Buying Guide for Dinnerware

 

Buying dinnerware may sound easy as it looks in hindsight however, there are a number of factors that need to be taken into considered for it to be called a successful purchase. Here are a few tips that can help make your dinnerware acquisition a success.

 

Getting Started

One of the very things people consider when looking for dinnerware is their durability. For those who are looking for dinnerware for everyday use, going with Earthenware and Stoneware are greatly options as they are more likely to chip and/or break than Porcelain or Bone China. With that being said, does not mean that Porcelain or Bone China are fragile as they are quite sturdy as well. Earthenware and Stoneware however, has durability and quality to back them up making them great for everyday use.

 

How Can I Buy Dinnerware?

People are given plenty of options on how to acquire dinnerware for themselves. Buying dinnerware is relatively fast with them being made easily available to the public, there are even websites like www.slateplate.com. Dinnerware can be bought in three different categories: place setting, open stock and boxed sets.

Place setting offers a huge amount of convenience as all the pieces you’d need for a single person’s seat at the table will be sold to you. This includes a dinner plate, salad plate or dessert plate, bread and butter plate, teacup and saucer, and soup bowls. Buying dinnerware in a place setting saves people a fair amount of time as there is no need to look for other items.

In contrast, open stock means that dinnerware is sold by the individual piece. This is great for those who are looking to purchase a few number of dinnerware items adding variety to what they already have. You may have to spend more time when opting for open stock especially since some great items can be found in different stores.

 

Last but definitely not the least are the boxed sets. Buying dinnerware in boxed sets offers the greatest value for your purchase. The most common ones are the 16- and 20-piece sets. Most stores offer discount to customers who decide to buy dinnerware in boxed sets. This can be a very good opportunity to purchase these items for first time buyers. Customers if possible should ask if they can open the boxed sets to see the condition of the items. If not, then make sure that the dinnerware that you have purchased has warranty even just for a few days.

Choosing the Right Photo Booth for Your Guests’ Souvenirs

 

People today are given plenty of options on what type of photo booth they want to pursue. This is a good thing as it this them the freedom to choose what booth best suit their preference and needs. Event organizers taste however, should not be the only factor to help decide what photo booth is right for their event. The guests’ opinion should also be taken into consideration as these individuals will the ones using the photo booth for the rest of the evening. Let us look at how you can choose the right photo booth for your guests’ souvenirs.

 

As mentioned earlier, there are a number of factors that clients need to consider during their search for a photo booth rental company. One of them is how the pictures are produced. It should be noted that there are guests that are picky on how they want their pictures to look. For that matter, having the option to choose custom theme layout will surely go a long way in helping appease them. The ability to personalize photos for your guests’ souvenir is definitely a plus as this can make each and every one of these photos look unique and different from each other. As a result, these photos become well received and more endearing to your recipients.

 

It is also important that you also consider the size of the photo booth. If you are expecting a large number of guests, then you may want to make the necessary adjustments in order to accommodate each and every one of your attendees. Parties and events happen on a regular basis in Melbourne, Australia making it necessary to find a photo booth with a decent amount of size. You should aim for at least 10 people to fit in the photo booth picture without them feeling too cramped or tight in the process. See this trusted photo booth rental.

Photo both rentals provide a great method of keeping your guests excited and engaged. Photo booth rentals however, will need the direct input of their clients in order for them to be truly successful. For that matter, make sure that you get in touch with a photo booth vendor or company weeks before your event. This helps them prepare their props as well as their equipment in advance to make photo capturing moments more seamless and fun to your guests as well as yourself.

Things You Should Do After Your Cat Dies

Cats have always been one of the most adorable pets and what make them unique is their behavior and their way of living their lives. They are quite different from the rest of the pets – they have their uniqueness and they are so adorable that you cannot get enough of them. And the love of your cat is way too precious and only a cat owner can understand how hard it is to cope without that little devil in the house around.

