18 February 2008

Café Love

Photo above courtesy of Flickr.

Yesterday my friend Becki and I took a little day trip to Columbus (Ohio), where (some of you may know) I used to live and teach, back before my life as proprietor of The Blissful. People often ask me if I miss teaching. I tell them the truth, which is no, I don't miss teaching, but I think often of former students and wonder where they are and how they're doing. I miss my super colleagues and teaching partners, too.

What I also miss from my former life are the coffee shops I used to frequent. My very favorite string of coffee shops were part of a locally owned franchise called Cup O' Joe (not the café in the photo above, which could be somewhere in Ville de Wonderful, France). They do not have their own website (yet), but I believe this is the link to their parent company. I regularly frequented three of their (to the best of my knowledge) four locations: the one near The Ohio State University campus (Go Bucks!), the one in German Village (think cobblestone streets and iron gates protecting deliciously Old World-looking homes, some of them so tiny they're practically dollhouses), and most recently, the one in The Short North Arts District. Yesterday after shopping our regional Columbus Market for more Christmas decor (yes, I'm late on the draw by retail standards), and after a hearty lunch at a Scottish pub, I took Becki to Cup O'Joe in The Short North. We needed a little something sweet for the two hour ride home. Being there in that venue, among artists sketching in their sketchbooks, writers tapping away on keyboards of impossibly small computers, and avid conversationalists smiling and pressing each other's wrists to make points, I realized how much I miss the laid back café lifestyle. I miss the long, stretchy, coffee-flavored Saturdays of my former life. Not so much that I could be wooed back to a regular paycheck and a great benefit plan--I wouldn't trade those perks for what I get to do now as a shop owner--but I do miss having time on my hands and a few precious weekend afternoon hours to while away. At some point in the future, I hope to be able to resume my café life without missing a beat at the shop.

On the subject of coffee (how's that for a segway?), take a look at our new favorite coffee mugs: love the size and the weight, the fact that they're clear, and most of all, the darling little coffee bean with the phrase Grain de Café on them. I also love that they're handle-less, but they narrow toward the sturdy foot and thus allow for grabbing on and drinking without fear of burning oneself. How delightful.

When I returned to the shop this Monday morning, here's what was waiting for me:

A heaven of green. Alongside our softest of soft Green Cattail Balls (velvety to the touch) and our new Green is Good totes, we're featuring our new Garden + Forest Infusion line, which comes to us via our friend Margo, candlemaker extraordinaire of Tatine Candles in Chicago. I wish you could smell the shop today. I've been burning Salted Caramel Tabac, which I'd told Margo I knew would be my favorite based on the name alone. I was right.

After stubbornly resisting carrying fragranced pillars the first year we were in business and simultaneously keeping my eye out for just the right line (because you never know when something might sway you), we finally found Tatine and knew it was just right for The Blissful. Here's a preview of Paris, one of our bestsellers. With notes of champagne, sea salt, and kelpy air, this candle smells just like the city itself.

Back on the coffee shop tip, I should mention that we've recently introduced a patisserie into the shop. Again, courtesy of Tatine (clearly I have a lot to thank Margo for). Her Patisserie line of candle tins features all of the yummy baked goods scents you would dream of finding in the best little patisseries in Europe, including Café Crème, Framboise (raspberry with a whiff of vanilla), and Madeleine (a classic French tea cake). I think I'm gaining weight just from burning them in the shop.

Speaking of which, the remainders of our Valentine's candy are being put to good use:

That's my mom's hand in the photo and she wanted me to be sure to tell you that it only appears miniature and chubby. It's the angle, people, just the angle.

There are still a few boxes left!

Wistfully Yours from an Imaginary Table at My Favorite Café,



Secret Leaves said...

Coffee...mmmmm. I am completely addicted, and my coffe cups are the bain of our production table. Ann is constantly yelling at me, "No beverages on the production table!" Good advice, really. Anyway, my friend Tyler, of Perinwinklebloom, and I have coffee once a week, usually at some wonderful little locally owned coffeehouse. It is our favorite thing to do.

The cattail balls are absolutely beautiful. One of these days, Ann and I are making a field trip to your store.


Kate said...

Sounds like you need somebody to start a neat coffee shop near you!
Love the way the candle looks sitting in the pussy willow buds. (I've heard of pussy willows, but I've never actually seen one - let alone the buds thereof.) I didn't know they sold them like that. What a great idea!