Europe 06 / Verona Venice & Lido di Jesolo

verona-ciara-bird  Verona wasn't very exciting to me. I only passed through long enough to have some gelato and visit the famous site of Romeo & Juliet. I would love love love to rent a car one day and just drive and drive through Italy at a slow pace. Stopping in small villages, staying longer in some places.

but then we got to venice.   venice-ciara-bird1   i remember having an immediate sense of deja vu which was crazy but exciting as well. In my journal I wrote: When we arrived in Venice [in a water taxi] I thought I was in a movie, everything was so bright and crystal clear. blindingly white marble. STUNNING architecture." It was the most beautiful day and I really couldn't have asked for anything better.   venice-ciara-bird2   I bought my family each a tiny red glass heart that hopefully they'll keep forever, so no matter where we all end up we each have one.

We went on a quick tour with a beautiful local named Marina. She told us she was 100% Venetian, and that that was different than being Italian. It really got me thinking about HOW different the world is. She seemed so normal, but I'm sure if we sat and had a conversation, her lifestyle and upbringing is so incredibly different from what I can probably imagine.   venice-ciara-bird3   We stayed in a small town outside of Venice called, Lido di Jesolo, and although our place wasn't glamorous— the beach view was incredible. Honestly, more beautiful than the south of france.. in a different way.. the night we went out to walk along the water a storm was coming so the clouds were moving fast and the sun was streaming through in that heavenly way. It made me finally understand the tacky colors used in sunset paintings, although it wasn't tacky, it was beautiful. There were little crabs the in the water and you could hear a pretty twinkle sound when the waves crashed over the tiny seashells.   venice-ciara-bird4   Rome in the morning. Until my next installment.


ciarabird-newyork-1  I went to new york the second week in january to art direct half of a photoshoot for Off Broadway Shoes with one of the agencies I work for, MODE. It was a really great experience, but I was especially glad that I had already been to new york and had my chance to explore the city because we were literally in a giant (though beautiful) warehouse in the bronx all day long.

I always love interacting with all of the team members it takes to really pull a shoot together. the prop and wardrobe stylists, HAMU artists, producer, photographer, all the helpful guys, and of course the models.   ciarabird-newyork-2 ciarabird-newyork-3   I was able to squeeze in a few great dinners with friends and the team, a quick trip to the met and mini shopping spree in soho.   ciarabird-newyork-4b ciarabird-newyork-5   Until the next time…

photo diary // los angeles.

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la-ciarabird-1   A touch more personal than usual, my trip to LA this september was blissful. I hadn't traveled with the beau in a while so it was nice to go to one of my favorite places with him and celebrate his birthday— which was basically a movie. I couldn't have asked for things to go better. Crusing up the PCH with good music, vibes and him— then crashing on a private beach in Malibu. love.

We basically explored the whole time, visiting places I used to love and new places I'd been dying to see. I cannot wait to get back out there even if it's just for a few more months before coming back to start on my *big* top secret projects.

photodiary // new york.

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nyla-ciarabird-7   Screen-shot-2014-12-21-at-4.44   I'm trying to get all of my adventures documented before the year is out.. well most of them ha. I've only made it halfway through my europe recaps, but those are fun so I don't want to rush through. Anyway, I kinda recapped my NY & LA visits here, so this is just the visual that was missing.

I specifically wanted to visit new york before going back to LA since I'd been considering going back to school at NYU and I'm really glad I did. I could definitely see myself there or at least visiting more frequently in the near future :)

xx, C


artbasel-miami-6  I left the show feeling so inspired and refreshed. My traveling it starting to become so addicting. I get a rush every time I go somewhere new, I never want to stop. Basel in particular though gave me so many ideas I feel like I cannot execute them fast enough, changing plans again, pushing me further. I love it.   artbasel-miami-7   artbasel-miami-8   ARTrepreneur Session Three with Delano Brown was surprisingly good. All I knew about it was the snippets I'd seen on insta and could round up online. I'm not going to sugar coat it, the event didn't start on a good note at all — there were quite a few things I was annoyed about upfront BUT when I say his talk completely made up for it I'm not exaggerating. It was so refreshing to hear from a young guy in his position with his style and sense talk about his story and his ideas and just wow. I was really impressed. I look forward to seeing where his career goes from here.   artbasel-miami-9   Unfortunately, I wasn't thinking at all and didn't capture the names and artists of all the work I photographed, so if you know or want credit please email me!   artbasel-miami-10   Part 1.


artbasel-miami-1  ahh art basel miami beach 2014. how can i describe you.

