Food & Home

How to Love Where You Are Right Now (Home)

Love Where You Are
Right Now (Home)

As we all grapple with this heartbreaking time, New York designer, chef, and author of Live Beautiful Athena Calderone has been trying her best to find beauty where she can and to really consider what life at home can mean. “We have this chance to make our spaces feel a little more celebratory, to breathe new life into them,” she says. “And to connect with our families more.” Here, her tips for appreciating exactly where we are.

  1. 1

    Dim the Lights, Bust Out the Board Games 

    “The first night of sheltering in place, we lit a fire, and I lit all the candles in the house. My husband said to me, ‘Why aren’t we doing this regularly?’ It’s true: Why don’t we put more effort into making sure the lighting is right, the candles are lit, all of our senses are engaged? Then my son pointed out: ‘We were all so busy all the time, but now we have music on all the time.’ There’s an opportunity now to take this time, if we’re able, to find ways to make our homes feel a little more celebratory. Last night we played a board game on the coffee table.”

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  1. 2

    Sleep In—and Take Baths
    When You Can

    “We usually shower because there just isn’t time. But I’ve been taking a bath every single day. I’m trying to turn moments that I’d typically rush through into a little more of a ritual or a celebration. I’ve also been sleeping more. I’ve allowed myself to go to bed early and wake up a little later. For the bath, you want to set yourself up in your bathroom: Create a vessel—even something like a ceramic cup or bowl or a pretty glass—to put Epsom salts or another soak for the bath in. And I love to have a candle.”

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  1. 3

    Make Your Bed and Walk the Dog

    “There’s an amazing opportunity to set ourselves up for creation and appreciation, whether it’s in the way we set our table, how we style our bookshelves, or making sure we make our bed every morning. This is the time to appreciate one another and appreciate our homes. Taking my puppy on walks to the beach and playing Frisbee with him makes a huge difference in how I feel. We used to have these quick moments before we rushed out the door, and all of a sudden, we can slow down and appreciate more.”

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  1. 4

    Set an Intention for the Day

    “I often burn incense, sage, or palo santo as a ritual for myself each morning. I usually wake up before my husband and son, so I like to have a moment of stillness. I set an intention for the day and clear the energy. This ceremony starts my day with focus and positivity.”

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  1. 5

    Clean the Basement, Garage, or a Closet

    “A great project is an obvious one: Go through the things you’ve been saying you want to give away or round up for a yard sale. It feels good to be on top of something, to be celebrating home.”

  1. 6

    Always. Be. Straightening.

    “I’m a cook, so I cook all the time—but now it’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner all at home, of course. It means we have to stay on top of doing the dishes and putting things away properly and wiping down the countertops. But also what a treasure to be sitting down and sharing every meal with our families. Get out your nice linens, your favorite plates—make it an occasion.”

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  1. 7

    Read (Especially Poetry)

    “Reading can be such a big escape. I love Mary Oliver—so much of her poetry is about nature, and I’m lucky to be spending a lot more time in nature right now (we’re out of the city). Also uplifting: The Gift by Hafiz. And I’ve been reading this powerful poem called ‘Keeping Quiet’ by Pablo Neruda. I am really feeling the power of words and a universal, collective energy of wanting to find some kind of answer, within science but also within the heart.”

  1. 8

    Make Small Repairs

    “There were scuffs all over the wall and holes that needed to be filled from paintings we’d moved around, so my husband and I had a little let’s-take-care-of-our-home day. He was patching holes, and I was going around with a paintbrush fixing all the mucks on the wall. Usually there’s never enough time to get through all we need to do.”

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