POV: Adjustments.

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. While my previous column focused largely on ideas, POV focuses on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories.

I dressed up as a queen of darkness this past Saturday.

At least, that’s what I said I was doing. I’d been invited to celebrate the birthday of a friend at a bar in Williamsburg, an event for which the honoree had requested each guest dress according to his or her interpretation of the word “queen.”

I did not want to do this.

Moments before leaving my apartment, I stood in the hallway wearing a black dress so billowy it more closely resembled a bed sheet than any sort of women’s garment. “When you see me, do you think ‘queen of darkness’?” I asked Lily.

She tilted her head. “I don’t know,” she said. “You look — like a mom. Like a cool mom.”

Not long ago, I would have hated that comment; last weekend, I wore it — and my shapeless dress — with pride. “I love it,” I said. “I’ll take it.”


Hello, friends — I'm so sorry for the radio silence; the past week has been a whirlwind, and I'm off on a last-minute trip to Berlin tomorrow to work with Freunde von Freunden for the next ten days. I've never been, and I'm thrilled for the adventure — any tips from those in the know are greatly appreciated, as always!

I'll be doing things a little backwards this week blog-wise, posting a POV by Wednesday, along with Recommended Reading before the weekend. Wishing you all a wonderful Monday — and sending very best wishes from the road. I'm here in spirit, always.

Photo by Max Wanger.

Plant Light.

From Canadian design studio Object/Interface: handmade light fixtures that double as planters (and are built to withstand watering). Pair with one of Huy Bui's Plant-in City structures for the ultimate indoor, urban jungle.

More from Object/Interface, here. Many thanks to Ignant.

See also: dancing plants / senior citizens in nature / tending to green planets.

Recommended Reading / 47.

Every Monday, words to start the week. 

This week, from The New York Times: an essay by Frank Bruni too beautiful not to share (even despite the fact that it's 16 days old — practically a decade in Internet time). The piece calls attention to the importance of spending substantial, meaningful, distraction-free periods of time with those we love, rather than attempt to cram so-called quality time into measured doses over Christmas or New Years. The reason? "People tend not to operate on cue," Bruni writes. "At least our moods and emotions don't. We reach out for help at odd points; we bloom at unpredictable ones."

He continues: "With a more expansive stretch, there’s a better chance that I’ll be around at the precise, random moment when one of my nephews drops his guard and solicits my advice about something private. Or when one of my nieces will need someone other than her parents to tell her that she’s smart and beautiful. Or when one of my siblings will flash back on an incident from our childhood that makes us laugh uncontrollably, and suddenly the cozy, happy chain of our love is cinched that much tighter. There’s simply no real substitute for physical presence."

Read more, here. Photo by Jesse Chamberlin.

Three more, just because: 
-The world's most beautiful cocktail.
-Monet, Renoir, Rodin, and Degas at work.
-Hitchcock says: "I have a feeling that inside you somewhere, there's somebody nobody knows about."

More recommended reading, here. Have a wonderful Monday.

Be Brave.

I met someone recently who had the words "Be Brave" tattooed to his left forearm in sizable script — I found out later that he'd gotten it done in the midst of a transition from a full-time to freelance career. Henry and I talked about this yesterday over lunch, recounting the quotes and phrases that have meant something to us at times when our worlds have shifted. I keep an entire notebook devoted to words like this but I always return to the same line: Adventure may hurt, but monotony will kill you. I have no idea who said this. But I'm remembering it this weekend, which I'm using as an opportunity to plan new projects, prepare for a new season.
Working on a new POV for next week on this very subject — in the meantime, wishing you all a wonderful, restful, and very happy weekend. Enjoy it!

Non-Career Advice: Sarah Ann Noel.

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.

Name: Sarah Ann Noel / Writer
Also: Library builder / image bearer / color coordinator
Age: 31

Live (and love) what's right in front of you. "Last May, my husband, two daughters, and I tucked all our worldly possessions into our car and moved across the country, from Denver to New York City. At that point — after graduating college, getting a job, buying a house, having a baby — life had seemed to slow down incredibly. The future seemed to be more about intentional planning and less about the curious excitement of the unknown and I was becoming suddenly, deeply nostalgic for the past. "All these major milestones have come and gone," I thought, and I worried that I'd somehow missed something. Done it all wrong.

