POV: Upright.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

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 went ice skating last week, on a Sunday night, ten minutes from my apartment in McCarren Park. A small portion of the swimming pool had been converted into a rink the day before, and, on this drizzly evening, a small crowd had gathered, circling the ice in gray twilight.

I hadn’t skated in years. To my relief, it appeared, neither had anyone else. Clusters of high school girls, giggling behind curtains of long hair, slipped and slid their way around the rink. Children clung to the walls all around, lurching forward in single-file, like ducklings.  

My skates, feather-light when passed over the rental counter, now felt unwieldy and enormous. I teetered. I tottered. I made faces, unwillingly, out of unease and laughter and flitting bursts of panic. Yair, my companion in adventure, coaxed me along.

Earlier that day, he'd attended a friend's baby shower, and on our walk to McCarren, we talked about what it was like to be twenty-eight and to feel far from adulthood, to not know what we want. At this point, I reasoned, I don't have very many wants - only to stay inspired and to avoid boredom wherever possible; to make things and share them; to know good people and to love them. If I'm going to feel my way through adulthood without a picture or a plan, I want to do that happily, and without clinging to walls. I want to feel free and I want to remember to be thankful.

Around me, other skaters took spectacular dives, spinning on their backsides or slamming with alarming force into the walls surrounding the rink. A girl in a faux fur hood whizzed past, arms flapping, inviting collision. I leaned forward with arms outstretched to keep from falling. 

“It’s easier to stay upright if you just keep moving,” Yair called from up ahead.

"That's so metaphorical it's almost embarrassing," I said, but I did it. 


I tried drawing pictures in the ice with the blades of my skates, to make S's and O's, to glide gracefully backwards the way I'd seen figure skaters do (this, it turns out, is much more difficult than it looks). I tried tracing the shadows of the lights strung overhead; I grabbed the arms of children wobbling by to steady them. I circled and circled, turn and spun, looked wooden and ungraceful and didn't care, and I laughed. I forgot, for whole minutes at a time, that I was even moving at all.

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You can find my previous POV entries, here, and the archive for my personal essay column on the Equals Record, here. Thank you a million times over for reading - wishing you the happiest Thanksgiving.

Photo via my Instagram.

Face-o-mat.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Artist and storyteller Tobias Gutmann is the creator of Face-o-mat, a traveling portrait machine that promises a hand-illustrated likeness in three minutes. Says Gutmann, speaking as the machine: "I'm a psychiatrist…I'm a prophet. I see behind a face."


Tobias has now illustrated over seven-hundred faces across multiple continents through Face-o-mat, talking to participants through a small square hole in the box as he draws: Are you ready? What's your favorite food? Do you like purple or green? 


Watch videos of Face-o-mat in action here, and visit Tobias Gutmann's website, here.

Swings & Slides.

Monday, November 25, 2013

For Monday morning daydreaming: these swings, designed by Johanna Richter, which come in beechwood and wool felt varieties and are meant to resemble a beaded necklace…


…and Korea's Panorama House, which features a polished wooden staircase that functions as an enormous bookshelf and, more notably, a slide. "Grown-ups love [it]," says architect Moon Hoon.


More swings & slides:
-"The Swing at the End of the World." (Breathtaking. Thanks, Dana.)
-Christopher Duffy's Swing Table.
-A bright-white slide in Tokyo.

Happy Monday! Slide photos: top two by Huh Juneul; the rest by Namgoong Sun.

The Only Moment There Is.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A quote from Thich Nhat Hanh for the weekend: We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive. 


I often get caught up in the idea of tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. And while it's comforting to make plans for the future and alway important to dream, I never want to lose sight of the fact that I'm here. There's beauty in working to catch the wave; it's beautiful, also, just being in the sea.

Enjoy the weekend - read, relax, watch the sky, sing!

Photographs by Max Wanger.

Shoes & Socks.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A big yes to these printed cotton lace-ups by Melbourne's Emily Green (the red ones especially, with lemon-colored laces and blue spots on just one side),


and to my pal Megan's Instagrams of her mis-matched socks - and of Mo, her cat, interfering.


In the spirit of mis-matchedness, three more (non-sartorial) links, just because:
-This is what a porcupine sounds like.
-Literary city guides.
-For Wall Street Journal subscribers, I'm quoted in this article about New Yorkers who take extracurricular classes (cheese-making! sake-tasting! pirouetting and plie-ing!) in their spare time.

Have a happy Thursday!

Hats, Maps & Mugs.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Very happy to share my most recent post on the Etsy blog, which is all about winter layers (and my goal this year to avoid basic black at all costs). The post is organized by body part: head, shoulders, knees, and toes; below are the first and third installments. For the rest, visit the Etsy blog, here.


I also recently had the pleasure of putting together a bloggers' gift guide for Conde Nast Traveler. I asked ten bloggers - including friends Bri Emery, Joanna GoddardSarah Yates, Cass Lavalle, and Rebecca Baust - for their favorite travel-related gift picks, and included three of my own, as well. Something about that bright-red enamel mug makes me heart skip a beat every time. But I digress - for the full guide, visit Conde Nast Traveler, here
Clockwise from top: A Map of the World; enamel mugs; Catbird travel candles.

