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A Great Quote to Describe Traveling (and Life, in General)

Back in April, I posted about Obvious State, an Etsy shop, run by writer/illustrator Evan Robertson,В that sells gorgeous illustrations of classic literature quotations. It’s been a while since I’d visited the site, but the other day, My Modern Met ran a post showcasing several prints. This one stuck in my mind:

Original Illustration, Charles Dickens quotation

I thought that was such a great way to describe travel. I’ve definitely found that no matter how bad a situation I’ve been in, I’ve never looked back on a trip—or a place—and decided that it was just worthless. In fact, overall, I have nothing but positive memories about pretty much everywhere I’ve been. And so many of my trips were far from perfect: I’ve gotten seasick (or just sick, in general) in more places than I can count, feared for my safety on several occasions (like the time I thought we were being kidnapped in Costa Rica…or when we visited Nicaragua’s Corn Islands during a spate of violent attacks on tourists), nearly froze to death on a few occasions (in the Bolivian desert…and in freakishly cold weather in Hawaii!). And so on.

But it’s those stressful/annoying/uncomfortable situations that make the best stories once you’re back home. They’re often the ones that define a place for you. They’re also usually the ones where you can look back and laugh at how ridiculous you were—and how you’re so much smarter now. 😉 (And yes, I know, I’m lucky that nothing really bad has ever happened to me while traveling.)

Robertson, himself, was thinking of his own travels when he designed the print. Here’s how he describes it:

A traveler fades to black, leaving behind winding paths of cobblestones in the street. Inspired by one of my favorite places to visit and to leave and to revisit in Paris.

And, on a deeper level (cue the dramatic music), that Dickens quote applies to life, in general, as well. I’ve found that once you truly let something go and leave it behind, then you can start to forgive and move on. And that’s definitely something to remember!

(The quotation, by the way, is from the Dickens novel Little Dorrit. I hadn’t heard of it before!)

(Image via Obvious State)

Shadow Monsters

shadow monsters

I hadn’t been to MOMAВ in years, but on Saturday, I spent an afternoon making up for lost time. While exploring the museum from top to bottom, I came across lots of cool or iconic works—including an original version of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”. But one that I found especially awesome was an interactive installation in the second floor atrium.

The concept behind Philip Worthington’s “Shadow Monsters” is delightfully simple: Bring shadow puppets to life. Museum-goers stand in front of a light box that projects their shadows onto two walls. While they move around, crazy hair-dos appear on their heads, hands become roaring dinosaurs and birds chirp and land on outstretched arms. You can’t help but grin when you see your shadow take on a life of its own!

shadow monsters

shadow monsters

The photos definitely don’t do it justice, but if you happen to be at the museum in the next few weeks, check it out. The installation runs through December 31.

(Top image via MOMA)

Off to Boston!

trnsprtnation boston

Tomorrow morning, I’m off to to Boston for a super-quick trip. I’ll be in the city for less than 24 hours, but that leaves me enough time to catch up with some of my old newspaper pals and see my favorite dance buddy’s winter performance. (Yay, Jackie!) Then, on Sunday, I’m headed down to Connecticut for a second Thanksgiving with my dad.

When I was living in Boston, the T was the bane of my existence. I was on the green line and hated how there was a station nearly every block—and the trolley had to stop at traffic lights, too. I used to joke that the C line was what drove me back to NYC. But I love TRNSPRTNATION’S typographic illustration of the T system. Each line is comprised of the names of every stop along it, in their respective places.

trnsprtnation boston

Of course, the New Yorker in me was happy to see they have a NYC version, too—as well as London, Chicago and a few other cities.

(Images via TRNSPRTNATION)

A Ballet Dancer’s Feet

Speaking of ballet, how striking is this photo?

I came across it in this week’s NY Magazine and immediately had to stop and read the related item.

The image is part of Ballet, a new book and exhibit by photographer Henry Leutwyler. He spent last winter with New York City Ballet, capturing intimate moments with the dancers, both on and off-stage.

Here’s what Leutwyler says about the photo:

If I had to title the picture, I would call itВ Reality and Dreams.В The footВ en pointeВ is what every little girl dreams of. The other is the hard, hard work, and the reality.

So true—and I love how this simple shot depicts that perfectly. I only started pointe recently, as an adult, and was shocked at how difficult and scary it is—and I have pretty decent technique! The fact that professional dancers work through that pain and fear and make every move look effortless, weightless and graceful is truly amazing. When you’re watching a performance, it’s easy to forget all they went through to achieve that ability.

More of Leutwyler’s gorgeousВ Ballet photos are on NYMag.com and the Foley Gallery’s site; his exhibit runs through January 6. (I’m definitely going to check it out!)

Have you studied pointe, as well? What was your experience like?

(Photo by Henry Leutwyler via NYMag)

A Gorgeous NYC Calendar (That Benefits Sandy Relief)

A NEW YORK CALENDAR TO RAISE FUNDS FOR SANDY RELIEF

It’s no secret how much I love my hometown. So I was thrilled when I came across this gorgeous 2013 calendar of NYC images, by Jenna Park, a Brooklyn-based designer. The photos are just breathtaking. I love their dreamy feel and how they represent a variety of local places.

In a very nice gesture, 30% of proceeds of calendars purchased this month will go to NYC organizations that are aiding Hurricane Sandy victims. Now that’s definitely a reason to feel good about buying one now—especially since parts of the city are still struggling with the aftermath.

And while I’m on the topic of Sandy: Tragically, a friend of our family was one of the hurricane’s victims. Jeffrey Chanin was a retired NYPD sergeant who was killed when a tree fell through his house the night of the storm. He leaves behind a wife and four children. If you’re interested in making a donation to the family, it can be sent to The Chanin Family Fund, P.O. Box 739, PearlВ River, NY 10965.

(Image via Sweet Find Day, found via A Cup of Jo)

Beijing NYC

beijing nyc

I recently stumbled across a blog post whose intriguing photos caught my eye. They were the work of John Clang, a Chinese artist from Singapore who splits his time between there and NYC. In his project “Beijing NYC,”В Clang took photos of ordinary Beijing citizens, printed and cut them out, then taped the tiny figures onto different locations around NYC. The juxtapositions are striking.

According to Clang:

For me, the actual Chinese citizens being used [in the photographs] demonstrate a dream yet to be fulfilled.

As the granddaughter of Chinese immigrants who came to NYC many years ago, I think that’s what drew me to these photos and made them feel so poignant. Plus, there’s something both wistful and whimsical about them that really depict feeling like a stranger in a new place.

beijing nyc

beijing nyc

beijing nyc

(Photos by John Clang via Open City)

A Special Discount on Illustrated Music Cards

Back in August, I posted about Foreign Spell, an Etsy card shop that I’m a big fan of. It’s run by San Francisco-based artist Niki Baker, who creates gorgeous rubber stamps to illustrate song lyrics—like this one, of Phil Phillip’s “Sea of Love.”

Now, in a very nice offer to my blog readers,В Foreign SpellВ is offering 10% off purchases with the codeВ GC0612!

If you’re the type who plans ahead, check out their holiday options—I especially love the designs for “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and “Mele Kalikimaka.” (The latter has a special place in my heart: Back in elementary school, my class performedВ the song in the annual Christmas pageant, with girls in leis and hula skirts and guys dressed up as palm trees. Gotta love Catholic school traditions!)

baby it's cold outside

mele kalikimaka

(Image via Foreign Spell’s Etsy shop; and thank you, Niki, for the offer!)