By Kristen Manieri

How to Feel Better with Isabel Gillies

One of the things I’ve learned from doing this podcast for the past three years, is that I never quite know what’s going to happen when I bring a guest on. Sure, I prepare. I read their book, if they have one. I write some questions ahead of time. I learn some things about the person I am speaking to. But once we start talking, there’s no telling where we will go and where we will end up.

And honestly, that’s one of the best parts… the fact that even if I think I know what our interview will be about, it’s always filled with twists and turns and surprises.

This week’s episode is such a perfect example of that. My guest is Isabel Gillies, the author of Cozy: The Art of Arranging Yourself in the World. I bet you have already formed an idea of what you think Cozy is about and the kinds of things we’re going to talk about. So, be prepared to be surprised. We’re not going to talk about what candles to buy or the perfect way to arrange your evening tea or bed pillows.

We’re going to talk about our innate ability to comfort ourselves, to come to our own rescue, to steady ourselves, and to come home to our moments. What’s ahead is a refreshing, beautiful, direct conversation about how to feel good and get through the day.

Every time I produce a podcast episode, they are an offering to you, each time with the hope that it will help you see, think and maybe, feel a little differently. No time is this more true than now. I want to share something that makes you feel better, that makes coping through this difficult time easier. I hope I accomplished that today.


Isabel Gillies is also the New York Times best-selling author of Happens Every Day, A Year And Six Seconds and Starry Night. She’s written for Vogue, The New York Times, Real Simple, Cosmopolitan. GOOP and Saveur. Isabel is also known for her television role as Detective Stabler’s wife on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and for her cinematic debut in the film Metropolitan. She graduated from New York University with a BFA in film and she’s a lifelong New Yorker, where she lives with her husband, kiddos, and dogs.


I loved Isabel’s insights and her mindset. Here are my five favorite takeaways:

  1. In a world where we actually have very little control, cozy helps us to see what we can control in any one moment. It helps us to see what we have accessible right now, in this tiny moment, to have comfort. And if we feel okay in that moment, then we’re more capable of dealing with whatever comes.
  2. Coziness is about the truth of who you are. It’s about getting yourself and how you tick on a deep, deep level. It’s about authenticity. It’s about learning to know yourself. It’s very individual. Become a cozy researcher. Start looking through the world with the questions: do I like this or do I not like this? Start to wonder about what brings you comfort.
  3. Cozy is also about where you can get little bumps, little lifts from the ordinary, day-to-day living of life.
  4. We are wired to create cozy. We are designed to make what we can okay. Regardless of our circumstances, no matter how dire, we have a natural tendency to make things okay to the best of our ability. So, lean into this tendency. Allow yourself to create comfort. Tune into what makes you feel okay in this moment.
  5. In the undercurrent of cozy is gratitude and mindfulness. When we start to tune in with intention and deliberateness we start to feel thankful and we start to drop more deeply into the present moment.


I invite you to become a cozy researcher and start sleuthing through your life to find the things that make you feel okay. Make a list. Share the list with someone in your life. Share it with me! I’d love to see it. And I’ll send you my cozy list. You can email me at Kristen@kristenmanieri.com.

I can’t thank Isabel Gillies enough for joining me this week. Go find her at isabelgillies.com. And check out her books at your local book store, Amazon or wherever you buy books.

And thanks to you for being here. I hope you’re doing okay out there.

Until next time,

Stay well.

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