Helloooo Ladies and Fancy Pants,

How are you? How are the kids? It’s me, Mak, writer of this here blog, back from an unannounced and no-need-to-be-explained break. I hope your summer was great and that you’re looking forward to what the fall has to offer. Mine was pretty good and actually warrants a few blog posts…which will be delivered soon.

Since today is the first day back to school for many, I thought I’d get back in the swing of things over here. So, this is Hello and Nice to See you Again and Maybe, You Should Bring the Kids Over Sometime for a Playdate.

Okay, we’re good?

(I’m hoping you didn’t notice that this post didn’t have any pictures. But you know, between friends, heartfelt conversations don’t  always need visual aids, right?)


Friday Morning Tunes

Music starts at 0:40.

A little lunchtime reading

To the Tumblr! – Underground New York Public Library

It started as a joke. Any time a friend would ask a question none of us knew the answer to, we would yell “To the Google!” It  sort of stuck and can now be used for any other platform. Need homemade/handmade goods? To the Etsy! Need a virtual pep talk? To the TED! Need some visual inspiration? To the Tumblr!

28-year old Street Photographer Ourit Ben-Haim has been taking pictures of New York City subway riders since 2007. However, her site didn’t come together until 2011. Her photos capture what every day people are reading, some of them very surprising or entertaining. Along with photos, she provides links for where to rent or buy the books. The photos are also posted on the UNYPL’s Facebook Page, allowing people to have conversations about the books and to get excited about reading or discovering new books.

The Underground New York Public Library is definitely one Tumblr to check out for inspiration!

Photo: Screenshot of  UNYPL

TED Talk of the week: Dare to Disagree by Margaret Heffernan

I’m always impressed when someone can persuasively make their point and capture an audience’s attention sans slides. This is one of my favorite TED talks of all time, because it forces me to do something I’m not inclined to do: Disagree. Embrace Conflict. Risk sounding stupid.

One requirement Margaret mentions is right: Seeking people who are different than you and finding ways to work together requires patience and a willingness to be wrong, and beyond that, to change our mind. Most of us find issue with being wrong. However, more important than being potentially wrong is the fact that disagreeing has to do with caring.

It’s easy to go along with the status quo. It takes a high level of caring to disagree, not only for the sake of disagreeing, but  constructively disagreeing to find stronger solutions to problems.

That Is So Unlike Me: Joining the Women’s Rugby Team

I’m a pacifist at heart. That’s why I joined the women’s rugby team my first week of college.

No, but seriously.

On a scale of 1 to Aggressive, I’m at around -17. As a kid, I used to either burst into tears whenever conflict arose or I’d be the one hiding in a corner, with both hands covering my ears. I was more likely to join the Peace/Social Justice club throughout my school days than any contact sports team. I was part of the Peer Conflict Resolution group in high school. If two friends were fighting, I was the one to sit them down and have them talk things through till they were patched. I’d say “Unity” is one of  my favorite words in the dictionary.  Yet, during the first week in college, I walked by the Student Activities table and was handed a small pink flyer. Not wanting to offend, I took it from the overly enthusiastic girl in gym shorts. She asked if I had ever played rugby. I shook my head no, but she reassured me that newcomers were welcome and that it was easy to pick up.

I must have been feeling pretty bold. It was college after all. New beginnings, new me. I signed my name, gave my e-mail address and told her I’d be looking forward to hearing from them. It felt good. Like I just signed up for an epic journey. Plus, it was a great story to tell my new dorm-mates and friends. Guess what, I just signed up for the Women’s Rugby Team! Killer, right?

The meeting date finally came. They picked us up in front of our dorm and took us to their training field, which seemed like an hour away. I stood shoulder to shoulder with other freshmen girls, many whom were tinier than I was. Was this real? The team captain started to coach us. We were instructed on how to catch and hold on to the ball, how to tackle people and how to fall without breaking our ribs.

Breaking ribs? Really? It was at this point that they passed out the mouth guards. So that, you know, we can protect our teeth. Wait, this is getting real now.

It was at this point that some of the veterans came to check out the rookies. A few of them were on crutches. Huh? I didn’t have time to wonder why they were hobbling around. Someone had taken me down. Someone half my size. It actually…felt great.

