The Simply Luxurious Life®: November 2011  

November 30, 2011

Why Not . . . Save Time?

Constantly sought after, but somewhat elusive as our lives become fuller, time is without a doubt the most precious commodity.  But how do we find more of it?  It’s not as if we can purchase it while on our next trip to the grocery store.  Instead, it is something that requires conscious effort, a disciplined approach and a dash of creativity.

Over the course of the next three weeks, I will be sharing tips, strategies and tried and true-in-my-own-life approaches that will give you more time to do the things and spend quality time with the people and passions you adore.

The first part of the series is going to focus on you.  Yes, I’m going to get a little personal and share ways on how to help you with your beauty regimen that will not only save time so you have a few extra minutes to sip your favorite latte, read your favorite blog or snuggle a bit longer in bed, but most importantly allow you to look and thus, feel your best when you walk out the door to greet the world.  Let’s get started!

~Getting Beautiful~

Dry Shampoo – Use it!

The majority of us don’t need to wash our hair every single day.  In fact, it’s better for our hair if we don’t. It took me quite some time to come to the realization that my hair actually looks its best on the second day after a blowout.  However, in order to make this work, purchase dry shampoo.  My favorite, which I found per Tory Burch’s suggestion is Klorane’s dry shampoo with oat milk. Simply spray your hair, let it sit for 1-3 minutes, brush or blow dry to style and voila!


Ionic Blow Dryer

For anyone who dreads the amount of time that is wasted blow drying your hair, only to have frizz everywhere when you are finished, you will love an ionic blow dryer.  Not only does it dry your hair quicker, but it reduces frizz.  The blow dryer I’ve been using for 6 years is T3 Tourmaline 83808 and I couldn’t be happier. Plus, it’s much quieter.

Top Knot

Not feeling a luscious blow-out in the morning, but still want to look chic and stylish? Trust me, the top knot or a low messy chignon are simple and will most definitely fit the bill. It took me some convincing, but my hair stylist finally convinced me to give it try, and I haven’t turned back since. For instructions on how to create a wispy, messy French top knot, click here.

Big Sunnies

When all you need to do is run some errands or make a quick trip out, dab on some under eye concealer, sweep some blush on your cheeks, a quick dash of mascara and lip balm and finish with a pair of over-sized sunnies.


Be An Evening Stylist

The night before, have an idea of what you might want to wear the next day and make sure all the necessary items are ironed, available and ready to wear.  If necessary, lay out your clothes.  I know for me, I spend quite a bit of unnecessary time hemming and hawing in my closet, trying to decide which outfit together.  Avoid this scenario and prep in the evening.

I don’t know about you, but getting ready in the morning is exhilarating due to the fact that I how I feel about how I look determines quite a bit of my mood throughout the day. With that said, if we’re rushing around messing with our hair while simultaneously pulling clothes off hangers, we’re more likely to make a mistake and feel even more flustered.  So why not create a cushion of time in the morning, so the more can be savored and your look can be finessed even more? (By the way, if you have any time-saving beauty tips, please do not hesitate to mention them. I’m always looking for more ways to create more minutes to do as I please, as I have a feeling you are as well.

Click here to view part two of the series, where I focus on time saving tips for the daily schedule that introduces itself to us each day as we step outside. Until then, have a beautiful and productive Wednesday.

Images: (1)  The Glitter Guide (2) Vogue and Coffee (3) Stylish Inspiration (4) A Cup of Joe (5) Musings in Femininity

November 29, 2011

White Christmas Decor

Just 60 miles outside of Portland, Oregon, Trina and Mike Burke, renovated a farmhouse that is ideal for the holidays as it is classically white, cozy and inviting.  Chronicled on their blog A Country Farmhouse, their hard work and attention to decor certainly is a white Christmas dream. Pick up the December issue of Country Living or click here to learn more about all of the details.

Images via Country Living

November 28, 2011

The Prerequisite For A Healthy Relationship

“You have to figure out what you want for yourself before you can lock anyone else into your dreams.” 

