Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year, queridos! I hope that your New Years involved champagne and was more exciting than mine. I'm not really sure how that's possible, considering that I went to a "pirate show" with my parents, little brother, grandparents, and cousins. Actually, the six packs on those pirates were so impressive that it might as well have been a Chippendale's show. And from this point onward, that is how we are going to say that I spent New Year's Eve.

Oh, Orlando. You can shiver my timbers anytime.

Anyway, y'all, although I know (desperately hope) that in the future there will be more of you, at the present time I have exactly one reader who is not my mother. I love this girl deeply, but it has also come to my attention that she does not wear perfume, and therefore she has trouble relating to many of the perfume related posts. I love perfume. I love the clever tricks that perfumers employ to create new and pleasing combinations of notes; I love the nuances. However, I fully understand that for many people, perfume has no nuances. A perfume either smells good or it doesn't. It is for my beloved solitary reader that I will try to explain the world of perfume in terms of a field with which most people much more familiar: literature.

For example, a perfume like Aquolina PINK freakin' SUGAR is the olfactory equivalent of the Twilight series- insanely popular for absolutely no good reason.

Actually, I just thought of one VERY good reason.

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle and Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue (both of which have been bestsellers for over five years) have more in common with the Harry Potter series- just as popular, but more deserving of their success.

Oliver Wood, the Gryffindor quidditch coach. The actor who plays him is named Sean Biggerstaff. The joke here should write itself.

Along this vein, there are perfumes such as Robert Piguet Fracas, which has been worn by everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Madonna to Martha Stewart. I can appreciate that Fracas is a great classic, but whenever I try to wear it I get the distinct feeling that I am being mugged by a gardenia. I got a very similar feeling when I had to read Jane Eyre in 10th grade, except instead of a gardenia my mugger was the stupidest book of all time.

Jane, that Mr. Rochester is nothing but trouble!
Why don't you marry that nice cousin of yours? You know, the priest.
No? Okay then.
Also, what is UP with those BROWS, lady??

Perfumes such as Chanel No. 5 and Guerlain Shalimar can be likened to "The Great Gatsby," a book that is both widely beloved and a masterpiece (and one of my personal favorites, if you hadn't figured it out yet). Those "Warm Vanilla Sugar" body splashes you can get at Bath and Body Works correspond to guilty pleasure reading, like trashy romance novels or (in my case) JHU Confessions, the Gossip Girl of Johns Hopkins. It is incredibly sad how addicted I am to this website, but how else would I know whether Hopkins students prefer "an Ugly who's awesome in bed or a Cutie who's totally lacking"? (General consensus is the Cutie, if there was ever any doubt in your mind.)

There are books, such as pretty much anything that Allen Ginsberg (author of the incredible but frankly depressing poems "Howl", "Kaddish", and many others) ever wrote, which I find fascinating but too disturbing to read all that often. Creed Love in Black is a good perfume match for these kinds of books. It evokes a patch of violets growing in a forest where dark things lurk.

Finally, we have the books that we read over and over again, our favorites, the ones that changed the way we see the world. A few of mine are: The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Woman Hollering Creek by Sandra Cisnernos, Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, and my absolute favorite of all time, Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. These books correspond to the perfumes that we wear every day, with which we and others identify ourselves. Mine are Bond No. 9 New Haarlem, Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose, and Chanel No. 5. My hope is that even if perfume plays no role in your life now, reading this blog will help you to see it as a form of art just like a painting or a symphony.

By the way, y'all, I forgot to mention that the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has guidelines concerning blogger endorsements. Basically, if a company sends me free samples or pays me money to write a good review, I have to let you know. All of the perfumes that I have reviewed thus far I have either bought from Sephora or tested in stores. But in the immortal words of Biggie, "I gotta let it show, I love the dough". I am a college student who does not currently have any time to work and therefore has no source of income. If a company did send me free samples or something to review, I would not turn them down. However, I can promise you this: I will never write a review that a product does not deserve. Pink Sugar has no glowing reviews in its future no matter how much money Aquolina tries to throw at me. (Although they're certainly welcome to try.)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What was Josh Duhamel Even Famous For Again?

