Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Get It Together, Serena is moving!

My beloved readers,
I was fortunate enough to get some excellent advice recently from a very successful perfume blogger. One of her suggestions was that I move from blogspot to wordpress. So as of today, Serena is packing up her emotional baggage and moving to The blog is now called "Scents of Self". To the very lovely women who have become followers, please keep reading! I would love to continue to hear from you. Although it is currently empty, I will be transferring the content over very soon and writing new posts in no time.
Once again, the link is:
Thank you for reading, everyone!

Sexy Times, Part 3: Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb

Queridos, the first two perfumes in this very sexy series have, for the most part, been on the darker end of the sexy spectrum. Today we will explore the lighter side of sexy, something I like to call "pink sexy". Pink sexy is not particularly sensual. It's more Barbie than Bardot. Where MV3 was a leather dress, a "pink sexy" perfume would be a Juicy Couture tracksuit. Pink sexy means Cher Horowitz in Clueless, Regina George in Mean Girls, Kirsten Dunst in Bring It On. The prettiest girls at your high school, the ones who straighten their blonde hair every morning and always frame their blindingly white smiles with the perfect pink lipgloss. They could steal your boyfriend with ease, if they even knew who you were. The prom queens, the sorority girls, the cheerleaders. Love them or hate them, you can't help but want to be like them.

Oh, '90s fashion.

Flowerbomb, created in 2004, exemplifies this perky, girly type of sexiness. Flowerbomb is a bit of a misnomer; "Sugarbomb" would have been more appropriate. Flowerbomb is sweet beyond belief and is very closely related to Aquolina Pink Sugar, Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, and Philosophy Falling In Love. Now, I have repeatedly established myself as an enemy of Pink Sugar on this blog, and in general I do not find such sugary fare particularly sexy. However, I acknowledge that the reason that there are so very many overly sweet perfumes on the market today is because many women love them. Study after study has shown that men also prefer sweet smells, such as vanilla (they are also fond of bacon). I would be remiss if I did not include a perfume from the sugary genre, and Flowerbomb is probably the best of its kind.

One of the reasons that I hate Pink Sugar so much is that I actually had very high hopes for it. A perfume that smells like cotton candy? Who doesn't like cotton candy? But then Pink Sugar just smelled like licorice, and it broke my heart, and then she slept with like three of my bros, just don't even talk to me about her, man. Flowerbomb actually achieves the cotton candy effect that Pink Sugar promised but never delivered. The opening stage of Flowerbomb is juicy (bergamot) and sweet. It makes me imagine a room in Willy Wonka's factory, perhaps a cave made entirely of pink rock candy. After a few minutes I could smell something that my nose registered as strawberries. Since there are actually no fruits at all in Flowerbomb, I am forced to conclude that this is instead the lightest jasmine that I have ever smelled. Flowerbomb stumbles once the patchouli appears. Something about the combination of sugar and patchouli, a notoriously earthy note, seems rather off.

Flowerbomb bears a startling resemblance to Thierry Mugler's Angel; it could pass for Angel's shy little sister. Like Angel, Flowerbomb can be a little scary, reminiscent of how the Regina Georges of the world are often feared as much as they are loved. Pink sexy can and often does deteriorate into "bitchy sexy". At its best, however, Flowerbomb is pleasant, flirty fun.

When Regina George makes this face, you RUN AWAY.

Disclaimer: I begged for a sample of Flowerbomb from Saks Fifth Avenue.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sexy Times, Part 2: M.A.C MV3

The other day we talked about Angelina Jolie, who was widely considered to be the hottest woman on the planet until the recent appearance of version 2.0, the younger, graceless Megan Fox. Although I had pegged Angelina as a Prada woman, she actually wears a men's cologne, Bvlgari Black. Black was created by perfumer Annick Menardo, who is also responsible for the very popular Lolita Lempicka and Christian Dior Hypnotic Poision, and released in 1998. Since its inception Black has been the darling of perfume lovers and critics, who rejoiced at being able to find such an unusual perfume at a mainstream price.

