Where I'm At with Shannon Ables from The Simply Luxurious Life

I am thrilled to be featuring Shannon Ables from The Simply Luxurious Life blog and The Simple Sophisticate podcast on Where The Light Plays today.

I've been following Shannon's blog since early 2012 and have felt like I've 'gotten to know her' even better this year through her podcast.

The Simply Luxurious Life really does cover all areas of life in a luxurious, yet attainable way - home, style, food, ways of being, the French lifestyle - to name a few. Shannon is a high school English teacher in Oregon, has had great success with her online career and even brought out a book, Choosing The Simply Luxurious Life: A Modern Woman's Guide in 2014.

Enjoy this peek into her daily routine, and I hope you'll enjoy following her online as much as I do.

What is your usual wake up time?

5am.

What is your morning ritual?

Because I find I am most awake, fresh and creative in the mornings, I don’t want to waste a moment in the morning sleeping in, so once I am awake, I am up and going.

I will wake up an extra hour early so that I can ease myself into the day and indulge in simple luxuries.

My breakfast is the same, but I crave it each day: steel oats with raisins, honey and roasted sliced almonds, one egg over-easy and hot water with lemon.

My dogs Oscar and Norman are at my feet all morning (which makes it even harder to walk out the door to my teaching job during the school year), so I bring a treat for each of them to the table, where I enjoy my breakfast while reading the local morning newspaper.

I always have Morning Joe on in the morning as well to stay abreast of the breaking national and international news as well.

bend-shannon-ables-where-light-plays.jpg

Tell us about your commute.

I feel fortunate to say I live less than a mile from my school, and when I’m not teaching, my commute is to my home office to blog, plan and tape my podcast.

Do you like to plan your day ahead or allow some spontaneity?

Planning is something I sincerely enjoy doing. I will plan my day, my week, the month, set yearly goals and 5–10 year goals for fun even if it wasn’t required.

I find it exhilarating to plan, check in and celebrate when I complete what I have set out to do.

The gift that planning gives me is that when I finish what I need to do, I can relax and just let my mind wander. I am always amazed at where it travels and what it comes up with when I give it this freedom.

How do you spend your ideal lunch break to recharge for the afternoon?

As a self-proclaimed introvert, I need my alone time, so during the school year I enjoy most days having lunch to myself. Sometimes I will join other colleagues, but because lunch is so quick and we have to be on in fewer than 40 minutes, I need time to recharge.

When I am blogging, I spend my lunch either at a cafe or in the kitchen creating something from scratch, then I’ll sit down and relax until I am ready to get busy again.

What kind of workout schedule do you try to adhere to?

Working out is not only something I know I need to do for my health, it is something I thoroughly enjoy; however, I am not someone who tortures themselves.

My dogs become jumping beans when they see me put on my workout clothes and grab their leash. So seeing their enthusiasm makes it easy to go for an hour-long hike 5–6 days a week.

Bend has endless trails right outside my door, so I feel as though I am in the wilderness in minutes, and can fortunately return home in minutes when the hike is complete.

I also sign up for one Pilates class at a local studio, as well as two twenty minute strength sessions at home, each week.

How do you like to end your day?

Something I have shared with my blog readers for years is my evening ritual.

I need time to unwind and usually give myself at least an hour no matter how late the work day has lasted.

So long as I haven’t indulged in dessert, I will pair my evening black lavender tea with a dark chocolate peanut butter truffle from my favourite chocolatier Arrowhead Chocolates. Since I have recently moved to a different town, I place my order every two months to be sure I always have these decadent, rewarding treats at the ready.

What time do you doze off?

I am an early bird because I enjoy my mornings so much, so it is not unusual for me to be in bed by 8:30 and asleep by nine.

DVR is my favourite everyday invention as I typically will watch my favourite shows the next evening at an hour that works with my schedule.

Any advice for women trying to find ease in their every day?

Find the courage to say “No”. The best gift I gave myself was recognising what I had to do, what I wanted to do and then letting go of all the rest without guilt.

We only get 24 hours in the day and each day builds upon the day before. Where do you want to take your life? Once you know the answer to that question, saying “No” becomes much easier.

Can you give my readers your quick go-to recipe after a busy day?

Absolutely! Part of my evening ritual upon returning home from work and having finished the walk with the dogs is stepping into the kitchen. It is such a therapeutic activity.

A typical evening will include some sort of vegetable dish and a protein. Sometimes I also have a slice of a baguette with cheese or dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

A simple, yet delicious vegetable side dish is a recipe from Julia Child. Her green beans: Boil the beans for 10 minutes in salted water until they become al dente. With a Japanese strainer, remove them from the water and place them in a hot skillet. Let the water steam off of them for about 30 seconds and then add 1-2 tablespoons of good unsalted butter. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, make sure the melted butter coats the beans (about 1 minute). Then add fresh lemon juice and leave the slice of lemon in the pan.

Voilà! You are done. The beans should be shiny and full of flavour, just waiting to be enjoyed.

Pair with Sole Meunière (click here for the recipe) and a glass of rosé. Bon appétit!

-

Thank you so much for being interviewed Shannon - you've inspired me to plan my days even more carefully and of course try your recipe (rosé and all!)

You can find Shannon at the links below and also click the video to gain more insight into the simply luxurious way of living.

