Swisstory Interviews The Antiques Diva – Do You Want Me to Interview You?

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Dear Diva Readers,

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Last year, while researching an article I was writing for Expatica, I stumbled across toryblog.com/” target=”_blank”>Swisstory, a great blog written by an American expat named Jessica who along with her Australian spouse is writing her own “Swisstory”. As I “got to know her” through her blog, I discovered that our paths have nearly crossed in the past as we’ve lived in the same areas but at different times in our life. She now lives in Zurich and me in Berlin and we’re both expat bloggers. Perhaps it’s this latter reason that I felt a connection to her when reading her blog, or maybe it is that I have 2 good friends who also live in Zurich and visiting her site was like visiting them. Either way, before long she had enchanted me in her own right. And though she didn’t know me, I considered her to be a 3rd friend living in Zurich.

It’s funny how blogs have the ability to shrink the world, allowing us glimpses into one another’s lives, making friends we never knew we had. Jessica made me laugh and I love laughing. She’s incredibly witty and has a dry sense of humor. Her blog discusses expat life, dispenses advice on living abroad, and ridicules the European life as much as she raves about loving it. And she writes about food – my true passion in life. She posts pictures of meals out, shares details of restaurant experiences and blogs about her travels. One day while reading a post on her site, toryblog.com/2009/02/mrs-mac-interviews-me.html” target=”_blank”>Mrs. Mac Interviews Me, I saw that she was “looking to interview” some of her readers just as Mrs. Mac had interviewed her. Needless to say, I raised my hand. Delightfully, she selected me (as well as a few of her other readers) and today I bring you :

Swisstory Interviews The Antiques Diva

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Where do you think you would be right now if not in Berlin?

With 6 moves in the last 12 years, it’s difficult to imagine where else I might be living. The world is my oyster and my husband and I are open to moving anywhere. That said, over the past number of years, opportunities in Asia have popped up, so who knows? Perhaps we would be living in Mumbai or Tokyo.

What do you like the most & the least about living in Europe?

Most? Europe is my playground. I love to travel – crossing borders, exploring new countries, trying new foods. I love to try on a new culture the way one tries on a new coat. I even like struggling to speak a new language – for it’s surviving the struggle that makes it feel so darn good when you finally succeed! I love meeting foreigners (or rather the locals – who view me as the foreigner). I love sharing ideas, commonalities and differences. I love being a foreigner here myself. I love living a life that feels less ordinary.

Least? The lack of closets! You heard me query in a previous post, “How does one move into an apartment without a closet or cupboard one?” This is my struggle-of-the-moment, but I’m an optimist and, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining… at least I have an excuse to go shopping for antique armoires!

If you could only live with one accessory for the rest of your life, which would it be?

ton.jpg”>ton.jpg” border=”0″ />That’s a hard one. In a world full of gorgeous purses, shoes, belts, scarves, coats and more….How does one choose just one? If I must chose, I would pick the gift my husband bought me for Valentines 4 years ago – the Louis Vuitton Viva Cite bag.

At the time when I was explaining the logic in wanting a Louis Vuitton purse I explained, “The French buy their purse for life… better one excellent quality bag, than 20 inferior bags”.
That said, I’ve fallen head over heels in love with Paul Smith’s Swirled Isobel Handbag,(another great quality bag, and really – who wants just one purse… clearly the French are out of their mind!) but I recognize this is a fleeting passion, like a one night stand that’s destined to go nowhere. And so, Dear Louis Vuitton, I pledge myself to be true. As the Former US President Jimmy Carter might have said, “I’ve looked on a (lot of purses) with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times.” But to you, “Dear Louis Vuitton, I’ve always been true!”

Why do you blog and which blog/s inspire you most?
How does one go from talking about lusting for purses and then wax poetically about blogging? I blog for a million different reasons, but to quote myself from too-long-apart.html” target=”_blank”>a post I wrote last year:

