April 1st, 2014  |  Comment   

Fabulous New Spring Perfumes

With the departure of sweater weather (finally!) we’re transitioning our wardrobes, makeup, and perfumes to the lighter side. We’re storing our warm, spicy fragrances in favor of florals, clean scents, and sweeter smells. Sound a little too girly for your taste? Never fear, our favorite fragrance giants have released a gorgeously varied group of scents this year that satisfy everyone from the feminine to the edgy. Take a peek at a few of our favorites and find your new signature spring perfume.

For the Fashion Forward – Alien Eau Extraordinaire by Thierry Mugler
Trendsetting ladies who love to smell like no one else in the room will fall for this intriguing scent. It’s much lighter and fresher than Mugler’s previous fragrances. Its floral note from Tiare flower is warmed by Italian Bergamot tea and white amber to reveal a rare woody/floral combination that is sophisticated without being overly girly.

For the Flirt — Daisy Marc Jacobs Delight
Fresh, light, and reminiscent of wandering through a meadow, this floral is flirty and light, not overly pungent.

For the Purist — Clean Cool Cotton
If fresh laundry blowing in a summer breeze is at the top of your “Favorite Smells” list, this is your dream perfume. Fresh, airy, and yes, clean, this scent is for those who like their fragrance to whisper, not yell.

For the Sophisticate — See by Chloe Eau Fraiche
This refined, ladylike scent is a new favorite around our offices. It’s green floral notes and refined base notes of vetiver and musk make it a fresh, modern scent that is perfect for work and weekend.

For the Romantic — Ralph Lauren Midnight Romance
Darker and more sensual than it’s predecessors, Midnight Romance is a sexy date-night fragrance with notes of black vanilla and peony.

For the Sun Worshipper — Philosophy Sunshine Grace 
With this fragrance, Philosophy has somehow managed to capture everything that is wonderful about summer in one little bottle. While the top notes are floral, this does not smell like a flowery perfume. The unique solar musk base notes give it the smell of sunshine, sand, and a warm summer breeze.

For the Girly Girls — Viktor and Rolf Bonbon
Encased in a bottle meant to look like wrapped candy (and in fact named for the French word for candy) this scent is sweet but not cloying. Designed for women who like to indulge, this perfume, with its key note of caramel, is a playful follow up to the brand’s best-selling Flowerbomb perfume.

For the Glamorous — Avon Femme
This perfume is a balanced scent that has a gorgeous blend of both fruity and floral notes. It’s a crowd pleaser that is perfect for those who want a daily scent or a flirty night-out fragrance.

February 6th, 2014  |  2 Comments   

Cult Cabinet: 4 Rose Fragrances to Fall in Love With

Who needs to wait for a love to bring them flowers next week when everything is coming up roses in the world of fine fragrance?  I personally plan to take matters into my own hands and buy myself my own rose … one that comes in a super pretty bottle, that is! 

Rose has long been at the heart of perfumery, but fell out of favor as an “older” or soapy scent for many years.  Recently, a new harvest of roses has bloomed that modernize this cult classic note for today’s woman, with perfumers taking exciting and creative approaches to the flower.

From girlie to intense, fresh to sensual, a rose isn’t a rose anymore.  Here are 4 great takes on the trend:   

1. Roses De Chloé ($95) – If you love ballet flats and could survive on macarons alone, this scent is for you.  Chloé is one of my cult classic fragrances, and this twist on the ultra-chic original marries rose with a modern magnolia for an ethereal experience.

2. Dolce e Gabbana Rose The One ($108) - If a little black dress and killer heels is more your thing, this sensual version of Dolce e Gabbana’s blockbuster The One has a lean-into-me powdery softness that goes from dusk till dawn.

3. Early Roses by Teo Cabanel ($110) – If you live in a white tee and jeans, this unique and effortless fragrance is the simple, fresh way to wear rose that evokes a walk through a dewy garden in Spring.  From cult perfumer Teo Cabanel, it’s the kind of scent you want to spray in your hair, on your pillows, in your car …

4. Rose Oud by Perfumes de Nicolai ($78) – For the explorer at heart (and for serious perfume afficianadas), this creative scent marries two niche fragrance trends: rose and oud.  Here, a fruity raspberry rose is blended with intriguing, mysterious notes of oud -  a smokey, wood-derived ingredient with Middle Eastern origins.  Sexy and intriguing, it’s bound to have people asking “Where did you get that scent?’

And remember – these last way longer than the real thing anyway!

January 21st, 2014  |  Comment   

How I Found Perfume Nirvana

For as long as I can remember my fragrance tastes have tended toward the dark side. In eighth grade while my peers were spritzing on the baby-powder scented Love’s Baby Soft perfume I was sneaking sprays of my older sister’s CK One with its bergamot, musk, and amber notes. In high school when anything and everything that smelled like cucumber melon was the rage, I was buying deep amber and vanilla scents. My love for woodsy scents with a hint of sweetness has only grown through the years but until recently I’d never found a single fragrance that I could label a favorite.

Enter two of my ultimate fashion muses–Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Leave it to this stylish, quirky, and wildly creative duo to start 2014 off with a beauty bombshell. They just released their first fragrances; a yin-yang pair (naturally) of sophisticated scents–Nirvana Black and Nirvana White. The twins developed the fragrances in partnership with Kendo and Sephora under their chic Elizabeth and James brand. Nirvana White is a feminine, elegant mix of peony, muget, and musk but it was Nirvana black with it’s simple three-note formula of violet, sandalwood, and vanilla that made me swoon.

Nirvana Black is a deep, sensual fragrance that gets a surprising feminine touch from the vanilla note. In my opinion it’s the fragrance equivalent to a black cocktail dress–sexy and timeless. While everyone’s skin reacts to perfume differently; on mine, Nirvana Black lasts easily through an eight-hour workday. The light, sweet violet note dissolves beautifully into a woodsy-yet-elegant sandalwood and vanilla scent throughout the day. If you’re looking for a dark scent that is a little bold this may just be the fragrance for you. From the first spray I knew Nirvana Black would have a permanent place on my dresser.

Both Nirvana scents are available at Sephora in the 1.7 ounce bottles pictured above and later this month they’ll be released is a convenient rollerball so you can take your fragrance on the go.

— Bethany Cantor

September 19th, 2013  |  Comment   

Cult Cabinet: Beauty in the Boudoir

Now that there’s a chill in the air, I’m all about cuddling up in the blankets (and a little snuggling never hurt anyone). Looks like I’m not the only one with bedroom eyes this Fall – there are a slew of boudoir beauty products that are seriously bringing sexy back.

1. Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Mon Eau de Lingerie (~$80) – La Petite Robe Noire is a best-selling fragrance in France, so you know it has to be ooh-la-la good.  Now these saucy beauty experts have launched Eau de Lingerie, a perfumed spray created for, well, your lingerie (or your little black dress)!  It’s designed especially not to damage fine fabric – so spray your linens while you’re at it!

2. Soap & Glory Sit Tight ($38) – A “lower body” (ahem) firming serum that releases tightening ingredients to visually smooth skin and reduce puffiness when you sit down.  It comes in an ergonomically designed massage roller – and how you apply it is none of my business!

3. Naked Princess Boudoir Candle ($58) – I’ve long been a fan of this exquisite lingerie brand and their small, but gorgeous, selection of beauty products.  This candle is beautiful smelling, looking, and … feeling!  The wax is actually made from natural butters and can be smoothed on for a skin conditioning massage.

4. Sarah Happ The Lip Scrub in Red Velvet ($24) – This cult classic has been a part of my bedtime routine for years, and this delectable special flavor is the perfect “dessert.” Scrub lips to smooth perfection and then apply your favorite balm, thus increasing your chances of cuddling up – and/or having gorgeous lips by morning.

Sweet (and sassy) dreams, my friends!

August 2nd, 2013  |  3 Comments   

Five Flirty Summer Fragrances

Tunes and movies have been devoted to special elixirs that lead to a simple formula making one irresistible to those around them, but I maintain that all you really need is the right summer fragrance. Here, some of my favorites for inspiring romantical conquests until Labor Day for good old fashioned olfactory allure.

Untold by Elizabeth Arden, $59 at

Celebrate your many facets with this scent created to capture the essence of “downtown New York cool.”  Its notes include pink pepper, bergamot, pear, blackcurrant, gardenia, jasmine, patchouli, sandalwood, amber and musk. I’m partial to the beautifully faceted bottle, which is currently gracing my vanity amongst my perfume collection insanity.

Prada Candy L’eau, $88 at

I’m a mega-fan of the original juice and this is the first time in fragrance history that a light, summer iteration of one of my cold-weather favorites has delighted me to the same degree as the original. Its sweetness (I like to think of it as a fruit-juice sweetened confection, rather than a saccharine-laced cloying perfume) is tempered by a base of rich woods and white musk.

Victoria by Victoria’s Secret, $68 at

Look, deny it all you’d like, but in very scientific studies conducted by me (AKA Facebook status update questions), more than half of the gentlemen surveyed said Victoria’s Secret scents are their favorites. More estival than festival, this sensual scent is fruity, sweet and sexy. With Behati Prinsloo as the face of the creme brulee- and red berries-infused fragrance, its inherent sultriness is bound to rub off on you.

