Tue, 27 December 2016
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #136
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"It's never too late to learn anything for which you have a potential . . . and the limitless potential of love within each person [is] eager to be recognized, waiting to be developed, yearning to grow . . . If you want to learn to love, then you must start the process of finding out what it is, what qualities make up a loving person and how these are developed. Each person has the potential for love. But potential is never realized without work. This does not mean pain. Love, especially, is learned best in wonder, in joy, in peace, in living." —Leo Buscaglia, in Love: What Life is All About
Nurture or nature. Acquired or known. A natural or skilled. There are some capabilities we each have that come more naturally to us: the ability to sing like a songbird or swim like a fish. This is not to say that practice and expert coaching won't help, but in each of these instances, there is an innate ability that advances the individuals that apply themselves to such great lengths others may not reach. On the flip-side, there are skills that anyone can learn if they choose to, and here is the good news. One of these skills is how to love. We are not born knowing how to love well. We learn by observing those who raise us, observing the world we are born into and by what we read, view and absorb. The catch is not all of us are watching how to love well. Some of us will have a distorted view, some of us will be limited by what we see while others will observe healthy, kind, thoughtful ways of loving. While there are many wonderful ways to express love, there are essential components, and that is what we'll be discussing today. And if as an adult you have come to discover the models you observed were not healthy, you can absolutely change and become a student again learning how to love well, and thereby enriching your life moving forward. Life, a well-lived and savored life, is a life asking of each of us to acquire skills to be successful. As I mentioned yesterday in the first post of 2017, often those of us who make mistakes along the way as we travel through life are not trying to make mistakes or incapable of improving. Instead, we are doing what we were taught, what we know. We are less skilled. But we can absolutely improve. Take a look at 26 ways you can learn to love well: ~A more detailed discussion is shared on today's episode of the podcast, so be sure to download and take a listen for further explanation on each point.
1.Experiment with your own life
"Change and growth take place when a person has risked himself and dares to become involved with experimenting with his own life." —Herbert Otto
2. Forever be a student
One cannot give what they do not possess. To give love you must possess love. One cannot know what they do not study. To study love you must live in love. One cannot appreciate what they do not recognize. To recognize love you must be receptive to love. One cannot have doubt about that which they wish to trust. To trust love you must be convinced of love. One cannot admit what they do not yield to. To yield to love you must be vulnerable to love. One cannot live what they do not dedicate themselves to. To dedicate yourself to love you must be forever growing in love. —Leo F. Bascaglia
3. Cultivate your own contentment
"When we feed and support our own happiness, we are nourishing our ability to love."
4. Find, unearth, your true self
"Be able to love, heal and accept yourself, so you can then offer these gifts to others."
Many times we seek out love in order to alleviate our own suffering, and the suffering is due to a conscious or unconscious refusal to take the time to get to know ourselves.
5. Be mindful
Coming to understand how to create moments of joy for yourself enables you to give that joy, thus the love, to others.
6. Be kind
7. Practice love
One must live love. Take action.
8. Stop objectifying love
Love is not a thing to possess. You already have it, love, within you, now you just need to tap into it, foster it, practice it and then live in love.
9. Build within yourself trust, self-respect and confidence
10. Become a good listener
Learn your partner's "love language".
"To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love. To know how to love someone, we have to understand them" and that begins with listening well. —Thich Nhat Hanh
11. Stop labeling
Stop making assumptions, stop jumping to conclusions. Let go of stereotypes about cultures, groups, etc.
12. Let go of being perfect, and just be human
"A base for love and the potential for growth in love is also present in each man. Love is then a process of 'building upon' what is already there. Love is never complete in any person. There is always room for growth."
"If you know, accept and appreciate yourself and your uniqueness, you will permit others to do so. If you value and appreciate the discovery of yourself, you will encourage others to engage in self-discovery."
13. Be vulnerable
"Man may know that only by being vulnerable can he truly offer and accept love." —Leo Buscaglia
14. Open your palm
"And then, the lover, to learn and to change and to become, also needs freedom. Thoreau said a wonderful thing: 'Birds never sing in caves.' And neither do people. You've got to be free in order to learn." —Leo Buscaglia
15. Let go of expectations, but have clear boundaries
16. Cease placing conditions
"Others can and will only give what they are able, not what you desire they give. When you cease placing conditions on your love you have taken a giant step toward learning to love."
17. Be patient
"The human seeking love will find that love is patient. The lover knows that each person can enhance [their] knowledge of love and bring them closer to themselves . . . each person will grow at their own rate, in their own manner, at their own time, by way of their unique self. Therefore, it's helpless to berate, judge, predict, demand or assume. Love must be patient. Love waits. This doesn't mean that love sits passively forever, if necessary, for the person to grow. Love is active, not passive. It is continually engaged in the process of opening new doors and windows so that fresh ideas and questions can be admitted."
18. Learn how to communicate well
19. Become an expert of understanding your own emotions
20. Meet your emotional as well as your physical needs
"A human's basic psychological needs are these. She requires to be seen, recognized, appreciated, heard, fondled, sexually satisfied. She must be allowed the freedom to choose her own way, to grow at her own rate and to make her own mistakes, to learn. She needs to accept himself and other human beings and be accepted by them. She desires to e an 'I' as well as a 'we.' She strives to grow into the unique individual that she is."
21. Be present
"Love lives in the moment."
22. Believe the world is good because it is
23. Help others reach their full potential
"As soon as the love relationship does not lead me to me, As soon as I, in a love relationship, do not lead the other person to themselves, this love, even if it seems to be the most secure and ecstatic attachment I have ever experienced, it is not true love."
24. Create an everyday life to savor
"Another responsibility of love is to create joy. Joy is always an integral part of loving. There is joy in every act of live, no matter how menial or repetitive . . . you can make the day a chore; dull, nerve-wracking, frustrating, a waste of time. Or the same day can be taken on with energy, enthusiasm and a determination to make it one of the best days of your life, for yourself and those about you."
25. Stand in your strength
"It is the weak who are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong." —Leo Rosten
26. Become love
"For to be a lover will require that you continually have the subtlety of the very wise, the flexibility of the child, the sensitivity of the artist, the understanding of the philosopher, the acceptance of the saint, the tolerance of the dedicated, the knowledge of the scholar, and the fortitude of the certain."
Shel Silverstein's The Missing Piece Meets the Big O, the allegory of true love" https://youtu.be/MCmZ2jrQooE ~Books mentioned in the episode: ~Love: What Life Is All About by Leo F. Buscaglia ~How to Love by Thich Nhat Hanh
~Books for Living by Will Schwalbe
Mon, 19 December 2016
“It is within the boundaries of reflection we are able to become aware of insights that can lead us to understanding.”
Mon, 12 December 2016
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #134
"A startling paradox that bespeaks how we, as a culture, cripple ourselves in the journey to love — if one wanted to learn about cars, one would 'without question study about automobiles'; if one wanted to become a gourmet cook, one would 'certainly study the art of cooking, perhaps even attend a cooking class.' But when it comes to love, Buscaglia points out, we expect the skill of it will magically bestow itself upon us. 'No mechanic or cook,' he writes, 'would ever believe that by ‘willing’ the knowledge in his field, he’d ever become an expert in it.'” -on Leo Buscaglia's Why Love is a Learned Language
Successful business mogul Warren Buffett has famously advised to write down 25 things we want to do in life and then promptly focus solely on the top five and forget about the other 20. Why? The time we have to dedicate to anything is finite, therefore if we want to achieve something of quality: a skill, a reputation, an invention, a business, anything at all, we have to give it our full attention. And if we have a laundry list of things we want to achieve, we are often distracted by what we are not able to do and not fully giving ourselves to what we should be focused on.
Along the same argument, in Malcolm Gladwell's best-selling book Outliers, he shares research that finds that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to develop the level of proficiency of most professionals (Gladwell further clarifies that this holds true primarily in cognitively demanding fields, but assists tremendously in others such as sports).
Taking into consideration these two components, I couldn't help but ascertain that the combination of focus and practice, deliberate practice, while helpful in our professional pursuits and pursuit of realizing our dreams would be quite beneficial within our everyday lives as well. For example, perhaps we too should deliberately practice as well as pay close attention to learning how to cultivate stronger relationships, a deeper, more fulfilling everyday experience and overall contentment as we proceed through life.
Two books (here and here) I have read in the past six months shared a common message about one's success in love. Not to equate love as a competition, but rather to be successful in making healthy, deep, sincere connections with others, choosing to learn how to love is crucial.
Considering that expectations, mores and gender roles have been in constant flux for centuries, we don't enter the world knowing how to love and love well. It is a learned behavior. As Dr. Leo Buscaglia reveals in Love: What Life is All About, "One cannot give what he does not possess. To give love you must possess love." And in order to possess love and then know how to give it, we must become a student of love.
Imagine for a moment as far back as you are able of what love looked like to you. Maybe it was your parents, maybe it was revealed in the fairy tales read to you, maybe it was the television shows or your older sibling talking about their adventures in relationships. While all of these may have contained aspects of love, some far more than others, love is an action that we only learn how to exercise in our own lives if we practice it. And we can only become successful if we practice it properly. Much like watching a cook demonstrate how to slice an onion, we don't become proficient by observing, we become proficient by doing. We cannot buy love, we cannot hire love. No. Instead, we have to become a student of love, and live it every day.
Which leads me to the most magnificent and hopeful news I want to share with you today. Each one of us can cultivate the love we want in our lives. Each one of us has the potential, and it all begins with us and then what we begin to put out into the world.
"It’s simply this — the limitless potential of love within each person eager to be recognized, waiting to be developed, learning to grow." —Leo Buscaglia
With that understanding, let the journey begin. Or should I say let the course on love begin. I, perhaps like you, have always loved the idea of love. But now I have to ask myself, was I errantly and ignorantly getting in my own way?
As the new year begins and the first episode of the podcast goes live on Monday January 2, tune and discover what I have found out and am looking forward to sharing.
~SIMILAR POSTS YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
—Ma Vie à Paris (English & French versions) - deliverable to EU countries
—created by French Home Goods company Astier de Villatte, owners Ivan Pericoli and Benoît Astier de Villatte
—Pick up a copy in Bend, Oregon, at Nicole Michelle Decor
—Special order at your local bookstore.
~Learn more about the SAIG Linotype printing press machine here and the process of printing this one of a kind Parisian guide book here.
~hand drawn maps and black and white photos on nearly every page~
Mon, 5 December 2016
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #133
Maybe you've had a few or many past failed relationships. Perhaps you are currently single or married or in a relationship at the moment, but maybe it just doesn't feel as though you know how to make it stronger, healthier, but there is some part of you that knows it is possible. Even if you aren't in a relationship, you understand that it is a healthy relationship you seek because at the moment, life is grand on your own and far better than being in a dysfunctional partnership.
As you reflect on the past, remember this: You gave love, you were hopeful, you did your best with what you knew at the time. Let go. And forgive yourself.
"Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn't know before you learned it."
As I look back on my own past that contains a handful of relationships, all of which were unique and different, and began and ended for different reasons, I know I am a different person now, I know that I have learned much more to be a far better partner, but also to be a far better, and more content individual whether I am in a relationship or not. I know now, but I didn't then because I didn't know either what I needed or where to find the knowledge I sought. I either had models that were dysfunctional and I didn't recognize it or I didn't have a deeper understanding of what I was modeling my life after. Most importantly, I was still growing and discovering myself, and thankfully, that journey has never ceased.
Why am I thankful that the journey has continued? Because it has finally lead me to resources, valuable and worthwhile resources to understand what I was lacking when it came to being someone who was indeed ready to be in a healthy relationship. And this is what I have discovered.
1. Explore what interests you
In episode #131, the philosopher Bertrand Russell's approach to happiness was discussed in detail and at the top of the list of 38 ways to attain happiness was the idea of exploring what interests you. The key is sincerity of interest and the other component is to have more than just a few interests. For if one falls through or wanes, you have other interests which can fill the gaps and ease the loss in your daily routine of doing what you love and enjoy.
To put all of our time and interest into one basket of interest is to put a tremendous amount of pressure on that focus in our lives. Often that focus is a relationship, and while tending to and investing in a relationship that brings us much joy is a worthwhile interest, it shouldn't be the only interest we have. Pursue your love of the French language, pursue your love of cooking, your itch to travel, working in the yard, caring for a pet, time in your art studio, anything that you are naturally drawn to and build a wealthy life of interests that fill your schedule without weighing you down.
2. Investigate and explore your barriers to healthy relationships
“The good news is that every morning we have the choice; not to be controlled by circumstances nor our past but by purposely designing our day, hence our lives better. Not to react to life but to respond with love.” ― Bernard Kelvin Clive
The work behind the scenes that nobody sees, the internal work, is the work that will reap awesome, lasting benefits enabling you to see and experience lasting growth from which you can continue to build on to build the strong and healthy relationships you want but perhaps didn't know how to attain because you kept getting in your own way unconsciously due to either buried fears, insecurities, a past history that played a negative thought track that prevented you from seeing the amazing possibilities you were presented with.
Investing in ourselves by scheduling time with a counselor or an expert in the field in which we know we need to grow is an investment in a quality way of life that will not only equip you to attain true contentment but you will be demonstrating that to the world around you and providing an environment and a model of how to live well.
3. Learn how to communicate effectively
Some of us as children were able to observe healthy and effective communication habits. The most powerful communication that is often hard to see modeled is when two individuals disagree. How do they express how they are feeling, feel respected without attacking and move forward? If we haven't seen this modeled in our own lives, it is up to each of us to learn, and thankfully, the information on this topic is abundant.
Ultimately, in order to communicate well, we must know what we want to say and why we want to say it. And in order to understand the "why", which is actually a difficult truth to unearth, we must get to know ourselves. It sounds odd perhaps, but we need to understand why we are angry in particular moments; we need to understand why we are fearful; why we get defensive; why we get jealous, and look within ourselves to understand our unconscious reactions before we speak and do damage unnecessarily.
On the flip-side, we must not cower into ourselves and become passive. There will never be a healthy relationship that involves a passive individual if the relationship wants to grow stronger. We must communicate without attacking, express how we feel, be able to objectively observe our emotions, and listen with intent to learn and understand more deeply. Click here for a more in-depth post on each of these and more tips to effective communication.
4. Cultivate a healthy, strong social life
Our social worlds are often tied to our interests as well as our work, and as discussed in episode #36, while they take time to build, the gift is you feel free to be yourself and thus your social life becomes a place of enjoyment, pleasure, respite and an integral piece to your contented life. With a clear list of people to let go of (of which there on nine) and six people to welcome into your life, the episode reveals that it is who is in your life that will help alleviate your stress and you theirs as well as allowing them and you to be truly free to be yourself that will enhance all arenas of your life.
5. Actively pursue your dreams
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt
Let go of the have-tos and must-dos of the lives we see modeled around us whether by family members, the media or community and/or national institutions and instead dive into your dream. Perhaps your dream requires you to work on the weekends or each night after work a few hours. Maybe your dream prevents you from celebrating when Friday evening arrives, but enables you to come alive when you immerse yourself in the pursuit. Trust your dreams, not the fears that are thrown at you by the outside world that you are not doing what you should be doing.
People are intrigued and appreciative of those who have the courage to tap into something and pursue it doggedly. Not everyone will understand, but those who respect it and admire it will be people with whom you will connect with. And you, in pursuing your dreams will find a contentment that at first will be hard to describe to anyone who is simply following a path that everyone else is one, but then you will learn it is the only way to be truly alive and authentically you.
6. Cultivate self-compassion
When we look within ourselves for compassion, we give ourselves permission to be imperfect. We begin to recognize that we must first be kind to ourselves in order for others to know that is how we deserve to be treated. Yes, some will be kind anyway, as it is their way, and a very good way indeed, but for those who may attempt to push our boundaries, we recognize the attempt and can keep them out of our lives unable to do harm.
Often we are the harshest critics in our lives, as discussed in episode #122, but the belief that doing so is the best path to success is false. In fact, it is quite detrimental. Rather, being self-compassionate reveals a higher emotional intelligence as we are able to have a broad perspective on our circumstances and move on rather than get bogged down in self-criticism.
And when we are the cheerleaders of our own lives, when we are not the bully in our own heads, we look less to the outside world to build us up and are able to build healthier relationships as we can take care of our own emotional needs.
7. Become comfortable with validating yourself
If we do not first validate ourselves, approve of the life and the decisions we make within our lives, we will be constantly running around seeking approval from others, dependent upon it, desperate for acceptance, and we will only be harming ourselves, never able to find true contentment. As shared in a post in 2011, “You can succeed if nobody else believes it, but you will never succeed if you don’t believe in yourself.” But why do many of us fall into the trap of first asking if we should do something and instead simply trusting what we know will fulfill us, what we know will bring pure joy, what we know will make us happy? We want to bond with others, we want love, we want to feel love. This is human. But what it does is bonds us with people who we may not want to bond with.
Wouldn't you rather bond with someone who was fascinated with your decision after the fact? After you had made the big decision to pursue that dream which may have appeared ridiculous to some, but made complete sense to you? Wouldn't you want an authentic connection?
Yes, it is scary to refrain from seeking validation from others, especially from our parents, peers and those we may have been (or currently are) in relationships with, but when we forget about the power of our own self-approval, we limit the quality of life we could be living.
8. Build a life you love living on your own
“Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.” ― Emily Dickinson
Cultivating a simply luxurious life centers around the premise of building something that is congruent with your authentic and most true self, letting go of building the life you think you should and upon incorporating the former rather than the latter approach, the quality way of living you seek will materialize.
A funny thing happened over the weekend. As I mentioned in a previous This & That post, I have been contemplating picking out a significantly smaller tree for my house this holiday season. Well, I in fact did just that, and as I look around my smaller house (nearly 1000 sq feet smaller than what I had lived in previously) after having decorated the tree, having added a few decorations to the tabletops (I found mistletoe!) and having hung the stockings for the boys (my dogs - Norman and Oscar) and myself, I still had energy and more money than previous seasons in my checking account for holiday expenditures.
When we begin to truly listen to what works for us, rather than gravitate toward what we've done, what has been done, what we've seen, what we know, we begin to curate a life that is in alignment with our values. We begin to curate a life that enables us to live and pursuit what we love and thus become enlivened from within. We are the gardeners of a rich and more fulfilling life, if only we will listen to ourselves.
When it comes to relationships, we will undoubtedly be involved in many different types, all having the gift of teaching us something about ourselves and the world. But when it comes to lasting relationships, relationships that will endure, however, keeping in mind that nothing is infinite, we multiply the happiness quotient for not only ourselves no matter what we may be doing but also for those we love.
~SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
~Under the Tuscan Sun: 20th Anniversary Edition by Frances Mayes, (paperback copy) (e-book edition)
~Visit Frances Mayes blog and website here.
~tour the house that was seen in the movie (which was remodeled in 2006) here. Frances Mayes house was not the set for the movie.
Mon, 28 November 2016
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #132
“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.” —Douglas H. Everett
The arrival of a new year always fills me with giddy exuberance. No matter what occurred during the current year, I am very much like a child eagerly determined to will even more amazing, fulfilling and growth-opportunities into my world and into the world around me.
2016 has brought many of the latter on the list, growth-opportunities, and while I won't be sad to see it go, I am still very grateful for all that it opened my eyes to, all that it taught me, all that it pushed me to do so that I could begin to step outside of, in many ways, an unconscious self-imposed shell. So for that reason alone, I am thankful, indebted actually, to 2016.
Isn't that way it works? Some years we savor, some years we sweat, some years are a mixture of both, but all offer the opportunity to be a different person come the year's end.
Speaking of year's end, it isn't quite here yet. In fact, we still have one month to make our resolutions a reality, and I don't know about you, but I am excited to finish strong. Let's talk about how to do just that no matter where you might find yourself at the end of the eleventh month of 2016.
1. Balance the monthly budget
Let's talk money straight-away. Nothing boosts our confidence, settles our nerves and brightens our hopes for the future when we know where we stand with our money. As is the case, businesses want to finish strong as well, but we shouldn't help them at the expense of us not doing the same. Holiday gift giving and travel and entertaining can be a roadblock, but with careful planning and a clear awareness of what you are capable of, by the time the end of the year arrives, you will be feeling at ease when it comes to your financial situation.
2. Assess the goals/resolutions you pursued during 2016
Now to the task at hand. How have you been doing on the resolutions you set at the beginning of 2016? Perhaps you set some mid-year goals. How are those going? Be honest, which goes both ways. Notice how much further you have to go, but also recognize what you have done. Sometimes we stop ourselves from attaining what we seek because we are fearful we will fail. Ironically, we fail if we don't try. Trying, no matter how small the progress, is always reason to celebrate. And as Marilyn Ferguson reminds, “Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.” So let your fear lead you to keep trying and keep striving forward. The other side is indeed worth seeing and experiencing.
3. What habits have served you well and visa versa
After taking an honest assessment of how you are doing with your goals, what habits are helping you maintaining your progress? Write these down. Do the same exercise for habits that are impeding your progress. Don't worry, I am not about to tell you to break 10 bad habits in 31 days. The first thing to do is recognize what is and isn't working, and then, baby steps. Vow to break one bad habit. Then once that bad habit is broken and you don't even think about it, break the next bad habit. Maybe the chance to begin the second will begin the next week or maybe next month, but have a priority list of habits you want to break and slowly make your way through them.
4. Let go of passivity
Ask for what you want. Remove the possibility of regret.
If events or progress toward your goals aren't moving as you had hoped they would, observe your behavior these past eleven months. Have you been sitting on the sidelines hoping others will notice what you've been working so hard on? Have you been hoping they could read your mind? Speak up. Ask for what you want. Make decisions without asking for approval from others. If it is indeed what you want, what you've been working for, step forward and make what is in your control a reality.
5. Tie up loose ends
Look around your house, look at your planner. Do you see any projects, large or small, that aren't complete yet? Perhaps you are either putting them off or maybe you began but something occurred and zapped your time availability. Reexamine each and do your best to wrap them up so you can move forward without unnecessary expectations and demands when the new year begins. A fresh start is great motivation.
6. Get busy with small steps
There is still one month left in 2016, and a lot can happen in 31 days. A lot can happen in a mere moment, so get moving. Keep Isaac Newton's words in the back of your mind as you start your engine, and no matter how gradual you roll forward always remember, “An object at rest tends to stay at rest, an object in motion tends to stay in motion.”
