The Simply Luxurious Life®
May 31, 2011
Rue Mag - Issue 5
The ladies of Rue magazine continually outdo themselves with every issue. It has been less than a year since their first publication, and already in their 5th issue, they are incorporating videos, more photo shoots and impressive design along with fabulous ideas for entertaining.
With Crystal Gentilello as founder and editor and chief and Anne Sage as executive editor, the team has created an online decor, style and entertaining magazine that is a pleasure to read. Here are a few looks inside the 5th issue that was just released last week. Congratulations ladies and here’s to continued success. (To read the entire issue, click here.)
Images: (1) Plush Palate, remaining photos – Rue Mag issue 5
30 Ways to Find Tranquility in Your Day
Today’s post will be solely focused on how to find tranquility and a moment to catch our breath during any given day of the week. After all, life is a constant balancing act that must include moments to just be, to unwind and let what is going on around us be put on hold if only for a moment. Here are some ways to find a calm space of down time:
1. Turn off the television and read
2. Brew a cup of tea or sip some chilled iced tea
3. Pop some popcorn & enjoy a film you’ve been dying to watch
4. Take a nap or go to bed early
5. Listen to music (soothing, possibly without lyrics)
6. Be near water (paddle around in a canoe, walk along the river, stroll along the beach)
7. Treat yourself to a spa treatment (pedicure, facial or massage)
8. Get a good nights sleep
9. Take your dog for a walk – it will make their day and calm you down.
10. Practice yoga
11. Gather a stack of magazine and allow yourself to just peruse at will
12. Make your favorite meal and add a glass of wine
13. Order take-in and watch your favorite guilty-pleasure show
14. Take a bubble bath with lavender
16. Make cookies and enjoy them with milk
17. Do something creative – write, draw, dance – and allow yourself to get lost in the doing
18. Visit a new art exhibit
19. Treat yourself to a cooking class
20. Visit your local farmer’s market
21. Allow yourself to laugh out loud
22. Go to a cafe and just savor your coffee while people watching or reading the daily newspaper
23. Work in the yard – dig in the dirt
24. Bring fresh flowers into your home – place one singular flower in a bud vase by your master bed and office space as well as bouquets in the usually places.
25. Get a make-over at your local department store
26. Enjoy a mid-afternoon treat with a friend at a quaint restaurant
27. Allow yourself (keeping your budget in mind) to buy an exquisite pair of earrings, shoes or blouse that you’ve had your eye on
28. Visit a Japanese garden or a beautiful garden in your area. In Paris? Jardin du Luxembourg or Jardin des Plantes (my favorite). Click here to get a list of all of the gardens in Paris.
29. Keep a journal (it doesn’t necessarily have to be about what happened during the day, it can be a list of things you are grateful for, favorite quotes and ideas you run across during your days, etc)
30. Savor the decadence of a dark chocolate truffle and just be
After reading through this list, I know you have ideas that have worked for you. Please do share as I, and so many of my readers, would love to hear.
May 30, 2011
17 Benefits of Being Yourself
Often times we have spent so much of our lives being what we thought we needed to be for a myriad of reasons that we truly don’t know who the heck we are. Whether it is believing something because we were raised in such a way, saying the perfect response to acquire the job we so desperately want, behaving a certain way to maintain a relationship with a significant other or wearing a certain piece of clothing because it’s the trend of the season and want to fit in, we consciously contort ourselves to become what others would prefer us to be, or what we think others want us to be instead of being who we are meant to be.
As Cummings states in his above quote, to follow along is by far the easier and less aversive decision, but it certainly isn’t a path that leads to contentment or fulfillment.
After all, each of us is born with innate talents, skills and gifts packaged with the details of our own rare physicality, family background, experience and time in history that the world has never seen the likes of before. Why then are we so willing to let this amazing phenomenon be so swiftly cast aside so that we can look like, act like and be accepted like, someone else?
