Kate Arends - Embracing the mess

Kate Arends - Embracing the mess

Photograph by Nicole Feest of @nylonsaddle/@nylonsaddleweddings

When the inevitable is present, all we can do is embrace it. Why fight it? Kate Arends, Creative Director and Founder of Wit & Delight is a writer and designer who has made it her job to curate content that creates a sense of harmony at any point in our life.


In one of your latest blog posts, you mention learning to "embrace the mess." We share an affinity for this. Can you tell us a little bit about what it means to you?

Messiness is a fact of life, and so often we are fed messages about how to get rid of it, manage it, or banish it from existence. It's so stressful to be constantly working against the inevitable! So I think that by embracing we in turn ensure we don't miss out the best parts -- the parts that bring out the most authentic parts of our kids and what our kids bring out in us.

Life as a mother and business owner can get pretty wild. We know it's important to slow down, but how do you find the discipline to actually stop and be still for a moment? Is it about being hyper organized and planning this time into your day? Or do you just take it when you feel you need it?

I have never been hyper organized in my life, no matter how badly I wished for it or how hard I worked to achieve it. I think it's about prioritizing what is actually important to get done, and what will be important tomorrow. Work is running your life if you can't decipher what is truly timely and what feels urgent because you're needing to feel in control.

You've openly shared your battles with perfectionism - something a lot of mothers likely identify with. Can you share any major "aha" moments you've had on this journey? Or practices that help keep you rooted in gratitude and reality?

I think it goes back to feeling disconnected from the moment. Our kids grow so fast, and this time of life just flies by. That scares me, yet I cannot change this fact. Someone once told me that perfectionism is just a socially acceptable form of procrastination, and that really stuck with me. What am I avoiding by working towards perfection? Better yet, what am I missing?

As you've been settling into your new home (which is SO gorgeous, by the way), you've done a really nice job of accommodating many of the existing design elements while simultaneously lending a fresh perspective. Have you found your design process evolving?

Thank you! I think I've become a lot more comfortable in my own skin the past year, and I've been making more choices for my own delight rather than just for our readers. It was my own idea of what was appealing to the broader audience, and ditching that requirement ultimately led to me pulling out of chronic burnout and into a new phase of our business. It isn't so much that I haven't always loved layered and colorful spaces, I just needed to let go of what I believed where expectations of how our content was supposed to look. I guess if I was to narrow down this response, it would be that my process has evolved to allow for more of my personality into my work.

There's so much value in celebrating the successes of other women, to lift each other up and to find encouragement and inspiration for ourselves! Can you share a woman that you admire and why?

It breaks my heart to write this, but she's on my mind at this very moment: Jesse Chamberlin Marble. She passed away last week after a 20 month battle with an aggressive cancer. She was a creator that I came back to over and over again for the entire time I've been running Wit & Delight, over ten years now. Her unique view of the world, her unique style, her genius behind the camera, all while running businesses and loving her family. You could just feel her humanity and joy in everything she made. I only had the opportunity to meet her once, but the internet allows our work to connect on such a deep level these days. She'll continue to inspire me for a long, long time.


If you find yourself having to embrace any number of messes throughout the day, our classic button down Oxford shirt or The Shirtdress is a must-have. Made from stain resistant, quick dry cotton that’s easy to care for. With The MO Cuff, personalize your look and keep your sleeves up for work, play and everything in between. Embrace the mess.

See how Kate is designing a life well-lived @witanddelight_.