Archives for category: Little Luxuries

Remember Brieanne from Chalk + Dot from here, my last Blogger Spotlight? She and her partner, Erica, are now kicking off part II of the Little Luxuries guest posts!


To us at chalk + dot, little luxuries are those small(ish) things that can make a big difference in how you feel.  Sometimes they might be a financial splurge, but if that single splurge brings delight over and over again, I think the price gets balanced out.  Here is a list that we came up with for our idea of luxury.

1.  A black DVF dress.  Works for all occasions and I know it will always fit me — she knows a woman’s shape.  Everyone needs a DVF dress.

2.  Mason Pearson Brush.  Makes your hair glossy!


3.  An oversized wine glass.  I’m not talking a goblet or anything.  But a nice oversized wine glass (you don’t have to put more in – but you can) feels more special than the standard size.  It’s an easy change-up to make a night special.

4.  Coconut oil (as lotion).  Makes your skin feel silky smooth, and makes you feel a little bit like you’re on vacation.  Mix some with your favorite summer lotion or some aloe for an extra feeling of escape.

5.  A brow wax.  Nothing to improve your self-esteem than getting rid of scraggly eyebrows.  Gives a more polished look immediately.

6.  A nice pair of underwear.  Not many may see it, but you know it’s there.  It’s like your own sexy secret.


Thanks to Maya for asking us to participate–we had a great time!

Spring

Tuesday generally comes and goes – nothing too exciting happens but today I have a sneaking suspicion that today is more than the average Tuesday and good things will happen. I love when I have this feeling. The weather is perfectly breezy, the sun is out and spring is here.

I wonder what today will bring?! Do you have anything special on your agenda?

Spring by widespreadlife

It is my favorite day of the week – Little Luxuries and today we get to hear from Mariah of Quite Continental – a blogger after my own heart. She has style and inspiration for miles and as always on today, she will be presenting you with her most valued Little Luxuries!

When I hear the term “little luxuries,” I immediately think of darling things that add luxury to my daily life without breaking my precious piggy bank.  Living in Manhattan is expensive, chèrie, everyone knows that, but the nice thing about luxury is that it is truly a state of mind.  Luxury is that delicious feeling that washes over you when you take time to indulge your senses and your spirit.  Luxury is an essential!

1) Fancy it up: When moving through my day-to-day routine, I can’t always take extra time for luxury — having to make a mad dash for the subway to get to work on time, will get in the way of any girl’s leisurely morning stroll.  That said, there are millions of ways to add a bit of indulgence about the edges.  In other words, fancy it up.

At home, I always make a point to drink sparkling water out of a wine glass.  Ma chère, I will admit that this came about because for a very brief time at one point in my life, the only glasses   owned were wine glasses.  How very Holly Golightly of me, non? The way you hold a wine glass is just — different — it feels more special than any old glass.  That feeling of “special” is luxury, hiding in your water glass.

I also want to point out that I did this almost subconsciously, for when a gentleman asked me once why I served myself in this manner, the first thing I blurted out was “…because it feels fancy!” and that was completely true.

If you’d like to start fancying up your water glass, I would recommend the Carson Wine Glass by CB2.  The Carson is sturdy, classic in shape and only $3.95.

2) Sweets for the sweet:  I am a bit of an odd bird when it comes to sweets.  I’ve never been one to go completely crazy for chocolate and I could really care less when Girl Scout cookie time arrives.  But there are still times when I find myself wanting a little sugar in my bowl, just like Nina said.  At those times, the perfect sweet is the ultimate indulgence.

I have strong connections to specific sweets from specific places, and so my perfect sweet hails from my hometown.  Born and raised in California, I grew up with See’s Candies, wonderful fruit for pies and cobblers, and the lovely flavors of Mexican desserts such as flan and the churro.  But what has emerged as the ultimate sweet of sweets for me, ma chère, is the Sprinkles Cupcake.

Sprinkles Cupcakes, the first cupcake-only bakery before there was a craze, was opened in 2005 in Beverly Hills.  At the time, I worked just down the street from the tiny sliver of a bakery with the extra-long line that always snaked out of the door and down the street.  I regularly stood in that blessed line — even when doing Atkins with the best of them.  Since moving to New York, I’ve tried to make do with what’s available here, but found it truly lacking.  Imagine my delight when I found out that New York will be receiving their own Sprinkles this May, on Lexington between 60th and 61st!

Of course, my favorite is the classic Red Velvet.  You can tell it’s also everyone else’s favorite because the Red Velvet is the only flavor to also be offered in gluten free and vegan form.  A cupcake from Sprinkles will only set you back $3.50, but that $3.50 transports you to a land of confectionary delights!

