LA Vaycay

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This Valentine’s day I spent the weekend in LA visiting friends and seeing my favorite band Sparks play at the Ace hotel. It was maybe the most ideal time to visit LA: the recent rains have spurred a fragrant greening of the hills, and the wintering songbirds gave the mornings a tropical feel. One of the best parts of the trip was my visit to the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City, a place I’ve been dying to see for years. It was incredible, like a Cabinet magazine come to life. There was a room dedicated to creepy superstitions (eating mice on toast to cure bedwetting?), TWO rooms of microscopes for tiny exhibits (one dedicated to Hagop Sandaldjian’s sculptures INSIDE the eyes of needles, and a row for Henry Dalton’s rococo floral collages made with individual butterfly scales) plus a rooftop garden with white doves and finches. I can’t recommend it enough. It reminded me a lot of Flutter. Note to self: more microscopes!
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The Sparks show was at the gorgeously renovated Theatre at the Ace, and the creme of LA was there (I wish I was better with faces, all those well-dressed silver foxes were certainly distant rock royalty). Waiting in the line, I couldn’t help but notice that almost everyone was decked out in killer vintage and fancy perfumes. Like, really unusual, fantastic perfumes. I definitely, positively smelled Rien by Etat Libre d’Orange, and I’m fairly certain Jasmin et Cigarette was there too. It’s funny how you can tell sometimes not what a perfume is but only that it is a very fine and distinguished scent. Chandler Burr would have died.

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I had an awfully friendly daiquiri at the poolside bar and watched the sun set over the city, then explored the nooks and crannies of the gold-on-gold Spanish Gothic theater (a sign on the wall of the ladies room said “Ms. Mary Pickford removed this mirror so, out of respect, we left it that way”). There was also this amazing sculpture in the lobby, her name is “Ladyfingers” by Kevin Will (photo by Spencer Lowell; not pictured: a posse of turquoise ceramic kittens). Sparks delivered a perfect set: their breakthrough album from 1974 in its entirety, played with a 38-piece orchestra… plus bonus material! It was heaven, if you like that kind of thing.

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The Fine Art of Perfume Selection

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We at Flutter happily peddle the soft vices: silk dresses, scented candles, rose flavored lip balm. The selection of these items usually happens pretty easily: You see the perfect crimson velvet armchair, it haunts you, you buy it, The End.
Perfume, however, is a slightly different story. Perfume is PERSONAL. It’s transformative. It can alter your mood. It can reduce stress. It can take you back in time. It can bother roommates or be the source of endless compliments, and it can cost a pretty penny.

Selecting a perfume can be tricky! I’ve seen people dazed, carrying around stacks of test strips, overwhelmed by the options. Or worse: they run out of places to spray, and leave the store smelling like tutti frutti forest. Hedonism is hard stuff! The quick and easy way to pick a scent is to sniff the sprayers of bottles that you think you might like (without spraying), and narrow the choice down to two, which you should spray on each wrist for a five minute test drive. Simple! If you feel you need more direction, or if you just need to get more cerebral about it, well, you’ve come to the right place.

The Flutter Guide To Perfume Selection.

So, you’d like to find yourself a nice little bottle of perfume. The first thing to consider is your intention: Are you looking to add a new scent to your perfume wardrobe, or searching for a seasonal scent, or an everyday scent? Maybe you’re looking for the ultimate seductive dress-up perfume, or maybe you’re hunting for your signature scent: the one by which you will be known and which will subconsciously define you to all you know (no pressure). There are “pick me up” fragrances, reflecting both meanings of the phrase. Whatever you are looking for, doing a little research first is a good way to avoid hedonic overload.

Take a moment to reflect upon what kinds of perfumes you like. Do you have a history with certain types of scents (woodsy, vanilla etc)? Did you appreciate particular perfumes or ambient smells when you were a child (baking cookies, or summer rain)? What are your favorite flowers, and are you one of those people who can’t stand cedar or lilies? Do you love your best friend’s perfume but don’t want to be a copycat? These are all good clues for you. Start a mental list: You like oriental spices. You love lilacs. You like the smell of birthday cake, but you yourself would not want to smell like it. You had an aunt who wore Samsara by Guerlain and you adored her. Those clues can help you when confronted with a triple tiered display of pretty bottles, but remember, some rules are just waiting to be broken.

A lot of people think they don’t like perfume, because it’s “too perfumey”. It’s like saying you don’t like art because it’s too arty. It’s really fun to show these skeptics scents that they love, or are at least intrigued by; I usually recommend the Vanilla Absolu or tobacco tonics for those folks first because they are so universally appealing, or maybe the Marine Sel by Tokyo Milk, which is a warm green summery scent, or the Jasmine et Cigarette, which is such a sultry surprise and a great introduction to the playful and evocative alchemy of scent.

