In the Press! Victoria, Crave Amsterdam & The Examiner

Dear Diva Readers,

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Extra, Extra, Read All About It!!!

The Antiques Diva™ Company is in the news!!! The fanfare started this summer when”>Victoria magazine featured me this July/August in their Calling Card section in their issue devoted to “Antiquing Tips from the Experts”! In an article titled “For the Love of Vintage” the article starts by saying, “Charmed by these old classics, these visionary women entrepreneurs have turned their passions for the past into successful businesses for today”!

to 10px; WIDTH: 164px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 220px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Meanwhile, in September, I was thrilled to learn that the newest guide book by Crave featured me when it hit the shelves! Crave Amsterdam is the “Urban Girls Manifesto” and happens to be the most unique and stylish guidebook for Amsterdam living. It is a celebration of women entreprenesses that showcases some of the most creative, interesting, and gutsy proprietors throughout Amsterdam and is the ultimate diva source for where to shop in Amsterdam!

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 321px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”–_eBI/AAAAAAAAFJU/QqoGqB-8vX0/s400/Crave+Amsterdam.jpg” border=”0″ />And last, but certainly not least, I was simply delighted that Monique Rubin, a journalist with The Examiner, had written an article on The Antiques Diva™ Tours titled “Shopping in The Netherlands: The Antiques Diva™ Tours”, detailing our adventures in Amsterdam and The Hague, hitting my favorite antique shops and flea markets whilst sipping champagne along the way. In fact, author Monique Rubin focused on that champagne tidbit, referencing Robin Leach using his closing comments “Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams” as her lead into the article. But don’t let me tell you all about it – tour-1″>you can read the article yourself here at The Examiner’s Netherlands Lifestyle and Travel Page!

to 10px; WIDTH: 228px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 64px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Special Thanks for the mentions!

“Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams”,

The Antiques Diva™

Guest Blog: The Antiques Diva Meets Victorian Cobweb

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Dear Diva Readers,

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Today’s blog post comes to you from my Name Twin! A “Name Twin” is someone who has the same first name as you do. If you’re named Lisa, or Elizabeth, Amy or Jessica, finding others who share your name might be old hat, but when you have an unusual, somewhat bizarre, first name like I do it’s an utter surprise (and delight) when you find another person with your same first name! Though you know me by “The Diva”, in real life my first name is Toma and so when a few years ago I crossed paths with another girl from Oklahoma named Toma who happened to be as antiques-obsessed as me, I knew we were destined to become friends.

Over the past few years we’ve emailed regularly – tomas-and-round-top-texas-antiques.html” target=”_blank”>The Two Toma’s going back and forth, modern day pen pals and it’s been such a pleasure. Last year The Other Toma and I had a chance to meet face-to-face and we couldn’t stop gabbing!! But before I babble on, let me stop and turn this blog post over to The Other Toma – we’ll let her tell you our story!

So Ta Ta from this girl named Toma (aka The Antiques Diva) and Hello from My Name Twin Toma, author of” target=”_blank”>Victorian Cobweb!


to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 88px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Did you know that the International Pen Friends actually started in Sweden in the 1920’s, came to the USA and was promoted at the 1933 World’s Fair with Parker Pens and resurfaced in the 60’s as Pen Pals? I didn’t know this until recently and I am continually surprised & interested in what one can find on the internet. I love clicking my way through the internet, discovering one history then another, with one story leading to something else like antique Parker Pens. For me, this is how history is learned and interests are formed, collections are started, and friends are made.

to 10px; WIDTH: 129px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 200px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />I got the chance to meet my “21st Century Pen Pal” (my term for a pen pal via internet e-mail) this past holiday season and am looking forward to reconnecting in person this Dec 2009. As those who follow the wonderful blog of The Antiques Diva knows, she is my “name twin”. And that’s how this whole thing came about – our name – Toma.

to 10px; WIDTH: 316px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />About 2 or 3 years ago she was in my home town visiting her family and she happened by a little boot store that I pitch in to help on occasion and saw a Christmas stocking with her/my name written on it! Too cool she thought, and for those of you who actually know the Diva know that in her wonderful bubbly-inquisitive-outgoing Diva self had to find out who it was that had her name! So she left a card with the proprietor for me (come to find out she rarely has her calling cards on her person – so clearly her remembering her cards meant we were fated to meet) and the next thing I knew I was emailing her. The whole block (all friends of mine) was abuzz with the “other” Toma as I came to find out a day or two after her shopping trip – everyone was asking and telling me about this young woman visiting from Europe with my name!