 LaVanilla The Healthy Rollerball in Vanilla Coconut, $19 at

Rocking a beachy scent is a good way to lure your garden variety surfer guy all year long, but it’s an especially effective trick in the summer, babe. This rollerball is portable, pretty and emits that vaguely low maintenance yet slightly sensual coconuty “Is that suntan lotion?” scent.

Royal Apothic  Holland Park Perfume, $16 at

The cross-section of London and Los Angeles is a difficult scent/branding balance to strike, but Royal Apothic founder Sean O’Mara does it with aplomb–and with scintillatingly inspired packaging, I might add. Holland Park is one of Victoria Beckham’s go-to fragrances and for good reason. The blend of lemon, magnolia, peach, jasmine, orange blossom and lily of the valley really do conjure a verdant visit to the famed Kensington locale.

Which ones have you tried?


May 31st, 2013  |  Comment   

Aromatherapy 101 (for the Stressed Out)

The idea of aromatherapy intrigues me, especially when I’ve had weeks like this where everything seems to be out of whack and off track. But as interesting as ylang-ylang, lavendar, and citrus oils sound, I just don’t get how they work…how they make you look better…how they make you feel better…how they make you smell better…etc. I just didn’t get it. UNTIL NOW. I sat down with Cary Caster, clinical aromatherapist and creator of 21 Drops for a breakdown. She makes aromatherapy sound like a walk in the park. Literally.

Ayren: Why are stress points–wrists, temples, neck, etc.–called “stress” points?

Cary: These points are actually called “pulse points” since we can easily take our pulse  by putting our fingers on these areas due to the large amount of blood flow close to the surface where there’s thin skin .

Ayren: *red faced* Oh, I knew that. So, why do we commonly apply aromatherapy oils there?

Cary: For these same reasons (thin skin and large volume of venous flow) the essential oils applied to these “pulse points” get absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream than applying to other locations on the body.

Ayren: Can I just put it on like perfume and go, or is there something special we should (or shouldn’t) be doing with aromatherapy oils?

Cary: The most effective way to get the most benefit of using essential oils is always to inhale them, where they send direct messages to our brains to effect change. Our olfactory sense has receptor sites for these fragrant molecules and they, in turn, begin a cascade of physiological processes due to their ability to pass the blood -brain barrier and get right to work on both the limbic system ( the seat of our emotions, memory and hormonal messaging system) and the autonomic nervous system (our fight or flight / stress response which effects heart rate, muscle tension, digestion). Thus inhaling is most direct to effect all the body systems. When you apply to the skin, essential oils get absorbed into the bloodstream and have to work their way through our system to be as effective and they are easily broken down by the body, so inhalation is best.

Ayren: Okay, so what kind of aromatherapy do you recommend for a day that looks like this: Nothing is going right—I’m out of bread for the kids’ lunches, everyone is late, I’m out of coffee, and there’s more traffic than usual on the beltway. Then, I turn on the news and it’s nothing but depressing stories. At night, I’m beat, but I can’t seem to fall asleep.

Cary: For days like this, I recommend the 21 Drops  #11 DeStress blend. This synergy of 4 blends addresses all the Symptoms of the stress “fight or flight” response. German Chamomile is a good anti-spasmodic for the muscular angst that comes with stress, Frankincense quiets the mind chatter, Lavender settles the nervous system and Ylang Ylang settles the racing heart!

Ayren: What is your personal favorite aromatherapy scent or blend?

Cary: I tend to love the woody essential oils (Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Rosewood) because they help me feel grounded and remind me of being out in nature, which always soothes my emotional state.

Ayren: I’m going to stray a bit. You’re a fan of healthy eating and I’d rather eat french fries all day (but I want to do better). Do you have a simple recipe that you can share?

Cary: My favorite summer salad is easy… chopped cucumbers, fresh minced garlic, tad of apple cider vinegar, tad of greek yogurt, and lots of fresh chopped peppermint! It’s very healthy and refreshing.

May 3rd, 2013  |  4 Comments   

The Easiest Way to Pick a Perfume

Whenever I enter the mall through a department store, I make a bee line away from the fragrance counter. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE eau de parfum and cologne, but, once the counter person starts spraying and I start smelling, it turns into a head-spinning event that requires a 10-minute walk outside the mall just to clear my nasal passages. Shopping for fragrance can be overwhelming. But, according to Kim Berg of drom fragrances, it doesn’t have to be like that. She suggests choosing a fragrance based on when it will be worn, rather than having a crazy, headache-inducing sniff test (my usual M.O.).

For Date Night…

Berg says to look for notes of a romantic white floral. Think: iris or orange blossom, which are sensual scents but not overwhelming. Try Tocca Brigitte Eau de Parfum, $68.

