Monday, December 17, 2012

Perfume for Dessert Lovers

It's a lemon cookie, pudding, souffle and pie, all stuffed inside this pretty bottle. Attract fans with a single spray.
I rarely push any sort of scent here on Toad, mostly because I'm notoriously picky when it comes to perfume. Most of it, frankly, makes me either wheeze or eventually cut off the limb I sprayed the stuff onto. My nightmare is entering the Bloomie's in NYC, where a gauntlet of aggressive perfume sprayers guards the door, liberally covering every poor schmuck who enters. There's nothing like a combo of nasty patchouli, musk, cedar, rose, and literal scented poison to make me run screaming from a building. And elevators? Don't ask.

However, there are exceptions. The amazing site Lucky Scent offers a wide range of cult perfumes, many of which are far more subtle and refined than department store offerings. One such scent, Menthe Fraiche by Heeley, has been my go to for years; it's light with mint and green tea notes, and fades pleasantly without that powdery afterscent that reminds me of the geriatric set. Recently, I found a new scent (a miracle, really). Called Nuvol de Llimona by Roca Perfums, it translates as "Lemon Cloud," and that pretty much sums it up. Lemon Cloud smells like the best lemon based dessert you've ever had, with a sharp citrus note followed by sugary, almost custardy finishes. It's delectable and delicious, yet fades becomingly. This does not smell like Lemon Pledge. It simply allows you to smell like food in a highly acceptable way. And men respond more favorably to food smells than anything else (to hell with Poison or that foul Carnal Flower); there's nothing like the smell of baked goods and sugar to drive a man wild.

As perfumes go, Nuvol de Llimona is reasonable at just $80. Plus, the round minimalist white bottle is adorable, and it's wrapped in bright yellow tissue, just like a lemon drop. Share a little sweet this Christmas and click on over to Lucky Scent.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Birchbox is Beauty that Keeps on Giving

It could be shampoo, or lip gloss, or the greatest moisturizer ever. Order and find out!
Time's ticking away here, and you're getting down to the gifting wire. Between the crowds, traffic, and shipping deadlines, you might be tempted to scrape the bottom of the barrel, at least gift wise. Resist!

Order a giftee a Birchbox subscription instead. I actually tried out Birchbox myself (I became a member so that I could order myself an ongoing subscription. Here's how it works: every month that you pay for (I pay by the month, but you could sign your giftee up for three, six, or even a merry twelve months) your giftee receives a little box filled with beauty samples. It's sort of like getting the Needless Markup's Beauty Event in the mail every month. Now, is every item stellar? Of course not. There's some dogs in there, I won't lie. But, I've also tried some new products and really enjoyed them, plus they're all tiny so they're perfect for travel. Plus, there's something wonderful about getting a mystery package in the mail, and Birchbox ships pretty little boxes with festive tissue. There's nothing not to like about this gift.

Both women's and men's boxes are available, and the boxes range in size and cost; my subscription is just $10 a month. Go to Birchbox and send someone the gift that keeps on coming. It'll make you memorable all year long.