Author Archives: sans map

of shadows and moonlight

In the darkness, gently swaying back and forth I hum a melody at almost a whisper. So familiar now, it feels like an extension of me; the sounds exit my body without effort.

Light flickers into the room from cracks between the closed blinds. I feel a tiny hand reach to grab mine, a head rested peacefully on my shoulder; a busy day is coming to it’s sleepy end.

All is still, all is well; we haven’t a care in the world.

I never tired of these sweet moments. I smile. In the shadows of moonlight.

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you are unlimited.

…that is what my yogi tea tag said to me. I like it. It’s a positive phrase that can mean so many  things to different people; and for me, it’s filled with hope. Or maybe it is just the ringing in of a New Year that always brings sentimentalality…

The sidewalks are quiet, the leaves still rustle about and squirrels hop from tree to tree in search of the ever-elusive nut.  There is no snow in sight. It’s winter here in North Carolina, my new home.

Leaving Brooklyn wasn’t easy. I played things out in my head for weeks and months and doubted the decision to move too many times to count. NYC is a place that can be so easily loved and hated simultaneously. But once we were gone, after all the boxes were unpacked and sorted and when Brooklyn seemed far, far away, I felt a sense of space and calm that I haven’t felt in a long time. The daily demands of a job in Manhattan, the commute, the long hours and fierce competition had been dragging and picking away at me for years; my heart was never in it…My studio space had been long gone for months, my supplies boxed up in storage and rent was getting steeper by what felt like the minute. In all certainty, something had to give…

In my lifetime, I’ve called nine different cities home, spanning across 2 continents, 4 countries, 4 states and 30+ years. Brooklyn was different though, and you become a believer. I always thought we would stay, I did. At some point though, we lost sense of what it was all for and perhaps a tiny peice of my subconscious self always knew the truth anyway.

So our wallets lighter and our senses confused we’re gone from a place we loved, but knew could never last, and it was for all the right reasons. Our feet landed firmly on this southern soil, we’re excited and oh so happy to be here…what will happen next?

If you are still here with us, thank you for believing in us. We believe in you.

xo

walking on cloud nine

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I’ve been really terrible at keeping up with my blog. I can’t tell you how many photos I’ve taken with the intention of posting…I have literally hundreds. It’s just unfortunate that I never can seem to put aside the time to share them all. Hey, we can’t do it all, all the time, right?

This year of the dragon has had quite a whirlwind start in our neck of the woods. I can hardly believe it’s almost the middle of April…time sure does fly!

We are super excited to be expecting our very first bundle of joy this September and we just found out yesterday we’ll be welcoming a little boy to our family! We’re walking on cloud nine…

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Today is a day that from a religious standpoint; I don’t give too much attention to, but wish I could be spending it with my family. So in place of family time, my husband and I made an awesome brunch and took a lovely stroll through Prospect Park. The weather was amazing and I had lots of time to play with my new camera.

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Embarking on a new journey is a tremendously exciting thing, it evokes many emotions and new changes and we’re super excited for what’s to come…

you’ll find us walking on cloud nine…

Sans Map studio revealed !!

A rather uncharacteristic and hasty decision that I made a month ago put keys in my hands to a new studio space. No longer confined to working out of my apartment with distractions-a-plenty, I now have a space I can call my own.

…i think i’ll change that ol’ saying to “haste makes waste-not-always”. it was the dreamer in me giving my calculated and mostly-careful self a big kick in the ass. (and it worked!)

The building:

My studio space is nestled on the 3rd floor of an industrial building in Crown Heights (which is the neighborhood just next to me, literally 4 blocks away) in Brooklyn, built in the 1880’s – formerly occupied by Budweiser Brewery, later home to many businesses including Heinz (57 varieties) and a locker metalwork manufacturer, it was most recently Monti Storage and Moving. Remnants of the days gone by are still visible on the front of the building (that, and a healthy dose of graffiti).

It was bought by a local company in 2007 and renovated to be a completely ‘Green’ building. The roof is fitted entirely with solar panels and 4,000 sq feet of green roofing landscape (native plants, grasses, etc.) – the solar energy powers the entire building electricity – and from what I understand, then some. The heating is low temperature radiant floor heating using energy efficient condensing gas boilers. Eco-friendly and salvaged materials and low VOC paints were used in construction of the building. And get this – rainwater flushes our toilets!

I found a really interesting article that says this building was (and probably still is) a leader in commercial solar panel roofing with a net-metered system – which actually generates electricity for our building and puts some back into the grid. In 2008, it was the largest commercial solar panel of it’s kind. Pretty cool, huh?

Check out the article: http://gogreenstaygreen.com/news/new-york-city-first-net-metered-commercial-solar-array-americas-biggest/

The studio:

I have my own space within a huge studio that I share with several other creative-types ranging from painters, graphic designers to writers and video game creators. It’s a very calm space with super high ceilings, two large windows along the back wall which is all exposed brick. I spend evenings and weekends at the studio and as of late have had the place to myself. Normally only one or two other people are there at the same time as me which is totally fine either way because everyone is extremely friendly.

Here are a few photos:

(psssst – did you notice something else that is different? how about that handsome juki industrial walking foot sewing machine you see!? i’ve only had it a couple weeks, but i think i’m in love. it’s a.maze.ing.)

Until next time my lovelies!!

xo c

Urban Composting

This was originally posted on May 19th on www.thenewnew.blogspot.com where I am a contributing writer……

The rain showers here in NYC haven’t let up in what seems weeks. If you are anything like me, your overall summertime morale hasn’t benefited from all this precipitation, but the flowers, gardens and lawns sure have. My own urban garden is growing so fast, lush and green it’s amazing!
 
