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Tell a friend Cavallini & Co. stationery products

Cavallini & Co.

In the spacious but homey split-level basement of Cody’s Books, I always find myself drawn to the tables displaying the Cavallini & Co. stationery products. I can’t seem to keep my eyes off the passel of varicolored notebooks, notecards, carte postale (postcards), flashcards and magnets and accessories, among other products.

Many of the designs embody a neo-Victorian aesthetic, reminiscent of decoupage and Beatrix Potter books, whereas the frames have a distinctly Italianate flavor. Whole maps feature prominently in Cavallini’s collection of gift wrap, making the paper itself a gift. (With Cavallini map gift wrap, I don’t use tape and I advise the recipient to open the package carefully without tearing the paper.) The file folders are works of art, almost too beautiful to kept in a drawer.

Posted March 9, 2006 by Mariva in arts, books, decor, gifts, home

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Tell a friend geek meets hip hop

Treo    Late Registration, by Kanye West

The Treo mail alert Swoosh sounds a lot like the background piano drops in Kanye West’s song "Heard ‘Em Say," which is Track 2 on Late Registration (also available through iTunes). Every time mail is received, I start singing:

Nothing’s ever promised tomorrow today
Nothing lasts forever — but be honest Babe,
it hurts but it may be the only way. . . .

Posted March 8, 2006 by Mariva in entertainment, fun, gadgets, music

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Tell a friend live long and Prosper


I hear all sorts of business ideas at the monthly Entrepreneurship Meetup — some OK but need further development, some not so good, some downright ill-conceived. At the last month’s Meetup, I met the CTO of, an innovative financial startup that facilitates person-to-person lending — for example, a blogger in California lending $500 to a cafe owner in Maine — via a system that CEO and E-Loan co-founder Chris Larsen hopes to become "the eBay of loans."

Prosper seemed to be in the "OK but needs further development" category of startups until I heard more about it. My first thought was, "How safe is this thing? Could I just be throwing money away to strangers asking for a ‘loan’?" Other Meetup attendees voiced similar concerns. "Are these loans in any way guaranteed?" asked the hotshot from OngoBongo (which, tangentially, may have bigger problems with the advent of Lala — or maybe not: see the update below).

Posted March 7, 2006 by Mariva in business, community, finance, innovations, news, resources

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Tell a friend Geisha fashion

Fresh "Memoirs of a Geisha" beauty collection

Oh, man. With all due respect to Crash, Reese Witherspoon and, um, Three 6 MafiaBrokeback Mountain, Felicity Huffman and Dolly Parton were robbed. Oh, Oscar, I wish I knew how to quit you.

Also overlooked — by critics and the Academy alike — was Memoirs of a Geisha. While visually stunning in its cinematic narrative, Geisha may have made the critics happier if the screenplay had been bookended by (warning: spoilers — you may highlight the following white text if you’ve already seen the movie) scenes of New York City as the novel had been. I believe this would have made the story more cohesive and satisfying — especially to those who hadn’t read the book. But heck, what do I know.

The movie may not have inspired critics, but it did inspire Geisha fashion, renewed popularity of the Maiko Barbie Doll, and — from Fresh, makers of my new favorite scent — the "Memoirs of a Geisha" beauty collection.

Posted March 6, 2006 by Mariva in arts, beauty, books, fashion, gifts, movies, music

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Tell a friend Oscars, Baby!


2005 was a great year in movies. I, for one, am glad that Jon Stewart is hosting the 78th Annual Academy Awards.

Attend an Oscar party, or host one yourself.

Posted March 3, 2006 by Mariva in arts, entertainment, fashion, movies, news

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Tell a friend Pacifica soaps

Pacifica soaps

If you like to bathe in luxury, try Pacifica soaps. Before buying, you can wander through a virtual garden of high-quality scents with names like Sandalwood, Tahitian Gardenia, Tunisian Jasmine, French Lilac, Bergamot Amber Rose, Vanilla Orchid, Bali Lime Papaya, Hawaiian Ruby Guava, Thai Lemongrass and so on.

The soaps are nature-friendly (biodegradable, vegan, not tested on animals, no artificial colors), and the scents are strong but smell authentic — it’s hard to detect a chemical base that’s typical for some scented soaps. Each beautifully boxed 6-ounce bar is priced at or close to $7 — which might seem extravagant until you realize that with scented products of this caliber, you get what you pay for.

Posted March 2, 2006 by Mariva in bath & spa, beauty, gifts, home

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Tell a friend CocoaBella Chocolates

CocoaBella Chocolates

San Francisco-based premier chocolatier CocoaBella offers gift boxes comprising the most delectable chocolate, bar none (so to speak). I should know; I was fortunate enough to sample a dark chocolate truffle with black currant ganache — and couldn’t believe how good it was. (Warning: CocoaBella is pricey, but the chocolate, which is encased in beautiful gift packaging, is worth it.)

Posted March 1, 2006 by Mariva in edibles, gifts

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