Enchantment Learning & Living Blog

Welcome to Enchantment Learning & Living, inspirational blog about the simple pleasures, radical self-care, and everyday magic that make life delicious.

Everyday Enchantments ~ Release Day!

It’s official! Everyday Enchantments is out in the world!  I can now legitimately call myself a Published Author.  I’ll be honest and say that I can’t quite believe that I’ve birthed my first book.  

All I know is that this book never would have been possible without my incredibly supportive communities, from family and friends, to my long-time readers and fellow bloggers and writers.  Of course, no manuscript achieves polish without the hard work of editors—of which I had many.  I am eternally grateful for their insights and thoughtful feedback that pushed my writing to the next level.  My book would not be as magical without their help! Last but certainly not least, I am forever in awe that Moon Books took a risk on a first-time author who wrote a different kind of read.  

Okay, enough gushing.  

Here’s to my first book (okay, maybe a little more gushing), here’s to my communities that inspired and supported it, and here’s to a magical life!

Get your copy of Everyday Enchantments here and see what reviewers have to say…

Everyday Enchantments “brought the art of mindfulness alive for me, much more so than any mindfulness textbook ever has.” ~ Eva on Goodreads

“This is magical poetry to meditate upon.” ~ C. R. Elliot on Goodreads

“A very good read for those who want to live enchanted on a daily basis.” ~ Christina on Goodreads

“This was a completely different read for me, in fact, I haven't quite finished it yet as I'm taking my time with this. It should not be read in one sitting, but taken in small doses and digested fully before continuing on. The author has a way of tapping into the beauty of the small moments that make life such a blessing to live and takes the reader on a journey by awakening the senses through each detailed account.” ~ Jaclyn on Goodreads

“This book simply screams to find JOY in your life.” ~ N.N. Light’s Book Heaven

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Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

They Say Write What You Know...

They say write what you know. But it’s a hard thing to do. First, we rarely know what we know. Or rather, there’s so much we think we know but don’t. And second…how do you explain the flutter in your ribcage when you start a new story? How do you describe the taste of a memory so old you don’t remember when you first acquired it?

Sometimes you do write what you know, though no one believes you’ve fought dragons. You have. Several of them. Seems there’s one knocking on your door every few years or you stumble across them as you canvas uncharted territories. You made friends with a few of them, too. No one trusts that you hear the whispered stories of trees. It must only be the breeze you’re talking about. Never mind that trees have the best stories—the oldest stories—and dearly love to gossip. Fewer still understand that when you write of mixing hot water with rosemary slivers and chamomile heads, you aren’t just brewing a cup of tea, but concocting a healing spell to mend bruised hearts and tired bodies. 

Once in a while, someone hears your truth, like a distant moonlit howl. So that when you say a pair of cowboy boots—over 15 years old and thrice mended—are the living history of a woman learning to stand on her own, they see pieces of your soul woven into the leather soles. Others will bend and distort this and see only that you have a pair of shoes or that perhaps you like to two-step. In the end, it hardly matters. You can’t anticipate what others might see when you tear off a piece of yourself as if from a loaf of bread, and invite them to taste it.

Sunday, I read a book (which means: Sunday, I read a book).

When I talk about the stories locked in my veins—some passed on to me, some all my own—it will show up as a smattering of words on a page. They may not know the press of these stories, like so many microscopic seeds, against my arteries. And when I say I’ve taken a long walk through my neighborhood, I’ve really just returned from a long journey in which I fought my way through an ancient labyrinth in a faraway land so as to find answers to secret questions only the spirit in the middle of the maze can answer.

Yesterday I bargained for some extra luck from a wood sprite who was in dire need of a handful of acorns. (Loosely translated: I was the one in a pinch and borrowed some magic from someone who owed me a favor...and wasn't opposed to my sweetening the deal with some hard-to-find nuts. Real magic, conjured magic—your own magic—takes time to build and I was at a deficit from one too many blows to the spirit.) 

So this is my truth. More or less. I once had high tea with a giant. We dined across a large slab of granite in a wide open field, as was the custom in his land. Although when I write this, many will only see a young student clutching a cardboard coffee cup, sitting next to a future mentor on a cold bench near a duck pond between classes.

