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The Body Shop Eau de Toilettes: Cheap & Cheerful
Cheap Thrills, Perfume, Reviews - Comments (4) - September 1st, 2013

The Body Shop is often my go-to place for fun smelling stuff that is a step up in quality from drugstore, but not too pricey. They started carrying eau de toilettes in fragrances that matched their ever-popular body butters, like Moringa, Brazil Nut, Strawberry, etc. At only $14 each, they’re a fun, cheap thrill to wear simple, yet pleasant scents.

I recently snagged Brazil Nut and Mango, two of my favorite body butter scents. The Brazil Nut EDT smells like waffle cones! It’s a yummy, gourmand scent. The lasting power isn’t great (about 2 hours at most) but that’s about what I’d expect for under twenty bucks. It lasts a little longer on clothing.

The Mango EDT is tangy and fruity and fresh, almost a bit pine-y, just like a real mango. It also is light on the lasting power.

Overall, I think these are a fun addition to The Body Shop’s fragrance lineup. I suspect they would last longer if you layered them over the body butters.

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Carthusia 1681 Eau de Parfum Review
Perfume, Reviews, Splurge Worthy - Be the first to comment! - June 26th, 2013

Oh man. Another perfume that makes me SWOON. I have a serious THING for warm, woody fragrances, and I’ve met a new favorite. It’s Carthusia 1681 Eau de Parfum, and I’m in love.

Carthusia is a perfume house from Italy – specifically, Capri. All of their perfumes are inspired by the landscape and history of Capri. 1681 in particular is a unisex scent (leaning masculine, however) inspired by the historical herbs and spices used by the Carthusian monks to make scented waters. The notes include tangerine, bergamot, coriander, thyme, rosemary, iris, neroli, lavender, petitgrain, black pepper, sandalwood, cedarwood, frankincense, ambergris, vanilla, and musk.

I really wish I had better skills for describing fragrances, especially ones that are as complex as this one. It opens with the sparkling tangerine and citrus notes, which quickly give way to the spicy bite of black pepper. The iris and lavender give it a very velvety feel. The cedar and incense provides a wonderful base, and linger the longest, along with the black pepper. This is a woodsy fragrance that actually reminds me of being in the woods.

My husband actually smelled this first, in the little perfume shop we were visiting, and drew my attention to it. It was love at first sniff. This really is quite a masculine scent (by American standards) but women can wear it too. It smells DEAD SEXY on my husband, and he likes it on me too. We sprung for the big bottle since we both wear it.

This is such a beautiful scent. I highly recommend it, despite it being so pricey!

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You Smell Good: Lavanila Fresh Lemon Vanilla Perfume Review
Earth Friendly, Perfume, Reviews - Be the first to comment! - June 1st, 2013

Lavanila’s newest fragrance is Fresh Lemon Vanilla, and it’s pretty much the bomb, yo. I bought the rollerball on a recent Sephora trip, and have been wearing it almost non-stop since then. Citrus scents are so great in the summer, since they’re light and fresh.

It’s described as a bright, juicy lemon, with lush watery fruits (huh?), fresh bamboo and pure Madagascar vanilla. I dunno about the lush watery fruits, but it definitely smells lemon-y and vanilla-y. It’s fresh and warm at the same time, but doesn’t smell particularly food-y. It’s not a dessert lemon scent at all. The wear time is not the longest, as to be expected for a perfume that doesn’t contain a lot of synthetics. The lemon burns off after about an hour, and the vanilla lasts for an hour or two after that.

I really like the rollerball format because it’s convenient for touching up the scent, since it doesn’t have the longest lasting power. It’s also pretty affordable, at $19 for 0.32 oz. The larger size is a better value, but I like the portability of the rollerball.

Fresh Lemon Vanilla also comes in a stick deodorant. I love Lavanila’s stick deodorant formula, but it’s soooo pricey. If I get a super-awesome job, I’d consider splurging for it, though.

