Spring into Spring | From Day to Night

Hello lovelies,

Spring is in the air! Although Autumn is my favorite season, Spring would have to be a close second (and I can’t say that I’m sad to see the Winter blues become a thing of the past). Everyone in my neighborhood is out and about – walking their dogs, entertaining outside, riding their bikes and going on runs (which I’ve managed to squeeze in after work a few days this week). Speaking of work, the warm weather has me thinking ahead in regard to my professional wardrobe. Between starting a new job (it’s hard to believe I’ve been with my new company for over a month now) and all of the wedding festivities the hubs and I have coming up (four weddings this year, two of which we are in) — I thought it would be a fun twist on a Spring post to incorporate a day and night time look by using many of the same pieces for both. After all, I’m certainly not made of money (although in my dream world I am) so I need to be extremely functional and realistic with these various expenses approaching! Alas, below is a fun little professional and evening guide that I’ve put together and they include some of my favorite items that I am currently obsessing over. Enjoy!

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1. Nars Audacious Lipstick in “Brigitte”, $32 {from Sephora} I’ve been a Mac lipstick girl my whole life…and my collection speaks for itself. However, one of my bests, Heather, purchased one of these bad boys for me during the holidays because she absolutely swore by it. But really though, can Nars do any wrong? The Audacious line is like no other lipstick line that I have personally experienced. The colors are super pigmented, long-lasting and have this ultra soft, creamy texture. I own the color “Brigitte” which is a nude rose. It is the perfect color for Spring and transitions extremely well from day to night.

2. Factory Metallic Tweed Tweed Panel Heather Sweater, $52.50 {from J. Crew Factory} J. Crew always does it right and metallic is hot this season. I particularly adore this sweater because it is something a little out of the ordinary and can be dressed up or down. I love mixing and matching colors and patterns and adore how it looks against the neon skirt (reference #6).

3. Balenciaga Roseblanca Perfume, $100 {from Sephora} I received this scent as a gift back in December and it is truly becoming a regularly worn scent during these warmer days! It’s the perfect amount of floral without being too sweet – think clean, fresh and a little valiant with scents of rose, white woods and citrus notes.

4. Light Pink Embellished Prom Dress, $240 {from River Island} This dress may not be the lightest on the pocket but it is one that you can wear over and over again. I’m okay with spending the money on good, quality items – particularly cocktail dresses because you can always keep them in your arsenal. Not to mention, with all of the wedding festivities occurring over these next few years (hey, we’re at that age), it makes sense to pick something lovely (like this number) and recycle! This dress…no words. It speaks for itself.

5. Laura Mercier Radiance Foundation Primer, $34 {from Sephora} Y’all – this stuff is life changing. If you are looking to achieve the “fresh face” look this Spring, this primer will exceed your expectations! I like to mix it with my foundation before applying and the outcome is soft, radiant, dewy skin. Just dab a little on your face during the day for some highlight and go a little heavier in the evening.

6. Dickins & Jones Neon Skirt, $47.61 {from House of Fraser} I love, love, love neon! If there is a way to implement it in my wardrobe, I absolutely jump on it. However, neon can be tough to pull off in a professional environment. But it can absolutely be done and with this beautiful pencil skirt paired with the cool, neutral J. Crew Factory sweater (see #2) as of the intensity of the neon is toned down and you have one chic, pulled together look.

7. Gemini2 Patent Court Shoes, $70 {from Top Shop} Patent nude pumps are a must-have in anyone’s closet. They are super versatile and can go from day to night seamlessly.

8. Factory Stone Burst Earrings, $14.50 {from J. Crew Factory} I love these little cluster earrings! They are delicate but can add a pop of color and allure to your outfit. They look fantastic for both day and night and the best part? They’re a steal at just $14.50!

9. Essie Baby’s Breath Nail Polish, $8.50 {from Beauty.com} I’m an Essie advocate through and through. I’m also a huge fan of neutral polish, particularly in the Spring. This is hands down one of my favorite Essie colors because it’s the perfect amount of pink without being overkill. It’s soft, creamy and a functional nude polish to add to your collection.

