an urban lifestyle + travel blog by liz norment.

Category: LIFESTYLE

Freshen Up Your Walls for Fall | Brooklyn, I’m Trying.

in LIFESTYLE
As the temperature cools, we will inevitably be spending more time indoors. And in New York that often means more time in the tiny little expensive shoe boxes we call home. When you’re paying, on average, $72 per square foot in North Brooklyn, every inch counts.
Enter this new season with a fresh perspective. Your space often reflects and reinvigorates your mental, spiritual, and emotional energy so there’s no time or space to waste.
Let’s take a cue from Congress and start looking at what divides us rather than unites us; interiorly speaking, start with your walls.
Remove the photographs, artwork, and ephemera that was watching over you this summer… mostly because it knows too much and if your walls could talk, you definitely don’t want your new fall fling hearing murmurs of your summer lovers.
My key pieces this season include this bold and eye-catching map art from Modern Map Art. I love the use of positive and negative space, reminding me that so much good energy exists between these lines. The contrasting black and white composition plays well with softer pieces and lends itself to framed mantras and text, plus, inevitably, it kind of helps me with my shamefully non-existent sense of direction. Get one of your own city, or the city that occupies a big piece of your heart, and build upon it using my foolproof steps below.
Step 1: Set an intention for your decor. 
Just as in yoga, the best way to get what you want out of your practice is to be intentional. What are you looking forward to this fall? What are your hopes, goals, desires? No matter how concrete or realistic, have your walls reflect that intention. A gallery wall should be fluid, ever-changing and thought of as more of a vision board. Hoping to spend more time traveling? Gather postcards, maps, and hangable souvenirs from previous trips. Want to focus on your career this season? Frame empowering mantras, focus on solid, bold colors, and reflective surfaces that help place pieces of yourself among them. Mix pieces with different intentions to build the life and space you want this season. Mine features en evil eye from Istanbul to clear out bad spirits; an antler that my cousin collected from the woods in Virginia, where I’m from; a framed postcard from Sitges; a warrior arrow from Dobbin St. Co-Op for strength, a framed mantra from Sapho that reads May I write words more naked than flesh, stronger than bone, more resilient than sinew, sensitive than nerve; and a mirror, to see myself among these aspirational pieces and obviously to watch my back from fucking copycats.
Step 2: Create boundaries.
with a measuring tape, mark lines from the furthest corners and note the distance. this area should fill the space above your work surface comfortably, however “comfortably” feels to you. with these measurements, map it out on your floor. this is your space. sit in it for a minute, if you want to. no one can touch you in here.

 

Step 3: Arrange objects.
lay out your meticulously chosen items within the space. balance heavy and light, dark colors and whites, flats and frames, but only so no one side weighs too heavy as to clog your very volatile creative process. don’t be overly concerned with spacing, however don’t trap big pockets of blank space inside… or you and your thoughts might get sucked in, forever. (really, i’ve seen it happen)
Step 4: Trace yo space.
when you feel you are marginally satisfied with your arrangement (you will never be completely happy with it, but of course, nothing is permanent), take an overhead photo of it. then, trace each element one by one onto newspaper, marking where the nail will go (this part will save your life, trust me) cut out each shape and tape it onto the wall.
Step back, observe. 

 

step 5: nail it.
with your hammer, put a nail in each designated mark. hang object in its new and carefully curated home. tear off back paper and step back. and admire.
now sit down and create because you can no longer procrastinate. you have no more excuses. you have work to do.
<3L.

Profile of a Hustler | Vicken Donikian of Good Fishing

in CULTURE, LIFESTYLE
Vicken Donikian is someone who was born a hustler. In the 10 years that I’ve known him, I’ve seen him dedicate himself wholly and completely to amazing endeavors with a creative ferocity that you can’t help but get caught in his wake. Rather than casting his net wide, he dives deep and intentionally into projects; from years working with the Hill-side and Hickoree’s in Brooklyn to Towns & Cities, a hip-hop language learning app he created, launched, and co-writing and producing all the music for with colleague and friend Peter Muller, to stepping into his home and seeing his own larger-than-life paintings. He’s an artist and a creator who seems to never wait for permission to embrace new endeavors. He arrived in Brooklyn with this spirit and embraced it wholly during the 5 years that he lived here. I hadn’t seen Vicken since Barcelona, where we studied abroad together in 2008, and then I found myself one Sunday sitting two barstools down from him at El Born in Greenpoint. As it turned out, we’d been neighbors for two years and then there we were, sitting and sipping sangria together again, this time stateside. It was one of those weird moments of Brooklyn magic that bring people together despite its size and relative unlikeliness. It’s led us from Las Ramblas to Manhattan Avenue and finally to a bicoastal phone call where I would be introducing Good Fishing, Vicken and his best friend co-collaborator Samuel Bostick’s clothing brand.
After talking to him for over an hour, I found myself heedlessly lost in the tides of understanding what it means to start a new business, in the beauty of becoming completely and wholly enveloped in your passion project, and in trying to navigate the nuances of west coast slang (even with context clues I wasn’t hip enough to tell if ‘crackin’ was a good thing…) but despite my confusion, I gleaned the invaluable lesson from Vicken’s experience that when approaching something you don’t know, it’s best to start with what you do. With a 5 year background in merchandising and small business management at Hickoree’s in Brooklyn, Vicken has been able to plan, launch, and drive Good Fishing from ideation to creation. Despite its relatively new presence on the web, he and Sam understand what it takes to maintain and grow the brand for the past 5 years, starting with a steadfast knowledge of what they like out of clothing; it should be straightforward, simple, stylish; pieces that are useful and live longer than a season. Attractively simple is one of the brand slogans, and calls to mind the modern, unpretentious man. He’s the one you lock eyes with on the L train midday on a Wednesday because he’s beyond the 9 to 5. He’s the guy ordering another whiskey while on what you would imagine is either a business call or his mother on the other end of the line without batting an eye. He’s wearing contrasting solid colors and bold socks in such an aggressively casual way that you wonder why no one has ever done it like that before. He’s available yet unattainable but that doesn’t prevent you from getting willfully lost in a lustful daydream for the rest of your commute. Attractively simple; subtlety and tastefully dressed; unassuming yet deceptively seductive; and, perhaps, wearing Good Fishing.
Dive in below to my interview with Vicken Donikian of Good Fishing. Get inspired by this former Brooklynite’s vision of the hustle and trust me when I say there will be a little something waiting at the other end of your line. (ok, so it’s an exclusive promo code, just for you. but don’t just scroll, read.)
 vicken donikian of good fishing
Brooklyn, I’m Trying When was good fishing established?
Vicken Donikian We officially launched online at the end of June, but the concept for brand started 5 years ago in 2012. Sam and I started planning it and talking about ideas for products and projects. We picked the brand name in 2012 slowly working towards what it’s become today.

