Tue, 31 January 2023
"Presence is power."
What if I told you that the solution to your quandaries about life, love, work, finding calm, anything of value and importance already resided within you?
While initially this may seem impossible, in actuality, when we dig down deep to the core of our motivations, our hopes and even our fears, the answers rest in being able to hold ourselves in the Present moment consciously on a regular and consistent basis. Now this may seem elementary, even a simpleton answer, but today, I want to share with you why indeed it is true. And how exciting to know that what we have been seeking (and not finding) outside of ourselves has been within our power all along.
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #350
Read the Show Notes - https://thesimplyluxuriouslife.com/podcast350
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 and Anglophiles tune in as France and Britain is a favorite destination), and living life to the fullest without breaking the bank, living well is really quite simple. ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music
Sun, 6 June 2021
"Your life will tell you the truth." —Martha Beck, author of The Way of Integrity: Finding the Path to Your True Self
Divided. Compartmentalized. Unable to give what is needed, not by choice, but by pure, sincere inability due to time and energy. Signs of living a life off the track of the way of integrity.
Martha Beck explains in her new book, The Way of Integrity, the word integrity originates from the Latin integer meaning "in tact" and therefore cementing the definition of integrity as "to be one thing, whole and undivided".
When we are not living a life of integrity, we are not being true to ourselves, nor the world. Now you might be thinking about the general and more commonly understood definition of integrity - living by your 'values' or abiding by the morals society applauds, but this is not what Beck writes about in her book. Instead, Beck looks at the true meaning of the word and applies it to each of us individually, daring to step away from any culture’s expectations - a life of integrity is one when you have aligned your body, mind, heart and soul - your actions, your mental strength, your true self - you set yourself free. In the introduction she uses a phrase commonly known on this blog/podcast - you achieve a sustainable joie de vivre. "You may not believe that such a fulfilling life is possible. It is," Beck states with calm, assured confidence and goes on throughout the rest of the book, speaking from her own incredibly challenging and terrifying and finally liberating life journey, indeed what she shares is true.
"No matter how far you think you've strayed from your true path, the moment you say I'm going to trust myself, I'm going to follow my truth, the healing begins."
Beck's book crossed my path just after I had officially and publicly announced a resolve to live my own life of integrity as I had turned in my resignation papers concluding a 20-year career in teaching public education at the secondary level. I arrived at my decision after more than a few years of hemming and hawing about such a choice being necessary for me to live fully in alignment with what I knew to be true in my heart of hearts. And, as I shared in my May episode of the video series A Cuppa Moments (learn more about becoming a TOP Tier subscriber and discover more intimately why I made this decision here), it wasn't about running away; it was about running toward something I loved even more.
Another way of looking at the way of integrity is much like putting together a puzzle. It can be especially hard to rationalize why we should leave something when on paper and to onlookers everything hums along beautifully, but if the puzzle doesn't allow your true nature to be nurtured, as Beck describes, when you are "rushing to conform . . . often ignoring or overruling [y]our genuine feelings—even intense one, like longing or anguish—to please your culture . . . you've divided yourself. [You] aren't in integrity (one thing) but in duplicity (two things)." In other words, the puzzle isn't your puzzle to be a part of. Having the courage to step away from something that works, even if we languish while others shine is not living a life of integrity.
"When you pursue a career that pulls you away from your true self, your talent and enthusiasm will quit on you like a bored intern."
The question we each need to ask ourselves is, “Does the culture nurture your nature?" Pause for a second before answering because I would have answered yes a couple of years ago as the quality of my overall life improved immensely having moved to Bend, Oregon. And what enabled me to move to this dream-of-a-town in my eyes? A teaching job; however, upon reflection, with more truths revealed, and after reading her book, my answer whilst trying to teach and write, is most certainly no.
