May 2009


Fragrance dominates every aspect of my life. The most recent craze has been my obsession with nice smelling cleaning products. I have used a few Mrs. Meyer’s products and so far I have been pleased with all of them. This all purpose cleaner has to be diluted down. I have it in an industrial spray bottle.  I have found that a little mixed with water goes a long way. It cleans all my regular spills and gets rid of my grim. I don’t know about “serious” issues, since you shouldn’t let your life get that grubby anyways! But, I found that in comparison to other “natural” cleaners that this one really gets the stuff up. Plus, actually like cleaning because I get to smell this stuff.

It claims to be “basil”. I don’t buy that. It isn’t that crisp, green fragrance. It isn’t a anise/licorice Thai basil. It isn’t basil at all. It claims to have basil oil. It also claims to have parsley, black pepper, and eucalyptus oils. I think that this smells much more “fresh” and less foody than the oils listed on the package. It smells almost floral, sweet, like drying cut grass. It is a very pretty fragrance really and I wouldn’t mind smelling like this myself. It is a bit like GAP Grass but much prettier. The scent really lingers. I’ll clean and my husband will come home like 5 hours later and comment on the “nice” fragrance. This sure beats the noxious fumes of other cleaners on the market.

Plus, this stuff contains biodegradable ingredients (good, I don’t want to ruin my beautiful Puget Sound) and isn’t tested on animals, including French bulldogs. This stuff doesn’t irritate my skin or cause me to have respiratory distress. Bonus! It seems to cost alot at about $8.50 for 32 ounces. But, I must emphasize that a little goes a long way and you can mix it to the water/cleaner ratio that best battles your messes. It cleans much better than cheapy stuff that I have used. Plus, it smells good and you won’t see me purchasing any home fragrance oils when I have this stuff. It’s available at most grocery stores/supermarkets and drugstore.com.

Weekly Cheap Secret:

I love this stuff so. I don’t wear it as a “tanning” cream (since I don’t tan) and I don’t really use it for sun protection. I just like to use it because I like the way it smells and the way it makes my legs look. I’m sure many of you know of this throwback or have used this stuff. This lovely gelee in the metal “toothpaste” tube was always around my house growing up since I lived with sun-worshiping ladies that were naturally tan and couldn’t get enough of that bronzed look. This is a must for “vintage” gals. (It was launched in the 40’s).

This contains an SPF 4. Really, that is enough sun protection for me since I’m not out in it very long anyways. The formula is “greasy” and really packs a shine. Since it has a tinge of orange/bronze, it evens out the complexion. This is why I love to use it on my legs. They look sleek and flawless. This stuff really moisturizes since it has a mineral oil base. It is more of a “treatment” and protects my skin from the drying effects of the elements. It is sooo emollient. I am in love with its’ classic fragrance. It is a heady, jasmine-ish like floral blend. It is an “exotic” floral. Imagine a jasmine and orange blossom blend, very Southern California. This fragrance is amazing and I often wear it souly for that. I use it on my pulse points as I would a solid perfume for a pick-me-up. (If you really love this scent, Demeter offers Suntan Lotion PMU Cologne.) This stuff is so nice; it is nostalgic. It is from a time when beach culture was such a “culture”, everybody was tanning sans the guilt. I love it because it reminds me of a 60’s teen twist B film or a Sandy Nelson or Dick Dale album cover. It is so retro Southern Californian youth. Think surfing and late night beach bonfires.

Since it is tinted, it may stain clothing, swimsuits, etc. I haven’t had a problem with this, but I do wear lots of dark shades. You won’t find me sporting white shorts or a white swimsuit. Just something to think about…

It retails for $9.99 for 3.12 ounces. This stuff can be hard to find; however, drugstore.com always has it.

