Welcome to CruiseMates Style! Our new column spotlights what's hot this minute in fashion, beauty and travel for discriminating cruisers.
I never thought my husband and I would fight over a scent. That's right, we both love Gendarme. This shared affection for an eau de cologne means we only need to pack one. And when cruising, space is everything.
I discovered Gendarme at the 2011 HBO Luxury Lounge for the recent Golden Globes at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. This exclusive lounge was for Golden Globe nominees.
Topper Schroeder, who created the cologne in 1991, had no professional fragrance experience, but was desperate for a scent that didn't trigger his allergies. He developed Gendarme, and today, Gendarme is a cult (in a good way) celeb favorite.
The lure of Gendarme for men and women is that its scent is so, well, clean. It's not fruity, floral, sweet or spicy. It's slightly citrusy, with bergamot and lavender notes, and a hint of jasmine and lilac. Here's the genius: Splash it on and you still smell like you, just a cleaner, fresher you.
Unlike most high-end fragrances, Gendarme is made in America, in small artisan batches. But be forewarned; Gendarme is addictive. One splash is never enough. Think of Gendarme as the cologne equivalent of fresh-baked chocolate-chip cookies. (Four-ounce spray, $75; Gendarme.com)
La Pochette is the coolest mini-purse ever. It looks great during the day and with evening attire. Lightweight and comfortable, La Pochette replaces a cruiser's purse and holds the essentials; your cell phone and room key. And, if going ashore, you can stash a credit card or two in a "secret" compartment.
La Pochette can be held by hand, or worn over your shoulder, around your waist (great when dancing on deck and don't want to miss a call from home) or across the body (safest when onshore, and leaves your hands free for cameras.)
La Pochette is new to the style world; it's the brainchild of gemologist and fashion designer Deborah Sawaf and debuted just a few months ago at her trendy company Thalé Blanc.
La Pochette's spring colors come in rich, deep hues in line with fashion trends. The new bold colors - turquoise, teal and tangerine - will make that all-purpose black dress absolutely pop. Glam up La Pochette with different straps, or charms that look as fancy as fine jewelry. The most posh purses are made from ostrich and snakeskin, but basic black, in buttery-soft leather, is perfect. ($134-$400;)
GLAM UNDERWATER CAM
This high-definition recorder caught my eye at the HBO Luxury Lounge for the Golden Globes, where celebs were going gaga over it. Its appeal to stars is that it's fun and the good news for the rest of us, it's inexpensive. Vivitar DVR 850W HD underwater digital video recorder is little more than a Ben Franklin, so if your teener loses it at a Caribbean beach party, it won't ruin your cruise.
The DVR 850W HD sports a sleek design; red, black and silver ups the wow factor. Plus, it's teensy and lightweight. And it's water-resistant up to 10 feet. The DVR 850W has 8.1 megapixels, with a 2.4" preview screen and 4x digital zoom.
Its software allows you to instantly upload movies (with special effects, if desired) to your twitter, YouTube or Facebook account. Or hook it up with the included USB cable and watch on your cabin TV or back home. The lithium battery (included) is rechargeable. Just get a SD memory card and you're good to go.
It's not a brilliant recorder, but really, what can you expect at this price? Most underwater video recorders are at least three times the cost and can run thousands of dollars. Consider this competent recorder an effective way to capture precious memories of your family playing in the surf, or that honeymoon snorkel, worry-free. ($129.99; vivitar.com)
Many of us can't imagine traveling without a flat iron. Especially on cruises, where deck breezes transform our coiffed locks into, well, scary frizz. Amika makes some of the best (and most lightweight) flat irons around. In fact, Amika's 100% Ceramic Stylers are key tools for many top Hollywood stylists. I discovered them at the Golden Globe Artists Suite presented by Amika and Smashbox Cosmetics at Hollywood's hipster Mondrian hotel.
Amika flat irons have 100% ceramic plates; many brands say they're ceramic but merely have a thin ceramic veneer. True ceramic plates radiate far-infrared heat, which protects the hair cuticle and preserves moisture a must for at-sea hair. They also soften hair and lock in hair color so it doesn't fry in the sun. Bottom line? Your hair looks salon-smashing every time you exit your stateroom.
The plates "float," so you don't have to worry about snagging or pulling. They're ready to use in two seconds, and have dual voltage (handy if you've booked pre-or-post-stays abroad).
The Animal Series totally rocks. Pink cheetah, snake or zebra are utterly fashion-forward, and get the job done. ($199-$205; loveamika.com)
GREEN HAIR CARE
Even if I'm traveling on a luxury ship with fancy bath amenities, I still pack my own shampoo and hair conditioner. I know they work for me. But I hate transferring my faves into travel-size bottles. I generally spill half the liquid all over the bathroom counter. (Sound familiar?) Then I discovered Privé's Concept Vert Travel Kit.
This genius kit includes 6.7-ounce bottles of Concept Vert (green in French) Shampoo and Conditioner, and two three-ounce travel-size canisters that refill easily with a special patent-pending link included with the kit. Connect the regular-size bottles with the travel-size using the link, and no spills, no mess.
The travel-size shampoo and conditioner bottles are reusable, and hold twice as much as any comparable three-ounce bottles due to the eco-friendly design.
And the shampoo and conditioner ingredients are everything good. Nothing artificial. Paraben and sulfate-free, they're full of nutrients, enriched with açai (natural fatty acid and antioxidant-rich oil from Amazonian berry seeds) and babassu oil (also from the Amazon, similar qualities to coconut oil). With such healthful ingredients, it's no surprise that they work wonderfully and possess a delightful spa-like scent. ($58; PriveProducts.com)