Almond is a scent that I really enjoy in fragrance. I like the foody smell of toasted almonds and even that low-brow almond used in cheap Italian soaps and lotions. I find that almond is a very comforting scent and very versatile. Here is a guide to almond fragrances in a variety of price points.

Budget Almond Scents (Under $50 or $50): Villainess Silk & Cyanide Perfume Oil (not pictured) is a crisp almond scent. It retails for $18. Laura Mercier Eau Gourmande Almond Coconut is a sweet almondy floral with almond and coconut with flirty touches of heliotrope and jasmine. The 1.7 oz spray retails for $50. Carol’s Daughter Almond Cookie EDT is a marizapan like fragrance, very foody. The 2 oz. goes for $27. Provence Santé Almond EDT is a nice, innocent, and simple almond. It reminds me of nice Italian soap bars and wears nicely in the summer. It’s light wearing and the 3.4 oz bottle goes for under $30. I love it. Demeter PMU has Almond which is a lightly toasted almond fragrance. It’s nice and simple as well but doesn’t wear for very long. This cologne goes for $20 for 1 oz.

More Expensive Almond Scents: Aqua di Parma Mandorlo di Sicilia/Sicilian Almond EDT is a fresh but woodsy almond. It is one of my “preferred” almonds because of the cedarwood and its freshness. The 2 oz. spray retails for $68. Burberry Brit EDP definitely has a sugary, toasted almond dry-down. It has citrus and fruit notes. It is a sweet fragrance. The 1.7 oz goes for $68. Sarah Horowitz Comes From Within Joy EDP is a very wintery/Christmas-y foody, comforting almond scent with rich nutmeg and vanilla. The 1.7 oz retails for $95. Serge Lutens Louve EDP is a “white” almond scent that pairs nicely with its feminine florals of rose and jasmine; powdery and soft. The 1.7 retails for $140. Stephanie de Saint-Aignana Amamde Honorable EDT is a soft, tender almond blend with citrusy blossoms like linden. It retails for $135 for 1.7 oz. Hanae Mori Butterfly EDP is a gourmand with berries, vanilla, and almond. The 1.7 oz retails for $90. Montale Amandes Orientales is a raw almond scent with vanilla, bitter but sweet. The 1.7 oz goes for $95.

caramelcollage

Caramel isn’t my everyday go to kind of fragrance note. It’s very sweet and creamy. That being said that is the reason I will go to it. Sometimes I just want something rich, sweet, and creamy. I love it when it has a burnt quality like dulce de leche. Here’s a caramel fragrance guide that I’ve thrown together, covering all price points. It’s for the gooey caramel lover and the occasionally burnt sugary caramel flirt.

Budget Caramel Scents (Under $50): French West Indies Caramel EDT is a “pure” caramel scent, sweet and lush. The 4 oz. bottle retails for $42. Demeter Cologne PMU has Caramel, a rich, gooey caramel and Dulce de Leche, a gourmand caramel. This is one that I really like for my “fix”. The 1 oz. sprays go for $20. (Neither of these are very long-lasting). Carol’s Daughter Pearls EDT is a foody blend of juicy citrus-floral with a vanilla and caramel base. The 2.5 oz spray retails for $45. Laura Mercier Creme Brulee EDT is what the name implies. It’s rich and foody. The 1.7 oz bottle retails for $50. mark Jewel EDT is a blend of fruits and florals with a caramel dry-down. This gourmand in a 1.5 oz. spray retails for $20.

More Expensive Caramel Scents: This is not to my liking but it does contain a pretty heavy dose of caramel along with other sweets and a few florals: Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy EDP. The 3.4 oz spray goes for $85 and it is a longer wearing fragrance. Dior Miss Dior Chérie EDP is a sweet gourmand that even I can like. It is more “caramelized” with strawberries, greens, and patchouli. The 3.4 bottle goes for $92. Estee Lauder Pleasures Delight EDP is a dessert with your florals kind of fragrance. It has caramel along with marshmallow and flirty florals like freesia and peony. The 3.4 oz goes for $72. Acqua di Parma Arancia de Capri EDT is a sensual citrus fragrance with a lush caramel base that isn’t overwhelming. The 2 oz. goes for $68. Comptoir Sud Pacifique Caramel Sunset EDT is a coconut and caramel blend. It’s a tropical caramel. The 1.7 oz retails for $53.

