368 episodes

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

    • Education
    • 4.7 • 794 Ratings

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

    345: 13 Simple Ideas for Adding Luxury to Your Home, Part Deux

    345: 13 Simple Ideas for Adding Luxury to Your Home, Part Deux

    The concept of luxury at its core is what brings you comfort.


    A space, piece or item that brings ease, calm and perhaps a sigh of letting go and being able to fully relax and savor the present moment. In 2013 I shared a list full of ideas exemplifying what true luxury is; the items on that list are worth exploring as we become more in tune withwhat luxurious living is. It is important to note that a fundamental element of what constitutes something as being luxurious is the effort and dedicated intention to bring your idea to fruition. In other words, you have taken the time, expended the effort, energy, investment, so that when whatever it is that has been reached (tangible or intangible), you appreciate it and will by no means toss it aside blithely for the next 'new' or 'better' model, version, trend, etc.


    When it comes to decorating our homes to create luxurious living spaces, while most certainly, luxury when it comes to interior design can be expensive, it need not always be that way, and it is important to note that size - a grand, large abode doesn't guarantee the space will be luxurious if the details are not tended to well.


    To walk into a luxurious space, small or large in scale is only part of being truly luxurious; it is when you engage with the space, live in it, sit down in the chairs, sleep in the beds, pour yourself a hot cuppa, that you then discover whether or not the home is truly luxurious.


    In today's episode/post I want to tend to those simple ideas that when you tend to them can elevate the luxury in a room immediately upon a guest or yourself living in the space.


    Three years ago, I began this series with a post sharing 10 Simple, Significant Decor Ideas to Add Luxurious Touches to the Home inspired by interior designer Cathy Kincaid's new book at the time, The Well Adorned Home. And as you will discover in that list, while the simple touches may be investment decisions, they significantly elevate the luxurious presence of the room, beckoning the inhabitants to relax and stay awhile.




    Part Une, 10 Simple, Significant Decor Ideas to Add Luxurious Touches to the Home, episode #260






    In part two (deux) of this series, I am sharing 13 ideas that while simple are also quite affordable and don't require a contractor or even the expert eye of an interior designer (all except #12). There is something almost impossible to describe with words but felt by our nervous system when we step into a decorated space that to our eye is luxurious, as well as to our other senses. Immediately there is a noticeable decrease in our stress levels, dopamine may even be released, and we let our guard down and sigh, exhaling a deep breath as though we are 'home', we are safe, comforted, we have found a place to unwind and be rejuvenated.








     

    • 59 min
    344: The Importance of Investing in Key Décor Items and What Items Are Worth Investing In

    344: The Importance of Investing in Key Décor Items and What Items Are Worth Investing In

    "I am sure there are [trends], but I don't really like them because I think trends come and go very rapidly." —Nina Campbell


    Creating a sanctuary takes time.


    But it need not take the same amount of time each time you set up a new home.


    Similar to getting to know ourselves, unconsciously from day one we may be drawn to certain tastes, preferences, aesthetics, etc., and this is where we can begin both in understanding ourselves and in curating a sanctuary that rejuvenates, comforts and welcomes us home, even if the location of our home changes over the years.


    However, unlike our wardrobe, the sizes of the types of furniture or décor items we are drawn to will not change, even if the colour palettes do which is good news because that means you can begin investing in the items for your sanctuary before you even have a penny in your bank account saved up for a down payment or the first month's rent.


    Decorating our homes doesn't have to begin from scratch each time we move into a new home; in fact, if we are starting from scratch each time, we are wasting money, time and harming the planet (unless we are leaving all of our furniture for the new buyer). And you actual liberate yourself when you invest in quality décor pieces initially which enables you to never have to start from scratch again. Why does it liberate you, especially, you might be saying, because you just spent all of your extra money on a custom sofa for example? Well, that is exactly what today's episode is all about, sharing the many reasons why investing in key décor items will help you curate a sanctuary that is tailored to you and the life you love living.