Looking forward to launching my own guide on December 2 - hard to believe that's just around the corner!

Ship Shape.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Architect Luigi Prina has been building model airplanes since his youth; later in life, after meeting a Venetian boat builder, he began experimenting with constructing flying ships in miniature. Now, at 83, he's the master of an offbeat craft, sculpting winged bicycles and sailboats and pirate ships. See him in action, here.


Photographs by Gianluca Giannone via Blinking City.

POV: Seasons.

Monday, November 18, 2013

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 met Emily while writing my first piece for Rue Magazine three years ago. Since then, she’s shot the photographs that have accompanied nearly every feature I’ve contributed to date - and we’ve become friends.

I can point to one afternoon in particular that seemed to propel our friendship forward. It was October, last year, and we’d just wrapped a daylong shoot at a downtown loft. We stopped for coffee at Saturdays on the way home.

We sat on the bench at the front of the shop, in a patch of sunlight that did little to fend off the 5 PM chill. We talked about the changes that were happening in our lives. “I'm having a transformative year,” I said (I was saying this a lot then). “I’m learning to be alone.” 

You seem different, she said.

I was. She was, too - transforming, that is.

Before we parted ways, she took a picture of me. My head is turned. My brow is furrowed. I’m dressed in black. There are shadows everywhere, and my eyes are cast downward as if closed completely.

For Philippines With Love.

Friday, November 15, 2013

In lieu of a regularly scheduled post, I'm honored to take part in the "For Philippines With Love" Bloggers Day of Silence. More information below...

After having raised $64,000 for Japanese earthquake relief in 2011, Utterly Engaged and Ever Ours are teaming up again to raise funds for the Philippines following last week's devastating typhoon. They're looking to raise $3,500 for ShelterBox, which provides "shelter, warmth, and dignity" to those in need - to donate, see details below, or visit For Philippines With Love, here.


Please help in any way you can. Every little bit counts. Have a wonderful weekend! 

Bodily Botany.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Kathy, who authors one of my favorite blogs and whom I've had the pleasure of meeting on more than one occasion, has a terrific eye and is a wonderful writer. All credit goes to her for discovering EYE 'HEART' SPLEEN, a series of photographs by Camila Carlow, who recreates human organs using plants, weeds, and flowers that grow in the vicinity of her home in Bristol. (From top to bottom: lungs, heart, eye, and gut.)


Writes the artist: "Regardless of whether we fill ourselves with toxins or nourishing food, whether we exercise or not - our organs sustain us, working away effortlessly and unnoticed. In a similar way, plants flourishing in the urban environment are a testament to nature's indifference to our goings-on. They grow out of the sides of buildings, in brick walls, between the cracks in concrete."

Visit Camila Carlow's website, here. Thank you, Kathy.

Salt & Straw.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Portland-based ice creamery Salt & Straw has unveiled a new line of five Thanksgiving-inspired flavors, including salted caramel with a brittle made from fried turkey skin, and Apple Cranberry Stuffing, sweetened with celery soda. Other highlights? Pumpkin custard with chèvre, and a sweet potato ice cream with maple marshmallows. 


(You might also consider a little coffee and bourbon to finish.)

Visit the Salt & Straw website, here. Photos via Salt & Straw's Facebook and website.

Cumulus/Stratus/Cirrus.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I'm completely blown away by Kreuz, an artist whose felt creations are grouped into categories named after clouds. Items in the Cumulus collection are inspired by the shapes we see in the sky as children, for instance, and include the made-to-order hats and cactus mittens below.

At top is a beret Kreuz calls We met on a snowy day in the woods, which depicts "quiet pine trees, a steamy hot spring pond, foot prints on a snow-covered land, and a disappearing tail."



Kreuz's Stratus collection features wool hats and headpieces "inspired by the vast sea and sky, quiet moss-covered rock, the texture of earth and forests, and beautiful wild lives." (From top to bottom are a bear, a tapir, a goat, and some sort of mythical creature I find both bizarre and bewitching.)


Lastly, the Cirrus series are "little aliens growing out of the palette left by a painter. They evolve, gather together, and build up their own cosmos." 

It's all very strange and beautiful. See more at Kreuz's website, here, and Etsy shop, here.

New Hampshire.

Monday, November 11, 2013

To start the week, I thought I'd belatedly share a few photos from the weekend in New Hampshire that I wrote about here. In honor of Emily's birthday, we spent two days on a farm in Dublin, on the most beautiful lake you could possibly imagine. (Also, as a West Coast transplant, fall foliage is still always a stunning surprise. It gets me every time.)


Also, a few photos by the very talented Nicole Franzen of La Buena Vida (can you believe that kale patch?):


Feeling nostalgic already. East Coasters, where do you like to travel during the colder months?

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