Introducing: BRIKA

I Got This

 

Storage Bin

 

 

Have you ever heard of BRIKA? It’s a company founded by two women in Toronto, Canada, and focuses featuring crafts and well-designed pieces from authentic artisans, makers and designers. Their regularly rotating stock is inspiring and thoughtful, full of treasures and gifts for everyone in your life, including yourself.

I only recently learned about them but I’m already enchanted by their beautiful offerings and commitment to the small craftsman. Each time I’ve visited their site I see something new, but I also find that a few of my favorite items are already sold out–things move quickly there!

Olive Square Messenger

 

Light Gray Leather Bracelet

 

Hexagon cards

 

You’ll find gifts, including pre-packaged gift boxes, as well as accessories, items for the home and office and art prints. Jewelry, kids items, stationery, bath and body products and small keepsakes make it a well-rounded collection.

I may have picked up a little something for a special someone in my life, and I’m honestly considering getting some early Christmas shopping done. It’s never too early, right?!

Welcome Baby Box

 

Feather Leggings

 

Max Raccoon

If you’re itching for a little Christmas in July, or just in need of a few items for friends or yourself, I highly recommend visiting BRIKA’s website. Comparisons are the thief of joy, but if I were to make one I would say that BRIKA is sort of like a more carefully curated Etsy with a much smaller selection and higher overall quality. I like learning more about the people behind the items and what inspires them.

Happy shopping!

Art print // Storage bin // Messenger bag // Leather bracelet // Hexagon Cards // Welcome baby box // Feather leggings // Max Raccoon

Tuesday Book Club: The History of Love

history of love

How often do you reread books? I find myself picking up books repeatedly quite often, though that habit has significantly decreased now that we live in Bern and I’m separated from my library.

I love rereading books. I tend to read books that I’m really interested in very quickly. The word I most associate with this behavior is devour. I’m so involved with a book that I can’t put it down and I nearly inhale it, which can be a beautiful thing because I’m so absorbed in the literature and it’s working on me in incredible ways. What’s unfortunate about this practice is that I can forget what the book is about because it all happened so quickly, too quickly. I have an issue with pacing myself when it comes to books.

Perhaps it’s the challenge of trying to read 40 new books this year, or as I mentioned above the lack of access to my preferred private and public libraries, but I haven’t reread as much this year as I normally do. Nicole Krauss’ The History of Love is only the second book I’ve reread, The Fault in Our Stars being the first.

The History of Love was a pure joy to read again. I originally read it a few years ago when someone told me it was their favorite book of all time. I read it with the hopes that it would also become my favorite book of all time, which was a poor way to start a story. The project was doomed to fail because I think we all know you can’t force a favorite. I liked it, but obviously not well enough because not only did it not become my favorite book, but I hardly remembered a thing about it.

The novel revolves around three main characters. Our first, Leo Gursky, is a curmudgeonly octogenarian who has lost the two greatest loves of his life, a girl named Alma from his hometown in Poland and a book he wrote in his early twenties. The second is 14-year-old Alma who is named after every character in the book The History of Love. The final character is Zvi Litvinoff, the author of The History of Love. The disparity between these three characters is a joy to read, but it is Krauss’ subtle humor and cheeky monologues that really propel the narrative. It’s suspenseful without being a thriller, and humorous without being glib. There’s a balance to the novel that keeps you rooting for all the characters in equal measure, adding a rich fullness to the text. I’m not sure I could have gotten to this understanding without a second read.

That is the beauty of reading again and why I will continue to do it despite many people considering it a waste of time when there are so many other books to read. Of course, there are so many places to see in the world but that won’t stop me from going to Paris as often as I can. I learn something new with every read and I see something new with every visit. Our perspective changes as we age and mature and experiencing literature and locales with fresh eyes is enlightening and rewarding. Long live the reread!

What are your thoughts? Are there any books you reread regularly? I’ve read The Giver about a dozen times and Life of Pi a handful of times. Poetry, as well, is always good for a reread.

 

Buddies

Sisters Bern 3I’m working on a project for my dad right now and I’m spending a lot of time looking through photos of our recent trips. My brother-in-law shared the photos that he took on their trip to see us, including their last week in Paris (over 700 in total!!), and I found several pictures of Courtney and I from behind (in a good way).

