The Simply Luxurious Life®: September 2012  

September 28, 2012

The Weekend . . .

While I know it is tempting, and often so easy to look back on what has already happened, what has already passed and what was once enjoyed, I urge you, I beg you, I implore you, to turn your eyes forward and focus on what is waiting to be enjoyed, savored and reveled in. Just as September will soon be behind us know, October offers such wonderful treats and pleasures that only it can offer, and so too does the life that is waiting to be enjoyed.

I hope your week has gone well. Mine, while exhausted when it began, brought with it some wonderful unexpected surprises that couldn’t help but cause me to smile with delight. I hope your week was the same. Never forget to seek out and enjoy those small pleasures. While mine may not be understood by others to be a wonderful surprise, to me, they were quite grand, and I know you has well have wonderful simple pleasures you can find reason to celebrate.

Before I forget, the winner of the ModMade Goods giveaway was announced in this morning’s weekly newsletter, and I am happy to share with you that Kylie Cooper was the lucky winner! (Kylie, please email me at to collect your prize.)

While a couple of style posts capture much attention this week, here is a look back on all of the posts that appeared on the blog during the past few days:

~Style Inspiration: Metallic Touches

~Want & Have Outfit: No. 2 . . .inspired by Kate Middleton herself.

~This & That: No. 26 . . . a movie I enjoyed, a new book by a beloved author and more.

~Why Not . . . Build a Capsule Wardrobe on  Budget?

~Using Failures as Guideposts to Success

~Kiera Knightley – Vogue US October 2012 . . . view my favorite articles from inside the issue

And this week’s newsletter – issue #118 – click here to read.

With just a few days left of September, enjoy a toast, take a stroll without your heavy coat, or begin to get excited about picking out the first pumpkin of the season. Whatever you do though, I wish you a wonderful time. Until Monday, bonjour, and thank you so very much for stopping by.

Images: (1) (2)

September 27, 2012

Kiera Knightley - Vogue US October 2012

The October cover of Vogue (US) displays actress Kiera Knightley in Chanel Couture (Fall 2012), as she prepares to promote her upcoming dramatic role as Anna Karenina which is set to premiere in theaters November 16th. Captured by Marino Testino, Kiera wears couture designs from Chanel, Dior and Valentino as well as designs from the film by Jacqueline Durran and Joe Wright. Read Knightley’s interview with Amanda Foreman here. (Have a look at the editorial below)

This month, as similar to last, I have waited a week to post the most recent cover of Vogue, as I wanted to have time to pour through the issue and share with you my favorite articles. While I know many of you have possibly already enjoyed the issue, many of you have not, and often are simply wanting a reason to pick it up – a savvy decision that I applaud, alas, do not heed. The good news is, however, that already on newsstands, this issue contains a handful of articles that I highly recommend. Have a look:

~”The Voice” (p.194) profiles congresswoman (democrat from Florida) Debbie Wasserman Schultz as the real-life version of I Don’t Know How She Does It. A survivor of breast cancer, mother, wife and DNC chair, the 46-year-old superwoman is inspiring in her resolute determination and passion for doing a job well for her constituents and her country.

~”Life of the Party” (p.220) At the young age of 25, Audrey Gelman is a fashionista with politics and social involvement at the forefront of her mind. The article offers a glimpse into her daily schedule and a hint at what she may be up to next.

~”Channel Crossing” (p.254) Okay, I am like a moth to a flame when Paris is mentioned, and in this particular article, it was worth the distraction. Chloe’s Clare Waight Keller makes the move from London to Paris, and she shares three lessons on how to make the transition all the more pleasurable. As if it wasn’t ideal already.

~”Personal Touch” (p.295) A new show now on PBS from the BBC, “Call the Midwife”, starring Jessica Raine has piqued my curiosity based on this profile piece. With an enormous audience in the UK (11.4 million views), I’m interested in knowing what all the fuss is about.


All images via Vogue

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Style Inspiration: Metallic Touches

A bit of shine, a little bit of a spotlight. Choosing to include metallic accessories or embellishments in your wardrobe seems to be a trend this fall season. Whether it’s a necklace, bracelet, toe cap or sequin skirt, welcoming a touch of sparkle into the day light hours as well as the evening is most certainly a "do” when it comes to fashion ideas. So the next time you’re in your favorite boutique or consignment store and you see an accessory that you won’t break the bank, why not purchase it and add some special attention to your next outfit?

Read more »


September 26, 2012

Want & Have Outfit: No. 2

What I love most about wearing dresses are all the decisions that are eliminated simply by choosing to wear a dress for the day. You don’t have to worry about which pants work best or which top balances out the cut of the trousers or skirt. Instead, you just slip it on, add a few accessories and head out the door. Yet another reason to become a lover of wearing dresses.

Ever since I saw the Duchess of Cambridge wear Diane von Furstenberg’s Maja dress in green, I was smitten with the simple, classically modern style and cut. While that particular dress (view it here, as she wore it during her tour of Canada and the United States) sold out immediately upon being captured by the press, Furstenberg thankfully came out with the same style but in different colors. Thrilled to have been able to finally purchase my very own this past spring in periwinkle, it works well for day and evening in spring, summer and September. While a bit of an investment, keep it on your watch list, as DVF has frequent surprise sales that would make this dress more than worthy of hanging in your closet.

The other item that I wear nearly every time I want to wear gold earrings are made by a talented young entrepreneur Tiffany Taylor Kenney. Her Karolina earrings are about the size of a quarter, and the compliments have yet to stop. Simple and classic, they work well with a variety of sartorial choices.

Now, let the fun begin. Choose a scarf or a fabulous necklace, as well as flats for day or heels in the evening, sling a shoulder strap handbag over one arm and you are set.


~Tory Burch patent leather Eddie Bow ballet flat~

~Elie Saab Le Parfum Eau de Toilette~

~Tasha rainbow dot explosion scarf~

~J.Crew Copley saddlebag~

~Michael Kors Chain Bracelet Chronograph watch~


~Diane von Furstenberg Maja Two dress in periwinkle~

~Taylor Kenney Jewlery Karolina earrings~

{View the inaugural Want & Have outfit here.}


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Why Not . . . Build a Capsule Wardrobe on A Budget?

Thankfully, many people assume wrongly that one must have endless cash on hand to build a spectacular classically chic wardrobe. Why is this good news? Because when we feel confident about how we look, our mood is elevated, and when our mood improves, so does the environment around us.

The key to creating a chic capsule wardrobe on a budget, however, it to have a plan, and a little bit of patience. Yes, I know, having patience isn’t pleasurable in the short term, but trust me, over time, your wardrobe will be full of exactly what you want and need to wear no matter what the occasion, and it will last for more than one season which in the long run saves you money. 