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Winter Blues | How to Tame Dry Skin + Chapped Lips

Welp – it’s mid-January and we are in the dead of Winter. Of course one would expect cold weather to accompany the season, however, it has been unusually bitter here in the South — was it last week we had a low of 11 degrees? With that said, my skin has taken a serious beating this past month – it is ridiculously dried out and parched, which rarely ever occurs as I would categorize my skin type as normal. If you’ve taken a ride on the struggle bus lately like I have, below are products that I am currently using that will banish your chapped, cracked and dry skin this season!

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Sugar Lip Treatment with SPF 15 by Fresh, $22.50

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Y’all — I love, love, love this stuff and it’s the real deal. I would even be bold enough to state that this is the best balm around. It’s velvety soft, moisturizing and provides the hydration that my poor, little chapped lips need. The best part of all? It comes in 11 different varieties and they all smell delicious. The one shown above (Sugar Rose’) is the one I use and although it looks intimidating, it is barely tinted – all it does is give the perfect rose flush to the lip. But if you are not one that loves a tinted lip balm, there is an untinted option as well. { Check them out here }

 

Ultra Repair Cream by First Aid Beauty, $6.50-$39

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Would you believe me if I told you that this stuff was life changing? Because it is. I wish I could take credit for discovering this but I simply cannot. My best friend, Heather, is the one who shared this magic with me and after purchasing it, I knew my world would never be the same. Wow. Just, wow. Here is the run down: you can use it on your face and your body – legs, arms, hands – it’s amazing. But what is great about this product is that it is made specifically for extremely dry skin – from people who are facing damage from harsh winter weather to those with various skin conditions such as eczema. Feeling a little hesitant and not willing to commit to spending $30 or $39 on a moisturizer? It comes in a variety of sizes, including a tester for $6.50. The proof is in the pudding – try it out first and get back to me. { Snag one here }

 

 Lip Exfoliator by e.l.f. Studio, $3

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Fact: This lip exfoliator will remove dead skin from your chapped lips. Fact: It tastes like brown sugar. Fact: It is only $3. How did I stumble upon it? Oddly enough, I was checking out at Old Navy and saw it in their “impulse buy” section. You know, that designated area by the cash registers that have fun, little goodies for you to browse while you are waiting in line in hopes that it will provoke you to make an impulse purchase? {Hello, Consumer Behavior 101}. I picked one of these up while waiting to pay for my new boyfriend jeans, and ended up taking it home with me. I can vouch that it actually works…and did I mention it was $3? { Take a gander here }

 

Oatifix Fresh Face Mask by Lush, $6.95

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Let me start out by saying, I heart Lush. It is such a wonderful retailer with a great mission. Everything they sell is developed by them, they use little to no preservatives, make their products from organic fruits and vegetables and refuse to purchase their ingredients from companies that partake in animal testing. Secondly, I just started getting into face masks. So the two combined? A match made in heaven. When I’m not using the Mask of Magnaminty, which I use to exfoliate my skin, I’m using the Oatifix Fresh Face Mask which is made for really dry skin. Made with soothing ingredients such as bananas, oatmeal and ground almonds – it will leave your skin soft and nourished. { Pick it up here }

 

7 Dry Hair Hydrating Day Cream with 7 Plants by Phyto, $28

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Is your hair feeling super dry this time of year? This hydrating, leave-in treatment will protect your hair from split ends, frizz, flyaways, and static. Oh, and a little bit goes a long way. If you have never used Phyto products before, I would highly recommend. I can honestly say that everything I’ve used by this company has been top notch. { Grab one here }

Beauty Buy | Marsala { Pantone Color of the Year }

Hello lovelies and welcome to my very first beauty-related post!

In the past, I’ve been the kind of person that purchases beauty products I love…which mainly consists of Mac Cosmetics as I’ve been wearing the brand since high school. What can I say? I’m a woman that knows what I like. However, a couple of my best friends are really into cosmetics and one recently got me a little more involved in the world of beauty. As mentioned in a previous post, there is a whole subculture of makeup bloggers with YouTube channels, and I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical at first. Not because I doubted the credibility of these people, but because I just could not wrap my head around why I needed to read lipstick reviews or watch makeup application tutorials.