Quite simply, and I’ve been guilty of this in my past, it’s easier. It’s much less painful if one is a teenager to do as the crowd does; it’s much less emotionally draining to be the yes-man at work than to stand up and speak; and it’s much less agonizing to be numbed by incessant conversation and hoopla than to be uncomfortable in your own company. So yes, people who haven’t found the strength, and it takes a lot, decide instead to go along – to play a role. But in simply playing a role we are rudely ignoring the short time we have here on this rock we call earth. We are ignoring that our time, as we all know, but seem to forget, is finite.
While initially stepping out on the journey of getting to know just who we are and developing the person who is discovered is difficult, the road will gradually become less treacherous and much much more enjoyable than anything ever experienced while pretending to be someone else. Here are a few of the benefits I have found while letting myself just be me and developing the person I have found.
1. Be able to trust yourself
2. Be able to listen to others’ opinions and not be swayed
3. Find a genuine source of contentment that cannot be taken away
4. A courageous person emerges
5. Let your unique, creative talents shine
6. Attract people (friends, lovers, co-workers, employers) who appreciate the REAL you
7. Be able to revel in success that is truly yours
8. Your intuition is honed
9. Waste less time worrying about what others think
10. Understanding your feelings, knowing what makes you tick
11. A more sincere and magnetic person emerges
12. Being accepting of personal flaws and mistakes
13. Becoming gentler toward yourself
14. Realizing you are worthy, just as you are, always have been & always will be
15. Respond to difficult situations more effectively and healthfully
16. Capable of following through and reaching goals
17. Able to discover your purpose
So today, consciously be aware of what interests you, what attracts your attention, what stirs your imagination and causes you to lose all track of time, and try to do your best to ignore the persuasion of what others might think, say or how you might be treated. After all, it is their fear that prompts them to pass judgment on you because truthfully you may be an enigma that they can’t understand or explain. Continue to surprise, dazzle and enrich your life by just being you. It is the best gift you could ever possibly give yourself.
I encourage you to share the benefits that you have encountered as you too have welcomed the idea of just being yourself. Thank you for stopping by today and have a beautiful and inspired Monday.
May 29, 2011
Paris, Baby! – Book Review
Sharing the metamorphic journey of a woman experiencing the adventure of having her first-born, author Kirsten Lobe’s memoir Paris, Baby! is an entertaining, honest ride for her readers as her frank, hilarious and cut through the small-talk descriptions are a refreshing change of prose.
The author of novels Paris Hangover and French Trysts, Lobe begins her tale in Paris where she has been living as an expat by way of Wisconsin-Tokyo-Manhattan for the past eight years. With her appreciation and vast knowledge for fashion, the arts and Frenchmen, she doesn’t wait for any initiation and promptly places her readers at the scene of the famed French pastry shop Ladurée where her description of une grande meringue au chocolat and macaroons covered with creamy ganache are enough to cause an impulse airfare purchase to Paris tout de suite.
The fact alone that she is in a pastry shop seemingly wanting to devour more than just a petite nibble is enough to set the stage for her introduction to her life of a soon-to-be single mother living in Paris.
The narration that won readers over in Paris Hangover returns as she infuses a constant comparison of her American upbringing with her adopted and beloved new home, as well as omni-present appreciation for the opposite sex and a the Frenchmen’s love of feminine beauty in all of its stages. But as her reality begins to welcomingly change, she focuses her love and adoration towards her son Oscar. And it is this complex struggle that all mothers have in some capacity or another that Lobe shares first-hand with her readers – the loss of your former life, however, fully and utterly devoted and in love with your child; an instantaneous lioness-like protectiveness of your child and frustration with those who don’t understand it, at the same time realizing that prior to being a mother, ignorance was a very valid excuse admittedly made by the same said mother.
Ultimately, the conflict that must be resolved is whether to raise young Oscar in the City of Lights or in her hometown suburb Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. And with a hard-fought argument for both sides and many lists in which she shares with her readers, holding nothing back (some may take offense, but I found very refreshing and true to Lobe’s style), the readers will be left uncertain until the last chapter.
While I won’t give away her decision, her goal on how she hopes to raise her child is based on her now Alzheimer's stricken mother who Lobe deservedly praises throughout the book – to be a mother who nurtures her child’s innate choices and gives him the belief that what he feel is of value, unique and meaningful.
