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Archive for the ‘shopping’ Category

In celebration of the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, the Italian fashion house Gucci announced a special limited 8-8-2008 collection of just eight fashion accessories. And as you know, eight is considered the luckiest number in Chinese culture. The bold red color evokes “happiness” and “celebration”, two emotions that couldn’t be more appropriate to describe the excitement in the sports world, according to Gucci creative director Frida Giannini.

The highly anticipated item of the campaign is the hot new I-Gucci watch with a steel frame and a smooth black face and is unique to the 8-8-08 campaign. It also happens to be the first digital time piece Gucci has ever released and the only item that will debut worldwide.

You can view the rest of the collection which also include; men’s and women’s sport shoes, a sterling silver military tag inspired necklace (uh, yes, please!), a Mahjong set covered in red La Pelle Guccissima leather, and a leather stuffed panda bear, all which will be exclusively sold through the Gucci Hong Kong and China stores, here.

Would it be too much to add the bike to my Christmas list? It’s only $3,420.


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Yesterday was a great day. Having the day off I decided to spend some time alone shopping and running errands. Even though my blog doesn’t reflect it, I do like love shopping. It’s not the actual act of buying lots of stuff it’s more finding that fabulous piece at just the right price. (Okay. Who am I kidding? Maybe there is something to buying loads of goodies…..)

I have many reasons to squeal like an over-excited-schoolgirl being chased on the playground by her-favorite-snot-nose-crush today, but here are just a couple simple ones:

1. IKEA. Yes, IKEA in Sweden is the same old place as in the states only with funny looking signs, sing-song Swedish being spoken, and a grip of Swedes downing meatballs and sipping on lignon berry juice. And yes, regardless of what country you’re located in, I realize shopping and especially shopping at IKEA is a nightmare for most folks – including Fattie, so I was delighted to trot down there with me, myself, and I. With hours to browse, measure, and contemplate that perfectly cheap disposable item, I was happy and in my element.

Now I don’t live for IKEA and my house is NOT a home filled with IKEA “stuff” and neither are most Swedes homes I have visited, but it is certainly amusing to find that one item that does work and doesn’t set you back a truckload of dough.

I ended up with these gorgeous plates/bowls.

I know they’re not high-end expensive china from a designer store but I just love, love, love these bowls! I already own a complete set of 365+ dishes but had been on the hunt for awhile for this type of deep plate-bowl combo. These everyday white bowls, that I plan to serve just about everything in, are also from IKEA’s 365+ Dinnerware Series and designed by Susan Pryke. They run $5.99 in the states and 59:- Swedish kroner here, roughly $10.00 each (grrrrr, I loath paying more – but had to remind myself of the 25% sales tax here – not kidding). Even with the thought of shelling out a bit more coin, I was thrilled and loaded up my cart with twenty of these bad boys. Twenty? Yup, twenty. See Fattie has four brothers and sisters, so with spouses, children, and in-laws busting in for some chow it’s easily twelve hungry relatives at any given time and I assume that number is only going to get larger as more folks are added into the mix. I adore entertaining and a girl can’t have enough dishes…..So, I need want place settings for thirty but for now am settling on three different sets of twenty each. That should be good.

Just one of many cabinets loaded with white dishes....

I also snagged some white square appetizer plates from the same 365+ line. I had been eyeing similar porcelain plates at Crate and Barrel but had completely spaced picking them up before I left the states. Since I was getting the square side plates I knew I just must have the dinner plates, and these adorable little side/sauce cups as well. Uh-huh, twenty of each of those too. And before I knew it, I also threw in some new Cognac and dessert wine glasses. (shhh…don’t tell Fattie…..they are washed, dried, and put away so he hasn’t noticed yet)

Just some glassware...

Flying high from my kitchen fix, I stumbled on these bad boys in hammered silver.

I adore lamps. I had close to thirty-some-odd lamps at my home in the states – and for a single girl living on her own, I’ve been told that’s a lot.

So, yeah. I love lighting…..and yeah, not the over head variety. Uh, unless of course it’s a chandelier. As you can probably determine on your own, due to the electrical and voltage difference here in Europe, my fabulous lamps could not make the journey to Sweden. (insert sad face here). This past year I’ve been looking left and right for some affordable lighting. You thought gas was expensive, jeez, just try to purchase a few lamps…. (and no complaints from US folks please….gas is running close to $10.00 a gallon here!) These babies weren’t exactly the “right” price but they were less than most others I had run across and I actually liked the chunky design. The bonus? A built in dimmer switch. Yeah! $39.99 in the states and 450:- Swedish kroner here, roughly $75.00 for the lamp base plus another 22 bones for the shade. So, at about 100 bucks a pop I somehow managed to squeeze two in hammered silver and two in dark brown into my already over stuffed cart. Lovely.

