Dinner with Laura Slatkin of Nest Fragrances

Chances are you own a candle created by Laura Slatkin.  Her first collection sold in Bath & Body Works (yes, the ones that matched the fragrance collections) and now, naturally, she's onto bigger and better things.  Her latest venture, Nest Fragrances, includes candles, but the scents are the stars.  Over dinner in her house on the Upper East Side in NYC, we spoke about her favorites, career and scent inspiration and what's next. When asked at dinner what your favorite NEST fragrance was, you had one for all different occasions!  What are they and why can't you name just one?

People always ask me which one of my fragrances is my favorite. As you can imagine, it is like asking a mother which child do they favor more!  I worked so hard on all of these fragrances.  I labored over them, lived with them, shaped them, and tweaked them until they were perfection, in my opinion, so it is very hard to choose a “favorite”! Instead of spending all my time with one fragrance, I divide my time evenly between them all so no one ever feels excluded! I wear Passiflora during the day as it lifts my spirits. Passiflora reminds me of the superb fragrance that emanates from a floral shop filled with fresh flowers and green leaves; I wear my refreshing Amazon Lily on the weekends when I am riding my bike in East Hampton or shopping around town in NYC; I wear Dahlia & Vines when I am out for dinner in the evening with my husband and close friends; I wear White Sandalwood when I am in a more seductive mood and headed for a special evening out; I wear Midnight Fleur when I am dressed in an evening gown. I lather my entire body with Midnight Fleur body cream and combine it with the eau de parfum. I wear Midnight Fleur when I want a rich, sexy, evocative fragrance on my skin.

The NEST Fine Fragrance Collection screams luxury from the packaging to the base notes.  What was your inspiration?

I didn't wake up one morning and decide to launch a fine fragrance collection; I was inspired to create a fine fragrance collection. One day I was sitting in my library reading some art books, flipping through the pages of a book on the 18th C. British artist Mrs. Delany when I came across a botanical that was so beautiful I actually ripped it out of the book – something one should never do – and I wrapped it around a box and said to myself, “Wow, this would make an amazingly beautiful fine fragrance collection.” It is then that I began the journey of marrying fine art to the art of perfumery. I brought the two worlds together and it was perfect. I hired a very talented Russian artist to paint the botanicals using Mrs. Delany’s body of work as inspiration. Then I took the paintings to the perfumers, and we created the fragrances using the artwork as inspiration.

From your career on Wall Street to founding Slatkin & Co, you're such an inspiring business woman.  What's one piece of business advice you'd give to others?

There are so many lessons I have learned along the way. I guess if I had to choose one lesson I have learned over the years is that businesses are like rivers – you need to let them flow. If you come across a barrier, you need to let the water go around that barrier, over that barrier, find a new direction to go in, but you can’t expect that it is always going to flow perfectly in the way you envisioned. If something isn’t working you need to find a new path, you need to switch gears, learn to pull the plug, and remember it isn’t personal, it is business. Building a business is a roller coaster, it is ride, and you should have fun on that ride. When things hit bottom, just remember you can only go up from there. The way to swing back up is to regroup and get to work…work harder. Stay positive and never lose your positive spirit. You have to find that inner strength to march onward and upward.

What's the best piece of advice anyone's ever given you?

When my son was diagnosed with severe autism, my husband and I started a foundation: New York Collaborates for Autism. Our first task was to establish a school for children with autism in NYC. I met Hillary Clinton at a friend’s home, and I shared with her our foundation’s mission. She listened carefully and she said to me, “I am going to give you some very important advice and I want you to remember what I am going to tell you.” She leaned in and said, "The government is your most powerful partner.” I quickly discovered that she couldn’t be more correct. The fastest way to affect change, to scale your efforts, and disseminate information, is through public/private partnerships. Her advice has been our guiding light. We went on to found the first charter school for children with autism in the state of New York. Hillary Clinton wrote a letter to the State of New York on our behalf, supporting and recommending the approval of our charter.

When you have an entrepreneurial spirit, it seems the sky's the limit.  What's next for you?  Or what else do you hope to accomplish one day?

