The Simply Luxurious Life®: August 2010  

August 31, 2010

Breathing Space

With the upcoming New York Spring Fashion week, I can only imagine, Donna Karan is not able to enjoy her family retreat in the British West Indies right now, however, after all the designs have been photographed and the models step out of their heels, wouldn’t this getaway be a dream of a location to visit to unwind?

Recently shown in Architectural Digest in December 2009,  the designer’s retreat consists of six buildings, one of which is a yoga pavilion and another reserved exclusively for a spa. Photographed by Durston Saylor, the restful tone is gracefully captured in the beautiful images, causing me want to immediately sigh and dream even bigger dreams. Enjoy the tour.

All images courtesy of Architectural Digest

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A Window Of Opportunity

One of the most calming ways to quiet the mind and bring contentment to the  soul is to allow the beauty of natural light to flood your home. One aspect in home design that I tend to put close the top, if not at the top, of my priority list is windows.  How much light does a house let in? I adore nothing more on a easy Saturday morning than to wake up with the sun beginning to slowly creep above the horizon, to have tea in the kitchen with the sun as my cheery-eyed guest, or to apply my make-up with only the natural lighting that is provided in a perfectly positioned bathroom.

And think of it this way, it cuts down on the amount of wall space you have to plan to decorate.  Truly though, whether it be through a floor to ceiling string of windows, paned French doors in a living room, dining room or bedroom, or French windows above a banquette, the magnificent views, the ability to see beyond your four walls is something to appreciate. Enjoy browsing through the images below which demonstrate the handful of instances in which a myriad of windows or French doors can add a magnificent design element to any room.

Out of curiosity, in what room of a house do you most enjoy having windows? I’d love to hear. 

Enjoy the day, and be sure to check your inboxes tomorrow morning for your September newsletter if you’ve subscribed. It will be full of ideas to simplify and at the same time bring luxury to your every day routines as we all get back into the swing of things with the change of seasons.  And I’m thrilled to say that Erin Hiemstra of Apartment #34 and Erin Coates of The Healthy Apron will be featured with some fantastic contributions.


Images: (1) Brown Design Inc (2) House Beautiful (3) Decor Pad (4) Elle Decor (5) House Beautiful (6) Decor Pad (7) Patricia Gray (8) Decor Pad (9) Elle Decor (10) Patricia Gray (11) Source (12) House Beautiful

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August 30, 2010

Karlie Kloss – Vogue Turkey – September 2010

Tweeds, layers, stockings and wool. The beauties of fall fashions are upon us and in Vogue Turkey’s September issue, Karlie Kloss is a chameleon as she demonstrates that fashion really can reveal or express a mood or a person’s state of mind. Photographed by Max Vadukul, no matter what persona she displays, Kloss is lovely.  To view all of the photos, click here.

Images: Oh Fashion Models

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The Charm of Change

While Laura of Under the Sheets . . . shhh is finishing up her move to Los Angeles, she asked me to share my thoughts on change.  As the image hints, it truly can be a beautiful and blissful occurrence. Click here to read my guest post.

Image: Martha

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Set An Example

If your actions inspire
others to dream more,
learn more, do more
and become more,
you are a leader.”
-John Quincy Adams
As children are heading back to school to take on another year of academia, challenges, new experiences and opportunities, the question of what makes a leader is something that lept to my mind.  After all, while parents have a tremendous influence, the world outside of the home is also full of voices wanting to be heard, people who want attention and young ears that are easily influenced.

While some are involved in sports, and others in drama or the orchestra, what is it that influences someone else to adopt a certain behavior?  A coach, a teacher, peers? Words fly around in all of our world’s constantly from all sorts of people from all seats of positions in society.  Students will hear teachers, adults will hear their boss’s voice and colleagues, we all will hear the words of the media in some form or another, and family and friends who are part of everyone’s world, but what prompts us to act in a different way than we already are?

John Quincy Adams states it quite eloquently and simply above I believe. It is the actions that child imitate more so than the words they hear. Think about what you tend to follow for a moment. A speaker you are listening to preaches action and volunteering, but while on your drive home you witness someone stop and get out of their car to help a stranger in need due to a stalled engine in the middle of the intersection. Which instance would inspire you more to immediate action?

Another example might be a professor who is genuinely respectful of each of their students, welcoming them as they walk in the door each morning, validating their thoughts as they are shared and letting everyone be heard versus, a professor who preaches on endless about diversity and acceptance, yet raises an eyebrow of disdain at the mere mention of certain controversial topics. While both may be speaking and lecturing in class, only one is leading and is doing so by what is being done, not by what is being said.

More importantly, how are you living your life? Are you living passionately? Or are you just making it through the day and venting continuously to anyone who will listen? Are you trying to see the glass half full and working to achieve a life that while not a reality right now, could be if the effort is put forth?

Think about the message you are sending out to the universe, to the people around you, to your family and friends, co-workers and, if you have them, children. What is it saying? And is it worth following?

Better yet, ask yourself would you follow someone like you?

Here’s to making today a day full of beautiful actions that anyone would gladly want to follow. Have a wonderful Monday.


