The Simply Luxurious Life®: June 2010  

June 30, 2010

Why Not . . . Discover Your Purpose? Part Deux

Have you made a list of your passions? Have you discovered what makes your watch stop and your mind race? 

Last week we began the series of discovering your purpose with help in nailing down exactly what you are passionate about.  If you missed last week’s post, click here to get caught up.  Once you have figured out, without a doubt, what you are passionate about, the next step is to figure out how to begin your journey to make your dream of spending your working hours immersed in doing what you love.  Be forewarned, it will take time.  It doesn’t just happen over night, but something absolutely beyond your imagination is waiting if you are willing to work every day until it comes into fruition.  Let’s get started!


Do Something Now

Rome was not built in a day, and neither will your dream manifest in such a limited amount of time. However, it will never become a reality unless you stop contemplating and start executing your plan.  Go!  Write that first sentence, contact the bank about a loan, start the process whatever it may be.

Every Day

If this truly is a passion for you, you won’t be able to stop thinking about it even when you’re not involved in it.  You may become exhausted during your day working toward your goal, but your mind will never shut off about what you could do tomorrow, the next day and on and on.  While it is okay to get excited, make sure you are doing something, no matter how miniscule, every day to further your progress.  Just thinking about it won’t plop you down at your destination. Even if while you’re on vacation, write your thoughts in a journal so that you can come back to them later, do something every day that benefits the cause.  These little things add up like a puddle that becomes a pond.  Eventually you will see growth, but for now, keep your nose to the grindstone and take it one day at a time.


Eliminate Excuses

You’re tired?  You have plans?  You can’t possibly believe the ginormous dream you thought you could accomplish will ever become a reality, so why bother?  Stop making excuses.  A person’s own mind is often the biggest obstacle they have to conquer in order to be successful.  So ask yourself, are you getting in your own way?  And if the answer is yes, ask yourself this – is this something you really want?  If you are passionate, if that fire will not be allowed to be extinguished no matter where you move or what circumstances you’re involved in, you’ll be able to get out of your own way.  Trust me.


Ask Questions

You won’t know how to conquer your dream with regards to all the detail when you begin your journey.  You will need help along the way, therefore, you must ask for it. It is very telling of someone when they can’t muster the courage to ask an expert a question about the dream they wish to achieve.  Looking back on my past as to why I didn’t take the time to ask certain people questions, I realized (at least for me), that I was afraid they would see through me and know it really wasn’t a passion, it was simply a want, a trophy I wanted to say I had accomplished. 

With this in mind, if you want something because it is your calling, your purpose, the sincerity will be there without having to create it.  Have you ever wondered why some teachers during their first few years of teaching get eaten alive while others soar?  The children can see through the surface – they know whose heart’s in it.  With that said, put your heart into to it and start asking questions!


Find  A Mantra

Consider your mantra your fuel.  There will be days that you doubt yourself.  Days where you question your ability.  Rest assured, you’re not doubting your passion, absolutely not, but sometimes a long journey without any reassurance can give a blow to your self-confidence.  In these times, you need a boost, and one way to add your own boost is to have framed on your wall or written by your computer or something where you can’t miss it, a mantra that you believe in that will lift your spirits.  My mantra has always been Henry David Thoreau’s “If one advances confidently in the direction of [her] dreams, and endeavors to live the life [she] has imagined, [she] will meet with success unexpected in common hours.”  It gets me revved up again every time I need it. 

Now get started, take that next step and continue doing something, big or small, every day.  The next and final step  by discusses more defense mechanisms when it comes to dealing with obstacles that may land in your path to your dream.  Click here to read part three and finish the series. I hope you’ll return. 

Images: (1) Flickr (2) Becoming ONE (3) Source (4) Tumblr (5) Tumblr


June 29, 2010

A Luxurious Hotel - The Palace

One of the grandest memories I have involving dining has yet to be surpassed by anything I have done since.  About nine years ago during my first year with a real job, my mentor  agreed to meet me in San Francisco since it was the midway point between our respective hometowns. She, having just retired from the career in the field I was only just embarking on, opened my eyes to some of the most gorgeous eating establishments in the city. 

