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    Johnny Davis takes a look at the wild, wonderful world of the thirty-four billion dollar disposable razor market. The subtitle, I thinks, says it all:   "Atomic microscopes, lawsuits, secret-research facilities, hipsters, pubic hair, more lawsuits, a frankly ridiculous number of blades, YouTube spoofs and even rocket scientists."

    It's a long form piece, but a worthwhile read; and it sorta, a little, kinda helps you understand why your Mach 3 turbo blades cost so much,  how companies like Dollar Shave Club can enter the game, and the dawn of the new all-body disposable razor...which, as you can guess, isn't for your face.

    Inside the Weird World of Disposable Razors [Esquire.co.uk]

     

     

     

     


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    Each Wednesday, I post some of my favorite can't-miss links, images, and otherwise mindblowing goodies from across the web. 


    Apparently, there's a highly beneficial time to enjoy your morning coffee... and it's not as soon as you wake up. Fast Company reports, "Our circadian clocks...control our cortisol production, a hormone that naturally makes us feel more awake. If we consume coffee, or any caffeine for that matter, during times of peak cortisol production, scientists say that the effect of the caffeine will not only be greatly diminished during that time, but our bodies will also build up a tolerance to the effects of caffeine. That means less buzz for you even when you’re drinking coffee at the right time." Head to the piece to find out what time you should be enjoying your joe - The New Habit Challenge: Drink Your Coffee When Science Tells You To. 


     

    Maker Christian Knuell came up with this clever take on the knife block.

    A scientific look at the smell of rain: 

     

    Scholar Eric Cline takes a look at the "last time civilization collapsed," and what our current era can learn from it. 

     

    Gear Patrol takes a look at their favorite dopp kits (shaving kit, toiletry bag) for men. 

     


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    created at: 08/21/2014

    This week, we're sharing the ultimate guy's guide to backyard entertaining. In Part I, we created the game plan: getting your outdoor space ready to go, invites, music and entertainment.

    Part II is about the centerpieces of any get-together: food and drinks. To help, we partnered with Murphy-Goode, a Sonoma winery that makes great wines for occasions just like this one: good times, good friends, and good food. Read on for lots of tips and ideas to make it happen.   

    How To Host an All Out Backyard BBQ

    Table of Contents

    Planning the Menu

    Cooking for a Crowd: A cookout is not a dinner party. No courses, no place-cards, no roast-carving. And that, friends, is a good thing.

    There are two categories of food: what you made ahead of time, and what you make when guests arrive.

    If you want to keep sane and actually hang out with your friends, try to put as much food as possible into the make-ahead category. Like, all of it.

    created at: 08/18/2014

    The goal here is avoid being a slave to the grill, running around and making sure you're not burning stuff and checking food temperatures.

    Make your food ahead of time!

    Lots of food actually tastes better the next day. The trick is to pick a main protein that benefits from being cooked ahead of time, when you can attend to it to make sure it's done properly. You want something that needs to be cooked low and slow ... on a grill. We're talking barbecue, people. More on that in a minute.

    Enjoying Wine at The Ultimate Backyard Barbecue

    To come up with the ultimate backyard barbecue wine party, we worked with Murphy-Goode, a Sonoma County winery that's dedicated to creating great wines that are at home with food on the grill and music playing in the background ... no fussy cheese pairings need apply. They're all about living "The Goode Life," and that's exactly the ManMade commitment to outdoor entertaining.

    We asked them which wines would work best with barbecue and grilled foods, and they suggested:

    1. A medium, well-rounded red that's easy to drink but has a refreshing balance of fruit and spice
    2. A bright crisp white that's versatile enough to be enjoyed with light appetizers and smokey foods from the grill

    Open wine bottles ahead of time.

