The Simply Luxurious Life®: June 2012  

June 29, 2012

The Weekend . . .

Summer is in full swing . . . time for lazy, leisurely late evenings while the sun slowly tucks itself in, time to see brand new places with eyes that are full of curiosity and as always, time to appreciate all that is going well.

The wonder and beauty in life is that we never know where the next day will take us, but the gift we have is knowing how we will greet the day that is ours in this moment. For me, summer reminds me of all that is possible – how beautiful everything can be after winters that are difficult and springs that require laborious work and excruciating effort. However, the beautiful summers of our lives don’t come unless we do the work, put in our time and know where we’d like to end up. So I have to ask the question of you (and myself), what are you doing today to make your summer as magnificent as possible?

This week on the blog there was a homage to one of the women that has inspired me for quite some time, a thought provoking article I found about women and whether or not they can have it all and frugal ideas to help build a quality, uniquely-your-own wardrobe. Have a look:

~Nora Ephron – Thank You

~The Value of Small Steps . . . the most popular post of the week

~Why Not . . . Shop Consignment?

~An Article to Read . . . From The Atlantic

~The Newsletter’s 2nd Anniversary

~Style Inspiration: Blazers & Pastels

~English Country Decor – Houzz June Ideabook

~Link a la Mode: June 21st

~This & That: No. 13 . . . summer reading, a summer sale and websites for the now and the then

And this week’s newsletter – issue #107 – click here to begin.

May the weekend be full of moments of pleasure, simple and exactly what you need. Until Monday, bonjour.

Images: (1)  Musings in Femininity  (2) pinterest

June 28, 2012

Nora Ephron – Thank You

When I first heard that Nora Ephron had lost her battle with leukemia Tuesday evening (June 26th), I immediately said, “No, that’s impossible”. At the age of 71, the world lost a talent much too soon. Her quick wit, blunt observations and humorous, yet spot-on observations will be terribly missed.

Like many of you, growing up as a young girl, maturing into a woman, her films served as guideposts in many ways – in my teens - “Can men and women ever truly be friends?” and “Is true love really possible or must we settle?” in my early twenties – “Was meeting someone online really a good idea?” and lastly, in one of my now favorite films as I moved into my thirties, “Why not fall in love with what you’re passionate about and spend your energy accomplishing your goals instead of chasing what you can’t control – men, marriage, children, etc?”

I may be looking through the lens of my own life when I interpret her films, but that’s what was so amazing about Nora Ephron; she was willing to speak honestly about life’s realities – the good and the bad, the hopeful and the disappointing and make you laugh while you were diligently wrestling with the questions she had presented.

By now you’ve heard all sorts of details about her life – her second marriage to Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein, their divorce, her many essays, films, productions and books, her 25 year marriage to Nicholas Pileggi, her love for food, her dislike for technology and so much more, so what I’d like to leave you with is a list of some of her most talked about and successful books, a few visuals from her most well-known films and a some of my favorite quotes found from interviews, the pages of her books and speeches.

On Reading
From her book, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman, which I highly recommend and would suggest listening to the audiotape version as Nora is the narrator – it is just fabulous:

“Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I've accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it's a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it's a way of making contact with someone else's imagination after a day that's all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.”

On Money and Creative Incentive, in My Life as an Heiress:

“I was extremely lucky not to have ever inherited real money, because I might not have finished writing ‘When Harry Met Sally…,’ which changed my life.”

On Work (particularly writing)
Nora Ephron speaking about her mother (screenwriter Phoebe Ephron) and the most important lesson she taught her about work:

“[She] really conveyed to us that work was a great passion; that you couldn’t live without work. When you were asked what you were going to be when you grow up, the question was answered in terms of work—not in terms of motherhood or being married—it was what are you going to do.”

On Wearing a Bikini:
From I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman:

“Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was twenty-six. If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don't take it off until you're thirty-four.”

On Having Children:
From  I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman
“When your children are teenagers, it's important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.”—

On Finding Love Again:
In I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman:

“Why hadn’t I realized how much of what I thought of as love was simply my own highly developed gift for making lemonade? What failure of imagination had caused me to forget that life was full of other possibilities, including the possibility that eventually I would fall in love again?”

"To state the obvious, romantic comedies have to be funny and they have to be romantic. But one of the most important things, for me anyway, is that they be about two strong people finding their way to love."

On Women and Feminism

"This is the season when a clutch of successful women -- who have it all -- give speeches to women like you and say, to be perfectly honest, you can't have it all. Maybe young women don't wonder whether they can have it all any longer, but in case of you are wondering, of course you can have it all. What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications. It will not be anything like what you think it will be like, but surprises are good for you. And don't be frightened: you can always change your mind. I know: I've had four careers and three husbands." - From Ephron's 1996 commencement speech at Wellesly College, her alma mater.

"I try to write parts for women that are as complicated and interesting as women actually are."

"One of the things people always say to you if you get upset is, don't take it personally, but listen hard to what's going on and, please, I beg you, take it personally. Understand: every attack on Hillary Clinton for not knowing her place is an attack on you. Underneath almost all those attacks are the words: get back, get back to where you once belonged. When Elizabeth Dole pretends that she isn't serious about her career, that is an attack on you. The acquittal of O.J. Simpson is an attack on you. Any move to limit abortion rights is an attack on you -- whether or not you believe in abortion. The fact that Clarence Thomas is sitting on the Supreme Court today is an attack on you."— '96 Wellesley commencement address

"Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim."— '96 Wellesley commencement address

We will all miss you Nora. Thank you for showing us how to be brave.


Style Inspiration: Blazers & Pastels

The thermometer is creeping ever upward which calls for more cool attire that reflects the sun and keeps the fashionista cool and comfortable; however, evenings can still be chilly, so having a blazer handy is a perfect way to layer and maintain a chic look. Pastels tend to be ubiquitous this time of year, so mix them up with classic basics to remain on trend, but still adhere to your own signature style.

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June 27, 2012

English Country Decor – June Houzz Ideabook

With the upcoming Olympics set to begin in London with the Open Ceremonies on Friday July 27th, I couldn’t help but pull together an ideabook for Houzz that focused on all things English Country Decor. From delicate tea cups, braided rugs, wallpaper and birdcages as playfully placed accessories, the concept of acquiring items over time, mixing yard sale finds with custom-designed pieces is certainly a decor style for those who love making their home cozy and uniquely their own. Click here to view my entire Ideabook: English Country Decor.

