Thursday, January 29, 2015

Save the Elephants


On January 20th Refinery29 posted this video to Facebook with the teaser "It should literally be illegal for something to be so cute."

This reminded me of two things:
1. The overuse (and often misuse) of the word literally. We're all guilty.
2. Kathryn Bigelow's film Last Days, about ending ivory-funded terrorism and saving elephants from extinction. An elephant is killed literally every 15 minutes for its ivory. Elephants could literally be extinct in 11 years. (See what I did there?)

You can view the video here. Please note that viewer discretion is advised. You may need to go back and watch the cute R29 video after to lift your spirits. The good news is that Kathryn Bigelow is getting the word out about poaching, and we can all take action

A

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Glasses for Grown Ups


It was serendipitous when Warby Parker asked me to help introduce the company's Spring collection. I had recently admitted to my husband that I'd wanted glasses--and braces!--when I was a kid. I thought they would make me look older or something. Then I actually had to get braces, and I learned "the grass is always greener" lesson. Glasses, on the other hand, are still on my wish list. While I don't need prescription eyewear, I do like the look. So I recently swung by my local Warby Parker location to finally get after my childhood longing for some grown-up specs.

The Warby Parker Spring Collection is so me. Its colors, textures and shapes are decidedly nautical and inspired by the sea ("sandy shades modeled after rippled ocean floors, jellyfish-inspired tortoise" & more). I went to Warby Parker's teeming Meatpacking store and tried on a handful of glasses from the Spring line. My top three picks were the Finch in Striped Molasses, the Carnaby in Burnt Lemon Tortoise and the Cass in Blue Slate Fade. See below for photos. 


Finch in Striped Molasses
Carnaby in Burnt Lemon
Cass in Blue Slate Fade
While at Warby Parker, I also got an up-close look (pun intended) at the culture of the company. The Meatpacking shop has high bookshelves filled with hardcovers and an overall cozy and relaxing vibe. The staff is warm and, not surprisingly, bespectacled.

And just like me, literature is in Warby Parker's bones. The company's name is derived from two characters in one of Jack Kerouac's journals. In fact, the Warby Parker founders are so Kerouac-obsessed, they give a copy of The Dharma Bums to each new WP employee.

But maybe the coolest thing about Warby Parker is the company's dedication to bringing the gift of sight to those less fortunate. For every pair of specs sold, WP gives a pair to someone in need. A noble cause anyone can get behind -- especially a book worm like me.

A

P.S. Check out the Warby Parker Spring 2015 Collection on Pinterest here

Images courtesy of Warby Parker

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Universe is Telling Me Something


On January 19 two unrelated, but intrinsically intertwined, messages were put out into the universe:

The New York Times published Writing Your Way to Happiness with this take away message: 

"[R]esearchers are studying whether the power of writing — and then rewriting — your personal story can lead to behavioral changes and improve happiness.
The concept is based on the idea that we all have a personal narrative that shapes our view of the world and ourselves. But sometimes our inner voice doesn’t get it completely right. Some researchers believe that by writing and then editing our own stories, we can change our perceptions of ourselves and identify obstacles that stand in the way of better health.
It may sound like self-help nonsense, but research suggests the effects are real."
And then Martha Beck emailed the below "Daily Inspiration:"
"The past doesn’t exist except as a memory, a mental story, and though past events aren’t changeable, your stories about them are. You can act now to transform the way you tell the story of your past, ultimately making it a stalwart protector of your future."
Both the Times article and the Beck tidbit have the same message: You can rewrite your past stories to serve your present self. Whether it be via blogging, working on my book or even self-talk, I'm determined to heed this advice. Why dwell on the pain of past events, when I can tweak those memories into a story about overcoming difficult times to become the person I am today? I am the author, after all.

A

P.S. Check out Martha Beck's full post on How to Stop Regretting Decisions here.

