Monday, January 30, 2012

NYC Perfume Shopping Loveliness

*Current Fragrance: "Eau Rose" by Diptyque
*Currently Listening: "Come on Eileen" by Street Corner Symphony

This weekend (+ Thursday night & Friday), the husband and I ditched the kids (cats) and headed to NYC. We were going to visit our good friends Bartles and James - who are also of Southern ilk - and understand our view on so much; (view in my world generally will always = some good natured mocking) but since they have real jobs - Al and I stayed in a hotel Thursday night (plus we got in really late) & I went perfume shopping on Friday.

Between my husband's ninja-like hotel deal finding skills and the points he acquired from staying in Nebraska for work for three weeks in August/September, we were able to stay at the Staybridge Suites on 40th and 8th for the price of about 4.61538462 cocktails. It was a lovely little hotel, and even at full price a GREAT value for those of you planning trips to NYC soon. For a city that's supposed to have TEENY-TINY spaces, I couldn't get over the fact that the kitchenette had more counter space that the "actual kitchen" in my Boston apartment.

Friday we woke up to rain. Well, somewhere between drizzle and actual rain. I armed myself with light boots, my Burberry bag that zips completely, umbrella, a cheery chiffon-ish floral print dress, leggings, cardigan (the dress, leggings, cardi combo is turning into my "uniform" and I'm ok w/ it), cheery lime green scarf, and dabbed on some Superworld Unknown. After checking out of the hotel, bidding the husband adieu, I hopped in a cab and was off....

First stop: Diptyque

I wish I could have gotten a picture of the storefront, but I got there in the middle of a downpour. (NOT in the mood to pay to have my iPhone replaced). The store was so pretty and cozy. I wanted to just at one of the high-legged marble-y tables, sip on a cup of tea and watch the world go by. 1) That would have been quite inappropriate & 2) I was on a mission: Al's Eau Duelle - that he chose as his daytime fragrance; the result of his Christmas gift of 10 samples scent finding experiment & a candle. I've been wanting a Diptyque candle for YEARS! So, for this trip I put one in both the budget and on the list. I ended up with Baies. I THOUGHT I was going to LOVE The' (I know..I know...I need to learn the correct way to do accents on blogger...), but there was something just not right about it for the mood I was in. Both 34 Boulevard Saint Germain and Rosa Mundi were strong contenders, but I decided to go with one of the scents Diptyque is really known for in Baies; I mean roses and blackcurrant leaves, how lovely is that!?!

Both photos courtesy of

The vibe of the store was sophisticated but chill, and the sales associates left me to do my own thing after I replied to their "can we help you with anything?" question with "Oh, I'm just picking up some Eau Duelle for my husband and a candle for myself." (I mean, this is a TOTAL everyday occurrence in my life, right!?!) The SA that rang me up had super-awesome finger-waves in his hair that were held in place by slightly contrasting bobby pins; which made me smile!

Stop number two: Aedes de Venustas

Oh, oops! They don't open until noon and it's 11:20! Well, I can swoon over the beautiful window. Come on, any storefront with a white taxidermy peacock in the window HAS to hold untold wonders inside.

I have a thing for peacocks and delighted in the brightly colored one by the register on the inside as well.
I walk around the corner and think, "hmmm...some more coffee could be good..." (because the two cups I had already drank at the hotel were just not enough), look up, and I supposed summoned by my inner Bostonian, was a Dunkin Donuts. "No. No," I told myself, "when in, there are always like three seats in a Dunkin, and you're looking to hang out for 40+ minutes." I ended up at a sandwich shop two storefronts down from Dunkin with ample seating and completely decent iced coffee (the Bostonian in me again) and whiled away about 55 minutes.

Back to Aedes: I don't really know how I first heard about them. I do remember Al getting me a bottle of Oyedo from them (over the website) for my first birthday of our marriage; which was coincidentally my first bottle of niche perfume. Aedes has served as kind of this Perfume Shop Holy Grail in my mind for years, so I'm SURE I looked like a deer in the head-lights when I walked in. (As Al and I talked about in conversation yesterday, "you know...neither of us will EVER be the slickest person in a room...") I was on a mission of sorts at Aedes: 1) Purchase the refillable travel spray of my beloved Liaisons Dangereuses and 2) a list to get as many samples as possible. The store in RIDICULOUSLY beautiful on the inside, (the storefront is a good precursor) but for some reason it took me awhile to feel completely comfortable inside. I felt very "country come to town." I think, as most things I conjure like this, was all in my head. While looking in the Serge Lutens cabinet, and sniffing things on my list, the gentleman in the shop suggested Gris Clair and made a sample for me. Then my Burberry bag got vicious, and knocked over a candle that came CRASHING to the floor. Broken glass, unsaleable merchandise....WOW! Not only do I feel like crap about it, I feel MORTIFIED! Luckily, the gentlemen in the store were very nice about it, but I vowed two things to myself: 1) Don't ask for any more samples - you just cost the store money and they're being very nice about it - asking them for anything else free would bring you bad karma & 2) buy something else small. (Small Kathleen, SMALL!) I ended up with a copy of the visually very pretty book "Quintessentially Perfume".

Both photos courtesy of

** I had a lovely experience at Aedes, albeit somewhat overwhelming. I feel like shopping there needs to go one of two ways, 1) Go in, grab the bottle of what you need & go, or 2) Go in, with no preconceived plans, and get lost in the new and glorious smelling wonderment. Next time I visit, I'm going with way #2.

***I did walk out of Aedes loving both Tea for Two and Carnal Flower a lot more than I thought I did!

LUNCH TIME! I posed the question earlier in the day on Face Book for lunch recommendations in the NYU area. James suggested Chick-Fil-A, Bartles did some chowhound (I think) digging, and came up with Camaje Bistro. I ended up going with that since I would walk right past it. Small and love; I was the only patron at the time and enjoyed a cheese and charcuterie plate with a class of the house red to some Ella Fitzgerald playing in the background.

Next stop: Bond No. 9 Flagship Store

This was my most FUN shopping experience of the trek. I didn't walk in with a preconceived notion of what I wanted. I only put the following restrictions on myself, "You can buy something Kathleen, but ONLY a pocket spray or a solid perfume, no matter how much you may love something that's available in a bigger bottle!!!" (I'm glad I placed that restriction on myself, or I would have walked out with a bottle of New York Oud that smelled SO LOVELY on my skin!) The two SA's that I dealt with were just lovely. They were very excited and down to earth (read non-snobbish) and treated me with respect that I actually KNEW something about perfume. (So much so, I almost wanted to hug them as I was leaving! Yes..I'm huger.) The store was stunning and pretty big for boutique space. I ended up with a purse spray of Nuits de NoHo and a S$(T-ton of samples. I liked NDN for all the reasons I like Angel, and bought NDN because it didn't have the qualities that made me NOT love Angel. (Review of NDN coming later this week.)

After leaving Bond, I decided I was done perfume shopping (no Bergdorf's this trip), and was in the mood for ice cream! BIG GAY ICE CREAM SHOP IT IS! On my walk, I noticed this awesome building...I loved it enough for picture and blog posting.

Anyone know what building this is?
I want to move into the Big Gay Ice Cream shop & the shop owners to adopt me. SERIOUSLY!

I had the Salty Pimp: vanilla soft serve, dulce de leche, sea salt and chocolate dip. DELISH!

Yeah baby...I'm your Salty Pimp!

And so ends my perfume procuring expedition! The rest of the weekend was spent with the husband and dear friends, good food and drink and the resulting awesomeness and hilarity! The following are links of new to me NY things and a few repeats!

The Heidelberg Restaurant - Authentic German food and beer + adorable elderly men speaking German that melted my heart.

Barcade - Out in Brooklyn. Quarter-fed old school arcade games + a thoughtfully curated craft beer list.

Lobo - Also in Brooklyn, but quite possibly the best Tex-Mex I've ever had. EVER! Awesome white sangria, but my personal favorite is the jalapeƱo & serrano infused margaritas.

Ricky's - Nail polish is to James as perfume is to me. She described this place as "It's like if Sephora and Lady GaGa had a baby." I offered up "It's like Sally's Beauty Supply, but WAY hipper!"(I ended up adding four bottle of nail polish to my collection.)

Insomnia Cookies - Fresh cookies and milk, delivered to your doorstep from 9-3am! AWESOME!

Parlor Steakhouse - Brunch of supreme wonder.

*Currently Listening: "Grace Kelly" by The Wiffenpoofs

 ****Photos not otherwise credited are my own.

The kids upon our return, "Mom! Dad! Why the hell did you leave us & WHY do you smell like OTHER CAT!?!?"

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