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reading ahead

July 25, 2017

fiction on the beach

I am sharing a few soon-to-be released fiction titles I have read this summer that should make it to your reading list!

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

I was hesitant to read Celeste Ng’s second novel, wondering how I could possibly enjoy it as much as her first!  (Click here for more on her first.)  But, I had gotten the chance to meet her and she gave me a signed, advance copy of Little Fires Everywhere.  That was more than enough encouragement to give the second novel a shot!  And, you know what?  I may have enjoyed Ms. Ng’s second book even more than her first!  This one explores the weight of secrets and the dynamics of motherhood as well as examining the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.  A fabulous read and a fabulous book group selection!  Release date:  September 12, 2017

Little Fires Everywhere pleasure in simple things read

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

A new, smart thriller already in development as a major film.  The story of an agoraphobic woman in New York City who believes she witnessed a crime in a neighboring house.  Hearing the story told from inside one (rather colorful) woman’s mind, as she spies on her neighbors, gives this suspenseful novel a unique perspective.  Release date:  January 23, 2018

Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

A first novel, written by a Nigerian author and set in Nigeria, the story gives a voice to both a husband and a wife as they tell the story of their marriage.  After meeting and falling in love in college, Yejde and Akin marry and agree polygamy is not for them, though the practice is accepted in their culture.  But, four years into their marriage, circumstances change.  A great emotional read that examines how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.  This book makes for a great book group selection!  Release date:  August 22, 2017.

Note:  An advance copy of this book will be the giveaway for August – leave a comment on the August giveaway post coming on July 28th to be entered to win it!

Stay with me

The Misfortune of Marion Palm by Emily Culliton

A debut novel that tells the story of Marion, a Brooklyn Heights woman, who has embezzled from her children’s private school and makes a run for it when she is close to becoming discovered.  Told from the points of view of Marion’s husband, her two children, and Marion herself, this witty and engaging story makes for a quick read.  Release date:  August 8, 2017

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

A previous giveaway selection, this story examines the special relationships and dynamics of siblings in a unique way.  Read more about this selection by clicking here.  Release date:  January 9, 2018

great reading on the beach

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

A smart, psychological thriller from the Connecticut author who gave us All is Not Forgotten, this title is a previous giveaway selection.  Read more about it by clicking here.  Release date:  August 8, 2017

Happy Reading!  Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things…like, reading a good book on the beach!  xo Jackie

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popcorn with ‘everything’

July 21, 2017

everything but the bagel seasoning blend

I often eat popcorn.  Using plain kernels and popping them in the microwave makes for a great snack with lots of fiber and no trans fats. I add my own seasonings, usually parmesan cheese and fresh rosemary, for a savory combination.

For today’s Friday field trip, I am sharing my newest popcorn seasoning discovery.

Have you heard of Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend?  This tasty blend makes any toasted bread with cream cheese taste like an everything bagel.  And, I discovered, it also makes for a great popcorn seasoning!

popcorn on the beach

Trader joes everything but the bagel seasoningHere’s how to make it:  After making plain popcorn in the microwave, spray it with sunflower oil.  A spray bottle is the best because it distributes a small amount of the oil evenly over the popcorn.  If you don’t have a spray bottle, drizzle the oil over the popcorn and toss lightly.  Something is needed to make the seasoning ‘stick’ and sunflower oil is perfect since it has very little taste – plus, it is a healthful alternative to butter.  Trader Joe’s has recently started selling sunflower oil, so both the seasoning and the oil can be purchased there.  Next, just sprinkle the Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning over the prepared popcorn and toss.

Even if you don’t like popcorn, I suggest you buy the seasoning – for under $2. there is plenty of experimentation that can be done with this yummy spice mix!

closeup seasoned popcorn

Popcorn is ready…movie on the beach, anyone?

coastal ct evening on the beach

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a great weekend!

sunset at the CT beach

Remember to take pleasure in simple things…like enjoying popcorn while watching an outdoor movie!  xo Jackie

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repurposed calendar diy

July 18, 2017

pleasure in simple things calendar repurpose

Do you have a calendar that is just too pretty to throw away?  This is the perfect DIY to repurpose it and to create something beautiful in the process!

