Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Lolita Lempicka Eau de Parfum

Who is Lolita Lempicka? What does she do besides have this one perfume? How do you pronounce her last name? And who, who, WHO designs these god-awful websites?

I'm throwing a quick Lolita Lempicka review in because I've heard a lot of people compare it to Angel. I bought them the same day, actually. And they're different. Not the same at all.

Lolita Lempicka is a very subtle scent that I have trouble describing. It kind of reminds me of Johnson's baby shampoo, though I don't know if that's the smell I'm looking for, because Johnson's now seals their shampoo bottles so I can't sneak a whiff when I'm at Walgreens. I don't want to have to buy the entire bottle just so I can figure out if that's what my perfume smells like or not. Argh!

Like baby shampoo, though, Lolita Lempicka is gentle and suitable for everyday use. Angel, of course, is not. (Angel is the kind of scent that grabs your nose's ass, which is definitely not appropriate in some contexts.)

And Lolita Lempicka is less expensive than Angel. The smallest size is $40 at Sephora; Scentiments has it for only about $23.

Thierry Mugler - Angel

Okay, so within the past week, I've compared two fragrances (Flowerbomb and Prada) to Angel, so it just makes sense that I go ahead and give you a review of Angel. Or, more accurately, an amateurish essay that should be titled "Why I Regret Spending $50 on Angel At Filene's Basement."

To be clear, I've got nothing against Filene's Basement. I love Filene's. I got an awesome sweater for like four bucks there once. And I have absolutely nothing against perfumes bought at Filene's, unless they have the words "Beverly Hills" in the name. I did save a good chunk of money on Angel, but, well, if I had known then what I know now, I'd be fifty bucks richer.

So... Angel. The original. Before this Innocent and Garden of Stars nonsense. Honestly, I don't even know how many iterations of Angel they've got out there, since Thierry Mugler changes the bottle design every couple of years. I betcha there's some dumb rich lady out there with all the different bottles, and she doesn't realize they all have the same perfume inside.

Anyway, when it first came out, years and years ago, every fashion magazine in the universe went nuts over it, and it was supposed to smell all chocolatey and warm and comforting yet exciting, and so on, and I'd try it on at the department store and think, "What's the big deal?"

Then, about a year or so ago, I borrowed a little bit of someone's Angel-scented hair/face mask, and it was divine. The mask has been discontinued, I'm assuming, but you can get it for cheap at Scentiments. And it's really more of a body butter-type cream than a face mask. I'm sorry, it's wonderful, but I'm not stuffing that in my T-zone.

Spurred on by the warm, creamy deliciousness of the face mask, I looked for an inexpensive bottle of the eau de parfum, which brought me to Filene's.

It smells barftastic on me. It's the closest thing to a migraine I've ever had. And it's so strong, one spray could beat me in an arm-wrestling match.

However! If I use it as a room spray, it smells amazing; if I use it as a linen spray, it smells amazing; if I spray it on the outside of the sweater I'm wearing, I smell amazing. It just doesn't work with my skin.

Use caution with this stuff, I'm warning you. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread and so on.

If Angel doesn't work with your body chemistry, I'd recommend Prada, which is better anyway. Victoria's Secret made a scent called Secret 33 which smelled similar to Angel, but was lighter and more wearable. It's pretty good; check Ebay. The Henri Bendel Tonka Bean candle at Bath and Body Works smells a lot like Angel, too, but they'll probably discontinue that as well.

But if you insist on having a bottle of Angel, even if it makes you smell like dead chocolate, hecko, I'll give you mine. Take it, and don't come near me ever again.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Prada Eau de Parfum

My mom and I have had this thing about Prada. It started with her dragging me into the Prada boutique to show me this insanely cute pair of shoes that she was insistent on buying for me, until she realized they were $300. The next summer, Mom sent me a photocopied New Yorker article on Miuccia Prada with a handwritten note: "I personally think this sorry chick needs to get over her bad self." I tend to agree.

(Though, I've gotta say, Prada's robot accessories are awesome. However, I was making robot bags in Fall '04. Suck on that, Miuccia, and you're just glad I'm not calling my lawyers.)

Anyway, when Prada came out with a fragrance, I had to get some for Mom, because, ha ha ha, look, Prada.

Turns out it's fantastic. It's what Angel should be, and isn't (and stay tuned for the Angel review). It's sexy, and recognizable, and not too sweet or cloying, and it doesn't make you barf. However, it's expensive, and I'm broke and have more than enough perfume to last me through the apocalypse.

Prada is everywhere right now (bizarre concept, I know), so you probably already know where to buy it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Comme des Garcons Series 2: Red - Carnation

Usually when I'm wearing any kind of fragrance, I can either smell it constantly or not at all.

I put some Carnation on this morning, and every now and then during the day, I thought, "Wow, what smells so good?" It was me. I smelled like I was carrying a bouquet of fresh flowers.

Everyone else around smelled like body odor. I assume they haven't been reading my reviews.

Carnation is available at LuckyScent. If you're looking for a cheaper carnation fix, Roger & Gallet makes an excellent carnation-scented soap.

Viktor & Rolf - Flowerbomb

Viktor? Rolf? I hate your website. I hate any website that automatically launches new windows that take up the entire screen. Web designers? Guys? Stop doing that.

Also, I hate your stupid trendy perfume. It smells like one part Angel mixed with ten parts old vase water after the bouquet has died and you've thrown it away, but there's still some brown leaves stuck in there. And it's a crappy ugly vase that came free with the bouquet.

I sprayed this on my wrists at Saks and couldn't stop smelling myself. It was like an olfactory car crash. Every half hour, I turned to Mom and said, "Smell this. It's still awful." Mom was wearing Prada, which smelled great the whole time. I wanted to sandpaper Flowerbomb off my skin.

It does have great staying power, which isn't a good thing in this case.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Lush - 17 Cherry Tree Lane Soap

Today's unofficial theme is "Things That Unintentionally Smell Like Other Things."

I bought a little chunk of 17 Cherry Tree Lane last time I was at Lush, because I really liked the smell. Since then, I've read the customer reviews on the Lush website, many of which mention Lady Foot Locker. Dear God, it's so true. This soap smells exactly like the inside of a brand new pair of sneakers. I can't shower anymore without the incredible urge to run out and buy some new Reeboks.

17 Cherry Tree Lane would be perfect to wash up with right before a hot date with Nelly. I can't imagine what would turn him on faster than the smell of new Air Force Ones. Except maybe a good pair of Apple Bottoms.

Bond No. 9 - Fashion Avenue

Here's what Saks Fifth Avenue has to say about Fashion Avenue:

"Epitomizing the spirit of Fashion Avenue, where creative energy is everywhere, is this style-right fragrance, designed for the iconoclast, a high-energy, go-getter with an eye on the future. Sparkling mimosa, in a bed of dewy greens is blended with ylang-ylang and cashmere musk. The result is a fresh, sexy, sultry scent."

Here's what Diversey has to say about Fashion Avenue:

"Mmm. Wonder Bubbles!"

There's nothing wrong with smelling like bubble soap--it reminds me of Easter mornings and the kid who drank Wonder Bubbles in second grade and started puking bubbles--but there is something wrong about paying $168 for the privilege. Unless you're filthy rich. And if you are, can you buy me some Fashion Avenue?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Fresh Scents by Terri - Berry Cute Shimmer Spray

I'm sure a lot of you have read Fast Food Nation; I'm probably the only one who read it and continued to eat McDonald's. Maybe that means I'm a sociopath, but I hope not. My favorite chapter was the one describing artificial flavorings and additives, and how it's now possible to synthesize the flavor of just about anything, from burgers to grass to grilled shrimp.

