Urban Cowboy

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Home on the range…in New York City. Urban Cowboy is a luxury bed and breakfast townhouse and Adirondack style cabin in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg ‘hood. Four bedrooms, a spacious open kitchen, pot belly stoves, and beautifully exposed brick await you.

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In the backyard you’ll spy the cabin, which boasts an eight person hot tub as well as an outdoor sitting area. The Cowboy behind the creation is Lyon Porter. He bought the place and transformed it into the authentic, engaging oasis that it is today. 

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Your options begin with The Dream Catcher at $100 a night to the entire B&B for $2,000 a night. Giddy up!

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Images via Urban Cowboy

 

What A Wonderful World

My best friend is always asking: what does it all mean? She usually sends me a text with the acronym WDIAM, most often following a funny experience in this thing called life. It always makes me laugh. What does it all mean? I swear, I’m not even going down an existential road here. I just recognize all of these moments we breathe in. Do we really breathe them out? I sure do hope so. I think that is one of the keys to unlock the door to your own yellow brick road.

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The past few weeks shook up my little world, ultimately for the better, that’s for sure. But it was a mini moment, as I stood in line for a coffee while wearing red sandals, when the simple magic of now showed up. A sweet young girl with big blue eyes tugged on her mom’s hand, gave a wide-eyed gaze at my shoes and exclaimed:  Are you Dorothy? It’s really Dorothy! The mom and I shared a look and the next thing I knew I was clicking my heels three times in a row, smiling right back at the cute kid. Sometimes all you need is a bit of wonder to get to the meaning of the moment.

Image Credit: Kympham

Open Your Heart

Where do you go when the going gets tough? Do you have places and people and good habits that remind you of YOU?

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A few weeks ago I had a health “scare.” It took me out of my body and into a cloud of silent panic, at least for a few minutes. But then I began to breathe. To move. To listen. To learn what caused it and to learn what I could do to move forward and heal. Everything is connected – in our bodies and emotions, in our daily interactions with loved ones and strangers alike. I remembered to remember. I remembered to remember to be fancy free. I remembered to remember to set boundaries with people who haven’t yet cultivated self-awareness. I remembered to remember to do more of the things I love to do. Catching waves in salt water, strolling through Spanish moss, and being with my family got me to my center. On those shores of South Carolina, where my heart grew as a child, I remembered how dang lucky I am to be alive. Oh, and I did whole lot of yoga because I love it. Open your heart to the world. Do what you love. Don’t wait another single second.

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Image Credits: Jenny Graham

 

Santorini, Greece

A few years ago I spent part of the Fall into Winter season in Santorini with three of my most cherished friends. I blogged a bit about it, but fell into a fountain of memories this week after coming across a file of photos, from a real camera, no less! The power of color and nature are captured in these snapshots from a balcony by the sea.

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Image Credits: Jenny Graham

Mara Hoffman: Resort Swim 2015

Mara Hoffman is my spirit animal. Her use of color and unlimited creativity coupled with the fact that she is a fellow former dancer, well, I’ll just always adore her work. We all reap the benefits of her passion for travel and risk taking as her designs continuously embody a je ne sais quoi. Take a peek if you haven’t experienced the rainbow of flavor.

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Images via Mara Hoffman

The Graham & Co.

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This naturally caught my eye as my last name is Graham. I clicked and looked and now I am hooked. The Graham & Co. is a hip and luxurious hideaway hotel in the Catskills, a two and a half hour drive from New York City. The founders are a group of creatives from Brooklyn who revamped an old motel into a design lover’s oasis.

graham stoolsClean lines and simple, smart details make up the beautiful rooms. Amenities are reminiscent of summer camp with free bikes, campfires, tubes in a pool and 80′s inspired lounge chairs. The Graham & Co. knows the recipe of fun.

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Let’s all wash away our work week with this affordable, hip gateway to playtime. Hey, they even give you a beer upon check-in. Cheers!

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Images via The Graham & Co.

Born To Be Wild

Growing up, my Dad drove my brothers and me on hundreds of family camping and vacation trips. Every single journey began with the tapping of his hands on a wheel of a Ford wagon while belting acapella: Get your motor running / Head out on the highway / Looking for adventure / And whatever comes our way. Then and now he lives by example of always expressing a confident voice…always chatting up the stranger…always letting the freak flag fly…always choosing to live at the edge. It’s in my blood, and I love it. Of all of the countries I’ve traversed thus far in 2014, Iceland and Indonesia are the anchors of the beacons of living on the edge.

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“The Edge. There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who know where it is are the ones who have gone over.” – Hunter S. Thompson

Core Strength

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Everyone has a range of abilities, but the things that we do just because we are good at them, or because other people value them, may not be the things that make us happy. These strengths are simply a means to an end. True fulfillment comes from building our lives on our core strengths, the ones we most enjoy using.

But how do we start to identify these specific abilities among all the tasks we complete every day? One good way is to ask yourself a series of open-ended questions, such as:

  • What do I love doing?
  • When am I happiest and most in-the-moment?
  • What makes me unique, in each area of life?
  • Try finishing these sentences: “I am really good at…”, “I find it easy to…”, “Faced with a challenge, the way I approach it is…”, “The talents that I use are…”

It may also be illuminating to ask your friends, family and colleagues where they believe your strengths lie.

Core strengths generally fall into the three key areas of play, personal and work. But of these, the personal area is fundamental. It might include optimism, generosity, energy, empathy, or honesty. These comprise the background of every activity you undertake.

The work area does not simply include paid employment, but all purposeful activity. Strengths in this area may include organization and planning, time management, leadership or problem-solving. In the play area, your strengths may include sporting talents, creative abilities, competitiveness, or social factors such as being a great host and putting people at their ease, or allowing others to open up and share their problems.

Look for common themes across the areas of your life.

Successful people exploit their strengths and avoid putting pressure on their weaknesses. But how best to bring your core strengths to the forefront of your life?

  • When possible, say no to tasks that do not play to your strengths. Your weaknesses are somebody else’s talents.
  • Take a step to bring one of your personal strengths to work or play. For example, your family life may benefit from some of the cheerfulness you show at work.
  • Keep taking small steps until there are fewer discrepancies.
  • Let go of activities you don’t enjoy. Anything which you approach with a feeling of dread, after a long period of procrastination, is not playing to your core strengths, so delegate when you can.
  • Aim to spend the majority of your time on core strengths.
  • Cultivate relationships with those who support you, show curiosity, and make you feel fired up.

Your talents are unique — nothing can take them away. But they will fade with time if they are ignored. The more you choose to honor and develop your special gifts, the more you enhance every aspect of your own life as well as the lives of the people around you.

Note: Original content by Jane Collingwood via this link but has been condensed and edited for this blog post. Image Credit: JBD / Iceland 2013.

Instant Memory

polaroid-z2300-instant-digital-camera-02By far, Instagram is my favorite form of social media sharing. There are moments captured on camera that I wish I could print in an instant. Well, the latest addition to the Polaroid instant digital camera line, the Z2300, features an integrated printer with ZINK® Technology, enabling users to instantly capture, edit and—in less than a minute—print full-color, 2″ x 3″ prints. The camera uploads images to any social media platform with no computer connection needed, and the 3″ LCD display allows you to view and crop images and apply filters or custom borders. Fun and brilliant, right?

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