I don’t know what everyone’s budget looks like, so I’ll use myself as an example. During the first 5-7 years of taking home a teacher’s salary, I was lucky to have $100 to spend on clothing. While my budget has increased a bit (not drastically), those early years have trained me to spend my money wisely, and I am forever thankful for the lesson (even though it wasn’t fun at the time – see things do happen for a reason!)

Here are some key tips to follow to create a quality capsule wardrobe on a budget.

1. Mind Shift – What Does a Great Closet Look Like?

While yes, Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment and all of the celebrities that allow us to glimpse into their walk-in closets that could house some of our own apartments are brimming with hangers full of clothing and shoes appear initially to be a dream, they have unfortunately created an image in our minds of what we mistakenly believe good style requires. Pop the champagne now, because . . . you do not need such extravagance and endless options to ensure you a quality wardrobe!

More does not mean better when it comes to living simply luxuriously and that includes your closet. And as researchers have demonstrated, when we have too many choices, we become nearly numb and our decision-making skills are decreased. So, what does that mean? That we must become clear about the wardrobe and style we want to exhibit, create a plan and be resolute in sticking to it, so that what we do have in our closet is regularly worn, looks outstanding and lasts.

2. Make a List

Now that we’ve cleansed our minds of the unnecessary hype of overstuffed closets, it’s time to get busy making a list. During this past summer I shared with you my capsule wardrobe for the seasons of fall/winter and spring/summer (click here to view), and what it entailed was ,me being honest about the lifestyle I lived (job, responsibilities, etc), the image I wanted to project to the world, and my personality. It is also imperative to understand what looks best on your body. Remember to choose styles that flatter your assets, but always keep style basics in mind (1-dress in thirds, never in half, 2 - revel in your feminine figure – full, slender, boyish, etc, and 3 - know your skin tone so that you choose colors that are flattering).

Once you are clear on what makes your body and life unique, choose items that can easily be mixed and matched – skirts, blouses, bottoms, sweaters, dresses, etc). Choose a handful of colors that work for your skin tone and stick to them. For example, I am a navy lover, so I have a handful of navy items (skirts, dresses, scarves, sweaters, blouses, etc) that makes it easy to mix and match with the same bottoms/tops throughout the week with a different skirt or blouse. Keep it simple. Always include neutral colors that work well with others (black, white, ivory, camel, grey, brown, navy, etc) and then selectively add one or two “pop” colors that work for you.

Remember a capsule wardrobe does not include: accessories, coats, evening/special occasion dresses, camisoles, lingerie, shoes, workout clothes, etc).

What it DOES include: day-to-day uniform pieces – tops, bottoms, day/work dresses.

Do your best to keep your capsule wardrobe list to ten to fifteen items per season. And always keep a second list of necessary items to complete your look – scarves, sunglasses, handbags, fabulous dresses, lingerie, sleepwear, jewelry, belts, hats, jackets/coats, etc

3. One at a Time

One of the first lessons that took a while for me to learn on my limited budget was that buying more doesn’t mean I’m creating a better wardrobe. I may be able to purchase three tops with $100 and have three different options for a month, but usually the quality doesn’t hold up, it doesn’t make it through the wash/dry cycle successfully, and my $100 is gone. Once you have your list, slowly start shopping through it. Most likely, if you’re shopping for quality items (which you should be if you want a wardrobe to last), you’ll only be able to afford one item on $100, so investigate the item, try it on, feel the fabric, and then take extra care of it at home. In one year’s time (excluding fantastic end-of-season sales), you’ll have 12 quality items. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but trust me, you’ll be thankful you were patient.

4. Purchase Quality Basics

Very few times have the quality basics I’ve splurged on disappointed me or caused me to regret spending the money I handed over. For example, DVF’s Maja two dress in periwinkle, J.Crew’s telegraph pencil skirt (I like them 27” instead of the standard 23”), Laundry’s white eyelet dress for summer, J.Brand jeans or Eric Bompard’s classic navy cashmere v-neck sweater. If you are willing to wait and save so that you can purchase items that are not trendy, but timeless, you’ll be excited to open your closet for the new season because you’ll be able to wear pieces that you love and that you don’t have to purchase again and again and again.

5. Become a Savvy Shopper

Last September I shared why it was a good idea to pick up your favorite fashion magazine’s September issue, and none of it had to do with knowing where to buy the new season of Tom Ford. Those who can adhere strictly to a top designer diet are few and far between, and, in my opinion, missing out. A savvy shopper, no matter what her budget mixes and matches and often doesn’t buy much (if any top designer items because they are lofty in price). But what reading these magazines and perusing fashion blogs does is inform us all of what styles will be in stores, as well as how to bring items together to create stunning outfits that we may never have thought possible.

On a different note, a savvy shopper is also someone who makes a list and then, choosing to stick to her monthly budget, waits until end-of-season sales (December/January, and June/July) to scroll through or look through racks upon racks until she finds those black leather knee-high boots she’s had her eye one since August, saving oodles of money which adds even more to the final purchase. Extra cash for a macaroon or blowout for the evening perhaps?

Lastly, once you know what styles look best on your body and how to pull together outfits, take the time to shop your local consignment, vintage or second-hand store. A savvy shopper is one who can mix and match the high and the low without anyone realizing your skirt was only $15 that is paired with a chic $100 silk blouse.

6. Purchase a Garment Steamer

Now that you’ve begun to purchase quality basics, and you’ve thinned out your closet to only include items you love that will last and/or mix and match well with other items in your closet, you need to take care of your clothing to make it last even longer without showing wear and tear. My advice . . . ditch the iron and purchase a quality garment steamer. For $150, it will make back the money that was spent (and then lost) for that new silk blouse that was ruined or that sweater that suffered from severe pilling. Here is one from Amazon that has received wonderful reviews.

One of the wonderful side benefits of creating a quality, but simplified capsule wardrobe is that you won’t feel as though you have to be out shopping every weekend. Instead, you can waltz into your closet, knowing you have something that will work perfectly for whatever your day is going to bring and enjoy the occasion without fretting about your outfit.

~Other Style Posts you might enjoy:

~Extra Resources on creating a quality budget, while keeping it simple~

Images: (1) (2) (3)  (4) (5) (6) 

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September 25, 2012

This & That: No. 26

A book, a movie, chic accessories, simple luxuries to indulge in during your next bath and more . . .


~A Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

If you were a fan of J.K. Rowling’s much beloved series Harry Potter, you might want to take a look at her first book written for adults titled The Casual Vacancy. With more than 500 pages, it appears to be full of conflict, unexpected surprises and suspense in a small town in England. Scheduled to be released this Thursday – September 27th, pre-order now.



