Rett Syndrome Awareness Month

Julie Jurden

As October arrives, most of us begin thinking about the fast approaching holidays. It’s the time of year when we look forward to sharing our precious time with family and friends, and enjoying the traditions and festivities of the season.
Additionally, it’s a time of year where many of us want to extend our generosity beyond traditional gifts through the giving of our time and money to those causes that have special meaning to us, for whatever reasons.

For us, October carries a great importance because it’s Rett syndrome awareness month.

What’s the significance to us? Because, it was just 23 years ago when our family first met a wonderful young lady named Bea. Ever since that introduction, she’s been a blessing in our lives along with her parents, grandparents, and sister.

If you’re not familiar with Rett syndrome, it’s a rare non-inherited genetic postnatal neurological disorder that occurs almost exclusively in girls and begins to show its effects in infancy or early childhood. It can often be misdiagnosed as autism or cerebral palsy, because it causes problems in brain function that are responsible for cognitive, sensory, emotional, motor, and autonomic function. These can then impact learning, speech, sensory sensations, mood, movement, breathing, cardiac function, and even chewing, swallowing, and digestion.

As one can imagine, Rett syndrome can present numerous challenges to those living with the disease, as well as those caring for them. But with therapy, assistance, and endless amounts of unconditional love, every single one of them can benefit greatly by participating in typical life activities like school, social, educational, and recreational programs. Even our Bea was able to attend her first prom like any other young girl her age.

Years ago we made the decision to do something to not only help raise awareness about Rett syndrome, but to raise funds for the incredible research underway.
 We continue each year to give 10% of all of our sales for a week in October to benefit Rett Syndrome research for years to come.

While we know our contribution is a very small one, we like to think that we’ve been a part of helping further research, and ultimately finding a cure for Rett syndrome.

The amazing news is that researchers have been making wonderful strides over the past several years. Their research strategy has yielded unprecedented results. If you’d like to learn more, visit for ways you can support this important cause.

We are incredibly grateful to all of you for your continued support. Thank you on behalf of all of us, and most importantly, our lovely Bea and her family.

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Fall Entertaining Series | Tablescapes

Julie Jurden
The holiday season is around the corner and we want to help simplify yours with what we hope will be inspirational ideas for entertaining and gift giving so you can focus on what really matters; time with family and friends.

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Winter Entertaining Series | Picture Imperfect

Julie Jurden

We hope you have enjoyed our fall and winter entertaining series. We know it’s a busy time for everyone and making it easier to entertain and spend time with friends and family is our goal.

italy at christmas time


Keeping it simple with quality, seasonal foods and floral elements layered with inviting and complementary dinnerware selections is our secret to success. 

As we head into this hectic time, I would like to share a segment from one of my favorite inspirational speakers, John O’Leary, speaking about what he learned during an attempt to get a multigenerational family photo:

“Love is a Verb.” As one parent ran to get a favorite toy for an upset child, another helped with a crying baby. As one cleaned up spit up, another brushed the hair of a child whose roughhousing disheveled it.

In love, there is no passivity, no sitting back, no waiting for others to jump in. Real love demands action. Love is the great motivator and compels continual forgiveness, persistent compassion and striving toward something even bigger than itself.

(“Love is a verb” is one of my favorite quotes from my recent Live Inspired podcast interview with Edie Varley. Edie shares her beautiful story of growing up one of 14 children – “life was a celebration!” She’s my personal coach, dear friend and you won’t want to miss her wisdom and energy)

2. Life requires adaptability. As more little ones came around their grandparents, everyone had to shuffle to make room and make sure everyone could be seen.

Most of us are creatures of habit and like things as they were. “The good ole days” isn’t just the beginning of a story our grandparents shared, but one now repeated by most of us! It’s critical to remember and celebrate that life is constantly in flux, otherwise we’re at risk to be driven toward protectionism and longing for a past that will never exist again.

3. Perfection is unattainable. The majority of Facebook posts and holiday cards are Photo-shopped or at least only THE BEST photo of hundreds taken before it. It also turns out when someone responds that everything is ‘just perfect’ in their work, finances, family and life: They likely aren’t telling the entire story.

  • Life isn’t perfect. It can be messy, sad, unfair and undignified. And yet, seasons of adversity are often followed by joy, with overlap between the two. Instead of pretending all is perfect, be okay with the mess life can occasionally be; instead of being disappointed at what you did not perfectly capture, be grateful for all that you did.

    For you see, in looking back, the best pictures, experiences and memories often aren’t the ones we envisioned, but the unexpected ones we were lucky enough to experience. 

    From all of us at Modigliani, we wish you and your family a joyful holiday season, and we look forward to sharing and engaging more with you in the New Year.


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    Fall Entertaining Series | Cocktail Hour

    Julie Jurden

    For the fourth and final entry to our fall lifestyle series, let’s end with the cocktail hour.

    Having guests over on a crisp fall evening can be the perfect festive occasion. And you don’t always have to entertain by preparing a large meal. Sometimes inviting friends for a cocktail is the best way to do some stress-free entertaining during a busy holiday season.

    To set the scene, a bouquet of colorful fall tulips in our Zucca pitcher and a decanter from our Selezione collection full of our famous Rosemarino cocktail are just the ambience needed for a pre-dinner happy hour. Pair them with a cheese or charcuterie appetizer served on our Legna olive wood servers, turn on some music, and you have the ideal atmosphere for entertaining your holiday guests.

    cocktail on countertop with ceramic pitcher full of flowers

     Rosemarino Cocktail

    • Make rosemary simple syrup by combining 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water, and some sprigs of rosemary in a saucepan and place on a low simmer until well combined.
    • Place 2 ounces of bourbon, 2 dashes of orange bitters, and 2 teaspoons of simple syrup in a shaker and blend well.
    • Pour the mixture into your Selezione decanter and serve over ice with a sprig of rosemary for decoration.


    We hope you’ve enjoyed our Fall Entertaining Series and that you’ve been inspired to try some of these ideas yourself. Remember, keep it simple, mix and match, and let the natural beauty of the dinnerware and delicious food be the perfect backdrop for what really matters most; precious time with family and friends.



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    Fall Entertaining Series | Appetizing Serving Displays

    Julie Jurden

    As we continue our series, let’s turn to our attention to creating an elegant serving display.

    First, we are very excited about the inclusion of our new olive wood collection called Legna. These rich and elegant pieces are durable, come in a variety of sizes, and bring more of that natural element to any table.

    All of our products function quite well for prepping, but they’re also attractive enough to go straight to the table for serving appetizers or incorporating into a buffet. And the Legna collection is no exception – they are perfect for serving your guests. Below, we’ve layered them with crisp linens on our natural wood table to serve parmagiano reggiano and mozzarella cheeses, hand picked apples, and pane carasau – thin, crispy, twice baked crackers. The addition of the rosemary sprig provides just enough texture and a whimsical accent of greenery. Again, you have a neutral backdrop that’s warm and elegant contrasting with the color and texture of your food resulting in a beautiful and inviting display.

    wooden cheese board with a variety of cheeses

    Our ceramic centerpieces also work well for many purposes, including as a serving bowl for salads as we’ve used ours below. You can also use them as a place to put a hardy mum surrounded by gourds or greenery, to hold your favorite seasonal fruits, or you can partner them with the olive wood boards to serve breads and crackers. The possibilities are endless. The beauty of the piece with its swooping handles, unique shape, and artisan hand painting requires only simple solutions for its contents.


    To round out your serving needs, the dual-section of our antipasto dish is used here for additions to the salad, but we’ve also used ours for olives and pits, nuts, candies, and condiments. Its versatility makes for a wonderful gift that will be used again and again.

    salad set with ceramic bowl, olives, wooden cutting board and olive oil

    Bringing these pieces together and layering them with beautiful linens and textures from nature places the attention on the food while still providing a festive backdrop for your holiday entertaining.

    Our next in the series - Cocktail Hour


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    Fall Entertaining Series | Place Settings

    Julie Jurden

    In the second entry of our lifestyle series, we worked with a few ideas on place settings. We took the idea of incorporating nature and textures and mixed it with flatware adding some fun to the place card concept.

    We loved the idea of weaving herbs and floral into the tablescape as a whole. As you can see from the first photo, we took a single sprig of rosemary and the simple yet beautiful Michelangelo flatware and tied them together with a rich velvet ribbon, setting them on top of a crisp, off-white linen napkin.

    It’s easy and elegant and also provides your dinner guests with a wonderful scent of rosemary.

    Place setting on wooden table with green ribbon

     As shown above and for the purposes of our photo shoot, we chose to keep the beauty of the wood table as the base instead of displaying a Biancheria ivory placemat in full. But as you build your own tablescape, the placemat provides an elegant backdrop to your favorite dinner pieces.

    As you build out the rest of your place setting, use natural elements mixed with different pieces to layer your table. As you can see below, the table setting we chose includes a dahlia and some eucalyptus in a small glass votive. We then used the napkins from our Biancheria Green collection and layered them in a gentle roll mimicking the curved stems on our Villa d’Este amber glassware.

    leaf plate with pumpkin and amber colored glassware

    Again, the focus is on elegant yet simple beauty through the mixing and layering of natural textures and patterns.

    Next - Appetizer Serving Displays

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    A Gift of Gratitude: Italian Biscotti Jar Free with Purchase

    Julie Jurden

    The holidays are in full swing here at Modigliani Italian Ceramics and we are so thankful for our customers that we are offering our Rosso Italian Biscotti Jar, complementary, with a purchase of $300 or more. To take advantage of this offer, we invite you to sign up for Modigliani emails on our homepage in the middle of the footer. The free gift code will be emailed right away. 

    In a gorgeous rich and red glaze, our Rosso collection is timeless. The vivid hue matches well with many of our other hand-painted patterns. The simple, yet elegant, look of the Rosso collection makes it ideal for use at your Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day or even Fourth of July celebrations.

    Generously-sized and waiting to be filled with your favorite Italian biscotti, we are sure this piece will be a welcome addition to your tableware. Keep it for yourself, or it will make a lovely holiday or hosts gift, just fill this Italian biscotti jar with Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti or homemade cookie of your choosing. 

    We thank you for your patronage. Happy Holidays.

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    Italian-inspired Thanksgiving Recipes

    Julie Jurden
    If you are attending an Italian Thanksgiving or simply love all things Italian, included in this post are a few of our favorite Italian inspired dishes for Thanksgiving.

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    Creative Ways to Give Thanks

    Julie Jurden

    “The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.”

    -Albert Einstein

    Tis the season to be thankful and often times it’s hard to know how to show how grateful we are to the awesome people in our lives. The following will outline some creative ways to show your appreciation. Remember to never forget the power your words have. Many times we think we say how much we appreciate our friends and loved ones but more often than not we forget to actually say it. Simply saying I am grateful for you can mean more than any other act of appreciate. 

    • Smile: It’s contagious and shows you shine when they’re around
    • A handwritten note given unexpectedly.
    • Time: A commodity that is often in short supply. Grabbing coffee or a drink, catching a sunset or a walk together can show that loved one you value them.
    • Staying in Touch: Time can get away and many of our loved ones live far from us. Put it in your calendar as a reminder to reach out to them in a note or phone call. Scheduling this time will make sure you never forget. 
    • Call someone you know is in a tough spot and just listen for as long as they’d like. 
    • Make a friend their favorite meal or buy them a bottle of wine and drink it together, slowly, with no agenda.

    When it comes down to it, sincerity is the key to showing your gratitude. Being genuinely thankful is what people want to see. Smile from ear to ear, send a note, make a phone call, send a gift, and make sure to say, “thank you.”

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    Giving Thanks - The Angel Plate and Rett Syndrome

    Julie Jurden
    The month of November starts the hustle and bustle of the holiday season at Modigliani. As we are stocking new holiday items and getting ready for the busy season, we like to kick everything off by remembering what is most important to us, friends and family.

    One of our greatest blessings is to have grown up with a family that faces the daily challenges and incredible joy of raising a daughter with Rett Syndrome. For those that may not be familiar with this condition, Rett Syndrome is a neurological disorder that is first recognized in infancy and seen almost always in girls. It causes problems in brain function that are responsible for cognitive, sensory, emotional, motor and autonomic function. These can include learning, speech, sensory sensations, mood, movement, breathing, cardiac function, and even chewing, swallowing, and digestion.

    Rett syndrome presents many challenges, but with love, therapy and assistance, those with the syndrome can benefit from school and community activities well into middle age and beyond. They experience a full range of emotions and show their engaging personalities as they take part in social, educational, and recreational activities at home and in the community.  

    In order to do our small part to help find a cure for Rett Syndrome, we have a special 
    ​A​ngel P​late created each year. Proceeds from this limited edition signed plate go to help find a cure for this disease that effects so many and is within grasp. Financially, we hope our small contribution will help further the cause but more importantly, we hope our Angel Plate creates an awareness and promotes support for Rett Syndrome girls and their families. 

    We invite you to join us in finding a cure for Rett Syndrome. You can view this year's Angel Plate design here. We have only 50 created each year, making this a very special gift for someone you love. 

    To donate directly to IRSF, click here

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