Losing your cat is unbearable and the grief you go through cannot be explained in words. Here is why we have come up with a few practical ways to deal with the loss of your cat –

  1. Celebrate your cat’s life – Celebrate your cat’s whole life. Put beautiful pictures of your cat and the times you have spent together. Celebrate and honor each moments you have spent with your cat – those funny things you both did – those “cattish” tantrums your cats have thrown on you – those lovely memories you guys had – the love you have shared with your cat – celebrate every single thing in your cat’s life.
  2. Find people who really understand – Talk with someone who shares the same kind of love affection for cats just as much as you do. Not everyone is a cat fan so you cannot possibly expect everyone to understand your pain. I am sure you will be really hurt if someone says “it’s only a cat; get over it” and I am sure as hell you won’t take it well as it wasn’t merely a cat for you. It was much more than that. So talk to someone who really understands your pain.
  3. Take some time alone – Yes; you need it desperately. Spend some time alone. Talk to yourself. Relieve the memories. If you need someone to talk to, then talk. Understand yourself. Know what you need.
  4. Understand your grief process – Before you start your grieving process, understand it. What kind of emotions are you feeling right now? Is it grief, anger, depression or is it guilt. If you are feeling something right now, then you might feel something at the other moment; the process keeps going up and down. It is normal and absolutely fine.
  5. Relax – Relax yourself. It is very important for you to relax yourself and make sure you don’t lose it. Take long breathe; stop crying for a few minutes; tap yourself and say “its fine”; it’s absolutely fine.
  6. Honor your grief – That grief you have inside you for your cat is divine. It is because you loved him or her so much that you don’t want let it go. Honor the grief. Your cat deserves it. You can even purchase cat memorial stones

There are so many ways you can take care of yourself when you are unable to cope with the grief. At least you can adopt a new cat and give it shelter, love and food. That is a noble cause you will do for your deceased cat.

Herbal Remedies from Your Kitchen

When a single trip to the doctor’s office can cost hundreds of dollar and a visit to the emergency room can add up to thousands of dollars very fast. It is nice to know that there are simple home remedies that can save you some money.

 

Herbs and spices with mortar and bottle with oil

From heartburn and motion sickness to colds to cuts and hives, with these simple to follow instructions and a touch of love you will have your family feeling better in no time at all, as well as saving money.

Tea to help heartburn
1 cup water
1 teaspoon grated licorice root
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon dried chamomile flowers

In a small pan bring water to boil and add licorice root and ginger boil for 15 minutes. Remove from stove add chamomile flowers cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Strain into a cup and drink.

Licorice, ginger and chamomile are traditional, simple to make and low coast digestive tract soothers, which still work today when heartburn flares up.

Stomach-Calming Tea
1 cup water
1 teaspoon of peppermint
1 teaspoon of chamomile

In a small pan bring water to boil, pour water over dried herbs and steep for 10 minutes. Strain and pour into a cup.

Lemon Settler for motion sickness
(Over the counter motion sickness pills can and do make you very sleep this one will only make your motion sickness go away.)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon of honey
1 crashed sprig of spearmint

In a pan bring water, lemon juice, and honey to a boil. Stir to mix well add spearmint leafs and let steep for 10 minutes, strain and sip on it as often as you need too.

Anti-Diarrhea Tea
1 teaspoon dried blackberry leaves
1 teaspoon dried raspberry leaves

In a teacup add dried leaves, pour boiling water into cup allow too steep for 10 minutes. Drink 3 small cups a day with other fluids to prevent dehydration.

Electrolyte Drink
(Diarrhea can drain your body of liquids and electrolytes quickly which is very dangerous, replace them with electrolytes)
1 cup apple juice
2 cups water
1 teaspoon of salt
juice of one lemon

In a pitcher, combine apple juice, water, salt, lemon juice. Store in refrigerator, drink throughout the day to prevent dehydration.

Chest Rub for Bronchitis
30 drops of almond oil
15 drops of eucalyptus oil
5 drops of wintergreen oil

In a bowl mix all oils together, rub on your chest. Cover your chest with a cotton towel then place a heating pad on the towel. Snuggle under the blankets and get some rest.

Congestion Steamer
1 large bowl
3 tablespoon of each of the following:
Chopped thyme
Chopped sage
Chopped peppermint
Chopped eucalyptus
Chopped pine needles
Boiling water

Put herbs in a bowl add boiling water. Lean over the bowl with a towel draped over your head and the bowl inhale for 10 minutes repeat 2 to 3 times a day if needed.

Fever Tea
Yarrow
Linden Flowers
Chamomile
Spearmint
Elder flowers
1 cup of boiling water

In a bowl mix equal amounts of dried crushed herbs, pour water over let steep for 15 minutes. Strain, drink and then go get under the covers.

Anti-itch water for hives:
40 drops of lavender oil
Bowl of cold water

Mix until well blended, with a clean soft rag, dip in water solution and apply to effected areas.

 

And that’s it folks, if you enjoyed that article, be sure to check this section out on the huffington post, it’s AWESOME!

Think Green in the Kitchen

I just recently got back from a visit with my relatives. I love them but the amount of wasting they do in the house, especially in the kitchen really irks me!

