Connecting: A Film about Interaction Design

This film is a good intro to what interaction design is and some new things happening in the field’s near future. “Without humans, it’s not very interesting.”

I particularly like the analogy one person offers around the 15:00 mark that this new layer of connectivity is very much like the Cambrian explosion when cells began to organize thru chemical signals into larger organisms and exhibit collaborative behavior.

We have behaviors as a collective, a colony, a race. And we’ll start to act more as a collaborative as our signals are enhanced and made visible. It’s larger than our individual selves.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2012

I can’t decide whether this is a gift guide or a personal wishlist. I would be pretty stoked to receive anything on this list, but the only thing I really want this year is a Kindle Paperwhite + permission to read as my life’s work.

Comfort & Plush
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  1. Nom Nom Friends are plush pillow friends, whose proceeds also go toward fighting world hunger. Pictured above is Monsieur Toast with his beurre-et, but my favorite is Eggbert Sunnyside whose jolly smile would make me smile each time I saw him in my home.
  2. Any of the beautiful, handmade quilts or pillows from Folk Fibers. Maura Ambrose combines her experiences as a fibers artist and a farmer to create beautiful pieces that have her hand in everything from growing the plants to dyeing the fabrics to hand quilting the final products. Her Instagram is always inspirational.
  3. One of the pledge amounts for Ryan North’s wildly successful Kickstarter comes with a plush Yorick skull! It’s a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style retelling of Hamlet with endings illustrated by dozens of the best illustrators and comic artists working today. Your friend won’t get the book til 2013, but pledges over $30 get a holiday e-card by Noelle Stevenson. [For more info, here’s an article by Comics Alliance about the project]

Prints from Comic Artists
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  1. Melinda Tracy Boyce of the Melinderly: her Veggie Seasonality print is featured above. She also has fruits, whales, & cacti!
  2. Sarah Becan of Saucome: has avocados, mushrooms, & sausages &  some how-to prints and other goodies in her store.
  3. Gemma Correll‘s cats, pugs, & unicorns will surely make someone in your life smile.
  4. Erika Moen‘s “I Stand By Planned Parenthood” limited edition screenprint will even feature a hand-drawn portrait of your loved one.

Online Pop-up Shops

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  1. Quitokeeto is an online shop curated by Heidi Swanson (of 101Cookbooks fame) and her husband Wayne Bremser. The shop features specialty food items and sweet, useful gifts for cooks–including the Ambatalia 10-in-1 wrapping cloth pictured above. Sign up for their mailing list to be notified of when things go on sale. Everything sells out pretty quickly, so happy hunting.
  2. MAV & SCB of 3191 miles apart put up by 3191” collections every quarter or so — collections for their magazines, for MAV’s clothing, for SCB’s hand-made objects, and for their “Found” objects. They’re closed for the rest of the year, but sign up for their mailing list to be notified of reopenings. I still visit 3191 each week for a dose of celebrating small moments.
  3. 3191 also put up some awesome gift guides recently: MAV’s gift guide includes categories like ceramics, art supplies, potions, & handmade treats.

Food

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  1. Whimsy & Spice: I’ve been following designer/blogger Jenna Park of Sweet Fine Day for awhile now, and I’ve always wanted to try their cookies. It’s much easier to splurge for gifts than to splurge for self, so my friends get ’em instead. ;) The hardest part is deciding which one, which names like: Coconut five spice white chocolate, Pumpkin ginger, Pink peppercorn, and Chocolate orange cardamom!

Do Some Good


  1. Patrick Rothfuss is making WorldBuilders an annual holiday convergence of geek giving & receiving to benefit Heifer International. Donate to his team’s goal, and simultaneously be entered into a lottery to win books donated and signed by famous sci-fi and fantasy authors. Or bid on some consultation time for your unpublished manuscript. Or bid to get your name cameo’d into your favorite author’s next book. Keep up with Rothfuss’s blog for the latest updates & goodies.

Find Some Space

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  1. Get Some Headspace subscription: This is tricky because you can’t just give someone meditation. They have to want it and already be curious about it to begin with. But if there is such a friend in your life, turn them onto Andi Puddicombe’s highly accessible podcasts and animations. These 10-minute-a-day guided meditations are easy to integrate into busy modern lives.
  2. Retreats: Give experiences. This “Adventures with the Feminine” retreat that I went to last year in the mountains was a fortuitous gift from a new friend that brought me renewal during a time of sadness. There’s another coming up in January that I’ll be gifting to myself. What can you find in your neighborhood that would benefit your friends?

Monday Inspiration: Holstee Manifesto

The Holstee Manifesto has resonated with lots of people, and you’ve probably seen the iconic poster by now, but it’s always good to have a little reminder.

Bits of the manifesto are resonating with me more these days because I am doing some serious soul-searching about my future (what else is new?) — this time with some structure to my reflections through a pilot “Career Blueprint” course created by ReWork.

It’s been good to actually sit and reflect on my values, strengths, and goals — and how they should and can manifest in my actions, work, and life.

Lots of questions, so I’m glad it’s the end of the year, and I can see some holiday family-time down-time on the horizon. Some space for my thoughts and feelings to brew.

Headspace: a great intro to meditation

Meditation instruction and establishing a practice can range from intimidating to unorthodox. It can seem too daunting to create a new habit, or too hippie-dippie for you, or too out-of-reach for your frenetic mind. But it’s not, and it’s easy to start. It is a real practice for real people, and it’s not about perfection or attaining the idealized “empty mind.” It’s just about creating space.

Andy Puddicombe of Headspace is on a journey to make meditation and mindfulness more accessible through his writing and through technology.

He encourages everyone to “Take10” and guides people through simple 10-minute meditations.

Reading this Q&A interview with him from Goop is the most accessible intro to meditation I’ve seen or heard since I’ve started looking into the practice.

Namaste.