Belle Chatter

Across the Cafe Table: What’s Your Favorite Shopping Find?

Welcome to Across the Cafe Table where every second Wednesday we ask a question and share our answers

This month’s question:

What’s your favorite shopping find from your travels?

Our answers here this month come to you from both Margo and Briana. We can’t wait to hear yours!

Margo’s answer:

Once again I stumped myself with my own question… How do I pick just one thing that is my favorite shopping find? Do I go with clothing, housewares or artwork? There are so many little things that I’ve enjoyed picking up here or there during my travels that it is very difficult to choose. But after much thought I chose a porcelain pitcher that has sat on our mantelpiece for almost 20 years.

The piece is from a small porcelain factory in the Lorraine Region of France located in the town of Longwy. Founded in 1798 the Longwy Faience factory has long been famous for its colorful and intricately detailed porcelain.

The signature look of the porcelain is “cloisonner,” meaning “wall.” The patterns are made with raised little “walls” that are then filled in with color. Longwy Faience made in the art nouveau style was very popular in France among the wealthy in the first half of the 20th century. In 1991 the styles were revamped and modernized, and best I can tell are still in production today.

Briana’s answer

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

When it comes to jewels, I’m not the type of girl that dreams of something sparkly from Tiffany’s. Instead, I tend to look for unique accessories at artisan markets, antique fairs and small boutiques. I enjoy exploring such places when traveling, because they’re often filled with locals, both shopping and selling. Plus, if I make a purchase, I leave with something new not only to jazz up an outfit, but also to serve as a reminder of the place I visited.

During my senior year of college, my girlfriends and I were determined to use our spring break to escape the snow of upstate New York, though the typical party-till-you-drop vacation didn’t appeal to us. In the end, we chose to spend our week in San Antonio, Texas, mainly because it was the cheapest, warm-weather-bound flight we could find.

Before we even touched down in Alamo City I had my sights set on turquoise jewelry. During the entire trip, I peeked into boutiques and strolled through markets searching for something nice yet inexpensive. One evening, we stopped into a generic-looking tourist shop, the kind with cheesy T-shirts and key chains. When I walked by the jewelry case, a simple silver and turquoise ring caught my eye. With no more than a minute’s hesitation, I handed over my credit card and slipped the ring on my finger.

Even though it was an impulse buy, it ended up being a great little investment. More than two years later, I still wear the ring all the time. It adds a touch of color to a LBD and also goes great with jeans and a cotton T-shirt. And every time I look down at the lovely blue oval, I’m reminded of all of the fun Lindsay, Jenny and I had on our unconventional spring break.

Now it’s your turn! Link below, being sure to link back here from your own site, and/or simply comment below… we want to know about one of your favorite travel shopping finds!

An Italophile
A traditional Tea Set
This linky list is now closed.

I’m a writer, editor and educator who is now based in the Boston area after spending several years living abroad in Ireland, Spain and Italy. While I spend most of my time writing and editing for the web (these days you’ll find on, I still love the feeling of holding a newspaper or magazine in my hands. If you’d like to know what I’m up to right now, you can find me at and on Twitter @brianapalma.

This article has 10 comments

  1. Annette | Bucket List Journey

    Years ago when I was in Mexico, I purchased the most unique silver ring from a street vendor. I am not typically a jewelry person, but there was something about the shape of it that intrigued me. I still wear it all the time and it has never turned my finger green 🙂

  2. Cathy

    I love your answers Margo and Briana. My birthstone is turquoise, Briana. I have a turquoise ring that I got from a shop in San Francisco many years ago.

  3. Kate Turner

    Both lovely finds! I love picking things up when I’m travelling, you find more interesting trinkets and clothes, plus they always remind you of your trip.

  4. Margo Millure

    Hi Anne, I look forward to reading about your shopping find! I went ahead and added your link up above as well 🙂

  5. Margo Millure

    love that when you come across an item that seems to call your name… and excellent on the green free finger!

  6. Margo Millure

    all these rings!

  7. Katy

    Margo, I love ceramics and that pitcher is just beautful! Briana, I love collecting jewelry on my travels as well, you’re so right about the memories they bring back! Lovely items, both of them 🙂

  8. Krista

    That pitcher is GORGEOUS, Margo! No wonder you treasure it so. 🙂 Briana – I nearly always collect rings wherever I go. 🙂 I don’t get the fancy-schmancy ones either. I just love the gaudy, wonderful, big, interesting ones. 🙂

  9. Victor

    Interesting question. I should say, my photos and videos.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *