My Classiky Desk Tool Box

I purchased my Classiky Desk Tool Box from Baum Kuchen in Los Angeles after asking a long list of questions of my dear friend and stationery GURU Eunice Roe about the box.  It was a considered purchase so boy did I consider it.  Eunice warned me that the box would not be good for air travel, being jostled in a suitcase, it was too fragile, and better suited to be a desktop letter-writing box.  As you will see from all the pics in this blog, I completely ignored her advice.  I will say after the travels I have taken it on, it is still in perfect shape but I do agree with Eunice, it is a better for being left at home on your desk or in your crafting studio.

Rhinebeck, NY – this is the first trip my Classiky took.  I was staying in the woods on a retreat with a dear friend and needed to have all my letter writing gear.

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Westport, CT – I spent last Labor Day weekend housesitting for one of my besties in Westport.  It was so amazing to get away from my studio apartment and have an entire house to myself.  And what a house and back yard it is.  I wrote letters every day and virtually participated in the Letter Writers Alliance Letter Writing Social.  My Classiky was VERY happy in Westport.

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Palm Springs, CA – this was the first time my Classiky Desk Took Box got to the west coast.  I was lucky enough to be invited to the weekend 40th birthday celebration of one of the member of the NYC Letter Writers Society.  I spent one glorious evening that we all stayed in, writing letters.

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NOMAD, NYC – this park off of Madison Square is one of my fave letter writing haunts when the weather is great as it is right under the FlatIron building and looks directly at the Empire State Building.  In a real estate obsessed town, you can’t get any better.

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Davis Bay, St. Croix – Just last week I took my Classiky to the Carambola Beach here on la isla bonita for an afternoon letter writing session and to enjoy the beauty of my homeland.  I had just learned that Hurricane Maria was bearing down on us and I wanted to engage with the natural beauty and let the sound of the waves de-stress me.  It worked and I wrote some lovely letters from this vantage point.

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What do I fill my Classiky box with when I go on a trip:  Rubber stamps and lots of them including my rolling date stamper and return address stamp, an ink pad, many rolls of washi tape, pencils, stickers, erasers, colored pencils, copic markers and postcards.

I collect postcards and I put some of the ones I will never send in the top of my Classiky. It takes them out of the box where I store all my stationery and gets me to feast my eyes on them.  I usually change my two featured postcards every month.

Hope you have enjoyed the tour of my Classiky….it sure does get around – LOL – happy letter writing!

Until the next blog, Rhea

 

 

Hurricane destressing with a letter writing challenge

IMG_1598I lived through some pretty gnarly hurricanes growing up on la isla bonita.  Hurricane Hugo specifically that left us without electricity for 9 months.  Yes, I learned many survival skills.  We also had a 6pm curfew for weeks.  The bright side of this was that I read most of my high school text books thoroughly and as a result aced four AP courses which allowed me to test out of the first semester of college.  Gotta find the silver lining!

So when I found out that Hurricane Irma was bearing down on St. Croix, I was reasonably stressed.  I knew there would be a lot of waiting time before and after the storm with no wi-fi, and likely no electricity.  A light went off in my head that this would be a great time to write letters.  This calmed me down by directing my focus to something I love to do.

After we did all the necessary pre-storm preparations, I got busy packing a letter writing kit.  That kind of makes it sound like a small case.  So let’s be honest, it is a huge gardening tote from Apolis with lots of cool pockets that I have repurposed into a letter writing supply bag.   When I packed up my Carrie Bradshaw desk and put it in storage in NYC, I knew I was going to have to find a way to store all my letter writing gear in a portable way until I had a permanent home again.  One Saturday this spring after leaving a letter writing session at Maman Soho on Centre Street, I passed Apolis.  I have wanted one of their Market Bags since a trip to Ojai two years ago so I popped in to get a NYC version of the Market Bag.  They were sold out so I browsed around and saw the Gardening Tote and thought it would be perfect for all my gear.  I thought about it for two weeks as I do with most big purchases and then went back to get it.

