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Hand Engraving on Luxury Fragrances for Hermès and Burberry - A Look Into Valentine's Day and March Live Events at Nordstrom Chicago

After an expected slow start to the year, my February has picked up and I am booked and busy all the way into March. For Valentine's Day, I was booked for a live engraving event at Nordstrom for Hermès at Oakbrook as well as two events downtown at their Michigan Avenue location. I have worked at both locations several times over the past year and a half and am now familiar with the stores and some of the staff which makes the experience that much better. It is so nice to see familiar faces which also comes with an understanding of how we work together which is beneficial to everyone - including the client. Working together, we are able to create a truly one-of-a-kind and personalized luxury experience for everyone who purchases a bottle and has it engraved onsite.

Hand Engraved Florals on Un Jardin A Cythere Fragrance by Hermes by Amanda Elliott Letters from Elliott Iowa Chicago Midwest Calligrapher Engraver Luxury Live Event Artist

My day started early as I traveled from home to the Chicagoland area for my first event that began at noon. I like to arrive at least 15-20 minutes early to get set up, use the restroom, and be ready to go on time. I always stop at the same place on my way there and grab a bite to eat and a diet coke for sustenance. I tend to get a little shaky if I don't eat something so even though I am not a breakfast person and tend to eat a late lunch, I make myself eat. Shout-out to Sweetgreen at Oakbrook for making delicious and nutritious salads for me to scarf in my car before each live event. After my car picnic and quick trip to the ladies room - I am ready to set up my workspace for the day and get busy hand engraving on luxury fragrances! The store had a several sample/tester bottles they wanted me to engrave on so I started with those and had fun being creative and adding elaborate designs in between engraving for clients. This was my first time working for Hermés and their fragrance bottles, just like all of their products, are so beautiful. I had a great day engraving and was able to help several clients with a special, personalized, one-of-a-kind gift for their Valentine.

Hand Engraved Florals on Twilly d'Hermes Fragrance by Amanda Elliott Letters from Elliott Iowa Chicago Midwest Calligrapher Engraver Luxury Live Event Artist

After a long day engraving in Oakbrook, I went home to recuperate and rest as I had two more events coming up at Nordstrom downtown on Michigan Ave. the following week. So Tuesday morning, the 13th I got up bright and early and drove in order to make it in time for my event. I had plenty of time, so I checked into my hotel nearby and got my car parked and unloaded for the next couple of days. I picked a new hotel that I had not stayed in before, I chose the Royal Sonesta simply due to the proximity to Nordstrom. It was great and half a block from where I was working so it was perfect in that aspect. Sometimes lugging my event case through the busy streets of downtown Chicago can be a pain so the closer I can get to my event the better.

The next two days were full of engraving so many gifts for Valentine's Day. I really enjoyed chatting with clients, learning the story behind their purchase and choice for engraving their bottles. My favorites were the ladies, and a couple of men, who purchased bottles and had them engraved personalized for themselves! Treat yo self! Speaking of that, I sat facing the infamous Nordstrom shoe department and stared at it for two days straight. If you know me, you know shoes are my weakness. I ended up purchasing two pairs that I absolutely did not need but do truly love. Again, treat yo self. I also treated myself to an incredible hotel picnic. Since I had sat all day engraving, I felt like taking a walk to grab some dinner somewhere close by. I stay in the River North neighborhood a lot so I am familiar with it and comfortable walking around by myself and even have a few favorite places to grab a bite. I decided to try something new and popped into Eataly, which if you haven't been or heard of it - it is a huge two story grocery store filled with Italian food, groceries, and other products that is like heaven for a foodie and home cook like myself. Within the store there are several little restaurants and places to get fresh food made in house. I walked around for 45 minutes or so, in awe and overwhelmed at the selection and all they had to offer. I need to make plan with specific recipes and bring a cooler with me next time so I can really go crazy, but this time I just picked up lots of little things that would carry back to the room well. I grabbed a pasta salad from the cold case, a serving a homemade meatballs from the warmer, a small loaf of foccacia bread and a rosemary sugar cookie. I also grabbed an Italian soda and a fresh squeezed juice for breakfast in the morning. Needless to say, I had myself a lovely little hotel bed spread and enjoyed every minute of it.

