The Simply Luxurious Life®  

November 1, 2013

November Begins . . .



 ~click here for the pumpkin ice cream and gingersnap bowl recipe~

A busy weekend ahead as November begins. First, over the weekend the blog will be receiving a remodel. Come early next week, a new look that while keeping all of the elements you've come to love (archives, simple aesthetic) will also be easier to navigate. If for some reason on Saturday or Sunday, you encounter hiccups, rest-assured, I'm ironing them out as I can't wait to show you what's new.

And of course the weekend can't be all work, so with Walla Walla's autumn release weekend, wine tasting in search of the perfect pairing for holiday dinners will be on the schedule. Follow on Instagram to see what I discover. And have a look at last year's excursion and ideas on how to plan your own day of wine tasting. 

In case your week has been busy, here's a chance to get caught up on the past week here on TSLL:

~This & That: No. 82 . . . the cookbook I've fallen in love with, jazz music to enjoy and more 

~Splurge & Save Outfit: No. 31 . . . fall calls for boots, sweaters and chic style

~Style Inspiration: Fall Classics . . . keeping it simple, but always chic

~Why Not . . .Fix a Bad Day? 10 simple remedies to end the day better than it began

~How to Reach Your Full Potential . . . Monday's inspiration

~And this week's newsletter - issue #171 - click here to read. 

Have a wonderful first weekend of November, and I'll see you on Monday! Bonjour. 

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October 31, 2013

Splurge & Save: No. 31



One of my favorite fall styling options is to wear dark denim skinny jeans tucked into knee-high boots. Whether with a wedge, heel or flats, they epitomize chic fall style and don't require a pedicure. Wear with an oversize sweater or shirt and a blazer for a day look that won't disappoint. 


~Frye Regina wedge boot~

 ~J.Brand 620 power stretch mid-rise skinny jeans~

~Theory Innis sweater~

~Stella McCartney striped cotton bucket bag~

~Michael Kors watch~


~Franco Sarto Osteria boot~

~Jolt skinny jeans~

~Halogen V-neck cashmere sweater (multiple colors)~

~Kate Spade 'opening night' station collar necklace~

~Aldo material shopper bag~


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Style Inspiration: Fall Classics

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Dependable as they are stylish, the nautical stripe, the khaki trench or a well constructed blazer all offer certainty that one's style is in tact and all that remains is a confident woman to wear them. Look for unique cuts or styles of each of these classics to mix up the classic essential especially if you are wanting a change this season. So long as the classic element is the foundational piece, you will be just fine.

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October 30, 2013

Why Not . . . Fix a Bad Day?


There are days when even when you walk out the door with a spring in your step, you still can't seem to catch a break. Perhaps incessant demands, unexpected delays, last minute changes or any number of events beyond your control occur that render you dumbfounded as to how the day shifted from where you intended it to go. As much as we'd like to make every day blissful, stressless and obstacle-free, there are days when we have absolutely no control over the events that will occur.

While it would be ideal if we could press the restart button or take a time out to catch our breath, sometimes these options aren't made available when we desperately need them. So in order to combat a day that is quickly going badly and you feel as though you might be losing all control, I'd like to share a few remedies to help you end it in the manner in which you began it - with a spring in your step, a hopeful smile on your face and a reassured state of mind.

And since the most powerful remedy for my "ugly" days are my dogs, I thought I'd let these images of dogs working their magic while you make your way through the post.

1. Control What You Can

We always have control over what we say and what we do. It is during such stressful times that it demands more self-control to not rip into someone who most likely is not to blame simply to relief our frustrations, but then we only take our day from bad to worse. When you feel out of control, remind yourself that the day will end, you will find your the pillow to finally sleep upon, and aim for the goal of applauding yourself for watching your tongue and your temper. You'll sleep far better knowing you did.

2. Find Time to Power Down


When you get home, shut off your devices, turn off the television, and just breathe. No noise, no demands, just separation from the day that is thankfully winding down. Click here to read more about the benefits of unplugging.

3. Time with Loved Ones


For me, when I cross the threshold into my home and hear the quick pitter patter of my dogs' feet, it is their smiling, wiggly happiness in seeing me that lifts my mood instantly. Whether it is your dogs, your children, your spouse or your closest friend, try to spend some time with them or at least hear their voice on the phone. Being able to let your hair down, vent if necessary and just be in the company of those who love you provides an amazing burst of joy. 

4. A Good Night's Sleep


A good night's sleep is the remedy for so many things - beauty, health, creative process - and it can also be wonderful therapy after a tough day. Often we need more sleep on such days than we might have thought because our minds are doubly strained and exhausted. Respect what your body needs and be sure to grab some restorative shut-eye.

