Friday, April 29, 2005

Lush - Flying Fox shower gel

Sometime within the last year, Lush opened a store in Chicago, and when I found out about it, I spent the grown-up equivalent of two months' allowance on assorted bath junk.

Some of it is fantastic, and some of it not so good, and you'll be seeing a lot of reviews of Lush stuff, because I have so darned much of it, and because you all should know what's worth buying, and what will just turn your bath into a pee-colored lake with a deposit of silt at the bottom. (Hint.)

But let's not focus on the bad for now. Let's look at Flying Fox, the greatest shower gel that has ever been.

Buddy, this stuff is stinky. It smells all jasmine-flowery and awesome. And it's not one of those shower gels (i.e. every other shower gel) that smells good when you first put in on the puff, and then kinda disappears. It smells good for like forever. Your shower will smell good like forever. Your washcloth will smell good like forever.

Sometimes I hand-wash my undies in Flying Fox, and my undies seriously smell good all day.

And it's got such a cute name. I'm a sucker for cute names. Flying Fox brings to mind Sonic's cute but annoying sidekick Tails, who uses his weird mutated tails to fly around, almost as if a helicopter had grown out of his ass.

Cuter still is World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker, who's a total flying fox if you ask me. I don't care that he's old and dead, I totally have a crush on him. He's dreamy.

Sometimes I think of Eddie Rickenbacker when I hand-wash my undies in Flying Fox.

So shut up about it being expensive and just buy a bottle. I guarantee that flowery goodness will asscopter its way into your heart.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Drydown: Other ways for Diversey to stink

This blog is still in its early stages, and I'm still figuring out what I want to do with it.

It's a perfume blog, of course. Or a "fragrance blog" or "scent blog"--to be honest, I'm not too picky about semantics. Maybe I should be; I don't know. I'm not the foremost authority on perfumes, and I don't pretend to be, so this is not going to be a super-informative blog. I try, though.

So I'm trying to think of other regular features--perhaps a perfume wish list, or perfumes I'd like to see, or a "Whatever Happened To...?" section.

Any and all ideas are welcome.

Burberry - Burberry London

The original Burberry women's fragrance smells like apples. And, sadly, Play-Doh.

I'm not too upset because I got it for like $15 at TJ Maxx.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Fresh - Lemon Sugar

When I was about eleven, my parents let me get a cat. He turned out to be the greatest cat ever, and I miss him.

I still remember preparing for his arrival. We bought food and water dishes, cat toys, a slicker brush, and a litter box, which I filled myself. I had never dealt with litter boxes before in my life, and even that was fascinating. While it was brand new, clean, and untouched, it was actually... kind of inviting. The litter was dusty and had a weird but clean institutional-floral scent to it.

Then we got the kitten, and my family and I watched in awe as Kitty instinctively dug in the pristine box, squatted, and took his very first dump in his new house. "Awww," I joked as Kitty sniffed the fresh poo and covered it up with a small mountain of Tidy Cat.

When I like to be reminded of a kitten pooping, I pull out a bottle of Fresh Lemon Sugar eau de parfum, because the smell is identical to that of a new bag of kitty litter. In other words, you will never ever see me with a bottle of Lemon Sugar.

L'Artisan Parfumeur - Dzing!

Yes, it's got a dumb name. And it's a fragrance inspired by the circus. I kind of hate the circus.

And every other review I've ever read says Dzing! smells like a rhinoceros cage.

Well, I'm here to tell you not to listen to them. Listen to me: Dzing! is awesome. Yes, it's a little odd and leathery, but it's sexy and warm, and perhaps the most unisex fragrance I've encountered, and seriously not as weird as it sounds.

It smells kind of like the total badass you had an all-consuming crush on in high school, and you were completely intimidated by how rebellious and hardcore he was, but that's also why you loved him forever, and besides he's also totally sensitive and brilliant, but no one can see it but you, and once he gave you a ride home and OH MY GOD.

In other words, this is what Jordan Catalano would smell like.

I would totally make out with a guy wearing this. I would totally make out with a girl wearing this. I would probably make out with a cardboard box wearing this.

Get yourself some Dzing! at LuckyScent, and I may just make out with you, too.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

H&M - Summer Blossom and Delight Blossom

"A body mist which is meant to be used all over body. Gives you a natural freshness which lasts all day long."

