simple shui | a trip like never before

you guys.

i am sitting here this morning in wide-eyed gratitude, delighting in + appreciating fully + reflecting on one of the most wonder-filled, reassuring, and powerful experiences of my life – the simple shui road tour.

and my LOVE is running deep: for the women + men who said YES and made it all fall into line like magic. for the cities + sanctuaries + homes i was graciously welcomed into with wide arms. and for the conversations and stories and delicious company around every corner.

perhaps the biggest takeaway from my road tour is that the only bad question ever is the one that goes unasked. because each trip – and the darlings i connected with along the way – happened when i plunged forward into the unknown with a mighty BIG ask: let’s meet up in your town and talk shui, shall we?

it was the boldest Q i have swung out into the world in a long while, and my little adventure turned out the most incredible invites + insights. but instead of me wrapping my words around what i experienced, here’s a sliver of what i’ve been hearing ever since…

“i had a wonderful time last week and i’m SO thankful you came to visit – i wish i could replay it all over again!”

“thanks again for taking this leap of faith! it was well worth it and the result has deeply touched many people. i hope you are feeling more certain than ever that shui does matter. it matters very much just as your beautiful unique contributions to the world matter. keep at it!”

 

“it was pure magic welcoming you into our coven! thank you again for making the trip!”

“just, wow. what an absolute joy to have you over yesterday and then to get to meet over drinks! we feel BEYOND lucky to have you in our corner and had the loveliest time with you last night. we could have gone on for hours, but instead i’ll put out big time vibes for a fall visit!”

 

 

“i had a great time, and my head is spinning with excitement – thanks again! wowed by your knowledge!”

“i just spent five days with amanda gibby peters and she BLEW MY MIND.”

i feel the same way about YOU!

your words + kindness give me all the feels. so, to each of you + the universe + all that space between, thank you. thank you for embracing the shui. thank you for opening your worlds to me. and thank you for making me feel at home wherever i was. i am grateful. i feel abundant. and every minute of this experience was always more than enough.

so, we should do this again, yes?

xo

a thousand thanks | marrakech on my mind

it’s been a week, and still, Marrakech is on my mind and the straight up magic of it all. like. . .

the endless twists and turns inside the souks. . .the stray cats. . .and the barrage of bold colors and noise refusing to be ignored.

 

the finesse of a good haggle + my celebratory squeals from the steals of deals i brokered! {it also sadly and forever rendered any sale i ever get here at home now lukewarm and flat.}

 

the square filled with spices + incense + oils + soap + dyes – a symphony of seduction to the senses. and every single thing that came home with me carries the vibrancy of this magical city.

 

the textiles + blankets + rugs + lanterns + baskets. and my mind + heart swamped, trying to decide what dangling treasures and evocative gems to squeeze into my suitcase.

 

afternoon meanderings through the pink-ish maze of the medina, possibly lost and hypnotized by the beauty while always (luckily!) hopping out of a zooming motorbike’s path just in time.

 

the ritual of prayer 5 times a day – a call echoing from towering speakers, quickly becoming an invitation to reconnect + recommit to gratitude. {although, truthfully, i never warmed to the 5:30-ish a.m. call. . .}.

HOT mint tea poured magnificently into beautifully etched glasses alongside sweet, savory treats.

jardin majorelle + yves st. laurent + all that blue. and i am only half-joking when i say it may be the tipping point to my own blue period. because my mind is whirring with ideas about saturating my walls, draping fabric, throwing down rugs to pop my world with cobalt.

 

 

 

our visit to the hamman and being led through a series of rooms, rituals, and relaxation. i was rubbed down with black soap, steamed, scrubbed thoroughly, covered in clay, and doused with water – followed up with the pampering of a fluffy robe, an enchanting room, and a cup of mint tea. ummm, yes, we could all get used to this.

and the doors. ALL THE DOORS. visual poetry and puh-lenty of inspo.

 

and then. . .

to be there among the sisterhood + soulful synergy of high priestesses. where we began each day with gala darling and guided meditations + cavernous soul journaling. . . and bid the day farewell with veronica varlow and her ancestral stories + candlelit rituals + personal revivals. . .

 

and to teach shui in a gorgeous riad where water was flowing, candles adorned the room, rose petals floated, and birdsong was swirling among a radiant femme squad. truly, this is a feeling i will savor forever. . .

 

and finally. . .

on our way home, an overnight stay in Madrid.

and chocolate and churros – need i say more?

walking the city late into the evening, people everywhere and the energy so becoming of us all.

honestly, i feel so luck struck. and with every trip i make, i think of shui. because it is how i aligned my wanderlust and reality. it is when these juicy, dripping-down-my-chin travels truly began. and it is why, should you ever wonder what shui will do for you, i will tell you it has the moxie + muscle to trigger capacious opportunities and sprinkle them all along your way. making your story the real love affair of your life.

xo

Save

Save

Save

Save

simple shui | gift well #4

i am a reader. i love being swallowed whole into the pages of a good story.

so, what makes a good book in my world?

one ::  i don’t want to put it down. which is to say, i often find myself muttering, “one more chapter and then i’ll go to sleep…” only to still be awake while the world around me slumbers because the story is worth sinking into like that.

two :: i am wooed by the sentences + phrases + beautiful language, making my soul drool…

three :: i am compelled within only a few pages to text someone and say “GET THIS BOOK. NOW!” {you know who you are!}

four :: pages are dog-eared. i’m writing in the margins. and i’ve highlighted a pathway of passages.

five :: there is always a before and after demarcation with a good book.

finally :: a good book lingers. like, the voices and story and experience stay with me in a way that years might pass, but when i pick up the book again and inhale its scent and flip through the pages, it all comes back.

so, what made my good book list this year?

here are a few to get you started. . .

