Weekly Cheap Secret:

I love the smell of monoï, especially for summer. It’s warm, floral, and very beachy. Yves Rocher Jardins des Îles Alcohol-Free Tiaré Flower Body Mist isn’t my favorite monoï on the market, but it isn’t bad and the price is great. It’s a very simple fragrance. It’s a slightly coconut-y gardenia in an alcohol-free water, glycerin, and coconut oil base. It’s a very light wearing formula. It wears like a body spray but the formula isn’t as drying as a “typical” body spray. This does not have an oily texture so it isn’t like a monoï oil in a spray bottle. It’s just a non-drying tropical floral scent in a spray bottle. This fragrance is usually limited edition. Yves Rocher releases it for summer. It’s a nice and cheap reminder of a cherished tropical vacation. It isn’t overwhelming and wears nicely in summer heat. A 4.2. fl.oz. bottle is usually $6. Yves Rocher runs sales all of the time and I usually pick one up when it is about $3. It’s available on Yves Rocher’s website.

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I was so happy to find out that this scent existed. Nowruz is hands down my favorite holiday ever. Who doesn’t love a celebration that includes good food, fresh flowers, the outdoors, clean homes, and new clothes? Who doesn’t love a holiday that celebrates the rebirth of nature? Parfums des Beaux Arts by DSH is a nice gourmand but I really don’t think it does actual Nowruz any justice. If I was to do a Nourouz fragrance (and I haven’t) it would be a green and fresh fragrance, a spring fragrance, with new green buds, hyacinth, and dew drops. It would have a top note of rosewater and a dry down that was warm and resiny to symbolize fire.  It would remind one of crisp spring picnics and exchanging laughter with one’s loved ones. But, I didn’t create this fragrance. Nowruz is the time to celebrate getting out of that winter funk. Parfums des Beaux Arts Nourouz is all about the feasting and food end of Nourouz, but not the picnicking/outdoorsy part of Nourouz. Because it has such desserty spices, it reminds me too much of a winter fragrance. (It was released in the fall of 2009). It’s heaviness and sweetness misses the entire “being” of Nowruz in my opinion. It just focuses on desserts and yumminess. Sweets are a part of Nowruz…Anyways, I should get over the whole name, Nourouz, and my personal expectations of what that word means and move on to this indulgent gourmand fragrance.

This fragrance opens up as very foody. It does smell of a spicy, sweet tamarind and pomegranate syrup. It reminds me too much of a sticky, jammy dessert. I feel on me, that the tamarind totally overthrows any floral notes. I get a bit of the rose but it once again, is very foody with the mix of tamarind. This smells like a dessert on me. It smells much more interesting than other dessert fragrances on the market. I just think that tamarind doesn’t wear nicely on me. The middle, about 45+ minutes of wear, is very sweet and smoky. I really love this smoky dry-down. The dry-down makes it a perfect fall/winter fragrance. It’s sweet, resiny, and smoky. It’s indulgent. The dry down is very nice. I pick on the tannins. It’s a bit fruity and really reminds me of the top note of black pomegranate. It’s like the fragrance went full-circle. (Which is very impressive for the entire re-birth thing of Nourouz, see I do like this fragrance). It’s a bit bitter and very sensual. I do love that I can pick up on the tannins and this note should be used more in perfumery. They are subtle and they really “round” out this fragrance. Overall this is a jam like fruity dessert gourmand fragrance. It is the perfect “fruit” fragrance for fall/winter. When I say that it is fruity and gourmand, I am not saying that this is a juvenile fragrance. It is very “grown-up” and mature. And I say that it is a sweet, fruity, gourmand but I really think it could be a unisex fragrance. It’s fruity but more in a dried fruits and wine way. The smoky tobacco notes make it very masculine. Because it is a natural/botanical oil base blend, it wears for a long time. It’s rich and robust. I really do like the scent once I get over my preconceived notions. I think I would of been more accepting of this EDP if it had another name or “inspiration”. I’m just silly like that…and this holiday is very important to me. I do really like this fragrance as a comforting and interesting winter/fall “fruity” fragrance. I really do like this fragrance, really. I find it very interesting. I just don’t like it for a spring celebration. I love it for the cooler months.

Notes listed include: black pomegranate, paprika, tamarind, Bulgarian rose, orris, osmanthus, oppoponox, red wine notes, tobacco absolute, and vanilla absolute.

The 1 ounce EDP retails for $135. Other sizes are available of this rich, botanical, natural blend. This is a limited edition fragrance that is available on Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s site.

