simple shui | the gift well guide

hello, sugar plums + happy december!

’tis the season of packages tied up with string, right? and because i LOVE the thrill of merry-making + joy-riding, i have a few suggestions that are sure to feel good giving.

when it comes to gifting with peace of mind and plenty of purpose, keep yours in one of these sweet spots – Edibles, Education, Experience, Expendables, and Entertainment – and your gift is forever safe from becoming forgotten, recycled, or banished to the clutter pile!

so, let’s get your gifting on and start with EDIBLES-ish:

it takes some serious WOW to WOO me, but once i fall, i am loyal for life. and these showstoppers are always within reach around here because they are

  • Olive Oil + Balsamic Vinegar – since my trip to Santa Fe a few years ago, i can’t get enough of how slurp worthy this stuff is. i inhaled my fair share of it in the store, so trust me: you can’t go wrong with any pairing. however, if the choices are too overwhelming, give them a call and you’ll get a personalized recommendation!
  • Pecan Lodge BBQ sauce – this place is Don Henley’s favorite, just so y’know. also, justin + diane are good friends of mine, and their genius is simply beyond words. they never disappoint + this stuff won’t either.
  • Golden Boy Pizza Sauce – we pizza here every Friday night, and this stuff is quickly becoming legendary.
  • Syrup – a steady + ready staple in our repertoire!
  • Sea Salt because it works anywhere – a little on the salad, a sprinkle on hot bread, a dash on chocolate ice cream, a scoop in the bath, a quick toss here and there around the house, a line at the doorstep…basically, this is EVERYTHING!


i LOVE a soup pot because it suggests nourishment, comfort, and company. it caters well to hospitality always + in all ways – it pulls us into the kitchen to stoke our money maker (the oven!). and if you’re going to put a pot o’delish on, invite a few friends to break bread with you, and you’ll stir up good vibes in your space. it’s a gift-win-win!

a spot of warm is always a favorite, so consider a teapot. and when i say it is the gift that keeps on giving, hear this: moving water represents prosperity, so when you put water on to boil, you’re speaking the language of abundance. holla at the dollah!

a water pitcher is both utilitarian and an act of self-expression. whether used as a vase for fresh blooms; a utensil holder; or a water carafe during meals, it is an unfussy way to instill beauty – a scrumptious life force – in a home. and it really is such an unexpected gift! my suggestion? bring it filled with greenery + a pop of holiday color, and it becomes 2 gifts in 1, smartie!


anything that suggests EDUCATION – like stacks of books – leaves me singing fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-LOVE! here are a few high-voltage reads that won’t disappoint.

for that boss lady (or laddie) ready to slay 2018, how about Year of Yes, Why Not Me?, You are a Badass at Making Money, and Yes Please.

for those who love being romanced by gorgeous words and hypnotic writing, Shadow of the Wind, The House of the Spirits, The Sun and Her Flowers, and Heart Talk.

for the memoir junkie (which i am all the days of my life!), The Journal of Best Practices, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, Born to Run, I’m Judging You, Something to Declare, and Swimming With Elephants.

for someone who insists on a book that refuses to be put down, Kindred, The Historian, Tell the Wolves I’m Home, Tiny Beautiful Things, and The Book Thief.

for that darling of a designer, how about Absolutely Beautiful Things, The Things That Matter, Morning Noon Night, and The New Bohemians Handbook?

and for someone wanting a little shui in her life (wink, wink), my simple shui workbooks…naturally!


as for EXPERIENCE, i can’t even begin to tell you how much i <HEART> these women! each of these foxy fresh ladies has an irrefutable presence + smoking confidence, so you won’t go wrong getting in their world. and if you ever feel those self-doubts getting too much real estate, these are the women whose torches never dim so let them light yours!

kristen finch – i call her little Bu(ddha) because she is the steadiest hand in the game of LIFE. if you (or a lovie) need an encouraging shove into really showing up + taking up all the space, 8 days a week she is forever your girl.

jenn lederer is equal parts everygirl’s girlfriend + unapologetic coach + breakthrough whisperer – basically, a triple scoop treat!

flora bowley, pixie lighthorse, susannah conway: i am a front row fangirl of these women + the beauty they bring to the table – whether it is a book; an e-course; or their social media musings, their inspiration seduces and satiates the soul.

the tarot lady is a badass boss babe who over-delivers the goods in her forecasts (if you can get one!). and her coloring books are creative catnip for tarot lovah-lovahs!

the voluptuous witch – holy smokes, i LOVE this woman! she is an astrologer + activist + straight up truth teller who teaches me something new every single day. she is brilliant at calling out the excess (fear) so we can get into the life (love) we all deserve.

i *met* heidi rose this summer, and my reading made me run to the mountaintop and tell everyone about it! for real. FOR REAL.

and if you’re more of something-to-hold-onto giver, these cards are a house favorite. like, dipping back into all the feels from yesteryear while getting a cosmic fist bump!


let’s talk EXPENDABLES, baby!

this candle is my new favorite thing because i adore pairing an intention with lighting a WHITE candle, so get one and let’s light 2018 up up up!

