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The Simple Sophisticate - Intelligent Living Paired with Signature Style

The simple sophisticate is someone who prefers quality over quantity, sensible living over mindless consumption, personal style instead of trendy fashions, has an insatiable curiosity for life’s endless questions and a desire to live a truly fulfilling life rather than being led around by the nose. Inspired by her lifestyle blog The Simply Luxurious Life, Shannon Ables (the original Simple Sophisticate) shares with listeners tips on how to live a refined life on an everyday income, a life of true contentment. Founded on the principle of the art of living a life of quality over quantity, episodes explore topics ranging from creating an everyday life you love living, strengthening mindfulness practices, preparing seasonally delicious meals, building a capsule wardrobe, traveling the world (Francophiles and Anglophiles tune in as Paris as well as the English countryside are favorite destinations), and living life to the fullest without breaking the bank because living well is really quite simple.*illustration by artist Sarah Löcker exclusively commissioned for the show

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69: 15 Habits for Timeless Style

Being effortlessly chic doesn't occur without forethought, but by adhering to these 15 habits, it can be something that with time becomes second-nature. From which colors to choose, which accessories to wear, as well as how to care for your clothes and accessories, when the habits we practice each day render the results we desire, we truly can exude effortless chic style. In this week's Petit Plaisir, Nest candles are reviewed and recommended for the upcoming holidays as well as for scents to permeate your home year-round. 

24mins

9 Nov 2015

Rank #1

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198: The Love Gap: My Interview with Author Jenna Birch

~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #198 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube In today's episode of the podcast, author Jenna Birch stops by to talk about her new book The Love Gap: A Radical Plan to Win in Life and Love (January 2018). Whether you are in your twenties or have decades of experience when it comes to love, successes and stumbles, Birch offers grounding principles that align in many ways with living simply luxuriously. Below are three of the wide variety of topics touched upon in our conversation. investing in yourself choosing to be authentic, especially with a romantic partner striving to reach your full potential, rather than shrinking to fit a limiting definition of a loving relationship letting go of artificial pressures Already a staff pick at one of my favorite independent bookstores, Powell's (seen in the image above), it was a pleasure having Jenna on today's episode of the podcast, and whether you are in a relationship, looking for a relationship or have ended a relationship, her book is a researched based approach paired with personal anecdotes from men and women sprinkled along the journey of love sharing a powerful message to trust your journey. Get to know Jenna Birch: Her book: The Love Gap: A Radical Plan to Win in Life and Love Visit her website Read Why I Stopped Waiting for Love to Happen to Me, Jenna's article on Man Repeller mentioned in the episode Instagram Twitter Facebook   ~SIMILAR EPISODES/POSTS YOU MIGHT ENJOY: ~Choosing a Partner: Part Une —Why It's Difficult & the Essentials for Being Ready ~Choosing a Partner — Part Deux: The Importance of Knowing Yourself & the Crucial Must-Have, episode #179 ~16 Tools to Ensure You Are Ready for Real Love ~10 Differences Between Men & Boys ~7 Components to Strong, Healthy Relationships, episode #11

44mins

5 Mar 2018

Rank #2

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93: 15 Everyday Habits to Live a Life of Contentment

The "everydays" make up the quality of our lives, so it is how we spend these days that is vitally important. Discover 15 everyday habits to practice and by incorporating will create ensure everyday is full of contentment and true happiness. In this week's Petit Plaisir, a simple decor addition to establish a ritual that will enhance your everyday life. 

40mins

7 Mar 2016

Rank #3

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272: 8 Ways Tiny Habits Will Welcome the Grand Changes You Seek

The new year rolls around and there is much talk about resolutions and cultivation of a life we wish to live. It is old news to share that many resolutions are unfulfilled; however, BJ Fogg argues that perhaps we have had a faulty instruction manual to be successful in our pursue of lasting change. Released just this past Tuesday, December 31st, Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything asserts in fact that it is the small, seemingly easy changes of habit we make in our lives that will lead to grand transformation of ourselves and therefore our overall lives, even our relationships and especially our health and overall contentment. After devouring the book in two days during my getaway to the coast, I wanted to share with you eight takeaways that will introduce you to this shift in approach. I have already begun to implement two new tiny habits into my daily routine and look to add a third when my teaching schedule resumes this week. The good news, if you have already written your 2020 resolutions, is that upon reading the book, you will be able to look at them more closely and construct and approach them in such a way, according to Tiny Habits to ensure their success. And if you have not created resolutions, maybe you have decided due to previous frustration that doing so is just a waste of time, taking a look at the list of takeaways below may shed some light on why past years were less fruitful than you would like and even encourage you to try again and see better results. Visit the full Show Notes on The Simply Luxurious Life — thesimplyluxuriouslife.com/podcast272

39mins

6 Jan 2020

Rank #4

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196: Top 10 Style & Beauty Lessons Learned from the French

