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The Beauty of a Little Extravagance

October 31, 2020
on Saturdays we talk about Inner Beauty

Last week when my husband and I got away for a few days, we stopped at a wonderful little coffee shop. We both love dark, rich coffee, so we were delighted to learn that the barista/owner of the shop only serves pour over coffees. This method of making coffee, preferred by both of our “coffee snob” kids, takes a little more time, effort and forethought, but it produces the freshest, deepest flavor of coffee and makes for a rich and satisfying experience.

the beauty of a Little Extravagance

As the shop owner poured water heated to the perfect temperature over the fresh, course coffee grounds cradled in an oversized cone, he shared with us that he grinds all of his coffee on the same day he uses it in the shop. Then he chuckled and said that he and his wife (who was busy putting together delicious sandwiches behind him) take home the leftovers and use them at home. Isn’t that typical? Producing only the very best for your customers, but settling for leftovers for yourself, all in the name of smart business and frugality?

But as the barista then poured our fresh pour overs into cups he admitted that every once in a while the couple shares what they call “a little extravagance,” and they grind for themselves fresh coffee and linger over their own premium pour overs. Behind him, his wife turned around to face us and grinned. “Very rarely!” she inserted into the conversation.

That little exchange got me to thinking about little extravagances and how much delight they bring when we finally afford ourselves a few. As I drank that rich, satisfying and oh so flavorful cup of coffee I began to plan out this post that I wanted to share with you, dear reader. You see, I think we all could use a few little extravagances right now.

What Do I Mean by a Little Extravagance?

First of all, let me dispel your probable concern. I’m not suggesting we blow our budgets or spend frivolously. In fact, I don’t think the most enjoyable extravagances need to put a strain on our bank accounts at all.

Did you know that, while the word extravagance has come to be associated primarily with “a lack of restraint with spending or use of resources,” the word didn’t originally have anything to do with money at all? It wasn’t until approximately 1711 that extravagant took on the meaning of lavish or wasteful expenditures.

Before that, extravagant simply carried the meaning of the two words from which it is derived: the Latin words extra meaning “outside of” and vagari meaning “to roam or wander.” So something was considered extravagant if it was simply out of the ordinary or outside of the realm of routine.

Take a Nap

And I think it’s absolutely beautiful and even essential to life for us occasionally to wander off from the ordinary, the routine to do or experience something extraordinary and delightful. Don’t you?

That’s what I mean by a little extravagance.

The Secret of Enjoying Little Extravagances

A true extravagance doesn’t have to cost a dime beyond our budget. But it may require an extra expenditure of our time and some calculated forethought. The well kept secret is that even the additional time and thought required to enjoy a little extravagance are somewhat delightful in themselves.

Enjoy a glass of wine

For instance, I think my husband would agree that he enjoyed the process of planning our recent little getaway to Kentucky and surprising me with the details. Yeah, that little trip wasn’t free. But it wasn’t frivolous or outside of budget either. The real extravagance was more the time we took away from work and the planning my husband had to put into making it happen. And oh how we enjoyed the deliciousness of those few days of “wandering outside of the realm of routine.”

The Benefit of a Little Extravagance

Whether you pause to grind your own coffee beans and prepare a pour over coffee or you get away to a cabin on the Ohio River, the benefits of a little extravagance are myriad.

A little extravagance can…

  • delight the senses
  • restore a sense of equilibrium when life has gotten out of balance
  • slow your resting heart rate and lower your blood pressure
  • rejuvenate a relationship that has lost some sparkle
  • generate conversation or thought
  • provide rest and relaxation
  • energize
  • infuse life into a struggling business or project
  • spark romance and rekindle love
  • evoke worship of God and gratitude for His blessings
  • remind you of your priorities and get you back on track
  • add delight to otherwise hard or even disdainful situations

I’m sure there are other positive results of enjoying a little extravagance. Maybe you can add some in the comments below. But let’s camp on that final one I listed for just a moment.

Enjoy a glass of wine

As we continue to navigate the pandemic we’ve been in for so many months with no definite end in sight, I think it’s so important that we schedule in and intentionally plan for a little extravagance. And the social distancing and wearing of masks doesn’t make it easy to do so. Honestly, some of the little extravagances we used to enjoy so easily have now become impossible or extremely difficult. Add to that the sense of loss that sometimes makes us throw in the towel before even trying. Everything just seems harder, doesn’t it?

But I want to encourage us both to do what it takes to include a few little extravagances in our lives each week. I think we’ll be better people for it.

Read a book

A Few Little Extravagances

I thought it would be fun for us to brainstorm on this together. Will you join me in the comments below and help me compile a list of little extravagances that we can easily enjoy during this unique time? It’s okay if they cost a little something, by the way. After all, most of us do budget a little something for fun or vacations or entertainment. But I’d love for our list to also include things that really don’t cost a dime but only require a little extra thought and time.

