Cheers, Salud, Proost, Cin Cin, Nostrovia or Salute!

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This year, I’m spending New Years Eve in Austin. After successfully managing a Duckworth Family Christmas, I’m planning a mellow start to 2015. Rain and wind are predicted all night long so my family and I will be cozied up by the fireplace, sipping champagne, eating cheese and playing board games (in sparkly attire of course!). I, personally, am not the biggest fan of New Year’s. Too much pressure and stress and crying in bathrooms for my taste. This quiet evening spent with family and friends sounds just perfect to me. That being said, I thought it’d be fun to make the night a bit extra special by honoring New Year’s Eve traditions around the world! 

I’m seeking out NYE rituals here and here, but if you have any to share, I welcome suggestions! 

Hoping you have a fabulous, fun, Gatsby-esque evening planned! (Or just a sweet, peaceful one with your favorite people).

Cheers!

Chelsey 

xx

 

Nadolig Llawen*

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Inspired by the age old tradition of mothers passing on advice to their daughters, we’ve invited our own mother’s, Barbara Justiz and Beverly Duckworth, to share their wisdom and wit with you on our blog every month. Today we share a post from Beverly… 

 Image via  Flickr

Image via Flickr

This time every year as I prepare for the holidays and time with friends and family, I find myself picking up a little too much momentum. I notice even my daily actions take on a quicker pace – I run my errands faster, I cancel coffee with friends, I skip yoga classes because I’m too busy. (Too busy to look after myself — never a good idea!!) My heart seems to beat a little faster as I worry about completing all the tasks I’ve set myself.  My head starts to race thinking about everything I need to get done in time. And then I stop. And I ask myself, “in time for what exactly?”.  Surely this is a time for quiet celebration. A time to reflect on the year gone by and have gratitude for the many good things we’ve accomplished and been blessed with. A time to practice being kinder and more mindful of others.  

I like to look for signs, especially when life gets a little crazy. And trust me when I say that it’s been MORE than crazy trying to organize the “Duckworth Family Christmas” this year. Two months ago, the whole plan fell together beautifully: 8 people traveling from Wales and 2 from New York to meet in Austin, Texas. But, that was then! In the past two weeks, everything has changed and the entire trip was up in the air until yesterday!
So this week, as I was driving around the Welsh countryside, trying to make everything come together and asking the Universe for help,  I looked to the side of the road and sitting in this one very green, lush field was an old beaten up caravan (bit like a British RV).  It was totally dilapidated and it had a big sign across the whole side that said “IT IS WHAT IT IS”. Oh, it made me smile! I immediately began to understand: that was my sign! It truly is going to be just what it is! What a relief. I’m not in charge! And with that,  I came back to the present…BEST GIFT EVER!

I hope wherever this festive season finds you, you give yourself this gift.

Merry Christmas (or Nadolig Llawen as we like to say in Wales)

Bev

xx
 

Holidate

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 Image via  This is Glamorous 

Image via This is Glamorous 

Each December, before we depart for our family gatherings, we partake in a little tradition — a Holidate. It sounds about as corny as it is, but that right there is the magic of it. Holidate knows no bounds and no judgements. It is ice skating in Central Park, whipped cream covered hot chocolates, Miracle on 34th Street screenings, spiked eggnog and The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center.

We can’t help but get nostalgic for our childhood around this time of year. Though this point in our lives is all sorts of exciting and exhilarating, it is sorely missing those good, old-fashioned Family Traditions. Holidate is a gift to our inner kid (who’d much rather spend the day eating candy canes and watching Home Alone than meeting deadlines and buying presents). By creating this little ritual, we begin to make a family of our own right here in New York City. We have spent Holidates decorating trees and lighting menorahs and throwing festive little get-togethers. We have built memories, year by year with our best friends and boyfriends and husbands. With each midnight walk through the newly fallen snow, we are, slowly but surely, putting down our roots right here in Brooklyn.

This Holiday season, before you board your plane, train or automobile to enjoy the marvelous madness that is going home, gather your friends, decide on a new tradition and indulge in a Holidate (and make it as clichéd and sentimental as possible!).  

Some of our favorite things:

Dyker Heights

Tea at the Plaza

Winter Solstice Concert

The Bergdorf Windows

HAPPY HOLIDAYS from Girl Gift Gather!

 

 

Sunday Girl + Happy Winter Solstice!

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 Art by Giovanni Martoglio via  Mystic Mama

Art by Giovanni Martoglio via Mystic Mama

Happy happy Winter Solstice!

I could really spend hours talking about how the holiday traditions that we take for granted are all rooted in deep astrological mysticism. But I will save that for another day. For now, all that is important is that you recognize the incredible opportunity you have to make intentions and resolutions for the next year. As many of you know, the new Moon every month allows us to plant intentions during the dark of the moon, watch them come to fruition during the illumination of the full moon, to then be incorporated into our lives during the waning period.

