Sunday, January 3, 2016

Simple Pleasure Sunday: An Hour at My Favorite Coffee Shop and a Book Review: A Chic and Simple Christmas

I took an hour for myself back on Monday, December 21st, during the hectic holiday season. Spending some time at my favorite coffee shop was the perfect little Christmas gift to myself. Such a simple pleasure of mine, there are few things I wanted to do more. Not owning a car and rarely asking to borrow a family vehicle, I haven't managed to get to this beloved place of mine two towns away for three months, since late September. My mom had some Christmas shopping to do for my sister down the road and she graciously agreed to both drop me off and pick me up on the way. While there, I savored a large cappuccino served in a cup and saucer and a chocolate croissant. Both were delicious. With this purchase, my punch card is now full and I am due a free beverage on my next visit.

I also indulged in some reading. Not one but two books on my Kindle captivated me. One was The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs by Elaine Sciolino. This selection is good, but since it's a whole book on a single street, as you can imagine, it's rather dense reading. I am reading it slowly.

I read most of the short eBook A Chic and Simple Christmas: Celebrate the holiday season with ease and grace by fellow blogger Fiona Ferris of how to be chic. (Make sure that you use the updated version. Follow Fiona's easy instructions to enable this correction from this post.) It was a nice holiday-themed read for my cafĂ© time during late December. 

Honestly, I didn't put any of her wonderful ideas into practice this year. I simply read it a bit too late. I expected this fellow lover of lists to instruct each reader to write a few lists and I was right. As I read this guide just several days before December 25th, I felt that if I composed even one more 'to do' list, I was afraid my head would explode! I suppose I could use some help...

I do adore her ideas and will likely incorporate them into my Christmas 2016 because I too believe that "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" (which is attributed to Leonardo da Vinci) and I also want to enjoy this often hectic holiday more. Even though she encourages the reader to create the holiday of his or her dreams, she, herself, seeks simplicity and offers many tips for a simple December and January. After analyzing those aforementioned lists, she suggests that the reader determine a fun theme. As my college friends can attest with surprise birthday parties for one another, I love and can totally run away with a theme! I appreciate this reminder to take a step back from all the crazy details and see the big picture. In addition, her words on a simple Christmas made me feel a lot better about my holiday decor which was minimal due to a strict budget. As you know, I planned on catching up on blogging during the last stretch of the holiday season, but wished I had read Fiona's sage advice and didn't pile on more commitments during the frenzied week and a half before Christmas. Even though I didn't unsubscribe from all marketing emails by retailers, I did follow Fiona's simplifying tip with about 15 stores and companies so far. She really makes sense regarding gift-giving and its stress. Also, I laughed when Fiona qualifies a bit of bad taste as very French chic. One of my favorite tips was her "mental walk-through" prior to an event, particularly what you will or will not eat and drink. If I make firm decisions ahead of time, I just might not throw all my self-discipline out the window as I normally do during the family dinner on Christmas Day. Genius! Like Fiona, I also adore a fresh start in January, which she dedicates an entire chapter to in this thorough holiday season guide. I don't even think I gave too much away in this long review because this book is bursting with tips. Go over to amazon and purchase this cheap eBook in order to prepare for the next holiday season as well.

I think that Fiona would have approved of this 'me time' at my favorite coffee shop, specifically me sipping my regular cappuccino instead of some peppermint latte since she wrote, "Working out how you'd love to experience the holiday season is all about creating little Christmas markers that anchor you into the festive feeling." It doesn't have to be Christmasy, it just has to make you happy. All things Italian make me happy.

The day that this post publishes, I will be in Delaware celebrating Christmas with my dad's side of the family. If you are still celebrating too, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


  1. Hi Michelle, thanks so much for your lovely review. I really appreciate your notes on the bits you found useful in my book. Anyone who downloads it now will automatically get the revised version, it was just copies downloaded the first few days that had some layout errors unfortunately.

    We certainly do put pressure on ourselves to do *everything* before Christmas, don't we??? Thanks again for your review and wishing you all the best for a fabulous year.

    1. Hey Fiona! You're welcome. Thank you so much for writing it. I think your tips will be incredibly helpful. Please know that I downloaded it on December 20th and needed to enable the correction on my copy.

      I live alone and felt that way! I don't usually say "no" to my mother though. Since I had a budget, I baked everyone's gifts at the last minute, which, unfortunately, added to the frenzy. Next year, a simple yet chic Christmas it is!

      Happy New Year!

  2. I keep forgetting, but I have my card from that coffee place that I need to mail you! I want to say it's close to a free drink!

    1. Ohmigosh, thank you, Kate! :) That's nice of you.