Internet Travel Guide: 4/24/2014

“Be yourself – not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.”

Recently Pinned:

17 Shades of Purple | Honestly WTF (via Pinterest)

I am loving this rainbow hair trend that I keep seeing on Pinterest. If the time ever comes when I don’t have a desk job my hair will absolutely be a super-unnatural color for a little bit. I had a pink streak in college and it was AWESOME and I want MOAR COLOR and I don’t care if it is ridiculous. Although hey, I could totally get away with this right now:

Hidden Hues | The Beauty Department (via Pinterest)

I’ve also been thinking about giving henna hair dye a try for a while; I like being a redhead, and I might as well go Full Hippie since I’ve got such a good start. This lady’s got basically my hair color….

DIY Dyeing with Henna | Two Bobbins Later (via Pinterest)


Around the Interwebs:

I like this description for people who have a hard time getting their thoughts from their brains to their mouths (like yours truly) – we’ve got a long runway!

How did humans evolve to deal with city crowds? Apparently by creating tiny rural villages with the **Power of Imagination** (we tune out everyone except for an “inner circle” of 150-ish people).

Somebody had to invent cartography, and it was probably a couple of monks, and it probably went down exactly like this. (From – you guessed it – The Toast)

Vid o’ the Week:

“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.

It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

So if you* have great taste, that’s probably why your work is disappointing – because you can tell it’s not great, even if other people like it. That’s discouraging, but if you have the discipline to keep going and push your skills and produce a bunch of art or words or video or whatnot, your skills will start catching up to your taste. From what I’ve heard from professionals… your skills never actually catch up all the way. You still can’t look too closely at your work without finding flaws. But maybe you can glance at the things you’ve made and feel proud of them? You can at least feel proud of your quantity of work. That’s encouraging.

*I don’t know about you, you. “You” in this case is definitely me, though. As far as the disappointing/frustrating part. I don’t know if I actually have “killer” taste or just terrible self-esteem.

Internet Travel Guide: 4/11/2014

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”
– Jack Canfield

This week was weird. Were the planets out of alignment, or was the moon in a weird phase, or was it just me? Monday – Wednesday felt like an eternity, but then somehow I woke up this morning 100% sure that today was Thursday. I have no idea what happened to that extra day, but apparently I went to work and gave a passable impression of doing my job? So that was a fun surprise. Yay Friday!

I’ve been brainstorming a small flying familiar for my girl wizard, so today was Bat Day. Turns out bats are really hard. Like, their little faces are pretty cute, but I would probably be a little crazy to try drawing those weird, stretchy, semi-transparent wings on a regular basis. Then again, I have been known to be a little crazy.

Remember The Velveteen Rabbit? The heartwarming tale about a humble toy rabbit, full of only sawdust, who dreamed of becoming Real? I… I didn’t remember it being quite so dark, but somehow… somehow this version feels right. Real, even. Yes… This is the Real Velveteen Rabbit. (Yeah, I’m obsessively in love with The Toast. Yeah, I retweet Toast articles pretty much constantly. WHAT OF IT.)*

Do you know the difference between Chekhov’s Gun and a MacGuffin? Here are 5 common movie terms explained. You’re already discussing movies and TV shows in obsessive, completely unnecessary depth; might as well use authentic vocabulary. (Just me, again?)

I found this recipe for a microwave mug brownie on Pinterest today:

Mug Brownie | Pinterest

Now you are about to have a very unique experience, because I whipped up my very own mug brownie, which is in the microwave RIGHT NOW AS I TYPE THIS. That’s right, folks – I am live-blogging my microwave mug brownie attempt. *the sound of gasps and pearl-clutching is heard*

Okay hold that thought, it has been 1 minute and 40 seconds. FINALLY. Looks pretty good (see photographic evidence below). I’mma put this in my mouth real quick.



