Books, movies, and the space around you can inspire you to create. Here are the couple of ways I escape my usual surroundings in order to relax and send my mind somewhere else...
"Influence" by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen is a coffee-table book that includes a wide range of interviews with creative thinkers. People from Diane Von Furstenberg to Peter Beard to Karl Lagerfeld are all featured. My favorite interview is with Giambattista Valli. I filled up many pages of sketch pad with his quotes.
"East of Eden" by John Steinbeck is a novel I just recently read over this past summer. I somehow managed to graduate with an English degree never having to read his work (or the work of a lot of other classic authors) so now I'm going back and trying to catch up. "East of Eden" is a family drama that centers around three generations and also roughly follows the Bible story of Cain and Able. A friend from work recommended it to me, and with all of it's twists and turns and surprise endings, it made me a huge Steinbeck fan from that day forward.
"A Freewheelin' Time" by Suze Rotolo is my favorite book. It is the story of the relationship between the author and Bob Dylan just as he was coming into the limelight in New York City in the 1960's. I related to so many passages where she talked about relationships and life that I highlighted full pages of the book. It also introduced me to a lot of music in that era.
I know this is a simple one, but I always forget how lighting candles can change a mood in an instant until I actually do it. My family is always lighting scented candles around our house but I actually prefer the unscented ones. The natural light that comes from candles (even in the middle of the day) is romantic and relaxing.
"Factory Girl" with Sienna Miller and Hayden Christensen once again exemplifies my love for the 1960's era of art and music. Sienna Miller plays Edie Sedgwick so naturally that the when I see pictures of one or the other, they are almost interchangeable. It's a heartbreaking story but also gives the viewer a glimpse into Andy Warhol's "factory" and the lives of the people involved. The fashion and makeup are also captivating.
"Marie Antoinette" with Kirsten Dunst gets played in my room at least once every couple weeks. For awhile, it was every night while I was falling asleep. The pastel coloring of the entire film (thanks to Sophia Coppola), the music (thanks to Sophia Coppola), and the grandeur of Versaille definitely are all the components that makes me lose myself in this movie. It's kind of girly, but also kind of great.
"Stranger Than Fiction" with Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhaal was one of those movies that after I saw it the first time, I kept thinking about it and talking about it. It was like after I saw "The Truman Show" and I kept asking all my friends if they were actors, somewhere in the back of my head I started to that again. This movie is a good reminder that when life is feeling pre-planned or stuffy, to make a change.