I explained to them how they could help the environment more by being more effecient around the kitchen. So I decided to write this article as it may help others out there.

Think green in the kitchen. That is think about the environmental impact that your decisions may have when you use your kitchen. When using aluminum foil or plastic wrap reuse them at least once. This may require you to cover items with it as neatly as possible to keep from unduly wrinkling the foil or wrap. When you finally remove these from food or containers wash the wrapping material for reuse. You may be able to limit the use of wrapping materials by using containers with tops to store food. Reusing paper towel that is not soiled very much can save trees and your money will last longer. Use slightly used paper towels for wiping up spills around the kitchen. To refrain from using paper towels use the kitchen dish towel on spills.

Refrain from running water continuously while washing the dishes, because this wastes water and costs whoever pays the water bill. Use non-toxic cleaners in the kitchen. Use baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar as non-toxic cleaners in the kitchen. Cleaning up as you go in the kitchen will make it easier to wipe up spills instead of allowing them to dry. When and if a spill dries it may cause you to have to use a harsh chemical to get it up. Wiping up spills as soon as they happen will allow you to get them up easily. This includes spills on stoves and in ovens and around pots. Always think green because it is usually safe and less harmful, if at all. Natural products and products that are packaged in natural materials are better for the environment. Be careful when buying products just because they say they contain “natural” flavors or ingredients. Some products label synthetically produced flavors and ingredients that mimic natural ones and call them natural. These imitation products may not contain any organic ingredients. Beware of misleading advertisement. When you purchase food or anything for the kitchen, make sure it is made of or from natural organic sources.

Wash dishes throughout the day by hand with one solution of dish water. Rinsing the dishes in cold water will remove any soapy residue. This is because, in general, hot water naturally activates soaps and cold water neutralizes soaps. Use cooled cooking water that you will not use for other food preparations to water your indoor plants to save on the water bill and the energy needed to use it. Remember to think green and to be green leads to less energy consumption, better health, and a healthier environment. In an extreme case you could also use non greasy dish water to mop the floor or clean a counter top or small appliance. Use less hot water as possible in the kitchen to avoid having to use the hot water tank. If you have a tank-less water heater than this will not be an issue. If you do not have a tank-less water heater unit installed in your home perhaps you could, at the latest, at your next purchase of a water heating unit. These use less energy and water than conventional units. You will also use less energy heating up water for use in the kitchen if you set your hot water tank at 120 degrees. Any temperature higher is a waste and can be hazardous.

Slate cheese boards make a unique serving plate

I received the most interesting present over Christmas that I’ve been meaning to write about for a couple weeks now. This was something I didn’t even know existed, but now that I know it exists, I shouldn’t be the least bit surprised, because it’s marvelous! I don’t know how we made do without one before. I can hear you saying, enough suspense already. Alright, so what I received over Christmas was a Slateplate. It is, as the name implies, a plate made out of slate! Amusing, right?!

Believe me, it sounded weird at first to me too, but let me assure you that it’s a more than fitting gift. Slate has never been my idea of something elegant or classy, but I may have to revisit those thoughts after my experience with this gift. It simply exudes an aura of sophistication that most objects don’t possess.

Slateplate Slate Cheese Board

So more specifically, what I received was a slate cheese board from the company Slateplate. It’s an absolutely gorgeous, lush black color, which, let me tell you, rarely encompasses my feelings toward anything black. The black, for a slate serving board though, is a perfect fit. They even use it as plates for restaurants. As you can see in the link, the deep black really makes the food pop! When you spread out a smattering of colorful foods, they look indescribably more beautiful on the slate than they do on ordinary serving platters. You might be wondering how to clean a slate cheese platter, but as you can see, it’s not too difficult!

I know it’s advertised as a cheese board, but so far my favorite thing to serve on it has been fruits and vegetables. Slices of apples, chopped melons, pineapple, grapes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, diced peppers, and of course dressing or dipping sauce, are only some of the best candidates for the slate. The rainbow of colors produced even by the most ordinary food create a really fun and classy atmosphere. I cannot wait, I really cannot wait to be able to use the slate as a serving dish at my next house party. It’s just one of those things you know will be a hit, because it’s so unique, and so magnificently complements any array of food you’d dare to put on it.

