A Softer Focus
In only a few days I will be staying in a beautiful apartment in Barcelona for the month of May. The last time I left the States was in autumn of 2019, a lovely trip to Paris and Marseille with Kyle and my mom. This will be my first time in Spain though. From what everyone has told me, Barcelona has a similar energy to LA, so I feel like it’ll be right up my alley. Plus, we’re bringing our dogs Olly and Scooter along for the adventure. Friends keep joking how the dogs seem to travel more than they do, haha… Honestly, the idea of traveling abroad feels a bit surreal, especially after the last couple years. What I’ve missed most is that sense of exploration and adventure. The feeling of nervous anticipation, not unlike a roller coaster, where you steel yourself for unknown pleasures.
While I’m in BCN my goal is to write a little more frequently, a travel journal of sorts. I even bought a new phone for the improved camera quality (RIP iPhone Mini), it’s certainly come in handy. I figure, with news that Twitter is potentially being bought by a billionaire (🥴) it’s probably wise to invest my time in a platform where I have more control. I’m thinking you’ll probably get this bi-weekly-ish email in your inbox with shorter, idea based posts mixed with photo dumps that will live on the site. Or I might just spam you, who knows ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Hopefully you’re excited to part of the ride.
✖️ — Starting off let’s chat about one of my favorite cocktails, the Martini, and a piece from Emily Sundberg on the rise (resurrection?) of this timeless drink. I guess the kids have discovered martinis and now they’re chugging them like beers 🥴 This is horrifying to think about. But also, Emily nails the resurgence in this perfectly crafted sentence:
“I find people in my world are discovering life is more malleable than they once thought, which can result in surprising life decisions, like breakups or converting to Catholicism or getting plastered on martinis on a Wednesday because we’re all still working from home and we can just turn off the camera on Zoom.”
If you drink two Martinis you should be absolutely shnockered! That said, there’s nothing more refreshing than sipping on an incredibly dirty martini (more olives the better) on a warm evening night. Long live the Martini.
✖️ — Speaking of cock-o-tails, I’ve had this Nuitcap recipe bookmarked for perhaps weeks now and I’m very excited to try it out. Described as a “modern and decidedly French-slanted nightcap,” it’s bitter, it’s herbal, and slightly sparkling, which sounds like perfection to me.
✖️ — Let’s round out this section with one of my other favorite beverages… coffee. The Modern House, the real estate blog I mentioned recently, has mapped out all their favorite coffee shops in London. The only spot I’ve been to is The Monocle Café in Marylebone though so many of these like WatchHouse. look absolutely gorgeous. Bookmarked for future visits.
✖️ — I started following Craig Mod due to the fact that he was followed by many people I respected. And as it turned out, many of his interests were also similar to my own. So it was nice to see that he had a piece in The New York Times recently, about his walks through Japan, and the fading glory of the Kii Peninsula. It’s been known that Japan’s birth rates have been declining and their elderly population is becoming the majority. What I enjoy about Craig’s piece is his astute observance that this is the way things are, and that’s how it is. Nothing lasts forever.
“But these changes don’t necessarily induce gloominess or sadness. They’re simply part of the inexorable flow of contemporary life — the aging of a population mixed with the loss of employment opportunities in the countryside. We’ve made certain decisions about certain industries on a global scale, and this, in part, is the result.”
✖️ — Which brings me to a piece Craig shared recently. Written by a person on their 70th birthday, they shared a list of “103 bits of wisdom I wish I had known when I was young.” The list is thorough, to say the least, filled with all kinds of terrific tidbits that I personally felt I could learn from and I’ll be sharing this with everyone I know.
✖️ — Related, Ai Weiwei recently partnered with WeTransfer to create a manifesto of his 10 rules for art and living, which has been designed as a stunning poster. I feel like this list is something I should print out and frame to hang in my bathroom as valuable advice to take to heart each morning.
✖️ — I’ve been speaking with Kyle a lot about the inteconectdenss of communities, social media, and where it’s all headed next. I’m sure he’ll be writing about it his next Trend Report™ though I feel like we’re not alone in our pondering and planning, as evidenced by Robin Sloan’s recent piece on the matter, The lost thread. In it, she speaks to the “industrialist” who wants to buy Twitter, as well as the slow MySpace-ification of Twitter and all of the frustrations that come with the platform. All that to say, it’s been helpful to see others writing about the things I’ve been feeling for a while. Instead of choosing Twitter, or any other platform for that matter, as “the public town square,” perhaps it’s time we focus more on the people and places directly in front of us?
✖️ — Clearly there’s something in the cosmic, universal waters that has us all questioning our online selves as The Cut recently published a question for J.P. Brammer which stated, “Do I Really Need to Be on Social Media?” Personally, I lived a very online life for about a decade, until eventually I paused from blogging, shut down my Facebook and Instagram over 5 years ago, and have really only had a Twitter and a website (and this Substack). Brammer’s advice comes from a similar place, finding a huge amount of success online, though also expressing what a slippery slope that world can be.
Social media has brought me into contact with some truly wonderful people, given me insights into experiences I hadn’t known about, and, well, sometimes it’s just really funny. But, ultimately, to bring your whole self to the internet, which largely perceives other people as objects, is a dangerous gamble.
✖️ — Which brings me to… what’s next? 🧐 I feel incredibly lucky for the life and career I’ve had. Working at Disney was incredible, and I’m so grateful to have found an even better job with my current role at XX Artists. But social media isn’t the long-term goal, especially having been in it for nearly 20 years.
I saw this piece in Domino on Flynn MCGarry’s new bar Gem Wine in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and… yeah, that’s what my next life goal is. If you know me personally, I’ve been speaking about this for a real long time. I’m going to open a tiny little coffee shop. The goal is to create a space where people will want to come and hang out, listen to records, chat and laugh, and it’s all about the good energy. I tell people that I probably won’t even make good coffee, it’ll be middling at best, because the focus is really on the space and people who inhabit it. Building something that supports and nourishes a community. If you yourself have ever opened a small business and maybe have some advice for me, I’d love to hear it.
The Trend Report™ by my partner, Kyle Raymond Fitzpatrick, is a sharp and insightful look at everything going on in the world, arriving every Sunday to your inbox. Highly recommended, obviously.