Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rocca Boston...YUM!

Anyone who knows me well knows that I'm a big fan of dining out.  I moved into my current home about 18 months ago and have yet to turn on the oven!  I did buy myself a slow cooker with the intent on spending a couple evenings at home each week during the winter months and "nesting".  I have a few favorite spots in Boston, Atlanta and New York.  My most favorite in Boston is Rocca Kitchen & Bar.  This is one of Michela Larson's restaurants and she certainly knows how to design a menu.  The menu is based on food from Italy's small Liguria region, but the menu is quite diverse.  I've had just about every dish on the menu multiple times.  For casual dining I'm a big fan of the Rocca Burger.  It comes with just about everything imaginable on it (even bacon!), but you can also dress it down a bit.  It comes with a healthy serving of fries or dine more sensibly and pair it with a nice salad.  I'm also a huge fan of the Spaghetti Poveri (or as I call it, Poverty Spaghetti!).  But there is nothing "poverty" about it.  Paired with a salad it makes a great evening meal.  The Short Ribs are also tasty.  The bar staff is great.  I'm a big fan of Rob on Tuesday and Wednesday nights (also at Stella on Friday and Saturday nights) and Ean on Monday and Friday nights.  Colleen, who usually is a wait person in the upstairs diningroom is a fun Sunday night bartender.  Speaking of Stella,, this restaurant continues to be one of the hottest places to dine in Boston.  It's been open for a number of years and usually you'd expect a restaurant to slide a bit or need to reinvent itself after a long period of time, but not Stella.  Whether it's Monday or Saturday night, the restaurant is packed, as is the bar.  The bar staff has been there for many years and it's one of Boston's best bar scenes.  Stella is open late night as well and they have a great function room that is open on Friday and Saturday nights as additional restuarant seating and another bar (where you'll find Rob).  Another Boston favorite is Union Bar & Grill ,, on Washington Street in the South End.  Before Rocca, it was my "go-to" restaurant).  As you can see, I like to support the local restuarants in my neighborhood.  It's worth going just to get the corn bread that comes before the meal.  I still think it's one of Boston's best menus.  Co-owner Jeff Gates is also one of the most supportive restuarant owners in the city, always willing to help out a local charity.  Union is part of the Aquitaine Restaurant Group which also owns Gaslight, Aquitaine and Metropolis in the South End and a couple other restaurants outside the city.  I could write a book about the various restuarants and dining experiences in Boston, but I thought I'd highlight 3 of my favorites.  New restaurants are opening all the time, but more times than not, these new restaurants disappoint and need time to get their feet wet (Post 390, Banq - which is now called Ginger Park, Bin 26).  Oh, both Rocca and Gaslight have free parking in a lot adjacent to the restaurant.  Happy Dining!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Great Time To Buy Antiques

Hope everyone had a great Holiday!  I was up in Vermont visiting my family and got to browse through my mom's antique shop for fun and funky stuff to put into my booth at the Rhode Island Antique Mall.  Actually heading down tomorrow (12/29) to rearrange and add in about 30 new and estate fresh items.  I bought this awesome 50's Tobacadoir sign at an auction recently in Massachusetts.  Auctioneer Arthur Crisafelli  has some great Monday night sales in Medford, MA.  This sign came directly from an estate attic with some of the most wonderful things I've seen sold at an auction in recent years.  So many of the items were rare and in pristine condition.  I bought another sign that was likely done by the same maker for a Habadashery store and some of the most wonderful smalls.  This is a great time to hit auctions and shop antique stores because we're through the holidays and a lot of dealers run specials during January to clear out merchandise and get cash for the start of the new antique season.  The start of the season varies depending on what part of the country you're in.  For us in New England, the adopted official start date is the Brimfield Flea Markets that happen the second week of May.  I know many of the dealers at the RI Antiques Mall will also be doing January sales.  Those sales vary by booth in both duration and amount, but you can usually count on 15 - 25% off at least.  It's also a great time to make an offer for something that you want.  Dealers are most willing to negotiate on pricing during the first couple months of the year because they want cash to invest in new stuff that will start coming up at auctions, shows and shops.  I'm putting in a rare and wonderful bakelite dice bottle opener into my booth tomorrow as well  as this very rare bakelite dice cage that must have been used for a game.  The green base and gold and red post are all bakelite and in 40+ years of antiquing I've never seen one like it.  This came from that same estate auction and is so fresh to the market.  From my mom's shop I got 3 of the cutest pairs of kids cowboy boots in their original boxes.  It looks like these boots were worn once or twice and then put right back into the box.  At $35 each, they're a steal!  I picked up another 15 items that came directly from a picker who still gets into old homes.  I was searching auction websites recently and noticed that Archie and Josh Steenburgh, have a great sale coming on up January 7th at Alumni Hall in Haverhill, NH.  Archie and Josh usually put their best sales in Alumni Hall so you know the stuff will be good.  I actually bought my first antique from George Clement who was an old time auctioneer in the Haverhill area and Archie started as an apprentice under him.  Oh, the sales they used to have!!!  George hooked up often with a guy named Harley Kaiser from Wells River, Vt. and they had some of the most amazing sales you'll ever want to see at the town hall in Wells River.  If we only knew then what we know now we would have bought everything sold and held onto it!  I remember once buying an awesome ladder back chair with original seat and paint and one of the fanciest finial detailing.  We paid $42.50 and the crowd was gasping because it was such a high price.  That chair still sits in my parents house in Vermont. 

So, check out those shops, auctions and shows in the next few weeks and I can assure you you'll come up with some reasonably priced treasures.  Happy shopping! 

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Meet Dakota!!

Of course blog readers have to meet my little girl Dakota!  This is a picture of here eating here favorite chewy in Aunt Sadie's office (which looks like a mess because we've just gone through retail in December!).  I got Dakota 4 years ago in May through a wonderful organization called Great Dog Rescue.  Dakota came from S. Carolina from a breeder who didn't want her because she was a mix of husky, shepherd and retreiver (we think!) and the breeder couldn't show or breed her.  Great Dog is a great site because at any one time they have 40-60 dogs listed, with pictures and whatever history they have about each dog. 

When dogs are rescued, they stay in foster homes until a permanent home can be found.  Dakota was transported up north with about 20 other dogs adopted by New England families.  All dogs spend 3 days in quarantine upon arrival before being released to owners.  They receive all shots, are spayed or neutered and have a microchip imbedded to prevent against loss or theft.  If you or a friend are looking for a dog, this is a wonderful resource.  I was interviewed by a Great Dog volunteer to be sure that the dog I chose would be a good fit for me.  A word of warning...don't go to the site unless you're serious about getting a dog because I can almost guarantee that you'll not leave the site until you've chosen the one you want!!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ebay And Such

Here's a few more pictures from the inside of my home which was featured on InsideSource a couple weeks ago. 

The focus of the article was about Ebay and the writer asked me to pick a few items I was currently watching on Ebay and to tell her why.  Here's a few of the items I told her about and if you click the link you'll be able to read about why I was watching them. 

What is there to say that hasn't already been said about Ebay?  It certainly has had a major effect on the antiques market in general...some say for the better and some say for the worse.  I likely have the same criticisms of Ebay that everyone else has so I won't go into detail here, but I will say that I'm Ebay almost everyday and I consistently find good things at fair prices.  Just last week I bought this great bakelite dice bottle opener for $4.69 + shipping and I sold an identical pair in my booth in November for $100.

I have the best luck with my Saved Sellers.  Ebay allows you to add any seller whose listings that you like to Saved Sellers in your My Ebay area.  I try to keep those updated on a regular basis, but I've been watching and buying from some for over 5 years.  I want to be sure my blog entries include valuable information, so here's a few of my favorite sellers that I keep regular track of: 

9tazzy - I've bought from him before and he does Brimfield and will deliver to you there if the item can't be shipped.

picked-in-canada - Good source for a wide range of antiques and not all from Canada.

scribedloghome - Have bought and seen some great cabin and camp items from this seller.

tulage-river:  Always a nice selection of Adirondack, cabin and camp antique offerings.

wwolst12:  My all-time favorite Ebay seller.  This seller has to be one of Ebay's most successful sellers.  He's from Rhode Island and I'm told he's one of New England's most successful dealers.  Always over 100 items and I generally find at least a dozen that I would love to own.  Many, many items offered without reserve and I've never seen one of his items that didn't have a bid on it. 

My recommendations for Ebay?  Definitely shop it often, but there's still no finer way to buy antiques that from an individual shop, group shop, flea market or show.  Finding a treasure on one of the fields at Brimfield is way more fun than finding it on Ebay.  Thanks for reading and have fun shopping!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The First Day Of Flawless

Welcome to my blog!  I've been wanting to start one for a long time and have been recently inspired by a number of bloggers who have requested to review Aunt Sadie's Candles on their blog and offer some type of giveaway.  I haven't quite wrapped my mind around what this blog will include, but I think mostly it'll be product reviews, restaurant and store reviews and hints and tips of fun things I found out and about in my travels.  The picture I posted is actually my apartment in Boston.  It was featured in the Boston Globe Magazine about 3 weeks ago and also on a great website called  As you can tell, I LOVE Adirondack, Cabin and Camp Antiques!  I've been collecting since I was 7 years old and have amassed a lot of stuff!  My Mom and Dad own an antique shop in Northern Vermont and my mom still finds amazing stuff that of course I have first dibs on!  The shop is a great place for dealers to shop because her prices remain very reasonable and much of what she finds is fresh to the market.  She doesn't have a website so you have to go visit her directly and she's primarily open from May - October, although part of the shop remains up all year long. 

I also have a booth at the RI Antiques Mall in Pawtucket, RI.  The picture to the right was actually taken by another blogger (Milk and Honey Group) when she did a review on the Antiques Mall and my booth in particular.  I have to say it's one of the nicest group shops I've visited or been in.  Owners Rae and Scott do an amazing job keeping the over 200 dealers up-to-date on what's selling, what's not selling, what's being requested and how to make our booth profitable.  The shop has an great array of merchandise and while it's not all my taste, I have to say it's one of the most comprehensive group shops I've visited and I've been doing so for over 40 years.  If you're a dealer looking for a new spot to showcase merchandise or a shopper, this is a must stop for you.

So there you have first post.  I hope you enjoyed reading and will sign up to follow the blog.  I'm just getting my feet wet, but will be adding giveaways, product reviews and discounts from different manufacturers.  I have a ton of resources and can't wait to share them with you (except those top secret ones that get divulged to no one!).  Thanks for reading.  Gary