& feelings

Let's Not Work Hard

Unlearning the value of 'hard work.'

Not a brunch person who likes fighting crowds, just enjoy a simple breakfast

Chouinard: The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life. It’s so easy to make it complex . . .

Tompkins: In response to people who say you can’t go back. Well, what happens when you get to the cliff? Do you take one step forward or do you make a 180 degree turn and take . . . one step forward? Which way are you going? Which is progress?

Chouinard: The solution might be to turn around and take a forward step.

In 180° South, this conversation between Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, and Doug Tompkins, founder of North Face and Esprit, questions what it means to work towards progress.

Where a step lands depends on where you’re currently located. Any point can be arguably better.

The leisure class of the late 19th century/early 20th demonstrates a style of hard work that contradicts the "hard work" of the lower classes. Leisure class work is described in Bettina Matthias’s book The Hotel As Setting in Early 20th Century German and Austrian Literature.

"they must flaunt their social status in order to be accepted among their peers and ideally, excel over their competitors"

"To spend as much time as possible away from home and work, and to pay lots of money for accommodation in a hotel where this idle time can then be wasted is another of the more effective ways to demonstrate one’s exemption from the world of labor and one’s belonging in the leisure class."

"fashion designers could achieve a very powerful effect if the garment was not only fashionable but made it practically impossible for its wearer to move, breathe, or engage in any sort of useful activity."

Have you ever been stuck in a never ending social engagement? Or an uncomfortable dress? Or in makeup that keeps smudging? It’s physically laborious.

"All of these are social interactions or need to performed in front of others. Hotels offered perfect stages for these performances with their various social places such as lobbies, bars, tea rooms, palm gardens, and music salons."

"all leisured activity is aimed at wasting energy and resources, to show the degree to which wealth has established a luxurious distance to the world. What is more, money itself has lost its magic as the great enabler, and only wasting it feels like a status-securing activity."

"activity must be totally useless and non productive. Logically, then, any pursuit that would serve a practical purpose was out of the question."

Funny how these non-productive activities was the productive element in maintaining position.

"Do you take one step forward or do you make a 180 degree turn and take . . . one step forward?"

I’ve felt pressure to "work hard" most of my life. Today’s definition of working hard involves studying hard in school and working longer hours at the office. But why should I succumb to the circumstantial definition of "hard work"? I can make sense of how "working hard" doesn’t make sense, but I still have a hard time feeling worthy if I don’t sit at the computer for at least 8 hours a day.



A poem I understand.

An evocative iris in the botanical garden

“Desire is the kind of thing that
eats you
leaves you starving.”

― Nayyirah Waheed, salt.


Space Magazine

An indie mag with pretty photos taken by famous photographers.

Restaurant Lumskebugten by Nikolaj Møller

Sophie Hicks by Brett Lloyd and Can Lis by Keld Helmer-Petersen

Can Lis by Keld Helmer-Petersen

These photos are part of larger stories published in Space Magazine.


Dreamy Isolation

Being careful for what I wish for.

While hiking this weekend, we came across a field, where there was this lonely tree. I hope to live in a place where there are open views like this.

"In some ways, Médoc is the anti-Provence, for better and worse—not a souvenir shop in sight, and sometimes, less conveniently, not even a loaf of bread. A peninsula detached from the rest of France, Médoc is unknown to many, even to many French. People have drunk the wine but never seen the châteaux. The locals happily go about their lives, enjoying their isolation from the rest of the world." - Mimi Thorisson, A Kitchen in France: a year of cooking in my farmhouse

I, too, want to be enjoying an "isolation from the rest of the world". Perhaps that’s why I’ve been thinking a lot about living outside the city. The more alluring it gets the higher my expectations are.

This weekend, I realized how far I might be from reality. My husband and I were circling different camp grounds to settle for the weekend. The first camp seemed okay, but it wasn’t what I imagined camping to be. I had an idea that we’d be in a secluded spot with a great view, away from everyone. Designated camp grounds were full of tents and RVs in addition to small rental cabins.

As we drove from one camp to the next, my expectations adjusted and we settled in a camp that had more space, great views, bathroom facilities and a bar. I did not expect the bathroom facilities and bar to be part of camping but they proved to be a huge part in making the weekend enjoyable.