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Why Not . . . Shop Consignment?

Designer labels. Exquisite fabric. Beautifully tailored. Initially such clothing may seem out of reach if you are sticking to your budget; however, the luxury of owning top quality clothing is possible when you shop at consignment clothing stores.

I have shopped for many years in consignment furniture stores, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I began faithfully visiting consignment shops to bolster my wardrobe. Now, part of my 10 Style Commandments is to shop consignment before paying the full retail price at Nordstrom, Net-a-Porter, etc.
The pleasure and the struggle of shopping consignment is that it takes time to find items that work well in your closet, but when you do find that perfect pair of J. Brand jeans at $69 instead of $189, it is a feeling that rewards the fiscally smart woman, as well as the fashion lover – both of which reside within you I have a feeling.

Last week, Emma Allen of Style Sequel – owner of the fantastic online consignment store – invited me to share my thoughts and some advice on consignment. Have a look at my experiences, suggestions and thoughts on fashion.

Today, on this week’s Why Not . . . ? post, I’d like to share a handful of reasons to consider adding regular consignment shopping to your repertoire, as well as introduce an expert in consignment shopping, Emma Allen from Style Sequel who will share seven steps to have a successful consignment shopping experience.

Reasons to Shop Consignment:

1. Saves Money
While it would be wonderful to be able to hang designer items in our closets regularly, paying for them without reaching for our credit cards would be impossible for most of us; however, when you shop consignment you are able to purchase designer clothing at greatly reduced prices, helping you stay within your allotted clothing budget each month which prompts a much sounder sleep that evening.

2. Eco-Friendly
I can remember when I purchased my first pair of black Manolo Blahnik pumps which were from a consignment store in Seattle and tweeted about it to my followers. The first comment was congratulating me on being environmentally friendly, and after reading about the recently released book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, I am more convinced that If I can wear something that has been previously-owned but is in good condition, I am helping the environment in a small, albeit somewhat selfish, way.

3. Top Designer Items
As mentioned above, with a long list of designer fashions gathered in one store and the ability to purchase them at a reduced price, this is a fantastic way to add value to your wardrobe.

4. Better Value
Because items are reduced, you are able to buy a Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress for $99 (regularly @ $350), pumps from Yves Saint Laurent for $120 (regularly @ $400) and a Splendid top for $20 (regularly @ $75) for a total of $239 (instead of $835). So instead of barely being able to afford one item, you will be able to purchase three quality pieces to enhance your wardrobe.

5. Better Selection
The benefit of shopping at a consignment store is that you are surrounded by all of the labels in one location instead of having to pop into boutique after boutique for each individual designer. This saves you time and headaches.

6. Aids in Creating a Signature Style
At a traditional department store or boutique you are only able to purchase the current season’s styles, whereas in a consignment shop you may have multiple years of a particular season to choose from enabling you to create a unique wardrobe that cannot be duplicated as there are typically only one of each of the items in the store.

7. New Merchandise Frequently
Since customers are bringing in new consignment items daily and the shop only accepts in-season items, you will find new items to select much more frequently than in a traditional clothing store.

8. Great Service
While I’ve shopped in a handful different consignment shops (Seams to Fit in Portland, OR and Alexandra’s in Seattle are the two I have been frequenting recently with great success), I have always had wonderful customer service. They know the items and are willing to assist you in how to best wear them, etc. Typically the women and men in such stores are hardcore fashion aficionados and it shows with their genuine assistance.

9. Make Money
If you regularly include top quality items in your wardrobe and then go through your closet editing pieces that no longer work, you should consider taking your castaways to a consignment shop. If the consignment shop likes the clothes you have to sell (always bring them in cleaned and on hangers), they will put a certain percentage of the price they are going to charge as a credit on your customer file to use on your next purchase (or sometimes they will offer cash, but it is usually less than what they will credit you, so just ask).

10. Seasonal and On Trend
One thing that is helpful, is that whenever I stop in – whether it is spring, summer, fall or winter, I know that the clothing on the rack will coordinate with that particular season, and since owners and staff stay on top of the current trends, it is more likely to only find items that are plausible in the current fashion environment (aside from classics) which means there are more choices that would work in most women’s wardrobes.

11. Convenient
Not only are you able to peruse all of the designer labels in one location, but usually consignment shops aren’t in the heart of downtown, rather situated in neighborhoods and have easy to navigate parking and traffic. While I know this isn’t always the case, it tends to be they are tucked away somewhere which adds to the adventure.

Style Sequel’s 7 Golden Rules of Pre-owned Designer Shopping

Emma Allen, founder of – the place to buy and sell beautiful, authentic pre-owned designer fashion - shares her top tips for getting the most out of buying second hand fashion. As Emma says “I have a has been searching out (and selling) the best in ‘past season’ fashion for many years and for me it is much more than a job, it is a way of life”. By following a few simple steps, you too can get the absolute best out of this most rewarding of fashion pursuits.

1. Make a list of things you’d love to own as and when you spot them. If you don’t have brain like a Rolodex then make notes, tear out pages from magazines, use Pinterest – whatever you can to keep you focused and on track.

2. Make your search area as broad as possible – check eBay, dedicated re-selling sites such as ours and high street second-hand designer stores as often as you can. Sign up for style alerts and newsletters, otherwise you could miss out on the pieces your heart most desires.

3. Have an idea of what you are prepared to pay and be realistic. Yes, second-hand is cheaper, but do remember that many top end labels sell for a premium even pre-owned.

4. Make sure you really take notice of condition. Minor issues such as pilling, loose seams below the zip are very common and can easily be fixed yourself. More substantial repairs can be done by an expert, but do watch out as they can be expensive, especially on fabrics such as leather and fur.

5. If buying online check measurements and sizing. Fashion labels can have widely different sizings, even within their own label. Chanel and Christian Louboutin are renown for their small fits, whereas others such as Marni, Yohji Yamamoto and Marc Jacobs tend to be more generous.

6. Take your time. You may not find what you want straight away, but if you keep searching you almost certainly will. Good things do indeed come to those who wait.