I can't help but wonder, then, why banana-flavored things still taste like chemicals. Is banana technology so far behind the curve? Or perhaps authentic banana flavoring is so complex and nuanced that it's difficult to manufacture and thus more expensive.

The Banana Dilemma seems to be common in berry fragrances, most notably the yuck from Bath and Body Works, but also in Fresh Scents by Terri's Berry Cute spray. The berry smells synthetic and off. I've never really liked berry fragrances, so I may be biased, and I wonder if the Banana Dilemma is to blame for that.

Berry Cute's drydown is better, and very similar to a few of the other scents in this line: a baked-goods vanilla, mixed in with some berries. Artificial berries. Which makes me think of Jiffy blueberry muffins. Don't you just love the packaging?

I can't think of a clever segue into it, but I wanted to add that this picture is frightening.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Fresh - Index - Fig Apricot

I tried a sample of this over the weekend.

It's not very interesting.

Bond No. 9 - Sample Card Text

Thanks to Ebay, I have twelve different samples of trendy Bond No. 9 fragrances. Yes, someone actually thought smelling like New York would be a good idea. I can't imagine this concept succeeding if the theme city were Chicago. Even the Gold Coast, where I briefly lived, smells like garbage and pee.

So I think Bond No. 9 is lying to us. 'Cause everyone's your friend in New York City, and everything smells like orange blossoms when you're young and pretty, &c.

Anyway, this Ebayer sent along a sample card with these samples (which, by the way, are wrapped in colored foil, like candy, and just so cute), and there's a long description of the fragrance concept, and for some reason I think it's really funny, so I'm just going to transcribe some of my favorite parts, including bold and italics.

Here goes:

"Instructions for use: Unwrap. Open vial. Breathe in. Congratulations! You have just caught a whiff of New York....Like nothing before it, Bond No. 9 captures in scents the sights, sounds, and nonstop, in-your-face energy of Manhattan. Here is the incomparable beauty and derring-do of our island metropolis, distilled in liquid form."

(The word "derring-do" is not used nearly enough in conversation these days.)

"[I]ts bold aromatic agenda comes out of a grand New York tradition of taking risks and breaking the mold."

"From the most audacious (and several are very audacious) to the wittiest and most whimsical, each scent expresses a courage, a gutsiness, that captures (as in a genie's bottle) the uncompromising spirit of this fast-paced, kaleidoscopic city that lives in the grand scale. Bong [ha ha ha oops that's a typo it really says "Bond"] No. 9 conveys a savvy assurance that says, Yes...this is the place to be...this is the scent to wear."

Doesn't that last sentence sound like Mary Alice from Desperate Housewives? Actually, all of it kind of does. Just replace all instances of "Bong [oh I keep doing it ha ha ha] No. 9" or "New York" with "Wisteria Lane." "Yes, Bree liked to live in the grand scale. But her incomparable beauty and derring-do was not enough for Rex."

Anyway, expect reviews of this bold aromatic agenda in the near future.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Fresh Scents by Terri - Peachy Keen and Dream

Okay, I'm not really actually done with the blog. Though I am almost done with the tiny little chunk of Cereology that I broke off and put by my sink. It makes hygiene FUN!

I've had my Fresh Scents by Terri samples for a week or two now, and I haven't come up with much to write about them. That doesn't mean they're not good; it's fantastically easy to write about sucky fragrances. It's more like the audition episodes on American Idol; they show the (supposedly) phenomenal singers and they show the obviously crappy singers, and you know there are a frillion kids out there who sing perfectly well, and could perform rings around a certain tiny-nosed jackass domestic abuser, but even though they're good, they don't even get to the part where they sing in front of Simon and all them, because they just don't make for good TV.

So, for the most part, these are good fragrances, but they're not exactly smellgasms.

Peachy Keen is, so far, my favorite. The description on Terri's website is pretty accurate--peaches and vanilla--and the drydown is quite similar to the first whiff. There's something else in there, too, which gives it sort of a peaches-and-cream-oatmeal smell. Cinnamon? I don't know. Tasty.

