Thursday, September 12, 2013

Seven Cool Things to Happify Your Brain

Brains need to be nudged every now and then.
Otherwise, they're apt to wind up in front of the television watching god-knows-which incarnation of a housewives reality show.
Not good.

I confess I'm still operating under a slight summer hangover -- which I am unable to blame on caffeine or sugar anymore because I'm on day 16 of Clean. (Apparently, I was really toxic!) Below, a few things to clear your brain, jumpstart your imagination, and reinvigorate your soul.  

1. Watch it.
This video directed by Columbine Goldsmith will give you a case of the shivers in a great way. Starring the glamorous European owners of an enchanted country house in Virginia, it's a delicious manifesto to living creatively. I don't quite know how to describe it...  part Arcadian fairytale, part homage to eccentricity, it has to be seen to be believed. I'm just going to say it: Beatrix Ost is my new role model.
(If the video's not coming up on your RSS feed, click HERE to see it.)

2. Drink it.
Full disclosure: Yerba maté can be an acquired taste. I inherited this cult favorite brand from a friend who thought it had the flavor profile of "front lawn." She's not totally wrong -- it does have an earthy green tea vibe that conjures up the countryside, but on third sip, I started to get into it. (Vanilla almond milk helps too.) Personally, I love that it's rich in antioxidants, gives you that caffeine "focus" without the jitters, and boosts metabolism by helping you burn calories more effectively.

3. Follow it.
I love Instagram, but find it overwhelming at times -- who should I follow? --  so I appreciate it when someone finds a great feed and then gets the word out. Emily Blincoe's poetic still-lifes on Instagram are nothing short of genius. Her encapsulations of candy, farm vegetables and people artfully illustrate that we are what surrounds us.  Someone get this woman a book. Or at least a major ad campaign.

4. Bookmark it.
Taking photographs has never been easier, so there's no excuse for poorly composed, out-of-focus shots anymore, especially if you're beaming them to the world. A Beautiful Mess has some great tips on using a flash vs. natural light, finding a color story or composition, when to crop, shooting vignettes and more. Below, a few of my favorite tutorials: 

Tips for Lifestyle Photos
Tips for Food Photography
Tips for Indoor Photos
Photographing Your Home
Ten Things Not to Do
5. Read it.
I bought this book for myself and then made my eleven year old son read it too because I think you're never too young to look at the world through a different lens. Basically, it's a joyful exhortation to dream bigger, try new things, take risks and ignore the herd. (If that's not 6th grade, I don't know what is.) What makes it different from the rest of the books in this genre is that Paul Arden is an ad guy so his examples are short, creative and powerful -- like a quick shot of espresso rather than a carafe of French drip.  Read it in an hour and see how differently you feel.
(Available HERE and HERE)

6. Upload it.
Fancy having a free personal trainer who tells you how far you've run, how many calories you've burned and keeps track of all your workouts? Did I mention it's free? I uploaded Map My Fitness onto my iPhone this summer and have developed quite a soft spot for the kindly woman who gives me an update every time I run another mile -- in fact, sometimes I think I keep on running because of her. Map My Fitness also has a GPS tracker that shows you your real-time route, and seeing that little red line get longer and longer is strangely satisfying.

(Map My Fitness app HERE)

7. Make it.
Chances are you know about this blog already -- Food 52, the brainchild of cookery writers Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs  -- but if you don't, today's your lucky day. Loaded with beautiful photos, well-thought-out recipes and nothing too hard or complicated, it's a hands-down inspirational approach to the pleasures and passions of cooking. I love their "Not Recipes" section where they teach you how to make things without -- you guessed it -- recipes.


Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

I'm obsessed with it.

Let me know if they help -- I'm sure they will!

Emily said...

Lots of goodness here, but I am especially drawn to number 1, 5 and 7.
Can't wait to watch the video with a glass in wine in hand this evening.

Noel said...

I've watched the video a few times already... I see different things each time. Beatrix seems like a woman out of a different time and it's quite magical. A life blended and in balance with the past, present and future. I want to learn more about her. Thank you for all the creative inspiration!

Veronica Roth said...

Lovely bunch of ideas and inspiration Lisa. Growing old doesn't seem so harsh suddenly when there's such a charming woman as Beatrix in the world. :)

shiree segerstrom said...

Oh my gosh Lisa. Another amazing post. I'll be coming back to this one again and again. Shiree'

Simple Good Beautiful said...

I'll add an 8th cool thing that happifies my brain: clicking on your blog and finding a new delicious post!

Jennifer said...

This post is chock-full of loveliness and wonder... It's been a while since I've found myself wanting to bookmark so many links from a single blog post; thank you! (PS: I have been infatuated with Beatrix Ost since I first saw her on the Advanced Style blog).

Lily said...

Oh thank you for introducing me to that poetic peacock and mystic muse, Beatrix Ost! Watching that video I wanted to slip on a brocade coat and play hide and seek in a maze of hedgerows with her... Elegant Eccentricity is what I strive for as I get older, voila the inspiration!

The Buzz Blog @ Diane James Home said...

Thank for all of the great sites - we watched, followed (check out our Monday Mood next week!), ordered the inspirational book, and signed up for Food52 emails, feeling happy and totally refreshed! Have a lovely weekend, Cynthia

Jane said...

Second comment of the day ! Thanks for the suggestions esp the book....

Re Instagram, - I feel it is a great replacement for my now lapsed blogging BUT I do find the search function pretty useless and it is very hard to find interesting accounts other than trawling through those other people follow which is pretty time consuming .

noreen said...

i watched that video, and it was interesting and strange. i couldn't understand the words, but the visuals are compelling. will check out that book, too. have a middle school child. joy to you, n


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