The First Step

I woke up at 4am, and couldn’t decide whether or not to go back to sleep. It’s amazing how many tiny choices we make in a day, with each one altering the next.

I began thinking of my French Press and how I haven’t used it very much. It was one of those things Barb ‘had to have’, but I couldn’t get satisfied with the taste of the coffee. I have read articles from coffee experts, and the instructions that came with the press, but this early in the morning, I wanted some simple steps. Google led me to an article by the easy to follow woman behind Gimme Some Oven.

Her way of making it just made sense to me, so I hopped outta bed at 5:00 am, and strolled quietly into the kitchen with instructions in hand, ready to try again. There are several steps involved in making a French Press, but anything that’s worthwhile has steps.

First I had to see how much water the press would hold. It held 4 cups, so I poured the water into the gooseneck kettle and sat it on the stove to bring it to a boil. Then waited. After it begins to boil, the water needs to rest for a minute, so I took it off the burner to rest.

I opened the timer on my phone and set it for 4 minutes, and poured the freshly ground beans into the French Press, just going through the steps. The hot water was poured just over the bed of grinds, about 2 inches, and stirred with a wooden chopstick to wet every grind, and the timer began.

My favorite part is watching it bloom. Putting my face over the press, I inhaled the magical aroma. If it’s really good coffee it should bloom, or foam up. The more it foams, the better quality. After one minute had passed, the rest of the water was poured in and the lid was put into place. The screen rested on top of the water with the plunger standing up.

I watched the countdown of time ticking by with the numbers illuminated blue in color. It was interesting when the timer got down to the last 30 seconds, the numbers turned red.

The one thing that bothered me about using the French press in the past was the feel of the pressing. I know how it’s supposed to feel when you press the plunger down with the palm of your hand. It should have some resistance, and not be effortless. This time it had plenty of resistance, so in the past I hadn’t poured enough in.

Le Creuset Café Stoneware French Press

Lessons learned:

  1. Don’t go back to sleep. The day is waiting for us to step into it.
  2. Keep using what we have and get it right.
  3. Follow some instruction. If the first ones aren’t to our liking, find better instructions.
  4. There’s a waiting period after every step.
  5. Let the water get boiling hot, but don’t let it spew. Anything that gets that hot needs a minute to rest.
  6. Watch the time, and be attentive to the red zone.
  7. Pause and enjoy the bloom. Breathe it in.
  8. When we begin to press through and there’s resistance, it’s normal. Nothing worthwhile should feel like an easy plunge, just continue to gently press.

Was getting up early, and trying once again to make a French Press worth it? You better believe it! That was excellent coffee. Keep trying and be willing to go through some steps to get to where you really want to be.

It all begins with the first step.

Moments of Gratitude

There’s something about November that brings gratitude to the forefront. I saw a post written my Michelle GD and signed up for her Gratitude notes. This morning, I found myself looking forward to her email of ‘Day Two’.

Michelle and I have similar philosophies. It’s the little things in life that I’m grateful for the most. In yesterday’s gratitude notes, she asked that we make note of what we see that we’re grateful for, so I took a few pictures.

I bribed myself to go for a walk.

Actually, I thought of it as a reward. I made a Chemex and let it sit telling myself it would still be hot and ready to enjoy on my return. On my way out the door, I snapped this pic of the steam rolling off. It’s a thing of beauty.

Chemex Coffemaker with Bluebottle Coffee

When it was time for brunch, I grabbed Leo.

My daughter brought him home because we use fresh herbs to cook with, and Leo makes chopping herbs fun. He’s our pretty, yet highly functional find. It’s celebratory when it’s pretty and practical. Sometimes it’s just pretty.

She found him on the clearance rack.

BergHOFF Leo Herb Cutter Set

While in the kitchen I glanced at the front door standing open. I told my daughter we need to petition fresh Christmas Trees being available for purchase November 1st. If they were, our tree would already be up and decorated. We love Christmas decor!

We have balls!

Scrolling through my camera roll this morning, it resembles gratitude notes. That’s what a photo is for me. Moments of gratitude.

Set the stage

I don’t have a set time to go to bed. Knowing how many hours sleep is needed, the earlier I go to bed, the earlier I wake up. If I stay up late, I wake up later than usual, but that’s okay at the end of the week. I prepare my bedroom first thing in the morning for evening, by making my bed and removing all evidence I was there. When I walk in later in the day for sleep it feels inviting, restorative and pleasing to the eye.

The sheets are changed once a week, or every two weeks, depending on the week. Invest in yourself by owning good sheets and pillows. Think of sheets as your favorite shirt you can wear all day long, without even noticing it’s there. It feels that good to your skin, like your skin really vibes with the fabric it’s made from. Sheets should feel good to your skin. The higher the thread count, the more luxurious the feel.

These are my favorite at the moment.

Sheets are an item I need to walk into a store for. No shopping online for these, but I’m the same way with my shirts. If I see a set that appeals to me, I unzip the bag to feel them. I don’t pull them out of the bag, just a touch is enough. They can be expensive, but on sale is a sweet find. The true test is wrapping myself up in them. Once purchased, I take them home to wash them in perfumed wash and place them on the bed to in hopes they add quality to my sleep. The smell and feel is a win.

If I absolutely fall in love with a certain brand, then it’s safe to order them online. Especially when they’re priced at a really good deal. Keeping them washed, I don’t need many sets of sheets, just a few good quality ones.

The bed is my main piece of furniture in the room.

There’s a table on each side of the bed holding some of my favorite things, and that’s really it. It’s not a workout room, storage room, or an office. It’s designed for sleep. There’s a vintage vanity chair at the foot of the bed to sit and put my shoes on before leaving the house. Sitting on the bed, messes up the bed! 🙂

I’m single, so I get away with as much bling as I want. My bedroom isn’t girly by any means, but there are feminine touches. Pillows and blankets add a cozy feel. For color, I stuck with the classics: white, silver and gold, but any item with bling fits the room.