Lastly, mothers will find one, if not many, scenarios to commiserate with, and while Lobe’s depictions are something to absorb for women without children, she blatantly points out that such a life is impossible to imagine until you’re living it.
But for now, Paris, Baby! is a grand way to experience motherhood as it is full of laugh out loud worthy anecdotes, sincere insights and impressive flashbacks on a few of her single life experiences. In the end, however, you will still be able to savor your sleep-filled nights.
To purchase or learn more, click here.
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
May 27, 2011
The Weekend . . .
Happy long and lovely weekend everyone! The sun appears to be wanting to show off a bit this weekend here in the Pacific Northwest, and the roads and airports are buzzing with folks looking to get away. Where might you be going this weekend? I’d love to hear.
With some leisure filled hours of reading and hitting the local farmer’s markets, I plan on staying close to home, but am no less excited to just have three days off instead of two.
Whatever you are reveling in this weekend, I hope you are able to lose all track of time and just get lost in the many moments that await. And just in case you have a few spare minutes, here are a few links from the past week on The Simply Luxurious Life that you might enjoy taking a look at:
For those who are heading out of town for a long weekend – Spring/Summer Weekend Travel Wardrobe
*Oprah’s Goodbye (and all of the lessons shared in the last episode)
Be sure to stop by Sunday night as I will be posting my review on Kirsten Lobe’s just released memoir – Paris, Baby!
Until then have a lovely weekend. Bonjour!
Image: Going to Make It Mine
May 26, 2011
How to Avoid Spending Temptations
Last weekend I found myself watching the film Confessions of a Shopaholic and began to contemplate ideas on how each one of us can take control of those moments when it seems the shoes are far too fabulous to pass up or those particular pair of jeans fit much too well to not take home this instant.
It is more than encouraged to stock your closet with quality basics, classics and fabulous clothing, but when we know that our budgets are tight for any given reason, how can we be the responsible adult we know we are and just walk away?
As a way of helping out when just such occasions arise, today I’ve gathered together a list of 12 ways to remain resolute in our goal to remain financially secure. Please do share what has worked successfully for you as I know I have just scratched the surface.
1. Don’t carry credit cards all of the time
2. Place savings in an account that is not directly linked to your checking
3. Carry cash to the grocery store.
4. Always bring a list
5. Don’t go shopping if you don’t have something in mind to buy
6. Sleep on it. Wait a full 24 hours before deciding on major purchases
7. Avoid shopping with fellow spendaholics
8. Pay your bills first and see what you have left over
9. Identify the purpose for your purchase. If you think you might need it sometime, wait.
10. Stop unwanted catalogs from arriving in your mailbox. Click here to find out how to take your mailing address off the list.
11. Stop credit card offers from reaching your mailbox. Click here to find out how.
12. Create a budget and enter your expenditures every day or at least weekly to know exactly where you are throughout the month.
Skirts, dresses, cropped pants with heels and layering while mixing it up. The power of the clothes we wear without saying a word.
Images: (1) 9to5 Chic (2) thatkindofwoman (3) 9to5Chic (4) Citizen Couture (5) Hanneli (6) Source (7) Musings in Femininity (8) We Heart It (9) Cheetah is the New Black: Evening Stripes (10) The GLitter Guide (11) BrownEyedBelle
Rules of Style – Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel
Where would women’s fashion be without Coco Chanel? Certainly it would be a bit different, maybe a little less confident and certainly a lot less comfortable.
With her attention to expensive simplicity, Chanel began by creating clothing for women out of jersey – unheard of at the time, and by 1919, Chanel’s name was well-known in the minds of those who knew fashion as she established her now famous maison de couture at 31 rue Cambon in Paris.
The classic Chanel No.5 scent was created in 1921 to embody a scent ‘which smells of a woman’ and continues to remain one of the most popular scents in the world. While Karl Lagerfeld now mans the fashion house of Chanel, Coco’s inspiration is never ignored (resort 2012, spring couture 2011, fall couture 2010/11) .
