Updated: Oct 26, 2021
Have you ever had one scent trigger a thousand feelings? In my case, MAC Cosmetics 'Creme Dé Nude' perfume did it for me tonight.
I stepped out of the house, knowing my mission with all the determination in the world. As I entered the city of Boston, traffic was flowing, and I was thriving off the hustle and bustle energy. Maybe I didn't mind this busy venture because I was driving my new car, or perhaps I had missed the city's soundscapes. The GPS even steering me wrong could not rain on my parade. I had a full tank of gas and found a clutch parking space under the Prudential Center. I knew exactly where I was and needed to go; I could not be more ready.
I entered through Saks Fifth Avenue admiring the designer handbags, realizing I have yet to own anything designer. Years prior, I had never been able to afford something like this, nor had I seen something worth spending so much money on. Still, I enjoyed the idea of having a piece of luxury and working hard for something so luxurious. Although today I may not look like I fit the mold with my Lululemon leggings, zip-up fleece, and 1987 cap. I carried a different kind of confidence, knowing that if I wanted one of these – I could finally have it.
As I continued, I stood in a short line at Louis Vuitton, assuming they only allowed a certain number of the public in at one time. Perhaps a Covid protocol. However, when I made it to the front, I learned this was not the reason. The gentleman working the line had a black suit and tie, freshly gelled hair, and a groovy new iPad. He asked me the purpose of my visit & what I was looking for. I responded with the classic "just browsing." He told me a consultant would assist me momentarily, and I stopped him waving my hands "no no, it's totally fine I can just look around." "Yes.. well, unfortunately, we do not allow this and someone will direct you shortly. May I have your name and telephone number?" He responded. Slightly embarrassed and feeling incredibly out of place, I gave him my name and number at which point I was cut off and instantly taken by a consultant who was readily available. She was young with a cute shoulder-length bob and long black dress. "How can I help you today?" I answered again with my ever-so-traditional response of "just browsing." She could tell that I just wanted to look around and respected my wishes by quietly following behind me. I asked about prices because, of course, the bags were not labeled, and I even tried on a few. I had an interest in one cross-body bag and explained to her that I really liked the "on the go travel style."
She could clearly tell by the fact that I was wearing my $40 faux leather Vici backpack. After the 3rd try-on, I was ready to get out of there. Although not the experience I expected, it was still pretty cool to know that if I wanted to swipe my card.. I finally could.
You see, I've worked incredibly hard the past five months at establishing my business which has truly taken off. But this blog isn't to describe a sporty girl lost in a Louis Vuitton store, but rather the feelings experienced when entering the ever so familiar ~Sephora~.
I followed the black and white lit sign and stepped into the brightly lit arena. Arena? Indeed. You see, Sephora isn't just any store. It isn't just a room full of people purchasing their favorite blush or hair products. It is SO much more. It's an experience, a journey, a challenge. This location, specifically in size, was going to be different from my home store on Cape Cod..but I was ready. Grabbing a black shopping basket from the floor labeled "sanitized," I glided down the first aisle ~ Tom Ford. Teens flooded the store, testing samples, sitting at the client vanities, asking staff questions, searching high and low for what they needed. I picked up my iPhone & opened my cart on Sephora.com. I had an array of products, favorites, a wish list, if you will. This would be my guide, my safety map through the arena. One by one dropping boxes into my shopping bag, testing colors, swatching powders on the back of my hand, pumping sanitizer from the "tester" stations... I had my rhythm. 40 minutes later, I had a full bag, my makeup checklist complete. Last, never least, but always last- Perfume. Sephora is a beauty store, and although primarily dominated by makeup- their haircare & fragrance section deserves an Oscar. A lot of people ask me how my career started, what made me get into the beauty industry when it all started. The simple answer is watching youtube videos of Jaclyn Hill at age 20.. but the truth is my journey started well before that.
Recently, I visited my older sister Erin in my home state of New Hampshire. We had an amazing girl's weekend, watched our favorite movies, drank wine, talked about life. When it was time to get ready for bed, I followed her into the master bathroom. She has a beautiful vanity with a large wall mirror and plenty of counter space. All along the perimeter of the counter stood her well-organized skincare, makeup, and perfume.
I picked up a small red bottle in the shape of an apple, slightly bigger than a golf ball. "Dior Hypnotic Poison." I sprayed it, knowing when I did, I would love it. Because if my sister wore it, it had to smell amazing! Sure enough, I did love it. She smiled and said, "just like when you were a little girl, always playing with my beauty products." She was absolutely right, and I remembered this moment like it were yesterday. So curious and amazed by what she used, knowing it had to be the best of the best out there. She knew best. Ironically enough, she told me about how growing up, the same perfume was my mom's favorite when she was a little girl. I thought that was pretty note-worthy.
As I neared the end of my journey in Sephora, I knew just what I was looking for. A small, red apple perfume. I placed the red box in my bag & headed for the finish line. Like any Sephora, you can hit a few speed bumps on the way - the travel size section. This is how they get ya. Smaller versions of your favorite products staring at you whispering.. "you need me" & "I'm only $10". I was not about to be sucked in, and my bag was packed. The cashier was ready. We're moving forward. She looked at me & smiled "wow, you have a lot of stuff. Are you getting everything?". I laughed.. "yes that I am". She pulled out their signature black and white Sephora paper bag and began scanning. My heart fluttered, knowing I was about to be the owner of it all. The idea of adding these tools to my makeup kit. A sense of accomplishment. I swiped my card, grabbed my bag, and exited the arena. One hour later & I was wiped. My hands are still covered in remains of shadow, bronzer, and lip gloss. My feet were tired. My shopping bag weighed at least 10 lbs. We did it. I thought for sure I was ready to go home until I passed a similar arena, smaller in size, zero competition, a silent space, MAC Cosmetics. I decided to take a detour & walked in. It was there that I found my old holy grail- Goldlite Fix Plus Setting Spray.
The bottle has flecks of gold shimmer at the bottom to give a radiant shine when sprayed on the face. I shook the bottle & remembered the familiar sound of the metal ball stirring up the product inside. Add to cart! I walked to the register and asked the cashier if I could have a bottle. She grabbed one from the locked storage bins & began to check me out. At the counter stood three perfume bottles. One of which I had smelled before and always had wanted. "Creme de nude." I sprayed it directly on my sweatshirt, knowing I wasn't going to buy this, but I wanted to keep a little with me.
On the way home, I couldn't help but reflect on my day at the Prudential Center. All the feelings that flooded inside me. The memories and connections I had gathered shopping. The way the Creme De Nude lingered on my sweatshirt reminded me of the nights I spent in the city with my best friends. We would be huddled up in an Uber, wearing heels & leather jackets. Snapping pictures with each other & texting our friends about how long the bar lines were—filling the backseat with heavy perfume & laughter. It always reminded me of an episode of Sex and the City. I smiled, sitting there driving home in Boston traffic; there was a lot to be thankful for today. I'm grateful for the memories.