& feelings

Winter Blues

For once, I'm wishing for December.

Memories of a cool winter hike.

I am the fondest of winter in the middle of July. Occasionally, I visit a place under weather conditions that make the environment look spooky, as if I stepped into a horror movie.

On a December day in Denmark, I explored a forest that looked incredibly sinister. Surprisingly, the forest was calm and I didn't feel scared, which is something I'm easily prone to do.

It was an incredibly cold hike that morning. Today, it’s only 9 am and already I have to close the windows to keep the hot air from coming in.


Honestly Itself

No need to imitate the tendencies that are happening in the world market.

A distinct plant I found this weekend. Different from the surrounding.

Today, I came across an interview with a winemaker that reflects my current attitude.

"I fell deeply in love with Georgia when I heard a recording. I was 16 years old. I bought a CD called Georgian Folk Music Today and immediately the chords of the music just struck me very deeply."

"I went to Kakheti, which is the eastern part of Georgia where 90% of the country’s wine is made. 2006…I was painting in a vineyard. And it was a very hot, kinda dusty, late August day. And a man drove by in a tractor and called out to me. He said 'John, I know who you are, you don’t know who I am but you have to come to my house for dinner tonight.’"

"This man was Gela Patalishvili. He had a vision. That too many wines were leaving Georgia, that don’t speak Georgian. Georgia has 525 indigenous varieties and more than 8000 year old tradition of making wine in clay pots called qvevri."

"And really in Gela’s opinion, Georgia didn’t need to imitate the tendencies that were happening in the world market in wine. Georgia just needed to be honestly itself. An in that, someone would find value."

An interview with John Wurdeman at The Splendid Table.


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.