy into and love as much as Origins, but I have promised myself I would. I’d like to phase out all the products that aren’t cruelty-free eventually, so the search for great CF products is ongoing. For now, I have to give Origins props for helping out those of us with sensitive skin. The cleanser gets rid of all traces of makeup. It does not over-dry the skin. The moisturizer is light, not too oily, and keeps skin with just the right moisture balance. Origins, if you were only cruelty-free, I’d sing your praises more.

7. Dr Brandt Pores No More Refiner Primer ($15.00-$45.00)
Here’s a product line on the pricy side, but good heavens does it work!  On a whim I bought this primer. I bought a small one so I didn’t feel too guilty if it didn’t minimize pores like many products claim to do.  Wow!  I loved it. It isn’t greasy. My pores around my nose disappeared. My sensitive skin felt wonderful, and my foundation went on smoothly over this primer. It’s a dream. It’s cruelty-free, too.  I’m in love with whoever this Dr Brandt is. After trying some sample sizes, I’d say the Dr. Brandt product line would replace my disappointing love for Origins if I could afford their cleanser and moisturizer ($35.00 and $60.00).  But alas, I can’t. For now, I’ll sing the praises of the primer though, and pray Origins becomes cruelty-free or Dr Brandt goes on sale permanently.

8. The Clean Perfume Line ($18.00-$72.00)
For those of us with sensitive skin, it doesn’t stop at the neck. Many perfumes and perfumed lotions make my arms and legs itch. Spraying perfume directly on the body is like dipping some sensitive skin people in acid. More often than not, I spray the perfume on my clothing, not my body. The lotions, I choose carefully. The Clean line is not like that for me. I don’t itch when I apply the lotion. The perfume does not make my neck turn into one giant itchy welt. Oh, and every one of their scents smell amazing. Yep, the product line is cruelty-free, too.

9. Simple Kind To Eyes Makeup Remover Pads ($5.99)
God bless a cruelty-free product line that is less expensive. Michele already talked about how going cruelty-free is not always cheap. This is one product that can be found in most drug and discount stores. The skin around the eyes is very delicate for everyone, not just those of us with sensitive skin. These inexpensive rounds remove all traces of eye makeup without making my skin feel like it’s burning. Contact lens wearers also worry about harsh makeup removers. Not with Simple. This product gets a very big thumbs up for being budget-friendly, cruelty-free, and great for sensitive skin.

10. Tarte Opening Act Lash Primer ($22.00)
Let’s end where we began. Oh Tarte, I love you more everyday. Like I said before, delicate skin around the eyes needs special care for everyone. I worry about eye makeup and what goes into it. Least of all, I don’t want needless wrinkles that didn’t come from living life. While worst case scenario, I don’t want to harm my vision. I never worry with the Tarte product line. This primer really does help my lashes look longer and thicker. It doesn’t clump or smear. It helps my mascara stay in place. I don’t notice dark circles under my eyes at the end of the day where my mascara gradually leapt from my lashes to under my eyes. No itching or redness from Tarte’s primer either. (Now, Tarte, please make a brown mascara for us redheads. Pretty please. I promise to write about it.)

Okay sensitive skin peeps–speak up. Tell us what products you love, or hate. These are mine, and I’m sure my list will always be changing as I find product lines I love AND can afford.


Photo Credit: garlandcannon


Fragrance love leads to Clean addiction

June 16, 2015

A mall trip with one of my friends always begins with, “Don’t make me walk through there. Seriously, it stinks and gives me a headache.” She said this as we walked into our local department store. I replied with a half-hearted courteous response, and we avoided the entire second floor where the makeup and perfume are located.

I inhaled as we skirted the area rushing to the escalator. I stole a quick glance at what the latest freebie with purchase was at the nearest counter. We continued on to the department we needed, but my friend and I both knew while she was busy elsewhere, I’d end up in the cosmetic section. I always do.

