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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.


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!

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Thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

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


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?

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

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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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living in the moment

June 20, 2017

clouds in sky

As I reflect in the loss of a loved one, I challenge myself to live more in the moment going forward.  My post today is simply a list of reminders I put together for myself…

live my life

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you are inspired in some way to live by your own reminders.

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie xo


the fountain at the breakers, palm beach

June 16, 2017

Front view Breakers Fountain

This month I have been on something of a plant/garden kick…it always happens this time of year.  I love go to nurseries and I love admiring plants and great plantings and containers.  Of course, part of the whole garden experience is to add some interesting features.  I have been thinking about and admiring water features of late and it got me thinking of the great fountain I saw on my recent Palm Beach trip.

Alligator detail Breakers Fountain

The great fountain I am talking about sits in front of the iconic Breakers Hotel.

Breakers Fountain

Of course it is not a water feature I could ever have in my garden, but I thought I would share it’s beauty with you on today’s Friday field trip.

boy fountain detail The Breakers

boy with alligator fountain detail

When I stayed at the hotel, I saw more photos staged in front of this fountain than in front of the magnificent coastline – certainly that was the case with new brides and grooms at the hotel!

Fountain detail and palms

No matter what it’s form, you certainly can not beat the sound of water to create a sense of calm!

close up Breakers fountain

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Flag front Breakers

Have a fabulous weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things – like the sound of water in a fountain!  xo Jackie

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ferns in urns diy

June 13, 2017

boston fern

I have a really easy DIY I’d like to share today.

When I found that florists charged hundreds of dollars for a simple urn with ferns (plus delivery!), I decided there had to be a less expensive way to have create the same result.

Well, I turned hundreds of dollars into less than $40!

fern diy

First, I went to my go-to home store, HomeGoods, to find an appropriate urn.  They had plenty of low priced urns in stoneware, ceramic, or acrylic choices.  I opted for the acrylic since I wanted to create something as inexpensive as possible that would be easy to transport to a special event.

All the acrylic choices were in dark colors, so I would have to give my urns a coat of spray paint!  I took the two urns I purchased into the yard and sprayed them to coat – a very quick process.

urn diy

I had purchased two large hanging Boston Fern plants from Lowe’s when they were on sale for $9.99.  My plan was to plant them in the urns until one of my friends suggested it would be easier to transport them if they weren’t planted!  Of course!  So, I stuffed the bottoms of the two urns with some Styrofoam left from some packaging and now I plan to just drop the plants on top of the Styrofoam when I am ready for my event!  The planters weigh next to nothing – even filled with the material – and the plants are very light as well.

Ferns in urns

What a savings…and, so easy!  And the urns really look like stoneware.  When I get to the event, I will simply add the plants to the urns and remove the plastic hangers!  (I am leaving them on for now because it is easier to move the plants with the hangers as handles.)

ferns in urns diy

I hope you I have inspired you in some way for planning the décor for your next special event!

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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shakespeare’s garden in brookfield, ct

June 9, 2017

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My friends have been holding out on me!  They have just recently shared what is currently one of my favorite nurseries!

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Shakespeare’s Garden in Brookfield, Connecticut now joins a list that includes places like White’s Flower Farm and Terrain.

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What makes a great nursery?  For me, three important criteria!  First, and foremost, creativity!  The plants need to be presented in a beautiful way…with creative, imaginative, and even innovative added to the mix!

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Of course, plants can easily be purchased at a local grocery or warehouse store.  So, for a nursery to become a favorite means the plants aren’t just offered for sale, but are displayed in a creative way.

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The second way to become a favorite is to have plenty of unique containers for plantings.  Vintage pieces or repurposed items used as planters are an example.  I’m looking for containers that help create an organic look or enhance the beauty of the planting it contains.

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The third criteria is for the nursery to employ a knowledgeable staff.  I want to be able to ask a question about caring for a particular plant or about the habit of a perennial I am purchasing and be confident I am getting an educated response.

