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Tag Archives: Iphone
About a year ago, the last of my friends without a smart phone finally gave in. He had been so proud (or obstinate, rather) about his flip phone. When we met up for a catch up drink, I didn’t even notice him pull out his iPhone until he asked, “Notice anything?” while waving it in front of my face.
Of course, I congratulated him joining the rest of us in 21st century New York.
The truth is, I couldn’t imagine navigating life in NYC without my smart phone. From the time I started searching for apartments, I had a Blackberry to help me travel from one tiny apartment to the next without a map.
Now I use my iPhone all day long: in the morning to meditate, check the weather, and even check my email before I get out of bed. (Yes, I’m a person who does that.) I catch up on the rest of the mail that has come in between 7 and 9am while I wait for my smoothie at Liquiteria. Then I place it by my desk where it will alert me with a lit screen if I have text messages from friends or dates.
But it’s on the weekends that I really need it. What’s the quickest way to get to my friend’s apartment situated in that “up-and-coming” neighborhood in Brooklyn? Is the train actually running? OK, it’s not, which one should I take instead? “Ah I’m running late, srry! 15 mins!” What’s the best route by bike to the South Street Seaport? Where’s a good bar nearby? Where should I stand on the subway platform for quickest exit? Which seafood on this menu is sustainable? I’m standing at the farmers market and need a recipe for squash blossoms, help, Epicurious! Just spent $15 at the farmers market, need to note it down for my budget. Me and J. are together at this amazing brunch spot, here’s a pic of our breakfast cocktails. Jealous much?
Obviously, it’s a useful thing to have. But even when I don’t need it, I’m still pulling it out of my pocket, like a worry stone with an LCD screen. An extra minute without something to pull my attention means it’s time to check my mail and stare jealously at A.’s beautiful Instagram pics.
So imagine my horror when I landed at London Heathrow last Saturday and my iPhone’s top left corner only said “Searching…” No! Please, let it work. I need to Instagram the Eiffel Tower! I want to check in at French restaurants and have a map of the metro at my fingertips! But some quick research on my laptop at Heathrow revealed I was SOL.
I, however, am an optimist who loves to read O Magazine articles on how to connect with one’s inner life. I could do this. I could live for a week in a foreign city–in which I wasn’t totally sure I could still have a conversation or even string together sentences–take the metro, meet up at appointed times and just generally function on a basic level. I just needed a flip phone with basic calling and texting functions, and my brain (I hoped) would handle the rest.
Here’s what I discovered:
I interacted with France. As I stood on the platform Monday morning for my first solo trip, and I had nothing to occupy me. I glanced around, and accidentally caught the eye of a French guy across the platform. He smiled at me, and I looked shyly away. When I boarded the train, I looked out the window for lack of anything else to do, and I saw him again. He waved goodbye as the train left the station.
“I forgot that French men hit on you all the time,” I told D. when I met up with her for lunch, telling her what happened. “That hasn’t happened to me!” she said. My guess is that her having her nose always in a Kindle or iPhone makes her unapproachable. Perhaps I should do that same in NYC?
I exercised my brain. D. equipped me with Paris Pratique, which lists every rue in Paris in an index, with a corresponding square in a grid on a neighborhood map. Each time I wanted to get somewhere, I would look up the street, turn to the page, search the square for the street, and then find the nearest metro stations in order to plan my route.
Maybe it sounds crazy, but I quickly grew to love this little brain teaser. Sometimes I chose a longer route than I could have. But doing it this way felt so satisfying. Of course, you could brand me as a tourist as soon as I pulled the little book of maps out of my pocket, but c’est la vie.
Don’t ask me why these books are hanging from this tree by Saint Germain. I couldn’t tell you.
I got lost (but that’s OK). This requires a back story: D. and I were at a lovely little wine bar one night when we met a pair of Danish guys. (Not “Denmarkian,” as I accidentally called them. Oof.) They were in the exact same situation as us, with one living and working in Paris, and the other visiting for the week. Adam and Adam were their names. So Adam #1–as I would come to call him—and I made plans to hang out together the next day while both our friends worked.
When we met up the next day, he was all for just wandering around, getting lost. But it was drizzling on and off, and I had my sights set on the Pompidou. Using my little map, I led us confidently toward the famous modern art museum.
“Are you sure this is the right way?” Adam asked once, looking at his phone. I consulted my map. “Yup! We’re headed right down this big street,” I told him. We continued to walk, talking and folding away our umbrellas as the weather cleared. Twenty minutes later, I looked again and realized we had been heading in the exact opposite direction. “Crap!” I cried. “I totally messed up!” Adam smiled an innocent smile. “You knew the whole time, didn’t you,” I said. He just smiled some more. “Jerk!” I smacked him with my Paris Practique, but I was laughing.