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I packed tons of cards and stationery, my vintage and current postage stamps,  my favorite Palomino pencils, my portable pencil sharpener, my entire collection of Copic markers, my favorite new Caran D’Ache colored pencils, an ink pad, my return address stamp and a few other rubber stamps, my letter writing clipboard, my journal and my watercolor paint set.  And of course Postmaster Patrick resides in one of the outer pockets.  He is a hand knitted doll given to me by my snail mate Patrick of Edelweiss Post.

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Once I was all settled in at Grandma’s house on Tuesday evening, I started writing letters and hand lettering.  We lost our electricity at 9:30 the next morning and Grandma and I sat on her screened in porch all morning waiting for the storm.  Before Irma was directly  over us, I was at the 15 letter mark so I decided I was going to turn Hurricane Irma into a 30 letter writing challenge.  With my mind completely focused on that I forgot about all the terrible things that could happen and just wrote and addressed and wrote and addressed.

When the curfew was lifted the next morning at 6am, I had 31 letters completed.  As you can see from the photo, only one was a postcard full of stickers or my definition of cheating.  Most importantly everyone was safe and sound.  My memories of Irma are now all about time spent with my Grandmother and the 31 people I connected with while I wrote to them.  Here is a little look at my output.

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In the event that you are a nervous flier, writing letters is also a great distraction when flying.  If you want to try a 30 letter snail mail challenge and get your mail box filled with mail, head on over the shop and pick up your 30 Days of Letters Kit.  You may just find that you pick up a habit you can use to calm you during times of stress!

Until the next blog, Rhea

 

 

 

A little girl, a Princess and a love letter…

Everyone can remember with startling clarity where they were when tragic events happened.  For my mom’s generation it was the  assassination of President Kennedy or Martin Luther King, Jr.  For me of course September 11th is a big one.  One that really stands out for me is the death of Princess Diana of Wales.  At the time I was living in Boston and had just driven back from 2 days in Martha’s Vineyard where I had been to see Henry Louis Gates, Jr., host a panel on race in America.  I got back to my apartment and tired from the day travel, I took a nap.  When I woke up around 9pm I turned on the news and saw the reports of Diana’s accident and breathed a sigh relief once it was announced that she was alive and only had a leg injury.  Not long after the truth was revealed.

As a little girl growing up on an island in the Caribbean I spent my free time with my nose in a book.  Three of my favorites were photography books on Princess Diana.  I was obsessed with her…those watery blue eyes, her impeccable style and the dresses, oh the dresses.  I remember waking up at 4am in 1981 to watch her get married to Prince Charles and being mesmerized by the crowds, the carriage, the tiara, the train of her dress and wanting during the ceremony to finally hear her voice when she took her vows.  Such a different world than the one we live in now.

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The Principal of my school in 1981 was a red headed British woman named Sylvia Bibby who had a huge St. Bernard dog.  7 year old me found out that she went to England each summer when school was out and immediately thought she would be able to deliver a letter to Princess Diana for me.  I went to her and asked and she said she couldn’t make any promises but to write the letter and she would try to get it to the Princess.  I can’t remember what happened after that but she must have been successful because 1 year later I received a letter from Buckingham Palace.

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I’ll never forget how excited I was to get that letter and to feel the imprint of  Buckingham Palace on the stationery.  In the letter from Hazel West, HRH’s Lady in Waiting, I was told that the Princess was unable to send me an autographed picture.  Despite the fact that I did not receive the autographed picture I requested in the letter, I was still so excited that I framed the letter and put it next to my bed.  And I was on to my next quest which was what is a Lady-in-waiting how one becomes a Lady-in-Waiting.   I tortured my mother to help me figure that out.  Ahhhh the days before the internet.

