1/4 — May musings

The Brooklyn Art Library sketchbook project, an interior design course, Alicia Keys’ inspiring story and the soul-soothing collab of Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes.
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Brooklyn Art Library sketchbook project

Order a sketchbook, fill it up, and send it back to us to be a part of the world’s largest collection of artist sketchbooks!

Image from Brooklyn Art Library

At first, I thought: I’m not an artist, I don’t draw. But who says sketchbooks need to contain sketches?

Okay yes, the word itself does.

Anyway. I bet you can also write poetry, share life lessons and doodle uplifting quotes. So that’s what I’m doing with mine. Sort of, ish.

All sketchbooks will live permanently in the exhibition space of the Brooklyn Art Library. Meaning, a stranger could pick up your book and actually flip through the pages. That’s rad!

I’m super excited about my blank canvas arriving soon. It’s a worldwide initiative, so if you want to participate too, you can!

“Throughout the year your book will travel to be featured in an exhibition while also being a part of different learning experiences, major art fairs and even the occasional music festival.”

― Bookmobile AT Ponce City Market drawing (original picture)

Interior design with Emily Henderson

I finally managed to take an afternoon, sign up with my friend Hannah’s affiliate link and enjoy 2 months of Skillshare for free. So far, I’ve listened to these courses:

Ashley Ford is my expander, so whatever she shares is a hell yes for me. I loved Roxane’s book recommendations and happily one-clicked my way to a €50 Amazon Kindle bill after finishing the course. And Charly Clements, her art is gorgeous. She makes it seem so effortless to draw perfectly quirky faces. I was 👌 close to ordering an iPad.

My favorite course was Emily Henderson’s Style Your Space: Creative Tips and Techniques for Interior Design.

I followed her back in 2013 when she turned designlovefest’s LA home into a bright happy place — a makeover I vividly remember 6 years later, though I can barely remember what I had for dinner 2 days ago (like, okay mind).

The interior course is quick and straightforward. It shows you how to pick items, thrift shop furniture and pull a room together nicely.

In the style quiz, you can find your personal interior style. Mine? Mostly mid-century, which are “clean lines, gentle organic curves and a passion for different materials and shapes”. And a must-have huge art wall with unique finds from all over the world.

Admittedly, I did feel tempted to settle down after decorating my imaginary Brooklyn loft on Pinterest.

More Myself with Alicia Keys

“Let me tell you, I thought I was gonna read this and know more about you. What I didn’t know was gonna happen, is that I would read this and know more about me.” Brené Brown said it exactly right in her podcast interview with Alicia.

Alicia’s book More Myself is indeed a “masterclass in courage and vulnerability”, written in such an impeccable way that her journey visually unfolds right before your eyes as you turn the pages.

“In the beginning, I’d sit for hours on the hard bench, tediously plucking through my scales until the coral streaks of sunlight filling our apartment gave way to gray shadows; as I advanced, I trained in the Suzuki method, a rigorous Japanese approach to piano mastery.”

PART ONE: DREAMING — PAGE 23

I highlighted over 26 paragraphs, and I don’t even do highlighting (I eat when I read so my tablet screen is already a mess as is). However, I made an exception for Alicia. I knew I wanted to read these words over, and over again.

“When you don’t speak the truth for years at a time, the words left unspoken slowly leak the air out of your connection. Even if, years later, you are ready to say what you couldn’t earlier, the moment has passed. The details and circumstances have faded from memory, and yet the emotions linger. And then the day finally comes when you no longer recognize the person you first loved.”

PART TWO: CREATING — PAGE 124

Like, read that again and let it sink in.

“When we dim our light, we don’t do anyone a favor. It’s a disservice. Because when you’re in the presence of someone who knows his or her worth, like the extraordinary Maya did, you want to shine brighter. Self-honoring energy is contagious.”

― Alicia Keys, More Myself: A Journey
Drawing by me (first sketch attempt and i’m stoked!)

Alicia takes you from growing up on the streets of Hell’s Kitchen to finding herself, floating on the Nile river in complete stillness. And then there are many passages about New York, which reminded me of the wild memories I have from this one-of-a-kind city. Gosh, I can’t wait to be back.

This city will always be the port of entry for risers and idealists, a place where potential dances in the streets and wafts through the air. A place where the seemingly impossible feels worth attempting. And that feeling isn’t just about a location. It’s about aspiration, imbedded in the human spirit, transcending all geographical barriers.

PART TWO: CREATING — PAGE 140

Alicia also shines a light on the lavish birthday parties she and Swizz keep excitingly organizing for each other. A chapter that makes you go: “Wait, what do I do for my man?”

Their love will raise your standards. It’s refreshingly genuine and insanely adorable.

For years before I met Swizz, I’d never understood the old cliché “You just know when you know.” How can you ever be sure that you’re destined to be with someone? Only after crossing paths with Swizz did I grasp the truth in that saying. A soul mate connection isn’t just an awareness. It’s a deep sense of knowing, a wave of intuition that permeates your every pore. All the cells in your body rise up on their tiptoes. You don’t see this feeling coming. You can’t prepare for it. You might even try to push it away, as I did. And yet it always surges back, each time with greater force, sweeping you up in its mighty current, thrusting you toward a beautiful shore unknown.”

PART TWO: CREATING — PAGE 135

More Myself is the story of the modern-day Renaissance woman that is Alicia Augello-Cook Dean. My favorite expander on self-growth, authenticity, relationships, humanity and creating a life that’s filled with purpose.

Tip: I definitely did not type the above highlights from my Kindle into this journal entry. A quick way to see and copy your highlights is by opening Kindle Notes in your browser.


Current books I’m reading

Rutger Bregman – De Meeste Mensen Deugen (so good, sadly only available in Dutch and German)

What Kinda Music by Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes

UK’s Tom Misch and Yussef Dayes are individually already fantastic musicians, so one can only imagine what magic happens when their talents intertwine. What Kinda Music is a soul-soothing record that brings warmth into any room.

Even with Dayes on the drums, the album is beaming classic Misch vibes, though the songs are more exciting and unexpected for the ear. They both bring out the best in each other. I love The Real, Lift Off and Storm Before The Calm.

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