{simple pleasures} grandes bénédictions: blessings so large

Saturday, November 4, 2017


"believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.” 
rainer maria rilke

{today's simple pleasures} 

{eco travel} sustainable antwerp: 24 hours in the world's shiniest city

Sunday, October 29, 2017


as i was making my way out my front door, heading full-steam ahead towards my next travel adventure, a neighbor called out, "you're going to love antwerp! the train station is incredible!" i stopped in my tracks, my hard-wearing, thrift-shop luggage in tow, "the train station?" i asked, befuddled. "yes! it's gorgeous, and the museums are great too." hmm, my curiosity was officially peaked.

the antwerp central railway station, designed by louis delacenserie + completed in 1905, has been voted the most beautiful in the world, and for good reason. it's truly riveting and quite resilient: with it's fire-engine red steel + glass exterior and its palatial inner belly, it survived heavy v-2 bombing during world war two. across from the station is the shimmering diamond center, where 85% of the world's uncut diamonds are traded. this is where rough stones come to be polished + pruned into glittering gems.

antwerp is a port city in northern belgium that easily balances the cacophony of urban life with the tranquility of rural living: fetching, centuries-old abodes intermingle with quiet, green spaces; bustling, new cafes nestle among historic sites. the famed town center, grote market, offers a place of repose for locals + tourists alike. it is the second most multi-cultural city, after amsterdam, with a multiplicity of voices represented in the charming central square, illuminating works within museums, plant-powered cuisine at farm-to-table restaurants + of course, medieval castles. here a castle, there a castle.

here today, a photocentric jaunt through the city of diamonds. know that this nomadic heart didn't come here for those sparkling stones. my lofty plans involve vegan + gluten-free belgium waffles, the unicorn of belgium waffles; the museums, and of course, ample time in green places. these are the colors of antwerp:

{simple pleasures} democratized fashion: musée yves saint laurent

Saturday, October 21, 2017


"a woman's wardrobe shouldn't change every six months. 
you should be able to use the pieces you already own and add to them."
yves saint laurent

{today's simple pleasures}

what saint laurent is describing is living with less, or what is commonly called a capsule wardrobe. decades ago, there were 2-4 fashion seasons: spring/summer + fall/winter. fashion designers like saint laurent worked to create practical + beautiful clothes for each of these seasons. today there are 52 micro seasons per year, with fast fashion companies churning out clothes at an alarming rate, hoping consumers will continue to buy and then buy some more. saint laurent believed in creating timeless pieces, classics that defied trends and earned a permanent home in our closets: in essence, he advocated a capsule wardrobe. it's the idea of buying less + choosing well. 

my style can be described as wildly divergent. i love the color black, but once in a blue moon i crave bold hues + saturated color the way some people crave chocolate. i wear heels almost every day, even when i'm walking long distances {yes, comfortable heels exist}, but always, i wander over to the boys' side when shopping for clothes. i like less fussy + oversized pieces, and i'm rather mobile, so comfort is king. often when i'm dressing in this boy-meets-girl fashion, i think of one man in particular that revolutionized women's apparel. yves saint laurent. 

take a stroll through the former paris studio of twentieth century genius + visionary fashion designer yves saint laurent, the man who emancipated women from constrictive formal wear + gave us sexy everyday casual wear:

{eco lifestyle} good on you: the slow fashion app for thoughtful consumption

Friday, October 20, 2017


when i was studying at the school of the art institute of chicago, i learned not to lionize or demonize any one brand or company. i learned that what we don't want as a society + as consumers is to have profitable or successful brands fail, but rather, we want them to continue to exist as a sustainable entity, as an ethical business, as a socially responsible organization.

as consumers, we want transparency, we don't want to be greenwashed; we want companies to continue to create unique + utilitarian goods, but with the health of the planet + the health of workers in mind.

when a family member in the u.s.a. recently asked me how to find out whether a brand or label is sustainable + ethically produced, i recommended good on you app. i've been waiting for an app like this to come along. this is a free + easy-to-use app for those seeking to vote with their dollars and invest in companies that are producing wares with respect to its workers, to our ecosystem, and to animals. this is good on you:

{simple pleasures} jardin médicinal: healing garden

Saturday, October 14, 2017


 "the soul cannot thrive in the absence of a garden."
thomas more

{today's simple pleasures}

each saturday i bring you two images, a photocentric journey of the simple things in life that bring me great pleasure {art, architecture + alleyways; fountains, flora + fauna; parks, people + plant-powered cafes}: i like to think of it as a peek into the inner workings of my mind {like being john malkovich only sans the low ceilings exorbitant fee}. today we enter through the gates of "god's garden" in the city of troyes via seven simple images. 

the garden of medicinal plants: the hôtel dieu le comte was a renowned hospital from the 12th century to the 19th century. the medicinal garden, known as an herbularium, was created within the interior courtyard of hôtel dieu le comte in 2009: a robust healing plant garden typical of the physiognomy of the gardens of the middle ages. here lie 85 species + 1,200 medicinal plants distributed in 34 beds, planted in chestnut casings. throughout history, medicinal plants were considered magical because of their healing powers and were traditionally grown in monasteries, abbeys, hospitals + clinics. today, i still consider plants to be magical for their curative + preventative properties. 

take a walk through this remarkable garden, a magical mystery tour if you will:

{eco beauty} shea brand body butter: light, compact + thoroughly convincing

Friday, October 13, 2017


i have this visual that used to replay in my head when i first started blogging: it's a western film, the scene: a shadowy saloon, and a thirsty cowboy sits bar-side waiting for his drink; the bartender slides a frosty glass across the bar top. in the movies, the cowboy usually picks up the beverage and downs it, but in my mind, i imagine the drink being slid back across the bar, right back to where it came from.

in my imagination, the cowboy is actually me, and i'm sliding a bath or beauty product back because it wasn't effective. that was years ago when i was still learning which natural skincare brands truly worked wonders, as promised. these dasy, i have a list of clean + cruelty-free favorites that are tried + true. and i'm adding a new plant-based moisturizer today.

recently, when i ran out of my regular facial oil + body balm by pelle and when my travel bottle of lotion by beauty without cruelty was completely empty, i turned to a new organic + animal-friendly product shea brand whipped organic butter for a little hydrating help. the results? let's just say, i'm one happy cowgirl + i will not be sliding this softening body butter back across my fictional counter. this is shea brand:

{simple pleasures} le chef-d'œuvre: the masterpiece

Saturday, October 7, 2017


"if you ask me what i came into this life to do, i will tell you: i came to live out loud."
emile zola

{today's simple pleasures}