The Simply Luxurious Life®: December 2009  

December 31, 2009

A Comfort . . . After the Fact

One of the comforts that I made sure to fit into my day was to work out. At first mention, working out may not sound like a comfort, but for anyone who exercises even on a minimally regular basis, you know what I'm talking about.

The toughest part is getting motivated, getting your running shoes on, putting on your sports bra and saying, "Well, I'm dressed, I might as well get on with it." And as sophomoric as it sounds, even though I, myself, am an avid fitness-nut, it still takes motivation. However, once the walk/run/climb/bike ride is in full swing, I am glad I forced myself to get my tush moving because I know the best part is yet to come. The highlight is when you're done, and you know for the rest of the day that you have worked out, burned unnecessary calories, helped your heart, toned your muscles, helped your metabolism, and are lifting that oh so fabulous butt. Working out is definitely a comfort that does not come with a side of guilt, and most certainly aids in boosting one's confidence.

What are some guilt-free comforts that you enjoy?

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Be Inspired!

As the clock ticks off the last few minutes of 2009, many of us, including myself, are probably trying to make sure 2010 is even better than its predecessor. 2009 was a great year in many ways, but very frustrating in others. In retrospect, maybe every year is like that, it all just depends on where you are perched at the end of it.

I have decided to ring in the New Year with a few simple comforts while I put in pen my resolutions. One comfort I wanted to wake up to in the morning was knowing my Christmas tree was already taken down, the ornaments stored away for another eleven months. This is the first year I have taken it down so early, but I decided to be a little superstitious, since it is said that by having one's tree up when the New Year arrives, you are bringing the past year into the new year which is said to bring bad luck. So here it goes! Keeping my fingers crossed that I'm ushering in all the good luck the universe can handle to throw my direction.

As I was taking the tree down, a Golden Girls marathon was playing in the background, and I caught a quote that I thought went very well with a resolution I had been pondering. As Miles is dancing with Rose, he whispers in her ear, "Life's like a ballroom. If you hear something you like, don't analyze it, just dance to it." A perfect metaphor (even though Rose didn't know what a metaphor was, of course) for someone (me) who gets in my own way too many times.

Resolution #1 - Get out of my own way!

#2 - Eat more vegetables (and since this is one of my resolutions for 2010, I'm going to make Ina Garten's Brownie Pudding - after all, it will still be 2009 when I eat it, right?)

I think the one thing I need to make sure I do every year, as I'm wishing away - hoping I achieve more, more, more, is to reflect on all the blessings in my life - those moments, memories, and times where I felt loved, cozy and comfortable, and to make sure I am joyful in the reflection.

Happy New Year! May yours be full of many, many wonderful memories!

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December 30, 2009

Worth the Wait

Nancy Meyers did it again! With beautifully decorated set designs in each scene, my goodness even the garden was lush and green - the cabbages looked like cabbage patch kids were going to pop right out of them - everything every gardener envisions when they start planting in the spring was a feast for the eyes as I watched It's Complicated starring Meryl Streep. Seeing it all just makes you believe that you too can attain perfection! Well, maybe not perfect perfection, but at least a perfect attempt (is there even such a thing?).

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December 29, 2009

Casual Attire Required

After getting dressed up for the handful of holiday gatherings, parties, and events during this busy month, I revel in those times where I can kick off my heels, take off my jewelery, put my hair up in a loose ponytail, and change into something oh so casual and comfortable, yet feminine at the same time.

Some of my favorite clothes to relax in that do just the trick by being both cozy and figure flattering (just in case someone stops by unexpectedly) are C&C California's extra long sleeve crewneck t-shirts and American Apparel's summer shirt crewneck and unisex V-neck T-shirts. Both of these brands are very comfortable, flattering, wash-well (interpretation - they don't shrink, and they maintain their color) as well as being inexpensive so that the budget doesn't feel it all that much when you buy multiples. Top it off with a boyfriend cardigan, and finish it off with the bottoms of a set of pajamas and all that's left to do is bring on a big sigh because the "me" time is about to begin.

