Adding Unbelievably Cool New Antartidee Home Accessories

CAUGHT MY EYES Eyeglasses Stand

The CAUGHT MY EYES Eyeglasses Stand has a strong personality and gives your glasses a safe resting place.

Antartidee has always aided us with useful products. It just seems to me that this time they are even more extremely useful AND even more extremely cool. I’ll admit it: at first the idea of an eyeglass stand did not sound very appealing. Fast-forward a year, as I am reaching for my eyeglasses more often, I have started leaving a pair on my nightstand. Unfortunately, they sometimes get knocked off of it and I freak out because I think that Marco (or a sleepy self) will crush them. The CAUGHT MY EYES, with its wide base could claim a permanent spot for the nightstand, look really cool, and bring some order to the surface.

Similarly, I totally want to use the PEPPER OPENER: easy to find in the drawer or on the kitchen counters where I left it last, and cool to use. No more boring clunkiness, it’s time to be stylish in the kitchen: we often have guests!

The rest of the products that arrived are great too. I just finished adding the BAFFONI wall hook to the catalog and have a few more to go. I hope to be done in time for the next newsletter next week, which reminds me: don’t forget to sign up to stay more up-to-date. As usual, don’t forget to use the November offer code that gets you 10% off anthing on the site just for reading my blog. Thank you!




CAUGHT MY EYES Eyeglasses Stand

The CAUGHT MY EYES Eyeglasses Stand has a strong personality and gives your glasses a safe resting place.

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My Style

Daniele Graziani Style

Daniele’s style seeks comfort and cool beauty, not overpriced brands.

I’ve never been much of a conformist. I wasn’t a paninaro growing up in Milan in the 80’s and I don’t subscribe to expensive brands for the sake of the brands. I just want what I think is the best stuff in the world. Is that too much to ask?

What I noticed early on in my life was that name brands could sell sub-par products at high prices just by slapping their logos on it. Kudos to their marketing departments, but I want something that is better quality and fits my tastes.

Don’t get me wrong, I like some of the luxury brands. For example, growing up I though Armani was great. But now I see that they make their shirts in Tunisia. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, but I have had the luck to travel through all of Italy. I’ve been to every region and talked to a myriad of artisans, both great and not so great, and some truly amazing. And those amazing artisans make amazing stuff. So instead of getting an Armani shirt made in some factory in Tunisia, I would prefer to find an amazing artisan that still makes amazing shirts.

In my photo above I am comfortable with my look. The shoes, scarf, and jacket are by Maledetti Toscani. The belt and belt pouch by Campomaggi. The key chain by Gianni. I wear everything with pride knowing that each item is the best of its kind in the world or very close to it–it is, so far, the very best that I could find.

Of course I can’t find everything that is awesome on my own. If you know of a great artisan, anywhere in the world, please let me know so that I can explore more greatness. Thank you for reading my blog, use offer code DANI10XK to get 10% off anything in the store until 11/30/2015. For more updates about our great artisans, make sure to sign up for our newsletter. We send up to six every year.




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New Murano Glass Ornaments Capture Your Thoughts

MURANO Glass Fruit

MURANO Glass Fruit

As we placed an order for Murano glass products that are running out of stock we decided to try some new items. We perused our very many pictures of the vast number of creations by Imperio Rossi and Mario Costantini and ran into a few things that we really liked. In fact, we had already noted that we really liked these items, we just always had to narrow down our choices to what would most likely sell. This time, we were after something that was not as common and would inspire the admirer.

What we decided to choose this time was a set of fruit. These fruits are so attractive and realistic that they remind me of a still life painting, only achieved using a completely different medium: glass. Just like a painting these fruits can evoke different emotions and thoughts. I personally like to gaze at things and let them talk to me. I find the experience very peaceful and inspiring. I think of many things: the artisans, the process of creation, the care for the details. Having seen how other items are made, I know that every ridge, wave, and angle is not accidental: it was likely meant to be there. Also, I look at the details as they now rest, waiting to be noticed. This fruit can get pretty philosophical with me as it never rots, it is extremely fragile, beautiful, but it can’t be had. It also makes me wonder if climate change is threatening these fruits; it makes me recall the best tasting versions I had at one farm or another.

Then, ultimately I just appreciate the beauty of these fruits standing close together. Doing absolutely nothing, yet elevating the tone of the whole room. I will never stop loving authentic Murano glass!

MURANO Glass Apple

MURANO Glass Apple

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The Campomaggi Shipment Has Arrived

The new TOALDO Shoulder Bag

The new TOALDO Shoulder Bag fresh out of the box.

The latest Campomaggi Shipment has just walked through the door. This one is particularly interesting because it includes both items from the new Fall/Winter 2015 collection that we have never experienced, and some new variants from the Spring/Summer 2015 collection that you have requested.

