My Favorite Things: 5 Accessories for Getting Cozy

Welcome to My Favorite Things! Each month, we highlight products to help you create a holistic lifestyle that inspires and nurtures you, so that you can be happier and feel supported.

Next week is already fall! I can't believe it! We've had a long, warm summer, but the weather is beginning to get cooler and crisper, and soon we'll be switching walks in the park for snuggling up indoors. That's why this month's My Favorite Things is all about getting cozy! We put some thought into the necessities for a staying warm in the fall air, and here's what we came up with.


Sun Yantra Mandala for Radiance & Warmth

I love mandalas as a way to add a certain energy or intention to a room. This Sun yantra mandala is perfect for warming up your space as the weather cools off!

The Sun is associated with individuality, radiance and yang energy. It depicts yellows and oranges and radiating lotus petals, and looks similar to the sun itself! As it represents warmth and radiance, this mandala is perfect for seasons when we see less sun. 

Yellows and oranges are representative of nature, which is appropriate for autumn, and the bright colors are also a helpful dose of optimism and positive qi during fall and winter months

Available at: Holistic Spaces


Wool Angled Front Wrap Cardigan

I love Eileen Fisher clothing. I probably wear at least one piece from her designs every day! They're so minimal, easy to match, high quality and incredibly eco-friendly. Eileen Fisher supports sustainable sourcing, fair trade, domestic production and much more!

This front wrap cardigan is no different. The sweater is made of Eileen Fisher signature washable, chlorine-free wool, which means it doesn't contain as many harmful chemicals, and you don't have to take it to the dry cleaners every time you spill tea! 

Its versatility also means it's perfect for wearing out or cuddling up inside with a good book. It's a must-have for cooler weather!

Available at: Eileen Fisher


Indian Cardamom Chai Tea

I am a huge fan of tea, and these days I cannot stop drinking Kalustyan's Indian Cardamom Chai! It's a blend of Darjeeling and Assam teas with cardamom flavor, milk and sugar to make it the perfect tea for a chilly afternoon.

I also like to add turmeric to my tea. Both turmeric and cardamom are powerful herbs used for years to aid in digestion, fight depression, build anti-oxidants and so much more. Plus, as members of the ginger family, they offer a warming sensation!

Since many of us get busier during the last part of the year, the Kalustyan's chai mix is instant, which means you just add hot water and enjoy! 

Available at: Kalustyan's


Wool Rug

When it comes to making your holistic space warmer, a wool rug is a no-brainer, and I love this neutral rug from Organic Looms!

Most rugs can help to reduce the cool temperature beneath your feet, especially here in NYC where everything is wood flooring, but wool rugs are especially warm!

This wool rug is suitable for any room, organic, non-dyed and allows for customization of shape, size and more. It's also ethically sourced and hand-woven, and it improves indoor air quality!

Available at: Organic Looms


Sandalwood Essential Oil

My favorite things for warming up wouldn't be a complete list without essential oils! Fall is a great time to utilize these incredible healing tools, and sandalwood is on our ultimate fall list

My good friend, Andrea Giordano, of Aromatherachi, specializes in using essential oils to make amazing products like soap and bath salts, but she also sells the oil itself! Her sandalwood oil is sustainable and eco-friendly, sourced in Hawaii! Can you think of a warmer place?!

Available at: Aromatherachi



Yes, You Can Use Rugs (Even With Allergies!)

Our goal at Holistic Spaces is to help you create a nurturing home where you feel safe, nourished and uplifted. This can include anything from the way you choose to design your space to the type of artwork you hang to the materials of your furniture, bedding, rugs, etc. This last aspect of creating an ideal home can be incredibly important if allergies are a concern for you. Fortunately, you don't have to forego beautiful rugs to avoid the sniffles!

If carpeting is a problem for you because of allergies (or even if you live in New York City, where carpeting is rare), rest easy in the knowledge that washable rugs and hardwood floors are actually much better, health-wise! It's easy to understand with hardwood floors; they're easier to clean and contain no fibers to trap icky dust mites and the like. Hardwood is notoriously not so great on cold feet, though, so don't kiss rugs goodbye! If you choose washable rugs and pay close attention to the material, it is absolutely possible for gorgeous rugs and allergies to co-exist.

