The Simply Luxurious Life®: January 2010  

January 31, 2010

Weekly Cups of Tea (1/24-1/31)

Sasha of Everything Fabulous, regularly shares with her readers posts that involve an abundance of lovely fashion, lifestyle, home decor and quite simply exquisite photography. I recently found a quote on her blog that was inspiring, and as I was reading it I found myself nodding my head in agreement. Take a peek and read for yourself.

Sunday morning, hopefully sunshine is streaming through your window and a delicious breakfast is on its way to your bed.  But what to make? Smitten Kitchen posted a recipe for sour cream pancakes that looks like it might just fit the bill. Yumo!

Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project interviewed Hannah Seligson, author of A Little Bit Married and I found myself again, for the second time this week, nodding my head as I read along in agreement.  One comment in particular,
“Happiness is an improvisation.  You figure out what works for you.  It’s a process of tweaking.” 
Click on the heading link above to read the rest of the interview, I think you might just like it.

And speaking of happiness, Gwen of Ragland Hill Social compiled a bundle of reader’s mentions regarding what they felt was needed in order to live a beautiful, happy life. Each statement is paired with a photo (the photo above is one of my favorites) that correlates with its message. Lovely idea and sure to bring a smile and stir your creative juices.  Click here or on the photo to have a look.

Okay, so Everything Fabulous has made the list twice this week, but I couldn’t exclude this simply beautiful, yet functional tote that is soon to be my future tote for work.  Banana Republic kept it simple, classic and large enough to be effective for those of us who are caring papers, lunch, heels (for happy hour of course!) and anything else we will need throughout the day and want to still let our outfit do the talking.

Mary Jo Matsumoto of Trust Your Style, in an effort help relief efforts in Haiti, posted the photo below that I can’t stop gawking at. It reminds me of the Oregon Coast, yet with the fawn bounding along, it evokes a bit of a fairy tale quality. Along with the photo is a lovely list of simple things that make your soul sing. Take a peek, it will make you think.

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January 29, 2010

Weekend Essential

Last year I picked up Rachel Zoe’s book titled Style A to Zoe and one of her suggestions that has stuck with me is that one should have a weekend uniform.  While there may be events out of the ordinary, for the most part our day off events happen almost on a regular basis - whether it be the household chores, catching up from the week that has just passed, or traveling to see someone or something that we  haven’t been able to see during the week, or maybe the weekend is your opportunity to enjoy brunch or coffee with your friends, while maybe sneaking in a bit of shopping.  

Wherever your typical day off plans take you, it’s easiest if you have a uniform that works best so that you can rest assured you look fabulous, yet casual, and you’re comfortable.

For example, Rachel Zoe’s Day Off Essentials:

*A great fitting pair of jeans (preferably in a dark wash)
*A roomy jersey or cashmere constructed top (a better alternative to a T-shirt, yet just as comfy)
*A wrap or shift dress, cotton, or another knit (that can be thrown on as quickly and comfortably as a T-shirt)
*A tote, hobo, or some other roomy bag
*Nude or bare lip gloss (for a finish even without make-up)
*Rosy cheek tint
*An all-season wrap or cardigan (that fits in your tote in case you get chilly)
*A head scarf (in case hair needs to be pulled back or completely hidden)
*Glam-on-the-go footwear (flats, boots, or wedges)

For the most part, this hits the nail on the head for me – I could live in jeans, just throw me  a camisole or American Apparel T-shirt (I know I’ve failed the test by wearing just a T-shirt), flats for comfort without losing style, and maybe some earrings – BAM! – I’m ready for just about anything.

Full Disclosure: I am a HUGE Rachel Zoe fan and would recommend you clicking on over to her daily blog (click here) where each day of the work week you will find an item for your wardrobe, beauty regime, home decor or anything in between that is absolutely outstanding (granted most of the items I will never be able to afford, but it’s fun to dream).And for the budget conscious, she also suggests similar items at much lower prices for each of the items she blogs about.

One of the components of  my weekend uniform that keeps it casual, yet feminine are my flats.  Whether they are ballet, loafers or sandals, flats are perfect for daytime.  Below you will find a handful of ways to incorporate them into your style.  By the way, I’m curious, what wardrobe essentials make up your weekend uniform?  I would love to hear.  Enjoy your Saturday.  Hopefully you are able to engage in whatever makes your heart smile. Cheers!

Tory Burch’s Reva ballet flats are currently my go-to flat.  They are simple, yet have a splash of shine.

Katherine Heigl wearing a pair of Tory Burch’s well known footwear.

Paired with boyfriend jeans perhaps?

Keep a slim silhouette by donning straight leg jeans with a simple ballet flat.

A great look for spring or summer casual – camisole, jeans and a beautiful smile.

Make sure that if the jeans are long that your top remains slim fitting and feminine, or simply be a size 2! Whatever works.

Worn with a blazer, skinny jeans and a simple tank.

Love this look for summer.  My goodness if you have the gams you MUST show them off.  Gorgeous Olivia Palmero!

The pop of color from the accessories work well with capri pants and the simple neutral-toned tops.

Nude flats to elongate the legs and look perfect with a dress.

Or a simple black flat with a dress.

Sandals look wonderful with a dress as well.

Or with a skirt.

Images: (1) Iheartthat (7) courtesy of Daily Mail (8) Hollywood Juices (9) Zimbio (10) team sugar (11) Style Byme (12) amazonablog

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January 28, 2010

Ode to the Daffodil

Now I am well aware that I am no Jonathon Keats, so I will keep to prose to convey my thoughts, but hopefully I can give daffodils their well earned respect with the following collage of photos. This past weekend the sun finally poked its head out for a few hours, and I exuberantly worked out in my yard raking away the left over leaves and debris. To my amazement, underneath some of the long ago fallen foliage I found the beginnings of my daffodils (photo below). 

