Rest

With the end of an old year and the beginning of a new, reflections often come hard and fast. The end of 2020 was certainly no exception. Rather than resolve to be less — to drink less, to weigh less, to take up less space — I’d like this year to be a year of more. And instead of a list of resolutions that will make me feel defeated before I begin, I like the idea of choosing a word for the year that I can grow with. I thought a lot about what I’d like my word for this year to be, and although I kept circling for something big and dynamic or profound (?), I returned to something simple over and over: rest. My personal word for 2021 will be rest. As I have delved into myself over the past year, I’ve realized I can’t seem to allow myself to truly rest. To just be. Any rest time I have, I have been consciously or unconsciously “recharging my batteries” for something. I have been focused on the need to be productive again, rather than the rest itself. Readying myself for the next slog instead of actually enjoying my downtime. What an intense epiphany.

I am goal-oriented, highly motivated, and am a relentless perfectionist have high expectations for myself, so I suppose this should not come as a total surprise. But to be 100% honest? This realization hit me like a ton of bricks. Have I really gone 38+ years without allowing myself to truly rest? No wonder I am always. so. tired. Rest for me comes with the expectation that I will soon be able to resume some kind of output, some kind of productivity, some kind of movement forward, always. And guilt comes with inaction for me, also always. Can I truly rest if I am feeling guilty about it the entire time? Turns out, the answer is “no.” Shocker, amirite?

So, perhaps my word isn’t so simple after all. Perhaps grappling with personal expectations, productivity, relaxation, downtime, self, and rest will be a complex journey. And perhaps… perhaps that is the best kind of journey. Cheers to more in 2021 instead of less — more love, more joy, more freedom, and more rest. I’m rooting for me, and I’m rooting for you, too.

Five fun things: stripes edition

Striped boatneck tee

There is very little I find easier or more chic than a perfectly Parisian striped shirt. Black and white stripes are graphic, sophisticated, fun, and besides being easy to wear, they are an excellent pattern for layering with your home decor to get that certain je ne sais quoi. Even a small pop of black and white stripes can bring the most considered interior to the next level. With that in mind, here are five fun ways to incorporate stripes into your home inspired by my favorite basic, the striped Breton shirt.

I haven’t been able to get this beautiful inlay side table out of my head for months. It would be a great punch of pattern in an otherwise minimal room, or equally good layered into a more maximal design, with some jewel-toned velvets and bold florals. Yes, please!

For a similar look with way less commitment, this just-funky-enough graphic pillow cover by Margo Selby is a real winner — and it’s on sale!

I love the subtle narrow stripes on this beautiful handmade box. Use it to stow keepsakes or photos within easy reach on your bookshelf, and stack it on top of a few art books. (May I suggest this and this?) Boom! Functional, easy AND stylish.

These classic serving bowls by Danish design duo Stilleben are just perfection. Inspired by a talented woman painter? Check! Free carbon offsetting on all deliveries? Check! On sale for a whopping 50% off? Check! Are they on their way to my house as we speak? Ummm…. check! Mix and match these with your existing dinnerware for an “oh, I just threw this together, *wink wink*” level of sophistication.

Last but not least, this cotton and chenille throw blanket is gorgeous. Lightweight enough to use year-round, neutral yet graphic, with cute chunky tassels to make you smile. I’d drape this over the end of my couch and cozy up with it every evening.

vertigo

high and low

swerving and dipping between

extremes of intimacy and indifference, teeter totter.

but really, why

is my heart so fragile — 

so indebted to the whims of one who cares

not enough?



balance is

so elusive 

when you’re falling

through space and time

for someone not quite new.

will I crash land?

or will a touch to my cheek cushion my fall

from grace

into sweet madness?

–Charla M. DelaCuadra

Shop small, do good, give love

Welcome to this year’s holiday gift list! This year more than ever, I have been working hard to support small businesses, and to find great products that give back. Here is a curated guide of items I’m giving, would love to receive, or both!