Tonight, I'll dream. Or live. Depending on how you want to read it. Who's to say we can tell the difference between one or the other? Half the time people think I'm dancing through life, when really my footsteps are meticulous, carefully kissing the earth in slow, dramatic presses of heel to toes, heel to toes. That's the only way to walk. The only way to taste things growing just under the surface.

This I write. This I know. Mostly. Kind of.

Ink Quill and Paper

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

5 Things I've Learned about Writing from a Year of Blog Editing

Now that I've finished my year of editing--and had some time to relax--I've come to realize that editing has taught me a lot about the writing (and living!) process.  Sometimes it felt like my editing project would never end, mostly because I don't think it is a process that can truly end. You just have to decide that you're done.  At least for now.  It also gave me a chance to review all the wonderful experiences, insights, and recipes I've collected here over the past few years.  This adventure has left me with a new perspective on writing.  Although there are hundreds of things I've learned from a year of editing, I've narrowed it down to the top five. Each one reflects a morsel of wisdom I hope to take with me as I dive into new projects (and blogs!).

1.  If you want to be a writer, write.   It's as simple as that.  When I started this blog, I'd already been writing every day since I was a teenager and knew I wanted to become a writer.  It didn't matter what I wrote or how much, just that I kept at it.  That's also how I got this blog started. Rain or shine, whether I felt like it or not, I showed up to my writing desk every day and honed my craft.  I can see moments in past blogs where my voice began to blossom because I'd gained confidence and experience through regular practice.  

2.  Perfection is overrated.  Seriously.  This is a big one.  I've seen so many writers get stumped from the get-go because they want everything to be perfect.  I've certainly been guilty of this. And yet when I started blogging, I promised myself to stress less about perfection and focus my energy on learning my craft.  What a difference that made!  I simply allowed myself to experiment and learn from trial and error.  There was also something liberating about having this experimentation visible to my readers--once my writing was out there, I learned not to fret about mistake making.  It was all part of the process.  Bottom line: writing is messy and you have to be willing to take risks if you want to develop your voice and style.  Which leads me to number three...

3.  You can't fix a blank page.  Write something.  Anything.  You can always go back and edit it later.  But if you hem and haw over each potential word or phrase, you will never get anything done.  Some of my best work came from scribbling down bursts of insights without a filter, before overthinking set in.   

4.  Your work will never feel complete...just done for now.  I fussed over my edits, probably more than I should have, and finally came to the realization that my work will probably never feel quite finished.  That said, if I want to take on new projects, I have to let the old ones rest.  

5.  Writing is a form of conjuring.  Rereading old posts, I came to see how each one reflected the happy, healthy life I wanted to create for myself.  In fact, I started the blog as a way to find joy and balance at a time when I felt like I was still learning what those things meant.  Cut to me three years later, living an abundant, well-rounded life and indulging in the pleasures each day has to offer.  Each word I wrote became a seed that blossomed into the joy I now experience.  That is conjuring at its most basic--and magical!

All in all, I learned that life and writing are about creating beauty and meaning.  And while I might still find a typo or two lurking in the shadows of my posts, as Susanna J. Sturgis writes, "Typos are Coyote padding through language, grinning." 

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

How to Kill a Typo

First, you have to root them out.

They are very good at hiding.  A typo is like a splinter or a thorn that wriggles deeper into your skin as you poke and prod it with tweezers--or pen tip.  And where there is one, you know there must be others just beyond your sight (these beasts travel in packs).  So be merciless, regardless of the casualties.  

Their favorite trick is to hide in plain sight.  They know all your weaknesses too--like your tired eyes. Or your desire to just get the damned thing done.  Even your hope (faint and foolish as it is) that just this once, you wrote something that doesn't need editing.  You spun straw into strands of sunlight--but no.  Perhaps you should take that last part out?  Best not to get carried away with metaphors.  And anyway, it means fewer words for those bastard typos to hide behind. Scratch that--fewer words for those bastard typos to hide behind.  They see all of this and perhaps your biggest weakness of all: you see what you want to see.  Your eyes read past the form that should be from because you want it that way.  And they love you for it.  

But here's the good news:  once you find these pesky literary rodents, they can't be unseen. You'll find the best way to discover them is by clicking send or publish.  Watch how these black marks outshine every sterling piece of prose when they think your work is out of your hands.  Typos love an audience.  The bigger, the better.

