Today I compiled a little playlist in anticipation of our upcoming trip to Pantelleria. It’s filled with summery tunes that I believe will fit perfectly well to days spent looking out onto the sea. I will be back with more posts from the trip, I promise. Until then, happy listening!
Did you know that in Japan hydrangeas are almost as beloved as the cherry blossoms? While the cherry blossoms represent the beginning of spring, hydrangeas are inextricably connected to the rainy season in June. To celebrate the beginning of the new season, people venture to temples and parks to see the hydrangea flowers. If you find yourself in Tokyo in June, do it like the locals and keep your eyes open for these gorgeous flowers. Or, better yet, visit a hydrangea festival or Ajisai Matsuri as they are called in Japan.
Impressions from the Hydrangea Festival at Hakusan Shrine
One popular Ajisai Matsuri happens at Hakusan Shrine in Bunkyo every June. Thousands of hydrangea plants are on display and there are stalls selling drinks and food, as well as a couple of other festivities. I went there with a friend on a sunny Saturday in 2017. As you can see in the pictures below, we were in for a blissful sight. The huge bushes on the grounds of the shrine were in full bloom and many people were out and about, marveling at their beauty and trying to ban it on camera – just like me.
My last visit to New York was ages ago, but the city is still vivid in my mind. Looking through pictures I have taken in NYC, I started compiling a list of places in New York I would like to revisit on the next trip to NYC. The High Line came to mind immediately. So, I noted down some thoughts on why I love the High Line and some things to do nearby.
The High Line is no secret and on weekends it can overflow with New Yorkers and tourists alike. But, even then it offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. It is a very contemporary and yet nostalgic place. Walking amongst the young trees and bushes, looking down on the streets of Lower West Side and the Meatpacking District, I cannot help but wonder what the place must have been like before it became a park. What with the freight trains still frequenting the High Line and the warehouses still used as slaughterhouses and packing plants. While today more hypermodern buildings are springing up next to the tracks – especially in the northern parts. When the light is right, the place can genuinely feel like a rendering of a city from the future.
See Manhattan from a Different Vantage Point
In any case, walking along the High Line gives you a completely different perspective on Manhattan. Climb up one of the many stairs leading onto the tracks, and you suddenly find yourself 6 to 9 meters above street level. Here you can enjoy unique views onto the urban canyons of Manhattan and the buildings lining the former viaduct.
See NYC Stories Unfold on the High Line
The High Line is also a place where you can see NYC stories unfold. Just sit down on one of the benches or loungers and start observing the people populating the park. I am confident if you were to write a book about a sunny weekend or late weekday afternoon on the High Line, it would be full of entertaining stories and anecdotes.
Close Your Eyes and Forget that You Are in Manhattan
The soundtrack to all these stories is a mix of murmurs, screaming, and laughter. Close your eyes, and the place can sound like a public swimming pool or the shore of a lake. The chatter of the people, the splashing, and gurgling of water from one of the many fountains, the rustling of leaves in the wind. The sirens and noises from the traffic, so ubiquitous to Manhattan, suddenly start to feel very distant. For a moment you might forget that you are sitting in the midst of this densely populated island.
Remember to take a deep breath before you jump back into the fray!
Things to do near The High Line
The southern and middle part of the High Line goes right through the Lower West Side and Chelsea, so there are many things to do and see in the park’s surroundings. You will find an abundance of shops, restaurants, cafés, and bars in the vicinity. These are a couple of things I think you should not miss:
Visit the Whitney
In 2014 the Whitney Museum of American Art moved from its location on Madison Avenue into this building designed by Renzo Piano. While I have not yet had the chance to visit the museum at its new site, I have been to the old one, and the selection of art they had on display was stunning. If you are interested in American Art from the 20th and 21st century, this is a must see when you come to New York.
While you might not be able to afford most of the art on display at the art galleries in Chelsea, you might be able to purchase an artist book at Printed Matter Inc. The store is full to the brim with various books and printed publications, each of them an artwork in itself. You can spend hours browsing the store, and it’s worth coming back, as the stock is continually rotating. If you don’t have any space left for books in your luggage, don’t despair. They also sell tote bags, as well as postcards.
Chelsea Market is a vast indoor food hall can be super packed, but it’s worth a visit nonetheless. Grab a bite at one of the many food stalls – we tried the Tacos atLos Tacos No. 1, and they were very decent. Or, shop some delicacies to cook in your Airbnb or bring back home, or find some souvenirs in one of the non-food shops.
Calliope is the store of jewelry designer and Instagram Maven Caroline Ventura and her husband, Michael. In the store, they sell all kinds of contemporary and mid-century items made by artists and designers from around the world. Browse the store to find books, art, furniture or lightning and more. Also if you are lucky their super cute dog, Darryl might be there to greet you at the store.
The Empire Diner is an iconic New York City with a beautiful Art Deco Exterior and a lovingly restored and modernized interior. They serve classic American fare and prepare everything with high-quality ingredients. Try the Burger, the Sourdough Pretzel Fried chicken or the New York Pastrami Sandwich. Also, don’t miss out on the cocktails! As it’s a rather small space, you might want to get a reservation in advance.