–from the memoir How to Love An American Man by Kristine Gasbarre

Each year as the holidays approach and families gather, coupledom seems to be the norm around the table, or at least there is pressure for everyone to be paired up in some capacity. Now to be fair, not all families apply the same pressure or constant barrage of questions to anyone who either doesn’t arrive with a significant other in tow to the annual family holiday dinners or simply states that they are single, but there are still many who either feel it is within their right to let fly the questions (some so personal, you wouldn’t share with your best friend) that cross personal boundaries.

In defense of all those who are owning their singleness or for those who may still be uncomfortable with it, I want to emphasis the above quote.

Each one of us has our own personal journey that consists of figuring out what we want out of this gift called life. The answer is not something that we are given when the diploma is handed out or when we turn a certain age, it is a arduous process that is necessary to continue traveling until we discover what makes us tick, what stirs our passions and what can’t be lived without.

Once we figure out where we want to place our energies, for our own individual sakes, then we can be a partner to someone committed in a healthy relationship.  For it is a mistake to enter into a relationship believing ignorantly that the relationship will fulfill us.  We must come to the relationship already fulfilled and content because we know which direction we want to go in life and can communicate that honestly to our partner; thereby, building the foundation that is strong because it is honest and based on wisdom that was derived from our individual discovery of who we are as individuals.

This is not to say that the relationship won’t provide its own fulfillment - it absolutely will. In fact, it will transcend the fulfillment each person has created in their independent life, but in order to have a healthy, lasting relationship, both persons must know how to fulfill themselves independently so that they can come to the partnership knowing what it will take acquire that fulfillment. Otherwise the flailing of searching blindly may not bode well for the duration of the relationship.

And while there is no guarantee for any relationship to go the distance, why not put the odds in your favor and lift the burden of feeling you must be in a relationship and instead discover what fills you up.  Because the funny, serendipitous reality is that by pursuing what you love, you light up without knowing it, you gain confidence and your energy is a magnet, thus drawing to you people who are also fulfilled in their own lives and are seeking the same in others.

“Could it be that contentment makes us more attractive?"

Speaking from experience, I look back now on my younger self and realize with even more certainty that since I wasn’t clear about where I was going and what I wanted, how could I possibly have thought I could build a lasting relationship on such a shaky foundation?

The beautiful aha moment is that I couldn’t have known that then, but I do now because I am very clear about what fulfills me, and I am comfortable talking about what I would and wouldn’t want my future to look like. 

November 27, 2011

Net-a-Porter – End of Year Sale

Twice a year Net-a-Porter slashes prices on the designer labels compiled on their website. Once again, here are a few of my favorite picks as the End of the Year sale has just begun. After all, we must not forget to squeeze in a few gifts for ourselves during this busy time of year. Happy holidays and happy shopping!


DAY Birger et Mickkelsen sailor beaded georgette top - $150

Oscar de la Renta metallic jacquered shift dress - $1245

Acne collarless wool coat - $475

The Row mid-rise flared corduroy jeans - $315

Tea Bags slub jersey tank with beaded necklace - $117

Joseph Kelly quilted down jacket - $345

MICHAEL Michael Kors oversized leather clutch - $150

MICHAEL Michael Kors animal print calf-hair clutch - $150

See by Chloe reversible leather and twill tote - $276.50

Ralph Lauren bailee leather sandals - $347.50

Tory Burch Elias cut-out suede sandals - $162.50

Miu Miu glitter-finish leather pumps - $378

Tory Burch Eddie patent leather animal print ballerina flats - $90

Jimmy Choo patent leather whirl ballerina flats - $207

Musa snake-effect leather sandals - $117.50

Stella McCartney faux leather slingbacks - $451.50

Emilio Pucci laced up suede sandals - $625

November 25, 2011

The Weekend . . .

There is something about these two photos paired together that strikes me as perfect. For others it may not make sense, but there are times when I feel a bit like the young puppy – anticipating, patient, yet knowing my time will come, but also like the woman in the first photo, I observe her confidence and her feminine mystique which is electrifying in a very subtle way.  There is a simplicity about both of these photos that is precious and coveted.  It reminds me that no matter what stage we are at in life, it should be savored, it should be stepped into with our whole selves and reveled in because this time may never come again. 

