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a cluck and an oink and healthful eating

April 17, 2015

pig at Sporthill Farm pleasure in simple things

For me, more so than the start of the new year, spring is the signal for new beginnings. And, just like the tradition of making new year resolutions, I always try to start spring off on the right foot. One thing that I am constantly trying to improve upon is my nutrition.

chickens at Springhill Farm pleasure in simple things

Each year, I try and take one or two baby steps that continue me on the path of healthy eating. Some of the steps I have taken in the past, for example, are the ones that have totally eliminated diet soda and artificial sweeteners.

Healthful eating is a real challenge. As a consumer, it is not always easy to make good food choices. This task definitely requires a lot of time and effort!

chickens up close pleasure in simple things blog

Up close and personal. What it looks like when a chicken pecks your camera lens!

One baby step I have added that really helps me in the time department is to shop in places that have virtually eliminated what I consider to be bad food choices. How do I do this? One way is by shopping locally at farmer’s markets and local farms.

friendly pigs at Sporthill Farm pleasure in simple things

This spring, I have already started visiting a local farm – Sporthill Farm in Easton. Even though there is not much product out yet, it is helping me develop a habit of visiting a healthy source for foods – another step toward a healthier lifestyle. And, as you can see by this week’s Friday field trip photos, I am meeting a few new friends along the way!

pigs at Sporthill Farm pleasure in simple things

In the words of Dave Weinbaum:  The secret to a rich life is to have more beginnings than endings.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful weekend!

new plants at Sporthill Farm pleasure in simple things blog

Wishing you many new beginnings! xo Jackie

Sharing with The Shabby Nest.

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a winter trip to the flower show

March 13, 2015

the shed at Terrain in Glen Mills PA pleasure in simple things blog

For Friday field trip today, I would like to share a few photos from my recent trip to Philadelphia. Every March, Philadelphia is home to the world’s longest-running and largest indoor floor show. Yes, I did go to the flower show, but this year the photos I am sharing are not actually from the show! Instead, these photos are from a couple of my favorite stops along the way!

Terrain in Glen Mills PA the cafe pleasure in simple things blog

window at Terrain Glen Mills pleasure in simple things blog

The first few photos are from Terrain in Glen Mills, PA – for me, always a required stop on a Philly trip. One of my very favorite stores, Terrain is the ultimate in home and garden inspiration!

Next stop is Longwood Gardens!  Listed as the 2nd best public garden in the nation, my other “must visit” spot on a Philly trip is Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA.

Icy Longwood Gardens pleasure in simple things blog

Even on a day when the hemlocks are dripping with ice and the weather prohibits walking the extensive grounds of the gardens, Longwood does not disappoint.  Even the bad weather doesn’t prevent a quick walk past the topiary garden.

Topiary Garden at Longwood Gardens pleasure in simple things blog

At this time of year, the Conservatory sports an amazing display of orchids. But, this trip, these were my favorite flowers.

Longwood Gardens indoor flowers pleasure in simple things blog

Inside Longwood Gardens pleasure in simple things blog
And for me, the winter is a wonderful time to admire favorite indoor spaces that do not get as much attention when the weather makes the outdoor spaces at Longwood more inviting – like the children’s garden. Here are some of the great water features in the children’s garden (Did you see the video of the nest and bird fountain on my Instagram?)

Fountain in childrens garden at Longwood Gardens pleasure in simple things blog

Water feature at Longwood Gardens pleasure in simple things blog

Fountain in Children's Garden at Longwood Gardens pleasure in simple things

As I leave, I see a suggestion of what is coming in the better weather ahead – this will be filled with roses in bloom before you know it!

rose trellis at Longwood Gardens pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for sharing a few photos from my (snowy and icy) trip to Philadelphia on today’s Friday field trip.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing with French Country Cottage and The Shabby Nest.

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powder room redo

March 6, 2015

sink and towels powder room pleasure in simple things blog

Who doesn’t love to see a good before and after? For Friday field trip today, I am sharing the progress of a pretty little powder room update.

powder room before pleasure in simple things blogMy good friend, Phyllis, decided she needed to update the bathrooms and laundry room in her beautiful, historic home. On a recent visit, I found her downstairs powder room was almost complete. With only a little styling left to finish, I had to admire the beautiful update she created.

bathroom with Pike's Peak Gray Paint by BM pleasure in simple things blog

before floor in powder room pleasure in simple things blogAfter removing floor to ceiling wallpaper, Phyllis started the powder room project by adding some molding detail on the bottom half of the walls. This is where a handy husband is very important! He crafted both the chair rail and the panel molding. This type of detail on the walls is a great way to add some interest to a small room! Next, for the toughest part of the renovation – removing the old tile floor. (I know, I know – the old floor looked great too, right?)