7. Enjoy the chase. Once you do snag your first piece you’ll be hooked.

A tremendous thank you to Emma for all of her helpful advice. I do hope you will consider stopping into your local consignment shop or must-talked about consignment store that is in your area or is discovered on your upcoming travels. After all, you never know what treasure is just waiting to be found and enjoyed.

Happy shopping!

Images:   (1) pinterest  (4) Inslee(5)pinterest

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June 26, 2012

The Newsletter’s 2nd Anniversary!

Just over two years ago, The Simply Luxurious Life’s weekly newsletter began being delivered every Friday (Thursday to some of my subscribers) to readers around the world. And after occasional tweaks and changes along the way, I am humbled to say we have more than 4,000 subscribers.

What subscribers receive:

~first to know of upcoming giveaways on the blog
~first to know of any big news related to The Simply Luxurious Life
~a round-up of all the past week’s posts
~highlights from The Simply Luxurious Life’s Tumblr and Pinterest pages
~discover the most popular post of the week
~a handful of articles gathered from around the web dealing with fashion, motivation and more that I think readers will enjoy
~a stylish idea – an entire outfit pulled together to help you shop or simply provide inspiration
~Bi-Annual fashion edition (arriving on September and March 1st in subscribers’ inboxes) which helps readers navigate the recent fall and spring trends.

If you haven’t already subscribed and would like to, simply enter your first name and email address in the middle-right-hand column under “Newsletter Sign-up”.

The Simply Luxurious Life and other Social Media
With the addition of Pinterest to the long list of social media outlets, it can be overwhelming to know what is best for each of us as we try to follow our favorite blogs and websites. To help readers better understand what they can find on The Simply Luxurious Life’s social networking pages, check out the list below with descriptions of what I provide for followers:

~Twitter followers receive a daily “Thought to Ponder” and “Thought to Sleep On” every day of the week and weekend which contain a quote to help provide inspiration, conversation or a smile. Followers also receive links to the most recent posts when they go live as well as updates on simply luxurious activities I am partaking in at any given moment. (The Simply Luxurious Life handle is @simplyluxurious – click here to follow.)

~Tumblr Discover the most recent covers of your favorite fashion and decor magazines, beautiful images from editorials, recent runway collections, my favorite blogs and more, and you will also find quotes that inspire and links to the most recent blog posts on The Simply Luxurious Life. (Click here to add to your Dashboard.)

~PinterestOne of my favorite pastimes during lunch is to post beautiful images in the arenas of style, fashion, decor, food, anything French, the most recent covers of Vogue US, UK, Elle US, UK, book recommendations, shopping items I’m coveting, outfit ideas, yard and garden and motivational sayings. Also, if you find images on The Simply Luxurious Life, click on the new “Pin it!” button at the bottom of each post to add the image you wish to your Pinterest boards. (Click here to follow all 21 boards listed under Simply Luxurious.)

~FacebookStay up-to-date on the most recent blog posts and weekly newsletter releases. (Click here to “Like” The Simply Luxurious Life.)

~Feed Burner (RSS)If you prefer to read the most recent blog posts from your inbox, click on the RSS button at the top of the page on the left side to receive the most recent blog posts in your inbox each morning.

Image: (1) pinterest

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This & That: No. 13

Fantastic websites for those of you who love to live in the past or the present, summer fashions, a book to travel with and a few other fun ideas . . .

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June 25, 2012

An Article to Read . . . from The Atlantic

There are very few instances when the new issue of magazines I subscribe to prompt me to upon taking it out of my mailbox, immediately read the cover article beginning to end without interruption. The cover story on The Atlantic’s July issue was one of the rare instances when I was curious, anxious and petrified all at the same moment, enough so that I promptly sat down in my yard to read what Anne-Marie Slaughter had to say in her article “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All”. 

I have been told by well-meaning friends that you can have it all, just not all at once, and while this is empowering advice, Slaughter promptly dismisses it, I believe correctly so, because it fails to address the larger issue – why is it not possible for us to have it all – period? In other words, with more women in the workforce and being educated and talented enough more than ever before, why haven’t the systems changed to allow these well-deserving women the opportunity to keep their hard-fought jobs, as well as raise their children? 

While initially the title may seem to lead you to believe that women are doomed in this pursuit, it is in fact, a call to all women and men to look at our work systems and adjust them so that all workers are able to do their jobs to the best of their ability and be the quality parents each child so desperately needs.

Within the article, Sheryl Sandberg’s (Facebook COO) TED speech is alluded to where she urges women to “not leave before you leave”. In other words, so many women assume that they must step back from performing wholeheartedly at work because they know or want to begin a family, but why should they have to do this? Again, women are doing themselves a disservice by accepting the status-quo of the traditional work day.

Already, Slaughter’s article that was just posted last week has received 800,000 views, Sandberg’s eighteen minute speech has been viewed by nearly 1.5 million people. This is an issue that clearly has the interest of the populous. Instead of giving women who choose their children and step back from work a hard time, or visa versa, nag women who don’t have children because they love their careers, let’s all support each other and work together to create an environment where women can have it all. There is great power in numbers if only we work to support rather than belittle each other for very tough decisions.

I strongly recommend carving thirty minutes out of your day to read the article and eighteen minutes out of your computer time one evening to listen to Sheryl’s speech. I would love to hear your thoughts upon absorbing each of their words.

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The Value of Small Steps

“When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur. When you improve conditioning a little each day, eventually you have a big improvement in conditioning. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens – and when it happens, it lasts.”
-John Wooden

As the US Olympic track and field trials wrapped up this past weekend in Oregon and the US Olympic swimming trials begin this week in Nebraska, I couldn’t help but contemplate how far each of these amazingly trim, toned and talented athletes had come to reach such an opportune chance to compete in the upcoming Olympic games in London.

If we were to rewind the tape which captured their lives which led up to their  physical capabilities to be at their zenith, we would come across them first crawling as infants, then walking as toddles, running as children, etc, etc.

Nothing great, nothing worthy of attaining occurred with the snap of our fingers (except in Cinderella). I have written many different times about the need for small, steady steps toward goals we wish to accomplish (here and here just to mention a few) to ensure success. And while many of us are not destined to compete in the Olympics, there are so many simple things that we can create in our lives when we decide to adhere to the philosophy of persevering with the approach of making small steps.

