Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day to all!
Now, I don’t know about you, but now that we’re in the post-holiday trough, I’m loathe to spend much money, so any cheap thrills right now are welcome. And I happened upon several lately to share with you.
First off, last week as I zipped into the health food store to make a purchase, I spied a rack of bottles near the checkout counter. All-natural perfume oils, according to the sign (although I didn’t catch the brand name). And there in the front row sat a lineup of testers. Well, how could I resist? There were about eight choices, several of which were generic musks and vanillas, so I opted for Chinese Rain on one hand and Sandalwood on the other. The CR turned out to be little more than a glorified lily of the valley – nice enough, but hardly inspired. The Sandalwood, however, wound up being slightly more intriguing. Not really exactly sandalwood smelling, exactly, but it had a warm, softly woody, almost-gourmand aura to it that kept wafting up to my nose. Even my son noticed and asked, “Mom, what smells so good?” It reminded me a little of something else that I’ve smelled somewhere, but for the life of me I couldn’t recall what. Now it’s got me thinking about it a lot, and it’s too late to go back to get it as the store is now closed. Not too bad for a $7 (or was it $9?) bottle of oil, eh?
Here are several more cheap thrills, not quite so inexpensive, but still not too bad.
When my order of the Thymes Frasier Fir goodies came in recently, tucked inside were several sample packets of body lotion. Now I don’t usually think of this company in terms of body products, but more for home scents, candles, diffusers, etc.
I enjoy jasmine, so I tucked straight-away into the Temple Tree packet. This pleasing lotion had a sweetish, bright sparkling ribbon of jasmine which I liked. It would work well with most of my jasmines, but seemed especially suited for Dior’s Grand Bal.
Next up, Kimono Rose, is a soft, innocuous sort of floral scent (I once had it in a rollerball) and the lotion seems like a good, all-purpose one that will perfume you gently for a while and then softly fade out of the picture. Not sure what scents this might work well with as the rose isn’t super-prominent on my skin, but it’s light enough that I doubt it would clash drastically with anything.
The third sample, Lotus Santal, reminded me of Angel right out of the gate. Not quite as overpowering, but the cocoa and the patchouli combo were similar. It’s not a dead ringer for the Thierry Mugler, but if you’re looking for a less expensive body product to wear with Angel, this might be worth a try. Or if you like Angel but it’s just too much, here’s a creamy echo of it.
Each of these is $25 for 9.25 fl. oz. (270 mls.) of body lotion. They also offer hand creams, hand lotions and shower/bath gels for slightly less.
The company sells a collection of cheap thrills via its sampler pack which looks nice and would be a great way to try all the fragrances. And the little packets would make nice tuck-ins into birthday cards and such.
I am not affiliated in any way with the company, just a big fan of their Frasier Fir home products, as I know are many of you. And now I’m just starting to explore and appreciate their other offerings.
So do share with me, what are your favorite not-so-spendy items that you’re enjoying now?
For my cheap thrill I hit the clearance areas at TJ Maxx but this year I’ve resolved to use up some of the stuff I’ve already got instead of buying more. I’m sure that won’t hold true for perfume but for lotions and creams and shower gels and soaps and…the list goes on and on…well, I’m going to try to behave.
Hi, Poodle! I think that’s a great idea, using what you’ve got. I need to round up all my body stuff and do that as well. It sounds like you have one of the “golden” T.J. Maxx stores (see comments above). Lucky you! The ones in my city are full of nothing but dreck.
well, my mom bought me halston perfume for my birthday. why, i can’t even pretend to know. “i know you like perfume…” but if i had known she’d be shopping for it at walgreens, i would have directed her to sand and sable 😀
Oh, dear, Brooke, sorry that happened. But if you really don’t like it, try swapping it away either here at the next Swapmania or over on NST’s upcoming Swapmeet. Would it help next year to give her a list of affordable scents you do like? That works with some people and not so well with others.
Wonder if Walgreen’s might take it back?
I’m with you, Mals — it sure wouldn’t hurt to try, especially if you have the box, original packaging and/or UPC from Walgreen’s.
Right now, my ‘cheap thrill’ is minis (especially vintage). My bill from Christmas will be paid off this month. The past 4 years, I’ve split my Christmas shopping into 2 months so it’s not heart attack inducing.
Yes, yes to the minis! Great buys and so darling, too. Good for you on the Christmas bill strategy; most years I try to buy things year-round to spread the damage out, but not this year …
My favorite cheap thrill is Body Shop Chocomania – wrote it up here http://notablescents.net/2014/01/06/body-shop-chocomania-fragrance-review-mainstream-monday/ – Under $15 for a really good and lasting chocolate scent. Surprisingly good quality and longevity.
