Cheap & Chic: 65 posts

Budget perfume options

Gifts From The Silk Road

One of my favorite stores in Brussels isn’t a chocolate shop. It’s not even a fabulous perfume treasure trove called Senteurs d’Ailleurs. It’s a supermarket at Rue de l’Escadron 35 called FreshMed. Technically, it’s not even in Brussels proper, but in Etterbeek, one of the 19 communes that make up the metropolis. It’s a store offering a vast selection of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods, with a smattering of Baltic and Polish products.

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FreshMed isn’t a fancy store; it’s a place where the aesthetics are provided by the towering pyramids of fresh vegetables and fruits, not an overly creative interior design. I like this simple and unpretentious approach. Here you can find fresh tarragon and pomegranates, stock up on Greek retsina and Lebanese arak, and then load up your cart with homemade foods: tiny Syrian pies, Turkish-style pizza, hummus, tzaziki, olives and 10 kinds of feta. Then there are shelves of Iranian floral waters, Cretan dark honeys and Moroccan amber scented soaps. It’s a journey down the Silk Road within the space of a few supermarket aisles.

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Lily of the Valley Potpourri

A couple of years ago my aunt gave me a book called L’Art de Simplicité (The Art of Simplicity) that promised to declutter my life. After the first five pages, I felt like a failure. My bedroom is nothing like a room at a Zen monastery, my kitchen resembles a spice aisle at Kalustyan’s, and my living room with its overspilling bookshelves is more reminiscent of a public library during children’s hour than a space where two adults live.

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After reading much sensible advice on paring down and retaining only the essentials, I put L’Art de Simplicité down in my ziggurat of other books and haven’t picked it up since. You know what? I like having a bit of chaos in my life. It doesn’t stress me out that my perfume samples aren’t sorted alphabetically or that I have far too many bottles of flavored vinegar. What are the essentials anyway? What if I want to make salad with blackcurrant and rose vinegar today and try grilled chicken marinated in the juniper variety. I also can’t decide whether I want to wear a cologne or a voluptuous rose, so all options are around.

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Cacharel Anais Anais Premier Delice : Perfume Review

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No perfume families are as vast as the fruity-floral and gourmand families. It seems that you can get any dessert in perfume form, from crème brûlée to cupcakes. There are also many fragrances that smell like clones of each other, which is why after you smell one too many variations of Angel, you start giving up on the whole lot. On the other hand, if you want lighthearted and fun, then nothing can beat a well-crafted gourmand blend. From time to time, I canvas perfume store shelves for such contenders, and my latest search turned up Cacharel’s Anais Anais Premier Délice.

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Premier Délice is one of several variations on the classical green floral Anais Anais, but it’s the first major departure from the original. Instead of accenting the floral notes, perfumers Olivier Cresp and Dora Baghriche took a different route. They’ve laced it with chocolate! If you’re familiar with the original, you’re probably skeptical right now, but if you like gourmand and fruity notes you’ll like Premier Délice. It is moderately sweet on the contemporary gourmand spectrum, and it has some interesting elements.

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Mysore Sandal Soap : Bath & Body Review

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Does luxury need to come with a big price tag? If you take a stroll around any department store, you might come away with that conclusion. But if your shopping strategy is more of the Poirot sleuthing variety, then you can turn up some affordable gems. My local India shop doesn’t fall under any definition of upscale. It’s a tiny, overcrowded space that smells pungently of cumin, wilting coriander greens and fried snacks. But it is here that I discovered my favorite soap of all, Mysore Sandal Soap. And it cost me 1.95 euros.

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Mysore Sandal soap is produced by Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Limited, a company owned by the Government of Karnataka, a southern Indian state famous for its sandalwood. Mysore sandalwood groves were plentiful at the turn of the century, but while Europe was engulfed in the First World War, the precious wood couldn’t be exported. In 1916, the Maharaja of Mysore established a company to use up the excess sandalwood, and Mysore Sandal soap still remains the company’s trademark. It bears a proprietary Geographical Indication seal and contains natural sandalwood oil.

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Lady Gaga Eau de Gaga : Perfume Review

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Lady Gaga the performer is all about provocation and surprise, but her first fragrance, Fame, was anything but dramatic. When it came to creating Eau de Gaga, the singer was apparently much more hands-on, and for better or worse, offered plenty of opinions. So, what do we get in the elegant black bottle?

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Spray Eau de Gaga liberally on your skin and take a deep inhale. If you expected candies and fluffy musk, then you’ll be surprised. It’s not sweet. It’s not fruity. Eau de Gaga is a green tea cologne, with a big dose of violet. A 21st century CK One, if you will. It has a bright and inviting introduction laced with lots of peppery citrus and green violet leaves. It’s sophisticated and polished.

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