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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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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!

DIY: A Sweet, Sweet Valentine

January 30, 2015

Confession time: I’m a sucker for holidays. What, you knew that already?…

From mid-November to mid-February, I can’t walk into Duane Reade without being drawn to sparkly Christmas ornaments and frilly heart-shaped boxes full of candy. I stop myself though, because there’s something far more exciting than stocking up on cheaply made decor and festive junk food: homemade holiday gifts.

Every year I promise myself I’ll forgo buying gifts and make them, or at least shop small. I did alright this year, but in 2015, I’m starting off on a do-it-myself note. And here’s my first project! This candy-and-tea jar is a super cute Valentine, or anytime-gift, which you can whip up with just a few ingredients and fill with whatever you want.

See how I made it below.

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What you need:

 Medium size mason jar

 Sweethearts Valentine’s candy

 Pukka brand “Love” tea (or anything you want to fill the jar with)

 Origami paper (fabric also works)

 Scissors & tacky glue

 Ribbon or cord

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 Step 1. Choose your color scheme and affix the candy hearts to the outside of the jar in your desired pattern. I chose three colors and a staggered pattern.

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Allow some time for them to dry, and check on them as they dry to make sure they’re not sliding down the jar.

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 Step 2. As you’re waiting for your candy hearts to dry, take a piece of pretty origami paper (or fabric), and cover the lid of your mason jar. Do this by covering the flat metal cap and pushing it up into the lid frame.

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You can also trim the paper (or fabric) until you like how it looks.

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 Step 3. Tie some cute ribbon around the lid. Pastel and metallics look great with the silver lid!

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 Optional: Spray the outside of your jar with a sealant to keep the candy from crumbling away or attracting unwanted visitors like bugs and rodents. (eek.)

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 Step 4. Fill your jar! I chose Pukka tea and the left-over hearts, but you can use whatever you want.

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And there you have it! A sweet Valentine (or gift for any occasion) in a reusable jar that’s full of reasons to smile.

Insta-life: Goodbye, 2014

January 7, 2015

The past year has been a complicated one, full of dramatic highs and lows, leaving many open ends and epic questions unanswered as I careen into 2015. But that’s alright. I’m ready for a new calendar. A new to-do list. The sun may set at 4PM these days (uugh), but I’m ready to infuse as much light into the next 365 as possible.


I mentioned I haven’t been blogging because life has been almost comically hectic, but I wanted to share some recent snaps from my daily life over the past few months… ’cause you know how much I love to share! Here’s a bit of everything, in perfect little squares.

Had to take a wintry #selfie on the first snowfall of the year! I was ecstatic to be in the Hudson Valley visiting my parents when it landed. I woke up to an epic white, fluffy landscape (and could not resist making a snow angel).


Lots of magazine perusing and downtime with green tea lately, thanks to unfavorable weather and a pressing need to sloooow down. Need some wild boho inspiration? DISfunkshion Magazine is one of my favorites.


The boho Christmas stockings I made for Bombay Mermaid last year finally sold out this time around. There is one left, and I’m keeping it.


Yes, I need a manicure, but my jewelry game is on this winter. I’ll never be one of those girls who has it all together at the same time. ;}


Hand-painted jewelry boxes: part of a special set of gifts I made for my shop this year. I ended up selling my annual holiday market table, though, because this season got a little too crazy. Sometimes you have to make peace with not being able to do everything, you know?


Hark! It’s my new favorite tea. You’ve got to try this brand. I picked some up during a recent trip to Rochester, where I visited a cool little co-op that my brother works for.


Rum and raspberry are a match made in heaven, as proven by this cocktail I enjoyed at a holiday office party. My new boss sure knows how to celebrate.


Pine cone painting and card making? Instant crafty stress relievers.


A bit of fast fashion armor that I couldn’t resist.


Holiday cocktails out with the girls—pisco sours make me so nostalgic for Peru.


Enjoying coffee on the porch one snowy morning (because a few snowflakes in your morning cup are good luck, obviously).


My favorite photo from the entire holiday season. My delicious little nephew Otto, held by his papa, my big brother Brendan. It is amazing how family makes life complete.


My first photo of the new year. I bought this sheer lace cardigan last year to inspire a sewing project, but ended up hanging it by the window and loving it so much, I never took it down. I love getting lost in the detail while I’m thinking at my desk.


New Year’s Eve makeup was a success… and you know how fickle liquid eyeliner can be, ladies. Thanks, Sephora.


Finally, a shot of snowy Brooklyn: my favorite place in the world.


You may be interested to know that blogging more often is on my list of 2015 resolutions. I have so many ideas, I don’t know where to begin! But that’s a good problem to have, isn’t it?

Follow me on Instagram, and leave me a comment with your profile so I can check out what you’ve been up to.

Hey Mishka Loves… ♥

January 6, 2015

Welcome to Hey Mishka Loves—the semi-weekly link round-up of stylish, festive content from my favorite blogs and morning reads. It’s been a while!

