grey goose x island oyster. 🍸

sooo... this weekend got off to a pretty bad start. long story short: my apartment building caught on fire and my place suffered some pretty significant damage. thankfully, i had the perfect distraction to get my mind off of it all—even if only for a little while. i hopped on the ferry and headed over to governor's island with my buddies from grey goose for the most amazing dinner-cocktail experience you could imagine.

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so, i'll set the scene: a surprisingly perfect temperature, the nicest breeze, an amazing sunset situation right by the water, and a seriously sweet view of downtown manhattan from the tables at island oyster. add about six or seven courses of good food and even better drinks, and you have yourself an awesome evening.

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our host, a seasoned grey goose ambassador, walked us through a bit of the history of vodka, broke down a few handy tips and tricks, and even taught us how to make the perfect martini—a first for me. the whole experience really gave me a new appreciation for the spirit, and i'm pumped to try and make a few specialty cocktails with the quentin monge limited edition bottle they gave me (which you can see above), specially designed for the summer season.

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fyi: this isn't a sponsored blog post, so there's no call to action here, no specially tagged links to click on, i just wanted to share a really fun night with you guys. 😎

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good days. bad days.

right now, my face is long and there’s a frown taking up most of the bottom half.  why? I had a bad day. why? everything. you know, those days where every little thing, every little email, every single voice around you makes you want to hit someone. it was one of those. but, honestly, i’ve gotten pretty good at owning my emotions without losing sight of the bigger picture: it was just one day. it happens. there’ll be more of them (the sucky ones, that is), but there will be way more of the awesome ones—yeah, like they say, the good really does come with some bad—and trust me, it's worth it. keep reading and you'll understand why...

i thought sharing this moment would be perfect for my first blog post of 2018 because, as i made my way through the day, i constantly had to remind myself that all of these things that irritate the hell out of me right now are merely annoying means to a very sweet end.  and whether you think of them as laying a foundation for your future, paying your dues, or whatever else makes you feel better about those less-than-ideal parts of your present situation, [they're really important]. they blend together to create a special learning period, one that presents a test of patience, faith and gratitude. as i rode the train home, i actually chuckled at one point and just thanked God for my life, even in moments like this, because (1) they remind me to really enjoy the good days, but more importantly, (2) they make me want to work. work and fight. fight my ass off for all of these dreams that are floating around in my mind. the dreams that deserve the front seat in my mind, not the back. and the dreams that'll let me leave the 9-to-5 in the rearview.

so i write all this to say, on those rough days that challenge your confidence, your comfort and your temperament, keep pushing through. keep your end game in mind—think about it every time you want to scream—and be passionate about what’s in front of you right now so you can get to the place you’re running toward. here's to a better day tomorrow. -j

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brand spotlight: olivina men grooming and home assortment.

latey, i've had a lot of guys shoot me questions about my grooming routine, so i'm trying to really start incorporating more of this content to help keep you guys in the loop about what i'm trying out. with that said, i recently came across a new brand called olivina, and they sent me a decked-out goodie bag with a variety of pieces from their assortment. check it out. -j

i want to start by saying that i really appreciate the mission of the brand. they're all about giving our bodies more of what it deserves, and they even focus on the obvious but often under-appreciated fact that our bodies are one of the few constant things that remain with us from day one to the end of this race called life. furthermore, everything's eco-friendly and vegan-formulated, meaning it's not only good for your body, but the planet too (which is obviously a major plus in today's world).

now, for the actual products, they've got a wide range of grooming essentials, including moisturizers, soaps, shaving creams, deodorants, and colognes (just to name a few)—plus, their candles are an added bonus. inspired by the wood-aging traditions of American distilleries, their primary scents include ginger beer, bourbon cedar, and juniper tonic. sounds pretty sweet, right? well, let's see...

bourbon cedar cologne.

reminiscent of an old school cartier fragrance, the scent is super masculine. the citrusy top notes weren't my favorite, but as it dries down, it breaks out into a woodsier smell that's smooth and nice. perhaps not your everyday city-dweller scent, but definitely a decent choice for these wintry weekends.