“There is still much to accomplish with NEST Fragrances. It is a terrific company enjoying tremendous growth so I am laser-focused on continuing to drive that growth for the foreseeable future. I suppose one day I will sell NEST Fragrances and retire on a beach somewhere. Yes, I would retire to an island somewhere and you would find me on a beach on a lounge chair, drinking a pina colada; that is my “next.” Of course, as my husband always says, “And then you would open a puka bead shop on the beach and then, before you know it, there would be many, many puka bead shops." But seriously, my dream would be to start another company with several of my closest colleagues. We would dream up an innovative idea—a company based on a single product. Nothing complicated but ingenious! We would own the company together and have a lot of fun. Building businesses is fun; there will always be a next!”

DKNY Be Delicious Art Collection Inspired by Keith Haring, Plus Nail Art to Match

When I found out that DKNY Fragrances was launching a collection inspired by the 1980's New York based graffiti artist, Keith Haring, I couldn't wait to see the bottles for it couldn't be more fitting.  Capturing the energy of NY through scent and design, they're definitely collectables.  Inspired, I took to nail art to recreate some of Haring's work in celebration of the new collection. The collection is a twist on your favorite Be Delicious scents: DKNY Be Delicious Art, DKNY Fresh Blossom Art and DKNY Golden Delicious Art Inspired by Keith Haring and they're available in duty free shops worldwide.  For a store locator, check out the DKNY Fragrances Facebook page so you can pick one up when you travel.  They make great gifts, too.  

Having a piece of Keith Haring on my nails was a lot of fun and I got so many compliments!  What do you think?  Would you wear graffiti on your tips?  Check out the DKNY Facebook page to get the step-by-step how to.


Rose Petal Nail Art Inspired by DKNY pureDKNY a drop of rose

With the launch of pureDKNY a drop of rose, my mission was to seek out nail art inspired by the new fragrance.  The first time I partnered with DKNY to interpret fragrance through nail art it was for the holidays so the theme was intensity through glitter (see here).  This time, it's much different.  Dare I say more wearable?  You tell me. When I was first introduced to pureDKNY a drop of rose back in October (see post here) I fell in love and it quickly became my new daytime scent.  To replicate the softness of the pure pink rose petals, I chose to have my nails marbled through a combination of pinks and whites of various intensities.  What do you think?

Check out the DKNY Fragrances Facebook page for an easy step-by-step guide on how to recreate my look at home or try interpreting the fragrance your way and post on their wall.  Can't wait to see what you come up with!

You can purchase pureDKNY a drop of rose at or for $45.

Holiday Nail Art Inspired by DKNY Be Delicious Eau So Intense

Happy Holidays BeautySweetSpot readers!  Since my latest project with DKNY left my nails appropriately sparkling for the season, I thought it was a good time to fill you in on what I've been up to with the brand (see post on partnership).  My mission: to interpret their latest fragrances through nail art.  In honor of the holidays, I experimented with green first inspired by DKNY Be Delicious Eau So Intense.  Here's a look at the scent and how I captured it on my tips!

You may be familiar with DKNY Be Delicious, as it's been out for years and has a cult following thanks to the refreshing apple accord.  This newer fragrance that launched this summer, DKNY Be Delicious Eau So Intense, ups the ante as it's even juicier.  The apple note is simply intoxicating and is layered on top of other fresh notes like grapefruit and florals while dried down by woody notes like sandal wood.

When I spritz the fragrance I automatically receive an intense splash of energy.  Playing off of the apple accord and green packaging, green was the only color that could capture the freshness and vibrancy.  I decided to use sparkles instead of flat polish to up the intensity and created an ombre effect to showcase how a fragrance wears.

Want to replicate my look?  Check out the DKNY Fragrances Facebook page for an easy step-by-step guide.  Interested in creating your own version of nail art inspired by DKNY Be Delicious Eau So Intense?  We can't wait to see what you come up with!  Post your versions on their Facebook wall as well!