We never did make it to the Pompidou, and yet I still really enjoyed our walk. I managed to lead us in the wrong direction a couple more times, but we eventually made it to the Grand Palais for an exhibition. My sense of direction is crap, but there are worse things than getting lost in Paris.
This woman’s expressions is just so French, isn’t it?
I stopped showing off. There were so many times when I had an itch to pull out my iPhone and Instagram some famous monument or Parisian thing and post it to all my social networks. I wanted to check in to every Parisian café and restaurant and museum. “I’M IN PARIS! I wanted to trumpet to every person I know. Eventually I stopped caring and just enjoyed where we were, concentrating on the food and the art and the tulips in the tuilieries.
I rediscovered pens, paper and planning. Before I could go anywhere, I had to write down the name of the street and address, phone numbers, restaurants, directions and everything else I could have looked up on the fly if I had an iPhone. I had slips of paper stuffed into my purse at all times, and what a delicious feeling that was! Making everything digital is so tidy and clean, but a piece of paper covered with evidence of where you went and where you want to go is lovely, tactile and romantic.
Lovely, tactile and romantic … sounds like Paris to me.
I’m back to life with an iPhone now that I’m back in New York, but at least I now know I can survive without it. I just might get a little lost …
It’s not often I develop such an intimate relationship with a green app. Usually I think it’s a really cool idea and then forget all about it. (Sorry, iRecycle.)
But this app couldn’t have come at a better time.
I’ve been living in my current apartment for six months, and the catalogues are coming in. I made one crucial mistake, and I bet you can guess what it is.
Yup, I ordered from Pottery Barn. In my defense, I ordered organic linens, but I think the amount of dead trees that’s come in because of that puts my karma in the negative.
So the magazines come, and they come in droves. Up until a few weeks ago, I would make a point to sit down and call the number on the catalogue to curtly tell the service representative to take me off the list. That is a lot of work. OK, it’s not like it’s a huge chore, but it is annoying. Honestly, would you want to call up every catalogue that comes to your mailbox? I didn’t think so. And they count on that.
And then Paper Karma showed up, and it made my life so much better. All you do is:
1. Open the app.
2. Take a picture of the offending catalogue.
3. Press send.
That’s it! Really, that’s all it takes. So far, I’ve said goodbye to Aerosoles, J. Jill, Frontgate, J. Crew, Spanx, The Container Store, Boston Proper, TravelSmith, Sundance, Soft Surroundings, Touch of Class (WTF are these magazines?) and Home Decorators Collection. PEACE, MAGAZINES.
I’m still waiting for Home Trends, Madewell, Linen Source and Seeds of Change to go through. But that’s a pretty awesome success rate. With any luck, I’ll be free of magazines in about 7.5 years!
In summary: Get this app; it’s immensely satisfying.
It’s available for Apple, Android and Windows devices.
I often discover wonderful green things that I love and love to share. Here’s what I’m obsessed with this month:
Endangered Species iPhone case from Anicase
When I finally gave in after two years and got a new iPhone, I needed a new case, but I wanted to be thoughtful about it. First I bought this sustainable wood iPhone case reminiscent of a Leica camera. It got lots of compliments … until I dropped it and it broke into pieces. Kind of misses the point, right?
Then Daily Candy turned me on to Anicase, which makes adorable endangered animal iPhone cases. Choose your animal, and 10% gets donated to protecting tigers, pandas and more. Inside, you find a map of where your chosen animal lives, with how many are left in the world and how it’s being harmed.
People love this case, especially the little ears that stick up! Just note that I wasn’t able to find information on what exactly it is made out of, but I suspect plastic.
My apartment is almost always cold, especially when I get out of a steamy shower at seven in the morning! So I needed a robe with serious fluff. Agatha of A Good Hostess Knows When to Use the F-Word told me that Restoration Hardware has the fluffiest robes ever, but investigation revealed they are not organic. Sad news indeed.
No matter, I bought a robe from Green Robes and it is great! It falls right past my knees, has a heavy, yummy weave of organic Turkish cotton, and big arms that feel like a hug. It comes in a whole range of colors, including bright white or a creamy, unbleached white like I have. The website is a little jank, but don’t let that scare you off.
The Battalion Pants
These pants by The Battalion are literally the best pants I’ve ever had. The bamboo, organic cotton and spandex pants are a bit pricey, but I promise the price-per-wear will be pennies by they time you are done.
First of all, they look really nice. The details like the belt loops and pockets give them a classy feel. They are thick enough that nobody can see your underwear through them, unlike many leggings. And they are the softest things I’ve ever felt, with a fleecy inside that feels like pajamas.
They are the perfect traveling pants, but I wear these probably twice a week, and to NYFW as well.
I spent Christmas in Phoenix, as I said before. It was wonderful and sunny and relaxing, with just a tiny bite of cold.
But I just need to say this: Get a window seat.
