137: Welcoming the Quality in 2017, One Month at a Time
Monday January 9, 2017

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~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #137
~Subscribe to The Simple SophisticateiTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio

A work of art gazed upon and appreciated by millions, created by the hands of a talented often ahead-of-their-time individual dedicated hours, perhaps months to their creation.

A full and luscious garden, cultivated over years of planning, tending and careful editing and replenishing.

A relationship built on admiration, truth and kindness, strengthening with time, patience and careful attention.

The foundation for living simply luxuriously begins with the concept of a life of quality over quantity in all arenas of our lives. It is an understanding that to build our lives on superficial expectations that appease the outside world whether for appearances or applause is to leave us living in a shell which provides a lack of intimate comfort and joy.

And so, as I have been observing ever more reassuringly and mentioned in the last episode of 2016, it is a conscious decision to live a life of quality that will in time, gradually, deepen the life you have the opportunity to experience. Whether it’s choosing to live in a town or community that may be more expensive and therefore take more time to save up to live in, as well as forcing you to downsize, but ultimately brings you more peace of mind, an ease to be yourself and those you love to blossom, or choosing to enjoy food that your body needs and rise to the abilities it is capable of rather than reach for what is expedient and temporarily satiating, a life of quality is enriching. But as you may have noticed in both of these examples, it takes a conscious awareness of what you need and why you’re doing what you’re doing. Clarity, focus and preparation are key, but these investments pay off.

How do we then, as we step into 2017, welcome in more quality reduce the quantity that tempers what is possible?

As I mentioned here, it requires of each of us to take a simple, but significant approach, to not take on too much at once, but rather one item at a time. So why not take it month by month?

Inspired by a few of my resolutions for the year, I contemplated how I could be most successful, and this is what I’ve come up with. Each month one idea, task or concept will be the focus and I will check in regularly to share how I am doing, and you too can share your journey.

The first month of January, since so many of our resolutions tend to reflect on how well or poorly we ate during the holiday season and we want to feel better, not merely look better, we’ll be tasked with the following:

~Reduce or eliminate entirely one food or food type that does not serve you well

  • UPDATE: Click here to see how the month progressed at the mid-way point

I’ve chosen to leave this month quite broad because we all have our triggers. We all know what is helping and what is hurting, what is a weakness and what is easy to walk away from.

I have chosen sugar. For one month I am going to eat in such a way that eliminates refined sugars (not natural sugars such as fruit). Recognizing that not all situations that involve food will be under my control (dining at others’ homes, work events, etc.), the goal is to eliminate, but there may be lapses. However, I want to observe how I feel as I refrain from eating refined sugars.

After reading about a recently released book, The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes, my challenge was solidified. For one month, let’s see what happens.

Having done this in the past, but not as publicly, I remember the experience being very positive in a variety of ways (better mood, a fierce ability to discern sugar in unexpected items – ketchup, cheap chocolate, etc.), and I look forward to seeing if I can observe the same and perhaps more observations that cultivate more quality regarding my health and overall everyday routine.

Over the holiday I gradually began the reduction, as if to wean myself off of the refined carbohydrates, and in just one week, I felt better in my body. So we’ll see how it goes.

I will check in on Wednesday January 18th to share my progress, successes and oopses. I look forward to hearing what you have chosen to reduce or eliminate as well and learning how the journey is going on the 18th.

Each month we’ll tackle one item to reduce or eliminate in our lives, as a way to reduce the quantity and enhance the quality. Below is a look at year.


~Letting go of a social media app that isn’t serving you as you strive to build relationships


~Letting go of busy mentality


~Reducing mindless eating


~Mastering the use of credit


~Understanding and reducing self-doubt


~Curtailing the negative commentary (internal and external)


~How to approach staying informed but not overwhelmed by the news of the world


~Designated no work zones


~Smart shopping for clothing


~Recognizing, understanding and eradicating self-imposed limitations


~13 Life Truths to Remember About Making Progress


With so much that is worth attaining and welcoming into our lives, time and attention is needed to be successful. Patience is required. And while sometimes we just want to pounce, so long as we are assured that the path we are on is the right one, we can allow events, our health, our relationships to progress at their natural pace. After all, we first need to know what we want to plant in our garden, then we must plant it followed by much patience, but confidence knowing that we have invested wisely, and in its own time, it will bloom and then we will be able to savor all the goodness.

I look forward to stepping into this journey and sharing my experience with you and hearing about yours. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week.

~The Simply Luxurious Life Mission Statement

Petit Plaisir

~Claridge & King Boyfriend Shirt

~Images: (1) Portland’s Japanese Garden (2) my mother’s garden full of dahlias (3) Norman & Oscar along the Oregon coast during a special trip this past fall 2017. 


