A Shopping Treat: Babalu, Miami

Miami Best Shopping

Babalu

It’s a rare treat when you find a retail experience that excites you with seemingly simple items like toothpaste. Anyone who’s had a ball at the original Babalu Miami location on the famed 1111 Lincoln Road, one of the world’s most renowned retail and dining spots designed by Herzog & De Meuron, understands Babalu is no ordinary store.
We like it because it’s a glamorous conceptual twist on the ubiquitous hotel sundries shop, the curated selection begins with classed-up, sassed-up basics at a high design level —think crème de la crème of categories as common as toothpaste and chewing gum. All perfectly finished off with Babalu’s signature deluxe gift wrap program. If Babe Paley and the other society swans got together to open a convenience store, this would be the place.
shopping in miami

Shhh… it’s a best kept shopping secret

It brings out the kid in the candy store as a true point of discovery with a continually evolving brand assortment and merchandising concept. A typical visit may offer Missoni, Comme Des Garcons, Alexandra von Furstenberg and Paul Smith, among other coveted brands, as well as emerging and exclusive designers. Merchandise weaves in organic apothecary products, resort wear, fine and costume jewelry, hair accessories, small leather goods, travel, sunglasses, fragrances, books, house wares, pet items, beach towels and gifts from big-ticket purchases to a little something special for one’s host.
comme des garcon perfume

Just a few unique fragrances on display

Owners Greg Melvin and Paolo Ambu also use their talents to create the signature Perfume Bar featuring the whos-who in the industry: Humiecki & Graef, Carner Barcelona, Montale, Mona di Orio, Mancera, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, which is one of the most sought-after scents by the same nose behind Dior and Gaultier fragrances,Mark Buxton, who created Comme des Garcons’ perfumes, and Amouage, which was custom made for the Sultan of Oman. Scented home lines include Fornasetti Profumi, Costes, Ex Voto Paris and Europe’s oldest candle maker Cire Trudon.
miami

I don’t know what these are (lighters?), but I want them!

John Rawlins, the former creative director for retail design at Bergdorf Goodman who designed the original Babalu, was brought on board to also design the Palm Beach location. And shoppers aren’t the only ones enjoying themselves. Melvin and Ambu have made it their mission to source stylish, fresh, often wild, wares. They couldn’t be happier partaking in a lifelong shopping spree.
Power-packed grab-and-go sophistication, for you, the sassy kid in the candy store.

Aromatic Journeys: Awaken Your Senses

AQUA CANCUN

Stroll past two sparkling white Rolls Royce Phantoms through the sliding glass doors into paradise. Inlakesh. That’s how the staff of this ultra-chic Cancun resort greets you. In Mayan it means, “We are different faces of each other.” And this is what it means to ‘Feel AQUA.’ At peace and one with the environment. From the custom aromatic oils pumped throughout the hotel to Watsu treatments, Ashtanga Yoga, Regional Cooking Classes and your choice of two superb restaurants, Siete and MB, home to James Beard Winner, Michelle Bernstein’s stellar boite…

This certainly ain’t your parents run-of-the-mill Cancun resort. Think the W’s modish elegance meets Ritz-Carlton’s flawless service. Fans include the likes of Paris Hilton, Kim Cattrall, and… me. When they say awaken your senses, they truly mean it. Right down to a nightly choice, delivered straight to your room, of six aromatic oils blended specifically for the hotel.

http://www.feel-aqua.com

Intoxicating, sensual, and unique. Just like you. Sure, anyone who’s anyone knows about the Four Seasons Resort Maui, but do they also know about their brand-spankin’ new demi-blending scent analysis?

FOUR SEASONS RESORT MAUI at WAILEA

Through a discussion with your mélanger, along with an in-depth computerized test, personalized perfume sessions target elements of your personality and aspects of your health that directly affect the scents – and senses – you’re drawn to. Ajne Rare & Precious, the expert all-natural and organic essential oil perfumerie out of Carmel, California, is run by husband and wife duo, Jane Hendler and Rex Rombach, and Handler personally trains each mélanger at the Four Seasons Resort Maui to guide you during your prêt-à-porter fragrance consultation.

Hendler is one of the few accredited Certified Master Essential Oil Therapists in the nation and has been called the ‘Star Perfumer’ by US Weekly. Some of her clients have included Jessica Biel, Reese Witherspoon, Alanis Morrisette and Rob Lowe. In addition to owning their own lavender farm in Carmel Valley, Jane and Rex work with small growers from around the world to obtain the organic and sustainably-harvested fruit, flower, leaf, grass, wood, lichen, fungi and spice oils that Jane transforms into parfum, lotions and skin care preparations in her Carmel laboratory boutique. Hand-blending each formula to a customer’s specific needs, Handler also developed a signature scent for Four Seasons Resort Maui, Palena`ole, available at the Spa’s retail.

