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My Favorite Everything

2019 January 18
by WWGD

Years ago, when I first started dipping my toe into the blogging world, I met a woman named Shanna who had a blog called My Favorite Everything. The premise was simple – and popular – in that she literally just talked about all of her favorite things. I really liked Shanna and I liked following her favorite things, too. It was feel good, frivolous and fun. And I believe that you need that type of mindless entertainment and inspiration in your life, just as much as you need the deep, soul-searching, engaging stuff.

This has been a strange week of ups and downs for me so I thought I would end it on a frivolous note. A quick list of some of my favorite things. Nothing too deep. Nothing mind-blowing (you can check my Instagram for a little of that from last night). Just some feel good fun. Seems like the right way to start the weekend. So without further delay, here is my favorite (almost) everything:

STYLE/BEAUTY

Denim – Madewell, high rise curvy skinny. I haven’t bought myself premium denim in ages but I want to try AGOLDE when I do.

Basic tees – Everlane linen muscle tanks or Gap linen tees

Leather goods – Saint Laurent

Underwear – Gap Body and ThirdLove

Outerwear (blazers, coats, etc) – Zara, J. Crew, Helmut Lang

Jewelry – J. Crew for fun and bright, Mejuri for delicate and affordable, classic diamond pieces for everything else

Sunglasses – Super

Skincare – Drunk Elephant for day-to-day, May Lindstrom for masks

Bath/shower products – goop (the bath soaks are incredible and I love the clay body cleanser and the salt scrub, too)

Make up – loving Vapour Beauty for foundation, Trish McEvoy tube mascara, Urban Decay eye liners, Bite Beauty for bold lip, Glossier Cloud Paint for cheeks, Glossier Boy Brow for brows

Vitamins – Olly (I take the women’s multi and the probiotic every morning and use the restful sleep one for sleepless nights; my kids take them, too)

HOME

Candles – Diptyque for luxury (hands down, the best vanilla candle in the market), Aura Candles for more affordable

Flowers – Trader Joe’s. Every week I buy three bundles of eucalyptus for the kitchen island and two bunches of all white roses for my living room. It’s a guaranteed $16 of joy.

Coffee – Café du Monde (we buy it from Amazon)

Kitchen linens – Williams Sonoma

Dishes – Home Goods, various brands but always great selection and premium quality if you hunt a little

Hand soap – Aesop in bathrooms, Seventh Generation or Mrs. Meyer’s in kitchen

Bath towels – Nate Berkus

Frames – Pottery Barn wood gallery frames in black for small things, Framebridge for large

Serving ware – CB2

If I didn’t list a specific category here, it’s because I haven’t found my favorite…yet. Always open to suggestions. 

Have a great weekend, friends. Hope it’s fun and frivolous and your favorite ever.

*disclaimer – this post contains a selection of affiliate links


The Game-Changer: Headspace

2019 January 14
by WWGD

Meditation is certainly not a new topic of discussion but it’s new to me and therefore, it felt right to discuss it. I met with a life coach a few months ago and while we chatted about goals and vision and what kind of path she could potentially help me down (still trying to figure it out, so I haven’t committed to the process yet but will let you know when I do), she brought up two tools she recommended I start implementing immediately, regardless of where I wanted to end up: daily meditation and daily journaling.

You would think that as someone who calls herself a “writer”, I would already be a daily journal kind of girl, but I am not. I have always struggled with writing just for the sake of it. I want to write when I have something to say. Ideally something meaningful or useful or inspired. And when people will read it. And that has been a tough habit to break, even with her sage advice to start pouring out onto paper for ten minutes per day, and not worry about what comes out or who I can share it with.

I have, however, done a really good job at implementing meditation into my life. I started with the Headspace trial and quickly graduated to a full year subscription and now I can’t imagine not having the app on my phone to turn to on a whim (I even gave it as a gift for Christmas). I try to do my meditation in the morning though sometimes it’s easier for my brain to wind down into it in the evening. I’ve done it on walks. In parking lots while I was waiting on something or someone. When I am happy. When I am sad. When I am just looking to take a really good deep breath.