~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #196 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube "Style is a simple way of saying complicated things." —Jean Cocteau With the collections for Fall 2018 being revealed this month, I am always on a treasure hunt to find unique and worthwhile takes on the classics. At the same time, I am reminded as the trends shift each and every season, of the benefits to adhering to a signature style that complements the individual wearing the clothes rather than the individual bringing applause or attention to the trend du jour. Much of how I have narrowed in on my own style and what has been the muse for simply luxurious style has been shaped by what I have read, observed and learned from French, especially Parisian women. Now, don't get me wrong, there are brilliantly stylish people around the globe, and the classic, effortless approach is not something only seen in Paris. However, the French have claimed it, owned it and demonstrate it regularly. Why? Well, put simply, it works and transcends years and decades of infinite trends that have been paraded down the runways. Today I'd like to share with you 10 style and beauty lessons I have learned from the French along my own journey of discovering my signature style and how to approach shopping as well as dressing each day regardless of the season. Some have been standing principles of the simply luxurious approach and others are new to me as well in the past couple of years. However, all of them work and enable you to look your best. 1. Less make-up, but still some make-up The best face to present to the world is your face. Less hiding what your visage is and more showcasing its beauty. Beginning with your skincare regimen, well-hydrated skin will always offer a palette to be enhance ever so slightly, and at the same time, hardly at all. Choose a primer, the proper hued concealor, tinted moisturizer and subtle eye makeup. Choose one feature to bring to the forefront — your lips, your eyes or your cheeks and simply brighten the rest. ~8 Ways to Create Glowing Skin, episode #13 2. Rock the flat Heels are nice, but heels have their time and place. Flats, whether ballet or boots are smart, versatile and comfortable. And we must not forget, stylish. Purchase well made designs, make sure they fit your foot and wear them for years. 3. Trends? No thank you. If we are busy chasing down trends, we do not have the ability to hone our signature style. And while discovering our signature style takes time, once we do discover it, the shopping is simpler and less frequent. Whereas when we chase trends, we are endlessly shopping and constantly shelling out money. Remember, let your uniqueness shine. No else will have precisely your style, so you will have do the work of getting to know yourself, your body, skin tone and the most enjoyable, what you love to wear which makes you feel your most confident. ~10 Tips to Evolve into Your Signature Style 4. Neutral color palette Neutrals are not just beige, so don't worry. Remember, start with an understanding of your skin tone and work from there. Certain colors can be neutral for you as well. Navy and even prints can be neutral and easy to mix and match with other colors in your wardrobe - polka dots or leopard, for example. Shopping for neutrals and keeping them in your closet enables your items to endure as what you purchase down the road will still have the opportunity to pair with what you already own. 5. Fewer clothes, better quality Cost per wear. Invest in high priced items if they are well-made with quality fabrics and are classic pieces rather than trends. And most important, you like the item and it fits well (remember to tailor as needed). Less frequent shopping and in the long run, less money spent. 6. Lace over cotton (when it comes to undergarments) The French and lingerie. Wear beautiful lingerie each day for you and for you. Yes, I repeated myself on purpose. In the United States, some brands would have us believe that it is what we look like to others in our lingerie, but rather it should be how our lingerie makes us feel. After all, we are the one's wearing it and when we feel comfortable we will be comfortable and more confident. Whether it is going about errands, hopping on a plane or going on a date. ~Why Not . . . Create a Lingerie Capsule Wardrobe? 7. A luxury investment handbag Quality accessories make a statement, and a well-made handbag (no exterior label is needed to show the world what you own) completes a look, enables the woman to keep her life and business organized and tucked away all the while going about her business. 8. Find a Versatile Trench "Wear it on the weekends with jeans, over gowns to formal events, layered with a fur stole when the weather gets colder, over your shoulders during the spring—the possibilities are endless." —Leah Bourne I am new to this idea, but after reading Leah Bourne's piece for Stylecaster, I could not agree more. Choose a quality trench, one that is the right length for your body that can be worn for day, evening or play. Choose a color and fabric that aligns with your signature style and make it your go-to coat nearly, if not the entire, year round. ~The Perfect Trench is Personal 9. Trust stripes A broken record I am when it comes to stripes. Wear them when it comes to tee shirts, wear striped sweaters, striped dresses and even blouses. Stripes are a stunning neutral inspired by the French marinére or Breton top, and as was shared a couple of weeks ago, their versatility makes them a wise and savvy choice. ~11 Brands for French stripes 10. Find your signature style and stick to it "Parisian fashionistas develop a signature look, and stick with it. They might update their wardrobe with a few trends, but they always stick to a similar aesthetic. This also makes shopping a heck of a lot easier." —Leah Bourne, Stylecaster The more simplicity we can bring into our lives the less complexity we have to navigate, but initially the process of knowing what to strip away takes time and careful attention. Curating our signature style occurs in precisely the same manner. Check out this post in which I break down precisely how to determine your signature, and then I believe you will find the shopping experience becomes easier and more enjoyable and your style quotient will steadily rise. ~Tune in to French-Living inspired posts/episodes from the Archives: ~#4: 10 Ways to Unearth Your Inner Francophile ~#23: The French Way: How to Create a Luxurious Everyday Life ~#32: The Francophile Style Guide: The 14 Essentials ~#96: Everyday Living in France – My Interview with Sharon Santoni ~#127: 20 Ways to Live Like a Parisienne ~#144: 20 Ways to Incorporate Your Love for the French Culture into Your Everyday ~#151: 10 Style Tips to Embrace the French Woman’s Approach to Effortless Chic ~#155:6 Life Lessons for Living Well from Julia Child ~#167: My Good Life in France: Author Janine Marsh ~#168: Everyday Living with Author & Blogger Sharon Santoni ~#169: Understanding the French Culture: My Interview with Géraldine Lepere of Comme une Française ~#182: David Leibovitz Talks About Making Paris His Home SIMILAR POSTS/EPISODES YOU MIGHT ENJOY: ~Why Not . . . Frenchify Your Beauty Routine? (Add Micellar Water) ~9 Life Lessons from French Women about Women ~Why Not . . . Be Fascinated by the French Culture?  Petit Plaisir ~Queer Eye, Season 1, Netflix ~NPR interview with creator David Collins ~Correction from the podcast episode: This series makes over both straight and gay men whereas the original series focused only on straight men. Episode #4 is especially moving. https://youtu.be/vTGqDqYP2k4 Download the Episode

