A note from Mishka, late-2019…
I’ve gone back and forth with this blog, thinking about what it means to me now and how I can utilize it to express myself, share interesting/helpful things. How I can create positive vibes in the days of those who stumble upon it. I keep returning to this idea that my core passion is curating, documenting, and sharing. I cannot escape that, no matter how many times I try to silence it (a.k.a. set this blog aside while I “organize” the rest of my life. Big lol.)
I’ve seen other blogs rise to fame since I started mine back in 2008, and over the years I’ve wondered why I struggle with being consistent, having a “brand”, and posting as often as I think about posting. Perhaps my life has seen such drastic change that I haven’t been able to keep up, or I chose to let it drift after feeling the sting of nostalgia. After all, this blog holds over 10 years of history now. It’s strange to look back at what life used to be.
But I’ve recently felt a renewed sense of commitment to content creation, to uncovering and sharing insights, to documenting my projects and endeavors. And you know something? I think this blog, which saw moderate success in its prime, and now serves as a passion project and cathartic way to escape from my freelance work now and then, is exactly what it’s supposed to be.
Here’s some good news: I’m probably the most stable, happy, and balanced I’ve ever been. I know how to make money, how to keep a decently clean home, how to budget for groceries and cook yummy food that doesn’t come in a microwave dish. I even got *good* at a few things over the years, like mentoring, making handmade gifts, and curating items by season.
I can’t think of a better time to share what I know about life, from DIY ornament-making to anxiety relief and personal goal-setting, right here.
2019 has been a year of retrospection. I’ve been doing some deep-dive thinking into what my talents are, which has been a refreshing departure from my former assumption that I’m just a hopeless, scattered, indecisive mess. I mean, sometimes I am! But that’s certainly not relevant to my potential or my identity.
Through this self-examination, I’ve realized one of my most obvious qualities translates directly to both my star sign and Scandinavian roots. You see, I’m a Libra, keeper of the scales. And I’m also enamored with the ever-more-popular concepts of Hygge and Lagom.
You probably know all about Hygge. Lagom, in case it’s new to you, translates to “not too much, not too little—just the right amount”, and is the state of being I’m constantly seeking and experimenting.
As a creative Libra who also happens to hail from Nordic forefathers, I’m intrigued by how I can explore this further in my life and here on the blog. Obviously, you don’t have to be Scandinavian to care about this stuff. This idea of finding balance, inner-calm, joy, and creativity plays perfectly into what would be my ideal theme here at Hey Mishka. People crave these qualities, don’t they? Perhaps I can help in my own way.
I have to believe there are other creative/interior-obsessed/nerdy/not-quite-fitting-in women in their 30s, just like me, who are trying to balance adulting, aesthetics, and finding joy in life. So! These are some of the key themes I’ll be focusing on moving forward.
Will I be starting from scratch? No. At first, I felt Hey Mishka was such a product of my 20s that I needed to retire it. It is, after all, dripping with nostalgia. Old blog posts are like postcards from my past, literally bursting with ghosts and surprisingly sensory memories. But I believe it’s also a good idea to honor your past instead of being intimidated by it. And, come on! It’s pretty special to have an ongoing catalog of creative projects, personal anecdotes, and scrapbook-style pages that span a decade or more.
So, Hey Mishka isn’t going anywhere.
I plan to share carefully chosen DIY and decor projects, write more honestly about the creative process and my life in NYC (there are a lot of cozy little spots I want to tell you guys about), explore eco-friendly shifts I’m making in my daily life (which are urgently needed), film some extra-special recipes, include lots of slow, seasonal vlogs, and create stuff from the heart that will (hopefully) create a positive ripple in the universe.
If this resonates with you, m’dear, I’d love for you to come along for the ride.
You can sign up for my newsletter to receive updates on blog posts, inspiring articles I share from around the web, and personal notes from me on a mostly-weekly basis. If you ever have a question, you can contact me here.
I look forward to this new chapter, and I hope to see you soon.
The colorful history of Hey Mishka
Welcome to my little corner of the internet. I’m Michelle Christina Larsen (aka Mishka). I’m a multi-passionate New York native with a penchant for DIY, creative living, and strong coffee. By trade, I’m a fashion copywriter. I also create online training for location-independent writers, curate vintage on Etsy (note: I’m currently taking a break from my shop), and organize DIY events in Brooklyn. Basically? I stay busy. But I’ve recently learned that busy isn’t the goal, and I’ve been shifting my way of life to align with what’s truly important to me.
For now, though, let’s just talk about where it all began. *~cue dreamy flashback sequence~*
I started Hey Mishka on January 7th, 2008. I was an exhausted tailoring student on the brink of insanity. To be completely honest, I was mostly exhausted from going out to clubs every night of the week with my incredibly energetic roommates (whom I love to this day). Somehow, despite being stressed about schoolwork, I still found time to sew gaudy dresses to go out in.
It was the golden age of Gossip Girl and I interned at one of the brands supplying the show with clothes. I was surrounded by colorful personalities and regularly ran into the people I read about on gossip blogs.
