Life Swaps.

As part of an experiment called Life Swaps, Timberland is asking four creatives to swap lives for a weekend. Writer Sam Smith of London trades with designer Marc Morro of Barcelona; Milan's Claudia Zalla, a photographer, swaps with Berlin's Willy Iffland, a blogger. 

As the campaign states: "We only live once, but it is possible to live a countless number of lives. And don't the protagonists of Life Swaps just know it."

Makes you wonder who you'd swap lives with if you could — or would you at all?

Read more about Life Swaps, here.

Recommended Reading / 04.

Every Monday, words to start the week.

This week: From Ella Frances Sanders's book, Lost in Translation, illustrations of foreign words that have no English equivalent. Examples include "kilig," which refers to the feeling of having butterflies in one's stomach; "tretar," which, in Swedish, means a second refill of coffee; and my favorite, "mangata," above. Beautiful. See more at Mental Floss. 

Three more links, just because:
-Amazing sentences.
-An imaginary classification of animals by Jorge Luis Borges includes "fabulous ones," "mermaids," and "those that from a long way off look like flies."
-"I'll see it when I believe it."

More recommended reading, here. Happy Monday!

POV: Love.

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.  

“Saying ‘I love you’ is a wonderful thing,” I remember my dad saying to me one night as I readied myself for bed. I was six or seven, and had just brushed my teeth and come into his office, where - in keeping with a nightly, years-long tradition - we recited a poem together. Only a few lines long, it had something to do with baby birds bedding down in their nests, with mother and father birds dutifully keeping watch through the night. 

The ritual began with us alternating lines of the verse until it was finished; it ended with my dad telling me that he loved me very much and would see me in the morning. Every night, without fail, I responded in the same way: by looking at the floor, and smiling, and saying — very quietly, barely audibly — “thank you.”

Friends & Neighbors / Summers.

In Friends & Neighbors, I'll introduce you to some of my favorite creative businesses in Williamsburg. With a new expensive store or chain restaurant opening seemingly every week, there's been much talk these days about how Williamsburg is "over." This series showcases shops, restaurants, and studios that make the neighborhood special, and prove that integrity, creativity, and an artistic spirit are still alive and well. They're places that make me proud to live here, and to call the faces behind their counters neighborsPhotographs by Jacquelyne Pierson.

Summers opened in South Williamsburg last year, just down the street from my apartment. I happened to be walking by as they were putting up their sign — "come by next week for our opening!" someone yelled from a ladder as I passed. 

I did, and have been stopping in several times a week since, choosing from an ever-changing menu that's grown to include cold press juices, sandwiches, salads, and the best green smoothie on the planet (made with pineapple, banana, spinach, avocado, almond milk, and cardamom).

It's rare to walk past the Summers storefront and find it empty. There's always a group gathered inside, catching up over watermelon limeade, or sitting on the bench out front, dogs on leashes at their side. The owners, Alex Kleinberg and Christopher Taha (known to most by his last name only), have become familiar faces on the block, and friends to many of their neighbors and devoted patrons, myself included.

A health- and eco-conscious plus: the cafe uses organic produce, local dairy, and heritage meats in their sandwiches and juices. Baked goods come from local bakeries, or from Manhattan's Clinton Street Baking Company, a business run by Alex's family. 

It's warm, welcoming, always seemingly sunlit, even on the bleakest of winter days. (I spent one particularly dark February afternoon there, eating egg sandwiches and watching surf videos in the middle of a blizzard.)

Says Taha, "We didn't want it to be the type of intimidating juice bar that you walk into and feel like you need to be a yoga instructor or just coming back from the gym to be there. We want to make food for everyone."

Summers Juice & Coffee, 155 South 4th Street, (347) 987-3558
Mon-Fri 7:30am - 8pm; Sat-Sun 9am - 9pm

Five Minutes with Taha:

What inspired the surf theme at Summers? Alex and I became friends through surfing. We met at Clinton Street Baking Company, and that was the first thing we talked about. When we opened Summers, we wanted it to be a mix of East and West Coast, since he's from New York, and I'm from California. The cement floors are a little more Brooklyn; the wood ceilings are California-inspired.

And how did you go about planning the menu? We'd never put anything on the menu that we wouldn't want to eat ourselves. We wanted the food to be approachable to everybody — you can be a vegan, or gluten-free, or vegetarian, or eat meat, and find something you like.

