Today I´m blogging off-topic. I´m a sucker for that perfect little thing that adds joy to your daily grind. I´m always asking friends – wow, where did you get that fabulous pen/coffee/pair of gloves? The holiday season isn´t that far away, and I´m gathering stocking-stuffer items like great hand salves, wonderful gardening gloves, one of those reversible multi-head screwdrivers (which we keep in the kitchen drawer.) You get the idea. A slight variation: those small-necessary-splurge items that, if yours broke or you ran out, you´d go to that obscure store or oddball website and get a replacement pronto.
I´m traveling; I´ll be back on Wednesday night, although I expect I´ll read your comments if I can find access. Please – give it a bit of thought and leave me a comment about one of your favorite small pleasures – for your house, in your garden, a beauty product, accessory, whatever. If you feel like sharing your secret I´d love to know.
Three everyday things that give me foolish amounts of pleasure:
1) An old-fashioned glass lemon juicer. There´s a reason these things are still around, both in kitchen supply stores and elsewhere as antiques – they work really well with a minimum of fuss and maintenance. I squeeze lemons every day – for tea, salad dressing (sea salt, lemon and olive oil), and on various foods. Using this juicer is oddly satisfying in an era of high-tech gadgetry and electronic items I can´t figure out how to program. Those little bumps catch the seeds, you pour the juice from the spout, and it takes seconds to rinse off in the tap. I love it.
2) Aprons. I should be more embarrassed about this, but somehow I´m not. I like to bake, and all too often I have to clean the house. And it´s a lot more fun if I pop some silly music on – like one of those Paris café CDs – and tie one on – an apron, that is. The kids have their own aprons, and I have a cute collection of new and vintage ones. Folding laundry? Cleaning out the closet? Consider one of these charming aprons from Anthropologie (and I´d wear one of those in public over a white cotton shift), pour yourself a glass of vino and get in touch with your inner Martha. Lee and Tom — you could totally work one of these.
3) Unlike a lot of fragrance nuts, I don´t use much other scent in our house – no potpourri, no scented candles (actually, no candles except for tapers on the table at dinner, where they make fish sticks look so much more elegant.) But I do love my scented bars of soap – they smell nice in the bathroom, I´m assuming they´re more eco-friendly (no plastic bottle to toss), and the kids can´t dump them down the drain in 30 seconds or squirt them on the dog. I’m a big fan of Pacifica – they´re vegan, natural oils, etc., plus they come in amazing smells. The bars last a long time, and the smell doesn´t fade. My favorite right now is Mediterranean Fig (a green, sandalwoody fig rather than cloyingly sweet), and I’m partial to their Woods and Resins line (especially Tibetan Mountain Temple and Roman Frankincense), Thai Lemongrass, and Madagascar Spice (peppered clove). I think most scents also have body lotions and candles.
Barbara Bui Update and Giveaway – I swear nobody´s paying me to write about this, I paid for my bottle of Barbara Bui Huile Blanche (literally, white oil – it´s further described on the bottle as “a satin-smooth body mist”) from Perfumes from France (she threw in a Barbara Bui tee shirt when I told her I´d do a giveaway). It´s a subtle take on an already subtle fragrance, so note the word subtle three times in this sentence. It´s milky and it comes in a spray bottle (!), so it goes on with the same fine mist as a fragrance. I have dry skin; it soaked in quickly, left a gentle note of the fragrance, and gave my skin a sheen that looks pretty and youthful but not oily. This would be particularly nice if you want very light scent along with that moisturized look but not the oil slick. Did I mention it´s less than 20 bucks?
Today´s Special Giveaway is called: Guess that Serge. While I was at Art With Flowers I fell in love with another Serge Lutens I´d never really noticed. Which one was it? Further clue: it´s not Miel de Bois. First person to name my new Serge Love gets the Barbara Bui tee and a sample each of the Barbara Bui fragrance and oil, plus whatever else I throw in there, you never know. If nobody gets it I´ll do a draw among the commenters.
No idea about the Serge. But, I’d say my indulgence/happy thing, while not exactly an item, can be bought. I love getting a perfect french manicure or just a good manicure. Afterwards, I can’t help but constantly admire my hands for the rest of the day. It just makes you look so put together and polished(pun intended).
