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This is my curated homage to opulent living that is seldom about money, yet is rich in spades. This collection of discovery is an itinerary for those who believe that life is elevated when an array of small joys are thoughtfully strung together.

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pleasure taken seriously

bb13

Blackberry Cordial Recipe That You Can Make In Your Backyard In Time For Memorial Day

04/21/2013

This recipe for blackberry cordial goes out to my late Grandma Beck who, when offered tea, coca-cola or water during a visit to my in-laws, famously replied, “No, thank you. But I’ll have a scotch on the rocks.”

She was in her late eighties at the time, but had an unapologetic fondness for good liquor for as long as I could recall. I think Grandma Beck would have loved this recipe, and even the anticipation of waiting for it to mature. As a country girl through and through, she would have also loved being outside while making it.

Backyard Blackberry Cordial

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of fresh blackberries
  • 2 cups sugar (I used raw cane sugar)
  • 1 quart of vodka Read More
dreams

What do you really want?

03/26/2013

This story is called The Mexican Fisherman. If it were told by a Southerner, it would be called Going Around Your @$$ to Get to Your Elbow. Either way, it’s a very poetic reminder that sometimes we work hard to get the things we already have. Enjoy!

The Mexican Fisherman

gray-quotation-marks-mdAn American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “only a little while.”

The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”

The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.” Read More

chores

Just do the d@mn dishes already, and save your marriage

03/07/2013

Faithfulness, financial stability and sex (or lack thereof) can make or break a marriage. But according to a study described in this piece from The Atlantic, couples without a clear-cut system for delegating chores are setting themselves up for failure. Yep, household tasks like cooking and cleaning are the third-most indicator of marital success.

From 2001 to 2004, UCLA researchers observed the lives of 32 dual-income middle-class families from Los Angeles. Conflict arose more often among couples with ambiguously defined clear as mud expectations of each other. On the contrary, partners with clearly defined domestic roles were more likely to feel appreciated and respected for their contributions to the household. This conversation from one of the couples interviewed in the study sums it up nicely:

Travis: I mean, she’s no—she’s not a saint in terms of keeping the place clean and, uh, fixing stuff or—she doesn’t fix anything.

Alice: No, but I cook meals. I just can’t do it all. I don’t. But I made you dinner tonight.

Travis: That’s good.

Alice: There you go. I’m no saint, but I just can’t do everything. I can’t buy all the groceries, cook the dinner—

Travis: I know, but just for the—don’t you think that there’s—you know that little board we have on the refrigerator?

Alice: Mm hmm.

Travis: Why don’t you use that and, like, say, like, um, write me notes?

Alice: [I don’t want to.

Travis: [Number one, dishwasher. Number two, rain gutter.

Alice: To be honest with you, I don’t want to have to tell you to do stuff. I want you to figure out that the—that the dishwasher needs to be—that you need to figure it out that the dishwasher needs to be—

Travis: I did. Did you ask me to fix the dishwasher, or did I?

Alice: No, you ordered a part, and then six months went by and we don’t know what happened to it. I don’t want to be, like, micro-managing you. Anyway, that’s a whole other story.

Just reading that makes my right eye twitch. The resentment and frustration are palpable.

Although it’s taken years and tears (mine) to get here, the Mister and I are at a mostly happy place of expectations regarding household management. In a nutshell, I handle any and all things stemming from the needs of The Baby Kittens. The Mister, on the other hand, deals in the dirtier matters of taking out the trash, unclogging toilets, yard work and the like. This balance of tasks has worked out just fine, but now the girls are approaching the pre-teen years.

They have crowned themselves the Queens of All Inexperienced Know-It-Alls, and have proclaimed that their Dad and I are the biggest @$$holes in the world. I’m paraphrasing, of course, but you get the point. Getting the muck out of the garbage disposal isn’t looking too bad these days. I may need to sit down with the Mister and renegotiate our terms. Happy wife, happy life, yes?

How are chores decided in your household? Read more about the study here.

nine2c

9 Grams of Life

03/07/2013

|1.| Drizzle (olive oil, honey, sea salt, pepper, rosemary) for my sweet potato. Yes, ma’am.  |2.| “Appreciate yourself and honor your soul.”  |3.| Getting his full raptor sleep on.  |4.| DIY Ginger Hair cleanser + 5 more natural beauty recipes  |5.| Aloe vera at the farmers market.  |6.| “The less you own, the less that owns you.”  |7.| Our house guest for the weekend–the class pet.  |8.| This mug has my name on it. On sale for $4 at Pier 1.  |9.| Black cat

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DIY Whipped Coffee Body Butter + Basic Whipped Body Butter Recipes

02/21/2013

Baby, it’s still cold outside. Worry not, however. This DIY recipe for Whipped Coffee Body Butter provides the ultimate in winter skin protection. It’s easy to make and contains two of my fave ingredients–tamanu oil and vanilla. Enjoy and try not to lick the bowl!

DIY Whipped Coffee Body Butter

(via Soap Queen)

Ingredients

You can get the full tutorial for this recipe over at Soap Queen. However, if you’re looking for a staring point for your very own whipped body butter recipe, try these on for size (via Natural Beauty Workshop).

Read More

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