Elevate The Everyday ~ No. 1

“Elevate.  Each day, live to elevate yourself, each day elevate one person.  Make elevation your religion and you shall reach infinity.”  

                                                     ~ Harbhajan Singh Yogi

Throughout life, there are times when elevation is crucial – for example, when injured, we are often instructed to elevate the affected limb in order to promote healing.  At other times, elevation is preferred – for example, in an effort to enjoy a beautiful sunrise or sunset, we seek elevation to enhance our field of vision.

To elevate is to lift up or make higher, and is not only used to describe a physical shift, but may also be used to describe shifts in a moral, intellectual, cultural or spiritual sense.

The notion of elevating the everyday has been on my mind a great deal lately, especially as a countermeasure to a world that can at times be uncertain, unpredictable, cold and painful.

While most of us do not live extravagant lives – al Jay Z & Beyonce – we can all live beautiful ones full of great pleasure, when we make the conscious effort to elevate aspects of our everyday lives.

In what I expect will be a continuing series on the blog, I offer you the first of countless ways to elevate your everyday:

Always Use the Good China

A few months back, I was tidying the storage closet when I came across our wedding china.  Used only a handful of times, the china typically sits neatly packed on the top shelf waiting for a special occasion.  I stood there for a moment and reminisced about the time spent choosing the pattern with my husband, receiving the set as a wedding gift, and how much joy it brings me when I use it.

The pristine white porcelain, rimmed with a wide-etched band of platinum, gives the set an elegantly simple look, bringing chic sophistication to any table or meal.  As I stood there, I found myself wishing for an occasion to use it, when it hit me – why can’t any old day be occasion enough?

I immediately thought of chapter ten in Lessons From Madame Chic, where Jennifer L. Scott discusses this very thing – using your best everyday.  In many homes, Jennifer notes, crystal glasses or wedding china often sit collecting dust.  While they may be used once or twice a year, the remaining 363 days find us eating our meals off of chipped, mismatched plates.  Contrary to this line of thinking, Famille Chic used their best at every meal.  Every evening, their table was set with their good china and crystal tumblers, for in their minds, they themselves were special enough.  Jennifer goes on to note:

“Setting the table with their best elevated what would otherwise be a mundane quotidian experience.  It made the everyday special and luxurious.”

What a concept!  This line of thinking extends to everything one possesses – jewelry, clothes, shoes, handbags, furniture, fragrances.  Why shouldn’t everyday be celebrated by enjoying the best of what we have?  Doing so will not deplete its value (well, in a non-monetary sense at least); however, not doing so and allowing those things to sit packed away until it is too late for us to enjoy certainly does.

So, burn that Jo Malone candle, wear that diamond necklace and eat off the good china, and then luxuriate in that moment, even briefly.  I guarantee, you will feel elevated immediately.

Editor’s Note:  The decision to use the very best things I have everyday has been such a liberating one!  It has made me more appreciative of quality, craftsmanship and design, and has also given me a more discerning eye when deciding what I bring into my home.  Interestingly enough, it seems to have also raised my standards in other areas of life as well.  I am less apt to tolerate distasteful behaviour from myself or others, and am drawn to others who appreciate and prefer using their best and being their best everyday.  

Invest in Luxurious Sleep and Loungewear 

Like most, my tastes have evolved over time, and my taste for luxurious sleep and loungewear is no exception.

As an adolescent and young adult, I can remember (embarrassingly so) sleeping and lounging in frumpy track pants and oversized t-shirts.  I had no interest in investing in or paying attention to what I wore once out of the public eye.  Behind closed doors, if my pants had holes, or if my shirt was three sizes to large, what did it matter?

Then one day, likely around the age of 25, I saw Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window for the first time.  There is a scene where Lisa (Grace Kelly) enters the room wearing the most divine nightgown, dressing gown and matching slippers (time stamp 1:22.39 for those interested).  Something about that image struck me, and since then, investing in and enjoying luxurious sleep and loungewear has been something that absolutely elevates my everyday.

