Tag Archives: Shopping

Mad for Melamine: A Summery Dishware Roundup


In the last week I’ve tossed three cereal bowls and a dinner plate. Our cheerful sunflower yellow everyday dishes from Target are on their last legs, or should I say our last fingers, as our dishes have started to turn scalding hot in the microwave (and begun to crack – hence the need to toss some). Suffice it to say that new dishware has been on my mind.

Around this time of year, outdoor dining accessories flood the retail space. In fact, I nearly bought a fun set of Cynthia Rowley melamine dishes yesterday! I have a small set of melamine dessert plates in our picnic basket, but am considering getting a whole set for dining. They aren’t only unbreakable, but come in so many fun colors and patterns it’s hard to say no!

Here are some of my favorites:

1. Thomas Paul Amalfi 11″ Dinner Plate
2. Benidorm Yellow Le Cadeaux Dinner Plate
3. First Impression melamine Plates by Lilly Pulitzer
4. Kat Melamine Dinner Plate by French Bull
5. Grass Melamine Dinner Plate by French Bull
6. Simple Chevron 10″ Melamine Plate, Red, by Nicole Porter
7.La Med Melamine Dinner Plates from Williams Sonoma
8. Côte d’Azur Melamine Salad Plate by Jonathan Adler
9. Zak Designs Carnival 10-3/4-Inch Dinner Plates

I am LOVING the French Bull Grass plates right in the middle – crazy and colorful – which is right up my alley. How fun would it be paired with some of these Ziggy collection serving pieces?

French Bull Ziggy Collection

For those of you wary of plastic dinnerware – read more here at SafeMama about melamine dishes. I’m always wary of using plasticware for heating, so I probably wouldn’t microwave melamine or put them in the dishwasher no matter what the plate said. But – to each their own!

Which melamine plate set would you pick? Do you have melamine dishes?

Day Trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

I’ve long maintained that Rockport is my favorite Massachusetts town. And that’s still true. Mostly. Rockport IS my favorite, but if I could choose to live in any town, it would be Newburyport. (If only it weren’t quite so far north!)

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

Newburyport is best-known for being the first port in New England. There is a short, but lovely, boardwalk along the river where you can watch sailboats – and on the rare occasion gawk at the out-of-place larger-than-life yachts that come up from the Cayman Islands.

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

Shopping in Newburyport

Another reason I love Newburyport is that it is a great place for browsing and window shopping.

My personal favorite stores to poke around in are Souffles (a great little kitchen store and coffee shop), Pretty Poppy (for affordable jewelry and accessories), the Brass Lyon (for nautical themed gifts), and Vintage Goods.

There is a great men’s shop (John Farley’s) and those are hard to come by. There are a few local chains here as well – Modern Millie’s (a vintage/consignment dress shop) and Bobbles and Lace (more ladies clothing). Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

My favorite place to shop in Newburyport is Oldie’s Marketplace – it’s a huge barn at the end of the riverwalk. It’s full of old thrifted goods – everything from old bottles, to antique furniture, to old records.

Exactly my type of place that I like to hunt through.

Eating in Newburyport

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

If you are there for lunch, stop at the deli counter in Fowle’s Drugstore and get a panini! It doesn’t look like much, but it’s delicious!

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

If you’re there for dinner, another favorite of ours is Agave – for delicious Mexican fare. There is usually a wait – so call ahead!

If you are heading out to the beach, like we were, stop at the Black Duck Market for some goodies. It is located in the Tannery, which just happens to be the best (free) place to park in Newburyport.

Plum Island

Directly off the coast is Plum Island – a reserve. While many Massachusetts beaches are more cove-like, Plum Island is a tried and true Atlantic Ocean beach.

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

This means the waves are bigger, the water is colder, and the drop-off is pretty quick.

While it’s not my favorite beach for swimming (at least my kind of swimming – which is more like floating in a bathtub), it’s a great beach for lounging! The long beach means the shore’s not congested and everyone is able to spread out.

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

It costs $5/car to get into Plum Island reserve. While you’re there don’t forget to drive around the reservation and enjoy the beauty.

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

What’s your favorite way to experience the beach?

I like a good book and a nice breeze!

Techy Pretties: Adorable Laptop Cases

Cute Laptop Sleeve and Case

Happy Hump Day!

You may notice that I have (finally) officially transferred over to my new URL – www.designlively.com – woo hoo! So feel free to update your bookmarks, etc. 🙂

Design LivelySecondly, yesterday I created a Facebook page for Design Lively, so if you’d like to get posts in your News Feed you can connect to that here.