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soap bars.
scents: bourbon cedar, juniper tonic, ginger beer.

well... they're bars of soap. not that much that needs to be said here, but i will call out two things: (1) they lather really well, which is always an important thing for me when it comes to body wash products, and (2) they smell really good. i think ginger beer is probably my favorite here.

natural fragrance candles.
scents: juniper tonic, ginger beer.

as soon as you light these two, you get the instant feel of a relaxed weekend. juniper tonic has slightly more of a pine feel to it (obviously), but they both have a smooth sweetness that's reminiscent of the drinks they're inspired by. needless to say, they're pretty nice for a laidback evening at home.

restorative hand rescue.

it was a little hard to get it out of the container, but it smells really good (the scent is cedar and bergamot—one of my favorite fragrances of the bunch) and the oils make application super smooth.

bourbon vanilla lip balm.

unlike the hand rescue, this one's less smooth and not the most moisturizing, but that flavor... it tastes like breakfast. :)

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face scrub.
scent: bourbon cedar.

this product does exactly what it says it's going to do. the ingredients come together to create a really deep scrub that leaves your face feeling pretty fresh. definitely one of the toughest scrubs i've ever used.

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if you want to try out the line, i'd definitely suggest the soap bars and face scrubs. you can get your hands on anything you're interested in above or check out more of the assortment—they also have shaving products, deodorants, and more—by visiting olivinamen.com. be sure to let me know what you get.

brand spotlight: clean-cut for christmas with panasonic.

november. movember. no shave november... whatever you call it, it was rough. not because anything particularly unfortunate happened, but because i looked absolutly crazy all month without my usual grooming routine in place (me and long facial hair don't usually mix well). thankfully, panasonic hit me up close to the end of the month to try out their er-gb80- s all-in-one beard, hair, and body trimmer—and trust me, it was right on time. check it out. -j

okay, maybe i buy into the whole idea of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" a bit too much, but i've actually had the same pair of trimmers since i was a freshman in college (i know, i know... 9 years, i should be ashamed)! so, i was totally excited when this package arrived. inside, i found a stylishly sleek clipper, along with three comb attachments to take care of all kinds of hair (up-top, facial, body), a tube of oil to keep things working smoothly, and a little cleaning brush. 

taking a closer look at the designs and mechanics, i certainly got a good first impression. the quick-adjust dial is super simple to use and, to my surprise, has a total of 39 settings, which makes it pretty easy to get the right length you're looking for, whether your buzzing your curls a bit or getting that perfect 5 o'clock shadow. also, the grip is rubberized for a nice, smooth hold, and the overall look of the device is clean and masculine, which is always a plus.

the blades cut pretty smoothly (both the main clippers and the slide-up edgers, which you can use for a more precise line), making for a pleasant experience from start to finish. afterwards, i was able to quickly wash the trimmer in the sink without any worry of damage and get on with my day. needless to say, i've officially thrown my old blades in the trash.

if you're still in the middle of your gift-shopping frenzy, this bad boy will make a great present for the man in your life who's all about well-kept facial hair (and well-kept everything for that matter, haha). you can learn more about it (and it to add to your cart) right here. if you have more questions about my experience with the panasonic er-gb80- s all-in-one trimmer, feel free to DM me on IG (@jovelroystan).

yes, this post was sponsored by panasonic, but as always, any and all opinions, photos, and tips shared are completely my own. -j

from the meatpacking district, with love. 🎁

over the past year, i've had the honor of serving as an ambassador for the meatpacking district here in nyc, and it's a pretty cool position to have. walking along those cobblestone streets as an intern back in 2011 was one of those moments that really made me fall in love with the city, so i'm glad to have a real connection to the neighborhood. last weekend, i did a little exploring around the area to pick out a few of my favorite holiday gifting goods from the shops that make meatpacking all that it is. check out my selections below and start scratching all of those names off your shopping list. -j

allsaints marcel crew sweater
mixing classic breton stripes and a modern oversize fit, this sweater fits into your weekend wardrobe perfectly. the stripes are knitted in two different yarns, one a lambswool blend, the other cotton. $215

why i love it: this bad boy's such a statement-maker—the strong stripes, the slouched shoulders, the oversized fit... it makes looking cool this winter way too easy.