 

BiT What is the story behind its inception?
VD The brand name is a reference to the mentality and approach to fishing. You set up and cast a line, and see what you get. We also like to use the word “fishing” metaphorically; a concept that could apply to various situations in life. That opens up opportunities for each person to also make their own meaning out of it.
 
BiT Describe the brand.
VD The brand itself has a simple but fun character to it along with a youthful energy. The clothing is simple and wearable, not flashy but is meant to be worn and used and enjoyed. Inspiration for our products comes from things me and same like to wear or use. We try not to take it too seriously and to keep fun references or images in our work.

 

BiT What’s in your current collection?
VD Currently we make tshirts, soccer jerseys, caps, tote bags, small accessories, toys, art work, and collectibles. This is the first collection but we have planned to introduce one or two new categories of products every two months until we can build up to a full line of clothing. We’ve structured the brand with a collection of basics called Good Fishing Standards that are generally mainstays for the brand that we’ll make year round. On top of that standard collection, we will release themed capsule collections based on specific concept we come up with at the time which will be limited production.

 

BiT Tell me a little about this first capsule collection you have launched, Marquette Records.
VD The first capsule collection we’ve done is a tribute to this obscure funk soul record label that existed in bay area lat 1960s. We stumbled across the label while i was flipping through an old magazine and saw an ad for the label. the logo popped out at me and I began to research everything I could about it. We found out that they released a few singles and then we’re not sure what happened after that. We tried to imagine what a modern merchandise collection would look like for Marquette. We made mugs, pens, stickers, hats, tshirts, and have one of their old records for sale on the site we found at a record store. We made our first capsule for our company a humble tribute to an old company from the bay area.

 

BiT How did your experience in Brooklyn help you with this new venture?
VD I worked at Hickoree’s and The Hill-Side for 5 years, that’s really where I picked up all of my knowledge in terms of operations that we are doing with Good Fishing. I was working and maintaining the shop and packaging orders, and from there went on to managing and buying for the store and I was on that retail side for three years. At that point I transitioned more into the wholesale side of the business, showing The Hill-Side to buyers from other stores, maintaining accounts, establishing new accounts, going trade shows, working on marketing efforts, creating lookbooks and social media content and everything involved in that too. The Hill-Side being a small company helped me gain experience in all areas of the business, which has helped a lot in thinking about how to set up Good Fishing. That’s not meant to say that we know everything because we definitely don’t, but we’re grateful to be able to reference and lean on past experiences and relationships as we set up our own business.

 

BiT What challenges have you faced along the way with launching Good Fishing?
VD It’s so new that everything is one big challenge, from balancing how to set everything up financially and figuring out how to run the company with what we really want to make for the brand. For now, we concentrated on presenting as broad of a collection as we can while planning for future products.

 

BiT Was there ever a moment when you were like, holy shit this is happening?
VD Launching our online store was a big step. While we’ve been doing events and talking about the brand over the past few months and years, having the online shop is something that you can show people what it is that we’re making and they can look at it and keep up with the brand as we continue to build it up. 

 

BiT How are you getting the word out about Good Fishing? Where are you casting your proverbial line?
VD Because we’re not planning to have a store, we’re focusing on getting the word out through pop-up events. Since our website launched, we’ve done a handful of events: a booth at the 4th of July festival in Atwater, CA; a booth at Haus Party in Oakland, CA – which is a super fun monthly party run by some friends of ours; and a couple of our own Lemonade Sundays events. Lemonade Sundays is basically our “grown-up” version of a childhood summer lemonade stand, where we have free lemonade for everybody, specialty cocktails and exclusive products for sale, and an overall awesome party vibe with loud tunes and Unstoppable Positivity.
(Wish you could get in on lemonade sundays? Have a little taste here, with Sam and Vicken’s dope lemonade sundays playlist.)

 

BiT Collaboration is obviously a huge focus for Good Fishing since the brand is the brainchild of both you and Sam. How would you describe each of your strengths in creating the brand and running the business?
VD Collectively, our biggest strength is that we’ve been best friends since college. We’re so close that we end up being on the same page about almost everything we want to do. Especially when it comes to talking about creative ideas and bringing them to life, working with someone you’re so in tune with makes that process fun and it comes together easily. That’s been good for both of us. In terms of outside collaborations, we’ve worked with NYC’s Don Da Menace and (ft$) to shoot our first lookbook “Parks and Recreation” and San Diego artist Keenan Hartsten to curate one of our products, the tackle box planter

 

BiT The site and products look great. Finally, I have to ask this… what do you miss about living in Brooklyn?
VD Brooklyn has a different energy and pace that you can’t replicate or find anywhere else, and that’s just something you’ll always miss, but we’re both super happy to be back in our hometowns in California and to grow Good Fishing here.

 

Good Fishing as a brand somehow combines an influence of Sam and Vicken’s time on both coasts while transcending geographical boundaries into a collection and mood that is wearable, attractive, and contagious. Their approach to this venture has not been unlike a good day of fishing; take inventory of your supplies, your knowledge, your desire. Choose your spot wisely, a place you know and a market you are confident will be responsive. Cast your line in the best way you know how and with a little bit of luck, patience, and determination, see what you reel in.
It was no surprise to me to learn that while sam and vicken are kicking ass at launching their website and brand, they are already looking forward to their next mission. while i’m not at liberty to divulge the details, let’s just say it’s a distinctly liquid investment that will be smokey and risky and would go best with in a glass with one big rock and a fishing pole in the other.
Check out Good Fishing’s full collection here. use promo code “GOODFISHINGINBK” for an exclusive 20% off deal for Brooklyn, I’m Trying users, good from 8/30 to 9/6. Post pics in your Good Fishing gear using the hashtag #GoodFishinginBK and keep following @goodfishing_ to see how this ambitious brand continues to grow.

 

<3L.

A Perfect Hair Day, Everyday | Living Proof Dry Shampoo

in LIFESTYLE
It’s august. and in New York that means it’s humid as hell and the heat is relentless, oppressive, and we never stop sweating. it also means long days at the beach, workouts just long enough to look good on long days at the beach, and of course, social schedules that are more packed than the L train in the morning.
with all of these seductive summertime pleasures fighting for our attention, we demand a beauty routine that helps us stay fresh and looking fly effortlessly. I’m here to let you in on a little secret.
you already know that my longest running and imprenetrably monogamous relationship is with my perfume, that i’ll stop eating before i stop buying better than sex mascara, and that nars blush in orgasm is my second favorite way to keep my cheeks flushed (i mean, come on…) however, these products make me feel and look good, but there’s only one i’ve found that has truly saved me countless hours.
I wash my hair once a week, and I haven’t had one bad hair day yet this summer. not one. how? living proof perfect hair day dry shampoo. it’s $20 and worth every penny, even on my budget. which is tight to say the least. however i will and have sacrificed anything else before I stop buying this product. i buy mine from sephora or amazon, depending on how often i find myself in manhattan… which is becoming almost never.
yes, does that mean potentially risking your hair smelling of too many lovers? just keep your tracks covered baby. you’ll be looking to good for them to care anyway.
<3 liz, with the good hair.

Get Fresh with Me | Summertime Beauty Picks

in LIFESTYLE
it’s hot as hell out there, and let’s just say that in brooklyn, it ain’t a dry heat. let me show you how to get fresh and do it right this season. let’s shed our traditional beauty products along with our inhibitions because that’s what warm weather is made for. strip down your skin routine to a swipe of concealer, a dusting of blush, a  few coats of heavy-hitting mascara and a sneaky bronzing mousse. i’ll show you how here, with my tried-and-true, trusty dusty, hopeful and heartful partners-in-crime. proceed with caution… i’d hate to see you cheat on those beauty products you’ve pledged lifelong allegiance to… (but i promise not to tell)
rosé won’t just be in your glass this season… these rose-based beauty finds will bring a fresh, floral, and romantic way to get your skin glowing in-between moments of love and lust.

 

Rose Hibiscus Coconut Water Hydrating Face Mist, by Herbivore
the perfect warm-weather alternative to heavy moisturizers, this coconut water, hibiscus flower, and rose water magic spray will have you feeling so fresh, you’ll have to watch your mouth, and actively try not to wink at every young hottie in your path. (or you know, don’t hold back.) i get mine from the new stand in union square, $16 (must be purchased in-store, but subscribe to their daily musings, audibly-inspiring playlists, and eye-opening news stories, daily.)

 

Rose Face Mask by Fresh. 
when i can’t get a facial (which is pretty much always), an at-home mask is an indulgent answer when paired with a nice rose and some natalia laforcade on the record player. this one is infused with real rose petals, so it smells like a dream and leaves you with a healthy glow and the distinct understanding that a rose by any other name, if an infused-facial-mask-form, would likely smell as sweet (but you’d never admit it). this one is from sephora – get yours now, full-size $62, travel size free if you smile real sweet (and have that VIB account… which i’m equally not proud of and also oh-so-proud of.)

 

Corrective Concealer by Hourglass.
you know that feeling when you find a beauty product that you know you’ll stand by for the rest of your life? this one-step concealer swept me beneath the eyes and then directly off my feet the other day when my normal bobbi brown concealer was rather fortunately out of stock. within an instant i swapped my primer + concealer + setting powder system for this sleek and powerful little warrior of a concealer. he’ll hide everything you’ve got and do it with a wink and a smile. the secret is a slightly-irridescent rose undertones that reflect light and hide darkness. which means you don’t ask questions, just comfortably trust that all your secrets are hidden. for $37 it can be yours at sephora.

 

NARS Blush in Orgasm.
the only time you should ever fake an orgasm is with the natural glow and facial high stimulated by this longstanding instutituion of blushes. perfect for every skin tone, light and irridescent, this is a lifelong commitment made to see you through those moments when your mouth writes checks that your body can’t cash and you kind of don’t give a shit. you deserve at least the glow that you might not (but should) be receiving daily. buy this one now from nordstrom. $30

 

Better than Sex Mascara, by Too Faced.
ok so it’s not better than sex… but it is the closest thing that you can purchase legally that i’ve found. this mascara is a godsend – volumizing, lengthening, thickening, dramatic. with little to no stimulation other than a reliable thrust into the ink pot. add a little primer foreplay for best results. i get mine from sephora, $23.

 

Pret-a-Powder, by Bumble and Bumble.
the holy grail of hair savers – it’s dry shampoo, style extendor, and volumizer all in one, and of course, bumble and bumble does it best. i keep a travel size in my bag at all times to fight flatness and grease like the plague, and for an instant confidence booster that says “yeah you know, maybe i did just have sex in the bathroom.” residue-free and relentless, it’s the other white powder you’re hiding in your bag that will keep you smiling and feeling good all night long. best purchased from the source right here. travel size $13, full size (and last you long time!) $27.

 

Sea Salt Soap by Swedish Dream.
this is the greatest soap i’ve ever used, no exaggeration. it has tiny, invigorating grains of salt in the soap for a sensual exfoliation with a light and clean scent that is fresh and energizing. and i can’t deny the perfection of their packaging. i get mine from The New Stand in Union Square Metro Station, $9.