Interestingly, the creamy vanillay oatmeal drydown is present in quite a few of Terri's fresh scents. It's there in Dream, too. Vanilla and Fig. What does fig smell like, anyway? Before I get the creamy oatmeal, though, I get... Girl Scout Camp. Why does this remind me of Girl Scout Camp? It doesn't smell like a campfire sleeping bags or s'mores or football pudding or oh my god there are COTTONMOUTH SNAKES in the lake!!

Maybe it smells like Skin-So-Soft? Just a little bit? I'm not sure.

And by the way, Every Troop Leader I Ever Had: Skin-So-Soft does not repel mosquitoes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Lush - Cereology Soap

That's it. I'm done. I'm taking the blog down and tossing out all my shower gel, because there's no longer any point. None of it matters now that I have found the best-smelling soap in the entire universe.

I am also selling all my furniture and replacing it with chairs carved out of enormous slabs of this soap. It's that good.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Para Mi Bebe - Agua de Violetas

One more, and then Violet Day is over. But I've saved the best for last.

I found Para Mi Bebe Agua de Violetas at Walgreens, in the half-aisle where all the products were in Spanish. Somewhere between the mother-of-pearl soap and the "Super Macho" testicular extract.

I didn't know they made baby cologne. Even Johnson and Johnson make it. However, every bottle of baby cologne I have ever seen is in Spanish. Maybe baby cologne is popular in the Mexican community, though most of the baby colognes I've seen, Johnson's excluded, are made by companies from Spain. Maybe this is a culture shock thing.

Oh wait, I just found something that says baby cologne is especially useful for removing excess moisture from babies' hair. Which explains the high alcohol content, I suppose.

See, when I put some on, it stung a little bit. Am I more sensitive than a baby? I also spilled a whole ton of it. It might work better as a spray, considering how spilltastic the bottle is.

The fragrance is very light, with a baby-powder drydown, though it's definitely not a just-for-babies fragrance.

And the price? Boy howdy, that's the best part! A big old 8.3 oz. bottle is only about $3.75. If you can find it, that is.

Perfumeria Gal - Violet Lip Balm

Perfumeria Gal's website sucks.

On the other hand, their lip balm tins are cute, even if the lid doesn't close as tightly as I'd like.

The balm is violet-scented but not flavored, and you get a lot of it. The texture of the balm itself is not my favorite--a little too petroleum jelly-ish for me. I guess that's to be expected from a product (whose main ingredient is petrolatum) called "Vaselina Perfumada."

I like lip balm, but I don't really need any more in my life. I bet this would be okay to put on dry elbows or something.

Violetta di Parma Eau de Parfum

This is probably the cleanest of the violet scents I've tried, with just a little sweetness. It's very subtle, almost soapy. You know what? Violet fragrances kind of remind me of original Dawn detergent. In fact, I'm going to run into the kitchen right now and smell the bottle of Dawn.

...Hmmm. Dawn just smells like Dawn. I can't tell if there's any violet in there. By the way, did you know that Dawn is an excellent laundry pre-treater for greasy stains? Honest.

Violetta di Parma is available (though backordered like crazy) at LuckyScent for only $34. You probably want some.

L'Aromarine - Violette Eau de Toilette

I will always and forever recommend L'Aromarine fragrances: they're cheap, they smell good, there's a huge variety of them, and their bottles are awesome.

Except for Violette. It gets a little too men's-cologney after a few minutes, and I'm just not sure I can give it my blessing.

I'm not going to let this interfere with my love for L'Aromarine, and I'm not going to let this rain on my Violet Day parade, but I just thought y'all should know for your own good.

Lush - Bathos Bubble Bar

Have you read Beverly Cleary's Ribsy? About the dog who gets separated from Henry Huggins and goes on adventures and all these girls give him a violet-scented bubble bath? And they sing this dumb song about "Sweet vi-i-i-olets, sweeter than all the roses" or something like that?

