Tag Archives: Family

In Pursuit of (Daily) Happiness. What’s on Your List?

Cassis, France | IPOM

There are things that bring us all happiness in our lives.

It could be a quiet moment, or a few hours with a really good book. For some it could be a run in the woods, or a call from a good friend. For me, I can always use a good laugh, and luckily there is no lack of that in my life.

I was at the gym this week, doing my thing on the stair master & catching up on some (mindless but wonderful) magazine reading (this is one of my happy places). In this month’s issue of Canadian FASHION, there is a page dedicated to New Year’s Resolutions (after all, ’tis the season). On this page, a few celebrity clothing designers wax about their goals for the coming year.

There was one I read that particularly struck a chord with me (I love those moments).

“I want to create a ‘happy list’ and encourage my daughters to make their own. A happy list is a list of what quickly and easily puts a smile on my face, like a bubble bath. I will make sure to do at least one of those things every day.”

~ Rachel Roy

Tofino - Photo by Niko Pavlo

Photo by Niko Pavlo

An amazing and simple concept, and one that can shockingly fall by the wayside all too easily sometimes. So in my own pursuit of more (happiness, purpose, substance), it strikes me that this all too simple idea simply must factor not just into the bigger picture of life, but into each and every day of my existence (I’ve personally been working on this for a long while).

So, if you’ll oblige, here are 12 things I would add to my daily ‘happy list’ – it amazes to think that these are actually at times hard to do. I’d LOVE to hear what would be on all of yours!

Here goes my 12 daily bits of happiness…

  1. A long run in the cold air
  2. An entire day or evening with my family ~ with all of my technology turned off & tucked away out of sight & out of mind
  3. A long walk with a loved one (or two)
  4. Giving something away
  5. A good meal on a truly hungry stomach
  6. Cooking in the kitchen with a favorite record on
  7. A glass of wine on the couch with my husband (love that guy) with a good record on
  8. An afternoon in the garden with my bare hands in the soil
  9. A hot cup of tea, and a moment to just sit still in the quiet
  10. A hot aromatherapy bubble bath (thanks Rachel)
  11. A few deep breaths
  12. A ride though the city on my old creaky bike (usually with the hubby ~ he makes me wear a helmet when I ride alone)

Tofino - Image by Niko Pavlo

It seems so simple, but really the best things in life really always are. So that’s my list off the top of my head ~ what’s on the top of yours? πŸ™‚

As we move into the final push of the Christmas season, I am struggling to feel as though I really need anything (I really don’t). Everything I really need is already right in front of me, or within me, and I just need to make them happen, every day. To me that is an empowering thought.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic ~ and thanks for reading, as always!

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Happiness, Health, Hope, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Rejuvenation, Success

Paris: 5 Ways We Did More with (just a little) Less

Slowing down to enjoy the view.

The Seinne in the sun is pure magic.

Make hay while the sun shines, isn’t that what they say?

Hey bloggers!!

Well it’s true what they say, the time does go fast.

It’s hard to believe it is now September, with August behind us and all that it brought. Just a month ago we were putting the finishing touches on our packed luggage…

But with September comes so many good things: back to school, back to work, and back to working on this little blog and all it encompasses πŸ™‚ I hope you’ll all stick around to see what we’ve got up our sleeves!

While we get back to normal life, it’s my pleasure to share in my next three posts a few tidbits from our time in France – starting with a few things that made a big trip not only more affordable, but really, that much better.

Travel is a real luxury, and as you all know it can sure get costly. I hope you’ll enjoy this little round-up of 5 ways we traveled well with (just a little) less.

The mere sense of living is joy enough.

Β  ~ Emily Dickinson

Our favorite statue in the city just up the street from ‘home’.

1. Shack Up

And no, I don’t mean run away with a french man on a motorcycle!

As tempting as that might be πŸ™‚ …but really, I am referring to accommodation, as anyone knows that after flights, the place where you lay your head is likely to be your biggest expense, particularly on a longer trip.

