This is a fragrance that I would have never of chosen for myself by reading the description. I am so happy that I’ve tried it (thank you Beautyhabit for the thoughtful sample). I find it very interesting. It is unlike anything that I own. The blend is fantastic and the fragrance oil is very long wearing.

Saffron James is a pretty cool company, with Hawaiian inspired fragrances. They are tropical but not in that beachy coconut or sickly sweet cocktail way that so many other companies flirt with. They are truly inspired by nature. Plus, I dig vintage tiki culture. These fragrances have that tiki vibe.

The Saffron James website states: PŪNONO (pooh-no-no): Filled with sunshine, ever beautiful; flushed red, as the skin (to blush). 2. To make attractive with bright or red colors, to dress or appear gorgeous. 3. An olfactory homage to the Puakenikeni flower. 4. An intoxicating scent with notes of Ylang Ylang, Pikake, Carnation, Vanilla and Tunisian Opium.

This fragrance is a little strange and that is why I love it. It isn’t strange like bizarre but it is different than mainstream fragrances. It has made me realize that I do not hate ylang-ylang at all. It is just that I have never smelled it used in such a wonderful way. I’ve under appreciated this note for too long. Bring on the ylang-ylang. The fragrance is an “homage” to the puakenikeni flower. I really need to take a fragrance adventure to Hawaii; I can’t comment on the actual aroma of this flower since I’ve never been and these things just don’t grow well in our cooler climate. I can only imagine, for now.  However, I do smell the whimsy floral top notes of gentle ylang-ylang and feminine pikake. But, this fragrance is “spicy” all the way through. Yep, it is floral but these otherwise heavy florals are not stealing the show (uh-um carnation). They are only enhancing the depth and mystery of “Tunisian Opium” which is otherwise an incensey head-shop fragrance by itself (which I like sometimes but it isn’t very every gal).  This is a very resinous incense scent that is made feminine by exotic flowers. I usually don’t love vanilla. It makes scents too foody or “sticky”; however, the perfect amount of vanilla is used in this mix. It makes the opium so well rounded, blended, perfect. This is not a “winter” fragrance. It is warm and spicy but totally appropriate for warmer weather and climates. It is really nice all year long or to be used for those “special” occasions. I would say that you would like this if you like Carol’s Daughter fragrances, tropical scents, or modern “oriental” ‘fragrances.

It retails for $85 for 30 mL (1 ounce). A little goes a long way and it last for like 12 hours on my skin. It does last a long time but very, very closely to the skin, so intimate and soft but always there. The bottle is simple and a has a cute wooden top. The bottle really completes the entire “vibe” of the fragrance. This is a fragrance that I have been using sparingly since I only have a tiny sample vial. When it is gone, I know that I am going to have to add this to my collection. It is very “me” since I have two real fragrance personalities: expensive heavy, white floral or no label head-shop oils. This is the perfect olfactory compromise. Must have it.

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L’Aromarine Opopanaux is a very rich scent in a very rich medium. It is a long wearing perfume oil. It can be diluted into alcohol for a lighter scent or mixed into other things such as epsom salt as a bath salt. It wears all day, but after the first few hours very closely to the skin. It is a rich, resin scent. It is both powdery in an amber way or myrrh and almost citrusy at times, like a mix of lemongrass and lavender. So what I guess I am trying to say that it is almost pine-y and coniferous while being boldly sweet and ambery. So, yep, a resin or a balsam: opopanox. This is a scent that I like but rarely wear except for in the winter months when I wear amber and frankincense based fragrances. You can pull off heavier scents then.

