A bit of a mixed bag this month!
But to start us off….a short film on the power of music. We’d love some English subtitles but even with our seriously limited French, we got the gist. Music is the universal language after all….
“This film is an ode to musical discovery. It is a way of celebrating music because it touches us, because it inspires us, because it brings us together. Because we are never finished discovering music.”
Clams Casino’s I’m God
The lovely Lana Del Rey’s Video Games
Cinematic Orchestra’s Arrival of the Bird
And finally, with the silly season fast approaching, here’s a little something for your weekend…
In 1849, author Fyodor Dostoevsky was to be executed along with fellow members of the Petrashevsky Circle (A Russian literary discussion group in St. Petersburg which opposed the tsarist autocracy and the Russian serfdom). Dostoevsky and the other members stood in groups of three waiting to be shot by a firing squad. He was in the second group and as he stood waiting for his turn, it was decided that they would not be executed but would be sent to hard labor in Siberia…
When he returned to his cell, he shared some profound reflections in a letter to his brother:
When I look back on my past and think how much time I wasted on nothing, how much time has been lost in futilities, errors, laziness, incapacity to live; how little I appreciated it, how many times I sinned against my heart and soul – then my heart bleeds. Life is a gift, life is happiness, every minute can be an eternity of happiness!
I am neither downhearted nor discouraged. Life is everywhere, life is in ourselves, not in the exterior. I shall have human beings around me, and to be a man among men and to remain one always, not to lose heart and not to give in no matter what occurs – that is what life is, that is its task, I have become aware of this. This idea has entered into my life and blood.
‘Life is a gift…every minute can be an eternity of happiness.’
A fabulous perspective to keep in mind when we have those inevitable days when life seems anything but a gift!
Ah, the art, the literature, the fashion, the music!
Were we able, we would most certainly follow in the footsteps of Woody Allen’s latest protagonist and transport ourselves to 1920′s Paris.
Allen’s latest film, Midnight in Paris, is a gorgeous tribute to the city of lights in the roaring twenties. At midnight each evening, while roaming the streets of Paris, Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) finds himself in the company of Ernest Hemmingway, Zelda & F.Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Picasso, Dali and many more. The film is full of cultural and literary references so the more you are familiar with 1920′s art & literature and the expat scene in Paris at the time, the more you’ll enjoy the little surprises Allen throws in. Though not to worry – if you’re not so well versed you can find a handy little (spoiler-ridden) cheat sheet here.
It’s easy to be charmed by the past. To want to escape to a better, more exciting time. But as the film reminds us (in a clear ‘the grass is always greener’ moral of the story), future generations will likely look back on our lifetime and long to have been a part of it. In dreaming of another place or time, we are often taking for granted the greatness of the present.
An important little lesson indeed! Though we just can’t help being seduced by the Années Folles so we’ve gathered a few tips to get the next best thing:
- Relive the lavish parties at the West Egg with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
- Brush up on your musical history & watch this fascinating documentary on the legendary Josephine Baker.
- Live the life of an expat in Paris with Hemmingway’s The Sun Also Rises.
- Pick up a Cole Porter album.
- While we all wait for Baz Luhrmann’s rendition, watch the old Gatsby starring Robert Redford.
- Get in the mood with the appropriate tunes courtesy of 8tracks.
Sleep is Awesome – MindBodyGreen – Get more sleep to be nicer, sexier & just more awesome. An infographic revealing little known facts about sleep. (Did you know that those who sleep an extra hour a night instead of watching TV will lose 14.3 pounds over a year?)
And on that note…
174,203 things you can do instead of watching TV! – Whole9 - Ok so it’s not quite 174,203, but there are plenty of TV alternatives to help you improve your performance, sleep, nutrition, family time, and more. So get off that couch and get started!
Dear blank please blank - Ignat – A short selection of the entertaining Dear blank please blank letters reproduced on recycled stationary. And if you so desire, you can actually purchase them here. Perhaps this one for your man?
A simple day in the life… - The Big Picture – A beautiful photo series capturing ‘daily life in many places that we might not be able to experience in any other way except through photographers’ documentation. The images themselves are somewhat universal – they show us where people live and how people live, sometimes not so differently than we do ourselves.’
Babies (the movie) – A Namibian baby eats dirt, balances tin cans on her head and licks the family dog, while her San Franciscan counterpart goes to baby yoga, eats organic fruit and is put to sleep with a story every evening. French Filmmaker Thomas Balmes follows 4 babies from their first breath to their first steps giving us four fascinatingly diverse snapshots of the first year of life. Warning ladies: It is highly likely to leave you feeling broody…
And on that note…
‘In a world with a capacity to feed double it’s population, 3.5 million children still die each year from acute malnutrition. We should learn. Enter: The Share Experiment
Formerly a high-end online fashion boutique stocking the likes of Opening Ceremony, Alexander Wang, and Pamela Love, Final Episode has endeavoured to give the fashion industry some heart with a revamped philosophy and a new strategic direction.
The boutique’s founder and director, Seema Duggal, is as passionate about making the world a better place as she is about fashion & design. So only a year into Final Episode’s life, she found she was driving herself mad trying to marry her two passions within the trend-driven, consumption machine that is high fashion. As she puts it,
“The fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters and generators of ecological waste around, with one super high luxury brand going so far as to burn all of its products at the end of each season so that they don’t go on sale and, therefore, decrease the brand’s value.”
So how did she return to sanity without destroying her little trend-setting baby, you ask?
But wait, there’s more!
While the boutique does takes a cut of each sale (a whopping 20% less than most boutiques!), 100% of this profit is going to a non-profit journalism project designed to bring about social inclusion, social consciousness and social change. A triple threat of goodness. We can’t wait to chat more with Seema next year when this exciting project launches!