What has it done for me? First, it has taught me how to quiet my brain. I dealt with a lot of anxiety last year (mainly over silly, irrational things) and I knew I didn’t want to repeat that pattern going into 2019. Meditating has shown me how incredibly powerful it can be to try to focus your brain when it starts to wander…and how hard it can be as well. Second, it has helped me with my external focus as well. I have been much better at prioritizing, managing my time, and spending it wisely and with intention. I also think it has made me a better listener. I tune in more because my brain is more alert and better at focusing rather than wandering off to the next thought or moment. Finally, it has shown me how powerful routine can actually be, even when it’s imperfect. You know how they say it takes 21 days to create a habit? I never seem to make it to day 8. I get bored, I get distracted, I get disparaged. But while I haven’t been 100% consistent with a daily practice (yet), I have been committing to it enough to already see how impactful it can be. And I want to see more.

This holiday season was a bit of a strange one for me. While so many were focused on resolutions and change and ambitions, I was just sitting in simple gratitude. I knew that everything I had in my life was just fine. Things can tweak here or there, but fundamentally, it’s all pretty much fantastic. I just needed to teach myself how to realize that. How to believe it. How to appreciate it more. And how to remind myself of it, almost every day. That was the most important change of all. And I think I found it. In my own head.

How to Vacation with Friends

2019 January 8
by WWGD

I think that one of the coolest things we have given our kids is the gift of traveling with friends. Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents and they have traveled more of the world than most people I know (including me), but I only ever went anywhere as a child with them and my sister and I think my kids are really lucky that we choose to travel with friends so much and so often. Not only does it give them companions their own age to hang with, it allows us to explore new places that we might not if we only traveled as a nuclear family, it lets us cut costs here and there, and it keeps everyone – old and young – entertained and engaged on a different level.

We travel with friends often and just got back from another week away with two other families we adore and it got me thinking of the tips and tricks that have worked with us and our nomadic gang of “family friends”, as we call them, that others might find useful. If you don’t avidly travel with friends, here are some things to think about when you do (because you should!):

Pick your traveling buddies wisely. Traveling with families is more complicated than a solo girls or boys trip because you have to be able to manage and enjoy so many different personalities. The adults, the kids, even the dogs (if you are traveling with me and it’s within driving distance…Luna is always on board). You need to give careful consideration to the families that you can truly travel with and be honest with yourself if some of your friends just aren’t that type. They can be great dinner party friends instead. Look to book adventures with people that you truly believe you can not only live with, but dine with and hike with and beach with and be yourself with…otherwise, it’s no vacation.

Book separate accommodations. All that said, even if you are traveling with some of your favorite people in the world, when it comes to group trips, you need a little space. If you are sharing a house, make sure it has plenty of room – indoors and out – for people to break away when they need to. Otherwise, opt for separate but neighboring condos or hotel rooms so everyone can enjoy some solitude when they need it. And make sure to respect the signs when someone needs their space or has to tend to a child who needs theirs. You can’t take anything personally when traveling with friends. If you do, see above. You picked the wrong ones to go with. Oh, and always one bathroom (minimum) per family. Always.

Plan a few solo activities. Maybe you appreciate a spa day while your girlfriend would rather shop. Perhaps your kids want to go to a museum and their buddies prefer the beach. Or maybe you just need a night off from the big crew and want to get in some quality time with your nuclear tribe. Make sure you discuss as a group and plan for a few solo blocks of time ahead of your trip so that everyone has a chance to a) get a break from the group dynamic and b) check off their own personal must-see list without having to worry about keeping everyone happy.

Use Splitwise. This easy app makes it simple to keep track of group expenses throughout the trip and then divide it by couple, single or group at the end of the trip so no one gets stuck with one massive dinner bill or that extra three rounds of drinks inadvertently. Make sure everyone downloads it ahead of time and commits to using it throughout the trip.

