Sunday, January 29, 2012


Michael Tonnello is the author of this fun book "Bringing Home the Birkin: My Life in Hot Pursuit of the World's Most Coveted Handbag." I love that the cover of the hardback book resembles an orange croc Birkin! I'm proud to say that I have this book listed on the right-hand side of my blog under "What's on Miss Janice's nightstand!" The orange cover reminds me each morning and night of my newest obsession.

After working as a hair and makeup artist on a photo shoot for I.B.M. in Spain, Michael packed up all his worldly possessions and moved from Provincetown, Rhode Island to Barcelona. Upon arrival, the work that he thought he would be doing fell through. He needed to find an income soon, so he started selling some of his clothes on eBay. After selling a $99 Polo Ralph Lauren scarf that he hadn't worn in years for $430, he sold another Hermes scarf and then started getting emails from eBay buyers with their "Hermes wish lists." He realized that he could make a lot of money by offering the hard-to-find Hermes scarf designs on eBay. Thus began his global search and his career as an "Hermes Reseller."

Traveling the world, he would sweet-talk Hermes clerks...or "Scarf Ambassadors" {that's what they are called I would just love being one!} into going into the backrooms and digging up retired designs and soon his guestroom was stacked high with the trademark orange boxes. The scarves began selling for top dollar on eBay. His scarves were of course wrapped in Hermes custom-made, acid-free tissue and placed in the trademark orange box with the Hermes book "How to Tie a Scarf" included with each purchase. Of course, at this point, I'm drooling over all the posh details!!!

During this time, he developed online connections with zealous buyers who wanted more Hermes merchandise from him. Could he find a Birkin? Well, at that time, he didn't even know what a Birkin was. After much research and developing his "Formula" he finally located a Birkin and his first buyer was Songwriter Carole Bayer Sager.

What was his "Formula"? Well, after many failed attempts at going into Hermes stores and asking to buy a Birkin, only to be told that he needed to be "on the list" and sometimes even told that "the list was cancelled," he finally decided to first make a substantial purchase of accessories then ask for the Birkin. Voila, his "Formula" worked!

In this photo from the book, Michael is wearing his Birkin-buying uniform: Prada suit, Hermes shirt, Hermes vest, Jil Sander tie, Hermes cashmere socks, Giorgio Armani shoes, Hermes chaine d'ancre bracelet, Polo Ralph Lauren sterling watch fob {worn through the lapel buttonhole}, S. T. Dupont "Medici" fountain pen {tucked inside the breast pocket}, and an orange Hermes Ulysee notebook. Details y'all. Details. People do notice!
Inside his orange Ulysee notebook, he kept the address and phone number of every Hermes store in existence {as well as salepeople's names and numbers}. The iconic Hermes chaine d'ancre bracelet he wore whenever he went Birkin-buying was his good luck charm. He bought dozens of these bracelets in the process of using the "Formula," and they sold like hot cakes on eBay.
As his business grew, the "Hermes Reseller" {or a Rogue Warrior selling to the masses, which is what he was known as to Hermes} or "Leather Liaison" as he like to called, began hiring people to help him "Bring Home the Birkin." To assist them in sealing the deal, the created his own "Birkin 101 Course" of a Hermes Store Employee to handle the Hermes clerk...from the Ingenue to the Grandmother saleperson. Hermes bags were bought and shipped directly to the South Florida home of his parents, who handled the shipping to the majority of his customers in the United States.

In one year alone, he spent 1.6 million U.S. dollars on Hermes products and was a Platinum Power Seller on eBay. Can y'all imagine all the cute loot he bought? Here's an article about Michael in the Boston Globe...please note that I absolutely ADORE the way he is dressed in the photo.

So, would you buy a fake Birkin? Lord me, my Mama always told me "If you buy one single fake thing, people will think that everything you have is fake!" I don't think that I have ever intentionally bought anything fake and I would not want a fake Birkin.

