The Good Stuff: Tea in a Time of War, About the Iraqi Greeting "Shaku Maku", and The Art of Enough

Hidey ho, neighbors! How is spring treating you so far?  It's rainy as all heck here...but I guess that's to be expected... le sigh...

Rainy days aside, life is damn good in my neck of the woods.  I'm starting to plan out my summer to-do list and looking forward to Chicago's Lit Fest (it's my birthday weekend!), time with friends, cocktails on the patio, planning my sister's baby shower (eek!) and even a little vaycay or two. Do you have anything planned for the summer (or to my Aussie readers, the winter!)? Send those ideas my way and maybe you'll be featured in a super summer extravaganza post!

Happy Humpday!  Here's hoping the rest of your week is spectacular!

Something about this picture really hit me hard.

'What Is Everything and Nothing?'
"Shaku maku" is the Iraqi equivalent to "What's up?" It roughly translates to the paradoxical question above. But it's so much more than a greeting. The riddle at the heart of shaku maku seems to sum up the contradictions of the modern Iraqi experience.

40 reasons why the future is definitely female. 

Prepare to be astounded: some of the world's best tea grows right on this mountainous peak. 

I love horoscope-y things, but I read them all with a healthy filter of reality. My horoscope here was weirdly on point, however.  (I'm a gemini, in case you're curious). 

43 self-care practices for the highly sensitive person. 

Squad Goals: these elderly nuns adopted a pit bull and it's adorable. 

Well, science proves it: cats are nice

A little incentive to take that nap

Swedish artist Maja Säfström has one of my favorite Instagram accounts, so of course I'm excited about her newly released (and hilarious) book!

Weather for the blind. Seriously SO. COOL. 

What is a seeker?

This is definitely one of the coolest barns in America

The arial view of this farm is a lovely lavender mandala

This Russian forest is full of dancing trees. 

Ethnomusicology and Disney movies. 

Would you try a black ice cream cone? (Count me in!)

A little belated for Earth Day, but still relevant! -- How our diets impact the earth

The art of enough

I'm adding this art-fueled road trip through Southern California to my bucket list!

The Good Stuff: The Breakfast of Champions aka Deep Sea Cephalopods, The Intersection of Design and Disability, and A Treat for Whiskey Lovers

Hello! God dag! Bom dia! I hope this Friday finds you happy and well!

Any fun plans for this weekend? I'm crazy excited to be visiting my sister and her hubby.  I could barely get through the week because I could hardly wait! (But it was excellent incentive to get through it all the same!)

I've got the usual roundup of weird and fascinating and fun links for ya'll.  Send any goodies my way and maybe they'll show up on the blog! And of course, don't forget!-- Mother's Day will be here before you know it, so grab Mom a card from the Bert+Lou paper shop!

Hoping your weekend is splendid and sunny!

I NEED this

What does a deep sea octopus eat for breakfast

An NFL player and a puppy

A tad bit uncharacteristically dark for this blog's usual vibe, but I found this article about Nazi Germany's "super baby" breeding program really fascinating. 

The intersection of design and disability. 

I'm smitten with these floral wall murals

Your favorite children's books on learning how to be an independent woman.

7 extraordinary women scientists.  Let's get more of our girls in STEM!

Jameson distillers discovered a 230 year old barrel of whiskey while undergoing renovations. 

These succulent terrarium cakes are phenomenal.

The 1920's society of women geographers.  

This ice cream shop serves a squirrel his own ice cream cone every day. 

Is there such thing as being truly "offline"?

A beautiful story about sequoias

The busier you are, the more quiet time you need. DUH. I coulda told you that! This is my life in a nutshell.

Well, I just bookmarked each and every one of these sweet pads in Joshua Tree as Total Dream Homes.  Bonus points that you can rent them!

The Good Stuff: Sweden's Winning Passports, The Original Brain Art, and Eggs in Your Coffee

Hey there hello there! It's been a little bit since I saw ya'll.  I've missed you! 

What are you up to this fresh April weekend? I'm hoping to get a jump on some spring cleaning, do a little meal prep, and catch up on some reading.  It is so needed!

I've got a ton of goodies for you today, so feel free to dive right in to the internet rabbit hole that is Bert+Lou.

In celebration of the Girl's Day (a Japanese holiday) on March 3, an 81-year-old Japanese lady created a mobile game for the rest of us to learn a little about the day's cultural practices.

More Japan! To celebrate The National Art Center of Tokyo's tenth anniversary, French architect Emmanuelle Moureaux installed 60,000 paper cut-outs to create a colorful Forest of Numbers

I'm way behind on all my podcasts.  Nevertheless, I just subscribed to this one

Well, it's official.  I need to see this underwater Estonian prison.

"Where's Waldo" ain't got nothin on Dutch masters Pieter Bruegel the Elder and Hieronymous Bosch, the original hidden picture masters.

