Life’s little luxuries

by Becky

I’ve been thinking lately about the little luxuries in life that make me happy.

This started because I spend too much time reading news and politics, and it’s making me cranky. So I have been making a concerted effort to spend some time each day on things that I know make me happy. In addition to nightly walks with DH, I am making more time to read.

As I crawled into a freshly made bed to read, the first time I’ve read in bed in more than a year, I realized that to me this is the ultimate in luxury. I enjoy the quiet, the soft lighting, and the chance to just relax and take my mind off the day.

What are little things that feel like a luxury to you?


72 thoughts on “Life’s little luxuries

  1. Lately, it’s been able to sit and watch the boys play outside. A year ago, I didn’t have the time/energy/anything to manage that. My job was sucking my will to live, coupled with not understanding DS1’s struggles, and an infant. Watching them grow up the last few weeks has been a luxury.

    Going to dinner sans kids or seeing a first-run movie in a theater is definitely a luxury.

  2. Reading every night before bed is a necessity for me :-) It’s how I unwind.

    Not sure if this qualifies as a little luxury or a bigger one but I love having a house cleaner who changes the sheets and cleans the bathrooms (other stuff too – but these are the chores I hated the most growing up).

  3. Naps – yes. When we were on vacation in Maui, there were a couple days where I took both a mid-morning nap and then a mid-afternoon nap.

    Building on Rhode’s comment – as the kids get older and have their own plans on the weekend, being able to go hiking in the summer is definitely something I appreciate. Also being able to go to events after work without having to figure out the logistics of how the kids will get picked up or who will cook dinner.

  4. Since my DDs were little I have been listening to books rather than reading them. I rejoined my book club and am starting to read books again. It is luxury I forgot I loved so much.

    Time alone in my house for >24 hours. This rarely happens, but will occur next week for 30 hours. Can’t wait!

  5. On Sundays in summer, we have a wonderful luxury here – they shut down the Bronx River Parkway from 10am to 2pm, and only allow bicycles on it. I know, I know, it is one of those perks we get because we pay high taxes. So that is why it is a luxury – but I truly love it.

  6. I am enjoying having a large tv in the bedroom, though I am not sure if its “good” for me, I am enjoying the luxury of being able to just flick the remote and close my eyes without having to climb a flight of stairs. Its not “good” for me because I end up watching a ton of tv and stay up way late. Oh well.

  7. Making myself a nice cup of French press coffee at home to start the workday which I drink from my go-cup on the way to the office. I got the carafe as a Christmas present and I’ve found that going thru the process does not really throw off my routine at all since there’s enough passive time (waiting for the water to boil, waiting for the coffee to steep) that I get the other things done anyway. I’m off the office swill, too.

  8. Real cream in my coffee.

    Softened butter for bread – preferably European.

    A day when you can open the windows and blow clean air through the house to get rid of staleness and doggie odors – otherwise thank you for Febreeze.

    Freshly made bed with sweet smelling sheets.

    A day at the shore watching the ocean and enjoying the breeze and smelling the salt air.

    Meeting a friend for lunch or tea.

    Sometimes just savoring my contentment with the life I have with my family.

  9. A shower, particularly with a rainshower shower head. I remember days as a new mom when getting to take a shower felt like the most luxurious thing in the world. So rejuvenating! Years later, I still love taking a shower as a mini-escape from the stresses of the day.

  10. fresh flowers, in the house every week. seem like the ultimate indulgence to me, but they make me smile.

  11. Boy, I have a lot. My fancy tea at home — and an assistant at work who makes sure to stock the teas I like for the Keurig. My super-comfy chair. The flexibility to choose to curl up at home for a day if I want, or to leave early. My 2-hr acupuncture appointment last night — we make each other laugh, and then I almost fall asleep every time. Having DD be able to drive and being able to take a night out somewhere for no reason and with no planning. Good chocolate. The 02 line at the Residence Inn near Central Park. The unexpected night earlier this week with DD gone, nothing on the schedule for me and DS, and DH then asking if he can go to happy hour — I curled up with my tea and recliner and popped on Netflix. Putting the top down on a gorgeous day — especially when, like this AM, I get out early and it takes only 15 minutes to get to work (as compared to yesterday, which took @35).

    Mostly it’s time: having the time to do what I want just because, and the disposable income to allow me not to worry about it.

  12. The luxury I most appreciate now? My mom. Because she’s willing to watch the boys, I don’t have to put them in full time daycare, and she’s home when DS1 gets off the bus. Grandma is a saint. I’m truly privileged.

