In Memory Of

Today I am mourning Anthony Bourdain.  And Kate Spade.  And Robin Williams.  And everyone else, celebrity and non-celebrity, who has chosen to take their own life.

I mourn not because I knew them, but because I've been in that dark place that causes someone to choose death over life. I've been there and I know it.  I know the feeling of life being so heavy that a forever nap seems reeeeeeally good.  I know the feeling that motivates self-harm and the subsequent relief and guilt that comes from acting on it.  

I also know that life has a lot of good in it.


Today is my birthday and I can't help but reflect on all the good that has happened to me, good I would have missed out on if I'd acted out of despair when things were as bad as they can be. 

And I know that when you're in that dark place that shit doesn't matter AT ALL.  You know others may be sad but the promise of relief is even more tempting. You justify that they'll move on, get over it.  They'll be okay.  And you will be able to rest at last.

Please. Let me tell you, as someone who still feels the tendrils of the dark place reach up to claim me from time to time, it's ok to be there.  And it's ok to not be okay.  My advice is to just get through the day.  And then get through the next day.  Let one person in.  It will get better.  You are more loved than you can even know. Take it  The darkness can't swallow you entirely if you do that one thing. Just keep going.

I'm grateful to the friends who stayed up with me all night when I was falling apart during my absolute breakdown ten years ago.  I'm grateful to my roommate who dealt patiently with my inability to adult and to my best friend and her boyfriend (now husband) for picking me up, taking me home, and then watching over me the night I fell apart the worst.  I'm grateful for my parents who drove out to bring me home and take me to the hospital when I needed more help than they could give me.  I'm grateful for the few people who didn't abandon me as friends when I was DEFINITELY super shitty to be around. I'm grateful to my sister who knows me without me having to say a thing and for my mom for always knowing the right things to say or do when I'm at my worst.  I'm grateful for my friends who have also seen the dark place, too.  I'm just grateful.

I post this today at the risk of sounding sappy.  This is not poetic.  This is real life.  And real death.  Reach out to others.  Be kind.  Be available.  I am.  I don't care how well we know each other, I will ALWAYS be present for you if you are suffering.  Or call:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  1-800-273-8255

<3   -Britta

The Good Stuff: The Best Cinnamon, A Boy and His Dogs, and What Your Dialect Says About You

What an insane month May has been!  It's been a true whirlwind, but life is suddenly looking so much sunnier for me, both literally and metaphorically.  I'm all sunshine and smiles. 

I'm looking forward to a whole two days (decadent, I know) off this coming Memorial Day weekend.  I can't wait to relax.  Perhaps I will sunbathe.  Maybe I'll go on a picnic.  Or possibly I will just let myself sleep in and enjoy some tea and a book on the balcony!  It's truly the little things in life, isn't it?  

What do you have planned for the long weekend?

Feel like you're stuck on a nonlinear career path? (SAME!) Well it turns out it could actually be a good thing in the long run.  I'll cheers to that. 

This eyeliner can literally withstand a car accident, and well....I'm SOLD. 

The Lord of the Forest brings people to tears.

The taste test reviews of these different cinnamons had me laughing out loud. 

How to be kind to yourself

A new type of exploding ant has been discovered and it is awesome and terrifying. 

Take this dialect quiz

Next time I head to Oslo I'm checking out this floating sauna!

Truthfully, not going to Disney for my birthday again this year is a bummer.  But I found a recipe for homemade dole whip, so at least I can pretend!!!

Arborists rejoice, this man is chronicling America's Champion Trees

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dag Hammarskjöld on love, failure, and what it means to be yourself.

This art exhibit literally decays as you view it. 

This artist fills up sketchbooks with some of the most beautiful, whimsical sketches and hand-lettering I've ever seen.  His instagram account is a new favorite for sure.

This former U.S. poet laureate wants poetry to be joyful. 

Some of America's greatest artists are women (duhh). So why don't we know who they are?

The coolest maps ever are 3-dimensional, fit in your hand, and were created by the Tunumiit people of Greenland.

More maps!  This one spans the entire Mississippi River and can fit in your pocket! Let's hear it for genius design!

I've always been passionate about green spaces, in particular those in urban settings. I'm even planning on basing my mater's thesis off of the correlation between green areas and positive health trends.  So of course this book on secret urban gardens appeals to me!

The retirement home that Giuseppe Verdi created for elderly musicians

This boy documents every dog he has ever petted and well, he's totally winning at life. 

If you do one things this week, watch this video:

I hope the sun is shining on you, too!


The Good Stuff: Implicit Bias, Birds That Glow, and The World's Most Beautiful Toilet

Happy Friday, folks! Any fun plans for the weekend? This last month or so has been a whirlwind/absolute nightmare, so I'm planning on some much-needed catch up time with friends.

I've compiled a list of all the best links from the web for ya.  Because you need a break.  Because it's Friday.  Enjoy.  ;)

How to design your home based upon your zodiac sign (mine is pretty much already dead on!)

What is an "untouchable day" and why do you need one?

Speak up!  "Your silence serves no one."

This photo-series of forgotten places makes me want to go off the grid.

The wild stories behind the world's rarest colors. 

This astronaut brought her son to a photoshoot and it's absolutely adorable. 

A tribute to girl scout roots

A cat bed to beat all cat beds.

