Cheap Thrills – Royal Apothic and freshly planted bulbs

A couple of months ago. Royal Apothic sent me two of their scents to sniff, Iris and Hydrangea.  I promptly set them to one side and figured I’d get around to them later.  Yeah, my later is a while.

But talking about cheap thrills.  Finally I opened the Iris and used the little roller ball to put it on.  You know, It’s not Iris Silver Mist at all, but it is a slightly sweet iris scent that’s light, easy to wear, and fits in perfectly with the hot days ahead. Very feminine and likable.  Hey, let’s test that hydrangea too!  Same. Slightly sweet, light, refreshing, perfect for spring and summer.

Best news – these are available in the looks like about 10-15 ml roller ball for $16 at Anthropologie. I mean, that’s not just free, but almost like they are paying you to tak it off their hands.  In the cheap thrill category, this works great.

Speaking of cheap thrills, after my dismal failure in the one-week challenge, I’ve decided to give it a longer time of financial austerity.  I’d like to move more away from the shopping satisfaction mentality into thinking much longer about purchases.  So what I’m going to do, every time I feel the urge to buy something that is not really essential, I’ll just write it down. After three months of this, I’ll go through that list and see if I want anything on it.  I have no idea if this will work better than the one week thingie, but I am feeling a little like I just spend a lot of goofy money and want to break that habit and be more mindful about expenditures – perhaps spending more on one large, thoughtful purchase than 50 small, goofy purchases.  Well, we’ll see how it all works out.  It was the ice cream maker that sorta did me in.  I love ice cream, and I’m lactose intolerant, so I barely ever eat it, but it was Meryl Streep character in that  movie “It’s Complicated” talking about her ice cream maker that had me thinking I needed one. I don’t need one, but now I have one.

If you want to join me for a week or a month or all three months, feel free!  I’ll be posting probably once a month on how it’s going.  I’m still contemplating all the rules – do I need to cancel all my eyelash extension appointments? It saves me tons in makeup since I can just put on powder eyeliner and do nothing else with my face.  Do I get to keep acupuncture and rolfing 1x a month?  The devil is making the details.

One recent purchase, though, has made me incredibly happy. With the tuberose infusion in perfumes this year, I was thinking I needed some live tuberose, so I ordered a bunch of Tuberose tubers/bulbs (???).  It took me 2-3 weeks after they go there to get them planted, but when I put them in the pots this week, I was in the front yard, and I kept thinking all those lovely, rich floral smells were my roses (I have monstrous rose bushes all over the front yard, and they are all just crazy with blooms).  And then I realized it couldn’t be just that, there was a much smuttier smell around.  The thing is, the tuberose bulb/tuber, when sniffed up close, didn’t seem to have a strong smell, but it was just permeating my front yard. Tuberose everywhere, just wafting lightly.  So it’s this strong while it’s still under the dirt in little pots, I am breathless with anticipation for when they come up and bloom. Cost for that – less than $20, a seriously cheap thrill.

What’s your favorite cheap thrill in the scent category. Doesn’t neeed to be a perfume, just something scent or that puts off scent that makes you very h appy

  • Susan Coburn says:

    Well my dear, Happened to land here while researching “How to Open a Bulgari Bottle” since receiving one as part of a fragrance set from Sephora. Fun, nice to be able to try some of the pricey ones, blah and blah. I cannot figure out how to open this. I am fifty-eight and do not need more things to make me feel the net will descend any second, as in over my head and off to Bedlam.

    But as I read your prose, I find I like your style. Talcum powdered cat fanny is my new line for the day, and I can only hope that once I open this tiny demon it will be the furthest response from my crumbly, attacked by cleverness once again mind.

    Do you know how to open this? Because of health issues that do not need exposing here, opening Chinese takeout is as fancy as it gets, especially when they mash the the wire handle into the container to keep it extra shut. Thank you. You seem grounded in reality. In an optimistic, happy way.