Perhaps you have some extra time toward the end of the year or maybe at some point during the month. Even if you don't have an immense amount of time, find a way to target the spots in your home, office, life that could you some decluttering. Again, the goal is a fresh of start when 2017 arrives and the visual component of less stuff to look at, take care of, etc. holds incredible power over our state of mind and thus our stress levels. So get busy: go through your closet, your entire home and more specifically your kitchen. Set yourself free and you open the door for more applicable and authentic opportunities and gifts.
8. Bulk up your retirement savings for maximum tax benefit
The list began with finances, but I wanted to focus specifically on retirement savings as well. The more you can invest now, the more powerful compound interest will be and the lower your taxable income will be. So take a close look at your 401(k) or IRA contributions, which have limits of $18,000 and $5,500 this year, respectively. Can you add some more? (Good news: You can actually make 2016 contributions to your IRA through mid-April 2017 which means thereis still time after the New Year.)
9. Decide on a planning system that functions and is something you love
Just prior to each month's beginning I sit down with my planner and add the new month's pages. I then take time to plan out the month with previously schedule events, my weekly and daily routines, etc. I love this monthly rituals, and I especially love the yearly ritual of looking ahead and putting in the pages for 2o17. In fact, I just ordered a new binder and am shifting from Franklin to the six-ring A6 personal binder. And because of this, TSLL readers who have ask for TSLL Planning Pages to fit the A5 and the Personal Planner are in luck. The Personal Planning page (along with the all-inclusive planning package) is now available. Coming in a few weeks, just in time for 2017, you will be able to purchase exclusively sized planning pages for these two new sizes (on top of the Classic and Compact pages already available).
It is important to have a system that works for you. Not every one, like myself and many of you, want an all digital planning system, but some do. You know what works well with your lifestyle and routine. Tweak what you have to make it work even better and enjoy setting clear goals, breaking them down and managing each day to help you find the balance of rest and success.
~My new planner and binder is seen below. It is an A6 six-ring Ancicraft leather binder (other sizes are available here).
10. What makes you smile spontaneously?
Take a moment and try to recall the moments in which you found yourself smiling without a forethought, smiling due to something tickling your mental funny bone or observing something joyful and pleasure filled. Take a mental note of these events or better yet, write them down. Now, try to cultivate opportunities for these moments to happen in balance with the success you are trying to achieve.
11. Answer this question honestly:
Where and how do you want to wake up on Sunday January 1st, 2017? Now plan accordingly. You will be glad you did and the new year will be assured to be off to a wonderful start.
Wishing you a wonderful final month in 2016. May the struggles, if you encounter a few this year, begin to wind down and reveal their fruit and polish, and may the final few days give you a time to celebrate and appreciate all that has gone well and recognize how much you've grown.
~SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
~Till Brönner, The Good Life
Mon, 21 November 2016
"As long as one keeps searching, the answers come." —Joan Baez
Life in many ways feels as though it is a treasure hunt. However, I have good news. If my experience is any evidence, Joan Baez's quote above certainly rings true. Case in point, stumbling across British philosopher Bertrand Russell's book The Conquest of Happiness.
I happened to have been perusing in my local bookstore, stopping in to pick up another book that I had ordered when I came across the simple bright yellow cover of The Conquest of Happiness. Mind you, the copyright is 1930 and as the new introduction, written in 2012, by philosophy professor at Tufts University Daniel C. Dennett reminds, Russell's views while quite progress at the time clearly leave laid bare his ignorance about women and minorities. However, these should be set aside as we look through the lens as though he is speaking about all people, because what he reveals gave me reason to take a deep breath of appreciation.
As Russell reminds straight-away with his title, happiness is something we must cultivate. It is not something that we are born with. Now, this is not to say that we are born unhappy, no, absolutely not. However, we are born, each of us, into a culture and world we did not choose. We must come to understand our place in it, understand the capabilities that are innately ours and how to offer them to the world all the while protecting ourselves and vulnerable heart.
Russell offers wise words about what we can and cannot do. What is true and what we should let go of as once assumed as true along the path to attaining happiness and identifying what we think is causing our unhappiness.
I have gone through and found 38 points he shares that through welcoming as either habits, practices, approaches or shifts in our thoughts and beliefs, can usher in a true happiness we may have never thought attainable.
First: Determine what you most desire
Then . . .
1. Diminish your preoccupation with yourself (stop meditating on your perceived sins and shortcomings)
2. Focus primarily on external objects: the state of the world, attainment of knowledge in a variety of avenues, and individuals for whom you feel affection.
3. Practice moderation
4. Aspire to be interested in a variety of things; the more opportunities for happiness you have, the less you are at the mercy of fate since if you lose one thing you can fall back on another.
5. Even when an unexpected negative event takes place, understand that it too can give pleasure. How? Appreciate the knowledge you have gained to better understand the world and reduce unnecessary fear.
6. Bolster your energy so when you have free time you can pursue what interests you without restraint.
7. Vow to have a zest for life, an incessant curiosity.
8. Understand this truth, affection is given to those who least demand it.
9. Those who face life with a feeling of security are much happier than the contrary.
10. You are more likely to realize what you fear by believing it.
11. Self-confidence comes from being accustomed to receiving as much of the right sort of affection as one has the need for (healthy, non-dependent, etc.)
12. A person who is hardy and adventurous can endure a great deal without damage.
13. The best type of affection is reciprocally life-giving: each receives affection with joy and gives it without effort, and each finds the whole world more interesting in consequence of the existence of this reciprocal happiness.
14. Affection, in the sense of a genuine reciprocal interest of two persons in each other, not solely as means to each other's good but rather as a combination having a common goal, is one of the most important elements of real happiness.
15. A capacity for genuine affection is one of the marks of someone who has escaped from the prison of one's self-absorption.
16. Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.
17. One must cultivate external interests that bring rest and do not call for any action, rather allow you to simply enjoy.
18. Never ignore opportunities to gain knowledge.
19. Contemplate what makes greatness of one's soul. When one is capable of greatness of soul, it will open wide the windows of the mind, letting the winds blow freely upon it from every operation of the universe.
20. During times of grief, loss or pain, turn towards something that is not the source of anxiety. (This is where having many, varied interests comes in quite handy).
21. One cultivates happiness and therefore must find ways of coping with the multitudinous cause of unhappiness. By choosing to unearth the answers, happiness expands.
22. Happiness is an achievement, not a gift.
23. Do your best (effort) and then leave it up to fate (resign).
24. Having an unconquerable hope means it must be large and impersonal (hopes for humanity and being okay with the progress made, no matter how small even if the goal wasn't reached yet).
25. Let go of worry, fret and irritation as they serve no purpose.
26. In times of quandary, it is better to do nothing than to do harm.
27. A certain kind of resignation is involved in the willingness to face the truth about ourselves.
28. Nothing is more fatiguing than to believe things that are only a myth or false.
29. Happiness requires food, shelter, health, love, successful work, and the respect of one's own herd.
30. Fear is the principal reason why humans are so unwilling to admit facts and so anxious to wrap themselves round in a warm garment of myth.
31. Accepting facts and truth is a way to tackle fear and reach true happiness.
32. The happy person is who lives objectively, who has free affections and wide interests, who secures her happiness through these interests and affections and through the fact that they in turn make the person an object of interest and affection to many others.
33. The person who demands affection is not the person upon whom it is bestowed.
34. Don't think about the causes of unhappiness; get outside of it, it must be by genuine interests, not by simulated interests.
