DiscoverThe Simple Sophisticate - Intelligent Living Paired with Signature Style
The Simple Sophisticate - Intelligent Living Paired with Signature Style
Claim Ownership

The Simple Sophisticate - Intelligent Living Paired with Signature Style

Author: Shannon Ables

Subscribed: 2,982Played: 49,254
Share

Description

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. From achieving your goals, preparing a memorable meal, creating a capsule wardrobe, traveling the world (Francophiles tune in as Paris is a favorite destination), and living life to the fullest without breaking the bank, living well is really quite simple.
315 Episodes
Reverse
"You shouldn't dream your film, you should make it!" —Steven Spielberg To live actively requires we take action. Seems simple enough, but if teaching my students as well as myself to refrain from using passive verbs versus active verbs in writing indicates anything, defaulting to the passive is happens to be a hard habit to break. What if we are defaulting in the same way in our everyday life and, even more largely, in our vision of how our journey will unfold? A new-to-me podcast, Solo: The Single Person's Guide to a Remarkable Life, shared an insightful approach to living life which caught my attention immediately. What if we, instead of being the hero of our own lives, choose to be the director? Think about it for a moment. When we look at a film from the point-of-view from the real world, the hero in the film/movie/novel/play merely follows the directions of the person behind the camera - the Greta Gerwigs (Oscar nominated director for Little Women), the Kathryn Bigelow (Oscar winning director for The Hurt Locker), the Steven Spielbergs (Oscar winning director for Lincoln), the Amma Asantes (Mrs. America), the Jennifer Getzingers (Orange is the New Black and Mad Men), the Julie Delpys (2 Days in Paris), and the Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman). “Humble perseverance and the ability to observe and grow, in pursuit of making what you love and believe in. Really. THAT is the secret”. —Patty Jenkins, director of Wonder Woman To be the director of our lives assumes the responsibility of having a larger vision for the purpose of each scene, each chapter; however, within each moment, each interaction and revelation, the director knows fully how to craft a scene so as to bring forth a dedication to being present, fully engaged and intentionally clear and knowing about living fully. Being a hero, in theory, is not a bad directive, but it neglects the reality of being a hero - whether saving themselves or another or an entire vast swath of others - the climatic drama of adversity is assumed. And then there is the tragic hero. No thank you. This is not to say that we can direct ourselves to avoid all conflict and adversity. No. From such unwanted and unplanned pains, we grow, we learn, and we gain wisdom, clarity, and strength; however, if we only relegate ourselves to being the hero, we follow a script written by another and directed by someone else as well. While there have been directors who directed themselves, there is a reason why only one has done so and been able to capture an Oscar for both roles - Roberto Benigini in Life is Beautiful (1999), which also one for best Foreign Film as well. It's hard to see yourself clearly - your actions, facial expressions, energy on screen with another, etc.. But wait, if you direct your life, aren't you also the hero? Valid point, and an important one to make. Yes. You are in all actuality both the director and the hero, but again, the director decides who leaves a scene when, how the interactions with others will play out, which details must be included in a shot to further understanding for the audience, what remains out of the shot, the colors of the attire, where the scene is set, the background, the music, all of the details as well as the over-arching storyline (and while often the director is also the playwright or at the very least has some say in how the screenplay is depicted and can mold and tweak it to what would be best for the film, the director has the full reins of the production). What I am saying is we must not forget our primary job - to be the director of our one and only life. Let's take a look at everyday and large over-arching choices and actions imperative for directing our lives well. 1.Who are you? Taking the time to know yourself, unearth your talents, becoming honest about your weaknesses but refusing to let them halt the direction you wish to travel sits at the foundation of a well-lived life. ~Read this three-part series on How to Get To Know Yourself ~Read/Listen to this post/episode to discover how knowing ourselves is the most important ingredient for a healthy relationship with another (episode #179) 2. Learn how to love well Loving well is a skill. We do not know innately how to love another human being as doing so involves emotional intelligence and self-awareness. Models of love or what is purported as love surround us, but many are faulty and derive from a genesis rooted in control, insecurity and many other unhealthy constructs. To follow leads to pain. Knowing leads to peace. Know how to love, and life will blossom. ~In episode #287, discover 5 Things to Do to Build a Healthy Relationship (inspired by the book - How to Be An Adult in a Relationship) ~Listen to episode #166 to discover how to be One Half of a Healthy Relationship ~One of my favorite books on love and being loving in a relationship inspired episode #128 - The Quest for a Soulmate: The Myth Hindering an Amazing Love Life 3. Understand the value of boundaries and understand they will evolve Boundaries define us, as Henry Cloud reminds. Literally, the lines we put in our lives define what we will step forward and try and what we will not. Boundaries can limit us. Boundaries can protect us. Boundaries paradoxically can set us free. Knowing how to set boundaries after we have discovered what our boundaries need to be for the chapter in our life we find ourselves gifts us with a powerful foundation. Without boundaries, the wind can take us where it will because we don't know what where we want to go and we certainly don't know how to head in the right direction. On the flipside, rigidity when it comes to boundaries can be harmful if it prevents us from exploring what we are capable of sharing with the world. Ah, a tenuous dance which requires of each of us to do our own homework, not follow, because it is our heart, our life that will be set free when we find the sweet spot between the right boundaries and vulnerability. (Listen to episode #126 to discover the Powerful Couple that is Boundaries & Vulnerability.) 4. Learn the skill of effective nonviolent communication For every director who wins praise from their cast and crew, there is a director who bullies, rants and whines. Effective communication, nonviolent communication, is a skill we must choose to learn if we want to have a fulfilling life and strong and healthy relationships with others. To model said communication, observe someone who understands the components of nonviolent communication certainly helps us to acquire the skill, but we must take it one step further to understand why they are communicating as they are. We must again be the student for our lives to reach their fullest potential. As I shared in episode #293, I highly recommend reading Marshall Rosenberg's book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life. I have read and will reread this book for understanding how to understand anger, understanding the four basic steps of clear, effective, empathetic communication, and how to honor my own journey, letting go of guilt, shame, anything the outside world wishes me to feel in order to stop me from traveling a path that brings joy. Effective communication with ourselves and others is the way toward directing an award-winning life to continue with the analogy. To clearly convey and know what you wish to materialize, you need to be able to work with others being empathetic and aware along the way, not only of those who will walk with you or cross your path, but with yourself. 5. Understand and practice the fundamental physical components of you To delve a bit deeper into the physical aspect of #1, knowing how your body, your mind, your temperament function and how they can function well will give you a roadmap of how to design the set of your life. It will also help you clearly understand what your boundaries need to be. 6. Be Brave Living an active life, being the director of your own life demands of you to take action. You cannot wait to see what someone else thinks, whether someone else approves, whether the prices will be this or that or another, at some point, you simply need to act. Wait a second, you may be saying, didn't I say each of us is the director not the actor? Okay, perhaps a poor choice of words, but not really. Remember, you are the director of those actions. You decide when to take the first steps, when to set out and try something for the first time, when to let go, when to say yes, when to determine a certain chapter of your life has now concluded and you will be stepping into the next. Being brave. A choice made by the director, and it is no act. Being brave takes raw courage after months, perhaps years of deliberating about when or if you should indeed do just that - be brave. Let me reassure you, being brave will set you free. In the meantime, you will quake, but you will not crumble if what you seek aligns with what you know to be true about yourself (remember #1). “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.” —Helen Keller The analogy of the director does not perfectly align with living our one and only life. After all, we are talking about a fictitious story capable of being enjoyed for generations. Our lives are anything but fictitious. No, we know our lives are all too real, but do we? I ask this question because what if poet David Whyte correctly nailed it when he wrote "What if the world is holding its breath - waiting for you to take the place only you can fill?" Why aren't we filling it? Perhaps because we have chosen to follow someone else's script, and not direct our own. Perhaps because we have forgotten to write our own script and direct it as well. We can have chapters in our own lives, the one prior being necessary for the next, not less relevant or bad, simply vital to live the journey we are on, trusting the steps we need to take in a new direction. Today, tap yourself, hire yourself, assign yourself purposely and intentionally as the director of your life, and I am confident, you will begin to see the positive and desired change which may have only been a dream previously. SIMILAR POSTS/EPISODES YOU MIGHT ENJOY: ~8 Ways to Become the CEO of Your Own Life, episode #40 Petit Plaisir —Un Soir à L'Opera candles
"When we speak a language that denies us choice, we forget the life in ourselves for a robotlike mentality that disconnects us from our own core." —Marshall Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life Two lives may look like one another, but one may indeed be fulfilling, while the other a life of disdain and pain. Choosing to live as we do versus living a life out of an expectation, obligation, avoidance of guilt, approval, to avoid shame, or to gain money is to choose a life of integrity according to Marshall Rosenberg. When we choose a life of integrity, we discover the ability to tap into our essential and most sincere self, and enable ourselves to share with the world the gift and talent only we can give. While sharing a list of actions to refrain from taking as to avoid the latter of the two options mentioned above would certainly simplify how to choose to live, there is no such universal list. Rather, the list of what we choose to do versus what we do out of a feeling of "have-to" will be unique to each of us. How can we discern the difference? Rosenberg's determinating factor is if the sole motivating force for our actions comes from a place to "simply make life wonderful for others and ourselves" then we are choosing the life we are living. And the latter - making life wonderful for ourselves - is perhaps the most important. We must pay attention to our needs. Rosenberg writes "we cultivate self-compassion by consciously choosing in daily life to act only in service to our own needs and values rather than out of duty, for extrinsic rewards or to avoid guilt, shame and punishment". Understanding fully and completely what our needs are is the homework we each must tend to in order to live a life everyday that we enjoy living. I highly recommend reading Rosenberg's book as he delineates clearly and in great detail the common societal pushback to his assertion about choosing how you live versus adhering to a life out of anything but choosing it. The result of any action made void of choice is a deprivation of joy at the very least and resentment, detestation, misery, anger, and a loss of self and a denial to the world of the uniquenesss only we can share at the very worst. We have been taught falsely and ironically selfishly by outside institutions of many sorts to believe choosing and valuing our needs is hedonistic, wrong and, self-absorbed. Primarily we have accepted such a purported claim because their "marketing department" is skilled in the ways of psychology as they tap into our perceived need to be accepted - approved. However, the needs Rosenberg writes about are fundamental to valuing ourselves, and thus living a life of integrity. "In fact, when we do things solely in the spirit of enhancing life [for others AND ourselves], we will find others appreciating us. Their appreciation, however, is only a feedback mechanism confirming that our efforts had the intended effect. The recognition that we have chosen to use our power to serve life and have done so successfully brings us the genuine joy of celebrating ourselves in a way that approval from others can never offer." When we seek to live a life of choice, we contribute positively to the world, and that means contributing positively to others' lives, and the cycle continues forward as others choose to tap into their unique gifts and talents that contribute positively without expectations, simply out of joy of living the life we have the opportunity to live each day. At the core, we are seeking joy, thus contentment, and both can only be found within. To live a life out of obligation, guilt, to avoid pain, to avoid shame, may be seen as a survival mechanism, but don't we want to thrive? When we permit ourselves the freedom to fully seek joy in living - to fulfill our unique needs, it becomes far easier to stop the judgment, comparison, blame, criticism, insults, put-down, and labels. Why? Because we recognize each of these negative and unhelpful behaviors are reactions to living a life void of choice. When we take responsibility for our lives, we take on a weighty task of exploration of our feelings and needs. For so long and in so many cultures, current and past, American and endless others, feelings have been equated to weakness. But human beings have feelings and when we acknowledge them in ourselves, it is far easier to observe them and communicate healthily and helpfully with others to deepen understanding and to discover empathy. Rosenberg shares it is empathy that is often the missing ingredient in frayed relationships - not only an empathy to acknowledge fully and entirely what others are feeling, but to refrain from being empathetic to ourselves. What do we each need? Why do we feel pained after a conversation with a loved one we are "supposed" to have a relationship with? Why do we feel hurt and disconnected when we go about tasks we thought we chose of our own free-will? Everyone around us applauded when we made said decision, but why doesn't it feel right within ourselves? Each of these and many more feelings are what each of us needs to explore to determine how to live a life we love living. Choice is at the heart of living with true contentment, not obligation, not duty, not to avoid guilt, not to avoid punishment. Choose you and let others choose for themselves as well. The journey forward of both individuals will be unknown, but when lived by choosing the path will be fulfilling and full of respect and true love for ourselves and for those we have set free to be who they truly have always been. ~Read Marshall Rosenberg's book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life Petit Plaisir: —The Hookup Plan (Plan Coeur), Season 2 ~Note: Some links shared today are affiliates in which upon purchase TSLL receives a small commission. Everything shared on TSLL blog is shared because I recommend it wholeheartedly.