i have to give credit to my SIL for turning me onto these candles – and if you have the same response i did, good luck choosing just one!

my heart swoons for this company and i intend to collaborate + concoct a Simple Shui blend soon. like, really really really soon. until then, this and that are my favorites. but you can’t and won’t go wrong with any selection! (p.s. i like to buy these in batches for quick hostess gifts + client thank yous.)

as for lighting those candles, these babies make for clever coffee table conversation.

palo santo sticks: i love them; buy them by the bundle; light one on the daily; and methinks you should, too!

there are a couple things i firmly believe in keeping well-stocked, and this is one. i have been in the Juniper Ridge orbit since for-like-ever, and they keep getting better. bravo, team juniper, bravo!

front door swag is some seriously good shui AND no one ever expects it as a gift, so be someone’s front porch squad! give them a mat, splurge on an eye(and energy)-catching wreath, or sweep them off their feet with a pretty (it exists!) broom.


finally, it is all about the ENTERTAINMENT. and for me, that distills down to what is happening around me because my kinda evening is Netflix + a bulky blanket + something to sip. so, here are few accents to make your home feel just as entertaining as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

follow her on insta and then, you know, find a way to bring a little of her ethereal magic home. because that is what she spins all the days.

her mala beads leave me obsessed. OBSESSED. (i am working on a wall of them.)

kantha quilts are all the rage in our house – i use them outside to get my hygge on, but i also love draping them over a table, piling them on a stool for visual texture, or pooling them into the nook of a chair for that “come hither” vibe.

a hefty dose of inspo + something delish? i’ll drink to that!

i am still pinching myself that we have an original portrait of hers – squeee! but if portraits aren’t your thing, how about commissioning a favorite quote? because something made just-for-me is gifting genius at its best.

and in the spirit of lovely things on the wall, how about visual motivation that looks as good as it feels?


so, here’s to those lucky ladies and lads on your lists – any one of these gifts are simply the best. go for the things you like for the people you LOVE and you’ll have the holiday muses swooning in the air! xo

simple shui | gift well #2

in the south of france years ago, my friend and i would slip away from our sleepy chateau just as morning broke, head down the cobblestone road, and wander into the warm bakery nestled at the very bottom of the hill. our eyes would feast on so much deliciousness — we often left with almost everything the baker was selling that day. she never had an abundance of treats; rather, she seemingly baked what flattered her fancy and when it was gone, she closed shop to devour the rest of the day.

i am wont to think that if this shui thing didn’t work out, i’d set up shop much like mademoiselle. waking each morning to concoct whatever sugar or spice was tugging on my taste buds. . .

cookbooks hypnotize me into the kitchen where i eagerly swirl with hope at what concoctions i might bake. and today, i share a few favorite additions to my library this year.

if there is a foodie in your life or you need a dollop of fresh inspiration, might i suggest these? after all, the kitchen is where we inspire the feeling of plenty…so, in shui, baking + cooking + congregating in its hearth is a VERY good thing.


the simplicity of her idea is genius + intoxicating — her gatherings are gorgeous + visually gratifying. with every new recipe my eyes drifted upon, i found myself quietly making commitments to try it. the best part? nothing disappoints. rather, it has been an arms in the air celebration for *holy smokes* good food. SO good that i’m compelled to keep taking bites just to savor the taste again…even when i’m stitches beyond full. and now, i understand why people rushed to her table when they received an invitation. one bite, and you would gallop, too.


*my favorites so far include her apple cider cakes, the whiskey-glazed ribs {oh. my. goodness.}, and a winter slaw.


BREAD & WINE: A LOVE LETTER to LIFE AROUND the TABLE with RECIPES by shauna niequist

i’ve once confessed to my girl crush, but why not spread my LOVE like wild fire? if you’ve never read any of her books, get on it. like, right now. her stories + familiar voice pairs perfectly with her deep LOVE for food + wine + community. every sentence is both comfortably casual and so well-crafted. turning the next page is a likely addiction. here’s what you ought to expect: {a} the impulse to dog-ear over half the pages in the book; {b} the compulsive leap into your kitchen to whip up a batch of cookies; and {c} an unprecedented desire to make several more batches of these cookies because you {and your family} can’t.get.enough.


*currently, i cannot stop making her Gaia cookies. except i leave out the coconut + walnuts and use dried cherries + dark chocolate instead. the density + chewiness of this cookie is unrivaled.


