Fashion

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.

REVIEW: Behnaz Pure Rose Fragrance

Just received something I’ve been wanting to try for awhile–Behnaz Pure Rose Fragrance.  This water-based perfume (with no alcohol) is perfect for those who are looking for cleaner and non-toxic alternatives to traditional perfumes (especially mothers of small children).  Don’t get me wrong–I’m still a fan of traditional fragrances but, at this time (given the fact that my children are still so young), I would prefer to wear something less strong.

The Pure Rose is made primarily of distilled water and roses.  Because of this, you should not expect this fragrance to be strongly-scented, long-lasting or leave a “trail”.  Only you and someone in cuddle proximity will be able to smell this perfume.  I love that it’s made of real roses with no synthetic imitations–what has turned me off about ordinary rose perfumes is that they generally smell syrupy sweet or too citrus-y.  On my skin, it initially smelled a little powdery but then settled into a true rose scent.  Also, the texture is very watery but that is to be expected given its composition.  Another thing that I like about this perfume is that the packaging has the bottled date (expiration is six months).  This underscores the freshness and authenticity of the product.

The market has been long overdue for this type of product and moms of small children looking for cleaner and non-toxic fragrance options can rejoice!

Home Sweet Home

zen

Still no baby, yet.  I’ve been quite anxious because I really don’t want to get medically induced (as of now, I’ll be induced on New Year’s Day).  *SIGH*  So, in the meantime, I’ve been nesting like crazy and picking up things to create a zen (or spa)-like environment for the home.  My favorite acquisitions have been Nordstrom’s hydrocotton towels (which are currently 20% off, by the way), Aveda’s eucalyptus oil, and Deneve’s electric diffuser.

In addition to getting home stuff (for the current and new house), I’ve also been doing some cleaning out.  Locked out of my eBay account for several months because I had forgotten my password (and was unable to reset it because all of my phone and address info was out of date), I finally remembered it today.  It just came to me–like magic.  So, I took the opportunity to list a few items for sale.  All of these things are from my stockbroker days (when the job required me to dress to the nines–like they say, “Always Be Closing”).  Needless to say, being pregnant and a soon-to-be-stay-at-home-mom doesn’t and won’t require as snazzy of a uniform.

People are always talking about post-partum depression.  Don’t know about that but I’ve been feeling some “pre-partum” depression (if you can call it that)–meaning, I’ve been getting panic and anxiety attacks and melancholia about the health of the baby and/or the thought of not having D by my side at all times.  And then I’ll break out in tears just feeling incredibly grateful for having D in my life and finally knowing what true love really is (I know, it’s sappy but I’ve always been a sentimental person).  Perhaps it’s the raging hormones inside me but one thing’s for sure–I don’t think I’d make it through this pregnancy if it weren’t for D.

Quotes by Joan Collins

joancollins

Favorite quotes from my favorite style icon, Joan Collins:

(1) “I don’t believe in dieting.”
(2) “If life throws you a lemon, make lemonade.”
(3) “The body is like a car–the older you become, the more you have to take care of it. You don’t leave a Ferrari out in the sun.”
(4) “I kissed a lot of frogs and now I’ve found my prince.”
(5) “Show me a person who has never made a mistake and I’ll show you someone who’s never achieved much.”
(6) “Lipstick is the best cosmetic that exists.”

Baby, It’s Cold Out There

18470lrg

As a pregnant Jewish woman, I do not feel bad about not fasting for Yom Kippur.  As a matter of fact, I have never fasted for any holiday (primarily due to my being anemic).  But don’t get me wrong–I’m not going to go out and grab a plate of bacon or pork ribs (I don’t  and have never kept kosher but I feel the need to be somewhat observant of the holidays–at least in my own way).  As I’ve said before, I’ve never believed that the path to salvation lied in what we ate.

The weather is finally starting to get nippy.  Thank goodness I got my raincoat/windbreaker and winter coat during the summer.  It sure feels good to have something I can just put on at a moment’s notice with the change in the weather.

Speaking of the change in weather, do you get cravings for certain things in cold weather?  I certainly do–pumpkin pie (Whole Foods has the BEST), hearty soups (Harris Teeter has a pot roast with veggie soup–perfect with rice), and pastas (Bolognese sauce and sausages, please).  D’s office is having a “chili fest” the week after next.  I have to admit that I’ve never made chili.  But I’m sure I can find a recipe online and tweak it.

So, I know I’ve been a bit MIA lately because of all the tech issues and my feeling bummed about my condition (placenta previa).  I’ve been using eLance, which is wonderful for start-up businesses and individuals who have projects but also strict budgets.  Web designers, IT consultants, ghost writers, editors, etc.  It’s quite the resource, actually (just pay close attention to the reviews of those you hire).  I believe in helping freelancers and mom-and-pops (of course, I’m biased) and think that eLance is a good way to go about it.

In other news, I’m in talks with Nordstrom about doing another beauty/fashion event for next month (featuring La Mer and Christian Dior).  On the one hand, I feel fatigued and out of it (due to the fact that I recently started the third trimester of my pregnancy).  But on the other hand, I miss doing events (especially ones that have to do with makeup :)).  Ah, the smell of the cosmetics in a department store…

Empress’ New Clothes

pregnantshopping

So I finally took the plunge and started getting a few pieces for my fall and winter wardrobe.  Given the fact that I’m in the second trimester, it won’t be long before my belly doubles in size.  My sundresses will only last until the end of summer and my leggings are begging for dear life.  Plus, wearing D’s T-shirts to run errands won’t fly when it’s 50-60 degrees out.  Time to get maternity clothes.  *SIGH*  So, here’s what I ordered:

(1)  Ingrid & Isabel Maternity Wrap Dress in black and gray

(2)  Eva Alexander Maternity Wrap Dress in black

(3)  Isabella Oliver Maternity Wrap Dress in gray

(4)  Everly Grey Maternity Wrap Dress in black

(5)  Spanx “Power Mama” Maternity Power Panties in nude

(6)  Spanx “Mama” Maternity Pantyhose in nude

(7)  Topshop High Waist Maternity Leggings in black

As you can see, I’m a fan of wrap dresses, leggings, black and gray (for the cooler months), and Nordstrom.  They’re just so versatile.  And since this is all new to me (the realm of maternity wear), I feel more comfortable knowing that if anything happens (poor fit, broken zipper. wrong color, etc.), I can always return anything and everything back to the store with no questions asked.  For those of you who don’t know, Nordstrom will take anything and everything back at any time as long you have the tags and receipts.  So save your tags and receipts!

The above should be enough to get started.  Other things I’ll need include a good coat (which I did not see on Nordstrom’s site or anywhere else) and a couple sweaters and cardigans.  Next stop:  baby stuff.

Spring Cleaning

SEP020660

Spring Cleaning for Charity.  Ladies and gents, it doesn’t get any better than this–for every five items you donate from your closet, you receive a $40 Nordstrom gift card plus a tax receipt.  Copy, paste, and forward:  https://www.fashionproject.com/i/d3d4b0b6

For details on this and other updates, please feel free to follow me on my Facebook page!

Wondrous World

las-vegas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  Especially to be in Las Vegas.  I’ve been coming to Vegas every Christmas since my mother moved here about a decade ago.  The shows, the glitz, the glamour, the shops, the restaurants, the sights–there’s no place on earth that compares to this city.  Whether you’re a shopaholic, wine snob, casino player, restaurant connoisseur, show lover, or spa goer, this town has something for every one.

Hotels.  My favorites include the Flamingo (family and dog-friendly; great location), Rio (newer than many of the other hotels, has fantastic restaurants, and houses the Penn & Teller show), and Caesar’s (most convenient location overall for food/shopping/entertainment).

Shopping.  Where do I begin?  Other than the magnificent Fashion Show Mall on the Strip (which houses Neiman’s, Saks, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Dillards, Louis Vuiton, and other familiar stores), there is a myriad of options.  My other favorites include the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian and Palazzo (which houses Barney’s, Christian Louboutin, DVF, Chloe, etc.) as well as the shops at the Wynn (Chanel, Bottega, Fendi, Manolo, etc.).  Did I mention that all the shops and boutiques in the hotels are open on Christmas Day?  Yes, you heard correctly, my friends.  Designer shopping (and discounts) on Christmas Day.  Happy holidays, indeed.  A shopper’s paradise, really, especially during Christmas time when many markdowns are up to 60% off.  Need I say more?

Entertainment.  Vegas gives New York a run for its money.  Jerry Seinfeld, Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Bette Midler, Rod Stewart, among other big headliners have always come to Vegas this time of year (great minds think alike, you know).  All the shows, concerts, and other entertainment here are everything the Big Apple has to offer but on steroids.  This place is a well-oiled machine that knows how to please all the senses.  Every show I’ve seen here is ten times better than the same show in New York.  You have to see it to believe it.

Food.  This town is a mecca for foodies.  Whether you’re craving cheap eats or high-end dining, Vegas offers everything in the spectrum.  The diversity and variety of the city’s cuisines reflects that of its residents and visitors.  What ever you want, it’s there (on and off the Strip).

If you’re planning a trip to Vegas, Christmas time through New Year’s is the best time to be there.  Travel tip:  Book your flight early and (assuming you’re staying at one of the larger properties–Caesar’s, Flamingo, Bally’s, Planet Hollywood, etc.) your hotel room through a casino host.  Why?  The flight is self-explanatory.  Booking your hotel room through a casino host has several perks.  First of all, it’s a free service.  Secondly, a casino host is your “inside guide” on anything and everything going on in your hotel and its sister properties which means if you’re staying at Caesar’s and there’s a show you want to see at Planet Hollywood, he/she may be able to get you free tickets.  Loyalty pays off so find a casino host you like to work with and stick to him/her.  If you need help finding one, I’m happy to recommend one I’ve worked with for years (she is a professional and truly a veteran of the gaming industry).  Also, always sign up for the hotel’s rewards program/card (even if you don’t play in the casinos).  You receive points on your rewards card every time you play in the casinos and at many of the restaurants (just don’t forget to present your card before playing and/or dining).  The points are then redeemable for discounts and/or freebies (depending on the number of points you accumulate, you can earn anything from free hotel suites to free breakfasts).  And with the number of opportunities to spend money in Vegas, those points can add up.  Bottom line:  start booking your (first or next) trip to Vegas for Christmas time via a casino host now!