The Good Stuff: New Years Resolutions, Music-Playing Plants, and Friluftsliv (read on to learn what it means!)

It's January 2nd and you know what that means...

New Year's Resolutions are back. 

Yep. Time to take a second or two to feel bad about all the Christmas cookies you jammed into your belly or the less than kind words you uttered to Uncle Bob about his political idiocy and to proclaim a New You! 

If it sounds like I'm jaded it's because, well.... I am. 

I usually forgo resolutions.  I tend to see them as a way to just make yourself feel worse about things that will inevitably fall by the wayside.  

Upon reviewing my attitude this year, however, I came to a realization. (Because while I'm a turd about them, it doesn't mean I don't always consider what my resolutions would be. Hypothetically. If I were to make them.) And yes, this year even I decided to make a resolution.

My 2018 resolution is to 

forgive myself more

I am so hard on myself.  I bully myself daily about my weight or my income or my relationship status (or lack thereof).  I compare myself to all my "successful" friends who own homes and have happy marriages and work meaningful careers.  And I need to stop.  I need to give myself a break.  I'm doing the best I can every day, and that needs to be okay.  

So I, Britta, hereby declare this will be a year of self-forgiveness.  I'm excited and hopeful about it.  


And then, of course, never to be forgotten, I have some awesome stuff for you to click on!  Happy New Year, friends!

What music-playing plants can teach us about consciousness. 

13 wonderful libraries and the old treasures that lie within. 

That is friluftsliv, and what Sweden can teach us about parenting and the outdoors. 

A little belated, but I dig The New York Public Library's most festive cartographic treasures

I am so smitten by this building's exterior!

100 gorgeous resin skulls in Melbourne. 

This stunning rare blue moth was recently hasn't been spotted for 130 years! 

On neuroaesthetics, or the productive activity of looking at art

Ancient women were strong AF

A Plant Truck?! I've gotta visit!

The best places to visit, nature-lovers edition. 

How to organize your book collection your way. 

You don't have to ask me twice--I'm always down to hit the slopes!  If you're not so easily convinced, here are the mental benefits of skiing.  


The Good Stuff: The Art of Being Alone, A Visit to Teakettle Junction, and The Most Glorious Cactus Paintings EVER

Oh my gosh, you guys. Can you even believe it's December?! This year... I'm tellin' ya.

We are officially neck deep in the holiday season.  Bert+Lou Holiday cards are fully stocked, I'm planning on making some cookies on my next day off, and may even hit up the local Christkindl market this weekend (bonus points for festivity if it snows like they say it's supposed to!).  I'm making it a real point to take time to do things that bring me joy this year.  Last Christmas I was an emotional wreck (recent traumatic breakup, a forced move, majorly crushed ego, badly missed my sister, a beloved pet died, etc...), so my goal is to enjoy the season a little more this time around. That means more cookies, more self-care spa nights, more Motown and N*SYNC Christmas songs, and more spending time with people I genuinely love being around.

What are you doing to get in the spirit? 

I am absolutely OBSESSED with these tattoos by Pony Reinhardt.  Do you think I should finally get my otter tattoo?

Need to visit: In Catalonia, a church becomes a place of artistic pilgrimage.

The value of being alone.  The art of being alone

The art of the Japanese teapot

I struggle almost daily with the knowledge that I currently don't and might not ever want/have children.  I've found a bit of reassurance here and here. (You can find a more extreme example here.)

There is an actual grasshopper in this Van Gogh painting!

An art historian's insightful views into the depiction of tattoos in Japanese art and culture. 

The Wing's Lady Library

Seriously dreamy: The best cabin getaways

THIS swoon-worthy chandelier that I NEED but that is so far out of my budget (sobs internally).

Starbucks is releasing a special addition juniper latte that sounds either amazing or repulsive, I can't decide.  What do you think??

For the first time in U.S. history, women are better educated than their husbands.  BOOYA.

A holiday survival guide for introverts. 

The art of hand-painted ski maps

I'd love to make a trip to Death Valley's Tea Kettle Junction!