Bloomist‘s aesthetic is stunning, minimal, and inspired by nature. Their aim is to help artists, artisans, and makers flourish, and they do so with panache. From their beautiful selection of gifts, I am especially partial to the Bright Black Koi candle and the handcrafted pale wood chain. 50% of the proceeds from the Koi candle by Bright Black go to 100 MALES TO COLLEGE, a Massachusetts-based initiative dedicated to college readiness and retention among young Black and Latinx men. And the beautiful wood chains? They are made by the Atuto group in Honduras! The group not only creates opportunities for skilled employment in the region, but they also support the Ambos Foundation, improving the lives of the people of rural Honduras at all stages of life — from providing children with school supplies to securing housing for the elderly.

Next, I am proud to announce the Pink&Green Musings shop at Bookshop.org! Here you can find all of the books I’ve discussed here on the blog, plus I’ll be adding more all the time for your perusing (and purchasing!) pleasure. Bookshop.org is a new online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. Keep local book shops thriving while easily finding anything you’re looking for! Orders placed by tomorrow, Dec. 5, will arrive by Christmas with standard shipping. Hint, hint. May I suggest the sumptuous Francois Halard: A Visual Diary for the creative in your life, Kate McDermott’s Pie Camp for your favorite baker, or perhaps a copy of What Kind of Woman by Kate Baer for all of your closest girlfriends?

For the design-minded, fun-loving, or have-everything-else people in your life, a keytag by small company Various Projects may be just the thing. There are hundreds of options in dozens of color combinations — something for literally anyone and everyone — in a smart, unfussy little package. At only $15, what’s not to like?

For something a little more luxurious, Missoma jewelry has a beautiful selection of of classic yet of-the-moment baubles that are responsibly produced, environmentally packaged, and give back via a variety of charitable partners, including Treesisters, Akshaya Patra, and Magic Breakfast. Perhaps a pretty Victorian-ish necklace set, an edgy pair of claw earrings, or a bold signet ring might catch your fancy? Ahem, for someone on your list, of course. They offered a truly covetable 12-day advent calendar that has since sold out, but I also love these lux festive table favors. Bonus: you get a free pair of mini hoops right now with any purchase over $200. Gift them or keep them, I won’t tell!

Designed in London and handcrafted in Spain, leather collars from small brand Supakit are the purrfect choice for a spoiled feline. My kitty may or may not be getting a mint green collar this year. *whistles innocently* These beautiful comfort collars from House Dogge are a great choice if your tastes run more towards the canine.

I love everything they are doing over at Fur. Redefining definitions of beauty, supporting freedoms of choice and from systemic oppression, and standing up for inclusivity and body positivity? Yes, yes, and YES. All their products are made from facial-grade, vegan, cruelty free, non-toxic ingredients and are free of mineral oil, silicones, parabens, synthetic fragrances, or artificial dyes. Their now-classic Fur Oil is ideal for soft skin, silky hair, and preventing ingrowns — pubic area, legs, underarms, chin, wherever. Perfect.

One of the cooler items I came across this season is the tiny but mighty Flikr fireplace created by husband and wife team Travis and Haley Seera. It is a chunky cement vessel with a quartz-like base, and is ingeniously fueled by rubbing alcohol. Brilliant, adorable, unique. I love it. Set on a tabletop and enjoy a warm glow. Bonus points if you also gift the makings for some s’mores, amirite?

And finally, any Schitt’s Creek fans out there? Please meet Beekman 1802, the real-life equivalent of Rose Apothecary. When Dr. Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell lost their jobs in the recession of 2008, they moved out to Sharon Springs in rural upstate New York, population 532. They took in a neighbor who was losing his farm AND his herd of 100 goats, started creating their goat milk soaps using fresh milk from the farm, and the rest is history. They sell a variety of natural face and body care as well as tons of great mercantile items from local farms and artisans. Pure goat milk soap, ylang-ylang tuberose body cream, or lavender creamed honey spread are A+ picks for the beauty buff or foodie in your life. They even partnered with the show on a limited run of Rose Apothecary-themed items. I love this for you.

