I get a lot of junk mail. After a perfunctory glance, it goes right into the trash can. But this piece of unsolicited mail was different. The words “Cortona, Italy” on the cover caught my eye. I paused to study what appeared to be a clothing catalog.
Soft Surroundings was the name of the company. I flipped it over. Yes…it was addressed to me. I had never heard of Soft Surroundings, and certainly had not requested one of their catalogs. However, I was intrigued. I loved the subtitle beneath the company name: my time my place my self.
I opened the catalog, a nice quality publication of 60 pages…and felt my heart rate quicken. I smiled. I knew nothing, yet, about the style of clothing within, but the note from the company founder, Robin Sheldon, won me over.
The photo shoot for this catalog took place in Cortona, Italy, located in the Tuscany region. She wrote that they returned from Cortona in love with the country, the cuisine, the warm people…and a couple named Ed and Frances Mayes. Frances is the author of Under the Tuscan Sun. I have not read the book, but the film version of the story is one of my favorites! That movie created a love and a yearning for Italy, long before my grandson chose that country as his graduation trip destination.
I can’t adequately convey how warm and fuzzy this beautiful catalog made me feel, before I even browsed through its pages. I felt loved and treasured, heard and understood, surprising emotions to arise because of a catalog. I brewed a cup of hot tea, sat in my favorite chair, and experienced Soft Surroundings.
I immediately loved the style of clothing offered. The gorgeous dresses, tops, leggings, shoes and home products are a delightful mix of boho and comfy casual…perfect for a long weekend away…or a spontaneous trip to Italy.
As I slowly thumbed through the catalog, I did something that harkened back to my childhood. I turned down corners, marking pages that contained something that strongly appealed to me. Honestly, that was most pages! How fun to spend a leisurely half hour looking at beautiful clothes and bedding, reading snippets about the team’s stay in Italy, and remembering with fondness my own trip there last year.
There was even a fun sensory page, where rubbing my wrist on the paper transferred a subtle, sensual fragrance onto my skin.
This is what I love most about Soft Surroundings and receiving it unexpectedly…it felt like a love note, a wink from the Divine. Things that I enjoy, appreciate and adore are captured within its pages…travel, and Italy in particular, a clothing style that resonates with me as I dabble in fashion design, truly lovely photography with sun soaked Italian landscapes, little stories scattered throughout the pages, which served to connect me to this company, and references to Under the Tuscan Sun, a top ten movie for me.
I didn’t request this catalog. But it seems tailored to me. It’s like a thumbs up or an encouraging hug that says to me…keep going…you are on the right path. The other thing I noticed as I browsed was that I didn’t concern myself with prices. I marked the pages of the items I loved. Prices, which are moderate, were not where my focus was. And I like that. It signals growth in an area of my life.
I appreciate this Divine love note with all my heart. I can’t explain how I received it. They must have gotten my name from a mailing list. However it happened, I am grateful for all the sweet feelings and memories and anticipated pleasures Soft Surroundings evoked. And I am excited about placing my first order. A 20th anniversary edition of Under the Tuscan Sun is even offered. It’s time to read the book that inspired the movie. And dream of another trip to Italy.
Visit Soft Surroundings HERE.