35. Once you let go of self-absorption, let the spontaneous working of your nature and of external circumstances lead you.
36. Only what genuinely interests you can be of any use to you.
37. Undoubtedly, we should desire the happiness of those whom we love, but not as an alternative to our own.
38. A happy person feels a citizen of the universe, enjoying freely the spectacle it offers and the joys it affords, untroubled by the thought of death because they feel themselves not really separate from those who will come after them. It is in such profound instinctive union with the stream of life that the greatest joy is to be found.
While there is much to digest and contemplate, what left me with hope was the reality that so much of what causes us pain is self-inflicted. While yes, there are many things that are out of our control, understanding the difference is key, but so too is recognizing when we have played a role that has adversely obstructed us from potential happiness. Simply put, we need to get out of our own way, and this list will help us all to do just that.
~SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
~starring Alice Taglioni and Patrick Bruel (English subtitles)
Mon, 14 November 2016
"Comfort is the root of confidence and not the other way around." —Haley Mlotek in The New York Times Style Magazine
Confidence is attractive. Confidence can be deceiving. Confidence is however hard to fake. But the hard truth about confidence is that it is rooted in feeling comfortable with that which you project to be confident about.
Depending upon the arena, the one who exudes confidence draws the attention from the masses due to either curiosity to figure out how they too can emulate such confidence on a particular subject or way of life that they desire or out of appreciation from others who have confidence as well. Because when one projects an air of confidence there is a sense of security, self-worth, and peace of mind knowing that they are able to think and live independently.
Confidence is valuable in a variety of aspects throughout our lives. But it must be understood that confidence is a dynamic entity as it depends on understanding something that is as well quite fluid: life, the world, other people, etc. Because of this reality, it requires of each of us to be always pursuing knowledge, asking questions and remaining a participant in the world in which we live.
I first came across the quote above as it was pertaining to beauty and the recent trend to no longer wear makeup as inspired by Alicia Keyes who shared openly this past May in a letter (it's well worth the time to read) that she longed to just be herself and stop the constant work of being a chameleon and being what she thought she had to be, rather than be who she truly was.
The article gave me pause because it is difficult to put down the masks that we present to the world as they are in many ways our armor, and it is far easier to just do what is expected, project an image or idea that is expected or easy for all to see and hear. So where do we find the comfort that is needed to have the confidence we seek?
~Take the time to get to know yourself and continue this ongoing process
~Build a healthy social network
~Stretch yourself - try things you have never done before but want to do and someday do well
~Read and learn voraciously and endlessly
I can think of more than a few instances when I did not have confidence. Most recently, I have become frustrated when I attempt to converse in French at our local conversation group or with friends or instructors who know how to speak the language. I feel as though I am presenting an entirely different person, as though the person they are hearing and seeing is not the real Shannon. And as I gave this some thought, I realized why I wasn't enjoying myself: I wasn't comfortable and therefore I couldn't be confident and relax. It is a vicious cycle.
So, I will admit, for a time, I stopped going to the weekly group conversations. Okay, for quite a lengthy time. I chose to study on my own, but I realized that in order to increase my comfort, I needed to stretch myself. That is the most perplexing paradox of this entire conversation. Yes, we need comfort to be and reflect confidence, but confidence can only be gained if we choose to grow, learn and step outside of our comfort zone.
Below are just a few examples of arenas that require each of us to experiment, stretch ourselves and try new things in order to gain the confidence we seek:
However, it requires balance. Don't put yourself entirely in uncomfortable scenarios all of the time. Stretch yourself just enough so that you are always able to be growing rather than regressing. For me, on top of trying to develop new friendships as well as learning a new language, I found that I needed to separate the two so that I could be my confident, authentic self with those who were just beginning to know me. So I struck a balance, communicated with them that I wanted dearly to build our friendship, but felt learning a language simultaneously wasn't going to work for me. And they completely understood.
When we can come home to a place that allows us to feel comfort, we can then be recharged to go back out and try something new, but we must have a sanctuary of comfort always available to us to retreat to get that fix. The sanctuary of comfort may be your actual house or apartment or it may be a person, an activity or a particular place. The key begins with knowing yourself. Not only knowing what you like and dislike, what makes you feel comfortable and uncomfortable, but why you feel and prefer what you do. Knowledge is truly power, not only as an approach to life, but as well when it comes to understanding ourselves and living our best lives.
~Similar posts from the Archives you might enjoy:
~Why Not . . . Read? (three part series)
~Blind Date (Un peu, beaucoup, aveuglément)
~Starring Mélanie Bernier and Clovis Cornillac (2015)
~Find Blind Date on Netflix here
Image: Paris Vogue, 1974
Mon, 7 November 2016
NYC stylist Tiffani Rogers returns to the podcast to share her new resource for anyone who travels to, loves visiting and shopping in New York City and wants to know the boutiques and worthwhile shops to visit in order to discover stylish treasures that will last for many seasons to come in their capsule wardrobe.
Just released last month, Tiffani has compiled a guide of her hand-picked shops around the island of Manhattan. With more than 14 pages of detailed descriptions organized by neighborhood, enjoy shopping in the city again.
A digital download available to you immediately upon purchase, save and shop as soon as your shoes hit the pavement.
~TSLL readers have been given an exclusive discount to save $10 off the regular price. Simply enter promo code SIMPLYLUX.
~Items talked about during the episode:
~click here for the recipe and more pics.
~View more episodes of The Simple Sophisticate podcast here.
Mon, 31 October 2016
"We need to replace the Romantic template with a psychologically-mature vision of love we might call Classical, which encourages in us a range of unfamiliar but hopefully effective attitudes: - that it is normal that love and sex may not always belong together - that discussing money early on, upfront in a serious way is not a betrayal of love - that realising that we are rather flawed, and our partner is too, is of huge benefit to a couple increasing the amount of tolerance and generosity in circulation. - that we will never find everything in another person, nor they in us, not because of some unique flaw, but because of the way human nature works. - that we need to make immense and often rather artificial-sounding efforts to understand one another; that intuition can’t get us where we need to go. - that spending two hours discussing whether bathroom towels should be hung up or can be left on the floor is neither trivial nor unserious; that there is special dignity around laundry and time-keeping.