closeup tile mosaic pleasure in simple things blog

Phyllis picked out a pretty geometric mosaic tile pattern that also coordinated well with the tile she chose for the upstairs bath and the gray marble she chose for the nearby laundry room. (I can’t wait to see the finished laundry room – I will try and share that with you on an upcoming field trip!) The mosaic tile pattern was installed with a black tile border.  For the wall color, Phyllis chose a lovely shade of gray called Pike’s Peak by Benjamin Moore.

long shot of sink in powder room pleasure in simple things blog

Phyllis kept her sink, but decided to install a new, more efficient toilet.

long shot of powder room toilet pleasure in simple things blog

We all know good taste is not limited to shopping at expensive stores and Phyllis proved this, big time, with her mirror choice. After visiting many stores, she chose this beauty she found at Marshalls to hang in the new powder room.

mirror detail powder room pleasure in simple things

A little bling in the light fixture choice and shine on the wall switch definitely add an elegant touch to the space.

bathroom bling in powder room redo pleasure in simple things blog

powder room light fixture pleasure in simple things blog

Coordinating with a little bit of shine, Phyllis created a little orchid planting in a silver container specifically for the space.

orchid planting pleasure in simple things blog

Phyllis has plans to add a white plantation shutter to the window and a few more accessories to complete the space, but with the styling almost finished, you can see how pretty the new area came out!

Thanks so much Phyllis for sharing your beautiful new powder room on Friday field trip!

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends! Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at NancherrowShabby Nest, Coastal Charm, and French Country Cottage.

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happy chinese new year!

February 20, 2015

Chinese New Year pleasure in simple things blog

Yesterday started Chinese New Year. In celebration, for today’s Friday field trip, I am sharing some special Chinese art given to me. These images are photos of Chinese paper cuts.

paper cuts for Chinese New Year pleasure in simple things

Paper-cutting (Jianzhi in Chinese) is one of the oldest and most popular folk arts in China.

pleasure in simple things Chinese New Year

As early as 3 BC – before paper was even invented – paper-cutting techniques were used in China on leaves or other thin materials. Chinese paper-cutting is the first type of paper-cutting design since paper was invented in China!

Chinese paper cuts pleasure in simple things blog

Aren’t they amazing?

chinese paper cuts on pleasure in simple things blog

one chinese paper cut pleasure in simple things blog

Have a wonderful weekend!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

P.S. You may not be celebrating Chinese New Year by creating designs like these, but maybe try creating some yummy bubble tea?  Click here to check out how to do it!

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glass blowing adventure

January 9, 2015

paperweight from glass blowing adventure pleasure in simple things blog

I love all creative arts. One place I had been eager to visit ever since I knew of its existence is Peter Greenwood’s Glass Blowing Studio in Riverton, Connecticut. Peter offers workshops for beginners with no experience and I really wanted to give it a try!

Front of Peter Greenwood's glass blowing studio pleasure in simple things blog

My idea was to visit before Christmas and create a glass blown ornament for my tree…how special would that be?! But, after discussing the workshop options with Peter before I made my visit, I decided to create a glass paperweight rather than a glass ornament. Yes, the ornament was an actual glass blowing experience, but if I took the workshop for the paperweight; I could actually make my piece from start to finish. I decided to go for the hands-on experience of forming molten glass and sculpting it into a paperweight – with Peter’s guidance, of course.

I am so glad I did. The process was fascinating.

A friend and I made the trip to the quaint little town of Riverton where Peter’s studio and showroom are located inside a historic stone church built in 1829.

glass blowing studio with pleasure in simple things blog

piece at Peter Greenwood's studio pleasure in simple things blog

I am sharing some photos from the visit on today’s Friday field trip, but I think the best way to really get a sense of the process is to watch the short video created from phone videos the day of my visit. In hindsight, I probably should have brought a video camera with me, but my friend Wendy was nice enough to take some video of my experience and I am thrilled to have it documented.

Click here for A Video on Creating a Paperweight in Peter Greenwood’s Connecticut Studio.

tools of the glass blowing trade pleasure in simple things blog

glass blowing tools pleasure in simple things blog

In some ways, I found creating glass pieces very similar to throwing pots because of the symmetry component, although working in conjunction with a 2,000 degree oven was a little more daunting! I was very much aware of the dangerous temperatures involved and was extremely cautious.