Fast forward a couple of months and I am officially hooked. I look at this makeup craze as another form of art. In fashion, what we wear expresses the mood we are in or who we are as a person and makeup essentially accomplishes the same thing. I can dig it.

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{ My new favorite makeup blogger, Jaclyn Hill (thank you, Heather) – her YouTube channel can be found here }

Over the holiday, I decided to hit the mall to find a new blush. I have three Mac blushes that I regularly use but felt the need to add to my collection…first world problems, right? I was absolutely convinced that I was going pop into Sephora and purchase a Nars blush (which I had tirelessly researched prior to my visit). I had several colors jotted down that I wanted to swatch and as I stood there testing them, an adorable little guy working at the store basically stopped me dead in my tracks and asked if I had seen the Pantone + Sephora makeup collaboration. “No?” “Ummm, then you need to.”

If you did not already know, Pantone chooses a “color of the year”…and it’s a big. freaking. deal. It is essentially the industry standard and connects people from all over the globe with one seamless color system. It is what companies use to develop their logos and is also utilized for design, fashion, paint colors, and pretty much everything in the world. In 2013, the color of the year was Emerald, 2014 was Radiant Orchid but 2015 is Marsala. Although I was not Radiant Orchid’s biggest fan, it certainly had a heavy influence this past year. However, I am head over heels in love with Marsala. It’s such a deep, rich, full-bodied color that universally looks good on everyone.

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Sephora had a large display at the front of the store consisting of various products that they collaborated with Pantone on…all Marsala related. From eyeshadow palettes to lipstick…and of course, a blush palette that was beyond words. This is what my new Sephora friend decided to show me. He took out the sample and swatched it on his hand – Wowza.

{ Sephora + Pantone Universe Shimmering Marsala Cheek Trio }

This palette has three components: a highlighter and two shades of blush – one being a true Marsala color. What was recommended to me was to apply the highlighter to your cheekbones, followed by the deep Marsala color underneath to give it a little depth and dimension, followed by the lighter blush color that can then be used to blend everything out. The outcome is truly unreal and it gives your cheeks a gorgeous glow. The blushes are rich, super pigmented and easy to build on. I was originally going to spend $30 on a single Nars blush but instead, spent $28 on three.

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{ The outcome = amaze }

Y’all, the highlighter alone is everything. If you are looking for something new and different to add to your cosmetic collection, I would highly recommend this blush trio. It is definitely transitional through the seasons as it is perfect for Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. All hail Marsala!

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Gift Guide | Stocking Stuffers for Everyone

It’s glorious December and the time has finally come — the holidays! Bring on the hot cocoa, the perpetual (and shameless) display of Christmas music on my Pandora station, the hunt for the “perfect tree”, the warm glow of twinkling Christmas lights, flannel shirts, holiday cheer, snuggling up with a good book by a cozy fire, Christmas movie marathons on ABC Family, and of course, the chaotic mayhem of gift purchasing that we all secretly adore. But whether you enjoy the pandemonium of Black Friday sales (or just being in a 1 mile radius of the mall during the month of December) or not, picking out the “right” present for someone can be difficult in itself. So why stress over the smaller things, like Secret Santa gifts or stocking stuffers?

Below is something I cultivated with some fantastic stocking stuffer/gift ideas that will please just about everyone – depending on their area of interest. Hopefully it can at least help you get inspired – it’s definitely made my wheels turn! Everything in the gift guide below is priced under $100. Enjoy!

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1. For the Work Out Queen. For those who enjoy hitting the gym or going for runs, a water bottle is very much a necessity. The ones I’m seeing right now from Victoria Secret are seriously AMAZE because they all have clever phrases and sayings, like the one pictured (“I Just Can’t”) which I actually say on a fairly regular basis. { Water Bottles, $14.95 from Victoria’s Secret }

2. For the Business Gal. I cannot think of too many girls who do not love Kate Spade – and these monogrammed business card holders are so lovely. This gift would be perfect for the busy business chick who is always on the go and attending networking events. { One in a Million Business Card Holders, $30 from Nordstrom }

3. For Host with the Most. Okay, if you have not already invested in Cards Against Humanity, it is about time you do. They are hilarious, fun and…okay, yeah they’re definitely inappropriate, but they make for a great time! This gift would be perfect for the friend who has a sense of humor and enjoys hosting parties and events. { Cards Against Humanity, $25 from Amazon }

