Wendy’s World: Exploring Self-Care

In 2020, we will be sharing weekly soundbites from our Founder, Wendy Pashman, about the adventures, inspirations, and ephemera which are capturing her imagination – and translating into EC concepts. Our fourth topic: exploring self-care and creating personal rituals.


Rightly or wrongly, self-care has never been on top of my “to do” list. As someone who is in the business of caring for others, I am usually focused on thinking of my clients and their needs, rather than tending to my own rituals. 

And now as I near the tender age of 65 (hello Pisces), and become more introspective, the words of Maya Angelou ring true: “as you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others”. Those words plus receiving an email from my daughter with the subject line: “Self Care Homework” put me on a new, hopefully more enlightened, path.

I started thinking about this term – what it really means to Millennials, women my age, and how I could incorporate some new balance into my life.  Below are some Millennial-inspired baby steps (tweaked to be Wendy-ish) as I explore this universe. 

Emotional Self-Care // Be Present

This section could also be entitled: “turn off the news”. Between Coronavirus and the politics of 2020, we all need a pause. How about discovering some relaxing podcasts to give your eyes a rest? I’m always searching for new content that I wouldn’t encounter in my everyday life. “Poetry Unbound” is one of my newest obsessions in which Irish poet (love the lilt of his accent) Padraig O Tuama reads a short poem, comments lightly with personal insights about the words and poet’s meaning, and then reads the poem once again. I never fail to understand the poem more deeply after Padraig’s short commentary. Also down to earth and insightful is Debbie Millman (fiance of Roxane Gay) of Design Matters who is interested in teasing out how creatives got to be creative. What were the highlights in their own personal biography that set them on their own particular creative journey? So far interviews with Lisa Taddeo and Saeed Jones are faves. I always enjoy learning about how and when artists and makers experience special transforming moments (and hope to have some myself!).

Retail  // Look Good, Feel Good

I’m not a huge shopper but I do love the art of wandering and discovery. I prefer a small and intimate store where I can be totally immersed and discover layers of a cross-section of products. Usually a fave will have an assortment of quirky clothing, office supplies and home goods. My favorite spot currently is Moth on Damen. Catherine has curated special products with a Japanese and Nordic vibe. First of all, that cross-section is super interesting if you like unfussy, natural, beautiful fabrics and textures and homewares. There’s always something surprising here and the Japanese teas and fantastic selection of scarves are taste+eye treats that never fail to disappoint.

Bed & Bath // Create Beautiful Space

Related to retail therapy, the hunt for affordable products that enhance down time is both personally energizing and relaxing. Because my mind is traveling even when I’m in the bath, I love the international organic health products from Merz Apothecary. I can be in Israel with Ahava bath soak, breathing in the Tuscan countryside with Santa Maria Novella products and doing the field to body thing with Weleda Skin Food from Germany ~ based on organic and biodynamic agricultural methods. Yes to Organic Sunflower Seed Oil, Rosemary Leaf and Organic Calendula flower. A favorite online source is Mountain Rose Herbs. Fit for a Pisces dreamer, I can find natural and organic herbal oils, salves and massage oils and aromatherapy that transport me instantly from urban Chicago to a field of botanicals. As a bonus, Mountain Rose Herbs has a section on local Midwestern farms that have their own botanical programs. Perfect for a future Self-Care Sunday adventure. Closer to home and on the future field trip list is Fresh Thyme on Elston. Their website promotes 3,000 natural and organic body products to rejuvenate. Magic world, magic words.

Kitchen // Create Magic w/ Flavor

My first and never failing self care therapy can be found in home kitchen activities. Truth be told, my ever loyal husband Michael does the heavy lifting on less than fun activities like clean up. I happily concentrate on fun activities like plucking out delicious ingredients from the fridge, measuring out beautifully fragrant spices, mixing it all together and popping the ingredients into the oven. Our kitchen gets all toasty which is so nurturing in this frigid Winter. When I long for inspiration, Alison Roman is my “go to”. I can always find in her books “Nothing Fancy” and “Dining In” some deeply layered Umami yumminess that screams “I made it and I love me”. Inviting no picky eaters or judgemental guests, only enthusiastic fellow eaters to share dinner, is also a recipe for making the most of my self-care kitchen time. Through “playing” in the kitchen, through cooking therapy, I say “yes” to myself and “yes” to others. Beautiful smells, pretty flowers, a lovely dinner shared with friends, what could be more self caring?

Here’s to all the caring you can share with yourself and others, W.