10.31.2013

Instagram Travel: Spooky Oakwood in Raleigh

Since our Instagram Thursday fell on Halloween this year, I had to stretch the travel theme somewhat this week because I did not want you to miss out on this ghastly house in the Oakwood area of Raleigh. My Instagram followers got a sneak peek before today with this photo.



If any area is haunted in Raleigh, North Carolina then my bets would be pretty high on the Oakwood area. It's Raleigh's oldest neighborhood.



I've always loved the houses in Oakwood, and when we were house hunting ten years ago, I strongly considered Oakwood because of its location, but when I toured a house on the market at the time, something felt creepy.  I can't explain it.  But, I looked at Will and said, "Some of these houses could be haunted."



Oakwood is best known for its candlelight Christmas Tours, which I attend yearly. Every holiday I regret not finding a house in the area when it was in our budget.  Now, it is difficult to find a house under $500K, with a ghost or without.  This one has quite the cast of characters.



Thanks to the terror of this home, Oakwood, is now known for Halloween, too.  Some other houses on the street also decorate for the spooky holiday.



And some houses still look a little creepy without doing a thing.  It does take a lot of work to renovate these houses.





Pretty pumpkins are more my style. This is one of my favorite homes in the neighborhood.



Rumor has it that the spooky house gave out 1,000 pieces of a candy in an hour last Halloween. But, enter at our own risk. Plastic black snakes are known to fall from the sky.



Yikes!

I would DIE.  Honestly, I was too creeped out to walk by the house on the sidewalk so I probably could have gotten a lot more pictures, but I was scared.


And who wouldn't be with Elm Street down the block.



Wishing you all a very happy and safe Halloween!

If you have a blog, link up with us.  If you don't, just use the hashtag #IGTRAVELThursday on Instagram. Take a look at the link-up rules below before linking, and please link back to a host so others can find everyone's links. 



Take a look at the official rules on Skimbaco Lifestyle, but here are some important things to remember when linking your post.


Here are the Linky rules:
Link to a new Instagram travel post and use the permalink of your post, not the homepage URL.
Only new posts from the week of the linky and no giveaways, other linkys or sales pitches.
No links to your Instagram profile, only links to your blog.
Link back to one of the Instagram Travel Thursday hosts.
Visit a few other posts in the linky and show them some love (comment, tweet, Pin etc.).
Links that do not follow the guidelines will be removed.


The Instagram Travel Thursday linky is posted on Thursdays at 1AM EST and the linky is open until the following Wednesday.
Be sure to follow me on one or more of my social media platforms.  TwitterInstagram ,FacebookPinterest, Google Plus or on Bloglovin, if you just want post updates. When traveling, I'm on Instagram the most.  My personal family Instagram account is LeighPHines.


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10.24.2013

Instagram Travel: A Look at Videri Chocolate Factory in Raleigh, NC

I had the pleasure of speaking to a great group of business owners about the use of Instagram in a special Vend Raleigh seminar over coffee this week. One thing I told these women who are just getting started on the social media tool is that your feed is unique.  It's your creative outlet. Use it how you want. But after awhile, it's easy to see what your followers like to see in your feed, and what the same followers skim right over in your feed. 

My followers like this. 


Since using Instagram for well over a year now, I've learned a few things about those of you who check my feed to see where I am on a daily basis. We all know that coffee and chocolate can't be tasted over a phone, but apparently when pictured on Instagram, coffee and chocolate still trigger a positive emotion. The pictures get liked, and liked quickly. 


My visit to Videri Chocolate Factory in Downtown Raleigh was a double delight for my Instagram followers because Videri also hosts a coffee bar in the chocolate factory. Coffee and chocolate in one place. What's not to love? 

Earlier this summer, I was the guest judge for North Carolina's sensational dining competition called, "Fire in the Triangle." On that particular night, 20 pounds of Videri chocolate happened to be the secret ingredient for the gourmet cooking competition.  I wrote a post titled, "Gotta Love Chocolate" for the News and Observer, detailing the culinary talent in this competition. 

