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Money Matters

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;”>Today we are talking about money, money, money… Before a client leaves on an international trip I am always sharing a slew of hints and tips of things they should know before they go. Today I’m sharing with you a list my Diva Guide Jennifer in Paris helped me compile of important Money Matters.

° Notify your credit card companies of your travel plans/dates so they do not put a fraud alert on your card and stop it.  We see this problem happening repeatedly…even if people have heard this advice, they don’t call their credit card company because they assume they will be fine.  Until they are trying to pay for their purchase in Europe, only to receive that frown and shrug from the cashier…card denied.

° Consider increasing your daily cash withdrawal limit as many antique dealers prefer cash – remember if you are working with a shipper you can often pay your shipper for your larger purchases with credit card for a minimum transaction fee.

° Carry a copy of your passport for id and shopping purchases (détaxe in France)

° Ask for a letter from the vendor stating that your new purchase is over 100 years old to avoid paying US duty (exemption for antiques)

° Ask your cell phone phone provider if your phone works in the countries you will be visiting, consider changing your plan if you will need it but do be aware of the additional cost

° Be extra careful with your wallet and smartphones and never leave your purse unattended in a café

° Leave the bling at home, big jewels are not worn as much in Europe plus without the jewels you may get better prices at the market!

° Okay this has nothing to do with money but since we were discussing your jewelry we might as well discuss fashion! Weather can change quickly, pack light layers, trench coat, sunglasses and a travel umbrella. Also save the high heels for dinner and taxis, traveling equals walking so bring comfortable yet stylish shoes.

° Leave a list of credit card numbers etc with a trusted friend so if something does happen you will know exactly who you need to contact

° Consider purchasing travel insurance. If you need it, you will be REALLY glad you did!

° If you rent a car, GPS can be really helpful and worth the extra cost.

° Make sure you have your pin codes for your credit cards as often in Europe you have to pin not sign for purchases.

° Remember in Holland and Belgium many places (grocery stores, small restaurants and shops) don’t accept credit cards.  Have plenty of cash at hand, so probably that means you should increase your daily withdrawal limit as recommended above!

Happy Shopping,
Your Team at The Antiques Diva & Co ®

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Lady Lotus Does Des Moines

THE ANTIQUES DIVA™ TOURS – CLOSED FOR ANNUAL VACATION DURING AUGUST – REOPENS SEPTEMBER While my tour guides are taking a much needed holiday and I’m away for the month of August sipping champagne at sunset on a Mediterranean Cruise (after taking a driving tour of Italy), I haven’t forgotten you, my loyal readers, in my absence. August 2008 you’ll enjoy a multitude of guest blogs, pre-posted light blogs and miscellaneous reader questions. Don’t worry, I’ll be back with more great addresses and shopping tips this fall! All email inquiries or posted comments will be responded to come September!

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Dear Antiques Diva,

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>After living eight years abroad, I was used to my husband whisking me away to Italy, Australia or Japan whenever he had a business trip. So imagine my surprise when two months ago he told me his next business adventure would be a little closer to home. I realize we no longer live in Paris or Tokyo and as we currently reside in the Midwestern part of the United States, Des Moines, Iowa is only five hours away by car, but still I found I missed those international days when a business trip meant someplace tres exotic and foreign. I had to be wooed with talk of room service, steak dinners and great antique shopping.

In all honesty, I think he made up the latter, thinking I’d be interested in joining him for the conference if he told me there was antique shopping to be found. But somehow he got lucky and I felt your readers should be informed that not only is Des Moines a great place to visit but there is also a lovely place in West Des Moines for antique shopping. It’s called Historic Valley Junction.

When I first drove up to the outdoor shopping area, I was a bit hesitant. Although it was positively reviewed in my guidebook and two city newspapers, it looked more like an unloved construction zone with workers ripping up the main artery at the end of the street. But I drove around the mess, parked and started walking behind some ladies chatting about finding the best cake shop ever. Well, there was no way I was going to miss out on such a treasure, so I lurked behind as they entered “Let Them Eat Cake”. This small wedding cake business features personal-sized creations for you to eat there or take for later. I was swooning in butter cream, marzipan and edible wedding flowers!

Since I didn’t want to shop with frosting on my fingers, I took note of the place for later and made my way to the main shopping area along 5th Street. I didn’t walk far before my eye was caught by the gorgeous scrapbooking window displays of Heirlooms by Design. It had been eons since I browsed a dedicated scrapbooking store, so I did some damage to my credit card, then headed back to the car to drop off two groaning bags and check out the cake store again (mmm … still looks divine!)

This time I made it at least two more shops down 5th street before stopping. The tofiowamarketplace.com/” target=”_blank”>Heart of Iowa features souvenirs, funny gifts and gourmet foods. I picked up a little espresso cup ($5) featuring the state logo for my husband, Dr. Mr. T’s travel collection, but left the gorgeous local pottery, John Deere toy tractors and tasty jars of jelly.

The next place I found was Porch Light. This shop specializes in antiques and gifts complete with a cute little outdoor area of flowers and garden items. Chairs were hanging from the ceiling, shelves were laden with glassware and pottery … they even had a huge trunk filled with my favorite things – old glass windows and doors! I couldn’t resist a galvanized metal laundry tub from the 1940s which would be perfect to hold my fireplace tinder back home, so I scooped it up for only $25.

I spent the rest of the afternoon zigzagging across the street and through the many antique shops. The Paris Flea Market had gorgeous groupings of both old and new French items, like their cute, cute, cute wall of tea towels. A-Ok Antiques specialized in fun looking games. I was captivated by the Fortune Teller gumball machine, but at $945 I left it in the shop. And did I need a chandelier? David Meshek’s display in 5th Street Finds must have had over 500 pieces of antique lighting.

In addition to antiques, there are numerous art galleries, clothing stores and specialty boutiques. One of my favorite spots was Sisters by Especially Lace. My eyes feasted on the gorgeous bed coverings and little nothings scattered about, but I especially liked a ribbon-bedecked straw hat. The shopkeeper helped show me how it was “crushable”, so I walked out with this $33 treasure, w
hich helped keep the sun out of my eyes as I meandered back to the car (via the cake shop, of course!) with bags a plenty and a pink champagne cake ($5) for dessert back in the hotel.

Don’t tell my husband, please, but I actually hope his next meeting takes place in Des Moines just so I can visit Historic Valley Junction again- sooner rather than later!

Bonne Shopping Diva Readers!

Lady Lotus

Reader Question – Brocante Temploux in Belgium

THE ANTIQUES DIVA™ TOURS – CLOSED FOR ANNUAL VACATION DURING AUGUST – REOPENS SEPTEMBER While my tour guides are taking a much needed holiday and I’m away for the month of August sipping champagne at sunset on a Mediterranean Cruise (after taking a driving tour of Italy), I haven’t forgotten you, my loyal readers, in my absence. August 2008 you’ll enjoy a multitude of guest blogs, pre-posted light blogs and miscellaneous reader questions. Don’t worry, I’ll be back with more great addresses and shopping tips this fall! All email inquiries or posted comments will be responded to come September!

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Hello Antiques Diva,

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>I am an antiques dealer in Atlanta who currently buys stock in France. I would like to expand my buying area by including Belgium and hope that you can help me with this.

I am interested in attending one of the brocantes you listed in a recent blog — the Brocante Temploux 23-24 August, 2008. BY any chance do you know if there is shipping available?

Thank you for your help.

Antoinette from Atlanta

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Hi Antoinette,

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Sadly the fair coordinator, Luc Halleux, has explained that “With 1000 exposants and 150,000 visitors, we already have a lot of work. So we cannot organize any shipping and we do not have contact with any company to do it. Apologies and Best Regards!” Should you have any more questions, you can contact Luc directly at to:brocante@temploux.be”>brocante@temploux.be

Even though The Antiques Diva Exclusive Antique Shopping Tours of Holland, Belgium and France does not organize shipping, I didn’t want to leave you high & dry on this question so I put my Belgian Antiques Diva Tour Guide, Lucretia, to work searching for a solution! Her advice is that as Temploux is nearby Namur, your best bet might be using a shipping agent there to help orchestrate your overseas shipment. While The Antiques Diva™ Enterprises cannot make any official recommendations (as we haven’t tested these companies yet), we did find a few potentials for you to investigate.

One Entry is an interesting company which allows you to compare costs for a multitude of services – international shipping included. The website http://www.antiek.com/ recommends a few vendors who are helping antique dealers by organizing overseas shipping. Antiques Carriers looked particularly interesting as did Belga Traders.

Last but not least, should you need antique shopping advice while in Belgium (or before going), please feel free to ask! The Antiques Diva Offices are closed the month of August but whenever possible we try to help and might be able to squeeze in a last minute appointment if you’re in jam!

