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Some of my favorite perfumes, plus a huge bottle of Tabu, never opened,which makes a good bookend

Years ago, when I was married to my first husband, he didn’t like the smell of perfume, so I didn’t wear any. Baby powder was about it.

Now perfume is one of my favorite things. I don’t know if it is a thing, but in any case, I have several ones I like.

When I became single/divorced at the age of 34, I went to Tahiti on a vacation. It was a French port and so I was able to buy French perfume duty free and bring it back to Hawaii. I bought a bottle of Joy.

This was the only French perfume I had ever heard of and as it was the most expensive, I figured it must be good. Since those days in 1972, I have tried many scents and here are some of my favorites.

Good old USA, Ciara by Ultima II/Revlon.  It is an old standby, inexpensive but a nice fragrance. Walgreens carries it and it’s always on special. Last time I purchased it, price was around $20 a bottle.

In 1982 I was walking through Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills and the perfume person sprayed me with Must de Cartier. I asked how much it was and when she said $55 a bottle, I kept on walking.

When I got back to the hotel, my new husband said, “What is that fabulous fragrance?” I told  him and he said, “Go buy that immediately, that is the greatest!”. So I did, and for every special occasion for the next twenty years until he died, he gave me a bottle of Must de Cartier.

By 2002, the price had doubled and the size of the bottle got smaller. But the worst part is that somewhere along the way, they changed the formula and it never was quite the same as the original.

Now, if you can ever find a Vintage bottle of Must de Cartier it is over $200. I don’t know if perfume is like wine and gets better with age, or if it loses it’s kick. Last time I checked, the smallest bottle of the current version was $125.

So now I have changed to a few other scents. I love Coco Madamoiselle by Chanel. It is $85  for the 1.7 oz  bottle or $115  for the 3.4 oz. bottle and it is very special to me. I usually buy it when it is in a value set with body cream and shower gel. To balance that, I also use Sensuous by Estee Lauder @$75 and Elixer Aromatics by Clinique @$50.

I average this out with Ciara, and this is my ‘going to Costco’ scent.

My boyfriend doesn’t like any of these perfumes. His favorite perfume for me is Elizabeth Arden Red Door. It is OK, and I wear it when I am with him, but frankly, it doesn’t ‘float my boat’. It is a medium priced perfume in the $40 range and makes a nice room spray for the bedroom.

I pride myself on being a good ‘shopper’  and I always make my perfume purchases when that particular line is having a gift with purchase. Consequently I have many cosmetic bags filled with small sizes of cosmetics, as well as a multitude of totes and handbags that were ‘gifts’ from Chanel, Estee Lauder,Clinique, Nordstroms and Neiman Marcus.

Sometimes I can time my purchase to coincide when each store is having a Beauty Event. This means that with $100 purchase, Neimans, or Nordstroms has a gift also. So besides the cosmetic company giving you a gift, the store gives you a handbag with ten or so sample sizes of their products.

I sort of justify my perfume costs with all the freebies I get that I use when I travel, or just want to try something new. Sometimes the ‘gift’ is more valuable than the actual purchase. Especially if it includes a good eye cream, which alone can cost $50 or more.

One of the best ‘gift givers’ in the cosmetic industry is Lancome. Unfortunately I don’t like any of their perfume, but it isn’t too hard to find something in their vast line for $32, so I can qualify for their GWP, (that is gift with purchase).

Usually Lancome’s gifts include an eye shadow quad and their eye makeup remover. These two items alone would cost more than $32. Add to that a face cream, a lipstick and some mascara and you have a gift worth double or triple the cost of your purchase. Of course they are banking on the fact that most people won’t only buy the minimum purchase.

In fact it is almost impossible to hit the minimum right on the button. Although today I managed it at the Chanel counter in Nordstroms. Total accident: just came out to the right amount.

And their Sublimage eye cream gift alone was worth almost as much as my whole purchase. Not that I would spend $100 for one fourth of an ounce of eye cream, great as it is. Plus there were several other creams and lotions in the gift basket.

And plus/plus a nice black patent handbag (lined in leopard, how could I resist?) courtesy of Nordstroms. And believe it or not, I do not own a black patent handbag.

I also enjoy collecting mini sizes of various perfumes. The bottles are beautiful and I always keep a few by my computer when I am working and give myself a spritz of something new for a pick me up.

The reason I switch around between four or five different fragrances, is that if you use the same one all the time, you get immune to it, and can’t smell it yourself.

I find that by using a variety of scents, I can enjoy each one and it gives me a mental lift to do something I can indulge in, without it being illegal, immoral or fattening.

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