The Simply Luxurious Life®: March 2010  

March 31, 2010

All To Myself

If I am lucky and can find time and the resources, taking a day trip to Portland is an absolute luxury that I try to embark on at least every couple of months.  Such an opportunity presented itself this last week, and I made the most of it.

I loaded up my car, and tried to channel my inner Amber Valetta, as I was going to travel in style.  Had I known better, I would have checked the weather report before I headed out the door.  (I was greeted with rain and wind – a perfect Winnie the Pooh day.) Oh well.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I had my list, and by golly, I actually checked everything off by the day’s end and not a stitch more; well, maybe an extra top and then a few extra boxes of my hard to find pasta.  However, I have to say, I wanted to pat myself on the back because this doesn’t usually happen.

What was on that list you might be asking?  Well, that’s why it was so enjoyable to tackle.  A few items for my wardrobe, essentials for an upcoming dinner party, and a mandatory stop at my favorite grocery store to pick up ingredients that I can’t seem to find in the little town I live.   Have a peek at the collage of images that made my day such a treat.




Items searched for and discovered (in order of appearance above):

(1) A freshly baked baguette from The Pearl Bakery for the dinner I was going to make upon arriving home as a way of toasting what turned out to be a very successful day.

(2) A delectable meal at The Everett Street Bistro, – a cod sandwich with a side of deep fried shallots (yum!) and some of the best service I have had in quite some time (Thanks Ashley!)

(3) Dark denim straight leg jeans from Citizens of Humanity.

(4) Another fantastic photo from The Pearl Bakery

(5) World Market – a must for those mix and match items in the home – I was in need of a rug that was dispensable for the duration of my dog’s puppy stage – FOUND IT!

(6) Stocked up on simple T-shirts at American Apparel – Love, love, love.

(7) Thanks to Uptowne Papers for helping me pick out a casual, yet appropriate invitation for my upcoming wine tasting weekend.  These are perfect!

(8) Found the necessary bucatini pasta and some Argentinean parmesan – delish – at Whole Foods Market.  Couldn’t wait to make a quick, yet delicious pasta dinner.

Surprisingly enough I only had to stifle a few yawns by the end of the day, but boy was I thankful to arrive home.

Reflecting back on the time when I decided to officially move from Portland to a rural community, I made a promise to myself that I would not be deprived of the goodies and luxuries that Portland offers.  And while it has taken me a few years to be able to afford the luxury of traveling to my former home town on these types of occasions, I am thankful every time I pull into my garage and sluggishly sit on my couch to take off my flats after such a long day.  I love coming home to a quiet sleepy town, but am thankful to play the “city” gal every once and awhile.

So, for the time being, my purse will be resting at its rightful place, gearing up for the next shopping adventure.

Have a beautiful day.

Car image - Philip Karlberg,  Purse image - Marcus Ohlsson

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March 30, 2010

Rooms of Inspiration – Shelves of Comfort

As a kid I always had my nose in a book.  Charlotte’s Web was my first official novel, and I was thrilled and felt quite accomplished to have read it by myself in 2nd grade, or was that 3rd?  Who remembers, 2nd sounds good though, doesn’t?  Anyway, Nancy Drew was next.  I absolutely loved her character – strong, independent, beautiful and intelligent.  Who wouldn’t have wanted to be cracking crimes left and right?  Maybe that’s why I’m also a fan of Murder, She Wrote?  Anyways, I’m digressing terribly.

As I recall the importance books have played in my life, I begin to realize why having them around me is so tremendously comforting.  It is in a book you can escape to when you are in a position where you’re waiting for something to happen – a hair appointment, the train to arrive or someone special to step off of the plane.   It is a book you can turn to when your mind is exhausted from the day’s events.  It is a book you can depend on when you can’t quite find the answer to the question just yet. A habit I try to keep is to always have a book in my purse just in case an opportunity presents itself.  After all, you never know.

I’ve always felt that the best gift in the world, for me at least, would be to have an unlimited gift card to Amazon or a local bookstore.   To be able to purchase books like candy and add them to my collection, what a luxury that would be.

