The Gratitude Letters – start today!

IMG_1925Those of you following along here and on Instagram know that Hurricane Maria blew through St. Croix, the current location of the Mail More Love studio, leaving massive destruction in her wake.  While the studio itself was unharmed, life here changed dramatically overnight.  We have been without electricity since September 19th which makes life very difficult.  My post office was destroyed and air traffic halted for 3 weeks which made operating the business almost impossible.  But we persevered.

Before the storm came through  and I was happily bouncing though life, I had the honor of having Mail More Love featured in The Oprah Magazine.  The feature appeared in the October issue and was the culmination of many hours of planning and preparation.  My plan was to launch a letter writing campaign called ‘The Gratitude Letters’ to coincide with the drop date of the magazine in the second week of September.  But Hurricane Maria had other plans.

I reached out to my dear friend, fellow NYC Letter Writers Society Member and favorite artist Samantha Dion Baker (if you don’t already follow her – you should, her posts will brighten your every day) and asked her to do a little illustration for me of  ‘The Gratitude Letters’.  We have been working on another project for a few months that was similar to what I wanted for this, so Samantha used a lot of those elements in the illustration of a postage stamp and a stack of letters.

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The initial concept was to inspire as many people as possible to send letters of gratitude, post them on instagram and tag the posts with #thegratitudeletters.  Thank you notes are some of the first letters I wrote as a child. I can hear my mother in my head asking me if I wrote a thank you note to Aunt Gerry for the birthday gift she sent me – eye roll.  The practice of sending letters of thanks has been a lifelong one for me.  But Oprah helped me expand that a few years ago when I undertook using my 5 year journal to write down 5 things each day that I am thankful for.  The practice was a game changer and opened my eyes that writing letters and notes of thanks for the tiniest of gestures can have a huge impact on others.

For those of you who read my post Hurricane Irma blog, you know that I wrote letters all throughout that storm and what a joy it was.  Post Hurricane Maria, I didn’t write letters at all because facing the devastation each day was hard enough and retelling it on paper felt impossible.  But now as Thanksgiving beckons I know it is time to launch #thegratitudeletters.  So get out your letter writing supplies or head on over to www.mailmorelove.com and buy a box that ships immediately and start writing your gratitude letters.  Post them on Instagram and tag them with ‘Thegratitudeletters’.

In case you are stumped about what you can write about, here are some ideas you can give thanks or express your gratitude for: being an amazing friend, that cup of coffee you bought me last year, inspiring me to find another job, giving me your meatloaf recipe, for always greeting me with a smile, for always knowing exactly what to say, telling me about the farmers market, calling me to console me when my dog was at the vet….the list goes on an on.  The more we focus on what we have in our lives the richer they become.

Each day for the next thirty days I will write a letter giving thanks for all my blessings.  In my post hurricane world, it will be easy to find reasons to give thanks such as – thanks for letting me use your WIFI, thanks for sending me the name of a guy who can hook up a generator, thanks for letting me shower at your house after the storm, telling me which store is selling ice, thanks for listening to me vent……I have tons of thank you’s to write.  And this will be the perfect warm up for sending holiday cards!  By the time January comes, the habit of writing letters will be established and your mail box will likely be full of lovely return mail.

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I hope you get carried away with giving thanks.  It is what Oprah intended and what I intend.  I also hope it inspires some of your recipients to express their gratitude for acts large and small as well.

Until the next note, Rhea

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?

 

 

 

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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A very special interview with Of Note Stationers….partners in letter writing

On New Years Eve 2015, I stayed in a woke up at 4am to watch the very first sunrise of 2016.  When I got home, I wrote a letter to a friend, hand lettered the envelope, photographed it and posted it on Instagram.  It was something I had been doing with almost daily consistency since July of 2015.  Two days later I read a post by Kate from Of Note Stationers that said: “New notebook and new resolutions, one of which is writing one letter a day for 366 days”.  I thought, I should do that, I’m already posting almost every day – why not make the commitment?  The wheels in my head started turning at 85 miles an hour as they usually do when an idea takes over my brain.  Within a few days I had designed a 366 stamp and had them hand carved so Kate, Isabel and I could adorn each piece of outgoing mail with the message of our project.  I sent a package to them with a letter (pictured below) explaining what I had in mind and a great pen pal odyssey ensued that continues today.

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Kate had the brilliant idea to interview each other about our 366 day #yearofsnailmail in honor of National Letter Writing Month.  So here you will find Isabel and Kate’s answers to my questions and on their blog you will find my answers to their questions.  Happy reading!