kiehl's age defender cleanser
formulated with moroccan lava clay, this unique charcoal-colored 2-in-1 face wash deeply cleanses while exfoliating to remove excess dirt and oil for a refreshed, younger-looking appearance. for a deeper exfoliation, it can be used as a 5-minute mask, where the formula will break down the toughest layers of dead skin cells, to smooth the appearance of fine lines and improve overall texture. $28

why i love it: i have this face wash at home and use it pretty much every day. it's got the perfect texture thanks to the lava clay, a nice scent, and definitely does everything you'd be looking for from a good cleanser. plus, with the wintertime bringing on those inevitable cozy nights at home, i'm sure using it as a face mask would make for a great at-home spa moment—i'll have to try it out (and you should, too).

rag & bone thank you tee
this lightweight slub knit jersey's made of 100% cotton, comes in a classic fit, and has a sweet graphic print on the front that'll add some cool points to your winter layering routine. $115

why i love it: during the colder months, things in the style department can get a little boring when you're throwing on layer after layer under hoodies, jackets, and coats day after day.  you kind of lose the desire to try... this tee keeps things interesting and will help you stay cool once you shed the 15 other tops you're wearing to survive the brutal nyc weather.

marni stutterheim raincoat for marni
this men's raincoat, created by stutterheim for marni, is made with rubberized cotton and features a snap closure design with patch pockets in front and a hood. the color-block striped pattern makes it a standout piece. $990

why i love it: winter-wear can be a drag when you stop and think about that annoying day when you'll have to stow them away for another 9 months. if you're looking to cop (or gift) any piece of outerwear, i'd go for something that can get a bit more mileage throughout the year. while you can layer this beautiful piece up to make it work for the colder months, it'll also do the job on its own during the spring and fall—not to mention, all those random rain and snow days that unexpectedly plague the city year-round.

the kooples camel suede chelsea boots
these chelsea boots will delight you with their slender line and the finesse of their soles, which adds a certain elegance to the mix. offered in soft supple suede in a bright shade of camel, they ensure an authentic, slightly vintage style enhanced by the buckle at the ankle. $475

why i love them: if you ever ask me to name five menswear essentials every guy should have, you'll definitely find "a strong pair of chelsea boots" on the list every time. i really love the thin belting detail on these, in particular—they add a clean touch of luxury without making them over the top. very nice.

warby parker percey eyeglasses
made of hand-polished cellulose acetate and designed with a thin silhouette, these frames offer a fresh take on a classic round-frame style and come in four different colorways. they best fit a medium-width face, so if you tend to fit most pairs of frames you’ve tried on, then these will be sized well for you. $95

why i love them: i've worn contacts for the past 14 years, but lately, i've really been feeling my glasses again. this pair is super clean and has hella style—especially in the mission clay fade color-blocked option. whether you're on the hunt for prescription frames or just looking for a cool pair of personality frames, these are a totally good option.

MAISON MARGIELA REPLICA fragrance collection
maison margiela fragrances lets you relive previous moments of the past with their replica collection. the range comes with a variety of scents for him and her in the form of rollerballs, travel sprays, candles, and full-sized bottles. $28-126

why i love it: so, for one, i used to work on the fragrances buying team at macy's, so I do know and believe in the value of a good scent, especially gift sets (like the discovery set available at sephora)—they really are steals! secondly, i have four of the full-sized scents, a travel spray, and three of the candles at home—yes, i do use them all the time—so trust me when I say they're amazing.

seasons greetings, from brooklyn.

i’ve said it before, and i’ll say it again: fall is absolutely my favorite time of the year, so i always do a little something something to my apartment to make it feel a bit more seasonal. last weekend, i set some time aside to pull out a couple of cozy decor items, move a few other things around, and get rid of even more—and you know what? sometimes a little effort really does go a long way. check out three of my decorating hacks below and try them out for yourself. -j

on display.

fun fact: a number of areas in my apartment are inspired by cool stores that i’ve either shopped in myself or added to my Pinterest boards over the years. one of the key examples of this inspiration is my shoe wall, and while it wasn’t a big change, i swapped out a few of the styles on display to add more of a fall-appropriate color scheme to the space. whether it’s shoes, books, or artwork, you can totally change the feel of your spot with a little palette play.

scented stimulation

if there’s one fragrance family that i’m obsessed with, it’d have to be the maison martin margiela replica collection. and while you’ve probably seen me post a few of the sprays on my ‘gram, i’m taking things up a notch this season. i was lucky enough to score three of the candles—the scents: jazz club, at the barber’s, and, my favorite, by the fireplace—and i was beyond excited to light them for the first time. trust me, invest in a luxury candle or two and you (and your roomies) definitely won’t regret it.

