Happy Holidays.

A few Decembers ago, when asked about my wishes for the coming year, I remember saying that I had only one: I wanted there to be twists to the story, so that by year's end, the world looked different. That's been my wish every new year since, and I can't think of a better example of it coming true than these past twelve months. Aside from the fact that those who populate it remain the best friends and family imaginable, my world has transformed in unpredictable ways. I hardly recognize it sometimes — but I like to think that's a good sign.

 Thanks so much, as always, for sharing the journey with me.

Photos via my Instagram, or Nick Runkle's.
I'll be spending the next two weeks with family and friends in LA, Joshua Tree, and Portland, OR, and will be taking a short break from blogging until the first week of January. I'm looking forward to catching up then; in the meantime, a few links to pass the time:

 -All aboard the Jellyfish Barge.
-A winter shandy made with maple syrup and ginger beer. 
-Comparing hip hop imagery to pre-16th century art. Brilliant.
-Max's many window seats
-What happens when little girls make over their mothers. 
-30 Great Memoir Essays
-Those who weren't in NY for Emily Johnston's What It Was can now view the images on her website. -Favorite shop discoveries of 2014: 1 2 / 3
-Some of my favorite interviews of the year (and of my career) can be found here
-And lastly, words from Paul Coelho for the new year: You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it is better to listen to what it has to say. 

A few favorite POVs from this year: 
-On (not) asking permission.
-On the best feelings in the universe.
-On being here.

Wishing you the happiest holidays, and thanks so very much for reading. It's been a highlight of this year — and every year for the past three — having the opportunity to get to know such a wonderful and inspiring community here. Thank you for your kind words, your support, and your friendship (online and otherwise). See you in 2015.

POV: Aging.

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.  

“Let me tell you something about being twenty-five,” my friend Maya said to me a few years ago. It was February, the dead of winter, and we were living in Bushwick with a band of boys, still enjoying the noise and the activity and the grime of five roommates.

 Maya had just celebrated her birthday that week. Mine, still six months in the future, made me — at twenty-four — still a youngster in her eyes.

“It’s so strange,” she told me, lowering her voice as if sharing a secret. “Since my birthday, I can’t sleep through the night. The last night I was twenty-four, I slept like a baby. Then I turned twenty-five, and I’m up like clockwork, at three, four, five in the morning. It’s like — I’m old.”

We thought this over. “This must be what happens when you’re twenty-five,” she said gravely, and we sat in silence, staring, shaking our heads.

Animated Expressions.

For a Wednesday afternoon that's gotten much too dark, much too early: photos of Disney cartoon animators from the 40s, 50s, and 60s using their own reflections as inspiration for their (often iconic) subjects. Find a few of my favorite shots below; the rest can be viewed on My Modern Met and LIFE.

Enjoy your Wednesday — I'm spending mine preparing for a two-week trip home (I'll be getting in a cab at 4 AM tomorrow to leave for the airport). By the time you hear from me tomorrow, I'll be at my parents' home in LA — 'tis the season!

Non-Career Advice: Kathy Lee.

Non-Career Advice is a series that asks people - young, old, and in a range of occupations - for words of wisdom unrelated to work, career-building, dollars, or getting ahead.

Kathy Lee / Medical student
Also: Writer / quote collector / culinary whiz  
Age: 30

Any movement drives you forward — even if it’s in slow motion. “A friend of mine who works for a scholarship foundation asked me if I would mentor some students at UCSD this year, and I told her I thought that was the worst idea ever — I’m mostly a mess these days, I said. I lost my sister this year, and the months following have been marked by loss and grief and the big changes that often accompany tragedy (including a decision to leave school and move home, from DC to San Diego). I told my friend that in many ways, I'm still reeling, and working to pick up the pieces.

She said that was exactly why I should be mentoring — because I had lived, and am still living. And I think she's right. I don't think I realized this until very recently, but I think this year, with all its challenges, has made me stronger. It's been awful and isolating in ways I never thought I would experience at 29 — and now, 30 — and for a while, I thought that by coming home to reassess my path, I was hitting pause on life. But really, I think I've just been moving in slow motion. I really couldn't see myself being OK in April, but I got here somehow, and I think that no matter what happens later in life (and I know that, inevitably, there will be more challenges and more emotional ups and downs), I will know that I can handle it - even if I am flailing all the way through.”