26mins

19 Feb 2018

Rank #5

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127: 20 Ways to Live Like a Parisienne

Inspired by Sarah Lavoine's new book Chez Moi: Decorating Your Home and Living Like a Parisienne, discover 20 of my favorite tips and ideas for living well in your sanctuary as we talk about decor, dining, style and lifestyle ideas inspired by a Parisienne who lives and decorates with effortless style. This week's Petit Plaisir introduces the newest addition to TSLL brand: the "Live Simply, Live Well" notepads which have in full-color the newest illustration by Inslee on the layout. 

22mins

24 Oct 2016

Rank #6

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270: 9 Life Lessons to Learn (and Apply) Before It's Too Late

"We have the choice to change our life, to be courageous and to live true to our heart, one that will see us die and live without regret." —Bronnie Ware, author of The Top Five Regrets of the Dying Dying, death and loss has unwantingly been on my mind this past fall. Rest assured, today's episode will uplift, inspire and remind, but the reason I share what has been occupying my mind these past few months is because I likely would not have picked up Bronnie Ware's new book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. But I am very grateful that I did. Ware's entire book shares her experience working in the palliative care system in New South Wales, Australia, which sprung up from what was originally a blog post. Subsequently, after more than three million people viewed the post, it was thankfully turned into a book which shares detailed five lessons and those special individuals she had the opportunity to spend time with in their final days. Along the way, Ware shares her own journey of self-growth and discovery and how she has applied the lessons she has learned. It is not lost on me that often the books we need find us, and after the loss of a special woman in my life who was very much akin to a grandmother, who having lived a wonderful life of nearly 95 years reminded me with each visit and time spent together the power of a happy heart, and after a cancer scare with one of my parents (they are in full recovery now), along with my beloved boys (my dogs) each in their double digit years, it quickly becomes apparent that life is short, precious and up to each of us to make it something we are proud to have lived, shared and experienced. While we will all make mistakes in our lives, that is the gift of being a human :), we do not have to suffer needlessly if we are willing to open our minds to the stories and life experiernces of others. In the past ten years I have come to enjoy reading biographies and autobiographies to soak up as many life lessons as I can that I would have otherwise not known about (Julia Child is one of my favorite teachers, but so are many others). Today what I would like to share with you are nine Life Lessons that caught my attention as I was reading Bronnie Ware's book. While her book focuses on five overarching regrets, interwoven amongst each are smaller, no less important lessons, to understand and apply to our lives moving forward. As I was reading, I began to celebrate as I discovered that much of what is shared aligns with living a simply luxurious life, and especially if you've read TSLL's 2nd book, you will know that nearly all of these topics are explored in depth. I cannot fully understand the emotional strength Bronnie exercised in each of her experiences, as well, and more importantly, the individuals who shared their stories in their final days, but I am determined to make sure their lessons are learned and applied forward as we go about our daily lives. Let's take a look at the list. Visit the full Show Notes on The Simply Luxurious Life — thesimplyluxuriouslife.com/podcast270

35mins

9 Dec 2019

Rank #7

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32: The Francophile's Style Guide

Inspired by the style icons from the past (Coco Chanel, Jane Birkin, Bridgette Bardot, and Catherine Deneuve), as well as those effortlessly chic French women of the 21st century, this episode breaks down the 14 basic essentials to have in your capsule wardrobe to look chic, timeless and confident.  This week's Petit Plaisir, a French dessert, Dark Chocolate Mousse. So simple and satiating, you will be sure to impress your guests and your very own tastebuds as it can easily be made and appreciated during the work week as well. 

32mins

6 Apr 2015

Rank #8

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164: The Importance of a Daily Routine & How to Create One You Love

