Tuesday, August 16, 2016

600th Post: Q & A and 6th Blog Anniversary

Thank you so much for returning to reading this blog. I greatly appreciate your sweet comments of support during my absence. I missed you too. Your sincere words meant a lot to me. Grazie. I did not intend to take a break, but life certainly threw me for a loop and I was trying to hold on the best I could. That story simply does not have a place on this blog. I identify as a lifestyle blogger, so without engaging in my beloved hobby lately, I felt like a piece of myself was missing. It feels so good to be back. Inspiring others to live well by indulging in simple pleasures, cultivating signature items, and elevating the everyday is important to me and I plan to continue as long as possible. Short-term, I hope to use August to slowly get back into the habit of blogging. Starting in September, I plan to return with my regular schedule of posting every Sunday and publishing nine times a month for 31-day months and eight times for months with fewer days for the remainder of the calendar year. I wanted to make a point to publish today because August 16, 2016 is this blog's 6th anniversary! Check out my first post here.



Finally! My special 600th post, my first Q & A!



First of all, thank you for your fantastic questions! I hope you enjoy my answers!

Questions for the italiagal:

Andrea asked, 
I'd love to know your thoughts on self discipline and routine/ritual, vs. going with the flow and enjoying the moment. Which works better when, and how much?

In recent years, I find that I thrive on routine. My life runs smoothly based upon routine. I work to develop good habits which makes accomplishing tasks natural, eliminating making decisions. Deciding on something or creating a plan takes energy and actually saps self discipline. As a result, I get more done. Plus, when you keep up with something regularly, it doesn't pile up, thus take longer to tackle. This allows more time for play.

As an INFJ, I think about how I can improve pretty much constantly, so it's ideal to do my chores and then relax. This doesn't always happen, making my down time not so relaxing. Like after a shift, for example, I may need a immediate break to sip wine, eat cheese and crackers, prepare and eat dinner, and/or relax before jumping into that weeknight's designated chore. Regarding my routine, the following is what I usually do each day of the week. I accomplish more on Sunday and Monday, the days I am off from work.

Michelle's Cleaning and Chore Schedule:
Sunday: grocery shopping; make tea for week; laundry
Monday: cook and bake for week; clean kitchen; wash windows and sliding glass door; dust
Tuesday: vacuum
Wednesday: clean bathroom and mop kitchen floor
Thursday: vacuum
Friday: schedule payments/pay bills
Saturday: take out trash and recycling

Instead of designating a particular day, I also stay on top of weekly and monthly beauty-related routines by checking the same items off a couple of master lists. Although, I usually focus on accomplishing them on and soon after the first day of the week or month to get them out of the way.

I know myself. I am also well aware that my energy level is at its lowest around 7:30 PM each day, so at that time, I usually rest. At least, I know to not try to blog and try my best to clean up after dinner by then until I regain some of my energy and creativity to resume my evening activities. In addition, I have been slowly rising earlier and earlier. I am consistent about it too, even rising at the same time on weekends. I feel most energetic and creative during the morning and early afternoon. I strive to accomplish as much as I can when I have the most energy and give myself a break when I don't.

I am value-driven and truly believe that balance is key in life. If I work hard, I could play hard, but really I need a bit of time alone not doing much of anything. The Italians have a saying, dolce far niente, or the "sweetness of doing nothing." That definitely restores my energy. I need my energy back in order to be my best. I suppose I schedule time to be unscheduled! I do love to be spontaneous every once in awhile. So concerned with happiness, I make a point to savor simple pleasures daily. Any preparation, purchasing ingredients or making a plan for the outing or activity, tends to be done on a weekly basis.

Again, I always want to improve as an INFJ. Once I have a handle on new habits, I don't spend a lot of time acknowledging my progress, but quickly add on more instead. I know the way I want to improve my productivity next. I want to write longer to do lists under each day in my planner, more than those chores listed above. I could make this a habit either every night or morning. This would be effective for those as needed chores like carpet stain removal. When I am efficient with tasks, then I have more spare time to do whatever I want ...or like I said, not do anything for a bit. I could also schedule leisure activities as well, that way I may actually do them. After that, I must come up with a blogging schedule or plan.