Hand Engraved Florals Filled with white on Twilly by Hermes Fragrance by Amanda Elliott Letters from Elliott Iowa Chicago Midwest Calligrapher Engraver Luxury Live Event Artist

Back at it the first few weekends in March, I engraved for Burberry at Nordstrom downtown on Michigan Avenue this past weekend. I got lucky and my husband had a week off from his club soccer team and decided to come along with me and make a weekend of it. We went up to Chicago Friday night and I booked us a room at the Royal Sonesta - Nick liked it but wasn't a fan of the parking situation or the speed of their Wi-Fi. The parking does kind of stink - especially when it's cold and rainy like it was. The parking garage is a block away and around the corner from the hotel which makes things a little tricky luggage wise. Anyway, I hadn't stopped thinking about Eataly since I had been there a few weeks ago so that is where I suggested we go get some dinner. We decided to sit down at one of their restaurants and we had a great meal. Nick had a steak that he claims was one of the best he has had in a long time and I had the fresh made fettuccine alfredo. Again - treat yo self.

Hand Lettered and Engraved Always and Forever Flourished Script Filled with Gold on Burberry Hero Fragrance by Amanda Elliott Letters from Elliott Iowa Chicago Midwest Calligrapher Engraver Luxury Live Event Artist

Saturday I got up and got ready for my engraving event at Nordstrom with Burberry. Again, I am not a breakfast person but if I don't eat before an event I get shaky and I can't have shaky hands when I am trying to engrave on an expensive bottle of perfume. So Nick walked me over a little early and I grabbed a banana and a yogurt from the Nordstrom cafe before I sat down and got to work. They put me upstairs for this event in the men's fragrance department. I have sat in the men's department before at Nordstrom Oakbrook and had a really slow day so I was a little worried that the same thing would happen at this location. I did not need to be worried about being slow - I was so busy and had a great event! The communication amongst departments was great and even though I was located in a different and less population location within the store, everyone knew I was there and sent me plenty of clients to help personalize and hand engrave their new Burberry fragrance.


My favorite bottle of the day was a sample bottle that I left for display of men's Burberry Hero fragrance which if you haven't smelled that scent you need to immediately - it is so good. I love it when stores have a few extra sample bottles they are willing to let me be creative with. Some of my favorite pieces I have done have been sample bottles that I had the opportunity to engrave (or paint) on. Sometimes engraving for men's fragrance can be tricky as they generally aren't into floral or some of the more feminine things I generally add to my work. I have painted the infamous Chicago skyline on bottles before so I decided to test my line work skills and attempt to engrave my version of the skyline on the bottle. All those straight lines were super tricky but I am really happy with how it turned out. I thought about leaving it just engraved, without a fill of rub and buff but after a quick Instagram poll, my followers helped me decide it should be filled. I decided to fill it with gold to compliment the color of the bottle and it's hardware. I am really proud of this one and am looking forward for another opportunity to engrave that beautiful skyline on another bottle again soon.

Hand drawn and Engraved Chicago Skyline Filled with Gold on Burberry Her Fragrance by Amanda Elliott Letters from Elliott Iowa Chicago Midwest Calligrapher Engraver Luxury Live Event Artist

Saturday at Nordstrom for Burberry was a long and busy day but I was looking forward to date night in Chicago with my husband. We had dinner reservations at a supper club called Tortoise in the River North neighborhood. We have never been there but I have seen it for many years and have always wanted to try it. I am so glad we did! The atmosphere and vibes were awesome, dark and moody with live jazz playing in the bar. We went all out, treat to self, and had (several) drinks, appetizers, and both of us had steak for our entree. So, so good. We brought dessert home to have later - warm cherry pie. I can't wait to go back and bring my parents along with us, I know they will really like it too. After dinner we walked back to the hotel and had dessert in bed while watching a movie (The Wedding Singer) on tv and crashing into a food coma. Plus, I knew Nick was getting me up up at the crack of dawn, on spring forward mind you, to race home to make it in time to watch the Iowa women play basketball in the Big 10 championship game. The hotel didn't have the Big 10 network and because of their slow Wi-Fi we had a hard time streaming the other games in the tournament over the weekend. Like the rest of Iowa, and perhaps the nation, we can't get enough of Caitlin Clark and Iowa women's basketball. Nick let me sleep the whole ride home, we made it in time for the game, and they won their third Big 10 Conference championship in three years. A good weekend all around.

Next up, bottle painting for Dior at Nordstrom in Skokie at Old Orchard Mall next weekend!

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