As fate would have it, I became somewhat of a Lady-in-Waiting.  For 15 years I worked for a celebrity who personally responded to every request she received for an autographed picture.  I remember some years ago when we were on a trip to London sitting on the floor of her suite recapping what we had done during our free time that day.  I told her I had gone to Kensington Palace to see an exhibit of Diana’s dresses and then I told her about the letter.  She marveled at my 7 year old desire and at Mrs. Bibby.  Always one to get the room laughing……I’ll never forget she said “how lucky were you to have a Principal who cared so much”…..and then “so I wonder what ever happened to Hazel West?”.

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August 31st marks the 20th Anniversary of Diana’s death.  I will never forget waking up at 4am on September 6th 1997 to watch Diana’s funeral.  My friend Jenn came from NYC and we spent the day watching and crying.  A few months ago as I was going through all my old books at home I found those well worn Princess Diana books and out floated the letter.  It made me smile at 7 year old me and it made me happy that I sent a love letter to a Princess I loved who enchanted so many of my days.  To whom will you send a love letter today?

 

 

 

Poetry Pen Pals

I met my bosom buddy Heidi at a retreat in Los Angeles the week of October 12, 2012.  She has flawless style, red hair and walks like a gazelle.  I’ll never forget the moment when I told her I loved her boots and we struck up a conversation.  Such a good decision it was to deliver that compliment.  In the words of Alec Baldwin (another thing Heidi and I share a love for) “I was a fan.  I still am.  That never goes away.”

As fate would have it 6 months later, we randomly ended up roommates during another retreat, this time in Ojai, CA and our friendship was cast in stone.  We shared our secrets and our fears and giggled to each other late into the nights.  It was during this time that I learned Heidi is an artist, a lover of poetry and writes in the most beautiful hand.

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It was after we returned home from that trip that Heidi sent me a poem in the mail.  No letter, or note, just a poem.  It was stunning.  I was left to my own devices to interpret the poem, what she meant by sending it, what was going on in her life that made her connect to it.  And thus we became poetry pen pals and another layer of our friendship formed.

There have been times when the poems have been accompanied by a bar of rosemary infused milk chocolate or a bag of homemade granola.  I love all those little extras but I rush to read and understand the poems.  One poem came in the form of a postcard.  It was a poem I had heard before by a great Caribbean writer, Derek Walcott.  The poem written in Heidi’s gorgeous, architect style penmanship touched me so deeply that I immediately framed it and put it by my bedside.

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Heidi and I often have long phone conversations and interestingly enough we don’t speak about the poems.  It’s almost as if they exist in another world that exists between us, that makes us understand one another better and appreciate one another more and it never has to be spoken about.  There is no set meter for this exchange of poems.  We send them when we find ones that resonate and then they arrive like a surprise.

So if you are ever at a loss for what to say in a letter – don’t hesitate to send someone your favorite poem.  The person my never have never been blessed with the beautiful verses and it may spark a new tradition that enriches both of your lives.

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It’s a blue, blue summer

No this blog won’t be about Bananarama : )  It’s about my favorite letter writing spot in NYC is Maman Tribeca.  A splendid little french confection where you can wile the day away with the most delicious Quiche, chocolate chunk cookies, coffee….and for me tea.  I was introduced to Maman 2 years ago by one of my besties and loved it so much I began making the short walk from my apartment there every weekend to write letters.

Sometimes despite how lovely our homes are, we need to experience another environment where we can get away from our quotidian responsibilities.  Those places can inspire us, make us feel at home and make us appreciate our own homes when we return to them.

Maman soon became my favorite date spot with @sdionbakerdesign.  And eventually I started going every morning on my way to work when time permitted.  I am fascinated by the patterns of the coffee/tea cups – each day the barista gave me a different one.  I started taking pictures of them to save for a Pinterest board of tile ideas for my one day dream home.  Being in that beautiful space and carrying the pretty tea cups on the subway made me want to redecorate my apartment in a blue and white theme.