I was in pain when I stumbled into my dorm room that evening, but I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to tell anyone who would listen that there is a proper way to fall without risking grave injury.

Anyone who knew me could tell me, mostly non-verbally through quick smiles and head shakes: That is so unlike you! The Pacifist Turned Contact Sport Player. The most exciting part of the whole thing resided in that one word: Turned. I like stories of Turnover, of “label peeling” and “stereotype-defying”.

Despite my excitement, this Turnover story was only a partial one. I only lasted a day in the Women’s Rugby Team. Looking at the mouth guard that night, remember the crutches and realizing that I’d have to wake up way before the sun to practice, I declined from going further.

Yet, that love of Turnover stories hasn’t left me. I look forward to living out more Turnover stories, more than partial, hopefully, this time around.

Photo courtesy of  TheBIGlife

I Have To Come Clean.

I have to come clean. I threw out “Grapes of Wrath”. No, not literally. I had to take it out the reading list. Along with it, I was reading Job this summer. Coupled with some family stuff, and “Grapes of Wrath” was just not happening this summer. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get past reading about red dust.

But, it did allow me to think more deeply about what I want to get out of this reading project. It made me go back to my favorite type of story: Coming-of-age stories. The Twenties are such a place of change and transition. I’m not sure if that’s reason that I find myself gravitating to those type of stories on the wide screen, but there’s something about walking with characters from Confusion, Stress, Conflict to a (relative) state of stability and growth that seems meaningful. So, I’m working on my reading list to reflect just that.

More to come.

Friday Morning Tunes

We’re back with some tunes for you to get ready this Friday Morning.

How to describe Tinashe’s music? Is it Afro-fusion? Acoustic? Pop? It’s a feel-good mix of sounds that will have you hitting ‘replay’…’rewind’…’replay’. Originally from Zimbabwe, he’s currently based in London where he writes, sings and produces.

For more, check out his official page here.

Happy Friday Morning!

Adventure Recap (and choosing more adventures)

the Strand Bookstore in the Village – a bookworm’s dream come true 🙂

I was in New York City  with a few friends, last week, exploring as much as we could. From Chinatown to the Village, from Brooklyn to the Lower East Side, we tried to fit as much as possible in 3 days. Because we were trying to cram as much as we could in 3 days, there were times when I was just physically exhausted and didn’t want to keep going. Yet, their enthusiasm and the prospect of a good time and experience kept me going…and going…and going.

Here were some of my goals for the weekend:

  • See the Brooklyn Bridge
  • Eat good food (include plantains if possible)
  • Go to a modern art museum and see an exhibition that makes the hair on the back of my head stand up
  • Go to a spoken word/music event

We ended up doing it all and more, and meeting a few people along the way.

The day I got back from my trip, I read the post on Joel Runyon’s Blog of Impossible Things on how to make better choices. His main point was to say yes more often, yes to impromptu adventures and yes to seeking out more impromptu adventures. For a highly impulsive person like me, it’s easy to see it as, “don’t plan, just do”. However, as I read more closely, I realized what he was saying was more along the lines of “Plan…then leave room for adventure”.

Now, that my trip is over, I’m trying to see how this would work in my daily life. How do I take more adventures? How do I make more space to recognize and to say yes to the better choice, the better story, the impromptu adventure?

We Love it: Creative Mornings

I love Jessica Hische‘s Creative Mornings talk! Even though the central point of her talk was about the importance of designers learning the tech aspects of design, her enthusiasm for learning is infectious!

The talk is about 50 minutes, but most of the non-designer, general stuff is in the first 10 minutes, curse words included 😉

Memorable Quotes

  • “As soon as it’s mandatory, it stops being something you want to do for a living.”
  • “You are your cheapest labor. You learn the tools to make the things that you want to make.”
  • “If you have a thing that you want to do, don’t say ‘I guess I can’t do it’ because it’ll take 3 weeks to learn what you need to learn to do what you want to do.”
  • “The desire to learn should be the only thing you should have picked up in college.”
  • “It’s liberating to be able to make anything you want to make”

Creative Mornings is a monthly breakfast gathering of creatives. Originated in New York City by the renowned designer, Tina Roth Eisenberg, it has spread to various cities around the world.