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Beautiful Porcelain from Middle Kingdom

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Fusing modern aesthetics with Chinese porcelain traditions, Middle Kingdom fires beautiful hand-painted pottery that truly embodies quality craftsmanship. I discovered their work at this year's NY Now show and was instantly enamored –– their ceramic and porcelain pieces cover a wide range of techniques and styles. Check out a few of my favorites from the collection below:

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This crisp porcelain bowls from the Scholars Series are embellished with delicate Koi fish.

1 This crisp porcelain bowls from the Scholars Series are embellished with delicate Koi fish.

The Scholar Collection includes a wide variety of hand done illustrations.

2 The Scholar Collection includes a wide variety of hand done illustrations.

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The Cold Mountain cups come in beautiful celadon, charcoal, and aventurine shades.

5 The Cold Mountain cups come in beautiful celadon, charcoal, and aventurine shades.

Look at the beautiful detail on these bowls. I love the signed edges.

6 Look at the beautiful detail on these bowls. I love the signed edges.

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This collaboration with Dutch designer Foekje Fleur van Duin was cast from real debris collected from riverbanks in Holland.

8 This collaboration with Dutch designer Foekje Fleur van Duin was cast from real debris collected from riverbanks in Holland.

Drinkable yogurt

9 Drinkable yogurt

Lotion bottles

10 Lotion bottles

Ribbed bottles. The insides are matte, but the interiors have a gloss finish.

11 Ribbed bottles. The insides are matte, but the interiors have a gloss finish.

Dish detergent

12 Dish detergent

Motor oil

13 Motor oil

Shop the Foekje Fleur van Duin collaboration at a discount right now on Fab.com.

The Big Cheese

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I was excited to get out of the office and visit Murray's Cheeses in the West Village to find cheese for my story.

While working on my recent digital story about crafting the perfect cheese plate, I discovered this incredibly handy (and punny) cheese wheel. A variety of different cheese textures and milk types is crucial to creating an interesting cheese plate, and this chart makes it easy to see what palate-pleasing options are available. This art-quality poster would be a fun art addition to a breakfast nook or even a large pantry. Buy one here.

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The cheese counter at Murray's features more than 350 delicious (and stinky) cheeses.

Take a peek behind the scenes of my shopping adventure. See the gallery.

Checkout my cheeseboard picks. See the gallery.

Go behind-the-scenes of the photoshoot. See the blog. 

Picnic Picks

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Now that we’re finally getting consistent summer weather (read: HOT and humid), I’ve been trying to get outside as much as possible to enjoy it while it lasts. It helps that New York offers a slew of summer outdoor events in the evenings, most of them for free and open to the public. From the New York Philharmonic's concerts in the parks to SummerStage shows, Shakespeare in the Park and the Bryant Park movie series, there is always something to do outdoors after work. I’ve taken to bringing a picnic dinner and a few friends to enjoy whichever fete we’re attending. Even a leisurely walk to the piers near my apartment can end in a picnic. After a few evenings of lugging around picnic food in tote bags and by hand, I realized it was time I invested in a true picnic basket. I’ve been scouring the internet for some good options – – take a look below to see my picks. Which one would you choose?

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You can't go wrong with a traditional picnic basket: wicker and gingham set the scene perfectly. $34.00, etsy.com.

1 You can't go wrong with a traditional picnic basket: wicker and gingham set the scene perfectly. $34.00, etsy.com.

This rattan basket is covered in linen and leather for a sleek look. Plus, the attachable water-resistant blanket is quite convenient. $129.99, worldmarket.com.

2 This rattan basket is covered in linen and leather for a sleek look. Plus, the attachable water-resistant blanket is quite convenient. $129.99, worldmarket.com.

Instead of an attachable picnic blanket, this picnic bag unfolds and becomes the blanket itself! Easy, utilitarian, and it saves space. $65.00, yielddesign.co.

3 Instead of an attachable picnic blanket, this picnic bag unfolds and becomes the blanket itself! Easy, utilitarian, and it saves space. $65.00, yielddesign.co.

This lovely wicker basket can be worn like a backpack, so you have your hands free to ride your bike to the park. $104.00, gardenista.com

4 This lovely wicker basket can be worn like a backpack, so you have your hands free to ride your bike to the park. $104.00, gardenista.com

I love the elastic silverware holder on the lid of this antique picnic basket from the early 1900s. $185, etsy.com

5 I love the elastic silverware holder on the lid of this antique picnic basket from the early 1900s. $185, etsy.com

And just for fun - this insulated tumbler is perfect for bringing along a fancy beverage to accompany your feast. $12.99, amazon.com

6 And just for fun - this insulated tumbler is perfect for bringing along a fancy beverage to accompany your feast. $12.99, amazon.com

The Martha Stewart Coral Melamine Collection can easily be tossed in a picnic basket without worrying about breakage. The colorful, under-the-sea design will make any park feel a bit like a beach vacation. From $2, macys.com

7 The Martha Stewart Coral Melamine Collection can easily be tossed in a picnic basket without worrying about breakage. The colorful, under-the-sea design will make any park feel a bit like a beach vacation. From $2, macys.com