South Beach Miami stole my heart this week, somewhere between the massive sprawling palm leaves, aqua waters and white sand. The Art Deco influence in the pastel architecture is worth photographing on every block, while ridiculous nightlife experiences cap off each day to remind you that life is a non-stop party.
Fishbowl margaritas, limo rides, random concerts (we saw Public Enemy on Friday night just by chance, front row) sum up my experience, as well as Jacuzzi lounging and rad new friends. There’s nothing like generous, down to earth locals to point you in the right direction when you visit a new city.
We’re only here for another two days, so K and I are making the most of it. We’re here to celebrate the launch of our new website, day job optional, officially launching Monday. That’s a sneak peek!
Today we took a break from the beach because of a tropical storm, and instead sat inside watching the palm leaves sway and the streets fill with water. Later in the afternoon one of my best friends from high school picked us up for lunch, and we drive through rivers like it was nothing. We were mesmerized in Walgreen’s where crocheted beachy bohemian attire was being sold alongside potato chips and Advil. Oh Miami.
Here are some of my favorite snaps from the trip.
If you’re in town, check out Tongue in Cheek, The Big Pink, Visa-01, and Burger Taco Whiskey. We stayed at Bikini Hostel, which is adjacent to a beer garden and is more or less a non-stop party. Get a private room if you’re not into sharing a living space with 8 foreign bros, but overall we had a great experience staying here. It’s clean and they serve free daily breakfast. What’s not to love about that?
Can’t wait to come back here in the fall! If you have any suggestions for places I should check out, leave them in the comments.
After almost six years of following Gala Darling, I finally got to meet her in Brooklyn as she celebrated the release of her first book (which I have been devouring on the beach, on the train, and in my room whenever possible). It’s one of those books that propel so many A-ha! moments, you forget to breathe while reading.
If you’re not familiar with Gala, she is a girl in the shape of a shooting star. She’s a powerhouse of positivity and an advocate of “radical self love”—a phrase she coined to encourage women to love the sh*t out of themselves and prioritize the things they are passionate about.
In turn, this movement aims to create a wave of good energy that will change the world, one awesome female at a time.
Gala herself has struggled intensely in her life with an eating disorder, depression, and a negative self image. She explains in great detail how she went from being a miserable girl to an empowered young woman.
She also coined the phrase “international playgirl” when she began traveling the world like an A-list celebrity. I truly adore her transparency and creativity. Check out her blog—you won’t be disappointed. Here are 6 things I learned from her talk:
If you don’t do the work, the universe won’t meet you half way.
When Gala wanted to publish a book, she compiled one from years of blog and online course content, poured her heart into it, and approached publishers. After being rejected, she decided to self-publish anyway. Can you guess what happened next?
Right after she self-published, a major publisher came forward and is now going to publish her book. It wasn’t magic, even though her book certainly is. She manifested, and showed the publisher that she meant business.
You can be weird, smart and cool.
Gala talked about her idols growing up, like Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson, and emphasized how she identified with people who were unapologetic about expressing themselves, all while creating passionate art. And that, she realized, was cool. It wasn’t about fitting in or trying to emulate society’s idea of cool. This is good advice at any age.
The best of friends can be found on the internet.
If it wasn’t for Gala’s blog, she says she wouldn’t have met many of the people she considers her best friends today. And if you’ve followed her blog for any amount of time, you’ll have seen that those friends are some of the most creative, eccentric, amazing gals around.
Her strong community of readers have found one another at her events and workshops, too. You could facilitate amazing friendships just by getting online and putting yourself out there! Safely, obviously.
Motivate yourself with accountability.
If you give your word in public that you’re going to deliver on something, you are far less likely to let the ball drop. Love & Sequins was a paid subscription on Gala’s website back in the day, where she delivered content as she created it. Those paying customers were eagerly waiting for her next release, so you can bet she followed through.
Even if you don’t have paying subscribers, you can use a similar technique by letting friends, family, and mentors know when you’ve set a goal for yourself.
If you’re feeling unmotivated, ask yourself questions.
Assess whether you really want to be doing the thing you’re avoiding, and whether your can eliminate or delegate it out of your life.
