Monday, February 11, 2013

Rite Resources: Registry Essentials You'll Actually Use

Walking through department stores, hand on scanner and head dreaming of shared dishes, sheets, and towels, is totes fun.  The thing is, it can also be so darn stressful.  There's the matter of learning to compromise and envision things together, of course, but there's also the all-too-overwhelming question of what you even need to register for.  Euro shams?  Ice buckets?  Charger plates?  It's enough to make any bride a little crazy, so I thought that today, I'd humbly offer you some of the best things I registered for, the things I wished I did, and what, in my opinion, is the best purchase you could ever make.
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Sheets Food Processor Frames Skillet Board Games
Nice Sheets: As I may have alluded to before on this blog, I tend to be a bit too much of a spender.  My husband tends to be too much of a scrimper.  We're constantly learning how to meet in the middle, but when we were registering a few years ago, I suppose we had less of a handle on this.  Having grown up in twin beds, Andrew and I both felt the sticker shock of queen-sized sheets, let alone nice queen-sized sheets.  We deemed sheets too expensive a gift to ask for, and halfheartedly chose one set.  But not even the accompanying pillowcases.  Anyway, fast forward to two years later, where we own nothing more than two cheap-ish sheet sets from Ikea.  They get the job done, but I so wish we'd gone for a few nicer sets on our registry!  The way I see it, there are few other items you'll use every single night of your life, and when the average human spends something like one third of his or her life in bed, I think it's worth making sure that bed is comfy.  One set of crisp cotton and one of cozy flannel is already on my Christmas list for next year!

Food Processor: I love, love, love to cook, and after a year and a half with a food processor, I'm not sure how I ever lived without one.  Seriously, this thing can mince garlic, ginger, and onions way finer than a knife for sauces and stir-fries, shred a whole mountain of cabbage for slaws and my favorite, fish tacos (still talking about shredding the cabbage, not the fish, just so we're clear), pulverize chocolate, slice perfect carrot coins, and make a piecrust, a longtime source of baking intimidation for me, in a flash.  Actually, all those conveniences make it perfect for saving time even when you don't like to cook.  We received a bigger food processor than the one we registered for, with a few more gadgets like a mini bowl attachment and shredding disc, and I'm so glad. I won't worry about upgrading to a larger capacity when we have, God willing, lots of kids to feed one day.  I definitely recommend getting a nice, roomy 14-cup one like this one that we received.  Go big or go home, right?

Cast-Iron Skillet:  Can I gush for a minute?  About a heavy old piece of iron?  During high school, my TV watching consisted largely of Food Network, and after hearing the virtues of cast iron on shows like Good Eats and Paula's Home Cooking, I bought this one when I moved into my first apartment my junior year of college.  Simply put, I'm obsessed.  These things cost less than 30 bucks and are so durable and solid, they're said to outlive you. You can grill and char meats without an actual grill, bake a cobbler, make heartier eggs than you get in a regular pan, and go back and forth from the oven to the stove.  You don't need to cook with much oil, iron is a more natural material than Teflon and coated aluminum, which means it's healthier and can even add important iron to your diet, and oh, I could go on and on.  I've given three of these pans as engagement presents, and I honestly think it eliminates the need for a large set of cookware, since it can do so many jobs.  Even though cast iron can smoke so much sometimes that I set off the fire alarms in my college apartment building more than once (consider yourself warned), I'm committed for life.

Art & Picture Frames: 
From the "I never would've thought of that but I'm so glad I did" category: When you settle into your first little nest together, of course you'll want to decorate it.  And, when you get your wedding photos back, of course you'll want to display them.  It might not seem like the most natural choice, asking for home decor instead of appliances or linens, but a friend of mine advised me, and I'm so thankful for such an original piece of advice.  Requesting a set of matching frames in all sizes, along with a few images you love, is a fantastic way to get a head start on furbishing.

Board Games: You didn't think this list would be all function and no fun, did you?  Your newlywed days, when you'll want to spend plenty of time together and invite friends over to see your new digs, are, to me, the perfect time to start building a game collection.

Now.  Surely I've left something off this list, so help me out!  If you're married, what's the best wedding gift you received, what genius, unusual item has been the most helpful to you, and what do you wish you had put on your registry?  If you're engaged, tell me what's at the top of your wish list!



P.S. Click here to read my latest column on Ignitum Today, where I talk about talking about sex.

10 comments:

  1. A good friend recommended that I definitely get a cast iron grill pan (like this one! http://www.crateandbarrel.com/lodge-cast-iron-grill-pan/s237957) - she said it's probably her most used kitchen item. I also was super excited to register for this avocado tool: http://www.crateandbarrel.com/oxo-3-in-1-avocado-tool/s553964...I could go nuts in Crate & Barrel!

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    1. It's definitely my most-used item, too! You won't regret it =)

      I get so overwhelmed in Crate and Barrel...thanks for the avocado recommendation!

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  2. A good set of pots and pans that will last you forever. They're definitely pricey (and I was one of those brides who hesitated to put pricey items on my registry), but I'm so glad I did. A very generous family member gave us a 10-piece All Clad set, and as another bride who absolutely loves to cook, a good set of pots and pans is a lifesaver! Ditto for the knives. My parents bought us a set of Zwilling (sp?) knives and they are fantastic.

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    1. Totally agree! We received a pots and pans set, too, but almost two years later, I'm still clinging to my old college versions, for some reason, and haven't opened them yet! You're inspiring me...and YES to the knives!

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  3. I've loved building the registries with my fiance! My top wish list items: a good set of bone china (I WILL use them, they're made to last, right?), anything Le Creuset, KitchenAid Mixer, wine fridge for fun =), a luxurious comforter and duvet/sheets.

    My fiance is not quite as hesitant about putting on more expensive items. His philosophy is that no one HAS to buy us anything! Which is true. We definitely picked gifts of lots of different prices too.

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    1. Good call on the varied price points! We received one 4-setting bone china set, and it's such a luxury to eat on pretty dishes every day! I'm hoping to add a few more sets as our family grows, and since we dropped one of the plates (I think it was more clumsiness on my part than weakness on the china's part =) )!

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  4. We love our Calphalon baking pans and good electric mixer (can you tell I like to bake?).

    I wish we had registered for a nice dutch oven.

    During the registry process, we tried to think about what we would need down the line with a family (number of table settings, size of pots, etc.), and overall I think we're really happy with what we placed on our registry and received.

    Oh, and I'll second the board games idea. Just make sure to ask for a couple of 2-person games for the times when you are not with a group.

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    1. Good advice, Emily! Banangrams is my favorite game for two! I didn't get the enameled Le Creuset Dutch oven I was wishing for (does anyone?!), but I did receive a more reasonably priced one in my beloved cast iron. It's ugly, but I love it so much and don't ever want to upgrade it!

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  5. We viewed our registry as The Ultimate Wish List, asking for everything from placemats and hot cocoa (both under $1) to kayaks and the Summa (both over $1000). We figured, people who wanted to spoil us, could, and people who wanted to spend $5 could too. One thing our guests really liked was that to each of our registries we attached a note saying "please use this registry as inspiration, we would also love to receive homemade, hand-me-down, or antique gifts, or whatever takes your fancy." We didn't get the kayaks or the Summa, but we did get a lot of hand-carved/-sewn/-knit/-painted stuff which really helped our new home feel cosy.

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    1. Homemade gifts are wonderful and so thoughtful!

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