The verdict? Definitely has a different texture than a normal brownie, but it’s tasty. I think I’ll keep this on my Pinterest board to satisfy the odd emergency chocolate craving without making an entire batch of brownies… because when you do that, you have to eat that entire batch of brownies. And I do not need to do that. Also, my picture above shows ALL OF THE DIRTY DISHES that resulted from this 3-minute experiment. Mug brownie = definitely worthy of the Layabout’s Guide.

*Note: I’m not saying this story is an account of true events, but I personally own a pet rabbit. Her claws are sharp, and her eyes are full of hate, and I would totally believe that she stole the living soul from a child. Just saying.

Internet Travel Guide: 4/4/2014

“Pay special attention to anything you try to hide.”
– Gretchen Rubin

We’ve always suspected it was true, but The Toast confirms: Hairstyles are impossible to do. All those Pinterest tutorials are false promises. Always remember: “Hairstyles are just lies your head tells other people.”

In the spirit of The Layabout’s Guide to Life, here are 6 “bad habits” that are actually good for you. Pass the booze & butter, please! I am going to live forever.

This week on Pinterest… Look at this yarn chandelier! Wouldn’t this be super cute to hang above your cozy knitting chair in your knitting corner?! You… You don’t dream of having a dedicated knitting corner with a special (preferably wingbacked) knitting chair? …Just me? Really?

Hanging Around: DIY Yarn Chandelier | Pinterest

DIY Yarn Chandelier | HGTV Blog

Finally, enjoy this Go Pro vid of a baby pelican learning to fly!

Happy weekend, everybody!

Internet Travel Guide: 3-28-2014

The thing I remember best about successful people I’ve met all through the years is their obvious delight in what they’re doing and it seems to have very little to do with worldly success. They just love what they’re doing, and they love it in front of others.
Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers

Hat tip to my mom for this week’s quote; I love Mister Rogers. She and I went to DFW Fiber Fest to see Stephanie Pearl McPhee (the “Yarn Harlot“) speak. It was great! This lady has a super successful blog, has published 8 books – 2 of which were NYT best-sellers – and is now pretty famous (in very specific circles)… and this is all based on the fact that she is a very good knitter and is also Funny About Yarn. The world is a magical place, people.

Speaking of the world being magical and amazing… In the 1850’s, paleontologists found half of a giant sea turtle’s humerus. It was the only known fossil evidence of this species for 160 years, until an amateur fossil hunter recently found another partial humerus that appeared to be of the same species. Lo and behold, the new piece was not only from the same species of giant turtle… It was from the exact same giant turtle.

I think he looks like a Roscoe.

“Giant” is not an exaggeration, by the way. At least one 10-foot-long turtle existed at some point.

Giant turtles used to exist and sometimes their fossilized bones turn up centuries apart in perfect puzzle-piece segments and life is beautiful.


Overnight Cookie Dough Oats

Overnight Cookie Dough Oats | Plan to Eat

I’ve tried overnight oats before but was always pretty underwhelmed. I think the problem was previous recipes were using all/mostly yogurt and less sweetener, so it turned out really sour. This one uses mostly milk and includes chia seeds to help thicken it up. I didn’t have butter extract, I used white chocolate chips, and added a little cinnamon, so I can’t really verify if the original recipe tastes like cookie dough or not. Mine didn’t (maybe snickerdoodle cookie dough?) but it was delicious all the same!

Internet Travel Guide: 3/21/2014

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.”

~Rabindranath Tagore

I made this Greek Chicken Salad last weekend and it is AMAAAAAAZING. I added some shredded cabbage for crunchiness. Delish.

Kitchen Scraps You Can Regrow with Nothing But Water | Lifehacker

This seems like a fun kitchen experiment on Lifehacker – kitchen scraps that you can regrow in water. You certainly can’t do this indefinitely but it might work okay for double-lettuce or whatever. Or I bet you could put these same things in soil for even better results. As you may remember, my love for free/recycled plants has been previously documented! (Every single plant featured in that post is now long dead, by the way. Oops.)