Ladies, thank you for inspiring me to do my year of snail mail in 2016.  What made you decide to do the 366 day challenge?  What was your favorite thing about doing the challenge?  What was your least favorite thing?

KK: I decided to take on this challenge because I felt that if I was going to talk the talk I needed to walk the walk. Isabel and I started this company because we needed an outlet, a means to slow down, a means to be creative, and a means to connect with others. But as our hobby became our job, one that we absolutely love, I didn’t prioritize my own letter writing. Every day I was choosing to encourage others to reach out and connect, but I wasn’t making time for myself and so the challenge began.

My favorite thing about the challenge was getting into a flow of writing. I am no Rhea Abramson though. By that I mean, I wasn’t able to write every single day, so instead, I would write in long spurts, 7 letters in one sitting, kind of thing. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explains that during flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life. I found this to be entirely true with my letter writing. Words would stream from my mind to the page, I felt fully engaged and present with the recipient, and new ideas of whom I could write to would keep popping into my head.

My least favorite thing was the fact that this style made me feel perpetually behind. Moving forward I can do a better job of being kind to myself and trusting that in my own time it will all get done.

IB: Although this was Kate’s personal resolution for 2016, I really enjoyed being by her side as she took on such a challenge. It was truly inspirational to witness her determination to complete the 366 letters handwritten letters–which she did in early January and I am so proud of her for doing so!! Her challenge also pushed me to write more, as I found myself often corresponding in response to her notes :). I also realized that while our little company is growing and we spend time designing new product, improving our website, attending in person events, etc., that carving time everyday for that hobby, which we fell for, is equally important. After all, it is the reason why we began designing our own cards. I still often struggle to make time during the week for letter writing, but I have found that leaving my basket full of letter writing supplies out on my desk really makes it easier to recognize how important putting pen to paper, slowing down, and connecting with others is for me. My favorite time to write is in the afternoon, when the light is golden, right before sunset. There is something magical about that time and I so wish I was home at my desk by that time every day.

Besides learning about what Kate discovered to be challenging–having to catch up on letters every weekend– it inspired me to take on the Love Letter a Week challenge this year.

I could really relate to your February Blog about vanishing time…..are you liking our 2017 Love Letter a Week challenge?  How is it going for you this far?  Are the people you write love letters to responding?

KK: Yes! I am loving it 😉 With each note we are exploring different ways to express and share love with all Of Note cards. This is a wonderful quote from Krista Tippett in her book Becoming Wise that I am using as my guiding principle:

“Love is another word that is a bit (or a lot) ruined–something we routinely speak of as something to fall into and fall out of. But as a piece of intelligence about what makes us human, and what we are capable of, it is a virtue and way of being…a fantastic new companion in stepping out of fear and into care, and realizing our natural belonging one to another.”

And how is it going…welp…I got a little behind, but I am back on track and finding that planning ahead and staying consistent is key. With this post I am declaring for myself that my love letters are written and shared on Saturday. Please hold me to it!

And yes, people are responding, slowly, but surely. Having your /52 stamp and our “love inside” stamp really piques the recipient’s interest  and makes it clear that this is not just any letter.

IB: This year’s Love Letter a Week has been fun so far! I think my favorite part about it putting our own designs to test. I also really enjoy adorning envelopes with the “love inside” stamp, which we specifically designed for the challenge. I have to admit, I’ve been stamping a lot of letters with it lately–and by a lot, I mean most :). I started off by sending the first letter to my mother in law and received such a wonderful note in return. I think spreading love seemed so necessary after last year’s devastating election that it has truly turned my mindset around as I focus on the positivity in daily life.

Do you write handwritten letters each other?

KK: Yes we do! And Isabel has the best supplies! I covet her date stamp and all the different address labels she has. We use this medium as a way to catch up just as friends and paper lovers. Sometimes we’ll include little treats from our travels like Mrs. Grossman’s stickers or a business card that we liked.

IB: We often do! Before we were business partners, we were friends, and early in the journey of Of Note we would exchange letters with ideas about this paper business of ours. Although we lived in the same city up until last Fall, there seems to always be much left unsaid when we meet up to work or hang out. That’s when we take pen to paper 🙂 I am truly lucky to be able to share inspiration, express my frustrations, ask for relationship or friendship advice, receive movie and book recommendations, share current podcasts obsessions, and even some laughs via notes to my dearest business partner, Kate. She always knows how to put a smile on my face, whether she sends a short postcard, a gratitude, or a more in depth catch up letter. It is so nice to see her handwriting and signature, especially since we correspond via the digital medium on the day to day.

What inspired you to create Of Note Stationers?  What keeps you motivated to create gorgeous paper products?