Overall, if you like citrus scents and vanilla, I recommend checking out Lavanila’s Fresh Vanilla Lemon perfume. It’s perfect for summer!

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Forever Red Exclusively at Bath & Body Works Review
Perfume, Reviews - Comments (1) - December 21st, 2012

Bath & Body Works really hyped up the launch of their Eau de Parfum Forever Red. In the past, they’ve done a lot of body mists, etc., but apparently this is their first “luxury” perfume. Influenster included a 0.25 fl. oz mini bottle in the Cosmo Vox Box, so I get to check it out!

The perfume is sweet. Really, really, sweet. It’s got notes of pomegranate, peach, apple, red peony, night marigold, red osmanthus, vanilla rum, marshmallow, and oak wood. It’s also quite fruity in the opening, and a bit boozy in the drydown. I like it, but it’s certainly not unique or special. It reminds me of a host of other perfumes in the genre, like Britney Spears Fantasy or Taylor Swift Wonderstruck. Honestly, both of those perfumes do the fruity-sweet thing better than Forever Red, in my opinion, and I’ll stick with them. I’m having a hard time really differentiating this scent from some of Bath & Body Works’ others, like Be Enchanted (which I actually like, especially the shower gel) and Paris Amour (and their bottles are WAAAY CUTER). They just smell really similar to me, so I have a hard time fingering Forever Red as the “luxury” scent. At the ripe old age of 33, however, I am probably not the target market for this perfume, and I’m guessing there are plenty of teen to twenty-something gals who will really love it.

The price point ($44.50 for a 2.5 fl. oz. bottle) is in line with department store perfume prices. (That’s cheaper than Wonderstruck, for example.) There are matching body products, if layering is your thing. For comparison purposes, I did spray one of Bath & Body Works’ eau de toilette’s on one wrist and Forever Red (an eau de parfum) on the other, and Forever Red did last longer – as it should, since it’s an EDP.

So. Would I splurge on a full-size Forever Red? Nope, it’s not for me. But reviewing this scent did get me in a Bath & Body Works store, where I was reasonably impressed to see that they are offering EDT versions of their scents – and I would consider picking up one of those, they’re a good value.

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Ineke Floral Curiousities Sweet William Perfume (WANT.)
Perfume, Reviews - Be the first to comment! - November 12th, 2012

I don’t usually review things which I’ve only smelled in a shop, and haven’t actually purchased. There’s always a first time though. I was recently in Anthropologie, and happened to sniff these perfumes from Ineke, a themed collection called Floral Curiousities. There were four fragrances, and the only one which grabbed me was the one called Sweet William. Because the travel spray is a relatively good value, and the packaging is so cute, I decided to share it with you. (I may yet go back and buy it!)

Ineke is a niche perfume company from California. I’ve been curious about their perfumes for a while, since I see them mentioned frequently as an interesting niche company. The Floral Curiousities series was a collaboration with Anthropologie, to create four fragrances based on flowers. Besides Sweet William, there is a jasmine one, a larkspur one, and angel’s trumpet. The others didn’t do much for me – in general I find floral fragrances too synthetic for my taste, with the exception of the occasional tuberose or gardenia or lily scent.

Sweet William, however, caught my nose and was worthy of a spray on skin. It’s a clove-y scent, not unlike carnation, with notes of patchouli, cedarwood and sandalwood, brightened with peach notes and bourbon vanilla. LOVE. It’s classified as a woodsy scent, which is accurate enough. The patchouli is NOT strong, and in fact I couldn’t pick it out of the blend. Mostly, it’s a clove-y peachy kind of thing with a nice woodsy base. I really, really like it.

The packaging for the travel sizes is super-cute. They come in these boxes shaped like books, it’s really clever. The price is 0.5 oz for $28, which is pretty reasonable for a quality perfume. You can only find them at Anthropologie stores or at Anthropologie.com. I wannit.

