Meb Byrne

Archive for the ‘inspiration’ Category

Glitter Sleuth Goes West

In american, inspiration, storytelling on August 9, 2011 at 9:27 pm

We can live anywhere.

Thirty-eight days ago, I quit the East Coast. I shoved a suitcase full of shoes and a lunchbox full of muffins into the back seat of my boyfriend’s car one grey July morning, hugged my parents goodbye, and pointed the car toward California.  Tom and I were San Francisco-bound: him for work, me for… well, I wasn’t quite sure. I had never seen San Francisco. We had been dating for two months.

Our week-long, cross-continental trek passed in snapshots, like a montage sequence in a chick flick. Here we are in Chicago, catching fireflies in Millennium Park. Here we are in Kearney, Nebraska, setting off Fourth of July fireworks in an abandoned trailer park lot. Here we are in Albuquerque, arguing and crying into our dinner plates in a tacky late-night bar. Here we are in the Grand Canyon, outrunning a torrential downpour to save my beloved Canon. Here we are in Vegas, broke and sober, people watching at the Bellagio Fountains. There’s the food poisoning Tom contracted. There’s the rattlesnake that nearly bit my ankle. There’s the $42 breakfast bill. There’s the wrecked car bumper. I scribbled notes in my Moleskine the whole way, trying to soak it all up, take it all in, not miss a thing.

In San Francisco, I took a job with a political campaign for the next mayoral election. I spent several weeks as a signature gatherer, canvassing bus stops and brunch lines, approaching every person I passed and asking for their support. I met dozens of crazy characters in the City by the Bay: the pro bono balloon animal artist at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market; the tough-looking Latino youth with a staggering amount of political savvy; the cross-country biker from an “intentional community” in Portland; the leather-skinned philosopher writing at a tiny Italian coffee shop. I talked to fashionistas, homeless men, sunbathing hipsters, couples with their dogs, nannies with their charges. Invariably, the best conversations were the ones where I walked away with an earful but no signature. The stories these strangers told filled, and fulfilled, me to a completeness I’ve never known.

The tales Tom and I accumulated on our westward migration, and the people I still meet every day in the Bay Area, normally would not merit a Glitter Sleuth review. I have purposely kept my personal life out of my writings on this website, striving for objectivity and an authoritative air in my posts. If I’ve learned anything in these thirty eight days, though, it’s that heart-pounding, breathless, messy emotions make the best stories, and that everyone has a story to tell, if you let them.

And so, with a more narrative style in mind, and a broader focus than ever before, Glitter Sleuth is going west, too. In the spirit of Studs Terkel, Ira Glass, and Harry Chapin, I want to find not simply the places, but also the people that make this world weird, wild and wonderful. The mission statement is intentionally vague, to see where this California odyssey takes me, but the vision of the blog remains the same: to challenge you, the reader, to step outside your comfort zone, whether through new hobbies, new destinations, or new friends. Try that new vegetable. Play that new sport. Talk to that stranger on the subway.

Join me.


Carving Initials Into Desks

In album, inspiration, music, romance, smile-inducing, women on April 7, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Something’s happened. Your day-dreaming quota is through the roof. You’re Facebook stalking like a pro. You find yourself compulsively hugging your knees and grinning like a Cheshire, or pogoing around your apartment and shrieking. Face it- you’ve got a crush on someone.


What to do, you implore? Not much. Don’t overthink; don’t do anything too stupid; remember to eat once in a while. Your euphoria might not last forever, and it might not last the summer, and it might not last the week, but dammit, right now, it’s new and exciting and all your single friends are jealous. Now is awesome. Focus on now.

To add some extra height to that hop in your step, here’s a playlist for all you twitterpated punks out there (to be played in sequential order).

1. I’ve Just Seen A Face, The Beatles

2. Suddenly Everything Has Changed, The Postal Service

3. First Day Of My Life, Bright Eyes

4. Balance Beam, Blue October

5. Hands Down, Dashboard Confessional

6. Come Down With Love, Allstar Weekend

7. She’s Got You High, Mumm Ra

8. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, The Smiths

9. As Lovers Go, Dashboard Confessional

10. Die Alone, Ingrid Michaelson

11. Tiger Lily, Matchbook Romance

12. All My Loving, The Beatles

13. I Will Hold On, Moxy Fruvous

14. Giving Up, Ingrid Michaelson

15. Her Beautiful Ideas, The Guggenheim Grotto

16. Never Gonna Leave This Bed, Maroon 5

17. Parachute, Ingrid Michaelson

18. Blue Skies, Blue October

19. 18th Floor Balcony, Blue October

20. Take Over The World, Juliana Daily

Web Zen

In blog, healthy, inspiration, list, website, website wednesday on March 22, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Spring has sprung! Pastel color schemes invade every SoHo storefront. The food trucks burst from hibernation, trailing cupcakes and gay ice cream in their wake. Children fete tortuous tales of chocolate bunnies laying eggs and raising a zombie Jesus from the grave. Now is the season of new beginnings and spring cleaning, both physical and mental. Here are three sites that will help you realign and rejuvenate your fabulous self.