This week in Reverse Psychology News: simply giving yourself the option of doing nothing could make you more likely to achieve your goals. The idea is that people are more dedicated to their commitments if they feel like they were truly free when they made the decision.

You know what I don’t miss about my first job? CONFERENCE CALLS. Conference calls are the actual worst. They’re like meetings, but even less productive. This video imagines – with uncanny accuracy – what it would be like if conference call annoyances happened IRL.

Internet Travel Guide: 03/14/2014

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
-Albert Einstein

Happy Pi Day! I hope you remembered to honor everyone’s favorite mathematical constant in the traditional way:


Hey speaking of food (boom, segue), I  have discovered the absolute best way to eat raw cabbage (which is super good for you, surprisingly): Cabbage Salad with Goat Cheese. I used feta instead of goat cheese, and topped it with salmon & olives, and it was glorious. Husby even liked it, and he doesn’t like salmon or cabbage! Bonus: cabbage keeps in the fridge for like two weeks, unlike lettuce which seems to go nasty & slimy within a couple of days. I think this is a new staple in my packed-lunch lineup!

Cabbage Salad With Goat Cheese | Kitchen Stewardship

Pinterest Link:
Cabbage Salad With Goat Cheese | Kitchen Stewardship

If you ever took an Art History class, you are probably aware that medieval art was FULLY BONKERS. As in, the people creating this art either could not draw, or could not see, or (perhaps most likely) were under the influence of Ye Olde Shroomes. How did this style of art become standard? Who decided that perspective was a waste of time, and that toddlers definitely look like miniature full grown adult people? Probably these guys I guess.

The realism, it boggles the mind

That’s not to say contemporary art is any less insane, of course.

You see, over the years art has become less utilitarian, as photographs can now be used to merely capture the memory of a person or place. In the modern age, artists have the luxury of communicating complex ideas and feelings through their medium of choice. We’ve thusly replaced straightforward visual representations with more abstract symbolism, meant to  invoke an emotional response apart from simple aesthetic pleasure. For example, Designers at the Royal College of Art decided to go for the emotional response of “pants-sh*tting terror.”

Their installation art piece, called “Space Replay,” was released into public spaces, to hover around freely, record and play back ambient noise, follow people into elevators and – I assume – steal their eternal souls. Good show, chaps.



Whoa, hey, what the heck was that? Is… is my nose bleeding?


Internet Travel Guide: 3/7/2014

“I don’t know who I am or who I was. I know it less than ever. I do and I don’t identify myself with myself. Everything is totally contradictory but maybe I have remained exactly as I was as a small boy of twelve.”
– Giacometti

Do you watch The Walking Dead? I LOVE THE WALKING DEAD. Here’s a collection of video clips from TWD actors’ former work. Notably, Norman Reedus’ appears in a Bjork video that is FULLY BONKERS (as are all of Bjork’s videos – this is why we love her and her insane elven shenanigans). Also, Scott Wilson (Hershel) was a total babe in 1967.

Take a few minutes to read “Let’s Draw a Car and then Let’s Draw Batman,” a comics-essay about what happened when Lynda Barry asked a group of adults who don’t usually draw to give it a try. It’s lovely.

Exerpt from “Let’s Draw a Car and then Let’s Draw Batman” by Lynda Barry

Next, LOOK AT THIS WEE TERRARIUM!!! I must make one ASAP.

Hello 1970! How to Make a Tiny Terrarium and Macrame Hanger | Life On The BAlcony

Of course I say that, and I love terrariums so very much that they comprise like 63% of my gardening Pinterest board, but I’ve never tried to make one because where do you get moss? Every tutorial treats it like a common thing that you can just grab from a rock outside but I live in Texas. I could scrounge up some dead grass and mesquite clippings and maybe some nice poison ivy. Do they have moss at nurseries? This mystifies me and thus far I am too lazy to find out.

And finally, I just discovered this great bit that Kimmel does: Celebrities Read Mean Tweets. Hooray for public jerk-shaming!