And really, fancy hotels aside (which are sweet if you’ve got the budget) – just how much time will you be spending in said place of sleep?

I referenced the quaint french apartment we took in Paris, and it was just that: small, old, perfectly lovely, and right in the heart of where we wanted to be (for those of you interested we stayed in the Marais district).

After all, this is how the vast majority of people live in big cities like this, so it was fun, and not to mention for the four of us, (just a little) less hit on the budgetΒ  & a whole lot more authentic.

Unlocking the door to the courtyard after another big day.

Everything you can imagine is real.

~ Pablo Picasso

We did just fine cozied up in our tiny kitchen, enjoying simple foods made with basics (my next post).

This was the start of the food journey that has not only affirmed my approach to food more than ever before, but forever reminded me just how simple foods made with quality ingredients are best, and how important it is to enjoy each and every bite.

After all, that is precisely what the people do in France. And it certainly shows!

Our go-to salad for three whole weeks it seems!

2. Eat In

Really!

Part of the fun of having a real place to shack up in is the chance to live like any other person might in that part of the world (at least for me it was and I suspect this would be the case for many of you too!). Cooking in a strange (tiny) kitchen is an adventure, one I was up for, and one we had a blast with.

It was a beautiful thing – heck – I was cooking dinner in Paris! What a sheer delight it was, and one I took with gratitude and pleasure.

I mentioned the produce market that set up literally at the steps to our door twice in the time we were there. I bought melons, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, nectarines, apples & berries. They were all pretty amazing, yes.

The block we stayed on had a store that stocked every fine oil, wine, preserve & jelly you could want, and the boulangerie on our block made just the right baguettes and chocolate croissants for the girls, who enjoyed them daily.

It was good living, as we say.

Not like the one in Provence, but hey – pretty darned good!

Eating in saved us tons of money, and it also meant that the three of us vegetarian girls weren’t struggling with menus (and our French) every night. It also meant we ate like royalty & had plenty of time & money left to hit the streets for some quality sight-seeing, and maybe an ice cream and a night cap (or two).

Of course, we ate dinners out too, and we enjoyed it (just a little) more when we did.

Less really was more here, and it went this way through our entire trip.

The best part? Reserving the majority of our sitting time for chilling at our favorite cafes.

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.

~ Dr. Seuss

Cafe life in France, and in Paris especially, is just about the funnest thing you’ll ever experience, as no one is ever in a rush.

The people watching is just about the best in the world, not to mention the goodies you are likely to enjoy. A few days in I gave up my afternoon coffee and switched it to white wine or beer.

And then we simply sat. And watched. And drank. And talked.

Until it was time to be on our way.

3. Set out on Foot

A big city like Paris is (obviously) more than well set up for tourists, and they are pros at handling all those visitors.

There are tour buses, stacked double-deckers, boats, bike tours, and of course, the metro is superb. But nothing is like seeing the city on foot both for your waistline and your wallet.

We walked for hours & hours each day, which many of you know is a wonderful way to get fresh air, exercise, and views that you just don’t get from a tourist bus, or underground on the metro.

Plus, how will you see that top in the window or find that off-the-beaten-track patisserie with the best pastry you ate the whole trip? That gorgeous old cathedral you stumbled on that time you got lost?

Nothing says adventure like traipsing around a city with just your bag, a camera, good company and a good stylish pair of comfortablish shoes.

More on shoes in an upcoming post πŸ˜‰

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

~ Martin Luther King, Jr

4. Pack Coffee/Carry Water

Depending on your preference for coffee, this might not apply, but I was glad to have brought along a few bags of ground coffee from home to make French Presses while I greeted the day and acclimatized.

The kids were often tired (especially at the start of the trip), and given my (fairly unreasonable) requirement for caffeine early in the day, I got amped at home before leaving the house.