I had the BEST time. Per usual, I really didn't have any idea what to expect. I understood the show and concept of everything since I've been only hearing about it for years, but actually being there in the middle of all of the excitement. so amazing. and I saw art, lots and lots of it. incredibly satisfying art. There have been comments about how commercial Art Basel Miami is becoming, but I don't see it falling off any time soon. The world needs events like this to exist. The energy was trippy everywhere we went.   artbasel-miami-2   We ended up going to the Wynwood Walls & Design District, Art Basel, UNTITLED, Mana Contemporary, and a slew of parties including ARTrepreneur Session Three by Delano Brown. I'm really really bummed I missed the SCOPE and Design Miami shows, but next year we'll plan buffer days instead of arriving and leaving the first and last days of the shows.   artbasel-miami-3 artbasel-miami-4   Unfortunately, I wasn't thinking at all and didn't capture the names and artists of all the work I photographed, so if you know or want credit please email me!   artbasel-miami-5   Part 2.

Europe 05 / Switzerland

1  2   Since I'm going to Art Basel in two weeks I figured it a good time to pick back up my european adventure memoirs. I left off at Germany and from there traveled through Switzerland which turned out to be the most visually stunning and unimaginable place ever. Switzerland was a sleepy favorite of the trip. I say that because I constantly forget to tell people how much I loved it. and from a solo travel perspective, it was one of the only countries I truly spent time completely alone.   7   I literally kept saying, "i'm not really seeing this. it's not real." I thought I was in avatar the whole time, ha. In my journal I wrote: "5/26/14, Even when I stand and stare trying to take it in, it doesn't look real. the air is so crisp here. 5/28/14, The world really is so beautiful. like how can you live your whole life without seeing things like this?"   11   4   I texted a good friend from home when I found out I'd be able to spend the day in Basel and he told me I absolutely COULD NOT MISS the Gerhard Richter exhibiton at the Fondation Beyeler. So I didn't. I took a train from Lucerne where we were staying to Basel and spent the day exploring. it was mesmerizing.

[From the exhibition book, Gerhard Richter Pictures/Series] "In the course of his sixty-year career Richter has produced an oeuvre that has accorded him a place as one of the most influential and successful artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. [...] He is rightly celebrated worldwide as an outstanding figure, arguably the most important painter of our times."

  6   5   8   sometimes i really wish i'd spent more time in art school so I could explain things the way I see and feel them. I always feel lost for words, but I feel so deeply sometimes I wish I could just say what it is I'm really thinking... in a way that more than only just describes it. yahh back to Switzerland. In my journal I described Basel as "Paris meets Amsterdam" based on my short time in all 3 places I think it fits, but I'd need to spend time there again to see if I still agree.   9   10   12   In one of the books I read during the trip—that I'll get into further when I write about Italy—there was a quote by the male character that said, "when you go to a place and have an extraordinary experience, you can never return." That might be the case with Switzerland for me. As dream-like as it was, I'm not sure if I'd want to travel there again and change my memories.



lavsny wow. so let me brush the dust off of my dear blog. I've been so cliché-ly busy its obnoxious. and when I'm not busy all i want to do is lay around and revel in my unbusi-ness.

since being awol, I went to NY (pause. for the first time.) and Los Angeles.. bought at least 20 new books/zines/mags and have almost completed the 5th volume of four.

On a new and also unsurprising note. I've officially decided to head back to la with the beau. for real this time. in february.


