The Simple Sophisticate - Intelligent Living Paired with Signature Style

Shannon Ables

  • 52 minutes 4 seconds
    384: 6 Things We Gain By Honoring Our True Self

    When we make the life changing decision to embrace our true selves, a change that we cannot see at the outset, we open up a world of seemingly magic opportunities, gifts and moments of awe.

    Over the years, beginning in 2018 and the post from which the excerpt above came, we've talked about honoring our true selves, what it entails, why it's important and how to stay the course.

    The choice to step onto the journey's path of who each of us is must be made consciously, an exercise in self-awareness because we will be pushed and pulled off and over and even emotionally deflated along the way, and each instance will most likely, especially in the beginning and sometimes just at the end, prompt us to question if it is really worth it.

    Today, as we are three days away from the launch of TSLL's Contentment Masterclass, I wanted to share with you six of the amazing benefits we welcome into our lives when we choose to honor our true self, something the course will teach you how to do in the first couple of lessons.

    Tune in to discover and find the Show Notes for this episode on The Simply Luxurious Life - 

    19 June 2024, 2:00 am
  • 1 hour 17 minutes
    383: 11 Health & Beauty Secrets for a Better Second Half, as taught by Liz Earle

    "My years working in wellbeing have taught me that it's about living life in a daily, achievable balance. The one thing that counts above all else? Consistency. It doesn't have to be much and it doesn't have to be hard, but it does have to be consistent." —Liz Earle, author of A Better Second Half: Dial back your age to live a longer, healthier, happier life — Sharing my secrets to looking and feeling better than ever

    With forty's arrival five years ago, I gradually began to see subtle, very subtle changes in my skin, hair and physical body; however, as someone who has always been curious at a young age about staying healthy regarding what I eat, how I care for my body and skin, etc., I wasn't necessarily surprised, but I also knew I wanted to become even more of a student learning how to best take care of my entire body and mind to prevent anything I did have control over, delay anything that while inevitable, need not be sped up by ignorant lack of care-taking, as well as prolong the quality of my living experience as cognitive and physical health and strength are key components to deepening the quality of everyday living, connections, opportunities, etc.

    Ever the student, I ask questions incessantly, of any expert in their field I have the good fortune to work with, interview or schedule sessions with, and when I don't know someone personally, I reach for books written by experts who have done research in their field of study. As well, reading content by someone, a woman, in this instance who has experienced and lived and is living through the changes of our body and skin and mind, has tried and knows what works in a healthy approach is very much looking up to a wise sister, aunt or mother. So when I learned that Liz Earle, a long-time veteran in the sustainable beauty and wellbeing arena beginning in the early 80s, she, now in her early 60s and not only looking amazing but is living an amazingly full and inspiring life (here is her personal IG account), had written a new book that is already a Sunday Times bestseller, but more importantly, it is worthy of that achievement because it is a book full of nuggets of valuable information to give you the keys to indeed living a better second half of your life, I purchased it, and read it in two nights. Now, I would like to share an introduction to 11 nuggets of valuable information she shares, and if these speak to you as well, I am confident you will appreciate all that the book includes.

    Explore the Show Notes for episode #383 -

    Learn more about TSLL's Contentment Masterclass - 

    5 June 2024, 2:00 am
  • 46 minutes 55 seconds
    382: Antique & Vintage Shopping in Barnard Castle, England + 5 Ways I Decorate with these Treasures

    You know you've found a quaint English town when the name of the town has a beloved nickname personifying it.

    Barnard Castle, or Barney, as the locals often call it, is a small town in County Durham, so in the northeastern portion of England, and the population rests just under 6,000.

    Now, when I began to make my plans to visit England for this particular trip, one of my top priorities centered around finding treasures for Le Papillon as the 3+ year customization which had finally concluded, as I wanted to begin to add the polish, if you will. So antiquing and vintage decor shops were on my radar, and I could not have been more grateful for her recommendations (of which they provided many for everything, not just antiquing).

    So off I went on my first full day in the country, toodling about in my rental car for a 20 minute drive to Barnard Castle, and what I found was more than I could have hoped for, even if my luggage might not have thought so. However, I always pack an empty piece of luggage that is foldable, so I thought I would be able to figure it out. A story for another day, but after all was said and done, thankfully, everything made it home in its original form.