I’d done quite a bit of research on some coffee places I wanted to hit – places that are doing quality coffee like we are lucky to enjoy at home. My first try yielded a closed sign (Telescope seemed to be closed for the month) and the others were just too out-of-the-way and not convenient to drag the whole brood to.

For a full list of great spots to hit, check out this post on Alice Gao’s beautiful blog here. Alas, maybe next time.

Besides, I see plenty of snazzy coffee shops here (it’s my job), and I realized that day that I didn’t need to travel to Paris to see them there too.

So the home coffee was a major lifesaver, not to mention an easy way to avoid the Oranginas and other goodies you buy every time you sit your kids at a table (cause you know they can’t sit there with nothing).

But believe me, they got plenty of Oranginas. In fact, I am pretty sure we spent more on those drinks then most anything the whole trip. But more on that in another post too πŸ™‚

And bring water wherever you go! All that walking will make you tired, and many places might leave you high and dry (read: thirsty) and succumbing to overpriced drinks you otherwise wouldn’t need.

5. Buy a Museum Pass

Okay. So really. This one made me very, very, happy.

Mu husband deserves the credit here, and this action turned out to be genius.

And not strictly for financial reasons. In fact, all in, we figured that by the end of our week in Paris, we broke even on the cost of this. The real savings, however, turned out to be of the more precious kind.

This thing saved us precious and irreplaceable time. No line ups!

Visiting Paris in August means the height of tourist season there – in fact – there were (what felt like) more tourists than locals, and given the high rate of shop closures for ‘Vacances’, I’d say this was correct.

We bought a one week pass that got us into any museum, sans line-up. A sweet deal considering we packed a good ‘sight a day’ into the itinerary. And did I mention the time savings? Brilliant.

But this is my husband we are talking about. I married him for a reason, or two πŸ˜‰

On our ‘must-see’ cultural list was: Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, The Louvre, Musee D’Orsay, Les Invalides, Versailles, The Pompidou Centre, and of course, the Eiffel Tower (which we did not go up as one of the lifts was broken) – there are quite a few more amazing sights to see, but traveling with a young one allows only so much, and these kids were stimulated to the max.

Truthfully, they were amazing. As was my husband for buying this pass. Brilliance.

Β  Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Commitment is a line you must cross….it is the difference between dreaming and doing.

~ Bernie Fuchs

Looking back, it seems crazy that all that is behind us now. Time really flies.

True to one of my fave Dr. Seuss quotes, I’ve got to tell you that I’m pretty darned glad we did that, and my smiles feel pretty darned wide.

I’ve since returned home to enjoy the blessings we enjoy here, such as good great regional food, clean tasty water, and truly great friends.

Yes, this is where I give a shout out to all of you – whether you wrote me a text to read when I landed, a thoughtful & genuine blog comment, an email, FB message, or straight up picked up the phone and called (you know who you are), you all made coming home that much sweeter, and I have big love for each and every one of you!

Thank you all for being here with me!

Looking forward to all that is to come – and next I’ll get to those top foods – I promise πŸ™‚

  • Got any tips to add to this from your travels?
  • If you could travel anywhere tomorrow where would it be?

I’d love to add any wisdom from all you fine readers out there – and let us know your thoughts and whatever might be on your travel wish list!

Looking forward to a fab fall with all of you!

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Family, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Photography, Rejuvenation, Shopping, Success, Travel, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Feeding the Heart & the Soul in Paris

Here we are. On this day, in this moment.

Take rest. A field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.

~ Ovid

Here we are! A long way from home, here in Paris, enjoying what we knew would be a fabulous time away together as a family.

I mentioned in my last post about our quaint French apartment (read: tiny), and it has been the perfect place to lay our heads each night after the massive days we’ve had soaking it all in (it will be absorbing for months to come too).

We’re having a ball, and as you can well imagine, the photos are piling up faster than I can ask (politely in English) for another glass of white wine.

With that, dear IPOM readers, I figure pictures can do the noble work of talking here, as we’ve got another 2 incredible days in the city before we head south to the country.

