A Simple Christmas

I love decorating our home for the holidays. I always have.  Sometimes I even start planning what I want to do months in advance.  This year has been different though. As Christmas approached quickly this year, Jamie and I debated if we should make our house a little festive or just skip it altogether this year.

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It’s not that we weren’t into the holiday spirit, it just felt like too much on our plate. We have been pretty busy the past few weeks as we have been getting our client details to a good place so Jamie can take a maternity leave.   We have also been in nesting mode at our house the past few weeks preparing for our baby to arrive. With Jamie’s due date actually on Christmas day, the idea of finding all of the ornament boxes, unpacking everything and then taking time to decorate felt like a lot, not to mention the hassle of decor clean up while simultaneously learning how to take care of a newborn baby also felt overwhelming.

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And… I think we were also both a bit scarred from our Christmas tree last year that we carried up to our fourth floor apartment only to find that it wouldn’t fit in the stand… not to mention it fell over multiple times throughout the season, and we were still somehow cleaning up the pine needles nine months after we had already thrown it out. We didn’t want a repeat of that headache.

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We went back and forth, but in the end we eventually decided to put up a Christmas tree and went out and purchased an artificial one.  I learned that I should have measured how tall our ceilings were before shopping for a tree. It was too tall. I was so irritated at myself. The frustration of re-packaging the tree and trekking it back to Target made me once again want to cancel Christmas decorating altogether. The holidays shouldn’t feel difficult. It defeats the purpose of why we are even celebrating in the first place.

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Luckily Jamie spotted these little Charlie Brown-ish trees that were already pre-lit and wrapped in burlap. All we had to do was set them out and plug them in. That I could handle. We added about twenty ornaments and some ribbon and yarn we already had on hand. We then hung a simple, premade garland over the entrance to our dining room. Done. It felt easy. It felt quick. It felt simple. It felt right.

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I’ve decided that simple is good. It may not always be the most beautiful, award-wining look, but that is ok. I think in our image driven, social media saturated world, it is so easy for people to feel pressured to always create something innovative, big and beautiful that stands out from everyone else. It can be draining and life depleting at times. Making the decision to be simple was completely liberating. As we enter into this new phase of life, and embark on this steep learning curve they call parenthood, I am releasing myself from anything that feels too complicated and choosing simplicity as often as I can. What a freeing, life- giving decision this has been.

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I had originally planned on doing several blog posts for the holidays, wanting to share a few complicated recipes. I released myself from that as well, and decided to just do something simple in the kitchen. We decided to make sea-salted caramels; they only take a few ingredients and are pretty easy to create. We wrapped them up in natural wax paper and then boxed them up for simple gifts. We’ll be sharing the recipe in the next day or two, so make sure to check back if you are looking for something home-made to gift this year

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And for those of you who saw this grey velvet ribbon on our instagram account, and e-mailed me for a source, here is where I typically get all of my velvet ribbon from: MJ Trimming .  If you are ever in NYC, this is definitely a place you want to check out!

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photography:  Matthew Land Studios 

How to Marry a Wedding Planner: our 663 sq. feet

One of the many joys in marriage that I’ve found is embracing my husband’s talents and the ways that he is different than me. My series ‘How to Marry a Wedding Planner’ provides snapshots of the amusement and delight I find in my marriage with a wedding planner.B1 Sinclair & Moore HomeSteve’s twenties were spent very differently than mine. I love hearing the stories of elegant dinner parties he threw in college; and when he shows me the various décor pieces he bought in his late teens and early twenties, I can’t help but chuckle a little bit. Seriously, what college guy spends his money on fancy linens for dinner parties and high-end home décor?

I guess it worked out well for me though, the girl who spent her money at Forever 21, on hair dye and nights out with friends.

When we met, I was 25 years old and living in a quirky sixth floor walk up apartment in NYC, spending over half my monthly salary on rent. I was starting to feel like a grown up, making purchases on home furnishings (from IKEA, obviously). I vividly remember feeling like I had officially entered adulthood when I brought home a teeny tiny yellow potted orchid from a street fair on the Upper East Side. Grown-ups have orchids, I thought. Look at me, spending money on things to make my home pretty. That orchid was like a rite of passage. I was a grown up. Or so I thought. Then I married a wedding designer who opened up my world to a beautiful lifestyle.B2 Sinclair & Moore Home B3 Sinclair & Moore HomeB4 Sinclair & Moore HomeA year and a half into our marriage, we decided to make the move to Seattle from Bellingham, Wash. We had a short window of opportunity before the peak of wedding season hit, so we decided to go for it this past April. In moving, we traded in a 950 sq. foot 2-bedroom condo + commercial studio space in Bellingham for a 663 sq. foot 1-bedroom apartment in Seattle. Just a little downsize, but I’ve always liked small spaces.B5 Sinclair & Moore Home B6 Sinclair & Moore HomeB8 Sinclair & Moore HomeB9 Sinclair & Moore HomeAfter we signed the lease, we visited the vacant apartment a few times together to brainstorm how we’d like to use the space. We wanted the 663 sq. feet to be a place we could work, entertain, host client meetings, relax and rest, have friends over and feel like a home. We sat on the wood floor of the empty apartment for awhile, realizing how small of a space it actually was and thought long and hard about if it’d be weird not having a big couch in the living room, but a table instead. We opted for the table.B12 Sinclair & Moore Home B13 Sinclair & Moore Home B14 Sinclair & Moore HomeGiven his career, aesthetic and love for design, it’s a given that Steve takes the lead on decorating our home. He has such a natural innate talent for decorating and can select pieces from flea markets, Restoration Hardware, Goodwill, Target and Anthropologie and put them together in a way that’s both cohesive and eclectic. On any given day, our home could be scattered with grey pumpkins from the flower market, be filled with freshly spray-painted trees, or be rearranged in some new furniture configuration. That’s what’s neat about being married to a designer, our home is a palette for creativity and design, and I love that.B15 Sinclair & Moore HomeB22 Sinclair & Moore HomeB16 Sinclair & Moore HomeBut what I love most about our place is that it feels cozy and like a private hideaway just for the two of us. Whenever one of us bakes anything, the yummy smells seem to stick around forever since the place is so small. And it really is small. Let’s just say that Steve and I live and work together in very close quarters. Sometimes when we’re rushing to get ready in the morning and both of us are in the bathroom, one slight misstep could easily result in a shaved off eyebrow or a severe burn by my curling wand. But, I love our 663 sq. feet and think it’s the perfect place for us.B18 Sinclair & Moore Home B19 Sinclair & Moore Home B20 Sinclair & Moore HomeB21 Sinclair & Moore HomeAnd check back soon for the recipe for these peanut butter cookies Steve made.  They seriously are the best you’ll ever have.

photo credit: Matthew Land Studios