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cozy feels.

ever since i was in college, my clothing has always doubled as decor. there are just some pieces that i fall for so hard that i can’t bear to stow them away in a closet or shelf. with that idea in mind, i pulled out a few of the cozier items in my wardrobe and either draped them over a chair or door, or hung them up on the wall or a rack to add some fitting textures that really speak to the season.

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reminders and reality checks.

you know something i realized last night? that there's nothing like a missed opportunity to really make you get your entire f**king life together. not that my life is in shambles (far from it), but i have a few bad habits that, from time to time, get in the way of my being successful. i was scrolling through the stories on my IG feed and saw a first look at a campaign that i got approached for—and subsequently took forever to respond to. long story short: your boy didn't get the part. it was like a slap in the face seeing it come to life (without me, and with so many other great guys involved), but a humbling, educational slap. we'll call it a love tap, haha.

naturally, i took to twitter, my personal sounding board, to release a bit of the disappointment and keep it moving, and a friend of mine replied to my tweet with the below:

firstly, it's amazing to have people in your life who remind you that there's always better ahead. secondly, she's so right, and that's exciting. there's more ahead, and i just have to keep doing my thing, except a little better—which is totally in my control. the whole thing really reminded me just how badly i want it (it, meaning everything that i've spent these past 7 years grinding for). don't you love moments like that?

the shack: movie review and a talk about faith.

Let me start by saying that I know blogging about God and religion is taboo nowadays, but, frankly, I’m not concerned with that. Over the past two years, my faith has really been transformed, and it’s never been something I’ve been afraid to speak about openly—as some of you know from my old bible study posts on Tumblr. With all that said, consider this a [disclaimer] for those of you easily offended by Christianity.

I just finished watching The Shack, a new film based on the NYT-best-selling book of the same name, and I’ve never cried so many times in one movie. It was such a beautiful experience that I couldn’t help but share my thoughts about it. I watched the trailer earlier this year (you can find it below) and was instantly excited as I recalled all of the amazing things my mother told me about the novel. I knew I’d see it as soon as it came out and I’m so happy I did. It’s not very often that films of this nature get major releases or feature stars like Octavia Spencer who can help bring it to the forefront, so it was amazing to sit in a theater as a proud Christian and watch a film that speaks to the things that I’ve chosen to build my life on.

The plot centers around a grieving father as he struggles to move on from the terrible loss of his baby girl. After receiving a letter from God, he returns to the place where his life paused and has a life-changing encounter with Papa, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We get to watch as he comes to grips with his past and his own humanity, as well as the power, wisdom and mighty love of God. This beautifully written tale speaks to some of the most important principles of Christian life—principles that can be easily forgotten in the midst of hardships and can sometimes be rarely seen in those who call themselves followers of God. I sat in my seat with flashback feelings from the day that I first accepted Jesus as my savior, like consciously and on my own terms. And as I reflect on some big steps that I’ve made in my life to get closer to Him this past year, the film made even more of an impact. I promise you, if you see past mere religion and truly consider yourself to have a faith-based [relationship] with God, you will be happy you saw it.

Writing this post is really important to me, especially given where I’m at in my journey and a few things I’ve seen around me these past few months. I've sat in my office and listened to people talk about and ostracize "crazy Christians" and how people are so strange for having things like “Jesus lover” in their bios, yet praise people who do far crazier things across their social media platforms and in their daily lives. Somewhere along the lines, the word Christian got lost in translation and became something else. Something freakish. Something inappropriate. And the timing is funny, because I’m honestly at a point where I’ve never felt more alive or more excited to live the life God’s created for me. I challenge anyone who doesn’t know much about Christianity or is turned off by the public perception popular culture has assigned us to watch this film. Not so you can become "a mindless Jesus Freak" too, but just so you can get a glimpse of what our faith—not our religion—is really all about. It’s a beautiful thing. Thanks for reading. -J

i was. i am. i always will be.

home improvement: museum vibes, courtesy of the met store.