My fashion goal this summer is to be as fabulous as Lucy Lawless as Xena Warrior Princess. I can check off Xena hair from my list since I’ve went from red to dark brown. I can check most of the killer wrap up the leg shooties and sandals off my list. I can also check the makeup off my list, I just need to get tanner. Hubby and I have been re-watching the show. I didn’t realize what a huge impact it had on me the first time around. I learned that adding “and then Xena saved the day” to any high school Greek mythology essay would really piss off your teachers. I learned that all sandals must wrap up the leg. I learned that we all have “many skills”. After re-watching I’ve realized that my “Cleopatra” complex isn’t a “Cleopatra” complex at all but a “Xena” complex. I also realize that being a fan of the show, no wonder everybody thought I was a mega lesbian. I also have learned that I am a dork. I want to be as glam as Xena but I really want the fashions of the extras in the show. They are so whimsy grunge and look like all the kids that sell fruit at Pike’s Place Market. So my goal is to be everything ancient and old and warrior like with a mix of Jethro Tull and folk metal with Xena hair with a purple glaze. Yep. So to get Xena’s simple makeup look with Lancome products:

Apply a tinted moisturizer in your shade. I love Lancome Bienfait Multi-Vital Teinte Tinted Moisturizer. Since this is a summer look, I recommend going a shade darker than usual. Since tinted moisturizer is sheer, it is a nice way to add some “color” without looking like a peanut butter face. Since tinted moisturizer is sheer you may need to apply concealer where needed. I love Lancome Maquicomplet Complete Coverage Concealer. Apply bronzer, try something like Tropiques Minerale Mineral Smoothing Pressed Powder Bronzer. I would still apply it with a fluffy brush. You can reapply the bronzer to cheeks as blush or use more of a peachy blush such as Blush Subtil in Cappucine.

One of my favorite products ever is Lancome’s Le Crayone Poudre Eyebrow Pencil. It is a pencil with a powder texture. It looks really natural. Brush brows into place with the spoolie and then fill in and brush with the spoolie again to blend the color. For the eyes, apply Color Design Sensational Effects Eyeshadow in Gaze or Positive from lashline to brows. In the crease blend Impress. This will really make blue eyes pop too. Or you can brush the bronzer into the crease. Apply Le Crayon Khol Smoky Eyeliner in Black Coffee to top lashline. Apply to bottom lashline, halfway. Take a stiff liner brush dab into the bronzing powder and blend outward for a smoky look. Apply a dark mascara to top and bottom lashes such as High Definicils mascara.

Lips are nude and defined. Apply my favorite lip liner ever: Le Lipstique in Bronzelle. Contour the lip line. Apply Color Design Lipcolor in Natural Beauty, a nude taupey mauve. Now you’re finished and ready to get into bar fights with warlords and to look damn good will spitting flaming liquor into their faces.

I love shimmer. So naturally, I was attracted to L’Occitane’s Golden Branch Luminous Body Cream. It is a nice moisturizing cream with tons of gold shimmers. The sparkles are flattering and really “warm” up the skin. In the lotions spiked with shimmer world, this product has larger than normal shimmers. Nope, not body glitter, just not super fine. That doesn’t bother me. It has rich ingredients such as olive oil and olive butter. It is moisturizing but quick absorbing and doesn’t leave me feeling greasy. Between that factor and the shimmer, I love this stuff for summer. But, wait! That’s not all! It has a faint “olive” fragrance. It is very “Mediterranean” and mixes wonderfully with fig fragrances such as Diptyque Philosykos, Demeter Fig Leaf, or CB I Hate Perfume Revelation. It isn’t a strong odor and it fades kind of quickly. It turns more woody and a little more spicier on the skin after a day’s wear. But, that may just be me and my spice diet. It is a costly product at $36 for 8.8 ounces and available at DERMAdoctor. Will I repurchase? I don’t know. I like it but it is costly and I am too much of a flirt to really commit to any product for too long…