That got me thinking about my dreams of living in the country. I will miss the facilities that a city provides, the countless restaurants, cafes, and bakeries. For once, I was able to see how much I take for granted.


Miss Match

The more the merrier. Mixing patterns, colors and textures into a hodge podge cluster.

Clockwise from top left: Sea floral patterned jumpsuit, 'Bother Me' cat-eye sunglasses by The Row, tote bag by Truss photographed by Sally Griffiths, baby blue fur coat by Alena Akhmadullina, orange eel leather mules by Amélie Pichard

I like the clashy fashion that’s currently in style. First, it’s visually stimulating to see a variety of patterns, colors and textures mixed in different ways. Second, I feel empowered to try a bit of experimentation myself, like matching shiny red orange mules with baby blue fur. Third, since there are no rules, choosing what’s comfortable now becomes completely acceptable. And lastly, since matching isn’t the goal, there’s freedom to choose whatever I like, with no rhyme or reason.

Even the designs created now are at liberty to explore. A tote bag in yellow, black and white was never designed to match anything anyway.


Calvin Klein Resort '17

Matching white on white with slit sleeves.

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While I don’t play dress up anymore, I still enjoy imagining who I’d be wearing particular clothes. I don’t really think about being a pirate, (or an angel, or a fairy), but it would be fun to accessorize with something inconvenient, like an eye patch or a large pair of wings. If you can afford expensive clothing, why not go all out? Here are my favorites from the Calvin Klein Collection with annotated accessories.

Calvin Klein Collection Resort '17 via


More Space

A short break from my regular environment.

We camped near a trail that had a stream running through boulders. Here we collected firewood.

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

After camping for four days, I came back home and found my apartment a bit different. The ceilings were higher and I remembered the kitchen to be three quarters the size.

Perhaps the only way to get a bigger space is to live in a tiny tent for a few days. I get used to everything I have, large or small.

Often, I fantasize about living in a large home or loft. I know that it’s not the large home that I want, but rather, the "feeling" of having an over-abundance of space. However, the feeling of space disappears once a certain volume becomes the standard. Moving from a small bedroom to an apartment multiple times the size of the same bedroom, I eventually find myself desiring more.

Now, I can’t help but stare into the corners of my apartment to observe the dimensions. It was here, all along.


Different Standards

Have you ever read a page thinking it was news? I found myself outraged under the wrong context.

food for my thoughts...

News is my distraction. It takes up so much of my time. When I want to procrastinate, I look to current events. What kind of injustice can I divert my energy towards today?

I enter a few times a day. As fast as it would take to hit the escape key, my fingers’ plop to the arrangement of the url when I don’t feel like doing anything. Today, I skimmed a feature on Natalie Portman and her correspondance with an accomplished writer. I am not familiar with the writer. The article was about their friendship, since they met prior to becoming stars. They kept in touch along the way as they both rose to "fame".

The article came in the format an email chain. It was intended to promote Natalie Portman’s new movie, the first she has directed.

Was this article about Natalie’s career? The photos featured Natalie posing in designer clothing. Located in the caption are prices and where to buy. There’s even a photo of Natalie wearing a bikini. Is this what we expect from female directors these days?

She’s not having a "sharing bikini photos" kind of relationship with the writer. Scrolling through more of the page, the emails are clearly unrelated to the photos.

Then I realize I’m in the NYTimes Style Magazine. So it shouldn’t be taken seriously. Like all style magazines, everything is an ad.

It’s interesting how the context of the article can change my perspective. Before realizing the article was not part of the newspaper, I was bothered by the extent of airbrushing on Natalie’s face and the fact that she’s selling clothing. As someone who was inspired by her vegan lifestyle a decade ago, Natalie represented the anti-establishment. My idea of Natalie was manufactured, including her role in V for Vendetta, but I was kind of outraged at how she seemed to have taken the opposite position.

It’s just a page with photos and text. But my perspective can be vastly different. I can be totally accepting if the page is telling me it’s a style site. I’m less accepting, and even furious, if the page tells me it’s a news site and publishes the same.