For some reason with only one month to go in 2011, knowing the year is about to wrap up, I feel as though a stage of my life that I had to go through is ending as well.  So I am sad, yet excited, sorrowful, yet hopeful, uncertain, yet determined, and after running through all of those emotions, I am aware that the most important thing for me to do is to savor it because who knows if or when it will ever feel this way again.

Okay, okay, enough with the mushy-mushy analytical stuff.  It is the weekend, and a very good weekend is in store for us all.  The holiday season has begun, my Christmas music has been playing since Wednesday (Pink Martini, Michael Buble, The Rat Pack, and so much more) and my wreath and garland will be going up today. So while I’m sure that you’ve been busy, here is a look back at the past week on The Simply Luxurious Life:

*Monday’s inspiration - All or Nothing

*The Perfect Match – Docica & The Simply Luxurious Life

*I know it’s over, but . . . Why Not . . . Enjoy Thanksgiving?

*Sponsor Post – Savoring Chocolate

*Style Inspiration – comfort, coziness and cashmere

*Hilary Swank’s New York Apartment

View this week’s newsletter issue #76 here.

Until Monday, have a beautiful few days to enjoy as you please. Bonjour!

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Images: (1) Heartbeatoz (2) Heartbeatoz

November 24, 2011

Style Inspiration

With a need for warm and outfits to pull together for the holiday festivities, be sure to load up on layers – cashmere, silk, chiffon, belts in all shapes and sizes as well as rich jewel tones and lavish decadent sequins, brocades and lace. If you’re taking on the shopping crowds this weekend for Black Friday, I wish you a very happy and successful shopping experience.

(1) Stylish Inspiration  (2) WWD  (3) Musings in Femininity (4)  whatsaybeauty  (5) Vogue and Coffee  (6) errystwocents (7)  Sart(re)orial (8)   Style Essentials  (9) Sart(re)orial (10)  lajoiedevivre  (11) Sart(re)orial  (12) smilemoreworryless (13) Stylish Inspiration  (14)Musings in Femininity

November 23, 2011

Why Not . . . Enjoy Thanksgiving?

Tomorrow here in the states many family and friends will celebrate Thanksgiving.  Most will sit down to a traditional turkey dinner while others will enjoy a main dish a bit off the beaten path (barbequed ribs perhaps?). Either way, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it brings together loved ones without the obligation of gift-giving.  In other words, for one holiday it seems we allow our presence and company to be the most important gift of all. 

With the holiday season just moments away from commencing, some may be a bit anxious due to all of the to-dos that need to be accomplished, but I have a feeling for most of us, like myself, the childlike excitement is beginning to bubble up inside.  There is just something indescribably magical about this time of year.  It is ours to make of it as we choose.  Often times our expectations let us down, but I suggest, we put our perceived notions of what the holidays should look like down and decide to be open, be clear about what is truly important and then just simply enjoy.  After all, it is those unexpected invitations, kisses, conversations and moments that create the fairy dust that leaves us in awe as we reflect back.

Since the kick-off of the season unofficially tends to begin with Thanksgiving, here are a few ways to ensure that Thanksgiving, no matter where you are spending it or with whom, is enjoyable, memorable and leaves you feeling satisfied, but not miserable.

1. Have water in hand. To quell unnecessary eating with all of the appetizers and nibbles available, keep a glass of water with you at all times.  Add cucumbers or lemon with ice cubes to keep your drink fresh and you will be able to thoroughly enjoy the main meal, as well as feel fantastic the next day.

2. Have a toast prepared.  Especially if you are hosting the special dinner, have a toast that will inspire, add a chuckle and leave a wonderful memory for your guests.  And even if you are not the hostess, always have a toast on hand . . . just in case.

3. Slow down and engage.  Part of the reason so many people dread Thanksgiving is that they know they will overeat, so instead of worrying about how much food you are eating, focus on engaging in lively conversation.  This will slow you down and allow your stomach to communicate when it is full to someone is better able to listen.

4. Take a walk.  Since Thanksgiving is usually a day most people have off, there is no excuse to not stick to your workout regimen.  Whether you skip out the door in the morning for your run, walk the dogs or take a long walk after dinner with relatives you haven’t seen in awhile, do yourself a favor and move that body.