~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #164 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio "With a healthy lifestyle, it's not at all unreasonable to expect ninety or one hundred exceptionally healthy years of life, years in which we will be of sound body, mind and spirit." —Dr. John D. Day, author of The Longevity Plan: 7 Life-Transforming Lessons from Ancient China In Benjamin Franklin's autobiography, a man who lived from 1706-1790, in Part Two along with his well-known 13 virtues for a good life, he explains his approach to bringing order to his life (the 3rd virtue - "let all things have their place; let each part of your business have its time") with his daily routine written out by the hour. At the young age of twenty, Franklin was clear about a schedule that would enable him to eventually do all that we know he was able to achieve and accomplish, which was quite impressive. Benjamin Franklin's daily schedule: The Morning {5-8} Question: What good shall I do this day? Tasks: Rise, wash, and address Powerful Goodness! Contrive day's business, and take the resolution of the day; prosecute the present study, and breakfast. {8-noon} Task: Work {Noon} Tasks: Read, or overlook my accounts, and dine {2-6} Work Evening {6-10} Question: What good have I done today? Tasks: Put things in their places, Supper. Music or diversion, or conversation. Examination of the day. Night {10-5} Task: Sleep Why exactly is a daily regular routine significant when it comes to the overall well-being of our lives? If anyone has observed the stability routines provide for children, students, pets and colleagues, one will acknowledge, so long as the routines are healthy, restorative, invigorating and based on sound reasons to benefit the individuals to reach their best potential, that routines are a simple solution to much of what we wish our lives to become: fulfilling, enjoyable, tranquil, and a foundation for moments of spontaneity from which we can springboard from occasionally, all the while knowing we can and will eventually come back to the routine that enabled us to be someone who can think outside the box, who can and feels comfortable taking a risk. From the routine I keep with my blog writing, to the routine I adhere to in my classroom, as well as with my dogs when I at home, the purpose is to gain more energy, to not deplete it in myself and in others unnecessarily, to cultivate an environment in which the unexpected wonderful ideas, experiences and conversations can blossom. Because when we need not worry about our fundamental survival needs, food, shelter, social connectedness, etc., we can then make our why to self-actualization (which I talk in great depth about in episode #25). While some dislike the idea of sticking to a routine, I will admit freely, there have been routines I loathed, either they didn't work with an approach to good health for my body and mind or I was being expected to do tasks, etc., that I didn't find meaning or purpose in. We will all have times in our lives, especially when we are younger or the newbie on the job in which the routine we are given is not the routine we want. The task we are given, or that we must give to ourselves is to ask the question and do the homework, what will work best for me to reach my full potential? Areas of your life to consider aligning into a daily routine: 1. Eating schedule Dr. John D. Day's new book The Longevity Plan describes in detail a diet (not a temporary, but long-term, forever approach to eating well) that will enable you to thrive into your 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond and obliterate the Western assumption that old age is a deterioration. Especially what we eat, but as well when we eat has a powerful effect on our overall health. In fact, he shares, "Erratic eating schedules have been shown to result in decreased metabolism, which can lead to long-term weight gain." 2. Sleep time "Nobody in Bapan had an alarm clock. When we're hitting at least seven hours of sleep on a regular basis, and a regular schedule, something quite amazing happens: We get the exact amount of sleep our bodies need without having to be jarred awake by a buzzer before we're really ready." —Dr. John D. Day, The Longevity Plan 3. Create a life of motion Instead of punishing your body with the workout you think is intense enough you only need to do 3-4 times a week, Dr. Day recommends, based on observing the centenarians in The Longevity Village in Bapan, China, simply live a life of movement. Granted, many of our lives don't easily support this. If we work at a desk or behind the wheel, but even by adding a standing desk to your office or a walking treadmill, the job you have to do doesn't have to keep you sedentary. Again he reminds, our bodies were meant to move, not stay in one place five days a week. Consistency is key and doing what you love is the best way to make it a habit. So if you dread the spin class or the run you are determined to take each morning before work, don't do it. Do something you love, raise your heartbeat enough, but then keep your body in motion throughout the day: park further from the front door, take a stroll after dinner (something those in Bapan do nearly daily), or get outside for lunch. Create a routine of movement that keeps your body awake and entices you to stay active. 4. Productivity As witnessed in Franklin's schedule, having a clear objective is imperative to reaching the desired goal. After all, if we don't know what we want to achieve, how can we ever feel productive at the end of the day? I have found one of the few must-have ingredients in a day that I would need to experience in order to call it a good day would be a sense of achievement, progress, accomplishment or productivity. By no means do any one of these things need to be grand or even known or understood by outsiders, but if I put the task of write the introduction to chapter four as my objective, it not only gives me something to focus on, but when I do complete the task, I feel as though progress has been made. An essential component to being productive is to know what enables each of us to be our most productive selves, and create a routine that fosters productivity rather than making it difficult to find our rhythm. 5. Social lives Social lives are less likely to fall into a daily routine only because you are engaging with others who must adhere to a schedule that works best for them and there will be times, sometimes many, when it will shift. However, the key is to focus on your engagement, how you stay in touch, how much you stay in touch, how you keep your boundaries so you can continue to be productive and how you can support those you love to accommodate their needs (and they hopefully are doing the same for your needs) without sacrificing a quality way of living. 