Sunday, November 22, 2020

99% in Print: A Book for the Urban Curious

So it appears that every 19 months, I write a blog post. I'm doing so now, because I have to. Because something monumental has happened, and not doing so would be inexcusable. 

If you've ever read my blog, or you know me at all, you know that I love the podcast 99% Invisible. (And that I love Roman Mars.) You're probably tired of me telling you to listen to 99PI. Well, Roman and Kurt have released a book, The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design. So now I'm telling you to read 99PI.

The book is beautifully designed and perfect for anyone who is curious about the world around them. Full of tidbits and stories about intriguing design elements that you see and don't see in cities all over the world. 

So maybe you're not a podcast person, maybe you're a book person. I highly encourage you to check out 99PI in print. I stand by my claim that everything that Roman (and Kurt) say is fascinating. I've never been disappointed in an episode and I very often find myself talking about the stories later in the week. 

If you're looking for recommendations on episodes to start with, here's a blog post (from 5 years ago) that lists some of my (really old!) favorites

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Launching This Curious Life on Etsy

In the spirit of Marie Kondo, we've been cleaning house. And as we've come across several items that no longer serve a purpose in our lives, but we know they have much joy left to give. As a solution to this, we've launched a new Etsy page - focused on sharing vintage goods and supplies. 

This Curious Life seeks to pair these vintage items with new homes, where they will be loved and bring joy. Join us in this effort to offer a second life to unique artifacts and treasures. 

Additional items will be added regularly!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

A History of Human Oddity

To get us geared up for Halloween, let's head to the The Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on an exploration of the mysteries of human existence, and the history of medical diagnosis and treatment.

The medical museum contains a collection of medical oddities, anatomical and pathological specimens, wax models, and antique medical equipment, including 139 skulls, a 19th century amputation kit, a 74 pound cyst, a murderer's brain and a collection of swallowed objects.
The bulk of the collection was donated by Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter in 1858. He had collected the specimens for biomedical research and education. America's finest museum of medical history, it displays its collections in a nineteenth-century "cabinet museum" setting.

A Russian newspaper recently listed the Mütter Museum #1 on the 10 Most Horrible Places — Chernobyl was listed at #8.

Take a video tour of the Mütter via Martha Stewart here, or explore some of the artifacts in their 360° online collection.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Repurposing an Icon

At this time last September, I was traveling with my mother in London. And as we come upon the 1-year anniversary of that trip, I thought I'd share a fun article about one of the city's most beloved icons... the red telephone booth.

With my love of vintage design, it's not surprising that I was instantly drawn to the classic structure and simple charm of these often lonely looking booths. 

This universally recognized icon of London was first introduced to the city's streets in 1924. But while smartphones have made them obsolete as a communication device, they also made them a favorite backdrop for selfies, appearing in feeds around the world. 

But as the booths fall into disrepair, the UK telecommunication company British Telecom has introduced an "adopt a kiosk" program, embracing their pop culture cult status and hoping to give them a second life. 
By selling these booths to entrepreneurs, they can turn them into brand new businesses. Around the country, old telephone booths are being repurposed as cafes, neighborhood libraries and retail kiosks. Some are even maintaining their communication service, by becoming internet hotspots and workstations on street corners. 
These unexpected uses bring communities together and protect the heritage of the city—creating new pride in an already cherished symbol of London. 

Learn more about how entreprenuers are preserving these booths through reinvention on
*image source

Monday, April 10, 2017

Shag Carpet. Plaid Walls. Floral Prints. Oh My.

I love looking at houses— inside and out. I especially love home decor, and seeing how trends change, progress and circle back. Quite often I wonder how someone ever thought these were good ideas. Wallpaper on the ceiling? Carpeted bathrooms? 

Want to see some of the tackiest rooms since 1950? Check out The Worse Decor Trend From the Year You Were Born on I'm sure you'll see something you wish you hadn't. 


See the full list at

Thursday, March 23, 2017

TV Reality, not Reality TV?

Television often spoofs real life, but what happens when life starts spoofing television?

Heinz Ketchup is preparing to run an ad campaign that original appeared on the fictional drama Mad Men. A pitch the client was reluctant to sign off on on the show. 
Heinz Will Run Don Draper’s Ketchup Ads From <em>Mad Men</em>
The campaign is simple – mouthwatering images, without the paragraphs of text. It relies on one single line, "Pass the Heinz", and, remarkably, doesn't even show the product. 

Sterling-Cooper's all-star executive Don Drape sells the idea that it's a "testament to ketchup that there can be no confusion." 

I think the move is brilliant – 1. it's a great campaign. Period. And 2. lifting it from a hit TV show gives it an automatic PR spin... people were talking about the ads before they were even printed. 

You can watch the original pitch here: