Happy Holidays.

A few happy snaps from 2013, which is rapidly - very rapidly - coming to a close. I'll always remember it for being the year I sat on rooftops, hiked through tangled forests, jumped in rivers, felt simultaneously young and old. I also moved to a new apartment, took about a dozen road trips, and met my nephew, who's now nine months old. It's been a strange and surprising, eye-opening and mind-altering year. I've loved it.

I'll be taking the next two weeks off from blogging while I'm here in LA with family, and while I celebrate the new year in New York. I'll be back with a new post January 6th - I'm looking forward to share new ideas for the coming year then! In the meantime, ten links for the interim:

-Kaleidoscope glasses.
-Scenes from Santa school.
-"The Joy (and Dread) of Keeping Diaries" - I loved this.
-Mimosas with pear nectar and thyme. (See also: sage champagne.)
-This picture, for cold days.
-This dress, always, for warm days.
-Bekka Palmer's Rules for Wandering.
-"50 of the Best Closing Lines in Music."
-My favorite POV post of the year, about finding magic in the everyday. (Here are the rest.)
-And a line from Rumi for the new year: Tear off the mask, your face is glorious.

I can't thank you enough for your support, your kind words, and for reading this year. I feel so lucky to have found such an engaging and inspiring community here, and I consider you all - whether we've met in person or not - cherished friends. Wishing you a joyful, peaceful, restful December. See you in the new year.

Confections in Color.

From Japan (of course), chocolate and flavored syrups masquerading as a set of paints. Among the collection's dozen flavors: raspberry, green tea, caramel, brandy, melon, and honey lemon. I'll take it.

Read more about Chocolate-Paint, designed by Nendo, here. Thanks, Design Milk.

Imagine Finding Me.

Speaking of seeing ghosts, I'm blown away by Imagine Finding Me, a series of "double self portraits" by photographer Chino Otsuka, who imagines her grown-up self interacting with selves of her past.  Says Chino, "The digital process becomes a tool, almost like a time machine, as I'm embarking on the journey to where I once belonged and at the same time becoming a tourist in my own history."

See more at the AGO Photography Prize website, here

Brilliant Balloons.

For this bright, sunlit Tuesday afternoon, two brilliant, balloon-centric designs: first, a poppy-red bench "suspended" by two helium clusters (created by Japan's h220430), 

and the most beautiful nightlight in the world, by Crous & Calogero of Barcelona, which features a red string that turns the bulb on and off with a gentle pull. Magic.

Both items found via Dezeen. Happy Tuesday! 

POV: Ghosts.

POV ("point of view") is a series that addresses many of the same themes covered in my Equals Record column: growing up, saying yes to adventure, learning to embrace a quarter-life crisis. Each POV entry will include a photograph and a short reflection based on what’s pictured. While my previous column focused largely on ideas, POV will focus on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories.

I arrived in LA for the holidays on Saturday night. My journey began early, with a walk in the snow to Penn Station. It ended nearly eleven hours later, after a layover in San Francisco during which I ate bad chocolate and watched hours of the news on mute.

Half-dreaming as the plane touched down in Burbank, I remembered my brother and me, as kids, arguing about who would get the window seat on our yearly trips to Tokyo. Both of us wanted to be first to see the city lights below, which seemed infinite and vast, and looked not only like stars, but like an entire universe.

Saturday evening, on the ride home from the airport, I passed my high school, nestled inconspicuously among the trees on Magnolia Boulevard. That place looks familiar, I found myself thinking, before realizing, foolishly, that I’d spent years of my life there. 

There was a bench out front where I’d sat with my friends hundreds of times - watching traffic, waiting for rides, drinking coffee and pretending to like it. It was still there, ten years later, and, squinting, I could see myself at 16, sitting there - smiling, gesturing, ghostlike. 

Nightmare and the Cat.

A song for the weekend, courtesy of LA's Nightmare and the Cat. It's called "Blackbird Smile" and it's been keeping me awake on this sleepy Friday. Listen and love.

I'll be back Monday (writing from my parent's house in LA!) with a new POV post. In the meantime, have a happy weekend - read, rest, make origami corgis.

And, in case you missed them, find gift ideas (including hot honey, hand-stitched baseballs, and hairspray made for mermaids),  here.

Photos by Sterling Taylor and Eli Russell Linnetz via Cool Hunting.

Guille & Belinda.

I love these photos, taken by Alessandra Guinetti, of two elementary-school-age Argentinian girls - cousins, if I'm not mistaken - as they play and revel in the delights of girlhood. They remind me of the many hours I spent with my very first best friend, hiding under beds, raising doll families, looking for elves and fairies in the backyard. We never found any, but we never gave up.

Alessandra's portraits have been compiled into a book, The Adventures of Guille and Belinda and the Enigmatic Meaning of their Dreams; a second - featuring a glance into their lives as young adults - will be out next year. See more on her website, here

Found via Feature Shoot. 

Seed Money.

One more gift idea for the holidays: Seed Money, plantable letterpress paper coins that grow into wildflowers and heirloom vegetables. Pennies sprout into poppies and snapdragons; nickels into herbs like thyme, sage, parsley, and basil; dimes into carrots and turnips; quarters into salad greens.

Leafcutter Designs suggests depositing the coins in "medians, public parks, or your friend's front yard," or leaving "a few with your tip at a restaurant." Brilliant.

Read more about Seed Money here. Thanks, Messy Nessy Chic. Happy Wednesday!

Magic Markers.

I don't often use bookmarks, but I'd make an exception for these, which were created by Turkish designer Ethem Onur Bilgic in honor of four enduring literary classics. That orange curlicued tentacle is my favorite. It's peculiar, and just perfect.

This week, I'm getting ready to spend the rest of the month in LA with my family for the holidays. On my vacation reading list: The Reason I Jump, The Goldfinch, and my friend Victoria's amazing memoir, This is How You Say Goodbye. What's on yours? Any recommendations? 

See more at the designer's website, here. Found via The Coolector.

Face It/Erase It.

Wise words to start the week, from singer Chrisette MicheleBeing scared is normal. My technique for erasing it is facing it. Be afraid and brave. Be nervous and courageous. The first few minutes of being scared is your test to see if you're really serious about reaching a goal. Push through anxiety and come out victorious. Fear is just a test. Honor the feeling. Know it's there. Know it's temporary.

Wishing you a very happy (and bold, and brave) Monday. Photo via my Instagram.

Holiday Gift Ideas 5: Hot Honey and the Moon and Stars.

Tis the season: every day this week, I'll be posting ten holiday gift ideas - fifty total by Friday. This year, I aimed to feature items from small businesses (Etsy and otherwise), or my favorite local  shops here in NYC. Other items are things I own and love.

Day 5: Hot Honey and the Moon and Stars.

-Feather necklace, $42. Blush-pink feathers on a leather cord.

-Senegalese basket, $20. A lidded cattail basket, Seuss-like, and the color of sunshine.

-Mike's Hot Honey, $10. I tried this chili-infused honey a few weeks ago at a pizza place called Paulie Gee's. It was drizzled over mozzarella and sopressata, and later over vanilla ice cream with candied walnuts. Unforgettable. 

-Kebnekaise Pouf Chair, $310. Modeled after Sweden's highest peak, a chair that allows the satisfaction of conquering mountains daily.

-Hand-carved Mexican slingshot, $85. Mango wood slingshots made exclusively for one of my favorite neighborhood shops

-Tiger card, $4.50. Well, hello.

-Part Wolf t-shirt, $24. For full moons. 

-Handmade skateboard, $245. In high school, my friend Maya and I once bought a skateboard from a toy store thinking we could practice on it before graduating to the real thing (something like one of these handmade oak boards). I made it as far as the foot of my driveway, and haven't ridden since.

-City of Daughters Rose Hip Grenadine, $13. For a Brooklyn-ized take on a Tequila Sunrise, grenadine made from pomegranate juice and organic rose hips.


For the rest of this year's guides (and other gift ideas from my archives), click here. Thanks so much for following along this week. I'll be back Monday - have a wonderful weekend! 

Holiday Gift Ideas 4: Holy Wood, Handmade Houses.

Tis the season: every day this week, I'll be posting ten holiday gift ideas - fifty total by Friday. This year, I aimed to feature items from small businesses (Etsy and otherwise), or my favorite local  shops here in NYC. Other items are things I own and love.

Day 4: Holy Wood. Handmade Houses.
-Woodstock Handmade Houses, $35. From 1974, a peek into the homes of the Woodstock generation.

-Bradley Mountain Traveler's Mug, $20. For camping trips and outdoor excursions, mugs wrapped in hand-stitched leather. I'd use them in the city, too.

-Turkish slippers, $45. Hot pink for cold mornings.

-Beaver pillow, $108. The best part of this pillow, which features a woodland scene embroidered on linen: there's a pocket sewn into the beaver's dam, so you can tuck him in at night.

-Flower Power Healing Bath, $24. A floral elixir of rose buds and witch hazel, clover and chamomile. 

-California pouch, $25. For pencils, pens, and magic wands.

-Felt party hat, $40. Made by hand in Bolivia, these alpaca wool party hats are fair-trade and hypoallergenic.

-The Adjustable Clampersand, $40. Says creator Tony Ruth, "I'd recommend using it to clamp verbally-associated objects together into some sort of visual pun: bacon and eggs, salt and pepper, turner and hooch. That sort of thing." (More inspiration here.) 

-Audubon Field Guide Series, $60. Everything you'll ever need to know about shells, mushrooms, spiders, and the night sky.

-Palo Santo Wood, $15. My friend Jamie got me some of this incense (also known as "holy wood") for my birthday, made from the bark of the Ecuadorian Palo Santo tree. Use it to "cleanse a space, cure a hangover, or ward off mosquitoes."


More tomorrow! For the rest of this week's guides (and other gift ideas from my archives), click here.

Holiday Gift Ideas 3: Foxes, Feathers, Beauty Every Day.

Tis the season: every day this week, I'll be posting ten holiday gift ideas - fifty total by Friday. This year, I aimed to feature items from small businesses (Etsy and otherwise), or my favorite local  shops here in NYC. Other items are things I own and love.

Day 3: Foxes, Feathers, Beauty Every Day.

-Sailing Ship Kite, $40. As magical for adults as it is for children. Made in New York City.

-Hand-stitched baseball, $39. I once asked during a high school baseball game whether there were two balls in play - which pretty much says it all about my knowledge of sports, both then and now. Still, I think these baseballs, handcrafted and stitched in waxed linen, are gorgeous.

-Cat paper doll, $8. This cat is tiny and adorable and ballet-slipper pink - and he couldn't care less about any of it.

-Antique astrology chart, $65. For astrology addicts and stargazers, a map of the sky that dates back to 1873. 

-The Diary of Anais Nin, Vol. 4, $17.96. Anais Nin has felt like a spiritual guide to me this past year. I have this line taped to my wall.

-Della MacBook case, $38. Handmade in Ghana, using local, sustainable, vegan materials. (Della is an amazing company that offers education and skills training to its employees in West Africa. Read more, here.)

-Feather tattoo, $5 for 2. To encourage free spirits.

-Honey Maple Cream, $13. Made in Pennsylvania using fresh milk, butter, maple syrup, and vanilla. Indie food website Mouth suggests pairing it with almond butter for what sounds like the most astoundingly delicious sandwich of all time.

-Anthony Burrill print, $75. For your bedroom wall, because what better words could there be to wake up to?

-Woodland socks, $38.63. To ensure warm toes when doing this.


More tomorrow! For Monday's and Tuesday's guides (and other gift ideas from my archives), click here.

Holiday Gift Ideas 2: Smiles, Sage, First Powered Flight.

Tis the season: every day this week, I'll be posting ten holiday gift ideas - fifty total by Friday. This year, I aimed to feature items from small businesses (Etsy and otherwise), or my favorite local  shops here in NYC. Other items are things I own and love.

Day 2: Smiles, Sage, First Powered Flight.

-Asymmetrical Beaded Plant Hanger, $50. Made with hemp and vintage polymer beads. I'd like to hang one off the canopy of my bed.

-Stitch-a-Smile Set, $8. A token of good cheer, for the new year and beyond.

-Big Sur Cabin Spray, $65. Because I'm often nostalgic for California, and because I can't resist this description of its scent: driving down the coastal highway along 500-foot ocean cliffs and through misty Redwoods, the smell of wild sage and sea mist in the air.

-Vintage poetry book, $17. A collection of Mikhail Lermontov's poetry (in Russian), printed in the 60s. I have to confess, I'm not familiar with the poet or his work, but I love the ruby-red cover and its mysterious words.

-Mexican fabric, one yard, $9.50. I've spent more time than I'd care to admit perusing this Etsy shop's wares, gaping at the colors.

-Guillow's 1903 Wright Flyer model kit, $32.01. Build a laser-cut model of the 1903 Wright Flyer, become inspired, create a world.

-2014 Eat Local Calendar, $30. Celebrate seasonal produce with kaleidoscopic odes to nature's bounty. Illustrated by Oakland artist - and my new friend - Maria Schoettler. 

-Gold julep strainer, $30. In frosty December, a reminder of summer.

-Mighty Asterisk, $18.95. Apparently this wooden treasure is a puzzle, and a very difficult one at that. Try your hand, or just admire its charm.

-Washi bandages, $6.50. The prettiest Band-Aids in all the land.


More tomorrow! For yesterday's guide (featuring mermaids, Champagne chalk, and a starlit mug), click here

Holiday Gift Ideas 1: Bobcats, Mermaids, Tiny Mountains.

Tis the season: every day this week, I'll be posting ten holiday gift ideas - fifty total by Friday. This year, I aimed to feature items from small businesses (Etsy and otherwise), or my favorite local  shops here in NYC. Other items are things I own and love.

Day 1: Bobcats, Mermaids, Tiny Mountains.
-Bobcat and Other Stories, $14.95. One of the best books I read this year - and one of the strangest.

-Mermaid Sea Salt Spray, $22. My friend Megan and I love this rose-scented sea salt hair spray. We douse ourselves in it in hopes of becoming mermaids - it hasn't happened yet, but we'll keep trying.

-Three Stars Champagne Chalk, $11. This chalk is made by a German company over a century old using natural chalk deposits from Champagne, France.

-Tiny Snow-Capped Mountains and Sky Earrings Set, $55. Two moons, a cloud, and three snowy peaks, made to order. 

-Ceramic Incense Yurt, $62. This four-by-four-inch yurt is made in New York; its cousins the beehive and the teepee are pretty sweet, too.

-Mast Brothers Chocolate Chips, $19. The Mast Brothers chocolate factory is in my neighborhood. Sometimes I visit on my way to the train, just to take a deep breath in. 

-Red Jumping Leopard Dreamcatcher, $85. I love everything about this.

-Vintage movie camera, $42. It no longer works, but it'd be beautiful on a bookshelf.

-Starlight mug, $24. Handmade by Marina Temkin, brushed in blue, speckled in stars.

-Fingers Crossed lino print, $26.95. An image full of hope, from one of my Etsy favorites, Kaye Blegvad.


More to come tomorrow. In the meantime, I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving! With many of our friends out of the city, Megan and I had what we called a Tiny-giving, with a little roast chicken, the tiniest blue potatoes you've ever seen, and a cranberry sauce we made from scratch. It was cozy and quiet and the second Friendsgiving in a row that felt - despite its hodgepodge nature - pretty close to perfect. How was yours?

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