A few little extravagances…

  • grind your own coffee and make a pour over (recommended by my son) or French press (my husband’s favorite)
  • sit down to tea with a beautiful tea pot (similar to the kind I brought home from Japan), cups, saucers and “biscuits” or scones
  • dress up a little for a week night dinner with your spouse or family
  • set a pretty table with flowers and/or candles
  • play your favorite music during family dinner instead of watching television
  • enjoy a good glass of wine before or with your meal
  • set up a Facetime or Zoom call with a friend instead of texting or calling on the fly
  • change into luscious loungewear for your quiet Sunday afternoon at home
  • enjoy a bubble bath with candles and soft music before getting into bed
  • eat dinner or lunch outside, even on your own back deck or porch
  • treat yourself to some pretty flowers at the grocery store
  • take a nap on a day besides Sunday
  • pause for a home manicure and use a pretty new polish
  • read a book (next on my book club list) just for the fun of it
  • prepare a decadent and yummy dessert for dinner

Alright, I’ll let you finish our list. I look forward to your ideas for enjoying a little extravagance every now and again.

Do you have thoughts you’d like to share about today’s topic? I’d love to hear from you today! I tend to take as much time off from work as I can during the weekends, so I may not reply to your comments unless you ask me a direct question. But I’d love for you to carry on this conversation in the comment section below. And you can know for certain that I read and value each and every comment. Please remember that I try to keep this space free from controversy, so let’s stay away from the topic of politics or other divisive issues.

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xoxo, Kay
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24 thoughts on “The Beauty of a Little Extravagance

  1. Thank you, Kay, for these sweet words! The past week has brought both joy and sorrow to me and to my friends and church family. There has been the joy of visiting with my sister, who I haven’t seen since January, and the sorrow of walking through grief with several friends. Your words this morning are a sweet reminder of the joys and blessing of life that often occur right alongside the hard moments. Jesus promised His followers abundant life and surely this is it. He gives evidence of his love and care and bounty even in grief and sorrow and trial. I’m sure these “extravagances”’are meant to turn our eyes toward Him and give us hope. Our part is to make the conscious decision to be thankful for His abundance. Sorry to be so wordy! My husband and I had a little extravagance last night! We ate at an Indian restaurant for the first time! It was delightful. Certainly off the beaten path for us! Love you, dear friend!

  2. Oh Kay….your extravagances are great. I have been working a lot of long hours a day in a cubicle behind a computer and ever so thankful to God for my job. I keep telling myself, I’m working for you Lord, not men (Colossians 3:23). First and foremost, I start my morning off with my alone time with God which I am thoroughly addicted too which sets the tone for my day. My extravagances after a long day is a Hallmark movie, reading your blog, playing music while cleaning up the dishes/kitchen after supper and dancing or singing to get it done faster. My all-time favorite is spending time in the mountains of North Carolina with my husband on the weekends especially in the Fall. We are going today and taking some country roads to get there. It is breathtaking and beautiful. We have a few favorite towns we like to walk through and enjoying the antique shops too. Have a great weekend.

  3. This blog is so in touch with today. I love fall and last weekend my husband and I took a drive to see the leaves. I just love the sounds and smells of walking along a trail full of leaves. I also love a good cup of dark roast coffee and that place you stopped sounds wonderful! Thank you for reminding us we should remember to enjoy life!!

  4. Hallmark movies, wearing fragrance daily, Philz Coffee beans freshly ground, shea butter for my hands and feet, listening to Dwell bible reading app, pausing to notice nature, walks.

  5. changing my Philosophy shower gels with the seasons
    using a coffee pot with a timer, and taking turns bringing that first cup up to bed
    cute dishtowels
    Mrs. Meyers seasonal scented cleaning products
    picking flowers as part of my daily to dos
    doing a different local take out meal once a week

  6. “Pour over” – new term to me, but the type of coffee I have been making for years and years! Who knew I was so “Woke”!!? Flowers are the one extravagance I indulge in every week – fortunately Trader Joe’s makes that possible, and my basket always has two bunches (under $10 for both too!). We had 6″ of snow yesterday, and 17 degree temps this am, so hard to get any motivation – and with the looming election, I feel as it my life is on hold. Try as I might, I am finding it difficult to find the positive these days, but will try. Thanks for motivation!

  7. Wait! You have a book club?
    This is a lovely topic today- a good reminder to not just let one day after another pass by without little things to warm our hearts and make fond memories!

      1. Is your Book Club reading the Book Woman of Troublesome Creek? I read it and loved it. After you read that I highly recommend The Giver of Stars. It is also about the women who did the pack horse libraries in Kentucky.

