Scenting the Strong & Beautiful Women of Mad Max Fury Road: Lucy B Apothecary Perfumes

Scenting the Strong & Beautiful Women of Mad Max Fury Road: Lucy B Apothecary Perfumes

Recently, I’ve been sampling some fragrances sent to me by the UK celebrity makeup artist turned perfumer, Lucy Baldock-Sacchi. Lucy spent 12 years living in Australia, where she fell in love with the natural resources, healing atmosphere, the people and unpolluted lands. She discovered for herself the emotional, spiritual and physical benefits of the Australian Bush Flowers. Lucy B. is the only perfume company in the world to have infused the natural Australian Flower Essences within their products, sharing with everyone the unique Australian energy & lifestyle.

At the time, there was a gap in the market for the perfect combination of natural, organic ingredients & colour cosmetics. Lucy consulted with the Australian Bush Flower expert, Ian White, and developed specific essences that lift the spirit and enhance confidence. I have always been a fan of the original cult favourite, Pink Frangipani, and keep a roller bottle of the oil in my purse. All of the Lucy B perfumes are soft and gentle, and easy to wear. They are well priced, with all products in the line being under $50. My new favourite is Royal Water Lotus & Vanilla Musk, a gentle airy and watery floral that smells like clean skin and paradise. Really. Tropical Gardenia is another favourite, and Royal Green Fig & Vanilla Woods is too…it’s actually hard to choose as they are all gorgeous.

From her site:

Lucy B. Cosmetics & Fragrances is unlike any other beauty range. We believe that it takes a holistic lifestyle on every level to ultimately transform each person. By including Australian Bush Flower Essences and pure aroma-therapeutic extracts in every product, we have harnessed the power and magic of the Australian botanical apothecary to bring you benefits that go way beyond beauty. The result is a range that helps transform the body, mind and soul.

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Of course, after seeing Mad Max: Fury Road, my mind has been obsessing over all things Australian. I won’t spoil it for you, but unless you have been living under a rock, you’ve likely heard that the female characters are strong, inspirational, and badass. When I left the film I was all fired up, partially because my adrenalin levels were off the charts, but also because I was in love with the women I met on Fury Road. I’ve been wearing Lucy B’s perfumes and test driving them, and appreciating her positive messages of strength, health and confidence that the line wants to share while inspiring the wearer. Then I thought – who better to wear these magical feminine Australian scents than the women of Fury Road?  I fell in love with them all – in particular, The Five Wives. When we first meet them, they seem so precious and delicate,  one wonders how on earth they will survive when taken out of their prison. It becomes immediately clear that these women are not delicate flowers, and that like many prisoners, they were not broken, but emboldened and fortified by their oppression.


Perhaps one day, they help cultivate the scorched world around them, and with the wisdom of The Many Mothers and that bag of The Seed Carrier, grow and share beautiful flowers with healing essences with everyone around them. At first one might think that soft beautiful floral scents are counter-intuitive perfumes for seriously badass women to wear. But I say, these women don’t need a perfume to project their strength. They do that quite well on their own.

From left: The Dag, Toast The Knowing, Cheedo The Fragile, The Splendid Angharad, and Capable

From left: The Dag, Toast The Knowing, Cheedo The Fragile, The Splendid Angharad, and Capable


Abbey Lee – The Dag: At first the angelic blonde Dag appears flighty and fragile, but the reality is that she has a heightened sense of awareness as to what is going on around her. She slings around insults fearlessly, while also praying to “anyone who will listen”. She is strong while appearing ethereal. I would scent her in Royal Water Lotus & Vanilla Musk.

Top notes of lotus and watery musk a heart of rose petals within a base of warm amber & precious woods.

Top notes of lotus and watery musk a heart of rose petals within a base of warm amber & precious woods.

Zoë Kravitz – Toast The Knowing: Toast is a bit different from the other wives. Physically, she is shorter and her hair has been hacked into a shag that somehow manages to look pretty amazing. Toast loads the guns and counts the ammo, and would appear to aspire to being a warrior like Furiosa. I see her as someone who grows and thrives, despite the harshness of her world.  I would put her in Lucy B Australian Wild Jasmine.

Top notes of Pineapple & White Ginger middle notes of Wild Australian Jasmine, and bottom notes of Water Lily & Magnolia. Australian Wild Jasmine scents the skin creating a wildly sensual yet fresh Australian scent while boosting the mood through the flower essences. Simply put, it's Australia in a bottle.