Black is supposedly a smoky vanilla scent, with the smokiness coming from a lapsang souchong tea note. The reality is that Black smells like straight-up burnt rubber. Now, rubber may have sexy connotations galore to the BDSM crowd, but I personally find it disorienting and unenjoyable. Black is edgy, I'll give it that, and a good match for Angelina, who famously used to wear a vial of her ex-husband's blood as a necklace.

You guys, I know that we're supposed to think that Angelina is like a much more bangable Mother Teresa or something to that extent, but does anyone else remember that she used to be really, really weird? I mean, remember how she made out with her brother on the red carpet, and took pictures with horses that were Equus-levels of inappropriate, and slept with a knife under her pillow, and just generally seemed very troubled? I will include the most family-friendly of those horse pictures here to illustrate my point.

Yes, this really and truly was the most family-friendly of the horse pictures.

I will be honest here: I do not particularly care for Angelina Jolie. I would never try to deny her incredible beauty or her equally impressive charity work, but I also have not forgotten that she had an affair with a married man. I also hated her in "A Mighty Heart". I actually feel fairly strongly about this. "A Mighty Heart" was about the Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl, who was murdered by Pakistani terrorists in 2002. That movie had a damn important story to tell, and that story was lost amidst Jolie's overdramatic attempt at serious acting. Additionally, "Beowulf" was nothing short of the worst movie of all time. I think what I'm trying to say here is that Angie should probably stick to "Tomb Raider", and try to be a little bit less of a homewrecker.

Cut it out, Angie!

So we were talking about Black, and how it is very interesting but (in my personal, very unpopular opinion) has no place on a list of sexy perfumes. However, Black is closely related to a perfume that is the very definition of "Sexy Times": MV3 by M.A.C. MV3 was created in 2002 by perfumer Cecile Krakower, whose otherwise scanty resume includes "Paris Hilton Fairy Dust." Like Black, MV3 is a smoky vanilla. There are two key differences between the two. First, where Black evokes smokestacks belching out black clouds, MV3 contains a mere breath of smoke. Second, instead of Black's bizarre rubber note, MV3 has dark, creamy leather. Despite a prominent vanilla note, MV3 is worlds away from Pink Sugar and its ilk. It starts off sweet and smoky and dries down to a rather sharp, unsweetened leather. At no point is MV3 particularly friendly or comforting. The green dagger that is the vetiver topnote gives MV3 unsmoothable edges and a dangerous glint in its eyes.

MV3 reminds me of the Barry Levinson movie "Liberty Heights". Adrien Brody falls in love with an exquisite girl (played by the still-fabulous model Carolyn Murphy), only to discover that she is absolutely psychotic. Her character is compared to a thoroughbred horse: beautiful, but very high-strung. MV3 smells like a stunning woman (blonde hair, pale, creamy skin) wearing a tight-fitting leather jacket. She's sitting alone at a bar, smoking a cigarette. You might wonder how such a gorgeous creature could possibly be alone. If you were to approach her, you would probably discover that there is a very good reason for her solitude.

Carolyn Murphy in Liberty Heights. Can't you just feel the crazy?

Disclaimer: I have sampled Black at Sephora and MV3 at Nordstrom.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sexy Times, Part 1: Prada Eau de Parfum

Queridos, I have an unfortunate and debilitating condition. I will tell you about it if you promise not to laugh. My driver's license says that I am 4'11". The reality is even a smidgen shorter. My height prevents me from competing on my favorite TV show of all time, America's Next Top Model (the minimum height requirement is 5'7"). It prevents me from seeing over the steering wheel when I drive (mostly kidding, but you actually should really try to avoid driving behind me).

When you're 4'11", the whole world is a "You must be this tall to ride" sign.

Most of all, my midgetdom places me firmly in the "cute" category. This issue is compounded by the fact that I also look a good three or four years younger than my age (18). Words like "sexy" or "seductive" will never, ever be used to describe me. Do not pass "hot", do not collect $2,000. I try to compensate for this aspect of being vertically challenged by wearing perfumes with blatantly obvious, impossible-to-miss sex appeal. I need my perfume to say, "It's okay to be attracted to me! I am above the legal age of consent in all 50 states!"