Looking around my decor each time I have moved, the books I have collected reveal the past I have just completed.   It makes me smile, but also reveals how much I’ve grown, how diversified my tastes have become, and it thrills me as I become curious of what books lie in my future.

With that said, below are a gathering of rooms filled with books and magazines in their own unique way.  Each one would be a pleasure to spend time in whether it be to peruse through the collection or to simply read just one book and then drift sleepily off into a nap. 

Out of curiosity, what role do books play in your life?  And which room calls to your taste?  Here’s to finding the next book that you can’t put down until you’ve finished. May you find it in the near future, or even better, maybe it’s already on your nightstand waiting for you this evening. Enjoy the escape.


Images: (1) Oliveaux (2) Elle Decor (3) Point and Click Home (4) Elle Decor – Badgley Mischka’s home (5) So Haute (6)Traditional Home (7) Elle Decor (8) Traditions Journal (9) Elle Decor (10)Traditions Journal (11)   Elle Decor (12) House Beautiful (13)Traditions Journal (14)The City Sage (15)Ticklish From A Distance (16)Elle Decor (17)La Dolce Vita    

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March 29, 2010

Are You Listening?

It is Monday.  A day to start fresh.  A day to begin with a smile.  A day to step out on the right foot – to get it right.  Or at least to give it our best effort. During the past two days I have had ample time to contemplate, ponder and ruminate, almost too much time.  And sadly, I did not look this good (below) doing it.

However, out of all this time alone in my own head (and since I’m always trying to achieve, improve and grow – being that I am my worst critic, as I’m sure most of us are), my mind wandered to a particular piece I read a few years back written by Bob Schieffer.  If you have ever watched Face the Nation, you will recall that during the last five minutes of his show he commentates on a variety of his own thoughts. I, for one, find this to be the best part.

While I don’t watch it very often, in fact, as soon as CBS Sunday Morning is over, I’m moving on with my day, I happened to be intrigued enough to pick up his book Bob Schieffer’s America a couple of years ago which is simply a catalogue of those five minute commentaries he shares with his viewers each week.

To make a long story short, there is one commentary in particular that I copied and stuck to my idea board as I feel the general concept is a beautiful thought to keep in mind during those times when we are perplexed or feel as if no one “gets” us, or we’re unsure as to where we’re supposed to shine.
Have a look for yourself.  The reference is to a man he interviewed at the Aspen Ideas Festival named T.D. Jakes.

“He said something that day that I shall never forget.  He reminded [me] that no one is perfect, that we are all broken somewhere.

But he said that is not all bad.  A key is broken in all the right places to fit a certain lock.  When that key is placed in that lock, there is a quiet click. When we meet a person who is broken in the right places to accommodate our brokenness, there is a click.

It can happen in other ways: an introverted person hears that click when he finds a job that can only be done by a person who works well alone.

Whether it is a job, or a relationship . . . something clicks when we find the place that accommodates our uniqueness, or brokenness.

. . . some call it meditation – but there is within each of us some mysterious, inner thing that tells us when something clicks –we don’t know how or why, we just know.

We are all broken.  But listening for that click can help us to unlock many doors.  The voice is always there – we have only to listen.
-April 8, 2007

So, are you listening?  And if so, what have you heard?   Have a beautiful Monday and week full of moments that give you time to just listen.

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March 28, 2010

Cups of Tea (3/21-3/27)

Spring is beginning to show true signs of the beauty that awaits, and in the past few days I was able to start planning my upcoming outings to the nurseries.  What to plant in this pot, what to include from last year’s ideas, and what to I want to add?  I liken the designing of my garden and front porch to that of putting together one’s wardrobe – the beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.  If it sings to me, my attention is grabbed. 

To that end, however, I still have so many ideas in my head regarding my home decor and attire that my mind is a jumble of ideas with the lovely addition of spring planting.  If these are my only worries, I am a lucky girl.

This week’s Cups of Tea include a few new blogs that I am so happy to have found – you’ll understand why when you view their photos – gorgeous!  Also included is a bit of inspiration, ideas on decorum and a delicious comfort food favorite to try. 

