The Simply Luxurious Life®: October 2013  

October 31, 2013

Splurge & Save: No. 31



One of my favorite fall styling options is to wear dark denim skinny jeans tucked into knee-high boots. Whether with a wedge, heel or flats, they epitomize chic fall style and don't require a pedicure. Wear with an oversize sweater or shirt and a blazer for a day look that won't disappoint. 


~Frye Regina wedge boot~

 ~J.Brand 620 power stretch mid-rise skinny jeans~

~Theory Innis sweater~

~Stella McCartney striped cotton bucket bag~

~Michael Kors watch~


~Franco Sarto Osteria boot~

~Jolt skinny jeans~

~Halogen V-neck cashmere sweater (multiple colors)~

~Kate Spade 'opening night' station collar necklace~

~Aldo material shopper bag~


Labels: , ,

Style Inspiration: Fall Classics

StyleInspir110 30 13

Dependable as they are stylish, the nautical stripe, the khaki trench or a well constructed blazer all offer certainty that one's style is in tact and all that remains is a confident woman to wear them. Look for unique cuts or styles of each of these classics to mix up the classic essential especially if you are wanting a change this season. So long as the classic element is the foundational piece, you will be just fine.

StyleInspir310 20 12 

StyleInspir410 30 13StyleInspir510 30 13


StyleInspir610 30 13

StyleInspir710 30 13

StyleInspir810 30 13

StyleInspir810 30 13

StyleInspir910 30 13

StyleInspir1110 30 13

StyleInspir10 10 30 13

StyleInspir1210 30 13



Images: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12)

Labels: , , ,

October 30, 2013

Why Not . . . Fix a Bad Day?


There are days when even when you walk out the door with a spring in your step, you still can't seem to catch a break. Perhaps incessant demands, unexpected delays, last minute changes or any number of events beyond your control occur that render you dumbfounded as to how the day shifted from where you intended it to go. As much as we'd like to make every day blissful, stressless and obstacle-free, there are days when we have absolutely no control over the events that will occur.

While it would be ideal if we could press the restart button or take a time out to catch our breath, sometimes these options aren't made available when we desperately need them. So in order to combat a day that is quickly going badly and you feel as though you might be losing all control, I'd like to share a few remedies to help you end it in the manner in which you began it - with a spring in your step, a hopeful smile on your face and a reassured state of mind.

And since the most powerful remedy for my "ugly" days are my dogs, I thought I'd let these images of dogs working their magic while you make your way through the post.

1. Control What You Can

We always have control over what we say and what we do. It is during such stressful times that it demands more self-control to not rip into someone who most likely is not to blame simply to relief our frustrations, but then we only take our day from bad to worse. When you feel out of control, remind yourself that the day will end, you will find your the pillow to finally sleep upon, and aim for the goal of applauding yourself for watching your tongue and your temper. You'll sleep far better knowing you did.

2. Find Time to Power Down


When you get home, shut off your devices, turn off the television, and just breathe. No noise, no demands, just separation from the day that is thankfully winding down. Click here to read more about the benefits of unplugging.

3. Time with Loved Ones


For me, when I cross the threshold into my home and hear the quick pitter patter of my dogs' feet, it is their smiling, wiggly happiness in seeing me that lifts my mood instantly. Whether it is your dogs, your children, your spouse or your closest friend, try to spend some time with them or at least hear their voice on the phone. Being able to let your hair down, vent if necessary and just be in the company of those who love you provides an amazing burst of joy. 

4. A Good Night's Sleep


A good night's sleep is the remedy for so many things - beauty, health, creative process - and it can also be wonderful therapy after a tough day. Often we need more sleep on such days than we might have thought because our minds are doubly strained and exhausted. Respect what your body needs and be sure to grab some restorative shut-eye.

5. Write it Out

Sometimes the safest and best therapy is to pick up your journal or computer and just write. Simply putting your frustrations on paper can act as a release to organize why you became so frazzled and uptight. Sometimes we don't realize in the moment what has set us off, and when we take the time to assess after the events have taken place, we give ourselves an opportunity to learn and handle similar situations differently.

6. Exercise

Involve yourself in some form of exercise. For example, when I step into a yoga class and have to hold a pose, there is nothing else on my mind except for my muscles screaming at me for not keeping them in better shape. And when I finish, I feel a sense of accomplishment which may not have been achieved during a bad day.

7. Don't Drown or OverIndulge your Stressors

Keep your eating and drinking in check on days when your patience and nerves are frazzled. In fact, don't put yourself in a situation where your willpower will be tested. Instead, make yourself a simple, yet comforting meal (or purchase take-out at your favorite eatery), come home and fuel your body with something that will leave you feeling good about at least one thing you had control over during the day - your diet and health. 