You may be surprised, but "sexy" perfumes are actually becoming increasingly rare in today's perfume market. The 1980's were all about strong, powerful perfumes. They had presence and sex appeal to spare, but they were also so overwhelming that many were banned in workplaces, restaurants and other public places. Opium. Obsession. Giorgio. The 1990's saw a backlash against these types of perfumes. Women wanted perfumes that smelled fresh, clean, and above all soft. The unisex, citrusy CK One is an enduring example of this genre. Today, in 2010, the "clean" trend remains dominant (although it has some competition from the "overly sweet" trend exemplified by Pink Sugar). The exceedingly airy Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue has been a topseller for 8 years. Unfortunately, too often "clean" becomes "nondescript". These perfumes certainly have less potential to be offensive than those monsters of the '80s, but they also have a great deal less personality.

For the next few blog posts, I plan to focus on the few contemporary sexy scents that have survived despite the public demand for something fresher and lighter. My personal favorite in this category is a perfume that never got the memo that the '80s are over: Prada. Prada was created in 2004 by Carlos Benaim and Max Gavary. Like Thierry Mugler's Angel, Prada features a very prominent patchouli note. Unlike Angel, however, Prada actually smells good. The patchouli combines with labdanum (a woody, ambery scent) and benzoin (a note that smells like powdery vanilla) to create an utterly intoxicating perfume. It smells delicious, without crossing the line into edible or over-sugared. Prada seems darker and more complex than it actually is (it's essentially a woody vanilla), forever hinting at new layers that are about to be unveiled.

Prada's sex appeal is not of the coy, flirtatious Marilyn Monroe variety. As evidenced by the knowing gaze of model Daria Werbowy in the ad, Prada knows exactly what it's doing. It's more of a seductress than a flirt, more vampy than wholesome. Prada smirks more than it smiles. If Prada were a person, it would doubtless be Angelina Jolie. Prada and Ms. Jolie are two unconventional beauties who share a hypnotic, slightly dangerous quality. Maybe you've been wearing your favorite perfume for years, but Prada will tempt you away faster than you can say "Mr. and Mrs. Smith". By the vanilla-heavy drydown, Prada becomes soft and comforting, reminiscent of Angelina's transition from bad-girl to her current Mother Earth phase.

Disclosure: I own a ginormous bottle of Prada because I never want to be without it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Beyonce Heat

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am in a long-standing, committed relationship with Beyonce Knowles. I am probably one of three people on the planet (me, my best friend J, and I am generously assuming that there is at least one other person) who owns "Austin Powers 3: Goldmember", in which Beyonce played "Foxxy Cleopatra". That movie actually came out on my birthday, because Beyonce is very thoughtful that way. Also, I love that she appears to be wearing Princess Leah's gold bikini for the duration of the movie.

I'm Foxxy Cleopatra, and I'm a whoooole lot of woman!

How do I love thee, B? The woman is insanely beautiful, and even more insanely talented. No contemporary singer can touch Beyonce vocally. Me, J and Michelle Obama (we went in separate cars, but still) went to a Beyonce concert this summer, and I have honestly never heard such a beautiful voice in my life. Her acting skills have also come a long way since Goldmember. People seem to have mixed views on "Dreamgirls"; I think that she was incredible. Beyonce is currently aspiring to add "perfumer" to her very long list of talents, with her new perfume "Heat". I picked up a sample at Macy's, and I have a few thoughts, the first being "I do not want to be packing this particular Heat" and the second "Keep your day job, honey."

First off, the ad is laughably bad. The catchphrase, "Catch the Fever", makes it sound like some sort of STD or possibly swine flu. Also, it is beyond me how they were able to make such a gorgeous woman look so freaking terrible. I think it may have something to do with that satin... thing she's wearing. Beyonce, please tell me this is not what you meant by your "Freakum Dress". Get this girl some Armani couture!

See? Much better!