Books about happiness ubiquitously fill the publishing world, but the fundamentals of happiness quite simply are just that, simple. We become overwhelmed, and the it becomes easier to fixate, and often on a veritable rather than a fundamental element of what happiness requires to be deeply and sincerely felt. When the directions are wrong you will never see materialize what you desire. Stop the pursuit. This is something I’ve discussed on the blog before, but I think it is worth exploring again. This time, I am going to explore more concretely the fundamental comments of experiences real happiness, and much more of it in our everydays. Let's get to the seven truths below. 1.Discover a tune that is melodic for you If you enjoy living your life, your everyday life, happiness is the result. Continually, here on TSLL, I have shared that contentment is the feeling we can have at all times. Happiness cannot be infinite 24-hours a day. Happiness is an outcome. Contentment is a state or way of traveling. I had it entirely wrong when I was younger, doodling “Be Happy” on my high school peechee folder while daydreaming in class. You cannot be happy constantly, but you can be content along the way to happy. 2. Spend time doing tasks that enable you to lose track of time Getting lost in a project, exploring a new [enter a place of curiosity], resting your mind and being in a healthy way. 3. Sharing time with loved ones to simply be in each others’ company. Giving your life space to be together, even if in silence can be incredibly peaceful, supportive and loving. A contentment shared is happiness reached. 4. Not having existential worries because consciously you know your health, finances and basic needs are tended to Through the choices we make, we can build the sound and stable foundation that will enable us to feel content in our everydays. Everyone will make choices which align uniquely with their journey which is why outsiders may define the choices as sacrifices. However, a choice is not a sacrifice if it brings you closer and eventually to a way of living that brings you peace and contentment. It is when we achieve contentment that more happy moments can be experienced and savored. 5. Refraining from thinking at any time “when I achieve [enter goal]” or when [enter aupposed life milestone], then I can be happy. And yes, those are results as shared above, but if the travel does not involve contentment, the outcome you seek is not as likely. Why? It is when you enjoy the journey, when you can be yourself along the way, that the outcome is relinquished, thereby not putting so much pressure on the outcome to hold all the goodness. It is when we expect or assume that we step out of being present along the way, hurting ourselves and others along the way, and thus tainting the outcome so it can never be a source of real happiness if ever it is reached. 6. Find peace in how you travel through life How you speak and think of yourself, how you engage with others - communication with words, body language, etc. - contentment is felt in our mode of travel, and no matter life’s circumstances, it can be constant. Sleeping well and deep and long is a mode of travel as it allows you to wake up with a clear mind, acting from a place of calm, clarity and full awareness. Taking breaks when our mind needs it, ending the ‘work’ part of our day when we can no longer be productive, eating well and slowing down to savor it, slowing down and refraining from default patterns of speech, being fully aware and listening, then thinking well about what we have heard before responding - all modes/ways of traveling that cultivate contentment as we move through our days. ~Book to explore: Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall Rosenberg 7. Letting go of others’ maps for our lives Certainly a courageous decision. A decision which is exceedingly difficult during the first and second chapter, but with time and support, the journey becomes easier and far more rewarding than any other direction would or could have offered. All of this is to say that the key to happiness is to discover and cultivate contentment in our everydays so that the happiness deepens and more frequently can be fully observed, savored and appreciated. ~Please do tune to the audio version as each point above is discussed in much more depth. Check out TSLL's first two books which discover the idea of cultivating a life of contentment that is uniquely your own. ~Book #1 (2014): Choosing The Simply Luxurious Life: A Modern Woman's Guide ~Book #2 (2018): Living The Simply Luxurious Life: Making Your Everyday Extraordinary and Discovering Your Best Self Petit Plaisir ~Sunset in the Blue by Melody Gardot (October 2020) Visit Melody Gardot's website Learn more about the worldwide collaboration for the song "From Paris with Love" https://youtu.be/RCckn1H5DIE Sponsors for Today's Episode: Wine.com/simple Sanebox.com/sophisticate Issuu.com/podcast use promo code Sophisticate Betterhelp.com/simple
“Your inner purpose is to awaken.” —Eckhart Tolle, from A New Earth To observe the seamless fluidity of a dancing pair with years of professional dancing experience float across the floor no matter what type of dance is asked of them is to observe a deep awareness and skill of their craft. Foxtrot. No problem. Viennese Waltz. Got it. Tango. Oh my, yes. Swing. Yep! In 2017, in episode #143, the skill of self-awareness was explored in-depth here on the podcast/blog. For a quick refresher, to be self-aware is to be able to observe ourselves, accept and recognize what we discover and be honest about how we feel, why we act certain ways in particular situations, and the change that we may need to take. It is being able to pay attention and be honest about our strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivations, and emotions.  When we are fully self-aware, we gain the instructions of how to live well even though we do not know what the next minute will reveal, the next week, month, year, and so on, will reveal. When we become self-aware, we are awake and capable of noticing when we need to grow and in what way will help us navigate through whatever life may present. I chose today's topic because no matter where you find yourself in the mix of stress, loss, pain, and confusion regarding our current situation, many readers have shared with me they are presented with new situations of questions, confusion, doubt, [fill-in-the-blank of an unwanted and somewhat or significantly new emotion] from time to time in a manner that perhaps was not present pre-pandemic. "Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment." —Eckhart Tolle, from A New Earth Borrowing Tolle's advice from the quote above, seize these unanticipated and initially unwanted moments and feelings and let them be your guide to deeper self-awareness and an improved everyday life. Assuage any grief, quandary, angst, by reassuring yourself that you have been presented with this moment for a reason. Don't toss it. Don't avoid it. Explore it. Today I would like to look at six unwanted examples that may be happening in your life and how to step forward and do the latter to each in order to improve the quality of your life moving forward and through our current situation 1.You wake up in the middle of the night, your mind reeling, doubt swirling, fear temporarily winning Course of action: As a matter of fact, take a pre-action prior to going to bed or whenever you feel most confident - write yourself a note and remind yourself of the truth of how capable you are, words of truth and strength. Place this note by your bed. Okay, back to the moment you wake up. Take a drink of water, hydrate and wake your mind up so that it is in your control and not the other way around. Read your pre-written note. Read it again. Journal if you need to - what is causing you worry, what are you fearful about. Don't necessarily answer anything. Save the answering and analyzing for a time during the day when you are fully awake so that you can be a good judge of whether or not what you wrote is valid as well as to accurately determine if what you are worried about is within your control. Hint, if it is not, let it go. Turn the lights off, count your breath in a steady beat - in and out. Let yourself fall back to sleep. Whatever you do, do not pick up your technology. 2. You are exhausted from work stress and trying to balance all that you think you have to do Martyrs die. On the other hand, workers with awareness of the larger picture of why they work, live well. While putting and acknowledging work as important, the latter do not make work the top priority. I have worked with both types of people in the handful of school districts I have worked in over my 19 years. Martyrs tend to be different people in the classroom than they are away from their students or staff (if they are administrators). People who live to live well are the same in the moment of teaching as they are in their everyday life. People who live well are more content, more enjoyable to be around and know how to put work in its place and do so with clarity and a love for not only their own life but for the people who look up to them - in this case their students. Course of action: Be honest with yourself. What are you aching for? Nobody needs to know your honest answer but you, but be honest with yourself. Do you crave at the most fundamental, sleep? Do you crave a social life? Do you crave to be more comfortable in your body but do not have the time to exercise consistently nor prepare and enjoy healthy, satiating meals? Write it down. This is when your life begins to change for the better. Whether when given the opportunity or simply taking it, try out living the life you want to live - the schedule you'd like to have - even if temporarily. Stick to it long enough to experience potential benefits - one month, a quarter, etc.. Don't ask for approval from anyone else as to whether what you crave is valid. Honor your own feelings, and give the new temporary schedule a try. You will come back with some answers, maybe not all of the answers, but enough, if you are being honest with yourself, to know whether what you thought what you needed was actually indeed what was lacking. Upon choosing to make permanent changes to your schedule, if the changes involve others or require others to be involved, communicate clearly and refrain from complaining. While it is okay to vent to a friend or your partner or your journal, doing so is a means to release stress, iradicating faulty thinking if it exists due to past grievances being triggered and to ensure you move forward with a rational mind. Sometimes what we are venting about has more to do with built up stress from a variety of sectors in our lives and not just the one thing we are "cursing" at the moment. Let me end by saying, be honest with yourself. If you are overwhelmed and exhausted, how could you have prevented the situation if at all possible? Could you have raised your voice when decisions were being made? Could you have made the smarter decision, not the easier decision? Be honest and improvement can be made. 3. Tension in relationships - personal or professional Course of action: Answer this question for yourself (not for the people in the relationship that is in a state of tension) - what behaviors and feelings are unwanted or undesired, but seem to be a default or at the very least, unhelpful? Use your answers as a guide to what skills you need to explore and better understand. Seek out an expert (i.g. a counselor) or a book from a respected source on the subject. 4. Financial Stress not related to job loss Course of action: Turn off the advertisements, stop or significantly reduce your scrolling on social media and start living in the present with the world, the real-world, not the virtual world, that surrounds you. If the influences for buying more, or "keeping up" are not coming unconsciously from media (and I know, you might be saying - if they are unconscious, how will you know where they are coming from? But take this moment to take a closer examination of what you feel you 'need' and where that idea is being presented or shown), look to your social circle - chosen or not - and start to tailor who you spend time with and if you can't eradicate entirely unhelpful influences, reduce or limit your time with them. 5. State of the world Course of action: Choose to educate yourself on topics that are grabbing your attention. Choose to look to experts, credible in the field you are exploring, that you may not have looked to before to deepen your clarity on an issue before you jump to conclusion. However, do not overwhelm your mind. Seek out bits of information and then go about your life, adjusting your choices, actions in which you do have control that will make a difference, no matter how seemingly small. The words you choose, letting go of assumptions and fixations, keeping an open-mind and refraining from group-think, but rather practicing critical thinking regularly so that eventually it becomes your default. 6. A feeling of agitation or lack of purpose Course of action: find something, no matter how seemingly small which allows you to see an immediate finished, improved, completed outcome. The act of productivity need not be anything to do with your job or career, but simply needs to be something in which you can see a "finished" outcome. For me, my garden has provided many moments of productivity - weeding, pruning, dead-heading - as soon as I tend to it, I see results. Ahhhh. It sounds silly but as Sue Stuart-Smith shares in The Well-Gardened Mind, "Two essential sources of grounding and balance . . . proximity to nature and fulfilling work" (the author is referring to the lack of nourishment to the psyche prompted by the industrialization in the 19th and early 20th century). Each one of these life moments of challenge offers an opportunity to course correct, to grow, to evolve as Eckhart Tolle expresses in his quote above. It has been my experience that if I choose to not acknowledge that something within me needs to change - to communicate better, to ground myself in self-confidence, to be brave, the same stress, the same worry, the same event perhaps in a different form, keeps rearing its head. The pandemic is presenting each one of us with unique opportunities to evolve forward and live a better life. Choose to find the growth opportunity that exists inside of you, and your life will change for the better. ~Learn more about becoming a TOP Tier Subscriber to access exclusive content (Saturday Ponderings, Shannon's Home & Garden Tours, Giveaways, #Top100 posts, What Made Me Smile This Month, So Far . . . ) and unlimited access. ~Receive TSLL's FREE Monthly Newsletter ~Never miss a post - signup for a Daily Delivery directly sent to your inbox each time a new post goes live on the blog. Petit Plaisir —Borgen, on Netflix Tune into the audio version of today's episode to find out more about this Danish Government television drama series, what Borgen means in English and why I am thoroughly enjoying it and highly recommend it. https://youtu.be/Nw41sTh2mds