4. For the Outdoorsman. So there are actually people out there who absolutely love camping and didn’t just go for their very first time in 29 years like I did. But all joking aside – there are so many outdoor enthusiasts or just people who enjoy gadgets (like my husband, who is a little bit of both). This LED Pen Light is one of the hottest on the market right now and has received rave reviews. It’s compact, lightweight and conveniently clips anywhere. { Streamlight MicroStream LED Pen Light, $24.99 from Cabela’s }

5. For the Style Savvy Guy. If there is one thing I love on a man, it’s plaid and flannel. It also happens to be a very trendy/fashion-forward look this season. This knit scarf from The Rail is extremely well priced for the excellent quality you are receiving and would pair perfectly with a structured military jacket or peacoat this Winter. { Red Check Knit Scarf, $20 from Nordstrom }

6. For the Tween or Teen. Do you have someone a little younger in the family and have no idea what to get them? I run into this problem time and time again. This Essie nail polish collection is seriously adorable and perfect for a small gift or stocking stuffer! { Essie Winter 2014 Mini Four-Pack, $17 from Nordstrom }

7. For the Man Who Enjoys the Finer Things. Do you have a father, brother, friend or significant other than enjoys grooming products? There is no shame in the game because any man that takes care of himself gets an A in my book! The Art of Shaving is a prestigious mens grooming retailer and they have some of the best products out there. This starter kit contains pre-shave oil, shaving cream, after-shave balm and a shaving brush. Aside from unscented, it also comes in an array of different smells such as Sandalwood, Lemon, Lavender, Ocean and more. This would make the perfect stocking stuffer for him. { Starter Kit, $25 from The Art Of Shaving }

8. For the Whiskey Drinker. To me, this seems like the best gift ever for those who enjoy a glass of whiskey. These whiskey stones bring a new meaning to “serving your drink on the rocks” because instead of using ice which will ultimately water down your beverage, the stones will stay cold and allow you to enjoy the flavor of your whiskey without diluting it. { Whiskey Stones & Gift Set, $20-$58 from Uncommon Goods }

9. For the Beauty Aficionado. One of my best friends has gotten super into makeup and has been learning various application techniques via YouTube Channels and bloggers – apparently it’s this whole subculture that I was completely unaware of. At any rate, I credit her to getting me into things I never even knew I needed or wanted! I just got my first eyeshadow palette and it was pretty much the best decision ever. Eyeshadow palettes are a great gift or stocking stuffer because you get a lot of bang for your buck. These Urban Decay Naked Palettes have been getting a lot of positive attention – they’re so pigmented and pretty!  { Urban Decay Naked Palette, Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette, Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette – $54/each from Sephora }

10. For the Fashionista. Hellooo – I am obsessed with this (first and foremost). How adorable is this Kate Spade iPad folio? Great for the fashionista – just pair with some killer heels and bright red lips – you’ll be a force to be reckoned with. { Kate Spade New York Speak of the Devil iPad Case, $85 from Nordstrom }

11. For the Newlywed. Who doesn’t love a sweet, little trinket dish? Particularly if you are a newlywed (or soon-to-be Mrs.) so you have a safe place to put your ring and other jewelry when you are not wearing them. There are so many trinket/ring dishes out there but I just love this one – which one of my bests just so happened to purchase for me when I got married.  And may I add, it looks fantastic on a vanity! { Mr. & Mrs. Ring Dish, $12.95 from Crate & Barrel }

12. For the Pups. Come on, we could not possibly forget our beloved fur babies, right? If your pups are practically your children and have stockings like mine do, they deserve a little something special as well. If you’ve grown tired of just giving them treats and toys, how about a swanky new collar? I am so in love with these bow tie and flower ones from the SillyBuddy Etsy shop! There are literally over 200 choices available and they seriously the sweetest things I’ve ever seen! { Bow Tie and Floral Dog Collars, $45-$57 from SillyBuddy Etsy Shop }

