The Simply Luxurious Life®: February 2012  

February 29, 2012

Why Not . . . Become Financially Independent?

Last year I wrote a series of posts focused on the theme of money and finances (click here to see the entire list). And with today being the last day of the shortest month of the year (and an extra day we don’t normally have), I thought I’d focus on the cornerstone of a healthy, stable, independent life that aids in creating your most fulfilling life.

Money is not always fun to talk about especially when you don’t have much of it or are in debt, but ignoring it will never solve the problem or create successful habits that will better support your dreams.
Whether you are single or married, I strongly advocate for creating a life that is established through financial independence. In other words, by being financially independent, you then make big and small decisions because you want to rather than because you have to and when the latter occurs, it ultimately takes you off track as you strive to create your best life.

I’d like to share with you today five benefits of becoming financially independent:

Enables You to Pursue What Makes You Happy

Once you have a financially sound foundation, you are now able to pursue your passions, spend your free time as you wish, travel the world if you choose, treat your children or save for their education, pamper yourself, take that cooking class you’ve had your eye on or learn a new language or two. In other words, when you are able to live in a manner that is congruent with who you are, you become better in tune to which direction your life should go in order to arrive at your desired destination.

Boosts Your Confidence

It will take time to become financially independent. For some it will take longer than others. However, no matter how long it takes, it is when you successfully reach a point in your life where you have a enough to live on comfortably that you realize how capable and disciplined you are.  A sense of accomplishment washes over you and most people see an increase in their confidence. And confidence (not arrogance) is a very magnetic and beneficial characteristic.

Able to be the Curator of Your Life

When you have enough money to pay the bills without asking for help, when you have enough money to buy those tickets to Paris without asking for a handout or when you have enough money to live the life you desire without putting it on a credit card, you become free.  Free from owing anybody anything. Free from guilt. Free from obligation. Free to help those who you truly love and care about because now you can. Free to be single if you choose and not marry because you have to. Simply free and what better state of being is there to be?

Helps to Foster Healthy Relationships

One of the biggest stressors in a relationship is financial woes.  By getting your financially situation in order and knowing that you aren’t dating someone because of how much money they make but because you love being with them (and visa versa), you are establishing a much more stable foundation from which to build a lasting relationship. Do yourself and your partner or future partner a favor and respect yourself enough to take care of yourself financially. Needy isn’t attractive.  Remember what was mentioned about confidence? And remember one way to gain it? Become financially independent.

Peace of Mind

As I mentioned yesterday, one of the most effective and fiscally sound medicinal practices that aids in living a healthy life is a good night sleep.  And one way to ensure you have a good night sleep is to have your finances in order: knowing you don’t have outstanding balances, knowing that you’re able to pay your debt off in full each month, knowing that your bills are paid with extra in the bank.  There is nothing more sleep inducing than knowing you can take care of yourself financially.

Now, with all of this said, it is the end of the month and the near beginning of another. I’m off to balance my checkbook.

Images: (1) pinterest

February 28, 2012

33 Lessons Learned

February 28th is my birthday. And I am 33. And if 33 is anything like 32, I will feel beyond fortunate.
What I love about this journey we are all on called life is that there are endless lessons to be learned, and while I revel in finally having had learned some significant ones in my first thirty-three years, I know there are many more ahead just waiting to treat me to what they have to offer.

In September of this past year, I shared with you 26 Things I Know For Sure, but in the six months that have passed since, I have learned a few more lessons that I would like to share.

It’s funny, you know. For quite some time it can seem like nothing is going to work out, as though you are heading up against an insurmountable headwind, and then all of a sudden the winds die down to reveal amazing pearls that up until that point were in the process of being shaped, molded and polished, waiting for just the right moment to reveal themselves. So is life, no?

Below are 33 lessons I have learned:

1. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean I’m supposed to as well.

2. Place your desk to face a window or looking out into the office rather than to face a wall.

3. Amazing things can happen when you least expect them.

4. Respecting yourself and your path will draw others near you who value similar priorities.

5. When time doesn’t matter, you know you’ve found your passion, a good friend, or a partner (as long as the feeling is mutual).

6. DVR saves so much time – commercials? What are those?

7. Dream big.

8. Do the work now, even if the reward doesn’t come when you expected it would because when the opportunity eventually does presents itself, you’ll be able to pounce because you were prepared.

9. Being a doggie mama is a very important responsibility. I don’t know what I’d do without my boys – Norman and Oscar.

10. Becoming organized is a tried and true method toward alleviating stress and being more productive.

11. Letting go is not easy, but in doing so, the weight of that stress being lifting is very liberating.

12. Sometimes mothers do know best.

13. Financial security and being able to stand on your own two feet fiscally is a very empowering feeling.

14. Yes, anything is possible!

15. Walking every day is a simple and an effective form of exercise if adhered to consistently.

16. A decadent chocolate truffle before bed is a fabulous treat.

17. Feeling confident in the clothes you are wearing is a magnet for opportunities and respect if handled correctly.

18. Creating a sanctuary for yourself – whether it is an office or room in your home, or choosing to live by yourself – is a very necessary thing in order to remain balanced and focused.

19. Consignment clothes shopping – fabulous treasures await your discovery!

20. A good night sleep is priceless medicine.

21. A good blow-out is a simple way to treat yourself.

22. Always remain curious – buy that book, take that tour, watch that movie, hop on that plane.

23. Real life can be better than fairy tales . . . trust me.

24. Good friends are rare . . . nurture them, respect them, but don’t smother them.

25. Sequin tops . . . a great way to shine during the day and into the evening.

26. Create rituals for yourself and with those you love spending time with. Protect them and revel in those special moments.

27. Boundaries. Know where yours are and demand that others respect them.

28. Giving is so much better than receiving.

29. If it’s meant to be and you keep doing what needs to be done, it will find a way.

30. Less television is okay, but watching it to relax is okay too.

31. The coldest nights often come before the most beautiful spring sunrises.

32. Lead by example. Less talk. More doing.

33. It’s the every day moments when something is done “just because” that often are the most memorable.
Images: (1) Pinterest 

February 27, 2012

Set the World on Fire – Be Who You Desire to Be


“If you are what you should be, then you will set the world on fire.”

- St. Catherine of Siena

On April 29, 2011, Kate Middleton wed Prince William and is now Catherine Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. On that day, one of the numerous commentators uttered a quote depicting Catherine that I will never forget, and that quote was the one you see above.

Kate Middleton, defined who she was and did not let the public sway her prior to her nuptials. Kate Middleton chose to present herself to the world as the beautiful, refined lady that we now see dazzling Britain and the rest of the world, and she has indeed “set the world on fire”.

She did not shrink to a commoners expectations and believe simply because of William’s position of royalty that she should be in his shadow, but she also did not push and shove her way to the forefront. Instead, her character drew the limelight to where she is now standing. They adore her because of who she decided she would be, and who she is is someone who epitomizes the grace and style the world is absolutely captivated by.

Often, the mistake can be made that we succumb to the belief that our past defines us – where we grew up, who we used to hang out with, etc, etc and that we cannot escape it. However, the good news is each day is an opportunity to define who we really are, who we truly know ourselves to be. At the end of the day, who we are is completely up to each one of us.

“The greatest thing is, at any moment, to be willing to give up who we are in order to become all that we can be.” --Max De Preen

The thrilling and frightening part, depending upon how you wish to look at it, is that each day is a new opportunity to be who we want to be – a go-getter who doesn’t back down, a frugal gal who saves money for her future while creating stylish outfits that captivate onlookers, an entrepreneur who won’t let “no” stop her in her tracks, a person with a big heart who refuses to be cynical.  Whatever you want to be, you can be – don’t become stuck in the rut of believing something is impossible or that you no longer have the ability to change who you are – your behavior, your image, your lifestyle, etc.

While we all accept that we can’t change the past, we can change how we move forward – in what manner, style and demeanor.  So why not decide to be the self you want to be, the self you aspire to be and before you know it, habit will give way to the wish becoming the reality.

“Never mind searching for who you are.  Search for the person you aspire to be.”  ~Robert Brault

The world wants you to realize who you can become, who you are capable of being and when you hit the right note, when you tap into the essence of who you can be, the response will be electrifying and exhilarating.


*Raise the expectations of what you believe is possible for yourself

*Believe that anything is possible

*Find positive role models and surround yourself with a healthy social circle

*Get out of your own way

*Practice positive self-talk

*Cultivate good habits

*Be resilient & learn the lesson

*Be clear about what you want

*Muster up self-discipline

*Gather the essentials for a lovely and fulfilling life

Images: (1) pinterest (2) fashionandfittness (3) Source

February 26, 2012

Oscars 2012 Red Carpet – Best Dressed

The 84th annual Academy Awards red carpet was full of hits and misses, and while this year was in my opinion not as fruitful in “best” dresses (view my red carpet best dress from 2011), there were a handful that looked absolutely exquisite . . . beginning with Gwyneth Paltrow. Anyone who is fortunate to wear Tom Ford most certainly is receiving a garment that will draw attention for all the right reasons, but when worn by Gwyneth, the combination is quite impression. Have a look below at my list of the best dressed of 2012’s Oscar Red Carpet.  I’d love to know your thoughts and if you believe someone else should have been added to the list.

