25 August 2014

A Good Day



Our friend Ina, who lives in Bulgaria, spent six weeks of her summer working in Boston providing her the opportunity to drive down to stay with us for a weekend earlier this summer. In honor of her visit, I planned a jam-packed Saturday to show her some of our favorite spots. I always have fun selecting activities that are catered to visitors' individual interests. If there's anything true about New York, it is this: there is something here for everyone.

We began in Williamsburg, where we sampled craft beers and toured the Brooklyn Brewery before walking a few blocks over to Smorgasburg, where we lounged on the riverfront and stuffed our faces with lobster rolls, donuts, coconut milk, truffle fries and oysters.

After the gluttony, we rode the L back into Manhattan and walked the entirety of the Highline, exiting on Gansevoort to stop by Bubby's for snowballs (I recommend the lemon/strawberry combo or sour cherry).

As the daylight tapered off, we headed back across Manhattan to catch improv comedy at Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in the East Village. By the time the show let out around 10 PM, we were hungry again, but satisfied shortly thereafter with falafel from Mamoun's on St. Marks Place.

It all came together to create a quintessential NYC summer day that left me feeling extra appreciative because this city is just so good when it wants to be. And for now, in this season of life, I'm grateful to have that.

21 August 2014

Plans


I've spent the past three days at a professional development teaching conference up in the catskills. It was lovely and peaceful there. I had almost no wireless service on my phone, save for an occasional bar on a particular patch of grass near the main lodge. The retreat schedule was pretty packed but never felt busy, if that makes sense. During some unscheduled downtime one afternoon, I hiked alone on the sprawling property and wandered up to the top of a hill where I perched on a wooden swing and did absolutely nothing for several minutes. My phone and computer were both left behind in my room charging for the next work session. I had a brief moment where I almost got up and started walking again, just to do something. Then I realized the absurdity of that, and remained still.

I bookmarked this article--Why We Humblebrag About Being Busy--from the Harvard Business Review earlier in the summer and have since re-read it several times.

I am no stranger to the busy-trap. I'm a yes-woman. A classic over-achiever, people-pleaser, type-A, slightly neurotic perfectionist. But the thing with all of this is I know I'm doing it to myself. We all are. It's a choice, every single bit of it. And at the end of every busy, still-not-quite-caught-up day, I hear myself internally asking "why?"

**

I know that leaving the city is key for me (us). I've felt that stirring for a while now, and keep shushing it silent under the guise of timing. "We're not pregnant yet." "My photo clientele is all based here." "The teaching year is September-June, so we can only relocate in the summer."

Excuses. I recognize that, but still feel tethered. As another birthday approaches in less than two weeks, and another school year kicks off, and another photography season revs up, I'm quietly gathering the will and resolve to employ full trust in our plan for the near future: the one where we bid farewell to New York and the craziness and our increasing lack of free time and start fresh somewhere else.

Somewhere with mountains or waves and houses with wrap-around porches and big grassy yards in a town we can actually afford. Somewhere we can put down roots, purchase a home, grow a family, build a life where happy trumps busy.

The thing is this: I'll always be a planner. I'll always want to do it all and do it well. But now, more than ever, I just want to feel well again. And to do that, I know it's time to forget the plan and follow my heart.

[Photo: August 2014 // Sunset over Cape Cod Bay]

14 August 2014

Salt + Air


I greet you today while sitting at my desk, a little bit stuffed up and sniffly with a summer cold, sipping a hot cup of cranberry tea and catching up on loads of work after a week away to my most beloved place on earth, Cape Cod.

Shortly after waking each morning while on the Cape, I walked outside and immediately inhaled as deeply as I could to fill my lungs with salty air. The seemingly omnipresent restlessness I've felt in recent months subsided for the first time in a long, long while. I spent one entire afternoon lying in the hammock reading while the sun warmed my skin. A couple of different mornings found us practicing yoga. We walked the flats, watched the sunset and the moon rise over open water, ate seafood until our bellies popped, and squeezed in a wedding and abundant downtime with friends and family.

In Seven Gothic Tales, Isak Dinesen wrote "The cure for anything is salt water: tears, sweat or the sea."

At this moment, disputing the aforementioned proves futile.

05 August 2014

New Heights


Tuesday wisdom: never ask for your husband's opinion in the shoe store.

Reasoning? He will immediately fixate on the tallest, skinniest, most-out-of-your-comfort-zone stilettos on the shelf and convince you to take them home.

You only agree because,

1). They are comfortable--at least for the five minutes you traipse around the shop wearing them.

2). Why the hell not?

31 July 2014

July 2014 Self-Portrait: Perfectly Imperfect

Okay, okay. This one could be considered a cop-out. For starters, it's an iPhone portrait. I snapped it rather halfheartedly yesterday afternoon while lying on my bed after a full day behind my computer screen. The way my hair fell made me think of mermaids; specifically, how mermaid hair is always voluminous and billowy. On a good day, my hair cooperates.

This isn't really about my hair.

I recently re-read this post from two years ago and caught myself nodding along to my own words. Sometimes I fantasize about giving up the internet completely. I also fantasize about using the internet to just lay it all out on here, no holds barred. Wouldn't that be freeing? I have so much respect for individuals who let their freak flag fly on social media. Rock on.

