Neighborhood: East Village
Type of Place: Perfume Bath & Body Gift Shops

"'Tis nobler to give than to receive," sure--but sometimes giving to one's self can be a noble gesture too. If you could use a little pick-me-up (or a calm-me-down, or a "Just make me smell delicious!"), Musu's got the goods--at prices reasonable enough that you can take something home for yourself as well as for a lucky friend on your list.

The shop's sweet, calming vibe is heightened by soft (but not cheesy) music and the wonderful scents of candles, soaps, and lotions. Among the yummiest: Skeem perfume ($23), in "Mmmmm!" fragrances like "lilac and dandelion" and "sweet pea and vanilla" ("vintage peony" is temporarily sold out but is on reorder); Voluspa room spray ($25) in Dahlia Orange Bloom (labeled as containing "23% white dahlia, 27% neroli orange blossom, 20% California tangerine rind, 30% Indonesian patchouli, and 100% love!"); Voluspa candles, $19 ("ebony and peach" is a standout); and Glowology soaps, balms, and lotions: made with a good percentage of organic ingredients, biodegradable, and sold in recycled or recyclable packaging. In addition to all that, the company's policy is to give a steady percentage of proceeds to charity.

Popular Archipelago products are now on sale, including "Grapefruit body butter" (was $34 now $17). And Erbaviva offers an intriguing natural-product line, including organic deodorant (from $7).

In unscented categories, there are cute "Pen Lady" pens, $10 (demure gals with black, blonde, or red hair; press their heads to write!); gorgeous cut-glass bangles in turquoise, white, brown, or green for $23 (slightly smaller versions in rose or amber for $21); and a lovely rose agate necklace, $45. There's also an assortment of cute and cozy hats, scarves, and gloves for now, and a good assortment of hairbands for later, when "hat hair" is a distant memory.

Come ready to give, receive, breathe in, and explore. Happy March!
  - Pam Grossman; March 15, 2009

305 East 9th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 673-5057