Swing Low (Pile)

First things first, opt for low-pile rugs. While lush, thick carpeting is comforting during the cold winter, it offers many more places for mites and allergens to hide out, which is no good for those of us who are sensitive. In choosing shorter threads and less plush materials, we can add rugs to our space and still breathe easy.

Go Natural

In the same vein, check out natural material options, for a variety of reasons. Many natural materials, like jute, contain organic substances like tannin that repel some of the gross creatures that make us sneeze and tear up. In addition, there are a variety of companies who produce jute and other organic rugs that contribute directly to Fair Trade practices and serve to help others in developing countries and save on your pharmacy bill. 

Keep It Clean!

Finally, no matter what type of rug you choose, make sure to clean it regularly! This should go without saying, since part of having a holistic space is having a clean space, but especially in the case of allergens, it's important not to skip the rugs. Vacuum rugs regularly with a HEPA filter to ensure you're picking up everything you can, and be sure to take them out for a good shake from time to time! 

If you've read any of our rug posts and wished you could add rugs to your holistic space, this is the way to go! By taking care to pay attention to materials and styles and keeping your space clean, we're confident you can bring rugs into your space without buying an extra box of tissues. If you decide to go for it, let us know! 

by Anjie Cho


Your Guide to Choosing an Organic Rug

Taking steps to free your home of harmful chemicals and toxins doesn't have to mean you have a barren, minimalist home. With the increasing focus on organic materials and eco-friendly products, it's possible to design a beautiful, sacred space that enhances your health instead of hurting it. One easy way to reduce some of the VOCs in your home is to choose an organic option when adding rugs to your space, and thanks to Stephanie Holmes and Matt Budenholzer, of Organic Looms, we've got tips on how and why to go about it!

Why Go Organic?

Perhaps the most important reason to go the organic route with rugs is indoor air quality. We spend most of our time indoors, yet our internal environments are actually much more polluted than the outdoor atmosphere, due to off-gassing, VOCs and more. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average person experiences 72% of his total chemical exposure in his own home!

How does this relate to rugs? Rugs and carpeting are two of the most common culprits of off-gassing, due to chemically produced material and backing. Since many traditional and machine-made rugs are actually composed of several loose pieces of yarn, they include chemical backing for cohesion, which can off-gas harmful VOCs over time. Many popular rug materials, like nylon and polyester, will eventually produce these gasses as well. With a truly organic rug, there will be no off-gassing. Organic rugs are made of more environmentally (and health) friendly materials like wool, silk and various plant fibers. These rugs are also longer lasting, generally of higher quality and have a low carbon footprint

How to Go Organic

So where do you start if you're on the search for an organic rug? Research! Go old school and call local rug companies, or head to Google and search "organic rugs" to get a good idea of what's available for your budget and needs. Be diligent and careful not to fall into a greenwashing trap, though, as the term "organic" has become a bit diluted over time and there are no regulations on what businesses can label with that term. 

Take care to ask about materials used in the construction of your rug, not just the primary material, as well as the process itself, including dyes used and construction method. This will help you determine whether each rug option is truly organic. 

Know ahead of time what the perks are for each option. For instance, wool is the most durable organic option and is easy to clean, making it great for high-traffic areas, whereas silk is a strong, beautiful material, but is more difficult to clean. If you're vegan, opt for plant choices like hemp, nettle and other animal-friendly materials! Check out these tips for finding the right material for your space. 

There are many organizations dedicated to producing high quality, eco-friendly rugs, like one of our favorites and our gracious all-things-organic-rugs educators, Organic Looms. Ultimately, it's about finding the right company and right rug for your space!

by Anjie Cho


3 Ways to Bring the Outside In

The summer may be winding down but that doesn’t mean the warmth and relaxation of the outdoors has to go with it. Bring that same summer sun-drenched comfort and vibrancy indoors with these three simple steps.  

Indoor Planters

For many, the warm weather seasons kick off with a mad dash to the nearest garden center. There are flower beds to populate, veggie gardens to plant and a generous assortment of flower pots and window boxes to fill. Just imagine how beautiful all that green and color would look inside your home

Don’t get tied down to standard indoor planters. Traditional outdoor options like window boxes are a great way to bring the outside in.  Start by picking a window box that compliments your décor. You’ll have your choice of materials like wood, iron, cooper, and wicker. Consider creating a kitchen window box and fill it with fragrant and flavorful herbs you can cook with!

