While I was away recently, I started to get that renewed feeling – you know that feeling you get when you have been away or are on vacation and have taken a break from your normal life – as the days pass you get renewed and enthusiastic to get back to your life in a better way? 

peonies water color

You start craving more…more of what is right for you… more focus on what is important… more willpower to not eat junk… more confidence to say no to things that just don’t fit in your life…

More of everything that is just right for you and letting go of the rest.   The feeling is a little like getting a second shot at your New Year’s resolutions – a new start when you return to your normal.

Life quote: Tips for Living Well

This happened to me while I was away-that renewed, refreshed feeling. I believe it was multiplied by the death of someone with whom I was very close and the same age as me.

By looking at my friend’s life, it got me to thinking about life in general and how short and fleeting it is.  I realized all the things my friend had achieved in her life, but there was still so much she wanted to do.  She had plans and dreams not yet fulfilled.

It made me sad that she will never be able to experience them.  I have always tried to lead a passionate life, but now I want to live it even more – live with more of what I desire… and less of what I don’t need or want in my life. I figured it was time to come up with some tips for living well.

Recently I was asked to accompany Ed to a dinner that was part of a job interview he had in NYC.

The head of the company asked me what I did as we waited for our entrees to be served. After I told her a little bit about myself, she said –“Wow – you are a go-getter”.  It surprised me as I never thought of myself as a go-getter. I told her that it was more about how I lived my life by following my passion and finding a way to make it happen in my life.

I will never be rich or thin, but I can be happy – living life in the best way possible and tailored for my wants, needs, means, and personality.  It all comes down to editing. Life is too short not to edit it until you find what is truly important for you and you alone.

I am passionate about bringing beauty, order, and ease into my everyday life – day after day to live as beautifully as I can. It is my quest – the way my mind is programmed to seek out beauty and order in affordable and creative ways – I seek it out until I find a way that fits.

It is not just about material things, but adding a bit more into the tasks I do daily as well.   To take the mundane or average and turn it into more of what I desire.

This could be making sure I have my music handy in my car so as I drive around town doing errands – I am making the chore more pleasurable by having good tunes for my drive.

I am one of those people you see at a red light who has the music up loud and is dancing or singing in their seat.  Music for me elevates the tasks of errand running into something more pleasurable. I want more of these simple pleasures that elevate the ordinary.

From this day forward I want more… I have made a list of tips for living well for myself to make sure I add more each and every day.

Tips for Living Well

1. More…Light

I am a claustrophobic. I get panicked when I am in a room with a door closed or a dark room unless it is nighttime. I can’t even put my head under the water in a swimming pool.    I need open, light, and bright space all around me to feel my best.

In the past, I have painted rooms in trendy dark colors, only to realize my mistake – what looks good in a magazine or for someone else – just doesn’t work for me.  I need to add more light to each and every room in my house.

About a year ago I removed the heavy draperies from most of the windows in my house and left up white or simple valances.  I like to sleep with the windows wide open at night and not covered at all so when dawn arrives, I wake up to the sun or light shining in on my bed and can hear the birds chirping and the breeze billowing the curtains into the room.

I feel connected to the world waking up like this – as a part of the whole universe. It is like my religion – the connection with the natural world – it makes me feel alive.  I want more of it.

2. More of the Right Details

Clutter weighs me down. There is no reason to have  stuff around that is no longer needed or I have no use for.

What I term- simple elegance is what I strive for. Simple elegance can mean different things for different people.  I look at it like this – Taking only what is absolutely needed or necessary to create what you desire.

3.  More Confidence

When I look around at all the people I know or read about – the individuals I most admire are the ones that have forged ahead in their own style and don’t feel the need to compromise to fit in with the crowd.

It doesn’t matter if they are famous, attractive, fat, thin, funny, young, or old. They have true personal style and that is what I am drawn to in people. They let their true essence shine no matter what.  I want more of it.

4.  More of My Favorite Things

I want to make my Pinterest boards into reality. I may not be able to afford a home with an ocean view like this, but I can create a seating area in my backyard using the colors in the photo.

I can also make sure I schedule a day trip to the seashore each month so I can enjoy one of the things that brings me the most pleasure in life – an ocean view.  I can make it possible as I only live 2 hours away by car to the seashore. I can give up something else that doesn’t give me as much pleasure to make the time to do this.

