We've been spontaneously developing this genre for years - taking pictures of ourselves in the waves, wearing our cocktail dresses and evening gowns. It became a fun beach ritual, but along the way we realized that there is a deeper reason we are so looking forward every year to this adventure. Unlike a selfie in a bikini, this is not a solo: It’s something to do with a friend. A solo ‘escape’ or ‘retreat’ has a limited healing power if you feel stressed-out, run down, and depleted. The deepest human need is to belong - to belong to yourself first, and extend yourself by sharing with others. That’s why our escapes are always a partner act. And although it’s not a totally spontaneous adventure, it yields both experiences and images that are truly candid: The contrast between the artifice of embellished dresses and makeup and the impassionate embrace of the waves brings sensations and reflections that separate the deep and the shallow inside you, so that you can laugh at yourself, and forgive yourself and emerge a goddess of your inner realm.
Along with detailed how-to guide to floating in the waves in your best (waterproof) makeup and evening gown while your friends and clueless beach-goers madly take pictures of you, this show episode shares our reflections on the value and the meaning of this ritual to each of us. But philosophy aside, we do this to harvest amazing images of ourselves that will become part of our personal portfolios of affirmations and reminders about who we are and who we want to be both deep inside, and on the surface. When a voice inside you says ‘I am lonely,’ ‘I am depressed’, ‘I don’t remember how to feel beautiful anymore’, you will reach into your secret (or public) stash of photos and remember that feeling of abandon, exhilaration, surprise and the ease of letting go, and your fragility in the face of the heaving ocean, and you will reset yourself to zero, and start building yourself up rather than picking yourself apart.
Give yourself permission to be deeply shallow and to wallow in pretty cliches all the while supporting the fashion magazine fantasy of a flawless woman. Hide the flaws beneath sunglasses, cover them with layers of dazzling red lipstick and take your child to school at the crack of dawn feeling fabulous and in complete denial of the fact that you are half alive, and suffering from anxiety and a bad case of a confidence meltdown. We are here to tell you: it’s easy and it works. It’s OK to take that security blanket with you wherever you go, and to feel better about yourself just because you look good without trying and because low-hanging fruit is sometimes the best nourishment at a moment of motivational drought.
It happens even to those of us who would never admit it: Valentine’s Day blues. Who has a perfect love life? A life-long flame that never wavers? A magical moment that never ends? No one. At least certainly not us. As years pass, chances dwindle and desires fade. We discuss ways to handle your feelings about this ‘celebration of love’ that way too often brings artefacts ranging from a wistful thought or two to a week-long depression. One way to stop negative and depressive thoughts is to re-focus from disappointment and anxiety of the present to a hopeful spirit about the future: Let Valentine’s Day be a reminder that 1. humans are not created to live in isolation; we need warmth of relationships to keep us going, and 2. you owe it to yourself to invest effort into making something happen. Relationships don’t arrive in our lives by accident. But those who seek will find.
Holidays can be a difficult time for those of us who don’t have family or live away from home, or have suffered a personal loss - be it passing of a loved one or a breakup of a relationship. We often organize our creative projects around the holidays to keep ourselves busy and looking forward to creativity and companionship instead of focusing on being lonely or having sub-optimal developments on the relationship front. We gather friends who, like us, may want companionship and distraction, or just didn’t make plans in time to make something happen. The simple concept of pre-holiday Easter egg decorating party generates a whirlwind of activity: Something positive and festive to focus on and to look forward to. This is our pre-event how-to guide that proves that the best parties cost nothing but your enthusiasm!
Easter eggs, flowers, doggies, champagne and above all the precious company of friends who come together to light up their creative spirit and play together. Children are the happiest humans, and they are the happiest when they play. We take the hint and indulge in a full-blown craft party, with glue, glitter, egg shells, acrylic paints, nail polish, sequins, rhinestones, silk flowers, ribbons and more. If we did this every day, who would need therapy? Most of us have never done this before, but we are not shy. The healing power of creativity is truly amazing - just making something beautiful with your hands drives away depression instantly putting you in a better mood and in a positive and productive frame of mind. But there is a certain amount of prep as you will see in these egg-stravaganza videos, so it’s important to volunteer some work to create an elegant afternoon like this, filled with magic of conversation, laughter and warmth.
What to do when the holidays are approaching and the unsettling thoughts of being alone, abandoned and forgotten start to creep into your mind? We have a solution: Source a festive event that has a creative threshold. It has to be something that requires the actual investment of creative effort to participate. And no, knocking down those shots at the bar is not counting as ‘creative’ effort. We have a few dressup events in New York City that mercifully welcome all the misfits and lonely souls that don’t shun some creative work. Halloween parade, Santa Con, St. Patrick’s day and, of course, our celebrated Easter parade or the Easter hat festival on Fifth Avenue in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. You find it silly? Better silly than home drinking alone. Depression doesn’t have a habit of politely knocking on the door, so start preparing in advance. We’ve learned out lessons the hard way, and we start working on our Easter hat fantasy way in advance to get maximum mileage out of creative escape this event offers. How-to guide and event prep report. Don’t laugh. Want to feel good? You have to believe to get there from here.
When you feel like sitting at home and miserating over being lonely, the wrong shape, unnoticed, and unappreciated, there is no better therapy than making that effort to push yourself to be a star for a day at a dressup event, such as the New York City’s Easter Parade, aka Easter Bonnet Festival, welcoming anyone with anything on their head, be it a carrot, a live rabbit, a replica of the Empire State Building, or an ethereal millinery masterpiece by a veteran of the New York City Milliners’ Guild. If you think this is your kind of therapy, please get in touch with Neon and Tanna Valentine, because we have tested this method out and we swear by the amazing benefits this inexpensive therapy delivers. Uplifting environment, obsessive media attention, supportive comments from your fellow hat wearers and an afternoon out of the house on a holiday when sitting at home alone is not a healthy idea. Add to this mix a couple hours to a couple days of fussing about your hat design and feeling a tinge of the silly childish excitement that surely beats thinking those upset thoughts all over again. Get it? A huge step forward in comparison to fading out depressed in front of a TV. Please get in touch if you decide to try this next year!
“I live a full and exciting life that has one huge flaw: It is excruciatingly stressful. If you are like me and you have to occasionally (or more than occasionally) self-medicate with alcohol, it better be the best-tasting beverage on the planet. This video how-to guide walks you through a few simple steps to produce a home-made limoncello. But, I warn you, that this sublimely delicious stuff is loaded with sugar. It’s not your every day table wine, but a special-occasion drink when you are not alone, and when you want to treat a friend or a special someone to a lovely taste experience. Keep this in mind especialy if you are on a weight-loss trajectory. Making simple alcoholic beverages from scratch is very fulfilling. It’s a therapeutic experience, offering you a chance to work with natural, wholesome ingredients, design and fine-tune the taste of your creations and to publish them by engineering an occasion to share them with a friend. This last thing is the most precious ingredient. This is an opportunity to create a social moment that is meaningful to you, that shatters the shell of aloneness and channels your thoughts away from depression and anxiety. Make it happen. “ - Cheers from Neon