And the winner of the 21st Birthday Giveaway is…


Jenn! Yaaaaay! Jenn, please email me at with your mailing address so that I can send you your prize! Please note that I will not be sending it until next week, as my summer course finals are this week.

This also seems like a good time to remind anatu13 that she never sent me her mailing address for the Illuminium giveaway! Please do so, anatu13!

Thank you so much to everyone for entering and for sharing your 21st birthday stories!

The 21st Birthday Giveaway!

Yes, yes, there’s a giveaway. But first, I want to talk about what you have given me.

This is an unforgivably blurry picture of the perfumes that you have sent me in the last year. They have come in gloriously overstuffed packages from Australia, England, California, Tennessee. You didn’t want payment. You just wanted to share them with me. I have also received three handmade cat toys (long since lovingly destroyed by Zelda) and funding for a cat stroller.

I’m trying not to get my sap on, but this blog has honestly given me so much. You have made me stronger, happier, more sure of myself. Thank you so much for all of it.

So today is the actual date of my 21st birthday, and I have a rather exciting party favor for y’all! In keeping with the whole 21st theme, I will be giving away samples of 21 of my favorite fragrances. These include L’Artisan Safran Troublant, Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille, Etat Libre d’Orange Bijou Romantique, Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose, Ormonde Jayne Woman, Kai, Lolita Lempicka, L de Lolita Lempicka, Bond No. 9 New Haarlem, Guerlain L’Heure Bleue, Guerlain Après l’Ondée, Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Mokha, Jo Malone Black Vetyver Cafe, and eight others that I haven’t thought of yet because 21 is actually a pretty big number when you really think about it.

To be eligible for this giveaway, you must be an email subscriber or a Twitter follower. (Sorry, y’all, it’s my Blogging and Online Writing class homework!) If you are not already a subscriber or follower, please scroll down to the bottom of the blog and click either follow button. (Or maybe both?)

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment telling us how you celebrated your 21st birthday!

The giveaway will be open until 8 AM Monday morning. Good luck, y’all!

Coffee Perfumes and a Giveaway!

Baltimore has been in the throes of a city-wide Adderall shortage for several months now. No one seems to know how or why. I blame Woody Allen. This means that for the first time in five years, I am now without ADHD medication. This is bad news bears for someone whose unmedicated attention span and long-term memory would make a goldfish look like a goddamn Ent.

In the absence of Adderall, I have had to turn to some of my pre-medication ADHD coping mechanisms. These include, of course, coffee! Today I’ll be briefly reviewing five fragrances that claim to contain coffee notes. I will also be giving away a sample set of all five scents! To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment sharing your favorite coffee perfumes or your favorite perfumes that help you stay focused. This giveaway is open to anyone, regardless of location. I will close the giveaway on Monday, April 2nd.

Plume Perfume Coffee and Cedar

Coffee and Cedar is the richest, darkest coffee fragrance that I have ever had the pleasure of trying. There’s no misguided sweetness or extraneous notes here, just pure, true coffee. The warm cedar note is a natural match for the inherent woodiness of coffee beans. I would also like to point out that Plume Perfume founder Tara Aveilhe, who donated a bottle and solid perfume locket of Coffee and Cedar to the recent Smell Good Do Good fundraiser, is an utterly lovely person inside and outside.

But mostly outside. DAYUM, girl!

Jo Malone Black Vetyver Cafe

You know how some perfumes just seem made for relaxed, casual days spent in sweatpants and flip-flops? Black Vetyver Café is resolutely not one of those perfumes. Instead, Black Vetyver Café is the finishing touch to a suit of urban armor: severe black dress, fearfully high heels, slash of red lipstick. Rather than a typical warm gourmand, Black Vetyver Cafe’s vetiver note makes it a cool-toned coffee scent. This is a fiercely elegant perfume. Its one downfall is its truly inexcusable lasting power (we’re talking literally 20 minutes here), but it’s so good that I don’t even care.

Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Mokha

For the first thirty minutes, this perfume smells like the most delicious cup of freshly-brewed black coffee you’ve ever had in your life. After those thirty minutes, Vanille Mokha suffers the fate of all Comptoir Sud Pacifique fragrances: its fabulous top notes give way to a pleasant, standard vanilla note. That being said, those first thirty minutes are so utterly intoxicating that I own two backup bottles of this discontinued scent.