3.  Bossa nova bliss:  There is one kind of music that immediately puts me sumptuous state of mind.  Bossa nova, closely related to samba music, but much more languorous and without the accompanying dance steps of samba, is the kind of music that will make you feel like you have somehow slipped down a rabbit hole and ended up on a secret location.

The best place to start when exploring bossa nova music is with the first family of the genre – the Gilbertos: João Gilberto, Astrud Gilberto, and Bebel Gilberto.  Astrud’s voice is quite possibly my most favorite sound in the entire world.  Her voice is breathy, light and sensuous as it floats over João’s music – it sounds almost like a lazy, tropical river.  She is the most famous for “The Girl From Ipanema,” but you must explore her catalog a bit deeper than that, d’accord! The bossa nova sound is all class, sometimes sung in English and sometimes in Portuguese.  I completely prefer the older recordings, but Bebel, Astrud’s stepdaughter and João’s daughter, a contemporary artist whose trademark is electronic bossa nova, is also worth a listen.

For your first album, I recommend Astrud Gilberto’s Finest Hour.  Only $10.76 on Amazon, and that “Hour” can be played whenever you need to be transported to a sun-drenched, sumptuous place.

4.  Spoil your skin:  One thing my mother instilled in me at a very young age was that it was essential to take care of your skin – leaving aside her love of sun-tanning, of course.  (We’ve since smartened up and we all slather on the SPF, don’t you worry your pretty little head!)  A quick way to feel (and look) lackluster is to under-nourish your skin.  Truly, when was the last time you looked at a raisin and thought of opulence?

As I’ve gotten older, my skin has changed, and it has been necessary to change my skin care regimen accordingly.  Recently, I discovered a fabulous face moisturizer at Kiehl’s: Rosa Arctica.  While Rosa Arctica is an anti-aging and anti-wrinkle cream – which I definitely do not require just yet, d’accord! – it simply is one of the best moisturizer I have ever used.  Rich without being heavy and deeply moisturizing, I felt a difference in my skin in less than a week’s use.

I definitely recommend Rosa Arctica if you are in search of skin as soft as the finest velvet.  While priced at $60, this is the most expensive item on this little list.  If you feel the initial investment is a bit too steep for a product you’ve never tried before, remember that Kiehl’s is wonderful about giving free samples.  I’ll bet you $60 that you go back after giving it a go.  Small price to pay for a lovely bit of luxe!

Isn’t she so wonderful? Be sure to check out QC here!

The weather in San Francisco is perfect right now. It is an easy 70 degrees! After all of the rain we have had, I am seriously ready to wear summer dress and sandals. Ok..enough gushing about the weather – Today we have Kim from Desire to Inspire to share her wonder list of Little Luxuries!

Kim from Desire to Inspire:

Having time most evenings to be able to cook a decent meal (and in a decent kitchen now that it’s been gutted and redone).

Spending time with my cats (any or all 7 of them).

Being able to buy a funky pair of boots online, just because I felt like it.

Hanging out with my nieces and nephew (this is Gianna, my younger sister’s daughter).

njoying some goodies from a bakery in my ‘hood (Art Is In Bakery)

Receiving a parcel all the way from Australia, from my blog partner Jo, typically filled with fun thrifted finds.

Finally having a cottage in the family (thanks to my younger sister and her husband) that we can hang out at on weekends.

Woo hoo it is Thursday which means Little Luxuries is back and one of my daily reads is up today to share her finds with us. Not Your Average Ordinary is written by Brandi who I would categorize as a Renaissance woman! She can blog about anything (fashion, love, life, design, etc) and she is currently studying philosophy of science and science studies. Brandi’s blog has this unique ability to always makes me smile.

As a graduate student, I have to be very careful about my money. Or so I tell myself. But in reality, when it comes to weekends at the farmer’s market, I splurge. I can’t help myself. Somehow eating delicious food keeps me happy and sane when the schoolwork piles up. My favorite splurges at the market? Pastured eggs and flowers.

Of course, I had to also buy the farmer’s egg crate from Anthropologie to go with my farm fresh eggs. And the difficulty with Anthropologie is that one little splurge leads to another for the kitchen (like a butter dish) which leads to an apron which leads to a dress (because the dress looks darling with the apron). It’s strange but sometimes it’s these splurges that help us to lead the life we want to. You have to start sometime, I think, and now is always the perfect time.

{all photographs by Brandi Bernoskie}

Friends, meet Annie from the wonderful blog, Poetic and Chic. She is creative, well spoken and just plain great. I hope you take a moment to check out her blog as well her other endeavours and of course  her thoughts on what are her “Little Luxuries”.

