Wednesday, November 22, 2017

An Alternative Christmas




An Alternative Christmas – replacing the silliness with simplicity.

It truly seems like Christmas comes earlier & earlier every year. I saw stores putting our their Christmas merchandise as early as September! Now don’t get me wrong, I love me a good set-up-the-house-for-Christmas party but it seems like the reason for the season is truly getting lost in all the silliness …

Have you noticed all the nic nacs that stores have started to bring out, convincing you to buy just one more thing, for this person & that person, or something extra, just in case … the list can become endless.
That said, I am a gifts gal! I love to give and I love to receive gifts. But these days I want to give what my friends and family actually want or need. And hopefully something that won’t just collect dust or be tossed aside in the mayhem.

So in continuing in the theme of minimalism, here are my hot tips for simplifying the silly season…

1.     WANT – NEED – WEAR – READ
Samuel and I read about this concept a number of years ago and it has completely changed the way we give each other & our mini man, Zeke gifts. Both at Christmas and on birthdays. It limits the number & ensures you focus on 4 items with purpose!

You simply buy one gift for each;
Something they WANT,
Something they NEED,
Something to WEAR
Something to READ

If you are like me and enjoy surprises rather than just saying what you want, write each other a list of 3 things in each category. That way you can allow them to pick something but you still get the element of surprise come Christmas morning.

2.     THE GIFT EXCHANGE
Secret Santa, Kris Kringle, White Elephant, name-out-of-the-hat, call it what you will. It works! My family has been doing it for as long as I can remember & has even adapted itself as the families have grown. It saves time, money, stress & the wastage of undesired "how thoughtful" gifts …
Now that our families are growing we write each families name down, put them in a hat &  draw one out. We have a budget of $100 per family. We give each other suggestions of desired items or adventures and then happily exchange gifts on Christmas Eve. 
I don’t think I have ever received an unwanted gift through this system!

3.     DINNER PARTIES
Who doesn’t like an excuse to dress up, eat, drink and laugh the night away with some of your favourite people? Over the years, instead of gifts for our friends, we have absolutely loved hosting an intimate dinner party to celebrate our nearest and dearest. Creating an atmosphere, providing a meal, sharing stories & soaking up time together. All of this is more of a gift than any material possession we could afford to give those who have journeyed with us through the shits and joys of the year. Just thinking about planning it makes me smile!
If dinner parties are not your thing, look at other activities you can do with your tribe. Floral workshops, cooking classes, wine tastings, spa days, weekend getaways. The list is truly endless & can be so much more meaningful than stuff!
 
4.     SHOP SMALL
If the thought of having to face the manic crowds of a shopping mall make you want to hide in closet until the new year, here is your relief … Shop local, shop small!
When you shop small, chances are you will know the mouths your purchase will actually help feed! The quality is bound to be better, the service quite likely to be more friendly, the items more unique & the stress will be less!

Here is but a small list of some of my fave small businesses from Oz to Canada & Hawaii in between…

AUSTRALIA 
Mar & Par's Unique Kitchen Boards [Facebook]

CANADA

HAWAII

So, slow down, take a breath and pause a little longer before you head into this season with your bull horns blazing. 
Remember the divine gift of Jesus we all have the opportunity to receive & will no doubt sing about in every Christmas carol.
Don’t be afraid to be bold and do Christmas differently this year. You just might inspire others to as well! 

Give inspiration, give mercy, give grace, give hope, give gratitude, give time, give encouragement, give kindness, give joy, give laughter, give love, true, deep, meaningful love.



Merry Everything & Happy Always!

S. xx


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

TWO WAY STYLE



Better to be loved & worn, than sitting pretty in my closet!

I love clothes. I love fashion, trying new trends and styling. So it shouldn’t have come as shock to me just how much clothing I had been hoarding when we moved from Canada back to Oz. But boy oh boy, I was actually a little embarrassed at how much I had accumulated & held on to …

Fast forward a year and a half & I have culled my wardrobe quite significantly. Thanks to The Minimalists, I am now extremely aware of how much I allow myself to put in my wardrobe.

Here are the questions I ask myself for every purchase I make …
Is it a favourite? Is it quality? Is it versatile? Can I chase a toddler in it?! And my favouite question, can I wear it with both heels & runners?!

I recently teamed up with the wonderful people at TOBI and had the privilege of styling three gorgeous pieces. There are so many stunning pieces to choose from, click HERE to see for yourself! 


From brunch to the park to date night. Its amazing just how much you can do with a few key items, and how simply switching your shoes or accessories can change an entire outfit!


I am in love with the colour of this slinky little number! Add some sexy heels & a leather jacket and this mama is ready for date night! I chose a muted nude lip colour and super fine accessories to let the dress have all the glory! (And my tan lines!) 