"Heat" is a yawn-inducingly generic combination of very sweet fruity notes (in this case, peach) with an amber-lite drydown. It is very reminiscent of the limited-edition fragrances that Escada puts out each year (Rockin' Rio, Pacific Paradise, etc.). Heat is in no way unpleasant, but it is far from worthy of the Queen B. Heat is more of a Ciara than a Beyonce (Ciara being a similarly gorgeous R&B singer with a far weaker voice). I think it's telling that Beyonce has often told interviewers, "I don't wear perfume." B, you know I'm very committed to our relationship, but I must tell you that perhaps someone who doesn't wear perfume should not be designing it. Quite frankly, no perfume might be better than this.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Quick Post

I have longer, more exciting things that I plan to post tomorrow, but I just wanted to mention that I actually did smell the new Kim Kardashian perfume. It smells like honeysuckle and was very pleasant. Buy "Wild Honeysuckle" from Bath and Body Works for $5 instead.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Golden Globes Beauty/Why Kate Hudson Needs To Stop

In my heart, I have always believed that the Golden Globes are completely superfluous. I mean, we already have the Oscars, you know? But I will not let my personal beliefs stand in the way of reviewing the looks from last night, dear readers. I would never do that to you.

First up is Christina Aguilera. Now, I do feel that the liner on her lower lashline is too thick. But OH MY GOD is this a massive improvement. Y'all, remember the Stripped days? Some of Christina's best music ("Beautiful", "Dirrty") was on the Stripped album, but she was also going through that really weird phase where she talked a lot about how she had been abused by her father, and it was really clear that underneath her insanely over-the-top sexuality were some pretty intense daddy issues, and that was sort of uncomfortable for everyone involved. Also, she dressed like she worked at a strip club that was located in a dumpster.
The skankiness of Stripped-era Christina was such that Snooki, the impossibly trashy-yet-delightful midget from Jersey Shore, is often compared to her.
So while her makeup may not have been perfect at the Globes, I think that we can all agree that Christina is Most Improved 2010.

Next is Lindsay Lohan. I am not ashamed to admit my feelings for Lohan. I have loved her ever since Parent Trap. I loved her in that movie where Tyra Banks was a Barbie doll. When everyone said that she was a cokehead, I supported her. When she decided she was kind-of-but-not-really a lesbian, I supported her. Lindsay has rewarded my unflagging support by dying her gorgeous red hair a horrific shade of blonde, refusing to appear in an actual good movie, and generally acting a fool. It's common knowledge that Marilyn Monroe is Lindsay's biggest role model, but I think that she emulates Marilyn for the wrong reasons (the drama, the drugs). That being said, it is very nice to see her out and about A) wearing a dress that fully covers her breasts, B) seemingly drug-free, C) smiling! and D) actually looking quite cute. Now just dye your hair back and we're in business.

Halle Berry looks like her usual fabulous self. The woman simply does not age. Her eye makeup is a bit dark for my tastes.

Actress and comedian Mo'nique. Disclaimer: I have not seen Precious, only the trailers. I have heard it is incredible and am dying to see it. Anyway, Mo'nique's makeup is a good example of how lovely neutral colors can look on black women.

Amy Poehler is my very favorite female comedian. I even like her better than I like Tina Fey, which is a lot. She looks just beautiful, but the pink lips are all wrong for a red dress. Learn from her mistake, queridos.

Jennifer Aniston, you are aging supremely well. No one can argue with your makeup, which is a textbook example of how navy eyeliner can look really lovely with blue eyes. I do, however, take issue with your hair. It is messy. I understand that you have been unemployed ever since Friends ended, and that might be kind of depressing, but you are still richer than I will ever be so cheer up and brush your damn hair.

Zoe Saldana here played Uhura in the new Star Trek movie, which I have seen no less than 6 times because it is fantastic. My one complaint is that in this new version, Uhura is all into Spock, which is ridiculous because everyone knows that she confessed her feelings for Scotty in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. I have no such complaints about Zoe's makeup. She looks stunning, and I love those soft waves.

Calista Flockhart, Han Solo/Indiana Jones is holding your umbrella. He also appears to have his ear pierced, which is nothing short of awesome. Would it kill you to smile? I also think that you could have benefitted from some lipstick.