Merry Belated Christmas, my dear readers! I hope that your Christmases were filled with joy and all-American values. As for myself, I took part in the time-honored Christmas tradition of Jewish families going to the movies because nothing else is open. I saw "Nine", a musical, which I liked quite a bit, although if you ask me Kate Hudson was totally unnecessary, because frankly that woman is obnoxious. I understand that apparently her mother Goldie Hawn was very charming, but as far as I am concerned the only child of a celebrity who is in any way tolerable is Sean Astin, mostly because he autographed my copy of "The Goonies".

It looks pretty much like this, except for the part where SEAN ASTIN AUTOGRAPHED IT.

Anyway, I bring up Nine because one of the characters had some pretty fierce makeup action going on. Check up on it:

Hmmm, that's actually not exactly the look I was thinking of, Fergie-Ferg, although I did very much enjoy your performance as the town prostitute. It seems only fitting, considering that your husband Josh Duhamel is currently being accused of adultery by/with a number of strippers. FOR SHAME, JOSH DUHAMEL.

Wipe that smirk off your face, you shmuck.

Not that many people know this about me, but I have a somewhat unreasonable love of Fergie-Ferg. This has become sort of an issue with my boyfriend. We'll be in the car, listening to the radio, and a Fergie song will come on. Delighted, I turn the volume up and start singing. He changes the station. I change it back. He changes it again, a little more forcefully. This usually ends with at least one of us in tears.

The main reason for my love is the story of the now-legendary concert where Fergie peed her pants onstage. Let's face it, folks, that is really nothing short of awesome. And to continue to perform even after that? Talk about dedication, which apparently is a concept that her HUSBAND doesn't undestand. SPEAKING OF YOU, JOSH DUHAMEL, Sarah Ferguson is a SAINT. I would go so far as to call her the MOTHER TERESA OF OUR TIME. Feel free to quote me on that one, Ferg. Do not phunk with her heart, Josh Duhamel, or else you will no longer be mixing your milk with her coco puffs, because her lovely lady lumps are in very high demand, if you know what I mean, WHICH I THINK YOU DO. Also, please stop making Fergie so depressed that she makes terrible music. "Meet Me Halfway" is bloody awful. It's like her throat has been comfort eating.

Anyway, the real makeup inspiration in Nine was to be found on the very lovely and talented Marion Cotillard. She was working a modified Audrey Hepburn, meaning a relatively thin cat eye combined with strong brows and pink lips. Observe:

So elegant! So classy! I'm inspired, dear readers, and I will probably be (attempting to) work a similar look in the upcoming weeks. If you're interested in trying it out yourself, I highly recommend the Lancome Artliners. These are the best liquid liners on the market. However, they are vastly expensive at $29, and the liquid liner look can also be a bit harsh at times.

For these reasons, I also recommend trying gel liners, such as Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner (extremely high quality, wide range of colors, $21) or Stila Smudge Pots (much bigger size than Bobbi's, so you're getting more for your money, $20). Both of these are very good; I have worn both brands in the sweltering heat of Israeli summer and had no problems with smudging. Oh, Lancome also has a new line of gel liner, but I do not recommend anything to my readers that I have not tried myself. Gel liners can take a little work to get used to, but the end result is beautiful and looks a bit more modern than liquid liner.

Edit: I am currently trying the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner, which is available at Sephora for $18. Like the Artliners, it has a felt tip. I have had no issues with it. However, the Tattoo Liner actually only contains 0.02 ounces of product, while the Lancome eyeliner contains 0.04. So to get the same amount of product as the Lancome eyeliner, one would actually have to spend $36. If you do not wear liquid liner all that often, then 0.02 ounces may be plenty.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Brunette Readers: I promise I will stop alienating you after this post

We'll be talking about blondes again today. You've probably heard of the movie "The Seven Year Itch." That's the one where the famous picture of Marilyn Monroe with her white dress blowing up in the wind comes from. The name of Marilyn's character in that movie is "The Girl." Maybe she has a name, maybe she has a story, maybe she has something to offer, but no one really cares. All she's allowed to be is "The Girl", a beautiful object onto which others can project what they will. So maybe we're not exactly talking about blondes, but more about women who play "The Girl." It just so happens that a disproportionate number of these women happen to be blonde. "The Dumb Blonde" is just "The Girl" wearing a blonde wig.