2. Fattie. He’s such a love. And generously agreed to some IKEA assembly. I know putting together anything from IKEA is Fattie’s nemesis and probably everyone’s worst horror, so the fact that after a hard day at a work he cracked a beer, rolled up his sleeves, and jumped in with a big smile on his face just makes me love him even more. He deserves a big squeeze.

3. Mail. More precisely any mail that is not a bill or an advertisement. Upon arriving home to unpack my treasures I was greeted by a big brown package on the porch. And a package from the states! Did I already mention how much I like getting mail…..! My brother and his wife spent a few weeks in Europe last month for our wedding and a European sight-seeing-adventure. We had a glorious time together and seriously can’t wait for them to get their booties over here so we can do it again next year. As a thank you Joe, Janet, Jameson, and Jenna (yes, that’s a lot of J’s) sent me us the most wonderful package ever! Filled with treats from home. I’m sure the neighbors heard me squealing like a little piglet! I had a grin on my face all night. The highlights are:

  • Ziploc baggies IN GALLON SIZE! Seriously I know it’s not environmentally friendly but I miss Ziploc bags. I might even turn into one of those little ladies who wash them out and reuse them. I mean is that really so bad? Don’t tempt me….
  • Kitchen Calculator Pro! Oh, I am in love. I had mentioned back in April I wanted one of these useful gadgets to help with my cooking adventures and am over the top thrilled to have it in my hot hands.
  • iPod accessories. My sweet twelve year old niece noticed me eyeing her cool iPod cover so she decided I needed one too. How thoughtful. And the cutest pug card to go along with it. Thank you Jenna!
  • Baking soda! OMG. You just don’t know how much you miss something as simple as Arm & Hammer baking soda until you get over here and try to whip up some of your favorite cookies….This is brilliant!

This package not only made me giggle and smile it truly warmed my heart. Thank you so much! It’s the little things from home that bring comfort when you are far away. And their thoughtfulness made me happy.

I am feeling full of gratitude. Thankful I could afford the gas to drive to IKEA to load up on kitchen goodies, thankful for Fattie who never complains and loves me perfectly, and so grateful for my wonderful family.

See, I really am a simple happy girl.

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Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone, but we know a guy who has a cousin who knows someone else who got us into this A.M.A.Z.I.N.G warehouse (read: not open to the public and or for sale in this country) stuffed to the gills with gorgeous antiques.

Now, those who know me and have been to any of my current or previous homes (in Europe or the US) know I’m much more of a modern kinda chick, but even I must admit some of these pieces were just absolutely to-die-for. And although my tendencies lean towards clean modern lines, I adore mixing old and new together. Just imagine one of these chandeliers over your tub or in a little girls rooms. Everyone needs a little luxury.

Honestly, the sheer volume of furniture collectibles in these buildings was a bit overwhelming. You’ll notice in this photo Fattie is just a speck with chairs, armories, and settees lining the walls five to six levels deep. We were even given special treatment to check out the fresh incoming merchandise while they were unloading some trailers full of goodness. We ended up roaming the aisles for a good couple hours and ultimately Fattie had to pry me away.

I stumbled upon and fell in love with these sexy curved sage green velvet rounded arms chairs (I envisioned recovering them in some fabulous fabric that matched our interior) and I squeaked – or maybe it was a squeal – to Fattie that we MUST have them. I think I’ve been a good girl lately, because Fattie agreed they would be a nice contrast in the family room and said he would ‘talk’ to the owner to see if something could be arranged. Something can always be arranged. All this mysterious speak was kinda exciting and I was already visualizing myself in front of the TV, resting my bootie on the comfy feather pillow, feet up, glass of Ferrari Carano, catching a little BBC Food.

A couple days later we had our answer. This perfect twosome were available and the owner would be happy to deliver them to us this week. Luv it! Along with that news, Fattie also dropped this bomb, “We’ll, it’s the Audi or the chairs – you pick.” Now, I love our efficient little green car – a must have when gas is around $7.00 USD a gallon here – but do we really need a second car? I mean, I could walk to work if I had too.

The pair of stunning seats were hand made in Russia for a ‘particular’ embassy/palace (sorry – no names here – it’s extremely hush-hush) and were going for 140,000 Swedish Kroner WHOLESALE. Now, seriously. Maybe you don’t know the exchange rate to SEK, but I can inform you – that’s a helluva lot of dough to rest your bum on. $23,500 USD to be precise (well, give or take some change). So, how come in a land of antiques, where I know diddley squat, I pick the most expensive pieces of loveliness? Do you think I could add these to my wedding registry?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ‘antiquing’ on my days off but I want to go back here immediately……

Apologies for the picture quality – I was snap happy but didn’t get the best shots. These pix don’t even do this place justice.

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Not something I would normally ever in a million years come in contact with back home in my Whole Foods Market, so you can imagine I was a bit jolted when I rounded the corner in the grocery store and laid my big brown eyes on this guy. He was marketing, Polar Bread or Polarbröd as it’s known in Swedish.

Polar Bread originates far north in Sweden – where reindeer are also born and raised. It is a soft flat bread with dimples, sometimes square but usually round, excellent for sandwiches. Extra tasty with a fresh slice of juicy reindeer….Oh, come on! Ease up. I would never consider munching on Santa’s helpers! At least not Rudolph anyway. But apparently, for fifteen pounds, you can get darn close to the red nose leader.

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It’s official. I now live in the country.

It’s truly gorgeous here. We’re sitting in-between the 4th & 5th holes on a luscious green and manicured golf course overlooking a tranquil lake. It’s like living in the middle of a resort.

However, as beautiful and peaceful as it is, coming from a busy metropolitan city I wasn’t exactly prepared for the specific shoe demands and foot requirements of these brilliant boondocks. My 300+ pair of high heels have barely been unpacked and strapped on my feet more than once or twice. Hard to believe that’s all that used to adorn my little piggies.

rose boot

Uh, uh………What was I saying? Oh yeah, my ill-prepared yet over stuffed shoe closet. I’m talking about rubber boots. Galoshes. Wellies. Gumboots. Rain boots. Oxfords. Overshoes. Waders. Whatever you fancy calling them. I need ’em.

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I adore the LocalHarvest website and the concept behind it….

LocalHarvest was founded in 1988 and they say they are America’s #1 organic and local food website. By maintaining a definitive and reliable “living” public nationwide directory of small farms, farmers markets, and other local food sources they have become the main informational resource for the buy local movement and the top place on the internet where people find information on direct marketing family farms.

LocalHarvest is located in Santa Cruz, California, and was founded by Guillermo Payet, a software engineer and activist dedicated to generating positive social change through the internet.

Check out their revealing US map where you can quickly locate farmers’ markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area, where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies.

map

How cool would it be to subscribe for a weekly delivery of locally grown fresh organic produce! I mean who wouldn’t love that? Well, that’s precisely what you can do.

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According to their website, Branchhome.com is a place where you can buy products that are wholly appealing—sexy, even—but that are also manufactured and brought to market in such a way that you don’t have to feel guilty about buying—or, eventually, disposing of—them.

At Branch, they’re all about sustainability.

What do they mean by that? In short, they think that products should be made in the most environmentally-responsible way possible. Also — and this is equally important — they think that products shouldn’t have to look eco-friendly to actually be “green”. Everything sold at Branch qualifies as being “sustainable” in some way or another (often in many ways). This could mean, for example, that a product is made from organically-grown fiber, or from recycled- or reclaimed stock, or from sustainably-harvested wood, or from a naturally-occurring, renewable material. It’s their hope that shopping at Branch gets people thinking differently about the things they buy and where those things come from.petme

There are certainly some fresh and intriguing products on their site.

These squeeze and Plant-Me Pets would make a great gift for a young niece or nephew. They’re quirky sculptures made of natural latex rubber. The “eyes” are actual seeds (melon, tomato, and pumpkin seeds), and their “skin” is soft and pliable. You can squeeze their bodies and they’ll squeak.dogbone

For Rover, there’s this RecycleBone – any pup would want to chomp. The RecycleBone is made from rubbery scraps left over from the manufacture of other chew toys. Your dog will will love that it’s super-strong and fun to gnaw.tray

And who doesn’t need these functional 100% organically-grown, non-toxic adhesive, natural food-safe wood oil bamboo serving trays? The company, Bambu who makes these in China, manufactures several other environmentally friendly bamboo items including thick sturdy cutting boards, colorful serving bowls, useful salad utensils, and some cool handy tongs .winerack

Or this hip SixPack Wine Rack made in the good ol’ US of A of 100% wool felt. This clever wine rack is made from naturally renewable and recyclable materials. Also available are felt coasters and a cool wine pocket for wrapping and giving a bottle of wine.blanket

 

 

Wanna splurge? This 100% virgin wool blanket from Italy, is more formally called the “Apart-n-Together” Blanket. The design celebrates the connectedness of people, and serves as a reminder of another when they’re not around. With each blanket that the company Hiroko Kurihara Designs sells, they donate a blanket made of recycled polar fleece to a local organization that serves those who are homeless or in transition. This act of giving requires no additional purchase: it’s simply responsible, ethical consumerism.

snpFor the chef in the family or just someone that might need a little extra flavor in their life, pick up these Tiny Basket Bowels, perfect size for salt and pepper. They have most certainly made it onto my Christmas wish list.stripes

I also adore this AUM Shoulder Tote made from 100% reclaimed sailcloth body. Cut from naturally textured cruising sailcloth that would otherwise be discarded, this tote’s rich history is highlighted and reinforced by perfectly simple, handmade details. The AUM Shoulder Tote is a unique chronicle of voyages past, and a perfect companion for adventures to come. Also available in a circle design.

 

Even my 100% organic mother would approve.

 

 

 

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