    (be sure to stop by the Show Notes to see oodles of photographs and a video of my visit to Barnard Castle)

    As promised, here are five reasons I love welcoming antiques and vintage finds into my home décor and have been doing so since I was able to decorate my own spaces, then apartments and then finally homes and houses. I will acknowledge, I am not someone who buys antiques just to have them. I don't have a second home to decorate or a large house for that matter, so what I purchase has to have a home, but that is part of the fun, taking the time to first know what you are in need of as far as finishing a space as well as functionality and then patiently waiting until you find it or should I say, your paths cross, and you find each other. :)

    Check out the Show Notes here - 

    22 May 2024, 2:00 am
  • 50 minutes 33 seconds
    381: The Power of the Clarity of Our Intention AND Where We Direct Our Attention: Understanding Our Mind

    We each have an amazing super power within us that when we understand how it works, transforms the quality of our lives. Instead of living in fear, constantly worrying and doubting the goodness of our fellow human beings or that our dreams can come true, when we understand how the Salience Network works in our mind, we unwrap a priceless gift.

    The salience network is the cognitive system the brain uses to determine what is important, so if we don't understand the components of and how it functions, we can be at its mercy and ultimately relinquish the keys to what will open the door to living a life of true contentment.

    What we will explore today are 5 ways to both heal as well as unlearned unhelpful defaults of our mind and begin to settle with ease into using the parasympathetic nervous system rather than the sympathetic nervous system which will then provide us the ability and mental energy to manifest the intentions we have set for ourselves.


    Explore the Show Notes for the episode on TSLL blog - 

    15 May 2024, 2:00 am
  • 1 hour 5 minutes
    380: How Rituals Enrich Our Lives IF We Choose and Engage with Intention

    Rituals, whether designed by us solely for ourselves, or legacy rituals, or relationship or group rituals that involve others, give us more than can be imagined to deepen the quality of our life than we thought possible prior to fully engaging and incorporating them into our lives.

    You may recognize Dr. Michael Norton's name, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, as he co-wrote a book I thoroughly enjoyed and often sited for over a decade on the effects of money and happiness with Elizabeth Dunn, Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending (if you haven't read it, I highly recommend it, as their work has been sited on TSLL as well). Released just this past April, Norton's new book, The Ritual Effect, shares the research behind the effects of rituals on our daily life, and while he begins with sharing rituals' origins which we might often imagine when we hear the word, those "rigid, communal practices" which he describes as legacy rituals, the primary focus rests upon daily life and all of the potential benefits rituals can give us whether it be in our daily routine, or when we step into a new life chapter, or when we say goodbye to someone for any number of reasons, how we work, how we connect and strength relationships, how we design holidays with family and blended families, how to heal and how to recognize when rituals are causing the problem of division for example or exclusion.

    For our purposes in today's episode we're going to focus primarily on exactly what constitutes a ritual, the importance of having them in our lives and where to incorporate them, as well as sprinkle examples throughout the conversation (so be sure to tune in to the audio version of this episode if you are reading the Show Notes here on the blog :)).


    Find the Show Notes on TSLL blog - 

    1 May 2024, 2:00 am
  • 1 hour 14 minutes
    379: How (and Why) to Be Your Own Best Friend

    "We are not born with the secret of how to live [well], and too many of us never learn it. There is nothing cold-blooded or mechanical about it, but there are many things we have to learn to do . . . the first thing is to realize we've probably been looking in the wrong place. The source is not outside us; it is within." —Mildred Newman & Bernard Berkowitz, authors of How to Be Your Own Best Friend

    Befriend yourself and you have a friend for life.

    This simple saying, often expressed, while true, is often not understood as to how it can be possible. But the most awesome news I want to share with you today is that you have had the answers to so much of the peace, calm, and clarity you have been seeking traveling within you all this time. How to tap into and what exactly are you looking for? That is what we are going to talk about today.

    Inspired by a book that was written in 1971 Mildred Newman and her husband, both psychologists, Bernard Berkowitz, the title was originally How To be Your Own Best Friend: A Conversation With Two Psychoanalysts. Consisting of only 74 pages, their insights are shared, as this title suggests, in conversation form - questions followed by answers.

    While little known when the couple originally self-published, it was with the help of author, screenwriter and director Nora Ephron, who upon reading the book quite liked it so she introduced the authors to her book agent upon which it then became a national bestseller (learn more about how she helped in this article published earlier this year). Picking up my own copy and zooming through it, I found common sense advice, grounded in approachable guidance sharing reminders and nudges of how we can help ourselves out but often are too timid to do so due to a variety of cultural circumstances and pressures.

    As I read, the overlap of choosing to be your best friend and finding and experiencing contentment quickly became apparent, and having just wrapped up producing all of the filmed lessons for TSLL's Contentment Masterclass, as you will discover when you enroll, knowing ourselves and honoring what we find to be true for ourselves resides at the core of a fulfilling life. In the words of the authors, becoming our best friend is sage wisdom to follow. However, what does that look like? Being our own best friend? That's what I want to share with you today and the benefits of doing so.

    Let's get started.


    View the Show Notes on the blog: 

    17 April 2024, 2:00 am
  • 47 minutes 3 seconds
    378: Choose to Compost Your Past: How the Arrival of the Spring Season is a Metaphor for Life

    "Composting what was into what will be."

    Mother Nature and the cycle of seasons provide endless life lessons and nourishing guidance if we are wise enough to heed her teachings.

    More specifically, spring's arrival, the season as we all know that introduces itself after winter, the latter season of which for many of us can be frigid, keeping us more home-bound and bundled up far more often than we might prefer as well as to cause us to take stock of our home environment most directly and intimately.

    It was upon hearing the statement above in a recent yoga class that I immediately smiled. Why? Well, there is much truth in this literal description of how compost is created and as to why it applies to our lives, it can figuratively be true as well. However . . .

    We have to choose, and thus remember, to compost in the first place!

    Spring gifts us with an abundance of wonderments and opportunities to apply what we have been investing in and working on during winter, or healing or resting in order to feel rejuvenated and reenergized. So not only do we need to remember to view winter as an opportunity to tend to what needs our attention, we must also be courageous enough to step forward into what that rest has given us.

    Simply because we plant, water and fertilize a new plant in spring, or pot up a dahlia tuber in spring, doesn't mean the beauty we hope to come will appear in spring. No, it will not. The dahlias take around 100 days to share their first flower, but once they begin flowering, so long as they have been planted in their right conditions and the gardener keeps dead-heading, the blooms keep on coming until the first frost in early fall. This is beautiful reminder to be patient with ourselves and the changes we have begun to put into place, or the steps we have begun to take that will eventually lead us where we want to arrive. Spring is the beginning of the new journey, but we may not arrive where we wish to go until Summer or early Fall, but we will never arrive if we don't choose to compost first.

    In today's episode we will explore eight instances in our life when unwanted moments have happened and how to compost them into something we do want. I welcome you to join us and tune in.


    Have a look at the Show Notes for the episode, #378 here - 

    3 April 2024, 2:00 am
  • 1 hour 4 minutes
    377: The Slow Productivity Approach that will Elevate the Quality of Your Entire Life, as taught by Cal Newport

    Author and professor of computer science at Georgetown University Cal Newport's latest book Slow Productivity: The Lost Art of Accomplishment without Burnout details exactly how and where in our daily lives and throughout the year we can apply the Slow Productivity approach and why it works.

    In today's episode I will be sharing with you 10 takeaways that caught my eye as areas of interest that I thought would interest TSLL readers/podcast listeners, and if what you discover here speaks to you, I encourage you to pick up the book as far more detail and information is shared. Throughout the discussion today, I will be dovetailing the ideas Newport suggests with how it overlaps with living simply luxuriously because as is made clear from the name given to his approach, the concept of quality versus quantity is the key thread that runs through Slow Productivity, something that TSLL Community is all too familiar as we individually cultivate our simply luxurious lives.


    Check out the detailed Show Notes - 

    20 March 2024, 4:46 am
  • 53 minutes 43 seconds
    376: Wise Investments: Understand the Difference between a Good Value and a Good Deal

    The savviness of wise money management encompasses many factors, but one is an approach often overlooked or dismissed: Understanding the difference between a Good Value versus a Good Deal.

    Here in the states tax season is upon us, and so many of us may have money on the mind even more than we usually do; however, I often find myself at the beginning of the new year assessing my monthly budget, determining where I am gaining value or unnecessarily causing more tasks and draining money. Ultimately, whenever I sit down to assess my money, my goal is to do so less often, knowing I have invested well, so I can go about the living of my life that I love and trust that my decisions will stand a long duration of time offering the performance, purpose or function I purchased it for.

    In other words, I don't want to be shopping for my capsule wardrobe constantly, restocking and replacing worn out jeans that while a great deal, only lasted one or maybe two seasons. Likewise, I don't want to have to be taking my car to the repair shop frequently, or gassing up frequently or even replacing the car itself as frequently (more on what I am hinting at below in our discussion).

    When we invest well, and apply the wisdom of purchase great value rather than falling victim to a good deal, we deepen the quality of our overall lives because however we enjoy living them, we can do so without surprise expenditures frequently arising.

    Today, I would like to explore a handful of areas of our lives in which investing in Good Value vs. a Good Deal occurs, and to offer explanation as to why paying the large price tag upfront will save more money in the long run, as well as instances when a large price tag upfront is just welcoming more stress throughout the duration of your ownership. Let's get started.

    View the Show Notes for the episode here —

    6 March 2024, 3:00 am
  • 39 minutes 55 seconds
    375: How to Become a More Skilled Participant in the Living of Our Life

    The concluding note to readers that author, yoga and meditation instructor Deborah Adele shares in her book Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practice includes the wish that they become more skilled participants in the living of their lives. And with the wisdom she shares in her book, she provides them with the tools to do just that.

    Having shared various insights here on the blog gained from her book, specifically in this post about the simple conscious everyday choice that leads to true fulfillment, and as we conclude the two month-long series of 'new year, new life' as you continued along the way to making the change you set to bring to be as the new year began, I wanted to explore two simple, yet powerfully crucial habits that will make the difference you seek inevitable.

    A skilled participant.

    In order to be 'skilled' we must know the skills that would be beneficial to acquire. And in order to embody being a participant in our lives, we must be engaged, we must act, we must take part.

    While we have covered multiple skills throughout this podcast, here on the blog and in TSLL's books (and will compile and detail them all in a linear approach to cultivating contentment in TSLL's upcoming Contentment Master Class video course), the two skills, I want to talk about today are simple to adopt and when we do, the quality of our life and everydays is amplified for the better:

    • Choose to live instead of wait. In other words, Living vs. Waiting - choose the former.
    • Choose to savor rather than to rush. In other words, Savoring vs. Rushing - again, choose the former.

    Let's dive into each of these in more detail . . . 

    Check out the Show Notes for this epsiode on TSLL blog -

    21 February 2024, 3:00 am
  • 1 hour 4 minutes
    374: What I Have Learned in French Class, So Far - part sept (7)

    Bonjour à tous !

    Just last week, I concluded FR 105 with Washington DC's Alliance de Français, a Zoom/online course that met twice a week, two hours each time since just after Thanksgiving.

    You may remember that Part Six of this series was shared during TSLL's Annual French Week which shared what I had learned through FR 104 and 103, and now it is time to share some progress!

    Thankfully, there has been progress and while I chose to take Everyday Situational French this fall due to my travel schedule, this once-a-week meeting provided me the opportunity to keep the French language on the tip of my tongue before I could dive back in to the regular course work.

    Some of what I share will be from the Situational French course, but most of it was learned during FR 105.

    I am tickled to share that while my French definitely has a looooooong way to go, the ease I am feeling constructing basic sentences with a few different tenses delights me to no end. Last year at this time I was nervous and hesitant to attempt to say anything slightly different than what I said the week before when the professor would greet us, but now I at least can speak without hesitation and share what I did over the weekend.

    With that said, with growth comes growing pains, and I had a few moments throughout the past 10 weeks of frustration when it just wasn't making sense; however, I have a new-to-me professor, she being French and also a long-time educator, I was and am so grateful for her expertise and professionalism. She pushed, but then lightened up and stuck with us when she could tell we were struggling. In those moments, she encouraged us to keep trying and then doubled down on reviewing that particular difficult piece of the language to ensure the concept was acquired. As a fellow educator, what I observed was a keen awareness demonstrating her skill of both the language and how to teach it based on where the learner was and not holding true to the lesson plan if the class wasn't ready to move forward. I am eager to step back into her class when courses resume later this month. I have made it to FR 201! (We now are enjoying a two week vacances.)

    Tune in to discover 13 things I have learned so far in French class. 

    View the Show Notes — 

    7 February 2024, 3:00 am
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