Lesson I’m Always Learning | Rawan Rihani of Aurora Botanicals

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As Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham say, “Go your own way!”

Don’t compare yourself to others because everyone’s experience is unique and totally different and there are different roads and paths for everyone. It’s ok to have muses/people to look up to and role models for inspiration, but it’s also important not to compare yourself to others. You are unique and everyone has there own time, their own unique experience, unique beliefs, unique mantras. And your individuality is important. To be original and authentic means you’ll have authentic relationships with your work and the people around you. 

Also, do your best work, no matter what it is! 

Also, surround yourself with authentic and positive people. 🙂 

Rawan is an artist, designer and the founder of the dreamy floral design company Aurora Botanica. She makes a flower crown like no other, teaches incredible workshops and she is the floral guru for Stone Fox Bride.

 
(P.S. See our interview with Stone Fox Bride founder, Molly Guy, here!)

The Gift of Solitude

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Sometimes, as we drink tea and catch up at the Girl Gift Gather Studio, we come to realize that we’re both sitting on the exact same problem. This week, that problem was solitude. Or a lack thereof. It’s been a fast-paced start to Spring. One that included travel, family gatherings, holiday weekends and visits from out-of-towners. The weather warmed up and suddenly it was all go, go, go. Transitional seasons can be like that — the whole city wakes up in one big rush of celebrations, events and activities. After a few jam-packed weekends, we’re craving some alone time. (This week, Chelsey is on a ‘social cleanse’ made up of quiet walks, early nights and dinners for one. For Christina, having a nine and a half month old and a tiny apartment means alone time looks like truly savoring the long hot shower she gets once her husband gets home… thats the best she can do right now folks and it’s actually really effective!).

There are so many things to honor in a day: relationships, work, family, friendships. Somehow, time to one’s self rarely makes the list. But this week, we’re advocating for it. Whether you’re meditating, walking to the office or working on your yoga practice, time spent with you and you alone can be the most nourishing time of your day. There are days when taking time for yourself feels obvious: when things get stressful and life is overwhelming. But what about when things are great? When you’re surrounded by family and friends? When you’re on vacation? We find ourselves falling victim to the idea that because we’re with people we love, we needn’t bother taking any time for ourselves. This is not the case. Time to ourselves is important whether we’re with people who cause us anxiety or great joy. When you’re with the ones you love, taking time away from everyone to check-in with yourself can be extremely helpful. Solitude is a time to gather, process, ruminate and daydream. A few hours for your mind to wander free from expectation or disruption can birth creative ideas, gratitude and renewed energy.

Weekends are often divvied up into family gatherings and social engagements. If you can, this weekend or next, make a date with yourself. It doesn’t have to be a long one, a walk around the park or a morning coffee before everyone else wakes up, just spend a little time with yourself, we think you’ll like what you find. 

A favorite essay on the benefits of solitude from The American Scholar

Our thoughts on the joys of bath time.

xx

C+C

Explore: Mexico City

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I found myself in awe of Mexico City’s bright colors, cosmopolitan vibe and rich culture. Today, I’m sharing a few of my favorite things to see, eat and do in this city! 

We started our mornings with cappuccino and croissants at Panaderia Rosetta. It’s a charming little (read tiny) spot with flowers painted on the wall and a bustling bakery in the background. It’s tucked away on a tree lined street in La Roma where trendy, young types linger outside with puppies and pastry.

For me, the best spot in the city is a toss up between the Frida Kahlo Museum and the Mercado Jamaica. Frida’s museum is actually inside her childhood home, La Casa Azul. It is a world of color and history, story and creativity. Her light-filled studio, dotted with paint splatters and hanging mirrors feels deeply inspiring. 

The Mercado Jamaica is one of Mexico City’s largest markets. There’s food (an amazing array of produce and sweet candies) and even toys and furniture, but what we came for were the flowers. Upon entering the covered market, you are enveloped in the most beautiful perfume of tuberoses, lilies and eucalyptus. Tea roses are packed neatly into bundles. Gladiola’s lay on top of one and other in color-coded coordination. Daffodils and iris’ and tulips fight for your eyes’ attention. It’s sort of the most magnificent thing I’ve ever seen. 

The San Angel Inn is a former Carmelite Monastary located across the street from the Diego Rivera Studio Museum. This historic building has been turned into a fancy restaurant with a stunning courtyard. Skip the stuffy meal in favor of one (or two) of their world-famous margaritas. 

