Ease into 2014 with perfume (and other) simple pleasures

simple pleasures Happy New Year, everyone! (Ann here, playing swap-a-rama, filling in for Portia today.) As the holiday frenzy comes to a close, it’s nice to step back, congratulate yourself for getting everything done and making it into the new year. And what better way than to pamper yourself and enjoy a few simple pleasures, perfumed and otherwise. Here are several of mine:

Burning an incense stick or a strip of incense paper, such as the Papier d’Armenie ones. Then walking back into the room a few minutes later, getting a nice whiff, and just stopping to enjoy the scent and the ambience it creates.

Showering with Lush Rose Jam shower gel. Now this is saying a lot, coming from a not-all-that-long-ago reformed rose hater. I’m enjoying this more than I thought I would, and even more than the Rose Jam perfume itself. Which I really liked dabbed on, but when I sprayed, whoo-eee! A bit too much Lemon Pledge accord out of the gate for me, although it dried down nicely. From now on, after a spray of this, I’ll have to give my wrist a wide berth for about 15 minutes until it settles down, or just stick entirely to dabbing.

simple pleasures 2 Heading out to the tennis court with my son and/or DH. Santa brought me my own tennis racquet (no more hitting with hubby’s honkin’ one), so I’m really enjoying attempting to play with the guys. I’m still pretty rusty after not having played for years, and with my bad knee I can’t go racing cross-court for a ball, but I’m enjoying doing what I can. Now that I’m out there more frequently, I can feel myself getting my groove back a little. It’s just nice to take in the fresh — albeit bracing — air, do something fun and enjoy seeing what a good player my son is becoming.

And of course, being the tea gal that I am, curling up with a favorite cuppa has got to rate as one of life’s greatest simple pleasures. Any mug will usually do, but once in a while it’s nice to pull out a good teapot and cups and go a little up-market with an oh-so-chic French macaron or fancy pastry. Light a candle (I’m loving Diptyque’s Ambre and Voluspa’s French Bourbon Vanille at the moment), curl up in the recliner or couch with a good book or movie, and voila! Instant happiness.

So please share with me: What are your favorite simple pleasures, fragrance or otherwise, this time of year? Or what are you looking forward to most in 2014?

  • maggiecat says:

    Oooh, yes to all the tea lovers out there, and please count me among you! Good quality coffee in the morning, then tea for the rest of the day. And candles. And incense. And perfume samples, may they continue to come my way!

    • Ann says:

      Yay, Maggiecat, another tea (and coffee) lover! You’ve hit on all our favorites for sure. But I just realized that all along, we’ve left out chocolate! Horror of horrors! 😉

  • Dina C. says:

    Dear Ann,
    Happy New Year! I’m another tea lover, so a great cup of hot tea is very high on my list of simple pleasures. A good book to read is right up there, too. Others include: scented candles (I’ve been burning Pacifica Persian Rose lately); my wool tartan throw; warm Ugg slippers in Radiant Orchid; and scented body products like the Pacifica Persian Rose. The sight of a freshly vacuumed room is always uplifting, too. I’m spending this week putting away Christmas decorations and getting my home back in order. 🙂

    • Ann says:

      Happy New Year to you, too, Dina! I like the sound of your SPs, especially your tea and Uggs 🙂 ; you’ve got it down to a fine art, it seems. Enjoy all your goodies.

  • Caroline says:

    Think I’m the only perfumista who hasn’t succumbed to Rose Jam mania! I’m quite happy with L’Occitane’s almond shower oil–don’t need another bath product. My simple pleasures, in addition to the usual tea ritual, are hot vegetable soup and sticking my feet in a heating pad after the zillionth round of snow removal. Happy new year, Ann & all the Posse peeps!

    • Caroline says:

      forgot to add–LL Bean hand warmers! Don’t know why I didn’t discover these things years ago…

    • Ann says:

      Thanks, Caroline, and happy 2014 to you as well! Heavens, don’t worry about the Rose Jam; sounds like you’ve already found the perfect product for you. And those hand warmers sound mighty fine. DH got me some cute striped fingerless gloves to use indoors and I’m loving them as my hands were getting quite frosty here at the keyboard.

