The Pint on Kickstarter

I seem to be in an impulse purchase mood lately...but at least it's for fun and useful stuff. Yesterday I spent $60 on fancy ribbon, for example. And the day before that, this Kickstarter campaign for a groovy drinking vessel caught my attention. The Pint is basically a stainless steel, insulated bottle that can open at both ends. The Pint looks to be the first product designed by Stable Goods, and I'm already a fan. If all their stuff is as cool looking, affordable, and functional as The Pint, we're in for a treat! My canteen/cup should arrive in February...I'll report back then! 

The Pint has already far surpassed its Kickstarter fundraising goal, but you have until November 19th to back the project and get your own bottle.

a little spark

Exciting news! I have been chosen as a new Correspondent for The Campsite blog! It's an excellent outdoors blog based in Canada, but gathering stories world-wide. I love the site's thoughtful, fun style...and of course the sense of adventure and love for all things outside. Be sure to add it to your outdoor adventure reading list.

So what does this mean? Well, you'll see more of me here (really!), and I'll also be sending you over to The Campsite to read my stories and reviews about once a month. I'm so excited to add my little spark to their fire! Stay tuned!

Distractions

Inside 'Three Gems, 2005' by James Turrell @ the DeYoung Museum

Inside 'Three Gems, 2005' by James Turrell @ the DeYoung Museum

Two Dots -- I am completely addicted to this puzzle game on my iPhone. I honestly don't know whether to tell you to clear your schedule and start playing, or run screaming for the hills. The game is free, but there are in-app purchases that can help you through frustrating levels...thus, I have spent more money on this game than I care to admit to anyone. The sound and graphics are great, too.

Humans of New York -- A collection of real stories from real people seen on the streets of New York. If you've never looked at HONY, as it's known, you'll end up binging on it for a couple of hours. The stories can be funny, heartbreaking, and unbelievable. I very highly recommend scrolling through the archives to August/September when the photographer went on a trip with the United Nations.

Making Wax Food (via Colossal) -- I appreciate restaurant's fake window food a lot more now. What a strange and specialized craft. Fast forward the video to 3:31 for the magic cabbage. 

 

 

Elephantitis

Elephants have been lurking about lately. It started with the appearance of my childhood stuffed elephant Mr. Nibbs. It's about the same size as Abigail. Then we taught Abigail how to make an elephant noise. She's pretty good at it, and does it whenever she hears the word elephant or sees one in a book. Sometimes a whale warrants an elephant call, too. Here are some other elephants that have been on my brain:   

Infantino's Elephant Teether Kiki

Infantino's Elephant Teether Kiki

Tippi and her "brother" via Bored Panda

Tippi and her "brother" via Bored Panda

Heartbreaking & Sweet Dumbo ♥ Mrs. Jumbo 

Yoga Studio

I'm still trying to find my way back into an athletic routine after having a baby and being a new parent, plus dealing with some mild injuries. An app I love right now is the Yoga Studio app by Modern Lotus. It's easy to use, it's pretty, and I've already learned new, useful poses...especially some hip opening ones. It's got a great pose library for reference and classes with different ability levels and styles. You can build your own class or use pre-made routines, which come in as little as 15 minute chunks...perfect for balancing yoga with a busy toddler. It's also a great app for folks who have gone to some yoga classes, but struggle with doing it on their own at home... and the Yoga Studio can go anywhere with you...because you know you take your iPhone everywhere. I think it could get your blood moving on a chilly morning while camping. FYI, the makers of this app have no idea who I am....I just though you should know about it.  What are your favorite health and fitness apps? 

Transient

Attic Whispers

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We all know that pictures tell stories...but what if the stories get lost? Well, you just have to invent new ones.  My dear mother-in-law Sam's new blog called Attic Whispers does just that...she has a collection of old family photographs that no one knew the details about anymore, and she writes new short fiction stories about the people in them. She's found a new antique store photo-hunting hobby too! Sam's stories are delightful, with just the right vintage tones to go along with the photos. I love that she has found this new creative outlet. If you have a moment do stop by and take in a story or two...you'll be hooked!