6. Our mind-set "The way in which we choose to perceive and deal with stress is, after all, a tremendous market of biologic age. Studies show that those who embrace stress actually live 17 percent longer. In contrast, as measured by telomere length, it appears that people who don't effectively manage high levels of stress age their bodies by nine to seventeen  years." —Dr. Day Shifting from feeling as though we are lacking and rather appreciating all that is going well is a simple way to shift your mind-set for the better. The American mind-set especially, but we are certainly not alone, tends to work more hours in order to earn more money to buy more or bigger things. But in so doing, we are racheting up our stress. As well, finding work you enjoy can reduce your stress level, and paradoxically, Dr. Day points out, enable you to be more productive as you are not depleting your energy but rather are enlivened by what you have the opportunity to do. Such an approach is helpful in both our professional and personal environments. "At least 70 percent of all visits to the doctor are for stress-related ailments." Another way to reduce stress is to play. Play not only outside of work, but at work as well. Have fun, lighten up, keep in perspective what is important. "When we treat work as play, we change the very nature of work. We rob it of its power to stress us and deplete us of our energy." Think about someone who turned what they loved doing on the side or out of pure enjoyment into their job. It's possible to do that yourself; the key is to be able to return to that feeling of pure play because it is through play that we learn more as we are fully engaged and not worried about outcomes but rather enjoying what we are doing. Perhaps you are dismissing the concept of playing in your life, let alone at work. Here's another tidbit of information to keep in mind regarding the importance of play. National Geographic has reported that there is a "direct correlation between playfulness and intelligence, since the most intelligent animals engage in the greatest amount of playful activities. The reason is simple: Intelligence is the capacity for learning, and to play is to learn." Hmmm. Make room to play; how wonderful of a directive for living well is that? 7. Environment One of the seven lessons Dr. Day advises we all pay close attention to when it comes to cultivating a life of longevity is to place ourselves in a positive environment from the people, to the homes, to the communities that support healthy living. Where we wake up, the air we breathe, the words we hear, how much technology we consume, the support we receive, the products and furniture we live amongst, the information we consume, each of these items are details that effect our daily lives and to live in a positive environment, a supportive, healthy environment and to wake up in such a place every day is to continue to improve the quality of our lives, as the opposite would be to gradually deplete the quality of our lives. "Yes, our electronic influencers have a powerful impact on the rhythms of our lives, but our bodies want to be in sync with the natural world." —Dr. Day With each of these areas in which to create a routine, simply do your best. Even Ben Franklin shares in his autobiography about the creation of his daily schedule, "I enter'd upon the execution of this plan for self-examination, and continued it with occasional intermission for some time. I was surprise'd to find myself so much fuller of faults than I had imagined, but I had the satisfaction of seeing them diminish." Even he did not stick to his routine fully each day, and took breaks ("occasional intermission"), but he stuck to it the majority of the time, and in so doing, saw the quality of his life improve. His routine may not appeal to you, but as he arose each morning with a question, and assessed at the end of the day how the day had unfolded, this simple habit is a grand way to determine what is working, what is not and how to do better tomorrow. Small corrections can be made and a pat on the back can be given as well each day. Find your rhythm. Create a daily routine that hums your tune, makes you tap your toes in excitement to start the day. Rhythm, your rhythm, a rhythm that enables you to reach your full potential will be a song you want to sing again and again and again. "the reason [the village people of Bapan - Longevity Village]'s hearts are in rhythm is because their lives are in rhythm." —Dr. Day, The Longevity Plan It will take time, or maybe for some, not much time at all because you've already been stepping into a routine and observing what is and isn't working. Now, consciously, sit down, and ask yourself, what works? How can I do more of that? And give it a shot. Each spring and each fall before my summer schedule begins and before school begins, I sit down and look at the daily schedule that will work best for me incorporating routines that will enable me to reach my goals. I love this bi-annual ritual. To help me make the best schedule, I will reflect back on past year's schedules to see what worked and if it didn't, why not. Just this year I have added something new to my routine, a weekly check-in on my progress along with my nightly journaling. This weekly check-in usually takes place on Sunday evenings after the week has wrapped up and a new week is about to begin. I find myself able to quickly rectify anything that didn't go as planned or get back on track before it goes too off the rails without much of a fuss. I also am reminded and motivated by observing what I have done well, what daily routines are producing the outcomes I have desired and this is motivation to keep adhering to my daily routines in the new week. Again, this is what works for me. I have always been someone who loves to plan, write it all out, not excessively, but in a manner that is clear for me to visualize. Today, consider for a moment the benefits of establishing a daily routine that works for you. Perhaps Dr. Day's list of benefits will provide even more motivation: "The overwhelming majority of cases [cardiac arrest], perhaps up to 80 percent, can be prevented, and half of the people with arterial fibrillation can reverse their condition through lifestyle changes aimed at eating better food, maintaining a healthy mind-set, building supportive communities, staying in motion, and learning to connect with their own rhythms." And as we create a rhythm in our life that works well for us, we discover more energy to do what we most enjoy, we experience more mental clarity to make sound and successful decisions for the life journey we are on and as all of these benefits are felt, our overall well-being begins to soar. There is nothing boring about that. I am continued to be reminded that is us, humans, who make life difficult. Real luxury. The luxury of living a life of quality and true contentment is actually quite simple: create a daily routine that enables you to live well and experience your life begin to improve. ~SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY: ~The Benefits of Daily Rituals ~My Daily Breakfast: Steel Cut Oats ~Why Not . . . Celebrate the Ordinary? ~Art & Happiness: Discover Art's Ubiquity and Power to Improve Your Everyday Life Petit Plaisir: ~Farro Salad with tomatoes, sweet onions, avocado, herbs, a poached egg, chicken and garlic vinaigrette. Find the recipe here.     SaveSave