There are many sites online offering "Birkin Replicas," which is another name for "fake!" The Birkin Mall is one. I must admit that their bags are cute and the prices are good {in the $500 range}. But, I still wouldn't buy one.

You can even RENT a Birkin. At Bag Borrow or Steal you can rent a leather Birkin for $510.00/week. Lord have mercy, y'all know people do this or they wouldn't be in business!

If you decide to buy an authentic Birkin, of course you want to make sure it's not a fake.
In this video, Michael Tonello talks about "How to spot a fake Birkin."

LOVE this illustration...from the book.
Comparing the two bags below; the first bag is a fake 30 cm violet Birkin from Birkin Shop. The second bag is a 30 cm amethyste croc authentic Birkin. I guess maybe up close and in person I might see the difference.

Well...for now, this is my only Hermes Hermes scarf that I bought many years ago. I think you get a lot of mileage out of high-end accessories and right now I'm looking at some Hermes bracelets, belts, twillies, and other accessories.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my latest obsession...All About the Birkin and Celebrities and the Birkin and today about the Birkin bag book. I'm in love with Michael that he enjoys fine dining and staying in posh hotels and of course, I love his fashion style! Y'all can buy Michael's book at his site The Birkin. He also has a blog HERE and can also be followed on Twitter.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Yes, celebrities do love the Birkin bag. Birkins are all over Hollywood and Beverly Hills!

Bless Martha Stewart's heart, she carried her brown Birkin into court everyday during her stock fraud trial!

Beautiful Giuliana Rancic, with her handsome husband Bill on one arm and her noir Birkin on the other! They are a gorgeous couple and she is certainly a fan of the Birkin!
Melissa Rivers is photographed with her Mama, Joan Rivers. Melissa is carrying a stunning graphite Birkin.
Nicole rigueur pooch on one arm and a noir Birkin on the other.
Lord have mercy, the Kardashian girls and Mama Kris at a Lakers game...they are all fans of the Birkin. LOVE their iris Birkins and of course the noir Birkin. Kim Kardashian is a huge fan of the Birkin and reportedly has tons of them, but...
Not even Kim Kardashian can stand up to the "Queen of Carrying Birkins" Victoria 'Posh' Beckham. The former Spice Girl owns approximately 100 Birkins...the value of her collection--TWO MILLION U.S. DOLLARS!!! You can read about her collection at The Daily Mail here.

'Posh' truly lives up to her stage name since she carries the extravagant handbag on one arm and has her handsome husband David on the other.

Victoria carrying a gorgeous wine croc Birkin.
Here's Miss Priss with her white Birkin. Lord, I wouldn't want the white one. For one thing, if I got one spot of anything on it, I would just die. Another thing, I could only carry this pocketbook from Easter to Labor Day. Not cost effective at all! But, it's cute!
Victoria and her pink ostrich Birkin...please check out the prissy way she's holding the bag! Lord, Victoria can pose.
Now, here's Victoria with my favorite--the orange Birkin. I love her dress and her whole look here!
Showing off her toned arms and her taupe Birkin. Wow!
This is a somewhat demure look for Victoria...carrying her golden tan Birkin.
My, my! I do love her baby blue Birkin!
Miss Janice could definitely rock this outfit. Love the skirt, the white twin sweater set and the lavender Birkin. I would add a pearl necklace, pearl stud earrings, and a pair of white Revas! Oh, and my Chanel sunglasses. Yes ma'am!
For a lady who collects the world's most coveted handbag and "has the most Birkins", this is her "Crown Birkin" with a price of $104,000. It's the Himalayan croc Birkin, with a three-carat diamond on the lock. What can I say y'all?

Friday, January 27, 2012


Hermes signifies luxury, style, and elegance. The Birkin bag...very pricey--from $9,000 up to $150,000!
The Birkin...Shame on Pinterest...all those cute photos of Birkins now have me wanting one real bad.