"Creating an environment in which you can have a greater sense of clarity and calm . . . The result is a mind that feels much calmer and clear." —Andy Puddicomb Having an abundance of choices is a valuable asset and an extraordinary opportunity. However, unconsciously, when we don't filter our seemingly unlimited choices, we welcome more unnecessary stress into our daily lives. As someone who wholeheartedly embraces and celebrates choice, understanding the right balance of how much choice is helpful until it tips over into distraction, confusion and paralyzation, upon obtaining, significantly increases the level of contentment in everyday life. Andy Puddicomb's seemingly simple advice is too often overlooked or forgotten, however is insightful and sage advice if we are seeking tranquility in our everydays. The clarity we may need to welcome into our lives could be ushered in seemingly anywhere and everywhere. The variable is each of us. Where do we need calm in our lives? Where are we feeling harried, run-down and over-extended? Often we don't realize it is the over-abundance of options that is standing in the way of a sea of calm that carries us more gently and enjoyably through our days. It has been argued that a large portion of our life experience is determined by a few key decisions. Coined the 80/20 rule, or more officially, the Pareto Principle named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto in 1906 to describe the wealth inequality at the time, the concept has expanded to apply to a variety of aspects of life beyond business. And while, the formula isn't exact, it is a concept worth pondering. When we think about our choices as investments in our lives, what choices will reap the most benefit, the best and longest lasting outcomes? Whether regarding our health or contentment or financial stability, quality choices, purchases and pursuits are wise investments which eliminate excessive, repetitive and time-consuming choices that may fill up our days and minds unnecessarily. Today, discover 10 areas of life to consider paring down your choices and thereby, scaling up the overall quality of your everyday life and peace of mind. 10. Wardrobe color palette On the surface, the choices of what clothes we wear may seem frivolous and inconsequential; however, while our clothing can be unnecessarily attended to and take too much of our time and worry, tending to it just enough so as to lift our spirits and engage in a social world which involves visual communication is to be aware of how to use the tools made available to live well. From knowing what complements your skin tone, your lifestyle, your silhouette, when you know this information, your decisions become more simplified, but more importantly, more helpful and easier to make. ~Explore this topic further by reading Why Not . . . Build a Capsule Wardrobe on a Budget? 9. Outside information From what the information is about, to where or from whom the information arrives, be consciously selective and deliberate. I know very clearly which news sources I trust, even if they offer up headlines that challenge my way of thinking, I will still take time to read their articles or listen to their news reports. Not all of the time, but regularly. As well, I practice critically thinking (a soft skill) even with headlines I agree with and writers I trust. No only does this ensure I don't slide into unconscious bias, but it also ensures I am not accepting blindly news that could effect my life or decisions that without more time, more answers, more research, should not be jumped upon as fully formed enough to act upon. 8. The food purchased for your home cupboards and refrigerator Give yourself better options to choose from when you walk through the door upon arriving home from work or travel or life famished, and you will help your body, your mind and end your day well, and extend the good health you wish to maintain. ~Explore this topic further by reading Why Not . . . Feed Your Body Well? 7. The focus of your business or work - content/skills/outcomes Each of our careers will present different options that we will need to tailor based on the purpose of the job, but let me share with you some examples. Education for example, especially this year, but leading up to this unique year of teaching as well, I have been examining closely what the most necessary skills are for my students when it comes to clearly communicating. Recently, I have had to eliminate teaching daily current events, but I continue to teach the skill of critical thinking as well as offer a library of credible news resources so when my students choose to seek out news, they can navigate through each headline effectively. Another example began this summer here on TSLL. Paring down my regular posting schedule, by focusing on 3-4 posts a week rather than 5-6, my goal was provide myself with more time to write detailed, specific posts designed for the regular and returning Simply Luxurious Life reader rather than the sensational post that procures more clicks from outside random passersby. Again, by reducing the breadth, we deepen the depth and thereby the quality of our lives, and in this case our professional lives. And when we make this shift, we increase the liklihood of improved satisfaction both of ourselves and from those we work with and for. ~Explore this topic further by reading Two Secrets of Living a Life of Quality 6. Where you spend your money From the simple everyday decisions of whether or not to go out for lunch or make your lunch to what your rent/mortgage payment will be in relationship to your monthly income, you are revealing what is of value in your life. When you prioritize, the line-items that appear closer to the bottom are easier to say "no" to. For example, the paycheck arrives at the first of the month, the first bill that is paid - what is it? For me, it's my mortgage. Period. No question. Arguably, that is likely the first for most of us, so start from there, what is the order of priority, and be clear about why you have placed each expenditure where you have. Doing so will help wh new items or purchases of interest introduce themselves. ~Explore this topic further by reading TSLL's many posts on money - choose one that speaks to what you'd like to strengthen in your financial life here in TSLL's Archived Money posts. 5. What risks you take Notice I didn't write - whether or not to take risks. A life lived to our fullest potential, a life of true contentment, will involve risks. Some might say simply living is taking a risk as each next moment is unknown, but we certainly know there is a "safe" way to live for each of us in any given situation, and a "full" way to live for each of us. Marie Forleo suggests examining your choices that may seem risky by asking the question - Will this expand my life or contract it? More specifically, she advises, if it makes you physically in the moment you are simply thinking about taking this risk feel heavy and filled with dread vs. lighter, brighter, perhaps even literally move your body forward and sit more upright, then this is a response to take note of. Keep in mind, that often, our initial response to a risk is trepidatious often because we deeply hope it will work out, but worry it will not. ~Explore this topic further by reading TSLL's 2nd book - Living The Simply Luxurious Life: Making Your Everydays Extraordinary and Becoming Your Best Self 4. The soft skills you wish to improve Well honed soft skills are the foundation of a healthy, fulfilling, tranquil social life both with others and ourselves. The key word is "skills", as I shared in my second book in Chapters 8 & 9, the primary difference between skills and strengths is the former we learn, the latter we are gifted with at birth. Each of us will have grown up with and been surrounded by others with certain skills which we learn seemingly unconsciously, and it may seem as those these skills are innate, and for those skills we don't possess well, we may think we cannot welcome them into our lives, but the good news is, we can. As well, we can strengthen the beneficial soft skills that we have been fortunate to have been around, observe and imitate which will lead to more conscious living and intentional modeling for those around us. Soft skills include effective communication, listening, critical thinking, body language, mental agility and attitude, how we work with others - any skill that involves emotional intelligence and intuitiveness. ~Explore this topic further by reading Emotional Intelligence: A Crucial Tool for Enhanced Quality of Life and Work, episode #140 and 34 Ways to Attain Emotional Freedom and Cultivate More Joy of Living, episode #275 3. How you spend your free time Similar to #5, we need to have regular unstructured time in our days. To not allow our days oxygen to breathe, move, adjust and rest, is part of the reason the stress is surmounting and may feel unsurmountable. Whether you spend your time immersed in your favorite hobbies and pastimes, or choosing to not look at the clock and let your days, thoughts and emotions lead you through this regular "unstructured" time, be sure to choose to do so with delight and enthusiasm. My free time has been to regularly tinker in my garden, read a book, cook in the kitchen, write or yep, nap. Of course, these pastimes and interests may change as our lives and the world change, but either way, keep the window open and soak up the awesome fresh air that it offers every day. ~Explore this topic further by reading/listening to An Everyday Necessity: Deliberate Rest, episode # 139 2. The companions you spend your time with - humans and pets While this area of choice could be divided up in many ways from our romantic life to our friends to our work contacts, the key is awareness and clarity of what elevates and what depletes us and how we play a role in encouraging behaviors that are either helpful or detrimental. [I speak more about our furry companions on the audio portion.] ~Explore this topic further by reading Why Not . . . Create a Healthy Social Circle? and also explore many different topics on relationships in TSLL's Archives on this topic based on your interest. ~Explore this topic further by listening/ reading The Elements of a Strong Social Well-Being, episode #92 1. What living well looks like to you Perhaps this last item for today's list is too vague, but at the core of the previous nine items, having clarity about yourself, having clarity about the need to let go of perfection, having clarity about society's influence on your life, having clarity about society, the culture, the past, the present, and so much more is incredibly helpful to being more gentle with yourself and with others. Choose self-kindness. Choose less judgment towards yourself and toward others. When you make these choices, you will feel lighter, you will eliminate more stress than perhaps you need you were carrying unintentionally. Let go of expectations and learn to dance with life and its rhythm, understanding that when you begin to dance - to really share your true self with the world - you contribute to the symphony which wants you to join. And while you will not know what each line of music will be as the song is not given to us before hand to practice, we can come to the music and become part of the music, thus living fully, living well and enjoy the journey. ~Explore this topic further in TSLL's Archived Lifestyle posts (there are 21 pages, of posts, so find a topic that speaks to what you are curious about). Petit Plaisir —Walker Shortbread Cookies Visit directly Walker Shortbread Cookies ~Note that Amazon links and some other shopping links are affiliate, which means I may get a small fee if you buy. However, I only recommend books and items I myself use, recommend or am curious about. ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #290 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify
"The thread of all good cooking: the right ingredients, fresh and the way they should be - not fancy or expensive." —Anne Willan, author of Women in the Kitchen and founder of La Varenne Cooking School in Paris One of the world's preeminent authors on French cooking, a James Beard Award-winning author and the founder of La Varenne Cooking School in Paris, Anne Willan joins me on the podcast today to talk about her new book Women in the Kitchen: Twelve Essential cookbook Writers Who Defined the Way We Eat, from 1661 to Today. In today's episode we will talk about seven of the women featured in the book, as well as talk about Anne's time managing and founding La Varenne and much more.  
