The Simply Luxurious Life®: October 2010  

October 31, 2010

Cups of Tea 10/24-10/30

Waking up in freshly cleaned Egyptian cotton sheets, hearing the rain pitter patter on the window and looking forward to just easing into the day – a lovely way to begin a Sunday.

The weekend has been an opportunity to whittle down my “to-do” list and feel all the more satisfied upon taking a break every now and again.  I would like to take a moment to welcome the new followers on Twitter of @simplyluxurious, and I hope you enjoy the daily inspiration. I am continually amazed by the many uplifting and fantastic new people I have the opportunity to converse with through a device that didn’t even exist five years ago.  Change really can be an impressive and grand thing in the smallest of ways.

Today’s Cups of Tea includes a tasty dessert to keep in mind for your next dinner party, luxurious bathrooms to lay your eyes upon, tips for maintaining a more balanced life and even more beautiful images and inspiration.  I hope you’ll enjoy this morning’s post as I grab myself a cup of hot tea (or coffee if you prefer), cozy up and get lost in some beauty this morning. Have a lovely Sunday, and thank you for taking the time to spend some time at The Simply Luxurious Life.


1. Cherry, Almond and Chocolate Cake

Last week, Erin of Apartment 34 shared a recipe for a Cherry, Almond Chocolate Cake, and I couldn’t resist sharing it with you.  The images alone are so creatively done.  The individual portions would be perfect for a holiday party or a catered event. Thank you Erin for sharing.


2. Maintain The Balance

Whenever one sets out to create the life they imagined, schedules can become overwhelming busy, energy can run low and sleep is sometimes hard to find.  Lately, my schedule has been progressively getting busier, yet more fulfilling and enjoyable than I can remember in quite some time, so when I read the title of Anastasiya’s post, author of Balance In Me,  I immediately clicked to read it. What you will find are four tips on how to create a healthier balance with your personal and professional life. Have a look.


3. Chic Bathrooms

With the help of Caitlin of Sacramento Street this week, I discovered a new blog (new to me, but quite established and well followed) – RDuJour.  Between the fashion, beauty and decor, I immediately included them on my Lovely Blogs list and had to share with you their post of chic and luxurious bathrooms. Have a look at a grand collection of images by clicking on the header above or the image below.


4. New York, New York

Cara of the ever delightful blog Lilac and Grey shared a post with her readers this week that by it’s title alone drew me in, but upon viewing the images, made me all the more anxious to get on a plane and head east to New York.


5. Thought to Ponder

La Dolce Vita shared a thought that I took to heart earlier this week.  One’s heart, mind and courage determine so much in each person’s life if only the step up to the plate is made. Take a look below and allow yourself to be inspired.

Images: (1) We Heart It

October 30, 2010

Rules of Style – Gisele Bündchen

Gisele Caroline Bündchen, while clearly smiled upon by the genetic gods, is a woman who continues to inspire me when it comes to style.  Her lengthy frame, mane of golden locks and brushed bronze skin is a stylist’s dream.  And while most people don’t have her model physique, there is still much to be learned regarding  how she approaches her own style when she’s not in front of the camera.

A Uniform

I am a huge advocate for having a weekend or errand wardrobe that you can reach for in your closet without really having to think about.  Gisele demonstrates her go-to outfit with a pair of jeans, black leather jacket, scarf, and a tote. Looking pulled together is immediate, but the beauty of this strategy is that once you know the parameters, you can change the bag up as you see fit, swap and wear different shoes depending on the time of year or the pair of jeans you are wearing. Once you know what works for your lifestyle, you save a lot of time not standing in front of your closet wondering what to wear.


The dilemma sometimes presents itself when I reach for my sunglasses, which should I wear – black or brown. Well, owning a pair of aviators solves this problem immediately.  A classic design that works well with just about any outfit you have decided to wear is the aviator.  And remember, when in doubt, stick with a classic. 

Black Jeans

A pair of black jeans is a lovely alternative to your everyday blues.  They can be dressed up for evening very easily by slipping on a pair of black heels, a silk camisole and jacket or worn for day with boots. The list really is endless.

White Jeans

During the summer months, white jeans are a wonderfully way to remain casual or spruce up a bit by pairing them with a beautiful chiffon or silk blouse. Sandals or heels work well with this look, so don’t shy away from them, just make sure you purchase a pair of Spanx to wear underneath, and you will be set.