The slate is perfectly clean, which wasn’t a concern of mine, but I feel some people might worry about that given that by its nature it’s a rock. The edges of the slate have been manufactured to perfect smoothness, so there isn’t a single rough patch on the entire thing. The top of it is cool to the touch and smooth, but Slateplate assures me it can also be used for piping hot food as well, which I have yet to try. It’s easy as pie to clean, just some soapy water and a sponge gets everything off it in seconds. According to Slateplate it’s also dishwasher safe, so if we put something messier on it, I think I’ll give that a whirl as well. It even has these cute little acrylic feet on the bottom with excellent grip so that it won’t slide on your countertops or table.

My husband, though he won’t admit it, has taken a liking to the slate. I caught him snacking off it once, whole slate in his lap, while he was watching TV. Our two sons adore it too. They can’t wait to “eat off the rock” again. Slateplate appears to offer a variety of sizes, so maybe one of these days I’ll surprise them and order a dinner set to use as regular plates. Wouldn’t that shock them!

Slate Cheeseboard

While it seemed like something odd and little, I must admit to this being one of my favorite gifts this year. It was unique, thoughtful, and I’m sure a definite crowd pleaser. I can’t wait to get more usage out of my splendid slateplate.

A fairly boring Day

My days are fairly boring. It is the same old drill every single day. Wake up, get dressed, head to the office, work, come back home exhausted, dine and sleep. When did I become a slave to this endless cycle of routine and monotony, I do not know but sure enough I realised I needed to get away from this life for a few days. For the sake of my sanity.

I am a foodie and a traveller soul inherently so to fulfil both my wishes, I chose a destination that would make the trip worthwhile. Being a vegetarian, the choice of a place also needs to go through some stringent checks. I zeroed in on Rajasthan eventually because it would be a perfect place to visit during winters.

The sand dunes of Jaisalmer, the alluring fort city of Kumbalgarh, the sprawling city of soaking blue Jodhpur, the holy city of Ajmer and the vibrant city of Pushkar. Rajasthan offered me nirvana of the soul and I was transported to another realm. The authentic Rajasthani food had me hooked from the day I set foot in the land of Thar. The photographer in me that went nascent due to the overworked corporate life I live, awoke with a vengeance. I had the most fun finding magnificent, breath-taking frames at every place I visited.

This trip being a solo trip gave me ample opportunity to reconnect with myself, find some perspective in life and get back to the day-to-day with rejuvenated energy. I urge you to take a solo trip once every year if you can, or at least once in your lifetime just when you feel that life is crushing you with responsibilities. You will discover new places, new cuisines and most importantly, you will rediscover the fire within you.

Life: shop till you drop

Recovering, that’s what I’m doing today!

This week my dear friend blew into town, for a whirlwind trip.

She’s a shopper, she actually gets an endorphin rush from spending money… quite an experience for this non shopper.  Saturday we shopped in three states, NY, PA, and NJ.  She came with one carry on, left with two checked bags and two huge shopping bags.

From Thursday to Saturday we ran 20 miles ~ spend the night in NYC ~ shopped a TON ~ skated at Rockefeller Plaza ~ danced ~ two happy hours to reconnect with friends ~ drove to Frenchtown, and New Hope/Lambertville, then back to Shorthills Mall for more shopping ~ celebration dinner with WT ~ dancing ~ yoga… so much laughing ~ I’m exhausted!

I have just a few days to recover before AWP comes home.  SO excited to see him.  I have only seen him once all year, for three days in June.

Reading: The Song Remains the Same (Winn Scotch). I didn’t have a minute to read this week but hope to finish this one in the next few days
Lotions & Potions: Check this out…  I have a sample of $350 eye cream! Have you tried 3LAB? I wonder if it’s magic in a bottle.
Shopping: You know how much I l.o.v.e. Anthropologie, here are the new towels I bought for the bath just off the kitchen.
Baking: My dear friend made Special K Bars before she left today.  Tonight I made Peppermint Crumble Bars.  Tomorrow I will make Bulla Bread, sugar cookies (decorated by AWP on Weds), and will finish making chex mix.  Tis the season!
Running: 24 miles.  Pretty good considering I wasn’t able to run much this week.

Books I can’t wait to read!

I love getting books in the mail, especially when they pique my interest and I can’t decide which one to read first. I work with a fabulous PR group that exposes me to wonderful titles and I can’t wait to read these books.  All set in Turkey, from modern day to Ottoman Empire.

Wait until I share the loot I brought home from Europe – I bought 18 books!

I started the first one today…

When Wings Expand (publish: Feb 2013): Winner of the Unpublished Muslim Writer’s Award 2011

Writing on the pages of her journal, Nur, a teenage girl in Canada, charts the onset and advance of her mother’s cancer. Nur watches her mother’s body begin to shrink and her mood begin to darken. And when family and friends begin to encroach, Nur must face the prospect of her mother’s looming death.