To shop with a local on your arm while in Belgium, Lucretia’s fees are 25 Euros per hour + transport costs (i.e. fuel/train) or for a full day shopping service 140 Euros. Lucretia is Belgian, speaks English, French and Flemish fluently (as well as pretty good Italian & German) and is an expert at bargaining in all these languages! Her Masters is in Decorative Arts and she’s an absolute delight to shop with! You’d love her!

Good Luck with your shopping adventure!

All the best,

The Antiques Diva™

August Special Edition: The Great 2008 Coleslaw Cook-Off

THE ANTIQUES DIVA™ TOURS – CLOSED FOR ANNUAL VACATION DURING AUGUST – REOPENS SEPTEMBER While my tour guides are taking a much needed holiday and I’m away for the month of August sipping champagne at sunset on a Mediterranean Cruise (after taking a driving tour of Italy), I haven’t forgotten you, my loyal readers, in my absence. August 2008 you’ll enjoy a multitude of guest blogs, pre-posted light blogs and miscellaneous reader questions. Don’t worry, I’ll be back with more great addresses and shopping tips this fall! All email inquiries or posted comments will be responded to come September!

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top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>While The Antiques Diva is lounging on deck aboard Holland America’s Noordam enjoying her 20 day Mediterranean Cruise, two American At Home Chefs, La Reine & Lady Lotus, take hold of the reigns for today’s blog, going head-to-head in The Great 2008 Coleslaw Cook-Off. In one court, we have La Reine with her soon to be famous mayonnaise-free coleslaw recipe. In the other court, Lady Lotus brings forth a very diva-colored pink coleslaw designed to impress friends and foes alike. Both Home Cooks claim their non-traditional coleslaw recipes make them “The Coleslaw Queen”. Only you can decide which contender takes home the tiara!

Contender # 1 – La Reine

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“I was just asked AGAIN for my soon-to-be-famous coleslaw recipe. A couple weeks ago we had a guest marathon and I was cooking one healthy and one very unhealthy meal. The only thing on both menus was my coleslaw. I hate mayonnaise, but love coleslaw. So in almost any restaurant, when they say: ‘Would you like coleslaw?’ I say, ‘Is it made with mayo?’ They say, ‘Yes’ and I say ‘No.’ So, I’ve concocted my own recipe, which since it’s been asked for so many times recently, I will share with you too.

I always make a huge batch, I never make it just for The Big Guy & me, but I made enough so that I can keep some at home while taking the rest to potluck lunch or BBQ. This easy, fast & healthy recipe is also inexpensive to make and keeps for several days in the fridge. What more could you want? “

La Reine’s Coleslaw Recipe
Mix:

  • 1 large bag shredded cabbage
  • 1 small bag shredded broccoli
  • 1 small bag shredded carrots
  • 3 chopped apples, I use Fuji but Granny Smith would be better except The Big Guy thinks they’re too tart
  • 4 chopped green onions

    Dressing Mix:

  • 1 large spoonful sour cream
  • 1/2 can frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 4 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs poppy seeds

    Add dressing to greens. You can add additional vinegar or apple concentrate to make it sweeter or tarter, to taste. Add raisins, cranberries, or nuts as preferred. You can also add broccoli florets or other tiny vegetable to taste (and color). Let blend in refrigerator at least 1 hour before serving, better over night. Serve cold. Keeps several days.

Contender # 2 – Lady Lotus

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Lady Lotus’ Horse-Power Slaw

  • 1/2 head shredded green cabbage
  • 1/2 head shredded red cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup finely sliced green onions
  • 2 cups shredded broccoli stems (remove crowns first and save for another meal)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup nonfat mayo
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons creamy prepared horseradish (Or, better yet, do it yourself, a la Lady Lotus Style – Peel fresh horseradish root and cut into chunks. Toss in blender with a little water. Grind. Add half a lemon to neutralize).

Combine the cabbages, carrots, onions and broccoli stems in large bowl. In small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, vinegars, sugar, and salt and pepper until sugar is dissolved. Pour the vinegar mixture over the cabbage mix and toss thoroughly. Refrigerate 30 minutes. In small bowl, combine mayo, yogurt, and horseradish. Stir. Add to slaw mixture and stir thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate again 30 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

So, Diva Readers, what do you think? Is one better than the other? Have an alternative suggestion? Let me know!!

Until next time, keep enjoying this wonderful summer!

The Antiques Diva™

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