Make it fun! Seriously, it is so cool that your kids (and you!) get to travel with friends so keep that spirit going when you are abroad. Let the kids have sleepovers in each others’ rooms or condos. Take turns hosting family dinners to give yourselves a break from eating out – and the cost of it. Take video and pics (the one above is of my son with two buddies in Lake Tahoe last week) and create a shared album so everyone can keep them. The memories and the people making them – both big and small – will be worth hanging onto. I promise.

Did you know? I share my favorite family-friendly (yet always cool) hotels and destinations on Instagram @_neverleaving.

One at a Time

2019 January 6
by WWGD

We just returned from a New Year’s trip to the mountains. It is a ritual I like to do every year. A few days after the holiday haze to pause, take in nature and hopefully breathe a little easier as a family before we take on another new year.

This year’s trip was an important one. The kids opted out of lessons and we opted in for a little extra patience and decided to ski and snowboard together as a family the whole time. My daughter skis like me and my husband snowboards with our son so we took a 1-on-1 approach to teaching them and guiding them down the mountainside and off the chairlift, one run at a time. We coached them from behind, tried to stay patient when they weren’t listening to our coaching, tried not to gasp too audibly when they were headed for near disaster, reminded them – over and over – to ease into the mountain’s relief, to focus on control and speed, to take it one turn at a time.

During our trip, we ventured up to Emerald Bay, a scenic vista high above Lake Tahoe. We’ve never been to the area and the views were breathtaking on this crisp, clear day; one of the first of the year, filled with promise and optimism. Tourists were everywhere, snapping selfies with the view in the background, yelling at their kids to avoid the steep cliffside that spilled out below us, honking at each other over parking lot squabbles. We had our dog with us and she wasn’t allowed on the main vista or walking trails so I cut off to the side with her to try to take in the scene on my own, away from the crowds. I saw a man, sitting quietly on a bench, taking in a perfect angle on the lake and the mountains that surrounded it, accompanied by no one. I thought about asking him if I could share the bench with him but decided against it. He was so lost in thought, in his private view on the world, that it felt wrong to intrude. So we found a rock a few yards behind him and sat there, watching him watching the world from there. Just me and my dog. Taking it all in, one quiet moment at a time.

A few days after Christmas, one of our good friends lost her husband to a tragic accident. The news came in via text message. A text message I will probably never erase. The phone call that followed was heart-wrenching. Tears on both ends. Wails of sadness from her, words of desperation tumbling out, one after the other, seemingly unstoppable. We spent last New Year’s with them and my husband and I sat by the fire in our little mountain condo a few nights ago and reminisced on those good times. Dug up the pictures and video from last year’s trip. All of us drunkenly singing along to “Sweet Caroline” on the dance floor of our friend’s wedding. All of us after a boozy, Bloody Mary-filled New Year’s eve brunch, smiling in the desert sun. Him and our young son in a photo, Kai grinning goofily for the camera, our friend grinning goofily at him. We talked about him and them and everything else in between with happy tears in our eyes. When I ended my call with her that day, I told her she didn’t have to think. She didn’t have to make any decisions at all on the future. She didn’t have to talk anymore. She just had to take it one breath at a time.

Today, we are back home. Tomorrow, the kids go back to school. The rituals begin again and real life sets back into its easy schedule. I’ve decided to write more. I’ve resolved to menu plan again. I’ve written lists of intentions and business goals and things I want to do to make this new year better than the last one. We’re always looking to make each one better, even when they don’t turn out that way. When one day can change everything, particularly the best made plans. So my one real vow is to take it one moment at a time. The happy ones, the sad ones, the exciting ones and the mundane. The successful ones and the failures. All we have to do is take it all in, one moment at a time. One view, one turn, one goal, one memory. And most importantly, one breath. Just take it all in, one at a time.

