Back to Simple in 2015

Jan 01, 2015


“Out of intense complexities, intense simplicities emerge.” – Winston Churchill

It seems to me that we experience the greatest pleasure after having not savored such a pleasure for an extended period of time, yet knowing based on previous experience, what it is to swim in its goodness. A bite into a buttery pain au chocolat at Poilâne in Paris after having been away for far too long, the caress of a loved one’s hand on our skin, an hour free of responsibility and full of calm after a busy week has come to an end, the sight of the ocean and smell of the salty waves as they waft over the sand after having been land-locked for too many months on end, or simply a decadent night’s sleep uninterrupted and naturally aroused by our body’s sleep clock. These are such pleasures that are only a taste of what are worthy of savoring especially when we have been deprived of their presence.

At the heart of The Simply Luxurious Life is not only the desire, but the need for simplicity. To get back to the basics of living well which requires of us all to who seek such a life to rid our lives, our minds and our bodies of the excess, the unnecessary.

And so I find myself, while beyond satisfied to have reached a long sought after goal with the book’s publication last month, vigorously seeking a life in which I can savor more fully what a quality everyday life can be. Over the past two weeks during my holiday break, I found myself cherishing the simple moments of either sipping a hot cup of tea, conversing with a good friend in long conversation, reading a purely pleasurable novel, gazing out the window on a snowy morning or snuggled up by the fire watching a favorite film, beyond intoxicating. And in soaking up such moments, I was reassured that indeed this is the life I have been wishing to cultivate. This is the life I have worked to curate so that I can be my best self, not only for myself but for those I love.

Now, per Churchill’s quote above, it is often the case that we must strive through complex, demanding or exhausting times in order to arrive at a full appreciation of a simple way of being.

So to be clear, in order to get “back to simple”, we must first have experienced the contrary concept – complexity, complicated, elaborate, superfluous, convoluted, cluttered, difficult, unclear, etc.

Most definitely, the goal over the past five years here on TSLL has been to bring more simplicity, thus bringing a more luxurious way of living into our everyday lives, but this year, the driving intention is to return to simplifying our lives in every aspect. From relationships to food to tidying up the home to entertaining to our attitudes as we go about reaching our full potential.

Why get back to simple?

  • To allow what we cherish most in our lives to shine and blossom into what it is capable of when not strangled by extra demands, negative thoughts, and the “should”s in life that really do not improve our lives
  • To bring more moments of absolute joy and contentment
  • To slow down our lives so that we can fully appreciate and enjoy this one and only life that we have

How do we get back to simple? Here are just a few specific ideas to jump start this way of living in your everyday life:

1. Be honest. Tactful, but honest.

2. Choose relationships over things. Build trust, give respect, learn to communicate effectively, be appreciative no matter how small of action it may seem.

3. Eat real food. Savor the food you eat. Eat well, but in moderation. Don’t deprive, have a glass of wine, put the real butter in the recipe and don’t skip the pancetta.

4. Select bud vases instead of large bouquets to bring a touch of Mother Nature indoors without breaking the bank.

5. Refuse to view advertisements. Rely on your DVR, apps, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime to save time and eliminate persuasion.

6. Style a uniform attire that flatters and functions ideally for your life. Purchase separates in different colors, shoes of the same style in different textures and designs, and choose jewelry that is simple, yet complementary.

7. Cook at home.

8. When in doubt, be kind. 

9. Use one credit card and pay it off monthly. If you can’t, stop using it.

10. When hosting a cocktail party, offer two drink choices plus water. 

11. Choose to set intentions rather than goals. Remind yourself of your intention each morning.

12. Less texting, more talking. Tone, pauses, pacing, all are missed when we don’t hear or see the other person speak the words they wish to share.

13. Break free. Step away from past hurts, stop assuming the worst and put your best positive energy out there. People, including yourself would much rather spend time with a sincere optimist, than a cynical realist.

14. Find time to spend more time with nature. Walks, hang a bird-feeder in your yard or outside your window, open a window, let the sunshine in, get off the beaten path and explore.

15. Always have signature thank you notes on hand. (My favorite.)

16. Stock your “company cupboard” with favorite teas and coffee blends for guests who stop by for a short visit. 

17. Keep a stocked bar or wine rack if you need something stronger for an unexpected guest. 

18. Opt for white dishes.

19. Choose being well-read over well-known. The former offers invaluable information in which you can control, the latter is out of your hands.

20. Choose experiences over things.

21. Err on the side of being a Romantic with only a foundation of a realist. (capitalization chosen on purpose)

22. Treat your body like the precious treasure that it is. Polish, polish, polish so that it, and thereby, you, can shine.

Each of these topics will be an area that will be explored as 2015 begins. You will notice that only a few of the above include fashion or clothing, and while I will never get away from style as it is a form of powerful communication, I will be focusing more on inspiration (Tuesday’s Style Inspiration) and separates that you can bring into your wardrobe so as to add to the overall quality and versatility to your capsule wardrobe. I will encourage you to invest so that you can relax when it comes to clothing. In other words, when you purchase an item knowing the cost per wear will be a wise investment, you can relax knowing you look your best, you don’t have to be shopping each weekend and your bank account won’t be unnecessarily stretched as you will know what to look for your style.

What will this year’s blogging schedule look like?

