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Streamlining the Cupboards for Summer

Espresso Pot

The other day I mentioned how I was planning to streamline my home for the summer months, and I took the first steps over the weekend. I sorted through our clothes, stowing away winter stuff for next year (giving away several bags of clothes we no longer wear) and bringing the summer things out of storage. But most satisfying of all was clearing out the kitchen cupboards — I am so happy with the results. It feels so good to open up the cupboards we use daily and see a bit of breathing room!

Kitchen Cupboard

We do have more plates, mugs, and glasses that were in the dishwasher when I snapped these this morning (and of course we still have the lower cupboards where most of the pots and pans and less-pretty tools are stored), but even with the others, the cupboards look refreshingly simple. I love that I can better appreciate my favorite pieces, like the lion’s head soup bowls and ceramic berry bowl that were our anniversary gifts this year (9 years = ceramic!) instead of having them hidden away behind piles of mismatched stuff. If you’ve been wishing you could streamline your kitchen, I say go for it! It feels good, and you won’t regret it. You don’t even need to give the excess stuff away (although you certainly can) — just put it in a box and tuck it into the closet for the summer.

xo Laura

Oh, and p.s. - Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mamas out there!!!

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My Writing Process Blog Tour

When Daisy asked if I would participate in a writing process blog tour, I couldn’t resist saying yes. It feels so old-school blogging to do a meme — fun! You can read about Daisy’s writing process on her blog In Full Blume, and read on for a peek into my own process. Happy Friday my dears!

Journals

1. What am I working on?

My workload lately has been a little crazy! I’ve been trying to work ahead since we are going to Switzerland later this month, so each week has felt like a stretch. For instance, in the past five days, I have written seven pieces for Houzz, three posts for Woodside Homes, and a few blog posts of my own. For Houzz, I am also contributing to a big new product feature for the site where I will be writing as Houzz, rather than under my own byline … which is weirldly exciting! : )

I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog and my vision for it for the future, and what I’ve come to realize is that I really want my blog and life to be more closely aligned. I don’t just want to write about beautiful, heart-filled homes and simple pleasures, I want to lead a happier, more mindful life — and I think this blog can be a wonderful tool to help move my life in the direction I want if I let it. In a bigger-picture way, I am working on a nonfiction book proposal that I am really excited about. I’m sorry I can’t say more about that … only that it relates to chickens, but it’s not a how-to book!

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I write about the home — but while I do cover decorating, home tours, interviews with designers and architects, and all the rest, my favorite work (and what really seems to strike a chord with readers) tends to center around the emotional aspects of home and savoring life’s simple pleasures. I think we are all a little fed up with the constant barrage of consumer pushiness, and people are craving permission to just be happy with life at home as it is, in all its imperfect glory.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I’m obsessed! The home, and our relationship with it, is what I love thinking about; it’s where my passion is. If I wasn’t writing about it for a living or on my blog, I would still be writing about it in my journal. : )

Domino Magazine

4. How does my writing process work?

Once a week I dedicate some time to idea-generating. Coming up with fresh ideas that haven’t been done to death for the 6-10 pieces of writing I do each week is one of my biggest challenges! I love it when family, friends, or blog readers come to me with a quandary, or something they are curious to know more about, because that can easily turn into a piece that I know others will also be interested in. I’m also very visual, which makes blogging and online writing ideal, because it comes along with choosing lots of great art.

When I get ready to write, the first thing I do is choose the photos that will accompany the piece. Then I usually jot out a list of bullet points that I would like to cover, and if I need to, this is the time I do some research on the subject. When all of that is in order, I get typing! The actual writing phase for me is the easiest part, and usually just flows out. The only times I feel stunted are when I realize I’ve chosen a subject that I don’t really want to be writing about!

Tag time! Here are the 3 writers I have chosen to continue the blog tour…

Julie Hill Barton is a writer, mom and dog lover living in Northern California. She has been published in Brain,ChildThe Huffington Post, WestviewThe South Carolina ReviewLouisiana Literature, and other journals. She has an MFA in fiction writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She also has an MA in Women’s Studies from Southern Connecticut State University. She is currently finishing a memoir about her battle with major depression and the dog that helped her heal. To see more of her work, please visit http://byjuliebarton.com.

Eden is a writer, editor, chef, and photographer who believes the best place to swap stories is over a shared meal. She’s a third-generation Californian and technophile, who envisions a world where everyone feels welcome and no one walks away hungry or feeling ostracized. She teaches an Introduction to Thai Flavors eCourse and hosts a family-style supper club in San Francisco. When she’s not feeding people, Eden helps creative entrepreneurs take their product from vision to reality while telling passionate, believable stories and building inclusive communities with the people who need their products and services. She shares a railroad flat with her husband cubes, two-year-old daughter Gates, and a Maine Coon cat named Sprite. You can find her online at The Road to The Good Life, a blog about appreciating and enhancing your life by being grateful for the ‘haves” instead of lingering on the “wants.”

Patricia is a kindergarten teacher that actually never taught, and has been managing a company since graduation — she has always loved paper and fabric and was very fortunate to be able to transform her two hobbies, scrapbooking and patchwork, into part of her job. Patricia is a married working mom with 4 children which are her reason for living and blogging! You can find her online at Miss Lacitos.

Visit the blogs of these 3 lovely ladies in the upcoming week to learn about their writing process. I can’t wait to see what they come up with! hugs, Laura

p.s.: For some reason this recent post did not get emailed to subscribers … so if you didn’t yet hear the news that we gave away our chickens, you can get all filled in right here!

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Summer is coming! It’s really true! Every summer I crave simplicity: in my schedule and in my home. Don’t you? I love the idea of cleaning out a few cupboards and packing things away so the house feels more like a summer getaway. Especially in a small home like ours, streamlining is something we have to do constantly to keep the house feeling sane. This summer I want to take the process a bit further and think about streamlining the color scheme as well. How does blue and white and beachy sound to you?

Bodie and Fou1 Bodie and Fou2 Bodie and Fou3

I am always inspired by Bodie and Fou, and their new happy summer home section nails the sort of breezy, seaside look I am after — I’ve been utterly in love with this cotton pendant light for a while now, and I just fell harder. Unfortunately, the shipping fees from the UK make it impractical for me to order anything from here in the States, so for now I will have to drool.

What about you? Do you like to streamline your home for summer? What colors do you crave during the warm months of the year?

(all images: Bodie and Fou)

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Breakfasting

Strawberry Pancakes

A weekend ritual. Bixby helps his daddy crack eggs and mix batter — from-scratch pancakes with strawberries on top. Warm maple syrup from a pitcher. Flowers on the table. Juice. Hot coffee. Sun streaming in, and good company. Weekday breakfasts may look a bit different, but on most Saturday mornings, this is our thing.

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Sometimes Simplicity Means Letting Go

eggs Chickens Egg Carton Chickens on Table Table

For the past two years, tending to the chickens has been a twice-daily routine in our house. We loved watching their antics out the kitchen window and gathering fresh eggs each day. And most of the time, we really didn’t mind the work. But by this spring, our small city yard was feeling like it belonged more to the chickens than to us. Between the coop and chicken yard, little room was left to play, plant our vegetable garden, or simply hang out.

So, several weeks ago we made the decision to find the chickens a new home. I expected it to be a long process, but the perfect home came along the same day I placed an ad on Craigslist, and it felt meant to be. We brought our “girls” to their new home and helped them get settled in, and while it was sad (and I do still miss being able to look out my kitchen window to check on them) it feels like the right decision for us.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to me to live a simple life, and this simply wasn’t it. At least not now. I am looking forward to a busy spring and summer of digging garden beds, planting veggies, laying a new patio for an outdoor kitchen, designing a new perennial bed, and generally spending as much time as we can outdoors in the fresh garden air … without worrying about stepping in chicken poop, or protecting our young plants from hungry beaks. And I admit, the thought of not having to trudge out to the coop to break ice in the chicken’s water each morning next winter is a big relief!

If any of you are struggling with something you feel deep down it would be best to let go of, I urge you to listen to that little voice. We miss our chickens, and I would love to raise chickens again in the future. But right now, for us, this was the right call.

xoxo Laura

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