A City in Color

messy thoughts

Emma is the editor & creator (and occasionally writer) for The Messy Heads. She enjoys yellow curry, print media, and currently is traveling through Europe. IG / @emmawxyx

COLOR IS EMOTION. It explains our feelings, thoughts, wishes in different tones and swatches. I loved putting together this post, not only did I find out that we have messy heads all over the world, but it taught me a lot about perspective. How differently somebody else looks at a life. What colors stand out to them, and what that shows about their feeling towards that environment. Sometimes the color that stands out to them is the most abundant hue in the photo, or sometimes the color isn’t even there at all, it’s just an aura of the place.

Enjoy this reader submission of cities from around the globe and the paint swatch that coincides with it. The story, the color, the place. It is all connected.


Los Angeles // Shereenaddictedtony

This is the street I’ve spent my entire life on. From the countless deep talks with my best friend about ten-year-old type drama, to the late night walks to escape my problems, it all took place here. I remember “running away” to this spot at the top of the street, and then walking straight back because nothing felt as good as being in my mom’s arms. The aura of the sunrise/sunset could completely lift my spirits on a bad day. Over-looking the city, it was the perfect spot for me to grow up. This road will forever be home no matter where I am.

Rockport // Sophiesophie.catherine

This beach five minutes from my house will always hold a special place in my heart: from my twin brother and I climbing the rocks as little kids, to sunset photoshoots with my best friend.It has been constant every stage of my life with a beautiful sunset everyday. The blue – the crashing waves, the gray – the gloominess of the evening, contrasted with vibrant pink and orange. 

Phuket // Sienasienamccollum

My father grew up in a really rough part of Los Angeles, but put all of his anger into basketball and was able to play full-ride at Pepperdine. After college, he got recruited to play professionally in Geneva, Switzerland, and then one day he was drafted for the NBA. A few days before he was flying back to the states, he tore a muscle-and would never play professional basketball again. Depressed and alone, he bought a one way ticket to Australia. One stop until his destination, he had a delay in a small airport in Phuket (poo•ket), Thailand. With time to explore, he stepped out of the terminal and was immediately taken away by the pure beauty of the island. He stayed there instead of continuing onto Australia.

Another player, Nico, was released from the team, so my father invited him to join him in Phuket. Nico was just as enchanted as my dad was, this place is so pure and beautiful and it captures everyone’s heart. The two of them opened up a small scuba shack on the beach, and made just enough to get by. The money started to run dry, and they went to an elephant bar to drink their problems away. The bar tender Chaini (chai•knee) was an instant hit; the 3 of them became best friends. Weekends were spent hanging out at elephant bar with Chaini and the crazy bar monkey named Charlie (Every time they walked in Charlie would greet them with a hug). The three of them often discussed opening up a restaurant of their own, but it never seemed like the right time. Life went on, in 1995, my dad moved back to the states where he settled down and started a family.

In 2004, the hurricane hit. Chaini reached out to my dad for help and so my dad flew over and he was devastated. The Island was demolished, the bar was gone, Chaini’s house was gone, the only piece of the past still remaining was Charlie the bar monkey. They rebuilt the old elephant bar and things slowly came back to return to normal again. But in 2011, Charlie had an incident at the bar and bit someone. He had to be euthenized. My dad and Nico immediately flew back to Thailand. Charlie was not just a monkey to them, he was a symbol of their friendship. In the middle of the night the 3 of them brought Charlie into the forrest. Charlie was freed into the trees, and they decided right then and there, it was time to open their restaurant. This photo is of the view from their restaurant, Sabai Corner (Chill Corner in English). I chose a yellow swatch because of how I feel every time I visit here. The people in Thailand will give up everything they have for your happiness. They are so beautiful inside and out and I’m truly grateful I am able to spend time with them, and in this beautiful city.

P.S. Chaini got married and had a baby boy, his name is Charlie. 

Salem // Alyssaalyssa.silveira copy

I feel like everyone has their own happy place. That one spot where you can spend hours on end and feel completely at home. This would be my happy place, it’s located in Salem Massachusetts and it’s called Salem willows. In the summer I come here with my friends and family and spend hours playing old arcade games or eating unhealthy amounts of sweet taffy. In the fall this is one of my favorite places to run, the newly cool autumn air and the crisp orangey red colored leaves keep me company as the miles tick by. The best part of this place is the unbeatable sunsets and sunrises. There are not nearly enough paint swatches that can represent the multitude of colors that take place in the sky. All the words I write in my journal and all the photos I take could never sum up my love for this place.

Georgia // Michellemessyheads

This house sits on a corner beside the famous park here, Forsyth. After being here for 2 years, one day I came across it taking a walk with a friend and immediately had to stop and photograph it. I am so drawn to it, and find myself walking home or driving past that way just to get a glimpse of the house.(I think it gets rented out as an airbnb for art lovers so it might be still available to do so if you visit!) This one photograph is the epitome of Savannah contained in one small frame. For starters, the Spanish Moss: famous here because everyone here has it in their backyards or it hangs outside our class windows as we stare out longingly. The house has another totally exposed pink side with vines but this view was more attractive to me – reminds me of a secret garden – so much beauty held inside a private area – quite sacred and mystical. The main color is somewhat peach, and Georgia is the peach state, I find it very fitting – vibrant but charming, a great way to explain this city that is full of buzzing art students in a southern town.

Madrid // Marinamarinapereirx

This is the Crystal Palace in the “Parque del Retiro”. I have a lot of memories of this place, playing tag with my brother, pretending I was the queen of the palace, eating churros on the staircase, etc. Now I don’t go as often, but when I do, I like to take pictures of the sun filtering through the glass and write on my journal while sitting on the grass. In the park you can find people doing yoga, guitar players sitting on a circle, free fortune tellers, and a lot of creative energy.