Stephanie asked:
1. How do you keep your apartment clutter free?

This is about motivation and values. A place for everything and everything in its place. I firmly believe that every single thing needs a home. I like a straightened home, with everything put away. This is not really a specific chore to check off a to do list for me, just something I do after finished doing something. For example, if my laptop battery dies while lounging on the sofa, then I plug it in at my desk to sit there, arranging and fluffing the throw pillows before I leave. I prefer things finished.

I grew up in a messy household, complete with an antique dealer mom, and I no longer care for that. I truly live who I am as an adult (and I've always wanted to be grown up). It is important to surround myself with beauty. I need a beautiful home. My ideal is a decluttered home. I promote only possessing, finding a home for, and taking care of what you love, use, and find beautiful. Less is more. I don't keep stuff I don't like. Having regularly decluttered for years, I no longer accumulate bags of trash and donations, but focus on mail/catalogues, coupons, freebies, the little things. I also enjoy entertaining and hope my home is ready for company at any moment. Sometimes, when life is hard for close friends, it's nice that time spent in my apartment without too much visual noise along with me actively listening acts an oasis. Also, I love Instagram now and don't wish to capture a messy background! Plus, if I am truly trying to live the chic life of a domestic goddess, then it is fitting that my home should be straightened and definitely clutter free.

2. What was your favorite thing you did on your trips to Italy and Paris?

In both places, what comes to mind first is having breakfast. In Italy, standing at a bar shooting back an espresso and eating a cornetto or seated at a table sipping a cappuccino in a mug accompanied by that cornetto. In Paris, savoring a pain au chocolat with a cappuccino on a bench in the courtyard of the Louvre with Elizabeth. I had to acquire a taste for coffee and it makes me think of Italy. Plus, I really love carbs. This meal is also at the beginning of the day of travel, exploring a new place. Few things in life are better than that. I am filled with anticipation for what I will discover.

3. It seems like you take your time deciding to make purchases. What is your process for deciding what items you will bring into your life? Do you plan ahead and budget for them and if so, how far in advance do you plan?

I'm actually quite decisive, especially when the item is perfect. If it does not match my vision, then I must decide if I am going to settle at that moment. Purchases are actually delayed because I simply do not make much more money than it takes to cover my bills. That is a choice; it is a dream to live in my apartment with a balcony on my own, plus I like having a job that I enjoy and that is important work. I am an INFJ, so I either obsess over something or do not like it much at all.


Once I see something I like, which is usually online since I do not like to drive and thus I am not often in stores anymore, I would like to have it right then and there. I like things finished. This doesn't happen a lot though. So picky, I can scroll through whole websites and go through entire malls and not like anything. I don't think that so many things are "cute" like other women seem to. It would be easier if my standards weren't so high.

But often I do not have the money or the money I do have is already designated for groceries, wine, beauty and cleaning products, and gifts until my next paycheck. In that case, I pin the item, add it to my Amazon.com Wish List and/or Shopping List on my phone. I try to spend less in one area to devote money for the item or use part of a larger paycheck with some commission money. The second I can afford it, I buy it. Early on a payday Friday, possibly before espresso if you can believe it, I tend to order something off my Amazon.com Wish List. Of course, all my bill payments are already scheduled to be taken out that day.

If the item is over $100, then I may not be able to afford it ...or it would take me a long time to do so. In fact, it could languish on a list for years. Over the years, my parents have generously given me the desired yet costly item or given me money towards it on a special occasion. With many of my possessions, I can look at something and think Christmas or birthday [gift] ...or perhaps something I needed for a new home. I look at my white comforter, for example, and think Christmas 2015. My mom likes getting each of her children a big gift he or she wants at Christmas and then to shop for a few little things that she thinks we would like. I say that we've been spoiled for our entire lives and it can stop. I am incredibly grateful for their help in making my apartment a home though.

