More Clever Packaging...

While perusing The Lovely Package, I stumbled upon this quirky packaging from The Spice Outfit in Chicago. They sell authentic gourmet Chicago-style meat rubs and blends with fun names such as, 'Bugsy's Kosher Nostra', 'With the Fishes', 'Cookin' the Books' and more.

Love the vintage mafia mugshots on the packaging. I'm a fan of gangster films, (Godfather I & II being my favorites), so these spices are right up my alley. You can purchase The Spice Outfit's products online here. They'll make you an offer you can't refuse!

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Just in at Paris Hotel Boutique...

Valentine's Day is around the corner and we've just added over 50 new pieces at Paris Hotel Boutique. Perhaps a monogrammed teapot from the hotel you honeymooned, or a handsome pair of cufflinks for that special guy! You can check them out here...


Turkey is a country that is both within Europe and Asia - the Turkish Straits that run through the country in the North West is generally believed to be the splitting point between Europe and Asia. Due to this location, it has a diverse culture that include Eastern and Western traits and characteristics. Turkey is not in the EU either - and as mentioned in my previous posts this is probably the key factor that has led to Turkey becoming the most popular holiday destination in Europe, overtaking Spain. As the Euro has increased in power against the pound, holiday makers are looking further afield to get the best holiday bargains available. Turkey is now on average about £100 cheaper per person than Spain is - this fact carries great weight with cash-strapped tourists eager to save money before worse financial times kick in further down the line.

Turkey posesses many qualities that help it top the list of most popular holiday destinations - it has a diverse history, as it was home to the Ottoman Empire, a powerful empire spanning three continents, it has a good, hot climate, food is good and the people are friendly. Also, there are a range of possible holiday destinations for prospective tourists - breaks to the cites of Turkey such as Istanbul or more relaxing coastal holidays to unwind after a long period of work back home - Turkey provides it all.

Palawan: The Philippines' Last Frontier

Have you heard about Palawan? Palawan is just one of those wonderful places to visit when you looking for the best vacation destination in the Philippines. Located in eastern Visayas region in the Philippines, Palawan rests as magnificent island with extraordinary natural beauty that offers bountiful resources and abundant wildlife. It hosted exclusive resorts in the Philippines with white sand beaches, wonderful landscape and fascinating dive spot that truly favors for a best vacation destination in the Philippines.

Palawan is an island province of the Philippines lies between the South China Sea and Sulu Sea with Puerto Princesa City as its capital. So imagine how wonderful the beaches and magnificent marine life in the island. Palawan is the largest province in the Philippines in terms of total area of jurisdiction that stretches from Mindoro to Borneo in southwestern part. The island is composed of 1780 islands and islets. The disputed Spratly Islands can be located a few hundred kilometers west of the island and considered by the Philippine government as part of Palawan.

Palawan is revered as one of the Philippine’s evocative best tourist attraction. The island is blessed with excellent harbors, thick forest that steeply covers its watersheds, exotic wild life and the country’s largest colorful marine habitat hence the island of Palawan has been declared a nature sanctuary. For a long time, Palawan’s beauty was only known to local in the islands and for those who dares to settle in the area wanting to consider Palawan as their paradise home.

Palawan today, is one of the Philippine’s pride for best vacation destination that widely opened itself to tourism. Pertaining to preserve this last frontier Palawan adhered with high level ecology awareness . Its capital Puerto Princesa claimed as the cleanest city in the Philippines. Palawan’s highlights include Honda Bay Islands, Tabon Caves, El Nido, Tubbataha Reefs and Puerto Princesa's Subterranean River that is nominated in the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

Honda Bay Islands
Honda Bay islands consist of several islets with shallow bordering beaches. For the tourists the island would be wonderful for swimming, diving and snorkeling. The most known in Honda Bay Islands are Cowrie and Bat named after the large fruit bats in the island.

Tabon Caves
Tabon Caves are set of caves located in the southwestern part of Palawan. The caves are significant since the discovery of the remains of the Tabon Man was unearthed in the area. Evidence shows that the Tabon Man was the oldest human inhabitants in the Philippines approximately 22,000 years ago.

El Nido
El Nido is known for its thick green forest, towering marble cliffs, enchanting lagoons and white sandy beaches. The limestone cliffs are similar to those in Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, Guilin in China and Krabi in Thailand. Indeed these make El Nido attests the true beauty of nature in Palawan.

Tubbataha Reefs
Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park is the Philippines’ largest marine sanctuary. It is nominated in the New 7 Wonders and included in World Heritage List by UNESCO for its exceptional beauty and formation. Tubbataha is considered as the best premier diving destination in the Philippines and has become a popular site for seasoned sports divers. Tubbataha Reefs host wonderful colonies of reef fish species, giant manta rays, hawksbill sea turtles and other endangered marine species.

Subterranean River
Subterranean River features a spectacular limestone karst landscape with an underground river. The river's distinguishing features is that it emerges winds through a cave before flowing directly into the South China Sea. Major formations of stalactites and stalagmites, and several large chambers are also a highlights in the river.The area also represents a significant habitat for biodiversity conservation. The site contains a full 'mountain-to-sea' ecosystem and has some of the most important forests in Asia.

More on Philippines' best tourist vacation destination.

Claudia Visits the City

photo (SF shop) from the paris apartment

I was delighted to find out that my friend Claudia, of The Paris Apartment, was in San Francisco for a long weekend. I hadn't seen her in a few years and what fun it was to spend some time together. On Sunday, the talented Lisa, of Lisa Golightly, and I picked up Claudia and had lunch at Citizen Cake in Hayes Valley (you have to try their fried donuts), and did then did some shopping. So much fun! Lisa is an amazing artist that I met years ago via eBay. She sells on Etsy and has a blog as well.