That's exactly what it says on the back of these bottles. Generally speaking, H&M's grasp of the English language is not terrific. The store is full of shirts screenprinted with slogans and phrases that don't really make much sense, but aren't quite Engrish-caliber bizarre. A name like "Delight Blossom" is pretty standard here.

For those of you who aren't blessed with an H&M nearby, let me tell you that it's a really fun store. Kind of a clothing-store love child of Ikea and Claire's. The good thing about H&M is that everything's really cheap. The bad thing is that a lot of it feels really cheap. Some of the clothes are practically dissolving on their hangers. And sometimes they'll still ask $40 for that stiff, unlined, sandpapery blazer.

So you can sort of see why I've never bought cosmetics from H&M. I always figured they'd probably contain lead.

Summer Blossom and Delight Blossom are two new and undoubtedly limited-edition fragrances from H&M. There's a third, called Punky Roses or Violent Roses or something involving roses and a decidedly un-rose-like characteristic, but it's not available in a spray as far as I can tell. The two Blossom scents are pale green liquids in standard-issue plastic body spray bottles. Summer Blossom is a 6 ounce bottle with a flowered label that looks something like a Gap scarf; Delight Blossom comes in a 1.8 ounce bottle that may be Monyette-inspired. These seem to be the only sizes they're available in, and I don't know why.

Well, I was in the middle of an H&M shopathon when my friend Laramie Wellington and I came across the fragrance table, and of course I sniffed them, being the scent junkie that I am. Usually I sniff the bottle without spraying it, which is what I did that day.

And I turned to Laramie, groaning "UGH SMELL THIS NASTY ROTTEN FISH YARRGHH." I don't remember which bottle I picked up, but it smelled like this one tree in my parents' yard that had the prettiest flowers in springtime, but those flowers smelled like old fishsticks. There are fragrances I don't care for, and then there's stuff that's just foul. If you ever meet anyone who actually wants to smell like fishsticks, let me know so I can issue a restraining order.

The saddest part of all this was that I bought them anyway. My arms were already full of assorted junk I was going to buy, and they were beyond cheap, and I figured that they'd at least provide interesting material for the blog.

Okay, so I spent so much time talking about how grody this stuff seemed that I'm going to put the next part in bold: Summer Blossom and Delight Blossom do not suck. They're actually pretty good. It turns out the stinky fishy smell had something to do with the plastic sprayer thing and not with the fragrance, and after a few sprays, the stink will disappear completely.

Delight Blossom is a very sweet, bright, candylike gardenia, somewhat synthetic and flat. Kai it ain't, but it's kind of nice in its own way. Summery. Not too cloying. I don't detect anything besides the gardenia, but sometimes simple is good.

Summer Blossom is similarly one-note, though not blossomy. It's more of a pear scent: subtle, sweet, and slightly crisp. It makes you want a Harry & David gift box. The pear in Summer Blossom smells almost identical to the pear in this French Vanilla Pear body spray I bought for two bucks on clearance at Wal-Mart. Some fragrance snobs might blanch at the words "clearance" and "Wal-Mart," but I went through that spray faster than anything before or since, and I would buy it again if it hadn't been discontinued. That stuff was fantastic.

Lasting power for both is adequate, comparable to any other body spray out there. Which isn't saying a whole lot. These might be good if you know a 10-year-old who likes smelly stuff, because she can spray all she wants and not smell skanky, and no one will die from the fumes.

Summer Blossom is $3.90 for 6 ounces, and Delight Blossom is $2.90 for 1.8 ounces. Cheaptastic! You can buy them at H&M stores, but they'll probably be quite difficult to find online. (I wouldn't look too hard if I were you.) If you happen to come across either, give it a spray. No, I mean give it an actual spray. Otherwise... fishsticks.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Bath and Body Works - Cotton Blossom

Another widely available Bath and Body Works fragrance. This one smells exactly like clean laundry.

Some people might wonder why anyone would want to smell like clean laundry.

Well, if you ever happen to sleep through your alarm, and you have only ten minutes to get to work, and every pair of pants you own is crumpled in a pile on the closet floor, and your hair is a giant oil slick, you'll probably be pretty desperate to smell like clean laundry.

