Two weeks of travel in November left me feeling a bit run down. I just cannot sleep well when I’m not at home and it leads to all forms of whining. (Frequent travelers who sleep, I salute you. Now tell me how you do it.) Part of the trouble is lower back pain which I’ve had since I was in high school and which has been bothering me again. When I was grousing about all my aches I decided I needed to start a regular exercise schedule again because I have discovered that when I keep my core strong my back pain is no longer a problem. I can sit in the least-ergonomic chairs and sleep in the saggiest mattress and be just fine. Also when you can keep up a sprint pace down long hallways you might not miss that connecting flight. (Which totally wasn’t my fault, who expected a worldwide computer system to crash just before my first flight of the morning? Who thought it would happen all over again for the return flights?) This is all “duh, Megan” information I realize but somewhere I had forgotten how beneficial it is for many different situations. Might any of this also have to do with putting on a bathing suit at Camp Mighty last month? Ha ha ha no! I mean yes, a lot.
So instead of giving in to the excuse that is waiting for New Years resolution time I decided to take this weak glimmer of motivation and start exercising right away. During the most overwhelming month of the year. Wish me luck.
One thing that is helping to propel me along is getting to try out pvBody. This is how it works, they send you a new exercise top and bottom each month for a subscription fee (which works out to two thirds less than the items would cost retail). If you like them you keep them, if not you send them back for a refund and shipping both ways is free. When you sign up you can chose guidelines based on what sort of activity you do (“being comfy” is one of the options) and style you like. They allow you to chose from a bunch options: racerback or camisole? short or long sleeve? low, natural or high waist? patterns or no? colors or all black? I like being that specific and I like not having to try on clothes in a too-warm and harshly lit dressing room. I’m finding having fresh new clothes that are stretchy in the right places and do that wicking thing to be motivating in a way I wasn’t expecting. Girl strong! Girl do extra bicycle crunches!
If you’d like to try it out pvBody is offering Not Martha readers 25% off the first box as well as a a $15 Lululemon gift card when you sign up for membership.
Have you had a point recently that made you freshly motivated? Tell me about it, I hope your story doesn’t involve as many aches as mine.
· comments  · 12-5-2012 · categories:misc ·
There are things happening! Both near me here in the Pacific Northwest and near me online. You know what I mean? Ok, here it is:
My 3D Gingerbread Christmas Trees were featured in Anthology Magazine’s Holiday Gift Guide, which is full of pretty things. Thanks Anthology! They also got a shout out in A Subtle Revelry’s Holiday Issue. Thanks A Subtle Revelry!
The Portland Bazaar is next weekend, Dec. 8th and 9th. There will be stuff to buy and food to eat and I wish I could make it down there. Also, Design*Sponge is buying the first 100 guests of each day a little pick me up (coffee from Heart on Saturday and Pine State Biscuits on Sunday). Nice.
The annual Gingerbread Village display here in Seattle is up now through January 1st at the Sheraton. If you’d like you can take a peek at what is on display each year. This display is one of my favorite reasons to take a trip downtown in the winter, and since the display is open at all hours (it’s in the hotel lobby) you can plan a late night viewing followed by cocktails nearby.
The Mighty Tieton 2012 Chandelier Festival is tomorrow, Dec. 1st and includes a Holiday Crafts & Antiques Bazaar and the opening of Trimpin’s Sound Space, which you can control using an iPhone. Which is awesome. I was a kickstarter supporter and have a bunch of tickets to experience it, which I’ll be doing soon.
Kin to Stars, which is one half Jerin Falkner and one half Scott Andrew (I’m married to one of them), is doing a holiday show soon. It’s the Kin to Stars’ Ugly Sweater Holiday Adventure on Dec. 14th. It’s $10 and it’s at the very comfortable Jambox, where they bring drinks and food to your table. It’ll be cozy and excellent.
