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Bon Vivant Essential List: Fiestaware, Minimalism, Sparkly Masks and Mantels


Welcome back to week two of 2021, in which various storylines continue where 2020 left off, by bringing us more political strife, additional pandemic back phasing (I just made that up, but it seems to work so I’m going with it) and the body of a stingray left on the sidewalk in Mid-City since December. (Much like our Christmas tree, which still hasn’t been collected for use in the marsh habitat recycling program.) I’m really not a fan of cliffhangers and was hoping for new programming in the New Year, but since that’s not happening and I am into sequels, let’s dive into a new installment of this blog’s occasional series, the Bon Vivant Essential List (here’s the last installment), where I round up what I’m currently into and share it here.

Tabletop Party: Way back in 1998 when my husband and I tied the knot, I registered for Fiestaware in every color. If you aren’t familiar with Fiestaware, I’m sad for you. There is no time like the present to learn something new though, so here’s a brief history lesson: Fiestaware was first launched in 1936 by the Homer Laughlin China Company out of Newell, West Virginia. Production ceased in 1973 when interest in the ceramicware fell short. Renewed popularity via secondhand sales spurred the company to restart production in the mid-1980s and Fiestaware is still in production today. Midcentury modern is my preferred decorative style, and while I tend to lean toward neutrals, ever since beginning my collection in the ‘90s the colorful palette of Fiesta has informed the pops of color infused in my décor. All of this is to say that recently I added a new serving bowl to my collection and, as famous organizing consultant Marie Kondo says, it sparks joy. (By the way, Kondo has a new line at the Container Store. Which seems odd since her ethos is minimalism and she usually instructs us to get rid of stuff rather than store it, but I digress.) Fiestaware is available at Macy’s, and other retailers, or at Fiesta Factory Direct. I have also seen it locally at Seasoned and sometimes in other vintage shops around town, so keep your eyes peeled and you may get lucky.

Fiesta Serving Bowl Copy

Speaking of Minimalism: We moved in October and I seem to be achieving my dream of becoming an actual minimalist. I know, I know, talk to me after we’ve lived in our space for a few years. But for now, I’m pretty happy with the lack of “stuff” and think even Marie Kondo would be impressed. I’ve been into minimalism in theory for about 20 years but haven’t ever been great at practicing it until the past five or so. One turning point for me was watching “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things” by The Minimalists back in 2015. (They also now have a blog and podcast, of course.) I’m also a subscriber to the quarterly digital publication Simplify Magazine which helps keep me in check.

Minimalism Copy

Mantels on My Mind: One area in which I’m having trouble when it comes to minimalism however is the mantels in our new home. There are four and I keep wanting to style them a bit less minimally and a lot more maximally. I’m grateful that we are able to enjoy beautiful original works by talented friends and our other favorite artists but curbing my urge to fling all of it at our mantels is a challenge. I’ve been swapping it out and moving it around to keep myself from piling it on, effectively ruining the simple esthetic I’m going for, but again, it’s a struggle. But as far as first world problems go, this is definitely in that category, so I’ll shut up now.

Mantel Styling Copy

When Third World Problems Upgrade to the First World: What would a blog post be without repeatedly mentioning the pandemic? As pandemic fashion continues to evolve (which is a thing I never thought I’d write, think or say, but here we are), face covering choices are becoming much more plentiful. Perhaps it’s because we’re in Carnival season, but I’m really into my sparkly and shiny ones of late (I recommend using a filter with the fashion masks or wearing a paper mask under it, since the fabrics aren’t always CDC approved). I got a sequined number at Trendz on Magazine Street, but here’s a list for a bunch of local makers and sellers creating pretty much any style you could possibly want while we continue to mask up.

Sequined Mask Copy

Much to the relief of everyone across the globe, the COVID-19 vaccine is in distribution and getting rolled out as quickly as possible, but it will still be many months before we reach the point where masks are no longer needed. Please continue to stay home as much as possible, wash those hands and wear masks. We’re all in this together.




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