I am one of those people who will make a list of movies I want to see when I see a review or hearing a friend rave about a particular picture and often not actually see the movie until much later; however, rest assured, I do end up seeing it as I am always looking for a film worth sitting down and enjoying for the allotted 90 minutes. Such turned out to be the case with the movie W.E. directed by Madonna that was released nearly a year ago. W.E., standing for Wallis and Edward, the two controversial, but much adored couple that involved a twice divorcee and King Edward VIII who abdicated the throne for his new wife is creatively filmed and quite intriguing. While rated “R” due to two domestic violence scenes that parallel the historical and contemporary characters, I highly recommend it if you are at all curious and intrigued by historical romances.


~Origin’s A Perfect World Intensely Hydrating Body Cream

One of the simple luxuries that I love to indulge in after a bubble bath is to treat my skin to Origin’s A Perfect World lotion. It is like caviar for the skin – rich, decadent and necessary as we enter into fall and then on into winter when our skin will be begging for moisture. Originally discovered as Oprah’s Favorite Things years ago, ever since I have always been a fan.


~Mae Striped Sweater

Lovers of nautical fashions rejoice! Mae’s striped sweater of gray, navy and winter white is a wonderfully cozy sweater to add to a classic wardrobe. Paired with jeans when you want to snuggle up by the fire with a glass of rich hot chocolate and homemade whip cream, you will be certain to relax in style.

~Oliver Peoples Wacks optical frames

A fan of Jenna Lyons and Katie Couric’s black frames, I have had my eye (no pun intended) on Oliver Peoples Wack designs for quite some time. Available in black, blue havana, cocobolo and black/dark turtoise, these frames will give your eyes a rest upon taking out your contacts after a long day staring at the computer screen and be certain to look fabulous.


~79 Healthy Weeknight Dinners from Food Network

September is in full throttle and schedules have ramped up; however, that doesn’t mean we should skimp on the quality of meals we sit down for during the week. Food Network has gathered together a slideshow of 79 healthy simple weeknight dinners, a handful of which are sure to interest your tastebuds to help you put together a weekly menu. I have my eye on the chicken-zucchini alfredo and French three onion soup.

September 24, 2012

Using Failures as Guideposts to Success

In the October issue of Harper’s Bazaar (US), actress Kate Walsh shares her thoughts on being appreciative that success didn’t arrive until well into her mid-thirties (“I Made It After 35”, pg 256). A wonderful article documenting her struggle, she reflects on the many lessons she was taught in the journey through her twenties, and how thankfully she was able to navigate these times without the hindrance of fame, so that when it did finally arrive, she knew what to let roll off her back and how to appropriately handle situations that had they occurred earlier in her life, she made not have handled as gracefully.

Recently, I have received a handful of Ask Shannon emails about what to do when life doesn’t go as you had planned. In nearly each email, the women were highly successful and reaching for grand goals. And while from my perspective, they were clearly quite successful but had bumped up against some adversity that would require of them to create a new plan of action, they were frustrated, doubtful and a bit uncertain of what to do next.

All three of these emotions are common and understandable because when we invest our time into any venture, it is beyond disappointing to be denyed (initially) because we haven’t made a plan for the alternative . . . yet.

The fact that we respond so strongly to moments such as these is actually a good sign of where our passions lay. These moments can reveal a lot about who we are, what we desire, what we believe we are capable of and the true depth of our strength depending upon how we respond.

Life would be a wonderful utopia if everything we ever wanted came true, and we weren’t confronted by roadblocks; however, we know that is not the case. On the outside, it may seem that other people are spoon-fed a better lot than us, but we have to cast aside this comparison because we only have control over ourselves and the situations that present themselves to us.

It is our job to allow these setbacks, these long bouts of waiting and wondering to be molded in to a time when we choose to develop our talents, our creativity, and our strength, so that when the amazing moments arrive, we can grab them with both hands and make the most of them without taking them for granted.

Today I’d like to share with you ways to better navigate after the initial setback has occurred, so that you are continuously moving forward toward the intended success that that particular failure was intended to lead you toward.

1. Focus on small goals that will help lead to the larger goal. Achieving small successes along the way is what will gradually, but steadily, improve your confidence to believe that you can indeed be successful. Such successes may not be viewed by the outer world as much of an accomplishment, but if it’s something you have finally completed for the first time (speaking in front of a group of people about your business plan, writing your first blog post, or finally getting on a plane to see the other side of the country), it is a success and you should allow these successes to lift you up.

2. Refuse to be deterred. For example, if your first round of attempts to find a publisher or literary agent aren’t successful, keep trying. You may have to change your proposal, you may have to change your direction slightly, but keep trying. The only people who never taste the deliciousness of success are those who throw in the towel. You may not end up where you thought you’d end up, but it is my understanding through experience and observance of others’ examples that life is guiding you to where you have the potential to one day be, but in order to get there, you must not stop.

“You don’t have to have all the big answers right now. Just ask the questions and keep asking the questions. Let them simmer in your life. The answers will arrive when you are ready.” –Eckhart Etolle

3. Look up to role models. When you are in the trenches trying to figure out which way you should go and/or how you’re going to pick yourself up, look to people who have been there before you and have come out the other side successfully. In times of doubt, look to concrete examples that prove that someone that was on a similar journey as yourself made it work. If you are struggling novelist, look to J.K. Rowling. If you’re a struggling chef, look to Julia Child. If you’re a struggling entrepreneur, look to Henry Ford. In other words, lean on them. Be inspired by them as you establish faith that everything will work out.

One of the most frustrating parts about making a plan or setting goals is that often the world doesn’t agree with our timeline. But the essential element we must never forget is that in order to create the life we desire, we do have to know what we want and we do have to have a plan of attack. In the meantime, we must also pack our patience and know that as we become better at navigating what the world throws at us, eventually a wonderful life will reveal itself. And in essence, it is sort of like a gift because we never are quite sure when it will arrive, but we can be certain that due to our efforts, that it at least has a very, very strong chance of showing up. And that . . . that is what makes all the effort, time and nights of questioning and endless doubts worth it.

Images: (1)  pinterest 

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September 21, 2012

The Weekend . . .

A wonderful week of routine and productivity has passed, but it has also been a week that has wore me out. A deep bathtub full of warm bubbles is what I am longing to step into this weekend as the week comes to a close and fall arrives. While it isn’t time to wear sweaters just yet, knowing that such occasions are around the corner makes me just a little bit excited.

I hope this past week has treated you well, and you are looking forward to a weekend where you able to snuggle in a loved ones arms, provide comfort to someone you care about and nimble on something that is a little bit naughty.