 

Bronzing Mousse by St. Tropez
listen, let’s all just get over the stigma surrounding self-tanners. yes, there have been some massive mistakes on the market, but they are here to help us achieve that healthy, sunkissed glow that we know now is something that unfortuantely we need to avoid receiving in the natural way. the good news? they’ve evolved to create naturally beautiful products that won’t leave you looking like an oompa loompa. so free your skin from another layer of powder and toss that bronzer to the side. this mousse gives your skin a natural-looking tint. it goes on evenly and looks oh-so-natural. plus a little goes a long way, so it lasts forever. best from ulta, $18 for the traveler, which has last me an entire year (and counting!)

A Peek Into The Bushwick Community Darkroom

in LIFESTYLE
life in new york isn’t easy, and it’s not for everyone. when i’m back home in virginia and i run into someone who tells me, “you know, new york is a nice place to visit, but i wouldn’t want to live there!” patting me on the shoulder as they smile proudly. my response is always outwardly sweet, but inside i say awesome, visit then! but stay here. settle in. what we don’t need here is anyone who doesn’t have that hustle in their hearts, that pulsing blood running through their veins so that they wake up with every morning saying GO! make! create! breathe! and then have some cocktails! make some bad decisions! live.
this city is not for the weak at heart, it’s for the dreamers and the makers and the doers and believers. and thus, despite its many, constant challenges, we are immensely lucky to live in a community of such creatively elevated humans. i love that the question, “what do you do?” is constantly met with, “oh, like for money? or my side hustle/creative endeavor/small business/clandestine life?” we see challenges every day and say, i’m going to figure out how to make this work, and make it work for me. and goddamn if that energy isn’t in every molecule of air here in brooklyn, so breathe it in, and hold it there. (unless you’re real close to the gowanus canal, then just save that inspiring inhale for later.)
i’ve met so many people here for whom simply creating is not enough. through all of the resistance you run into when trying to follow your passion in this city – spacial issues, financial constraints, the haters hatin’… if you push through and learn to overcome those barriers, then maintain that path to make the way a bit easier for others.
we all know that a lot of bad things are created and discovered in brooklyn basements, but for photographer and creative hustler lucia rollow, her ability to follow her dreams started in a subterranean brooklyn space. after graduating from college with a degree in photography and moving to the city, she was quickly disheartened to realize that her passion and energy for everything that happens after the shutter clicks would be silenced with her relocation. there were no darkrooms for public use, and sure as hell no space to create one. she managed to make a makeshift darkroom in a basement in brooklyn for her own personal use, and once the word of it spread from her creative circle into others, she began renting it out for use. as it turned out, she was far from the only person craving the creative freedom that developing your own film and photos provides.

 

a look inside BCD from @bushwickdkrm
this basement venture has since evolved into a gift to the community; a space for those in love with analog photography to drop off and have their film developed by people who care, a space for people who truly love the craft of developing film and prints to use, a gallery for established and budding photographers alike, and a classroom for those who want to embrace this craft at every level. this 2,500 foot and 25-member warehouse space has created a photography community, which is what drew manager natalia gubinski to the space. she had been craving that sense of community that is so inherent to the world of photo development, as well as an affordable darkroom to use after leaving college. see some of her beautiful work here, and be sure to sign up for BCD’s emails about upcoming events to see hers and other artists’ work and to be a part of this beautiful community.
having recently participated in a cyanotype workshop at BCD, and found myself sitting outside on the sidewalk in the sun, waiting to see what kind of abstract prints we developed with funky trinkets from the menagerie and minds of the endlessly inspiring @noelleduquette and @donutloverr. we sat and chatted while the springtime sun made surreal indigo landscapes around shadows of plastic babies, fresh lemon slices, hardware ephemera and pressed flora to the curious negligence of passersby. after rinsing, squeegeeing (ah! gonna say it again… squeegeeing.), and critiquing our work before running out to create something new, i realized a few things; that slowing down any craft that has now become technologically lost is both therapeautic and necessary, that pursuing your passion fearlessly will naturally attract a creative community and support system to surround you, and that the necessity to create can then develop into a destination that anyone can share.
Natalia Gubinski, photographer, BCD member and darkroom manager.
Bushwick Community Darkroom represents the beauty of process and community. slowly combating the requisite and relatively temporary paralysis of instagram filter indecision, it embraces the beauty of creation that happens after the shutter clicks and brings back a sense of ownership that’s been lost in our image-obsessed society. you own the print that you hold in your hand, one that you show people without swiping or uploading. and it represents the beauty that can grow out of the passionate hustle.
I had the unique opportunity to interview Lucia Rollow, avid photographer and BCD’s founder and owner, to dive into just how she turned her dream into a 2,500 foot warehouse space and gift to the community. seek insipration below, and then head to Bushick Community Darkroom to get some film developed, go learn how to develop it yourself. go check out a gallery opening for some of the incredible artists in our community. go for free movie night. go and be among the community that surrounds this beautiful art.

 

lucia rollow bushwick community darkroom
Lucia Rollow, avid photographer and BCD’s founder and owner.
 

 

What attracted you to pursue photography in the first place?
I got my first camera when I was about 4 and started working in the darkroom when I was about 12 and it all just fit. It was just something that had to be there.
 
How did you try to seek out options for dark rooms and developing when you got to NY? What were the options at that time?
I moved to New York in 2005 to attend the School of Visual Arts so I was using their darkrooms till 2009 and mostly unaware of any other options because I had no need. After I graduated I lost that darkroom access as one does and spent the next roughly year floating around trying to find affordable darkrooms without much success. I spoke to people I knew and looked online and found Printspace but decided I couldn’t afford their $22/hr rate in addition to paper, then I found a space near me but no one ever seemed to be there to open it and they said they didn’t supply chemistry so I started going to ABC No Rio. Their scheduled open hours were incompatible with my schedule at the time and it was a 45 minute trip each way. So one day my neighbor pointed out to me that there were storage closets in the basement that were totally big enough to put a single occupancy b&w darkroom in, since that was all i really needed and i had no money at the time my mind immediately went to 2 problems: how do i make this a reality as quickly and cheaply as possible? and is there a way for me to make this available to other people that might be in the same position i am?
 