  • Flora says:

    Cheap thrills? My neighbor’s peony bushes, which are so abundant I don’t even have to plant my own. Roses on a warm June day, everywhere in my city and in my own garden. And lilies- delicious, blowsy, voluptuous lilies, becoming even more fragrant at night, impossibly huge trumpets and bowls spilling over with syrupy nectar and overpowering scent. I can’t imagine my garden without them. They are also easy to propagate yourself if you want to avoid buying more so they really can be considered “cheap” even if the initial purchase was not. I still can’t get over the fact that such big, gorgeous blooms are not tropical and can be grown outside where I live, it almost seems like cheating!


  • audrey says:

    Lilac bushes for me too! And the Pacifica solid lilac perfume is fantastic…..i don’t feel that way aobut the spray though.

    I also looooooove the smell of the white flowers that bloom on hostas, and hyacinth, and laurel blooms. Crabapple blossoms also smell incredible.

    More cheap thrills: the smell of a ripe pear, cut grass, and the damp air coming from vents when laundry is being dried. And, of course, pre-thunderstorm air. Who doesn’t love that?

  • Linda says:

    Spice market things: orange flower water, vanilla beans, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon. Fresh cut ginger. And stargazer lilies. Cheap, delicious.

  • Tara C says:

    I am on an austerity plan so my budget is very small, but I hoard $$ over a period of weeks and then buy one really nice bottle of perfume. I have too much perfume as it is, so I can’t justify buying a bunch of cheap stuff – much prefer one really nice thing.

    As for cheap thrills, last night we went to the farmer’s market and I got a small $3 bunch of flowers and a jar of home-made jam, that made my day. My other greatest pleasure that is totally free is burying my face in the soft fur of my puppycat, Dot. She is the sunshine of my days.

    • Shelley says:

      I love farmer’s markets. 😡

      Also, as for bundles of flowers, the area I like to go on vacation has lots of small and medium farms, and during the summer it seems like every third house offers fresh bouquets on a stand or table out front. Leave your money. My favorite one offers a u-pick option; a modest by farm, ginormous by urban, garden out front has a little shed that has some bunches already arranged…or clippers to use and go cut your own.

      Wandering there is a cheap thrill on an inexpensive vacation. :)>-

      • maidenbliss says:

        Shelley, are tuberoses ‘that’ hard to grow without a greenhouse? Now I’m rethinking. It’s very hot/humid where I live. I’m with youn on farmer’s markets. :d

        • mary says:

          I planted tuberoses, and I think the moles ate them. Never had a single one. The peruvian lilies only lasted a year, as well. Sigh. 8-|

          • Shelley says:

            Maidenbliss, hot and humid should be a happy place for them…they come from closer to the equator. I, on the other hand, live far enough away from the equator that they would be challenged in my environment. Since I limit how many coddling-required plants I have (frequently, that number = 0 😉 ), I haven’t even tried.

            Not that there aren’t other glorious failures. Like the jasmine I kept going for three years, outside and in, but which I ignored at just the wrong last couple of weeks before setting out season. (:|

          • Musette says:


            xo >-)

  • Aparatchick says:

    That’s what online shopping carts are for! I merrily add things to mine, then remember two mottos: “Is it beautiful, useful, or both? (apologies to William Morris)” and “Do I need it or want it?” 90% of the time I end up closing out the shopping cart without buying anything.

    I used to live near a coffee shop that roasted its own coffee. The smell of those roasting beans was a wonderful cheap thrill. Perfume cheap thrills? Egyptian Bergamot Rose/Lotus Garden/Tibetan Mountain Temple/Malibu Lemon Blossom, all from Pacifica and around $22. Oh, and Ex Libris from Tokyo Milk, less than $30.

  • Francesca says:

    Off-topic, but there’s a big article on natural perfumery in today’s NY Times, for those who are interested:

  • Disteza says:

    I use the old ‘write it down, then save up for it’ technique–it’s an exercise in staying within my budget and not giving into easy credit, while still being able to get some very nice things. My cheap thrill for this weekend will be the free Feria Sevillana at Strathmore this weekend–live performanaces by local flamenco dancers, lots of Spanish food, and all the sevillanas you care to dance to at the various casetas from 12-5. Course I’ll be attending in the giant dress I spent a nice chunk of change just for such an event!

    As for the ice cream maker, we have one of those and mostly make fersh fruit sorbets as I’m not willing to eat my weight in ice cream every summer. There’s a wonderful book called The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments–it’s got tons of recipes the are dairy-free and generally easy to make. 😡

  • janh says:

    A fresh crouissant (sp) from the store down the block; hearing the dogs running around in their morning craziness, getting up at 5 to feel some cool AZ air. You also got me wanting some tuberose bulbs and Im getting some. Im going to join the less is more club for a week.

  • karin says:

    maggiecat above mentioned Possets, which is funny cause while sitting here in front of my computer, I kept smelling something really good in the air. Turns out it’s my bottle of Possets Venus Black that I dug out of a drawer yesterday (with a few other Possets bottles) and set in front of me on my desk cause I wanted to mention them in another post.

    I discovered Possets cause my sister-in-law gave me a gift certificate to Scent Addict last year. SA sell all sorts of perfume oils, none of which I’d heard of before. Did some research on Possets, and decided to buy some unsniffed. At $10 a pop, they’re totally cheap scent thrills. I have to say, though, that the other ones I bought aren’t nearly as compelling or interesting as Venus Black. This stuff is like liquid crack.

    Crazy that we find something we love, then get distracted by something else, then when we finally get around to smelling that first “thing” again, we’re shocked that we let it languor for so long untouched and unappreciated!!! Too many great scents out there. Too little time!!!

    • karin says:

      Sorry, use of “languor” above is totally wrong! Linger is the right word…

      • maidenbliss says:

        lol=)) liquid crack! I’m deeply enabled and must check out Possets. At such low prices I can’t resist.

        • karin says:

          They have a great sampling program – definitely worth sampling before buying. Enjoy! 🙂 Happy to help enable fellow perfumistas.

          • karin says:

            Sorry…that’s the Possets website (not Scent Addict) has a good sampling program. (Sometimes I wish we could edit these posts…hate when I screw up!) /:)

          • maidenbliss says:

            No worries, I knew you meant Possets, and already looked at their website-lots to choose from!
            When I’m in a hurry and don’t take time to edit, I then look at my post and swear really loud
            for being so stupid=))
            and Lee, if you’re still lurking around I want to thank you for my new addiction-to Nurse
            Jackie. God, I love that woman, especially the scene where she loots through the guy’s
            pants while he’s laying in the hallway after the seizure or whatever:d

  • Vasily says:

    Favorite cheap thrill perfumes are Caswell-Massey No. 6 Cologne, herbs and citrus for the warmer months, Old Spice Classic Cologne, warm grandfatherly spices for the cooler months.

    Favorite natural smells: the first spring day in the northern states after a hard winter, when you can smell the thawing earth and the clean chill of ice melting; hot humid summer nights in the deep south when the world smells of vegetation rotting and honeysuckle, and the insects are screaming so loudly that you can’t hear yourself think.

  • maggiecat says:

    I want to smell your garden too and I don’t even LIKE tuberose! Favorite cheap thrills…fresh coffee, jasmine bushes (which I had in Florida but don’t have here in Texas), luxury soaps of many types, Possets, H2O body lotion in Milk, Tyler candles (in Vignette and Drama especially), rose bushes, of course, and fresh lavender. I’m trying to cut back as well, and realize I don’t have to sample every scent that smells appealing – but I do try to sample extensively before I buy.

  • maidenbliss says:

    A friend sent me a bunch of seed packets and Asclepias Tuberosa will be planted pronto this morning. I want that smell in my yard, too.:x
    I love just bloomed gardenias, taking walks through the forest behind my house, the ripening smell of mushrooms, pine trees, and a cucumber tree that is ancient; it drops strange fruit that when pried open is identical to a fresh orange peel, sweet and bitter, very pungent.
    I prefer quality over quantity, maybe it’s just my personal taste, I seem to gravitate towards what usually costs more, although I’ve cut way back the past few years. I found some Henri Bendel candles on clearance for around $8 and the Lemon Verbena is hypnotizing, I keep it by my bed, even unlit the smell permeates the room.

    • Lee says:

      I’m sorry to say that the asclepias won’t smell much like Polianthes tuberosa.:(

      Great butterfly plant though!

  • Shelley says:

    Cheap thrills are great, no?