    1.Endurance to last a lifetime or at least a few decades


    "[It was] good in the first place, and [is] still good today." —Nina Campbell


    Similar to well-made clothing with high quality fabric, furniture that is made well from the inside out - structurally sound sofa, chairs, beds, tables, etc. will go the distance, many lasting your entire lifetime. I will include stoves in this as well because if you are someone who spends regular time in the kitchen, invest well in a stove and yes, it can last your entire lifetime.


    The quote above was shared by renowned British interior designer Nina Campbell in a podcast episode in which she shared an experience of working with a client for the second time, about 10-15 years removed. Many of the primary pieces did not need replacing because they were made well. Below in #5 we will talk more about the benefit of having high quality furniture and large appliances, but generally speaking, you save yourself an extra step of having to go shopping for yet again another item. If you purchase a cheap item that looks good today, but isn't made well, no matter how many times you recover it, it will still not work nor last, or be comfortable.


    The idea of starting from scratch is eliminated when you buy well, yep, paying more, up front for the first time purchase, so that you don't have to pay for it again down the road when your tastes change, or what is more likely, the piece falls apart or you realize it doesn't fit well or is not comfortable.



    2. Sustainable


    The sustainability choice in buying a quality piece of furniture or large appliance for your home ensures you won't be clogging up landfills. Mass produced furniture that is typically inexpensive also enables us to be less attached to the items and thus make the item easier to toss. Granted some may take their items to Goodwill or have a garage sale, but when you purchase furniture you love and is well made, and that you need as it provides a function in your home, you are able to keep it and use it for decades to come and also often become invested in it to take care of it well.


    As I will share in #7 on our list in detail, part of why buying antiques and consignment and vintage is worth doing is because of the sustainability appro

    • 43 min
    343: How Setting Healthy Boundaries Contributes to True Contentment

    343: How Setting Healthy Boundaries Contributes to True Contentment

     


    "Creating healthy boundaries is how you ensure that you're happy and well in your relationships and in life." —Nedra Glover Tawwab, Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself


    To have boundaries that are respected is to give your life and your days peace of mind.


    Just as a sovereign state provides the foundation for its citizens to thrive instead of merely surviving due to the absence of worrying if what they need to live well might not be theirs tomorrow, so too do the boundaries we assert, communicate and actively uphold. But as is alluded to, we must engage consciously, intentionally and consistently.


    Licensed therapist for more than 14 years, Nedra Glover Tawwab wrote a book, a highly successful and praised both by readers and critics book, titled Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself, that is exactly what her book provides - a guide. A guide sharing the tools, but also the reasons to motivate readers to welcome boundaries into their daily lives, whether with their friendships, work, children, parents, romantic partnership and even regarding our use of social media and technology. Boundaries, healthy boundaries, as she explains the non-healthy boundaries and why they are destructive and deteriorate the quality of our lives, are an essential piece of our everyday life if we wish to live a life of contentment. And her book is a hands-on step-by-step guide teaching you how and which boundaries you need.








    Upon reading this book, I immediately knew I had found a valuable resource, one to not only utilize now for different aspects of my life, but no doubt in the future either when I want to be reminded or discover what I need to do, how to communicate and validate my decisions to honor my needs. As well, just as importantly, is to understand and honor what others needs as well and to not take their boundary setting personally.


    In today's episode/post I would like to share with you how setting the right boundaries contributes, and exclusively contributes an essential ingredient that elevates the quality of our lives, thereby deepening our true contentment experienced in our everydays. If what is shared today speaks to you, I highly recommend picking up a copy of the book where you will find the specific examples of what to do/say, what not to do/say in very specific, as well as different situations.




    ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #343

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

    • 47 min
    342: 10 Items I Am Wearing This Fall For Timeless Style (and to stay warm and cozy)

    342: 10 Items I Am Wearing This Fall For Timeless Style (and to stay warm and cozy)

    Having what we need in our closet as each season changes into the next brings a peace of mind that when reached is often forgotten about as it frees us to engage fully and comfortably (and confidently) in our daily lives.


    In my own life, it was this October when I had plans to go to the symphony that I relaxed knowing I had an outfit fitting for the autumnal weather that was timeless, yet comfortable and upon wearing it, eased my mind in quiet confidence knowing I was dressed well and respectfully for the event. It is this feeling that, as someone doesn't necessarily enjoy shopping, but finds pleasure it in when I find something that speaks to me and works with my lifestyle, motivates me when I look at my capsule wardrobe for each season and guides my decisions as I invest after considering the three qualifiers to nudge me to click purchase -high quality, fits my style and functions well.


    Today I would like to share with you 10 items that I have or am purchasing this fall season as part of my capsule wardrobe that I wear with confidence knowing it supports the life I love living and enables me to feel confident that I look my best so I can forget what I am wearing and just be present.


    ~Note for readers: the audio version of this episode goes into detail on each of the points listed below, so be sure to tune in as well as read through today's post.




    1. Oversized blazer/jacket




    ~Theory's wool-twill black blazer, belted






    ~Nili Lotan Beige Adeline corduroy-trimmed quilted coat






    ~Iris & Ink Gray Hope Mélange woven blazer (more colors)






    ~Joseph dark gray Jara Mélange wool-flannel blazer





    2. Oversized Pullover Sweaters




    ~Banana Republic Luna Cashmere Sweater Polo (four colors)








    ~wool-blend, Banana Republic's Cavo Half-Zip Sweater (two colors)






    ~La Ligne Bastien Sweater, Stripes (multiple color options)








    SHOP MORE PULLOVERS:









    3. Chelsea boot or Bootie with a heel




    ~Stuart Weitzman Yuliana 60 mm Bootie (four colors)











    ~Stuart 75 mm Stretch Bootie (taupe, more colors)








    ~SHOP MORE:









    4. Cashmere Gloves


    ~Theory's ribbed cashmere fold-back gloves (four colors)











    5. Contour Down Coat for walking with the pups




    ~Lululemon's Down for It All Jacket (four colors, removable hood)














    6. High-rise leggings with pockets


    Lululemon's Align High-Rise Pant (three different lengths), with pockets (many colors)









    7. Midi-length straight skirts with a high waist


    ~Reiss Dani button-up Slip Skirt













    ~Vince Crimped Wool Midi Skirt, Navy, use promo code 50OFF350 to save $50 when you purchase $350 or more







    8. A scarf for warmth while walking or errands or travel


    ~Eric Bompard, cashmere voile scarf, many colors









    9. A small wallet for stand-alone use or placing in my clutches and crossbody bags


    ~YSL Gaby, quilted small envelope wallet














    10. Oversized v-neck and turtleneck sweaters with straight-leg high-waisted jeans


    Joseph's black striped ribbed merino wool turtleneck sweater (on sale when place in bag)








    ~Agolde black Freya high-rise slim-leg stretch organic jeans (on sale when placed in cart)










    ~Joseph High Neck Luxe Cashmere Jumper in Mauve








    ~Frame high-rise straight-leg jeans








    ~Joseph Luxe Cardigan stitch high neck jumper, cobble stone










    ~Goldsign Morgan high-rise straight-leg jeans






    ~Johanna Ortiz Olive Swooning Wool-Blend Turtleneck Sweater








    ~Khaite Danielle High-rise straight-leg jeans




    ~Vince wool-cashmere blend sweater in Sand

    • 49 min
    341: The First 15 Key Elements I Included in My English Cottage-inspired Home, Part Un

    341: The First 15 Key Elements I Included in My English Cottage-inspired Home, Part Un

    “In a simple and a peaceful cottage with a beautiful view, you will not be dreaming about the palaces or the heaven, because you already have a perfect thing!” ― Mehmet Murat ildan






    To feel welcomed, to feel deeply at home in a sanctuary, to feel 'cozyed in', almost as though to be hugged without confinement and instead inspire infinite curiosity to explore and play. To me, all of these 'feels' are what comes to mind when I think of the classic English cottage, both inside and out.


    Over the next many months and years, I look forward to exploring and sharing elements of the English Cottage aesthetic, the interiors, exteriors and the garden of a cottage because as many of you know, my home, Le Papillon, is what I consider to be a cottage. Perhaps it began with watching Nancy Meyers' film The Holiday and the cottage I later learned she had built especially for the movie, Rose Hill cottage, or maybe it was the interiors of the many homes profiled in The English Home magazine that I have subscribed to for over 10 years and continue to eagerly await the arrival of each new issue. Whatever precisely drew me to the English Cottage aesthetic I cannot pinpoint, but I always take notice of how I feel in a space, whether I am traveling and staying at vacation rentals, bed & breakfasts, hotels, or even at friends and family's homes. What makes me feel most at ease? What details attend to my needs to bring me comfort? Where can I truly relax and feel at home even if I am not at home? And mentally I took note, and finally, with my house here in Bend, Oregon, Le Papillon, I have been able to customize, paying attention to all of the details - grand and small that, to me, whilst adhering to the fundamental components of English cottage, create a sanctuary I feel at home, deeply at home when I am here.


    There are oodles of interior décor components that contribute to creating the English cottage aesthetic, so I wanted to begin with where I began and what is in my own home, Le Papillon. Below I will be sharing pictures and images that offer the vignette, a close-up look at the details discussed here in today's episode/post, and for each image, you will have the option of clicking through to tour the entire space and how I pulled it together (explore becoming a TOP Tier Member to gain exclusive access to all tours of my home, Le Papillon). As shared in the title of today's episode/post, this is part un, and I look forward to sharing many more elements that are in my home in future postings/episodes.


    First to begin with the history of the English Cottage and Cottage Garden. As Christopher Lloyd and Richard Bird share in their book about Cottage Gardens, "It has come down to us through the ages [to be] a bountiful yet regulated informality." While they are specifically speaking about the cottage gardening approach, the same can be said for the interiors as well. Everything that is chosen is thoughtful, intentional, but it may not appear to be so to the untrained eye. They go on to say, "[The Cottage and Cottage Garden] has evolved through common sense, combines need with enjoyment and is entirely unpretentious."


    With that definition in mind, let's take a look at the first 15 Key Elements I included in my English Cottage-inspired home, Le Papillon.


    ~Please note, while I give quite a bit of detail in the written post below, I also share even more in the audio version, so please do feel free to tune in wherever you listen to podcasts.


    1.Ignore all trends of the moment at any moment


    "Ultimately, good taste is a considered point of view, and the courage of conviction even in the face of dissent." —Fiona McKenzie Johnston


    Before we dive in to today's topic, it is important to differentiate between classic English cottage and Cottagecore, the latter becoming a booming décor trend during the depths of the pandemic, but they are not the same, and the latter is a trend. Similar to th

    • 1 hr 25 min
    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 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
794 Ratings

794 Ratings

Alisa Joy C. ,

Favorite podcast

This review is long overdue. I’ve discovered Shannon’s podcast a few years ago and have been a huge fan. I’m inspired by her content and look forward to each episode. Hers is the only podcast I consistently listen to. Thank you, thank you.

jennbgray ,

Practical contentment

I love the mix of wisdom and practical ways to apply little luxuries at home! Shannon has a very soothing voice, and her contentment is contagious. ❤️

Amber Palmer Payne ,

In love!

I absolutely love listening to and learning from your episodes. I downloaded one of your books on audible and will be listening to that as well. Thank you for all the excellent work you put into your show!

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