Internet Travel Guide: 2/28/2014

“If only we’d stop trying to be happy, we could have a pretty good time.”
-Edith Wharton

I’m chillin’ in my PJ’s on the couch with the husband & the dog, drinking red wine and re-knitting my weird-sized scarf from a couple weeks ago. Excellent Friday night. Have some equally excellent links:

Here is a comic about how nature is terrifying. (Your garden is “a box of dirt that pushes food at you very slowly.” Ew.)

The Winter Olympics are over, but here is a reminder for the committee choosing the site for 2018: do not choose Hoth.

This is Why Hoth Was Denied Its Bid to Host the Winter Olympics

This tiny (400 microns) zircon crystal is the oldest known object on Earth – and it looks like something straight out of a cheesy old sci-fi movie. As do these sea sapphires – crazy sea organisms that switch between glowing blue and being nearly transparent. If I encountered one of those in the wild I’d check myself into the psych ward!

Finally, this fashion video from the 1920’s features hilarious commentary by a woman who is not so sure about short skirts. Her reason? “I don’t much like knees.” She’s got a point.

Internet Travel Guide: 2/21/2014

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
-Marcel Proust

Social intelligence apparently develops as a byproduct of domestication, without being selected for specifically. But ignore that. That’s not important I JUST WANT A PET FOX NOW.

Great advice on how to prioritize a crazy to-do list.

When Jesus called Christians the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world,” he was talking about really good Christians, right? The ones who have it all together, and never miss church or Sunday school or a daily quiet time? Nope; he was talking about broken people just like me.

PSA: “Before” Syndrome is a rare – but real – disease, afflicting several adults:


Internet Travel Guide: 2/14/2014

We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.
– Dr. Seuss

I’m so excited that Yuzuru Hanyu won the gold!!! I adore this kid; he is a freakin rock star! I’ve never seen anyone skate like that – so loose and free, like he’s just messing around out there. And so much personality!  This performance broke the world record for highest men’s short program score. Previous record holder? Yuzuru Hanyu. He is CRUSHING IT and I am a huge fan. Even if you think you’re not into figure skating, seriously, take 6 minutes and watch the linked video (HERE IS ANOTHER LINK – YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE) because it is insanely entertaining.


  • This is a cool piece: Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinators. (Applies to non-writers as well.) The idea is that people who have learned to rely on their innate intelligence & talent are often very afraid of failure because they see it as a fundamental personal insufficiency – this is a “fixed mindset.” They tend to avoid challenges and even sabotage themselves (by procrastinating, for example) rather than trying their hardest and falling short. It’s much better  to have a “growth mindset,” and believe that you can nourish talent by practicing stuff that you find difficult.
  • Closely related to the previous: this psychologist says that the most distinctive quality of high achievers is “grittiness.” She defines “grit” as “the disposition to pursue very long-term goals with passion and perseverance, sustained over time.” Talent will only take you so far; grit is what makes things happen.
  • Closely related to the previous two: always praise kids for their efforts, not their abilities. If kids are told they are smart when they succeed, they are more likely to view failure as evidence of stupidity and avoid challenges. On the other hand, kids praised for working hard are more likely to seek out challenges and figure out new strategies for success, and were less concerned about how they performed relative to other kids. Also, praise specific things, (“that’s a very good drawing”) instead of general skills (“you are a good drawer”), so that one failure doesn’t affect other successes.
  • Completely unrelated to the previous three: my (theoretical, future) children will have a vine teepee playhouse. (We will build it together and I will praise them for working so hard.) In fact, if I had a backyard right now I might make one for myself. Perfect reading spot!
Child Amy would FREAK OUT about this.

Source: Gingham Baby

That’s all I’ve got for the week. If you need me, I’ll be trying to develop Grit.

*Mutters to self* “Good job Amy, that was a good Internet Travel Guide. You collected a lot of links that were closely related to each other.”