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What 'quality of life' means to me...

I've been thinking a lot over the past few months about what 'quality of life' means to me. It's one of those really subjective expressions that can only be defined in a personal way. In other words, quality of life for my guy friend who shall remain nameless means putting his money towards the things that bring him joy: his truck, electronics, a pint of Guinness. He will never EVER set foot in Starbucks, or fly direct if he can take a connecting flight and save money. Nor would he ever have, gasp, spent money on good sheets (until he met me.)

Quality of life for me and my guy friend are two very different experiences. So how can I even attempt to define it? Well, let's start with the word quality. What a concept, eh? Genuine quality. Sadly, not so easy to find or afford nowadays. I've talked about this ad nauseam before, but it bears repeating: good quality costs money. Let's face it, mass-produced overseas disposable stuff is (to put it politely) more affordable. So it's up to the individual to decide where to invest in quality, and where to opt for good-looking albeit not unique or long-lasting products and experiences.

Quality of life for me? I only fly direct. (Travelling is enough of a pain without having to change planes and hang out in the Phoenix airport!) I'll pay more to have a better experience. I pay $10 a day for my two lattes, and linger in a Starbucks armchair staring off into space as I drink them. It's how I regroup in the middle of the day. It's my ritual and I don't care what it costs. I also take a lot of baths. (They're free, too, so that's good.) And when it comes to my home, where I live, where my family lives, where most of my life unfolds, I believe in investing in quality - my amazing hand-crafted couch (11 years old now,) antiques that have meaning, one-of-a-kind rugs, my art, a coffee table I found in Soho that still brings me joy when I hang out in my living-room (also 11 years old.) And of course, my bed. Most of us spend about 3000 hours a year in bed! So it stands to reason that investing in good quality sheets, duvets and pillows is truly an investment in the quality of life. And that's where quality and quality of life converge.

We can agree to disagree on direct versus connecting flights; Starbucks versus Tim Horton's; a big screen TV versus a pair of Jimmy Choo's. But how can we not agree on the way we sleep? How can a good night's sleep be underestimated? Who doesn't love slipping into crisp cotton sheets, or resting their head on the perfect squishy down pillow? Only someone who has never experienced the real deal.

Perhaps you're still sleeping in polyester sheets, or those rough discount sheets you picked up because no one sees them under your bedspread. You probably sleep on that 'Maxipad' foam pillow your husband picked up for you. You don't know yet that your sleeping experience could be so much better! You don't know that investing in authentic quality bedding is an investment in the quality of your life. And you're not alone. I had a heated discussion with a client last week who was spending $1000 on her duvet cover and decorative cushions (that's what the guests see) but would not invest in a set of authentic quality sheets (starting at $250 for the entire set) or a new down duvet and pillows. She confessed she had some old sheets from a discount chain, and would make due with her old duvet and pillows. My quality of life spiel fell upon deaf ears. She wanted the bed to look stunning, but she didn't give a hoot about how she slept inside it.

For that customer, buying good sheets was a "luxury" she could not rationalize. My question is, when did authentic quality become synonymous with luxury? The sheets she did not invest in will last for years and years and soften over time and become more and more magnificent! No doubt, she will replace her discount store sheets every year until she has far surpassed the cost of one great set. My friend, you don't even have to buy them from me! Just go get some and discover what it's like to experience sleeping in the ultimate bed. You deserve it!

My mom opened the first Au Lit 30 years ago with one purpose: to change the way people sleep. She wanted everyone in Canada to experience what she had experienced in Europe: superior cotton sheets and a down-filled duvet. It was an uphill battle in those days of stiff chintz bedspreads and polyester sheets. But she never gave up. Today, our mission is the same. We want everyone sleeping in good cotton and real down. We are passionate about it. We are passionate about quality of life. Quality sleep and quality of life go hand in hand. Don't they?

What does quality of life mean to you? Do you think spending more for authentic quality is a luxury? Where do you invest?