Monthly Archives: April 2014

Jungle Walk

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Of all the activities Juma Lodge provides, my favorite was the jungle walk, a serious hike through the Amazon Rainforest. The breathtaking flora and fauna, the steamy nature of the air around you, the wild views of dense tropical rainforest reaching stories high above your head to the fallen leaves under your feet. It was – in one word – BEAUTIFUL. Leaving the lodge by boat, we ventured to a new part of this dense forest. I loved when our boat would enter into the tree canopies; it was like entering a magical world full of natural secrets. We started by clearing the path through the jungle with a machete, then learned how to climb Acai Trees like the natives by making rope out of leaves, how to communicate far distances with a stick and a tree, that Babasu Gongoin (beetle larvae) tastes just like coconuts (and according to our guide, Bill Gates loved them on his walking tour!), and how to separate palm leaves in order to fold them into forest crowns. Not your typical Monday activities in Manhattan!

After a refreshing swim at the end of our hike (remember it’s like 100000% humidity) we had lunch cooked over an open flame and took a dip to cool off. That evening we went fishing for piranhas which later became part of our family style meal. The journey to get here, the monkeys, and being forced to disconnect from the rest of the world will put this place, deep in the heart of the Amazon, forever deep in mine.

and FYI- Manaus is only a 5 hour flight from Miami, what adventure you take from there is up to you!

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Monkey Love

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One of the coolest unexpected experiences of the Amazon and our stay at Juma Lodge was meeting these guys. While touring the resort, the guide told us that two monkeys lived in the area, and when they jump on you, it’s important to not be startled, to stay calm and not scream because you wouldn’t want to frighten the monkey. They also told us to keep our doors locked whenever we left the rooms, because the monkeys liked to ‘help themselves’ to your belongings and make a huge mess of it. He also warned that if we hear a “knock” on our door to not open it all the way, to crack it first and make sure it’s not a monkey trying to get in. We all chatted in excitement about all these little tips over dinner and tucked ourselves in for the night hoping we would get to see one of these little guys the next day.

Well… see these monkeys we did. Around 6:30 am the knocks on the door started coming! Just as the guide had warned us, it was monkey time. Up and down the resort they went, waking everybody up. They crawled on us, they cuddled in our arms, they swung from our bodies with their tails, they napped on us in hammocks, and they stole the limes from our cocktails. It was amazing. I’ll never forget napping in the hammock, hearing the pitter-patter of little monkey feet coming and then seeing his head popping over the hammock edge…and in he came to  join me. It was a blast.

Monkey love – The female monkey was absolutely 100% head-over-heels in love with our travel companion Zach. Any time he was outside his room she was in his arms. As the trip progressed, the deeper she felt and even started swatting Kelly away to keep him all to herself! He couldn’t move without her attached to him and if he was in his room she’d knock and try the door knob repeatedly!

I love when life gives you these memories you can never plan for, an experience you didn’t know was possible. Such an adventure… just monkeying around.

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Journey to Juma Lodge

All the greatest adventures require a great journey to reach them. This would be the third time, after Safari and Patagonia, I have dedicated over a day just in travel to reach a destination… but it is worth every transfer. Two flights, two buses and two boats and halfway through there, we said goodbye to WiFi and cell service. After passing pink dolphins, and navigating through large trees jutting out of the water, we motored up to the Juma Lodge just as the sun was setting. Being so far removed from modern civilization, we had ventured into an unknown world.

On Juma Lake in the Amazon River, we climbed the stairs to our treehouse bungalows. Our first night spent in the rainforest, we lay on the deck looking up at the night sky, almost bursting with stars of every size and color. We started to live by nature’s standard – it was such a funny thing, the moment we took away the every day technologies, we were all in bed by 10pm and up at 7. And what a wake-up call it was. Each morning we would hear a “knock” on our door, up and down all the cabanas, only to find a monkey waiting outside, climbing up your limbs to be cradled in your arms or sit on your shoulders. It was an awesome experience. We would swing in hammocks on the deck, suspended high above the waters below, and relish in a afternoon thunderstorm that brought a bit of relief from the humidity.

I think back on this experience and I can’t believe it lives in my memories. To see a part of the world so untouched, still so mysterious, and so influential in our modern day medicines and sciences, it almost felt spiritual, like we were sleeping close to ancient gods and all they could do was smile down upon us.

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Where the two rivers meet – the above image illustrates the Rio Negro (black water) and the caramel-colored Amazon River flowing side by side but not mixing due to the different makeup and temperatures of the two rivers. This was the last Instagram I got out before we lost service!

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John Hardy + Earth Day

I‘ve been thinking about Earth Day coming up tomorrow and how much more conscious we are of the globe now thanks to air travel, digital technology and the speed of communication. When I think about the Earth, certain words or earthly elements pop into my mind: Water, Plants, Animals, Wind, Earth, Sound, Gravity, Light, and Humanity. I wanted to put these earthly words into a visual photographic story while also telling the story of one of the most “GREEN” luxury brands and conscious companies out there.

John Hardy, the sustainable luxury jewelry brand based in Bali, thinks about their approach and place in the world in a 360-degree way. For example, all the silver jewelry is made from reclaimed silver which can come from a variety of places, such as old jewelry, computers and refrigerators! They believe they can produce a luxury product that is in harmony with our environment; instead of pulling more out of the earth and continuing to strip our natural resources, they want to use what is already out there.

In Bali, the jewelry is handmade by local jewelry artisans, who have centuries of passed-down knowledge and expertise in craftsmanship. The company knows how important these people are and goes to great lengths to take care of them, providing organic meals for their artisans and a single mother initiative that allows women to work from home in order to care for their child. Together the designers and artisans collaborate to make what ultimately is the distinct look of John Hardy.

When I was interviewing them at their New York City offices about the company philosophy, the passion simply poured out of the team. The pieces I ended up shooting below are all from the Bamboo Collection – this is significant to point out, as these pieces are part of an initiative. For every piece purchased from this collection, one or more bamboo trees are planted with help for forest management and water preservation. This year to date, John Hardy has planted 900,000 bamboo seedlings, which is 6 times the size of Central Park. In honor of Earth Month in April, John Hardy will donate 20% of all Bamboo Collection sales made on JohnHardy.com to support Trees New York which goes to funding a project where the John Hardy team will plant evergreens in the middle of West Harlem with the idea of creating a canopy effect to help filter the air and, in winter, add color to our gray days.

We are all beginning to become conscious consumers. I talked about that a bit in my personal style post: supporting brands that give back. John Hardy is all about what they call “Sustainable Luxury” which breaks down to Culture, Community, Commerce and Care.

Care – Giving back and especially giving back to nature for a “greener every day“.
Culture – the John Hardy Family. Supporting the collaboration between designers and artisans and the preservation of the Balinese art forms and traditional french jewelry making processes.
Commerce – Creating a profit to sustain their initiatives and give back while connecting with consumers and educating them on what their products do beyond the monetary exchange.
Collaboration Taking care of their the employees either through organic meals, enabling single mothers to work, providing amazing health care to supporting the local orphanages and communities of Bali.

So here is to our Mother Earth and all the gifts she gives us. May we have, as John Hardy says, a Greener Every Day and be the example of a new kind of balance. While photographing the concepts of these earthly elements, I asked our model to come completely barefaced, non-styled hair and bare nails. I wanted this to be about natural beauty, the natural beauty of us… the natural beauty of earth ~

WATER

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Above Gold Knot Ring / Below Silver Link Necklace 

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Below Silver Rope Necklace 

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PLANTS

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