The Power of Red: Lipstick, Louboutins & Fragrance

Red is my favorite color because of the positive energy that surrounds it.  It's empowering, the color of passion, strength and confidence.  Why do you think Louboutins are so coveted? The red soles are status symbols for fashionistas, but are also made to seduce women and men alike.  Did you know the arch is made in the position of a woman's foot as she orgasms? Passion and power.  Don't even let me get started on my love for a classic red lip, (see post) but let's talk Forever Red by Bath & Body Works. The new fragrance is just that, created for the, "modern sensuality that defines the confident, intensely feminine and always true to herself woman," the Bath & Body Works President of Brand Development and Merchandising Camille McDonald describes.

When I was younger I used to go to the mall (yes, the mall, which was my NJ hobby back in the day) and love going into Bath & Body Works to get the 3 for $20 fragrance mists (Sensual Amber was my fave).  This fragrance, Forever Red, is more up my alley these days.  Light and sweet, it holds onto it's Bath & Body roots with a more sophisticated blend of red notes such as Brazilian red pomegranate, marigold, French red peach and red osmanthus.

You can find Forever Red at Bath & Body stores for $44.50 starting November 5th.

*This is a sponsored post, but all of my thoughts and actions are true.

My Intimate Night with Gaga... Really, I Touched Her and Watched Her Get Inked... Plus Grabbed A Video of All the Action

Thursday night I attended Lady Gaga's launch party for her new fragrance, Fame, at the Guggenheim Museum along with anyone who is anyone in NYC.  It was a true masquerade. Along with top influencers in the beauty industry, Yoko Uno, Marc Jacobs, Jessica Stam, Michael Strahan, Charlotte Ronson, Alexander Wang, and I sipped champagne in awe as we watched Gaga get a new tattoo inside a replica of her fragrance bottle.

When I arrived, I walked the red carpet and entered into the museum wearing a Zara cocktail dress with lace overlay on top and feathers on bottom.  My Walter Steiger booties weren't even my main accessory.  The invite stated, "Head piece required."  I donned a super chic black headband with tulle flowers that had a mesh, black veil.  Greeted by Gaga's harness men upon entry I found my friends, found the bar and observed.

A video began to play directed by Steven Klein for the fragrance launch and to my surprise I come to find out that Gaga was in the fragrance replica!  She was in there!  Acting like Sleeping Beauty, draped in fur, people quickly lined up to touch her.  Yes, to touch and try to wake Gaga.  Of course I pushed my way through the crowd with Dina from eye4style, Marina from makeuplovesme and Sarah from styleitonline (check out her mask gallery here) and we all touched Gaga.  Or maybe I should say we reached into the fragrance replica where she was sleeping, grabbed her hand and harassed her nails to check out the mani situation.  Worth it!

After she awoke, the song "Fame" by David Bowie blasted throughout the museum and we got a sneak peek into her life backstage.  Her glam squad rushed in, Gaga spritzed herself with her fragrance and before we knew it, we were watching her get inked.  This was the art in the middle of the Guggenheim.  Gaga was on display.  Her personal life was on display for all of us who cared.  And we did care.  

This is what we saw:

As for the fragrance, see my review here.

Exclusive Interview: Reem Acra and I Talk Fragrance Addiction Backstage

When I was invited backstage to the Reem Acra show this season it wasn't to cover the beauty look.  Instead, it was to speak with Ms. Acra prior to the show about her first fragrance launching this October called Reem Acra Eau de Parfum.  Yes!  This I'll cover!  Something fresh!  Excited, I headed backstage and had a one-on-one chat before the scene got hectic with the designer about why her new fragrance gives power to women. "It's about giving power to woman," Ms. Acra remarks.  "This scent creates a sense of addiction."

With the essence of the fragrance being amber, notes of orange blossom, pear, and bergamot open it, followed by ginger and florals such as jasmine, lily of the valley and peony.  It's dried down by amber, patchouli and musk.

"This is not just a fragrance," she states.  "It's part of my lifestyle, because I grew up collecting amber and regularly drink orange blossom so it's very true to who I am."