My current favorite cheap thrill is Seattle Chocolate from Olympic Orchids–there’s something about that weird fir and chocolate combo that works really well this time of year. Of course, my favorite cheap thrill is to go to a store and sample things, even better if I can get free samples to take home. Free is good.
I loved those Seattle Chocolates, too (thank you Portia!)! Agree wholeheartedly: they are perfect this time of year!
I canNOT do chocolate in perfume, but Olympic Orchids is a wonderful bargain. I just bought a bottle of Ballets Rouges, which is going to be my Valentine gift. 🙂
Sold! You guys are really whetting my appetite for Olympic Orchids — guess I’m finally going to have to cave in and sample up a storm.
I tried several of the floral focused ones (you know me) and found many of them too sweet for my taste. But Ballets Rouges is a rosy version of Diaghilev, IMO, and it is big and wonderful. I have my sample out on the dresser, and my whole bedroom smells gorgeous.
Oh, dear, Mals, now you’ve gone and done it — mentioned the D word, that is. The Ballets Rouges just shot to the top of my must-sample list. My wallet is cringing and trying to shrink into the farthest corner of my purse 🙂
Hiya, Mals! I am loving your idea of the Valentine gift. Enjoy!
Love all these cheap thrill suggestions. I just stocked up on Lady Primrose bath products. NM Last call has a promo where you get an additional 50% off one item, so a crystal shaker of Tryst was only $18.50. They also have 4 ozs. of Tryst (green floral) or Royal Extract (orange blossom and honey) edp with a crystal bottle which, with the promo would come out to about $37.50! (They make two other scents, which I’m not super-fond of: Tryst Kiss (in pink, if you like grapefruit) and Tryst Noir (I thought this would be a deeper, richer Tryst for evenings, but it is an altogether different animal, very heavy, but at these prices, hey, I’ve tried worse!)
I also noticed our T.J. Maxx had alot of Pacifica hand creams (I like the French Lilac, the vanilla and coconut, in moderation) for $1.99!
Wow. My TJ Maxx never ever has anything good.
Wowza, sweet Sherri — you really made out like a bandit there! And lucky you on the T.J. Maxx score. I’m with you there, Mals; my store doesn’t seem to ever have any good stuff, mostly junk in beat-up boxes. 🙁 I wish I knew their magic marketing formula for which store gets what.
Ann, T.J. Maxx’s formula eludes me, too! I do notice the stores in the wealthier suburbs of Brentwood get higher end merchandise; however, in the clearance section here in the middle-class Providence, they have brought in a ton of high end merchandise (Missoni, Joe’s Jeans, Theory, Helmut Lang, etc.) and alot of those things will linger (many people here do not even recognize Missoni, for example) and they will be marked down again and again. I got several pairs of Paige jeans which retail for over $100, for $20-29.
Great buys for you then, Sherri! Their loss is your gain for sure. One day as an experiment a while back, I drove all around the big city, visiting a variety of the chain’s stores from upscale areas to ones that were less so. And they all seemed to have nothing but junk, at least in the fragrance/cosmetics area, so I just gave up, ha! That was when a lot of folks were finding the refill bottles of the Armani Prives in their stores and I was so envious because all the ones I visited had nuthin’!
Love the Budget Beauties!! Thanks Ann
Thanks for stopping by, Portia. By now you are well on your journey — wishing you safe travels and an amazing trip! Can’t wait to hear all about it.
One thing I love to do in the cold months when I’m trying to watch my dollar, is make homemade applesauce. I choose cosmetically challenged apples (3 big beauties for a buck), add cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and allspice…each ingredient smells so beautiful. I try to make a batch (with my trusty crockpot) right around 3pm, when the sunlight is coming through the kitchen and spilling over the counter tops. Nothing beats great lighting.The best part is that I only add a tiny bit of organic apple juice and maybe a few prunes if I want to add some depth and a little richness. No sweetener needed. Wait, that’s not the best part! That would be the way the entire house smells after 8hrs on low heat. There’s something kind of wonderful about slowing down time like this.
Mmmm … Madeline, that sounds absolutely divine and has my mouth watering. And the side benefits of a great-smelling house are wonderful. Enjoy!
My favorite cheap thrill recently is a bottle of True Gardenia that I got from The Fragrance Shop in New Orleans. Mostly they do duplicates of commercial fragrances, but they gave a few of their own, and this one has enough of the fungal undertone to smell real. Not that it replaces my favorite gardenia, but it’s inexpensive and pretty good, which goes a long way in the month after Christmas.
Hope that you and yours are all well, Ann, and happy January!
Sorry, should read ” they have a few of their own.” When will I learn to proofread?!
How cool is that? I love it when you find something great that’s under the radar and doesn’t cost the earth. A true cheap thrill indeed! Doing well here, enjoying sunshine and 50s today, son is playing tennis — hope you guys are doing great, too!
