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 just.so.good.

  • 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!

also.

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 | how it all began + a BIG announcement

because my current home is what got me into all of this in the first place, how about we begin there?

up until a few weeks past my 32nd birthday, i leaned into decisions cerebrally. i had a thing for hard proof – it furnished me a sense of control. so when we stepped into our new home and nothing felt right, i heaped blame on the recent move. months later, though, those swishy whispers were screaming. our home catered well to our needs, but i couldn’t get comfortable. even worse, i felt stuck. and as a stay-at-home mama to full-throttle 3-year-olds, i couldn’t muster the energy to combat crawl my way onto higher ground.

like so many others, i had read The Secret and wanted to believe i could change my life with a few, well-rounded affirmations. but in this particular moment of need, i was coming up short. on the edge of a really bad day, i grabbed my copy and treated it like an oracle – superstitiously summoning an answer.

letting the book fall open, i saw two words: FENG SHUI.

i’d heard those words before, although i’d never put my fingerprints on them. the whole idea sounded too good to be true and totally woo. i required logic and solid facts. but i sensed something was different about us in this new house. since the move, our financial obligations had increased, leaving our resources without any elasticity. the stress was strangling all hope, and our marriage bore the marks.

so, in that precise moment, i paused, “what could it hurt if i tried feng shui?”

with a healthy skepticism, i began a search online.

my house is already in a state of feng shui? what the. . .i don’t even *do* feng shui. this makes no sense.

my utter lack of understanding delivered a curious surge of energy, and with it, i read my first feng shui book. and with our financial “cushion” threadbare, my focus was easy: money, money, money.

first on my feng shui list: buy fresh flowers. it felt incredibly self-indulgent, so i bought the cheapest blooms i could find. a few weeks later, i purchased a water fountain. i had steep reservations about the cost, but this feng shui “cure” promised quick results. my final touch was adding purple – the color feng shui associates with wealth – in our kitchen. i put purple Sharpies in a drawer; i kept African violets on the dining table (still do); and i taped purple construction paper on the underneath side of our kitchen table.

(yes, i am totally serious about the construction paper.)

i continued making home improvements. i replaced burned out lightbulbs, pruned our front yard, and threw away incriminating clutter. feng shui was an addictive distraction – there was always something to do. within a few months, my husband had accepted a new job with a reassuring raise, and we found a preschool with openings for the girls. best of all – our home was feeling less like a stranger in our lives.

full stop.

was this a lucky coincidence or. . .

was feng shui actually working?

success leaves clues. and every shui suggestion i followed was acknowledged with synchronicity – like love winks from the Universe. the kind of woo-woo that left me wondering if i was maybe interpreting everything as a sign. good vibes were hatching in our nest, but we still had an overhaul of fixes. so, i threw myself into reading more and forecasting another round of changes.

we painted walls.

we hung photos and artwork on those freshly lacquered walls.

and, we finally agreed on a plan for our still unpacked office. as we were putting those affairs in order, my attention was still tangled up in our finances. sitting at my new desk, i sent three “cold” emails to local PR companies. within a week, those three responses blossomed into three interviews. a few weeks later, i had a part-time freelance gig i could do from home.

feng shui appeared bulletproof, and i wanted in.

***

this is an excerpt from my workbook LIVE WITH WHAT YOU LOVE. a year later, i am still celebrating it along with CLUTTER IS NOT LOVE and CREATING SACRED SPACE. i wrote them for me. for you. and for our homes. they’re progressive. practical. and pitch perfect for wherever you are in life because simple shui is an everyday way of being. and the curated ideas + suggestions are *the* starter kit for anyone looking to confidently shui.

as for that BIG announcement. . .

three new workbooks are swirling, and i can barely contain the details + delights that await! these workbooks delve deeper into shui, but their magic will be most potent when you have an understanding of the LOVE, CLUTTER, and SPACE CLEARING fundamentals. so, get your starter kit + follow its thread so you can step into the sheer velocity of these new workbooks! and for those of you who already have your bundle, thank you! it makes me light up like a thousand suns having your support + feeling that LOVE!

xo

 

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!

 

 

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simple shui | be a smarty + join the shui party!

i believe in doing more of what works for you, and less of what you think is expected. i believe in dressing a home with compassion and awareness so you feel good. and i believe in aligning our intentions with our own sense of style — so we live a beautiful life.

our environment shapes our experiences, and shui is the bridge to higher ground. it’s how we co-create bounty + happiness in our lives. it’s how we draw strength from our homes. it’s how we demonstrate who we are to the world.

and it is why i wrote these workbooks.