Happy new year to you and yours. You will be seeing more of me around here this year. I hope to see more of you, too. x

Today You Are Eight

2018 December 20
by WWGD

Today, you are eight. 

Today you are longer and leaner than ever. A true big boy, from head to toe. A baby only when you need to be one. And sometimes when I still need one, too. 

Today you are sports. Any sport and every sport. You shine at baseball and basketball. You give your all in soccer. You pass on golf. And much to your dad’s chagrin, you haven’t hopped on a surfboard yet. 

Today you are bright, chocolate brown eyes and a big, toothless smile. You bring a warmth and light to every room you walk into. You exude charisma, confidence and a kindness that will change the world. 

Today you are Adidas and basketball shorts and a cap permanently glued to your head, covering up your gorgeous, thick hair. 

Today your favorite subject in school is recess. You come home with stories about the games you played and the friends you ran around with and the points you scored. A social butterfly that never wants to land. 

Today you are brilliantly smart. Reading like a sixth grader. Sprinting through your math homework. Writing and creating slideshows and using your imagination in all the best ways. 

Today you are 6:30am wake ups and 8:30pm bed times. You have a LOT of energy. They tell you boys have more energy to burn. They aren’t lying. 

Today you are (still) pasta and grilled cheese and the odd fish stick. You are happy to eat any kind of fruit and just discovered Gatorade (god help us). You have a sweet tooth but, as with almost everything you do, it’s in moderation.

Today you are hyper focused. You taught yourself how to play baseball by tirelessly tossing a ball in the air over and over and over until it landed in your glove every time. 

Today you still sleep with your sweet monkey.

Today you are forging your own path, out of your sister’s shadow. She is still one of your favorite playmates, but you have a very different approach to life and fun and play than her and it shows. 

Today you are sensitive and empathetic. With everyone and everything. 

Today you are 60 something pounds. Almost 4′ 6″ tall. 

Today you are a leader. In all the best ways. 

Today you are baseball shaped balloons and waffles with whipped cream and sprinkles for breakfast. 

Today you are learning about the world and your place in it. You are interested in travel, languages, other cultures, new faces. I hope you keep that curiosity in you forever. 

Today, you are eight. They say it’s great because it rhymes but the truth is, it’s great because it’s you. Growing into the young man you are meant to be. Bringing so much joy to those that know you and love you. Giving your all to everything that matters to you in this world. I could be sad because you are my last baby and you’re growing up so fast. But I am not because I see the future in you and I cannot even begin to fathom how bright it will be. It’s almost too much for me to wrap my heart around. But I know I will do it, with you leading the way. And that’s why it’s great. Because it’s you. 

Happy birthday, Kai. 

Five Cookbooks You Will (Actually) Cook From

2018 September 18
by WWGD

If this quick glance at (half) of my cookbook collection isn’t clear enough…I love cookbooks. I read them like novels. I pull them out over and over for inspiration and ideas and in times of boredom. I like new ones, old ones. Complicated ones and basic ones. I order new ones all the time. Even as the shelves get tighter and tighter. But I will admit, there are only a handful that I actually cook from. Regularly. Today, I thought I would share the top five in my collection that I use…over and over. The ones with dog ears in the corners, oil splatters on various pages, notes in the margins. The ones that don’t overcomplicate. They fit perfectly into this current chapter of my life. One where good food, delicious meals and easy entertaining are key. And where obscure ingredients and complicated prep techniques are not. I imagine that there is a time and place for every one of them. Some day, I will cook from The Little Paris Kitchen and The Joy of Cooking (though I seem to have a very hard time without pictures…) and So Good. But today, I am cooking from these. All the time. I hope you find a new favorite here as well:

Small Victories. I was first introduced to the work of Julia Turshen when she was the co-author of Gwyneth Paltrow’s first cookbook, My Father’s Daughter (spoiler alert: more on that below). But her solo effort made me an official fan girl. Her recipes in this book are simple, straightforward and filled with comfort-food style favorites that I turn to again and again. The turkey ricotta meatballs are Insta-famous for a reason, the chicken and leeks is delicious and her roasted scallion and chive dip is a crowd pleaser. Every single time.