And it all starts with a good cup of coffee (from home).

Men for the sake of getting a living forget to live.

~ Margaret Fuller

I am thrilled to report that after the jet lag, and most importantly the perspective shift, life here is actually becoming beautifully relaxed.

Instead of afternoon coffee, I have a glass of wine, and in place of my daily run, we walk all day long until dark. Dinners are simple (both out and in), breakfast is had in before we head out, and the family feels closer than ever before.

This part of town is amazing, and we’ve got a produce market twice weekly just outside our door. The produce is almost as incredible as the bread & cheese, and cooking here in this kitchen has been a blast.

A place for everything, everything in its place.

~ Benjamin Franklin

Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you.

~ John De Paola

From the lover’s bridge (Pont Des Arts) to Notre Dame to the classical beauty that is the Luxembourg Gardens, we’ve covered pretty much everything we set out to do so far.

True to the plan, we hit one (or in some cases two) major sight see a day, which is plenty considering we are traveling with an eight year old. Notre Dame, Pompidou Center, Luxembourg Gardens, Versailles, The Louvre, Musee D’Orsay and the Eiffel Tower were tops on our list.

We’ve shopped (just a little, especially on account of many shop owners closing shop completely for the entire month of August), walked (a whole lot), and have truly lucked out with the weather (which has has been beyond spectacular).

I hope you’ll enjoy (just a little) of where we’ve been so far.

How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then to rest afterward.

~ Spanish Proverb

Be faithful to that which exists within yourself.

~ Andre Gide

As is inevitable, I arrived on this holiday knowing nothing but my current perspective at the time. Loaded with responsibility, and driven by projects, it is immensely difficult at the time to truly imagine letting go.

But it happens, because it has to. And it feels so good, and is completely necessary in every way. I am so very fortunate and blessed to have this time to enjoy with my loved ones in quite possibly my favorite place in the whole world.

On another note, you will now see at the bottom that I am testing out the WordAds program with WordPress. I’m fairly particular about the esthetics on this blog, but if there is a way to generate revenue for Not So Fast, I thought it was worth a try, so please note that all proceeds from any advertising done (now or in the future) will go directly towards charity and we’ll see how it goes!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and on anything you see in this post that you fancy. Also, with so many photos, I’d love to hear what you want to see as we wind up the first leg of this trip in the next day or so! As you can also imagine, I’ll be somewhat absent in my blog reading and commenting this month – rest assured I’ll be back.

As for us, it’s Sunday, and the shops are closed. We plan to hit the Arc De Triomphe before hitting the banks of the river for ice cream and a stroll. I love that they close the shops here for a day, I think these people might just be on to something good πŸ™‚

Thanks for joining us!

Yours in Less from Paris,

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Filed under Family, Happiness, Inspiration, Photography, Rejuvenation, Travel

Taking Cues from Country Folk & Removing My Shoes

Start by removing all pretense, then your shoes.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

I went, I saw, I ate, I reveled. I went home.

Freshly back from a visit to the country, my senses are still reeling from the sights and sounds of water, birds, soft grass, good clean food, laughter and plenty of pure unadulterated stillness.

A typical weekend visit to the family home means (weather permitting) farmer’s market visits, long runs in the quiet breezy air, and plenty of ocean-side time to the sounds of lapping water and the odd speed boat off in the far salty distance.

There, my phone doesn’t work, and neither do I.

This time of year, there is bounty in the gardens. Meals come from the yard and ingredients are picked not days, and not hours, but just minutes before preparing (and eating of course!).

Back home during the growing season, planning meals is as much about what is ready as it is about what your appetite tells you (actually quite a bit more).

Peas come and go for three weeks only, the strawberries show their bright faces only long enough to remember their soft red cheeks, and (thankfully) the kale grows for many prosperous and green months on end.

It’s a different (and refreshing) way to look at food.