5 Other Great Caramel Items: Philosophy Creme Brulee 3-in-1 gel is rich and foody. It retails for $16 and the dessert like aroma will not linger after the shower. Slatkin & Co. Home Fragrance Oil Vanilla Caramel lingers in the home for sometime. A bottle retails for $7.50. Lush Vanilla Fountain Bath Bomb is a luxurious bath item. It is like a creme brulee for the bath. It goes for about $6. Diana B. Foaming Facial Sugar Scrub is almost creme brulee-ish in fragrance.  A tube retails for $50.

Parfums des Beaux Arts by DSH Gingembre is a perfect cool weather fragrance. I live in Washington, not just anywhere, around the Puguet Sound: Western Washington. We are known for our massive amounts of gloom and rain. For a closet goth and a mushroom hunter, this is paradise. I love the cooler, foggy,  seaside days. The rain is here just like clockwork starting on October 1st. It’s a bit chilly (50’s), cloudy, and rainy. If you’ve ever visited this area during the rainy season, then you know why we love our coffee. It is the only thing that warms you up and gives you energy during this season (even though many of us are into our tea). Today I am wearing Gingembre. It is my comforting travel mug of steaming dark roast and cashmere blended hoodie on this cool, rainy, classic PNW day.

Gingembre is spicy and comforting. If you love gingerbread or ginger snaps then you should love this. At first it feels and smells like the steam off of a masala coffee or chai. It’s spicy with nutmeg, allspice, anise, and clove. The ginger comes in, more of a dried powder, Indian market ginger. This scent then becomes my spice cabinet. You can smell the gourmand spices mixed with ginger powder. It has a bit of beeswax which adds so much to this fall/winter spice blend. It gets a little sweeter but not super sweet like a spice cake with cream cheese icing. This is more like a chai with a sugar or honey. If you pay close attention you can get a bit of a floral, like a honeyed, dried rose. It’s so beautiful. The great thing about the PNW is that this time of year you crave fall baked goods heavy with ginger and cloves, hot beverages, you smell the ground which is soaked, mossy, mushroomy. But, it isn’t “dying”. There are many evergreens and roses are late. We get roses up until November. It just delights me that this perfect fall/winter fragrance has rose. The dry down is delicious like a handsome man wearing a cologne heavy on patchouli and resins while sipping suavely on spiced rum in front of a blazing fireplace.

This one is a keeper for me. I thought my favorite ginger scent was Serge Lutens Five O’Clock au Gingembre, but  right now I love this one more. Five O’Clock is more of the aroma of a moist, baking gingerbread cookie ready to come out of the oven. This one is more of a crispy gingersnap and a cup of comforting chai. This being said, I think this is a nice unisex scent. It’s sexy on either a man or a woman.

I would say that you would like this if you are looking for a fall/winter ginger scent (not a tropical or fresh ginger), something  like Serge Lutens Five O’Clock au Gingembre , Jo Malone Nutmeg & Ginger Cologne, Laura Mercier Minuit Enchanté, L’Artisan Parfumeur Navegar, Armani Prive Ambre Soie, Perfumerie Generale Un Crime Exotique, Mark Buxton Sounds & Visions, and/or Bois 1920 Sushi Imperiale.