8. Take a Bath

Surround yourself with warmth - literally. Soak in a hot bath and close your eyes. Necessary me-time is not a luxury; it is mandatory.

9. Refrain from Making Significant Decisions


Do yourself a favor and put any big decisions on hold when you run up against a day that just isn't working in your favor. Tomorrow you will be glad you heeded this advice as you will have averted another day of frustration caused by rash decision making. Often instead of making the right decision, we simply make a decision to get it done, but really the only thing we're doing is making more work for ourselves down the road. 

10. Slow Down and Have a Cup of Tea


Insert the hot drink of your choice - hot chocolate, coffee or tea - whichever you prefer. The main thing that I find when I heat up the water to have a cup of my favorite tea is that it slows me down. I have to find time to enjoy it, press pause for a moment and enjoy the warmth. This may also be a wonderful time to close your eyes and have a mini-meditation session to clear your mind.

While there are many things we can do to control the outcomes of our days, sometimes it's just out of our hands. On these days remember these 10 tips for making it through without having regrets when it finally ends and hopefully feeling a little bit better as you unwind in the evening. 

~JOIN THE CONVERSATION: What remedies have you found to be an elixir to a bad day? Please share below in the comments or on TSLL Facebook page.


~Why Not . . . Journal Regularly?

~Why Not . . . Take a Deep Breath?

~Why Not . . . Get a Good Night's Sleep?

All images available here.

Labels: , , ,

October 29, 2013

This & That: No. 82


Ideas for holiday gifts or a few treasures for yourself, my new jazz music find and a cookbook I have fallen in love with.

~Blog Post to Read

~Paris in the Fall: Our Favorite Things

While following some of my Paris blogs, I stumbled across Hip Paris' recent list of Fall Favorite things in the City of Light. The images and the concept of having the opportunity to enjoy such a delightful destination without the hustle and bustle of tourists, sounds but a dream. Perhaps someday . . . 

~On the Pursuit of Personal Best

DeeAnne of Live the Charmed Life has returned from a brief hiatus to two thought-provoking and inspiring posts. The one that particularly caught my attention was her discussion on choosing instead to do better than we did the day before rather than compare ourselves destructively to others. Have a look. 


~The French Kitchen Cookbook by Patricia Wells

Oh, my goodness. I have loved perusing through Patricia Wells' recent cookbook (released last Tuesday) and cannot wait to begin trying the many recipes I've dog-eared. The saffron and honey brioche, the long list of soups, creamy sorbets and simple, yet flavorful salads, all are clearly explained along with helpful tips and ideas from the chef herself - how she organizes her kitchen, what she shops for and wine pairings for many of the dishes. An extra treat is her ode to Julia Child who was a dear friend. In fact, she shares a glimpse inside her own kitchen of which contains Julia's La Cornue stove that she reluctantly had to leave behind when we moved back to Massachusetts. One of the best cookbooks I've picked up in a while. 


~Jon Batiste

Over the past weekend, while reading the WSJ my attention was captured by a profile piece on jazz musician Jon Batiste. At the young age of 26 he has a decent list of albums and shares that his aim is to bring music to the masses. His latest album (released earlier this month) contains infusions of classical jazz, funk and pop, all created with the intention of moving the audience and bringing it to them. If you live in New York City, perhaps you've had the opportunity to witness him and his band Stay Human begin performing in the middle of a subway train or along the streets from one restaurant to another. Trained at Julliard, he is worth a listen if you are a lover of jazz, like myself. I especially am enjoying his earlier album Jazz is Now


~Equipment washed-silk polka dot pajamas

Whether you are beginning your holiday shopping list or are looking for a pair of pajamas for yourself, Equipment has introduced a washed silk polka dot short pajama set that you may want to keep your eye on as the sales begin to take place next month and into December.

~Marte Frisnes nametag necklace

Hedvig of The Northern Light blog always shares fantastic style inspiration, so when she introduced jeweler Marte Frisnes nametag necklace, I was intrigued. Perfect for a holiday gift or for yourself, a simple gold strand necklace, similar to one I saw Gwyneth Paltrow wearing at the airport. No confusion as to whose necklace it is if ever it is lost, that's for sure. 

Labels: , , , , ,

October 28, 2013

How to Reach Your True Potential

10 28 13

"You cannot reach your potential unless you learn how to handle challenges along the way." -Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN)

Have you ever taken time to people watch - simply taking in the world that walks past you on a daily basis? Ever wondered how that woman made her way to become a successful entrepreneur while another woman struggles to pay the bills? Or why one family has managed to raise children who are concerned, diligent citizens, while another family struggles to keep their children in school? Ultimately, how our lives play out comes down to the decisions we make - big and small - on a daily basis. The attitude we choose to ascribe to, the foresight and knowledge we bring to a situation, the people we spend time with and seek advice from, all of these components aid or detract in how our lives play out. 

