Indulge me, will you?

I do love a good indulgence, don’t you? A little luxury can make the difference between drudgery and pleasure, turning something as mundane as bill paying or grocery shopping into a bearable experience. I keep a running list of things I enjoy, not just for myself; favorite treats are also a good way to let someone else know I’m thinking about them and who doesn’t like an unexpected present? Here are a few of my favorites:

*Candles. I know people who only light them at night or on holidays. I’ve been known to fire them up at breakfast, especially on a grey morning. (It taps into the Danish principle of hygge, the enjoyment of all things cozy. I’m not Danish; I don’t even know if I know any Danes, but I strenuously approve of embracing the cozy.) I tailor my candle scents to the season: citrus in the hot weather months; apple, pumpkin, or bonfire in the fall. For winter, I turn to peppermint or evergreen, and spring is usually a light fruit or floral. I like sandalwood for the bathroom, but I stay away from heavy florals in any room. I pick up most of mine at TJ Maxx or HomeGoods, and I usually opt for soy since they burn cleaner than others. Don’t like candles? Try a few drops of essential oil in a burner. I like a mix of grapefruit and rosemary for energy.

*French pastry or chocolate. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so when I indulge, I like it to be worth the wait. A properly-made French macaron is a thing of beauty, and if you live in a city with a Laduree, you’re a fortunate soul. (I have been known to eat three of their macarons for breakfast when in New York…) Something beautiful from their shop or Maison du Chocolat is a perfect little gift for yourself or someone else special. Let them wrap it and take your time savoring it. There is a WORLD of difference between a little bit of artistic confectionery and a sad muffin from a convenience store. The lovely thing is that even the tiniest token from one of these shops is wrapped with care and is a gracious offering for someone you like.

*A split of champagne. Some months ago I broke up with alcohol, but I still think a split of champagne is a lovely way to turn an ordinary day into something special. I am particularly fond of the bright pink cans of Sofia sparkling wine with their little pink straws, but any fizz will do. To complete the experience, pour into an old-fashioned coupe and enjoy every bubble. A delightful gift for an unsuspecting pal.

*Flowers. I have fresh flowers in the house every day. My grocery store is always stocked with roses, but mini-carnations, daisies, lilies would do just as well. I like something with a bit of fragrance to brighten the room. I keep changing the water and cutting the stems, a morning ritual along with opening the drapes and feeding the fish. I’m told they will keep fresh for twice as long if you stick them in the fridge at night, but I never remember. Don’t like cut flowers? Try a flowering plant. A few times a year I’ll buy orchids instead–again from the grocery store.

Reminder: it’s almost time for Bouchercon! As I mentioned in the last post, I’m appearing on a stupendous panel with Tasha Alexander, Laurie R. King, C. S. Harris, Susanna Calkins, and Lyndsay Faye, moderated by Andrew Grant. If you’re in the New Orleans area, pop over to my Appearances page for details!