Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Buzzz...I'm Back!

Hope you enjoyed the nice long holiday weekend. I just returned from Nashville, Tennessee, where I attended my nephew's high school graduation.

While spending time with my husband's family was fun, one thing horrified me. The cicada bugs. Have you ever seen them?

These creepy bugs have returned to Nashville (they visit every 13 years) and won't be leaving until the end of June. They're ugly, annoying, and louder than you can imagine. Let me tell you, they were flying in my hair, buzzing around my head. I was stepping on dead cicadas which made a big crunch sound. Not fun. They are so loud that the sky sounded like a million rattlesnakes!

Cicadas live on tree roots underground for 13 years and generally arrive in the world by crawling up a tree trunk in nymph form, then crawl out of their shells, which get left behind on flowers and patio furniture, and within days, completely morph into flying adults. EW!

antique Chinese jade cicada necklace

Obsessed with these creatures, I took a close-up look at one, and it was actually quite pretty. The wings have an Art Nouveau look to them. I wondered, was anyone making jewelry out of these locusts? Apparently so.

I stumbled across this lovely antique Chinese silver and jade cicada necklace. The five early hand-carved jade cicadas are surrounded by solid silver repoussé floral frames.

John Urban at Jurbanrings makes these earrings (above) using real cicada wings embedded into lightweight resin. They are quite interesting.

Rachael Sudlow traces a cicada wing to reveal every vein & line, laser cuts it onto thick brass or stainless steel, and the spindly lines become the framework for a beautiful wing pendant or earrings.

I understand that some of the folks in Nashville are frying and eating these cicadas. Apparently they are low-fat and have a lot of protein. Can you say "ew" again?

I'm happy to be home with some noise-free atmosphere, that is, except for the darn kid next door who never stops strumming his guitar.

If you have a hankering to hear what cicadas sound like, I've included this little video just for you...watch if you must!!!

Have a great week!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Having a Nice Weekend?

Hope you're enjoy the start of your weekend. For those of you in the US, it's Memorial Day weekend, when our country pauses for a moment to remember our hero's, both known and unknown. A way to honor our American service members who have fought and continue to fight for our country. And, it generally marks the beginning of Summer!

Whether you're having a barbecue or simply relaxing, enjoy the nice long weekend and back with you next week!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Special Hotel Silver Giveaway!

Do you remember our mirror giveaway on Cote de Texas blog? Well, Joni and I have teamed up once again to offer this special giveaway with TWO WINNERS.... one receives a rare early 1900s serving piece from the old Alexander Young Hotel, Hawaii, the other, a set of forks from San Francisco's Palace Hotel, both from Paris Hotel Boutique!!!

But, before I send you over to Joni's blog, let me tell you a bit about her...

Houston-based interior designer Joni Webb shares her love of house & garden, antiques, interior design, and country French decor interpreted for the Texas coast in her popular blog, Cote de Texas.

The blog is mixed with a bit of history and a lot of humor. Joni's blog has won several awards including The Washington Post's top 10 blogs in 2008. Additionally, she has been featured in publications such as Better Home & Gardens, Houston House & Home, and HGTV.

Joni Webb

And Joni c0-hosts a fabulous blogging and interior design weekly radio show, The Skirted Roundtable, with the fab Megan from Beach Bungalow 8 & Linda from Surroundings. They have interviewed some of the most influential designers and editors including Margaret Russell, editor-in-chief of Elle Decor, and Stephen Drucker, editor-in-chief of House Beautiful to name a few.

So go visit Joni at Cote de Texas, check out her lovely blog, and enter our giveaway! Deadline to enter is Saturday May 28th.

Good luck to all!

I'm on my way out of town tomorrow for my nephew's graduation, so wishing you all a fantastic holiday weekend!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pretty Eye Candy...

Okay, no more etiquette talk today. Instead, take a look at these gorgeous coastal shots by Claire Brocato, with the help of designers, Deb Hodge and Debi Beard. Such talent!

Summer's almost here!!

images: Claire Brocato Photography

Monday, May 23, 2011

I Know Our Plates Are Full, But...

Hope you had a most enjoyable weekend.

Feeling a bit swamped today? The beginning of a work week is so busy, which made me wonder, how many of you get barraged with so many emails that you hardly find time to answer them? I bet most of you do.

It's so hard to juggle everything on our plates, and answering emails is not one of my favorite things, but it needs to be done, right?

Don't you think that answering an email is as common a courtesy as returning a phone call (which I'm kind of bad at too)?

Whether they're friends, family members or business contacts, it's so frustrating when you email someone and never hear back from them. It makes you feel that what you have to say is just not that important. And it seems as if it's happening more often as we continue to get busier and busier. So, I've been trying my best over the years to answer each and every email I receive. It may be short and sweet, but I want to acknowledge that person whomever they are.

