Episode 11 | Thriving in Winter

Jan 30, 2023

Description: Get cozy with us this week, as we share our coziest recommendations yet! As well as reflect on how we each choose to thrive in the coldest and darkest season of the year. And Esther share’s a bit about her journey of appreciating this sometimes brutal season.



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Kerri: Hello and welcome to the Flourishing Friends podcast. I’m your host, Kerri, and I’m here with my friend and collaborator, Esther.

Esther: Hey friends.

Kerri: Our goal for this podcast is to create an avenue for our flourish community to gather around important conversations that lead to more growth and flourishing.

Esther: Yeah. Nothing is really off the table because how we lead our life spills into how we lead at work, and overall, our brand reflects that, especially as creatives.

Kerri: In today’s episode, we’re chatting about how to thrive in winter. It’s a dark, cold season, and we wanted to bring some inspiration to our personal and professional lives. So wherever you are, we hope that this episodes you, brings you some light. But first, let’s start with some fun things that are giving us light.


Kerri: Okay. Esther, what’s your fresh pick? cozy episode.

Esther: Yes. So I am picking Cozy Cafes because they are always giving me life. There’s so many cafes here. Cafe Culture arguably might have started in Melbourne.  But…

Kerri: Oh, I didn’t know this. Tell me more.

Esther: yes. Everybody loves to brunch here and so the cafes most of them serve food. but you can get a good cup of coffee. Within walking distance, wherever you are, which is, I am, I mean dream, dream, state.

But there’s nothing like the cozy cafes in Kansas City, have to say. The difference is you can just sit there for hours and talk to friends, maybe do a little work. And no one’s trying to get you to move on out and make room for a new customer, which I feel like is the case sometimes here. I’m on the search for a cozy cafe here. I found one that I can like, do some work with. Or do some work at, they have a nice patio, but no cozy ones. My, my top one that I would suggest in Kansas City is of course my og. I used to work there years ago. Thou Mayest. They have a couple nowadays. uh, cafe Equinox in Kansas.. But yeah I mean, okay, I can’t move on without shouting out meta coffee. They’re also huge friends, uh, worked there for a little bit too, and love going there. What about you, Kerri? Is there a cozy cafe you can think of?

Kerri: Such a good question. Well, we know that Kansas City coffee culture is strong and we know that I don’t drink coffee, so I, there are a lot of places that I really like the vibe of. You know, they’re, they, they don’t always make the best cup of tea. There are some very specific places that I won’t call out right now that, um, all they do is put a teabag, and a hot cup of water and hand it to you, which is not tea. I mean it is tea, but it’s not what you pay $4 for. 

So, Hatties, I feel like is a hidden gem down in Prairie Village. It has a really nice big patio, and that’s a really good place to, I feel like, have networking connections at Hattie’s. Okay. Goat Hill Tea, Goat Hill has good tea. It’s definitely on the sweeter side cuz it’s American. But they have a great London fog and they have a good chai again on the sweeter side, but they make good tea there so Goat Hill it, it’s not really a sit and hangout place or a networking place cuz it’s so tiny, but you can just pick up a cup and go on your merry way and check out West Side.

Esther: The neighborhood is cozy, so you can, even when it’s kind of cold and like chilly out, you can still make a trip around the block with your tea. And they have really good matcha too. I used to live down the street from them and went there all the time. Love Goat Hill.

Kerri: The best culinary neighborhood. If you ever, if you don’t live in Kansas City, if you ever make a trip to Kansas City, first of all, let me know. Second of all, I’ll take you to West Side. and we’ll have some goat hill coffee or tea

Esther: Amen. Amen. Kerri, what’s your fresh pick this week?

Kerri: Since this is our cozy episode, well every episode’s cozy, but I am going to shout out Phantom Row candles. I can’t believe I haven’t shouted them out before yet. My dear friend, Raquel and her sister started this company and they make gorgeous candles that are I think they will say like Storytelling scents. 

Each of their candles are kind of different locations. So I have one that’s called Enchanted Woods that I really like to burn in the wintertime cuz it reminds me of a forest, which is wonderful. There’s my all time favorite one is called Edinburgh Library and that’s a classic. Like I can I burn that all year round. 