Thank you so much, Kathy. More from the Non-Career Advice series, here.

Recommended Reading / 15.

Every Monday, words to start the week.

This week, from Fast Company: a glimpse into the life of "the world's busiest Santa," who appears at up to 200 parties in just over three weeks during the holiday season, whose beard and belly are au natural, and whose name is, in fact, Santa. Says the in-demand Saint: "There are times when I get tired because I just feel weak and old. But I look forward to this one month all year long and that's how I know I should still be doing it, even on days when I'm weary." Read all about it, here.

A handful more, just because:
-First sketches of iconic designs.
-The world's most spectacular bike path is paved with stars.
-For those prone to cold and flu: immunity soup, and a homemade cough suppressant laced with ginger, honey, and black pepper.
-Jaw-dropping words from Nayyirah Waheed: "I want to live so densely. lush. and slow in the next few years, that a year becomes ten years, and my past becomes only a page in the book of my life."

More recommended reading, here. Have a happy Monday — and thank you for your patience with my less-frequent posting these days. Besides being quite a bit busier than usual (and embracing the happy hubbub of the holidays), I'm also trying to be more intentional about what I post here.  If something's not ready, or not quite right, I've chosen to hold off —  more time and thought, I figure, means better material in the end. Thank you so much for understanding and for reading. It's such a pleasure, as always, sharing this space with you. Wishing you a wonderful week.

Not Red But Green.

This stunning art piece, called Not Red But Green, was designed by Per Kristian Nygård and can be found in a gallery in Oslo called Noplace. It's made from real grass and dirt, with glowing green crests that crawl right up to the windows. Right away, it reminded me of Maya Lin's manmade rolling hills — which were designed to resemble ocean waves — at Storm King Art Center upstate. One of my favorite memories this year involved ambling up and down it, trying not to fall.

Visit Per Kristian Nygård's website, here (and have a wonderful Wednesday!).

John & Wolf.

Illustrator John Stortz has been wandering the country for the past two years in the company of his faithful rescue dog, Wolfgang. His photos, which appear on the website John & Wolf, are beautifully shot — those skies, those stars, those burning colors! — and very endearing. A quick scroll through is all you'll need to start planning your own cross-country tour (and the adoption of your own big white Wolf). See for yourself, here.

 Visit John Stortz's website, here. Thanks, Ignant.

Recommended Reading / 14.

Every Monday, words to start the week.

This week, from Hotel Club: illustrated idioms from around the globe (plus, explanations as to what they mean). "The midday demon" may be my favorite; however, I also love that to the Finnish, having a frog emerge from someone's mouth means that he or she has said something inappropriate, and that in Spanish, the act of rejecting a potential partner is referred to as "giving pumpkins" (the squash was once considered a libido killer). Find the full list of ten, here.

Three more links, just because:
-Underground gifs.
-Adventurers of the year.
-Five New York City families share their favorite holiday meals (the Jewish-Japanese Christmas hits especially close to home).

More recommended reading, here. Happy Monday!

Weekend Note / 04.

Weekend notes are short-form POVs.

I spent Thanksgiving this year in Maine, in a big old house next to the ocean. Snow was in the forecast for the weekend, so our group of eight left a day earlier than expected, arriving just before the storm late Tuesday night. I packed very little, aside from what I knew was absolutely necessary. I also took a book and a notepad, as well as my laptop, which, in the past few months, has started to feel like an appendage. "I'm going to have to work through most of the weekend," I said, as we left.

I've noticed since posting this article — which addresses the unfortunate impulse many of us feel to answer the question, how are you? with a statement about busy we are — that I've been doing exactly that, and constantly. I've been answering every how are you? that's come my way with a response about how overloaded I am, or how overwhelmed, or how I haven't had a weekend in ages. This is almost always followed by something like, "but I can't complain!" or "I'm very lucky!" or "being busy is a good thing!" But, I've begun to wonder.