Do you have a favorite item? The date smoothie is my favorite. It was inspired by the area where I grew up. There's a place called Indio, which is known for its date farms — one farm in particular, Shields, made the most amazing date shakes with ice cream and malt powder. I thought I could make a healthier version of those with bananas, almond milk, and cacao instead of chocolate. It's my favorite because it's based off of something I loved as a kid.

Thanks so much, Taha and Alex. Visit the Summers website for more information, here.

Snapshot Sightseeing.

For a gray-skied Wednesday, fine art photography by Tom Bland of trees, the sea, cloud-covered mountains. I've had travel on my mind these past few weeks, so glimpses into other corners of the world (particularly ones without the chaos of city streets), are always welcome. 

Where — if anywhere — are you traveling this fall? 

 Purchase the prints above at Tom Bland Photography, here. Happy daydreaming.

Travel by Trade.

Photographer Shantanu Starick has been traveling the world for the past two years as part of a project he calls The Pixel Trade. In exchange for food, a place to sleep, and a ride to his next destination, Shantanu snaps photos of his hosts and their creative projects. 

"I have been living this nomadic life for over two years and have met some incredible people and had some amazing experiences, all without spending any money," he says. "Hopefully through The Pixel Trade, I will be able to inspire others to start thinking about the world and people around them in terms of their attributes, not their wallets." 

I have to say, in all my years of Internet trawling, this is one the coolest ideas I've come across yet. Follow Shantanu's journey at The Pixel Trade, here

All images by Shantanu Starick.

Recommended Reading / 03.

Every Monday, words to start the week.

This week: Phaidon editor Joseph Pickard and AnOther Magazine's 10 Amazing Doors and 10 Amazing Windows, a series that pairs Pickard's photos (of above-mentioned amazing objects) with fascinating, door- and window-related facts. (For instance, the very first Christmas display in a department store window appeared at Macy's in 1883 and was activated by shop workers "who took turns walking on a treadmill to ensure its continued animation.")

Three more links, just because:
-"Life With Hundreds of Birds."
-Spread the love, or at least the likes — No Likes Yet allows Instagram users to find photos without any likes, and, well, like them.
-Woman as wolf, according to the poet Clarissa Pinkola Estes: "robust, chock-full, strong life force, live-giving, territorially aware, inventive, loyal, roving."

More recommended reading, here. Happy Monday!

Here Comes the Sun.

This morning I walked through sun-dappled McCarren Park and felt cold for the first time in a very long time. I had a sudden urge to sing "Here Comes the Sun" but realized moments later that this coming weekend is the last of summer. And though the past few months, to borrow George Harrison's words, have felt far from long or cold or lonely, I'm thrilled for the change in season. I love fall— its colors, its damp mornings, the creeping darkness of its four o'clocks. No one believes me, but I love winter, too. I've missed it. To quote George again, it feels like it's been years.

Have a wonderful (last) summer weekend.

Up next week: green smoothies, the wonders of windows, a new POV about love. Until then!

What My Daughter Wore.

These color-splashed illustrations are the work of Brooklynite Jenny Williams, whose blog What My Daughter Wore showcases the sartorial savvy of her children and their peers. Scrolling through reminded me of an interview I did earlier this year with stylist Andreas Kokkino. Andreas told me that his greatest style heroes were "kids on the street" — in particular, one who wore Nike slides with socks and a Disney Princess beach towel. I loved that, and I love these, too.

See more at What My Daughter Wore. For further inspiration, please refer to this photo of my niece, Calla, captured at age four on the streets of Brooklyn.

Travel Tales.

For someone who spends the bulk of her time writing, I've never been particularly good at the daily practice of journal-keeping (though I've tried and failed, or forgotten, or ripped up entire pages in fits of embarrassment on more than one occasion). Every now and then, though, I stumble across an example of out-of-the-box journaling that makes me want to try again — yesterday, London-based Lizzy Stewart's illustrated travel diaries did just that. 

Below, an entry from Helsinki.

What a wonderful way to remember a trip — by the strength of its coffee, its oddly-shaped fashions, its boat trip freckles. Next time I'm away — these days I'm daydreaming about India, and Japan, and repeat visits to Montreal — I'll (try to) take notes.

A big thank you to The Jealous Curator for the introduction. See more at About Today, here.

Heads in the Clouds.

Cloud Face is a collection of cloud images that a computer algorithm mistakenly identified as human faces. The series was compiled by Korean artists Shinseungback Kimyonghun, who note that the mishap "is a result of the computer's vision error, but [clouds] often look like faces to human eyes, too." 

And if that wasn't fascinating enough, these photographs are from another project called Cat or Human, in which human faces were mistaken for those belonging to cats, and vice versa. You couldn't make this stuff up. Visit Shinseungback Kimyonghun's website, here, for more.

Happy cloud (and cat) gazing.

Recommended Reading / 02.

Every Monday, words to start the week.

This week: Designer Timothy Goodman's handwritten Instagram series #memoriesofagirlineverknew is funny, heart-wrenching, and —judging from the reactions of many enthusiastic commenters — very true to twenty-or-thirty-something life. My favorites are 6A and B, above. See parts one through 11 on Instagram, here.

Three more links, just because:
-Meet Prof. Dumpster, who lives happily - and stylishly! - in 36 square-feet. (Thanks, Kathy.)
-Shelley Jackson's story Skin is being published in tattoo form on 2,095 volunteer participants — one word per person. Jackson calls it a mortal work of art and will "make every effort to attend the funerals of her words."
-From Andrew Wyeth, in celebration of the coming cold: "I prefer winter and fall, when you can feel the bone structure in the landscape...Something waits beneath it — the whole story doesn't show."

More recommended reading, here.

Weekend Note / 01.

Weekend notes are short-form POVs.

Over a child-sized cup of hot chocolate at a coffee shop this week, I told a former boss that I wasn't sure what my next move would be, that my ideas these days were vague, and that it was a challenge, sometimes, to see beyond the very narrow bubble we inhabit in New York. "I think these things are on my mind," I said, lowering my voice, "because I just turned twenty-nine." His eyes widened. He feigned shock. "If I had my twenties to do over again," he said a moment later, "I'd do the things that aren't possible for me to do now. Work in an ashram," he told me. "Live on a farm. Meditate. Remember what's good in life. That you and I can meet for coffee. That plants grow. That the sun rises."

Have a wonderful weekend.

Photo via my Instagram.

Friends & Neighbors / Species By the Thousands.

In Friends & Neighbors, I'll introduce you to some of my favorite creative businesses in Williamsburg. With a new expensive store or chain restaurant opening seemingly every week, there's been much talk these days about how Williamsburg is "over." This series showcases shops, restaurants, and studios that make the neighborhood special, and prove that integrity, creativity, and an artistic spirit are still alive and well. They're places that make me proud to live here, and to call the faces behind their counters neighborsPhotographs by Jacquelyne Pierson.

"People tell me that they want to live here," says jewelry designer Erica Bradbury, whose shop opened on South 4th Street in 2012. Originally called A Thousand Picnics, the store had its beginnings in a collaboration with designers Phoebe Sung and Peter Buer; today, it goes by Species by the Thousands and stocks handmade jewelry, soy candles, crystals, and ceramic clay masks in a cozy, warmly-lit brick room.

"In the beginning, I didn't really know that I wanted to open a shop," Erica says. "I needed a studio, and figured that for a little more money, I could also have a storefront. It allows me to display the things that I make in the context I want to show them in. Instead of being in a studio and showing twice a year at market, I get immediate feedback from customers — my work evolves in public."

"Before the shop, I was in the dark about the things that inspire me," she continues. "But having the store, I've found my interests have gotten more specific. My jewelry has changed because of that — it's less about fashion, and more about imagery and symbolism, things that are meaningful to me and that I'm interested in exploring. It's a little more informed."

Species by the Thousands, 171 South 4th Street, (718) 599-0049
Mon-Sat 12pm - 7pm; Sun 12pm - 6pm

Five Minutes with Erica:

What's surprised you about running your own shop? I've learned so much — about the stones I stock and their properties, the spells, the magic. People come in and ask questions; I'm giving them advice. I really have to know what I'm talking about.

Among the many treasures here, what are some of your personal favorites? The Leah Ball pottery. The stained glass eyes. The Maison Monade ceramic masks.

Where in Brooklyn are you a regular? The shipping center on Grand Street. I'm there constantly. Otherwise, The Daily Press.

Thanks so much, Erica. Shop Species by the Thousands online, here.

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