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doo do doo do doo doo do doo doo

I was a big fan/addict of Tetris back in the original Nintendo days, and was pretty good at it, too. I liked the music, the color schemes, and of course the satisfaction of organizing all those shapes and cleaning up the board.  I never quite transitioned my habit to the versions available on other electronic devices (I did have the Nintendo for a loooong time) but I still think fondly on the game...here's some Tetris related fun: 

cavalo

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Summer is coming, and I don't know about you, but I always get an extra strong wanderlust when the weather heats up. To kick off your daydreams this year, check out my friends' website Cavalo at Sea.  Matt and Lindsay are preparing to do what so many only imagine...sail around the world, in true explorer style. They have a lot of work to do before they set sail, but it's all slowly coming together.  

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The beautiful boat is a 43 foot Westsail and she came to her new family last year. Last weekend we gathered on the boat to officially give her her new name...a BIG deal for a boat that must be done carefully, and only for good reason so you don't get on Poseidon's bad side...especially if you plan to go around the world. After some major work at the boatyard, it was time!

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You can follow Cavalo's preparation and progress now (it's like a crazy home remodel project) and follow the journey when the time comes on the Cavalo blog or at the Cavalo at Sea on Facebook. Thanks to Matt & Lindsay for sharing their adventure and living their dream!

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20 in 20

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Do you read Aesthetic Outburst? It's one of my top favorite blogs...Abbey writes about crafting, design, and motherhood with a sense of ease, reality, and humor.  I find her very inspiring. This year she created a blog theme called 20 in 20, where she makes and gives away 20 projects in 20 days.  She plays with all different types of supplies and uses shape and color wonderfully.

 I'm so excited to be a sponsor for Day 16 of the April 20 in 20 projects on Aesthetic Outburst. Check out the blog, and enter to win! You might also think about sponsoring a project in May...sign up now!

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where wednesday [fritzi marie]

[Today's Where Wednesday is written by my newish bloggy friend Kat from Fritzi Marie.  I like her blog because it's full of heart, poetry, and adventure. She's a sweet, loving soul and I'm glad to know her...AND she's got a purty vintage shop HERE. Have a good Wednesday!]  

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I've been thinking about where my favorite place is for the past week or so and I have come to a realization about myself and my life while doing so. You see I first thought about how my hometown; Monrovia, California is my favorite place. Then I thought about my Grandparents farmhouse in Missouri and how much I loved swinging on their porch swing when I would visit my Grandparents in the summertime. 

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Then I thought about my life now.

I've been married to my husband Daniel for 5 years now, and we have lived together in California, Mississippi, Washington, and Alabama. During the past five years, the one thing that I have learned is that my favorite place is right where I am (wherever that may be) with my husband/best friend and our ten year old puppy Bono Baby.  Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and this print by Spread The Love have expressed my favorite place in every way.

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My favorite place is with my boys.

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Since I grew up in Southern California, my favorite place in the whole wide world is Snow White's wishing well at Disneyland. When Dan and I would go together I would always take him to this special place and secretly I would wish that someday we would get married. After a year or so, Daniel surprised me by proposing at my favorite wishing well.  Proving that wishes do come true!

hugs,

Fritzi Marie

p.s. Make a Wish!

Where Wednesday is  a series      about    places that are  important to us, be they work  spaces,    outdoor      spaces,    sleeping spaces,  places we visit,  places we    live,  places  we  drink    coffee, etc. etc.

[i'm  looking for guest bloggers for April and May! do you want to talk about a  place or space that's important  to you? let me know and I'll set you  up with a Wednesday!]

one ring

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Whenever we're at my In-Law's house Scott finds his way into the workshop.  Over the holidays I followed him in there, and I'm finally showing off my project to you. I knew what I wanted to make...something I'd tried and failed at once before. I applied a little bit of Moorea

+ a little bit of Something's Hiding in Here

to a slice of dowel and a chunk of rock,

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added a little bit of sticky stuff...

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and fashioned myself a lovely piece of jewelry.

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I had tried this task once before, but got over-zealous with a vice and cracked my ring right in half.  This time I had more of a plan and I refined my process to be more fun and efficient (tiny wood chisels...yay!) and was delighted with my success. 

Oh, but I also cracked this ring, just not until I was out of the house wearing it for the first time.

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Several things led to this tragedy 1) my fingers change sizes all day [temperature+hydration?] and they're kind of strong from rock climbing every week 2) I don't work with wood often, and I'm sure I worked with the grain going the wrong way or something 3) I stupidly wore the ring to work...might have squished it on a door handle or knocked it on something.  