  The Atlantic recently posted an article asserting there won't be a clear end to the pandemic. Rather, the end for each of us will be as unique and differentiated as each one of us and occur on a different timeline. Frequently, the yearning for "returning to normal" may be voiced by those around us, strangers or intimate relations, or we may be simply thinking such thoughts, constantly, as we grieve the parts of our lives we enjoyed that are no longer readily available or available at all. However, even before the pandemic introduced itself and in what seemed for many to change our lives much like a light-switch, the psychological experts have been talking about this word that seems to roll off our tongues more often than ever before in recent times - normal. Writing in 2009 on Pyschology Today, "The fate of normality is very much in the balance," wrote Peter Kramer. While speaking about individuals as to their neurosis or so-called normal behaviors and the perameters of what constitutes "normal", he shared a final thought which may help reframe how we strive forward in our current times as we are more broadly looking at an entire world, culture, etc. and what "normal", the new normal, may be: Normality may be a myth we have allowed ourselves to enjoy for decades, sacrificed now to the increasing recognition of differences. The awareness that we all bear flaws is humbling. But it could lead us to a new sense of inclusiveness and tolerance, recognition that imperfection is the condition of every life. —Peter Kramer, psychatrist at Brown Medical School  
"We are born with a capacity to dance together but not with the necessary training." —David Richo As soon as I read the first line in chapter one shown above, the analogy made crystal clear sense of my ignorance about relationships and how to navigate past it: I needed to learn HOW to love, not just want to love and want to be loved. Love, as the oft mentioned quote reminds is a verb, but even if we accept this truth, we have to learn how to exercise this action, and we have to be willing to let go of so much incorrect and unhelpful advice in order to find the peace and contentment we seek. Today's episode can help in all relationships you are engaged in. Fundamentally, the book was written in 2002 for readers trying to improve their romantic relationships, but indirectly, the skills and concepts shared will foster healthy relationships platonically from close friends and family members to acquaintances, neighbors and strangers we bump into along our travels and life journey. Recommended by my counselor, my copy of David Richo's book is annotated in detail, and I have referred back and reread different sections since my first reading. I have chosen to work with a counselor since nearly four years ago, but it did take time to find the right one. Meeting regularly, primarily for preventative and skill strengthening purposes in areas I wish to improve, the opportunity to meet with a professional, trained in the area of expertise we do not have is helpful to make sense of what we learn not only about ourselves but how our minds and emotions work. With all of that said, as soon as I read the book, lightbulbs went off repeatedly in my mind. Ahas occurred frequently and I found an ease I had never felt before regarding my approach to interacting with others in a variety of different relationship scenarios. While I highly recommend you pick up your own copy and read it closely, I wanted to share with you the primary component that underlies everything about being an adult in life and love. The world we live in would rather have us feel insecure and lacking, even though it blatantly argues the contrary (when you purchase their product, create [enter lifestyle and accoutrements] for all to see and witness, or behave in a certain way), so it is no wonder we are confused about what we should or shouldn't be doing when it comes to relationships. And even if we eventually do figure it out, trying to understand what it is that worked if we don't know ourselves leaves us struggling to explain to others why it works if they inquire, don't understand or have not been introduced to the fundamentals shared below. The good news is, this intangible unknown need not be unknown any more. Knowledge is key, and this practice is essential to cultivate habits that will heal you and then strengthen your ability to connect as an adult with adults to build a life of social harmony and contentment. First, we need to let go of some unhelpful and often destructive habits. Let Go of F.A.C.E. The ego when neither understood and left to its own devices will become inflated and hinder any chance for a healthy relationship of two adults. Let's take a look at the acronym Richo came up with that clearly delineates what we need to step away from if we wish to become an adult in relationships. "F"ear Fear will always be present in our lives. It is the awareness of fear and what fear provokes us to do that must occur so that as Richo says, "it never has to lead me". So while fear may be a natural emotion, it is our job to understand what the fear signifies within us so that we can then understand ourselves better and move forward in a healthy manner, not a fear-led manner. Richo speaks about learning from our fears, "fear usually rears its ugly head exactly when we are ripe for a change". As well, when we feel we do not have the power to direct our lives, fear enters and we make decisions, if we let fear direct, from a place of avoiding losing any power we thought we had. Jealously is a result of fear as well. If we allow jealousy to grab hold, we are not abiding by the ability to let go of the actions of another, and instead becoming engulfed by others, rather than being present and open. What is our life trying to tell us? What strengths, what decision-making skills are we lacking? Jealousy arises when we are not secure with our ability to trust that we can be content and full all on our own, and so we cling, we grasp. Richo shares, "Jealousy is a combination of three feelings: hurt, anger and fear." And any or all of these three feelings may not be directly related to your partner at the moment, but inspired by past pain. Knowing where and why your fear arises is the map that will set you free should you follow it. "A"ttachment When we attach ourselves to a particular outcome, behavior, etc., we are clinging out of fear. Attachment in the mind, as Richo explains is a belief in polarities - a belief that there are only two outcomes - "I have to be in charge, or everything will fall apart". Such thinking is faulty, and when we recognize that the polarities are unhelpful in cultivating a strong relationship not only with others but with ourselves, we come to realize what we have control over only ourselves - how we communicate, how we prepare, how we engage, how we take care of ourselves in order to do our best, so that we can be at peace with the outcome knowing we did our best. So instead, the healthy ego shifts the above belief to "I let the chips fall where they may", knowing we will tend to our responsibilities and do what we can in that moment to the best of our ability - truly and fully. The peace that comes when we practice letting go of attachment is uncomfortable initially, but freeing continually, thereby allowing us to expend our energy on better pursuits and passions. "C"ontrol Similar to attachment, yet unique on its own, letting go of control is to take responsibility of ourselves. How do we take responsibility in order to let go of control? Set and maintain personal boundaries, build a strong foundation of self-respect (which will lead us into letting go of entitlement), come to understand that growth comes from struggle and yes, pain. This is a natural cycle, so when something unwanted occurs, the adult who has let go of control will be able to find the opportunity to grow and apply it forward for a more content and fulfilling life. "E"ntitlement Entitlement rears its head when we have expectations of how we should be treated, what we should feel, what should happen when, etc., etc., etc.. I know I am guilty of feeling entitled when it comes to relationships, and if you have ever caught yourself in your head or outloud saying, "[they] should have . . . [insert behavior]," you too have unconsciously felt entitled. Based on how (through modeling by our parents or elders or media) and what we were taught about the trajectory of relationships, we establish a map of behavior and events that should happen, and thus the entitlement gene is given to us and we accept it. But we do not have to keep it any longer. When we feel entitled, Richo states, we are kept from giving anyone our attention and appreciation - two skills we must engage in if we want a healthy, loving adult relationship. Also, we cannot give someone our acceptance and allowing to be themselves because we are too attached to our own version of how everything should be. Again, two more skills that must be practiced in order to be part of a healthy adult relationship. Entitlement does not allow us to connect fully and completely with another person, and from the start, we are hindered in our ability to discover a loving relationship. Now that we have let go four unhelpful habits, we now have room and energy to practice the five habits that will strengthen our relationships in all areas of our lives, especially our romantic relationships. Let's take a look at what the Five A's are, as delineated and discussed in How to be An Adult in Relationships. Practice and Strengthen regularly Each of the five A's are feelings and actions to both give and receive in order to be in a healthy relationship. Each definition is shared directly from the aforementioned book by David Richo Attention —Attention from others leads to self-respect. Acceptance —Acceptance engenders a sense of being inherently a good person. Appreciation —Appreciation generates a sense of self-worth. Affection —Affection makes us feel lovable. Allowing —Allowing gives us the freedom to pursue our own deepest needs, values and wishes. Richo explains that when any one of the five A's are not forthcoming from others, specifically others we seek it directly from, we may feel we are to blame, and while we need to find others who mirror back to us these five A's, if we are to build and maintain healthy adult relationships, we also need to find them within ourselves. However, while we need to find strength and awareness and understand we have self-worth, we also need to not expect to be fulfilled in each of these areas from one person. Beginning with our parents and then to any one adult we may in a relationship with, Richo asserts, they cannot be everything and fulfilling in all ways. Thus, "it is necessary and healthy to receive need fulfillment from other sources all through life . . . an adult sensibility releases us from expecting any person to fulfill [us] totally." There is freedom in knowing the truths of healthy bonding and contented living, and to better understand what each of the five A's is and looks like in practice both for ourselves and from others, I encourage you to pick up the book as his examples are specific and anecdotal which provide clarity and a deeper understanding. We all have the capacity to love and love well, we simply need to be willing to be a student, do the homework regularly and have the courage to change and be open as we go along our journey. —How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving by David Richo Petit Plaisir: ~One Hundred Stars, UK Gowns For shipping outside of the UK, shop the following online retailers: .87 Old School Beauly (from whom I purchased my gown) Sue Parkinson ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #287 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify
“Comparison is the death of joy.” ― Mark Twain The thief of joy, if Mark Twain is right, is of our own making. The good news in this revelation reveals each of us can take back our joy. Comparing ourselves to others occurs consciously and unconsciously. Consciously, we may be acutely aware that we follow certain people on social media to see how we are doing in relation; unconsciously, when we choose not to speak up to set a boundary, when we set a checklist for our life delineating what should happen by what age. Each of these three are examples of many more of unhelpful comparison, and while comparison is a primal instinct for survival, the good news evolution and civil society have provided the opportunity and arguably the necessity for each of us of to offer the world our unique talents rather than limiting ourselves to remain part of the herd or tribe. The habit of comparison is a learned skill, and therefore, it can be unlearned; however, it must be a conscious choice to do so. Fundamentally, when we compare ourselves with others, some part of us believes we are not enough or needs to be reassured that we are enough just as we are. Today, I will be examining five areas of our lives in which comparison can creep in and become destructive to contentment and living a fulfilling life, and then share how to let go of such comparing with the outside world. Life Goals, Your Journey “Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.” —Brené Brown Brené Brown's quote above speaks beautifully to the need for us to let go of the timeline checklist we may have put in place for our lives. This is not to persuade you to let go of setting goals, but rather to examine who such goals are actually for. Who benefits? If the outcome enables you to be accepted by a particular group in your personal life or society, then this item is a checklist item that is being attended to out of comparison; however, if the outcome fulfills something within you that enables you to exercise your talents more fully and share them with the world, then such a checklist item is a keeper. Social