Top notes of Pineapple & White Ginger middle notes of Wild Australian Jasmine, and bottom notes of Water Lily & Magnolia. Australian Wild Jasmine scents the skin creating a wildly sensual yet fresh Australian scent while boosting the mood through the flower essences. Simply put, it’s Australia in a bottle.


Courtney Eaton – Cheedo the Fragile: The youngest of the wives (the actress was 16 during the making of the film!), Cheedo was comfortable in the enclosed world of her prison in The Citadel, and is fearful of the outside world. She endures, however, and emerges from the battle a stronger woman. I would scent her in Lucy B Royal Egyptian Amber & Honeysuckle, with delicate top notes, but warm and enduring base notes.

Top notes of honeysuckle and peach a heart of jasmine flowers with a touch of patchouli within a warm base of amber and cashmere.

Rosie Hungtington-Whiteley – The Splendid Angharad: Splendid is visibly pregnant and is completely unafraid. She is conflicted about the child she is carrying, and is courageous, but can also be reckless.  She uses herself as a human shield without hesitation, and is determined to live a free life. She makes me think of the feminine and strong rose, so I would scent her with Lucy B Royal Peony Rose & Mandarin Musk.

Top notes of mandarin & tangerine a heart of pink peony and base of delicate camellia flowers. Royal Peony Rose is blended with confidence enhancing Australian flower essences.

Top notes of mandarin & tangerine a heart of pink peony and base of delicate camellia flowers.

Riley Keough – Capable: Early on we learn that Capable is tender and compassionate. She cares for a sick and dying character who was trying to capture her, and is aware that her lunatic captor and the leader of The Citadel world is not immortal. She is empathetic and caring. I see Capable as nurturing, and somehow the green freshness of Lucy B Royal Green Fig & Vanilla Woods would be perfect for her.

Top notes of fresh green fig & pepper with a heart & base notes of green leaf, creamy coconut & sensual vanilla.

Top notes of fresh green fig & pepper with a heart & base notes of green leaf, creamy coconut & sensual vanilla.


Finally, I want to scent Furiosa. I am almost overwhelmed emotionally when I think of her. She was kidnapped as a child, and suffered unspeakable atrocities at the hands of the insane leader of The Citadel. Her one dream and defining goal is to get back to The Green Place of The Many Mothers.

Furiosa Mad Max Fury Road

Her pain and vulnerability are buried deep below her badass-ness and the anger and fury that propels her. I want to scent her dream and memory of a green, lush and caring paradise, with the queen of all fragrances, gardenia. Lucy B Tropical Gardenia perhaps embodies The Green Place, and I wish that for Furiosa.

Top notes of gardenia, middle notes of orchid flowers and dewy green with bottom notes of cashmere musk.

Top notes of gardenia, middle notes of orchid flowers and dewy green with bottom notes of cashmere musk.

Lucy B perfumes are available on her site,  in many other online boutiques, and in many retail locations in Canada, the US and around the world. Check the Lucy B store locator to find the right one for you! 

W3LL PEOPLE Beauty Makes Me Feel Like The Natural Woman I Am

W3LL PEOPLE Beauty Makes Me Feel Like The Natural Woman I Am

I will admit to having some reservations regarding natural beauty products. I am luxury lover, and until recently, at least in Canada, natural beauty was more backyard than luxurious. That, my friends, is old fashioned thinking. The past decade has ushered in an awareness about what we use on our skin, and while I haven’t abandoned all of the conventional beauty brands, I have opened my mind to alternatives. I give thanks to beauties like Jessica aka for enabling my beauty obsession and showing me how luxe and green are not mutually exclusive. And, I give credit to retailers like The Detox Market and ECODIVA for elevating natural and healthy beauty sales to a more suitable luxurious “space” vs the health food store cliché we have come to expect. No thank you, I do not want to see your hairy toes, sir, while I search for a healthy beauty alternative. Jeesh.

So you can imagine my delight when I tried the awesome W3LL PEOPLE. I’d heard of them, but had not really heard a lot about their products, other than knowing beauty lovers loved them. They have a neat story as well, from their site:

W3LL PEOPLE is an uncommon beauty dream team founded by an elite makeup artist, cosmetic dermatologist and treehugging entrepreneur. We’re passionate about making positive choices in life, particularly when it comes to self care. Skin, our largest organ, absorbs about 80% of what we put on it. This crucial fact drives our mission to create super premium quality cosmetics without using the potentially harmful artificial chemicals found in most conventional makeup. Our modern approach to beauty is built on simplicity, authenticity and performance. We get that you want minimalist makeup, but need instant gratification. You’ll find our delightfully stylish products unmatched in delivering a natural “no-makeup” look. State-of-the-art, all-natural formulas effortlessly deliver flawless coverage and soothing protection that’s unbelievably light. With W3LL PEOPLE you don’t just look good, you feel good. Join us in our crazy beautiful dream and look naturally fabulous every step along the way.