In order to shake off a mini-rut while working, Gala always leaves her apartment in favor of a coffee shop, where she can get hours of writing done. She also suggested accomplishing a few small things, from self care to household chores, to get back to feeling motivated. That last one definitely works for me.
Cut the toxic people out of your life, stat.
Everyone talks about this, but taking action is crucial. Gala stressed that if someone is depleting you, being honest with yourself is essential. Time to let them go. If you can’t actively cut them out, just cease to engage. No small talk, no casual weekend plans.
Spend time with people who light you up and encourage you to be the best version of yourself. If you’re honest about your ambitions and the people close to you are cheering you on, you’re in with the right crowd.
At the end of the night, someone asked Gala if she had one piece of advice for everyone in the room. She responded with a straight forward, “Do what makes you feel good.” That resonated with me, especially because she seems to be taking her own advice—and building a career out of it!
And now, I’m off to devour and dog-ear more pages of her book.
Have an inspiring weekend!
I know I caught you guys up on the goings-on of life last week, but now I want to share some digital postcards of my daily goings-on. Thanks to copious amounts of rain, a whole lot of de-cluttering, and a few trips to the local cafe for a glass of wine during my break, life has been appealing to the eye, the mouth, and the mind.
Also, the beach… because I need more hours of beach-ing in my life, and the photos I took seem to sooth me even after the sand has washed out of my hair. Sigh!
Have an amazing week!–
Internet! It’s been a minute since I gave some love to my beloved blog. So much has happened since my last post, I don’t even know where to start. Summer is off to a rainy beginning here in Brooklyn, but that hasn’t been slowing anyone down.
Recent days have been all about hard work, streamlining planning big things for the future. I made room for a beach trip and a few evenings with my girls to unwind, but this summer isn’t so much about outdoor concerts or dancing all night for me. I know, it sounds insane. I’m growing up!
…also, my hair is a lot darker!
I moved to a cute apartment in Bushwick with a backyard, high ceilings, a walk-in closet and a sewing studio. The walls are aqua blue and the windows let in all of the sunlight and the explosive jungle-tastic greenery of the outdoors. Yes, in Brooklyn. Crazy, right? It feels like a summer home.
I’m currently working for John Varvatos as a full time copywriter, working on all facets of the brand’s language, from product copy to email marketing and more. It’s a creative, exciting, intense place to work. I’m loving it.
I’ve been invited back to show a Bombay Mermaid collection for the Sisters on the Runway 2015 fashion show in Union Square this October. I’ve enlisted an extremely talented stylist, Lesley DeSantis, to curate and consult. She is stellar.
I finally met and hugged one of my heroins, Gala Darling, at her book release party in Brooklyn this month. She gave an uplifting talk in the basement of a bookstore, complete with confetti canons and costume jewelry. She is such an inspiration (and she called me a super babe — eek!).
I was accepted to the Bushwick Daily writing fellowship, so you’ll be able to see my writing there for the next three months and possibly beyond. I honestly can’t wait to get more involved with my nabe through this experience.
I’m neck deep in the process of launching an amazing, amazing new website with my friend K, which will be a breath of fresh air and a great resource for young creative people who value travel, innovation, freedom, and being ALIVE over outdated work-a-holic world views. More on that soon.
I also launched a cute little side project—a digital Etsy shop full of downloadable goodness for organization and productivity. Check it out!
I booked tickets to Miami this month, since I haven’t really escaped the city on a plane in over a year. Time to sway with the palm trees and celebrate life! Expect copious photos afterward.
There’s so much more, but those are the cliff notes. As you can see, life has been busy. I feel bad for not posting in this blog, and while I tossed around the idea of putting it on hiatus or something, I decided not to stress, and just drop by when I can with eye candy and updates. Sound good?
By the way, even when I’m not blogging often, I’m still all over instagram! Follow me, and let’s view the world through Insta-hued glasses.
Until next time… stay cool, NYC!
On a snoozy Friday afternoon as I was sitting at my desk plugging away at an excel sheet full of copy, a newsletter from my favorite store in NYC appeared in my inbox, like a gem surfacing from the depths of the internet.
It was an ABC Home newsletter, detailing upcoming events in the Deepak Homebase. I’ve seen a few talks there, including one by the amazing Arianna Huffington, and was thrilled to see one of my favorite names on the list: Gabrielle Bernstein. She was giving a talk with Mallika Chopra, founder of Intent.com (and of course, Deepak’s daughter) in celebration of her new book, Living with Intent.