For a more relaxed look, take the same dress, a grey or white tee, a bomber jacket & trusty white converse. Load up on coffee and you're ready for the park!



As a mum, a stylist & a budding minimalist, how much I put into my wardrobe has become really important. Your wardrobe doesn’t need to be overflowing with loads of items or expensive designer pieces to be stylish. It simply needs to reflect you. 
Your life. Your loves. Your style. 



Now, I love the off-the-shoulder trend but as a mama having to chase a toddler, its not practically something I can wear day to day. That was until I found this pretty black number with its thin little straps & I instantly knew it was a piece I could play with. 

Pair it with some denim cut offs & connies for an effortless summer weekend look. Or create a jumpsuit look by piecing it together with some black shorts, heels, a bold lip & statement earrings for a night on the town with the girls!! Just add champagne!




Wear the clothes! Have fun! Play around with what you have and look for key items that go with a range of what you already own. But don't be afraid to add a statement piece or 2 that makes you come alive!! 



How yes is this dress?! I am absolutely in love with it! And just when I thought I couldn't love it more, my hands found the pockets!! I know I will be living in it this Summer. It's a complete outfit in itself. Minimal accessories required. And yes, it can be worn with slides, heels & my ever present white leather converse. Park, brunch, beach, whatever!



Better to be loved & worn, than sitting pretty in my closet!





3 key pieces by TOBI // Leather Jacket by REISS // Shoes by Converse, Tristan Blair, Dolce Vita
Accessories by Colette By Colette Hayman


Monday, October 9, 2017

#OurWeeklyJam



































#OURWEEKLYJAM 

If you know us well, you know there is little we love better than an adventure with a side of good coffee and or wine! It’s our jam.
That said we introduced our mini man Zeke to cafes within the first week of his life 
Analog Café and we have been going to them multiple times a week ever since.
We wanted him to also enjoy these environments & know how to act in them from a young age.

I thought its about time I shared some of our adventures & discoveries with you.
So, welcome to #OurWeeklyJam (cause its just not legit unless it’s a hashtag right? Ha!)

#OurWeeklyJam is our way of getting out of the house and tasting the simple things in life … an espresso with a side of toast & jam … Simple, quick and shareable with a toddler (ok, I only share the toast with him…)
Sometimes we even order the raisin toast, and other times we break all the rules and get something delicious that just looks too good to pass up! (Like the most scrumptious black sticky rice dish with passionfruit curd from Cup and Cook in Kyle Bay! Pictured above.)

How do I decide where to go?
Recommendations, places I have driven by, reviews I have read and of course there is always your trusty local … (we have several…)

What do I look for?

QUALITY COFFEE
Being a barista’s wife means you learn to appreciate the simplistic complexities of coffee. My very first coffee was some of my parent’s coffee from McDonalds on a road trip! From then I went to very vanilla lattes, to lattes, onto flat whites, piccolo’s, to trad caps (traditional cappuccinos) & now my taste buds have matured and live only on the flavours of espressos and filter coffee!
So to get my vote, the coffee has to be quality.


DELICIOUS EATS
It speaks for itself! I am always on the look out for places that have something just a little different, a signature dish or recipe unique to them.


EFFICENCY
When you are on toddler time, it generally needs to be quick & easy with the option to grab & go if their patience is wearing thin that day … ok, or mine!

KID FRIENDLY
“Kid friendly” has layers … Do they have high chairs? Space for strollers? Kids menu? Play area? These aren’t all necessities to me, what is though is this; Do the staff welcome those with or without children in the same friendly manner?

ATMOSPHERE
Atmosphere is everything to me! What does the space feel like as you enter? A place may tick many of the other boxes but if you are pretentious & not welcoming, there is very little chance I will return. I love design & décor. I am intrigued by people’s style and chosen designs. Is it clean & simple or is it a chaotic mess that just seems to work? 

With so many incredible places popping up constantly, this will be an ongoing activity! We already have a list of places we have visited, so I will be post how they rated with us over the coming weeks. Join us on the journey, share a recommendation or come meet us out one day?! 

Whats your jam?! 



S. xx

Friday, August 25, 2017

LIFE OF LESS
























"THE THINGS THAT ONCE ADDED VALUE TO OUR LIVES WONT ALWAYS ADD VALUE, SO WE MUST BE WILLING TO LET GO." The Minimalists. 

There is something gloriously exciting about life's simplest pleasures. Less.
Its uncomplicated & refreshing. Reviving.

This past year has been about simplifying, (even more if you can believe it!) decluttering & letting go. All of these have been reflective in our physical world & poccessions as well as within our soul & relationships.

