Author: The Mathematician's Wife

This is a personal blog that allows me to rant, rave, write, and ponder my life's experiences. Any views expressed on this site is strictly my opinion (and fill in the blanks with any other legal disclaimers you can think of).

Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Ciel de Gum

The French are correct—a woman’s fragrance collection changes with age. As some of you recall, I started looking for an alternative to Estee Lauder’s Beautiful about 3 years ago. Well, two days ago, I found it.

Don’t get me wrong; Beautiful is still—beautiful. It’s what my husband and children know. I’ve worn it since age 16. Beautiful is what I gravitate towards when I seek comfort or when I’m under the weather. It’s home. Which is why I’m not getting rid of it.

Ciel de Gum (CDG) is just what I’ve been looking for these past couple years—again, not necessarily as a replacement to Beautiful, but an alternative to keep.

This is what I imagine Joan Collins must have smelled like on “Dynasty”—fiercely feminine and SPICY. This is the spicy floral that I have been looking for. Contrary to many reviews, it does not smell like red hots. On me, it smells like the mother of all spicy florals (it’s what all in the category aspire to be). It has a bit of vanilla (which I’m usually not a fan of). But it is quiet; cinnamon, floral, and amber take center stage. As a voluptuous floral, Beautiful is beautiful and feminine. CDG is just as feminine but has spice and bite. It so fits me at this stage in my life. This isn’t a scent for girls (who often prefer sweet smells); it’s for women. There’s an innocence in Beautiful that isn’t there in CDG.

The fact that it’s not popular is a bonus (the fragrance is exclusive to Maison Francis Kurkdjian boutiques and the GUM Department Store in Moscow). There are currently no matching body products (soaps, lotions, etc.) and part of the reason I am posting this review is a selfish one—I am hoping that the parfum will become popular enough (but not too popular 😉) for MFK to develop matching body products. In the US at this time, CDG can only be purchased at the MFK boutique in Miami (the only MFK store in the US) and on the brand’s website.

La Crème by Cle de Peau

It goes without saying that nothing is more effective for your skin than what your dermatologist recommends for it.  With that said, it’s been my experience that one can have a very good skincare regimen using a combination of both prescribed products/methods and over-the-counter (OTC) items.  Allow me to present La Crème by Cle de Peau.

For those unfamiliar with the brand, Cle de Peau is Shiseido’s higher end line of skincare and cosmetics.  The Japanese brand and this particular product has a cult following and for good reason–the results are almost immediate.  The reason for this is because the primary active ingredient in La Crème is retinol ACE (in layman’s terms, it’s a lower dose of retinol plus vitamins and boosters to increase the speed of cell turnover).  Although prescription strength retinol is great for many people, for some (such as myself), it can be a bit strong and cause inflammation (and as another side effect, some hyperpigmentation).  This is why for some, OTC-strength is the way to go for including retinol in one’s skincare routine.

In terms of OTC anti-aging creams, Cle de Peau’s La Crème is the gold standard.  I have yet to experience a cream that performs as well as this one.  (Many of you know that I’m also a huge fan of La Mer’s Creme and I still am–but strictly as a moisturizing cream and something that I use to mix with my foundation when wearing makeup, not as a wrinkle cream.)  After a few hours of applying Le Crème, my skin is noticeably softer, clearer, and brighter.  I have been using this product for three months and it has become a permanent part of my skincare routine.  For those who are skeptical and aren’t willing to take the plunge for the full-size jar, Cle de Peau’s website sells the (limited edition) travel size.  You can also ask someone from the line’s counter at your local Nordstrom, Saks, or Neiman’s to give you a week’s sample.

Now, on to the good stuff (recommendations from my personal experience).  If you have normal to dry skin, use the product as directed–at night only (slather it on, go to sleep, and wake up to soft and bright skin).  If you have oily to combination skin, use it at nighttime and, maybe–assuming you are able to go without makeup and shield yourself from the sun, also use a small to moderate amount during the daytime for 2-3 days during the week.  Do not use it on the area around your eyes (even though it’s OTC, a lower dose of retinol can still irritate sensitive areas).  It also helps to properly prep your skin before application–I wash my face with a mild cleanser and use a NON-EXFOLIATING/NON-MEDICATED toner before applying La Crème (for those who don’t use toners, you can skip the second step).  This is important because you don’t want anything to undermine and/or interfere with the efficacy of the active ingredients in the cream.  You want the product to work by itself (preferably, without any allergic reactions and/or interference).

All women over the age of 30 need to allocate a portion of their budgets to skincare/maintenance.  It’s not a frivolous matter–it’s a necessity as one gets older.  Many department store products get a bad rap for being expensive but as someone who is a product fiend, I can confirm that there are some items that are worth their sticker prices and that a little bit of product can go a long way (depending on how much you use, a jar of La Crème can last you between 6 months to 1 year).  And, as I like to tell my husband, “It’s less expensive than plastic surgery.”

(FYI, I was not paid and/or compensated in any way for this review.)

Holiday Gift Ideas

Holidays are just around the corner and since everyone else has come up with his/her “gift ideas list”, I thought I’d share mine (all of these have been tested and approved by yours truly)!  (FYI:  I am not receiving any compensation for these links and/or recommendations.)

WOMEN

(1)  Lagos Sterling Silver “Love Knot” Earrings

(2)  Lagos Caviar Hoop Earrings

(3)  Whole Foods Gift Certificate

(4)  Prepared Meal and Fresh Flowers Delivered by Instacart

(5)  Barefoot Dreams Cozychic Luxe Laguna Jacket

(6)  Greg McKeown’s ESSENTIALISM:  The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

(7)  Museum membership or membership renewal

(8)  Donation to a charity in her honor

(9)  A basket of her favorite jam and/or honey

MEN

(1)  Patagonia’s Better Sweater Vest

(2)  Museum membership or membership renewal

(3)  Donation to a charity in his honor

(4)  Gift card to COMIXOLOGY

(5)  Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep

(6)  Canali Reversible Belt

(7)  Peter Millar Sweater

(8)  His favorite home-cooked meal and movie

(9)  Dinner at his favorite restaurant

CHILDREN

This list does not include gift ideas for children because there is such a range of preferences for parents and children themselves depending on their ages.  But from personal experience, books, Lego sets, and visits to the museums/zoos are always hits!

Saving Face

scary-stories-documentary

(Photo Credit:  From Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell’s “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”)

Mirror, mirror, on the wall

Time for skincare overhaul

Wrinkles, pimples, and fine lines

My nose–the only thing that shines

*Sigh* And what do we have here

Another bumpy blemish I fear

But looking closely, I now see

Something moving under thee

Swelling larger by the minute

This pregnant pustule must submit

To a simple squeeze and pop

But despite my efforts, it doesn’t pop

So, I take a pair of tweezers

And, gosh, is this one a bleeder

But blood isn’t the only thing I see

What seem to be a dozen fleas

Full of blood as they waddle

I drown them all in a bottle

And smile of relief and say

“Nothing can stop me today!”

 

 

Red

With you, again, I’m in love

You wear me like a glove

Little girl, funny clown, chic seductress,

Wild-eyed empress.

You mold me how you want me

And yet, you accept me as me.

There’s no truer red than you

When you’re gone, you make me blue.

You need not say a thing

For all the joy that you bring.