The Simply Luxurious Life®: April 2013  

April 30, 2013

This & That: No. 56

A few things I’ve been wanting to share – an insightful and burden-lifting book, my favorite tea kettle that will last for many years to come, fun, classic spring wardrobe ideas and a few other things you might enjoy . . .


1. The Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy, But Doesn’t, What Shouldn’t Make You Happy, But Does by Sonja Lyubomirsky

Over the weekend, I shared that I was diving into a couple of books - one of which was Sonja Lyubomirsky’s The Myths of Happiness. Focused on revealing the fallacies in studies that continue to be perpetuated in the news, she sheds light on the truth behind the myths when it comes to attaining happiness throughout our lives. Whether regarding relationships – marriage, being single, earning more money or wishing for another job that we are certain will make us much happier. She continues on to include aging and health obstacles that one expects couldn’t possibly contain any hope of happiness.

I highly recommend this book if you have become perplexed on how to achieve your own happiness only to discover that the outside world and our inability to control our thoughts is actually at the root of the problem. Along with the enlightening information, so also provides tips on how to toss aside the myths and live a life that is authentic and full of genuine happiness.


2. Le Creuset Enamel-on-Steel Demi 1-1/4 quart tea kettle, white

As a lover of drinking tea, the first tea kettle I purchased for myself was a classic white Le Creuset that has been with me for the past seven years. Since then, I’ve come to realize that I don’t need such a large kettle for only one or two people and discovered the demi version which is perfect for boiling hot water (and the price is more approachable as well).

A quality product that will last for decades, Le Creuset tea kettles, like their Dutch ovens ,are a purchase you won’t regret. Choose from a wide array of colors to fit your aesthetic and place on your stove top for instance chic kitchen decor.


3. Michael Buble To Be Loved

Last week, Michael Buble released his latest album To Be Loved. Compiled of four original tracks written by Buble and 10 classic covers I love listening to such as “You Make Me Feel So Young” and “Something Stupid” (featuring Reese Witherspoon), Michael Buble candidly shared on an interview with NPR that he doesn’t know when it became unmanly to share a bit of emotion via a ballad similar to Sinatra, but he refuses to change his tune. Good for you Michael. Keep up the good work.


4. Imogene + Willie ‘Louise’ sheer polka dot blouse

As I was perusing designer Tory Burch’s blog, I came across Imogene + Willie’s ‘Louise’ navy polka dot blouse. Reminiscent of the seventies with billowing sleeves, the modern touch of a deep v-neck option and playful simple polka dots caught my attention. Paired this spring and summer with linen shorts and sandals or white skinny jeans, what a wonderful chic, sophisticated option to have on hand.

5. Clover Canyon Endless Summer Skirt

Last week I discovered Atlantic-Pacific’s Blair Eadie wearing Clover Canyon’s Endless summer skirt and I was intrigued. Disappointed to discover it wasn’t available via her link, I soon discovered that Moda Operandi had it available in their boutique for only $185 (click here). Such a playful print for spring and summer, and with the classic colors, this skirt could be paired seamlessly with a print or solid top (Atlantic-Pacific paired it with a classic striped long-sleeve shirt).

6. J.Crew vintage pajama set (navy, white or hydrangea blue)

A pair of classic pajamas is a must-have on my wardrobe list. Whether you are lounging around home or traveling in style, having a pair of pajamas that allow you to walk around in the early morning provides peace of mind and instant comfort. J.Crew’s vintage pajamas, under $100, are fitting with the new trend of pjs for day, and while I don’t think I will ever have the nerve to wear my pajama top to work, I certainly wouldn’t mind one more pair of dependable and stylish pajamas.

7. Reiss Sample Sale – London

To all of my London readers, if you are a fan of simple luxury, do stop into Reiss’s sample sale this Wednesday May 1st through May 4th. Held in The Music Room, 26 South Molton Lane in London from 8am-8pm Wednesday through Friday and 9am-7pm on Saturday, prices are slashed up to 50%. These are a few of the items I would be searching for if I was lucky enough to be across the pond – here, here and here.

April 29, 2013

6 Ways to Find Your Authentic Life Path

“Once you stop chasing the wrong things, the right ones catch you.”

As a child growing up, Cinderella was one of my favorite Disney films; however, upon reflection I realized it wasn’t the young blonde protagonist that captured my attention, but rather the mice, the hound dog and other animals that always made me smile. In fact, Cinderella seemed to me flat, one-dimensional and lacking in character development. Yet, I still enjoyed watching the film not exactly sure at that time why I was so drawn to it.

As I began to grow up, it was FRIENDS that had all of my high school girlfriends captivated as well as myself – the never-ending saga of Ross and Rachel’s not-quite-extinguished love for one another and then as I moved into college and throughout my twenties, it was Sex and the City. Enough said.