I think I may carry a little bottle of this in my purse for those times I wake up on someone else's couch.

Archipelago Botanicals - Arugula Soy Wax Candle

Pronounced "ark-a-pell-a-go," I guess. Why do I keep saying "arch-a-pe-lah-go?" Oh well.

Archipelago has consistently good scented candles, and lots of them. I've gone through like a batrillion of them. I'm particularly partial to the $10 travel candles in the little metal tins. I haven't tried any of the monogram candles, because they're all different, and I feel like I might like, say, the "M" candle, which isn't any of my initials, and that's like wearing your Saturday undies on a Tuesday, which I refuse to do. I'll go commando before I wear my days-of-the-week undies on the wrong day.

But, okay, look at the Home Collection. Archipelago, what are you doing? You're so obviously trying to copy the Henri Bendel candles. Stop it. The problem with brands whose products are blatant knockoffs of other products is that you'll forever be known as the cheapy-tacky-knockoff brand, and it's so hard to get past that. And it doesn't help that the Archipelago Home candles are four dollars more expensive than the Henri Bendels. Archipelago, you're lovely, and you can certainly hold your own in the scented-candle department. So be your own beautiful candle already. And while you're at it, learn to spell espresso.

The Archipelago arugula candle is huge, and will probably last forever, and is super strong even when it's not lit, and smells great. I'm getting into fresh grassy smells right now, and Arugula is somewhat grassy but also kind of sweet and floral. Maybe even a little artificial, but very very light. It hasn't given me a headache yet, which is always a plus.

Just about everything Archipelago is available at Merz Apothecary. The 90-hour Arugula candle is about $30.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Dessert Treats - Butterscotch Toffee and Creamsicle

I remember a simpler time. A time when singers were singers, actors were actors, perfumers were perfumers, and reality TV stars were... nonexistent. A time when children were safe from the horrors of flavored novelty lotions and gels, which were seldom seen outside of boutiques specializing in "marital aids."

And then Jessica Simpson came along and ruined everything.

First, Jessica's original "Dessert" line. At first, I was overjoyed! Finally, a collection of bath and body products that could simultaneously induce nausea, rashes, and yeast infections, available to young women everywhere! And affordably packaged, so that...

Hold up a minute, Jess. What do you mean, $32 for that Deliciously Kissable Hair and Body Mist? That bottle looks like it could crack after five spritzes. Never mind that I don't exactly need my hair to be deliciously kissable.

Fortunately for us cheapskates, Jessica listened to our pleas, and released the slightly more affordable Dessert Treats line, which is available in fine stores such as Claire's Accessories and Walgreens. Although I couldn't afford that $32 hair and body mist, now I can get the same thing, plus shimmer, for only $18!

By the way, the $18 body mist is about half the size of the $32 mist. But, like I said, it has shimmer.

Imagine my surprise when I walked into the drugstore one day and saw a cardboard Ms. Simpson staring back at me with that seductive "'come...hit her?' But I don't want to be hit!" glare. I couldn't resist. I was powerless. I was hypnotized by Cardboard Jessica.

And soon enough, I was $35 poorer.

Let's talk about this "Deliciously Kissable Body Frosting," shall we? It's clear and pearly and gooey, and I don't know if it can be considered lotion. I don't think it does a tremendous job of moisturizing. It doesn't really shimmer, either. And it takes a mighty long time to soak into the skin. The lids are that weird silvery-coated plastic that, more often than not, looks cheap, and I know that one of the bottles has a typo on the back, but I forget what that typo is, because I'm trying to forget I own this crap.

I have two flavors of "Deliciously" "Kissable" Body Frosting: Butterscotch Frosting and Creamsicle. I bought Butterscotch because I'd decided that none of the other flavors were any good, and I bought Creamsicle a little later, because I thought I really needed a creamsicle fragrance. It turns out I was right the first time.

In the bottle, Butterscotch Toffee smells exactly like the butterscotch chips you use to make Oatmeal Scotchies, which are the greatest cookies in the universe. You know, for the longest time, I couldn't taste the difference between butterscotch chips and peanut butter chips; ditto butterscotch and caramel ice cream toppings. Creamsicle smells like, well, a creamsicle. If you put either one on your skin and then lick your skin, it tastes like aspartame.

