If They’re Pleasures, They’re Never Guilty

happy day by kool skatkat

happy day by kool skatkat on Flickr

I read a great post at A Child of the Universe (now defunct) that I’d like to share. Dana wrote about an interview by designer Sohiny Das of New Delhi.

One question presented in the interview was:

Guilty pleasure?

Her answer:

No guilt in pleasures.

Tell me you don’t love that.

Why shouldn’t we accept, appreciate, and embrace every single thing that gives us pleasure?

Or as Dana so eloquently wrote, “There is absolutely no reason to feel guilt for things that make us happy or give us pleasure, with the caveat of course, that we receive pleasure from something that doesn’t hurt anyone else. Other than that, the sky’s the limit I think.”

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been surrounded by quite a bit of stress lately. Nothing horrible, but enough that my mind wanders from issue to issue even as I’m dozing off at night. So I think it’s time to remind myself of some not-so-guilty pleasures that really, truly make me happy in order to combat some of the negative energy I’m feeling around me.

And just in case you’re in the same frame of mind, I thought I’d share some of my pleasures to get you thinking about yours. A lot of my pleasures revolve around doing not much of anything at all, which may be just what I need to clear my head:

  • Sleeping in with P on a rainy weekend morning–when even the doggies don’t stir before we get up.
  • Lounging around in pajamas as I lazily make coffee and ease into the day.
  • Yoga on the balcony in the morning sunshine.
  • A morning in giro by myself, enjoying a cappuccino and a ciambella in my favorite bar with new magazines from the news stand to keep me company.
  • Long walks with the doggies into the mountains, watching them race each other, play, and chase anything that moves.
  • Sunday afternoons on the couch, under a blankie, with a mug of steaming tea and a stack of English-language magazines and/or a great book.
  • Marathons of any number of American series like The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives, The Gilmore Girls.
  • Afternoons with P in the garden.
  • An entire morning reading my favorite blogs.
  • Treating myself to a fabulous bouquet of flowers, whether hand-picked or purchased.
  • A long bubble bath by candlelight followed by putting on clean, fleecy clothes (only in the colder months, of course).

What are your (not-so-guilty) pleasures?

28 Beans of Wisdom to “If They’re Pleasures, They’re Never Guilty”
  1. 09.30.2008

    Gosh, let’s see…

    -hugs from my children
    -petting my cats
    -breakfast alone
    -sleeping deeply and soundly all night
    -clothes shopping with a friend
    -quiet time alone
    -reading a book that’s so good I can’t put it down
    -seeing my children succeed in their endeavors

    How’s that for a start?

    saretta’s last blog post..What is this…a zoo?

    Excellent Saretta! I’m more relaxed already 😉

  2. Gil

    My wife and children.

    My cats.

    My friends.

    Stock cars.

    Switch out cats for dogs, and I think this is probably my dad’s list too 😉

  3. awedree

    Well put, Michelle. Great reminder that pleasures are what we need to cancel out the negative energies in our lives (we ALL have them, right?)

    -frozen yogurt
    -long drives with the music blasting
    -of course, CHOCOLATE
    -John Mayer

    -Reading your blog at the end of my day for some warm, fuzzy feelings and reminders of bella Italia!

    Cheers and have a great week.

    Aw, thanks Awedree 🙂 And also, John Mayer (at least his older stuff) makes me happy too. So does Jack Johnson now that you mention it 😉

  4. 09.30.2008

    Cooking a big roast dinner (with all the trimmings) for friends.

    Going to bed early with a crossword puzzle that’s not too difficult.

    Long walks with just my dog.

    (Loved your yoga on the balcony!)

    casalba’s last blog post..OreganO

    You’re welcome to come for yoga if I’m invited to that roast dinner…YUM!!!!!!! You remind me that mashed potatoes and gravy also make me very, very happy 🙂

  5. joanne at frutto della passione

    Sleeping late/afternoon naps
    going to the movies with my sisters (only happens when I get to Canada)
    Seeing a movie with my husband and son either at the cinema or curled up together on the couch
    cocktails with girlfriends
    shopping for things I don’t need
    sightseeing with my boys
    Cappuccino and brioche for breakfast
    Watching Top Chef and Project Runway (I know, I know, reality tv is baaaaad)