Late to the party, but I loved your fun post. I’m on the same team as Galileao’s Daughter, and will guess Fleurs de Citronnier for your Serge Lutens. It’s often overlooked, and if memory serves, you are a citrus fan, no?
I also agree wholeheartedly with your choice of Pacifica soaps. They smell wonderful don’t they? My favorites are the florals: Neroli, Persian Rose, and my penultimate all-time fave French Lilac. You don’t even need to take them out of the box to enjoy their scent. I buy a few at a time and use them to scent my dresser drawers. They also make very nice body butters too – I have one in Lilac that I slather on anytime I crave spring.
One of my fave home products: Nature’s Ultimate orange oil cleaner. I recently discovered this cleaner in my local Organic Food market, and boy is it ever handy. It’s made from orange rind oil, and while it is pricey, a tiny bit goes a long way. A small amount can be diluted in water and it makes copious amounts of suds. You can also put some in a spray bottle with water to spritz surfaces. It’s wonderful for instantly cutting right through grime or anything baked on. Smells great (like fresh orange) and best of all – non toxic! Make me happy every time I clean!
Not worth much as a gift item but your post reminds me of my favorite Earth Friendly (think that’s the brand) cleaning product. It’s a parsley based spray cleaner & it smells wonderful. Same as the orange does for you, it makes me feel happy when I smell it. And yes, safe for the environment & my kitties.
Has anyone mentioned Daim Blond? I’ve lost track… Well, if it turns out to be DB, don’t bother sending it to me cos I’m not really wild about it 🙂
Water heaters are essential for a (instant[NescafÃ©]) coffee drinker like me. I’m also obsessed w/ shampoos and will buy a new one just to see if it makes my (very short!) hair look any shinier. There are currently some 15 shampoos in my bathroom, 2 of which are used regularly. 😀
I just reread your post and realized it’s not a sample of your new SL love that you’re giving away, but BB. Wishful thinking I guess…
I’m just now reading this post, so everyone have already beat me to practically every available Serge (and some that are unavailable here).
Speaking of the Great One, I was in Barneys today, bought Chergui and Fumerie Turque (they don’t tell you on their web site, but both are available in store). All the SA in the beauty department were lovely, but once I went up to the fashion floor it was a major attitude and downright rudeness. I need to sleep on it for a night or two, but I see a scathing blog post in my future, and I know there’s someone at their headquarters who reads me semi-regularly.
As for little pleasures, I just posted this evening about a lovely lip scrub and balm set that I’ve been enjoying lately. It’s addictive while doing wonders for dry lips. Another beauty product that never fails as a lovely gift is Chanel nail polish. Everyone loves Chanel and for $19 you get a little bit of magic.
Home products from Caldrea and Mrs Meyer smell good and are kind to the environment (the former has pretty packaging, the latter not so much).
For the kitchen, I’m another loose leaf tea fan. I order online from Harney & Sons (lots more variety than what you see in B&N stores and other places that carry them). They have cute tea pots and more important: tea filters in a couple of sizes. I have several ones, use them all the time and they hold for years (and are dishwasher safe).
Well, I was going to guess datura noir, but twibbet beat me to it, so I’ss say Rahat Loukham..
I’m going to guess Chergui is your new found love,because of it’s honey notes.I love to burn scented oils at night to help get rid of food smells and relax me.I have several unique oil burners.But my favorite are the blue crystal and ceramic musicians.I burn lavender,lemon,cinnamon and rose oils to scent the whole house.
I know I’ve told you this before — that someone gave me 2 bars of Frederic Malle’s Vetiver soap. It is the most amazing home scent I know. I still have part of 1 bar, and when I want to scent my office, I just open the soap box and voila. If I had a zillion dollars, we’d have a bar in every soap dish in the house (but since I don’t, I’ve made those 2 bars last for over a year).
Hm, I was going to say Santal Blanc but that’s what everyone is going with 😕 OK, I’ll take a wild stab at Datura Noir. I recently got to visit the Perfume Shoppe again and tried Datura on one wrist and PG Cadjmere on the other – interestingly similar, with the slight coconut note, but Cadjmere is my new Holy Grail comfort scent. Yum.
