I’ll Be Seeing You

This afternoon, I came across the coolest cards:В San Francisco print maker Niki Baker illustrates song lyrics, carves them onto rubber stamps and emblazons them onto paper.

I love the cards depicting Cat PowerPhil Phillip*’s “Sea of Love”В and The Velvet Underground’s “I’ll Be Your Mirror.”В (It doesn’t hurt that I’m big fans of both of those songs!)

But my favorite design is of Billie Holiday’s “I’ll Be Seeing You.” The outside of the card says, “I’ll be looking at the moon” and the inside says, “but I’ll be seeing you.” SoВ forlornВ and sweet!

i'll be looking at the moon

P.S.

(Image via Foreign Spell’s Etsy shop; found via Scoutmob)

So Ready for a Ballet Weekend!

Happy Friday! I won’t be having a relaxing weekend, but I’m excited for it, nonetheless. I’ll be performing in three shows at Ailey, as part of a showcaseВ that features small companies and Ailey’s adult students. (My awesome ballet teacher, Kat Wildish, produces it.)

As someone who never had–or will have–a professional dance career, I love having the opportunity to perform. Until a few months ago, I hadn’t been onstage in eight years, since college. I’d forgotten how much fun it is! Plus, it’s nice to put all my classes to use.

We’ll be performing the waltz from “Les Sylphides.” Here’s ABT’s 1973 version:

What are you up to this weekend?

Out My Window

I feel like New Yorkers can’t help but be voyeurs.

No matter where you are in the city, you always have the opportunity to peek into other peoples’ lives. At work, I can wave to office workers in other buildings and look longingly uponВ outdoor roofdeck terraces. While walking, I can peep enviously into stately brownstones or check out the decor in glassy, ultra-modern apartments. A few times at ballet, I’ve been momentarily distracted (or almost knocked off balance) from catching a glimpse of someone’s TV in an apartment across the way.

And I wonder if my neighbors across the way know my habits–like coming home late most nights, eating dinner on my living room floor, then spending an hour or so on my laptop. (Although close proximity can be a good thing. I once locked myself in my bathroom and had to scream out my window until a very nice woman in another building heard, spoke to me from her window and got my super to rescue me.)

So I love the concept of the gorgeous book,В “Out My Window.”В PhotographerВ Gail Albert Halaban shot New Yorkers through various windows around the city. It’s a beautiful collection of what we New Yorkers do every day. As Halaban so nicely describes it on her blog:

I have found that many New Yorkers spend much of their window gazing time looking into their neighbor’s apartments. Through this voyeurism, form a sense of community. We are never alone here in New York.

out my window

out my window

out my window

out my window

Are you also guilty of peering into your neighbors’ windows?

(Photos via Out My Window)

Learning a Second Language

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The other day, I referenced my upcoming Guatemala tripВ in an email and wrote: “If only I could increase my Spanish knowledge at least twenty-fold before then!”

Sure, the purpose of my trip is to learn the language. (Like I’ve mentioned, I’m tired ofВ bumbling through Latin America with broken Spanish–not to mention NYC, where every other person speaks Spanish.) But I feel I’ll get more from the experience if I arrive with a decent grasp of grammar and vocabulary. And so, over the past few months, I’ve tried to absorb as much Spanish as I can. Here’s how I’ve squeezed it in:

I’m taking a Spanish class. I purchased a LivingSocial deal for Rennert International, a foreign language school near my office. I’ll have attended eight sessions by the time I depart. I’ve never taken a small group class before, so I don’t have a point of reference for how good or bad it is. I’ll admit that I don’t love making up dialogues, which we frequently do; I’d rather be conversing about my real life. And there are times when I wish the class would move a little faster. But my instructor, Rolando, has taught me some nitty-gritty grammatical nuances that I may not have picked up on my own. (Like when to use “traer” and when to use “llevar.”)