But here we were, making a cross-country move. It was an unforeseen adventure, a surprise I hadn’t expected to be around the next corner — and I considered how I’d only just been longing for those early twenties days, where all the excitement seemed to live, wondering if I’d taken it for granted then. Someday, I realized, this adventure would be in my past, and I might be nostalgic for these moments. 

Suddenly, to live in the present made perfect sense to me—not in a pressured, striving manner, like, 'Pay attention! Be here and now!' But more an appreciation of mere moments and seconds. I love to stop in the middle of the sidewalk to feel a crispy, beginning-of-autumn breeze; to ride the train with no other amusements than to watch the people around me; to drink in the actual words of a book I’m reading; to sit still and listen to my daughters’ laughter echo down the long hallway of our apartment. Probably none of these moments will propel me forward in any measurable sense; maybe they are what I’ll be nostalgic for some day later on. 

I am so skilled at living in different places—in ten years from now, in next month’s big adventure, in one hundred versions of a hypothetical situation. But it's the life before my eyes right now that I have to work with. And it is beautiful: more tangible than anything that has happened before, and lovelier and more pure than anything I could dream up for the future."

Thank you for such beautiful advice, Sarah. More from the Non-Career Advice series, here.  

Sleep, Stitched.

In Sleep Series, Maryam Ashkanian uses pillows, needle, and thread to create sculptural odes to slumber. Looking at these, I thought immediately of The Sleepers, a 1979 project by Sophie Calle, in which the artist invited 28 people into her bed over the course of seven days so that she could document their sleep. I've always loved that — and now these pillow pieces, too — for highlighting the mysteries and the otherworldly nature of sleep, a condition that allows the possibility of being here, and there, and many places in the span of a night.

See more at the artists website, here. Thanks to Design Crush for the intro.

Recommended Reading / 46.

Every Monday, words to start the week. 

This week, via Medium: moving portraits of Syrian and Afghan refugees, and a look inside their carefully-packed bags. This little boy is six years old and from Damascus; his belongings include a toothbrush, bandages, and a bag of marshmallows, his favorite treat. Read more, here. (Plus: two ways to help: 12).

Photos by Tyler Jump for the International Rescue Committee.

Three more links, just because:
-This tweet made me laugh.
-Japanese straw monsters. (Thanks, Mom.)
-The history of color. (Did you know that the pigments in emerald green were poisonous? That anise blue was made when someone "mixed up the recipe for magenta"?)

More recommended reading, here. Have a wonderful Monday.

POV: At Home.

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. While my previous column focused largely on ideas, POV focuses on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories.

I moved out of my bedroom — an L-shaped alcove with three large windows and enough space for a four-poster bed — on a night when the heater, normally audibly asimmer, fell silent.

It was January.

Just weeks earlier, I had plans to move out of my apartment altogether, the first in a series of steps toward leaving New York City. For a variety of reasons, however, those plans had fallen through, and though I was relieved, I was also suddenly without a bedroom — my roommates, under the impression I was leaving, had already made plans for who would take it.

Luckily, I was able to move into one of the apartment’s smaller rooms, a task accomplished in minutes as I tore books from shelves and sheets off the bed, throwing everything in heaps in the hallway. Once it had all been stuffed into my new space — essentially a white box big enough for a bed and little else — I plugged in a lamp, found a seat atop a mountain of sweaters, and exhaled, watching in a daze as my breath turned to fog.

Snap Happy.

Perusing Etsy this morning, I stopped mid-scroll when I came across these: handmade, heirloom-quality toy cameras, with knobs and a view finder that twist and turn like the real thing. (Well, almost.) Customize your own — complete with embroidered strap — or choose from an array of punchy, picture-perfect hues.

"We knew our kids would grow up loving to play with the newest tech," say Utah-based makers Twig, "but we didn't want them to spend their entire childhoods glued to a screen. So we started designing toys that were inspired by modern gadgets, but powered solely by imagination."