I hope you’ll humor me as we walk through the garden and take (just a few) extra moments of island time.

Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.

~ Chinese Proverb

I always start by removing my shoes. The grass feels better that way, and somehow, everything seems just that much more beautiful. And real. Something about dirt in my toes.

Sometimes there isn’t an entire pints worth of strawberries left to pick and you have to enjoy what there is (these were the last ones saved for my daughter to pick).

This simple example (to me) embodies the ‘less is more’ lifestyle with crystal clarity – enjoying what there is when it is and making it last.

I won’t try to deny these strawberries were most thoroughly enjoyed. Yes, all 5 of them.

Whenever you are sincerely pleased, you are nourished.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

A quick (slightly disappointing) visit to the local grocery store offers a stark contrast to the bounty that is seen on display at the Farmer’s Market.

There at the market you can meet the guys who make your white chocolate scones and work through the night to make your loaf of daily bread.

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

~ Michael Pollan

It brings a new appreciation for where your food comes from – to see the hands that create the food for your nourishment and to lay eyes on the mouths that smile from a life of honest work.

For those of us who are blessed to live where produce grows in abundance, it seems an easy choice to buy (and eat) local.

Here in the city if I miss the Farmer’s Market, I’ve got a great grocery store in just about every neighborhood I can hit up as I need.

In many smaller communities this often isn’t the case. So more and more communities are relying on themselves, and on each other.

There are many communities across the globe who don’t have this…..yet.

After a visit like this, I return feeling more resolved than ever to work towards ways to bring food security to everyday people. Like me, (maybe) you, and (maybe) our neighbors.

There is just too much capability for abundance not to.

It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen.

~ Aristotle

It seems so easy.

1. Grow food.

You need soil. You need seeds. Add a little sunshine and diligent watering and watch it grow.

I didn’t get my veggie garden in this year, as I mentioned there is just so much abundance all around me, there is no urgent reason not to support those who are working hard to produce amazing food for the region right now. It’s on the list, but for now I am happy to support those who are already in the game.

2. Cook it.

Prepare your meals with love. Plan around what there is. Use what you have, and what you can reasonably afford.

Maybe even tuck (just a little) away for someone else. Who knows? It’s all up to you, and to us as a whole, if we decide.

3. Eat it.

Eat with mindfulness if you can. Chew with gratitude. Swallow with awareness, and look your meal-mates in the eye. Talk with one another. Fully be. Wherever it is you may be.

4. Be nourished.

Being nourished is about so much more than just good food. Start with a helping of healthy, homemade vegetables & proteins, add a generous sprinkle of gratitude & and a moderate side of humility, and enjoy the fruits of your (or someone else’s) labor. After all, it is surely delicious. Isn’t it?

These are the simple things we can do.

From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.

~ Arthur Ashe

I want to take a moment to thank all of the supporters of this blog. Having such a supportive group of readers has made this whole project take on a completely new life. This isn’t just my project anymore – I really feel that it’s ours.

I have been touched to receive notes from a few of you looking to connect about health topics ranging from the importance of fitness to a holistic lifestyle (so true – link to Susan’s site here) – to the importance of maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle for those living with terminal illnesses such as cancer (link to Jillian’s blog here).

All of you have such amazing stories to tell and I am happy to do what I can to bring awareness to wellness initiatives everywhere.

But for now, let’s eat, and take off our shoes.

We all have things we do to escape and break what can seem like difficult patterns or routines we are stuck in – or simply just to get away. I’d love to hear what you do to step away.

  • Are you a garden lover?
  • Where do you take your shoes off and really relax?

For now, let’s eat well, and enjoy!

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.

~ Muhammad Ali

Next up I’ve got a super delicious chickpea salad in the wings – you’ll want to catch this one it is that delicious! Wishing you all a super fabulous week!

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Cheap, Cooking, Family, Food, Happiness, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Rejuvenation, Salads, Travel, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Paris, Provence, Planning, and the Importance of Being Here Now.