    I’m smiling already!

    joanne at frutto della passione’s last blog post..O Foods for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Ossobuco alla milanese

    No guilt Joanne! Reality TV has its place in many a person’s pleasures (including mine) 🙂

  6. 09.30.2008

    12 years of Catholic school have made it a little difficult for me too separate guilt from pleasure…but I’ll try:

    Eating figs
    Baking cookies
    Going for a walk in the historic center of town
    Listening to birds chirping
    Walking on freshly fallen snow (don’t get to do that anymore)
    Reading the newspaper
    Kissing my baby sweet little baby’s face while she’s asleep

    That’s it, I feel guilty about everything else! 😉

    KC’s last blog post..Babes at the beach

    Oh I miss that walking on fresh snow too; excellent. Glad you’re not guilty about *all* pleasure anyway 😉

  7. Your list was great, as were the lists of your previous commenters.

    Like KC, it is hard to separate the guilt, but mine include:

    ME-only time where I
    – read a book
    – walk/jog with my MP3
    – talking for hours on the phone with old friends in the states
    – get a pedicure

    Why is it so hard for us to do these things when we feel there are other things we “need” to be doing? Maybe I’ll take some time this afternoon for one of these things.

    Cherrye at My Bella Vita’s last blog post..Travel Tip Tuesday: Five Ways to feel at Home in Paris

    Hope you’re doing at least one of these this afternoon Cherrye!

  8. 09.30.2008

    Great list. We all need to stop and take time out for ourselves. I have only just realised this after being rather stressed this year…and it took someone else to point out to me that I actually was stressed! I honestly had no idea… She told me that I need to start taking time out for myself so I like to:

    -move the tv into the bedroom so I can snuggle up to the bel ragazzo while watching tv
    -take some time out of the day and just go and relax in bed. Most of the Italians (and Europeans) have the after lunch relaxation time, so finally I have begun to adopt this habit!

    Leanne’s last blog post..Random Rome

    Glad you’ve seen the importance of relaxation Leanne; I need to take more afternoon rests too methinks….

  9. 09.30.2008

    Oh gosh- Where to start???

    * my cafe au lait in the morning
    * a massage
    * a vacation
    * glass of a great wine
    * sleeping in on Sat/Sun
    * visiting a flea market

    My Mélange’s last blog post..Travel Tip Tuesday: Best of Paris

    Sounds great to me Robin…I’m coming to the next flea market!

  10. I guess I’m selfish enough (or lapsed Catholic enough) never to have associated guilt with pleasure. However, there’s the things that I like to do because they serve my higher goals (like writing and training), and things I like to do because I like to do them… and maybe let me procrastinate on my higher goals for a bit.

    * reading dumb websites that make me laugh.
    * long walks exploring the place where I live
    * rolling over and going back to sleep for just… a little… longer
    * thinking up clever Twitter and Facebook updates
    * rock and roll on my headphones, with the volume set to permanent hearing loss
    * classical from WGBH streaming in my bedroom
    * an espresso drink made my somebody else, even if my own coffee’s better
    * txt message flirting with my sweetheart
    * Green and Black’s 70% Organic Dark Chocolate

    We can’t serve anybody if we don’t also serve ourselves, I think.

    paul of the cluebyfour’s last blog post..Men’s Monday #1: why do some guys “step up” when others don’t?

    Couldn’t agree more. And your pleasures sound lovely. Now I’m off to see about this Clue by Four….

  11. 09.30.2008

    a never ending glass of chilled white wine, sipped while reading books, blogs, magazine….

    poppy fields’s last blog post..good news


  12. 09.30.2008

    baking bread, still getting a hug from my big boys, and just poking my head out the door in the beautiful place I live
    I needed this reminder… thank you

    jennifer’s last blog post..persistence of memory

    Thank you for sharing your pleasures, Jennifer…just wonderful!

  13. 09.30.2008

    Perhaps I hark back to my New England roots too much, but I still have guilt over things that give me pleasure, but are selfish. They happen rarely now.

    Really long, hot showers, but Italy has a crisis of potable water.
    Tossing leftovers. I don’t like many leftovers.
    Driving to see splendid things that make me feel wonderful. I should I suppose increase my walking range to at least one sea and one major mountain!