Environment — Who Surrounds You? "Nobody at your table should inherit a seat, be there by accident or simply have a place because of the time you have known each other or because they are popular with others." —Lucy Sheridan, The Comparison Cure A significant reason it can be extremely difficult to be ourselves with and around others has to do with who the "others" are. From my own experience, one reason I thoroughly enjoy living on my own and my own company has to do with only needing permission from myself to be and do what comes naturally or piques my curioisity without worrying what others think. However, that "worry" sprung out of life experience when I was myself around others. As young children, we did not know that doing something that was naturally part of who we were or innately drew our interest that prompted dismissal, scorn or laughing to tease and suppress was a reflection of an unhealthy relationship, not a reflection of doing something "wrong". And so we shifted. We edited. We adapted. Now we are adults. Now we know more and we can return to embracing who we are and have always been, even though we may have kept it under wraps or hidden away for fear of laughter, teasing or dismissal (again, all conditioned fears based on our past experience). Where do we begin? Setting boundaries. In episode #126, boundaries are discussed in detail. The reason to establish your personal boundaries is because when we don't, "we give away our time, effort, the potential for fun and creativity" as Lucy Sheridan reminds in her book The Comparison Cure. When thought about through that lens, motivation to set boundaries becomes easier. If you too are someone who finds comfort in your own company, however, wants to welcome people into your life yet fears being unable to be yourself if you do so, be patient with yourself, build the skill of setting boundaries, and when you do, you will begin to meet and then know with confidence who you can welcome into your life so that you can continue to be fully yourself. Setting boundaries will reveal underlying truths of all of your relationships - who respects and understands, who pushes back, why they were friends or built a relationship with you in the first place. In other words, your social community may shift, but it will shift for the better, opening up room for the right people to enter. Intimate Relationships “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” – Ru Paul On the other side of comparing yourself with others is accepting and appreciating where you are in the present moment as well as appreciating and accepting where others are in the same present moment. When we look outside of ourselves for validation - how should I be dressing (trends, etc.), what should my home look like?, when should I be getting married?, what day of the week is it okay to go to bed early?(this one may sound silly, but when we apologize to others or tease ourselves for habits we love - i.e. going to bed early - we are invalidating our choices) - we have not found contentment with ourselves from within ourselves. We are instead asking the outside world to tell us we are "okay". Such seeking is not loving and is not an acceptance of ourselves. This habit of seeking outside validation makes it extremely difficult to accept others as they are if they don't "fit in" to our expectations of what they "should be" and "should do", which makes it difficult to build loving, respectful and secure relationships. I cannot recommend more highly this book for improving our ability to be more loving to ourselves and thereby be able to be a healthy partner in a relationship - How to Be An Adult in Relationships. I will be exploring more of the topics shared in this book in upcoming episodes. Everyday Life - Contentment “Comparison with myself brings improvement, comparison with others brings discontent.” – Betty Jamie Chung In 2012 I shared this post about competing with others which reiterates the quote above. Comparison with others is a form of competition with others, and it drains, it exhausts, it depletes, it is never a positive effect on our lives. Even in sports, you can only do your best, even though technically you are on the field/court/stage "competing" with others. However, it doesn't matter what they do. It is your engagement to present your full capabilities that will determine the outcome. Be motivated to improve upon yourself, but do not denigrate yourself for areas you wish to strengthen. The component that must be present in order to compare only with ourselves and not the outside world is a strong self-confidence. In episode #5 of the podcast, confidence and the strength it brings into our lives is explored. Just as comparison is a learned skill, acquiring and attaining self-confidence is a skill as well - a skill worth acquiring for a contented life. However, once we have acquired self-confidence, we must not stop exercising it as it will atrophy. Our lives change, new experiences arise and therefore, we are challenged to navigate well through each of the events and engagements with others. Our self-confidence will be challenged and questioned within our own minds, thus why we must exercise it as though it were a muscle, because in many ways it is. First of all, as Lucy Sheridan points out, "self-confidence is a key step in ridding your life of comparison as it gives you agency over your actions and ownership of your thoughts and behavior". What happens when we don't have self-confidence? Words go unsaid - speaking up for ourselves, sharing ideas, setting boundaries Ideas go undeveloped and brought to fruition The finite time we have is spent on the wrong priorities, with the wrong people How to exercise self-confidence, as shared in The Comparison Cure: Speak your truth - in person. (emails can only go so far, texting can only go so far) Keep more of your secrets - we often share more because we are seeking outside approval for our decisions, our lifestyle, etc. - more "likes" does not equate to more self-confidence. rather it is often a reflection of needing to strengthen one's self-confidence. Plan ahead - do the necessary work ahead of time to perform well, to acquire the desired outcome, etc. Be present in the moment you find yourself - by doing so, you reduce or eliminate worry about the future. Giving your best now, in this moment, will enable the next moment - tomorrow, the future - to have the best chance of revealing what you wish to see. Check-in with yourself regularly - Sheridan shares a helpful exercise for examining tasks you keep putting off. Journaling her answers to the following questions: Is this still important to me? Why? What, if any, are the benefits of continuing with this task/goal? What's my next right step? Choose hope, let go of expectation - in other words, practice non-attachment to the outcome. Communicate powerfully and effectively - Sheridan coins the phrase 'calm power'. Delivery is equally as influencial as the content of what you are sharing. Know your audience (it's not about you, but about who you are trying to communicate with - what will motivate them to engage as you desire?), maintain your credibility (apologize when warranted), and eliminate the "fluff, huff, puff and fuss" that is unhelpful and dissuades from the desired outcome. Strengthening Your Self-Worth “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” – Dolly Parton Each of us is born with self-worth and possesses it our entire lives; however, we often lose track of this truth along our life journey at some point. Let this be your reminder, you innately possess self-worth. Nobody can take that away from you. Simply put, "Having self-worth is knowing who you are and being okay with it. It's the result of deep inner work, increased self-care, self-love and self-acceptance." Lucy Sheridan goes on to say, "Note that possessing self-worth does not necessarily mean having to reach and retain a constant sense of joyful ecstasy, but it is at least a gentle, palpable appreciation." As I describe it, knowing you have self-worth, consciously knowing this truth, is to bring the ability to be content in your everyday life. It is a grounding, and it enables your self-confidence to come forth in all that you do and in each interaction that you have in a calmly powerful way. For a detailed post on how to strengthen your self-worth, read this post which shares 10 ways to do just that. Living a life free of comparison with the outside world becomes a habit after a conscious decision to make it so. A few simple ways to consciously start letting go of comparison in your personal and work life: Become selective about who you follow on social media - follow for inspiration, information, heart-warming, positively challenge you, healthy entertainment and pique curiosity to boost quality of life Don't feel compelled or required to follow your friends or family online - you can be a good friend and family member off-line. Let them have their space to be them which may help you reduce the urge to compare. Let go of perfection Put an out of office message on at all times - tailor to your profession, but this immediately establishes boundaries of your work time and manages expectations in our culture of immediacy. Check emails two times a day for an allotted amount of time and abide by it - the inbox will never be zero. Create a labeling/flagging system for yourself that alerts you to emails you need to address, set up a "folder system" that provides a space to put emails you do not want to erase. Your "out of office message" will provide the space and time to respond properly and effectively on your schedule. Surround yourself with people and situations that curate an environment that enables you to thrive, grow, be challenged as a way of growing, and give back. Become comfortable with saying No. Time is finite, so become clear about what you can do, need to do and want to make time so that you can do. The work of letting go of comparison is a practice in making space for a life of deep contentment and fulfillment. It is a life that will resonate most strongly with you and may not make sense to others, but those who love you, with whom you have communicated powerfully, yet respectfully with along the way, will be there to share it with you and their lives with you. Free of comparison and full of celebration and appreciation. Petit Plaisir ~The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell (book #1, 2017) ~The Confessions of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell (book #2, 2020) ~Seven Kinds of People You Find in a Book Store by Shaun Bythell (November 10, 2020) ~Check out Shaun Bythell's YouTube channel (I've included one video below) ~Follow Shaun on Instagram after reading the books to continue enjoying the daily pondering from a Bookseller. https://youtu.be/jGFljyfORi8 Download and Listen to the full episode here or listen on the following podcast platforms: ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #286 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify
In three weeks the seventh season of The Simple Sophisticate will begin. With 285 episodes already shared, I am excited to explore new books, welcome guests that speak to what living simply luxuriously is all about and sharing motivating and inspiring ways to continue to live a life of quality over quantity. I have shared the full calendar for Season 7 which spans the next 12 months. You will notice that 2021 has a handful fewer episodes than last season. The reason for this is to give me time to hopefully bring a second season of the cooking show during the spring season. Keep in mind that every Monday that a new episode does not go live, a brand new Motivational Monday post will be available to read here on the blog, just as there is today. I want to thank listeners again for sharing the show with their friends and family either by word-of-mouth or on their social media feeds, and for leaving positive reviews that share specifically what they enjoy about the show so that new potential listeners know exactly what they will discover when they tune in. This September look for topics on building healthy relationships, listen to my conversation with a guest from the cooking world who has worked with the most well-known people in the industry, tips on how to make the most of this incredibly challenging time, and many more topics that are relevant and relatable as well as offering concrete ideas to apply to your own life journey. Join me on Monday September 7th for a brand new episode wherever you listen to podcasts. Subscribe below in order to always have the latest episode ready to download and enjoy. ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify Catch up on all of episodes here, and below I have gathered up episodes from the previous six Septembers to help you kick-off the next season for however your life schedule will be changing as well as possible. 10 Simple, Significant Decor Ideas to Add Luxurious Touches to the Home, Part Une, episode #260 (season 6) Trust the Transition: How to Step Through and Embrace the Change You Seek, episode #225 (season 5) The Benefits of Having a Mission Statement & How to Create Your Own, episode #173 (season 4) 14 Ways to Get Back to Calm, episode #121 (season 3) 25 Must-Haves for the Efficient Office Desk, episode #60 (Season 2) 8 Pillars of Building a Simply Luxurious Life, episode #1 ~Sponsors of this episode include: The Inner Monkey Podcast Bombas — bombas.com/sophisticate and save 20% off your first order Betterhelp — betterhelp.com/simple to save 10% ~Beginning on October 1, 2020, a significant change and much anticipated improvements in engagement will be coming to TSLL blog. Only subscribers will be able to view more than five posts a month along with other exclusive content (Shannon's Home & Garden Tours, Giveaways, Saturday Ponderings, etc.). Learn all about TSLL’s Soft Paywall here.
