February Book : Present Over Perfect

I am totally posting this a day late!! I had my days mixed up and didn’t get this up in time. But so excited to share this post because I love this book sooo much. What did you guys think?! I related to her in a lot of ways when I first read this because it was right after a really stressful time in my life. We were living in NYC with both of doing the blog full time and of course parenting full time. We also just launched Barefoot Blonde Hair which we had been working on for a couple years before launch. I felt like our apartment was always a mess, we were way too busy with too many tasks that could have been delegated, we had so many PR shipments coming in which was making me feel so wasteful and cluttered (especially in our tiny apartment),we were in the middle of doing house plans for our home build, I was wanting to be a 100% full time, hands on mom AND run two businesses, and I was just way in over my head. I feel bad even complaining about this because I realize how blessed I am to have two businesses I love and my amazing kids who I love to raise.. but I knew I was getting to a point where I was going to just snap.


This was all right before we moved to Hawaii. And honestly, maybe that is why I felt like I had such a special connection to Hawaii. I instantly felt a breathe of fresh air and decided to take on less campaigns, obligations, put the home build on hold. This is also when I really started to get into meditating and learning the practice of being a more present and intentional person but most of all a more present mother and wife. I started doing all of that before I read this book – but when I read this I really related to her when she talked about how if she was given a huge bank account and all the free time in the world she would choose to do nothing. To me that is all I wanted, to sit and do nothing.

We made our first hire – an assistant just before we launched Barefoot Blonde Hair. The thing I learned with hiring is that it is A LOT of work in the beginning for training. And that also added to my workload in NYC. We were done with our training when we got to Hawaii and I felt like I got to just regroup mentally. Since leaving we have hired 12 more employees and I have to say that I feel a new love for both my blog and BFB Hair now that I have delegated tasks and can spend more time doing the tasks I love.

My book is highlighted like crazy with pages marked and some torn out. I love so many quotes from this book and feel like it really just reminded me what is important in life, even though I have known all along, reminders are always good to keep us in check. I loved the quote about the circles and how the people in the smallest circle are the people you want to aim to disappoint the least. That really stuck with me, especially with work stuff. For example, if we had a deadline coming up I would have maybe gotten frustrated with David as we tried to hurry and submit something. I would do that as to not disappoint my manager, but really I should be treating my husband with love and realizing my manager is going to forgive me if I am late. Little things like that throughout the book I felt I could relate to my own life.

I wanted to share some of my favorite quotes and I had a hard time narrowing these down!

Another thing that really stuck with me was when she talks about God’s love always being with you. I don’t talk about religion on here, it makes me a little uncomfortable to talk about actually. I was in a weird spot with religion for a little – just kind of going through the motions a little but was not feeling connected to God.. which was me not making the effort to do so. Even though I don’t have the same religious beliefs as Shauna I love how she talks about her relationship with God and His love. You will have to just read the quotes because me saying it won’t do it justice but those just hit home for me. I think being reminded of His unconditional love just feels good.

I want to hear what your favorite quotes or parts of the book were! What stuck with you and what you liked or don’t agree with or didn’t like or whatever! Leave in the comments! I hoped you guys liked the book though. I think I will always need constant reminders to slooooowwww down because the moment I see a blank space in my calendar I am scheduling something fun to do with the kids or a meeting for work. I need to remember to slow down like she did. Anyways let me know your thoughts!!!! xoxox


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  1. Just went and bought this book because of the impactful quotes you chose to highlight above. It spoke to my soul today. So many yeses and with that comes so many no’s. Thank you, Amber. This just helped me get through the day 🙂

  2. I love books like this – they are so inspiring! I’m also glad you shared your favorite quotes – it really puts the book into perspective and gives me just enough to know whether I want it or not. I’m definitely adding this one to the list. Thanks for sharing! 💕

    xx Tammy

  3. This is so beautiful! I will add this to my TBR list. Mindfulness is something I have become super interested in the past few years. I think we get in the mindset that we NEED it all, but that’s so not true. I believe some of the smallest things in life can be the most fulfilling, and like that quote said, cultivating relationships with those closest to us is the most important thing. I think creating a life you love is the most important thing, and getting into the mindset of “how will I feel about this in 30 years?”