SWOON. Photographer Mark Mawson's hypnotizingly beautiful swirling blooms of dye in water. (My computer's spellcheck says 'Hypnotizingly' isn't a word.  I disagree)

What lunch can indicate about workplace satisfaction. I TOTALLY AGREE.

Bucket listed: the cutest place on the planet

(Of course it's Sweden!) The country with the best passport

The witty epitaphs of Key West cemetery. 

The best weather apps for storm geeks. Sign me up!

Imaginative insects formed from resin and brass by Japanese artist Hiroshi Shinno.

Just WHY???

Because donut cakes

Fat girls hiking (their words, not mine): a body-positive movement to get outside and just enjoy nature, damnit!

Would you try Scandinavian egg coffee? I'll try anything once! :P

Obviously I'm biased, but there's some actual science behind why Norway is the happiest place to be. 

Art and neuroscience, two of my favorite things! The dynamic brain drawings by the father of modern neuroscience. 

Botanical art education in the Himalayas


Have a stellar weekend and don't forget to subscribe to get these gems right to your inbox!  

The Good Stuff: A Rug Made Of Cat Hair, Dancing Dads, and A Crazy Cool Cave Discovery

Hi ya'll.  How was your weekend?  Lovely, I hope!

I've had a super cool project in the works over the last month or two, and it's finally time to announce it!  The awesome Lion and Swan Collective will be releasing a new goodie box featuring some cards by yours truly.  :D 

Ta da!!!

Swing by the Lion and Swan website to pick up your own box, and stay tuned here for more details in the weeks to come!


Abstract, a new Netflix series, takes a look inside the minds of some of the world's most innovative designers

Welsh tea plantations in Patagonia: preserving language, culture, and a lipstick-stained teacup.

Check out these hilarious and uniquely Danish commercials. 

16 cozy reading nooks

To celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, the Philadelphia Dance Center invited mothers and fathers to attend ballet class with their daughters and they captured amazing footage of the loving dads dancing their hearts out. 

A little good news: it turns out marine ecosystems are handling climate change pretty well, actually!

In response to Trump's travel ban, Wellesley's Davis museum is removing all art made or donated by immigrants.  

Possibly the oldest in the world, this rug was woven entirely out of cat hair....and once contained a mummified human foot!

My newest travel bucket list addition: this dog sanctuary in Costa Rica

Super life! These 50,000 year old microbes were found living in the famous Cave of the Crystals.  Seriously, so cool!

Florence Williams on the restorative power of nature

The science of creativity. 

What's a mackerel sky?? (and other meteorological coolness).

This artist painstakingly creates gorgeous ceramic succulents and flowers.

Street kintsugi: Rachel Sussman repairs the cracks in the road with gold. 

Of course Norway is leading the way toward the future of snowmaking

What makes America great

Who knew the history of the phrase "Da Kine" was so involved!?  Pidgin, Creole, and a whole lotta linguistics!

This is your brain on coffee

I frequently refer to my favorite food as my "death row meal", but this artist went one step further and actually photographed the exact last meal requests of Death Row inmates.  I found it morbidly fascinating. 

How tea made water safe

Kahlil Gibran on why artists make art

The Good Stuff: Good Cards for Bad Days, A Disappearing Chinese Language, and Libraries as Sanctuaries

It's been a glorious weekend so far in my neck of the woods -- 65 degrees in February!! I know this is actually just global warming prepping us for total annihilation, but it sure is a comfortable way to prepare for the demise of the planet! :P

I had my breakfast tea on the balcony, read outside a little, and took an unexpected errand detour because of all the amazing President's day deals going on at the outdoor mall near me.  I even picked up a drink I reserve for summery days--an iced chai!  Woo!  Today was just so beautiful that the phrase "it's a great day to have a great day" kept swirling around in my head.  Who cares if that makes me a nerd! It was truly lovely.

How's it been by you?

This photojournalist chronicled an invasion of tumbleweeds.

These babes make up the first Middle Eastern all-female roller derby team, and they are breaking all the stereotypes

Don't know what to say when someone is going through hard stuff? These good cards for bad times may help.

I recently followed a new slew of travel blogs so I can live vicariously through their authors.  This hilarious triptionary and Thai Language guide are serious highlights. 

This funky flashback features the nightmare that was his and hers fashions. Similarly, the weird world of kitschy Christian vinyls

Squirrel party!

I'd be interested in finding an initiative like this in my community (or create one!) Reaching out to refugees, one dinner at a time

America the beautiful: a list of each state's splendid libraries.

A late Valentine's Day post: the animal kingdom's weirdest hearts. Neature. It's pretty NEAT.

Camping in Yurts sounds right up my alley.

No need to squirm, these spiders are seriously cool! 

How LEGO built a social media platform for kids -- and it's totally not creepy!

Nüshu, the disappearing 19th-Century Chinese script only women could write.

Libraries as sanctuaries

I am simply smitten with these fun and thought provoking questions that help you get to know someone a little deeper. 

So dreamy: a Sardinian guesthouse in the trees

This little girl is keeping a Mongolian tradition alive