Sunday, June 29, 2008

Colds in Summer

I've been meaning to write for a few days now. I've officially managed to contract the evil cold from hell in the middle of the hot Miami sweltering heat. It just seems to me to be an oxymoron to have a cold when it is 90 degrees outside. But alas, my wonderful family has taken off with the two children (my husband and my parents) to that I am left alone to wallow in my misery. Did I mention that I can't take any decongestants since I'm pregnant? Yes, hot tea and chicken soup is about it.
This week, Doug and I have been mulling over our budget/finances and deciding what to do with the rest of our summer. He dreads the thought of a three day weekend at home with the kids so he's been thinking about driving up to Atlanta to spend the 4th of July at my sister's place. It would be nice to go meet Sofia for the first time, she's now 6 weeks. My Puerto-Rican cousins are there for the week as well. We are also going to go to Indiana to visit Doug's family for a few days in August. This will be especially nice for Cecilia, who will get to go to the lake and see her 5 cousins, and grandparents.
We conceded to the fact that we need to buy a mini-van for the three carseats. Now I'm trying to convince Doug that we only need one car. We only use the second car maybe once a week. I think this is a waste of money. I want to trade in both of our cars for a nice new Honda Odyssey with all the bells and whistles. He argued he didn't know anyone who had one car and I questioned if any of those people also work together. We have a five mile travel radius between work-home-my parents house-schools, etc. Who needs two cars? Sure it might me a little inconvenient once in a while but I'm convinced that it is all about an attitude adjustment. Once you only have one car, then you plan your life that way. Plus, we'll save on gas, insurance, and help the environment.
My last home project for the week was to get a bed put in Marcelo's room so that we can take apart the crib. Doug doesn't want to take apart the crib now because he figures just as soon as he's done lugging it to the store for storage, since we have NO storage space whatsoever in this house, then he'll have to bring it right back for the next baby. I reminded him that 1) the baby won't sleep in the crib right away since we have a bassinet 2) this means it will collect dust for 6-8 months 3) it is better for Marcelo's transition in to a "big boy bed" for the crib to disappear as opposed to him suddenly seeing it be taken over by his new baby sister. When my mom came over today she came to the same conclusion on her own and my husband looked over at me and asked if I had set him up! No, it's just the logical solution. Plus, I will be very happy to have more space in Marcelo's little room, even if just for my piece of mind. Now if we could just get Marcelo to stay in his bed all night...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Marcelo's First Trip to France May 2007

Since I did a post on Cecilia's first trip to France, I thought it only fair that I do one for Marcelo too. He was only three months when we took him for the first time. He was always a calm baby--until now when he's starting to get into quite a bit of mischief. I had forgotten what a baldie he was. He does have some hair now, a strawberry blonde tone. This trip was in May 2007, he went again in November 2007. Little boys are definitely completely different than little girls, it is hard to explain, but as a mother you simply feel differently towards them. Something I haven't quite figured out is that it was instinctual for me to speak to Cecilia in Spanish from the time she was born. Not so with Marcelo, somehow his blue eyes and pale skin remind me so much of his father that I speak to him in English! I have to correct this or he will never learn Spanish. Cecilia spoke only Spanish until she started going to school and now she prefers English. I have her in Spanish camp for one month and I do think it is helping. I do miss the days when she thought I spoke no English and would translate whatever my husband said. It was so sweet. We have to decide when we'll introduce French as well. Hopefully when they are a bit older we can spend some summers in France.

on the airplane

with Martine from Paris

with my father on a Parisian bridge along the Seine

the watermill in Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue

lunch at a cafe in Isle

Friday, June 20, 2008

Matadors and Clients

This is a French sign which was a gift to me from a dealer in the South of France. The literal translation is The price attracts the customers, only the quality retains them. This phrase is probably true of any business. I'd like to think that our personal service is one of the reasons our customers are faithful to us. I will admit that it gets tricky at times when we are overwhelmed with "stuff" to do or clients are difficult about something. But we certainly try our best.

On our last buying trip I fell in love with these matador jackets at an antiques fair. My intention was to keep the yellow one and wear it for a special event. Perhaps with a ruffled white shirt and some tight black pants. This week we wanted to post something colorful on 1stdibs and so we posted the set of three on antique window mannequins. They sold in one day. And I could have sold them twice! So know I'm a little bummed because I didn't save one for myself. Alas, guess I'll have to go back to France. Next trip is scheduled for early September.

I'm really enjoying the non-fiction course I'm taking. We are reading essays from various journalists or writers which is giving me great pleasure. I have to make myself read more, it is definitely something I've put off since graduating from college that I'm loving in a different way now that it is more leisurely. My mother returns from Spain tonight where she was pitching her book to some publishers. We'll see what news she has. Have great weekend.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cecilia's First Trip to Paris July 2004

