Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Alchemy of Wandering

Yesterday I was wandering where I was not supposed to be. In Henri Bendel. No longer shopping for sport I have found the easiest way to keep temptation at bay is to stay out of the stores completely in much the way a heavy smoker goes cold turkey to get things under control. But I needed some makeup and while I might have cut back on the number of manicures I get these days, I have not yet resorted to making those purchases in Duane Reade.

If you know Bendel’s, makeup is pretty much confined to the first floor which doesn’t explain how I managed to get to the third. Except to say, once in the store, I threw caution to the wind. It is after all Spring and I felt the need to meander, just to see what was new for the season. I could look. I could even touch if I so desired. I didn’t have to go home with anything.

I stumbled upon an exhibit that opened this past Saturday on Living Perfume. Having always harbored a fascination with fragrance, even having a character in the works for another novel stashed away that has a thing for the mystery of scent, I was intrigued.

Living Perfume, I discovered is an exhibit of the natural alchemy of Mandy Aftel. A major distinction between this and other perfume is the use of natural ingredients. While I am never sure if I can taste the difference between an organic orange and one shot up with chemicals, there was no doubt that my nose distinguished a marked difference in the comparison of the natural, more inviting essence to the harsher, synthetic one.

If you don’t believe me, I invite you to take the guided tour I was offered by the very knowledgeable and passionate young woman who was representing the Aftelier brand and smell for yourself. The exhibit is open through May 11.

But my point today is about more than an interesting, well designed exhibit. It is about what the Universe seems to be pulling me to again and again. Once more I found myself listening to the story of a woman who had a passion and from that created a vibrant and thriving business. Mandy Aftel who sees herself as entrusted with a sacred art, built a business on a mixture of natural essences and centuries old methodology.

As if that was not enough, it turns out this was also another wink as to how interconnected we all are to each other. I learned later that the design of the interactive event was led by Brandimage-Desgrippes & Laga which just happens to be run by an old friend of mine I had not spoken with in a while.

What I thought was yesterday’s rendezvous with temptation turned out to be the Universe reminding me to continue to pursue my own passions and trust the rest will come.

I left Bendel’s with my Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer, a brochure on the exhibit and a promise to be back. I also left learning something about me and my sport shopping. Perhaps I can reinvent that a bit too. I don’t have to deny myself the indulgence of wandering and letting my senses take it all in. But I also don’t have to open my wallet immediately. I can prolong the experience and when I am ready to splurge on a Mandy Aftel scent I can and will go back.
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