That is their one weakness, this showmanship.  The moment they are most vulnerable is when the curtain is drawn and they can preen for all the world to see.  Still, it would be wise not to underestimate them.  They will try to plead and bargain with you, arguing that their presence is a sign of your humanity--your perfect imperfection.  But don't listen to them.  Gather your words and let them be your strength.  Let your stories turn on those impostors hiding beneath your hard-worked worlds.   Let them devour the little beasts that would infest your carefully built ink-grown realm.  

Let them feast on the unnecessary comma, sucking it up like a strand of spaghetti and swallowing the excessive o's in one fat gulp.  And if there is anything left of these diseases bred from consonants and vowels, let your pen do the rest.  Strike them out.  Tear them from the page.  Snuff out their life like the weeds they are.

Then bury the fibrous leftover limbs in the slush heap with all of your other abandoned prose. Every good garden needs a compost.  

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Writing at the Kitchen Table

Sure you have your own writing desk, one lovingly crafted over the years.  You can still see evergreen where it bleeds through the turquoise you painted over it, a tribute to the expansive lightness of your beloved skies.  The inevitable wear and tear of scratches and well-worn grooves where your feet rest on your chair are as familiar to you as the lines on the palm of your hands. And the scattered gemstones, carelessly placed daisies, and stacks of half-read books only add to this still life, a study of a writer's mind. 

But sometimes you need to forgo the creative splendor of that desk for the warmth and sanctity of the kitchen table.  Here you can spread out and make your journal and pen at home with the salt and pepper shakers.  Your hands can smooth the wrinkles from the homemade mustard and ochre tablecloth strewn with embroidered vines and buds impatient to burst open, a gift from your mother; this homey task is a welcome respite for your fingers, much more soothing than finding their way around the roughness of each wooden groove and lost story on your writing desk.  

The only music is the whistle of the kettle and the sound of you and your words breathing in unison.  Perhaps there is even some stew simmering on the stove, perfuming your cozy space with comfort and garlic.  There is no room for dainty tea cups here, just as there is no time for a lady-like cup of Earl Grey.  Only fat mugs will do, enough to hold the rich brew you concoct out of oat straw, alfalfa leaves, and astralagus root.  This is working tea.  It fills you up with nourishment from the earth and protects you from the elements.  Each sip brings you closer to the ground, where you write best.  

It is easier to plant your letters in that minerally dirt and watch words bloom.  Their sun is the glitter from the mica mugs from which you slurp your tea.  And you watch with the pleasure of a gardener who has pulled the last weed from her plot of land, as those words unfurl into sentences, and burst into story just as the tight buds on the tablecloth erupt into bloom.

Only at the kitchen table can you get your hands dirty and your mind clear.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Writing is like Cooking

Writing is messy, messy work.  And the mess is half the fun.  

It's a lot like cooking that way. Think of it as this alchemical process of mixing ingredients (one-half cup of a dream, a fourth of cup of memories beginning to fade, a pinch of cheekiness, a tablespoon of sweat, and a rounded cup of time); spices (one saucy phrase, a heaping teaspoon of innuendo, a sprinkle of read-between-the-lines); equipment (saucepans and spatulas, fingers and keyboards); and of course, timing. You cannot make a respectable beef bourguignon in less than four hours, nor skip on the loving task of first searing your beef cubes and sautéing your mushrooms, carrots, celery, and onions before adding them to the stew.  

So too with writing.  Sure you can put words on paper. Many of them all at once.  But they do not come together to form a cohesive whole--that story come to life on the page--unless you have tenderly cared for them in batches and slowly added them to your alphabet soup.  

The spices are a different matter altogether--too much of one and you've lost your dish to the ever aggressive nutmeg or your prose to the temptation of alliteration.  Not enough spice and you have a meal as thin and unappetizing as gruel or underdeveloped backstories.  

This is nothing to say of the most potent and mercurial of ingredients: your energy.  The love and time and essence you pour into what you create.  There is no accounting for the tasteless feast you slaved over all day, following the recipe exactly, or the accidental perfection that comes from a few minutes of hastily throwing pantry odds and ends into a bowl.   Similarly, you can spend forever on a piece of work and it still feels as dry as burnt toast.  Or you can simply trust the hours you have lingered in the kitchen or at your writing desk and let the words come to you of their own accord, ready to make their mark on the page and produce nothing short of a miracle.