All these attitudes and more belong to a new, more hopeful future for love." —Alain de Botton
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #128
As young children many of us were told of a Prince Charming and a damsel needing rescue. Perhaps we were babysat by one too many viewings of Cinderella, the Little Mermaid or Snow White, and as we grew, the bombardment of the idea that of being incomplete, incapable and reeking of subtle desperation until that one special person found the young woman in need of assistance (in modern movies consider Pretty Woman, Dirty Dancing, Jerry Macquire, The Proposal, The Holiday, the list could go on forever) continued to viewed, digested, absorbed and unconsciously accepted as "how it will all someday work out if I am to be truly happy". While indeed times and some films are trying to make a shift, think Frozen, the reality is, the myth of a soulmate continues to be peddled, sold and accepted as the one thing, if we haven't found, we need to in order to realize true contentment. The funny thing is, or should I say, the breath-of-fresh air that I hope to share with you today is actually to become your own soulmate. And what I mean by this is what I will explain below. Believe it or not, I am absolutely a romantic, but there are some things, as I have discussed before, that must be de-romanticized. The soulmate myth is one of them, and it is the primary reason your love life, and your life in general, has been hobbled. Even if you think your love life is flourishing and you believe you've found your soulmate, believe it or not, this relationship you adore and treasure can be strengthened even more by letting go of this cultural, marketing myth. Earlier this year, best-selling writer Alain de Botton published The Course of Love: A Novel which I read and shared my thoughts on here. The gift of the novel is that it walks readers through the reality of two imperfect people, not unlike many of us who are searching and learning as we love about ourselves, about our lover, about life, etc. And as it walks through years of a relationship it reveals more of the truths that movie producers don't want us to consider: the boring but necessary parts. For example, recognizing that “Love is a skill, not just an enthusiasm.” I often discuss the power of getting to know ourselves on this blog, but the dirty work of getting to know ourselves and the evidence that we have been successful is when we understand the science as well. Such as hormones and in which instances they are released and what they can do to our moods and therefore our actions; willpower - understanding its finite nature and how to conserve it as much as possible; and emotional intelligence - being able to remove ourselves from emotions that appear seemingly instinctively and having the tools to investigate why we are feeling the way we are feeling in certain scenarios in order to move past them successfully. Often we may presume that our partner needs to fill our voids, fix our hurts and protect us from the parts of the world that scare us, but the reality is when we seek this solution to our woes, it's just a bandaid covering a wound that hasn't been tended to properly. Therefore, it will never heal as well as it could. How can we heal the parts of us that seem impossible to fix? By addressing them. By doing the dirty and seemingly difficult work of understanding why certain things in our lives aren't working as we would like them to. Having trouble financially? The solution is not to find someone who makes money, but to figure out how to manage the money you do have well and begin to be the master of money and how to earn the living you seek or live within the means you already have. As Lisa Martinez pointed out last year in an article for Verily, "invest more of [your] time in becoming a better version of [yourself]". Why? Investing time in winnowing away the aspects that are no longer serving you, coming to better understand how to handle your emotions, recognizing barriers you have in your life and then discovering the tools to work around them, as well as learning how to effectively communicate with others is a gift not only to anyone who you are in a relationship with, but a gift to yourself as well. Once you invest in yourself, you will find you enjoy your own company. You will no longer need to fill your life with appointments, responsibilities that don't support the life you wish you live, and anything to busy yourself so that you don't have to sit quietly with yourself from time to time. You will bring yourself a peace that multiplies your comfort, contentment and therefore your happiness. And who doesn't want to be around someone who is at peace with themselves and doesn't project or throw their pain onto others? The person you need in your life is your best self, and that self is in many ways your soulmate. But why not get rid of the word all together? As Alain de Botton points out "Our strongest cultural voices have - to our huge cost - set us up with the wrong expectations." Love is a very good thing to welcome into our lives, but it has become distorted in part because of the expectation we have brought into our vocabulary with the term soulmate. And it is up to each of us to recognize the perversion of love that is portrayed in media and the culture of which we are part of and come to understand what a loving relationship truly is while removing the need to label the person we would like to welcome into our lives, into the most intimate part of our lives, our soulmate. Because the truth of the matter is there is no truth to the existence of a soulmate. Yes, the dictionary defines it as the a person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner, but do you know how words come to be Webster's Dictionary? Consider the word "selfie" which was just added to the Oxford dictionary in 2014 and Webster's in 2013. Words are added to the dictionary as the culture begins using it as a common colloquialism, and therefore, a need arises to define it for the broad populous. The term "soulmate" purports to assume that we are one half of a whole as it originated from the ancient tale of Aristophanes involving two-headed hermaphroditic giants who were cleaved apart by a jealous Zeus, fated thereafter to forever seek their other halves. But here's the part where we need to pause, take a deep breath and think rationally. Growth is a choice. And some of us will continue to choose to grow and learn and progress, while some will embark on some growth and still others will be quite content to remain stagnant (ironically, even by staying stagnant, we are changing, just not in a beneficial manner). The soulmate theory is fallacious because it presumes we are fixed entities, never-changing and always remaining the same and as well the other half that we seek will be stagnant too, never having changed since being born. As discussed here in Psychology Today, "growing apart" in marriages is a common reason for a union's dissolution. Humans are, just as the world is, forever changing, learning new information about themselves and the world and choosing different ways to move forward through life. It doesn't mean that a relationship cannot endure, it just means awareness of this life truth is crucial, and to return to Alain de Botton's words "love is a skill". The story of a relationship, when the two individuals meet, connect and seem to speak the same language, is only the first chapter. The rest of the story is a conscious choice to invest, learn, listen, communicate, to express kindness and recognize within ourselves the truth behind what we feel when something new arises. The term soulmates limits us, confines us and keeps our feet in cement deterring a relationship from truly flourishing. Yes, it requires the two involved to be present, attentive and brave, but much like choosing to make the most out of our one and only life and reach our fullest potential, the path to a relationship's fullest potential is one with two people who are aware of the truth and open to learning, listening and finding strength to do what is best for both themselves and the person they are in a relationship with. So, the word soulmates? Let it go and liberate yourself whether you are in a relationship or not, seeking a relationship or not, because when you do, you open the door to yes, more responsibility on your part, but as they (albeit in reverse), when you take on the great responsibilities, you give yourself so much more power in living the life that will bring you true contentment. ~SIMILAR POSTS from the Archives you might enjoy:
~In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs by Grace Bonney
~Listen to Grace Bonney with Garance Doré on the Pardon my French podcast here
Mon, 24 October 2016
Inspired by Sarah Lavoine's new book Chez Moi: Decorating Your Home and Living Like a Parisienne, discover 20 of my favorite tips and ideas for living well in your sanctuary as we talk about decor, dining, style and lifestyle ideas inspired by a Parisienne who lives and decorates with effortless style.
This week's Petit Plaisir introduces the newest addition to TSLL brand: the "Live Simply, Live Well" notepads which have in full-color the newest illustration by Inslee on the layout.
Mon, 17 October 2016
One of the most important skills we can learn and implement into our lives on a regular basis is understanding that in order to have healthy relationships, a content life and a sense of freedom is to learn how to set clear boundaries in order to be able to open ourselves up so that others can truly know who we are and what we can offer to the world.
In today's episode discover the benefits of establishing boundaries, come to understand if you need to re-enforce the boundaries you have attempted and learn where in your life you may want to incorporate boundaries.
This week's Petit Plaisir is a Francophile book that will offer inspiration for your home, your style and your everyday life. The recently released book by Sarah Lavoine, Chez Moi: Decorating Your Home and Living like a Parisienne.
Mon, 10 October 2016
Letting go of what is no longer serving us is something we have to be consciously reminded of, and one of the most detrimental ways we don't serve ourselves well is the stories we accept as truth that limit our potential. In today's episode discover the importance of letting go of bad service and the benefits that will abound in your life when you do.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, mini apple pies that offer the perfect balance of tart and sweet flavor.
Mon, 3 October 2016
Inspired by Julia Child and her determination to publish what we all now know as a masterpiece, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, in today's episode discover a clear path to making the goal you desire come to fruition, and it all begins with having a plan.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, a new favorite magazine for anyone who loves to beautiful decor, traveling, cooking and identifies as being either an Anglophile or a Francophile.
Mon, 26 September 2016
Fall is as Lauren DeStefano states, the grand finale, when the world shares the most beautiful and bountiful produce, experiences and offerings. In today's episode discover routines and items to incorporate each year into the much anticipated fall season.
This week's Petit Plaisir is a fun romantic comedy that was just released and Shannon thoroughly enjoyed: Bridget Jones's Baby. Tune in to find out why.
Mon, 19 September 2016
Having self-compassion can have a powerfully positive effect on our overall quality of life. When we consider how we treat ourselves and recognize that the self-criticism we thought was beneficial is actually detrimental, the change is most certainly welcome. Discover 7 benefits as well as ideas for being self-compassionate in today's episode.
