Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Merz Apothecary: exploring one of Chicago's hidden shopping gems

I had to head downtown to a dancewear store to pick up some equipment for my daughter, who is away in the wilds of Michigan, where jazz shoes don't grow on trees.

I decided to walk, because Weight Watchers is crazy about walking. Seriously, I could spend the same amount of time on an elliptical, and I'd earn fewer points than I do walking to do my chores.

Weight Watchers is sneaky. #thanksOprah.

I briefly considered pulling a bird and snapping pictures of everything with my iPhone. In my three miles of walking, I went from residential to art deco skyscrapers to parks with famous statuary to the jeweler's district and finally, the Loop. I was right under the El. It was incredibly picturesque, in a film noir kind of way.

I restrained myself because it was a cloudy day. I'm not a native Chicagoan; I'm a transplant. As a result, I'll sell my city with all the fervor of a new religious convert. And that won't work if I make it look like a gray blur.

I did capture these

These are dance shoes. Aren't they fabulous? Look at those Louis heels. Ginger Rogers would love these. I picked one up, and the soles are incredibly light and flexible ... and I'd ruin them in a second. They're really designed to be worn on stage.

On the way home, I walked up Wabash and was passing The Palmer House when I remembered that there's a branch of Merz Apothecary in the hotel's arcade.

If you're an inveterate soap sniffer like me, you've simply got to visit.

The soap stretches on for miles. Continents, really.

Anyone can carry Yardley's Lavendar; Merz has all the flavors.

You can find something for your sweetie for Valentine's Day.

Or perhaps you need something for yourself. How about some pomade?

Or a travel size Dr. Bonner's soap?

How about a big tin of Nivea, the real German kind, with cute wintry pictures?

Concerned that your armpits aren't pretty enough? Merz can help.

Or how about something from the wall of niche fragrances?

This is where they keep the really good stuff.
Of course, it really is an apothecary. It's not all glamour. They have hot water bottles and Persil and herbal infusions. But I was planning to buy some Kombucha on my way home, and that is quite enough holistic health care for one day, as far as I'm concerned.

But you're wondering what I bought.

Not that much.

clockwise from top: Kneipp eucalyptus bath salts from Germany, black licorice coins from Holland, a plastic brush for scrubbing the scalp, a sleep mask, real German Nivea, and cuticle scissors.

I definitely stayed in the not-very-glamorous part of the store.

But I sniffed Diptyque's latest limited edition candle: a Rosaviola fragrance with special packaging designed by Olympia Le-Tan.

And I zoomed in on the niche fragrances.

I'm currently testing Penhaligon's Bluebell

and Iris Prima, one on either wrist.

They're both lovely.

I might have bought more, but Mr. Buxom called me. He was leaving work, so we met on State Street. We walked back to the condo together, stopping at Jewel for bread, milk, and my Kombucha. 

Merz Apothecary has two brick-and-mortar locations in Chicago, and is online at  

I feel silly saying this, but I realize this reads like a sponsored post. It isn't. I just really like the store.


Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.