13.  For the Vintage Lover. If you are looking for something special and unique for someone with a kindred spirit, how about a special, vintage item? You can hit any antique store, but I do also enjoy scouring Etsy for my handmade and vintage gifts. I’m not sure where my random brass pineapple trinket obsession recently came from, but goodness – they are pretty! { Vintage Brass Pineapple, $76 from OrchidandUrchin Etsy Shop }

14.  For the Sports Fanatic. Purchasing a gift for someone that eats, sleeps and breathes sports? Getting them something related to their favorite team is always a safe bet. I mean after all, one cannot have too much sports memorabilia! This knit hat is very suiting for the Winter – ’tis the season, right? { Mens Dallas Cowboy New Era Black Sport Cuffed Knit Hat, $24.95 from NFL Shop }

15.  For the Sugar Junkie. Wanting to stuff someone’s stocking with candy? Maybe you want to purchase something a little different or more sophisticated than what you would typically find at a store? One of my girlfriends recently shared this site with me and everything looks AMAZING – particularly the champagne gummy bears. YES, you heard me. Champagne. Gummy. Bears. No further explanation needed. { Champagne Gummy Bears, $20 for a 12.05 oz box from Sugarfina }

16.  For the Chef. If you know someone that really loves to cook, a custom meat or cheese cutting board would make an excellent gift choice! You can find custom cutting boards on Etsy but I just happen to know a guy named Andy (owner and operator of Handy Andy of Charlotte) that does the most beautiful and intricate work. He makes each of his one-of-a-kind cutting boards by hand and with lots of love.  He’s based out of Charlotte, NC but is able to ship all over and can be reached at alehman39@gmail.com. { Handy Andy Custom Cutting Boards, 9x12x2 board, $79.99} *Contact Andy for other size and price options as he can build made-to-order pieces but also has several that are complete and ready to ship.

Swooning | Things I’m Obsessed With Right Now

Good afternoon, beautiful friends!

I hope everyone is having a joyous November so far! My birthday is on Sunday and the hubs and I are heading to the beach tomorrow to get some R&R. It’s a little unusual for us because we typically enjoy going out locally with friends, but we are in dire need of some peace and relaxation. However, I’m sure I’ll be throwing some sort of last minute shindig together the following weekend – I can’t not have a night out to celebrate with our people!

These last few weeks have been rather hectic with life happening (the usual – work, grad school, home, stress, etc.). Sometimes getting away really breaks up the monotony and helps get you centered. It’s important to remember what life is actually all about and not allow yourself to get too caught up in the day-to-day…and with that said, just physically removing yourself from everything will clear your mind. But before we head off to the coast, I wanted to share some of the lovelies I’ve been eying (because of course I’ve been virtual “window shopping” for my birthday – oops!). Below is a little mishmosh of my favorite things right now…*le sigh*. And as always, I’ve included a shopping guide below. Enjoy!

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1. If you’re like me and feel the need to change your scents during the seasons, then this is the one you need for Fall/Winter. I’ve been deciding between quite a few different perfumes, but this one truly encompasses the season. It’s sweet and spicy for the free-spirit and wild at heart. {Coach Poppy Wildflower, $82 from Sephora }

2. I am a sucker for anything metallic and these little bowls are so dainty and lovely. They give me nostalgia of my grandmother’s apartment in New York where my family went to visit each Christmas. She would always play Frank Sinatra on her vintage radio and have beautiful little bowls out on her end tables that were filled with mixed nuts. I am dying to purchase these and carry on the tradition. { Gilded Thistle Nut Bowl, $12 from Anthropologie }

3. My desire for a quilted puffer vest is out of control right now. I have seen several that I love but this particular style from J. Crew Factory is a good classic to have this season. Really digging it in the navy color. { Factory Quilted Puffer Vest, $78 from J. Crew Factory }

4. I have yet to own a Kate Spade bag, but I’ve determined that it will be the next higher priced bag I purchase. I have had my eye on this style for quite some time – but this mulled wine color for Fall/Winter is AMAZEEE. Is it possible to be in love with a bag? { Cedar Street Maise Bag, $298 from Kate Spade }