Whether times are going well or are challenging, it is how we handle each of these scenarios which will determine how tomorrow goes. In particular, it is during the challenging times that determine our fate. 

While there may be people who have experienced similar setbacks and challenges, nobody will experience exactly what you have gone through to get where you are. And the only way to conquer the challenges that come your way is to strategize an idea to handle it and then put it into action. 

Challenges are put in front of us not to destroy us, but to show us what we're truly capable of. Frequently on the blog, I have written about the idea of lessons repeating themselves until they are learned. And the good news is when we finally do learn the lesson, the gift that we receive is amazingly sweet and surreal. Often we don't believe we deserve it. Often we dismiss it, but today I want to convince you to pat yourself on the back. You did it! You figured out how to handle the challenge that has been befuddling you up until now! Doesn't it feel amazing?

Whether it's something as simple, yet significant, as learning to balance your budget each month to something as grand as becoming the master of your mind so as to eliminate self-sabotage and establish a positive self-talk in the most frustrating moments, when you handle what used to be a challenge you realize your full potential. And more importantly, you realize you are capable of so much more than you may have realized. 

Look at it this way. If you are or were a lover of mysteries as I was when I was a child, I always loved to try to figure out who the suspect was before the book revealed it to me. Instead of looking at life's challenges as a dead-end, view them instead as mysteries to solved. And yes, you too, just like every book and televised mystery, can solve it. There are no cold cases here. So long as you are determined, you will find a way. It may not be a way in which you had imagined or even knew was fathomable initially, but you will find a way. 

So instead of viewing challenges as roadblocks, view them as opportunities letting you know there is even more amazing life magic available to you than you thought. Now get busy Nancy Drew (Sherlock Holmes, Angela Lansbury, insert sleuth of your liking), you have some mysteries to solve.


~Choose to Learn the Lesson

~12 Ways to Learn the Lesson

~Gradually the Pieces Fall into Place

Image: (1) 

Labels: , ,

October 25, 2013

The Weekend . . .



~click here for this Earl Grey Caramel Chocolate tart recipe~ 

With last weekend taking me to Portland to tend to some must needed updates in my work and personal life and my need to get my home winterized before the first freeze that is supposed to take place next week, I must have forgotten to rest up because by the middle of the week I found myself with a cold that is hanging on for far longer than I would prefer. Needless to say, my body needs to rest, so I will be taking it easy this weekend. Perhaps indulging in a luxurious cup of Colville Street Patisserie's hot chocolate, losing time reading my stack of books and magazines that I can't seem to get caught up on or catching a nap when the urge strikes.  Either way, the weekend will be restful and restorative.

Hopefully, you are healthy and gearing up for a fun and playful weekend. Wherever it may take you, I hope you have a wonderful few days. I can't thank you enough for your time in choosing to stop by the TSLL. Also, I want to thank the readers who stopped by this week on Facebook to share their tips and ideas on the weekly discussion question inspired by this Wednesday's Why Not . . . ? Be sure to take a look here

In case you missed anything on the blog this past week, here is a look back . . . 

~Readers' favorite post of the week . . . Why Not . . . Keep it Simple in the Kitchen?

~Style Inspiration: Blue Fall Days . . . denim, cobalt and pastel blue

~Splurge & Save Outfit: No 30 . . . a trench for fall, and a chic one at a great price . . .

~This & That: No. 81 . . . a play to see if in New York, a chic bar chart for the holidays and more

~The Gift of Starting Over . . . often forgotten, but an amazing opportunity in disguise

And at a look at this week's newsletter - issue #170 - click here to read. 

Until Monday, bonjour!

Images: (1) 

Labels: ,

October 24, 2013

Style Inspiration: Blue Fall Days

StyleInsp1 10242013
While navy and denim are wonderful choices no matter what the season, bright cobalt blue and soft pastel blue are also wonderful additions to a fall wardrobe this season. Pair with jeans or skirts, find a coat similar to Karen Millen's above and add a softer touch to a chilly season.

Read more »

Labels: , ,

October 23, 2013

Splurge & Save Outfit: No. 30

While freezing temperatures haven't become the norm as of yet, the wool coats are still patiently waiting to be worn. In the meantime, pull out your favorite classic trench and wear it with a statement making pair of pants and solid top. Finished with pointed to pumps to elongate your leg and you can take either of these looks from day to evening. 