I would guess that you would like this fragrance if you like warm and rich amber, opopanox, myrrh, and frankinsense based fragrances, smoky incense scents, headshop fragrance oils, “oriental” scents,  Demeter Incense, Annik Goutal Encens Flampoyant EDP, Serge Lutens Chergui or Ambre Sultan (Serge loves to put opopanox in stuff), Regina Harris Amber Vanilla, Donna Karan Cashmere Mist (if you watered the L’Aromarine down), and/or Guerlain Shalimar. This scent is nice alone or mixed. You can mix it with vanilla oil for a sweeter take or with a rose oil for an elegant oriental perfume blend. I would say that it could very easily be unisex and very nice on a man if mixed with a woodsy oil like cedar or patchouli. It retails for under $10 and can be purchased on beautyhabit.com.

So, will our budget affect our fragrance consumption? Probably so. We live in the era of the sky is the limit. Even housewives and single income homes have $300 bottles of fragrance. I admit that I spend way too much on fragrance but I can. I’m stupid and I ‘m trying to get smarter. However, if you aren’t stupid and you are wise with money there are plenty of $20 and under options for you. There are many nice items out there that don’t smell like Love’s Baby Soft. There are plenty of nice items out there. You’ll only get less. Which is fine, you’ll be able to flirt with many fragrances. But, there are some in generous sizes and many of the small ones are long wearing.

I absolutely love any of the Crazylillbellue and the Poppies fragrances that go for $18 and under. They are solid swivel sticks. The wear for a while have none of that alcohol note. All the ones that I have had experience with are blended wonderfully. They are pretty simple and actually pretty single note but they smell “expensive”. They are portable. They can be a bit waxy but just rub it in. I also can’t say enough for L’Aromarine fragrance oils and EDT sprays.  Both retail under $20. They are available at beautyhabit.com.

Another great brand of solid fragrances is by Pacifica. The solids retail for $9 and I would recommend Mediterranean Fig, French Lilac, Tahitian Gardenia, and Tuscan Blood Orange. But, really they are all nice for the price. They don’t wear very long and would probably need to be reapplied.

Many fragrance houses have responded to shrinking purses appropriately by offering smaller sizes of their items. You can try tinier amounts of fragrances that are pretty popular but not too bad such as Juicy Couture, the grandma floral made sweet,  ($16 for 1/4 ounce), Stella McCartney, the dusky rose,  ($17 for .33 ounces) Nanette Lepore, the musky floral, ($18 for .41 ounces), Carolina Herrerra, the amazing white floral with an Old Hollywood vibe ($10 for .34 ounces), or Philosophy Amazing Grace, the musky comforting floral that for some reason I am addicted to, ($15 for 1/2 ounce). All are available on sephora.com. Some others have jumped on the band-wagon like the warm and golden St. John’s ($18 for .33 ounce) available at nordstrom.com.
L’Occitane has many nice options both in small sprays ($12 to $19) or in the Fragrant Touches ($20). I am a fan of the proper Roses des 4 Reines, the exotic Eau D’Iparie, the fresh and simple blends of Mrytle and Iris, and I really like the warm Amber.

Some cheaper opitions with larger portions include some by Avon and mark. I like the lily of the valley scent Avon’s Flower by Cynthia Rowley EDT ($15 for 1 ounce). I also like Avon Tahitian Holiday, the beachy floral ($15 for 1.7 ounces) and I like Avon’s Sweet Honesty, the powdery clean floral ($12 for 1.7 ounces). Mark’s Pure Fragrance EDT is a nice clean scent ($15 for 1.5 ounces). Demeter Fragrances are always nice to and come in so many things. The cologne sprays retail for $20 for 1 ounce or you can get the 1/2 ounce cologne splashes for $6. Some of my favorites include: Beetroot, Whisky Tobacco, Leather, Fuzzy Naval, and Dirt. Yves Rocher has many nice fragrances. If you like fruity try $11 3.4 ounces bottles or the little $5 bottles of Poire, Mure, Peche, Framboise, and even Noix de Coco. The company really has a nice fragrance for the price. I love their minis. The Absolute fragrances of Rose, Amber, and Iris are very nice. The $20 4.2 ounce cologne sprays of Verbena, Chevrefueille, and Cedre Bleu are very refreshing. I also like old school favorites such as Revlon’s Jean Nate Cologne Spray ($10 for 2.25 ounces) and the wild floral fragrance of Coty Muguet des Bois ($15 for 1.8 ounces).