But first, why is it that making small steps rather than big ones works better in attaining goals?

1. Eliminates paralysis.
“All changes, even positive ones, are scary. Attempts to reach goals through radical or revolutionary means often fail because they heighten fear . . .” -Robert Maurer

As the quote suggests when we look initially at a tremendous task – writing a novel, becoming a U.S. ambassador, earning a PhD, building a house, saving $1,000,000 for retirement – it can seem daunting. So daunting in fact, that we talk ourselves out of believing we are capable of attaining it.

So by choosing to focus on small steps – writing 30 minutes each day, earning stellar grades, finding the right contractor, setting aside $100 a month – the fear is decreased, if not eliminated entirely because, while you have a long term goal, you are focused on what you can do now – little by little.

2. Doesn’t require as much time – more feasible

Small steps are much easier to fit into your already busy schedule. If your goal is to reduce the clutter from your home and become more organized, begin by picking up after yourself when you leave each room and resolve to leave it neat and tidy. Slowly but in good time, all the items in the house will be given a home or be eliminated, and the overwhelming task of doing it all in one day or weekend won’t zap all of your time.

10 Amazing Results Possible by Taking Small Steps:

What I’d like to show you now are a handful of examples that not only will enrich your life, but will endure due to the patient approach of making small steps thereby creating habits throughout your daily life that help create a more serene, balanced, and fulfilling life.

1. Healthy, pleasurable eating

There are many amazing meals, foods and treats that are available to us to enjoy, but if we indulge too often, they become our Achilles’ heel. By choosing to welcome healthful habits into our daily eating habits, reducing/eliminating processed foods, cutting out soda/pop, eating mindfully, and listening to what our body needs versus what it wants, we gradually begin to fuel our bodies efficiently resulting in more pleasurable living without eliminating all that we love.

2. A healthy body

Reaching our ideal weight can cause some to try drastic measures that will help them those weight immediately, but if one don’t create habits in their daily lives that can be followed regularly throughout the rest of their lives, the body, and therefore, one’s mind, will never be at peace. Work to find an exercise regimen that you can regularly stick to – simply walking 20 minutes every day can produce amazing results after an extended period of time. And while many may say, “I can’t wait that long!”, know that once you begin to see results, you will have fully formed your habit, enabling you to be more likely to stick to your schedule and incorporate it into your daily way of living for years to come.

3. A bountiful and beautiful yard and garden

Beautiful things take time to create. And because they take time, they are appreciated that much more. Like a home, a garden/yard takes time to reach its full potential. Plants need time to mature and be pruned, trimmed and carried for, climbing vines need years to cover the trellis that will welcome guests into the garden, and perennials take years to reach their potential size and foliage. By tending to your garden/yard each year, eventually you will be surrounding by the bounty that Mother Nature is capable of providing.

4. Strong relationships

Emotions can expedite some relationships, but that doesn’t necessarily make them strong.  Relationships which are given time to develop, grow and reveal to either person involved the true character of the individuals, stand a far better chance when tumultuous storms come rolling in.

5. Elimination of debt

The benefits of having good credit affect so many aspects in our lives that we take for granted we deserve the following: a roof over our heads, a means to begin a business, a job, a healthy relationship, etc.  By gradually paying down your debt and getting into the fiscal habit of only spending what you have in your bank account, not what remains on your credit limit, you put yourself in control as much as possible to create the life of your dreams.

6. A life full of blessings and appreciation

Quite some time ago, Oprah suggested having a gratitude journal and writing down a handful things we are grateful for at the end of each day. Some of you most likely already do this and are well aware of the benefits, but for those of you who are contemplating welcoming this practice into your daily life, consider after having done this for one full year – 365(6) days of three things you are grateful for leaves you with more than a thousand things to reflect on. Imagine how blessed you would feel. Imagine how much you would have to appreciate. And wouldn’t such a life be something to revel in as you realize you have an amazing life?

7. An organized home

An organized home, especially when you share it with others takes time to create, but it is possible. First, gradually begin tackling each room and eliminating anything that is not useful or beautiful. Then create a place for everything – keys, newspapers, dishes, mail, dirty clothes, remotes, phones, coats, etc. Create habits when it comes to cooking. When should the dishes be done, how should each room be left when it is done being used? Where do toys go when they aren’t being played with? Where do recyclable items go? Coupons?

Gradually, once you begin to create systems for your home that help its inhabitants function better and feel more relaxed, these systems will become habits, but it all begins with small steps.

8. Retirement savings

Compound interest. That term alone should be reason enough to begin slicing $50, $100 or more off of your monthly paycheck to a 401K, Roth IRA or TSA account (speak to your human resources department to see what is available at work, as well as a financial adviser to determine what is best for your situation) .  The sooner you begin and the younger you are when you begin, the more opportunity you give your money to grow, and it all begins by investing a little bit each month. Before you know it, you will not miss it from your paycheck, and you will thank yourself down the road for the peace of mind it will provide as you plan your retirement with excitement in your step, instead of dread.

9. Beautiful skin

The best time to begin taking care of your skin is when you think your skin already looks fabulous. In other words, begin yesterday. And since no one can go back in time, begin today. Beautiful skin in our thirties, forties and certainly in our 50s, 60s and beyond doesn’t just happen. While yes, our genes have a small hand, we have more control than we realize by choosing to take care of our skin every single day – reduce sun exposure, use 30spf or higher (I use 50spf) when you do go outside, moisture, weekly at home facials, salon facials when you can afford them, eat well, don’t smoke, drink in moderation, get good sleep regularly, body massages, reduce stress and exercise.

10. A hopeful, optimistic attitude

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Every day we have a choice when we wake up to believe in ourselves, believe in the opportunities that we are working so hard to take advantage of when they arrive, and to believe that we do make a difference. And when we accept that we do make a difference, make sure the difference you are making is a positive one. A hopeful, optimistic attitude is not only contagious to those we encounter, we become affected by it as well. So choose wisely what your thoughts will be each and every day.
As you can see, making small steps each and every day can have a profound effect on the quality of your life. Choose to be aware of the possibilities consistent, small steps can make, and be confident in the knowledge that you are building the life you desire.

