present over perfect this holiday season

Posted on: Wednesday, December 7, 2016

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My mantra for this month and holiday season is present over perfect. If you know me at all, you know I’ve always connected with the lovely, powerful words from Shauna Niequist. She’s my favorite author and sort of like my patron saint – it seems like every time I read something she’s written, it just hits me. Yes, yes, yes. Needed those words and that reminder. Anyway, she often writes about this whole ‘present over perfect’ thing and the power of being being here, right now, over striving for perfection. Today, I wanted to share a few excerpts from some of her books about what present over perfect means and how we can apply it to our lives. For me, this is extra important over the holidays, because it’s definitely a time where it’s easy to get caught up in the buy more! do more! plan more! accomplish more! bake more! whatever else more! cycle.

We threw a little gathering last weekend and before and during, I kept reminding myself – present over perfect. It’s okay that the apartment isn’t perfectly cleaned or the food isn’t perfectly prepared or my outfit isn’t perfectly cute. What matters is being here, with my people, together. And that’s the mantra and mentality I want to take with me throughout the month and holiday season and beyond. Hope these words speak to you and remind you to live presently and intentionally. xo!

“Let’s be courageous in these days. Let’s choose love and rest and grace. Let’s use our minutes and hours to create memories with the people we love instead of dragging them on one more errand or slushing them while we accomplish one more seemingly necessary thing. Let’s honor the story – the silent night, the angels, the miracle child, the simple birth, which each choice that we make.

My prayer is that we’ll find ourselves drawn closer and closer to the heart of the story, the beautiful, beating heart of it all, that the chaos around us and within us with recede, and the most important things will be clear and lovely at every turn. I pray that we’ll understand the transforming power that lies in saying no, because it’s an act of faith, a tangible demonstration of the belief that you are so much more than what you do. I pray that we’ll live with intention, hope, and love in this wild season and in every season, and that the God who loves us will bring new life to our worn-out heart this year and every year, that we’ll live, truly and deeply in the present, instead of waiting, waiting, waiting for perfect.”

~Shauna Niequist, December 25th devotional from Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are

“Present is living with your feet firmly grounded in reality, pale and uncertain as it may seem. Present is choosing to believe that your own life is worth investing deeply in, instead of waiting for some rare miracle of fairy tale. Present means we understand that the here and now is sacred, sacramental, threaded through with divinity even in its plainness. Especially in its plainness.

Present over perfect living is real over image, connecting over comparing, meaning over mania, depth over artifice. Present over perfect living is the risky and revolutionary belief that the world God has created is beautiful and valuable on its own terms and that it doesn’t need to be zhuzzed up and fancy in order to be wonderful.”

~Shauna Niequist, from Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living

“My intention this season is present over perfect. I determined to add nothing to the to-do list. I abandoned well-intentioned but time-consuming projects. And in their place I’m making rest and space priorities, so that what I offer to my family is more that a brittle mask over a wound-up and depleted soul.

Either I can be here, fully here, my imperfect, messy, tired by wholly present self, or I can miss it – this moment, this conversation, this time around the table, whatever it is – because I’m trying, and failing, to be perfect, to keep the house perfect, make the meal perfect, ensure the gift is perfect. But this season, I’m not trying for perfect. I’m just trying to show up, every time, with honesty and attentiveness.

One thing’s for sure: if you decide to be courageous and sane, if you decide not to overspend or overcommit or over-schedule, the healthy people in your life with respect those choices. And the unhealthy people in your life will freak out, because you’re making a healthy choice they’re not currently free to make. Don’t let that for one second stop you.”

~Shauna Niequist, December 17th devotional from Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are

#aesfnest: living room!

Posted on: Wednesday, November 30, 2016

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hi friends! recently, our teeny tiny apartment was featured on the everygirl, one of my favorite lifestyle websites. my amazing friend tory shot all the photos and the feature included photos of the apartment and an interview about career, relationship, home decor and general life stuff. since not all of the photos made the final feature, i wanted to share a few more shots of our apartment on my blog. today, i’m sharing photos from our living room! on IG, i always tag photos of our apartment with #aesfnest if you want to see more photos!

our living room is accessed both by the hallway from the front door and from French doors connecting it the living room to the bedroom. the apartment is pretttttty small, but we do our best to make everything fit and make the most of the space. as you can see, I LOVE PLANTS and i’m always looking to add more greenery to the apartment. i think that’s my #1 home decor “tip” – adding plants or succulents instantly add life to a room and in my opinion, can really transform a space.

while we’d love to another couch in the room, it’s just not possible so we opted for furry stools and poufs as additional seating options.  the dining room table is also in the living room and we tend to spend a lot of time here – eating dinner, drinking coffee, hosting friends for dinner, and even getting work done, as the table acts as my work station most of the time. it’s not pictured, but behind one of the French doors is a really tall, wide mirror that makes the room feel a little bit bigger, plus is a great spot to do my makeup and hair when I don’t want to be crammed in our little bathroom! my favorite corner of the room is where our gold bar cart is, housing booze and glassware and a special globe that everyone signed at our wedding. above the bar cart are two shelves with more plants, books organized by color and some special trinkets/bookends from my mom.

all photos by tory putnam || check out the full everygirl tour + interview HERE!