    So many have already offered up wonderful examples…and reasoning…all of which made me smile…I’ll just add a few dribs and drabs. In the realm of commerce, I get happy from: Good quality journals and sketchbooks on the bargain table at the big box book store; a packet of seeds for a variety I either know I love and need oodles of, or want to explore; a score from a used book store; jeans for $30 on sale at Kohl’s that do all the “fit and finish” that some pay $150 for at Nordstrom.

    Even cheaper? Digging in my dirt. Sitting around the fire with friends.

    Fragrance? There’s sharing a bottle with friends, of course. And there’s…honey locust in the spring…peonies showing you how to combine blowsy and elegant in one fell swoop, both in appearance and scent…one stargazer lily at a far corner of your garden, wafting your way (see? just buy one, or maybe three, bulbs)…dirt after a rain being warmed in the sun…driving/riding/walking into the woods…lying on a dock over the lake and smelling dinner (cheap!) being grilled nearby…freshly sliced cucumber…aw, you get the idea.

    My equivalent of your tuberose is a pot of rosemary. I buy one every year. For some reason, despite all the things I CAN overwinter, I always kill rosemary once it comes inside. So, I’ve committed to starting fresh every spring, and keep it in a pot on the patio where I can rub it whenever I want. (Along with lemon verbena, scented geranium, mint…a bunch of stuff I paid for once, and have maintained. Again, cheap!)

    • Haunani says:

      Rosemary! I can’t walk by it without touching it and smelling my hands. And I love rose geraniums, too.

  • ladida says:

    Cheap thrills…chopped sweet potatoes baked with Alchemy Spice company’s Neo Masala mix, honey, and just a touch of brown sugar. Or freshly cut ginger…I could string up slices and wear it as a necklace, I love it so…

  • March says:

    KILLING ME with the tuberose tubers. I had no idea. Now I want to stand there in your yard and smell them.

    • Olfacta says:

      Well, they’re nowhere near blooming yet! I moved a few of them to a sunnier spot. I think they have to get a lot of sun to bloom. But if and/or when they do, I’ll let you know!

  • Olfacta says:

    I free-lanced a lot in times gone by, so I’m cheap.There were times when I had to think seriously about spending a dollar. Last year, like many people, we took something of a financial drubbing. It was amazing how quickly those old habits came back. That appears to have eased up somewhat, but I never really got out of the Cheap habit.

    To me, cheap is a sport. Beating back the world of overpriced junk and fraudulent sales promises equals “winning”. I found a really cool design-y T-shirt for the DH yesterday at Maxx, marked down from $42 to $9.99. (A T-shirt? $42.00, are you kidding me? That was thrilling!) Free thrills include watching fireflies at dusk while drinking something summery in my garden, clean sheets, the first cool night in September, a GWP with something I need and was going to buy anyway.

    My tuberose experience has been just ok so far. I think I may have planted the bulbs too early. Out of the dozen or so I planted, I have five in-ground plants up and 1 in a pot. They didn’t really start growing until it got hot (not warm, hot. A fussy, and tropical, plant. I got my bulbs from Burpee, btw.

  • Francesca says:

    I just had a great cheap thrill. I had a 25 dollar gift certificate to Amazon, and found an unopened tester bottle (3.4 oz) of Jacomo Silences, which I really like a lot, for 19.95. With what was left over (ok, this is not a scent, thank Goddess) I bought historical non-fiction book Operation Mincemeat. Total cost, about 8.95.

    On the natural cheap thrills, about 12 bucks worth of daffodils (and that’s a lot of daffs) in the early spring. Or even better, a free bunch from my “garden,” such as it is.

  • Kim says:

    Also in the quality over quantity camp. So I go for the free smells. My three favourites:
    1) Lilac bushes in the Midwest in May on a windy stormy day. The humidity from the rain holds the scent and the wind sends it everywhere so I don’t even have to have lilac nearby to luxuriate in the amazing scent
    2) Linden trees in bloom. I used to have one right outside my bedroom window & no purchased product has ever matched the real and free one.
    3) Crisp cool air in the fall and winter at sunrise or sunset in the Midwest. So clean and pure that even after years of being in the Midwest I still have to stop and enjoy it. How can such a non-smell be so wonderful?