2,000 degree furnace glass blowing pleasure in simple things

The 2,000 degree oven used to create my glass paperweight at Peter Greenwood’s studio.

 

beginnings of a paperweight pleasure in simple things blog

The beginnings of my paperweight at Peter Greenwood’s studio in Connecticut.

glass chips from glass blowing pleasure in simple things blog

Glass chips like this are used to create the design in the paperweight…I used blue chips for mine.

When completed, the blue swirl I created in my paperweight glowed orange from the high temperature. Once cooled, the blue color would be apparent. The cooling process is done very slowly or the piece would have exploded due to the quick temperature change!

finished paperweight before cooled pleasure in simple things blog

I hope you enjoyed today’s field trip. Peter is a wonderful teacher and I highly recommend looking him up should you ever want to take a trip to Riverton and experience some of your own glass adventures!

Peter Greenwood pieces pleasure in simple things blog

Have a wonderful weekend!

Peter Greenwood pleasure in simple things glass blowing adventure

The glass master himself, Peter Greenwood.

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

Sharing with Elizabeth & Co., Nancherrow, and House of Hipsters.

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restoration hardware gallery in ct

January 2, 2015

mixing textures at Restoration Hardware pleasure in simple things blog

Don’t you love walking through Restoration Hardware? Their use of a neutral color palette, thoughtful mix of textures, and minimal use of accessories is definitely right in line with my taste. And, the light fixtures? O.M.G.

lighting at Restoration Hardware in CT pleasure in simple things blog

All the stores are worth a visit, but if you happen to live near Boston, Greenwich, Atlanta, or West Hollywood; you have access to a very special store – the Restoration Hardware Gallery Store. If you don’t happen to live near these places, you can catch a little glimpse of what you are missing on today’s Friday field trip to the Connecticut store.

restoration hardware gallery in connecticut

Formerly on Greenwich Avenue, the store moved a short distance up the street to occupy the old historic Greenwich Post Office and become one of the four RH gallery stores. But, this did not happen until after the space was completely gutted and renovated. Click here to see more about the project.

The grand scale and dramatic lighting of this magnificent store make for a museum-like experience…

a collage of restoration hardware

magnificent lighting at RH pleasure in simple things blog

The store displays a luxury lifestyle with dramatic interior and exterior installations of home furnishings in a gallery setting.

stair case at Restoration Hardware in CT pleasure in simple things blog

bathroom at Restoration Hardware pleasure in simple things blog

Some pieces are a little too masculine for my taste and some a little too heavy on the industrial vibe, but for the most part, I would love to own any one of Restoration Hardware’s furniture pieces (if I had a large enough space to accommodate it, of course!).

chair at Restoration Hardware pleasure in simple things blog

textures at Restoration Hardware pleasure in simple things blog

I love examining paint finishes and have had fun trying my hand at recreating (in look anyway) them in some of my refinishing projects using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

table setting at Restoration Hardware pleasure in simple things blog

table accessory at Restoration Hardware pleasure in simple things blog

The Greenwich RH Gallery provides some amazing inspiration and I urge you to visit one of the four gallery locations if you should be provided the opportunity.

lighting at Restoration Hardware pleasure in simple things blog

I hope you enjoyed today’s field trip.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at The Shabby Nest, Kim Klassen’s Friday Finds, French Country Cottage, and House of Hipsters.

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shop hop 2014

December 5, 2014

putting together lunch for Shop Hop 2014 pleasure in simple things blog

Planning a shopping day filled with holiday inspiration with friends – what could be better?  Today’s Friday field trip is a special seasonal road trip to visit shops across Connecticut.

holiday shop hop 2014 pleasure in simple things blog

I made a holiday music CD for the car (actually my son made it, but hey –it was my idea!), decided on a box lunch menu (don’t want a restaurant lunch to slow us down!), and planned an itinerary for Shop Hop 2014!  The destinations?  Well, these are a surprise…but, I will share them with you in this post!

photos of Grace in Niantic pleasure in simple things blog

Shop Hop invitations are sent out in advance – promising a day of friendship and inspiration touring favorite shops in Connecticut. My 2014 ‘south central’ edition is spanning four counties in Connecticut – all easily accessible by highway I95. (I am including my hop locations in this post in the event you live in Connecticut and would like to replicate my hop.) Be sure to like my Facebook page by clicking here, so you can see a gallery of photos from each of the hop locations and share some of the inspiration – even if you don’t live in Connecticut!

photos from Taken for Granite pleasure in simple things blog

This is how our day goes… I pick up the gals at a designated location in the morning. They are not informed of our predetermined shop locations. ..makes it so much more fun this way! (For the most part, Shop Hop locations are best as isolated areas…save your clusters of stores in a town or a favorite local spot, for a day all on its own.)