Zen Habits

Blogger Leo Babauta can be infuriating at first. He’s so calm and happy! Keep calm and carry on reading, though; Leo has some great insights to share. Will you rise at 4:30 am like him to experience the calm of the morning, or spiritually connect with centuries of tea drinkers as you sip your morning cup of oolong? Maybe not, but his simplicity and minimalism are great reminders to slow down and rethink how you go about your day.

The Daily Love

Mastin Kipp wants you to love yourself! Really, really love yourself! His Twitter feeds, @TheDailyLove and @MastinKipp, are chock full of positive energy and incorrigible enthusiasm. Have them delivered to your phone only if you accept that your cheek muscles will ache by day’s end from smiling so much. His site often features guest bloggers who carry the same joyous message.

holistic fitness for the real girl

Leanne Shear, a personal trainer in New York, focuses her writing on physical fitness, but her message extends to mental well-being as well. She uses her personal slip-ups (we’re on vacation! margaritas all round!) as teachable moments, in a voice that’s equal parts girlfriend and guru. With her self-challenging, can-do attitude, her blog is a gym bunny’s inspiration.

Rally To Restore Sanity and/or Fear

In dc, event, historical, inspiration, performance, photo op, politics, recommended on October 31, 2010 at 10:01 pm

The Rally To Restore Sanity, held by Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, and the March to Keep Fear Alive, hosted by Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report, collided on the National Mall Saturday. Attendance estimates range from 215,000 to 250,000 people, all of whom conducted themselves with moderate enthusiasm. (Buh dump chh.) Though the pacing of the three-hour-long event was inconsistent, the great positive energy of the crowd and the raison d’etre of the rally made it an overall success.

The guest list was extensive, eclectic and generally crowd-pleasing. As an opening act, the Mythbusters Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman conducted experiments on The Wave and seismic tremors with their largest sample size ever. Sam Waterston delivered an amusing poem penned by Colbert, bookended by Law & Order’s famous “dunk dunk.” Musical acts included John Legend and the Roots, who provided backup throughout the rally; Tony Bennett; Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow, performing a brand new and under-rehearsed tear-jerker; and a disappointing set by Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy. The best set was a dueling trio: Yusuf Islam sang a moving rendition of Peace Train; Ozzy Osbourne screamed and leered his way through Crazy Train; and the O’Jays, clad in matching white suits, brought both ends of the musical spectrum together with Love Train.

The weather was sunny yet pleasantly cool, the crowd’s age demographic surprisingly broad and race demographic homogeneously Caucasian. Most impressively, the throng comported itself with, well, moderation. Extremists from both ends of the spectrum stayed home, allaying my fears of screaming slogans and vicious signs. Arguing, complaining, and even fidgeting were kept to a minimum. The only animus shown throughout the rally came from the people in the cheap seats, who repeatedly sent up chants of “Louder! Louder!” until the microphone system was turned up.

Stewart was an capable ringmaster, handling himself expertly both as a professional and as a comic. Many segments of the rally mimicked Sesame Street parables, with Stewart teaching Colbert that, say, not all Muslims are terrorists and not all robots are evil, aided by the onstage appearances of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and R2D2. Stewart even sang an educational duo with Colbert. Entitled “There’s No One More American Than Me,” the song celebrated the right of all citizens to be patriotic, and gave shout-outs to everyone “from gay men who like football to straight men who like Glee.” The repartee between the two men often grew tiresome, though, and by the end of the rally, with Colbert’s fear finally defeated, I was not sad to see him leave the stage.

Stewart’s closing keynote was the most serious moment of the afternoon, but also the most meaningful. He spoke calmly and passionately about the need for moderation and thoughtful reasoning, not abject, irrational fear, in today’s society, quipping that “we live in hard times, but we do not live in the end of times.” The audience hung on his every word. Although Stewart did not prescribe methods of achieving this moderation as we move forward, the sheer fact that so many people from so many places turned out for his cause deserves great commendation.

For more photos of the rally, check out the Flickrstream of my buddy Andy Richardson, whose seat was much more VIP than mine.

Deserve Better Playlist

In album, inspiration, music, smile-inducing, women on October 27, 2010 at 6:09 pm

Let’s face it: you miss your ex.

He was sweet. He was comfortable. He was familiar. He was also a total loser and a creep, which is why you gave him the boot- but that doesn’t make it any easier to fill the hole he left in your life.

This is a playlist for the dumpers: those girls and boys who were honest with themselves, ended things quickly and cleanly, and still can’t get their erstwhile significant other off their minds.

I’ll be the first to say it: you deserve better. You deserve someone who can live up to your expectations, who’s cool and who thinks you’re cool too. Right now, you deserve time alone to wade through your confused feelings, knock back a few margaritas and begin your life anew. And dammit, you need a soundtrack while you do it.

Without further ado: the Deserve Better Playlist (to be played in sequential order).

