Monthly Archives: November 2017

Are you in the market for an Instant Pot? You should read this before you buy one.


In case you don’t know, the Instant Pot is

a one-size-fits-all kitchen gadget promising to do everything from slow cooking to sautéing, steaming, stewing and yogurt-making (and more).

Sounds amazing. Despite that, you may want to hold off getting one. At least until you read this piece: Instant Pot review: Is the kitchen tool worth the hype? We test it to find out.

To summarize the review: if you had few appliances or wanted fewer appliances, then an Instant Pot may be the way to go. If you already had a slow cooker or pressure cooker or if you prefer to cook in a traditional way, then you may want to spend your kitchen budget on other things.

But read the article and decide yourself. They do a great job analyzing the device and assessing its strengths and weaknesses.

 (Image via Instantpot.com)

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Advice on writing is often terrible. The advice of Kazuo Ishiguro is not….


And thanks to Emily Temple, who has compiled much of this advice in one article, which is here:  Kazuo Ishiguro: ‘Write What You Know’ is the Stupidest Thing I’ve Ever Heard at Literary Hub.

Worth reading, both for fans of the author and for writers looking to improve their craft.

(Image via The Paris Review, which has a good interview with Ishiguro here.)

How to be a better conversationalist, starting with 100 questions


When you meet someone at an event or at a party, the inevitable questions come up: What do you do for a living? Where do you live? Whom do you know? These are safe questions, and they lead to tepid conversation most of the time. If such conversations had a colour, it would be beige.

For a list of colourful questions, try some of these (unless beige is your favorite colour)” 100 questions to spark conversation & connection. | Alexandra Franzen

Some of them would still be pretty safe at a work function, such as: What’s your most urgent priority for the rest of the year? Others could lead to some pretty funny stories, such as: What’s something you’ve tried, that you’ll never, ever try again? or What’s the strangest date you’ve ever been on? (These may result in the same story!) Some are fairly personal, such as: What’s one mistake you keep repeating (and repeating)? (You may want to have your own example in case you stump someone). Finally, the last question is one most people should have an answer for, and is likely one that will tell you lots about the person: What are you most grateful for, right now, in this moment?

A great list. Throw some of them in a list on your phone and use them at the next get togther you attend. Better conversations await.

In an alternative universe this is the next hot smartphone


I am unexcited about the direction in Smartphone design. The key design idea that less is more in a phone is becoming Less is a Bore. Perhaps that’s why this design of a Blackberry got me thinking about it. While it still has a gorgeous screen, the phone itself is worthy of looking at and touching. It strikes the right balance. The phone as a design object is worthwhile.

It would have been good if Apple had struck out in a new design direction with the iPhone X. Instead they went with Less is More. Instead we have a phone with the Notch and a camera on the back that sticks out. It’s as if Apple would have preferred not to have these cameras and sensors,  so rather than design the phone to incorporate them into the design, they stick out, figuratively and literally. In a few years from now when Apple has gone in a different direction, Apple fans will look back and exclaim how poor that aspect of the phone design is.

As for now, we live in an age where the screen dominates design, from TVs to smartphones. In the future that may change and the technology that we interact with will be contained in objects that have noteworthy design in them.
For more on this beautifully designed phone, see If BlackBerry Ditched the Keyboard | Yanko Design.

Cozy small bedrooms


Some of you might hate them, but there is something cozy and restful to me in these type of bedrooms: (Really) Small Bedroom Inspiration | Apartment Therapy. 

This one is also nice:

They make me think of sleeping on a train. Good night!

Save money: make your own grain bowls for lunch, starting on Sunday


I think it is great that fast food courts and other eating areas have seen a rise in places serving grain bowls. They are a nutritious alternative to many other meals there.

However, they aren’t cheap, and to be honest, it’s not that hard to make your own grain bowls in 6 easy steps.

Start with this: Healthy Lunch Bento Box Ideas – Bon Appétit | Bon Appetit.

Then cook some grains, roast some vegetables, saute some greens and prepare some proteins. When you get to work, toss on the acid and the dressing and you just saved yourself some money and a trip to the food court.

Quilting as a form of coding


First off, I think the quilts by Elizabeth Elliott are beautiful. Besides their beauty, I found it remarkable how she goes about making them.  According to this piece, Quilts Made of Code by Elizabeth Elliott – Design Milk,  the quilts are designed…

using a programming language called Processing. Through Processing, Elliott edits coding and generates random formations of geometric and traditional quilt block shapes. Afterward, she plays and edits the configuration until it becomes a quilt design she likes.

Here’s one more:

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Go see the Design Milk article to see more and get more information.