GLAM: I used to work in a boutique in Newark, Delaware called Bloom, and every time I visit the First State, I have to go see Mimi and have her show me all the cool new things she has to tempt the dollars out of my wallet and into her antique cash register.
Working as a Bloomer was so much fun, even if it spawned a debilitating addiction to antique Dutch dough bowls and Chinese rice baskets, hand-made designer apparel, and wickedly expensive but totally gorgeous hand-made jewelry. Taking such unabashed pleasure in things is often seen as frivolous or shallow, especially in a recession, but Mimi taught me that there’s really something to be said for surrounding yourself with objects you love and sharing them with other people (okay, fine– selling them at boutique mark-up… but still!). Taking real pleasure in your environment and treating it as a work of art can change your attitude. Since working at Bloom, I’ve lived in three apartments in three different states, and each one felt like home the instant I pulled out my collections of Beloved Objects and surrounded myself with them. I am not a person who has any hope of ever having a lot of disposable income, but I think that makes adding to my collections such a pleasure– I have to really love something if I am going to go through the effort and economy of saving up to buy it, so when I do, it’s incredibly satisfying.
Every time I went to Bloom to work, I spent a good fifteen minutes smelling all of the candles and tarting myself up with Mistral hand cream, spritzes of Elizabeth W perfume (Sweet Tea and Leaves were my favorite scents), and dotting on samples of lipgloss and shimmery blusher, and often Mimi herself would pull some delicate gold-and-coral or silver-&-Swarovski concoction of a necklace from the jewelry case for me to wear during my shift, just to show it off. I can’t tell you how many necklaces I sold off my own neck, nor how many times I fell in love with a McCoy planter or pair of ceramic doves and then somehow managed to sell the damn things within twenty minutes of resolving to take them home. I miss the shop really often. It smelled so good in there and the stock was this strange, shifting collage of things Mimi found beautiful. It really was–and is– a work of art.
On my most recent visit to Newark, Mimi’s newest addition was an array of Lollia perfumes and hand cremes on a tiered display of vintage ceramic cake platters, and I fell in love with the Imagine scent the moment I sprayed it. The stuff actually smelled better when it hit my skin, a phenomenon that has only ever happened once before, with L’Occitane’s Honey and Lemon perfume, and in my book justifies immediate purchase. I highly recommend both the perfume and the super-rich hand creme, and there are a bunch of scents to choose from. Imagine apparently smells like “flowering willow & lotus,” whatever that means. To me it smells floral and fresh first and then finishes with a clean water scent. But however you describe it, it’s fabulous!
DIRTY: [Disclaimer: This is the TMI portion of this post. Some content in this section may not be suitable for all readers. Proceed at your own risk.]
I just wrote a poem about necrophilia. I’m not kidding. I didn’t set out to do such a thing, but the writing veered wildly toward the Sick and Chilly somewhere around draft three, and now I feel like I need a shower. Especially since I think this might be the first good thing I’ve written in awhile… and I’m excited enough about writing again that I doubt I’m feeling the level of disturbed that I perhaps should. You know, I really believe that writing is an act of empathy…but maybe that empathy can go a little too far. In the mean time, I’m dousing myself with Imagine & hoping it inspires less creepitude in my next poem.
DIRTYGLAM:Karen O is so my fave dirtyglam girl; I freaking love the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ newest album, It’s Blitz! Approximately one bazillion years ago, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was in college (remember college?), a couple friends and I went to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs play the 9:30 club in DC, which may be trumped only by the Black Cat in tiny, dirty, the-lead-singer-is-going-to-spit-Heineken-on-you-inadvertently-or-otherwise clubness. As if I hadn’t already been half in love with Karen O on the merits of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ white-hot-at-the-moment album, Fever to Tell, her cracked out, acrobatic performance at the 9:30 club–complete with multiple inadvertent Heineken-spitting instances and much incoherent, mush-mouthed mumbling into the mic — clinched it. She was wearing some kind of silver and blue cellophane-looking leotard/tutu get-up and her hair stuck up in cowlicks the sweatier she got and she was completely gorgeous. I resolved on the spot (to no notable success) to be her when I grew up.
To me, she is the perfect combination of fuck-you punk and naked sincerity. She’s furious and vulnerable, loud and delicate. The albums are almost always an odd but oddly satisfying melange of angry and lovely, and I find myself able to listen to them repeatedly without getting sick of them (and by repeatedly, I mean, till my iPod spontaneously disassembles itself rather than play the album again). I like a good, complicated hero/heroine singing stories to me, and the way dear Karen oscillates from the growling, combative fury of songs like “Heads Will Roll” and “Dull Life” and the ethereal vocals that open “Soft Shock” or when she quavers out “skeleton me / love don’t cry” on “Skeletons” is compelling. Not only because of her expressive range as a vocalist, but also because listening feels a little like the strobing, manic, halogen-glow seizure of being wasted at a club and swinging wildly between emotional extremes…without, you know, any need to dial 911 at the end of the night or the collateral damage of a relationship ending unceremoniously after you fling your vodka neat in someone’s face.
I love that she can be all these things at once, fabulously complicated, glittery and sweaty and lovely and weird. X to the O.