Videri is located in the historic Raleigh Depot at 327 West Davie Street. Videri Chocolate Factory was started by group of Raleigh residents who wanted to create wonderful chocolate, from the bean, everyday. It's a cozy downtown chocolate factory that scrupulously sources every ingredient to insure a high quality, socially responsible chocolate.



The chocolate is delicious. It's high quality so a small piece of candy could run as much as $2.00 each. The splurge is worth it  though. 

I've not yet toured the factory, but I've certainly sampled their coffee and chocolate. I am a fan of the sea salt chocolate. 

Videri Chocolate Factory is also on Instagram, and delights chocolate lovers a couple of times a week with a new post. 




It is a good possibility that Videri chocolate could make another appearance as an ingredient in the Final Fire: Battle of the Champions to be held in Raleigh Nov. 20-23 at the Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel.  Only time will tell. 

Tickets for the final dining competition of the year will go on sale Thursday, Oct. 30 at 7 pm. Final Fire will conclude the statewide chef competition and determine NC’s champion. Event reservations cost $119 each excluding beverage, tax and service charge. 

Diners can attend as many dinners as they like. Reservations open online on October 30 at 7 pm at http://www.competitiondining.com/events/final-fire. Event organizers expect the finals to sell out in 24 hours.

At stake in Final Fire is $4,000, a hand-forged set of knives from Charlotte-based Ironman Forge and a trip to Napa Valley, CA to the pro chef program at the CIA Greystone campus, compliments of Kikkoman. The runner-up receives $1,000.

Now in its second year, The Got To Be NC Competition Dining Series has become a statewide movement. Because all people are chefs, farmers, and diners, the event’s mission is to connect and celebrate this community with a dynamic, entertaining experience.

If you have a blog, link up with us.  If you don't, just use the hashtag #IGTRAVELThursday on Instagram. Take a look at the link-up rules below before linking, and please link back to a host so others can find everyone's links. 



Take a look at the official rules on Skimbaco Lifestyle, but here are some important things to remember when linking your post.


Here are the Linky rules:
Link to a new Instagram travel post and use the permalink of your post, not the homepage URL.
Only new posts from the week of the linky and no giveaways, other linkys or sales pitches.
No links to your Instagram profile, only links to your blog.
Link back to one of the Instagram Travel Thursday hosts.
Visit a few other posts in the linky and show them some love (comment, tweet, Pin etc.).
Links that do not follow the guidelines will be removed.


The Instagram Travel Thursday linky is posted on Thursdays at 1AM EST and the linky is open until the following Wednesday.
Be sure to follow me on one or more of my social media platforms.  TwitterInstagram ,FacebookPinterest, Google Plus or on Bloglovin, if you just want post updates. When traveling, I'm on Instagram the most.  My personal family Instagram account is LeighPHines.


Continue the discussion on Facebook

10.22.2013

Luxury Hotel News in Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill

How are you? You know how it is! Life is crazy when you are a parent, and I've had very little time to chat with you all here.  I've been out and about in Triangle lately. As a result, I wanted to share some things with you that I felt needed sharing sooner rather than later.


I love her new owl gown from Company Kids
First off, our owl pajamas for National Family Pajama Night arrived this week.  I love The Company Store. 
The Siena Hotel used Vietri China for the luncheon. 

Last week on my TriangleMom2Mom column for the News and Observer, I received a lot of positive feedback on my column titled, "Do Really Skinny Women Eat?" You can read that post here. I'm back on the food-eating wagon, and apparently off of the exercise wagon since I wrote about my attempts to lose weight on the Denise Austin eating plan. The scale is moving up again, if I indulge at all. The "Do skinny women eat?" post idea came after I attended a fabulous luncheon at the Siena Hotel to celebrate Vietri's 30th Anniversary. I'm working on a story for Skimbaco Lifestyle about how a trip to Italy inspired the start of Vietri, the North Carolina based tablescape company. I'm hoping to sit down soon so I can devote some time it.