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Etat Libre D’Orange Rien Perfume Not A Review
Best Of, Perfume, Reviews - Comments (1) - October 21st, 2012

Back in August, I impulse bought this perfume, Etat Libre D’Orange’s Rien. Etat Libre D’Orange is small French perfume house. I’ve been aware of the brand for several years, but hadn’t had an opportunity to smell any of the fragrances due to their relative obscurity. On a visit to Blush Beauty Bar, a local boutique, I discovered that they are carrying a small selection of the Etat fragrances. SO EXCITING.

So, a perfume called Rien. In case you are not up on your French, rien means nothing. And boy, did I get the joke when I sprayed this the first time. Here I am, picking up the bottle, and expecting a light, soft, airy type of fragrance. HA! It’s almost like buzzers went off and a man in a suit with a microphone leaped out to point and laugh at my gullibility. I knew already that Etat Libre D’Orange has a reputation for eccentricity and irony with their perfumes. I obviously should have known better then to think that Rien would be anything but big, bold, and voluptuous.

Rien has notes of aldehydes, rose, cumin, black pepper, patchouli, iris, leather, oakmoss, amber, labdanum, incense, and styrax. Other reviewers will tell you that it is a throwback to a different era, when perfumes were big, and bold, and voluptuous. You can also read an interesting interview from the perfumer who created it. It’s interesting, because after reading this interview, I definitely get what he’s saying. Previously, I wasn’t able to pick up on the aldehydes of Chanel No. 5 (another perfume I own) until I smelled this and had my a ha! moment when I could smell that lift that rises up when you first spray both of these perfumes. Now I can also pick up aldehydes in other scents I own.

I smelled all of the Etat Libre D’Orange Perfumes that Blush Beauty Bar had, and first decided to buy samples of three of them – Rien, Like This, and Charogne. I sniffed Rien again, and again, and sprayed a little on my hand, and walked off down the street to get a cup of coffee and a scone. And by the time I had finished my coffee and scone, I knew I had to go back and get the bottle of Rien. Such an impulse buy, but I kept feeling that shock, that blast of OH HEY I’M A BIG, BOLD PERFUME, which was by this time drying down to something warm, and extremely sexy on my skin. I had to have it, because it was so unique and unlike anything else I own.

If Balenciaga Paris is a lady in a sweater set and pearls, Rien is what happens when she takes a lover. It’s pretty much sex in a bottle, in my opinion, but in a super-classy, elegant way. I adore the dry down, which takes on a scent like warm skin, but magnified. It’s got a cozy, cashmere blanket kind of feel to it. This stuff has crazy sillage when sprayed from the bottle. This bottle is going to last me A LONG TIME.

If Rien is Nothing, this is Not a Review. *wink*

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More OHWTO Halloween Scents!
Perfume, Reviews - Comments (9) - October 10th, 2012

After last month’s epic One Hand Washes The Other Halloween smell-o-thon, I placed an order for a few more of the new scents. Let me tell you all about them!

Seance is described as having nutty bold-roast coffee, heavy oak furniture, carved sandalwood totems, dried herbs, neroli, vanilla’d figs, and a wreath of clary sage to ward off bad spirits. Lest you think this is a coffee smell, it’s not. On my skin, it becomes a warm floral scent, but rich and deep. When I think of this scent, the image that pops into my head is Miss Havisham and her mansion, a tragic yet romantic image. So, in my head I call this Miss Havisham. *grin*

Pumpkin Bread Pudding is OM NOM NOM, but don’t eat it! It’s got notes of bruleed pumpkin puree, buttermilk, cream, bourbon, bread, vanilla, honey, & pumpkin spice. It makes me crave pumpkin cream cheese muffins from Starbucks. The ultimate early fall gourmand smell!

Down a Dark Path is complex and interesting. It’s got notes of fresh figs, dried leaves, carnations, oakmoss, amber, sage, black pepper, pumpkin, vanilla, pomegranate, beeswax, rhubarb, lavender, and the scent of an unidentifiable animal stalking you in the shadows between the trees. It’s oh-so-spicy and herbal but also just a little bit gourmand. A dude could totally rock this smell.