Visit the full Show Notes on The Simply Luxurious Life — thesimplyluxuriouslife.com/podcast307
Sun, 18 August 2019
Season 5 of the podcast has wrapped up, and I cannot quite believe The Simple Sophisticate has been producing episodes for five years (debuting in September 2014). But it indeed has, and I am very grateful for listeners and their continued interest, positive reviews and sharing what you love with friends and family.
Today, the full schedule of Season 6 is available (see above). As you can see, it is very similar to Season five's schedule with at least three new episodes for every month through March. While there may be a few more new episodes shared than scheduled, what you see above are the dates on which new episodes are guaranteed to be shared.
If you are new to the podcast, let me explain why I am taking the weeks off in the particular months you see above:
Looking forward to the Season 6 kicking off with a new episode on Monday September 2nd! Thank you for tuning in and have a wonderful week.
Sun, 11 November 2018
233: Inslee Fariss, Manhattan based Artist & Illustrator (and the talented woman behind all of TSLL's artwork)
"I see inspiration everywhere - from the fashion flitting past as I am crossing 7th Avenue to the overgrown flowers exploding from the window boxes of the brownstones of the West Village to the monkeys blinking back at my son and me as we wander through the tropical zone of The Central Park Zoo. It is all waiting to be painted. I often feel giddy, dizzy, overwhelmed by all that there is to paint." —Inslee Fariss
In February 2011 I first came across the watercolor fashion illustrations by Inslee. At the time, my blog was just over a year old, and I was looking for a way to put my signature on the heading. With four images including one of Sarah Jessica Parker in a favorite final scene of SATC, one of Ines de la Fressange and yet another one of Henry Bendel's illustrations of stylish women, I reached out to Inslee who was in Washington D.C. at the time. In a matter of two weeks, after a couple of emails back and forth and one phone call, the first TSLL woman was complete, and I was over the moon (see the woman below in the white dress with red clutch (center)).
Since our first collaboration, Inslee's painting career has blossomed, and she has been living and working in New York City with a studio in the West Village. Painting for Rachel Zoe, working with Elizabeth Arden and many other well known names, she also works on private commissions, some for businesses like TSLL and many for personal stationery, imagery, etc.
As you will hear in our conversation in today's episode of the podcast, she shares her journey to finding what working environment works best for her to create regularly, how and when she knew she had a gift, as well as how one of her figure drawings (nude silhouettes) ended up being purchased by the now Duchess of Sussex (Meghan Markle).~Inslee's illustration purchased by Meghan Markle as discussed on today's episode~
Her observations about enjoying the everyday, what it feels like being a mother to her 17-month-old boy Jackson and where she finds inspiration for her annual calendar are also topics that she talks about.
Since 2011, I feel extremely fortunate to have received 15 exclusive, commissioned illustrations for the blog (12 of which appear in TSLL's 1st book, one which was created for my teaching blog and the final two which appear on TSLL's new book - Living The Simply Luxurious Life and the blog's header). All of the illustrations are below.
As we discuss in today's episode, one of her amazing talents is to create what her customers are envisioning in their minds. She brings to the canvas her knowledge of fashion and style, the human body, as well as the observations of everyday life that we may dismiss or take for granted, but when appreciated can enliven the quotidian moments more than we might have imagined.
Be sure to stop by Inslee's website, shop her recent launch of the 2019 desktop and wall calendars (Book Worm & Botanical) as well as her newly launched 2019 Planners complete with exclusive illustrations and beautiful leather binders from Neely & Chloe (the steel blue one has my eye, but there are more beautiful colors available). You can also shop prints of her illustrations and contact her for a commission project.