TokyoMilk Waltz Parfum is a clean and fresh floral that is perfect for spring. At first spritz it is both energetic and sweet. It smells slightly like raw honey, but not in a sickly sweet or sticky way. It really balances the green and floral notes. It smells of linden. Linden is a lovely note. It is slightly citrus, lime-like and floral. It is so artful in this composition because it blends so nicely with the “honeyed rose” note that is vaguely honeysuckle-ish. I have a family of beekeepers and linden honey is often priced for its sweet floral citrus taste. It is practically ambrosia in my mind. Also, I am a tea addict and I love linden tea (made from the tree’s flowers) especially mixed with linden honey and a dash of orange blossom water. I fall hard for this fragrance from first spritz. Fragrance is about memories and this scent takes me to a place that is partly my memories and partly fantasy. The fragrance is a monofloral linden limey citrus in a bouquet of roses. Which from the smell, makes me want my ambrosia quality linden honey and linden tea mixed with a bit of rose water. The rose is light and not “old-fashioned”. In fact, it does remind me more of delicate rose water than of 50’s rose perfume or tuberose blends. By the time you’ve been able to appreciate the linden and rose mix, you are taken over by the invasive wisteria blossom. I love wisteria, don’t get me wrong. It is such a wonderful floral fragrance. It is a bit of a “green” floral and reminds me of watery fruit, like grape or kiwi. My grandfather had these planted around an open patio and it was used (trained) as shade. The smell was wonderful in a gentle summer breeze. He had a few different types of wisteria, some used for bonsai and the others as free growing trees. This wisteria reminds me of the tall Chinese wisteria. I don’t know what was really used in this mix but this is what it reminds me of.  It feels like the wisteria “vines” in this fragrance will take you over. I love that. The fragrance is faintly citrus from the linden, sweet from the honey, floral from the rose, fresh from the wisteria. It claims to have white musk. The white musk doesn’t take over and really keeps the rest of the scents grounded. It is a beautiful composition, just like a Waltz. Tokyo Milk got the name and the image right on this one.

The bottle looks like all the other TokyoMilk fragrances with it’s simple glass bottle. The sticker has a lovely black and white evening ball print on it. It is is beautiful complete with the heady chandelier. It really completes the fragrance since the fragrance really reminds me of a Fragonard painting with its flirtiness and feminine charm. The fragrance wears for many hours. I wore it to Pike Place in Seattle, one of the stinkiness places in the universe due to fish markets, tourists, and bohemian BO, and I could still smell myself. And so could others. I managed to smell like a spring/summer breeze. It retails for $28 for 1 ounce and can be purchased on beautyhabit.com or b-glowing.com. I have a feeling I am going to go through this one ounce fairly quickly. The floral notes make it dance into spring and the green and citrus notes make it wearable for summer.

I thought I’d give i Profumi di Firenze Fiori del Cielo a try. I wasn’t wowed nor did I despise it. With a name like “Flowers From Heaven” you really expect a whole lot. This is where they shot themselves in the foot in my opinion. These are hand crafted from Italian tradition. It is supposed to represent a lovely spring bouquet of iris, narcissus, anemone, and cyclamen. It is inspired by “the natural beauty of Florence”. I love iris fragrances. I really do like this fragrance. I was wanting to love it but I’m not there. It has the crispness of iris in the initial spritz. It is fresh and green but almost aquatic at times. So it does have a fresh rain element. Which is nice because it is trying to resemble Florence’s flowers after the rain. The scent is a very updated scent of classic iris based fragrances. It is crisp and almost grape like at times. I love the smell until is dries down. It just doesn’t work for me. It starts to smell like dried flowers and not like the crisp notes that were there before. I also felt like this one didn’t last on me. It only lasted a few hours before I grew numb to it. It isn’t a horrible fragrance and it is worth testing. I think I am going to test it again. It just isn’t something that I keep sniffing because I love it so much and it isn’t living up to the “Flowers From Heaven” name. But it does smell expensive and not “cheap”. I’ll give it another shot maybe when the weather warms up. Maybe I’ll love it in the spring. I’ve been stuck in the snow for a week. You would think any floral would “wow” my mind when I have cabin fever and a longing for spring.