I am a big fan of Vietri, and am so glad I was able to attend this luncheon and meet, CEO Susan Gravely. The table setting was stunning, and I certainly ate like a queen. It will be a cold day in hell that I pass up food prepared by an outstanding chef like Executive Chef Adam Rose of Il Palio. 

I was also at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham last week for the luxury hotel's Fall Menu preview. Here, I'm enjoying the tasting with food blogger, Ron Wen of Foodalicious Follies




Executive Chef Jason Cunningham always seems to impress my Southern, simple taste. His menu is based on the farm-fresh ingredients that are abundant this time of year. I didn't get a photo of my favorite dish, but the Ashley Farms Sweet Tea Poulet Rouge really stood out as a favorite for me.  I also tried my first cinnamon sugar cronut. The Cinnamon Sugar Cronut was served with poached sour cherries and root beer ice cream. I loved it. 


Cinnamon Sugar Cronut 

You can view the fall menu on the Washington Duke Inn website.  As the days grow shorter, the fall season's happy hour menu, served daily in the Fairview Dining Room, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., is a $30 three-course prix-fixe menu that includes a choice of appetizer, entree and a sample of sweets. 


Christopher Marley's collection is on display at the Umstead Hotel and Spa to January 1, 2014

I was also at the Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary to view the new art exhibit, Pheromone, by Christopher Marley. It is amazing! Actually, it is unbelievable that someone can make something so beautiful out of natural artifacts, such as bugs.


Marley uses beetles, butterflies and other arthropods as an unconventional artistic medium. He displays them singly or arranged in exquisite mosaic and prismatic patterns that take full advantage of their naturally vivid colors and almost architectural forms.


These are insects, not jewels. 

The Marley exhibit will remain at The Umstead through Jan. 1, 2014. Interested parties can purchase his works through The Umstead Gift Shop.  Prices range from $250 to $4500 and up. 

Anyone can visit the Umstead's art collection at any time, for free. The hotel has a fabulous brochure that will guide you through its remarkable permanent collection as well.  If you want to make a special evening, the fall menu is now available at Herons. I've not had anything from it yet so I can't recommend anything in particular, but I bet that pumpkin soup with marshmallow would be great on a fall evening.  You can view Herons fall menu here.  

Herons’ autumn prix fixe dinner menu offers guests the option of three or four courses.  A three-course menu is priced at $75; four courses for $85. Complementary wine pairings are also available for an additional cost.


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10.17.2013

Instagram Travel: The Best of NC for 10 Days

There is always something nostalgic about attending a State Fair. This Instagram photo was taken by me about this same time last year.



North Carolina has a great fair. It opens Friday, October 17 and will run through Sunday, October 27 in Raleigh.

I am not really into the rides, or the fried foods at the fair. A sloppy joe doughnut,which is debuting this year, makes my stomach do a nasty flip at the thought of it. I love a Krispy Kreme doughnut, but I'll take it alone, please!  But, many NC residents will be lining up to try this new delicacy.



I also like my Oreo cookies plain; not fried. The only foods I want fried are chicken and okra.

We took our kids last year to the fair for the first time last year. We had a great time, and I certainly recommend the experience. The part of the fair I enjoyed most was the showcase of North Carolina artisans, and culinary talent.


We certainly have some talented people in the Tar Heel state. I'm not sure if I will make it out to the fairgrounds this year, but I have two Instagram accounts for you follow, and it will seem like you are there, too.


@NCStateFair joined Instagram at fair time last year. This account is most active during the fair season, of course.

A local blogger at Gadabout Food, and personal friend of mine @Knbaughman will also be at the fair showcasing all that fried stuff that fairgoers just seem to love.



I'll take a piece of cake over a fried Oreo, giant turkey leg, or a sloppy joe doughnut any day. Kristen says the pinata is a cake. I think the cake with its own table is cute.

The North Carolina State Fair has a "Homecoming" theme this year. The agriculture fun will run in Raleigh through October 27. Last year 965,297 people attended the fair. 