“Sometimes when I post a blog, I wonder as I’m sending my words into cyberspace if they are read and wonder why I spend so much time writing for little reward. But then I get another comment from a reader, or realize I’m nearing the 20,000 hits mark, (Sidenote to Reader: I’ve now passed 50,000+) or I receive another email from a stranger on the other side of the globe wanting travel shopping advice and I realize that you, my readers, are as much a part of my life as my neighbor next door. Sometimes my neighbor an
d I ignore one another across our terrace, giving each other the briefest of waves, but other times we stop one another for a long, convoluted chat catching up over a loaf of bread as we’re both in the bakery, or sit down for a cup of coffee in a café on the town square. But last week as I was lamenting the loss of contact with my readers, I realized that I write my blog as much for myself as I do for my readers. Through writing my blog & giving you antique shopping addresses, I prioritize my database, fine-tuning the information for the antique shopping tours I lead or the public speaking I enjoy. I review what I’ve done in a given week or plan what I’m going to do in the next and occasionally, every once in a while, I give you personal glimpses into my day to day life – the life I lead when I’m not The Antiques Diva™.”

It’s in these latter moments that I reveal myself to me. Writing is therapy – it’s an act of meditation. Blogging has become a part of who I am and who I want to be.

Regarding blogs that inspire there are tons out there…. I lurk the decorating blogs and two of my favorites are Cote de Texas and Habitually Chic. They inspire, educate and amaze me with their tenacity at regular blogging and providing top notch content, gorgeous images, and well written diva-worthy news.

And stealing from Ms. Mac, Swisstory asks, “If you had to choose a flavor of ice cream that most fits your personality, what kind do you think you would be?” Feel free to make one up if necessary.

If I am an ice cream, I am strawberry ice cream. It’s my secret indulgence at the end of the day. It’s a classic ice cream flavor. The one I’ve chosen since I was a small child going to an ice cream stand. It’s a traditional favorite, with the perfect burst of sweetness, a sometimes shocking tartness, and in a world with flavors that come and go, strawberry endures. It’s fresh and creamy and reminds me of summer days running barefoot in the grass, picking fresh strawberries and begging mom to turn on the ice cream maker. Like many things, it’s best served with a few ingredients on the side… a piece of short bread, a sprinkling of strawberry puree, a dollop of whipped cream and a cherry on top for a perfect summer sundae.
As for me, I hope I too am a treat, a relaxing break for my readers, a break from a busy over-burdened day. My favorite compliment I’ve received since starting to write The Antiques Diva™ blog came from one of my best friends, JoLynn from Oklahoma.

She wrote:
“At the end of the day, I lock myself in the bedroom (so the kids won’t bother me), snuggle down with a glass of wine. I turn a hot bath on and before dipping in the tub I read your diva post of the day – my secret indulgence.”

Now, the question: WHO WANTS TO BE INTERVIEWED??

The rules:
1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”

2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.

3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions. Be sure you link back to the original post.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Tschüs!

The Antiques Diva™

Re-Bonjour… Hello After Too Long Apart!

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Greetings Diva Readers and apologies for the delay since my last posting.

Clotilde Dusoulier, the author of the uber-popular blog Chocolate & Zucchini, wrote upon writing her first book, “Maintaining a blog takes time, but the gratification went far beyond what I imagined. Not only did I feel that I was building something, but it also revealed myself to myself: how passionate I was about food & writing…”

Last week while in Paris, I picked up Clotilde’s book (I hate to call it a cookbook as it is so much more than mere recipes) at Shakespeare & Co and the first passage I read about blogging sent me spiraling into despair – I found that in my absence this past month from working on my blog on a regular basis that I missed you & I missed the process of writing as much as I missed antique shopping & keeping my finger on the pulse of the European antiques & brocante world.

With my nephew, Gabriel, visiting for 1 ½ months & trips planned to 5 countries (and 10 different destinations) during his stay, I simply didn’t have the time to write for my blog. Quite honestly, I didn’t have time for my own life either and found myself checking out of my ordinary existence – missing appointments, ignoring emails and canceling dates with regularity as I stepped into a world that revolved around someone other than my husband and myself. I had become a full time Aunty and as much I loved having Gabriel here, traveling & showing him the world (and now after he’s returned to the USA this week find myself downright maudlin in his departure), I found that I too missed my normal life as well and that life includes you, my dear readers.