~Burberry long garbadine trench coat~

 ~Stella McCartney Christine African Floral Print silk tapered pants~

~Jimmy Choo Abel patent leather pumps~

~Vivienne Westwood Anglomania draped stretch jersey top~

~Kenneth Jay Lane hammered gold plated earrings~

~Rebecca Minkoff MAB mini~


~Zara cotton trench coat~

~Reiss Eleanor button top~

~Anthropologie pilcro serif cord leggings~

~Charles by Charles David 'Pact' pump~

~Gorjinana-Griffin gold bar necklace~

~Anthropologie Etta chambray popover top~

~Mango zip détail faux leather bowling bag~


Labels: , , , ,

Why Not . . . Keep It Simple in the Kitchen?


As a personal goal, I have been doing my best to eat real food as much as possible.  Which means I shop more often, my fridge and pantry are less cluttered and, if I stick to these eating habits, I feel better as well. 

With the same approach to living simply luxuriously when it comes to making decisions, choosing your wardrobe or making your travel plans, how you eat can also be simplified and flavor and experience improved based on the quality of food you choose to eat. 



Julia Child was on to something. Often we bring too much into our diets and neglect to focus on real, fresh, local (if possible) food. These three details can make a tremendous difference in our eating experience. 

Today I've gathered up seven simple tricks I have been incorporating into my eating schedule - some for years and some for just a few months. Each idea's purpose is to provide a healthy, well-balanced, yet delicious meal. 

1. A Simple, Delicious Dressing 

Over the weekend, I shared with Instagram followers a simple side salad and mentioned it was dressed in one of my favorite go-to vinaigrettes. A tremendous thank you to Jamie Cat Callan for sharing this recipe in her latest book, I have been loyal ever since. Here is the recipe for 2-4 servings (all of it is approximate, but keep the proportions the same): 

*1 1/2 teaspoons good extra virgin olive oil (look for a best by date - California and Oregon makes some great ones)
*1/2 teaspoon good balsamic vinegar (the thicker the better) 
*a dash of fresh pepper
*1/8 tsp of Dijon mustard 

 Whisk these four ingredients together and place at the bottom of your salad bowl. When you're ready, toss greens (I love baby spinach or arugula) so that the salad is coated.

2. Create a Default Grocery List

Having a go-to weekly grocery list keeps your planning simple as you prepare for the work week. Now, you may have to stop by the store or market throughout the week to pick up fresh ingredients, but having a default list reduces stress as you will have all of the necessary ingredients on hand and ready to go no matter where your week takes you. 

3. Roast the Vegetables

For every lunch or dinner, I usually have a green salad tossed in my favorite dressing (above) or roasted vegetables (fresh from the farmers' market if in season). Follow this recipe, and use any vegetable you prefer. Remember to use extra virgin olive oil, a dash of salt and pepper, and then toss before placing in the oven. With these simple ingredients, you will have enhanced flavor and have enjoyed eating your required vegetables.

4. Grab the Water

On the weekends, I will usually have a glass of wine with my dinner, but during the week, it's my go-to of choice - water. I never can seem to drink enough, and especially living in a dry climate, I need to hydrate. Remember, often when we think we are hungry, and it is actually our body asking for more water. So solve the problem by pairing your meal with a glass of chilled water with a  slice of lemon. 

5. Eat Leftovers for Lunch

Eating out for lunch can get expensive, and making a lunch each morning before you head out the door can take time that you may not have. As a solution, make an extra serving the night before, and store in to-go containers so you can take it with you to work in the morning. 

6. Cut up Fruit and Veggies for the Week

I fell in love with this trick during this past summer when the fruit was fresh and left any candy found in the store in the dust when it came to satiating my sweet tooth. Each Sunday, I pick up the freshest berries I can find in the store or market, slice them up and put them in a large plastic container. Each morning before work I dish out a small helping to take to work and be enjoyed before lunch. Trust me, once you've had the best fruit of the season, that candy bar in the afternoon will taste far too sweet and unnatural. 

7. Stick to the Same Breakfast

I don't know about you, but while I love my mornings, I want to keep the decisions to a minimum as my mind is still waking up. However, at the same time, I want to make sure I eat a meal that will fill me up and keep my energy strong until lunch. Whatever you prefer, come up with a go-to breakfast that includes some protein (eggs are my preference) and some fiber (which helps to maintain your energy levels - oatmeal works great). And skip the sweet pastries. They may be sold in the morning, but they are more of a dessert than a healthy start to the day.