Oh well...I'm quite proud. The ring is still awesome, and still totally wearable...but I'm saving it for special dress-up occasions.

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where wednesday [amberly]

[This week I'm pleased to have Amberly, with whom I have recently reconnected in the land of Facebook. I remember Amberly being thoughtful, kind, and cool in high school, and clearly she still is.  She now lives in Arizona with her beautiful family, running her household and an intriguing practice as an energy therapist...you can keep up with her and her hubby and her kiddos on her BLOG, and learn more about her work HERE.  I really like the subject of her post, and hope you do too!]

When we bought our first home six years ago, one of the first pieces of furniture purchased was a dining room table, complete with six chairs.  I was so excited for them to arrive.  It was as if a table made our home complete though in the decorator’s perspective it was far from it.  Our dining table has hosted many guests and been the setting of many meals.  It has served as the discussion ground for presidency and board meetings as well as small classes and book club conversation.  It moved to the kitchen for a time when we outgrew our kitchen table and has gone from long to short and back to long again often

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Growing up I recall regular family dinners around the kitchen table.  Every night we made an effort to eat together as a family.  As I think about how busy we were, and now as a mother how busy my family is, I realize what an achievement that was- that we were able to eat together so often.  I loved gathering there.  It was a place to partake in delicious food and also to engage in stimulating conversation.  It was a place I remember having my thoughts challenged and being introduced to new ideas over dinner conversation.  It was a place we laughed, played games, did homework and worked on projects.  It was a productive, engaging, comforting place to be.

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During my first married years we did not have a kitchen table, per se.  We had a folding card table that followed us from southern Utah to New York City and got pulled out when we had company or needed extra work space.  I didn’t realize how much I missed having a table to gather around although we laughed and bonded with friends over student-quality sofas and ikea rugs. 

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The same table now sits in a new kitchen.  Well, a kitchen that is new to us but actually about 30 years old.  It is a dark wood table that clashes with the honey oak flooring but it is our space.  It is where my children gather for breakfast and where we do learning time.  It is where they color and draw and where homework gets taken care of.  It is where we spread out projects and sometimes race through dinner.  It is the place where we have gotten to know new friends as they share meals with us.  It has seen play-dough, water color paints, peanut butter and honey sandwiches, grilled shrimp and brownie trifle.  It has had silverware pounded on it and endless crumbs cleaned off of it.  I has had thoughtful elbows lean on it as chess moves are contemplated.  It has had tears shed on it as discussions turn emotional.

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While I am not attached to this particular table anymore, I love what it is for our family.  I love the place it provides for learning, conversation and activity.  It is located next to a wall of windows that overlooks our backyard and I can see my children run and play while working on whatever the current project happens to be.  It’s our space.  And I love the memories and experiences it has the potential to provide for my children.

Where Wednesdays are         a  regular feature where I and a series of guest bloggers talk       about     places that are  important to us, be they work spaces,   outdoor      spaces,    sleeping spaces,  places we visit, places we   live,  places   we   drink    coffee, etc. etc.

[do you want to talk about a place or space that's important  to you? let me know and I'll set you up with a Wednesday!]

where wednesday [petra]

[Where Wednesday comes from across the world again...this week a post direct fromLondon: Petra of Indivisualism. I look forward to finding her 'daily inspiration' posts in my reader, and I find her blog to be unique and refreshing. I'm just getting to know Petra, and was delighted to find out the subject of her post today, imagining spending an afternoon with her there.  Enjoy!]

It took some soul searching to decide which place to share today - there are plenty of places, small ones and big ones, that I love - but in the end I decided to introduce you to the Tate. 'Introduce' may sound a bit grand. The Tate is after all quite a famous museum, and even people who have never been to London may have heard of it. So I rephrase: I will tell you a little bit about why I like the Tate and what it means to me.

The Tate Modern is part of a family of four art museums in England: Tate Britain and Tate Modern here in London, and Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives. When I first moved to London about six years ago my boyfriend got me a Tate member card that, aside from letting me see the changing exhibitions for free as often as I wanted, gave me access to the member rooms. These are simply cafés, slightly tucked away, open for members only. At a time when I didn't know anyone in London I spent many days wandering the exhibitions and sitting in those cafés contemplating my new life abroad, with all the excitement and fear that comes with taking such a big step.