Custom blend and consultation from $250

http://www.fourseasons.com/maui/

So bring the sweet smell of vacation home with you.
OJAI VALLEY INN

Feel like a guided aromatic meditation? Might we recommend a personal aromatherapy session with Renate, the on-site Artist-in-Residence, at the Ojai Valley Inn’s Artist Cottage and Apothecary? This German beauty will guide your senses through a holistic journey of self-discovery in a variety of media, whether it’s pottery, painting, drawing, wreath-making, or, my personal favorite, scent. Allow for time alone or share the experience with your family and friends. I had the pleasure of being guided through an afternoon of aromatic self-discovery with my husband – who just happened to develop my current favorite anointment he lovingly called ‘Orchard Floor.’ It was the perfect experience to end a perfect birthday weekend. Each scent is composed of essential therapeutic oils which you can also introduce into lotions, gels and creams that will carry your own name. Also worth mentioning… The Personal Mandala class, another Signature Ojai Experience, recommended at times of transition or when seeking clarity. Quiet and introspective, with insightful feedback from your instructor, these sessions reveal a deeper meaning to what lies on the paper.

From $150

http://www.ojairesort.com

Carry It On: The Trance Journey


I have a love/hate relationship with perfume. As a child, I was obsessed with those beautiful tiny bottles filled with obscure scents from France with names like Ma Liberte and Le Nuit de Noel. Occasionally, I’d dream of moving to Grasse to become a professional perfumer (also affectionately called ‘le nez’ or ‘the nose’). I’d imagine myself picking gardenias in the fields of Provence or standing around in a lab coat as I skillfully nodded ‘yes’ or wrinkled my nose ‘no.’ As I got older, I quickly realized that my nose was likely too sensitive – most perfumes actually made me want to retch.

That is… until I received some samples of the most delicious smelling perfume this side of the Hollywood Hills.

TRANCE ESSENCES.

With names like PINK KAT and WHYTE RABITT, they might *sound* like a hippie’s wet dream, but don’t let that fool you. With six hand-blended fragrances they really do ‘tempt the olfactory senses and send the mind on wonderful journeys.’ And you know how much Jaunt loves a good journey.

What we like best?

They don’t make us sick, they smell divine, they have interesting unique names, and each scent carries an equally unique mantra (that actually smells just like the description on the bottle).

“Natural fragrances of all kinds have always been intoxicating for me,” says founder, Janna Sheehan. “The earthy smell of dirt after a rain shower, a freshly mowed lawn, fresh orange blossoms, and flourishing flowers, but why couldn’t I find a fragrance that I could wear without feeling sick?”

Ditto, Janna! Dit-to!
Confused by this phenomenon and tired of forcing herself to withstand nausea, she gave up. She headed two hours north to Ojai where a bit of divine intervention met her confusion. “Demystifying the perfume “why” phenomenon happened to me when an eccentric Ojai friend revealed that she was a perfumer,” Janna reveals. “She created an elixir especially for me that smelled so pure and clean. It didn’t smell like traditional perfume, because it wasn’t—it was made with essential oils.”

Clarity followed.

For the next two years, they blended up to 25 different essential oil and perfume combinations to make Trance Essence nectars. She called them ‘journeys’ as they evoked the trips she wanted to take with each inhale. London in the sixties; down a rabbit hole; a hot, Moroccan nightclub in the summer; a Chinese garden of citrus at dawn; the Indiana woods after rain; and an exotic gardenia and rose garden from a childhood story. The result? Six complex and alluring Trance fragrances that will take you on a trip whether you’re stepping into the boardroom… or boarding a plane. Trance Essence ‘Journeys’ include:

- CHEN XI – A Mandarin Garden At Dawn
– GENIE IN A BOTTLE – A Sultry Moroccan Nightclub In Summer
– ABBEY ROSE – The Rambunctious Streets of London In The 60’s
– HAIL MERRI – A Dewy Forest After Rainfall
– WHYTE RABITT – Down A Psychedelic Rabbit Hole Where Time Stands Still
– PINK KAT – A Gardenia and Rose Garden From Childhood

Word on the Hollywood streets: Goldie Hawn bought the entire line for her daughter, Kate Hudson, Pamela Anderson wears PINK KAT, and Cher… what else? She anoints herself with HAIL MERRI.

FYI – The collection is a first run so only 200 bottles of each perfume and 200 candles of each scent are available!

From $52 – $103
Sold at Planet Blue in Malibu and Venice, Fred Segal in Santa Monica

http://www.tranceessence.com