Alexandra Balahoutis: Botanical Perfumer + Founder, Strange Invisible Perfumes

Alexandra Balahoutis: Botanical Perfumer + Founder, Strange Invisible Perfumes

An Abbot Kinney A-List That Makes Perfect Scents

ELAINE SAYS: Full Disclosure...I'm not generally a perfume lover...or even wearer. Headaches. In fact, I've been known to bring some very pretty sweaters to Good Will because they absorbed someone's perfume and I couldn't get rid of the heavy, synthetic smell. I've just always been an unscented kinda girl. Which is why my visit to STRANGE INVISIBLE PERFUMES on Abbot Kinney Boulevard was such an, "i love my job" kind of experience. Alexandra Balhoutis is an absolute artist. Her botanical fragrances are gentle, 100% natural....entirely wearable. In fact, I lingered for an hour, testing nearly the entire line and left feeling as good as I did when I arrived. I must confess to finding Alexandra and her olfactory expertise, completely fascinating as well. She grew up in the Hollywood Hills and identified her gift early but rejected a traditional education in favor of the less travelled, botanical variety. Ultimately, developing quite a sophisticated and artistic offering. For a hefty price tag, she will create a bespoke fragrance. However, the rest of us can still enjoy and gift her lovely scents, including one of my favorites, "Essence of IX". She's also just launched her new, Bath and Body collection which...Mother's Day Alert...is another wonderful gift idea. Today, she shares her love for a boulevard nearly as intriguing as she is. She eloquently describes this creative hotbed of Venice as having "...refined sensibilities and bohemian ideals,"...perfection. Enjoy Alexandra's Abbot Kinney.

ONLINE FINDS:
      1. Beautiful Bags: Kendall Conrad Design kendall conrad handbagsVISIT WEBSITE | LOCATION: Kendall Conrad Design, 1121 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice [Abbot Kinney] I love Kendall’s designs. Everything is made in here in the U.S., which I especially appreciate. I’m particularly obsessed with The Narcisa II bag in black suede and The Vaquera cuff in black leather. Kendall Conrad bags are so authentic, chic, and discreet, not to mention highly addictive.
      2. An Absolute Treasure: L. Frank Jewelry l frank ringVISIT WEBSITE | LOCATION: L. Frank 1116 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice [Abbot Kinney] Liseanne Frankfurt is ultimately my favorite jewelry designer. Her designs are exquisite, hand made, so distinctive, and have an expressiveness and sincerity I cannot get enough of. I adore her esthetic. I particularly love her new hinge bracelet. She does it in yellow, rose, and white gold, which is refreshingly not rhodium plated.
      3.  Favorite Shoe Source: Mona Moore mona mooreVISIT WEBSITE | LOCATION: Mona Moore 1112 Abbot kinney Boulevard, [Abbot Kinney]This is where I buy my shoes… all of them! I’m especially in love with Balenciaga, Marni, Marsèll, and sunglasses by The Row.
      4. An Arresting Retail Resource: Heist heist laVISIT WEBSITE | LOCATION: Heist 1100 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice [Abbot KinneyI love this store. Everything is perfectly chosen for my lifestyle. I always try to get there early in the season, so that I can get the best pieces by Gregory Parkinson, Isabel Marant, and Gary Graham.
      5. A + R a+ r storeVISIT WEBSITE | LOCATION: A+R 1121-1 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice [Abbot Kinney] This is such an amazing shop for gifts! I just bought this amazingly beautiful teepee for my nephew, Zio. They have cool gadgets, jewelry, things for the home and kitchen. It is such a clever concept.
LOCAL FAVES
    1. Pamela Barish pamela barishVISIT WEBSITE | LOCATION: Pamela Barish 1327 1/2 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice [Abbot Kinney]I love Pamela’s dresses. You could be having the plumpest day of your life and then put on one of her exquisitely tailored, fitted dresses and feel like a pin-up. No designer I can think of knows how to design for the female shape like Pamela. I love that you can buy off the rack or have things customized. My favorite dresses in the collection at the moment are the Giulietta in black and the Maria in lace.
    2. Gjelina Take Away gjelinaVISIT WEBSITE | LOCATION: Gjelina 1429 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice [Abbot Kinney]The lamb sausage pizza is my gold standard for pizza. Gjelina Take Away is just down the road from my office, so I get it once a week for lunch. The service is fast and the pizzas are always delicious and piping hot.
    3. Ado Restaurant adoVISIT WEBSITE | LOCATION: Ado 796 Main Street, Venice [Main Street] My whole family is understandably obsessed with exceptional Italian food. I love Ado’s intimate, tucked away, neighborhood atmosphere. I never fail to order the watercress salad. It is beyond heavenly. I also love the steak with Barolo and truffle butter sauce.
    4. Saipua Soaps saipua SoapsVISIT SAIPUA WEBSITE | BUY LOCALLY: Saipua Soaps at Strange Invisible Perfume 1138 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice [Abbot Kinney]These gorgeously scented and wrapped natural soaps are my favorite hostess gifts. We sell them at my boutique in Venice and they are always a big hit. I like that they are handmade in Brooklyn.
    5. Arp arpVISIT WEBSITE | LOCATION: Arp 8311 1/2 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles [Mid Wilshire]While not an Abbot Kinney find Arp is still a fabulous one. Arp carries exquisite jewelry and objects. Ted Muehling, Lola Brooks, Nicole Landaw, and Gabriella Kiss are a few of the artists whose collections can be found there. My favorite at the moment is Maria Beaulieu, whose simple, yet distinctive designs showcase exceptional stones. I love her large colored gem studs.

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