I had forgotten the wonder I held when I used to fly out to Phoenix when I was 10, 11, 14. How curious I was at what created the patterns and colors below me. But it all came rushing back.
The airport was strangely deserted the day after Christmas, and I had an empty seat next to me on the plane. It was a cloudless day in the desert. As the plane lifted off, it shuddered and gravity sucked at our feet. We trembled and struggled higher, passing over grids of houses. The smog obscured the far edges of Phoenix and partially obscured the mountains at the edge of the valley, and as we reached the east-most edges of the desert city, I saw empty cul-de-sacs, constructed at the height of the housing boom but never quite filled with houses. Then civilization receded, the ground spiked and jutted, and the plane lifted higher and all that was left were dark lakes pooling in the center of ridges, carved by millennia of rivers running over the sand.
As we continued east, a dusting and then a blanket of snow appeared. The world turned black and white, with aspens freckling the white canvas. The day was clear and there was no sign of human life save a single road running straight toward the horizon, or an occasional grid created by what, I don’t know. It was as if we had left our earth behind and found ourselves on a different planet, the one that Native Americans had lived in centuries ago.
I had “White Christmas” stuck in my head, so I put on M83 and allowed myself to fall into a complete reverie for hours, watching the world go by, literally, my face pressed to the window.
M83 – Lower Your Eyelids To Die With The Sun
Powered by mp3skull.com
The landscapes reminded me of the book that I gave my stepdad—who is a photographer—for Christmas: Leave No Trace: The Vanishing North American Wilderness. It features photos of glaciers, estuaries and mountains from a plane. I hoped my stepdad had a window seat in his plane and his camera ready. (You can see his pictures of Denali here.)
All I had was my iPhone, and I pined for my real camera, which at least has a zoom. I used Instagram to color-correct some of the photos, and then gave that up when I realized the intense blue of the sky and white was just fine.
The horizon was so far away and so flat I wondered if I could see Mexico from the plane. The shadows pooled so blue on the backside of veined mountains they looked like opaque lakes, or pieces of sky fallen to the ground. I watched a small plane pierce straight up into the sky, leaving a trail of white condensation behind it, then slowly curve backward, glinting in the sun, like a person diving in exquisite slow motion off of a diving board.
The mountains fell away with a sharp cut, and we passed over farmland, betrayed by the edges of wheel-shaped fields, pressed together like poker chips on a table. The wheel shape allows long sprinkler systems to pass over the field from one center point, creating a mid-century modern pattern on the ground. They went on forever, miles and miles of discs as far as the plane-elevated eye could see. Fly-over states indeed.
From the east, a front of clouds greeted us, turning yellow, peach and pink as the sun died behind us. By the time we arrived to the clouds, it was dark outside and the lights were just winking on below us outside of Chicago.
Long, meditative moments like this bring me back to myself, and remind me of all the amazing beauty in the world.
Being sustainable can really take thought and perseverance. So after many months, I think I’ve almost perfected what tools it takes to be sustainable on a daily basis in the city. Voila:
1. An iphone with lots of apps to help you live greener: Good Guide, 3rd Whale, iRecycle, What’s Fresh, Go Organic!
2. A vintage wallet from the flea market. (Better than buying new!)
3. A locally and hand-made leather purse that will stay in style and last forever.
4. A reusable bag that is so tiny when folded up you could fit it in a party clutch.
5. Organic and toxin-free hand moisturizer. Especially for those winter months!
6. A BPA-free reusable water bottle.
7. Your ticket for public transportation.
So do I have it all? I think I might add one more think: some vintage handkerchiefs so I can stop using and throwing away tissues.
What would you add?
Yay I have an iPhone! Don’t get me started on how much I want to stab Verizon and AT&T right now, but regardless, I’m PSYCHED. I looked for some good green apps and came up with Good Guide, and Green Lemur as the most useful, and free! On recommendation from my coworker I got 3rd Whale, which seems to be very popular. My roommate also showed me Urban Spoon, which has a vegetarian option. I’m not a vegetarian, but veg usually equals organic/healthy. Here are the original reviews so you can see for yourself:
On another note….
So apparently Juniper Green Gin is hard to find. I told my friend to get it for our aperitifs last night before we saw 500 Days of Summer (I totally recommend that movie!) Anyway, he called three liquor stores and none of them had it. “They seem impressed that I knew what it was,” he told me as he pulled Bombay Sapphire out of the fridge. “Why is it so special?”
“Oh.” Noncommittal shrug and a smile. “Well I hope this will do.”
On another note, that guy did call me last night and he agreed to take me to Savoy. I checked out the reviews on the original place, Max Brenner’s at Union Square, after Morgan Harris told me I was making a huge mistake. Thanks for the tip, Morgan, but “tourist trap,” “always crowded” and “poor service” aren’t really my thing. Besides, just had some Ben & Jerry’s, (they are combatting global warming!) and I’ve had my fill for the day of chocolate.