Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Tea

Starbucks coffee, Harney & Son teas, silver serving pieces purchased in thrift shops, good chocolate, Mrs. Meyers cleaning supplies, a class to learn cake decorating or gourmet cooking, great olive oil, Einstein's bagels and coffee, a new book by my favorite author, Tresor, Lang Calendars, Half & Half, real butter, flowers, leather bound Bibles, broadband Internet...

What do all the above have in common? They are frugal luxuries on my list. To me, frugal luxuries are usually things I can do without but make life far better...easier...full of including them in my day to day existence. For instance, some items I include weekly because they're not that much more than run of the mill in using real butter and Half & Half.

Other items are more rare but just as special to me, like stopping for Starbucks a couple times a month. I can purchase four cups of McDonald's coffee for what one Starbucks latte cost me. However, when I'm sipping a coffee at McDonald's, I'm usually reading or chatting with someone. My lattes are an experience where I often close my eyes and breath in the very aroma of good beans and froth...yum. I figure $4.00 for a vacation is pretty darn cheap.

There are a few items listed that are purchased on only on special occasions. Rarely do I purchase a new Bible but I adore the feel and smell of new leather bound Scriptures. They do more for me than a hardback book (although I do have a few of those for studies). I have Tresor right now only because it was a gift. I sprayed on a short, fine mist this morning before church. Sometimes I'll mist the padded hangers where my sweaters hang and I'm welcomed the next day to a delicious fragrance when I slide open the wooden door on my side of the closet...not to mention when I wear one of my sweaters.

Speaking of aroma, not only is it delightful with the Mrs. Meyers products but they work very well. They cost a tad more (especially with shipping) than the over-the-counter-store-bought varieties of cleaning supplies but when I walk back in the room a half an hour after cleaning and I can still delight in honeysuckle...well, it's far worth it.

I usually purchase a nice calendar even though I have four or five sent free each year from various ministries and businesses. This year instead of my usual fine art Lang calendar, I went with Susan Branch again because I loved the pictures and prose of her 2007 calendar. Each month as I am nearing the end of the days, I am anticipating what the next month will bring in prose, poetry, and pretty pictures.

We must give ourselves permission to enjoy those small things which make our journey not only easier...but full of grace. Frugal luxuries are the oil on the wheels of our existence, for without them it is far to easy to have bitterness and grief become lifetime companions.

I have taken a sheet of pretty stationary and begun a list of my favorite frugal luxuries. The above is from that list. I'm tucking it in a special place and adding to it as I continue to ponder more possibilities. Once again it is all about doing what is in our reach...given what we have to work enjoy the journey each day of our life.

I can't go to Paris but I can brew some good tea, drink from a favorite bone china tea cup on a thrift store silver platter, place a bouquet of flowers on the table, slip on my Goodwill cashmere sweater, grab a cat, curl up on the sofa...and enjoy my latest long-waited-for book...without any guilt because I know my frugal luxuries are just as dear as anything riches can buy.

I hope you make your own list...on pretty paper that makes you smile.

I hope these ideas remind you of the book called Frugal Luxuries (although I used that term before reading the book). It continues to be an all time favorite which I pull off the shelf and get inspired all over again. That book inspired the idea of frugal luxuries being a way of life!


picketfencemom said...

I so agree with you! There are little things that just make life more pleasant and rich (in enjoyment), and it's worth it to me! I also love Mrs. Meyer's honeysuckle smell, and a good cup of Starbuck's every so often. I think you must have been reading my mind before doing this post, because I was just thinking about this very thing a couple of days ago. For me, the cost of a Romantic Homes magazine and some White Chocolate Macadamia Nut creamer for my coffee is well worth the enjoyment I receive in return, and much cheaper than a day at the spa! LOL
You are definitely a kindred spirit, and I couldn't have expressed this idea of frugal luxuries any better if I'd tried!
You are SO right!
Have a blessed day,

Sallie @ A Gracious Home said...


I was just looking at that book yesterday...


Linda said...

I think that is a wonderful idea. I agree - it is those simple little pleasures that make life a bit more "luxurious".
One of my luxuries is eating at an outdoor restaurant. It can be a fast food Mexican restaurant, but just sitting outside in the fresh air makes me feel "rich" indeed.
This was a really interesting post.

Kerri said...

Thanks for your post. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Maya & Miguel, a show on PBS in the afternoons -- -- that emphasizes cultural diversity and language learning but I’m reaching out to talk to parents about the program as part of a marketing project I’m working on with Scholastic.

I found your post and thought I’d reach out to say hello and ask if you’d like to receive a free Maya & Miguel DVD. If you’d like to receive the DVD just email me at Kerri at with your address and I’ll have it shipped it out to you.

If you do choose to blog about Maya & Miguel show or episodes on the DVD, please make it clear how you received the information. Our goal is to be open and honest with everyone we reach.

Kerri Roberts, BoldMouth

Deb said...

I agree! I always go for real butter and half & half. And I've been meaning to try the Mrs Meyer's products. I love the little luxuries.

Susan P. said...

Brenda, I do believe we are sisters ~ we think so much alike!! I am a big believer in treating oneself to little afordable luxuries, it makes life so much sweeter:o) I loved hearing about some of your affordable luxuries and I am not surprised that we share some in common. I just love Mrs. Meyers products! BTW, I don't know if this helps but to save on shipping you can go to her web site and click on your state and it will show stores that are close to you that sell her products!

the Feathered Nest said...

I love both of Tracey McBride's books! I wish she would write another one (I thought she was working on a third a few years back when she was part of the ivillage boards). Every now and then I do a google search of her.

I must try some of the Mrs. Meyers products, I use Method, but everyone raves about Mrs. Meyers!

Lovely post and I definately agree!