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April 13, 2011

something helpful

Last night, whilst scanning the internet for pretty things and good ideas and recipes and other people’s lives and blablablablah, I came across the blog Small Notebook. Do any of you read it? Somehow I’ve missed it in all these years of interneting. I’m not exactly sure what it was, but it sort of stopped me in my tracks.

It’s so, I don’t know, helpful.

It’s the opposite of most other blogs I read (as my brother calls them, the “I’m so awesome” blogs… of which mine is not an exception). You know, where people post all the nice, pretty things going on in their perfectly styled, always delicious, very fashionable lives. I love those blogs, I do. But sometimes they just seem so unfairly aspirational. I find myself thinking that everyone else’s life is clearly more together than my own, that they have nicer houses, newer shoes, better taste, etc etc etc. Which is pretty obviously my issue, not theirs. But it was so refreshing to find a blog that just talked about little parts of life that everyone goes through that are not pretty and styled and decorated. And that might in some way help people who read it to similarly simplify their lives. To maybe give people permission to, like, clean out their closet and only wear the few things they love over and over again. How to focus your hobbies and let go of the ones you don’t need (probably not going to happen for me, being the compulsive projecter and hobbiest that I am, but I love the idea), and gulp, how to quit caffeine. Plus lots lots more.

Have you noticed a recurring theme of late? Maybe it’s just in my mind and not on my blog. I’m desperate to simplify our life. I really am. I have a constant nagging feeling that I just want less stuff! But the next moment I’ll find myself madly adding things to my cart on JCrew’s final sale because I get an EXTRA 20% OFF my purchase and I desperately need new clothes that are in style. Gaaahhhhd.

So see when I found Small Notebook, it was like… oh. See, there. Maybe it is possible. Maybe there is life beyond Pintrest and spring fashion. I actually got a little teary thinking about it. And I haven’t even begun to really read through her archives, but I do love the ideas I’ve come upon so far.

I think I should start by NOT ending my day on the computer. There’s only one thing that comes from it and it’s a restless night of sleep. I don’t need to cataloging the internet in my mind when I should be sleeping and I most certainly do not need to miss out on any more sleep. So maybe I will start there and see how it goes. And have a giant garage sale, soon.

And for the record, because I get a fair share of emails and comments asking how I find the time to do it all… here’s a little secret. I don’t. I just only take pictures of the things in my life that are pretty and possibly interesting to other people. But there is plenty that goes undone, plenty of I wishes and if onlys. Maybe I will start to write about that stuff more, just to be fair.

You know what I’m sayin’? Something to think about at least.


  1. Rachel said on April 13, 2011

    Thanks for posting this Kristina. I love reading your blog and you are definitely in my list of blogs which makes me want to move to California and have a baby and clearly be way more fabulous than I can ever be in my life in England. It’s nice to hear that we all sit there and read blogs and wish we lived that other life.

    I will have to read the Small Notebook blog – even opening resonated with me. I always think if I had more storage I’d be more organised!

  2. nicole b. said on April 13, 2011

    Thank you for this! I love when bloggers-I-admire pull back the curtain a bit and reveal outtakes of their lives, such as a bad hair day, dishes in the sink, cluttered closets, an outfit that didn’t come together … sometimes I feel like such a mess (in contrast to pretty perfect blogger-people) and then I remember we ALL have our off-days. Some (me) more than others! I’m adding Small Notebook to my list of daily reads. THANK YOU. xo.

  3. Andrea said on April 13, 2011

    Thank you for posting this! Everything you said is true. Most of the blogs I follow paint the same picture-perfect life. No one seems to talk about all of the real, everyday things that make life complicated and messy. So again, thank you for sharing. It’s refreshing.

  4. Kelsey said on April 13, 2011

    oh my gosh, thank you!

  5. Katie said on April 13, 2011

    I too flit between wanting a simple life and a perfect life.

    Not affiliated in any way but another blog I love for inspiring the “simple life” is Jane Cumberbatch’s blog

    Her books are amazing too.

