How to survive the “coldest February in 20 years”, as the news is reporting it? Here are some recent snaps from my Instagram, illustrating a few ways I’m going about that.
Lazy afternoons in floral-print sweatpants with chai tea, an apartment full of spring flowers, stunning views of the skyline, warm and cozy decor, hugs from my nephew, pretty scarves, pastries by the truckload (a guilty pleasure I can’t help when I’m in hibernation mode)… I’m getting warmer just writing this!
Let’s follow each other! I want to see how you’re surviving this crazy-cold season, too. Here’s to remembering that spring is just around the corner.
For Valentine’s Day this year, I treated myself to a few little pieces of magic from my favorite shop in Williamsburg, Fuego 718.
Primarily a kitschy Mexican folk art store, they carry inspired merchandise from South East Asia and South America too, as well as a books and jewelry by local designers. You’ll always find beautiful, one of a kind relics to add to your space whenever you walk in. I have a theory that if you wander around inside long enough, you’ll be drawn to something that’s perfect for you.
That’s how I felt yesterday after escaping the fluffy falling snow and taking refuge in the warm exterior of the shop. Beaded strands of tin hearts were dangling everywhere and the owner smiled from ear to ear while announcing that everything in the store was 25% off.
I spent about an hour scouring the colorful, eccentric merchandise before I found a gorgeous heart-shaped wall hanging made in Peru, a hand-painted shot glass from Mexico, and an amazing magnet with skeleton mermaids on it.
Everything together came to less than $20, and though I said it was just a “gift” for myself, the owner insisted on wrapping it up like a present. So sweet!
I’m so in love with these. What kind of treasures did you receive—or gift to yourself—this year?
Pink lace bras, mandala motifs, neon pink tassels… I’ve always found ways to work dreamy pink and red decor and attire into virtually any holiday, but Valentine’s Day is the one where I can go no-holds-barred GIRL-AY. Whether you’re shopping for yourself, your best friend or someone you adore, look below for something irresistible…
When I was around seven years old, I became what you would call obsessed with writing and story telling. I was plowing through loose leaf paper with total abandon, scrawling tales as outrageous and romantic as my little brain could conjure. I remember dreaming up plot twists that excited me so much I couldn’t sleep, and getting so pumped about the end of the story that I would skip ahead and write that first.
When I was twelve, I started writing about my own life and keeping a diary. I quickly realized I’d harnessed a tool that would allow me to vent my angsty pre-teen emotions while doing something I felt was so important: documenting fleeting moments to return to later.
More personal daily writing became routine: stream of consciousness, bad poetry, you name it. It was pure, existential, curious and totally Libra-tastic.
When I was around thirteen, my love of visual arts took over. I was sketching like it was my job, creating imagery that represented what I wanted in life. I would draw girls traveling and waiting in airports, neon lights and city skylines, warm boutique windows full of dreamy clothing designs…
Looking back, I really began to manifest some of those abstract and perhaps superficial ideas into a more tangible reality. But that’s another story.
That love of storytelling and visual arts landed me at F.I.T.—four solid years of sewing, sketching, and conceptualizing. I miss those hyper creative days, when my resting state was rampantly-ecstatic, full of ideas, sketchbook in hand.
Because writing and sketching are my two creative lifelines, I was thrilled when AllSwell sent me one of their beautiful, minimal double-sided write & draw notebooks. The book is half-lined, half-blank, with the goal of increasing creative mojo in anyone who nears it with a pen.
And how important is this goal? AllSwell says it best:
“While the world has become undeniably digital, research shows that putting pen to paper is linked to increased wellbeing, and basically a boosted brain. It is physiologically, emotionally and mentally beneficial.”
They had me at “boosted brain”! But there are endless therapeutic and feel-good reasons to get your sketch and scribble on once in a while.
On the “WRITE” side, I began new years resolutions and to-do lists. Then, I broke all of the rules and started drawing! I drew all the things I planned to have for breakfast the following day. Drawing miniature food is, for whatever reason, one of my favorite things to do.
On the “DRAW” side, I drew this lady-fish creature. Then, I went back to drawing breakfast food. Don’t worry, drawing side. I’ll be back for you soon. It’s been a while since I got the old sketching muscle working.
I’m not caught up on filling this book with anything profound (clearly, ha!), but I carry it wherever I go. You never know when inspiration might strike you like a rogue pigeon, right? This has become my paper play space, to jot down ideas and scribble when I need to get my wheels turning. Every artist needs something like that.
The brand touts these blank pages as a chance to experience “creativity unplugged”, without any ping backs from social media or judgements from onlookers. Pure experimentation and expression… just like my beginnings as a genius seven-year-old novelist.
And really, how refreshing is that?
Those who know how to thrive in the dark, sometimes depressing post-December NYC winter usually have a figurative emergency kit full of things that make them warm-and-fuzzy, whether it’s spooning with a tinder date, knitting, or sipping spicy, hot tea. I’m pretty into that last option, and while Organic India sent me a generous box of delicous Tulsi Chai Masala tea back in the fall, I could not have opened it up at a better time.
During the would-be snowpocalypse of 2015—a very modern storm in terms of hashtags and under-delivering in the wake of extreme buzz—I turned to my stash of teas, hoping to find one that would keep me cozy as I watched the snow falling outside my window. The chai masala box was there in the front of the shelf, as if to say heyyy baby.
Okay, maybe it said “namaste” or something, but it was calling to me big time.
I love this tea and all of its complexity. Tulsi, also known as “holy herb”, has soul-soothing healing properties that help reduce stress and other mental and physical toxins that pile on hard during the cold winter months. The blend of spices and herbs gives an extra punch of power to your immune system, while aiding in digestion.
On days when I need an energy boost, I’ll drink it plain, but if I want to treat myself to something incredibly delicious and soothing, I’ll add almond milk and raw sugar. If you’ve been looking for a healthy alternative to your morning latte, this might be it!
Here are some of the other amazing flavors. I’m a huge fan of Irish breakfast tea, so seeing India Breakfast tea in the mix was intriguing. This breakfast blend was deep, rich, and definitely a match for my favorite lineup of black teas. All of the flavors are packed with antioxidants and a whole list of body-loving ingredients. There are a ton of flavors to try, too.
I haven’t quite given up my lattes… but adding this tea to my menu has already improved my mood and energy levels. I’d recommend it, 100%.
Bottoms up, tea cups!