They are definitely an upscale candle brand, definitely luxury. And because I know them personally, I feel like that’s an area where I want to personally invest in nice candles because I also wanna support them as small business owners and women of color and everything.

But there are labels if you’re looking for a gorgeous gift to give anyone. So please check out Phantom Rowe. And they also are available in shops and boutiques all over the world. So they’re, they might even be in Australia. Probably have to look it up. They probably are.

So, yeah. Yeah. Highly, highly recommend them.

And we need more scents in our lives. I feel like we talk about this every, every so often, how scent is an important and underrated. Sense and yeah, we just need to have more beautiful smells in our life.

Esther: Absolutely. I could not agree more. 

Well, let’s grab your tea. your coffee if you’re a coffee drinker, and we are going to dive into today’s topic, thriving in winter.


Kerri: We’re really excited to have this conversation because I think in the depths, Of winter and the coldness and darkness, the days are really short. Knowing that we have a couple more months ago, potentially several more months to go here in America, that it’s important just to talk about it and to also try to have some inspiration.

in the season, amidst the season. So I’m really excited to talk with you, Esther, about it. And it’s interesting because we’re on opposite sides of the world, so you are in fact in sunshine and beach, beach mode. So I feel like you’re just gonna beam your sunshine life into our, our cold Kansas City and America weather.

Esther: I hope so. Yeah. I mean, as I’ve said before, I am great at reflecting, so I can put my mind in a state of winter if I need to. But yeah, summer is great. It has been way too long since we’ve had summer, because we moved from winter to winter. But yes, I’m here for all the sunshine.

Kerri: You have extra resilience around winter. thinking about that sentence that you just said, you went from winter to winter,

Esther: Mm-hmm.

Kerri: That is a double dose of resilience.

Esther: Yeah. And I’m so glad we did not, dwell in that when we are in the middle of winter the second time.

I mean we definitely felt it, but yeah. I love this topic. I love talking about winter. Some of you might know. If you know me personally. I devoted a lot of my art practice to uncovering what winter is and how it can kind of reflect an emotional state. And just the beauty that can be found in every season, even in the midst of winter. But a few years ago, I actually realized that I, as a photographer just stopped taking photos for three or four months of the year because of winter, and so I challenged myself. Kind of being inspired by Parker Palmer. I’ve talked about him a few times. We both have lots of admiration for him. And just being a business that’s very reflective, I think Flourish is  very reflective of seasons and what wisdom we can bring from nature and apply it to both personal and professional life. I think just being inspired by how he talks about winter and how he grew up in a very cold place. 

Esther: And somewhere up north, in the US. And he just talked about how winter is a huge part of their life and if you grew up in Canada, you would absolutely agree. It’s basically half of the year, um, when you’re far up there. And so just figuring out like, okay, I don’t just waste that time of my life, but I can actually invest time and energy and really uncover what it has to offer. I just think is just a beautiful approach to life. 

Kerri: I’m excited to talk to you more about your photo book, because I think that whole process just, it sounds so beautiful and like just the way you brought it to life and in a, a reflective way and in a way that incorporated your craft is really cool. So wanna dive into that. 

Winter. Winter. I don’t really thrive in winter, I’ll put it that way. I like, I love cozy season, so I try to reframe from cold to like coziness and that’s kind of one of my mindset shifts that I try to come back to when I’m feeling kind of down or just feeling like really missing the sunshine and the daylight and. It’s obviously been a huge conversation piece with hygge I’ll say it correctly this time.

Hygge, Danish Hygge, and I think it’s beautiful that like you were sharing with Parker Palmer and just other cultures being able to embrace the season. I actually looked up. There are a lot of different cultures that have different words for the intangible of, living in the season of winter in Scotland, I might butcher some of these words, so disclaimer in advance.

But in Scotland, they have an old Gaelic word called Còsagach. And it means the feeling of feeling snug, sheltered, and warm, which just evokes a wonderful feeling. Especially in a place like Scotland, you know, you, it’s really cold and they’re pretty harsh weather there. 

So just being able to center on not so much the elements for me to be able to think about the elements of being warm and cozy. I wanna push myself to really explore the elements though, and not to be completely, completely sheltered and not experience nature in the wintertime too. So that’s something that I’ve been practicing and working on as well. 