Christmas at Terrain pleasure in simple things blog

A Christmas CD sets the holiday mood…this year, it was definitely a very eclectic mix! Click the three links below to hear three of this year’s selections:

This is my very favorite Christmas song by my very favorite entertainer.
Do you remember which recent fun holiday movie featured a version of this song?
Got to love my son’s sense of humor on this one!

2014 shop hop no 299 pleasure in simple things blog

A box lunch is the best way to avoid schedule interruptions. Believe me, this is for the best! A restaurant lunch wastes far too much precious time better devoted to inspirational adventures! Just be sure to use a cooler if you pack anything perishable!  I packed mine in take out containers and added a label on the outside that I cut from chalkboard contact paper.  A selection of flavored waters and ice tea rounded out the refreshments.  We can always pick up a hot tea or coffee on the road to go with our rosemary shortbread cookies. :)

boxed lunch for shop hop 2014 pleasure in simple things blog

For 2014, these are the five locations I chose for our hop:

Grace, 46 Pennsylvania Avenue, Niantic
Maynard Gardens Holiday Shop, 87 Ingham Hill Road, Old Saybrook
Taken for Granite, 409 Leetes Island Road, Branford
No. 299 Fairfield, 318 Villa Avenue, Fairfield
Terrain, 561 Post Road East, Westport

favors for Shop Hop 2014 pleasure in simple things blog

 

Lastly, I like to leave my friends with favors – what fun is a special event without favors!

 

 

We visited some beautiful shops, but spending the day with my friends was the special part of the day! :)

I hope you are inspired to plan your own Shop Hop! Feel free to send me an email if you have any questions or need suggestions. Have fun with it!

car at Grace in Niantic pleasure in simple things blog

Have a fabulous weekend filled with holiday inspiration, Jackie

P.S.  The movie was Elf.

Sharing with City Farmhouse, Coastal Charm, Crafts a la Mode, The Shabby Nest, and Craftberry Bush.

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rooms with a view in ct

November 21, 2014

neutral room from rooms with a view pleasure in simple things blog

rooms with a view banner pleasure in simple things blog

 

Today we are taking a peek at a weekend in design featuring an Opening Night Gala; vignettes of interior design; a marketplace; a holiday fashion show and luncheon; and dinner with event chairman, Thom Filicia. (You know I love Thom…click here for our first meeting!)

Now in its 20th year, Rooms With a View has helped Southport Congregational Church help others by raising well over a million dollars for charitable causes.

 

The room vignettes are always inspiring…

Rooms With A View designer inspiration pleasure in simple things blog

My favorite room this year was designed by Forehand + Lake – a bright and styling cabin…

ski house rooms with a view pleasure in simple things blog

Every year I find different takeaways from the event.  A couple of the lighting choices were really interesting this year…How cool is the lighting in this “Starry Night” themed room designed by NYSID students and alumni?

starry night rooms with a view pleasure in simple things

And, I found this light fixture, used by Jenny Wolf Interiors, as a unique choice…

light fixture rooms with a view pleasure in simple things blog

Rooms With a View provides a great opportunity to get a jump on holiday shopping by offering a marketplace of vendors.  You can see these items fit right in with my holiday theme!

wares from Rooms with a View pleasure in simple things blog

Much like Susan Leggitt’s artwork inspired by the Maine Coast, I found these hand painted stars really awesome!

Artist Susan Leggitt at Rooms with a View pleasure in simple things blog

The meal and fashion show is always the most fun for me.  The clothes from Millie Rae’s in Westport were my favorites and it is great the way the event people mix some thrift store finds in with the new fashions from local stores.  This year, I loved that Borrowed (a rental company that specializes in bringing unique, mismatched, and whimsical touches to an event) provided an eclectic mix of plates to the luncheon service.

eclectic mix of vintage plates pleasure in simple things blog

The meal provided by Festivities was delicious…

luncheon served at Rooms with a View in Southport,CT pleasure in simple things blog

But, for me, the plates stole the show!  How many more plate photos can I add?  I just loved them!

vintage place setting pleasure in simple things

vintage plate from Borrowed plesure in simple things blog

The other wonderful design touch to the tables were the wallpaper runners provided by Farrow & Ball (no, those wallpaper scraps aren’t just for book covers)…

wallcovering as tablerunner pleasure in simple things blog

Rooms With a View is a great way for friends in Fairfield County, Connecticut to get together and be inspired. I hope some of the photos of the event on today’s Friday field trip have inspired you!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a wonderful weekend, Jackie

Sharing with Liz Marie Blog, Crafts a la Mode, and Shabby Nest.