Images:  (1) pinterest 

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June 24, 2012

LINKS À LA MODE: June 21st

A tremendous thank you to Emily of Sugar & Spice for choosing to include The Simply Luxurious Life in this past week’s LINKS À LA MODE found on the Independent Fashion Bloggers website! Below is a look at all of the links included. As summer has just officially begun, Emily has rounded up a wonderful list of summer fashion posts that are sure to inspire. Have a look!


Edited by: Emily of Sugar & Spice

My first week editing Links a la Mode and so many amazing posts to choose only 20 from! Today marks the first day of summer for the northern hemisphere and judging by my choice below, I am willing summer to start in earnest in the UK! In the meantime, there’s tips on keeping stylish in the rain. One of the things I love about the fashion blogging community is the creativeness that it breeds and this week is no exception with a few brilliant and on-trend DIYs for your to try at home. If DIY-ing isn’t your thing but you still like to save your pennies there are posts for splurging or saving too.


June 22, 2012

The Weekend . . .

I have been feeling somewhat nostalgic this past week as I have been putting together a yard sale for this weekend, and it has allowed me to organize all of the clothes, shoes and other items that I no longer use but can quite quickly remember when I purchased them, where I wore them and the memories they were a part of creating.

It always amazes me how we aren’t aware of how much we are growing, changing and evolving until we take a moment and reflect back one year, two years, ten years and so on. Maybe that’s a good thing, but I do find that remembering where we’ve been and realizing how far we’ve come is helpful for our confidence today as we are striving for new goals.

So how far have you come? I have a feeling you are more impressive than you realize. Continue to remain humble, but keep that quiet confidence inside because you are quite amazing.

In other news, back in February I mentioned that potentially amazing things were in the works, and while I still can’t reveal what I was talking about, just yet, my fingers are crossed that I soon will be able to as forward motion has officially begun (I’m horrible at the media “teaser”, but please know that as soon as I can tell you, I will eagerly do so.)

With the first day of summer having officially come and gone, this past week was customarily leisurely, but busy in its own summer pacing. Just in case yours was busy as well, here is a look back on the past week on The Simply Luxurious Life:

~Style Inspiration: Shades of Pink & Neutrals

~Why Not . . . Buy Yourself Luxurious Lingerie?

~Diane von Furstenberg – Resort 2013

~Mid-Week Motivation: 12 Ways to Get Out of Your Rut (via Jenesequa)

~This & That: No. 12 – a recipe to try, flats to lounge in and travel idea

~The Power of Our Imagination

And this week’s newsletter – issue #106 click here to read.

Wherever your plans take you, I wish you a lovely time. Bonjour!


Images: 1., 2. 

June 21, 2012

Diane von Furstenberg – Resort 2013

With the iconic images of the United States as her muse, Diane von Furstenberg’s 2013 Resort collection, Tilted Zoom, with the help of her creative director Yvan Mispelaere is awash with a variety of different prints as each region of the country is depicted – palm trees from Florida, cobbled streets from New York city, hot air balloons representing the Southwest, skyscrapers from the city, all designed on beautiful loose silk blouses, thigh-skimming dresses and skirts, as well as cropped pants and jackets. A rainbow of beautifully chosen hues that are muted just enough, but not too much for ideal style while on vacation.

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Style Inspiration: Shades of Pink & Neutrals

No matter what the season, neutrals are always a safe bet, as you can dress them up with colorful accessories or statement making bags and shoes. And during the spring and summer, pink is certainly a wonderful idea as well. As you will see in many of the images gathered together for today’s Style Inspiration, it can be worn in all sorts of shades.

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June 20, 2012

Why Not . . . Buy Yourself Luxurious Lingerie?

As a teenage girl growing up in America, I must say the message I received regarding lingerie was much more focused on wearing it for enjoyment of others rather than choosing to wear it for one’s own pleasure and enjoyment. However, after reading Jamie Cat Callan’s book Bonjour, Happiness!, I began to have an entirely new perspective on why women should wear luxurious lingerie every day of the week specifically for themselves (a la the French approach) and not feel guilty about it.

Many readers have emailed me and with a recent post that caused even more interest in the idea of luxurious lingerie, I have come up with today’s post focused solely on reasons to wear lingerie every day, where to shop, how to shop, how to care for lingerie and other useful resources. Have a look:

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June 19, 2012

This & That: No. 12

A recipe for your next barbeque, a website to keep you in the necessary “know”, travel ideas and a new ballet flat from Tory Burch . . .

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June 18, 2012

The Power of Our Imagination

“Our imagination it is our greatest ally . . . Imagination is a very, very powerful thing. It literally invents the path before you.”
–Glen Hansard

Texting, Facebook, video games, and other devices that capture our attention, can slowly dull one of our most powerful tools that is needed to create the life we most desire – our imagination.

As a child, you may have had an imaginary friend. You may have dreamed grand adventures of flying like Superman, or sipping tea with the Queen of England. Wherever your imagination took you, it was an opportunity to step out of the present to create what might be and oh, wasn’t it fun?

While yes, an overactive imagination can drive the belief behind conspiracy theories, distrust in humans and a step into the world of insanity, this is even more reason to welcome balance into our lives, and choose to use our imaginations as a tool of hope to help lead us to a life where we can fulfill our highest potential and satiate our passions.

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.” - Frank Outlaw

You may be wondering, when and how can our imaginations be sparked? The opportunities are endless: day-to-day experiences, traveling, books, music, word/mind games, films, conversations with others, lectures, classes, photographs, art, history, new experiences – the list goes on . . .

Now that you are an adult, your imagination is still capable of being uber-creative, and the most exciting news is you have even more potential to act on what pops into your mind. So keep a journal, record your thoughts, wildest dreams and most daring hopes, and then, dare to believe that you can make what you’ve imagined become your reality.

Want to become a fashion magazine editor? Start writing and attending fashion shows in your area. Want to serve as a senator for your state? Start serving on various local councils and give time back to your community in an effort to better your local neighborhood. Want to live in France? Begin to learn the language. In other words, what you dare to imagine may one day just be the beginning of your very own legend that inspires others one day to chase their dreams.