I wasn’t that familiar with Mallika, but I bought my tickets within 15 seconds.
On Tuesday night I made my way through the rain and the rush hour crowds to ABC Home (aka most magical place in Gotham City) to the super modern, boho-tastic sanctuary where the talk was given.
Below I’ve boiled down the five things that stood out the most for me during this talk, aside from how taken I was with Mallika’s warm personality and sense of humor.
Power is held wherever you put it. A famous story in Mallika’s family is that of her grandmother planning out a very special, specific sari for the day when she would greet the new Prime Minister of India, along with millions of others, as he passed by in his car.
The family teased her for caring which colors she wore, and for thinking he would even see her. But in the end, his car stopped just ahead of her on its path, and he exited the vehicle and handed her a rose, out of everyone there. Can anyone argue against the power of manifestation? She went on to wear certain color saris to predict the outcome of sports games, and was rarely ever wrong. Adorable (and powerful).
Own your story, whether it’s the story of globe-trotter, guru, or amazing mother. Mallika has two daughters, and she spoke for a few minutes about a modern mother’s dilemma when she aims to live a spiritual existence: do I travel the world? Go on spiritual adventures? Spend all day meditating? Attend endless seminars and retreats? At the end of the day, you’re a mother, and that’s your story, and that’s one of the most amazing stories you can experience.
Recognize when you’ve checked out and set the intention to return. There are few things more refreshing than a role model revealing how they’re just like us. We’re all works in progress. No one is perfect. Mallika recalled a time when she was giving a talk to a large group of people about living with intent, but her mind was actually wandering to her to-do list, laundry that needed to be done, etc. She recognized this and asked the group to meditate while she realigne, so she could be present with them.
Lead by example. Her father is Deepak Chopra, so you might not be surprised to learn that learned meditation as a daily practice at age 9. However, she confessed, it wasn’t because she thought it was “cool”, or more interesting than after school cartoons or other things kids want to do. She simply saw her mother meditating for one hour per day when she got home, and in order to spend more time with her mom, she planted herself nearby and meditated too.
Falling off the wagon is part of the process. Finally, the adorable story Mallika shared about her constant struggle with a chocolate chip cookie fixation was a cute but poignant metaphor for every struggle in life. She spoke about the process, winning the little battles, and taking it day by day… which sometimes includes giving in and having a chocolate chip cookie.
If you enjoyed these gems of wisdom, grab her book: Living with Intent: My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace, and Joy (not an affiliate link). I’ll be reading it this month during my morning commute.
P.S. Obviously Gabby was awesome too. ;}
Photographer Sema Balaman began a documentary project in 2006 with several other photographers, shooting the daily lives of the nomadic Mugat clans in Central Asia. Referred to more widely—and controversially—as “gypsies” (as per their European counterparts, the Rroma), the Mugats are relatively isolated in their own communities where they keep their traditions, celebrations, and ways of life alive and well despite societal repression.
But, before we go too far in that direction, today’s post is not political. It’s all about making life beautiful with whatever you have at your disposal. Browsing the photos of Balaman and others is as inspiring as browsing any Pinterest feed.
The colors, textures, and clever use of space and resources result in glowing interiors that emit a sense of DIY pride and festive, hyper-creative sanctuary. Especially those shot in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan—some of which are below.
There is palpable a degree of conflict around sharing and appreciating “pretty” images of people who are struggling with poverty and repression, but I also feel strongly that most of us want our positive contributions, projects, creativity and even style to be noticed and appreciated on a basic human level.
I can’t speak for the photographers or what they are trying to achieve with these photos, reportedly inspired by fear-turned-curiosity, but I can speak for myself when I say that I’m inspired by them. In these photos, you’ll see smiling faces, beautiful paintings, celebrations and …let’s face it, amazing outfits. A little bit of awareness and love allows us to admire these images without disregarding the very real people featured in them.
We’re all human, and we all want to be appreciated, noticed, and celebrated.
It’s my hope that sharing these will inspire you, and that any of these subjects would be thrilled to know their creativity and vibrancy continues to inspire others around the world.