I just finished So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo and while that book was hard AF (see my review on goodreads here), it did get me thinking more about implicit bias

A new typeface that merges braille with visible letters might make braille more accessible for all readers. 

This Phantom of the Opera beatbox is insane. 

The tea lover's guide to Hong Kong. Alright....take me back! 

A patient at the Heidelberg Psychiatric Clinic during the 1890s embroidered her straight jacket, creating a powerful item and a unique piece of art. 

Take me to the colorful village of Guatape! 

If you're like me you talk about food guilt as a way to bond with other people.  Here's why we need to stop doing that. 

Nature is reclaiming this abandoned Chinese fishing village and it is beautiful. 

Why do some birds glow under black light?

Let's hear it for good sportsmanship. 

Hardcore porridge. How to eat breakfast like a 17th century Swedish satanist. 

This Thai treat is so smooth it's name translates as "I forgot I swallowed" and well, let's just say my interest in piqued. 

Of course Norway has the most beautiful public toilet


The Good Stuff: Maps on Maps on Maps, an Aurora Named Steve, and Some Radically Unusual Caterpillars

It's not often that I sit down long enough to watch anything on TV and when I do it's usually just something quick on Netflix, but this week I got hooked on a new show called Abstract: The Art of Design (I can't recommend it enough!). The episode that really hooked me was about architect Bjarke Ingels and the work he's done, but the episode that made me have an absolute moment of joy featured Paula Scher, a graphic designer who also paints .....MAPS.  The inspiration I felt from her episode could not have come at a more perfect time as I wait to hear back about whether I got into the grad school I have applied for. I'm hoping to get in so I can get my Master's in GIS (geographic information systems) and then who knows! Maybe one day I'll be making maps, too!

Now, enjoy some good stuff to get you over the hump into the weekend!

Veinous Blood Red. Broccoli Brown. Smoke Grey.  The forgotten color language of 19th-century naturalists.  

Your brain on plants: Amazon's new corporate biodome

I just love that this book features an illustrated blob fish

In praise of the mundane, unquantifiable, impractical activities that feed creative work and fill life with meaning.

Mapping literary worlds

Some thoughts on work-life balance

Studies link intellectual humility with openness to other viewpoints. 

This article really sums up why I struggle with text messages (and other contextless forms of communication). 

Radically unusual caterpillars

I just discovered Tea.O.Graphy and I'm quite smitten with it. 

More reasons to get outside: What working in a dark office may do to your brain

A meteorite encrusted with diamonds. 

Eastern Europe's Walt Disney

The art of Kip Omolade is completely blowing my mind....

....Even more mind-blowing: this photo of a single atom

Sign me up for one of each of these après-ski cocktails (Lake Tahoe I'm looking at you!)

Awesome flora and fauna street art murals by Amok Island.

The coolest (and weirdest) things people have found tucked between the pages of books.

A-frame cabins, be still my heart. 

These women are breaking traveling stereotypes and setting world records.

You have to check out these 37 Native American artists

A pilgrimage to an ancient......penis monastery

This photographer is capturing the last remaining Muslim women with facial tattoos.

Amateur scientists discovered a new type of Aurora.  It's purple and they named it Steve.


The Good Stuff: Signs of Creative Resistance at The 2018 Women's March, Obama's Playlist, and All My Library Love

January is almost over.  Can I get an AMEN?!

I shouldn't complain because it has been a truly amazing month, but good grief I need winter to slow its roll.  The good news is I'm feeling the angles of the sun changing ever so slightly and the days getting ever so slightly longer and it makes me feel glad.  Spring will soon be on its way. Okay, maybe not that soon..... but let a girl be hopeful!

Now, BOOM. Good Stuff.  Read it. Love it. Share it. 

Oh, and don't forget! All Valentines and custom glassware are currently 10% off in the shop through February 8th! Hurryyyyyyyy!!!

Signs of creative resistance at the 2018 Women's March.

It's long past Christmas, but I couldn't help but include what happens when major architects design gingerbread houses

Obama's favorite tunes. 

Predict the new year with the Swedish tradition of årsgång.  

Then there is this glorious deep sea jelly

Must visit! This little town in New York has a population of fewer than 500 people, but (count 'em!) 5 indie books stores.

In defense of keeping arts in the schools:  What does learning look like? A well-tuned orchestra in your head! 

Building stronger communities through the arts

Oh heyyyyy! Pour me another matcha!  A study shows that tea drinkers may be more creative!

Who was Selma Burke? If you look at a dime, you can see a piece of her work! (hint: she was an outstanding African American sculptor whose work is usually mis-credited to white men). 

You might think an article about Ecuadoran fungi would be boring, but if you click through to check out the pictures (and you don't want to miss the video!), you would be sorely mistaken. The beauty boggles the mind. NEATURE! It's pretty neat! :D   --there's more where that came from! Check out my Nature Blowing My Mind pinboard here

My (not-so-hidden) inner goth kid LOVES this home in San Fran. 

I just followed this Insta account featuring itty bitty paintings on tea bags.

A hallway turned into a library. I am obsessed

The Inuit woman who survived the arctic alone.  Talk about Girl Power. 

The arsenic-laden "Shadows From The Walls Of Death" should not be touched without gloves. 

Cartography nerds, come explore the earliest known map of the world

Walking as creative fuel.