I enjoy shopping for home items much more than clothing and anything else. As a lifestyle blogger, I deeply care about how I live and what I surround myself with. As a traveler, I will save for over two years for an international trip. I always prioritize spending and saving.

There are times of the year when I working a purchase into my budget isn't as difficult. Typically, I can afford more and acquire wishlist items and everyday things more quickly during the summer when I collect more commission in my paycheck. I usually decide which paycheck I am going to use instead of which date I am going to buy it. I also believe in the capsule wardrobe. Usually you shop just before the season is to begin and then once set, you stop shopping. I usually spoil myself around my birthday. When you are paid every two weeks, I think there are a couple of months a year that you have a third paycheck and one of those would be dedicated to enjoying my birthday in the spring. I like to splurge on a day trip, longer travels, or a shopping spree in the fall, but I suppose that I save a lot of the other one to help get me through Christmastime and the winter, a time without much commission. People just don't tend to move in through 29 inches of snow...

4. What is your most favorite blog post that you have written?

This is a difficult question. I truly love places, so writing all about what I did on a recent trip would be among my favorites. Check out this one from my first days discovering and delighting in the beauty that is Paris. Furthermore, whenever I move to someplace I love, I would like to do another weekly series highlighting the discovery of a new place within that city or town.

5. How did you unplug from cable tv? I guess I'm curious how that is going and if you have an alternative form of entertainment with subscriptions like netflix or other things. Thanks!

One September years ago now, I donated my outdated TV. Before then, I only had a few channels. My favorite was TLC. I watched the same episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta, Long Island Medium, Breaking Amish, and Sister Wives over and over again. I wanted to stop wasting my time and go out, especially after I move to a new place. I decided to eliminate the distraction. I thoroughly enjoy life without cable.

It wasn't only shows I kind of liked, I also felt obligated to watch the evening news, a bit of the Today show in the morning, State of the Unions, Olympics, award shows, etc. because "I should" and to use what I viewed in conversation in coming days. Instead of watching the news on TV, I now learn about what's going on from theSkimm weekday newsletters. I love them. They are actually geared toward those real life conversations. If it's the weekend, I may log onto Facebook to browse and come across an outraged post about some sort of violence from a friend, despite having very limited friends on the social media site. I may also spot an odd image on Instagram. Curious, I immediately go to google and click News to check out the top stories, and it's always a match.

Right before I got rid of the TV, I bought myself a Kindle. I truly replaced TV viewing with reading.

In addition to my Kindle, I use another device, my computer. I watch the full episodes of House Hunters International posted on their website. That's my only "current" TV show at the moment. I also watch movies every once in awhile on my laptop. I suppose I got into YouTube this calendar year. Subscribing to several channels, my favorites are The Daily Connoisseur and How Jen Does It. I truly look forward to Monday when typically there's a new video on both of these channels. I do not have and have never had netflix. I do have Amazon Prime however. I'm on my second membership, with no plans not to renew. I sometimes watch a movie for free, but not any of the TV shows (yet). I am far more interested in the free 2-day shipping perk than any other.

I actually just received the generous gift of a small used TV from a friend on Sunday afternoon, but it's not functional yet as I was not yet given the power cord. I still have no desire for a cable subscription, but my media viewing may possibly increase with a bigger screen soon. If it's hooked up to my computer or external disk drive, at least I can hostess movie nights again!

I do my laundry at my parents' place every Sunday or rarely Monday and since the TV is on nearly 24/7 there, I usually watch some TV at that time. Say Yes to the Dress is usually on during Sunday afternoons. It's not like that's all I do there, I may eat, spend time with my mom doing other things, or play with the family dog.


Fiona asked:
1. You live a very simple and peaceful life it seems, what is your inspiration for this and how do you top up on inspiration?

