100 Years.

In a series he calls The 100 Years Project, Danish photographer Keen Heick Abildhauge shares 100 shots of 100 people who range in age from just one year to, yes, 100. Each participant has told him about a dream or a passion — the one-year-old's mother, for instance, says that her son's greatest joy is cars; 15-year-old Sofia dreams of going to space (and if that fails, learning to play the saxophone); 21-year-old Demyan wants to make a home by the sea; and, capping it all off, century-old Evdokiya says simply: "I dream of walking by myself, being independent and alive." 

Find the entire series, here

Visit Keen Heick Abildhauge's website, here.  

People Like Us.

I loved this story, published today by The New York Times, about photographer Shehab Uddin, who — instead of assuming that his relative wealth afforded him the privilege of taking pictures of whomever he pleased — chose to take a different approach to capturing poverty in his native Bangladesh: by getting to know his subjects and asking them how they preferred to have their stories represented. After three years of living among three different families, Mr. Uddin exhibited the final images in their neighborhoods, where they could see them. "Usually when we photograph poor people, they're never allowed to see how we photograph them," he tells James Estrin. "They had never seen a photo exhibit — here I bring the gallery to them."

Later, Uddin adds: "Though all three families are very poor, these families are not always unhappy — they have love and they enjoy their life. Poverty is not only about sadness, not only about sorrow, not only about depression. They are people like us."

Read the story by James Estrin at The New York Times, here. Photographs by Shehab Uddin.

Recommended Reading / 21.

Every Monday, words to start the week. 

This week, a snippet from Alan Light's interview with Patti Smith on Medium: "The thing that bothered me the most was when I had to return to the public eye in ’95 or ’96 when my husband died. We lived a very simple lifestyle in a more reclusive way in which he was king of our domain. I don’t drive, I didn’t have much of an income, and without him, I had to find a way of making a living. Besides working in a bookstore, the only thing I knew how to do was to make records—or to write poetry, which isn’t going to help put your kids through school. But when I started doing interviews, people kept saying 'Well, you didn’t do anything in the 80s,' and I just want to get Elvis Presley’s gun out and shoot the television out of their soul. How could you say that? The conceit of people, to think that if they’re not reading about you in a newspaper or magazine, then you’re not doing anything...It makes me understand why some human beings question their worth if they’re not making a huge amount of money or aren’t famous, and that’s not right." (Image by Annie Leibovitz.)

Find the rest of the interview, here.

A few more, just because:
-On girls and the color pink.
-Advice from Haruki Murakami.
-Play-Doh photos and Legos made of wood.
-From Alain de Botton's The Architecture of Happiness: "It is perhaps when our lives are at their most problematic that we are likely to be most receptive to beautiful things."

More recommended reading, here. Have a happy Monday!


I'll have a POV for you next week (I promise), but while I sort out the wrinkles, I thought I'd share a few words from William Martin, which I spotted here and loved.

Photos by Max Wanger.
"Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself."

Yes. Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

Non-Career Advice: Dale Megan Healey.

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.

Also: Teacher / observer / rescuer of cats  
Age: 29

Pay attention to what glows, even if it seems irrelevant. A few years ago, I set out to write a memoir about losing my mother. But I felt trapped in the subject matter.  As a writer, it’s good to immerse yourself in the topic you’re writing about, but I was both interested in my grief and consumed by it. So I began to write about art instead-- performance art specifically -- as a way to write about something fun for a change, and to prove to myself that I was not entirely defined by this loss.

I wrote about an artist who stalked strangers, an artist who put a frame around a piece of the sky, and an artist who crawled across the city on his hands and knees. These pieces glowed to me, and I found myself drifting towards them without knowing why. I liked art that I didn’t understand, or that made me think, “Why would someone do that?” I liked art that made me doubt it was even art--that looked more like a personal transformation, and not necessarily something made for an audience. But no matter where I pointed my gaze everything was still colored by grief.

I was frustrated at first, but looking back, this shaped me into the kind of writer that I am today. It was a triumph when I learned to write about something without mentioning my mother, and to stop using her death as a kind of barometer of meaning. Sometimes looking away from something helps me to see it clearer.

My project is still about my mother -- it’s a collection on searching for personal rituals in art and performance, amid reflections on how my relationship with her continues to evolve even though she’s gone. At first people thought I was crazy for making connections between my mother and these odd pieces of experiential art (and honestly, much of the early writing was bad). I knew there was a connection, though. I just had to write through the uncertainty to find out what it was.

Thanks so much, Megan. I love the idea of finding inspiration (and a voice) in unexpected places. And I love the reminder, too, that personal lives and creative interests can overlap in ways that surprise, enlighten, and elevate. More from the Non-Career Advice series, here.


