Friday, April 29, 2016

My Favorite Mugs

If you're like me, you've probably acquired quite a collection of mugs over the years. Some were bought, some were inherited, and some were gifted to me at one point or another in my life.  Each one is different, and entered my home (and my kitchen cabinet) to commemorate a specific event, milestone, sentiment, person or place.

That alone makes them special.  No mug enters my cupboard unless there is a special significance or story associated with it, and no ugly mugs are ever allowed.

Unlike dainty tea cups which are esteemed and revered by many, the common and sturdier mug gets very little attention or respect. But the truth is that mugs are typically used much more frequently than tea cups, usually on a daily basis.  In fact, some people walk around with a mug in their hand all day long.  Mugs are also often used to hold pens and pencils, paint brushes or make-up brushes, toothbrushes, combs and hair brushes, colored pencils and markers.  The ubiquitous mug, therefore, certainly deserves a little dignity and appreciation for its service, as well.

A sweet "quilt" patterned mug and
some Afternoon Tea Fudge Brownies.
Mugs are reliable, comforting and often whimsical.  We buy mugs to express ourselves, with a motto, funny saying, irreverent expression or meaningful quote to convey a certain attitude, perspective, or motto.

Mugs are often gifted to match an interest, occupation or personality.  There are mugs for nurses, teachers, writers, dentists, doctors, and psychiatrists.  There are mugs for Moms, Dads, Aunts, Godparents, and siblings.  There are mugs for music lovers and mugs for Star Trek fans, mugs for skiers and mugs for golfers.  In short, there is a mug for every kind of person on the planet.  Mugs are given in jest, in affection, in tribute, and in appreciation.

I admit that I cherish my mugs just as much as the most delicate and beautiful tea cups. The reason is that each mug in my assorted and motley collection brings to mind a very specific memory.


At Afternoon Tea we sold a line of mugs that, to this day, remain my very favorites. This mug above, in particular, reminds me of our days in the bakery and how it all began ... baking at home with the little ones nearby waiting for a treat. These days I have only seen these sweet Michel & Company mugs available on eBay, but mine will remain in my collection forever, giving me joy every time I reverently pull them out for use.

This is the first mug I ever bought for myself, during a visit to Sanibel Island, Florida, with my college friend, Sharon.  I still cherish it as it reminds me of that trip, and of the beach in general, even when I am thousands of miles away from it.  It reminds me of the peace and serenity I find by the surf, and to always return to it.  I consistently feel like I'm on vacation whenever I use this mug.

This mug was given to me by my sister during a brief spate of difficult times, and always brings a smile to my lips.  It's comical and uplifting, prompting me to not take things too seriously, and reminds me of our steadfast camaraderie and allegiance during the best and the worst of times.

This mug was gifted to me on my 50th Birthday, during a trip back to the city of my birth.  It always reminds me of the wonderful time we had on that visit to the Big Apple, and the many cousins and friends who came to share and celebrate this milestone with me.

We're a huge Disney Family, and avid fans of Walt Disney World, the place "Where dreams come true!"  We were one of the first visitors when the park opened back in 1971, when they only had two hotels (we stayed at the Contemporary ... thanks, Dad!), and returned pretty much every year (at least once a year) after that.  It was one of the best things about living in Florida, and gave me memories I will always cherish.  So I must have a mug that honors this!

The mug above was also given to me by my sister. I adore the quote, and the very organically-etched tree references my fascination with our family genealogy, so it particularly hits home with me.  This is a mega-sized mug for long stretches of work when a double-shot espresso latte is required.

Here's one that needs no explanation if you live in Colorado.  Absolutely no other mug may be used during a Broncos game.  Ever.

The reason this mug is special is pretty self-evident.  It just shouts "happy" and "celebration!"  The birthday girl (or guy) must have their own special mug on their special day, of course.

For troubled times when a bit of faith is required, or when I just need a reminder to let my spirit soar ...

This was a work gift that found a special place on my desk.  I find this mug to be cheerful and quirky, and lists all of my favorite coffee drinks.  What's not to like?

The set of mugs above was left here by my brother when he and his family stayed at my house for a time. My brother is quite a skilled martial arts devotee. In fact, his entire family is.  (One of these days I'll ask him what the symbols on these mugs mean.)

Another favorite, this mug was a gift from a friend acknowledging my interest in Astrology and the heavens.

A "feel good" mug from a popular company, and a reminder to always appreciate everything you've got.  This was a special gift from my nieces, and an obvious heartfelt favorite.

Believe it or not, when I'm looking for something calming, soothing, meditative or peaceful, my favorite plain white mug is just the thing!  I love the sleek shape, the pleasing simplicity, and the extra-large capacity of this mug.  When the last thing I need is more "noise" in my environment, this is the one I reach for.

Lastly, these mugs honor my background ... my alma mater and my heritage ... so they are also near-and-dear to my heart.

What does your menagerie of mugs look like?  Do they make you smile and remember happy times and loved ones?  If not, what are they doing in your home?

Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies decorated with assorted
sprinkles, and a lovely mug featuring sweet lovebirds,
makes a charming gift for someone special.
After all, our possessions should give us joy.  My morning mug of coffee should make me happy.  We want to create a beautiful life for ourselves and be surrounded by beauty, joy, whimsy, cheerfulness, and comfort, so only the truly special mugs get to stay in my cupboard.

And finally ... another wonderful thing about mugs is how easily they can be packaged up in cellophane with a bunch of freshly-baked cookies and a few packets of tea or coffee as a sweet gift for a friend, a sibling, a coworker, a neighbor, or for your mom on Mother's Day!

Bottoms up!

The Afternoon Tea Book of Cookies and Bars Because life is just better with fresh-baked cookies ....
Afternoon Tea bakery's extensive repertoire of delicious butter-rich cookies and bars ... all of the sweet temptations that became our customers' favorite addictions ... now made available for you to bake at home for yourself.

Get your copy of From the Bakery of Afternoon Tea: Book of Cookies and Bars for your Amazon Kindle today!

Enjoy previous seasonal blog posts:

Hello Spring!
Hello Cookies!

Our latest cookbook is out!  A book full of Afternoon Tea's cookie and bar recipes!
Happy Mother's Day!
Wishing all of the Moms out there a very wonderful, healthy and happy Mother's Day!
Breakfast in Bed
A time-honored tradition for Mother's Day!
Mother's Day Tea
A perfect way to celebrate and spend time with our Moms.
Love Tea Sandwiches?
Spring is for Tea Parties, Baby & Bridal Showers, Garden Parties... that means lots and lots of delightful tea sandwiches!
A Baby Shower Tea Party
Celebrating a little one's imminent arrival.
What's Your Favorite Cake?
If only I could pick just one!
A Bridal Shower Tea ...
the perfect way to entertain.
Cooking with Herbs
Herbs are making a tasty appearance in some of your favorite desserts!
Spring Cleaning
Tackling and taming the clutter.

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