American Apparel C&C

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December 28, 2009

An Easy Monday


*my dogs all snuggled up
*freshly fallen snow
*a clean house
*Sunday New York Times - (one thing I refuse to be cut off from due to where I live is the New York Times. Unfortunately, it is not delivered in my area, so I have to have it mailed to me, which actually isn't so bad. I only receive it a day later. Yes, I know this isn't perfect, and I can just as easily read it on-line, but there is something about holding a paper in your hands, flipping through the Style section, Book Review and The New York Times Magazine without having to be plugged in anywhere. A bit indulgent, but a necessity that I can afford, so I do.)
*a crackling fire
*reruns of Frasier
*a new book from the library that is a simple read, Feminista, and I can easily pick up no matter where I last put it down
*free time

Hopefully you too are able to find time after bustling around during the holidays to kick back and take the last few days of not only the year, but the decade in leisurely. Enjoy!

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December 27, 2009

Wine Tasting Party

Tonight a group of friends and myself continued a tradition we began last year. Barrel tasting in the Walla Walla wine country takes place during the first weekend in December. At this time, we round up a carload full and head out to taste what Walla Walla has to offer. Some of us walk away with a cellar full of new additions to our wine racks, while others simply taste all day and enjoy the experience,.

Either way, it began last year that the participants who attended the barrel tasting would have a wine tasting party toward the end of December after our families had gone home after the holidays and our lives were somewhat back to normal to taste the array of wines that everyone had collected. This year we tweaked the recipe just a bit and decided to do a blind tasting. (Emily, brilliant idea!!!!) Score cards were laid out on the table, along with appetizers ranging from pears and apples to deviled eggs, meatballs and bruschetta with mozzarella, basil and roma tomatoes, as well as the ever perfect pairing of cheeses.

It was quite the educational night, and I was quickly humbled by my most undiscerning palette when it came to the many varietals of reds brought to the table. We quickly decided that in order to improve our success rate we must do this on a regular basis, so we decided to have our next blind tasting in two months time, but the next gathering would focus on one varietal at time to give our taste buds a change to catch up.

A perfectly enjoyable evening that allowed you to walk away learning about one or more wines that you didn’t know you enjoyed. With the six bottles tasted, the top two on everyone’s score sheets were Gifford Hirlinger’s Stateline Red 2005 which was a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and Basel Cellars’ 2007 Carmenere.

And now I am going to drift off into a peaceful wine induced sleep. Cheers!

Gifford Hirlinger Winery

Basel Cellars Estate Winery


December 26, 2009

The After Christmas Calm

In my effort to channel all things French this morning, I spritzed a bit of Chanel No. 5 on, watched Barefoot Contessa while she walked through Paris talking of flower arrangements, fromage, omelets and profiteroles, all the while walking away the holiday calories on the treadmill. I then cleaned up and headed out shopping listening to Madeline Peyroux's Careless Love album, hoping to find some diamonds in the rough in the small, yet quaint town of Joseph, Oregon.

The day after Christmas finds shops with sale signs hanging in every window it seems, and it was no different in this small town. Whenever I am visiting my family for the holidays, I always frequent a locally owned boutique, BeeCrowBee , that specializes in making sumptuous smelling soaps, candles, lotions, bath scrubs and oils, as well as herbal teas. The clean, spa-like aesthetic is a rare treat compared to cluttered shops that display so many items your eyes are bombarded and aren't sure where to look. Today, as I was browsing, the owner, Will Roundy, was working away on a huge block of soap, slicing it into sellable sizes. There is just something about watching somebody at work on their craft.
Over the years I have purchased scrubs, washcloths and towels (made out of bamboo and oh, so soft, even more so after each washing), and I regularly sip his teas in the evening after a long day at work. My favorite blend is the lavender scented black tea - calming and aromatic, all rolled up in one. Today, I left with a bottle of lavender bath oil, giving myself just another reason to pamper myself a bit more.
Au revoir!

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