The Desire to Unplug

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Last week, I read an awesome, thought-provoking Outside piece by David Roberts. He’s a longtime Grist blogger, which means that he—like most of us—spends a crazy amount of time in front of a screen: blogging, tweeting, reading, etc. As he put it:

My mind was perpetually in the state that researcher and technology writer Linda Stone termed continuous partial attention. I was never completely where I was, never entirely doing what I was doing. I always had one eye on the virtual world. Every bit of conversation was a potential tweet, every sunset a potential Instagram.

For one year, though, he took an unpaid sabbatical from his job and just unplugged. No work e-mail, no social media, no daily news cycles. His journey from over-connected to disconnected is fascinating; read the whole thing here.

I’m quite envious of Roberts’ year off the grid. I estimate that I spend about 10-11 hours in front of a screen per day. (I work a full time digital job and, of course, post here, in my spare time.) I try to limit my screen time whenever possible—taking walks during lunch, reading paperbacks instead of ebooks while commuting—but it’s hard! I do love writing, blogging and seeing/reading other peoples’ works online. Plus, my livelihood requires it.

I can feel the effects of being so plugged in, though. My neck and shoulders are always stiff. I often feel dazed and slightly headachy when I step away from my computer, at the end of the day.

There’s no doubt in my mind that’s why I value ballet and traveling so much. Ballet is one of the few times in a day when I can completely unplug and be in the moment. It certainly helps that we dance to live music. And you really can’t dance if your mind is more on your to-do list than on ballet combinations.

It’s the same with travel. When I’m outside of NYC, I check my email as little as possible. I just enjoy the experience of being in a different place with its own sights, sounds and smells. Sure, I take photos and note down things I want to remember. (Or post on this blog.) But it’s just so liberating to be away from 11 hour days in front of a computer. I can actually feel myself relax and slow down during that time.

…as you can imagine, I am counting the days until my trip to Spain.

Do you often feel the need to unplug, too?

(Image via Pinterest)

How Three Australian Ballet Dancers Prep Their Pointe Shoes

Pointe shoe prep

The other day I watched this video that’s been making its way around social: how dancers from the Australian Ballet prepare their pointe shoes.

Maybe it’s because I’m one myself, but I’m always curious about other dancers’ pointe shoes. I wonder what brands they use, how they break them in, and any other rituals they have to make the shoes feel natural on their feet. It’s such a personal thing.

So I appreciated seeing what these three pros do. Take a look:

(As someone learning pointe as an adult, trying to make up for lost time, I don’t have too much of my own pointe shoe prep process, yet. I sew my ribbons and elastics a specific way—from the base of the shoe—stomp on the box, and water the sides the first wearing or two, for flexibility.)

Other dancers: How do you prep your pointe shoes? Or if you do another sport or activity, what’s your ritual?

2015 Travel the World Calendar

The other day, when I was browsing in Anthropologie, a calendar caught my eye. Later, upon leaving the store, Mal, who was with me, mentioned that she’d seen a calendar that seemed like something I’d post on this blog. How well she knows me (and my style)!

That calendar is by Rifle Paper Co., a Florida-based stationary and design brand, and it’s called “Travel the World.” Each month features a romantic, vintage-style illustration of an iconic place.

New York, London and Paris are, of course, among the cities. But I loved how more off-the-beaten path places were included, like Petra…

2015 TRAVEL THE WORLD | Rifle Paper Co.

…Havana…

2015 TRAVEL THE WORLD | Rifle Paper Co.

…and Bali.

2015 TRAVEL THE WORLD | Rifle Paper Co.

I’d love to have this in my work cube to brighten the space—and remind me of all the amazing places I’ve yet to visit.

(Images from “2015 Travel the World Calendar” by Rifle Paper Co.)

Someone You Love: A Feel-Good NYC Project

While we’re on the topic of delightful participatory art, I’m also smitten by the “Someone You Love” project.

Matt Adams, formerly the videographer for Improv Everywhere (remember this awesome conducting stunt?), recently asked New Yorkers to do three things: call, write to and kiss someone they love. He captured their reactions, which are priceless.

For “Call Someone You Love,” Adams taped quarters to a Brooklyn phone booth and put up a sign asking people to do just that.

Call Someone You Love

Call Someone You Love

Call Someone You Love

Call Someone You Love

For “Write Someone You Love,” he invited New Yorkers in Central Park to draw on postcards, which he then mailed.

Write Someone You Love

Write Someone You Love

Write Someone You Love

Write Someone You Love

Write Someone You Love

“Kiss Someone You Love” is my favorite. I wish I had been in McCarren Park the day Adams was there!

Kiss Someone You Love

Kiss Someone You Love

Kiss Someone You Love

Kiss Someone You Love

I’m all for public art that brings happiness to the streets of NYC and reminds people how lucky they are to have loved ones in their lives. Bravo!

(Images via Someone You Love; found via SwissMiss)

The RedBall Project

The RedBall Project makes me so freakin’ happy.

The concept is simple: A giant red, inflatable ball travels the world and is wedged into structures in different cities—much to the delight of those who stumble upon it.

It’s the creation of Brooklyn-based sculptor Kurt Perschke. The RedBall Project is meant to excite and inspire participation, as he describes it:

Through the magnetic, playful, and charismatic nature of the RedBall the work is able to access the imagination embedded in all of us…It opens a doorway to imagine what if? As RedBall travels around the world people approach me on the street with excited suggestions about where to put it in their city. In that moment the person is not a spectator but a participant in the act of imagination.

Cute, crazy, beautiful, whimsical and just so much fun. (Kinda like that giant, inflatable duck that’s also made its way around the world.)

RedBall is currently in Montreal…

Red Ball Project | Montreal

…and has already been to Galway

Red Ball Project | Galway

Rennes

Red Ball Project | Rennes

…and Abu Dhabi, among other locations.

Red Ball Project | Abu Dhabi

I’m hoping it makes a stop in NYC, sometime soon.

(Images via the RedBall Project; found via Travel + Leisure)

Have You Heard of Tuvalu?

I hadn’t until today, when I read this article in the Times, about Tuvalu being the owner of the internet’s .tv domain.

I was intrigued about this unknown country, especially when I saw this aerial shot:

Tuvalu, by Soichiro Yamamoto/Asahi Shimbun, via Associated Press

Um, can I go there now?

Tuvalu, as it turns out, is located in the South Pacific, halfway between Australia and Hawaii. It’s comprised of nine atolls (coral reef islands), and measures in around 10 square miles, which makes it one of the world’s smallest countries. It’s also sparsely populated, with just over 10,000 residents.

To me, the island seems a bit like paradise. The pace of life is slow, and most residents don’t pay rent. Instead, they live off the land, picking fruit and fishing to meet their needs.

And just look at it!

Tuvalu, via National Geographic

Here’s the tragic part, though: Tuvalu may not exist forever. The island is at serious risk of disappearing due to rising waters and climate change. Many inhabitants have already decamped to New Zealand.

Sadly, it looks like Tuvalu may be part of the list of places you should visit before they disappear. (And it’s another reminder of how we need to travel and act consciously to prevent the loss of more of these places.)

Tuvalu, via All That Is Interesting

(Top image by Soichiro Yamamoto/Asahi Shimbun, via Associated Press, via the NY Times; middle image via National Geographic; bottom image via All That Is Interesting)

NYC and Asia Mini Notebooks

I’ll admit that I rarely use notebooks or pens anymore, but these smartly designed mini notebooks charmed me.

MINI CITY NOTEBOOKS SET - NY & ASIA

I love the city street grid and Chrysler building on the NYC notebooks…

MINI CITY NOTEBOOKS SET - NY & ASIA

…and the lucky cats on the Tokyo ones!

MINI CITY NOTEBOOKS SET - NY & ASIA

There are also Seoul and Osaka notebooks; check them out here.

(Images via Poketo)