This fragrance is made from 94.5% botanical ingriedients. It’s long-wearing, very realistic and natural. The 1 oz. spray goes for $70 and other sizes are available. It is available on the fragrance house’s website.

orangeblossom

I can’t get enough of orange blossom/neroli scents this summer. It is very difficult to find “guides” online, so I’ve created a brief  collage/guide to fragrances which are heavy on this light, bitter floral. There are many scents on the market with these notes. I’m focusing on those that are heavy on orange blossom, like a splash of a refreshing Lebanese floral water in an iced beverage. I am looking for those “delicate” scents. From what I understand orange blossom and neroli are the same thing it just depends on how the oil is distilled (steam vs. water). However, neroli is supposed to be from a bitter orange blossom while most orange blossoms are not “labeled”.

Budget Orange Blossom Scents: Yves Rocher Pur Desir Orange Blossom/Fleur d’Oranger EDT is light and beautiful. It really competes with the more expensive stuff. It is $22 for 2 oz, body products are available as well. It’s a bit crude but still very orange blossom, a bit medicinal. I like it in a strange way. It is a nice drugstore find and the price is awesome: Sanborns Orange Blossom Cologne. It retails for about $4 for over 6 oz. of product. Tokyomilk Lotus Sake Petit Parfum Solid is a fruity/citrus orange blossom fragrance. It retails for $18. This would be a very light fragrance but very refreshing pick-me-up if transferred to a spray bottle: Caswell-Massey Orange Flower Water. It goes for $16 for 6 oz. It’s a pretty orange blossom with the help of jasmine, The Body Shop Neroli Jasmin. It retails for $17 for 1 oz. Parfums des Beaux Arts Eau de Fleur d’Oranger du Roi (review) is a lovely and simple soliflore orange blossom scent. The EDP spray retails for $27 for .25 oz.

More Expensive Orange Blossom Scents: 88 Orange Scent Blossom EDP is a clean, spring like floral with orange blossom and lilac. The 2 oz. spray retails for $55. Jo Malone Orange Blossom Cologne is crisp and light. The large bottle (3.4 oz) goes for $100. Diptyque L’Eau de Neroli is a tart, citrusy orange blossom. The cologne retails for $98 for 3.4 oz. Annick Goutal Neroli EDT is a beautiful, elegant orange blossom/neroli scent. The 2.4 oz. bottles goes for $115. To my surprise I found out that I really like Prada Fleur D’Oranger EDP. At first it wears hissy but the dry down is great and worth it despite the unusual top notes. The 3.4 oz. spray retails for $100. I’ll never forget the 1st time I sniffed Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger. Did it start my obsession? The 1.7 oz. retails for $120. Le Labo Fleur d’Oranger is a fresh and citrusy orange blossom scent and I can’t get enough of it. It is $200 for 3.4 oz. Laura Mercier Neroli is EDP is a fresh, floral orange blossom. It is $75 for 1.7 oz. Cinq Mondes Pluie D’Aromes Ritual d’Atlas is a fresh blend of citrus and orange blossom. The 1.7 oz. spray goes for $85.

I was reading that neroli/orange blossom is used to relieve tension and anxiety in aromatherapy. No wonder I am loving this stuff, it has been a stressful summer. However, we did close on the house and we’ve started repairs. I spend all my day removing wallpaper, cleaning, and pulling faux fur off of doors. What fun! (See the home blog if you want more.)

Even though it is a predictable scent for summer, I love coconut because it reminds me of the beach. It reminds me of frou-frou drinks and oily tanning lotion. It isn’t my favorite scent in the world and it is definitely low brow but it is so nice for that “instant” beach vacation. And it is rich and warm and delicious. You can’t say that about many other scents you can wear in summer. And you can find coconut scents and body products at a variety of price points. So if you just want the smell like a coconut sometimes, you can have it without feeling stupid for paying $60 for something you wear like 2 weeks out of the year. And if you are a coconut fanatic then you have so many choices!