My mother repeatedly told me growing up this next secret.  Smile. Adding a genuine smile to your every day wardrobe immediately increases its style factor.  After all, by smiling we are telling the world that we are confident, happy and looking to enjoy ourselves being the optimists we are.


A Camisole

Camisoles in all different fabrics, colors and designs are the perfect item to keep in your closet as they provide a quick way to mix and match a variety of outfits.  Whether you are wearing them with jeans, skirts, or a suit, they can provide that perfect pop of color to an otherwise classically neutral outfit.


An easy way to elongate your neck is to wear a v-neck blouse, top, wrap dress or T-shirt. Show off your healthy glow with these designs and relax knowing you look wonderful.

Pull It Up

A beautiful coif can be the best accessory and only accessory at times, but every once in awhile,  it’s okay to pull it up whether it be into a chignon, a messy bun or a ponytail. Letting your face shine and accessorizing instead with magnificent jewelry or fun costume jewelry is something to do when you want a change from your daily do.

Be Comfortable

The most important aspect to keep in mind when creating or molding your own style is to be comfortable whether you are wearing a extravagantly beautiful gown or a pair of blue jeans. Gisele demonstrates how someone with the fashion world at her fingertips can also take it down a few notches and still look just as stunning.  A pair of jeans, leopard ballet flats, a white T-shirt and scarf – my idea of weekend casual comfort.


Images: (1) Source (2) Source (3) Daily Stab (4) Wholesale Leather Bags (5) Source (6) Just Jared (7) Source (8) Source (9)  Source (10) Source (11) Source (12) Source (13) People (14) Source (15) Source (16) Sweet Fuzz(17) Source

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Short and Sweet

Where did October go? Wow, it really did seem to fly by.  I’m currently being reminded how quickly this past week alone has whizzed by as my dog Norman’s has successfully made his way up onto my lap as I write this post. I haven’t been home all that much, so I think I’ll be trying to make it up to him and Oscar this weekend.

Along with that, I’m in the middle of a few tweaks being made to the weekly and monthly newsletter.  Always trying to improve and produce something you, my readers, enjoy reading and look forward to receiving. I’d love to hear suggestions and ideas that you would like to see and what you would like to see remain the same.

Before we know it, Thanksgiving (in the states) will be upon us, but before all of the holiday happenings take place, I hope you are able to take in the beauties of the season, cozy up with your favorite reading material or pastime and simply unwind.

While certainly busy, this past week has been a productive one. The most well-received post this week was my top 10 Wardrobe Essentials.  Some wonderful comments and suggestions were shared, so if you’re revamping your closet or looking to strengthen your foundation pieces, have a look.  And here is a look at the week that was on The Simply Luxurious Life:

Weekend Rules of Style: Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer

Sunday’s Cups of Tea: Luxuries, Optimism & Glamour

Absolutely Beautiful: The Power & Versatility of Nudes & Blushes

Monday’s Inspiration: Be Your Own Guide

Fashion Fix: Sasha Pivovarova – Vogue US – November 2010

Just Released!: Sex and the City 2 DVD

Tuesday’s Rooms of Inspiration: Private Inspiration

Peek Inside: An Elegant and Comfortable Home

Wednesday’s Why Not . . .?: Get To Know Yourself? Part 3

Your Style: 10 Wardrobe Essentials

Thursday Treasures: Pumpkins, Success & Fashion

Over The Top Fashion: Valentia Zelyaera – Elle Russia – November 2010

Guest Post: Style Icon – Jenna Lyons

Friday’s Cravings: Wine, Leaves & Comfort

Foodie Friday: The Reuben Sandwich

Weekend Style Inspiration: Skirts, Scarves & Style

Have a lovely Saturday.


Images: (1)  Vogue  (2) We Heart It

October 29, 2010

Weekend Style Inspiration

A dose of luxury, a touch of casual chic and the nudge to get your style on this weekend, whether you’re dressing up or not for Halloween in the states, looking fabulous is always something to look forward to.  Have a wonderful weekend.


Images: (1 & 2) Fashionising (3) Stockholm Streetstyle (4) Calvintage (5) Garance Dore (6) Sacramento Street

A Delicious Reuben Sandwich

Whenever I head to a diner there are two sandwiches I tend to order, a club sandwich or a classic Reuben on rye.  Quite awhile ago while flipping through Williams Sonoma’s kitchen catalogue, I came across their recipe for a Reuben sandwich.  Since then I have been making it for weekday dinners when it’s just me and without going overboard in size, this is one delicious sandwich. Add a pickle, and I’m good to go.