Serena van der Woodsen and her many predecessors, including Elle Woods, Daisy Buchanan, and Marilyn Monroe, are examples of beautiful women of great intelligence and substance who frequently played dumb because it was what everyone wanted, because it was easy. Daisy said it best in her famous line from "The Great Gatsby": "That's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool." So maybe playing "The Girl" is a betrayal of yourself. It's not like anyone was particularly interested in the "real you" anyway. Marilyn always aspired to be a more "serious" actress, but her more dramatic roles (in movies such as "The Misfits" and "River of No Return") were never nearly as successful as the dumb blonde characters that made her rich, famous, and miserable.

Perhaps you think that Daisy's prophecy might be outdated in a world of Hillary Rodham Clintons and Tina Feys. (BTW, let it be known that I absolutely worship Hillary and fully intend to do a review on her favorite perfume, the ballbusting Angel by Thierry Mugler, sometime soon.) If so, please consider Daisy's modern-day equivalent, Serena. Serena's best friend, Blair Waldorf, is a bit of a Hillary. She's undeniably intelligent, a bit prickly, and the top student at their prestigious high school. Blair has one, all-consuming dream: Yale University. Serena, on the other hand, is considered to be less of an intellectual and more of the lovable whore-next-door. Which one do you think gets into Yale? If you answered "Blair", you have not been listening very closely.

Oh, Blair. So close, yet so far.

Ever since Marilyn Monroe answered "Just a few drops of Chanel No. 5, of course" to the question of what she wore to bed, she has been the person most closely associated with the world's most famous perfume. However, Marilyn's answer has always been a complete mystery to me. Created in 1921 by Ernest Beaux, Chanel No. 5 is many things- fresh, slightly powdery, golden in personality- but it is absolutely not sexy. Why would Marilyn, whose sex symbol persona endures almost 50 years after her death, have worn a perfume that is so resolutely unseductive? Perhaps her seemingly incongruous perfume choice gives us a glimpse at the person behind the persona. Maybe No. 5 spoke to who Marilyn really was behind the makeup and the body. Of course it's just a theory, but if it were true, then Marilyn's inner self would have been radiant indeed.

Beaux, the perfumer behind No. 5, is said to have been inspired by the fresh smell of the lakes in the Arctic Circle (where he was stationed in World War I). The result is a perfume that evokes a bright sun shining down on these lakes, a warm, golden scent that also somehow smells pure and hopeful. No. 5 is an extremely comforting smell, and I imagine it is this cozy, reassuring aspect that endeared it to Marilyn, who had a notoriously troubled childhood and struggled with schizophrenia and an addiction to prescription drugs as as an adult. Finally we come to the dark side of playing "The Girl." Is Marilyn alive today to enjoy her enormous fame? No. She committed suicide at the age of 36, alone in the bathroom.

I own two bottles of No. 5- a small bottle of vintage parfum from my mother and the Eau de Toilette. Although I know that the parfum is very valuable, I don't wear it as often. It has a very strong indolic jasmine note that I don't much care for. By the way, "indolic" is a synonym for "fecal". You learned a new word today! Wearing No. 5 reminds me that the easy way does not always end well. That there is great danger in allowing oneself to be defined by others, and that it is critical to have a strong sense of self. Actually, I just remembered a very concrete connection between Serena and Marilyn. Last episode, when Maureen, the married congressman's wife, was trying to convince Serena to be the congressman's mistress, she said, "I'll be Jackie and you'll be Marilyn." Serena's refusal made me the proudest I've been of her all season.

