Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.


On the daily drive back from dropping off the children, I tired of the news on NPR and started channel surfing to find some music. The state of the radio is … well, I suppose that’s why we all travel with CDs and iPods. I eventually stumbled onto some blusey jazz being played on the University of Richmond station. Now, I love jazz. But it’s not really morning music for me. Jazz implies the blue hour, at least. Which got me to thinking about morning routines (Roy Scheider in “All That Jazz” always springs to mind when I think of morning routines. “Could be worse!” I think cheerily.)

I’d never, until today, understood people who insist on having built-in DVD players and flat screen televisions concealed beneath bathroom mirrors or suspended under kitchen cabinets and the like.

You see, in an ideal world, I’d have a dressing room instead of just a walk-in closet. Large, well-lit, airy, be-curtained and hung with a chandelier, the room would also have at least a club chair or a bench. It would also feature one of those flat screen TVs and a DVD player. Why? Because my morning routine would involve screening some classic movie moments and proceed into a concert of upbeat music. Mozart? Vivaldi? Scott Joplin? Preservation Hall Jazz Band?

You may ask, “why go to all that trouble?” (Or, “who has the time?” But this is an ideal world, remember?)

I’ve said before that elegance requires constant practice. I’ve also read that the human brain can really only focus on one thought at a time. Why not make it a pleasant thought? And what better practice than to watch those icons of style and grace floating through life? It might set the tone for the rest of the day. Well, morning, at least.

What scenes or musical pieces would you choose to set the tone for your morning?

13 thoughts on “‘Morning…

  1. The Gap commercial from about 7 years ago that was set to the tune of “Tempted” by Squeeze always made me want to dress in my best jeans, with a great pair of sneakers, trendy t-shirt, sling a stylish satchel (not a Gap one) around my shoulder, and walk on a crowded street with a smile of my face. But again, this was 7 years ago.

    “Summer Wind” by Sinatra always makes want to sit in a Parisian cafe and have a cappuccino and a chocolate eclair, while I read the paper.

    I must say, I’ve been reading your blog for about a week now, and I love it! Keep up the good work.


  2. Movie/TV Scenes – The tryout scene from “Rudy”, Highlights from Superbowl XXII – Go Giants, the workout scenes and boxing scenes from Rocky and Rocky II.

    Music – For weekday mornings, I need to blast out of bed with songs like Metallica, “Enter Sandman”, or Def Leopard “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, or even Barbara Streisand singing, “Before the Parade Passes By” from Hello Dolly.

    On the weekends, it’s a totally different story James Taylor and Count Basie. Movies would be “My Favorite Year”, and “Funny Face”.

  3. Classical is a nice choice for the a.m.–calming, beautiful, and uplifting. Frank Sinatra’s rendition of “You Make Me Feel So Young,” will put bounce in anyone’s step. Ben Fold’s University A Cappella selections are impressive–can be found on U Tube. Love jazz for late day and evenings.

  4. I too like a gentle start to the day, so I listen to a classical music radio station, but I think Nina Simone singing ‘Feeling good’ would put me in the mood for adventure. I agree that jazz is for later in the day- we should perhaps consider music for getting dressed to go out in the evening.

  5. Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me,” is perfect (we own all of Frank Sinatra’s recordings, and his Live at The Sands is classic–a real throw back!). We have a local radio station that plays vintage music, including Frank, Dean, Tony Bennett, Steve & Edie, Louis Armstrong, Dionne Warwick singing all of Burt Bacharach’s (sp?) tunes. This station prides itself on living in the past. 🙂 I love it! Our local classical station can be heard live at http://www.kvno.org. Unique in that it is hosted live all day and night and takes requests. Plug the speakers into the laptop and enjoy! One of the treasured items my beloved husband brought to the marriage was an old, beat-up transistor radio held together with duct tape. It was his mother’s. It is in my laundry room and I use it every day. The Bose is in the kitchen.

  6. The entire soundtrack to the movie “Swing Kids” is fantastic music to play when one is getting ready for the night. Lots of Benny Goodman and Count Basie. But the best song on the entire soundtrack is “Bei Mir Bist du Schon” by Billy Blanks. You want to get your legs kickin’ and your arms flailin’, pop in that disk/record and enjoy!

    But yes, any Frank will do to get you ready for the night.

    Another morning songs I love is “Today” by Smashing Pumpkins, very uplifting and optimistic for the day. “Today is the greatest day I’ve every known, can’t wait for tomorrow, tomorrow’s much too long.” How do you not know you’re going to have a good day with that?

  7. Have you ever seen The Family Man with Nicholas Cage?
    The opening scene (starting right AFTER his one-night stand leaves) sounds like what your describing, and has always been my version of the ideal way to start the day.
    Perhaps without me actually trying to sing Rigoletto however.

  8. Let’s see:

    Benny Goodman: In the Mood; String of Pearls; Sing, Sing, Sing; All the Cats Join In;

    Brian Setzer Orchestra: In the Mood (original video is marvellous); Jump, Jive & Wail;

    Jackie Wilson: Higher and Higher

    ZZ Top: Viva Las Vegas

    Bruce Springsteen & Jerry Lee Lewis: Pink Cadillac (just check that great line as the song begins: “C’mon Killer!” (JJL’s nickname))

    Hooters: And We Danced

    Creedance Clearwater Revival: Bad Moon Rising; I Put a Spell on You

    King Harvest: Dancin’ in the Moonlight

    Steve Winwood: Higher Love; Roll with It

    Crosby, Stills Nash & Young: Our House; Southern Cross

    Seals & Croft: Summer Wind (a personal favorite for anyone who loves summer in their house!)

    Grand Funk Railroad: The Loco-Motion

    Joe Cocker: One Night of Sin (whole album); Unchain My Heart; When the Night Comes

    Queen: I Want it All; One Vision (their whole album for the movie Highlander OR Flash Gordon)

    Billy Idol: Mony Mony (could be used to wake the dead — just TRY to stand still! LOL!)

    Elton John: The Bitch is Back; Healing Hands; Your Song

    Nickelback: Saturday Night Alright for Fighting; Sharp Dressed Man (this one refers to very natty and brillant Mr. E — of course!)

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

  9. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8yGGtVKrD8&feature=related

    The brillant video of Cab Calloway and his orchestra — (and featuring the astonishing dancing of the Nicholas Brothers) — playing “Jumpin’ Jive” from the movie “Stormy Weather” (1943) (imagine the tailoring genius for those white-tie-n-tails!)

    Just to get you movin’ in the morning ……. LOL!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

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