This past week on the blog began with the opportunity to enter the ModMade Goods giveaway (enter here), and continued to include posts regarding mindfulness, healthy weight loss and of course style, style and more style. Have a look:

~Monday’s Motivation . . . 11 Ways to Live More Mindfully

~Style Inspiration: Something Unexpected

~A new regular style post . . . Want & Have Outfit: No. 1

~The most popular post of the week . . . Why Not . . . Lose Those Last 10 Pounds?

~This & That: No. 25 . . . a comfort food recipe, a book to inspire and a calendar to keep you stylish each week of the year

~JENESEQUA: Mid-Week Motivation - 10 Ways to Avoid Drama

And have a look at this week’s newsletter – issue #117 – click here to read.

I wish you a wonderful few days to close your eyes, sneak in a quick nap, or come alive doing exactly as you please. Until Monday, bonjour.

Images: (1) pinterest (2) pinterest

September 20, 2012

Style Inspiration: Something Unexpected

Adding an element of surprise or something unexpected to a classic wardrobe is a wonderful way of creating a signature style. Whether it’s wearing a traditional blazer, but one with stripes (like the image above) or wearing chic cropped trousers with fishnet stockings underneath, having fun with your fashion choices while blending them with classic elements is a way to mix up your fashion routine. Have a look.

Read more »

September 19, 2012

Want & Have Outfit: No. 1

You know you are a lover of fashion when one of your favorite things to do each day is to put together your outfit for whatever your schedule demands. I can safely include myself in this category. Without question. And it is the day or weeks before that I play around with ideas in my mind about potential outfits – what works well together, what one item is missing that I should look for the next time I visit my favorite boutiques, etc. – that continue to cause me to look for new inspiration and ideas on how to better use the clothes I already have.

And as someone who is always looking for that one extra item to add to my closet that will pull so many other wardrobe ideas together, I’ve decided to create one outfit a week here on the blog that includes clothes from my very own closet that I wear regularly and love, as well as items I am dreaming about that would work well with what I already have.

So with that, I am happy to welcome a new weekly feature to Thursdays – Want & Have Outfit. My goal is to inspire you to look through your own closet and find as many different outfits with what you already have, so that all you really need to do is determine which one missing piece would bring it all together. Not only will this save you money, but it will ideally help you to unveil outfits you didn’t know you had.

Let’s get started . . .

Today’s outfit is one that I wear (in part) to work on a regular basis. While my ballet flats are always packed in my tote to give my heels feet a break when I need them, I prefer pointed toe heels, pencil skirts and silk blouses.


~Trina Turk Link necklace~

~Joie dark navy Marru silk top (I have, and love, this particular blouse in porcelain and just discovered the dark navy option.)~

~J.Crew double width belt~

~J.Crew collection invitation clutch in printed calf hair~


~J.Crew No. 2 pencil skirt in double-serge wool~

~DVF Anette pump in nude patent leather~

~Chloé Eau de Parfume Spray~

Why Not . . . Lose Those Last 10 Pounds?

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you may have hit the pesky number on the scale that is just 10 pounds shy of your goal weight, only to discover, those last 10 pounds aren’t giving up without a fight. (Please know that our ideal weight should be one that is based on our height and weight – every body is different, and if you’re not sure as to what your ideal weight should be, always consult your doctor.)

Now immediately, I want to say, I am not a nutritionist, and I am speaking solely from my own experience having finally, nearly two years ago, lost those last 10 pounds after trying for ten years to get them to simply go away. Last year I shared in depth ideas on how to get and stay in shape (click here to read), so today I’d like to simply share ways that have worked for me to take off and keep off those last few pounds.

There is an inner confidence that fills you from within when you feel and know your body is healthy and at its optimal performance. You wear your clothes with more confidence, you hold your head a bit higher and you begin to enjoy being in your own skin, celebrating others for their beauty instead of being envious because of them you are content with who you are.

I will begin by saying this however – there is no quick fix. All of these tips I suggest are permanent changes I have instituted in my life. After all, if we want a body that we respect, we must respect our body and understand that when we take care of it, it will take care of us as well as it possibly can. So with that said, here is what worked:

1. Drastically reduce or eliminate processed foods. When I reviewed Nell Stephenson’s book Paleoista, I was introduced to a handful of ideas that I began to incorporate my life. No, I am not a full-fledged paleoista. After all, I am a Francophile and proud of it, and that includes the cuisine as well – cheese, bread, and chocolates - but I came to realize that so much of what she shared made since.

Why would I want to fill my body with ingredients that aren’t really food? Why would I want to abuse my body that way? So I’ve tried to consciously and significantly limit the processed food that I eat – no pizza, less milk, nothing out of a box, reduced pasta meals, no cookies, etc. I certainly feel less bloated and more satiated because what I do choose to eat is more balanced and satisfying.

2. Reduce your sugar intake. Refined sugars found in many of our desserts, condiments, sauces, and morning treats just to name a few, are items that by reducing can surprisingly cut your craving for sugar throughout the day. I was amazed how when I chose not eat cookies anymore, that I actually didn’t crave them after a certain amount of time. Natural sugars from fruit – go for it, but again, it comes back to my first point – reduce the processed foods.

3. Ditch the soda/pop. I’ve never been one to enjoy pop. I’m not a saint by any means, but to me I was always conscious of my calories and saw liquids as a waste of calories that I could have enjoyed far more in a wonderful meal. So my drink of choice is water or tea. There is something very refreshing about a cool glass of ice water with a hint of lemon that quenches my thirst every single time. Not only is it healthier, but it’s easier on my wallet.

4. Keep your exercise regimen simple. As I mentioned in my post last year, I used to workout like a fiend as I was a step aerobics instructor during college sometimes teaching three classes a day. What I discovered is that while I need to do something aerobic everything single day, I don’t need to beat my body to a pulp to achieve the results I want. There may be times when you want to train for a marathon or triathlon, so you change your training, but otherwise, simply stick to a regular routine (for me I prefer walking briskly) and do it every single day. Eventually you will see positive results.

5. Allow yourself to feel hungry. I have read my fair share of fitness and diet books, and many of them state that we should eat every three hours. While this may work for some people, what I’ve discovered is that if I never let my body feel hungry (not starving), I am never certain what it really needs. If you truly are in tune with your body, you will know what it needs – protein, vegetables, water to feel hydrated. But to understand your body you must pay attention and you must not continually be shoving food down your throat simply out of habit or because it’s in front of you.

6. Include protein and fiber. A quick way to satiate your hunger that often gets forgotten because we are being bombarded by sugary concoctions is the amazing powers of protein and fiber. While it does take time for our bodies to register when we are full (approximately 20 minutes), after eating some protein – chicken, fish, etc or having some fiber – for me it’s oatmeal (porridge) in the morning, you’ll stay full longer than if you just popped a Starbucks coffee cake in your tummy with a side of a tall latte.

