The Simply Luxurious Life®: May 2012  

May 31, 2012

Style Inspiration: Basic, Yet Quite Chic

Mastering your own individual style is something that doesn’t take a lot of extra accessories or layers, but instead an understanding of works for your figure, lifestyle and personality. By balancing the items worn together – a silk top paired with a matte skirt, or a solid blue skirt paired with a leopard print top, you create a balance that establishes classic ideas with unique touches of style. A few other examples: boyfriend jeans with strappy stiletto heels, an above-the-knee dress with flat knee-high boots, or a fitted blazer over a playful simple t-shirt with your favorite jeans. Have a look at a this week’s collection of outfits to find ideas to work into your style.

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May 30, 2012

Why Not . . . Eliminate the Drama?

The drama queen. There always seems to be at least one in every class of high school, and she always seems to be able to garner attention whenever someone else’s was shining a bit too brightly, or when the spotlight on her was beginning to dim.

Whether from a distance or someone you knew more directly, you probably can recall this type of person and the type of behaviors that they regularly exhibit. Behaviors perhaps were arguments, or filthy, hurtful rumors or pretending to know something that everyone else would want to know – in other words, they loved having the power – the attention – of those around them.

But such behavior is draining of valuable finite energy for the people who choose to spend time with this person, and it certainly is exhausting for the drama queen herself. After all, if she’s spending time concocting falsehoods and intriguing, yet pointless bits of information, when is she able to find time for things that really matter?

I think it is safe to say, drama in our lives is not an attribute of a well-lived life. Even though the drama queens may have raised their ugly heads in our youth, such people still exist in adulthood unfortunately, and it is up to each one of us to refuse to get sucked into their web.

How to Eliminate Drama

1. Change what you talk about

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

2. Keep some things to yourself

While it’s good to have mystery and maintain your privacy, it’s also important to not share everything with people you don’t know all that well. Instead, when with others, follow #3.

3. Be observant

We gain knowledge by observing, not by talking (unless we are asking questions of course). So choose to observe others’ behaviors and tendencies because as we all know, actions speak much louder than words ever will.

4. Create healthy boundaries

Personal information should remain personal. In other words, if you don’t trust that someone will be able to keep information private, don’t share it with them.

5. Take time to assess

Before jumping to conclusions and assuming the worst, take a step back so that you can gather your emotions and let them calm down. Then with a clear head, evaluate the situation by putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.  By doing this, you will be better able to make a sound decision that you won’t regret in the future.

6. Learn how to let off steam in a healthy manner

We all get upset. After all, we are human, but take the time to monitor how you feel and what makes you feel that way when you become angry, jealous, defensive, etc. Then look for ways to healthily let go because bottling it up won’t help either. Maybe it is journaling, talking to a trusted friend, running or weeding your garden. Whatever activity helps you release the negative emotions, partake in it before you do something you might regret.

7. Be proactive

Often part of the reason emotions run high and in a negative direction is because we are emotionally exhausted due to either over-scheduling or constantly placing ourselves in situations that are not healthy. Whether it is taking on too many responsibilities or spending time with people who constantly make you feel bad about yourself, choose in advance how much time you really have to offer and who you spend your time with as a way to reduce negative emotions and exhaustion.

8. Learn to say no

When you know what you can do, and what will enhance your life, it becomes much easier to say no to things that will not be beneficial. While no one wants to hear “no”, using this power is a way of respecting yourself.

9. Assume the best

Eliminate the cynic that wants to raise its ugly head and assume the best until you have all of the facts. Yes, you will get your heartbroken or be disappointed at times, but, as my dad reminded me, wouldn’t you rather want to make the mistake of expecting something wonderful instead of the alternative?

10. Spend time with positive people

The simplest way to reduce drama is to spend time with people who shun it as well. In other words, seek out positive, supportive people. I’ve mentioned it many times on the blog, but we are a product of our environments, and the more we accept this, the more we accept responsibility for choosing better scenarios to place ourselves in. A great book to read on this subject is Situations Matter by Sam Sommers.

The beauty of eliminating drama comes in the form of living a more fulfilling, pleasure-filled life. Below are a few minutes that immediately came to my mind:

Benefits of Eliminating Drama

1. Build respectful relationships
2. Reduce stress
3. Create stability
4. Increase positive energy
5. More productivity
6. Build self-confidence
7. Reduce cynicism
8. Cultivate loving relationships
9. Increase in creativity
10. Ability to focus on what really matters

In conclusion, the life we create for ourselves is determined by the attitudes we embody, the people we surround ourselves with and the way we spend our time. Choose wisely.

Listen to what lifts you up and inspires you, and pay close attention to what tears you down or belittles your confidence. Run to the former and run from the latter. Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone.