33mins

17 Jul 2017

Rank #9

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23: How to Create a Luxurious Everyday Life

Twenty ways inspired by the French to live truly simply luxuriously each and every day.

37mins

2 Feb 2015

Rank #10

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188: 18 Secrets & Lessons from the French Culture to Begin 2018

~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #188 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio "But I love New Year's Day, because I can never get over the generosity of the fact that we all get a BRAND NEW YEAR, totally for FREE — with no dents, or dinks, or mistakes yet. It's the ultimate REFRESH button." —Elizabeth Gilbert With 2018 just two weeks away, I am, as I am with each new years, inclined to be quite excited for a fresh start. No matter what the current year shared with me, surprised or delighted me with, the gift of a chance to improve is a priceless opportunity that only arrives once every 365 days. And so, I readily choose to seize it and apply what I have learned over the past 12 months and put it to practice, to improve upon who I reveal myself to be the previous year. As I look ahead to the new year with plans to finally get back to France since far too long ago (2013), I couldn't help but look to my collection of French living and culture books which I didn't fully realized is as plentiful as it turned out to be in my personal library (a sampling captured recently of many of my French themed books) for inspiration as to how to step forward into 2018. Below I've gathered 18 quotes of wisdom, insights and inspiration for beginning anew, renewed and brilliantly rested and ready to make 2018 the year we wish it to be. You Know More Than You Realize 1."a quarter to a third of all English words come from French, and good thing; otherwise, learning this language would be even harder than it is." —William Alexander in Flirting with French: How a Language Charmed Me, Seduced Me & Nearly Broke My Heart   Read Books Like You Need Them to Breathe 2. "France retains a reverence for the printed book. As independent bookstores crash and burn in the United States, the market here is healthier, largely thanks to government protections that treat the stores as national treasures . . . in France, booksellers —including Amazon —may not discount books more than 5 percent below the publisher's list price." —Elaine Sciolino in The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs   The Gift of a Balanced Life is a Beautiful Life to Savor 3. "So here is a trilogy: food/movement/know thyself. Again, these are important elements in my life and also in the lives of French women who don't get fat (and perhaps do not want or need facelifts)." —Mireille Guiliano in French Women Don't Get Facelifts: The Secret of Aging with Style & Attitude    Trust Your Journey, and As You Travel, Just Be Yourself 4. "'Seize the moment . . . pay attention to your life right now' . . . What I failed to see, sitting around the coffee table on those nights, was the possibility that I didn't have to keep looking for a family to belong to; I could create one of my own. I had conflated my deep need to belong to something bigger than myself with a more superficial need to fit in, to look and dress and act like others. But fitting in is not belonging. This seems so clear now, but at the time I didn't understand the difference. I was still floating between New York and Paris, at least in the sense that my identity was tied to both cities. I lived in New York and worked at a New Yorker's pace, but I couldn't let go of Paris —Paris, which had shaped me more deeply than college or even my Manhattan childhood. Returning to Paris felt as if I was reawakening some part of myself that had been asleep since I'd left." —Kate Betts in My Paris Dream: An Education in Style, Slang and Seduction in the Great City on the Seine   On Style: Mix It Up 5. "Forget the 'total look.' Frenchwomen love to mix and match. Pascale Camart, womenswear buying manager for the Galeries Lafayette, told me that having designer labels next to ordinary ones on the same floor was 'on purpose. The Frenchwoman likes to put different things together.' The Parisienne, she says, doesn't buy evening dresses. She sticks with basics and then finds the one distinctive jacket or scarf or top that will make the ensemble a knockout." —Harriet Welty Rochefort in Joie de Vivre: Secrets of Wining, Dining and Romancing Like the French   The Importance of Elevating the Everyday 6. " You don't go overboard, exhausting yourself over the holidays when you make every day an occasion for friendship and family, fun and celebration." —Jamie Cat Callan in Bonjour, Happiness: Secrets to Finding Your Joie de Vivre   Choose Quality in Your Food and in Your Life to Elevate the Experience 7. "Édith Piaf famously sang, Non, je ne regrette rien ('No, I regret nothing'). Although I have my share of regrets, using good chocolate to make a soufflé is never one of them." —David Lebovitz in L'Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home   Let Your Body Tell You What It Needs and Listen 8. "She knows exactly what she has 'a taste' for, and once she's had enough, that's it. She eats what she wants, when she wants it, until she is satisfied. Food is not a moral or emotional issue for her. She does not describe foods as good or bad; to her they are neutral, just food." —Carol Cottrill in The French Twist: Twelve Secrets of Decadent Dining and Natural Weight Management   The Essence of Real Beauty Goes Beyond the Surface 9. "Style without substance is unacceptable, largely because it's boring, one-dimensional. In France, it's inadmissible to provoke ennui. Real style is built upon a solid foundation of informed intelligence, quick wit, and an impressive panopoly of culture references. One must hold her own in a lively conversation. The essence of beauty is to continue educating oneself and constantly to learn something new. Simply put: these are the keys to eternal youth." Tish Jett in Forever Chic: Frenchwomen's Secrets for Timeless Beauty, Style and Substance   Keep Persevering to Create More 'Luck' in Your Life 10. "Persevering is often not simply a matter of working hard and refusing to quit; often, by trying again, failing again, and failing better, we inadvertently place ourselves in the way of luck. Yet another reason to keep on keeping on." —Karen Karbo in Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life   Cooking Need Not Be Complicated & Thus an Necessary Element of Socializing Well in Everyday Life 11. "Yes, Parisians have more fun when they go out. But they're also ten times less likely to eat out. And in Paris, there's no ordering in —you cook. It's simple cooking, really: You can have five friends over, create a fast, delicious pasta with zucchini and mint. Or you just buy cheese, figs, wine and call it a night." — Garance Doré in Love, Style, Life   Opening Your World to Other Languages & Cultures Deepens Appreciation and Perspective 12. "Linguists call America 'the