    So, we went with the Liar's Dice Zinfandel from Murphy-Goode's Sonoma Country Collection, and The Fumé Sauvignon Blanc, Murphy-Goode's flagship white. Each wine is agreeable and friendly (but definitely not weak) and still full of personality. Here's a better description of each:

    • Murphy-Goode The Fumé Sauvignon Blanc: Bright citrus and lush tropical fruit aromas. Flavors of white peach and honeydew. 
      Murphy-Goode Fumé Sauvignon


    • Murphy-Goode Liar's Dice Zinfandel: From Dry Creek and Alexander Valley AVAs, Liar’s Dice Zinfandel reveals deep aromas and luscious flavors of black cherry, blackberry jam, black raspberry and currants.

      Murphy-Goode Liar's Dice Zinfandelcreated at: 08/18/2014

    Tips for Entertaining with Wine

    How much wine? A bottle of wine contains four generous glasses. Those are restaurant glasses, where folks pay per pour. But when there are many full bottles available and open refills, your guests will give themselves a much lighter glass. Which is a good thing for the wine, because the more space in the glass, the better the aroma is conveyed, and the more you can experience it.

    Plan for a bottle of wine for every two people you're expecting, and then grab one more of each, just in case.

    Have Enough Wine Glasses: Gathering enough wine glasses for a large group can be tricky. We've suggested asking guests to bring their own and using simple masking tape to identify them, but if you need more than your current selection, it's time to buy in bulk.

    Look for affordable glasses that come in sturdy, divided boxes, and then make sure to keep the packaging for storage. These will be your party glasses, so you don't have to find a place for them in the kitchen cabinet. Get some thicker glasses that can stand a round in the dishwasher, and store them in the box for gatherings.

    Our favorite source for sturdy glasses in bulk is the restaurant supply store, most of which sell to the public. These glasses are affordable yet designed to be used over and over again, so they stand up to the task and come perfectly clean. There are also some great options atIKEA- buy a case and keep the box -or online.

    Serving Wine: Allowing your guests to serve themselves cuts back on your responsibilities. But be a good guy and walk around offering refills once or twice. Which, by the way, will be super easy, because you know exactly what everyone is drinking.

    Enjoying wine

    A couple of tips on enjoying your wine:

    • Make sure all your whites are thoroughly chilled: Put them in the fridge the night before, and leave them there until your first guest arrives, then shove them into a big beverage tub or cooler full of ice.
    • Open all your bottles ahead of time: This way, no one has to ask where the opener is, and your drinks are ready to go. This is especially important with red wine, which will actually improve as it's exposed to air. So, bust out the corkscrew 3-4 hours before guests arrive, and open all the reds. Do this inside, to prevent any bugs or grit getting in. Then, cork them lightly and take outside for your guests to enjoy.

    Serve Plenty of Water and Non-Alcoholic Drinks

    Of course, one does not party on wine alone. Or shouldn't. And as the host, if you're serving alcohol, it's also your job to make sure your guests are drinking enough water, especially when you're outside. Wine is designed to enhance that amazingly smokey pulled pork sandwich, not to be gulped to wash it down.

    So, do three things:

    1. make a super appealing non-alcoholic drink
    2. put out lots of water, and
    3. make sure your guests are drinking #1 and #2

    If it's summer, a lemonade or limeade works perfectly. It's a classic for a reason. For our party, we created a tasty fizzy basil limeade that cut through the bold flavors of the food perfectly.

    created at: 08/18/2014

    To get people to drink water: make it cold, and put stuff in it.

    I know it might seem a little fussy - more like a baby shower than a man's all-out backyard barbecue - but the infusions inspire people to drink it and make it feel festive. They'll want to know how all those things floating in the water have changed its flavor. And if someone seems to have had a little more than their fill of wine, you can give them the infused-water as an offering without embarrassing them.

    Put in anything fresh and summer-y. Cucumbers might give off a day-spa vibe, but they taste darn good. Lemons, limes, and oranges look great, strawberries are seasonal, but we think herbs are easiest. Mint, verbena, thyme, basil, cilantro all work well for warm weather. Just be sure to wash everything first, especially citrus rinds, and use lots and lots of ice.

    created at: 08/18/2014

    Roasted corn

    The Food

    Regionally, backyard entertaining events are called a cookout, a barbecue, a picnic, a weinie roast, and the like. The common theme throughout? They're named for the food, particularly, food cooked outside.