  1. I Should Have Sent Roses, Elton John & Leon Russell
  2. Not Goin’ Cry, Mary J. Blige
  3. Gone, Ben Folds
  4. Turn The Lights Out When You Leave, Elton John
  5. Did You Give Enough Love, Celine Dion
  6. Once Was Love, Ingrid Michaelson
  7. Why Should People Stay The Same, Harry Chapin
  8. Sorry To Myself, Alanis Morissette
  9. Shesmovedon, Porcupine Tree
  10. Why Don’t You Love Me, Beyonce
  11. No More Tears (Enough Is Enough), Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer
  12. When A Woman Doesn’t Want You, Elton John
  13. Been Down, Blue October
  14. Irreplaceable, Beyonce
  15. My Heart Dances, Elton John (from The Road To El Dorado)
  16. Stronger Than Me, Melissa Etheridge
  17. Better Than Me, Hinder
  18. I Look So Good (Without You), Jessie James
  19. Now I Feel Better, Ayo
  20. Stronger, Britney Spears
  21. U Should Know Better, Robyn feat. Snoop Dogg
  22. Can’t Touch It, Ricki-Lee
  23. Better Days, Bruce Springsteen
  24. Miss Independent, Ne-Yo
  25. Whole Lot Of Leavin’, Bon Jovi
  26. Strong Enough, Cher
  27. Independent Woman, Boy George (from Taboo)
  28. Love Is On The Way, Celine Dion
  29. Haven’t Met You Yet, Michael Buble

For your listening ease and pleasure, this playlist is also available on Grooveshark.


In art, fashion, food, inspiration, photography, treasure trove, website, website wednesday on May 26, 2010 at 8:34 am


Luxirare bills itself as “a weekly webzine dedicated to clothing and cuisine.” This photographic gem is that and so much more.

Luxirare posts blogs infrequently, around once a week. Each post consists almost entirely of photos, and is dedicated to a topic within food or fashion: assembling a boot, say, or making egg nog. Don’t let the mundane titles fool you, though- this is egg nog like you’ve never seen it before. The photographer and blogger behind Luxirare, a young woman named Ji, uses hyper-close zoom lenses, simple compositions and crisp, bright shots to track the progress of each unlikely project.

The result is a creation story told through pictures, beginning with raw, disparate pieces and ending with some jaw-droppingly gorgeous thing, a journey that us peons at our desk jobs can only imagine completing. Ji’s skill and imagination as a sewer and a cook make her photographic results even more special. (When was the last time you saw someone make crayons out of Heath bars?)

Ji occasionally features herself in her fashion photos, a lithe, faceless form with long black hair twirling about a white studio. Generally, though, she is very careful to keep personal details, including any identifiable physical characteristics or personal details, away from the camera, adding to the mystery of the site.

Ji often puts her creations up for sale after she blogs about them, but her livelihood beyond the income Luxirare generates is unrevealed. Whatever her methods are for affording the expense and effort put into her blog, I hope they sustain her creative genius for a very long time.

Photo: wanderlust.

In inspiration on December 19, 2009 at 9:58 pm

A Call For Inspiration

In inspiration on December 14, 2009 at 7:47 pm

Hello, darlings!

Most of you know that I began Glitter Sleuth over the summer as a way to share my love of cultural adventurism with others. I love writing for it, and I get the sense that people enjoy reading about cool things to do. Unfortunately, this semester kinda steamrollered my writing streak into submission, and I haven’t been posting much for a few months.

But! I have a plan.

This coming semester, I’ve blocked significant time into my schedule every week to explore NYC and write about what I find. I plan to blog at least once a week, if not more often. I could not be more excited for this.

Here’s where you come in.

I’m up for reviewing anything, and I do mean anything, as long as I can get to it on a New York subway train. I’m currently compiling a schedule of restaurants, museum exhibits, movies, lectures, etc. that I plan to review in the spring- but I need your help!

Send me any and all ideas you have for posts: anything awesome you know about that’s coming up in the spring, anything you’ve loved and want to share with me, anything crazy you’ve always wanted to do but have never gotten around to doing. I’ll take as many of your ideas as I can & write ’em up!

Inspire me!

All my love,
Meb 🙂

P.S. If you ever want to come on assignment with me, just let me know. The more the merrier. 🙂

New Feature: Upcoming Events Calendar

In inspiration, upcoming on August 21, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Hello all!

My posts have been fewer than I’d prefer recently, as I’ve been transitioning from Washington, DC to Syracuse and back to Manhattan. To tide you over while I settle myself into New York City and prepare to dive into its veritable sea of culture, I’ve added a new feature to Glitter Sleuth!

Introducing the Upcoming Events Calendar: a Google Calendar which lists any and all imminent events I get wind of. You can find it on the right side of the page.

The Calendar will be most useful for one-day events (awards shows, gallery openings, movie premiers, etc.) Let’s face it, my review may be nice, but it won’t do you much good if the event has already happened.

Peruse the Calendar for ideas as you plan your upcoming weekend!

And of course, if you hear of anything intriguing that’s coming up, tell me about it and I’ll include it on the Calendar for others to see.

Happy hunting!

Meb 🙂

According to Jim Jarmusch:

In inspiration, quotes on May 31, 2009 at 1:55 pm
“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery—celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: ‘It’s not where you take things from—it’s where you take them to.’ “

–Jim Jarmusch, director.