One of the joys of the season for me is finding just the right gifts for my loved ones, so I hope this guide inspires you as well. Shop small, give back, and happy gifting!

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In the gallery

Lately I have been super inspired by bold gallery walls. The kind that are a focal point for the room, make a statement, and look collected and eclectic… like some kind of old world library, an art collector’s studio, or maybe an intimate salon (SAH-lon, if you’re fancy!). Here are some spaces I can’t help but swoon over right now:

via: Chairish, my scandinavian home, Lucky magazine, and sfgirlbybay

This week I decided to start over from scratch with my own gallery wall. I’ve had a mix of art up in my living room for quite some time, moving pieces in and out as my tastes or whims have changed. This time, instead of swapping out a piece or two, I took down everything and thought long and hard about what I really wanted for the end result. I framed several items I’ve be wanting to hang for ages, laid everything out on the floor, and then added, subtracted, rearranged, and shifted everything until I was really thrilled with the arrangement. Next, to get everything spaced out properly on the wall, I made templates out of newspaper for every frame and hung them on the wall with a bit of tape. This method works especially great when you are hanging a lot of items. Also, you can mark on the paper where you need your nails or hangers to go! Then just affix your nails while the paper is up, pull down the paper, and hang your frame. Here is my end result, and I couldn’t be happier with it!

Our living room feels fresher and even more personal now, just in time for the holidays. This Thanksgiving I’ll be giving thanks for our health and safety in my own little private gallery — I hope you can do the same!

Light it up

Let’s talk lighting! I have a healthy (unhealthy?) love for lamps. Warm, cozy lamplight is all I want for my home, especially when the days grow shorter and twilight descends earlier and earlier. This time of year I just want to curl up, my hygge-ified home aglow, and enjoy long slow evenings.

How can I make my house glow-y and cozy, you ask? Try lamps over overhead lighting, and swap out your bulbs! What should I look for, you ask? Well, here we go!

Most commonly we think of wattage when looking for lightbulbs. When bulbs were universally incandescent, wattage sort of interchangeably described both electrical power and bulb brightness. With LED, incandescent, and fluorescent bulbs all on the market now, there are actually three main factors to keep in mind when buying light bulbs: wattage, lumens, and Kelvin rating.

Wattage actually refers to the electrical power the bulb needs to operate. You should make sure to only use bulbs that require a wattage less than or equal to what your fixture is built for. Easy, right? And with so many energy-saving bulbs on the market these days, you’ll likely be using a bulb far lower than what your lamp lists as its maximum.

Lumens refer to the brightness of your light source. The higher the lumens, the brighter your light bulb. Here is a handy list to give you an idea of what brightness you can expect, based on the wattage of traditional incandescent bulbs.

  • To replace a 100 watt (W) incandescent bulb, look for a bulb that gives you about 1600 lumens. If you want something dimmer, go for less lumens; if you prefer brighter light, look for more lumens.
  • Replace a 75W bulb with an energy-saving bulb that gives you about 1100 lumens
  • Replace a 60W bulb with an energy-saving bulb that gives you about 800 lumens
  • Replace a 40W bulb with an energy-saving bulb that gives you about 450 lumens.

Lastly, Kelvin (K) refers to your bulb’s color/temperature. By far the most important factor for me these days is my bulb’s Kelvin rating. Warmer Kelvin ratings feel cozier, and while dimmers allow you to control how bright you’d like your light to be depending on your need or mood, Kelvin can’t be changed unless you buy a smart bulb that allows you to change its colors. Kelvin is measured on a scale from 1,000 to 10,000, with most lightbulbs falling between 2000-6500K. For a cozy feel in your living spaces, 2700K is a nice, warm-feeling Kelvin rating. 3000K will give you a whiter light, and anything above 3500K is bluer and can feel rather “sterile” or harsh to me. 3500K or above is usually best suited for hospital or other commercial applications. Bulbs labeled “daylight” often fall into this category, and while they may be less desirable for spaces you want to feel home-y or cozy, they can come in handy for task lighting, kitchens, or workspaces where bright light is needed. For “warm” vs. “cool” lighting, think about the glow of candlelight vs. the bright white of an operating room. The lower the Kelvin, the more amber your light will be.