And like any dish, the final product (if such a thing exists) is built in layers, over time, and refined by practice (that word to encompass each and every kitchen disaster from the undercooked flan to the overcooked dhal).  Each limp string bean, a product of over-boiling, and each burnt salmon are lessons in balance as is each typo, each half-formed paragraph or each experimental tone that made it no farther than the compost.  Yet if we never risk a deflated soufflé or flaccid prose, we lose out on the potential for a perfectly risen confection of air, chocolate, and whimsy. The enthusiastic over-use of cumin and the semi-colon (or parenthetical asides) eventually lead to a healthy respect for using both in moderation.

All of this is by way of saying that writing is in the rewriting, just as knowing your way around the kitchen is cooking and recooking specific dishes and attempting new ones.  Once you have a recipe down, you must go back and refine it as you learn more about your ingredients and are yourself seasoned by life experience.  That is why this year, you'll find me marinating on the messiness--the beautiful, delightful, challenging messiness--of writing and rewriting my thoughts on the magic of everyday life. 

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

What Writing Looks Like

You are lost in thought, have moved from gathering herbs to the opening scene of one of your stories (there are herbs in that too).  You are no longer in your garden but in the kitchen of a home that only exists within the puddles of ink gathering onto your page. 

Casual onlookers would see nothing out of the ordinary, nothing more than a woman pruning her garden.  The fools.  They do not see the story weaving itself before your eyes, made of rosemary, eggshells, and a spark of imagination.  They do not know that what they just witness was nothing short of magic.  (Perhaps one day they will, though, when they pick up that story with that opening scene in that kitchen built of words and paper.  Then they will know how you spun stories out of stolen moments among your plants.)

Or take the hour you spent away from your writing desk because your body no longer wanted to sit still but dance the silent dance of yoga asana, freeing the words nesting at the bottom of your spine.  Your prose came more fluidly after that as if your spine were a pen dipped into the ink of your day, ready to release the stories it has acted out on the mat and absorbed between sunrise and sunset. 

Sometimes your writing is the evening you set aside for more words, but after a day of being saturated in them, you find that there is nothing more appealing that pajamas, a glass of wine, and whatever old movie is playing on the television.  And if your hands must move--that twitch a phantom ache from not pressing your fingerpads on the keyboard--you will knit, stitching memories into the threads you loop together for your infinite blankets.

Then there are the words hastily scribbled on a crumpled tissue or old handout as your students pour over their marked up papers, trying to make sense of the narrative you wove into those tight margins.  This is when the words come most of all: it the space between breaths, when you are not allowed to labor over this comma or that scene, but can only hastily spend a brief flash of insight onto the wilted edge of last month's essay prompt.

And yes, sometimes you even find yourself writing at your desk, as people so often suspect you do in order to lay sentences, like bricks, into the walls that make up the home of your craft.  This comes with its own pull to wipe the excess mortar between those brick for the most elusive of miracles: a page without typos (if such a thing exists, you often wonder, when you run your fingers between your bricks, once again hoping to smooth out the pebbles in the thick cement you had already combed through).

More often than not, writing is in the moments you close your eyes and let sleep take you; where else would you find the worlds carved into the inside of a star or the memory that seems to come from nowhere except the amber-leafed shade tree you find only at the crossroads between wake and sleep?  Other times you find yourself in similar dreamworlds, this time within the folds of book covers rather than your sheets. Yes, your writing is in feeding your soul, so that each story you devour becomes a future bone in the vertebra of your own.

You find your words, too, at the tip of a fountain pen waiting to spill its black seed onto your page.  Sometimes you keep those seeds in the pen, for as eager as they are to make their mark in this world, you can tell they are not truly ready to commit themselves to paper.  This moment, between holding your pen in your hand and pressing its tip to a blank page, is where the writing happens, not so much in what will be written as in what you ponder to possibly transcribe. 

So you let your words come to you of their own accord.  You let yourself feel your craft wrap around you like a cozy sweater, stocking up on all those images and feelings and memories (some your own, some pressed within the pages of books), until your pen is full to bursting, ready to let the abundance of your prose gush onto the page.  In the meantime, you get lost in thought.  You make a cup of tea.  You take a long walk down a forgotten lane.  You feed your senses until you feel as if you might burst with the pleasure in peeling and eating an apple.  That is what writing looks like. 

