Hi Wendy!

If you haven’t seen this, you need to check it out. Sometimes, there’s nothing better than some functional, wacky modern art. This beast not only helps to neutralize pollution, houses a DJ booth, and spritzes overheated concert guests, but it looks AWESOME.

http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/news/artnetnews/pollution-fighting-sculpture-moma-ps1.asp

I’m also pleased that this is a student project…it’s great when older institutions invite wild, large-scale innovation and support imaginative youth.

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Notable, Neon, No Fakers…

Last week, a group of NYU bluestockings (and a solitary gent) climbed into the Nylon brain for a sassy and straightforward Q&A with some of the magazine’s editors and directors. Surrounded by several of America’s most notable faces in print (and by some of the most creative in person), the group of us squished into a tiny conference room, awaiting the secrets hidden behind those pristine white walls.

Nylon’s ability to mix an even cocktail of smart, underground, and culturally relevant content to a youth audience makes the magazine a stand-out among competitors, and its willingness to shape shift in small ways (without jeopardizing the brand) leaves room for the unexpected while giving readers the information they’re dying to know. Nylon is all about a lot of things, but it’s not about the sex. You know, it’s just about cool people doing cool things, which is great.

Nylon doesn’t simply garner content from other media. The real secret is getting out there, going to music festivals, exploring street and runway trends, and doing it yourself. Recycling information that someone else has already covered isn’t going to make an innovative magazine, and when you find that new band or trend, you could be the one to have it first.  Less safe, more fun. The idea behind Nylon is to be “aspirational but not untouchable,” as the magazine features what you know, what you don’t know, and what you should know.

So what did the creative chemists behind the Nylon girl (and guy) have to say about breaking into the publishing industry and preserving your voice while creating editorial pieces? Deputy Editor Ellen Carpenter recommends trying to write in different voices for fun, noting especially to “always read what you write out loud – it should have a melody to it.” Executive Editor Luke Crisell quickly added “That’s your arsenal, your words. When you’re reading, write down five words you didn’t know.” To a writer developing his or her lexicon, this advice is crucial, and while there’s definitely a common thread in the Nylon voice, the collage of different writing styles, visual structure, and content truly makes this magazine a relevant staple to savor or devour.

Thanks again to Nylon for giving us the grand tour!

A Little Green in the New York Machine

One of my biggest concerns about living in New York was being far from my garden (yes, I know), missing fresh air (yep), and not finding any way to connect with nature (my Connecticut is showing). As far as I can tell, everyone around here seeks that spot of green, but there’s a high likelihood of those spaces already being occupied by screaming kids, hobos, canoodlers, and Shih Tzus with Velcro sneakers (I can’t believe people do this), and these spaces won’t necessarily accommodate your ideal picnic or Frisbee toss.

So, while you might not be able to find that huge rolling landscape to lounge on, there are a few creative ways to wind some green into the New York machine.

Free Concerts in the Park:  While you may not be totally alone here trying to tap into your transcendental side, these shows provide some great opportunities to unwind with friends, get some Vitamin D, and let some music amplify your outdoor experience.

http://www.nycgovparks.org/events/free_summer_concerts

http://madisonsquarepark.org/things-to-do/calendar?y=2012&m=jun

Bond with Your Local Produce: If you’ve ever grown your own vegetables, you know what the good stuff looks and smells like. I want to gag every time I grab a bunch of tomatoes from a supermarket and they reek of chemicals and plastic wrap. As a great alternative, the Union Square Greenmarket aims to please, bringing real mom and pop veggies to your table. Your purchase supports local agriculture, the food is great, and you get to experience foods based on season (perhaps some you’ve never tried). While the market itself is busy, you can bring the wonderful great outdoors home to your own space. There are many other fresh markets, so check one out in your area!

Explore a Museum: At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I had the pleasure of checking out Tomás Saraceno’s Cloud City. It was a gorgeous day on the roof garden, and the inside of that structure is the wildest, most disorienting adult funhouse I’ve ever experienced. Outside? Check. Having Fun? Check. Getting a beautiful vision of the city from the inside of a sculpture? Check. The best part is that only a few people are allowed up at a time, so you don’t feel rushed, and the experience feels very individual. If you’re feeling a bit less enthusiastic about those heights, there’s no harm in daydreaming to some Monet inside.

Happy adventuring!

Anatomy of a Shopping Bag (Concealer of Sins)

As a low-maintenance, earthy kind of gal making a transition to city living, I wasn’t surprised to see designer shopping bags in the arms of many women in my area. Zara, Burberry, Michael Kors, Cole Haan…what struck me a few days in was seeing women piled high with shopping bags at Image7:30am on the train. Seriously ladies…the sun is barely up on a weekday and you’re already shopping?

Aside from my normal obsessions of music, books, and good dark chocolate, my girly (and best-kept indulgence) is my shoe collection. After prancing to and from the subway in heels my first week here, I was transformed into a limping, deformed, sad shade of my previous self. In shame, I winced all the way home, no market or roast beef involved, vowing never to let anything come between me and my converse ever again.

Apparently it wasn’t the expendable budgets of these mystery women I was looking at, but their street smarts and drive to stay fashionable (my lack of vision first thing in the morning definitely led me astray). I’d always wondered how these women made appearances in great shoes without needing an ice bath or a thousand band-aids. I present to you the attractive upscale shopping bag, stylish (and work-appropriate) vessel of homemade food, art projects, hair supplies, secrets, and best of all, flats. Here I was thinking that the New York woman was a well-dressed, impatient, stiletto-wielding and totally unimpressed figure. Well, maybe she is…but I underestimated her resourcefulness, creativeness, and her ability to show me the ropes without saying a word.

Scribbling at the Height of Folly

A very quirky (very brilliant) man once said, “To take my work seriously would be the height of folly.”

The bother of being serious in that mind-hand-pen-paper dynamic rattles even the most proficient writer to the point of causing doubt. In my opinion, every folly simply needs a good edit.

Rely on your instinct.

The little impressions in my daily commute on the 6 train, the moments that imprint themselves while  I’m recharging or unwinding…these are the things that leave me rooting around in the dark abyss of my purse for a pen and the back of a receipt. You have to grab them before they dissolve completely. If you don’t keep them, they were never present.

If I were truly serious, I would probably carry a notebook.

In the spirit of my folly, a pen and some luck are good enough.