 

MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE’S SORRY | fredrik backman

this book gave me life over the summer. i can’t remember why i picked up this book, because i knew nothing about it.

it took over the rest of my day.

since reading it, i peruse the pages often, trying to memorize the universal wisdom woven into this unforgettable story.

these pages house so many of my favorite sentences to ever read — ones that caught my breath and made me pause  — but this. THIS sentiment was a revelation.

‘we want to be loved. failing that, admired; failing that, feared. failing that, hated and despised. at all costs we want to stir up some sort of feeling in others. the soul abhors a vacuum. at all costs it longs for contact.’

remember this. because i suspect it will be a faithful servant in the years ahead. . .

 

WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR | paul kalanithi

there’s a conversation from this book that hitched itself to me as i read it:

“will having a newborn distract from the time we have together?” she asked. “don’t you think saying good-bye to your child will make your death more painful?”

“wouldn’t it be great if it did?” i said.

i often remind myself that adversity shows true character, and this book rattled me to my core. the best teacher for life is death, because in its grasp, we become authentic + real + vulnerable – which is to say, fully alive. paul’s story is both beautiful and painful, and i believe a necessary read for everyone. making it one of my favorite reads ever.

 

MY LIFE ON THE ROAD | gloria steinem

i know the word FEMINISM gets in the way for so many, but here’s the thing about people’s stories + migrations: lives lived deeply + widely give us a chance to see the world twice. once, from our familiar perspective and comfortable, orderly understanding. and secondly, they tinder new insights because we can’t possibly see + know + breathe into every life possibility out there. we will always find ourselves in good company of the collective experience if we pay attention. and learning something new is the only way our brains grow, people, so stay open.

her journeys + conversations + lifelong loyalty to making the world a better place for women and men is reassuring and inspiring. and if nothing else, it rallies to life a universal truth: one person can make a mighty difference.

‘if you want people to listen to you, you have to listen to them. if you hope people will change how they live, you have to know how they live. if you want people to see you, you have to sit down with them eye to eye.’

a one-size-fits-all piece of advice, yes?

whether you grab the stash for yourself or bundle a few as a gift, these stories share one star-worthy quality — they open up our capacity to accept + LOVE. and that is a gift in itself.

xo

p.s. if you want a few other good reads, check out my best design books gift guide here!

p.p.s. if you want to read my previous gift well guides, look here and here and here. all the ideas are still guaranteed happy makers!

p.p.p.s. feeling the pull to sift through your things and finally arrive back in the zone? i couldn’t think of a better way to shimmy into twenty-seventeen! consider one, two, or the bundle of simple shui workbooks for yourself — because a little work now, and your year will bode of beautiful things. when we keep things simple, life opens up! and these workbooks are your map to living out loud in the new year!

 

 

Save

Save

simple shui | how metaphors mark the spot

i keep beads all around our house. rosary. tibetan. mala.

but not for religious reasons or rites.

yet when people come into our home or see pics on my blog, the beads say something to them.

specifically, these necklaces represent the meanings they associate with beads.

you know, prayer. meditation. religion.

however, it’s usually one remark or question later, and they understand what the beads represent to me.

most of my strands have 108 beads. some more; others less.

and most days, it feels like i have 108 things to do. some more; others less. add in my lovelies and their 108 things EACH, and that breathless climb threatens to wear me out on the daily.

the beads are mindfully woven throughout our home to remind me i can only do one thing well at a time.

much like a ritual where a prayer bead is held one at a time, until the entire strand is circumvented.

feng shui + simple shui + metaphors + house + happy home
one thing at a time reminds me that when i stay present…

take my time…

say NO to some things…

i almost always have time to say YES to the things that matter most.

the beads have never been about religion or higher powers or anything of that nature.

every single strand — and now perhaps you’ll see why i love collecting them — pulls me back into the full-strength of this moment + right now.

and that’s why metaphor is everything in shui.

because metaphors are the reminder to show up spectacularly for ourselves.

xo

p.s. on this same note, i almost always return home from my trips with a new set of beads. so, while my beads are a collection of reminders to breathe + notice + be more awake, they also hold travel energies in place so i am never more than 12 months away from an exciting new adventure!

p.p.s. in live with what you love, i share why LOVE + METAPHOR are necessary ingredients for our homes. and there are several exercises included to help get you + your house in tip-top metaphorical shape. if this sounds like the bee’s knees, check it out here!

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

inspired by | LOVE

i was watching an interview with Zainab Salbi recently.

she recollected a story of a woman living in a ravished, war-torn country, and Salbi asked what she could bring her.

the woman replied simply, “lipstick.”

her answer confused Salbi.

the woman, without hesitation, said wearing lipstick made her feel beautiful. and if a sniper was going to shoot her, she wanted him to see he was killing beauty.

this single demonstration transformed Salbi.

she realized “beauty becomes one way of resisting, one way of building peace.”

and for someone like me who is often saying LIVE WITH WHAT YOU LOVE, my pulse beat thumped joyfully YESYESYES.

AGPfam 1

as we gather toward the end of this year, find one way to offer beauty in your space. knowing that even in its simplicity, this is a powerful communion of LOVE and PEACE.

both of which i wish you + yours this season.

my gratitude is endlessly faceted for you and your constant outpouring of support, and it makes my world a thing of beauty.

xo