For a Night Out on the Town…

Express yourself with a unique oriental statement like Boucheron Eau de Parfum, $106. Berg says notes should include exotic florals with sweet undertones.

For Work…

Berg suggests spritzing on a light, fruity floral like Jo Malone Osmanthus Blossom, $60, which works great for daytime. Try fragrances with notes of mandarin, apricot or dragonfruit.

For Family Affairs…

According to Berg, you need a “comfy” scent for hanging out with family. Look for fragrances with soft floral accents combined with musk (try: Givenchy Dahlia Noir, $90) for an easy-to-wear feeling.

For Casual Weekends…

Spray on a layer of freshness with notes of watery fruits combined with sheer citrus notes like Fresh Hesperides Grapefruit Eau de Parfum, $80. These will put you in a good mood and energize you.


April 2nd, 2013  |  4 Comments   

One Fragrant Way to Celebrate Earth Month

We love a good scent, especially one that gives back. This month, Aveda is doing just that with their Light the Way candles. We could all use a little Spring freshening and this one has added benefits. During the month of April Aveda will donate one hundred percent of the purchase price from Light the Way Candle to Global Greengrants Fund, a non-profit organization that channels high-impact grants to grassroots groups working to solve pressing environmental problems.

In case you’re curious, here are a few more deets about the candle:

The Candle: The Light the Way Candles are held in 100% reclaimed glass beverage bottles. The carton that holds the Candle is made from 70 percent PCR paperboard, with a portion made from Aveda ‘make-ready’ materials, or, sheets of scrap paperboard that would normally go into the recycling stream. This year’s Light the Way™ Candle carton is decorated with artwork made by students of the Association School in Ampasimanjeva, Madagascar, a village that has received two Global Greengrants Fund grants for water projects. The children, who previously had drunk from a dirty, crocodile-infested river, created drawings to show how their lives changed after the community built a safe community water source close to home.

The Scent:  Madagascar-inspired aroma, blended with one hundred percent certified organic essential oils including vanilla, cinnamon and ylang-ylang, all sourced from Madagascar

November 7th, 2012  |  Comment   

Bond Girl Beauty Secrets

Even if you’re not an action flick kind of chick, who doesn’t love a good James Bond movie? So what if it’s only to bask in the gratuitous shots of Daniel Craig shirtless.

The latest Skyfall 007 edition marks the 50th anniversary of the film franchise and along with it has comes some fun beauty goods that let us live out our Bond Girl fantasies. These products were either inspired by the film or will instantly make you feel like you’re a part of a covert beauty operation.

1. Guerlain Shine Automatique Lip Shine, $35, Spy girls don’t have time to fumble with fussy lipstick caps. Just slide the button down to reveal your lip shade.

2. James Bond 007 EDT, $40, Part of being a Bond Girl is knowing how to pick the perfect sexy scent…for him.

3. Secret Agent Beauty Double Agent Eyes, $26, Inside the lower part of the cap is a mascara and in the upper part, a liquid liner. Now that’s sneaky (and genius!)

4. OPI Nail Lacquer in The Man with The Golden Gun, $30, Opulent and fierce in true Bond fashion. It’s a topcoat filled with real 18 karat gold leaf.

5. Secret Agent Beauty The Skinny 5-in-1 Gloss Kit, $60, Because all female spies should be amply equipped with lip gloss options. Plus, the name is just so fitting.

September 26th, 2012  |  8 Comments   

The Best Places to Apply Perfume

Drom Fragrances Perfumer Kevin Verspoor Gives Tips on the Best Places to Apply Perfume

While most people spritz fragrance on their wrists and neck, there are many other great places on the body that women and men often neglect.  According to Drom Fragrances perfumer Kevin Verspoor, the key is spraying areas of the body that have a good amount of veins and arteries that are under the skin.  These help give warmth and projection to the fragrance.

Kevin’s suggestions for spraying…
·         Back of the legs, specifically back of the knees
·         In the area just above the hip bones
·         Nape of the neck
·         Cleavage for women, chest for men
·         Small of the back just above the buttocks
·         Inside of the elbows

How do you spray these areas without overloading?
Kevin suggests applying a lighter lotion of your preferred fragrance and then just add a couple sprays of the eau de toilette or eau de parfum.  This can be accented by adding a couple dabs of the parfum on specific pulse points.  A good thing to remember is that even though you may not smell your perfume all day, that does not mean others will not. Continuous application of one’s fragrance all day may make your positive fragrance experience a negative one for others.  You don’t want to be the human air freshener.

Kevin says the best application level is if you can smell the fragrance you have on in soft occasional whiffs. If you can continuously smell your fragrance at all times and it is intense, you most likely have way too much on.


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