Have a look at five benefits to letting your imagination remain an active participant in your adult life:

Benefits of an Active Imagination:

1. Squashes Fears

“What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.” -Plutarch

When imaginations are fueled by hope and a desire to create something better, or to become someone better, even if we’ve never accomplished it ourselves or seen an example that resembles exactly what we imagine, we begin to weaken the hold our fears have over our direction in life and instead work toward what might be.

2. Boosts Intelligence

If you continue to conjure solutions to problems that currently exist, your drive to prove how that solution might work forces you to educate yourself, seek out information, thus boosting what you know about any given topic.

3. Forever Young

“Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future.” -Charles F. Kettering

Curiosity may not have been a cat’s best friend, but it certainly prolongs the life of humans. By remaining curious about the world around you, no matter what your age, you keep exercising your brain which reduces the atrophy that can typically take effect as we age if we don’t exercise our most amazing muscle. So continue to dream and imagine a world even better than the one you grew up in, and not only will you create the possibility of an amazing life through fulfillment of your dreams, but you’ll be healthy and able to enjoy it when it materializes.

4. Develops Empathy

In J.K. Rowling’s 2008 Harvard commencement address. she advises graduates to find the beauty in failure as well as strengthen their ability to tap into their imaginations as it allows us the ability to empathize with others even when we may not have actually experienced what they are sharing about their lives. When we can imagine ourselves in another person’s shoes, we exercise a more open mind which improves our social interactions. To understand how someone might have felt helps us come to know them on a more intimate level which has the capacity to form a stronger bond.

5. Helps Transform Dreams into Reality

“Our aspirations are our possibilities.” - Robert Browning

When musician Glen Hansard shared his quote above, he was referring to his own vivid imagination . . . the dreams he had for himself when he was a boy of 13 years old playing his guitar at bus stops. He stated that the life he is living now (one of great musical achievements and honors, traveling the world doing what he loves) is precisely what he imagined for himself all those years ago as he strummed away on the street for strangers. In other words, you must imagine it in order to help create it.

“You have all the reason in the world to achieve your grandest dreams. Imagination plus innovation equals realization.” 
-Denis Waitley

Images: (1) pinterest 

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June 15, 2012

The Weekend . . .

The first week of my summer is just wrapping up, so my mind has been blissfully free to make plans and then change them, as well as begin doing something and become distracted without the confinement of a structured schedule. It is quite lovely, and I feel wonderfully spoiled.

What I find when I have such tweakable structure is that my mind is far more creative. For example, there were moments this past week when I would get busy doing something, only to realize that when I looked up at the clock – four hours had passed. To me, that is what life should be about – discovering your passions, becoming so engrossed in them that you don’t mind the work because you genuinely love doing it.

Needless to say, I couldn’t help ask the question today . . . what dream are you turning into your reality? What ship will you be chasing down and choosing to sail in a direction that is uniquely your own?

It is my dearest hope that you find the gumption within you to step out and seek out what is calling your name, catches your attention every time you have a stray thought and take a chance on yourself. Life is far too short, and much too precious to spend it in negativity and mediocrity.

So why not this weekend, give yourself some time to dream, then to plan, then begin putting it into action, and if you’re already busy building your dream, keep working. You’re getting closer than you think.

Some exciting news happened Wednesday. The blog made it to television! Stephanie Kralevich, a reporter from a local Portland news station – Fox 12 – chose to spotlight The Simply Luxurious Life for her weekly segment “Surfin’ with Steph”.  If you live in the Portland area and missed it, it will be mentioned again on Monday’s Good Day Oregon (Fox 49) at 9 am. A huge thank you to Stephanie for her kindness and consideration.

Here is a look back on a wonderful week that introduced a new feature to the blog that so many of you are already taking advantage of, and I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner, and a return of a favorite piece – Rules of Style.

~Style Inspiration: Boyfriend Jeans & Shorts
~Why Not . . . Create Your Own Style Commandments? . . . the readers’ favorite this week
~A sneak peek – Emma Stone’s cover of Vogue US July 2012
~Ask Shannon
~What Will Your Purpose Be?
~My new style inspiration – Rules of Style: Hedvig Opshaug
~This & That: No. 11 – a book to read, sales to shop and tips for your next yard sale

And a look at this week’s newsletter – issue #105 – click here to read.

Until Monday, bonjour!

P.S. - In last week's This & That: No. 10, I mentioned I had ordered a nautical top from Chance clothing. Click here to see read my review of their product.

Images: 1. , 2. , 3.

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June 14, 2012

Style Inspiration: Shorts & Boyfriend Jeans

Shorts have been trending during the past few summers as a way to blend style with function. So last weekend, since I was fortunate to find some time to stop into my favorite consignment shop in Portland, I decided to look for an extra pair of shorts for the summer. I beamed when I discovered a pair of Hugo Boss ‘Hanomi’ black stretch cotton shorts ($39 – I’m telling you, shop consignment first). Paired with black peep-toe pumps and a delicious blouse, a perfect summer date attire is complete. Of course, I had to continue perusing the store, because you never know what may be hidden on the racks just waiting for you to find it. Well, I found the perfect summer evening dress for my upcoming travels to Paris and London, so . . .  I splurged.

Another piece of clothing that I love to wear during the summer months are boyfriend jeans – a little loose, sometimes worn or with tears, paired with heels and a sweater, the balance of sophistication and casual is ideal for cool summer evenings.

Along with ways to wear both of these styles, I’ve also included in this week’s Style Inspiration a few other images that I thought you might enjoy. You will notice that fashion blogger Hedvig Opshaug appears three different times, but I couldn’t help including her as her style never ceases to inspire me. Anyway, have a lovely Thursday everyone and enjoy the journey of becoming your own best stylist.

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June 13, 2012

Emma Stone – Vogue US July 2012

I must admit right up front, I’m a fan of Emma Stone. Okay, a huge fan. Her fashion gumption, her ability to look fabulous in brunette and platinum blonde in a blink of an eye, and, well, she was cast as a character in Crazy, Stupid, Love that sealed the deal.

