issue 8

by Kelsey O’Connell

I am a dreamer. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved planning, thinking about, visualizing something good to come. This was not with the intention to manifest positivity, but simply because I find so much joy in the anticipation. I can see things so clearly in my mind’s eye, it’s almost as if I’m experiencing them. I am so skilled at day-dreaming.


Some of my favorite times in life are the moments before something good happens. I have at times found just as much enjoyment in planning for a vacation as in actually being there. I love a table set with a beautiful meal. A Christmas tree full of unwrapped gifts. An unopened email I’ve been waiting for. Spring is my favorite season, because I know we have all of summertime ahead of us still.

Because of this, Fridays were always my favorite day growing up and even into adulthood. Yes, we had school and work, but there was the ease of knowing that you really just had to make it through that day’s demands, and the rest could wait until Monday. There was a freedom associated with that time, and I loved having the prospect of the entire weekend ahead of me.

This way of thinking is not without its drawbacks, however, and sometimes I can’t help but see it in reverse. I’m sad on the first day of summer, because I know the days are starting to get shorter again. (I am essentially solar-powered, so it’s a genuine concern.) I feel so blue when friends or family head back home after a visit. The end of a really great movie or book can be devastating. And, of course, Sunday – the end of the weekend – can have the same connotation.

When I was younger, I would try to quickly move on, distracting myself with plans for the next anticipated event. There would always be another Friday night football game. Another summer at camp. Another epic night out with those friends. Another holiday in our family home.

Until there isn’t. And that’s ok. Or, rather, that’s life.  And it’s how we choose to remember our experiences that shapes how we feel about it.

“...I am learning to take in the moment and enjoy it for what it is. To savor the tastes. Breathe the fresh air. Fall deeply in love with the melody of the music. And that’s what Sundays now mean to me.”

The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve come to realize that nothing remains forever, and though old pleasures in life often give way to equally wonderful new ones, they’re never exactly the same. Which is why we have to appreciate them while we can. Truly live in the moment and stop thinking about what’s next, whether it’s good or bad.

While I will always enjoy the anticipation, I am learning to take in the moment and enjoy it for what it is. To savor the tastes. Breathe the fresh air. Fall deeply in love with the melody of the music. And that’s what Sundays now mean to me.

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Our weekends are so varied. We’re either at home in the city, at our cottage in upstate NY, hosting a Belle Force trunk show, or traveling to see family or friends that are scattered throughout the country. Often, though, the main event for the weekend has been scheduled for Saturday, and we find ourselves with a mostly free day on Sunday.  Our favorite Sundays aren’t planned but come about spontaneously, and our favorites are ones that feel like a mixture of productive, healthy, indulgent, and relaxing.

These perfect days may look something like this :

I usually spend the day with my husband, Shane, the other half of the “we” mentioned above. We just celebrated ten years of marriage and have been dating since high school. He is my best friend and my partner in crime. He is my greatest motivator and also my greatest instigator.

I usually wake up first and take about 15 minutes to myself. I splash some water on my face (I no longer use cleanser in the mornings), put in my contacts (I can’t really function as a productive human with glasses on), fix my hair (bangs are cute but so annoying to deal with in the morning). I have a quick devotional that I read each day. It’s usually just a nice reminder to be thankful, not to worry so much, and to chill out. It’s a good way to start the day.  

We start Sundays with coffee and a leisurely breakfast. Our weeknight schedule can be hectic, so this is one of the rare times we cook together. We love making a big egg scramble, full of tomatoes, onion, mushrooms, zucchini – the more veggies the better. Sprinkle with a little cheese and a dash (or half a bottle) of Tennessee Sunshine hot sauce. We’ll chat while we eat (again – one of the rarer times we can just sit and talk without an agenda), and it’s the best. Shane’s a bit of a dreamer, too, and we come up with all sorts of schemes. (You’ll see what I mean when we finally open up that school-hotel we’re always talking about...)

If we’re in the city, we’ll venture out for a run or neighborhood walk, making stops at the bakery, cheese shop, and local grocer. We don’t go in for a full-on grocery shopping on Sundays (that seems stressful), but rather plan and purchase for that evening’s meal and breakfast / snacks for the beginning of the week. Sometimes we’ll opt for a time-intensive special meal, like dry-rubbed ribs or a hearty soup. And sometimes we make “French dinner” which is basically a cutting board full of breads, cheeses, olives, pate, and fruit.

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If we’re in the country, we might drive into a nearby town for supplies (Hillsdale or Hudson, NY). In the summertime, we’ll head outside to take care of some yardwork. We’ll mow and weed and plant some herbs. Nothing feels (or smells) so satisfying as a freshly mowed lawn. I love to wash the sheets and put them on the line to dry in the sun.  In the winter, we’ll sit by the pellet stove with slippers and books and hole up for a few hours, getting up periodically to flip the records. (We have no wifi upstate and love playing music from our random, but beloved record collection.)

Sometimes we’ll take on a (usually impractical) home improvement project. A few weeks ago, we decided to turn the under-the-stairs closet into a wine cellar. It’s now painted a glossy navy blue and houses our wine + some artwork and is amazing. Definitely a day well-spent.

I try not to get on email / social too much on Sundays, since I’m basically glued to my phone / computer the rest of the week working on Belle Force. I do like to quickly pop on, post Belle Force’s Instagram for the day, reply to a few comments and messages, and maybe post something on my personal account. I do still love Pinterest for images and inspiration, so I might spend about 20 minutes scrolling and pinning.

Sunday evenings are spent on the couch with our cat, Charlotte. She’s 12, but still looks like a kitten, and she adores Shane. She drools out of sheer bliss when he snuggles her, and she loves to “bridge” (be touching both of us at the same time).  We’ll usually light a candle (Sunday Forever Kittyrose, Boy Smells Kush, or Maison Louis Marie Bois de Balincourt), make some popcorn, and settle in for a movie, which feels like such an indulgent way to close out the weekend. We might get a pint of ice cream and try not to eat the whole thing, but who are we kidding. Sometimes we’ll take all the cushions off the couch and make a fort on the floor facing the TV. It's really much better that way.

We’re trying to get better at going to bed on time, as well as reading before bed. I’ll shower, get into fresh pjs (I live for a crisp set of pajamas or pretty little chemise), set alarms and read. I usually last about 5 minutes before I’m asleep, but I’m trying. I just finished (and loved) Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, and now I’m reading Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In.

Just before dozing off, I’ll give the room a quick spray of Sunday Forever’s Air Detox Spray, which lives on my bedside table along with my crystals, pat on some Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Serum (the absolute end all be all for me), and lights out. I am asleep in under a minute, dreaming about my next Sunday…