How to Get Over Any Creative Block and Find Inspiration Anywhere

Caroline Ventura has the keys to truly recharging, no matter where you are. In collaboration with Emporio Armani.

By: Meagan Wilson
Styling: Emily Ramshaw
Photography: Alec Kugler

When you work for yourself (as an entrepreneur, small business owner, freelancer...you get the idea), it’s all too easy to fall into the never-not-working trap. Blurring the lines between work and home (working in pajamas gets old, fast), not knowing when to unplug… all stuff that seems innocuous enough, but quickly burns you out if you don’t take time to balance it (although the jury’s still out on “work-life balance.”) Making a point of scheduling dedicated downtime—or even going out of your way to keep your brain stimulated—is every bit as crucial as brushing your teeth.

No one knows this better than Caroline Ventura, owner of West Village boutique Calliope and jewelry line BRVTVS. In the years since she struck out on her own, let’s just say she’s really nailed the ultimate places to gather inspiration and hit the reset button. Below are a few of her favorites.

Caroline also happens to have really bomb advice on that whole impossible balance thing, even if you work from home. She also let us in on the best spots for long, leisurely lunches (theres wine involved) in the city.

 

What you should do on your next weekend getaway:

“I pop out of town on the weekends when I can. Even if it’s just driving 30 minutes away, it’s really great to get out of the city. I really like going up to Beacon, which is also super easy to do by train. Once you get there, Dia:Beacon is a great place. I love going there for inspiration. The town of Beacon is really cute—walk around on their main street, and pop into little shops.”

Why moving your bod might be the key to everything:

“In the summertime, I go hiking a lot. I go up to Cold Spring, where there’s a hike at Mt. Taurus, or Breakneck Ridge if you’re a little masochistic and want to be really sore the next day.”

 

Her go-to galleries for instant inspiration:

“I love the Neue Galerie on the Upper East Side. They have a lot of Gustav Klimt’s work—he’s one of my favorite painters. They have Café Sabarsky there, which has the best apple strudel. I also really love The Cloisters, past George Washington Bridge. The museum there is part of the MET—it’s really beautiful, they have incredible views as well. Those two are my go-tos when I feel like I need a dose of art injection or culture.”

How Central Park *really* never gets old:

“Central Park still hasn’t lost its novelty to me. I love walking around, bringing a blanket and laying in the grass. I am never in a bad mood when I’m there. I always love walking around where the Delacorte Theater is. I just go in and wander. I like a random patch of grass where you can pop down on and put your headphones in.”

 

Yes, really cute dogs *do* fix everything:

“Before 9 AM, you can have your dogs off the leash at Prospect and Central Park—its amazing. It’s what I imagine heaven to be like—rolling green hills, hundreds of dogs running around, catching Frisbees, chasing each other, going bonkers. No matter how much I fight waking up early to get there, the second I let Darryl off his leash and see him running with all of his buddies makes me so happy. Its so fun.”

Why the park is the best spot for instant relaxation (even with car horns blaring below):

“If I can’t truly be in the woods or at the beach, [the park] is the next best thing. Any time I can take my shoes off and actually put my feet on the earth, I see that as a welcomed opportunity. That in itself is inspiration to me. I don’t feel as claustrophobic when I’m there. It helps free my brain a little bit so I can sketch and draw.”

 

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