KK: Dissatisfaction and a need to slow down.  After three years working as a Special Education teacher I decided to take some time off. I was burnt out from working 60-80 hour weeks and needed space to determine if this really was the best path for me. At the same time, Isabel and her husband were planning their wedding and designing their own invitations. To top it off they had a friend letterpress print their invitations. I was blown away by Isabel’s talent and thought to myself we could create something special together.

Leading up to the launch of our business were many months of figuring out who we wanted to be and how we wanted to contribute the stationery world. In that time we established that it was the “just because” niche of the greeting card industry that captivated us. Within that niche, it was the small yet significant moments of reaching out to loved ones that we hoped to encourage.

And in time, Of Note was born. What we especially love about the phrase Of Note is the expected use of it for something extraordinary. We believe the opposite, that pausing to take note is notable in and of itself. The fact that one takes a moment to slow down, step out of his/her day to write, to reach out, and to share, is “Of Note.”

I just blabbed on for a good long while so I’ll let Isabel answer the second part of this question 🙂

IB: Ideas are never scarce when there are two running a business, so it makes it quite easy to continue developing products and putting them out into the world. Often times we are inspired by the things we wish existed, or by the words themselves. At the very beginning we were eager to make our designs a reality, and now that we have a full line (with more designs launching this coming May eeeek!), it is motivating to see the brand almost exist on its own. Meaning, yes, we are coming up with the ideas, but we are also expanding the line so that designs can have “siblings” or pairings of cards that stemmed out of an initial idea. I guess that sounds very poetic, but really there are so many ideas that we’ve written down and discussed but haven’t had time to explore yet.  There are so many elements that drive our business but ultimately it is this idea and desire to create space for the handwritten word and deepening connections.

I have a few more questions about love letters, places to write and special passion projects that will be in the next blog.  I will also talk about the special day when the three of us met.  And there will be a very special video of all the letters I wrote to Isabel and Kate during the 366 days of 2016.

Until the next note, Rhea

Layovers and travel letters

I’ve been made fun of in the past for being someone who has entertainment anxiety.  I consider it a product of growing up on an island in the Caribbean where there wasn’t a ton to do as a kid, which left lots of time for reading (some heroes included – Ramona Quimby, Anastasia Krumpink, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield), writing letters and lots of imagination time with my Strawberry Shortcake dolls.  As an adult, I always prepare myself for downtime on the subway, waiting in line, waiting for friends who are late.  I arm my purse with a book, my on-the-go letter writing kit and of course my Iphone. IMG_3731

This past Thursday I had a 3 hour layover that turned into a 7 hour layover.  My carryon was full of cards to be written and letters from pen pals to be responded to.  When I starred at the departures board in the airport and saw that my layover at first was extended to 5 hours, my first thought was great, “I’m gonna get so much done”.  I scouted out the nearest wall outlet, plugged in my phone and started writing letters. A few letters and 2 hours later on a bathroom break, I starred at the departures board again and noticed that my flight had been delayed again, making the total layover 7 hours.  I texted my mom and boyfriend to let them know and then set up camp again and began writing.  What I noticed at some point in that time was the absence of stress over this uncontrollable change of plans.  I credit it all to the epistolary time I spent with my pen pals.  And of course, I have to give some credit to the part of me that was  well prepared to quell my entertainment anxiety : )

“To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart” – Phyllis Theroux

One particular letter was to a Mail More Love subscriber who has turned into a pen pal.  She wrote me about a trip she was planning to New Orleans and I was writing back.  It got me thinking about some of my favorite letters to write – travel letters.  I have three kinds I write – postcards from my destination; letters written during travel about all the things I am doing that are different from my daily routine, usually written from a café wherever I am with a big iced tea in front of me; and my favorite, the revisiting letter.  I started writing those with my snailmate, Patrick of Edelweiss Post.  They usually come about organically because of something we are writing to each other. But in case you want to write a revisiting letter for National Letter Writing Month, here’s what I do.  I pick the place I visited that I remember fondly – say Santa Fe New Mexico and I close my eyes and revisit the trip in my mind.  I recount all the details from the trip that I can and by the end of the letter I feel just as enriched and excited as I did when I was actually on the trip. IMG_0015

Since I am on a trip right now, I’m going to sign off of the computer now and write some letters….here’s how one of them might begin….

April 2, 2017
St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
82° Sunny

 

Dear Patrick, I’m sitting on the gallery at the Annex.  The breeze is blowing and I’m starring at a cluster of palm trees outside my Grandma’s house………

Until the next note,
Rhea

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National Letter Writing Month…….