I hate that book. I don't hate it for any good reason; I just hate it because I hate the name Ribsy and I hate the name Henry and I hated Louis Darling's illustrations when I was a kid and I especially hate that violet song even though I don't know the words.

I've got to try not to think of stupid Ribsy, because it may ruin my violet bubble bath experience forever. That would be a shame, because I'd never get to use another Bathos bar from Lush. It's a little spicier and more herbal than most violet scents I've tried, so it's good if you're not a fan of the sweeter scents. Plus, it's the cheapest bubble bar Lush offers.

One bar is good for at least three bubble baths, at least in my tub that doesn't bubble up very much. You'll get a lot more bubbles if you put the desired amount in a stocking (a clean one! Gosh!) and tie it around the faucet so that the bar is directly in the stream of running water. Additionally, your hands will be free, so you can read a book in the tub. Just not Ribsy, for heaven's sake.

Fresh - Index - Violet Moss

Happy Violet Day, people! Today, we... smell a lot of violets. After a while, everything starts smelling the same. So it's not really that exciting, but it sure smells good.

I do recommend getting some Violet Bouquet from Bath and Body Works first, because it's a very good violet fragrance, and if you like that, and if they discontinue it (which they will), move on from there.

Specifically, move on to Fresh's Violet Moss, because it's great. It's clean and sweet and bold and lasts for ages, and I'm not really sure what they're talking about with the moss, because I sure don't smell any moss. Also, iris buerre? Do they mean iris beurre? Iris butter sounds tasty, especially on, like, bran muffins. I like food that tastes like flowers.

And get over yourself that it's $65, because that's for a 3.4 ounce bottle, which is pretty hefty.

And also, someone needs to buy me the Fresh Index Fragrance Chronicles for my birthday. Pretty please with candy violets on top?

Friday, May 06, 2005

The Bath Lounge - Cosmopolitan 3-in-1 Bath Cocktail

All right, folks. In celebration of violet, the It Fragrance, the New Green Tea, Monday will be dedicated to reviews of violet-fragranced products. Expect at least five reviews throughout the day.

Today, I've got a cheapo drugstore find, the Cosmopolitan "Martini" all-purpose bath gel by The Bath Lounge.

"Martini" is in quotes because, y'all, cosmopolitans are not martinis. I don't care what your Sex and the City DVDs say. Martinis contain gin, vermouth, and olives. And that's it. If it's missing more than one of those ingredients, it's not a martini. If your drink is pastel-colored or opaque, it is definitely not a martini. From the Wikipedia article:

Sometimes the term "Martini" is used to refer to other mostly-hard-liquor cocktails such as Manhattans, Cosmopolitans, and ad-hoc or local conconctions whose only commonality with the drink is the cocktail glass in which they are served. Chefs with a more whimsical bent are even producing dessert "Martinis" which are not a drink at all, but are merely served in Martini glasses.

By the way, one of my favorite things to do when I'm on a bus and bored out of my mind is invent fake trendy martinis. For example, the Breakfastini: vodka with a splash of maple syrup, garnished with a slice of bacon. Or the Thaitini: vodka, coconut milk, and lemongrass, garnished with shrimp.

So then, strike one against the Cosmopolitan bath "martini" is that IT'S NOT A MARTINI DAMMIT. Strike two is, well, who wants to smell like an alcoholic drink? I guess a lot of people, if the popularity of certain Demeter products is any indication. Fine, go ahead and fail your breathalyzers for all I care. Smell like a drunk, even if you're a teetotaler. What a terrible idea.

But this stuff doesn't smell like booze! It smells like Easter candy. I don't know what Easter candy. Maybe those speckled jelly bird eggs? Or those big eggs that look like oversized jelly beans but have that weird sugary marshmallowy middle? Honestly, I wouldn't have bought this if it didn't smell like candy.