White background, black text, and photos. Same parts, almost identical on screen, but I hold the pages to such varying standards. Whether to be angry or accepting, the difference is not on screen, but all in my head.


Odds 'n Ends

New things I found and really liked from the internet.

A pretty flower bush I came across in the middle of a strange zoo

The following are the most entertaining designs I found from the internet this week…

Haute Design hasn’t been touched since 2014 but that doesn’t mean that it’s not good. There’s a wonderful post on a shabby chic Christmas dinner that looks more like Thanksgiving and a vacay rental in Italy that has a tucked away kitchen. So much texture involved in old European buildings — exposed beams can be seen on almost every ceiling.

The French Manoir is a refurbished French manor. I enjoy looking at the guest rooms and the surrounding property. The place is nicely renovated with antique details. Juli, the owner, snaps scenes of idyllic French country living.

If you like avocado and mustard, and anything that is ugly beautiful, check out Fanny Bryggman Öhrn’s curated selection of kitsch interior inspiration from retro Swedish homes.

Have you ever heard of “artisan swimwear’? I hadn’t until I came across All That Remains and their hand made lace swimwear.

Flowers are arranged with graphic details. Cay Mae is an artist who places blooms in arrangement with other objects, like this large bloom on top of a floral print in 2D. And my favorite, two daisies randomly popping out of a “thank you” bag.

Lastly, an open air home from the Style Files. The home is located on a Spanish island and belongs to Marni designer Consuelo Castiglione.

Open air living on the island of Fomentera via the Style Files

Maybe one more? Jewelry by Natalia Peri. Check out the Zen inspired Enso Bangle.

uncommon finds

Walking Thoughts

'One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.' Instead of boots, I have thoughts that walk all over me.

Do you ever feel you should go for a walk?

Last Saturday, I had been indoors all afternoon, so by the evening, I had thoughts of going for a walk.

"You should go for a walk and it’ll make you fell better." I was feeling anxious and a bit cooped up.

As I started doing other things around the apartment, the thoughts became louder. "You should really go out before it’s dark. It’s so nice out. Think of how nice you’ll feel when you get back. It’s healthier to be outdoors."

Going outside makes me feel better, but the problem is, the more I listen to these thoughts, which come almost daily, the more they have a stronger hold on me. I feel like my feeling of "cooped up-ness" has somehow been manifested by these thoughts.

If I wanted to go out, I would have just walked out the door.

Instead of going out that evening, I sat and did nothing. I tried to clear my head of thoughts by doing a bit of meditation, not getting carried away, both physically and mentally, by anything.

After an hour and a half, the thoughts quieted down and I no longer felt cooped up. In the morning, I got up to hear "What a wonderful morning for a bike ride! Maybe to Treptower park or down the canal, or even on the other side of the canal towards the city. How fun would that be?! Or maybe you should go past the river. At the very least, go for a walk."

My mind started to take me down the streets to the places around the neighborhood. I felt as if I were doing a virtual run through the entire city to determine which bike experience would be optimal. It’s like viewing Google street maps in my head believing the scenes are in realtime.

Perhaps because I didn’t address the thought last night that the thoughts were unleashing from being pent up.

"There’s hardly anyone up at this time of day and it’ll be nice to ride your bike with no traffic. The temperature is the nicest at this time of day anyway. Whether on bike or foot, get out as soon as you can. Any later and it’ll get too hot to enjoy."

Wow, the thoughts were badly trying to convince me to go out. When my thoughts call for backup, there become so many reasons lined up on why I "should" do something. Instead of leaning in, I decided to see what would happen. What would I do naturally, without any pressure?

I found myself drawing and painting all Sunday morning. I couldn’t have thought that’s what I wanted, I just did it because I was naturally compelled to.

In addition to this experiences, I’ve come across a book that reflects the attitude of my 100 day challenge, where I try hard not to do anything I think I "should" do.

"It’s very easy to have the mind-set that you’re building toward some ultimate goal and climbing a ladder to some dream end—whether that’s a certain position or certain place in life. But this message really is powerful: that by living your life differently, you can open yourself up to possibilities you never imagined were even possible." - The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About Life