Leaving on a jet plane..

Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.

~ Seneca

Okay, so it’s true. All true!

We leave for our family trip to France in just over a month! After spending the entire year looking ahead, the time has now come to get serious.

This means list making, packing, planning, renting obscene numbers of subtitled french films, and generally totally freaking out. We have precisely 21 sleeps to prepare for, and our stay will begin and end in Paris, which is so far my favorite place in the entire world.

My first visit was just two years ago, a quick 4 days there alone with my husband on a whirlwind first jaunt across the pond for me (my hubby visits Europe on business often and lived 3 years in France in his early 20’s).

I knew it would change my life, but I didn’t yet know just how much.

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.

Β  ~ Henry Miller

After a week in Paris, we’ll hit Beaune (in Burgundy wine country where the husband lived in the late 80’s) for a few days, and then cap off the holiday with a week in Provence (pinch me).

We are taking our two daughters, and at 14 and 8, they are not only excited, but also adding to the general feeling around here about, let’s say it again, generally totally freaking out. It’s a once in a lifetime trip for us as a family.

So how do we plan for a ‘less is more’ trip of this scale?

With all the thrill & excitement that comes from planning a huge trip like this, preparing for the sensory overload is key, and being realistic about how to handle it all is also just as key.

Here are a few things we’ll be doing to try to stay, and enjoy, each and every quality moment. I’d love to hear how you’d add to my list!

1. Pack light

Packing is a post in itself, and I may share more as we progress.

For now, we’ll begin the list making. As a family with at least one pro traveler (the husband), our philosophy on packing for air travel is simple. Light. Carry on if you can. For a trip of this length, we’ll be checking bags, but the goal is to bring only what we really need.

I’ll pack the usual leggings, a couple sweaters, a light rain jacket, one pair of jeans. A light summer dress or two, a bathing suit. Tank tops, shorts, lots of easy thin layers. Runners.

Plus, I need to leave room for (just a few) things I might acquire, right?

2. Eat in.

We’ve got apartments rented for both Paris and Provence, each for a week. This means market shopping!

This could be the thing I am most looking forward to, preparing salads and meals from simple market freshness, instead of relying on restaurants for all of our meals.

Dinner is always our highlight while on the road, and we plan to pick up breakfast and lunch snacks here and there as we crave them (honestly I could picnic on baguette and fresh fruit in the Luxembourg gardens everyday if I had my choice).

Simple, beautiful things excite me, and I cannot wait to live like a local in one of the most beautiful food countries in the world.

I just hope the purveyors at the market don’t mind my charming English.

A market shot in the Marais.

3. Take cash.

It’s no secret that I adore nice things, I am sure there are more than a few of you who are with me on that!

On my last trip to Paris, I didn’t shop all that much. Part of it was being overwhelmed. Another part of it was being with my husband (mine has about a 5 minute life span inside a women’s boutique). Another part of it was I waited until Sunday (for anyone who has been you know what I am talking about).

I left with a second-hand top and a trove of gorgeous memories. I’ve got zero complaints.

But this time, I am planning to treat myself to a few special things while I am there (insert justification here). To avoid over spending, I’ve been saving. I’m taking my spending money in cash. No secret credit cards. No regrets. Just fun.

4. The ‘one per day’ rule.

While not a big rule person, it is important when planning to not overwhelm the travelers. When planning, we’ve got a rule that we will focus each day on one major sight see, particularly in Paris. There is nothing worse than over planning and running out of time to see and do all the things you wanted ‘to check off’.

Want to feel like a failure? Over plan. I’m not competing with the clock am I?

After all, I don’t recall seeing the French rushing around trying to catch everything all at once. On my last trip, I noticed quite a few local folk with plenty of time to chill on a terrace, enjoy the company of friends, and enjoy a moment (or two) to relax.

So if we miss a line up at a museum and instead opt for a stroll through the Marais with an ice cream in hand, you won’t hear me complaining. I don’t think the kids will mind too much either πŸ™‚

5. Be here now.

Perhaps the single most important rule of all.