So go on, treat yourself… heck, while you’re at it treat our independent designers AND our world all at the same time.
PS. If you are an artist/designer looking for a socially conscious showcase for your work, you can get in touch with Seema here.
PPS. If you are a girl/boy/man/woman looking for daily eye candy & inspiration, Final Episode also has a Tumblr! There you can find lovely little tid bits like this:
If you adore a good meal as much as we do, San Franciscan Sara Remington is sure to delight you with her gorgeous food photography. From Argentina to Italy, Remington spends her summers traveling the world, documenting the culinary treasures she encounters along the way.
Her work has been published in LIFE, New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, Better Homes & Gardens and Oprah Magazine among others.
We suggest keeping an eye on Sara’s blog for more travel & gastronomical inspiration!
Our mouths are watering…What’s for dinner?
The media can be an instrument of change: it can maintain the status quo and reflect the views of the society or it can, hopefully, awaken people and change minds. It depends on who’s piloting the plane.”
- Katie Couric, Journalist
As lovers of the unfortunately male-dominated TED, and always on the look out for inspiring women with great ideas, we were highly disappointed to learn that women are actually turning down opportunities to represent the other half of the population on the world stage. And we certainly don’t think it’s because they haven’t got any ‘ideas worth spreading’.
Jennifer Siebel Newsom, writer & director of the documentary film & campaign Miss Representation, believes that the media’s limiting portrayals of women and girls play a huge role in the under-representation of women in leadership positions. Rather than telling the rich, deep and complicated realities of women, the media often paints a simplistic and one-dimensional picture that continually reinforces the concept that youth, beauty and sexuality are where a woman’s value lies.
Miss Representation premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and ‘seeks to empower women and girls to challenge limiting labels in order to realize their potential.’ You can check out the trailer below, request a screening, join the conversation and begin to change the narrative.
Hear more on the film & women in leadership in an interview with Jennifer Siebel Newsom here.
We are a little late to the Postsecret party…and on the small chance that some of you may have been living in the dark with us, we thought we’d take this opportunity to bring you up to date.
In 2004, Frank Warren created Postsecret – an ongoing community art project – to provide an online space for people to share their hopes, desires & fears. Warren began by inviting individuals to anonymously submit a handmade postcard revealing a secret they had never told anyone before. Then every Sunday for 6 years he has shared them with the world.
Shortly after beginning the project, Warren received a postcard from a man describing a humiliating childhood experience that he had never shared with anyone. The man’s courage inspired Warren to recognise a secret of his own he’d buried and through this stranger’s secret, he was able to find greater self-understanding and self-acceptance. He continued the project with the hope that the anonymous secrets would serve as a similar source of empowerment for those who read them and healing for those who write them.
Since the website’s creation, Warren has collected over 600,000 anonymous secrets ranging from humorous to heart-breaking and inspiring to intriguing. Today, Postsecret has become a global confessional revealing fascinating intricacies of the human experience, providing laughs, and saving lives.
Most recently, Warren has announced a nifty little app for those of us inclined to divulging our innermost secrets to the world with the click of a button!
Here are some of our favourites:
A few weeks ago, over late-night tacos & margaritas, a new friend refused to waste time with the usual ‘get-to-know-you’ questions and instead got straight to the point.
‘What do you live for?’ he asked.
A refreshingly candid question isn’t it?
But easy to answer? For some of us – yes. Though depending on where we all are on our own journeys, it can also be a difficult one. It is all too easy to get caught up in the daily grind, the expectations of others. To lose sight of those little things that make us truly happy. To forget to shamelessly indulge in them often!
According to Ariana Huffington, these little things can be referred to as ‘joy triggers.’ They may be linked to our careers or life-long passions, or they may be the smallest of moments & simple pleasures that together can add up to a lifetime of joy if we let them.
Wouldn’t we all agree that the most dreadful thing of all would be to reach the end of our days and regret not doing enough of the things that made us happy? Indeed. So it’s important that we regularly reassess what brings us joy and make sure these things are incorporated into our everyday life.
How do we determine what these joy triggers are?
Well, to start we can ask ourselves a few simple questions:
- What did you love doing as a child?
- In what moments would it be impossible to wipe a smile off your face?
- What has the potential to bring you to ‘happy tears’?
- What would you spend your days doing if money were no object?
Once you identify your joy triggers, it is only a matter of making a conscious effort to do them more often. To give you an example, the editor of this site has been known to lose herself on one too many dance floors until the wee hours of the morning. Since dance has nothing to do with her career (which also brings her immense joy), she has decided to ensure this merriment is more formally integrated into her usual routine. So in a return to her childhood pastime, she is taking up dance classes.
We find joy in far too many things to count, but to get you thinking, we’ll list some of them here:
Our ‘joy triggers’
- a real connection with another like-minded soul
- the happiness of a loved one
- the invigorating challenge of learning & communicating in a new language
- the genuine affection of friends and loved ones (we particularly love bear hugs)
- witnessing another’s realisation of their own innate potential
- a beautiful piece of art/theatre/film/music (a great theatre performance will without fail bring us to happy tears!)
- a new friend
- a good laugh
- a freshly brewed coffee
- slipping into a bed of freshly washed sheets
- the process of exploration & discovery of a new city/country/culture
- a beachside sunrise
- the warmth of the summer sun
- and many more…
With the recent passing of the brilliant & inspirational Steve Jobs, we thought it appropriate to leave you with his words:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Do what you love, what triggers joy. And do it often.
We only live once after all…
What are your joy triggers? What do you live for?