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Surviving winter in NYC

February 26, 2015

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!

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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.

Amor y Muerte

February 15, 2015

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.

mexican folk art fuego 718 brooklyn

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.

mexican folk art fuego 718 brooklyn

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!

mexican folk art fuego 718 brooklyn

mexican folk art fuego 718 brooklyn

mexican folk art fuego 718 brooklyn

mexican folk art fuego 718 brooklyn

I’m so in love with these. What kind of treasures did you receive—or gift to yourself—this year?

Lovey Dovey

February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine’s Day, babes! I hope your day is full of sweetness, whether you’re spending it with your S.O. or a bunch of your friends.

Even though the day is almost done, it’s not too late to watch Gala’s advice on “surviving” v-day if you’re feeling less than festive about this greeting card company dominated holiday. My opinion? What could be better than a holiday celebrating love?!

V-day scrooges, take note: any holiday can be celebrated in your own way. No one says you have to buy in to the commercial hype or do something generic. Making your own traditions and finding your own ways to celebrate is what makes life exciting!

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My plans this year include chowing down heart-shaped cookies, treating myself to some heart-shaped Mexican folk art (I’ll show you tomorrow, so gorgeous) vegging out with a bunch of my closest girl friends, and a crazy dance party all night long. Speaking of which, it’s time for me to dig through my closet and find a pretty dress to wear…

heart shaped cookies pink

Smooches!

Pretty in Pink V-Day Picks

February 11, 2015

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…

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1. Love Driftwood Decor

2. Flower Power Pillow

3. Pink Drusy Square Stud Earrings

4. Free People Take Heart Jumper

5. Agent Provocateur Megan lace and stretch-tulle plunge bra

6. Free People Prayer Candle

7. Gem Tassel Necklace

8. Free People Heart Soap

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Smooooch! Enjoy!

Write / Draw

February 10, 2015

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.

The AllSwell Notebook - review (1)

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.

The AllSwell Notebook - review (3)

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.

The AllSwell Notebook - review (5)

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.

The AllSwell Notebook - review (7)

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.

The AllSwell Notebook - review (4)

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.

The AllSwell Notebook - review (6)

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?

Grab one for yourself.

Hey Mishka Loves… ♥

February 9, 2015

Welcome to Hey Mishka Loves—the semi-weekly link round-up of stylish, festive content from my favorite blogs and morning reads. This pre-Valentine’s Day round-up of links has a whole lotta love, from dreamy French lullabies to scientific proof that you should marry your BFF.

You’ll also find creative fuel for new projects and work-space-arranging, DIY, and some thoughts on appreciating overwhelm. Because, let’s face it: being a creative hopeless romantic is completely overwhelming.

free people dried flowers

Image via Free People.

 I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t instruct you to listen to this dreamy playlist while you’re going through the rest of these links.

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 If you feel like being overwhelmed with life is sucking your energy (and maybe even preventing you from enjoy this blog?!) review these wise words on the divinity of being up to your neck in sh*t to deal with. Nisha always gets it right.

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 If you’re staring into your closet each morning trying to find something to wear as your weight adjustment goals remain unsatisfied, you may be staring at the solution. Need tips on getting rid of clothes? Ask a fashion editor.

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 Don’t forget to take care of #1. Fall in love with yourself this Valentine’s Day, and get yourself into bed. Naked.

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 Career porn: three fashion industry rockstars who started out as assistants (and why they would never trade that underdog time for anything). Also, read up on a range of email habits and best practices from successful women like Sophia Amoruso and Nina Garcia.

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 Feeling whimsical? Learn to make a gorgeous display of pressed flower petals. Projects like this can keep you from getting the blues during the more blah months of winter.

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 Your pre-Valentine’s prep should include this smart skin regimen. I already try for the water & lemon each morning, but I can’t wait to try that homemade mask and the green tea ice cubes.

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 What actually makes you want to get in someone’s pants?

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 If you’ve ever wanted to start your own art collective or artist’s community, check this out.

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 Your homework this week: Get some serious sleep, become a morning person, refresh your work space, and explore some new mediums.

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 Just in time for V-day, a super sexy lace bralette DIY. Wear it for your lover, or wear it for yourself. Or, start an Etsy shop full of ‘em!

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 Should you marry your BFF? Also, if you’re super single this Feb 14th (or any time of the year), you might appreciate this.

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Leave your favorite links in the comments! I’m always up for a good read during lunch break.

Tea time: Tulsi Chai Masala

February 6, 2015

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.

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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!

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tulsi-tea-india-chai-product-review (1)

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!

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