Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Life's Little Luxuries

Continuing the week's themes of equipping oneself with tools to make one feel good, today's focus is on life's little luxuries. These are the things we employ in our days that add refinement to living, not just the necessities. These are the items that add enormous pleasure, beauty, and indulgence to our mundane existence. These items need not cost a fortune, but they do enhance life and add immeasurably to our enjoyment.
Each list, though we may identify with others', is not universal, should be unique to you. Create a list of your 'little luxuries' that you count on to lift your spirits, boost your mood, and cannot do without.
The following is my list of "Life's Little Luxuries":

 1. My hair - cut, color, product are all the finest I can afford and maintained painstakingly throughout the year. It may be costly compared to home processes, but my stylist is the professional who trained for years and keeps my hair healthy, soft, and gorgeous. If I am experiencing a bad hair day it deflates me. I know this is vain, but I dare say I am not alone in feeling this way. We must look in a mirror daily and present ourselves to the world. Why should I suffer with bad hair? I love myself too much for that!

 2. With a nod to my good friend Buck Fever, baths definitely make my list. I do not get to luxuriate in a hot bath daily, but I do take several each month and relish each moment I sink into the bubbly concoction I create. Those instances revitalize me!

 3. My cashmere wrap gifted to me from my children (thanks, Honey) for Christmas a few years ago. It is a black cable knit cashmere shawl/scarf that is warm, rich, soft, and large enough to cover me as a good wrap should. I live in this thing 3 seasons of the year and would adore one in another color just to expand my opportunities to wear it!

 4. Sushi is a household favorite. Being it is rather expensive it is truly used for special occasions. My entire family - including our one year old daughter - loves Sushi so sometimes, "It's Saturday, it's a 'special occasion!'" works! It is a rare treat, but sushi is unabashedly adored...and devoured in this home.

 5. Watching our favorite programs from television on the DVR (sans commercials) when we are available. No longer are we slaves to the programmers. If I am at Karate when Glee is on, I simply DVR it and watch it later when my children are asleep and my husband is situated on the couch next to me. I love Glee.

 6. Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments are a category unto themselves. Fresh out of college I worked at a Hallmark Gold Crown store for a couple of years. When I worked there I could never afford the designer ornaments I sold. When our careers took off we started collecting a few ornaments selectively. Over the years we amassed a tremendous collection and can now decorate at least two or more trees with what we own. This is the first year we have not bought any (one of the many luxuries cut to make it through this dreadful economy). But we anticipate each year opening the boxes, adding the batteries to those that need them, and decorating with our prized Christmas gems. The children have their own and are so proud to place them lovingly on the tree. We have a theme some years to the trees while other years it is just a mish mosh. We always hang our Star Wars garland in the kitchen. It is quite impressive! Pictures will have to wait until we decorate this season! The children's favorite are the Peanuts ornaments that play "Linus and Lucy" and the aforementioned Star Wars ornaments.

 7. Rides in the Daimler. With 3 kids I rarely get to ride in my husband's race car/street car, the Daimler SP250 Dart. This is one of my favorite things to do, especially because it means time alone with my husband. But as the children get older I know opportunity will present itself again.

 8. Date night is one of the luxuries that I would also place in the 'necessities' category. I believe in keeping the relationship with my husband vital and a priority lest the children make us totally insane. Our relationship came first and I want it to be there when we have those rascals permanently out of the house, so I tend to the relationship often and well.

 9. My computer is also teetering on the line between luxury and necessity, but I know we used to live without high speed internet at one time and even without computers, too! Spending time online writing, commenting, communicating, visiting, researching, and exploring is mind-blowing. I would hate to ever give it up!