Gwyneth Paltrow in Tom Ford


Michelle Williams in Louis Vuitton


Stacey Keebler in Marchesa


Milla Jovovich in Elie Saab


Maria Menounos in Maria Lucia Hohan


Sandra Bullock in Marchesa


Louise Roe in Black Halo


Viola Davis in Vera Wang


Rose Byrne in Vivienne Westwood

Rooney Mara in Givenchy Couture


Emma Stone in Giambattista Valli


Tina Fey in Carolina Herrera


Meryl Strep in Lanvin (Best Actress winner)

Images via Fashionologie

February 24, 2012

The Weekend . . .

There are moments that happen in life that are completely unexpected, but undoubtedly turn out to be some of the most memorable times of our lives.  This past week, a few (and I feel fortunate to say that) such moments happened.  To the outsider it wouldn’t appear as anything special had occurred and maybe that is why such moments are all the more special.  There comes a point as we choose to continuously learn and grow and listen to where our lives are trying to lead us when we know certain opportunities will never come again and we must savor them because I believe that when we gain such wisdom and seize such moments, we open the door to even more amazing moments to cherish.

How are you doing? How are you feeling about the direction your life is taking? Are you listening to what your life is trying to say to you or are you trying like a fish swimming up stream and feel as though you aren’t making any progress?  If the latter is how you feel, take a moment.  Stop.  Assess why you are not progressing like you had hoped and be honest with yourself. No, getting where you want won’t be easy, but sometimes we continue to behave or make decisions that are never going to behoove are chances at being successful. Find stillness, learn to trust yourself a bit more and be brave.  Greatness awaits.

Here is a look back on the past week on The Simply Luxurious Life blog, one that was filled with great discussion and debate (see this week’s Why Not . . . ? post):

*5 Steps to Instill Positive Self-Talk

*Style Inspiration – adding a bit of color

*Docica – February 2012 issue – A Simple Living online Magazine

*Why Not . . .Revel in Being a Woman?

*Jennifer Aniston – InStyle US March 2012

*The Darlings & High Octane Women – two books I highly recommend

*Burberry Fall 2012 RTW – Christopher Bailey impresses yet again

And this week’s newsletterissue #89 – click here to read and see why more than 3000 subscribe.

Have a wonderful weekend. I can’t thank you, my readers, enough for your continuous support and willingness to reach out, share your thoughts and stop by so frequently.  I feel very fortunate. Look out for yourself a bit this weekend and then help somebody out as well. Until Sunday night when the red carpet of the Oscars begins, bonjour.


Images: (1) everythingyouaskme:  (2) lovequotesrus:

February 23, 2012

Style Inspiration

With spring begging to begin (or maybe it’s me begging spring to begin), it couldn’t hurt to add a little pop of color to our wardrobes to hasten its arrival. Recently in London during fashion week, all sorts of color combinations and outfits popped up as you will see below. Trust me, nothing is off limits, but there is a way to combine shades you wouldn’t normally consider in such a way that is still quite luxurious.  Have a look.

  Images: (1) Vogue (2) life-spire (3) fashion-streetstyle (4) ladolcediva (5) phaz-ing:(6) (7) Vogue  (8) what-do-i-wear:  (9) fortheloveofpretty.n (10) redleathers: (11)  richesforrags (12) adriannetobechi (13) topshop:(14) garypeppervintage   (15) Fashionologie

February 22, 2012

Docica – February 2012 Issue

The editors of the simple living online magazine Docica have just released the February issue, and it is one that I feel fortunate and proud to be able to contribute to.  With articles focused on style, a heartwarming adoption story accompanied with tres chic photography, simple styling ideas for your home and scrumptious recipes, do take a moment when you have time to read the magazine. I have a feeling you’ll find something that you’ll enjoy.

Why Not . . . Revel in Being a Woman?


Women’s rights seems to be the topic of great debate recently as a variety of stories have brought contraception, health care and women’s equality to the forefront of the news. While I will spare you from jumping on my soapbox, I will say, it certainly has revved up my engines as I try to not take the many rights and freedoms I have as a woman living in the United States for granted.

Did you know?

*There are still 3 countries in the world that do not allow women the right to vote (Saudi Arabia, Brunei, Omen)

*Women in the United States weren’t allowed equality with regards to access to credit (buying a home, opening a credit card, etc) unless their father or husband would sign for them until the early 1970’s

*Only 1% of the world's assets are in the name of women. (via OnlineWomeninPolitics)

*Some of the latest countries to grant women suffrage are: Switzerland (1971), Iraq (1980), Namibia (1989), Kazakhstan (1994).

