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Souvenirs as decor – yes or no?

Dear Auntie Vicky,

Usually we head down to Florida at this time of year to visit the in-laws before they head north for the season, and I go CRAZY in the décor department of the local Target.  But this year we’re switching it up and going to Mexico City for a break. I hear there’s lots of cute, inexpensive décor items. I understand you’ve just come back, and am wondering if you have any hot shopping tips?


What should I buy in Chapultepec?


Congrats for choosing Mexico over Florida, despite the powerful allure of acres of big-box stores, enormous restaurant portions, and that cute gun-shaped design on the state license place.  So much fun! Instead, you’ll be going to a city that’s at least as old as Rome, peppered with historic and contemporary architecture, beautifully-kept public spaces that are filled with art — both permanent and performance —  and which has an amazing food scene (street and restaurant), and incredibly inexpensive arts performances in exceptional venues.  Enjoy.

I know, I know, I KNOW that the best décor these days is supposed to reflect our travels, and incorporate lots of interesting pieces from faraway places, but here’s my best tip. Just say sayonara to souvenirs as decor. Okay, maybe pick up ONE small thing that you REALLY love. But do remember that just because strings of felt birds in cheery Hacienda hues decorated with sparkly bits look adorable at a sunny market doesn’t mean you should buy a dozen. I promise you those colours won’t look the same under our stoney northern light.  And my dear, the dusting!  Besides, don’t you have enough stuff?

Maria Luisa Tamez and Carlos Alberto Pecero

Sure, I saw textiles and baskets and wooden plates that made me look twice, but I am so happy I only brought back memories, and that I  spent my $$ instead on things like an event at the Palacio de Belles Artes (check out the Diego Rivera murals) where MOTH and I heard mezzo-soprano Maria Luisa Tamez accompanied by classical pianist Carlos Alberto Pecero for two hours. Tickets were 20 pesos each ($1.50 Cdn). Interestingly, the concert was called The Colour of the Voice (see Hacienda hues above).

PS: Mexico City is a remarkable city, very modern, and very civilized, imho. Still, I didn’t drink the tap water. And if you are sensitive like me, keep in mind you may need a day or two to get used to the altitude. Mexico City is the eight highest city in the world

PPS: Speaking of letting things go, I still haven’t QUITE forgiven Target for the Canadian debacle, if I am perfectly honest.

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