last year, i set a goal to transform my apartment into a cool place to live, one that really fit who i am right now. i mean, it can get discouraging when you're a twenty-something with a big vision, but a limited budget; but, trust me, you don't have to wait until you're living "the life" to start stepping up your space. after a couple of trips to ikea and some creative repurposing of a few things lying around, i'm really in love with my spot. heading into 2017, i kept at it by adding a few new pieces of art here and there for an extra touch of culture. check it out. -j

people really sleep on the gift shops at places like the met and other cultural hotspots around the city. a lot of them sell extremely affordable versions of some of history's greatest works. case in point: these prints from the met breuer. think about it: if they look just as good, who really cares if it's an original? i sure don't. with that said, i went with prints from four totally different artists for a sweet variety, threw them in some clean, simple frames, and set them up around my place. keep scrolling for a closer look.

Kerry James Marshall: Mastry

Mark Rothko: No. 13 (White, Red on Yellow); Jackson Pollock: Number 28.

David Hockney: Mount Fuji and Flowers.

check out the met store to find the perfect prints for your place. ✌️

grooming round-up: anthony logistics.

okay, so we're a few weeks into 2017 and i've had the chance to try out some of the new year grooming products i showed you guys a couple of days ago. i said i'd keep you guys posted on what's worth trying (and what's not...), so let's get to it. first brand up: anthony.

anthony exfoliating and cleansing bar.

the experience

  • personally, i like soap bars because they usually give a pretty solid lather that'll last from head to toe; however, this one let up once i got to the knees, haha. it's still a good bar though, and one that you can use safely on your face and body.
  • as far as the smell, there's an interesting scent as you're using it—wouldn't say it's bad, wouldn't say i loved it either—but it disappears completely once you rinse off, which can be great when it comes to fragrances (allowing you to rock your signature cologne without any other competing smells beyond your personal body chemistry).
  • lastly, it leaves you with one of those squeaky clean feelings when you rub your hands across your skin. definitely a nice feeling to have after a tough workout or a long day running through the city. 

my verdict: try it out.

anthony glycolic exfoliating and resurfacing wipes.

the experience

  • so with this one, you're using a two-sided facial wipe to exfoliate dead skin cells and minimize your pores. the scratchy textured side is fine, almost nice even, but it gets so much better once you flip it and hit that smooth side. it feels like a little cloud massaging your skin, haha.
  • it's been about thirty minutes since i last used one and my face still feels really nice, so i guess it's safe to say that they work.
  • now that i've gotten all the good points aside... the biggest thing for me was the smell, which i wasn't a fan of. i mean, it's the expected chemical odor, which i could deal with if it were temporary, but it's not. i can still smell traces of it, even after applying my moisturizer. unless you use a strong scented facial cream or beard oil, you better be sure you like the scent before you try this one.

the verdict: pass.

a fresh start to 2017.

i'm happy to say that, so far, 2017's been pretty sweet. things are looking bright in all directions, and i've been making a few changes over the past few days—starting with my grooming routine. i copped a few new products from some cool brands you may have heard of (if not, don't worry you'll be familiar by the end of this post).

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keep scrolling to learn more about the products above, and stay tuned in the weeks ahead—i'll give you guys some mini-reviews to let you know what's worth trying out next time you're shopping. here's to a fresh start to the new year. -j

who: anthony
what: exfoliating and cleansing bar, glycolic exfoliating and resurfacing wipes
why: the ultimate clean

who: blind barber
what: lemongrass tea shampoo and conditioner
why: every guy's head needs a strong 1-2 combo

who: elemis
what: cleanser, anti-aging and sensitive skin collections
why: it's a facelift and a day at the spa in a bottle (well, 7... haha)

a day to sleep in.

yesterday was non-stop. i woke up at 8:00 (yeah, on a saturday, i know...). shot 2 campaigns (7 looks) in the pseudo-blizzard that randomly hit nyc. cleaned my entire apartment. trekked through the snow to drop off some samples in williamsburg. surfed the subway over to the LES for a birthday thing, then met with friends over meatballs and wine. i eventually arrived back in my bed around 130.

having done all that... i think i earned a morning to press the snooze button and catch up on some reading. i hope everyone's been having an awesome weekend. find some time to rest and recharge before that weekly hustle begins again. -j

festive feels in brooklyn.