This week's Petit Plaisir is a favorite dessert of Shannon's: Tarte au Citron. Simple, sweet, and delicious.
Mon, 12 September 2016
As schedules begin to change with summer fading into fall, why not maintain the tranquility we adored during the leisurely months? Discover 14 daily habits to incorporate into your life that will ensure more contentment and more peace.
In this week's Petit Plaisir a beautiful memoir by Isabel Vincent, Dinners with Edward is discussed and highly recommended.
Mon, 5 September 2016
Have you resigned yourself to the idea that at a certain age things (not so great things) just happen to us? Well, no more! Inspired by Dr. Frank Lipman's new book 10 Reasons You Feel Old and Get Fat and How You Can Stay Young, Slim, and Happy! discover the 10 myths that we need to relinquish and how we can change the way we are living right now to make a tremendously positive difference for the rest of our lives.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, discover a Decadent Fig Appetizer. With only four ingredients and 15 minutes, you will have an appetizer to cause your tastebuds to dance.
Mon, 29 August 2016
When we don't know the path we should be taking or the role model we thought would lead us to our contentment but instead leads us to feeling as though something is missing, it is the decision to never give up that will ultimate be the key to finding what truly makes us happy. Just as much as never giving up, it is being determined to get to know yourself that is crucial. Today's episode shares examples and insight into ensuring that these two keys are worth pursuing.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, a simple touch to your home decor that is inexpensive and sure to bring great pleasure.
Sat, 27 August 2016
New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Brown joins me on the podcast to talk about her latest novel The Light of Paris. Discover her inspiration for the novel, her thoughts on mother-daughter relationships, the importance of finding our own truth about who each of us has the potential to be and her favorite thing to do in Paris.
Mon, 22 August 2016
Joining me on the podcast today is author and blogger from New Zealand Fiona Ferris. Inspired by her blog How to Be Chic, her new book, which was just released this past June, Thirty Days of Chic offers detailed, simple, yet thoughtful ways to cultivate a more contented life. Inspired by the French culture, Fiona discusses not only her book, but new plans for her own life, how she came to find peace being herself, being an introvert and a wonderful story about Coco Chanel.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, Julia Child's cooking show, The French Chef is discussed and recommended.
Mon, 15 August 2016
The key to cultivating a life we love living is to know what works best for us. Each individual person will discover rules that are unique to them. The trick is knowing how to determine which rules we should follow. In today's episode discover specific ways to help you find what rules will work for you and how your life will be elevated when you do so.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, a simple salad that is full of flavor. Serve as a side to a delicious barbecued hamburger on a brioche bun, pair with a glass of wine and dinner is served!
Mon, 8 August 2016
A busy world pushes us to be busy as well, and we aren't, we may at times feel as though we aren't doing what we should. On the contrary, the banishment of busy and the ability to embrace a calm and tranquil approach is the key to living a life of quality and true fulfillment. Today's episode discusses in-depth the eight benefits of banishing busy from your life.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, discover a simple approach to your weekly grocery routine that will enable you to stay within your budget, always satiate your tastebuds and and simplify your approach in the kitchen. TSLL Capsule Weekly Menu Planning Pages, Sample Menu and detailed approached is discussed and shared.
Mon, 1 August 2016
One of the most popular requests readers have for upcoming episodes and blog posts is how I manage my time as I balance two full time jobs. Today I am sharing with you 13 habits that I have incorporated into my daily, weekly and monthly routines that enhances the quality of my life and the productivity.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, a comfort food recipe that is über simple and wonderfully delicious: Spaghetti Vongole.
Mon, 25 July 2016
Self-reliance, the ability to understand and be in-tune with our inner calling is a easy to do if we are by ourselves, but it is the ability to participate, involve ourselves and enjoy society while remaining true to ourselves and are innate talents and passions that cultivates a life full of more contentment. Inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson's 1841 essay "Self-Reliance", discover 16 benefits you can welcome into your life by living a life of self-reliance.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, a Francophile Find! Julie Barlow & Jean-Benoît Nadeau's new book The Bonjour Effect is discussed and recommended.
Mon, 18 July 2016
So much of our happiness is entirely in our control, and with these 11 simple ways to immediately shift your mood from a frown to happiness, based on a handful of scientific studies, you can begin to change the quality of your days in an instant.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, two simple ways to enhance your everyday experience. First TSLL Notepads with exclusive full-color Inslee Fariss illustrations are now available at The Simply Luxurious Life: To-Do lists, and To Market, to Market (grocery list). Also, Martha Beck's The Joy Diet book is recommended.
Mon, 11 July 2016
NYC Stylist Tiffani Rogers of Style by Tiffani discusses this season's summer trends (what to save and splurge on), how to style your own capsule wardrobe, how to master the busy schedule being an entrepreneur demands as well as finding the balance in the everyday. A friend for more than seven years, Tiffani's enthusiasm and energy are intoxicating, and her savvy for style is all about quality over quantity.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, inspired by a book mentioned in our discussion, I recommend an audio version of this best-selling book: Bossy Pants by Tina Fey
Mon, 4 July 2016
Inspired by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney's best-selling book Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, in this episode of the podcast, the 8 benefits of honing this power skill as well as 12 strategies for preserving willpower so that each and everyday you can reach its full potential.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, it's all about pasta on a crostini. Yep! Except without the pasta. Trust me, it's delicious. Discover my Carbonara Crostini recipe that is simple and delicious.
Mon, 27 June 2016
Being able to your kitchen and cook whatever, whenever you want is doable as long as your pantry, refrigerator, freezer and countertop are stocked with the necessary items. In today's episode discover a list of 34 must-have items that will ensure a wonderful and delicious meal is possible each and every time.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, Three-Mustard Chicken, a simple, short, but top-quality ingredient list that will have you sitting down and enjoying in 45 minutes.
Mon, 20 June 2016
Tony-award winning creator, director and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda recently shared a quote about his reason for writing the musical Hamilton. Using his words as inspiration, discover four fundamental tools for reaching your full potential, and along the way amazing yourself as to what you were capable of.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, a new recipe for wrapping up spring and welcoming the summer season: a blueberry rhubarb galette.
Mon, 13 June 2016
Sometimes we can push ourselves so hard that when we do finally take a moment to assess how we're doing, we don't trust that we're doing well. This simple checklist offers 21 reasons to demonstrate that yes, you're are doing quite well indeed as you live the life you work so hard to enjoy.
Also, in this week's Petit Plaisir, Shannon reviews the new piece of fiction The Course of Love by Alain de Botton which will be released June 14th. Be sure to enter to win your free copy.
Mon, 6 June 2016
Discover 10 tools that will help you squash the regular negative thoughts that pop up from time to time no matter how wonderful our lives may be going. Moments of self-doubt, uncertainty, these tools will help you combat the negativity immediately so that no unnecessary time or energy is wasted and you can continue to move forward positively.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, a 2014 French film, Sex, Love & Therapy starring Sophie Marceau and Patrick Bruel. A delightful romantic comedy.
Mon, 30 May 2016
Whether you own or rent, whether your place is large or small, even if you've lived in your space for decades or only a few months, these 11 simple tips will make your home your new sanctuary all without calling a contractor or breaking the bank.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, discover a book that will improve your sleep and improve the overall quality of your life: Arianna Huffington's new book The Sleep Revolution: Transform Your Life One Night at a Time
Mon, 23 May 2016
In this week's Petit Plaisir, a simple staple item for your capsule wardrobe that is on sale and works well for anyone who loves to layer.
Mon, 16 May 2016
Is effortless style truly ever effortless? In short, yes. Today discover the five steps to tend to to ensure effortless style that will become a habit worth incorporating into your everyday.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, discover a simple, yet absolutely delicious recipe for two: Rustic Apple Tart for Two.