  • Tena says:

    I am so lucky this week – my sister-in-law is bored, so she went to our house today and cleaned!!!! Today, the smell of Mr. Clean is the nicest one ever because it means that someone else scrubbed my bathroom, changed the sheets to the fuzzy warm flannel ones ( -16 F here) and ejected the more vibrant items from my stuffed post holiday fridge.
    I will add a spritz of Diptique Philosykos to the cold water humidifier, stock up the wood stove and snuggle in with my 2 greyhounds and a glass of something French and red instead of cleaning toilets. I am blessed.

    • Tena,
      That is one AWESOME sister in law. You must have done something very good to deserve her, WOW!!
      Portia xx

      • Ann says:

        Echoing Portia here, Tena — you are indeed very blessed! And enjoy those flannel sheets –they are sounding better and better here as we’re sliding into the (semi) deep freeze. I’m thinking about getting some for us very soon, as in yesterday!

  • malsnano86 says:

    Simple pleasures:

    Hugging my kids.
    Writing.
    As Portia mentioned, fresh sheets!
    Homemade boiled custard.
    Burning holiday candles (a sample of Via della Basilica, Thymes Frasier Fir, B&BW Winter, AG Noel).
    Scented body products – like The Body Shop Moroccan Rose or Moringa body butter, or my cherished new Memoir WOman lotion).

    • jen says:

      I love that frasier fir scent, even tho it’s iin the 70s here and Im sitting outside in the gazebo reading…

      • Ann says:

        Jen and Mals, count me in right alongside you guys in the Frasier Fir love fest. It was a lifesaver this year during Christmas for us as our beautiful tree had little to no scent.

    • Ann says:

      Hiya, Mals — so nice to see you! I’m going down your list thinking, “Check, check, check …”– except I don’t think I’ve ever had boiled custard, so I’ll make that a “maybe.” A perfume pal sent me a little jar of the Memoir body cream and it is fabulous indeed. So glad you got yourself some.

  • wefadetogray says:

    My simplest pleasures of all is a cup of very hot green tea and a small biscotti. I crave it the most when I am outside and I am freezing. It’s crazy cold in NYC. Fragrance wise, mmmmh, tough question since I scent myself according to my mood. I just got a sample of Ambre d’Or and I am so happy with it. As of late and already into 2014, I have enjoying massively, L’oiseau de nuit. I believe it is full bottle worthy 😉 I am looking forward to some physical healing, a job, and to see my family.
    Happy 2014!

    • Ann says:

      Ah, green tea and a biscotti — perfection! Glad you’ve found two new scents to enjoy; both sound great. Hope you feel better soon and will find a wonderful job that’s just right for you.

  • Martha says:

    Where does a person find Papier d’ Armenie? I’m intrigued. I don’t normally burn incense, but it isn’t because I don’t like it. I just don’t think about it. That Rose Jam shower gel/soap is getting A LOT of love in some other blogs and forums I read, and I am itching to get over to my nearest Lush store and get some.

    • Ann says:

      Martha, they sell the basic version at Beautyhabit dawt cawm I know, but I always get mine on eBay. I have had very good service with a seller named khoung there and he (she?) carries booklets in several different scents, such as traditional, rose and another one or two, I think. I didn’t even have to light mine; just having the packet atop my hutch perfumed the whole kitchen and breakfast area for a good long while. Do try the Rose Jam while at Lush — even better, see if they won’t give you a little sample jar of it to try at home. It’s popular, to be sure, but is not to everyone’s taste, so it’s always nice to try it first.

  • Laurels says:

    Ann, I think you were the one who recommended Ruby Red Chai Tea from Trader Joe’s, and if so I want to thank you. I’d tried a different brand of rooibos tea and disliked it, and was under the impression that all chai tea came presweetened, so I would never have tried it otherwise. The holidays sans cookies and eggnog would have been much harder to get through without my delicious tea to look forward to.

    • Ann says:

      Laurels, I don’t think it was me, but glad you found one to love. That chai you mention sounds pretty good, so I will have to investigate. I know there are chai mixes out there that are presweetened that you can drink as is and some you mix/dilute with milk or other liquids. But I tend to think of chai more in terms of actual tea (usually black or rooibos) mixed with spices that come either bagged or loose.

