Today seems an appropriate time to reflect on changes – the coming of spring, death and birth, and the beauty of the ever-growing / ever-dying nature of life. Things come and go, and we all experience our own personal seasons of work, relationships, interests and passions. The only constant is change, and the sooner we embrace it the sooner we’re able to meet each new experience with a completely open mind.

I am not a particularly religious person, but I can get behind egg decorating. And brunch.

In the Know | #7


A weekly roundup of interesting, inspiring, delicious and beautiful things that I’ve stumbled upon recently.

Listen:  Broods – Bridges
Clearly I have a style of music that I gravitate towards, and Broods encompasses the best of it. All their music I’ve listened to so far is great, but Bridges has been a consistent favorite. Ethereal female vocals, sweet intro, exploding into a complexity of layers and beats – rinse and repeat.

Read:  Interview with Clayton Cubitt  |  The Great Discontent 
I’m fascinated by interviews with creative people, talking about their journey and how they “figured it out” or pursued their path, usually against significant odds. A photographer and filmmaker who has shot for the likes of Vogue and Rolling Stone, Clayton Cubitt’s story involves all the key elements – a nomadic childhood with a single parent, finding creative ways to sell his art to classmates when he was young, leaving home at 16 to make it on his own and eventually moving to New York City to fulfill his dream. There’s a lot of good stuff in this article, and I’m especially inspired by the line “I want to take the long-road approach to what I do. What I’m doing is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. I’d rather focus on what’s meant to be, what’s organic and real, than chase trends or cash.”

Watch:  LøV – Vanessa Bruno
This short fashion film featuring Kate Bosworth is a visual delight. The images alternate between strange movement, various locations and gorgeous scenery, subtly featuring the clothing without making it the focus. The part with the tree by the lake and mountains is stunning, and reminds me very strongly of a dream I once had. I wish more fashion brands would utilize art and video instead of traditional campaigns.

Taste:  Black Tree
Known for it’s sandwiches and cocktails, this spot in the Lower East Side sources all it’s food from within 50 miles. Besides the staples on the menu, each week features a different meat or ingredient. Last week was chicken, so I had to try the Tree-Fil-A which included pickled lettuce and some kind of delicious sauce on toasted thick cut bread. The image above is their Winter Pig Sandwich, a staple on the menu (and probably my next meal!)

Explore: Shut Up Claudia
I recently discovered the work of Claudia Alexandrino, a Portugese artist living and working in Milan. Her whimsical illustrations feature bright colors, snarky remarks and naked people. Whats not to love? I am inspired by her playful style, and hope to have a piece hanging on my wall someday, even if I have to travel to Milan to get it!

When Life Hands You Lemons

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I logged onto a social media site recently and was alerted to a bunch of new notifications, letting me know that an anonymous individual had posted insulting comments on every one of my posts, in varying degrees of severity, from “who cares about what you think” to some… not very nice name calling.  My heart started racing, and I felt my chest grow tight. His comments on my posts, and the posts of other women, reeked of self loathing and insecurity. I was getting angry, and I clicked to respond to one particularly nasty comment, my mind racing with ideas for witty comebacks. Or should I be dry and sarcastic? Who was this jerkoff and why was he messing with ME?

I needed to take a breath. I took screenshots, deleted all the comments, and then posted them along with a thoughtful post about how disappointing it was that an online community could be marred by individuals such as that. And because I felt good about that post, I got over it and I moved on.

The experience got me thinking about how we respond to the negatives in our lives, particularly how we react to words from others. The conventional wisdom for bullies of course, is “ignore them and they’ll go away”. While I agree that engaging with the bully themselves is not constructive, I don’t agree that ignoring a problem or hurtful words (from friends or strangers) is the way to go. “Ignoring” problems often means people push them aside instead of confronting them head on. Pushing aside is never a permanent solution, and you risk the experience coming back to make you feel like shit at a later point. Confronting the experience, owning the conversation about it and using it in a constructive way is, I believe, the only way to really “move past” anything.

For me, words have always been important. Spoken or written, if the words are impactful to me in a positive or negative way, they will stick with me for a long time. For all of us, words have the power to become mantras, and these mantras become little stories that we carry around with us. The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves are the most important of all.

How do you do it? Your light, it fills the room.

The line above is quite beautiful. Yet thats exactly what killed me at the time, because it wasn’t meant for me. Though I’m sure the writer and recipient have long since forgotten about it, I’ve remembered it for years because as awful as I felt when I saw it, I had to admit it was a damn good line. Unfortunately, it was a damn good line that would pop up in my subconscious whenever I felt down on myself, reminding me in a sad self-pitying way of a time I felt like complete crap.