Tech is the topic for today. Yep – my old laptop has recently passed on to another life and I’m welcoming in a new friend. Her name is Luna because she is silvery and bright like Luna Lovegood. <– Harry Potter-ism.

(RIP Chalmers. RIP Sassy.) Am I the only one who can’t name my new laptop something normal like “Kat’s Laptop” when prompted at setup?

These days I’m not hauling my laptop to coffee houses, libraries and meetings very often. Most often it’s just up to my office, down to the couch, or to the kitchen. As soon as I picked up my new computer I ordered a sleeve – and there are so many pretty ones to choose from!

While it’s mighty tempting to splurge on something swanky from Kate Spade, Miss Spade and I are on a “you can look but you can’t touch” policy.

Cute Laptop Sleeve and Case Kate Spade

This adorable orange polka dot one at $40 through Couture Zappos is actually not a half-bad deal for her normal prices, and quite tempting.

I have also seen a lot of sewn and upholstered cases on Etsy that are very cute.  But I always wonder about the actual level of protection they give. Anyone with firsthand experience out there? Maybe if my laptop just sat at my desk most of the time and I wanted a cover for surface protection I’d try it.

Cute Laptop Sleeve and Case

But you definitely can’t deny the cuteness factor of some of the Etsy cases, like this adorable one from BertiesCloset.

Cute Laptop Sleeve and CaseZazzle has an endless amount of options – you can even put your own image on their case! And, like most female accessories these days, you can get it monogrammed and it big stripes or chevron.

Were I still in school and schlepping my stuff all over campus, I’d consider a cute one with a strap, like this one by Marc Jacobs.

Cute Laptop Sleeve and Case

In the end, I decided to order the Scattered Dot pattern from Built (via Amazon Prime). I love the heftiness of their neoprene cases, they are washable, and available in many fun patterns. We’ve used a number of other Built products throughout the years and have always been happy with them.

Cute Laptop Sleeve and Case

This particular one by Built is nice because it has a hard bottom, so I can also use it as a lap tray.

I also like the neoprene cases because they are easy to slide inside of a larger bag or to lay flat inside a suitcase when traveling! Besides, who really needs the big old laptop bag with all the slots and pockets that I never use?

Are you still a computer person or have you moved over to the tablet? What does your computer case look like?

The State of Things: I love Americana Kitsch


To my fellow Google Reader subscribers –  a sad day in the world is rapidly approaching. Google Reader will no longer function after July 1. This is just a reminder to subscribe via email (on the sidebar to the right), Bloglovin’ or an RSS feeder of your choice if you wish to keep reading!

My favorite holiday is a toss-up. Every time one comes along I get caught up in the spirit of things and convince myself that this one is actually my favorite. So take it with a grain of salt when I tell you how much I love the 4th of July. I love it so much I’m committed to putting it in my top 3, maybe even top 2.

Around this time of year I find myself wanting to surround my house with classic Americana kitsch. Americana can come in many forms – tea-stained thirteen star flags, Coca-Cola memorabilia or even Normal Rockwell knick-knacks.

My favorite Americana items come in the form of vintage state handkerchiefs.

vintage state handkerchiefsvia

Clearly I’m not the only one. You can see on this website that some are selling for $80 a pop!

I’ve seen them made into pillows:

vintage state handkerchiefsvia

And modern reprints on dishtowels.


I’m not sure what it is about these sweet, nostalgic state-themed goodies that I enjoy so much.

There are also some kitschy embroidered pillows I’ve seen in a few stores – I always pick them up but never manage to talk myself into buying it!

vintage state handkerchiefs


This post was sparked by a recent item I stumbled upon, dinnerware from Sundance Catalog.

I wouldn’t mind picking out a few of these!

I wish you could mix and match states though,  they come in sets of 4.

They also have matching mugs! Although, who in their right mind needs more mugs? Aren’t we all swimming in them?

And while I’m sure everybody is really tied to their gas station shot glass collection, these glasses would be a nice upgrade.


Country Living has a great slideshow of vintage state collectors glasses – see it here!

When I was a kid I had to memorize a song that had all the state names in alphabetical order. To my shame I can only make it in the song to “Idaho”.

(I’m still not sure why this is need-to-know information. I also had to memorize all the Presidents in chronological order, I haven’t found that to be very useful either.)

I’m in a summer state of mind, how about you?