Desk Treasures

 

Desk AccessoriesIt’s no secret I’m obsessed with white, gold and grey. There’s something so pure and soothing about a cool, neutral palette. Everything looks good on it or against it, and you can have fun mixing different tones and textures. Thanks to 13 years of living in New York City, and an abundance of overseas work travel, I’ve developed an eclectic but minimalist design aesthetic, and apply it to even the most functional items.

My workspace is no exception, and being tucked behind my couch, I wanted it to feel calm, cozy and creative. These are a few of the small indulgences that make doing work from home so much more inviting.

Shown above, from TtB: Fresh blooms in a single stem; Fornasetti cup and saucer; Something pretty to keep notes in, like this gold and cream Lanvin notebook; Carl Aubock jumbo gold paperclip; Set of perfectly sharpened colored pencils in a brass v-holder; Garance Doré for Rifle Paper Co. iPhone case; Magnifying glass by Maison Martin Margiela (I received mine as a gift after staying at Margiela’s hotel in Paris, and just LOVE them); Rifle Paper Co. telephone notecards; Brass Midori pencil case; a decadent candle like Le Labo’s Santal 26; Feather pen from Maison Martin Margiela; Astier de Villatte ceramic dish; John Derian vintage key paper weight.

tonight I feel infinite.

downpour in the west village by meagan kirkpatrick

downpour in the west village by meagan kirkpatrick

I took this photo over a year ago, and it’s still one of my favorites. I didn’t really  know how to use my camera back then, and I’m pretty sure it’s not in focus, but there’s just something about the rain that makes one feel infinite.

cruising altitude.

cruising altitude.

cruising altitude, by meagan kirkpatrick.

I peer outside at the Rothko-like horizon.

Rothko in Munich by Meagan Kirkpatrick

Darkest blue, grey, marine… The windows are freckled with icy wet flakes. I pull out my phone and snap a few photos. I toggle with the filters, sending one into cyberspace with the caption “Munich Sunrise.”

Girls, Get Ready for SXSW: A Survival Guide.

Music Festival Illustration by Jazzia on Shutterstock
It’s been 4 years since I traded in my Fashion Week stilettos for Texas BBQ and I couldn’t be happier. Hanging with smart techies beats watching starving amazon women trample the runway any day! But there are a few things ladies should know before they head to Austin for the 10-day festival:

  1. Bring chargers with you everywhere. Trust me, you’ll need them. Because of the number of phones around, and the amount of texting you’ll do, all your gadgets will need recharging 2-3 times a day.
  2. Your twitter handle is your new business card (and personal assistant).  For those attending Interactive, clean up your feed and tweet what you find interesting. It’s a great way to build your influence and meet cool people. And most importantly, twitter should be your go-to to find out what’s trending and where the best unofficial parties are. Follow the tags #SXSWFree & #SXSWUnofficial to get all the latest info.
  3. Get Screened. This one has a double meaning. First, bring sunscreen. It’s hot in Austin and many of the best events take place outdoors. Second, go to the film screenings. I’ve seen some of the best movies at Sx, so grab some popcorn and recharge with some much needed down and dark time. The Vimeo theatre has a whole lineup of great films this year.
  4. Secret performances. Secret performances and parties will be popping up like crazy throughout the 10-day festival. Follow insider handles on twitter to get the latest updates. Also be on the lookout for password protected parties, like this year’s Wall Street Journal Pool Party.
  5. Get a badge. Even though off-site events are getting bigger and bigger each year, you still need a badge to get anywhere official. Many of the parties will require them for admission. Also, a word from the wise: pick up your badge the day before the conference begins. They’re open until 10pm. Otherwise you’ll wait in a 2+ hour wait – and there’s 0% chance they will let someone else pick up your badge for you. Trust me, I’ve tried.
  6. Leave the stilettos at home. Even at the best parties people will be wearing jeans. You should still dress to impress, but be comfortable. (Comfortable stilettos = win win.)

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Still… (Reflections on Photography)

Man Underwater by Ana Vesna

Man Underwater by Anna Vesna

I’ve always appreciated art. My brother’s an incredibly talented illustrator, and I spent almost three years working with Vimeo, where I watched films every day and attended offline screenings regularly. I was profoundly affected by the ability of motion pictures to move people, as redundant as that sounds. They can make you laugh, cry, cringe, and most of all: think.