In all three of these shows and films, the achievement of happiness is portrayed as finding someone to spend the rest of your days with (SATC is more debatable, but on the surface, the search was omnipresent for that certain someone – click here to see the 24 lessons I feel the series and two films actually taught).

Along with what we watch, what is discussed and alluded to in the society that we live in (i.e. Prince Charming – the term is detrimental for both sides of the romantic equation for goodness sake) as well as the beliefs of those we spend the most time, we are subconsciously molded into accepting certain ideas as successful models and life paths and others as deplorable and depressing.

As one of my English classes was reading To Kill A Mockingbird this month, the conversation between Scout and Dill with Mr. Dolphus Raymond was the center of one of our discussions. The closing arguments in Tom Robinson’s case have just wrapped up, and they’re waiting for the verdict. During the cross examination by the prosecutor of Tom Robinson, Dill breaks down in tears due to the treatment of Tom. The children step outside and begin to converse with Mr. Raymond. Upon learning that he merely has Coca Cola in his Coke bottle, he explains why he presents himself as a drunk which he actually is not.

“Because you’re children and you can understand it . . . things haven’t caught up with that one’s (referring to Dill) instinct yet. Let him get a little older and he won’t get sick and cry. Maybe things’ll strike him as being - not quite right, say, but he won’t cry, not when he gets a few years on him.”

I bring this literary example up because Harper Lee demonstrates in this passage the power of nurture in a child’s life over nature. As children we are raw, unedited and rely instinctively on emotions due to our knowledge of the world around us only beginning to take hold. And as we grow up, the grip, depending upon what we learn, observe and our told, begins to have its way with us and we begin to seek out a comfort that sits well with us to help us get along in the society that we want to flourish in.

The question I think we all must ask ourselves is, are we on a life path that is authentic to who we are or are we instead choosing a path that is non-confrontational simply to gain acceptance from society? The best way to answer that question is to determine if you are content because others accept your path or when you are in your own company, are you at peace with the direction you have chosen?

Today I’d like to share with you six ways you can further ensure that the path you are traveling along during this one and only life you have is authentic to who you are, in sync with the talents you have been blessed with and sincerely fulfilling as you continue to create your very own simply luxurious life.
1. Gather as much perspective as possible

“When you have the perspective that I have on life, you can really navigate it in a way that is effective.” – Nate Berkus following his survival of the Sri Lanka tsunami in 2004.

2. Find the truth in the “norms”

“It’s wise, however, to examine the extent to which your romantic fantasy has been kindled by societal norms (which stipulate what all of us are expected to accomplish at each life stage) and fueled by your parents, in-laws, and married friends.” –Sonja Lyubomirsky author of The Myths of Happiness (a book I highly recommend)

3. Take risks

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T. S. Eliot
*book to read Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

4. Remain forever curious

“Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.” -James Stephens

5. Slow down

“Sometimes the most urgent and vital thing you can possibly do is take a complete rest.” –Ashleigh Brilliant

6. Understand your optimal environment

“If you cannot be authentic – if you cannot be true to yourself – if [you] cannot make the decision based upon what feels right to [you] and now [you’re] operating on what everybody else is saying, [you] don’t know how to be in that. {You] don’t know how to function.” –Oprah

*for the introvert that I am, these books put me at great ease and helped me to better understand why I thrived in quiet environments The Introvert’s Way and Quiet

An essential part of The Simply Luxurious Life’s mission statement is to live a life that is “truly fulfilling” which requires of each of us to become in tune with who we are, find the inner strength to pursue what is speaking to us and fight the urge to not think for ourselves and “be led around by the nose”.

As you take some time to be still and examine the path you are currently traveling, be honest about why you seek what you seek. The truth you discover will be more liberating than you ever thought possible.

Image: (1) source 

April 27, 2013

Weekend Morning Comforts

The ideal leisurely weekend begins with the streaming morning sun through large east facing windows, the soft whistle of chirping birds as they gently wake the neighborhood, a hot cup of English Fortnum & Mason tea and piles of reading material to choose from.

~Weekend reading that I’m currently diving into: The Myths of Happiness, Paris: The Novel, Paris Street Style: A Guide to Effortless Chic~

Over the past week I’ve been thoroughly enjoying a wonderful decor book Designer’s at Home: Personal Reflections on Stylish Living by Ronda Rice Carman who is the founder of the decor and lifestyle blog  All the Best: A Passport to Stylish Living.

While many decor books are fun to flip through, her new book surpasses the standard. Solely compiled of interviews with more than forty top interior designers (Tobi Fairley, Kathryn M. Ireland, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Mary McDonald, Brook and Steve Giannetti, Bunny Williams and David Oliver just to name a few), each designer shares images from their home and offers advice via five pointed questions Making an Entrance, Decorative Details, Flowers and Fragrances, A Beautiful Bed and Creature Comforts.