Visit http://www.ncstatefair.org/2013/ for the daily schedules and to download the NC State Fair free mobile app via iTunes and Google Play. This app has it all: Daily Schedule, Fair map, Hours of Admission, Map Directions, Food & Ride Finder and much, much more. You can even purchase your tickets directly through the app!

If you have a blog, link up with us.  If you don't, just use the hashtag #IGTRAVELThursday on Instagram. Take a look at the link-up rules below before linking, and please link back to a host so others can find everyone's links. 



Take a look at the official rules on Skimbaco Lifestyle, but here are some important things to remember when linking your post.


Here are the Linky rules:
Link to a new Instagram travel post and use the permalink of your post, not the homepage URL.
Only new posts from the week of the linky and no giveaways, other linkys or sales pitches.
No links to your Instagram profile, only links to your blog.
Link back to one of the Instagram Travel Thursday hosts.
Visit a few other posts in the linky and show them some love (comment, tweet, Pin etc.).
Links that do not follow the guidelines will be removed.


The Instagram Travel Thursday linky is posted on Thursdays at 1AM EST and the linky is open until the following Wednesday.
Be sure to follow me on one or more of my social media platforms.  TwitterInstagram ,FacebookPinterest, Google Plus or on Bloglovin, if you just want post updates. When traveling, I'm on Instagram the most.  My personal family Instagram account is LeighPHines.



10.16.2013

The Company Store "National Family Pajama Night" Giveaway to Support Ronald McDonald Houses in the U.S.

I am excited to partner with one of my favorite stores to give you the opportunity to win cozy pajamas for your family (up to six pairs of pajamas for two winners) to celebrate the 3rd annual National Family Pajama Night™ on Saturday, November 2, 2013.



As in years past, families staying at Ronald McDonald Houses, a “home-away-from-home,” across the U.S. will gather in The Company Store PJs for a night to remember. The Company Store will be donating 3,000 pairs of pajamas to RMHC guest families caring for a sick child. In addition, The Company Store will donate $1 to RMHC for every pair of pajamas purchased from October 2 through to December 2, 2013. This year, a record-setting 54 Ronald McDonald Houses across the country will be participating.

“That feeling of home is something that we all look for during the holiday season,” said Karen Feldman, Director of Marketing, The Company Store. “This is why we began National Family Pajama Night three years ago. As a company constantly focused on giving back, we truly love creating a feeling of warmth, fun and comfort for these families who are dealing with illnesses while they are away from home. And who doesn’t love a comfy pair of PJs?”

Family pajamas are available in an array of six different holiday-themed styles, including The Company Store’s most popular “Woodbridge Plaid” and “Winter Forest” family pajama lines. Sizes are offered for the entire family, including the family dog. To participate, visit The Company Store’s National Family Pajama Night™ website to purchase pajamas and support care for RMHC children and their families.

I chose the Night Watch Family Pajamas for the Hines. I love all the patterns, but my daughter has a special fondness for owls.


We'll see you in your pajamas for a good cause on November 2.  Winners for this giveaway will be drawn at random on Thursday, October 24. 

About The Company Store:

The Company Store and Company Kids are renowned for providing 100 years of quality, comfort and care through the best US-crafted comforters, fashion bedding, home d├ęcor, and apparel for adults and children. Six-generation experts in comfort, The Company Store produces its signature LaCrosse down comforters in LaCrosse, WI, while sourcing the latest trends and styles from around the world. The Company Store and CompanyKids offer comfort and style at every price point for the quality-minded consumer. To learn more, visit www.thecompanystore.com.

This giveaway will end at 12 a.m. on October 24. Two winners will be selected. Rafflecopter will be managing entries.

For those needing extra help with Rafflecopter
1. Click on "Use Your E-mail" or "Sign in with Facebook"
2. A box will pop up. Enter your name. Enter your e-mail address or Facebook ID.
3. Click on "Log In".
4. A box will pop up with choices to enter.  Put your mouse on the +1 button. Click it.
5. Hit "Enter" and your e-mail address should be in the system, and you will have one entry. You will have several ways to earn entries. 



a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Post by Hines-Sight Blog.