The Palace. Sunday Brunch at The Palace.

The Palace Hotel is located in San Francisco in the heart of the city – three blocks from Union Square and on the corner of Market Street (Montgomery Street). 

The Sunday Jazz Brunch takes place in the Garden Court Restaurant above.  Throughout the entire experience, my eyes were overwhelmed and in awe of the beauty above. 

After the April 18, 1906, earthquake followed by fire, the hotel was decimated, but it re-opened its doors in 1909 and has since celebrated it's 100th anniversary in 2009.  It has welcomed more than a handful of US Presidents and many celebrities, and continues to be the Grand Dame of San Francisco.  Above is a photo of the Grand Re-Opening Honoring The Palace Hotel in 1909.  As you can see the chandeliers continue to remain in the Garden Court.

Back to the brunch!

While I was hungry, I should have been famished because the feast I was about to be presented with would exhaust my eyes just from staring at its opulence.  The cost is $68 which seems at first exorbitant, but take a look at the menu. Sweet and savory bites abound. You have your traditional brunch fare – eggs and omelets prepared to your liking, crepes, pastries, as well as sushi, cakes, pies, dim sum, Chinese delicacies, organically grown California menu items and much of it involving local produce. Oh, and don’t forget the pasta.  All three of your meals for the day could easily be consumed during this one sitting.  So a $68 price tag isn’t looking too steep after all, is it? 

With a mimosa or two to wash all of the goodness down, we finally left, but not without going back for seconds.  It truly was an experience I will never forget and will always remain as one of the highest of highlights of my trips to the city by the bay.

If ever you have the opportunity to experience a brunch that I believe will exceed all of your expectations, I encourage you to go.  I know I’m sure glad I did. (Thank you Marthe, for sharing this gem with me.)

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Farmhouse Chic


The kitchen truly has so much potential for becoming the heart of the home.  It is where magical creations begin, experiments grow legs and conversations tend to naturally take on a life of their own while one goes about their business preparing food. Comfort is found here, and comfort is produced here as well. 

Before I remodeled my bathroom, I almost decided to take on the kitchen instead, however, it is still waiting a much needed gut as my bathroom won the battle.  I gravitate toward a French country style that is cozy, yet designed for a cook, so a must in my kitchen would most definitely be a farmhouse sink.  As you can see above, Mark Badgley and James Mischka’s kitchen incorporates two farmhouse sinks which look absolutely lovely in this light filled room.  Now I don’t know if I would need two, but having one would be a treat in and of itself, and a second would just be the cherry on top.  Have a look at an assembly of farmhouse sinks and how they have been entwined into different design styles.

Out of curiosity, what would your dream kitchen include?  I would love to hear.


Images: (1) Decor Pad (2) Decor Pad (3) Auction Girl Vintage (4) Decor Pad (5) Decor Pad (6) House Beautiful (7) Source (8) Rare & Beautiful Treasures (9) Decor Pad (10) Source (11) Source (12) Source (13) Decor Pad (14) Elle Decor (15) Elle Decor

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June 28, 2010

Stylish Fall Wares

W Magazine takes its readers through a flamboyant display of feathers, wool, cashmere, chiffon, silk and fur as an introduction to the 2010 fall fashions.  Photographed by Craig McDean and styled by Alex White, below are a few of my favorite ensembles.


Calvin Klein



Michael Kors & Salvatore Ferragamo (foreground)



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Set Your Sights

“When one door closes
another door opens;
but we so often look so long
and so regretfully upon the
closed door,
that we do not see the ones
which open for us.”