Planning such a big trip means spending a lot of money, and it is tempting to try to cram in too much. After all, you’ve got to get your money’s worth right?

As with anything in life, I try to see the beauty of the moment that is in front of me, and I want to teach my children to do the same. I know that the rooftop view from our apartment in Provence is likely to be one of the most beautiful things I could ever enjoy. I know there is a clean river to swim in nearby. I know there are markets and a whole town to explore.

My first ever meal in Paris. The Salad Nicoise. Veggie of course. And the waiter could not have been nicer!

This is where I’ll be instead of jumping in a hot car to drive to some other (equally spectacular) place. I don’t want to miss out on the moments and what is right in front of me, because I am seeking the ‘next big thing’.

So no matter where we are, that is where we will be.

Whether we are on the road to our next destination, or in the kitchen preparing a feast from our trip to the markets that day, that is where I will be.

With all my heart, my soul, and my mind.

Be Here Now.

~ Ram Dass, Be Here Now

With that, I’ve officially begun the countdown. It’s the start of summer, and the beginning of a truly special one.

I am overjoyed to share this experience with my family, and as I said earlier, a very special treat for all of us, as kids grow up. It’s not for forever these years, and they are both the perfect age.

My first visit to the Luxembourg inspired the digging up of my front lawn upon my return. Yes, I had gravel installed. The only thing missing is the guards.

I’d love to hear your tips on travel from a less is more perspective, and your special place in this world.

Spend the afternoon.Β  You can’t take it with you.

~Annie Dillard

Mine is here, right now. But when I’m there, that’s where it will be. The memories of those moments will be with me and my loved ones forever. Wherever we may go in this life.

And that my friends, is the most special gift I can imagine. Right now. At this moment.

What’s yours?

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Children, Family, Food, Happiness, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Photography, Shopping, Travel

On Road Tripping and (just a little) Time to Breathe.

Anyone fancy a road trip?

Life is a journey, not a destination.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Holla friends and bloggers! It’s so great to be baaaack!

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful few days over the weekend! As for us, we took a few extra days to enjoy the Canadian holiday that just passed and celebrated with the first road trip of the summer season.

We love to road trip!

Ah, open space, open roads, and open minds.

Road trips are not for everyone, and I know a few people who simply don’t enjoy time cooped up in a car for hours on end. With that, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite ‘more’ ways to make road travel (just a little) ‘less’ stressful, and maybe (just a little) more enjoyable.

Of course, if you are a lover of the open road like we are, I’d love to hear your tips!

Here are a few of our faves…

Eat breakfast. Eat it before you go, or pack it and take it with you.

Just as you wouldn’t set off for the highway without a full tank of gas, its important to start the trip with a good full tummy!

So whether it’s a bowl of oatmeal, a piece of toast, or a yummy green smoothie (my next post), enjoy it before you head off.

Or, simply throw your smoothie into a clean mason jar and you are good to go for whenever you do get hungry!

The only journey is the one within.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Pack plenty of food. The key to a good time is always good food, and the car is no exception!

Easy to eat and clean up healthy snacks are best – and are always appreciated as well!

Our faves are lots of raw veggies, PB&J sandwiches, bagels, jujubes, and easy fruits like apples and oranges.

Nothing feels as good as being prepared, and I love pulling the good stuff out of the bag and smiling while they chow down πŸ™‚

Take lots of fresh water. Staying well hydrated anytime is key, and especially on the road (even if it does mean more annoying pee breaks).

Keeping hydrated ensures you arrive at your destination fresh and ready, instead of dry and wilted.

Water helps with alertness too (for the driver). So pack lots of the cold stuff just to be safe, and pee breaks are always a nice excuse to hit another view-point!

When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.