I want to spill my guts, too. I've felt braver lately, and am thinking about just diving in and going for it. Owning it. Letting myself write the way I know I can write.

It's easy to feel all of the feelings when you allow yourself an hour to lie back on your bed in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon and stare at the ceiling.

Right now, it's noon on Thursday and my hair absolutely does not look like that. I need to brush my teeth, answer emails, edit three sessions, order wedding and baby gifts for friends, and do another couple loads of laundry (your guess is as good as mine as to how two reasonably clean adults acquire such a huge dirty clothes pile. I mean, seriously.).

I also know that I need to switch off the internet for the rest of the day to successfully accomplish all of this, so sayonara for now!

29 July 2014

Born & New (In Black & White)






This particular newborn session resulted in 100+ final images delivered to the client, but I can't stop coming back to this handful.

I photograph a lot of newborns and my favorite way to document them is exactly like this: simply and naturally. I offer posing direction if necessary, but most of the time, stepping back to observe new parents interacting with their baby is more than enough.

Sometimes there's poop and peeling skin and exhaustion, but amidst that, there's also tiny toes and raspberry belly kisses and tenderness.

It is always a privilege to capture that.

28 July 2014

Snapshots // Birthday Festivities



Today is my little sister's 25th birthday. We celebrated over the weekend and had a lot of fun in the process.

Highlights:

-Catching up with a dear family friend over dinner whom we hadn't seen in over 10 years.

-Cavorting from Manhattan to Dumbo across the Brooklyn Bridge .

-Lounging in Brooklyn Bridge Park (we had planned on kayaking, but the wait was an hour and we were hungry. Next time).

-Strolling the promenade and eating lunch in Brooklyn Heights (one of the city's most idyllic & charming neighborhoods, in my opinion. Emma and I are hatching grand plans for a future yoga/photography studio space).

-Sipping sparkling wine and taking in the breath-taking sunset skyline views aboard a Schooner sailboat.

-Sleeping in on Sunday and waking up to a delicious brunch prepared by my lovely mama who came to the city for the weekend's festivities.


To my beautiful, talented, kind, brilliant, hilarious, weird & amazing Emma: you are tremendous, and I love you SO MUCH. The world is a better place because you are alive.

[Photos: July 2014 // iPhone 5
As always, follow along on instagram.]

23 July 2014

An Afternoon At The MET

This past Friday afternoon, Emma and I had a sister date at the MET. After meeting, we wandered through the Sackler wing to check out the Temple of Dendur and Charles Engelhard Court. Both rooms are super light-filled and so pretty (here's a peek on instagram).

Next, we rode the elevator up to the 5th floor to see the roof garden and grab a drink.


Admittedly, it was hot and crowded up there, so after taking in the views, we opted to forgo the café and retreat back inside the museum where we detoured over to the Modern wing (my favorite). I love how the bright, bold colors in the contemporary paintings pop against the white walls and blonde wood floors.




Emma just happened to coordinate perfectly with the art!



After working up our appetites in the museum, we strolled down the Upper East Side before settling in for a yummy Italian lunch at Bella Blu.

As always, thanks for the fun afternoon, sistah bean.

P.S. An afternoon at the Louvre. I find it fascinating how much this post visually contrasts with that one. The Louvre is so fancy and ornate and...French.

18 July 2014

All In The Details





I don't really photograph food that often anymore, and truthfully, I generally don't enjoy doing so as much as I like photographing people. But, give me a room packed to the brim with impeccably styled displays of colorful food & flowers, and I will gladly walk around for hours taking pictures of lobster, cheese and macarons.

That's what I did last Saturday night, and let me tell you, it was a lot of fun. I photographed the people in attendance at the party too, but the details of the event stole the show this time. (I can attest that it was all delicious. I obviously sampled everything).

Not pictured here, but worthy of a mention: dark chocolate-covered strawberries, trays upon trays of every hors d'oeuvres imaginable, a giant glass caviar station, Italian meatballs, and an orange Hermés cake.

15 July 2014

A Walk In The Park




Here's one very important item I forgot to include on my summer bucket list: plenty of downtime in Central Park. Without a doubt, I consider it one of New York City's greatest treasures--time there is never wasted. During the summer months, the vibrancy of green in every direction (as evidenced above) is enough to make you forget you're in the middle of the city.

I am currently reading Sister Mother Husband Dog: Etc., a book of essays by Delia Ephron (Nora's sister). The way she writes about New York City causes me to frantically search for a pen so I can transcribe my favorite little bits, like this:

"If New York is for you, nothing else will do. The beauty, the excitement, the friction, the thrill of mystery...mostly, however, loving New York is personal: the  validation of identity. New Yorkers are born all over the country and then they come to the city and it strikes them, 'Oh, this is who I am."

This is true for me, having come here for college ten years ago (ten years!) with nothing more than a few plastic bins and the beautiful naiveté of being eighteen and out on your own for the first time.

P.S. More bubbles!

[Photos: May - July 2014 // Central Park, NYC]