Recently I swapped out the cooler LED bulbs in this lamp with these warmer Edison bulbs, and I am so happy with the result! They are 4 watt bulbs, but because they are LED, they compare roughly to the lumens output of a traditional 40 watt bulb. 2700K is a good Kelvin sweet spot for me, so I love the warmth of these bulbs in my living room.

Here are a few of my favorite lamps right now to get you going, some that I have and others that I’d love to:

Directional

The Domes black marble table lamp from CB2 is sculptural and stunning, and lucky for me, it came with a pair of 2700K bulbs. It catches my eye every time I walk into my living room, in the best way.

When I was a kid I had a banker-style green lamp on my desk that I loved. I’d turn it on to do homework, and it had such a satisfying *click*. This olive Clive desk lamp has all the same vibes with a more modern sensibility, and would look just as good on an end table as on your desk. Give it a low Kelvin bulb for a sweet glow, or swap in a higher Kelvin option for a great task light.

Floor lamps

The Harriet floor lamp from Anthropologie had me at hello, with it’s graceful modern curves and stylish pleated shade. If I had space for a floor lamp, she’d already be mine. The pleated paper shade will give any room a lovely, diffuse light.

Likewise, the Yoji floor lamp at Urban Outfitters would be mine in a heartbeat if I had a place for it. These frosted glass globes paired with some warm light bulbs would make for a gorgeous ambient glow.

Table lamps

I know I already posted about these, but my Snake table lamps from CB2 are still making me super happy. I have them sitting on my console flanking a gallery wall, and they are just the right mix of antique and glam. The off-white linen shade gives a nicely diffuse light.

This adorable little Danish modern lamp by &tradition comes with a 2700K LED AND has a built-in dimmer switch. Perfect on a mantel, side table, bookshelf — anywhere! I would expect nothing less from the country that brought us the hygge concept. Plus, I can’t get over that chic rust and slate-y blue color combo. Love.

I love all of these Modern Totem table lamps from West Elm, although if I HAD to choose, I think I’d go with the blue black blue black. The shapes are clean and interesting, and would go with a wide variety of styles. Again, a linen shade is a great option for a luminous glow.

And here we are! Beautiful lighting and some cozy vibes — what could be better? Happy hygge-fying!

Out of my head

Blue moon, 10/31/20

Votes are still being counted as we wait and hope, stress and wonder, cross our fingers and keep looking forward. Here is a poem I wrote some time ago that seems to fit my mood this week. I’m craving some mental quiet as we hope and wait, wait and hope. Wishing you some serenity this weekend.

____________

I want to

peel off my skin

get out of my own head

escape into silence

for a while

find the quiet stillness

that my restless

spirit so 

craves.

–Charla M. DelaCuadra

Delightfully spooky

It’s spooky season! Normally I don’t do a lot of decorating for holidays other than Christmas (small house = small amount of storage!), but with all of us staying at home so much more this year, it seemed like a fun way to get into the spirit of things. I love John Derian’s aesthetic, so his collection for Target was a delightful surprise. Some skeletal branches on the table, a few John Derian trays and eyeball coasters, and some floating candles? Poof! Spooky, creepy, Gothic-y good fun.

I tried Mallory Fletchalls floating candle DIY idea as featured in Domino, and it was well worth the effort. I used these battery-powered candles, and hung them from the ceiling in my dining room with this clear fishing line. Now I feel like I’m in a haunted house and/or the great hall at Hogwarts — both of which are a total win this time of year, don’t you think? I especially like that these candles come with a remote control, which makes turning them on and off a breeze.

Even though Halloween will look different this year, I hope you all have a spooky good time this weekend. Pop some popcorn, get dressed up, and watch Hocus Pocus! And may I also suggest this awesomely witchy cocktail? Happy Halloween!