Now granted they have quite a ways to go, but it began lovely daffodil-filled thoughts, and upon reading Splendid Market’s post on daffodils earlier this week, I knew I wasn’t the only one craving a beautiful splash of color and life. Okay, so here is my laughable attempt at something similar to poetry.
Here is to January gently saying goodbye, ushering us into February.

Here is to the anticipation of spring and all things that can be reaped from its bounty.

Here is to the cycle of the seasons, may we all be thankful that we have the opportunity to experience each one, for that means we are still living.

Here is to hope, may we discover the wonderful moments that await us all.

The Irish countryside Kilkenny, Ireland

The combination of the forsythia and the field full of daffodils would be a breath-taking sight to come upon.

Think outside the box when it comes to a vase for your bouquet.

A beautiful bouquet. Am very curious as to what the other flower is in it.  Does anyone recognize it?

Interestingly enough, the flower for the month of July in New Zealand is the daffodil.  If you click on the above link, you’ll find out what each month’s flower is, as well as something I didn’t know until I came upon their website.  While I knew that daffodils could not co-mingle with other flowers in a vase because of the white sap they produce, I did not know that if you place the daffodils in their own vase for twenty-four hours, after this point you may mix them with other flowers in a beautiful bouquet as long as you are putting them into fresh water.  Who knew?  Probably many of you, but now I do as well.

A rarely seen bouquet of white daffodils – clean and elegant.

Lunch al fresco anyone?

I’ve always dreamt of a wedding in either fall or spring, simply because of the flowers that one could choose from.  Symbolically a wedding in spring would be very poetic and oh so appropriate.

Love in bloom.

Speaking of being non-traditional when it comes to weddings, this dress would definitely make an entrance.  I absolutely adore the originality and color.

Unique vases to celebrate a springtime bouquet.

Splendid Market’s bouquet which she gave as a gift on a friend’s doorstep.  Wouldn’t that be a beautiful surprise to brighten your day?

Why not treat yourself to a bouquet of daffodils at the end of this work week?  I recently noticed that my local grocery store had just received a delivery and am thinking I might just have to make a special trip. I hope you have a relaxing and enjoyable few days off.

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January 27, 2010

A Reflective Respite

As we near the end of January, and this first month of what I am determined to make the best decade yet, I have been humbled.  As I look forward to spring with its plethora of color and life, I have to appreciate January.  

January seems to be a month where I am forced, and in retrospect thankful, to slow down, to clean out my closets because I can’t clean out my flower beds, to readjust  my budget because it’s waning a bit after the holiday festivities, to reflect on what I need and what I can live without because everyone else seems to be taking a breather as well, and to set goals as well as the millions of tiny steps that will help me achieve them because I do want to make this the most satisfying year yet.  

So with January on its final legs, I say thank you like one does to a teacher who has been challenging, yet at the same time effective, but eagerly look forward to what is waiting once the class as been passed.  Bring on February, bring on spring . . . I’m oh so ready for them.

Image courtesy of House Beautiful magazine


“Vintage” Photo Shoot

“You can't be brave if you've only had
wonderful things happen to you.”
-- Mary Tyler Moore 

Isn’t life funny?  As much as we want to believe that it is feasible to avoid heart break and suffering, it is impossible to find true happiness, great success or absolute joy unless we have had the opportunity (in hindsight, it truly it is an opportunity, but at the time, it hardly seems that way) to face struggle, to face challenges.  It is almost as if life is testing us to see how badly we want this “thing”or “feeling” that we say we so badly covet. If we are willing to push through, to persevere, to do what is necessary to come out on the other side, it is only then that we are rewarded because we finally have the capacity to appreciate what we have now achieved.

It may seem a bit of a paradox that I’ve paired the above quote with the Vogue fashion shoot in The Plaza Hotel below.  A once beautiful hotel being completely remodeled perfectly encapsulates the obstacles one must overcome if one is to attain the best version of themselves.   As we can imagine, a refurbishing or remodeling of any edifice requires risk and vision.  A willingness to let go of what once was perceived as beautiful to venture to believe there is something even grander to be achieved by making oneself over. However, without struggle, without having to be brave, the wonderful outcomes that we so badly desire wouldn’t have a chance to come into fruition.

So today pat yourself on the back for being willing to take on challenges, to not sit passively by, but instead to take on life and make it something you are proud of, and if you’re sitting at the crossroads, trying to decide if you should take a risk, keep in mind what you would be risking if you didn’t go forward.  You can do it.  Be brave.

(Vogue September 2005 Sarah Jessica Parker photographed by Annie Leibovitz in The Plaza in New York City which was in the throes of a major renovation.)

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January 25, 2010

A Chandelier Where?

I’ve been meaning to enter HGTV’s Dream Home Giveaway, but as I write this, I haven’t yet gotten around to it.  However, as I was walking away to exactly where I was on my treadmill, I watched the tour of this gorgeous home and one design idea caught my eye.  While we so often see chandeliers above beds, we don’t too often find them used as a replacement for sconces above the night stand. Original and creative idea. Here are a few photos.

However, the old standby is still quite breathtaking.

I’ve recently added a non-electric chandelier above my bed and am glad I took the risk.  What are some new ideas or risks you have tried in decorating your boudoir?

Images:(0) HGTV’s 2010 Dream Home Master Suite (1)Cottage Home Decorating (2) Country Living (3-7) DecorPad (8) Cottage Home Decorating (9) Shelter Pop (10) Courtesy of Dixcot Locations (11)
Chateau De Barres located in France’s Loire Valley (12) Simply Luxurious photo

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