Disclosure: The Company Store is sponsoring this giveaway. I also received pajamas for my family. The Company Store is a favorite store of mine, and no other compensation was provided for this post. 

10.10.2013

Instagram Travel: Get Cozy in the NC Mountains

This week is the first time in Raleigh when it has felt like the fall season. The ironic thing is that I posted this photo on Instagram when it still felt like summer at my home due to the unusual warm spell this October in North Carolina.


Apparently, you are ready for chilly, fall fireplace weather, too because this Instagram photo has become one of my most popular photos in my feed since I've been using the social media tool.

The photo was taken at the Inn on Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina earlier this year. And yes, I waited a long time for someone to get out of those seats so my photo could be people free. Was it worth the wait? Yes, it was. I just enjoyed another cup of coffee at the complimentary beverage station while waiting. People who know me know that I have no problem lingering in a hotel lobby. I hardly ever want to go home.


In fact, I recommend one of these delights by the fire at the Inn on Biltmore.  It's a Toffee Coffee, a specialty drink made up by the Inn's bartender. Yes, I had to have one. Delicious!

The North Carolina mountains are beautiful in the fall.  My home state has one of the longest color seasons in the world due to so many tree species.

Photo courtesy of FallintheMountains.com

I have a great travel idea.  Do a fall "cozy up to the fire" fall tour in my state. Here are a few other great fireplaces that you don't want to miss.  The Omni Grove Park Inn, also in Asheville, has a fireplace that just says, "Wow!" It's huge.  I've not written a "Pack Your Bags" on this historic hotel and spa yet, but it's on my list for the blog. My last stay there was in 1998. It became an Omni Resort this year.


Here is Will beside the same fireplace in the summer of 2009 when we did a quick lobby visit on our way back to Raleigh.


The Boone-Valle Crucis-Blowing Rock area of North Carolina is just charming. I can't think of a better place to call home after a day of sightseeing than a cabin at the luxurious Mast Farm Inn.  This cozy cabin that I stayed in last year makes me want to make my own Toffee Coffee, and watch a movie. The Inn has great in-room coffee, by the way.  When I snapped this photo, it was during the spring season so we did not have the gas logs in use, but we could have easily that time of year. It still gets chilly at night in the mountains even in early May sometimes.


One of my favorite hotels in North Carolina is the Old Edwards Inn and Spa in Highlands. So far, it is the most gorgeous hotel property I have visited in the mountains. Let me just say that sitting at this fireplace in the new Lodge area surrounded by the fall color would be spectacular. This photo was in the hotel's Instagram feed last week.



No doubt, the fall is a special time in North Carolina. Explore Asheville has always done a fabulous job with its weekly fall color reports, but this year, tourism officials added a great site which goes into the science behind the fall color. I found it fascinating. You may, too.

Photo credit: FallintheMountains.com


I have decided that this time next year, I will be in the North Carolina mountains next to a fireplace.

Join my Facebook community, and let's continue the discussion.


Post by Hines-Sight Blog.

If you have a blog, link up with us.  If you don't, just use the hashtag #IGTRAVELThursday on Instagram. Take a look at the link-up rules below before linking, and please link back to a host so others can find everyone's links. 



Take a look at the official rules on Skimbaco Lifestyle, but here are some important things to remember when linking your post.


Here are the Linky rules:
Link to a new Instagram travel post and use the permalink of your post, not the homepage URL.
Only new posts from the week of the linky and no giveaways, other linkys or sales pitches.
No links to your Instagram profile, only links to your blog.
Link back to one of the Instagram Travel Thursday hosts.
Visit a few other posts in the linky and show them some love (comment, tweet, Pin etc.).
Links that do not follow the guidelines will be removed.


The Instagram Travel Thursday linky is posted on Thursdays at 1AM EST and the linky is open until the following Wednesday.
Be sure to follow me on one or more of my social media platforms.  TwitterInstagram ,FacebookPinterest, Google Plus or on Bloglovin, if you just want post updates. When traveling, I'm on Instagram the most.  My personal family Instagram account is LeighPHines.

