NAT NESTS: SPECIAL PLATES ARE MY FAVORITE PLATES

i think i could eat bread and cheese for every meal and be pleased as punch. 

so, i spent a solid 12 hours with our storage in idaho two weeks ago, staring down my long lost collection of things that i love and treasure, all the while sort of sniffling like a ninny, and also occasionally taking breaks to stroke things longingly. i make no bones about it: pretty things make me happy. i attach a lot of significance to things. i promised myself i'd be ruthless with those storage boxes, and i was, but at the end of the day there were still a few boxes of vintage china i'd collected over the years that i have no room for but just could not part with, plus one extra special box of odds and ends that just made me happy when i looked at them.

to rationalize bringing that small box home with me i came to the conclusion that these things just need to be used. every day, all the time. not just displayed, and no more "saving for special occasions." today is a special occasion! even if it's just a wednesday night and it's only me eating cheerios for dinner.

a few months back i bought a brooklyn slate cheese board from murray's cheese shop in the village, and since then it's sat there in the cupboard doing absolutely nothing with itself. waiting for the right moment i suppose. but the other night at "dinner" (no kidding, pre-made trader joe's chicken + barley soup and a pre-made trader joe's bagged salad, i am such a chef), i realized i had some stilton blue and a black pepper chevré and enough salami to feed an army, so i decided to take my own advice and make a special occasion of it. 

and then two of our favorite people came over to join us, so it really was a special occasion! see how that happens?

and maybe i've been watching too much downton abbey this week (you can watch the whole season three RIGHT HERE right now!), but, what if we all just started eating on our wedding china all the time? just because "it's after six, and what am i, a farmer?" 

so there it is. toast on the pretty plates. i'm all over it.

61 comments:

  1. I was just thinking about this the other day when I read an interview with Julian Fellowes. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have formal dinners every night, dressed to the nines and cooked and served by someone else? Sigh.

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  2. and a crown on our birthday! yes. yes to sparkle and special every single day. cause damn it, i'm worth it. ;) (ps i would eat cheese + bread every single day if i could too)

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  3. i was just gonna ask if it was brooklyn slate! i've see it everywhere, and i just love it.... and i LOOOOVE murray's! they have peppadew peppers in their olive bar, and if you stuff them with goat cheese they are just heavenly ;)

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  4. Yes!! In my family it is tradition to pick out our silver patten when we are teenagers and we are gifted pieces for holidays and major events and then get the whole shebang when you are married. Such a nice thought until I realize I have been getting my entire collection piecemeal for over 15 years and still single. It has become my mission this year to convince my grandmother to hand it all over because I yearn for the day when I can use my gorg antique silver to eat ice cream on the couch!!

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  5. One hundred percent yes. If only because Jack says so.

    And I seriously want one of those cheese boards! Excuse me...

    xo,
    Julie

    www.jbound.com

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  6. dude. yes. I eat off my vintage china every day and it's the best. and thank you for using that amazing 30 rock quote.

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  7. great, now i want to have cheerio's for dinner. but only if they're honeynut!

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  8. LOVE THIS POST! Sing it, sista. Also, my respect for you just quadrupled (if that's even possible) because of the 30Rock shout-out. Wonderful post.

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  9. we have a set of red dishes that only get used when there is something special that has happened. Like, getting a good grade on a test, or a promotion at work. BIRTHDAY'S! Just one set you see. Everyone else at the table is using the regular dishes and the one person who has the special occasion dine's on a the special red place setting. It makes it extra special. And fun!

    I've always wanted a wall of vintage plates. In a unique swirl pattern on my kitchen all. Maybe one day...just maybe.

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  10. haha love it! let's be fancy!! http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com

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  11. "It's after 6, what am I? A farmer?" greatest reference right there.

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  12. Ahhh SPECIAL PLATES! I obsessively pick up pretty little mismatched plates at thrift stores for $1 here or there and just keep them in a stack. My roommates might think it's silly but they sure love it on birthdays when I'm like FANCY PLATES FOR THE CAKE! it makes a party so happy.

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  13. i could happily {and often do} exist solely on bread and cheese... *reaches for more*

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  14. p.s. there is no such thing as watching too much downton abbey. i'm hoping to get to highclere castle soon {the downton abbey in real life - only an hour from where i live}.

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  15. oooh girl--love me some Downton Abbey but you had better take that link down. I work with legal/copyright-y type issues and that's not cool, man. But I love you, anyways :)

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  16. I try doing this all the time with my girls and cheerfully obliging husband. We eat off of nice plates with placemats and pretty silverware (though I don't own silver...alas), and every Monday for a long time (til we moved...for shame) we'd have "Candlelit Mondays" and dine by the light of my leaded crystal candlesticks. Even if two out of my three dinner guests whined for the entire meal, it was still enjoyable. And I watched the third season opener of "Downton" drinking tea and eating biscotti from my grandmother's china. Life should be fancy NOW! Especially when you have kids and everything is chaotic--those "fancy" days don't come around too often! I think a Monday night on the couch with spit up in my hair is a perfectly good occasion to break out grandma's Royal Albert teacups.

