OAK & BONE

A creative journal by Gabi E. Mulder

KEEPING TRACK. NINETY DAYS IN NYC.

Whatever words I can piece together to write here will in no way be able to do the past 3 months justice. 90 days of travel, a new home, new friends, childhood dreams turned into real life, and a bank of memories so big I feel like I could write a book (accompanied with about 3 essays and 16 short stories). From walking through Central Park at midnight and stopping to watch a huge movie being filmed, to catching the subway through Manhattan at 3am, spending mornings at our favourite diner in Brooklyn eating cookie dough pancakes as big our head, catching sunsets over the lake in Central Park and spending entire days in book stores when its pouring outside. Those streets, those buildings, those parks and that entire city holds more magic than I can possibly try and express through words.
To New York City, thank you for being the chaotic, incredible, hard, surprising, beautiful mess that you are.
You’ve made my heart feel fuller than ever. 

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FOREVER & ALWAYS MY NUMBER 1

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THE PAPER CITY

On a brisk October morning in New York I caught the subway to Chinatown. It’s a part of NYC I rarely found myself in so as I stepped out of the subway onto the streets I quickly whipped out my map and looked around to try and find my place amongst the soundtrack of horns, yelling, sirens and the loud hum of the crowds passing through the streets. After stopping every few streets to check the signs and make sure I was on the right route, I eventually stumbled upon Clare’s apartment. She met me at the door and even though we had never met in person before, it felt like we had been long time friends who were finally reuniting after too much time apart. The following hours were spent lying about on the couch learning about each other’s lives, shooting images in the streets, up on the rooftop, in her abode and trying to convince the cat to happily hang out with us (with which he had very little success). 

NYC, I can’t get enough of you and everyone that inhabits you. 

✩ ✩ ✩ MEET CLARE ✩ ✩ ✩ 

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Who are you & what do you do?
I’m Clare, and I guess I have no choice but to call myself a “model” these days.

Where’s home?
I currently reside in Manhattan with my boyfriend, but was born and raised in Connecticut.

Tell us three things about yourself?
I have a VERY high pitched unusual voice, I speak Mandarin & French, and I had hedgehogs as pets when I was growing up.

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What does paradise look like to you?
I feel really strongly about the environment, food justice etc. I won’t go on a rant, but if people and governments worldwide woke up and took responsibility…everywhere would be “paradise.”

How would you spend your perfect Saturday morning?
Honestly waking up with my cat on my head next to my boyfriend (how gross am I?)…then digging into some almond flour waffles whilst watching Netflix!

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What is the last thing you googled?
A restaurant in NYC, “Congee Village”🙂

When do you feel the most free?
I’m not sure. The idea of freedom is hard to grasp. In general I have a very “free” life. I still depend on a lot of things but I decide my own schedule and jobs. Ugh…I guess I feel the most free when I’m traveling.

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Your favourite place in the world is?
I LOVE being in other countries. I crave travel, new sounds, smells, cultures etc, but my favorite place will always be wherever my family is…be it my immediate family or the family I make with someone someday🙂

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Clare photographed & interviewed by Gabi Mulder. NYC, October 2016.

IN BLOOM

Last Wednesday at 10am Emma and I sleepily headed out of our apartment in New York. Bound for Brooklyn, we headed for the subway, picked up coffee and bagels on the way, and made the trip to our friend’s dreamy loft in Williamsburg.

I’ve been asked in a few interviews recently “who are your current muses?”, the answer is clear and immediate. The girls I’m living with in New York are some of the most inspiring, creative minds I’ve come across, and every single day when we all crawl out of our bedrooms, make our breakfast in our pajamas with messy bed-hair and talk about our plans for the day, I’m inspired by them in so many little ways. Whether it be how they choose to do their hair that day, whether they choose to just drink black coffee for breakfast or take the time to make a full meal, what music they choose to start the day with, or whether they are rushing out the door with an overflowing backpack or simply taking their time to head out in no rush. Little butterflies of inspiration are always fluttering around. Those little moments of casual magic in every body and every day are what always gets me the most.

Emma and I have known of each other for a few years now, but met for the first time in person earlier this year when she came to Australia. I photographed her then as a new friend at the beach in Byron Bay. I’m photographing her now as my roommate here in New York City, just 8 months later.

Below are a series of photos that Em and I took together in the loft that day, and also a piece that she wrote to go along with the series titled ‘What I Think About’. She has a way with words like no other person I know. Poetic, powerful, true and an ultimate delight to read.

Enjoy!

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What I Think About

I think you should let it go.
And by it I mean yourself.
But not let yourself go, just let the idea and perception of yourself go.
Wave goodbye, and watch them walk off for a big, just for a short stroll.
With them your definition of self leaves, the “I’m fragile, I’m fun, I’m not right for anyone,” are around the corner by now.
The “I’m not good enough, I’m not ready for this, I could never be like that,” are fading away.
I think it’s time to say goodbye to them
At least just for today.

