June 17

3 Ways to Make the Little Things Feel Special – Dinner Edition

This past weekend, I was visiting Tyler in Tulsa, Oklahoma – aka, my happy place. Tulsa is the most charming city – since it’s an old oil mecca, the city is rich in culture and history while living like a small community. It basically has all of the amenities of a big city, but lives like a small town – my ideal mix.

Before Tyler took me to the airport on Monday morning, we stopped in at Foolish Things Coffee Company for a quick cup of coffee and a bite. Not only do they do ridiculously flavorful and delicious coffee, but they also have gluten free pastries and a industrial/rustic chic interior. AKA, all of my favorite things.

Interior of Foolish Things Coffee in Tulsa, OK.

Interior of Foolish Things Coffee in Tulsa, OK.

We sat down to drink our coffee, and we both instantly noticed how the small details in the presentation made a big difference. The coffee was served in glass beakers, on individual trays. There was the cutest little dinosaur planter on the table with succulents inside. The chairs were spaced out enough where you didn’t feel like you were helping the college kid next to you study for his GMAT. Suddenly we went from grabbing a quick coffee, to really enjoying sitting together, checking out the rainy day in front of us, sipping our delicious concoctions.

These adorable details made us slow down, and appreciate.

These adorable details made us slow down, and appreciate.

Small details can elevate your daily life. Simple swaps add up, like splurging on a great perfume that makes you happy every time you put it on, or maybe it’s having a really gorgeous tray to put your keys that makes you smile every time you walk in the door after a long day.

You gotta enjoy every day. You can’t just enjoy the weekends. You can’t just enjoy your vacation time. It’s up to you to try to find fun in daily experiences – so I’m going to do a series of 3 ways to elevate different parts of daily life.

Today, I’m talking about 3 small details you can create to turn a Tuesday night-boring-tired-salmon-fillet-dinner into a dining experience that will leave you relaxed and rejuvenated.

3 Ways to Make the Little Things Feel Special – Dinner Edition

1. Create a Menu – When I’m cooking a fun dinner, I love to print out a little menu for whomever is eating with me. It makes guests & significant others feel special, and kids think it is so much fun. An alternative to this during the week is to get a chalkboard menu and some colored chalk pens, and just update it night to night.

Tonight's Menu!

Tonight’s Menu!

2. Elevate your Water – Personally, I try to keep wine drinking to weekends, but this becomes difficult at times because drinking water with a meal is so boring. Making a pitcher of spa water (adding sliced cucumber, mint leaves, grapefruit slices) can instantly make a dinner set-up feel special. If you don’t have time for that, simply cut up a few lemon and/or lime wedges just before dinner, and put them on the rim of your water glasses.  Another alternative (my personal favorite), is to buy some flavored sparkling water. Being able to ask your guest “sparkling or still” is a way to sound fancy without spending any time at all on actually being fancy.

Looks fancy - but takes about 10 seconds.

Looks fancy – but takes about 10 seconds.

3. Switch your Placemats – Placemats are like the throw pillows of dining. They’re the easiest way to switch up the vibe of your dining room table or bar counter. First of all, if you eat on a bare table or counter, just having placemats at all really elevates the experience and makes it look pretty. Grow up, take 10 additional seconds and put down a placemat. If you do use placemats, start switching them up more often, depending on the season or your mood. I like to have a few sets of placemats – different colors and textures. I like these, these, and these for example. Especially if you have kids, it’s fun to assign the kids the job of picking out the placemats for the night.

I recently got these gold metallic threaded placemats from Crate & Barrel.

I recently got these gold metallic threaded placemats from Crate & Barrel.

These three little tips are quick things that you can do to really force yourself to slow down for a second, and enjoy your dinner time – whether it’s with a friend, with your family, or just with yourself.