But do they smell any good when you wear them? I put Butterscotch Toffee on one arm, Creamsicle on the other, waited ten minutes, and then sniffed.

Butterscotch Toffee smells like it does in the bottle, only with a very distinct Tyvek envelope note. Not sexy.

Creamsicle smells like a Tyvek envelope died three weeks ago and killed my entire arm with it.

Please, for the love of all things sweet-smelling, if you ever encounter the Dessert Treats display, DO NOT LOOK INTO CARDBOARD JESSICA'S EYES. You will regret it. And no one will want to smell or lick your arms ever again, except for maybe vultures and dung beetles.

You can purchase the complete Dessert line at Sephora, though I'm really not sure why you'd want to. If you absolutely insist on having flavored junk licked off your arms, I highly recommend Urban Decay Flavored Body Powders instead. Or just buy a can of Redi-Wip.

L'Artisan Parfumeur - La Chasse Aux Papillons

The first thing I smell is linden. I do like linden. This is a good one, too; most linden fragrances have this hard-to-describe quality to them, kind of soapy and unctuous. The linden in La Chasse Aux Papillons doesn't have so much of that. It's more floral, maybe on account of the other floral notes. I'm liking this so far.

You know, until recently I was a little confused about the classification of the linden tree. I blame Jo Malone and her French Lime Blossom, another linden-heavy fragrance. After a little Googling, and some delicious lime flower tea, I came to the conclusion that lime trees and linden trees were the same. It sort of made sense, considering that neroli oil comes from orange blossoms. Kind of like how pork, ham, and bacon all come from pigs, and to be perfectly honest, I don't really know which part of the pig is bacon, and so on. And is ham a kind of pork? I've always referred to ham and bacon as "pork products."

I need one of those diagrams that shows you the different parts of the pig. I probably also need one for orange trees.

Anyway, I still had my doubts about lindens and limes being the same plant, considering all the Linden Avenues I've seen throughout the Midwest, and I know citrus trees don't grow in Kansas. Something wasn't right.

Turns out that the linden tree, genus Tilia, is known as "lime" in Britain, and is unrelated to the lime fruit, Citrus aurantifolia. Thanks, limeys.

I kind of wonder what the flowers of Citrus aurantifolia smell like now.

...And wouldn't you know, in the time I took to explain that, La Chasse Aux Papillons has completely disappeared on me. I don't smell anything anymore.

L'Artisan does make a "La Chasse Aux Papillons Extreme," which I suppose may last longer than fifteen minutes, but I'm not wearing any perfume with the word "extreme" in it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Other Stinky Stuff: Tyvek Envelopes

Here at Diversey Stinks, I like to focus on things that smell lovely, whether they're perfumes, candles, soaps, or the Fullerton El stop (which always smells like french fries, courtesy of Demon Dogs).

However, on occasion, something smells so vile that I have to share it with the public--partly as catharsis, partly as a public service.

For instance, Tyvek envelopes.

I appreciate the sturdy, indestructible wonder that is Tyvek, but every time I have to send a FedEx, I want to gag.

These things smell like poo. Literally. I can't decide which Tyvek smells like more: manure or vomit. And there's nothing I can do about the stench. There's no sense in washing an envelope, after all, and I bet you anything that Tyvek is impervious to Febreze. (Not that Febreze can effectively eliminate odors on any material, but that's for another post.)

I mean, for crying out loud, DuPont, you've invented so many fantastic things. Surely y'all are smart enough to invent an envelope that doesn't stink?

The People of the Labyrinths - Luctor et Emergo

Who are these people, and where are these labyrinths from whence they struggle and emerge?

And what's with the trend of designer brands sounding like ancient cults, anyway? I'm scared to buy jeans from Seven for All Mankind, True Religion, Blue Cult, or Citizens of Humanity, because I'm afraid they might require some sort of animal sacrifice, or that I might be somehow brainwashed into buying $180 jeans forevermore. And if you think about it, fashion is a cult in itself--the dumbest, brainwashiest cult of all. How else do you explain people willingly paying so much for a pair of freaking jeans that probably won't be in style five years from now? With my jeans, I just cross "Old Navy" off the back and write in "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra," and everybody thinks I'm the coolest kid of all.