Some people are romanced by the fruity floral scents, like Arboretum by Library of Flowers, or Kabuki by Tokyo Milk. These scents are optimistic, energetic, sweet. Falling Into The Sea is a gorgeous, Riviera-bright citrus scent with wayfarers on. The spicy florals like Cocoa Tamarind or Honey and the Moon have a little more edge, as does the sublime Osmanthus Oolong eau de parfum by Providence Perfume Co. I love a little resin and incense with my spice, and have always been drawn to woodsy scents. My favorite in High School was the peach perfume by the Body Shop mixed with rosewood essential oil. Mixing your own scents can be a lot of fun, and Tokyo Milk makes it super easy with their mini vial sets. Each set comes with three complimentary fragrances that can be mixed in various combinations. The best part is there are two vials of each scent, so you can split a set with a friend, or trade sets and have twice the combo power.

I won’t use the words feminine or masculine when describing perfumes, because truly it’s only the packaging that makes it so. That said, men tend to be drawn more to woodsy or tobacco-based scents (which are often a spin on vanilla and cider), or the smoky leather scents (Tom of Finland, anyone?). The Cobra and the Canary is a delectable, resinous bad-boy scent with a heart of gold. One of my absolute favorites is Rien, by Etat Libre d’Orange, which is a luxe blend of incense, rose, patchouli and black pepper. I don’t know if I want to wear it or marry it. Dedicated followers swear by the herbal edge of the Tokyo Dark scents, which incorporate big punchy notes like jasmine, blood orange or oakmoss for maximum intrigue. They are definitely in the “femme fatale” category, and at $38 for 1.6 oz, a really great deal.

All of this window-shopping and conjecture is an important part of the process, but the most relevant thing to consider about a scent is whether it suits you. Obviously, you have to like the way it smells, and the people in your life should probably not hate it (if they are on the fence, they might grow to like it simply because they like YOU, but if they hate it right off the bat you are in trouble). There’s the very real question of chemical compatibility, which can only be answered by a good old-fashioned skin test. If you really want to be thorough in your testing, try it on a few times throughout a typical month. It’s not unusual for diet, hormones and age to affect the way a perfume interacts with your skin, and that’s pretty awesome if you ask me. It’s almost as if you can personally take credit for how good a perfume smells on you, because it could smell very different on everyone else. I advise people to consider the tips in the paragraphs above beforehand to prevent overwhelm, and then narrow the choice down to two scents. Spray one on each forearm, and then walk around a bit. The initial smell will be a mix of the alcohol base (which evaporates very quickly) and the top notes, which can be very lovely and aromatherapeutic but are often ephemeral. The real smell of the perfume can be found about five minutes out, and it shouldn’t change much after that.

I hope this little rundown has been helpful. Reading about perfume is so hard; it really must be smelled to be understood, and no amount of forethought is going to change how you feel about a scent when you smell it. Your personal experiences, preferences, chemistry and evolutionary history have hard-wired you to have an olfactory opinion. I carry in my wallet a list of perfumes I’ve read about that I want to check out, and save up for the really good ones the way I would save up for a meal at a fancy restaurant or a new pair of shoes. Art is always worth it, because there is a kind of eternity that comes from living with appreciation for the senses.

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Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Gifts.

Why hello there, Flutter friends! I must apologize for the delay between posts- here at the shop we have been making the transition from winter to spring, which is now pretty much complete! Cindy closed the shop last Wednesday and filled the shelves, couches, and tables with plenty of new colorful products- new scents, new books, and plenty of new oddities.

In a couple of days I will be sharing a bunch of film photographs of the spring-ready shop, but for now, let us recognize that Valentine’s Day has just about arrived! Have you picked out the perfect something for your sweetie? Your honey muffin? Your kitten kaboodle? If not, take a peek at some of my own favorite picks for this sweet holiday. And then stop in for your last-minute gifts!

1. Abstract Seahorse Pillow ($62), 2. Tokyo Milk Sugar Bomb No. 112 Mix and Match Perfume ($18.50), 3. Nouveau Locket Earrings ($40), 4. Silhouette: The Art of the Shadow ($65), 5. Voluspa Panjore Lychee Candle ($7.50), 6. Sibley Backyard Birding Flashcards: 100 Common Birds of Eastern and Western North America ($14.99), 7. Tokyo Milk Marine Sel No. 54 Hand Cream ($18.50), 8. Key Hook Pillow ($48), and 9. Peacock Ring ($30)

Enjoy Valentine’s Day, whether it be romantically with your significant other or bitterly with a dear friend- see you all in a couple of days! xo, Summer

A Flutter Film & Two Gift Guides.

