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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  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


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


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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pink & gold nautical bridal shower

May 23, 2017

 Flowers pink and gold shower

Pink and gold may not seem the typical color choice for a nautical themed party, but who said anything about typical?  And, I certainly have no problem arranging a nautical party in any color scheme! :)

Since no décor can beat a coastal view, this bridal shower needed to take place at a yacht club!

a gold and pink invite
The gals in the bridal party, serving as hostesses for the event, dressed in the theme colors and all looked beautiful!  Of course, it helps when all the gals are gorgeous!  ;)

a coordinating bridal party

Soft pink and gold appeared in all the details of the day.

a nautical table signs for pink and gold

The tables were set with gold chargers and cream linens.  Table names were displayed in a brushed gold finish pedestal frame and displayed the names of bodies of water that held significance for the bride-to-be.  Examples include the name of a lake from a campground she frequented as a child and the name of a river from college crew.  Working with a florist, subtle and romantic blush and white free-form arrangements were created in gold compotes. (A smaller version for the powder room!)

a pink and gold shower flowers 2
a compass shower favor nautical pink and goldA small (personalized) brushed gold compass and gold dipped feather adorned each place setting.

Individually wrapped sea glass candy on the tables also added to the nautical vibe. (Oddly enough, I make sea glass candy every Christmas, but rarely at any other time of year!)  The bride’s favorite flavors were represented in the white (pear), pink (cotton candy), and brown (root beer) pieces of candy wrapped with raffia and adorned with a mini sand dollar.


a pink and gold shower favor

Standard cocktail napkins and water glasses were replaced with some on-theme choices and festive gold straws were added to the water station.

a pink and gold nautical bridal shower

Wedding photos of the bride-to-be’s mother, future mother-in-law, grandmother, and grandmother-to-be were displayed in the entry way in glass and gold frames to add a personal touch.

a pink and gold flowers 6

Themed prize baskets were given to winners of the games organized by the maid-of-honor, as well as the guest with the closest birthday, the guest that drove the farthest to attend the shower, etc.

The golden bracelets for the ‘bracelet bonanza’ game had everyone wearing a shiny gold bangle (right on theme) and provided some added interaction between guests.  The ‘he said, she said’ game was fun and added a glimpse into the personalities of the soon-to-be wed couple.

a bracelet game bridal shower

For the refreshments – a selection of assorted breads, coffee and mimosas were available when the guests arrived.  A fruit course, served in martini glasses, was followed by a plated brunch and later with cake and sorbet.

a pink and gold shower details
Adding to the theme of the day, the cake (vanilla with salted caramel filling) was created with an outside of soft pink ‘waves’ and garnished with fondant starfish dipped in gold.  The sorbet was provided by a friend of the bride’s mom, created specifically for the shower in coconut lemongrass from a local gourmet food store and served in take-home stemless wine glasses.  (The bridal party gals were each gifted a set of four.)

pink and gold wedding shower cake 2

Now, who said pink and gold wasn’t nautical?

a pink and gold flowers 24
I hope you are inspired to host a pink and gold coastal party of your own!

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

Sources are available upon request – I’m happy to share!


making old school ice cream sandwiches

April 25, 2017

old school ice cream sandwiches

Not since Alton Brown made his candy corn recipe public, have I been so excited about trying out an old school recipe! And, even more important than the recipe, I found a pan that bakes the cookie layers with the appropriate design of imprinted holes! (It is just not the same without the holes!)

The recipe and the baking pan (a genius 3 piece creation) come together in a set. The set makes baking the cookie pieces, as well as assembling the sandwiches, super easy.

Halo Top ice cream sandwiches

Since I wanted to make some special ice-cream sandwiches for my daughter’s birthday as my first use of the set, I chose to use her favorite ice-cream – Halo Top. My plan was to use birthday cake ice-cream and garnish the sides of the sandwiches with multi-colored sprinkles! Adorable, right?

When I got to the grocery store, I couldn’t find Halo Top in birthday cake flavor, so I purchased two alternate flavors, and decided to make two ice-cream sandwiches in each flavor. The ice cream sandwiches might look old school, but I have replaced the standard vanilla ice cream with mint chip and peanut butter cup – I don’t ever remember these flavors as options back in the day. ;)

ice cream sandwich making set

The instructions provided with the pan were very easy to follow. The only part of the process that took a little time was smoothing out the batter for the cookies in the pan, but even that was pretty painless. Measuring out an exact 1 tablespoon of batter for each mold created a perfect result!

I was happy with the ice cream sandwiches I made on my first attempt! I can’t wait to try making some using home churned ice-cream this summer!

making old school ice cream sandwiches

If you are interested in making your own, I found the ice cream sandwich making set at Sur La Table. You can purchase one through their website. Currently, the set to make 4 sandwiches is on sale for under $10!

ice cream sandwich collageA word of advice: The set makes 4 ice cream sandwiches. If you choose to make only four, do not make the entire recipe of cookie batter. You will only use 8 tablespoons of batter to create the cookies for 4 sandwiches and the batter from the recipe provided probably makes enough for 50! Cut the recipe way down if you only plan to make four! Enjoy!

making old fashion ice cream sandwiches

Thanks for stopping by! Remember to take pleasure in simple things – like enjoying an old school ice-cream sandwich on a warm afternoon!
xo Jackie


jewelry display diy

April 18, 2017

display ideas for jewelry

Today I was styling some jewelry.  I was being resourceful and using anything I could find that was readily available – household items, found items from outdoors, etc.

It occurred to me what a great item a clipboard can be to showcase jewelry.  For such a ridiculously inexpensive, utilitarian object – it can really show a whole lot of style!

If you are putting together a display of your jewelry on your dresser or in a walk-in closet, consider using one or more clipboards.  One clipboard can be displayed on a stand on it’s own or several can be displayed this way in a group.  Or, several clipboards can be hung on a wall for a display of multiple pieces.

ways to display jewelry

I created this super easy display piece in about 3 minutes.  I grabbed some paint and sprayed the metal of the clipboard.  There was only one can of spray paint handy and it happened to be off-white…if I had my choice, I would have used something more reminiscent of rust, but I used what I had.  I rubbed a little metallic paint I found hanging around onto the cream paint – just so it wouldn’t look too perfect.  Then, I used a page from an old book as the background for the display of the jewelry piece  – first ripping the edges of the paper to give it a little character.

necklace displays

Super easy – right?  A series of statement necklaces on clipboards would make cool wall decor.  And, there are so many different ways to provide a background.  Think about fabrics, book pages, wrapping paper, old photos, etc.

I hope I have inspired you to use a clipboard as a display piece.  Have fun experimenting!

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

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happy spring friends!

April 14, 2017

Happy Easter from pleasure in simple things blog

Hello all!  Please have the very happiest of weekends!  It is a hectic one for me since I am working this weekend and also trying to get ready for a family meal on Sunday – I’m on desserts!  I am taking inspiration from Chef Adam at Sift Bakery :)

For Friday field trip today, please enjoy my favorite homage to Earth Day, coming up on April 22nd.

Click here to see Repurposed Brown Bags.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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