Casafina Dinnerware Hutch
With all of the dinnerware choices out there, where's a girl to start? Whether you are just getting married or looking to update the collection you started 20 years ago, selecting dinnerware can be a daunting task! We want to help- here are 5 things to consider before purchasing (or registering for) dinnerware!

1. What's Your Lifestyle?

Before you decide what your dinnerware should be made from, it's important to know how and when they will be used. Traditionally, couples have elected to have an "Everyday" set and a "Formal" set, primarily used for special occasions. The Everyday set is generally less expensive and more versatile in terms of maintenance, color and pattern than a Formal set. Overall cost is also a consideration since each set requires place settings, serving pieces, flatware and glassware. Your living situation can also determine if you have multiple dinner sets. If you have minimal storage space or are frequently moving from one location to another, one set of dishes may be all you can handle. Sometimes less really is more!

2. What's Your Material?

Now that you have decided how many sets of dinnerware you want and how they will be used, it is time to consider the material they are made from. The more popular options are:

Earthenware- One of the oldest materials used in pottery, the clay mixture is fired and glazed to make it watertight. It's natural color ranges from bisque to red, but can be glazed in any color and pattern. We love the Good Earth Pottery for its great color and pattern options as well as it's ability to mix with other lines.
The Good Earth Pottery - Cinnebar

Stoneware- This is the most popular choice for casual, everyday use. It is durable and not easily broken because the clay bonds so closely to the glaze when fired. Casafina is a very popular and versatile Stoneware line, perfect for everyday use
Casafina Stoneware

and a couple more...
  • Porcelain- Very hard product, but tends to be brittle. It's popular for formal china sets.
  • Bone China- This is the standard for fine china manufactured in England, the clay is infused with bone ash to increase the calcium content.
Earthenware (pottery) and Stoneware are widely used for casual, everyday settings while Porcelain and Bone China are more appropriate for formal settings and occasional use.

3. What's Your Setting?

A basic place setting includes a dinner plate, salad plate, bowl and mug. These are the main pieces you will use every time you sit down to eat, so you will want to purchase these items first. Once you have the basics in the cabinets you can begin collecting serving pieces and additional place setting pieces. When you start to think about adding pieces, think about the type of food you make.

Check it out. A basic setting with style... Bella Vita Gifts

  • If you like to bake a lot of casseroles, baked pastas or other "one dish dinners", casserole dishes, bakers and individual bakers that match or coordinate with your dinnerware are great choices.
  • If you're the type of cook that loves to entertain and bake delicious goodies, platters, cake stands and serving trays will be important for you to collect!
  • Adding to the basic place setting is easy to do and recommended if you like large meals! Pasts bowls, bread plates, and ramekins dress up the table nicely and provides a place for all the sides and dishes.
Some inspiration for additional pieces... How you like them apples? Bella Vita accessories
No matter your cooking style, you can always collect serving pieces one dish at at time- just make sure you have chosen a pattern not likely to be discontinued or go out of style!

4. Define Your Style

Are you traditional, modern or a little bit of both (transitional)? Take a look around your home and kitchen. Judging from your decor, cabinet style and personal preferences you will easily determine your style. Once you have narrowed down what your style is, selecting patterns and colors will be much easier!

5. What's Your Flair?


This is where you will see your options explode! It can be overwhelming, but now that you know your style, make your choices one step at a time and you will be just fine...and end up with the perfect set of dinnerware!

Patterns:
Choose your pattern based on your style! Here are some pattern suggestions that generally apply to each style.

  • Traditional patterns tend to be more ornate and may even have small embellishments on each piece
  • If you want to go modern select a very simple pattern, or no pattern at all. Modern dinnerware also allows you to experiment with different shaped dishes, such as oval, square or triangle.
  • Transitional patterns will fall somewhere in between with a simple pattern and minimal details. Transitional lovers might want to consider having a pattern on some pieces and leaving others plain!

Colors:

When choosing your colors, consider why you are purchasing new dishes in the first place. Do you want to have to update your dinnerware in a few years because they are out of style, or do you want them to last as long as they possibly can?

  • If you don't want to have to update your dinnerware in the near future, stick with neutral colors that do not come and go with the trends. White, ivory or cream are easy, long lasting solutions. If you want, you can purchase some serving pieces in accent colors that will be easy and affordable to replace when you want to update!
  • If you are the type of person that likes to update with the trends, then the sky is the limit! Dinnerware can be purchased in  all sorts of colors with all sorts of finishes! Choose from matte, glossy or even metallic to make your dinnerware the talk of the table!
If you have any questions about selecting dinnerware, registering for dinnerware or just want more information on what is available, contact us!

-The Girls at Bella Vita

Posted by Stephanie Singley | Permalink

Amanda Wood Registry

Wedding bells will be ringing for this sweet couple on May 29 and we are thrilled that we get to be a part of it! Calvin and Amanda met in February 2005, then Juniors in High School. They headed off to Mississippi State together in 2006 and will graduate together this May, just in time for their wedding! Being so busy first with High School, then figuring out college life and now graduating and planning a wedding, they take full advantage of the little moments and keep their life low key...they try anyway!

