Let’s Pretend

I gave myself a good, stern talking-to about the recent foolishness on the blog with those Harry Potter Equus photos. The Big Cheese and 12-year-old Diva were ready to stage an intervention as I sat there, staring at those giant photos on the screen and contemplating a second career as a thatch stylist … anyway, no more lowbrow, juvenile, icky sexual stuff on the blog. Next week: a complete review of something rilly, rilly serious.

On to today´s post: I´ve always assumed that, if forced, most people would define hell as either the presence of heat — or its absence. My idea of heaven is the humid mid-80s, at which point I´ll be wearing a cute sundress and a smile (as opposed to a cardigan). Naturally, I am married to the Big Cheese, a man whose ideal temperature is somewhere in the low-to-mid-60s. Since we both work out of the house, in the summer I tend to retreat to our screen porch for hours of happy reading or work in temperatures that would give him brain damage. Winters are more problematic. I have suggested the porch solution for him and been given the cold shoulder. We keep the thermostat at his compromise position of 67 – the highest temperature he can bear, which leaves him swanning around in a tee shirt (and sometimes shorts) while I accessorize with heavy wool sweaters, a scarf and a mug of hot tea. If I add a hat I can sometimes get him to nudge the temperature upward to 68F, but watching him literally break into a heavy sweat at his desk doesn´t make me happy, either.

Here are a few scents I put on to cheer myself up when I´m cold (and a little depressed) and wish it was spring, already:

Carthusia Mediterraneo – Robin at NST and I share a love for this. Perfume genius? Nah. But its faintly herby, lemon-leafy green-tea smell is irresistible on miserable, sleety winter days.

Muelhens 4711 – it´s a straight, conventional, citrus-petitgrain cologne, you can dump on the whole bottle in June, I keep mine in the fridge for additional chill. I wear it so much in the summer, I can trick my brain into thinking it´s warm outside by applying it now.

Creed Spring Break – okay, it’s not called that. It’s called Virgin Island Water, and this is a bit of a cheat because I just smelled it last night on a wee sniffage with Louise, Sariah and Sasha. Sariah gets credit for the discovery. Notes are: bergamot, lime, mandarin, coconut toddy, copra, jasmine, hibiscus, ylang, ginger, musk, white rum, sugar cane. It doesn’t have that funky Creed base (Sariah smelled Creed Cuir de Russie for the first time, jerked her head away and said “damn,” and I know what she means.) Spring Break smells like a CSP scent done by Creed, which is kind of cool. No, really. Our favorite part is the coconut, which is less like tanning oil and more like buttered popcorn. It made me smile all the way home.

CB Black March – because it smells like it will be spring. Someday. Smell that warm, wet earth? Damp green shoots? Look, the snow´s melting.

L´Artisan Fleur de Carotte – this scent is just goofy – it smells like tender baby carrots, and maybe a little lettuce. I have heard it´s discontinued, but I run across bottles (most recently at their flagship store in New York.) Also, it lasts maybe half an hour, tops. But it´s such a cheerful scent all is forgiven. An aside: I feel that, sometimes, L´Artisan doesn´t get as much love among perfumistas because it´s a little too accessible – not that difficult to get ahold of, not that difficult to grasp. I refuse to join the snob squad. It´s the first niche line I hit hard, and for people easing into fragrance, I still recommend it as a great place to start. The scents are generally fun and interesting, and some of them are staples in my wardrobe.

photo: bbc.co.uk

  • carlene says:

    Humid, mid-80s! I may cry. I love and miss heat and humidity. Sometimes a visit to a greenhouse in the middle of winter can be really transforming. I’m definitely going to make note of yours and all these other uplifting fragrance suggestions, and offer up Un Jardin En Mediterranee, great on both boys and girls. I tell myself to save it for warm weather, but winter’s when I need it most.

    • March says:

      Carlene — that’s a great suggestion!

      Yes, actually, I often go to the Botanical Gardens this time of year and pretend I’m somewhere warmer. Also our local Zoo has this huge exhibit called Amazonia, all about the rainforest … I could move in there and pitch a tent and be perfectly happy.

  • evilpeony says:

    i am sad to hear that l’artisan is not snobbish enough for perfume addicts. here i am, happily stocking LA’s right and left, thinking myself to be so sophisticated and worldly…. only to find out today that they are not *gasp* difficult enough? breaks my heart :((

    all drama aside, i love dzing! (my SOTD) i’m also adding to the voleur love here. it should be perfect for spring. mechant loup on my dear darling BF is one of the best things to happen to me this year.

    hey march and judith, you can certainly come with me back home, where it’s 80 and humid all year round- rain or shine, day or night (ok, 5 am does not count.) we’ll paint the town red in the thinnest of tank tops and strappy sandals (with straps working all the way to our knees hehehehehe) spraying every woman, man and child with fleur de carotte. (or virgin spring water, which for a creed creation manages to keep itself interesting while not scream ing back at me. Its top notes are citrus enough without the ensuing bitterness. i think i’ve managed to drown the base notes under a mushroom cloud of miss dior though, so can’t give an in-depth description of VSW :d)

    • March says:

      EvilP — Sorry about catching you in the spam filter. (I was in there getting my OWN comment back!) Nope, sorry babe — you are not enough of a difficult pill. For Pill status you need to be wearing Serge. Or Malle.

      Dzing I just adore and kept trying to talk myself into, but on me it smells like elephant flop. On everyone else it’s gorgeous.

      I’m not sure anyone is ready for me in a tank top, but yeah — let’s go make the world a better place with Carotte.

  • Gaia says:

    I love many of the L’Artisans, and I’m kinda glad I can get several of them even in the Paramus Mall. My only complaint is that they constantly need to be reapplied. Too high-maintenance when I’m busy.

    • March says:

      Gaia — that’s such a consistent complaint about them. Some of my favorites (the light, summer-ish ones) are especially fleeting:-w but that just gives you an opportunity to try something else!:-“

  • Tamara says:

    Your husband and mine are brothers from another mother. I too hate to see beads of sweat on his forehead so I layer clothing until I look like an Eskimo. 🙂 Thanks for the heads up – I must try Virgin Island Water and Carthusia Mediterraneo.

    • March says:

      Tamara — you’re welcome! The Carthusia is a happy, sunny thing. It’s hard not to be charmed, in my opinion, even if you’re not wowed by the performance. The Virgin Island is completely different than what I expected — Creed managed to put the brakes on the fruity-floral stuff you’d expect. I thought it was nicely done.

      Okay, off to make a cup of hot tea./:)

  • Robin says:

    Great picks, love almost all of them. Fleur de Carotte is a great scent, and the bottle is perfect.

    • March says:

      Robin, you’re the one I have to thank for Carthusia Mediterraneo (did I spell that right? It never looks right. Sigh.) The rest of the line I have never quite fallen in love with.

  • Christine says:

    I fall somewhere between you and the BigCheese somewhere around mid to high 70s with a warm breeze. God, right now, I might kill someone for that kind of weather.

    And I’m thinking Creed “Spring Break” might be just the thing to get me out of my winter induced funk. And I agree, L’Artisans are a great way to break into niche houses and it actually helped spark my interest in perfume because it was easily accessible while still being different enough from department store buys. Love them.

    • March says:

      As I type this, my right foot is wet from the slush pile I stepped in getting out of the car, and I’m just too filled with ennui to trudge upstairs and get a dry sock.

      Wow, I am little Mary Sunshine today, huh? Spreading sunlight all over the blog!

      Yeah, high 70s sounds pretty much perfect, doesn’t it? Well, every day is one day closer…

  • Patty says:

    I am totally digging the Black March. I finally ordered some of that and the CB Musk. Two must-haves from CB.

    I’m just contrary on weather. I love cold weather when it is too hot and love hot weather when it is too cold. Late spring and early fall suit me fine.

    • March says:

      You! Imposter pretending to be Patty! What have you done with her?!?! I know perfectly well Patty does not own the CB Musk, which I am pretty sure she thought was gross.

      You give her back right now or I’ll spray you with Baby Phat Golden Goddess.:d

      • Patty says:

        No, no, I DO Like it, don’t you remember? you sent me a little sample, I sniffed it and was shocked that I do like it! But it’s like my reference point for all musks.

  • Amy says:

    Hot is better! March, you’ll just have to come stay with me during the winter months — my place is never below 78. I’m such a wacko, I don’t even run the a/c at night in the middle of the sweltering Austin summer — just open the window & turn on the ceiling fan.

    My suggestion for a great smells-like-summer fragrance is my beloved and much-underappreciated CdG Harissa. Spicy leafy sunshine. Fab.

    • March says:

      Amy — you’re on! All that heat sounds like just the ticket.

      Harissa is a great suggestion! Erm, that was part of the Red series, right? You know, that’s the bummer about sniffing them all in one go in, say, NYC — it all becomes an addled blur. I did come home with Palisander, which is also delish.

  • Leopoldo says:

    I much much much prefer summer to any other season, yet prefer all scents to those classed as summery.:-?

    And I’ll stand up for l’Artisan.. there’s so much to like and love here. And actually, so many are great for the summer – like watery Navegar which I prefer, on me, to Maid Marian/Marina’s piratical fave, Navigateur; all those femmy ones I sniff but don’t wear; Voleur is great in humidity; Fou d’Absinthe has that crisp bracing quality one sometimes feels one needs (see how much klassier I am as Leopoldo?); ooh, and some others (brain has stopped processing stuff).

    So there, l’Artisan knockers!>:p

    • March says:

      Lee — I REALLY need to get back to that Fou, don’t I? Somehow I was on a mental rush for something else, and I think I failed to give it proper attention…. :-”

      Leopoldo is a great moniker.:x

  • Flor says:

    I would give anything to live in a country where there are 4 seasons. I love the cold. If I could I would travel the world catching all the autumns, winters and springs in the world, skipping summer altogether. I hate humid climates, unfortunately that is the exact climate I have all year round – intense heat and humidity. I live for the AC and don’t know what my life would be like without it. Keeping 4711 in the fridge is a stellar idea, I think I’ll try that. During the summer here a lot of cologne is used. I use Bien Etre Lavande splash in massive amounts, but I will totally try the chilled 4711 idea. ;;)

    • March says:

      Flor — we looked at living in Florida a few years ago. As much as I love the heat, we decided collectively we couldn’t do it. There is something about four seasons that just seems so important … particularly I think if you’ve grown up like that.:-?

  • Marian says:

    Mine is the same. Half-man, half-penguin. Pengman. Normal people wear shorts and tank tops at home in the heat of summer. I wear a fleece shawl. On very hot days, His PengMajesty sends me frantic text messages in capital letters: is the AC on??? And then people wonder how I can wear Ambre Russe in July. This is how 🙂

    • March says:

      Pengman! Hahahahha! Or Manguin. Okay, I’m stealing both from you.

      He took me on a snow-camping trip once in Feb., with temps in the teens. (Okay, I was stupid enough to go.) We still joke about it, but at the time I wasn’t laughing.

    • Marina says:

      By the way it was Marina, not Marian from Sherwood Forest. God, I should never attempt to type before two cups of coffee. To misspell one’s own name! Gaaaah

      • Leopoldo says:

        I’ll be your Robin, oh fair maid!:x

        • Marina says:

          😡 Yes, of course, especially if you are the Robin as portrayed by Michael Praed (god, I had a huge crush on him when I was 10-12 :-)), not as portrayed by Kevin Costner. I am very particular about my Robins, you see. :d

          • Leopoldo says:

            Just call me Praed-alike. Well, I’m nearer to him than Costner’s soft rock look… And I can imagine clannad laying in the background as I go about my daily business, in my mysterious yet vulnerable way…[-o<

      • March says:

        Marina/Marian — and here I was, thinking we had another reader!:”>

        Colombina, I’m still stealing pengman from you. March the Maleficent decrees.[-(

  • Elle says:

    *Love* Mediterraneo and Black March. Definitely have to try that new Creed.
    My tropical heat loving soul is SO craving summer. The people at my favorite gardening center keep trying to remind me that the last frost date in our area is mid-April. Grinches! Do they know *nothing* of magical thinking? Our weather people are equally grinchy since they are predicting lows in the 20s again next week, but it’s been in the mid 60s all this week and I just can’t let go of the idea that spring *must* be here early this year. I *need* it to be in the 80s. Soon. Very. But although I madly love summer heat, I have to confess I do use A/C in summer inside…and wear sweaters. Bizarre, I know. However, I sit outside working at my computer most of the summer…when I’m not getting distracted and running off to mess w/ my plants. I’m w/ Judith – M&B #3 is an ideal summer scent.

    • March says:

      That is so funny! I just stagger around the garden all summer, arranging things, sniffing — I have better luck with the last frost date here, but in Santa Fe (date 5/15!) I was always pushing it and things got killed off… I will be curious to see what you, my FT (mostly) think of Creed. It’s not “me” at all, but I liked it a lot.

    • Leopoldo says:

      I’ve resumed my classy alias to be more highbrow post-wise from now on, alongside March’s sophistication.

      I always hope and pray that April will have our last frost day, and normally I’m okay… Saying that, we’ve only had a handful of frosts this year, and considering the UK latitudinally level with Newfoundland or some such, that’s some ker-razy weather.

  • Judith says:

    What is it with you people with weird internal thermostats. The best (outside) weather is in the 70s. Period. Of course, living in Boston, I don’t get nearly as much of this as I’d like (I wistfully remember my days in Berkeley). Inside, the thermostat should be set at 70 in the winter (maybe a bit colder at night). I am dictatorial about this, and Mr. Lily agrees (I knew we had something in common).:) And while I’m being contrary, I should say that I never get a longing for summer scents in the winter. I just don’t. But if I did, I might try

    Miller et Bertaux #3, Green, etc. (I lived in this last summer).
    Sel de Vetiver (I know, you have some kind of THING about this). DH always compliment me on this one, and I like it, too.:)
    L’A Fleur d’Oranger (just beautiful)
    Le Labo Tubereuse (I think Marina called this “sunshine in a bottle”–a very small, expensive bottle).

    Sorry for all the crankiness. Need more coffee!!!!!

    • March says:

      Judith — you are very firm in your opinions today!

      I need to re-try the Green. I like the Spiritus/Land a lot. All of your recommendations except for Sel de Vetiver, are excellent.;)

      Maybe I could move in with you guys? I could help organize your fragrances…

      • Judith says:

        Yes, a fragrance organizer!! I NEED one of those! Would you care to test them for me, too?:) (Don’t need that as much, but it would be fun). And I’m sure that Mr. Lily would be VERY happy to have you join our menage (esp. if he saw your toon on this site):) So come on down. . .um, up)!

        • March says:

          Okay, we’ll sign a prenup discussing home temps… 😉 actually, if you saw the way my fragrances are organized you’d rescind your offer.

  • sariah says:

    Hi March – it seems like half the days now I want to wear something winter appropriate – like Chergui, then the other half I just want to wear a springy pick-me-up – for that I’ve been using Jo Malone Nectarine Blossome & Honey, and Le Labo Fleur d’Oranger – love it because it’s an orange blossom I can wear to work and it’s just so bright and fresh without being like a calogne. Yep, the Creed Spring Break would be good too.

    • March says:

      Sariah — that’s one of the few Jo’s I like. That Le Labo is really pretty, too. And, as you can see, I got the popcorn note in the Creed as soon as I got out to the car, which made me very pleased. That was fun, thanks for hanging out!

  • Maria B. says:

    It’s so convenient for those of us on the West Coast that the posts are appearing *before* we go to bed. Keep up the early stuff! Tom, feel well soon, and you weren’t rambling. Read this post and tell me about rambling.

    I’m certainly not with the Big Cheese. In summer I can’t go anywhere without a sweater because I might encounter air conditioning aimed at Big Cheeses. Brrr. OTOH, humid mid-80s don’t make me feel very lively. Dry mid-70s to mid-80s–that’s the ticket.

    I have recently moved to a place without a summer. I mean, according to the calendar there is one, but not according to the thermometer. It’s always spring or fall here. That means that my DH and friends are worried that I’m going to be too cold. Well, last summer in Sacramento made me think cool summers wouldn’t be so bad. We’ll see.

    So I won’t have special summer scents anymore. Either I’m willing to wear it year round, or I don’t get it. Sacramento was so hot that even The pour un Ete was too loud. I used to put on lavender and acacia body silk by Le Couvent des Minimes, which is sold at Bath and Body Works. The cologne also worked okay at 100 degrees.

    March, I’m 100 percent with you about L’Artisan. It got me going on my niche fragrance journey, and there are still scents I would not be without–to wit, L’Eau d’Ambre and La Haie Fleurie du Hameau.

    • March says:

      Spring and fall all year round does sound kind of interesting. I do like the occasional sultry weather, though (good thing, too, living in D.C.) That’s funny, I hadn’t even thought about your night-time blog reading!

      BTW Haie Fleurie is one of those scents they’d put in general production if they had ANY SENSE at all. Go L’Artisan!

      • Maria B. says:

        *sounds of woman in a panic*
        La Haie’s distribution is restricted? *grasps throat*
        “I guess what you mean is that it’s only available at the flagship store and a few other places?” she asked hopefully.
        I heard that it was not going to be available in the USA anymore. Then that the flagship store in NYC will carry it. Aedes doesn’t carry it anymore, but Luscious Cargo does. Not that my worry is urgent. It was only available in the big bottle, and with me that can last a decade.

        • March says:

          No, no, no, hon! Didn’t mean to scare you! I only meant I never see it out there as part of the general lineup in most stores. Sorry.

  • tmp00 says:

    Okay, I am blaming that rambing post on A) Flu and B) the fact that Safari cuts off half of the comments so I can’t see the duplication.

  • tmp00 says:

    Well, i hate to say it, but I’m with hubby. I like it to be about mid-sixties, and bone-dry. Luckily, I live in Los Angeles, the great state of Air-Conditioning. My office is a meat locker, the public transportation could be used to store meat. Strangely, I don’t have AC at home; Bevery Hills is close enough to the coast that there are only about three weeks that are really hot. There are also only about three weeks that are really cold, and these are it. Leather scents like Kolnisch Joucten or Patchouli 24 are great, but the king of getting rid of the winter doldrums has to be SL Ambre Sultan- that warm resinous hit can blow out the winter doldrums

    • March says:

      Tom — when we lived in Santa Fe we didn’t have A/C. I loved it. You just opened the windows and it dropped 30 degrees at night in the high desert. I miss that.

      I hope you feel better soon.

      I would be sad if I didn’t have a couple of months of winter weather to wear all those cold-weather scents.