*28 women are current world leaders (including monarchies)

While there are endless statistics I could list, one of the most poignant and eye-opening women’s rights movies I highly suggest you watch is HBO’s Iron Jawed Angels starring Hilary Swank, Anjelica Houston, Francis O’Connor and Patrick Dempsey. Needless to say, it will help American women, but I do believe all women, to better appreciate the rights that were fought long and hard for.

Keeping all of this in mind, I came up with the many ways we as women can revel in our womanhood which is a balancing act, but one that I feel quite proud in bearing as it is such a ponderous and hard fought responsibility we now have (and as you know, haven’t had for long).

1. Exercise your voice – vote!

2. Wear skirts and dresses with abandon. Wear them with confidence knowing that a fabulous pair of jeans will look just as amazing when the occasion calls.

3. Raise the bar higher. Always do your best and never hold back just because you’re worried about someone else’s feelings. If they are of mature character, they will appreciate being pushed to do their best as well.

4. Be a positive role model for younger generations. Young girls look up to their mothers, aunts, grandmothers and other women they come into contact with. Demonstrate with your actions and how you live your life that the life ahead of them is theirs to create.

5. Exercise, develop and engage your mind. Never stop learning. Whether it is taking classes at the nearby college, enrolling in a cooking or yoga class at night, going to the library and checking out books or watching intriguing shows and movies, continue to read and absorb information voraciously.  An education is something that can never be taken away from you.

6. Enjoy pampering yourself and applying your make-up, doing your hair, always keeping in mind that you are more than your outer shell, but feeling beautiful sure increases a woman’s confidence.

7. Don’t play the victim and become the director of your own life.

8. Mind your manners and rise above those who have none.

9. Financially support yourself because you can – don’t take this for granted. One of the biggest stresses to any relationship is money, so be sure that you have your financially situation under control so that you know you can always land on your feet no matter what may come in the future.

10. Provoke curiosity, instead of titillating. Women are not trophies and our beautiful curves should be tastefully adorned, not tackily clad.  Dress in a manner that hints at what’s underneath, don’t share the entire story.

11. Respect your body and demand that others do the same. If they refuse to, walk away.

12. Nurture someone – your children, your pets, your dreams, yourself. While nurturing may be engrained in most women’s nature, it doesn’t mean we all are drawn to nurture in the same way. Many women want children – fabulous! I applaud responsible, loving and devoted parents, as we need more of them, but not every woman wants children. Some are perfectly find nurturing their dreams, as well as supporting their significant others. Whatever you choose to care for, do it with zeal and without shame.

13. Know women’s history – be appreciative and never take your rights for granted. Too many women gave so much for women they would never know. Don’t just blithely toss these rights aside.

14. Demand equality.

15. Treat men the way you would want to be treated. Treat ALL people the way you would want to be treated – with respect, courtesy, and kindness.

16. Refuse to be stereotyped. Many people still may be comfortable with patriarchal traditions, but that doesn’t mean their assumptions should influence your direction and decisions. Live for yourself and know that you are worthy of respect regardless of your sex and if you’re willing to work hard and do what needs to be done, you too deserve what you seek.

17. Allow a man to court you – you are the prize, so behave in such a manner. And throughout the process, let him know you appreciate his thoughtfulness. And always remember we teach others how to treat us, so respect yourself with your actions and applaud those actions that are respectful.

18. Break the rules, but follow some too. It really is beneficial to let the guy ask you out.  Trust me on this one, refer to #17. (see comments below for my explanation as to why I wholeheartedly believe this)

19. Be respectful toward other women.  You may not like some women or agree with them, but don’t belittle them.  Be kind.  Set your boundaries and move on.

I have a feeling this list could be much longer, so I’m curious about the ways in which you enjoy reveling in being a woman.  Please do share and have a wonderful Wednesday.

Other posts you might enjoy on the topic of women from The Simply Luxurious Life:

February 21, 2012

Jennifer Aniston – InStyle US March 2012

Okay, I will admit, there are two (okay, probably more), but most definitely two actresses that draw my attention when they appear on any cover – Sarah Jessica Parker and Jennifer Aniston.  So when I noticed Jennifer on the cover of InStyle’s March 2012 Spring issue (the one magazine I don’t subscribe to and should), I immediately grabbed my copy.

Looking bronzed and blue eyed as ever, Jennifer looks her casually chic self in the photos. With her new movie Wanderlust hitting theaters this Friday – February 24th (which is where she met her current beau – Justin Theroux), the 43 year old opens up about life, fitness, style and relationships. I have my copy, do yours?