The Good Stuff: Purple Tea, The Chicago Map Project, and the Most Pure Thing on the Internet

Spring is here! At long last. It’s still sweater-y weather, but the days are getting longer and I can feel that springy tilt to the angle of the sun, and all i can say is


Is spring burn-out a thing? Seriously. I need an extra hour (maybe two) in each day. Between work, grad school, a long distance relationship, and just life, my ability to do it all and balance it all with a positive attitude has been seriously challenged. A year ago when I was running Bert+Lou full time I would schedule these posts. I had a business timeline. Now I’m just wingin’ it when i get a free second. It bums me out a little, honestly, to not be able to commit as much to this web child of mine as I used to, but there’s still so much to be passionate about, so it will persist, albeit less frequently. On a sunny note, I appreciate all of you who have stuck with me through every season of life since the birth of B+L. Y’all give me the steam to keep on goin.

When green tea meets water from the Azores’ volcanic hot springs, an unexpectedly violet brew is born. Adding this to my wanderlust bucket list!

How does GPS technology affect our understanding of place?

Daily things to fall in love with.

The Folded Map Project bridges the distance between Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Do octopuses dream? It seems they might.

A little late in the game, but Bill and Melinda Gates’ annual letter really got me jazzed up. My favorite line: “There is nothing about putting your country first that requires turning your back on the rest of the world. If anything, the opposite is true.” -Melinda Gates

I’m seriously obsessed with this algorithmic infographic that visualizes US immigration as rings on a tree.

Want to get rich buying art? Invest in women artists.

A cartography of consciousness – researchers map where subjective feelings are located in the body.

A new illustrated database for women artists spans the 15th to 19th centuries… created right here in my hometown!

‘The Venn diagram of “female devotees of Dionysus who savagely tear apart Orpheus” and “parties I would love to attend” has an overlap of roughly 100%’ . I laughed out loud reading this article about mobs of women murdering men in western art history.

Unironically, I wasn't able to make it through this full article about reading in the age of distraction. Derrrp.

The highest village in the world has some seriously outstanding architecture.

These national parks wouldn’t exist without women!

This may be the most pure thing on the internet.

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Stay Inspired!

XoXo - Britta

The Good Stuff: A Cowboy Cartographer, Moonlists, and How to Listen to Trees

I have so many goodies for you today. So sorry it’s been a while, life can really get ahead of you, ya know?!

I hope you’re all doing well and had a splendid fall. Does anyone else feel like it was far too brief? I need more “chill” and less “freeze”, if you know what I mean.

Happy Humpday, we’re halfway there!

Enjoy :)

What is Miljøkajakken ?? (One of Copenhagen's smartest initiatives, that's what!)

Growing up I hated gym class. I felt like a failure because running is and always has been a painful endeavor for me. It wasn't until I was an adult that I recognized my strength is, literally, my strength. This article struck a chord with me.  How would my relationship with exercise be different as an adult if I hadn't dreaded gym class so much as a kid?

The cowboy cartographer who lovingly detailed a place's dogs.

Izzy Wheels, a company founded by two sisters to empower those bound to wheelchairs, has the greatest business model.

How to stay positive and productive, as told by photographer extraordinaire Jeff Mindell.

I am newly intrigued by the idea of moonlists.  

These tiny embroidered scenes by Vera Shimunia have me swooning. Those clouds! <3

A lost narwhal has been adopted….by a pod of belugas.

These towns are worth visiting for their adventures, and their bookstores.

Looks like I’ll be adding the country of Georgia to my list of places to visit!

How (and why) to listen to a tree.

“Not always useful, but not altogether useless” is the mantra behind Chindōgu, a Japanese art form I’m a little obsessed with currently.

The double standard of work email exclamation points. (!)

This artist creates maps of Argentinean landscapes through hand-tufted rugs and they. are. GORGEOUS.

This artist is turning abandoned basketball courts into art.

How skim-reading is inferior to READING.

Drawing is the best way to learn.

A stunning 3-D street mural in Santarcangelo.

Way to go Austin! The city has now passed legislation that bans restaurants from throwing away food that can be donated or composted.

This baby may become the youngest person to travel to all 50 states. I’m jealous!

Maps of mountains.

An opinionated (but correct) rant about flannel.

An illustrated field guide to the art, science, and joy of tea.

Maps and books, two of my favorite things!

How a groundbreaking female cartographer (go girl!) charted the evolution of the United States….and the subsequent dispossession of Native Peoples from their lands. Keep this in mind when you carve into your Thanksgiving turkey.

Newly discovered! The largest cluster of deep-sea octopuses ever found. So. Cool.

From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good DeathFrom Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It took me far too long to read this book (damn you, life, always getting in the way!). But it's an excellent read and I highly recommend it. Written conversationally, it is still extremely informative about the plethora burial traditions one can find across the globe, and it touches on what we consider culturally "acceptable" and how that varies from place to place. Truthfully, America has burial and mourning all wrong, in my opinion. We never look death square in the face. We fight it, we try to avoid it with all means necessary, and then when it comes we are absolutely ill-equipped to process and manage it. The author writes from the same point of view, and I was pleased to learn of growing mortuary movements in the U.S. that veer away from multi-thousand dollar locked steel crypts to methods that return the body to the earth, where it originates from (get me my mushroom suit!).
If you're a little squeamish this book not particularly graphic, in case you were wondering. It does include some skeletal illustrations, though.
Loved the book, and it's fitting that I finished it right when I'm feeling like fall is beginning and my excitement for Halloween is growing and my inner goth that I keep (mostly) suppressed is appearing more and more.
A very refreshing book.

View all my reviews

xoxo Britta

The Good Stuff: The Ultimate Guide to Shower Beer, Why Mister Rogers is Good For Your Health, and On Leading With Joy

It's almost the end of the summer. Holy hell how did that happen??!  The last two months have been the most insane, but all in good ways (okay, mostly). 

I accepted a new job with a super cool company. 


I start my grad classes THIS MONTH. 

I'm seriously adulting so hard, you guys. Someone get me a medal.

In case you were wondering why the Bert+Lou shop has been on a vacation, now you know!  I am still keeping it on a hiatus until I can get fully settled into my new digs, but when it reopens it's going to be better than ever (think slight revamp). Thanks for your patience, ya'll are the best :)

The myth (and truths) of finding your purpose

The 4-year old using his allowance to feed the homeless gives me hope in humanity. 

Abby Wambach FTW (her commencement speech went super viral, you've gotta see it).

Why Mister Rogers is good for your health

The definitive summer guide to shower beer

On leading with joy. 

Homebuyers would rather live close to their favorite coffee shop than family and, well.... relatable? 

What the heck is going on with the plastic straw ban??? Here are some thoughts. Oh, and here, too. Okay, and I'll admit I totally didn't even consider this

I'm definitely behind the mohair and angora ban.  Poor little buns. 

Realistic ways to go low waste and lower your carbon footprint (trust me). 

I've dug my heels in against 'goop' because I just can't deal with Gwenyth Paltrow (sorry not sorry), but they finally got me with this article on how we erroneously define our potential

This wall is an awesome monument to Tajikistan's great writers

Not to get ahead of myself or anything, but I would totally consider Romania as a honeymoon location

Super cool maps!!!

I'm a big supporter of STEM, but don't forget the humanities

A neat article on the problems with hypocognition

Below is one of my biggest girl crushes, Indrid Fetell Lee. I've followed her for probably close to a decade at this point from her bare bones blog The Aesthetics of Joy all the way to now with the release of her book.  Mad props to her and her success. She's a total beautiful badass. 


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!