Cecilia's first buying trip to Paris was in July of 2004, at which time she was 6 months old. She behaved very well and let my father and I do all of our antique buying without interfering. Many dealers just fell in love with her and showered her with adorable gifts, like the rattan chair she is sitting on in the last picture. Like a good little tourist I had to take pictures of her with the Bateau Mouche on the Seine, with the Eiffel Tower, and Notre Dame Cathedral.
One of the best stories to have come from this trip was meeting Etienne Montigny. On the plane on the way over, we shared a central aisle with a couple who also had a baby, a little boy named Etienne who was a few months older than Cecilia. He was going to France to meet his extended family for the first time. We talked for a while and I took pictures of Cecilia's first flight experience.
Three years later, Cecilia started school at the Growing Place, a local preschool at the Methodist Church. She quickly began telling me about her favorite friend, Etienne. Soon enough we were invited to his birthday party, a few blocks away from our house. Once there I began to join in the French conversations since the majority of the guests were French. Emmanuelle, Etienne's mother, asked me how it was that I was fluent in French, and I began to explain that I am an antiques dealer and go to France 3 or 4 times each year. She paused and replied, "You know I've heard this story before, we were on a plane once..." Immediately we realized that our kids were the babies that had flown side by side and we had had this same conversation on that Air France flight to Paris! What a small world, and the chances that Etienne and Cecilia now got along together so well.
Here they are Etienne's Fourth Birthday Party at Merrie Christmas Park. They are still good friends and hopefully will be for a long time. The Montignys will be in our Cottage Living entertaining feature scheduled to print in January 2009.

Friday, June 13, 2008

L'art de la Table a Paris

Voila l'art de la table a Paris! These photos are from a buying trip to Paris during the holidays a few years ago. Notice the unique combination and mixture of different porcelain and majolica plates, silver serving pieces, crystal items, colored buttons and feathers to decorate the table, and don't miss the spectacular La Duree colored macarons tree. (It's not La Duree, but you can get some delicious macarons from Paulette Macarons in California starting at $18. per box.)

I purchased the sterling silver domes, they were a set of eight, and sold them to a client here in Miami who keeps them on their dining table all the time and they look stunning. I have many of the majolica asparagus plates and tureens on my website if you're interested. Anyone who mentions this blog post will receive 25% off any majolica or silver tableware for the rest of the month.

I want to have a tea party for Cecilia and her friends and decorate a table like this. Hopefully, she'll be old enough soon. She is very happy today because we confirmed with an ultrasound that baby #3 will be a little girl. Cecilia claims she already knew because "she had talked to God about it."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Another Parisian Flea Market Visit

This is a booth from another one of my favorite Parisian dealers. She loves to hang branches and all sorts of natural things in her vignette which give it an organic feel. What I envy about her "mess" is that I can never do this in our clean store which our cleaning lady vacuums each week. In her booth things are haphazardly arranged beautifully. A mix of periods and provenance. I have a few more examples of her set-ups that I'll pull out of my archives this week She also has a baby girl who just a month older than Marcelo and they've met to play twice in their Parisian apartment.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bedrooms and Chaises

One of the oversights people make in bedroom d├ęcor is that they focus on the bed and forget about creating a comfortable place to sit, read, or relax. In order to make a bedroom feel inviting, consider having a daybed, chaise longue, settee, or a comfortable chair. Reserve your bed for sleeping and use this area just for reading or relaxing. Make it comfortable with nice pillows and good lighting. Your bedroom is your individual space. Add your personal touch to the room by exhibiting special keepsakes or photos where you can see them daily.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Reminiscing about College

I know that I'm not the only one who looks back on my college days as a wonderful time in my life. A time of learning and debating and exploring. Most of all, of growing. Of responsibilities that are a lot less important than those of adulthood. Clearly, the stress of missing a deadline for a paper isn't exactly that of caring for a sick child or simply providing for them. It is a time in which in a sense, we get to recreate ourselves. When you arrive on a college campus, chances are you don't know anyone, and no one knows you, which is an opportunity to start fresh and make decisions--for once, independent decisions about who you want to be. When I arrived at Davidson College in the fall of 1999, I was in a very particular place in my life. I arrived on a campus I had only seen in photographs, in a part of the country quite different from where I grew up. I had just come from an entire year in Europe, first in France and then in Italy, with side trips all over the place from Budapest to Stockholm. I even had difficulties with my first assignments because I hadn't written in English in so long it felt like writing in a foreign language. It was an "alone" time, in which I had the chance to reflect a lot about who I was and what was important to me. Not that I decided it all in those few years, but certain decisions I did make. I listened to other opinions and agreed or disagreed. I've been thinking a lot about that time lately, I'm not really sure why. Doug and I often reminisce about how fun it was to just discuss philosophical issues into the night, just because you could. Not necessarily for any resolution but just for the mental exercise of thinking your brain into exhaustion.

All this just to announce that I've signed up for a non-fiction writing class next month at the Center for Literary Arts at Miami-Dade College with one of my dear, old friends. I'm really looking forward to learning a little more about this whole new world of writing and publishing that has changed so much thanks to the age of the internet. Now that blogging has me writing again, I'm looking forward to improving the quality of my writing. We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My Television Spot

My television spot on South Florida Today is finally up on our website. Check it out by following this link. I still can't believe Bob Mayer asked me if I would refurbish the ducks. Enjoy!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Home & Design Magazine Comes Out This Sunday!

I already published some photos of our dining room in a previous post as part of the shoot for Home & Design magazine. Here's an extended preview of the full day shoot.

Our foyer (originally a screened porch):

Photographer Moris Moreno zooms in on grouping on our mantel:

The objects:
Susan Cannon, editor of Home & Design Magazine, a special publication of the Miami Herald:

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