Every awards show, without fail, Heidi Klum wears an eyeshadow color that I think is too light and frosty for her skin tone. This time it's not as bad as years past, and besides, she always looks so happy and smiley, unlike someone we know (AHEM, Calista Flockhart).

Okay, Kate Hudson. Your makeup is essentially fine, although your lipstick is too frosty and your forehead is a shade too orange. Your hair is also a bit brassy. HOWEVER. Your attitude is hideous. Your overly smug facial expression in this picture is what is commonly referred to as "bitchface". It is all too obvious that you think that you're the hottest thing in town. I have news for you, Kate Hudson. You are a cute girl, but you are a mediocre actress and there is no way in hell that you would be in any way famous if your mother wasn't Goldie Hawn. You were by far the weakest link in the movie Nine. When Fergie, who isn't even an actress, shows you up, it is probably time to go home.

Speaking of Fergie-Ferg, I can no longer hold my silence. Fergie looked very, very pretty last night. I never noticed how blue her eyes are; the gorgeous color of her dress really made them pop. But did she look happy? Far from it. Homegirl looked MISERABLE, not to mention way too skinny. Also, please observe this picture of her and her cheating scumbag of a husband.
I'm sorry, but if that's not a fake smile I don't know what is. You are better than this, Fergie. You are famous for such musical masterpieces as "Where Is The Love", "Boom Boom Pow", "Let's Get It Started", "Pump It", "My Humps", and of course, "Fergalicious". It actually blows my mind how many hits you have had. He is famous for "Win a Date with Todd Hamilton!" LEAVE HIS SORRY ASS.

You're so right, Nicole Kidman. We should ALL be saluting, because your return to red hair is the best news I've heard in a long time. It looks absolutely stunning and so much more natural than that icky blonde. Can you please adopt Lindsay Lohan? I think you would be a great influence on her. Wouldn't that be great, you guys? Nicole would gently but firmly push Lindsay to hone her acting craft, and she would finally live up to the potential that we always knew she had, and maybe in a few years she could star in Moulin Rouge 2: Christian and Satine Totally Had A Love Child or something along those lines. Also, I love the color of your dress.

In my opinion, Marion Cotillard had the most daring makeup of the night. It's always a risk to focus more on the bottom lashline than the top. That soft blue eyeshadow is a very pretty color. Do I think that she would have looked even better if the top line had been equally thick? Yes, I do. But I cannot deny that she looks stunning and I applaud her for consistently taking risks in her makeup and fashion choices (although her fashion risk tonight was not quite as successful).

Again, I did not see Precious. But I have read several interviews of its star, Gabourey Sidibe, and I am astounded by her self-assurance and maturity. I was particularly delighted by this quote: "People trip over themselves to tell me I'm beautiful. It's cute. It's cute, but I'm not buying it. I'm beautiful now because you can buy a ticket to see me on a screen? I was beautiful before."* PREACH, Gabourey. She is indeed beautiful, which is why I was so frustrated when I saw this picture of her. In no way does this dress do her justice. It reminds me of a Project Runway challenge where the designers had to dress ordinary women, and the whining was ENDLESS. Designers, if you don't know how to design well for women over size zero, you are probably not a very good designer.

Julianne Moore, I love it when you wear emeralds. Maybe some lipstick next time?

I'm gonna go ahead and say it: Olivia Wilde had the best makeup of the night. She looks incredibly sexy without a hint of sleaze. Fantastic eyeliner, great choice of lipcolor. Now if only I knew who she was.

Finally, I have compiled the pictures of all of the celebrities (Mariah Carey, Penelope Cruz, Leona Lewis) who might have looked fine if they hadn't tanned themselves to a color that I believe Crayola calls "burnt sienna". Queridos, I appreciate that these women are fake-tanning rather than actually tanning. Sun damage is the single greatest cause of damage to skin. I wear sunscreen every single day and I encourage all of you to do the same. But until fake-tanning technology has developed to the extent that the orange color is no longer an issue, just say no, queridos.
* Gabourey Sidibe quote is from
All photos are from

