Happy New Year!
Well, if we were in any year prior to 1752, the beginning of the spring season would have been the official start of the new year (March 24th or 25th depending upon where you lived in Europe and how the Julian calendar was used), and while the calendar may have moved to officially begin a new year on January 1st with the Gregorian calendar, why not celebrate the new year of the seasons? I will be most definitely ☺️.
Spring kicked off officially yesterday, March 20th in the Northern Hemisphere, and as I worked out in my garden, ever so gently, signs of spring were definitely emerging.
Over the years here on the blog and podcast, there have been many posts celebrating the arrival of the spring season, and well, we all could be nourished by some brightness of spring, so I thought I would bring yet another such post/episode your way.
Below are 10 more ideas for reveling in the start of a season that arrives with the buoyant determination to grow, restart and find the awesomeness that surrounds us.
1. Meander through the spring blooms
Whether you have spring bulbs rising from the earth in your own garden, a neighborhood or nearby park burgeoning with deciduous trees and perennials near ready to dazzle or a flower market to stroll through, make an intention to spend time leisurely gazing and stopping to smell the scents of spring.
While Bend’s first blossoms are about 2-3 weeks away still, I had the opportunity to be in the Willamette Valley last week and strolled through and around the grounds at Mcmenamin’s Edgefield where the hellebores (see below and at the top of the post) were stunning, as too were the camellias, daffodils, bluebells and many other early spring flowers.
2. Follow this beauty trend: Bring on the Blush
I am, as you know, not one for blindly following trends, but when something complements, makes sense and supports natural beauty rather than is the focal point and distracts from the true beauty, I pay attention. The WSJ shared this past weekend in their Off Duty section that Statement Blush is the Makeup of the Moment. Fiorella Valdesolo speaks to a handful of fashion houses donning ideas for applying the emphasis on well-tended to cheeks, and I couldn’t agree more.
In fact, the power of blush can do so much more than a good lip when applied well for our face shape. Not sinking into lines or age the face, the effect is entirely the opposite as its purpose is to add a flush, radiance and the appearance of good health. I shared last year that I had transitioned from a powder blush to a cream blush and haven’t looked back. I still use the same brand and shade (NARS orgasm), but having a cream-base rather than powder adds more radiance and brightness to my skin that tends to dry out quickly in the arid climate of Bend.
So why not let your blush bring your best face forward? I have been wearing eyeliner less often, putting on a nude-ish lip, mascara on the eyes, a bit of Dr. Sturm’s Glow Drops and that is it (sunscreen too).
~View a detailed post on my skincare – An Investment Worth Making: Smart Skincare in my 40s
3. Prep the garden – be inspired and watch Gardeners’ World
This past weekend, I thatched, aerated and fertilized the small lawn I have in my garden, and while a wonderful workout was had, what was even more exhilarating was knowing that when the spring rains come, which they soon will, my lawn will be ready to spring forth, and it always seem to happen over night, doesn’t it?
While a physically laborious job, it only needs to be done once each year, and the task itself is one of the first instances of the season when I am wholly outside for a long duration, Norman is tickled to be outside for so long just being able to wander about, and the birds provide birdsong to inspire me to keep digging in pulling that thatch rack – ‘you’re almost done!’ they encourage (or at least, that is what I tell my 😉).
I mention Gardeners’ World, because while I have shared I enjoy this weekly program that airs on BBC Two (BritBox as well), I haven’t mentioned it much on the podcast, but there really is an inspiring tone that upon watching an episode, you too want to get up and get outside and begin to savor being out in the garden and nurturing what can come forth do so in its own time.
4. Add a bird bath to your garden
If you have the space (and you need not have much) to add a bird bath, I highly recommend doing so. This spring I did just that, something I have noticed my birds have been looking for after or while they dine at my two bird cafés over the previous two and a half years. I placed mine in my Sunshine Garden (or what I think I will be calling my Bird Garden or even my Meditation Garden as it is the ideal little space to begin the day just sitting and being with the birds nearby gathering at their café for their morning meal) after months of searching online for exactly the style and size that would work well in my space. Once I found what I wanted, I had to wait and save up. I purchased it in January and it arrived just last week. It took not more than a day before the birds were flying back and forth from the bird feeder to the water bowl, perching themselves up on the edging, drinking and then flying back for another bite. I was/am delighted. ☺️
Be sure to join me in upcoming A Cuppa Moments w/Shannon video chats with TOP Tier Members as I will be sharing videos of my bird bath and how the planting around it is progressing throughout the season.
~I found my birdbath on Birdsall & Co. – they have seemingly endless styles, sizes and finishes. While you will have to be patient – 7-10 weeks for delivery – it is worth it.
5. Bring some daffodils into the home
While the season for finding daffodils in the markets may be nearly done, even though daffodils in the garden are just now emerging, be sure to save this evanescent flower’s blooming season and bring in a few or more than a few daffodils for a bouquet of sunshine in your home.
