Mug collection provides fond travel memories.

My morning coffee ritual often brings a smile to my face as I reach for a mug. Years ago my job required traveling across the continental United States, and it wasn't long before I was searching for a collectible from each state I visited. I definitely wasn't a silver spoon, thimble or shot glass collector. I pondered regional cookbooks for a while but decided that item could be pricey and wasn't always easy to find.

Ultimately my collection resulted in a series of coffee mugs. They're easy to find, inexpensive and useful. And to the devote coffee drinker the coffee mug is a life necessity.

One of my unique mugs includes the brown, potato-shaped mug representing Idaho. Another is the one adorned with famous artist signatures on a black background - a purchase from the Chicago Institute of Art. I also like the penguin mug from the St. Louis Zoo. But my favorite has to be the pinstripe mug with the New York Yankees insignia on front. GO YANKEES!