10.03.2013

Instagram Travel: You Won't Believe What is Parked in the Umstead Hotel and Spa Lobby

It's not everyday that you see a Porsche, valued close to four million dollars, in a luxury hotel lobby.



I got the thrill of seeing this classic beauty when I visited the Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary yesterday. It was small enough to fit right through the front doors.

Through October 20, this 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder will be checked-in at the hotel to help celebrate the October 12 opening of "Porsche By Design: Seducing Speed" exhibition at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh.

 I am not really a car buff, but I could certainly appreciate this car's beauty. It's difficult to see the detail in the photo, but the back section of the vehicle opens via a perfectly positioned leather buckle.



There were few Porsche Spyders made in 1955. It was marketed as a race car.  Legendary actor, James Dean, owned a Porsche Spyder for just 9 days before he was killed in a car crash in the same model Porsche.  He was only 24-years-old.

Photo  Credit: The Daily Telegraph


If you love expensive cars then I think you will adore the NC Musuem of Art's "Porsche by Design: Seducing Speed". It marks the museums first design exhibition, exploring the history and development of the Porsche lineage from the 1930s to the present day.  The special exhibit will run through January 20, 2014.



Here are some special events in Raleigh to help celebrate the arrival of the exhibit.

SaturdayOctober 12 (PORSCHE BY DESIGN OPENING DAY!)

Porsche Car Meetup
Saturday, October 12 | 8:30 am
Museum Park
Free

Bring the family for some four-wheel fun! On the opening day of Porsche by Design, the Museum will present a Porsche meet up, featuring cars from local Porsche owners. In addition to these racy cars, enjoy music, food trucks with breakfast and snacks for sale, a kids play zone, and health screenings by UNC-REX. Then head into the Museum to see Porsche by Design and have lunch in the Porsche Biergarten. For more information contact Robert Mlodzik at (919) 664-6743 or Robert.Mlodzik@ncdcr.gov.

*For this car meetup, we are expecting a large number of Porsche cars from all over the country driving in to participate!

*Special guests: Jeff Zwart, seven-time Pikes Peak Hill Climb champion, and Magnus Walker, popular Porsche collector and clothing designer

Porsche Drop-In Studio
Saturday, October 12 | 12 pm
East Building, NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Gallery
Free

Celebrate the opening of Porsche by Design with hands-on activities for kids of all ages. Join us anytime between noon and 3 pm.

Sunday, October 20

Fall Family Day: Design-a-Thon
Sunday, October 20, 1–4 pm
Free; for all ages
West Building: Family Tours
East Building: Demonstrations and Activities

Rev your engines! Bring your family and friends to an action-packed day to celebrate the Museum’s first design exhibition, Porsche by Design: Seducing Speed. From cell phones to vacuum cleaners, playgrounds to zoos, designers build the products and spaces we use in our day-to-day activities. Explore the world of design through on-going demonstrations, family tours, art workshops, and design labs. Meet local artists and designers, and experiment with materials as you consider form, function, and fabulous design.

Featured areas:
·         Accessory Design
·         Automotive Design
·         Exhibition Design
·         Fashion Design
·         Graphic Design
·         Interior Design
·         Product Design
·         Textile Design


The Umstead also invites you to see this mid-century Porsche on display as well as its entire art collection. The vintage Porsche is owned by a private collector in Durham, North Carolina.  I would suggest a fall cocktail on the terrace.  This would be your lovely view. 



Join our discussions on Facebook




If you have a blog, link up with us.  If you don't, just use the hashtag #IGTRAVELThursday on Instagram. Take a look at the link-up rules below before linking, and please link back to a host so others can find everyone's links. 



Take a look at the official rules on Skimbaco Lifestyle, but here are some important things to remember when linking your post.