Another one that I found is called Fredagsmys and it’s Swedish, and this is a practice the Swedish have that basically translates into Cozy Fridays. And so basically the end of the week, it’s just a time for extra comfort. It’s all about comfort, relaxation. Finger foods, snacks, easy meals, no dishes on Friday night, I think they said like a lot of families, like a tradition to like watch a television show together or some sort of communal coziness at the end of a hard or long work week. And so I really like that too. Kind of building in a ritual around coziness, in a communal sense too. 

And the final one is Friluftsliv, which is in Norway. It means free air life or open air living. And this hits on the theme that I just mentioned, which is centering joy and appreciation of nature and outdoors activities. So I kind of tend to go more in the inside cozy. And this is introducing, appreciate the outdoors and the beauty of the season outside. 

So I’d love to hear from you, what was your experience having gone from not really taking photographs in the winter to now going out and exploring the season and seeing the city in different, different parts of nature through those months? What was that process like for you?

Esther: Well, I think it was definitely a uncovering of this whole aspect of my landscape that I had just kind of ignored. Because I, I did the same thing where I would just start to hibernate and…and I realized that there was so much more beauty to be discovered because when you’re hibernating, you’re actually are relying on that light to kind of define your day. 

But I found that when I started looking at the landscape. I found beauty in just the color of the sky. I think that what, that’s what drew me in was anytime there was a sunset. The color in the sky. I would tell people like, it’s different in the winter. I don’t know why, but maybe it’s the coolness of the air quality. it’s the purity of the air quality. I don’t know what it is, but there’s just a, a beauty of I don’t know like vibrancy. So I started actually appreciating winter more than summer, which is crazy to think about because I started seeing so much beauty around me being able to see through the trees.

I could see farther into the distance because the trees were bare. I could, see these more design elements come out with the, the branches and I could see more of the sky. And then anytime the snow would fall, it would just, this minimal landscape, of just white everywhere, white dunes. 

And so I think for me, the process was just realizing. That it is a different beauty. It’s, it’s less balmy, but it’s more, I think, pure and crisp. And I started finding clarity in those months and, It was definitely hard sometimes to, at least in the beginning to get out into the cold, especially when the snow would fall at night and I’ll be like wanting to go out and it’s frigid. But still doing it and It just opened my eyes. It’s the best way I can describe it. It just opened my eyes to seeing beauty. 

And then on the process of creating my photo book, I was able to apply that a little bit more to the state of my emotional life of just opening my eyes to the people around me and opening my eyes to appreciating the place I lived and appreciating, the context I lived in a little bit more.

Kerri: Thank you for sharing that. That’s beautiful. I encourage everyone to go to our show notes and check out the link to Walking Through Winter, because Esther’s work is just absolutely beautiful and the way that she experiences light and frames things, it’s just, yeah, it’s, it’s beautiful. And to see the visualization of this internal process that you had gone through is really meaningful. So please go check out her book Walking Through Winter in the show notes.

So winter isn’t, as you alluded to, winter isn’t always only an environmental winter. It can be a personal winter too. And Esther, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what does personal winter look like and how can we approach the personal winters of our life?

Esther: Mmm. That’s a really important question. I think, um, just recognizing that life is seasonal. I think people don’t realize it until later in life. So once we get to that point where we just realize there’s a season for everything, there’s a season for, um, just a deep breath and walking through mourning. I mean, that’s part of being human is, walking through loss and, and then also celebrating the, the life around you, celebrating marriages, celebrating babies. I mean, that’s all important too. 

And so I think once we realize that life is seasonal, we can start to appreciate when people are in different seasons than us and live in harmony maybe a bit better because I think a lot of the time if we are in a winter and we see someone else that’s maybe in a, a summer season of just everything’s thriving, so much growth and flourishing, that we can start to feel lacking and empty. Uh, and just and even frustrated honestly to watch that happen in someone else’s life and just feel like it’s not lining up in our own life. 

But then like if we’re walking through a season of loss, or  a season of just disappointment maybe it is depression, I think the, the things that I’ve learned from walking through that is to, just look for the, the hopeful moments. I think keeping hope in those dark moments is really hard sometimes, but, something I’ve found that really helps me, even though I am very introverted, keeping those close friends, in touch through those winter months there’s so much tendency to recluse and close off and, you know, just isolate.

