Everyday Upgrade - Unbreakable Melamine Dinnerware

Summer Outdoor Dining Without the Worry of Breakage

Melamine dinnerware is lightweight and durable, making it perfect for outdoor dining and picnics. Its unbreakable nature allows you to enjoy summer outdoor dining without worrying about a shattered plate. Below I share some of my favorite melamine dinnerware sets to keep your summer dining simple, casual, and stylish.

Pottery Barn - Swirl Melamine Dinnerware
Each piece of the Swirl melamine collection has the beautiful appearance of hand-painted and glazed ceramics, but is completely unbreakable. The color selection is gorgeous!

Pottery Barn Swirl Melamine Dinnerwear

Kate Spade New York Melamine Collection
Kate Spade's New York collection features salad and dinner plates with fun phrases like "What a spread!" and "Salut!". The vibrant stripes and gold accents are are a playful addition to your summer spread.

Kate Spade New York Melamine Dinnerwear

Unison - Heller White Melamine Dinner Set
Heller's modern salad plates, dinner plates and soup bowls were designed in 1964 and remain timeless. These also stack perfectly for easy storage!  

Unison Heller Modern Melamine Dinnerwear

Q Squared - Heritage 12pc Melamine Dinnerwear Set
The Heritage collection from Q Squared offers a more traditional aesthetic with its delicate chrysanthemums and soft blue hues. Q Squared produces a large variety of unbreakable dinnerwear. Check out the Q Squared website for a variety of other designs. 

Q Squared Heritage Melamine Dinnerwear

Crate and Barrel - Regatta Melamine
The Regatta melamine dinnerware from Crate & Barrel features a  graphic maritime pattern and a classic navy and white color combination. 

Crate and Barrel Regatta Melamine Dinnerwear

Personalized Stationary & Happy Holidays!

May Your Days Be Merry, Bright, & Beautiful!

Who else feels like December is going way too fast?! Before the rest of the month passes by in a flash I want to tell each and every one of you Happy Holidays! This time of year can be so busy. I hope that you all carve out some moments to rest, refuel, and reflect as we head into the New Year.

I started some of my holiday shopping earlier this month and had to share a product that has just delighted me! May Designs is an affordable, yet high quality, personalized stationary and notebook line. There are so many options for customization - there really is something for everyone on your list!

Personalized Stationary by May Designs

Personalized Stationary by May Designs

Mica May, the founder, did an interview on one of my favorite podcasts, The Lively Show, which is how I originally heard of the company. Mica May's story of how she got to where she is today piqued my interest and the beautiful designs she offers made me a true fan.  

A few of my May Designs creations

A few of my May Designs creations

The photo above shows a sampling of the products I've ordered. I had a lot of fun selecting the designs, colors, and fonts. Here is a round-up of what is shown.

  • Teacher Gifts - Coordinating personalized notebooks and stationary
  • Happy Holidays Card - I plan to use these for gift cards and notes of appreciation (shown at top of post)
  • Baby Milestone Notebook - I learned the first time around that while all of these moments are incredibly special it's actually very hard to remember all of them! Now I have a pretty way to record these events.
  • A Treat for Myself - I love to send and to receive handwritten notes so stationary for personal use was a must :) 

I'll be signing off for the rest of the year to enjoy some extra time with family, especially my little guy when his preschool's winter break starts up. We are hoping to have lots of mommy adventures! I'll be back in the New Year with new content which I can't wait to share. If there is anything you're loving, want to see more of, or even a question you'd like to see answered in 2017 leave a comment!

Everyday Upgrade - Gold Ring Dishes

Control Clutter with Pretty Gold Ring Dishes

Ring dishes are a lovely little way to control clutter. They can hold paper clips on your desk, store bobby pins on the bathroom counter, and of course, provide a safe spot for rings while cooking or washing hands.  I like that all of these ring dishes incorporate a gold element. Gold is a classic finish and also adds a little bit of glam to your interior décor. Below are five gold ring dishes that make for the perfect Everyday Upgrade.

Gold Ring Dishes Small Storage Bowls

Gold Facet Boxes - Jayson Home
The Gold Facet Boxes from Jayson Home feels large a jewel within which you can store your own jewels. Available in a large and small size so you can stack and store more.

Suite One Studio Confetti Mini Bowl
I adore the delicate, yet playful take on the ceramics from Suite One Studio. The Gold and White Confetti Mini Bowl is a great way to get introduced to the collections.

Susan Gordon Pottery
Another handmade option from Etsy, the ring dishes from Susan Gordon Pottery combine the two beautiful art forms of pottery and watercolor. I want one in every color.

Giraffes are one of my favorite animals so this Giraffe Trinket Dish from Antrhopologie had to be included in the round-up!