One of my favorite experiences in Mexico City was the Mexican lunch. This starts as early as 2:30 and as late as 4pm. You eat slowly, starting with appetizers and finishing with aperitifs and traditional coffee cocktails. For our first lunch, we ventured into the stunning Rosetta. A sky light hangs above the small center room as ferns and vines creep up the wall. The food is magnificent. I’m still dreaming about the bread (it comes from the restaurant’s bakery, Panderia Rosetta, mentioned above). We sat down at 2:30pm and left at 7:30pm feeling triumphant, deliciously full and just a little tipsy. 

A few tips and things to keep in mind:

Uber is your best friend in this city. Many phone companies allow for unlimited data and texting in Mexico and Canada and if you’re lucky enough to have that situation, you’re best picking up Ubers everywhere you go. It’s safer than most taxis and far cheaper. (My 45 minute drive from the airport cost me $7). 

The National Museum of Anthropology is amazing — I didn’t get to go but everyone I know raves about it.

The Pryamids are well worth a visit. It is a lofty trip though — a solid hour/hour and a half outside of the city but very interesting and there are lots of tour guides available to educate you on the history of the area.

It’s a HUGE city. I did so much and saw so much and I barely scratched the surface. Make sure you take your time, enjoy yourself and sip lots of Mezcal!

Chelsey

xx

Inviting color in

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It began with the Jacaranda trees. The moment I started my descent into Mexico City, I spotted them, great tufts of purple popping out between buildings and houses and fields.  As we inched closer and closer to landing, the whole city came alive in front of me: hot pink cabs darting down highways,flowering trees reaching up towards the sun, hulking green mountains surrounding the houses and buildings.

I was in Mexico City for four day and though I tried to eat, drink and see as much of it as I could, I know I failed. It is a sprawling city and my time and my legs were simply not long enough to take me everywhere I wanted to go. What I was left with (besides a hunger for more and the knowledge of how to properly drink a shot of tequila) were the colors. Mexico City is lush. The streets are canopied in heavy-leafed trees that are the deepest and darkest shades of green. The highways are lined with shrubs that sprout flaming red flowers. The houses are painted orange and yellow and pink and blue. Each destination, whether it’s Frida Kahlo’s childhood home or the local flower market, is a rich, new palette to explore.

We all talk so much of minimalism; clean lines, sleek silver gadgets and a wardrobe of interchangeable neutrals, but I’m beginning to think we’re missing out on something.Something that is about being wild and free,artistic and creative, stimulated and exhilarated. 

When we’re little, we are all about color — we have a favorite and we change it weekly, we paint with it and draw with it and mismatch it as we’re getting dressed in the morning. Even our classrooms are covered in orange and purple and green wallpaper (unlike those beige and grey offices so many of us find ourselves in). So why do we insist on giving up color as we grow up? Why do we associate muted tones with responsibility and security? And how can we free ourselves from this black and white way of thinking?

Fortunately for all of us, it is (finally) Spring and the farmer’s markets and botanical gardens are just waking up from their Winter hiatus. You may not find yourself in the rainbow that is Mexico City, but you’ll surely discover a wealth of deep reds, dusky pinks and mossy greens sprouting up around you. Take some time to marvel at these colors, then ask yourself which ones call to you and bring those colors into your world. It may start with something as simple as a bowl of shiny, yellow lemons on the dining room table, but before you know it, you’ll have a Mexico City of your very own.

xx
Chelsey

A Beautiful Weekend

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 Image via  Honestly Yum

Image via Honestly Yum

An incredibly complicated situation regarding women’s rights, pregnancy and the judicial system. It’s not an easy read, but it’s a very important one

And Silicone Valley is being forced to talk frankly about sexism in the workplace

A beautiful magazine.

A beautiful blog.

A beautiful woman (who we’re praying for this week).

Have a beautiful (Easter + Passover) weekend!

Laura & Greg

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Laura O’Neill of Van Leeuwen Ice CreamSelamat PagiNo Lights No Lycra and “Laura & Greg was our very first interview and we have been privileged to keep up with all the fantastic things she is doing! The band she is in, Laura & Greg freaking rocks. See their beautiful video below and if you are able to, they are playing a free show this Friday at LOREN Denim at 8:00 in Greenpoint. Everyone is welcome but be sure to RSVP to greenpointapril3@gmail.com