  • Fiordiligi says:

    I’m not very good at cheap thrills (and also old enough that the title of this post makes me think of Big Brother & the Holding Company) – like carter I go for quality over quantity every time.

    I live in the city, right by the river, so no sweet-smelling gardens for me. I do, however, have a fabulous bakery just a few yards away and the divine smells wafting from there are marvellous.

    I am also a soap addict, and even the most expensive soap isn’t THAT expensive, is it? SMN Melograno takes some beating (although I just bought a box of their new Amber (per Uomo) in Siena. Mmmm.

    Oh, and I refuse to cut back on my essential beauty treatments, but I buy FAR too much make-up. Far, far too much.

  • Joe says:

    I love that you had that epiphany about the ice cream maker and are now sort of… extrapolating from that. I think the writing it down part of your exercise is key; at least that makes the wish more concrete, otherwise the brain just flits from one object of desire to another. Once it’s written down, it’s sort of “parked.” I really do need to be more mindful of what I’m spending because I really want to go to Japan in November since I have a friend who’s living there for awhile.

    As for cheap thrills: my local Anthropologie doesn’t carry those cute ~$16 Royal Apothic rollerball things. I’ve been wanting the marigold one for a couple months now and I may need to cave and buy it unsniffed online. I should have just bought a replacement of the Voluspa Baltic Amber candle while I was there; I love that thing. I finally sampled the room/body spray of the same scent and it’s also terrific, but more of a winter thing. When I read blog reviews of $90 candles, I just think, “No, this $18 Voluspa will do just fine, thank you.” I draw the line at candles that cost almost the same as a pair of shoes. 😮

  • Pimpinett says:

    Completely free thrill; I got off the bus a couple of stops earlier than usual the other night, it was dusk, the weather was lovely and I wanted to see if a big honeysuckle and a couple of other fragrant bushes I know of were in bloom yet. They were, as are the lilacs, and all the scents were carried on the air, strong and heavy with that overripe, indolic quality to them, and it was beautiful.

    Also, tomorrow I’m meeting a friend who has been in London and is bringing home a 30 ml bottle of Le Temps d’Une Fête for me, that’s a relatively cheap thrill, and another one is performing in Istanbul and let me try out a few perfume oils she bought there when she was back home last week. She had a lovely, smooth musk among them, and said there was another musk that was stinkier in the same store. I asked for that one.

  • Zazie says:

    I envy those tuberose plants!
    I am hunting down the real flower, because I have never smelled it, but I am having trouble finding some…

    I have many scented cheap trills.
    The one I cherish the most is the Santa Maria Novella “Carta d’armenia”, the florentine version of the original papier d’armenie, but it is waaaay better than the original, and more expensive, but still under 15 euros. It’s scent is heaven. 😡
    Then there is the “eau de beauté”, from caudalie, a kind of magic water that smells wonderfully herbaceous and refreshing. I got everyone around me addicted. You can get that for 11 euros.
    Perfume wise, I have found Fracas’ little sister: Tuberosa neroli, a 9 euro fragrance from kelemata/perlier.

  • Tamara says:

    I run out of tiny lil’ notebooks that I jot down all my heart’s desires on and it works cause I write the prices and go back and forth whether I want them or not,and cross them off if I change my mind, which happens very often! It helps to keep my mind from racing too once I write it on paper , I can let it go in a way. If I lust for it long enough , I plan a way to get it in the end.
    As for cheap thrills ~
    My forest runs, rain or shine, such scents there..
    my daughter’s hair when she gets out of her bath.
    White shirts washed in Clorox gentle bleach.
    Chai tea.
    Nivea body lotion in the old school dark blue bottles.
    The honeysuckle and jasmine flowers and mimosa tree in my backyard garden.
    Velvet & Sweet Pea’s Kashmir Rose Frosting all over my face before I go to bed.
    Soooooo good people.

