Sunday, July 4, 2010

AMERICA DAY. It’s here. I wait for it during the other 364 days of the year - it’s like Christmas to me, but hot. There are so many wonderful things that occur on the 4th of July - stunning fireworks displays, delicious BBQ, a long weekend, families gathering, often from afar - but the very greatest thing is that everyone is so excited about one thing: the birth of the United States of America, and all of the ideals that our fine nation was founded on.

As a reminder that America is more than beer, homeruns and Tim McGraw (sometimes I really do forget), I popped into the New York Public Library to view the various copies of the Declaration of Independence that they put on display each year at this time (strikingly similar to how they also put out a Christmas tree every winter - see it is just like Christmas!).

In the tiny Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III (not like that's pretentious at all) gallery on the main floor of the library you will find a copy of the Declaration, which is actually quite diminutive in size, surrounded by printings of the Declaration in various news outlets of the time. I found myself reading almost all of these papers, although the Declaration was the same, word for word, in each one.

I was struck not only by how comfortingly familiar the first sentences were, but by how very thorough the Declaration is and how very eloquently the argument is articulated. If anybody actually reads this blog, they can witness it as evidence of how much American writers have deviated from this high standard of prose. I use humor (at least that's what I call it, you might call it bor-ing) and candor not only to make an argument, but also as a sort of defense mechanism to demonstrate that none of the opinions here are fiercely held and the writing is not necessarily "flawless."

The Declaration of Independence, in contrast, uses thoughtfully considered language to say, "Absolutely not, England. And furthermore, jump off a cliff King George." This document demonstrates not only the tenacity of the American people, but our high intellectual capabilities. There is a sentence one doesn't hear terribly often anymore, as we are continually reminded that despite our exorbitant wealth as a nation, we are falling far behind in standards of education, linguistic capabilities, and overall impressions of intelligence. And height, which is alarming on another level and which I will discuss in a later post.

So this year, to honor the land that I love and the dead white guys who founded it, I encourage Americans not only to toss back a few cold ones, but also to expand their minds. I, for one, will be borrowing my little roommate's book, The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion in an effort to prevent my brain from actually resembling scrambled eggs both in consistency and in ability to accomplish...anything. (Thanks E.) I hope you do the same (not read the same book - although if you wanted to start a book club with me that would be okay) and be proud to be an American.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Yoga for Haiti

I am so, so, so excited to share my latest endeavor with you. I am rather disappointed with my current career path (but let's not dwell too long on that) and am always looking for inspiring projects to involve myself in during my free time to give some, any, meaning to my daily existence.

I highly recommend perusing the volunteer pages of, where you can exercise a highly detailed search of volunteer opportunities in your community tailored to your specific interests. I was looking for fundraising/development volunteer positions when I saw these two words:

Yoga Fundraising.

Excuse me....yes please? This was a match made in heaven. And the more I learned about the project, the more I loved.

Reader's Digest version: the International Association for Human Values was born with the objective of creating sustainable solutions for villages around the world and uplifting the human spirit. One of their off-shoot projects is Nouvelle Vie Haiti, a campaign to train youth (20s or so - hooray for my age group still being identified as "youth"!) to lead their communities in sustainable development, and (and this is where my obsession truly begins) to train these youth as yoga instructors to administer the healing properties of yoga and meditation.

Nouvelle Vie Haiti's focus is centered on sustainability and working with resources a community already has. Providing psychiatric care = expensive, only reaches one individual at a time, and limits care to the Western perspective of health care. Yoga = everyone takes what they will from their practice, large numbers of people can be reached at once. And it's actually FUN, which every human could certainly benefit from.

We are currently attempting to rally New York's overwhelmingly large yoga community around NVH to raise money through yoga events in the city. I will keep you posted on our progress!

Until then, namaste and happy baby pose.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Color me obsessed.

Spring is coming/here - depending on the current day's weather, it's hard to tell. Either way, I am eagerly anticipating the return of flowers and leaves to the earth and the return of bright, pastel florals to my wardrobe.

I was looking for some new flowery accessories, possibly in the shape of a headband or belt, when I stumbled upon what has got to be one of the most wonderful little online stores, EmersonMade. Not only does Emerson produce the cuuuutest little flower pins for anywhere on your body, which totally transform an outfit to preppy-blah to preppy-hurrah, but she also writes the most whimsical and endearing blog.

She and her husband left "the New York City" for the country to live with ducks and hens and have photo shoots with them, add witty captions to these photo shoots, and post them on a blog about floral accessories. Oh I'm sorry, can I have your life please? These are some of my fave designs/outfit combos below (who am I kidding, they're all my favorite!):

flowers for your toes!

see, flowers can be manly!

this one's from a blog post: Saturday Night with Duck

Please check out EmersonMade's blog. Her turn of phrase is just so playful and joyful, you'll have no choice but to be happy while reading it.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fun with Stairs

My life goal at the age of 8 was to become an architect. I used to sit in my room for hours sketching to-scale floor plans of my dream homes on graph paper. The central feature of these homes tended to be extensive play areas and each child having their own bathroom (guess who didn’t have her own bathroom, and has 2 older brothers...woof).

One essential element in each of these homes was interesting staircases. I used to make symbols resembling the type of staircase present - large, sweeping staircases at the front of the house, spiraling staircases leading from bedrooms to loft like spaces, even hidden staircases behind bookcases leading to private libraries because how cool is that?!?

I recently found a real-life example of one of the many staircases I dreamed up: a combo stair/slide, this one designed by UK architect Alex Michaelis. Can I say YES?

Below please examine a beautifully designed staircase designed by my favorite real-life architect, Frank Gehry, for the Art Gallery of Ontario (oh Canada!). Everything he creates is so organic, so modern, so sculptural, so so so so so.

I will know that I have truly made it when I have a beautiful library, with high ceilings and sliding ladders a la My Fair Lady, the movie. Until then, I will continue to fantasize about other, more successful people’s expansive libraries and the possibility of moving into a bookshop, like the one below, the Lello Bookshop in Portugal, which is apparently the coolest place on Earth. Amazing book collection + amazing staircase + oddly reminiscent of Dr. Suess’ world = my heart rate is accelerating, take me there now.

I love so many things about human nature, not the least of which is our desire to make our world beautiful. Rather than just using stairs as a means to get from point A to point B in a world we are building vertically in order to save space, we take the opportunity to make utilitarian items decorative. Beautiful and silly.

For more stair fun, click here. This is a real website, and it is great.

I want to go to Glamp

I work in the hospitality industry, in a boutique hotel in midtown Manhattan. All the time, and I mean everyday, tourists complain about the street noise, the traffic, the weather, construction, parades, and every other daily occurence that happens in New York. They travel 17 hours and then refuse to eat dinner more than 3 blocks away from their hotel. They want to shop at Macy’s, Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap and other stores whose brands are easily accessible online. Which begs the question, why did they come here? Why come to New York, the big exciting city, and then complain that it is, in fact, big and exciting. Why travel across the world but only really interact with the aspects of another culture that are available at home?

People need to be honest about the kind of experience they are looking for. They want something different from their normal schedule...but not too different. They want to relate to places they have seen in their favorite movies, but still live in their real lives. They want something new, but they want to be comfortable. Mostly, I think they want to be able to say they’ve been somewhere important. So they’re not interested in getting to know the nooks and crannies of a new place, they’re interested in being able to list the landmarks they’ve seen that their family and friends back home are familiar with, and will be impressed by.

Similar to these tourists, I want an escape from my daily routine. I live in the concrete jungle and want to reconnect with nature, breathe fresh air, feel grass between my toes, and chill out man. I want to go camping.