As I went to the local MAC store with the intent to purchase everything in the Style Black collection for my goth self, I was more smitten by the Fall/Winter 09 Trends collection. I’ll be sure to share all of that soon. I came across this limited edition Asphalt Flower fragrance roll-on. I loved both of the limited edition honey fragrances this past summer and to my surprise, I am now in love with another MAC fragrance. They have really been stepping up their game with these limited edition, low price point fragrances.

If you are a violet lover, then give this one a try. I absolutely adore violet fragrances. I live off of Choward’s Violet Mints. I love “green” morning dew violet scents but I really, really love those “candied” ones because I am such a fan of candied violets. Asphalt Flower reminds me of a glammed up interpretation of the bottom of my huge Hobo International messenger bag. The top notes remind me of the runaway Choward’s Violet Mints that hang around in their gang in the bottom of my purse abyss. They get crushed up weekly into a fine, sugary dust and get all over my wallet. It’s leather and candied violets. Asphalt Flower’s top notes are a sugary sweet violet with rainy, tsunami drenched tropical flowers like soft and humid ylang-ylang and powdery heliotrope. This is grounded by old-fashioned iris. I love this phase it wears this way for about an hour. It reminds me of being in an Industrial Revolution era green house, in the midst of lovely white and purple flowers drenched in mist, outside the coal clouds swarm in winter rain. It’s so pretty, powdery, feminine, and old-fashioned. It’s sweet with a bit of gloomy, rainy humidity mixed with oil. It’s very gothic with an Edwardian flair. The complete dry-down is very moody and extremely sexy with Tom Ford White Patchouli type of patchouli, that synthetic “clean” patchouli that works so well with these modern blends, smoky olbanum, and lots and lots of that MAC vanilla that is used in their other blends. I’m usually not a fan of vanilla but it really works in this mix. It adds a certain sexiness. It’s not a candy or vanilla bean vanilla but more of a dirty, musky, leathery vanilla. MAC describes this fragrance as “a deep, dark erotic fragrance that takes place in our Trend F/W ’09 Collection as the aromatic complement to this alt-fashion look.” It is a very “alt-fashion” fragrance. The entire collection strikes me as my personal fashion color collection dream come true. It is dark, rich and sooo Edwardian, turn of the century goth, that look that unfortunately Tim Burton brought mainstream. This fragrance is so dark, gloomy, intoxicating with a hint of the old-fashioned. It seriously reminds me of the Industrial Revolution. It’s romantic with violet and iris but a bit animalic and sooty. It’s that time because it is urban, industrial with artistic Romanticism, upper class stuffiness, lower class rawness mixed with a  desire for the occult. I find it very “me” and exactly what I wanted for the fall/winter rainy season in Seattle. This is great because the roll-on retails for $20. The bummer is that it is a limited edition. And if I want to replace it I am going to have to get something like Tom Ford Private Blends Black Violet. I will be picking up another one of these roll-ons. Also, this fragrance is very long-wearing. It lasts at the same intensity on my skin for 8+ hours. There may only be .2 fl.oz. in this roll-on but this container will last much longer than MAC’s spray on fragrances.

I’d say to give this one a try if you are fan of candied violets, the closest I can compare it to include: Tom Ford Private Blends Black Violet, Tokyo Milk Parfum Le Petit or Dead Sexy, Nanette Lepore Nanette, Guerlain Insolence, Penghalion’s Ellenisia, Serge Lutens Bois de Violette, Borsari Violetta di Parma, and/or Armani Pierre de Lune.

Estee Lauder has attempted to make “warm tones of sun-baked nudes and rose, lit with glimmers of gold look flattering on every skin tone.” It is a collection of “rose golds” with “glimmers”(AKA big pieces of shimmer flakes). It is a pretty, neutral collection and I imagine that it will really work for many people. It’s sexy in a Victoria’s Secret supermodel way, I mean just look at bronzed up Hilary Rhoda, the model above. I say that it will not work on all skin tones. But, if you have warm or olive undertones, it should really work. They have “amethyst” colors too. These are warmed up plums and berries. Instead of thinking as those as warm cools that cool toned complexions can wear, I think of them as cool tones that warm complexions can wear. Does that make sense?