It's hilarious to me the way I always glamorize LA when I'm in Charlotte and I romanticize Charlotte when I'm in LA. but the truth is, Charlotte really cannot do anything for me. and when I get super close to putting my original plan into effect... I freak out as if I'm having a baby.. because maybe I'm scared of commitment or being tied down.. or that I'm throwing away the opportunity to be something amazing by staying in this finance-obsessed, same-track-mind, no-truly-original-ideas town. (going in huh.)

I went to an art event the other night that just kinda bored me to death. it was all 40+ (which there is nothing wrong with) but I just felt like it was all too stuffy. where were all the young people! the cool but still sophisticated and unique (without trying) creatives!? its like they were trying to disguise their agenda ($$) by calling it an art show. #newslaves.


fast forward.. i was just catching up on a few of my favorite blogs and came across the most interesting (to me) interview on FvF with LA based book seller / art dealer Jonathan Brown. i always feel like the universe gives me these little nuggets when I'm in deep thought / decision making:

What made you want to move to Los Angeles? I moved to Los Angeles primarily because New York lost its effervescence for me. The things in New York that seemed happenstance or the things that people always talk about – how interesting, exciting and varied it is – became cliché to me. My grandparents had a lingerie company in Hollywood, so I grew up coming out here. I loved Los Angeles and thought it was glamorous. I loved the balmy evenings with night blooming jasmine. I loved the majesty of California as a state. It was in direct contrast to where I grew up, which was a small, New England town.

I lived in New York for a long time too, and I loved living there. But I believe when you begin to doubt it or think you want to leave, it starts showing you the door. I agree with that. New York can be a city of narcissists, and it can be a trap. It’s good for doing business because New Yorkers are consumers. All of the talent from all over the world goes to New York and gets consumed, but you need to leave to make your art, to go create somewhere else. A lot of the great things in New York come from different places. When you’re living there, it doesn’t wait for you to figure out what you’re doing with your life. You don’t have time to think about it or explore your options. If you don’t make up your mind, New York will make up your mind for you very quickly.

So how did you end up creating LEADAPRON? When I was at the tail end of my career in neuroscience, I started working with booksellers in my spare time. I worked in their booths at fairs, they’d fly me to Paris and New York, and I’d help out. I found it to be very romantic. Here is a group of people who are interested in ideas – the promotion of ideas, the preservation of ideas – and they sell books. At the end of the night they go out for a wonderful meal and talk about ideas. It was a way to have that kind of lifestyle, and they were all their own bosses. It was a way to have a thoughtful life of the mind and also feel like you’re promoting culture and keeping the culture alive. That’s where the name LEADAPRON came from.

read the full interview here.

Synopsis. continue with original plan. eventually. possibly 15 years from now lol. don't move to new york with the intention of trying to figure out what i want to do or it will spit me out.

and. go back to LA.

and i LOVE talking about ideas. like its the main reason I'm terrible at small talk because i couldn't care less about random meaningless basic stuff. but i can go on and on about ideas with someone that also has ideas!?

sounds like a plan to me. and the booksellers. they must be my people.

What does it mean? The idea is that everybody who wears an apron is a worker, whether they’re a craftsperson, tradesperson, a waitress, someone who works with horses, a sculptor, a newspaper delivery man, a cobbler – they’re the people that make the objects or items that furnish the culture. The people that furnish the culture drive the civilization. When we look back on ancient Egypt and hieroglyphs and the scarabs – I happen to be very interested in ancient Egypt so I’m bringing it up as a reference – when we look back at the jewels they made and how sophisticated they were, we’re really looking at those craftspeople and tradespeople. It gives us insight into a civilization, which is gone. That is the apron part.

omg. and he's interested in ancient egypt. definitely my people.

and just to make him possibly a little bit cooler...

Was there one particular book or object that sparked it all? I had all of Basquiat’s personal items because I used to date his last girlfriend. I had his wallet, his coat, a toaster he made. I had very unusual items, and I started getting collectors and clients. A client told me that as long as I was patient, everything would come to me. Now, I build libraries for people.