Describe the makeshift darkroom you made in your apartment, and the first experiences you had there. I believe Natalia mentioned you would let other people use it? 
I ran a kickstarter, built a website & started posting flyers. We met the kickstarter goal, built out the space & opened in the basement in February 2011. The original space was a 6×8 closet in the basement next to the laundry room. We set up a sink/print washer & dryer in the laundry room and enlarger/chemical trays in the closet which we could make light tight. It was definitely cozy but it was pretty comfortable for up to 2 people and you could print up to 16×20 in there so for what it was it definitely wasn’t bad. We got to the point where we were booked to capacity and a gentleman (Brandon Schulman) donated 2 color enlargers and a table top color print processor to us so we started looking for bigger spaces. In the summer of 2012 we  moved into the first of what would be 2 spaces we occupied within the Shops at the Loom and built out a small b&w darkroom with 4 enlargers and a small color darkroom with 2 enlargers and the table top processor we had been gifted. In the summer of 2013 we relocated across the hall in the Shops at the Loom and had basically the same set up in a slightly better/cheaper layout. December of 2013 brought us a huge donation when Printspace shut down their community darkrooms and gave us all of their enlargers, color print processor and basically all the other crap besides their sinks. So I put it all in storage and started looking for a space that was big enough to set up all the equipment to be functional
 
How did you find the space that is now BCD?
I started looking and saving and scheming and dreaming. I was having conversations and looking on Craigslist and trying to find spaces as for all of 2014. By the end of the year I had uncovered a lead a few blocks from our existing location. The space was about 1000 square feet on the second floor of a tucked away block in a windowless room. The freight elevator came straight into the space but that was the only advantage. So I mulled on it and engaged in conversation with the landlord and basically was within 48 hours of signing the lease and putting down a deposit when i decided to just take one more look on Craigslist. I went ~3 weeks back through the listings, found this place, figured the worst they would tell me was that the space had been rented and sent them an email. They immediately responded that the space was still available so Caleb, who has been volunteering for me since 2013 and I came over and checked it out and basically agreed to it on the spot. We signed the lease a few days later, spent the next 6 months building out the space and have been settling in ever since.
 
What are the challenges you’ve met along the way (from your arrival in NY to now!) and how did you overcome them? 
Most of the challenges have really involved finding adequate space for an affordable price. Since we’ve re-located to this space our rent has been consistent and we have been able to focus on smaller problems like making sure we have enough chemistry and our equipment is up to par. Finding this space really allowed us to improve the quality of service we have been able to provide.
 
Can you describe a specific time where you felt like giving up? What encouraged you to push forward?
There have definitely been a lot of times. There was a moment last year when we thought the owner might sell this building and it was definitely like “what do we do?!” as a result we actually still/currently have a tiny little satellite location in Greenpoint that no one knows about. It became very clear very quickly at that point that there were too many people far too invested to give up or consider closing the darkroom so we kept pushing and the owner has since renewed our lease on this space and given us assurances that he is not planning on selling the building.
 
How would you describe your art?
Currently I’m working on a series of landscape gum bichromate prints which is an antique process.
 
Have their been any artists you’ve run into along the way that were particularly moving or inspiring that helped you persevere?
My good friend Hope Zanes has been a pillar for me over the years. She taught me gum printing in high school and has been in my corner ever since.
 
What are your goals for BCD for the next year?
Over the next year we plan to focus on increasing our programatic offerings and membership base. We have a stable home now and would like to invite as many people in to do as many different fun things as possible.
To visit the Bushwick Community Darkroom, find them at 110 troutman st. 
visit their website for a list of classes, rates for use of the space, and membership information.
 and for constant photographic inspiration and event announcements, follow them on instagram.

 

<3L.

 

 

a shot of shots borrowed from @bushwickdkrm

This is Week Two | Brooklyn, I’m Trying.

in LIFESTYLE, WORDS
a weekly journal of my new freelance life. 
they should teach more about personal finance in school. they should warn you about the dangers of credit cards in this country instead of encouraging them, nearly forcing them down your throat when you’re at your most financially vulnerable, requiring them for all the the major steps of your life… at which point they will simply serve as flagrant signs of your requisite irresponsibility. they should tell you to budget.
but then, maybe they did. maybe i just didn’t listen. and maybe i’m still confident that every dollar of debt that i have accumulated has been part of an experience, traveling, dining, learning, growing.
and, ok, more than a few times buying food for number one (the cat. obviously).
i’m in a financial crisis. i saved up no money before i quit my job, and well… let’s just say i left myself in a not-so-comfortable situation. however, if i’d waited for that comfort, i would have never left the job. i often subscribe to the push-the-bird-out-of-the-nest method, and this nest was not in the money tree.
i’m kind of thinking it was a cork tree, given where a lot of my monies go.
i had that all-too familiar feeling today, the one where you feel like you are truly at the very end of your rope and then somehow the rope extends and you end up deeper and even more helpless than you were when you thought you were at the end.
this feeling brought me back to a particular moment when i was living in madrid. a moment when everything came crashing down. i was dead broke, and more heartbroken then i had ever been at the time. i was lost, emotionally. and at least a bit turned around physically. i sat down on the curb by myself and tried to get a grip. i sat and stared up at a streetlight. i took a deep breath, then quite a few more. i decided at that moment that i had a choice. there was absolutely no clear answer, no obvious path. no way out. and i realized that there wasn’t going to be, but i had to keep going. somehow, something would get figured out. there would be an answer. there would, right streetlight? i implored. right??
it reminded me of one of my favorite songs, a recreation of augustin lara’s farolito sung by natalia lafourcade. farolito, a song sung to a streetlight, that ignited and illuminated the same desperation i felt.
farolito, que alumbra apenas la calle desierata
cuantas noches me has visto, llorando, llamar a su puerta?
sin llevarme mas que una cancion, un pedazo de mi corazon?
  
