Welcome to my Studio Diaries series! Each week, I share a list of what’s been thought-provoking and inspiring in the books, videos, art, podcasts, etc., that I’ve encountered in the last few days.

Here’s what I’ve loved this week!

Reading: Reclaiming Conversation

Reclaiming converstion
Reclaiming Conversation. Photo by Jenn Pavlick Studio

Sociologist and psychologist Sherry Turkle has taken on the immense task of understanding how our world’s focus on digital communication has affected our ability to connect. In Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, she interviews children and adults to understand how they depend on their mobile devices to get them through awkward conversations, interpersonal confrontation, and in-between times of everyday life. I am nearly halfway through the book, so I don’t want to make a full judgment yet, but so far, her view of how technology has negatively impacted our capacity to relate to one another on an intimate level is valid and convincing.

However, I hope that the remainder of the text contains an exploration of some of the positive ways that technology has led to closeness in friendships or relationships, particularly among young people. I am not a wholehearted optimist or pessimist when it comes to social media and technology, and I am hopeful that this book will provide a well-rounded, balanced view that our society can incorporate as technology evolves.

Listening: The Psychology of Money

The Psychology of Money
The Psychology of Money. Photo by Jenn Pavlick Studio

I have been listening to Morgan Housel’s book The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness as an audiobook after seeing it praised by Alex Fasulo—the accomplished freelance writer whose videos initially inspired me to get into freelancing. I am still only partially through the book, and so far, it stands out for not necessarily focusing on the best budgeting strategy, for example, but instead on how managing one’s finances is more about managing one’s behavior—a much more challenging feat. His explanation and examples thus far are illuminating and show the essential convergence of luck and patience in any pursuit. While ideas like luck can often make a method seem out of one’s control, his persistence that we must master our own psychology brings anyone’s goals back within reach.

Doing: Chair DIY Revamp

After being inspired by the Kelly Wearstler Masterclass and Geneva Vanderzeil's DIY projects I wrote about this summer, I picked up a pair of chairs from a nearby flea market. After gathering chair mood boards and solidifying my plan for how to revamp their appearance, I have begun the process of taking them apart and sanding them down to give t

hem a new, fresh finish. Here is the starting photo—stay tuned to see how they turn out!

Chair DIY. Photo by Jenn Pavlick Studio

Chair Mood Board
Chair DIY Mood Board. By Jenn Pavlick Studio

Welcome to my Studio Diaries series! Each week, I share a list of what’s been thought-provoking and inspiring in the books, videos, art, podcasts, etc., that I’ve encountered in the last few days.

Here’s what I’ve loved this week!

Seeing: Beyond Van Gogh

This immersive exhibit brings Vah Gogh’s body of work to life through digital projections. Traveling to cities across the US, the installation features a series of texts about the artist’s life and work, followed by a breathtaking projection room. It is in that enormous room where the exhibit comes alive through a nearly hour-long seamless, digitally projected animation of Van Gogh’s work. The installation is not like a documentary—there isn’t a narrative plot—but more like the experience of being inside an all-encompassing screen saver that tells a sensitive story through the interweaving of brush strokes, paintings, and letters that span one artist’s lifetime. Being in that room was an escape and a chance to dwell in the beauty of Van Gogh’s work and the awe of seeing what digital technology can allow us to experience.

Learning: Hand-lettering

I recently signed up for a trial of SkillShare—an online source of lessons and courses in any skill or topic you could imagine—and completed Gia Graham’s Hand Lettering in Procreate course. I have been thoroughly enjoying digital drawing on my iPad, and in this course, Gia teaches all the fundamentals needed to create beautifully crafted hand-lettered work. The world of typography, fonts, and lettering has many intricate details and rules that one wouldn’t know about without studying graphic design. Check out this typography glossary, filled with terms like ‘spur,’ ‘tail,’ ‘swash,’ ‘teardrop terminal,’ and more. Through the course, she teaches you how to create your first lettering piece. I plan to continue working on this skill, as the process is so pleasant and fulfilling. You can see my first piece from her class project below in the Yoga Nidra section.

