Rituals On Display
There are tiny little rituals in my day that are so important and yet so mundane, I wouldn’t necessarily think to celebrate them. Putting on my jewelry, for example, brings a sense of purpose to my day. The way my favorite hand cream smells grounds me in the comfort of a familiar scent but also lifts my spirits. These seemingly unimportant moments in my day are actually quite meaningful; they string together and create meaning.
The Story of Things
I think it was their shape that caught my eye. All of those angles drenched in shiny lacquer. Standing there in the middle of CB2 staring at them, I was transported to a handsome library drenched in dark navy walls with antique leather chairs and brass finishes. I could see the boxes resting on a shelf next to a collection of wine-colored books; the gold lettering on their bindings seemed to play off of the reflective lacquer of their hexagonal neighbors. As I stood in that library studying the boxes, wondering what was inside, I imagined what they would look like on a low, wide coffee table in a sun drenched living room in a Hampton’s beach house. Inside, there would be seashells.
My first signature scent was Anaïs Anaïs by Cacharel. It was actually the first perfume I ever wore, a gift from my French foreign exchange student when I was fifteen. I felt an immediate connection with the scent, probably because it was from France. I can’t explain it, though. It was as if the perfume understood me. Anaïs Anaïs became my aura, following me around, preceding me—explaining me to the world. At a time when I struggled to be myself, my signature scent empowered me to be me.
Believe it or not, those two words embody the spirit of my life’s work. A true hostess at heart, I feel compelled to create a space where people can relax into who they truly are. Whether you’re coming over to my house for dinner or stepping into my classroom to practice, I’m driven by a sincere desire to help you feel at home with yourself.
Life is busy, a reality to which many of us have reluctantly conceded. What pains me the most about busyness is its warped sense of priorities. Somehow, and for no good reason, the people and rituals I cherish get pushed to the back of the line. Raise your hand if you can relate. I try hard not to take my relationships for granted, but it happens. And while one of the calling cards of true friendship is that it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, it’s important to reach out and show the people you love how much they mean to you.
Creating A Home Altar
I have a special place in my home devoted to my spiritual practice. My altar includes photos of my teachers (yoga and family) and some objects that inspire me: statues of Lakshmi, the goddess of abundance, and Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, some rocks, crystals, and trinkets I’ve collected, and a Catholic prayer card given to me by a dear friend. I like to spend a few minutes in front of my alter every day contemplating my life and my practice, but what I’ve learned over the years is that this physical space I’ve created in my home is really just a reflection of the altar within me. Every object, every photo is simply a manifestation of that which lies deep inside. I carry it with me always.
2016 Gift Guide
I can only speak for myself, but I know I’m not alone when I say that it’s been a rough year. For many, that is the understatement of 2016. Given the weight so many of us feel for a myriad of unimaginable reasons, I struggled to find the point of a holiday gift guide. Who needs a scented candle when the world feels like it’s in the toilet? (Come to think of it, maybe it’s actually the perfect time for a scented candle. Ha! I recommend Aesop’s “Post-Poo / Anti-Merde Drops.” I can’t help but think that they would make an incredible, albeit cheeky, hostess gift. I mean, everyone needs them. But I digress.) Who wants a beautiful tea towel unless it’s to mop up all the tears we’ve cried over any number of tragedies, injustices, and heartaches. I, for one, do not want any gifts this year. I want to channel my feelings, my fears, and my frustrations into meaningful action. Isn’t that what a gift is, anyway — the manifestation of how much you care?