little street lamp, barely lighting up this deserted street,
how many nights have you seen me weeping, calling at her door
without wanting to bring her more than a song, than a piece of my heart?
it represents the calming presence of the light when all that is felt is misery and despair, perhaps so deep that the singer doesn’t even realize.
how many nights have you seen me? 
the farolito is a light, and also a beacon, providing a sense of vision and balance. a hope on a deserted street and in an empty heart where there seems to be none at all.
streetlights in new york often feel like a beacon, of safety and security, and perhaps of companionship on deserted streets or those that are overcrowded, where we find ourselves surrounded, yet alone.
the street i just moved on to in brooklyn is completey shrowded by a thick canopy of trees that are so charming during the day, but they block out all light from the farolitos at night, and have forced me to take notice and memorize the location of the most forboding potholes during the day, so that at night i can safely navigate my way home without compromising the wheels on my beloved 1960s schwinn.
so this, this is week 2. equal parts desperate and seeking a beacon of hope, a sense of calm, an inhale, an answer. or at least a steady presence to ask.
and also knowing that i need to have confidence in what i’ve learned during times of doubt, blindness, uncertainty so far to guide me through this dark and innavigable path.

the style edit: springtime cycle chic.

in LIFESTYLE
springtime in the city brings a direct correlation to the rising temperatures and increase in outdoor drinking. the propensity to skip workouts increases slightly while our attire decreases almost just as much. more calories less clothing more bikinis less time more beers… you know what all of that adds up to? a fucking problem. it’s a problem.
the answer of course is not to sign up for class pass and miss out on all of the amazing things that are happening this summer. the solution is…

adopt a bike commute.

bring your workout into everyday to make more time for rosé, less time for worrying about the way you’ll look in your bikini, and that tiny added bonus of the complete euphoria that inevitably comes from riding a bicycle.
here’s how to do it and look completely cycle chic, and still arrive in style, no sweat… err, with minimal sweating.
williamsburg_bridge_bike_path
lie to me and tell me you don’t want to have this view every morning.
the backpack
although a basket is a great option, anything carried on your body needs to stay put on your back… which by no means means you need to sacrifice style. my favorites are here (for the budget biker!) or here for the biker who somehow i am always enviously following just behind.
  
the helmet
no matter how hard headed you may be, a helmet is vitally important… and you know that you definitely aren’t going to wear one if it doesn’t look cool. i prefer to feel the bern (along with nearly everyone in the bk bike lane) but nutcase also makes a great one, that actually has holes big enough to slip your lock into (genius.) and of course you can always go this route but let’s not get too chic ok? protection, and a hard shield that defeats stubbornness, is all you need ultimately in a helmet.
the accents

i would love to save up for a public bike but that would mean riding around on $400 taken directly out of my travel fund… instead of opting for an expensive upgrade, add some flashy enhancements to your old chariot. like this nifty and functional bell and this cupholder  that is simple, sleek, and snuggly (just like you.) and allows me to stay loyal to my favorite coffee spot and take my iced cold brew with me over the bridge.

the shades
safe and stylish, these puppies will help reduce glare and (ideally!) prevent too much wind or lovely new york trash particles to fly into your eyes. i love nectars for their light stability and their birthplace or these persols, because i can pretend like i’m steve mcqueen when i reach the top speeds. as i am wont to do.
the shoes
i often find myself wearing tennies and slipping some sandals into my pack, but opting for a solid slip-on or otherwise trendy tennis shoe (i get the odd feeling those aren’t hard to find these days…) saves you the trouble. i rely on these (which double as reflectors!) but i find myself pretending that they are actually these (no offense dudes.) but i have enough money to make them so outlandishly absurd.
the getup.
depending on the level of intensity of your commute and the relative humidity and inclination of your trip, you will either be inclined to don a breathable and semi-professional getup, or perhaps athletic gear and a change of clothes might is your only option here. i go for for bright tanks and a tight pair of yoga pants (i haven’t quite gotten to the biker shorts stage yet… i have too many friends that i’m not ready to lose.)
if your commute is flat and you somehow don’t sweat much, opt for a breathable jumpsuit. why? well because jumpsuits are the answer to everything but in terms of biking, they’re loose and usually devoid of uncomfortable snaps. and ride effortlessly from the bike lane to the boardroom to the motherfucking cocktail hour. my favorite is here, from madewell.
the basket
you have three options here- charming, rustic, industrial. and those links contain your very best options. or, be mega hip and make your own with wooden crates from dobbin st co-op and a sturdy rack added by the fine folks at b’s bikes.
the hydration solutions.
you’re gonna get hot. and sweaty. and while i never thought i would be someone who spent more than $10 on a water bottle, this puppy keeps water cold for (s)well over 24 hours. like, icey cold. and doesn’t sweat all over your stuff.
and of course, for your weekend bike adventures, never leave the house without a bota llena de rioja. (have i taught you nothing??)
the face.
ok, ok… i’m sure plenty of people will say that you don’t need makeup, you’re biking. and that’s fine. you don’t need makeup to do anything… but let me just say that when you’re wearing a hat that makes you look a bit like an alien bobblehead, let’s enhance our investments and make sure the moneymaker carries the weight. why? because. boys who bike are hott and i for one have made more than a date or two while sitting on a bike at an intersection. don’t waste this opportunity, but do simplify- all you need here is a swipe of bobbi brown concealer (with setting powder!), of course the infallible kat von D liquid hurricane-proof liner, and a generous helping (as always) of estee lauder sumptuous extreme mascara– built for speed, not comfort.
the defense against helmet hair.
when you pull that helmet off in super-slow motion, letting your long locks cascade down your back… well, they’ll be sweaty. and limp. and simply not so fresh. toss a can of living proof perfect hair day dry shampoo, which is hands down the best in the market. trust me. i haven’t washed-washed my hair in months. (kidding. but, it’s been a hell of a lot less frequent than it used to be.)
i also clip a few metal alligator clips into a tight bun so my hair stays out of my face, but keeps a bit of body to it when i arrive. in north bk, get these (and all other beauty needs) at Zoe’s Beauty, on greepoint ave.
 bikeandbeer

so that’s it brooklyn. let this be the last day you make excuses.

i’ll see you out there.

<3L.

bulgari omnia

scentsible monogamy | choose a perfume, mate for life

in LIFESTYLE
I’m not asking you about your relationship status or your weekend habits. I don’t want to hear you complain that all your friends are married and “I mean come on, what is the rush?? they’re just bored…” and I certainly don’t want to hear you bumble on about what happned on your last tinder meetup over a coffee and a bagel, ok Cupid?
but I do want to talk about monogamy, from a scentsible perspective. before you are 30, it is important to choose a mate, for life- in the form of perfume. and to be quite honest, 30 is a bit late, regardless of whether or you live in the city or the suburbs, if you’re career-oriented or family-focused, because you’ve already made your mark and left your memory and if it has been a series of different scents well… you are only as strong as those foggy scent memories are combined.
this monogamy comes with no excuses- choose one, stick to it, where it everyday. your perfume proceeds you and lingers long after you are gone. It becomes part of your clothing, your attitude, your aura, the sheets of your lover… as both the catalyst of memory recall and toward the brink of insanity for those who will never get over you.
it is fucking important.
let your dating life be messy, let your heart be vagrant. live a bit dangerously. be wild and free. this is your 20s. 30s. 40s. life. this is your life.
however, choose one perfume. ONE. only.
how to find your perfect scent mate
1. get some direction here. scent profiles are all rooted in the following categories:
  • Citrus – fresh and a tad bitter. light and aromatic. orange blossom and lemon.
  • Floral – single flower of a bouquet, think fresh, feminine, romantic. also includes playful fruity notes.
  • Oriental – seductive and warm. amber fragrances of vanilla and smoke.
  • Chypre – rich and distinguished, this scent lingers. patchouli and bergamot.
  • the perfumed court is a fantastic resource to do a bit of research.
  1. go to the perfume counter. ask for help. try to put into words what you like and don’t like. and yes, use the coffee beans. olfactory exhaustion is even worse than visionary, and we all know how blind you get wandering around the MoMA for too long.
  1. test. test in all situations. dab (don’t rub!) some on your wrists and neck in the morning, on the weekend, in the office, at the gym, on a date, with a lover. sweat, dance, pant. wear pants. don’t wear pants. test. think of this as your entire dating life in just a few weeks, choosing a different adventure every 2 days.
  1. commit and don’t look back.

you do have a one month grace period. if you must, get the relationship anulled. but not longer than that.

and i will be here basking happily with my mate and judging you.

which, of course, is bvlgari omnia crystalline. refreshing and complex, sensual but never lingering too long. fresh, familiar.

smell ya later, bk.  

<3L.

 

The Valentine’s Day Gift Guide.

in LIFESTYLE
 because finding love, of course, is the easy part- i’ve curated a painfully tasteful and exclusively inclusive gift guide to show your love to anyone and everyone in your heart, and where to find them in Brooklyn.

For your leading lady.

a handmade dream catcher
because she believes in magic. and she harnesses it by weaving intentional webs of hope and desire, strung spindly-thin and impossible to find your way out of once ensnared. and why would you anyway, if thus meaning you are her dream, you dear lucky lad?  pick one up from LAB brooklyn in greenpoint. 144 driggs ave.

 

the wild unknown tarot
we all must play the hand we’ve been dealt but there’s always room for a little slight of hand, a little twist of fate, and more than a fair measure of the wild unknown. these hand-drawn, hand-painted (and reprinted, ok ok…) masterpieces double as decor, but will bring about some wild spirits into that delicate house of cards you’ve assembledcozy love nest you’ve foraged, sturdy fortress you’ve built, dingey but charming bushwick apartment you’re renting. these, from maha rosa in greenpoint. 97 green st.

 

pablo neruda’s love poems
among the most romantic ways to practice the most romantic of the romance languages, other than while making sweet sweet love. romantically. poet laureate pablo neruda’s seductive book of love poems features each poem in spanish, mirroring it’s english translation. the perfect instigation for pronunciation, enunciation, fornication, and plenty of inventive iterations. this one found at spoontown and sugar sluts dammit! i mean spoonbill and sugartown, in williamsburg. 218 bedford ave.

 

stamp on passport
no no. this isn’t some game or book or album or ‘zine. it’s actual permanent ink on the (ideally) weathered pages of a well-loved passport, to be earned only by crossing through that fateful TSA threshold, hand in hand, with the woman you love. looking onward to the departures screen and to new adventures. keep your eye on the flight deal for daily deals and book something. trust me, it’s what she wants.

 

jewelry is always a good idea.
and can also be quite contrived. add a personal touch by taking a coin from your travels together, taking it to one of those charming and still-in-business polish jewelers on manhattan ave and then string it on a long chain. or you know, go to brooklyn charm and put together your own personalized creation. 145 bedford ave.

 

 

For the man in your life.

an engraved compass.
what is it about men and antique brass compasses? is it their inherent timelessness, their familiar-as-an-heirloom quality, the substantial weight they have as you hold them, their tendency to always be right when it comes to directions? wait. or is that what we love about men? either way, this seems like a perfect fit. and besides, he’s your true north <—UGH barf, if i ever say that, unsubscribe. no for real. this one found via etsy (which is based in brooklyn!!) so yeah.
a little bear bottle opener.
it’s your slow way of obtaining a permanent fixture in his home. a wall-hanging bottle opener. of the bear variety. fierce and relentlessly giving but also unassuming. it’s everything you wish it would be, as long as you can bear it. this one from burson and reynolds in greenpoint, 649 manhattan ave.