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May 29, 2012

Net-a-Porter End of Season Sale!

The semi-annual end of the season sale has begun at Net-a-Porter. With reductions from 30-50% on top designer clothing, shoes, bags and more, be sure to peruse their website.  And keep checking back, as prices do drop as the sale continues into the next few weeks.

Below are a few of my top picks and items I thought would be wonderful complements to a well-built closet.

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This & That: No. 9

I have been planning my summer over the past weekend. Dreaming of my upcoming vacations and also making sure that I remain productive and on task, as there is nothing more refreshing than coming home after being gone for a few weeks and knowing that everything is still in order upon returning.

However, with the must-do’s in line, it’s now time for me to have fun with my planning, so I’ve gathered together my summer nail polish of choice, ideas for restaurants to visit while traveling abroad and a few posts, blogs and recipes to try as well.  Have a look . . .

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May 28, 2012

8 Ways to be More Courageous

"Courage is an angel that makes the difference between a good life and a great life."
- Fairly Legal

Rosa Parks. Mahatma Gandhi. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Jackie Robinson. Alice Paul. The unknown rebel standing in front of Chinese tanks in Tiananmen Square.

Each one of these individuals stepped out of their comfort zone to stand up for what they believed was the right thing to do regardless of a lack of popular support or having a clear position of power.  Each of these incidents dealt with civil liberties and a desire for justice that demanded the mustering up of courage and the willingness to place themselves in a situation where the outcome would be unknown. Due to the stance that each of these courageous people took they helped make the world a bit more accepting, a bit more just, and a bit more humane.

While these were grand and impressive acts of courage, let us not dismiss how we too can live courageously to improve our lives. After all, one must practice being courageous and be willing to step up to the plate whenever a moment presents itself, and being able to step up to the plate only gets easier with practice on smaller matters first. If we want a life of our dreams, rather than a life that is presented to us that we decide to settle for, we must live courageously.

How to be Courageous:

1. Read, read, read. Gain knowledge. Knowing something and having a credible source (or more - which is preferred) will build your confidence about what you know to be true.

2. Stop procrastinating and give it a try. Do your best. Learn from the results of that first attempt and do not become discouraged.

3. Face what you fear. Look it in the eye and determine what exactly it is that you are afraid of. Rejection? Being laughed at? Not being accepted? Often our fears are telling us what we desire the most in our lives, and it is up to us to listen to this internal message and follow that yearning.

4. Take a step outside of your comfort zone. By being open to meeting new people, visiting a new city that you don't know but are curious about, changing up your routine a bit or having a taste of something that you assumed wouldn't be to your liking, you are gradually strengthening your ability to be courageous. (Often you are simply one small adjustment away from what it is you desire - read more about this here.)

"Life begins at the end of our comfort zone."

5. Practice Standing up for What you Believe is Right/Just/etc If your desire is to be able to have enough strength to stand up to those who are bullying you, don't allow others to be bullied either.  In other words, practice standing up for others who need a helping hand. It is often easier to be courageous when someone else is in need, rather than standing up for ourselves. So by being clear about what you will and won't tolerate, learn how to find the gumption within yourself to have a voice when it is necessary.  This will help you find your voice when you need to stand up for yourself.

6. Be Disciplined. In order to have self-discipline, you must be very clear about what you want, and thus, very clear about what you don't want. As you begin making progress toward what you do desire, you will be less easily swayed to go off course which will make it easier to display self-discipline, allowing you to proceed forward even if no one understands your efforts.

7. Less Analysis, More Action. Similar to slowly making your way into a cold swimming pool inch by inch versus jumping in cannon ball style, the act of just doing it and not over-thinking can actually work in your favor. Why? To begin with, you wouldn't be considering it if it wasn't something you were interested in. Secondly, when we start analyzing, we welcome self-doubt which erodes our self-confidence. Yes, I believe it is a good idea to always try to make the best decision, but once our toes are on the line (which means were quite curious in the first place), it's time to just jump in. For example, it has been a dream of mine to attend New York Fashion Week. After two years of blogging, I finally have purchased the tickets, reserved the hotel room and am eagerly waiting for September to arrive. Do I know exactly how it will work when I get there? No. But I'm betting on myself that I will figure it out as I go, and whatever doesn't work out, will be chalked up to a lesson learned when I return the next time.

