photography by Jessica Comingore
Jessica Comingore is currently based in Los Angeles, where she runs her studio and authors a lifestyle blog that focuses on the creative process and the people, places, and practices she finds inspiring. Jessica has brought a balance of subtlety and sophistication to projects ranging from design and photography to art direction and content creation.
1/ How do you carry through your practices of ‘slowness’ from your work and transfer them to life at large?
I’m definitely a morning person, and I love to create routines that leave me feeling calm and grounded before I dive into my day. This usually comes in the form of an early wake-up followed by a cup of hot water, yoga, meditation, a run (on a good day), and a homemade breakfast. It’s not always easy to maintain, especially on the mornings when work calls early, but I try to integrate at least one of these practices first thing after I rise. I’ve started to realise that the better you take care of yourself, the better you can be to those around you.
2/ What kind of preparations do you participate within for the holiday season?
Living in California, you don’t really experience winter and the necessity to retreat the way many other places in the world do, so it takes a little extra effort to get into the holiday spirit here. There are only a handful of preparations that I tend to stick to each year, two of which are integral to it feeling like the holidays for me — baking cookies and listening to Christmas records. Otherwise it’s just a simple wreath on the door, some beeswax candles, and dinner with family.
3/ What does the holiday season remind you to do more of?
Slow down. I made a vow this year to be more present so I could really enjoy this month and all of the wonderful things it embodies — hitting pause, reflecting, spending quality time with loved ones. When you really want a month to last, you realise how quickly the rest of them fly by while you’re occupied by other things.
4/ Do you have any rituals or traditions for this time of year?
If so, what are they? I usually spend a weekend baking some of my favourite family cookie recipes, and another day wrapping gifts to send off to clients or out- of-town friends. My sisters and I reconvene at my parent’s house every Christmas Day for a hearty homemade breakfast and gift exchange... somehow we always end up at the movie theatres by the end of it, too.
5/ What makes them important to you?
For me, it’s about what they represent and the company you share them with. With everyone seemingly running in opposite directions throughout the year, I love the way the holidays force you to shelf your to-do list to just relax, enjoy good food, and each other’s company.
6/ Has your perspective on the holidays changed over your life? How?
I think my values around it have changed. Growing up, it was just about waking up as early as possible and seeing what our stockings were filled with. Now that everyone in my family is grown and living their own independent lives, it’s just about getting a rare chance to all be under one roof. We’ve made a vow not to exchange any gifts for the past few years, and instead just team up to cook a delicious meal. For me, it’s just about taking the time to let everyone know how much you appreciate them.
7/ Do you have any particular standout or fond memories of the holiday season?
When we were younger, my mom would take us up to Carmel every year after Christmas, which seems like an odd place to go in the middle of winter (it’s a charming beach town in Northern California), but I loved every minute of it. We would bundle up and wake up early while the tide was low to explore the sea life and watch the seals swim. To this day I still get a hankering to travel north every time December starts to come to a close.
8/ Throughout the year we find ourselves losing track of important practices we emplace at the beginning of every year, what are you keen to get back on track with the rest/holiday season coming up?
I’d love to regain my focus on self-care, whether it be making a point to meditate every morning or just cook myself dinner every evening. It’s always so easy to set those things aside in place of work and deadlines throughout the year, but I’ve come to realise that mindset takes its toll after a while. I close up the studio for two weeks at the end of the year, and am planning to spend the time settling in to a new home, doing a lot of cooking, and discovering some new hikes.
My approach to gifting is... experiences over objects.
I would like to close this year... present and thankful.
My ideal morning over the holidays looks like... sleeping in and waking up to a homemade breakfast, a few logs burning in the fireplace, and holiday tunes on the record player.
Materials and fabrics perfect for the holiday season are... bay leaf wreaths and merino wool because they’re festive without feeling too kitschy, and keep you nice and cozy when the temperature drops.
The holidays mean... slowing down to reflect on the year, and reconnecting with those you love.
My Christmas menu must haves are... mulled wine, gingerbread cookies, and my mom’s spanakopita.