graveyard of languages' because of its singular ability to take in millions of immigrants and extinguish their native languages in a few generations. A study of thirty-five nations found that 'in no other country . . . did the rate of the mother tongue shift toward (English) monolingualism approach the radity of that found in the United States.' Immigrants to America lose languages quickly; natives of America fail to acquire them. Only 18 percent of American schoolchildren are enrolled in foreign language courses, while 94 percent of European high-school students are studying English." —Lauren Collins in When in French: Love in a Second Language   Incorporate the Arts into Your Life 13. "As often as you can, take an evening off and seek out the arts. Attend the ballet, visit an art show at your local coffee shop, go see an independent theatre, attend a symphony performance or a rock concern. These moments are often too few and far between, especially when family and work life seem to always come first. Indulging in the pleasure of the arts feels decadent and is a magnificent way to recharge your soul. Purchase your tickets in advance. Knowing that you are going to attend the ballet in three weeks gives you something delightful to look forward to." — Jennifer L. Scott in At Home with Madame Chic   Luck is Hard Earned 14. "In truth, her luck was not yet finished. Not even close. These two daring shipments were to make her one of the most famous women in Europe and her wine one of the most highly prized commodities of the nineteenth century. As Louis told her, it was a succes born out of 'your judicious manner of operating, your excellent wine, and the marvelous similarity of your ideas, which produced the most splendid unity and action and execution — we did it well, and I give a million thanks to the bounty of the divine Providence who saw fit to make me one of his instrument in your future well-being . . . certainly you merit all the glory possible after your misfortunes, your perseverance, and your obvious talents.'" —Tilar J. Mazzeo in The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It   On What Is Worth Appreciating and Savoring 15. "The weight of history means that the French don't wipe the slate clean to make way for progress the way Americans do. Because of their centuries-old attachment to the land, restriction is their second nature, not expansion. The French have completely different ideas about what's public and what's private, and those ideas influence how they think about money, morality, eating, manners, conversation, and even political accountability. The French glorify what's elevated and grand, not what's common and accessible. They value form as much as content. And finally, they created many of their instituions to try to deal with the after-affects of two major wars. These factors don't add up to a neat picture that diametrically opposes French and Anglo-Americans. They just explain a lot about why the French think the way they do. Unless Americans recognize these differences, they will never understand the French." —Jean-Benoît Nadeau & Julie Barlow in Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong: Why We Love France, but Not the French   Stop and Nourish Your Body & Mind Daily 16. "No matter how fraught our workload, we stop and have a proper meal. It helps us calm our brains and bodies, and we know we will work more efficiently afterward." —Mathilde Thomas in The French Beauty Solution: Time-Tested Secrets to Look and Feel Beautiful Inside and Out   The Importance of Quality Living for the Individual Living It, Not for Outward Applause 17. "Ambition—another virtue that becomes a vice when taken too seriously. Time is not money for the French. It's an ephemeral currency and should be spent doing the things that make life worth living. Remember, the French woman might have an acute sense of breveity of time and the immediacy of pleasure; that said, she also has a strong predilection to enjoy not only the finer things in life but the things that make life fine." —Debra Ollivier in What French Women Know: About Love, Sex and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind   Let Your Dreams Lead the Way and Never Stop Striving Forward 18. "Willa Carter believed that if you have a wish for something from a young age and you nourish it, if you continually make an effort to nurture this wish and stay connected to this dream, then you will live a fulfilled life. If you believe in something, it invests everything you do with meaning. Paris has always stayed with me, close to me, and I've continually felt nourished by it." —Kate Betts in My Paris Dream: An Education in Style, Slang, and Seduction in the Great City on the Seine   At the core of living well is appreciating the value of now and tempering longings and future hopes so that we are soley living in the future. Our lives are indeed right now. Just for a moment, examine where you were in your life one year ago today, now five years ago, now 10. Could you have precisely known where you would be when looking toward the future as your younger self? The future is exciting, but as many of the sage words remind, it is often the simple, the patient and present that make life truly fulfilling. Thank you for stopping by, and remember to stop by next Monday when the Top Episodes of 2017 will be shared. A new episode will return on Monday January 1st with Francophile author Jamie Cat Callan (her new book Parisian Charm School: French Secrets for Cultivating Love, Joy and that Certain je ne sais quoi will be released on January 2, 2018) as well as an excited giveaway for listeners and readers (hint: it is something for your kitchen). ~Tune in to French-Living inspired posts/episodes from the Archives: ~#4: 10 Ways to Unearth Your Inner Francophile ~#23: The French Way: How to Create a Luxurious Everyday Life ~#32: The Francophile Style Guide: The 14 Essentials ~#96: Everyday Living in France - My Interview with Sharon Santoni ~#127: 20 Ways to Live Like a Parisienne ~#144: 20 Ways to Incorporate Your Love for the French Culture into Your Everyday ~#151: 10 Style Tips to Embrace the French Woman's Approach to Effortless Chic ~#155: 6 Life Lessons for Living Well from Julia Child ~#167: My Good Life in France: Author Janine Marsh ~#168: Everyday Living with Author & Blogger Sharon Santoni ~#169: Understanding the French Culture: My Interview with Géraldine Lepere of Comme une Française ~#182: David Leibovitz Talks About Making Paris His Home~Check out the new addition to TSLL destination: The Simply Luxurious Kitchen. Have a look at the pilot episode below and learn more about this new venture into vodcasting in which we will focus on "Seasonal fare to elevate the everyday meal" here.  Petit Plaisir: ~Salmon en Papillote (Salmon in Paper) - view the entire recipe here   Sponsors for today’s episode: Birchbox use code sophisticate to save 20% off all gift subscriptions through 12/25 Birchbox in France Vincero Watches use the promo code SIMPLE to save 15% on your order Download the Episode