Image by Chris Gash via New York Times

[Writing Your Way to Happiness, Tara Parker-Pope, New York Times, 1/19/15]

Monday, January 26, 2015

What You Learn in Your 40s


This article made the rounds among my 30-something friends last year when it was published in the Times. It popped up again on my computer screen recently, so I revisited it. While the article is titled "What You Learn in Your 40s," its lessons apply to people of all ages. A few of my favorite lessons shared by author Pamela Druckerman are quoted below:
"If you worry less about what people think of you, you can pick up an astonishing amount of information about them. You no longer leave conversations wondering what just happened. Other people’s minds and motives are finally revealed."
"There are no grown-ups. We suspect this when we are younger, but can confirm it only once we are the ones writing books and attending parent-teacher conferences. Everyone is winging it, some just do it more confidently."
"More about you is universal than not universal. My unscientific assessment is that we are 95 percent cohort, 5 percent unique. Knowing this is a bit of a disappointment, and a bit of a relief." 
"But you find your tribe... By your 40s, you don’t want to be with the cool people; you want to be with your people."
"Just say 'no.' Never suggest lunch with people you don’t want to have lunch with. They will be much less disappointed than you think."
Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Pamela Druckerman!
A

Image via A Cup of Jo 


[What You Learn in Your 40s, Pamela Druckerman, New York Times, 2/28/14]

Friday, January 23, 2015

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Advice From ‘America’s Worst Mom’


I'm not a mom yet, but I have five nieces and nephews, friends with kids (which also happens to be the title of one of my favorite movies) and even neighbors with kids. (God bless that family and their tiny one bedroom apartment!) Plus, being of childbearing age, parenting practices pique my interest these days. This article caught my eye, and the below paragraphs really stood out:
“[College] Students are prepared academically, but they’re not prepared to deal with day-to-day life, which comes from a lack of opportunity to deal with ordinary problems,” Dr. Gray said. “Over the past 60 years, there’s been a huge change, well documented by social scientists, in the hours a day children play outdoors — less than half as much as parents did at their children’s ages,” he said.
In decades past, children made up their own games and acquired important life skills in the process. “In pickup games,” Dr. Gray said, “children make the rules, negotiate, and figure out what’s fair to keep everyone happy. They develop creativity, empathy and the ability to read the minds of other players, instead of having adults make the rules and solve all the problems.”
On the beach in Miami recently I was humored to hear a mom yelling at her three kids, "GO AWAY! Go play! Toss the ball around. Get out of here!" The kids listened. They went about 20 feet away and played catch in the sand, while the mom and dad sunbathed in silence. When I first heard the mom yelling I thought she was maybe the worst parent on the beach. After seeing the kids go play and realizing the necessity of it (and after reading this article) I think the yelling mom was maybe the best mom in Miami.

A


Illustration by Fred Blunt via Love+Water Designs

[Advice From ‘America’s Worst Mom,’ Jane E. Brody, New York Times, 1/19/15]

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Sunshine State


We spent the long MLK weekend in Coconut Grove, Florida with my in-laws. What a perfect escape from frigid Manhattan! On the day we departed NYC I was liberally applying hand lotion to my literally bleeding knuckles. My skin had dried and cracked from the cold. Florida was a savior, for not only my hands but my psyche. Here are some highlights:

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

It's A Dog's World


Last weekend my husband tried to text me the above photo of Coney Dog (a budding Instagram sensation). Instead, he accidentally sent the pic to a group text with our college friends, much to their delight. Now they all like to joke that Justin sits around and trolls dog accounts on Instagram, which is only partly true. Justin has been trying to convince me to get on board with getting a dog. But I keep insisting that I am not a "dog person." I'm a "Golden Retriever person." 

When I was very young I was terrified of all dogs. My parents had to cross me to the other side of the street as soon as we saw a canine coming our way. And preferably I'd be hoisted onto my father's shoulders, a safe distance from a street attack. It wasn't until I fearlessly pet a Great Dane that I mistook for a horse that the spell was finally broken. When My parents told me I had just petted a dog, I was flabbergasted but also empowered. I had survived. 

Another survival story is that of the Golden Retriever that stole my heart. My two brothers and I picked her out at a shoddy strip mall in NJ. At the time we thought we were saving her, but really, she saved us. We named her Cosette (Cozy for short) after the Le Miserables character, and she was one of the loves of my life. I know -- I sound like a Crazy Dog Person. But I'm really not. I'm a Crazy Golden Retriever Person. There's a difference. 

My father is a Crazy Poodle Person. He has more photos of his two Poodles than of his grandchildren. (He will try to deny this, but his family knows the truth.) 

