clean slate

2011 is on the doorstep & all the tasks I’d delegated to this holiday week sit undone, a thick fog floating up around me as I become one with the couch, kittens & cocoa.


What I allowed to be a short rest and recovery after the wedding is fast becoming stagnation. I have plans! Things to tackle!! Time to get up and go! Rest is well & good, but sometimes we need to recharge like a car battery – in motion. I’ve allowed myself to rest long enough – now it’s time to claw my way through the fog and begin accomplishing all I know I need to in the new year.

Ideally I’d spend New Year’s in Lone Grove or Big Sur, sloughing off the past year and drinking in goodness like a greedy child, but this year we are home bound so I need to make my own tiny sanctuary.

Step one = bath + candles + book + glass of wine + clove cigarette. The whole room time travels, space travels, and the steam and smoke and wine and candlelight create a  nowhere-ness, giving me the space and perspective and moment I need to step back and let things fall into place. It’s not the most physically cleansing of meditations, but it works for me, always. The tiniest of rituals.


Clean Slate from Apothekerri is my ideal soak for this – it’s a tea bag of herbs + a fizzy – she’s not messing around here. Soak 2010 down the drain and start 2011 fresh and clean. I’m sloughing off old patterns, all the negative energies and sadness I’ve carried with me through this hard, hard year, to let my magic emerge scrubbed sparkling and ready for the new year.


I’ve been harassing Kerri from Apothekerri about doing a giveaway/interview for some time, but she’s been busy brewing up new products for the new year & I’m always doing something, so the interview will have to wait! I know I never do this sort of thing, but I’ve been using her bath fizzies and melts for something like TEN YEARS now and they’re the only ones that don’t make me itchy and sad. I love love love them, and she is an amazing lady and a perfectionist about these products. All natural, handmade, super magical. I want to share them with the world!! It’s crazy that I’ve been using them for almost as long as I’ve been living in San Francisco (15 years on January 16, crazy!) but most of the world knows nothing about them!

So a Clean Slate bath treat + some other Apothekerri treats will go to a commenter a week from now- except it’s a trade! You have to tell me your clean slate secrets for the new year – how do you reboot & recharge?


(P.S. Paxton Gate, Scarlet Sage, and Dark Garden carry her bath products in the Bay Area.)


  1. Your ritual sounds soothing and magical. Sometimes I wish I had taken up smoking years ago so that I could do something like this sometimes.
    (or this this! Unfortunately (?) for me I have always been a goody-two-shoes when it comes to smoke inhalation was too scared to start 😛

    I usually do my own variation on the above link…lie down in the middle of the floor with the lights low and tons of nag champa swirling about, listening to either Stevie Nicks or Lucinda Williams, or some scratchy-throated broad singing tales of woe. Yes, I know : uplifting, ha! But I find it calming and regenerative anyhow.

    Either that or I go for a tromp in the snow or a limping job on the dreadmill…I always find that I get my best ideas when my heart is pounding in my ears and I feel I might keel over from exhaustion!

  2. I reboot and recharge by checking out. I go to my special place in the woods I sleep in a tree house in the woods, unplugged from my phone and computer (no signal and limited electric) and go to the morning yoga in the meditation hut, partake in vegan meals at lunch and dinner and make new friends, swim in the artisian fed swimming pool if the weather is warm enough and if it’s a full moon I take part in the sweat that they have in the sweat lodge at the back side of the lake. I come back completely recharged and ready to deal with anything.

  3. I’ve known Kerri for years too! She is an awesome person and her products are pretty amazing.

    My cleansing eve ritual is similar to yours except with clove and rose, myrrh and sandalwood scents, in different forms, the burning of a rich jasmine incense, shadowy music and meditative darkness. Today and tonight are opportune times to surf intangible tides even if one traditionally (or non-traditionally) syncs with a different sort of calendar for the “new year” cycle. So many out there are sending out the release and refresh idea. This creates a grand wave to be tapped and ridden, it then assists to propel you into the Gregorian calendar cycle of a new year. Group think and the group mind can be a wonderful and effective tool at times, and this is one of them.

