The Simply Luxurious Life®: November 2012  

November 30, 2012

The Weekend . . .

Can you believe that December will be here tomorrow? The fog and the frosted tree limbs are a regular image when I peer out the window in the morning, but I must admit, I enjoy the excuse to cozy up inside, grab a hot cup of tea, nibble on a truffle and simply relax. 

This weekend however, I will be snapping photographs. Thrilled to be learning more and more about how to capture images, if you see me, be prepared, I may just snap a candid photo!

This past week on the blog brought with it some changes to the facade of The Simply Luxurious Life, and one essential change that I am happy to finally be able to share - the new slogan. Appearing just below the title of the blog, “Refined living on an everyday income”, states exactly what I feel living The Simply Luxurious Life is all about. Also, the Newsletter Sign-Up has its very own page (click here to see), as well as Ask Shannon. And the additional page that I have added is one my fellow fashionistas will enjoy I have a feeling – Shannon’s Style Boutique. Compiled with all of the clothing and accessories recommended on the Style Inspiration and Want & Have Outfit posts, each week when you stop by the boutique you will be able to quickly find the item you’re looking for (most recent items will be at the top), view the price and click to be taken directly to the website. I do so hope you enjoy perusing. While I could go on and on about the changes, if you want to learn more, have a look at this week’s newsletter - issue #127.

As for this week on the blog, bravery was discussed, holiday decor and shopping ideas were shared from the simply luxurious perspective and the question of how to dress stylishly in the chilly winter months was addressed. Have a look:

~This & That: No. 35 . . . a new book from Peter Mayle, a fantastic blog for style in your 40s and beyond and more.

~The Simply Luxurious Holiday Gift Guide . . . for everyone on your list.

~Style Inspiration: Neutrals & Tones of Blue

~Want & Have Outfit: No. 11 . . . the end-of-season Net-a-Porter sale!

~Simply Luxurious Holiday Decor

~Why Not . . . Be Stylish in Winter?

~How to be Brave

And this week’s newsletter – issue #127 – click here to read.

Have a wonderful start to the month of December and a lovely weekend as well. Until Monday, bonjour.

  Images: (1) pinterest (2) pinterest

November 29, 2012

The Simply Luxurious Holiday Gift Guide

As the holiday shopping season is already in full swing, I wanted to pull together the simply luxurious shopping gift list full of ideas for the variety of people and tastes you have on your list, including yourself.

What I have gathered together are twenty-five items, sixteen of which I already own or have enjoyed and highly recommend, combined with nine other gift ideas that came highly recommended. Labeled according to who might enjoy the gift most as well as a description, simply click on each of the images to be taken to the items official web page.

I do hope you enjoy perusing through the list and hopefully discover a gift that will be perfect for that someone on your list who would appreciate the most. Happy shopping and happy holidays!


For my readers who live in the Pendleton area, Don Carlo wines are sold at Great Pacific! And no matter where you live, you can order a bottle from Amazon.



Image: source


Style Inspiration: Neutrals & Tones of Blue

Whether it is winter or summer, neutrals are always a safe and certain bet  to depend upon to ground your wardrobe. A camel wool coat, black leather details, and even touches of leopard will always be sound choices when it comes to deciding what to wear each day you step out the door, and of course, so too will be your favorite pair of jeans. Have a look at a few ideas of how to use either option or both to create a look that will impress.

Read more »

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November 28, 2012

Want & Have Outfit: No. 11


Last week, the much anticipated end-of-season sale began on Net-a-Porter (for U.S., Canada, Central & South America). This particular sale occurs twice a year, and with drastic reductions on top designer labels (yep, Oscar de la Renta too!), it’s a wonderful time to peruse all of the items on sale to see if anything on your wardrobe list has fallen into your price range.

Today’s outfit includes pieces from the sale, and one thing to keep in the back of your mind is that while things have been reduced up to 50% so far, in a few more weeks, they will continue to drop the prices, up to 70%. So be sure to keep stopping back by. One thing I especially enjoy about this sale is that it is an ideal time to pick up quality dresses from favorite designers that I wouldn’t normally be able to afford. However, regardless of what you most need or want to add to your closet, remember too that quality items will last and are worth the investment (cost per wear). For example, the Jimmy Choo sandals in this week’s outfit have been on my list for the past three years, and at this price, I just might have to invest. Happy shopping!


~Vince silk-georgette top (similar)~


~Rag & Bone ‘Eloise’ cotton-twill pants~

~Jimmy Choo private patent nude sandals~

~Elizabeth and James ‘Christopher’ python print silk blazer~


Why Not . . . Be Stylish in Winter?

The frigid temperatures have set in for many of us as November runs out of days and December eagerly awaits to keep us in our long johns. However, as someone who adores fashion, I refuse to let Old Man Winter win when it comes to not only staying warm but looking stylish.
About a month ago, a reader emailed me to ask the very question I would like to address today. How to dress chic and stylishly no matter how cold the freezing temperatures fall. I want to thank that reader, Anastasiya, for presenting me with such a great question to tackle. I hope today, to have provided a few more ideas. Have a look.

1. Choose Sophistication

Scarves are timeless and can be worn in every season Mother Nature presents. Which is why scarves worn during winter should provide two purposes – functionality (warmth) and style. Choose cashmere, wool or even silk scarves that are grand in size and aesthetically appropriate for your wardrobe to ensure you stay warm and remain confident that you look fabulously chic. (click here to see 25 different ways to wear a scarf to keep you as warm as possible)

2. Tights

Just recently, I wore my first pair of winter tights for the season, and since I love wearing dresses and skirts, they are the only defense I have to keep my fashion preference alive during the chilly months. Have fun with the styles you choose. Remember to consider texture, prints, complementary colors and fabrics. For example, knit or fleece lined tights for extra warm or unique prints and designs rather than one solid color. Click here to gather a few ideas. And the extra benefit of choosing to wear tights is that you can still wear your favorite heels or booties instead of always wearing knee-high boots.

3. Silk
Believe it or not silk is a wonderful choice to include in your winter layering scheme. Worn as a base – silk thermal underwear (if you live in extremely cold environments) or a silk blouse or camisole underneath a sweater or cardigan finished with a blazer keeps you warm, and as long as each of the layers are high quality and thinner rather than bulky, you’ll look stylish as well as warm. Any natural fiber will allow your skin to breathe, such as silk, no matter how many layers you pile on, and it also holds in body heat as well, that is why it is perfect as a base.

4. Knee-high boots
Include in your closet one or two pairs of knee high boots, flat or high heeled depending up on your preference. Pair them with dresses or jeans for either a professional or casual look. The boot provides an extra layer and leaves no skin exposed to the elements. If you will be wearing boots outside in snow or rain, opt away from leather until you are inside so as not to ruin your prized possessions. While Uggs or Hunter wellies may not look as chic as black leather stilettos, they will do the job and get you from one place to the next safely and comfortably.

5. Invest in gloves

Knit gloves are always an inexpensive purchase to keep your hands warm while you are walking or driving, but if you are outside regularly and wearing your favorite winter coat, take time to choose a pair of leather gloves that work well with your winter wardrobe. Begin with a black or brown pair and add any other colors that you prefer. They are fall less bulky and are certain to keep your digits nice and toasty.

6. A Signature Hat

Depending upon the temperatures where you live, you will either need earmuffs or a stocking cap if it’s frigid, or a wool fedora in more mild climates. Either way, choose a style that flatters your physique and your face. The Wall Street Journal shared insights on this exact topic just last month regarding which styles work best with certain faces, so be sure to take a look.

7. Long sleeves, tapered at the wrist

Sweaters and cardigans are a must this time of year, but the style of each of these pieces is very important to continue to present a feminine, chic look. Choose long sleeves that taper as they approach the wrist. This provides warm, but eliminates unnecessary bulk and elongates the arm.

8. Knee-high socks and beyond

Trending currently and more readily available in stores are knit socks that are intended to work with boots and peek out above them to add not only warmth, but texture and accessorize your look. While they provide an additional layer, they can also be a lot of fun.

9. A Quality Winter Coat

Last, but certainly not least, you should have at least one quality winter coat that provides warmth and style the moment you put it on. This is a coat that will last for many seasons to come, so make sure it works with your signature style and daily routines.

While planning for winter will take a bit of conscious effort, the beauty is that when you invest in quality pieces, they will be available year after year. And as fall turns into snow, it’s always nice to know you have warm and style hanging in your closet ready to be worn for the world to see.

~Similar Posts from the Archives You Might Enjoy:

~Winter Style Ideas:

Images:      (1) pinterest (2) pinterest  (3) pinterest  (4) pinterest  (5) pinterest (6) pinterest (7) pinterest (8) pinterest  (9) pinterest

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November 27, 2012

This & That: No. 35

Fantastic chic stationery, a new leisure book to enjoy during the busy holidays, a gift idea for wine lovers and style tips for all ages  . . .


~The Marseille Caper by Peter Mayle

I have been wondering and waiting to see if author Peter Mayle would release a new book. Having read many of his travel memoirs and devoured The Vintage Caper a few years ago, I was ecstatic to learn that just this month, he has released a new fictional wine mystery – The Marseille Caper. Picking up where The Vintage Caper left off, wine sleuth Sam Levitt and love Elena Morales jet-set from Los Angeles to Marseille to become entrenched in another cozy mystery.

~Secrets of the Sommeliers:How to Think and Drink Like the World’s Top Wine Professionals by Rajat Parr, Jordan Mackay

If you have a wine lover on your holiday shopping list, Secrets of the Sommeliers is a wonderful book to further educate their palette and help them to become even more knowledgeable about the subject that they love.


That’s Not My Age

I am always humbled to learn that the age range of readers who stop by The Simply Luxurious Life is vast and wide. With readers still in high school along with readers well into their second career after retirement, one of the many questions I receive is where to find style advice for women in their 40s and beyond. So when I discovered That’s Not My Age blog I was excited to share. Founded by a former fashion editor of a well-known magazine, the 40-something editor regularly shares beauty and fashion tips from experts. With a classic, yet stylish approach, That’s Not My Age reveals that no matter what your age, you can always look chic.

~Blog Post

~Tips from a J.Crew Personal Stylist – Babble

While Jenna Lyons, head fashion director of J.Crew, has transformed the company’s signature style into a uber-successful business, it is not without the help of their many talented stylists. Marina Dobreva, a former J.Crew stylist, is stepping out on her own and sharing a few of the stylish secrets you will recognize from the pages of J.Crew magazines.


~Vivienne Westwood toga draped stretch-jersey dress

The Net-a-Porter annual end-of-the-season sale for the U.S. and Canada has officially begun, so of course I am scouring the website. While many prices are already reduced quite impressively, be sure to be patient as they will drop even further in a few weeks. However, the holiday party season doesn’t wait, that is why I wanted to share with you Vivienne Westwood’s Toga Draped Stretch-Jersey dress. Simple to accessorize – either with a beautiful belt to cinch your waist or a gorgeous statement necklace, pull on some fabulous high heels and within minutes you have a wonderful look for the evening.


R. Nichols Stationery

Ever since Mireille Guiliano’s first book came out - French Women Don’t Get Fat, I have been smitten with the illustrations that accompanied the cover and the pages. The talent behind each of them is R. Nichols, and you can now bring them into your stationery library as well. With holiday cards, boxed sets and individual greeting cards for any occasion, they’re fun, unique and have just enough of that French flare that fits your signature style. I just ordered these for my holiday cards, and the two images above are NYC Holiday Taxi and Bicyclist Thank You. 

~On Friday, The Simply Luxurious Life Gift List will be shared! Be sure to stop by.~

November 26, 2012

Simply Luxurious Holiday Decor

Last year I began working with the online decor inspiration website Houzz to create a monthly Ideabook full of simply luxurious pieces for the home centered around a different theme each month. Well, as you might imagine, this month’s ideabook is all about the holidays - Simply Luxurious Holiday Decor to be exact.

Above are just a few of the items I hand-selected, but feel free to click here to view the entire 20 item ideabook full of items and explanations as to why and how I would use each piece to create a festive, yet welcoming holiday sanctuary. After all, even the holidays should be simply luxurious.

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How to Be Brave

“The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls.”

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (an American social activist and leading figure of the early woman's movement)

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was part of the first wave of the women’s right movement which began during the nineteenth century in the United States. Working with Susan B. Anthony, Stanton not only fought for women’s enfranchisement, but for women’s custody, parental and property rights, employment and income rights, divorce rights and birth control. The most historically remembered document she wrote and first shared at the Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls in 1848, The Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions purposefully paralleled Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence to bear reflection that the demands of equality and independence of women were no different from Americas demands to be free from King George III.

Had she and so many other women chosen not to stand up for what they knew to be their rights, not privileges, the women’s movement would look drastically different. And it is in decisions such as these that bravery is exhibited. Bravery does not occur when times are easy, when everything is going smoothly, but instead when justice has been denied, when a lie has been perpetuated and considered fact, or when the life we wish to live has crashed down around our ankles. It is in such disheartening, sickening, heart-wrenching moments that our true character is revealed. The easy decision in the moment is the choice of cowards – to turn and run. The difficult, yet the right decision, is to stand up, speak up and take action.

So if you are someone who is willing to make the difficult decision, and ultimately the decision that will contribute positively to the world and community you live in and wish to create for yourself, here are eight tips on how to be brave.

1. Realize that without fear, courage and bravery wouldn’t exist.  As the definition of being brave states, “ready to face and endure danger or pain”, unless we feel we are going to lose someone/something we care about or become injured either emotionally or physically, we will never get the opportunity to be brave.

2. Understand your fears, confront them, don’t run from them. Believe it or not, your fears are actually your guideposts. As human beings, we are able to sense fear so that we may be better able to protect ourselves and not be caught off-guard. Often the media and the culture we live in prey upon this natural instinct, so for some, our fear detector needs to be recalibrated. But once we’re able to discern between which fears are worthy of our time, we then need to dive deep into them instead of running from them. What are they trying to tell you? Often our fears are instincts telling us who someone truly is rather than who they show themselves to be, and even better, our fears are also trying to direct us to where we want to go. You see, if we want something, we fear not being able to attain it because of the uncertainty, but if we look at it as a grand picture, the only direction to move in is towards what we wish to attain. In other words, our fears are our compass. Running from them is certain to cause them to keep following us until we finally face them head on.

3. Seek out a role model that can help give you direction. Whatever you might be afraid of – not being able to discover your passion, not attaining the job you have worked so long for, not being able to [insert your desire here], seek out someone who has achieved what you wish to in a way that inspires you and you wish to model.

4. Strengthen your “change” muscle. Change can be scary, and it can be even scarier if we never allow it to be part of our everyday lives. While adhering to a routine is a good idea, adding doses of new experiences to our daily routines is a wonderful way to exercise our ability to handle new experiences. For example, be willing to try new cuisine whenever you have the opportunity, be willing to strike up a conversation with a stranger while waiting for the train/subway/bus/etc, be willing to put yourself in new situations (in small doses or shorts amount of time) to learn how to respond to unknown stimuli. By exercising your “change” muscle not only will you broaden your perspectives and knowledge base, but you will also be far less likely to be shocked and frozen when change is expected of you.

5. Rise above the judgments and opinions of others. There are so many things in this world we have no control over, but there are so many other things we do that we often forget about them and let them slip through our fingers. While we may not be able to alter someone’s opinion of us or our actions, we can choose to let their judgments bounce off us and be a reflection of who they are, not allowing ourselves to be swayed unnecessarily.

6. Master your mind. Do the hard work of getting to know yourself. Come to understand what makes you tick, what makes you smile, what stresses you out and why, so that when frightening situations occur you know how to best respond according to your knowledge of your strongest capabilities.

7. Educate yourself. Refuse to be ignorant. Often it is ignorance that cultivates and fans the flames of fear. When we don’t know, the unknown can be frightening, but once we understand how something works – global warming, health conditions, government, taxes, how to get a job, how to buy a house, etc. – we eliminate the unknown and then are better able to tackle the problem with a common sense solution.

8. Don’t put the cart before the horse. As Mark Twain reminds us, "I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened."

“Don't be afraid of your fears. They're not there to scare you. They're there to let you know that something is worth it.” ― C. JoyBell C.

~Similar Posts You May Also Be Interested In:

Image: pinterest

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November 23, 2012

Holiday Shopping Sales & Codes!

The Simply Luxurious Life is happy to be able to share with you many insider promo codes and sales going on through the holiday weekend and into Cyber Monday.

While we are all trying to complete our holiday shopping gift list, this is also a wonderful time of year to keep an eye open for yourself. Whether it’s stocking up on your make-up (Bobbi Brown is having a wonderful sale) or perusing through one of my favorite end-of-season sales at Net-a-Porter to pick up designer items at half the price, have fun shopping and save a little (or a lot) of money while you are at it. See below for an alphabetized list of retailers, sales and promo codes.

Alice + Olivia

11/22-11/26 – 20% off site wide – no code needed!

Ann Taylor

11/26 - Enjoy 40% off everything. Use online code: MONDAY


11/26- enjoy free shipping on your entire order- no code required!


11/26 ONLY – 30% off everything when you use code CYBERMONDAYSPECIAL

Banana Republic & GAP

11/26 - Save 30% off any purchase. Use online code: CYBER


11/26- take $50 off $250, and 50% off a great selection of products, no code needed!


11/26 - $10 gift card for every panty pack ordered. $25 gift card for every bra pack ordered. PLUS orders over $250 will receive free thong.

Crate and Barrel

Save 15% off through Monday, November 26th using promo code SAVE15. Free shipping as well!

David Meister

11/22-11/26- save 25% off your entire purchase and free shipping with code HOLIDAY25 at checkout!

Dwell Studio

11/26 ONLY – 20% off site wide + free shipping with code GOBBLE2012


Use the code HOLIDAYSALE on all sale items to enjoy an additional 30% off and free shipping


11/22-11/26 – 20-30% off the entire site – no code needed! (some exclusions apply)


11/21-11/26 – 25% off everything + free shipping with code TREAT

Michael Stars

Enjoy 25% off site wide and free ground shipping from Michael Stars. Offer valid 11/26. Use Promo Code: CYBER.


U.S. End-of-Season sales begins today! Up to 50% off select items

Nicole Miller

11/26- enjoy 20% off site wide

R. Nicols Stationery

20% off everything using discount code “hooray”

Ralph Lauren

11/20-11/26- enjoy 25% off all sale items plus free shipping- no code required!

11/26- receive $25 off every $200 you spend- no code required! (order limit: $2000)

11/27-12/19- free shipping on all orders with code RLFS2012


11/26 - 20% off plus free shipping on full price items.

Saks Fifth Avenue

11/26-11/28- save 25% off select electronics, holiday and home styles, no code required!


11/21-11/26 – Spend $250 save 20%, spend $500 save 25%, spend $1000 save 30%, spend $1500 save 35% when you enter code

Steve Madden

25% off and free shipping with code GIVE25!

Sweaty Betty

11/23-11/26- save 10% off + enjoy a free shipping coupon with code USAPG5


30% off site wide this entire holiday weekend. Use code THANKS30

Trina Turk

11/26 – Save 20% off all full priced merchandise when you enter the promo code CYBER

Vince Camuto

11/21-11/27- enjoy 30% off with code HOLIDAY (excludes watches and clothing)

Take 40 percent off full-priced items with the code CYBER40 on Cyber Monday.

Image: source

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The Weekend . . .

A weekend to kick-off holiday shopping, a weekend to burn off those extra calories you may have consumed yesterday while nibbling during Thanksgiving festivities, or a weekend to savor . . . simply savor.

Whether you find yourself decorating your holiday Christmas tree, spending time with friends or beginning to check off your holiday gift list, be sure to take a moment to stop, smile and appreciate the abundance that is at your fingertips.

In the rush of buy, buy, buy and hurry, hurry, hurry, the beauty of the season can sometimes be subconsciously forgotten. Take time today, tomorrow or anytime during the next five weeks to indulge in your favorite traditions, listen to your favorite sounds and partake in the activities that bring you and yours joy. After all, the foundation of the holidays is to indulge in the non-material gifts that we have year round, but often take for granted.

Here is a look back on the week that was on The Simply Luxurious Life:

~Style Inspiration: Leopard, Chanel & Fall Attire

~Want & Have Outfit: No. 10 . . . comfortable, yet chic – one of my favorite holiday outfits for relaxing, yet remaining presentable.

~Why Not . . . Create a Memorable Thanksgiving?

~This & That: No. 34 . . . a bit of holiday music, marked down prices on a popular J.Crew item and a jewelry-lover’s new favorite stop.

~Remember to Spread Your Wings . . . the readers’ favorite post this week

~If you will be shopping this weekend, take a look at The Simply Luxurious Life’s long list of sales and promo codes offered through the holiday weekend and beyond . . .

And this week’s newsletter – issue #126 – click here to read.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, and I hope your holiday season is off to a lovely first few days. Until Monday, bonjour!

Images:  (1) pinterest (2) source

November 22, 2012

Style Inspiration: Leopard, Chanel and Fall Attire


Dressing up for the first holiday events of the season during the chilly November dates invites some wonderful possibilities when it comes to style. Choose a leopard dress with simple black pumps like Kate Moss or a navy trench accessorized with a warm red scarf like the Duchess to attain simple, classically chic style. Or if you want some pop, why not don a pair of shimmery pumps and a signature wool coat. Either way, layers, neutral tones with accents of color are sure to reveal the confident individual that you are. Of course, dreaming is always allowed, so including a touch of Chanel – whether the iconic quilted handbag or a classic tweed jacket – is certain to finish the perfect look.


Along with each week's Style Inspiration post, at the bottom you will find opportunities to shop similar items shown in many of the images included each week. The price and where it can be found will be listed, and all you have to do is click.

Read more »

November 21, 2012

Want & Have Outfit: No. 10


For Thanksgiving this year I am driving to my childhood home to spend time with my parents. With their home situated in the country, time to relax is abundant and Black Friday shopping is a distant urge. However, with that said, I still find time to stop into the many local boutiques in one of my favorite small towns (Joseph, Oregon) and would never entirely exchange style for comfort before stepping out the door.

One of my favorite go-to downtime style choices is a pair of distressed boyfriend jeans. Paired with one of my many striped tops the look is quite casual, but when paired with a classic nude suede pump, wrapped up in a navy wool jacket, the look is the ideal pairing of high and low for a leisurely time out and about shopping the stores and looking for treasures.


~Reiss Casper navy belted wool jacket~

~J.Crew Everly suede pumps in burnt sienna~

~HAVE (similar)~

~J.Crew vintage straight jeans in old relic wash~

~MiH Jeans longwood striped cotton top~


Why Not . . . Create a Memorable Thanksgiving?

Well, I’m out the door like so many others today as I hit the road to spend time with family and friends for the long Thanksgiving holiday. One of the reasons I place Thanksgiving at the top of my favorite holiday list is because of the gratitude driven focus. Free from the requirement of monetary giving expectations, Thanksgiving hones in on some of the most important essentials needed to live a contented life – time with loved ones, experiences rather than gifts, scrumptious comforting food and time carved out especially to just be and relax.

Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving or navigating the traffic to attend the holiday feast, I wanted to share a list of ways I’ve found to help create a very memorable Thanksgiving.

1. Celebrate being free from want
When we enter into any situation with mindset of gratitude, we are more apt to see more to be grateful for.  Now this is not to say everything will go perfectly or everyone will behave in a manner that is agreeable, but being present with an attitude of abundance makes it easier to let the “oops” moments go and revel in the good. After all, look at all of the delicious food on the table!

2. Enjoy a traditional feast done well

Risk-taking and experimenting for the purpose of growth and discovery is something I wholeheartedly support, but when it comes to Thanksgiving, the traditional feast is always most appreciated. A former New York Times food critic Sam Sifton shares in his positively reviewed new book Thanksgiving: How to Cook it Well that sticking to and mastering the classic dishes is a surefire way to appease the majority of your often eclectic group of guests.

3. Compose a heartfelt toast
The writer and teacher in me always enjoys beginning a meal bringing together family and friends with a thoughtful toast.  While many prefer saying grace or commencing with a prayer, Thanksgiving often brings together a menagerie of guests with different faiths and beliefs. So in order to make sure everyone is comfortable and feels welcomed rather than excluded, a carefully crafted toast is a wonderful way to set the right tone. While on the fly can work adequately, putting extra forethought into your words is most certainly to be appreciated by your company. (Need help organizing your thoughts for nearly any occasion? Have a look at this book – Toasts: Over 1500 of the Best Toasts, Sentiments, Blessings and Graces by Paul Dickson)

4. Enjoy the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

I always have the goal of watching the televised Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade when the festive day arrives (9 am EST on NBC). Much like watching A Christmas Story on Christmas Eve, the parade has always been a simple tradition I look forward to, and Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same without it.

5. Be present (limit the use of technology)
Choose to be present on Thanksgiving by focusing on and enjoying the company you have chosen to spend the day with and who has chosen to spend time with you.

6. Support, thank and defer to the hostess/host

While I’ve had Thanksgiving at my house before, I must say I am thankful that this weighty responsibility is not on my shoulders this year. And it is because of this past experience that I can now better understand the planning, preparation, time and money that is involved in this very special day. With that said, if you are a guest, let the spotlight shine brightly and deservingly on your hostess/host.  Help if they need it, but then let them bask in the applause that they are very much deserving of.  And be sure to bring a hostess gift, a dish if requested or a lovely bottle of wine.

7. Sit, sip and converse
As a variety of different ages are no doubt wandering about the house waiting for the golden bird to make its grand arrival, take the time to mingle with a drink of choice in hand and enjoy yourself as you catch up with those who have been invited.

8. Pinot noir’s shining moment
One of the most popular wine varietals from Oregon  is fortunately a popular pairing choice with turkey. As an Oregonian, I must admit if there’s something I wouldn’t mind bragging about when it comes to my home state, it’s the many accolades lapped on our pinot noir industry. So if you’re still searching for a hostess gift or that perfect wine for dinner, be sure to choice a quality pinot noir. (Click here to see a long list of Oregon pinot noirs.)

9. Nibble and walk, walk and nibble
Last year I wrote a post focused on how to enjoy Thanksgiving because no matter how much the holiday event excites, it can also provoke a bit of anxiety when it comes to all of the food available.  So in order to ensure you wake up Friday morning without tremendous food guilt, incorporate either your regular exercise routine into the day or find an opportunity to step outside and take a stroll.  Your waistline will thank you and you will be better able to enjoy yourself throughout the entire day.

10. Don’t be afraid of lively conversation
Surprise, surprise, I find myself often in the middle of passionate, current event conversations during events such as Thanksgiving. And because Thanksgiving brings together a wide array of values, beliefs and opinions, as long as minds remain open, personal attacks are avoided and listening occurs as much as debating, such moments can be quite memorable.
11. Be willing to shift the narrative
If you happen to have relatives that tend to only be able to ask questions about your personal life, find the strength to shift the narrative to a topic that has the opportunity to broaden their perspective about who you are, instead of leaving them to rely on inaccurate stereotypes. (Click here to read a guide on how to navigate difficult holiday conversations.)

12. Pack the camera, forget the posing

If you are someone who enjoys snapping photos, be the fly on the wall and not the annoying intruder when it comes to capturing the day’s events. Capturing candid photos provides for images that could never be staged and opens the door for a greater appreciation of your hobby from those in your family.
No matter where or how you are celebrating the American turkey tradition, I want to wish you safe travels and many, many memorable moments.  From the Simply Luxurious Life, have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Bon appétit!


November 20, 2012

This & That: No. 34

It’s beginning to look like the holiday season . . . a new holiday music album to add to your collection, the brand new store created by Williams-Sonoma and a jewelry designer to say hello to if you’re shopping for that perfect gift. But don’t worry, I’ve discovered a few things to keep you stylish, organized and informed as well . . .

~Blog Post

~Becoming French 101: How to Live and Work in France

The dream of living in France some day can seem at times a bit lofty, but with an insider’s help, such a dream can one day be your reality.  Paige Bradley Frost explains four different ways each one of us can potentially one day live in France if we choose. Whether you are a student, work for company that may transfer you or wish to seek a job on your home, she explains the bureaucracy you should expect to deal with in order to make it your reality.

~Idea to Try

As someone who sends out a weekly newsletter to subscribers, I understand both the receiving and generating aspects of subscribing to newsletters, emails and brand updates. No one enjoys or wishes to have a cluttered inbox, but it seems to happen even when we for a moment thought we had everything under control.

While every subscription has the option of unsubscribing, it can often be a multi-click process that takes more time than simply deleting it each time they arrive. Well, I have a solution. is a new free service from Google to swiftly eliminate any unwanted emails or subscriptions. Each day, will email you with a list of your inbox emails. You simply click delete or continue to subscribe to the list and it takes care of the long process of unsubscribing should that be your choice. While it currently is only available to those with Gmail or Google email accounts, they will be expanding, so stay tuned.


~Lady Antebellum “On This Winter’s Night” (Oct. 2012)

On Friday, it will officially be acceptable to play your holiday Christmas music, and as my personal tradition, I try to seek out at least one new album to add to my list. Previous additions have included: A Charlie Brown Christmas, Michael Buble’s Christmas, Pink Martini’s ‘Joy to the World’, and Christmas with the Rat Pack. This year Lady Antebellum has released its first Christmas album “On This Winter’s Night”. Full of their signature pipes crooning classic, festive Christmas music, you will want to add this to your collection is you are a fan of the band.  My favorite is their classic rendition of “This Christmas”.


~J.Crew Cafe Capri in wool (multiple colors)

I know this is the time of year we should be focused on shopping for others, but we still have to look chic and pulled together for all of the events our holiday calendar presents. So, with cropped pants being the trend this season that works so well on so many different body types, be sure to stop by J.Crew as their cafe capri pants in wool are drastically reduced with many color and size options still available (petites and tall sizes as well). Regularly priced at $138, now reduced to $98 (and some colors are reduced even further).

~Julie Collection

Whether you are shopping for that perfect accessory to finish your holiday attire or have a friend or loved one who adores her jewelry, you will want to visit Julie Vos’ jewelry and accessories collection. Featured in Vogue, RealSimple, Lonny, O Magazine, Marie Claire, Good HouseKeeping and other top magazines, her jewelry (bracelets, cuffs, earrings, necklaces, scarves and more) are luxurious and certain to impress. Always looking for a long link necklace, Julie Vos’ Collette Link Necklace is less expensive than Trina Turk’s and just as lovely.

~Mark and Graham

When it comes to monogramming anything from linens, kitchenware, holiday decor, jewelry, leather goods or anything else you can think of, be sure to stop by Williams-Sonoma’s new online store Mark and Graham. Full of quality products to impress those hardest to shop for on your Christmas list, Mark and Graham may just have exactly what you’re looking for. And if you’re looking for new stockings, check out these quilted white monogrammed ones. Classic and cozy.

~Coming Soon: The Simply Luxurious holiday gift guide.~

November 19, 2012

Remember to Spread Your Wings

“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you're going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.”
― C. JoyBell C.

The fear of the unknown can be very intimidating, daunting and at times debilitating. Ultimately, today is the only moment we have any control over, no matter what our goals are, no matter what we have our sights set on. We may be able to aid the outcome or hinder it, but so much is dependent upon how we take advantage of the bounty the world has to offer us each and every day.

Whether the uncertainty you have is in relationships, your career, your longevity or anything that keeps you up at night, the key is to always make sure your wings are spread. For example, in a relationship, it is better to trust and work toward something wonderful that you may be uncertain about(a future, a life together, etc) rather than to settle for something mediocre that while certain, may not be all that fulfilling. The same can be said for your career. It is only when you take a leap, when you do something slightly different than what you’ve been doing before that progress has the chance to happen.  

Here are ten ways to practice spreading your own wings:

1. Look for the opportunity in every situation. Any time you find yourself in situations that are less than desirable, choose to see the opportunity for growth. Maybe a difficult situation at work allows you to hone your negotiating skills, or perhaps a failed relationship is allowing you to learn how to be a better partner and also how to communicate more clearly what you need in a relationship and what you can compromise on. Believe it or not, there is a silver lining to everything.

2. Always be observing as well as participating. This past year I have had more new and amazing experiences than I could have predicted when 2012 began, but through each experience I tried absorb as much as possible. For example, if you are in a new environment, take in all of the surroundings, cultural traditions and behaviors.  Drink in all of the inspiration that is just waiting to be captured. While you will most certainly want to participate, you will also want to be an observer of how and why things work - what you gravitated towards and what shocked you. Take note. Who knows when these observations could come in handy one day.

3. Ask questions of those who are the experts in the fields. If you are in a quandary, seek out experts in the fields you are curious about. If I have a question or concern about teaching, I often find myself calling up my mentor to ask her questions about teaching, or instead choose to read books by top researchers on topics that pique my interest.

4. Be willing to look foolish. Be willing to try, no matter what the outcome. Trying anything new can be intimidating partially because there is the fear that you may fail horribly. Well, of course this is a possibility! Think about a baby trying to walk for the first time. Many, many, many attempts are made immediately followed by tumbles to the floor before success occurs. But so long as you continue to try and fine tune what you learn from each experience, you will eventually build that muscle and find yourself standing without a hint of a wobble.

5. Keep a journal. Recording your thoughts in the present sometimes seems like a waste of time. However, just like a good bottle of red wine, well after you’ve tucked it away, the wisdom and truth begin to blossom. From my experience, it isn’t until a year has passed or more that I can look at the words I have written and see a pattern, or determine a passion, a curiosity or a purpose to my actions that may not have been visible initially in the moment. Give this amazing gift to yourself – keep a journal. You may be surprised by how much it could help guide you to where you are meant to go.

6. Don’t run from what you fear. Address it. Confront it. Ask why you are fearful. What are you fearful of - losing, feeling, discovering? After all, it is when we confront what we think we cannot that we gain confidence and strength rather than by doing what we already knew we could.

7. If traditional mores don’t suit your soul, try something else until you discover what it is about the tradition that makes you uncomfortable. Often it isn’t the entire event, but labels, preconceived notions and assumptions that go along with it. Dig deeper and understand what your instincts are trying to tell you. Then decide to create your own culture that suits your sensitivities, passions, values and curiosities.

8. Become comfortable with your own company. Embrace what you discover about yourself through all of life’s trials and adventures.

9. If you feel you aren’t being heard, attempt new and different ways of expressing how you’re feeling (write a blog, take photos, start painting, begin sculpting, try dancing, exercise your voice through your sartorial choices, etc). Most importantly, find a way to communicate with the world which is healthy, helpful and cathartic. By working through your thoughts and feelings, you are not suppressing yourself, thus allowing for the world to communicate with you based on how you interact with it. Often times, what it communicates is full of valuable suggestions on how to progress forward.

10. Don’t give up so quickly. Have patience. I would like to use my experience in blogging to explain why patience is something none of us should ever lose sight of. Nearly three years ago I began The Simply Luxurious Life (at that time it was only Simply Luxurious), and as I now meet fellow bloggers who are just getting started, I realize that they have just begun to realize the multitude of opportunities that await them so long as they continue with their craft even when there is no fanfare. 

Much like planting perennial bulbs in the fall, we won’t see or know their beauty until nearly six months later in the spring when we’ve forgotten about the time spent in the yard digging, spacing and kneeling to place them precisely where we want them to spring up. So continue to spread your wings, soak up all that life presents to you even if it doesn’t make sense at the time and trust that your continued efforts to live your best life on a daily basis are already paying off and will one day build to create an amazing legacy.

“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.”  ~Henry David Thoreau

Image: (1) source

November 16, 2012

The Weekend . . .

A weekend is always a welcomed sight and with Thanksgiving waiting around the corner, I must admit, I’m ready to indulge. With a mix and match of cheering on my niece as she cartwheels across the floor, raking up the last of the leaves and trying to find time to go see and enjoy the new movie Lincoln, I’m excited to see and enjoy these next few days.

This past week on the blog was full of topics to get your mind off the unnecessary, inspiration to add a classic accessory to your wardrobe and a peek at the new December issue of Vogue. Have a look:

~Why Not . . . Wear a Scarf?

~Style Inspiration: Casual, Chic Comfort

~Readers’ favorite post of the week . . . 10 Things to Stop Worrying About

~Anne Hathaway – Vogue US December 2012

~Good News from Buick . . . and a much deserved thank you to my readers.

~This & That: No. 33 . . . an affordable chic flat, two articles to enjoy and more

~Want & Have Outfit: No. 9 . . . classic stripes for winter and a steal of a deal on a classic camel coat

And this week’s newsletter – issue #125 – click here to read.

Have a wonderful weekend doing exactly what you need and wish to enjoy. And until Monday, bonjour.

Images:  (1) Sebastian (2) source

November 15, 2012

Good News From Buick!

It was nearly a month ago that I shared on the blog my opportunity to go to Detroit, Michigan, and tour the Buick design center facilities. Having the chance to view their most recent new vehicle – the luxury crossover CUV – the Encore - which is set to release in March of next year, I worked to design my dream ‘simply luxurious’ Encore, hoping to be chosen as the winning design.

Well today, I am happy to share with you that I am one step closer to having the Simply Luxurious design become a reality with its chic pearl exterior and rich saddle leather interior as I was informed last week that I had been chosen as one of the top five bloggers to advance to the final stage where they will determine the winner.

I want to first of all thank you, my readers, for stopping by my pinterest inspiration board (click here to view) and for taking the time to ‘like’ and become familiar with the exact design and ideas I felt would be reminiscent of a truly ‘simply luxurious’ experience should my design come to fruition.

The winner will be announced next month, so I will most certainly keep you up-to-date. However, now you may be curious as to what the five finalists’ designs entailed, so be sure to stop by Buick’s Lookbook where you will see a glimpse into each of the five bloggers’ color schemes for their signature design.

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Style Inspiration: Casual Chic Comfort

Dressing down doesn’t mean you have to swap style for comfort. Have a chic pair of power flats or smoking slippers, pull on some jeans, a blazer and a fantastic scarf, and you are sure to continue to look effortlessly chic. Here is some inspiration.

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November 14, 2012

Want & Have Outfit: No. 9

This past weekend, I stopped by one of my favorite consignment shops in Portland. Never knowing what I will find, I enjoyed simply perusing through all of the racks of clothing, keeping what I needed in mind and making sure not to purchase a beautiful nautical cashmere dress by Oscar de la Renta (how fun would that have been?). Much to my surprise and delight I discovered something I was eagerly hoping to find – a camel wool coat for the winter for under $100. I couldn’t believe it. Needless to say, I snapped it up and have been running through my closet coming up with outfits it would work well with.

Today’s outfit doesn’t include the exact camel jacket I discovered, but it certainly includes a steal of a deal from Helene Berman. For less than $300, this wool coat can be dressed up or down, worn with jeans or a skirt and will last for many, many seasons to come.

I chose to pair it with my favorite go-to denim jeans from J.Brand, simple kitten heels from Ivanka Trump (they are true to size and very, very reasonably priced for the quality), and I couldn’t help picking out this Collette caramel and black striped knit sweater. The classic wardrobe tip remains, stripes will forever be a classic choice no matter what the season.