Saturday, March 5, 2011

Jo Malone Smells Good!

So I was in need of some shop therapy today and ventured over to the mall. It was fairly mild this afternoon, though overcast, and everyone came out of hibernation -- the price of gas be damned! -- to hit the road, do some shopping, anything to go outdoors without nine layers of clothing.

I went to The Gap for some of their V-neck tee-shirts. The fabric is really soft and comfy and they fit very well and, yeah, they're only tee-shirts, but it's worth it. They make you feel good and by extension, I suppose, you look better somehow.

But I still wasn't satisfied so I headed to Nordstrom's where I browsed, smiled at the gracious but not overly solicitous sales staff, let them know firmly but pleasantly that I was only browsing and imagined what I would look like in a $150 silk bowling shirt, or a Burberry sport shirt with their signature plaid lining the cuffs. I looked good, but I didn't buy.

Fragrance! That's the ticket. And I remembered a couple of years back we were visiting a lady friend of ours who still had, on the vanity in her bathroom, a small atomizer of Jo Malone Amber and Lavender. I'm an inveterate snoop and decided to take a whiff, just because the packaging was so elegant and because... well, I'm an inveterate snoop.

It was delicious! Indescribable. Exotic and spicy, yet not heavy and not really feminine either. Totally unlike most of the designer stuff you find in Macy's or scratch 'n' sniff in the pages of Vanity Fair. Turns out our friend had had a gentleman friend at one point who used it himself.

So I tracked it down and found it the first time at Neiman-Marcus (later at Nordstrom and later still in London: it is, after all Jo Malone London). Chris got me some for my birthday, as I recall, and it took me a long time to use it up. I haven't had any since.

The Jo Malone boutiques are all alike: beautifully designed, classy, classic... and tasteful! My God, you've never felt so tasteful in your life! The sales people are unfailingly gracious, not pushy but very, very good: unless your sales resistance is very well-developed you'll likely buy something. (And you can always shop online:

The fragrances are, as I said, completely unique and obviously worth the price. The orange blossom smells like real oranges, not like imitation orange that somehow fools you into believing it's the real thing. And they encourage you to mix and match, blend one fragrance with another to create something that's truly bespoke.

So I got me some Amber and Lavender (the small bottle, I'm not made of money) and I can still smell the sample I spritzed on my wrist four hours ago. And I intend to use it, too. Every other day... hell, every day if I feel like it. It's not to be saved for special occasions, whatever they are. I encourage you to do the same. Find something you really like, something exotic. Spend a little extra for a cologne that doesn't come with a free tote bag. Like Jo Malone. Or Acqua di Parma (Colonia Assoluta). There's also something called the Knize 10 from Austria, and Isotta Fraschini from Italy (which happens to be from the same manufacturing concern that made Norma Desmond's famous "Sunset Boulevard" roadster). You can find most of these things online, if you don't happen to be in Nordstrom's or London or Milan.

Of course, I've also fallen in love with a line of Mystic Blends oils from a company in Florida called Sun's Eye. Mixtures of essential oils blended with herbs and spices and sold in tiny bottles for $6.95 on the Web. Or places like the giant, oddball Shop Therapy store on Commercial Street in Provincetown, MA. I have the Healing oil, but there's also Ancient Wisdom, Garden of Delight and Guardian Angel. I put a little of the Healing Oil on a pulse point before I go to bed. It may be all in my mind, but I swear it calms me down and I've been having killer dreams! Of course, I smell like a head shop, but I like it.

Okay, so this wasn't all spiritual and deep. But it's nice to climb into bed smelling good, in a nice, new tee-shirt.

It really is the little things, isn't it?

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