How I Gather

Slow Living and Straight-From-The-Garden Meals Are This Family’s Secrets to Joyful Gatherings

The Grit and Polish proves: a slow(ish) life is a happy life.

By Isabelle Eyman

Up next, Cathy Poshusta shares her secrets to gatherings that are easygoing and embrace nature’s beauty.

It’s every city dweller’s fantasy: A quiet home in the country. Far away from the hustle and stress of everyday urban life, it becomes a safe haven to be shared with family and friends. In our dreams, it’s unassuming and peaceful. The days unfold slowly, and the only reason to rush is so we can make the most of the sunshine. And while we’ll gladly indulge in the fantasy multiple times a week, others have made it a reality they’re living every day. Cathy and Garrett Poshusta, the couple behind the Grit and Polish, are a stunning example—and we’re living vicariously through every glimpse we get into their lives.

After buying their first home in 2008, a fixer upper in Seattle, they spent the next three months renovating. While they claim to have known nothing at the beginning of their remodeling journey, now with a decade of projects behind them, they’ve developed their skills and are full-time renovators. The couple’s blog, the Grit and Polish, documents it all—DIY insights, styling tips, recipes, and more. It’s a go-to for a plethora of design and lifestyle ideas, and for the all-important reminder that by slowing down and creating a more mindful relationship with our surroundings, inspiration can be found anywhere we look.

Their self-proclaimed slow(ish) lifestyle transcends their home and translates to how they gather, cook, and eat. Cathy’s food ethos is all about fresh and unfussy meals. Straight-from-the-garden dishes are a staple in the spring and summer months, and hosting a good party is as simple as a good IPA.

With the weather warming up, the days getting longer, and the world preparing to bloom once again, we have our sights set on all the springtime gatherings. We sat down with Cathy to get all the inspo for helping us map out our hosting plans for the season. The design entrepreneur gave us a peek into her family’s joyful, flower-filled life. Cathy reflects on her renovating journey (it involves a major career shift!), recommends her morning routine essentials, and shares her top tip for hosting gatherings on a budget. Let’s dive in.

What does a great gathering look like for you?

We love hosting friends and family in the garden in the summer and early fall. We cook simple meals and pick up some of our favorite local beers and let the kids run wild around our property. 

How did you learn to cook?

Garrett’s actually the main cook in our family and he grew up helping in the kitchen. He’s one of those people who can open the fridge, see what’s on hand, and just whip up a delicious meal, sans recipe. I’m so jealous! I do the baking at our house. Sourdough bread, chocolate chip cookies…

tomato soup

Get Cathy’s recipe for Rustic Skillet Tomato Soup.

What informs your approach to food?

We like to eat what’s fresh and try to keep things simple. We love those meals that turn into leftovers that last for days. For example, one day we’ll have a roasted veggie bowl and the next day we’ll turn them into roasted veggie tacos and the next day they’ll become a Mexican salad.  

Our team is obsessed with your home and we’d love to know more! Can you share how you found it and describe the renovation process?

Thank you! We found our farmhouse five years ago. It’s located just outside of Ellensburg, Washington, the small town where Garrett and I grew up. We were living and working in Seattle at the time, and it was an area we kept our eye on. When we walked up the front walk of our farmhouse for the first time, I had a really special feeling. I didn’t just want to live in this house, I want to die here. We’ve been slowly fixing it up ever since.

The kitchen was something we dreamed about for years and spent a lot of time imagining how it would function. We let the home inform a lot of the design and did all the work ourselves. Thankfully, we’re really happy with how it turned out! The garden has been another favorite remodel. We’re in there all summer long.

When did you plant your garden? What are your favorite things to harvest in each season?

We plant the garden every April/May. This year we did three beds of food and three beds of flowers plus cherries, pears, grapes, and raspberries. It’s a nice mix for the health of our bodies and souls. I think everyone’s favorite time of year is when the raspberries are at their peak. In July, we harvest up to six pounds of berries a day and they are just so delicious. Honestly, they taste like summer! I make batches of jam, freeze them, and bake with them. It’s not hard to get our fill! In August and September, the tomatoes and pears rule the garden. Of course, the cut flowers are always a joy. 

What does a great gathering look like for you?

We love hosting friends and family in the garden in the summer and early fall. We’ll pick up some of our favorite local beers, cook a simple meal, and let the kids run wild around the property.

Walk us through a typical day for you.

Most of my days start early—around 6 am. I’ll splash some water on my face and throw on my running clothes. If the kids aren’t up yet, I’ll usually jump on my computer or do some chores around the house until we all can sit down to breakfast together. We’ve really prioritized exercise this year, and Garret and I make sure to get a run or workout in more days than not.

Work is a really fluid thing for us. Garret and I work full-time on our renovations, the Grit and Polish, and sharing parenting duties. Some days, work means renovating the farmhouse or our small rental in town. On other days, I’m sitting at my computer writing, editing, and emailing all day or photographing and creating content. I wish I was a little more organized or had more of a routine to follow—I tend to work on whatever we need to get done that day or whatever I’m feeling excited about.

Evenings are filled with a family dinner. Sometimes it’s quick if we have sports practices and games to get to and sometimes it’s a slower meal in the garden. We play with the kids and then it’s off to bedtime and reading. Story time is one of my favorite parts of the day. After the kids are down, I’ll either hop on my computer for a bit or spend time with Garrett watching a show, reading, and unwinding.

What do you drink when you wake? And what’s for breakfast? 

I start the day with a glass of water or two and then have a cup of coffee. We eat breakfast as a family in the morning and the menu changes depending on what’s requested. It can be oatmeal, crepes, pancakes, Dutch baby, yogurt and homemade granola, etc. We’re definitely breakfast people 

What are three products you love for the table, and why?

I almost always have fresh flowers on our table when we’re hosting. My go-to for vases is Farmhouse Pottery’s pitcher and crocks. I really want to be a tablecloth and napkin person, so I just ordered these cloth napkins. And I love a good candlestick in a vintage brass holder. Our kids are still young and we use basic IKEA white plates every day to take the pressure off.

What’s your must-have cooking tool and why? 

 My cast iron skillet! It’s so versatile. You can sauté, bake, bbq—so many possibilities. Plus, it lasts forever. 


Get Cathy’s Pear Galette recipe.

What are your favorite cookbooks? Why?

Our three most-used cookbooks are Dishing up the Dirt, Tartine, and The Minimalist Kitchen. Andrea Bemis’ recipes are delicious and I love her, close-to-earth approach to cooking. I’m a sourdough baker and Tartine is my bible. And Melissa Coleman’s, The Minimalist Kitchen cookbook is full of beautiful recipes and amazing tips to simplify the cooking process and to help you stay organized. 

Tell us a few things we’ll always find in your refrigerator.

 Fresh vegetables, eggs from our chickens, and a good IPA.

What scares you about entertaining and why?

The prep ahead of time. I’m one of those people who needs to host a party in order to actually deep clean the house. 

Your signature dishes for gatherings?

We keep it simple, fresh, and as local as possible. Usually veggie tacos, burgers, or sourdough pizza.

Your go-to weeknight meal to eat at home?

Mexican! We start by throwing on some beans mid-morning. In the evening, we roast a pan of veggies (seasoned with smoked paprika, cumin, and chili powder) and stuff it all in a tortilla or quesadilla with avocado, sour cream, and whatever else we have on hand. 

What’s one tip for someone who wants to host a gathering on a budget?

Opt for Mexican. It’s inexpensive, easy, versatile, and always a crowd-pleaser. 

The perfect dinner party playlist includes:

Nathaniel Rateliff! We saw him in concert this summer and I’m obsessed. 

Go-to centerpiece solution:

Fresh flowers, always. 

What no-stress party rule do you live by? 

Keep the menu simple and have lots of beer on hand. 


Dream dinner guests? My twin sister and her fam! She lives four hours away and we don’t see each other as much as we’d like. 

A perfect meal should… be made from scratch and include fresh veggies. 

It’s not a dinner party without… good beer and children running wild. 

Every cook should know how to… roast veggies!