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Those are my top three.  The bonus number four for me is a great gift shop!  Finding some unique and aesthetically beautiful items for sale is always a plus!

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Because Shakespeare’s Garden checked all the boxes for me – including the bonus item (!) – I am including some photos I took on my visit for today’s Friday field trip.

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I hope they have inspired you in some way!  Shakespeare’s Garden is worth a visit if you are in commuting distance.

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Have a wonderful weekend!  Remember take pleasure in simple things – like visiting a favorite nursery!  xo Jackie

P.S. If you go, remember to say hello to Romeo – the resident cat.

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naples botanical garden origami

June 6, 2017

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On my first visit to the Naples Botanical Garden in Naples, Florida, I was intrigued by the tag line ‘Gardens with Latitude.’

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I discovered the gardens showcase subtropical plants that grow around the world between the 26th latitude north, where Naples is located, and 26th latitude south.

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One hundred and seventy acres of themed gardens that represent the culture and flora of the tropics – country climates from the 26th latitude – what an interesting concept!

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It did not take me long to figure out that plants growing in the 26th latitude are very different from the plants in my native Connecticut, or in my favorite public garden – Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania!

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But, the difference in plants was not what intrigued me most during my visit.  That honor went to the temporary exhibit, Origami in the Garden.

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Monumental sculptures created by artist Kevin Box told the story of origami, the Japanese art of paper folding.

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The exhibition included large-scale installations, gallery works, Box’s own compositions as well as collaborative works with his wife Jennifer and world-renowned origami artists Dr. Robert J. Land, Te Jui Fu, and Michael G. LaFosse.

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Examples of this amazing display are represented in the photos I am sharing with you today.  I was thrilled that the installation happened to be in the garden on the day of my visit!

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The exhibit inspired me to do a little more research on origami.  I hope it inspired you in some way!

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Thank you for stopping by and sharing the Origami in the Garden display with me!

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Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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dominique ansel bakery

June 2, 2017

May's Ansel Cronut Flavor

A trip to a bakery seems an appropriate Friday field trip today on National Donut Day!

We are not visiting just any bakery, but the bakery of James Beard award-winning pastry chef, Dominique Ansel.

Dominique Ansel blossoming hot chocolate

Blossoming Hot Chocolate at Dominique Ansel Bakery.

Chef Dominique took New York City by storm when he launched his, now signature pastry, the Cronut!  New Yorkers waited (and still do) in long lines for the opportunity to taste one!

The tasty croissant-doughnut Chef Dominique created was named one of the ‘Best Inventions of 2013’ by Time magazine in the year it was introduced.

raspberry Earl Grey Cronut at Ansel

May’s special Cronut flavor at Dominique Ansel Bakery – Raspberry Earl Grey with Earl Grey Sugar.

Chef Dominique’s unique, delectable treats have earned him international recognition with bakeries in Tokyo and London, as well as New York City.  Consistently creating innovative desserts, while maintaining an incredible level of deliciousness, is the Ansel standard.

raspberry coconut pavlova ansel

On my most recent visit to the New York bakery, the new, flavorful kiwi sorbet bar instantly became my favorite Ansel creation of the moment.  This refreshing treat is made up of a kiwi flavored sorbet paired with Tahitian vanilla ice-cream.

Dominique Ansel kiwi sorbet bar

A new, refreshing kiwi sorbet creation by Dominique Ansel.

With some added poppy seeds and a ‘fuzzy’ chocolate exterior, the confection closely resembles an actual kiwi fruit.  Magnificent in both aesthetics and taste!

Ansel Bakery kiwi sorbet bar

I hope you enjoyed today’s visit to the Dominique Ansel Bakery for Friday field trip.

Dominique Ansel Bakery in NYC

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a fabulous weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things – like tasting a fabulous donut on National Donut Day!  xo Jackie