Baubles, bangles and beads

What a weekend! Firstly, I’d like to welcome my dear dear brother in law, Adam, to our fair city. Until him, I’d never had a brother, and he is the best one could have. He’s just moved in down the street, and tomorrow starts his job with Americorps. We’re very happy to have him in the ‘hood.

Secondly, I tried absinthe this weekend. Why oh why must all highly touted liquors taste like licorice? I do no like the licorice. Think about it, absinthe, ouzo, jaeger, that one swedish one that I can’t remember the name… I don’t think I had enough to invoke it’s purported halucinogenic effects, so I feel like it may deserve another try.

The aforementioned absinthe was purchased at one of my favorite haunts in Chicago, The Violet Hour. I call it Alice in Wonderland for grownups. If a caterpillar smoking a hookah was curled up in the corner, you wouldn’t be surprised. I took my 21 year old sister Ellen and her friend Misty, along with Leslie to experience the wonder.

My trip to the Violet Hour (like every trip to the Violet Hour) resulted in a new favorite drink. Pimm’s Cup! It’s what I’ve always wanted a mint julep to be, except it’s not a mint julep. So add to my list of fave drinky drinks for summer:
Salty Dog
Hush and Wonder (another Violet Hour speciality)
Gin and Tonic
Icy cold martini (gin, of course)
And now Pimm’s Cup!

Meanwhile, the perfume search continues. Today I trotted down to Merz Apothecary to sniff L’Eau EDT by Diptyque. It is a marvelous combination of smells, inspired by (allegedly) a 13th century pomander (I eat these type of anecdotes up with a silver spoon.) To me, L’eau is a masculine without doubt. It smells more like a home fragrance than a people fragrance on first sniff. BUT I am highly interested in experiencing how it blooms upon the pulse points of my significant other.

I also tried Dune again. Still in love. Although it smells saltier to me than before. I also sniffed Angel Sunessence. I tried the original Angel on Friday at Nordstrom. While it smelled to Misty like cookies, it smelled to me like cookies accidentally baked with cumin. While I understand it’s place in perfume history, and how it has been influential, it is not for me. I know I mentioned it earlier as a proper contender for my wrist, but we have since parted. It was like a wonderful first date followed by a miserable second.

Chanel Cristalle, however, was another matter entirely. Of all the people I forced my sample upon, I was the only one who liked it. It is so crisp and so refreshing, I very nearly wanted to bathe in it to combat yesterday’s humidity. But at 80 bucks a pop, that bath will have to wait. Ultimately, Cristalle will probably not make my cut. It just doesn’t have the staying power I require, even though I truly love it. Perhaps I can find it in lotion form and stick that in the fridge.

I also danced through the Annick Goutal and Guerlain lines while sticking my nose in anything from Calyx to Joy along the way. It was a wonderful morning.

I ended up coming home with samples of Badgley Mischka, Q’uel Amour by Annick Goutal, Pure White Linen by Estee Lauder, and Cristalle. I have also since completely lost track of which is which. Badgley is fruity, so I think I have managed to pick that one out. And Chanel is labeled, but Pure White Linen and Q’uel Amour flummox me.

The latest grail I seek is Norell. You’d think, what with White Shoulders and Tabu being so readily available, that Norell would be a mere skip to a drugstore. But no. While I’ve found many online sources, I’m not really interested in purchasing a whole bottle just to sniff. Frankly, the bottle’s not pretty enough. BUT I believe that Perfume-mania in Norridge may have just what I’m looking for. Anyone up for a field trip later this week? Tonight I’m heading to Barney’s to sniff the L’artisan, Serge Luten, and Comme des garcons lines. Also, I think I will put 100% Love to the test, along with Samsara (I highly expect to not like it), and Apres L’ondee. maybe a sniff of Rive Gauche if I don’t get a headache.

A couple things I know now that I did not know before this weekend:
1. Gardenia, if truly gardenia and not a sneaky tuberose, smells as much to me like bad breath as jasmine does.
2. I am absolutely as much interested in the presentation as the perfume. Whether I like it or not, I can’t have Angel Sunessence lying on my vanity. It looks like a starfish toy out of a kid’s meal. Call me shallow. I’m just being honest.
3. I like thyme more than I thought I did.

Finally, I spent much of Saturday antiquing. Violet Hour may be my favorite place to cool my heels, but my favorite place to make them ache in the first place is now Lazy Dog Antiques on Belmont. I found, along with some nice porcelain bathroom accessories, a Chanel no. 5/Arpege 14k gold pen set for twenty dollars. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it, but it was love.
And lastly, I know I already said “finally”, but I write in the stream of conscious here, this is it. It is really the week/weekend I start to paint the kitchen and living room. I bought a reproduction Bon Ami tin sign to inspire me. Painting…hmmm…I might require an apron for that.