Find magic in the little things, and the big things you always expected will start to show up.

Isa Zapata

This morning, while watering my little garden, I realized how completely unnecessary it was.  I don’t need tulips.  I don’t need to grow my own lettuce.  I don’t need beautiful pots and organic soil. Sure, I could be working on creating my next program, doing the laundry or paying bills.  In fact, the mind is always telling me that these are the things I should be doing. But . . .

The things that truly make life worth living … are completely non-essential. (Tweet my discovery!)

They are the little things, simple pleasures and artful details of life.

Think about it.

Decadent meals … a glass of Sauterne … the sound of a violin … conversations that unfold into the wee hours of the night … a passionate embrace … perfectly frothed cappuccinos … love, sex & those moonlit moments that you keep in your secret garden … none of these things are essential. We can survive without them.

But without these non-essentials, what do we have left? A life stripped of art, elegance and delicious memories.  A bare template of existence  — without any color, style or pleasure.  

Just spreadsheets and checked-off to dos.

Quelle tragédie!

The French woman understands the value of non-essentials:  a beautifully tied scarf, her signature perfume, a perfectly paired Champagne with oysters, conversations discussing Voltaire, a passionate kiss, a Sunday picnic.

Her pleasure in the non-essentials is an essential piece of her je ne sais quoi.  And, she’s no different from us:  she has her career, family, friends and other responsibilities.  She just chooses to approach her life with flair and panache. 

I understand how easy it is to get caught up in the humdrum of making a living that we forget to create a life.  I’ve been there: always feeling behind, thinking that you’ll one day have the time, postponing all the things that would bring you the most joy.

What’s the solution?  Step out of the illusion.  There is no there, and that “one day” never comes.  You’re always in this day, this moment and there’s no better way to enjoy your life than to make the non-essentials an essential part of your life.

“The small things of life were often so much bigger than the great things . . . the trivial pleasure like cooking, one’s home, little poems especially sad ones, solitary walks, funny things seen and overheard.”
― Barbara Pym

I promise you that your world will not collapse.  In fact, the more you explore your pleasures and all the marvelous non-essentials of the world, you’re going to light up like the Eiffel Tower at the strike of the evening hour. 

And, a lit up woman has an attraction appeal that calls her desires to her with ease and elegance (I’m talking about money, weight loss, men, opportunities and all that other jazz.)

The truth is that making 7 figures a year or climbing the corporate ladder does not guarantee happiness, but sipping Tattinger under the moonlight?  Well, I’m sure your 90-year old self would toast to that!

This weekend (and forevermore), I challenge you to take the time to indulge and appreciate the non-essentials of life.  It is the secret to living an artful and elegant life.

What’s so powerful about lipstick? Well, the way I see it (thanks to Mary Anne), everything is energy. For example, if you want to have a bad day, try this. Wake up, don’t shower, sit around in a sweatsuit that should have been laid to rest a decade ago, don’t put on makeup, eat a Sara Lee grande blueberry muffin and a Diet Coke, don’t exercise and, please, whatever you do, don’t put on lipstick.

In fact, a few weeks ago, my daughter woke up and went to school without any attention, whatsoever, to her appearance, which is quite unusual for her. “Are you OK,” I asked.

“Yep, I just don’t really care today,” she said.

When I picked her up, her day had only gotten worse. “It was the worst day ever,” she said.

“Well, dear, do you think it had anything to do with how you started your day with your “don’t care” attitude,” I asked.

“Probably,” she said.

The next day, she stepped out looking her very best. Before she got out of the car, she asked me for some lipstick. I handed her some Bobbie Brown and sent her out into the world knowing that her day would be much better. It was.

Now, let me be clear. I’m not advocating self-obsession. And, lipstick may not be your thing. What I am suggesting is that it's up to you to create your life. No one is going to knock on your door and make you feel better. It must come from within by deciding that you are worth it and then making the decision to put your best self out into the world.

If you want to set yourself up for a successful day, get up, spend some time with yourself, sit and dine on something delicious, journal and set your intention for the day, shower, find an outfit that looks great on your body the way it is right now, and put on some lipstick.

Are you up for the luxurious challenge?  If so, share in the comments below one non-essential you’re going to enjoy today.

If you need a little inspiration, here are a few of the non-essentials I’ll be indulging in:

:: sip my morning coffee and watch the sunrise

:: Edith Piaf playing in the background

:: dress up in my favorite spring dress and favorite pink lipstick

:: peruse my favorite cookbook for some dinner inspiration

:: savor a decadent truffle with a glass of Bordeaux

:: watch Le-Weekend

:: and, a little sexy rendezvous;).

To a Completely Non-Essential Day,


Self-Image Makeover

Live Your Life With Style, Flare, and Elegance