Touching down in New York City yesterday morning felt like a scene out of a movie. Just hours earlier, the airplane window shade had closed on a warm, breezy night in Mexico; when it opened, the world was engulfed in snow. Tulum — where I spent the weekend with two friends — seems very far away from where I sit now, but I'm so grateful to have had a brief escape from this very cold winter, and the opportunity to catch my breath in the midst of an increasingly busy month.

The three of us spent the majority of our time in Tulum on the beach, reading in the sun and swimming in some of the clearest water I've seen anywhere. When we weren't doing that, we were most often eating, or exploring the jungle strip and bits and pieces of town. A few stand-out memories from our four days:

-Hartwood. If you've read any travel guide to Tulum, chances are you've heard of Hartwood, a restaurant opened by a pair of former New Yorkers in 2010. Hartwood is firmly committed to sustainability and the use of fresh, local ingredients — it's also a beautiful place, with a smattering of candlelit tables under the stars. We were shocked to learn we'd have to wait in line hours before opening to put our names down for a table (and it took us two tries to get in), but it was completely worth it. Order anything and everything — it's all incredible. 

Other memorable eats: steak at the Argentinian gem Casa Banana; banana-coconut smoothies on the beach at Coqui Coqui; pasta (yes, pasta — homemade, to boot) at Posada Margherita; and fish tacos and the world's best mojito at El Tabano. We also had a late dinner one night at Casa Jaguar, which offered delicious cocktails and a stunning outdoor dining space filled with lush greenery.

-Mayan ruins. The ruins north of the beach are beautiful and easily accessible, but be sure to go early. We showed up on our last day around 11, and it was difficult to see anything beyond the crowds of people everywhere. (I've also never seen so many selfie sticks in my life.) Margaux, my sister-in-law, had warned me about arriving early and she was right. Next time, I'll go when it opens. 

-Wandering around town. We spent a couple of hours one afternoon in town, about a ten minute cab ride from the beach. We'd gone in search of interesting Mexican textiles, and though we didn't find quite what we were looking for, we had a great time poking through local grocery and drug stores (something I always like to do when I travel). We also had a memorable lunch at El Camello Jr, a roadside restaurant known for its ceviche. 

Of course, this very short list doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what there is to do in Tulum — since we were only there for four days, this is an extremely abbreviated guide. Should I be lucky enough to visit again, I'd love to visit a cenote and try a mud meditation. (For more ideas, I found these links particularly helpful: 1 / 2.)

Additional tips:

-Arrive with cash. Most places don't take credit cards, and ATMs along the main strip are notoriously sketchy — quite a few of them don't work at all. There are banks in town, but the easiest option is to exchange your dollars at the airport.
-Stock up on bottled water. It's easy to find pretty much everywhere, and since drinking the tap isn't an option, be sure to keep some at your hotel at all times. (And don't forget to use it for teeth-brushing, too.)
-Get your work done ahead of time. I arrived with a couple of deadlines to meet over the course of the weekend, but wifi wasn't always easy to come by. I found a few places and made it work, but it would have been much easier to have done everything before I got there.


I'm looking forward to making 2015 a year of travel — to places both near and far. Jamie told me recently that her New Years resolution was to take a trip every month. Whether it was a day trip to a neighboring city or a farther journey to an exotic destination wasn't particularly important. The simple act of moving — seeing new places, trying new things — was. I find that incredibly inspiring.

To new adventures, always. See you tomorrow.

Tulum Bound.

A bit of semi-spontaneous travel news to report: I'll be in Tulum for the long weekend (I leave today), but will be back here on the blog Wednesday morning — hopefully with many stories to share. Anyone who's been: if there's anything I shouldn't miss while I'm there, please let me know!

I can't wait to write about this adventure next week (I'll have a new POV and a Non-Career Advice post to share, too). Wishing you a warm and wonderful weekend in the meantime!

Photos by Max Wanger.

Round & Round.

To anyone having a rough start to the week: press play on the video below. The film, barely a minute long, showcases Japanese designer Shunsuke Umiyama's newest work, bamboo copTer, a mobile made from a collection of simple wooden toys known as taketombo ("helicopters" propelled into flight when spun between a child's palms). It's spare and stunning, and just watching it in motion is enough to soothe even the most harried of nerves — scroll down and see for yourself.

Find more at MicroWorks, here. Thanks, Spoon & Tamago.

Recommended Reading / 20.

Every Monday, words to start the week. 

