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

*illustration by artist Sarah Löcker exclusively commissioned for the show

The Simple Sophisticate - Intelligent Living Paired with Signature Style Shannon Ables

    • Образование

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

*illustration by artist Sarah Löcker exclusively commissioned for the show

    340: What If Today Is Going to Be the Best Day of Your Life? How to Let Such a Day Unfold

    340: What If Today Is Going to Be the Best Day of Your Life? How to Let Such a Day Unfold

     


    "The best day in your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. It is an amazing journey, and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins." —Anonymous



    We wake up each day, often in our own bed, in the home that is ours whether directly or indirectly, and our mind too begins to wake up as well. The wheels turn by habit, and it is the habits we have cultivated that determine how we perceive the world, its possibilities, therefore our possibilities, the possibilities that the day will bring. Not expectations, mind you, which are different and actually distinctly subtly ruinous as when we have expectations, we close our minds off to any other possibilities that may delight, enliven, and deepen the beauty of the day. To awake each day and to hold our minds open to what could be, rather than narrowly focusing on what must or should be, our lives begin to change in the most amazing and beautifully wonderful ways.


    So how do we give ourselves the best chance to make today the best day of our lives? Well, it all begins with each of us, as we have the leading role in our story that is our life journey.


    Today I would like to share with you 7 ways you can give the best chance to making this the best day of your life.
    ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #340


    ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music

    • 46 мин.
    339: The Paradox of True Contentment

    339: The Paradox of True Contentment

     


    "The paradox of [contentment] is that it doesn't matter about our situation of life as meditation gives us freedom in the mind, but [when we cultivate contentment] we want to try to create an environment that is good for our body and mind." —Andy Puddicombe, Headspace




    Welcome to the premiere of the 9th season of The Simple Sophisticate podcast.


    As you no doubt have noticed, today's podcast episode is appearing on a Wednesday and that is not by accident. Moving forward as I began sharing this past summer, the podcast will share new episodes on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month. The reason for moving the show from Monday to Wednesday is to accommodate a work week that honors when I have the most creativity and time to give to writing and producing the show. For the first 6-7 years of the show, I wrote, taped and produced the show over the weekend due to my teaching schedule during the work week; however, now that I am exclusively writing and can design my own schedule, I want to dedicate my Mondays to writing each new episode and Tuesdays to taping and producing so that I can bring a fresh new show to you every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month.


    With that said, there is still inspiring content to kick off a brand new week on the blog in the form of the weekly Monday Motivational post that will be shared every single week so long as there is a Monday in it (which there always will be!;)). Be sure to check out this week's Monday Motivational post here, Saying No to a Culture of Non-Truths and Finally Finding Inner Calm.


    Now to today's episode which concludes with two Petit Plaisirs as we celebrate the commencement of a new season.


    "The paradox of [contentment] is that it doesn't matter about our situation of life as meditation gives us freedom in the mind, but [when we cultivate contentment] we want to try to create an environment that is good for our body and mind." —Andy Puddicombe, Headspace




    To live a life of contentment is to live a life of inner steadiness, a feeling of being grounded and self-assured (not to be confused with arrogant and all-knowing) no matter what is swirling around you outside of your mind and body. I share on the homepage of the blog and again on the Introductions page of TSLL the definition of True Contentment which is not a term most people are familiar with. Happiness, yes, most people think they know what happiness is, but Contentment, rarely uttered and therefore rarely understood, and therefore, many are less likely to understand the awesome gifts and elevation to the quality of your life it can bring.For today's episode, exploring the paradox of contentment, I am going to zero in on the first bullet of the list above in the green box: when you invest in cultivating contentment within yourself (which is entirely within your control), you can navigate every day well no matter what the external events may be.


    ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #339

    ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music

    • 46 мин.
    338: Tips on Taking the Eurostar between Paris and London

    338: Tips on Taking the Eurostar between Paris and London

     


    It's been said that taking the Eurostar (which runs under the English Channel, connecting London to Brussels, Paris, Lille, Rotterdam and Amsterdam) is much more like taking a plane ride than taking a train ride, and in many respects, I would have to agree.