I think the “3” in their name refers to two things, the three founders, and their commitment to three things:

  1. advanced performance
  2. natural ingredients
  3. social responsiblity

Sadly, with many natural brands, number one, the “advanced performance” thing,  has been lacking. Not so with W3LL PEOPLE. I have been using their Universalist Multi-Stick Luminous in Creamy Pink and their Realist Invisible Setting Powder  in translucent. And, dear readers, I am IN LOVE. This is saying a lot. I have many fleeting, fair-weather love affairs with my beauty prodz, new and old. But this love has me reaching for these products every single day that they have been in my hands. I was dubious, even skeptical that these would sway me away from similar items in my beauty arsenal.

W3LL PEOPLE Beauty dalybeauty review

Universalist Multi-Stick Luminous aka my glow-stick ($34.50 US): For the woman who wants it all, say hello to The Universalist. This magic color stick for eyes, cheeks and lips will take your entire look from drab to fab in seconds. The creamy formula has a satiny smooth, weightless texture – free from all harsh, artificial chemicals and petroleum. So, there’s no heavy, greasy film and no creasing. 

Realist Invisible Setting Powder aka a Magic Eraser for imperfections. Really. ($24 US): Keep it real with a polished, soft-focus look using this clear, weightless, all-natural mineral powder. Realist Invisible Setting Powder can be used by itself to minimize pores and control shine, or to set foundation for ultra-long wear.

  • Creates polished, soft-focus, matte look
  • Minimizes pores and imperfections
  • Soothes and calms with organic aloe
  • Controls shine with organic arrowroot and cornstarch


Universalist Multi-Stick in Creamy Pink swatched in natural light. Unblended on left, blended on right.

Universalist Multi-Stick in Creamy Pink swatched in natural light. Unblended on left, blended on right.


Universalist Multi Stick with Realist Invisible Setting Powder brushed & blended lightly on top.

Universalist Multi Stick with Realist Invisible Setting Powder brushed & blended lightly on top.

The Universalist Multi-Stick is just what it says it is, but is better than you can imagine. I am one of the people who breaks out with the Nars Multiple, as much as I tried it multiple times. The matte, the shimmer – it didn’t matter. I got cheek zits, and I normally never get those. I love the idea of a highlighter, but too much shimmer can be tricky when you have oily skin or, ahem, fine lines (I like that better than wrinkles…). The Universalist Luminous is the Goldilocks of beauty sticks. Not too dark, not too pale, not too sparkly, not too dry. It applies like a dream, and Creamy Pink is a very soft and natural shade for my fair-medium skin.

The Realist Setting Powder is a natural version of the blurring HD powders we all love *cue angel chorus*. It’s a setting powder that helps blend makeup, and blur imperfections. I like natural makeup that doesn’t feel like makeup. I had a friend that used to tease me asking me why I had makeup at all because it never looks like I am wearing any. Why, thank you, I said. That is exactly what I am going for.

I was going to send a Snapchat, when I noticed how ON POINT my highlighted cheekbones were. I had to capture it. LOVE.

About to get goofy on Snapchat, when I noticed how ON POINT my highlighted cheek bones were. LOVE LOVE LOVE




You can buy W3LL PEOPLE beauty on their site, and you can check here for retailers.

Once Upon A Time, MiN New York Created Scent Stories Perfumes….

Once Upon A Time, MiN New York Created Scent Stories Perfumes….

If you are what we like to call a “perfumista”, and/or live in New York you have likely heard of MiN New York. Known for it’s incredible curated selection of fragrances, apothecary, a “men’s den“, etc, MiN New York is one of the several centres in the perfume universe. They celebrate beautiful things, and share their finds with their clients, often hosting exclusive parties for creators and “noses” and serving cocktails, with live music and magic. What else would you expect from a business that has an “Art of Living” tab on their website? With everything from the classical eau de toilettes used for decades in European barber shops, to the most exclusive modern perfumes, MiN has it all.


So it was no surprise and happy news to all when they announced the launch of their perfume project, MiN New York Scent Stories. I say project as this so much more than just smelly liquid in bottles.