This is one of my all time favorite florals. It is bold and old-fashioned but strangely very wearable. It is everything that I love. I love heavy, almost bitter florals such as jasmine and tuberose.It has notes of sweet honeysuckle and tart orange blossom. It is a white floral bomb and it has a tendency to wear you which I have no problem with. This is a fragrance that demands attention. It is a “woman” fragrance. It smells so feminine but not “flirty”. This scent isn’t frivolous. This is for a woman that knows what she wants. She knows she is attractive and sexual and she isn’t being coy about it for one minute. And she isn’t being trashy about. She isn’t a bimbo putting Revlon Fire & Ice lipstick stained cigarette butts out into her bourbon, she is elegant and refined even if she is sipping on brown liquor.

The top notes are citrusy but only in a floral citrus way such as an elegant orange blossom way. This is not that “fruity” type of citrus. This is more of a scented viognier kind of citrus. In fact, this fragrance reminds me very much of a viognier with its white florals and hints of honeysuckle and citrus blossoms. I’ve always wanted to have a bar with all of the drinks inspired by fragrances, but that is another story. You start to smell gardenia like notes, shortly a jasmine and tuberose bomb goes off. It has that ripe bitterness. It is beautiful. There is a short blast of sweet honeysuckle. Minutes later it goes back to the jasmine and tuberose. It stays this way for a long time but it becomes grounded by faint hints of warm woods. It isn’t too woody, it remains floral throughout the entire wear. It’s an elegant thing really.

My husband goes nuts for this one. There is nothing subtle with this fragrance. My husband’s sense of smell is not as sharp as mine and I find he doesn’t take very well to “hints”, he needs a fragrance to be all up in his space. He isn’t the only male that loves it. I’ll wear it out and I can tell that it turns heads.  Occasionally a gentlemen that doesn’t understand unspoken social rules may ask me about it. That’s fine with me. I’ve had a few South American ladies actually ask me if I was wearing Carolina Herrera, we’d talk shortly in the grocery line about the love of the fragrance and how it isn’t subtle. They’d share stories about how their hubby purchased them the pure parfum in the late 80’s and how badly they wish they could get their hands on that again. I can only imagine how glamorous and amazing the pure parfum must be.

The bottle is simple, not one of my favorites. The only thing nice I have to say is that I love Carolina’s font. I just find the bottle dull for such a glam fragrance. The box is polka-dot, one of Carolina’s favorite prints. Carolina should know a feminine fragrance, she is a queen of dresses. I would say that you would love this if you loved jasmine and tuberose based fragrances such as Piguet Fracas , Patou Joy, Micheal Kors, Marc Jacobs, Jo Malone Honeysuckle & Jasmine, Estee Lauder Tuberose Gardenia, Tocca Cleopatra, Chantecaille Le Jasmin,  Guerlain Jardin de Bagatelle, and/or Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Orange. The 1.7 ounce EDP retails for $66 and the 3.4 ounce for $90. I know that when I run out, I will repurchase. *Currently available at fragrancenet.com.


Carolina Herrera Perfume for Women Eau De Parfum Spray 1.7 Oz by Carolina Herrera

From: BigDiscountFragrances.com

Seriously, if you want to pick up hippie guys wear this. This stuff is a hippie magnet. That being said unless you dig guys with braids that wear bandanas in their hair and wear Birkenstocks, don’t wear this to any outdoor festivals , food Co-ops, or “ethnic” import home furnishing stores. Well, I guess if you don’t want to attract hippies, then don’t go to those places anyways 🙂

