Kindness and Secret Philanthropy

Now more than ever, we need to be kind. We need to show compassion daily. We need more love in this world. We cannot become hardened to tragedy. We must all have a mother's spirit when an innocent person dies, when our children are forced to bear the burden of adult pain.

I have been grieving over the victims that died in Newtown, Connecticut. The innocent babies, their laughter and wide-eyed wonder gone. Why? Why do people do bad things? Why do we do bad things? What small and big moments lead us to evil? 

I don't know but I'm sad and confused over this, and all I can grasp right now are the words of wisdom that I hear echoing in my head:

We must be kind. We must show compassion, and be standards of positivity. We must work to support each others' brilliance, and the differences that often cover and support it. We must edify each other constantly, even if we don't understand. We must hug and love freely, and practice empathy until it becomes an instinct. There are too many people in this world for anyone to feel alone, and life can end too soon.

I don't do enough. I don't give enough or smile enough or love enough. I am not as free as I could be, and the world is waiting. There is a piece of God missing, and it is because I am afraid to let it loose. We must all work hard to not be afraid. We must let our truths fly. The universe's interdependence cannot be taken lately. We all really do need each other.


In the spirit of giving love, I was recently given an amazing opportunity by Etsy to do something philanthropic and wonderful. Inspired by The Secret Society for Creative Philanthropy, they gave me $100 and told me to use it in a charitable way for people I don't know. I could give it to a stranger walking down the street, or leave a bunch of $20 bills in random places. The choice was mine. I decided to break my $100 into smaller amounts, and incorporate my love of food, music and creativity into this project. I also wanted to stay within my neighborhood in the North Bronx. I truly love this neighborhood, and the people in it.

With $5, I bought a holiday card, and asked some of my fellow Etsy co-workers to write well-wishes to a random stranger. Then, I taped the card inside of a canopied bus stop in my neighborhood for someone/anyone/everyone to read and enjoy.

Then, I bought five $10 gift cards from my local grocery store. Along with these, I asked Etsy for five of their tote bags to give with the cards. There's really no need for plastic grocery bags, is there?

Next, I bought three $15 iTunes gift cards, and in of them put inside a paper with 15 of my favorite songs.

There were a few people who refused to accept these gifts. I understand. Many New York City residents are always on some level of defense. In this big city, we need to be. Nevertheless, kindness with no strings attached should still be spread freely. Caution and community can go hand-in-hand. 

I'm grateful for the people that accepted my gifts. For a brief moment, they trusted a stranger. Perhaps they had faith that what I was saying was true, or perhaps they really needed money for food and had no choice but to accept a free grocery gift card. Perhaps they just needed a friend, or a happy, unexpected diversion from an otherwise confusing life, if only for a few brief seconds.

For whatever reason they chose to accept my gifts, giving made me feel good.

This project inspired something in me that I hope to grow. I aim to be a builder of hope, and aim to provide a safe space for kindness, even if it is with a smile or a listening ear. The world desperately needs it, and so do I.

Present Rhythm

These are the things that I'm currently thinking about, in no particular order:

- late-night phone conversations that fill me with hope; that are filled with hope
- uncorrupted dreams
- wild ambition, the kind that kingdoms are built on
- movies that linger ("The Iron Lady," "Paris is Burning," "The New World")

- supreme knowingness
- the frailty of humanity.
- destiny
- halal food is amazing, but (I think) my face is getting fat
- imperfections
- acceptance (?)

- "mistakes" that could be impossible to correct
- fear
- money, and my current apathy toward it
- the implications of indifference
- the fear of a theoretical edge
- the fear of falling, but the uncertainty of where or what I may fall to if I do fall
- vulnerability
- the true meaning of freedom (I don't have the answer to this)

- success, and the amount of work needed to attain it
- happiness versus discipline
- Michelle Obama
- genuine spirits
- politics
- vision

- strategies for winning
- methodical mindsets
- unwavering conviction
- a trust in one's spirit

- swing-dancing
- hamburgers and red wine
- a quest for good beer
- family and family responsibility
- singing and vocal chords.
- jealousy
- power, and an imaginary throne
- an obsessive search for validation (why?)

What I'm wearing:
  • Shirt - thrifted
  • Scarf - thrifted
  • Jeans - vintage, from Rags-A-Go-Go
  • Shoes - vintage, from Vice Versa
  • Bag - thrifted
That's it.

Flight Patterns

I went to California two weeks ago for The CHA Winter Conference & Trade Show, and took these photos on the plane ride back. Flying is so supernatural. My eyes aren't accustomed to seeing such beauty.

Doesn't the fourth photograph look like a blanket of snow? These photographs, of course, are not shot in the same location. They are probably thousands of miles apart. It's so interesting to see how unique the designs in each cloud formations are. I would love to have a book filled with nothing but pages and pages of different clouds in the sky.

Seize the treasure of a cloudy afternoon. The next time you have one, go outside and look up...


Last week, I went shopping at Purl Soho and at a few thrift stores in the Bronx. Here are two of the things I found.

- A picture book called "There Was A Hill" by Lark Carrier. The pictures are dreamy and beautiful, and I love its simple plot. Here's the beginning:

- A very large crochet hook. It's glittery and huge, and I want to make something huge with it. I don't what that will be just yet.


Last month, I found a cool, colorful, beaded purse from a thrift store in Brooklyn. It contained probably hundreds of beads.

I cut the beads from the purse, and added them to my new button/bead jar. I have a dream of creating a bunch of beautiful, beaded necklaces. One day.

I purchased the big, lovely jar from a store called Fishs Eddy, which is one of my favorite stores in New York City. It's filled with beautiful kitchenware and home decor items. I can spend a long time wandering in there.

Along with the big jar, I purchase two smaller ones, one for my loose change and another for my felted beads.

Now, time to create!


I wish that my words were a song. I wish that the characters I am typing could sing with each press.

There is something so alluring about worship. It seems utterly inhuman, yet it is the most instinctual part of me. Spiritual reverence, in its widest, most inclusive form, is the closest thing we have to touching the unknowing that surrounds us. In the unknowing lies our dreams, the feelings we can't articulate; the moments that can only be described as "mmm." It beautifully transcends human knowledge, and this transcendence creates a feeling in the pit of my stomach, which is like a glowing, pulsating burden.

One of my life goals is to be able to articulate the experience of worship, the feeling of open wonderment, from beginning to end. I want to put into words the gasps and shivers that I remember as a child, when the music would play and I would hear people begin to whisper their prayers; then the music would slowly rise with the cries of the craving, and we would all get caught up in feelings that flowed like waves of oil. I felt immersed in worship then. I felt like I was enclosed in a warm cocoon, with the heartbeat of God pressed against my body. These memories captivate me because everything around me now is so tactile. Everything is so firm and present, and I sometimes want to be swallowed up in a mouth of warm tears. I want to breathe Hallelujah, and drift in it. 

Pale light, pale light: illuminate my soul.

*In the photographs I am wearing a thrifted shirt, a handmade necklace (with beads from a thrifted seat cushion), pants from Levi's (also seen here), my brother's socks and vintage shoes from Meeps.