Gardening is one of my favorite DIY hobbies. Such satisfaction from planting tiny little seeds, taking care of them, feeding the soil and watching everything grow! I used to think I didn’t have much of a green thumb, but those days are a changin’ my friends. Like anything else, the more you work at it the more you learn over time.
 
 
After covering the basics, the next logical step in my gardening journey is composting. For some reason composting had always intimidated me, I have always felt that you have to really ‘know what you are doing’ to get results….I sort of chuckle thinking about that now, because it’s actually pretty easy. You throw stuff in a bin, mix it up once in a while and you get beautiful lush fertilizer. It just takes a little elbow grease and patience (and of course knowing your ‘greens’ and your ‘browns’)! Not only is it organic, it reduces your garbage output and it’s totally free.
 
Urban composting can be done indoors or outdoors in various different ways, in small spaces and large. You can make it work for you, your lifestyle and your space. To fend off my composting fears (like how do I prevent a stinky bin, what about rats and flies and stuff…?) I attended a composting workshop held by the Lower East Side Ecology Center (through the NYC Compost Project). It gave me the confidence to go for it on my own and have been working mine for just over a month now!

My metal compost bin + what I added today (before it got a good stir!)

 
Don’t have enough space, time or resources to compost yourself – but want to put your organic waste to good use?
 
Several of the city’s Greenmarkets are running a pilot composting collection program. You can save your compost materials (like your veggie scraps, coffee grinds or eggshells) and bring them to the collection site. Did you know that over the past nine weekends they have collected almost 50,000 pounds of food scraps in Brooklyn and Manhattan? That is a ton of waste being kept out of New York City’s garbage turned into useful nutrients.

Even if your urban garden is your windowsill or your fire escape it’s enough space to have a DIY garden all your own. Carve out a little piece of green :)

Happy gardening!

Useful composting resources + links for NYC residents:

Now go out there and get your hands dirty!!

Until next time…..

5 {easy} steps towards being green


living a ‘greener’, more socially and environmentally responsible lifestyle isn’t the easy way out, and it takes some effort, i know…but there a lots of super easy little things you can do that will add up over time. i truly think that what i do makes a difference (even if some people roll their eyes and scoff at that). if even only just one millionth of a sliver of a difference. but it’s something.

let’s say that today, you don’t do anything more than casually recycle but don’t consciously make big changes or efforts to help the environment or to reduce waste. it happens…i’m not judging, but just don’t tell me you don’t have time. because i’m going to give you 5 easy things you can do to work towards a ‘greener’ lifestyle that don’t take any extra effort at all.

#1 – stop using paper napkins.
my hubby and i cook dinner and have a sit down meal everyday. we used to use paper napkins or paper towels  – until about 3 years ago when we ditched them forever. we now use only cloth napkins…and we don’t necessarily wash them after every meal, or everyday, but probably once every week or so (we have a lot) – so it never causes extra loads of laundry. it’s like a couple of extra pairs of socks in the laundry. no biggie, right?

#2 – don’t buy bottled water.
i drink a lot of water at home – and on the go. i’m hate to admit it, but we used to buy those gigantic packs of water at costco all the time. we always had water on hand chilling in the fridge. i cringe just thinking about it….we are now total Brita converts. just try it out. i promise you’ll like it, it isn’t any extra work, really, it becomes an easy routine!! i fill the Brita pitcher without even thinking about what i’m doing half the time, it just happens now…and the filters are 100% recyclable (in partnership with Preserve). and go out and get yourself a beautiful sigg stainless steel water bottle for on the go!

#3 – buy tree-free or 100% recycled toilet paper.
this one literally takes zero effort. many tree-free paper products are made out of sugarcane pulp (called bagasse,  it’s the residue left over after the sugar is extracted – not only is it a by-product, it’s a 100% biodegradable byproduct – a double whammy!).  and it’s easy to find, duane reade sell a 75% tree-free toilet paper. yeah, it’s not the softest stuff ever, but why cut down trees and use virgin wood for your ass? …and for something you use for less than a minute and then immediately throw away? you know i have a point….

#4 – use reuseable shopping bags.
this one takes minimal effort – actually the most effort is actually in remembering to bring the bags to the store in the first place. i hate it when i forget. but it’s not like anyone is asking us to remember and recite the constitution or anything….get cute ones from baggu, envirosax or muji (my favorite) or make your own! most tuck away and fold up easily so you can keep one stuffed in the bottom of your bag or in your car…easy peasy, right?

#5 – go paperless.
are you still getting paper bills in the mail? you are, really? (i’m not judgin’, i’m just sayin’!…) …along with all the other junk those companies send out (that we immediately dismiss) we don’t need a physical memory that we owe someone money. you know and i know, we have to pay them regardless. so stop cutting down trees! most banks / credit card companies offer paperless billing these days and easy 24/7 access to your bill online. my bank even has what they call a ‘green’ checking account – which i use and love…it’s entirely paperless, no bills, statements, paper ads, notices, nothing. in fact, i don’t receive any paper bills from any companies at all in the mail (although i think my neighbor is making up for it with the amount of crap he gets daily and abandons on the floor…make it stop!!).

so what do you think? it’s an easy enough start, right? …it’s always better to do something small than nothing at all. maybe there are other things you may find easier to incorporate into your daily life, and that’s great!
we all have busy schedules and no one wants to make life more complicated, but i think these 5 things are pretty simple, and can be very impactful.

want to learn more?
these websites can help you get you going:
national geographic green guide
the green living blog
eco chick blog
planet green
tree hugger

reduce, reuse, recycle!