While sorting through samples to give to my nieces, I was stunned by just how much perfume I have. Like others, I will be dead before it can all be worn. My cheap thrill is to grab something out of the drawer and wear it whether it’s a sample, a mini or a full bottle. Some days I smell great, other days not so much but it’s cheap!
Tiara, I really like your “grab and go” approach! That’s the way to do it, and you never know what surprises you might get.
I have never seen the Thymes brand, but my budget loves it already! My current cheap thrill is Mor Marshmallow hand cream, and they make a whole range of products. It has sugar rose, carnation, musk and other notes, but to me it smells like the musk stick sweets we get here!
Hiya, Jackie! Glad you mentioned the Mor Marshmallow — I have seen it somewhere (but can’t recall where right now but it will come to me eventually) and wanted to try it. Wouldn’t it be fun to pair with a hot cocoa scent? 🙂 I looked on the Thymes site and here is the info I get for Australia. Check it out and if you don’t get any satisfaction/help from there, come back here and reply and I’ll see what I can do on this end. The store info the site lists is: Home & Abroad, Shops 1 & 2, 4 Avoca St., South Yarra, VIC 3141 Australia; phone + 613 9821 5144. Hope this helps!
Jackie, you probably already knew this, but it looks like South Yarra is a suburb or outlying area outside Melbourne.
Thanks Ann…I have a moderately scent-addicted sister living in Melbourne, so I may have to enlist her help! Or go and visit…we could enable each other!
Perfect! Hope that will work for you — get her involved and pull her down the rabbit hole with you and make sure she’s FULLy scent-addicted! 🙂
I saw some Mor products when I was Christmas shopping at TJ Maxx. Maybe that’s where you saw them too, Ann. I didn’t buy any but some did sound tempting.
A cheap thrill I’ve had lately is saving! I recently got my bank’s app for my phone and it has this feature where you simply choose how much cash you want to add to your savings account and press a button, and you get a message like “It’s good to have an emergency fund, you just added $77 to your savings account” and I just feel so good doing it, like I’m really looking out for my future self, l o l !!!
I have been making hot cocoa from scratch too, just add cocoa to milk, heat it up in a pan, add sugar, and stir! It’s a cheap thrill cause I already have it all in the pantry, and so good these cold days.
Yay, Edward — that is the best cheap thrill of all, just knowing that you have some extra money set back for a rainy day. And I love your homemade cocoa; it really is perfect for chilly days.
I’m a huge fan of saving right now, too, plus I’m getting the thrill of a lifetime, paying off my shop loan. I know that is just zzzzzzzz….but…if I can pay the month’s loan ahead of time, I save over $200! I have enough perfume, enough handbags, enough ‘schtuff’ to last me quite awhile – what I DON’T have is dough. So throwing all my loose change in a piggy bank? I got $125 in 6 weeks!
You, go, girl — good for you!! I need to try that loose change trick, too.
it’s how I bought my jar of Gold body creme, Ann! I wanted to feel like I ‘earned’ it, so I saved up for it and, seriously, 6 weeks and I had it! Felt great!
Wow! Love it! And that’s the perfect way to look at it; you did without spending all that change, you let it add up and voila! I am so doing this, too — thanks, sweetie!
I’ve been looking for ways to buy a bottle of Chanel 1932. I love it, it’s my go-to scent, and it can be worn all seasons…Consigning clothes, selling used books, saying no to stuff I don’t really need…I’ll get there sooner or later!
Hi, lady! You’ll get there before you know it — it does add up pretty quickly. And what a great scent to save for! I don’t reach for it in super-cold temps, but will be hitting my decant hard come spring.
1932 is so gosh-darn pretty. I was pleased to hear recently that they’re planning to release a parfum version, as the original has such a gentle presence.
Hi, Mals — that would be very cool, wouldn’t it? I would snap some of that up in a heartbeat.
Okay, cheap thrills for me lately are the Badger Balms – mint, lavender, ginger. I am also attempting to reduce the ridiculous amount of unused decants I have lyingg around – put the whole box out on my dresser and am going to make an effort to get through them.
Hi, Tara! Good for you on the decants — I need to do that myself, as things are getting a bit out of control at my house. I have heard others mention the Badger Balms, but I’m curious, what exactly are they, i.e. lip balms, body balms, etc.?
Hi Ann! Thank you so much for the budget friendly suggestions. I’ve got a birthday coming up, but I’m still smarting from Christmas. These seem like a nice treat without overdoing it. The Amouage, etc. will just have to wait till my ship comes in.
Howdy, Spiker! I hear you; I’m still smarting from Christmas (and an unexpected dental crown), so I’m right there with you on the dock waiting for our ships to sail on in.
Happy early birthday — hope it’s a great one for you! And do treat yourself to a fragrance item, even if it’s just a little something.