Keeping your machine (your body) healthy and well-fed allows you to do what you want and need to do throughout the day. Keep the process simple and enjoyable - food you love and making time to enjoy it. After all, if we can learn anything from the French it is to see food as a pleasure-filled experience to be treasured and respected not another "have-to" on our to-do list. Choose wisely, respect your body and limit the "fake" food (processed). Not only will you welcome simplicity into your life, you will also begin to feel and look better as well.

Bon appétit!

~Join the discussion: What simple strategies do you use when it comes to eating well? Comment below or share on Facebook

~A Book to Read: Full of dietary details and simple ideas for eating well - The French Twist


~Why Not . . . Sit Down for Dinner?

~Why Not . . . Treat Your Body Like a Temple? 

~Why Not . . . Lose Those Last 10 Pounds?

Labels: , ,

October 22, 2013

This & That: No. 81



From Broadway to Target, some wonderful ways to save money and remain chic and stylish as well as satiating your appetite and your daily dose of art. 


1. Dashlane

A safe place to store all of the passwords you need on any given occasion to live and maneuver through our technological daily lives. Accessible on your computer or your smart phone, Dashlane is a free option to keep your online wallet secure. You can also program it to know which passwords to autofill. Certainly something to look into if you have to keep reseting your password, which I am guilty of more often than I'd like to admit.

2. POACHit

As savvy shoppers, looking for the discount is often just knowing where to look for that coveted coupon code. Use the POACHit bookmarklet to save items you want to purchase should the price be reduced. When a coupon becomes available, an email will appear in your inbox alerting you to the sale opportunity. 


3. The Cheap Chica's Guide to Style: Secrets to Shopping Cheap and Looking Chic by Lilliana Vazquez 

Next month (November 5th), budget fashion blogger Lilliana Vazquez (founder of the blog Cheap Chicas) will release her first book The Cheap Chica's Guide to Style which focuses on how to dress stylishly without breaking the bank. A wonderful resource, I was able to get my hands on an advance copy for review, and I was impressed with her specific details - where to shop, information on flash sale sites, and helpful quizzes that will guide you toward the best places to shop on your budget. 


4. Betrayal

One of my favorite experiences when it comes to art is experiencing live theater. Whether it's the Broadway stage or the theater district in London, being part of a shared experience with a select few as the gifted actors display their talents without the aid of editing is exhilarating. One play that has been creating quite a buzz in the Broadway community this season is Betrayal starring real life couple Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz and directed by award winning director Mike Nichols. Currently in previews, the play officially opens today, and at this point is scheduled to run through February 2014 at the Ethel Barrymore theater. Click here for tickets. 


5. Target Threshold Wood and Brass Finish Bar Cart

The Threshold decor line from Target continues to offer stylish furniture and details for your home that won't break your budget. Just in time for the holiday entertaining season, no matter what size your entertaining space is, this bar cart is perfect for displaying the available drinks for your guests as they arrive.

~Magazine Article

6. Ina Garten (aka Barefoot Contessa) in Instyle US November 2013

If you are looking for failsafe recipes for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Barefoot Contessa offers a dinner's worth of savory and scrumptious recipes in the most recent issue of InStyle (US). Her balsamic vinegar brussel sprouts with pancetta is shared (as seen here on TSLL) as well as other certain to impress side dishes, main dishes and desserts. 

Labels: , , , ,

October 21, 2013

The Gift of Starting Over

MondayPics 10.21.13

"That's exactly where you want to be: steeped to your eyebrows in failure. It's a good place to be because failure is where success likes to hide in plain sight. Everything you want out of life is in . . . failure. The trick is to get the good stuff out." - Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert

A fresh start. A clean slate. A second chance. 

Perhaps a relationship has ended, or you have relocated to a new city. Or maybe, you are starting a new job, redecorating a room in your home, reorganizing your files or simply pressing the reset button on any aspect of your life that hasn't been working or didn't work out as you had hoped. 

While beginning from scratch can feel as though you are a novice again, in reality, you are more of an expert than you realize, should you choose to use your powers. 

When you begin again you bring with you the wisdom of what did and did not work, the insight of knowing how something will turn out in particular circumstances and the ability to not waste precious time and energy doing something that won't provide the results you seek. 

Cartoonist Scott Adams reiterates in his article in the WSJ that failure is a tool, not an outcome. So indeed, there is a grand gift in starting over. 

How to Start Over Successfully

1. Take Time to Assess

Take the time before moving forward yet again to assess in detail what went well, what didn't work and why. Write your insights down so that during times of frustration in any new endeavors, you can remind yourself how to overcome the roadblocks that stood in your way the last time. Even a simple change such as switching from a PC to a Mac, begin with assessment to ensure a successful path forward. Write down what went wrong that impeded your ability to work efficiently on your computer. What do you want to make sure your new computer is capable of doing? 

