Father's Day at the Cottage

This post was sponsored by Baileys. 
From the first moment we discussed the possibility of having children together, I knew my husband Adam would be a wonderful father. He has a calm and carefree way about him that encourages everyone around him to be at ease. His presence reminds me to relax and breathe— it’s a rare and valuable trait that’s so helpful in the context of becoming a parent, and raising a child in a busy world. 

For Adam’s first Father’s Day as a dad, we agreed to celebrate simply. No presents— we have everything we need already, and tiny homes function better with fewer items anyway. Instead, we’ve opted for a quiet night in Venice. 

We have lavender in our garden here at home, plus there were buckets of it at our local Farmer’s Market as well, so we decided to use it in a celebratory Baileys cocktail shake. 

We rode around town on our bikes gathering up the other groceries we needed. (West has grown up enough now that we can secure his car seat into the cargo bike, which has been amazing.) 

Adam came up with a quick and easy concoction that we threw into the Vitamix after dinner:

    • 2oz Baileys 
    • 2oz Bulleit Whiskey
    • 2 Cups Ice
    • 1 Cup Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
    • Topped with Lavender Sprigs

Earlier this weekend, Adam installed a little shelf on our Dutch Door, which is the handiest little add-on for our tiny kitchen. We put it to good use while making our drinks, and while enjoying the porch after West fell asleep for the night.

The ingredients smelled so good that we couldn’t get Sophee to leave them alone while we were preparing the shakes. (In the end, she only knocked over one glass. Given her track record, it could’ve been worse. )

This was a laid-back and delightful way to observe a special occasion together. We wondered: why scream over each other at a restaurant, or go out and contend with LA traffic while a babysitter watches our son? For us, being in our little home with our little family is the perfect way to connect, celebrate and surround ourselves with love.

Market Friday

Today was a particularly successful one for me at the Venice Farmer's Market. Look at this pokeweed! EPIC. (Folks with kids and pets-- be careful if you put this branch in/around your home, as it's toxic. Luckily our pups aren't interested in trying to eat it.) This is my favorite branch to use in the house-- it's full and leafy, yet simple to cut and arrange. Plus it doesn't shed. The subdued plum-rose tone of the vines adds a pop of color without being too noisy for those of us who lean towards neutral tones. 

I love to liven up our home with market greenery, as it allows me to change up the look as frequently as I want, without causing clutter, creating waste or costing much money. These branches were $10 total, and will last for at least a week.

I also stocked up on fresh produce for the weekend. At nearly 31 weeks pregnant, the baby and I are craving citrus, watermelon and peaches these days. There was no need to buy berries-- as you can see, we have PLENTY of grapes growing in our tiny garden right now! 

Basics Don't Have to be Boring

I'm obviously a fan of keeping things simple. From color palettes to every-day goods and clothing, "the basics" help me save space and money, without sacrificing versatility or creative expression. Here's how.

DECOR - In small spaces, I've found that it's usually best to functionally decorate with neutral + white tones. They reflect light and allow a space to feel bigger than it truly is. Once you have the key items in place (in your cohesive color palette), liven things up and keep yourself from getting bored with your surroundings by using throws and market florals. You don't have to buy an entirely new coffee table to switch up the look and feel of your small living room-- just clip some fresh greenery from around the neighborhood and swap out your pillow covers and/or throw blankets on your sofa, and voila! It's amazing what a difference this can make, and all for a very low cost. (There are dozens of examples of this on my Instagram account.) Donate your old blankets to a local non-profit or a disaster relief organization-- they can always use the goods, and you won't need to find a place to store your old stuff.

This basic approach has helped me learn how to stop searching for "the next thing" and just be happy with what I have here at home. I've accumulated fewer belongings, and have found a wonderful level of contentment in the present. It's also why I'm so obsessed with my Friday morning market missions-- they've become a creative outlet / little weekly art project that helps me refresh and continually enjoy our tiny home:

WARDROBE - Applying the same technique to my wardrobe has made sharing a (small) closet with Adam an easy task (images & info on our clothing storage here). By sticking to the basics and using a few bright accessories to layer and liven up my look, I never get tired of my clothing-- and I don't have to routinely buy new articles that I'll then have to store. (Did you read the wonderful write-up in The New York Times  by Carl Richards about this cyclical issue? I highly recommend it: "New Rule: All Purchases Subject to a 7-Day Mental Quarantine")

I will admit, one of the things that I really DO need storage for is my collection of market baskets, all of which I use on a weekly basis for the aforementioned purposes, and for carting botanicals to-and-from photo shoots. Luckily I found this vintage basket rack on Everything But The House, and I love it. It's simple, pretty, practical, and it brings me joy every day when I see it. (Sophee chewed through the plant that was there for the past 5 years anyway, so it was time to find a beautiful and useful replacement piece.) 

So I challenge you to liven things up in your home & closet by paring your belongings down!

Market Fridays

It's my favorite day in Venice again. Happy weekend-ing, everyone! (More images via: #WLMmarket)