Sensing: Yoga Nidra

I recently wrote about an episode of Huberman Lab where he discusses sleep. One well-being practice that Andrew Huberman consistently advocates for is what he calls ‘Non-Sleep Deep Rest,’ or NSDR. This includes a technique called Yoga Nidra, which—I won’t pretend to be an expert—is a type of guided meditation that can help with relaxing and gaining rest for the body and the mind and can be practiced in the middle of the day. I always struggle with a wave of exhaustion in the middle of the afternoon, and as an avid listener of Huberman Lab, I finally started dipping my toes into this practice. It has worked wonders. Unlike other types of meditation, this feels more like a nap but is refreshing rather than disorienting (I am not a napper). I didn’t do much research before starting and therefore have been following the guided meditations on YouTube by Ally Boothroyd, who, to be honest, was the first result of my search. I am still exploring other platforms and practitioners, but having the time to reset and rest each afternoon has infused me with a second round of focus and energy, helping me overcome a mid-day exhaustion problem that I have struggled with for years.

Welcome to my Studio Diaries series! Each week, I share a list of what’s been thought-provoking and inspiring in the books, videos, art, podcasts, etc., that I’ve encountered in the last few days.

Here’s what I’ve loved this week!

Reading: The Plaza: The secret life of America’s most famous hotel by Julie Satow

I love nothing more than a book that interweaves economics, sociology, culture, and urban studies, and this book does just that. Zooming in on one iconic building—The Plaza Hotel—Julie Satow recounts a history of American wealth and the upper class. In a story that tracks the building’s ever-revolving ownership, residents, and architectural layout, we get a glimpse of our economy’s booms and busts told through famous historical characters, including Truman Capote, F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Beatles, Trumps, Vanderbilts, and Hiltons. Through this lens, I have found it fascinating to learn what tastes have gone in and out of style, represented by the hotel’s phases with gold décor and more. Through the story of one building, the book points to a broader narrative about the changing meaning of elitism, status, and who holds the wealth in this country.

Listening: The Financial Feminist: How to live your rich life with Ramit Sethi

As I discussed in previous posts, I have been trying to further educate myself in personal finance, especially now that I run my own business. This inspiring conversation between Tori Dunlap and Ramit Sethi centers on an idea I was never taught or urged to think about until recently. We work so hard to earn money to live, and in a panicked narrative telling us to save, we forget to outline what we are saving for and how to use that money to enjoy our lives.

Ramit’s insight is focused on living your ‘rich life,’ i.e., spending money how you want to and changing your mindset around it. So many of us feel panicked about money and assume that feeling will go away when we hit a particular milestone. But through the process of coaching a diverse set of people, from everyday couples to millionaires, Ramit has found that for many, the feeling doesn’t ever go away because our feelings about money are not based on numbers or facts. Tori and Ramit’s shared perspectives in this conversation were eye-opening to me and truly showed the importance of mindset, planning, and feeling clear about one’s values.

Seeing: The Glass House in New Canaan, CT

Modern Architect Philip Johnson, known for the Seagram Building, 550 Madison Avenue, and more, built his residency, The Glass House, on a 49-acre piece of land in New Canaan, CT. The main structure features an entirely glass façade, as the name suggests, and the property includes additional buildings and structures that represent the architect’s vision and design legacy.

As the main structure on the property, Johnson lived in The Glass House until he died in 2005. The pared-down minimalism of the interior has been retained in its original form. The property also includes the original swimming pool, sculpture and painting galleries, library, guest house, pavilion, and other sculptural elements immersed in the acres and acres of fields and trees.

Seeing this icon of modern architecture was breathtaking, and I was overcome with awe when experiencing Johnson’s limitless creative vision lived out through a series of buildings. There were endless moments on the property that were so perfectly considered and designed. The shadows in the sculpture studio, the simple desk chair and Mies van der Rohe furniture in the house, and the Frank Gehry chair in his library study tell a story of an architectural generation. I loved experiencing the epitome of an artistic vision expressed as a way of life.

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