8. Trust Yourself. With each year of life experience, as you pour over what you enjoy versus what makes you cringe, what makes your heart sing versus what tears at your heartstrings, you hone your instincts. You begin to realize what is worth taking a risk for - love, a particular career, justice, etc. And when you know what is important to you, you begin to realize that you must choose what you care most about over the fear that stands in the way.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”  ― Meg Cabot

As you begin to live more courageously in your life, know that your actions speak volumes. Without question, you are daring to say the life I wish to live is worth the effort.  The life I know is possible won't be easy initially to achieve, but I am willing to fight for it. You are saying, "A good life may be nice, but I know a great life is possible." With each action of courage - standing up for what you value, speaking out for those who don't have a voice, taking action when too many people are afraid to step in and help, you are not only creating a better life for yourself and those you love, but others you may not even know about.


May 25, 2012

The Weekend . . .

A holiday weekend has arrived, and it couldn’t come at a more perfect time. While life has thrown me a bit of a disappointment this past week, there’s nothing more soothing than heading to my family’s country retreat with my dogs in tow and enjoying some leisurely moments with those I love.

To be surrounded by nature’s whispers, spring’s bounty and loving laughter and conversation, I feel fortunate to have such a weekend in front of me.  I too hope you have a refuge or get-a-way that provides exactly what you need this weekend.

This past week on the blog has been busier than usual and full of life, fashion and decor inspiration. Have a look:

~Oscar de al Renta Resort 2013

~Why Not . . . Stop Competing with Others?

~Just released . . . JENESEQUA – Issue #8

~Style Inspiration: Details

~Ideal Closet Decor – May’s Houzz Ideabook

~This & That: No. 8 . . . a stylish taxi, Nordstrom’s half-yearly sale and more

~Why It’s Okay to be Boring . . . the most popular post of the week

~Cannes Film Festival Best Dressed – Week 1

And read this week’s newsletter issue #102 – click here.

Until Monday, bonjour.


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

May 24, 2012

Just Released . . . JENESEQUA – Issue #8

Jenesequa has just released the newest issue (#8) which is Parisian inspired. After all, spring is a wonderful time to dance through the streets of Paris. Okay, anytime would be the perfect time to visit the City of Light. Either way, this issue is full of fashion, lifestyle, beauty and decor ideas.

Remember, even if you don’t have an iPad, you can now view on your iPhone – click here to download the free apps.

Below is a list of my contributions:

~Featured Article~ “How to Have Poise”

~Fashion~ “May Style Inspiration”

~Fashion~ “6 Ways to Add Pastel”

~Lifestyle~ “How to Become Fit and Fabulous” – a profile of Nell Stephenson and her new book Paleoista

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Style Inspiration: Details

(Shop Tory Burch "Caroline' ballerina flats here)

Over the weekend, I began going through my closet, trying to pare it down to the 10 Item Capsule Wardrobe that Jennifer L. Scott writes about in Lessons from Madame Chic.

After eliminating anything that either didn’t fit, was worn out or didn’t mesh with my signature style any more, my closet had much more breathing space, and I had a few extra hangers. More important than that however, was that I had zeroed in on what worked for my figure, my lifestyle and my skin tone. I then went on to make a list of anything I still needed (which was actually a lot less than I had expected), and what I discovered was that my foundational wardrobe simply needed touches of unique and fabulous accessories – scarves, earrings, belts, handbags, necklaces, shoes, etc.

So with that in mind, today’s Style Inspiration focuses on the details. Paired with quality foundational pieces that fit and best flatter you, you are able to have less in your closet, but always look chic when you mix and match with different accessories that speak to your personality and adhere to your signature style.

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May 23, 2012

Why Not . . . Stop Competing with Others?

“If you get yourself too engrossed in things over which you have no control, it will adversely affect the things over which you do have control.”
–John Wooden
Listening to yet another lecture on TED (my new favorite app), I came across John Wooden’s advice on true success. And toward the beginning of his speech I heard him state the following, “You should never try to be better than someone else.”

Believe it or not, this advice was instilled in John Wooden (the successful and well-respected UCLA basketball coach - 949-1975) growing up from his father growing up on a small farm in Indiana.
What? How can a coach (and a successful coach at that – 10 NCAA Championship) follow such a mantra? And then he explained.

“Never try to be better than someone else, always learn from others, and never cease trying to be the best you can be because that’s under your control. And if you get too engrossed and involved and concerned in regard to things over which you have no control, it will adversity affect the things over which you have control.”

A bit of a paradox most certainly. When you choose to only compete with yourself and not others, you place the responsibility of success on your shoulders, and at the same time allow yourself the opportunity to discover great contentment upon reaching your goals.

Today I’d like to take a look at why we should all strive to only compete with ourselves and leave others out of the game (figuratively speaking) per John Wooden’s advice.

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May 22, 2012

Ideal Closet Decor – May’s Houzz Ideabook

I mentioned this week that last weekend you would have found me in my closet, tossing, deliberating and eliminating anything that did not fit my signature style.