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

I Used to Write on Napkins

Beside you sits a wrinkled napkin, a yellow-brown ring half-formed around its center--the offending tea cup sitting just beside it now.  You cannot say why it caught your eye as you loaded up the papers you'd been grading, getting ready for the next item on your to-do list--only that it stirred something inside you, loosened an almost forgotten fact from the crevices of your mind:

You used to write on napkins.  Even used-up ones like these.  Just out of braces and feeling oh-so-adult with your new teeth and your after school hostess job, you decided you had stories in you.  But when to write? (An even bigger question than what to write--you figured that would answer itself, so long as you could convince the ever-moving clock that words were worth your time.) 

You were still under the vague impression that writers--"real" writers--must devote every moment of the clock hands spinning around its face to build stories out of ink and fantasy.  But you were a high school student (an identity you only grudgingly admitted to) and a pub hostess (perhaps, you hoped, you looked more worldly than your 17 years).  And you lacked the funds to run away to Paris to write.  So you squeezed your scribbles in after cleaning tables and seating customers, in those brief stretches between filling water glasses and folding napkins--those napkins again.

You kept the cloth ones for the customers and contented yourself with the cheap cocktail napkins to scrawl across.  On one frayed edge was the start of your first novel (mercifully gone now, buried deep inside your creative compost); on a crumpled corner, a nonsensical story; on the inside flap of another napkin, the quick sketch of pub scenes, like the couple getting too cozy in a corner table, or the boisterous bar-side conversation of friends. 

You would stuff these worldly scraps into your pocket like someone would a crumpled tissue and pull them out when you got home smelling of French fries and cleaning solution.  Carefully you would untangle them and stack them upon your writing desk to cure overnight.  Perhaps tomorrow they would yield the seeds of a story.

Now, you eye your watch--those hands winding around fat numbers--and glance back at your napkin.  You still have a few minutes before you really need to go.  So you settle in, however briefly.  You take up that napkin and a pen--and you write.

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Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Join Me for Another Year of Blogging Adventures!

Well, I'm back in the saddle after a few days off of writing--which, to be honest, felt a little strange since I was so used to writing every. Single. Day.  Yep, I did it!  Last year I committed to writing a blog a day--that's 365 inspirational posts!--on the little things in life that give us pleasure like an afternoon cup of tea or reading in bed.  I even sprinkled my posts with healthy recipes (Chickpea & Mushroom Salad anyone?) and DIY beauty treats (hello Easy Peasy Baking Soda Face Scrub!) to celebrate the small acts of self-care we can fold into our everyday life which makes it all the more enjoyable.

Whew!  What a year it was!  If you want to look back on that journey we took together or read some of the posts that you didn't get to the first time around, you check out my Blog and Recipe Indexes.  

Fear not, however--a new year does not mean I'm giving up on my blogging.  In fact, it means the opposite: I'm looking forward to more writing adventures!  Instead of daily posts, I'll be blogging bi-weekly, typically on Tuesday and Friday.  There will still be plenty of flash essays on everyday magic and new recipes to enjoy throughout this year, just a little more spread out.  Now is also a good time to subscribe to my blog (simply enter your email address in the box provided below or click here and enter your email address) to get each new post delivered to your inbox. 

As always, thank you for your support and for following me last year as I embarked on this wild journey of blogging and savoring the everyday magic that surrounds us if only we take the time to look for it.  Here's to another year of enchanted living and learning!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Best Hits: Reading & Writing

I am a woman of words as well as flesh and blood; I write because I have to.  Too long away from the words and I turn as parched and fragile as old paper.  The same with stories.  I need novels and books to sooth me to sleep at night, to guide me during the day, to disappear into when I need a respite from this world--and when I need fresh eyes to look at my life and then dive in and enjoy it!