Sometimes when I post a blog, I wonder as I’m sending my words into cyberspace if they are read and wonder why I spend so much time writing for little reward. But then I get another comment from a reader, or realize I’m nearing the 20,000 hits mark, or I receive another email from a stranger on the other side of the globe wanting travel shopping advice and I realize that you, my readers, are as much a part of my life as my neighbor next door. Sometimes my neighbor and I ignore one another across our terrace, giving each other the briefest of waves, but other times we stop one another for a long, convoluted chat catching up over a loaf of bread as we’re both in the bakery, or sit down for a cup of coffee in a café on the town square. But last week as I was lamenting the loss of contact with my readers, I realized that I write my blog as much for myself as I do for my readers. Through writing my blog & giving you antique shopping addresses, I prioritize my database, fine-tuning the information for the antique shopping tours I lead or the public speaking I enjoy. I review what I’ve done in a given week or plan what I’m going to do in the next and occasionally, every once in a while, I give you personal glimpses into my day to day life – the life I lead when I’m not The Antiques Diva ™.

When I’m not The Diva, I’m a wife, a daughter, a daughter-in-law, an aunt, a sister, a friend, a volunteer, a club president, a tour guide, an expat, an American through and through, an international citizen, a conservative liberal, a democrat, an avid reader, a Christian, a teacher, an artist, a dreamer, an interior decorator and yes, a writer. I’m me.

This past month & a half my life has been turned on its tale as my nephew has visited me. Perhaps he’s the world’s greatest 16 year old, but he didn’t scream once, throw a tantrum or act like I would expect a 16 year old to act – and he sure as hell didn’t behave as I did at 16. He was grateful & appreciative of the fact that we’d turned our life upside down to show him the world.

On his 16th birthday we gave him a globe and said, “We want to give you the world”, and give him the world we did, taking him all across the UK showing him Leeds Castle, Stonehenge, Stratford upon Avon, London & Oxford. From Wittenberg, Germany to Berlin, from the Loire Valley – Amboise, Chenonceau and Chambord to Paris, Brussels & Beyond, as well as Amsterdam and all across the Netherlands we shared our life and our world with him, helping him to realize that he can do anything, go anywhere, preparing him for a future that involved being a man about town. Forget town, let’s say “a man about the world”. We read Hemingway together and talked about Paris (or all of Europe for that matter) being a “moveable feast” and that wherever he went this experience would go with him. Though to be honest, I don’t know that he needed our help, our feast, or our incentive, for my sister is doing an awfully good job.

My sister, Missy, & I couldn’t be any more different if we tried. While on the surface, I’m all champagne & pearls, gourmet recipes and shiny cars, Missy on the surface is baby food & diapers, paint brushes, and homeschooling, a bohemian pastors wife, and she is my best friend. The person I call when I am sad, when I need a helping hand, when I can’t figure out how to phrase a particular sentence in my blog or book (she too is a writer & artist). She’s who I call when I feel equally like taking a long hot bath, but not being alone, when my husband is out of town, or late home from work. And to know me, dear readers, is to know my sister, who lives a life that is a polar opposite of mine, and yet, we’re sisters. Born of the same bl
ood, birthed from the same womb, and we are so startlingly similar at times that both my husband (and my nephew on his recent visit) gasp aloud over our bizarre similarities in expressions and phrases of words especially when mad or in intense joy or giddy excitement.

To see each of our lives as an outsider, you might not catch it, that essence that makes us sisters – but today I thought that as I’m returning from a long time away that not only would I say “Re-Bonjour”, but that I would also introduce you to my sister. She writes a blog – Hancock Family Art – and while I’m leading tours & writing a book on this side of the Atlantic, she writes to you from her side of the pond… telling about her life in a decisively different way than I talk about mine and yet, if you read long enough, I suspect you too will laugh out loud over the similarities hidden beneath the surface.

“You can’t always judge a book by its cover,” I always say. And perhaps that is the type of phrase my sister would have written on one of her art pieces or jewelry for sale… I mentioned that my sister is an artist, but it is not just my sister. In fact, her entire family is a family of artists and they are selling their work in an e-store at Etsy. So, not only am I introducing you to my sister but I am , in true diva fashion, giving you yet another address to shop your heart out – toEY92AWcM/s1600-h/antiques+diva+pointing.jpg”>toEY92AWcM/s320/antiques+diva+pointing.jpg” border=”0″ />diva style! In the meantime, as you go about your art shopping, I must run. My battery is running low, both figuratively & literally, as I sit writing today’s blog from a brilliant pink lawn chair on my geranium & petunia filled terrace, with a glass of vin blanc resting on one side of the chair and my cat, Catpuccino, leisurely sunning his belly on the other.

Until Next Time,

The Antiques Diva ™