Draped in Nina Ricci Fall 2012 wares on the cover as she promotes her new upcoming film The Amazing Spider-Man (premiering July 3rd), Mario Testino captures Emma's unique, innocent, but at the same time mysteriously intriguing beauty for the July 2012 issue of Vogue US

As a spokeswoman for Revlon, the nod from Anna Wintour is certainly a step up in the right direction for the 23-year old. Interviewed by Nathan Heller, pick up the issue on newsstands this week, and see all of the photos below:
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Rules of Style – Hedvig Opshaug

Most likely, you’ve seen Hedvig Opshaug whenever street style is mentioned online or in the pages of the New York Times and top fashion websites – Vogue, Elle, L’Officiel, Net-a-Porter, etc. Originally from Norway, this once model, turned banker, turned fashion blogger, stylist and photographer is making a name for herself in the fashion world. Currently living in London, you can follow her sartorial choices on her blog Northern Light where she shares itemized details of each of outfits, shopping finds, adventures while traveling and continual inspiration for dressing well.

As you peruse through the many images below, what you will discover is how Hedvig is able to expertly mix and match items in her wardrobe to create entirely different outfits each time with many of the same items. You will frequently see the same coats and knits worn, as well as her favorite J.Brand skinny jeans, and always her Ray Ban black sunglasses. However, it is her confidence, her expert eye and her ability to balance the different textures and proportions of each item that help her pull it off each time. Have a look.

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Why Not . . . Create Your Own Style Commandments?

Fashion rules in general can be very helpful in many ways, but also very confining and restrictive depending on how you choose to incorporate style into your life.

If you are someone who simply wears clothes for functional purposes, these rules are nice because they provide structure which eliminates thought. But if you’re someone who chooses to communicate with your clothing choices or someone who tends to allow how you appear to serve as a reflection of who you are, then you will most likely want to tweak these rules to best fit your lifestyle and personality.

A while ago I came across the idea of style commandments. After a certain amount of time shopping for your body type, getting comfortable with who you are and what life you want to live, you begin to hone in on what works and what doesn’t work for you when it comes to fashion.

So today, why not take 30 minutes or so and discern what fashion choices benefit you and which make you cringe. Eliminate the latter and dive deeper into the former investigating exactly what it is that made you feel your best.

Here are my 10 Style Commandments:

1. Dress to Flatter Your Figure & Your Personality

Dress the body you have now – not the body you had in high school and not the body that you wish you had. When you heed this advice, you will like how you appear in photographs much better and you will feel better in the clothes you choose which ultimately cause your confidence to rise and your days more fulfilling as you are focusing on what you are doing and not how you look (because you know you look great).

Accentuate the aspects of your figure that are fabulous (and yes, we all have fabulousness to flatter). Slim waist – cinch it with belts, beautiful décolletage – pay attention to your necklines and wear beautiful earrings and/or necklaces. Also, know your colors. What undertone does your skin have? (click here to find out) With this valuable information, you will know what colors look better on you when it comes to clothing, hair color and make-up.

2. Strive for Balance
As it is important in life, it is also something to always have in mind when pulling together an outfit. Balance should be paid attention to with regards to textures of fabrics (silk, wool, cotton, linen, etc), styles of clothing (masculine vs. feminine), proportions (remember never to cut yourself in half, but divide the body into thirds), slim-fitting vs. blousing and loose and revealing just enough, but not too much.

3. Quality Foundational Pieces

The basic items that create the foundation of your wardrobe should be as high quality as you can afford. Such as coats, handbags, sweaters, jeans, suits, dresses – items that will be expected to last. When you tend to purchase quality, you will find you need to go shopping less because the items you have last.

4. Keep it Simple

As many of you know, Jennifer L. Scott’s new book (which is being re-released in November) Lessons from Madame Chic has convinced me to down-size my closet for the peace of mind, the relief to my budget and to help create an even simpler way of living well. Scott suggests creating and adhering to a 10 item Capsule Wardrobe – one for each season (fall/winter and spring/summer), so I’d like to show you what mine now looks like (it’s not quite down to 10 yet, but it’s much closer).

~Remember, the capsule wardrobe does not include coats, dresses for special occasions, lingerie, accessories, shoes, blazers, and camisoles~

  1. pencil skirts (beige, navy, gray)
  2. white cropped jeans
  3. navy cropped trousers
  4. ivory lightweight cashmere sweater
  5. nautical top
  6. silk blouses (striped/prints, solid)
  7. shorts (cotton & linen)
  8. jeans (boyfriend or cropped)
  9. summer dresses (3)
  1. wool and lined cotton pencil skirts (black, camel, grey, navy)
  2. cashmere sweaters (navy, ivory, color)
  3. silk blouses (long sleeve & capped)
  4. straight leg jeans (dark denim)
  5. black skinny jeans
  6. DVF wrap dresses (3)
  7. shift dresses (black, navy, gray)
As you can see, it’s simple - it includes items that will last – paying no mind to trends, and it’s very easy to mix and match, as it is the addition of the accessories you choose that can help change an entire outfit.

5. Only Shop Sales for What You Need

This time of year is ripe for sample sales and end of season sales, but the key is to keep in mind that just because they’re a sale, doesn’t mean you are saving money if you didn’t need the item in the first place. 
What works for me is to always have a running list of what I need, and then I am always on the look out. By choosing to stick to a closet of fewer clothes, you will find you have more money to purchase high quality items when you find exactly what you want – sale or no sale.

6. Consignment!

For the past few years I have been shopping at consignment shops much more than any boutique or department store. Why?
  1. Most consignment shops rotate their clothing by season and trend, so you will be shown items that can work in your wardrobe for that particular season.
  2. Designer clothing at a fraction of the price. Here is my story that taught me a HUGE lesson on knowing when to buy something and when to let it go. I came across a Dolce & Gabbana black blazer (leopard lining – yes, you know the one I’m talking about). Marked at $250, I hemmed and hawed, slept on it for a night, and then decided I just couldn’t afford it, but knew I needed a black blazer. Then I got online to discover that the jacket at full retail price was close to $900. I quickly called up the store, but it (understandably so) had already found a new home. Lesson learned!
  3. You can often bring your own clothing in if it is in good condition and in season to help pay for your future purchases.
  4. A fashion treasure hunt. So always take your clothing list with you, so to not spend unnecessarily.
7. Cost Per Wear

8. Stand up Straight

As a child, my father was always reminding me to stand up straight. Being a girl who was always taller than her peers and especially the boys going through elementary and junior high school, it was tempting to slouch, but at the same time why? Now, I always cringe when I see young girls who are hunching over due to their height, and I want to run up to them and say, you are beautiful! Stand proud!