Even if it is just a day by myself – no big plans or packing – just get up and go.

5. More Spontaneity

When my daughters were pre-schoolers– life was all about spontaneity – a trip to the park, an afternoon spent at the beach, or a simple picnic lunch eaten by the creek by our home.

None of this cost a lot of time or money, but were made into memorable events simply because when the idea popped into our heads – we just did it.

6. More Fun

Life is too short not to make the chores we need to tackle every day more pleasant.  If I have loads of laundry to do, why not turn up the volume of my favorite tunes in the laundry room or whole house if it won’t bother anyone else.  When my girls were little we played a game of folding the laundry.

They would wear a pair of their clean undies on their heads while they danced around helping me sort and fold their clean clothes.  It got to be when they saw me bring in a basket of laundry to be folded into the family room, they would get excited.  I need to find more ways to make chores fun.

Jack Kerouac Quote

I will be seeking to fulfill more of these tips for living well every day so that when I go to bed each night I can say to myself – you lived today – you made the best of what you needed to do with the resources and time you had and enjoyed every minute.  I am looking forward to more.

What “more” are you craving in your life?

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  1. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    Great post Diane. Iam going to think and think about all you said.

    And yes, you sure are a go-getter!

    Thank you so much for these inspiring thoughts and the inspirations to me and others.

  2. I want to read this every morning. Thanks for reminding me of why I bookmark your blog. You bring postive energy to all of your readers and make us stretch the ways we define ourselves. While I can write programs in many languages, I never thought I could build a beautiful ottoman without sewing a stitch. Thanks!

  3. I am passionate about bringing beauty, order, and ease into my everyday life – day after day to live as beautifully as I can. It is my quest – the way my mind is programmed to seek out beauty and order in affordable and creative ways – I seek it out until I find a way that fits.

    This is me, but time and resources make it challenging some times. Learning to take the time to find the good values that I love requires patience. Sometimes I just want it lovely today!

    I read this post when it came in my e-mail, but went back to find it again today. I need this reminder.

    Reading over the comments your words obviously resonated with so many of us. What a gift that is.

  4. Gigi Ables says:

    So sorry for your loss, Diane. Your blog is really hitting home with so many today. Simplifying my life means I get more out of it… making time for the REALLY important people and decluttering to give a place of honor to cherished possesions. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I have been following blogs for a little while now. This was the Best blog post I have ever read. Instead if DIY it was do it for yourself! Loved it Diane, thank you!

  6. Yvonne @ StoneGable says:

    Beautifully written post and I am right there with you, girl!
    Love the images you chose! BTW where in Pa do you live. I live in Lancaster. Wouldn’t it be fun to meet?

  7. What a powerful post, Diane! Such inspiring words that cut to the heart of how to live an authentic and rich life. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend, but I am sure she would be proud that you are continuing your life with such passion and inspiration! This is a post I will share and read many times. Your words help to center and focus me on what matters most in my own life. Thanks a million!

  8. I love this post! I’ve already read it twice, and plan on reading it again and again! It is a great check list for me, to make sure I stay on task with goals I’ve set for myself. Thanks for writing so eloquently! ;)

  9. Hi Diane! Loved this post. I’ve had to do some “decluttering” of my blog reading, but I’m happy to say that yours is a keeper! Thought you might like to know that I think of you when I use my Planner Pad; thanks for telling us about it (way back when)!

  10. You are rich in every way that counts and are a true inspiration. I identify with alot of what you said here. You are so blessed to be able to make a living doing what you love. Sometimes it seems like the daily grind just wears me down so then I don’t have the energy to pursue what I love. Not sure how to remedy that.

  11. Katharine from Kat's Almost Purrfect World says:

    I feel like I want MORE too! I know that one thing holding me back is clutter. It isn’t that I don’t want it gone it is just tiring for me to work on it and I can’t get much done at once. This year I’m going to work on getting help to get it done. My husband has been cleaning out our garage and found tons of containers after getting rid of tons of junk in there. He feels better after getting it done (emotionally and mentally) but now he’s hurt his back and has had to rest the last few weeks. He’s doing better now but it was still scary to me cause I was thinking…we both can’t have serious problems.

    I want better health….
    on and on… Your post is very inspirational. Thanks for sharing!

    P.S. Congrats on having your article in This Old House Magazine.