Kirby Krackle just released a new song and video called One More Episode. (It’s fun to try to name all the show opening art in the video.) They’ll have a holiday single out soon, Kyle will be appearing at the Dammit Liz Holiday Special at The Triple Door. And Kirble Krackle will be opening for Wierd Al (!!!) at the Calgary Expo in April. Awesome.
· comments  · 11-30-2012 · categories:misc ·
I had a fabulous time at Camp Mighty earlier this month. There was lots of learning about inspiring projects, lounging by pools, connecting with new people (‘sup new peeps from Seattle?!) and visiting with old friends. Mostly though I was thrilled by the number of people I met who had amazing goals for their life and the year ahead, and I loved watching how sharing those goals meant finding people who were able and happy to help.
And! This year Bing was a sponsor of the camp and helped two campers with one of the things on their list and, shocker, I was one of those names pulled out of the jar. So I’ll be hosting my first dinner party for ten people with their help. I’m petrified and super excited and of course you’ll be hearing all about it. Thanks Bing!
Go Mighty is up and running and doing online what Camp Mighty does off. I’ve yet to get my list up there (a week visiting family around Thanksgiving means I’m a little behind) but good stuff is already coming from the site. I cannot wait to see what happens next.
· comments  · 11-27-2012 · categories:misc ·
swissmiss | Knitting Clock.
He’s So Unusual | The Hairpin. Jane Marie interviews her uncle Patrick, who was Cyndi Lauper’s makeup person through all the crazy 80s years.
Our First Issue, By Hand Magazine. It’s here it’s here! I love everything inside, but most especially the pattern for the lattice cowl.
Talking with Maria Bamford About Stand-up, Her New Special, and Her Role in ‘Arrested Development’ | Splitsider.
Where can I get some American Chestnut seeds or seedlings? | Ask MetaFilter.
3D Printing Photo Booth Makes Tiny Replicas Instead Of Pictures – PSFK. Wow! Via Girls of a Certain Age.
Video: Excellent Footage Of Williamsburg Captured During Hurricane Sandy: Gothamist. The power station explosion is around 3:10. Interesting and scary.
Cool Tools – Rivet Spacer. “A rivet spacer was originally designed for evenly spacing rivets on aircraft, but it can be used for evenly spacing anything, from buttons on a sweater, to finish nails on those infernal Ikea drawers you are trying to put together nicely.”
· comments  · 11-21-2012 · categories:links · misc ·
Go vote! This image is Lisa Congdon‘s addition to the #GoVote project. If you’re in SF go see Lisa’s show at Rare Device: This Is My World.
· comments  · 11-6-2012 · categories:misc ·
What books make the best audiobooks? | Ask MetaFilter.
Design Crush » Curious Vase. Three vases nestled inside each other, you have to break one to see what shape the next one is. Love it.
The True Spy Story Behind Argo – By Nate Jones | Foreign Policy. I read the Antonio J. Mendez book which tells the true story of the mission.
· comments  · 10-29-2012 · categories:links · misc ·
swissmiss | Makeably. A site where you can find makers to help you create custom anythings.
Guide me home shoes « Variations on normal by Dominic Wilcox. These are amazing, go have a look.
Luminata « Tea & Cookies. I’ve been meaning to get to one of these for a while, so glad Tea was able to document this one so well (I was out of town).
Barbican’s Rain Room at Kottke. An art installation that tracks your movements so it rains all around you but you stay dry as you pass through the room.
· comments  · 10-11-2012 · categories:links · misc ·
In August I attended Hops Academy in Yakima, Washington. I don’t brew beer outside of kits but I have a deep love for hops, they are so darn yummy, so when I discovered that I could learn more about them I jumped at the chance. Also a friend of mine is expanding his brewery, Charging Hippo, and I figured knowing a lot about hops miiiight just be information that could be traded for beer. The academy was a two day class that ranged from basic introduction, how hops are grown, harvested and preserved to full on molecule diagrams. I learned that 75% of the hops in the US are grown in Yakima by ten growers, that in recent years the desires of craft brewers have dramatically influenced what variety of hops are grown commercially, that when you grow hops you need to wrap them clockwise around the cord (even in Australia) and I heard jokes like this:
“If you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the precipitate.”
