2. A Rowenta Steam Iron. The linen sheets do need ironing, but it is worth the effort (and I actually find ironing kind of meditative.) The steam feature makes short work of a king size sheet and Williams-Sonoma sells an oversize ironing board that makes the job a lot easier.
3. Georgette Heyer Novels. Smart, funny, and an authority on Regency England, Heyer is a treat. Her heroines are strong and resourceful and every one has a happy ending. My husband laughs when I describe them as 'easily digestible,' but they are perfect when you can't handle anything too heavy. Available at Amazon.
4. The Miele Pisces Vacuum. We are dog people, Labs to be specific, and they shed a lot. This would seem incompatible with my OCD regarding cleanliness but the Pisces, which is recommended for pet owners, is lightweight and easy to maneuver, and I keep my sanity. Mieleusa.com.
5. Scented Candles. Scent is powerful - it can trigger memories, change your mood or disguise an unpleasant odor such as a dead mouse in the wall of your otherwise charming, 100-year-old Vermont house. After all these years my favorite is still Diptyque Baise, although I am currently enjoying Balmoral from Cire Trudon and Jasmin de Chine from Mizensir. I always order from Aedes de Venustas; they provide speedy delivery at no extra charge.
6. Magic Eraser. Living with kids and/or dogs? You need this. I use it to clean marks of every kind off the walls, floors, stair risers and cabinetry. For sale almost everywhere but if you want it right now go to Drugstore.com.
7. Tivoli Audio. Stylish and un-complicated are my requirements for electronics and Tivoli components are exactly that. I favor the walnut/beige color combination and have the 'model one' system in the kitchen, 'model three' which has an alarm clock feature in my bedroom, and the 'music system' in the living room where its industrial-chic look easily blends in with everything else.
8. The Cowboy Junkies. I've been a Junkies fan since 1988 when I bought my first copy of The Trinity Sessions. Suffice it to say I have every album they have released since including the 2008 live re-recording of The Trinity Sessions titled Trinity Revisited. I will be seeing them perform in Providence in February. Tour dates on their website.
9. Fresh Flowers. It does not need to be extravagant; even just a few stems can brighten an entire room and feel like a luxury.
10. A Soaking Tub. There is nothing better for unwinding at the end of a stressful day than a hot bath. For my personal sanctuary (pictured below) I chose the Sunrise Specialty 'Dual' with a pedestal base. Add this relaxing and detoxifying recipe: into running hot water add 2 cups Epsom salts, 1 cup baking powder and 10 drops of lavender oil. You will sleep like a baby.