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2/25/2015

10 Ways To Beat The Winter Blues

It's that time of year where the frigid cold, grey skies, cabin fever and false hope Spring days have us feeling blah.  Or as the case was when I lived up North in much more extreme conditions...full on depressed.  Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is no fun for anybody, and I feel twinges of it even here if the grey and cold goes on for too long.  Over time I have learned that there are some things you can do to help get you through these last few weeks of Winter {with your sanity intact}. Here is my list of survival methods that will help you get through, if not embrace the rest of this Winter season.



1. Practice Self Care
Winter means less sunny days, which means less Vitamin D and more suffering skin. The air is desert dry and we are reluctant to shed our layers of warm clothes. These factors can leave you feeling like a bit of a hibernating bear. Take a warm bath infused with epsom salts, spend time exfoliating and finish off with a thick layer of moisturizing natural oil {I like coconut oil or cocoa butter}.Try to make it at least a weekly ritual. Which leads me to #2...

2. Eat Nourishing Foods
Embrace the flavors of the season and take comfort in Winters bounty. Beets, Winter Squash, Carrots, Turnips, Rutabagas, Parsnips, Leafy Greens, Celeriac and Citrus are all in season. Nothing is more warming {and simple} than throwing together a big pot of stew. These veggies are all packed with the nutrition our bodies crave in Winter. I try to inject as many of them as possible into my meals before the season changes.
Then because it's very difficult to get ALL of the nutrients our bodies need these days,  I'm a big believer in taking whole food based supplements. Organic vitamins not only do wonders for your body but also help to elevate your mood and energy levels. I use either Kind Organics or New Chapter.

Winters Vegetable Bounty


3. Surround Yourself With Scents & Steam
Humidifiers are not just for kids rooms and the inhalant reservoir is not just for Vicks.  Hippie Hack- Get yourself a humidifier.  Then choose a mood elevating essential oil such as ylang ylang, sandalwood, clary sage, frankincense, neroli, bergamot or lavender and put it in the 'inhalant reservoir' {what a terrible sounding phrase, I know}. Plug in next to your bed. You will then be surrounded by beautifully scented, moist air. Which will do wonders both for your alligator skin and mood.

4. Buy Yourself Flowers
I make an effort to do this every week in Winter. Stargazer lilies are my favorite.  It you feel wasteful throwing them away when they wilt, buy a flowering potted plant instead.  Or try your hand at forcing bulbs indoors. I did Paper Whites last year and they were so much easier to grow than I thought they would be {and fragrant!}. Tending a little indoor flowering garden on your windowsill is curiously satisfying. If you have a window in your bathroom, it is the perfect location for happy plants in Winter.

Bright Florals


5. Cultivate Knowledge
Instead of thinking of it as being stuck indoors, think of Winter as a time to do things you otherwise maybe wouldn't make time for.  Get out your art supplies and try some new techniques,  pick up that book you've been meaning to read.  Work on your foreign language skills.  Watch those films/documentaries you've been wanting to see for ages.  There are online classes to be found on nearly every subject imaginable, many of them are even free.  If you're stuck inside, you might as well make the best of it!
This is also a perfect moment to start planning for Spring. Use this time of rest to prepare your thoughts around your garden plans, creative projects, home improvements & travel plans. Looking forward to positive things always makes me feel good!

6. Play That Funky Music
Keep some music on hand at all times. I have certain albums that I know will transport me to a better place the moment I press play. Dig out your favorite records, make some new playlists. Just do whatever it takes to have music ready to play. I'm always a huge fan of reggae and salsa in Winter. Especially when it's getting dark and I'm making dinner. It just makes the night brighter.

7. Snuggle Up
Welcome the cold for the chance to pile on the comfy layers and snuggle up.  In Winter I have an entire collection of cozy throws that I take out and spread around the house.  Extra pillows, warm sweaters, knit socks, toasty slippers.  Invest in your cozy arsenal and it will invest in you.  This year because we have newly added wood floors, our living room is not the coziest in Winter.  To battle the chilly atmosphere, I created a pallet out of a foam bed topper wrapped in a giant cotton Indian tapestry to snuggle on in the evenings. It was supposed to be a one night thing for New Years Eve, but now we look forward to busting out the nest every night. We toss the pillows and blankets on and snuggle up. It is so worth the 5 minutes of effort it takes to set it up each evening.

8. Take A Walk
As hard as this is to do when it's freezing cold outside, it's SO important to continue to spend time outdoors.  Even if it's only one short, brisk walk a day, there is nothing like moving your body, smelling fresh air and getting some rays {even if they're fighting their way through the clouds}. If you can take a walk around the block, do that. If you can make it to the park or for a rural hike, even better.  Just bundle up and move ya' body.

Winter Paths


9. Drink Warm Liquids
Make sure you have ingredients on hand to prepare a steaming cuppa somethin'. You gotta stoke the fire inside to get moving some days. I love me some Chai tea. Green tea, herbal teas, hot chocolate or turmeric milk/golden milk all warm you up and can have benefits for your health as well. I stay away from too much caffeine because I find it contributes to anxiety and depression.

10. Candlelight
If you have a wood burning fireplace then I don't have to tell you about the healing power of a roaring fire in the hearth.  Not all of us have this luxury obviously, but we can create a cozy fire lit ambiance just the same.  Keep lots of candles and tea lights on hand to light up the night.  I love to gather several candle holders all together on a brass tray to create a twinkling and warm feeling. Rooms automatically feel more welcoming by candlelight!

That about sums up my list! Can ya'll think of anything else I'm missing? Please let me know in the comments so we can all share our methods!