New Jersey // Maggiemagsleeee

The place that will hold my heart forever is Manasquan. I’ve played at that beach all my life, surfing the waves, dancing with the dolphins and having my whole body being covered in warm white sand. I feel so lucky to be connected to the ocean, being able to swim in the big blue makes my soul the happiest and I will forever be grateful for that. When I dive under the waves and see the waves crashing behind me, I love that feeling, it’s when I know I’m home. My heart belongs to the ocean and my veins are filled with salt water and all the hues of blues.

Doha // LizzieProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

If you have ever been to the middle east you’ll know what I mean when I say that I quite literally live in the middle of a sandpit. The modernistic scene, scorching weather, lack of greenery- not my thing. I often long to go back to sleepy Kent in the UK. 

This photo was snapped seconds before it started raining like God released Niagara Falls down on us.  It was probably one of the most magical evenings I was ever able to spend at home. Home, to me, embodies inky greens and muted yellows. These colours represent what I appreciate and miss most: plants, yellow raincoats, reading by the fire, and the rain.

Alps // HayleyLittleconeyislandqueen

To me the alps will always remind me of coming home, they separate the west and east coast of the south island of New Zealand and I fly over them every time I return. They act as a marker of how close I am to seeing my family or solidify the feeling of leaving them, hence the blue colour swatch. I get my warmth from the love of those around me and although I am a mostly positive person I accept the sadness that I feel as I pass over these gorgeous mountains, grateful to have something that makes leaving so hard.

Vienna // Paulinelillymble

For a month I’ve been living in a student dorm in Vienna, studying astronomy. I took this picture on the very first day of living here. I remember feeling lonely and lost in my thoughts on this one evening. Then I looked out of the window, saw the colors and the skyline. Everything seemed in place and somehow I felt better. The colors I that spread across the sky are my favorite right now, a palette that will forever remind me of that quiet afternoon that brought peace to my soul. 

Queenstown // Ellaelllllllaaaa

I am actually from Auckland New Zealand, but My family has come to Queenstown every year since I was born, so it harbors a lot of amazing memories. This is my little corner of the world which many are not aware of, it deserves it’s beauty to be shared. This photo was taken at Kinlock lodge which some family friends own and is a very magical place.

Portugal // Dianadianadsc

This was captured during an formula 1 boat race. These small planes would lurch up into the air and do these crazy twists and flips. I like this picture a lot, the plane ascending and leaving a tail behind, the beautiful boats, the oldest bridge on the river, and old houses across the water. The color blue is so prominent, the frame for the event was the river and sky. 

New York // Elliecellerydee

Wandering the East Village, New York: the old, brownstone townhouses with white window panes, various shades of bricks, draping green vines, the cobblestone roads, and overflowing flower pots on the porch… Strolling in the shade of the yellowing trees, the streets of the East Village fill me with adoration and curiosity, and I can’t help but make up elaborate life stories for the people who live inside those walls. Escaping the noisy, rushing business of life under the skyscrapers can be difficult, but finding peace in these tiny, residential roads full of history is not. If I need to get out of the dorm, getting lost in this neighborhood, sitting on the steps of a building, daydreaming, and people watching as they kick leaves and brisk by is a great dose of humanity in a quiet place.

Paris// Camillecamille

I live in a beautiful, magical city of love. This picture was taken in a cute café called ‘La caféotèque’ situated in my favourite neighbourhood: Le Marais. I know it’s not a picture of a beautiful scenery or the Eiffel Tower or whatever but it’s this little coffee shop in which I spent an amazing afternoon with a girl I met through social media. She’s a beautiful soul named Elena and I just had the best time talking for hours on our lifelong dreams and aspirations and how we felt about certain topics and it was such an amazing feeling to connect with someone fresh and new. I now go to this café every week and bring my best friends along and make them experience the little magical moment of sitting in a beautiful room filled with wooden tables, painted all different radiant colours. I love this place because it radiates such good vibes and it’s kinda like my happy place where i can drink bomb-ass cappuccinos and eat delicious cheese cake. 

Wenatchee // Brooklynbxrooklyn copy

Cafes are one of the most personal things to me within my city. Most of the cafes are local, giving me a special hangout spot. Lemolo cafe is located smack dab in the middle of downtown, a perfect place to brighten up the red brick buildings that make up the historical setting. As I walk in I’m greeted by smiling faces, people wearing tie dyed T-shirts, and as I like to call them, the “hippies” of the town. Bright colors, extravagant artwork, and a hanging sasquatch. The air smells of fresh tomatoes, with the slightest hint of basil and rosemary. I order a delicious vegan sammie that comes  fresh out of the garden, sit down and enjoy my little piece of yellow heaven.

Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to this post. If you want to be a part of a future piece please sign up for the weekly newsletter in the sidebar to receive the prompts. 

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9 Comments

  1. Katya says

    This blog post inspired the idea of having messies submit sounds or songs that take them back to a certain place or have noises that hold significance to them. I know I have a lot, and it’s very interesting to explore how different people experience different senses that we often overlook or don’t consider. Much love, Katya ❤️

    >

    • I agree!! When Cybele did hers on the post she wrote, it really had me thinking of what mine would be. PLEASE MAKE THIS THE NEXT SUBMISSION !

  2. Your posts never fail to amaze and inspire me! And I can honestly say that your music recommendations through the blog and your videos have shaped my taste in music so much and they fit my over all vibe so well. Thank you for that!

  3. sarah says

    i love this post so much!! it has inspired me to start a journal describing all the places where i feel at home (with beautiful photos and paint swatches)! im so excited! your blog posts never fail to amaze me. much love xx.

  4. I didn’t realise you were from Auckland! I’m from (and currently living in) Auckland too! Let me know if you ever come by!

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