2. Be Clear 

As you begin again, be clear about what your expectations are. For example, using the computer analogy, "I need a computer that functions properly without wasting my time".  Then, be willing to be flexible about how you get there.  Maybe the computer won't be the size you want because of your budget, but it still offers what you need for productivity. Or maybe you will have to leave the PC world and move to a Mac, or remain with Mac despite your expectations. The key is to know what you need, versus what you want. Knowing the difference will reduce unnecessary headaches and help you achieve your goals at a faster pace. Read this post for inspiration. 

3. Have Patience

Simply because you've learned some valuable lessons, does not mean the new journey you commence will be free of frustrations. For example, even if the new job is one that you've worked towards for years, there will still be a learning curve in understanding the new work environment. Have patience with yourself and don't throw in the towel too quickly. I have come to define such initial headaches as checkpoints assessing whether or not we are willing to be where we've so longed to be. Trust me, just like learning the new operating system of a new high performing computer, it will be worth it when you know how everything works. 

4. Remember the Paradox "Great reward, involves great risk." or "In order to earn money, you have to spend money."

Both of these maxims are indeed true. In order to change our circumstances, we must venture into the unknown in order to live a different life from what we know today. And when we have the opportunity to start over, it means we are essentially taking a life test - did we learn the lessons offered in order to turn the next opportunity into what it is we seek?

5. Keep Your Courage

The moments of doubt are greatest when we make the initial leap of change - when we do something different from what we've done in the past - putting the down payment on your first home, saying "I do", or taking a loan out for your own business.  It is in such moments that you must hang on to the courage it took you to make the initial mistake that provided the lesson. That courage is always there waiting to be tapped, and each time to learn the lesson and pick yourself up to try it again differently and better than before, your strength of courage increases. 

Having the opportunity to do something again is the opportunity to do it better and to tailor it to exactly as you'd prefer. Not everything in life offers a second chance. After all, we only get to be 18 once, 34 once, 50 once, and so on. But regardless of our age, when we get the chance to improve, don't be discouraged by the mistakes in past relationships, past employment, money management or anything that has tripped you up to dog you. Choose to turn the coal into diamonds and be amazed at what life is wanting to reward you with. 



~12 Ways to Learn the Lesson

~Using Failures as Guideposts to Success

~Perfectionist vs. High Achiever - The Difference



Labels: , , ,

October 18, 2013

The Weekend . . .

 ~find the recipe here~

The first frost has come and farmers’ markets are wrapping up. All the more reason to scoop up the last fresh apples and bring them home to make a scrumptious comforting dessert.

Just a week ago, the trees were just beginning to turn colors and now a few gold gems decorate the sidewalks and streets. Before we know it there will be a blanket of beautiful hues to walk through enjoying the crunch under our feet.

I adore this time of year, pulling out my wellies, wrapping scarves more often and watching a game or two of the baseball play-offs. These are just a few of the activities that can only happen altogether during fall.

This week on the blog offers inspiration about where to find opportunity and when to catch it before it slips by, as well as a few books mentioned in This & That that I think you might enjoy. And if you happen to be traveling to Portland, I’ve come up with TSLL city guide full of places to eat, shop, sleep and enjoy. Have a look . . .

~Opportunity’s Unexpected Gift

~Splurge & Save Outfit: No. 29 . . . mixing up a classics

~This & That: No. 80 . . . two books to enjoy, my latest office wall decor and more

~For anyone wanting to see what I love about Portland . . . Why Not . . . Visit Portland?

~Style Inspiration: Black, White & Brown

And this week’s newsletter – issue #169 – click here to read.

~It was brought to my attention by a very savvy, stylish TSLL reader that Kate Spade is having a wonderful sale this weekend. Take off 30% in their stores, outlets and online with promo code FALL13FF through Sunday October 20th. Click here to begin shopping!

Have a wonderful fall weekend (or spring weekend my Aussie readers!) and until Monday, bonjour.

Images: (1) source

October 17, 2013

Splurge & Save Outfit: No. 29

While I always prefer very classic outfits – dark denim or black pants, I wanted to mix it up a bit and include a touch of leather or embellished finish to regular black pants and jeans. So long as the other items are simple and not statement items, choosing a textured finish in your legwear is a wonderful way to freshen your look, yet adhere to your signature style. And while maybe leather pants are not your preference, consider these or these and have some fun.

Also, a staple to consider in your wardrobe is the oversized boyfriend jacket. Remember to keep the balance in proportion and pair with a tailored pair of pants or jeans. Versatile for casual day attire or the subtle masculine touch to an evening outfit.

~And a quick note, though tonight (Thursday Oct. 17), save 25% on all SHOPBOP items with promo code INTHEFAMILY25.


