Please excuse Victoria from the last week and a half of total blog silence. Life, very certainly, got in the way. Here, background into things that have been on my radar and proving that behind every screen are a multitude of untold stories.
finishedREADING // Over the weekend, I finally dove headfirst into the book The Rocks. What I thought might be a slow burn ended up being totally captivating. It’s a love story told in reverse — we know two of the main characters are divorced, living on the beautiful island of Mallorca, but have barely seen or interacted with each other in almost 60 years. As the story progresses, we move back through time to learn what transpired and how their story has impacted their (unrelated) children, who grew up on the island together. A great read, and especially perfect if you’re wishing for a summer beach getaway — the Mediterranean landscapes described in the book are transporting. Buy from Amazon
amazingTHAI // Earlier in May, we had some friends set up a double date with us and suggest Kin Khao, a Thai restaurant off Union Square. Imagine my surprise when we arrived and found a small little restaurant in the lobby of the Parc 55 Hotel. Hotel Thai food? What was this place? Only the best Thai food I think I’ve ever had in my life. If you live in SF or are planning a visit here, you must check out this mostly-locals joint with affordable, diverse, and crazy delicious Thai food. Don’t let the lobby’s fluorescent lighting scare you away. 55 Cyril Magnan, San Francisco
smellsGOOD // I discovered two new-to-me candle brands over the weekend, and they’re so delicious (and not yet ubiquitous) that I had to share. I was browsing around ByGeorge in Austin and happened to pick up this beautiful candle made with black wax. The fragrance was intoxicating — gingery, warm, woody. Not something I’d normally pick up based on description alone, but after one whiff, a must have. It’s now living in our bedroom. The candle is a collab between the denim brand imogene+willie and Apothia, two brands I wasn’t familiar with but was glad to discover (imogene+willie’s backstory is pretty cool!). The other candle brand is called Tatine — have you heard of it? I scooped up two of their “Tisane” votives; one in the Kensington Garden scent, and the other an addictive scent called Bron Yr Aur (it’s Welsh). This fragrance is so good, I feel like it would be the next Diptyque Baies if more people knew about it (so actually, I hope it stays a secret between you and me). I only wish it came in a bigger size — all the Tisane votives only come in small formats that burn for 16 hours. But maybe that’s part of their charm; the scents are meant to be “a lyrical interpretation of memories, moments, music and emotions,” so perhaps like a song, they transport you for a short time, then they end. i+w x apothia candle, $55; Tatine Tisane Votives, $19/each
inAUSTIN // So yeah, I bought all these candles in Austin. Unexpectedly, I took a trip back to my hometown over the weekend, leaving on Friday morning and returning to SF Monday night. Do you remember when I alluded to cancer really sucking, a long time ago when we were still in New York? Well, last week I found out my family member’s journey with the disease nears its close, so I headed home to provide support, say goodbye, all the difficult but necessary things you can imagine. I don’t really want to get into the background of the who’s and what’s dynamics of the diagnosis, prognosis, and the loss because I would probably end up writing my entire life story (posts for another blog, someday), but anyone who has experienced any measure of grief and sorrow knows it’s rough. Last week, in anticipation of going home, and early this week, upon my return, I didn’t really feel like I had much to chat about here (I’m sure you can imagine), which is why my Ask Me Anything got put on the back burner (among other things). To be honest, I don’t really know what else to write about this that won’t be a total brain dump, but if I’m in and out more than usual, now you know why. Which leads me to…
reEVALUATING // Before I got the call and ever went to Austin, something that’s been on my mind a lot recently is self care. It might’ve all started when about six weeks ago, I developed this weird rash on a small part of my face. It wasn’t especially noticeable, so I didn’t think much of it — I slapped some heavy moisturizer on it and called it a day. But then I began to notice that when I was super stressed (like more so than usual), or not eating well, or drinking too much, or not sleeping enough, it would flare up and get worse. My body was literally sending me a stop sign on my face to tell me when to slow down. I’ve seen and heard about this type of thing in friends, when stress leads to all types of inflammation and your immune system freaking out. It was a wake up call when it happened to me — me, who has a really hard time slowing down, turning off, and letting things go. So I’ve been reevaluating and thinking about how I can practice better self care. I thought I was doing it already, but apparently, not very well. Recently, for me, this has included sleeping until I am no longer tired (even though I naturally still wake up around 7, recently I’d wake up and feel completely exhausted), drinking very little alcohol, doing a lot more yoga at home, eating well, and probably most importantly, working on silencing the nagging in my head that always pops up when I’m worried I’m not doing or working hard enough. I think this was one of the first times in my life where I felt like, “Man, I must be getting older and I really can’t do everything anymore.” It’s put me in reevaluation mode, thinking about how to form new habits, and has been yet another kick in the pants to ruminate on how I’m prioritizing time, relationships, energy, all that stuff. I’m curious: what do you do to practice self care?
So that’s the latest from over here. I went with the essay format for this version of Life Lately because it’s been hard to drum up a ton of creative energy the last two days, and (in self care mode!) I felt like I had to save that for client work. I’ll design something pretty for you soon, I promise ;) With all that being said, I will be getting to the AMA answers next week, so keep your questions coming (comment, or email) and I’ll give you alllll the answers very soon.
And maybe it goes without saying, but take a deep breath today, give a loved one a big bear hug, and namaste.