Maureen, I served with Jackie Kennedy, I knew Jackie Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy was a friend of mine. Maureen, you're no Jackie Kennedy.

Monday, December 21, 2009


It's about that time in the blog where I tell you about my more deeply held beliefs and convictions. I believe in Potbelly sugar cookies. I believe that I am the secret love child that Johnny Depp and Kate Moss cannot acknowledge for fear of angering that French chick Johnny's dating these days.

It's okay, guys. I understand.

Perhaps most importantly, I believe in Reese Witherspoon. Here's what's up: "Legally Blonde" is much closer to my life than anyone should feel comfortable with. My favorite line in the whole movie is when Elle is saying goodbye to Paulette at the salon, and she sniffles, "All people see when they look at me is blonde hair and big boobs."

Elle, I see your truuuee cooolors, shiiiining through

There is a certain category of girls- Elle Woods, Serena van der Woodsen, Daisy Buchanan from "The Great Gatsby," and me- for whom that line hits very, very close to home. Beautiful blonde women who nobody expects anything from. Daisy used the low standards set for her to ruin lives and get away with it. Elle proved all of the doubters and haters wrong when she triumphed at the trial. Serena and I, we haven't quite figured it out yet. Sometimes I think that Serena is headed in the Daisy direction. Remember what she said when Nate Archibald asked her if she'd read The Old Man and the Sea? "I prefer Fitzgerald to Hemingway." Of course you do, Serena. Of course you do.

She's got great taste in literature, that Serena.

Anyway, the reason I bring up my Witherspoonism today is because I was unable to find an ad for "Cristalle", the second-to-last Chanel fragrance I'll be reviewing. So instead, I used a picture that SHOULD be a Cristalle ad from an old Elle magazine shoot of Reese. The trees, the spots of sunlight, the white dress, her serene smile- it's nothing short of perfect for Cristalle. Cristalle was originally created in 1974 in an Eau de Toilette formulation by Henri Robert, who is also responsible for No. 19. However, I tested the Eau de Parfum formulation, which was created by Jacques Polge in 1993. If I had to guess, I would imagine that the Henri Roberts version is probably a little more green, a little closer to No. 19. The version of Cristalle that I tested, however, bears no resemblance to anything else in the Chanel lineup.

Cristalle evokes a lovely young thing in a loose white dress running through dew-soaked grass that sparkles in the sun. The sparkling effect is probably achieved with the lemon topnote, but I have no idea how Polge so beautifully captured the sweet smell of freshly mowed grass. For the first ten minutes, I hated this perfume. It smelled very strongly of something I identified as anise (licorice), one of my least favorite notes in perfumery and the reason that Pink Sugar makes me want to cry. Based on the official list of notes, it was probably actually lily of the valley, but that reminds me: the only thing that I hate more than blondism is Pink Sugar. There's a girl in my dorm who lives one floor BENEATH me, and when she puts on her Pink Sugar in the morning, the smell quite literally wakes me up. AND NOT IN A GOOD WAY.

Ladies who wear Pink Sugar, do you know what you smell like? There's a scene in Mean Girls where Janice Ian says, "You smell like a baby prostitute." That is what you smell like, Pink Sugar wearers. And please don't be like Lindsay Lohan's character Cady Heron, who responds with "Thank you!" We all know what happened to Lohan, and unless you want your perfume to say "I have completely destroyed what was once an extremely promising acting career thanks to a combination of cocaine terrible parenting and EVEN MORE TERRIBLE BLONDE EXTENSIONS WHY WOULD YOU EVER DYE THAT BEAUTIFUL RED HAIR LINDSAY YOU WERE SO CUTE IN THE PARENT TRAP OH MY GOD WHAT HAPPENED," please for the love of all that is holy step away from the Pink Sugar.


Anyway, after about ten minutes the anise/lily of the valley note disappears and you are left with an absolutely gorgeous fresh, sweet grassy scent. This is not my favorite Chanel (that would be No. 5, which I have been saving for last), but it is quite stunning and pretty much the complete opposite of what a baby prostitute might wear.

