Tapped Out

People who do a job that claims to be creative have to be alone to recharge their batteries. You can’t just live 24 hours a day in the spotlight and remain creative. For people like me, solitude is a victory.”

— Karl Lagerfeld

CURRENTLY BURNING A new blend I’m working on to help knock me out at night. If you’re changing time zones and are expected to up and go and still look fresh for meetings, you’re going to want to believe in a magic aromatherapy cure (even though we know deep down getting to sleep will take more than essential oils, as amazing as they are).

BLACK OUT shopped my way through Orchard Road this afternoon. In a total panic that I didn’t have anything au courant – much less seasonally-appropriate for the wintery climes, I think I charged a bunch I’ll probably regret tomorrow morning. Half my wardrobe was given away in the move to this new, wonderful place. I have clearly forgotten how to fashion.

LOVING reading on the bus, reworking layouts of decks (for reals, it reminds me of my editorial days), and ricotta pancakes.

DON’T FORGET you can follow our shenanigans over in gay Paris over at Snapchat & Instagram @mmerciencore. Goodnight, dear friends x

Get Out of Your Rut

You know when you’re so tired, you can’t even think?

As we closed the studio for the Christmas break late December, I found myself suddenly zapped of all energy and motivation. I know I told the lovely Karman of Wear oh Where that all I wanted for Christmas was to eat, watch cat videos and nua (read: chill), and that’s literally what I did for days until it became too much.

And so I decided to ask my incredible friends from everywhere from primary school (!) to uni and beyond on what they do to be inspired when feeling like they’re stuck in a rut. The only condition, “And don’t say, ‘Go for a run’!”

Here’s what they had to say:

  • “Watch the Good Wife” – Nellie, comedienne, Melbourne
  • “Pedicure (completely distraction-free, so no mags and no phone) and a good walk somewhere green and leafy. And a solo coffee session at a pretty cafe” – Zhoe, PR/girl about town, Bali
  • “Put on your favourite songs and turn it up loud” – Laura, news anchor, Melbourne
  • “Make lists, I always make lists.” – Emily, PR, New York City
  • “Drink wine” – Harriet, someone fab, Melbourne
  • “A good yoga session or scent-sational massage smile emoticon” – Samantha, marketing guru, Singapore
  • “[insert questionable looking leaf emoji here]” – Terrence, banker and DJ, Singapore
  • “Enjoy in quiet a mug of hot tea and some good chocolate. Browse magazines. I did so while Eva was running amok at the national library this morning. It was very inspirational! They have titles like Belle and Martha Stewart.” – Grace, PR and mum of two, Singapore
  • “Take a morning walk in the Botanic Gardens, browse design books and listen to jazz.” – Ee Na, editor, Singapore
  • “Go for shopping or a cup of coffee at a very nice cafe” – Philesheia, banker, Singapore
  • “Watch a coming of age movie that you’re way too old for but still feel anyway.” – Kimberly, advertising, Kuala Lumpur
  • “Go for a swim? Easier on the joints.” – Michael, finance, Melbourne
  • “Wash your hair.” – Sarah, hair stylist, Brisbane
  • “Have a drink” – Sharon, editor, Singapore
  • “Always get ideas in the shower” – Yi Ying, editor, Singapore
  • “Walk along the beach or take a swim as the sun set. Nature always clears the mind.” – LC, IT expert, Sydney
  • “Hair cut” – Sherene, government sector, Brisbane
  • “Qu pao bu!” – Andrew, baller entrepreneur, Hong Kong and New York City
  • “Books. Movies. Music. Instagram pics.” – Bernadette, PR, Singapore
  • “Eat!” – Jasmine, editor, Singapore

And here are some others I know in theory but find hard to put to practice:

