Hey, Posse! No, Brown Girl Jane isn’t my (yet another name) for my late, beloved Girl. First off, she was blonde, not brown and second… no. What Brown Girl Jane is? Welp! It’s a new (or new to me) line of perfumes (and wellness products) that I stumbled upon while scrolling through Surrender to Chance‘s site. I’m always looking to support POC businesses, especially WOC, so JUMPED AWN IT! ordering samples of all 3 WANDERLUST series perfumes, each inspired by holiday destinations beloved by the BGJ founders.
Let’s stroll, shall we?
Lamu (Joy). Interestingly, of the three Lamu is the only one I’ve visited (and both visits were quick due to cholera outbreaks – it’s not far from Mombasa (on the Indian Ocean coast) and they were always having cholera outbreaks back when I was traveling to Kenya. Sigh. Anyhoo…It’s a charming island in the Kenya Archipelago, with heavily Moorish-influenced architecture and an otherworldly feel. Like Mackinac Island in the US, it is car-free, with foot travel and donkeys being the transportation of choice. It’s vaguely… salty? smelling (the place) and I totally understand how the perfumers came up with this scent – this is not a ‘suntan oil’ scent – it’s more coastal than beachy, (like that ambergris/Brittany Coast one I like for Autumn – Ambre Grisea) with a salty, floral (tiare-adjacent) vibe. I wasn’t at Lamu long enough to form a real opinion but I have spent time at Lake Nakuru (of the famous flamingos that line the shore) and Lamu brings back that smell – slightly vegetal, salty-warm (it is the Indian Ocean, after all), tropical florals.. with a hint of …dare I say ‘fishiness’ (but in a VERY good way) to it. It really does bring back fond memories and is very joyful. I’d described it as joyful before I went on the BGJ website and saw they’d given it that description as well. They are right. It’s sunny and joyful. I love it.
Bahia. (Peace) Meaning ‘bay’, Bahia is the name of a lot of bay-adjacent locales, the best known being State of Bahia in Brazil. Dunno about you but when I think of Brazil – anywhere in Brazil – I think suntan lotion. Blame it on Rio. But.. I mean, c’mon. SUNTAN LOTION! Glistening, near-perfect brown bodies. The sway, the sway. And guess what? They banged that right the hell OUT! in Bahia. For me, this is the one that is easiest to both wear and to parse. It’s Brazil in a bottle. Sexy. Relaxing. Nothing groundbreaking but, to be fair (h/t March) there’s a limit to what you can do with Suntan Lotion anymore. If you change it too much it stops being Suntan Lotion. And that would make me sad. I love that vibe so much that I am always up for another entry into the genre. This one is excellently done, with not one hint of greasiness – just the afterglow.
Casablanca (Love) – according to Fragrantica this was launched in 2022! So. Brand New!
The closest I’ve come to Casablanca is a late-night stopover in Marrakech but I’m getting a bit of that Atlantic Coast of Africa vibe from this perfume. It’s absolutely gorgeous – a bit more complex than the other two and more grounded on land, with a teeny hint of the gourmand about it, which I am assuming is the vanilla orchid and the cardamom. This is going to sound weird but what I love most about Africa (at least the places in which I’ve spent time) is its steadfast disinclination to view the USA as the epicenter of the Universe. No slam against my home country but when I am traveling outside the US for pleasure I like to see places that are not USA-centric. Africa and the Middle East fascinate me because their histories are so feckin’ OLD – and they have an inward focus that is intriguing – but their outward focus is not on us/US (heh. see what I did there? okay. I’m done). Anyhoo this isn’t some janked-up version of ‘let’s go to the spice market’ – rather, this recalls the walled pleasure gardens so beloved of the Arabic world. But, at least to my nose, it’s not an Arabic fragrance, rather it evokes the experience of a woman of color visiting an Arabic garden, secure in the knowledge that her beauty is commonplace within those walls. She is appreciated, she is lauded, she is safe. It reminds me of my own pleasure garden (though I do wish the walls were 12′ instead of my measly 6′). It is an almost indescribably feeling of peacefulness and belonging. Heady stuff.
So! Here’s the thing: when I ordered my samples from Surrender to Chance I must’ve lost mah MIND because I bought two each of the 3 samples! So. I have 3 brand-new samples to give away! What’s your favorite holiday destination? Tell me a story about it and I’ll have M. Jacques (yes. HE”S STILL HERE) punch the living daylights out of randomDOT and pick a winner.
My lifelong dream is/has been to immerse myself in the fields of lavender in France – have a lavender-forward lunch there, take an aromatic nap nestled among the gorgeousness of it all, walk for hours as every sense drinks-up the experience. I hope so much that it will become reality. Thank you for your kind give-away!
I’m going to check these out.
I hate to admit it but I’ve never been out of the country. One day I hope..
so much to see in the world! Hope you get the chance to experience some of it! xoxoxo
Cambodia. There were still many places you couldnt go at the time because of landmines and bandits but there was enough tourist infrastructure to balance things out. Plenty of tourists in Siem Reap but no swarms except at Angkor Wat. Not a place I would have chosen but my husband had a business trip there so off we went. It was fantastic. If you like silk, that’s the place to shop. The Tonle Sap lake was a special highlight.
I have never been to Cambodia! And I love silk, so it’s probably not the worst thing to not have been to Cambodia. I’m awash in fabric enough as it is!!