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 321px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />So for the past 2 years we have kept up a steady email campaign back and forth – learning about what makes the other Toma tick and along the way finding out that there are numerous similarities in our lives besides our given names. In the meantime I have learned about a lifestyle (what she calls “expat life”) and I’ve been exposed to all sorts of things I had never had reason to think about before! Since meeting the Diva, I learned about geography in a way that my school teachers never taught, numerous other things along the way, but the most important thing is I gained a wonderful friend!

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 286px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />This past Christmas 2008 we were fortunate to meet each other and we’re already looking forward to our Dec 2009 encounter! The Diva last year was living in The Netherlands and upon meeting she brought me a beautiful present from Holland! She gave me a Dutch tulip vase and I delved into studying it. As soon as the first blossom appeared (it wasn’t a tulip, but I was so excited to use my vase I couldn’t wait), I plucked the beautiful yellow daffodils that dot the old homesteads and landscapes here.

to 10px; WIDTH: 337px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />When we met, The Diva recanted a bit of history about the Tulip industry in Holland and the odd little Tulip Vases that I thought was fascinating and right up my alley as I love a little bit of history, mystery, intrigue and of course an antique. So, I went to the internet for a bit more information and was surprised at what I found!

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 267px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />In the early 16th Century (which would be the 1500’s) the Tulips came to the Netherlands by way of Turkey and as such they were very expensive. This led to greed and theft of the exotic flower bulbs which in turn fueled Holland’s tulip industry for years to come. This inspired the Dutch potters to make very special multi-spouted vases just for the prized blooms. Only one of the vases pictured below is an antique but all are unique. Enjoy!

to 10px; WIDTH: 295px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 320px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”
kRVK06FI/AAAAAAAAD6s/b_eqdULngJg/s400/tulipa-vase.jpg” border=”0″ />

Tulip Vase from Freshome

to 10px; WIDTH: 178px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 180px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />

DeWit Unica Delftware at Dutch Village Shopping

to 10px; WIDTH: 183px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 320px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />

Web Gallery of Art
1690’s Royal Collection, Hampton Court

to 10px; WIDTH: 300px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />

Dutch Souvenirs
Fun and whimsical vase.

to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 229px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />

Tulip vase Piet

Take a moment out of your busy day to stop and smell the flowers! And my advice is to find your name twin and start your own pen pal relationship!

Thanks for letting me guest blog!

The Other Toma,” target=”_blank”>VictorianCobweb

* Dutch flag pic courtesy of and the tulip bulbs pic is from

Les Soldes Paris – Part 1

to 10px; WIDTH: 200px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 112px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />

Late Breaking News!

Get your charge cards ready… On your mark, get set, it’s time for the Paris Sales!

Les Soldes start June 24th and run until July 28th, 2009

to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 303px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Dear Diva Readers,

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>All over Paris (and France for that matter) prices will be slashed, cut and discounted and rumor has it that the discounts will be unbelievable this year – tout le monde is discussing la crise economique and shoppers can cash in on unbelievable savings!

An American friend visiting me once when I lived in Paris asked, “What’s up with everyone being ga-ga over the Paris sales? What’s so special about them?” After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I explained, “In France, the sales are state mandated. The government regulates the sales and so les soldes occur only twice a year. It’s not like America where there is a sale every week!” My friend, grasping that it was important she understand the finer points of this discussion, inquired “But why would the government care if there were sales all year? Don’t they know it’s good for the economy?”

“Economy-Smonomy!” I responded, “The socialist democracy of France has higher pursuits than the economy!” Barb Wilde, author of The French Gardening blog and owner of the online-shop L’Atelier Vert explains this phenomenon better than anyone else I know. She writes:

“Without government regulation, stores were buying in cheap junk merchandise just for their sales and then pretending that it was good stuff they had marked down. (Imagine!)