Value Coconut Scents: I mention this brand all of the time but that is because they are cheap and high quality: L’Aromarine Coco. This is a fragrance oil that retails for under $10.  It is pure coconut: sweet and tropical.Yves Rocher has an EDT spray ranging in sizes but all are under $10: Le Plaisirs de Nature Noix de Coco. This is a “true” coconut as well in a convenient EDT spray. Urban Rituelle has a spicy coconut scent: Beachcomber Coconut and Ginger Perfume. It retails for $10 and a body line is available. Voluspa has a Victoria Collection (named after me of course, haha) in Malayan Coco. This is a sweet and exotic coconut that goes for $24. If you are looking for a sweet, gourmand coconut on a budget, try TokyoMilk Parfum in Let Them Eat Cake. It goes for $28 . A cheap EL Bronze Goddess substitute is Avon Tahitian Holiday. It retails for $15 for 1.7 ounces (watch out for specials, you can get it under $10). Bath and Body Works has an EDT, Ile de Tahiti Coconut Vanilla and it retails for $19.50 for 1.7 ounces. The Body Shop has a new Coconut line with body products and fragrance which retails for $16 for the fragrance oil. Demeter has a Kahala Coconut for $20 for 1 ounce and other sizes are available. This one is more like fresh coconut milk.

More Expensive Coconut Scents: LaVanila Vanilla Coconut is a sweet coconut scent that retails for $56 for 1.7 ounces. There is a also a body product line with this brand that includes deodorant. If you want a gourmand, dried coconut go for Laura Mercier Almond Coconut. It retails for $50 for 1.7 ounces and wonderful body products are available. One of my favorite scents ever is Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess. The EDT goes for $49.50 and the scent screams “beach” (more than it does coconut)! Comptoir Sud Pacifique has tons of “beach” scents. There is Vanille Coco and it is more of a coconut scent. It goes for $53. Susanne Lang has a Vanilla Coconut that goes for $50. French West Indies has a pure, light wearing coconut scent, Coco, and it retails for $42 for 4 ounces.

Coconut Body Products: If you want a “pure” and straight up coconut scented body product try Mountain Ocean Skin Trip Moisturizer and Soap. Both retail for under $7 each depending where you purchase them. These are my favorite coconut products ever, rich and creamy! Bath and Body Works have a few coconut lines: Creamy Coconut, Coconut Lime Verbena, and Exotic Coconut. And to be honest, I kind of like them all. The body sprays are nice for summer. Lush has some nice coconut products including: Coconut Deodorant Powder, Quinquereme of Nineveh Soap, and Creamed Coconut and Almond Shower Smoothie.

“Tropical” Coconut Blend Fragrances: This category is for those “based” on coconut scents. This is a fruity coconut scent: Ebba Miss Marisa Tropical Perfume Oil, retails for $62 and is long wearing. A nice “young” scent is Harajuku Lovers G fragrance it comes in a solid and spray and prices range from $18 to $45. Creed Virgin Island Water is a great “beach” scent and it goes for $210 for 2.5 ounces. If you can find a bottle of J.Lo Miami Glow get it if you want a rich coconut based scent. Also, Deseo is a nice “tropical” scent that isn’t as heavy on the coconut as Miami Glo.

Many of these products are available at their store (like Lush or Bath and Body Works), beautyhabit.com, b-glowing.com, Sephora, and even retailers like Wal-green’s.

coconutfragrances


Miami Glow Perfume for Women Eau De Toilette Spray 3.4 Oz by Jennifer Lopez

From: BigDiscountFragrances.com

This fragrance is what the name implies. It is a rich, warm, and seductive scent. The packaging is perfect and contains a skull and crossbones, suggesting the poisonous side of the product. (Who doesn’t love the antiquarian styled packaging?) Initially I wasn’t attracted to the product despite its cool packaging. To be honest, I found the name dull and boring. “Sexy” is an overused and bastardized word. I mean if it is being used by some slimy designer on HGTV to describe a ceiling fan, then it is dead. Yep, dead is “sexy”.

