What do you see when you look at that picture?

Wine, fruit, and notebook, right? And maybe the books too?

Did you notice that all the fruit is in tupperware containers instead of fancy dishes? You probably didn’t. I don’t see it either.

Actually, it’s not even good tupperware. One is a gladware container and two are what the fruit came in from the grocery store.

I guess I just want to say that you don’t have to have the finest of everything to create something worth having.

The wine? About ten bucks, I’m pretty sure.

Create something grand and beautiful with what you have.

What can you make today?

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. You are quite the danger to American consumerism! Way to go! :)
    Kelly Cone´s last post…Day 2 in California

  2. I love it. I didn’t notice. Simplifying doesn’t make something less beautiful.

  3. lovely! I am really liking the concept of perception and perceiving.
    naomi´s last post…AND … SHE’S OUT !

  4. I totally missed the containers. I first saw the fruit. Yummy..

    I have been recycling old toss pillows and making new pillow covers.
    don_mae´s last post…New Striped Pillow Covers With Buttons

  5. Love this post – I really like the way you challenge us to think differently, Rachel. So refreshing!
    Marcia Francois, Organising Queen´s last post…I’ve been quiet

  6. All I saw was beautiful!

  7. I didn’t notice the containers either. I love this post, Rachel! It’s making me feel all happy inside :D

  8. My eye went straight to the wine, LOL. :) That little spread looks super yum, regardless of what it’s served in. Today my goal is to make something beautiful for dinner from our gorgeous (but random) CSA produce.
    Stephanie @ henry happened´s last post…DIY Ribbon Flip Flops

  9. Silly me, I was looking for the dipping chocolate to put all that delicious fruit in!! I love the idea of all the different fruit, and you are right, it really doesn’t matter what it is in.
    Sharon´s last post…July Challenge: Fiscal Fast Day 5 Results

  10. The beauty I saw first was from all the different colors of the fruit. Then my eyes went to the wine! Then I saw the small notebook :-) on the table. Amazingly I didn’t “see” the books until you mentioned them!
    Lovely exercise! Perception can make a huge difference in our lives!
    Living the Balanced Life´s last post…Learning to celebrate your strengths

  11. Kara E. says:

    How funny. I actually skipped the picture, but when I read the first sentence, I immediately scrolled up to take a closer look, and did notice the tupperware. However, it was the fifth item I saw, and probably only did so because you asked and I was looking for something “off”. Good post though. :)

  12. Jessica says:

    Well, to be honest, the containers were the first thing I saw. But then I thought, that looks like a tray I would actually be eating from. And then I thought about how I like the honest portrayal of life that always comes through on this blog.

  13. The FIRST thing I noticed were the Tupperware containers – but that’s because I have sold Tupperware for years and can spot it a mile away! But to me, “good” Tupperware, as you call it, has a beauty of its own in the memories of all the years it has served my family!

  14. That’s funny – I did notice the tupperware right away, because, as another commenter suggested, it seemed out of place with all the sort of “old world” stuff- wine and books and wood. But I think for me one of my great pleasures is in putting food out simply but attractively – I have a set of stacking pottery bowls i’ve had for years, which i used to use mainly for food prep while cooking. but I find when I take the extra 15 seconds to transfer fruit from the colander or container to a pottery bowl it gives me enormous pleasure. Not sure why, but the presentation makes it looks prettier, makes me treasure it more, and enjoy eating it more. Like putting cheese on a wooden cutting board or sliced bread in a basket with a cotton dishtowel in it. All supplies I have on hand anyway, but feel i’m getting a little “rustic chic” on my table.

    • Amen, amen, amen! You said exactly what I would have. At first glance, I saw fruit in plastic bowls and thought maybe it was a picture of her children’s lunch. I completely agree that taking a few extra seconds to serve food in a pretty bowl, etc., really changes the way a meal looks and feels. Use what you have, or find a few pieces you love at thrift stores, etc. You don’t need a lot – just a few pretty pieces like the tray in that photo, which was lovely – to give your home and your meals a touch of beauty. :)

      • I didn’t notice the tupperware. I do agree with these two ladies, when I take time to ‘set’ the table or ‘serve’ in something other than storage dishes I feel I am more caring and honoring. We have had to downsize big time – and that is the one thing I miss the most not having my dishes to ‘play with’.

    • I’m with you, Bubu. While I noticed the tupperware immediately because it was out of sorts with the rest of the photo, I absolutely understood Rachel’s larger point — about creating something beautiful with what you have on hand.

      Then again, I’ve started baking cakes this year; I’ve baked for a decade, but only made my first cake in April. I took the excuse of a milestone birthday party I planned to buy a tiny milk glass cake stand, because I’ve longed for for years. If I hadn’t been using it as part of the centerpiece for every “pretty” meal I’ve pulled together (including a loaf of bread and a chunk of cheese served with a pitcher of ice water), I’d say that I have a long way to go before I can claim to have learned a Simple Notebook lesson. :)
      Lissa´s last post…Design!

  15. At first, I thought it looked very European. Which is what? Practical, simple, functional, daily. Fresh, daily food in a simple spread, not about hoarding stuff and excessive quantities. Thanks for the encouragement toward simplicity and contentment; traveling lighter through life.
    MAUREEN´s last post…Colorful Possibilities

  16. I love tupper and plasticware. I got rid of all my breakable china a couple of years ago. I have 4 kids and want to teach them to help out without going crazy when they drop a dish or two. The melamine dish ware are a lot lighter for my kids to help when loading and unloading the dishwasher, and when setting the table. We have had a lot of parties with friends and that’s what we use to serve. I even had our priest over one time for dinner and that’s what he ate of off. I will have china again one day but this is where I am and I am enjoying it.

    • I would just be concerned about chemicals and phytoestrogens bleeding into your food. Anything acidic will pull chemicals out of plastic, as will heat (including the dishwasher). If you have boys, this is an even bigger issue, since it is linked with softer bones, delayed puberty, etc. Girls may experience earlier puberty, amongst other symptoms. I’ve often wondered if people could use lightweight steel plates for serving food to kids, to avoid the whole plastic or breakable business. Anything in the microwave should be glass or ceramic.
      MightyMighty´s last post…Unexpected Tenant

      • Agreed. I don’t see why teaching kids to be thoughtful/careful and take only what they can safely carry is perceived as such a hard part about parenting. Mine had it down by age 2.

    • Karen (Scotland) says:

      Me too! I have 4 kids and a tiled kitchen floor – moving over to plastic, although not posh, is a lot more restful!

  17. It’s my daughter’s first birthday today. We already had a party, but I picked up a box of Barnum’s animal crackers at the grocery store today as a special treat for her, and I’m thinking of putting up some bunting made of scrapbook paper I have lying around.
    Michelle´s last post…Gates of Gold

  18. As a Tupperware consultant, my eyes went first to the teal Wonderlier bowl on the tray (one of my favorites), then cringed when you called the rest of the plastic “Tupperware”. It is a brand-name, not a generalization of ‘plastic’ containers. Please keep that in mind!

    I love the fact that your entire snack/meal/quiet time was made up of fruit. Even the wine :D
    AprilFire´s last post…New New New!

  19. love this post, what a great reminder

  20. Sorry, first thing I noticed was the plastic containers…

    • Guilty. I noticed the plastic containers as well. I did enjoy the excercise though. I think as it was pointed out in an earlier post it seemed out of place with the surrounding decor.

  21. I noticed the sense of calm and that someone had taken the time to actually place the items on a tray and relax with a book, even if the book is really a notebook for making lists of things to do in. This is a sharp contrast to me eating every meal standing at the kitchen island while I fix my kids their lunch or dinner and tell them to stay seated. Nevermind that I have a wonderful large dining room in the next room or a big wooden table that seats six about two feet from the island.

  22. A paint-by-numbers masterpiece!
    I love all-inclusive, quick craft projects :).
    Christine´s last post…Olive Grove 2011

  23. Loved this and my eyes went to the fruit first and then the notebook (I love notebooks) I love the fact they were all in tupperware, as we were all drawn to the colour of the fruit really. Mmm, I fancy some fresh fruit now :) Thank you for this. Great photo.

  24. I noticed the tray. I like arranging things on trays for portability but also because I like the way things come together and form a picture of sorts.

  25. Funny, the first thing I noticed was the plastic containers. Maybe it is my version of making something “grand and beautiful” with what I already have. To me, taking the time to present food in “real” containers is an economic way to give gourmet flavor to my econo brand fare. I find the ten dollar bottle of wine and store brand cheese taste so much better when a small effort is made with the presentation.

  26. I love simple, beautiful things. I also love presenting things on my few pieces of family china… Your photograph is wonderful; thank you for the inspiration!
    Eliz. K´s last post…[jamming yet again]

  27. I noticed the fruit, the wine, the notebook and then the tupperware (didn’t even notice the books). But as a whole I saw ‘Romance’. It looks like something my husband would throw together for a surprise for me.

  28. Actually, the first thing I noticed was the tupperware. Haha, if the fruit actually makes it into tupperware before we consume it, we think that we’re doing pretty good. I also noticed the dinner tray and thought of an at-home lunch-on-the-go meal, the kind that I have been preparing for my husband lately.
    Tamsyn Sapckman´s last post…Dreaming of a dream home

  29. I noticed the fruit! I am loving the less is more concept. The idea odf serving something on a tray always makes it better anyway. Who cares what the container looks like… :)

  30. I didn’t notice the tupperware because the fruit was so pretty – colorful and various, contrasting with the wood and dark bottle of wine. I agree with others who thought it looked European. Very nice!
    Natalie @ Maple Leaf Circle´s last post…Camping, Anyone?

  31. All I saw was good wine, good food, good books. “Fussy” never impresses me…I really do love “simple.” Thanks for this breathe-of-fresh-air reminder; what a wonderful way to start the week.
    michelle @ this little light´s last post…My Love for Joy in the Morning, and Other Such Books

  32. I can’t help but think that if you can make tupperware look that good, I want your camera! Maybe that doesn’t help the message of wanting what you have, but my camera is not a great blogging tool. Or maybe I’m just not perceiving it right? ;)
    Jennie´s last post…In Medias Res

  33. Catherine says:

    Yup noticed the plastic containers first too. I admit I take pride in presentation and always place food in nice bowls even at potlucks —where plastic to-go containers are way more practical. Maybe it’s something I need to let go of… Thanks for the post :)

    • No, I don’t think it’s something to let go of, that’s not the point of the post. I like to use pretty bowls too. My point is more about how things can be pleasing even if it’s not perfect.

  34. I did notice but it’s still a thing of beauty…a small feast and glass of wine shared between two people who love each other. My favorite Portuguese green wine is about $7 a bottle and my favorite French sparkling wine is about $12. It’s not about cost, it’s about taste and shopping wisely.

  35. Stefanie says:

    My grandmother used to say, “If you can’t have the best of everything, make the best of everything you have.” I don’t really like most fruit, but this makes it look “almost” tempting. :)

  36. I loved your post. I too have been working on that perception thing. I have been experimenting with the not-so-ordinary approach to organizing and storing one’s things. It’s been fun and I’ve blogged about it. This weekend I took a box that I got in the mail, cut the lids off and covered it with fabric. Ta-da! A box that holds my crafts-in-progress.

  37. I think I did notice the plastic but it didn’t bother me. The whole photo evokes a lovely atmosphere regardless of the dishes. While I’ll always transfer packaged food to a pretty plate (they’re cheap at the thrift stores), I also don’t stand on ceremony.

    What I want to know is… where’s the wine glass? Or are you consuming the wine out of its original container also? LOL :)
    Stephanie´s last post…Winter Soup For A Summer Cold

  38. I saw all the fruit and thought you might be a raw foodist.
    It looks very healthy!

  39. What this post made me think of was my favorite objects in my home. They are the ones I’ve created from things I already owned or bought second-hand: the blanket cobbled together from old wool sweaters, or the vintage Kenmore sewing machine I bought at the thrift store one gleeful morning. I buy new and new-fangled things when I need them, don’t get me wrong — I love my high-efficiency washer and dryer! — but it’s the simple and “pre-loved” that keep me grounded. I know this wasn’t exactly what you were going for, Rachel, but that’s where you too me this morning! Hope you have a great day!
    Jennifer´s last post…Journal Cozy

  40. A beautiful picture that conveys a special simple time. It is more special because it was created by your husband for you. We need more simple moments in our lives.

  41. I definitely noticed the containers first. I love using nice bowls, which for me is pretty simple because just about all of mine are from garage sales. I’ll take a moment to put the fruit in bowls and rinse them when I’m done. Small thing, but it makes a big statement about the value of the meal, in my opinion.

    I noticed from the comments that this seems to matter to some people and not others. I think that making beauty out of what you have means different things to different people and that is definitely okay… it makes this world a beautiful place, full of variety!

    • I really like the second paragraph of this post. While several remarked about how they didn’t like it this poster did but allowed for the variety of people who make a world beautiful.

      What a gracious, generous spirit must be behind person who wrote this post. Being able to say what you like and allow others their different types of priorities as well. What a refreshing attitude.

      Thank you.

      • Thanks, Mitzie. I really try to remember that while some things are right or wrong, there are whole areas in life in which difference is what makes the beauty. I’m maybe getting a little better at this as I get older… and as I parent VERY different children. :)

  42. Do you know, in the UK most people refer to plastic food storage as tuperware, and the company hasn’t been active here for several years! I’m moving towards making the best of what we have, and buying purposefully rather than wastefully. We use fruit packaging to contain kids cutlery and small items in kitchen drawers and cupboards, and tonight I am paint spraying a very rundown but mechanically sound hand-me-down balance bike for my son to use

  43. It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got! Thank you for this lovely reminder!

  44. I loved this post. I’ve started trying to cut down on as much spending as possible and instead save my money. This is a great post to come back to on days when all I want to do is buy the next best thing. Thanks!
    Amanda´s last post…A new job, life in a hotel, and me

  45. Destiny says:

    A picture is worth a thousand words; inspired and inspiring post!

  46. I noticed the wine and thought “relaxation”!!!
    I just wanted to say hi! I just found your blog through a friend who follows you. I read several random older posts and am excited to read regularly! You are meeting a need, I think, posting about simplification and great home management!

  47. love the simple moments. Today that was discovering that my strawberries had turned red!
    Kait Palmer´s last post…Humorous in Hindsight + Week 38

  48. I feel like a meanie cat loser! All I noticed was tupperware because I thought you were going to talk about it’s use by the picture. That must say something about me. I am big on always using pretty things even in the everyday simples.

    • You’re not a meanie cat loser! Embrace the fact that you love beauty; enjoy it! Like you, I think beauty even in the simple things is important, and can be very refreshing to the heart and spirit. We all value different things. Beauty is good for us; if it wasn’t, God wouldn’t have spent the time surrounding us with trees, grass, flowers, mountains, sunsets and all the things we think are beautiful.
      Tanya´s last post…A full pantry is a cook’s best friend

  49. I love this! I always think about my guests when I serve things too. Will they really care? The answering is always…nope!

    Jenna´s last post…Childhood Fears

  50. Jennifer says:

    I didn’t notice the containers at all. Not perfect can be incredibly pleasing. Thank you for this post! Very refreshing!

  51. Actually it was the first thing I noticed. Before I took a closer look and saw the wine bottle, I thought it might be a kid’s learning about foods project. Not that it mattered at all. My second impression was that it looked really yummy. :)

  52. Cristal says:

    The first thing my eye was drawn to was not anything on the table but the light from the window behind it. Hmmm, maybe I need a day spent outdoors? Excellent post though. Had I noticed anything on the table I would have likely overlooked the plastics.

  53. Have to admit, the second thing I noticed was the plastic containers. The first thought I had was that this looked like a bed tray at a hospital. Sorry, just not pretty to me, I’m afraid.

  54. Elizabeth Sue says:

    I saw an elegant and lovely dinner! Thanks for the inspriation!

  55. Hello from Australia !

    I just bought your blogging ebook and I love it. I am reading it through my lunch hour and am learning a lot. I encourage everyone to buy it if they have a blog. Thanks for everything :)
    Tasmanian Minimalist´s last post…Porridge Is A Big Hit !

  56. I’m in the camp that noticed the plastic containers first. Probably because I have been trying to remove plastic food storage from our house! I agree that the Pyrex bowls with lids are a great substitute.

  57. Wow, thanks for this post. I totally get caught up in the details, so DON’T do something (like have company over) b/c I’m worried about all the little things, (like the dishes)! Maybe I’ll do it this weekend!

  58. It’s not about the containers, it’s about the content! and tghe joy you get out of it :)

  59. Wow! What a lesson! I think my mind put all of that luscious fruit into crystal bowls because I totally missed the Tupperware part until you pointed it out. Love this lesson!
    Bonita´s last post…299 and Counting

  60. I didn’t notice at all! All I wanted to do was dig in!
    South County Girl´s last post…Weekly Updates (Spending/Groceries, Job updates, & Money Goals)