The Rules of Style list just wouldn’t be complete without paying homage to a woman who’s determination, grit and frank approach to living life on her terms inspires me and so many others regularly. While many people deem her life unconventional, for that very reason, I applaud her. Life is meant to be lived in such a way that is not in following, but in offering our talents and abilities to the world. Gabrielle Chanel certainly did that and left behind a legacy that can be seen nearly everywhere in the fashion world and elsewhere.
Here are a collection of favorite quotes and images that exhibit her classic style and matter-of-fact observations.
“To achieve great things, we must first dream.”
“How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone.”
"My life didn't please me, so I created my life."
“Success is often achieved by those who don`t know that failure is inevitable.”
"Women think of all colors except the absence of color. I have said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony."
"It’s probably not just by chance that I’m alone. It would be very hard for a man to live with me, unless he’s terribly strong. And if he’s stronger than I, I’m the one who can’t live with him. … I’m neither smart nor stupid, but I don’t think I’m a run-of-the-mill person. I’ve been in business without being a businesswoman, I’ve loved without being a woman made only for love. The two men I’ve loved, I think, will remember me, on earth or in heaven, because men always remember a woman who caused them concern and uneasiness. I’ve done my best, in regard to people and to life, without precepts, but with a taste for justice."
“I don`t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little - if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that`s the day she has a date with destiny. And it`s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.”
"I don't care what you think about me. I don't think about you at all."
“A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.”
“Dress sharply and they`ll remember the outfit; dress impeccably and they`ll remember the woman.”
“Don`t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.”
"Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance."
“Innovation! One cannot be forever innovating. I want to create classics.”
And that she did.
May 25, 2011
In a custom L’Wren Scott coral silk dress with degrade chiffon belt, Oprah Winfrey walked onto the stage of The Oprah Winfrey Show for the last time. The guest, the best guest, the only guest that was necessary, was Oprah herself.
Introducing the last hour as her love letter to her viewers, Oprah spoke of the many lessons she had learned, and so I’ve collected a few of them here as I had to write them down for myself, and wanted to share with you as well.
While I thoroughly enjoyed the show, my favorite part was the last shot, as she finished the long walk through her Harpo staff and was greeted in the front of her office by Sadie, her blonde cocker spaniel, as we watch Oprah with Sadie in her arms saying, “We did it Sadie. We did it.”
Someone who always listened to her calling, who is and was strong enough to be who she knew she could be and will always be an inspiration to the world. Here’s to living our best life. Thank you Oprah for reminding us that we can.
“Be more of yourself.”
“We are all called. Everyone has a calling. And your real job in life is to figure out what that is and get about the business of doing it.”
“That is what a calling is. It lights you up and lets you know that you are exactly where you are supposed to be, doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing. And that is what I want for all of you.”
“Live from the heart of yourself.”
“You have to make a living, I understand that, but you also have to know what sparks the light in you so that you in your own way can illuminate the world.”
“Start embracing the life that is calling you and use your life to serve the world.”
“Nobody but you is responsible for your life.”
“Don’t wait for somebody else to fix you, to save you or to complete you.”
“We often block our own blessings because we don’t believe we are inherently good enough or smart enough or pretty enough or worthy enough.”
“You are worthy because you are born and because you are here. Your being here, your being alive makes worthiness your birthright. You alone are enough.”
“Everybody wants to be validated.”
“Be still and know it.”
“Wait and listen for the guidance that is greater than my meager mind. The only time I have ever made mistakes was when I didn’t listen.”
“What are the whispers in your life? Your life is speaking to you. What is it saying?”
“Your life is always speaking to you.”
Nordstrom – Half Yearly Sale!
One of the shopping events I look forward to is the Nordstrom’s Half-Yearly Sale. Beginning today and running through Saturday, May 28th, thousands of items for women and children are on drastic reduction.
Thrilled to have Nordstrom as a sponsor on The Simply Luxurious Life, I regularly shop online and stop in at their store in downtown Portland on Broadway when I am in town.
Here are just a few of the items I gathered together while perusing their website during the sale. Be sure to take a moment and discover shoes, clothing, jewelry, handbags and other accessories on sale that will save your budget and make your closet smile.