I think having a couple lifelines where you’re touching base it just allows that light to shine into those dark moments, even if, you know, I mean, hopefully your close friend isn’t gonna be pushy and expect you to be in summer when you’re in winter, but they can recognize that you’re in winter and just be with you and speak life and hope into you, um, those times. 

And then something practical is when you’re in a winter season, either physically or emotionally, Going to bed early is just a great practice you know, just getting in bed and not feeling guilty about getting in bed early and just that your body is just a lot more tired. In these moments in your life and these seasons. And so just allowing that practice.

And then, um, finally just finding those cozy moments you just find comfort, security, rest, kind of like you were talking about, Kerri, just, you know, those practices. Maybe it’s Friday night watching a show together, maybe it’s, you know, I remember leading up to moving, I needed to find coziness and I would just take more baths and just like, turn the lights off, put a candle on, and just sit in a bath. And that felt very comforting to me. 

Yeah, those are just a few things that I’ve found. What are some practices that you would say Kerri have helped you, either in a physical winter or an emotional winter?

Kerri: You’ve touched on so many good ones. I think with physical and emotional, that connection piece is so key.

Esther: Mm-hmm.

Kerri: to not feel isolated and to also feel like you’re giving life, in the friendships and relationships that you have too. 

Yeah. having those relationships, like you said, that you can go to and, and connect in a hard season or a slower season or challenging season is really important.

So definitely that, for physical winter, some practices, movement and getting outside, kind of like we’ve talked about throughout this episode. I am trying to get outside at least once a day, even when it’s cold. And I know that sounds like the bar are really low, but even doing that can be a challenge when I get done working and it’s pitch black out and we don’t have a dog, so we don’t really have a reason to go outside, but just taking that time after dinner to go for a walk and bundle up, and even if the walk is 10 minutes.

It’s still a way, to get out and I always love the opportunity to get out in the middle of the day if I can too, so I can get out when it’s also light outside.

So that’s something that I, is a practice of mine. Another thing that’s really fun is creating a winter joy list. So a list, you can kind of think of it as a bucket list or I don’t really love the word bucket list just because it’s, it’s one of those things where you can write down a bunch of ideas and it’s okay if you don’t check all of them off. The idea is just to write down ideas and it can spark different, different joys and experiences that you might not think of otherwise. 

So basically what you do is just brainstorm a list of those ideas. It could be anything. Write it down and then keep it up in a place where you’ll see it. So for us, we have it on our refrigerator and you’ll see that it will inspire you to do more or, uh, return to some practices that you want to do. We did one in this past fall season and it really helped us make some memories and have some experiences that we might not have otherwise.

So for us, for our winter list, It can be anything you want to be, but for us we have cooking, um, a Korean stew called Soondubu Jigae. It’s a piping hot stew, and it’s just really warm and cozy and delicious, and I think of winter whenever I have it. So it’s just a way to warm up visiting an art museum, going on a winter hike, or walk by a lake.

Just different ideas for us that will spark joy. So think about creating a winter joy list and talk maybe talk about with your family. You know, if you have kiddos, if they have different ideas of things that they would wanna do too, you might be, be surprised about what bubbles to the surface. 

And then professionally during winter, either in a winter season of professional being slowing down, or just where we are right now in winter. Uh, I would encourage try to get out to some networking events or just business events in general. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a hundred people in a room and we’re just swapping business cards, but maybe it’s a personal development training. Maybe you’re wanting to learn more about a specific skill, or you have someone in the community that you really look up to and is inspirational and they’re doing a talk.

Book, book one of the events and invest in it and go out. I think that’s a key point too, whether you’re, you work in the same office every day, or you work from home. Getting out and making those connections outside of your normal sphere in winter can be really inspiring and motivating. 

And then if it is a slower season for you, whether work-wise your projects slow down or business has slowed down, see it as an opportunity to invest in ideas, plant seeds for springing. Think about, those big ideas you may have had on your vision board that we talked a few episodes ago. What are, what are ways that you can continue momentum and continue progress and, even if it looks different in this season, that’s okay.

You can, you can still focus on those things that are going to come to life either in this season or in the next season. That is just, just a few practices that you can think through with your personal life and with your professional life.