All that's missing is a fat mug of tea to drink as you read through these short essays on the divine power of reading, writing, and a good story:

1.  On Writing in the Second Person

2.  On Thunderstorms & Gothic Novels

3.  On Being the Heroine of Your Own Life

4.  On the Hunt for a New Read

5.  5 Things I've Learned from Miss Phryne Fisher, Lady Detective

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

On Henry Miller and How I Learned to Write

He taught me that living was more important than writing, that, after a certain point, the thought of gluing myself to my writing desk would be an act of violence, rather than one of love.  Two hours, he said.  Two hours a day are all you need.  The rest of your time must be spent walking and visiting with friends in cafes and making love.  Seemed like the ideal schedule for a full-time writer or, in my case, a full time burgeoning writer.  Not yet out of braces, I was determined to learn everything and anything about this elusive art (and, admittedly, I was more than a little titillated by reading Henry Miller in my math class, feeling oh-so-sophisticated and adult in the face of algebra problems).

Over the years I have adapted his prescription to suit my own needs--twenty minutes a day when I teach; just enough to feel my fingers glide along my keyboard, enough to tickle the words.  Then on those long glorious days of summer or sweet, lush weekends, I can indulge in my two hours just as I can indulge in my long walks and life living.

Writing should be an act of joyfulness, an expression of the fullness of your life, not a ball and chain that keeps you from this world.  Thank you, Henry Miller, thank you for this lesson.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Best Hits: Top 5 Most Popular Recipes to Date

Yesterday we looked at the Top 5 Most Popular Blog Posts to Date, but we all know that besides my musing on everyday magic and simple pleasures, I also offer recipes on everything from DIY beauty products, healthy meals and snacks, to cocktails and even tea blends to help you conjure everyday bliss in your own life.  In honor of that equally important facet of Enchantment Learning & Living, today I am sharing the Top 5 Most Popular Recipes to Date.  I compiled the data, and the revelations are as varied and surprising as the most popular posts! Check it out below, in no particular order:

1. Keepin' It Fresh Homemade Deodorant

2. Lavender Gimlet

3. Easy Homemade Pickles

4. Chickpea & Mushroom Salad

5. Sleepy Time Tea Blend

What favorites of yours made this list?  Which didn't?  ...and don't fret, there are plenty more recipes to come!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Best Hits: Top 5 Most Popular Blog Posts to Date

I got to thinking the other day--now that I am a little more than halfway through my year of daily blogging--about what my most popular blog posts are as of now.  So I did some investigating, perused my blog activity, hits, comments, likes, favorites, and retweets...you name it!  Once I compiled my data, I found there were a handful of standouts that people just couldn't seem to get enough of.  This biggest surprise to me was that these "best hits" were from a pretty wide range of topics and tones, from the playful On Maximalist Fashion to the more somber On Healing as Art.  Wow! 

So here, in a nutshell, are my most popular blog posts (chosen by your engagement), not including recipes--those come later.  Enjoy rereading the ones you helped make the most popular or reading for the first time the ones that slipped past you the first time around!

1. On Healing as Art

2. On Returning Home After Work

3. On Tasting the First Tomatoes from Your Garden

4. On Maximalist Fashion

5. On the Necessity of Good Coffee

What were your favorites that didn't make it on the list?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

What Simple Pleasures Do You Love? Share Here!

As you know, I spend a lot of time on this blog writing about simple pleasures, from Buying a Bouquet of Flowers, to the delight of Drinking a Glass of Wine on My Patio, to that thing of pure bliss, otherwise known as Getting Sh** Done.

But now I want to know what your simple pleasures are!  What inspires you?  What makes your day just a little brighter?  What do you look forward to during the week?  One of my favorite things about blogging is that I get to have this conversation with fellow readers and writers about what makes our life enjoyable and how we continue to create that enjoyment through cultivating a space to stop and ponder the little things we value in our lives.  In essence, we are thinking about what feeds our soul, day in, day out.  So share your thoughts!  Who knows, you might even inspire a blog on the topic!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

5 Things I've Learned about Everyday Magic from Blogging

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Yesterday's blog post found me in awe of the fact that I've now completed six whole months of daily blogging, or as I like to call it, daily meditations on the magic of everyday life.  Writing every day like this has been one of my many (and perhaps most important) routines-as-rituals. It has made me hyper-sensitive to the magic of daily life and seems to have conjured more magic!  So in honor of this epic month that marks the halfway point of my year of daily blogging, I've decided to share with you five things I've learned about everyday magic from my blogging in the hopes that it inspires you to pause, look around, and see the magic in your life.