Lastly, I want to extend my deep appreciation to Inslee for being a guest on The Simple Sophisticate. Until our next collaboration together!~2019 Book Worm desk top (March)~ ~2019 Wall and desktop Botanical calendar, September~ ~2019 Desktop and Wall Calendars, May~ ~Steel Blue Planner and binder~
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #233
~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify
~View all episodes of THE SIMPLE SOPHISTICATE
SIMILAR EPISODES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
Sponsors for today’s episode:
Mon, 15 May 2017
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #155
~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio
The more I read about Julia Child, especially in her own words, the more I find inspiration regarding how to successfully journey through life. Saying yes to life, remaining curious and refusing to be intimidated by obstacles, unknowns and not knowing how to do something, we all could probably learn something from Julia Child whether we enjoy cooking or just eating good food. And the lessons she provides are applicable in every arena of our lives.
After reading and loving My Life in France, the Petit Plaisir in episode #152, I wanted to come up with a list of some of the life lessons unearthed about how to navigate each of our journeys successfully in Julia's own words. Below are six, but there are far more. If the list intrigues you, I highly recommend picking up her memoir which was published just after her death, as she herself, along with her nephew having completed it just prior.
~Be sure to tune in to the audio as far more detail and conversation are shared on each point.
1. Listen to what stirs you. When a passion worth pursuing presents itself, you'll know.
"Now that I had started writing, I found cookbookery such fulfilling work that I intended to keep at it for years and years."
2. If we choose to, we can change.
"After driving to Rouen, we stopped in for lunch at La Couronne, where we ordered exactly the same meal that we'd had on my first day in France, more than two and a half years earlier: portugaise (oysters), sole meunière, salade verte, fromage blanc, and café filter. Ah me! The meal was just as sublime the second time around, only now I could identify the smells in the air quicker than Paul, order my own food without help, and truly appreciate the artistry of the kitchen. La Couronne was the same, but I had become a different person."
~During the summer of 2018, I had the opportunity while in northern France, to dine at La Couronne. Have a look at my experience in the video below:
3. Self-doubt is natural, and a sign that you truly care about what you are trying to do. Continue to push forward.
"Ah me. There was still so much to learn, and cooking was only half of it. I felt I'd have to teach at least a hundred classes before I really knew what I was doing."
4. Often the first rejection is a test to determine your true desire.
"I sighed. It just might be that The Book was unpublishable. I wasn't feeling sorry for myself.I had gotten the job done, I was proud of it, and now I had a whole batch of foolproof recipes to use. Besides, I had found myself through the arduous writing process. Even if we were never able to publish our book, I had discovered my raison d'être in life, and would continue my self-training and teaching."
5. The key to delicious food is quality ingredients.
"This is the kind of food I had fallen in love with: not trendy, souped-up fantasies, just something very good to eat. It was classic French cooking, where the ingredients have been carefully selected and beautifully and knowingly prepared. Or, in the words of the famous gastronome Curnonsky, 'Food that tastes of what it is'."
~TSLL Capsule Menu (how to create it and the Fall Sample Menu)
6. Time, perseverance and asking for help from experts does pay off
"It would eventually take us two years and something like 284 pounds of flour to try out all the home-style recipes for French bread we could find. We used two French textbooks on baking and tutored ourselves on the fine points of yeasts and flours, yet our best efforts still fell short . . . One day I read a newspaper article about Professor Raymond Calvel, an eminent baker and teacher at the École Française de Meunerie . . . Professor Calvel showed us what we'd been doing wrong, and taught us all about making proper French bread . . . By the end of the day, our loaves were turning out just right, and I was feeling euphoric. It was as though the sun in all his glory had suddenly broken through the shades of gloom!"
~Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume II by Julia Child & Simone Beck
~SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
~Dark Chocolate Truffles, click here for the recipe
Mon, 24 April 2017
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #152
~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio
"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." —Henry David Thoreau
To dream big. To dream beyond others' imagination is a risk. However, to dream so vastly is to reveal one's capacity for hope of what could possibly become reality.
Do you remember what you dreamt about as a child, in particular your daydreams when the sky truly was the limit? Do you remember why you dreamt what you did? More often than not what we dreamt about had more to do with what we thought we would feel, how we presumed our way of life would be and thus the contentment or fulfillment we would reach.