During the Winter Solstice that same cycle is at play. One year instead of one month, and with the Sun instead of the Moon. 

I want to encourage all of you, over the next week leading up to New Years to really think about this previous year. The lessons learned, the triumphs and failures. Get clear about what 2014 meant to you and how you would like to expand in 2015. Take some time, light a candle and write it all down.

I want to be rich, or lose weight or find my soulmate are surface desires. Go deeper into your “wants”. Wanting to be rich might mean you are craving more freedom in your life, to be appreciated for the work that you do or to expand your ability to help others. Wanting to lose weight points to the part of you that wants to be healthy, to relish in the joys of being physical or the need to love yourself and have your choices reflect that. Wanting to fall in love might mean you are ready to expand your level of intimacy with everyone in your life, being willing to be vulnerable or choosing love over judgement more regularly. 

Go past the easy, unconscious resolutions that we are used to hearing, and connect with the real soul calling it is pointing to. We all have the ability to make this the most beautiful year of our lives so far. I look forward to doing that with you! 

Next month, on the Aquarius New Moon we will share our resolutions and support each other as we move into 2015! In the meantime I am wishing you all a lovely beautiful holiday!

Lots of LOVE

Christina

A Beautiful Weekend

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 image via  thisisglamorous

image via  thisisglamorous

This week, Jane Birkin is our Chic-And-Totally-Not-Stressed-Last-Minute-Holiday-Shopping muse!

Just in time for your journey home, Into The Gloss is talking mothers, beauty routines and ritual. And whilst you’ve got relations on the brain, Madewell has come up with a few ways to de-compress and unwind amidst all the family frenzy!

A beautiful blog.

A beautiful magazine.

A beautiful woman.

And a beautiful Holiday playlist to get you into the spirit of things this week! 

Have a beautiful weekend!

C+C

xx

Gifts And Golden Rules

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 Image via  A nthropologie

Image via A nthropologie

If you’re still on a mad hunt for the perfect gift, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite Gift Guides from around the web. It seems there’s one for every person, style, brand and publication imaginable, but all that choice can be as stressful as the inside of a Macy’s. Whatever you end up gifting, remember to follow our Golden Rule this year.

The Budget Friendly Gift Guide

The Experiential Gift Guide

The Minimalist’s Gift Guide

The Foodie Gift Guide 

And of course, the GIRL Gift Guide

Plus, a few little tricks to take those thoughtful gifts to the next level! 

Happy Holidays!

xx

I am. I am. I am.

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Taking a moment today for gratitude. I’m looking to the Universe for guidance and support and listening to the wisdom of wild and wonderful women who went through this beautiful, mind-boggling, immense, stunning thing called life well before you or me.

I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am. I am. I am. Sylvia Plath

If your nerve deny you, go above your nerve. Emily Dickinson

You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life. Mary Oliver

Whatever happens to you belongs to you. Make it yours. Feed it to yourself even if it feels impossible to swallow. Let it nurture you, because it will. Cheryl Strayed

What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications. Nora Ephron

Chelsey

xx

Girl Gift Gatherings

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Last Saturday, as grey clouds hovered over Brooklyn and rain poured down the streets, we cozied up in our candlelit studio for a Holiday Workshop with Erin Boyle (Reading My Tea Leaves). It was the first #GirlGiftGatherings of many and we are so grateful to have shared it with a group of funny, inspiring, beautiful women. It was a magical afternoon complimented by Ivy Mix’s spiked cider, our holiday playlist and stories of crafting and Christmas. We thought it’d be nice to share the sources of our products, instructions for how to make them and recipes from the day with our readers who weren’t able to join us. We hope you’ll be hosting your own gatherings during this Holiday season (and we really hope you’ll share them with us)!

Erin’s instructions for: 

Mulled Wine , Mulling Spices Beeswax Candles and Holiday Swags

For organic herbs, spices and muslin bags: Mountain Rose Herbs
For beeswax and wicks: Brushy Mountain Bee Farm 
For Juniper Branches: Natty Garden 
You can go into any craft store or Home Depot for jute twine, florist’s wire and baking twine.

Ivy Mix’s Winter Warming Punch (watch her GIFT episode here).

3 parts rye whiskey
3 parts apple cider
1 part lemon juice
1 part spiced simple syrup (1:1 sugar and water and let boil with star anise, vanilla bean, and cinnamon stick for a few minutes. Let cool and remove solids.)

Can be served hot or cold.

Chelsey’s Sweet Popcorn

Pop your popcorn the old fashioned way
Melt 1 tbsp of butter and 1/8th cup of honey in a pan
Pour over popcorn and salt liberally

Oh, and the famous New York Times cookie recipe we used!

Have a beautiful, festive week! 

xx

C+C