EYES: There are 2  Sensuous Gold Signature Eyeshadow Quads that retail for $35. To be honest, I was not really impressed with either of these. It’s the formula. I know you’ve seen it before. It looks like it has been dusted with shimmer flakes. The shimmer is not mixed throughout the powder so you’ll get one use that will be super, super shimmery. It isn’t ugly, it’s just deceptive, I guess. Plus, I don’t see this formula wearing very nicely on a mature eye area. The colors are pretty, but I just recommend trying before you buy. There is Rose Amethyst, shimmery shades of plum, pink, and gold. The other is Rose Gold, glimmery shades of rose/pink and gold. Double Wear Stay In Place Eye Pencil has been relaunched. It’s a nice long wearing formula. Another item includes Sumptuous Bold Volume Lifting Mascara. I haven’t tried it so sorry, no insights.

FACE: There is a Gilded Rose Shimmer Powder that retails for $36. It’s a baked and marbelized shimmer powder with gold, rose, peach, taupe, sand colors like that. It’s pretty but no better than any other baked and marbelized complexion enhancer on the market. However, it does come with a nice wide, flat brush. And of course Double Wear Foundation has been relaunched.

LIPS & NAILS: There are Signature Lipsticks in a pretty rose gold container. This have been dusted in shimmer also. They retail for $19.50. There’s Cinnamon, Plum Amethyst, Rose Amethyst, and Terracotta. All are warm and range from rose to bronze. There are 2 new Pure Color Multi-Gloss. These have colored layers of shimmer and go for $18. There is Amethyst and Rose Gold. There are 2 Pure Color Nail Lacquer in Black Amethyst, a rich blackberry, and Rose Gold, a shimmery warm rose. Both retail for $18.

And of course there is the Sensuous EDP, a modern wood scent that really isn’t too bad. And to “honor” this collection, they’ve released limited edition products in this scent. A solid perfume, perfume, body oil, body cream, and touch on fragrance. Prices range from $39.50-$120. I am really interested in the body oil. Remember Tom Ford’s Youth Dew Amber Nude body oil? That stuff was amazing.

This isn’t a collection that I feel I must have but it isn’t bad. I do like the warm plums. This collection because of the warm gold undertones could really make blue eyes pop and it will really compliment brown, hazel, and green eyes. The warm tones will work very nicely with olive and tan skins or anybody with golden undertones. We all know that rose gold looks great on redheads so imagine the shades with “rose gold” in the title will look wonderful. It’s just the shimmer factor that may put some people off due to age or the fact that they don’t like to be glitzy during the work day.

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I picked up this limited edition L’Occitane Thé Bergamote solid fragrance because the price was right at $9. Plus, I love solid fragrances and Earl Grey tea. The fragrance itself is very, very simple. It claims to have luminous citrus from Italy and black tea leaves.” It is very heavy on the citrus, which is a bergamot. I love bergamot essence. And this is a pretty nice and simple bergamot with a tiny bit of grapefruit. The black tea leaves are there, just not as much as the citrus. This smells more of bergamot essential oil than it does Earl Grey tea leaves, even Earl Grey with double the bergamot. This scent is very fresh, citrusy, refreshing and summery. I imagine that it could be a unisex fragrance since it simple and fresh. The solid smells different than the EDT in this line. The solid is simpler.

It comes in a small yellow tin container. My top is a little too loose for my comfort since I do plan on traveling with this. The solid perfume is so smooth and not a bit waxy. Think less of a lip balm in a tin but more of a lip gloss in a tin or something along the texture lines of Rosebud Salve. It contains .33 ounces of the solid fragrance. It wears nicely, about 2 hours and then you’ll need a touch-up. But, the 1st hour it wears very nicely and smells just like the solid in the tin. I like this and it is what I want in the summer when everything feels heavy. Many of us don’t have a/c in the PNW so in the summer I am attracted to the freshest scents possible. I would say to give this a try if you like solid perfumes, citrusy fragrances, tea fragrances such as Bvlgari Green/White/Red Thé/tea, Elizabeth Arden Green Tea, L’Occitane’s other tea based scents, L’Aromarine Bergamote, CB I Hate Perfume Russian Caravan Tea, Fresh Citron de Vigne or Bergamot Citrus, Kenzo Eau de Fleur Tea, Pacifica Malibu Lemon Blossom or Egyptian Bergamot Rose, Guerlain AA Mandarine-Basilic, Caudalie Fleur de Vigne, and/or Miller Harris Tangerine Vert. I’m sure I will pick up another tin soon since they are LE and the hotness of August hasn’t hit yet.