    Thanks for posting, Amber!

  4. Thank you so much for this inspiring post! I haven’t read the book yet, but I’m going to order it this second after reading the little snippets <3 You're amazing Amber, I''m sorry that you had to go through such a stressful time before moving to Hawaii but it's really great that you share these types of things on your blog, because it reassures me that even the most seemingly perfect people also get stressed and freak out. xoxox keep up the amazing work!
    Margaux http://www.hopefullygypsy.com/en/

  5. I think I can relate most to the first part of the book where she talks about sea-changes. I am very much a person who “self-reflects” so I can relate to her when she pinpoints specific times where she has made an effort to overcome certain situations, and assess how she was treating others. I am most definitely in one of those times right now! I am 24, pregnant with my first child, and living in a new town all within a matter of months. I am SO excited to continue reading though.

  6. Oh my gosh I HAVE to read this book!!! I have been guilty over and over again, of giving my best, my all, my patience, my heart and soul to my career and the people who are not in that inner circle. This puts it all in perspective. Most of us have it all backwards! I think, knowing that our husbands/kids/parents/siblings, those in that inner circle, love us so unconditionally, that we sometimes treat them with less kindness and respect than what they deserve. All of the quotes you picked from the book are amazing, that must have been hard! Thank you for sharing this, it is an eye opener for sure. xoxo!!!

  7. I haven’t read the book yet because I believed I didn’t have time but those quotes…oh they hit me hard. I believe I should make this book a priority.
    Thanks for sharing!

  8. I think only those who speeded up at some point in order give their full time and energy to bring their life to a new level, who made a break through and actually achieved what they wanted to achieve, can relate to this journey that the author is writing about. Because if you have never speeded up you can’t appreciate slowing down and all treasures that come with it.. Another thing is most probably all that is described in this book, has to do with the age and very particular season of ones life. Can’t be related to much younger someone, who actually has to first go through being busy, overloaded, exhausted, cause that’s the route of everyone who became a success in what they were doing..

    1. Yes very true!! I hadn’t felt that before until I had kids and a job and a marriage and also just life and relationships… but you’re right a younger audience may not relate quite yet.

  9. I’m not much of a reader, but. I feel like I need to read this now!

  10. Love the part where she explains that when we say “no” it makes room for our “yeses”.

    I find it hard to say no a lot of the time which results in burnt out me … which is not fair to my family who I love and adore. There are defiantly times for “yes” and times for “no”. Leaning that spreading myself too thin doesn’t leave me happy.

    This book is a great one and I’m so encouraged by this book club ❤️ Thank you Amber for creating a space to share !

    1. YES!!!! I loved that so much and that part really stuck with me too! Such a great thing for us all to remember so we bring our best to the people who deserve our best! Needed that reminder when I read that book. I’m so glad you read it!!!! Thank you for commenting!

  11. …not sure if “opposite” was the right word………I’m gald the author has made the steps to change from what was (sounded so stressful and chaotic), to being more present/quiet/stillness and appreciate the small here and nows.

  12. I loved the book. I bought the audiobook too…I adore the writers voice and the way she speaks so openly. I totally related to the book and your recommendation came at such an important time… it was like what I have been desperate to hear and now I know the changes I will make will be so worth it. I feel more present already. Thank you Amber xxx