When we receive lots of new products we have to focus exclusively on them for quite some time. As you know, we inspect them very carefully one by one to make sure that no defective units show up to your door. Then, because each Campomaggi bag is unique, we take at least two photos of each bag and add the bag with the photos to the database.

At this point, the bags show up in our Just Landed page, the page where you can preview bags and purchase them before they officially enter our catalog. At this stage we start talking about the novelties on social media but have to be careful not to link to this page as the product will eventually get moved.

When we have added all products to the just landed page, we go back and carefully complete the information associated with each product so that you can see weight, dimensions, sometimes a modeling shot, a description followed by a specific list of features. We also pick a list of recommended related products, and make sure that the product is categorized correctly so that it will appear on the correct pages.

Among the values that we categorize is the color. So if you search for the color in our search box the products that come in that color will rise towards the top of the search results. This is not a perfect system but it should help those of you who are interested in finding the bags we have in a specific color.

If you are interested in Campomaggi products, make sure to be notified of new arrivals. Sign up to our newsletter below or to Emi’s Campomaggi Report.




TOALDO with Campomaggi Model

A photo supplied by Campomaggi with the TOALDO worn by a model.

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Switching to Quickbooks Online and Node.js

Quickbooks Online

We are busy switching to Quickbooks Online.

As a business owner who has a long past and present as a web developer, I watch the tools that we use and the latest technological trends closely. I don’t like to use cutting edge technology, but I do like to make the jump as soon as there is a business case for it and a clear path that will enable a successful transition.

We have been looking at Quickbooks online for a very long time because I have been dreaming about an accounting system tied to our back-end system forever. Emi, on the other hand, has been longing for the ability to view up-to-date inventory information from anywhere. The problem always was that QuickBooks Online did not support inventory, and the few accounting SaaS companies that did provide it charged a lot for it. It felt that inventory was not on the radar of many of these companies who, obviously, chose the software or service industries as their target markets.

When we finally found out that QuickBooks Online offered inventory we were still stopped by the other hurdle: the ability to support multiple currencies. Last summer this was not supported but it was on the radar. Finally, this fall it arrived, and we were ready to jump on board, except for one tiny detail: if your QuickBooks company file includes multi-currency you won’t be able to export it to import it in QuickBooks online. This really royally stunk and gave us pause, but we decided to go ahead and not to ever look back.

As to integrating our back-end with QuickBooks Online’s it is going to be fairly easy. The API seems well developed although, by reading a few forums, there are some scenarios that return strange errors. I will be happy to sweat through those as nothing seems to be as confusing as the poorly documented FedEx and USPS APIs. Using Node will be a pleasure and abandoning our old technology stack will feel like getting rid of a ball and chain.

So if you are looking to abandon QuickBooks desktop in favor of QuickBooks Online, maybe check to see if you are going to be able to export your file (you might have to upgrade your version). Otherwise, I don’t know what else might cause you to go against that decision. In our case, we were able to save money because online payroll + QuickBooks online was cheaper than the previous payroll solution we were using. Less money, more convenience: a no-brainer.

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Happy Halloween!

Marco as Roberto Baggio

Marco looks pretty tough as Roberto Baggio

I did not grow up with Halloween. So I never got to experience the excitement, and I know that I would have liked it because I have one ginormous sweet tooth. On second thought, that’s probably a good thing as I would be completely toothless now.

But my kids are different and I want to help them enjoy this wonderful celebration by helping them go through the excitement of choosing a costume, getting dressed up, going trick or treating and partying with friends. And that we did. I’ve never seen Marco run around so much. It was evident that he had a little extra fuel to burn before going to sleep. Chiara said that: “she liked all the spooky and fun decorations!!” and made sure I included the two exclamation marks. :-)!

Gratian_Solidus di Rasiel SuarezOpera propria. Con licenza CC BY-SA 3.0 tramite Wikimedia Commons.

I have decided that next year I am going to spend more time preparing for Halloween. I am going to decorate our place a bit, even though we are not going to be there, and everyone in our family is going to be have a cool costume, not just the kids. I want to be Emperor Graziano (since my last name is Graziani), an obscure emperor that no one has ever heard of before except for perhaps a brief mention in the Gladiator movie: an obscure mention that no one has even noticed. But me. I hope to use the whole year preparing my costume so that it can be strikingly accurate, with a few handmade elements to reflect my personality.

Now we have a TON of candy! Let me know if you want me to include some in your next order! :-).

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Today I Helped One of Our Customers With Baptism Favors

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I have just had a very special last 24 hours. One of our best customers just had a baby girl and for her baptism he and his wife decided to use a gift from Marcopoloni to give to their guests.

First of all, we love babies. If you tell us that you just had a baby you have to send us pictures, otherwise we can’t function very well. After we have been able to definitively establish that your baby is, indeed, the most beautiful baby that ever came to this world: “congratulations!”. Now we can change the subject.

The Baptism is in a little over a week and the dad is looking for some party favors, what we call bomboniere in Italy, and would like some flower key chains. Perfect, we have enough, and we have an ideal gift wrap paper and ribbon that will be just right for the celebration. Given that the package will arrive just a couple of days before the great event, I make sure that he leaves the gift wrapping up to us. If there is something that I always experience when I organize parties, it is that there is never enough time to work on the final details.

Emi and I spend a couple of hours feverishly preparing the package and manage to send it out with the utmost care on the same day. We send it with the hope that our efforts gave the parents either more time to sleep or to get ready for the party.

I hope that this will turn out to be a success story. It certainly helped that the dad and I had talked a few times in the past so I knew the customer and the customer knew what we could do.

When it is time for a hand picked super high quality gift, think Marcopoloni, but, for the perfect experience, take the time to know us so that we can serve you best. Begin by signing up for our newsletter below and make sure to e-mail us your questions!




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My Nicola Campomaggi Belt Pouch at 16 Months

NICOLA Belt Pouch Wallet

Daniele wearing his beloved NICOLA Campomaggi belt pouch.

Some products become part of our DNA. I have been wearing my Nicola on my belt every day since July 2, 2014, and I am becoming more and more attached to it as time goes by.

There was one unfortunate day a few months ago when I decided not to wear it. That was the day I dropped my Samsung Note 3 in the toilet.

I will spare you the details, but it was because I didn’t have my Nicola with me, and that was extremely upsetting. Since that day I have doubled-down on my loyalty towards this belt pouch. So much so that it has become an extension of me–it is part of my morning routine and now always works hard to keep my wallet always safe and my phone always handy.

Although I consider it a necessity, I have gotten compliments for its style, and, thinking about it, I wouldn’t wear a belt pouch if it wasn’t as stylish. Instead, both men and women stop me to compliment me about it. As to its practicality, I have already discussed it in my previous post, so I will only add that, once you get used to it, you no longer run into things with it.

Needless to say, I highly recommend the NICOLA. Make sure to connect with us and sign up for our newsletter (the most I’ve sent is 5 in a year, although my goal is to send 6).




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A Rose-Shaped Leather Hair Clip And Long Hair

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On Friday Chiara’s school was closed so we took Chiara to the office while we shipped orders and took care of just the most pressing issues. Luckily Chiara loves to read and can entertainment herself for a few hours. But she also takes interest in the family business and hopes to design our bags some day.

When she saw our sample butterfly leather hair clip she said that we should take pictures with it to help the business. We were more than happy to comply, except we opted for the model that we actually carry: the rose. As we went outside and she put the hair clip on. I was very impressed when I saw how beautifully the leather rose adorned my daughter’s hair.

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Unlike most of our products, this is one I cannot test drive myself (my hair is way too thin and short). So I cannot testify for comfort or practicality, but I can report what I have witnessed. Chiara wore the clip all day long. If it wasn’t comfortable we would have heard about it every five minutes: she never complained. We did have to adjust it a couple of times throughout the day, which is probably to be expected, or it was the result of Chiara not sitting still at all while Emi put it on. As I said, I was very impressed: on someone with long hair (Chiara’s hair is not thick but it hangs past her shoulders) it should look really good.

If you own one of this, I would love to know your thoughts.

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Break Out of The Mold with This Stylish Leather Suitcase

PARETO Rugged Leather Suitcase

PARETO Rugged Leather Suitcase

Travel. Close your eyes and think of a destination. If you have a Pinterest account your mind is probably full of exotic destinations you would like to explore, some day, maybe soon. Maybe one of those amazing spots is within driving distance and you picture yourself getting ready to get in the car or SUV with your dear ones.

As I write this I am starting to imagine taking a short vacation to Lake Tahoe (about a four-hour drive from Silicon Valley, double that with traffic but I am not allowed to think about that right now) with my family. We are going to meet our friends who also have kids the same age as ours and we are going to have a great time.

I picture myself offloading the bags from the trunk in the chilly air and I see the wheeled, hard shell suitcase that works so well in airports… not so well in the snow. Plus… It’s not my style. Rewind.

Now I see myself reaching for the PARETO, who packed this thing? I have to finally use those muscles, luckily I also have a full GIRAMONDO to balance me out. It’s snowing, but I waterproofed both bags using the best leather cream in the world. I greet my friends, they notice my bags. I refuse their offers to help: maybe they can get some of the small stuff.

PARETO Rugged Leather Suitcase

PARETO Rugged Leather Suitcase

I get to our room, begin unpacking, “these bags are great” I think to myself. “Who’s hungry for dinner?” I proclaim as I take out a bottle of my favorite wine and bring it to the kitchen. I have something memorable in mind for dinner, it’s getting dark, the fireplace is crackling, the kids are playing, laughter erupts. I start cooking with my friends and think: “it’s going to be a good night.”

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