Monthly Archives: June 2016

A Sunday Well-Spent…

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“A Sunday well-spent brings a week of content.” ~ Proverb 

I am a firm believer that preparation is the key to success in all aspects of life – home, work, relationships or finances.  I also believe that there is a strong correlation between preparation and one’s level of contentment, which is why I am a proponent of the proverb above.

For me, the way I spend my Sundays greatly influences the remainder of my week.  If I am able to accomplish all that I need to, my Monday through Friday is significantly smoother and more enjoyable; however, if I neglect those items, the rest of my week feels unsettled and I am forever scrambling to catch up.

A few weeks ago, I posted a photograph on Instagram highlighting my “Sunday Refresh” (cleaning and organizing my home in preparation for the week), and received some requests to elaborate on my routine.

As I began to write this post, I quickly realized that the Sundays I consider well-spent, are filled with far more than just a refresh, but are in fact, guided by four “Rs” – Rest, Refresh, Reflect & Reset.  When I am able to attended to these four “Rs” (which I might add, do not need to be completed in any particular order), I feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the week ahead.

With that said, I offer my recipe for a Sunday well-spent:

REST 

After a long week of work and activities/commitments that often bleed into my Saturdays, I make a concerted effort to catch up on my rest each Sunday.  When I make time to rest, I am able to hit the ground running on Monday morning; however, if I don’t take time to rest, well, let’s just say you don’t want to see me when I don’t take time to rest.

Rest doesn’t necessarily mean sleep (though I do enjoy that), but rather engaging in restful activities like:

  • Rising naturally rather than with an alarm
  • Lounging in bed with a cup of tea and a copy of the Sunday Times
  • Sitting down in the afternoon with a magazine, book or favourite jazz record (and possibly partaking in an afternoon snooze)
  • Cuddling on the sofa in the evening to watch a favourite television show or movie

When you allow yourself time to decompress after a long week and before the beginning of the next, trust me, it is time well-spent.

REFRESH 

There is something so inspiring about starting my weeks off with a clean and fresh home.  Mondays are so much more enjoyable when there aren’t dishes overflowing in the sink or piles of laundry scattered around the bedroom.

While I do spend time maintaining my home every day (for more on a few of my daily tasks, see The Pursuit of Tidy – No. 1), on Sunday mornings, I set aside a some additional time to complete a deeper clean/reorganization.

One of the (many) perks of living in a simple and modest home (approximately 1300 square feet), is that I am able to accomplish my refresh in under two hours.  While I may share more detail on my refresh at a later date, here is a brief list of my Sunday tasks:

  • Wash and replace bedding
  • Dust all surfaces
  • Clean bathrooms (toilets, sinks, shower/bathtub)
  • Clean kitchen (sink, counters, refrigerator)
  • Vacuum all rooms and upholstery
  • Wash floors
  • Sweep balcony
  • Dispose of trash and recycling
  • Place fresh flowers throughout my home

Starting my week with a clean and orderly home makes Monday a breeze rather than a burden.

REFLECT 

Another important part of my Sunday routine is taking time to reflect.  I often spend time, usually while completing my refresh, reflecting on the past week.  I ask myself questions like:

  • What went well?
  • What could have gone better?
  • What tasks did I accomplish and which ones need to be carried over to the next week?
  • What goals do I want to accomplish this week?

Reflecting on the past week helps to inform and direct the week ahead.

RESET 

The final step in my Sunday routine is to reset.  By resetting, I mean just that – identifying things that have come out of line over the past week and putting them back to their original state.  To give you a better sense, here are a few areas of my life that I like to reset:

  • Wardrobe – On Sundays, I reset my wardrobe by putting away any laundry that has been hanging to dry (my husband and I wash our clothing on Friday or Saturday evenings to ensure it has dried and is ready to be put away on Sunday), steaming, ironing and mending items, or putting them aside to be taken to the tailor or dry cleaner.  Doing this makes my work day mornings much easier.
  • Purse and Work Bag – I also take a few minutes to reset my purse and work bag by cleaning out any garbage or receipts that have sunk to the bottom, restocking essentials that I carry with me (like hand sanitizer or lip balm), and ensuring my wallet and its content are in their proper place.
  • Refrigerator – On Sundays, my husband and I usually pop to the grocery store to pick up a few essentials for the week (i.e. milk, bread, eggs, lunch items, fresh flowers); however, we only purchase enough fresh produce for the first half of the week and then return later in the week (we live 5 minutes from our local store) to pick up the rest.  While this may not work for everyone, we find that we waste less food this way and enjoy fresher food more often.
  • Planner – One of my favourite resets on Sunday is spending time with my planner.  Using the information I collected during my “reflect”, I sit down and plan out my week ahead.  I list tasks that I need to accomplish along with ones that I didn’t get to during the previous week.  I also list two small, personal goals for the coming week, along with any important dates (i.e. birthdays, anniversaries, parties and social events).   While we cannot always know what the future holds, we can certainly ease the stress by planning for the things we do know.

While the four “Rs” may seem a bit overwhelming, they really do not take as much time as you may think.  In fact, you may be doing many of these things already.