Key Things To Keep In Mind:

*The recipe suggests a panini press, which I do not have, so I simply use a sauté pan, place a lid on top wait about 3 minutes on each side at a medium to low heat and the same result is produce – scrumptious cheesy goodness.

*Don’t place too much dressing on the bread so that you don’t soak it.  Add a fine coat just enough to barely cover the surface of the bread.

*Corned beef freshly cut at the deli will yield amazing flavor.

Reuben Sandwich

Williams Sonoma

Serves 1


*2 slices rye bread, each 1/2 inch thick

*Extra Virgin Olive Oil for brushing

*2 slices Swiss cheese

*2 heaping tbs. Thousand Island dressing

*6 slices of corned beef

*1/3 cup sauerkraut, drained


1. Preheat a panini press or a medium sized sauté pan set at medium-low heat.

2. Brush one side of each bread slice with olive oil. Lay slices, oiled side down on a clean work surface.  Spread tops of slices with Thousand Island dressing. Arrange 1 cheese slice, corned beef, sauerkraut and remaining cheese slice on 1 bread slice, then top with other bread slice, oiled side up.

3. Place sandwich on preheated panini press or sauté pan and cook until golden brown on each side – about 3-4 minutes.

4. Transfer sandwich to a cutting board and cut in half. Serve immediately.

An idea to gather delicious recipes for free, put your name on the mailing list of Williams Sonoma catalogue (click here).  It only comes out once or twice a year, but I have yet to try a recipe I haven’t like.

Images: (1) (2) Simply Luxurious

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I’m Craving . . .

. . . potentially getting all dressed up . . .

  . . . an opportunity to get cozy . . .

. . . wine tasting with friends . . .

. . . some time in the yard raking leaves . . .

. . . and a taste or two of chocolate while I’m handing out candy to trick-o-treaters.

How will you be wrapping up October? Do share.


Images: (1) Real Beauty (2) We Heart It (3) Film Comment (4) We Heart It (5) Source

October 28, 2010

Style Icon – Jenna Lyons – Guest Post

A modern style icon that always grabs my attention is Jenna Lyons.  So when the opportunity to guest post on Sugar & Spice came up, I jumped at the chance to share even more images of her style.  Hop on over to this lovely blog and read my post which is part of her Style Icon series which has me hooked.

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10 Wardrobe Essentials

Recently someone asked me share my top wardrobe essentials for building an ideal wardrobe that is not only functional, but stylish as well. And so my wheels have been turning for the past couple of weeks contemplating exactly what I would include as my top 10 essential items. 

Now you probably already have noticed that I am a “list” girl, I have created many wardrobe lists for myself in the past based on books I have read, and I continue to edit and tweak as I gather new ideas. The first few authors that come to mind are Tim Gunn and Nina Garcia, but I know there have been many more.  So using them as a guide, below are my top 10 Wardrobe Essentials that I have found are the most versatile, functional and most importantly, have the ability to allow the beautiful woman that is wearing them to shine.

Quality Jeans

A quality pair of designer jeans is more than worth the price.  Not only will they hug your body in the most flattering way imaginable, but you’ll be wearing them for many years to come.  As a young girl I had a horrible time finding jeans that were long enough at the price point I could afford, but once I learned that what I needed was going to cost a bit more, I realized that what I was paying for – a much longer lifetime, quality and a beautiful silhouette was more than worth the price once I had saved up.  And always remember to buy them a bit snug, as they loosen a bit with wear. Some of my favorite brands for my figure are Citizens of Humanity, Rock & Republic, and Notify. The versatility of jeans makes them a must have as a foundation piece in your wardrobe. Expand your possibilities by including boot cut, straight leg, a pair to wear with flats and one with heels, and don’t forget boyfriend and trouser jeans as well.


Begin by purchasing a classic khaki trench which can be paired with jeans, dresses, skirts for either day or evening. The flattering classic belt tie is a wonderful feminine component as it cinches your waist and displays your figure. Once you’ve included khaki, feel free to include colors (red, yellow, green, prints) or other classic tones (black, white or navy).  One of my favorite go-to outfits is my dark denim straight leg jeans, ballet flats, a blouse or classic t-shirt and a trench. Viola! I’m ready for just about anything.