Let me share how I repurposed pages from a calendar to create some special mementos!

The calendar I am using in this example is my Anna Rifle calendar.  This beautiful calendar was actually one of my previous giveaways – if you were the one to win it, you already have the start to create some wonderful gifts!

Calendar diy Anna Rifle calendar

All you need to do is to use the page of the month from the date you have chosen, circle the date, and frame to your liking!  So pretty and so easy!

My calendar choice has metallic gold accents, so I circled my chosen date with a gold metallic marker.   Use any permanent marker that coordinates with the page you have chosen.  Gold leaf, calligraphy ink, or watercolor paint can also be used, based on your taste and the style of the calendar you are using.

calendar diy repurpose Anna Rifle

Here, rather than using a frame, I have clipped the calendar page to a clipboard I covered with a metallic dot wrapping paper.

repurposed calendar diy with clipboard

What special date do you want to remember?  A baby’s birth date, a special anniversary, the arrival of a new pet – many possibilities – any date you may want to commemorate is fair game!

If you plan on framing the page, remember to think about the frame size when you purchase the calendar since the cost of your project will be much less if the calendar fits a stock mat/frame.   Of course, you have the option to have the piece professionally framed, if you prefer.  You may also come up with other ideas –using a clipboard as a frame or slipping the page under a piece of glass on a serving tray.

calendar repurpose diy

Think about gifts for showers, anniversaries, or wedding dates – if you don’t have a calendar to reuse, buy a beautiful calendar after the year begins, when they are drastically marked down in price!

I hope I have inspired you to create a special gift for yourself or for someone special!

Thanks for stopping by and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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diy home office on a budget

July 14, 2017

office drawer

Change can be sad.  As much as I enjoy a good redo, I was hesitant to change my daughter’s childhood bedroom.  When she was young, I had put together a Polynesian themed bedroom for her that was filled with mahogany furniture and burgundy and gold bedding colors – all reminiscent of her favorite family trip to Florida.

When the room became empty, I decided to make it my home office.  I started with an empty room, a soiled wall-to-wall carpet and some old dusty paper lantern light fixtures.

diy home office from a bedroom

For Friday field trip today, a peek at the beginning of this new home office!

I painted the two-toned gold walls with a greige color neutral.  I used a Behr custom mix from Home Depot – very close to their color Aged Beige. The ceiling was painted white as well as all the trim.  What a great fresh start…except for the soiled rug, of course.

memo board in office

From there, I chose a desk first.  I found a nice, simple writing desk at Target and purchased it during one of their huge sales when they offered free shipping.  The desk has nice lines and would fit my computer comfortably.  After assembling it, the only change I made was to the knobs – I replaced the ones provided with a pair in brushed gold.  The desk chair was a previous diy…click here to see the before and after.

new office desk chair

home office lightingDuring the same Target sale when I acquired the desk, I also ordered a simple, gold toned floor lamp.  The room already has a trio of paper lanterns (that required a heavy cleaning – I just couldn’t bear to get rid of them!).

 

home office desk detail HomeGoods accessories

I also added a second piece of renovated furniture I refinished years ago – a standing piece I use to store my photograph albums – the nondigital variety.

home office diy

I covered the one window in the room with a $17. Roman shade that I ordered from JC Penney.  How do they even sell them that cheap!?

Since the carpet in that room was SO trashed – my daughter did a number on it – and ignoring it didn’t seem to help, I opted to cover it.  My budget did not allow for a complete floor renovation and since the room is so small, it wasn’t hard to find an area rug to cover most of it.  I chose a circle shaped, natural fiber rug in a driftwood color from Ballard Designs.  They were having a 25% off sale with free shipping – perfect!

bedroom to office redo

Now the fun part of adding the accessories!  I purchased all the decorative items at HomeGoods, including a gorgeous canvas that is a world map in greiges and metallic gold!  I love this piece!