 

lingerie. of any kind.
you know it’s for him anyway. and how you use it, of course is up to you. but i highly recommend you use it to make bad decisions. just add yourself and mischief. and maybe a little whiskey. try anything from shag sex shop in williamsburg. 108 roebling ave.

 

deer antlers
natural. found. tough. one-of-a-kind. and more uses around the home than you initially thought! and again, i have just described your lover. whatever. perfect as a paperweight (why do these even exist in the first place? how drafty is your office space exactly??), a nifty coat hook, a gnarly back scratcher, a decor piece that pairs well with a back story, real or fake. these pop up periodically both at copper and plaid and dobbin st co-op, so go often. they’ve never steered me wrong (AH-HAA!). or, leave a comment here and buy a set from me. i have a bunch. (for real).
 

For the woman you can’t live without both because she’s your best friend, partner in crime, and pseudo (or real) lesbian lover, and also because of course she knows too much.

garance dore’s love style life.
for the creative, entrepreneurial, inspired woman who is moved by words, images, and traversing through all the noise in media to find and create something of substance. the way that garance embraces every bit of life and communicates it is enough to move anyone to seek more- in love, style, life, and everything in between. (yes, this was the valentine’s gift i bought for myself.) get. her. this. and, of course, check out www.garancedore.com for daily musings and inspirations. book found at word books, 126 franklin ave, greenpoint.
the novelty necklace
if you want to get personal, choose a coin from your joint travels, or one that represents her family, her heritage, or her aspirations. seen here, a czech koruna, drilled and strung by my local jeweler on manhattan ave. or if you prefer something sassy for yourself or your best friend, this unassumingly blunt NOPE heart necklace requires that you have to get just close enough to read. i’ve had many a male say sweetly, “oh, what is engraved there on your necklace?” and upon closer inspection and recognition of my smug smile, they get the message without saying a word. found at in god we trust in greenpoint. 70 greenpoint ave.

 

a little something sexy

you already know she’s a fox- stop by my favorite little lingerie shop in brooklyn that flawlessly combines seductive and sensual, tasteful and dangerous, intrepid and clandestine. and doesn’t require you to walk through a pink-polka dotted high school locker room to find what you want. i love this stunning pair for it’s sheer abhorrence to futility, just pure unadulterated aesthetic beauty. from brooklyn fox in williamsburg, 132 n. 5th st.

a sassy little ring holder (and something upon it)

simple, elegant, charming, these ring holders become a simple and unassuming little center of attention. slip a little something extra on it from brooklyn’s jewelry mavens at catbird, animal ring holders at burson and reynolds, in greenpoint. 649 manhattan ave.

 

giles + brother railroad spike cuff
made in new york, engraveable, delivered in 2 days flat anywhere in the US. this solid brass means it’s strong, tough, unassumingly eye-catching and will only get more beautiful with age. not.un.like.your.love. my engraving of course stands for a secret club with my best friend (and we’ll never tell.) so choose something clandestine, unique, personal, and distinctively yours. available at giles and brother and OAK, greenpoint. 55 nassau ave.

 

tom dixon copper coffee collection.
for the coffee lover-lover, wake her up with something pretty and european. because mornings should start slow, fragrant, and with a rosy outlook. french press or percolator- make it personal with coffee from your favorite roastery. i’m enjoying cortado coffee (from good friend and coffee connoisseur schuyler cox, out of kauai), but my local recommendations include stumptown, cafe grumpy, and brooklyn roasting. percolator, french press, and other daily necessities elevated to objects of indulgent desire, visit beam brooklyn, in williamsburg. 240 kent ave.
<3L.

New Year, New Workspace.

in LIFESTYLE

that space behind your work surface- call it a gallery wall, a vision board, a scrap book… whatever it is, it helps make your work space into the ideal place to glean inspiration, to feel connected, to showcase your spirit. a place to let your eyes wander and anchor themselves on something intangible yet concrete. a savior from the tempting claws of procrastination, a detour from writers block, a portal to your creative self. this is more than decor- this is a saving grace, and should be treated as such.
as the magnitude of this space may seem daunting, do not let yourself be paralyzed. the hardest part, of course, is the first step. and lucky for you, i’ve outlined not only the first, but every other step. follow along, skip forward, fall back, dance around and get lost in it. and hopefully end up with a wall bursting with ideas and energy. and you can thank me in my comments section below. (come on, do it.)
FullSizeRender (6)
a piece from the wall i am staring at right now. as i am writing this to you.
step one: gather ephemera.
ok, so more than ephemera- but damn do i like to insert that word absolutely anywhere it (sort of) fits. search for items from your travels- shake out your passport, open old saddle bags, unfold city maps, flip through that stack of unsent postcards. stare into photographs of yourself from other times, other lands. take your time here and honor every object that you have breathed life into. and then choose those that you feel will be able to breathe life back into your space.
step 2: create boundaries.
with a measuring tape, mark lines from the furthest corners and note the distance. this area should fill the space above your work surface comfortably, however “comfortably” feels to you. with these measurements, map it out on your floor. this is your space. sit in it for a minute, if you want to. no one can touch you in here.
step 3: arrange objects.
lay out your meticulously chosen items within the space. balance heavy and light, dark colors and whites, flats and frames, but only so no one side weighs too heavy as to clog your very volatile creative process. don’t be overly concerned with spacing, however don’t trap big pockets of blank space inside… or you and your thoughts might get sucked in, forever. (really, i’ve seen it happen)
step 4: trace yo space.
when you feel you are marginally satisfied with your arrangement (you will never be completely happy with it, but of course, nothing is permanent), take an overhead photo of it. then, trace each element one by one onto newspaper, marking where the nail will go (this part will save your life, trust me) cut out each shape and tape it onto the wall.
step back, observe. 

 

step 5: nail it.
with your hammer, put a nail in each designated mark. hang object in its new and carefully curated home. tear off back paper and step back. and admire.
now sit down and create because you can no longer procrastinate. you have no more excuses. you have work to do.
<3L.

 

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