An exclusive olfactory art project by Chad Murawczyk and Mindy Yang featuring eleven fragrant chapters, this collection aims to transcend space and time. Each potion is designed to create emotions, bring back memories, and inspire people to think differently about perfumes. As luxury collectibles that celebrate the Art of Living, they are limited editions with only 1,000 bottles coming from a single batch each year. Each edition is hand signed and numbered.

I don’t know about you, but the idea of wearing a perfume that is rare speaks to me. I’m so tired of common and boring – the same old perfume, rebottled and renamed. I love a perfume that has beauty and has heart. My first impression upon diving into MiN New York Scent Stories was that someone put their heart into these creations, that someone sat down and looked deep within themselves and put poetry in bottles. Scent Stories manage to feel like a throwback to the perfumes of the fifties, sixties and seventies, when so many of my favourite perfumes were created, not copied. Chad and Mindy have somehow managed to do this, while keeping these perfumes modern and fresh.

The perfumes evolve on the skin like living things. I made the “mistake” of trying several of the Scent Stories on different parts of my arm at once, and was haunted for hours, trying to figure out which beautiful note I was experiencing at any given time. Each perfume so clearly morphs from top, to heart to it’s base that in the end, you’d swear you are wearing a different perfume from the one you think you spritzed on. I can honestly say I have never smelled anything like any of the Scent Stories I’ve worn. With names like Moon Dust (smells like space – really), Long Board (best sexy surf fragrance ever), Barrel (dark spirits and wine), Dune Road (woodsy, grassy, sandy and breezy) these are not your run of the mill department store, or even high end luxury boutique, perfumes. These are something different….

There are so many different types of scents in Scent Stories that there is something for everyone. I have my favourites:

MIN New York Scent Stories Shaman

Scent Stories Chapter Four, Shaman is indeed, otherworldly. It does smell like it’s description, but you really need to experience it on your skin to understand how every descriptor that MiN New York uses is true. The first smoky notes threw me, as smoke is not my favourite note at all. But they pass and turn into the warm, sweet smoke of tranquil incense with the cool magical forest fragrance of violet leaves. The patchouli is sophisticated and warm, and all of the notes just circle around each other like tendrils of incense smoke. Soft, gentle and calming, Shaman is a perfume that must be worn to be believed. If you are seeking a calming meditative scent, you must try this. On first sniff I’d call this a masculine, but that’s just because I favour sweet girly florals. Shaman is for everyone.

MIN New York Scent Stories Magic Circus

Scent Stories Chapter Seven, Magic Circus smells even better than the description. Don’t be fooled by the candied notes – this is no Pink Sugar (not that there is anything wrong with Pink Sugar….) or some Victoria’s Secret confection (again, if that’s your thang….). This is an enchanted circus, the kind that travels at dusk, the blue hour, and it smells as magical as it sounds. All those warm and woodsy resinous notes ground the sweetness. Don’t get me wrong, there is a yummy aspect to this one, and I did get an urge to lick my wrist. But it never overpowers, and just feels like a velvet cape of warm sweetness.

MIN New York Scent Stories The Botanist

Scent Stories Chapter Three, The Botanist will change everything you have come to believe about fruity perfumes. An apple perfume that doesn’t smell like Jolly Ranchers (if you like that kind of thing, that’s ok….).  It smells like a warm day in an orchard – close your eyes and smell apple blossoms, green leaves and soft grasses and woods warmed by the sun. The breezes are picking up the scents of the wild roses, peonies and earthy scents from the forest floor and they mingle with the sweet fruits and magic happens.

MIN New York Scent Stories Momento

Scent Stories Chapter Five, Momento is my absolute favourite of all the Scent Stories. It took me several times to figure this out because I kept wearing more than one to figure out which one was making me drool. “This is the scent of love and happiness” – that is true. It must be the aldehydes that add the sparkling and slightly powdery aspect to Momento. Absinth and lavender in perfume are a magical combination, simultaneously intoxicating and comforting. The floral, woodsy and resinous notes are beautifully blended to take you on a “scentimental” journey from first spritz until the deep drydown. Momento is addictive and beautiful.

MIN New York Scent Stories

MiN New York Scent Stories are available in limited quantities on their website. A 75ml bottle costs $240 USD, with free shipping in the USA.

Floris Rose Geranium, Marilyn Monroe’s Other Perfume

Floris Rose Geranium, Marilyn Monroe’s Other Perfume

Marilyn Monroe is famously known for wearing Chanel No5, ‘What do I wear in bed? Why, Chanel No. 5, of course.’ Maybe she had a deal with Chanel, who knows? Because it would seem that she also loved another perfume, and she loved it so much that she had her personal assistant purchase six bottles. That would be Floris Geranium Rose, an unusual yet classic perfume composition of rose, geranium, citronella and cedarwood.