Dinner: A Love StoryThis is probably where my love of cookbooks (and my buying habits) started. Jenny’s guide to family dinner – throughout the various phases of her life – reads like a novel and a cookbook all in one and every recipe I have tried has been great. We love the pork chops with apples and onions. We crave the corn bacon hash. And Tony’s steak is a must-try. The underlying message about the importance of family dinner – one that my husband and I both take to heart in our own home – is the best part of the book and makes it an amazing gift idea for anyone, young and old, who values the importance of good food, conversation and connection.

My Father’s DaughterYes, there is a Gwyneth Paltrow pick on here. But only one. This is her first book and, in my opinion, the most relatable one of the three. The other two are gorgeous to look at, but this is the one I cook from. The blueberry muffins are like a warm hug from your mom. The chicken milanese is a family favorite. The spaghetti con limone is perfect. It’s a simple book filled with cozy favorites and lighter options that doesn’t feel over goop-y or convoluted.

Genius RecipesFood52 is easily one of my favorite foodie destinations on the web and I am happy to share that their non-virtual efforts are just as consistent. This book is filled with 100 “genius” recipes from various chefs, foodies and personalities that are said to change how you cook some of your favorite meals. Marcella Hazan’s famous tomato sauce with butter & onions, Jim Lahey’s prized no-knead bread, Michael Ruhlman’s rosemary-brined fried chicken. These are the (very best) recipes you want to keep with you forever. All in one pretty place. Genius.

FoolproofFinally, no cookbook collection is complete without an Ina Garten (or in my case…six of them) favorite in there. And while I consistently find them all a pleasure to cook from, Foolproof is easily the one I pluck from the shelf the most. These are “recipes you can trust” from the queen of home cooking and aside from the odd overly generous shake of salt, they are just that. Delicious, easy (for the most part) and great for dinners big and small. Some of our favorites include the penne alla vecchia bettola, the crispy mustard-roasted chicken and the easy tzatziki. Always amazing. As Ina does.

Have any favorites to add to the list? Would love to hear what you’re cooking from these days…so I can add to my Amazon cart! 

The Most Important Email I Wrote This Year

2018 September 13
by WWGD

It took me 20 years to write it. And only one minute to hit send.

Close to 20 years ago, I wronged a good friend. He was always a good friend. I really liked him, I respected him, he was a great companion. He was a good guy.

And then he started dating my best friend.

Looking back now, my loyalty to her was misguided at times. And this was one of them. When things turned sour in their relationship, I only listened to one side of the story and shut him (and his side) down blindingly. I turned my back on him, I called him out, and I refused to listen when he tried to explain his version of their events.

We were young. Drama was at its peak. And I got caught up on the wrong side of it.

Their relationship ended soon after. Years later, my friendship with her would fade away for its own reasons. He and I never spoke again. And I mean never. Not on Facebook, not at the hometown bar on a night before Christmas when everyone piles in from their respective new lives and reminisces on days gone by. Never spoke again.

But even after many years, he was always in the back of my mind. Not just for the friendship I had missed out on, but for the guilt behind my own actions. I knew I had been rash and immature in the way I had treated him and it always gnawed at me, even as years and miles passed us by.

He probably hadn’t given it much thought. We were young, after all. Volatile, dramatic, jumping from one relationship to the next. But I had given it a lot of thought and I knew it was time for an apology.

So I sent it.

I ate crow (is that the expression??) and asked his sister (who I did have as a Facebook connection) for his email address and I sent a heartfelt apology his way. I apologized for being a jerk. For undervaluing all the years he had been nothing but a great friend to me. For being so mistakenly loyal to one friend that it cost me another one. And for letting 20 years go by before I acknowledged it to him.