    My work luxury is having the entire office to myself. Our new digs means I lost my office and moved to cubeland. Today I have then entire space to myself because the boss is off, the admin is not scheduled to work, and my other colleague is at a conference.

  13. You know, probably the best little luxury of all is being conscious of all of the little luxuries I have. There’s just nothing better than realizing, damn, my life so far has turned out so much better than I’d ever hoped. So thanks for the post, Becky — what a perfect Friday topic!

  14. Listening to a really good podcast on my commute. Podcasts have made commuting (driving) so much more enjoyable.

  15. luxury of the empty office – spending WAAY too much time trying to figure out summer camp payments.

    I signed up thinking we’d get a discount, told I would receive discount, then informed that this particular camp doesn’t get the discount. I can’t find anything where it says the camp I signed up for isn’t eligible for the discount.

    At least I’m not annoying my coworkers…

  16. I’m planning to go to Whole Foods over the weekend — that’s a likely source of little luxuries!

    I have a mug that is like a fancy teacup, only in mug form. This one: . That’s fun because it gets far more use than a teacup would (I carry my mug around, maybe take it in the car with me) but still feels more special than a regular mug.

    Backbay Mama, I enjoy fresh flowers in the house too, although I’m not getting them on a weekly basis. I’ll sometimes use that as an incentive for myself — no point in getting flowers for the table if the table is covered with mail and homework, so I need to get the table cleared if I want flowers!

  17. any tennis fans? This match is crazy.

    There is some stuff in my new car like Apple Car Play that is a nice little luxury because I can listen to my playlist from Spotify and I have some other nice features.


    We’re taping and I already ruined yesterday’s matches by checking the news and inadvertently see the scores.

  19. Good luck avoiding the news about today’s match.

    I think the sound of the flight attendant closing the door when there is an empty seat is bliss. I used to take it for granted when I first started to flying because sometimes there were empty rows! Those days are long gone, and the unoccupied middle seat feels wonderful.

  20. I agree with so many of these.

    I love fresh flowers, and I get them infrequently enough that it truly feels like a luxury & a little splurge that lifts my mood rather than something I have to remind myself to be grateful for (like coming home to a clean house once a week).

    Time to myself, going to an actual movie in a theater – these are infrequent things that I appreciate too.

    There are a lot of things that I appreciate, but have become accustomed to like working a desk job in an air conditioned office with all kinds of perks, having a partner that I love/like/get along with 99% of the time, having a network of friends, living in a city with pretty views and lots of opportunity, not really worrying about where my next meal/paycheck is coming from, not staying up at night worrying that something will break, buying things without agonizing over them, not having to worry about anything out of the ordinary with DS, etc.

  21. @Kerri – I say either “taping” or “TiVoing”. And I had a TiVo for less than 2 years…

  22. Swimming in my own pool and then getting out and lying in the “sun” chair for 10 minutes before moving to the “shade” chair. With my portable speaker playing a Spotify spa music playlist, freshly brewed iced tea with garden mint, and a stack of books. No need to go away to a resort where I have to fight for a lounge chair and overpay for iced tea (without garden mint).

  23. In the summer, there’s a farmer’s market once a week near my office which has the most incredible bouquets for only $10. The bouquets make me so happy.

  24. There are so many, but one important luxury is what Becky described about reading. I’ve had this very thought many times as I’ve curled up in my comfy armchair with the afternoon sun streaming in and settling down with a good book. Ahh.

    Friday evening cocktail hour on our patio enjoying a mojito with freshly picked mint from our garden. Summer in general is a superb luxury.

    Spying a red headed woodpecker picking out insects on our backyard fence. Having Google at my fingertips to identify said bird, and being able to remember Woody Woodpecker cartoons.

    Fireflies this time of year.

    When I used to camp and backpack, often after returning from a trip I would walk into my clean bathroom and almost want to kiss the toilet. I still sometimes walk into my bathroom and feel great appreciation for the luxury of indoor plumbing.

    Great bunches of lilacs when they’re in season.

  25. OT question: Is pet insurance for a puppy worth it? Cost ~ $600 per year, $250 deductible. So far pup is healthy, sellers included 1 year health guarantee. I’m thinking no, but what am I missing?

  26. Brand new fluffy towels, purchased just because and not because the existing towels have holes in them.

  27. We’ve never purchased health insurance for our dogs. The one time we might have appreciated it was when our dog developed cancer and we considered treatment, but then decided the ordeal for the dog was not worth maybe a year or more of life. Some bills can be high, but we’d rather pay ourselves and I don’t think we’ve paid much more than $1000/year on average for medical expenses.

    “Fireflies this time of year.”

    Sticking a few fireflies in your dog’s fur and laughing until you cry watching him scamper about.

  28. “Sticking a few fireflies in your dogs fur and laughing until you cry watching him scamper about.”

    Watching your pup chase his tail in circles until he falls over. Watching your pup attack a stuffed animal bunny bigger than he is as if it were mortal combat. I could go on and on about the pup. We’re all in love. (And housetraining is getting better.)

  29. OT question: Is pet insurance for a puppy worth it?

    Google says the range is $10-$100 per month with the median between $30 and $50 so $600 seems a little high. If you’re a typical totebagger and a random $1000 isn’t going to break you then it’s best to self insure.

    Also, as July mentioned, anything that’s going to get really expensive is probably too much to ask of the dog.

    I guess the only caveat I’d offer is if you’re getting a pure bred that’s known for major health problems – hip dysplasia, that thing where their stomachs get all twisted, etc. Then again they probably price that into the price of the policy.

  30. Thanks Rhett and July! Confirms what I had thought. I’ve heard stories of people spending crazy money on pets that were in accidents or got cancer. We love the little guy, but I don’t expect to break the bank on costs like that for a pet.

  31. Last year I spent $12,000 on emergency surgery for my dog. It was that or put the dog down. The dog was completely back to normal after the surgery. Get the insurance.

  32. Yeah, I’d get the insurance too. It’s really hard when the beloved pet needs surgery, and you know, they swallow stuff and of course they get super-sick on weekends, and so on.

  33. Kerri,

    The only thing I’d add is if your dog needs medication get it from 1800 Pet Meds. Walgreens or whatever will happily fill a dog’s prescription but they fill it with the human version. Which is 3x the price.

  34. Sorry if that came across as hard-nosed or callous. I know people love their pets. And who knows I may change my mind when actually faced with that kind of decision. Right now everything is new and the little guy is the picture of energetic youth.

  35. And who knows I may change my mind when actually faced with that kind of decision.

    You probably will. When my dog was young, I never would have contemplated spending $12,000 (!). But, when you are looking at this helpless dog who has been with you for a long time and whose life is totally dependent on you slapping down the credit card, well, you hand it over. Had it been between my children eating and paying for the surgery, I wouldn’t have done it. But when it was between spending the money and taking it from cash savings that is just sitting there, there was no hesitation.

  36. I spent somewhere around $6K 15 years ago for my kitty. She lived another several years, so it was fine. Anon is right — the guilt about not paying for the beloved family member’s health care, especially when you CAN afford it (though of course you don’t want to; no one does) is brutal.

  37. Kerri – Dog insurance in NYC costs 40 to 50 dollars a month for a mid level policy, that usually has some caps and copays on payouts for different types of afflictions or accidents. Regular check ups and shots are usually not covered. There are Cadillac policies that cover special diets and have much higher lifetime or annual caps, but in your zip code with a custom breed if they even are offered they should be very expensive. Putting aside 600 a year for dog emergencies is a reasonable alternative.

  38. What does the insurance cover? And what are the odds that you are really going to have a significant expense like a $12,000 surgery? I would self insure like Rhett said. $600 a year is $7,200 over a 12 year life of the dog.

    Obviously we’re all different, but when I was faced with the expensive treatments (not even close to $12k) or put the cat down, I put the cat down.

  39. Anon is right — the guilt about not paying for the beloved family member’s health care, especially when you CAN afford it (though of course you don’t want to; no one does) is brutal.

    Again, depends on the person. I felt no guilt. IMO, it was better for the cat than putting it through surgery and recovery. I love my pets, but they are pets, not people.

  40. I love my pets, but they are pets, not people.

    A friend is caring for an demented aunt who, among other things, Is tormented by sundowners. I sure hope they put me down before that happens.

  41. It wouldn’t let me add a link but Embrace offers catastrophic pet insurance with a $1000 deductible and a $15k cap for $12/month. That might be a good option.

  42. When my beloved cat who had been with me for many years developed mouth cancer, we put her down. The vet said that treatment never worked well for this kind of cancer, and she had tumors in her mouth that were making it hard to eat and drink. So sad.