And the exciting news I want to share with you today is that the sky still is the limit. Even as we step into adulthood, our dreams are a roadmap of where we want to go, of what we are passionate about. The important part that we must consciously engage ourselves in is the dissecting of the dreams that refuse to be forgotten.
In other words, look closely at your dreams from childhood. In some form, which ones are you still dreaming about? Maybe as a child you dreamed of traveling the world, partaking in safaris and scaling Mt. Rushmore. Examine now what is dancing through your daydreams. Is it the same thing or is it adventures, perhaps more tame? Look less at the specific destination itself and instead at how you conjectured it would make you feel when you had the opportunity to travel to parts unknown. Perhaps it was the freedom you wanted to always have in your life. Or maybe it was the comfort of nature surrounding you.
If you have the courage to investigate why you dream about what you dream, what you dare to dream in other words, you will find a roadmap to your truest contentment. Along the way as you unearth the truth, you may discover a need to become better skilled in certain arenas, and so you do just that. As you continue to proceed, you are aware of what, while being low on your priority list, is impeding your progress, so you understand why you must let some things go that no longer align with your truest path.
The gift of dreaming big and having the courage to pursue what you've imagined is that what we focus on, in which pursuits we deposit our energy, we help to manifest and eventually nurture into reality.
“The future you see is the future you get.” – Robert G Allen
While it may seem impossible as you gaze at your dream from afar having only just begun or having so much further to travel, the good news is so long as you stay focused, journal regularly, check your subgoals weekly or monthly, you will gradually come closer to what you wish for. Why? Because you are no longer wishing, you are doing. And with each step, with each task completed and each exercise of willpower to say no to what might jeopardize or get in the way, you are inching closer toward making it your reality.
“At first, dreams seem impossible, then improbable, and eventually inevitable.” – Christopher Reeve
Upon moving to Bend, an amazing dream became a reality, calling Bend my hometown. Something I honestly had doubts along the way would ever come true, living, calling home this beautiful mountain, nature-loving, small-town feel with a big city undercurrent. But I never gave up doing what I could to put myself in the best position to give it the potential it needed to materialize.
Now that I have lived here almost two years, a few of my other dreams have seemingly been stalled while others have blossomed beyond my expectation. And as I consider the latter of those two realities, I am reminded that never giving up completely is always the best idea. Sometimes we have to put dreams on the back burner or at least keep working towards them habitually, but what is needed is letting go of the expectation of when they may come to be what we hope they might be. As we do this, we're still making progress, but we're letting go of the pressure, we're recognizing that maybe we really don't have all of the control, but so long as we control what we are able, when the right opportunity presents itself, we will be able to seize the moment.
In moments of doubt, when I am not sure if my dream is even a possibility anymore, I find myself shaking my head. When a step back or a regression of progress appears to be taking place, I want to kick myself and then more doubt is piled on. But then I wonder, what would life be if we didn't have dreams to pursue? Dreams are a form of curiosity, of wondering, can I do this? Am I up to the task? Am I capable? The reassuring answer is, you are absolutely capable, and along the way some pretty amazing moments could happen as well that might open even more unexpectedly splendid doors. And those temporary setbacks, they are going to happen. First, look at why they occurred, and often what you will find is that you were living life, and balancing as you moved forward to navigate what you had to navigate. Simply because you had to take a step back, doesn't mean your progress toward your dream is dashed. It simply means, you may have to reroute, or refuel earlier than expected. But you can do that, no? Because if it is a dream you are ardently passionate about, you will refuel, you will reboot and you will figure out a way to reach your goal.
“Capture your dreams and your life becomes full.” – Nikita Koloff
Imagine the story your life is writing right now. Imagine the anecdotes you are collecting along the way to be appreciated once again upon reflection. View your life as a story, make the choices that will make the reader smile, and since it is a story, accept that there will be moments you do not want or expect, but if you are the savvy writer that I know you are capable of being, you will figure out a way to write a happy ending.