I joined two Spanish Meetups and attended two events. The first was a happy hour–which I highly recommend to anyone learning a language. I spent several hours at a bar speaking nothing but Spanish with native speakers and other newbies. Even though my Spanish was worse than anyone else’s, every person I spoke to was very patient in explaining words I didn’t understand (in Spanish, which I appreciated) and correcting my mistakes. I understood a lot more than I could respond to, but I left with a better grasp of some basic phrases and concepts. Mal and I also caught part of an Argentinean film, “Anita,” at another Meetup. Everyone I know, who speaks a second language, said they learned a lot from watching TV and movies. In general, I don’t often do either, but Mal and I are thinking of having Spanish movie nights when I get back. (So she can improve and I won’t lose everything I learn!)

I listen to a podcast during my morning commute. Mal recommended “Coffee Break Spanish” before our trip to Bolivia. It’s a free podcast, available through iTunes, and it’s fantastic–probably the most useful resource I’ve come across. Like the name implies, the episodes are short and entertaining. Mark and Kara, the hosts, cover various topics–from asking directions to going camping–so well, that you come away from each episode feeling like you can converse about them. (They also break down grammatical points so they’re easy to understand.) I’ve actually learned most of my vocabulary from it.

While I know I’m making progress, I’m also aware of how much more I have to learn. When I hear people speaking Spanish on the subway or in stores, I understand a few words, but usually can’t follow exactly what they’re saying.

I’m not expecting to come back from Guatemala proficient or even conversant. But I’m sure I’ll know way more than I do now…which is more than I knew a few months ago. It’s slow going! But I suppose that’s the only way to learn a language when you can’t be fully immersed in it for several months: a little at a time.

Do you speak another language (or two or three)? How did you learn it?

(Photo via Pinterest)

Travelers in Transit

The travel photos that you tend to show off usually feature the highlights of a trip–I know mine are usually of me standing on the summit of a mountain, a gorgeous vista I drove hours to see, an amazing meal before anyone’s taken a bite. But the time I spent in a car/train/plane to reach that place? I could probably count those photos on two hands.

In her gorgeous series, “Transit,” German photographer Katrin KoenningВ captures those quiet moments before travelers reach their destinations–those times where they’re sleeping upright in airplane seats, dozing in cars, spacing out through subway windows.

According to Koenning:

Transit documents people on journeys. While travelling, you hear laughter and bits of stories in amongst the monotonous sighing of the train or the mourning sound of an aching ship. Mostly, you hear silence. By fate, destiny or chance, strangers are thrown together for a short while, forced to share an intimate space. There is a quiet comfort in sitting back and watching the world fly by.

Here are some of my favorite photos from the series:

(Photos by Katrin Koenning; found via My Modern Met)

So Ready for the Weekend (The Countdown Is Over!)

Happy Friday! I’m so glad it’s the weekend–this week has seemed especially long, for some reason.

I’ll admit, when I need a quick energy or motivation boost at work, I’ll put on Beyonce’s “Countdown.” The rhythm is so infectious! And yeah, there are times when I’m listening and thinking of my own countdown until the weekend. So I was thrilled to discover this amazing video via Shoko’s blog. A super-talented 16-year-old donned a Snuggie and filmed a shot-by-shot remake of Beyonce’s video. Watch them side-by-side below. The kid certainly has attitude–and some serious skills!

What are you up to this weekend? I’m watching a roof-top Spanish movie with my sister tonight (only two weeks until I depart for Guatemala–I need to soak up as much of the language as I can!) and going to ballet. (I’m actually performing in a show next weekend and have had rehearsals all month!)

Have a good one!

(Thanks to Shoko for first posting the video!)

Umbrellas in the Sky

Yesterday, as I was about to venture out into a soggy NYC evening–sans umbrella, of course–an art exhibit I’d seen photos of popped into my head.

In ГЃgueda, Portugal, rows of colorful umbrellas hang over a walkway creating a whimsical, rainbow canopy. The installation is part of the AgitaguedaВ art festival. I wish I could take a stroll beneath it (on a sunny day, of course)!

colorful umbrellas

colorful umbrellas

colorful umbrellas

colorful umbrellas

(Photos by Patricia Almeida via This Is Colossal)