Marilyn Monroe reading (1)

I say unusual because it is not a devastatingly feminine scent, nor is it a scent one might associate with a sex symbol of Marilyn’s stature. Instead, I like to think Floris Rose Geranium would have been the scent of the Marilyn  who was well read, intelligent and savvy. Not the breathy, flirty Marilyn she showed the world, but a deep thinker and an incredibly charismatic woman who, to this day, still holds the fascination of the world.

Floris Rose Geranium Marilyn Monroe

I was fortunate enough to receive a beautiful bottle of Floris Rose Geranium Bath Essence. The perfume itself is sadly, not made anymore, but Floris London still makes Rose Geranium in a Bath Essence and Luxury Soap. The scent is bracing, fresh and I would even say unisex. The citronella and geranium combine to create an illusion of a green lime scent – as green as the magical essence itself. The rose is there, but it’s no soft powdery girly rose. In fact, there is nothing really soft about this at all. It is fresh and clean in a big way, and makes me think of a dew covered giant tea rose. There is a soapy aspect to the scent, as well as a classic and traditional scent, without being old fashioned. The perfume lasts on a the skin for a few hours, and by then has softened considerably. It also gently softens the water and your skin – lovely.

I can only guess at what the perfume smells like, but the bath essence is one of the freshest and most invigorating products I own. My whole house smells like a garden with roses and fresh green citrus after I take a bath. I still wish I could have sampled the perfume, but am thrilled with my little bit of perfume history in a bottle, with my Floris Rose Geranium Bath Essence.

Floris London Rose Geranium Bath Essence is available in their shops and from their website, and is around $85 USD for a 50ml bottle.

Jean Naté After Bath Splash: Energizing Delicious Goodness

Jean Naté After Bath Splash: Energizing Delicious Goodness

jean naté after bath splash bottle

Jean Naté After Bath Splash is another terrific product from my youth that seems to have disappeared from Canadian drugstores. Happily, it is everywhere in the US! At $10 for a huge bottle, how could I not get it? I used to love the splash, the spray cologne and even the powder. It was the perfect hot summer day solution- post bath or shower, you just pour some from the gigantic 15oz bottle into your  hands and literally splash it all over your body, head to toe. I suppose “lemony” is the predominant “note” in Jean Naté but it is surprisingly complex without being complicated or “challenging”. It is, after all, meant to be cooling and calming post bathing. And it is. It is actually so soft that by the time you’ve dressed and had a coffee (or crawled into bed- I love Jean Naté at the end of the day…) you are left with just a delicious smelling skin scent that won’t interfere with any perfume you feel like wearing. But, I’d forgotten about the subtle yumminess that is left behind on the skin after the lemony engergizing burst wafts away. There is a soft sweetness and I swear, last night I kept smelling my arms and I was sure I smelled a green mossy base of some kind. A dry oakmoss-y scent that smells, well, kind of expensive.

Jean Naté is in the Diorella, Ô de Lancome, Eau Sauvage, Eau de Rochas and even 4711 citrus eau de cologne vibe – European citrus with an unmistakably American perfumery clean musk vibe. I love musks and I love the way a soft clean musk makes me feel. Add a little bit of lavender and a sweetness from vanilla or tonka for a soft sexy vibe. I used it after my shower and then wore some Guerlain Jicky eau de parfum, and the citrus and lavender from Jicky were a perfect foil for the whisper of Jean Naté left on my skin. And, by whisper, I mean, someone would have to bury their nose in your skin to detect it. If Jean Naté is anything, it’s soft and inoffensive. I may even detect a slightly powdery scent, but just barely. It kind of manages to be all things at once, while being super soft and perfect.


A free caftan? Seriously, why don’t companies do this anymore??


Oh, such clever advertising.

Maybe it’s the nostalgic throwback to the perfumes of my youth that makes me love these kinds of scents so much? Hm, I don’t think so, because Jean Naté actually smells good. There is, of course, alcohol, which is what gives that “cooling” feeling, but there is some aloe and glycerin there too so it actually feels soft and silky on the skin as well. Yummy.