Ms. Acra went on to explain that as a child in Lebanon she and her father would dig and pick amber from the ground, which is now part of a collection is at the Museum of Natural History in NYC.

Since I'm super picky about my fragrances and normally don't share what I'm wearing, I asked Ms. Acra how she felt about keeping fragrance a secret.  Her response, "I usually tell people what I wear.  By sharing, we're empowering women.  It's a powerful secret to pass on from women to women and the more powerful women we have around us the more power we'll have in the world."

*Reem Acra Eau de Parfum will be available exclusively at Saks in October.

Agent Provocateur Introduces Three New Alluring Fragrances

I'm obsessed with everything Agent Provocateur and while I can't afford the lingerie (seriously $130 for a thong!) I became obsessed with their first two fragrances, Eau de Parfum, Maitresse and L'Agent.  They first launched about six years ago when I was working in beauty at Cosmo and I remember snatching them.  They were a piece of the sexiest, luxury lingerie brand that I was able to obtain and could actually afford.  Now, the Agent Provocateur is coming out with three more daytime appropriate, provocative fragrances.

Agent Provocateur 'Eau Provocateur' - a brand new fragrance that blends citrus notes with red fruits.  Florals like Muguet and Orange Flower gloat over base notes of Myrrh, Vanilla and Tonka Bean.

Agent Provocateur L'Agent 'Eau Provocateur' - the daytime version of the original, L'Agent.  The floral scent was given a light twist of citrus notes like Leaf Accord, Mandarin and Apple and are grounded out by Musk, Patchouli and Sandalwood.

Agent Provocateur Maitresse 'Eau Provocateur' - the daytime version of the original, Maitresse.  Granny Smith Apple accord is topped with notes of Rose and Jasmine and grounded with Amber, Sandalwood and Tonka.

*Each fragrance will be available in April at department stores and online at for $70.

Bond No. 9 Launches I Love NY Collection

Known for their fragrances inspired by the unique neighborhoods of New York, Bond No. 9 just launched an I Love New York collection.  To be honest, I'm surprised they didn't do this sooner! My first Bond No. 9 fragrance was their Nuits de Noho candle.  I'll never forget receiving it and coveting it for months as it sat displayed out on my book shelf after the candle burnt down just because it resembled NYC and I loved what it stood for – the upbeat edginess of downtown.

The I Love NY collection has a perfume, cologne and a unisex scent.  The perfume is blended with fruit and floral notes such as mandarin zest, spicy nutmeg and blueberry accord layered with roses, pink peonies, patchouli and grounded by musk, vanilla, sandalwood and leather accord.

If you like it when your man wears musky colognes, you may like this one. It contains notes such as patchouli, leather, sandalwood, musk and amber topped by ginger, juniper berry and lavender.

The unisex scent is my favorite (I'm not a fruity floral lover) as it's full of more grounded notes.  Bergamot, muguet and pepper are layered over cocoa, coffee beans and creamy chestnut.  Patchouli, vanilla, leatherwood and sandalwood finish it off.

*Available Sept. 18th

The Art of Fragrance and Seduction

I'm super picky when it comes to scent.  Typically I don't like using scented products and love amber or vanilla fragranced candles or maybe a light spritz on my decolletage for nighttime.  However, with my profession, there will be some days where I smell like a concoction of scents for better or worse. When it comes to fragrance and seduction there are many different scents that are credited to turning men on, but according to research conducted by the Monell Chemical Senses Center the sexiest ones are those that bring out a woman's natural scent.  The gems – rose, musk, mint, green apple and oak moss.

Leave it to Victoria's Secret to create a scent that blended the top five sexiest notes.  Their Wild One Fragrance Mist is light and also combines raspberry and Lilly.

My Scent Secrets Revealed

I used to never tell people what fragrance I wore.  I loved that my scent was my secret.  However, after being in the beauty industry for almost 6 years, spritzing everything I got my hands on, I've finally found my two perfect fragrances and have to share!  This is quite the accomplishment!  So here's my secret – Tocca eau de parfum Florence for day and Maison Francis Kurkdjian Lumiere Noire for night.