Needless to say, your posture states a lot about your self-confidence and immediately makes the clothes you are wearing appear much more chic.

9. Navy – an often forgotten dependable classic

I am obsessed with this color. Whether it is a cashmere sweater, included in my favorite go-to nautical top or found in a dress or a skirt, I want to have it in my closet. It is such a flattering color on so many different types of skin tones and body types. And it is a choice to keep in mind all year round, a must-have in my wardrobe.

10. Heels & Flats – interchange accordingly
Ballet flats can be just as chic as a pair of luxuriously high Jimmy Choos when worn with the proper length of pant or skirt. But remember, there is something quite uplifting about heels as well. Wearing jeans with heels is one of my favorite ways to dress casually, but still remain stylish, but at the same time a nude patent leather flat is always a safe bet.

One of the things I love about fashion is that while it isn’t something serious, it can have a very powerful effect in our lives if we handle it appropriately to help aid us live the life we desire, and always keep our budget in mind. I don’t know about you, but I will always be a student of fashion, learning what works best for me, discovering new ideas and collections and playing dress-up as I did when I was a young girl all the rest of my days. How delightful indeed.

Images: (1) pinterest (2) pinterest (3) pinterest (4) pinterest (5) pinterest (6) pinterest

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June 12, 2012

This & That: No. 11

Summer reading to enjoy, shopping on a budget, an appetizer to impress your guests and more . . .

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June 11, 2012

New Feature! – Ask Shannon

One of my favorite discoveries and most humbling of compliments since creating The Simply Luxurious Life blog is receiving reader emails seeking advice on fashion, style, life quandaries and everything in between.

With careful thought, I have tried to help and advise based on my life experience and understanding of the posed questions by each reader. With topics sent in from readers about what to pack for Paris to how to handle a particular relationship situation and even how to pick up and move on when things don’t necessarily go as they were planned, I am touched by the trust readers have placed in me to open up and introduce themselves.

Whether you simply want someone to listen or are seeking my advice, I have now created a special feature – Ask Shannon. Please note that your emails will NOT be shared on the blog (I will be responding to each email directly), as I simply wanted to open the door for those of you who may want to ask a question – big or small - about any of the following topics that involve trying to live your most simply luxurious life:

decor, friendships, travel, entertaining, living your best life, love, fashion, fitness, and money~ 

While we each are creating our own unique, specially tailored life, sometimes it’s nice to know that someone will listen. As Maya Angelou reminds us, and what I try to exhibit on the blog: “When we learn, teach, when we get, give”.

If I can help, I’d love to. Email me.


Images: (1) simplyluxurious/Inslee (2) simplyluxurious

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What Will Your Purpose Be?

“It used to be people wanted to do something. Now it seems everyone wants to be somebody.”

– former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (from the film Iron Lady)

Since 1997 when Mark Burnett created the ultimate reality show Survivor and MTV debuted The Real World in 1992, random individuals have been clamoring for the spotlight of fame and fortune. Sadly, it has only intensified since then with scads of reality television programs popping up on television guides.

The focus our zeitgeist pays to the celebrities spawned from obscurity to the reality set is puzzling. What does that say about our culture? Have we not evolved and matured enough to only aspire to “Be” someone of importance as Margaret Thatcher points out in the above quote, instead of “Doing” something of significance for the world we live in?

First of all, what is the difference between the two aspirations?

To “be” something in this instance is implying that it is a selfish motivation to only better ourselves and our well-being, while choosing to “do” something is selecting a path that will improve at least one other individual’s life, our community, our country or possibly the world. In other words, our intentions are looking beyond ourselves and trying to aid the lives of others, which by default includes ourselves.

Take a moment and recall the goals you are currently in progress  achieving. Then ask yourself the following questions and try to answer as specifically and honestly as you can:

*Why do you wish to attain these particular goals?
*Why are you choosing this particular career?
*Why are you choosing to do the things you do each and every day?
*Why are you spending money the way you are spending it currently?
*Why are you making the sacrifices you are making currently?

If any of your answers involve someone or something other than yourself, then you are on the right path. This is not to say you shouldn’t put yourself first. Ironically, you should be putting yourself first because you are choosing to hone your talents so that you might be a tool to help improve or help those around you in a way that only you can do.

Now, ask yourself this question:

*What keeps you up at night?
Everyone’s specific answer will be different, but what I’ve found in general is that what keeps me up at night is my conscience. If I can’t sleep, it is because I’m wrestling with something I’ve done and should have done differently, or how to do something in the days ahead that is at the moment perplexing me. In other words, I am wrestling with doing my best and trying to live up to my full potential.

I believe this is the case for many of you as well, and if it is, it’s a good sign. It’s a sign that you do care about others. It is a sign that you are not narcissistic and in fact desire to live your best life.  Welcome such news as a very good sign.

Whether you are choosing a career that is steeped in helping others or the world around you, or simply are taking the best available job to provide for your family and yourself, these are evidence that you are choosing to “do” something, rather than “be” something.

I would also argue that simply by leading a life that is inspiring to others, provides them with an idea of what is possible is also a way of choosing to “do” something.  In other words, you are choosing to allow your life to be something that not only benefits yourself – having a sound job, being a responsible adult, standing by your values – but you are allowing your life to serve as an example, demonstrating to others that living in such a way can be a grand life despite what so much of our reality television conveys to the public.

While there are many people in this world who are well known and have attained celebrity status due to trying to better our world and improve the lives of the people around them – Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Mother Teresa, for example – there are just as many, unfortunately, who simply are in love with the fame.

“The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.” –David Viscott

Choose to make the purpose of your life one that leaves a legacy that continues to inspire and improve the world even when you are no longer around. While it may not always look glamorous to the outside world, the peace of mind you have will be priceless. Knowing you are pursuing a “doing” path, rather than a “being” path will help you sleep at night, will inspire more people than you will ever know to help others as well and will one person at a time improve the world we live in. Now that is a purpose worth pursuing.

“Purpose is the place where your deep gladness meets the world's needs.” Frederick Buechner

Images: (1)  life-spire