Dream big and let your dreams guide you along your magnificent journey of life.
~SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
~Why Not . . . Achieve Your Dreams? (3 part series)
~My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme
Mon, 13 March 2017
“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” ― Confucius
Having never experienced a particular event, feeling or sensation, it can be hard to trust that attaining what we have marked as our goal as something other than difficult to achieve. After all, if it were easy, we would have experienced it by now. But what has lacked in the past is the proper recipe.
What I mean by the proper recipe is if we are trying to make mayonnaise (which requires few, but specific simple ingredients: 1 large egg yolk, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon cold water, and ¾ cup neutral oil such as safflower or canola), but if we pulled out a recipe for a vinaigrette (extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar and black pepper), no matter how hard or long we whisked the ingredients, we will never make mayonnaise.
This seems obvious, but often in life we are using ingredients (whether it be particular people, misunderstood facts regarding science, neuroscience and biology or confusion when it comes to math) that cannot add up to what we desire no matter how hopeful we are. But when we do finally have the proper ingredients, in other words quality ingredients and stop trying to force an apple to become an orange, the results we desire materialize without involving much effort. And in that moment it seems almost miraculous as we've been thwarted for so long so often in our previous attempts.
Today I've made a list of eleven life skills I have found to be far easier than I had once thought. Perhaps you have a few others you would like to add. And if so, please do share in the comments.
On Sunday I made my first Niçoise salad, and of course, boiled eggs are a quintessential ingredient. Wanting a boiled egg in which the white was solid, but moist and the yolk was runny, I looked to Julia Child. On page 118 in her iconic Mastering the Art of French Cooking, the recipe for an alternative to poached eggs (as I wanter to cook the eggs with the shell on) can be found. Put simply: bring water to boil, place eggs in the boiling water for six minutes, pour out the hot water and run cold water over the eggs for one minute. The perfect boiled egg for salads, breakfast or a mid-day snack. View my recipe for soft boiled eggs and soldiers here.
For years I thought something was wrong with me for not being able to mediate. I assumed, errantly, I had to be able to sit without thinking for endless amounts of minutes (20-30). I was wrong on two points: It's not about stopping your thoughts, but recognizing when they wander and bringing your mind back to the present and longer doesn't mean better. Five minutes is fine, simply observing and knowing your mind is wandering is a significant and successful mediation experience. Learn more about who to incorporate mediation into your daily routine (even if daily is a hope and the reality is a few days a week - the difference is quite positive on your overall quality of life.)
3. Asking clarifying questions
Just ask why. Most likely you are not the only person in the room who did not understand the allusion the speaker or teacher made. Ask for clarification. Don't apologize for not knowing, simply ask what they were referring to. Confidence of a student and their sincerity to learn is revealed in asking for further understanding. Be a student of life and regularly ask questions, especially of people who are experts in their fields. Even if they do not know the answer, they would be the best persons to point you in the right direction. Often an expert takes for granted what the listener knows. It's not a negative thing, it's a reality when someone has been working with a particular idea or content for some time. Their perspective has shifted. So simply ask, and no doubt others in the room will appreciate your courage.
4. Letting go of what no longer supports the life you are building
Looking at the possibility of letting go of a way of life, a person, a job or anything that you have become accustomed to is a thorny prospect. But the actual letting go and moving forward is easy. It's the decision of what to let go that takes time and careful examination. For when you finally let go, it cannot weigh you down and you begin to feel a lightness that you could never have known prior to letting go.
5. Welcoming love into your life
When we have been mistreated, taken advantage of or been around insecure individuals and errant assumptions about what love is (co-dependent, needy, clingy, formulaic, etc.), we can understandably be cautious about believing genuine love exists. Genuine or real love is something we discussed here and here in-depth, but the good news is that it does indeed exist, and when you're ready and able to recognize it, even if you don't believe it when you see it or experience it, welcoming it into your life is easy. Put down the armor, put down the cynical protections you've been using, stop the mishegas thinking and let yourself be loved. Just be you. Stop assuming the worst, stop thinking about anything that may thwart love's growth, and when you do that, love walks in.