Another perk of using a window box? Instead of filling the box itself with dirt and planting directly in it, use it to corral smaller, separate pots of your favorite plants. If you need to replace a plant, it’s simple to just slip out one pot and make the switch. Likewise, when it’s time to water the plants, remove the pots and water the plants in the sink. Once the excess water has drained, return them to the window box. 

Tidy-up

Clutter can make a room feel restrictive. Simply organizing your space can open up the room and make it feel more inviting. As you’re cleaning, use natural cleaners with fresh scents. Imagine the woodsy scent of tea-tree oil or a little bit of lemon lingering in your living room. Makes you smile just thinking about it, doesn’t it? Now, throw open those windows and let the great outdoors shine in! Inviting more natural sunlight will enliven your space. Don’t forget a little TLC for your window treatments too. Wipe down the blinds and wash (or dry-clean) your draperies. 

Draw color and texture inspiration from the outdoors

When you think of being outdoors, what colors do you think of? Whether it’s the lush green of grass, the salty blue of the ocean or the warm yellow of the sun, bringing those hues into your room is a fantastic way to welcome the outdoors into your home! 

While a fresh, clean coat of paint will make your space feel fresh and bright, you’ve got other options when it comes to color. Introduce pops of outdoor-inspired hues with accessories such as pillows, blankets and rugs. Even candles, vases, and wall décor are fantastic options.

What’s your favorite outdoor place? If you’ve got a picture of it, frame it and hang it! Look for paintings, prints and design elements that mimic the scenery and texture of your outdoor sanctuaries. If you’re a beach person, for example, weathered grey wood textures mimic water beaten driftwood, while cool blues, greens and white bring to mind the water and elements like sea glass and shells. Is the forest more your style? Choose accessories in natural wood finishes and greens.  

If you find yourself wishing you could spend more time outdoors but the seasons or your schedule are making it difficult, bring the outdoors in. If you incorporate these steps, don’t forget to come back here and share your pictures! Which step will you try first?

by Anjie Cho


Wool Rug. Chenille Rug. Jute Rug. Oh my! Selecting the Right Material for Your Space

The right area rug can be your decorating lynchpin. Selecting the correct size is certainly an important part of finding a floor covering for your space. There’s more to decide before you dive into colors and patterns, however. Your rug material will also be an important factor in selecting the right rug.

First things first

Selecting the right type of rug isn’t just about esthetics. Before heading out to find your new rug, ask yourself these questions:

- Is this a high traffic area?

- Is this a space prone to spills and stains?

- Is the room casual or formal?

- Is this a place I’d prefer something soft and cozy beneath my feet?

Wool Rug

It’s no wonder wool rugs are popular. These highly durable, easy to clean, elegant rugs are ideal for high traffic areas and can repel stains. However, you don’t want to use a wool rug where humidity is high – like a bathroom or basement, as it will soak up moisture in consistently damp spaces. If you’re looking for a good insulator, on the other hand, this is a good choice. 

Chenille Rug

Chenille is a nice, affordable alternative for those who like the decadent softness of a silk rug without the higher price tag. This type of rug will provide a cozy floor cover for rooms where a little plush is preferred. It’s not the best for high traffic space, however. 

Jute and its cousins

Natural plant fiber rugs like jute, sisal and seagrass bring a breezy, casual feel to a room. There are differences in how each of these natural materials feels beneath your feet. Jute, for example, is more coarse, and seagrass is more pliable. Stains on natural plant fiber rugs are not necessarily easy to clean. They are also not well suited to humid environments.

Synthetics

There are several variants of the synthetic rug including nylon and polyester. These budget-friendly options are generally easy-to-clean, durable pieces that are well suited to high traffic areas or rooms more prone to tough use (like a child’s bedroom or playroom). The lower price point may also give you latitude to swap out rugs for a new seasonal color or to replace a rug that has seen better days. Although a synthetic rug is designed to mimic their natural fiber counterparts, they do not necessarily have the same feel.

by Anjie Cho