7. Keep portion sizes in check. Whether you choose to use smaller plates or simply place less food on your plate, allow yourself to get used to smaller portions, but make the portions you are eating delicious and filling, so you are less likely to notice the reduced amount.

8. A wonderful night’s sleep. The power of a good night’s sleep is quite profound. Not only does it help us feel more energized, but also when we sleep a full 7-8 hours our body isn’t begging for food to keep going if we are pushing it beyond what it can do.

9. Lift weights. You certainly don’t have to do anything drastic, but choose to incorporate a strength program into your weekly routine (1-3 times a week) that targets your arms, legs, abs and anything else of interest. You can easily do this type of routine at home with a few dumbbells from your second-hand store and a yoga mat, and it doesn’t need to take longer than 10-15 minutes.

10. Reduce snacking. See point #5

11. Walk more, drive less. Walking is one of the easiest exercises to incorporate into our daily lives no matter where we live and no matter what climate we live in. Either incorporate it into your daily routine or hop on a treadmill.

12. Be consistent. Once you have incorporated these habits into your daily life, the changes you seek won’t happen overnight, but they will happen with consistency. Find pleasure in these routines and somehow make them your own. In doing this, you are certainly more apt to continue to do them regularly.

13. Always keep in mind moderation. The only thing I have cut out of my diet are cookies (and that’s only because I can’t say no to just one). Other than that, I eat real food – whatever I want, but I try to enjoy the bites I have and really savor well-took meals. Whenever I have indulged with a particular food too much, I am not as fond of it or don’t enjoy it as much the second time around, partially because it feels comfortable (physically) to eat too much, and no one wants to feel that way after a meal.

14. Be kind and forgiving to yourself. Sticking to anything 100% of the time isn’t going to be possible, but what makes these work for me is that if I do slip up, I don’t beat myself up. Instead, I get back on track immediately and move forward. After all, we’re human. We’re going to make mistakes, but the longer we stick to habits that we gradually see working, the more apt we are to be less tempted to stray.

15. Create a life you love. Continually strive to create a life that involves your passion, routines that invigorate you and people who uplift you. When you create a life that you love, you will choose to eat food to fuel you, not to comfort you, and then . . . then, you will have become the master of food and not the other way around.

Make no mistake. I am not stick-thin. In fact, I remember shopping in Paris this summer in Eric Bompard being helped by one of the saleswomen and noticing that her hips were quite narrow compared to mine, but you know what? For the first time, I was happy in my body. I knew I was at a weight that I am happy with and love, so I could appreciate her unique beauty and not be envious. It was an amazing feeling!

I know these tips sound far too simple, and I trust me I know that every body is different, but once we establish the idea of respecting our bodies and not reaching for food to make us happy, we will find a happier way of living because we will feel better in our skin and discover we are beginning to live up to our true potential.

Below are a few books in which I found inspiration to not make drastic changes, but instead create a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle:

Images: (1) (2) 

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September 18, 2012

This & That: No. 25

Inspiration, a calendar full of French style tips and ideas as well as a recipe for a decadent comfort food indulgence . . .


~Splendid Market

In the beginning of September, Emily, author of the blog Splendid Market, shared with her readers that she had arrived in the South of France. Originally from Seattle, she excitedly welcomed her readers along as she spends the next five months in a world so many dream about. A diary of sorts, but with the addition of wonderful images and Emily’s wonderful prose and personality, if you’re looking for a taste of France no matter where you live, be sure to stop by her blog. 

~Blog Post

~8 Ways You’re Wasting Life – Marc and Angel Hack Life

I’m always in the mood for a pep talk, even when I’ve feeling pretty good about things. If nothing else, to reassure me that I’m going about things in the right manner. Marc and Angel Hack Life’s post “8 Ways You’re Wasting Life” is just the sort of post that regardless of how you are feeling, will serve as reminder to keep doing those things you know will lead you in the direction you want to go.


~Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

I’ve been watching Katie Couric’s talk show lately, and on Thursday last week, she had on her show (for the full hour) author of the recently released book Daring Greatly, Brene Brown. Her concepts are challenging, yet insightful. Her inspiration motivating and in their own way intoxicating as we all wish to discover the success that only taking a risk can bring, but she also speaks of the reality of risk taking. However, despite the chance that things may not work out, she offers up the thought to always keep in mind, what if you never tried? It’s a book I now have on my wish list and look forward to reading when I find a spare weekend.


~Lobster Roll – GOOP

Ever since I savored the decadent lobster roll at Pearl’s Oyster Bar in the West Village, I have had a inclination to seek out lobster roll recipes. So when I was perusing Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog GOOP and discovered a post sharing a recipe to make just what I was dreaming of, I wanted to share it with you. Not only does she share a recipe from her dear friend Patrick Keane, but she also shares her recommendations on where to find the perfect lobster roll in a handful of cities if you don’t feel like making one yourself. And guess what? Pearl’s Oyster Bar was on the list (the image is exactly how mine was served – spaghetti fries, a bit of greens and a wonderful entree). Definitely a recipe to keep in on file – just in case.


~Parisian Chic 2013 Weekly Planner by Ines de la Fressange

The success of former Chanel model Ines de la Fressange’s book Parisian Chic has provoked another publication filled with even more stylishly chic fashion inspiration. Just released this past July, Fressange’s Parisian Chic 2013 Weekly Planner is full of fashion tips and fresh beauty and style advice, as well as insights about how to live life to its fullest all tied into a weekly planner. I certainly look forward to bringing together two of my loves - “to-do” lists and fashion, don’t you?


~Yumi Kim Sophie Top - $143

Lately, I’ve been having a predilection for silk blouses, so when I discovered Yumi Kim’s lavender silk Sophie top, I was smitten. Ideal for spring, but easily transitional into fall with layers or tucked into a form fitting pencil skirt or more casual with straight-leg or skinny jeans, this hue of purple would be a wonderful blouse to add to a stylish closet.

September 17, 2012

11 Ways to Live More Mindfully

“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”
– James Baraz

During this past weekend, I dramatically slowed my life down as I knew that when today (Monday) arrived, my life would quickly pick up speed. After leaving the hustle of NYC, I escaped for a few days to my family’s country getaway where I could be alone, walk on quiet gravel roads and sit out on the deck taking in amazing few of what Mother Nature has created. (My dogs too enjoyed this decision as they didn’t have to be on a leash the entire time.)

This getaway afforded me the opportunity to read with abandon, and one of the books I’ve been wanting to make my way through was the recently released Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin. A wonderful book, laid out monthly in order of the school year (beginning with the month of September and wrapping up in May) all the while sharing ways to create a, you guessed it, happier home. One of the statements that I latched onto immediately was the fact that in general, mindful people are happier. She goes on to explain that if you are living mindfully, you are creating a home and a life that speaks to who you are, what your needs are and what your pleasures are as well.