Heather Nicole Designs
The gold scrollwork on this handmade ring dish from Heather Nicole Designs has excellent detail. The shop's ring dishes are also available in a variety of custom colors.

Do you have a favorite ring dish from this round up?

Everyday Upgrade - Coffee Mugs

My 5 Favorite Coffee Mugs for a Beautiful Morning

If you read my recent post, Don't Wait to Live Well: Elevate Your Everyday Life, you know I love a good cup of coffee. On mornings when I have a few extra minutes there is no greater pleasure that sitting down and drinking the coffee from a real coffee mug as opposed to running out the door with a to-go thermos. There is something about the warmth of the cup, sitting enjoying the view of my backyard, and maybe even sneaking a peak at a favorite design blog like Design Sponge. I prefer a large cup with a wide mouth, a handle that is easy to grasp, and a contour that fits the curve of my hand. I like to have a matching set for when I host a breakfast or brunch but when it comes to an everyday mug I prefer to have a variety of styles and designs so that I can select one that suits the mood of the day. Below is a round-up of my current favorites.

Anthropologie is one of my go-tos for beautiful coffee and tea cups. They offer a variety of beautiful designs, are great for everyday use, and they make great gifts. The painterly flora on the Paradise Found Cup and Saucer immediately caught my eye. I probably wouldn't use the saucer for coffee but it would be the perfect backdrop of an afternoon treat.

I'm also eyeing up the Latte Mug from Anthropologie. They are the perfect size and shape and the range of gorgeous colors offers something for everyone.  A lover of all things pink the Peach color is an obvious first choice but I also am drawn to the sophisticated Squid Ink color.

The Short Black and White Mug from March SF feels like a little piece of modern art in the form of a cup. This dishwasher safe, stonewear mug is made in San Francisco by local artisan Len Carella.

What the Faux Bois Mug from Brika lacks in color it makes up in texture.

I typically choose mugs with handles but I would make an exception for the sculptural Saturn Tumbler by Alli Walker. Named for the Saturn-like ring around the middle for resting your hands, this porcelain mug is handmade and finished with an soft, Celadon green glaze.

Whether you are a coffee or a tea drinker, what are your ideal attributes in a mug?

Don't Wait to Live Well: Elevate Your Everyday Life

What Are You Waiting For? The Time to Make Everyday Special is Now!

Way back when my now husband was still my fiancé and we were registering for the wedding I remember contemplating adding a Boden French press to our registry (I do love coffee!). To me, having the time to slowly brew the coffee and then sit around drinking it lazily seemed like the ultimate luxury. This image didn't seem to fit with my current state of renting a small apartment and living on the cheap so I passed. In my mind's eye I envisioned drinking my French press once we had purchased a home, while sitting on the porch, reading a book.  Something I would do in the future when life was different; a luxury I could wait to attain.

How to Elevate Your Everyday Life

Looking back on that experience has me thinking about how often we neglect the simple pleasures life has to offer. Small upgrades and rituals, that often require minimal effort or expense, can be so impactful when it comes to our day-to-day living. In some ways I think is the result of my ability to delay gratification, a trait that has served me well in many ways. Essentially delayed or deferred gratification is the ability to resist the temptation for an immediate, smaller reward and wait for a later, larger reward.  A growing body of research has linked the ability to delay gratification to many positive outcomes such as academic success, physical health, psychological health and social competence. Delaying gratification can be an essential element in being able to reach your higher goals, but it can also be easy to get trapped in this cycle and neglect opportunities to live well now. Without awareness, the rainbow keeps growing and you never reach the pot of gold. 

At work the following week my registry experience somehow came up in conversation with an older co-worker. He laughed, kindly, at my thought process. He pointed out that life would never really slow down in the way that I imagined- the busy just changes. It was a simple remark but oh so accurate. As much as we plan we really don't know what the future will look like so it's important to consciously choose ways to improve our daily lives and appreciate what constitutes a life well lived in the present. 

I'm happy to say that I updated the registry, received my very own French press for our wedding, and made a slow brew coffee part of my weekend ritual. Had I waited for my ideal coffee-brewing scenario to materialize I would still be waiting. Shortly after moving into our first home we started a family. With a toddler I drink my coffee a little more quickly these days, but I still savor every moment. 

Today I encourage you to brainstorm a list of simple enhancements that could provide a significant impact to daily living. These are what I like to call an Everyday Upgrade. This could be a set of new bath towels that wraps you in cozy warmth, it could be a beautiful bowl from which you eat your breakfast every morning, or even a new case for your iPhone in a color or pattern that delights you. Select just one to implement this week and see where it takes you. 

What's your Everyday Upgrade and how has it impacted your daily living?