Vintage Vanity Chair. Voluspa mercury glass candle nestled in a Bath and Body Works Coaster. Backdrop-My favorite custom drapes made 15 years ago.

I like to go in and light a candle 30 minutes before bed.

This little chair made it’s debut in a post written in February of this year. That weekend I went to a local vintage shoppe and found some pieces for my room, so even back in February I was staging for better sleep. At the end of that post, I mentioned drinking Bluebottle Cold Brew and it was late in the day. This journey revealed I cannot do that and sleep. You can read the post here, and see more bedroom items purchased that day.

Standing in the middle of my room, I was pleased with the newly added Vintage pieces that helped restore it’s haven-hood. I later learned there was something that needed to be removed, and it was right in the palm of my hand.

Reflections from ‘I’m Still Learning‘ by Letitgocoach

Voluspa is an all soy candle, but sometimes I opt for a diffuser filled with distilled water and essential oil. The soothing sound and smell of the diffuser helps me fall to sleep.

The final thing that helps me drift off to sleep is a nighttime tea. When this finding sleep experiment began in August, I tried lots of teas, but always came back to this one. It’s affordable and can steep for up to 15 minutes, so by the time it’s done steeping, it’s the right temperature to drink and enjoy.

Pukka Tea

This concludes our little series. Thank you for following alongside me, and here’s a recap of what was brought to light:

The journey begins to a good night’s sleep. Next up was Know Your Flow. I stopped drinking coffee by noon. Then Mama Knew Best showed us that it matters what you watch before bed. Determine how much sleep you need and go to bed in time to get it, but don’t overdo it One More Minute. When you wake up in the morning, get out of bed to prevent falling back to sleep.

Up next, I’ll reveal what I learned while writing this series and highlight some souls who stepped up on the path. As always, thank you for your love, kind comments and support. ~ Barb.

Know Your Flow

To prepare for sleep, I chose to halt the flow of day into evening. Work was one of them, which was mentioned in the previous post, and we’ll dive deeper into working from home soon. Today we’ll keep walking toward a good night’s sleep.

Photo by Pietra Schwarzler on Unsplash

You know my love for coffee, and the coffee bar was always flowing, until I got serious about a good night’s sleep. It didn’t take long to realize coffee was making me restless in bed. It was tough to admit, but my mind is fueled by coffee, so it would not relax if I drank it late in the day. I would lay in bed and continue thinking just like it was morning.

Some people would say, “Stop drinking coffee Barb.” Well, I love superb coffee and enjoy trying beans from all over the world. Life’s too short to deprive myself of something meaningful, but there’s a balance.

Now, I stop the flow of coffee by 2:00 pm and sometimes before noon, which is instrumental in a good night’s sleep. I’m learning a good night sleep takes discipline and saying no to the flesh. One day, my daughter offered me the rest of her Chocolate Cold Brew after 4:00 pm, and I regrettably poured it down the sink.

Life will tempt you on your journey. Walking out to the mailbox, this was waiting inside the box.

Blue Bottle Coffee Subscription

Normally, I squeal with excitement when Blue Bottle arrives. A month ago, I would have raced into the house and started the kettle for a Chemex. My excuse would be, “I haven’t tried this blend before!” It’s tempting to blow a good night’s sleep, but now I know better. When we know better, it’s time to do better.

They say, ‘go with the flow’, but I’m good at adding to the flow until it becomes a white water rafting kind of day.

I watched my actions as the morning flowed into afternoon and then evening. When it became night, I felt trepidation because I had crossed my boundaries that day and wasn’t sleepy. I hadn’t had a successful night’s sleep in months and I don’t believe we’re supposed to dread going to bed.

There is a flow to this life, and being mindful of what flows into my day and at what time is an intricate part of having a good night’s sleep. Coffee now has a slow flow and a stopping point.

Maybe it’s not coffee for you, but if you’re having trouble relaxing your mind to fall asleep, there’s something in your body from the day that thinks it needs to stay awake. Know your flow.

Worth the View

A Blogger friend commented on the photo in A New View.

When my daughter and I walked out of the newly built house mentioned in that post, she glanced my way, as if trying to read my thoughts. The house was nice enough, but the view was no better than where I am now. My next house is all about the view.

I don’t want more, but I do want better.

In response to my friend’s comment, I let her know these photos are a part of my vision board. My vision board began a year ago, and these photos are popping up in my FB memories. They are reminding me why I’m in a season of work.

view
Time Out Chair

Hold the vision. Trust the process.

I’ve been working from home for years, but last year was my season for learning to work with discipline and consistency. It’s paying off, but my work is seven days a week. It becomes difficult to discern a weekday from the weekend. Relatable?

Another Blogger friend had left a comment on the post, Enjoy the Good. He admires my coffee gadgets, and reminded me of one I haven’t used in a while. The French press. I took it down from the shelf, and rinsed it off. It has been so long since I used it, I pulled up the Blue Bottle Coffee site to refresh my memory.

frenchpress
Bodum Chambord 17oz French Press

While on the Blue Bottle site, I saw their debut coffee Spring Blend, and ordered a bag. You see, I had responded to my fellow Blogger with, “Why do you think I work so much? To be able to buy really good coffee.” That was the goal when I began this journey, and I’ve been buying really good coffee all year.

Don’t lose sight of why you work.

I’m grateful at this stage of life to have fulfilling work, and to be continually learning, but it’s not easy. My experience has been, no path worth taking is ever easy, so it’s vital to hold the vision.

Some paths are easier than others. Some journey’s take longer than others, but I’m convinced, it will be worth the view.