    While standard images of hosts manning the grill all night are common, this doesn't have to be true at your house. You can infuse lots of grilled, smokey flavors into your food without having to be chained to the coals all night.

    For this type of party, stick to party food classics that everyone loves, but add a little twist to bring in the grilled and roasted element, and lots of extra flavor.

    Here's our menu, with notes. You'll see the twist and added grilled element to each item.

    Wine and Drinks

    created at: 08/20/2014

    Apps and Starters

    created at: 08/20/2014

    Dinner

    created at: 08/20/2014

    Butter

    Dessert

    • S'mores - Duh, there's a campfire. We stepped ours up with high-quality chocolate bars with added flavors and crunch like pretzels, caramel, and sea salt.

    created at: 08/18/2014

    With this menu, only thing has to be made once your guests have arrived: the grilled corn. Well, that and the s'mores, but your guests will be able to make 'em on the spot. So, there's still a "hey - we're grilling out" vibe, but all the work has been done before your cleaned up your kitchen...and yourself.  

     

    created at: 08/21/2014

    In our final installment, we'll be sharing how to actually prep the food ahead of time while still tasting delicious, our favorite grilling tips, and a basic game plan for getting your house ready for guests.

    While you're waiting, check out our dedicated How To Host an All-Out Backyard Barbecue Pinterest board:

    Follow us on Pinterest!

     

    Stay tuned. (Or sign up for our free e-mail newsletter to get notified of new posts! It's 100% spam free!)

     

    Event photos by the amazing Margaret Jacobsen. 

    This post was sponsored by Murphy-Goode Winery, but all opinions are mine alone. We're grateful to our sponsors for helping us make long-form, in-depth content like this possible. And for the good wine!


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    You may have been told that the less desirable effects of alcohol - the disturbed sleep, the morning-after headaches, the drama in your gut - come from dehydration, or impurities from barrel aging, or mixing spirits, wine, and beer in a single session. I've always thought (or, um, learned) that it's the sugar in sweeter drinks that does the deed, coupled with the dehydrating effects...but, even if you DO drink water, or don't have multiple spirits, the effects can still be intense.

    Turns out - we've got it all wrong. A hangover, like the flu, is actually an inflammatory response. Dehydration happens, sure, but the hangover still lingers after those effects have been addressed. It's your immune system, trying to deal with all these unfamiliar molecules you've introduced to your body.

    Fresh Air interviewed Adam Rogers, author of Proof: The Science of Booze. They report,

    [Scientists] finally have a survey instrument that they can give somebody and assess, "You have a Level 9 hangover, and you have a Level 7 hangover," and they finally started to see that overlap with both migraine and also an inflammatory response, so the kind of thing you would have if you had the flu — where you feel achy and you feel slow and your brain doesn't work as fast and [you have] general malaise. Looking at that, they can go, "K, let's see if in fact this is an inflammation."

    If you look at people with hangovers, the same markers in the blood that you would see with an inflammatory response, things like cytokines, for example — which are molecule[s] that the immune [system] uses to talk to itself — actually do seem elevated, and even better, you can induce what looks like a hangover by giving somebody those same molecules. ... That's good news because if you say, "Well, it's an inflammatory response," then maybe I can go with anti-inflammatory drugs, and we have those.

    I'm still gonna avoid all that sugar and drink plenty of water. But I'll be watching to see where these studies take us.

    Seeking Proof For Why We Feel Terrible After Too Many Drinks [NPR.org]

     

     


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    Kubb (also spelled "koob") - sometimes known as Viking Chess - is a Scandinavian lawn bowling game that, like its brethern bocce, horseshoes, cornhole, and the like - involves two teams standing on opposite sides of a field throwing things at other things. And those things they throw - the game pieces - are some basic wooden shapes...meaning, it's a super easy DIY project you can make at home.   

    This game set by Matt Pierce was crafted from a single 4x4" post and some birch dowel rods, both of which are easily found at your local home improvement center. Make some cuts and sand, gather with some friends, and head outside.