HomeGoods canvas detail

I still have work to do in the room – in scraps of free time I have a gallery wall to complete – I am in the midst of framing some favorite old photographs as well as hanging a white board calendar and an old doily made by my grandmother.

HomeGoods mail holder

It does give me satisfaction to know there is still some of the old bedroom when you look hard enough – like the telltale signs of an old pet hamster gnawing on the carpet or pieces of memorabilia that haven’t been removed from the walk-in closet!  In an odd way, this helps make the room that much more comforting…a perfect new office!

HomeGoods waste can

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope I may have inspired you to think about redoing or updating a room!

HomeGoods desk plate home office

Have a fabulous weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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botanical wedding details

July 11, 2017

botanical wedding escort cards pleasure in simple things

For a botanical themed wedding held in the woods by a lake, I had a blast coming up with some fun little details to carry the vibe!  Here are a few you may want to incorporate into your own event!

wedding hashtag cards pleasure in simple things blog

Beautiful paper products are always a must for any event I plan, and this wedding was no exception!  I think a “hashtag card” should be a standard these days with social media having such a strong presence at a wedding.  Creating something similar to a business card, but using the couple’s hashtag is a beautiful way to spread the word!

botanical wedding details hashtag wedding cards

For this wedding, I created two different cards using illustrations on the front and the hashtag on the back.  A fashion illustrator created two different designs for me at a very reasonable price. (You can use her too, by emailing inquiries to AlexaMackDesigns@gmail.com).  One depicted the couple from behind and the other was an illustration of the gazebo where the couple was married.  I used them to create square, heavyweight cards with rounded corners that I ordered online using Moo.

signature drink cards for botanical wedding theme

wedding details botanical wedding straws

Another great paper product for a wedding is the recipe for the couple’s signature drink.  In this case, the recipe cards were added to the couple’s hotel welcome boxes (Kraft paper boxes were used in place of bags) as well as provided at the bar (near the birch bark straws).  This idea can also be incorporated into thank you cards if the drink proves a big hit at the wedding!

Hotel welcome boxes botanical themed wedding

Personalized napkins are not new for weddings, but including ‘factoids’ about the couple is so much more personal than just printing them with initials.  I created 6 different designs that included how the couple met and other interesting personal stories about them.  These are simple to create online on Wedding Paper Divas.  (I waited for a big sale and personalized to my liking.)

gray and white wedding details fun fact napkins

Doing away with a typical centerpiece by a florist opens up a whole new way of thinking for bridal tables!  Why not create your own!  Using a beautiful potted planting or designing a terrarium is fun to create and adds a personal touch to a celebration.

making terrarium centerpieces for a botanical themed wedding

For this event, I got together with a few special friends (who happen to have huge green thumbs!) to build my terrarium vision…perfect for a botanical theme!  The table numbers were written on rocks inside the terrariums and fairy lights were also added.  Lanterns I purchased from HomeGoods were used for the vessels and plants were purchased from local nurseries, as well as Trader Joe’s.  Event planners, take note:  If you need reasonably priced plants for centerpieces, think of your local Trader Joe’s as a source…the flower department at the store could not be more helpful when ordering in bulk, and the pricing can’t be beat!

diy wedding terrarium centerpieces

moss wedding wreath botanical weddingPlenty of moss, rocks, and organic materials added to the botanical vibe at the venue.  Rocks ordered at Home Depot were used as escort cards.  Table numbers were written on the underside of the rocks so the guests could reuse the beautifully lettered rocks as paperweights or decorative objects after the wedding.  (If you want someone to do lettering for you, check out Sam Epstein Design on Etsy!)  Fresh plantings in pretty containers joined the table arrangement of ‘escort rocks’ as well as tiny fairy lights, pretty votives (Jamali Garden), and a lighted moss wreath on a beautiful gray silk ribbon (Silk & Willow).  A lantern was used for gifts of cards.

