Friday, December 29, 2006

Best of 2006!!!

Hi, thanks for checking out my Top Ten of 2006! Here they are in no particular order, except for #1, which is earth-shattering & without a doubt the biggest discovery of this year. Of course, as always, my discoveries are heavy on the fragrance side of things. This is caused by two things: First, I am a fragrance addict, so why wouldn’t I be all about the fragrances? Second, although I smell amazing most of the time, I’m kind of a slob, most often found in jeans and t-shirts with no makeup on. So it only seems normal that very few of my beauty discoveries would be of the visual kind. Having said that, let's move on!

1. Montale Black Aoud. This dark fragrance, from the little-known company Montale, has captured my heart and imagination like no other in a long time. Interestingly, the first time I sniffed it, I thought, “Oh, this is interesting” and stuck it in the giant martini glass where samples go to live when they have potential but are not yet full-bottle-worthy. A few months later, I came across it again when I was trying to figure out what scent to wear to a schmancy event, to go with the fuchsia Indian outfit I was planning to wear. I re-tested it and it blew me away. I wore it that night and no fewer than THREE men fell in love with me that night. Well…love might be too strong a word, and one is already my husband…but let’s say the response from men was extremely positive. And unexpected: I’m not the kind of woman who walks around causing men to swoon, trust me on this. Since that night, I’ve worn it several times and always with the same results. This is my magic love elixir. One night a gay man propositioned me. Amazing stuff. I’m not really sure what’s in here, but it’s dark and mysterious. There’s aoud, clear enough. A bizarre, mediciney woodsy smell, which fades as the scent wears, but remains present. Other than that, there is an ingredient I can only think of as black rose. Definitely rose, definitely dark. Whatever it is, it is magical. Try some for yourself, but definitely try it first. Just because it’s MY magic elixir doesn’t mean the formula will work with you.

2. OK, that’s hard to follow, I know, so I’m going to take a totally different direction with #2. I had a coupon for Bath & Body Works: buy something for $10; get something up to $13 free. I was bound and determined to use this coupon. But, between you and me, I’m not really a huge fan of B&BW stuff. So it took me a while, wandering around and testing stuff, until I came across this little jar of Savannah Bee Company Beeswax Hand Cream. It was right there on the shelf with the Burts Bees stuff (I guess they just stick all bee-related products in the same corner). I tried it and, WOW! I don’t normally get excited about a hand cream, but this is thick and rich but soaks right in. It smells amazing, a little like peaches & cream, but not in that artificial way. And my hands have never been so soft.

3. Youth Dew Amber Nude by Tom Ford, for Estee Lauder. I’d never tried the original Amber Nude when I tested this, but I put this on and walked around the store for about 20 minutes. When, after 20 minutes, I was still intrigued by the way I smelled, I knew I had to have it. I have since tested the original Youth Dew and in my opinion, YDAN is original Youth Dew plus black rubber and band-aids. If this sounds gross, I say just test it first. It *IS* kinda gross, but in a good way. It’s edgy, it’s sexy, it’s just plain great. Well done, Tom Ford!

4. Le Baiser du Dragon by Cartier. This one really defies explanation (by me, anyway) but when I first got it, I wore it for a week straight. This is unheard of for me. The notes, per are: Delicate, sweet top notes of bitter almond, neroli orange, and gardenia. Woody, powdery heart notes of iris, cedar, and musk. Earthy, sensual base notes of vetiver, patchouli, and benzoin. I think this one was created with more attention to the bottle than to the scent, but they hit home with me on the scent.

5. Caron Nocturnes. This seems to fall into a category of fragrances I love, namely big 80s florals. Think Ysatis, Divine, that kind of thing. Do NOT think Giorgio. Nocturnes is all personality, in a very feminine way. Per perfumebay, the notes: Top: Aldehydes, bergamot, mandarin, greens. Middle: Rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, tuberose, stephanotis, lily of the valley, orris, cyclamen. Base: Vanilla, amber, musk, sandalwood, vetiver, benzoin.

6. False eyelashes. Don't laugh. I’m not really good at them yet, but most of my adult life I’ve considered myself eyelash-challenged and these seem to be just the ticket. I did wear a big full set of rhinestone-encrusted ones to my sister’s Christmas Eve party and I got tons of compliments on them. But I never realized how much work blinking could be! I am working on mastering the art of the little eyelash clusters, and will report back.

7. Essence of Vali Massage & Bath Oil: Relief. As part of a Sniffapalooza event, I attended a presentation at Spa Ja in NYC. The presentations were amuzing, culminating with a woman telling us how the PATCHully can cure the Cancer, but it also makes de dogs very excited. Anyway, I bought this oil to massage on my husband who has a painful shoulder and I’m considering buying a case of it. I’ve used it on my temples for headaches, my lower back when feeling crampy, his shoulder a million times…it really works. I’m such a skeptic, but this stuff works.

8. Mitsouko EDP. For years I’ve tested this one and never understood what all the hoopla was about. I love chypres, I should love Mitsouko. But I just didn’t get it! I liked it, but I didn’t love it. Until one day, I put it on and BAM, right between the eyes it hit me. Remember those 3-D pictures that were so popular in the 80s? I thought they were a big hoax like the emperor’s new clothes. I didn’t believe anybody could see anything. Then one day, I aligned my eyes just so and the picture popped right out. That’s what happened with Mitsouko. This is a perfume of incomparable beauty and haunting loveliness, perfect for those cold, clear days or a walk on the moor.

9. Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation. I’ve always thought the $6 stuff was just as good…but it really isn’t. Damn Estee Lauder for that free sample and letting me see what life could be like with a really good foundation. My sample ran out last night and as soon as I’m done typing here, I’m off to buy a $30-something bottle of foundation. To some of you that may not seem like a lot, and I know I’ve bought bottles of perfume that cost WAY more than that, it’s just an adjustment in attitude is all. This is the new me in 2007: Well-foundationed.

10. Narciso Rodriguez Musc Oil. This is a scent I became intimate with when my father was going through chemotherapy and couldn’t tolerate most scents. I wore NR Musc Oil just to scent my own personal space for a few days and then worked up the courage to ask if it was bothering him. On the contrary, he found it quite pleasant. So, NR Musc Oil it was, for several weeks. I really grew to love and respect thus subtle skin scent. Plus…it’s kind of sexy.

Thank you for reading my blog, as I will enjoy reading all of yours. Best wishes for a beautiful and fragrant 2007! Please be sure to check out all the other lovely bloggers participating and sharing their best of 2006, as we move into a new and exciting year. May your New Year be full of love and joy!

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