The bag is of course by Hermes and is a symbol of wealth, due to its high price and elusiveness to the public.

The bag is named for the British haute-hippie singer and actress Jane Birkin. In 1984, on a flight from Paris to London, she had a chance meeting with Hermes Chief Executive Jean-Louis Dumas. When the contents of her purse fell to the floor from the overhead bin, she explained it had been difficult for her to find a leather weekend bag that she liked...He created the Birkin just for her.

Last year she listed her Birkin on ebay and it sold to a lucky shopaholic for approximately $158,000!!! Wow...and that money went to the Red Cross efforts in Japan.

Jane Birkin...last year with her famous bag and back in her younger days.
Here's a close-up photo of Jane's black Birkin...with stickers, Lord have mercy! Of course, Hermes offers a "spa treatment"--a reconditioner for over used bags!
Hermes has a long history, dating back to when the company was founded in 1837. The Birkin is the most recognized bag in the fashion industry. The only bags that come close are the 'Kelly' bag, also made by Hermes and the '2.55', by Chanel. The Birkin is a casual, sport handbag, but of course, can be worn WITH ANYTHING...well, not a ball gown outfit y'all!

Birkins are sold in a range of sizes {25, 30, 35, 40, 50, & 55 centimeters}, hides {calf leather, ostrich, croc, & lizard}, colors {pink, red, brown, baby blue, navy blue, olive green, orange, white, black, & golden tan. The metallic hardware are plated with gold or palladium.

The bags are handmade in France by expert artisians who spend 48 hours on the average bag.

There are over 240 Hermes boutiques internationally. Hermes does not offer their bags online and of course, there has always been that rumored 'waiting list'. Rumor has it now, that with the nasty economy issues, there is no longer a 'waiting list'. Well, does that make the famous handbag any less covetable? What do y'all think? I called an Hermes boutique and inquired about the availability of the bag. The 'Snooty Sales Clerk' said that she was not allowed to discuss the Birkin bag over the telephone. Lord have mercy! I think y'all know how I feel about 'Snooty Sales Clerks'!

It was at that point that I decided to go into my investigative mode! I'm all obsessed with the Birkin now. Who knows, my husband just might hit the lottery one day and I will have that sweet orange Birkin inside my closet.

Tomorrow, I'll be back to talk more about my new obsession...The swanky Birkin bag:

~Would you Buy a Fake Birkin? "How to Spot a Fake Birkin"
~Celebrities and the Birkin bag
~"Bringing Home the Birkin" a book written by Michael Tonello about his whirlwind Birkin-buying tour.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Flower Blooming Art Tea

Art Tea. Blooming Tea. Flower Tea. Those are some of the names used for a category of tea that is the dried tea leaves and flowers which are hand-tied into balls the size of a large marble. The other day I had a chance to sit down and really enjoy the latest edition of "TeaTime Magazine" and sip some Flower Tea. I have a been a faithful reader of this Hoffman Media Publication since their very first issue. The magazine is always filled with delightful teascapes, recipes for tea party foods, and interesting tearooms around the Country.
"TeaTime Magazine" is also celebrating National Hot Tea Month during can visit their Facebook HERE and find a lot of great tea ideas!
The Flower Tea I steeped in a glass pot is 'Jasmine Fairy Maidens,' available at Harney Tea. This tea is sweetly flavored with jasmine flowers and has a vegetal flavor. It is a very light tasting tea. The water for this tea should be heated to 180 degrees and the tea ball steeped for 3-5 minutes. When steeped, the green tea leaves gradually blossom revealing a cluster of orange flowers perched atop a sphere of tea, while the jasmine petals blossom upwards. This tea may be infused 3 or more times.
The tea leaves and flowers are shaped into a ball, the size of a large marble...
Flower teas make great centerpieces or may be presented in a goblet.
A buttermilk scone and my homemade strawberry preserves pair well with the very light tea.

