Sunday, September 30, 2007

Indian Summer Scents

Here in New York, summer and fall are playing a bit of a cat-and-mouse game. One day it's hot, the next it's cool. I can't figure out what clothes to wear! However, one nice effect is that it's giving me a few more days to indulge in my summer scents before packing them away for fall. I like fresh, citrussy scents layered with fruit, incense or marine notes. Here are my top summer scents of 2007:

Yuzu Rouge by Parfums 06130 - The citrusy top notes of grapefruit, Japanese Yuzu fruit and verbena make this perfectly refreshing on a hot summery day. The cassis and cardamom anchor it so the scent lasts longer and and has an alluring depth.

Un Jardin Sur Le Nil by Hermes - My aunt gave this to me, as it is her favorite summer scent. It quickly became one of mine, too! This is a very green, watery scent, inspired by the island-gardens on the Nile river. Notes include green mango, lotus flowers, aromatic rushes, incense and sycamore wood.
Note: I'm wondering if this is discontinued, since it's not on the USA Hermes website, nor on (and I recently saw it in a Sephora store). If anyone has info, please share!

Island Michael Kors - I probably got this 3 summers ago, and I still like it. It's a headier summer scent, better reserved for evening than during the hottest part of the day. There's something about it that does remind me of walking on a beach without shoes, where the breeze is refreshing and there are tropical fruits awaiting you under the shade of a palm tree. I've yet to try its sister scent, Island Michael Kors Hawaii, exclusive to Sephora. The clementine and orange notes in it do sound yummy.

Eau D'Italie - I got a travel set of fragrance, hair wash, hair balm, soap, shower gel and body milk at Lafco NY a year ago. I used it on a trip to Spain, and now anytime I smell the bright citrus scent, it takes me back to sunny days and ocean breezes. The notes are bergamot, incense, and blackcurrant buds. It's perfectly unisex, so you can share!

Eau D'Hadrien by Annick Goutal - My great-aunt took me to Paris when I was 16 years old; it was my first trip aboard. She always wore a sparkling citrus splash, and if this isn't it, it's as close as I can get. Eau d'Hadrien is a fresh, citrus fragrance in which a zesty touch of lemons from Sicily and grapefruits ripened under the Italian sun blend with the subtle notes of citron and cypress.

Fresh Cucumber Baie - Oh, sadness! This is no longer on the Fresh website. Luckily, you can find it here. This is a summer day in a bottle: drink in the fruity watermelon, grapefruit, and berry musk, balanced over fresh marine notes and cucumber pulp. It's fresh (no pun intended), not sticky sweet.

Tell us your top summer picks in the comments.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Northern (High) Lights

Recently, I took a trip with my sister to Canada to do a little shopping, eating and relaxing. The US dollar is so weak, that our initial idea to go to Europe was pretty much thrown out the window. Canada offered a better exchange rate (although at 1 to 1, the Canadian dollar is at its strongest against the US one too), a less than 2 hour flight, and no jet lag.

We enjoyed shopping in Montreal and enjoying the food and architecture of Quebec. Then, I had a day to kill in Toronto before meeting up with my husband. I hadn't been able to get my roots touched up with a fresh set of highlights and hoped I could get it done in Toronto. Who did I call for advice on a salon? My favorite Canadian beauty bloggers/podcasters: Lipgloss & Laptops. Kerry Anne replied to my query super-fast, even getting her pals in Toronto to help guide my selection. Thanks Kerry Anne!

Unfortunately ,I got to Toronto late and didn't get to book an appointment at my first choice, an Aveda salon. Next choice had been recommended by several of Kerry Anne's friends - called Coupe Bizarre. With a name that translates to something like "Bizarre Haircut", I had to check the place out in person.

image from Montreal Mirror

I admit it: I was scared off by the asymetrical cuts, chunky striped highlights and a pervading aesthetic of tattoos and piercings. Have you ever noticed that Canadian gals are more adventurous in their hairstyles? It's true, it's like everyone is a rock star. Before you think me too straight-laced, know this: I do have a tattoo! But I also work in corporate America and have a preppy side, so an avante-garde look just in time for 4 romantic days away with my husband was not going to work.

So what's a girl with 1-inch roots to do? I decided that my highlights were already too bleached out and I'd be putting in some lowlights at my next salon visit. I had a brainstorm while walking through Shopper's Drug Mart (a much nicer store than the name suggests, even carrying luxury brands...). I would get a color-depositing glaze to tone down my highlights for the week in question.

I purchased Clairol's Color Boosting Glaze in #8, For Medium to Dark Blonde Hair. Back at the hotel, I followed the directions very faithfully, first dampening my hair, then saturating it with the glaze. I let it sit 5 minutes, then rinsed it out. Then, I added the ColorSeal Conditioning Gloss, let that sit for 2 minutes, then rinsed it out.

Unfortunately, when I tried to dry my hair, it was really gummy! There should be a shampooing step somewhere - because water alone (especially with less-than-great water pressure) didn't seem to get it all out. I hopped back in the shower and shampooed. I probably compromised the glaze, much like you're not supposed to wash your hair after a perm. But c'mon, I couldn't walk around the city looking liked I'd poured baby oil all over my head.

After the second wash and dry, I have to say - it did its job. The Color Boosting Glaze is NOT recommended for highlights, actually... but since I wanted it to tone down my highlights and achieve a more homogenous hair color, it was perfect.

A week after I got home, I went to my Old Faithful salon, where I got fresh highlights, fall-appropriate low-lights, and a just-edgy-enough-for-suburbia version of the bob. Kinda like Posh Spice meets the Stepford Wives. And I'm quite happy about it!