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July 2012 (97 posts)
Friday is finally here! We're taking a moment to look back on what inspired us throughout the week.
An Australian credit card company rewards honest civilians in the most elaborate ways. Cue the JumboTron
North Dakota town (population: 2) celebrates the town's centennial with a hopping party
A "flash choir" debuted Philip Glass's latest composition in Times Square
One more reason to visit Italy: It's opening a gelato museum!
The first Google image result for every word in the dictionary
We've all heard it before: There are no new stories, but only new ways to tell them. Which is why when there is an actually new presentation of the Big Themes, it's completely arresting. This miniscule, minute-long movie, aptly named Tiny Story, pretty much says it all, with just a dot; it's basically instructions for living well. Begin. Dream. Listen. Learn. Wait. All you need to know to live a good life, in under a minute. There's nothing tiny about that.
Take a Whimsy Break
An Animated Meditation on Kindness
A Personal Fireworks Display
Liquor and wine prices in restaurants are up 79% over the past 30 years, NPR reported recently. You can thank the rising cost of liquor licenses and the fact that bartenders haven't gotten any more productive since 1982, i.e., they can't pour drinks any faster--among other factors, which Eater.com explains in this article (the piece also explains why prices probably won't come down anytime soon).
So where does that leave us cost-conscious sauvignon blanc seekers? Either at whatever outdoor bistro has the best happy hour deal, or following the guidelines in Oprah.com's Cheap Summer Wine Guide. Every bottle costs less than $12, from crisp Moscato to an Italian aperetif made with semisparkling wine, fresh citrus and herbs. And there are even tricks to the speediest way to chill your beverage. You're welcome.
Raspberry-Thyme Spritzers recipe
14 cocktails that are good for you (really!)
The retro drink everyone loves
Are you reading Wild with us this summer? Oprah and author Cheryl Strayed are answering YOUR questions about this unforgettable memoir.
Do you have a question for Oprah or Cheryl about Wild? Ask away here!
I don't know about you, but I really enjoy seeing how other people live. Since I was a girl leaving church on Sunday in my father's big ole green Oldsmobile, I always wanted to take the long way home so we could see the neighborhoods with the pretty houses. Did you ever play that game with yourself, picking the big fancy house you most wanted to live in and pretending it was yours? I used to do that a lot. Now I'm blessed to live in a big fancy house and some days I still can't believe I live here. I often get goosebumps just walking across the lawn with my dogs. Walking barefoot in grass makes me happy. Add some trees, preferably oaks and I'm ecstatic. I delight in simple pleasures in beautiful settings. The pic below is one of my favorite places on earth. My side yard, with my reading , praying, meditation chair. No matter where I go in the world, my heart rests most easy here.
I'm curious about what spaces do for other people, that's one of several reasons I traveled to the Bahamas to have an extensive conversation with The one and only David Copperfield who owns a total of 11 islands -- now called the Islands of Copperfield Bay. Talk about living LARGE! Breathtaking, tranquil, fantastic just begins to describe it all. He works like a slave, 600 shows a year. And lives like he earned and deserves every amenity. The place was so beautiful I wanted to take home the shower gels. I thought that would be tacky, so I just took a picture to remind me to buy it myself.
Join me for a great conversation with the world's greatest magician David Copperfield in his exquisitely private magical space this Sunday at 10p ET on NEXT CHAPTER.
That's probably why my lazy little heart skipped a beat when I discovered Plywerk, an eco-alternative to traditional framing that's also easier (bonus!). Upload your digital photo at Plywerk.com and pick out your preferred size (from 30-plus options). The company prints the image, mounts it on sustainably harvested maple or bamboo, and adds a durable finish that makes glass moot. When it's delivered to your doorstep a week or two later, your artwork is ready to hang -- no purgatory required. (from $15.50, plywerk.com)
A beautiful beach, in the eyes of the Natural Resources Defense Council, doesn't need white sands and azure waves--although those aren't bad.
Every year, the NRDC issues a report that evaluates the country's beaches, awarding star ratings based on cleanliness, water quality and testing and safety procedures. To the NRDC judges, the real knock-outs have low contamination results, test their waters more than once a week, notify the public right away when bacteria levels violate health standards, and post closings and advisories on-premise and online.
Unfortunately, the panel was not impressed with this year's contestants. The report shows that 2011 had the third-highest number of closing and advisory days in more than two decades. However, there were still a few stand-outs, and a dozen beaches received the coveted 5-star rating. So for the country's very best beach....
As an only-abstractly ambitious high school senior, I eschewed useless topics such as science, math, and whenever possible gym, in favor of the practical-life-skills-building Advanced Placement Art. Auspicious, I know. And yet, thanks to Facebook, I know that two of the girls (well, women now) from my class have gone on to support themselves as straight-up artists. They were both talented from the get-go, but they weren't the only or even the most talented artists in the class. They were, however, the most driven. Now, one was an excellent draftsman (draftswoman?). She was the only person I ever knew who could draw a horse. She makes her living as a graphic artist, and she's very good at what she does. The other girl, in my teenaged estimation, not the best at drawing. Her stuff didn't look like stuff. She couldn't really draw a horse. But she had ideas. She had crazy, amazing, creative ideas. She would tweak the assignments we were given and create, well, works of art. And, you guessed it, she is now a real, honest-to-god, gallery-showing painter. She's one of those painters with ideas, with vision, with Creativity with a Big C.
Even as a student I knew that though my paintings of cups and things were sort of nice, I did not have what this girl had. This ability to innovate, to really see things in a whole new way. Because that's the nature of creativity, isn't it? It's not strictly creating something to paint its portrait; to truly make something new you must see things in a unique way, which is a harder skill to learn than, say, shading something to make it look round. Which leads me to this: the 3-D Alphabet.
Ji Lee's site Please Enjoy is full of projects as clever as they are masterfully handled, and most have this element of, dare I say, genius -- that strange combination of being at once so unique you would never think of them, and so deceptively simple-seeming that once you've seen them you suspect you might have almost thought of them once... though you never actually would. It's that whiff of inevitability that makes the 3-D alphabet such a delight. Of course! Each letter rendered in 3-D! Why didn't I think of that? Reading a word "written" in the 3-D-ized letters becomes a brain-twisting pleasure; the whimsical space-age robot world created from the 3-D word building blocks becomes the most fun kind of puzzle.
The 3-D alphabet is fun for what it is. But it's also fun for what it reminds us: that a creative mind can transform anything.
The Creative Commandments
Unblocking Your Creativity
Quotes to Inspire Creativity