In Maine, contrary to my plans, I did almost nothing. The days felt suspiciously — and blissfully — long. I'd work for a bit in the mornings and then spend the rest of the day taking snowy walks, or eating too much toast, or sitting in front of a fire, or soaking in a copper bath. For the majority of the week, my book lay untouched on my nightstand; my laptop remained closed. My phone was perpetually missing. I'd find it underneath couch cushions at the end of the day, and when I checked to see if I'd missed anything — an email or a call or a text — I never had. 

I should take this opportunity to write something for myself, something unrelated to work, I thought more than once — but then, I'd walk down to the water or find myself wrapped up in a conversation, and I'd forget. The times I did try to write, I'd stare at a blank screen. I don't have any ideas, I'd think, but not sadly. 

I resorted to more sitting and strolling and chatting. I watched the snow. 

My mind was blank. I was thankful.

Non-Career Advice: Kenta Thomas Naoi.

Non-Career Advice is a series that asks people - young, old, and in a range of occupations - for words of wisdom unrelated to work, career-building, dollars, or getting ahead.

Kenta Thomas Naoi / Designer + Photographer
Also: Cat lover / nomad / new Brooklynite
Age: 23

Trust yourself — and don't let fear drive you. There was a point in my life where I thought I had my next ten years completely planned out. But things don’t always work out the way you think they will — now, I take things day by day. I wake up every morning with simple goals: I want to be a good person, and a friend to others. I want to enjoy life the best I can. I want to let myself be vulnerable. As for everything else — if it works, it works. If it doesn’t, then I’ll figure it out. I trust myself. I’ve decided I’m not going to worry about where I’ll be in ten years, because if I stick to this way of living, I know I’ll end up wherever I need to be.

I used to think, I need to be the best, and I need to have these specific awards under my belt, and so on. I thought, if I don’t, then who am I? The fear of failing, and of being forgotten or undermined was the driving force behind my actions — but over the last couple of years, I’ve chosen to be driven by love. I went from not wanting anyone else to be a part of my work — because I was afraid they’d mess it up — to wanting to collaborate with everyone. I do what I do because it makes me happy. Once that clicked, everything only got better.”    

Thanks so much, Kenta. I love that. More from the Non-Career Advice series, here.

Various Projects on FvF.

Very happy to share my latest feature for Freunde von Freunden, which went live a few days ago. The interview is with Elizabeth Beer and Brian Janusiak of the design studio Various Projects — they're owners of the store Project No.8 (which has a location in Manhattan's Ace Hotel), creators of a tremendously well-received line of key tags, and the brilliant minds behind a collection of hand-knit birds (including one made exclusively for FvF). They're also wonderful people with whom I feel so lucky to have spent an afternoon. I just fell in love with them, I've told countless friends since.

At one point in the interview, I asked the two whether they could have predicted the course their lives and careers had taken. "No," said Brian. "None of this was planned, really. It just happened. We both tend to make it up as we go along. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't, but we do everything very earnestly. Our process, I think, involves a lot of stumbling through things."

Photos by Brian W. Ferry. Find the complete interview on Freunde von Freunden, here.

See-Saw Snacking.

Though perhaps not the most practical pick, this see-saw table by Dutch designer Marleen Jansen would certainly make a very entertaining addition to any living space — and would force those seated to be completely present at mealtime (no texting, fidgeting, or excusing oneself early). Could be great for children — or as a tool for couples therapy. See more at Marleen Jansen's website, here

Photos by Wim de Leeuw.

Recommended Reading / 13.

Every Monday, words to start the week.

This week, from Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A reminder that entire worlds exist beyond the ones we see and experience and claim as our own. 

“What we see before us is just one tiny part of the world. We get in the habit of thinking, this is the world, but that's not true at all. The real world is a much darker and deeper place than this, and much of it is occupied by jellyfish and things.” Found via.

Three more links, just because:
-Gingerbread terrariums.
-A life in injuries.
-Twelve thinkers on the books that changed them.

More recommended reading, here. Have a happy Monday! (The photos above, by the way, are from Thanksgiving weekend in Maine, which was every bit as beautiful as expected.)

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