Hide This, Please.

Hello again from New York City! After eight amazing days (and thirty hours in transit each way), I'm back in my Brooklyn apartment with my head spinning. What an adventure - I can't wait to share more about it! I'll post pictures later this week - either Wednesday or Thursday; in the meantime, here's something lighthearted for this rainy Monday morning. 

Below, a few stand-outs from Ransom Riggs's collection of found photos with self-deprecating captions. (Thank you, Natalie, for pinning.) Very happy these shots didn't end up out the window or in the fireplace, as the women below hoped.

Related reading:
-Returning vintage photographs to the light.
-Famous writers in their underwear.
-"Get closer and I'll eat you."

Also, on a personal note, exciting news from while I was gone: I appeared in the first tutorial for Joanna Goddard's new Cup of Jo beauty series - on freckles! - and my nephew, Dash, celebrated his first birthday. Can't believe it. How have the last ten days treated you?

More from Ransom Riggs (including a bookTalking Pictures), here. Via Mental Floss

POV: Heights.

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. 

[NOTE: Though I'm posting this today, it was written last week, as I was traveling to Sri Lanka.] 

When I was in high school, my family lived in the hills off of Laurel Canyon in a house surrounded by trees. There was a hiking trail five minutes away, and on weekends, I’d walk its winding paths and look at the valley below. Among a sea of roofs and treetops and swimming pools, I’d try to pick out places I knew: the drugstore, my favorite newsstand, intersections I crossed daily on my way to school. 

At street level, I had to strain to grasp the wholeness of things. It was hard to see buildings as part of city blocks, city blocks as part of a sprawling metropolis. In the midst of pre-college chaos, it was calming to see the world from a height. It was disorienting, too, in pleasant and unpleasant ways, to suddenly feel so small.

Hello from Sri Lanka!

Hi everyone! I'm writing to you from the deck of a guesthouse in Fort Galle. It's 11PM and I'm sitting next to a lighthouse by the water, surrounded by stars and a nearly-full moon. It's magical, needless to say. I can't wait to share more when I'm back in New York.

Speaking of which, I'm making a slight change to my posting schedule for the next week. Because of Internet ups and downs, I'll be moving my next POV entry to this coming Monday, and will take the rest of the week off from regular posting. I'll be back to daily updates on March 31st. Thank you for understanding! Thanks also for all for your wonderful comments and suggestions - they're so very much appreciated!

Sending lots of love from this beautiful place. xo Shoko

Gone Adventuring.

Big news today: in a few hours, I'll be boarding a plane to Sri Lanka. In a very last-minute move, I booked an eight-day trip and I'm looking forward to spending the next week or so riding trains, climbing mountains, swimming in the ocean, and eating everything in sight. I have to admit, I hesitated before buying the ticket - this has been a chaotic few weeks for a variety of reasons and I wasn't sure it was a good time to leave. Then I remembered: it's easier to stay upright if you just keep moving.

I'll be posting a POV entry as usual this Friday. I'll be back to my regular schedule starting March 31st, and can't wait to share stories and photos then. (Also, if anyone has been to Sri Lanka and has any recommendations or travel advice, please share!) In the meantime, a few travel-related links:

-Twelve hours in...
-The most beautiful street in the world.
-My afternoon in a Tokyo cat cafe.
-On being a nomad.
-Time-traveling glasses.
-"Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don't be sorry."

Have a wonderful rest of the week, and I'll see you back here soon!

Photos by Max Wanger.

7 Horses.

7 Horses, a series by Swedish photographer Ulrika Kestere, tells the story of a girl and her seven invisible horses, who were blown away in a storm one day, along with a load of laundry that had been drying outside on the line. Below, the horses in meadows, on hills, in the woods, in the snow:

See more here, and have a happy Monday. Three days til spring…

POV: Timber.

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. 

One afternoon, while living on a farm in New Zealand years ago, I was standing in the middle of a field in rain boots, chicken feed in hand. All was still. Then, suddenly, there was rustling. Then, a crack. Then, in one stunning, staggering moment, a tree fell. 

It was tall and thick and had heavy branches that hung low to the ground, and when it fell it made the sort of spectacular tree-falling sound I’d heard only in movies about the destruction of the rainforest.

I looked around, wondering whether anyone had seen. But no one was there. Goats that had been grazing nearby flicked their tails and stepped to the side, their eyes darting only briefly skyward. 

Ailurophiles and Inglenooks.

This list by linguist Robert Beard has been making the rounds for ages; as someone who loves words, I always take a moment to scroll through whenever I see it on a blog or Tumblr feed. Recently, I looked for interviews with Beard to find out what exactly makes a word beautiful - turns out, it's simple: "It's the sound and the meaning and the way they fit together," he tells Bucknell University. 

He likes petrichor ("the smell of earth after rain") and gossamer and lagoon; personally, I'd add alphabet and lollipop and kaleidoscope. What words do you love?

Find Bucknell's interview with Robert Beard, here

More words: 
-Completely accidental - and often very beautiful - haiku.
-A blog devoted to "strange and lovely words" (like jentacular, which means "relating to breakfast.")

Minka and the Bear.

I'm excited to announce that I have an interview up today on Freunde von Freunden, with one of my new favorite artists, Minka Sicklinger. Minka is well-known for her tattoo work, but she's an illustrator, too, and a former fashion stylist. In a past life, she says, she was a "treasure hunting pirate," and it shows: her tiny Manhattan apartment is filled with trinkets, taxidermy, and mementos from her travels. There are books on the floor, plants on the windowsills, a golden egg in the corner, and the head of a bear above her bed. It's her spirit animal, she says. It guards her as she sleeps.

Of her art, Minka says: "Every time I sit down at a blank page of paper I don’t know what’s going to come out. I draw how I see things, which is not necessarily how they look in real life. It’s like when I took photographs: I never really cared about what was in the frame. I cared about how those things got there and where they were going after." 

Read the full interview on Freunde von Freunden, and see more of Minka's work, here. You can find my past FvF interviews here, including this one with art director Aslan Malik, who has gold fingernails and a cat named after Anais Nin. (No big deal.)

Bird's Bounty.

Laura Bird, wherever you are, I'm in love with your work. I love these women sitting on rocks, with overgrown arms and blue-gray hair (a trait, according to my five-year-old niece, reserved only for mermaids).

I love this vase, with its jewel-toned lagoon and painted tiger, and this one, with its happy crouching bather. (With the proper plant, they'd be shielded from the sun.)

And I love this egg-shaped lantern, too, with its crossed legs and big leaves and that little blue cat, with holes punched all around for letting out the light. 

Other curiosities: a mug with eyes, a best friends vase, swimmers reclining in shallow stoneware pools (perfect for keeping jewelry, Bird says). Bookmarking it all. See more, here.

Related reading:
-Rainbow factories.
-Odes to Wuthering Heights.
-Two guest posts on the Etsy Blog.

One Day Young.

I have a nephew who will turn one in a couple of weeks. When we FaceTimed yesterday, I watched him crawl through the house, share toys with Henry, bang walls with a wooden spoon. Since I saw him over Christmas, he's learned to feed himself Cheerios (one at a time), point to mama, clap his hands. So much happens in a week, a month, a year - it's hard to believe this journey starts at only one day.

Photographer Jenny Lewis's portrait series One Day Young features new mothers with their one-day-old babies. The shots are warm, joyful, and, as Lewis reports, surprisingly serene: "The only stories I had heard before I had my children were ones of pain straight to sleepless nights. This episode of pure joy seemed to be missing, so it was a surprise to me."

See more at Jenny Lewis's website, here. Thanks, My Modern Met. Have a wonderful Monday.


These days, I work semi-regularly in the company of other freelancers. We meet in coffee shops or at each other's apartments, crowding around tables or crouching on couches. This week, we met at Emily's. She made us cake and a pot of very strong coffee and we stayed all day. (She took the photos below, which can be found on her Instagram. You can also read more about her home, which I covered for a recent issue of Rue Magazinehere.)

Setting times to meet forces us to focus - and to leave the house. And while freelancing has many upsides (for example, you can order pizza for lunch, then fall into a food coma on the floor and no one bats an eye), it's also a precarious business. It can be a lonely one. For that reason, it's nice to have a community. For me, it's a godsend to have this one. 

For those familiar with the challenges of a creative career, Henry Miller's work commandments are an excellent read. My favorite is the third: Don't be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand. 

Wishing you a happy weekend - rest, wander, work (or not). Next week: grizzly bears, windswept trees, and a brand-new POV. Until then!


A big thank you to Megan for introducing me to Chelsea Hodson's Inventory, a blog chronicling the writer's attempt to catalog every one of her possessions. She posts photos of each item alongside a short reflection or a quote. As shown below, for example, there's a tube of illuminator, a copy of Breakfast at Tiffany's, a hairbrush, riding pants. 

Of the pants, Chelsea writes: "This path will lead us home, I say. What path? You say. This path, I say, taking your hand & pointing it to the left.There is no path but I'd like for you to believe in something right now. If I can keep you believing then I can keep neglecting my faith, I can keep dragging it on a leash, we never have to go home."

As a writer, I love this idea as a form of daily practice. "When I moved back to Brooklyn from Los Angeles earlier this year, I thought, why not make a list of every single thing I'm taking with me?" Chelsea tells The Missouri Review. "Writing about each item seemed like a good opportunity for an exercise: I put something online every day no matter what. Even if I can't write well that day, it's just about completing the list I started."

Visit Chelsea Hobson's website, here, and her Tumblr, here.

Additional inventories:
-What Did You Buy Today? 
-A self-portrait a day.
-Finishing salts and heirloom cowpeas: pantry staples of top foodies.

Stuff Being Thrown At My Head.

Editor Kaija Straumanis is the woman behind the aptly-titled portrait series Stuff Being Thrown At My Head (so far, "stuff" has included a boot, a dodgeball, Easter eggs, and a pint of strawberries). Kaija says that the photographs, in part, depict the experience of having a eureka moment. But as someone who falls regularly, and walks into poles on the sidewalk, and just today shattered a lamp at a restaurant, it's the total, unabashed awkwardness of these shots that really speaks to me. (To read more about how Kaija orchestrates her images, click here.)

See more at Kaija Straumanis's Flickr, Etsy, and Society 6 page.

Happy Wednesday!

That's a Wrap.

Norman's Printery makes wrapping papers out of mountain ranges, paint swatches, vintage maps, and the moon and stars. As someone who usually forgoes wrapping altogether (I recently gave a friend a fancy cheese bound in masking tape), I'm taking note.

Shop more at Norman's Printery, here.

More for your morning: 
-Thoughts on gift-giving. 
-Bees pay their respects.
-Sixty seconds in a toddler's day.

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