    I guess the rest I take just as they come because they must not be egoistic.

    Judith in Umbria’s last blog post..Friday nights

    I hope you fit in more and more pleasures every day, whether they feel egoistic or not…you deserve them Judith!

  14. 09.30.2008

    This is what my “happy blog,” Happiness is the new black, is all about! (www.thehappyblog.com <— shameless plug there) No shame in feeling and sharing joy. Would love to have you submit any or all of those wonderful pleasures you enjoy. It’s the little things that make life so sweet. 🙂

    Love it Nino! Am plugging it on Twitter right now 🙂

  15. 09.30.2008

    Ah! I am so with you when it comes to sleeping in and Gilmore Girls. Never can get enough! Strangely enough for a girl who went to Catholic school, my guilty pleasures don’t make me feel that bad. At least once a day I do something that makes me feel good. My pleasures are:

    Hearing my 2yr old’s goofy chuckle when I tickle him

    Seeing the look of wonder on my daughter’s face when we’re at the cinema

    Listening to the Beatles

    Eating chocolate dip donuts (in Canada)

    Reading gossip blogs (it’s horrible, I know!)

    Going out for aperitivo/dinner with friends

    Driving by myself with great music on full-blast

    Talking on the phone with my bestest buddy

    Eating my mom’s beef curry


    Getting a massage

    Having 2hrs to myself to go shopping

    Eating ragù


    Milanese Masala’s last blog post..Cinema, amore mio!

    Gossip blogs! Woohoo! No guilt!!!!!!!

  16. I only feel guilty if I haven’t done ANY work that day. Other than that no…it’s one of the major reasons I left the States. Basta to that Calvinist workaholic madness.

    Since moving, here some of my favorites are:

    Reading my American Vogue and New York Magazines (I can’t relax reading Italian mags…it takes me forever to translate) or an English language book while drinking ice cold Coke and eating San Carlo’s Rustica chips.

    Walking all over Rome’s Historic Center or by the Vatican early in the morning with my favorite songs on my iPod.

    Getting gelato at the San Crispino near the Pantheon. I still don’t believe I live walking distance from the Pantheon.

    Eating piazza bianco from the Forno around the corner.

    Turning up my music and cleaning my apartment. I like a spotless apartment. ha

    Watching Sex and the City and the Sopranos dubbed.

    Italia’s Next Top Model.

    Taking time to read my favorite blogs.

    Skyping with friends and family back in the States.

    And of course eating good food and drinking good wine.

    nyc/caribbean ragazza’s last blog post..randomissimo – Can someone explain this Matthew McConaughey ad?

    Ooh I love San Carlo chips! And relaxing reading Italian mags will come, but Italy’s Top Model? Really? I haven’t gotten into that one. Yet 😉

  17. 09.30.2008

    Ah, guilty pleasures…I always thot that was an oxymoron. Now you agree. I will have to post some of mine on my site. Pleasures that is.

    One, is having a weekend afternoon off and going to a movie…all. by. myself. Heaven.

    Thotlady’s last blog post..100 post (Hurray a Give-a-way)

    Looking forward to your list 🙂

  18. 09.30.2008

    My (not so guilty pleasures)

    Listening to loud music in the house

    Stopping at the italian bakery for dinner or dessert
    Renting movies
    Doin nothing on Sunday’s but watching tv and eating
    Going for a drive just to take pictures of a sunrise or sunset
    sitting on the edge of the bluff listening to my mp3 player
    surfing the net and reading all my favourite blogs
    lying in bed reading a book
    watching under a Tuscan Sun over and over…followed by Bridges of Madison county
    going for a walks alone…….
    Alone time
    peanut butter and nutella on bread….hmmmm

    I see Milanese Masala has been eating at Tim Horton’s…:)

    lucy’s last blog post..The Wedding Photos

    Ooh you said Nutella! YUM!!!

  19. 09.30.2008

    Sending much bloglove from New York

    Frances’s last blog post..Saturday Six at Patricks Place

    Back at you Frances 🙂

  20. 09.30.2008

    Best pleasures are:-

    Having a bath early and putting PJ’s on..(winter normally)

    Spending most of the day just browsing around Oxford, stopping for coffee

    Reading and can’t put the book down so I don’t

    Getting flowers for the house

    Cold sundays, doing nothing lounging, settee, blanket, magazines books etc

    Putting housework to the side, and going for a bike ride.