    1. I live on a beautiful island called Anglesey off the mainland of Wales, UK. My ‘extravagance ‘ is walking along a deserted beach when the sea is noisy and rough.

  8. With the cooler temperatures, I enjoy the remote control I have to turn on the fireplace. My husband and I also enjoy sitting by the chiminea as the sun sets.

  9. Thanks for your message Kay! Both of my parents have dementia and are in separate nursing homes 4 hours from my home. They have been locked down since March and I travel that 8 hr trip for a 30 minute porch visit with dad to help him cope missing my mom. Terrible situation for sure, so we decided we would stop in big city half way and have lunch in a restaurant we like and stroll through the Outlet Mall as a treat before we complete the visit. Strange how that helps me cope with it all. It really is the little things!

  10. Thanks for reminding us especially in these trying times that we need to stop and smell the roses.
    To thank God for all our blessings. Sometimes we do not thank Him enough. Me and my husband have
    not done much since march except a little fishing. Now that winter is upon us and it has grown colder
    we should take time out for ourselves and do the little extravagances that you mentioned. Thank Kay
    God bless.

  11. Purchasing a flavored coffee creamer; our son’s zoom calls each week {He lives several hundreds miles away so it is lovely to see and hear him each week.}; my daughter’s pics she sends to us on our phones; a day out driving just around town to see what new construction is going up; and watching the weather from our screened in porch.

  12. My “extravagance” is discovering that tiny “JOY Blessing” that I find, that God shows to me, every day. Something as simple as a rare, bright red cardinal in my yard, or a butterfly. These things are not common in Tucson Arizona. Or maybe smiling eyes (above a mask) from a stranger in the grocery store. Or a lost coin on the sidewalk, or a random, fleeting, cool breeze. I find that “an attitude of gratitude” heightens my awareness of HIS presence. Blessings all!

  13. Just this morning I slipped out of the house before the sun was up and walked for 30 minutes in the moonlight. Exquisite!
    My husband and I have been exploring new places to walk close to our house, from nature trails to suburban neighborhoods.
    I love an extra cup of coffee on our screened porch or in front for the fire, depending on the weather. Otherwise I usually down one quick cup and then get busy. Sometimes I even indulge in one dark salted caramel with it!
    A bubble bath and a book!
    I pick up the newspapers for 2 of our (very) elderly neighbors so they don’t have to get out and I’ve been indulging myself by randomly including a note or a treat to bless them.

  14. I also enjoy coffee with my French-press. It started when my coffee maker died, and all I had was a French-press. Ha! Who knew I would love it!??
    One thing I love to do in the fall, which feels extravagant to me, is relaxing on the hammock with a good book, wrapped in a blanket.
    Love fall!

  15. Here on the Southwest Gulf coast of Florida it has been hot, hot, hot since June. Although beaches are beautiful it’s been too hot for us older folks especially when water temperatures are almost 90 degrees. But we had a beautiful day yesterday where temp only reached 88 so we packed up for the beach. Oh, it was heaven. No other people near so no COVID worries. And it isn’t cost a cent. The thought of being outside in comfortably weather for the next six months is life-affirming.

  16. It’s interesting to notice the evolution of what we deem extravagant through each decade or stage of our lives. When I was in my 20’s, I would buy a cheap lipstick to lift me up. I still will do that, occasionally, but I don’t have to seek out the cheapest brand.

    Now, creeping up to my 60’s, I look for treats that don’t have to cost me a dime. Although, I still find getting a chai tea, since I’m not a coffee drinker, at Starbucks a treat every time. Now I feel indulgent taking a short nap before dinner. Slipping on comfy, warm socks that I wear only when I want to experience something special, in the evening. During the winter, when it snows, I love the ability to sit by my living room window and watch the snow fall. It calms me and makes me feel so grateful to have a warm and comfy home. Outside of home, a massage is a divine extravagant!

  17. My extravagances are the little getaways I take to go out birding, walking my Chocolate Labrador and pursuing my love of nature photography. I also buy fresh baked whole wheat bread from a local bakery. We have a slice every morning for breakfast.

  18. I loved this post! As I was reading, the first extravagance that came to mind was a nap! I must be tired…but really, that can be special at times! My husband and I have planned a couple of weekends away, but had to cancel due to either business reasons or Covid number increases. Weekends away have sure become extravagances for sure. We aren’t giving up yet!! We have found that we do enjoy being at home, just enjoying our yellow lab, Addy, and spending more time with our grandchildren. We are lucky they live just a couple of miles from us, and we have planned lots of fun, low-cost or free outings, which they all enjoy. Slowing down and enjoying our formerly “mundane” lives is a blessing to us.