Smell Like The Future: Robert Piguet Futur Perfume

Smell Like The Future: Robert Piguet Futur Perfume

Robert Piguet Futur is one of their original fragrances, originally released in the 60s.  At some point it was discontinued, likely due in part to the 60+ ingredients in the original version. Yesterday’s Perfumes has an enchanting review of the vintage formula. It’s been re-released and reworked with published notes of  bergamot, neroli, violet, jasmine, ylang, vetiver, cedar, patchouli. This perfume makes me think of the sounds of brilliantly discordant jazz. It seems haphazard but somehow it works and is strangely beautiful.

Futur is a “green” scent, and true to a good green perfume, I smell a ton of forest and resinous galbanum. It’s not listed as an ingredient but that may just be because by today’s perfume note listing standards, it’s more about advertising than actually listing the “notes”. My first impression of Futur is neon Irish Spring soap in a field of wildflowers. The floral notes just sing, in a gorgeous classical perfume way. I get an impression of floral/green classics like Joy, Ma Griffe, a hint of Miss Dior (original) and even a bit of Guerlain Chamade. The fresh florals give way to sexy jasmine and ylang and then become smoky vetiver. It’s like a ghost of classic perfumes with a crisp clean modern perfume built around it. It is clean and sexy at the same time – the sexy has something to with the woodsy patchouli base. It’s almost like an incense with that intoxicating smoky resinous goodness. I feel engergized when I wear Futur, and like I can do anything. Futur can go from jeans to the boardroom to a night out on the town. I love it, and wish I could try the parfum/extrait version – it must be so dense and gorgeous. The chewy mouth watering green-ness of Futur is addictive. I huff my wrists when I wear it.

Verdict is love, but I would caution buying this without sniffing. It’s not for the faint of heart, even though in the end it dries down to a sexy skin scent that smells like heaven to me. It’s not easy to love, and it doesn’t have the mass appeal of, say, Pink Sugar. If you are willing to step outside of the average perfume box and smell special, you should sniff it out. Also – if you like Irish Spring. Manly, yes, but I like it too….


Robert Piguet perfumes are available at specialty department stores, listed here on their website. And at The Perfume Shoppe in Canada. I don’t see Futur on their site but perhaps they can order it in. Ogilvy in Montreal carries the line as well.

Sweet Scented Memories

Sweet Scented Memories

Scent is our strongest memory trigger. I know my earliest memories involve scent….being a wee sprog and getting into my mum’s make up. Her luxe cake mascara and those 60s lipsticks had a distinct rose scent that has been reproduced in few perfumes, notably Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose and my favourite, L’Artisan Parfumeur Drole de Rose, and a whiff of those perfumes send me reeling back in time. There are those unmistakable seasonal scents as well- you know, when you can “smell”  fall in the air as those summer days get shorter. Or that hopeful whiff of spring as the days get longer after  a long cold winter. The smell of fall takes me back to school days and, another smell, sharpening my HB pencils and the smell of the inside of those wooden desks. So, you get what I mean by scent and memory, right? I’m sure you all have a friend or family member who wears a perfume or cologne that you will forever associate with them, one you likely wouldn’t buy for yourself because it really shares an identity with the wearer.

My step mother (Omi to my daughters) has a signature scent that I have always liked. It’s a beautiful and classic citrus scent, one of those sort of citrus chypre scents that aren’t made just for summer days. They have a rich mossy base, and hail from the 70s when some of my favourite perfumes came to be. Her scent is Lancome “O” de Lancome, a citrus scent launched in 1969. It is one of the more soft and floral citrus scents of the era, my other favourite being Dior Diorella. Diorella has a more mossy and dare I say, carnal, base. And Creed’s sadly discontinued Aubepine Acacia, which is really just a pretender of a citrus, although it has the same feel and vibe of “O” and Diorella, with more of the floral feel of “O”. The Lancome scent is heavily associated with my step mother, and I could never wear it, as much as I love it. It is really just “her”. It’s modern and classic at the same time, and fresh and clean while being warm and feminine. If you haven’t tried it and you enjoy uplifting citrus scents, check it out at the Lancome counter.