My goal was to pare down to in order to create a 10 Item Capsule Wardrobe, and while I am not at ten yet (per season), I am much closer than I was. What was reaffirmed through this task was that quality is something to pay attention to. And as Jennifer L. Scott states in her book Lessons from Madame Chic, if you keep less in your closet, only shopping for items that adhere to your style, flatter your skin tone and figure, you will find that you buy less which means you save more. So when you do go shopping, you can invest in quality pieces that will last.

For this month’s ideabook for Houzz, I shopped around and gathered together twenty items to help create and decorate an ideal closet that would not only look chic and stylish, but would also properly take care of the investment items in your wardrobe. From a garment steamer, linen organizing trays, customized hat boxes for storage and beautiful French benches and chairs, have a look to see what you too might want to incorporate into your closet, no matter what the size.

~Posts found on The Simply Luxurious Life for closet inspiration:

*A Luxurious, Yet Simple Closet (essential items for an ideal closet)

*A Tailored Shop at Home (images to inspire)

Image: Jenna Lyon’s Brooklyn townhouse closet

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This & That: No. 8

With guides for traveling to LA, an app to help traveling around in a new city easier and shopping inspiration for your closet and your home, this week’s This & That is something to take a look at . . .
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May 21, 2012

Oscar de la Renta – Resort 2013

Full of shimmering golds, radiant reds, crisp blues and refreshing greens, Oscar de la Renta’s 2013 Resort collection remained true to its feminine brilliance. With behind the scenes snapshots shared on Oscar PR Girl’s pinterest page as well a handful of runway looks, enjoy perusing through the most recent and my favorite designs from the collection. (Click here to view Oscar PR Girl’s pinterest page.)

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Why It’s Okay to be Boring

“Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.”–John Maxwell

A handful of times throughout my adult life I have been accused of being boring. Initially, such statements stung because I, like so many others, have been conditioned to believe that “boring” was negative and something to aspire not to be. But then, after much contemplation, I began to consider the source of the statement and then consider the context in which the statement was made. Having analyzed both aspects, I have come to own my boringness.

And here is why:

If being boring means . . .
. . . gradually accomplishing my goals, then I’m more than happy to attain success.

If being boring means . . .
. . . treating my body respectfully, then my future 80-year old body will thank me later.

If being boring means . . .
. . . respecting my instincts, then my self-esteem will will not be dashed.

If being boring means . . .
. . . enabling my focus to be unshakeable, then wasted time will not deter me.

If being boring means . . .
. . . going out, but coming home at a decent hour, then my energy level will be ready to go the next day without losing a step.

If being boring means . . .
. . . being seen as a leader, instead of a follower, then at least I know I’m living my life and not somebody else’s.

And if being boring means . . .
. . . taking care of all of the responsibilities I have accepted gladly (home ownership, doggie mama, educator, writer, adult, etc), then I know I am content with my youth, wish to leave it in the past and do not try to relive it.

Yes, I wholeheartedly accept the label of boring. Each year my life reaches a high that I had not seen before. And while there are many moments throughout the duration when I have stumbled, made mistakes or had to reassess how I approached something, I have come to realize that I am content with my life. And while some (who either don’t know me or refuse to accept and understand who I am) may see my life as boring, I find it quite exhilarating, and those who genuinely love and respect me don’t feel the need to pull me down with such petty remarks.

While at this point in my life it is time to put my nose to the grindstone and work without looking at the clock, I am confident that in doing so I will have time to let go a bit more later in my life. But what I am doing now, I quite enjoy. In fact, I thoroughly enjoy feeling productive at the end of the day – exhausted, but productive.  I have come to learn from observing others’ mistakes and successes, that success doesn’t just land in our laps. We must go out and work for it – work hard for it. And yes, we will have to make sacrifices.

“Every time you stay out late; every time you sleep in; every time you miss a workout; every time you don’t give 100% – You make it that much easier for me to beat you.”-Unknown

Right now I am the putting in my time, trying to learn from every mistake and constantly seeking answers to questions I didn’t even know existed five years ago.

So if labeling me as “boring” makes other people feel better about themselves, I’m fine with that.  In fact, I couldn’t be more thrilled to be called boring. After all, regardless of your political preference, while a student at Columbia University Barack Obama was constantly chided by his roommate for being boring. I can only wonder what his roommate is doing now.

“An invincible determination can accomplish almost anything and in this lies the great distinction between great men and little men.”–Thomas Fuller

Images: (1) pinterest 

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May 20, 2012

Cannes Film Festival 2012 – Best Dressed

The 65th annual Cannes Film Festival which runs from May 16th through May 27th brought out glamour, beauty and much celebration of the festivities. Full of many gowns, dresses and even jumpsuits to include on the best dressed list, my picks are listed below: 
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May 18, 2012

The Weekend . . .