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I just kept envisioning the wallpaper all the time and gravitating to everything blue and white that I encountered.  I decided it might be a little less costly to create a box for Mail More Love with Maman as my muse.  So I did just that.  The Blue Box contains five amazing cards for varying occasions by some amazing card makers. One of them features the illustration of one of my favorite illustrators Kelsey Garrity Riley.

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Also enclosed is my favorite roll of washi tape in the world.  For use on your mail, in your journal, planner or anywhere you want to make more beautiful.  If you lined your walls with this washi, you just might feel like you were in Maman.

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I always write the location I write from at the top of my letters.  The people who received some of my Maman letters loved looking it up on-line and being able to visualize where I was when I was writing.  Next time you are in NYC, pop into one of the Maman locations….and if you see a brunette with curly hair writing letters, it just might be me!

Until the next note, Rhea

Summer Letter Writing Challenge

I began my foray into writing a letter every day with a 30 day snail mail challenge back in July of 2015.  Below is a FLIPAGRAM of the 30 days.  That adventure filled my world with gems I never expected to encounter.  My own stationery business, a snail mate, friends near and far, a Letter Writing Society, and a role-playing fairy godmother to fledgling letter writing groups across the country, to name a few.  As I saw July approaching I felt compelled to repeat the challenge to connect with 30 special people and hopefully inspire many others to send more mail!

Back in March I launched my 30 days of Letters Kit and it was a big hit!  I got lots of feedback about the ways people used the kit.  Most bought it with the intention of filling their loved ones mail boxes and getting lots of mail back in return.  Others just wanted to revive the lost art of letter writing.

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Science says that it takes 21 days to create a habit – bad or good.  Some people began using the /30 rubber stamp included in the kit to keep track of the days they wrote in their journal.  Other stamped the inside covers of books they read as part of a book challenge they were doing and some used it to track 30 days of new recipes on recipe cards.  If you decide to do the challenge – follow along and let me know you are writing by posting on Instagram and hashtagging #thesummer30daysofletters.  You might pick up some new pen pals and become a Mail More Luvah!

This is how I will be structuring my 30 day challenge – 10 days of ice cream themed cards, 10 days of postcards, and 10 days of old-fashioned letters.  I put them all in a box, any box will do – try a shoe box.  Put some pens, pencils, postage stamps and anything else you like to make your mail pretty and you are off to the post office!  Each day grab that box and write a note to someone you love.

If you need a few tips to make this challenge easy breezy – click on this link to my blog about the 30 Days of Letters kit

Until the next note, Rhea

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Staying cool this summer…..

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When I started thinking about what the theme July box for Mail More Love would be, I thought – what are my favorite summer memories?  Summer trips to visit my Aunt – my very first pen pal.  My Aunt was the coolest grown up kid in the world, and she continues to be today.  When I think of summer, I think of her driving me and my sister around in her too cool for school car, singing us songs, taking us to puppet shows and sooooo many trips to get ice cream.

Now that I’m all grown up, I still go visit my Aunt in the summer time and when we’re lucky enough to have my Mom with us we always make time for ice cream.  As a fussy kid who would only eat mint chocolate chip ice cream if it was green : ), I marveled at the flavors my Mom, Aunt and Uncle ordered – coffee, jamocha almond fudge, peppermint stick – and they got jimmies!?!

The July box is dedicated to all those summers and my Mom – the greatest lover of ice cream I’ve ever met.  She put herself through college scooping ice cream and she had to eat all of her mistakes!  Pretty good gig, I’d say.  This picture is from our last trip to Richardson’s Ice Cream in Massachusetts – who has the best homemade ice cream and where I used to go look at the cows when I was a kid while I ate my ice cream.   I got a HUGE cone filled with one of those adult flavors : ) – peppermint stick – and i loved every last lick!

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Independent Bookstores – my favorite!