One of the best things about the class was meeting the other attendees who ranged from a really huge beer company to large and small craft brewers and even a hops grower. I was wildly happy that women made up a fourth of the class. After the first day we took an unofficial “research” trip to The Beer Shoppe where we all bought bottles and tasted Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA which was sweet and potent. Oh so potent.
We were there about a week before the hops were going to be harvested so we got to visit huge fields full of ripe hops. They grow to 16 feet high and are very dramatic. It was a geeky thrill to get to pick one to crush in my hands, it smelled amazing. We also got to visit sparkling clean processing factories and, the most exciting, enormous cold warehouses filled with bales of hops.
If you’re a brewer or a grower I think the class would be well worth it. We learned that Haas is building an experimental brewery in Yakima and it will become part of the class so I’d wait for that to be up and running, hopefully by next summer. I might go back.
· comments  · 09-24-2012 · categories:misc ·
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Scott and I enjoy taking bicycle rides on the weekends and happily Seattle has lots of dedicated trails. It’s good for exercise but as an exceptionally lazy person I found that I need a little extra motivation to get me to put on a bicycle helmet. Something like lunch, definitely on a patio, hopefully with some beer. New trails always feel like an adventure, but finding a restaurant that we wouldn’t have tried otherwise feels like victory
Here are some of my favorite bicycling and lunch combinations near Seattle:
Trip: Marymoor Park in Redmond up to Woodinville (wine country!) via the East Lake Sammamish Trail.
Food pairing: Red Hook Brewery, which has lots of bicycle racks and a big patio. And beer, obviously.
Advantages: If you get there at the right time you can catch a tour of the brewery. Also, you’ll go right past the famous Herbfarm Restaurant (!!!), though they might not appreciate you eating there in your bicycle shorts.
Trip: Carnation to Duvall via the Snoqualmie Valley Trail.
Food pairing: Armadillo BBQ which has a sun dappled back deck and and some hot sauces that might be a challenge. Smokey meats and bike paths go surprisingly well together.
Advantages: The path is unpaved and less used so you can go for a long way without seeing another soul. So much so that when I had to stop and find a bug that had bumped into me and fallen down into my bra (yikes people!) I’m fairly certain that nobody saw. Proximity to curious cows and a few bridges that allow you to watch the fish swim by below you.
Trip: Seattle Sculpture Park to the Magnolia neighborhood via the Elliott Bay Trail.
Food pairing: Maggie Bluffs, a lesser known casual counterpart to the nearby fancy Palisades restaurant. Great views, outdoor seating and shrimp.
Advantages: The ride is mostly along the waterfront so the view cannot be beat. There is a section that goes along some major train tracks and we got to witness the process of train cars being coupled by, essentially, ramming them together. It was spectacular. The train obsessed kid in our neighborhood would have lost his mind with joy.
Next I’m going to get a bicycle basket and we’re going to work on finding spots for epic picnics that cannot be reached by car.
Lunch definitely tastes better when you have traveled there under your own power. Do you have any rituals for bicycle trips? Ever find anything fabulous?
· comments  · 09-10-2012 · categories:misc · travel ·
What light, humorous, and humanist genre fiction should I read after I finish the Discworld series? | Ask MetaFilter.
Playtest. Matthew Baldwin’s board game review site. Awesome.
Evolution of the uneven bars in women’s gymnastics, at Kottke. I have been missing the more graceful moves of the past during this Olympics.
Happy Mail How-To | giverslog. Giverslog has a whole series of posts about sticking postage on items (sans box) and sending them off in the mail, she includes a very helpful guide. I’m particularly taken with the plastic eggs, how amazing would it be to find them in your mailbox?