  12. Oh my friend, you have no idea how true your words are for me today. I’m stuck in a job situation that is making me miserable. It’s almost like a bad marriage and I swore I’d never make that mistake again! I like what you said about editing- I need to edit down to the essentials. This little life is so short- too short for making ourselves miserable! Thank you.

  13. This is the BEST post you have ever written Diane…and I agree…you ARE a “go-getter”!

    You have inspired me in so many ways. Just this past weekend, my husband and I were out walking the dog. I spied a cabinet that somebody had left on the curb. I had to FORCE my husband to go home to get the Jeep so we could pick it up. He thinks picking things up on the road is for “poor” people. The entire time I was looking at the cabinet I was thinking of the fantastic desk you made out of a roadside cast off. My mind was humming with all the things I could do with the cabinet to make it “my own”…just as you would have done. You would have picked up that cabinet and made it into a masterpiece, and I intend to do the same.

    Life is so special and’s over in a flash. I also have recently lost friends and family members and it’s been so easy for me to feel sad, what I need to do is focus on the beautiful memories I have. Clicking on your blog everyday always brings me happiness. You make me think “I can do that”! Confidence is 99% of the game.

    Cherish the memories of y0ur friend and please keep the creative ideas coming. Just clicking on your blog and looking at pictures of the beautiful home you have created brings me such joy and makes me want to create that beauty and happiness in my own home. You teach us that we don’t need deep pockets to create beauty, that even if we can’t afford Pottery Barn or Z Gallerie that we can still create beauty and happiness in our homes. Love and warmth just ooozes out of the rooms you have created and I have a burning desire to do the same in my house.

    Thanks so much Diane. You are a never ending souce of inspiration for me! I only wish I was half of the “go-getter” you are.

  14. Athena at Minerva's Garden says:

    I appreciated your words today, Diane. I’ve been in a bit of a slump, and not really sure what to do next. I think a focus on what really matters to me and more of a focus on fun each day are what I will spend some time on. Your post gave me a lot to think about, so thank you.

  15. Katherine says:

    What a beautiful post! I love it. It makes me want to go home and detail out my own list, just for me and my happiness. I agree on making the Pinterest boards a reality, too. I thought about that this morning while clicking through my cooking/baking board. So many tasty recipes, and I never think to actually enjoy them in real life. Thanks for the inspiration! PS. what a gorgeous print. I am in love with peonies. She needs to make more than that one, I think ;)

  16. Betty Baker says:

    Good morning Diane – what a Blessing to wake up to such an inspirational blog. I am so sorry for your loss of a dear friend, I do know how you feel as I lost two of my closest friends to dreaded cancer. Your words definitely made me look at things differently and I to am going to look at life differently. Thank you – I am still praying for your husband to be in a secure position. Regards to both of y ou.

  17. Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says:

    What a great post and it really promotes reflection in our own lives, Diane. I want to do more things with my husband, now that we are empty nesters. It is just a matter of finding out what is around to do. I plan on doing the research to come up with some different things for us to do on the weekends. It doesn’t have to be every weekend, but at least twice a month.

  18. Oh my! You hit the nail on the head for me, and probably many others. I could relate to each and every point you made. So nice to see a kindred spirit!

  19. Thank you. Just……thank you.

  20. Mary Beth says:

    The past few weeks have found me at a crossroad, in a state of confusion, and unsure – and a bit fearful – of which path to follow. The perfect timing of your thoughts may enable me to move forward with more enthusiasm and joy. Thank you!

  21. After seeing your tutorial on the window sash fireplace screen I made one for my fireplace and I am in love with it. I left the latch on mine and I use it to hang my seasonal wreaths on. Thanks for such a great idea!

  22. Christine says:

    Welcome back home!

    This type post is a big reason that I love visiting your blog!
    You are true and honest. Taking time for yourself and the loss of a friend can be life changing. Living each day to the fullest, enjoying every minute and find beauty in the simple is what I want to do, also.
    Cheering you on with each step!

  23. What a lovely piece! You put into words what I want for my life as well. Thank you for all you do to inspire me.

  24. Melody Wright says:

    Thank you for the beautiful post. Very inspirational and has me thinking about what I want out of life now that I’m an empty nester! Thank you for sharing your insight.

  25. What an inspirational post! Thank you so much for your wonderful words as well as your blog.