O de Lancome has a cool elegant vibe like the 70s fashion Lauren Hutton is sporting here…

So this story is about my daughter Biddy. She was born around 5 weeks too early, and at one point weighed under 5 lbs. Considering she is now taller than I am, it still amazes me to recall how wee she was. So, being so small and sleepy, she had to stay in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) ward for a week after she was born. Yes, I went home without my baby. It was gut wrenching, but I felt blessed to live a few blocks away from the hospital. At the time, my step mother headed up the volunteer auxillary at the hospital where Biddy was staying. I would drive to the hospital to feed Biddy every 2-3 hours. I’d spend most of the day there, feeding and snuggling her. Close physical skin to skin contact helps babies grow so I did lots of that. But one of the most beautiful memories I have would be arriving at the NICU early in the morning. It was the end of January, so it was cold, blustery and dark outside. The nurses (aka saints) would be silently fussing around, feeding and cradling the impossibly tiny babies, and I would sit on a rocking chair, cradling Biddy. But- almost every morning, I noticed when I picked her up, that she had a distinctly non-new-baby scent about her. That she smelled like, well, a lovely citrus perfume. Turns out, my stepmother would often get to the hospital before me, and her first stop was to the NICU. She would settle in to rock and snuggle Biddy before starting her work. There was something so comforting about knowing that even before I arrived, Biddy was getting rocked and sung to, and that she was learning the smells of the people who loved her.

Biddy & her Omis, almost 17 years ago…that’s me looking tired.

To this day, if either of my daughters smell “O” de Lancome, the first thing they say is “oh, that is Omi’s perfume”. And I suspect for them, and for me, it always will be.

Do you have a treasured scent memory?

“O” de Lancome is available at Lancome counters. There are several newer flanker releases of the original, but my favourite will always be just “O” de Lancome….

Earthy, Sexy, Floral And So Soft…Santa Maria Novella Gardenia

Earthy, Sexy, Floral And So Soft…Santa Maria Novella Gardenia

 It is flowers, green vegetation and so warm, earthy, and well, sexy. Like you’re relaxing in the shade on your porch in the deep southern heat, after having a luke warm cooling bath using only the simplest and cleanest soap (Dove?). You’ve put on your gauzy linen slip and the humidity makes your skin glow while you sip iced tea with frosty condensation dripping down the sides of your glass. You have to lift your hair off your neck because you are so warm. There is a huge lush gardenia bush next to the porch and the heat makes the lush scent of flowers, the greenery and even the damp earth just radiate all around you.

A real gardenia I plucked….stunning
That pretty much describes my Santa Maria Novella Gardenia experience. At first sniff I thought- oh my, perfect. A soapy clean gardenia scent, with lovely fresh green notes. I was in one of the divine Santa Maria Novella boutiques and basically wanted ONE OF EVERYTHING. Sigh. But Gardenia really spoke to me so it was mine. SMN scents often have a signature musk note in their base. It can be overwhelming to my nose, like in their musk scents but in Gardenia it hides under the flowers. I never even really thought about it but did wonder how a soliflfore floral scent could be so, well, sexy. There was something slightly “warm almost sweaty skin” about it without being dirty or, musk can often be, oily. Yuck. An oily animalic musk sends me running to the hills and makes my family ask to please not wear that perfume again *stares at Helmut Lang edp*. Not Gardenia. It smells like I just took a bath with Gardenia soap, with none of the weird indolic or cheese-y notes often found in Gardenia scents that use tuberose to approximate the scent of gardenia. I was once asked what cheese I had eaten when I was wearing Fracas. Sigh.  I was at Noor in Toronto recently (my favourite perfume boutique in the world) chatting with the knowlededgable & friendly owners, Nahla and Fred. Its always so fun there because they encourage you to sniff and chat as long you as like. When I mentioned I loved SMN Gardenia, the impossibly handsome & charming Fred commented “Oh, that’s an earthy one”. Earthy….it hadn’t really occurred to me until he said that how true that is. Now I’m obsessed with the earthy-ness of Gardenia and love it.
Santa Maria Novella Gardenia is my perfect Gardenia and will fill the empty void left by Kiehl’s Gardenia. I was able to do a side by side sniff with SMN Gardenia and an actual gardenia. There is none of the borderline rot smell that exists in the actual flower, and much more of the green. More like standing back and inhaling the whole gardenia bush environment. SMN Gardenia is like a hologram of the gardenia plant. And, I would still call this a soft scent. It does not have tons of sillage, and it is not BIG, nor does it last and last and last on the skin until you wish you could scrub it off. It just smells lovely, feminine and clean, with a touch of something sexy.
A hot sunny day melting into evening, a cooling swim & then Gardenia
Santa Maria Novella products are sold at retailers throughout Canada and the US. They can be hard to find so Google is your best friend depending on where you are. Lafco in NYC seems to be a very reliable retailer of the line and they ship. Noor in Toronto has the line for Canadian buyers and will also ship- watch their site for their online shop, coming soon. Btw, SMN perfumes are notorious for the fact that every bottle looks the same, which is why you need a professional to help you find the right one! Kidding- sort of….
Learning To Be Glam at Essie’s School of Hard Rocks

