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January 2012 (141 posts)
As always, here comes Pinterest to the escapist rescue. I can't stop looking at this brilliant "The Old Woman and Her Shoe" Pinterest board, which collects whimsical dwellings from all over. Shoes, yes, and also treehouses, tiny houses, fancy tents, garden teepees, and playful home accents like interior slides—from the really-out-there to the easily imitatable (an indoors sleeping tent!).
Here are reminders that dwellings don't have to be all serious and adult. Some of the structures are distinguished by their tinyness, and it's always nice to remember that in the era of McMansions and car-sized sofas, there can be something wonderful about downsizing. Others are larger spaces divided by tents and bunks and forts—suggesting ways to work with the space you have to create a sense of whimsy and fun. And others are just plain eye candy, calling to mind the ways in which this world we've created can be just as magical as, say, the land of hobbit-holes.
The Tiny House Trend
Your Online Happy Place
The Joys of Downsizing
$30 (for grip and case), FlyGrip.com
Another phone cover that's not just a fashion statement
13 mini beauty miracles that do it all
"It's not for everyone," says Will Thomasen, a college student who is trying to eat for free for the entire year. (Check out the original article for the crafty ways Thomasen finds his food, and for more tales of extreme-savings!) Part of "Generation Cheap," Thomasen told Good Morning America, "I think we've learned from the mistakes of people in the past. We're just surrounded by this story of more and more economic crisis, more and more need for saving and savvy spending." The article is compelling, but what strikes me most is how the students reported that living with less had changed not just their present but the way they look at their future. Says Thomasen, "I have switched my priorities from being able to drive a nice car and have a nice TV and all of those types of things to be able to live appreciating the types of things that a lot of times come for free."
Save Money on Groceries
The Brilliant Budget Calculator
I'm talking about roasted chickpeas, which might just be your new go-to snack. Making them is beyond easy. All you do is rinse a can of chickpeas in a colander, then pour them onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with a paper towel and shake the pan lightly to dry the chickpeas off. Gently pull the paper towel out from under the chickpeas and pour a tablespoon or so of olive oil over them, and move the pan from side to side again so they're coated. Bake at 450 degrees for a half-hour to 40 minutes, sliding the pan around during cooking once or twice. They're done when they are slightly puckered and blistered.
Like popcorn (another beloved, fiber-rich snack), you can tweak the recipe to suit your taste. More or less salt, spicy or sweet, lots of flavoring or barely any at all. Cayenne, garlic salt, chili powder, garam masala, and cumin are all excellent. Sprinkle whatever you're using on the chickpeas while they are still hot and enjoy them warm--they'll taste crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. And like me, you'll never go back to just eating them in salads or hummus again.
6 healthy snacks to stash in your purse
Two words: Frito Pie
How to cut open a pomegranate
The fascinating story behind the world's most famous drawing.
Biscuit-topped chicken stew, classic macaroni and cheese, and other unmissable comfort food.
Have you ever been this tired? Did you look this adorable?
The best way to get kids reading: give them banned books.
The Life-Lifter: It's a real-life "It's a Wonderful Life"! Cash-mob rallies to save a local business.
So I was perusing the Facebook page of one of last year's finalists, the extremely talented Peregrine Honig, and saw a great post she shared with Jerry Saltz (the Simon Cowell-ish Work of Art judge). "This is great--have you seen this?" She asks, posting a list of "Commandments" by the novelist Henry Miller, written in the 30s. "Work on one thing at a time until finished," Miller commands himself. And— "Don't be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is at hand."
There is other good advice here for anyone tackling a creative project (Miller was talking about writing novels, Peregrine and Jerry are referring to visual art). I especially loved "Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it." But perhaps what I love most are the many comments that follow—dozens of artists, aspiring and established, chiming in with what works or doesn't work for them. After all, creativity, any kind of creativity, is a process, and everyone has to find his or her own way. Still, it's nice to listen in for a moment here and there, get advice on issues like losing one's nerve, or not believing one's voice is worthy of being heard. To hear that even the Greats—Henry Miller, Peregrine—are sometimes in need of a little guidance.
6 Steps to Get Unstuck Creatively
How Anyone Can Be Creative
For cozying up with the ones you love: "As kids we didn't have a television at home, but we did have a record player. After school I'd sit by the window while my mother, who loved Elvis to bits, played 'Love Me Tender.' For me, this song still captures that feeling of being little and secure, thinking the world was perfect and simple."
For a mood boost:
"There's a tradition in Ireland that on St. Stephen's Day, the day after Christmas, kids go house to house singing for money or candy. Once I got older, I realized people are more generous after a few pints, so I started singing in pubs. 'My Irish Molly O' was always a good song—it's strong and boisterous."
For a little nostalgia:
"I have such great memories of singing Marty Robbins's 'El Paso' in the car with my dad, who enjoys anything cowboy related. When I brought my husband home to Ireland, he was wearing a cowboy hat, and my dad was totally impressed. Now I love listening to this song with my own kids."
For feeling young:
"I often put on the Smiths to relax—especially 'There Is a Light That Never Goes Out.' I loved them as a teenager, and when I listen to them now, I'm instantly transported to adolescence. I think, 'I'm young!' And then I look in the mirror and go, 'Oh shit, wrinkles!'"
Books that made a difference to Scarlett Johansson
Diablo Cody's aha! moment: how to weather any storm
The world according to Gayle: 6 things I'm crazy about
"The circle no one could break": Diagramming the schematics of love.
You'll never guess what these celestial images are actually of.
Get something "just for him" at the grocery store—and 10 more little ways to improve your relationship.
Better than chalky candy hearts: The best poems to send a crush.
The Life-Lifter: Good Samaritan alert—the former police officer who saved three kids from a submerged vehicle.