I think it’s time to go on a hunt, like a treasure map when you were little.
Looking for the riches already buried within you.
I think you can do it this afternoon
I think the best way to start is to throw on a favorite sweater
or t-shirt depending on the weather
Stroll outside and take a breath in
and then out
Go in the opposite direction your ego, of the scared part of yourself
that clings to an identity that it thinks it knows
I’d tell you what they are saying
but I can’t hear them anymore

I think you should grab a book you have been meaning to read
or a journal you have been meaning to fill
take it with you
Also take
headphones, enough money for a coffee
some lavender oil, some sunglasses
two good pens, you need one backup
if you can walk then walk
if you can drive then drive
if you can take the metro
close your eyes when the train comes by

However you get there, to wherever you’re buried
go with purpose
When you walk feel the vibrations from your foot fall spread through your soles
Walk in rhythm with your heartbeat
Picture yourself just as a set of eyes
Observing the world without your form attached
you are there to feel, think, observe, absorve
If you drive then grip the wheel with one hand
and let the wind dance between your fingers with the other
If it stings your cheeks then let it sting
and smile even brighter
If you get on a subway give your seat to someone else
smile gently and try to guess
which of the passengers are currently in love
and which are currently out

I think you should sit by a window
one with a lot of light
or find a table outside
and stay there until the night

I think you deserve to sit in silence
and let your mind be loud
if nothing comes to you to write about
then ask yourself

“what do I think I am?”

I think you are not your face
you are not your mistakes
You are not a person someone says you are
or a place you grew up in

I think you are your favorite song
your grandma’s sauce recipe
a fragment of memories by the sea
the smell of saltwater taffy
an experience or emotion
a time you felt truly free
a time you felt contained
write it all down
and close your journal
because what you are
has already changed

– Emma

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Emma photographed by Gabi Mulder. Brooklyn, NYC.

A NEW YORK MINUTE WITH: CHRISTIE

Yesterday at 11am Christie and I meet at her apartment in New York. Meeting me at the door she’s wearing vintage Levis and an oversized green knit. Fall has officially arrived in New York and I feel like the entire NYC population should really have a big group hug to celebrate. After a summer of withstanding intense heat and standing in subway stations that make you feel like you’re burning in the fiery pit of hell, the crisp air and cold change feels like a little taste of heaven.

Christie and I have been friends from across the globe for the past couple of years now. When I was first booking my flights to New York back in May, the thought that Christie and I would finally be able to meet in person and shoot together was one of the first things that crossed my mind. Yesterday was the day we made it happen.
We began at Christie’s apartment, headed to the subway, made our way to the West Village and eventually found ourselves in a quaint little coffee shop where we spent the remainder of the afternoon catching up on the past few years.

This is the first in a series of shoots Christie and I will be doing together over the next couple of months. I hope you feel all warm and fuzzy and get lots of sweet autumn vibes.

It’s 8:20pm right now in NYC and I’m about to head out for dinner with friends so I’ll leave my ramble here. But I hope you enjoy the series and I hope you’re having a wonderful day so far, wherever in the world you are!

Gab x

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MEET CHRISTIE

How would you spend your perfect Saturday morning?
It’s Autumn, I sleep in until 9am, wake up to hot coffee, go to brunch, I’m wearing a sweater, sitting outside and people watching. Having pancakes with warm maple syrup. Having nowhere to be.

Tell us three things about yourself?
I have a deep obsession with plants, I love red wine and cheese, and I have a fear of spiders.

What does paradise look like to you?
This is so hard…I have 3 scenarios; being on a sidewalk cafe in Paris drinking a cappuccino wearing a silk scarf, being on a farm and tending to horses, walking out of a brownstone in the West Village (NYC) with my love by my side.

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When do you feel the most free?
When I have everything on my ‘to do’ list crossed off and I am running around New York City streets taking photos and feeling inspired.

Your favourite place in the world is?
Right now it’s New York City. But I’ve never travelled to Europe so… I’m not sure just yet hehe.

One song you can listen to all day every day?
‘Shadow’ by Wild Nothing.

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How would you describe New York City in 3 words?
Nostalgic, fast-paced, inspiring.

What is one thing that surprised you about living in New York?
Honestly, everyone is really nice. I am so surprised at the kindness I see on a daily basis. It’s refreshing and I love how it constantly breaks the stereotype of New Yorkers being rude.

Would you say NYC is better in the daytime or night time?
This is so tricky! I love the daytime because there’s always markets and bookstands, and I love photographing the city, I feel like the lighting is always perfect. But at the same time, at night I love cobblestone streets that are shining from the rain and tripping up on them in heels… being a little tipsy on wine while you see the whole city sparkling around you. It’s magnificent.

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What is one thing you think everyone should try when they come to NYC?
I would really recommend wandering around the West Village. Going into unusual shops, discovering undercover bars or jazz clubs. There are so many little romantic things here that sometimes you just stumble upon. Adventure until your feet hurt and until your heart aches with inspiration!