  43. Meme – Your information is on the nose. For a puppy who will mostly stay in our apartment and a breed with few known health problems, we’ll self insure for now. Maybe when he’s older I’ll reconsider insurance.

    Our guy is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – Poodle mix. He”s white with black patches, so the kids named him Oreo. He currently weighs about 5 lbs. He is a sweetie and very playful, when he’s not napping. I thought he’d be able to go outside by now – at 12 weeks – but the vet said, nope, 16 weeks. He’s getting better at going on the wee pads but I cannot wait to take him outside. He already has several “aunts” in our building who pop in to see him (not us, him). The kids are doing a pretty good job watching him and trying to teach him commands. This weekend’s task – learn how to brush his teeth. There’s a YouTube video for everything! I am so glad we got him!

  44. Fresh local produce! This morning is red raspberries, just picked off the plant. They were still warm when I got them home. Strawbs are done; purple raspberries will be available in a couple of days.

  45. The CSA box I get from the Amish. It is not cheap, but so worth it to get an amazing assortment of fresh produce each week. In each box they include a letter from one of the farmers which gives us insight into their world (veggies picked the day before and stored in the ice box).

    Another pleasure is my almost daily gym time, which is when I have time to read a book.

  46. A dishwasher. I’m waiting on a replacement part for ours and just had to wash a bunch of dishes.

  47. Rhett – I can believe that. Diving is tough and scary. Cave diving is scary. You don’t know up from down, you panic easy. I nearly had a panic attack at ~15 ft down because I couldn’t be sure if I was swimming up or down (hint bubbles always go up). If the boys panicked they would endangered the rescuers.

    Not a luxury, but I have 2 awesome purchases. My baby carrier and my stroller. I never thought I’d be that happy with baby gear…

    I’m thrilled it’s blueberry season! Going to buy a bunch so I can freeze them. Pulling bags of local strawberries and blueberries out of the freezer in the winter is AWESOME!!!

  48. We went out to a new bbq place for dinner tonight and they had a bunch of bowls on the menu.

  49. Regarding dog medical care, our dogs’ teeth cleaning costs about $300, IIRC, because they must be anesthetized. I don’t know if most insurance policies cover routine maintenance care like teeth cleaning or vaccinations.

  50. We celebrate the cats’ birthday on Bastille Day. Approx 5years old. Not sure they are a luxury, but it feels like it when they are in my lap. In a more exactly timed celebration, my eldest child is 44 today.

  51. July – just bought doggie toothpaste today. The vet emphasized how important it was to get into the habit of brushing their teeth. Really helps when they get older. I honestly don’t know anyone who actually brushes their dogs teeth. Everyone I know relies on greenies or bones or the vet. I guess its the human equivalent of flossing – probably should do it but most don’t.

  52. “Cave diving is scary.”

    +1. I have been diving many, many times, and the idea of diving through a multi-mile tunnel freaks ME out. Not to mention the huge current (adds to feeling of being out of control), and being wrapped up like a burrito (ditto) — I am getting heebie-jeebies just thinking about it. The closest I’ve been is in a lava tube, with the waves pushing you forward and backward, but even there, we only went in large tubes with defined entrances and exits. I cannot even imagine doing what those boys did for my very first dive — and at 10ish years old, too! Those kids are tough.

  53. LfB – you’re braver than I am. I could have gone for further certification but emotionally I couldn’t do it. To lose that much control, to have to factor all that in… I just couldn’t do it. And now, forget it. I’ll take a nice snorkel adventure in crystal clear waters for $1000 Alex.

  54. @Rhode — not particularly. ;-) DH is the Dive Master; I am merely base-level — with ZERO desire to get advanced training in cave diving,* nitrox, or any of the other fancy stuff. 130′ max is good enough for the likes of me!

    *It’s called Open Water certification for a reason, and I am good with that. ;-)

  55. The closest I’ve been is in a lava tube

    There was a lava tube my sibs and cousins and I used to swim through as kids. At low tide you could just swim through on the surface and there was enough air to breathe and not get smashed against the top of the tube. At high tide you had to swim through underwater — there was a hole halfway through where you could pop up for a breath if you needed to. At changing tide, you didn’t want to be in there. It was really cool, all shifting blue light.

    Ah, the days when parents didn’t worry about it when the kids just disappeared all day.

  56. “I’ll take a nice snorkel adventure in crystal clear waters ”

    That may seem nice and safe, but there are regular instances of snorkelers drowning. Perhaps seeming nice and safe is part of it.

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