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chihuly at new york botanical garden

August 22, 2017

Chihuly NYBG Sapphire Star 2016

On a recent trip to the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), I had the opportunity to see glass art installations created by the renowned artist Dale Chihuly.  Created specifically for the venue, the more than 20 installations in the garden are the first to come to New York in more than 10 years.

Chihuly NYBG YellowChihuly NYBG Red Reeds on Logs 2016

Sharing photos from my recent visit, I hope you are inspired by Chihuly’s work – his lifelong fascination with glasshouses growing into a series of exhibitions within botanical settings.

Chihuly NYBG Blue and white

Chihuly NYBG pink

I really like the subtlety of the way these glass leaves play against the real ones!

chihuly NYBG blue and green leaves

Blue Polyvitro Crystals Chihuly NYBG 2006

Chihuly NYBG white

If you live near New York or are planning a trip soon, schedule a visit to the Bronx to see Chihuly’s art.  The NYBG is always a beautiful spot to visit and the addition of the Chihuly exhibit makes it extra special!

Chihuly NYBG 2017

chihuly NYBG blue spikes

To see the works spectacularly illuminated, schedule an evening visit to NYBG on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday in September or October and visit CHIHULY Nights.  Can you imagine this piece illuminated?

Chihuly NYBG Neon 2017

Thanks for stopping by!

Chihuly NYBG Float Boat 2014

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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eclipse cookies

August 18, 2017

gifting eclipse cookies pleasure in simple things blog

I picked up a pair of glasses from my local library so I can watch the eclipse on Monday afternoon safely.  But, after all the hype, is that it?  Glance up to the sky wearing a pair of paper glasses?   I feel like there should be more!

How about a special snack?  For today’s Friday field trip, I am sharing my eclipse snack idea…black and white cookies!  Isn’t a classic New York black and white the perfect eclipse snack?  I thought so!

eclipse cookies from pleasure in simple things blog

I searched online for a recipe for the classic cookie and found many – I decided to go with a Gourmet Magazine recipe from February 2002.

Making the cookies makes the eclipse seem a little bit more like a celebration!  Because, after all, don’t all good celebrations include good food?

eclipse tags pleasure in simple things blog

My very first batch ever of black and white cookies was pretty successful!  (My only advice is to avoid getting crumbs in the white frosting!)  You still have time to make your own eclipse viewing snack!  If not a black and white, how about making some whoopie pies?

cookie tray eclipse cookies

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a fabulous weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things!

Whoopie pies in 2024!  Happy eclipse viewing, Jackie

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dreaming in black & white

August 15, 2017

facepots Anthro

For years I would respond “black” when anyone asked me my favorite color.  Of course, as a former art student, I know black is not actually a color!  Nonetheless, I do love black and I have always enjoyed incorporating black and white into my wardrobe, my decor, and even…into my garden.

As a black lover, it has been exciting for me to see so many black and white influences of late.  Today, I am sharing of few of my current favorite black and white inspirations…like these adorable black and white face pots (above) from Anthropologie!  Don’t you want them all?!

Here are a few more Anthropologie home decor items – the (jungle dreams) wallpaper and the lamp below.  The beautifully simple clock is from Target.

black and white decorThis inspiring black and white bathroom is from Pottery Barn…

bathroom pottery barn

Black and white patterned pillows are showing up everywhere and this cool pouf is from Anthro…

black and white pillowsThis super hip couch is available at West Elm…

west elm couch

This black and white peel and stick wallpaper from Target doesn’t need to be used for the walls – how about covering books on a bookshelf or some old photo albums with faded covers…instant update!  The pendant lamp is available at Crate & Barrel and looks so super with any decor.  The decorative camel figurine is another idea for a Target item that can add an instant black and white update!

black and white home decor piecesThe first complete set of dishes I owned was solid black and I still have a soft spot for black dishware.  I think this matte black batter bowl from Crate & Barrel is super chic!

black batter bowl candb

These zig zag totes from Crate & Barrel add so personality to a linen closet and black and white check dish towels are a staple in my kitchen!  The spreaders from Anthro go beautifully with wood or marble – an easy way to change the look of your current cheeseboard!

kitchen items black and whiteOf course, black and white is showing up in wearable items as well.  Wouldn’t you love this dress and earrings from Anthro for your Labor Day picnic?  The cool loafers are currently on clearance at Banana Republic.

black and white clothingSpeaking of shoes…have you seen the Anna Rifle Keds?  SO cool!  Here is a pair in black.

anna rifle kedsWant a pretty way to add a little black and white to your day?  Pack a lunch in one of these beautiful botanical print bags from Paper Source.  You can even add a little contrast to the bag by sealing it with one of these cool washi tapes – the 3 pack is from Paper Source, the bottom one is available at Target.

botanical lunch bagsIf none of these black and white ideas appeal to you, you can always pick up some chalkboard paint and some chalk – try using the paint on something unique!

I hope I have inspired you to incorporate some new black and white accents into your life!

Thanks for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Note:  The photos in this post are from the websites of the respective stores selling the items.

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baby goats…cute or creepy?

August 11, 2017

baby goat 2

Baby animals are cute, right?  I thought so…until, I spent some time around baby goats and had some second thoughts on that!

baby goat 10

For today’s Friday field trip, I will let you make your own decision!

goat 2

They start out all cute and cuddly…


baby goat 17

But then, maybe not so much?

baby goat 6

baby goat 11

And, what the heck is up with these eyes?!

baby goat 13


baby goat 15

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful weekend.

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie


4 ways to enjoy lavender in the kitchen

August 8, 2017

butter cookies with lavender and lavender glaze

I love the floral note lavender adds to desserts – part of the reason why my ‘must have’ summer ice-cream flavor is lavender fig made at a nearby ice-cream shop!

I recently used a culinary grade lavender (I wouldn’t use it from the garden since I’d be worried about contaminants!)  to experiment a little bit in the kitchen.

Here are a few ways I came up with to use it…I hope to inspire you to come up with some of your own creations!

Lavender Iced Butter Cookies.  I added a tablespoon of dried lavender and 2 drops of lavender essential oil to a standard butter cookie recipe.  After the cookies were baked and cooled, I glazed them with powdered sugar, thinned with milk, and garnished the top of each cookie with dried lavender while the glaze was still wet.  The finished product – butter cookies with that great subtle floral note of lavender!

a butter cookies with lavender

Lavender Butter.  A fabulous butter to use on scones – I just crushed some dried lavender and added it to softened butter.  Great to serve with tea and scones!

Lavender Lemon Bars.  Adding a teaspoon of crushed, dried lavender to the crust of lemon bars, as well as using some as garnish, adds the floral note of the flower to this summer dessert classic!

lemon bars with dried lavender crust

In addition to baked goods, lavender is great in summer beverages.  I played around a little with ingredient quantities and came up with this satisfying lemonade!

Honey Lavender Lemonade Recipe

  • 3 cups cold water
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup dried lavender (make sure it is culinary grade)
  • 1 cup boiling water

Add the dried lavender to the boiling water, cover and let steep at least 15 minutes.  Strain the water to remove the lavender.  Dissolve the honey in the hot water.  Add the cold water and lemon juice to the mixture.  Serve over ice.

honey lavender lemonade recipe by pleasure in simple things

I hope you enjoyed my lavender experiment results!  I’d love to hear how you have added lavender to your summer recipes!  I recently found a recipe for lavender white chocolate ice cream that I may need to give a try before the summer is over!

Thanks for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

P.S.  Here are some links for other ways I have used lavender!  Enjoy!