-Alexander Graham Bell

During the past few weeks, I have encounter a handful of instances in which I was reminded that the past cannot be what someone continually plays in the forefront of their mind if they want to move forward to a life even better than they had originally planned.
So why do people gaze so longingly at their past?  While most accept that life is perpetually changing, and nothing can be held as routine for eternity, there is comfort to be found in what we know,or have known, even if wasn’t all roses and fairy dust.  In knowing, you know how to behave, interact, respond and in the end, you can go to bed at night comforted in that knowledge without worry to keep you awake.
I recently finished reading Liz Tuccillo’s novel How to be Single and it concludes with a message anyone can heed in their own life regardless of their marital status. Often, the life someone has planned and expected for themselves takes a detour, begins to follow a course that wasn’t expected, but instead of trying to conquer the new course, a person will fight it like a child who has been transferred to a new school.  Instead of picking up their head and realizing all of the new opportunities that are in front of them, they stubbornly waste all of their energy cursing the fact that they were forced to leave the school they had become accustomed to.
Shedding the desire of the life you thought you wanted, in essence letting go of a dream that will never be, isn’t easy.  It’s not like unbelting a robe that simply falls to the floor, but instead like trying to wriggle out of a dress that fit you like a glove.  It takes work and conscious, careful effort.
Changing course while in the middle of adulthood, or at any point where you’ve spent time, emotions and energy pursuing a goal, only to realize you cannot travel it anymore and must choose a different path, is daunting even frightening at times. Sometimes the decision to pursue a different life is made for you, and sometimes it is a decision you have made for yourself in order to realize an even better dream.
For example:  You thought “Joe” was the one you were going to spend the rest of your life with, but when it came down to it, your dreams were at completely different ends of the spectrum, or, the career you began to study for in college is not the one that your heart is engaged it. However, to be the adult, you must recognize that if you have to go against your own principles to make your dream happen, it is not a dream that you should continue to pursue. And is it really a dream if you would dread each day you were living it?
Changing the game plan feels at times as though you are starting from scratch again, but if you take into consideration all of the experience you have gained, all of the people you have met and education you have absorbed, you actually are further ahead of someone who is just starting out toward the end goal you now have defined as your intended target.  Take advantage of the lost dream and use it as proof that you are that much closer to finding the path you were intended to travel.  Instead of defeat, see it as an evolution of yourself, growth if you will.   As Oprah puts it,“The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be.”
Now turn back around. Stop looking behind you, and instead start striding forward. The future is waiting. After all, Christopher Columbus said it best, “You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”


June 27, 2010

Rules of Style – Cameron Diaz

After having Rachel Zoe as her stylist, Cameron Diaz has learned a thing or two about creating her own style as well.  With the help of Instyle and Miss Zoe, Cameron shares her secrets and I share a few of my own as well.

Regardless of the Label, Make Sure it Fits Your Body

Cameron was at the top of everyone’s hit list with this Chanel custom gown worn at the 2009 Golden Globes.  If you watched the first season of The Rachel Zoe Project, you might remember they chopped off the sleeve and specifically made it a design that would flatter Diaz’s lanky frame.

Case in point, even if the gown is made by one of the most respected design houses in the world, if it doesn’t fit your body, you won’t knock it out of the park.  Tailoring, tailoring, tailoring.

Another example of wearing what flatters what your mother gave you is this pale pink strapless bustier Dior dress designed by John Galliano that she wore to the 2008 Oscars. 

Leave Them Guessing

At the 2007 Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Gala, Cameron paired turquoise jewelry with a magenta Christian Dior strapless gown which at first might have you shaking your head, but due to the simplicity and the accessory’s ability to allow the dress’s hue to pop, they complemented each other wonderfully.  The lesson? Don’t always play by “the rules”.

Consider the Event


Cameron would much rather be wearing jeans, as we can see from the countless photos on the web, but when an occasion calls for a touch of femininity or formality, she always delivers. A perfect example was in June of 2009 when she received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

A few other others I would add to the list that Cameron seems to follow without fail:

Wear the Necessary Undergarments

With her beautiful svelte figure, the ability for her to wear just about any fashion under the sun, also requires some creative undergarments to be worn in order for the dresses to work their magic. Whether it is a strapless cocktail dress, a one shoulder design, a white or slimming gown, the proper undergarments make every bit of difference.

