Honey Coconut and Gin Blossom (Love & Toast)

This past week my husband and I celebrated his birthday with a road trip to Princeton. We'd both been hankering to revisit this favorite destination since our last jaunt in June. His mission: to prowl and pounce on amazing DVD finds at the Record Exchange, the best damn independent new/used audiovisual store in the state (indeed anywhere, in our opinion). My mission: to return to Mandalay Trading Company, the site of my first fateful encounter with Love & Toast's Honey Coconut, and just maybe a likely source for a full bottle of Tokyo Milk Arsenic.

As I wrote back in June, I'd passed up on Honey Coconut for some extremely stupid and superficial reasons, now deeply and bitterly regretted. My decision haunted me all summer; now it would be set to rights. First order of business: snag a "Little Luxe" mini-bottle of Honey Coconut right away, with no hesitation and no excuses. While I was at it, I tossed a mini of Gin Blossom into my basket. I'd learned my lesson -- if you like something, just get it already and quit dithering.

While the Love & Toast and Lollia collections were well-represented in Mandalay, I saw none of the hoped-for Tokyo Milk perfumes. At checkout, I summoned the courage to inquire about their absence. My questions evoked a glance of panic from the college-aged clerk. I could almost hear her thinking, I'm only part-time, am I expected to know this? I instantly felt a rush of retail sympathy for her and joked my way to a less challenging stance, at which point she relaxed a bit and began to joke back ("Wow, those Dark perfumes sound edgy! We're pretty family-friendly around here, so I don't know..."). She pledged to look into adding Tokyo Milk to the store order list, and I left Mandalay a happy lady.

Laden with a shopping bag full of choice cinema, the Birthday King met up with his delish-smelling Queen and decreed the next stops on the itinerary: early dinner at our favorite restaurant followed by a movie (Paranormal Activity 3: shriektastic!) and a bakery-fresh chocolate cream pie with candles at our own cozy kitchen table.

The perfect conclusion to a perfect day.

Honey Coconut
The morning I first met Honey Coconut, I'd just been released from a grueling three-day medical test during which I'd been forbidden to bathe. The moment I was free, I naturally flung myself into the longest hot soapy shower in recorded history and doused myself with all the fragrance I'd been denied. This left me unable to skin-test Honey Coconut properly. Still, I fell ass-over-teakettle in love with it from a mere bottle sniff-- a testament, I thought, to its worth. On skin, it's just what I remembered... but it is also more, a burnt bitter complexity of sugar and heat so much more profound than the pretty little thing I thought I apprehended as I leaned over the open mouth of the bottle that day so long ago. I've been wearing it for three days straight now and have no desire not to. Nor does my husband wish me to switch. We both notice new things about it (rum, immortelle, pineapple, coffee) with every wearing. It's become our favorite guessing game, the cipher lighting up our married-couple motherboard even as the clock turns back and the day goes dark an hour earlier. No exaggeration: the contents of this tiny bottle make us feel like we're engaged to be wed all over again, future full steam ahead.

Scent Elements: Honey, vanilla, violet, sandalwood

Gin Blossom
Seeing as how Honey Coconut magically jumped from three stars up to five, this may not be the last I'll have to say about Gin Blossom-- or any other Margot Elena creation, for that matter. They are all so CONTENT-RICH -- packed with goodies, puzzles, entertainment, images, learning -- that it seems impossible to opine about them in any truly final way. About Gin Blossom, I'll say this: it metamorphoses from a sweet honeydew-melon-juice scent to a herbal lemonade scent to a clean, soapy white musk scent to an unexpected flower-butter scent, all so nonchalantly that I feel as though I'm watching a really skillful juggler ply his art. Right now he's juggling three stars. I bet you anything he'll be juggling four before too long-- and maybe even a flaming torch or a chainsaw or two.

Scent Elements: Citrus zest, "spring dew", mandarin blossom, verbena leaves