7 In The Little Things

“Life is like a bowl of cherries”

…You just have to watch out for the pits.”

That was one of my grandpa’s favourite sayings and one of his best pieces of advice.

To me, it’s a reminder to savour the sweetness of life and not let the bad times deter you from appreciating the rest. Discard the pits and grab another juicy cherry. Carry on. It was part of my inspiration when I came up with the theme for Little Observationist – the love of the little things.

The little thingsThese are super old photos, but the only ones I have digital access to

Year after year at Christmas, he’d give me a box of chocolate-covered cherries to go with his quote and grin as I opened it. My grandma continues the same tradition to this day when I’m in New York for the holidays.

His death – 10 years ago today – was one of the hardest pits I’ve encountered over the years and one I’ve never managed to toss aside. We were very close and memories of him are often on my mind to this day. I was away at university the day when he died. He waited until I was able to make it to the hospital to take his last breath.

The little things

Life has changed immeasurably since then, but I still try to remember to be grateful for the little things and I still recall the cherry saying when things are less than ideal.

Here are 76 (the age he was when he died) of life’s simple pleasures (not including specific moments or memories with specific people…):

1. The scent of fresh vine tomatoes and the earth after a rain storm.

tomatoes

2. My English breakfast tea from Paul to start every morning.

paul

3. A walk along the River Thames. A walk along the Niagara River. Both at sunset, and with good company.

niagara

4. Landing in Buffalo airport, seeing the North Tonawanda carrousel horses and the familiar feeling of home.

carrousel

5. Exploring a new city with my camera for the first time.

stockholm

6. A Saturday with nothing ahead but hours to fill however I want to fill them.

saturday

7. Bonfires and s’mores.

smores

8. Piles of crunchy leaves along the sidewalks (New England Autumns, especially).

autumn

9. A handwritten letter sent by post. Even better when it includes photos or cat jokes clipped from a newspaper.

snail mail

10. The nostalgic scent of sawdust.

11. Seeing people I love succeed at whatever it is they set out to do.

tivertons

12. Long emails with stories of home.

13. Rays of sunlight cutting through the clouds or the branches of summer trees.

rays

14. Goldfish crackers.

goldfish

15. A smile or some form of positive interaction with a stranger.

Screenshot 2015-09-23 17.23.46

16. Looking out to the sea, sand between toes, salt in the air.

sea

17. Oversized towels after a hot bath.

18. Being deep in the middle of a book I can’t put down.

book

19. Meeting new people who are inspiring and creative.

stik

20. Markets of all sorts: for the people watching, the piles of fresh fruits and veggies, the tiny treasures.

market

21. The smell of a secondhand bookshop.

22. Making something from nothing, whether it’s my mini photo notecards, colouring, baking or gardening.

gardening

23. Walking by plants that leave a trails of scent: jasmine, rosemary, mint, lavender, roses…

roses

24. Colourful street art covered walls.

P1040504_2

25. The exhilarating rush (and hot shower) after a long run.

26. Street style and people watching.

10482046_10100305168357403_8723208568156983636_o

27. The first snow of the season and fresh white snow covered branches any day.

boston snow

28. Holiday prep: Carving pumpkins, decorating Christmas cookies, dyeing Easter eggs.

pumpkin

29. The first blank page of a new notebook.

notebook

30. An hour or two reading in St. Luke’s Garden in Chelsea.

gardens

31. A house (and desk) full of plants.

plants

32. A nostalgic playlist.

33. Homemade chocolate chip banana bread, still warm.

banana bread

34. Being surrounded by shelves full of books.

35. Seeing stars at night; even better, in the middle of nowhere, the Milky Way.

36. Pretty cards and wrapping paper.

Little Observationist Cards

37. Rain dripping on window panes.

rain

38. Lists.

39. Walks in the woods and the refreshing scent of nature.

berries

40. Cats.

cat

41. Travel magazines and books with a strong sense of place.

travel mag

42. Sweater season.

sweater

43. Writing with my favourite Tiffany pen.

tiffany

44. Uncontrollable laughter.

45. Marking recipes to try in a new cookbook.

cookbook

46. Watching thunderstorms from somewhere dry.

storm

47. Thoughtfulness.

48. Early morning light and fog over London.

fog

49. Waking up to a print sale on Etsy.

50. A light breeze on a hot summer’s day.

summer

51. Looking at images by incredible portrait photographers like Steve McCurry, Eric Lafforgue, Lisa Kristine, David Lazar & Rehahn.

52. Hearing stories of adventure and travel.

Olives

53. Walking under a tunnel of trees bursting with cherry blossoms in the spring.

blossoms

54. Hopping on rocks across a stream.

stream

55. Chilly winter nights in with board games (and fireplaces).

56. Having a new project to work on.

tags

57. Warm clothes fresh out of the dryer.

58. A bus or train or elevator arriving at exactly the same time as me.

train

59. Salt beef bagels on Brick Lane.

bagel

60. A day off in the middle of the week.

61. City lights reflected in puddles and rainy streets at night.

Monmouth Street, Seven Dials, London

62. Connecting with new people through Little Observationist and social media.

63. Stumbling on a quirky new shop, cafe or restaurant.

tea

64. Biting into a ripe and juicy slice of watermelon.

watermelon

65. Maps.

66. Learning a new skill.

pasta

67. Fields full of wildflowers.

wildflowers

68. Catching up with all of my favourite bloggers.

69. Sitting on my parents’ front porch.

porch

70. Making the first footprints on crunchy frost-coated grass or fresh snow on early winter mornings.

snowy

71. Reconnecting with old friends like no time has passed at all.

sarah

72. Discovering a song I want to play over and over again.

73. A cashmere jumper.

cashmere

74. Listening to hundreds of different languages that are spoken in this multicultural city.

multiculti

75. Finding the perfect gift for someone.

76. The feeling of being in the moment.

wedding

What are some of yours?

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7 Comments

  • Reply
    Edi
    October 1, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    What a great post! Full of wonderful things and wonderful photos 🙂

  • Reply
    Art Farm
    October 5, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    What a lovely tribute to your Grandpa, Steph! A few of my simple pleasures are the taste of a freshly picked ripe tomato, the drive home along Lake Shore Drive, hot apple cider and freshly made cinnamon sugar donuts, laughing with my brothers so hard that we cry, the quiet hush of the city during the first snow fall and a good book you can’t put down.

    • Reply
      littleobservationist
      October 6, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      Oh yes! Hot apple cider. A beautiful thing. Sadly I’ve never found that in London in a way that compares to that from home, especially the stuff you get in the orchards after a day of fruit picking! And I so love that hush of a first sow as well. Bring on Winter 😉 xo

  • Reply
    Diana Mieczan
    October 6, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    I read this post few times now because I can’t get enough of it. I agree with so many of those and what a sweet and heartfelt tribute to your grandfather. Some of mine are: the smell of morning coffee, flower shopping, fresh sheets and the feeling just after a good run – a mix of exhaustion and total bliss:) Happy Tuesday, darling. Psst: can you tell me what’s the name of the purple plant in your herb-kitchen-window-photo? Thanks:)

    • Reply
      littleobservationist
      October 6, 2015 at 2:11 pm

      Thank you! I love all of your choices as well! I had to check with Jorge because you know how terrible I am with plant names – the purple one in the window is called Aeonium. Have a lovely Tuesday. x

  • Reply
    Bhushra
    October 20, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    Awesome…. Mind blowing … I have it read article with such a natural touch ..great job my friend!!

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