The Mothers

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Books

28815371It’s become a habit to buy a Kindle book whenever I have a flight. For my trip to Vegas for CES, I decided to go with The Mothers, a much buzzed-about debut novel from Brit Bennett with the most gorgeous cover. In short, it’s about some young people, their families and community, and the enduring impact of their decisions. #Life, right?

I started at the LaGuardia gate waiting area and by the time I got to my hotel in Vegas, I was about 50 percent done—which is to say it was a serious page turner. And nearly the perfect pick for this particular trip, because it would have lasted my entire return flight had that not been cancelled, sending me into a rerouted scramble comprising three planes and a train.

Anyway. Real quick…

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A Tradition

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Life

Since 2010, I’ve been keeping a playlist every year, adding songs I listened to way too much during each season (so I can do that thing where you listen to it later and instantly get transported back to the swirl of thoughts, emotions, and circumstances that defined a particular time…the coolest thing!)

Spotify whips up a “Your Top Songs 2016” playlist based on your listening history as well, but it’s not the same! Spotify doesn’t know me…yet. (Spotify’s list is also like 100-song long…compared to my essential 15 😉 )

This is 2016.

 

Instagram Tour: China’s Tier 2 and Beyond

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Odes / Travel

There are specific moments when I think, Damn, it’s pretty cool to be Chinese. Like when China infallibly dominates at Olympic diving. Or anytime someone mentions “China’s 5,000-year history” (a point of contention, to be sure). Or! When I see stuff like the photo above, shot from Fubo Hill in the southeastern city of Guilin.

I’ve been to five Chinese cities so far—Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and Chengdu—all of which are basically Tier 1 megacities familiar to the rest of the world (my hometown of Chengdu is still catching up in renown, but it’s definitely up there population-wise.) Naturally, a common image of modern China for me (and probably many others) is a dense metropolis, often with unwelcome haze.

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5 Best Buys of 2016

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Life / Style

For whatever reason—writing more market stories for Curbed? Getting hooked on NYMag’s The Strategist? Being older and wiser about money? The KonMari/”Spark Joy” cultural takeover?—I became more passionate and intentional about shopping this year.

In contrast to a traditional retail therapy where happiness and thrill come from spending money and acquiring new stuff in themselves, my shopping M.O. now concerns buying things that work really well (ha), extend beyond the realm of clothes, and can positively change my life.

Here are 5 buys that stood out, plus one honorable mention.

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NYC after 9-5

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Life / Odes

One of the things I lament about having a relatively typical office job (especially during these fall-winter days when the sun goes down right after 4 pm) is the lack of opportunity to snap photos in glorious daylight. I know, #firstworldproblem, but entertain me.

When I think of on-point Instagram accounts, I think of endless grids of dreamy things shot in natural light, blending together to form one crisp, clean aesthetic.

It’s hard to get that when you can’t go off to take photos during work…and when posting a bunch of #latergrams from one sunny weekend feels too fake and constraining.

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Inbox Zillion

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Life

Email newsletters are the new social media are the new website homepages? In a weird, anachronistic way…that’s what it feels like on the Internet right now. Indeed, when social media feeds were busy growing too overwhelming and homepages too static, newsletters emerged to offer some desirable blend of exactly what you want (assuming you signed up for them in the first place), in regular but manageable installments.

I get newsletters from publications, content blackholes like Pocket and Medium, personality-driven, single-topic Tinyletters…Stylin’ promos from Aritzia and Everlane count too, right?

There’s a lot of chatter and experimentation around emails in my company and the industry in general, and I’m as curious as any to find out…just what is the “best” email strat going forward or at least for this current Internet moment? To get thoughts flowing, I’ve started paying more attention to my own newsletter habits—which ones do I always open, and which do I read in their entirety? These surfaced…

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DCS 003

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Linklove

Short and sweet #dreamcolorscheme o’clock tonight (Also tracking on Twitter 😉 )…

1. Geometric things!!! by illustrator and animator James Gilleard 

2. This sublime renovated apartment in the Osborne

1-nocrop-w670-h447

Photo by Howie Guja for NY Mag

I believe this is the unit, sold for $3,250,000 (22.6% below asking) in 2014. What a transformation! So all I need is about $4,000,000? Plus whatever it took to do the renovations? Le sigh.

3. Still need to find a succulent for my office planter…These are nice 😀

Even the lil plants are so cute in Korea 🌼🌾🌳

A post shared by S A M A N T H A O H (@samantha_oh) on

Perfect Fall Day

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Life / Travel

In an unideal turn of events, it is now averaging 50 degrees over here in NYC and I am in full reminiscing mode: not even of gorgeous, sunny summer weather but of the crisp, mid-60s fall breeziness we seemed to be getting just a week or so ago. Where did that go. Why can’t it stay longer. I didn’t sign up for this.

In the mean time, at least I can reheat memories of a perfect fall day a couple weekends ago. For the record, my favorite season is still a tie between spring and summer, slightly skewing towards summer, but that one Autumn Saturday really took me by surprise. The East Coast does have somethin’ special to offer.

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Breeze, Zen

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Odes

Sometimes at work I need to look for photos to go along with articles. That’s how today, while gussying up a piece on solar energy, I stumbled upon some beautiful images of wind turbines on unsplash, a new site that offers Instagram-y “Free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos.”

As it happens, wind farms, along with providing a promising form of renewable energy, are one of my favorite things ever. Catching one or a single wind turbine while traveling on highways is always a treat.

Since I can do whatever I want with those photos, I will do whatever I want with those photos—which is to collect some of them here 😉

Top image by @lucabravo