Poetic and Chic: I used to work in luxury fashion, so my basic instincts always seem to have the most expensive price tags. A set of richly-woven sheets, or the mere whiff of a pair of Italian-made leather shoes sends me into paroxysms of delight! During these leaner times however, I have had to keep a tight reign on my natural desires for the finer things.

But where is it written that luxury has to be expensive? Rare, of course, but it doesn’t need to be pricey. I’ve had a smooth, velvety goat cheese from a farmer’s stall on market day in Chartres, France that was far better than anything they serve at Gary Danko. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch but at least I remember eating the Chartres cheese more than any fancy meal I’ve had.

Therein lies the point: luxury is simplicity – of design, craftsmanship, quality – as long as it’s always the finest, then there’s really no hoo-hah to worry about.

The same philosophy goes for little luxuries too. As long as something is well-made and makes you feel good, it doesn’t need to break the bank. It is the little luxuries that make us appreciate the finer, more expensive ones too. The grace and beauty of a humble thing that we enjoy privately will always make us smile, regardless if we’re wearing red-soled shoes for everyone else. It is the little luxuries we can enjoy every day too, not just on special occasions when we dress up, want to impress, or want to celebrate. Why not celebrate life all the time by taking the time to enjoy the small, but good?

So, here are a few of my little luxuries…

Great coffee. When you live in San Francisco (and have even the slightest bit of gourmand in your blood), there’s absolutely no excuse to drink mega-brand coffee. Four Barrel, Ritual, and Blue Bottle, and even Peet’s offer amazing roasts at very affordable prices. I take mine black, from a classic stove-top Bialetti coffee maker. (I don’t have an electric coffee maker nor a microwave. I must say, NOT having a lot of electric junk on the countertop is a luxury in itself!) Just one cup of this, and it’s a little morning trip to a happy wake-up place.

Hot baths. Is there anything better than a hot bath? I’ve heard stories of people who don’t have bathtubs where they live; for me this fate is more tragic than being without a dishwasher. While a hot shower has its merits, there’s nothing like a hot bath after a long day of drudgery. It always makes you feel relaxed, content, and it even makes you sleep better. I usually like a little Molton Brown bubble bath, but the $30-plus price tag makes me pause. Luckily, Target now sells the amazing brand Boots from the UK. Their classic bubble bath is fragrant, foamy, and costs under $12 for a vintage-looking glass bottle-full. Cannot complain.

{Bath Foam}

Scented candles. Yes, these can be expensive, I’m not going to lie. Believe me, when I get going in the Dyptique shop it’s hard for me to stop! I want one of every single fragrance to try, but the one I ALWAYS come back to is the sweet & subtle Figuier. So lovely! For a spicier scent, I’ve always loved Williams-Sonoma Home’s Safari or Jonathan Adler’s Big Sur. The DL & Co, are nice too, but I received a Ciré Trudon “Ernesto” candle for Christmas this year and it is pure heaven! Leathery, smoky…I think it’s meant to evoke the smell of Cuban cigars, but to me it smells like a 6’2” Chilean polo player. I’m not going to name names.

{Diptyque}

Many thanks Annie, xoxoxo

Good Morning friends! I have a feeling today is going to be a good day, don’t you?  And today is the first day of our Little Luxuries feature! Somehow, I can not recall, I stumbled upon the most glorious blog called A Piece of Toast and they have been kind enough to share.  Ok, enough from me – meet Molly and Sally!

(Images 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

 

First and foremost, we would like to thank Maya for inviting us to do this guest post.  We have truly loved guest posting and getting to know other bloggers.  The blog world has been an incredible creative outlet for us and we love that.
When Maya gave us the topic of “Little Luxuries” we really had to think about this one.  Both Molly and I agreed that our little luxuries week in and week out is GOOD food.  (Does that qualify as a little luxury?!) A ridiculously good meal is something we both constantly love to indulge in, but at the same time we know that it is a luxury.  Growing up our mom made a point to have home cooked meals around the dinner table five nights a week.  Which, in this day in age is a total rarity.  Still to this day when we make the trip home to Kansas City we most look forward to our moms home cooked meals.  She is an AMAZING cook (think Ina Garten reincarnated).  Our family shows their love for each other by making a yummy meal – we always got to pick our favorite meal of our moms on our birthdays.  Or baking a birthday cake for each other – our mom makes a famous chocolate birthday cake and has been making it since 1987 for each of our birthdays.  Molly even made Sally a red velvet cake from scratch on her birthday this past summer!  Meals are a time to unwind, eat food that wants to make you scream it’s so good, and spend much needed time with good friends and family.  What is more luxurious than that!?
With our blog being called “A Piece of Toast” and our little luxury being “food” can you tell that we’re sort of obsessed with yummy food!?
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