 

rock escort card at botanical themed wedding

The favors. arranged on the salad plates. were small tin camp cups filled with gray-toned candy beach stones ordered from Stonewall Kitchen.  A gray grosgrain ribbon, in keeping with the wedding accent color, (The bridesmaids wore gray Vera Wang dresses.) adorned the cup handles.

Botanical themed wedding favors

birch straws in cup botanical weddingI hope you found some of the details at this botanical themed wedding inspiring…I will share photos at the venue in an upcoming post!  If you need any ideas for your own celebration, shoot me an email – I’d be happy to help you brainstorm some ideas to personalize your own celebration!

 

mens bathroom basket at botanical wedding

The women’s room wasn’t the only bathroom to get attention – the men’s room had a necessity basket on-theme as well!

Thanks for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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mugs for days

July 7, 2017

All Dolled Up

Recently, I found myself in a salon in a part of Connecticut I never frequent.  I visited the most gorgeous spot, called All Dolled Up, in Southington, Connecticut.  The owner certainly channeled her inner Kate Spade when she created the beautiful black and white with pops of green décor.

coffee station All Dolled Up

Just to check out the drool-worthy interior with its fabulous attention to detail is worth a visit, but the shop offers so much more…wonderful services offered by talented (as well as beautiful – Jen, the owner, actually looks like Kate Spade!) women.

cups for days

Today’s Friday field trip is a very specific piece of the décor in this fabulous spot – the coffee station!

coffee station 3

After this post, you will definitely want to revamp the beverage area in your own place!

hot mama mug

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope today’s post will inspire you to create your own beautiful coffee station, doll up the one you have…or, maybe just inspire you to replace those old coffee mugs!  Have a wonderful weekend!

all dolled up southington, ct

Remember to take pleasure in simple things…like drinking from a coffee mug with a sassy saying!  Jackie xo

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something old, something borrowed

July 4, 2017

remade heart from heirloom wedding dress

When a wedding dress has been used for two generations and isn’t in good enough shape to sustain a third, how can it be incorporated into a third-generation wedding?

This was a recent project for me.  I accomplished this beautifully with help from my ‘go to’ for sewing projects – Ralph & Martha!

vintage wedding dress

The idea was to use the bride’s grandmother’s vintage dress to create a special piece to use in her wedding.  The dress had been worn by the bride’s grandmother as well as the bride’s mom and aunt.  Determined to help the bride use the dress in a special way, my collaboration with Ralph & Martha resulted in a heart constructed from the grandmother’s wedding dress.  Special care was given to use some of the trim – the bride’s favorite part of her grandmother’s dress.

remade wedding dress heirloom

The crowning detail was the inclusion of the three wedding dates embroidered onto the finished piece – the bride’s grandmother’s wedding date, the bride’s mother’s wedding date, and the bride’s wedding date.  Attaching the heart to her dress, the bride ensured her grandmother’s dress was worn by all three generations!

vintage wedding gown repurpose

The heart (something old) was attached to the dress with a diamond pin the bride’s grandfather gave her grandmother (something borrowed) before they were married.  Now deceased, the bride’s grandfather was remembered in a special way on her wedding day with the addition of the pin.

Isn’t this a beautiful remembrance for a beautiful day!  After the wedding, the heart can be framed as a lasting keepsake.

2 generations wedding dressI hope this has inspired you in some way to create a special remembrance of your own!

Thanks for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie xo

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july book giveaway!

June 30, 2017

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

This month’s giveaway is an advance copy of a wonderful new novel  The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin.  This is a super summer read – a ‘can’t put it down’ beach day read!