· comments  · 08-27-2012 · categories:links · misc ·
Last year I had the opportunity to partner with HP and join in the Project Runway Challenge1 and (I can hardly believe this) they’ve asked me to join them again this year which is extra-super-exciting because it’s the 10th anniversary of Project Runway. Deep breaths everybody, we’re going to get to NYC for Fashion Week again!
This year bloggers2 were challenged to pair with designers to use HP TouchSmart computers to collaborate on a final object/product/thing that we will unveil during Fashion Week. But the kicker? We’ll need your input to shape what we’re making. It’s easy, promise, just answer the poll you’ll find below.
I asked graypants, a conceptual design studio here in Seattle, to join me and I am so excited that they said yes. I first learned about graypants a few years back when some friends and I were setting up a group for small business owners to compare notes. Not only were the very charming Seth and John there but their scraplights were lighting the bar at Vermillion where the group met. Since that time graypants has become huuuge, they’ve moved into an amazing space in an industrial section of Seattle and been recognized by all sorts of publications that I’ve barely heard of. If I’d paid closer attention I would have been way too intimidated to even ask. Seriously.
I got the chance to hang out in their studio and take photos:
Voting closed, thanks everyobdy!
1: Which, let’s face it, I wouldn’t have lasted through the first episode even though my fantastical ravings might have imagined otherwise.
2: Who else is involved? Design Milk (Jamie came up with the idea for collaborating with designers, Jamie is greatness like that), Design Crush, and CapreeK from Curbly (all three of whom I’ve had the pleasure of seeing drunk, or at least up really late, at Alt Summit) and AphroChic (whom I will shortly see drunk or up way past her bed time, her choice, it’s gonna happen).
Here is the deal: HP is giving me (Megan) and the designers (graypants) both HP TouchSmart computers and Photoshop CS6 software from Adobe to use to share ideas. They are also sending us to New York during fashion week to report back on what we’ve collaborated on. (And what gossip we might find out during the HP/Project Runway 10th Anniversary Party. We promise to share pictures.)
Thanks everybody! We’ll be back shortly with sketches and another question to help point us on our way. In the mean time let’s chat. Have you been watching Project Runway? What do you think of this season? I have to admit I’m a few episodes behind because I’ve been spending all my tv time with the Olympics. I feel a bit like I’ve been cheating.
· comments  · 08-15-2012 · categories:events · misc ·
· comments  · 08-1-2012 · categories:links · misc ·
· comments  · 07-17-2012 · categories:links · misc ·
The Disappearing Double Chin Trick for Portrait Photography. Good to know.
XOXO Festival by Andy Baio — Kickstarter. Holy all things that are awesome, if I wasn’t in Seattle for the Dewit Design Camp that weekend (Sept. 15/16) I’d be in Portland for the XOXO Festival. Though, if I were going to the festival I’d be whining about missing the Dewit Design Camp. This too many awesome things is a good problem to have.
The Overthinking Person’s Drinking Game « Thought Catalog. It’s like they can see right into the inside my head. Via The Morning News.
Which PNW badges do you have? | Loobylu. I have so many of these! Wait, does “spotting a bear” include reading the fictional Twitter account of a real bear wandering through my neighborhood?
· comments  · 05-31-2012 · categories:links · misc ·
xkcd: Ten Thousand. “Saying ‘what kind of an idiot doesn’t know about the Yellowstone supervolcano’ is so much more boring than telling someone about the Yellowstone supervolcano for the first time.” This.
Where are all the cool lady podcasts? | Ask MetaFilter.
What jokes do you know that absolutely depend on telling a good story? | Ask MetaFilter.
What Are The Best Audiobooks For A Road Trip? | The Awl. I’ll second the recommendation for the His Dark Materials books, usually a full cast recording is awful but this one works. So much so that I was distraught when one of the young male voices was different in the second book.
The 8-bit animated episode of Community on Hulu and a handy retro reference guide to the episode. Via Waxy links.
· comments  · 05-21-2012 · categories:links · misc ·