My lifelong Rabbi (now deceased) had a lasting effect on me. Long before the digital age, this man was doing the right thing. He had a congregation of over 1,000 families. This meant he was constantly officiating at weddings, funerals, Bar Mitzvahs, and every kind of event imaginable, in addition to running synagogue services. That man's plate was FULL. And yet, whenever I called and left him a message, I received a phone call back that same day. That's right. He always found the time to answer each and every person in a timely and friendly manner. From that point on I felt, if he can do it, perhaps I can too!

I didn't mean for this post to come off as "preachy," I just wanted to vent a bit and ask, can we all try and find the time to acknowledge people? If our businesses have grown to the point that we can't answer emails, then perhaps it's time to hire someone?

Okay, I've been a bit wordy for a Monday morning, but just putting out some "food for thought."

Have a wonderful week ahead and hope you don't get barraged with too much on your plate!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Happy Weekend!

Wherever you're going, whatever you're doing, have a fabulous weekend!

Image: Alistair McLellan, Vogue UK November 2010

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What's This Worth?

I get several emails a week from people asking me the value pieces they have. I thought this would be a great place to talk a little bit about that.

First, and foremost, I'm not an antiques appraiser, so I can't supply the value of something. Which brings me to this...

How does one find out the value of an antique or vintage item?
  • No matter what information you find regarding the value of your antique or collectible, it is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay you for it. Perhaps you watched the Antiques Road Show and saw a piece valued at a certain amount. That only applies unless you have a buyer.

  • Supply and demand. When the supply is low, collectors will pay a higher amount for an item just so they can own it. When the market is flush with goods, the value of those items goes down.

  • Take for example, hotel silver, something I specialize in. How do you put value on it? Not an easy answer. The more scarce of a piece--for example, a sought-after hotel such as the Plaza or Waldorf in New York City is generally worth more than a piece from a Hilton or Sheraton.

  • Condition. In most cases, the better condition of a piece, the greater its overall value. Not with hotel silver. Sometimes the most pitted or tarnished piece can be a real treasure because of its provenance and design.

  • Generally, if you have an item that you'd like to sell, you shouldn't expect to get much more than half of its value. That’s because dealers need to mark the item up to make a profit. Unless, however, you have a retail venue to sell it.

  • My recommendation is to do the most you can to investigate it. Scour the internet for similar items, visit auctions and eBay to find out what people are buying and what prices are being paid. You can also contact auction houses or consignment shops to sell your items. Good luck!

images: parishotelboutique.com

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Latest Treasure

A few years ago I blogged about Lesley M. M. Blume, (a gal after my own heart) and her fabulous Huffington Post column, "Let's Bring Back."

Well, good news for you lovers of nostalgia, she's released a book; Let's Bring Back: An Encyclopedia of Forgotten-Yet-Delightful, Chic, Useful, Curious, and Otherwise Commendable Things from Times Gone By.

This treasure trove of a book is filled with hundreds of forgotten objects, pastimes, recipes, toddies, riddles, proverbs, (all in alphabetical order) that definitely need to make a comeback. It's whimsical, witty and elegantly written. And if you happen to be in a down mood, it's the best "pick me up!"

I just had to share a tidbit of Lesley's fabulous quips:

ORGAN GRINDERS: Just so we can see the monkeys in those cute little vests and fezzes again.

GLAMOUR SLIPPERS: The ultimate house show: a befeathered silken, froufrou alternative to slapping, schlumpy flip-flops.

PHONE CONVERSATIONS: Supplanted by e-mails and texting, they're becoming as archaic as handwritten letters.

BUSTLES: A history-minded way to hide a large derriere.

HOTEL LIVING: This used to be a common practice in hotels of grandeur and disrepute; you would simply move into and and "take rooms." One advantage to hotel living; If you die there, you're more likely to be found in a timely manner.

GOLD TEETH: So festive. Also; handy assets in a recession.

MAHOGANY TELEPHONE BOOTHS IN HOTEL LOBBIES: They carried a surreptitious allure; it was practically mandatory to look around furtively when you were making a call inside.

PICTURE: As in "We're going to see the Bette Davis picture." Equally wonderful: "talkie."

DRESSING UP: For casinos: Lady luck is attracted to those who look the part.

For dinner: People used to do it every night: dinner jackets and evening gowns. Now showing up to dinner can be like getting slopped at a trough, and people often dress accordingly.

For flying: These days, airport attire is an assault on beauty--and often decency. Flying used to be considered a glamorous event, as did arriving; people wore their Sunday best for the occasion.

author, Lesley M. M. Blume (above)

This book is just the "cat's pajama's." You cannot put it down. A "must buy" here.

images from Booklover here

Monday, May 16, 2011


Yesterday my friend Karen came over to share two of her latest purchases; the newly released limited-edition books, “De Vera Objects” and “De Vera Jewelry,” by Federico de Vera. Needless to say, they are filled with the most beautiful eye-candy I've ever seen!

De Vera, a merchant, collector, and jewelry designer, had shops in San Francisco for over two decades, and has now moved to a two-level cabinet of curiosities on Crosby Street in New York City. He also has a second location on East 81st Street. His work is nothing less than exquisite.