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Shop the Living Room:
Rug, Overstock
Gold Bar Cart, Target
Champagne Flutes, Nordstrom & Target
Coffee Table, West Elm
Console, West Elm
Side Table, Target
Fur Stools, Target (similar from West Elm or Target)
Leather Pouf, Wayfair
Mirror, IKEA
Arc Lamp, Amazon
Blanket, Pendleton
Sheepskin Throws, NuLOOM
Shelves, DIY (similar from West Elm)
Table Runner, Target
Throw Pillows, Amazon, Target, IKEA
Decanter, Vintage
Globe, Vintage
San Francisco Prints, Vintage
Magazine Holder, Urban Outfitters
Couch, Ashley Furniture

what i wish i’d known (by nora ephron)

Posted on: Tuesday, November 22, 2016

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i recently re-read nora ephron’s honest and witty i feel bad about my neck book and loved the entire thing. part of the book made me truly laugh out loud and i highly recommend reading this book and all of her other gems! nora was also the screenwriter and producer for a bunch of romcoms, like when harry met sally and you’ve got mail (one of my ALL TIME faves). since reading some of her books, i’ve really resonated with her storytelling and mostly her words/life advice like this: “above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim” and “what are you going to do? everything, is my guess. it will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. it will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications. it will not be anything like what you think it will be like, but surprises are good for you. and don’t be frightened: you can always change your mind.” TOTAL QUEEN.

okay anyway, one chapter at the end of this particular book was my very favorite, where she shares “what i wish i’d known.” i wanted to re-share some of my favorites with you today!


WHAT I WISH I’D KNOWN, BY NORA EPHRON
buy, don’t rent.

don’t buy a couch with anything that isn’t more or less beige.

you can’t be friends with people who call after 11pm.

you never know.

the plane is not going to crash.

write everything down.

keep a journal.

take more pictures.

you can order more than one dessert.

you can’t own too many black turtleneck sweaters.

back up your files.

over insure everything.

whenever someone says the words “our friendship is more important than this,” watch out, because it almost never is.

there’s no point in making piecrust from scratch.

the reason you’re waking up in the middle of the night is the second glass of wine.

overtip.

never let them know.

if only one third of your clothes are mistakes, you’re ahead of the game.

there are no secrets.

travel adventures: provence

Posted on: Monday, November 14, 2016

This blog post is very delayed, but wanted to continue sharing photos from our September trip to Europe. I previously shared photos from the South of France and London, and today want to share photos from stop #3 – the Provence region!

It took a little under two hours to drive from our stop #2 in Antibes in the South of France to Provence. After some recommendations from friends, we decided to stay in the centrally located town of Aix-en-Provence. We loved it! The town is filled with art schools and universities, so felt a little more bustling compared to some of the smaller towns around. We stayed at this amazing Airbnb, which I couldn’t recommend enough. It was on bustling, brick street surrounded by cafes, shops and restaurants.

While in Provence, we made the most out of having our car and drove to small towns nearby almost every day. Some of the places we visited were Bonnieux (that’s where the adorable home with the purple shutters below is), St. Remy De Provence, Gordes (which was the city below built on a cliff – looks like it’s made of rocks!) and Loumarin (which had an insane outdoor market that literally took over the entire town, plus there’s a nearby castle, pictured below). In each town, we ended up wandering around slowly and exploring, enjoying a glass of rosé (or two) and checking out the local shops and markets.

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My absolute FAVORITE thing about Aix, and the Provence region in general, was ALL OF THE MARKETS! Typically in SF, there are certain days for the flea market, farmers market, etc., but in Provence, there are outdoor markets everywhere, every day. We purchased gifts here for family – local spices and jewelry and soaps and bags of lavender. It’s a complete dream! The local produce was outstanding and we ended up going to markets almost every day for picnic supplies (cheese! fruit! crunchy bread!).

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I don’t really have specific restaurant or cafe recommendations, we kind of just winged it everywhere we went. In some of the smaller towns, there were only one or two cafes anyway! In Aix, there were a lot of options, so we used a mix of Foursquare and just walking around and looking at menus until we made a decision.

One thing I was surprised by was the wine tasting experience in Provence. It’s an amazing wine region, so we were so excited to try the wine! We love to go to Sonoma and other places nearby SF to go wine tasting, but it was totally different here. It seemed like people typically just went to pick up wine from the wineries, rather than do a full on tasting and make a day of it. We didn’t know that before just showing up to some wineries (ha) but still ended up being able to taste and enjoy. One favorite spot was one called Barbarella in a cool cave – more wine pics are below.

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More photos below; thanks for reading! If you have any Provence region recommendations, I’d love to hear them and add to the list for our next visit. xo // Previous travel blog posts here: South of France & London

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