Cardigan/Cashmere Sweaters
Whether with a dress, skirts, jeans or dress pants, a cardigan or cashmere sweater can be dressed up or down depending on the situation.  While a cardigan can be paired with a beautiful camisole or sleeveless blouse that shimmers, a luxurious cashmere v-neck sweater can be layered and accessorized with a beautiful scarf.  With a cardigan, let it fall by your sides, or wrap around a belt to look more cohesive, and with cashmere sweaters remember that lightweight styles can be worn in the spring and summer as well.

Dress Pants or Skirts (Your Preference)
A pair of well made dress pants in camel, black, gray or tweed are a wonderful way to bring the element of mixing and matching to your wardrobe. There are many different styles to choose from depending on where you want it to hit on your waist and how you want your leg to look. Wide leg, as shown above has the effect of elongating your leg when paired with a slim fitting blouse and belted waist.  A slimmer leg can also pull off a very professional look when paired with a cardigan and blouse. Heels look wonderful when dress pants are worn, so don’t forget to grab your favorite pumps.

Skirts - pencil skirts and A-line skirts - are the traditional classic options. A pencil skirt is more formal and slimming, while an A-line is camouflaging and playful. Both however, are very feminine, so it is completely up to you which style you choose to wear. Choose prints and pair with a solid silk blouse or keep a couple of neutral colors in your closet as they can work any beautiful trendy top you find from season to season.

Leather Jacket
There are many different types of jackets that you can include in your wardrobe, but a short leather jacket is a versatile piece to have on hand. Paired with jeans for a weekend outing or a casual dress ensemble, it truly allows you quite a bit of freedom when pulling together casual, yet stylish outfits.  Black, brown, camel or even jewel tone leather jackets are all options to consider. Always make sure it fits well through the shoulders and the sleeves hit just below your wrist bone.

White Shirt
Diane Keaton is a perpetual reminder of the seemingly endless ways a white collared shirt can be worn.  With skirts (knee length or full), jeans or dress pants, this is one of the ultimate versatile items to include.  Now, if you’re like me, and you don’t necessarily wear the classic long sleeve, button up design, don’t forget the many other different styles, for example, the beautiful asymmetrical neckline and capped sleeve Caroline Herrera look above. Layer and accessorize as necessary.

Depending on your taste and lifestyle, you will gravitate toward different styles of blouses.  Whether they be long sleeve, short sleeve or sleeveless though, you will want to have a few in your closet. Again, pair them with jeans and skirts, layer them with cardigans or jackets, and have the peace of mind knowing you can wear them to work or out on a date.

A Nautical Top
Many essential wardrobe lists don’t include a nautical top or sweater, but if you’re someone who tends to choose casual over dressed up, you will want to include this item.  Worn by itself, with a pair of ankle jeans and flats, one’s style factor rises immediately because it looks so effortless, but at the same time so creatively done, when in reality it is simple.  In chilly instances, a trench, or short sleeve cardigan look just as chic.

Little Black Dress
Again and again, the little black dress is listed as one of the must have items and truer words have never been spoken, whether you choose to purchase a black sheath dress, black wrap dress or a beautifully short cocktail dress, you are set to look amazing. Always be on the lookout for one that calls your name.  You never know when you’ll come across something you can’t imagine not having in your closet for those unplanned, last minute occasions.

Wrap Dress
Diane von Furstenberg has me hooked and for a very good reason.  The wrap dress again is an item with legs, in other words mileage, when it comes to getting your cost per wear.  You will find that a wrap dress can be worn in so many different settings and can be accessorized different to meet your needs.  Be sure to include one, or two, in your closet.

Click here to see a list of the 10 Essential Shoes Every Woman Should Have. And please do share what your essentials are, as I’m always looking for new ideas and reasons to shop (okay, I probably have enough reasons to shop, but one more won’t hurt :) ).

*Click here to find out where to shop for these items on a budget.

Images: (1) Source (2) Burberry (3) Source (4) Chloe – Fall 2010 (5) Just Jared (6)   Lulu’s Couture (7) Source (8) Caroline Herrera Spring 2010 (9) Source (10) Source (11) Habitually Chic (12)  Elle (13) Source (14) ? (15) Daily Mail

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