the joy of less

I was kindly asked by Francine Jay if i would review her new book entitled The Joy of Less.  I enthusiastically agreed because I love books on decluttering, cleaning and simple living.  I think I may have read every book on the subject.  I have never reviewed a book before so this is a first for me. 

The book has a lot of the usual things you would expect from a minimalist, decluttering type book.  Things like sorting belongings into categories such as charity, keep, mend, etc.  But what I love most about the book is that she helps you in the decision making process.  That really is the hardest part of paring down ones life. I am far from a minimalist but she recognizes the need for people like me who love to include beauty in one's life.   She divides the book up into sections taking one room at a time.  The part of the book that I will tell you helped me the most was the wardrobe section.  I find this the hardest part of simplifying.  I'm one of those people who constantly clean out their closet and never feel like the job was done right.  For some reason or another parting with clothes that I paid a lot for or that have sentimental meaning is hard for me to do.  I would include jewelry in that category too.  Francine has a line in the book that literally struck me like a thunderbolt.  I put the book down and went straight to my closet and in about an hour my closet was finally done!  I could hardly believe it.  I still can't.  I went through all my clothes, shoes and jewelry.  I bet you can't wait for what that line was!  I'm going to tell you but before I do I want you all to please check this book out fully because what resonated for me may not for you and vice versa.  She is very thorough.  Okay, here's the line - "When considering an outfit, question whether you'd feel comfortable being photographed or running into an ex while wearing it.  If the answer is "no," out it goes!"  Well, I'm not photographed very often but I think we can all relate to running into someone who we wish we could make a good impression on.  Why have anything in your closet that makes you feel less than fabulous anytime.  She has tons of other great advice regarding your wardrobe that I found very valuable.  I can give you an example.  She asks you to figure out what flatters you and what doesn't.  For instance I look best in a boat-necked 3/4 sleeve t as opposed to v-neck capped sleeves.  For my body type that's what looks best.  So why do I have 10 v-necked t's and only 2 boat-necked 3/4 sleeve t's?  It's about having a closet full of clothes that flatter and make you feel good about yourself, and I love that.  If you are in the mood to simplify or pare down your life I highly recommend this book.  You can purchase it on amazon here.

i'm back & a little black

Well I'm back from my silent retreat and I can honestly say that this was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I totally underestimated the task. Within 3 hours I thought I had made a big mistake and wanted to escape. It's not that I missed talking, I missed hearing other voices. Especially laughter. My husband makes me laugh every day and I missed that immensely. I went to the retreat to help put certain aspects of my life in perspective and it worked. I was never so glad to get home and absorb my environment and just listen. So while I don't think I'll be going back anytime soon, I'm glad I went.

I thought to balance out the post I did on all the white around my house, I'd post some of my favorite black things. I agree with whoever said every room needs a touch of black. It really can ground a room. I think this little place cries out for some black.

I'll start with my much loved blackboards. I found the frames and made them myself. I'm not much of a crafty-type person but I really love these. They are nice for dinner parties or informal gatherings. I've never posted this one. It's in my kitchen and I really like putting menus on it.
You've seen this one about a million times but I really like putting quotes on this one. It's a good conversation starter for parties.

I found this fan at a junk store many years ago and it works like a charm and it's loaded with character.

My favorite little black table from the Rustic Rooster.

You know I had to include a bit of fashion. I love this dress. I bought it last year at Talbots for $39 on summer clearance. It's 100% pure Irish Linen. And being an Irish girl, how could I resist.

I included one of my most treasured items. I highly recommend mothers of young children, especially boys to get one of these. You never know when it will come in handy.

my black belt


peace and quiet

I'm off to spend three days at a silent ashram. What's that you say? And why would anyone do such a thing? Well after having decluttered every square inch of my house and three months of stopping spending money unconsciously, it is now time I did a little interior work on myself. I will be immersed in complete silence and concentrating on deep meditation. I've read that being silent is like observing the space in a room instead of the objects in it. I've also heard it said that silence does not separate us from our inner world, but rather links us to it. If you have been reading my blog for any time at all you know how important good, clean, compassionate food is to me. I spend a great deal of time, growing, reading about, shopping for and preparing food that I will eat. This food nourishes my body and helps keep me healthy. But what about the nutritive value of the thoughts I put in my head? Honestly, at times I'm putting in what could only be described as sheer junk food. Guilt, worry, perfectionism and control to name a few.
Silent meditation is a beautiful way to clear negative thoughts and replace them with healthier ones. So off I go and I promise not to come back chanting.

Meanwhile, I'll leave you with a beautiful meditation on peace that I hope speaks to you as much as it speaks to me.

i am in the temple of quietness...
peace fills my body, peace fills my heart and dwells within my love.

peace within, without, everywhere.

infinite peace surrounds my life and permeates all the moments of my existence.
peace unto myself

peace unto my family
peace unto my nation

peace unto my world
peace unto my cosmos.
~p. yogananda

simply white

Instead of collecting images from the internet that show my love of white, I decided to take pictures of all my favorite white things I use on a daily basis around my house. I love white as it implies simplicity and cleanliness and I think it epitomizes summer living.