Tocca eau de parfum Florence is light enough for daytime and smells like fresh roses.  Every time I spritz it I think of walking around a rose garden in perfect Spring weather.  Talk about a great escape.  With notes of Italian Bergamot, Grapefruit Leaves, Green Pear, Apple Cocktail, Ivory Gardenia, Crushed Violet Petals, Jasmine, Tuberose, Blue Iris, Blonde Wood and White Musk this sent is heavenly.

Before going out at night on a date with Joe I usually spritz my Maison Francis Kurkdjian Lumiere Noire.  It's a sexy, mysterious scent that's a little on the strong side, so just a bit will do.  Notes include spiced rose, patchouli and narcissus.

Introducing Tattoo Inspired Scents by Inky

Last year Chanel introduced tattoos on the runways and began selling temporary tattoos starting at $75 per pack.  Sarah Jessica Parker rocked one, but me?  If I'm going to splurge on Chanel it's going to be on a bag or pair of sunglasses. I have a tattoo on my right, inner wrist of a butterfly I designed.  I know, you're probably thinking "a butterfly?," but there's so much meaning behind this butterfly I couldn't begin to explain it and I love it.  It is part of who I am and I look at it as a permanant accessory.

Recently, I came across these tattoo inspired scents by Inky.  They're more like body splashes, two for men and three for women.  I like them because each one reflects a different personality as the butterfly I designed reflects mine.  They're exclusively sold at Target for $5.99.

Marc Jacob’s Lola Velvet Limited-Edition Eau de Parfum Spray Give Away!

Just like the right pair of shoes can take an outfit from day to night; the right scent can help you get noticed and be remembered. How? There are certain scents that are complete turn ons. “Pleasant aromas can actually stimulate parts of the brain directly connected to sexual desire,” says Alan Hirsch, MD, director of Chicago’s Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation.

Marc Jacob’s Lola Velvet Limited-Edition Eau de Parfum, $68 has rich notes of vanilla, fuchsia peony, tonka bean and musks. There’s no doubt that scent has a strong connection to desire, but to top it off this limited-edition bottle is absolutely breath taking. The origional Lola bottle has been reinvented to match the beauty of the scent.

One lucky BSS reader will win a bottle of Marc Jacob’s Lola Velvet Limited-Editon Eau de Parfum Spray. Leave a comment about the sexiest place to spray perfume and a winner will be chosen at random on Sunday, November 7th.  Good luck!

An AXE Giveaway That'll Turn You (and Him) On

Last week I was talking about flirting with Flirt! cosmetics and besides mascara being a flirting secret weapon (wink) I have to say a sexy scent is an ultimate flirting must have.  Better yet, forget flirting. One whiff of an intoxicating blend can create  a complete throw-me-down-on-the-kitchen-counter reaction.  Ladies, you know what I mean. As a matter of fact, according to a study done by AXE, two out of three women admitted they would be more likely to make out with a guy on a first date if his scent was right.  I'm asking what's wrong with the rest of them?  There's something so captivating about a good fragrance, but a difference between a good scent and an I-want-you scent.  If men were smart, they'd all use scent as their secret weapon. Hey, I do.

I will admit that I have one scent (out of about seven that I rotate between) that's my signature sexy scent. Ladies, it turns guys on.  Everyone asks what it is, but I won't tell them!  Like I said, it's a secret weapon.

I strongly advise you to find your secret weapon and but better yet, help your guy out too.  AXE not only has their signature body sprays (which are intoxicating) but also hair care that smells sexy too.  I'm giving away full sets of shampoos to four different BeautySweetSpot readers so you can hook your men up!

The full giveaway includes one of each of their new scents: Downpour Refreshing Mint Shampoo, Heat Igniting Citrus 2 in 1 Shampoo + Conditioner, Zen Soothing Tea Tree Shampoo. Each scent is perfect for different times of day and your mans different moods and needs.  Trust me, he'll thank you.

To win...

Comment below and dish on what turns you on!...

Four winners will be selected at random on Sunday, October 3rd.  Good luck!