Sunday, January 17, 2010

D&G Fragrance Anthology

Queridos, let us have a moment of silence for my friend M's makeup, which suffered a terrible death the other day. I cannot tell you exactly what happened, but it involves a lacrosse player who was apparently never properly potty-trained. Needless to say, the makeup could not be salvaged. So yesterday I accompanied M to Sephora to replace her makeup, and while I was there I used my Beauty Insider status to score samples of the new Dolce & Gabbana "Fragrance Anthology". These are five new fragrances that the dashing Dolce and Gabbana say are inspired by various tarot cards. I've been fairly excited about these, mostly because the advertisements feature Naomi Campbell and as far as I am concerned that woman can do no wrong. Seriously, she could throw her cell phone straight into my head and all I would notice is how graceful her arm movements are.

The Dolce & Gabbana brand is responsible for one of the best selling fragrances of all time, Light Blue, which came out in 2001 and remains Sephora's second bestseller nine years later. With its airy "granny smith apple" note, Light Blue is the great-grandmother of the hundreds of "fresh" women's fragrances that grace department store counters today. I regret to inform you, dear readers, that in terms of appeal (and probably success, but time will tell), there is nary a Light Blue to be found among these five new fragrances.

1 Le Bateleur
The D&G website states that Le Bateleur is intended for "a man who gets what he wants." If what this man wants is to smell like slightly spicy cardboard, then I must agree. Le Bateleur opens with some very generic aquatic notes coupled with standard woodiness stemming from cedarwood. Even the website doesn't attempt to identify those top notes, simply referring to them as "an aquatic heart." This lasts for about three minutes before breaking down into straight-up cardboard. Oh, I should mention that this fragrance is also intended for an "accomplished Mediterranean seducer." In my humble opinion, it has more in common with "The Situation", one of the Italian-American "guidos" on MTV's Jersey Shore. Despite the testosterone radiating from his fake-tanned, over-gelled body, The Situation has yet to achieve anything even vaguely resembling success with a woman.

I don't think you were quite what D&G was going for, Situation.

3 L'Imperatrice
D&G tells us that "for L'Imperatrice, life is a movie and she is its heroine." From this description you imagine an Old Hollywood style perfume, something with personality. L'Imperatrice is very pleasant, probably the most enjoyable of the five, but to declare it full of personality would be a stretch. It has a bit of a SweetTart vibe, with a watermelon note providing the sweetness and a kiwi note the tartness. A very nice fruity fragrance (the kiwi note was quite realistic), but still not quite of the caliber I would have expected from Dolce and Gabbana. L'Imperatrice would not be out of place in, for example, the Harajuku Lovers line.

6 L'Amoureux
L'Amoureux supposedly possesses the power to "[melt] the most cynical of hearts." Just off the top of my head, I'm pretty sure I can think of at least one cynical heart that failed to melt. Citrusy at the beginning with bergamot, generic "pink pepper" spiciness- not a terrible start. However, this fragrance soon becomes quite a bit sweeter than a men's fragrance has any right to be. You know, the guys really got the short end of the stick with this whole Fragrance Anthology thing. None of these fragrances seem to have been all that well thought out, but the two men's fragrances are particularly weak.

10 La Roue de la Fortune
Juicy Couture, is your legal team ready? I cannot think of a single valid reason that Juicy should not sue over "La Roue de la Fortune", which is a shameless clone of all three of Juicy's women's fragrances. La Roue de la Fortune begins its life as Couture Couture, the newest Juicy fragrance. This means that it smells like white grape juice. Suddenly the tuberose-and-patchouli combination rears its head, and at this point it is absolutely indistinguishable from the original Juicy Couture. Eventually it settles down into Viva La Juicy, which I have always found to be much too sweet. Of the five fragrances, La Roue de la Fortune undoubtedly has the most personality. It is also a total copycat and is so unbearably sweet that it somehow feels less elegant than the Juicy fragrances it emulates. The Juicy bottles are also much cuter, so I recommend buying the real thing.