Fortunately over time the phrase lost its sting, and I’m able to celebrate it for what it is… simply, words. They are no longer someone else’s words, no longer something painful. They are mine, and the phrase now represents something completely different. When I wrote the words above, I took them and made them my own. There’s a kind of power in that. And as with the online comments, it’s the kind of power that allows us to take control, move on and finally, let go.


The Slide

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Memory:  I was 10 years old. Visiting my grandmother in Ohio, we all went to a large outdoor pool, with a twisting waterslide with very high walls where for five glorious seconds there was nothing but sun beating down on wet hair and water surrounding a slippery body sliding down, down, down within the walls of this plastic tube, where for a moment, it was possible to be anywhere that this scenario could exist. Shy and alone, my first experience was affected by a loud boisterous child a year or two older singing “I believe I can fly” who slid down in front of me, splashing and laughing with his friends. I watched, invisible. There was something attractive about this skinny freckle faced boy and the whole situation and when I heard his name I rolled it around on my tongue and whispered it aloud to myself in the five seconds of solitude as I slid after him, tumbling and falling. There, for those long five seconds I re-lived over and over until it grew dark, I was not in Ohio, I was not with my family – I was another, away, across, in love, confident and assured and I flipped my chlorine hair and shook my sunburnt shoulders and whispered his name again and again and again.

In The Know | #6

InTheKnow6A weekly roundup of interesting, inspiring and beautiful things that I’ve stumbled upon recently.

Listen:  Francis and the Lights – For Days
I was listening to this song on the bus, and someone tapped me on the shoulder and asked “excuse me, is that Francis and the Lights?” Just the beat coming through my headphones was enough for them to recognize the distinctive style. I like the juxtaposition of the apocalyptic lyrics, packaged in a pop song “I’d never say I wish that it would happen/ But in a way I wish it would / If there was just an airstrike / Or a natural disaster / You could have been mine”.  His various albums and songs have different styles and influences, yet there is an unmistakable sound that is uniquely his own. Plus, the man can dance.

Read:  Living Off The Grid  |  Flint Magazine 
In this interview, Michael Brown – a Kansas City portrait artist – shares his story of pursuing his art, consciously choosing to be homeless and living “off the grid”.  After 15 years of working at an unfulfilling job just to pay the bills, he chose to leave his apartment, sell his car, his furniture and focus on his art.  “You realize that it takes very little to survive in life and the time most people spend on the bells and whistles in life to keep up with the Joneses or with society, you see the foolishness of it all… You see life on its basic level… You understand real quick what is important to have and what is a complete waste of time.” His answers are incredibly insightful. He speaks about the importance of not getting comfortable relying on others, and the way that people both inspire and disappoint. His definition of happiness and statements about travel and experiencing the world are eloquent, and very much in line with my own beliefs. An inspiring read.

Watch:  Ballet Meets Robotics | the making of Francesca Da Rimini
The story of Francesca Da Rimini is told through the dancing of San Francisco ballet principal dancers Maria Kochetkova and Joan Boada. Captured by a robotic camera, this piece was designed as an experiment in synchronizing dance with Robotic motion. Ballet Meets Robotics is the behind the scenes video describing the making of the first piece, giving a deeper insight into the complexities that go into the making of something that looks so effortlessly simple.

Taste:  Creamy Cauliflower Garlic Rice – Pinch of Yum
This genius recipe takes a vegetable as healthy as cauliflower, and turns it into something decadent (yet guiltless). When made with rice as the recipe suggests, it becomes a sort of creamy risotto, and a great base for additional vegetables or meat. The texture of the cauliflower on it’s own is kind of like a mashed potato, so most recently I made just the pureed cauliflower as a side in place of a starch, to go along with salmon and spinach. It. Was. Awesome. So many possibilities!

Explore: The Hunt NYC
I stumbled into The Great Frog on Orchard Street a couple weeks back, drawn in by the motorcycle I saw, and lo and behold discovered there was yet another shop inside called The Hunt, filled with all sorts of curated oddities and objects. Besides a selection of pricey antiques (everything from aviation goggles and bookends, to taxidermy and vintage photos), The Hunt is also a design firm that can be hired for interior decor and custom design work. The fact that it’s located in the back of another shop makes finding this place a bit of a hunt in itself, and was a welcome surprise to discover.