Musette’s Musings, Sweat Edition

I’m not even going to pretend that I have a perfume review for you – it’s 900F in the shade AND I am prepping for a small Garden baby shower next weekend – 10 people who can maintain social distancing in my garden (and all of them are already in regular contact with each other)… I’m looking at the garden with Visitors’ Eyes – and it ain’t pretty.  But while I am weeding/mulching/chopping/hoeing and all those other fun things one does pre-party, I’ve been rambling through my skittery mind.  Wanna ramble with me?  C’mon in!

  1. Jean Nate’.  I keep wanting to research the history of this iconic splash – did you know it was first released in 1935?!!!  It is my Summer after-shower staple – it smells great and the 300% alcohol content is great for soothing cuts, hives and welts from bug bites.  I had to take 3 showers today because I WOULD NOT stop working on that ‘oh, just one other thing’ in 90F heat… I’d be out there, ostensibly drinking ice water and just ruminating… and the next thing you know I’m sweating like a lima bean… and somehow the borders are edged!  Each time I would have to take another shower (because this time, sweatergawd!!!, I was just going to sit there and ruminate)…. and I’d splash on some Jean Nate’.  I know there’s a cologne out there but I just use the splash – it’s refreshing and, within minutes, becomes a fresh background note for any other scent you apply.  I know there is Big Love for spendier cologne types (4711 (which is heavier on the bergamot) comes to mind – and the sublime Guerlain EdC Imperiale, which gilds the heck out of the lily, imo)… but are there any Jean Nate’ lovers here?  and is ‘Jean’ French ‘John’ or American ‘Jean’ Inquiring minds…
  2. Durian.  Lord.  Y’know…  I have tried forEVAH! to like Durian.  I. Well. dagNABBIT!  I’mo have to turn in my Omnivore card (not that I ever had one – the list of things I don’t like to eat is kinda long – and mostly stupid).  But!  I had very high hopes for this Durian candy I found at my Asian market – newp!  It’s more … well, it’s less gaggy than actual Durian… but .. y’know… if mangoes had unwashed butts…. so, while I’m at it, I might as well confess:  I don’t love mangoes, either!  I know!  I’m a loser!!.  Everybody loves mango, right?  Tastes like fruity soap to me.  Any Durian lovers out there?  If so, explain it to me, because I. Just. Can’t.



  3.  China in the Garden.  So… while I was planning this Baby Shower, I decided (and bought) plastic plates and some floral vinyl tablecloths… and that was fine-ish.  Except!  Y’know… I have my mother’s china stored in a tote and all these glorious vintage linens and silver flatware that rarely sees the light of day (or candlelight) – and this isn’t a kid’s party – 10 adult women should be able to handle china and silver, right?  And if not, not.  It’s there to be used, not stored away.  So I’m using it ALL!!!  And thrilled to be doing so.  I don’t entertain on the scale I used to so this is a great opportunity to have fun with all my pretty things.  Would you?  Would you be comfortable using the ‘good china’ outside?   I mean…. why is it any less lethal (for the china) to drop it on the grass v. the dining room floor?
  4. Last musing.  I realized that I have one fragrance in particular that I only wear after a hard day’s work in the garden on a Very Hot Day, post-shower:  Lucien Lelong.  I’ve tried wearing it at other times and it’s not quite the thing – in fact, it makes me just a tad queasy.  But there’s something totally sublime about wearing it on a late Sunday summer afternoon (I’ve got the body wash, body creme and the perfume) after I’ve called it a day .  Wonder why that is?  I reviewed this a few years ago and put it context of a pre-dinner shower after a hard day on a sailboat in Monaco – a far cry from ripping up nettles and murdering voles – but the end of the day it’s still the same pre-dinner shower…. do y’all have any perfume choices specific to some activity or time of day?

Inquiring minds….

tell me what’s on yours!

  • Patty says:

    Now I need to dig out the Jean Nate! I used to love that stuff. yeah, use the good stuff. Nothing lasts in the world, and you have to enjoy everything beautiful you have!

    Not like mangoes? Lord, that is crushing.

    This years has been a horrible summer. overcast and muggy and rainy almost every day. I was using the pool regularly until that Saharan sand storm. Since then? It’s been hard to find the hour when the sun is out and heated up to go. Suuuuucks!

  • Portia says:

    Heya Musette,
    YES! Use the china! We have my Mum & Dads wedding set of Royal Doulton as our everyday. It was only sitting in a cupboard gathering dust. We have broken a few, chipped a few and i get personal joy from every meal because we are using this fabulous bone china. If you want to see the pattern it’s called Morning Star. SO 1960s and it feels really luxe every time.

    Good luck with the heat, the garden and the party.

    Mangoes are YES!! Durian is NOOOOOOO WAY!