I particularly loved the Creature Comforts question in which each designer reveals a short list of simple luxuries that they feel complete a life of living well. And as I woke up without an alarm clock this morning (a wonderful simply luxury indeed), I wanted to share a few of my creature comforts in hopes that you as well would take a moment to ponder your own (and share here on the blog if you’d like). Here are a few comforts I absolutely adore:

(1) a plush down comforter to snuggle underneath each evening, (2) rooms filled with decor that tells a story of travels, memories and a life of love and lessons, (3) stacks of reading material, (4) hot water boiling in a classic white Le Creuset tea kettle ready to create a lovely cup of lavender/black tea, (5) dogs wandering throughout the house, (6) a kitchen stocked and able to create any meal that piques my craving, and (7) jazz tunes filling the home with background music

Have a lovely weekend everyone, and thank you for stopping by to enjoy a weekend extra post.


Images: (1) source (4) source, all other images The Simply Luxurious Life Instagram

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April 26, 2013

The Weekend . . .

With a weekend ahead full of sunshine and warmth, slowing down and savoring this favorite time of year will be a simple luxury indeed. With a schedule of reading, lounging, planning and dreaming, I couldn’t ask for a better way to spend the next few days.

On the blog this week, I reminisced about my trip to New York City last month and shared my experience at Rachel Zoe’s blow-out salon, as well as shared tips on how to maximize space if you are fortunate to live in a bustling city like Manhattan where social entertainment is endless but square footage isn’t. Along with these posts, a style, food and motivational post can be found, and I have a feeling you’ll find at least one post that piques your passion. Have a look:

~11 Ways to Improve Your Life . . . readers’ favorite post of the week

~Style Inspiration: Denim, Spring & Color

~Why Not . . . Decorate Small Spaces? 10 Tips On How to Maximize Space and Amplify Comfort

~An All Around Meal . . . Pasta, vegetables and incredible flavor

~This & That: No. 55 . . . a historical novel to get lost in, beauty buys I’m thrilled to share and more

~My Appointment at Dream Dry 

~Splurge & Save Outfit: No. 4 . . . summer color and simple staples

~Weekend Morning Comforts . . . a weekend extra and a few books I’m loving right now

And this week’s newsletter – issue #146 – click here to read.

Can you believe this will be the last weekend in April? Whether more showers or sunshine is in your forecast this weekend, have a wonderful time doing as you please. Until Monday, bonjour.

Images:  (1) source (2) source

April 25, 2013

Splurge & Save Outfit: No. 4

With temperatures in the seventies and summer travel wardrobe ideas racing around in my mind, I immediately gravitate to white denim, a pop of color and a touch of lift combined with comfort for my go-to choice of footwear.


~Gucci floral print silk-twill halterneck top~

~J.Brand 811 mid-rise skinny jeans - white~

~Pierre Hardy Leather and Suede wedge sandal~

~Banana Republic Tile Stretch bracelet in compass orange~

~Rick Owens ‘Naska’ biker jacket~


~MICHAEL Michael Kors Sleeveless Crossover Blouse in radiant pink~

~Sam Edelman Sophie off white/natural wedge~

~J.Crew Cropped matchstick white denim jeans~

~Halogen ‘Waterfall’ leather jacket~

Style Inspiration: Denim, Spring and Color

With warmer weather, comes the ability to don denim and bare our ankles. Choosing beautiful sandals, espadrilles, flats or fabulous chic heels, the mixing of denim and chaussures is a wonderful way to blend casual and sophisticated fashion preferences. Add a bit or color, or keep it simple and muted. Either way, let the hair appear less structured and natural, prop up a pair of specs and enjoy a day in the sun.

Read more »

April 24, 2013

Why Not . . . Decorate Small Spaces?

Just imagine, less time spent cleaning, less furniture to buy and more money to buy quality decor that you love. These are just three of the many benefits that accompany living in a small home.

Whether you are living in a studio, one bedroom flat or a cozy cottage, the challenge can often be what items to choose to ensure that the space feels as welcoming, yet uncluttered as possible.

Many of you shared your personal stories and experiences with living in small homes when this post went live earlier this year. Through detailed experiences and pleasant surprises upon realizing that living in a smaller home is not only doable, but very enjoyable, I wanted to accompany that post with ideas on how to decorate in such a way as to create a sanctuary that creates a feeling of tranquility, not suffocation.

Having furnished a studio in Portland’s Pearl District recently (a few pictures are below) and having lived in tiny rentals in my early twenties, I’d like to share what I’ve learned along the way.


Show Some Leg

Choose a sofa, chairs and dining tables in which their legs are visible. Eliminate the dust ruffles and boxy solid look as it weighs the furniture down and makes it appear heavier as well as larger. By revealing simple wooden, acrylic or metal legs, it allows the eye to see through the furniture giving the illusion of more space.