However, I am so pleased that I was talked into and had a chance to try this fragrance. Dead Sexy is warm and comforting without being overly sweet. It is perfect for these chilly and drizzly and moody western Washington days. This fragrance is the epitome of the “modern woods” fragrance genre. In the beginning this fragrance is a high quality vanilla liquor and a dry, rare woods blend. It is almost oud-ish but less abrasive. It has a bit of a smokiness which is what I think makes this so sexy. It reminds me of being in an Old World “bordello” filled with the abstract incense smoke and fine wooden furniture and the softest linens, surrounded by ebony panels. It’s luxe and goth in An Interview With A Vampire way. Once it starts to dry down, it is more of a “woods” scent. The vanilla is there but it isn’t as “liquory”.  The vanilla is smoky and incensey. It just smells of a melange of  rich and slightly sweet “modern” woods. These woods aren’t dirty. They are round and robust and very feminine. There is the faintest aroma of delicate white petals. It smells more like your in this “bordello” and you pick up a whiff of little white flowers in a vase next to a candelabra filled with burning candles. The florals are there but almost ghostly, you catch their cold “feeling” every now and then amongst the warm woods. In fact, this blend is a great balance of “warm” and “cool” like a rich mahogany bed with crisp, smooth sheets. It has a mix of exotic and precious woods, smoky vanilla, rich amber-like resins, and a dash of flirty petals. It’s a beautiful thing, really. This scent reminds me of vampy Theda Bara. This is a must have fragrance for all the real-life vamps and working goths out there.

This fragrance is a sexy (not my favorite adjective but fitting for this scent) scent that isn’t overwhelming like most “modern woods”. I wear it during the day. It is soft but very rich and bewitching. It wears closely to the skin for a few hours. I say about 4-5 hours of wear. It contains notes of deep vanilla, exotic wood, white orchid, and ebony. I would say to give this one a try if you like dry woodsy scents, Tom Ford Oud Wood,  Tom Ford White Patchouli, Estee Lauder Sensuous, Donna Karan Cashmere Mist, Nanette Lepore Nanette, Prada EDP, Calvin Klein Euphoria, and/or Laura Mercier Minuit Enchanté.

The 1 ounce spray retails for $28 (a steal) and can be purchased at b-glowing.com.

I don’t mean to but I get so much fashion/cosmetic inspiration from the “original” Star Trek series. I just love Star Trek babes.  Lt. Marlena’s look is so vintage but so modern at the same time. The makeup is so bombshell the only thing that keeps it dated is the hair (which I love).

To get Marlena’s look, apply a tinted moisturizer in your shade. I recommend something like Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. Apply an illuminating concealer where needed, especially under eyes for a “fresh” look. I do love Dior SkinFlash Radiance Booster Pen.Apply a light dusting of a loose powder with a fluffy brush to absorb oil and to make the color “stick”. Try something like Laura Mercier Mineral Finishing Powder for a natural look. Now you have a wonderful “blank” canvas.

Fill in brows for a very nice “manicured” look. I recommend Anastasia Perfect Brow Pencil in your shade. Brush into place with the spoolie. Lt. Marlena is all about the brows. She has that “lifted” look from a light highlighter shade. Brush a nude powder shadow from lashline to brows, try the lightest shade in Nars Duo Eyeshadow in Madrague. Apply the darker brown shade from this duo in the crease. Open the eye and take a large fluffy shadow brush and apply the darker brown shade above the crease as well. To “lift” the brows, swip Benefit High Brow under the lashline and blend. The eyes are super 60-ish and require tons of black liquid liner. I love Lancome Artliner Eyeliner in Noir because it is so easy to use. Apply this to the top lashline, thickly, and wing out just a little bit. Apply tons of black mascara or apply false lashes.

Cheeks are bronzed. Lightly dust bronzer all over face if you are feeling a bit washed out from the eye makeup. Apply Too Faced Caribbean in a Compact Sun Bunny Bronzer to cheeks like you would blush. Lips are basic and glossy with the faintest hint of bronze. Apply something like Calvin Klein Delicious Pout Lip Gloss in Dew Drop.

All products can be purchased on sephora.com.

And I want to add that I am so culturally clueless. I didn’t even know that a new “Star Trek” was coming out until this morning. I don’t like it, I don’t like it one bit.