#Inspired By: Humans of New York

I know this has been around for a long time now, but I just had to write about Humans of New York because, even years after its creation, it honestly never fails to inspire me. Brandon Stanton, the photographer behind this now famous blog, is a master at capturing people’s emotions with just an image and a few words.

It’s easy to be cynical in this city, and far too often, we let people fade into the background, or worse, see them only as a source of frustration. (This, for example, comes to mind.) But Stanton’s photos show us that everyone has a story.

By getting people to open up about their fears, insecurities, hopes and memories, he reminds us that despite our differences and eccentricities, we all share the human spirit.

He’s photographed people in locations all over the world (his Iran photos are so touching), but the  subjects who give the blog its name are so quintessentially New York, with their bold personalities and sometimes grumpy demeanor. Looking at the photos  always reminds me why I love this city!

Most importantly, it reminds me to stay curious about people and to look first for the positive in everyone I meet.

With that said, here are a few of my favorite photos from the blog:

“I’m wearing really plain looking underwear.”

“He’s very attached.”

Seen on the subway.

“I’m two!”

Seen in Central Park.

“We’ve been best friends since 1967.”

“Just trying to keep the spirit alive.”

BREAKING: MTA conductor caught being glamorous.

1.7 million people on this island, but you can still get away.

“It’s important not to rush through life so much that you don’t find time to do the things you really should be doing.””What things do you wish you’d made more time to do?””I wish I’d learned to drive a racecar. Learned to cook. Followed up with a certain young lady. I wish I’d read more. I’ve got this stack of books I’m going through now, but I should have read them 50 years ago. I’m even reading Harry Potter!”

And my all-time favorite.. Yep, I’m a sucker for love.

“Sometimes, when I’m going home to see her, I think: ‘Nobody should be this happy on a Tuesday.’”

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One Word For 2014

“Perseverance is the ability to keep going in the face of continuous challenges. It is the ability to disregard distractions and to stay focused. – ” Catherine Pulsifer

We’re two weeks into January, but weirdly, it’s only just started feeling like a new year to me.

That’s probably partially because I never did anything big to celebrate. No parties, no champagne, no church (it’s a Caribbean thing..), nothing. January 1 just rolled in quietly during the middle of the night without any fanfare. Then it was two days of work and a snowstorm before I jetted off to Mexico.

Being out of the country, and away from home, has a way from home has a way of making it feel like time has stopped, almost.

Since coming back this weekend, I’m finally able to embrace the new year. And while I’m not usually one for new year’s resolutions, January always has a sense of buzzing with energy. My natural tendency toward goal-setting is kicking into high gear.

I’m reminded of my school days when January was an opportunity for a fresh start mid-school year. The blank, pristine first page of my college-ruled notebooks was always a reminder of endless possibilities, and a literal invitation to “turn over a new leaf.”

The new year also traditionally brings reflection. It’s become a recent practice of mine to sum up each year with a theme. And if 2012 was the year of milestones, 2013 was the year of growth — the kind that comes in fits and starts, and with lots of growing pains.

In place of the giddy triumphs and wide-eyed wonder that came with 2012, last year was a sometimes unwelcome slap in the face that forced me to grow up quickly. As a lot of my dreamy ideas about the world collided with reality, I learned more than I did in my four years of college. 

Armed with this new knowledge, and a dose of cynicism, perhaps, I’m entering this year with a sense of cautious optimism. I have so many goals. And while 2013 taught me that not all of them will come easily, it did not quench my desire to accomplish them.

I have no idea what I’ll have to say at the end of 2014, but the theme I’ve chosen proactively for this year is focus. In as many ways as it can be interpreted — focus on achieving my goals, focus on relationships, focus on my career, focus on my blessings, and focus on my values. That means deciding what it is I want, and having a crystal clear image of that outcome, so that nothing can deter me (not to the exclusion of some fun, and more vacations of course!)

After all, it is up to each of us to create the life we want.

Credit Unknown

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Scenes of Sunday [Photos]

This weekend was as good as it gets — lots of relaxing, time alone and amazing weather.

I’m a firm believer that sometimes you need to just step away from everyone and everything and let yourself recharge. For me at least, there are only really a few people who legitimately add something to your life (and vice versa). And while there’s something to be said about having a large network of connections, more often that not, I find I can only keep up with a few at a time.

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If every fall day in the city was like this, I could get used to it. I started the morning with a scenic jog (and spent far too much time taking pictures instead.)

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Finished off the evening in the kitchen, where my heart belongs. Today, roasted potatoes were on the menu. So good!

The only bad part about a great Sunday is that it makes Mondays that much harder..

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A Few Good Reads {September 2013}

September was busy beyond belief — especially at work! But I also squeezed in time to accomplish a major goal I set for myself and to do a lot of planning for future projects (More to come later!)

It’s slightly embarrassing that the last thing I posted was August’s round-up, but what can I say? Here are some things I enjoyed last month.

  • I couldn’t help but tearing up when I watched the video above from Soul Pancake. In a mini-series called “The Science of Happiness,” participants are asked to write a letter to a person who’s influenced their life. The good part comes when they have to call up that person and read it to them. {Soul Pancake}
  • And if you can bear it, check out this follow-up video with real submissions from viewers. This has me thinking about all the things and people I’m so grateful for in my own life. {Soul Pancake}
  • Women in Albania, known as Sworn Virgins, opt to live as men in order to enjoy greater freedoms. Don’t worry, this is safe for work. {Messy Nessy Chic}
  • After reading this post, I’m extra vigilant for this girly verbal tic in my speech. {Jezebel}
  • Love this series of what writers see from their windows {The Paris Review}
  • Do you roll your eyes at selfies? This writer reflects on the trend everyone loves to hate and how it fits into her life. {The Morning News}
  • This is the principle I aspire to. {Seth’s Blog}
  • You’ll never think about Cinnabon the same way ever again after reading this. {BloombergBusinessweek}
  • What’s the secret to Justin Timberlake’s enduring career? {T Magazine}
  • Awww.. This is too precious! {Humans of New York}
  • Well-known writers talk about “writer’s block.” The takeaway? Just start writing! {Rookie}
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A Few Good Reads {August 2013}

Hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend! Mine’s been good so far, though plans for an active Sunday have unexpectedly changed, so I guess that leaves a lot of time for reading and relaxation.

For your quiet moments, here’s this month’s round-up of links that caught my eye in August. Enjoy!

Photo by Mikael Jansson for Vogue

What were your favorite reads this month?

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