Samuel and I have lived by the "less is best" motto for some time now. 
And watching "Minimalism" on Netflix last year, confirmed it! 
(If you haven't watched it, do yourself a favour, stop reading & watch it now!) 
This year, our life has been about defining, finding & holding onto our "favourites" and then learning how to let go of the rest. The things, the people, the jobs, the dreams ... it applies to everything!
We used to apologise for our "lack" now we embrace it & find our thrive within it! 

I felt strongly about doing the minimalist challenge for August. You get rid of 1 item on day one, 2 on day two, 3 on day three and so on ... 
Yes, that equals out to 496 items in one month! It's amazing how much you have sitting around waiting to be thrown out, given away, recycled or reused when you are actively looking for them! 

I have found great joy in selling my excess clothes for a minuscule amount on my local area "Buy Sell Swap" Facebook page. If you aren't on one, find one! I have met beautiful women who are excited to make something old (to me) new again to them! I love it! It actually makes me giddy to watch their happiness about something I had long forgotten about. 
I now live by this little quote I came up with recently ... "Better to be worn & ruined than sitting pretty in my closet."

And we haven't stopped at clothing. Our kitchen only hold items we actually use frequently. Each time Zeke is given a new toy we find another one to pass on. He really only needs what we expose him to. If it's a lot, he will expect & want a lot but if it's a little, its the few favourites he will treasure & love. 

By making room for less we are making room for more. Less work, more time. Less stuff, more space. Less stress, more joy. Less obligations, more freedom. Less people, more relationships. Less, more. 

Quality over quantity... 
Reduce, reuse, recycle... 

What we need is not a bigger to do list, or more material processions, what we need is connection. Real life, real friends, real moments. Clutter free. 

I challenge you, start looking at your world see how you can create space both physically, spiritually & mentally. Most of us live with wayyyyy more than we realise & far more than we actually need.
You'll be amazed at how satisfying having less feels. Every item has its place, its purpose, its in no need to compete or compare ... kinda just like us, if only we stop long enough to simply see. 

How do you do less?

S. xx

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

TRANSITIONS OF FRIENDSHIP



















































“Friendships come for a reason, a season or a lifetime and all have their place.” 

This was a highlighted statement in an article on friendships I recently read by Carrie Bickmore.
I didn’t want to believe this to be true. I know people come into your life for a reason and a season but I wanted to so desperately believe that friends are different and want to stick around. 

Almost to the day, a year ago, we left our home in Calgary, Canada, where we lived for a little under five years. Our son Ezekiel was born there. 
Enter: Major Life Transitions! (Plural!)
We are no strangers to transition and every one of them has its own flavour, triumphs and struggles. And this one has been the toughest yet!
A dear friend recently asked me,
“What is the biggest thing you have learnt in your current season of transition?”
There are so many things! I am still transitioning and so am still learning.
Days later, in the quiet of the evening as I continued to ponder over her question, it was this thought popped into my head;

“Everyone does relationships differently.”

Now, I know this is a very obvious thought but let me share mine with you.
Samuel and I LOVE people. We love random connections, we love conversations with strangers, we love to gather together and of course we love deep connections.
When we say to others “Wherever we are in the world, you are always welcome in our home.” We mean it with all our heart.

All our relationships are definitely not been based on geographical closeness. Yes, I am very aware that being able to connect face to face, coffee or wine in hand, helps but it does not and should not be the only people you share life with. We can all choose to have close friends near or far, it all depends on how much you are willing to give to make it work.
I know well that some people are worth fighting time zones for! 

I have dear friends all over the world. Some I have even met through social media!
There are some people you connect with more closely than others, some you gather around more often, and others you text with frequently.  

This season has been tough and unlike any I have encountered before. 
I have never had to grieve relationships shifting, changing or completely ending like I have within the past eighteen months. Maybe its me? Maybe it’s the stage of life? Maybe it’s my age? Maybe its not me? These are the questions I am asking myself daily.
I don’t even know how to, and yet I am finding myself in a place of having to let friends go. To watch our relationships shift, close and afar.
Even as I type this, the tears are rolling down my face. My heart is broken.
People, who became friends, are just becoming people again …

One of my sisters often accuses me of “having too many feels” Maybe she’s right. Maybe all this time I have simply been naïve in my thoughts of being connected ...

Our world is telling us to live busy lives, so busy doing the things, we negate time for true, deep intimate connection.
Are we brave enough to make an effort to reach out to others, to connect, to inconvenience our lives for the sake of others? How well do we really know each other?

When was the last time you reached out to someone with the pure motive of wanting to know how they truly are?

How willing are we to ask the question “How’s your heart?” Look into someone’s eyes and wait for a truthful answer?

How do you friend? 



S. xx