Monday, January 29, 2018


Yesterday I attended a classical concert with my husband and another couple. The performers are a married couple (pianist and violinist) who are amazingly talented musicians and whom we were fortunate to have as farm customers for a few years until they moved to another community. Of course, when we saw they would be performing in our area again, we were excited to see them.

Despite the fact that I studied violin as a child, I'm completely lost when it comes to most classical music. And I'm one of those people who needs to hear a piece more than once in order to really enjoy it. I'm just not very musically inclined; one reason I stopped playing.

For this concert, I decided I needed to be prepared. I spent some time researching the music they would play, found performances of those pieces on YouTube, and then created a playlist of those videos. During quiet times  at work, I would listen to the videos to familiarize myself with the piece. I even did a bit of research on the composers and the pieces and it really helped me to enjoy the concert. Our local symphony will be performing in March and I'm going to do the same since this helped me so much.

This is one of the pieces we heard yesterday - beautiful and simple - but very challenging for the performers and the listeners. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 20, 2018


Somewhere on Instagram, I ran across this meme (sorry, don't know whom to credit):

And it got me thinking. One surprising thing about myself is that I've started to enjoy getting up early, and I mean early - even on weekends! I’ve always loved my sleep - in a craved it like a drug sort of way. But a couple of years ago, I was having trouble sleeping because I had a lot on my mind. Rather than tossing and turning, I started just getting up, sometimes as early as 3:30 am. Once my struggles had passed and I didn't toss and turn at night, I realized I loved those early morning hours where I had space to think, write, read, and indulge in some comforting rituals. Now I look forward to the early mornings!

I've also read a few productivity books that talk about being an early riser - how it sets you up for success in your day. I never thought I'd say this, but I would never want to go back to the days of sleeping until the last possible second, then rushing to get ready and out the door. Who needs that! It's funny that when I was younger, one of the perks of working full time at home would be getting to sleep until that last minute then showing up at my desk in my pjs. At this stage in my life, knowing what I know now, I would never do that. In fact, if I don't have at least an hour and a half of quiet time before starting my work day, I feel cheated somehow. I highly recommend giving this practice a try.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

{A Simple Trick}

I'm back - still hanging in there and working on better direction and organization for this blog.

In the meantime, since "simple" is the blog's first name, I will share simple tips and tricks that I run across in my daily travels.

I love the simplicity of a duvet and cover. Not like Americans do it - using it to replace a comforter and still using a top sheet - but like they do in France where it replaces the top sheet. Problem is, I haven't gotten to the point of using duvets this way because the covers would then require regular washing (as with sheets).  Until now, I didn't have the skill set to stuff the duvet back into the cover. I love how easy it looks in this video:

Sunday, January 7, 2018

{A Simple Sunday}

I'm still working on my commitment to resume blogging this year - but haven't gotten into the flow of it yet nor has my overall plan crystallized in my mind yet. One reason is that I'm a bit rusty; another is that I've been distracted by home issues - hot water system failing and having to be replaced; outside water line freezing due to critters stealing the insulation to make nests; celebrating my granddaughter's birthday and Christmas, plus having weekend guests.

This certainly didn't motivate me this morning:

Yes, that's correct. At one point our outside thermometer registered minus six degrees! My ideal temperature is about 80 degrees hotter. Not a fan of winter - even in Florida or Southern California! Summer all the way for me so I'm counting down the days.

In addition, we had some heating issues today so I spent a good part of the day bundled up under my electric throw, reading a fun book I just discovered: Paris for One by Jojo Moyes. I'm halfway into it but thoroughly enjoyed the first story.

I did miss one day of my 30 days of yoga challenge because I had company all day yesterday and didn't get to bed until midnight. Even though it's only a 12 minute session, I definitely didn't feel like doing it at that point. Will resume today and hope that yesterday will be the only gap in this month's challenge.

Have a good week!

Monday, January 1, 2018

{A New Year, A New You}

Happy New Year! It's exciting to know there are 365 fresh new days awaiting us this year. So many of us make resolutions and set goals that we enthusiastically embrace the first week or so of the year. Then we slack off, eventually giving up and calling ourselves failures. One of the problems is that we dream too big and take on more than we can realistically do without burning out. What we need is to have a slow start and then build from there.

One habit I've let die over the last couple of years is my yoga practice. Oh every now and then I'll roll out my mat and pop in one of my DVDs but it only lasts a couple of days. Then I miss a day and later find excuses for why I don't have time to do it. This year I'm determined to return to my practice. The thing is, when I think of even a 30 minute session, it just seems like I can't (or won't?) find the time in my day. But I found something that will help ease me back into this healthy habit.

Last month I discovered a 30 day yoga challenge that only takes about 10 minutes a day - a great way to jump start my practice. The series can be found on YouTube ( and you can sign up on the website (

I started today and am excited to work through the 30 day program. Seriously, it's only 10 minutes a day - how could I not do it? I invite you to join me on this journey. Watch the trailer to see if this is for you:

Sunday, December 31, 2017

{A Return}

It looks like I fell of the edge of the earth. Life was funny this year and my good intentions ended up being shelved.

I have so missed blogging - and the wonderful community that surrounds it! I feel as if I have been in hibernation for a year and I am now ready to emerge.

This year has been a busy one for me:

  • I've been occupied with my second year of full-time work at a nonprofit organization. The first year was extremely stressful; the second was spent getting my "legs" and building confidence. I've also had to create an entire new routine so that none of the balls in my personal and professional lives got dropped. Quite a challenge!
  • My hubby and I started doing weekly adventures, day trips in our area where we've discovered some interesting and amazing things. We're  history buffs so it has been a blessing for both of us. We spent far too much time focusing on serious things, like building our business over the last few years, so this year has been fun!
  • I was able to visit France (and Paris!) yet again - my fourth trip! I saw Chagall's ceiling in the Garnier opera house, visited Monet's water lilies, and toured the chateaus in the Loire Valley - total bliss!
The fourth quarter is my most favorite time of year - a time when I look forward to a fresh slate and so many plans! Part of my planning is to update my morning routine and to select what I call  my "devotionals" - daily inspirational reading. These are the books I've chosen to travel with in 2018:

I still have my morning basket as well, although I'm trying to streamline it some (still work to do!):

After reading The Desire Map a couple of years ago, I started using a word or words to guide me throughout the year. This year it was refine. For the coming year, I've decided to keep that word as it was a good guide and to add three more words:  savor, focus, and bloom

I am so excited about using this space again and looking forward to 2018!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

{What I'm Doing}

This time of year, one of my favorite things to do is to set up my "nest" ("nid" in French). That is where I curl up on my sofa and either spend time on  my morning routine or relax for the evening with a good book and a glass of wine or cup of tea.

For my morning routine, I settle in with a basket that contains my journal, my morning devotional books, my planner, my personal/household notebook, my pencil pouch, and some other items, and light a soy candle.

In the evening, I take a shower, slip into something comfortable, curl up on the sofa with my evening beverage, and pick up where I left off in my current book.

 Yesterday, I bought a heated throw to make my winter nesting even more comfy and luxurious. Oh bliss! I'm so cold natured and have tried a variety of strategies to keep warm in the wintertime - everything from microwavable packs that I make, to Ugg boots that stay on my feet most of my waking hours. Despite these steps and also keeping our house pretty warm, I still suffer from the cold. But this has all changed. I'm already in love with my throw and don't know how I survived without one. It's perfect for this time of year. Bring on the snow days and subfreezing temperatures - I'm ready!