As I type this, it’s been raining off and on (more “on”) for a week. It’s the kind of steady rain and leaden sky that – in a high-desert city with 300+ days of sun a year – is noteworthy. It’s considered poor form among residents to complain about wet weather given our drought issues, but I’ve overheard locals muttering about Seattle. Me? I’m kind of loving it. Feels very fall-ish, and other than some amusing moments (where’d I stash my umbrella? raincoat? waterproof boots?) and the fact that Coco glares at me resentfully each time I take her out, it’s fine. I do feel bad for the people who came here from all over the globe for the balloon fiesta in Albuquerque, I hear they’ve lost some flight days, but I just towel-dry the dog and enjoy not having to water my flowerpots.
I notice how the damp magnifies smells, from the sublime — incense notes of piñon hanging in the air from neighborhood fireplaces, damp earth, the last of the parking lot chile roasters – to the ridiculous (chamisa bushes, which smell even more like damp, dirty socks as I brush past them). My nose is all over the place right now, as changeable and remarkable as the weather. I had a delightful moment with Lutens’ Fleurs d’ Oranger recently – it was so lovely and warm and enveloping, like a favorite well-worn sweater (with, you know, that hint of actual sweat).
My nose was “on” when I visited the Second Bloom Farm stand at the farmers’ market. I like to stop by and see what they’re up to, I think whoever’s doing their scents is great. I’ve written about them before, but somehow I’d skipped “Million Bucks,” possibly put off by the name and the goat on the label and thinking it’d be some manly scent since they also sell a beard oil. They’re “lotion bars” sold in tins, with beeswax and various oils as a dry skin treatment, emollient and long lasting.
Million Bucks smells of cinnamon, black pepper, honey and cedar, in roughly that order of prominence, and it is both simple and fabulous – spicy, woodsy and sweet in that beeswax base. I had A March Moment of the sort I used to get at sniffage expeditions – lots of moaning sounds and not very discreet huffing of the back of my hand. Without even thinking about it, I’d handed her my credit card.
I think all their lotion bar scents are really good – shoutout to Bandelier, Cowboy, the lovely and simple Just Bee, and an excellent Lemon Verbena – I know that’s a popular scent for kitchen and bath products and yet I so often think it’s slightly “off” or weirdly perfume-y, Second Bloom’s is perfect. Their goat-milk soaps (Second Bloom has its own herd) are also really nice and charmingly packaged, an easy way for me to support a local business.