THE HOLIDAYS ARE OVER.
Your house seems... quiet, almost odd after all the bustle it just saw (if you were lucky enough not to have to quarantine over the last few weeks).
Your soul-- maybe a little flat.
So, now what?
THE REFRESH has you covered, because there is a LOT you can do to embrace this brand-new year. Relish in its renew and make your home- and ultimately yourself-- feel the serenity of simplicity, peace, and possibility.
Here's what I like to do.
1. CITRUS-- add oranges, lemons, and limes to your life. In many parts of the world, nature is a little less vibrant and colorful these days, so add some bright, fresh smelling citrus to awaken your senses and brighten your favorite fruit bowl. Not only will it help you channel some Florida sun, but there are helpful things citrus can do for your mind, body, and soul. How about the dose of Vitamin C you'll get, and who isn't looking to boost their immune system these days? I love using it to cook with, especially in Greek dishes which I love to cook virtually with Chef Julia in Athens. Put it in hot tea, over salmon, or salad... or just have it around for that "whiff" you get when you walk by.
2. CANDLES-- nothing improves the look and a feel of a room better than a flickering flame, and add a subtle scent to it and you have near perfection. For decades, my go-to candle has been Anthropologie's Capri Blue Volcano, but my favorite scent this time of year is Frasier or Balsam Fir. Maybe partly to keep the holidays living on, but also to embrace some of the only greens some of us might see this time of year. The leaves are long gone but the pines are loud and proud, especially against a snowy landscape. Whatever fragrance you feel inspired by, burn it to give your house a fresh scent, and enjoy even the subconscious warmth of the flame. I like to burn candles at any time of day, I'm a day burner, especially in the AM. They inexpensively add instant warmth and coziness to a room especially first thing in the morning before you get the coffee going.
3. COZY-- let's get our Hygge on! The Danes got this one right. This Scandinavian term basically means a feeling of contentment and coziness through your surroundings, as well as the well-being brought about by cherishing the little things. A good book, a warm drink... fireside with friends. We are hunkering down these days and nesting a little bit now that the days are short, and the nights are long. Even something as simple as treating your feet to a new pair of cozy socks can up your Hygge game, and isn't it incredible how affected our mood can be by the happiness of our toes? Warm them up and give them a little love so they feel good even when they aren't under a throw blanket.
4. CLUTTER-- nothing takes down a beautiful space faster than mess and discombobulation. It's an adage that's an oldie but a goodie-- "A place for everything, and everything in its place." Was it Ben Franklin who said that? Whomever it was, it's pure gold. The concept basically means everything should have a place to go at the end of the day and you're going to feel better once it's there. If an item has nowhere to go, it might be a good idea to start there with your organizational goals and storage needs. Settle your spirit by having less to look at, sift through and clear out the items that annoy you every time you look at them. Sight lines affect our soul, so does visual clutter like cereal boxes on the counter, or condiment labels on the dinner table; make the things that catch your gaze be the ones that make you calm and happiest in your home.
5. CLEAN-- it's never too early for a spring clean! Consider using this time to give your hardworking throw blankets and pillows a new lease on life. Take the covers off the cushions and give them a good wash, and same thing with the blankets you watch movies under on the couch. If they are looking a little ratty, take advantage of after holiday sales, and replace them with something that makes your room feel fresh and new. A pop of color can be nice this time of year, or just brighten with white which won't look amazing forever, but it certainly will for the months you need a living room lift. Give your rugs a clean or change them out... same thing with dusty drapes and curtains you are sick and tired of looking at. That alone will awake your space and give it a new look and feel.
6. CUPPA-- the coffee might be brewing, but have you considered folding in some tea? My Starbuck's order is always Chai Latte with coconut milk, but my love of tea has history. My Canadian upbringing taught me the comfort of "tea and toast" and I still find myself craving the combo, especially in the winter months. The simplicity of a kettle of hot water and a sachet of tea leaves, can create the most calming result, especially as you warm your hands around your favorite mug. Or-- buy a new one to experiment with all season long, exploring different flavors and exotic sensory journeys. My personal tea fave is an internationally known but locally produced tea by Harney and Sons. Headquarters is near our cottage in the Connecticut countryside, and their tea tasting room in over the border in Millerton, NY is worth traveling to, alone.
7. CUTTINGS-- flowers, twigs, shrubs, whatever you can find outside if you don't want to splurge on fresh flowers weekly. However, you do it, bring out your favorite vase and challenge yourself to fill it with something new and vibrant every couple of weeks. I didn't have time to force bulbs this year, something I normally do around Thanksgiving so I have flowers through the winter, so I am switching up interesting twigs from the yard with boxwoods and flowers from Trader Joe's or Whole Foods-- I even like the simple statement made by the "Winter Wonder Bouquet" or the greens of the "Splendor Bouquet." Give your local florist some love too if you can and try out some of their unique arrangements and creations. Or-- buy some of their cuttings and try your hand and making some creations all your own! When in doubt, you can always go faux and even that will add color and vibrancy in in the winter months.
Happy New Year from THE REFRESH!!!