CABIN ESCAPES WITHIN DC’S REACH

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I know the start of the new year is supposed to be invigorating, inspiring, and energizing, but I can’t be the only one that struggles to slog through January and February. More often than not, the start of the year feels like a grind. We’re deep in the midst of winter’s wrath, sick with cabin fever (and maybe something else if you didn’t get this year’s flu shot), and really ready for spring to get sprung already so we can complain about the fact that it’s hot while sitting in the sunshine! (There’s nothing better). CABIN ESCAPES WITHIN DC’S REACH

THIS SOCIALIST WW2 REFUGEE IS THE REASON YOU BUY TOO MUCH STUFF AT WHOLE FOODS

After Victor Gruen fled war-torn Europe in 1938, he landed in New York with eight dollars in his pocket.  Within 15 years, he’d completely reinvented American commerce.  How?  He not only invented the mall, he pioneered the whole suite of psychological tricks that retailers use to trick you into browsing and buying more.  Next time you go to Whole Foods for a half gallon of milk and end up spending eighty dollars on cheese and sparkling grape juice, blame Victor Gruen. THIS SOCIALIST WW2 REFUGEE IS THE REASON YOU BUY TOO MUCH STUFF AT WHOLE FOODS

THE WEIRDEST WINTER OLYMPICS

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Deep in the slums of winter, could it be that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel? Folks…the Winter Olympics are here! If you don’t get a little giddy at that tidbit of information, then you’ve probably never “done” the Olympics the right way before. The right way, in my ever-so-humble opinion, is with plenty of snacks and the readiness to scoff if your favorite figure skating routine gets snubbed by a snarky judge (the controversy!!!). It’s truly sports television at its finest. THE WEIRDEST WINTER OLYMPICS

“Further on is a family room, for all your familyin’, and a media room, which is a nice way of saying, “this is where you’re going to spend most of your weekends, curled up under a filthy fleece blanket and watching pirated episodes of ‘Golden Girls.'”  The media room opens onto a nice little balcony, so you can go out there and have a cigarette and decompress after that super-intense episode where Blanche’s ex husband visits and almost tears the girl-clique apart.”

“Further on is a family room, for all your familyin’, and a media room, which is a nice way of saying, “this is where you’re going to spend most of your weekends, curled up under a filthy fleece blanket and watching pirated episodes of ‘Golden Girls.’”  The media room opens onto a nice little balcony, so you can go out there and have a cigarette and decompress after that super-intense episode where Blanche’s ex husband visits and almost tears the girl-clique apart.”

VERY, EXTREMELY, INSANELY LAST-MINUTE VALENTINE’S DAY GIFT IDEA

Hello, Valentine’s Day –– we meet again. I’ve never been a huge Valentine’s Day girl. I mean, don’t get me wrong –– I used to love in grade school when it was a free for all as far as eating chocolate, hoping that my crush was going to suddenly come to their senses and love me, and all of the pre-bought store notes from classmates that were required, not warranted. However, in adulthood, I’ve certainly found myself on the more cynical side of the Valentine’s Day equation. I mean, how many burpees do I need to do to work off an entire heart filled with chocolates? And why is the ratio of good chocolates to nasty, cherry goop filled chocolates so askew? Also, why can’t I just go ahead and buy my own chocolates if I have to blatantly remind my husband that it’s Valentine’s Day anyway? Sigh. VERY, EXTREMELY, INSANELY LAST-MINUTE VALENTINE’S DAY GIFT IDEA

CAN ARCHITECTURE MAKE PRISON TOLERABLE?

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Architecture is magic. And no, I’m not just saying that because I’m writing for a real estate firm and I have a soft spot in my heart for clean lines and light pouring through windows. Okay, maybe I am – but that’s truly besides the point. Architecture is magic for me for many reasons, but I also believe that it’s magic for everybody. After all, how much influence does the space we’re in hold over us? How much better do you function if you’re in a space that’s overcome with sunlight vs. one that’s dark and gloomy? Or in a space that’s clean and organized vs. cluttered and chaotic? What about well-designed and personalized vs. one that’s void of personality? The fact is this – the space we’re in makes a difference. It alters our mood, shifts our perspective, and can even play into how productive we are. Now, of course, my views on this matter are fairly fluffy…but there are some notably more qualified folks who stand behind my beliefs as well. Those experts have led to incredibly interesting architectural projects aimed to better people’s lives. One example of this? Storstrøm Prison, located a mere 70 miles from Copenhagen. CAN ARCHITECTURE MAKE PRISON TOLERABLE?