Welcome to the Valentine's Day Gift Guide (interactive links coming soon) on My Own Judge! In the coming days you will see multiple posts including product reviews, product recommendations, and advice on making your Valentine's Day in 2010 just what cupid ordered.
Feeling a bit like a grinch? Remember that Valentine's Day, similar to every other holiday is what you make of it. Just because flower shops revel in their payday one out of several (Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, etc.) days a year doesn't mean you can't make your day not just memorable, but unforgettable. Feeling really bold? Celebrate Valentine's Day on a day other than February 14! I will be going out on the 13th with my honey.
Don't have a Valentine? You must kid. When I was little, I was the mastermind of Valentines. My mom. My aunt. My grandpa. Shoot even the four legged animals weren't immune from being my Valentine. The best part about it for me? There are amazing sales on candy after the day, and amazing sales on products in the time leading up to the event. So really - don't hate on a holiday that makes people money, if it saves you some!
Speaking of saving money... Have y'all heard of Fragrance.Net? It's a site that gives you the most wanted perfumes and colognes at discount prices. Think of it as the moment you finally get a coupon to a department store that for once doesn't exclude perfumes, but every day, and online.
Just so you guys know what to look for, I have a perfume review for you. Now this is somewhat difficult to convey to you, because well... scent is a bit harder to describe than texture, and even harder to photograph.
Enter into the courtroom: Exceptional perfume. I love flattering titles as much as I love a visually stimulating product. So something that's called Exceptional (because you are)? Better smell good. At first spritz I was a bit put off. I thought the scent was a bit too strong for me and consulted with Mama Yaya. She loved it at first spritz. I looked at her funny and said, "Will retry tomorrow."
By the way, if you are buying a fragrance for the first time, remember the following tips:
- don't try more than three at once. Look for a jar of coffee beans (most locations selling perfumes and colognes will have a nasal neutralizer like coffee beans available... it's not just for decoration!), sniff some and then proceed. Your optimal choice would be to go home after three.
- if you can, spray one on and see how you like it at the end of the day. The wear test will also let you know how long it lasts and how it mixes with your body oils and skin. I like to do this several times to make sure that I am not wasting my money. But of course I learned this after wasting plenty of money first.
- don't rub the scent into yourself. When you rub your wrists, behind the ears, or wherever else, you break up the molecules, and of course the scent and experience.
- once you spray the perfume, don't trust the immediate scent. The strong spritz at first includes all the alcohol and other chemical mixes that go into creating perfume. Let it settle before you nosedive in for judgment.
- get familiarized with what it says on the bottle. EDT, EDP, Parfum. You think those are all the same? Wrong! Each title describes the concentration. Eau du Toilette is similar to a body spray and generally is light and airy, and dissipates just as quickly. Eau du Parfum is of a heavier concentration, and thus of a higher price range. These are the ones that I tend to be the biggest fan of, as they last nearly all day for me. Parfum? This baby is expensive!
- have any allergies? Ask the salesperson, or check the net for what notes are contained in the perfume. I am not well versed in the science of this, so I can't tell you if the note of an apple will make an apple allergic person break out in hives, but I sure as heck wouldn't recommend the risk.
Now that we are equipped with information, let's continue with being Exceptional. I sprayed the perfume on the next day. All over myself.
I like to spray perfume on my body (after knowing that my skin won't spazz out) after applying lotion. For me, this keeps the scent the longest. I like to spray in my hair (my hair is dry and frizzy and picks up scents easily - want to hear my stories of coming home smelling like Subway's, or street vendors? It kind of sucks...), and then when I get dressed I spray once inside my shirt in the front and then once in the back. Does that make sense? Imagine pulling your shirt bottom forward and spraying up to your neck, and then pulling your shirt bottom out from the back and spraying up to your neck again... this time on your back. Now you know my secret!
Well the verdict? This time around, I let enough time pass so that the full scent of the perfume settled on me. It was a bit reminiscent of one of my faves from Chanel - Allure, but a little bit softer, and day friendly. Exceptional is listed as a casual perfume and is said to contain a "spiced floral heart." This is what a sweet girly perfume would smell like if it grew up with a little bit of attitude.
Planning on buying perfume this Valentine's Day? Here are some of my suggestions.
Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker
A very light scent that is the perfect dose of perfume for the shy gal, or the gal that doesn't like her entrance to be a grand smell. Gentle and airy, but long lasting.
Lolita Lempicka by Lolita Lempicka
My favorite perfume of all time. This is a scent unlike any other. It has vanilla, licorice, musk, and all sorts of other good stuff but the scent makes me think of sensuality, playfulness and story-tale forests. If you get a chance to sample this bugger, do so immediately!
Euphoria by Calvin Klein
This is a Mama Yaya favorite. A bit more 'mature' scent, and by that I mean it doesn't have too much playful flowery scents. This is a bit more woodsy, and is no surprise of course that it contains notes of mahogany wood, pomegranate, and black orchid, amongst other notes.
Cool Water by Davidoff
If any of y'all have smelled this back in the day, you probably have memories of the corny guys wearing this, or the cool kids wearing this, or just the corny kids who thought they were cool wearing this. Sure they ruined the experience, but this is such a classy (to me), yet soft manly smell to me. That may make me sound a bit crazy... but you gotta smell it to believe it.
L'Homme Yves Saint Laurent by Yves Saint Laurent
Two years ago when I was looking for a perfect scent to gift to a male, I was torturing my nose with every scent aimed at men possible. I begged the salesperson to help me find a subtle, sexy, and please oh please not obnoxious scent for a man. This. is. it. I loved the scent so much I spent the next 30 minutes writing a letter to the manager of the store about how great the salesperson was. I'm serious.
Allure Sport by Chanel
This is completely different from the women's (and not sport) version. This is less musky, and much more light and playful. As far as women wearing cologne, this is a scent that you can get away with, without smelling like a dude.
What are your favorite scents?