Over the years many things have changed, I have met plenty of people, gotten to know London well and at least for now I consider it my home. I renewed my member card many times and took many people to both Tates. But still, every time I go, be it alone or with someone, I am instantly transported back in time and reminded of the person I was when I first arrived. 

I love museums and museum cafés, for the variety of people you see, the snippets of conversations you catch, the multitude of languages you hear. I can spend hours flipping through a magazine, observing what goes on around me and letting my thoughts wander. But among all museums and museum cafés the Tate and its member rooms have a special meaning to me. They remind me of the start of an era, of dreams and fantasies, and of worries and fears. 

Where Wednesdays are        a  regular feature where I and a series of guest bloggers talk      about     places that are  important to us, be they work spaces,  outdoor      spaces,    sleeping spaces,  places we visit, places we  live,  places   we   drink    coffee, etc. etc.

[do you want to talk about a place or space that's important  to you? let me know and I'll set you up with a Wednesday!]

messy [japan]

messy world, messy emotions, messy thoughts. The weekend was fairly devastating, don't you think? I switch between being riveted to the news and trying to carry on normally, but then feeling awkward about acting as nothing has happened and not knowing how to incorporate these latest disasters into everyday life...how to feel like a good person without totally detaching from the simple (shallow?) things that bring me joy.

In the last 10 years the world has become ever more connected and broadcast and, well, smaller. The major events which occur become part of everyone's life in some way... 9-11, Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina, Indonesia, Haiti...and now Japan. Did you know it took a couple of weeks for Europe to hear about the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln? The news had to travel across the ocean by ship.  Nowadays it would be on Twitter before the sound of the gun faded.  I'm not saying connectedness is a bad thing...as a blogger and a tweeter who really takes joy from the online world, that would be silly. I do think it's all happened so fast (and is changing so quickly, too) we haven't yet figured out what it really means to be connected to the rest of the world...how it affects us, and how to behave and react in a truly meaningful, human way. None of the people you watch on YouTube expected their lives to be  turned upside down. What are we supposed to do? I don't know the answer, but I think I want to enhance what I call the auto 'donate & pray' reaction with a little more... mindfulness?

Yes...aid organizations need money/labor/supplies (If you are able to give $$, this article on NPR has a good list). Yes...the people in Japan need hopeful thoughts (Diane describes a lovely meditation).

Japan was prepared...money, infrastructure, drills, communication...and maybe that's what makes this all the more heartbreaking (read Tara's more eloquent reflection on Tea & Cookies).  Clearly I don't have any brilliant words and I'm not a great organizer  of people. I have not myself figured out what to do, let alone how to do  it. Cash feels so passive and it doesn't seem like enough anymore...though I know it's probably the most helpful. There is a part of me that thinks while we're clicking donation links we should also be checking in with ourselves. Are we prepared for our own worst days, wherever and whenever they may come (Slate has a good article on emergency kits).

Instead of being heartbroken, let's be active and keep our hearts full: hold those affected by disasters, natural and manmade, in our hearts. 

Be kind. 

Be your best self. 

Take care of each other. 

Prepare yourself for the good and the bad that may come your way. 

Live without regret. 

Be a good neighbor in your town, your state, your country...the world (online and physical). 

Carry these thoughts with you as long as you can and revisit them even when all is well and/or forgotten.

Thanks for being good readers,

♥ sara

where wednesday [sara]

You're stuck with me this week...ha ha! It's week 10 of Where Wednesday...enjoy!

There are many ways to arrive at the decision that a place is important to you...maybe you find yourself in a certain spot everyday, maybe a significant event took place there, or maybe you just get a good feeling in a place that makes you glad it exists.  I had one of those good feelings recently at the Green Gulch Farm.

Green Gulch Farm is part of the San Francisco Zen Center. They offer classes in meditation and farming practices, among other things. 

"Our effort at Green Gulch is to awaken in ourselves  and the many people who come here the bodhisattva spirit, the spirit of  kindness and realistic helpfulness. This is how we offer our  understanding of Buddha's Way."

The farm is nestled into the hills just above Muir Beach.  We passed through the farm at the halfway point of a long hike and saw a few winter vegetables growing, but the fields were mostly resting...the farm composing itself for the coming spring. It smelled like green. The adjacent garden area was so beautiful, welcoming, interesting, and peaceful...with trained apple trees, an adobe tool hut, herbs, and lots of little friends to stop and say hello to...

