How I Gather

Bringing people together around a table is our greatest passion in life and we believe food is one of the most powerful tools for connection. In our series, How I Gather we go behind the scenes with our favorite foodies to answer that question.  See All

We first had the pleasure of meeting Nina and discovering her incredible shop at The Ruby Collaborative happy hour a few months ago. If you’ve been to Take Heart, you’ve undoubtably noticed the immense level of style and detail at every turn — from jewelry to paper goods to housewares, Nina curates the finest products to build an inventory that’s nothing short of the creative girl’s dream-come-true. The shop, located in Austin’s booming Eastside, recently celebrated their one year anniversary (yay!), and Chelsea was there to snap up all the fun details… ice cream truck included! Click through for more about Nina and Take Heart, plus a glimpse into her laid-back entertaining style…

Nina had been doing social work for 13 years, but had always wanted to have a more creative aspect in her life and own her own business. “After reading the book The Artist’s Way, I realized I had been fearful of trying something new and leaving my comfort zone. So I worked through the fear and decided to take a chance and open a shop.

Nina, who’s always loved and had a knack for design and decor, started valuing her talent and embracing her creativity. After that happened, things started coming together.

Her favorite items in the shop.

I love the detail and thoughtfulness of the Forest Folk dolls made by Kathryn Davis here in Austin. Some other favorites are the BDJ Craftworks for their modern organic aesthetic, and our aromatherapy diffuser, which makes any room smell wonderful.

Her favorite thing about about owning a shop.

The conversations I get to have with the people who come in here. I never expected people to meet people who are considering making a change in their life and are interested in hearing my story. I love encouraging them to pursue their dreams.

Her standard hostess outfit.

Comfortable and cute dress and shoes.

The taste she’s always craving.

Always homemade chocolate chip cookies and since its summer, watermelon.

The restaurant meal she’ll never forget.

Veselka’s is in the East Village, so always busy and filled with characters. My dad and I usually order some combination of potato pancakes, pierogis, and some homemade soup. The soup is the best — they have a great split pea and a vegetarian borscht with mushroom dumplings and it comes with awesome challah bread. The place has a diner feel to it, which I love and miss. There are no true diners in Austin. I grew up in Connecticut where there is at least one diner in every town where you can order anything you want, any time of day.

Nina’s dream dinner guests.

Woody Allen, Oprah, John Stewart, Louie C.K., Desmond Tutu and Mary Oliver. All smart and interesting people with a sense of humor.

The kitchen rule she rarely breaks.

Don’t spend too much time in it. I’m working on giving myself more time than I need to prepare, so that I can really spend time with my guests when they arrive, as opposed to scrambling in the kitchen while they’re there.

The perfect dinner party playlist.

Otis Redding, the Beatles, Nina Simone, My Morning Jacket

Her entertaining style in 5 words or less.

Thoughtful and grateful.


Head over to Go Forth Creative to view more of Chelsea’s work.

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Chanel Dror