I love beach’n scents. And this is one beach’n scent. One of the reasons that  I love them is because I live in the Pacific Northwest. We really don’t have a rep for sunny, tropical beaches. We aren’t known for our lush tans or coconut based beverages. I didn’t realize than once I moved across the country to a place that had “beaches” that I would miss an Atlantic beach so much. After all of this rain, I really miss a Florida beach. Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess is my reminder than warm, sunny places do exist. What I love about this fragrance is that it really epitomizes a warm beach. It isn’t a fruity cocktail and isn’t coconut scented tanning oil. It is light and breezy and warm. It smells like skin that is in the sun. It smells like ocean breezes and sand. It is really a fragrance that does a wonderful job conveying an environment and a time, not just smells. It is one of those “experience” fragrances. I have been a fan of it for years, even when it was known as Tom Ford’s Azuree Soleil. I look forward to it every late winter/early spring when it is relaunched. It comes out just in time, when I feel like I can’t stand another minute of wintery weather. The scent is light and fresh at first with hints of lush and tropical tiare flower. So it has that gardenia and coconut oil fragrance without being too drugstore tanning oil. It is made fresh with bergamot. After the gardenia florals dry down, it is very warm. It smells of hot sand with light breezes of salt water. It is perfect in the sense that it smells like skin drenched in product after an hour in the sun, you can smell the towel on the sand in the sun, you can smell virgin ocean breezes. It is such a “paradise” fragrance. It is one of my favorites. It isn’t something that I wear all the time but it is something that I look forward to and it does bring back nice beach memories and it is a vacation in a bottle.

Bronze Goddess does have a lame name and I’m not very wild about the new bottle. I was a fan of the colors and the name “Azuree Soleil” but I can’t complain about the product. So I can overlook the J.Lo type references and dated packaging. It comes in an “Eau Fraiche Skinscent” which is a fancy name for an EDT. It does wear on the skin for a few hours. The 3.4 ounce bottle retails for $52. There is a Body Oil Spray which I am in love with. It is enriched with the fragrance and wears forever. Plus, it makes my legs look perfect. The 3.4 ounce bottle which is identical to the skinscent bottle (cheap ass Estee Lauder) retails for $32 and wears for hours. There is a Luminous Body Lotion which I fall for every time it launches because it comes out at a time that I feel dull and drab and long for “luminous” skin. It retails for $32 for 6.7 ounces. It has a faint golden shimmer. I like it but I always get pissed that I didn’t purchase two bottles of the oil instead since it wears for a long time and is so moisturizing. It is a limited edition product which is a good move on Estee Lauder’s part because it always causes me to part with my money since “I can’t get it any other time”.

I am a big fan of Pucci prints. I have a few vintage items and I love them. They don’t really fit the Pacific Northwest very well, but hey one day I’m retiring to Mexico! I really tried to love the new Pucci Vivara but I don’t love it. I like it but I don’t think I’ll ever purchase it. I was intrigued by these three new fragrances. I thought that out of three there would surely be one that would make me part with $59. Nope.

The first is Acqua, the blue one. It is much too aquatic for my tastes. I don’t do those type of fragrances. They burn my nose and I find them boring. This isn’t a horrible fragrance, it just doesn’t go with my tastes. I kind of knew this would be my least fragrance because of its reason of being, acquatic. It is too synthetic and not very “salty” like it claims. But, if you like Davidoff Cool Water, Estee Lauder Beyond Paradise, or any of those Bath and Body Works “aquatic” sprays then you’ll probably dig this.

The second is Sole, the yellow one. It is inspired by the sun. Actually I thought I would really dislike this one, but it isn’t too bad. It is a bit bitter from the tomato leaf and tangerine notes. But, it is made “warm” by jasmine, patchouli, and musk. But, it isn’t too warm and it definitely a summer fragrance and not a fall one.

The third is Sabbia, the coral one. It is actually my favorite of the three. This is a huge surprise. Just proves to smell things before making a judgment. It is inspired by sandy shores. I thought I would dislike it because of all the citrus notes listed like tangerine, lemon, and even bergamot. However, this isn’t what makes this fragrance. It is the cool and crisp iris. It is a pretty blend that seems very interesting even with its popular notes like bergamot, iris, and vetiver. It smells both warm and cool. It is that contrast that sand has. Sand can be so hot it hurts or so cool that it hurts.

Each bottle is 1.7 ounces and is an EDT. I thought that they were limited edition but I don’t think they are. Usually when a company offers lots of different items like this in one collection they are limited but I don’t know.