How do you think that LA’s changed since you first moved here? It seems to be getting more attention than usual lately. I’m curious as to what you think about that. When I left New York, all of my friends said, “Why would you move to LA? It’s this barren wasteland with a bunch of vapid people…” I said, “You’ll see, in about ten years you’ll all be asking me to help find you a place out here.” In the last year or two, it seems like it’s changed dramatically. There’s a lot more industry, and it’s the new capitol of the art world. It’s still the wild, wild, west – anything goes – a place where you can create your own life. It’s still possible to create a life here based on an idea.

there you have it my friends. anything goes. a place where you can create your own life. BASED ON AN IDEA. X

Europe 03 / Amsterdam

ciarabird-amsterdam-1  Brussels and Amsterdam definitely surprised me the most—I had no idea what either looked like so I went with zero expectations and fell completely in love.   ciarabird-amsterdam-6   ciarabird-amsterdam-2   ciarabird-amsterdam-3   The first few hours the only word I could think to describe everything was "cool." I know that seems so simple, but literally the entire vibe of the city was just chill and the utopian mash-up of cultures and styles was so laid back and effortless.

I went on a walking tour of the Red Light District my first night in Amsterdam and it was such an eye-opening experience. but i loved how open-minded and practical the dutch people are. that whole "people are going to do it anyway so we may as well come up with a smart safe way for it to work (and benefit us)" mentality. not to mention all of the amazing concept shoppes tucked in and around the area.   ciarabird-amsterdam-7   ciarabird-amsterdam-10   …then I discovered their vintage book markets and completely lost my shit. I wanted to bring home at least 20 books and ended up mailing some home before leaving the city. it's basically {one} of the main reasons I can't wait to get back.   ciarabird-amsterdam-4   ciarabird-amsterdam-0   xx, C

Europe 01 / London

london-2  Ahh London. My first international experience. Looking back I cannot think of a better city to have started my trip. I instantly fell in love with everything about it and at the time falsely assumed that it was because I hadn't seen everything else and was just excited to be there. From this side I can say London is still one of my favorite cities—top 5 for sure—and I cannot wait to return.   london-6   london-5   I vividly remember the taxi ride (on the opposite side of the road) from the airport to our hostel and immediately noticed how stylish and posh everyone was. The street style was by far my favorite here. and my god, the architecture. I have 100s of doorway, ceiling detail, and store front images that I flitted around snapping with probably as much grace as a crazy person and the same crazed facial expression.   london-1   london-3   Within a day I was trying to convince B to let us live there and began fantasizing about what it would be like to wake up in London everyday and get to do life their way. How long would it take for me to become immune to it's charm?   2   2014-05-16-18.59   I miss walking. as in walking as my form of transportation vs. going on a walk for exercise. I miss being in a place that allows me to physically become a part of the city and forces me to be outside therefore seeing and experiencing all of the details we miss from the comfort and safety of our cars.   bookshop1a   bookshop1b   bookshop2   There is no way for me to describe my experience in a way that makes sense or even fully captures my feelings, what I did/saw, or the city itself. so i think these posts will just contain random thoughts I had at the time and not really focus on any of the details. but to round this first one out here are a few of my favorite moments in London:

1. (Sherlock Holmes?) themed bicycle ride I saw across from St. Paul's Cathedral. 2. Fish & Chips the second night at a random bar. I don't eat seafood so this was big and it was delicious. 3. Wandering through the spitalfields market where I got a vintage black kimono that I'm obsessed with. 4. Meeting up with two of my best friends from LA. 5. and obviously visiting the Harry Potter Studios.. it was completely surreal.   london-7


EUROPE2014  It's official! I will no longer be the last person on the planet (in my age bracket) that hasn't been across the world.. or even out of the country for that matter (the bahamas doesn't count!) It always surprises people when I tell them I really haven't been very far. Every time a travel opportunity comes along I jump for it, but as far as taking a big leap it has always seemed like a far off dream that would take years before I could achieve— an exclusive membership club I didn't have access to.