Mon, 9 May 2016
Inspired by blogger, author, photographer and illustrator Garance Doré book Love, Life, Style, the topic of beauty and how to truly feel beautiful is discussed in today's episode.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, a home decor item that will add that extra something or be a perfect house warming gift.
Mon, 2 May 2016
The difference between being an Adult and being a Grown-up is choice. And with the choice comes the decision to choose to grow. Growth as we know isn't always easy, but the result of choosing to venture down the path into being a Grown-up is to gain a life full or contentment and an increased quality of living in both our relationships with others and ourselves. In today's episode discover 12 characteristics of growth exercised by Grown-ups.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, discover my new Francophile Find that will help you with your language skills in 15 short minutes each time you tune in: Coffee Break French!
Mon, 25 April 2016
What is the secret for those who have found contentment when it comes to dealing with uncertainty? In today's episode we dive into the 10 specific distinctions that help contentment thrive in an uncertain world.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, a feel good song that will have you on your feet and tapping your toes as well as everything else.
And it's the 100th episode of The Simple Sophisticate, so we're celebrating by offering an exclusive, one week only drastic discount on signed copies of TSLL book. Tune in to find out how to purchase your copy or gifts for the upcoming graduation ceremonies and Mother's Day celebrations.
Mon, 18 April 2016
The obstacles in life can understandably be frustrating, but perhaps a reframing of them is all we need to see the beauty in them. Tune in today to see exactly why that obstacles that's been keeping you stuck in your tracks is exactly what will help you soar beyond your expectations.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, I'm sharing my go-to breakfast for nearly everyday of the week: simple, delicious and satiating. Buttery Steel Cut Oats.
Mon, 11 April 2016
How we speak is just as powerful as what we say. In today's episode, discover nine tips on how to improve the way you speak so that you can foster and improve the connections you make both in your professional and personal world.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, Francophiles, cooks and gardeners will want to get their hands on this hybrid of a cookbook and French-living guide. Susan Herrmann Loomis' latest book (released in 2015) is a gem. In a French Kitchen: Tales and Tradition of Everyday Home Cooking in France
Mon, 4 April 2016
Our everyday lives can be as grand and full based on how we live. Instead of the size of the house, it is the energy, beauty and details we cultivate that determine the quality of our sanctuary. Discover 16 tips and ideas to elevate the quality of your everyday life.
This week's Petit Plaisir is a simple seasonal suggestion, welcome tulips into your home. Also discover how to best pick and ensure long-lasting blooms with each bouquet.
Mon, 28 March 2016
The creator of the internationally enjoyed blog My French Country Home and author of her new book My Stylish French Girlfriends, Sharon Santoni joins me on today's episode. Discussing all things French, specifically brocante collecting, how to find and pursue your passion and the key to a happy, passionate life, Sharon will remind listeners about why we love the lifestyle of the French.
This week's Petit Plaisir is a French dessert that is simple and absolutely delicious — Clafoutis aux Poires.
Mon, 21 March 2016
Inspired by Amy Cuddy's best selling book Presence, discover how to cultivate your personal power in your everyday life and what the benefits are of having it.
This week's Petit Plaisir is a romantic comedy starring Lake Bell & Simon Pegg, Man Up.
Mon, 14 March 2016
Inspired by the recently released and best-selling book by Rebecca Traister, All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation, this episode is for all women. Revealing three truths and seven myths, discover how the advancements of single women are opening doors for everyone.
Mon, 7 March 2016
The "everydays" make up the quality of our lives, so it is how we spend these days that is vitally important. Discover 15 everyday habits to practice and by incorporating will create ensure everyday is full of contentment and true happiness.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, a simple decor addition to establish a ritual that will enhance your everyday life.
Mon, 29 February 2016
The importance of a healthy social well-being involves three primary components: the relationships we have with ourselves, our community and friends as well as our significant other, but how do we go about building one that works for us? That is precisely what we will discuss in this week's episode.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, a new podcast to add to your weekly listening! Pardon My French from Garance Doré.
Mon, 22 February 2016
Whether an introvert or an extravert, time to be with ourselves is the key to a deep satisfaction with life and the path we choose. Inspired by Frédéric Lenoir's best-selling book Happiness: A Philosopher's Guide, discover specifically how solitude is beneficial for us all.
This week's Petit Plaisir is a Francophile podcast to not only help you with your French but satiate your curiosities about the French culture.
Sun, 21 February 2016
The latest news and world events along with a dash of inspiration and a brush up on French language and culture. Tune in to become up-to-date in fewer than fifteen minutes each Sunday morning.
Mon, 15 February 2016
Often while it can be easy to see the weaknesses or strengths in others' relationships, it can be hard when we're in the middle of them. As a way to develop an intuition about red flags we should heed, tune in to today's podcast to discover 18 red flags that you should take notice of and not ignore.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, a simple, classic French lunch that took me back to my summer of studying abroad in Angers, France.
Sun, 14 February 2016
The latest news and world events along with a dash of inspiration and a brush up on French language and culture. Tune in to become up-to-date in fewer than fifteen minutes each Sunday morning.
Mon, 8 February 2016
Inspired by Gary Chapman's #1 New York Times best-selling book The 5 Love Languages, discover how to effectively communicate your love for you partner to them, but as well, understand how to know if whom you are with is someone destined to be your life partner. In other words determine if you are merely "in love" but not experiencing real love.
This week's Petit Plaisir, TSLL App is now available for Android users! Discover all of the new enhancements and capabilities on The Simply Luxurious Life app that has been available to iTunes users for some time, but now is available for free on Google Play as well.
Sun, 7 February 2016
The latest news and world events along with a dash of inspiration and a brush up on French language and culture. Tune in to become up-to-date in fewer than fifteen minutes each Sunday morning.
Mon, 1 February 2016
Knowing how to trust the timing of your life can be confusing, but in today's episode Shannon outlines seven specific ways to become in tune with your unique life's journey and most important enjoy the ride.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, a favorite cozy mystery series is shared by author M.L. Longworth.
Sun, 31 January 2016
Mon, 25 January 2016
One of the primary pillars of living a happy life is finding the courage within yourself to be brave. It is never easy, but the results are well worth it. Today, discover the 13 benefits of being brave.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, Shannon reveals the exclusive TSLL Planner Templates which include the stylish illustrations by Inslee only found on The Simply Luxurious Life brand.
Sun, 24 January 2016
Mon, 18 January 2016
Today the differences between Strengths and Skills will be shared, along with the significant difference that will have a profoundly positive effect on your everyday life and the future direction you wish to go.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, a simple and delicious skillet chicken recipe that includes the trinity of Italian cooking: basil, mozzarella and tomatoes. 30 minutes to yum!
Sun, 17 January 2016
Mon, 11 January 2016
As the new year begins, the idea of how to create a happier life may be at the forefront of our minds, but what does that mean? Inspired by Dr. Seligman's book Authentic Happiness, discover 18 specific habits to cultivate in your daily life that will improve the happiness you experience.
In this week's Petit Plaisir, a simple weekly habit that costs fewer than $10 and will bring immense happiness.
Sun, 10 January 2016
Mon, 4 January 2016
Inspired by Brené Brown's speech titled "The Anatomy of Trust", today's episode focuses on the specific definition of what trust entails, how we can build trust in our relationships and strengthen the often forgotten element of trust, self-trust.
This week's Petit Plaisir, Shannon shares her recommendation and review of Mozart in the Jungle.
Sun, 3 January 2016