Ann Patchett is a crazy Parking Lot Dog Person. I'm currently reading her essay compilation This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage and she chronicles her life with her beloved mutt Rose, adopted on a whim in a parking lot, in an essay titled "This Dog's Life." Patchett explains her crazy love for Rose and the things she is willing to do for her dog, like move to a nicer apartment. Patchett argues that dogs are, in fact, the key to perfect happiness. 

There are many studies that back the benefits of dog ownership. Dr. Andrew Weil just posted an article about his enriched life experience due to ownership of two Rhodesian Ridgebacks: "Their affectionate natures always lift my spirits at the end of a long, stressful day." Weil goes on to say that in general, "Companion animals enrich our lives. Research shows that pet owners have less illness, recover faster from serious health conditions, and tend to be happier than people who do not own pets."

My husband wants a Goldendoodle because he's allergic to fur, and doodle dogs are apparently hypoallergenic. Maybe I will compromise and become a Goldendoodle Person. After all, marriage is a compromise. Plus, that Coney Dog is pretty effing adorable. 

A


Friday, January 16, 2015

Around the Web


I don't watch a ton of TV, but I have at times accidentally caught "In the Papers" on NY1. (NY1 is the default station on many NYC televisions.) When I first saw a news anchor literally reading newspaper headlines on TV, I thought it was a joke. It's not. And a handful of my friends actually enjoy watching (or is it hearing) the news this way. It's definitely not my cup of tea, but my take is: however you consume the news, do you. If more people are becoming informed because they can listen to someone else read the paper, all the power to them. Knowledge = power. 

Below is the Bound & Glossy version of In the Papers, dubbed "Around the Web." No, I'm not reading these articles out loud, although that could be a B&G video series in the making! In the meantime, enjoy some pieces I've curated. They caught my eye and perhaps these stories will be of interest to you, too.

Skipping meals can be beneficial.


Star moms are just like our moms.


Woody Allen signed on to do a TV series with Amazon. Oops?

Let's Get Drinks

The Lost Art of Free Time

When was the last time you were truly bored?

The Problem With Meaning

A


Image via stargayzing.com

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Live Your Best Life


"It is a happy talent to know how to play." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The January issue of O, The Oprah Magazine features the above saying by Ralph Waldo Emerson. This particular quote reminds me of Martha Beck's advice to play until you feel like resting, and then rest until you feel like playing. And that's it. 

Beck explains this theory in a April 2010 blog post, some of which is quoted below: 
Although we all have the same amount of time in one day of our lives, we can put a great deal of life in our days by re-establishing our natural rhythm. It’s not about working harder, smarter or faster; it’s about working in harmony. 
The rhythm of our essential selves is like almost every other rhythm in nature. It has two phases which I call “rest” and “play.” When you rest in harmony with your essential self, you feel as drowsy and contented as a cat in the sun...
As you stay connected with your essential self through rest, there will come a moment when something piques your interest. You will want to get up and investigate, or you’ll be thrilled by the idea of exploring some area of your life – familiar or unfamiliar. (For me, this often takes the form of something I want to write.)
 

This is your signal that the essential self has finished resting and wants to play. Let it.
 
This is not to say that play is easy. Real creativity, which is the essence of play, can feel absolutely grueling. But ultimately there is a sense of joy and meaning in having done it. The essential self doesn’t mind hard work. But it will reject meaningless work.

When we're working in harmony with our essential selves, work feels like play and rest feels juicy and restorative. Not to mention, we're doing our most fulfilling work and living our best lives.

A

Image via Steve McCurry

[O, The Oprah Magazine, January 2015 and "I Rest My Pace...Insight From Martha," April 4, 2010]

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pictures of Pictures


I'm embarrassed to admit I don't often take advantage of the cultural delights at my fingertips here in NYC. Fortunately, on occasion my father (who generally hates Manhattan) pressures me into seeing the NY sights with him. Recently we visited the High Line and the Museum of Modern Art.

I would recommend visiting the High Line when it's warm, and only when it's warm. There are no heated refuges along this glorified walking path. 

The MoMA, on the other hand, is a perfectly nice respite on a wintry day, even when there are crowds of tourists with the same idea. There's typically a long snake of a line in front of the museum, but the incredibly friendly staff will tell you you can simply purchase a ticket on your smartphone to avoid waiting any time at all. We did just that, and although we didn't plan ahead and get tickets to the Matisse cutout exhibit (the museum's current main attraction) we were able to view some of Matisse's other gorgeous works along with pieces by Modigliani, Monet, Picasso, Pollock, Van Gogh and many more. See some photos below.