Sisters Bern 2

I love seeing these pictures of us sharing an umbrella or a conversation, or simply holding hands running down the side of a mountain. I love my sister.

Sisters Bern 7 Gurten

 

Sisters Lucerne 2

 

IMG_4177

It’s so great to have these buddy pics, no? Adam and Jared are so understanding of the close relationship we have and always give us our space when we need it. Well, I actually think they prefer to give us some space… We can get a little wily.

IMG_3855

What are you up to this weekend? Adam and I will be hanging out in Zurich with our friend Phil, who is here in town for work this week! I’m sure we’ll be spending lots of time in the sun by the lake. I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and get a chance to spend it with your buddies.

 

A Personal Favorite: Eight Hour Cream

eaA couple weeks ago I was blessed with a particular aggressive smattering a zits that were so large they gave me a limp. It was traumatic and unpleasant but I’m a survivor so I got over it. Not without the help of a couple secret agents, though.

My aunt told me about Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream a long time ago but I’ve only recently been reaching for it to work as a cure-all salve. While technically a balm, Elizabeth Arden’s wündercreme really is as miraculous as my aunt suggested it was years back. It can be used to soothe minor scraps and burns, moisturize extra-dry lips or skin, or, as I’ve discovered, repair skin that’s been damaged by outrageous pimples.

It’s a pretty genius balm that I can’t recommend enough for its healing properties and refreshing citronella scent (though you can also buy it unscented). It works perfectly in tandem with another favorite purchase:

clarins

When I was suffering from the previously mentioned break-out I went into the pharmacy for help. I asked the salesgirl for help, saying, “I need a cream or tonic for a bad pimple,” and she replied in all seriousness, “Yes, I can see that.” Ouch.

She recommended this Clarins Blemish Control and I love it! It just rolls on any “problem areas” and dries pretty quickly. It cleared up my issues almost overnight without drying out the skin, which I really appreciate.

Just thought I’d pass along a couple tips! If you’ve got any other tricks or products up your sleeve, do tell.

 

Song of the Summer

We can all direct a genuine slow clap to Erin, Adam’s sister, for introducing us to the song of the summer. It’s catchy, dreamy and easy to dance to, but the best part is you can listen to it over and over again without fatiguing. It’s a remix enhanced in all the right ways.

I recently read this interesting article about the different ways music affects your brain. It has great insights into how we respond to music while we’re driving and working out, but also suggests that specific genres of music can give valuable clues as to the auditor’s inate characteristics. For instance, “Jazz fans have high self-esteem, are creative, outgoing and at ease,” while “Reggae fans have high self-esteem, are creative, not hardworking, outgoing, gentle and at ease.” Find out who you are here. (I am creative, but have low self-esteem. I’m not hard working, and I’m not gentle. Apparently:)

So far “Waves” has been a great ambient tune for times when I’m researching or even blogging, but I usually want to dance a little when I hear it. Do you keep music on when you’re working? While I’m writing I find it too distracting but if I’m just cruising the Internet in more leisurely pursuits then I definitely like to have it on. Or, if I’m working on a project that doesn’t take too much mental power then I also like to have some background noise.

Some of my favorites albums lately:

What are you listening to? If it’s great, please share it! Isn’t it fun to think about how much of our body is affected by music, let alone the impact it has on our brain? Here’s a fun graphic to show how this baby lights up when you tune in:

brain-and-music

(image via)

Artist: Cindy Sherman

metro pictures

 

untitled 153

 

14-Cindy-Sherman

 

Untitled 92

 

untitled horrors

 

Oslo Untitled Horrors

 

Last Tuesday I went to Zurich for the day because I had a free day-ticket and Adam was having a training there. We agreed to meet up for dinner at our favorite pizza place, but before that I shopped the sales and walked around as much as I could given the pouring rain. While on the tram I saw a poster for the current exhibit at the Kunsthaus Zurich, Cindy Sherman–Untitled Horrors and made it a special stop for the afternoon.

If you’re not familiar with Cindy Sherman, here’s a brief primer: Born in New Jersey but raised in Long Island, Sherman is one of America’s preeminent contemporary artists. She is both a film director and a photographer, and is well known for her role as challenging representations of women in mass culture and media. Her portraits are probably her best known work, yet many people don’t realize that she is her only model. In fact, she does the styling, make-up, costumes, direction, and shooting for all her productions. It’s incredible when you look through her entire oeuvre and see the magnificent transformations her body and facial expressions undergo.