As the school year winds down and my students begin to see the end, my frazzled mind is gradually becoming aware that vacation is not too far away. While I will be typing away on my laptop this weekend, I am looking forward to popping down to the farmers’ market in hopes that the peony lady will be there as I am always eagerly awaiting to place them in my home for the few weeks they are available during the spring. Then hopefully, I will find a few moments to prop my feet up and just relax.

How about you? What will this weekend bring? The month of May brings with it such beauty. Along with September, I find these two months to be seasonally satiating as the weather is somewhat predictable, moderate and quite comfortable. All the more reason to savor it when these months are upon us.

Just in case your week was busy, here is a look back on this past week on The Simply Luxurious Life:

*Why Not . . . Invest in Your Dreams?

*My new dream home . . . French Decor to Adore 

*Solo, Lochte, Williams – Vogue US – June 2012

*This & That: No. 7 . . . a dreamy new truffle, a website to inspire and more . . .

*Style Inspiration: Colorfully Chic

*Monday’s Inspiration – How to Gain Real Wisdom

And this week’s newsletter – issue #101 – click here to read.

Until Monday, bonjour.

Images: (1) pinterest (2) pinterest (3) pinterest (4) pinterest

May 17, 2012

French Decor to Adore

Interior designer Effie Genovese’s home in Vancouver, Canada, evokes the French aesthetic with traditional elements, simplistic, clean colors, as well as a few modern touches. Featured in Style at Home magazine, Genovese apparently lived in Paris for 10 years (a dream, to be sure), and her home certainly reflects her appreciation for all things French.

I don’t know about you, but I want to move in yesterday. With its clean aesthetic, touches of comforting, yet classic elements, to call such a place home would be a lovely end to a busy day or week.

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Style Inspiration: Colorfully Chic

Daring to wear a splash of color not only makes passersby smile, but I  can’t help but feel a livelier spring in my step. With spring, the excuse to wear color is everywhere, but why not wear it throughout the year? Maintain the allegiance to neutrals and classics, but allow yourself to add a hint or loud applause of your most flattering color. Not only will the onlookers enjoy it, but you will begin to take even more joy in your wardrobe as well.

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May 16, 2012

Why Not . . . Invest in Your Dreams?

Saving for retirement is an investment for a secure future. A future that provides for you financially, enabling the saver to no longer work when they reach a certain age in their life. In order to accumulate enough savings to retire, time is necessary to allow compound interest to work. Discipline is also necessary to take out a certain amount of money each month.

If we know that investments in the financial realm take time to blossom and grow, why should pursuing dreams that we wish to materialize and change permanently how we live be any different? In Rory Vaden’s book Take the Stairs, he speaks about the three “currencies” that are necessary in order to invest in our dreams, and why doing so helps assure that once we reach our dreams we will be less likely to let them fail.

The Three Currencies:

In order to achieve what it is we have set out to attain, we must be willing to put in the time to make the change occur. Losing weight, earning a graduate’s diploma, raising healthy, respectful and kind children, are each goals that take time. The weight doesn’t just fall off because we will to do so, a master’s degree will not magically appear on the wall and children are quite profoundly affected by how they are nurtured on a consistent basis for a long period of time. In other words, the test of determining how badly you want something is quickly ascertained when you continue to put the time in to make it happen.

Entrepreneurship takes courage, perseverance and confidence in your product, but it also takes money. Whether taking out a small business loan is an option or investing some of your savings, most dreams – changing jobs, paying for college, traveling to Paris and living there as an expatriate, will require an investment of money. Be willing to part with some of it.

Often the dreams we wish to pursue put us in a precarious position of conflict with our current life. If we wholeheartedly wish to be successful, a rearranging of priorities must take place. After all, we only have so much energy, and if we become too terribly exhausted, it becomes easier to stop pursuing a dream we had originally fought so hard for.

In the interim as you rearrange your schedule, continue to eat well and exercise regularly as this will help increase your energy as well.


While Vaden speaks of the three currencies that are necessary to attain our dreams, I would also like to add the following things to consider, include or practice as you make your way along the road of investing in your dreams:

1. Be honest with yourself
Why do you really want this dream? Is it because of the extra money, fame and clout you will receive? Or do you genuinely have a passion for what you are doing? If you honestly want to write every day for the rest of your life, if you honestly want to raise children because you desire to nurture young human beings helping them live up to their full potential, or if you honestly wish to pursue a career in medicine because you want to use your intelligence for good, not simply to make money then proceed and begin to invest wisely, then strive forward. But if your intentions are not entirely pure, take a moment to reassess.