  • MondayMotivational/Inspirational post/podcast (always how to live a simply luxurious life, sometimes style, entertaining, decorating, but always a great way to kick off the week). Posted live on the blog and The Simple Sophisticate podcast on iTunes.
  • TuesdayStyle Inspiration
  • Wednesday or ThursdayThoughts from the Editor, extra news and inspiration that catches my attention and I can’t wait to share.
  • FridayThis & That, (the latest books, music, films, sales, articles, etc)
  • Weekly Newsletter –  delivered every Friday to subscribers, full of the past week’s posts, first-to-know TSLL news, plus an extra dose of inspiration exclusive to subscribers (learn more and how to sign up here)

Without question 2015 will be full of ways to curate a life of quality, so you can revel in what you have placed at the top of your priority list. It will be a year that will require purposeful attention and clear intention, but in doing so, you can then let go and let your life mosey where it wishes. And as it goes along the path that you have nudged it along, amazing, beautiful, often seemingly magical events will occur.

I look forward to hearing about your journey along the way and sharing mine with you as the year unfolds. May your new year begin auspiciously, and thank you for choosing to stop by The Simply Luxurious Life. Bonjour.

~Start the new year off with the basic tools for building your own simply luxurious life with the purchase of Choosing The Simply Luxurious Life: A Modern Woman’s Guide (available in paperback and eBook format at Amazon and Barnes & Noble). 

~POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:

~To a Simply Luxurious 2012

~What a Simply Luxurious Life Looks Like to Me

~Why Not . . . Make This Your Year?

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14 thoughts on “Back to Simple in 2015

  1. Hi Shannon. Wow this article expands on my thoughts at midnight. After a crazy year of traumatic events. Husband diagnosed with incurable cancer, scary surgery & then subsequent mini stroke, we’ve lived last year at a manic pace. We’ve also 2 parents with severe dementia & recently suffered the loss of our beloved dog. I’ve used simplifying as a coping strategy. With capsule wardrobes, decluttered home & simplified diet I’ve felt more able to cope. However I now feel a need for a slower more gentle pace & I’m delighted with this article. I really appreciate the help & guidance you provide in your consistently excellent articles.

  2. Shannon, thank you! 2014 was a year of difficult changes, and only in December did I discover your blog, and what a difference your posts and podcasts have made to me! And your book! I’m looking forward to travelling through 2015 with your gorgeous take on life.

  3. Re #3 & #5: Last year, without making a resolution to do so, I started eating not only more healthfully, but more abundantly. It started with reading the book Real Food by Nina Planck. I digressed into reading more books on the subject — how dairy, fats that come from real food, and grass fed/ free range meat are not bad for you, presuming that you eat them in moderation. The real enemy in the modern diet is processed food, with refined carbohydrates and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils leading the way. From my extensive reading, I cut WAY down on carbs, switched to organic and/or free-range everything, and cut out alcohol and coffee. I enjoy cooking more than ever, since I am using the best quality ingredients, and in season. And my husband and I both enjoy my cooking more than ever.

    Re #5: Refuse to view advertisements. Yes! Madison Avenue knows how to make you desire things that you don’t really need. A few years back, we cut the cord on our TV; we no longer have either cable or satellite. It wasn’t so much to do away with ads; we just couldn’t justify the expense when we seldom watched TV anymore. There is just so much else to do in life, and when I want to “veg out”, I do so with a book. We have Netflix for watching shows that we actually want to watch — rather than whatever happens to be on. The only time I see an televised ad is when we go to a restaurant that has a TV over the bar (a trend I hate). As far as the inserts in the newspapers, I generally recycle them unread. I’ve even cut WAY back on magazines, and here it is because of all the ads they run. There is more ad than content, and it makes anything they “recommend” suspect if the product is also an advertiser. Besides, since I’ve developed my own style, I no longer have to see what is in fashion. Fashion is for people who haven’t developed a sense of style.

  4. Just received my copy of the book. It really is quite an achievement to be proud of. Lots of insight into life for someone so young, you must be an “old soul”. Thanks so much for always keeping it fresh. Love the blog as well as the podcast. One small thing, Ms Vreeland’s first name is Diana not Diane.

  5. Every single item resonated with me. Some already choices firmly in place. Others reminders of what I already know. And then some, such a refreshing new look. Salut and Bonne Annee! Merci Shannon!

  6. At a time when the message from society is go bigger, go faster, do more, it is truly revolutionary to turn off the TV and choose smaller, slower, simpler. Thank you for this reminder and I look forward to journeying with you throughout the year via the blog. Beet wishes!

  7. Happy New Year! I recently found your site and bought your wonderful book. I’ve been enjoying them both so much. I look forward to more wonderful posts in 2015,

  8. Shannon, like all the others mentioned, I am looking forward to your “getting back to simple” themed posts this year.
    Cheers to a fabulous 2015!

  9. Thank you, Shannon, for starting the year with this post that fits the description of a major transition I am making in my life, perfectly. I am switching from doing what others do and following their model of a happy life, to listening to myself and what I want and how I wish to live my life, giving myself permission to create it. The way that others who surround me follow, which I have been journeying thus far, is very complex to me, defying spiritual and common sense, and makes me feel like I’m drowning, sometimes. The path I have chosen for this new year is simple, composed of something I have been curious about for a while and blissful to me.

    Thank you for the inspiration, cheers to simplicity!

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