My mom is a librarian and my sister demanded no less than 4 books read to her each night when I was en utero so clearly I am an obsessive reader…..and letter writer….well I guess I am an obsessive everything.  I worked at Barnes and Nobles when I was in college and barely took home a dime. When I moved to NYC 18 years ago my passion for independent bookstores grew exponentially.  When I lived uptown, my favorite was The Corner Bookstore on Madison Avenue.  The cash register is enough to make you faint.IMG_5409As my life progressed downtown I became a regular at Three Lives & Company and McNally Jackson.  McNally Jackson has one heck of a card section so it’s pretty much where my budget goes to die between the books and the cards. This is a pic of one of my recent hauls : ).IMG_8114

It is also situated on my my favorite walk in the city, the route from Soho through Tribeca to my apartment.  Probably my FAVORITE thing to do in the world is wander around NYC.  I fancy myself a Flâneuse which is defined as the feminine form of flâneur; an idler, a dawdling observer, usually found in cities (as coined by Lauren Elkin in her amazing book Flâneuse).  More on that in another blog.  When a wander includes McNally, or any independent bookstore, it’s heaven.

But the reason I love both of these stores and truly any independent bookstore is that I find book treasures that I would never discover in a big chain store.  Case in point a book I found a few weeks ago on one of my dawdling wanders through McNally Jackson, The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman.  Of course it was the title that first caught my eye – the reference to a postman.  When I read the premise I was shocked.  I stood at the table and read up to page 8 and after this passage, I knew I had to read the book:

“Bilodo was an unusual postman.
Among the thousands of soulless pieces of paper he delivered on his rounds, he occasionally came across a personal letter – a less and less common item in this era of email, and all the more fascinating for being so rare.  When that happened, Bilodo felt as excited as a prospector spotting a gold nugget in his pan.  He did not deliver that letter.  Not right away.  He took it home and steamed it open.  That’s what kept him so busy at night in the privacy of his apartment.”

IMG_8116I guess now I know why it takes so long for some of my mail to be delivered.  Just kidding USPS!  This slim little novella captured my attention and I must admit I was a little on edge the entire time I read it, constantly waiting for Bilodo to get caught.  If you love mail, all things postal and poetry, you will love this book.  And there is a sequel which isn’t out yet.   Not giving anything away but it’s called The Postman’s Fiancé.

Until the next note, Rhea

 

 

Dear Sally…

Saturday night I had the pleasure of seeing Lillian Helman’s The Little Foxes on Broadway with two theatre actresses I am absolutely enamored with – Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon.  I saw Cynthia Nixon in Wit years ago and vowed to see her on stage whenever I could.  On the subway ride home, I got to thinking about the fan mail I recently wrote to one of my favorite actresses, Sally Field. In March, I saw her in The Glass Menagerie and it took my breath away. But more than that, it left a deep imprint on me and the show kept flashing through my mind weeks later.  This new interpretation of this great work has been controversial but boy did it ever hit the nail on the head.IMG_7653

A week ago after reading an article in the Sunday Styles I decided to write Sally Field a letter.  Not just about my thoughts about the show but about her career and what it has meant to me throughout my life.  I sat outside at the Sweet Corner Bakeshop on the corner of Hudson and Charles in the West Village and put it all on paper. It started on an Iron Curtain Press card and continued on Rifle stationery.  As it usually happens, the words just flowed out of me.  I started with Gidget and and the Flying Nun and went through each role, without using Google, just my memories of Ms. Field each time she touched me the deepest.  With each of those roles she became that person and I could find each of them within me.  As I type this I realize that in my stream of consciousness letter writing, I forgot to include the movie I have seen 10 times – Steel Magnolias and the line I quote to myself all the time – “Your colors are pink and pink”.  Oh well, she won’t mind the omission.  IMG_8085

I used to work for a celebrity who wrote back to every single piece of fan mail she received.  Quite and achievement.  I don’t expect Ms. Field to write me back, that wasn’t the purpose of this letter or any of the others I have written to famous people who have touched me.  It was simply to let her know that what she set out to do with each role was achieved.  She knows when she looks at all her awards and reviews and wealth that she has succeeded but sometimes it makes all the difference in the world to hear it from the person who showed up at the theatre or tuned into the show week after week (Brothers and Sisters – boy I miss that show!).  And that is reason I write letters – to let someone know that I was holding them in my mind with love.