To my surprise, this scent is marketed to men. I didn’t know that. I smelled it and thought “woody gourmand”, something in the Angel category. I kind of liked it for the winter, because unlike Angel, it isn’t as sweet. When I realized that it was marketed for men, I was bit shocked. There is nothing in this scent that smells like it is for men and there is nothing in that says it is not for ladies. It should of been marketed as a unisex scent. But, then again maybe Fresh is trying to pull some kind of shock value trick where women that wear this feel scandalous and edgy for wearing a men’s scent. That could easily be it since I feel they are trying to be scandalous with the name alone. Anyways, the scent isn’t very unusual. If you are the type that wears oils from the headshop then this is nothing new. It is woodsy and long-wearing. It smells pretty heavily of patchouli and sandalwood. However, it doesn’t have that much of a “dirty”, “earthy” vibe because it is calmed down/dolled up with sweet synthetic musk, chocolate, and vanilla. This is what makes “normal” ladies like this. You know the ladies that wouldn’t touch patchouli oil with a 10 foot pole? Don’t take me wrong. This is sweet but this is not Angel or any other popular gourmand. This isn’t a Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy mix. This mearly smells like if you wore Angel body butter or lotion with patchouli oil on your pulse points. It is a friendly headshop fragrance. It is an expensive headshop fragrance for $75 for 3.4 ounces. There is also the faintest and weakest hint of rose. Overall, the scent smells of a sweet sandalwood and woodsy but not gritty patchouli blend. It is pretty, but not very interesting. It wears for hours and very closely to the skin.

Before I knew it was marketed for dudes, I asked my husband, a die hard patchouli addict to wear this, he said he wouldn’t and he also he declared that it was “shit that some middle age Pier 1 ‘hippie’ yoga mom would wear” and that he was keeping to his “roots”. I didn’t think so harshly of the scent. I spritzed it on and then went to Whole Foods where every 40 something guy in a spandex road biking leotard carrying gluten-free rolls commented on my “intoxicating” aroma. I then went home, creeped out, scrubbed my pulse points and never wore this stuff again. You should wear underpants with your leotards. I now use it as a room freshener.

Givenchy Amarige is a nice woodsy-floral (“oriental”) fragrance. It is warm and floral. It is one that I have had in my collection for quite sometime but I often overlook it for reasons unknown. I guess because it is a fragrance that I like, not that I love.

At first spritz, it is a heavy floral mix of gardenia, ylang-ylang,  and neroli. It manages to have a robust but somewhat “powdery” note. This gives the fragrance a subtle yet old-fashioned vibe despite its 1991 release date.  (Depends who you ask, many find this a “dated” fragrance). It “bubbles” with mimosa and faint citrus fruit and blossoms. There is a touch of stone fruit but very faint and I have to wear this many times and “think” about it to find it. This stage is brief, the fruity stage. It dries down to a thick gardenia fragrance but it is much warmer than the initial spritz. It has a bit more of a souring gardenia and tuberose vibe. It eventually turns into a gardenia with “woods” and a little more sweetness from something like vanilla and amber. It smells “exotic” and a little complicated. This isn’t a bad thing. Givenchy describes this fragrance as a fragrance “in love” and a play on “mariage”. At first,  it is flirty, soft, and delicate. It is happy and energetic. Then is becomes warm, sensuous, and seductive during its lifespan. It wears for many hours on me and I find it very hard to believe that it is an EDT and not an EDP!

The bottle is OK. It is sturdy with a disappointing plastic top. It is made to represent a blouse designed by Givenchy for Bettina Graziella which had a dramatic and sculptured neckline.

The 1 ounce retails for $47 and the 1.6 ounce for $62. There is a 3.3 ounce and I think it goes for $82. I would say, if you haven’t already tried this fragrance, that you may like it if you are the type that likes Jean Paul Gaultier EDP, Kenzo Flower, Dior Addict, and strangely Avon SSS Soft & Sensual body products line. This is also a great fragrance for the gardenia and tuberose lover. I really go for this one in the fall and winter because of its warm base notes. It is a great “winter” floral. I also find that it is too strong for me in the summer. Actually I should give a warning, this is a “strong” fragrance according to many noses, I mean I did compare it to Addict!


Amarige Perfume for Women Eau De Toilette Spray 1.7 Oz by Givenchy

From: BigDiscountFragrances.com

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