I can't even begin to fathom the process required to create these towering cactus paintings


What Do You Do When It's Thanksgiving But You Don't Feel Very Thankful?

Spoiler alert:

I deal with depression.  

I'm usually pretty good at keeping it under control but lately, well.....not so much.  

Which is why I'm struggling to feel thankful today.

That's not to say I have a shitty life by any means.  Au Contraire!  I have friends, family, a home, food, and a job I like to go to.  But knowing I have a pretty good life and FEELING it are totally different things.

There's something about this time of year that makes old hurts flair up and losses feel particularly strong.  Call it seasonal depression or not, the holidays are frickin HARD. Doubly so when you're already sad.

It's hard to feel grateful when your past haunts you.  It's hard to feel grateful when you're acutely aware of the pain felt by indigenous communities over the decimation and corruption of their culture and the ruination of a tradition that was originally theirs by non-indigenous Americans. It's hard to feel grateful when you live far away from the people you love and their absence at the table makes the day seem incomplete.  It's hard to feel grateful when you wake up hurting.  Sometime's it's just really hard to feel grateful.

I actually never really liked Thanksgiving (I know, I know....Sacrilege!).  I don't care for the food (too rich, too much meat). I absorb the stress and negativity that surrounds the guaranteed family bickering like a motherflippin sponge.  I feel obligated to spend the whole day eating and cleaning and mediating and doing things that I'd rather not do, all at the expense of being able to do what I would like (go be outdoors, read, sit in silence, paint, enjoy a nap).  The mythical Thanksgiving of a day spent relaxing and not feeling stressed with friends and family totally alludes me.  

Since I'm being a huge Debbie Downer today and I know it, I've decided to take charge and come up with a list of things I'm grateful for.  Below I have listed what I was able to come up with before I started getting hassled into helping (sorry Mom!).  I'd love to know what you'd add to your list.  Feel free to leave me a comment below!  And oh yeah, Happy Thanksgiving. :)


  1. a home with functioning heat and not having to live in a box on the sidewalk under a bridge
  2. friends who truly GET me and embrace my own unique psycho
  3. my new perfect grunty niece
  4. margaritas. also tacos
  5. doughnuts
  6. my sweet kitties who give me all the snuggles when I'm sad
  7. plants
  8. snuggly blankets and a fireplace
  9. the ability to make my own autonomous decisions (even if they're bad ones!)
  10. the most amazing and chill manager of all time
  11. days when the sun comes out
  12. days where nothing hurts
  13. the smell of breakfast cooking
  14. my poor broken little vehicle that still gets me around without complaint
  15. having paid off at least some of my student debt
  16. having shoes and a warm coat
  17. my prior travels
  18. anyone who buys my art
  19. Joe Biden
  20. being able to afford Christmas present for people this year (something I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do just a few months ago!)
  21. my heaps of books
  22. Colorado, mountains, desert...the west in general
  23. still having both my parents
  24. any time spent with my sister
  25. being able to see color

The Good Stuff: Spooky Fruit, Healing Through Whispers, and The Most Devilish Flight

Happy Halloween you spooky ghouls! Below are some fun links to read through as you eat all the candy you're supposed to be handing out.  Candy for your brain, if you will....but easier to justify consuming. :P

How reading rewires your brain for more intelligence and empathy. 

In Belarus, the disappearing tradition of whisper healing

Spooky but beautiful: the fairytale forests of Yakushima

I'm way overdue for a trip back to Norway, so when I get back over there I am going to have to check out the Atlanterhavsvegen, a route which was recently declared the most beautiful drive in the world.

An excellent article about dealing with cyberbullies, something that really strikes a chord with me.  Having dealt with my own private struggles with online harassment for years, the thought of speaking openly about it sounds both terrifying (you're giving the person the attention they're demanding!) and liberating. 

Take two hikes and call me in the morning: doctors are now prescribing time outdoors as a method of recovery and I say HECK to the YES. 

Can we please take the guilt out of rest? Self-care and recharge time is so essential to a productive, happy life. So why do we make it a super-indulgence? 