So I couldn’t help but contemplate this idea of mindfulness. How does one become more mindful? For myself, the ability to slow down my life when I need it by getting away is very grounding. It allows me to settle down and make sure the trajectory I am on, whatever that may be, is the right one. Because what I have found when you’re going a million miles a minute is that it’s hard to notice that you’ve missed the exit for your dreams. And even if you do notice it, you’re going far too fast to change lanes.

And this is where mindfulness comes into play. When we are mindful, we are aware of what is going on in the present moment, we are are aware of the decisions we are making and the direction they may take us, we are aware of how we are living our lives, and are at peace with it – thus filling our lives with more happiness.

Today, I’ve gathered together 11 ways to become more mindful in your day to day life. With so much stimulation due to technology and media, it can be easy to lose our focus, lose track of time and forget why we’re doing what we’re doing. But by living consciously in the present, and choosing to be more mindful, we are helping ourselves to create a more fulfilling life that is in alignment with what we wish our lives to be.

1. Be present in the now. Stop dwelling on the past – learn the lesson and move forward. Don’t get lost in thoughts of the future – set your goals and a plan to achieve them, then get busy in the current moment. If someone is talking, give them your full attention. If you’re at a meeting or at the dinner table, put your phone away. Give the moment you’ve chosen to be in or are required to be in your full attention.

“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

2. Eliminate multi-tasking. Choose to one thing at a time, doing it to the best of our ability (which is now possible because you’re giving it your full attention). Always keep in mind quality, not quantity, even when it comes to completing tasks.

3. Create bumpers in your schedule. Instead of scheduling everything back-to-back, make sure you schedule time in between where nothing is expected of you. Why do this? So that when you are at the meeting with your colleagues, they have your full attention and you’re not checking the clock to see when you need to dash out the door to your dentist appointment. By doing this, you not only reduce your stress and anxiousness, but you also allow yourself to be present which increases the quality of work you offer at that particular moment.

4. Eat slowly, appreciate the food you are feeding your body. So often, when we are hungry, we just shove food in – any kind of food – be it bland and tasteless or processed and unhealthy. By choosing to slow down when you eat, you experience all the flavors, and if something doesn’t taste quite right, you stop eating, but if something tastes delightful, you can savor it and allow your body to tell you when it’s full.

5. Carve out time to just be by yourself . . . to do nothing. Five minutes of just chill time to catch your breath, put things in order in your mind so that you can let them go or maybe to close your eyes is a simply luxury that is a necessity in our daily lives. Do not feel guilty scheduling this time into your day.

6. Be the master of your life, rather than letting your life master you. When we slow down our lives and aren’t rushing from one obligation to the next, we are forced to come to terms with how we are living. I genuinely believe that part of the reason so many people cram their days full of demands and activities is because they don’t want to address the reality that the life they’re living isn’t exactly what they would prefer. But they’ve acquiesced to what has evolved and keep going at mach ten so they don’t have to deal with how they might really feel when they realize they haven’t mastered their life, but in fact, the exact opposite has happened.

”The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice there is nothing we can do to change until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.” -R.D. Laing

7. Understand what you need. When you find time to quiet the world around you, you become more in tune with what brings you joy and conversely what makes you uncomfortable. At this point, you are then able to dissect why you feel these particular feelings. Once you understand what makes you come alive, what brings you tranquility and what agitates you, you can then design your life accordingly, thus being the master of your life.

8. Prioritize and eliminate. Priorities will change as you evolve and grow, and that it why it is important to regularly (yearly, bi-yearly, etc) assess what it important to you so that you can create the life you wish to live. When you are clear about your priorities, you will then need to let go of things that are no longer supporting the life you wish to create. For some this will be easy, but for many this will not; however, there are only so many hours and so much energy in any given day. Find your strength, know that the life you desire is worth it and become the master of it. Initially eliminating sounds harsh, but look at what you’re gaining. More time with the people you want to foster quality relationships with, more productivity in your chosen career, ultimately, more quality which will create a more fulfilling life, and before long, you won’t miss what you’ve let go because you’ll be too busy reveling in what you’ve finally been able to create.

9. Incorporate the phrase, “Let me get back to you.” Often, we are invited or asked to do something when we are speaking to someone face to face or on the phone, and robotically we say yes. Depending on the person who is asking, we may have the reflex of saying no. Either way, choose instead to utter the above mentioned phrase, giving yourself time to digest, contemplate and check to see if you’re able to and/or want to involve yourself. By doing this, you eliminate the need to break your word when you remember you aren’t able to help because of a conflicting appointment. And more importantly, it allows you to be very mindful about the decision you make.

10. Be aware of your surroundings. While you’re walking, driving, standing, or sitting, be aware of the nature, people, architecture that surrounds you. So often we go about our days that become routine and we fail to notice the changing of the leaves, the birds singing to welcome the day or the detailed architecture that we pass by. While sometimes it seems easier to notice what is wrong, why not choose to notice each day what is working, functioning well and going about as expected?

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh

11. Notice a need and act. Simple acts of kindness throughout the day aren’t expected, but are almost always appreciated. If you see your secretary is frazzled, asked her what you can do to help. If you notice someone could benefit from you holding open the door for them as they are leaving the grocery store, hold it open. Simple gestures that demonstrate your mindfulness of what is going on in the present moment are ways you can be more mindful. By involving yourself in this way, you are cultivating a more positive environment.

As you can see, it doesn’t take grand gestures, large amounts of money or excess amounts of time to live more mindfully, and the pay off can be quite amazing.

Images: (1) 


September 16, 2012

ModMade Goods Giveaway!

If you are someone who is drawn to beautiful clothing, decor, and experiences, but also prefers to support Made in the USA businesses and entrepreneurs, then I have a feeling you will enjoy perusing through the new website ModMade Goods.

Founded by former editor LauraU online magazine, Karee Laing, who I have known for almost two years, has created ModMade Goods which is an online retailer that specializes in handcrafted goods and objects created in the USA.

With a passion for vintage and modern, Karee has accumulated for your online shopping experience items of fashion, jewelry, decor, ceramics, gifts, spa goods and stationery that not only allows you to bring more beauty into your life, but also supports their goal of donating “a portion of every online order to a few local charities - just our little way of paying it forward!”

Today, ModMade Goods as teamed up with The Simply Luxurious Life to offer a lucky reader a $50 gift certificate so that they can peruse the website and pick out an item (or two) of their choice (I especially like their stationery and shopper totes!). The winner will also win a complimentary small ModMade pouch (seen in the image below with the models).