De Vera's jewelry is museum-like in nature. He transforms antique elements (irregular fragments of gemstones, rose-cut diamonds, baroque pearls, coral branches, intaglios, amulets, Georgian shoe buckles and more) into marvelous new adornments that he likes best “when you almost cannot wear them."

Federico de Vera at home in Manhattan with his portrait collection {via NY Times, Tina Tyrell}

Each volume of de Vera's new books include some of the best objects and jewelry he has designed, collected and sold over the years. The photography and styling is staggering.

A single book is $165. A boxed set of both volumes, including one original artwork by de Vera, costs $500. Limited edition of 2,500. Prices may be a little steep, but well worth the amazing "oohs & aahs" that you will experience while flipping through them.

To purchase, click here.

I am just about to press the purchase button...I just can't help myself!

images: Anita Calero for de Vera

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Brit-n-Tea Tour!

I don't know about you, but ever since the Royal Wedding I've had even more of a hankering to visit the U.K. How about you? Well, stop right here.

Crown & Crumpet, San Francisco interior (above)

How about a 12 day tour of England led by Crown & Crumpet owners Amy and Christopher Dean? Sounds amazing to me!

This is a dream tour for all of us antique and tea lovers! Ahh...visit England's poshest estates and get the inside info on everything.

Here are a few highlights:

-a trip to the famous Newark Antique Market where Chris, a former antique dealer, will give you insider tips when shopping the over 4,000 dealers.

-a visit to Althorp, Princess Diana's childhood home

-three nights at The Mermaid Inn, a 14th century coaching inn

-a visit to Woburn Abbey, the ancestral home of the Duchess of Bedford, the originator of afternoon tea

-see a fashion exhibit at the exquisite Brighton Pavilion

-a “behind the scenes” tour of Chatsworth, the family home to the Duke of Devonshire

-the elegant “fashionista tea” at the Berkeley Hotel

I am totally fantasizing about this trip and wondering if I can make it happen! Amy & Chris are the most delightful people, so that makes the trip sound even more enticing. The dates are August 13-25th. Please click here for all of the details including a full itinerary.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger, You've Got a Lot of 'Splainin' to Do!

Due to a major 21 hour meltdown on Blogger, one of my previous posts on May 11th, the Brit-n-Tea Tour, has vanished. Comments and all!

The folks at Blogger are asking us to be patient as they try to restore all deleted posts and comments. But, mine is still missing, and I'm not a patient person, so I've reposted it here. Hopefully all the lovely people who commented will re-comment!

If you'd like to read Blogger's explanation read this. I imagine some of you are going through this too?

image from here

Happy Weekend!

Wishing you a delightful, relaxing weekend! Have fun!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Find the Photo!

Another whimsical photo leading me nowhere. Does anyone happen to know who gets photo credit for this fun image? Was it perhaps out of a magazine? Please do share if you know!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New Arrivals at Paris Hotel Boutique!

Yay! It's that day!

Still in the spirit of the Royal Wedding, Paris Hotel Boutique gives a nod to newlyweds William & Kate with a royal collection of new pieces to tickle your fancy.

From silver serving pieces to Royal Family recipes, you're sure to feel a bit regal! Some highlights include...
  • Antique French Menus

  • Early English Silver Jewelry

  • Royal Family Cookbooks

  • 19th C. French Candy Boxes

  • Hotel Ritz Fan

  • 19th C. French Portrait Brooch

  • Paris Store Display Hat Stands

  • Assorted Hotel Silver & much more!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Are You on Our List?

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I've been busy as a bee getting our newly acquired pieces ready for tomorrow's mailing. Which leads me to this question. Do you receive our monthly updates of our new arrivals?

Many of you have expressed that by time you arrive at the site, many items have already sold. By being on our monthly mailing list, you'll get "heads up" the day we add the new items.

So, don't miss out on another thing and click here to join our mailing list!

See you tomorrow!

image: Francois Durand/Getty Images Europe

Friday, May 06, 2011

Only the French!

I've been taking photos of newly acquired pieces for next week's roll-out of new arrivals. I had to share this menu with you as I've never seen anything quite like it. A 1900 French die-cut menu in the shape of a mirror. The workmanship is amazing...the handle actually has a raised gilt serpent motif!

Hats off to the French for creating such lovely things!

Happy Mother's Day Weekend!

Wishing all of you Mom's a wonderful Mother's Day!

Thanks for all that you do -- your selflessness and caring. Have a relaxing and lovely weekend!

image: source unknown

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Inspiring Images...Cirque

I just love carnivals and circuses. The cotton candy, candy apples, lights, rides, carnies and happy faces. I wanted to share these colorful images I've been collecting on my Pinterest board. Enjoy!

images: 1. KimFearHeily 2. Light Photography 3. sma_kee 4. kestrana 5. Scott E. Kelly 6, 7. source unknown 8,9. Zee Longenecker 10. source unknown 11. Jana Laurene 12. Amy 13. source unknown 14. doe-c-doe 15. Rodrigo 16. Alex Bamford