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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.

Old Mrs. Creet

creet

Once there was an old lady
Who looked like my grandma maybe

Every night
She’d take a bite

Of children’s toes
And a nose

If it’s past your bedtime
And you hear a chime

It’s old Mrs. Creet
Looking for something to eat

Don’t let her catch you
Awake or she’ll chew

Your toes and maybe your nose
So hurry and doze

Off to deep sleep
And as you count sheep

Out will creep
Old Mrs. Creet

Redemption

jb

When I was a little girl
Not yet a woman of the world

I dreamt of becoming an artist
During my childhood darkest

When I was a teen
Wearing tight blue jeans

My only thoughts
To escape every night fought

Through college I went
Suffering every torment

Not getting a PhD
To the world I went to see

Sold clothes at a department store
Dressed men with clothes galore

Wanted more and more
As it was getting to be a bore

So a business woman I became
On this earth to stake my claim

Caught up in a destructive game
Burnout and lots of shame

You pulled me from the Lost and Found
At a time when I nearly drowned

Rescued me from The Life
That brought me so much strife

Given me more hopes and dreams
Than I had ever dared to dream

So your queen I did become
From the ashes I had come from

All of this would have been enough
As dreams are made of this stuff

A man like you there is none
And then you gave me a son

As a bonus to your gift
Now the days are all so swift

A man, you are an exception
My only soul redemption

Valentine

valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day
I wouldn’t have it any other way

Second holiday of the year
With our son, our newborn dear

Magical forest your dark hazel eyes
Who knew we’d have an angel in disguise

You’re his and mine
Our stars have aligned

So thankful I am for you
There’s nothing I won’t do

So eat and sleep, sweet love
There’s nothing I’m more proud of

For you have made this holiday
Surpassing a thousand bouquets

Lip Service

hydrastick

Since I’ve run out of my trusty La Mer lip balm, I’ve decided to give Mustela’s Hydra-Stick a try.  This, my friends, is great for both mama and baby.  Lightweight, creamy, and, best of all, works to keeps lips and cheeks soft (plus, it’s hypoallergenic).  Surprisingly, it’s a bit more creamy than the La Mer balm.  Max was getting little flakes of dry skin on his cheeks and the Hydra-Stick took care of it straight away.  Verdict:  perfect for dry winter skin and/or chapped lips and/or cheeks.

Nest

bewitched

Although I’m still in recovery mode from the pregnancy, I’m also in 100% nesting mode for the new house.  And, yes, I have become a full-fledged linen snob.

For starters, I’ve realized that you do get what you pay for in terms of quality when it comes to things like towels and bed sheets.  With that said, I’m still very much a value shopper.  Since our current bed sheets are on their last leg, I decided to invest in some Frette linens (used at the Ritz and Four Seasons in Paris).  One Kings Lane has some fabulous deals on the brand.  I also purchased a couple Frette bath mats for $19 each (not bad for thick Egyptian cotton, eh?).  Goal:  to create a spa/hotel-like feel for the bedrooms and bathrooms in our new home.

Labor & Delivery Tips

motherandbaby

Maxwell was born last Tuesday, 12/30, at 6:50PM.  I never thought I would experience a love that rivaled that of the one I feel for D.  It is quite a powerful thing.

My labor was a difficult one.  My water broke on Monday, 12/29, at 2:30AM and we didn’t go to the hospital until about thirteen hours later.  Pumped with enough drugs to be a walking pharmacy (Pitocin, epidural, penicillin–just to name a few), I finally consented to having an emergency C-section after three and a half hours of pushing as I was unable to get Maxwell though my pelvic bone.  Tears of joy streamed down my face when I heard his first cries.

Up to that day, I’ve read countless blogs and received lots of advice from friends on labor/delivery/hospital tips.  With that said, I thought I would offer tips from my own experience to help others:

(1)  Pack light–This is contrary to what many advise but I found that we actually overpacked my labor and delivery bag. My suggestion would be to bring the following:  two sets of clothes for you and your partner, one set of going home clothes for the baby, a small space heater (hospitals are notorious for thermostat breakdowns), phone and charger, disposable/shower shoes for you and your partner, one set of travel-sized toiletries,  wallet, driver’s licenses/IDs, and a case of bottled water.  Everything else (including newborn diapers, swaddle blankets, burp clothes, sanitary pads, and disposable underwear) is provided by the hospital.  Our hospital even had free room service so hot food was always available on demand.

(2)  Drink lots of fluids–Hence, the case of bottled water.  In my case, I was pumped with so many drugs that I needed to flush my system out.  Drinking lots of fluids (staying hydrated also helps with your milk coming in as well as keeping headaches at bay).

(3)  Leave the diapers, take the pads and underwear–A couple friends recommended that I take as many newborn diapers from the hospital as I could as they would add to our collection at home.  I discovered that this did not bode well for us as Maxwell outgrew his hospital diapers just a couple days of our discharge (and there were leaks galore).  Luckily, I also brought home from the hospital medical-grade sanitary pads and disposable gauze underwear (should have brought home more) which continue to be LIFESAVERS.  Both save on time and effort on laundry and provide more than adequate coverage.

(4)   Don’t skip meals but eat light–Nausea and pain may deter you from having three square meals a day but force yourself to eat light (having something in your stomach also helps curb the nausea while providing some nutrition for your body and, if you’re breast-feeding, your baby).

(5)  Don’t stress over your new body weight/image–In the coming weeks, you will shed lots of weight and inches just by having given birth, going to the bathroom, and moving around (and improving circulation and digestion).  It took you nine months to gain all the baby weight.  Give yourself nine months to lose it all (you may even surprise yourself).  I say this because women (and men) who rush and/or lose lots of weight during a short period of time do damage to their bodies (both internally and externally).  In other words, you don’t want to wreak havoc on your organs, digestion, metabolism, and, at the same time, have lots of loose skin to show for it.

(6)  It’s the little things–Do little things that make yourself feel pretty.  Indulge in your favorite perfume, shampoo, aromatherapy, etc.  Get a manicure/pedicure.  Style your hair.  Sometimes, it’s all about the small things in life.

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.