Not to belittle anyone who is sensitive to scents, or someone with a real addiction, but I may have a slight addiction. I can’t get enough perfume, shower gel, lotion. The words “layering set” make me giddy. Free samples give me goosebumps. I could give facts on how scent affects the mood or how certain scents evoke memories, but I won’t.

Let’s face it, we all have frivolous things that make us happy, and perfume is mine. I’d buy a different fragrance for every day of the year if I could. I love to wander around the cosmetic section and sniff and sample and see what works on me. My tween daughter comes in handy then because when I run out of places to spray on my arm, I use her’s. Yep! I’m not ashamed. Things smell similar on us. It works. She loves perfume, too. She also has a better memory than I do and can tell me which one is which when I forget.

As I’ve embraced cruelty-free beauty products, I’ve had some disappointments. I’ve had to give up some brands I love (Oh, Coach and Philosophy, we were such good friends.). Going cruelty-free in my luxury items was hard at first, but I soon realized an entire new world of products is out there. Do I still go into a department store cosmetic section and twirl around like a scene from “The Sound of Music?” Or literally skip with happiness from the store to my car when I make a purchase? Maybe. I’ll never tell, but I will say that I’m much more mindful about what brands I spend my money on.

One of my new favorite brands is Clean. Yep. That’s the name. The name is simple and says a lot about their fragrances and beliefs. They have several scents in their line, with shower gels, lotions, and even home fragrance. I’m working my way through them all. Yes, I want them all. No, I cannot afford to buy them all at once, but one at a time is fun, too. Visit their website
for a complete list of fragrances and to check out their story.

The first Clean fragrance I bought was Summer Escape. I’m not sure if it is a limited item only showing up certain times of the year, or if it was a one time scent. Either way, it’s in their GoingGoingGone section of their website now. I love this citrusy, beachy scent. It feels like a cross between a fruity drink and clean ocean air. Who doesn’t love a fruity drink on the beach? It isn’t over-powering. Trust me on that one. My husband and friend, who both hate the cosmetic section, will tell me instantly if it is. It is the perfect amount of scent. It lasts most of the day, and I got lots of compliments on it. The Clean Perfume website has another on their current list of fragrances called Summer Sun. I’m not sure how similar it is to Summer Escape, but I’m hoping to try it soon.

Next, I purchased Skin. This time I got the perfume, shower gel, and lotion. I don’t even know how to describe this scent. It’s there but it isn’t. I smell fresh and clean, but not a soapy clean. Its smells like clean skin. (I realize I just restated the company and perfume name, but it’s accurate.) It’s very subtle even when layering it with the shower gel and lotion. My husband likes this one a lot because there is something natural and not over-the-top about it. The description on their website says its floral yet musky. I can’t believe I bought something akin to anything musk. It isn’t my favorite of scents, but Skin is different. There is no overtly musky or floral smell. It just smells good – clean. The scent is pleasant, but I don’t feel like I’m wearing perfume. I’m thinking this is perfect for someone who wants a light scent, or is new to the perfume game.

As I already said, I’m eyeing Summer Sun, as well as Cool Cotton, Air, Fresh Laundry, and Rain. Just by the names, I think you can see what this company is all about. I’m also hoping to pick a home fragrance line the whole family likes. Prices for the perfume are $38.00 and $69.00. I bought the smaller size both times and it lasted quite awhile. Bath and shower gel is priced at $22.00. Lotion is $26.00. The sizes of the lotion, perfume, and shower gel are just right. Each product seem to last equally as long as its partner. I love that because I don’t like running out of one item with a certain scent, and still having others left to use. One last unique aspect of Clean’s perfume line is the site says fragrances can be mixed for your own personal scent and experience. They even give suggestions. I haven’t tried it, but it seems to me that simply gives even more options and choices.

These fragrances are available on their website, as well as at Sephora and Amazon. Check out this cruelty-free company. If you love perfume and want something subtle, this is it. It might even make you want to twirl around like “The Sound of Music.”


Photo Credit: Lisa Bedore