In fact, I'm strongly considering ripping off the "Cosmopolitan martini" label and writing "EASTER CANDY BATH STUFF" in Sharpie on the bottle, but I probably won't, because the girl in the drawing on the label looks like Terra Branford in the tub. (I like Final Fantasy. I'm a nerd. Shut up.)

One more thing: even though it says it's a shampoo/conditioner as well as a shower gel/bubble bath, I don't think I'll be putting it in my hair anytime soon. I like keeping my shampoos and my shower gels separate. I'm fussy that way.

The Bath Lounge bath cocktails are about $7 for an enormous 16-ounce bottle, available at drugstores. There are six scents in all, three "tropical" and three "[fruity drinks served in] martini [glasses and thus incorrectly labeled as such]," but the other five aren't worth bothering with. Trust me.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Provence Sante - Linden Eau de Toilette

I wasn't sure how I was going to write this review.

Originally, I was going to write about how badly I wanted Provence Sante's Linden ever since I tried it at a Whole Foods about twelve years ago, back when $25 was a whole lot of spending money, and forever afterwards I would sniff the bottle and think, "Maybe next time," until today when I actually sprayed it on myself, and was instantly cured of that particular longing.

But then I thought of writing about a nonexistent invention--a spray that instantly neutralizes any and all scents, with absolutely no masking fragrance, that you could use either in the air or on the body as a sort of "perfume eraser"--and how this really, really needs to be invented, and whoever does invent it will make millions, and it really, really needs to be used on this Provence Sante stuff.

I also considered the succinct yet impassioned GET IT OFF GET IT OFF GET IT OFF GET IT OFF.

But thirty minutes later, it's actually turned quite good. I may buy a bottle after all. This is a mighty strong fragrance, so spray with caution.

The Provence Sante Linden line is available at BeautyHabit for the truly brave.

Fresh Scents by Terri Samples

Fresh Scents by Terri offers a sample set of all ten fragrances for only $5 plus shipping. Hooray for samples!

This means you'll be seeing a lot of Fresh Scents by Terri reviews in the coming weeks. I'll try not to be too snarky, because I don't want to discourage people from sending me samples.

Know other places to get fragrance samples? Let me know.

Monyette Paris - Coquette Tropique

"Yo Girl - you smell like hibiscus."

I first saw Coquette Tropique at Merz Apothecary, and it smelled great, and I knew it had to be special because it was $45 for a tiny little bottle. Then I found out Monyette was one of those culty perfumes that all the celebrities dig, and now I'm not sure if I want it more or less.

You know, every time I read about celebrities' favorite perfumes, I have a hard time imagining them smelling like something other than new Barbie dolls. In my mind, celebrities (with the exception of, say, Britney Spears) seem kind of sterile and somehow impervious to things like dirt and ingrown hairs.

Though, in honor of Audrey Hepburn's birthday, I'll share with you a quote from Space Ghost: "Even Audrey Hepburn went to the bathroom!" And those are words I live by.

It's pretty tropical-fruitastic. I like it. (Audrey Hepburn would like it, but then again, she liked Spring Flower.) It lasts a long time, and it's not all up in your face. I'm not sure if I'll buy a full-size bottle, but I'll probably walk into Merz once a week just to roll on the tester.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Des Filles a la Vanille - Toi... Mon Ange

Let's see... I'd call this "a youthful combination of naivete, sensuality, and desperation."

More to the point, it smells like a cheapo vanilla fragrance from Revco, worn by high school girls who think that Whitman's Samplers and teddy bears clutching satin pillows (also purchased at Revco) are romantic Valentine's Day gifts.

Most of us have since graduated, stopped trying to win the head cheerleader's approval, and gotten over our first-ever true love, who by the way turned out to be a total tool who cheated with that one girl on the band trip, but you took him back anyway because it was love and NO ONE UNDERSTANDS!!!

But for those of you who never learn, there's Toi... Mon Ange.