2. Be consistent
There will be days when it seems nothing is improving, and you seem no closer to your dream than the day/month/year before. Such a feeling can be disheartening, but just as the a young oak tree doesn’t appear to be growing after having just been planted, with time, consistent watering and sun, it gradually grows into what it is supposed to become – a grand artwork found within nature.

Every day do one small task that helps to move you slightly closer:  say no to a second helping of dessert, compliment your child/spouse/friend by pointing out something specific that you appreciate about them, write a paragraph, read a chapter in a book about your desired major. Whatever you wish to pursue, be relentlessly consistent and you will, in time arrive at your destination.

Images: (1) pinterest 

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May 15, 2012

This & That: No. 7

Simple, luscious treats, oodles of advice and life observations, something to dream about and so much more . . .

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May 14, 2012

Solo, Lochte, & Williams - Vogue US – June 2012

For the June cover of Vogue, Annie Leibovitz captures three top Olympic hopefuls – Hope Solo (women’s soccer), Ryan Lochte (swimming), and Serena Williams (tennis). With Opening Ceremonies of the XXX Olympiad set to begin Friday, July 27th, even Anna Wintour thought it best to bring a touch of what will be on display in London to the pages of Vogue.

Vogue’s go-to girl Karlie Kloss accessorizes with a handful of other Olympians, clad in design gowns, inside the pages of the June issue. However, how do you feel about Ryan Lochte’s presence on the cover? Being only the fourth man to earn the honor (George Clooney, Richard Gere and LeBron James were his predecessors), it certainly stands out from the standard Vogue fare, but it feels a bit like a Sports Illustrated issue.

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How to Gain Real Wisdom

“The good news is you don’t need to be brilliant to be wise. The bad news is without wisdom, brilliance isn’t enough. It is as likely to get you into trouble as anything else.”
–Barry Schwartz

The young seek it and the old have had endless opportunities to acquire it. Wisdom doesn’t arrive simply because we want it. Wisdom, much like good physical fitness, takes dedication, time and an eternal desire of curiosity, as well as the ability to look fear straight in the face and try anyway.

One of my favorite free apps is TED. A website that is a place for thousands of “riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world.” Having used it in my classroom, I have also quite enjoyed it while taking long drives as I have chosen to listen to an 18 minute lecture on the topic of my current interest when I’m not in the mood for music, NPR or a book on tape.

Barry Schwartz’s topic “On the Loss of Wisdom” caused me to contemplate the idea of how we each can gain wisdom – no matter who we are, no matter where we grew up and no matter how much schooling we have engaged in, wisdom is something we all can acquire.

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May 11, 2012

The Weekend . . .

Whether it is the rains that fall in spring or a luxurious soak in a claw foot tub, water is so absolutely soothing to me. This weekend I am hoping for moments of both, but due to my schedule, it just might not happen, which means I will have to take a reign check (horrible pun intended).

Anyway, this past week I have had the pleasure yet again of enjoying your comments on a handful of posts. I can’t thank you enough for your honest responses and determination to continue to pursue the life of your dreams. Believe it or not, you are an inspiration to me in so many ways.

Here is a look back on the past week on the blog:

*Style Inspiration: Prints & Colors

*Links a la Mode: May 10th – WANTED: WARDROBE {Why Not . . . Wear a Pencil Skirt?}

*This & That: No. 6an inspiring film, French baguettes, stylish small office spaces . . .

*The most popular post of the week - Why Not . . . Live Alone for a While?

*The Met Costume Gala – 2012 Red Carpet 

*Monday’s Inspiration - When & How to Edit Your Life

And this week’s newsletter – issue #100 – click here to read.

Have a lovely weekend, and until Monday, bonjour.

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May 10, 2012


A tremendous thank you to Sonia of In Pursuit of Style for choosing to include The Simply Luxurious Life in this week’s edition of  Independent Fashion Bloggers LINKS À LA MODE. “Wanted: Wardrobe” contains a long list of helpful and inspiring style articles to help you prep and dress for spring and summer. Have a look.

Wanted: Wardrobe

Edited by: Sonia of In Pursuit of Style

Something about the change in weather that makes me want bright colors, fabulous new clothes and fancy new shoes. This happens every year, as excitement builds with peep toes, sleeveless tops and flowing skirts aplenty. I’ve been feeling uninspired lately, but this week’s blogger submissions have me excited again. We have some showing us how to make old things new again, trends in different iterations and best of all, at a great price! Maybe I can go out a buy that new wardrobe after all…


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Style Inspiration: Colors & Prints

Spring is a wonderful time to play with bright colors and playful prints. The mixing and matching of dots and stripes, leopard prints and bold, daring colors is a way to have fun with fashion and flex your quiet confidence.