Clear = Invisible = More Space

One of the best ideas for tables in a small space is to choose items that are made of acrylic or clear glass. I was thrilled with my C-shape acrylic side table from CB2 as it can hold a cup of tea, my laptop or the daily newspapers, but all the while it appears as though it isn’t actually there. Being able to see through these pieces of furniture opens up the space and creates less clutter, while also providing the necessary function you need.


Decorate Up

While you may not have as much square footage on the ground, don’t forget about the walls. Use floating shelves for pictures or place tall, a narrow book shelf in a quiet corner that doesn’t take up as much floor space, but brings the eye up and keeps your home organized.


Multi-Use Pieces

Anytime you can purchase a item you love that can serve two purposes, you automatically save space. An ottoman with internal storage or a headboard that serves as a room divider in a small studio or a standing tray table that serves as a table in your entry during the week and a bar on the weekends for dinner parties (I love this one from West Elm) are both great ideas to look into.


Rely on Solid, Light Colors, Stay Away from Prints

When living in a small space, the less differing colors and busy prints the more open and spacious a home will feel. My approach is always to choose colors for the walls and major furniture pieces that are solid and neutral. The smaller details, such as throw pillows, table and wall decor, can then be bright, full of prints and playful (and easily changed according to mood and season). 


Welcome the Light

If you have a choice, always choose a studio or home with as much light and as many windows as possible as it again opens up the space making it appear larger than it actually is. Ideally two walls with windows would be a dream (especially in an apartment/condo building as it would mean you have a corner unit), but even one wall with floor to ceiling windows will do immense wonders for your mood.


More Mirrors

It’s not about vanity when you live in a small space. It’s about necessity. Mirrors are a small home dweller’s best friend. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s about creating the illusion of more space, and mirrors instantly create more square footage where none actually exists. Whether you choose to arrange three or four small mirrors on the wall as decoration, or place a full-length mirror on the floor adhering to a contemporary decor scheme, stop into your local thrift shops for steals on mirrors that will instantly enlarge your living space.


Big & Less, Rather than Smaller & More

While proportions should always be considered, having one impressive framed print or piece of art, or even a large wall mirror rather than many small items placed on a wall creates a grand tone. A tone that defines the small spaces and presents the idea of living large. One of the other benefits of choosing one large piece as opposed to many small pieces, fewer decisions.


Hanging Closet Organization

Even though I have a passion for fashion, hauling in a large dresser isn’t always a possibility when living in small spaces. The best thing to do is stop into your local Storables or Container Store and pick up hanging organizers. Available in all shapes, colors and styles (sweaters, shoes, jeans, etc), choose enough for the items that would normally be folded and placed in drawers and hang them in your closet to create tidy organization and save an ample amount of space.

Rely on Rugs

~Shop for this rug here from Flor~

Living in a studio or small apartment often requires two rooms to become one. Choose to decorate with area rugs to create designated spaces – living area, kitchen, bedroom, office, etc. The simple act of training the eye and the mind as to where one room ends and the other begins reveals to the homeowner that excess space isn’t always necessary. (On a budget and looking for a rug? I have had very good luck shopping at

As I’ve discovered with most things in life, quantity is never a substitute for quality. So long as the space you live in carefully and tastefully decorated and cared for creating a space that becomes your sanctuary the moment you cross the threshold, it doesn’t matter how large it is.

~Looking for more specific ideas as well as furniture and decor that correlates with the above suggestions? Visit my Houzz Ideabooks – here and here.


~Why Not . . . Live in a Smaller Home?

~Why Less is More

~Live Below Your Means

Images: (2) source (4) source (5) source (6) source (7) source (8) source (10) source (11) source (12) source  (13) source, all other images taken by The Simply Luxurious Life via Instagram

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April 23, 2013

This & That: No. 55

A few beauty discoveries, a just-released Francophile book to add to your library and chic ideas for your wardrobe and kitchen.


1. NARS blush orgasm

For years I have been reading rave reviews and recommendations of NARS blush in the color orgasm. Well, finally I stopped by their counter this past weekend at Nordstrom, and I couldn’t have been more impressed. With a touch of shimmer to add the illusion of a natural glow and beautiful perfect pink, the apple of your cheeks will thank you.


2. Paris: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd

Being released today is a a novel, by an author I have come to appreciate, that I have been eager to read and patiently waiting for. Having read previous titles by Edward Rutherfurd, New York (click here to read my review) and London, his ability to weave history with personal fictitious narratives is a treat to dive into at the end of a long day or while driving great distances. Having listened to New York on audio tape and having read London in hardback, his epic novels teach you about the city you already love and take you back in time to a place you’ve been all too curious to understand and indulge in.