 

WORKBOOK_1

 

i want YOU to experience shui, not intellectualize it. i want YOU to learn firsthand how a few simple changes will deliver outstanding results. i want YOU to look back and notice when you started changing your home, life became lovelier. because LOVE is the whole point of shui.

these workbooks are my everything. i poured my hot little heart into each one – and they are filled to the brim with ready-to-use rituals, karma-cally delicious inspiration, and high energy ways to play with shui everyday!

 

WORKBOOK_2

 

i wrote them for me. for you. and for our homes.

they’re progressive. practical. and pitch perfect for wherever you are in life. because simple shui is an everyday way of being.

 

WORKBOOK_3

 

this journey began in january. writing + editing + designing, oh my! i’ve been in the best company along the way – and to each of you, a thousand thanks. there is such sweetness to the victory lap and it wouldn’t be possible without you + you + you! and for everyone who has ever encouraged me to write a book, i carried your hope with me + my gratitude runs high!

buy one, buy all three, help me spread the word! because today is a celebration — and to that, i say be a smarty + join the shui party!

xo

p.s. and if you still haven’t signed up for the newsletter, whatcha whatcha waiting for? a lot can happen over there, and you don’t want to miss out, m’loves!

simple shui | a few bedroom moves everyone should know

if you’re not getting along famously with your bedroom, it’s time. everything is energy + everything is connected. and when we desire any improvement in our lives – that coveted promotion, a little extra va-voom to workout, a thick-as-thieves social circle, or even establishing beyoncé-like boundaries for ourselves – this space deserves to be your main squeeze.

as a practitioner, i know how protective we are about our private spaces and not wanting to reveal what’s behind the closed door:

i didn’t make my bed this morning.

it is a laundry/work/clutter minefield in there.

the kids built a fort and moved in – we still haven’t cleaned it up.

if chaos is loose in the bedroom, it’s likely there are disruptions percolating in your life. why? a bedroom is where we are most vulnerable. this is where we sleep; express ourselves sensually; and if we are lucky, seek refuge when we need an escape from the battalion of daily demands.

however, when we funnel our resources exclusively to the social areas of our home, it’s a good indicator we care more about the people around us than we do ourselves. and if we don’t prioritize ourselves, why should others?

we all are familiar with airplane etiquette – put on your mask first; then your child’s, right? same scenario. we cannot possibly attract twice as nice circumstances if we don’t give ourselves the necessary attention {and compassion} of being fully refreshed. and guess what? you cannot multi-task your own well-being.

so, my smart cookie, here are a few of my favorite gang changers. and instead of looking at this list as what shui expects in a room, simply rock what works for you. because a happy YOU leaves little room for anything else!

 

COUNT BY TWOS.

even if you’re not in a relationship or seeking some sizzle between the sheets, bedrooms are synonymous with all relationships. back to the beginning of this post, when we are in pursuit of something we really want – a business venture or a social opportunity – we can anchor the concept of partnership easily + eloquently in the bedroom by keeping things in even numbers. so, a pair of nightstands, a pair of lamps, or an even assortment of pillows – you know, it takes two to make a thing go right. . .

feng shui + bedrooms + love (3)

 

CONTENT MATTERS.

if your walls are adorned with kids’ photos, all eyes are on you. almost like you are being watched – a-hem. so, if your love life is barely flickering, try taking those precious faces down for 9 days. see what happens. and if things heat up, replace the family portfolio with something that brews romance.

feng shui + bedrooms + love (2)

CREATE BALANCE.

i’m talking yin and yang, black and white. they are not mutually exclusive – an excellent metaphor for relationships. so, a touch of these colors in a bedroom is a worthy nod to equality and balance in our partnerships. plus, it’s fun to play with this unexpected detail! and the options available will tickle your idea box: art prints, photography, books, jewelry boxes, lamps, rugs, vases. . .

feng shui + bedrooms + love (7)

our focus determines so much of where we end up, and given that the bedroom bookends our days, it matters. so do something to dress your room with LOVE and watch how the universe shows up spectacularly, scattering sunshine + stars all around you.

and, if you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, whoa! you’re missing out BIG. this week i’m sharing a glimpse into my refuge and how shui works for me! plus, i’ll share a few more tips + tricks to keep your retreat cozy + cooing! so, hop over + sign up!!!

xo