Top 5 Picks for the Week, February 24, 2012

Pinners, Test Tubes, Education, Gifts, and Groceries

1. Pinterest

Photo Credit:

By now almost everyone’s heard of Pinterest, the online pinboard where people share what they love.  I was a little late to the game and only started using the service a few months ago.  Once I took the time to check out the site and what was being “pinned” by other people, I have to admit, I was instantly hooked.  I love this as a resource especially when it comes to creative outlets.  The big appeal of Pinterest, is people have already sorted through the rubbish, and so the majority of what is highlighted is the best and newest ideas, products, and designs.  When you first go to the site you are able to view other pins but until you are a part of the community you are not able to add any of your own suggestions or favorite images.  You can request an invite from the Pinterest home page, or if you are one of the first to send me a request, I’ll be happy to send you an invite from my membership.  It is a free service, and in addition to viewing abundant pins from people throughout the internet, Pinterest is a wonderful organizational tool.  Rather than having hundreds of sites booked marked in my browser, I can now keep my favorite craft projects, recipes, entertainment, and art all in one place and separated into specific categories.  Pinterest is a great site for inspiration, novel ideas, and interacting with people of similar interests; you’ll be amazed at what you find.

2. Pani Jurek

Photo Credit: Pani Jurek:

I love seeing traditional things being used and implemented in new and imaginative ways.  Pani Jurek, a Polish artist, has done just that by using test tubes to fashion lighting fixtures.  The Maria SC is a chandelier inspired by Marie Curie, the famous female chemist and physicist honored with 2 Nobel Prize awards.  In addition to the chandelier being beautiful in its own right, the open test tube design allows one to add everything from colored liquid to vegetation to the vials.  Captivating and a transient piece of art, Jurek has changed the way we can view what was once a static fixture for the home.  Allowing for personalization and the ability for such a large piece to change with the seasons has put the Maria SC into a class all her own.

Source: Design Milk






3. Open Culture

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As we get older, and our time starts to have more demands, it’s easy to let our education take a backseat.  Many of us, however, love learning and it is an essential part of staying active and healthy.  Open Culture is a site that offers cultural and educational materials, and they are all available for free.  From language lessons, to online courses, classic films, to audio books, Open Culture has a vast library of virtual media made to enhance your comprehension.  Whether you are looking to learn Spanish or simply have an interest in Hitchcock films, this site places the resources at your fingertips.  Since they are constantly exploring new subjects and adding information regularly, they offer several options regarding updates including email notifications and social network posts.  I recently used their service to download the complete Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis in MP3 audio format, as well as discover several “smart” YouTube channels dedicated to increasing knowledge and understanding in various fields.  Take a little time each day to learn something new, Open Culture can be a great place to start.

4. Uncommon Goods: Unique Gifts and Creative Design

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When shopping for one-of-a-kind gifts, or looking for something to spruce up our home, Uncommon Goods is one of the first places I search.  I enjoy having things that are unique and love giving gifts that are unexpected.  Uncommon Goods helps take the time and effort out of scouring the web for such items.  You are able to browse by several categories including Home and Garden, Jewelry and Accessories, or Office, as well as search by occasions and gender of the recipient.  They feature new items frequently and offer the ability for you to vote on products to help dictate what will and will not be sold.   Uncommon Goods also allows you to create gift registries, perfect for upcoming events and to give your loved ones a helping hand in buying you something awesome.  I love their variety and the fact that this is generally the first place that I see almost all of these new pieces.  Uncommon Goods is at the forefront of providing fun, useful, and exceptional products.

5. Grocery IQ

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No matter how often I go to the grocery store, if I don’t have a list I generally forget to pick up something.  I used to wander the aisles hoping I’d see the needed item, sparking my memory of why I was really there in the first place.  Tired of carrying little scraps of paper to get lost, I now use my smartphone.  Grocery IQ is a comprehensive app that makes grocery shopping a breeze.  There is a standard checklist screen where you can add needed items by typing them in or scanning a barcode.  The app will automatically bring up suggestions for popular products and sort them into sections such as dairy, fruits and vegetables, and bakery.  You can also add aisle numbers. When I am at the store, I simply note the aisle at that time, so on return trips I don’t have to waste time hunting around.  Grocery lists can be shared with others, a handy feature if you need your spouse to grab milk and a few other necessities on the way home.  Grocery IQ is free and available for both Android and iOS.  Additionally, it goes beyond just the list aspect by providing coupons too.  Having all of my information in one place that will not get lost has helped make my shopping much more efficient and enjoyable.

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