Beginning today and running through next Wednesday, September 26th, the winner will be announced in Friday, September 28th weekly newsletter, as well as on The Weekend . . . post on the same day.

Here’s how to enter:

TO ENTER: Leave a comment about your favorite item on the ModMade Goods site (leave the comment here on the blog – The Simply Luxurious Life)

1. "Like" ModMade Goods on Facebook
2. Tweet about this giveaway. To make it easy you can tweet this: "Enter the Simply Luxurious Life Giveaway @thesimplyluxuriouslife @modmadegoods #modmadelaunch!"
3. Follow the ModMade Goods Blog
4. Blog or Facebook about this giveaway. Please include the URL in your comment. {4 extra entries}
5. Follow ModMade Goods on Pinterest

(For each of these extra entries, please leave an additional comment on The Simply Luxurious Life blog stating what your extra entry was)

Good Luck!

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September 14, 2012

The Weekend . . .

One of my favorite moments while in Manhattan this past week was finding a few moments of free time to wander through Central Park. As I mentioned in this post, I found Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ Reservoir and decided to take a seat, nibble on a French pastry and take a few deep breaths as I pinched myself for being able to enjoy this wonderful experience of traveling to New York during fashion week. Next to where I sat was the Bow Bridge (pictured above), and I think it was the ability to escape for a quiet respite while in one of the world’s most driven, energetic cities in the world that made this moment all the more lovely.

During the past six weeks I realize I have been very, very fortunate to travel to the three places in the world I for so long had only dreamed about, and as I go into this last weekend before the school year begins, I want to continue to bring to you the reader inspiration to live and cultivate your most amazing simply luxurious life. Because one of the most rewarding lessons I have derived from all of this is that life has wonderful, breath-taking-away moments it wants to share with us if only we dare to dream that the impossible is indeed possible. Now, go about the business of putting yourself out there and reveling in the beauty that life has to offer.

Thank you so much for choosing to travel with me via the blog or contacting me while I was in New York (via Twitter, Email, Facebook, etc). Your tips, questions and excitement added to the all-around making of an experience I will never forget.

And as you can imagine, while this past seven days was the opening week of Fashion Week beginning in New York City, the blog has been busy. Below is a list of the regular weekly posts, posts journaling my three days in the Big Apple and twelve NYFW Spring 2013 collections that I wanted to share with you. Have a look . . .

~The most popular post of the week . . . High Standards Equal a High Quality of Living

~Style Inspiration: New York Fashion Week – SS 2013

~This & That: No. 24 . . . a new talk show, a trendy fun scarf and some of my New York City top picks to visit

~Ever want to know why I’m so passionate about sharing how to live a simply luxurious life? Read Joelle of Something Charming blog’s interview with me in her series “Look at Her”.

~Why Not . . . Accessorize Your Work Week?

~And this week’s newsletter – issue #116 – click here to read.

Travel with me . . . ~While in New York . . .~

~Day One~

~Day Two~

~Day Three~

New York Fashion Week Spring 2013

~Rachel Zoe~


~Michael Kors~

~Oscar de la Renta~

~Carolina Herrera~

~Daniella Kallmeyer~

~Zac Posen~

~Diane von Furstenberg~

~Victoria Beckham~

~St. John~

~Behnaz Sarafpour~

~Jason Wu~

With September in full swing and offering wonderful, warm, yet fall-esque weather, I hope you have a restorative weekend. Until Monday, bonjour.

Images:  (1) pinterest (2) pinterest

September 13, 2012

Style Inspiration: New York Fashion Week SS 2013

Simply spending time outside of Lincoln Center can offer wonderful views of fashion editors, bloggers and buyers as they make their way to the shows. Many veterans of New York Fashion Week have commented on the increase in street style photographers at this year’s event, and despite the the blustery weather on Saturday, photogs kept snapping photographs. Here are my top picks of street style images captured in New York City this past week. Have a look.

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September 12, 2012

Rachel Zoe – Spring 2013 RTW

I am more than quite confident that the rumors were wrong because Rachel Zoe is and will continue to be doing just fine in the fashion industry if she keeps creating collections like her Spring 2013 RTW designs. Dripping in sequins in shades of white, gray and an occasional pop of deep blue, she adhered to her love for length and loose pieces, as well as floppy hats and oversized totes as accessories. White and black maxi dresses, as well as some soft peach and turquoise mixed up with the mainly neutral palette made up a line of clothing I look forward to purchasing a few items from (love the dress above, if only I had somewhere to wear it).

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J.Crew – Spring 2013 RTW

J.Crew’s Spring 2013 RTW collection held on to similar designs that clearly sell well in their stores and online – matchstick, cropped pants, pencil skirts and sequins, but Tom Mora and Jenna Lyons combined their whimsical, yet very successful talents to include a few new things this season with short sleeve shirt dresses, ruffled skirts and vacation dreamy maxi dresses. The hues were light for spring - a mix of pinks (blush and bright) as well as blues, yellows and bright greens. The silver pointed toe pumps (above) would be a fund trendy addition to add to a classic ensemble involving a classic suit jacket paired with skirt or cropped trousers. Overall, a wonderful, playful spring collection that will most certainly have me looking forward to spring.

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Michael Kors – Spring 2013 RTW

Michael Kors Spring 2013 RTW collection is one of my favorites this season and one of my favorites from him in a few years. Why? His use of primary colors, nautical stripes, slightly tweaking the classic trench by using color and leather, as well as using navy profusely throughout the entire line. First of all, I will admit I adore stripes, and secondly, I am always looking for classics with just a slight adjustment from previous seasons as I want to purchase items that will last more than one season.

This particular collection is one that contains pieces that will work as foundational wardrobe essentials that will most certainly carry over from season to season. One of his accessories that I think would be a lovely addition to any woman’s closet was his large, silver oval belt buckle. Contemporary, yet classic at the same time, as you will see throughout the collection, it can be wrapped around nearly every color and add just enough attention without being overwhelming. Have a look at the collection, and let me know what you think.

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Oscar de la Renta – Spring 2013 RTW

Tuesday in New York City was a beautiful, cloudless day, so with The Empire State building as a backdrop for the impressive and much anticipated Spring 2013 RTW collection of Oscar de la Renta, the critics were in store for an all-around exquisite experience.

With lace, delicate leather, black and white stripes as well as statement making accessories, such as grandiose rose necklaces, the collection involved elements that could easily have created a harsher facade, but masterfully, Mr. de la Renta weaved them all together to create a feminine collection with just a touch of modernity. Have a look at my favorite pieces, and click here to few the entire 60 piece collection.
Read more »

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Why Not . . . Accessorize Your Work Week?