  6. said on April 13, 2011

    Oh dear. I’ve only just read the first page over at small notebook and already, I sense my productivity for the day diminishing….

    How lovely – thank you for sharing!

  7. Katie said on April 13, 2011

    Also…I would love to read about your simplifying/organizing on here – it would be like pretty inspiring simplifying!! Best of both worlds.

  8. jamie said on April 13, 2011


  9. Jac said on April 13, 2011

    Amen lady!
    One of the neatest “I’m so Awesome” blogs was – when her baby was sleeping and she was making these elaborate photos and here I was up to my knees in laundry, constantly pumping, and trying to desperately stay awake!
    It’s hard to keep it all in perspective but I know all those amazing blogger ladies either have help or letting everything else in their lives seriously slide. How could it be otherwise?! At least that’s what I tell myself! :o)

  10. mandie said on April 13, 2011

    oh yes. i’ve felt that way too many times, and now you’ve inspired me to not measure myself next to others, but to be content. no matter how many tries it takes. ;)

  11. sara said on April 13, 2011

    everything about this is perfection – such a happy start to my day.

    small notebook = super inspiring

    your post = so spot on

    really, i could say this everyday: thanks for the radness!


  12. katie said on April 13, 2011

    Quite possibly my favorite blog post of the year. So grateful for your honesty. At the risk of sounding sexist or backwards, it’s true: women are prone to taking a beating on the self-esteem front (often self-induced). I have found that when I am in one of those phases where I’m addicted to my blog reader, my self-esteem ends up in the toilet because it is a lot of “they’re so awesome and I’ll never live up to that level of fashion/craftiness/momhood/domesticity.” But then another part of me loves those blogs! So yeah. It’s a balance, and I, too, cherish the refreshing imperfection every now and then. There is something to be said for simplicity. (For what it’s worth, I adore your blog.)

  13. Kendra said on April 13, 2011

    Can’t wait to check this out. I’ve been feeling a bit of internet/technology overload lately too.. in spite of my (maybe not coincidental) complete addiction to pinterest. I’m sure I will love small notebook… though it IS another blog to add to my list. ha! So let’s schedule a hike soon…maybe followed by a ladies who lunch lunch! We can step away from our screens and embrace our perfect imperfections. :)

  14. Clare Frejd said on April 13, 2011

    When I feel this way I go through my own facebook photos….oh ya my extremely edited life looks better than real life too! Gives some perspective :)

  15. Johanna Inman said on April 13, 2011

    Wow! I love Small Notebook for the same reasons. I too am going through a simplification crisis. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Danielle said on April 13, 2011

    I just checked out Small Notebook and loved it. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Michelle | GOLD-HEARTED GIRL said on April 13, 2011

    What a great website! I’m devouring it already. Thanks for the tip.

  18. Kristina said on April 13, 2011

    Oh goody! that could have gone either way. So glad some of you found her site inspiring too.

    @Katie – yes! The struggle between simple and perfect. It seems we have a hard time believing they are one in the same, but i mean obviously they are. LOVE purestyle. Pretty pictures, but not perfect ones.

    @Jac – TOtally.

    @Sara – love your radness too!

    @Kendra – hike! away from the internet!

  19. Sara said on April 13, 2011

    Thanks for this post – it’s so nice to hear that other people feel a little overwhelmed sometimes, too. I feel like lately I want want want, which is a horrible. SIgh…. I’m trying to cut out late night internetting, too. Good luck, keep up posted on how it goes!

  20. evylynn said on April 13, 2011

    I love your phrase: “I’m so awesome” blogs. True that it can sometimes be inspirational, as well as make you feel like you’re-no-so-awesome. Thanks for the link to Small Notebook. Looks great. And when we live in so much abundance, simplicity is a relief.

  21. Susan Gordon said on April 13, 2011

    Many years ago, when I was a mother of young children, my sister and I would see those women who seemed to do it all and wonder how they could look so perfect, accomplish so much while working and/or volunteering. This became our catchphrase to make ourselves feel better – “Remember, they never have sex with their husbands.”