….is almost upon us.  I’ve been making lots of trips to the World Trade Center Post Office, my neighborhood Post Office, sending out the 30 Days of Letters Kit for all those people who want to number their outgoing mail.  I was interviewed by my girlfriends over at Of Note Stationers yesterday for their blog and they asked me about what drew me to do the 366 day #yearofsnailmail in 2016 and when I thought about it I realized I love a challenge.

My first snail mail challenge was in July of 2015.  I sent a letter and designed a special envelope each day for 31 days and at the end I was HOOKED.  That challenge is what changed my @devoteddiarist Instagram from postings from my moleskine journal to posting my outgoing mail.  At the time I was a like ho : ) and I noticed that my outgoing mail got A LOT more likes than my art journaling.  Just goes to show that your audience may know you better than you know yourself!  At the end of the 31 days, I had a stack of cards on my desk that I hadn’t sent yet and even better I was coming home each night to a mail box with at least two pieces of real mail – in addition to the catalogs and junk mail.

 

But the best part was the way my mind was firing.  I found myself carving out  time to write, draw or color.  And the ideas kept coming.  Ways to honor the people I cared about by sending them a card with balloons on it because they love balloons, reminders to friends of a special day shared years before, lettering styles I wanted to explore, stamping techniques I wanted to try.  The well never went dry and it hasn’t 637 days later.   Maya Angelou once said –

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

That is totally true for me.  My letter writing challenge had so many unexpected outcomes – a wellspring of creativity, more joy, new friends and a full mail box. Whether you decide to send one letter or 30 during National Letter Writing Month, doesn’t matter. Just mail someone some love.  Until the next note, Rhea

30 Days of Letters – to write or not to write….

…that is the question.  I’m sitting in my hotel room in Frazer, Pennsylvania with noisy sleet banging on my window.  The plan was to sleep in while the snow enveloped the world outside.  Oh well.  Before I sit down at the desk in my room and start letter writing, I thought I’d wax on about National Letter Writing Month which begins in just 17 days.  I’ve had quite a few people tell me they are thinking about doing the #write_on challenge in April but they don’t know who they would write to or if they can really write a letter every day with all the commitments they have in their life.

Science says that it takes 21 days to create a habit – a good one or a bad one.  If you have longed to send more mail and receive more mail, April might just be the time for you to create the excellent habit of writing letters.  What this really means is creating the space in your life to do something you love which will spread love to others.  It doesn’t mean you have to write a letter every day for the rest of your life.  But what it will do is create a special feeling for you that will make you crave sitting down with a favorite drink and connecting with someone special or even someone you don’t know.

So to whom will you write?  Jot down the names of your 5 favorite people – those are the first people you write to.   Even if they live next door – send them a card.  Next jot down the names of 5 people who did something nice for you recently – they get a thank you note – those are next five people you write to.  Do you celebrate Easter or just like bunnies?  Easter falls on April 16th – right in the middle of National Letter Writing Month.  You’re getting the picture here.

The trick to succeeding at any goal, be it weight loss or a 30 day letter writing challenge, is being prepared.  So you need stationery (I can help with this!), stamps, and pens.  The USPS has just released some of the most beautiful stamps in it’s history – Oscar de La Renta and WPA Poster stamps.  They make anyone want to send mail.  You may have all the stationery and cards in your home right now, heck I write letters on shopping bags.  So grab them and put them all in one place – a basket or box or pouch -so you are ready to go.

When will you write?  Ahhhh time, that elusive creature.  I tend to write quick notes during the week and long letters on weekends, usually at one of my favorite coffee shops in Tribeca (in the summer it’s Laughing Man owned by Hugh Jackman #swoon).  I bring my cards and pens in my letter writing pouch, order my favorite iced tea and get cozy.  If I’m at home, I sit at my Carrie Bradshaw desk, light a candle and again get cozy.  I love writing in both places but the trick here is to make it cozy.  Letter writing is the ultimate YOU time…..recharge time that is spent with a friend. Lord Byron said it best “Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company”.  Luckily, National Letter Writing Month begins on a Saturday so you will have two days to start strong.  And if you know you have a few busy days in the upcoming week, you can write a few ahead.

To keep track or not to keep track – that is the final question.  I designed my 30 Days of Letters kit to include a rubber stamp so that each letter you send can be stamped and numbered so the recipient knows what number they are in the 30 Day challenge.  Or so you can take pics of your outgoing mail and post them to social media.  Some people have told me that they will also use the stamp to keep track of a reading challenge they are doing.  Keeping track is not essential.  They key is connecting to your loved ones.  Showing them that you honor your relationship with them enough to take the time to send a handwritten note.

Now I’m going to close the computer and write someone a letter!

Until the next note, Rhea