Bond No. 9 New Haarlem

It doesn’t smell like coffee, but it smells pretty great. Unlike more obvious gourmand scents, New Haarlem does not smell like any particular food. Instead, New Haarlem is a warm,  sparkling amber fragrance. I once read in an interview that Bond founder Laurice Rahme kept pushing perfumer Maurice Roucel to reduce the vanilla in this perfume. I don’t doubt it for a minute; New Haarlem is far less sweet than many of Roucel’s other creations. As a result, this fragrance is slightly too masculine for me, but I’d be the first one to tell you that New Haarlem is positively delectable.

Parfumerie Generale Coze

If there is coffee in here, I can’t smell it. What I do smell is some terribly dark wood and spices. For a perfume with a note list that alleges chocolate and vanilla pods, Coze is surprisingly devoid of sweetness. With its austere bitterness, Coze evokes coffee only in concept, not in actual smell. Perhaps if I had witnessed the dishy Parfumerie Generale founder Pierre Guillaume literally licking Coze, as did the London Perfume Lovers folks, I might be more convinced.

Rose Perfumes and Valentine’s Day Giveaway

Roses are red

Violets are blue

They are actually purple

Color blindness has a prevalence of 7-10% in the male population

Red roses! The perfect way to tell your significant other “I know very little about your individual preferences” this Valentine’s Day! If you learn only one thing from this blog, let it be this: DO NOT EVER GIVE ANYONE RED ROSES. EVER EVER EVER. (But please learn at least one other thing, which is to not wear Aquolina Pink Sugar in public.) Red roses are about as impersonal a gift as it is possible to get. As Blazing Saddles’ Lili Von Shtupp says, “Red roses. How ordinary.” AND LILI VON SHTUPP IS ALWAYS RIGHT.

Rose perfumes, however, are a perfectly acceptable Valentine’s Day gift. They are less cliché than rose bouquets, and infinitely less likely to wilt after a week. They are also less likely to be eaten by your cats (although not by much). So today I’ll be reviewing some rose fragrances and, as my Valentine’s Day gift to my beloved readers, will be giving away three 10 ml roll-on bottles of Stella McCartney Stella. These are the ones in the pretty purple glass. I bought these myself at an outlet; they were not provided to me by any company. This giveaway is open to anyone, regardless of location. The three winners will be chosen randomly using To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment telling us your favorite rose perfumes or your Valentine’s Day plans.

Stella McCartney Stella

Rose fragrances are typically lush, womanly affairs. Stella, however, is a stark, severe rose scent. Stella is a rather steely perfume that just barely manages to stay on the right side of sharp. I like to wear it on days when I need to intimidate people. Goes very well with tightly pulled-back hair and an all-black outfit.

Ormonde Jayne Ta’if

A darker, drier rose with saffron and an amber dry down. The good news about this one, at least for those of you who hate sweet perfumes, is that it is not in the least bit sweet. There’s no vanilla, just saffron, rose, and amber. The bad news is that Ta’if is somewhat heavy and dense. But it’s certainly worth a try for anyone who prefers an oriental rose to a floral rose.

Bulgari Rose Essentielle

A terribly sensual honeyed rose. This is somewhat similar to Chloé Love, Chloé, but the Bulgari is softer and more refined. Despite the girly pink bottle, Rose Essentielle is a classic and sophisticated perfume best suited to a full-grown woman.

Diptyque Eau Rose

Eau Rose is a vivid tea rose scent with flashes of leafy greenery. It is bright, lively, and a little loud. I am not much of a rose fragrance aficionado, so it is possible that Eau Rose is not particularly unique and I am getting too worked up over it. However, until someone tells me otherwise, I am very impressed with Eau Rose.

L’Artisan Parfumeur Safran Troublant

The perfumes that we love best are often the ones for which we have the fewest words. I only have one for Safran Troublant: sublime. Safran Troublant combines the richness of saffron with a rose note so radiantly pure and clear that I initially mistook it for some strange new citrus. The dry down is pure sandalwood. Safran Troublant is the most expensive perfume I have ever owned, but I feel that the price is fair because there is nothing else like it. It is rapturously beautiful.