His reply came within the hour. I know he wasn’t waiting for a note from me, in fact he expressed his utter shock at having received it. But he welcomed it. He virtually chuckled a little at the idea that I had held it close to my heart all these years. He, of course, had not. Those years were a memory to him now, happily married, three kids at home, a beautiful life built around him. But he welcomed my words. He accepted my apology. He agreed that we had a great little friendship back then and that he didn’t fault me for making a stupid choice that ended it. He wished me well and I did the same in return and told him I hoped to see him some day. In the hometown bar. On the night before Christmas.

I am admittedly not much of a forgiver. It is a big character flaw that I try to acknowledge and work on, but the reality is that when you do me wrong, it is very hard for me to forget it. I hold grudges. I rarely forgive if I feel hurt. I hold onto those emotions and build a wall of them around me. But this lesson taught me that being an apologizer is also half of that equation. Owning up to your mistakes. Putting those thoughts into actual words and acknowledging someone else’s feelings and your role in impacting them. It made me realize that while I haven’t forgiven every person who hurt me in my life, few (if any) of them have ever apologized. Have never felt the need to right their wrong, or to understand my perspective or to realize that sometimes, eating a little crow is worth it to save a friendship or a relationship or a partnership.

So the lesson is this: apologize more. It will lead to more forgiveness.

Hit send on that email that is drafted in your head or your heart. Even if it’s been there for 20 years.

Don’t undervalue good friends. New and old.

And if you do, buy them a drink at Christmas.

It will be one of the most important things you do all year.

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Five Good Reads

2018 September 7
by WWGD

The weekend is (almost) here on the west coast and if you’re anything like me, you will be ushering it in with a little peace, a little quiet, and a lot of reading.

Here are a few things I enjoyed this week – bookmark them for the days ahead. And buy a real book this weekend. Preferably from an independent bookstore, if possible. You have a library to build, friends. This picture is telling you so.

How to do less! Of everything from beauty to time management to work to socializing. I loved this piece on Atelier Doré because it offered different perspectives on balance from women in different ages and stages of life. The universal truth? We can all cut back on something to make room for a little more nothing.

Using intuition to find self-acceptance, from our friends at goop. I really appreciated this deep-dive into our intuition and how it plays a role in defining our personality and sense of self. The tips on connecting to our intuition – while definitely a little goop-y – also felt straight-forward and simple to incorporate at the same time.

Embracing my passion helped me fall in love with my day job. In an era where we are inundated with messages about finding our passion and how work shouldn’t feel like work, this was a refreshing piece that examined how it’s not always our 9-to-5 that’s to blame for our work weariness. The reality is, a lot of us need to pay our mortgage and sometimes our passions don’t do it for us. The writer inspires you to seek your passion, energy and interests outside of your day job to come at it with a fresh point of view. A novel idea. Pun intended.

Why children aren’t behaving and what you can do about it. My husband and I just had a chat this week as our kids took on the second week of 6th and 2nd grades about how the parenting stakes are higher than they have ever been and how we spent so much time educating ourselves during the baby and toddler years and have basically stopped now…when it actually counts. This was a timely read that a friend just shared on Facebook (thanks, Erica!) to remind me that I am not finished with my parenting homework. I still have many years ahead of me to get it right and advice like this will certainly help me along the way.

Finally, the best book I have read lately: The Immortalists. This was just a really solid, fictional family saga. The story tells the tale of four siblings who learn their fate from a psychic at a young age…and inevitably allow it to dictate their lives through to the end. Four unique tales of love, sadness and growth all told through the lens of one overarching family dynamic. An entertaining but thoughtful read. Perfect for a weekend with nothing to do.

Hope yours is lovely. x

*image above via Apartment Therapy 

Turning 40. And 41.

2018 September 5
by WWGD

As you know, I turned 40 a few months ago and I went into the celebration with bright eyes, a very open mind and an earful of reassurance from friends, family and even virtual strangers that it would be “fabulous.”