  4. Oh that sounds just perfect! I really, really hope our next place has a decent sized tub to soak in!

    I totally hear you on the stagnation, it has been really easy to get lost in that over these past couple weeks since I started to slow down, but I am really excited for 2011 and a fresh start. So, today I plan on tidying up the house (I can’t relax with mess around), having a glass of wine or two and reflecting on the past year with my husband. Last New Years we wrote down all our accomplishments and things that we were proud of in 2009, and what we wanted to work towards in 2010. So I think we will do that again and quietly celebrate together. Then, it is off to his parents place up in the wintery north for a week of no internet, forest walks and home cooking. Perfect for reflecting and recharging, I can’t wait.

    Have the best night tonight lovely, you deserve it!

    1. Thank you for this! We made this list as well after reading your comment – it was really sweet and focusing! I hope you’re enjoying your dreamy-sounding vacation!

  5. i had a similar plan, but was deterred by rusty bathwater! oh, funky apartment…
    i forsee: a frosty dogwalk through the snow and if it isn’t too icy to drive, a cozy fire with some kind women and men. and chocolate cake!


  6. Having split up, moved and in the process of a divorce I want to let go of the old and start with a clean slate. I have been using the words “clean slate” for the past day and a half while going through boxes and purging. Yesterday was tough. I went through 8 boxes, including some honeymoon memorabilia.

    Decisions. I am making a small box of wedding and honeymoon pictures and memorabilia to keep for our son. The rest is out the door to make way for the new. It is also a Chinese New Year custom to clean clean clean before the New Year. Once the New Year arrives you don’t clean for a week or three so as to not sweep out the New Year good luck!

    1. Oh Winnie, I didn’t know. Best wishes to you in the next steps in your life. It sounds good to keep some memories for your son & clear the rest away – you have to be pretty grounded to be able to do that!

      My mother has a really similar New Years custom – 31st = clean clean clean and the 1st = do what you wish to be doing the rest of the year – no cleaning, no errands, only good things.

  7. I wish I had a ritual, but I don’t! I am, however, looking forward to a night in with Geoff tonight, where will we watch movies with subtitles (I usually can’t because I’m always working on something else with my hands, like stitching or laptop work!). It will be the first time in many months, and I’m really looking forward to it.

    I hope your 2011 is filled with so much magic!

  8. i don’t do anything elaborate, but i find myself year after year writing out intentions in my journal for what i’d like to accomplish in the new year and what i’m going to try to open myself up to. if i can see the moon, i tell her these things, which is just something i started in childhood and kept doing. my new year’s eve is usually really quiet with andrew, involving candles and child like movies…i think stress makes me regress! i avoid the nostalgic and try to look forward to the fresh-start aspect, otherwise it’s an easy spiral for me to fall into.

  9. I’ve never been one much for New years rituals, in the past i i felt like I was constantly taking stock of the situation at hand and dealing with it. 2010 was the first year I started thinking about my plans in advance and making Pre meditated decisions. This happened because I’d finally gotten out of a really horrible relationship (broke up long ago but the divorce was finalized) moved somewhere I love, and started living my life how I wanted to.

    Tomorrow my boyfriend of 2 1/2 years and I are moving into a little place of our own. Out of my very dear and fun artist space and into somewhere that isn’t pandemonium at all times. I am excited to go back and create and socialize, then retreat to somewhere where I can think and plan and be conscious of what is happening in my life versus life happening around me and me not really being able to fully enjoy it. I’m also looking forward to getting more than 4 uninterrupted hours of sleep! I’m hoping this is the fountain of youth :)

    I decided that a new toothbrush, new sheets ( my current sheets are covered in saw dust as there is a woodshop above me), new box for the cat and a good soak in the tub will be what it takes to start the new year right after moving all day!

  10. “create a nowhere-ness, giving me the space and perspective and moment I need to step back and let things fall into place.”

    A “nowhere-ness”. I know exactly what you mean.

  11. This year i’ve decided to give myself a ‘Clean Slate’ , so far it’s involved exploring Bristol (England ) with my lover , stealing all the freebies from our hotel , drinking endless cups of sweet coffee , marathon shopping , the sweetest leather backpack , photo shoots all dolled up for New Years Eve, parties till the early morning and attempting to give up smoking.