~Helmut Lange Boyfriend black jacket~

~Theory Dariya white silk blouse~

~J. Brand Anja cuffed leather pants~

~Alice + Olivia calf hair green clutch~

~Alexander Wang Kiki black pumps~

~Kenneth Jay Lane gold bib necklace~


~BB Dakota Dustin black blazer~

~7 for Mankind skinny pant – black cracked faux suede~

~Banana Republic mix striped top~

~Aldo Goodla handbag~

~Aldo Floriba bootie~


Style Inspiration: Black, White & Brown

It is the classic shades that work so wonderfully together. Black, white and brown are never a bad decision and work with so many trends to create a refreshed look each season. Invest in black denim, lush white sweaters, a tan tote, fabulous black footwear and save on the trends. Rest assured, each season will be fun but also bring a peace of mind that whatever you throw together will work and won’t break the bank with each flip of the calendar.

Read more »

October 16, 2013

Why Not . . . Visit Portland?

The west coast Portland that is. With many of my readers visiting Portland and emailing me in search of recommendations of places to shop, eat and sleep, I thought I’d share my personal city guide favorites to keep you busy, entertained, well-fed and in style.

Now there are many pockets of Portland, each with their own personality, much like every metropolis. And the two that I have lived in and can confidently make myself at home in are the Pearl District and Nob Hill (West of Burnside and North of I-405).

Below are a lists of places organized into seven categories: Food, Shopping, Entertainment, Grocery, Stay, Pets, Transportation). Each of the destinations below are included based on my first-hand experience and recommendation. If you are making a trip to the Pacific Northwest, and have further question, feel free to contact me –


~A Dinner for Two or a Double Date – Andina - (1314 NW Glisan St.) a Peruvian restaurant in the Pearl District – wonderful atmosphere, busy and bustling with exquisite food, wine and service

~A French Brasserie in Oregon - Brasserie Montmartre (626 SW Park Avenue)– located next door to Nordstrom, I love to stop in for lunch or dinner and enjoy their hamburger on a brioche bun, or spoil myself with their unique lasagna. Many nights have live music, and seating outside looking onto a side street.

~Drinks with a Friend or a First Date – Coppia (417 NW 10th Ave.)– nestled in the Pearl District, this Italian themed restaurant offers a wonderful happy hour with savory cheese and chutney pairings

~Weekend Brunch - Mother’s Bistro (212 SW Stark St.) – while the wait is long on weekends, the food is worth it. The French toast or their oatmeal are two of my favorites.

~My Paris Escape - Saint Honore Bakery (2335 NW Thurman St.) – no wifi to encourage conversation, the breads, patisseries, salads, sandwiches and quiches will leave your mouth watering, and with ample seating outside, be patient because the experience is worth it.

~Papa Haydn (701 NW 23rd Ave.)– While living on NW 23rd, I would stop in to pick up a dessert as they have beautiful creations to choose from. They’re dinners and lunches aren’t bad either, but their desserts, worth making the trip for just one slice of delicious goodness.

~Lovejoy Bakers (939 NW 10th Ave) – While living in the Pearl or whenever it’s lunchtime and I found myself in the Pearl District, I always made sure to stop by Lovejoy Bakers and either order one of their delicious sandwiches or pick up a pastry. With brioche rolls, daily fresh bread in all shapes and sizes, take your dog, meet a friend and sit outside in one of the many adirondack chairs on the boardwalk (literally) and people (and dog) watch.

~Kornblatt’s Deli (628 NW 23rd Ave)– a classic Jewish deli with a wide variety of bagels, corn beef and traditional dishes, when I lived just across the street, it was on Sunday morning for brunch that I would meet family and friends for their classic savory matzah brei or lox, bagel and cream cheese.

~While Wandering on NW 23rd - Vivace Coffee House & Creperie - (1400 NW 23rd St. ) - amazing crepes of all varieties & delicious coffee

~Grilled PB & J’s food cart (919 NW 23rd St) – the food cart scene in Portland is famous, but I’ve only tried one so far, one that I highly recommend. A bit nostalgic, I fell in love with the adult versions of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Cooked with Oregon cheeses, berries and jams, you have never had a PB&J like these.


~ConsignmentSeams to Fit (2264 NW Raleigh St.)– Just off of NW 23rd on Raleigh is a consignment shop with treasures from Christian Dior, Stella McCartney, Diane von Furstenberg, as well as Vince, J.Crew and Citizens for Humanity. Clothing, jewelry, shoes. I stop every time I’m in Portland and always find at least one item to add to my closet.