August 29, 2010

2010 Primetime Emmy Red Carpet

The red carpet for the 2010 Primetime Emmy Awards in front of the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles was flooded with gowns of navy, champagne, white and shades of purple. A very subdued and classic Hollywood approach seemed to be the theme, and I found it hard to narrow down my favorites to show you.  So below is a lengthy list of gorgeous ensembles that caught my eye from the simply stunning Claire Danes in Armani Prive to Emily Deschanel in Max Azaria Atelier. Have a look.

Claire Danes in Armani Privé

Lea Michele in a navy  Oscar de la Renta resort navy ruffled gown and accessorized with a multi-color diamond Lorraine Schwartz necklace and a Swarovski clutch

Maura Tierney in her first appearance since she began her battle with breast cancer looks amazing in beautiful strapless gown.

Jayma Mays in a sapphire blue Burberry strapless gown

Jewel in a strapless Zuhair Murad gown accessorized with jewels from Jacob & Co

Jessalyn Gilsig in Nicole Miller

Sofia Vergara in a saffron Carolina Herrera gown.

Kelly Osbourne in a slit sleeved Tony Ward Haute couture gown

Julia Ormond in a simple, yet stunning raspberry gown

Gugu Mbatha-Raw looks radiant in a champagne gown with a sweetheart neckline.

Emily Deschanel in a floor-length, one-shouldered gown in a bold, deep purple with tiered ruffles from Max Azria Atelier

Brooke Burke was one of the women who dazzled in a Grecian inspired white strapless gown.

Eva Longoria in a black Robert Rodriguez gown with Loren Jewels

Katrina Bowden in a lovely lilac chiffon gown

Tina Fey in a lace patterned Oscar de la Renta gown black and white gown with earrings by Lorraine Schwartz

Kyra Sedgwick in a Monique Lhuillier plum gown

Julie Bowen in J. Mendel, accessorized with jewelry from Neil Lane, Sergio Rossi heels and Jimmy Choo clutch 

Dianna Agron in Carolina Herrera - Resort 2010 and Christian Louboutin heels and over $1.5 million dollars of jewels

Keri Russell wore a bright pink vintage Jean Louis Scherrer haute couture gown from Decades with strappy gold Jimmy Choo sandals, Judith Leiber box clutch and Jennifer Behr flower in her hair.

Maria Menounos in a custom Ralph & Russo couture gown

What were some of your favorite looks of the evening?  I’d love to hear.

Images courtesy of Zimbio

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Cups of Tea 8/22-8/28

Kick off your shoes, better yet, slip on your slippers and find your favorite place in the house to browse through today’s Cups of Tea posts with a cup of tea or hot java.

Today I will be spent puttering around the house, sitting down for a bit of time at the computer, enjoying the lazy morning and taking it easy so that the week doesn’t stand a chance when I wake up Monday morning. Such days are opportunities I treasure when I can make my schedule as I go along. 

The upcoming September newsletter is receiving a few finishing touches, but be sure to subscribe so that you will receive it on September 1st.  The theme will be Restoring the Harmony, as we all transition into fall and for the most part a busier way of living for many of us.  My goal is to share with you tips, strategies and ideas to bring more luxury into your schedule and less stress.  Simply enter your first name and email address in the upper left-hand column of the blog.

But back to today’s Cups of Tea.  You will find a bit of help in getting a head start if you are wanting to bring a more healthy and pleasurable approach to your lunchtime habits, as well as a recipe I am trying for breakfast this morning myself and some fun and beautiful inspiration.  Have a look and I do hope you enjoy.  Thanks for taking a moment to stop by.  I am always happy to have you.


1. Gorgeous & Inspiring

Sarah of Haute Design this week put together a post I couldn’t not share with you (pardon the double negative). It begins with a quote which is paired with an image that immediately held my attention, following by beautiful interior design images.  Her words that concluded the post are enjoyable and quite engaging as well.  Do have a look, I think you will be impressed.


2. Summer’s Not Over Yet

Ooh La Frou Frou.  The name of this blog alone is catchy and piques a curiosity in me still.  Sandy, one of the lovely ladies who works on this blog which correlates with a card business, shared a post that serves as a great reminder – summer is not over yet folks.  So grab that daiquiri, don a cute yellow polka dot bikini and get your tan on.  Do check out this fun and engaging new blog.  It is run by a lovely and very generous crew, and I’m happy to call Sandy a friend. (Below is example of one of their cards that you can purchase.)


3. Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

There are certain meals that I can almost guarantee I will never miss and breakfast is one of them. I am always looking for new ways to bring a bit of gourmet into my meals for guests and Nikki of  Style and Charm shared a recipe that I am trying this morning.  I can’t wait! Ricotta – you have my attention.  A bit of lemon – this is getting very interesting.  Pancakes – I’m sold! I’ll be sure to tweet about it later today to let you know how they tasted.


4. What’s for Lunch

Since we’re splurging on breakfast, a modest lunch is in order and Mireille Guiliano of French Women Don’t Get Fat shares more than enough ways to pack a healthy and delicious second meal of the day.


5. Thought to Ponder

This Is Glamorous, a blog that continually provides gorgeous images and beautifully written posts by the author Roséline, shared a quote earlier this week that I think should always be kept at the forefront of our minds. Have a look.

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

Enjoy the day, soak it in so that when it is done, you can look back with a smile and have a beautiful memory to appreciate.

Images: (1) Bardot in Blue (5) Source