Calvin was all-gentleman when he surprised Amanda with a proposal on July 31, 2009 outside her parents Collierville home. She was packing to head out of town the next morning so she was completely shocked when out on the driveway he got down on one knee. She was confused, ecstatic and totally elated as she said YES! The happy couple is now working hard to finish up school, find jobs AND sort out all the details that come with planning a wedding. With their drive and passionate personalities, as well as a little help from Mom and Dad, there's no doubt they will be cool, calm and collected on May 29!

Congratulations Amanda & Calvin, we couldn't be happier for you!
-The girls at bella vita

Amanda's thoughts on registering with Bella Vita

BV: You are almost married, tell us about your registry so far?

AMANDA: It's been great! I'm an out-of-town student & they have worked with me to make sure I have everything on my registry that I want, even if I can't come in the store. The girls are so helpful with their suggestions on what looks good together & what the staple items are.
Amanda Wood Registry

BV: Why did you choose Bella Vita over other stores? What other stores did you register at?

AMANDA: I chose Bella Vita because I love the store & I wanted Good Earth Pottery for my fine china. I love the selection they have & how unique everything is. We are also registered at Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, & Dillard's for kitchen utensils, cooking supplies, and other household items.

BV: If you could list one reason why you chose Bella Vita, what would it be?

AMANDA: My registry is different than everyone else's!

Get more information about the Bella Vita Bridal Registry

Posted by Stephanie Singley | Permalink

I don't know what the weather is like where you are, but here in Memphis today it is cold and cloudy- NOT our favorite combo! We do, however, have a most amazing soup and sandwich combo perfect for a day like today. The 3 recipes that follow give you a quick peek at all the yummy ideas found inside vol. 2 of "The Gathering of Friends", the encore edition to vol. 1.

Happy eating,
- The girls at bella vita

Asiago Potato Soup

The Gathering of Friends - Soup

  • 1 lb. smoked bacon
  • 1 tsp. onion salt
  • 2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
  • 1 c. butter
  • 1-1 1/2 c. flour
  • 3 tsp. granulated chicken bouillon
  • 1 tsp. coarse black pepper
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 qt. cream
  • 1-2 qt. 2 % milk
  • 8 oz. freshly grated Asiago cheese
  • 18 baby red potatoes
  • 8 green onion stalks, finely chopped
  • 1/4 c. cilantro, minced

Preheat oven to 425°. Dice bacon and sauté. Remove bacon from pan and set aside. Dice baby red potatoes, with skins, into bite size pieces and toss in remaining bacon drippings to coat evenly. Spread on a baking sheet and sprinkle with parsley flakes and kosher salt. Place in oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, turning potatoes every 10 minutes until golden brown. Do not over cook. Potatoes will fry as they bake in the oven. Melt butter in large pot with chicken bouillon, onion salt and pepper. Slowly add flour beginning with 1 cup until the butter is completely absorbed. Add more flour until mixture is crumbly. Using a whisk, slowly stir in the creamy until it is smooth. Soup will thicken as it cooks. Fold in cheese and green onions. Add fried potatoes and bacon to the soup. The consistency should be very thick. Begin slowly stirring in milk until you reach desired thickness. Top with homemade croutons, fresh cilantro and serve.

Cheese Crusted Croutons

Cheese Crusted Croutons

  • 4 slices French bread
  • 1/4 c. mayonnaise
  • 1/4 c. creamy butter (a.k.a salted butter)
  • 1/4 c. cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 c. Asiago or Parmesan cheese

Turn oven temperature to broil. Mix ingredients in small bowl and spread over slices of bread. Broil in oven until golden, 2-3 minutes. Turn over and spread cheese mixture on the other side of the bread and broil again for 2-3 minutes. Let cool and slice toasted bread into cubes, serve with soup.

Almond Tuna Cheddar Melts

Almond Tuna Cheddar Melts

  • 2 cans tuna (12 oz. ea.)
  • 2 c. almonds
  • 1/2 c. green onions, minced
  • 4-6 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 c. sharp cheddar cheese
  • 12 slices of French bread
  • 3-4 tbsp. creamy butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Chop almonds to a very fine consistency. Combine drained tuna, mustard, 4 tbsp. mayonnaise, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Fold in almonds, minced onions and salt. Mixture should be fairly dry. If a moister consistency is desired add more mayonnaise. Spread tuna mix on French bread slices (or any dense loaf) buttering each side of sandwich. In a skillet lightly grill each side. As each side is fully toasted sprinkle with sharp cheddar cheese, as it cooks turn once on each side. Serve immediately.


Posted by Stephanie Singley | Permalink


Stephanie

Hi, my name is Stephanie. Like you, I love all things beautiful. The word. The life. The way it makes your soul feel warm and cozy. So curl up with the Girls at Bella Vita as we share our lives with you- our families and friends, our inspirations and ideas, our homes and nests- quite simply, our take on creating a beautiful life.
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