Oh, and a foolish pleasure or two: Lothantique The Vert bath soap, a bottle of good bourbon, my messy but wonderful front garden. I have a plastic lemon squeezer, now I want a glass one.
Pacifica! How strange that you posted this today–I just tried two of their perfumes yesterday. In short: skip ’em.
In long: Fig was so far from its “earthy” description that I was irritated I had sacrificed my wrist to it. Sharp, high florals, unflattering and strong. How does something go from so lovely in a bar to so eye-wateringly wrong on my skin? Spanish Amber, on the other hand (well, wrist), was warm and interesting. For about twenty minutes. It never went bad, but it didn’t really develop or change. Stale, and I then longed for the Nazgul. I would totally buy that in a soap, but of course, that’s the flavor they never have here.
I have no idea on the Lutens, heh. But I will wear Clair de Musc tonight because everyone else reminded me of how lovely it is.
I was going to guess either Vetiver Oriental or Sa Majeste La Rose (just cos I was more interested in them the second/third time I smelled them- also Douce Amere comes in that category- liked it after an hour of wearing) but I think somebody’s beaten me to both..:)
And oh..the lemon juicer reminds me of home..I need one too!
Hopping on the Clair de Musc bandwagon — definitely the Serge scent Most Likely to be Overlooked. But I’m also throwing in a second vote for Cedre, since you’ve just recently overcome your cedar phobia.
My can’t-do-without is this little plastic knife sharpener that my Dad got for me one year. He is extremely fussy about his knives and went through all kinds of high end stuff before settling on this little plastic gadget. I lost mine in a recent move and then (oh joy!) found it again at a restaurant supply warehouse. The manager and I had a little bonding moment over it, agreeing that it really worked. In fact, he told me that some chefs have actually found they have to be careful not to oversharpen their knives on it because it will wear the blade down.
Just found it (or something just like) on Amazon “Accusharp Knife and Tool Sharpener.”
Also–my wine pump–put the plastic stoppers in and pump all the air out. Presto! No more homemade vinegar…
Ooh! Ooh! And my little eye pillow! (Bean bag thingie filled with flax seed that you can scent with essential oil if you want to — laid on one’s eyes it magically relaxes your hear and neck. Don’t know how, don’t care…)
Well, I was going to guess Douce Amere, but I see Judith beat me to it. Great minds, etc. If you do like absinthe–and, as you know, absinthe makes the heart grow fonder (groan)–you should also give the Ava-Luxe Absinthe a try unless you’re still dead set against cedar and you hate a mint top note. I’m very fond of the fragrance and know a bottle is in my near future.
The pleasure-giving objects that comes to mind are herb-filled pillows that one can pop in the microwave and then drape around various parts of one’s anatomy depending on the shape. The one I use most is shaped for the neck, but the mitt one can be a godsend for sore hands. I got mine in Maine from a Maine company, Grandpa’s Garden, but there are others around. I think L.L. Bean has started carrying Grandpa’s Garden because in their catalog I saw a pillow in Black Watch plaid that’s just like mine.
Hey, somebody ought to call a fragrance Black Watch. I wonder if they have.
I’m with Marina on Clair de Musc.
Plants make me happy. And having seed packets. I like a lemon squeezer too.
LOL. Monkey Man. :d
Oh, I’m going to guess… rousse?
I’m not the proud owner of four new aprons. My husband thinks you’re really bad for my budget. 🙂
My latest gizmo is an electric tea kettle water thingie. I got tired of heating water on the stove, so this is perfect!
Kettles – they’re strangely absent in the USA – what’s that all about?
I’m going to guess Vetiver Oriental.
Pacifica makes a few scents as perfume, too. I’ve been tempted, but haven’t tried them yet.
I’m trying this again, for some reason last night I couldn’t for the life of me get my reply to post.
I’m guessing it’s Douce Amere. just for the heck of it.