18 La Lune
La Lune is far from the "perfect enigma" D&G would like you to believe it is. In fact, it is simply another copycat. After the pretty lily topnotes fade away after about five minutes, the tuberose note in La Lune makes it eerily similar to Velvet Tuberose, a fragrance from Bath and Body Works. This is not good news for D&G, but if you like La Lune, it's good news for you! Velvet Tuberose is all of $5.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Classic, hilarious Hillary:

2008 was a difficult year for me, queridos. While I now sing the praises of President Obama and his lovely family, during the primaries I was ferociously pro-Hillary. Of course I was disappointed when it became clear that we would not have a female president, but these days I think that the role of Madame Secretary suits her even better. Fun fact: Hillary was confirmed in February of 2009. By October, she had already visited over 30 countries as secretary of state*. Condoleezza Rice visited 83 over her entire career**.

But anyway, every morning of 2008 I would walk into my very liberal Jewish high school and be taunted with "Obama won [insert state here]!", and eventually, "Why doesn't she just drop out now?" I would defend her honor as best I could, then curl up in my various Clinton 2008 apparel and tell myself that they just didn't know Hillary like I did.

Hillary, your true colors are beautiful, like a raiiiinbow

Back in 2008 I was often told that Hillary was "manipulative", "scheming", "a frigid bitch", etc. When people first said these kinds of things to me I was nothing short of shocked. It had honestly never occurred to me that there could be people who did not like Hillary Clinton. I had always found her so delightful, this passionate, devastatingly intelligent force of nature. In the fantastic movie Dogma, The Metatron (God's messenger) describes God as "lonely, but funny!" I have always thought that this description fit Hillary peculiarly well.

Hillary is known to wear Thierry Mugler Angel, created in 1992 by Oliver Cresp. To understand why this is hilarious, you need to know a little bit about Angel. Angel was the very first modern gourmand, a fragrance category describing perfumes that smell edible (and by "edible", I mean that gourmands smell like a dessert, not like a steak). It was monstrously successful, and there is a very good reason that I use the word "monstrous". Angel is scary. It smells like a giant fell into a vat of patchouli, then ate an entire Godiva store. It goes through a very brief apricot phase before settling down into cotton candy. If I have not made it clear enough, Angel is teeth-destroyingly sweet and WMD-levels of strong. No need to worry about North Korea, you guys! Just make sure they know how many bottles of Angel we have here in the US. They wouldn't dare try anything.

Angel is absolutely perfect for Hillary in two ways. First, while Angel may be sweet, it is also a very, very powerful fragrance, spectacularly ballsy. I imagine that Angel's cojones appeal to Hillary, as her own (metaphorical) set is much bigger than most mens'. Second, people often forget that Hillary has a very, very good sense of humor. Angel is the olfactory equivalent of her famous cackle. As deliciously trashy as an episode of America's Next Top Model, so sugary (some would say sickeningly) sweet that Thierry Mugler once declared it should inspire one to "devour the person you love"***, Angel is about as far from Hillary's "frigid bitch" public persona as possible. Can you really imagine Hillary, in her full headband-and-pantsuit glory, smelling like cotton candy? It's as incongruous as Marilyn Monroe wearing the somewhat frumpy Chanel No 5, and just as genius.

Disclaimer: I received a humongous sample of Angel by asking the lady at Nordstrom to give me one. I will never, ever, ever need this much Angel in my life.

*** "Pretty: The Nylon Book of Beauty"

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Perfume of Feminists

Hola, queridos! The other day I braved the Baltimore Sephora just to test new perfumes for you. You guys, the Baltimore Sephora is a very scary place. The saleswomen are mad grumpy and very unknowledgeable and they get even grumpier when it becomes clear that you know more about their products than they do. Then they glare at you like they JUST KNOW that you are about to steal their precious perfume about which they are completely unknowledgeable. Sephora in general seems to be having some problems with people stealing perfume, as all of the perfume is now kept behind plastic boxes, but come on, lady. Am I really going to risk some jail time for a bottle of Paris Hilton's finest?

The answer is no, Baltimore Sephora lady. The answer is no.

Anyway, so while I was at the Baltimore Sephora, I was looking mostly at the new releases. Marc Jacobs Lola? ADORABLE bottle, but the perfume itself was completely unimpressive. The new Ed Hardy perfume? Finally, I can achieve my long-cherished dream of smelling like Jon Gosselin.

