Simple Living

Finding Your Authentic Style

Thinking back to when I was a girl, I loved puttering in my room, pasting photos and postcards to the wall, and rearranging my little treasures: chunks of crystal bought at a sidewalk stand on Telegraph Avenue, a favorite blue and white quilt, letters from a friend at camp. When you are a child, style is natural, easy, and authentic. You don't worry about what others think, you just love what you love. My wish - for myself as much as for all of you - is to let go of the guilt, the second-guessing, and the worry that so often plagues us as adults, and start trusting that small voice inside a bit more, because it already knows you through and through.

When you tap into your authentic style, you can make much stronger decisions about what to keep in your home, and what you can (and should) give yourself permission to let go of. Wouldn't it be wonderful to savor each corner of your home, to really enjoy everything you lay your eyes on, and feel only feelings of joy, wonder, and delight as you move through your space? This is not something that can happen overnight, but I really believe that if you choose to devote some energy to unearthing your authentic style, you can transform your home into a place that reflects the beautiful, imperfect, unique, you.

Ready to do a little digging into your own authentic style? Pour yourself a cup of tea, get comfy, and mull over these questions:

  • What do you love at first sight?
  • What are your favorite films? (top 3)
  • What are your favorite guilty pleasures? (top 5)
  • How would you spend your ideal day?
  • If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
  • What color lifts your mood?
  • What color brings out your eyes?
  • Who do you love?
  • What do you love about yourself?
  • If you could wave a magic wand and erase something (or things) from your home, what would it be?

With the very first session of my Mindful Clutter Clearing e-course coming up in January, we will be delving more deeply into ways to discover your authentic style, and begin to shed the things in your home that do not reflect the real you. I hope to see you there! 

The Simple Pleasures of Winter

Since moving away from New England, I keep expecting winter to come. Any moment, I think. Any moment that chill in the air will turn a bit too frightful for a mere sweater, and we'll have to pull out the big down-filled coats and knit mittens and hats. Any moment that first magical snow will fall, bringing with it a hush that draws us a bit closer together. It's true that I am not a huge fan of winter. But I do miss that first snowfall, and the way our old neighborhood became quiet and sparkling beneath a blanket of white. Of course, the Bay Area has its own, more subtle take on winter, and I plan to take full advantage of all of my favorite cozy comforts while it lasts. Hot tea, homemade chocolate chip granola bars, warm sweaters, and glowing candlelight aplenty.

I love the Danish concept of hygge, which translates roughly to creating a warm, cozy atmosphere and enjoying time with family and friends, and that is what I hope to create in my own home. In fact, I find myself drawn to everything from the nordic region at this time of year - the Dala horse motif (seen on my favorite mug above), the Danish/Swedish tv show The Bridge, white floors, cozy sheepskins flung over chairs, Swedish mystery novels, the dramatic and unusual Dogme films (I especially love Italian for Beginners), Hanna Andersson, Ikea, Astrid Lindgern (I just read Pippi Longstocking for the first time with my son), saunas, and of course, the lovely Swedish coffee-and-cake break tradition known as fika.

It's funny, working from home you might think I work in my pajamas and take breaks whenever I want, but the truth is I often find myself working too hard, forgetting to give myself a break. If you work from home, perhaps you know what I mean? But part of the spirit of winter lies in slowing down and giving yourself a break, both literally and emotionally. Outside in New England, or in Scandinavia, nature couldn't be more clear: winter is when you rest. So yesterday I took an uncharacteristically long break to bake a batch of my son's favorite chocolate chip granola bars. The scent of the honey and oats wafting from the oven was deeply comforting - and when they came out of the oven, I stole away to my room with a wedge of granola bar, a mug of hot tea, and a stack of new magazines. The winter light was dim, and the rain was falling outside, so I lit a candle and enjoyed the sound of the raindrops. The sky feels so fresh after the rain, I've always loved that. 

I'd love to hear: What is your favorite season? How do you honor the changes in nature where you live, whether they are subtle or striking? What are you doing to care for yourself and your family this winter?

A Mindful Thanksgiving Podcast

Hello friends! I am hosting Thanksgiving at my own home for the first time this year, so I wanted to take a few extra steps to ensure we have a calm and stress-free experience ... and so far, so good! And because I thought that some of you could perhaps use a bit of calming as well, I recorded a short (under 5 minutes) podcast to share some of my favorite tips. Have a listen below as you cook, and have a relaxed Thanksgiving!

A Fresh Start, A Blank Page

First let me just say, welcome! I’m beckoning you with arms wide open (yes, I’m a hugger), inviting you into my little corner of the world. I started blogging seven years ago on Lolalina, and decided it was high time for a change. The biggest difference you may notice on the new site is the name ... oh hello there, it’s my name! Along with the eponymous site, I have been planning a shift in what, why, and how I blog. For all of you who know me through Houzz and Lolalina, fear not: I am still just as much of a design loving homebody as ever, and my love of all things hearth and home will (hopefully) only shine through more than ever. There will be tea and cake (and sometimes cocktails), and talk with creative folks.


What to expect

I will be posting a few times each week (quality over quantity!), sharing some of my own photographs and writing on all things house and home. Each month you can also expect a guest or two for a chat and home or studio tour. I hope you will take a moment to poke around the new site (thanks to the lovely Tracy Castro of Fair Morning Blue for the redesign!) and get cozy. I am so looking forward to posting here.