Five simple pleasures: joy with a small 'j'

January 15, 2018

You don't know this about me yet but I have an internal struggle over the non-importance of a home improvement blog and the truth of enjoying life around you, including physical possessions.  It is to be human, I suppose, to balance what truly matters (spiritually) with the reality that we are humans and are in need of things such as shelter, food, and clothing.




There is nothing wrong with possessions in and of themselves.  We must guard their place in our hearts. They serve a purpose.  And I believe sometimes the purpose is to add beauty to the world around us.  


I found this article which made me both sad and inspired:





"The True Secret to Happiness."


The sad part: they got it wrong!  Happiness comes from Christ.  He brings Joy with a Capital J.


The inspired part: Don’t miss opportunities for joy (with a small j).  Soak up everyday pleasures.


Ben and I weren’t home this last week, so there’s nothing new in the house to show you (except that it’s still just as clean as it was last weekend! It’s a miracle!)


While on the road, I had ample time to catch up on Pinterest and every winter magazine under the sun.  “Top pins of 2017! Great gifts! Fabulous finds!” And this article inspired me to reflect on everyday opportunities for joy (small j). While there were plenty in abundance on our trip, I was surprised to find the simple pleasures in my everyday life on returning home. 


Here’s my top five everyday simple pleasures at home:




1. Flameless Candles

I love these.  I asked for them last Christmas on a whim that they might be cool… and I was wrong.  They are amazing!  They are timed, they come on at the same time every day and turn off 5 hours later.  And not kidding, I did turn them off before we left to save the battery! 


They are romantic and also provide much needed light when stumbling through the living room at midnight. But more than that, I just think they're pretty.  AND it's hilarious to watch someone try to blow it out before they realize it's fake. Poor husband, But that is also a simple joy that makes me smile!


2.  Greenery / Plants

Can you believe it, I missed my plants while we were gone!  Not that I'm an incredible green thumb, far from it!  I'm learning. But in the sterile environment of the hotel, the fake plants they had near the elevators were not doing it for me. 

First thing I did when we got home was fill up my new copper waterer (it's gorgeous) and give these ladies a long drink. 


Side bar: When I was about 12 or so, my brother and I joined my Granny and Grandfather at a hotel for a convention they were attending.  Upon entering the hotel room, my granny expressed her distaste for the location of the desk and even moreso for the dusty-ness of the furniture.  At once she opened her suitcase and grabbed the can of Pledge and dustrag she had packed on top of her clothes.  In the same breath, my grandfather was busy rearranging the desk nearer to the window because "that just made sense". She may deny this ever happened but I have a witness! And it clearly left a mark on me.




Coming full circle: Now, can't you see future me, arriving at hotels with my succulents and orchids?!  It's the great combination of my over-prepared Granny and my Dutch, garden loving Grandma.  I am a product of my heritage!


On a more practical note, perhaps I should invest in this! 



Darn you, Ted Baker. Beautiful AND expensive. Practically speaking, bringing the orchid with me is easier on the budget!


Speaking of heritage, Ben and I upped our Dutch quotient this week with endless games of Dutch Blitz and eating Pannekoeken (which when you order it, a cute little girl comes skipping out from the kitchen singing, "Pan-na- koeken!  Paan-a-koeek-ennn!" And it makes your little dutch pancake that much more magical.  Thank you, Rochester. (That was one of our simple joys while traveling!)



3.  Ring holder

My granny uses a ring holder daily, there’s one at every sink and in her guest bedroom.  It was only fitting for an engagement gift, she gave me a crystal ring holder.  I use it all the time!  Not only is it beautiful but it keeps me worry-free.  The plastic cup I used at the hotel was neither!  And yes, I'm that person who thinks putting it in something was better than just leaving it out... I couldn't decide if I was more scared of losing the ring down the sink or the cup getting mistaken for trash... 


Regardless, I was so excited to photograph my ring's safety whilst doing dishes (true story) that I forgot to wipe down the dirty faucet. Disregard that part.  But hey, these are simple pleasures, remember?  They're not going to wow you.



4.  Vintage Cow Creamer

How does this even make the list?!  I have no idea.  I don't use it as a creamer very often but I do keep her where I can see her daily and this silly lady just makes me smile. I was happy to see her again when I made a cup of (home brewed) coffee. 





I found her at a flea market this summer, I love how someone thought they were being clever (and they were!) and painted her lips and unmentionables red (although, I guess a cow’s udder isn’t too unmentionable) and her bell too! LOL  The saleswoman at the flea market tried to tell me that it was original!  Cute and I bought it anyway, so I guess it worked.


Beauty and quirk-i-ness?  Maybe that's my true calling when it comes to simple pleasures.  All those coffee cups behind her certainly could have made this list had she not stolen the show!



5.  Velvet Upholstered Headboard

I understand why hotels feature 'readily cleanable' surfaces for their headboards and trust me, I'm grateful.  But once I returned home and my arm happened to rest against our soft velvet headboard, instead of a cold, mdf-fake headboard in the middle of the night, I realized how I love little luxuries.  



Plus my pillow doesn't slip between the wall and mattress due to the soft, (beautiful) traction of the velvet. 


I'm so practical.


And bonus! You got a sneak peek of the master bedroom! That one time I made the bed...


Back to work tomorrow and I have a feeling that "simple pleasures, work edition" may start off with a clean desk... which means I have some work to do!)




Flameless Candles: Pottery Barn

Ringholder: Waterford

Vintage cow creamer: search for "Vintage Red English Transferware Laughing Cow Creamer" 

Upholstered headboard: I made it!!  Similar, affordable one here


















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