Improvised Life If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Mon, 29 Jun 2015 20:51:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How Analog Notebooks can Enhance Productivity Mon, 29 Jun 2015 16:51:55 +0000

Ton Koene

In the New Yorker’s recent Why Startups Love Moleskines, David Sax describes the popularity of the spare notebook that many tech-savvy people find superior to digital task software. M.I.T. students, academics, artists and other high-achieving entrepreneurs prize Moleskine notebooks, which come in variety of shapes and sizes, for their simplicity and efficiency. (more…)

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I Believe I Can…..(Gif-Inspiration) Mon, 29 Jun 2015 06:24:38 +0000 I Believe I can…

One of the best gifs we’ve seen of late is I Believe I can

We know about flapping our arms hard to barely keep from falling in the water after we’ve stepped OFF the diving board BELIEVING WE CAN.  Perhaps if we try a little harder, and shift our attitude slightly


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A Sauce for All Seasons + Deconstructed Caesar Salad Fri, 26 Jun 2015 06:41:05 +0000

Maria Robledo

Throughout the Mediterranean, the combination of garlic, anchovies* and olive oil finds its way into scores of dishes, from salads, pastas and vegetables to seafood and even lamb and veal. Here in America, it is the basis for the legendary Caesar salad. With the addition of Parmigiano, its dressing’s assertive flavors add up to something completely other than the sum of its parts – elemental, yet surprisingly mellow and satisfying (a far cry from the overly creamy, one-dimensional concoctions generally served in restaurants and salad bars.)

I consider it an essential sauce for improvising since it complements so many foods, including this lovely deconstructed Caesar Salad.  The recipes for (more...)]]> 4 Mail’s here! Thu, 25 Jun 2015 19:13:24 +0000

Original Porteur, Paris news paper delivery

Our newsletters are a love letter to our readers: A collection of what’s happening and what we’re up to. Subscribing sends us right into your your inbox so you’ll have our quirky, thoughtfully-crafted content to read with your morning coffee.

We know what it’s like to be bombarded by the words “please subscribe”. We hear we are worth it. (more…)

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AirBNBs Enchanted Treehouses Thu, 25 Jun 2015 17:20:05 +0000

AirBnb has a the cure to summer boredom; take off to a tree house adventure! If you’re outdoorsy, but not sleep-in-a-tent outdoorsy, a glamorous tree house might be a good fit. There are so many scattered around the U.S. (and other places too, check out AirBnB maps for an area closest to you).

Among our favorites were an enhanced lookout tower (above) built on private land in Tiller, Oregon surrounded by the Umpqua National Forest, (more…)

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When Broken Tools Reveal New Usefulness (Su Tung Po) Thu, 25 Jun 2015 06:24:55 +0000

Sally Schneider

The other day I was reading a poem written by Su Tung Po in 1097, over a thousand years ago, and realized that it was talking about me, right now in 2015, using such perfectly wrought words, I saw the most ordinary moment differently. Here is a fragment* (more…)

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Use A Typewriter to Tap Your Poetic Subconscious Wed, 24 Jun 2015 18:35:52 +0000

Scott Lynch/Gothamist

A public typewriter is stationed at Tompkins Square Park for whoever wishes to write on. It is the brainchild of the The Poetry Society of New York who original introduced it at the NYC Poetry Festival on Governors Island:

The Typewriter Project’s mission is to investigate, document, and preserve the poetic subconscious of the city while providing a fun and interactive means for the public to engage with poetry.

They call the typewriter “The Subconscious of the City.” We totally GET that, having used a typewriter in the past because of the whole other realm we could access that is not possible with a computer. (more…)

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Celebrate the Art of Clutter via Browning, Hao + Improvised Life Wed, 24 Jun 2015 07:46:16 +0000

My Things/Hong Hao

Having read and written a good deal about decluttering and letting go of stuff, we’ve witnessed something of a backlash in the media of late. Just as we were reading Dominique Browning’s recent Let’s Celebrate the Art of Clutter, we came across the work of Beijing-based Hong Hao who has been recording every item that comes into his life in the course of a day. He scans each one and them compiles the images together into digital collages. We’ve woven them into Browning’s (and our own) commentary. (more…)

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Take Your Shoes Off ? (Signs, Opinions + Warhol) Tue, 23 Jun 2015 17:00:07 +0000

Andy Warhol/Christie's

We knew the Take-Your-Shoes-Off-In-the-House-thing had reached critical mass when we saw door mats for sale that say SHOES OFF in big ugly letters, and other iterations on the theme. It got me thinking about the homemade signs we’ve seen asking guests to remove their shoes, as well as the ones we’ve made ourselves over the years. Here’s a collection, a question and some ideas. (more…)

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DIY to Alter Your Mental State (after Carsten Höller) Tue, 23 Jun 2015 07:43:31 +0000

If haven’t experienced artist Carsten Höller’s work, perhaps you can devise your own version of his Giant Psycho Tank, above, which invites viewers to float weightlessly in the water of a sensory deprivation pool to alter their mental state. (more…)

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Linden Season’s Spellbinding Fragrance (and Tea) Mon, 22 Jun 2015 17:00:08 +0000

Sally Schneider

Today after a rain shower, the breeze brought the scent of Linden trees in bloom in the park across the way. Every year I wait for this brief few days when the neighborhood seems intoxicated with the honeyed perfume.

It reminds me of the fragrant tea that can be made from the blossoms and leaf bracts, the elongated “second” leaf on the branches. It is the first tisane I ever had, served in France by a friend’s mother; she called it tilleul. (more…)

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We Cannot Know the Resonance of Our Work (Anne Frank) Mon, 22 Jun 2015 06:43:56 +0000

Holton Rower

Over the past several months, several artists and writers we know have expressed great anguish that their work has not been recognized as they think it should be. Equating the recognition of their work with their value as human beings, they judge themselves mercilessly. We understand the need to be “seen, heard, recognized”, and have suffered a good amount of self-judgment ourselves as well.

We’ve learned that there is no way to know how our work will resonate in the future, or IS resonating right now. It is not in our control. True creatives HAVE to make whether they are recognized or not.

A potent symbol of this came via email recently from a friend visiting Holland: (more…)

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Strawberry Shortcakes (with our Foolproof Biscuit Recipe) Fri, 19 Jun 2015 07:17:16 +0000

James Ransom

This Sunday is the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year and we can’t think of anything more celebratory of the first day of summer than strawberry shortcake. So here’s our improvisation on a traditional shortcake recipe, made with a sublime, foolproof cream biscuits.

Our friend Sarah brought them by one day after the classic butter-based biscuits she’d tried to make failed. “I just couldn’t make that butter thing happen right to achieve the proper texture.” she said. And they’re impossible to make in the summer if you don’t have air conditioning, because you can’t keep the butter cold.”

Searching for other options, she tried the Cream Biscuit recipe Smitten Kitchen had adapted  from (more...)]]> 0 A Rooftop Porch with Meadows in NYC (Green Roof Primer) Thu, 18 Jun 2015 17:18:56 +0000

George Steinmetz

We were stunned by this image of David Puchkoff and Eileen Stukane's porch and meadow on the roof of their six-story coop building in New York City. Puchkoff devised it as part of a plan to have the porch he always wanted, while creating a green roof. Plants insulate the building from heat in summer and cold in winter, and they reduce storm-water runoff by absorbing rain. The coziness and magic of a country porch IS possible in a city without having to keep a country house. Here's how.]]> 0