Now, grab a cup of tea, or your morning drink of choice,  and enjoy perusing over some fantastic posts from the past week. 


1. Lovely Illustrations 

Isabelle Lafleche, the creator of Pink Lemonade Design, has a beautiful blog displaying luxurious images both in decor and fashion.  Not only does she have her own blog, but she will soon be releasing her first novel J’adore New York this fall.  This particular post which highlighted the artwork of Izak which can also be found on Henri Bendel’s website, caught my eye, and I just had to share.  Click on the header above or the image below to see more images similar to the below. 

My dream day and life – shopping in New York City, dressed classic casual, my dogs by my side and, oh, don’t forget the flowers!


2.  Let the Sunshine In!

Just came across Sarah Klassen’s blog Haute Design, and I will most certainly be frequenting this site for, if nothing else, the images.  Absolutely exquisite and unique.  I was a bit mesmerized by this particular post of rooms filled with sunlight and felt they were a perfect analogy for all of us in the states as we are slowly emerging from the doldrums of winter into the longer hours of spring.  Click on the image below to have a gander at even more sun-filled rooms. 

 (images, courtesy of Haute Design, scanned from Côté Sud / photography by Bernard Touillon)


3. Mind Your Ps and Qs 

Leeann of Fabulously French included a pleasant post that, while directed at the proper behavior in France, can also be applicable in any country in most cases.  One that particularly caught my attention was,“ When visiting a French home, don't expect to be invited into the kitchen or to take a house tour. The French have a very definite sense of personal space, and you'll be escorted to what are considered the guest areas.”  I found this refreshing simply because until someone is offered a tour, one should never assume anything.  Read on to see how you are doing, and if you agree. After all, one’s home is an extension of one’s self, and we all need our private sanctuaries to be kept private.


4. Savory Comfort Food

Phoebe and Cara of Big Girls, Small Kitchen shared with their readers this week a scrumptious recipe for a simple dinner after a long, stressful day at work.  I happen to love toasted sandwiches that include melted cheese and artisan bread, and this recipe for Turkey Pepper jack Melts is one I’ll soon be trying. I’m sure it will make your dinner companions happy as well. Click on the image below or the header above to find the recipe.

Bon Appetite!


5. Make it Happen

Every Friday, I look forward to Laura of  Under the Sheets . . . shhh’s Inspirational Weekend Quote, and this week it didn’t disappoint.  While rather frank and to the point, it’s all that needs to be said.  Sometimes a little less talking and a lot more doing is necessary.  Click on the image below to read a bit more of her thoughts on this particular quote, and be inspired.

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March 27, 2010

Inspiration, Goodies, and Recipes – 1st Giveaway!

The last three months have flown by due in no small part to my time on my blog, twitter and continually observing and taking in the immense amount of inspiration that is in my everyday life.  It truly is amazing what goodness can be found once we chose to look for it.

With all of that being said, my 100th post has come and gone during this past week, and I wanted to take the opportunity to thank all of my readers.  Whether you are someone who regularly comments or someone who chooses to keep their thoughts to themselves, I appreciate your time.  We all have so many options and choices in this life and for you to choose to give a few minutes to Simply Luxurious is a treat.  And so a treat for you!

During my jaunt to Portland, I came upon a lovely shop that deals primarily in elegant and unique invitations – whether they be for something as simple as a dinner or a wine tasting party, or for something as grand as a wedding or a graduation.  Uptowne Papers, located on 9th NW 23rd Place, made it quite easy to decide on the perfect invite for my upcoming Spring Barrel Tasting Party (more about the invites on Wednesday), but what Lori Pellicano (the owner) also shared with me was a new treat that I must share with you.  Brandini Toffee.

If you are even the slightest fan of almond roca, you will be blown away by the luscious combination of dark chocolate, roasted almonds, butter and sugar.  Only four ingredients! Can you believe that?  The story of how two freshmen in high school began this tasty business is even more impressive.  Learn more about the Brandini story by clicking here.