  • Get off your phone and connect IRL
  • Make your bed
  • Check into a day spa (even the process of finding the right treatments and perusing spa menus is super relaxing and exciting to me)
  • Find the recipe of a treat you loved in your childhood and attempt to make/bake that
  • Get crafty… I loved getting lost at Spotlight and ArtFriend
  • Meet someone you are really friendly with on social media and take them out for coffee (so many Instagram friends!)
  • Barter trade with a friend. You can blend a tea and they can give you their fresh baked bread
  • Tie up loose ends. Sometimes a part of the reason why I can’t ‘rest’ is because at the back of my mind, there’s some chore I’m procrastinating on. Clearing out the fridge, rearranging magazines, chasing invoices…
  • Explore your neighbourhood. Shop local has taken on a new meaning as we have decided to buy everything as close to home as possible. Less malls. We go to Lemon Zest now for the majority of our cooking/baking needs, down the street for coffee and food, hardware supplies, photo framing, nails… Importantly when you support a local business, you are essentially helping your neighbourhood and the dreams of every day people like you and I.
  • Buy a super nice notebook and actually journal your dreams, goals, pet peeves… I am loving mine from Sarah London via The Beauty Candy Apothecary
  • Jazz up your daily shower/bath routine with essential oils to really get you moving and excited about life again. Lime and juniper are winners for when you feel sluggish. Scent your space with a gorgeous handcrafted burner.

We are Golden

In my own worst seasons I’ve come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a single glorious thing: a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window. And then another: my daughter in a yellow dress. And another: the perfect outline of a full, dark sphere behind the crescent moon. Until I learned to be in love with my life again. Like a stroke victim retraining new parts of the brain to grasp lost skills, I have taught myself joy, over and over again.”

– Barbara Kingsolver

Behind the scenes at Mmerci Encore. FLOS, Fritz Hansen, Tom Dixon and The Woolsey. Shot on Apple iPhone 6s. Creme de la creme poster from By Luciana at Mmerci Encore. Behind the scenes at Mmerci Encore. Shot on Apple iPhone 6s Behind the scenes at Mmerci Encore At home with Mmerci Encore, Bloesem and Apple Mmerci Encore scrubs. Behind the scenes with Mmerci Encore, shot on iPhone 6s

Hello from the other side. It has been awhile, and I’ve finally had the time (and inspiration) to hop back online. So here we are, Macbooks on the table, iPhones out, Mos Def on blast, paper everywhere. Workplay mode: on. If you’ve been following our escapades on Insta & Snap (@mmerciencore), you’d have seen us…

[x] bake a pavlova from scratch

[x] herringbone tile the work sink

[x] add in a mofo statuario marble work island

[x] whip up fresh batches of Christmas orders while creating bespoke blends for H&M and other gorgeous weddings

The images you see above were captured in our humble new space, a real labour of love that took months of planning and daydreaming to create. It’s not the brightest of places truth be told (our last studio was bathed in sunshine) but thank heavens for the trusty iPhone 6s to realistically capture all the beautiful details and then some! Back to the place: we were super blessed with our interior design firm, are pleased with the workmanship and had a ball curating all the treasures within. We love its cosiness, its contrast of textures and colour palette of materials in black x white x brass x marble. Dream workspace? We’re 80% there!

Yes, it has been a crazy season. Right now, we’re loving just relaxing and eating with loved ones. Spending the whole day watching cat videos on YouTube and not knowing what day of the week it is. Best. Feeling. Ever. It will be 2016 in a matter of days, better live this day to the hilt while we can x

Breathe It All In, Love It All Out

When I’m feeling like there’s no love coming to me and I have no love to give… When I’m feeling separated from the world and cut off from myself… When I’m feeling annoyed by every little thing because I’m not getting what I want… I’ll remember that there is an infinite amount of love available to me. And I’ll see it in you. I’ll remember that I am complete within myself. So I’ll never have to look to you to complete me. And most of all, I’ll remember that everything I really need I already have, and whatever I don’t have will come to me when I’m ready to receive it.”

 — Will and Grace

CURRENTLY BURNING a blend of thyme, frankincense, lavender (augustifolia) and mandarin in this crazy haze bought on by massive forest fires in Indonesia. The oils help purify the air, as well as promote better breathing thanks to their anti-spasmodic (read: super relaxing, airway opening), sedative and anti-depressant properties. Frankincense has been used since Biblical times to maintain a healthy immune system. Aside from being a wonderful anti-aging oil, its decongestant properties mean it’s also helpful in soothing coughs/respiratory infections as it helps expel gross phlegm. Lavender also has wonderful anti-bac properties to naturally keep you and your loved ones healthier, ditto mandarin – another great tonic – which is safe for kids. So the lights are low, the space is cosy and we’re in a cocoon of calm unlike the eerie blanket of smoke outside. It’s always in times like these my heart goes out to people whose livelihoods mean they need to be exposed to the haze.