HAND MADE BAKING: RECIPES to WARM the HEART by kamran siddiqi

i pre-ordered this book forever ago and had practically forgotten when it arrived a few days before thanksgiving. i set it aside, expecting to explore it after our holiday meal. except. on thanksgiving morning, i realized i was out of the main ingredient for pecan pie. contemplating a shameful run to the store, i grabbed his book for a possible alternative. and like magic, it opened to a pecan pie recipe. angels must’ve been singing because the recipe called for maple syrup in place of my missing ingredient. i detoured with relief. and after making both his pecan pie AND pumpkin pie recipe, i will never go back to what i used before… bottom line: slice after slice was everything you expect in a pie and somehow more.



i love how cookbooks remind us of the magic we can make with our own hands. they are a portal connecting us with family + friends, inviting us to gather round a table. at its epicenter, anything we make from scratch is wonderfully rooted in nourishment and LOVE, the two primary ingredients for a truly wealthy life. and that’s always a gift perfect for any one on your list.



simple shui | a thousand thanks

searching my blog yesterday, i came across this:

november is a barren landscape stripped of all its pretenses.

behind closed doors, there are glowing fires.

november’s beauty must radiate from within.

makes november sound like a rather authentic month, yes? and it’s what i LOVE most about this time of year.

there’s an invitation to reflect upon the passing year — all that transformed so we became more of our authentic selves.

and what better way to do this than gratitude.

a favorite soul sent me a LOVE note the other day, asking me to *please, OH please* bring back gratitude posts.

i never meant to retire them; rather, the business of talking shui just persisted more. but in that excitement, i lost something that’s been a polaroid of our life as it develops. those drops of gratitude were bread crumbs…a trail celebrating my life as it unfolds.

so. stepping outside my normal chattering today, a few words of appreciation instead.

{i am oh-so grateful for. . .}

row B tickets to ryan adams. my mister knows how much i’ve craved this experience…and he landed second.row.seats. there are no words really… just crazy love.


every single sunset that saturated me in cali a few weeks ago. one look and i smell the sea + feel the sky all over again.


our cheapest halloween yet…and most likely their cutest costumes. ever.


these cookies. dark chocolate + dried cherries + oatmeal. shall i go on?


the recipe. which came into my world straight from this delicious book. i am rapidly moving from silly girl crush to full-fledge twitterpation for shauna niequist. her stories are like scrumptious cookies themselves, textured + pleasing + so very satisfying. devour one and you immediately want another.

more girl crushes. it’s been wildly thrilling these last few months to be among spectacular girl company over at clementine daily and astrotwins’ momstrology. it’s invigorating + righteously radiant how these empowered women light up the world with their gorgeous talents + voices. and to be in the same space with them, even for a blink + a smile, inspires every cell of my body.

this video. which, if you *know* me, is so counter to anything i would ever do outside of close comrades. but. i was *challenged* by her – a spirit i tremendously adore + respect. if something scares me {and there isn’t anything real to be afraid of}, it is usually the kind of plunge i need to shake my spirit wide + loose. the thing is…it was SO much more. we sing this song every day going to school. something about that hook my lovelies love. and now i hold this slice of our ordinary in my hands forever. and that is the best bursting joy!

our class — we have one more week. honestly, life spreads her wings and flies right on by. it’s been a limitless experience – engaging with souls so open to their own joy + teaching with someone who can pretty much grow whatever she dreams. and to know i will tuck up 2014 having explored something i’ve never done before? it lights my fire in the best possible ways.

it’s a well of sweetness i find myself in when i notice + praise everything that is right about my life. i hope you will treat yourself to a dip, too.


simple shui | how to anchor happiness

if i distilled all my posts into a simple guide on happiness, here is what i would tell you. . .

practice gratitude. every. single. day.

initiate random acts of kindness. surprise yourself + make someone’s day.

honor silence. spend time with yourself. be comfortable alone.


appreciate your body through exercise and movement. motion is the lotion for a healthy, happy body + mind.

develop daily rituals. remember, a ritual is a servant of your intention so make it matter.

read, read, READ. breathe books in.

listen to music. it has its own language.

drink more water. repeat.

eat something fresh with every meal. enjoy food in its natural state.

go outside, and bring it inside. often.


surround yourself with beautiful things. living things. and always some sparkle.

choose people who choose you — have a tribe that makes you feel good.

keep your house clean. and free of clutter. this is how you create a home filled with substance + style.

find signature smells for your house — let the seasons guide you.

and prefer quality over quantity. if choose well, you buy less.

over the years, i have noticed some patterns and made the connections between what works. listen, i know it sometimes feels like happiness hangs out on a fringe. what i know for sure is when i anchor things + live by choices that are synonymous with contentment + well-being + my highest good, i fetch happiness right off its horizon.





a thousand thanks | just for you, june

there’s a fullness in the air today.

with the longest day of summer shining its spotlight on us. . .

and the glow of tonight’s super moon waiting in the wings. . .

it feels ripe for gratitude.

i am grateful for. . .

late nights searching for stars. it’s kind of epic learning so much about our infinite galaxy. . .


leftover strawberries becoming homemade strawberry-sour cream ice cream. inspired by this recipe. . . yum!

photo(83) photo(85)

along with it, the sweet satisfaction of marking another goal off the list.

and with the v e r y last batch of strawberries and a handful of blossoming basil, this recipe is calling me hither.

all-day swims. . .


. . .while i sit poolside, soaking up rays + an easy summer read.


a ridiculously funny game we play with the lovelies.


a splash of gold on some well-worn planters.


a stack of creative reading. . .

june blog 2013 (7)

and a new tee shirt with some inspiration for the weekend. . .


may your bones be full of fire and the weekend erupt with merrymaking!