I am fairly certain that these ladies are not wearing Cristalle.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

And Now, A Nazi History Lesson

To talk about No. 19, one must talk about Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, because it was Chanel No. 19, and not the far more famous Chanel No. 5, that was (allegedly, we'll get to that later) her personal perfume. Let's just get it out of the way: Gabby Chanel was not a good person. Many people aren't aware, but Gabby had mad Nazi connections. How do you think she stayed in the Hotel Ritz Paris (think the Ritz Carlton, but much, much nicer) during the entirety of World War II while maintaining two other apartments in Paris? I'll tell you: it was all paid for by her lover Hans Gunther von Dincklage, a Nazi officer and spy.

Chanel was even a collaborator in an operation planned by Walter Schellenberg, the Chief of Foreign Intelligence for Adolf Hitler. There's also a little bit of perfume-related intrigue. Chanel was always bitter that she only owned 10% of her perfume company, Chanel Parfums, while her manufacturers, the Jewish Wertheimer family, owned 70%. In 1940, Chanel attempted to use anti-semitic laws that forbade Jews from owning property to oust the Wertheimers, who had made Ms. Chanel's perfumes world-famous. This turned out to be the ultimate example of why biting the hand that feeds you is probably not a very good idea. The Wertheimers found a non-Jewish proxy to run the business in their name during the war, preventing Chanel from taking control, and today Alain and Gerard Wertheimer are the sole owners of the Chanel brand and the world's 65th richest men.

Alain and Gerard Wertheimer. Take that, Gabby!
Bottom line? Chanel may have been the hard-working, scrappy little orphan girl that you've read about in so many books and articles, but she was also arrested for being a Nazi agent. The signature scent of such a complex woman would not be Pink Sugar. And indeed, No. 19 is just as multifaceted as you would imagine. Honestly, knowing what I (and now you) know about Chanel, I initially felt kind of uncomfortable with No. 19. I did not particularly want to smell the prized, treasured scent of someone who I hold in very low esteem.

However, after a little more research, I learned that No. 19 was created by Henri Robert in 1971, which was the year of Chanel's death. All of those "Chanel's personal perfume" shenanigans are just a (very clever) marketing scheme. Now I don't have to feel bad about liking No. 19 as much as I do. Don't get too attached to it, though; No. 19 may already be on its way to being phased out, as the Eau de Parfum and Parfum formulations were discontinued in the US and UK in 2000.

No. 19 smells quite similar to No. 5, which means that it opens with aldehydes and smells mostly of sweet baby powder. They share many notes, including ylang-ylang and jasmine. There is some sort of hay-smelling note in No. 19 that is not found in No. 5. However, the most important distinction is the galbanum top note of No. 19, which adds a green sharpness (something like green apples) that makes No. 19 different, quirkier. I found an ad for No. 19 online that calls it "The Unexpected Chanel," and that is very apt. Its loveliness is unconventional and takes you by surprise. I also found one that labels No. 19 "The Outspoken Chanel," and while I wouldn't go that far, No. 19 certainly has more to say than, for example, Coco Mademoiselle.

For me No. 19 evokes someone like Kirsten Dunst; by no means a cookie-cutter beauty, she is nevertheless very appealing in an offbeat way. I like Kirsten Dunst, and so for her sake I will try to pretend that Spiderman 3 never happened. That movie was so bad that during the scene when Peter Parker punches MJ in the face, the entire movie theater started clapping. I looked all over the internets for a picture of that scene, but the best I could do was this picture of MJ right before the punch was thrown.

For the record, MJ, I did not clap.

Actually, there is one really nice scene in Spiderman 3, when MJ sings "I'm Through With Love," which was originally sung by Marilyn Monroe in "Some Like It Hot." It's interesting to hear a No. 19 interpret a classic No. 5's song.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Mix Your Milk With My Coco Puffs

"The Bombshell Manual of Style" describes Coco as "made for brunette bombshells with big personalities." As an example of such a bombshell it gives Jane Russell, who is one-half of my second favorite movie of all time (the first being "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier"), "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes." (The third is "Blazing Saddles," which is a different post entirely.) Can we talk about how that movie is so interesting, because even though Jane Russell's character tries to get with the entire Olympic relay team and generally behaves like a total Clara Bow (1920's actress Clara Bow used to have orgies with the entire USC football team, which is really kind of impressive if you think about it), everyone acts like Marilyn Monroe's character is a hussy and a half. Folks, blondism is an ugly, ugly thing.

Don't be a Clara Bow, Jane Russell!

Their dynamic actually reminds me a lot of Serena and Blair, if Blair would be more honest about who she really is and if Serena cared at all about money. It also brings to mind the relationship between Kirk and Spock in Star Trek V, which... okay, that part's not true, but if it was, Kirk would definitely be Serena and Spock would be Blair. "To boldly go where no [wo]man has gone before" is 100% Serena; I just wish she'd stop boldly going in the direction of MARRIED PEOPLE. William Shatner (the actor who plays Kirk) directed Star Trek V and it's incredible, Shatner hadn't yet reached the level of tubbiness that makes his "Priceline Negotiator" ads so damn depressing for me to watch. I actually have a William Shatner CD, "Has Been," where instead of singing he just talks his way through every song. It's really, really weird, but extremely soothing to fall asleep to.

Why, Kirk?? Whyyyyyyy????

Anyway, the point is that as a blonde, I find the blondism in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes very hurtful, and I try to counter it whenever I can by telling as many brunette jokes as possible. For example, what do you call a brunette in a room full of blondes? Invisible! Now that I've alienated all of my (future) (hopefully) brunette readers (you know I love you!), let's talk about Coco. The Bombshell Manual of Style was right, as it inevitably always is. Coco, created in 1984 by Jacques Polge, is definitely not for wallflowers.
My notes on Coco start with the words "Jasmine freakin' city," a note which is often the hallmark of big, bombshell-style fragrances. Coco is a very rich and very strong jasmine-rose concoction (the richness probably comes from the labdanum) which is highly enjoyable until the slightly unfortunate, overly sweet and syrupy drydown. Oh, and if you were wondering, there is absolutely no similarity to Coco Mademoiselle, which is supposed to be an interpretation of Coco for the younger crowd. Coco is known to be the signature scent of actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, and this is nothing short of a perfect match: with the possible exception of Penelope Cruz, no modern actress embodies the brunette bombshell role as well as Zeta-Jones.


To be honest, I was slightly terrified of Coco before this Chanel project (I had tried it twice before with very ugly results), but now I am quite fond of it. It's perfect for the brunette who wouldn't be invisible in a room full of blondes. By the way, what's the difference between a brunette and the trash? At least the trash gets taken out once a week!

It Lacks Allure

The nicest thing about "Allure," created in 1996 by "Chanel's design house" (I was unable to find the name of the perfumer, which could be part of the problem), is this ad featuring the GORGEOUS Malay model Nora Ariffin. If only the perfume was as nice as the picture. Allure is a nasty little bugger. Some woods at the top, some plasticky vanilla in the drydown, but mostly just an extremely watered-down version of Chance crossed with any generic fruity floral on the market. Not at all alluring, and certainly not worthy of the name Chanel.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Before we talk about Coco Mademoiselle (spoiler alert: if you read the Chance review, you already know what Coco Mademoiselle smells like, because they are EXACTLY THE SAME), can we talk about this ad? I'll be straight: I hate it. Remember in Gossip Girl when Blair Waldorf was dating Lord Marcus (you know, the one who was totally sexing his stepmom), and she brings up "Atonement," and he's all "No, Blair, you're not like that tart Keira Knightley."