  12. so inspiring, both your post and the comments that follow. the end of this bitter year has been marred by a bout of the flu that has had me laid up for 10+ days. i am itching to get this new year underway, and for it to be a better, happier year that sees me free myself from the things that have held me back and stopped me from being happy. i know there’s a lot of work to do, there are many changes to undergo, and more than anything that it will be hard but i ready myself for it, i steel myself. i can’t wait to feel better and start walking every day, i find that so helpful, i want to make it a daily ritual.

    i hope this year brings us all what we need.

  13. My NY moment was very much like yours …
    But I also felt the need to curl up in a ball and watch beautiful historical films (Bright Star, A Room with a view … and the U/D episodes you sent me !)
    While watching, I drank my new favourite tea from my mum’s tearoom “Magie Blanche” (“white magic” : white tea, peach, passionfruit & rose) and enjoyed some Valrhona chocolates from the same place (dark chocolate with a raspberry & litchi ganache & milk chocolate with soft salted butter caramel centers) by candle light.
    This was nice and quiet. Just what I needed.

    Goodbye 2010 !
    Welcome 2011 ! The Year of the Rabbit !
    x x x

  14. Those Apothekerri products look divine! My new years was spent on the beach, which was lovely, dipping my legs in the waves right after midnight struck and watching all my clever talented friends do fire twirling and fire poi. Being in a Bay (Melbourne) you could see fireworks sparkling all the way around on both sides by the waters edge…
    My cleansing ritual for the New year was lighting a lavender and sage smudging stick and wofting in over myself and everyone else.

  15. my reboot and recharge plan is going to start with cleaning out my apartment. I feel as though I’m always bringing in bags of purchases, yet never bringing anything out. Therefore, I’m going to get rid of all those clothes I never wear, the candles that I never burn, and the canned goods that I never eat.

  16. I can’t say that I have so much of a fine and ideal way for cleaning my slate. In fact, given the choice, I chose to not clean my slate at all. But some times I do need to “hit the reset button”, as it were- particularly if I have a settling feeling of sadness, anxiety, or grumpiness (mostly the latter). When this happens, I take the evening off and have myself 2 or 3 drinks, not enough to get silly or sick, just enough to get kind of sleepy and warm. And then- I fall asleep. It usually works wonders, particularly if I can stay sleeping for a good while.

    The more involved I get in ideas and projects and expectations, the more difficult it becomes to for me to devote any kind of time to enjoyment or true relaxation. The back of my mind is always going. I can be very hard on myself but have found that this is the best way to let loose of my personal junk and be in a space of no expectations.

  17. I’ve done similar things in the past! I love how a bath can make you feel like a different person afterwards. Unfortunately, I haven’t taken one in years because the tub in our current place is old and tiny and weird. Not conducive to soaking, that’s for sure. Love those Apothekerri products!

  18. Lovely! Our lives are meant to get a little quiet around this time of year. How else will we conserve the energy necessary to “spring forth”? I like to start January with a bit of fasting, yoga/meditation and some updates to my vitamin & skincare regimens. I also just lobbed off a bunch of my curls for a fresh look. I’d love to try Apothekerri!

  19. I have three indispensable New Year’s traditions: 1) Spend all day New Year’s Eve cooking a fancy meal with my husband, then sit down to feast, just the two of us, and recount our favorite moments of the year. 2) On New Year’s Day, say goodbye to the previous year by writing down all its charms and flaws. I make lists of smells and images, and flavors, and I set down what I learned, what was challenging, what I’m grateful for, brave decisions made, things created, and whatever other categories seem to fit the year. I say thank you and goodbye to all of it. 3) Sometime later in the week, when it feels like the previous year has really flown the coop, make plans for the new year. I write down what I want to do or create, what I want to learn, and a few ways I think I can achieve whatever goals I have for the coming year. They’re all great rituals on their own, but they seem to all draw power from each other.

  20. A bath and candles sound really nice. I’ve been looking for ways to renew as well, to recover from last year and start this new year optimistic and fresh. The Apothekerri stuff looks amazing! What a great way to relax.

  21. I totally skipped the rejuvenation process of the new year. I spent the whole time bouncing from friend to friend and doing wedding things. In a way it was sort of refreshing to see some of my favorite people over the holidays. This trip will have to hold me until the wedding.