The neurology of curiosity. Why is is sometimes painful and other times pleasurable? 

The art of rot; blown glass masterpieces of fruit in varying stages of decay. 

Finnair is retiring its Satanic flight number after more than a decade of service straight into the gates of HEL(sinki).

Why it's important to embrace your weirdness!

The empath's dilemma: the burden of being sensitive

Health patterns of aging Americans who engage in the arts. 

I'm really wishing these pajamas weren't three hundred stinkin' dollars! 

Here are the finalists for the 2017 National Book Awards. My Goodreads list just got longer.

I am obsessing over these massive murals in Spain <3

You don't find your purpose, you build it


The Good Stuff: Write With Judy Bloom, Grandma Gladys, and Exotic Fiber Arts

Happy Friday Eve, friends! After a week or so of insane heat here in Chicagoland, it finally feels like fall, so I'm whipping out my sweaters and boots for a weekend trip to see my sister! 

Product Update:  You can find three new designs available now in my Society6 shop: a baby deer, a baby bunny, and a baby fox!  They're perfect for a baby's room, if I do say so myself.  Stay tuned for more new designs, and be sure to snatch up anything you like because I'm retiring older designs this weekend.

After a ton of not-so-good days and a lot of things going pretty badly, I'm riding a high from having an excellent day yesterday.  Fingers crossed my luck has changed for the better! 

Enough about me, though. What's good in your neck of the woods?? :)

A little spooky, but so cool! Stay at this subterranean backstuga (Swedish earth cabin), now available on Airbnb.

A compendium of epic mullets

I often wonder if I should have become an entomologist with how much I appreciate bugs (alas, I would really just like to get degrees for the rest of my life!).  I've got my eye on this book, and here are some of the most interesting bugs in the world.

If writing is your preferred way to practice self-care, you can now take a writing class taught by Judy Bloom! 

My own Grandma Gladys has been on my mind lately, so when I came across a different Grandma Gladys and her awesome birthday photo shoot (complete with a tutu and champagne), it made my heart feel really good.  I hope I'm still this joyful when I'm her age! 

Procrastination.  You know it.  I know it.  The struggle is real, and has been since ancient days when Socrates and Aristotle even developed a word for it - Akrasia. So why don't we do what we set out to do, anyway? 

Can we get more girls in STEM, please?? For some inspiration, here are 19 women leading math and physics

In memoriam: all the untouched food on The Bachelorette. RIP ::prayer hands::

A map that illustrates the correlation between neighborhood crime and tree canopy cover in Chicago. Yep! It's a thing!

My sweet cousin lives in NYC, and I've been meaning to make a trip out to her.  Now I for sure know I have to visit this cool bar when I do -- the walls are decorated with illustrations by the creator of the children's book Madeline! 

I <3 Fiber arts! I recognized a theme of multiple fiber art-related posts while I was compiling this, so I've clustered them together below:

Needle felted doughnuts and croissants, PEOPLE. Just like my tattoo, so I need them. 

This scientist/artist crochets suits for modern pigeons that resemble extinct exotic birds.

Needlepointing and nebulas (okay, supernovas to be specific). How Cecilia Payne applied celestial science into craft. 


As tribute to the recent solar eclipse, check out these stunning illustrations of celestial myths by ten of India's indigenous artists. 

What happens when you teach kindness in school?

Check out the ethereal lamp and book installations artist Rune Guneriussen has created in Norway's forests.

How rituals alter the brain to help you perform better. This explains why on days I don't follow my usual morning routine I never feel quite right.

Would you try stinky Swedish fermented canned fish surströmming? It's definitely not for the faint of heart (or stomach!), but I think I'd give it a (small) shot.

Why Millennials are filling their homes with plants. Oh heavens I'm definitely guilty of this!

How to teach girls they don't have to be nice.  This is something I really wish had been emphasized to me more growing up.  I still find myself worrying about upsetting others by merely being me, and even more sadly I still struggle with the idea that you don't have to be nice to someone who is being aggressive toward you. I've tolerated an forgiven a lot of bad behavior in my life, so here's to NOT BEING NICE.