I’ll guess Ambre Sultan for the Serge. Two reasons: first, no one else has mentioned it :)>- and second, it’s that amber time of year. :d
I’m a fool for kitchen gadgets. But if I have to narrow it down to a few favs, I’d start with my food processor. I use it every day, several times a day. I don’t think I could cook without it anymore, it’s that integral to my process. Another one I love, and have never seen offered in retail, is a circle-shaped short-handled metal spatula that is absolutely perfect for removing cookies, biscuits, rolls or anything else round from a baking sheet. This was my grandmother’s gadget. And since I’m no spring chicken myself -lol- this must really be an antique. And on the totally frivolous side, I adore my corn butterer. It’s a plastic sleeve you put 1/2 stick of butter in so you can butter your corn. As you use up the butter, a plunger on the bottom pushes it up toward the top. Silly, I know, but for some reason it pleases me. Having been raised in ‘corn country’ where the ubiquitous veggie was eaten in some form for every meal, I most likely use this more often than the average cook would.
My current favorite beauty item is an olive oil stick. I use it as a lip gloss, on my cuticles, my eyebrows and lashes, my elbows and heels, on healing cuts so the scab won’t itch, I’ve even used it to tamp down flyaway hairs. The darn thing is so versatile I keep one with me at all times.
Man, I don’t even know where to begin guessing on the Lutens, so I won’t.
I recently needed to pick up a bar of soap for the boyfriend who complains when he is stuck with my body wash, so I walked into a new little store across from where he works rather than RiteAid. And I LOVE the bar of Mrs. Meyers that I picked him up. It’s supposedly lavender, but smells more like rose combo that makes the whole bathroom smell divine. I’m actually going to put in an order for household cleaners when I run low, it smells that nice.
For items I love, I love my garlic press. I use garlic in just about every meal I cook and it keeps my hands from smelling like garlic day in and out. And I think I bought it for like $3.
I am guessing Clair de Musc.
Little pleasures…hmmm…I love pretty and unusual dinnerware-tableware. A set of good-looking plates will make me very happy indeed 🙂 Also, Really Nice soaps and shower gels.
Bois de Violette? Just guessing here.
There’s a fun brand at the drugstore called The Healing Garden. They make a variety of products and have nice little gift travel packs. There are shower gels, body splashes, and lotions. I love their “Fig and Lavender” combination.
A fun kind of coffee is Nescafe if you can find it at a Mediterranean or Greek food store. It’s totally different from the kind sold in the US and is what they use over there to make cafe frappe, iced coffees. It’s very powdery and dissolves well and is 100% stronger than the US variety. I bought some this summer in Turkey and it’s almost gone so I need to go out to the specialty store for more. It’s exotic too with the Greek lettering and all!
Sa Majeste, of course! J/K! 🙂 I’m going to go w/ the Santal Blanc crowd. Or have you discovered the magic of Arabie yet? Can’t remember if you have cumin phobia or not.
I’m absurdly in love w/ beautiful silk, linen or velvet pillows. We have an obscene number in our house and I still get more. There is nothing more comforting to me than collapsing on the floor against a bunch of pillows in front of a book shelf. I have minimal use for couches or chairs – just give me pillows, the floor and sturdy bookshelves. Currently am loving the Multi-function pen I got from MOMA. And DH knows the best gift he can give me is a bunch of river rocks he’s collected – adore them beyond reason. The only thing in the kitchen that I *need* is my spice grinder. Also couldn’t survive w/out my white noise machine – especially when traveling. Am thinking of getting the Bose Quiet Comfort 3 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones as well for home use. If anyone has tried these and knows if they will *truly* cancel out Beethoven played *loudly* on the piano, would love to know. OK, and these may not make a gift list, but I can’t help but mention how much joy my Swiffer cleaning products and Mr. Clean sponges give me each day. How did I live before them?
Swiffers !!! I adore them too !!!
All these sound lovely; I just saw some great aprons recently (throught an email). Must search for them. On the SL–I will guess Douce Amere, because it get hardly any press but really is nice (and I need some).:)
On the aprons: There were several sites, but so far I hsve only found one:
These are half aprons, but still really cool, I think:)
On the Serge front, I’ll throw a wild guess: Sa Majeste’ La Rose. Nobody has mentioned it and you detest most rose scents. Miracles can happen !