  • Masha says:

    It’s funny, but we’re drowning in new tuberose perfume releases right now, and the very best tuberose is the one in the garden! And hydrangea, that’s interesting, because some of my favorite incense comes from Japan’s Awaji Island, where they use hydrangea as an incense base. It’s uplifting and seems to make everyone so cheerful. Much lighter than most incense, pets seem to go for it also.
    For inexpensive olfactory bliss, I got to try Katlyn Breene’s Kyphi Perfume this week, from Mermade Magickal Arts. Wow! What a beautiful, deep, resinous wonder. If the ancient Egyptians got to smell this for a lifetime, I want to go back in time! It’s my favorite new find this year.

  • mary says:

    Same page. Budgeting shopping urges. Favorite cheap thrill fragrance-wise– cardamom. Every now and then, I will go for a couple months just craving cardamom–in tea, in coffee, sprinkled on oatmeal, or in a special coffee cake I love to make when I am not determined to South Beach diet. Favorite cardamomm experience: when my daughter was a tiny nursing baby, her breath was milky sweet cardamom–I had been eating cardamom bread. And btw– what do you mean you don’t need an ice cream machine? Summer’s here– you are gonna use that machine, and it will be fun. How about some nice lavender eau de cologne ice cream, with rose petals?

    • Shelley says:

      Hey, did you have to bring up lavender ice cream with rose petals? [-(
      It’s all good. As it happens, I *do* have an ice cream maker…no investment required…lavender and rose in the garden…I think you’ve set up next week’s cheap thrill for me! >:d< 🙂

      • mary says:

        I kept visualizing it all day! I have one of those tiny ice cream makers, which is a blue plastic ball, with about a quart size aluminum tube in the middle– you set up the cream and additional ingredients, like oh, let’s say vanilla, lavender rose petal sugar, and i dunno, vodka, seal it up with ice and salt in the proper chamber, and let the little children roll the ball back and forth and shake it around until it’s ice cream. Chinaberry catalog, or sometimes Target, will have these wonderful things. I’m going to do it this weekend. If I could be sure Feminite du Bois was not toxic, I would try it in ice cream. And the new Balenciaga.

  • carter says:

    I’m firmly in the quality over quantity, less is more camp and have been for quite some time, but I come by it naturally because my mother was that way. I read a quote recently that really struck home. I don’t recall who said it, but it was something like (paraphrasing here) “We were always too poor to afford to buy cheap.” I love that. Another one I love is “I shop, therefore I am” which is so not how I want to feel, and I am very glad that most of the time, anyway, I don’t.

    Keeping a journal is a great idea and a very useful technique for changing one’s habits. And I think you are going to be very pleased when you discover how much thinking twice, owning less, and really valuing that which you do own can enrich your life.

    Cheap scent thrills are many: brewed coffee; Central Park every day, in every season; The Paws of The Terriers; fresh rosemary rubbed between my fingers; rain on the blistering city streets after a long dry spell in August.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I’m easy- I pass a jasmine bush every day somewhere and still have to stop to take in the gorgeous scent of the real flower. As far as perfume, I don’t do cheap scents well, I prefer one expensive purchase, like you’re going to do. There is just barely enough time for me to try all of the not-cheap scents as it is. I know, I need o open my mind!! Give me money and time and I’ll comply. 🙂

  • Musette says:

    Korean Spice Bush/viburnum has that effect on me – smelled up close it ….doesn’t smell. But turn your head away and whammm-o! Maybe. Then again, maybe not. But on the wind….wheee-doggie!

    And then it’s gone…again..

    I think your idea of writing stuff down is excellent – and way better than that one-week thingy. I wouldn’t take out things like your eyelash extensions and rolfing, etc – those are almost necessities for you.

    Choose the things you actually ‘waste’ money on – for me it’s makeup. I have a lot of makeup. I backed the truck up to the Prescriptives counter and now have enough foundation, brow pencil and eyeliner to last this decade. Or more.

    Maybe I’ll give up handbags 😕 :-j

    well, at least I’m taking a whole lot more time to decide and that action has cut the expenditures way down. 4 mos into it I’m still debating the LV Epi Alma and have almost decided it isn’t worth the simoleans. What a departure from my normal shotgun approach.

    xoxo >-)

  • Haunani says:

    Mmmm…I want tuberose tubers! Google, here I come. 🙂 One of my cheap(ish) thrills is Pacifica Tibetan Mountain Temple body butter. It feels lavish and smells gingery-wonderful.