    The rules are simple. Here's a quick video that explains how it works:

    DIY Project: Kubb - The Swedish Lawn Game  [DesignSponge.com]

     

     


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    created at: 08/22/2014

    My pal Shauna from FairGoods came up with this clever DIY coaster project: some bold type on the front for visual interest, and your favorite cocktail recipes on the back for reference. 

    created at: 08/22/2014

    FairGoods sells the whole project as a kit for a very reasonable $9.00. If you've got some design skills or want to try your own recipes, this technique will work with any toner-based print from a laser printer or copy machine. Just be sure to print your image backwards, and use a blending pen to release the ink onto the cork.

    created at: 08/22/2014

    See the full how-to at Fairgoods: DIY Typographic Drink Coasters 

     

     


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    How to Host an All Out Backyard Barbecue
    This week, we're sharing the ultimate guy's guide to backyard entertaining. We've covered preparing your backyard and getting ready for guests, as well as some easy DIY tricks to improve the space and create the right vibe. Then, we shared some ideas for the food - moving beyond hamburgers and hot dogs to create some seriously tasty grilled goodies, as well as tips for finding the right wine to bring everything together.

    We were excited to partner with Murphy-Goode, a Sonoma winery dedicated to making great wines for gatherings just like these - fun, festive opportunities to get together with your friends and have a good time.

    In this final installment, we're offering ideas to cook the food (and do all the work ahead of time), prep your home, and then...sit back, and have a great time with your guests.

    Time to relax and enjoy with your guests.

    Table of Contents

    The Day Before

    As we suggested in the menu planning section, you want to have nearly all of your food completed before the guests arrive. This works for two reasons: 1) it eliminates the stress of trying to have everything come out piping hot at once, and it allows you to try tasty, slow cooked foods that can take longer (but not more work) to cook. 2) Preparing food is really messy.

    When you cook, there's chopping involved. Spices spill, olive oil gets on stuff, your blender and your food processor and you mixer sit on the counter. You'll dirty nearly every bowl and pan in your kitchen. Doing all this the day before - and before you clean your house - frees up your kitchen for actually use during with your guests, not a place to hide from them.

    Murphy-Goode Winery

    We're excited to collaborate with Murphy-Goode for this backyard entertaining series.
    They're dedicated to creating serious wine for serious fun, and were founded as a family business with a passion for straightforward, enjoyable wine without the fuss.

    Learn more about their roots, their wines, and their commitment to doing Goode Deeds through their Operation Homefront foundation at MurphyGoodeWinery.com

    You can also follow them on Facebook (MurphyGoodeWinery)Twitter (@MurphyGoodeWine), and Pinterest for more updates.

     

    The night before the day before (so, if you're hosting on a Saturday and doing food on Friday, we're talking Thursday night), head to the grocery store and get your ingredients and bottles of wine. Mix your BBQ rub and apply it to the meat up to 24 hours in advance to allow it to form a crust in the fridge.

    created at: 08/18/2014

    The next day, when you get home from work, start the food. Build your fire, get some smoke from some wood chunks going, and begin the barbecue. While it cooks and its still light out, hang your lights, get your fire pit and tiki torches in place, and set up the chairs. Chop or slice any vegetable that won't brown - things like onions, your cabbage and carrots for slaw, and prep your pickles. Make the sauces and dressings that will finish you meals, then cover and refrigerate everything.

    The Morning Of

    Crank up the tunes and get going.

    What to Clean?

    Your house does not need to be spotless to host guests. Don't worry about your bedroom, office, garage, kids rooms etc. No one's gonna go in there. Just shut the door and move on. People are gonna be outside.

    Do, however, pick up in the places where people will go - the path from the front door to the back, your kitchen, and, most importantly, the bathroom. Your guests will be mostly outside, but your bathroom's gonna take a beating with people coming and out. So, wipe everything down, and stock with extra toilet paper.

    created at: 08/21/2014

    Change your towels, and light a candle. It definitely gives out the whole "company is coming over" vibe, but it also helps neutralize any scents that come from heavily used guest bathroom. There are lots of quality, "masculine-friendly" scents out there.