So with all of that said, Lori was kind enough to share with us one tin of Brandini Bites (did I mention Martha Stewart gave it her approval, as well as Oprah?).  Thank you Lori for your generous hospitality, it was a pleasure meeting you, and I look forward to returning for my next gathering. 

But that’s not all!  Also included in the giveaway is something to do with food and entertaining.  I have mentioned a handful of her recipes in various posts (Delizioso, Dinner in Fifteen, A Delicious Evening In). Ina Garten, also known as the Barefoot Contessa, has a cookbook that I think you might want to have in your kitchen (if you don’t already) at the ready for an evening in which the goal is to remain simple, yet create something that is absolutely delicious.  The most recent cookbook is (as you see below) Back to Basics, and it will also be included in the giveaway.

This is one of my most used cookbooks.  Not only does it include the majority of the recipes you may have seen on Food Network, but tips on entertaining, what type of flower arrangements to include, the best types of appetizers to serve and much more.  She really does stick to her mantra – back to basics.  The meals are simple, yet delicious.

We’re not done yet! Since Simply Luxurious focuses on a handful of interests – not only food and entertaining, I had to include something that also deals with fashion, style, and a bit about home decor.  As you may recall, I’ve mentioned Rachel Zoe too many times in the last few months.  Due to this fact, I thought I’d give away her book Style A to Zoe.

All in all, I can say you will find wonderful images of the celebrities she has styled, as well as events she has attended.  The idea for my post Weekend Essential grew out of Rachel’s mention that we should all have a weekend uniform of sorts.  More importantly though, is the wealth of information she shares on looking stylish and fabulous in your own skin.  If you haven’t read this book or don’t have one of your own, I think you would love it. It is a wonderful resource that I find myself going back to again and again. Click here for a fantastic review found on Purse Blog.

Phew!  To recap, one lucky reader will receive – three lovely items: a tin of Brandini Toffee, Barefoot Contessa’s – Back to Basics cookbook, and Rachel Zoe’s book Style A to Zoe.

To enter:

1. Leave a comment on this post and please make sure to include your email address, so I can contact you if you win. (If you don’t want to leave a comment, you may email me at to be entered as well)

2. To receive an additional entry, tweet about the giveaway and let me know you tweeted!

Giveaway ends on Saturday, April 3rd at Noon PDT.

That’s it!  I look forward to hearing from you and good luck!

The winner will be drawn at random and will be announced on Sunday’s Cups of Tea which will post April 4th.

Thank you again, and I hope to see you back her at The Simply Luxurious Life soon!

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Short and Sweet

Well, my vacation is gradually coming to an end, and I feel like this apple resting in the rain. Spring showers haven’t been able to make up their mind as to whether they should stay or go which makes it almost comical.  My venture to Portland a few days ago for some necessary spring wardrobe updates had me scurrying around in the wind and the rain, but it didn’t phase me.  After all, I was on a mission – and yes, the checklist is now complete!  I look forward to sharing with you more about what I found later this week.

Just in case you too were caught up in the rain of life this week and missed a post or two, here’s a look at the past week’s posts.  And don’t forget to stop by tomorrow to enter to win my first giveaway!

Monday – Empowered by Obstacles 

Tuesday – Snuggle In and Get Cozy

Wednesday – A Leisurely Stroll

Thursday – Smiling In A LBD

Friday – Just Add A Mimosa!

Saturday – All That Glitters

I hope you have some time today to have a leisurely Saturday, or at least are able to partake in fantastic activities of your choosing.  Have a wonderful day.

(1) Image Source  (2) - ?


Shimmering from Dawn til Dusk

Today’s Saturday Style is all about sequins. Tanks, tops, skirts, jackets, dresses and even, yes, bags.  This is one of the trends this season that I am tripping over myself to get to – seriously – if only I had a bottomless wallet.  I appreciate the push by designers and fashionistas to wear sequins not only in the evening and late into the morning, but also to work.  Let us allow the sun to have its fun and dance off the sequins as well as the city lights – it’s about time.  Fantastic idea!

Compiled below are looks that can be worn during the day and through the night, and some that are meant to be seen only in the evening.   Enjoy!