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balmy beach day in november

November 14, 2014

life guard chairs pleasure in simple things blog

A balmy day in November certainly warrants a trip to the beach – no matter how brief.  There are signs of the season here – the fall colors in the marsh…

fall colors at the marsh pleasure in simple things blog

an occasionally leaf under the docks…

stray leaf under the docks pleasure in simple things blog

but even with an odd sixty degree afternoon in November, winter is on its way.

canadian geese at the beach pleasure in simple things blog

signs of birds at the beach pleasure in simple things blog

For Friday field trip today, I am sharing a few photos from my trip to the beach this balmy day…

beach grasses on the sand pleasure in simple things blog

I’m here to collect some items for holiday crafts…

scavenging at the beach pleasure in simple things blog

It is so much fun to repurpose collected materials from nature!

under the dock pleasure in simple things blog

Today was the perfect day to do some scavenging!

beach grass pleasure in simple things blog

Snow is predicted this week in Connecticut, so soon this fall scene will make way for the white stuff!

geese at the beach pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks so much for stopping by!

And, remember to take pleasure in simple things…some of the very best things are the simple things!

Have a great weekend, Jackie

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in awe of autumn

October 28, 2014

view of Heublein Tower from a distance pleasure in simple things

If you follow my blog, you may have noticed that I visit at least one spot each year out of my normal routine (like when I took the fall steam train ride) to observe the beauty of autumn. Sometimes, removing myself from my daily surroundings really helps to provide me with a new perspective and an added appreciation for the beauty of nature all around me.

fall trail walk in CT pleasure in simple things

Placing myself in some new surroundings was my intent when I made a visit to Talcott Mountain State Park in Simsbury, Connecticut to hike up Talcott Mountain to the Heublein Tower. With two friends joining me, we picked a day that ended up being a beauty! The sun was shining and the weather was perfect! We probably missed the peak of the changing leaves by a week, but the foliage views were magnificent just the same!

beauty of fall at Talcott Mt State Park pleasure in simple things

The hike on Tower Trail to reach the Heublein Tower, at the top of the Talcott Mountain, is about 1.25 miles and we were enjoying every step of it!

enjoying ct in the fall pleasure in simple things

Because of the time of year, the views were fantastic the entire walk; causing many stops along the way.

Heublein Tower in Simsbury, CT pleasure in simple things

It was fun having a destination, but the hit of the day was definitely the foliage – not the tower!

fall beauty at Talcott Mt State Park pleasure in simple things

The tower is a 165-foot structure built as a summer home in 1914 by Gilbert Heublein.  Heublein was a celebrated German-born hotelier and restauranteur as well as an innovator in the American gourmet food and liquor industry.  The tower holds some interesting history…in the early fifties, two future presidents visited the tower – General Dwight D. Eisenhower (who was asked to run for office there) and Ronald Reagan, then president of the Screen Actors’ Guild!  History buffs are sure to enjoy the photographs and historical information on display throughout the building.

fall at Talcott Mt State Park in CT pleasure in simple things

The tower is open and accessible to the public through the entire month of October.  The hike to the tower is a wonderful family outing, especially since it is not a difficult climb and the park requires no admittance charge or parking fee.

looking up at fall trees pleasure in simple things

Once at the tower,  visitors (like me) can climb the six-storied structure to the top and admire the beautiful views of Connecticut and beyond.

Heublein Tower window pleasure in simple things

On the horizon, Mount Monadnock, eighty miles away in New Hampshire, is discernible.  To the northwest, the Berkshires dominate the horizon.

water view from the Heublein Tower pleasure in simple things

In addition to river views, Long Island Sound is revealed as a thin blue streak to the south.  Those with sharp vision can see an area estimated to be 1,200 square miles.

view from Heublein Tower pleasure in simple things

This photo is the view out the door of the tower as we were leaving to head back down the trail…

view of front entrance of Heublein Tower pleasure in simple things

And, this view is one from a stop along the trail heading down the mountain.

walking the trail to the Heublein Tower pleasure in simple things

A truly wonderful afternoon sharing the beauty of the season with friends –  in awe of autumn.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Craftberry Bush and Friday Finds.

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