POV: Planets.

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 focuses on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories. 

In January I became the owner of a tiny planet, green and brown, with leaves sprouting from its northernmost pole and patches of moss in place of oceans. 

I spotted it suspended in the window of a garden shop as I combed the neighborhood in fruitless pursuit of windowsill herbs. “Not until spring,” I was told at every stop. Plant novice that I am, I found myself scandalized by the fragility of parsley and thyme, and the apparent inability of basil and coriander to thrive in a polar vortex.

But here was my planet. Sound, sturdy, untroubled by winter. I brought it home in a paper bag, resisting an urge every step of the way to cover it with a blanket and shield it from snow.

Best Medicine.

Delighted to have stumbled across this enlightening feature in an old issue COLORS Magazine, which highlights the myriad health benefits of laughter, and, more specifically, something called "laughing yoga." The practice originated in India in the mid-nineties and encourages a purposeful inclusion of laughter in everyday life. 

Below, factory workers in West Delhi work with expert Jiten Kohi on exercises including "the One-Meter Laugh, which involves measuring an imaginary fabric, then bursting into laughter when it's one-meter long."

As the article states, "By the age of four, children are on average laughing 300 times per day; most adults only manage 20. Laugh more." Yes.

See more at COLORS Magazine (including detailed diagrams on how to laugh), here. Wonderful photos by Boris Austin.

Green House.

Those of you in the architecture world may recognize this garden-shed-turned-summer-oasis from when it first appeared on design blogs years ago. For those of you unfamiliar (and especially for those who woke up to snow this morning), I thought I'd unearth it from the depths of my bookmarks tab to share it today. Consider it a vision of sunlit hope. 

The structure, created by Helsinki designer Linda Bergroth and Avanto Architects' Ville Hara, features natural Finnish pine and reclaimed brick. What's cooler? Its design was inspired by old-fashioned multi-compartment sewing boxes. What's coolest? It can be assembled in the location of your choice using a screwdriver.

Visit Linda Bergroth's website, here, and Avanto Architects', here. Thank you to iGNANT for posting this wonderful round-up of portable homes yesterday, which reminded me how much I love this project.

Further reading:
-An attic apartment in Madrid with a swing, a tea room, and a disco ball.
-Photographs in jars.
-The best rooftop in New York history.


Valentine's Day is ten days behind us, but in the spirit of keeping romance alive through a cold and frosty winter, here's a line of handmade ceramics inspired by Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. I have to admit, I haven't read the book, but I love those painted faces, those swirls of blue and white, the overall literary fan-girliness of it all.

Shop more on Etsy, here. I also love this pink forest mug, these garden worms, this textured teepee, and this mysterious "small smokey vessel."

(PS: Two titles I am reading, and would highly recommend: No Regrets and The Diary of Anais Nin, Volume 1. What are you reading?)

The Sea, the Sky, the Dreaming Katydids.

After a dazzling spring-like weekend - during which I attempted to sunbathe in a bright corner of a coffee shop and spent an evening kicking back at a neighborhood bar with this guy (name unknown) - it's winter again, with daytime highs hovering near freezing.

To focus on the positive: beautiful things happen when the temperature drops - biologist Jeff Bowman knows. On his way back from the North Pole in 2009, he found a blooming garden in the midst of an ice-cold sea. "Frost flowers," he tells NPR's Robert Krulwich. "They were everywhere."

Read more about the science behind frost flowers at NPR, here. Photos by Matthias Wietz.

More for Monday:
-My friend Maria (creator of these beautiful prints and calendars) was interviewed on Refinery29 last week. It's worth checking out for her outfits alone, and for her sky-blue toenails.
-Adrianna's doughnut ice cream, served with doughnuts on the side - and sprinkles, of course.
-And this, by Shirley Jackson via Tin House: "…even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream."

POV: Triumphs.

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 focuses on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories. 

It wasn’t until I had slipped and crash-landed on my face in the snow that I realized I’d fallen in love with trees. At the time, I was also barely able to pay rent, and single for the first time in years, and, at any given moment, on the verge of panic. The world seemed bleak and I was starved for brightness. In my desperate search, I found it in the most unexpected places: in the curvature of tree branches, in the crowing of birds, in bumping shoulders with strangers on crowded sidewalks.

Everything, all of it, was spectacularly mundane. But at the time, nothing seemed purer, or brighter, or more beautiful than tree bark, than trash buried under snow, than people passing in the street and touching.

Kaleidoscope Eyes.

A few weeks ago, I linked to a pair of handmade kaleidoscope glasses after spotting a pair in one of my favorite neighborhood shops, Beautiful Dreamers (which is home to this long-coveted felt hat - sometimes I stop in just to visit it).

Last night, I did some reading on the man behind the glasses, Brent Paul Pearson, an LA-based artist who fashioned the spectacles to "enhance perception" - and, interestingly, to time travel. (More on that here.)

Apparently, the experience is powerful: writes Tanja M. Laden of Flavorwire, "one woman who used them to stare at the full moon for 10 minutes ended up speechless and crying, while a chef used them to eat his dessert because he wanted to know if they would affect his sense of taste, too." (Also, yes, that is Edward Sharpe three photos up, surveying the land through laser-cut lenses.)

Read more at the Future Eyes website, here. Top photo via Beautiful Dreamers. Photo of Alexander Ebert by Stewart Cole. All other images via Future Eyes.


At twenty-eight, I've reached the uncomfortable age at which everyone around me seems to be engaged or expecting a child. Mercifully, this seem less prevalent in Williamsburg, where I live, but on Facebook - and all of social media in general - it's all diamonds and diapers, all the time.

These hand-lettered cards by Emily McDowell - when read in the somewhat startled tone I imagine in my head - are just perfect. Appropriately happy, appropriately horrified.

Visit Emily McDowell's Etsy shop, here.

Further reading: on feeling young/on feeling old.

What Did You Buy Today?

Illustrator Kate Bingaman-Burt has documented her daily purchases in the form of photographs and drawings for the past eight years. Can you imagine? Among my purchases in the past few days: plants; pancake ingredients; earrings shaped liked the moon; a deep, dark wine with notes of "black metal"; mouthwash.
According to her site, Kate also draws "passwords, mix tapes, stolen goods and yard sale signs…She will also take a picture of the back of your head if you sit in front of her on the bus."

See more at Kate Bingaman-Burt's website, here. Happy Tuesday!

Window Watchers.

It snowed all day yesterday - and there was rain and heavy wind, too - so Lily and I stayed inside and made pancakes and watched from our window. At one point in the morning, the top headline on CNN read: Seriously, just stay home. We did, and the day passed slowly: we worked, we read, we went to bed early. Not so long ago, this level of inactivity might have made me antsy; these days, though, I'm learning to embrace seasons, ones that occur internally, and the ones passing outside my living room window. Nothing happened today, I told my parents on the phone last night.

Sometimes, in winter, that's okay.

Wishing you all a very happy Valentine's Day. I'm spending mine outside the city, celebrating a friend's birthday in a very top-secret fashion (more on that later). I'll be back next week with a new POV post; in the meantime, reading material for the weekend:

-Fruit loaf and sponge cake by George Orwell.
-Italian pasta divas.
-Beautiful books with curious titles: Stories of Strange Women; Travels of a Rolled Oat; Stars, etc.
-And lastly, on heartbreak: "[Its] purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open…make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life. And you do."

See you Tuesday. Photos via my Instagram.

Li'l Lenox.

This is Yung Lenox. He's seven. He likes rap and he likes to draw. What happens when those two passions collide? See below (and here, and here, too). 

See also:
1) If I slip, then I'm slippin'.
2) Circuses in the forests.
3) Children with swag.

Such Great Kites.

Gerco de Ruijter takes photos using a camera (of course) and a kite, capturing landscapes and the tops of trees the way a bird might see them. The results are spectacular.

Visit Gerco de Ruijter's website, here. Found via Design Ark. Happy Wednesday!

PS: For another perspective: thoughts on looking up.

Lights In the Attic.

Filmmaker Vera van Wolferen got an early start as an artist, using cardboard refrigerator boxes to craft houses and spaceships, even a makeshift gas station and a post office for her dolls. Today, she makes lamps by hand out of the same material. There's a house with a window in the attic and a ladder to climb out ("to get closer to the stars and moon"), and a towering lighthouse. They're stunning and sophisticated, but, says Vera, "I'm still a girl making things out of cardboard."

Visit Vera's Etsy shop, here. (That's her, building a boat, above.)

Happy Though Human.

In a 1959 book addressing "nearly every important problem of everyday life," W. Beran Wolfe writes: If you observe a really happy man, you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, growing double dahlias in his garden, or looking for dinosaur eggs in the Gobi desert. He will not be searching for happiness as if it were a collar button that has rolled under the radiator.
I'm tempted to spend these last few frozen weeks of winter in hiding, but why not write a symphony (or a letter)? Build a boat (or draw all over your bedroom walls)? Look for dinosaurs (or new books, or new music, new recipes, shapes in the clouds)? It's how to be happy, says the author of this book, though cold, though restless, though human.

Thanks, things magazine. Have a wonderful start to the week! 

POV: In Hiding.

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 focuses on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories. 

When I was little, one of my favorite games involved planning for impending disaster. I’d imagine that a blizzard was coming, or a tornado, or some other weather-related catastrophe that I’d only heard about in books. I imagined hunkering down in some sort of candlelit cellar, with crates of food and a wool blanket and an oil lamp, the wind howling through the wooden trap door overhead. I always made it just in time. Within seconds, the house above would be torn from the ground or buried beneath feet of snow. But I’d be safe. I saw it coming.

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas: For You.

In keeping with what's become tradition on this blog, a few ideas for treating yourself on Valentine's Day. Instead of diamonds, why not wings? Instead of wine, tea?  In place of flowers, how about stained glass feathers or a perfume that smells like ghosts and roses? In lieu of lace, painted cotton?  (I obviously can't get enough of these.)

A personal favorite among this set: a little gray book called Dangerous Women, which features found photography commemorating mischievous girls. I like it as an alternative to a love poem.
Clockwise, from top left: Stained glass feather, $120; Wing earrings, $61.98; Striped britches, $36; Brushstroke mug, $26; Ghost Rose solid perfume, $34; Dangerous Women, $18.

Other ideas, no wallet necessary: write, paint, cook, wander. Plant a tree, make a fort, eat cookies for breakfast. Dance. Sing. Play hide-and-seek. Whatever you do, have a happy one.

Hammocks & Candle Wax.

Overjoyed to share photos this morning from the newest Rue Magazine cover story, which I had the pleasure of writing and which features Emily in her lovely home. Emily's East Village apartment is barely 400 square feet, but she's managed to fit a hammock in her bedroom, and a world's worth of travel souvenirs in its nooks and crannies. 

"I had a non-stop year last year," she told me. "I was working more than ever and it was difficult to find time to unplug. I got the hammock as a sort of escape. It's its own little world, where I can sit and look out my window."

Other stand-out details: the photo collage on her front door, and a hardened pool of melted candle wax, which is the result of a spill in a former apartment. "I like physical expressions of the passage of time," she says

Emily's also just launched a new print shop called Terra Incognita, featuring iPhone photos from her many travels. Lily, Jamie, and I are considering this one for our living room.

Photos by Emily Johnston and Nicole Franzen for Rue Magazine. See the latest issue, here.


These photos, part of a series called Miradors by Erwan Fichou, are striking and surprising and exceptionally strange. Taken in Mexico City, the images feature passersby perched on carefully manicured treetops. What it all means, I'm not sure, but I like it. Reminds me of the beautiful, brilliant Eyes as Big as Plates.

Further foliage-related reading: the handwriting of treesheadwear inspired by "the texture of earth and forests," and my article on Swedish treehouses for VICE. Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Photographs by Erwan Fichou. Thanks, Thisispaper.

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