  13. I did not love, nor hate this book……It was hard for me to read and relate to personally, I am quite opposite. I don’t have nearly the responsibilities that the author has, nor that you have!! Although I know people who are like this, “chicken with it’s head cut off” all day and then are dead when they get home 🙁 And I’m SOOO glad that the author pointed this out!!!! It SOO crucial to realize where it’s most important to be present. And I did love and appreciate how she kept God in focus and gave God glory throughout. Also, I liked (because I say and feel the same) how she notices that life is full of SEASONS. 100% true. something might be happening right now…its a season of life, doesn’t mean that it is forever your life. its a season. season’s come and season’s go. Enjoy each season as it is! I’m sometimes hard with change…and this SEASONS mindset has helped me A LOT!!
    So, as you’ve instructed..I’ve tagged a few quotes:

    *The very thing that makes you YOU, makes you great, different, is also the thing that, LEFT UNCHECKED, will ruin you. (TRUE!!…temperance..)

    *The WORLD WILL TELL you how to live…IF you let it. don’t let it. Take up your space. Sing your song. (RIGHT!!! don’t follow the world, just because ‘everyone is doing it’)

    *Quiet gave me energy. Cleaning out closets, clearing off walls, less less less. Simplicity feels spacious and inspiring, like a deep breath! (TRUE! can I add: quiet is also cozy!)

    🙂 these are a few that stayed with me

    Looking forward to March2018

  14. I was in tears more than once while reading this book. Few books have impacted me more. Thanks for your transparency. You’re not alone in your quest for more presence and stillness.

  15. Hi Amber!
    Thanks for sharing! I actually didn’t read the book but am now more inclined to. Would you agree that there are seasons in life that HAVE to be busy to accomplish your goals/dreams? For instance, you were so busy in NYC because you didn’t have help and were doing everything on your own but if you didn’t accomplish those things then maybe you would’ve never have the means to hire help in the future, is that a true statement?


    1. Yes absolutely!!! And I’m still busy now – and I don’t feel like I did in New York at that time one tiny bit. I think the difference for me was that since we are running I business I was trying to have David and I do everything and still see growth – and I think I realized if I wanted to grow I had to delegate but that sounded scary to me. Now that I have learned to delegate and hire employees and train them for me that made all the difference. But different for everyone! I did think throughout the book like, not everyone can just say “okay I feel overwhelmed I’m going to quit work and relax at home” that’s not realistic. (I wish she would have maybe mentioned what her husband does so it was more clear if they had two incomes but we’re fine off of one) So I don’t think you have to stop I think you just have to be smart about your business or whatever you’re working on and really take advantage of downtime when you have it. Like for her instead having downtime she continued to clean clean clean while her family relaxed when she could have either left the mess or hired a cleaning lady to come every now and again.

      1. And I just reread your comment! I read it wrong. And yes you’re right sometimes when starting a business and chasing dreams you can’t afford to hire out so you pay your dues and you just have to know it’s just a season like you said!

        1. I think we’re all just trying to find balance in all aspects of life, it’s important to realize it’s an ongoing process and and we’ll never achieve perfection but WILL reach satisfaction in trying to be the best versions of ourselves.
          Much love!

  16. Thank you for sharing your faith with everyone! God’s love is what gives us life. He doesn’t have to give us rest, but He does because He is a good Father!

  17. Slowing down – it sounds so much easier than it is. In our household we’ve trying to put a greater emphasis on relaxing and time together without distraction. We aren’t always perfect at it, but when we pull it off it makes such a difference. Thank you sharing this book, I’ll have to read it next, it sounds like right what we need right now. xAllie http://www.theallthatglittersblog.com

  18. I have LOVED the idea of this book club. I think it really speaks to your character that you advocate for women to create a space to share ideas and personal reflections. Your blog has so much heart and is bigger than just hair and fashion. Which, by itself, is still wonderful.
    This book in particular really stuck with me. My dad always told me growing up that I had a habit of “burning the candle at both ends”. Now that I’m an adult in my late twenties, I am EXHAUSTED WITH HOW MUCH FUN I HAVE. I am so blessed, but sometimes I need a moment to reflect on what makes me…me. I keep changing in what I enjoy and who I enjoy my time with. This book allowed me to reflect on how I spend my time and who I commit that time to. In 2018, I want to make sure I spend most of my time and energy on my husband, my inner circle of family, and closest friends.

    Thank you for the inspiration! 😀

    1. AGREED!!!! true true 😉 so glad you said this about BarefootBlonde!!! 🙂

      And, yes..inner circle! do that!

  19. This was such a wonderful book, I really enjoyed it. I found myself highlighting so many pages because I did not want to forget. I related to this book on so many different levels.. lately my anxiety and stress have been too much. I feel burnt out and not myself a lot of the time and I know that affects my soul and the people I love most in the world. So the book opened my eyes and inspired me to really make changes and become more aware of these feelings and find solutions to live a more stress-free and simpler life. Reading the chapter about cleaning out the cabinets and closets to get rid of clutter and material items that take up space gave me motivation to spring clean! I love when she talks about building the relationships with your family and friends and making those connections deeper rather than exerting so much time, energy and love into relationships that are not nearly as important. One of my favorite stories was about throwing candy off the dock to the kayakers and how she became so worried about all the chaos around that she started to believe throwing candy was irresponsible and there were more important things to worry about and how that realization hit her that she missed throwing the candy. This reminded me of not sweating the small stuff and that is something I have been working on. My sweet boyfriend Josh and I just took a little weekend getaway this past weekend and it was so relaxing and so fun and full of love and laughs and I realized once we got home that I didn’t have my phone on me the whole weekend. I disconnected from social media and worrying about looking at my phone and it felt good. This book was just a good reminder that its all about heart and less about hustle and what truly matters is the people you love, taking time for yourself, feeding your soul, playing, less worry, less clutter and more of what makes you happy. I enjoyed it very much!

  20. I have not read this book yet but this post in itself was very inspiring. I plan to read this book and then join up with your book club Amber! I have been following your blog for a long time now and I have never posted anything but I love all you share- especially your eternal optimism and joy for life. We need more honest kindness like yours in our world.

  21. This post is incredible! I feel like these quotes are appropriately timed for so many of us – it’s so hard to stay present and be all of the things you THINK you should be. It’s refreshing to hear Shauna’s grounded words. Love love this, Amber xx


  22. I haven’t read this book but the quotes you have here are definitely powerful. I am a big fan of Leo Babauta, the man behind Zen Habits. I don’t know if you have ever read his posts but they’re always so meaningful and powerful. Recently, he wrote a post that is just too good not to share here. It’s this one if you would like to read it: https://zenhabits.net/nothing/ I feel like this post will encourage anyone to let go of so many unnecessary things as you have mentioned in this post too.

  23. Hey Amber 🙂
    I really really enjoyed this book, just like you it’s reminded me that we all have to slow down sometimes and take a step back and remember what is truly important to us, if we figure out what we can let go of and just focus on the key things in our life. I loved the part about learning to say no and how saying no changed everything for her “But you can’t have yes without no. Another way to say it: if you’re not careful with your yeses, you start to say no to some very important things without even realizing it” while reading this book there were so many times when I thought of my mum, how she needs to read this it relates so much to her, she is a full time teacher and also runs a small beauty clinic and skin care business. I think she would get a lot out of it, she is the most giving person I know but she doesn’t always take enough time for herself she’s always thinking of others 🙂 so here’s hoping she reads it haha
    Some other quotes I really like
    “It’s about realizing that what makes our lives meaningful is not what we accomplish, but how deeply and honestly we connect with the people in our lives, how wholly we give ourselves to the making of a better world, through kindness and courage.”
    “Present means we understand that the here and now is sacred, sacramental, threaded through with divinity even in its plainness. Especially in its plainness.
    Present over perfect living is real over image, connecting over comparing, meaning over mania, depth over artifice.”
    I truly enjoyed this book and there are so many other parts I loved and I know it will be one I re read when I need the reminder, but here’s to staying more present one day at a time 🙂
    Also one more thing how are we in March already haha can’t wait for the next book x