Here are the Linky rules:
Link to a new Instagram travel post and use the permalink of your post, not the homepage URL.
Only new posts from the week of the linky and no giveaways, other linkys or sales pitches.
No links to your Instagram profile, only links to your blog.
Link back to one of the Instagram Travel Thursday hosts.
Visit a few other posts in the linky and show them some love (comment, tweet, Pin etc.).
Links that do not follow the guidelines will be removed.


The Instagram Travel Thursday linky is posted on Thursdays at 1AM EST and the linky is open until the following Wednesday.
Be sure to follow me on one or more of my social media platforms.  TwitterInstagram ,FacebookPinterest, Google Plus or on Bloglovin, if you just want post updates. When traveling, I'm on Instagram the most.  My personal family Instagram account is LeighPHines.

10.01.2013

Tom Ford Vs.Bond No. 9 #RaleighSaksEvents

I'm having a little fun this week in my house. It's Saks Fall 2013 Beauty Week.  Raleigh is home to the only Saks Fifth Avenue in North Carolina, and I struck the beauty product lottery this week. Saks gave me all of these fabulous products to try at my leisure.

Saks Beauty Tote

Yep, all these great items. In my home. Right now. Pinch me. This tote, filled with samples from Tom Ford, Chanel, Sisley, Bobbi Brown, Bond No. 9, Kiehls and much more, is available to Saks customers with a $100 purchase as long as supplies last through October 6.  It is available online as well.

I am always buying makeup and skincare as needed, but I rarely buy fragrances. I guess that is more of a splurge in my life right now as opposed to a necessity.  Hair appointments to cover my gray hair, which seems to be sprouting all over my head these days, cosmetics, and skincare essentials are priorities for me in my overall budget, but fragrances are not.

When I opened my tote, I went right to the fragrances because it felt like a splurge item. I'm taking it slow, and have tested these two fragrances.

 Tom Ford Violet Blonde versus Bond No. 9 New York



Perfumes react differently on everyone. So what may not work for me may be great for you. I also do not have a strong sense of smell, and I tend to like a lighter scent. My Mom and 3-year-old daughter, on the other hand, can smell something three houses away. My daughter makes me eat greek yogurt in another room. Her smell is that keen.

Based on sampling these two perfumes by wearing each one daily, I would buy Tom Ford Violet Blonde.  I really like this perfume. I had never sampled a Tom Ford scent before this week. It's light. It's not overpowering, and that is important to me.

Bond No. 9 did not work for me at all. It's just not my scent. Again, perfumes react differently on everyone, but this one overpowered my nose, and remember, I can't smell well at all.  Bond No. 9 has many other scents, and I still have two other ones left to try in my sample tote.

Tom Ford Violet Blonde Wins My Scent Battle

In my opinion, outrageously expensive is not always better. Tom Ford wins the scent battle for me.

Tom Ford Violet Blonde is priced at $110 compared to Bond No. 9 New York at $240 for the same 1.7 ounce size.  That's a HUGE difference in price.

My 3-year-old daughter did not like Bond No. 9 New York at all. Tom Ford was just mediocre to her, but she was OK with it. I could stay in the same room. Honestly, she likes my $10 small bottle of Paul Mitchell hair spray. Maybe that smells more like mommy on a daily basis. I'll keep wearing Tom Ford, and if she doesn't complain then I say it's a keeper.

Bond No. 9 has a new scent, Perfumista Avenue. This scent will be the guest of honor for a Happy Hour event in the Raleigh Saks on October 3. This perfume was not in the tote to sample. It's even more expensive at $260 per 1.7 ounce.


Are you a Bond girl or a Tom Ford girl?

Beauty Week is in full swing at Saks in Raleigh. On October 4-5, learn how to master the latest 2013 Fall trends.

I'll keep you posted on some of the other scents in the beauty box, and I'll let you know if Tom Ford stays on top.

Photos courtesy of Chana Lynn of  Raleigh What's Up, and  Saks. I was not able to make the blogging event in person due to a conflict in schedule.  And that's probably a good thing because they took bloggers into a secret purse closet at Saks where I could afford nothing.  I might have hyperventilated because I love a designer purse. I still have my first Gucci purse from 1980. 



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