Archive for the 'Holidays' Category

The Feast of St. Anthony

This week is traditionally the hottest time of the year in Lisbon. It’s also the celebration of St. Anthony, or Santo Antonio. Although he is not Lisbon’s official patron saint (that honor belongs to St. Vincent), he is certainly its dearest.

Although he is associated with Padua, the city where he died, St. Anthony was actually born in Lisbon to a very wealthy family who wanted him to get a formal education. He went against their wishes and instead entered the community of the Canons Regular of St. Augustine at an abbey on the outskirts of Lisbon.

St. Anthony’s feast day is June 13, the day of his death. Throughout the month of June and this past weekend in particular, Lisbon revs up the celebrating of its native son.

Neighborhoods compete to see who can host the best parades, best costumes, and street decorations.  Everywhere you turn, you can see sardines (the traditional food of this feast due to the fact that Saint Anthony was able to talk to fishes) being grilled out on the streets.

It’s an incredibly lively scene. We lived in downtown Lisbon when our daughters were toddlers and you could hear the parties and laughing and singing and smell the grilled sardines well into the morning.

In addition to being the patron saint of lost things, St. Anthony is also the patron saint of weddings. To this day, some Portuguese couples get married in mass weddings during the celebrations.

Manjerico (basil bush) is also associated with Saint Anthony. The tradition is that a man can proclaim his love by bringing a bouquet of manjerico with a poem attached to his beloved. The woman must touch it and then smell her hand to ensure that the plant doesn’t die.

My daughter Tati was born on June 14. Now she’s turning 17. I love this picture of her on her first birthday (in one of my first designs) wearing a Saint Anthony medal given to her by her father. She still wears it today.

Also, this week: The anniversary of the birth of Portugal’s most famous poet, Fernando Pessoa, who was born in Lisbon’s Chiado neighborhood on June 13, 1888.

Next week, St. John is celebrated in the northern town of Porto. The entire period of celebrating is known across the country as “Popular Saints.” These celebrations and traditions embody Portugal at its best. And, despite the heat, it’s a wonderful time to visit.

Happy Mother’s Day


Look in thy glass, and tell the face thou viewest
Now is the time that face should form another;
Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest,
Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother,
For where is she so fair whose unear’d womb
Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry?
Or who is he so fond will be the tomb
Of his self-love, to stop posterity?
Thou art thy mother’s glass, and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime:
So thou through windows of thine age shall see
Despite of wrinkles this thy golden time.
But if thou live, remember’d not to be,
Die single, and thine image dies with thee.

William Shakespeare

Happy New Year

For the first time since I became a mother, my family is spending the holiday season at my childhood cottage in the North Woods of Wisconsin. For my children it’s an opportunity to experience a true American winter, with snowdrifts as high as cars and the pale blue glow of the late afternoon sun. We spend the days cross country skiing, skating, and even ice fishing.

For me, retreating to the winter woods has  been a wonderful way to relax and reconnect with nature at this most reflective time of year. It’s a joy that can get lost in the hustle and bustle of the holidays and I’m grateful for the opportunity.

Our Winter Sale is in full swing, with up to 50% off selected items. We’ve added new items to the inventory and I hope you find that perfect bargain. Going forward, we will be promoting all our sales–from the website and warehouse to our Lisbon store and Harrods boutique on Facebook. Please become a fan and urge your friends to do the same.

I wish you a peaceful New Year and all the best in 2011.




Recipe Insider: The Best Holiday Dessert

It’s the time of year when people exchange recipes so I thought it would be fun to share my mother’s delicious meringue dessert. Combining meringue, whipped cream, and melted chocolate, it’s a perfect and easy holiday treat.

Sigrid’s Meringue Dessert


8 egg whites

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Whipped cream

1 high quality chocolate bar



Beat egg whites with a blender until very stiff. Gradually pour in the sugar, continuing to whip until it’s smooth and shiny. Add the cream of tartar while whipping. Spoon onto a greased cookie sheet (each meringue is 3 soup spoons). Bake at 275 degrees for 45 minutes. Do not open the oven while baking. Meringues should be cream colored, not brown, when done. Melt chocolate bar in a small saucepan, thinning with milk until it’s thin and smooth enough to drizzle.

Before serving, chop off the top of the meringue and fill with whipped cream or ice cream. Put the top back on, drizzle with chocolate, and garnish with raspberries for a festive look. Meringues can be made a day ahead.



Hostess Gifts for the Holidays

It’s the time of the year when gift buying and giving is in full swing. Not only for our children, but also our friends who throw their doors open for holiday parties. When it comes to hostess gifts, nothing beats these very special Portuguese products.

Founded in 1887, Claus Porto is one of the oldest and most revered companies in Portugal. Their scented candles and soaps are known throughout the world for their fresh yet rich scents. Orange amber is a particular favorite of mine, especially in the Musgo Real cologne, which works well for both men and women. The soaps are wrapped in delightful printed papers, which remind me of Portuguese tiles as well as the Liberty fabrics we use at Papo d’Anjo.

Another unique treat is Elvas Plums, which are the original sugar plums of Christmas legend. Picked in July in the region near the southern Spanish border, the plums are soaked in sugar for six weeks then dried in the sun. I can’t find a place in the United States to purchase these delicious sweetmeats, but you can order them from Fortnum and Mason in London.

The Quinta do Vesuvio winery

Finally, what’s better on a cold winter night than a glass of Port? My favorite is Quinta do Vesuvio. Taylor and Graham’s are also reliable brands that are very reasonably priced.

Share Your Holiday Photos

It’s always a treat to receive photos of my customers’ children wearing Papo d’Anjo. This week, I was delighted to get this fantastic snapshot of Mary Lu and Mason Lampton enjoying Thanksgiving with their seven beautiful grandchildren.

Mrs. Lampton likes to dress her grandchildren in Papo for her Christmas card because she can always find options that coordinate but aren’t exactly the same. I love how well our new Velvet Pinafore goes with the older girls’ Tartan Gathered Dress and the boys’ Button Down Collar Shirt in a khaki and light green grid.

If you’d like to share holiday photos of your children dressed in Papo, please email them to me at I’ll post them on December 20.


Happy Halloween

As a child, my friends and I always wore homemade costumes and traipsed around our neighborhood as gypsies, hoboes, and even Pippi Longstockings–complete with wire coat hangers in our braids to make them curl upwards.

I still love homemade costumes, even though I’m not exactly drowning in the free time needed to make them. So when I asked Papo d’Anjo staffers for ideas for easy costumes, I was delighted when our catalog and marketing writer Patricia Grunebaum emailed me these photos of her daughters Charlotte (above) and Annabel (below).

What are your recommendations for homemade costumes? You can share them on this blog or even post photos to our Facebook page.

Have a wonderful Halloween with your little ghosts and goblins.

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