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28 thoughts on “137: Welcoming the Quality in 2017, One Month at a Time

  1. Love these intentions! And I would love to learn more about eliminating sugar since it is basically in everything, but the process seems overwhelming for some reason – maybe you could do a post on your experience with that this month? 🙂 Happy 2017!

  2. Hi Shannon!
    Loved this post. From January 2nd I cut out sugar and dairy from my diet.
    Sugar is definitely one of my big vices, so I am hoping to finally rid myself of this 🙂

    Good luck with your pursuit, I am looking forward to the update.

      1. I love your podcast. Also the qualities one month at a time schedule. I am 65 yrs old but
        your podcast renew my spirit.
        You help me to continue to have
        a luxurious life at my age. Thank
        You, please keep it coming.

  3. I like the qualification of “not serving you well.” I’m sure many of us eat sugary foods in a Pavlovian way, to trigger feelings of calm or to feel rewarded–much the way smokers feel about cigarettes. But the feelings of reward are outweighed by the longer-term health ramifications. In that equation, sugary treats are not serving us well.
    I’m on the same path, having sworn off desserts and sweet snacks. Now I’m hunting down the hidden sugar.

  4. Normally, during the majority of the year, I stay away from sweets. However, during the christmas season, I just couldn’t resist the many homemade delights. After indulging in sweets during the month of December, I noticed a huge difference in myself. I felt bloated when I woke up, my skin looked dull and my face seemed almost puffy. I was also tired all day. I felt like I could just never get my energy level up. By December 29th, I couldn’t stand the way I felt. I stopped eating the sweets cold turkey and increased my water intake to 100 ounces a day. The result a mere 11 days later ? Amazing! My energy level is high. I wake up without feeling full and groggy. My skin looks better. Once you experience the benefits of avoiding sugar, it is easy to stay away!

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. The key is to pay close attention to your body, mood and beauty, to notice these differences as you did and become cognizant of the reason for the changes. Thank you very, very much.

  5. Thanks for the inspiration. I am not a native English speaker, so could you please explain what TBA in December means? Thank you very much! 🙂

  6. Two things – you have slowed and quieted the tone of your voice, and I loved your speaking voice before… but now… I LOVE listening to you talk! Very soothing to listen to! Secondly, this is such a great post. So common this time of the year, is the all encompassing total-life overhaul that people undertake, often to burn-out and resort to old habits without garnering any true benefit. I love the idea of focusing on one thing at a time! This month, I am eliminating soda (although I only drank this during the weekends, when my husband and I go to the movies), and I do not plan on drinking. Usually, having people over for dinner/wine or going to a local winery with girlfriends was a go-to; however, I want to focus on memorable, adventurous activities that revolving around something other than wine or cocktails.

  7. My husband and I cut out simple sugar last April, I have had very few moments with sugar since. I feel so much better, and you notice how wonderful a piece of fruit tastes now. It wasn’t easy at first but stick with it. Love your pod-casts, thank you for all the work. Good luck on your quest, I don’t even miss it truly.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience! You make a very good point. Our appreciation for quality food, real food becomes heightened when we eliminate the false flavorings. Thank you very much for stopping by and tuning in. 🙂

  8. I favour your gentle approach to introducing new habits, Shannon. Completely eliminating certain foods from my diet is not for me. I am happy with 80/20, where the biggest chunk is food that is good for me and the rest is food eaten out of necessity (i.e. travel), social reasons (i.e. my grandmother’s cake) or pure lust. As I tell my husband: I drink grass in the morning so that I can eat chocolate in the afternoon.

    1. I agree, my husband and I are on a “liveit” not a diet! We are reducing sugar, refined foods, and eating more wholesome foods – veggies and fruits, Our new fav is “rice” cauliflower for stir fries. And green smoothies also. (not him..yet) And we have started walking our neighbors dog in the evenings…it has been around -10 degrees! And I lift/3 mornings of week with a friend. After 2 weeks I can now bend over again comfortably! lol Love your podcasts…and agree you have a great speaking voice! Happy healthy new year!

  9. Interestingly enough, my husband and I decided to not drink alcohol nor eat blatant desserts for the month of January. We had a pre-planned occasion where we knew we would have to have some drinks. we live in France and had a special dinner to go to where it would have been awkward. So far, we’ve been doing fairly well—only a few mishaps. Love your blog.

  10. Dear Shannon,
    I wanted to thank you for always inspiring me to strive for a more mindful life. I love your blog and am currently re-reading your book. Thank you so much for your wonderful work!!!!
    These intentions are great, I’m already looking forward to August, because this is what I am most struggling with…..

  11. I love this idea, I have chosen a word for each month for example luxury,poise, relaxation a different word for each month .

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