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May 9, 2012

Why Not . . . Live Alone for a While?

Did you know that more than 50 percent of American adults are single, and 31 million (approximately one out of every seven adults) lives alone? In sociologist Eric Klinenberg’s recent book Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, he hones in on a cultural shift that is occurring not only in America, but in most industrialized countries around the globe.

For those of you who are living alone and loving it, you probably aren’t surprised by these numbers, but if you are someone who is currently living with someone and contemplating making the move to live on your own, or maybe you’re someone who is living alone and just isn’t able to be at peace with your new living arrangement yet, I’d like to share the benefits I have found having lived alone for the past eleven years (by choice).
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May 8, 2012

This & That: No. 6

A good book, a captivating movie, simple and scrumptious appetizers . . . and there’s more . . .

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May 7, 2012

Met Costume Gala – Red Carpet 2012

To many in the fashion world, as well as myself, the annual Met Costume Gala is the most fashionable and most anticipated red carpet of the year. Elsa Schiaparelli along with Miuccia Prada were honored at this year’s prestigious fashion event appropriately titled “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations.”

With pops of Schiaparelli’s most coveted color – pink – showing up in so many of the celebrities and muses (Coco Rocha’s hair and ensemble, Sarah Jessica Parker’s Valentino full-coverage dress, and Karlie Kloss’s Jason Wu gown), the evening was abuzz with energy on this sumptuous May evening in New York City.

Anna Wintour arrived first, donning an updated Prada design of Elsa Schiaparelli's famously known lobster dress (the first time Wintour hasn’t worn Chanel to the Met Gala in six years). With Wintour’s arrival, the flood gates were opened and the designers, accompanied by their muses, as well as musicians, actors, models and celebrities and all in total just over 800 invited guests made their way up the lengthy red staircase to view this year’s exhibit.

Below are my picks for best dressed and most fascinating designs of the evening:

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When and How to Edit Your LIfe

When you find yourself overwhelmed with people tugging for your attention and time from every possible aspect of your life, when you find your mind unable to formulate a coherent thought and it’s the middle of the day, when you know how you feel when you are at your best and being your best self and you realize you are nowhere near at that level, then a bit of life math needs to take place.

Our life does speak to us, much like our body. When the body’s immune system has been compromised, it begs for time to sleep or tries to rid itself of what is ailing us, and in the process slowing down our physical abilities, thus our daily routine, as it tries to heal itself.

Our lives behave in very much the same way. When we take on too many responsibilities or involve ourselves in relationships or situations that are not in our best interest, our minds, our energy levels and our emotions suffer.

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May 4, 2012

The Weekend . . .

One of the weekends I look forward to each year is the weekend our local Farmers’ Market begins for the season. Yes, today is that day. Needless to say, if you live in the area and are headed down to the market, you may just run into me. I will be on the lookout for fresh spring produce and will be trying to create a meal from what I find (yes, I can do it. I will follow the French model.) And maybe if I’m lucky, the peonies will be waiting to be purchased as well.

During this particular weekend, I will be savoring some time at home. There is something special about such weekends. Probably because, as of late, I am usually heading out of town. To sleep in in my own bed with dogs’ wet noses and nudges to wake me up, steaming hot lavender tea and croissants along with the Sunday paper to dive into and to be the master of time, not letting it tell me when or where I have to be, even if it is only for two days, are all reasons why I cherish such weekends at home.

I hope your week has gone well, and you are looking ahead to a wonderful weekend. Whatever it may bring, may it be sweet, kind and memorable.  And if you aren’t already a subscriber to the weekly newsletter and would like to enter the most recent giveaway, be sure to subscribe by Sunday (May 6th) and enter to win Nell Stephenson’s debut book Paleoista.

Here is a look back on the past week on the blog:

*My most recent fashion obsession – Why Not . . . Wear a Pencil Skirt?

*Book Review: Paleoista

*Happy Anniversary Kate & William – a look back on Kate’s first year as official fashion royalty

*Style Inspiration: Whites & Neutrals

*Mid-Week Motivation shared on Jenesequa - 5 Instances when Quality is Better than Quantity

*Most popular post of the week – Live Offensively, Not Defensively

And this week’s newsletter – issue #99 – click here to read.

Until Monday, bonjour!

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May 3, 2012

Style Inspiration: Whites & Neutrals

Just less than a month before the mythical looming Memorial Day deadline when white is acceptable, and what is to be found out on the streets? White. White everywhere!