1.  The more you stop to appreciate the little things, the more inspiration you find for a happy life.  It's true--the more time I take to slow down and appreciate life's simple pleasures, the more they seem to find me.  Or perhaps they were there all along and I have only just begun to pay attention to them, like those synchronous moments that chase away negativity or simple enjoyments like preparing a dinner party.  In either case, blogging regularly on everyday magic allows me to look high and low for things that make my life awesome.

2.  Self-care is a necessity, not a luxury.   This is a huge lesson.  In this world of moving too fast and putting the needs of work or others before yourself, it is easy to think of self-care as the last and least important thing on your to-do list.  Yet as I began my writing journey, I found myself writing more and more about healing as art.  It made me realize that one of the things I've been cultivating through blogging is a greater sensitivity to myself and the needs of my body, mind, and soul.  The more I focus on this, the better I feel.  Best of all, I realize that when I resisted over-committing myself to demands of work and others, I am more productive and useful--and cut out unnecessary busyness.

3.  It takes time and energy to cultivate an appreciation for everyday magic--but it's so worth it!  This next lesson might sound counter-intuitive, but I realize that it takes work to see the magic in things.  A lot of people want that joie de vivre just to happen, but it won't if you spend your time dwelling on past lives or negative things.  Living well means cultivating a mindset and lifestyle that breeds happiness and enjoyment; there's no room for regret, looking back, or fussing over things you can't control.  It's everyday conjuring it its simplest form.

4.  Writing about everyday pleasures is like being a big flirt with life.  No joke.  When you wake up with the intention of enjoying every little bit of your day, it's hard not to feel like a flirt--always playful, always inviting unexpected fun, always ready for anything.  In many ways, it helps you shed your inhibitions about who you are and aren't, what you should and shouldn't like, what you can and can't do.  There's simply nothing left to do but be the fullest expression of yourself--totally liberating! And yes, sometimes it means you get carried away enjoying things like polka dots or your garden's first tomatoes--but that's just part of the magic!

5.  Life lessons are about the journey, not the destination.  I know it sounds a little cheesy, like something that belongs on an inspiration-gram, but what's wrong with that?  Sometimes we need to get lost in the desert or revisit old lives in new cities.  Part of finding the magic in everyday life is enjoying the learning process--what you learn about yourself, your relationship to others, your growth as a living, breathing being.  It's not about perfection or reaching that one ah-ha moment; it's about being willing to embrace--and enjoy--the messiness that is life.

...and I know I said I was only going to talk about five things I've learned, but I'm going throw in a bonus, and maybe the most important, sixth lesson:

the more you look for magic, the more it finds you.

What magic have you found lately?

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

It's My 6th Month Anniversary of Daily Blogging on Simple Pleasures!

The first of the year saw me making one of those big fat New Year's resolutions, which for me was to write a daily blog on simple pleasures, everyday magic, and any other meditations about the good life that I could think up.  Since then, I've blogged about my passions for gardening, cooking (with tons of recipes!), yoga-ing, and nurturing my introverted personality and my super loud fashion sense.  Every.  Single.  Day.  It's been such an adventure and a great learning experience--but more musings on that tomorrow.

And then today came, and I realized six months had gone by since I started this epic act of self-care.  Woohoo!  I've made it to the halfway point!  Just another six-months to go...and don't worry, when this year of daily blogging is up, I'll still be here blogging away on the little things in life that make me happy, whole, and grounded. 

So what am I going to do now?  Well, clearly, drink some celebratory champagne and generally have a ball like this lady here...

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...and keep writing of course!  You can look forward to more musing on everyday magic and simple pleasures each day.  Some cool additions to my blog have included a recipe index, where you can find all the food, drink, and DIY beauty recipes I've featured on my blog.  As of last week, I've officially compiled a blog index, which catalogs all the (non-recipe) reflection blogs I've written so far by general topics.  So if you can't remember where that one great recipe was or that one blog that really resonated with you--or if you just want to browse for some life inspiration--you can check out these indexes.  And if you want even more inspiration (really, who doesn't?), you can follow ELL on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. 