    Portia xx

  • Ann says:

    Well I better go out and buy some Jean Nate, I love the ads and it reminds me of a friend of mine who always had it – but I’ve never worn it! That stops now.

    I’m interested how you get rid of your Voles? I have a that problem too. And I like the idea of wearing a glamorous perfume when I’m finished the job.

    I always look forward to your posts Musette!

    • March says:

      They also have Tangee, a bunch of retro scents, “Florida water” if anyone else wants to fall down the rabbit hole.

      • Musette says:

        Florida Water is another bergamot heavy go-to. My Cuban osainista uses it in her healing rituals (along with a live dove – but that is for another post). I love the smell!

    • Musette says:

      I remember it! I didn’t use it (not for brunettes – at least not for this brunette). But it always looked so cool!

      VCS carries all sorts of weird, retro goodies! Love them!


  • March says:

    SO MUCH to unpack here.

    Mangoes and sticky rice = love. But it has to be the right mango and the right rice. Durian …. I tried, when I was in Thailand and Cambodia. The closest I got to actually consuming it was durian ice cream and hooboy was that disgusting. The taste lingered in my mouth for hours. They love watching the furriners try to eat durian lol.

    Jean Nate! There’s about ninety-eleven ads for it right now just above comments, might have to pick one up. My go-to summer splash is good ol 4711, I have a giant bottle that I’ve been using for years.

    • Millicent says:

      Durian lover here! I lived in Kuala Lumpur for several years (and THANK YOU to those here who sent perfume to me during that time), and Malaysians think, for good reason, their durian is the best in the world.

      FWIW, I think the way to appreciate it is to try the fresh fruit — take it on its own terms, in its own place. Durian that makes it to the US has been frozen and treated to kill any critters, so it’s really compromised. And in ice cream or tarts the fruit has been processed so that only the weird smell/taste remains, and who wants ice cream that tastes like something’s gone bad? (Well, not to be judgmental here, let’s say that these desserts are for people who already love durian.) The candy is unspeakable.

      • Musette says:

        Durian Lover!!!! I’m so glad to see someone on here who actually knows how to enjoy it (and when it is enjoyable – and when it’s not). If ever I’m in Malaysia I’ll try it fresh. Though I suspect it’s like cilantro for some people – I mostly get ‘soapy buttcrack’. More buttcrack than soap (mango is more soap, less buttcrack)… it may be that type of fruit (papaya, too) isn’t for me.

        The candy really is unspeakable, innit? LOL! omg.


    • Musette says:

      I love them both but I find I reach more for JN than 4711, probably because of the heavier bergamot in 4711 v. the Lemon. Love Lemon!
      Durian ice cream sounds like the stuff of nightmares!


  • monkeytoe says:

    In the old tv ads from the 70s, they pronounced it like the American “Jean.” here s a compilation of the ads (sound):

    • March says:

      Yep, I remember those!

    • Musette says:

      My favorite was always the jockey!

      and see below for my ‘Jean/John’ query rationale (and subsequent answer because I was too lazy to look it up (blushes) – I mean, really? That’s the whole and entire purpose of Teh Goog! RIght?


  • Dina C. says:

    Jean Nate was my grandmother’s signature scent, so I have happy memories associated with that lemon-y smell. I’m excited that you’re getting out the real linens and china…I would too! That’s gonna be so beautiful. Take photos! My scents tend to be season-specific, but not activity-specific. And as the seasons change, I greatly look forward to the next season’s lineup.

  • Tara C says:

    There was always a bottle of Jean Naté (Jean is French for John) on the side of the tub in our family bathroom. Right now my fresh summer scent is Bulgari Au Thé Bleu, I’m not a citrus or cologne girl. I also dislike both mangoes & papayas. 🙂

    As for china, I finally gave mine away last year after storing it for many decades and using it only a few times. I don’t entertain and never will. But by all means use yours in the garden!

    Don’t have any really specific perfumes, other than vanilla for bedtime. There are quite a few though that I have to be in a mood to wear.

    • Musette says:

      I love to entertain but I never tended to use the good stuff, which is absurd! It’s a freakin’ PLATE! Use it, right?
      I love citrus so JN is a great all-around splash! I need to investigate the cologne!


  • Queen-Cupcake says:

    Ah, Jean Nate–haven’t seen it in years but loved it, and now I’ll be looking for it, you bet! I’m spritzing Eau de Guerlain or the Clarins ED.

    Definitely the china, silver, linen and silver. Your shower will be a hit! My niece has my mother’s 100 year-old Haviland in her basement, and I think I will ask her for it. (Know for a fact she didn’t really want it. Not her style anyway.)

    I don’t mind mangoes, and never heard of durian. The fruit I cannot abide is papaya. Something too funky about it. I’ve been eating watermelon all summer–I just love a big slice of cold watermelon for breakfast or any time, and they’ve been good ones at our market.

    • Musette says:

      Oooh! Which pattern? My favorite has always been ‘Empiratrice Eugenie’. I do luh me some fine china! And watermelon! LUH me some watermelon. On fine china! xoxoxo

      • Queen-Cupcake says:

        Ooh, violets–s pretty! I wish I knew what the pattern was called. It is old–1917ish. Kinda like Schlieger 39, if you know them by the Schlieger numbers.

  • Cinnamon says:

    Definitely China and linen. I have a cabinet full of my mother’s glassware etc which has moved with me over the years. I bring stuff out every once in a while (birthdays, Xmas). It’s all in storage currently while the house-house is being sorted. I had decided after not being able to watch the mover box it up (too nervous he’d hurt something) that when it comes back out in the autumn it’s getting used. What’s the point otherwise? I don’t own colognes any more. Hot weather fragrance wear is just lighter application of some things and steering clear of really heavy stuff. Which reminds me I need to pull out the Vero Kern samples. Have a lovely shower!

    • Musette says:

      I lay on the attars in extreme heat, like somebody’s paying me! they were designed for that weather and bloom beautifully. You know what else really blooms in heat? Carnal Flower. I wear great lashings of it (along with the body cream) when the weather hits 90F. Of course, I do this when in solitude, lest I choke somebody out on the fumes.

      and I agree, re the china and linens and silver – USE IT!


  • lee says:

    Def use the China, your guests will love you for it.. mangoes- meh, take em or leave em, but Jean Nate is fantastic, gardening in an Australian summer takes some dedication, but a post shower handful of JN splash soothes the savage breast.. I used to use Clarins Eau Dynamisante but I swear it’s been fiddled with, doesn’t thrill me as it used to do

    • Musette says:

      ‘savage breast’!!! Omg. I LOVE you for that (v. ‘beast’), thank you! Australian Summer sounds terrifying – I always think of you guys when I go into a weedy patch; here the only snake I am likely to run across is the odd corn or garter snake… y’all have a whole HOST of killahs! just waiting to pounce! I remember reading about a young woman who was bitten by a snake whilst reaching into a tomato plant! Photos of her recovering IN HOSPITAL!!!!! were scary AF. Australian wildlife does. not. play.

      • lee says:

        Too true, Musette- my last encounter with a slitherer was when I uncovered one under some mulch, bare-handed, omg- I raced inside squealing like a girlie and LOCKED THE DOOR cuz, y’know those snakeys are pretty good with a door handle..

  • Kathleen says:

    Use the China and pretty things!!!!
    Your baby shower will be delightful in your garden!
    Now you have me looking for Jean Nate; I’ve never used it but need some I think with this relentless 90 + heat each day.
    I’ve never heard of Durian, but mangoes are a no for me too. I get the soap, and they are impossible to peel. I don’t like to fight with my food.
    Kiss The Girl from me! xx

    • Musette says:

      She’s kissed! Sends her love right back to you! Mangoes are to me (and you) what cilantro is to a lot of people (not me) – soapy. And… Lord, yes. A whole lotta work. xoxoxo

  • Maggiecat says:

    Oh definitely use the China and silver! I have fond memories of Jean Nate – my mom, sister,cans I all used it for tears in sticky South Florida. I’ve never tried durian, but I tried mangoes. Once. I recall that they were tasty, but when my eyes swelled shut and my throat closed up, I decided I’d not repeat the experience.

    • Musette says:

      HOLY CATS & CRACKERS! Yeah, I think that’s a solid NO! on mangoes and their brethren (maybe steer clear of papaya, as well?) xoxoxo

  • SpringPansy says:

    Yes for linens and china in the garden or anywhere. USE it, I say. And yes to Jean Nate – I’m going to look for some. Have a great time with your shower. It sounds lovely. xo

    • Musette says:

      Walgreens, Walmart, CVS… those are my go-to’s for JN – but if you are going virtual, it’s almost everywhere!

      and I dunno why I’ve not been using my china more! oh, I know. I was miserable and beset with knotheaded guys who would’ve HATED it! (they are all huge! and terrified of ‘fancy things’)

  • Jo says:

    Hi Musette, love your musings. Ah, Jean Nate. Growing up in So. Cal. 100 degree days. Fresh out of the shower, splashing a cupped handful of Jean Nate which was stored in the refrigerator. Nothing like it. Also, Made for Summer days…Love’s Fresh Lemon.

    • Jo says:

      P.S. use the China, always. 🙂

    • Cinnamon says:

      These are where I started my perfume journey. My mother wore Jean Nate and the first ‘scent’ I bought for myself was Love’s Fresh Lemon. Sigh. Memories…

      • March says:

        WHOA I just had a big mental flashback of Love’s Fresh Lemon and Love’s Baby Soft. They don’t make the Lemon any more, sadface, but I might have to splash out on a $13 bottle of Baby Soft.