First, I must tell you all to watch this lovely little Flutter video, shot by local filmmaker Justin Koleszar

Doesn’t it just capture the shop perfectly? And oh, our sweet silly King, he does well in his moment of fame.

And now, more gift guides! Christmas is only four shopping days away, so come stop in the store, drink some free champagne and finish shopping for the men and women in your life with unique objects!

For the men…


1. Japanese Cinema ($35), 2. Compass Keychain ($8.50), 3. Red Army Cavalry Hat ($32), 4. Beetle Hook Pillow ($65), 5. “LOOKING FOR TROUBLE” Scrimshaw Horn Box ($32), 6. Cast Iron Jose Skull Bottle opener ($10), 7. Blackish Cicada Paper Weight ($12), and 8. Outlaws!: Adventures of Pirates, Scoundrels, and Other Rebels ($45)

For the ladies…


1. God Save The Queen Pillow ($58), 2. West Third Brand: Jardin d’Amour ($32), 3. Jane Necklace ($22), 4. Paper Cutting ($27.50), 5. Tokyo Milk Dead Sexy Hand Creme ($18.50), 6. Magnifying Glass Necklace ($22), 7. Voluspa Winesap Apple Spice Candle ($7.50), 8. Nudie Purse Mirror from Peru ($6.50), and 9. I Will Never Forget You…: Frida Kahlo to Nickolas Muray ($24.95)

Have a lovely pre-holiday week- I shall check-in again before Christmas arrives! xoxo

More Through the Camera Lens.

Hello and good evening. I hope all our readers had a very lovely Thanksgiving with plenty of food, friends, and family!

This is sort of a mini-post with few words, but plenty of pictures. I recently brought my clanky old film camera back into Flutter and clicked away. Here are fifteen of my favorites because I think they show all the beautiful colors inside the shop…

Here’s to a fantastic and glorious week- see you in a few days!

Painted Flutter.

I often find myself inspired while spending my Sundays at Flutter. Not only do I have some of my favorite music playing and get to meet some lovely folks, but there’s no denying that I am completely surrounded by beautiful things. Usually I find this inspiration being targeted to my camera, but this week I decided to do something a little different. During the few quieter moments in the shop, I broke out my sketchbook and doodled some of my favorite objects and garments. While curled up on my sofa during the evening (while watching some bad tv, I admit), I painted them in with watercolors.

Oh, pretty little things, I love thee. This coming week I’d like to pair some shop objects with some of my favorite old film stars. I have a feeling they’ll go together hand-in-hand.

It looks like it’s going to be a lovely weekend. I wish you all: cinnamon vanilla tea (my current favorite), warm apple crisp, a classic movie viewing with someone you admire, a great thrift store find, sweet scents, some bed reading, good crisp weather, flirtations, salted caramels, a cozy nap, bursts of inspiration, some ridiculous dance moves, and discovery.

Stop by and say hello- see you soon!

Fall at Flutter.

Fall has arrived at Flutter! When I came into work on Sunday, I was completely blown away by how different the shop looks. Cindy closed the shop for a day to bring in new products, take out some old ones, and completely rearrange everything. Let me tell you, it looks lovely.

There are so many new items coming in for Autumn and the holidays. New books, scents, household items, and novelties, as well as new vintage finds. There are a couple antique couches I just dream of curling up on at home with my cat and a cup of tea.

Now, let’s get ready for this heat to end and the leaves to change. This year I am welcoming fall with open arms.

New in the shop: my picks:

1 and 2. Tomas Casademunt and The Selby is in your place: two very inspiring photography and interior books. Full of color and the prettiest clutter.
3. New Tokyomilk roll-ons. Not only do they smell delicious, but they come packaged in pretty vials with corks. I’m such a lover of this company.
4. Tree identification matches. We have a few new matchbook boxes in stock, but these ones are my favorites. Simple & classic packaging for a home necessity.
5. Classic nudie postcards. I myself have already purchased three of these and they look perfect hung next to my canopy bed in my girly bedroom.
6. Horse bottle opener. It reminds me of a door knocker on a old pub.
7. More classic naked ladies, this time on little pocket mirrors. I can’t resist a little vintage sexiness to keep in my purse.
8. Devil acrobat toy. Just in time for Halloween, I’m pretty sure my little boys would love this.
9. I love Eleanor Grosch’s work, so I was quite happy to see a trunk filled with her notecards for sale.