3. West Elm’s Market Shop in Shop

Last Friday I was invited to take a one-on-one tour in Portland’s West Elm store as they debuted their Market Shop in Shop which offers items for the kitchen and home beyond interior design furnishings. With 70% of the items made in the USA and many products for men, the market shop offers smaller items such as Schmidt Brothers knives as well as grand items such as the Smeg retro refrigerator and gas stove.

With their modern aesthetic and chic style running throughout the entire collection, if you are wanting to add a bit of contemporary sophistication to your kitchen and home, stop in or peruse their shop online (click here).

4. Pixo LED Table Lamp (white)

Recently, while skimming through WSJ, I came across a decor editor’s recommendation of Pixo’s LED bedside lamp that she can use as night which won’t keep her husband up, allows her to complete her late night reading and charges her phone all at the same time. With a sleek modern look (white or black is available), it provides a soft, but necessary illumination for a singular reader. Perhaps the remedy you’ve been looking for?


5. Bottega Veneta Eau de parfum

While I will always be a fan of Chanel No. 5, I have been on the hunt for signature scent. One that blends modernity and femininity, as well as sensuality and strength. This past weekend I found what I was seeking while perusing the counters at Nordstrom. Bottega Veneta’s eau de parfum blends scents of plum and pink pepper, jasmine and leathery rustic strength to create a scent that works well for day and for evening, which is exactly what I need – simplicity and sophistication.


6. Emerson Fry A-line mod top in ivory

Made in soft cotton twill, Emerson Fry’s A-line mod top in ivory is calling my name. Paired with black cropped pants or chic shorts and espadrilles, this top provides coverage and contemporary style that would be perfect for summer evenings or daytime outings.

April 22, 2013

11 Ways to Improve Your Life

“If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.” – Jeremy Piven's character quoting Epictetus in the film Serendipity

Deciding to make a change in your life can be daunting. Whether it’s as simple as turning the television on less or as grand as moving to a different town or city, the fear change provokes can sometimes be so obstructive that it prevents us from attempting to make the change we seek.

However, as I was reminded yesterday flipping back through some of my old journals only to discover the above quote, change can be scary but that shouldn’t stop us from seeking to improve. Often when we are the instigators behind change, it is because we wish to improve our lives. Which means that no matter how exciting the change we seek may appear, actually gathering the momentum up and doing it is a tough task.

Today, I would like to offer reassurance for those of you who are in the middle of attempting to make a desired improvement in your life or contemplating such a move. Lately, I too have found myself in the middle of attempting to improve my life, and since this is not the first time I have found myself in such a situation, I’d like to share with you inspiration that has been proven to be good advice so that can feel more confident to keep striving toward the change you seek.

1. Listen to Your Fears

One of the most comforting quotes I came across regarding mustering up the courage to do something that many might laugh at and feeling trepidatious along the way stated “When your fears get louder, you’re probably doing something right.” So long as it is an action we’ve put into motion, to not feel fear would mean we didn’t wish for it to work out. So, trust yourself, work through your fears and you will come out on the other side thankful you made the effort.

2. Accept mortality

One of the grandest and yet, simplest motivators to pursue the change you seek is the understanding and acceptance that we will not live forever. Therefore, we can’t be sure how long we have to live our best life. Once we accept mortality or have been reminded by events of loved ones who have been taken from us far too soon, the inspiration to seek the improvement we desire begins to percolate more fiercely.

3. Take a Risk Toward Capturing Your Dream

Choosing to take a risk toward something new and potentially exciting can initially ignite the fire to encourage you to take the leap. However, in the moment when things aren’t going well, it can seem that taking the risk was a bad idea. Rest assured, not one single risk has ever left the risk-taker empty handed. Whether the risk works out or not, there is always something to be gained – perhaps a better understanding of what you can and can’t live without or perhaps a boost of confidence when you realize your dream. Either way, there is value is taking a risk that could turn your dream into a reality. After all, if you never try, you’ll never know.

4. Ignore the Naysayers, Laughter and Skeptics

No doubt, when you take a leap that is different from those around you, you will hear the chatter of skepticism and negativity. And if you take a leap and it doesn’t work out in the initial way you had hoped, you may even hear laughter. Ignore this negative response and cling to those who support you and were your cheerleaders. Those who hang around on the sidelines doing what they’ve always done because that’s the way it’s always been done will never know or understand the growth, euphoria and increased quality of life you have created for yourself. And that . . . that is their loss or choosing to remain ignorant of what beauty taking risks can bring into one’s life.