I couldn’t help myself.  I had to include this iconic image of Blanche of The Golden Girls.  Just goes to show, sequins can be worn at any age.

So what’s your verdict?  Are you a fan, or is it too much?


Images: (1) Source (2) I Heart That (3) Goldyn (4) Glam (5) Glamour UK (6) Fab Sugar (7) O So You (8) Flickr (9) Instyle (10) Image Source (11) Image Source (12) Glamour UK (13) Modelinia (14) Image Source (15) The Charm Chat (16) Image Source


March 26, 2010

Foodie Friday - Breakfast, Brunch or Dinner

Simple recipe.  Loads of flavor.  Minimal mess in the kitchen.  

If these are three goals you would like to achieve for dinner tonight, and you don't mind having breakfast for dinner, I have a recipe I would love to share with you. 

Smoked Salmon Scramble.  Recently, I was flipping through the latest edition of Food Network Magazine and found a section that focused entirely on recipes which incorporate eggs.  The first one I saw immediately grabbed my attention.  One of the aspects I like most about this recipe is that it can be made for breakfast, brunch, or in my case, dinner. Here is the recipe:

*wheat toast (or slices of a toasted baguette)
*1 tablespoon butter
*2 beaten eggs
*2 tablespoons cream cheese (substitute heavy cream or brie)
*2 tsp chopped chives
*salt & pepper
*smoked salmon

1. Whisk eggs, cream cheese, chives, salt and pepper together in a small mixing bowl.

2. Heat nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Place a tablespoon of butter to melt in skillet.

3. Place wheat bread in toaster, or (if using a baguette) preheat oven to 350 degrees, slice - on the bias - brush a tsp of extra virgin olive oil on the top of each slice, and place in oven until lightly golden brown (about 5 minutes).

4. Add egg mixture to the skillet, continually stirring with a spatula until just set.  Remove from heat.

5. Place smoked salmon on slices of bread and top with egg mixture. Viola!

Keep in mind that the more smoked salmon you place on each slice, the saltier each bite will taste.

What impressed me the most with this recipe was that it did fill me up, and I felt as though I was spoiling myself.

 Simply Luxurious photo

Grab yourself a mimosa, and this would also make for a fantastic brunch item.  Enjoy!

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March 25, 2010

Smiling Despite The Struggle

For as long as I can remember, I have always viewed the many minute, or seemingly mundane, things I come across from day to day as metaphors for life.  For example, once a rain cloud has doused us with rain, 99.9% of the time, a calm, clear sky follows.  My interpretation – it isn’t until we have an opportunity to vent our feelings that we truly feel genuinely calmer and at ease.  Or take for example, a car whose owner never takes the time to change its oil which eventually leads to the engine needing major repairs; – my interpretation – we all need a little pampering now and then to recharge in order to be at our peak.

Why do I bring this up, you may ask?  Whether we are actually paying attention to all of the media or not, it is almost impossible to ignore Sandra Bullock’s situation.  (If for some reason, you’re one of the lucky few who is blissfully unaware, click here for a brief recap.)  None of us will ever know the actual details of the relationship, and so to discuss it seems irrelevant, but here’s my metaphorical interpretation that I am going to try and take away from it.

Sometimes in order to make it through those times in our lives that are excruciatingly painful, heart-wrenching, causing us to question our own decision-making, we need to focus on what is going right in our lives.   By throwing ourselves into those areas that are going well, that are successful, that cause us joy instead of pain, we are engrossing our minds with a distraction until we are ready to accept the reality.  Granted, sometimes certain situations can’t be ignored, but in the meantime or when it is an option,  we really must focus on those things that make us smile – no matter how small. 

I’ve been collecting the photos below for awhile now and was struck by the happiness or sense of ease that exudes despite the metaphorical black dress(es).  Sometimes, we must fake it until we make it. (I apologize for the bit of randomness today.)


Images: (1) Daily Radar (2) November 2009 – Vogue (3) Twiggy photographed by Richard Avedon (4) Fame Spy (5) Image Source

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