Enjoy your week!

Summertime at Flutter.

Good afternoon! This is Summer, your new summertime Sunday shopgirl (I do like the way that sounds.) I must say, I am thoroughly enjoying spending my weekend time in Flutter, surrounded by lovely oddities, gorgeous dresses, and intoxicating scents. And of course, having long conversations with King the shop-cat… he has quite the nightlife when the lights in the store go out, believe me. The tales are epic!

First I’d like to share some photos I have been taking during my time at the shop. I love taking pictures, and Flutter seems to be the perfect place for inspiration, even if just snapped on my iPhone…





Ah, a lovely place to be. And now, some of my favorite new (non-vintage) items I have been absolutely loving (all currently available at Flutter):

1. Tokyomilk’s Dark Bittersweet perfume- one of the best smells ever. There’s nothing quite like smelling as if you’ve been endulging in the finest dark chocolate.

2. The beloved frog prince bottle opener. He just makes me smile.

3. These dried bugs in glass paperweights are both a little eerie and breathtaking.

4. The Encyclopedia of the Exquisite has been fabulous to flip through while at the register. Did you know crickets used to be prized pets and champagne manufacturing was once a very dangerous occupation due to bottles exploding?

5. Another Tokyomilk product I am loving: Kabuki shea butter lotion. It smells like sugared citrus fruit and jasmine flowers and leaves your hands soft as silk.

6. Photobooth Dogs. Dogs. In photobooths. Need I say more?

7. I want to take these alphabet discs and hang banners all around my house of fanciful words.

8. I love all the masks we have in the store, but for some reason, this bear is my favorite. His face reminds me of old drawings from The Three Little Bears. This would make a mighty fine photobooth prop.

See you next week, for a summertime circus post! Au Revoir!

PERFUME


I love perfume. It is such an easy pleasure: practically guilt-free, completely mood altering and indulgent. For pennies a day anyone can slip on this subtle second skin, causing people to lean in and breathe deep. Hardly a day goes by without someone telling me I smell great. I used to hate the smell of perfume, I just didn’t know what I was missing. I told Cindy I’d help her choose perfumes for the new shop, EDEN, and it blasted open a new dimension of perfumes for me. My desk sprouted a forest of tester vials, and for a few weeks I was just swimming in new scents. I would spend quiet evenings at home spritzing my wrists, smelling, taking notes. I wore a different scent every day for a month. I learned a thing or two.

1. There is definitely such a thing as an evening fragrance. I gave the super-sultry ‘a la nuit’ by Serge Lutens a test drive on the PSU campus, and I felt like I’d gone to school in a slip. Which could be awesome, I guess.

2. There are places you really ought not wear highly discernable fragrance. Like, a martial arts dojo on a Saturday morning. One of my favorites is so volatile, so intense that I can’t really wear it out in the world. It’s the perfume equivalent of a black satin ball gown (Samsara by Guerlain).

3. I have no allegiance to one scent or brand or type. Choosing a scent to wear in the morning is all about my mood, the season, what I have to do that day. It’s nice to have a wardrobe of options, BUT there is something to be said for having a signature scent. Once I tried on a perfume and immediately realized I’d made a mistake- it smelled EXACTLY like a friend of mine, and I was going to be seeing her later in the day. Smell is such an intense way to recall events or people. It’s because our olfactory bulbs are strongly linked with parts of the brain associated with memory and emotion. Last time I got hijacked by scent was when I was unpacking a box and my old scented Strawberry Shortcake doll was in there. Oh Hasbro, tugging my heartstrings!

4. “Artificial” chemicals in perfume are ok with me- in fact they can be completely amazing (and use literally tons less natural resources). I wouldn’t trust a lab to make a decent rose or other single note fragrance, but for a complex, 9-layer spice bomb with notes of frankincense, pine needles, thyme, honey and figs, evocative of a campfire on a windswept island… well, that takes a certain amount of alchemical magic; a mixing of essential oils, plant waxes and lab-made ingredients. Yes, please.

FAVORITES:


Jean-Marie Farina by French perfumers Roger and Gallet is one of the first Eau de Colognes ever made (the formula was perfected in 1806!). Bright and botanical, it’s extremely refreshing and perfect for summer. As crisp and classy as a Bombay gin and tonic. Their other scents are equally compelling (try the Bois d’Orange), and totally unisex. It’s at Flutter.

Matin d’Orage by Annick Goutal is a terrific floral. It was inspired by the smell of a Japanese garden after a storm, broken leaves and gardenia and orange blossoms whipped by the wind. It is beautiful and wearable, and smells especially good in warmer months. Cindy will carry it at the new store, Eden, as well as three more Goutal scents that have enormous reputations. Eau d’Hadrien might be the most popular scent in France.