Yesterday Claudia and I ran around the City visiting some of our favorite antique shops, French cafes and Smoke Signals, the best magazine shop in the City. It was a rainy day, but we had a lot of laughs and Claudia took some spectacular photos. Thanks for the fun time! Come back soon Claudia!

La Boulange de Polk - photo from the paris apartment

The girls

Going, Going, Gone!

Today marked the 4th annual Gentlemen's Library Sale at Bonham's auction house in London. Can a gal be more disappointed than to have missed this? The auction featured library furnishings, science curiosities and eccentricities from around the world.

I was looking through the online catalog and would have loved to have purchased half of the items auctioned off. And, the prices realized didn't fetch as much as I had imagined they would. Here are some of my favorites...and, believe me, there were hundreds to pick from! I think I'm going to purchase a catalog since the items are so fantastic!

20th Century Ebonised Chesterfield Settee (fetched £1,440)

Victorian Gilt Timepiece (fetched £120...that's it? Why so cheap?)

Victorian Black Museum Cabinets (fetched £2,880)

Early 19th Century Magnifying Glass (fetched £1,080)

Collection of 19th Century Chemist Bottles (fetched £1.020)

Magnificent 18th Century French Ivory Game (fetched £336)

Oak Club Boards (fetched £168)

19th Century Bone Alphabet Hand Plaque (fetched £240)

Elephant Oval Tooth Box (fetched £216)

William IV Traveling Inkwell (fetched £216)

Silver Royal Coat of Arms (fetched £720)

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"You Rock, Dad!"

One of my favorite moments yesterday (there were many) was watching Malia and Sasha walk out with their adorable coats (how cute is Sasha's pink/red/coral combo?) and Sasha giving her Dad a big "thumbs up." Precious!

Did you have a favorite moment?

Picturesque Ajanta Ellora Caves - Maharashtra

picturesque ajanta ellora caves

travel to india

Mr. President

God Bless President Obama and God Bless America!

Wiener Dog Party!

It has been unseasonably warm in San Francisco this past week, with temperatures reaching 70 degrees. Totally crazy since most of the country is in freezing cold weather, AND San Francisco is not known for its warm climate!

Yesterday I decided to take a break from antiques and advantage of the weather. I took my poodle, Vito, to the beautiful Pine Lake Park at Stern Grove. It is a great off-leash dog park. There were oodles of dogs frolicking around the park.

I saw about 50 dachshunds in one area. Turns out that there is a monthly dachshund meet-up group at this park. So cute! All of these "wiener dogs" running around! My little Vito crashed the party as seen in the video below. I had never heard about "meet-up" groups. So, I'm starting a San Francisco poodle meet-up group. If you're interested in dog meet-up groups, check and find a group near you!

Video of Dachshund Meet-up at Pine Lake Park, S.F. ~ Vito is crashing the party!

What's Your Favorite Candy?

Do any of you still have boxes of chocolate stacked up from the holidays? We still have some, but I've finished up all of the fun candy! I must confess, I am a candy addict. Not chocolate per se, but things like gummies, sour candies and licorice. My lowest point was my addiction to Nerd Ropes.

When I received my holiday box in the mail from my dearest friend Janet, I was overwhelmed as always. The presentation was so amazing that I didn't want to open anything! Janet and I always send candy goodies with our gifts. Janet had the advantage of going to Paris this past fall, so I was thrilled to receive some really special candy.

First of all were these amazing Jordan almond-shaped coated chocolate "dragees" made in France. Janet sent a pastel variety from Fauchon and a Chanukah-colored mix (blue, silver & gold) from the famous chocolatier, Debauve & Gallais in Paris. For over 200 years Dabauve & Gallais have provided some of finest chocolates in the world, and are the prettiest I've ever seen.

Introduced by Sulpice Debauve, the royal family chemist, this range of chocolate "coins" was first developed for Queen Marie Antoinette in order to ease her distate for taking medicines. She was so delighted with them that Monsieur Debauve was commissioned to create an entire collection called the Pistoles de Marie Antoinette. (You can purchase Debauve & Gallais chocolate online and they now have a shop in New York City.

Back to Janet's gift candies...

These fun "school chalk licorice" are the best things you've ever tasted. White coated black licorice with a creamy center. A nice hint of mint as well. I finished mine up right away and bought some more online.

Then there are these yummy pink watermelon sour balls. Pretty and tasty!

These crunchy fruity gummy bears are delicious if you haven't tried them.

These sugar sticks are really pretty, but a bit sweet. Thanks for all of my candy Janet! And thanks for introducing me to Nerd Ropes! We are a sick bunch.

You can find most of the candies mentioned here or here. You can even shop by color...

What are some of your favorite candies? I must know!

Paper Relics

Witty Marie Antoinette greeting cards from Paper Relics

I was thrilled to discover the talented Hope Wallace of Paper Relics, while perusing through this month's Country Living magazine. I visited her website and had fun filling my shopping cart with these unique greeting cards!

I love the images and fonts on these cards designed by Hope

Hope is a collage artist and designer who works out of her home studio in the outskirts of Baltimore. She sells the most whimsical greeting card line, collage prints, ephemera and even does design services!

I contacted Hope and we had a wonderful chat on the phone. She is going to do some design work for Paris Hotel Boutique. I'm thrilled to have found her and can't wait to see what fun design she comes up with for my greeting cards.

These whimsical postcards incorporate antique elements and evoke a bygone era

1800's type fonts designed by Hope

You can view Hope's paper goods here and her design services here.

Photos courtesy of Paper Relics