White dishes. I think food looks best presented on white dinnerware.

I only eat cookies that match my decor. You know I'm kidding - but did you know that oreos are vegan!

I love to serve grilled vegetables on platters like these from the restaurant supply store.

White slipcovers are a favorite of mine. I wash my Pottery Barn slipcovers about once a year.

Is there anything more refreshing than white cotton sheets in the summer?

Sweet dreams

Here is a little secret of mine. I buy my white cotton towels from Big Lots for $3 each. If you like big thick towels, these are not for you. But if you like a normal size towel that dries really fast, you can't beat these.

white orchids

white roses


converse all stars

Hanes v-neck mens small t-shirts. Perfect for around the house and yoga class.

who am I kidding, I wear these everywhere!

This is a photo of our last cottage. We painted the floors white and I loved them. They were hard to keep clean but I really miss them.

As you can see, my love of white runs deep.

happy birthday blog

Today my blog is one. Time sure flies when you are having fun. I have learned so much from this experience. Namely, how to use a computer (a little bit.) How to navigate the blog world, which isn't easy. Not to publicy announce a personal shopping ban (bad idea.) But mostly I have been amazed by the kindness of strangers. The writing, photography, gardening and decorating skills out there is breathtaking. My favorite blogs make me laugh, think or go ahhh. Some manage to do all three at once. On my last post a few people noted that I must have beautiful rose bouquets in my house. Indeed I do. I picked this one today especially for all my favorite bloggers who have been with me from the start and a few new ones too.

For the Love of the House - Joan, you have been with me from the first days and I love your comments and kind suggestions but I love your beautiful home in New Hampshire more.

A Country Farmhouse - Trina, like Joan you've been with me from the start. I knew it was only a matter of time before people found you and went crazy for your style. And now we will be riveted to your blog with news of the twins.

Faux Fuchsia - Kirstin, I will never forget the night I found your blog and read every post! I was laughing so hard and then realized you wrote over 100 posts in just one month. And you keep making me laugh. Love you.

My Yellow House - Sarah, you and I are kindred spirits who have so much in common it's scary. Thank you for your love and support and always inspiring me with your beautiful posts and much needed emails.

Casa Dulce Hogar - Dear Maria Cecilia, I started following you from your start and gasp every time you post pictures of your roses and home. But your roses don't hold a candle to your beauty my friend.

Hostess of the Humble Bungalow - Leslie, from the first comment you left on my blog I knew you were probably one of the kindest people I would ever come to know. Thank you for reading each one of my posts and always making thoughtful comments.

Windlost - Teri, I'm always blown away by your attention to detail in the comments you leave me. I love your beautiful spirit, blog and home.

Small But Charming - Jane, what can I say about someone as generous as you? You helped transform my house with your comment about the throwaway charm of chinoiserie. Thank you so much for bringing life to my blog and house!

Comfort & Luxury - Tracy, my friend, I thank you for all your supportive comments and I am so excited for you and your new job. I've learned so much from all your well researched posts.

Slim Paley - Slimmy, as some of your devotees call you, your blog is a visual feast. I look forward to every single creative post you put up. Your style is enviable to say the least.

Boxwood Terrace - Deborah, you know I love your blog, I even created a boxwood terrace of my own as a tribute to you. Thank you for always leaving me sweet comments.

The Polished Pebble - Kelley, your homes and gardens and even boat are so gorgeous and you are so full of imaginative ways to beautifully decorate all these spaces. You are a great source of inspiration to me, particularly your use of color.
An Urban Cottage - Steve, I think you are only 1 of 2 men that read my blog (Kevin may be reading this!) and I love your input always. You are smart and funny and I adore your cottage. I know you are taking time off from blogging this summer and I hope you are having more fun than me!

There are a zillion more bloggers out there that I follow and read everyday. I could go on and on. Oh, Blighty, I love you too! See, I'll shut up now.
The point is that I think you are all fantastic and thanks for putting up with the endless boring slew of pictures of my home and garden.


my rose garden

Alex (no.2) & Meg (the girlfriend)

My rose garden is my favorite part of my garden. I don't know why but it is hard for me to capture just how beautiful it is on camera. I have no photography skills at all so if I capture anything special, it's truly by accident. There are almost 70 old roses in this section. It has really been a labor of love restoring it.

I love this old concrete pedestal and fruit basket. I admired it for years while it sat in a neighbors carport surrounded by junk. No. 2 son negotiated it's ransom when he was a teenager and it has been with me ever since.

The Hostess of the Humble Bungalow has tagged me with a series of questions. I'm terrible at these things so I am only going to answer two of them.

Who do I have a crush on?
Mick Jagger. Always.

If I could spend one day in someone else's body, who would that be?
Jackie Kennedy Onassis. To figure out how she maintained her beauty and grace with so much drama and tragedy in her life.


4th of july

To all my dear sweet friends who always leave such sweet and thoughtful comments. I wish you a happy 4th of July and thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the love, encouragement and inspiration you give me to carry on.

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