I love places that have so much effort and thought put into them, yet do not feel 'off limits' or fragile. I appreciate their ideas of kindness and helpfulness, and I've been thinking about my quick stroll through there since the moment I left. I'm sure that visiting on another day, in another season, under different conditions, in a different mindset will change the place for me (not necessarily in a negative way)...but on that day of discovery I felt inspired...I felt potential...I wanted to sit and take it all in...I wanted to be a gardener...I wanted to get my hands dirty...I wanted to do yoga in the grass...I felt happy to be there. 

Where Wednesdays are a regular feature where I and a series of guest bloggers talk     about places that are important to us, be they work spaces, outdoor  spaces, sleeping spaces, places we visit, places we live, places we drink coffee, etc. etc.

[do you want to talk about a place or space that's important  to you? let me know and I'll set you up with a Wednesday!]

list of seven

Not long ago I added a new blog to my daily routine called Indivisualism, full of lovely & interesting words and pictures. The blog is curated by pretty Petra, who last week passed on her Stylish Blogger Award to me & a few others *blush*

I loved Petra's globe-trotting take on the requisite list of seven you must write as an award recipient...but I think I'll fall back on the simple seven random facts about me: 

  • I'm half Canadian...which my Mom (the Canadian) insists isn't really a thing, since Canada is just as much an ethnic mish-mash as the States... Nevertheless, I'm proud of it, eh!
  • I lived in a converted old train caboose in the desert for 3 months while working at Joshua Tree National Park. I'll find the pictures and scan them soon-ish.  I had to wash my dishes in the shower.
  • Please don't make me eat bell peppers.
  • I am a dog person who does not want a dog.  I will make friends with and borrow and love your dog, but I won't get my own. (maybe ever)
  • I sneeze and sniffle a lot (mold, pollen, and dust are mainly to blame...and the occasional cat).  Sometimes people locate me based on my sniffling. I carry a lot of handkerchiefs.
  • I procrastinate and I generally run 10-15 minutes late. These flaws have been growing in strength lately...I'll fix them later ;)
  • I never changed my major in college (biology w/ marine emphasis). I thought a lot (even now) about switching to general biology, geology, english, art, or environmental studies...but I couldn't keep myself out of those tidepools ♥

where wednesday [natalia]

[We're got our first international Where Wednesday! Natalia from Army of Two is my guest this week. I've known Natalia for a few years now, and she is a remarkable woman...she's always got a story to tell and some kind of adventure in the works.  She's had quite the year...her blog's tagline says it all: From beaches to barracks,  flip-flops to fatigues,  this is my journey from  California to Washington DC, Army Wife to Army Soldier. Catch her on her fabulous blog and wish her luck before she leaves on her next adventure: basic training!]

The Appian Way, Italy

The Appian Way, or Via Appia, was Ancient Rome's earliest and most strategic road. It led from Brindisi, on the southeast coast, to Rome, as all roads did then of course! The road allowed for the efficient movement of trade goods, soldiers and travelers.

To walk the Appian Way is to walk in the foot steps of history, quite literally.  The smooth gray stones are worn down into long grooves where centuries of wooden wagon wheels have passed over them. 

On a summer's afternoon hot enough to melt the city's sidewalks, I walked down a preserved potion of the road just outside Rome.  The dusty road was lined by stately cypress trees, lichen-covered statues, bone-filled catacombs and blood red poppies shimmering in the yellow fields. The air was heavy and still, interrupted only by the buzzing of insect wings.  As I continued to walk down the Appian Way, ancient Rome unfolded before me. I could hear the marching steps of a thousand leather-sandaled feet, the creak of the wagon wheels pulled by braying donkeys and bellowing oxen, the crack of the whip, voices of laughter and frustration, and smell the dirt and sweat of man and animal.

For a student of Roman history and archaeology, walking the Appian Way is a thrilling, almost magical experience: for an afternoon I truly traveled back in time.

Where Wednesdays are      a  regular feature where I and a series of guest bloggers talk    about    places that are  important to us, be they work spaces, outdoor    spaces,    sleeping spaces,  places we visit, places we live, places  we  drink    coffee, etc. etc.

[do you want to talk about a place or space that's important  to you? let me know and I'll set you up with a Wednesday!]