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harkness memorial state park

August 4, 2017

garden flowers

Today, I am sharing a few photos from my walk around Harkness Memorial State Park.  The park is the home of Eolia, the former summer mansion purchased in 1907 by the Harkness family, set on over 230 seaside acres in Waterford, Connecticut.

gate at Harkness Park

shore at Harkness

Never having been to the park, my goal for my first visit was to explore the gardens on both the east and west lawns as well as the Alpine rock garden.

gardens at Harkness

Tree over a century old Harkness State Park

And, as it happened, the facility was being set up for a wedding on the afternoon I chose to visit, so I did not venture inside the mansion itself.

the mansion at Harkness State Park

column Harkness State Park

I hope you enjoyed a few photos of my walk around Harkness Memorial State Park.  If you should be in the area, it is definitely worth a visit and the park is easily accessed from I-95.

queen annes lace pleasure in simple things

ferns pleasure in simple things

The 200+ acres were left to the state of Connecticut in 1950; becoming a part of the state park system in 1952.  The park is open from 8:00 am to sunset all year long and entrance only requires a minimal parking fee.

Harkness coastline

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a fabulous weekend!

daisies at Harkness State Park

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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2 ingredient ice pops

August 1, 2017

super easy ice pop recipe

Ice pops are synonymous with summer!  And, what could taste better on a hot, summer day?!  I really love icy treats – evident since I own an ice pop mold, an ice shaver, and an old-fashioned ice cream maker!

Every year, I make many variations of homemade pops, but for today I am sharing a super-fast way to create some with a minimal amount of time and ingredients.  Just two easy ingredients are needed – your favorite yogurt and some baby food!

yogurt mango ice pop recipe

Yes, baby food!  Haven’t you ever bought banana baby food to make banana bread?  Using baby food is an easy way to get some good quality prepared fruit for a recipe without any fruit cleaning or waste!  Plus, you can keep some on hand without it going bad!

baby food for easy mango ice pops

To make 6 pops, I use 3 jars (4.25 oz.) organic baby food (I like Beech-Nut in Just Mango) and 3 (5.3 oz.) containers of yogurt.  Ice pop molds are super easy to come by these days – a quick trip to HomeGoods or Marshalls will fill the bill!  If you don’t want to be bothered with another pan to clutter your cabinets, get small, 3 oz. paper cups and some wooden sticks – these will work just as well!

easy mango yogurt ice pop recipe

I use a plain yogurt because I like the tartness and it mixes well with the mango, but you may want to use vanilla or a favorite flavor that will mix well with mango (or whatever fruit you choose).   For those of you that like extra sweetness – you can add maple syrup or honey to the yogurt before using it in the pop.

super easy 2 ingredient mango ice pops

Just put the yogurt in the molds, alternating it with the fruit, and freeze – that’s it!  The fruit gets so nice and icy!  If you use the cup method, the yogurt is thick enough to keep the sticks standing up straight while the pops freeze.

yogurt and baby food ice pops

I hope you enjoy this super easy ice pop recipe!  Vary the yogurt and baby food flavors to come up with your own favorite combination!  Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things…like enjoying a cold ice pop on a summer day!  xo Jackie


august book giveaway!

July 28, 2017

beach glass

This month’s giveaway is Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo.  A soon-to-be released first novel, written by a Nigerian author and set in Nigeria, the story gives a voice to both a husband and a wife as they tell the story of their marriage.  After meeting and falling in love in college, Yejde and Akin marry and agree polygamy is not for them, though accepted in their culture.  But, four years into their marriage, circumstances change.

A great emotional read with some interesting twists and turns that examines how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.

stay with me on the beach

To be entered to win an advance copy of this great read, just leave a comment on this post or on the Instagram post.  I will pick a winner at random from those comments and any emails I receive.

This book makes for an excellent book group choice.  If chosen by my own book group, I wouldn’t be surprised if our group hostess was authentic to Nigerian culture and served smashed yams!

august 2017 book giveaway

Congrats to Sam from Connecticut, winner of the July giveaway, The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin!  Click here for more on that selection.  I know you will enjoy the book  Sam – I will send it right off to you!  Thank you to everyone who entered.  Don’t forget to enter this month’s giveaway!

Instagram users, please read on!  In keeping with a summer reading theme, for the August challenge, let’s share our summer reads!  Use hashtag #pleasuregram to share photos of what you are reading this summer!  I hope to enjoy some new recommendations to add to my ‘must read’ list!