But since coming to Shutterstock two years ago, spending countless hours among 24 million images, and then going home to my own DSLR, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for the still image.

Portrait of a Girl by Aleshyn Andrei

Portrait of a Girl by Aleshyn Andrei

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Jetsetter’s Guide to Shopping: 13 online boutiques I can’t live without

Dripping Pixel Heart on Shutterstock (68968357)

In the dead of winter when the temps barely break freezing, there are two foolproof remedies I can always turn to. The first is travel, and since I’m off to Austin for SXSW in two weeks and Brazil in eight weeks, I think I’ve got that one covered.

The second is a little retail therapy for some light and bright clothing and accessories. While this is by no means a comprehensive list of my favorite online shops, they are the first place I head when I’m looking to warm my spirits:

  1. Nasty Gal – Started as an ebay store in 2006, this online shop has a fabulous collection of new and vintage items at a range of price points. I’m loving their collection of vintage rocker t’s and these Skulltini loafers ($160).
  2. Asos – No shopping list would be complete without Asos. This amazing mega-store based in the UK has everything from indie brands like Circa Vintage to top French fashion labels like Vanessa Bruno.
  3. Pixie Market – Pixie is great when you’re looking for fun, current staples without breaking the bank. Kind of like a TopShop meets Asos meets Urban Outfitters.
  4. Ten Over 6 – With upscale finds like Tolstoy books and designer fragrances by Olo, Ten Over 6 is one of my latest obsessions.
  5. Net-a-porter – Oh, Net-a-Porter, I could spend a hundred hours (and my entire life savings) shopping your site. Curated with the best-of-the-best, NP specializes in designer ready-to-wear (hence, the name).
  6. ShopBop – An oldie but goodie – and ever so fashionable with everything from L’Egance to Rory Beca to Jason Wu.
  7. Revolve Clothing – Based in LA, this super-boutique is similar to Shopbop and has a all of my favorite brands, including Alice + Olivia, Equipment, Joie, SEE by Chloe, and Vince .
  8. Barney’s – When all else fails, go to Barney’s. Or just start there. Either way you’ll be smitten.
  9. Colette – If you can’t get to Paris to shop this a-list concept boutique, visit their shop online. I love Colette’s curated jewelry pieces, including this gold Eddie Borgo cuff.
  10. Singer22 – Stock up on Rag & BoneParker and other celebrity faves at this fashion staple.
  11. Supermarket HQ – Fresh indie designs and accessories straight from designers. Like Etsy, but better. Current obsession on Supermarket: waxed canvas totes by Peg and Awl ($280).
  12. True & Co – If you can’t heat up the temps outside, heat up the bedroom with some flirty lingerie. True & Co customizes recommendations and sends you a bunch of items to chose from. Keep what you like, return what you don’t.
  13. Erica Weiner – I’ve been buying Erica Weiner jewelry since she first popped up in a few East Village boutiques in 2006. I’ve gone through 3 handcuff necklaces ($50) and adore her dainty/edgy style. Perfect for a downtown girly-girl.

Music to Jet To: 12 Albums to Download Before Your Next Flight (date, or dinner party…)

Old Fashioned Music Player Illustration by Cristian Amoretti on Shutterstock

One of my favorite things about traveling is the time spent in that anonymous-yet-familiar place high above the clouds. I get some of my best writing and reflection done at 35,000 feet – earphones on, journal out. And even though I’m no music expert, having good tunes on my iPod is critical to getting me into the groove. These are some of my go-tos when it comes to travel music (if there is such a thing). They also happen to be excellent tunes for working, lounging, entertaining, and just about anything that needs a mellow-but-rhythmic soundtrack: (In order from slowest to fastest.)