6. A New Season a New Approach to Your Work Schedule
While I know not everyone has the luxury of tweaking their working schedule – school teachers and administrator most definitely do not – many companies are in fact reassessing what sort of working schedule provides the best work. But even if you do not have control over the work schedule, you do have the ability to understand your individual chronotype. Your chronotype, as Emily Laber-Warren defines in a recent article in The New York Times, is your internal timer that governs when you naturally fall asleep and when we are more alert. Daniel H. Pink also addresses this self-knowledge that is vital for constructing a daily schedule that works with our body and mind’s natural rhythms – rest, peak creativity, focus, etc..
When we know the ebbs and flows of our energy, and stop fighting against it, our lives improve. And here is an interesting and all so important fact to note, when we do honor our body’s rhythms, it too will change from season-to-season, week-to-week, month-to-month, depending upon what we are engaged with – what and how much energy and focus we are expending on a particular project or event. We need to especially listen to what our body needs and not hold ourselves to a schedule of daily life even if it is ourselves who have made it. For example, you have been ramping up focus on a particular project at work or at home – you are doing so excitedly, but once it comes to completion, you may find yourself more exhausted and short-tempered than usual. Honor what your body needs – more rest, a time period for your creative mind to catch its breath. Nothing is wrong. You are listening to what your body needs, and that is a very good thing.
Self-awareness, knowledge of your physiological needs, honoring said needs, leads to our ability to communicate and guard what we need, but also to then be our best work and life-selves.
7. Save money, Make more deliciousness and Add more beauty to your summer days by sowing seeds now
A few weeks ago I stepped into my garage where I have a small area for my potting table (see a tour here), gave it a good spring clean and set up my growing lights. I sowed my sweet peas, and this weekend I will be sowing the seeds for the herbs that I cannot find in plant form at the local nurseries. However, I will say, growing all of my herbs from seeds is the best way to go – it saves money, lots of money.
In fact, I grew chervil (French parsley) from seed for a winter harvest this year, and they grew wonderfully. Having a bit of fresh herbs to sprinkle on my omelette each morning was a nice treat during the cold months.
I will also be sowing nasturtiums – traditional and trailing, and cosmos as well for the boulevards to hopefully pair with the dahlias that will be new to Le Papillon’s garden this year.
8. Start a Good Habit: Add one fresh green salad with homemade vinaigrette to your diet each day
I remember Monty Don mentioning this in one of the episodes of Gardeners’ World last year, and I took note: He enjoys one salad at least every day (with greens he has grown), year-round. Now, I don’t have my own fresh lettuce growing in my garden year-round, but it certainly sparked something for me. How simple! How delicious! Why not? After all, when the fresh greens are available (if they are not now in the garden or at the farmers’ market), they will be soon, and what a delicious treat it will be enjoy the greens.
For now, stop at your local grocer, select your favorite lettuce varietal, add a bit of micro greens – I add micro arugula for a subtle peppery zing, then make your vinagriette – EVOO, balsamic vinegar, freshly ground pepper and a dab of French Dijon mustard is all I need, add a favorite vegetable (maybe some cheese or nuts if you’d like), and toss! Lunch! Add a bit of protein if you’d like as well.
9. Note what would complete your spring wardrobe and invest wisely now
As I shared a few items I have added recently in this past weekend’s Saturday Ponderings . . . post with TOP Tier Members, now is a wonderful time to find what you truly do want and will wear as new stock and new collections are just being released. As well, if you know what you want, you can usually find a promo code or wait for a jump-start-to-the-season sale. I will be sharing the annual Spring Shopping Guide here on the blog on April 1st and do quite a bit of shopping for you, but begin to figure out now what you need, so when you find it, your size and the style will be available.
10. Plan a short getaway
It need not be immediately. It need not be far away, but if you were accustomed to traveling pre-pandemic, getting away and doing or seeing or experiencing something that has tickled your curiosity is a muscle that dare-I-say needs to be stretched. What I experienced last week, even for a one-night getaway at lovely accommodations reminded me that traveling well is a muscle, and no matter how much we love to travel, we may have become more ‘set-in-our-ways’ than we realized. I appreciated this short ‘test-run’ of sorts before I head to Europe this spring as I cannot wait to take in all that I have missed, and I don’t want to get in my own way of enjoying it because my ‘travel-muscle’ needed a bit more toning.
Perhaps this spring more than any other in recent memory feels most viscerally powerful for starting anew, taking a deep breath and grounding ourselves in the awesome everyday life we love living – whether we wish to rev back up or keep our lives at a slower pace. I know while I am excited to travel again, I am also excited to just savor spring in the garden, savor a more leisurely everyday routine and take in the beauty of life and opportunities to engage with the community in a more human-to-human way than we have in the past two years. Such seemingly small acts, but now, more than ever before perhaps, such gifts to savor.
If you would like more inspiration for reveling in the new season that is Spring, check out the four posts/episodes below. Wishing you a wonderful new start and many moments to savor.
Explore TSLL’s New Book – The Road to Le Papillon: Daily Meditations on True Contentment (released March 2022)
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