    Why? It's swift, it's non-stop and there is wonderful service and amenities for comfort as you drift along in either direction.


    Today's episode/post is for the first-time traveler choosing to take the Eurostar and especially for those of you like me, who don't live in Europe or Britain and want to see as much of the two countries that you love during one trip with ease.


    I booked my first ticket on the Eurostar in 2012, boarding in London, destined for Paris. Riding Standard (aka Coach) with my traveling companion, the ease of having your luggage with you, sitting in comfortable seats with spacious seating arrangements all the while knowing the only stop will be your stop eased my mind as it was the first time I had traveled abroad to Europe since 2000.


    Fast forward to 2022, and I booked our Standard Premiere tickets (there are three classes - Standard, Standard Premiere and Business Premiere), leaving Paris, departing for London. The upgrade was lovely and worth the additional space, a bit quieter (although Standard was fairly quiet as well), and the upgrade in dining service was oh, so good. But I am getting ahead of myself.








    ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #338

    ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music




     




     

    • 40 мин.
    337: 10 Everyday French Details I Incorporate Into My Routine

    337: 10 Everyday French Details I Incorporate Into My Routine

     


    Since the beginning of TSLL blog in 2009 and with the podcast when it began in 2014, I have regularly shared French-inspired ideas to incorporate into our everyday routine (be sure to check out Podcast Bundle #2 for many of these episodes). And the more I observe and savor how such choices elevate my life, as they become habituated, mature and marinate so to speak their way into my way of living, I discover how consciously welcoming such details deeply affect a positive change in how I move through my days.


    For example, the muscle of savoring is strengthened, and I see more readily minute details to appreciate whether in my own home life or when I am out and about. I now more easily and without apology delight and exude my excitement without editing because it is not others' approval I am seeking when I, for example, get a good night's sleep that is in large part enabled by breathable sheets - à la linen! or when a flower blooms from a seed sown years ago, sitting next to an herb or a berry, planting inspired by the idea of cultivating a potager.


    After more than a decade of welcoming such changes into my life, there are many that remain and feel a part of me, as though I could not imagine living any other way because it simplifies as well as adds a touch of luxury to my life as well as functioning just as I hoped it would and then some. While some on this list may not be exclusive to the French culture, it is in my exploring the French culture that I was introduced to the idea (for example, #1 on the list). Whenever we come across a way of living that speaks to us, in whichever culture we may find ourselves, that deepens our appreciation for said culture, and our affection seems to organically strengthen and take root.


    Let's take a look at the list.
     
    ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #337


    ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music

    • 40 мин.
    336: How to Live a Life that Nourishes Your Brain, Thereby Elevating the Quality of Your Entire Life

    336: How to Live a Life that Nourishes Your Brain, Thereby Elevating the Quality of Your Entire Life

     


    "In the same way that a car that is well-maintained will last longer and be more reliable, you cannot hope to get the lasting high performance you want from your brain if it is not properly cared for and protected." —Kimberley Wilson, author of How to Build a Healthy Brain: Practical steps to mental health and well-being




    Here on TSLL blog and the podcast, I have explored many topics within the first two subjects whether pertaining to emotional intelligence, relationships and communication, so when I came upon nutrition-trained Chartered Psychologist Kimberley Wilson's book - How to Build a Healthy Brain, I was intrigued and wanted to explore its contents. In so doing, I found what she had to share to be founded in a vast amount of supportive research from reputable institutions (in the United Kingdom and the states) as well as written in an approachable prose for readers, like myself, who do not have an educational background in the field of neurology, but genuinely wish to understand how their brains function and how to care for the brain well in order to live well.


    Today's post/episode is an introduction, a tasting menu of sorts to explore the wide ranging areas in our lives that contribute to the health (or malnutrition) of our brain and thereby, its capability to work to its full capabilities.


    Upon sitting down to read the book, once I began, once it was in my hands and I was reading it, it was hard to put down, and annotations now decorate nearly every page. Having completed my first reading of the book, I went back through and took detailed notes summarizing the key points that spoke to me and that I wanted to incorporate or strengthen in my own daily life. I will be sharing those here, but by no means is the list complete. The science of how the brain works, the parts of the brain, etc., are detailed in the first couple of chapters, and are worth reading prior to reading the entire book on your own as she lays a clear foundation of the parts of the 'engine' that make up the brain.


    While I will be focusing on what to do to strengthen and nourish your brain, reading her book details what happens when the brain is not nourished properly. For example, what chronic inflammation does to the mind and the effects witnessed in our daily lives such as depression, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and other neurological maladies. However, because I want to lift today's conversation to focus on preventative and constructive habits we can add to our lives to create a stronger sense and state of well-being, I will be focusing on what you can begin or continue to do and how it nurtures the brain, thereby elevating the quality of your entire life.
    ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #336


    ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music

    • 1 ч. 7 мин.
    335: How to Savor Staying Home During the Summer Holiday, 17 Ideas

    335: How to Savor Staying Home During the Summer Holiday, 17 Ideas

    Of all summers, the summer of 2022 understandably beckons us to travel, explore and leave our homes and the towns and cities we have been staying close to for nearly three years due to the pandemic. Perhaps even our homes want us to leave so it can have a breather from us!


    However at the same time, with demand high, prices for travel fare are driven ever higher as well, so it may not be in the budget to travel during the summer season, or simply it just may not be of interest to travel as it indeed will be busy, at times chaotic and even stressful which negates the purpose that most of us align with traveling for a holiday.


    With all of that said, if you have chosen to stay put this summer, just as I have, I wanted to share ideas for savoring this time of year at home and in your home town wherever that might be. After all, we spend the majority of our lives in our abodes and in the town where our home address is found, there is most definitely a reason we remain, and hopefully a reason founded in appreciation for where we have the good fortune to call home, so let's explore how to make it even more special.


    1.Permit yourself the luxuries during the summer season you discipline yourself from when working


    If you are spending your vacation time at home, be intentional about permitting yourself to wake up when you are ready (put away the alarm clock), take a nap if it calls you to do so, make your favorite meal, say yes or no as you please to invitations and opportunities - only partaking if you truly want to. Create rituals that you love and enjoy them throughout your vacation at home.


    2. Turn off your phone or limit who you let contact you


    To immerse yourself in the mindset of being on holiday while staying home, remind yourself that part of getting away is to be less available. Set clear boundaries for a week or two, however long your holiday at home will be, as to whose calls you will take, what messages you will respond to and how often and when you will check your email. In other words, let yourself be free from being requested, needed, and required to do anything that does not let you wholly relax. Do not feel guilty about this. You need time to just be and do as you are drawn in order to reap the benefits of what a holiday is all about.


    3. Tend to a garden and revel in the beauty that comes forth


    As the temperatures rise, when you are home, you can easily ensure the garden is watered well and regularly, whether you have plants in the ground or in pots. And it is during the summer months that the work in the garden decreases and time spent outside luxuriating in the beauty that begins to share itself is a priceless, evanescent treat. Knowing such beauty only lasts for a short period of time makes it all the more special. Seeing the butterflies dance about from flower to flower, witnessing the cherries ripen into their ruby red splendor in a blink of an eye it seems as July arrives, and waking up to blackberries blossoms nearing their transformation into fruits to nibble on are moments that can only be savored in summer, making it all the more difficult to ever want to travel during these precious warm months.


    With my schedule now my own as I work from home, no longer having to only have my summers off as was the case when I was teaching, I am looking at the calendar and considering when would the best time be for me to travel, and I must say, because I love to savor the garden that receives so much planning and preparation during winter and spring, it will be hard to travel during the summer months as the years unfold. The garden during the summer is less in need of attention, and is now more a space to relax and savor the hard work you have given to it. With each year's passing, the garden matures and begins to present the vision you had in your mind, but it takes time, so most definitely, spending time in the garden is a highlight for me when I choose to stay h

    • 47 мин.

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