 ~A Carolina Herrera khaki summer dress~

Looking for Chic Workout Clothing? ~Lucy (1015 NW Couch St.)– workout wear for women that keeps women’s body’s in mind. I still swear by their workout pants and capris. With options that provide the same structure as Spanx, as well as other options, the quality clothing will last for years.

~Sur La Table (1102 NW Couch St.) – What could be “on the table” are fine dishes, Le Creuset dutch ovens, or any kitchen essential you need. With classes to learn how to cook French pastries, pizzas, and more, I always love poking my head inside.

~Mabel & Zora (748 NW 11th)– Find Trina Turk seasonal collections and other chic modern women’s clothing items

~Delicious Coffee or New Interior Decor - Schoolhouse Electric (2181 NW Nicolai St.) Looking for retro, yet new home decor and accessories, then you have come to the right place. Having picked out my cupboard fixtures from Schoolhouse Electric and dreamt about their furniture, if all I walk out with is a delicious cup of jo, then I still leave inspired.

~Retro Decor and Lighting – Rejuvenation (1100 SE Grand Ave) – With endless lighting options that will take you back, furniture for the porch, bath and living room that will create a welcoming, yet signature decor, do stop by.

~Obilation: Papers & Press (516 NW 12th St.) unique and special cards, stationary, journals that will help you create your signature style


~Book Lover’s Paradise - Powell’s Books (1005 W Burnside St.)– With racks, rows and colorful floors, you will be able to spend hours perusing the new and used book shelves.

~Sammy’s Flowers (1124 NW Lovejoy St., & 2280 NW Glisan St.) – Beautiful seasonal flowers from local growers, the quality is top notch and unique options a treat for bringing a touch of Mother Nature indoors.

~Looking for that Documentary? - Fox Towers Theater (846 SW Park Ave)– Located next to Nordstrom, these small, intimate theaters always seem to have that small documentary or limited release film when I can’t find it anywhere else. While they also show the big headliners, it is convenient if you are staying in the heart of the city.


~My Favorite Go-to Wine Shop - Liner & Elsen (2222 NW Quimby St.)– A knowledgeable staff, regular wine tasting hours on select wines (sign up for their newsletter), and an bottles from the Pacific Northwest, California, and around the world, there is a reason the Wall Street Journal recommended them as a wine shop to visit.

~Whole Foods (1210 NW Couch St.)– Located in the heart of the Pearl District, when you can’t find what you need at the local markets, a dependable and delicious destination

~Frugal, Fabulous Food - Trader Joe’s (2122 Glisan St.) – Delicious food, frozen surprises and items you just can’t find anywhere else, especially at such great prices

~Zupan’s (2340 W Burnside St.)– Small, but full of gourmet meats, cheeses and fresh produce. Find flowers and other hard to find grocery items as well as wine, beer and the celebratory bottle of champagne.

~Gourmet Groceries - Elephant’s Delicatessen (115 NW 22nd Ave)– to take home and cook or sit and enjoy, the deli is full of gourmet cheeses, meats, desserts and more.

~Portland State Farmer’s Market – endless options from local farmers, artisans and bakers. And that’s just to whet your palette.


~Luxury Travel with Your Dog - The Heathman Hotel (1001 SW Broadway)– Luxury accommodations that welcome your pet, this hotel is located on Broadway next to Arlene Schnitzer concert hall and two blocks from Nordstrom. With the famous Heathman Restaurant and quiet library to slip away to, you will find it hard to leave.

~Ideal for Hotel Accommodations - Embassy Suites Downtown in the Historic Multnomah Hotel (319 SW Pine St.)– situated in an iconic building, this is not your ordinary Embassy Suites. With complimentary breakfast and VooDoo donuts just around the corner, reserve a room during the holidays and enjoy the festive decor.

~Downtown Contemporary Luxury - Hotel Lucia - (400 SW Broadway) – located on Broadway, a hotel with beautiful, modern interiors.


~Urban Fauna (939 SW 10th St.)– Treat your dog to a new toy or have them groomed with my groomer of nine years – Katie. An expert at making dogs feel welcomed, the only place I take my boys.


~Portland Street Car – a simple and affordable way to get around my two favorite districts, as well as across the river to the east side, for $1, you can hope on and be dropped off at your next simply luxurious destination.

As you can see, staying on the west side can certainly keep you busy for days (you may have noticed, I did slip in one east side gem). Portland is a city to explore, offering wonderful food to delight in and a culture to soak up and spark your creativity. There is so much more I look forward to exploring, but for now, everything you see above was visited, tested and approved by moi. The next time you stop into the Rose City, I hope you have a wonderful visit.

All images except (1) source,  via @thesimplyluxuriouslife Instagram feed