alright, people... thanksgiving is over, december's here, and it's time to get festive. now that we're in peak holiday season, i finally pulled out the christmas decorations i bought at target a few weeks ago. i live in a cozy little 1br, so i don't have to do too much each year to get in the spirit; however, i did decide to throw out my old decor and bring some new items into play. check out the three simple, easy, and super affordable decor tweaks i went with to help celebrate the weeks ahead.

the holiday squad

so… i used to have these four straw animals that (for some reason…) all of my friends thought were so strange. given their amazing constructive criticism, i thought these guys were way cooler—and stylish as hell, too. check out their little outfits! they were no-brainers, obviously. the best part: each of them was only $3. 👍

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*bonus point: holiday candles are a must. this snuggly sweater scent is perfect for this time of year.

4ct dressed character animal christmas ornament set - wondershop™

the furry woodland critters

whenever i’m browsing the home section at target, i always try to think beyond one holiday or moment and look at what could work seasonally. like the fashion-forward crew above, these little critters are small statements that will last well through the winter ahead. i gave them a home on my fragrance bar—looks like they’re liking the new digs. i don't recall the exact price of these boys, but i want to say they were no more than $4 each.

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woodland holiday figurines, available in-store only.

the tree.

what’s christmastime without a tree, right? i bought this little guy a few years ago and it’s the perfect size—big enough to make a statement, but small enough to stow in my closet until next year. last time, i used little dinosaurs as my ornaments (click here to see), but i thought i’d take a more classic approach this time around. these handcrafted mini ornaments were a total steal at just $3. you can call that a bargain.

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high fashion nights with bombay sapphire.

last night, i spent the evening with bombay sapphire gin, gq, and ryan clark of high fashion living for a special cocktail event at 214 lafayette in soho. the brands treated us to some awesome dishes and a non-stop flow of drinks—all prepared by schuyler hunton, the 2016 winner of the most imaginative bartender competition.

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to be honest, i'm not really a fan of gin, so i when i realized it was the spirit of the evening, i expected it to be a sober night. i was wrong. i don't know if bombay is just in another lane or if schuyler's secretly a mixology magician, but i started with this spicy pepper-infused potion of sorts and finished five signature drinks later. the experience actually changed my perspective on gin altogether.

friends, camera crews, and cool little cocktail glasses (i got the piggy—named him donald) were on deck throughout the night, and if you've ever been to 214 lafayette, you'll know it's an amazingly luxe location, making the experience feel totally next-level. check out some more photos from the event below. -j

good food + good drinks + good company = a great night.

the scents of fall.

for those of you who haven't known me very long, my first job out of college was on the fragrances buying team at macys.com. it really changed the way I've come to appreciate smell—next to taste, it's the sense best-suited for luxury pleasures. 

since those days, I've built up quite the fragrance collection (I probably have at least 40 different scents in my apartment). with fall finally here, it's time for that new season switch-up, and I sifted through my bottles to pick out my go-to's for the months ahead. check them out.

when it comes to fall/winter fragrances, I always keep a few things in mind:

  • during the summer months, the heat can make stronger scents feel heavy and nauseating. now that it's cooler, your fragrance can bring a sense of warmth to the crisper air that you'll enjoy throughout the day. with that said, eau de parfums are often my choice, as they're more robust and last longer.
  • think about what the season's all about. fall brings about visions of falling leaves and walks in the park. winter reminds us of pine trees, cinnamon, mint, even chocolate and vanilla. as you go through the next six months, look for woodsy notes or essences of seasonal fruits and spices that will give your scent a timely feel.

the 3 fragrances above give all that and more. they're deep and sensual, boasting earthy, masculine notes like tobacco, patchouli, tonka bean, and sandalwood. whatever you like, whether it's sweet, spicy or citrusy, stick with your preferences, but look for an "intense" or "extreme" version of your faves—they're usually the eau de parfum or parfum versions, which means they're stronger and great for the colder months.

it doesn't stop with your cologne. my apartment's currently filled with fall vibes thanks to a few select candles—and no, you don't have to ball out on jo malone to set the perfect ambiance.

whether you're a fan of entertaining or just plan on chilling at the crib this season, your home should always smell good. always. and FYI: this tip is honestly for you more than your guests.

I got these candles from target last week and, with one in my living room and the other in my bedroom, they've had my nostrils in heaven ever since.