    Murphy-Goode Sauvignon Blanc

    (That's the Fumé Sauvignon Blanc up there. Learn more here.) 

    Finish the Food and Wine

    Get your wine ready. Place all the white in the refrigerator and open to red to let it breathe. Make sure none of your wine glasses have spots.

    Pouring wine - Murphy-Goode Sauvignon Blanc

    created at: 08/18/2014

    Then, finish all your dishes - make the things that need to be hot hot, bring refrigerated items to room temperature if needed, and place everything in their final bowls and serving dishes. If don't have a ton of platters and such, aluminum pans in the foil and wax paper aisle of the grocery store work wonders.

    created at: 08/21/2014

    We like to design our menus so only one-two things needs to be grilled when guests are around. When you're cooking for 10-20 people, that's probably all the space you'll have on the grill anyway. So, do in pre-grilling ahead of time. For our menu, the pork, the carrots, and the potatoes and scallions can all be done ahead of time, leaving just the grill-roasted corn for when its time to eat. Which is good - cause it smells amazing and your guests will love it.

    created at: 08/18/2014

    On the subject of grilling, we presume you know your grill and its quirks and features best. But, in case you haven't ventured out much beyond burgers and hot dogs, here are some tips:

    The Ten Commandments of Grilling

    1. The only way to start charcoal is with a chimney starter - Lighter fluid is the devil. Just get a heavy-duty chimney (in the grilling aisle at the hardware store) and use a piece or two of newspaper soaked with a little vegetable oil to get things going.

    2. Safety First - Keep a fire extinguisher handy whenever you're working with fire. A long hose attached to a spigot also works well, just make sure it reaches the grill. A spray bottle filled with water is a good tool to handle flareups.

    created at: 08/18/2014

    3. A digital thermometer is the most important barbecue and grilling tool - Understanding the temperature of your grill and the food is the single best thing you can do to create great food while you're learning. Bi-metal analog thermometers (like the one that comes in your grills lid) can be off by 50° or more. They still respond to temperature change, but you need to know what your baseline is. An instant read digital thermometer is the way to go here.

    4. Cast iron cookware is a grill's best friend - We regularly extoll the virtues of cast iron on ManMade, but it deserves repeating here: cast iron makes your grill into a stove AND an oven. Use it to sear food for a great crust, or to hold smaller items that might slip through the grates. It'll still taste grilled, and can help promote browning.

    5. Use spring-loaded tongs for 95% of tasks - they're like a heat-proof extension of your hand, and can be used from everything to flipping and moving food to redistributing hot coals and turning the grill grate. 12" models can be found under $15.00. Buy two.

    Smokenator grilling insert

    6. You can create amazing barbecue at home without a dedicated smoker - With some wood chips or chunks and a low heat source, you can make awesome smoked foods. Your existing grill is, essentially, a box with a heat source - a place to smolder wood and keep the smoke surrounding the food. This is easier on a charcoal grill than a gas one, but both can work. If you have a Weber charcoal grill, the Smokenator insert is amazing device made by some buddies in California, and it will change the way you grill. Highly, highly recommended.

    7. Enjoy the grill session - speaking of heat proof extensions of your hands, most grilling tasks only require your dominant hand. Make sure there's a drink - like a glass of that Liar's Dice red zin - in your other hand at all times. It's your party, too.

    8. Wood is good - charcoal tastes better than gas, and wood tastes better than charcoal. Wood smoke is the flavor of outdoor cooking. You can create the best of both worlds by using wood chunks (for charcoal) or chips (for gas) to infuse your food with smoke. Just keep things smoldering and smokey, not ablaze. Flare ups create an unpleasant char on food.

    9. Clean and oil your grates frequently - before and after every grilling session. This not only prevents build up, but also creates a non-stick surface over time.

