Kemp It Up



Readers know I’m a huge fan of the Botánica – the Spanish-Afro-Carribean beauty-health-spiritual wellness shops that are found in Latin and West Indian neighborhoods, where resources are scarce and superstition is about all you got.  I grew up with these stores and I still believe they offer the only perfumes and soaps any girl could ever need.  At the top of the list are Florida Water and Rose Cologne by Lanman & Kemp.  

Lanman & Kemp was established in 1808 by Robert Murray at No. 313 Pearl Street in New York City (a couple of blocks from our apartment!) and was renamed Lanman & Kemp in 1861.  They moved around a few times – from Pearl Street and to William Street to Water Street in 1900, finally ending up in Westwood, NJ.

Their marquee item – Florida Water – has been made famous around the globe for its host of personal and household uses.  No doubt this is what made it so popular among the Cubans; we are notorious for using Windex and Vicks as absolute cure-alls.  Florida Water is an astringent, a lotion, a deodorant, a shaving aid, an insect bite / headache / nervousness remedy, a salve for sore muscles, a room freshener, a conscience-clearer, and a hair tonic.  It also looks quite chic on your dresser or in your medicine cabinet!   Read the rest of this entry »