I'm an INFJ, so I have a complex mind. I'm always thinking and every thought is connected to another one. I use a lot of these thoughts to daydream like you. I believe in balance, so because I am far from simple on the inside, I strive to have a simple lifestyle. Plus, I value simplicity and am very value-driven, so I do strive to lead a simple life for its own sake. Therefore, my motivation comes from within.

I love decluttering because it allows you to live with only the items you love and use. I find tidying resources online. If I truly feel I need cleaning or organizing inspiration, I may view videos from the YouTube Channel How Jen Does It. I especially liked to read decluttering articles online, mostly from Pinterest, but that has sharply declined since I discovered what works for me after reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I love her decluttering criteria of asking, Does this spark joy? I believe that's the way to go. I happen to disagree with so many of her organizing principles however. Many of your blog posts actually always stick with me, Fiona. Now that my life is calming down a bit, I need to read your book [Thirty Chic Days: Practical Inspiration for a Beautiful Life] again and take notes for more inspiration.

I have an irrational fear of driving, currently do not own a vehicle, and was raised to be independent in practical matters, so I tend to walk to accomplish as many errands as possible. Like you, I enjoy walking to do errands because it resembles a European lifestyle. I stroll to the grocery store, a big box store, and a liquor store nearly every week (except when I make myself drive there for practice). It's combining exercise and errands. I go in what I'm wearing at home and for the day, so it eliminates the need for separate workout clothes, which is simple.

I also love routine. This makes life simple, since you do not have so many decisions, you do something at that time every week as a habit. I have a cleaning schedule, for example. My beauty routines are a bit more flexible, checked off a weekly or monthly master list. I don't think, oh, I haven't done a facial mask in awhile, I should do that tonight because I've already decided on the frequency. My firm belief in habits stems from Gretchen Rubin and her book Better Than Before.

2. What is a typical daily routine like for you? (I always love reading these - nosy!)

I wake up insanely early to brew a couple cups of espresso in a moka pot. I lay low, allowing the caffeine to activate me before I get ready for the day. I shower, straighten my wavy hair, apply le no makeup look, get dressed, put on earrings, spritz my signature scent, and have some time to do something like send an email before either going to work or tackling my to do list on my days off.

Tuesday through Friday, I walk down the steps to the office by 9 AM and walk back up the steps after 6 PM. On Saturday, I work by 9:30 and am off at 5. When I'm not terribly busy (like I am the last two weeks of July and the first two of August), I take a lunch hour at home. Usually I eat leftovers for lunch, possibly salad when it's fresh early in the week.

I like to wind down with a glass of red wine accompanied by cheese on crackers after work but before dinner. Or I could wind down by taking a walk immediately after work, weather permitting. (Unfortunately, it's been very hot and humid here lately.) On a budget, I eat a lot of pasta for dinner, maybe salad early in the week, but have a few different dishes I can cook. I enjoy cooking. I sneak in a chore between the things I feel like doing that evening. Sometimes, I have a friend over Thursday evening. Reading in bed is something I usually do before I go to sleep. I try to shut down screens with an alarm on my phone at 9:45 PM, so I can sleep better.

I live for my days off. Besides that maintenance schedule of cleaning and preparing for the week, I usually have a plan, a mix of both fun (either alone or social) and down time. Of course, it changes every weekend. One day of my last weekend, I was social. On the other day, I spent some time in the kitchen, preparing foods that celebrated summer, pesto and beef kebabs. I usually always walk to the store(s) after getting ready Sunday morning. I usually bake for the week (or more) every Monday morning, stocking my freezer with most of the batch. In fact, I changed it up with blueberry muffins (from the Betty Crocker box mix) yesterday.