*MICHAEL Michael Kors trench (in black too) - $79.90
*Nike ‘Be Strong’ New Fit Dri Fit Pants - $39.90
*7 for Mankind straight leg cropped jeans - $99.90
*Luxury Rebel carmel sandal - $79.90
*Tory Burch linen belted cardigan - $194
*Ports 1961 Belted Mélange Silk Dress - $594 (from $995)
*MARC by Marc Jacobs Clemence sweater - $99.90
If you are a regular shopper at Nordstrom and aren’t one who wants a store credit card (I despise it when I am continually asked), but still want the special deals that are offered to loyal shoppers, try their Mod card which is connected directly to your checking account and acts as a debit card. This card is something I discovered a few years ago, and I am so thankful to have as I pick up make-up products at Nordstrom when I run out and always depend on their jean selection when I am in need of a new pair. By using my Mod card I don’t have to worry about credit card interest, but am still able to reap the rewards by earning double and sometimes triple reward points during certain times during the year.
Either way, whether you are a regular shopper or not, the deals are wonderful during these next few days. Personally, I have my eye on Michael Kors’ trench which is under $100. Just what my closet is looking for. Happy shopping!
First Lady Michelle Obama & Tom Ford
Tuesday evening during the President’s tour of Europe, a state dinner was held at Buckingham Palace hosted by Queen Elizabeth II. And while there were many faux pas moments, there was one that most definitely was not. Michelle Obama in the stunningly sophisticated and modern Tom Ford gown with above the elbow white opera gloves reminiscent of Jackie Kennedy.
Quite simply, I was impressed. Bravo Michelle, and continue to rock your fabulous arms gorgeous statuesque physique.
Why Not . . . Get & Stay in Shape?
One of the assured ways of living a richer and more enjoyable life is to take staying healthy seriously. While our modern day culture provides an array of conveniences enticing us to move as little as possible and eat in abundance, the fact remains, our body is a machine and must be paid attention to regularly.
There are many benefits to staying in shape. Here are just a few: strengthens our immune systems making it better able to adapt to new environments, safeguards our bodies from diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease and many other preventable diseases and ailments, increases energy levels, strengthens the mind and acts as an outlet for stress.
Being a woman who has always been active for quite some time, I was under the impression in my teens and my early twenties that I had to endure exhaustive and agonizing amounts of aerobic exercise to whittle my waist down. Being very active in high school sports and being fortunate enough to achieve great success due to lengthy practices, I was nervous about how to maintain my weight on my own upon going to college without hours spent dripping sweat.
Despite being a member of my college’s track team, I put on the clichéd 15 pounds, but mine was more like 20 or 25. I was furious with myself. Deciding to take it off, I stuck to a balanced diet and walked – a lot. Now I know that sounds crazy, especially since I was on the track team, but what walking did for me was burn the calories, but not increase my appetite because I wasn’t famished. Did the weight fall off quickly? No, but it did fall off, permanently.
I want to share my stories with you today because while I am slender, I’ve had experiences with weight gain, as I know many of you have as well. It is a daily decision to treat our bodies as the temples that they are instead of the garbage disposable that our junk-food advertisers want us to believe.
Currently, I am at the best weight (not ideal, but best) I’ve ever been at since high school, and what have I realized is that through consistent effort and moderate, consistent exercise and a respect for our bodies, we can all reach our goals. Here is what has worked and the lessons I’ve learned along the path to this realization.
The “Get” Part
1. Forget Diets First of all, diet by definition is simply what we eat and drink, but America has turned it into the bad word that it is – deprivation. In the American sense of the word, any diet that asks you to change your way of eating and moving temporary to create a permanent situation is not going to work in the long run. Ultimately, it comes down to permanently changing the way we eat. We can taste just about everything we want, but in moderation and fitting into the guidelines of a balanced meal.
2. Change Your Lifestyle Clean out the cupboards. Toss the easy to eat snacks (unless they are fruits and vegetables). Throw out the pop.