5. Seek Out the Lesson

No matter what the outcome turns out to be following an attempt to improve your life, there are always valuable lessons to be gained. If events don’t pan out as you had imagined them to do, you will undoubtedly learn more about yourself, your needs versus wants, what truly makes you tick, and what instills in you a sense of purpose and belonging. And it is in those moments of initial defeat that we realize we had to dream the initial dream to be directed toward the life we were destined live. Had we not made the attempt, we would have never been introduced to the new and even more fulfilling dream for ourselves. 

6. Get to Know What you Truly Enjoy

Take a moment today to make a list of 10-15 things you enjoy doing on any given day. My list might include sipping hot tea at the end of the day, bringing home an arrangement of fresh flowers or cooking a favorite meal while sipping a glass of wine at the end of the week. Now, try to incorporate at least one of these enjoyable activities in every day of your life. Simply having something to look forward to each and every day can improve the quality of your life.

7. Stop Comparing

The opportunity to compare ourselves to a variety of different people in any given day is vast. From the people we work with, our friends and family to the glossy magazines and television programs, we see lives we think are better than ours. The good news is that each of us is unique. Each of us has within ourselves special talents and gifts, an original combination of experiences that no one else can have. To compare ourselves to the outside world is to waste creating and enjoying the best life we could ever live.  And the best life is the life that allows us to offer our gifts to the world, feel productive and useful at the end of the day, and the ability to spend time with those we love as we go to bed each night knowing we’ve done the best we could do.

8. Eliminate Negative Self Chatter

The minute things do not work out as planned along the journey of improvement, it is easy to throw up your hands and give up. At that moment, the negative chatter begins and before you know it, you’ve convinced yourself that the decision you made to take the leap was a bad one. What an absurdity! Improvement cannot occur unless we do something different from what we normally do. You are not a fool, an idiot or stupid for wanting to improve your life. What you are is a dreamer and a believer in something better. Take a moment to look around you. Observe all of the inventions and modern ways of living that one hundred years ago many people would have thought impossible. Change and improvement does not often occur on the first try. You are inspiring for believing you can do it, because you can. Now, keep on trying.

9. Look to Those Who Inspire You

Whether you read books about people who inspire you or are fortunate to have people in your life who are living in such a way that you look to as a model, try to absorb their knowledge and learn from the advice they are willing to offer. Teachers are everywhere if you are willing to be the student – which means avid listening and a fearlessness to ask questions.

10. Spend Time with People Who You Respect and Admire

Now the people you respect and admire may be the people who inspire you, but they also may be entirely different. As I continue to state on the blog, who you surround yourself with is a great indicator of where you are going. With that in mind, spend time with those who genuinely support you, love you and wish you well in the pursuit of your dreams. Even if they don’t understand it or would do it themselves, a good friend is someone who believes in you because they love you and want you to find the happiness and contentment that you seek.

11. Eliminate Contrary Commitments

Take a moment to look at your to-do list. Immediately cross of anything that does not inch you closer toward your goals or bring you enjoyment. So often we want to do everything that we want as well as what other people want us to do, but there is only so many hours in the day and only so much quality energy we have to expend before we need to take a break or go to sleep. Respect yourself and what you value enough to say “No thank you.”

Whether big or small, choosing to improve ourselves and the life you are living is to live courageously. So whether you are choosing to learn a new language, diving into the history of a time era that piques your interest or beginning to be your own boss and work for yourself, with each step you are growing and inching ever closer toward reaching your fullest potential.



~What Is Worth the Risk?

~How to Let Go of What Other People Think

~A Work in Progress

~Change Your Thoughts, Change Your World

Image: source

April 21, 2013

My Appointment at Dream Dry

When I learned that the talented illustrator behind The Simply Luxurious Life logo, Inslee, had shared her skills with Rachel Zoe for her new blow-out salon in New York City Dream Dry, my interest was piqued to see exactly what the experience might be at this glamorous beauty destination. So when I had the opportunity to travel to New York City last month, I made an appointment.

Just a few block from the iconic Flatiron building, Dream Dry is located on West 21st Street, tucked along a quiet through street between 5th and 6th Avenues.

Booking an appointment is easy as you can do it all online. You can also purchase and send a gift certificate online if you have a certain someone who would love a surprise in her/his inbox from Rachel Zoe. With the standard blowout (wash, blow-out and style) priced at $40 (which is commensurate to The Dry Bar), in forty minutes you can walk out with the style you desire.

My style experience didn’t exceed my expectations; in fact, I could have done it at home, but part of the reason for scheduling a blow-out is to reduce the stress and sometimes struggle of doing your own hair. What did exceed my expectations however was the interior design and decor of the space.

Pristine white decor washed the entire business and was complemented with accents of black and chrome (if you book an appointment and are getting shampooed, look up and enjoy the large grouping of silver bubble pendants hanging from the ceiling to entertain your eyes as you begin to relax).