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  17. I've tried to tell that 30 Rock joke to people in person and it just sounds awful with me saying, "it's funnier when you watch it". I love how you snuck it in here.

    I never registered for wedding china but now I'm thinking I need a pretty cheese board for even just cheddar and apples.

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  18. Hahaha! Jack Donaghy has the best one-liners. That one is my favorite of all.

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  19. Those plates are really pretty! I remember when you used to have a plate wall. That was super rad and I sure hope it makes a comeback.

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  20. mmm, I could eat cheese every day of my life and never tire of it! :) Such a simple meal put together to look so fancy! I love it!

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  21. You're totally right on this. In four years I haven't once used a single dish of our fancy wedding china from Tiffany's. It's just sitting in the china cabinet waiting for our 19 month old to take out the teapot and shatter it to the ground without ever even poured a cup of tea. How sad. Perhaps we should eat our cheerios for dinner tonight out of the gold trimmed soup bowls.

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  22. love this post, and all of your pretty things. i totally do the same thing- save things for "special occassions", and it's so dumb! i have quite a few tops i love, but never wear, because most days I am just hanging out with my baby. but maybe he would like me better in my fancy clothes, haha!

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  23. I really don't think I could possibly love this blog more. Thanks for that. ;)

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  24. Yes, yes, yes. As a stay at home mommy, I've started telling myself that this is especially important. I should be using the glamorous things at home that make me feel so good. Burn the candle! Drink morning coffee from a fancy cup! Set lunch on nice plates even if its macaroni and cheese. It just makes life feel fancy and special everyday b

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  25. Oh, Jack Donaghy. How I love that man. If only he was real.

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  26. Yes! Let's feel special all the time! Use the pretty things! I am also attached to things - I was a child who would burst out into tears if my favorite XYZ even got so much as a smudge of dirt on it and then my mother would tell me a story about some awful thing that happened to my grandmother Mimi when she was my age during the Great Depression (saddest? when she got a birthday+christmas present of a fountain pen - her only present - and then one of their boarders STOLE it and claimed it was HIS and they couldn't do anything about it because he threatened to move OUT and they needed his rent. OMG). Mimi always says "don't love something that can't love you back" and it's good advice, and I always try to remind myself that... But I haven't learned a thing, I still attach too much meaning to things... except maybe I've learned to not actually CRY about it.

    My mom wants to start using her wedding china every day but I was selfish and said "NO! Take care of it! I love your china, what if it breaks?!" but I'm going to call her up and tell her to have at it, don't listen to silly, sentimental (shallow? sensitive?) me.

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  27. There is something charming about taking the time to dress up and use your best implements. Sure, it is easier to just wear sweats and not bother with a whole lot, but doesn't it just make you feel more special to do something special? I don't even have any china or silver. I should go perusing around at thrift stores and see if I can't find some. :)

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  28. the other day I put red lipstick on, just to clean my house. It felt pretty rad.

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  29. i like your way of thinking :)

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  30. Mmmm, cheese. Cheese platter. Salaaaamiiii. Prosciutto.

    ::drools::

    Yes, I COULD so eat it every day, I'm glad you asked. So good.

    And I love that you use your fancy wedding silver on a daily basis!
    That's some awesomeness right there.

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  31. All I have to say about this is... well... it's about time somebody gave me a working link to season 3 of Downton Abbey. Watching the first and second episodes Sunday night did nothing but make me depressed I couldn't watch it all the way through. So.... thank you for that.

    And your plates are beautiful.

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    1. They are on sidereel.com as well if for some reason the links aren't working! It's a great season!

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  32. um COLLEEN H who posted above: I have the exact same family tradition! and have never heard of anyone else who has it! we pick out our 'fancy' silverware at age 12 (mine has seashells on it...) and get a set each year for our birthday for 8 years and then we get a cake knife and whos-its and whats-its galore. I'm still not allowed to touch the silverware. But someday.. someday I shall use it for every day eating :)

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  33. AGREED! Mumsie never wore her perfume because she was saving it for a special occasion. As she's a hoarder there is a whole collection of off-perfume that she can't bear to part with as it was given as a special gift. Make the special occasion everyday- I agree.

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    1. Sounds exactly like my mother.

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  34. That 30 Rock quote was awesome and perfect.

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  35. My grandmother gave me her mother's silver for Christmas this year and told me my Mama Lena always insisted on using the silver every. single. day. She figured, what's the point in flatware when you have good silver?!

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  36. Pretty plates and stinky cheese! I love those things!