3. Challenge, Yet Enjoy Yourself For me, I tried just about every exercise before discovering that simple and less jarring is the best way to go. From running, kick-boxing, step-aerobics, swimming, pilates, tennis, volleyball and basketball, I have done them all, whether I was teaching the class, part of the team, or on my own. And what I have discovered is walking and yoga has left me fitter and leaner than I ever thought I could be. Yes, yoga can be tough, but for me the benefits are seen not only in my fitness, but in my mental calmness. Find an exercise that can strike that balance – challenging, yet rewarding and somewhat enjoyable so that you will want to stick with it.
4. Eliminate processed foods
5. Water, Water, Water
6. Think health, not looks The beauty of this is that the looks part is going to be the cherry on the top. It will come, but it will take time. So in the meantime and for all time, focus on improving your body for your health.
7. Respect yourself, but be honest Always respect and listen to you body. As my yoga instructor repeatedly reminds us, push until you are uncomfortable, but not until pain. In order to improve we must do something more, yet gradually while paying attention to what our bodies are telling us. The more in tune we are with it, the best we will be able to take care of it and thus, ourselves.
“Staying” in Fabulous Shape
1. 3 meals & a snack is enough If the right healthy and balanced meals are chosen, this is very possible. It is all about training your mind and your body.
2. Don’t waste calories Try eliminating those moments when you continue to eat even when the food doesn’t taste very good or when you’re in the car – can you really savor what you’re eating? Another way to stop losing calories is to watch what liquids you drink, and when in doubt, drink water.
3. Just walk Whether it is a vigorous multi-mile walk, working in the yard, cleaning the house or walking to town to do some errands, try to incorporate it somehow into your day. Once you become in the habit of doing this, you will get to a point where you will crave this time to be with yourself.
4. Avoid the sugary treats in the AM Yes, the beautifully decorated and tasty temptations are everywhere when you’re stopping to get your morning caffeine, but try to pass them up as they will not carry you through until lunch.
5. Green tea in the morning
Known to suppress appetite and ever so slightly, speed up the metabolism.
6. Fiber to fill you up for breakfast (oatmeal or steel oats)
7. Eat your veggies and don’t worry how many. Minus the dip.
8. Almonds – a simple snack One of my favorite afternoon snacks is a handful of almonds, a half of an apple and a few slices of parmesan cheese – oh, and a cup of tea if I can find hot water at work.
9. Eat at a table, enjoy the conversation or something engaging to read
10. Your body has all the resistance you need (yoga anyone?) Try to include one or two sessions of strength training each week, and if you’re worried about bulking up, smaller weights – more reps, or yoga and pilates which require you to use your own body weight – lengthening, not bulking up, your muscles.
11. Find something else to focus on besides food
12. Immerse yourself in your passion and get happy I can look back on the times in my life when I gained a few pounds and those other times when I magically lost a few, and for me both correlated perfectly with my state of happiness and contentedness (happy – weight loss, doubtful – weight gain). Instead of trying to find happiness outside of yourself, seek it from within and discover your passion. Once you find out what that is, find a way to enjoy it as much as possible.
13. Read French Women Don’t Get Fat
In my mid-twenties, I finally realized it was okay, just to walk and I’ve never looked back. Thank you Mireille!
14. Eat in season as best you can
15. Walk your dog(s)
16. Talk positively about yourself You can reach the goals you have set for yourself. Be patience, be determined, but be gentle – not too gentle though. :)
17. Accept compliments As Oprah reminds us, we are enough just as we are, so it is imperative to filter any negative or hurtful comments and to not brush aside genuine compliments.
18. Surround yourself with people who enjoy an active, yet balanced and healthy lifestyle
19. Stay out of the kitchen until meal time. Eliminate grazing.
20. Give your body time to settle into the new habits It will take time. Once your body becomes accustomed to eating at a certain time and a certain amount, it will think it needs it and remind you. You must be patient, but resolute. In time, your body’s habits will change and you will wonder how you ever did what you used to do.
21. Enjoy your food, savor it and in small portions By savoring your food, you are allowing yourself to slow down and when you do this, you are decreasing the amount of calories you are consuming. It takes approximately 20 minutes for your mind to get the message that you are full, so take your time until the message arrives and enjoy your company and the individual flavors that the chef took such loving care to incorporate.
22. Get 6-8 hours of sleep each night.
23. Make a healthy life, your life. Your body and mind will thank you.