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Travel Tuesday: The Antiques Diva’s Favorite Places

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>When being interviewed one of the questions I am most frequently asked is “If you had to choose one favorite place in the world, where would it be (and why)?” Such a tough question, but there are things I love about each place I travel.

As an American who has lived in Europe nearly 14 years (5 in Paris, 4 in Amsterdam and currently reside in Berlin) I have to say Europe is my playground.  As the owner of Europe’s largest antiques touring company I travel in 7 or 8 countries each month.  Waking up I never know which language to greet the day!  Saint Augustine said, The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”  If that’s true my life is a well-read novel… to choose only one favorite place feels quite simply an impossibility.

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Top Travel Destinations, Paris, New York, Tuscany, Oklahoma, Thailand, Asia, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines Interviews

I love different places for different reasons. I grew up in Oklahoma  – and I love the serenity of slipping a saddle on a horse and riding across the salt plains.  In Paris I slip into my European life like someone else does their favorite little black dress.  I was born for Paris and it is here I feel most at home.  I dream in French.

tuscany, Top Travel Destinations, Paris, New York, Tuscany, Oklahoma, Thailand, Asia, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines Interviews

And I love New York. The excitement. The lights. The feeling that I’m in the center of the world that’s really just a small town where everyone seems to know everyone else. Meanwhile Tuscany takes me out of the city and reminds me of my country girl roots.

Top Travel Destinations, Paris, New York, Tuscany, Oklahoma, Thailand, Asia, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines Interviews

But to escape from reality I go to Asia which feels like a mysterious wonderland so foreign, pushing me out of my comfort zone and out of my own skin.  My husband and I area heading back to Thailand for our big vacation this year to go elephant trekking in the Golden Triangle and shopping in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.  (Note: Watch this space – with the help of some of our locally-based Thai design and antiques industry friends we’ll be sharing some shopping tips this summer on Where to Antique and Shop in Thailand).

All said and done, at the end of the day, it would be impossible to choose one favorite place.  There are too many pages in the book of life to read.

Happy Traveling,

The Antiques Diva®

DALLAS or Bust!

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top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>This December finds me dashing through the snow back home to Oklahoma to spend time with friends and family for the holiday season! In addition to stopping off in New York City to visit a friend and do some whirlwind Christmas shopping – this leads to me to ponder, “Is it still Christmas shopping if all the shopping I do is for myself?”I’m also taking a few days to do the Diva Loca in Dallas!!! Although I grew up in Oklahoma, a stones throw away from Texas, I rarely crossed the border. So when it came to shopping in Dallas I didn’t have a huge repertoire of addresses on file.

Victorian Cobweb came to the rescue, posting some toriancobweb.blogspot.com/2009/11/girls-trip-to-dallas-tips.html” target=”_blank”>great antique shopping resources! Thanks Victorian Cobweb!

To read Victorian Cobweb’s Dallas Antique Shopping tips – toriancobweb.blogspot.com/2009/11/girls-trip-to-dallas-tips.html” target=”_blank”>click here!

Have a Happy Holiday Season,
The Antiques Diva™

PS: As always, Diva Tours is closed during December & January! We’ve some great antique shopping tours planned for Spring 2010 – email toma@antiquesdiva.com for details.

10 Things About Me

Sarah Sophia recently took a blog challenge posting 10 things about herself and now she’s asked me to do the same – to reveal 10 things you might not know about me. So without further adieu…

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1) I may play a diva on the internet, but I’m exceedingly practical in real life. Friends always joke about my CFO husband’s family budget and his multiple spreadsheets but what they don’t know is that while he’s the fall guy I’m the one who holds him accountable for staying on top of things! He’s the impulse shopper – I’m the planner.

2) I’m so obsessed with décor because if my surroundings are unattractive it makes me physically and mentally ill. We have 1 junk room in our house that gives me a headache when I enter it…. However this one junk room allows the rest of the space to be seamless. Did you ever see the Friends episode where Chandler discovers Monica’s junk closet? That’s my junk room!

