AltLuxe

Posts from the “Living Well” Category

Time to do some taking

Posted on May 27, 2014

The other day, I was sitting and chatting with a new friend – an art impresario – and listening to her story about how she discovered her latest artist. She used a charming, somewhat old fashioned, almost European phrase three times in as many sentences and I was suddenly struck with how unexpectedly wise that turn of phrase was. It was a simple and common enough two word phrase: “took notice”. Not “I noticed” but rather, “I took notice”. “I noticed” is passive, as in something drifted by your consciousness, and it registered there, however lightly.  “Taking” notice, is active, as in paying attention, more intensely, more insistently. You sit up and take notice. You don’t just observe: you examine, you query, you internalize, you grapple, you…

Consuming pleasures: the S word

Posted on May 17, 2014

  Sale. Funny word, that. For some people, that word is like catnip. When that email plops into that mailbox, eyes light up, plans are made, research is done. (Flights may even be booked.) Then, in the store, or online, there’s a frenzy: hunt, buy, hunt, buy. And who doesn’t want to pay less for something? I am pleased to say that I have bagged a few great bargains in my life…those gold mesh Manolo Blahniks I’d bought for $50 and sprayed black (worn with pleasure for years now) or the better knife set at 50% off. Or the super low fare to London where I had that life changing Christmas holiday. Yes, of course. But a few years ago, as I did my annual wardrobe cull, I realized…

The luxury of time

Posted on April 12, 2014

There’s one thing that keeps coming up in conversations about luxury, and it has nothing to do with stuff and things and sensuality. It doesn’t even cost money, not in the absolute, so it seems to feel less status-y, more wholesome. That “thing” of course, is time. The luxury of doing nothing. The luxury of hanging out with friends. The luxury of focus. The luxury of time to do nothing. The luxury of an afternoon thats unplanned and unstructured, where you go with the flow of desire or instinct. (Sounds great to me.) When we’re running about working, projecting, parenting, investing in our relationships/our bodies/our sanity, of course time feels like a luxury. Of course time feels precious and rare. But is time inherently a…

InstaLuxe

Posted on March 30, 2014

Came across this article, “Behold a Four-Day Design Miracle in Noe Valley” (San Francisco) in the local lifestyle mag, 7x7SF. The piece chronicles a – yes – four day furnishing of a house in an increasingly swanky part of San Francisco (beloved of the newly minted Technorati Wealthy). And it reminded me of all that AltLuxe is NOT.   According to the article, the owners, after some fits and starts, got sick of the process of decorating their home. They were leaving town for four days, and they hired designer Ian Stallings to complete the project in that time. He interviewed them to find out what they liked and cared about, and then executed beautifully, right down to a fully-outfitted cabinet of curiosities. There are quirky…

The pleasure discipline

Posted on March 12, 2014

The way we’re defining luxury here on AltLuxe, it’s clear that it’s more than about the thing, the product, the object. It’s about pleasure, which is something that happens between your ears and in your psyche, not in a shop somewhere. (Luxury is most definitely not about shopping and spending or even spa-ing, which can leave me feeling frazzled and graspy and unsatisfied.) Luxury is about sense and experience and soul. It’s about slowing down and petting my cat and luxuriating in the warmth of his body, the sensuous feel of his coat, the crazy little snores he gives from time to time. It’s about writing in my journal. It’s about having an unexpected drink with my besties. Oddly enough, this kind of luxury,…

AltLuxe: home for pleasure

Posted on February 20, 2014

By Regina Connell. People often ask me what the new luxury is when it comes to the home. I get the sense that what they’re looking for is a pat answer, and a look: perhaps something involving exposed beams, industrial touches, reclaimed wood, flea market finds, etc. You know, that look. But then that would be about buying other peoples’ labels and looks again, which is not what alternative luxury is about. However, forced to come up with something more useful, I’d say that it’s about these things: ease, what’s essential, soul, sensuality, intimacy, and subversion. AltLuxe, like many good things, is a little complicated. No. 1  EASE. More than anything else, the AltLuxe home is about ease. It’s about not trying too hard to look…

Living well: recipes for pleasure

Posted on January 20, 2014

Like any foodie, I do love my indulgences. Recently discovered pleasures include the pucker-up tart seville orange marmalade from Josephine’s Feast, that sublimely creamy straciatella on the pizza I had the other day at Farm Shop in Marin, and that orgasmic cup of hot chocolate using Recchiuti dark chocolate pistoles… However indispensable these are to the life well-lived, over the holidays I realized that my real foodie pleasure comes from preparing it,  not just consuming it. So I resolved to cook more, cook with more focus, more intention. While this realization would have many running to the nearest farmers market, for me, it starts with cookbooks and recipes. Now there are a billion lovely cookbooks out there, oozing with luscious imagery, compelling stories and the…

The Manifesto: It’s all about Pleasure

Posted on January 1, 2014

My goal for this year: get more pleasure out of life. Not the profligate, crazy, acquisitive, icky (and you know what I mean) kind, but deeper, durable, really joyful pleasure: the type – deep down – we all crave (though yes, every once in a while, you need a little good ick). Deep pleasure is based on sense and sensibility: I want to feel deep contentment and delight about how I live. Here’s my personal manifesto (please note, not resolution) for the year and beyond. I will embrace pleasure. I will banish the inner puritan who mandates that pleasure is something to be sprinkled parsimoniously (if at all) onto struggle and responsibility. Genuine pleasure is our birthright, and it’s essential to our happiness and therefore health. Living…

Living Well: In praise of the little picture

Posted on December 26, 2013

It’s ironic that the concept of mindfulness is terribly buzzy these days: mindfulness is about the anti-buzz. But bear with me here, because it seems to me that mindfulness is at the heart of AltLuxe. (And yes, the more serious leaders in the mindfulness movement, folks like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Gil Fronsdahl and Jack Kornfield would likely squirm at my applying it to notions of luxury and consumption, but oh well.) Mindfulness is, at its core, about awareness of what is going on, primarily as it relates to your mind, but also about how you’re feeling, your emotions, and what’s going on about you. And the foundation of awareness lies in stepping back, noticing and noting. And that’s the biggest intersection between mindfulness and AltLuxe:…