Rich and delicious

Watch a sensual film like Chocolat and then let it inspire your creativity!
Creativity opens up another dimension of your personality and abilities. It shouldn’t have to be something reserved for top chefs, designers, or artists.
 
Research shows we solve all problems better and faster when we engage in creative pursuits. The mind is nimble. The better versed a person is in a variety of subjects, the wider the knowledge base to draw from when solving complex problems – not to mention all the stress-busting benefits. The ancient Greeks were proponents of the well-rounded man and woman, as were the thinkers of the Renaissance.
 
Cultivating your creativity doesn’t have to be restricted to the arts or crafts. If you don’t sew, paint, throw pots, or cook, apply your inner artist to something else that interests you.
 
If you enjoy entertaining there are many interesting books on the art of the table. Colin Cowie's Chic or Effortless Elegance contain simple and elegant table decor and lots of other tips. There are countless books on this fascinating subject, not to mention ideas from catalogs from elegant shops such as Ashley’s, Tiffany’s and others. Setting a lovely table from casual to elegant can be a study in self, just ask Martha Stewart.
 
If you are a budding fashionista with big taste and tiny budget, learning how to care for your clothes, developing an encyclopedic knowledge of fabrics, and even learning how to do simple repairs are great investments in time. Recently, a friend took a sewing course. She has n she has already made a few items from her home and is ready to try her hand at making clothing.
 
Even planning a trip can be creative. It never ceases to amaze me how many people moan about wanting to travel and yet they know little about the places they want to visit. Exercise your creativity by planning a summer trip to the south of France with cooking classes, if Provencal food is your soul food. It may take months or even years to actually make the trip, but why not sink into the experience in the meantime. 
 
Put together a wonderful reading list of marvelous old books; think Hemingway, the Murphy’s, Edith Wharton, Henry Miller. There was a fascinating mix of expat literati and painters who fled to Europe in the 1920s. If Paris and Costa Brava have captured your imagination, books from this period will make these places come alive. Or maybe you are just back, and want to keep something of that wonderful European rhythm and spirit in your life; these tales can bring them alive. The best thing about visiting Europe is all the same old haunts are still there. Trace the steps of those who went before you and immerse yourself.
 
If you are a woman who yawns at the past, try Trail of Crumbs by Kim Sunee or a collection of short stories by Andrea Lee called An Interesting Woman.
You may prefer cookbooks, buy one by Claudia Rodin. Devour her intoxicating combinations and recipes.
 
Perhaps you find inspiration in art books and DVDs. Immerse yourself and enjoy! If you find reading a chore, try renting atmospheric French films like the sensual Chocolat with Juliette Binoche or Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
 
Before and during a special trip or occasion collect old pictures, menu cards, maps, and books. Scan and copy the sections of books that work best for you. Put together your very own beautiful book. Cover an album with stunning fabric or Japanese paper and add beautiful ribbon markers. If you are a practical, techy type, scan it all and dump it into a device. Find your own style, but the collection process is the same.
 
I love books and folders for projects such as cooking, design, and just about anything else, although when it comes to cooking, I am plain and practical. I have a huge collection of gorgeous and beloved cookbooks. I also print scores of recipes – my own and others – off the computer. I stash them all in loose-leaf books. I keep copies in the computer as they get very dirty in my kitchen and need constant replacement. It is a messy place of creativity and inspiration. I wouldn’t have it any other way! Inspiration comes from many places: books, magazines, photographs and even from quick scribbles and doodles. All these things contribute to a finely-honed point of view.
 
It’s all part of letting ideas and images sink in and become part of you, as opposed to just letting them just flow over the surface. It’s taking time to explore the arts you enjoy. 
 
So many women tell me they used to paint or would like to again. Sadly, they plan to wait until they retire to start again. Darlings, we are all busy. But the benefits of being creative, physically as well spiritually, are so great. Can any of us afford not to exercise our creative instincts? 
 
Maybe this sounds like work to you. If it does, it shouldn’t. I am talking about finding what is interesting and pleasurable, and getting the good out of it.
 
Darlings, life is short, so make it rich and delicious. 
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