Three great new books

Three great new books have graced my shelves over the past couple weeks, and I just have to share!

One of the small perks of this “new normal” is the plethora of book talks available online, and I was delighted to be able to attend a talk with Kate McDermott on her new book, Pie Camp. Besides being a wizard with all things pie, she is a gem of a human being who finds so much fun and enjoyment in what she does, it is hard not to share her enthusiasm. I am always a fan of people who enjoy what they do, and McDermott is no exception. I had no less than three, “wow, that is genius!” moments in the charming hour we spent together, including this: McDermott tossed together an incredible-looking berry crostata in the last 7 minutes, with which she encouraged everyone to just have fun with fillings. Marionberry preserves, fresh raspberries, and (what?!) dried blueberries tucked into the center of each raspberry, JUST FOR FUN? Genius.

If her previous book, Art of the Pie, is the “why” of pie, then Pie Camp is indubitably the the “how.” Over three hundred pages of methods, recipes, tips, and beautiful photography make for as thorough a primer on sweet pies as anyone could ask for. Fruit pies, custards, creams, crisps, crostatas — oh my! Lattices, braids, and crimps, too! I am more of a cake baker, myself, but I hit the checkout button before I even got halfway through her chat. Now I am looking forward to a pie-filled holiday season — and beyond.

Poet Maggie Smith of “Good Bones” fame has delivered us her genre-defying book, Keep Moving, at just the right moment in time. Originally spurred by her divorce, Smith’s “notes on loss, creativity, and change,” are precisely what many of us need to hear as this pandemic continues to turn our lives inside-out and sideways. Many of the entries are tweets to herself, encouraging reminders to “keep moving.” They are interspersed with the occasional meditation on a beautiful moment, a creative reflection or learning opportunity, or perhaps a small rumination on fear or hope. Whatever the you want to classify this book as, Smith’s grace in the face of change shines through in every page. She’s the encouraging voice reminding us, quietly, than even if all we can do is keep moving, it’s more than enough.

Finally, I could not be prouder of Henry James Garrett and his book, This Book Will Make You Kinder. Garrett may be better known to some as the artist behind Drawings of Dogs on Instagram, with his delightful art and his knack of piercing to the heart of so many social issues with a wittily observant caption or pun. (If you spend even just a couple minutes watching his Instagram stories, you can see what a genuinely kind and lovely person he is, and why I am so proud to hold his book in my hands.)

Now, building on his academic studies and keen interest in ethics, kindness, and morality, Garrett has graced us with an “empathy handbook” — a guide to developing our moral kindness and confronting cruelty in our world. His animal cartoons are peppered throughout his well-considered tome, but he goes far beyond his online art presence to bring us a book I think everyone can and will benefit from reading. Part philosophy, part sociological observation and critique, and entirely accessible, it is as timely as Maggie Smith’s book, but in a different way. Smith reminds us how to keep going, and Garrett reminds us that we need to do so together, with kindness and empathy. And I think McDermott has the right idea — let’s do so with a warm slice of pie.

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Casual Friday: Voter Edition

Today my sartorial choices are skewing slightly fall-ish and decidedly voter-ish.

A printed dress is still easier than easy for pandemic staying-at-home working and lounging — while still looking polished if you venture out.

This snappy tote and black and white I Am A Voter strap make for a stylish and comfortable way to schlep your ballot to the nearest polling station or post office.

Don’t forget to wear your mask when you go! Stripes with a heart are as cheery as can be.

Pink ankle socks paired with a classic flat loafer are a fun nod to fall while still being comfy to wear, just in case there is a line at the voting booth.

A beautiful pen makes filling out your mail-in ballot a pleasure. Plus it is refillable, so you can use it for years to come.

This terracotta-meets-poppy nail polish feels perfect for early autumn — and the name Yes, I Can(yon) is just the inspiration we need to carry us through this election.

For voting resources, visit I Will Vote.com. Let’s make our voices heard!