3. If YOU wrote a book, what would it be called and what would it be about?

For years and years, since I love reading, I thought if I wrote a book, then it would be an Italy travel memoir like Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. Now, I think it would be a book of life lessons learned from a specific trip to an Italian destination, something similar to Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris by Jennifer L. Scott who wrote about her study abroad experience in Paris or the lesser known Bonjour 40: A Paris Travel Log (40 years. 40 days. 40 seconds.) by Karen A. Chase who documented but further reflected upon a long 40th birthday trip to the same city. I'm not sure what it would be called yet, but I would work hard on the perfect title.


Kim asked:
1. I am interested in how you budget as well. Especially groceries. Also in your daily and weekly planning. 

I pay my rent with one paycheck and all my other bills with my other paycheck each month. So much of my budget for groceries, cleaning supplies, beauty products, and extras depends upon how much I have left over in that next paycheck. I usually spend $20-$30 each week at the grocery store, about that much each week at Target too, and about $17 at the wine shop either every week or every other (depending upon how I entertain). Rarely, especially during the summer with better paychecks though, I will spend double that amount, but spending over $60 would be odd. I really work the discount app Cartwheel at Target and try to buy things on sale in general. I do not buy a lot of more expensive meat. During the winter, I would limit myself to 10 or so items a store as well. The 10 items on my grocery list. I add items to my grocery list and my separate Target list in a notepad on my desk throughout the week. Just before I am off to go shopping, I slip these two sheets of paper into my handbag. At each store, I only grab a cart a time or two a year. Instead, I limit myself by loading up a basket at both the grocery store and Target. When that's full, it's time to check out. Plus, I usually walk to the store and am able to tote a basket full of items back. 12 items or less, I usually use the self check-out lane at the grocery store. When I spent more than usual at the grocery store last time and chose another lane, the cashier remarked that I carried so much in the basket. I quickly replied about it's a way to limit myself due to budget. In addition, maybe once or a few times a summer, I'll buy tomatoes, other fresh produce, and maybe sunflowers at my local farmer's market. I love to eat, so I always have an idea of what I want to have that week and it's fairly consistent week-to-week, but I don't really meal plan. I should start meal planning so I can add some more variety to my diet, listing ingredients for new recipes to try. I strive to live well within my means.

2. How did you decide what clothing types worked best for your body type. 

I still have Stacy and Clinton's (of TLC's What Not To Wear) words regarding what fits and flatters in general in my head. I am very concerned with what works for me and may even comment upon silhouette. Whatever makes me appear longer and leaner! I have an hourglass figure so I like elements that work well with that: v-necks, a tailored or wrapped waistline, and knee-length A-line hems. Or for pants: bootcut, straight leg, trousers, maybe ankle or cropped. Nothing skinny, flare, or boyfriend. Nothing can be too loose nor too tight. A top shouldn't be too long and cover my hips, calling attention to  their width. Anything with a bit more polish like dark denim. I like structured fitted garments like a sheath dress or fitted blazer. A lot of structure reminds me of the Duchess of Cambridge, a style icon for me. I love classic style. I want to own those essentials in a capsule wardrobe every season such as a white shirt. I love black ballet flats. One of my favorite accessories is a bright scarf. I prefer jewelry that is simple, delicate and classic like diamond (well, cubic zirconia) studs. I live in turquoise tear drop jewelry on summer weekends though.

3. How did you/do you decide on beauty products and skin care routines. Looking forward to all the Q & A.

Honestly, I tend to rely on what I have always used. I do not happen to try new products often as I cannot afford it. When shopping in Target, I quickly pick up the product on my list. I do not browse. Even though I love expertise, I have not asked a professional working in skin care about my own skin yet.

For makeup, I've always bought CoverGirl at the drug store or a big box store until I somehow learn of a better product in a magazine article, pin on Pinterest, blog post or YouTube video. I put a mask of makeup on to achieve a look like I'm not wearing any! Sometimes I just like the names of colors, especially the nail polishes by OPI and Essie. I love a travel-related name. I'm wearing Red Hot Rio by OPI in honor of the Olympics on my toenails.