“If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?  It’s 1969, and holed up in a grimy tenement building in New York’s Lower East Side is a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the date they will die. Four siblings, too young for what they are about to hear, sneak out to hear their fortunes.

july book giveaway pleasure in simple things blog

We then follow the intertwined paths the siblings take over the course of five decades and, in particular, how they choose to live with the supposed knowledge the fortune-teller gave them that day.

This is a story about life, mortality and the choices we make: is it better to live a long and cautious life, or to burn brightly, but for the shortest time?”

This book makes for a great book club selection!  Read it first, then do your friends a favor and lend it out, because once it is released, there will be a long list of holds at the local library for The Immortalists!

sprinkles please

Leave a comment on this post (or a social media post for the giveaway) and you will be entered into the random drawing to win the July giveaway book!

Thank you to everyone who entered to win the June book selection Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker.  Congratulations to Lisa in Pennsylvania, the winner of the giveaway.  I am so excited about the book’s upcoming release and I know you will enjoy being one of the first to read this new novel!  Click here to read more about the book.

exploring

For those of you who use Instagram, read on!  This month, let’s share photos of the summer!  Anything that says summer to you is fair game!  I am starting us off with one of my favorite signs of summer – eating a soft serve overlooking the water!  Use hashtag #pleasuregram to share the things that say summer to you!

july instagram challenge pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things – like reading a great new book!  xo Jackie

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naples botanical garden

June 27, 2017

Naples succulent pleasure in simple things blog

June is coming to an end and since Friday’s post this week will be the monthly giveaway, today will be more like a field trip.  I shared my favorite exhibit in the Naples Botanical Garden in a post this month…it was a temporary exhibit called Origami in the Garden. (Click here if you missed it!)

Today, in keeping with my garden focus, I am sharing my favorite floral spot in that garden.  And, guess what?  The flowers aren’t white!  I know – out of character, but can you see why I fell for this gorgeous spot in The Naples Botanical Garden?

Naples pleasure in simple things blog 194

Naples pleasure in simple things blog 201

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Naples pleasure in simple things blog 202

Once in a while, I am a sucker for some color!  Like this:

Naples pleasure in simple things blog 163

Talk to you again on Friday.  If you haven’t entered the book giveaway for June, you have a couple more days.  I will pick the winner at midnight on Thursday.  Click here to leave a comment on the giveaway post to be entered to win.  Good luck!

Docent Naples botanical garden

A docent at the Naples Botanical Garden in Naples, Florida.

Thanks for stopping by!   Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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artisan details

June 23, 2017

green moss and gray ribbon

I know not everyone gets as caught up in details as I do.  Some of the details of an event that really get me jazzed are things like paper products, fabric, ribbon, favors, flowers…

silk and willow package

Beauty is absolutely in the details and I often obsess over many of them when I am planning an event.  The details are what really ‘bring it home’ when creating an aesthetic.

Silk and Willow ribbon packaging

Today on Friday field trip, I am sharing with you a supplier that is fabulous for some of these details.   Silk & Willow creates labor-intensive plant dyed silk ribbon presented on hand carved and stained Acacia wood spools.  Can you see how a detail loving person like me would go nuts over a product like this?!

ribbon from plant dyed

The heirloom quality plant dyed silk ribbon is not the only product available from Silk & Willow.  Other artisan quality items include handmade paper, handspun twine, and 100% natural fiber table linens.

table runner silk and willow

To illustrate my point, the photos on today’s post are from a recent Silk & Willow order.  Can you see how a detail like a ribbon or a table runner can be transformed by the choice of your supplier?  These handcrafted details cannot be duplicated and truly make a special occasion special.

moss and ribbon

I hope you have enjoyed the photos on today’s Friday field trip.  To see more about Silk & Willow, located in Hudson Valley, New York, visit their gorgeous website.

spool silk and willow ribbon

Thanks for stopping by!

gray table runner silk and willow

Have a really fabulous weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

P.S.  I wasn’t asked to endorse Silk & Willow and I have not received any consideration in exchange for this post.

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