Whether you choose to incorporate all or none of the above, ultimately, the key is to find a process that works for you and makes you feel ready to tackle your week, whatever that looks like.

Wishing you all a lovely Sunday!

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A Few of My Favourite Things ~ No. 3

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As I write this post, the afternoon sun is streaming through my window, and that window is open, allowing a warm, June breeze into my room.  Piano jazz is playing softly in the background as I contemplate how lovely this moment truly is.

The last time I discussed my favourites, it was cold and dreary, I was anxious for spring and I looked to my favourites to boost my mood.  Well, spring certainly came and with all this lovely sunshine and warmth, my mood is certainly boosted; however, incorporating favourites into my everyday is still a must, even when things are going well.

As I have mentioned before, our favourites are often determined by what pleases our senses – sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch.  One of my favourite flowers are pink peonies, not only because the colour is so visually pleasing, but because their scent is intoxicating.  Another favourite of mine is jazz music, because it brings me joy and a sense of calm when I hear it.  While your favourites may diverge from mine, we all have them and arguably, we all need them to live well.

In the third installment of this series, I offer you a glimpse into a few of my current favourites, one to satiate each of the senses:

SIGHT
Maya & Marty – NBC 

As a child, I grew up watching Second City Television (SCTV) in Canada, and with a cast featuring heavyweights like John Candy and Martin Short, it was a family favourite.

For as long as I have been allowed to stay up past midnight years, I have also been a diehard fan of Saturday Night Live (SNL), so you can imagine my excitement when I heard that Martin Short and Maya Rudolph were teaming up for a variety show.

Aptly titled, Maya and Marty, this live variety show, produced by SNL’s Lorne Michaels, features comedy sketches, musical numbers and celebrity guests galore.  The first two episodes were fabulous, featuring guests like Jimmy Fallon, Larry David, Tina Fey and Steve Martin.

To catch more tomfoolery with Maya and Marty, tune in Tuesdays at 10 on NBC.

HEARING
Come Away With Me – Nora Jones

Lately, I have been listening to an old favourite by Nora Jones – Come Away with Me.  Nora’s debut album (2002), received critical and commercial success, reaching the top of the Billboard 200 chart and garnering the artist eight Grammy awards.

Described as a mellow, acoustic pop album with soul, country, blues, jazz and folk overtones, Come Away with Me, is an album that I can listen to from start to finish, which is more than I can say for many artists these days.

This collection holds so many of my favourites, including: Come Away with Me (my wedding song), Nightingale and The Nearness of You, to name a few.  If you haven’t heard this album, I highly recommend you do.

TASTE
Rosy Raspberry Spritzer – Martha Stewart 

Each year, the warm weather brings with it a craving for delicious, iced beverages.  One of my current favourites is Martha Stewart’s Rosy Raspberry Spritzer:

“Rose water gives a beguiling floral fragrance to this rosé wine spritzer.  Crushed raspberries and a little superfine sugar add the perfect touch of sweetness.”

Ingredients:

1/4 cup raspberries
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon superfine sugar
3/4 teaspoon rose water
2 cups chilled rosé wine
3 cups chilled seltzer

Directions:

Lightly crush raspberries with sugar and rose water.  Divide among 4 glasses.  Stir in wine.  Top with seltzer.

With our without wine, this recipe makes for a refreshing and elegant cooler.

SMELL
Scented Reed Diffusers – The Body Shop

For me, incorporating beautiful scents into my everyday is an absolute necessity .  Scents are powerful.  They can evoke memories (like the fragrance you wore on your wedding day), or emotions (like the calming scent of lavender and vanilla).

In my home, I often have a candle burning (Jo Malone is my favourite); however, lately, I have been itching for a diffuser, something that will leave a lasting scent when the candles are not burning.  This past weekend, I found exactly what I was looking for in The Body Shop’s Scented Reed Diffusers.

These minimalist, decorative diffusers, with natural reeds, are a lovely addition to the home.  The fragrance oils are infused with Community Trade soya oil, while the natural reeds gently and continuously diffuse a refreshing scent into any space.

While I could have left with all five of the scents, I decided to start with Mandarin/Tangelo and Pomegranate/Raspberry.  Mandarin/Tangelo and Pomegranate/Raspberry are both invigorating and refreshing scents, which I have placed in our powder room and in my office respectively.  A week in, and the fragrance is still going strong!

Bonus: according to the website, they are currently 40% off their original price!

TOUCH
Lace Trim Lounge Wrap – Ralph Lauren

From the moment I first heard Jennifer (The Daily Connoisseur) speak about presentable sleepwear, I have made it my mission to find and collect items that are exquisitely luxurious and equally comfortable.

Available in blush pink and ivory (I want both), the Lace Trim Lounge Wrap by Ralph Lauren fits the bill.  Blended with pima cotton, this lounge piece offers exquisite comfort with beautiful, feminine lacework.

I am so in love with this piece, that the matching camisole and pant set is next on my list!

Whether it’s a new find or an old goodie, I encourage you to make favourites a part of your everyday.  For a look at some of my other favourites over the past few months, click here and here.

Wishing you a lovely weekend!  If you need me, I’ll be on the patio sipping a Rosy Raspberry Spritzer.

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