(and I don’t sew)
DNEM but what a great post! These sound fantastic, and all different enough to stay interesting. I don’t know that I have a “favorite” vacation spot, although my most memorable/joyous were for their other-world-ness: Bangkok. Siem Reap/Angkor Wat. Dakar, Senegal as a child. If I could beam myself somewhere I’d like to visit the Greek islands, those look pretty amazing and I’ve never been there.
You’ve been to some amazing places, March!!! I’d love to go to Bangkok! Been to Dakar, but only for a hot minute. Would love to return. The world is full of so many intriguing places, isn’t it?
I feel like for anyone who has some tolerance for urban nonsense, Bangkok should be on the list. It’s this surreal mashup of past and future. I did the family-friendly version and it was still wild. I can’t imagine living there, but visiting was a hoot.
Right. Doesn’t appear to be in the UK. I have a friend who has family in Kenya and visited Lamu at least once (those pics — oh my goodness). These all sound fun and excellent. I’ve never been to Morocco but it’s in the rail plan for travel — I’m most curious about Essouira, the walled city in the south of the country.
Oh, and don’t enter me but the best holiday destinations … Sanibel Island off the east coast of Florida; the island we visited in the Maldives (now that was insane in so many ways); Paris but I’ve not been to many cities in Europe — I am told Prague is amazing.
arg, that would be west coast of Florida …
LOL! No worries. I know where it is – and it’s stunning!!!
ooh! Essouira sounds intriguing!!!
Thanks, Anita, for the luscious reviews. Those places sound so dreamy as you describe them. I’m sitting on the back porch of a vacation condo watching the ocean waves of the Atlantic, sipping my hot tea. So today I’m gonna say the Outer Banks of North Carolina are my favorite destination. They’re not overly touristy. There’s no boardwalk or carnival atmosphere. Just rental cottages, restaurants, shopping centers with gift shops and places to browse. Some lighthouses to explore, the Wright Brothers memorial…sand, sun, sky, waves. So peaceful and relaxing.
I’ve never been to the Outer Banks but those friends who have describe a magical place!!!
Hey Musette DNEM
These sound beautiful.
My favourite holiday destination is India going by number of visits but I love Vienna too.
I’d love to do some more of Africa but Jin doesn’t seem particularly excited to so it’s not high on the current list.
Tell Jin to get over himself 😉 Africa (what little I’ve experienced) is fascinating. Morocco is definitely on my shortlist.
HA! Yeah. The next couple of yers we will be playing catch up on missed opportunities. Jin is adamant that he wants to see North Korea, they C19 shut the borders the week we were meant to go. Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos is another trip he wants to do later this year but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to join on that one. We are taking his parents to see where his brother’s family lives in Slovakia and show them Vienna and Prague 2023 (Their first time in Europe!). There’s SO MUCH to see, Africa will have to wait.
your travel schedule is packed! Africa will be there when you’re ready to go!
My “I want to live here” place is a small town on the south coast of Tenerife called El Medano. It’s a working fishing port with three beaches, fossilised sand dunes, two mountains & a windy microclimate.
Each beach area smells so different.
The mountain beach area & surrounds has such a hippy vibe, there’s always an undercurrent of patchouli oil, salty sweat & weed from the wind surfers & kite surfers. The grassy tussocks on the Red Mountain nature reserve bring a vetiver like dry wood & the on shore breeze is ladened with salted ozone.
The fossilised beach dunes & sandy area next to the market square greets you with the sizzle of garlic & seafood, good coffee & Hawiian Tropic. It’s the choice for local families to meet for long Sunday lunches after mass & for the children to play after. Somehow there is a whiff of liturgical incense.
The last beach is huge & largely deserted & heading out of town, the far end is a well known nudist area yet there is no human smell. Hot sand, cold Atlantic Ocean, drift wood, gorse & grasses. It smell of freedom, relaxation & could have inspired Dior Dune.
I love them all
It’s the only place I’ve been that I haven’t been ready for home after a week.
Good Floyd, alityke! That sounds amazing! Weirdly (or perhaps not) my general association with Tenerife is the horrific air crash – probably because my almost-sister in law was the only KLM survivor (she was manifested as purser (or maybe flight attendant – this was early in her flying career) but didn’t get on the plane, which is why she is listed as a survivor)
Oh! one other Tenerife association: Manolo Blahnik capturing lizards in his youth and putting little tinfoil shoes on them.
The runways run along the coast now. I understand how those associations could put you off!
There isn’t really any culture in any of the Canaries, though there is a shrine to Saint Hermano Pedro near the end of the runway. North of El Medano there are cave houses too, dome lived in!
There is a small perfumery on the Main Street which has been there many years. It’s where I’ve found some of my vintage lovelies. There’s another in Las Americas too
I admit to enjoying the sun, cafe life, walking & getting on the bus to Los Cristianos & Playa de las America’s for shopping. Nothing wrong with just being a tourist sometimes.
These scents sound lovely. My favorite vacation place is the Grand Tetons which is not a foreign country but so different from my home. My neighbor is from Kenya and that sounds like a wonderful destination.
My first sight of the Tetons was on an emergency car trip from…?? to Jackson Hole (wildfires had shut down air service, so we had to drive to get there)…… anyway, they are GORGEOUS!!!
I like Jamaica, and have been three times. I’d love to spend a week in New Orleans, though
I haven’t been to Jamaica in AGES! It’s gorgeous – and a great place to … relax 😉
These sound wonderful. Isla Mujeres in Mexico is my favorite place to vacation. Although there are many places I would like to go!
Isla Mujeres is one of my favorite destinations, too!