Just as ubiquitous cherry blossoms symbolize springtime, summer in Japan belongs to the bolder-hued Morning Glories, or asagao. The name means “morning face,” a lovely description of the flowers’ unfurling their trumpet-shaped petals at sunrise to herald the day.

Popularized in the Edo Period, they appear frequently in literature and paintings, are celebrated with an annual  festival every August and in a thoroughly charming tradition—Japanese elementary students are given Morning Glory seeds at the end of spring to nurture over the summer holiday. When returning to school, the children bring their blossoms back to the classroom where they are dried and used for all kinds of decorations and projects.

“...a single flower I spotted years ago inspired the particular hue we now refer to as “Tatcha Purple.”

Morning glories are special to Tatcha too, because it was a single flower I spotted years ago that inspired the particular hue we now refer to as “Tatcha Purple.” The color was so vibrant in the summer sunlight it seemed to be glowing, yet there was an artful delicateness to the crown-like opening and funnelform. This simple flower recalled the brilliant blues and purples of silk kimono, and the geisha’s graceful sophistication. The picture I took on my phone that afternoon was studied by our creative team and was the subject of countless conversations.

Another lovely thing about Morning Glories is that they remind me of the benefits of getting out of bed sooner rather than later, which is why I planted several of them in my back yard years ago. Seeing them in the morning is one of my favorite ways to th start my day. Since January, I've gone to sleep earlier and wake up at dawn, which has truly changed my life for the better. It makes me more productive and clear-headed, in addition to giving me more time to spend with Alea, cook, and even exercise. Starting my day with calm and quiet helps keep me grounded even when things get hectic later in the day. If you’ve been wanting to get an earlier start, I thought I’d share some of my favorite ways to ensure my “morning face” looks its best:

• Create a lovelier waking experience. Waking up on your own without an alarm is a beautiful thing, but it can take time to achieve and is not always practical (especially if you have an early flight). However setting your alarm to ring more quietly, or to the sounds of birds chirping is a gentle way to help your body adjust. There are also clocks with lights that gradually become brighter instead of making noise that work very nicely for this too.

• Go to sleep sooner. When you’re well-rested, your body and mind feel and perform better. More sleep affords your body more time to recover and recharge for the day.

• Hydrate. In the later phases of sleep, skin tends to lose moisture. Be sure to drink water throughout the day and evening to stay hydrated, but limiting liquids can help you sleep more soundly for longer stretches.

• Treat yourself to a relaxing and rejuvenating facial massage. Facial massage helps release tension and improves circulation, leaving skin glowing. Using a light facial oil, such as the Gold Camellia Beauty Oil, and your fingers or a massage tool like the Akari Gold Massager, give yourself a short and sweet massage. One of my favorite massages is the quick Yuyake massage. If you’re using your hands, use your fingertips in a light, tapping motion along your jawline, between the eyebrows, and around your temples.

• Use a silk pillowcase. Unlike cotton or polyester blends, silk doesn’t absorb the natural oils produced by the skin. A silk pillowcase will help your skin retain its moisture.

• Enjoy a moment with a loved one. Every night, I read with Alea. This nightly ritual is one of my most treasured, and I sleep so much more soundly after tucking her in.

Are you an early riser, or trying to wake up earlier? I’d love to hear your tips or tricks on moving up your morning.
Always,

Victoria Tsai
Chief Treasure Hunter

published August 2015

Living, Beauty Secrets
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Photo 1: Orginal watercolor by Natasha Jessen-Petersen

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