I don't have a lot of money for an extensive skin care routine either. I do hear about cult classics like Simple Micellar Cleansing Water and St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub and manage to buy these products with a Cartwheel discount at Target. I also regularly replace Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer with Sunscreen, picking it up from Target as well. I found my facial mask, the Epicuren Volcanic Clay Purifying Mask, from a recommendation from one of the Madame Chic books. Jennifer wrote that it deeply cleans out pores and the ones on my nose are big. I order it on Amazon. Affordability is also a factor in deciding upon how often I engage in my skin care routine. I can only afford to apply my facial mask twice a month. If I doubled that amount, using the product once a week, then I would have to replace the little tube twice as often.

4. Any beauty magazines you read on a regular basis? 

I no longer read beauty or fashion magazines, but did for years. I might possibly pick one up for the beach, but usually opt for a lifestyle, a home decor, or a travel one instead. Not into trends, I was usually disappointed. After I had read The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own by Nina Garcia and started to think about cultivating a classic style that was really me, I found that I was no longer interested in treating myself to an expensive fashion magazine every once in awhile, or for the beach or train. Instead I go online as I enjoy blogs for recommendations, Pinterest for resources and YouTube for favorites, empties, and hauls.

5. How do you choose the books you read?

I rarely enter bookstores or my local library anymore to browse, so most of the books I read I discover online. Often, I will stumble upon books from amazon's suggestions, especially those similar to what I have previously purchased on the website. I may read one promoted by Shannon of The Simply Luxurious Life, especially in a This & That blog post that publishes every Friday morning. Sometimes, theSkimm will recommend a book in their newsletter. A blogger, reader or other person I follow on Instagram will share a photo of a cup of tea and the cover of a book, and I will then investigate the title on amazon. I will also read books written by the bloggers whose blogs I follow, although I try to limit my blogroll.

In addition, I do have favorite authors, so will read any historical fiction from Tracy Chevalier and any of the Madame Chic series by Jennifer L. Scott.

I prefer easy, breezy books such as novels during the summer, but can be more serious with non-fiction during the fall, winter, or even spring.


5. Are you on Goodreads?

No, I am not. That may be an easier way to record what I read rather than draft lengthy reviews on my blog, but it's another social media site, and I already spend too much time on Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube with a little bit of time on Facebook as it is. At this time, I'd rather not keep up with another one.



Again, thank you for all the questions! I truly appreciate your assistance in making this blog post a success. I hope I helped someone with an answer.



20 comments:

  1. Wonderful read! Welcome back :)

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    1. Thank you! It's so great to be back! I appreciate your comment.

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  2. WELL worth the wait! I just read your post and have to go out to run errands but my plan this afternoon is to go back and re-read and absorb it. Thank you so much for doing this. There are so many ideas here that I want to adopt.

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    1. Grazie! Thank you again for your patience and your comment.

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  3. Happy Anniversary Michelle! I love how disciplined you are with your routines. I am always striving for this as I do better with set routines but living with others often throws in a monkey wrench. As always I'll be looking forward to your Fall Capsule Wardrobe post :-)

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    1. Thank you, Lori! Please note that discipline with routines comes with a lot of time and practice. It's my busy season at work and after such a long Wednesday, I don't want to come home and clean my toilet but I do because that's what I do. I rely on the habit. Letting things pile up means it takes longer to tackle and because of that, you're less motivated to begin. It's nice to have a clean home and less stressful in case company comes over. I understand how living with others would certainly complicate things though. You can only control what you do.

      I ordered three classic staples for my fall capsule wardrobe this weekend. I am happy to continue shopping after my paycheck on the September 2nd.

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  4. Thank you again for providing these answers. I've had time to really read this in depth and I love your tip for shopping for groceries with a basket instead of a cart. I always grab a cart no matter how much I'm shopping for, but I will adopt the basket habit instead. It's a great way to stay within budget. I also love the idea of limiting it to 10-12 items to stay in budget. The way you shop is actually very European and inspiring buying only what you need and what you can carry and not making huge supermarket hauls requiring a car and many bags to transport everything. I also really appreciate your answer regarding how you plan purchases and keeping your home clutter free. It is super inspiring!!

