HMR Inspiration Report: Methods of Reflection // December, 2021

Did you feel like time especially flew in 2021? The truth: It DID.

Science tells us one day is the approximate time it takes for the Earth to make one full rotation on its axis.

The Earth is currently spinning faster than usual – faster than it has in 50+ years. Each average 24-hour day in 2021 was 0.05 milliseconds shorter than usual. In fact, this year will be shorter by just shy of 2 seconds, which is scientifically and astronomically monumental. Have you felt it?

As our planet shifts to a faster pace, our time’s value becomes ever-more clear. For all the joy, hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s equally essential for us to take time to reflect, give ourselves grace and be grateful for all our bodies, spirits and minds bestowed us with in 2021.

Event Designer Natalie Walsh revels in movement and meditation as medicine.

“My best methods for refueling have included evenings filled dancing into the wee hours of the morning to female r&b + soul artists in my living room –  and morning meditations on my beautiful vintage suzani blanket surrounded by one of a kind art, sculptures, books, plants and crystals. There are a plethora of great meditation options on youtube, available by search for any focus or desired length of time.”


Creative Director Bill Heffernan kicks off his new year with travel to fabulous favorite locales.

“Right after the holidays I flee to Mexico for 2-3 weeks, whatever my schedule can accommodate at the time. It’s a wonderful way to recharge – read, read, read, eat, eat, eat + play, play, play. Then I go from there directly to Palm Springs to hike and chill by the pool and eat + play + play + play. Ha! When I’m out of town, particularly in Mexico, I love to get massages every other day and just treat myself to a mental and physical break. Spending time at the mountains or at the beach is so relaxing – it really can change your outlook on the world.”

Marketing Producer Emma Kuske finds hiking and outdoor adventures fill her soul.

“I’m inherently a sun-seeker. Finding ways to get some vitamin-D is the only way I get through the winter and oftentimes when I get the most time to unwind and reflect. Over the last few years, I’ve made it a goal of mine to find hikes and outdoor adventures in the midwest that I can enjoy during the winter months. While outside, I sit with my thoughts and just let them run. I do my best thinking and unwinding when I have sunlight hitting my face – so during the end of the year in the midwest, I make adventures out of looking for those rays.”

Event Designer Jason Williquette annually hits the slopes to unwind.

“At the end of the year my husband and I always go skiing. It combines my two favorite ways to unwind, traveling and getting out into nature. There is something so relaxing and rejuvenating about the fresh mountain air combined with the thrill of flinging yourself down a mountain. Considering we live in the Midwest getting to any good ski terrain typically means we get to travel, too. Our favorite ski locale is on the northern island of Japan, a ski village called Niseko which has lots of hot springs and onsens which adds the extra ‘spa’ benefit after a long day on the slopes.”

Burt Rubenstein, Event Designer, follows along with his family tradition of sport to decompress.

 “I enjoy losing myself in the moment of running and working out to clear my mind. We love taking time for ourselves at East Bank Club along with the gym in our building. With a family full of sports enthusiasts it’s always been a part of my DNA. In fact, my brother, who is now in his 80’s, has won highest honors at both the USTA father/son & father/daughter tennis championships. It requires the duo to be 100 years old between the 2 of them. It’s been such a great part of my family’s story and truly is a great way to reframe your mind.”

Event Designer Brittanie Ahrens has a special place in her heart for live music and travel.

“Our favorite band, The Format, has been on hiatus for like 12 years, they are playing three shows and three cities. It’s been rescheduled four times now, but hopefully in 2022 we will get to see them this March. I think about it all the time and it keeps me going through tough times. 

Travel, vacations, quick mental time-out both with and without the kids. A place in Mexico that we love to go to is called Blue Diamond which has no cell service, so taking a little bit of a media time-out, drinking our pina coladas from inside of pineapples; floating in the pool. It’s the optimal in relaxation.”


Event Designer Staci Miller can’t get enough of friends, family + a good night’s sleep. 

“Whenever I can, I am either traveling to go back and spend time with my family in Louisville, KY or I am traveling to upstate New York, to Greenwood Lake, where my absolute best friend lives – and we have dinner parties, boat drinks and all the delicious fun you can have when then temperatures are reasonable. I also am a very huge fan of sleeping. The best way for me to recharge is a good night’s sleep.” 


Marley Finnegan, Director of Brand Strategy + Partnerships, leaned into listening + painting. 

“I realized the beauty and emotion in classical music during the pandemic and found myself viewing it as a soundtrack to life, giving the scenery of my day to day a new depth of feeling. Walking in solitude along the river near my home and painting in my kitchen to these gorgeous melodies had my heart feeling as if it could burst. I also committed to my goal of (nearly) daily meditation – via a few great podcasts on Spotify which I’ve shared with anyone who shows a hint of interest.

Then there are the other podcasts, I have learned so much from that form of media. A few of my favorites include Pivot, Hidden Brain and Sustainability Defined. I didn’t realize how much time I spent in the world of sound until Spotify recalled that I’d listened for a cumulative 56,915 minutes in 2021 – translating to – dare I say: 39+ days worth of sound. My most listened to song is Qi by Phildel. Long after finding it I realized that Qi translates to ‘the vital energy or life force that flows through every living thing.’ Transformative, indeed!”

Nick Watts, Event Designer, caps off his year with a years-long tradition of friendship.

 “I have always ended my year and holiday time by spending time with family, quietly reflecting on the evolution of the past 12 months. On New Year’s, my crew of friends goes somewhere unique to kick off the year in a unified way. There are usually 20 of us per trip, including our spouses who are dragged along while we talk about the good old days and they might be caught rolling their eyes.” 


David Epstein, Event Designer, reflects on his year visually, through the tactile act of reviewing and printing photos.

“As the fast-paced months fly by during the year, I (like most of us) am snapping photos constantly… family pics, event photos, floral samples and spontaneous inspiration out in the world. Of course there’s that rare instagram post, but for the most part those images sit buried on my phone – referenced only if I’m looking for them. That is, however until late December. I always make a point of sorting through the entire years images to reflect, to reminisce (and often to delete!) I’m proudly old school with the family moments – I print the keepers and add them to a shelf-filling collection of family albums. It’s a labor of love that I never “officially” have time for, but sometimes you have to make the time for what soothes your soul the most.”


With the conclusion of a year there is a tendency to both reflect and look forward. We have enjoyed sharing our team’s perspectives throughout the year via these monthly inspiration reports.

We will be bidding this campaign adieu with the intention of welcoming a new method of sharing our insights, which we have affectionately coined “HMR Lifestyles,” a quarterly rundown of the cultural + artistic elements inspiring our views of the moment.

In the meantime, cheers to you & yours – wishing you all the wonderful things this holiday season, in 2022 and beyond.