August Instagram ChallengeThanks for stopping by!

Have a fabulous weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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reading ahead

July 25, 2017

fiction on the beach

I am sharing a few soon-to-be released fiction titles I have read this summer that should make it to your reading list!

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

I was hesitant to read Celeste Ng’s second novel, wondering how I could possibly enjoy it as much as her first!  (Click here for more on her first.)  But, I had gotten the chance to meet her and she gave me a signed, advance copy of Little Fires Everywhere.  That was more than enough encouragement to give the second novel a shot!  And, you know what?  I may have enjoyed Ms. Ng’s second book even more than her first!  This one explores the weight of secrets and the dynamics of motherhood as well as examining the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.  A fabulous read and a fabulous book group selection!  Release date:  September 12, 2017

Little Fires Everywhere pleasure in simple things read

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

A new, smart thriller already in development as a major film.  The story of an agoraphobic woman in New York City who believes she witnessed a crime in a neighboring house.  Hearing the story told from inside one (rather colorful) woman’s mind, as she spies on her neighbors, gives this suspenseful novel a unique perspective.  Release date:  January 23, 2018

Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

A first novel, written by a Nigerian author and set in Nigeria, the story gives a voice to both a husband and a wife as they tell the story of their marriage.  After meeting and falling in love in college, Yejde and Akin marry and agree polygamy is not for them, though the practice is accepted in their culture.  But, four years into their marriage, circumstances change.  A great emotional read that examines how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.  This book makes for a great book group selection!  Release date:  August 22, 2017.

Note:  An advance copy of this book will be the giveaway for August – leave a comment on the August giveaway post coming on July 28th to be entered to win it!

Stay with me

The Misfortune of Marion Palm by Emily Culliton

A debut novel that tells the story of Marion, a Brooklyn Heights woman, who has embezzled from her children’s private school and makes a run for it when she is close to becoming discovered.  Told from the points of view of Marion’s husband, her two children, and Marion herself, this witty and engaging story makes for a quick read.  Release date:  August 8, 2017

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

A previous giveaway selection, this story examines the special relationships and dynamics of siblings in a unique way.  Read more about this selection by clicking here.  Release date:  January 9, 2018

great reading on the beach

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

A smart, psychological thriller from the Connecticut author who gave us All is Not Forgotten, this title is a previous giveaway selection.  Read more about it by clicking here.  Release date:  August 8, 2017

Happy Reading!  Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things…like, reading a good book on the beach!  xo Jackie

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popcorn with ‘everything’

July 21, 2017

everything but the bagel seasoning blend

I often eat popcorn.  Using plain kernels and popping them in the microwave makes for a great snack with lots of fiber and no trans fats. I add my own seasonings, usually parmesan cheese and fresh rosemary, for a savory combination.

For today’s Friday field trip, I am sharing my newest popcorn seasoning discovery.

Have you heard of Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend?  This tasty blend makes any toasted bread with cream cheese taste like an everything bagel.  And, I discovered, it also makes for a great popcorn seasoning!

popcorn on the beach

Trader joes everything but the bagel seasoningHere’s how to make it:  After making plain popcorn in the microwave, spray it with sunflower oil.  A spray bottle is the best because it distributes a small amount of the oil evenly over the popcorn.  If you don’t have a spray bottle, drizzle the oil over the popcorn and toss lightly.  Something is needed to make the seasoning ‘stick’ and sunflower oil is perfect since it has very little taste – plus, it is a healthful alternative to butter.  Trader Joe’s has recently started selling sunflower oil, so both the seasoning and the oil can be purchased there.  Next, just sprinkle the Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning over the prepared popcorn and toss.

Even if you don’t like popcorn, I suggest you buy the seasoning – for under $2. there is plenty of experimentation that can be done with this yummy spice mix!

closeup seasoned popcorn

Popcorn is ready…movie on the beach, anyone?

coastal ct evening on the beach

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a great weekend!

sunset at the CT beach

Remember to take pleasure in simple things…like enjoying popcorn while watching an outdoor movie!  xo Jackie

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