Last Wednesday on The Rachel Zoe Project, Robin Moraetes (co-founder of Dream Dry with Rachel Zoe) gave viewers a tour of the business as it opened its doors in February earlier this year. And it was the marble black and white chevron floor that I was most curious to see. I can attest that it is stunning as it runs throughout the entire establishment.

With a second location opening on 315 West 57th in NYC near Columbus Circle, one of the unique offerings that Dream Dry makes available is early bird appointments (beginning at 6:30 am) and late evening appointments (until 10pm on Thursdays and Friday and 9pm on Monday through Wednesday). Clients can also keep a dossier of the styles they received in order to remember what they might want again on a return visit. 

So if you’d like to be pampered (enjoy a perusing a pre-loaded iPad with all the top fashion magazines issues while your stylist works their magic), don’t want to fuss with your hair and want to gaze on exquisite modern, chic, fabulous decor, treat yourself to an appointment.

 ~Books on the shelves in the waiting room – shoes, fashion and accessories~

All images by The Simply Luxurious Life

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April 20, 2013

An All-Around Meal

Often during the middle of the week, I scour my refrigerator to see what ingredients I have and try to come up with a recipe I already have  in order to avoid an extra trip to the market.

When I stumbled into this particular recipe, it was beginner’s luck. While I am always roasting my broccoli (or any vegetable for that matter), I also have a favorite pasta recipe that incorporates white truffle butter; however, this time I didn’t have any truffle butter. So I began to raid my cupboards, and I found a bottle of white truffle balsamic vinegar that I picked up at our local farmer’s market last season. Not sure how it would work, I gave it a shot, and I couldn’t have been happier with how it beautifully flavored the broccoli and added that extra pop of flavor to the simple pasta dish.

In less than 30 minutes and with minimal ingredients, this recipe is an entire meal. Add a glass of white wine – perhaps a dry chardonnay - and you will feel as though you are dining in decadence when really it was very simple to prepare. Truly simply luxurious!

Tagliarelle Pasta with Roasted Broccoli and White Truffle Balsamic Vinaigrette

Servings - 2


*8 oz of tagliarelle pasta (or fettuccini)
*1/2 cup heavy cream
*3-4 tablespoons unsalted butter
*2 cups of broccoli florets
*2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*2 tablespoons of Gianni’s six mushroom white truffle balsamic vinaigrette
*parmesan cheese for topping


1. Preheat oven for 400 degrees Fahrenheit

2. Prepare broccoli florets, creating bite size pieces. Place them on a lined baking sheet, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle equal parts salt and pepper (about 1-2 teaspoons of each). Then, using your hands, toss the florets to make sure they are all evenly coated with EVOO and salt & pepper.

3. Place in the oven for 20 minutes.

4. While the broccoli is roasting, bring a pot of salted water to boil.

5. While waiting for the water to boil, bring to bubbling (medium-high heat) in a sauce pan the heavy cream.

6. When the heavy cream begins to bubble, turn down the heat to medium-low, add the unsalted butter, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir until the butter is fully incorporated and wait for the sauce to thicken as you wait for the pasta to boil.

7.Once the water is boiling, place the tagliarelle pasta in the water for 2-3 minutes (just until al dente). Using a pasta fork, remove the pasta and place directly into the sauce pan, mixing to incorporate. Remove the saucepan from the stove.

8. When broccoli is finished roasting, remove from oven and drizzle with white truffle balsamic vinaigrette. Toss with hands or utensil to make sure it is equally distributed.

9. Toss broccoli into the sauce pan with the pasta and mix.

10. Serve and sprinkle with parmesan.

Key Things to Know:

~Find a variety of different balsamic vinaigrette and oils at your local specialty foods store, Whole Foods or especially during farmer’s market season, many artisans sell these specialty flavors for great prices. Gianni’s does sell all of their flavored oils online here.

~Easily swap out broccoli for your favorite vegetable(s).

Image: The Simply Luxurious Life Instagram 

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April 19, 2013

The Weekend . . .


A week full of beautiful weather, restorative morning walks counterbalanced by emotional heart-break from the events in Boston have certainly created a teeter totter of thoughts, gratitude and questions. In the end, all we have control over are our own actions, our thoughts and how we move forward. And I, along with many of you, am choosing to move forward with appreciation, resilience and a determination to bring more kindness into every day moments.

With that said, the spring trees are nearly all bursting with blossoms, the yards are bright green and the frequent showers offer a lovely scent that is utterly intoxicating.

Portland is calling my name this weekend with a few wine tastings at a wine shop I’ve been curious to check out, stopping into peruse new decor collections and picking up a few essentials here and there for my beauty routine and wardrobe. 

Hopefully your week has found you with time with loved ones, activities to inspire your creative mojo and many reasons to stop and be filled with gratitude.