Special Delivery….

After I finished the letter and lettered the enveloped in true Devoted Diarist style, I had the brilliant idea that I would walk it over to the box office where I bought the ticket to The Glass Menagerie and ask them to give it to her.  My office is right next to the Theatre District so I always buy my tickets in person to hand pick my seats and avoid service fees.  I sprung the news on my colleague, Kara that we were walking to the Belasco Theatre at lunch to see if they would accept a letter for Sally Field.  She was game.IMG_8161

Much to my excitement when I asked if I could leave a letter for Ms. Field, the gentleman at the box office said “you need to leave it backstage.  Go around to the stage door and ring the buzzer”.  The man who let us in was so lovely and said he is the first person Ms. Field sees when she arrives and he would be happy to deliver it.  I was so thrilled to know that she would actually receive the letter that I skipped up the street on our way to get lunch.  I don’t expect a response from her.  This particular fan mail, was a deep and sincere thank you to a role model and icon – and a thank you note needs no reply.

Until the next note, Rhea

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Part 2 of my interview with Of Note Stationers – partners in letter writing

IMG_7140After 10 months of writing letters in 2016, Kate, Isabel and I, finally met at the Renegade Craft Fair in NYC where Of Note Stationers had a beautiful booth.  It was amazing to meet in person for the first time and yet feel like I was meeting old friends.  We went for coffee after the Fair wrapped up and the conversation that ensued remains one of the most thought provoking discussions of my year.  It worked out just perfectly that evening as it does with things that are meant to be, that I got to spend time with Kate and Isabel together and time alone with both of them.  And as I walked away from the subway car that carried Isabel off to Brooklyn, I thought to myself – these are two remarkable ladies.  I’m so glad I took the chance to reach out to them and forge a connection that will never be broken.  Here’s part two of my interview with them and a very special Flipogram of my correspondence with them.

Your Make America Love Campaign is so amazing.  What inspired you to create it?  What is the most magical thing that has come from this endeavor?

KK: It was our participation in the Women’s March that prompted us to create our Advocacy Postcards. We owe it to the Women’s March organizers for creating 10 actions for the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency. The first action was writing to your representatives and, being stationers, we of course wanted to make our own postcards. The designs were inspired by phrases we saw on signs, or chants that we heard, during the Women’s March.

Make America Love Again is our favorite one because the layout references vintage book covers which we have really been enjoying lately. And of course it ties in so well with our #loveletter campaign! In all seriousness though, it is what we truly wish for our country, that everyone operate from a place of love, first and foremost. Imagine how that would transform the nation.

The most magical thing that came from this endeavor was having a Write-In Event in Boston. We printed 200 postcards assuming that we would have leftovers. Every single card was used. Guess we all needed a little handwritten healing.

IB: We owe it to the Women’s March organizers for coming up with the 10 Actions 100 Days challenge. We were empowered by our involvement in the March and the momentum it generated across the country. Since the first prompt was to write to our representatives, we decided in addition to using them ourselves, we would offer all postcard designs on our website for others to download. We felt it was truly important to have these as a free offering so that together our voices can be heard.

One of the most magical things stemming out of this endeavor has been seeing individuals come together for a cause. In March, we co-hosted a Postcard Write-In Event with our friends at Space Boston and got together with members of the Boston community to write and mail 200+ postcards. Although the event was by no means the scale of the Women’s March, it seemed like at least for the night, we truly made an impact in our community by providing the space for others to connect and advocate.

If you could correspond with one woman you don’t currently know, who would she be?

KK: Just this week, through an Of a Kind newsletter, I stumbled across the work of Alexandra Elle. I should probably read her work first, but I am infatuated by someone who can build their life’s work around self-love, self-care, and healing.