35mins

18 Dec 2017

Rank #11

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97: Small + Simple = A Grand & Full Life

Our everyday lives can be as grand and full based on how we live. Instead of the size of the house, it is the energy, beauty and details we cultivate that determine the quality of our sanctuary. Discover 16 tips and ideas to elevate the quality of your everyday life. This week's Petit Plaisir is a simple seasonal suggestion, welcome tulips into your home. Also discover how to best pick and ensure long-lasting blooms with each bouquet.

36mins

4 Apr 2016

Rank #12

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66: Money: Acting Rich vs. Being Rich

Inspired by Thomas J. Stanley's book Stop Acting Rich, discover seven misnomers of those who aspire to be rich but actually aren't, and more importantly unearth the 12 ways to cultivate true financial security. In today's Petit Plaisir, a Francophile Find in a new book by Florence de Dampierre, French Chic Living: Simple Ways to Make Your Home Beautiful. 

27mins

19 Oct 2015

Rank #13

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3: 10 Essential Wardrobe Items

Regardless of your age, size, job or personality, these 10 essential wardrobe items will be the glue that pulls each season together seamlessly. 

31mins

15 Sep 2014

Rank #14

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114: 13 Habits for Effective Time Management

One of the most popular requests readers have for upcoming episodes and blog posts is how I manage my time as I balance two full time jobs. Today I am sharing with you 13 habits that I have incorporated into my daily, weekly and monthly routines that enhances the quality of my life and the productivity. In this week's Petit Plaisir, a comfort food recipe that is über simple and wonderfully delicious: Spaghetti Vongole.

34mins

1 Aug 2016

Rank #15

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32: The French Capsule Wardrobe: the 14 essentials

Let's escape to France for a moment, at least for the duration of today's episode. :) Today's episode is a re-airing of one of, if not the top downloaded, read and listened to episodes if including YouTube and Pinterest. More new readers learn of TSLL blog and the podcast through this episode than any other source. And since the next new episode of The Simple Sophisticate is scheduled to air on Monday May 20th, I wanted to bring it to readers and listeners attention. Originally airing during the first season (currently we are in season 5), epissode #32 - The French Capsule Wardrobe: the 14 Essentials, has a plethora of images paired with each essential to offer sartorial inspiration. So without further ado, click here to read the full show notes of episode #32. ~Love TSLL's French-Inspired podcast episodes? Check out the currently 34 French-Inspired episodes in one spot. ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #32 (top archived episode), replayed. The original episode aired on April 6, 2015 - view the detailed show notes of this episode here ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify ~TSLL's first annual British Week is coming! Mark your calendars for an entire week of posts, episodes and giveaways all inspired by the great country of Britain: Sunday May 19th through Sunday May 26th. A New Blog Post! Motivational Mondays (any Monday when there is not a new episode of the podcast, there will always be a new blog post to kick off your week). Today's post: The Power of the Little Details in Our Lives

36mins

25 Mar 2019

Rank #16

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117: How to Be Chic with Fiona Ferris

Joining me on the podcast today is author and blogger from New Zealand Fiona Ferris. Inspired by her blog How to Be Chic, her new book, which was just released this past June, Thirty Days of Chic offers detailed, simple, yet thoughtful ways to cultivate a more contented life. Inspired by the French culture, Fiona discusses not only her book, but new plans for her own life, how she came to find peace being herself, being an introvert and a wonderful story about Coco Chanel. In this week's Petit Plaisir, Julia Child's cooking show, The French Chef is discussed and recommended. 

43mins

22 Aug 2016

Rank #17

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73: A Lesson From Ernest Hemingway

Inspired after reading Ernest Hemingway's iconic portrayal of the City of Light in his memoir A Moveable Feast, Shannon shares a learned lesson from the reading. Discussing the courage to let go and how to move forward when what we love is taken away from us, she speaks about how to ensure tomorrow will be brighter and far better than yesterday. In this week's Petit Plaisir, Shannon reviews and enthusiastically recommends Cairo Time, starring Patricia Clarkson and Alexander Siddig. Have a listen to the trailer and the soundtrack.

21mins

7 Dec 2015

Rank #18

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72: Why Not . . . Be A Strong Woman?

What does it mean to be a strong woman? In today's episode, Shannon shares 15 characteristics of strong women and discusses the benefits of choosing to live with strength. This week's Petit Plaisir is the annual TSLL Holiday Gift Guide.

24mins

30 Nov 2015

Rank #19

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75: 7 Reasons 2016 Will Be A Wonderful Year

Looking ahead to the new year, Shannon shares seven topics of focus for TSLL blog. From introducing TSLL daily planner templates that offer readers/listeners a specific approach to living simply luxuriously, to participating fulling each and every day. Sharing the books she is currently reading to books that have provided inspiration for the upcoming posts in the new year, tune in to discover how to make the new year simply luxurious and uniquely tailored to your talents and passions.   This week’s Petit Plaisir is the annual TSLL Holiday Playlist hand-picked by Shannon. This year it’s all about jazz. Discover 16 favorite jazz tracks to set the mood for the holidays.

27mins

21 Dec 2015

Rank #20