5. If you know me, you know my obsession with Anthropologie’s “signature” scent when you walk in the store. It’s the Volcano candle from Capri Blue. Typically, it comes in a blue and white jar, however, I recently discovered that they are also made in different mercury glass containers. I purchased one on Amazon and it’s lasted me quite a while. Now, if I could only get the whole house to smell this way. { Capri Blue Mercury Found Glass Volcano Candle – 10 oz., $23.42 from Amazon }

6. I am currently battling a random obsession with gingham shirts – and I could not even begin to tell you where it originated. BUT J. Crew Factory has some really adorable ones and I’m all over it. $54.50 { Factory Classic Button-Down Shirt in Gingham, from J. Crew Factory }

7. Okay, I know it’s $35. BUT let me tell you how worth it it is. I know because I own one. This is a sheer lip balm that enhances your natural lip color while giving you a slight hue of either pink or coral (depending on the color you choose). { Dior Addict Lip Glow, $35 from Sephora }

8. I am super obsessed with pretty calendars and this one from Rifle Paper Company is a stunner! It has gorgeous gold foil detail and would look just lovely on any desk! { Gold Foil Honey Bee 2015 Calendar, $18 from Terrain }

Scents & Sensibility | 8 Spring Perfumes You Need in Your Life

*AHHH* Spring is in the air! Who doesn’t love that perfect 70 degree weather and the warm sun on your face? Or perhaps driving around with the windows down and your music up? Taking your dog to the park, playing corn hole outside with friends, putting on a sweet sundresses and a pair of wedges, eating brunch and sipping a mimosa on the patio, reading a book in a hammock, planting a vegetable garden…I mean really, do I need to continue?

While I do adore Fall (it’s my favorite season), Spring is a close second. And if you’re like me, I enjoy having a selection of perfumes to choose from depending on the mood I’m in, time of day and yes, even season! For me, purchasing a new scent is the equivalent of buying a new bag or pair of shoes – I get ridiculously giddy because I’m excited to add it to my collection.

I recently started shopping around for a fresh perfume for Spring and came across a few that I fell head over heels for. If you’re also looking for a new scent for the new season, below are some gems that I found! Enjoy!

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Spring Scents

1. Flowerbomb La Vie en Rose by Viktor & Rolf, $95 {If you’ve had the pleasure of smelling the original Flowerbomb (which is also lovely), Flowerbomb La Vie en Rose is the fresher and lighter sister fragrance. Expect notes of rose, orchid, grapefruit and jasmine. Deliciously refreshing, indeed.}

2. Roses De Chloe by Chloe, $70-$120 {This is a perfume that I already own but one that I highly recommend. It’s similar to the signature Chloe scent but with a rich, rose undertone. If you are looking for a clean fragrance that smells of a fresh, enchanted rose garden, this is the one for you.}

3. Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet by Dior, $75-$98 {I’m already an avid Dior fragrance fan and own Miss Dior Cherie so when I saw this, it immediately appealed to me. This perfume smells of fresh peonies and Sicilian orange.}

4. Daisy Eau So Fresh by Marc Jacobs, $89-$97 {If you enjoy the original fresh smell of Marc Jacobs Daisy, then you may enjoy the more vibrant and whimsical version which has notes of grapefruit, pear, violet and cedarwood.}

5. Poppy Freesia Blossom by Coach, $45-$85 {A clean scent that is subtly sweet and ridiculously refreshing. The fragrant smells of vanilla, brown sugar, musk, freesia and apricot linger on for hours after you spray it on your skin.}

6. Parisienne by Yves Saint Laurent, $65 {An ultra feminine scent with fresh floral and woodland accents. If you can imagine Spring in Paris – this perfume encompasses it all in one bottle.}

7. Pure Poison by Dior, $70-$115 {This is one that I already own and have been a loyal advocate of for over 8 years – it’s definitely a classic to have in your arsenal of perfumes. Although it’s not necessarily geared for Spring in particular, it is light, airy and hypnotic. This fragrance has orange, jasmine, sandalwood and white amber undertones. A seductive and flirty scent that is perfect for those warm Spring nights.}

8. Flora by Gucci – Gorgeous Gardenia by Gucci, $72 {If you’re looking for a little bit of a heaven in a bottle, you’ve found your scent! It smells of fresh gardenia, patchouli, red berries and pear.}