    10.The two-zone fire gives you the most control - whether using charcoal or gas, setting up your grill to super hot on one side and medium on the other allows you to create the perfect crust or grill marks without burning the food. Simply bank the hot coals on one side of the grill, or turn one gas burner to high while others to medium, low, or even off. And always keep the lid closed on a gas grill.

    created at: 08/18/2014

    Party Time

    Put the white wine on ice, lay out the food, and get things started. Start the music, light the candles and tiki torches, and heat the grill.

    Then, have a good time. The hard work is done, and now it's time to enjoy yourself, welcome your friends, meet some new people, and get down with all that tasty food and wine. As the party moves on, they'll be a few tasks to manage - keeping the water pitcher full, replenishing the ice, starting the fire as dusk approaches - but chances are your friends will notice these sorts of things, and ask how they can help.

    created at: 08/21/2014

    Murphy Goode Liar's Dice Zinfandel

     

    (The Liar's Dice Zin. Details are here.)

    created at: 08/21/2014

    Remember - the point of hosting is to provide a space to hang out, enjoy some tasty food and wine, and enjoy yourselves. Don't go overboard so you're stuck working the whole time, but do put in a little extra effort to make it a special event. Just do the work ahead of time, and you'll be good to go.

    Cheers!

    Event photos by the amazing Margaret Jacobsen.

    This post was sponsored by Murphy-Goode Winery, but all opinions are mine alone. We're grateful to our sponsors for helping us make long-form, in-depth content like this possible. And for the good wine!

     


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    created at: 08/26/2014

    Alright, pop culture people. Challenge time: Name the film characters in the image above. Or perhaps this one:   

    created at: 08/26/2014

    These are from a ten-part series from LEGO crafters SuckMyBrick, who've created some easily identifiable (and not-so-easily identifiable) film roles in bricks. It's interesting how working within the limits of this small scale medium gives a cohesive stylization where the LEGO demands how each character is rendered.

    created at: 08/26/2014

    See all the images, and find the answers, at SuckMyBrick's Flickr page: Movie Quiz


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    I tried "cowboy coffee" exactly one time. That's the method where you simply put the coffee grounds into hot water, and use a combo of careful cup handling and your teeth to keep the grounds out of your mouth. I thought it seemed like an old school method worth trying on a camping trip, and I did. I've packed a small press pot with me ever since....

    But this Swedish Coffee method sounds pretty interesting. You use something you likely already have at your camp breakfast - an egg - to harness the grounds and keep them out of your mouth. The process seems to work a bit like a consommé, where the egg proteins capture the impurities and clarify the liquid. 

    Has anyone ever tried this? Check out C. W. “Butch” Welch's recipe on Best Made Projects


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  • 08/27/14--11:45: DIY Typographic Clamps
  • You know those internet things where everything you love gets summed up in one place? This is one of those for me... It combines my passion for making things, my love of type and design, and my sense of humor perfectly: alphabet clamps.

    We all know the C-clamp, but what about the other twenty-five letters? Artist Robb Godshaw sought to figure that out with the Alphaclamp. He says, "From the I-beam to the C-clamp, the latin letterforms seem to have a chicken-egg relationship with the letter-shaped tools that bear their name. Is the C the basis for design, or simply a descriptor of the form? Curious about how the other letters would work as tools, I set out to explore the mechanical utility of the forsaken letters of our alphabet." 

    See the full build process at Instructables: C-Clamps? 25 Other Clamps They Don't Want You To Know About... 

     

     


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    created at: 08/27/2014

    I know "summer reads" are the cultural icon: books to be read on the beach, on long car trips, during a much needed week off work. But, I'm always more of a fall reader... Summers are for magazines and research for all the outdoor activities and bike trips and all-day grilling sessions and staying out during the long days and evenings. But fall? Fall is back to school time. Fall is the season when darkness comes earlier, and Saturdays become actual breaks, not just continuations of week-long go-go-go activities. For me, fall is the time to read books.