Learning To Be Glam at Essie’s School of Hard Rocks

Essie School of Hard Rocks is another colour from the Cocktail Bling collection, my other one being the delicious indigo blue Baubing For Baubles. This one is a nifty teal colour, with a grey-ish somewhat dusty tone to it. It is non-traditional for sure, yet somehow the muted tone keeps it from looking too funky. I really like this and find it goes with just about everything. As with all Essie polishes, it is smooth & creamy and applies like a dream. These shots are 2 coats on top of my soon-to-be-reviewed miraculous ridge filler base coat (stay tuned) and Lippmann Top Speed top coat.
I have a few greens now- Lippmann Billionaire, which is quite dark, and Chanel Khaki Vert. They are all quite different and I love them all. Now I think I need a light sage or pistachio green to go with the Spring weather that will be coming…eventually….
Out of direct light…
In direct light. Actual colour somewhere in between….
The Gorgeousness of Ivoire de Balmain

The Gorgeousness of Ivoire de Balmain

Most people describe Ivoire de Balmain as “soapy” or “clean”. I suppose it is those things, but to simply describe it as that would be like calling Ottawa in January as “cold”. Ivoire is, to me, a gorgeous meditation on warm, sexy skin. It was released in 1980, and is described as a Green Floral, but it is not an 80s perfume bomb. It definitely has more the of 70s modern, clean & still very sexy vibe, yet you can sense the depth of mega ingredients used in the 80s making it’s way in there. It’s a neat balance, actually.

But it never goes where perfumes like Giorgio and Poison go, which is TOP VOLUME. Ivoire never put on her shoulder pads, and never teased her hair. She kept her slinky wide leg pants and silky blouses, and her centre parted soft and sexy hair. It does have the Kitchen Sink list of notes that can works beautifully but never goes nuclear. Here are some notes that I’ve assembled from various points the web – with the ones I detect the most in bold, and the supporting notes in italics:

Top notes: green accord, galbanum, bergamot, lemon, aldehydes

Heart notes: Lily of the valley, rose, hyacinth, jasmine, carnation, orris, orchid, geranium

Base notes: Cedar, musk, oakmoss, amber, raspberry, sandalwood

Eau de Toilette, gorgeous, & what I wear…


Vintage parfum, stunning if you can find it…

The galbanum top note is particularly interesting in Ivoire. The classic green Balmain scent, Vent Vert, especially in it’s vintage formulation, is known for its uber doses of galbanum. Perhaps Ivoire was an ode to Balmain history? It is a somewhat “old fashioned” note in that you just don’t see it in modern perfumery very much as it’s not “pretty”, per se, nor easy to fall in with right away. It needs to settle on the skin to be appreciated for it’s true beauty. Galbanum is a peculiar note, and smells, off the top, a bit bitter and acrid, then can go quite green, spicy, woody and balsam like. It can be reminiscent of pine, evergreen, parsely, sour green apples,  musk or simply just “intensely green”. Hello, mama, sign me up. I often get a “skanky” accord from galbanum and to me that just reads as sexy. If Ivoire is soapy, it is only soapy in the “soap covering up warm, sexy skin right out of a post-rendevous bath” sense.

Once the galbanum naughty notes dissipate, the warm florals start to come out and bloom on the skin. The extreme sweetness that could come from the florals is tempered softly by the citrus top notes and galbanum, so the florals come out sweet but somehow are perfectly balanced. Then…this is the best part. The woody mossy base is simply to die for. I’m not sure what the oak moss deal is with Ivoire – real?  Synthetic? Old stock would mean real oak moss for sure. I’ve yet to smell an Ivoire I don’t like, so from where I stand the oak moss question is a mystery. Add some warm sweet amber and then, this is the kicker- sandalwood and raspberry. Fruits in the base add up to simply gorgeous in Ivoire. The woody dry down of Ivoire goes on for hours on my skin and is so rich, sexy and mysterious I can’t get enough of it. I get compliments on it constantly and have even been followed by men asking me what perfume I’m wearing. It is not a loud projecting scent at all, but nor is it a quiet mouse of a scent- it teases with it’s feminine wiles. To my nose it is drop dead femininity in a bottle. If squeaky clean is white, then something not-quite-clean is ivory….

Ivoire is one of my Top 10 favourite perfumes of all time and always will be. Inexplicably it is still available for a song online, and I mean a big bottle for under $40. If anything I have written here appeals to you, get yourself some now.