simple shui | incense 101

a couple months ago, Well + Good reached out to me for an interview and we talked all things incense. the conversation was a treat because it combined two of my favorite things: an understanding of every room’s power + purpose AND my daily use of scents (via incense, essential oils, and plants) to curate + cultivate nutritive vibes around us.

so, how about we open that vault and i give you all the things we discussed so you can grab yourself a few sticks or scents to keep the air clear and energy in high gear as we wrap 2017?

Kitchen: when we fill our kitchen with food and conversation, the universe delights in our irrepressible dance of resources. and our intentions to feed ourselves and others literally shapes what we manifest – which translates into the convergence of more wealth in our lives. so, to keep the company coming back, a few good sticks to keep handy include: Frankincense, Pine, Cedar, Sage, Palo Santo, or Bergamot.

 

Living Room: this space is a gathering spot — and when it’s garnished with love notes of our personalities, life has a tendency to go well and feel good for all. however, if the room is energetically cluttered, those low vibes have a plucky tendency to show up in our conversations + interactions with our loved ones. so, keep the air quality clear with these scents: Cedar, Sage, Vetiver, Rosemary, or Eucalyptus.

 

Bedroom: we spend a third of our lives in bed, so if any room deserves our whole-heartedness, this is it. as a guide, let these three words shapeshift your sacred space: sleep, sensuality, and stillness. everything else – work, exercise, even the TV – is a torrent interfering with our reservoir for rejuvenation. to put self-care back in the air, grab a stash of any of these sticks: Vetiver, Sandalwood, Lavender, Juniper, or Palo Santo.

 

Bathroom: even though bathrooms often get bad press when it comes to feng shui, they play an essential role in our well-being. and since they both begin and end our days, they deserve to be cared for like a sanctuary, too. so whether you wield your daily intentions as you get ready for the day here OR you settle into the evening with a long soak and silence, any of these scents are ready to take you to higher ground: Pine, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Juniper, or Yerba Santa.

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Frankincense: Frankincense is a personal favorite. it is a spiritual warrior, kin to prayer and protection. whether you burn its resin or spritz the essential oil through your house, frankincense beautifully penetrates the air and encourages intense energies to move along. Bottom line: when in doubt, use frank.

Pine: Pine is a pro at eradicating unwanted odors; it also is a very protective and nurturing scent. Use it to feel empowered and invigorated.

Cedar: Cedar is nature’s signature scent – it’s both rich and woody. Its notes root us to the earth’s grounding energy, making it an excellent choice when bringing people together. Use it to revive you mind, body, and spirit.

Sage: Sage has the dynamic ability to make quick changes – an excellent choice for removing unwanted vibes. Use it to transform energy and invite change.

Palo Santo: Palo Santo – or holy wood – has been used since ancient times to purify space. Use it as part of a daily ritual to get energy moving and bring good fortune your way.

Bergamot: Bergamot creates a feeling of freshness, joy, and energy. It is powerfully pervasive and can eliminate many unwanted odors. Use it to relieve stress or anxiety; or use it to simply lift your aura.

Vetiver: Vetiver eases tensions because it is a grounding, calming scent. It helps us stay calm, cool, collected. Use it to enhance concentration or gain clarity.

Rosemary: Rosemary is both healing and clarifying, and it is a great aroma to stimulate recall and memory. Use it to re-establish healthy energy and restore well-being.

Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus is a purifying and delightful mix of sweet and camphorous – an ideal remedy when our well-being requires a little TLC. Use it to lessen tension and breathe easier.

Sandalwood: Sandalwood helps us feel calm and mentally focused. Use it to claim a moment of peace and harmony.

Lavender: Lavender will always reign as the tranquil peace-maker, day or night. Use it to promote relaxation +/or drowsiness.

Juniper: Juniper is both purifying and curates sacred space in its wake. Use it to disinfect unwanted energies +/or clear your mind of worry.

Yerba Santa: Yerba Santa purifies and protects our space, both physically and energetically. Use it to hold better boundaries.

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!

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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 | hello, september

summer felt like a blink, but its ending brings a bittersweet happiness because autumn’s coppery path is almost ripe for a stroll. as we kiss summer goodbye, how about some good-for-the-soul shui to embrace everything that comes with fall’s beginning. . .

 

GIVE IT 10 MINUTES.

i heard tony robbins recently say, “if you don’t have 10 minutes, you don’t have a life.” regardless of whether you agree or not, now is a good time to push past your comfort zone with the clutter. the act of clearing clutter almost always delivers immediate proof – we get a palpable energy surge; answers parachute into our problems; and we realize how GOOD our home can feel. the catch: we have to clear the clutter – otherwise, those piles of pandemonium and procrastinated decisions infringe on us. so, start with what’s visible, and your momentum will accelerate. 10 minutes every day, and you will metabolize a different life in no time.

 

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SAVOR FALL.

with the topic of clutter circulating, might i suggest a good pantry purge, especially now with school back in sesh + the holidays about to rise and grind. and because i just did this myself, i have a quickie checklist of easy offenders to pounce on:

  • expired cans
  • impotent {haha!} herbs + spices – ground herbs/spices last 1-3 years; whole spices are good about 4 years.
  • take-out menus
  • outdated OTC drugs +/or vitamins + essential oils + supplements
  • paper plates + plastic cutlery
  • candy from holidays-past
  • almost empty cereal, cracker, and cookie boxes
  • anything found unsealed that’s lost that fresh feeling
  • food that’s been in the same place for several seasons because no one wants it
  • old boxed mixes +/or powders
  • aprons
  • cookie cutters
  • plastic plates the kids have outgrown
  • treats the dog refuses to eat
  • unused containers

the kitchen radically nourishes and replenishes us to the bones when we clear the congestion. think about it: this one space bookends our days; it embraces our gatherings; and its hearth represents safety + soul + celebration. so, lean into the power of clean and get rid of anything not worth missing!

 

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GO FOR A SIGNATURE SCENT.

when we layer our space with a few fragrant notes, we feel it in our brain + nervous system + heart. start by opening windows to beckon fresh air and good vibes your way. and when temps drop, stoke your money maker with one of these simmering concoctions:

  • draw strength from mama nature with a few pine branches {clipped from outside}. cut them to easily fit a pot, and add a teaspoon of cinnamon + a pinch of nutmeg + a pinch of ground cloves. cover with water, and let it boil. keep it going for as long as you like – just add more water as necessary.
  • scent your home like williams-sonoma. slice a lemon and add it to a pot, along with 2 rosemary sprigs + 2 tablespoons of vanilla. cover with water, and let it bubble wildly. as the water evaporates, add more water.
  • if you’re ready to inhale a little holiday joie de vivre, slice an orange and lemon and add them to a pot. either sprinkle in some cinnamon + nutmeg + cloves OR toss in a few cinnamon sticks + a couple tablespoons of whole cloves + ½ cup of cranberries. fill the pot with water, bring to a boil, and let it drench the air with homespun deliciousness. keep adding water as needed.
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when we offer our surroundings good will, they respond in kind by fortifying us + bearing the best gifts. so, bust a few shui moves + stay in your magic! and here’s to a happy september, sunshine makers + moonbeams!

xo

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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.

 

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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!

 

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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!