    When I moved across the country. we cut our books down by 75%. I think it was actually more, but regardless: I'm trying to keep my personal library down. So, I'll be sticking to the library, and as we all know - the wait lists for new fiction can be pretty intense.

    created at: 08/27/2014

    But! No matter - this fall, I'm gonna be trying to find some relatively contemporary fiction, but stuff that's a few years old...so it'll be easily available. I'ma use this list from Qwiklit as a starting place. It begins, "People may tell you that literature is dying, but plenty of authors are hard at work redefining the book world with groundbreaking and mind-bending works sure to be read and reread for quite some time. With so many books vying to be the next “Great American Novel”, this is merely a list of those who have earned their eminence and moved a generation some believed was devoid of literacy. "

    It's about a year and a half old, so there may be a few recently released options that should be added; namely, The Goldfinch and perhaps The Lowland. I've read seven on the list already, so I reckon I can probably complete it by the end of the year. Worth a shot.

    The New Canon: 15 Modern Classics You Should Read Right Now

    [via my buddy Amy at Old Sweet Song]


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    created at: 08/27/2014

    This post could be titled: "who doesn't want a giant dinosaur print in a frame you made yourself on your wall?" Cause, that's what's a-happening here, friends.   Chicago-couple Kim and Scott found a vintage book, blew up the images to 3x4' at their local office supply store for $7.00 each. To put everything together, they created these sleek, custom frames using super affordable 2x2" lumber.

    created at: 08/27/2014

    This idea - large-scale toner print + custom frame - can produce infinite options for all kinds of rooms, walls, and spaces. The rabbet channel gives the whole thing a super polished look that makes the copy machine-style art look like something much more expensive. 

    created at: 08/27/2014

    Get the full how-to at Yellow Brick Home: DIY Giant Frames for Your Dinosaurs 

     


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    Two summers ago, for my birthday, we took a trip to Bourbon country in Kentucky.

    One of the highlights - among the distillery tours and great Louisville restaurants and sites - was a cooperage tour: viewing the factory that makes the barrels in which the bourbon is aged. As someone who works with wood and is always trying to learn how to improve my joinery, I was fascinated by something I'd never thought of - how can you make something water tight from wood? How do you turn straight boards into a circular, barrel shape?

    Every since, I've been paying special attention to traditional wood crafting projects for such practical uses. So, I'm digging this video by Jimmy DiResta, in which he applies some of the coopering techniques to make an eight-gallon bucket.

    This is a pretty particular build: more about the challenge and process that its immediate use, but it's awesome to see how it comes together. 

     

    See more at Makezine.com


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    Zion National Park, in Southern Utah, is one of the most incredible places in the U.S., and likely the world. Its awesomeness is also not a secret, so its super crowded in the summer. It's relative proximity to the Las Vegas airport and the Grand Canyon means its packed with tourists, so much that you can't even drive in the park - you must take the park's shuttle. (Which, by the way, is actually kinda cool.)   

    But, once you get out of the main 15-mile long Zion Canyon, there's another 200 or so square miles to explore. And if you've got a bit of technical hiking or canyoneering experience, the slot canyons there are (as you can see in the photos) unbelievable. 

    Gear Patrol contributor Chris Burkard and his buddies recently visited "The Subway" section of the park, and captured some amazing images. 

    He says, "[we] packed up the car after work and drove through the night with a simple plan: head towards Zion. People have it in their heads that you need a lot of money to take trips. Our goal was a trip with a small budget. We ate crappy gas station food and took rotations driving to get there by morning; we had no permits or any idea of what we were going to do. This was a “microadventure” with no set plan except to have fun in some canyons."

    See the full photo essay at Gear Patrol: Slot Canyoneering in Zion 

     

     


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    The notion of a DIY hanging pot is nothing extraordinary - just do a Pinterest search and you'll find hundreds...maybe thousands.    But this project isn't about novelty - it's a demonstration of what it takes to take basic ideas, use high-quality materials and solid technique, to turn out something simple and handsome.

    The how-to also includes a great technique for drilling into terra cotta (watering can!) and using Chicago screws for finishing projects (they look handsome and amazing).