Unlike many of New York’s tourists, however, I can be honest about my intentions. I want to go camping, but I don’t really want to go camping camping. I want to surround myself with the beauty of nature while retaining my creature comforts. I want running water, and a bed. Hotel Chatter, a great website for those “in the industry” (how legit does that make me sound?) and those who just like to stay in hotels (read: everybody), has a perfect term for what I want to do. I want to go glamping. Specifically at the Four Seasons Tented Camp, Golden Triangle, in the jungles of Thailand. Here, I can say that I truly got away from it all, got in touch with nature, probably “found myself”, and stayed in a tent. (see “tent” below)

Let me just say this about the Four Seasons Tented Camp, Golden Triangle: elephant trekking, drinx, and spa treatments are included in the demure $1,550 per tent. Goodbye life savings, hello glamping.

This could be me and my elephant friend.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I'm not sure what it is. Perhaps it's the gloom and doom rainy weather following some of the most beautiful, hopeful days of 2010. Perhaps it's my continued existence in a common room. Or that December 26th feeling that follows a great trip (I spent the last weekend in glorious Boston). Whatever it is, I've been feeling like hiding in my bed like a little monster lately.

So there I was, pretending to be asleep at almost eleven o'clock in the morning yesterday and I thought of this picture, which I stumbled across months ago on Lyndsey Hamilton's lovely blog.

It brought me a smile when I found it and a frown all these months later as I reflected on it. There was no way today was going to be a perfect day. How could I possibly turn a drizzly, cranky workday into the "perfect day?"

So I puzzled, and puzzled, and puzzled some more, until I remembered some things that generally brings me some joy: running, and helping people who actually have real problems. So I did something which I've been meaning to do for quite some time, and that is sign up for the Brooklyn Half Marathon!

I'm running with the DetermiNation organization, an awesome organization that encourages athletes to participate in endurance events with the goal of raising money for the American Cancer Society. I joined New York's DetermiNation committee a few months ago and am in awe of all the positive, energetic people who organize these events to fight cancer.

For more info on the ACS, please visit their website. To support my efforts, please visit my personal fundraising site. Yay for running and boo for cancer.

And just remember: today is the perfect day for a perfect day. You might just have to try a little harder.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

This has sort of been my mantra since graduating from college in May: not only "forever," but everything begins when you say yes. I have been trying to say yes to as many opportunities as possible, often without knowing where these opportunities will take me. But I believe that by opening my mind and my heart to new ideas, projects, people and places, I have grown so much as a person. While I am still uncertain of the path that lies before me, I am confident that I am moving in a positive direction. This confidence only increases each time I swallow my fears and say "yes," and get out there and live my life, rather than just watch it pass by.

For more sweet, witty and creative street graffiti, please check out A Love Letter For You. It will make your day better!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

One of the qualities I abhor most in others is "taking oneself too seriously." I see this all over New York City, people with ultra important agendas, people who determine their superiority by which ultra exclusive venues they have access to, people who become offended at a harmless joke or because, heaven forbid, you "don't know who they are," blah blah blah. I mean, I know these people exist everywhere, however, New York is where they truly shine.
In that spirit, I get an enormous kick out of the blog Unhappy Hipsters which posts amusing captions along with pictures featured in the haute design magazine Dwell (a great magazine by the way, with some truly stunning photographs, but would you ever really want to hang out with one of those architects? They seem like they would be completely ridiculous in real life. You know, like when you go into a modern art museum and see a particularly hideous piece of work that has an overly thoughtful title and a long, drawn-out explanation from the artist. Yea sure it's creative and "cool," or whatever, but you know that artist is an idiot who probably speaks with an affected accent and only talks about themselves and doesn't drink Bud Light and never watches Bravo reality shows, get OVER it).
I stumbled upon this blog while perusing one of my very favorite blogs, Elements of Style, which is full of great design and fashion and written by a very funny lady you could easily imagine hanging with - just wanted to give it a little shout out!