This week: an essay entitled "Sweet Southern Dreams" from Saveur three winters ago, in which food editor Ben Mims beautifully recalls the elaborate layer cakes of his Southern youth — red velvet, walnut spice, a legendary coconut — while also telling the story of coming out to his mother at the age of 25. I came across it while reading James Oseland's recommendations for best cookbooks of 2014 and loved it instantly. Oseland, the magazine's former editor-in-chief, calls it his "favorite Saveur story of all time." See for yourself, here.

A few more, just because:
-Whiskey toothpaste.
-"The History of 'Loving' to Read".
-The oldest living things in the world include 80,000 year old trees in Utah, and 100,000 year old sea grass in the waters off of Spain.
-And finally, my favorite ice cream shop in the city is serving breakfast through the month of February, including a sundae made with yogurt and apricot sorbet, and a sweet take on the biggest trend in toast: avocado ice cream on Japanese white bread with condensed milk, olive oil, and sea salt. Mmm.

More recommended reading, here. Image by Todd Coleman for Saveur.

Weekend Note / 06.

Weekend notes are short-form POVs.

Every morning over the past two weeks, I’ve been startled awake like clockwork, somewhere between the hours of 4 and 5. It's a time of day — neither dark nor light, early nor late — that's always been contentious for me: since childhood, when the occasional nightmare would leave me wide-eyed and white-knuckled in the wee hours, it’s always been the early, foggy-headed fragments of the morning when problems seem bigger, fears seem weightier and darkness seems most grim.

I live in New York now, though, in a busy neighborhood where darkness and quiet don’t exist, where there are people on the street even at 4 AM. These days, in the winter cold, I can see their breath from my window — tiny reminders that the world keeps moving even when our eyes are closed. Somehow, knowing they’re there makes the middle of the night less bleak — and though I suspect the reason I’ve been up at this hour has something to do with stress, it’s easier to let it pass as they do: briskly, silently, without fanfare.

The night before last week’s much-talked-about blizzard (which I wrote about here), I went to sleep wondering whether the wind and heavy snow in the forecast would wake me up. As we know now, it passed through the city largely without incident; still, my eyes opened right on cue, at 4.

In place of the chaos I expected, however, flakes fluttered gently in the light of street lamps. I remember thinking it was just how I always imagined snow would look as a child — like the inside of one of those glass globes on the shelf of the souvenir shop at the airport — and I watched for a few moments before my body remembered sleep: snowflakes falling, drifting, nothing like a storm. 


Thank you so much, as always, for reading. See you Monday.

Future of Work.

"The future of work is play," says Jack Hart, the Senior Creative Strategist at London design studio Pearlfisher. He means it, too: Pearlfisher's West London gallery now features an enormous ball pit for adults, where workers can enjoy a mid-day recess all in the name of creativity, community, and a good time. (Below, the company's Accounts Assistant and Business Development Manager dive in.)

Hart continues, "It is common knowledge that children learn and develop through play, and yet as adults in the workplace, play for play's sake is too often neglected. Many studies have shown that play can bring about extraordinary results for creative thinking, efficient working, the building of better connections and [more] positive human relationships." 

Read all about it, here. Photos via Pearlfisher's Instagram

Masking Injury.

National Geographic's "Healing Soldiers" tells the story of those who have sustained brain trauma in battle, and are using art therapy to give faces to their pain. (The masks they've painted can be found in a gallery, here.) Says one soldier: "I think this is what started me kind of opening up and talking about stuff and actually trying to get better."

View the series on National Geographic, here. Many thanks to my dad for the head's up.

Story by Caroline Alexander. Photographs by Lynn Johnson.

Recommended Reading / 19.

Every Monday, words to start the week. 

This week: Architecture for Dogs, a collection of 13 structures designed by well-known architects with specific canine breeds in mind. The sheep-like puff pictured above was the brainchild of Kazuyo Sejima (who designed New York's New Museum), and is meant to mirror the bichon frise, "with its fascinating fur, but one size larger." The dachshund's structure on the other hand, was designed by Tokyo's Atelier Bow-Wow to help short-legged dogs see eye-to-eye (literally) with their owners. Best of all, dog lovers can download blueprints to recreate each design at home (though beware: difficulty levels are high). Photos by Hiroshi Yoda.

Three more, just because:
-"Twitter-sized fiction." (Thanks, Bekka.)
-A haiku written by a very clever nine-year-old. (Thanks, Miss Moss.)
-My elementary school teachers would make us start a sentence over if we used the word "like" (as in, "she was like, I'm telling!"). But linguists say the word has become "one of our language's most popular methods of talking about talking" — and it's not going anywhere.

Also, a couple of recent posts for Conde Nast Traveler: best books about Italy, and favorite under-the-radar bakeries in New York City. I'd love to visit this one.

More recommended reading, here. Have a happy Monday!

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