  22. Kristina said on April 13, 2011

    @Susan – haaaa! Love it. Those mantras can do wonders for your mental health!

  23. Anna said on April 13, 2011

    i think living more simply and contently is a grand idea.. one i need to remind myself of more often! thanks for the thoughts and the blog recommendation… in this post of hers she mentions a book called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years… I;ve read it and it’s invigorating.. you might like it too :)

  24. jora said on April 13, 2011

    OK, I have a book for you. Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. It has been revolutionary in our home. I think it might be what you are craving…..I think you’re ready. :-)

  25. jora said on April 13, 2011

    Also, I hear you on the “I’m so awesome blogs” (of which I am guilty!), and I am totally going to call them that from now on. B will love it. And thank you for reminding me about Small Notebook. I found it awhile back before they moved to italy and then lost it somehow. A real treasure trove of inspiration and ideas.

  26. Catherine said on April 13, 2011

    I agree completely! It’s as if we all want to soothe ourselves with pretty posts and pretty pictures and that is great but there is MORE than that out there.

    I’ve written some of the more introspective stuff but never post it because well, it feels too intimate or stupid or negative. You did a lovely job here.

    Appreciated this post- thank you! Leaving now to check out the Small Notebook!

    Oh and read before bed- much better than the computer.

  27. B. Fallen said on April 13, 2011

    What a great post. I, too, have been wondering how you do it all. In a recent post, you mentioned that you had a nanny and I was like “OMG she DOES have a nanny!” I couldn’t believe that someone could manage a business, a baby and an awesome social life and make it all look so easy and lovely! Not to mention the cooking, crafting and blogging! One of the things I love most about this blog though, is your constant positivity and authenticity. No complaints, just honest reflections. Always a great read.

  28. Adrienne said on April 13, 2011

    Well put. I ran a half marathon on the coast this past weekend, and it’s been really hard to sit in front of my computer this week. Not hard to work, but hard to spend time on fbook/twitter/the internet. I told my fiance that we should have a no-technology weekend, spending the day outside, walking, biking, reading and picnicking.

  29. Rebecca said on April 13, 2011

    Thank you so much for this post! I have been a Small Notebook fan for a while, so I’m glad you’ve discovered it!

    For your ego boost: reading through your archives, particularly about pregnancy/baby stuff, has been enormously helpful as I prepare for my first!

  30. Cole said on April 13, 2011

    Your post is like a breathe of fresh air! Let’s find peace and beauty in the imperfection! Thank you!

  31. you are super pretty said on April 14, 2011

    oh, my goodness. i’m getting off the computer now and going to sleep!
    p.s. please invite me to your garage sale :)

  32. anne said on April 14, 2011

    you LITERALLY took the words out of my mouth. i have been a fan of your blog since the beginning and have always thought, kristina has the most perfect life: lives in california (my dream), insanely talented designer, intelligent, master of gardening and all crafty projects, beautiful, loves exercise, has an amazing husband & son… it’s reassuring to read that you have wishes and only ifs and want to simplify things. thanks for this post :)

  33. lyann kemal said on April 14, 2011

    Thank you. I love the ideas.

  34. bigBANG studio said on April 14, 2011

    a lovely does of sanity in a mildy insane online world we all inhabit in some way or another.

    i raise my glass to you, you amazing woman, in the name of simplicity!

    xoxo greaaaat post.

  35. eponymous home said on April 14, 2011

    Thank You for saying this! I actually get exhausted reading these “perfect life” blogs. I love blogs but the upbeat happy perfectly designed, husbands, kids, blogs make me question what’s reallllly going on. I love your blog because of it’s simplicity!! I started a blog to write about the reality of my world and I can’t even keep it up to date. Reality:)

  36. lindsey said on April 14, 2011

    I love the small notebook blog, thanks for sharing your find with us! I think the great thing about blog world, and posting to blog world is you get to focus on the simple, pure, little amazing things that you find in life. I love arranging that great shot, posting about a project that I loved working on, or taking a picture of some of my favorite things in life that make me smile. But being honest about life is a whole different thing… and I love seeing real life- the good and the bad. Its refreshing! So thanks for bringing up a wonderful point…and I agree.