Note: A lot of these things may seem like no brainers, but when you're already feeling down, it's easy to forget about the things that will help elevate your mood. The key is to stay motivated and remind yourself often. I would even go as far as writing out the list and posting somewhere until Spring. Or leave it up...much of this list is great for boosting moods all year round. If there is enough interest I might just create a printable just for ya'll! Let me know what you think!

xoxo-Andrea

2/22/2015

Versatile Vintage Tins

Vintage tin planter/vase

Since we've been feeling a hint of Spring in the air here in South Texas, I've been all about vibrant color and florals.  Not that I'm not always about the color and botanical beauty, but it's turned way up right about now. Spring is by far my favorite season, the trees bursting into bloom, the lush new growth, wildflowers everywhere and the sweet scent in the air is My Favorite... Don't worry Northern friends, Spring is under that blanket of snow, just now stretching her arms and gathering her strength. She will arrive with an armful of crocuses and a jug of margaritas soon enough.

Where was I?  Ahh yes...florals, and color and...organization!  After doing a massive New Year purge and organizing spree around here, I'm all about the good looking organization.  In order to keep my new  'a place for everything system'  on track,  I've been separating all the bits and pieces into vintage tins.  Everything from art supplies, to bulk in the kitchen is being tucked into some sort of container.
I just so happened to already have a pretty respectable hoard of vintage tins perfect for this purpose.  I never pass on a beautiful tin in the thrift stores because they just have so many uses. They are usually very cheap and often get passed over, hidden in the stacks of other boring biscuit tins {my little secret}.

Of course you can always find some beautiful vintage tin specimens online as well. When searching, I have a couple of go-to names that manufactured the prettiest patterns back in the day.  Daher tins are my absolute favorite, they have the most colorful and bright floral & chinz patterns.  Ira Anita Wangel of Denmark made sublime modern starburst patterns and mid-century designs. George Horner made some especially covet-able and whimsical designs like the 1950's modern plants in planters tin.


I love using vintage tins to hold homemade cookies at home and for gifts too {especially for the holidays}!  This year I'm going to try out some DIY candles in small vintage tins for some sweet hostess gifts.  The vintage tin just takes an already thoughtful homemade gift to a whole other level of awesome.  Am I right?  Another adorable idea I've been seeing, is using vintage tins as a vase. Just tuck a small glass vessel inside, so the water won't rust the tin. Casual handpicked bouquets of wildflowers suit this arrangement beautifully. They make cute planters for succulents and herbs too. Then again, I would turn everything into a planter if I could. Why not?

You can use them in the bathroom to store cosmetics, in the kids room to store legos and crayons. And to hide your 'stash' like my hippie parents did when I was a kid. The possibilities really are endless. And the best thing is they are pretty close to indestructible which makes makes them a very green choice of packaging that can be used again and again.  What would your creative use for vintage tins be? I'd love to know of more!

xoxo-Andrea

2/16/2015

Eclectic Bohemia On Chairish

Vintage Furniture

People say to me all the time "I LOVE that chair where did you find it?" or "Your red velvet couch is to die for! Where can I find one like it?".  Truth be told the answer is probably a bit of a let down.  It usually sounds something like  "Well, I was in The North Side the other day and stopped into this weird resale shop that was open for like a week and found it buried under a pile of junk in the back."
I am willing to do some serious groundwork and visit some sketchy spots at ungodly hours to unearth the perfect vintage find.  Not all of us are willing or able to go to the lengths I'll go to for the sake of sniffing out good vintage.  Even if you are willing, sometimes you just can't find that elusive piece you are dreaming of.  Not unless you're willing to wait for years until 'the one' crosses your path.

But all is not lost.  If you are in search of a mid-century velvet red couch or that iconic vintage accent chair, I know just the spot. Enter Chairish, an online marketplace for vintage furniture & decor, all perfectly edited with design oriented buyers in mind. They have something to suit every taste, from high end modern to vintage bohemian.  I could spend hours creating fantasy spaces with all of the beautiful choices.
So when Chairish asked me to create a mood board showcasing one of the gorgeous accent chairs available on their site, I jumped at the chance.  My idea of an awesome Saturday night right there!  I'm not even joking.  Naturally, I chose the velvet upholstered Louis Chair as my room inspiration.

You may have noticed that I basically re-created a version of my own living room with my mood board above.  I don't even notice that I continue to gravitate to this color palate until it's already happened.  I think it's basically a compulsion at this point.  But it works {and I love it}.  I think the key to creating a successful eclectic/bohemian space is to keep a comprehensive color palate and make sure something else in the room speaks to each piece.  I may be crazy and it's probably generally against 'the rules' but I have no qualms about mixing polar opposite styles in the same room.  I've never been much for rules anyway.

In this case the french blue chair speaks to the coffee table {they dish about their curves}. The peacock chair talks granola recipes with the woven wall hanging.  The couch chats up a storm with the blue bottle painting above and the side table {they went to art school together}. The lamp knows everyone by association. The rug and pillows all smoke exotic 'cigarettes' together. And the cut paper wall art heard there was a party, showed up and everyone just assumed he knew someone there. He just fit in. You know what I mean?

It was hard to stop myself from making ten more mood boards and creating an entire fantasy home from all the fab pieces.  Oh, and did you know anyone can sell on Charish?  As long as your items meet the criteria, you can sell your own vintage and designer pieces there as well.  Which gave me a stellar idea...sometimes in my thrifting adventures I come across something so beautiful {that I have no need of}, that it pains me to leave it behind.  Maybe one day soon I'll have a little sale on Chairish myself.  That would be fun right?

xoxo- Andrea