5. Taste everything, don’t eat everything.  There seems to be a never-ending table of food to try, and as each dish makes its way around the table, it’s hard to pass up something that catches your attention especially if it’s something you wouldn’t normally cook. Follow Bethany Frankel’s rule of thumb and try a bit or two of everything, but then walk away. Consider it a mini smorgasbord on your plate and your body will thank you tomorrow.

6. Board games. Yes, the football will be on and so will the Macy’s Day Parade in the morning, but why not have board games on hand.  There are so many to choose from that will suit your family’s many different personalities and they are sure to bring large bouts of laughter and moments to savor. 

7. Be grateful.  Before getting out of bed Thursday morning or as you are going to bed tonight, take a moment to make a list in your journal of all the many things you are grateful for.  It could be something as simple as I have running water or something as grand as the good health of my family.  Whenever you choose to do it, I have a feeling that when you are through you will be amazed at how much you have to be grateful for.

For my many readers who are not in the states and most likely aren’t celebrating Thanksgiving, feel free to swap out this holiday for one that you will soon be attending.  The key for all of us is to remember to continue to always be grateful, focus on relationships and don’t eat everything on our plates.

Have a lovely Thanksgiving and an auspicious start to the holiday season everyone! May it be simply luxurious in every possible way.

Images: (1) Heartbeatoz (2) matchbookmag (3) heartbeatoz

November 22, 2011

A Perfect Match – Docica & The Simply Luxurious Life

When co-editors-in-chief Jen Haynes and Melissa Wilson invited me to contribute to their online magazine DOCICA which focuses entirely on living a simple life, I had to jump at the opportunity. With a variety of articles focused not only on fashion, but on lifestyle, decor and food, I have a feeling you might also enjoy perusing through this magazine. 

With the recent release of their November issue, click here to see inside and view a wonderful collection of articles.  Thrilled to have The Simply Luxurious Life blog featured within the pages along with my article “Signature Style” (page 32), I can’t thank Mel and Jen enough.  

Hilary Swank’s New York Apartment

Much like the actress herself, Hilary Swank’s New York City apartment is chic, refined and modernly classic. In Elle Decor’s December 2011 issue, Swank shares her modest, yet beautifully designed 1,400 square foot apartment with the readers. With the help of her trusted interior designer Mark Zeff (who helped with previous residences – a New York brownstone and her California house), a very clean aesthetic evolved.

With the movie in which she co-stars New York’s Eve set to be released on December 9th, publicity tours will keep her busy. So while her main residence is in California with her boyfriend and his son, having a pied a terre in the city will certainly come in handy. Read more from the pages of Elle Decor here.

All images via Elle Decor

November 21, 2011

Sponsor Post - Savoring Chocolate

Yes, I will readily admit, I have a sweet tooth and a tremendous love affair with chocolate.  So whenever I have the opportunity to take pleasure in a simple, bite full of a gourmet chocolate truffle, I savor it immensely.  One is always enough if it is a decadently satiating.

And with the holidays, chocolate just seems to fit much like that missing piece of a puzzle you’ve been searching for.  While I tend to make sure I treat myself to chocolate on a regular basis, during the holidays here are a few ways to enjoy a moment with a favorite chocolate truffle. Here are a few of my favorite ideas:

Just before drifting off to sleep to put a night cap on the day . . .

. . . at the end of the day with a glass of Garrison Creek Cellars Zinfandel and a special someone . . .

. . . or as a simple luxury given to a friend to communicate how appreciated their friendship is.

And if you don’t happen to have a favorite chocolatier shop in your town, Lindt Lindor Milk Chocolate Truffles are always sure to please.  As they say:

“Nothing tastes quite like Lindor Truffle. Created only Lindt’s Master Chocolatiers, its exquisite chocolate-filled with a smooth chocolate center. When the irresistible center starts to melt . . . so will you. Smooth. Flowing. Luscious. Chocolate like no other.”

In other words, you really can’t go wrong with chocolate.  It works well as a hostess gift, a stocking stuffer or a treat to yourselves. Enjoy!

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Lindt via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Lindt.

Images: (1) Heartbeatoz (2) Decor Pad (3) Vogue and Coffee