Less is More

When it comes to accessories, less truly is more.  Choose either earrings or a necklace, but typically not both, especially if they are statement pieces by themselves.  With her classic, girl-next-door-quality, Cameron looks much more comfortable when her smile and one flashy item is her accessory of choice for the night. 

Always Don the Two Best Accessories

While shopping for the perfect accessories for each stunning outfit can take some time, the best accessories for any outfit whether it be casual or formal are clear, radiant skin and appropriately styled hair. Whether she is wearing it short, long, brunette or blonde, Diaz shines due to her stylist and make-up artist’s fabulous job.


Consider the Trend, But Always Choose Your Style

After looking around the web for quite some time, it became clear that for traveling and general “running around town” Cameron is all about the skinny jeans, oversized tote, scarf and eye-catching flats.  And the key to this recipe is that she looks fabulous in each combination.  It is clear she knows her body, thus she knows her style. So while baby-doll tops may be all the rage for a particular season, if it doesn’t flatter your beauty, leave it on the rack. 

So what do you think?  Are there any style rules you would add to the list?  I would love to hear. 


Images: (2) (4) NY Daily News (5) Marie Claire (6) Source (7) Source (8) Hip Girlie

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Cups of Tea 6/20 – 6/26


Yesterday morning, while spending some time with my mom, we began the day by having tea outside in her gorgeous yard and simply soaking up that perfect moment that begins each day. In a way, we had our own little tea party you could say.  Yes, I know for many of us the temperatures are reaching into the sweltering nineties, and who wants to drink a hot beverage in such conditions, but at during such a youthful state of the day, the air had just a touch of a crisp chill to it and the warmth of the tea created the perfect balance. To be sure, a moment I will savor. Oh, and of course we had three dogs rousting around in the yard, enjoying themselves to pieces.  Ah . . . the treasures of summer.

Moving on to some more great moments regarding tea. This week’s Cups of Tea include a bounty of dreamy images from Europe, the perfect way to jazz up your next BBQ, tips on how to stay fit, but keep it simple (gotta love that!) and one of my favorite analogies when it comes to remembering everything we do does matter. Have a look.


1. A  Respite in Provence

Dawn, of the blog The Alternative Wife, has been a pleasure to get to know, and her blog is extension of her warmth and sincerity.  Quickly becoming one of my daily reads for many reasons, this particular post grabbed my attention as I was already in awe over Vogue’s cover shoot with Marion Cotillard in Provence.  With these images Dawn has brought even more of the beauty that resides in Provence, France, to her readers.  Thank you and enjoy all of the photos by clicking on the image below or the header above.  


2. Be Italian!

The beauties of Europe were abundant this week on the blogosphere, and one of the posts that grabbed my eye was shared by Heather Clawson of Habitually Chic.  The book Italian Touch displays arrays of beautiful photographs of Italians and their homes, and reminds me immediately why I want to “Be Italian!” 


3. Burger and Summer

Two things that just seem to go together are summertime and hamburgers on the grill.  As soon as Lauren of Healthy Delicious’s recipe and image of the Greek inspired burger with feta and tzatziki was opened in my inbox, I knew I had to include it on this week’s Cups of Tea.  Doesn’t it just look scrumptious? Click on the image or the header to grab the recipe.


4. Simplicity and Fitness

Sometimes the daunting undertaking of getting back into shape is so hard to fathom, we are deterred before we even begin, but with Leo Babauta of Zen Habits’ post, he brings it back to the basics.  While most of these suggestions are things we’ve heard before, this knowledge somehow seems to slip through our fingers when we try to make fitness more difficult than it has to be.  Click on the image or the header to read his entire inspiring post to help us all get (and stay) in shape.


5. No Man is Insignificant

If any of you work or spend time in the field of education, you most likely have heard this story about the one starfish.  If you haven’t, I think you may like it. CJ, author A Penny for My Thoughts, shared it with her readers as a way of thanking one of her children’s teachers who was moving on to another position.  Click on the image or the header to read this short, but inspiring story to remind us that our actions, while we may only be one person, have a tremendous effect.


Enjoy your Sunday!

Images: (1) We Heart It (5) Source