If you live in Washington D.C., or it’s surrounding suburbs, you are well acquainted with Cherry Blossom Season. It is the time of spring that we celebrate the absolute splendor of the Tidal Basin busting with blossoms from almost 3000 cherry trees.
The trees were given as a gift to the United States by Japan in 1912, as a symbol of the enduring friendship between the two countries and throughout the years, similar gifts have continued to be exchanged. In 1915, the US government gifted flowering dogwood trees to the people of Japan. (Boy would I love to see that!) And in 1981, the US was able to give cuttings from our trees back to Japan, to replace cherry trees that had been destroyed by a flood.
The people of our area really embrace this cultural and horticultural phenomenon and utilize the outstanding beauty of the trees as inspiration for several events. Besides the annual Cherry Blossom Festival and parade (festival dates, this year, are March 20 – April 15, 2018), it is typical for local spring brides to use the blossoms for their wedding theme. (The trees make a SPECTACULAR backdrop for wedding photos.) In 2004, the Washington Ballet had a changing of the guards, if you will, with the retirement of Artistic Director Mary Day. Along with her personal retirement, she decommissioned her traditional version of The Nutcracker. The new Artistic Director and Choreographer, Septime Webre (now with Halcyon House Stage) jumped on the amazing opportunity to draw from his love of American history and really tie the story to the Washington area. He set the stage for the ballet in Georgetown, featuring the, wait for it… Cherry Blossom Fairy as opposed to the Sugar Plum Fairy. Did you see that coming?!? (If you read my post “The Nutcracker” from November 8, 2017, then you totally saw it coming.) I was fortunate to see this version in its debut season. With the local setting and the familiar images of the gorgeous cherry blossoms, it really resonated with the locals.
Another spectacular display that I’ve been lucky enough to experience in person, was the inaugural spring seasonal decor of Cherry Blossoms at the MGM National Harbor grand atrium in 2017. It was a breathtaking, larger than life presentation of thousands of real blossoms. The hotel/casino also pays homage to the beloved flower with their cocktail lounge, Blossom, located within the casino. You can enjoy freshly mixed specialty cocktails (including a cherry blossom themed drink!) surrounded by images of blooming cherry trees. They even have floor to ceiling black and white photos of the blossoms in the hotel elevators. (If you haven’t stayed there overnight, you should!)
Drink Company has opened it’s 2nd annual pop up bar, cleverly named Cherry Blossom Pop Up Bar, in NW DC (open now through April 29). The bar is set up to celebrate springtime in DC and features a blossom filled space with interesting beverage choices and spring themed cocktails on the menu, namely the Cherry Blossom G&T. In fact, several establishments in our area offer a cherry blossom cocktail! Check out this Washingtonian Magazine article from 2016! YUM!!!! https://www.washingtonian.com/2016/03/23/8-cherry-blossom-themed-cocktails-to-try-peak-bloom-dc/
Last, but not least, you may have noticed my inclusion of the sweet little cherry blossom in my Jennifer the Beholder logo. It honors my fondness of beauty, flowers, (and pink!), and the area of the country that I live and love.
I wish that cherry blossom season was longer. But like anything truly special, it might just crush the excitement if it were. I get sad when the blossoms start to fade and die off, but they leave a final gift when they snow down pink confetti with every gust of wind. Now that’s just fun. And COOL! (Pink snow! Or a pink autumn? I dunno.)
Some who live here might be jaded to the hoopla of Cherry Blossom Season because a lot of our neighborhoods are loaded with these trees. (We have at least a dozen just at the pharmacy in our ‘hood!) BUT, if you live here and have never experienced the Tidal Basin in full bloom, it really is worth a lap around the waterfront (even if you just stay in your car). It’s not just for the tourists. And if you are from outside of the beltway and beyond, I encourage you to make it a point to add the DC cherry blossom experience to your bucket list. It truly is a breathtaking sight to behold.
2ND ANNUAL SPRING SMELLABRATION
The girls and I were at it again! Smelling our way into another season. (That sounds hilarious! LOL) It’s really shocking to believe that this is our SECOND annual Spring Smellabration! It was Spring of 2017 that Jennifer The Beholder was born and quickly out of the gate, the girls and I hit the shop to discover our favorite scents for spring.
I think we all felt that the new Spring candle offering was challenging for us this year. As much as we are ready to leave winter way far back in the rearview mirror, it’s just easier for us to gravitate to the comforting, warm and spicy smells that we associate with the cooler months. But I have no doubt that once the sun breaks through the veil of our frigid atmosphere, we will welcome the 2018 Bath and Body Works spring scent offerings. Here’s how it went down….
You’ll recall that Meredith is our seasonal/beach girl and she stayed in her lane, but with a slight merge to the fruits. Says Mere, “TIKI BEACH is my go to. It seriously smells like the beach and when I want to escape the craziness of my house with kids screaming, dishes and laundry piling up…basically everyday life, I burn this scent and escape it all!”
TIKI BEACH is a combination of Vanilla Musk, Orchids, and Toasted Coconut. It is available in Wallflowers Refills, 3-Wick Candle, Scentportable Fragrance Refill, Concentrated Room Spray, and Fragrance Melts.
New for Meredith this year are MIDNIGHT BLUE CITRUS and ALOHA KIWI PASSIONFRUIT. She shares, “MIDNIGHT BLUE CITRUS has a fresh, fruity scent without being too heavy and overbearing. ALOHA KIWI PASSIONFRUIT is a mixture of an “umbrella drink” and the beach…take my money, Bath and Body Works!! Very fragrant and a fun scent for the spring and summer.”
MIDNIGHT BLUE CITRUS combines notes of Juicy Citrus, Fresh Spring Water, and Sweet Mango. It comes in Wallflowers Fragrance, 3-Wick Candle, Concentrated Room Spray, and a Single Wick Candle which sports a very modern container.
ALOHA KIWI PASSIONFRUIT, a combination of Tropical Passionfruit, Radiant Kiwi, Juicy Pineapple and Fresh Coconut. This scent is available in Wallflowers Fragrance Refill, Scentportable Fragrance Refill, 3-Wick Candle, and the Concentrated Room Spray.
Jen, our foodie! Like me, Jen had a hard time picking this season. She’s not much of a floral fan (also like me) so she found her gourmand choices limited this time. But here’s how she weighed in…
Says Jen, “I liked GRL PWR (Shocking, because it’s called Strawberry Cupcake – Juicy Red Strawberries, Sparkling Sugar and Vanilla Cake). Hands down, my favorite. I do like the sweet smells!” Sadly for Jen, Strawberry Cupcake is only available in the 3-Wick Candle. (Guess she’s gonna have to stock up!)
Jen’s number two fav was COCONUT COLADA. A tasty blend of Creamy Coconut, Spicy Banana and Dark Rum (YUM!) available in Wallflowers Fragrance Refill and the 3-Wick Candle.
Also on Jen’s list of likes was Meredith’s favorite, TIKI BEACH. Shares Jen, “Apparently I am also a big fan of coconut fragrance!” We’ll have to see if that carries over from season to season! Imagine if they put coconut and apple together. Jen would be in HEAVEN!
This season was tough for me. You know I go for the woodsy scents as a rule. In the past, Bath and Body Works has carried a candle reminiscent of fresh cut grass which I LOVE! One year it was sold under “Sugar Snap Peas”, the next it was sold under the name “Rainforest” and then, “Fresh Bamboo”. They’ve come darn close to it with “RAINFOREST GARDENIA”. RAINFOREST GARDENIA is still available, as is another past favorite of mine, FRESH CUT LILACS, but I was hoping for something less floral and more fresh grass smelling. And FRESH BAMBOO is only available as a Wallflower Refill. Sadly, this year, they did not offer anything close. So the hunt began to find something that I could wrap my nose around.
FRESH BAMBOO is a combination of Sweet Bamboo, Lush Jasmine, and Swaying Beach Grass (as opposed to unswaying beach grass?)
Queue AVOCADO COCONUT. New on the docket for me this year is AVOCADO COCONUT. I found it subtle and creamy smelling. Not containing an overwhelming amount of floral and the coconut was nicely tempered by the avocado so it’s not too suntan lotion smelling. (Sorry Meredith.) This new combo of Hass Avocado, Creamy Coconut, and Lime Zest is available in Wallflowers Fragrance Refill, and the *3-Wick Candle. *This version of the 3-Wick Candle is in the new wider but shorter container which causes problems if you have one of Bath and Body Works’ cool 3-Wick Candle holders. (Dang.)
After doing this Smellabration exercise for some time now, I’ve learned that within my preferred scent profile is Pear, Gardenia and Vanilla. These notes are portrayed in the PURE WHITE COTTON fragrance along with the addition of White Cotton Blossom. A lovely, sweeter option. Only available in the 3-Wick Candle.
BERGAMOT WATERS has been around for some time, but it wasn’t until this season that I realized that I like it as a spring scent. Bergamot is an orange, but leans more to the scent of a lemon. I find that I do like the freshness of lemon especially in the kitchen. The combo of notes on BERGAMOT WATERS is Sparkling Bergamot, Pristine Blue Waters, Sugared Citrus, and Creamy Sandalwood. (Oh, there’s the wood element that I love!) This scent is available in Wallflowers Fragrance Refill and the 3-Wick Candle.
And lastly, I liked MINERAL SPRINGS. It’s combination of Soothing Mineral Water, Night-Blooming Water Lily, and a Dash of Lime were a very balanced spring fragrance. Not too floral, not too citrusy. Only available in Wallflowers Fragrance Refill and 3-Wick Candle.
Last but not least, Jackie, our brand new momma took the opportunity to get out of the house for a bit and contribute her findings. She too had a hard time with the selection. If you recall, Jackie is our “purist”. She enjoys the less complicated concoctions, favoring the single note, or minimally mixed combos.
Her No. 1 pick? LEMON. Says Jackie, “This one was fresh and summery. I’ll definitely be burning that one this summer.” A nice combination of Lemon Zest, Verbena, and a Hint of Lime. LEMON is only available in the the new sized 3-Wick Candle.
CARROT NECTARINE – Jackie admits that she didn’t expect to like this one as much as she did. It is very subtle and she found herself drawn to the sweet orange oil. This candle is a concoction of Sweet Carrot, Juicy Nectarine and Fresh Greens, only available in the new sized 3-Wick Candle.
Honorable mention – YOU HAD ME AT ALOE aka WILD SAGE & ALOE – Although she didn’t like the scent as much as the others, she couldn’t resist how adorable the little jar was. (Agreed! Totally cute!) This fragrance sports the mixture of Aloe Water, Agave Nectar, Desert Sage with Essential Oils. If it doesn’t make a good candle, perhaps an interesting smoothie! YUM! YOU HAD ME AT ALOE is available in the Mini Candle only, but WILD SAGE & ALOE is also available in the traditional sized 3-Wick Candle.
I hope you enjoyed this fun and a bit tongue-in-cheek review of the Bath and Body Works spring fragrances. It’s something fun that my friends and I look forward to doing together. It gives us an excuse to get out, and spend a little time together and welcome the new season in an aromatic way. Maybe we’ll inspire you to do the same. HAPPY SPRING!
1 Photo by Ampstudiollc.com located in Phoenixville, PA