Shop these and more on Etsy. Happy snapping.

Mick Johan on FvF.

On my third morning in Amsterdam, I woke up early and took the ferry from the Central Station to Noord, a Northern borough of the city. It was a two minute ride, but when I emerged I felt like I'd landed in a different world, with houses painted pink and powder blue lining rain-soaked, near-silent streets. My tour guide for the day was Mick Johan, an artist who's lived in the area with his family for two years and who recently saw the completion of a skate park he designed under a raspberry-colored canopy at a former gas station. 

Over the course of our conversation — which I shared here on Freunde von Freunden — we discussed his career (which includes a stint as the Editor in Chief of VICE Netherlands), his love of skating, and his deep affection for Noord, a working-class borough that's rapidly evolving as more and more creatives are priced out of the city's trendier neighborhoods. It's a hard place to describe — and, now that I think of it, both Mick and Jordi, our photographer, often resorted to a knowing smile when asked about its eccentricities. "Why are the houses pink?" I asked Mick at one point. "Because this is Noord," was his answer.

Read more on Freunde von Freundenand find the rest of my interviews, here. Beautiful photos by Jordi Huisman (whose Rear Window series I posted about last month).

Recommended Reading / 45.

Every Monday (or in this case, Tuesday), words to start the week. 

This week, via AnOther: a project by Los Angeles artist Adrienne Adar, who attaches speakers to potted plants in order to reveal the greenery's sonic reactions to touch. (Click play on the video above to hear one cactus's cheerful blips and bloops.) "This work is about the subconscious energy plants bring," says Adar. "We know the science and biology of plants but it doesn't mean we know everything about them — there's a real magic to that." More on Adar's website, here.

Three more, just because:
-Pans vs. planets.
-Girls and their cats.
-Food lovers describe their ideal meal. (Beth Kirby wants raw oysters, grilled octopus, and Haribo gummies — in that order; Aran Goyoaga dreams of sourdough with "super yellow butter"; and Louisa Shafia, a girl after my own heart, would like artichokes in mustard, corn on the cob, a cheese plate, rosé, and blueberry pie with ice cream.)

Also: my brother Max is on the Jeaous Curator podcast, Art for Your Ear. Have a listen!

More recommended reading, here.

Travelogue: Detroit.

One day in early spring, just as the frost of winter had begun to fade, a rainbow appeared in Bushwick. Of course, this being New York City — which is, in my experience, a land of many thunderstorms but very few rainbows — this one was drawn in paint, arcing across the surface of a billboard on Bogart Street. Its colors trailed in the wake of an airplane soaring above the black-and-white streets of Brooklyn, touching ground in some ostensibly more tantalizing city on the other side. DETROIT, the billboard read. Be Left Alone.

To a New York resident of what's soon to be eight years — a period of time that's left me and just about everyone I know wrestling with a love-hate relationship with the city's crowded streets — this caught my attention. But it wasn't until a couple months later, after reading this National Geographic feature on Detroit and watching Anthony Bourdain tour its culinary and cultural highlights, that my boyfriend and I indulged our curiosity and booked a trip. Today, one week later, I'm so glad that we did.


I passed over photos of Charles Pétillon's balloon installation in London's Covent Garden yesterday, thinking that it seemed too similar to other projects I've posted about in the past. But I love the artist's description of the project, which he calls "Heartbeat" and which employs the airy, celestial splendor of 100,000 white balloons in its 177-foot long reconstruction of a cloud. "The balloon invasions I create are metaphors," says the artist. "Their goal is to change the way in which we see the things we we live alongside each day without really noticing them."

"With Heartbeat," he continues, "I want to represent the Market Building as the beating heart of this area — connecting its past with the present to allow visitors to re-examine its role at the heart of London's life." Also a part of the installation are white lights that palpitate to a rhythm similar to that of a beating heart, so that the cloud appears "as alive and vibrant as the area itself." See more, here.

Photos by Paul Grover. Thanks, Creative Boom. See also: manmade hills / lick-able walls / a floating flower garden / and a house made of sugar.

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