I want to thank my readers for your support, your comments, and your engagement on my posts!  It has been such a treat to share my reflections and recipes on enjoying the little things in life.  I look forward to another six months and beyond of celebrating everyday magic!  You can help me celebrate by spreading the word to friends, family, colleagues--anyone who wants a little extra magic in their day--about my blog.  You can always subscribe to my blog by typing in your email in the subscription link at the bottom of each post (this will ensure you get my latest post emailed directly to you) or join me on Bloglovin to peruse my posts at your leisure. 

In the meantime, always remember that true magic is in everyday living and learning!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

On Writing in the Second Person

It's uncomfortably intimate at first, the you. 

Then before you know it, it seduces you, wraps itself around you and holds you tight.  So tight, you couldn't let go if you wanted to.   

You. It makes you wear the experience like a second skin until you are there--experiencing that afternoon tea or that long walk or that conversation with the birds at your feeder. 

You. You shouldn't be afraid of how the word draws out your readerlyness, even when the writer you read invents words--especially so. It reminds you that you too create this world, this picture of patio gardens and long naps, evenings cooking in the kitchen and staying up late reading novels.  You are no longer allowed to be just a voyeur--you must live the experience as you devour each word on the page like it is a fat grape bursting with juice, filling your mouth with its tart sweetness.  Yes, you taste this too, even as you read it.

To read is to invent, to imagine what the writer's words look like when they lift from the page and become your reality.  You do this.  You.  The one reading this right now.  You.  I reach across my page and thank you for reading, for bringing my words to life, for being willing to wear your you so that I can bridge the gap between writer, word, reader.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

On the Doves Outside My Window

Every morning they greet you with their cooing and cuddling.

They perch on the thick branches of the naked tree just outside your window, warbling and fluffing their feathers and flitting around each other in an ancient mating dance.  Those two are your writing companions, punctuating each of your sentences with their full-bellied song.  This time of year, the leaves of the tree do not hide their presence--and so you see them, in all their glory, as they go about their day, flirting, singing, flying.

You need no other music but their song and the flap of their wings as they wind around each other, circle the tree and dart around other birds--their neighbors the finches and sparrows.  They remind you that spring is almost here, that the earth is already preparing for the new season, that seeds are sprouting in the ground, getting ready to push their little heads skyward. 

These doves are proof that life is more than just one keystroke after another, but a continuous dance, a never ending song, a bright burst of flight over the tree, out of range of your windowsill, and towards the mountains.  They are your evidence that life is in the quiet moment where you pause and simply listen to the doves' song and watch as they playfully chase each other from branch to branch and then take flight.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

I Made It Through the First Month of Daily Blogging!

I have spent all 31 one days of January posting blogs daily about the magic of everyday life and the simple pleasures we often take for granted.  Woohoo! 

This one-month milestone has whetted my appetite for more meditations on the delicious moments of day to day life.  What's more, I want to hear from you--what topics are you enjoying? What simple pleasures do you look forward to in your day?  It has been a treat to share my bits of daily magic and find kindred souls who feel the same way about yoga, reading, or tea.  So let's keep the conversation going!  Tell me what you would like to read more about.  You can comment on this post or email me at enchantmentlearning@gmail.com to share your thoughts.

If you've been loving what you're reading and want these daily meditations emailed directly to you, please subscribe to my blog here--and spread the word to your friends and family. Thank you, everyone, for your support with this writing project and for sharing in this conversation!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

On Figuring Out What to Write About

You've been on a roll lately, writing about this bubble bath and that morning walk.  But today you mull over each new topic and discard them one at a time as if they are cards in a tarot deck and you aren't quite ready to hear what they have to say, although you know you will eventually return to them.

If you had more time, you would write a little on that topic and a little on another, until one sucks you in completely and you're off and running, spinning out words until you've said what you needed to say.  But the time between coming home from work and going out to tea is limited.  Each minute slips by in a flurry of dinner preparation and the transformation from teacher to person.  No.  It's not your normal routine, not the leisurely evening you usually enjoy, the unhurried unrolling of the night conducive to writing and reading. 

Your dinner is heating on the stove.  You have changed from your teacher uniform into your civilian jeans and boots; there is nothing left now but to return to your words.  Then it hits you: what greater joy is there than to ponder writing--the luxury of worrying a topic in your mind like it's a frayed piece of yarn in your hand? 

That's it.  It's there within your reach.  You've found it.  You sit at your desk and begin the daily ritual again.  You put fingers to keys and write.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!