The past week on the blog has included the debut of Vogue’s May cover, more style inspiration and diving into one of my favorite trends from the season as well as ways to find your balance within your regular everyday routine. Have a look:

~Style Inspiration: Sophisticated Chic

~This & That: No. 54 . . . a new show to enjoy, a vintage online boutique and a splurge and a save on floral pencil skirts.

~Why Not . . . Wear Stripes?

~Time to Recharge

~Carey Mulligan – Vogue US May 2013 

And this week’s newsletter – issue #145 – click here to read.

May your weekend be exquisitely bursting with moments to savor, wine or favorite drink to enjoy and company to lose track of time with. Until Monday, bonjour.


Images: (1) source  (2) source (3) source

April 18, 2013

Splurge & Save Outfit: No. 3

As I mentioned on this week’s This & That, pencil skirts are aplenty this season from designers with a wide range of graphic prints and designs. And as bold black and white stripes are also widely available (click here to see the many different ways to wear them), why not mix the two?

In this week’s Splurge Outfit, Marc Jacob’s vertical pencil skirt makes a bold statement, but as it also plays the role of a classic choice, the beautiful Catherine Maladrino silk print blouse works well with the basic black and white. Add a long gold necklace from Oscar de la Renta and basic black ankle strap sandals from Alexander Wang, and an outfit for work or evening is ready to reveal your clever melding of seasonal trends with your signature style.

Wanting to save, but still exude effortless style? Choose J.Crew’s simple solid silk blouse and wear it with Asos’ horizontal striped below-the-knee pencil. With the right mixture of subtle and bold, each piece can easily work with many other items in your closet.




Style Inspiration: Sophisticated Chic

Sophisticated chic requires of the live model to be confident, nonchalant in presentation and unaffected by any reaction of others who observe her sartorial wisdom. Whether it is working with the current trends in a way that melds with her signature style or incorporating vintage finds in such an approach that is new and refreshing, embodying sophisticated style is possible when we understand how our body works with clothes, which of our assets deserve to be accentuated and what cuts and colors are most flattering to reveal our best stylish selves. 

Today, I’ve gathered together images of women who radiate a sophisticated chic style that is inspiring and very doable.

Read more »

April 17, 2013

Why Not . . . Wear Stripes?

Nautical or Breton stripes will always be one of my favorite options when it comes to coordinating my spring and summer wardrobe, and while they are a classic choice that is always on trend, they were seen ubiquitously on the Spring 2013 runways. With color, bright bold combinations and expanding beyond the classic Coco Chanel striped top, designers had fun with their interpretations of a very popular choice of women of all ages.

Today, I’ve gathered together a handful of ways to incorporate stripes into your spring and summer wardrobe, as well as did a bit of shopping for you as well. Have a look:

A Classic Choice

Paired with dark denim jeans, white cropped trousers or worn under a classic jacket or trench, choosing to wear a striped top (boatneck is my favorite neckline, but always choose the most flattering style for your body type) will always been in style. If traveling and not sure of what to wear, were stripes and you’ll always appear chic, timeless and sophisticated.

Dress Up or Down
For work, for day or even for a delightful date night, stripes can be dressed up or down. I just love how the image below reveals how simple stripes can be worn for an evening out – black and white stripes, a black knee length skirt paired with nude or statement heels and ooh la la indeed without breaking a sweat.

Mix Vertical and Horizontal
If wearing stripes on top and bottom, get creative and take a risk by playing with vertical and horizontal. Toss on a classic solid coat and simple accessories and the classic pattern makes a fabulous statement.

Choose Vertical to Elongate
Looking to add a few more inches to your frame? Wear vertical stripes from top to bottom, or at least on your legs. The illusion is quite powerful and so long as it is tailored to silhouette, not hug, your frame, you will radiate confidence and a touch of mystery.

Keep Horizontal Loose, not Tight
Stripes by nature can act as a bit of camouflage, but makes sure that horizontal stripes don’t become a second skin. Choose tops that are properly fitted and have a little give to move with your body otherwise the camouflaging won’t be able to work its magic.

The beauty of having a few striped items in your wardrobe arsenal is that they never go out of style. Go ahead and invest in quality fabrics and craftsmanship as they can be worn from year to year without the worry of ever appearing trendy.

If you are just beginning to stock your closet with stripes, start with a classic navy and white or black and white Breton long (or 3/4) sleeve top. Two online shops where many different styles and colors can be found for great prices and quality are The Original Breton Shirt Co. and Chance. Last year I purchased this top from Chance and wore it endlessly. I highly recommend.

Looking for more visual style inspiration? Many of Thursday’s Style Inspiration posts focused on just this style topic – click here, here, here, here or here for more stripe inspiration.


Images:  (1) source (2) source (3) source (4) source  (5) source  (6) source  (7) source  (8) source  (9) source(10) source  (11) source