Every day was an adventure. What can I say? I was living the dream, coming of age in NYC with no concept of the real world’s toil. It’s worth pointing out that I was too excited about life itself to leverage most of my decidedly dreamy circumstances… But that’s okay. I’ve long since forgiven myself for just being “happy to be there”, skirting by, snapping photos, making memories. No regrets.
Anyway, I started a WordPress blog to channel all of my excitement and insanity into and really enjoyed posting photos of my sewing projects, sharing hauls of vintage finds and beading supplies, and keeping a log of my daily life.
It was the perfect therapy.
Back then, the blog was called Tchaikovsky Darling because I was in love with all things Nutcracker and holiday. I changed it to Hey Mishka after I started a (rather fascinating) gig as a music booker in a Lower East Side nightclub, where my nickname became Mishka.
After four years of fashion school madness (including competing in and co-directing the infamous Fusion Fashion Show and receiving in-person compliments from Alexander Wang on a pair of harem pants I made), I got my BFA in Fashion Design. In case you’re wondering, I adore my alma mater and the experience was incredible. Check out my interview with the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Alumni Association.
After graduation, I sought out and secured an internship at the infamous media powerhouse Refinery29 (which was a small fashion website in a Tribeca basement at the time). I realized writing about fashion was just as much fun as creating it.
From the position of editorial intern, I was lucky enough to grow into an editorial contributor, then a freelance copywriter, and finally a guest editor. I credit R29 and my mentors there with laying the groundwork for my entire career, including blogging.
Since then, my copy career has allowed me to work with amazing companies like Tiffany & Co., Victoria’s Secret, J.Crew, John Varvatos and Intermix (to name a few). While I plugged away at my fashion writing career, I poured that same energy into my blog.
Hey Mishka began picking up steam in 2011, and I was invited to collaborate with the incredible Patricia Field. I was also invited to host two separate DIY events with Bloomingdale’s SoHo. That’s when I realized I had a platform that could be a source of creative inspiration beyond what I’d originally imagined. I launched Hey Mishka TV, began covering shows at New York Fashion Week, collaborating with brands from all over the world (from candy companies to reconstructed jewelry brands), and meeting other creative souls along the way. To say it’s been a wild ride would be an understatement.
I’ve battled with anxiety and panic disorder throughout my late teenage and adult life. Not surprisingly, I found it hard to reconcile my symptoms with the typical life of an in-office writer. In 2015 I was working full-time for a designer menswear brand and began to feel incredibly restless, confirming my belief that the 9-5 simply wasn’t good for my mental health. I launched a website called Day Job Optional with my best pal and fellow writer, Krystal Raydo. DJO was a source of inspiration for remote freelancers who wanted to become “digital nomads”.
We decided to quit our jobs to travel through Mexico and other places, working from hammocks and doing yoga in the jungle (as one did in 2016). But this soon began to feel incredibly misaligned and odd. The restlessness returned. Spoiler alert: Working online isn’t the only thing you need to feel whole… and the whole “digital nomad” scene is a bit problematic for many reasons.
For me, anxiety symptoms needed caring for before anything else—even wanderlust.
I returned to Brooklyn to set up a new home office and began freelancing for a pool of new clients (including the company I’d just resigned from). Once I settled into my workflow, the writing work began to pour in. I raised my writing service rates and began focusing on career growth. The truth? I stayed very, very busy in order to hide other demons I was facing.
Throughout the DJO era, I found it very tricky to publish here on Hey Mishka. I was enduring a life-altering breakup that sent me into a tailspin. I had to redefine myself outside of the realm of my old relationship and learn about myself in a completely new way. An independent layer of myself that I hadn’t spent much time with before. During that extended season of what I would call numbing emotional darkness (yep, I’m a dramatic Libra) it felt wrong dropping in to publish fluffy fashion pieces when my life felt like it was in such relentless flux.
As with all things, the dust settled around my turmoil and I began to make peace with this new version of myself. Liking her, even.
I pulled the plug on Day Job Optional and launched the Freelance Writing Cafe, having hit a decade-long milestone and acknowledging my authority to help writers like me live fuller, more lucrative lives. I also decided to start chipping away at the blog again, now seeing it as a therapeutic tool and outlet for creative expression once more.
Over the past couple of years, I relaunched my vintage Etsy shop, created an annual holiday craft fair for DIY-ers and makers, and began designing online courses. I also started writing about fashion and lifestyle for local Brooklyn websites (like Greenpointers and Bushwick Daily). So yeah, I’m still staying busy. But I feel good with the experimental state of things. Projects come and go, muses make brief appearances and then ghost you…
But I’ve learned that the only consistent thing you have control over is the way you respond to the world. The way you refuse to give up creating. I’ve committed to that.
Today, Hey Mishka is a lifestyle blog that focuses on positive vibes, creativity (including DIY projects, decor, and style), and finding balance in life. I’m so glad I never gave up, and I hope you’ll stick around.
Let’s be friends:
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Finally, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being here.
This little blog means a lot to me, and so does every single person who has ever been a part of its journey.