The current collection at the Zurich Kunsthaus is a special collaboration between the art houses in Zurich, Oslo and Stockholm. It features the most grotesque and horrifying works from all her of series and truly is a disturbing selection. I was there alone but I wished desperately for a companion to help me dissect and discern so many of the worrying images.

This particular collaboration, like many others, encourages viewers to question traditional gender roles and fundamental issues of human existence. What does it mean to be beautiful? At what age are we no longer considered young? Why is sex glorified? Why do body parts, taken out of context, horrify us?

It was one of the more thought provoking art experiences I’ve had, although I truly wish I had had someone with me to (attempt to) unpack it all. There’s a companion catalogue published in conjunction with the exhibit, which you can purchase here if you’re interested. I sat with it for quite a while, transfixed by close-ups of all the photos. There’s no real art criticism in the book, rather there are original pieces by contemporary authors such as Miranda July and Lars Norén. Sherman doesn’t find much at favor in art criticism, considering it to be trite and a misrepresentation of her work.

As I recounted the exhibit to Adam over dinner I couldn’t help but feel squirmy and uncomfortable yet again. I love how art can have such a visceral effect on us, much like books do, at least for me. Art doesn’t have to “mean” anything, but I do believe it should make you feel something. Appreciation, confusion, anger, disgust, joy, warmth, what have you. If it stirs emotion within, then I think it’s a success.

Have you ever seen anything by Cindy Sherman? She’s been at MoMA several times and regularly has traveling shows. Her work is truly incredible. If you’re in Zurich, the exhibition lasts until September 14th. I didn’t include the truly gruesome images because this is a family-friendly space, but if you’re interested, I’d encourage you to dig around a bit and let me know what your impressions are.

“I think people are more apt to believe photographs, especially if it’s something fantastic. They’re willing to be more gullible. Sometimes they want fantasy. Even if they know it’s fake they can believe anything. People are accustomed to being told what to believe in.” -Cindy Sherman, BOMB Magazine, Spring 1985

(image 1 // image 2 // image 3 // image 4 // image 5 // image 6)

A Relaxing Weekend

foxyI’m feeling pretty derpy, much like this fox. It hasn’t stopped raining since Sunday afternoon and we are going stir. crazy. It’s not just the rain, but also the cold. Yesterday, it was so chilly I could see my breath while I was out on a much-needed run (isn’t running in the rain kinda fun? until it’s not?). I guess I thought it was July or something…

Complaining about the weather is something the Swiss just don’t do. The weather is there, it’s doing what it’s doing and we’re all experiencing it so why talk about it? It’s frustrating because weather is one of those fail-safe topics you can always rely on when you’re, say, sitting next to your neighbor on the bus and want to talk about something in German and you really only know “Es regnet. Es kalt.” (It’s raining. It’s cold.) My sweet neighbor indulged me but it’s mostly because I sound like a small child. I’ll take the small victory. So, in the Swiss vein I will really try to refrain from complaining about the weather. It’s there. It’s going to do it’s thing and our job is to ride it out. Upward and onward!

What are you doing this weekend? Adam and I are going to see this movie tonight, because we just can’t watch one more movie at home this week. Tomorrow I might try to visit the hammam for some detox and relaxation, and I have a feeling Sunday will be devoted to wedding and honeymoon planning. All will involve hunkering down in our sweats and jammies–I suppose it is kinda fun to get cozy in the middle of July. I hope you have a relaxing weekend, and below you will find a few fun links if you find yourself trapped at home as well.

Speaking of movies, do you think you’ll see this one? It looks so creepy! (Did you read the book?)

What if We All Flopped Like Soccer Players? It’s my favorite part of watching the World Cup!

Do you name objects around your house? My sister has always named her car and I never really got it. Until now. 

Privacy from yourself. Introverts, I think you will like this. Reminds me of this funny meme : )

Miracle dress.

This salad looks delicious. Hold the red onion.

20 great books for the beach.

This t-shirt made me laugh.

Two of my new favorite websites for gifts: here and here.

This book looks great. Add it to the list!

A very cool series about motherhood around the world.

Why are urban legends so popular?

Have you ever been to Alaska? It looks incredible and not for the faint of heart.

(image via)