5. Write it Out

Sometimes the safest and best therapy is to pick up your journal or computer and just write. Simply putting your frustrations on paper can act as a release to organize why you became so frazzled and uptight. Sometimes we don't realize in the moment what has set us off, and when we take the time to assess after the events have taken place, we give ourselves an opportunity to learn and handle similar situations differently.

6. Exercise

Involve yourself in some form of exercise. For example, when I step into a yoga class and have to hold a pose, there is nothing else on my mind except for my muscles screaming at me for not keeping them in better shape. And when I finish, I feel a sense of accomplishment which may not have been achieved during a bad day.

7. Don't Drown or OverIndulge your Stressors

Keep your eating and drinking in check on days when your patience and nerves are frazzled. In fact, don't put yourself in a situation where your willpower will be tested. Instead, make yourself a simple, yet comforting meal (or purchase take-out at your favorite eatery), come home and fuel your body with something that will leave you feeling good about at least one thing you had control over during the day - your diet and health. 

8. Take a Bath

Surround yourself with warmth - literally. Soak in a hot bath and close your eyes. Necessary me-time is not a luxury; it is mandatory.

9. Refrain from Making Significant Decisions


Do yourself a favor and put any big decisions on hold when you run up against a day that just isn't working in your favor. Tomorrow you will be glad you heeded this advice as you will have averted another day of frustration caused by rash decision making. Often instead of making the right decision, we simply make a decision to get it done, but really the only thing we're doing is making more work for ourselves down the road. 

10. Slow Down and Have a Cup of Tea


Insert the hot drink of your choice - hot chocolate, coffee or tea - whichever you prefer. The main thing that I find when I heat up the water to have a cup of my favorite tea is that it slows me down. I have to find time to enjoy it, press pause for a moment and enjoy the warmth. This may also be a wonderful time to close your eyes and have a mini-meditation session to clear your mind.

While there are many things we can do to control the outcomes of our days, sometimes it's just out of our hands. On these days remember these 10 tips for making it through without having regrets when it finally ends and hopefully feeling a little bit better as you unwind in the evening. 

~JOIN THE CONVERSATION: What remedies have you found to be an elixir to a bad day? Please share below in the comments or on TSLL Facebook page.


~Why Not . . . Journal Regularly?

~Why Not . . . Take a Deep Breath?

~Why Not . . . Get a Good Night's Sleep?

All images available here.

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October 29, 2013

This & That: No. 82


Ideas for holiday gifts or a few treasures for yourself, my new jazz music find and a cookbook I have fallen in love with.

~Blog Post to Read

~Paris in the Fall: Our Favorite Things

While following some of my Paris blogs, I stumbled across Hip Paris' recent list of Fall Favorite things in the City of Light. The images and the concept of having the opportunity to enjoy such a delightful destination without the hustle and bustle of tourists, sounds but a dream. Perhaps someday . . . 

~On the Pursuit of Personal Best

DeeAnne of Live the Charmed Life has returned from a brief hiatus to two thought-provoking and inspiring posts. The one that particularly caught my attention was her discussion on choosing instead to do better than we did the day before rather than compare ourselves destructively to others. Have a look. 


~The French Kitchen Cookbook by Patricia Wells

Oh, my goodness. I have loved perusing through Patricia Wells' recent cookbook (released last Tuesday) and cannot wait to begin trying the many recipes I've dog-eared. The saffron and honey brioche, the long list of soups, creamy sorbets and simple, yet flavorful salads, all are clearly explained along with helpful tips and ideas from the chef herself - how she organizes her kitchen, what she shops for and wine pairings for many of the dishes. An extra treat is her ode to Julia Child who was a dear friend. In fact, she shares a glimpse inside her own kitchen of which contains Julia's La Cornue stove that she reluctantly had to leave behind when we moved back to Massachusetts. One of the best cookbooks I've picked up in a while. 


~Jon Batiste

Over the past weekend, while reading the WSJ my attention was captured by a profile piece on jazz musician Jon Batiste. At the young age of 26 he has a decent list of albums and shares that his aim is to bring music to the masses. His latest album (released earlier this month) contains infusions of classical jazz, funk and pop, all created with the intention of moving the audience and bringing it to them. If you live in New York City, perhaps you've had the opportunity to witness him and his band Stay Human begin performing in the middle of a subway train or along the streets from one restaurant to another. Trained at Julliard, he is worth a listen if you are a lover of jazz, like myself. I especially am enjoying his earlier album Jazz is Now


~Equipment washed-silk polka dot pajamas

Whether you are beginning your holiday shopping list or are looking for a pair of pajamas for yourself, Equipment has introduced a washed silk polka dot short pajama set that you may want to keep your eye on as the sales begin to take place next month and into December.