BEEN FEELING a little low lately, the late nights and horrible pollution certainly don’t help lighten the mood. I caught a podcast while I was working today, where the speaker suggested that it was not in nature’s way to see what you’ve planted in the same season. Putting a seed in the ground doesn’t mean you’re going to see a great harvest the next day. This ain’t no beanstalk. Things worth having take time. What you do now prepares you for the next phase, and you’ll reap in this season what you planted previously. Just because nothing happens overnight doesn’t mean it won’t happen, he suggested (how very Pantene Pro-V circa the ’90s). Delays are not always denials. It got me thinking about foundations, and why the now really counts.

SO I STOOD in the kitchen reheating leftover pumpkin risotto (it had pine nuts, spinach, parmesan – the works) from the other night. And I listed aloud all the things I was grateful for. Point by point. The great and the insignificant. While it felt a little forced at first, but that’s just it. Sometimes, to get out of a rut, you just have to push yourself. Eye-rolls and everything. So I rattled them off, despite being alone. Did it help? Perhaps being mindfully grateful is like taking vitamins. They’re better with daily, long-term use. What are you thankful for?

When Envy Posts on Instagram

 “Hatred is like a long, dark shadow. Not even the person it falls upon knows where it comes from, in most cases. It is like a two-edged sword. When you cut the other person, you cut yourself. The more violently you hack at the other person, the more violently you hack at yourself. It can often be fatal. But it is not easy to dispose of. Please be careful, Mr. Okada. It is very dangerous. Once it has taken root in your heart, hatred is the most difficult think in the world to shake off.”
— Haruki Murakami

It’s a quiet morning, the space is filled with light and promise. Although it looks more like a warehouse than studio these days, it’s moments like these where I remember again just how magical this creative space is.

Do you Pin? We’re working on a new space and half the fun is pinning design ideas via Pinterest. But we have to be careful. Aside from being a wonderful timesuck, like everything else online, there’s a clear distinction between the virtual and the real. As much as we love marble & brass everything, a workspace entirely clad in marble is probably going to still be in my Pinterest dreams a year from now. I guess that’s what social media is. A mirage.

They say that comparison is the thief of joy, and intellectually, you know it to be true. But being human, it doesn’t stop you from burdening yourself by comparing your situation to that of another’s. A psychologist friend of mine said we love to compare and give ourselves reasons to hate on others when we stalk their Instagram. It’s almost as if we thrive on the rush of being incensed, I recall him saying. Omg! They bought these shoes. Omg! They visited this place. It’s out of control.

Think of all the energy you’re leaking thinking about someone who is happily doing their thing. You could be blissfully doing your thing too, if only you stopped torturing and poisoning your heart. Their success is not your failure. Of course, you tell yourself that until you see they’re happily tagging themselves at a private dinner with your favourite chef on Insta in which case, it’s that bitch! 

I heard a message that suggested that God allows for the person you’re most envious of to be blessed to test your attitude to their blessings. How big is your heart, how gracious are you to be happy for someone else’s reward. Importantly, what are you going to do with what you’ve been given first? You’re only seeing their success – did you see their trials? Will you pay attention to your own little lot and work hard to grow that before you’re given more. And then there’s that gem from Proverbs 14:30, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”

Envy is like a gateway drug to being a hater. Envy dries up creativity and generosity. It’s a slippery slope once you take your eyes of what you’ve got and are focused instead on what someone else has. It makes you bitter and hardened, blinding you to the fact that you are actually super blessed. And even though nobody’s immune to it, nobody ever talks about it, because it’s shameful and petty. You come across as sad and small because it weakens you.

The take home message? Stop comparing your behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.  Stop with the celebs or bloggers, because it’d be too exhausting to Keep Up and perfectly curate what you project to the world. Because you’re different people on different paths. And because there’s more important things in life than getting flustered about where someone else goes on holiday. Sending you all positive vibes x

aromatherapy art bon mots creativity design little things love music poetry power tripping self-care zen