Stylists and fashion gurus have long advised using accessories to complete an outfit. And there’s always a balance. You don’t want to be without any accessories at all (shoes, handbag, watch, etc), but you never want to wear too many pieces of jewelry or extra items as it detracts from the true beauty. After all, accessories are meant to accentuate what is already there.

With that said, choose to view the work week as your foundational wardrobe essentials. We all have a work week in one form or another, and we can either choose to let it take on a life of its own falling prey to its whims, or instead, we can choose to dictate how well-balanced and fulfilling it will be by accessorizing it each week with moments, activities, actions and thoughts that improve the quality no matter what the week at work has in store.

So as September continues to move along, and our lives begin to get back into a regular, busy routine, try to remember to always include a few accessories to look forward to and enjoy each and every week.

Below are a few examples of accessories you might want to consider sprucing up your week with:

1. Attend a fitness class led by your favorite pilates/yoga/cycling instructor

2. Buy ingredients for your favorite meal and schedule a particular day to sit down and enjoy it with your favorite drink of choice and company (alone or with someone)

3. Sip luxurious coffee and/or tea

4. Schedule a pampering treatment – blow-out/manicure/pedicure/massage/etc

5. Go out to dinner in the middle of the week or on Friday to celebrate the end of the work week

6. Pick up your favorite magazine

7. Order a decadent cup of chocolat chaud at your favorite chocolatier/coffee/patisserie. I just discovered another locale (my favorite is Arrowhead Chocolate’s in Joseph, Oregon) that serves homemade chocolate sauce and whip cream for the most ideal hot chocolate . . . Colville St.  Patisserie in Walla Walla, Washington (it honestly rivals Angelina's in Paris).

8. Wear more dresses during the day and enjoy it!

9. If you don’t subscribe to a daily newspaper, pick up the newspaper on the day that contains your favorite weekly feature – style/food/science/etc

10. Carve out daily reading time

11. Have brunch with someone whose company you thoroughly enjoy or want to get to know better.

12. Before heading out the door, don’t forget your lips, lashes and concealer

13. DVR your favorite television program and watch it on your own time without interruption.

14. Read your kids a bedtime story.

15. Plan ahead and read your local entertainment/social section and attend an event – book signing/concert/wine tasting/film/happy hour with your significant other, good friend or on your own

16. Make a date to wander through a bookstore or meander through the magazine section

17. Keep a journal, and at the end of the day if you only write what went well and nothing else (even if it’s as small as I washed my hair) write it down. Choose to focus on what is working. The positive thoughts will uplift you and give more chances for increased energy, while the opposing idea depletes you and increases your stress.

18. Step outside and take a walk, play your favorite podcast and give the day’s stresses a break from wandering around in your mind.

19. Meditate, even if only for five minutes.

20. Include a few hugs and kisses in your day for those you love

21. Read a blog/website/articles/magazines/newspaper at some point each day or at least once a week that makes you feel good, that inspires you and that gives you hope and motivation.

22. And always my go-to simple luxury recommendation, enjoy a decadent truffle at the end of the day as reward for eating well and not indulging in dessert.

23. Allow yourself to indulge in dessert once to three times a week, but stick to one serving so that you don’t feel guilty afterwards.

Now, after you’ve tailor made your week to involve productivity but also pampering and indulgences, each week you will hopefully see an improvement in your mood and the quality of living each day. Enjoy!

Images: (1) 

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September 11, 2012

This & That: No. 24

A few treasures I found during my stay in Manhattan as well as a new daytime talk show, free college courses open to anyone and everyone, and a book you foodies may want to take a look at . . .

~Books & Cooking

~Barefoot Contessa Book Tour in Seattle September 16th

If any of you appreciate Barefoot Contessa’s fool-proof recipes that really are as easy as she says and are as dependable as time, you’ll be excited to know she has a new cookbook coming out on October 30th. Titled Barefoot Contessa: Foolproof, she is going to be speaking and it is my understanding signing copies in advance this Sunday in Seattle at 2pm at Benaroya Hall, 200 University Street (click here for more details and prices).



While flipping through the weekly magazine The Week, I discovered an opportunity to continue to take college classes that interest me without having to pay for the tuition or the books. offers more than 121 college courses from well respected college institutions such as Penn State, Stanford and other well-known universities to people from around the world. Courses are streamed online, so you can watch the lecture when it best fits your schedule and most courses run 3-10 weeks. Peruse the selection and sign-up! My first class is Sociology 101 which begins in February, and I can’t wait to freshen up on one of my favorite subjects.


~J.Crew navy polka dot scarf - $65

I mentioned during my first day in New York City that I stopped into J.Crew. Well, with my hankering for building my scarf wardrobe, I found their scarves which are made out of soft, fine woven wool, to be $10 off the retail price (reducing the price to $55). So I picked up their navy polka version, and I love it. Paired with a navy dress or a soft winter white silk blouse, it’s a wonderful accessory for fall and winter. While I don’t usually purchase trends, I figure this scarf is a simple way of having fun with the polka dot trend of the season without spending too much.   


~Il Gattopardo – New York City

If you love Italian food and will be in New York City, I highly recommend making reservations at Il Gattopardo on West 54th street directly behind The Museum of Modern Art. Ideal for dinner or lunch, the service is spectacular and the food delicious! (Read more about my dining experience here.)


~Katie – Katie Couric’s daytime talk show on ABC

I don’t know about you, but I miss Katie Couric’s laugh and her ability to at the same time ask tough questions of guests. She was the first female anchor that I became used to watching when I’d wake up in the morning, so when she stepped down from the Today Show in 2006 (has it really been that long?), she was missed. Well, she’s back after her stint on CBS Evening News, and I think she may have found her niche. Her daytime talk show airs on ABC and just had its first episode yesterday (September 10th). Check your local listings for times, and I can say after watching the pilot show, while appearing to have some trepidation (which to me is testament to how passionate she is to what she’s doing), she came across as authentic and wholeheartedly invested in her new venture. I wish her the best of luck and much success.


~The Dry Bar

One of the luxuries I afforded myself while visiting Manhattan this past weekend were appointments at The Dry Bar in both the Flat Iron District and at Le Parker Meridien Hotel on 56th. With a simple system to book an appointment (online or using their free app), you can book an appointment for a $40 blow-out (including wash) that will be completed and leaving you looking spectacular in less than 40 minutes. Each time, the atmosphere was very welcoming as they offered you a drink of water, tea, coffee or a mimosa, and prompt service from every employee I encountered as they have a separate shampoo room prior to styling. Wi-Fi was also available. And on Saturday, upon walking out the door with my new ‘do, with the rain pouring down, they equipped me with a yellow umbrella. I couldn’t think of better walking advertisement for their business. Dry Bar locations are located throughout the United States, so be sure to check their website. And the good news, if the location isn’t in NYC, then blow-outs are only $35.

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