Not any more!

After a few crazy (and I mean crazy, I will spare the details— but thank GOD there are people who love me) days of thinking and being neurotic (ie. ben stiller in along came polly) I decided to push back my return to the City of Angels and take a 30-day Grand Tour of Europe... leaving next week!! and only about 3 weeks following the initial thought.

I knew that reading the alchemist would do terrible things to my brain and like it said “when a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.” This has been so true— once I made the decision everything kinda fell into place, almost as if it had been set-up to work in my favor before I'd even considered it.

Of course once I get back I'm going to think I'm a travel blogger (kidding, kinda.) so I want to make nice little lists and take pictures of all the things I packed and places I visited and the things I learned for future travel.

Now to the fun part...   Europe2014_Map   Where I'm going: London (United Kingdom), Paris (France), Brussels (Belgium), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Heidelberg (Germany), Lucerne Region (Switzerland), Venice, Rome, Florence (Italy), French Riviera, Provence (France), Barcelona, and Madrid (Spain)! There are obviously a ton of other cities I'm dying to visit; Milan, Positano, Berlin, Basel, etc. but I will save them for next time (and there will definitely be a next time) when I stay longer in the cities I really liked... or move to Rome ha who knows.

I had the option to visit Greece, but it would have meant losing out on Spain, so again, another time... and more likely when I try to do Egypt (my true bucket-list trip) and Turkey.

I have this visual of the things I want to wear, the books I'll read, the museums I'll walk through, but we all know that things rarely turn out the way we expect so even though I think I'll come back all different from the things I've seen and experienced — I'm just going to pack up my little stuff and go with the flow, fully enjoying each moment and the fact that I will have a month to do absolutely nothing work related, just go-go-go— my favorite thing ever!

xx, C


The books I'm taking: Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi Perfume by Patrick Suskind An Italian Affair by Laura Fraser Graduates in Wonderland by Jessica Pan & Rachel Kapelke-Dale

digitally... against my own wishes lol.


ciarabird-alchemist  this morning i read the alchemist by paulo coelho from start to finish.   the reason i bought it in the first place was because of this post, but i never got around to it, then for some reason early this morning i had a strange desire to start reading it— even though i have a list of things to get through today, it felt important that i take this time to relax and read, and im glad that i did.   I wrote this post while reading, so it's weird and unorganized, but I didn't want to rewrite anything since these are the thoughts that flowed as I went.   ciarabird-alchemist2   it made me wonder if i actually want to do the things i dream of or if like the crystal merchant I just want to dream about them.

"it's the thought of mecca that keeps me alive. that's what helps me face these days that are all the same... i'm afraid that if my dream is realized, i'll have no reason to go on living."

i should be a professional daydreamer because i'm obsessed with planning ideas. i have these grand dreams that are things i could actually do, but am i just content with dreaming about what i would do or do i plan to actually do them?

he goes on to say a few paragraphs later—

"you have been a real blessing to me. today, i understand something i didn't see before: every blessing ignored becomes a curse. i don't want anything else in life. but you are forcing me to look at wealth and at horizons i have never known. now that i have seen them, and now that i see how immense my possibilities are, i'm going to feel worse than i did before you arrived. because i know that things i should be able to accomplish, and i don't want to do so."

the boy goes on working for the merchant for 11 months and after he's helped him grow his business and saved up money to buy back his sheep (i'm leaving out many details) he approaches the merchant to ask for his blessing to leave and the merchant tells him..

"i am proud of you. you brought a new feeling into my crystal shop. but you know that i'm not going to go to mecca. just as you know that you're not going to buy your sheep."

that said... what dreams of mine am i trying to convince myself i want. like what do i really want and what am i trying to convince myself of that im really not going to do. ugh my brain. why must you think this way lol.

but then i started thinking is god saying something deeper like this is what you're trying to convince yourself that you want because it's good for society and a regular nice life, but you and me BOTH know that's not what you're gonna do. you won't be happy and im not going to allow it.