Like our hesitancy to use our best things, for some reason we also slip into the habit of only looking our best when others are watching.  Why shouldn’t we look our best for ourselves?  If anything, that is who we should be trying to impress over anyone else.

There is presentable and luxurious sleep and loungewear for every taste and budget.  Over the years, I have collected a few pieces from Eberjey and Eileen West; however, my absolute favourite for sleep and loungewear is Ralph Lauren.  Quality sleepwear does not have to be expensive, in fact, my all-time favourite slippers are from Isotoner and retail for less than $30.

When creating your sleep and loungewear capsule, I would suggest deciding on a colour palette, so that as you collect pieces, they can be mixed and matched with what you already have.  I would also suggest investing in a heartier robe for winter, and a lighter one for summer, if you are fortunate to experience all four seasons.

Slipping into luxurious sleep or loungewear at the end of a long day truly elevates my evening.  I am able to relax while still feeling polished, which motivates me to continue being productive and adhering to my standards throughout the evening.  Upon waking, especially on weekends, I do not feel an urgency to shed my sleepwear, and enjoy puttering around the house.

Add a Luxe Item (Or Two) to Your Skincare Routine

Taking the time to care for your skin is not only a smart decision (given we only get one), but it can also become a ritual that elevates your everyday.  How you ask?  Well, quite simply, adding a luxurious skincare product (or two) can transform a rather mundane task into a spa-like experience.

The world of skincare can be expensive to say the least, and my budget at this stage in life does not allow room for La Mer’s entire skincare line (though I wish it did).  Now, while your budget, like mine, may not have room for a whole line of luxurious skincare products, that does not mean you cannot work one (or two) luxurious skincare items into your routine.

Before you choose which product to add to your skincare regime, you must first assess what you already have.  For example, if you are a simple cleanser, moisturizer kind-of-person, then perhaps you may wish to add a hydrating essence or serum to your routine.  Conversely, if you already have a relatively involved routine, then you may consider replacing a current product with something richer rather than adding to.  I would suggest doing your research online or at your local beauty counter to see what speaks to you.

Next, you have to determine what aspects of a product make it luxurious for you.  For example, I find the scent of a product to up the luxe factor, though it has to be natural, as harsh fragrances can sometimes irritate my sensitive skin.  Some may find that it is the texture or richness of a product that makes it luxurious for them, while others may find that the packaging alone elevates the experience.

Finally, I would suggest sampling the product before you invest.  Sephora and most department store beauty counters are quite eager to give (modest) free samples of the skincare products they carry, and this will allow you to test for any potential allergies or reactions.

Then, take some time, even a few minutes, to be present as you use the product.  Pay attention to what it feels like, what it smells like, how it makes you feel.  While you can have a luxurious product, the practice of appreciating said product is often what takes it to the next level.

Over the last several months, I have built a basic skincare routine with products from the French beauty line – Caudalie.  For me, Caudalie is a joy to use, not only because of the natural scent, but also because of the quality ingredients used.  My basic skincare products are as follows:

Cleanser: Gentle Cleansing Milk
Toner: Beauty Elixir
Serum: Vinoperfect Radiance Serum
Moisturizer: Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet Cream
Eye Cream: Resveratrol Eye Lifting Balm

During my most recent trip to Sephora, I decided I wanted to add a luxurious item to my current regime and after discussing my options with an associate, decided on the Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence.  For some, an essence may be frivolous; however, for me, it was the product that elevated the experience.  Again, beautifully scented and hydrating, it was the addition that took me over the top.

The skincare products you choose can be anything – a luscious body cream, a beautifully fragrant body wash – really anything.  The important part is how it makes you feel, how it elevates your experience.

The above-mentioned are just a few of the countless ways to elevate our everyday.  In what ways do you elevate your everyday?  Leave a comment below – I would love to hear your thoughts.

~ Ashleigh

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4 Comments

  1. Ashleigh,

    As always your posts are worth the wait. This theme of elevation is especially thoughtful and helps us all take a look at how we choose to live our lives. It also encourages us to act better, even if those around us do not. Quality over quantity is something learned, but once it takes hold, you never look back. Very nice!

    Warmly, Kathleen

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