~Marte Frisnes nametag necklace

Hedvig of The Northern Light blog always shares fantastic style inspiration, so when she introduced jeweler Marte Frisnes nametag necklace, I was intrigued. Perfect for a holiday gift or for yourself, a simple gold strand necklace, similar to one I saw Gwyneth Paltrow wearing at the airport. No confusion as to whose necklace it is if ever it is lost, that's for sure. 

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October 28, 2013

How to Reach Your True Potential

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"You cannot reach your potential unless you learn how to handle challenges along the way." -Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN)

Have you ever taken time to people watch - simply taking in the world that walks past you on a daily basis? Ever wondered how that woman made her way to become a successful entrepreneur while another woman struggles to pay the bills? Or why one family has managed to raise children who are concerned, diligent citizens, while another family struggles to keep their children in school? Ultimately, how our lives play out comes down to the decisions we make - big and small - on a daily basis. The attitude we choose to ascribe to, the foresight and knowledge we bring to a situation, the people we spend time with and seek advice from, all of these components aid or detract in how our lives play out. 

Whether times are going well or are challenging, it is how we handle each of these scenarios which will determine how tomorrow goes. In particular, it is during the challenging times that determine our fate. 

While there may be people who have experienced similar setbacks and challenges, nobody will experience exactly what you have gone through to get where you are. And the only way to conquer the challenges that come your way is to strategize an idea to handle it and then put it into action. 

Challenges are put in front of us not to destroy us, but to show us what we're truly capable of. Frequently on the blog, I have written about the idea of lessons repeating themselves until they are learned. And the good news is when we finally do learn the lesson, the gift that we receive is amazingly sweet and surreal. Often we don't believe we deserve it. Often we dismiss it, but today I want to convince you to pat yourself on the back. You did it! You figured out how to handle the challenge that has been befuddling you up until now! Doesn't it feel amazing?

Whether it's something as simple, yet significant, as learning to balance your budget each month to something as grand as becoming the master of your mind so as to eliminate self-sabotage and establish a positive self-talk in the most frustrating moments, when you handle what used to be a challenge you realize your full potential. And more importantly, you realize you are capable of so much more than you may have realized. 

Look at it this way. If you are or were a lover of mysteries as I was when I was a child, I always loved to try to figure out who the suspect was before the book revealed it to me. Instead of looking at life's challenges as a dead-end, view them instead as mysteries to solved. And yes, you too, just like every book and televised mystery, can solve it. There are no cold cases here. So long as you are determined, you will find a way. It may not be a way in which you had imagined or even knew was fathomable initially, but you will find a way. 

So instead of viewing challenges as roadblocks, view them as opportunities letting you know there is even more amazing life magic available to you than you thought. Now get busy Nancy Drew (Sherlock Holmes, Angela Lansbury, insert sleuth of your liking), you have some mysteries to solve.


~Choose to Learn the Lesson

~12 Ways to Learn the Lesson

~Gradually the Pieces Fall into Place

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October 25, 2013

The Weekend . . .



~click here for this Earl Grey Caramel Chocolate tart recipe~ 

With last weekend taking me to Portland to tend to some must needed updates in my work and personal life and my need to get my home winterized before the first freeze that is supposed to take place next week, I must have forgotten to rest up because by the middle of the week I found myself with a cold that is hanging on for far longer than I would prefer. Needless to say, my body needs to rest, so I will be taking it easy this weekend. Perhaps indulging in a luxurious cup of Colville Street Patisserie's hot chocolate, losing time reading my stack of books and magazines that I can't seem to get caught up on or catching a nap when the urge strikes.  Either way, the weekend will be restful and restorative.

Hopefully, you are healthy and gearing up for a fun and playful weekend. Wherever it may take you, I hope you have a wonderful few days. I can't thank you enough for your time in choosing to stop by the TSLL. Also, I want to thank the readers who stopped by this week on Facebook to share their tips and ideas on the weekly discussion question inspired by this Wednesday's Why Not . . . ? Be sure to take a look here

In case you missed anything on the blog this past week, here is a look back . . . 

~Readers' favorite post of the week . . . Why Not . . . Keep it Simple in the Kitchen?

~Style Inspiration: Blue Fall Days . . . denim, cobalt and pastel blue

~Splurge & Save Outfit: No 30 . . . a trench for fall, and a chic one at a great price . . .

~This & That: No. 81 . . . a play to see if in New York, a chic bar chart for the holidays and more

~The Gift of Starting Over . . . often forgotten, but an amazing opportunity in disguise

And at a look at this week's newsletter - issue #170 - click here to read. 

Until Monday, bonjour!

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October 24, 2013

Style Inspiration: Blue Fall Days

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While navy and denim are wonderful choices no matter what the season, bright cobalt blue and soft pastel blue are also wonderful additions to a fall wardrobe this season. Pair with jeans or skirts, find a coat similar to Karen Millen's above and add a softer touch to a chilly season.

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