Remember that there are many health benefits of helps to lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, aids in digestion and weight loss, and of course the caffeine gives you a boost of energy...a pick-me-up in the afternoon!

Practice hospitality...serve someone tea!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


That's right y'all, I'm on Miss Paula's side. Bless her heart, she's been in all the media this week 'cuz she revealed that she's got Diabetes 2! I feel for her down-home Southern Style dishes is now a threat to her life. Of course, she went on the Today Show and revealed her diagnosis to the world and that she has partnered with Novo Nordisk in a campaign to promote their drug Victoza. Now people are criticizing her for continuing to pedal her fat-laden recipes to the world even though she knew that she had the disease.

Last night I hit the kitchen...wearing my Paula Deen "Hey Y'all" apron, my stretchy pants, some cute polka dot mitts, and baked up a Paula Deen classic recipe in my red Paula Deen casserole dish. TEAM PAULA DEEN.

Which team are you on? Team Anthony Bourdain or Team Paula Deen?
Anthony Bourdain, Chef & Author. On his Travel Network Channel show "No Reservations," Bourdain travels the world seeking the ultimate dining experience. He's also a long-time critic of chefs on the Food Network. He has said "Paula Deen should feel bad before telling an already obese nation that it is okay to eat food that is killing us!" Excuse me, but this man eat snakes! Who is he to judge? He also criticizes Rachel Ray for using pre-chopped onions. Lord have mercy! Not on my radar anymore...
Paula Deen, The Queen of Southern Cuisine and Food Network star is now the spokesperson for "Diabetes in a New Light" a site run by pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk. Y'all know I'm a long-time support of Miss Paula...I buy her books, magazines, kitchen ware, aprons, foods, et cetera. But even I don't eat the calorie-laden, delicious foods all the time! In Paula's words to Oprah, "I'm your cook, not your Doctor!" Moderation y'all. Moderation. Team Paula Deen. Winning. None of us are perfect y'all and we all make mistakes. She doesn't eat snakes...
BUT, even though I love Paula and LOVE Southern foods, even I wouldn't eat this Krispy Kreme Doughnut Bread Pudding...One of Paula's Top 10 High-Calorie Foods.
Never even tried Paula's Twinkie Pie...another dish on the TOP 10 LAWD!
This is one of her most high-calorie, artery clogging recipes...The Lady's Brunch Burger! LOL {Bacon-doughnut-egg-burger} Please people!
I am excited about the new "Light Dishes" Paula will be creating from her vault of "Best Dishes" recipes! You can tell she has already lightened up some of her recipes in the Jan/Feb issue of "Cooking with Paula Deen." However, I cannot help wondering what will become of the foods she serves at her restaurants...Will they remain the same? 'Cuz let's face it folks, when Southerners go out to eat Southern food, they want the REAL thing. We want our macaroni tres cheesy and our chicken fried just right. I cannot imagine visiting Paula's restaurant at Harrah's in Tunica and going through the buffet line of "Light Dishes." I'm stumped.

When I visited her new site HERE,I was happy to see that he has created a lighter version of "The Lady & Sons Lasagna." Of course, I had to go to the store for the ingredients and made it last night. Her new recipe calls for a LOT LESS ground beef {which I substituted with ground turkey} and all the cheeses I used were no-fat. I LOVED the lasagna!
The Jan/Feb issue of "Cooking with Paula Deen" already includes some "no-guilt" recipes!

wish Paula the best with her new life and look forward to what she brings to the table next!!!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I've heard about people going to Yoga classes and always thought it was something...well, a little strange! Like they sit on the floor with their legs crossed in positions that I could never get into, twist their bodies in crazy poses, and meditate.

When I saw the cute little Yoga mats on Marley Lilly's site, I thought hmmm, that might be something I could do! Before I even looked into the whole thing, I ordered my personalized pink and green Yoga mat. I thought the worst that could happen is that I would end up using it for floor exercises at home. How cute is it y'all?!
After I received the cute mat, I headed to the bookstore for this must-have Yoga book for dummies like myself!

