trust the process

great black turtleneck is always a good look

Last week I put up five trees, moved in all my geraniums at the country house while moving out all the furniture to Boston MA, and hosted a small working lunch for nine women. Sure, I had anxiety, we’re coming up on holiday season where expectations run high.

overwintering the geraniums, moved all the furniture to Boston in two big pods
papasan is from youngest daughter’s bedroom, kinda need somewhere to sit

Oldest daughter, the one living in Boston and on the receiving end of all of the furniture, says the goal this year is for me not to end up sick and in the fetal position on Christmas eve or any other day leading up to January 1st, as has been my move. I’ve been pacing myself, doing things early. 

One of my dear friends tells me the Christmas season is a man’s holiday, women invariably do a lot of the hustle. I’m telling myself to trust the process, it will go, it always does. 

two in the dining room, one in the living room, forgot to take that photo and its the best one 🙂
one in the family room
one in the upstairs sitting room, it looks great from the street at night

The thing is I love doing this kind of stuff, decorating, cooking, making things nice for those around me, all the while creating good memories and bringing people together. 

So, one thing at a time: trees are up, no skirts and no ornaments. These five trees here are brilliant, we used to do the fresh thing where husband and the kids would go out and get the biggest fresh thing they could find and then I would spend DAYS and NIGHTS wrestling with the lights, solo, of course. No more, last year on advice from my sister, she who designs events for hundreds of thousands in San Francisco, ordered in from Balsam Hill: I bought three of their revolutionary flip trees, and the two slender ones in the dining room go up in minutes, all lit! It’s genius. 

greens are dressed, plated, ready
with the warm French cheese in pastry
it was delicious, maybe a little heavy on the dressing, I panicked at the last minute, and I probably could have kept the plate rim a little cleaner
it was a working lunch meeting, I set the table and herbal iced tea waiting for everyone
I used three small juice glasses filled with parsley and rosemary from the country house down the middle of the table for the centerpieces
the English chocolate crisps with dried cranberries were delicious
I sent small packages of two home with each guest, no one really likes to eat desert at a lunch
the thing that I was most proud of was that my kitchen counter was clean and not like a hurricane happening

And the lunch? Everything from one of my favorites, Ina. I simply sat down with her Make It Ahead book and planned out the whole thing, beginning to end. We had Herbal Iced Tea, Salted Caramel Nuts, French Green Bean Salad with Warm Goat Cheese, and Chocolate English Crisps. I truly felt like a Barefoot Contessa

here’s the pile of cut greens waiting to be put in nine urns for outside decorations, gotta trust the process

The carrot bread recipe comes from one of my other inspirations, Martha of course. She’s an entirely different story, last night I was reading her blog, The Official Martha Blog, about her most recent dinner party in her brown room, she brought in chef’s, (plural!), and they had individual tangines. Her gardening escapades involve an entire staff, and they dig up and propagate and store Dahlia tubers and things, wow, #gardendreams. We can all aspire to entertain with ease; I think the key is to slow down and trust the process. Bite off what we can chew, do things slow and with intention, and for me, do things early. At fifty-four I’m finally learning that flying by the seat of my pants is not a good look, wink wink.

trying desperately to do the work early and not always fly by the seat of my pants

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  1. Beautifully done, and beautifully said. Bravo!

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