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site we’re psyched about: strolby lets you virtually shop brooklyn

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Don’t get me wrong. I don’t at all regret moving from NYC proper into the burbs of New Jersey. But there are some things that have become increasingly difficult to do, if only because of geography and the frustrations of public transportation systems. One of them is that it is nearly impossible to keep up with some of the groovy, ever-changing neighborhoods of the outer boroughs. I used to love strolling around the emerging shops of Boreum Hill or Williamsburg. Now going there is a journey, and getting in the car and driving upstate to the country usually wins out as a weekend activity. Enter Strolby, a new site that lets you pursue the goodies of the hippest of parts of Bklyn without crossing one river. Strolby not only lets you buy wares that range from colorful dresses to handcrafted ceramics, it also introduces you to the shop owners and creators behind the lovely goods. Its Explore Brooklyn blog keeps you up on the news from the streets and will have you have you feeling like a local in no time. Coming soon, Strolby Hudson, a way to visit our favorite upstate town that is a true stoller’s paradise!

there’s no wallpaper like gnome: in hunt of “being human” decor

I’ve just finished watching the first few seasons of the original UK version of Being Human. I love the show, I love the characters, and I really love the great wallpaper in nearly every room of the house the main characters share in season one. Most notable is the totally incongruous gnome wallpaper in the room where George sleeps. It’s obviously using images Rien Poortvliet created for Wil Huygen‘s very popular 1970s and ’80s series of books on gnomes. After some obsessive searching  trying to figure out if it was created for the show or produced for sale at some point (I even contacted the agent of the series’ set decorator, Andrew Purcell, but have yet to receive a response), I finally found evidence that gnome wallpaper existed for sale. Unfortunately, Retro Villa had already sold its stock (but there are certainly lots of other drool-worthy items still for sale there). Oh well, on to season three. Hmm, who makes that DNA-esque wallpaper in the B&B “honeymoon suite”?

post off: who are you pinning?

Whenever I need a break, Pinterest is my savior. A cup of peppermint tea and five minutes of browsing through the ever-changing, clean layout perks up my spirits enough to make it through the 3:30 lurch. From new guacamole recipes to lace shorts to Russian palaces, there’s always something that piques my interest and brightens my day a bit.

However, I’m not following very many people. I love Kate Spade’s boards including “Charm Colorfully,” “Travel Colorfully,” and “Celebrate Colorfully” and Elizabeth Banks always souses out cool pins. Her “80’s Horror Movies” board would make for a great thunderstorm movie marathon and “Backyard Spaces I Dream About” proves that even celebrities have decadent wish lists.

How about you, readers? Sound off: whose pins are you pinning?

skillshare: democratizing learning in your neighborhood

One of my favorite gifts to give friends is a certificate to some sort of fun experience. Here in New York, that usually takes the form of a class; wine and cheese pairing at Murray’s Cheese, or a pie making class at The Brooklyn Kitchen. (New Yorkers, check’em out!) I love taking classes but many of the mainstream options, especially the professional ones are expensive, hard to schedule or both. Skillshare endeavors to solve that problem by creating an online community that connects you to teachers and class opportunities in your offline life.

Much like an education-based Meetup.com, Skillshare allows you to “learn anything from anybody” by hosting a space for teachers to post and prospective students to browse classes, making it easy to find unique, local learning experiences virtually any day of the week. Courses are organized into five categories: Culinary Arts, Entreprenuership, Lifestyle, Creative Arts and Technology. From project management to creating crochet jewelry, to letterpress printing or finding Hipster Happiness (I kid you not,), odds are there is a class that suits your interest taking place right in your neighborhood. And if there’s not, why not teach one? You couldn’t possibly be the only one looking to print your own skateboard, for example. So go ahead: upholster that chair you’ve been staring at for years or arrange that bouquet like Martha Stewart herself. Our readers have many talents. Would you take a class listed on Skillshare near you? Would you teach one?

from the 2112 shelterrific files: the bio-robot refrigerator


Is it an alien incubator? A suspended animation pod? An evil goo that will surely overtake the world and kill us all if it gets out of it’s streamlined prison?! Nope. Meet the refrigerator of the future.

Russian designer Yuriy Dmitriev recently unveiled the Electrolux Bio-Robot Refrigerator. The invention promises to revolutionize the appliance world since it does not require energy for cooling products. Instead, the odorless, non-sticky biopolymer gel cools food through luminescence. Objects are placed into the strong gel, creating a separate pod for each item. The objects are kept cool thanks to the transformation of invisible infrared radiation into visible light. The gel absorbs heat energy and radiates it in a different range of wavelengths (SCIENCE!). The Bio-Robot refrigerator is four times smaller than the average conventional refrigerator and can be hung horizontally, vertically, or (most impressively) on the ceiling. The fridge is completely silent, has no moving parts, and, even if it never comes to market, is an impressive stab at innovating a product that hasn’t changed in decades. Not to mention that pressing your hands into that goo looks supremely satisfying.