To protect the French populace from such outrageous and unfair treatment (on the part of merchants–government bureaucrats are neatly excluded here), the state mandated that sales would take place only for a period of about 5 weeks in January and February, and again in July and August. Only pre-existing merchandise–ostensibly end-of-the-season stuff–is allowed to be marked down.

In fact, this has become an assimilated part of French commercial culture. Before the winter sales, for instance, it’s nearly impossible to find anything springy, for example. May the gods of French shopping have pity on you if you need summery clothes to go someplace warm over the holidays. “Resort wear” simply doesn’t appear at least until the soldes begin–well after the holidays. The markdown of the old wintry stuff miraculously allows the nouvelles collections to start appearing. Out with the old and in with the new. Literally.

The markdowns begin rather modestly–usually at 10%–and then become deeper as the sale weeks roll by, finishing up at a whopping 50 to 70% on whatever’s left at the end. Thus, shoppers play a sort of solde roulette, gambling on whether their desired purchase will stay around long enough to be marked down more deeply. Or if like me, they’re too busy to get out early, they simply get lucky–or unlucky, as the case may be. Wealthy international shoppers are of course crazy about the soldes, and in the large department stores during the first couple of weeks of the sales, you hear almost any language but French spoken by the shoppers who have descended on Paris from all over the world to get a bargain.

But the state-mandated soldes, like so many French rules, have a loophole – promotions.”

Typically stores sneak in mini-mid-year sales called Promotions and thus get around the loophole that stores are only allowed to have sales twice a year.

to 10px; WIDTH: 240px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 320px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Prior to le crise financieres you never saw the words “Les Soldes” used outside of the designated period… but when I was in Paris this April taking Travel+Leisure on an antiques shopping tour with Claudia Strasser of Paris Apartments, I saw something that I have never seen before – Quelle Horror! Les Soldes signs were hanging outside of Galleries Lafayette NOT DURING the official sale period!!! What has happened to France? On recent trips to Paris I’ve noticed that vendors – as soon as they heard my American accent – responded to my French inquiries in English (something which pre-Sarko never happened to me!) and they even smiled whilst doing so! Is it possible that France is changing? And now this… sales during a non-sale period?

Discussions with friends surmised that the economy was so low that the big vendors were willing to face the risk of government fines for “soldes-ing” out of “season”. Further supposition among friends-in-the-know indicates that this summer’s Paris sale might just be the best sale yet! And I’m going to miss it!!! Tant pis pour moi! But, my loss is your gain for this year in a special Les Soldes Antiques Diva blog, I’m going to let you in “behind the scenes” on my typical shopping route for the first day of the Paris sales!

And for those armchair travelers out there – never fear, I haven’t forgotten you! Courtney Traube, Paris Travel Expert on, writes:

“Many top Paris stores, including Galeries Lafayette, have online stores offering sale items. If you’re not too daunted by the French, you can also try navigating specialized websites like 1000 Bonnes Affaires or L’internaute, which provide quick overviews of the best deals being offered in hundreds of stores. Remember, though, that not all stores ship outside of France.”

In other words, you might want to verify shipping options before you start online shopping!

In the meantime, TaTa for now, I’ll blog to you later!

Bonne Shopping!

The Antiques Diva™

Hermès Summer Secret Sale!

Bonjour Les Amis,

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Just “un petite mot” to let you know author Rebecca Magniant of Chic Shopping Paris recently posted an excellent scoop on her blog, sharing some dates & details that I know you’re dying to hear all about! Earlier this year, Rebecca was featured in An Antiques Diva Exclusive Interview Revealing Hermès Shopping Secrets. She now reports that a reliable source has revealed the Hermès Summer Secret Sale will take place….. drum roll please…. June 25 – 28, 2008 – at the Palais des Congres. Rebecca also tips readers that Paris’ twice annual sale dates (known as “les soldes”) are running June 25 – August 2nd, 2008.

Bonne Shopping!

The Antiques Diva™