Website of the week
Whenever I have guests in town and am doing my perfunctory tour of the West Village (my neighborhood), I love to take them down my favorite part of Christopher Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues. Not only is this stretch incredibly charming and quintessentially "Village", it's also home to fabulous stores like Albertine, Brooklyn Handknit, and one of my favorites, Aedes De Venustas, whose website I only recently discovered. And it kicks ass. I love Aedes itself because it's a transporting experience--with so much good-smelling stuff and its luxe, dark interior, you almost forget you're in stinky ol' New York. Aedes stocks lots of fancy-schmancy European fragrance, skincare, home fragrance, and bath and body lines, from ones you know and love (Creed, Diptyque, Comptoir Sud Pacifique) to ones you've probably never heard of (Cote Bastide, Hierbas de Ibiza, Les Bains du Marais), many of which have been around for centuries. For cult fragrance lovers, there's L'Artisan Parfumeur, Damien Bash, and Nanadebary; for cult skincare lovers, there's grape-based Caudalie, the organic Doux Me, and the homeopathic Jurlique. Shopping is pretty easy; choose from fragrances, home fragrances, skincare, and bath & body, then shop by brand. I'm a huge fan of Jurlique's Rosewater Freshener, great for us sensitive-skin gals; I'm also a fan of this Aesop Rose hair & scalp masque. I'm intrigued by the cult fave Nanadebary perfume and its sexy bottle (great for your dresser), the Costes candle, and Damien Bash's entire line. Now, you're probably thinking, "This is all great, Cheryl, but you're missing a major point: How do I know how anything smells?" Which is an excellent question. For $15, Aedes will ship you seven fragrance samples of whatever you want (details to be read here). They can't send samples of candles, lotions, etc., but they do carry perfume versions of many, so ask for that instead. You also get seven free samples with any order, so you could get an old standby, like a Diptyque candle, and get your samples that way. (See how clever that is?) Um, or you could go to the store and smell the stuff yourself. Either option is equally fantastic and indulgent.

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