Reading on the New York Subway

Again I am posting about something else I found online, but the internet is just so full of fun stuff. This photography project Underground New York Public Library encompasses 4 of my favorite things:

  • Reading
  • New York subway
  • Photography
  • Reading on the subway

This project is pretty awesome and touches on so many topics, while somehow still managing to be straightforward and simple. At first sight it is a tumblr of various photographs of people reading on the New York subway, with the caption naming the book and author. But go a little deeper and it’s much more than that. It’s street photography and all the questionable ethics that go along with it*, it’s people we see everyday, it’s people learning, it’s getting lost in a good book, it’s connecting with strangers, it’s capturing the various walks of life that make up NY, it’s introducing us to new books and authors, it makes NY feel a little smaller, it brings up the book vs e-reader dilemma, it’s relatable, it’s hopeful (maybe because it seems less people are reading these days, and these images capture all ages, genders, ethnicities reading), it’s “like meditating” (I agree with this, because looking at the photos I’m reminded of how soothing it is to get lost in a book), it’s friendly, it’s inspiring, it’s a calm moment among the chaos of NY, and the photographs themselves are full of talent.

The subway seems like an obvious and perfect choice for this project in New York. I’m sure the same could be done in parks or cafes, but the subway is just so New York. Reading is obviously a big part of the subway for a lot of people, including myself – it’s where I get most of my reading done because it provides time, a familiar atmosphere, is generally pretty quiet, and maybe the movement of the train is soothing. I’ve actually gotten on the wrong train when reading on the platform, and have almost missed my stop because I was so engrossed in a book. I’m sure I’m not the only one..

*I struggle with this and often miss out on photo opportunities due to feeling like an intruder on someone’s life. P, a talented and curious photographer who likes to capture people on the streets, told me he bought a portable printer so that when he took a photo of a stranger he could give them a copy right then and there. I thought this was a great idea, as it breaks down barriers and makes the subject feel special.



Positive Thinking

I came across this article the other day and it has been on my mind all week. It’s meant to help you improve a bad day, but I think it should be a guideline for life in general. It’s short, to the point, and so true.

#4 made me laugh out loud – it really puts things in perspective! And #7 is along the lines of how a good friend is trying to live her life – imagine life how you want it and it’s more likely to happen than if you’re thinking negatively.

Positive Thinking: 7 Easy Ways to Improve a Bad Day

1. Remember that the past does not equal the future.

There is no such thing as a “run of bad luck.” The reason people believe such nonsense is that the human brain creates patterns out of random events and remembers the events that fit the pattern.

2. Refuse to make self-fulfilling prophesies. 

If you believe the rest of your day will be as challenging as what’s already happened, then rest assured: You’ll end up doing something (or saying) something that will make sure that your prediction comes true.

3. Get a sense of proportion.

Think about the big picture: Unless something life-changing has happened (like the death of a loved one), chances are that in two weeks, you’ll have forgotten completely about whatever it was that has your shorts in a twist today.

Continue Reading… 


Travel, A Growing Experience

I recently discussed this with a friend who just returned from 6 months of travelling through India, and who I met while we were both living in Argentina. Throughout our own travels we have each realized what an amazing growing experience traveling is, whether you are looking for it to be that or not. No matter where you travel to and for how long, you will find yourself in unfamiliar territory and be forced to adjust. Add a foreign language and culture to the mix and you’re in for a real treat. When taken out of your comfort zone, you have no option but to just figure it out! On top of that, you return home with a new perspective on your surroundings, your belongings, your day to day experiences, and life in general.

Lost? In your own city, you’ll probably pull up Google Maps on your phone. In another country odds of having a smartphone on you are slim so you have to learn to be comfortable asking for directions, even if it means talking to strangers, speaking in a different language, in streets you aren’t familiar with. Another learning experience that can come out of being lost is NOT asking for directions, and instead see where you end up by wandering. You may stumble upon a cafe or market you wouldn’t have otherwise. If anything you get to see more of the area.

Don’t speak the language? You can get pretty creative when communicating without a mutual language. Hand gestures, drawings.. it’s amazing to see this creativity prove to be successful in getting your message across. And you’re bound to pick up a few words of the language along the way.

Flight delayed, train cancelled, no rooms left in the hostel, passport stolen? Gotta figure it out somehow. It may not be pleasant at the time but you will certainly look back on it as a learning experience, maybe even with a laugh, and will feel a little more confident next time it happens (because it will).

Returning home you will have more appreciation and respect for other cultures, you won’t be nervous to ask for directions, dealing with customer service will seem like a cinch because it’s in your own language, you’ll learn, and prefer, to live with less, you’ll walk more, you’ll be more patient with tourists because you’ve been there, you’ll have learned more about yourself in many ways, you’ll be more appreciative of the comforts of home, and you’ll be more comfortable meeting new people and talking to strangers.

There are a million and one reasons why I love traveling, but the growing and learning experience is a big one, and well worth it.

Do you have any growing experiences from your travels?


PS – These experiences can also occur while exploring cities throughout your own country, like P did with the frog legs restaurant in DC. It’s a matter of stepping out of your comfort zone.

Things That Made Me Smile Recently

A day at the beach

This photo and story of Obama

Booking a trip to Charleston, SC

Cake made out of cheese. Genius.

Eating empanadas

Walking Race for the Cure in support of breast cancer research

Spending time in DC with good friends and beautiful weather herehere, and here

These cute and funny fake tattoos


That girl

As anyone that has read the handful of posts that have gone up on this blog, we’re still without a definitive theme. Seems like the baking/cooking posts are most popular, which we love posting about (and eating, obviously). So bear with us as we [hopefully] continuing tossing up some more culinary experiences along with whatever we feel like 🙂

This morning I was watching the Today Show.  My aunt prefers this to all of the morning shows. And I’ve found that it’s a great way to catch up on all the lost pop culture one may miss while being abroad (I’ve recently returned and, let me tell ya, there is SOOO much important stuff I have been missing out on: the Call Me Maybe phenomenon, Princess Kate’s wardrobe, Howard Stern on one of those “star” shows, the 30 Rock marriage …).  It is entertaining, I’ll give you that.  I’ve been stuck in front of the tv for almost two hours now absorbing everything.  Oh, and I got an iPhone.  Not to actually use it per se as a phone, but to take photos (it’s a hand-me-down iPhone 3 and I just found out about Instagram … see how far behind American culture I am?!).  Well, one of the Today Show’s hosts is in Cannes for the film festival and I was playing around with the iPhone camera Instagram thingy and was thinking about something … which I’ll describe in a moment.  First, here’s the photo I got out of the Today Show:

It was an interesting scenario.  In the center of the four wine tasters is one of the Today Show hosts (apologies for not knowing her name).  To her left is, I believe, a vineyard owner, describing how rose wines are now all the rage in France and drunk more than whites.  On her right are two prominent Cannes attendees.  I believe the woman is associated with Conde Naste travel and the man is Jean Paul mmmm … a famous designer that has been invited to judge.  Hidden behind them was a security guard that at one moment was checking his phone and most likely texting when he was caught by surprise by the little girl there on the left – it was rather amusing, having this big, serious guy react in an almost aggressive way just before realizing it was a little girl checking out the sand around her feet.  Top notch security they got there.  (I guess you had to see it …)  Anyway, after watching all the “news” on the show and all the “interesting” and “important” stuff going on in the [American] world today and the “pleasure” in and “appreciation” for fine wine and the “luxury” of being in France along the coast immersed in all the celebrity glamour, I most envied the little girl in the background.  I’d rather be her – in her world and her appreciation for being there in Cannes at that moment by the Mediterranean coast…