I hope your holidays were stellar, whatever you celebrated, and your 2015 is off to an incredible start. My life has been a whirlwind, so I’ve put blogging on the back burner for a bit while I sort a new job, a new apartment, and all of the jolly chaos that comes with the Christmas season. Here are some of the most resourceful, inspiring, and super-fun links I’ve come across in recent weeks.

Shilo Shiv Suleman

Image: Shilo Shiv Suleman via Yahoo Lifestyle.


  Today’s Marie TV episode could not have come at a better time. I was (finally) starting to scribble some tangible thoughts in my amazing new notebook when she landed in my inbox, reminding me to be ecstatically present in the moment and not get angsty about the long road ahead.


 My recent obsession? Improving my morning routine. Mind Body Green suggests calling a friend, creative writing, and guilty pleasure reading as a few ways to start off on a better foot. See what my brilliant friends do each morning and check out this concept of book-ending your mornings too.


 I cannot get enough of Shilo Shiv Suleman, who I read about this morning for the first time. This artist, in her early 20s, has done more in the past year than most would dream of doing in a lifetime. Read her interview with Maria Molfino here and here, and get a fire lit under your ass. Then, go watch her TED Talk.


 I love to read the new years resolutions of the people I admire (and relate to). Like these.


 If over-the-top, dreamy visual inspiration is what you’re after to get your creative juices flowing, this Russian photographer might do the trick. Also see: Phoebe Wahl’s enchanting and complex watercolor/collage work.


 Let’s make 2015 the year of the perfect cat eye. It never gets old. Need more ideas for style resolutions? Shazam.


 It’s normal to experience a bit of wanderlust after the holiday madness (and depending on where you live, the icy cold). This super cute luggage tag DIY will keep you inspired until your next trip… which you should go ahead and book, by the way.


 The holidays may be over, but your plans to host fabulous dinner parties in the new year are just beginning, right? Here are some creative decor ideas to get that first round-up of friends and food going.


 Stepping into a marketing mindset for a second, though December and its festivities are in the past for the moment, there are plenty of year-round ideas to be harvested from this PR-tastic list of promotional tactics for your small biz or any project.


 For some, “festival style” is a passing trend, but total babes wearing their free spirits on their sleeves never get old to me. Totally in love.


 In need of a new year’s detox? I think we all are. 2014 was one hell of a ride. Check out five ideas for refreshing your space and your brain, here. And while you’re at it, make your bedroom the coziest, most delicious place ever.


 Health and happiness? They go hand in hand. Those are just a few ways you can sink your teeth into more of each.


Enjoy. Happy 2015.

Winter Morning Rituals

December 11, 2014

A good day starts with a good morning… but what does that even mean? There are as many ways to start a great day as there are people on the planet, so finding your ideal routine can be a trial and error process. Some prefer to start the day with a yoga mat and affirmations, while others go for a kick ass playlist and private pajama dance party. So what’s your flavor? I’ve called upon some of the inspiring women in my own circle to share their morning routines with you today. Get inspired, and let me know how you’re starting your day…

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 Anastasia Nevin, nutrional therapist and yoga instructor here in NYC, avoids the chaotic noise of email and social media first thing in the morning by keeping her phone away from her bed. Instead, she burns sandalwood incense and prepares a morning tonic. “Recently I made a tonic to soothe Vata which includes triphala, cinammon, ginger powder and lemon,” she told me in an email. Also on her morning menu? Yoga, meditation with mala beads, and her tongue scraper. Get inspired at Anastasia Health.


 Shelley Thomas, an incredibly talented Brooklyn-based vocalist, focuses on being present in her body after waking. “I observe my surroundings with my five senses, and feel the beautifully healing effect of fresh sleep washing over me.” Next, she puts on music (usually the Jose Gonzales pandora station). Coffee prep involves a white and red floral-printed pot that she’s had since childhood, and once the sans-sugar caffeine fix is taken care of, she grabs her calendar and dives into emails. She whips up a daily to-do list, usually involving a trip to the gym, as well as music and language training.

But most importantly? “I really try to practice gratitude, and start the day with a positive attitude. It makes a huge difference and allows the energy of abundance to flow towards you! It is a beautiful life we have, and we can choose to enjoy every moment of it or torture ourselves with negativity. Being aware of our choices empowers us, and there is so much happiness to be found.”


 Aparna Dasgupta, startup marketing & business strategist (and founder of LifeStylistNYC), starts her morning off by hitting the snooze button. Sound counter-productive? She begs to differ. “My daily routine begins during the snooze. It’s a time of immense focus. Before my eyes open, I’ve had no visual distractions at all and it’s easy to think very slowly. I use this time to troubleshoot challenges that lie ahead. Problem solving is usually 90% thought and 10% execution, so I get my planning and challenge-tackling mostly done before I even open my eyes.” While her breakfast is similar each day (“I was allergic to routine much of my life but now I’m its biggest fan. Routine frees up mental bandwidth for bigger and better things”), her work from home schedule follows a natural progression. She never crams in a lineup of tasks during the first waking hours.