".. he was no longer happy with his decision. he had worked for an entire year to make a dream come true, and that dream, minute by minute, was becoming less important. maybe because that wasn't really his dream."

"when a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream."

i think that charlotte is my sheep. (ref. pg. 67) or better yet, maybe being a shepherd is being a graphic designer?   ciarabird-alchemist3   "he still had some doubts about the decision he had made. but he was able to understand one thing: making a decision was only the beginning of things. when someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision."

"you must understand that love never keeps a man from pursuing his personal legend. if he abandons that pursuit it's because it wasn't true love.. the love that speaks the languages of the world."

"one is loved because one is loved. no reason is needed for loving." "I love you because the whole universe conspired to help me find you."


"My heart is a traitor... it doesn't want me to go on" "That makes sense, naturally it's afraid that, in pursuing your dream, you might lose everything you've won." "well then why should i listen to my heart?" "because you will never again be able to keep it quiet. even if you pretend not to have heard what it tells you, it will always be there inside you, repeating to you what you're thinking about life and about the world."

by the end of the story i'd definitely reconciled all the thoughts and questions above and think i should read this book at least once every year to check in on myself and see how same/different my thoughts are. I could go on and on or just retype the entire book here. haha. if you're like me you should definitely go read or reread this simple story. it will change the way you see life.

"When you possess great treasures within you, and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed."


Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset  looking back through the pictures taken my first days in LA before starting school, i can definitely tell that they are photos one would take during their first experience. the things i chose to capture and was fascinated by, are things that after living there, even for a month, i know i didn’t think twice about. but at the time it was so important to capture every detail.   Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset   Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset   Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset   i’ve been trying to come up with a daily/weekly project that I can try to do during my time back on the left coast.. i want to try to devote at least 10-30 minutes to something creative (leave it to me to try and create some kind of control over a situation that i’m supposed to be just going with the flow of) outside of the regular creative things i’ll be doing.. like perhaps i’ll leave out my paints and mix a new set of colors everyday or make mini collages or make a list of things to take a snapshot of, idk. i get bored easily so it needs to be interesting but simple.. or i’ll have to come up with a new ritual every 2-3 mos. (or weeks realistically) ha kinda defeats the whole point right?   Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset   Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset   circa october 2008


rockets  About a month ago I finished reading "Three things you need to know about rockets," a memoir by Jessica Fox, and for the first time in a while I tore through the book and dogeared close to every other page. These are a couple of my favorite quotes/passages.. but the entire story is definitely worth the read.   "The artist's life cannot be otherwise than full of conflicts, for two forces are at war within him; on the one hand, the common human longing for happiness, satisfaction and security in life and on the other, a ruthless passion for creation which may go so far as to override every personal desire... There are hardly any exceptions to the rule that a person must pay dearly for the divine gift of creative fire." — Carl Jung   "When you choose one way out of many, all the ways you don't take are snuffed out like candles, as if they'd never existed. At that moment all of Will's choices existed at once. But to keep them all in existence meant doing nothing. He had to choose, after all." — Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass   "it occurred to me," I continued tentatively, "that the Holy Grail is not the treasure but the dream, like the carrot before the horse. It's the impulse that gets you off the couch and propels your journey. The problem arises when you don't allow your dream to change. In that case, if you seek it, hopefully you won't find it." "Why?" "Well, that would be a mid-life cries, wouldn't it? You finally get what you want, but didn't realize that the journey to getting it has informed who you are, so the grail you once dreamed about, that was supposed to bring perfect happiness — whether a car, house with a white picket fence or dream job — is, not likely, not going to make the current you feel fulfilled."   The Hindu concept of Dharma came to mind, what I understood to mean that we each have a responsibility to follow our own path — unique to ourselves, our interests and talents — for by doing so we give the space and opportunity for others to do the same. (Conversation copy omitted) By leaving to follow my dream, I was making room for someone else to follow theirs.

The back cover is a bit cliche/wanderlusty BUT I love that kind of stuff. "A book for anyone who has ever thought "What if" — a true story about a woman who dared to follow her dreams.." perf.