  • eldarwen22 says:

    I’ve been trying to use what I’ve already got perfume wise. My full bottle collection keeps growing while my decant pile is starting to shrink. How do I know? I’ve ordered full bottle of A La Nuit since I’ve been wanting it since forever and Zagorsk and that was bought unsniffed. I haven’t been able to kick back these past couple weeks but the simple pleasure of wearing perfume has been my simple pleasure. I don’t know what it is about traveling and no. 5. No. 5 is very wearable and soothing when traveling.

    • Ann says:

      Nice scents there, Eldarwen. And very smart to be using what you’ve already got; I’m trying to do more of that myself. Glad to hear No. 5 is a good companion for you — I’m all for anything that helps alleviate the stress of travel these days.

  • Tiara says:

    About 3:00 each afternoon, I love making a cup of tea (I’m boring….a plain ol’ Lipton bag works for me), grabbing a book, and reading until the tea is gone. After Christmas, I feel I have extra time after the rush of the holidays and so enjoy just stopping for a while.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Tiara. Lipton works just fine — it’s all good! As much fun as the holidays can be, it is nice to be able to kick back and stop for a bit, as you said. Take care and stay warm …

  • rosarita says:

    Hi Ann, our simple pleasures are very similar, just swap the tea for coffee 🙂 I found a beautiful dark green leather chair on Craigslist last month and it’s perfect for reading. A good friend recently gave me the softest fleece throw I can imagine, and the combination of comfy chair, throw, good book and a spritz of something cozy has me feeling very content – today’s scent is Prada Intense. I’d forgotten how good it smells.

    • Ann says:

      Hey, lady! Love your combination there; I can even get behind some good flavored coffee, but decaf only. BTW, that chair sounds divine — perfect to curl up in and ride out this winter.

  • Farouche says:

    My latest simple pleasure has been burning my new Diptyque Figuieur candle, a Christmas present from my daughter. Just lovely, but if I don’t slow down, it will be gone before the end of January!

    • Ann says:

      Hi, lady! That is such a wonderful gift from your daughter, and each time you burn it, it will be a nice reminder of her. Try not to worry about using it up — just luxuriate in it — you deserve it! If I find something like that that I love and am going through it rather quickly, right away I’ll start saving my pennies to get some more. Enjoy!

  • Sherri says:

    I’m like Katrin. I love to get up early in the morning to have time before everyone else awakens. I, too, love my coffee and perfume blogs and testing samples in the morning (that way I can get a shower should I happen to get a scrubber).

    Ann, I also LOVE the MFK incense paper you sent! I just tried it this a.m. (I found it after Christmas cleanup; I had forgotten about it!) It is BEAUTIFUL! Such a beautiful rose note and one strip is scenting a large great room nicely. Must.order.these. Thank you! These would have been great last month when I had our new kittens confined to the office with “natural” unscented litter (phew…sooo glad they’re out and over that!). They don’t burn long, but the scent lingers which is perfect!

    • Ann says:

      Hey, sweet Sherri and happy New Year to you and your family! Ah, another morning person, lucky you! I really envy you folks. I’m happy you’re enjoying the incense papers; they are so nice, aren’t they? And so glad the new kittens are growing up a bit. Enjoy them!

  • Musette says:

    Helloooo, darling! I am such a bonehead (and forgot the switch this week) that for a lonnng minute I thought it was Monday! LOL! What a doofus iz I!

    My simple pleasures change with the seasons – right now we’re experiencing tons of snow, a nice little gale-force wind and 11F. I’m pathetic – by 6:30p I’m showered and slathered-up (usually in something like Epic or Jub25) and I’m in the bedroom/girlcave, sipping peppermint tea and dreaming of Careyes. I don’t even like to walk through the house because the Cold Monster might bust into the house and get me!!!

    I’m just pathetic. 😀

    • Ann says:

      Oh, sweetie, not to worry — I had to write it on my calendar in big red letters to remember, ha! Now I need to go through my checkbook and write 2014 on — let’s see — oh, the first 30 checks or so, at least until I get in the groove 🙂 I know what you mean about getting cozied up in your room and not wanting to leave; who could blame you? Hope the weather eases up very soon for you. It looks like we’re headed into the deep freeze now as well. Hang in there!!

    • rosarita says:

      Hi Ms A, I’m with you on the weather and you know I’m a winter lover…. I got up and grabbed my coffee this morning and promptly got back under the down comforter to drink it. That wind sneaks through every spot it can in my little old house. Stay warm, doll 🙂

      • Musette says:

        Baby, this house is old and busted and we need a new roof. You can imagine. Plus we have a long, low front porch and the westerly wind, when it gets a-goin’, sounds like a flute (in fact, a visitor said “oh, I woke up to such lovely flute music!” – and was astounded to find it was just the wind whistling through the porch eaves)…..I’m okay during the day – in fact, I enjoy taking the boyz out for a quickie or just taking a minute to shovel the walk, so I don’t get all cabin-fevered…but come the dark….ew!

        xoxoA

  • Welcome to 2014 Ann, I hope it treats us all well and that it’s mainly filled with good stuff.
    It’s funny you put the Flower Tea picture in, we had one of those after dinner tonight, I love to watch them unfold.
    Simple pleasures?
    Cooking, a bath, fresh sheets, a full glass of cold milk and I’m TOTALLY with you on the incense, you would be appalled at my collection. DRAWERS of incense. See a pattern?
    Portia xx

    • Ann says:

      Howdy, dear Portia! Thanks and hope your 2014 is going well so far. Glad you, too, enjoy the flowering teas — they are so lovely. And those drawers full of incense — wow! It must be such a treat to open one up and experience an olfactory rush.

      • Yes the sizzle of incense is what you get when you enter the house. My drawers are a Queen Ann side table in the hall and it scents the hall and into the living room and kitchen. I am mortally afraid of the house smelling yuck because when we were kids the animals were allowed in the house and it smelled of them, I couldn’t smell it but my friends would complain.
        Portia xx

        • Sally M says:

          Ha! Your comment about the house smelling of animals reminded me of when I’d come in from riding and my sister would hold her nose and whine about “horse poo” (even when I hadn’t been mucking out the stables – I guess it was a sibling thing). To the contrary, I used to own a herb/metaphysical store and people would come in and say “OOOO what’s that wonderful smell?” Erm – any one of a hundred incenses, 250 herbs, 150 teas….

    • malsnano86 says:

      Oh, fresh sheets! SUCH a pleasure.

  • katrin says:

    Curiously, my story seems to include some opposite elements: I cannot wait to start the new day, to wake up in the morning before everybody else, and have a quiet cup of coffee (and why not? check out the perfume blogs), and most importantly, experience the thrill of dousing on myself some new perfume. I usually test out samples at the start of the day when all is still fresh

    • Ann says:

      Katrin, that sounds quite nice. Wish I could do it but it’s all I can do to get up early enough to get my son off to school. Early sampling is a smart idea; if you dislike something, you still have time to put on a favorite later. Hve you tried anything lately that you loved?

      • katrin says:

        Oh yes, PG’s Corps et Ames– I love its dry, quiet and a bit dark glow. Luckily, the sandalwood is not too creamy, the spices are not too strong, nor the geranium. The sample was a joy to wear, but sadly is gone now.

  • Sally M says:

    One my most enjoyable simple pleasures is after dinner each eve, settling down on the couch in front of the fire and under my fleece blankie, and reaching for my Ipad where I willingly overdose on perfume blogs. A pot o’ tea beside me, my fat black cat on my legs – my blissful reward at the end of the day.

    • Ann says:

      Oh, Sally — a woman after my own heart! 🙂 Although no lovely cat here 🙁 What kinds of tea do you enjoy most?

      • Sally M says:

        My favorite tea is Jasmine Pearl but I do enjoy most white and greens. as a tea merchant I’m lucky to be able to sample seemingly endless brews, but I still keep coming back to the JP. What do you like most?

        • Ann says:

          Oh, that’s right! I just remembered from a previous post that you are our resident tea expert! 🙂 I tend to like most teas, with the exception of the lapsang souchong types (a little too smoky for me). But I do like the JP very, very much as well. And I find myself frequently drinking some blends (or making my own) that contain the pearls, gently flavored rooibos and Silver Needle white tea. The more antioxidants the merrier, I say!