Where I'm At: Interview Series - Molly from StyleCellar

Welcome to the next interview in the series, 'Where I'm At'. It's a voyeuristic, yet helpful look into the lives of women who are finding where the light plays within them.

Their daily rituals, ways of managing stress and advice to you, the readers, are captured in these interviews.

This month we’re talking to Molly Ziraldo, a Canadian living in Melbourne. Molly and I connected on the Stratejoy site and have become firm brunch buddies since then. Molly has an inventive blog called StyleCellar that combines two things we often want to know more about – wine and fashion. Molly has a fascinating story too – from being in Disney on Ice (!), to studying wine and working in the industry, to moving to Melbourne, she’s insightful and self-aware and I’m excited to interview her on the blog today.

What is your usual wake up time?

7–7:15am

What is your morning ritual?

First thing I do when I get up is try to drink as much water as possible. I head straight to the kitchen and have a big glass of water and a quick swig of apple cider vinegar, I still hate the taste! But it’s more convenient for me than making hot water with lemon and offers similar benefits.

After that I’ll brush my teeth, wash my face, do makeup etc. If I have time I try to do a few sun salutations, or just any stretches really. I find my body really needs some movement first thing in the morning. I’ve never been a morning person though, so getting to the gym just isn’t gonna happen.

I then sit for 5–10 min in a mixture of meditation/prayer and intention setting for the day. I’ve been doing Gabrielle Bernstein’s guided meditations for a few years now.

After that I quickly get dressed, grab my lunch and I’m out the door. I always get coffee and make breakfast once I get into work.

Tell us about your commute.

My commute is a 15 minute tram ride (and to be honest I could walk – but again, would rather get extra sleep!). While on the tram, I’m either listening to music or a podcast.

Do you like to plan your day ahead or allow some spontaneity?

Definitely plan! If I don’t have a plan I can’t focus and I get nothing done. I like planning my next day before I leave the office the day before. I never thought I was a “planner” but I need structure.

I’m still a “go with the flow” type of person, so last minute changes don’t bother me but I need structure or some framework, or else my head just isn’t it.

How do you spend your ideal lunch break to recharge for the afternoon?

I work in an open concept office and being quite introverted my lunch time is my “me time”. It’s taken a while for my colleagues to not be insulted when I turn down lunch invites (it’s also taken me a while to not feel guilty for doing so).

My ideal lunch is anything that gets me away from my desk. Being from Canada, I usually spend this time texting my girlfriends back home (thank god for Whatsapp!). I usually try to fit in a quick walk around the block too.

What kind of workout schedule do you adhere to?

I’ve learned it’s not about an hour of cardio or hitting the gym every day, but just ensuring I move in some way throughout the week.

That being said, it’s hard to find the time and I don’t have a set schedule. I try to do something at least 3 times a week. That “something” is usually yoga, dance class or a conditioning/strength workout. I tried the infamous Kayla Itsines workouts, so I usually use those. They’re only 28 min and are insanely tough!! So you definitely feel like you’re making the most of your time.

How do you like to end your day?

I’ve found that how I end my day is just as important as how I begin it. I like to start unwinding about 9:30–10pm. I tend to turn off as many lights as possible (phone included), light a candle, listen to classical music and sit again in stillness and just reflect on the day. I then read whatever it is I’m reading at the time.

What time do you doze off?

11:30pm (fingers crossed!)

What do you aspire to every day but never / rarely actually do? (you can tell me, we all have them!)

Yoga. God, I wish I made time for yoga every day. Also, writing (journaling) or writing something thoughtful to a friend or family member back home. Not eating any refined sugar would also be nice but hey…we’re human.

Any advice for women trying to find ease in their every day?

Set boundaries. This is so hard but so necessary if you’re going to make time for you, and if you can’t …just breathe more!  This is something I always forget to do.

Other than that, maybe try to think of one thing you’re grateful for that happened that day before you head to bed.

Can you give us your quick go-to recipe after a busy day?

I know a smoothie shouldn’t substitute as a meal – but if I don’t have time to cook this is 100% my go to (any time of day), and I take my smoothie (bowl) game seriously. I always make sure I’ve got protein, fat, fibre, carbs and greens present.

If those boxes are ticked, no reason that the bowl doesn’t have just as much nutrients as a meal.

Banana Mango Coconut Smoothie Bowl

1 frozen ripe banana

A few pieces of sliced frozen mango  (any frozen fruit can do)

One/two BIG handfuls of spinach (I find spinach is best for smoothies. Kale never blends as well – and I promise, you can’t taste it)

1/2 an avocado (if you don’t have any on hand, make sure you get some fat via coconut oil/cream or nuts)

Plant based protein powder (right now I’m using Sunwarrior vanilla flavour)  or hemp is also good. If you don’t have any – nuts are fine.

Water or coconut milk (I use coconut milk right out of the can instead of the packaged milks)

Once I pour it in a bowl I always top it with something – just to make it feel more special (i.e. nuts, chia seeds, goji berries, coconut, bee pollen, LSA, added fruit ­– whatever you might have).

-

Thanks Molly - it was great to get a peek behind the scenes of your life and blog. You can find Molly at:

Website: www.style-cellar.com

Twitter : @mollyziraldo

Instagram : mziraldo