    See the full project: Simple Strap Planter [Wood & Faulk]

     

     

     


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    This morning, on my bike ride, I saw a sight I hadn't noted in a few months: dozens of kids walking down the sidewalk, new backpacks and lunch boxes in hand, waiting for the new year to begin. So, in honor of back to school season, why don't we all take a moment to learn how to be better readers. And by learn how to be better readers, I mean: avoid falling down the internet rabbit hole and ending up with thirty browser tabs every time you need to look something up.     

    This piece by Thomas Fricilone offers a how-to of a different sort - how to do what you already know how to, but better. He guides you through some best practices for everything from books and magazines to laptop and smartphone screens. You'll remember some of the tips from your undergraduate days, but there's lots of good ideas here. And some humor: "For practice, skim the rest of this article."

    How to Be a Better Reader [Kaufmann-Mercantile.com]




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    One key to giving any room in your house a warm, masculine texture: clever use of materials. This DIY bookshelf project nails the multi-media look with basic iron and wood materials from the home center, but resulting in a storage piece greater than the sum of its parts.    

    Boom! Cool, right? The project is constructed from steel angle irons and fir 2x10s, plus a bit of hardware and just a few tools. See the full tutorials at Homemade Modern: 

    EP36 Ironbound Bookcase


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    Each Wednesday, I post some of my favorite can't-miss links, images, and otherwise mindblowing goodies from across the web.


    Austin Beerworks has released an update on the multi-can beer container: the 99-pack. Yes, it's real.    created at: 09/03/2014

    Released just before the past holiday weekend, the 99-pack, is over seven feet long and holds 82 pounds of Peacemaker Ale. See more at If It's Hip It's Here

     

    A supercut of Tom Haverford's business ideas #discodairy #spreadtheparty

     

    created at: 09/03/2014

    A Better Queueoffers a seriously improved way to browse Netflix for new movies to watch and add them to your list. 

    created at: 09/03/2014

    Is if fall yet? Check out this year's classic casual plaids at Valet

     

    I've always had a soft spot for this band. Digging the synths here. 

     

     


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    The act of making an intentional cup of coffee in the morning - not just pressing a button or grabbing a to-go cup from your neighborhood shop or street vendor - has, no doubt, benefits to the flavor of your coffee. But, like many good and simple things in life, it could have a positive impact on your creativity and productivity as well.    Fast Company explores the morning routine of Circa CEO Matt Galligan, and how his intentional coffee routine serves, in a way, as his morning meditation. 

    Rebecca Greenfield reports, "His coffee routine is time- and concentration- intensive for so early in the morning on a work day. But not only does it result in 'superior coffee,' according to Galligan, it forces him to focus intensely on one thing for a moment. That thoughtfulness, in theory, translates to the rest of his day. If he can train his mind to focus on coffee, once he sits down to work he will better concentrate on building product for his popular news app, he says. Psychologists say that we can train our brains to focus better, like any muscle."

    And apparently, the idea of a morning routine is a common productivity technique of inspiring creatives. Check out the piece in full: 

    The Creative Benefits of an Intense Coffee Routine


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    To my mind, the hot chicken tradition of Nashville, TN is among the most amazing regional food traditions for three reasons: 1) it's amazingly local, native to a few neighborhoods in a single city, rather than a general area 2) it's amazingly (yet justifiably) spicy, and 3) the recipes have been amazingly secretive.

    Moreover, it's incredibly, incredibly delicious, and I've never had anything like it.   If you're not familiar, hot chicken tends to consist of a brined-then-fried chicken quarter - light or dark meat - which is then brushed, post-fry, with a fiery paste of cayenne pepper and lard, then served with two pickles on top of piece of white bread, which soaks up all the amazing drippings.

    You can sometimes find it outside of Nashville - my own city offers it via food cart - but its a technique and recipe worth mastering so you can make it at home whenever you want.

    A few years ago, America's Test Kitchen took a stab at a milder version, but, from my research, this recipe from Hattie B.'s restaurant in Nashville is among the first, if not the first, published recipe of legit hot chicken. 

    Can you tell I'm excited?

    Check it out in full, from the new book Fried & True, at Serious Eats: Hattie B's Hot Chicken 

     

     

     


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