Small daily pleasures:
1) In the office. I am obsessed with my Pilot Hi-Tecpoint V7 pens, in black. I love fountain pens but as I am left-handed, I tend to make a mess on my hands. The ink in the Pilot is so flowy and smooth and glossy, but dries very quickly. Superb.
2) At home. SpaceNK (UK beauty chain) does small incense sticks in a cute box. I love Mediterranean Evening and feel it’s a real luxury to light one up.
3) In the kitchen. I second Carol. Adore my cone-shaped black rubber / stainless steel Rosendahl wine stopper. It’s beautiful, sleek and incredibily useful. A good pressie too.
March, this is kind of why I set up my website, so everyone could track down beautiful useful items, as well as sometimes cute and completely useless items. I feel like I have done nothing but write about Holiday items for weeks, and still not quite there.
My top choices would be our real Italian coffee machine for those weekend cappucinos, a fantastic corkscrew that had fairly rubbish reviews on Amazon that has been amazing, and just for fun the Star Wars USB memory sticks that I put on mens gift of the week last week. They’re from some really nice people in the US, who were just so darn friendly and have so many cute designs.
And I can’t add anything to the Name that Serge, as I would have gone for Fumerie Turque or Arabie, which are already snaffled 🙁
I’m going to guess Bois de Vanille, just because I love it.
I also have a juicer like that, but mine is at least 30 yrs old, metal, and fits on top of your cup so you can squeeze right into your measuring cup, bowl, etc.
Handy household little things … good cloth napkins. Environmentally correct & kinda upscale. I don’t have any but my bf & brother both use them & I find I like them. It’s on my List.
Will think of others, need more coffee first. Oh hmm. French press!!
Er, that’d be Un Bois Vanille. Not enough coffee yet.
Oh. And, another household pleasure: the little penlight on my keychain. I need it to see my way out of my dark hallway & back in again at night. Last year for Xmas I got a friend of mine a very cute little Japanese one from thinkgeek.com.
Also, high test catnip toys. Nothing like winding the kitties up & watching them go to amuse the humans 😉
I am a lip balm junkie, and currently my brand of choice is Badger–readily available (in upstate NY, anyway!), not too expensive, and natural. Everyone in my house gets a new tube in their stocking! And, I’m w/ Camille on the Microplanes…gotta have one for cheese, chocolate, citrus zest…Best recommendation? Everyone I’ve given one to loves it.
Oh, yeah, Serge you overlooked. I’m guessing Vetiver Oriental. It’s a great scent when it works…not real run-of-the-mill.
About 6 months ago I tried to find one of those classic lemon juicers in Bed Bath & Beyond and the salesperson looked at me like I had 10 heads â€“ sheâ€™d never heard of such a thing. Oh well.
Here are a few little things I love having around:
The kitchen: #1. Several decorative wine stoppers. You need at least 2 in case youâ€™ve got a red and a white open and youâ€™ll never have trouble trying to get a cork (especially the plastic ones) back into a bottle, and #2, a garlic peeler – a nifty rubber tube you roll the garlic cloves inside of that takes off those skins in a second. Beauty: Shiseido Pureness Oil-Control Blotting Paper. I simply canâ€™t do without these and buy the packages 2 at a time. Blots my mid-40â€™s face that still gets shiny by mid-morning and leaves it much fresher looking. Hubby even grabs one if I pull them out in front of him. Tried other brands over the years and this one is the best.
Wild SL guess â€“ Fumerie Turque.
What a fun post to ponder as I leisurely sip my coffee – no school today, so no work for me. That Christopher Columbus, what a guy! I’m with Camille in guessing SL Santal Blanc, just because it sounds nice to me and I don’t recall reading much about it.
As to simple sources of satisfaction in everyday life, one is my Pampered Chef swingaway type handheld can opener. I’ve had it for about twenty-five years, and it has held up to daily being used and washed and thrown in a drawer. I also have a round hand held chopper that looks like a biscuit cutter, except that the cutter part is scalloped and mildly sharpened. It’s wonderful for chopping hardboiled eggs for salads, apples for apple crisp, nuts, etc. I live in Amish country and it’s one of those lowtech Amish-y things that are so practical. My mom gave mine to me when I married, along with her apple crisp recipe and the proper pan. I did the same for my daughter.