  1. Gem Club, Breakers – Slow, moody and dark. Love this album for writing to. 
  2. Bon Iver, Bon Iver – If you don’t know Bon Iver, please just download. 
  3. The National, High Violet – Dark, soft, indie rock.
  4. Angus & Julia Stone, Down the Way – Julia Stone is my favorite artist right now. Her music is airy, light and soulful.
  5. Massive Attack, Heligoland – The original trip-hop group delivers electronica at its finest in this beautiful and delicate album.
  6. Frank Ocean, Orange – Soulful R&B with a dash of synth.
  7. The xx, Coexist – Indie electronic/dream-pop.  The xx is one of those bands that you either get or you don’t. In my opinion they are one of the greatest groups of our generation, and this album might even be better than their first.
  8. Waldeck, Ballroom Stories – Jazzy, swingy, soulful R&B. Great for dinner parties.
  9. Best of Hôtel Costes by Stephanè Pompougnac – I have almost all of the Costes albums after hearing one at the hotel in Paris. This compilation features latin infused and electronic beats.
  10. Cat Power, Sun – Cat creates her own brand of magical indie pop with this soothing, upbeat album.
  11. Chromatics, Kill for Love – Where do I begin? The Chromatics are another favorite group of mine but they’re not for the faint of heart. Best described as dark, electro-pop-slash-disco, this album includes a remake of Neil Young’s Into the Black.
  12. Miike Snow, Miike Snow – Indie electronic. Another album that will go down as one of the best of our time; Miike snow perfectly balances rock, pop and electronic.

Climb… Is all we know.

It’s been nearly 12 years since I left California for New York. 13 years since the days when my friends and I would drive to the top of Skyline Drive in Cowan Heights to escape whatever it was that we wanted to escape that day: school, work, family, boyfriends, whatever. We used to sneak into an abandoned mansion at the top of the hill, share stories, dreams… bottles of Boone’s.

Now, more than a dozen years later, there’s another mansion being erected on the property and another generation of dreamers parking along the cliffside shoulder.

Cowan Heights View, by Meagan Kirkpatrick

View from Cowan Heights overlooking Irvine / Photo by Meagan Kirkpatrick

I’ve always had a thing for heights. I’ve been taking flying trapeze classes for years and one of my favorite things to do is to stare out of airplane windows at the cities below. There’s just something so soothing and intoxicating about looking down at the world – at the days passed – and reflecting in a place that’s both familiar and anonymous.

Reflecting on the Past, Photos by Meagan KirkpatrickI can’t help but wonder though, why is it that we humans feel the need to look to the past for answers about the future? It’s like an invitation to carry all that weight with you wherever you go.

When I’m feeling deep and reflective, Bon Iver is at the top of my playlist. I can’t tell you how many times I listened to his self-titled album this week. Wash is one of my favorite tracks and the lyrics are the perfect companion for a skyline view.

Wash. Bon Iver

The trouble with facebook (abridged)…

…and blogs, and twitter, and instagram.

There could be an entire degree dedicated to the study of social media – what it means for society and how it affects us. But rather than attempt to get into that here, I’ll try and keep this focused on the debate about what people share on social and why.

After spending the last few years overseeing Social Media for one of the world’s coolest tech companies (IMO), what I do believe is that social media plays to attributes that were already in us: the need to be creative, the desires for affection and recognition, and to share and be social. And with all of these exciting new ways to express ourselves, we’ve become infinite storytellers of our own lives.

My instagram feed - the good stuff

The good side of my instagram feed. If only this were the whole story my life would be full of roses, wine & cupcakes.

But what happens when your social circle or people connected to you in various channels pick up only pieces of the story you’re telling? Or worse, when they compare the bits and pieces they know about your life to their own whole reality? Is there really a thing called Facebook depression?!

As a frequent recipient of the “I want your life!” email, tumblr, facebook, twitter or instagram message, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this. Especially as I feel like I’ve faced a wrath of personal challenges and depression over last 6 months and no one seemed to notice. Turning inward (where us closet introverts often turn for answers), I started looking at what I shared and why I shared certain things. Sure, go ahead and call this narcissism if you want. I prefer to call it self-reflection. Either way, I think the answer I came up with can apply to a vast number of people.

First let me clarify that anyone who knows me well knows that my life is far from perfect. But the thing about all these social networks is that in our effort to be expressive, share the beautiful things, the extraordinary, and the irreverent, sometimes we end up painting a picture of a life far more perfect than reality. Perhaps it’s intentional for some, but perhaps for others it’s just a coping mechanism: a way for us to focus on the good moments so that all of the other stuff feels less real – less permanent. 

There’s an age old belief that “history is written by the winner.” Now it seems it’s written by the creator.

My instagram feed - the not-so-good stuff

The not-so good side of my instagram: Hurricanes, power outages, and painful mistakes.

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