    Theresa
    http://bomamma.blogspot.com

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  37. Oh I love this post so much! Especially the farmer quote. Why not indeed.

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  38. Greatest Jack comment of ALL TIME! Yes, to all of it. LOVE this post!

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  39. I love this! My grandma gave me a huge set of pretty dishes and they literally sat in my basement collecting dust for years. I finally decided to enjoy them and we eat real food on them now. I have several small children so that was part of the hesitation. But they sure are pretty and I think of my cute grandma every time we use those pretty white plates!

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  40. I love this! My grandma gave me a huge set of pretty dishes and they literally sat in my basement collecting dust for years. I finally decided to enjoy them and we eat real food on them now. I have several small children so that was part of the hesitation. But they sure are pretty and I think of my cute grandma every time we use those pretty white plates!

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  41. we tried to establish this exact thing a few years back. We use the real crystal glasses for christmas breakfast and birthdays.
    We set aside Monday nights as 'fancy dinner nights' wherein I attempt to make a proper meal with all the sides and we use a table cloth and set the table nice and put some flowers in a vase even if its weeds plucked from the garden by little children (however it just is our regular cheap tableware and flatware as I never got any real stuff for our wedding)it works a treat and the kids love it and it is our segway into family home evening and has helped make the FHE last for hours :)

    However I do believe we do fall off the wagon and need to do the fancy more often.... and I need to start collecting cute mismatched china....

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  42. Nat, I love this post! I think everyday should be celebrated & enjoyed! Or else I tell myself this when I purchase champagne....just because ;) x

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  43. Such lovely, lovely words to live by. If you ever make it over here to London make sure you check out Portobello Rd in Notting Hill. It's the perfect place to collect antique mismatched china. Both wonderful to see and a very dangerous temptation!

    http://afternoon-blog.blogspot.co.uk/

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  44. I love this post, Nat...I've been thinking the same thing. No more, "Oh, I can't buy that because I have nothing to wear it to"... we can make our occasions. :)

    xx S.

    http://www.thelaughingmedusa.com

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  45. What a splendid idea, I would love to finally start wearing some of the 'fancy' clothes I have in my closet! Why wait, right?

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  46. Over five years, we bent the heck out of our regular spoons eating too much ice cream and not letting it soften before scooping into bowls so my husband got fed up and threw them all away and opened up the box of stainless steel silverware his grandma got us for our wedding. I thought it was weird at first, but they're so pretty and such better quality!

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  47. Amen for cheese, china, and having specific dinner jackets to wear to...you know....dinner.
    I read somewhere that if there is something you don't use that you really should part with, take a picture of it and keep the picture. I've successfully done this with a piano, but can't manage to part with some of the other sentimental items I have.
    Oh, well. Baby steps!

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  48. Dear God I love you!

    Kelley from kdiaries.com

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  49. Yes to cheese, specialness everyday, and Downton Abby.

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  50. I love this post. I love all of your posts and always want to comment, but I guess I'm usually too shy to, BUT I could not pass up telling you how happy it made me for you to quote that Jack line (especially in the same paragraph that mentions Downton Abbey)! One of my all-time favorite 30 rock quotes. Also, I appreciate any post about cheese... I too could eat bread and cheese for every meal and be just fine ;). Thank you for making me smile!

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  51. those are pretty little plates! very elegant and dainty looking ;)

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  52. I'm always savings things for that "special time". You've got a great point just using it now and going for it! And man, I want that salami!

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  53. I must confess that I regularly wear my best perfume (Chanel) to school, my fanciest dresses to work, and once wore pearls to go on a picnic (why yes, I was mercilessly teased). It never really occurs to me to save the "good stuff" for a special occasion I guess. Now I feel totally justified! Also, I always think of that story about the lady who never wore her beautiful red dress because she thought it was too fancy for her life and then she died without ever wearing it. YOLO! Right?

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  54. We use our crystal, china and silver every Sunday!!! I LOVE setting a table. I cannot stand paper plates. One time my husband brought home red solo cups from Costco. I told him they were not allowed in the house. He keeps them in the garage :)

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  55. You had me at cheese, but then you went and linked to all of downtown abbey season 3. What the what?! I'm on it!

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  56. Reminds me of this beautiful quote from President Monson:

    http://pinterest.com/pin/162551867772326379/

    :)

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  57. i'm sure other people have said it, but holy toledo, your baby photos are the spitting image of Huck! (or he's the spitting image of you? however that goes?) darling, that boy.

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  58. I totally agree with using the 'good stuff' every day. Life is too short to keep pretty things in storage. If they bring you moments of joy every day, then why not?

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  59. that photo of plates really touches my heart. my grandma had a wall full of plates from all the states she'd visited and i really never thought about them much until she and they weren't there anymore. good memories!

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