Please tell me where I can buy one of those choppers that look like a biscuit cutter. I’ve been looking for some time and can’t fine one.
Pat, here you go!
I was going to guess Rousse but Louise and Kim beat me to it so my second guess is Chene.
I have a green juicer also, was my grandmother’s and I also use her rolling pin. Both items at least 50 years old.
I also just purchased a salt grinder that actually works for chunky sea salt, can’t remember the brand. My favorite cool thing I discovered is Willimas Sonoma Brining Blend with citrus and herb. Oh my! Use it for brining but also ,in smaller amounts, use it for seasoning.
March, I’m going to guess Santal de Mysore because Lee once described it as “sandalwood and curry goodness” (if I’m recalling correctly), and for some reason, that sounds like you. (Maybe because I’m thinking of your Thailand adventure.)
Loved your post. My favorite little daily pleasure is L’occitane’s Almond Shower Oil. It’s so silky that I often use it as a shampoo, too. And the smell is yummy!
Oops! Just realized that Santal de Mysore is in his non-export range. Guess I’ll cast my vote with those who guessed Santal Blanc.
Hmm. Phooey. I was going to guess FdC, but GalileosDaughter beat me to it, so now I will have to guess Clair de Musc. I only have half aprons, and they are very cute but more useful as accessories than for household chores, I think!
I hate to say it, but it’s probably Rousse. I still remember your “meh” face on that-but if you could learn to love BdM, anything is possible. On the honey issue, I pulled out my SL sample the other night…and I liked it. No pee-pee, just nice woods, honey-I would have like more woods, but the honey hung softly around for, yep, 24 hours.
Do you do the apron with spike heels?
The only essential utensils in my house are basic fix-it things…especially my Phillips screwdrivers. Love my Phillips.
I love that glass juicer – I have one exactly like the picture, it was my mothers. Also the vintage apple corer and egg slicer. A wonderful vegatal soap is Orange Rouge by Alchimia soap. I am going to guess SL Cedre…
Maybe Rousse? I seem to remember in reading through some old blogs that you didn’t get the cinnamon or didn’t like the cinnamon?
As for my small pleasures – a pepper grinder and tea. My usual salad dressing is fresh lemon juice (also like the glass juicer) salt and good olive oil. But my small pleasure is the addition of fresh ground pepper – makes such a difference! So I indulged in a good quality hand grinder that grinds effortlessly and can adjust to just the right texture. Tastes great at the end of a long day!
I also love my morning tea – I always indulge in really good quality loose tea. That first sip in the morning? Heaven!!
Fun post, March–great idea to start these ideas coming now, before holiday craziness sets in.
I love my Microplane graters–I have one in the kitchen and the bathroom, for cheese and heels, respectively. :d
Adore Longaberger coffee mugs. Their pottery in general is great, but there’s just something about the mugs’ fit in the hand, chunky rim, and pleasantly plain design that make coffee that much more enjoyable in the morning. The price of all that stuff is crazy, of course, but gotta admit I’m addicted to the mugs. The red one is the very best. 😉
Gold Canyon Candles are my last “everyday” favorite. Inexpensive candles with insanely strong “throw” and a huge range of scents. Their holiday ones are all great.
I’m going to guess your new Serge love is Santal Blanc, since I really have no idea (other than it’s not Borneo, right?) but I’m currently a bit obsessed with sniffing it again. Sandalwood and iris, oh my.
I’m going to guess Fleurs de Citronnier because it’s overlooked and I like it. 🙂
A great place for aprons is Etsy. I’ve recently discovered it and I’m completely hooked.
Arabie is one I have recently grown to love. Not exactly one I was dying to try, but it was in one of those cute little Lutens bottles-I had to get it! I’m really glad I did, the scent is so perfect for this time of year.
Oh yeah, things around the house I can’t live without, corkscrews/bottle openers(we have several of each, having more than one doubles my chances of finding one when I’ve already had a few…)and I recently bought an avocado slicer that peels, slices, and scoops. I make guacamole often and this thing rocks! Loofahs are useful and I ago through them like crazy-finally got DH to use one, major accomplishment, now if I could get him to use lotion(it is not only for women!)