Of course, my OCD kicked in and now I'm reading everything I can get my hands on about this practice that has been around for over a hundred years! Lord have mercy y'all, more than 15 million Americans practice Yoga. Now I'm learning all the Yoga lingo. I'm learning how it will help with my flexibility, help to control my weight {I've gained 10 lbs. since Halloween}, keep up my energy level, and help with spiritual discipline. OMMMM, I like that!

Of course, I'll be following Yoga Etiquette as outlined in the Dummies book.

Y'all know I have to have some cute Yoga outfits. I missed out on this cute Lilly outfit from awhile back...That's okay, 'cuz it wouldn't match my Yoga mat anyway! I can't have that, right?
So, I'll just paint my toenails pink, wear a pink ribbon on my ponytail and match up some pink, green, and white tees with these pink pants.

I'm off to create my "personal sanctuary" and look for some more cute Yoga outfits. Tonight is my very first Yoga class. Ready. Set. Yoga!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Teatime for Children

National Hot Tea Month is the perfect time to have tea with children. Teatime is the perfect opportunity to teach children how to behave at the the table.
The secretary is set today for a Children's Tea.
"Children's Tea & Etiquette," by Dorothea Johnson, John Harney, and Ann Noyes is the perfect little book for those who want to breed good manners in young minds! This book is available on my sidebar under: "Miss Janice Recommends."From the the thank-you notes, Ms. Johnson takes the reader through Introductions at Tea, Taking Your Chair, Napkin Etiquette, Drinking Tea, Eating the Tea Foods, Leaving the Table, Using Magical Words, The History of Tea, and Recipes for the Adults.

Children should be taught how to sit at the table...Sit up straight, with the hands resting on the lap. The tea napkin {serviette} is picked up and unfolded on the lap, not above the table. A tea serviette is opened completely. Children should be taught to blot their lips with their wiping!

For children ages 3-5, serve a beverage like pink lemonade. It's important at this age that they learn how to hold the teacup and how to sip a beverage. For 6-8 year old children, you might serve a fruited tea at room temperature. For children 9 and up, you may serve a light hot tea.

Handling the Teacup:
Place the index finger through the handle, with the thumb placed on top of the handle to support the grip, and the second finger below the handle for added security. The next two fingers naturally follow the curve of the other fingers. It is considered an affection to raise the pinkie finger while sipping tea or any other beverage. Look into the teacup while sipping the beverage.
Savories, scones, and tea cakes are not necessary for 3-5 year-old children. It's best to serve them cookies/ cupcakes. For 6-8 year-old children, tea cakes, PBJ's, and fruit are more appropriate. For children ages 9 and up, a full course Afternoon Tea is de rigueur.

I placed a tea knife and fork at the setting, as this is the perfect time to teach children how to eat a cupcake with a knife and fork {we don't want to be messy, especially at teatime}.

There are two basic methods of handling & using table utensils at tea--the American style or the Continental style. You may teach your children one or both of the styles, but I believe it's easier for young children to learn the American style.

In both American & Continental style you cut your cupcake the same way. The fork is held in the left hand to secure the cake, and the knife is held in the right hand to cut the cake. Cut at the most one or two bites at a time.

In the American style, after you cut your cake, you then lay the knife on the tea plate, near the upper right edge with the cutting edge facing the center of the plate, and switch the fork to your right hand. Your left hand should remain in your lap unless you are cutting food. Holding the fork with the thumb over the end and the index finger underneath and the tines up, you then pick up the cake with the tines or slipping the cake onto tines and eat!

Be sure to rest your fork with tines at the 10 o'clock position and the handle at the 4 o'clock position when you are sipping your beverage. The knife rests on the upper right edge of your plate.

Remember to use the three-finger rule {use the thumb, middle, and index fingers} when picking up food with the fingers {cookies and cream puffs}:

Y'all have a tea-lite-ful day!!!