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Christie photographed & interviewed by Gabi Mulder

NEW YORK CITY: 21 DAYS IN

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It’s been exactly 21 days since I arrived in NYC. I can’t even find the right words to describe how alive, inspired and free I feel in this city. It’s like nothing I’ve ever felt before. I don’t mean for this at all to be a sappy, privileged recount of how wonderful things feel, but after feeling kinda lost for a while there, I wanted to express how much this city has done for my once scattered mind that’s slowly figuring it all out.

As a young girl it was always my dream to come to New York City. At 14 years old when I visited for the first time, it then became my dream to live here in my twenties. At 20 years old, I’m back here and nothing has ever felt so right.

I’m living with a bunch of friends in an apartment in Manhattan. We’re all pursuing creative paths and I can’t tell you how inspiring it is to wake up every morning and have our days free to create, work and immerse ourselves in whatever NYC has to offer each and every day.
Even sitting here at 2:10am writing this right now, I’m buzzing with excitement to wake up tomorrow morning for a new day to explore this city (side note: tomorrow’s plan is to wake up, head to our favourite diner in Brooklyn, order cookie dough pancakes and spend the afternoon exploring the streets with cameras in hand.) *pinches self*

Before coming here, I had in my mind that homesickness was likely to occur. I was always a kid who freaked out over sleepovers with friends when I was young. But words can’t even describe how at home I feel in this city. Like my past life was spent here and this time around I’m simply slipping back into my old groove.

My mission is every 21 days to put together a scrapbook of my time in NYC. The little moments that don’t make it to instagram and small, candid writings from my journal. It’s a raw recount of my days and what my life currently is filled with as a twenty year old Australian in NYC figuring it all out. Here is part 1.

So without further adieu, here’s a glimpse inside the last 21 days of NYC life…

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THE SWEETEST THING

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Somewhere on the spectrum between one of the coolest 16 year old you’ve ever met and also the sweetest soul imaginable, you’ve got Ursula.
On a lazy Sunday morning, Urs and I shot this photo series in her bedroom. Her style is mix of french simplicity and a denim obsession.
Get to know her here and now . . .

Tell us three things about yourself? I’m ambidextrous, my name means ‘Little Bear’, and I passed out when I was younger from too much red cordial.

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How would you describe paradise? Up in the rainforest reading a book while it’s raining. Would also need a personal sushi chef on hand that makes me Japanese goodies and hot tea. Or any place with dogs. Lots of dogs.

When do you feel the most free? Under water in the ocean. When you can see nothing and hear nothing. Without any thoughts or worries.

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Your favourite place in the world is? I am yet to find out, but at the moment probably just the shower.

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Dawn or dusk? I’m never awake for dawn (oops), so dusk wins.

Shoes or barefoot? Being the shoe-lover that I am, I have way too many pairs of boots to not show em off.

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If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be and what would you be doing? I would be in Peru. Up in the mountains, hiking, breathing fresh air, looking out at the beautiful scenery without a care in the world.

What is one thing someone can do to win your heart? A love letter and sunflowers.

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Ursula photographed & interviewed by Gabi Mulder 

FOLLOW THIS WAY

9:05am. We missed our bus from San Diego back to Los Angeles. Sitting at the bus terminal we were hungry, lost and amused at how our following ten days had no plans whatsoever. We decided to haul our suitcases and selves onto the next bus back to LA and see where the day would take us. No idea what we were doing. At all.

1:30pm. We end up in LA at Starbucks using the wifi (thank you Starbucks wifi for  saving us at every waking moment, we are eternally grateful). Sitting in there, the question is popped “why don’t we just fly to Oregon tonight?” We had been discussing how we so badly wanted to get up to the Pacific North West.
We jumped on our laptops and starting scouring the internet for the best flight deals for that night.
Fast forward: 20 minutes later, we’ve booked flights leaving in 4 hours time.

FORESTS, LAKES & MOUNTAINS…WE ARE COMING FOR YOU

The following week consisted of morning smoothie bowls, hiking up mountains, road tripping across miles of empty road surrounded by forest, and being in awe for a good 99% of the time. We even got the chance to go visit one of the most important locations of one of our favourite books/films of all time. For any of you that have read or seen ‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed, we stumbled across The Bridge Of The Gods and it’s safe to say both of our hearts skipped a beat. In true Cheryl Strayed spirit we hiked along the Pacific Crest Trail for a while and took in all the beauty we could see. It’s incredible, to say the very least.

I can’t believe how deeply in love I fell with the Pacific North West.
I left a teeny tiny bit of my soul there and I cannot wait to get back.

Side note: thanks to my number one traveling companion Ally for rocking my world. You and your spirit make planet earth such a wonderful place to be.

I hope you guys enjoy this photo series from Oregon and Washington! I can’t encourage you enough to set aside some time in your life schedule to go experience this incredible part of the world.

BIG LOVE TO YOU ALL! Gab x

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