Esther: I love the planting seeds for spring cuz I think a lot of the time we can get so bogged down if our professional winter is lasting longer than we want. It always is lasting longer but

Kerri: Mm-hmm.

Esther: Yeah, having four thought and just planting those seeds, I think is so great.

Kerri: And things go dormant and we will say, you know, dormant isn’t dead, always.

Esther: Mm-hmm.

Kerri: Evaluate whether the things that are dormant, you wanna die. You know, maybe there are some things you wanna prune off in this winter season and you’re ready to prune and this gives you the time and space to think through those things.

Or maybe what are those things that maybe are dormant, that there’s a hopeful expectancy around it continuing to grow and flourish into a new season. And so how can we sow into those things as well.

Esther: That’s great. Yeah. And recognizing that when you’re in a winter, it’s not gonna last forever. That, you know, I think that’s part of valuing what season you’re in is, you know, just by seasonality that spring is going to come. And so how can you use your time now during winter in a thoughtful way? With that expectation that spring is coming around the corner. Maybe you don’t know when, but yeah.

Kerri: So we would just wanna encourage you in this season of personal winter or environmental winter to build those rhythms of resilience into your days, into your week, into your mindset, and give yourself a lot of grace too. Think about creating a winter joy list, if that sounds like something fun to you, and just reflect on maybe what’s one way you can spark creativity in the midst of this season.

I think creativity, fun, and play can get us thinking outside of the box and outside of whatever we’re in right now. And, uh, it can be a fun practice to have. 


Kerri: We are moving on to our bookmark section. Esther, what are you reading, watching, or listening to that’s bringing delight in your life?

Esther: Every year I try and watch Pride and Prejudice, at least three times a year.

Kerri: Yes, pride and prejudice in every season,

Esther: Every season,

Kerri: Which she goes through seasons in that movie. It’s perfect.

Esther: It does and the, the scene, so I’m talking about the Kiera Knightly version because you know, It’s just made so beautifully. The cinematography, the landscape, the color the music! Oh, oh my gosh that,

Kerri: The soundtrack Mmhm

Esther: that piano song, it’s just, it’s so cozy. And whenever I feel like I’m in a like, A winter emotionally that just lifts me. Oh, she found love. They went through all of these things together. And I mean, who doesn’t love a period piece? Honestly, I just, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this on an earlier podcast, but I just read through the, uh, Jane Austin book, pride and Prejudice for the first time,

Kerri: Yay.

Esther: And that was, I mean, I had watched the movie so much that it was just time for me to read it. But yeah, there’s just something cozy about period pieces in general, but especially with a love story like Pride and Prejudice. It’s great.

Kerri: Yeah. Speaking of period pieces, my bookmark this week is also, I don’t Yeah, it’s a period piece. It’s a movie, another comfy movie called Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, and it was from 2022, so it’s recent. And it’s just a delightful movie. It’s British. Are we sensing a theme here? It’s British. It takes place in the 1950s and it stars Leslie Manville, who’s just a wonderful British actress. 

And the story is about this British housekeeper who saves up money and goes to Paris to buy this Hout Couture dress. And it’s just all about dreaming and art and creativity and love and friendship and just all, all the good things in life. And it’s a beautiful story. So I highly encourage you, if you want just a delightful movie.

To watch on one of your Cozy Fridays or Saturdays or any day of the week, check out Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris.

Esther: Is that one on Netflix?

Kerri: I don’t know. Potentially. It may be when this airs. I checked it out from the library as usual.

Esther: Oh okay.

Kerri: So check out your library DVDs and see. It may be ready to be picked up. I was on hold for several weeks, but it was worth it.

You have to have old tech to do that. I know some people don’t. They’re like, I only have a smart TV

Esther: That’s me.

Kerri: No, you gotta have, you gotta have old tech. You gotta keep it. Haha


Kerri: Well thanks for joining us today. Be sure to check out flourish creative.co/podcast to see the show notes and be sure to check out Esther’s book.

Esther: We’d love to hear from you. You can send us a note to hello@flourishcreative.co, or you can tag us on Instagram, send us a dm. We are at Flourish Creative Co. And feel free to leave a review wherever you’re listening. This helps new friends. Discover our podcast community.

Kerri: Thank you so much for listening, and until next time, live well and flourish.



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