~ Benjamin Franklin

Cover your bases. Before leaving for the road, make sure you’ve got enough supplies to keep everyone happy….toilet paper, paper towel, tea towels for extra spills, plastic bags, hand sanitizer, gravol, and pillows & blankets for those who might sleep in the back…..or the front….always me on the way home!

Remember to love the driver. I made a rule years ago to honor the driver that got me somewhere. It’s super corny, but I know my driving hubby likes a little of that love, and I like to give it.

The open road can be harsh, and driving is stressful. I try to remember the driver, to thank them, and to take care of them. So whether it’s a little neck massage, an arm scratch, a well-timed Altoid, or even just a genuine ‘thank you’ – a little goes a long way, even if it is just a little gesture.

I wonder if she is practicing mindful breathing?

Take the opportunity to breathe (or not). Anyone tried mindful breathing on the road? It’s a great time to focus on breath and calm the self for the long road ahead. Just a few deep breaths to start the trip and you might relax (just a little) more.

Now wouldn’t that be swell?

Smile, breathe and go slowly.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Get ready to be inspired. My favorite part of the open road is the possibility ahead, especially at the start of a trip!

With all the promise of a few days away, comes an unknown that brings us joy and maybe (just a little) hope. Hope that we’ll see and do things that will bring us joy.

Hope in the memories we’ll make and the sights that we’ll see. Notebooks, cameras, books and music. Anything to inspire and delight!

The world is ours to see.

Strong and content I travel the open road.

~ Walt Whitman

With this view, I am sure you can imagine we didn’t leave much, and arriving there was pretty sweet indeed.

We had a great time with old friends, and it was surely worth the drive.

The meals weren’t half bad either, as you can see from these shots of the wonderfully bustling farmer’s market πŸ™‚

  • An inspired vacation salad..

    Are you a fan of travel or road trips?

  • What are your favorite travel snacks?

In my next post I’ll be sharing with you my latest green smoothie (pictured here today), and I am so thrilled to have heard from those of you who had success with some of the recent IPOM recipes!

Thank you for your wonderful comments, support, and feedback – I always love to hear from you πŸ™‚

Wishing you all a super wonderful week!

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Children, Family, Happiness, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Rejuvenation, Travel, Vegetables

Finding More in (just a little) sharing & inspiration.

Hello Bloggers!

This is a shot of a card I bought for a very significant loved one last week. I liked it so much I thought I would share with all of you..

“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Want to know what I am inspired about today? Well let me tell you.

1. Guest Blog Posting!

A fellow blogger has featured me today on her blog – my first guest post is up over at Life More Lived – it’s an article I wrote a little while back, when I was first starting to admit I had to scale back my shopping obsession….for all of you who love to dress well and live well – you can find the article here. Life More Lived is Sara’s blog all about simple living – it’s not food based but looks at all aspects of a more minimal life – check her out – and have a read, maybe drop her a line even..I’d love to know what you think of the writing if you are so inclined!

2. Lingering Inspiration from Tofino

Here are a few shots of our recent trip to Tofino..where less meets more in a most surreal and powerful way. I am so happy to have these great shots!

Tofino is the kind of place that has it all.

It is raw, majestic, stark, and a pure, wild example of a ‘less’ landscape (water, trees, and endless beaches anyone?)..while providing a highly charged ‘more‘ atmosphere – more rain, more wind, more intensity, more calm, more reminders of the intense power present in us and in nature…

Here are a few of my favorite shots from our few days there recently – these were taken by a good friend Niko Pavlo who takes fabulous photos (obviously) over at Follow The Olive Rabbit – memories like this are worth slowing down and cherishing πŸ™‚ Thanks Nik for the beautiful work!


I hope you all get a little hit of inspiration too…..thanks for stopping by…

What are you doing to make yourself proud today?

I’ll be posting about almonds and almond milk next, for all of you looking to make your own…stay tuned!

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Aspirations, Children, discipline, Family, Inspiration, Photography, Rejuvenation, Shopping, Success, Travel, Uncategorized