I was always so confused by that line, because Keira always seemed to me the loveliest and classiest of girls. But I look at this ad and I cannot help but wonder: Was Lord Marcus right? Is Knightley tarty? And if so, what else was he right about? Should we ALL be engaging in quasi-incestual relationships? Should we ALL be pronouncing the name Blair as "Bleh"? So many questions. Incidentally, Emma Watson is rumored to be the next face of this fragrance, and if they try to replicate the look of this ad with her I will probably cry because HERMIONE IS NOT A HO.
Perhaps, my astute readers, you can sense that my ranting is a form of stalling, because I really do not have all that much to say about Coco Mademoiselle. Created in 2001 by Jacques Polge, it smells practically identical to Chance, but with less warmth, more floral top notes (rose, and there's definitely some orange in the beginning) and more vanilla and musk in the drydown.

When I was taking notes on this fragrance (why yes, I do have a perfume notebook, and yes, it is covered in pink polka dots), I used the word "pretty" three times in my observations. It is extremely pretty- frankly, too pretty for my tastes. I do not really think of myself as pretty, and so something as lovely as Coco Mademoiselle does not quite suit me. It evokes a very beautiful woman who does not particularly interest me. Think Diane Kruger.

One of these two people never fails to catch my attention. I'll give you a hint: It's the one that I have a life-size cardboard cutout of. I'll give you another hint: It ain't Diane Kruger.

Honey I'm Still Free, Take a Chance On Me

We begin our Chanel series with a review of "Chance," created in 2002 by Jacques Polges. Why are we starting with Chance? You always ask such great questions, my dear readers. Chance is first because it was MY very first fragrance. When I was an extremely awkward and uncool thirteen-year old, Chance was being advertised on every other page of Seventeen magazine. Well, I thought to myself, if Seventeen said that Chance was cool, then maybe, just maybe, it could transform my geeky-ass self into one of the popular girls at my middle school. This was, of course, before Seventeen began to be styled by someone who has quite clearly been on some sort of "trip" since about 2004, and here I am not referring to vacation time.

Anyway, as you may have guessed, Chance did not magically do away with my horrendous too-short haircut or the glasses that covered half of my face. However, I am very happy to report that my thirteen-year old self smelled freaking awesome. Chance is a rather peppery citrus scent, a spicier and more interesting take on the insanely successful Coco Mademoiselle. It's also warmer, possibly thanks to the "amber of patchouli" note that the Chanel website says is in there (is it amber or is it patchouli? Get it together, Chanel). It was actually quite nice to rediscover this one. I bought it at the ginormous Macy's on my very first visit to NYC, and so I have always associated it with my beloved Nueva York.

Chance is reputedly the signature scent of the lovely Anne Hathaway, and I think that the vivacious, practically sparkling nature of Chance suits her very well.

It is also apparently the signature of Bridget from The Girls Next Door. I have no comment on this except to say that I much prefer Holly and that Kendra may well have the world's first negative IQ.

Hey y'all!

My (future) (hopefully) readers, welcome! My name is Ari Weinberg, and I am a freshman at Johns Hopkins University. There's not a whole lot in the way of opportunities for creative expression in my major, biomolecular engineering, so I started this blog to write about two of my passions, beauty and fashion. If you were wondering, which I'm sure you were, some of my other passions include writing, surfing, and finding new and innovative ways of hiding a life-size Orlando Bloom cardboard cutout in my roommate's bed. True story.

Now, you may also be wondering what my oh-so-clever blog title has to do with beauty and fashion. "Get It Together, Serena" (which will henceforth be referred to as GITS) is a nod to my favorite television character of all time, Serena van der Woodsen, who really needs to GET IT TOGETHER and stop doing it with MARRIED CONGRESSMEN like it is her JOB (which it is not). Oh yes, on that note, I am in no way affiliated with Gossip Girl, so please do not sue me CW because frankly it is not my fault that you have made Serena into the patron saint of promiscuity. The point, my dear CW legal team, is that GITS will focus not on Gossip Girl but rather, for the most part, on beauty. We'll be starting things off with a series on the Chanel fragrances. Thanks for reading!