      1. thank you! I can’t wait for her products. This post makes me want to take a bath so badly, but alas, I share a tub with three boys, a nice bubble bath is probably not in the cards…

  22. Music is my soul recharger. If possible I go to Montreal for a great trance DJ and dance all night. Otherwise I’ll out a recorded live set on & have a good hot bubble bath and glass of wine to go with it.

  23. I usually go to an ass shaking party then find a lover and the rest is bliss. This year I’m happily in a relationship so my lover is found and we went to the snow, away from the city up to Tahoe. We soaked in an outdoor hots prings under the stars surrounded by snow and had a lovely time. Unfortunately, I got a stomach bug the next night and stayed up all night vomiting. It was quite traumatic but my sweet lover was there to help me out, sooth me and take care of me through it all. What more can a human soul ask for? In a way, I feel cleansed and rejuvenated from the sickness. It was like a strange physical exorcism in a way. I am still sorting out my goals for the year but I already wrote and submitted a proposal for a grant/residency for my show, Fugitive Dreams. It’s concrete magic, something like glitter or a feather in my hat. So to twenty eleven I say voila!

  24. my cleansing ritual involves a hot bath, a pitcher of cold water, ethereal music (balmorhea, fourtet, gentle coltrane, etc), epsom salts, as many candles as i can find, and a calming and clearing blend of ylang ylang, sweet orange, and eucalyptus. i bathe when i am home alone, often in the middle of the day, and let the stresses and daily challenges gently leave my body and wash down the drain when i finish my ritual. in this way, with this ritual, i make a conscious decision to move forward and let my stress rest in the past.

  25. I like to reboot by sitting down with my Moleskine and working on my intent for the year. A nice bubble bath totally helps (*wink!) and a week full of reduced sugar/booze/carbs/bad-for-you seems to do the trick.

  26. Oh, Tmra, your photography always makes me want to crawl through my computer screen and live in your pictures.

    I don’t get a lot of time to relax these days, what with babyface needing to be chased down all the time. When I do get a chance, however, I take a long, hot, muscle-relaxing shower, followed by a soak in a tub with lavender oil and epsom salts. It’s not much, but I always feel a million times better afterward.

  27. My reboot: all the living room boxes, gone. The tub space entirely cleared of baby toys. The counter filled with candles. A glass of my favorite wine. Something fizzy and yummy smelling in the tub with me. A water meditation involving swimming, floating, sinking and surfacing, out with the old, in with the new.

  28. To-do lists are my only way of making sure I’m on top of things. & of course with the new year here, they’re longer than ever. But it’s so satisfying to cross things off & feel like something is finally accomplished!

    & of course a hot bath is a nice treat to reward yourself!

  29. to reboot and recharge- i get up early when house is quiet and enjoy a cup of orange pekoe. i might also take a nice relaxing bath with the works- candles, bubbles, dim lighting and soak and breathe. i put on nice fragrance and then treat myself nicely by taking care of little details like nails, feet etc etc. this helps me unwind because its one of the few times that my house is quiet

  30. Ahh. A ritual. I need more cleansing rituals in my life. I think next year I will do this.

    The best way I have found to recharge is to put my boots on and tramp around my cabin with my dog.

  31. CONTEST CLOSED! has given me the # 26 out of 38, so if I count 26 comments down (including my own because I couldn’t figure out how to do it otherwise) the winner is — Ms. Bunny! yay!

  32. This year, especially, I was desperately in need of a clean slate. I’m unable to find a job and I’ve been horribly down about it, and very hard on myself, and have been hiding in my apartment and unhappy. So when the year changed, I made myself a promise – a promise to leave the house every day, whether I “need” to or not. Whether it earns me money or not. Whether it is cold out, or raining, or sunny when I’m feeling foul. So every week day for the last week, I’ve been walking a mile. In different directions from my house, with different missions. To the library, to the grocery store, to the mall, to see, to touch, to feel what it is like outside. Every time I go outside, with no greater mission than to leave the house and walk for twenty minutes, I feel the road roll out before me and my insides stretch to meet the challenges of the day. Instead of dwelling on the past, on what has gone wrong with my job search, I think instead about tomorrow – where I will walk tomorrow, what time I will go, what I will see, what I will do. It is an excellent way to push myself forward.

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