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Photo: view from my kitchen into living room

3) I dreamed I would marry my husband before I started dating him. We met when we were 16 and had one date, but we were both dating other people at the time. Two years later when I graduated from high school, we began dating but between that time and when I was 16, I had 3 prophetic dreams that I would marry him one day. Funnily enough, my ex-boyfriend’s mother (the mother of the boy I was dating in high school) – who had never met WG – also dreamed that I would marry him and told her son about the dream, asking “Does your girlfriend know anyone named WG?” She also dreamed that WG would work in finance.

4) I got married at the age of 22, two weeks after graduating university! He was 24! We’ve been married 13 years (and together 17) which means I am 35 and for the first time in my life I’m starting to feel old. Next year, he and I will have been together half my life – the best half of my life! Some people struggle with age at 29 or 30, 32 or 35 – for me, it hit me last month at 35 ½. I’m hoping this sensation of age is a passing one. On the bright side, most of my friends are older than me… so no matter how old I get, I’ll always be the younger friend!

to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SjNXbuacSvI/AAAAAAAADGg/Z3T_iDDO5w4/s320/068.JPG” border=”0″ />Photo: taken in my Berlin living room

5) My goal is to someday have multiple homes – a pied-a-terre in Paris, a small foothold in Italy, something in Belgium – a central base for my Antiques Diva Tour Business (and more importantly for basing our tax status out of) and another in Oklahoma to be near my family whenever I’m home-sick. Hmmm, I’d also like a gorgeous beach house in Thailand for getting away from it all and to be an Asian base.

6) My top 5 favorite foods in the world are 1. Foie Gras with Toast and Fig Confiture, 2. French Fries, 3. Gigantic American Salads, 4. Lemon Gelato 5.French Cheese Courses (served with a salad). I am obsessed with asparagus season, eating it daily while it’s on sale in the markets. I also love cherry tomatoes and rarely does a day go by without me eating a salad for either lunch, dinner or a first course. Once a year I get a craving for a big fat juicy American cheeseburger – and this craving must be met or else. While in general I prefer European cuisine, the “American” food I miss most while living abroad is “Mexican”.

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7) I’ve designed my life so that champagne will be a regular part of it. I always keep a bottle chilling “just in case” the impulse hits – as nothing makes an ordinary day more special than a bottle of bubbly.

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8) I’ve read every night before bed my entire life. I’m currently reading Lifeguard by James Patterson, just finished When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro and the next two books waiting on my side table are Irving Stone’s 1961 best seller about the life of Michelangelo – The Agony and Ecstasy, and Philippa Gregory’s The Other Queen telling the tale of Mary Queen of Scots.

9) I don’t watch much television – and WG watches even less than me! We are both readers, retiring in the evenings to the library to read with a glass of port in hand – though I must confess, I might have majored in English literature in university, but WG is a more intelligent reader than I am. He’s currently working his way through anything written by an American expat in the 1920’s and 30’s and as of late, he’s been channeling Fitzgerald and Hemingway. Last week in Italy he even bought an ascot. We moved to Berlin a little over 3 months ago, and I still haven’t went to the store to buy the cable cord to hook up our TV to the cable outlet even though cable is provided free in our apartment.

to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SjNXbsBFW-I/AAAAAAAADGo/X5ekVNGFlWA/s320/berlin+starbucks.jpg” border=”0″ />Photo: taken in Starbucks on the Unter den Linden nearby our home in what was East Berlin. And they call this progress?

10) I’m currently writing a novel in my spare time. I’ve written over 100 pages and am going strong. Just last week, I came up with an idea for a follow-up novel when I finish this one. I know it’s cliché, but I’m writing my novel fro
m the Starbucks on the Freiderichstrasse nearby my home in Berlin. I find when working on this book I need a change of scenery, so Starbucks has become my novel-writing office. I sit with a caramel macchiato in hand, me and my laptop for hours on end. I know this is Europe and I should not be frequenting Starbucks, but Starbuck’s wifi access and central location, cliché or not, win over Berlin authenticity and ambiance.

Now, I challenge you – can you tell me 10 things about YOU!?!!

Until next time,
The Antiques Diva™

Photo: taken last week at a stopover for dinner in Bellagio Italy

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