You’re going to feel better than ever, they told me.

You will be confident and strong.

You will be self-aware and evolved.

You will be living your very best everything.

Maybe they meant 41.

I always try to approach this space with positivity. There is enough of the opposite on the internet already. But I am choosing to come at it from a place of honesty today instead. And honestly, I am feeling kind of negative.

Since I turned 40, I have had issues sleeping, eating, stressing, and worrying. I have pulled my back, had my skin freak out, gained weight despite exercising more than ever and suffered from the most intense mood swings I have ever experienced. I have had less patience, more lethargy, and a lack of motivation that is simply not in my DNA.

It has been, quite frankly, kind of shitty.

And I know I am not alone. We want to be 40 and on top of the world but for a lot of women, this transition is a tough one. Physically, mentally and emotionally. And we are almost afraid to say it because society – and every birthday card out there – tells us it should be a phase of strength and empowerment and self-confidence. Better than ever. Our priorities perfectly aligned. All of our relationships at their peak. Our bodies blissfully adored for what they are and not what they look like.

41.

Must be 41.

And I am trying to be ok with that. I am trying to acknowledge that a lot of this change – most of it not that great – is natural. That it’s normal. That it’s not an indicator of the next decade (or two) of my life. That I may just need to work a little harder to find my way to fabulous. Be a little more patient with myself. With the world around me. With my own body and mind. I am trying – really hard – to make healthy choices not just with my body, but with my time and my brain. To approach the whole thing – 40 – with the same attitude I try to bring to this little space. To stay positive. And hopefully some days it will work.

So if you happen to be in the same or a similar phase, I am here to encourage you to do the same and to reassure you and to hear you out. To recognize that the birthday card – and all those family and friends – may have been wrong. And that that’s ok.

It’s not your fault if it doesn’t feel the way it feels for others.

The way you had hoped.

The way they said it would.

They really meant 41.

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A Perfectly Imperfect Peach Galette

2018 August 7
by WWGD

There is this peach galette that I keep on making.

I made one yesterday and I still have peaches so I think I will make another one today.

It’s shockingly simple. I forego the process of pulling together a homemade crust and buy a sheet of puff pastry instead. I cut up some peaches, cutting around the pit in quartered sections and then slicing each chunk into thin (but not too thin) slices. You can toss them in flour but you don’t need to. I don’t.

I roll out my puff pastry and don’t give a second thought to its shape. I was trying to make a square piece round the first time I did it but then realized that the rough edges and asymmetrical shape are what make it a galette and not a pie.

This is the step that takes me the most time. I create a pattern with my peach slices. Starting from the inside, I work my way out in a circle of peach slices that looks like a star in some ways and a trippy kaleidoscope in others. Sometimes it looks prettier than other times. But every time, it calms me. I slowly make my pattern, taking my time and trying something new with each galette. I lay out my slices, one by one. My fingers get a little sticky and I marvel at the beauty of a few slices of fresh peach in the natural light coming in through the window. At the summer heat in the air. At the music playing on the speaker nearby and the kids playing outside and the dog lapping up her water from the bowl down the hall.

That part takes the most time. With good reason.

I sprinkle on a little brown sugar. Peaches are so sweet on their own these days that you almost don’t need it, but I like the way it caramelizes and adds a little depth to the color and taste of the fruit.

Just a little. Not too much.

I fold up my corners. I think twice about how imperfect they are and leave them that way, nonetheless. One is bigger than the other. One stuck to the board so it’s pulled together in a stringy, sticky mess. But it doesn’t matter. Puff pastry is very forgiving once it’s baked into a golden, flaky crown.

I brush the outer edges with a little milk (easier than wasting an egg for an egg wash – thank Gwyneth Paltrow for teaching me that one).

I heat the oven. Wonder why I have the oven on in 80 degree heat.

Realize it’s August.

And the peaches are perfect.

Even if the galette isn’t.

And that’s why.