    Going to the hairdressers, just because I want to!! 🙂

    I used to feel guilty but not anymore, life is too short….this is my “me” time…we all deserve it. 🙂

    anne’s last blog post..Moroccan-style Lentil Soup

    Woohoo Anne! I’m with you 🙂

  21. 10.01.2008

    My latest guilty pleasure is the series Madmen.

    But I am so so sad there are only two seasons so far. What am I going to watch this winter?

    Diane Mandy’s last blog post..Exclusive!!! Sarah Palin Debate Preparations

    I’ve watched it a couple times and haven’t gotten into it. I don’t think I was in the right mood, though, so I’ll try again. I’m nothing if not persistent 😉

  22. 10.01.2008

    Well, it is a good thing I ran across your website as your topic will force me to stop and relax a little. Weird day.

    *Having someone run fingers through or play with my hair.
    *Taking my motorbike for a spin.
    *Eating nocciola icecream
    *Reading a book, snuggled up in an armchair beside a crackling fire
    *Being high on a mountain and looking at the valley below
    *Music by David Lanz
    *Red wine on my porch (in the summer)

    Bev’s last blog post..A different kind of Board minutes. In Alagna

    Happy you’ve found me Bev! Now relax 🙂

  23. 10.01.2008

    – a box at the opera – any opera
    – peanut butter on my buttered toast in the morning
    – a rizo cornetto with my capuch at break
    – snuggling up to my partner in the middle of the night
    – my flannel sheets this time of year
    – when they were alive snuggling up with my two daschies – one down under the covers curled at my feet, the other beside me getting his tummy rubbed… god I miss my babies
    – the smell of incense in a church after mass

    And frankly looking at the list I realized there’s nothing guility about any of them!

    Willym’s last blog post..Mercoledi Musciale

    I’m sorry your babies aren’t around; my dogs keep me sane.

  24. 10.01.2008

    -Eating breakfast on my patio in the backyard

    -Early mornings when there are few people at the garden dept. of Home Depot, bonus if I have a Starbuck’s in hand

    -Reading gossip magazines while at my hairdresser and manicurist

    -planning a vacation (almost as much fun as the vacation – almost)

    -watching Under the Tuscan Sun for the hundredth time, please don’t hate me, cheesy I know but it brings back so many fond memories of my Italy trips and I’ve been to all those locations except for Positano

    -Reading blogs

    -Dreaming of the day I can move to Italy and figuring out where I’d live


    -Talking to someone about Italy

    -Watching cooking shows

    Ice Tea For Me’s last blog post..a belated post

    Oh I think Under the Tuscan Sun is a great movie! It has little to do with the book, but the scenery is unbeatable 🙂

  25. What a lovely post… I may “borrow” the idea for my blog. 🙂

    Rebecca (Ramblings by Reba)’s last blog post..Ramblings about Ramblings by Reba

    Please do!

  26. great list.
    all great pleasures and anything involving dogs, a rainy day, good reads, comfort food, the beach, sunset, family or making something by hand are all pleasures in my book. not all at once of course or all together of course!

    collette~all over the map’s last blog post..when we lead by example

    Hah, yes, we must pace ourselves!

  27. 10.03.2008

    a nugget of wisdom to tuck away, for sure…!

    some of my fav not-so-guilty pleasures…the 3rd tazza di caffe`della mattina, reading a pleasure book when i really *should* read for my classes (sometimes that slips into guilt…) & a plane ticket to italia for novembre (when everyone else in the fam is on vaca in other places)!!

    qualcosa di bello’s last blog post..it’s the struggle that keeps you strong

    Lovely list! Three cups of coffee? Yes, you’re ready for Italia 😉

  28. 10.14.2008

    I have no idea what my guilty pleasures are! I had no idea it would be such a difficult question. Most of the things I like doing are something that is good to do as week – like baking, cleaning, cooking, writing.

    But I do have to admit, I tend to avoid studying by watching X factor, sitting around chatting to my roomie about everything under the sun, and sleep sleep sleep//

    NewWrldYankee’s last blog post..Blog Action Day 2008 Poverty & Blog Talk Radio

    Sounds great to me 🙂



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake