The Simply Luxurious Life®: March 2013  

March 31, 2013

Lucky Guy – A Broadway Review

Nora Ephron grew up with a mother who lived by the maxim that everything was copy (they were both writers), and as she revealed in her book and film Heartburn (1986), nothing was off limits. So with her last play in which she originally wrote to become a movie – Lucky Guy – a story chronicling the life of legendary New York journalist Mike McAlary, it felt as though she were analyzing life and death and saying goodbye to her fans vicariously through a man who she was greatly curious about as they both had a love for journalism, New York City and lived lives that ended far too soon.

Fourteen years ago Ephron began doing research on the larger-than-life Pultizer Prize winning New York journalist who died at the age of 41 from colon cancer. With her eye on Tom Hanks to play the leading role, she wouldn’t have success turning it into a movie – titled “Stories About McAlary”. And even as a Broadway play, she couldn’t get it produced (and Hanks turned down the lead).

As hindsight is 20/20, we now know it eventually did get produced and posthumously, Nora Ephron deserves a tremendous round of applause.

Tom Hanks did eventually decide to become Mike McAlary – mustache and all, and as he shares in an interview one reason he wanted to take the role was to “hang with Nora” a little bit longer. As the play opens, set in 1988 and running until his death in 1998, an Irish ballad is sung “The Wild Rover” (and is also how the play ends). Upon hearing the first bookend, I was curious and intrigued, by the finale I was wiping away tears.

Based on interviews with those who knew and worked with McAlary (she even taped McAlary’s widow to get a few key lines perfected), Ephron infuses humor, actual headlines from Newsday, The New York Post and The Daily News and provokes emotion that I am still trying to wrap my brain around.

Prior to watching the play, many ask the question about the chosen title – Lucky Guy, why? After all, we all know how his story ends. But when upon seeing how he lived, the work ethic he displayed and the success he accrued, there really couldn’t be another title.

As the previews wrapped up March 31st, it premieres at the Broadhurst Theater on 44th street Monday (April 1st) and has been extended to run through mid-June until July 3rd.

As I attended the Wednesday matinee performance last week while in New York City and fortunately had purchased my ticket a month in advance (as it had been sold-out), the play has been receiving rave reviews (here’s one I think you’ll enjoy, oh, and this one as well). I highly recommend seeing it if you are in the area during the next few months.

With Lucky Guy, Tom Hanks makes his Broadway debut directed by Tony award winning director George C. Wolfe, alongside a stellar cast that you will recognize from your television screens: Courtney B. Vance, Christopher McDonald, Maura Tierney (playing McAlary’s wife Alice), Michael Gaston, Deidre Lovejoy, Peter Gerety and others. I’ve gathered up a few images to show but a glimpse of a play that left me mourning for more of Nora’s talent.

~UPDATE: 4/30 - Lucky Guy has received six Tony nominations, including a leading actor nod to Tom Hanks.

Click here for tickets.

Tom Hanks speaks to the New York Times about his debut on Broadway, playing Mike McAlarey and Nora Ephron.

~Tom Hanks, Christopher McDonald, Maura Tierney, Courtney B. Vance and Peter Scolari at Sardi’s for an interview with Piers Morgan~

Images: (1) source (5) TSLL instagram, all other photos from luckyguybway Instagram and NYTimes

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March 29, 2013

The Weekend . . .

Ah, the weekend. The blossoms of spring provide more and more moments of delight as the season begins to come into full fruition. And why not treat ourselves to a few sweet treats after a busy weekend? We’ve more than earned it, right? If nothing else by choosing to take the time to sit down and savor such delicacies we allow ourselves time to savor all that is going well, what we want to do next with our time and energies and a respite to take a deep, luxurious breath.

The blog did a bit of traveling this week and in the days ahead I look forward to sharing a review of a Broadway play you must see if you’re in New York this spring, inspiration learned from my bi-coastal travels and more details about why I flew to New York City to begin with. Until those posts go live however, you can see the images I captured via Instagram – click here to have a look. 

But let’s get back to this week. Here is a look back on the past week and the posts that you may have missed.

~Style Inspiration: Completely Casual Chic

~The decor series continues . . . A Creative Place for the Umbrella

~Want & Have Outfit: No. 27 . . . inspired by the upcoming Easter weekend.

~This & That: No. 51 . . . cooking, music, shopping and more

~The most popular post of the week . . . Why It’s Important to Keep Knocking

With a few restful Zzz’s to catch this weekend and beautiful weather to enjoy, I wish you the opportunity to do the same and anything else that is tickling your fancy. Until Monday, bonjour.

~Why Not . . . Take a Deep Breath? . . . 8 reasons to incorporate this simple habit into your daily routine


Images: (1) simply luxurious instagram (2) source

March 28, 2013

Want & Have Outfit: No 27

For many, Easter festivities, meals and gatherings will be taking place this weekend, and I couldn’t help but dream up an outfit that would welcome spring and imbibe sophisticated elegance.

As well as being a stunning outfit for such a special occasion, each piece can be used for work, play or everyday depending on your style preference. The Iris & Ink silk blouse is a wonderful line from The Out Net, and if their fine cashmere sweaters are any indication, this top will be a pleasant addition of quality and frugality for such a fine product.

Have a wonderful last weekend of spring and enjoy wearing your best for the occasion.


~Malene Birger Ainara two-tone floral-lace skirt~

~Iris & Ink pussy bow silk-crepe blouse~

~Jeffrey Campbell ‘Foxtrot’ sandal~


~Elizabeth & James ‘Toni’ thin strappy sandal~

~Coach mini leather satchel~


~Gorjana shimmer gold ring hoops (similar)~


Style Inspiration: Completely Casual Chic

While on spring vacation this week all I can think about wearing are items of comfort. So . . . the jeans, the blazers, the flats and the neutral colors have come out to play.  And because it’s March, fine cashmere sweaters are a must for layering. Keeping it simple is always a good idea because when you’re comfortable in what you are wearing you are more apt to shine in all of your natural confidence. Have a look at a few different ways to dress for both comfort and style.

Read more »

March 27, 2013

Why Not . . . Take a Deep Breath?

Even when life is going well and everything seems to be falling into place, it can be easy to over-book, over-schedule and over-exaggerate our energy levels. And while it may initially seem as though Superman/woman is the fortunate cartoon hero who can do it all, in actuality, such an ability would be exhausting. And I also would be willing to bet that Superwoman doesn’t have time for an afternoon respite sipping a glass of rose and nibbling on a bite of cheese and fruit. I guess that’s one job I won’t be applying for anytime soon.

Life without a pairing of productivity and relaxation is not a simply luxurious life. And that is why the simple conscious decision to catch our breath and inhale deeply can make a profound difference upon the quality of life we live.

Today, I’d like to share with you eight reasons to regularly take deep breaths throughout your day. Perhaps many of you already practice yoga or regular meditations, but just in case you don’t, I’d like to introduce you to the many benefits of such a simple, small habit. Let’s get started:

1. De-Stress

By stopping in the middle of whatever we are doing, placing both feet on the floor, sitting up straight and taking a deep breath we welcome more oxygen into our bodies and help our minds to focus on the act of breathing and not on the worries swirling around in our heads. And when we calm our minds, we lower the insurgence of adrenaline released when one is feeling stressed.

2. Recalibrate Priorities

Often when we are whizzing through our day, we become a bit robotic – going through the motions – but not necessarily cognizant of why we’re doing what we’re doing. Upon slowing down and taking a few deep breaths, we force ourselves to be present and witness what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. Often when I do this, I realize that what I’m rushing to complete or stressing out about is trivial and not worth the energy. 

3. Gain Clarity

Once we follow the advice of reason #2, we gain clarity about what we should be spending time on and what we need to let go of. Often it is the rushing that distracts us from realizing the life we’re living isn’t what we really want. (Click here for more specific benefits of gaining clarity about the direction of your life.)

4. Improve Health

As mentioned in step #1, by taking deep breaths, we allow our bodies/minds to de-stress, and when we de-stress we are engaged in preventative medicine. Excessive stress exacerbates many health problems and reduces the body’s ability to take care of itself.

5. Become More Appreciative

Just as a jet 39,000 feet in the sky flying at tremendous spends cannot see the minute details on the landscapes below, so too is the case of our lives when we fill our day planner with back-to-back events days on end. In order to appreciate the life we have created for ourselves, we must slow down. And it is all but impossible to take a deep breath when we’re not sitting/standing still. It is when we still our minds and bodies that we can truly appreciate all of the amazing details of living.

6. Make Better Decisions

While feeling rushed, the decision-making process can also be abbreviated and bad decisions can be made that result in undesired consequences. Upon being placed in a situation when a decision must be made, slow down, take a deep breath and consider all of the options. Simply by allowing ourselves to engage in a deep breath, we are helping to clear our minds of other distractions so that we can focus solely on the task at hand. Upon following the simple pause, we are better able to decide on a course of action that works best based on the priorities we value most.

7. Time to Think Before Speaking

Having an additional few seconds before opening our mouths to speak can give us time to reflect on the consequences of what we might say. Choosing what we say creates a tone, sets a mode and directly effects how the following events will unfold.  So by getting in the habit of taking a deep breath before saying something fueled with emotion, we help ourselves out by eliminating foot-in-mouth syndrome. 

8. Create a Life of Quality

A life of contentment and fulfillment is one that is lived with intention. And a life of intention must be lived consciously which requires us all to be present. While yes, after taking a deep breath, it is the action that follows that determines the path we will travel, the benefit is that the breath focuses each of us on the current moment and brings us away from unnecessary worries, allowing for us to be clear about the direction we want to go.

The gift of this daily habit is that it can reset a day, reset your mood and get you back on track. Just five minutes is all it takes. 


~A Sound Work/Life Balance

~Why Not . . . Eliminate the Drama?

~Why Less is More

Image: source

March 26, 2013

A Creative Place for the Umbrella

Spring is here, which makes me a very happy girl. Why? I adore the rain.

While I know not everyone does, either way, we all need an umbrella. And more importantly, in order to keep the house clean and free from puddles, it’s a good idea to have a designated place to put our trusty umbrellas. But who says it only has to be functional?

As I’ve been organizing my decor inspiration board for my new studio apartment in Portland’s Pearl District, I came across this white pedestal vase from Target's new home collection, Threshold. Initially, I thought I’d use it as it was intended and arrange large spring Dogwood branches or yellow Forsythia branches and place on my dining room table, but then I realized it could double as something else. An umbrella holder in the entry!

Granted if you have kids and raucous dogs, this may not be an option as it it is stoneware, but for me in my new foyer (this is my house’s foyer, but it will be moving soon to Portland), it would be perfect.

~Do stop by next Tuesday as the series continues (see part one here). I’ll be showing more glimpses into my home as I incorporate simple ways to add a touch of effortless style. And to view all of the items I hand selected, check out my Spring Home Decor Ideas pinterest board here.

~In the interest of full disclosure, Target via Style Coalition reached out to me to choose items from their Threshold collection and style them in my home. While we did work together, the items in this series were all hand-selected by me and the opinions expressed are my own. It is sponsors like Target that allow me to continue to write and share ways to create a simply luxurious life.

Images by TSLL (1) source  (2) source


This & That: No. 51


Items for a productive and inspired kitchen, musical tunes from an Italian songstress, simple, chic style pieces to indulge in and more . . .


1. Wüsthof® Epicure Chef’s Knife, 6"

Yesterday I found myself in my new flat and wanting to make dinner. For this particular dinner, which was nothing special and very typical, I needed a cheese grater, I needed a pot to boil water in and a knife to chop garlic and vegetables. I had nothing to help me in my endeavor to eat a simple meal. Thankfully, Sur La Table was having a cookware sale, and I also had 10% available to me due to a cooking class I had enrolled in. Needless to say I knew I would be purchasing quality products and was thrilled to save a bit on the full retail price.

The 6” Wüsthof® Epicure Chef’s Knife was and still is currently on sale and given the opportunity actually cut vegetables in the store, the handle molded beautifully into my palm and wasn’t too awkwardly long. Happy to be prepped to cook and share recipes on the blog, if you’re in need of a quality all-purpose knife, you will not be disappointed.


2. Target Chrome Vertical Wine Rack

While I like to keep my kitchen counters rather bare, the one thing I do like to place in plain view is a simple wine rack ideally full of Walla Walla, Oregon and French wines. Target’s vertical chrome wine rack holds six bottles and is only $12. A steal of a deal for those of us who don’t have a wine cellar, but adore a lovely glass of wine on any given day of the week. 


3. Carla Bruni Little French Songs

On April 16th Carla Bruni’s new album titled Little French Songs (her fourth career album) becomes available. Full of original content, if you enjoy the Carla Bruni Pandora station as much as I do, you might want to put this on your wishlist. 


4. Marissa Webb Ada blouse

When Marissa Webb’s debut collection was revealed to the public last September (click here to see my top picks), the critics were impressed. As a former creative talent from J.Crew, hints of cropped pants and the casual chic flare were apparent, but Webb’s solo endeavor welcomes even more feminine sophistication which I adore. In particular are her silk Ada blouses with large sash bows. Seen here in black dot, there are also other solid colors available on her own website.

5. Rebecca Minkoff Marsha sandals

Sandals with structure, Rebecca Minkoff’s distressed leather criss-cross ankle sandals would be a wonderful addition to a summer/spring wardrobe with cropped denim or a summer dress of your choosing.


6. Justice Sonia Sotomayor's Advice for Minority Students

Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s recent book My Beloved World offers a look into her childhood and how she became the first Hispanic and third woman to be a US Supreme Court justice. In this short clip with Oprah, she shares advice for minority students that would be helpful to anyone seeking inspiration on how to navigate in a world in which you may not feel you completely fit in.

March 25, 2013

Why It’s Important to Keep Knocking

Yesterday I attended a reading and book signing by author Cara Black for her recently released book Murder Below Montparnasse. As she shared bits and pieces of what lead her to begin writing (this particular book is the 13th in the Aimée Leduc investigative series), she shared a tale from her childhood. Impressed by a particular author as a young girl, she chose to write a fan letter. And something occurred that may seem nearly impossible today – the author wrote back. Naively and innocently seeing this letter as an invitation to visit on a future trip to Paris, she used her detective skills to seek out the author, knock on a door and then have it promptly shut in her face. But that is not where the story ends. The author opened the door up as she had turned to leave and invited her to join him for espresso and a cigar at his regular haunt in Paris.

Reality really can be stranger and more inspiring than fiction at times, and in this case the lessons are many, but the one that caught the eye of my mother as well as myself (as we attended the event together) was the tenacity of this young girl to knock on the author’s door. Perhaps the door wouldn’t have been opened, perhaps it would be the wrong person, perhaps the door would have stay closed after being shut, but she didn’t know until she knocked.

One of the most significant lessons to learn as we each traverse toward our most ideal life is to keep a burning persistence within ourselves. For when we set our sights on what we wish to achieve and are able to not be distracted by an endless list of goals that only tickle our fancy but then quickly lose our interest, we streamline our energies toward an eventual success.

Even if the first twenty doors don’t open to the opportunity we had hoped they would, perhaps that twenty-first door will. But we will never know unless we knock.

Over this past weekend I have begun to set up my flat in Portland, and while I only have a bed to sleep in and dishes to eat on, I’m making progress as I set up the life in the city I have dreamed about. I plan to keep “knocking” because as the quotes states above, I’ve made progress and am on my way, heading in the direction toward the goals that I seek. And while any worthwhile goal worth attaining takes time, I will be reflecting on Cara Black’s story frequently as a reminder of why it’s worth it to keep going to another door until I find what I’m looking for. 

I know you too are making tremendous strides. I know you may not be exactly where you want to be yet, but you’re getting there. Never stop knocking because it will eventually pay off.
Have a wonderful start to your week.

March 22, 2013

The Weekend . . .

Spring vacation is finally here! And while I’d love to take a day or two and just be, I feel quite fortunate to be able to be traveling to both New York City and Portland over this next week. Just as quickly as the week ends, I will be moving into my flat in Portland’ Pearl, and oh, how I cannot wait to spend more time in the rainy, rose city that I love. With a book reading by Cara Black, a bit of shopping, dog walking and time to just peruse my new walkable neighborhood, I feel like a young girl anxiously waiting for Santa to arrive.

And New York City. I can’t quite believe I get to return so quickly since my last visit to a city so full of inspiration, energy and opportunity. For a bit of business and pleasure, feel free to follow me on Twitter and Instagram as I will be sharing photos I capture along the way.

On this blog this week, there was inspiration for just about any area of living simply luxuriously that piques your interest – fashion, food, reading, decor and even a checklist for having your own yard sale. Have a look:

~Why Not . . . Have a Yard Sale? . . . a detailed checklist

~A book to read . . . Book Review – Lean In

~A Simple Decor Idea to Welcome Spring . . . the first part in a four part series

~Want & Have Outfit: No. 26 . . . simple idea from Ann Taylor’s Loft and Reiss’ spring sale

~This & That: No. 50 . . . the history of fashion, Jenna Lyons and an affordable trench

~Turn Your Wardrobe into a Wearable Magnum Opus

~Style Inspiration: Tres Chic

~My New Favorite Side Dish . . . simple and impressive

And this week’s newsletter – issue #141 – click here to read.

I do wish you a wonderful weekend. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by the blog. Until Monday, bonjour.

  Images: (1) source (2) source

March 21, 2013

Style Inspiration: Très Chic

Pulling together ensembles with unexpected pairings is always a fun way to mix up your wardrobe. Perhaps a denim button-up shirt with chic trim trousers and a pair of pointed toe heels, or maybe a rolled cuff with ankle-wrapped sandals. Also, mixing feminine vintage finds with masculine items such as camouflage or a boyfriend button-up – all ways to create your very own signature style and always appear très chic.

Read more »

March 20, 2013

Want & Have Outfit: No. 26

Spring vacation is just days away for myself and so many of you as well, and I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but get excited about casual attire that’s free of winter’s encumbrances as well as chic yet comfortable options.

And in keeping with looking for chic, quality, yet affordable items to add to your capsule wardrobe, Reiss is discounting many of their new spring items 30% through April 7th, so do stop by and have a look. The Nina leather handbag in vanilla caught my eye, and at the reduced price, I might just have to snag it.



~Reiss ‘Nina’ vanilla leather zipper shoulder bag (reduced to $191 from $330)~

~See by Chloe brushed and patent leather wedge sandals~


~Loft 3/4 sleeve cotton sweater - black, other colors are available(similar)~

~Loft ‘Marissa’ ankle pants in doubleweave cotton (similar)~


Why Not . . . Have a Yard Sale?

Some of the best items in my home at this very moment were discovered at yard sales (a dining table, kitchenette table, unique vases as well as a buffet table). Understandably, my budget is very thankful for the relief, and I felt the thrill of finding a bargain and enjoying the hunt. After all, you never know what you will find.

The excitement is certainly in the hunt when yard sale season begins (typically in the spring, although I love early fall sales as they too have treasures to find) as people begin clearing out their homes and garages and itching to get outside and see their neighbors.

Last June I had my first yard sale, and while it was a lot of work, it was also quite enjoyable and well worth the effort for many different reasons. These are just a few:

  • Eliminated unnecessary clutter and excess from my home
  • Made some extra cash for a trip to Europe
  • Provided affordable items to people who will use them
  • Created an opportunity to meet people in my community that I might not have otherwise had a conversation with

As spring officially arrives today, why not organize your own yard sale? Whether you have it at your home or coordinate with others, yard sales are a wonderful way of allowing us to go through our homes and assess what we use and what we love (the main criteria for keeping anything you have already paid good money for).

Today I’ve organized a checklist for organizing your next yard sale. While it may initially seem that yard sales are easy to pull together, the best and most successful sales are those orchestrated with quite a bit of pre-planning. Have a look, and please share any tips that have worked for you as I would love to hear and I know other readers would as well.

A few months in advance

  • Decide on a date
    • If you can only do one day on the weekend, choose Saturday over Sunday. Ideally, a two day sale is best (Friday and Saturday). Why? On Friday, dealers are hunting for bargains and will arrive early, as well as parents without children as their children are most likely in school. Also, by having it on Friday, those who would be out of town are able to stop by on the last day of the week. Saturday is a wonderful follow-up day to assess your prices or have a 1/2 price on everything sale. (However, every community is different, so keep the unique characteristics of the local tendencies in mind.)
    • Choose a time of year that is pleasant outside (typically Spring, Early Summer or Early Fall)
  • Begin collecting and organizing items that will be placed in the yard sale.
    • I usually am collecting items year round, and have a place in my basement that is dedicated to the “future yard sale”. My goal is always to clear the space because I know how good it will feel after the sale is complete.
  • Notify friends and family so that they can be include items as well.

1-2 Weeks in Advance

  • Begin advertising (local newspaper, bulletin boards, Craigslist, Facebook, etc)
    • Choose a catchy title and be consistent.
    • List the big ticket items (furniture, home appliances, etc) as well as general terms – glassware, bedding, clothing, etc
    • If selling only a certain size of clothing and a large amount, list the sizes if you are comfortable (for example: shoes 9-10, sizes 8-12) as it will attract a target audience that knows they will find something and is wanting to bargain shop.
    • If you include the phrase “No early sales”, abide by it to promote drive-by buzz on the day of the sale and prompt potential bidding on hot ticket items – ensuring a sale.
  • Fix or clean any items that you are going to sell (furniture, clothing, etc)

A Few Days Before

  • Locate enough tables and clothing racks to display all of items in an organized manner.
    • If you don’t have access to clothing racks, get creative. Purchase a long wooden pole at the lumber yard for $5 and hang between two trees/ladders/etc
    • Tables can often be loaned from local community centers or schools if you know who to talk to.
  • Organize and group together all of the items that will be in the sale.
    • Include magazines that are in good condition. Place 25 cents on each issue. I love picking up back issues of decor magazines as it doesn’t matter if its even a few years old. If nobody buys them, just recycle.
  • Determine prices for all the items
    • If you don’t want to label every item of clothing, create signs (neat & printed) that inform the bargain hunters of the price.
    • Remember, you are organizing a yard sale, not establishing a consignment or antique display.
  • Go to the bank and get cash and change.
  • Print/Create signs that will be placed around the area to help direct drivers to your yard sale.
    • Stick to a color theme or phrase that helps the drivers know when they see your sign, they are going in the right directions.
    • Include large, visible arrows.
    • Include the address, time, dates

The Day/Night Before

  • Place the signs around your community and take a test run to make sure the signs are visible and easy to understand.
  • If you can place the tables in your yard, organize all of the table tops. If you won’t be placing the tables out until the morning, organize everything into groups so they are easy to grab and situate when the time comes.
  • Create a cashier’s box
  • Locate a calculator
  • Check the weather report

The Day of the Sale

  • Wake up early
  • Plan on having everything set up at least an hour before you are to be open to the public.
  • Prevent early birds
    • Create a barrier with chairs and rope.
    • Place a friendly sign as to not discourage shoppers, but thank them for their interest and patience. Example: “Thanks for waiting. The sale will begin at 8 am sharp!”
    • Often people just want to make sure you are sticking to what you’ve shared in your ad. And once they know you are indeed going to wait, they’ll scout out other sales and then return.
  • Be clear about your goal. Are you wanting to get rid of the stuff you are selling or make a certain profit. My goal is to clean out my house, so I am willing to negotiate with bargain hunters; however, if you want a certain price and if you don’t get it, you know you will sell it on eBay, make sure those that are helping you know where you stand.
  • Place a large sign by the opening of your sale on the street to alert shoppers that they have found a yard sale that is not to be missed.
  • Have extra bags and boxes available for people carry their treasures home in.
  • Wear sunscreen.
  • Try to avoid piling clothes so that each item can be seen. Create neat displays.
  • Make sure all prices are clear and every item has a price (individually or as a group).
  • Make it inviting
    • Last summer, I played music and also made sure I had a place for shoppers to try clothes on as my sale was advertised as “A Fashion Lover’s Yard Sale”.

Reassess Prices & Reorganize

  • At the end of the day (if you are having a two day sale) or by midday (if the sale will only be one day), go through your prices and see what is working and which prices to change.
  • Move items around for the best display.
  • Eliminate tables to allow for better navigation as more items are sold.

Immediately After the Sale is Over

  • Take the remaining items to Goodwill or a local donation entity.
  • Take down all of your signs.
  • Return the tables and clothing racks if they were borrowed.
  • Deposit the money.

While this may seem like a long checklist, trust me, the heavy work you do ahead of time will make the day of the sale more enjoyable and less stressful as you will see more of your items find new homes.

After the recent kitchen facelift and continual edits of my wardrobe, I am already planning yet another yard sale to be held in May. So if you are in the area, stay tuned and be sure to stop by.


~Why Not . . . Get Organized? (3 part series)

~Why Not Simplify Your Life? (3 part series)

~26 Simple Ways to Organize Your Home

Image: source


March 19, 2013

A Simple Decor Idea to Welcome Spring

For me the first hint of spring is when I can spy the daffodils popping up from out of the ground. Thankfully fresh blooms become available in the grocery market well before spring officially arrives. And upon first glance of them in the store, I gathered up as many as I could. With their vibrant uplifting yellow hue, I can’t help but smile whenever I see them, and if they’re placed throughout the house, my mood around home can’t help but be lifted.

At only two dollars a bundle (what a steal!), I picked up a half dozen and arranged them in my new white stoneware pitcher from Target's new collection, Threshold. What I enjoyed about the pitcher and bud vase I paired together on the living room coffee table were the texture grooves and dimples which added an additional element to an otherwise very simple, yet springtime arrangement.

~Do stop by next Tuesday as the series continues. I’ll be showing more glimpses into my home as I incorporate simple ways to add a touch of effortless style. And to view all of the items I hand selected, check out my Spring Home Decor Ideas pinterest board here

~In the interest of full disclosure, Target via Style Coalition reached out to me to choose items from their Threshold collection and style them in my home. While we did work together, the items in this series were all hand-selected by me and the opinions expressed are my own. It is sponsors like Target that allow me to continue to write and share ways to create a simply luxurious life.

Images by TSLL (1) source (2) source (3) source


This & That: No. 50

A bundle of fashion inspiration, ideas and resources as well as an inspiring post on how to make the most of every single day.

~Article to Read

1. 8 Practices to Make Every Day A Remarkable Success

Each and every morning we have a choice regarding how we will face the day. By choosing to capitalize on this opportunity, we can turn the life we are currently living into the live we desire. Find inspiration in these eight simple tips for creating a more remarkable day every day of the week.


2. How to Read Fashion: A Crash Course in Styles, Designers and Couture by Fiona Ffoulkes

As a lover of fashion, I am becoming more and more fluent with the current collections and designers; however, the history of design, where terms such as neo-classical began and exactly why Chanel’s bags are numerical (2.55 for example) have always perplexed me . . . until Fiona Ffoulkes new book – How to Read Fashion.

If you are someone who loves fashion or works in fashion, How to Read Fashion is a handy resource to inform you on all of the details – styles, fabric, designers, techniques and more – that will leave you well versed for your next article, blog post or shopping outing. As for why Chanel’s bag is labeled 2.55 – it was originally designed by Coco Chanel in February 1955. So simple, yet often unknown.


3. Jonathan Adler’s Cashmere modal scarves

While Jonathan Adler’s home decor collections are certainly something to appreciate, he also offers fun, colorful and chic accessories as well. With a long list of new oblong scarves made of a cashmere modal blend, this particular navy print caught my attention. Perfect for spring over a fine knit navy cashmere sweater, beautiful and functional.

4. Madewell belted khaki trench

Madewell’s new spring catalog arrived in my mailbox this past weekend, and inside I found some fun spring items. At the top of my must-share list however was their khaki belted trench. One hundred dollars cheaper than J.Crew’s icon trench, Madewell offers nearly the exact same style and color at a far better deal. If purchasing, be sure to use the code GOODSTUFF for free shipping.

5. Vestiaire Collective

While a Chanel bag or Jimmy Choo heels at full price may be out of reach for the majority of fashionistas’ budgets (mine included), more and more high-end designer online consignment websites are emerging that offer the opportunity to own your very own luxury items at deep discounts. Vestiaire Collective (Wardrobe Collective) was originally founded in Paris and since 2012 has become an international online destination for consignment men, women and accessory designer bargains.

~Video to Watch

6. Jenna Lyons, J.Crew & Shoes

Shoes, J.Crew, Jenna Lyons. Be prepared to want to go shoe shopping immediately after watching this video. You’ve been warned.

March 18, 2013

Book Review - Lean In

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s first book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead is not only for working women. It is not only for women as a matter of fact. It is a book for our modern society. A society that on the surface says and wants to believe it is unbiased when it comes to gender, but is actually culturally conditioned to be more comfortable with stereotypical roles based on one’s gender.

Applaudably, taking the approach of a problem solver, Sandberg primarily dedicates her focus on what women can do to change the conception of unnecessary gender bias in the workplace, and thus the quality of life they can live as they choose to work, have a family, build a strong marriage and live a fulfilling life.

With scores of research she demonstrates again and again that women are just as capable and have proven themselves to be capable in any leadership role a man has had, yet sadly, again with research to back up her claim, she reveals that society subconsciously has a hard time swallowing this fact.

While absorbing the many hard to swallow statistics, her purpose in sharing so much irrefutable data is to lift the veil of what we’d like to pretend doesn’t exist any more. The days of Mad Men and blatant sexual discrimination may be gone, but instead such stereotypes have been passively hanging on lurking under the surface, and ironically, women themselves at times are to blame as we try not stand out or be labeled negatively for speaking up for what we need and rightly deserve for the quality of work we do.

Just as the bitter truth becomes nearly too much, she offers logical evidence to remind us that by choosing to lean in at work and continuing to lean in until fifty percent of all leadership roles are filled by women, we create fairer treatment for all women no matter what choice they have decided to live when it comes to their life path.

And to return to the audience in which this book is intended. By striving for equality in the workplace, we also help lift the stereotype that men often are burdened with when they work with their spouse in an equal capacity in the home.  “The goal is to work toward a world where those social norms no longer exist . . . Expectations will not be set by gender but by personal passion, talents and interests.” And as she reminds her readers, isn’t that what equality is all about? Being able “to feel comfortable with our choices and to feel validated by those around us.”

It’s easy to point the finger somewhere else. To blame everyone else, but society is made up of people, and each one of us is part of society. If we each stop to really consider our actions – am I behaving or thinking this way because of what I’ve been taught or because of what I truly desire? Am I behaving this way so that I won’t feel guilty? And then the question has to be asked? Who is making you feel guilty? Why are you feeling guilty? All we can do is our best, but why can’t both parents be expected to shoulder the same responsibility? And why should society applaud a new father’s callous behavior of playing soccer on the day his child was born, and at the same time scorn a mother who wishes to go back to work? Sandberg raises these questions and offers a long list of specific advice for women in the areas of workplace relationships, professionalism, finding a mentor, choosing a supportive partner, and continuing to progress toward one’s goals.

Not once does she profess to being perfect or to have figured it all out, but she does demonstrate what she implores women to do – lean in and speak up.

Click here to buy: Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

Images (2) Vogue

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My New Favorite Side Dish

I have always been a fan of roasted vegetables. So simple, and the end result – absolutely delicious and full of flavor. I have also always loved bacon and especially pancetta. So when I came across Ina Garten’s recipe for balsamic roasted Brussel sprouts I was instantly curious.

If you’ve never had Brussel sprouts, don’t shy away as they can be roasted to scrumptious bites of vegetables disguised as bursts of flavor. Served as a side dish with any type of protein you prefer, and don’t hesitate to eat it as a meal by itself as I did last week. Drizzle it with quality balsamic that is rich, thick and sweet and pair with a lovely glass of red wine. Bon appetit!

Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts

from Barefoot Contessa: Foolproof


  • 1½ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half through the core
  • 4 ounces pancetta, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • ¼ cup good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon syrupy balsamic vinegar


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the Brussels sprouts on a sheet pan, including some of the loose leaves, which get crispy when they’re roasted. Cut the pancetta into 1/2-inch dice and add to the pan. Add the olive oil, 1½ teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and toss with your hands. Spread out the mixture in a single layer.
  3. Roast the Brussels sprouts for 20 to 30 minutes, until they’re tender and nicely browned and the pancetta is cooked. Toss once during roasting. Remove from the oven, drizzle immediately with the balsamic vinegar, and toss again. Taste for seasonings and serve hot.

All images via TSLL

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Turn Your Wardrobe into a Wearable Magnum Opus

With street style bloggers becoming the new darlings of fashion advertisement and the latest trends becoming available hours after they walk down the runway thanks to sites such as Moda Operandi, seasonal trends are old before they are even new. However, believe it or not, the current evolution of fashion and where trends come from is a very good revelation for the shopper who is simply trying to purchase pieces that flatter her figure and wants to build a lasting signature style wardrobe.

The WSJ recently reported that due to “overexposed” state of fashion, the concept of wearing an item that is a few seasons past its birth date is actually more feasible and welcomed. Why? Nobody wants to be wearing the same thing as the next stylish person walking down the street. We all, especially simply luxurious readers, simply want to look our best at all times whether that means wearing the latest trend or not.

So how can we do just that? How can we ensure we are looking our best regardless of what we catch a glimpse of in the latest March or September fashion issue? Here is what I’ve discovered.

1. Have patience.
As wonderful as it seem to be to be able to acquire a perfectly picked wardrobe with the click of your mouse, it doesn’t work like that. Even if you do have the money (and who does?), the signature style you wish to create will be diminished. Why? Quality purchases take time, thought and don’t all come from one designer, shop or season. The masterpiece which you are creating – your wardrobe – is a reflection of getting to know yourself, the life you live now and the life you wish to create for yourself.

A vintage find while traveling in Paris or a consignment bargain while strolling through Notting Hill’s Portobello Market at 1 of a Kind, is something you can’t find with the snap of your fingers, but instead over time and with discovery.

2. Remember what really matters.
While looking as chicly stylish as one of Rachel Zoe’s muses may be desirable each and every time we step out of our homes, the reality is even the people whose fashion style we admire don’t look head-to-toe fabulous 24/7. The key is keeping straight in our minds what matters most – our behavior, attitude and rapport with those we interact with. After all, if our clothing rocks, but are attitude leaves something to be desired, it doesn’t matter what clothes we have chosen to wear.

3. Find a cobbler.
While Carrie Bradshaw had more than 100 pairs of Manolos, we don’t all need to have shelves of shoes to exude exquisite style. However, purchase the best quality of shoes you can afford. Initially it may be hard to spend $200 on a pair of leather ballet flats, but you will be able to wear them for years with them still looking like new and your feet won’t hurt at the end of the day. Work your way through acquiring the 10 shoes every woman should have (see my list here), and take care of them once you own them. Leather boots? Polish them seasonally. Worn out heel? Take them to your local cobbler who can resole them for pennies compared to buying a new pair (my go-to cobbler resoled a consignment pair of Manolos for less than $15).

4. Keep a list.
When it comes to any type of shopping (grocery or clothing), lists are a wonderful resource. It keeps us focused and reduces unnecessary purchases. Keep a list of your capsule wardrobe (click here to learn more about creating your very own) and the items you need to add or replace, as well as accessories that would beautifully complement what you already have. When sample sales or seasonal sales arrive, you can take advantage of the wonderful price reductions by knowing exactly what you want and not having to wonder if you are purchasing items because you like the price or the actual piece itself.

5. Ignore trends, unless . . .
. . . they work for you. Each season I do my best to help the subscribers of my newsletter navigate which trends to splurge on and which to have fun with (but save their money on). Why? Because so many trends (peplum, cut-outs, just to name a few), will date a wardrobe instantly the following season and will not be worth the exorbitant price. Others on the other hand – leather, stripes – can carry over from season to season if chosen properly. (Click here to take a look at the Spring 2013 Fashion Trends newsletter.)

6. Shop out of season or last season.
Consignment shops and online sites are even more accessible with pieces from last season and beyond. Such destinations are a treasure trove for someone who is looking for fine-tune their wardrobe because you will be hard pressed to find someone wearing what you have just discovered. While it takes time to search all that they have, once you find something that is in your size and strikes your eye, your wallet will thank you. A few of my favorite online sites: The Outnet, Vestiaire Collective, Vaunte, Second Time Around, YOOX, Covetique

7. Locate a trusted dry-cleaner.
While some minimalists suggest purchasing only clothes that you can wash yourself, if you appreciate fashion and purchase what you are attracted to and what lasts, you will have certain items that will need a dry-cleaner’s attention every once in a while. Find one who you trust and place your clothing, which deserves to be properly cared for, in their hands.

8. Have a tailor to depend on.
Just recently, I ripped a seam in one my favorite trench coats. As it was an investment piece, I was not about to toss it aside, but also couldn’t fix it myself. Upon taking it to my local tailor, she had it done in less than an hour. For under $20, I had my trench coat back looking as if nothing had happened. Also, for pants that are too long, dress hems that need to be nipped or an additional dart in a newly discovered top, knowing you have a tailor that you can depend upon will help you make a decision when you have finally discovered the piece you were looking for (minus one little fixable detail).

9. Shop regularly just because.
Especially if you shop consignment, but even for regular boutiques, department stores and online sites, regularly shop their racks because you never know when an item you have your eye on will be discounted (often for a limited time or until it sells out), or when new items arrive that will sell out quickly due to high demand.

10. The power of quality.
Over the past few years I have not only come to believe the mantra of quality over quantity when it comes to clothing, but live by it. I now have fewer clothes than I had before, but higher quality items thus allowing them to be wearable for season after season. I am still building my magnum opus, but I finally feel that for once I am actually making progress as opposed to taking one step forward and two steps back (by purchasing many, but cheap items that don’t last). Be willing to save up and purchase quality items, even if it means only purchasing one or two items a month.

11. The small details.

“Shoes transform your body language and attitude. They lift you physically and emotionally.” –Christian Louboutin

When Vogue’s contributing editor Lauren Santo Domingo was asked to share her best advice regarding clothes shopping, she placed high importance on the details: accessories. Shoes, belts, scarves, jewelry, handbags, etc – can change and elevate an outfit immediately. So long as your capsule wardrobe consists of classics that are easy to mix and match and of high quality, the accessories you accentuate each ensemble with prompt the entire look to shine. Lesson – always be on the look-out for stunning shoes, quality handbags, chic scarves and statement making belts or jewelry. A simple way to change an outfit you’ve worn for years.

So as spring arrives on Wednesday, and even though the weather may be a bit fussy, take some time to go through your closet and assess what you really need to enhance your capsule wardrobe, what you can toss, what simply needs to be tended to and what type of accessories to shop for. And then, keep the list on you at all times. Before you know it, your very own magnum opus will begin to materialize.
While we are indeed the curator of our own lives and it itself is a masterpiece unique from every one else’s, so too can be our wardrobe with time, attention and care.


Image: (1) source

March 15, 2013

The Weekend . . .

As we walk into the weekend in need of rest perhaps and restoration, I will be staying close to home to save up my reserves for busy weeks to come at the end of the month. Surprising to some, but I have a feeling many of my readers are much the same, I thoroughly enjoy my time at home as much as my time traveling. After all, my home is my sanctuary and being able to spend time just doing whatever catches my attention without having to follow the demands of the clock is a very special treat.

On that note, let the weekend begin. And if your week has been a bit hectic, here is a look back on the past week on The Simply Luxurious Life:

~Style Inspiration: Cropped, Stripes & Hues of Blue

~Why Not . . . Find Your Je Ne Sais Quoi? . . . the most popular post of the week

~Lend a Hand Instead of Closing the Door

~This & That: No. 49 . . . a lovely article profiling Nora Ephron written by her son and a Parisian Style book to add to your shelves

~Want & Have Outfit: No. 25 . . . cropped pants I am dreaming about

~First Lady Michelle Obama – Vogue US April 2013

And this week’s newsletter – issue #140 – click here to read.

Whether you are staying at home this weekend or dashing away to your favorite getaway, enjoy and indulge. Until Monday, bonjour.

Images: (1)source (2) source

March 14, 2013

Want & Have Outfit: No. 25


While at work I strive to wear skirts and dresses the majority of the time, I have to admit I am craving a structured cropped pant that can very simply be dressed up for work or dressed down for casual attire. What I love most about cropped pants is that they remind me of chic Parisian style. I always imagine a nautical top and scarf with simple leather ballet flats and immediately I am transported to strolling the cobbled streets, leisurely sipping a chocolat chaud and nibbling on a croissant at Cafe de Flore.

Today however, I wanted to pair Tory Burch’s navy cropped pants that I am saving up for with a simple silk-chiffon top from The Outnet because for the next four days there are drastic reductions on a long list of clearance items.

I can just imagine this particular outfit being worn for a lovely meal in Paris this spring or summer. So simple, so chic and created with pieces that would mix and match well with so many different outfits in your closet.


~Ports 1961 metallic-flecked silk-blend chiffon top (similar) (regularly $925, now $139)~

~J.Crew collection icon trench~

~Ray Ban original aviator (similar)~


~Tory Burch cropped Harp pant (navy)~

~Diane von Furstenberg Zia II sandal~

~MICHAEL Michael Kors white tote bag~ 


First Lady Michelle Obama – Vogue US April 2013

The first lady stars as the cover girl of Vogue’s annual April health and fitness issue wearing a Reed Krakoff dress captured by Annie Leibovitz in the Red Room of the White House. Taken this past January ten days after the inauguration, the First Lady speaks about her family and the importance of balance with her signature candor and sense of humor. Read the entire interview by Jonathan Van Meter here.

~Michael Kors sweater and ball skirt~

Images: Vogue US

Style Inspiration: Cropped, Stripes & Hues of Blue


Bright blue reminds me of the first cloudless spring day when the warmth of the sun can’t help but make you smile and all sorts of hopefulness overcomes you. And with cropped pants seeming to be a trend that continues to remain (thank goodness!), nearly every designer and boutique is carrying this style. Add a classic stripe top or skirt and spring style has officially arrived.



   Images:    (1) source   (2) source (3)Jak & Jil (4)  source  (5) source (6) Jak & Jil (7) source(8) source (9) source(10) source (11) source  (12) source(13) source (14) source