On the cover and throughout the pages of her new book, "Everyday Chic," Molly Sims looks picture-perfect. Gently tousled blond hair, breezy long dresses, well-appointed rooms and the most gorgeous friends that Hollywood has to offer.
The model-actress-author is the first to tell you that she is not perfect. Pictures are touched up, rooms are staged, clothes are carefully selected and, well, yes, her friends really are that attractive.
"You have to embrace the happy mess," said Sims, whose book goes on sale Tuesday. "Our Instagrams aren't real. People say to me, 'You're amazing and your family is amazing,' and I say, 'That's what I want you to see.' "
In her book, Sims - married and a mother of three young children - writes about feeding and taking care of her family, decorating her homes and entertaining kids and adults. She took time recently to talk about her book and her life.
By Molly Sims
(Dey Street Books; $24.99; 304 pp.)
Q: There was a time that you stored sweaters in your oven, so how did you go from that girl to the supermomma that you are now?
A: I'm from the South (Kentucky), so it's all about family and entertaining. Honey, they can talk and they can bake. I used to shell beans with my grandmother, and my mom made divinity and biscuits and macaroni and cheese. She made everything from scratch, even though she was a working mom. I got thrown into modeling and acting and all of that, but I came back to it when I met my Prince Charming.
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Q: How did your mother or your family influence the person you've become?
A: I write about my home being the heartbeat of my family. The kitchen is my hub, where I start and end my day, whether I'm making bottles or having coffee. My mom was really good at tradition, and that's what I've tried to establish in the last five years of my life.
Halloween is coming, and we just got out the witch yesterday; it's from Rite Aid or Walgreens, but my kids love it. I have bats in my house and pumpkins and a giant blowup cat that looks really ugly, but my kids love it. When I make cookies or have certain things, I'm living my childhood. It's all about those moments.
Q: How did you get interested in homes and interior design?
A: I got good advice from older models who told me to save my money because the job won't last the rest my life. Being a coat hanger won't last forever. If you don't, when it's over, all you'll have to show for it is a great wardrobe. I didn't think I could come up with the money, but I saved and got $60,000 and bought the worst house in a good area in the Hamptons. I kept that house for 13 years. I learned so much from it.
Q: What did you learn?
A: I remember in my first house and first office I thought, "Oh my god, I love this orchid purple wallpaper." It was so floral and made such a statement. Never do a whole room in orchid purple wallpaper. It is great for about 10 minutes, and then you're stuck with it.
Do base colors - I did French blue in my son Gray's room - and keep it simple. Less is more.
Q: How has your style changed from that first house to today?
A: It has become much more sleek and modern. It's not cold, just much more streamlined. I got a compliment that I loved - that my home has great energy. I'm not trying to be all hokeypokey, but that's what I want.
Q: Your book has so many organization tips. I have to think you owned a label maker from a very young age - right?
A: I've always been a little OCD. I traveled on my own for so many years and lived out of a suitcase - you have to be organized. Getting rid of clutter is a mental and physical thing.
Q: So what is your best organization tip for busy people?
A: Jill Spivack (of sleepyplanet.com) gave me such good advice: color code your kids. Brooks is blue, Scarlett is pink and Gray is green. Your first everything is blue, then there's a little pink and no green. That's what you have to be careful of. The first one gets to do everything, so be conscious of what you do for each child.
Plan out your week's meals. I shop for 2-2-2-1: two proteins, two vegetables, two grains and one big, one-pot meal. That's your week. Don't be constantly going to the fridge or being a short-order cook.
Q: How has your entertaining style evolved?
A: For my first kid's first birthday party we had 94 stations - it was too much. You need a couple of activities and a bubble game. You don't need cupcakes and ice cream and cookies. You don't need all of it.
If you want flowers, buy them at the market. Have everyone bring something if you're having a party.
My main advice is don't overthink it. My husband's friends come over to watch football, and they like queso. It's just cheese with Rotel tomatoes, tortilla chips and beer, maybe some wine. Or order sushi and put it on nice platters.
Q: What are the essential elements of every party you host?
A: I have these silver buckets, and I fill them with ice and wine, one white, one rose, one red. It's already opened and corked with glasses there. I like to have charcuterie because it's easy and simple and it looks good. I always have some type of hummus and nuts. In L.A. no one eats, so it's really easy.
Q: Your "Keeping It Real" chapter is such an important one for young women and moms. What do you say to the women who think they have to be perfect and have it all right now.
A: I do love this chapter. I talk about aging gracefully and soul goals and compassion and forgiveness. It's also about the power of choice; instead of saying that you have to do something, say you get to do something. You get to go to work; you get to go to the gym.
My first book was about being the best you can be. This is, too, living at home to the fullest. Everyday chic is living with meaning, having respect for life and things … but it's not about perfection.