Oh, how I love that fashion rules only apply to the individual and not to the population of the masses. After all, isn’t fashion about self-expression? Yes. Yes, indeed it is, and the myriad of ways in which white can be worn is a welcomed sight. Enjoy this week’s Style Inspiration . .  .

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May 2, 2012

Why Not . . . Wear A Pencil Skirt?

While I’m not usually one to latch onto seasonal trends, the revival of the pencil skirt that has continued to walk down the runways during the past few seasons has me smittened.  I guess the bigger question is, “Is it really a trend?” After all, if something is figure flattering, allows you to feel fabulous and can be paired with a limitless list of other items, isn’t it safe to call it a foundational piece of a woman’s wardrobe?

After having completed my spring shopping, I was thrilled to see so many stores carrying pencil skirts. It was only five years ago that they were much more difficult to find, and I must say I am over the moon to see them in so many different fabrics, textures, colors and prints.

Below are a few ways to welcome the pencil skirt (or any skirt) into your weekly fashion regimen.

1. A Piece of Art

If you are already someone who wears skirts, take a bold step and wear a pencil skirt with a beautiful print – for example Lela Rose’s printed cotton-blend skirt – that allows it to become the focal point. Pair with a solid blouse and nude heels and very few accessories will be needed as your skirt will be doing all of the talking.

2. Conservative Yet Chic
When it comes to work, choosing classic colors will always be a safe, but at the same time, stylish choice. Select navy, gray, black or camel and pair with a gorgeous silk blouse, corset belt and at least 2 inch heels (3 inches is my rule), as the pencil skirt helps to elongate the legs and the heels only help.

3. Show Some Curves

Whether you are boyishly thin or born with Christina Hendricks’ curves, pencil skirts should be your skirt of choice. While revealing your natural curves, they also reveal your feminine figure as they highlight a woman’s waist, hips and legs. While I don’t want to live in the Mad Men era 60’s, I certainly do appreciate them reveling in feminine fashions.

4. Pop of Color

Spring is a wonderful time to be a bit bolder when it comes to color choices. With neon and other bright colors adorning this seasons boutiques and department stores, choose something that flatters your skin tone and pair it with a simple blouse that doesn’t create competition. By wearing such loud colors but in a style that is quite classic, you maintain that chic-factor and simply look stylishly confident.

5. A Little Bit Longer

I prefer my pencil skirts just over the knee, for no other reason except it makes me feel more comfortable when I sit down.  Depending upon your height, consider changing up the length. Always keep it appropriate, but know that pencil skirts do not have to hit just above the knee as for so long many of us have been instructed.

6. Stylishly Casual

Just because you aren’t going to the office doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider wearing a pencil skirt. Paired with a simple tee shirt or beautiful cotton tank top, an oversized boyfriend watch or statement necklace, a belt to cinch your waist and tote (oh, and don’t forget the heels), you can quickly create a fun and fashionable ensemble.

7. Exude Confidence

A woman who wears a skirt makes a uniquely different first impression compared to someone who wears trousers or jeans. A woman who wears a skirt (of an appropriate length) conveys an image of owning her femininity, subtly exuding confidence, and speaking volumes of her belief that being a woman and being taken seriously can indeed go hand in hand.

As you can see, there are many different ways to wear a pencil skirt. I don’t know about you, but I’m adding the pencil skirt to my wardrobe essentials list.

A few weeks ago, you may recall I reviewed Jennifer L. Scott’s book Lessons from Madame Chic, and one of the suggestions that I am currently working on incorporating in my life is the 10 piece capsule wardrobe. With that limited number, I know there will be at least two pencil skirts as they can easily be paired with multiple tops, blazers, belts, heels and sweaters. Certainly a simple way to remain chic and mix up your choices.

Whether you begin adding pencil skirts or an alternative cut design to your wardrobe selection, consider all that the skirt can do and revel in owning your femininity, but continuing to adhere to your very own unique signature style at the same time.

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May 1, 2012

Paleoista – Book Review

Are you someone who enjoys food, preferably quality food, and at the same time, takes pride in dressing stylishly, all the while adhering to your signature style?

If you, like me, are both someone who respects food, but enjoys it and at the same time is passionate about looking and feeling great in the clothes you wear every day, Nell Stephenson’s debut book Paleoista: Gain Energy, Get Lean and Feel Fabulous with the Diet You Were Born to Eat might just be something you want to read.

Combining both the worlds of food and fashion, Nell has claimed the title of Paleoista, and in her new book, she teaches her readers how they too can become Paleoistas. With the motto, “Eat this, to wear that”, Nell’s introduction to following a paleo eating regimen is not nearly as daunting as many have made it out to be as she simplifies and clearly explains what to eat, how to shop, how to travel, and even offers quite a few sample menus.

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