Do you ever get so busy with work or school or everyday life that you forget to slow down and notice the positives all around you? Or maybe you get so caught up in the what-ifs and the negativity that seems to be everywhere? For as long as I can remember, taking a moment to appreciate the little things in life has always helped me to calm down, de-stress and refocus my energy. Sometimes we are so consumed with our to-do lists and the hubbub of life that we don’t take the time to see what’s right in front of us.
So I’m taking a moment to do that right here.
The little things in life lately
I feel like life in France has forced me to slow down a little bit and has changed my perspective on a bunch of things, both big and small. Maybe some of it comes with growing up and gaining a new point of view as we see more and experience more. But know when we don’t grow and consider new viewpoints? When we’re not open to it because we’re too busy running around doing a million things every day.
So let’s move on to those little things that are so easy to miss and don’t always matter. Some of them are inconsequential, some of them will make you pause for a second and smile and some are major home runs that you rave about for days. Notice them. Notice others. Be good.
So here are the little things that have made me smile lately:
DIY gel manicures
Back in high school before the days of gel manicures, I did my nail two or three times per week. At the first sign of a chip, the polish came off and a fresh color was applied. I was even in an unspoken contest with another girl at school over who had the best nails. Once I started working, I always saved a little to go to the salon. I’ve always enjoyed doing my nails, and after moving to France where nail salons are less prevalent than in the US (and more expensive), I got my own curing lamp and supplies and do my own gel manicures. They are easy to do, look fab and are a fraction of what you’d pay at a salon. Sally Beauty in the USA had a ton of brands on clearance when I was just there over Thanksgiving and I’m happy to say I’m rocking a sparkly red for the holidays. Shiny, durable and no chips. Win!
The employees were also SUPER helpful and I wrote an email to the Sally Beauty corporate team so they’re recognized for doing a fabulous job. Yes, they were “just” doing their job but at a time when customer service seems to be less about the customer, I wanted to highlight a job well done.
The deals at Noz
In France, there are big hypermarkets, smaller supermarkets and then there are discount stores like Lidl that may not have all the brands or products a big store has but they can be great for certain things. A step below that is this chain called Noz, which I wrote about here. It’s a discount store that gets new deliveries of overstock merchandise every Tuesday in my area. It’s a place that has all kinds of random things and a store I wrote off years ago after going once and not being impressed. Some of the stuff is crap but other times it’s a major win. More often than not I score major deals — like a kettlebell, cleaning products, holiday decor, cute notebooks and snacks. Getting deals makes me happy and Noz is one of my go-to places at the moment.
This Les Interchangeables bracelet
I’ve had my eye on these bracelets for a while but felt they were a tad overpriced for what they were. Made in France with Swarovski crystals, the minimalist Les Interchangeables bracelets are just my style but I couldn’t justify the 45 euro price tag. So like any good deal hunter, what did I do? I waited until the tail end of les soldes to score a deal. I got the beauty pictured above for 40% off the regular price and smile every time I see it on my wrist.
A stranger’s kindness
On our canal boating trip back in September, we arrived in port at 5:50pm one night and I called the mini-mart a 15-minute walk away to see what time they closed. We were in need of a few things, but unfortunately they closed at 6pm. The employee told me that if I could get there right away she’d let me in while she was closing out the register. Not having a map, I wasn’t entirely sure where to walk so I asked a woman who lived nearby getting into her car with her daughter where it was. She told me and mentioned that they closed at 6. I explained that I had already called and the employee was waiting for me. To my surprise, the woman offered to give me and my mother-in-law a ride in her car so we could get there ASAP. She was driving by anyway. We graciously accepted her offer and managed to pick up some snacks, wine and a baguette — the essentials. The woman didn’t have to give us a lift, but she did. And we were so grateful!
Christmas in France isn’t the same as Christmas in the US with family but the holiday decor sure feels familiar. When I’m out walking Dagny, I make sure to look up and notice the lights and garland in our town center. We’re going to the Christmas market this weekend, and I have Christmas tunes on in the background when I’m cooking. All the holiday prepping gets me in the Christmas spirit and there’s a reason why it’s the most wonderful time of the year. 😉