Just in time for the new year: the jasmine is starting to bloom! If I were a person to make New Year’s Resolutions, I would resolve to take more time to smell the jasmine (roses are fine, but jasmine is divine). But I do not need to make a resolution like that; our jasmine is strategically planted so it can be smelled while we’re sitting on the porch and it blooms around L.A. throughout the year. When I’m away from the blooms, I wear perfumes scented with jasmine and only truly natural jasmine. (Quick green living rant: synthetic fragrances are made of nasty and toxic chemicals. Also, synthetic means fake and why on earth would you want to wear something fake?) One of my favorite splurges of recent years was the jasmine solid perfume by Aftelier, which is packaged in a silver compact and fits in my makeup bag so I never have to leave home without it and I can dab a little behind my ears for a whiff of the most beautiful scent anytime I want a little lift.
The “Herculean Woman” exhibit at the Getty Villa featured a case of ancient and beautiful vessels for cosmetics and perfumed oils (and the painting above showing cherubs making perfume!). I have a collection of a few dozen old perfume bottles and a handful of cosmetic compacts, but mine come from flea markets, thrift stores and eBay. None are from B.C. but I’m fond of them all, especially the old bottle of Evening in Paris—the one that started my collection. The story behind it: My father was invited to my mother’s sixteenth birthday party and asked my grandmother for a ride; when he told her where he was going, she insisted on first bringing him into town to pick up a last-minute gift and she helped him select a bottle of Evening in Paris perfume. (Is it any wonder I am a romantic?) Most of the bottles in my collection are empty or contain perfumes that are no longer wearable (or ones I wouldn’t wear anyway), but I love them for their sizes and shapes and designs. I can only imagine the scents once placed in some of the bottles on display at the Getty and love to think they are timeless and made of scents revered through the ages, like the ones I like to wear today: naturally made (without nasty chemicals) and intoxicating. I’d expect nothing less for a goddess.
Another impressive statue at the Getty Villa: Roman god Mercury (Greek god Hermes), who is shown wearing wings strapped to his ankles and a flower on his sole (because the messenger could travel so fast his feet didn’t touch the ground). In other words: the coolest sandals ever. As a former track runner, I’m fond of the winged foot as a symbol. I also happen to be a devotee of the sandal, especially the flip-flop. My collection more than tripled when I moved to LA and I’m continually tempted by new styles. Seeing Mercury in the Getty garden definitely got me thinking. I’ve got a few sandals in the gladiator style—but none with wings. I’m not necessarily looking for shoes to give me god-like speed or abilities, but I do like the style and would have loved to find a pair of winged sandals in the gift shop. No such luck, and a quick web search for sandals with wings was also fruitless. Close as I could get: flip-flops with a cute wing print and a pair by K. Jacques St. Tropez with a winged thong design. Although a pair like Mercury’s isn’t at all practical for mere mortals, simply adding a sole would be enough. I’d be sold.