So these people, in these labyrinths. I'm thinking maybe there's a minotaur, Pac-Man, and David Bowie sitting in a damp, mossy conference room, discussing perfume and occasionally sending robots to thwart Sonic the Hedgehog. The Labyrinth Zone is one of my favorite Sonic levels, probably because the music's so good. Don't laugh, but I made up lyrics:

I wonder where you are
You are now in the lab-y-rinth
You think you've come so far
But you're still in the lab-y-rinth
Where did I park my car?
I parked it in the lab-y-rinth
Da da da da da dar
Da da da in the lab-y-rinth zone

You're in the labyrinth, everybody's happy
We're in the labyrinth too
You're in the labyrinth, everybody's happy
Da da da da da da da da da da

It's a work in progress, and anyway, it really has no bearing on this fragrance, unless you take into account that the Labyrinth Zone boss is probably the hardest in the game, and it always takes me three or four tries before Sonic can successfully luct and emerg. So this is sort of a perfume about that.

I guess you want to know what it smells like.

It's pretty good on me. Mostly vanilla. It's a smoky, powdery vanilla, with a little bit of cherry syrup and marzipan thrown in. It smells a little bit like cookie dough. It smells a lot like the Original Vanilla perfume oil from the Body Shop, which I think has been discontinued, not that I'm mourning it, because I still have a full bottle gathering dust on my shelf. I just couldn't wear Original Vanilla; it was just too syrupy and sweet. Once I was wearing it, and these two people about ten feet in front of me remarked that something smelled like Dr. Pepper, and I knew it was me.

Here's the thing, though: Original Vanilla is like cookie dough after you've eaten three-quarters of the tube, and you can't even bear the smell of it, and you're sure you're going to die of salmonella within the hour. Luctor et Emergo is like the first bite of cookie dough, right after you've snipped the end off the tube, and it stays delicious for hours and hours. Maybe it's the smoky note that makes the difference. Mmm, smoked cookie dough.

(And before you point out that I'm a philistine who doesn't make her own cookie dough: Cookie dough from scratch is for baking. Cookie dough in a tube is for eating raw.)

It's a good fragrance. I like it. I don't like it enough to pay $170, though. Maybe I'd buy it if it were $60. If Original Vanilla perfume oil smelled more like this, I'd buy that.

But if you've got $170 to burn, and you like smoky cookie dough and singing the Labyrinth Zone song (feel free to add your own lyrics), then be my guest.

People of the Labyrinths Luctor et Emergo is available at

Monday, April 18, 2005

Bath and Body Works - Violet Bouquet

Violet Bucket. Bile Bucket. Vile Bouquet. Violent Buffet?

The new limited-edition fragrance hits Bath and Body Works stores today, and as soon as I get a chance I am running out there and stocking up. It's a great, light candy-violet fragrance, and violet is so hot right now. I think maybe violet is the new green tea.

Oh, how I have waited and waited for Voylent Bookay Day.

Also they're coming out with Gardenia or something like that. It's OK I guess.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Lucky Not Yucky

I swear, the exact moment I posted my last entry, my sample order from LuckyScent arrived in the mail!

It's a sign. It's a sign that I was destined to... blog about perfume.

Also possibly a sign is that the sample vial of Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Quelquechose rolled off the desk, into my lap, and disappeared under my desk. Well, I didn't want to smell like you anyway, Vanille Thing.

Anyway, in case you haven't been, LuckyScent is a lovely website. They've got tons of obscure expensive culty perfumes, and you can get samples of all sorts of stuff for $2 per and up.

What's that smell?

It's me, isn't it?

For quite some time--months and months and maybe years--I'd had the brilliant idea of having a website where I review perfumes, though I'm far from professional at it. Just like Manolo loves the shoes, I love the stinks. (I know I may come off as derivative, but I had this idea long before I discovered the world of accessory blogs. I swear on the house of Creed.)

Anyway, it took me until today to realize that, duh, blogs are free, and just as good. This is my first time working with Blogger, so be patient if things get screwy.

So enjoy and spread the word! I'll be starting by writing about fragrances in my own embarrassingly large personal collection, and maybe then I'll move on from there.