Author and blogger and American living in Paris Lindsey Tramuta joins me on podcast today to talk about her new book The New Parisienne: The Women & Ideas Shaping Paris (purchase on Bookshop.org). Having called Paris home for nearly 15 years, Tramuta explores the true Parisienne woman, looking past the myth and confining superficial stereotype that has been perpetuated for centuries through introducing readers to 40 Parisiennes in all of their diverse life journeys and talents and passions. Joining me from Paris, our conversation covers where the myth of the Parisienne woman began, who benefitted from it and how we can shift the narrative to reflect the truth. We also talk about her happy place in Paris, the difference between universal feminism vs. intersectional feminism and with diverse individual profiled, what they all have in common. I do hope you will tune in and have a listen. Lindsey's first book The New Paris (2017) is another wonderful Francophile resource to keep on hand as an introduction to new people, places and ideas in the City of Light. Download and Listen to the full episode here or listen on the following podcast platforms: ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #285 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify ~The TEDTalk mentioned during our conversation, The Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Lindsey's Petit Plaisir links: Order Lindsey Tramuta's books: The New Parisienne (2020) The New Paris (2017) French and Belgium chocolates Plaq La Maison du Chocolat  purchase on Amazon Pierre Marcolini  Michel Cluizel (not mentioned on the show, but also recommended by Lindsey) Read Lindsey's post detailing all of her favorite Macarons et Chocolates in Paris Find Lindsey Tramuta's online: her blog - Lost in Cheeseland her podcast: The New Paris Instagram - @lostNcheeseland Facebook - @lostincheeseland Lindsey's Happy Place is mine as well, and maybe yours too: Palais-Royal Images: (1) author pic courtesy of author, taken by Joann Pai PREVIOUS POSTS from TSLL’s 5th Annual French Week TSLL's Boutique Sale! In Celebration of French Week Let's Talk About Wine & 8 Books About Wine Worth Exploring Welcome to TSLL's 5th Annual French Week & The First Giveaway
Desired change in our lives can be seemingly elusive when so much of what needs to happen requires more energy, more time, more focus. With already full lives, the desired change remains just that - desired. However, what if you set aside just one month. Why not for only one month institute the change you seek, and then should if it does not work out, you can return to your old ways? Part of this approach is a bit of a trick of the mind, but the other part is to reduce the stress on your schedule as you can shift your priorities temporarily and only permanently if you choose to at the month's end. In today's episode, the top episode which kicked off Season #5 of the podcast, discover specific ideas for welcoming simplicity into your everyday life. You can view the full Show Notes for episode #224 here. ~Read today's new Monday Motivational post - Unbecoming Who You Are Not in order to Remember Who You Are
Today's episode is a top episode from Season 3 discussing how understanding what our signature style is and then owning it with confidence permeates all arenas of our lives. Ultimately, what we wear matters. Without saying a word we communicate our values, our confidence, our expertise, where we've been, where we are and where we want to go (or stay). I do hope you enjoy this full episode, and if you are looking for a new book to whisk you away to France, be sure to stay tuned until the end of the episode when the Petit Plaisir is shared. View the full original Show Notes here. View more episodes of The Simple Sophisticate podcast. ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #142 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify
Building our signature style takes time. As well, it evolves. While some components - the best color tone for our skin, hair and eye color - may remain the same, the fit, the lengths, the necklines, as well as styles we discover and wish to welcome into our wardrobe will change. Over the years, as you can see above, my dress length has gone from just above the knee to midi length being now my favorite go-to. While I do love wearing dresses, you are just as likely to see me in denim jeans and a button-up shirt, or a camisole and blazer with either heels or flats. Having options is wonderful, and cultivating our closets to offer these options takes time. Thankfully, as we learn more about ourselves, the lifestyle we enjoy living (something that changes as well as the chapters of our lives continue to unfold) the decision-making becomes easier. All of this is to say, that while we may be shopping less often as what we have in our wardrobe is made well and lasts for many years, we also know when we come across something that will fit perfectly for our way of living and can snatch it up (if it is in our budget at the moment) without giving it much thought. The clarity of time and knowledge about ourselves is exceptionally helpful which is one component that will be discussed in today's episode. Today's podcast episode is a top episode from Season One of The Simple Sophisticate which shares in detail the seven components to building your own signature style. My first book dives into this far more and my second book focuses with great detail on cultivating effortless style, so be sure to check those out if this topic piques your interest. View the original Show Notes for episode 2015 here. As promised, below are the linen dresses Ralph Lauren currently has available. SHOP THE ITEMS HERE: Images: (1) Danielle Fichera resort collection 2019; (2) & (3) DVF.
"Being in touch with [the essence] of ourselves as we make financial decisions is as good as it gets. Money is a store of life energy, and when we can channel that life energy into an expression of what is most dear to our soul, an exciting alignment takes place between our financial and spiritual lives . . . more than just having enough, our essence is deeply loving, contented, and grateful, not from any effort but as its most natural expression . . . In fact, when we are identified with that part of us that already has enough, that has arrived, that feels efficiency rather than scarcity, impulses of love and generosity arise naturally and without effort." —Brent Kessel, author of It's Not About the Money Money can seem to be the fix for everything or the curse, but it need not be either, and can be in our control, largely when we shift how we approach our view and role of money in our life. Today I would like to share with you key insights I discovered after reading Brent Kessel's book It's Not About the Money in which he dives into the unconscious emotional psychological nature money plays in our lives and how and why we make the decisions we make - for better or worse. 1.Understand how your emotions are related to your relationship with money What is your Core Story when it comes to your relationship with money? When you understand this inner dialogue that is unconsciously being told and accepted, thus guiding your decisions when it comes to what you believe will make you happy, you begin to take control of your relationship with money and improve the quality of your life. Why? Because you are now living consciously, and your decision making improves as it aligns with your true essence as Brent Kessel describes - your true self, what will make you feel truly content, outside of what society has impressed upon you. Below are a couple of the questions to begin asking yourself to get to the truth of what your Core Story actually is: What is your most painful memory related to money? When have you been most positively and negatively moved by money? What were you taught was most important about money? What is your biggest fear about money? While we need to live in the present to live well, understanding the past events of our lives and how they have scripted our thinking about money is vital. The Core Story is accepted Kessel writes because "whatever the content, with the unconscious hope that if we follow it, we'll be protected from feeling difficult or painful emotions." Simply understanding what your Core Story is not going to improve your relationship with money. Rather, it is an ongoing job that begins with awareness, but then is followed up with "skill, intention, and perseverance to lessen the hold of our unconscious condition . . . we must keep working to identify and retain the healthiest parts of our story's message - [for example, the good saving habits, the on-time bill paying, etc.] - while at the same time letting go of the extreme and unhealthy behaviors and attitudes it has engendered in us." 2. Do the necessary work within to achieve the outer results you seek "Though outer wealth rarely leads to inner wealth, inner wealth often does lead to outer wealth." Kessel speaks of the Middle Way being the chosen path to take in order to have a healthy relationship with money and our understanding of wealth. In other words, "true freedom lies neither in self-indulgence nor in austere asceticism". When we choose to do the inner work that is necessary, it requires of each of us to use our mind, and think critically, which means that we must think well and not rely on defaults and habits that are unproductive to our goal of cultivating "healthy wealth". I especially appreciated the author's sharing of his conversation with the Dalai Lama when he [the Dalai Lama] responded to the question about a method for happiness for Americans. "When there's too much stress or too much worry, look inward! Read more. Think. Trying to find the answer from outside yourself is nonsense! Think more." What thinking exactly though, are we talking about? Start with #1, understand your Core Story, deepen your awareness, and begin asking the "why"s - Why do you feel this decision would reduce your stress or increase your happiness? Why do you feel owning [fill in the blank what you are considering purchasing/paying for] will be a smart decision for you life? Why do you feel [insert negative emotion] when certain things in your life are happening? Why do you feel [insert positive emotion] when certain things are happening in your life? And continue asking and exploring - the four "W" questions are part of thinking well - Who, What, When, Where, Why. "When we are caught in extreme thoughts, beliefs, and conditioning, we sow the seeds of financial discontent." 3. Become fluent in the language of the Wanting Mind "The Wanting Mind continually takes us out of the present moment in its attempts to make us happy in some better tomorrow." —Brent Kessel True contentment requires that we remain present in our daily lives. The Wanting Minds requires that we live in the future. A clear conflict. If we are content, we are not wanting, and if we are wanting we cannot be content. True freedom from "want" is knowledge of how it works. Whenever an impulse to buy anything arises, a croissant, a clothing item online, anything large or small, "look sincerely at the root of the behaviors your mind has always told you would make you happy". Social conditioning has been happening our entire lives and will not end, but when we are aware of the attempt to social condition, and become clear about whether it is helpful or hindering, we can respond rather than react to the impulses of wanting when they arrive, thus making the best decision in that moment to cultivate a healthy approach to wealth and our financial situation. 4. Trust your innate financial wisdom: financial planning and great investment advice is not enough "When you are listening to your innate wisdom, you can feel a very deep part of you relax and let go. It will feel pleasing, calming and wholehearted. There will be an absence of pressure." Kessel has readers in his book return to their 4-year-old self, such a young age that we don't have a clue what investing in the stock market is, what a pension is, compound interest, debt, etc. The reason he encourages readers to return to our young self is to try to discover or be reminded of our most true self. What is it that sincerely brings us joy? What delights us? Sparks our curiosity? Prompts us to lose all track of time? Each of us will have our own answers, and even if, like me, you cannot fully remember what you thought at that age, you can remember where you were in your life - where you lived, with whom, etc. - and at least for me, I know how I felt. Whether I was secure or fearful? Was I completely oblivious to the world and didn't have a care in the world or was I full of anxiety? Thankfully, my memories are all positive and I am drawing from this insight to guide my money decisions and investment and savings moving forward more consciously. To address the idea of seeking out a financial advisor. It is absolutely a worthwhile idea to find a financial advisor you trust as they are the experts in the business of the financial business sector. They can be our teacher to better understand how investing works and what our options are, but once you have that information and can ask more questions when they arise, you need to return to your innate voice. What would make you feel truly content? For myself, when I purchased my home, I didn't seek permission from my financial advisor at the time as to whether I should take certain funds and use them for my down payment. I just knew I could and did it. I knew what would bring me contentment. I knew what investments were worth it to me and the life I wanted to live, but I am grateful for her expertise so that I knew the financial rules/laws, etc.. 5. Be still and just be A common piece of advice when it comes to making a purchase that we are not sure about, or that is significant enough that it will change our lives in some way, is to wait or sleep on it for 24-hours. This is good advice, but Kessel suggests doing something additionally and possibly most importantly - examine why you are really wanting to make the purchase. Do you feel it will bring you freedom, more peace, less headaches? What are the overarching beliefs derived from your Core Story and/or societal conditioning that have taught you these beliefs? Do you fully accept them or does something within not feel settled? In other words, again, respond rather than react. Think and be still, rather than blindly doing. Money is a fundamental component of our lives whether we want it to be or not. It moves the world, lack of it can halt the world, but understanding our relationship to it and with it is what will elevate our personal world and thus improve the quality of our lives. Our minds need and can achieve peace of mind when it comes to money. After all, when our minds are relaxed and unstressed, they make better decisions, see things more clearly and think well. It is understanding the psychology and the emotional mentality that money provokes within us that will give us the driver's seat so that we can make the best decisions for the life we want to live. SIMILAR POSTS/EPISODES YOU MIGHT ENJOY: Women with Money: Using It to Build A Life You Love Why Not . . . Build a Strong Financial Foundation? 7 Tips to Try Now Why Not . . . Be Attractive to Wealth? Money: How to Know If You Have Enough, episode #138 Petit Plaisir: The High Note ~Starring Tracee Ellis Ross and Dakota Johnson ~Stream the film here. ~Listen to the title track of the soundtrack - Love Myself, sung by Tracee Ellis Ross (purchase it here) https://youtu.be/im3lYbG-mSs ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #284 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify
"To embrace leisure, we don't have to let go of progress. [Our] constant pushing is now impeding our progress. We work best when we allow for flexibility in our habits . . . [w]e can and must stop treating ourselves like machines that can be driven and pumped and amped and hacked. Instead of limiting and constraining our essential natures, we can celebrate our humanness at work and in idleness. We can better understand our own natures and abilities. We can lean in not to our work but to our inherent gifts." —Celeste Headlee Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing , and Underliving For the past 10 weeks I have had the good fortune to go to work with both of my dogs. Why? Because I have been working from home. I am able to take them for a short walk about the neighborhood before I step into my office and remote classroom, then take a break around 10:30 am as we sit on the garden porch, soaking in some sunshine and thinking about what I might want to enjoy for lunch in a few hours time. Lunch is leisurely because I can cook it, savor it, not be rushed to eat it or interrupted and our afternoon outing after about 70-90 minutes of work after lunch is to the mailbox and about the neighborhood. Returning to the office if need be to tie up loose ends, check my work email one more time (I only check my school email three times a day), when the day concludes, I am not exhausted, but I do feel productive. Admittedly, the scenario I shared above is due to an unwanted global occurrence, and I miss my in-person connections with my students and colleagues, but what I do not miss is the excessive expectation to always be checking my email, regularly being interrupted so that I lose my focus/students' focus and requirement for a long inflexible work day (meaning not healthy breaks, a constant expectation of being "on"), and being rewarded for giving more beyond the work day even if it reduces the quality of my home life and personal relationships. I am not complaining directly about a system that surrounds so many of us, but trying to be honest about the reality of why I was quietly thankful to have the time at home these past 10 weeks to catch my breath. I did my best to examine why, and while the emotional toll for those of us fortunate enough not to have our health and livelihoods taken away was unhealthy and exhausting, overall, I found great refuge and restoration this spring whilst staying at home, finding a schedule that worked for me as I continued to remotely teach and blog and just be home. I also found much more time to read books that have been patiently sitting in my shopping cart, and two books furthered my exploration into how exactly improve the working environment when we begin to step back into the workplace. I have a few ideas. Take a look below. 1.Understand the history of the current work culture "We are investing our time and energy and hard-earned money in things we think will make us more efficient, but those things end up wasting our time, exhausting us, and stressing us out without bringing us closer to or our goals." —Celeste Headlee Journalist and bestselling author Celeste Headlee reminds readers in her recent book Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing , and Underliving (Amazon; Bookshop) that "[o]ur working habits changed dramatically a little more than two centuries ago" (aka as the Industrial Revolution), and not largely for the better. In fact, humans came to be seen as being capable of producing regularly and steadfastly with minimal breaks much like a machine. Humans are not machines. Our ability to be productive and creative and resilient comes from adequate and regular and in equal measure amounts rest to that of the amount of time we work. No wonder we're exhausted. 2. Enable the mind to think well so you can respond compassionately Often we are reacting instead of responding to situations in life that arise unexpectedly or unwantingly. At the time, we are not aware because either we have always behaved in such a way or because we do not know or have not been taught a better way. Dr. Sylvia Boorstein speaks about equanimity, and as it pertains to the mind, equanimity "is the capacity of the mind to hold a clear view of whatever is happening, both externally and internally, as well as the ability of the mind to accommodate passion without losing its balance. It's the mind that sees clearly, that meets experience with cordial intent. Becuase it remains steady, and thus unconfused, it is able to correctly asses the situations it meets." How to become clear thinkers? We acknowledge we do not know everything, and we take a step back and ask helpful questions with a calm tone. We choose to educate ourselves seeking out experts in the field we wish to learn more about - whether in book, audio, video or conversation form. We become comfortable with not having a concrete and absolute response immediately or at all and acknowledging the gray in nearly every situation that presents itself. And lastly, but perhaps most importantly, we rest the mind regularly and well. This includes good nights of sleep, regularly a slower pace in our schedules, days and weeks and a cultivation of environments that enable us to lower our stress levels and feel safe. "And because we are humans and have empathy built into our brain structure, when we are touched by what we encounter — and when our minds are balanced — we respond with benevolence." —Sylvia Boorstein, Ph.D., author of Happiness is an Inside Job (Amazon; Bookshop) ~Responding vs. Reacting: The Difference, episode #145 3. Let go of the busy mentality When we reduce the constant go-go-go mentality, we give our lives breath, and figuratively speaking, we give our lives oxygen to live better and thus to improve the quality of our lives. Letting go of busy feeds a cycle of life improvement because as you are letting go of busy, you are improving your decision making skills, reducing the unnecessary stress and constantly cultivating the life you want to live rather than creating more problems, more headaches and less time to adequately address and handle them. Interestingly enough, studies have shown that we may actually think we are busier than we actually are, but it is the delusion of busyness that is the cause for our mind to feel harried and thus our decision-making abilities to suffer. For example, if you feel pressed for time, this perception can lead you to making bad choices about how you spend your time. Conversely, if you feel you have time to spare, the study revealed people feel healthier and happier. So much of the quality of our lives rest in our minds. Harness the awesome tool of your mind, and you will improve your approach to living. ~Listen/Read episode/post #115 - The 8 Benefits of Banishing Busy 4. Quality productivity is not a result of excessive time given. "If you silence your phone, close your inbox, and really focus on getting a report done, research shows you'll finish 40 percent faster, have fewer errors, and have plenty of time to take a short walk around the building and let your brain relax." — Celeste Headlee Studies that were done decades ago have proven that more time does not equate to more output and certainly not a quality output. In 1951, researchers at the Illinois Institute of Technology discovered that people who put in excessive hours were the least productive of all. The most productive were the workers who worked 2-5 hours a day, so 10-20 hours a week. Recently, in Sweden, a hospital attempted to improve the working conditions for the workers, reducing their hours to six hours a day, and no more than 30 hours a week. The hospital was prepared to hire extra workers to make up for the loss of productivity, but do you know what happened? As reported in The New York Times, "The unit [performed] 20 percent more operations, generating additional business from treatments . . . that would have gone to other hospitals." Quality over quantity and in this case it surpassed even that of the hopeful that it would simply be equitable in output. 5. Allow yourself to focus on a single task entirely and without disruption Simply, turn off the notifications. If you work at a job that expects you to be constantly responding to emails broach the topic of productivity as studies have demonstrated if we cannot give ourselves fully to a task, we cannot do our best work. What this means for me at home is that I have been checking my school emails three times a day during the school day - when the school day begins, at noon and at the end of the day. If this will be a shift for those expecting to hear from you, perhaps send an automated response for the first month or two (or leave it in your footer) when people can expect to hear from you, how frequently you check your email, etc. so that they are not expecting an immediate response and should not worry when they do not receive one. 6. Invest in leisure "Research shows employees who feel more detached from their jobs during their time at home are emotionally healthier and more satisfied with their lives. They're less likely to feel emotionally exhausted, and they report getting better sleep." —Celeste Headlee Leisure time is separate from "free time" or "spare time" as Headlee defines it. Spare time is the time we find in between the work we do for our income. Leisure time is entirely separate from work. As she describes it, leisure time is "unpolluted" by work - no emails, no work calls, nor worrying about how your activity might impact your work life. Speaking for myself, while I and many other educators have been at home these past 10 weeks, it has not been leisure time during the work week. I am still, if I am not teaching online, checking my emails, responding to expectations, grading papers and aware of my actions during the school day, etc. My leisure time begins on the weekend, after the school day has ended each work day and will fully begin when our summer holiday starts later this week. The mind behaves differently when we are on leisure time, and it is imperative that we regularly welcome it into our daily schedule. Each of us will do it differently during the work week and weekend, and perhaps even our holidays, but do make sure you have leisure time in your life to savor and enjoy. It will make a tremendous difference in the quality of your life. 7. Give your mind space to become clear "Just take one breath and another and another, with as much attention in every way as you can. The confusion will sort itself out. Inclined in the right direction, the mind takes care of itself." —Sylvia Boorstein, Ph.D. The untrained mind can be a weapon of destruction to ourselves and others. A trained mind, one that is understood, that is strengthened to think well, critically examine and refrain from rash assumptions due to lack of emotional intelligent understanding is an artist's prized possession. However, it is a choice to become a student of our mind. Boorstein writes, "I do not think the mind needs lots of instruction, but I do think it needs to be encouraged and continually inspired." Feed your mind well. Be conscious of what is presented to it (limit social media, be aware of the news and how much you intake, observe how you feel around certain people, the books you read, the videos, shows and television you watch). Choose to feed it with what you are curious about. Delight in learning something new and do not feel guilty for not knowing what the zeitgeist believes is most popular or most noteworthy of the moment. Give your mind space to have clarity, and when it has clarity regularly, it will be your best friend. ~How to be the Master of Your Mind, episode #20 So how can we institute these needed changes if research has repeatedly demonstrated the need to observe that we are human beings, not machines? We need leaders who are well-educated with the resources that demonstrates convincingly that the quality of work will not diminish and likely will increase when we see our employees as human beings. Yes, it is a culture shift, and it will take time, but it takes courage and strong, patient leadership to clearly communicate the benefit to the worker first, knowing that the company, the department, the school, our futures, will be all the better. And even if you are not in a position of leadership at the moment, communication with your leadership body, build a consensus amongst your co-workers. Schedules and approaches change with data, trusted experts and informing the public as well as those it will directly effect, as well as indirectly. If nothing else, you can start at home and setting boundaries on your work and home life. Cultivate leisure time, practice the strengthening of your mind and begin to see your being settle, relax and enjoy your daily life far more. Petit Plaisir —Sicilian Lemon Biscuit from Shortbread House of Edinburgh ~purchase in the states from Chelsea Market Baskets, NY ~purchase in the UK directly from Shortbread House of Edinburgh Learn more about the history of shortbread below in a short video about the Shortbread House of Edinburgh company. https://youtu.be/ez5mLaHPXpA ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #283 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify
Today on the podcast, fellow podcaster Oliver Gee of The Earful Tower joins me to talk about his newly released memoir Paris On Air (shop here on Bookshop.org) as well as living in Paris during France's 59 days of confinement. I had the opportunity to speak with him the day after the lockdown regulations were loosened, and he shared what his and his wife Lina's experience had been and what the first thing they did was on May 11th. The primary focus of our discussion is his new book. Tune in to our conversation to discover the behind-the-scenes of how his acclaimed podcast (recently recommended in The New York Times for the top 13 podcasts to listen to for traveling abroad while staying at home) came about, evolved and, in a short amount of time, became his full-time and one and only job in the City of Light. As well, if you enjoy listening to your books, Oliver explains how his book is a unique Audio Experience that welcomes the people he writes about in his book into the studio to share their voice for their part. Follow Oliver on Instagram (@theearfultower), and visit his blog here (learn more about his virtual book tour as well). ~Order your own copy of Paris On Air here: Amazon, Bookshop.org ~Listen to my first interview with Oliver, episode #222 in August 2018. https://www.instagram.com/p/CATdJ1qJs3U/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link https://www.instagram.com/p/B97P1zypgvv/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link Petit Plaisir: ~Love Life a new series on HBO Max (premiering May 27th), starring Anna Kendrick Learn more about HBO Max here. Listen to Anna Kendrick on NPR Anna Kendrick shares her adherence to a no-nudity clause in her new series Check out the trailer below listen to episode #282 to discover why the series was chosen for today's episode. https://youtu.be/uZp_g271jpo ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #282 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify
Today's episode is a favorite from Season 1 of The Simple Sophisticate. Episode #45 was the sixth top episode of the first season and continues to be a favorite with listeners as it shares 10 Ways to Set Up Your Home Like A Luxury Travel Accommodation. In the times we find ourselves, I thought this might be just the episode to return to as we are still spending more time at home that we had anticipated especially as summer nears. Cultivating a sanctuary that beckons us to linger and we long to return to and spend ample time in has much to do with the details. And the details, the luxurious details, need not be all that difficult to acquire and welcome into our home. I do hope you enjoy today's episode, and look for a new episode next Monday and for the month of June. Click here for the detailed Show Notes of the original episode and listen to the audio version above. ~The above image is Chateau de la Barre located in the Loire Valley where I had the opportunity to stay three nights in the summer of 2018. Read this post—A Traveler or Tourist? The Difference —to see many more pictures of the interiors and the grounds, as well, have a look below at more images I shared on Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/BlBk-zOBJUY/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link https://www.instagram.com/p/BlCn-09BMQY/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link https://www.instagram.com/p/BlC_2Eqh7HQ/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link https://www.instagram.com/p/BlDQwoPBCCE/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
British country homes evoke an image of comfort, cosyness and warmth. Partly, yes, because such warmth is mandatory living in a rainy environment, but also because they look and feel like such a welcome inside hug which is given immediately when the quintessential details are tended to. Granted the above image is not an actual cottage as it was the set designed for Nancy Meyers' film The Holiday, filmed in part in Surrey. However, I chose the above image because when we design our homes to evoke the English country charm, Meyers achieved so much of it spot-on right. From the tufted ottoman, to the ottoman itself as the coffee table of choice, mixed prints, oodles of books and exposed beams, these details, as you will see in the list below resounding remind onlookers of English country style, and in this case a cottage. In my own home I have been perusing frequently through The English Home magazines I have saved over the years, saving images that speak to me, images that offer a similar size or design of space and offer ideas for how to create an English cottage aesthetic. I have begun to embrace wholeheartedly #1 on today's list in both my mudroom and foyer, and I look forward to welcoming even more wallpaper into my home. Hopefully if you too are wanting to welcome decor touches of the English countryside into you home, today's list will offer plenty of ideas to choose from. ~For each of the images shared below, simply click on the image to tour the entire home from which it was included. 1.Wallpaper William Morris is the founder of the Arts & Crafts decor movement, and with his well-known wallpaper company which began in the 1860s in England, a love for nature as well as symmetry and subtly as well as vibrant natural color are an example of beloved English wallpaper designs. There are many more of course, but wallpaper creates a cosy space, a welcoming, more personalized space. ~Want to wallpaper in your home? Read this post for detailed how-tos to a successful decorating session. ~Tour the entire Oxfordshire Arts & Crafts Townhouse: A Way with Wallpaper here.~ 2. Wood accents As a way to welcome nature into the formal living space, wood furniture, wood legs on upholstered furniture and regal cabinetry and shelves offer the balance of hard and soft surfaces. ~An Englishman's Brooklyn Townhouse, decorated by interior designer Benjamin Vandiver. View the entire home here. ~ 3. A penchant for garden and animal details While English country homes will undoubtedly have a garden outside their doors, bringing an appreciation for nature inside will be more than common as well. Whether seen in the wallpaper with floral or animal prints, vases full of blooms, potted plants inside or a demonstrated affection for dogs in figurines or any other decor detail, the love of the outdoors is certainly a common presence. ~British interior designer Imogen Taylor's Burgundy home to which she retired. Tour the entire home here.~ 4. The classic pudding sofa Soft, plush, deep-seated and begging you to sit and stay a while. While the name may or may not have been coined by British furniture designer Loaf, the concept is iconically British - cosy, cosy, cosy. 5. Pleat, folded, rolled, padded upholstered arms As you can see above, rolled arms on either an upholstered sofa or armchair that have gradual pleats pulled neatly over the rounded design intonate British furniture. Almost as if to signify a warm hug, such furniture provides literal warmth when you snuggle in as many days of the year are damp and cold, stepping inside a home that is cosy is all the more desireable. ~Tour the entire home in Cozying into Country Durham, English Style Abounds!~ 6. Fabric covered lamp shades Again, adding fabric to any space creates warmth, and especially in intimate spaces - bedrooms, reading nooks - the subtle, yet significant detail of fabric shades is an idea worth trying. Prints or solids, especially if the fabric is of high quality, purchasing such fabric is far more affordable for a lampshade than an entire sofa or chair. ~Tour the entire home above in Tightly Tailored and Filled with ANtiques in Hampshire here. 7. Seagrass floors British designer Ben Pentreath swears by seagrass, and if you have the opportunity to tour any of his projects, you will see they look quite nice. Adding a touch of nature, high functionality and wearability, they also, as he states, offer a lovely subtle scent. Layer with a a wool rug and you have created a warm space without excessive expense. ~View the entire home shown above in Signature Statement of Varying Chairs~ 8. Ottomans as coffee tables While there are exceptions, in the country, an ottoman is more often than not likely to be at the center of a living room or sitting room rather than a wooden table. Use as a coffee table and place trays and books, as well as always have an additional extra seat if ever necessary. ~Tour an Oxfordshire Farmhouse Regally Remodeled, with Comfort Made a Priority here.~ 9. Traditional period details While the items may or may not be old, they are a decision to pay homage to a particular period in history. Vintage chandeliers, exposed beams in the ceiling, wainscoting and wood floors are savored. Traditional lamps and the welcome of candles are chosen over canned or recessed lighting. ~View a list of time periods and their designated names. ~tour the entire Cornish Country Getaway with Touches of the Sea here.~ 10. An Aga stove Used as much to heat up the home as to cook, the Aga stove is very much a luxury item now (and yes, it is available in the states), but in nearly every interview in The English Home magazine, when they share spotlight interviews, the one detail each guests shares a English Home mustn' be without is an Aga. Just Aga. :) ~Tour this entire home, titled Let the Lighting Do the Talking here. ~ 11. A mudroom is a must Having grown up with a mudroom as we lived out in the country, the need for such a room is a must. Whether you are gardener, have pups, ride horses or generally find yourself outside often, having a space that is designated to taking off the "gear" and not bringing the dirt into the rest of the home is a typical space found in an English country home. ~Tour TSLL's newly decorated mudroom here. 12. A cabinet or designated shelf for teapots and cups and saucers After reading yesterday's post (18 Ways to Enjoy a Good Cuppa), this decor detail will come as no surprise. ~Tour the entire home in Country Durham here. ~ 13. Color abounds (and it works) It is indeed a skill, but with time and experience and an understanding of hues and the size of patterns, it is a skill each of us can acquire. ~Tour A Cozy, Signature Bloomsbury Flat here~ 14. Mixing small and large prints in the same space The Spruce shares, "Large prints will be paired with smaller prints, such as gingham. Using similar color palettes in the patterns keep this from becoming overwhelming. " ~tour the entire home in A Small Yet Elegant London Flat~ 15. An abundance of reading material Bibliophiles may just have a predilection for English country decor if not solely for their love, display and admiration of books. In so many of the photos of today's post/episode you will see books, and that is not by mistake or exception. ~Tour this entire Bibliophile's Dream House here.~ 16. Built-in bookshelves And since we are talking about books, the English country homes are designed with storing books in mind. Built-ins are part of the decor and not only in the library or living room. Notice in bedrooms and even in kitchens, there are spaces for books. ~tour the entire home here in Finding Balance with Colors & Natural Textures in North Kensington~ 17. Rugs For warmth, to cover old floors or stone floors, layers of rugs on seagrass, rugs are a mainstay and frequently seen in English country homes. ~Tour the entire home in A Welcoming Home in Wiltshire, England~ 18. Climbing roses or vines on the exterior of the home. While this final decor detail is outside of the home, it is still attached to the home, so I thought I would include it. Stepping into an English garden is an entire new post/episode, but yes, a vine of some sort whether it be a rambling rose or wisteria or clematis, is a must for English country homes. ~David Austin's Gertrude Jekyll English Climbing Rose~ Personally, I am smitten and have been smitten for some time with the English country decor approach. Creating a cosy, welcoming home for the inhabitants and any guest who is invited inside rests in paying attention to the details shared above - texture, layers, welcoming in touches of nature, not being afraid to mix up and discover what actually can match and creating spaces for everyday pastimes you love. Enjoy the journey of adding English country touches to your own home wherever around the globe you call home. ~View all of TSLL's British-Inspired Decor posts here. Petit Plaisir: ~The English Game, Netflix https://youtu.be/hBOlhdSYhv8 ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #281 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify 2020 TSLL British Week Posts Welcome to TSLL's 2nd Annual British Week & the First Giveaway! 18 Ways to Enjoy a Good Cuppa
Today's episode of the podcast is the top downloaded and viewed episode from Season 5 of The Simple Sophisticate podcast, and it's one I think you will enjoy whether you are hearing/reading it for the first time or the second or third time. Full of oodles of life and style tips from Parisian women inspired by a book read in 2018, it also melds my experiences and observances from my travels and conversations and engagements with women in France. Have a look at the detailed Show Notes from the original airing of the episode in November 2018. EPISODE #232 Show Notes As shared in today's episode, TSLL's 2nd Annual British Week will begin in six short days - Sunday May 17th. I cannot wait to share with you what I have come up with for the postings (two each day) and the giveaways (four in total). During the intro of today's episode of the podcast, I shared how the giveaways will work. Two giveaways will be open to EVERYBODY and Two giveaways will be exclusive: One to Ad-Free Subscribers and One to TSLL's Weekly Newsletter Subscribers (those who have subscribed prior to British Week commencing this year). If you are wondering what TSLL's Annual British Week is all about, I encourage you to check out last year's inaugural event. (click on the image below, or just click here.) ~TSLL's 2nd Annual British Week: MAY 17 - 24, 2020~ SUBSCRIBE to The Simple Sophisticate podcast: ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #232 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify
loading
Comments (2)

user

I normally love this podcast but the audio quality on this one is nightmarish, which is too bad because the guest is fascinating from what I could make out.

Oct 5th
Reply

Julia

The message of this episode is just so relevant, beautiful and true. A great reminder. Thank you so much.

Jan 21st
Reply
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store