10. Town & Country magazine is a favorite of mine. If you are unfamiliar, it is a magazine for the well-heeled in society. Those with the money, means, education, and class who can afford all of life's grand luxuries are written about and the target audience. I adore simply looking at the advertisements that feature the best jewelry designers in the world! I am a jewelry fanatic! That luxury, little, grand, or in-between, is one I can scarcely give up! Flipping through the pages of this beautifully crafted magazine makes me feel like I am part of the elite. The magazine came into my realm when I was a freshmen in college (1989) and my father called to tell me he and his car, a 1913 Zinn Buick, were featured in the October issue of Town & Country. I rushed out to buy my copy, read my father's article and admired his large picture printed in color, and then perused the rest of the magazine. That started a love affair with the periodical that has endured to this day. Only in the last year have I actually had a subscription; I used to buy one or two issues a year. Now I allow myself this little luxury.

Here is my list, quirky, silly, and uniquely mine. I urge you to create your own. Perhaps you have only 2 or 3 items on your list, maybe you have 25! Either way, leave your list (or do one on your own for personal consumption only) here and admire how well you allow yourself these luxuries that enhance your life. Value yourself, honor yourself, and take these facts to steel yourself against the stresses that may await with the approaching holiday season. I am no Scrooge; I adore the holidays, but even I know they test the best of us.

This week's focus is on what makes us feel good, join me as we continue to amass the list.


  1. When I was in Aberystwyth a couple of years ago I really got into a luxury swim and sauna routine after a hard night in the studio, I'd then float down the hill for my other favourite luxury 6 hours sleep :-)

  2. 1. My Starbuck's Gift Card- We get cards at less than value through credit card rewards. I don't get Starbuck's every day, so it is certainly a treat for me to get a yummy drink that I can't make at home. I usually get Starbuck's once a month, but since I've been in school I will get one once a week. I've noticed it isn't as much of a luxury. ;) I'll be going back to once a month soon!

    2. My Coach Handbag- I am not big into name brands and expensive clothes. I'd rather get the "look for less". When I saw this bag in the store I absolutely fell in love with it. I have never seen anything like it before or since. It is perfect. I joked when I got it last year for Christmas that all my other purses were just good boyfriends, but this is "the one". I could get rid of all my other purses and be happy to carry this one for the rest of my life, or when it wears out (whichever comes first). Whenever I pick it up I fall in love with it all over again.

    3. Baths- I'm with you Candice. I took one last night. It had been way too long and oh was it WONDERFUL! I turned my iPod on, picked up a book I've had for months and hadn't opened and relaxed. We have a 10-year old running joke between Stephen & I, "It's never too late to soak." (that story is for another day).

    4. Real Simple Magazine- This could have gone on my "life's little joys" list! I LOVE to open the mailbox and see the consistently beautiful cover. Flipping through the perfectly laid out pages, seeing their ideas for organization, fashion at every price, decoration, recipes, etc. **sigh**

    5. Big Bang Theory- Now you had to know I was going to put this on the list! ;) I look forward to Thursday nights for this show. This is THE show Stephen and I both can't wait for, to sit, grab a snack and watch together.

    6. Ben & Jerry's Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream- This ice cream is just flat too expensive. I will purchase (and hide it) a few times a year, then savor it over a couple of days. (i also like their peach cobbler and creme brulee)

    7. Momma's Spot- Our bedroom is embarrassingly large. It has a niche with a window that from the moment we saw the house Stephen and I knew it would be "Momma's spot". I have a bookshelf, a little round table, cool floor lamp, a great chair (that I picked out myself), a special painting from my aunt (one of her last), another special drawing from a friend of mine who surprised me along the Avon Walk in 2009 and a fabric covered board with little special notes and cards and trinkets that I hold dear. On the chair are two "hugs" (lap blankets) that my best friend knitted for me. It is my own special little place in the house. It has held me as I held and cuddled children who were having trouble falling asleep, or scared or upset, or hurt. It has held me in my greatest lows as a mother as I wept or even sobbed for hours as I released the feeling of failure as a mother. It has given me solitude from life. A place to escape with one of my many books on my shelves that have already been read and those that will eventually be read in that spot. It has even given me rest in the form of a cat nap. The things in the area aren't expensive, but the things the area holds are priceless and special to me. The kids understand when they come in my room and I'm in "Momma's Spot" I am having time for me that is usually much needed.