Cocoa Tamarind by Voluspa never smells wrong, on anyone, ever. It is the most flattering, versatile perfume I have ever smelled, and is such a good deal (oh, Voluspa!). At Flutter.

Dead Sexy by Tokyo Milk. Ok, It was hard to choose, they have such a range of scents, and I love what they do. I don’t know if it’s necessarily my favorite, but it is a standout. One of the biggest perks of working at Flutter is deciding which scent to put on in the morning. We have more than 30 Tokyo Milk perfumes, so I don’t get tired of any one of them. Shout out to Kabuki, Marine Sel, Bittersweet and Marie.

Encens Mystic, a little roll-on solid perfume by a French company called Crazy Libellule. It smells like the Hagia Sophia must have smelled 300 years ago: smoky myrrh, beeswax, straw and pine needles. It kind of takes my breath away. Plus, it’s so portable and affordable. It’s at Flutter.

Sa Majeste La Rose by Serge Lutens. The rose is so maligned. Horrible caricatures of it exist everywhere, in cheap perfumes and all manner of scented products (lemon knows how it feels). A really good rose is so difficult and costly to procure that it seems to only exist in really high-end perfumes. The Lutens version is so lovely, it is the kind of rose you just want to stick your whole face in. It is GORGEOUS. At Eden.

Vanille Sauvage de Madagascar- I put this one here because it’s the one I get the most compliments on (usually from men who would say that they hate perfume). I like it even though it’s not edgy or complicated (maybe the art house perfumes have spoiled me). I am always drawn back to its simplicity and one-note perfection. At Flutter.

Choosing a perfume is so personal. They react with your unique chemistry, so what smells great on your best friend might be just awful on you, or it might be great in a different way. For this reason, you should never buy a scent untested. That means: actually sprayed on your skin. When I go into a store with a lot of options, I’ll sniff the decanters to get an idea, and narrow it down to four (or less) to actually try on. This is something I can’t do often, as it’s a real gamble- I have to go the rest of the day smelling like the combination of these four, and it might be horrible. I’ll put one on each wrist and one on each shoulder, or the bend of my elbow, so they each have an anatomical zone to themselves to work their special magic. I save this kind of experiment for a trip to The Perfume House on Hawthorne. I can’t recommend that place enough.

Most perfumes will have a spectrum of scents, starting with the first spray (heavy on the alcohol until it evaporates, unless it’s a roll on). That’s what they call the “top note”, and they’re typically the brightest, most volatile aspects of the scent. Wait a minute or two, then smell it again… the middle notes are emerging. They are considered the heart of the perfume, and they are most noticeable after the smaller molecules of the top notes evaporate. These components combine with the heavier molecules, typically resinous or powdery smells. They’re the ones that are good at sticking around to create the lasting impression of the perfume, called the dry down. The dry down is the character of the scent after it dries, like maybe a full hour later. It might be a completely different scent. You may love the dry down, or you might decide you need a long shower. I’ve scrubbed and scrubbed my wrists, and there are some tenacious elements that really linger, usually the ones I can’t stand. Luckily, in the morning it’s usually gone and I can start the adventure all over again.

Happy Spring!

It’s starting to look more like Spring outside, with the Cherry Blossoms blooming, and the sun peeking out once in a awhile! This is my favorite time of year because it’s so beautiful and fresh when the flowers explode across the city and the weather gets a bit warmer.  We are in full swing at Flutter with lots of new fragrances and home decor, books and novelties that will put a spring in your step!
We love our apothecary at Flutter so much that we have been expanding it this season, to include more of your favorites! The fragrance line by Mor has been in our clutches for awhile, and we could not be more excited about all of the new scents.  The packaging is delightful and the perfume oils, to die for in unique combinations.
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Mor Lychee Flower Perfume Oil

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My personal favorite-Snow Gardenia!
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Mor Fragrance oil in Cassis Noir-Cinnamon Leaf, black current and Bulgaria Rose mixed with a hint of Jasmine
velvet pillow
Sea Foam velvet pillow, so luxurious and happy for Spring
paper treasure
The Chelsea, handmade necklace by Paper Treasure
butterfly paper weight
Real Butterfly paper weight
Relax and enjoy the weather, catch up on reading, or sending postcards.  It’s the best time of year to bring in the new!
insect pillow
Hooked insect pillow

Cartes Postales
Carte Postales-Beautiful reproductions of vintage cards from a Parisian flea market
Roses Book
The Roses, a beautiful book of botanical illustration.