Lists: 50 posts

Portable Perfumes for Summer Adventures

Whatever your destination this summer, Patricia shares her selection of travel sprays and rollerballs.

Summer is a time I like to take things down a notch, kick my shoes off, and wiggle my toes in the sand. Food becomes simple salads, boiled shucked corn, and barbecued meat and veggies; clothes are less restrictive and in lighter fabrics and colors; and summer hours are the norm at many workplaces.

sea

Serious perfume also takes a backseat in the warmer months, as my nose and my brain crave a respite from anything too complicated or fussy. What suits in February becomes too much in July. Because of recent problems of evaporation and separation in many of my homemade decants, I’ve increasingly turned to travel sizes and rollerballs offered by the manufacturers. Small and generally well priced, the following are what I’ll be popping into my beach bag this summer.

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The Glamour of Hotels

Do you like staying at hotels? Elisa shares her thoughts.

I have an ex-boyfriend who claimed to enjoy the occasional adversity – a cancelled flight, a blown-out tire. It seemed perverse to me initially, but later I came to understand his way of thinking. He didn’t look at these mishaps as lost time, but rather an opportunity to slip out of time. If you’re stuck somewhere and can’t get to work, no one is to blame; so why not enjoy the escape from obligation, the change of scenery?

I travel semi-frequently for work, and because travel is tiring and stressful, I’ve adopted a version of my ex’s philosophy to make the most of it. I try to embrace the changes in routine for their novelty value, rather than feeling inconvenienced. And the part I look forward to most – even though I’m not on vacation and have minimal time to spend there – is the hotel.

hotel_view

My room on a recent stay at the Ames Hotel in Boston

In the tradition of The Pillow Book, let’s make a list:

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10 Pastel Perfumes for Spring

Elisa feels the lure of spring.

Part of the pleasure of browsing a makeup counter – and why I’ll always buy more makeup than I need – is the impression that I’m handling color in its pure form. Not just lipsticks but pigment: art and possibility. It’s the same flavor of childlike glee I feel when looking at a wall of paint swatches or the bulk bins in a candy store. As a kid I even organized my books in “rainbow order” on the shelves.

kateryna bilokur

Around March the mannequins in window displays all seem to be wearing pastels. I never buy these clothes; like bows and Peter Pan collars, pastels just don’t suit me. But I can participate in the traditional color scheme of the season with perfumes that smell like springtime shades instead.

Here are ten soft, pastel-hued perfumes (in spectral order, no less) I recommend.

Diptyque Eau Rose

I love weird roses, dark roses, spicy roses, mossy roses…I’ll take them all. But sometimes, especially in spring, a perfectly pretty, pastel-pink rose with little adornment fits the bill. Enter Eau Rose, which is dewy and fresh with a citrus lift.

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Ten Fragrances in Ten Minutes

What are the ultimate desert island perfumes? Patricia tests herself.

I’ve lived in my present dwelling for over thirty years, time enough to accumulate an unnecessary quantity of items. With the current trend towards minimalism, my various collections have started to weigh heavy on my conscience and I’ve enjoyed fantasizing about moving into much smaller quarters and having to downsize significantly. I thought about Victoria and her move to Brussels some years back when she was able to bring only a small portion of her perfume collection with her and how difficult that must have been. Doing a similar exercise is of course only that, an exercise, but I decided to set my kitchen timer for ten minutes and grab ten fragrances that would come with me—my desert island perfumes. A no-vintages rule made for easier decisions (although one of my choices has been discontinued).

perfume selection

It took me four minutes to go through my collection and make initial choices, then six additional minutes to pare down the edited collection to ten (actually eleven if you count the bottles in the picture). The buzzer went off with eleven bottles on my bureau, so I left it at that.

First I snatched No. 19 EDT from my Chanel tray because it is an iris, my favorite fragrance of all time, and my bottle of No. 19 EDP is vintage and therefore out of the running. No. 19 is also one I can wear for all occasions, in all seasons, and in other words a no-brainer. Chanel 31 Rue Cambon is also coming along to fill the chypre category and serve as an elegant ladies-who-lunch fragrance for those times that I need to appear more put together than I actually am. The Hermès tray provided L’Ambre des Merveilles for a spicy gourmand amber vanilla that is delightful to wear in fall and winter. Cuir de Lancôme, rich leather with floral undertones, also joins the group for its beauty and versatility in all seasons save the dog days of summer.

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10 Perfumes for Cheating Winter

There is no reason to keep citrus, white florals and other effervescent blends only for the summer month. As Elisa explains, they’re as perfect for the winter as they are year-round.

I’ve written the top 10 list for the past three winters, and both last year and the year before, I focused on traditionally seasonal perfumes – rich orientals and boozy ambers and gourmands. It’s true that in winter, I reach for my heavier perfumes about 5 days out of 7. But at least once or twice a week, I’ll get a craving for something that’s not very wintery at all, and on “cheat days” my out-of-season perfumes feel like a special treat by contrast to the usual fare.

bird cherry

Below are ten of my favorite perfumes to wear when I feel like cheating on winter.

Clarins Par Amour Toujours – We usually associate citrus with summer, but December is actually peak grapefruit season! Par Amour Toujours looks cute and harmless in the bottle, and there is some pink rose in there, but more pronounced is the invigorating grapefruit, bolstered by a blackcurrant note so green it’s almost piney.

Pinrose Treehouse Royal – There’s nothing like blackcurrant to cut through the fog of winter. Its pungent sweetness serves as a kind of palate cleanser after too many days of heavy, smoky orientals. Treehouse Royal is a great find – similar to Byredo Pulp, but much more affordable, it’s a bright mix of currant and fig, with a clean drydown like musky soap. Continue reading →

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