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    1. You're very welcome. I'm not sure I recommend limiting anyone to 10 items though. Maybe 12 or 15 if your pantry is well stocked. With 10, my fridge was still pretty empty after a trip to the grocery store. I was poor at that time and that's simply what I had to do. I also had a little notebook so that a list of ten items filled the page, like dinner taking all the space on a smaller plate, tricking myself a bit. But what it comes down to is priorities. I'm sure I directed some of my usual weekly budget to funds for having a good time on my daytrip to Philadelphia back in March. I actually limited myself at Target and the grocery store this week because I am also purchasing pieces for my fall capsule wardrobe. Thank you so much for your words.

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  5. Welcome back Michelle! What a wonderful in depth post. Yes, love all your answers, especially about the daily routine. Love the detailed of your day..I was off alcohol for a long while but visiting my family here have me winding down to a couple of glasses of red wine or bubbly. I can't wait to get back to my daily routine. Thanks and happy 600th post anniversary!!
    Cheers!
    Pingxo
    espritdelavie.com

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    1. It's good to be back, Ping! Thank you. What a trip you had! And I saw on Instagram that you safely landed in Bangkok. I look forward to reading about your daily routine and simple pleasures.

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  6. Michelle, wow, thank you for such a wonderful post. I love learning about your thought processes and can see that you have intentionally created a beautiful life that supports the way in which you desire to live. What an inspiration! Thanks so much for answering my questions; I really enjoyed all the answers you gave to everyone's questions.

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    1. You're welcome! Thank you so much for your comment.

      I also wanted to express how grateful I was to read and be inspired by your latest 30 Chic Days blog series. It's one of the first things I read each morning during a tough time. Each post often took my mind off things and I looked forward to the next one.

      In addition, I just finished listening to The Simple Sophisticate podcast you were on and enjoyed it. I hope you return to Paris soon!

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  7. Happy 6th anniversary! Amazing how time flies. I didn't get a chance to ask you a question but it would've been similar to the daily routine one that someone else asked :)
    Hope you enjoy the rest of summer! I look fwd to reading more of your posts.

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    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy the rest of summer too. I have so much to catch up on!

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  8. Hi Michelle-

    So happy to see you posting again, congratulations on your 600th post!

    Haven't had an opportunity to sit and enjoy your entire post but very much looking forward to it over the weekend ;-)

    So happy to see you are back!!!

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    1. Hi Lori! Thank you for your comment! I'm happy to be back.

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  9. Michelle, loved this so much - so many things I was nodding and saying, yup, yup. I love The Skimm. And also my toes have Red Hot Rio right now (do you find it smears or comes off easier than other Opi or is it just me?) Also, I budget much like you do and think I have similar style preferences in clothing. I'd given up blog reading for more writing time but I try to check in with Fiona's and yours and a private one written by a friend and that's about it. Congrats on your six years.
    Kristi B. (formerly of La bella figura)

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    1. Kristi, I'm thrilled to have you read my blog! I still miss your's. Even after all these years, I remember specific posts... You writing about a sundress you lived in during the summer, old jam jars as glasses at a dinner party, your Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. I'm happy to hear you enjoyed this post as well. You may be right Red Hot Rio... That color chips so easily for me. It's my favorite lacquer for a pedicure and I often use it, but I just thought I was harder on my feet this season, busier at work, more shoe options, no socks. I love Fiona's blog too and I just listened to the podcast The Simple Sophisticate where she was the guest. I highly recommend listening to this latest one on the blog The Simply Luxurious Life. I think you would enjoy it. Thank you! I hope to continue to blog for years to come.

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  10. Thank you! I love your blog and will definitely check out that podcast when I get off deadline! Thanks!

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  11. Did you know you can shorten your urls with AdFly and get cash from every visitor to your shortened links.

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