Eau de I hope you can afford the therapy costs for eight children.

And then there was the new Kim Kardashian perfume. Y'all, I am ashamed to tell you that I actually could not bring myself to smell this. Does everyone here understand why Kim Kardashian is famous? I will tell you.

Kim Kardashian is famous for three things. The first is for being the daughter of attorney Robert Kardashian, the man who got O.J. Simpson off the hook for (I have been advised to add the word ALLEGEDLY here) killing his wife and her alleged boyfriend. O.J. Simpson is HER GODFATHER, you guys. The second is for having a sex tape. The third is for being bootylicious. Perhaps I have not made this particularly clear, but I am very much a rabid feminist. As in, you will contract rabies if I bite you. I went to two Hillary rallies while she was still in the running, and I have very, very strong opinions on why women such as Kim Kardashian and Jessica Simpson- two very pretty and entertaining women who have more in the way of boobs than brain cells- are destroying feminism. Yeah, I said it.


Ladies, you do not need to be a porn star. You do not need to have a sex tape. You do not need to play dumb. The kind of men that you attract with this behavior are not the kind that you should want. Are Kim Kardashian and Jessica Simpson happily married? Far from it, and by the way, both women turn 30 this year. Not a week goes by that the tabloids don't cheerfully report on how Jessica just got dumped by John Mayer or Tony Romo or some other nogoodnik. You guys. We have J. Lo, Beyonce, and that stripper chick that Kanye West insists on dating to satisfy our national appetite for bootyliciousness. We do not need Kim Kardashian. Let her go.

Much like Cinnabons and Indiana Jones, the original is still the best.

The point to what seems to have turned into a very long rant is that I tested many new perfumes at the Baltimore Sephora and was unimpressed by the vast majority of them. However, exactly one new perfume line did stand out to me. They're actually not exactly new, having been out for two years or so, but just go with it. I'm referring to the Harajuku Lovers line, 5 perfumes created by Gwen Stefani. Now, I am very much down with Gwen. Anyone who sings a cover of "If I Were A Rich Man" from Fiddler on the Roof is pretty much my hero. I also think that Gwen is a far better role model for girls than the women I mentioned above. She writes fantastic music (including the girl power anthem, "Just A Girl"), shows off her great style rather than her sexuality, got married BEFORE having kids, and has an adorable and highly successful clothing/accessories/perfume line. Are you taking notes, Kardashian?

From the "Rich Girl" music video. Because if Gwen Stefani were a rich girl, she would be a pirate. I think that we can all agree that is awesome.

Now, onto the perfumes themselves. I did try all five, and I am very happy to review them all at some point, but frankly this review has become considerably longer than I had intended. For this reason, I will only discuss the best one, which is called "G" and is meant to represent Ms. Stefani herself. First of all, the bottle is the cutest thing that I have ever seen in my life. Words cannot do it justice: you'll just have to see the picture.

See? See? So freaking cute! The other four perfumes are housed in equally cute bottles, but G is the only one of the five where what's inside the bottle is anywhere near as nice as the outside. G is a very, very enjoyable combination of coconut and apple skin. There are other notes (mandarin orange, freesia, sandalwood) but those are the only two that I can smell. The apple skin note is unexpected and adds a lovely freshness to the very milky-smelling coconut. G is pretty much the opposite of sophisticated, but it smells great and would be perfect for lying on the beach in the summertime.

Now, about the pricing. G is currently only available in 1 ounce bottles that cost $45. To put this in perspective, 1.2 ounces of Chanel No. 5 costs $50. $45 is quite unreasonable for a simple little perfume like G. HOWEVER. Every winter and summer, the very wise Ms. Stefani repackages these perfumes in the appropriate seasonal apparel (bikinis for the summer, big jackets for the winter... and you thought those bottles couldn't get any cuter!) and sells them in 10 ml bottles (one third of an ounce). Since G is best suited to warmer weather anyway, I recommend holding off until the summer.

Do you see those flowers in her hair??? I can't handle the cuteness!