When the evening has arrived and you still find yourself close to the High Line, head to the Jane Hotel for drinks. The whole hotel is unique, and if you are into the movies of Wes Anderson, you are in for a treat. While you might find better drinks in Manhattan, it’s the interior that makes this bar so very special.
Spring arrives and the good times begin, not only regarding the sunshine and the longer days but also fashion and beauty wise. This year it was an unusually warm April and May. So it already feels like summer. We skipped spring and moved our life back onto our large balcony. Also, I keep dreaming of our upcoming summer vacations on a remote island in the Mediterranean – more about that soon!
Oh, summer just is my favorite season. Also regarding fashion and beauty. Is there anything better than summer dresses, sandals, and summer skin? Unfortunately, this means that as soon as spring arrives, I start shopping – a lot. I try to adhere to my shopping rules, but this year I went a bit wild nonetheless. A trip to Berlin did not help. Out of all my purchases and new discoveries, I decided to share these summer fashion and beauty faves with you.
Some Summer Fashion and Beauty Faves 2018
1. Protective Facial Lotion by Aesop (PR-Sample*)
Finally, Aesop released a facial lotion with SPF-30 in Europe. It’s no secret that it’s important to wear some SPF on your face all the time. Especially on sunny days, I would not leave the house without sunscreen. Since my skin gets so much better, as soon the temperatures rise, on most days I can skip the toned foundation. So, after applying some serum and moisturizer, I just layer my face with this super light but effective sunscreen.
2. Uniqlo Cotton T-Shirt Dress
I bought this simple T-Shirt dress at Uniqlo in Berlin. It’s already one of my most worn outfits this spring. As soon as it’s warm enough to go without pants, I will wear it. I am certain that it will be one of my absolute favorites all through summer. It’s just so effortless and perfect!
3. Suzani Garden Eye Shadow Palette
I love most of the Eye Shadow Palettes by & Other Stories. They have the perfect color combinations, and I feel like that are decent quality, too. This particular palette seemed a bit bold at first. But in reality, the colors are not as bright as they seem. I like to apply the pink on my eyelids. Then I add a small amount of the green or gold shade under the eyes.
4. Crossover Sandals
I ordered these Sandals from Everlane as an alternative to my Birkenstocks. It’s always a bit risky to order shoes online, but they fit perfectly. The leather is super smooth and they were produced under fair conditions at a small factory in Italy. I look forward to wearing them to the office or when we go out to a bar or nice restaurant in summer.
*Disclaimer: This was a PR-Sample I was sent by Aesop Switzerland. All options remain my own.
Long time no Friday Edit. So, what happened in life recently? Winter seemed to be never-ending, and I felt stuck in Zurich, so I went to Berlin for a week to see friends and explore the city with the boyfriend. It was just what I needed. And, only a few days later I found myself in Leipzig with my best friend. I might dedicate some individual posts to those two trips soon. For now, let me say that getting out of your hometown definitely helps to get you out of a rut.
Fortunately, after I got back from Leipzig, spring arrived in Zurich and brought back green leaves, my good mood and my love for this city. By the end of this week, it already feels more like summer than spring – and I enjoy every ray of sun I can catch. I hope the weather is equally great wherever you are and that you will be spending your free days in the sun. Nevertheless, here are some links, songs, books and other things from the past weeks you might want to check out during the weekend. Enjoy!
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart & 2 Songs You Have to Listen to
I discovered a band called the Pains of Being Pure at Heart back when Facebook did not yet exist, and everyone was still hanging out on Myspace – yes, I am that old. I still love what they do and keep going to their concerts whenever they play in town. It’s great fun. So, I obviously enjoyed reading Kip’s account of their first gig at a festival in Spain in 2009.
I rediscovered one of my all-time favourite songs, “With Whiskey” by Tunng. I don’t know what it is about this one, but its melody and lyrics touch me every time I hear it.
Fakear was often on my headphones while walking the streets of Tokyo. Now he released a new album and this song called “Something Wonderful” that he recorded with Ana Zimmer is perfect for this weather.
Terrace House, the NYT Gender Letter & 80s Faves in the Light of #metoo
I am obsessed with Terrace House, that reality show from Japan you might have come across on Netflix. Is so relaxing to watch and lots of fun to hear Japanese. I also love how differently people interact compared to Western reality shows. Read more about the show and why it’s brilliant in this article in The New Yorker or head over to Netflix to watch it!
The Gender Letter – a weekly newsletter by New York Times Gender Editor, Jessica Bennett, sounds super promising – you can subscribe here or find a sample newsletter here.
Molly Ringwald wrote a brilliant piece for The New Yorker about the movies she filmed with John Hughes in the 1980s and what it feels like to revisit them in the light of #metoo.
Manhattan, a Parisian Bookstore & Restaurant Loos
This week I finished Manhattan by Niklas Maak & Leanne Shapton that I picked up in Berlin – they walk from the southern tip of Manhattan all the way up to the north and document the things they see in words and water-colours. It’s one of those books I wish I had written.