The LookUp Times - Live In The Moment, Stay Focused & Reduce Screen Time

Ep .04 - Eclipse Musings, Happy Cities, & Persian Roots

Posted by Jackie Hamilton, Creative Director at LookUp on

Welcome back to Offline Encounters, your weekly LookUp newsletter chatting all things Offline. What’s bringing us joy, connection, inspiration and more, far, far away from the scroll.

Ways we’re looking up: 

  • The Eclipse!!: If you were anywhere near the path of totality in the US this week, you might have witnessed what I did, which was clusters of people all around you, off of their phones, looking (hopefully through those little cardboard glasses, passing them around to friends and strangers), up in the same direction towards the sun. It was so beautiful to witness. There are so few things these days that make us genuinely feel connected to humanity at large. To our innate sense of wonder, to the collective, to any moment where that connection is felt and seen viscerally and not through a screen. It reminded me of the moment in a workout class where every person is moving to the exact same beat for those thirty seconds or so of synchronicity and something happens. It's almost vibrational. That feeling of “we are one.” The eclipse made me deeply crave more of these moments of connection. 

  • Voice Notes: One surefire way to not be looking down at your phone texting is to just leave a voice note instead. I know people are generally in two camps here, and feel quite strongly about the one they’ve chosen, but how is it not better to hear your friends and loved ones’ voice and inflection (and sure, sometimes the very strong winds they’re walking through) as they tell you a hilarious story or just ramble along until they eventually remember what they were voice-noting you about in the first place?! They’re beautiful and intimate and I keep every single one I receive. To me, a voice note is the modern love letter. Having a voice note to listen to on my walk home from the train or on a bike ride is the coziest feeling and if you’ve ever sent me one, know that I listened to it at least three times.   

What we’re reading:

  • Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design, Charles Montgomery: This book is about exactly what you think it is, and I have been moseying my way through, enlightened at every turn. I’m finding such joy in each narrative outlining the often simple interferences into urban design in both small towns and big cities around the world, made through the lens of optimizing happiness rather than profit. A foundational profile within the book is that of Enqrique Peñalosa, a previous Mayor of Bogota, Colombia, often called the Mayor of Happiness. He believed that he “might not be able to fix the economy but [he could] design the city to give people dignity, to make them feel rich. The city can make them happier." Many of these interventions had to do with cutting down on the presence of cars and overall commute times. One study I found fascinating is that cutting down a single person’s long commute to a short walk had the same effects on them as finding a new love. In Bogota specifically, Peñalosa’s time in office saw a decline in car accidents, murder and crime, an increase in air quality, and importantly an increase in reported happiness and well-being and hope for the future.  

What we’re listening to: 

  • After Hours, Kehlani: You know those songs where you listen once and you’re like, “I mean, yeah!” but then you listen a couple more times and you can’t take it off repeat? This was that for me. My friend went to her listening party last weekend and the videos were just so epic that my love for Kehlani has continued to swell since. Girl can DANCE.

  • MAMA’s EYES, METTE: Please, FOR ME, watch this music video, I beg of you. I just learned that METTE was a background dancer for Pharrell before launching her music career and that becomes clear in this video. The song is somehow both deeply emotional and an absolutely banger- not sure if I want to cry or run through a wall. I’m in love with it and cannot stop listening. It’s on my playlist this month for Corepower Sculpt class, which I’ll include here for a little self-promotion, and it gets the yogis going. 

  • UFO, Olivia Dean: Okay, speaking of my Corepower class, the highlight of my life in the last year was having Olivia Dean herself come and take class while she was visiting New York on her tour. She was obviously just as cool in person and I was fangirling the whole time I was teaching. I desperately need her to release new music because her voice is magic, but for now I’m still on Messy and not at all sick of it. 

Something that reminded us why we started LookUp:

  • I was lucky enough to be invited to a beautiful dinner party in a Tribeca art gallery last weekend put on by a burgeoning global collective called Rendez-Vouz. Their goal is to enjoy great meals, drinks, laughs in beautiful spaces centered around conversation, art, music, and generally celebrating the talents of its larger collective. I found the group to be so incredibly welcoming and warm, which could easily not be the case in building something inclined to be or assumed to be “exclusive.” I felt inspired by this achievement and realized that feeling is exactly something we want to apply back to the community we’re continuing to build with LookUp. We think the coolest people in the world are the ones that aren’t attached to their phones, but we also want everyone to be a part of that community and are here with open arms to welcome them into the movement. Not exclusive, but desirable and sought after and ready for you when you’re ready to opt-in. Also, this gorgeous long dinner table set-up (pictured below) immediately made us realize this table needed LookUp tins as centerpieces! Note to self to always come to events with two tins minimum. 

Best thing I ate this week that made me put my phone down: 

  • Eyval: As a Persian girly, I have been dying to try this (not that new anymore) modern Persian restaurant in Bushwick and it genuinely blew me away. I went with a large enough group to merit a prix-fixe menu, which also meant getting to try all the hits. The Ghormeh sabzi, chicken Fesenjān, and kofta kebab were my highlight. So nostalgic and so incredibly well executed. The saffron martini was perfection and the ice cream sandwich (pistachio, saffron, rose, all the Persian hits) paired with a tea was the loveliest end to the meal. We somehow sat there for over three hours and closed the restaurant down. That’s when you know! This is my promise “out-loud” to myself that I will learn to make at least two Persian dishes at home this year. I may never do it like my grandpa or my mom, but dammit I will try. 

Stay cool and Look Up. 

Xo, Jackie, your LookUp Creative Director and phone-health evangelist