“Running my own business, I work from home in the mornings, and use the calm, productive flow to get right to the day’s to-do list. I use natural stopping points to do yoga, shower, etc This yields optimal productivity, minimal stress, and energizes me for meetings and events later in the day.”


 Lauren Jobson-Ahmed, “artivist”, researcher & youth advocate, says mornings are a time to reset her mind and begin a new day with intention. Whether she wakes by alarm clock or her cats biting her toes, her first thoughts are of gratitude for life, health, and the day ahead. After feeding her cats, she consciously prepares breakfast. “I am really aware of the first thing I put in my mouth: my first consumption of the day. I avoid external distractions. No phone until I’m on the subway, (but once I’m there, I read my horoscope and organize my emails). If I can remember, I write my dreams as I wait for my coffee to brew. I savor each sip.” After breakfast? “Sometimes I listen to music in my headphones while my husband is asleep, and dance as I get dressed, or iron an outfit. Sometimes I’ll be a grab anything that’s clean and run out the door like a cartoon character.”

She tries to make a wish and set an intention in the mirror each morning. “If it’s going to be a rough one, a personal favorite is, the answers are all there. If I’m feeling down, I remind myself that I got this, and if I don’t, I’m going to learn the f*ck out of today.”


How about you? I’ll be working on my own new-and-improved morning routine as well. For more ideas, check this out.

5 Perfect Looks for November

November 8, 2014

So we’re officially a week into November, and I’m really starting to enjoy this chilly weather. This morning I’ve got my mug of green tea, my favorite candle burning, and some brand new slippers on my feet. This is the stuff fall weekends are made of!

While I can reminisce about sunny summer days and tropical prints all day long, there’s no denying that fall fashion is a different kind of addicting. In November we transition from the boho-tastic earth tones and ponchos of September and October into the glamorous metallics and party dresses of December and January… which means this month you can get your hands on all of the above.

Here are 5 outfits that are perfect for November to get you inspired.


Above: 1. Bauble Bar Violet Meteor Drops 2. Rag & Bone Mila distressed cut-off denim shorts 3. Topshop Double Layer Sheer Solid Sweat 4. J.Crew Diamond Dot Tights 5. Rupert & Sanderson Leather Parnassus Ankle Boots


Above: 1. Donna Karan Oversized alpaca, silk, cashmere and wool-blend cardigan 2. AUDEN Lenox Bib Necklace 3. Topshop Jacquard Swing Slip Dress 4. Essie Nail Polish in Mademoiselle 5. H&M Cable-knit Knee Socks 6. Dirty Laundry Tall Tales Lace-Up Tall Boots


Above: 1. Topshop Freedom Found Collection Engaved Disc Bracelet 2. Topshop Outline Detail Cuff 3. Free People Hybrid Strappy Leather Bootie 4. APIECE APART striped woven alpaca-blend poncho 5. Rick Owens Stretch leather and cotton-blend leggings


Above: 1. H&M Jacquard-knit Cardigan 2. Dara Ettinger Top Dipped Gold And Pink Agate Jill Ring 3. Milly Jacquard mini dress 4. H&M Macramé Bag 5. Free People Fleet Lace Up Boots


Above: 1. Leif Gem Collector Beanie 2. Nars Nail Polish in Schiap 3. Rick Owens ‘Nasha’ ankle boots 4. Diane Von Furstenberg wrap style jumpsuit 5. Vivienne Westwood Anglomania Atmos chunky-knit wool-blend cardigan


Speaking of shopping… I just learned about the Amazon universal wishlist button, which lets you build a wishlist on from any other retail sites on the web, including marketplaces like Etsy, and then share it. It’s perfect for the holiday season—you can tell your family and friends to set one up, so you can get a glimpse at what they want this year. *wink wink*

Time to play dress up…

A Way Cute Way to Pucker Up

November 7, 2014

Babes, I’ve tried to deny it, but it’s no use. Chapped lips season has arrived with a vengeance! The cold, windy climate of NYC around this time of the year calls for the perfect combination of saturation, lest you wander the streets with sandpaper lip syndrome. Ouch.

That’s why I couldn’t have been happier to receive a package from Flickable—a super cute new lip gloss brand that packages their gloss in lollipop shaped jars and boasts something you’ll definitely appreciate: a total lack of “sticky feeling” on your lips.

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These pop color glosses come with a healing punch of vitamin E and avocado oil, which feels every bit as delicious as it sounds. They’re also cruelty free, made in the USA, and long lasting. I wore mine to meet a new freelance client this week and after a lengthy meeting and a latte, my lips were still bright red. Mmm.

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I’m definitely going to stuff some stockings with Flickable lip gloss this Christmas. If you want to do the same, check them out online.

Kiss kiss.

P.S. Photos by Raffael Flores-Contreras.


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