IB: Currently it is Linda Rodin, the stylish lady behind Olio Lusso. I just find her very peculiar, and imagine she would have exquisite handwriting and amazing stories from her past as a fashion stylist.

Kate do you write love letters to your fiancé?  Isabel do you write love letters to your husband?

KK: Yes, indeed I do!

Every year I give Russell at least 12 postcards chronicling different moments from the year, both good moments and challenging moments. After 3 years of doing this I thought I could stop, but he finally caught on to the trend and the 4th year was like, “do I get my postcards this year?,” and so the writing continues. This August will be 8 years.

We also had three years of long distance, so during that time we sent a notebook back and forth that we both wrote in. Russell ended up including our postcards in his proposal and we spent a part of that weekend re-reading our writing from our first year of long distance. When re-reading the journal we realized how this correspondence foreshadowed Of Note.

IB: I do! I do! I definitely write love letters to my husband, but probably not as often as I should. I would say every year for his birthday I dedicate a nice lengthy letter to him, and then every year for our anniversary, we exchange letters. While my notes are long and wordy, his are always so much deeper. Letters are actually my favorite part about our anniversary every year. I know we rarely say out loud the things we are able express via handwritten notes, so it just feels amazing to connect that way and to be able to read, and re read those special words as many times as I want. I guess that is the true wonder of tangible letters, right?

You do a lot of custom work for Of Note.  What types of projects do you love most and why?

KK: Ooo good question. Hard to choose, but if I must, I am really loving our wedding invitation work right now. A recent request was for a suite that was “New York, classic, traditional, and romantic.” This was right up our alley which made it really fun for us to design and then super gratifying when our clients LOVED it.

What is your favorite place to write letters?

KK: Amherst Coffee, a hip coffee shop / whiskey bar, that is walking distance from my house. I like to sit in the window seat with a glass of wine and my letter writing supplies.

IB: As of late it is more of a time than a place. I think I mentioned this previously, but I really enjoy that golden hour and it just so happens that my home office gets pretty good afternoon light. So, I really enjoy writing letters at my desk at home, but most importantly it has to be at the right time.

Do you have any people in your life that you would be willing to only communicate with via handwritten note?

KK: Very interesting question. I think I would be willing to with anyone, if that was the only way, but I do really value connecting in person as well. Letter writing is a great way to deepen relationships and stay connected when you are separated, but after having met two of my pen pals in person, including you, I wouldn’t want to go back to not knowing the “in the flesh” version.

IB: I think if my paternal grandfather was still around, I would love to communicate with him strictly via handwritten letters. He was not really the warmest human being in person, so I’d like to imagine that I would get to know his warm and affectionate side if we were to only correspond via letters. In addition, whenever I visited he was either reading or writing. I also have this vivid memory of him sitting on his recliner, cigarette in hand, and a stash of recently opened letters on the side table. They were mostly bills, but still, I remember those envelopes. I was actually given his letter opener after he passed, and I put it to use every day.

How do you store your most treasured correspondence?

KK: Still working on this…I currently have a bin that I store under my bed. This has been great considering how often I move. But hoping that I am settling in one place soon, I’d like to invest in some nice boxes (like these) that perhaps live in a more accessible location in our home moving forward.

IB: I have a wooden box on my shelf where I store all incoming letters. I find it excruciatingly  hard to let go of these, so I often just stash all my correspondence in this box–see below– and eventually I go through them. I’ll sit down to re-read them, and identify the most treasured. Once identified, those extra meaningful letters graduate to an additional box on that same shelf (it’s just a white photo box) full of treasured notes ranging from birthday cards written by my late grandfather to anniversary letters from my husband to letters from my girlfriends.

Isabel vase

Thank you Isabel and Kate for taking the time to share your love of creating beautiful stationery for all of us paper LOVERS to enjoy.  And thank you for being amazing pen pals.  As promised here is a visual recap of my letters to Isabel and Kate…..signed sealed delivered, I’m yours ladies! Don’t forget to turn your sound on.