And last, but not least... the bookshop at MoMA? An A+ attraction. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Moore of a Good Thing


I picked up the January 19 issue of People in part because Blake Lively graces the glossy's cover. She looks radiant, as always, and the People cover promises an exclusive in which "the new mom opens up."

Well, the new mom doesn't exactly open up. She promotes her lifestyle brand Preserve. She also indicates that motherhood hasn't affected her life all that much. Hmph.

Fortunately, there's a saving grace inside this issue of People: a story on "The Prime of Julianne Moore." Moore, unlike Lively, actually does open up about raising a family. ("Of course when they're really little, the pace is glacial because nothing is happening and you're sitting in the sandbox. [And then] of course it flashes by, and that little boy you were putting sand in the funnel with is 17 years old and starting to look at colleges. It really does crystallize what being alive is about. It forces you to pay attention.") She also speaks of diving into her latest movie role as a college linguistic professor diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. (She had cognitive tests administered on herself, which was "really scary." She also spent time with people who have the disease, and made sure to witness in real life everything she portrayed in the movie.) The movie, of course, is Still Alice, for which Moore won a Golden Globe this past Sunday night.

Moore's Golden Globe acceptance speech was to the point and poignant: "My mother always told me that a happy person was someone who has work and love." Moore thanked the Still Alice producers for the opportunity to work, and she concluded with thanking her husband and two children "for all that love."

Moore's People feature ends on similar note, with a message about love. Moore says that while filming Still Alice she would come home to her family every night and "be really happy. It's just about loving people. That's what life is all about."


A

Image via www.etonline.com

[People, January 19, 2015]

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Me, My Selfie and I

On New Year's day we had a few friends over to watch football. "Watching football" for me usually entails sitting on the couch reading magazines and perusing social media. So, as per usual, I scrolled Instagram while wedged in between my husband and one of our friends last Thursday. During a commercial break one of the guys glanced over my shoulder to see Arielle of Something Navy blog-fame posing in her OOTD (outfit of the day) on Instagram. The next thing I knew, the guys were literally passing around my phone, checking out this blogger. (She is quite attractive, if I do say so myself.) I explained that Arielle has a huge following and that she does many collaborations with fashion and beauty brands. The guys were surprised to hear that she gets tons on social media attention just for posting fabulous photos of herself in different outfits.

In the the past I've been hesitant to post pics of myself on my blogs; I've been happy to let my writing do the talking. While at first it seemed too private to share photos of me, I'm already sharing personal details, so why not put a face to my voice? Inspired by brave bloggers like Arielle, I'm going to start sharing more of me. 

[Me in my fave OOTD -- a beach towel]

A

P.S. Would you buy a selfie stick?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

St. Barts



We went to St. Barts in December and it was the perfect early winter escape. We were there for eight glorious days and throughout the trip I did everything in my power to truly be present

I made a conscious effort to be in the moment: in the sunlit shower, in our rental car climbing the picturesque hills, at the incredible beaches. I took the time to really notice my surroundings. I distinctly remember, upon visiting one of the hotel beaches on our last full day on the island, lying on a chaise lounge and listening to the palm trees bristle and the ocean lap up against the shore. I put down my book and just listened. In fact, I tried to use all my senses to really soak it all up. These, I figured, are the moments I'll want to stick. Here are some more photos, if you'd like to see. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Yes Please, Amy Poehler


I just finished Yes Please by Amy Poehler. I was expecting a laugh-out-loud-knee-slapper a la Tina Fey's Bossypants; this was not the case. Instead, Yes Please is a delightful self-help memoir sprinkled with a good dose of humor. Poehler is a wise woman, and she provides good advice through her (sometimes juicy) real-life experiences.

Poehler bares her soul. She admits on many occasions that writing her book was HARD, and she shares anecdotes in which she felt embarrassed and perhaps didn't "do the right thing." While many of us already love Pohler for her hilarious on-screen antics, her honest insights endeared her to me even more. She lets the reader in on the inner workings of her mind and provides truly solid advice. To all this, I say "Yes, please!"

And of course, thank you,
A


Image via http://amysaysyesplease.com.
 

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