6. Broadening your vocabulary
Read. Read often. Read a little every day from any source that piques your interest. Look up one word a week that you run across and do not know. Listen to the diction being used in academic, political, historical films, newscasts and productions. Be curious and read and watch and look up what you do not understand. The more precise your vocabulary, the better able you are to effectively communicate and the more heightened your ability for emotional intelligence.
My favorite board game to play is backgammon. While I have always wanted to learn chess, I have yet to do so (of this feat I will accomplish at some point in my life, I am nothing but determined). But since I was a young girl, backgammon was the game my father and I would play, and we still do when I return home for holidays. It's simple: move all of your checkers to your home base and remove them before the other player. Yes, there are other strategies and details to consider, but for a board game that looks fancy when it is displayed, it truly is quite simple. Discover the rules here.
8. Saving money for retirement
Set it and forget it. Set up an automatic pay reduction each month to be withdrawn from your paycheck. The sooner you do this is your career, the less you will pay no mind to the money that is not going into your checking account for the present moment.
9. Practicing self-compassion
The patient is you. And the attending is you as well. Treat yourself the way you already treat those you care about. The love you are able to give outwardly becomes strengthened when you have been giving the same compassion to yourself regularly. Learn more about self-compassion here in episode #122 of the podcast.
10. Improving your health and your skin
Yes, using particular moisturizers, sunscreen and oils do indeed make a difference, but the cheapest and simplest way to improve your health (ridding your body of toxins) and enable your skin to look radiant is to drink a glass of water before you go to bed and when you wake up. In between, make water your drink of choice. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
11. Staying healthy and trim
It's less about your activity and more about the fuel you feed your body. However, physical exercise reduces stress and keeps the mind balanced. Back to the eating component: Eat a well balanced diet (knowledge of what you eat and what it does for your body is key), don't deprive yourself, moderation. And as far as exercise, simply walk 5 times a week 20-40 minutes, add some weight bearing exercises two times a week (strength, pilates or yoga).
The take away I have discovered is often it is our approach that is thwarting the success, happiness and contentment we seek from materializing. And the problem is that we are not better informed on how to actually attain what we seek. Make sure that anything that is not working at the moment doesn't actually have an easier solution. Are you using the proper ingredients? Do you have the right recipe or did the pages stick together and you, like Rachel in FRIENDS accidentally make a dessert truffle with ground beef? The right recipe can make all of the difference.
~SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
Mon, 6 February 2017
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #141
~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio
Montreal author Isabelle LaFlèche has been an inspiration to me for many reasons. One of which is her tenacity to let go of what she knew and leap into what she loved. All it took was a nudge from an unexpected stranger to remind her of the creative talent patiently waiting to be released. J'adore New York was first published in 2011 to great success and was immediately followed by her second novel following the journey of her protagonist with a conscious when it came to fashion and ample intelligence in J'adore Paris. Two more J'adore journeys have followed taking her readers to Rome and Montreal.
Tune into the interview where Isabelle shared the fateful meeting that changed her life in a matter of months, what it means to have it all, the gift and discovery of taking a risk and much more. Quotes, books and other ideas discussed during the interview:
Learn more about author Isabelle LaFleche::
~Discover more interviews with inspiring women on The Simple Sophisticate podcast:
Book: Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly Film: see trailer below https://youtu.be/5wfrDhgUMGI ~Sponsor of today's episode is Plum Deluxe teas. Based in Portland, Oregon, and offering handcrafted, fresh, organic fair trade teas. Join the monthly tea club and receive an exclusive seasonal tea, free shipping and more for only $10/month. Learn more here.
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.