Sunday, May 22, 2011

Less is More, or lessons learned from Cold Stone Creamery

Last night, as my head was spinning around in circles and more circles, I finally got up and decided to get ready for bed. It was then that I had this insight that I want to share with all of you.

I have been planning a trip to Vermont to the Strolling of the Heifers Festival in Brattleboro, with my friend Rob. When he told me last Thursday that he was interested in traveling somewhere this summer, my brain went onto 150 mph and wouldnt stop for 2 days, researching, imagining and planning all the amazing things we could do.

As a result, I got quite overwhelmed, quite quickly - although I didn't realize it at the time.

I went onto a website for New England festivals, which is where I found this one.
Then I went into a frenzy of planning, not only for this festival but for all of the other many festivals that will be happening in Maine this summer, that my friends and I have already made plans to go to.

There are few things that I love more than festivals, so that is not the problem. But I think it is like when I was a kid and my family would go to amusement parks. I would always unexplainably start crying in the car on the way there. I realize now it is because there was SO MUCH to do and think about, and I wanted to do it all, that I got overexcited.

Now I am trying to remind myself that it is much better to pick 1 or 2 things you want to do and do them well, instead of having your hands in every pie possible.

This reminds me of an analogy, though.

When Cold Stone Creamery was open in Portland, I went very frequently and loved it.
The first several times, I got every topping I possibly could on my ice cream. Why not? They were there. Waffle cones dipped in chocolate? Check. Sprinkles, M&Ms? Check. Hot sauce? Check. And I'm sure the first time I enjoyed it , that I won't deny, but you have to admit you lose a little something in all that hoopla on top... like the ice cream. You can't really taste it with all that stuff on top. And they have REALLY good ice cream. Some of the best I've ever tasted.

Wondering why I wasn't satisfied with my ice cream the next time I ordered it, I decided to try something drastic. I got plain ice cream (Birthday Cake, in fact) with not a single thing on top of it. And you know what? It was wonderful. The flavor and nuances really came out in that ice cream. And I realized, to my utter surprise and shock, that it tasted better than with all the toppings. I realized just because they were there, didn't mean I had to have them all to enjoy the experience.

So from then on, when I went, I would get just a kid's size of my favorite ice cream. On Tuesdays, when it was buy 1 get 1 free, I'd get 2 and put chocolate sauce on 1 to have the full experience and a choice, but other than that, I opted for simple.

Just like Cold Stone, just because Vermont and western Massachussets is *there* doesn't mean I have to explore every inch of it to be happy. This applies to the Maine festivals as well, although I certainly still want to do a good share of them. But I don't *have* to.
I calmed down considerably when I realized this. Moderation is the key in any pursuit.

And now, bring on the strolling of the heifers (June 3-5)! Moo!


  1. Simplicity can be a good thing. Enjoy your festivals this summer! I want a relaxing family vacation so much! There's just nothing very relaxing about my family.

  2. I found myself nodding through your whole post. I get the same way, where I get overwhelmed and try to fit everything in all at once or get everything "just right." When I can talk myself down from the ledge like you did, I always feel much calmer, and the experience (whether it's a trip or a meal) is always the better for it.