    8. Personal Retreat- When I homeschooled this happened more often. My husband would 'send me away' for the weekend. No computers, no TV, no phones, no kids, no husband. Just me and a hotel and (usually) a beach. I don't mind traveling by myself. I would walk along the beach, enjoy the space, and catch up on sleep without interruption. I would come home a relaxes, refreshed and renewed mom, ready to take on my life with vigor. (i recommend this for ALL mommies!)

  3. 1. Sitting on the sofa, stroking your head, while watching just about anything on the TV.

    2. Rides in the Daimler.

    3. Rowdy Racing News on the iPod.

    4. Any of the music on my iPod.

  4. 1. I'm with you on the hair! (as you might have noticed (or not!) my hair, is a work of art only my hardresser knows the secret on how to create. Blonde, brown, the cut... a mish mosh of creativity I MUST be able to afford during any economy! :)It makes me feel ME :)
    2. Buying coordinating clothing for my kids... this is a guilty pleasure of mine even though it is for them. I thoroughly enjoy shopping for matching clothing online or in the stores, at SALE prices!
    3. Here's another - BARGAIN SHOPPING. I am a super bargain shopper - sometimes to a fault because I can't resist a super sale. Sometimes I have to literally stop and ask myself - do I REALLY NEED this or do I really want it? LOL When I meant super sale I mean a $30 item marked down 75-90% haha. I love to stock up. :) Bargain shopping invigorates me!
    4. Picture taking/anything with digital photography (you could have guessed that one!) - I am obsessed with taking digital pictures. I splurged on my $215 camera when my other one broke because I MUST have a working camera at all times LOL (it's in my purse right now!!) I cannot miss these moment and I cherish every photo I take!
    5. Halloween Items - I typically spare no expense with my anual Halloween costume. Either the material to make it or buying it - I thrive on my once a year Halloween fun and I must feel good! :) This year I spent $50 on that costume even though Im sure I could have put the $ to better use.. BUT... I felt great and had a SUPER Halloween!
    6. I'm sure I will find other guilty pleasures.. I can;t only have 5 !

  5. Hhhhhmmmm...since it's just me in the house I can change my luxuries list and penny pinching list to get said luxuries at will. I often do that. It makes working long hours worth it. Basically I make sure I have my favorite foods in the house and try to have a batch of home made iced tea or of home made soup in the fridge for a quick meal. Now that winter is here that soup tastes better than ever. In fact I just finished a bowl of Chicken burger napa potato soup. Just made it so tomorrow it'll be tastier.

    Being a music lover I do splurge on music CDs. Going to the used CD place helps me not feel so guilty.

    I also splurged on a Classic 120 ipod. My how the walkman has evolved.

    I allow myself 2-3 events a year (concerts and/or racing events). I try to hold back on the t-shirt thing unless it's a cool one.

    Right now I'm trying to allow myself to buy a piece of Mark Martin racing metal. That's a hard one. I can in no way justify a piece of sheet metal off a race car other than I just want it. Maybe I could cut it into strips, twist it and string it up into a wind chime. =D

  6. Ay yi yi...

    I'll try to summarize but it'll be flaky:

    My bikes. They are *almost* a neccessity. I nkow I can get around without them and I can get my physical activity otherwise but I just feel so much better when I can get an hour or so in. And I know that one is fine, trying to thin the herd but... well, we all have our obsessions I guess

    Nutella. Geez, these guys really need to start paying me for all the mentions they get. But that is just great stuff.

    Coffee. Good coffee. I know that I can make do with cheap coffee from Robusta beans or even (gasp!) instant. But I really like a good, full-flavored cup of joe.

    Books. TV can come and go at this point. Not worried about it. But well written books are a different animal. With a book, Nutella and coffee I'm good for hours.