Nur bears the crushing loss and finds her adolescent life more demanding and complex. But with the legacy of her mother’s love, her family’s support, and the guidance of her faith, she manages to overcome the searing pain and use her newfound strength to bring joy to the lives of others, showing them that after death wings can expand.

Baksheesh (publish March 2013): Kati Hirschel, the owner of Istanbul’s only mystery bookstore, is fed up. It all started when her lover Selim insisted that she behave like the Turkish wife of a respectable lawyer. Looking demure and making witty small talk were the only requirements. Then her landlord announced an outrageous rent increase on her Istanbul apartment.

She has no desire to move in with Selim. She’d rather learn the art of bribing government officials in order to find a new place. Kati is offered a large apartment with a view over the Bosphorus at a bargain price. Too good to be true until a man is found murdered there and she becomes the police’s prime suspect. In her second novel Esmahan Aykol takes us to the alleys and boulevards of cosmopolitan Istanbul, to posh villas and seedy basement flats, to the property agents and lawyers, to Islamist leaders and city officials—in fact everywhere that baksheesh helps move things along.

The Sultan of Byzantuium (publish April 25): Fighting the Ottoman invaders in Constantinople, Emperor Constantine XI was killed—his body never found.

Legend has it that he escaped in a Genoese ship, cheating certain death at the hands of the Turks and earning himself the title of Immortal Emperor.

Five centuries after his disappearance, three mysterious men contact a young professor living in Istanbul. Members of a secret sect, they have guarded the Immortal Emperor’s will for generations. They tell him that he is the next emperor in line and that in order to take possession of his fortune he must carry out his ancestor’s last wishes.

What follows is his journey to the heart of a mystery of epic historical significance.

Life: bits and bites…

It’s a family joke that I nudge the World Traveler and say “can you stop breathing so I can fall asleep”. It’s sad to admit his breathing wakes me (he doesn’t snore).  This house is SO quiet that air coming out of the vent around 2AM wakes me – you  can imagine how foreign hotel sounds keep me up (and my Dad’s snoring).  I didn’t sleep on my fortnight in England.

Why share this story? I was beyond exhausted and jetlagged last week, I wasn’t my usual self.  Today I feel I can say that I have recovered from body fatigue and brain fog (ha).  My dad’s still talking about Oxford/London which is the sign of a good vacation.  He’s busy organizing photos to make a memory book, and looks through the photos on his iphone a few times a day.  So sweet.

Starbucks: Yesterday I drove 2 1/2 hours, to New Haven (CT), for a Frappuccino.

I wanted hours there, to explore, walk the campus, window shop the rows of stores (maybe find an amazing bookstore).  I’m trying to explore within three hours of home and Yale has been on my must see list so I decided to drive there at 1PM, for a day trip.   I didn’t think this through…

The GPS took us across the George Washington Bridge, through NYC, up 95 to New Haven (translation… traffic!).  This added almost an hour to our trip but we had time to drive through campus, and get Starbucks before driving home, via the Tappen Zee (Sleepy Hallow).  We left the house at 1:30, arrived at Yale around 4PM, left at 5PM, home by 6:50, greeted by hungry dogs. I will go back in the spring.  There are some good stores to explore up there!

Dogs: Lily, the puppy, must have a terrible stomach ache today.  She ate most of a bar of Sabon body butter (lotion, the size of a large bar of soap).  The guess the mint scent was too much for her – she’s a smart one… it was on the closet shelf, at least four feet off the ground.

She discovered ‘mint chip’ flavored gum a few months ago and is on a quest to find my secret stash.  She’s lucky she is so cute. 😉

Today: I have missed these days… so I’m thrilled to say today is a typical “me day”. Starting with a six mile hike at Jockey Hallow, a long chat with my Dad, and completed a french lesson. I also started a painting project.

Running: 21 miles this week / 88 for the month

Reading: When Wings Expand: I’m enjoying this book – it’s a heartfelt story filled with culture (synopsis just below this post)

Listening to: I’m catching up with my favorite podcasts, and a few new ones I discovered on vacation.

Excited to: work on a few small decorating projects.  Watch for before/after photos in a few weeks!

Do you have any exciting plans this week?  I would like to see a movie, do you have any recommendations?  The last movie I saw was The Welldigger’s Daughter (French with subtitles, I enjoyed it).

Have a wonderful week!

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