County Fair is one of those, like Solanum, that I didn’t think I’d care for, but oh how wrong I was. It’s got notes of ripe peaches, Macintosh apples, pumpkin pie, mandarins, black currants, raw honey, plums, Bartlett pears, just-baled hay, orange blossom, and white amber. I thought “Fruit. Meh.” and didn’t order it, but Becca included a sample. OH DAMN. It’s like Autumn in a smell. I must have more.

Sticky Fingers is sweet. It might actually me too sweet for me (a rare thing indeed). It’s all creamy white chocolate, gooey marshmallow, a plump dollop of cream cheese frosting, tonka bean absolute, and warmed coconut milk. I think I want it in a soy wax tart for a house smell, rather than a put it on my skin smell. I love it, but it gets really really sweet on my skin.

And thus concludes my most recent Halloween smell haul from One Hand Washes The Other.

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Darling Clandestine Bitsy Vials Are Awesome
Etsy, Perfume, Reviews - Comments (5) - August 25th, 2012

I recently placed an order for five “bitsy” vials from Darling Clandestine, and of course, they are all so fabulous. It was quite hard to choose only five new fragrances to try, but in the end I picked the ones I was most curious about. They are all quite amazing!

First, Summer’s Cauldron.

Drowning here in Summer’s Cauldron
Under mats of flower lava
Please don’t pull me out this is how I would want to go

Summer’s Cauldron includes notes of incense, opium, bourbon and roses, orange and spice. It’s intense! I like this one a lot because the notes rise up and sing individually, while still combining to form a complex perfume. I’ll get a waft of orange, and then a waft of rose, but also the base notes will swirl around with the spice notes. It’s dark and mysterious and fun.

Next, Circassian.

In the 1860s the showman P. T. Barnum exhibited women whom he claimed were Circassian beauties. They wore a distinctive Afro-like hair style, which had no precedent in earlier portrayals of Circassians, but which was soon copied by other female performers, who became known as “moss haired girls.” These were typically presented as victims of sexual enslavement among the Turks, who had escaped from the harem to achieve freedom in America.

A friend of mine described Circassian as “coffee sex.” YES. YES IT IS. Circassian is a warm chocolaty fragrance with intriguing notes of black coffee and amber and blossoms. It is the perfect mocha smell. I want to bathe in it. I LOVE coffee and chocolate. MMMMMMM.

I also chose Vardogr.

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.
— Ezra Pound

Vardogr is a dark, damp, herbal fragrance. It’s made with pure essential German chamomile, bitter black coffee, hazy Indian musks, sharp herbs and a whip of leather. It’s kind of like …drinking coffee while sitting in a old-growth forest, during a rainstorm. Is it complex and interesting? Yes! The coffee note is amplified on my skin, but the damp, forest-y bits swirl around underneath and keep it fresh. I am exceptionally pleased by Vardogr, and if you like coffee scents with a twist, you should try it too.

Tapadero was the fourth pick.

A cattle trail drunk and a hard road to travel,
That old Jack O’ Diamonds is a hard card to play.

Tapadero is, at its heart, about roses and sage. I happen to love roses, and I happen to love sage. The leathery bits and the earthy finish combine to make Tapadero a delightfully wonderful smell. If you like rose scents (that have more going on then just rose) you’ll want to try Tapadero. It’s a very romantic scent.

Last of all, Cloudswing.

They will see us waving from such great heights
‘come down now,’ they’ll say
But everything looks perfect from far away,
‘come down now,’ but we’ll stay…

Cloudswing is warm hay and vanilla and mowed clover and marigolds and intense lemongrass. This was the scent I was least sure about, because often marigold and lemongrass don’t float my boat. However, combine some vanilla with lemongrass and all of a sudden I’m in a swoon, so duh. Of course I love it.

I think Circassian will be my favorite going into fall, because of coffee and chocolate speak to me on cooler days. But really, I love all five of these scents. If you haven’t tried Darling Clandestine yet, you better get on that! It’s all soooo good.

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