  37. Kristina said on April 14, 2011

    @jora – definitely ordering. I have a feeling they are going to tell me not be on the computer when bebe is awake. Maybe that will be a good experiment for me.

    @Catherine – i know! reading makes me sleep well. computering makes me feel jittery.

    @B. Fallen – we do have a nanny, we do! I don’t talk about it much because, I don’t know, I don’t like the word nanny – it makes me feel like someone else is raising my child. And I seem to feel some strange pressure to be the only one caring for my baby, because having help means I’m a less attentive mother. Which makes no sense at all but there you are. Our nannies (yes we have more than one, on different days) are amazing! D loves them and they teach him and me so much! There’s no way I could work, even at home, without some sort of childcare situation.

    @Adrienne – no technology weekend!

    @Rebecca – thank you!

    @you are super pretty – of course you can come to our garage sale, but I warn you it’s a bunch of stuff you probably don’t want.

    @anne – the grass is always greener, isn’t it? I’m sure I’d be smitten with parts of your life too!

    @bigBANG – muah!

  38. Desi said on April 14, 2011

    I loved this post and all the comments. I just peeked at Small Notebook and I already love it. This is part of why I love reading Melanie’s blog too. She’s very up front.

    I’m so overloaded. That I find myself fighting for less with clients. When they want to make people jump through 5 hoops to enter a contest, I feel like a completely negative nixon protesting “people are so overwhelmed. who’s going to do that?” The fact is I’m overwhelmed and it’s not blogs or the internet’s fault. I’m wired this way. I find myself wishing I was one of those tunnel vision focused people, but I just not and that’s ok. That’s what yoga is for.

  39. maria said on April 14, 2011

    delurking! wow, what a great site- love the simplified living while still doing it with class. I’ve been reading your blog for about a year, never got the impression that your life was perfect, just what you took time to notice the beauty that’s we all can appreciate in our lives.

  40. maria said on April 14, 2011

    obviously typing too fast-

    *just that you took the time to notice the beauty that*

  41. Lauren said on April 14, 2011

    I think this is one of the best posts you’ve ever written! Love it!

  42. Laura said on April 14, 2011

    I love your blog, and this post has elicited my first ever blog comment to you. :) Love your honesty here in particular… and always enjoy your creativity and musings. Thank you for sharing.

  43. Sarisa said on April 16, 2011

    Hi! I’ve been enjoying your blog ever since I saw your wedding photos on Michele’s website, but I’m not much of a commenter…just wanted to say thanks for posting this! It really resonated with me.

  44. elizabeth antonia said on April 18, 2011

    you are AWESOME kristina. and sometimes send ME into a tailspin with your non-diaper wearing baby (ugh, guilt guilt guilt) and the chickens in your backyard. but we all have our pain points and that is that.

    totally with jora on the kim john payne book – i went to see him speak a couple of weeks ago (and predictably enough have a blog post scheduled on it this week) and it has given my poor guilt-ridden-not-doing-nearly-enough mind a well deserved rest.

    and i want to hike with you too! xo

  45. Cassi said on April 26, 2011

    Couldn’t have said it better myself, sister friend. I recently blogged about my annoying jealousy towards other bloggers whose lives seem super-awesome…had a few of meltdowns the past couple months…and too discovered Small Notebook a few weeks ago thanks to AT, and love it! I actually had the site bookmarked a year ago, but forgot about it after that. She gives real advice that makes me feel better about my day-to-day goings on. I try to check her blog weekly, especially when I am feeling out of my element…Like you talking to your brother about blogs and hearing his spin on them {funny and so true!}, I too have found it helps to talk about blogs/bloggers with non-blogger friends and family, because they help you see the illusion and bring you back to reality. So, keep on keepin’ on. Lovin’ the blog still, after two years {?} of following, and appreciate the occasional ‘whiny’ post…lol. ;)

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