It retails for $89 for 50 ml and is available at beautyhabit.com and barneys.com.

I’m usually not one for Disney crap. I mean I really didn’t like any of their features and many of the story lines were so sexist and racist that as a child I knew something was just “wrong” with them and I stayed the hell away. They lost my attention very quickly. However, I did like Alice in Wonderland but who doesn’t? For some reason I kind of liked the Aristocats. The tunes were catchy. Who could love the band of hipster pot head beatnik alley cats and their ambiguously “Asian” Siamese, cross-eyed buck teeth friend/opium dealer? There is nothing racist or well, inappropriate about that is there? The story line is so lame. Super mega, posh lesbian cat lady has nobody to will her amazing estate too, so the “evil” man in the story dumps the cats. And who could blame him? He works a hard service industry job, wiping the ass or some old socialite and taking her stupid Belle Epoque class/society bitch abuse, being all loyal and stuff, for her to give her fortune to pedigree cats. Class battle between man and cats… Beautiful single hot mamma cat and her three brats are left to fend for themselves like every other cat. She meets with a tom cat who would totally have had the feline AIDS and has been around the block a few hundred times. He doesn’t want a ready made family (like he doesn’t have a few hundred kids out there somewhere), he wants to run but money talks. He’s like a hooker with a heart of gold and falls for mamma anyways. And seriously what economically poor guy wouldn’t fall for a hot, rich lady even if she had kids? Come on. Happily ever after. I’m sure he moved in to the mansion, got his shots and got neutered. Party is over, Mr. Thomas O’Mally, the alley cat.

Anyways, enough of my ranting about how much I hate Disney. I only kind of like their older stuff because it shows what racist crap was in the media and I love to see the company make excuses for their behavior. It’s a lesson in history to look back and see how stupid everybody used to be.

Anyways again, back to this limited edition lip treatment. The packaging features sweet, proper, and cute Marie, Disney’s feline Paris Hilton. The packaging is a bit lame, but the product is nice. It is rich and has a sweet pink sheen and smells of orange blossoms. Some of my favorite “flavorings” in nice balms. It’s nice and girly and fairly simple and it is only $18 from beautyhabit.com.

I’m loving these little things. The price is wonderful and I really love the blends by this adorable French company. And they are portable. I love a fragrance pick me up in the middle of the day. It really brings the glamour back into my boring life. If you love incense or that forever gone but wonderful GAP Om, then you will flip out for this little stick. Crazylibellule and the Poppies Encens Mystic from the Shanghaijava collection is wonderful. It wears for hours and closely to the skin creating a very intimate fragrance. It is very woodsy and spicy with notes of cedar and cloves. Cedar smells so beautiful on the skin during winter months. I really smell the spicy cedar and all the “incense”. If you call “incense” a note then this is it. It has that benzoin warmth with patchouli and spices. It just smells like “incense”. Not smoky though. Just like the resin and the scent. This is not as sweet as Demeter Incense, this is way more spicy and cedary. I love it this time of year. No need to mix or layer with anything else. It is already mixed to perfection. It’s spicy and earthy but too refined to be too hippie-ish or head shop-ish.

The stick is waxy but that doesn’t bother me. So far I haven’t had any massive chucks of wax on my pulse points or anything. I don’t blend with my fingertips either but I guess if the waxy feeling bothered me then I would do that. This is sold at b-glowing.com. I will definitely repurchase when the time comes.