Life By Kristen

Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it. – Little Women

Archive for the category “Friday Finds”

Friday Finds July 2017

I had no idea there were women astronauts training in the 1960s.

I also had no idea a woman printed the original Declaration of Independence, and put her name on the bottom of the document.

Have you ever seen these amazing murals and art at the Denver airport? I was there in 2008, but don’t recall much, but the conspiracy stories behind the murals it are fascinating.

American ingenuity- American women during the Depression made dresses out of everything they could, include chicken feed bags.

I definitely enjoy reading about cooking more than I like to cook (but not as much as I like to eat!)

Friday Finds June 2017

Why fashion has become colorful over the years.

Speaking of fashion, what a physicist sees when she looks at a fancy gown.

I have always lived near to the beach. While I’m not there every weekend in the summer, I love the beach, especially in that time of night around 6pm when it clears out and it’s just quiet with fewer people and the sound of the waves. Here’s how the beach became such a popular spot.

Speaking of fashion– when does it belong in a museum and when can you just wear it?

The many colors of Mister Rogers’ sweaters.

As a library lover, it’s no surprise I also love card catalogs so this history of them was super cool to me. Yep, I’m a book nerd.

 Did you read the book From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler as a kid? It was one of my favorites growing up and may be it has something to do with my working in the museum field. Here’s the true story behind E.L. Konisburg’s classic children’s novel.

 Dirty Dancing is one of my favorite movies of all time. Here’s the scoop on the real-life locations that we see as Kellerman’s.

Friday Finds May 2017

Female pirates!

I love a good tote bag!

Women Salvation Army volunteers during World War I served up donuts.

Knitting helped send messages in code during World War II.

Speaking of World War II, a female hero from that war recently passed away and for 50 years, her family had no idea what amazing things she did during the war.

Journaling is something I’ve been doing pretty consistently since I was in junior high school. Of course, in those days, it was more of a listing of activities, crushes, heartbreaks, and teen drama. But I have years worth of writing in notebooks large and small. I have long pondered about what to do with all my journals from over the years, the biggest question being what will my family think about all of them ( and their contents!) after I pass away? Turns out I’m not the only one who wonders what to do with all those journals!

Saving things is part of what I do ( and why I do it!) for a living. Regardless, it’s so weird to see things from my childhood being preserved in museums.

My mom is super smart, and apparently I have her to thank for all those good grades in school, crossword puzzle solving abilities, and awesome trivia record!


Friday Finds April 2017

Unlike Betty Crocker ( an imagined person), Duncan Hines was a real person and he has a lot more to do with food than just cake mix.

In praise of book towers. While I don’t have book towers, but I have quite the stack of unread books on my basement shelves. I have very few read books though because a few years ago I realized I was never going to re-read the books, so sent them along to the library book sale to be loved by someone else. I have only a handful of books that I kept because I loved them so much and only loan them people who I know will return ( Baker Towers by Jennifer Haigh is one of them).

Speaking of books, it looks like I was ahead of the game with audiobooks. They are the newest ‘trend’ in the book publishing world because of the new obsession with productivity. I just like them for making my commutes more enjoyable!

Who doesn’t love Pyrex? Antique/vintage Pyrex is a hot item for secondhand/thrift shops.

A short history on capes. I’ve never owned one and not sure I have a lifestyle that would even need one, but they are lovely!

Italian fashion designers are using their own archives to inspire new collections. Love this– and some gorgeous images here.


Friday Finds March 2017

My father’s family comes from the Azores and I enjoy World War II history, so found this article fascinating about the role the islands played in the war effort.

Reading aloud as adults. Love this. Also: bookworms might live longer, which means more time for reading!

In Maine, the French language clubs unite people across generations and nationalities. Just another reminder that our differences are really just perceptions and that we all have more in common than we realize at face value.

The world’s smallest monuments. Many in Europe, but who knew there was a mini Washington Monument in a manhole!

Speaking of monuments, if you haven’t seen the movie The Monuments Men, I highly recommend it. It’s fairly accurate about how a group of curators, art historians, conservators, etc. helped find and save so many European artworks that the Nazis took from museums, Jewish families, and public buildings during World War II. The book that the film is based on sits on my to-read shelf, but in case you are curious about the history and people, this article is a great resource too.

I have storage bins in my attic with things from my childhood like stuffed animals or objects associated with memories. I often open the bins to try to get rid of things, but then I think about wanting it for the future, so this article on the psychology behind the stuff was interesting to me. Of course, I don’t consider this stuff clutter because it’s nicely organized in the attic. If I could see it everyday, I might think differently. Related: How to see if your ( or your parents’/grandparents’) stuff has value.

Patton Oswalt on grief. I can relate to so much of this and cannot agree more about not knowing the battles that people are going through. If the death of my Dad taught me anything, it’s that every person is dealing with something and you often don’t know it, so kindness matters all the time. It was amazing to me when my Dad passed away that even people who were going through tough things like a childhood friend who was dying of cancer took their time to send me a note.

Friday Finds February 2017

Do you like fortune cookies? I’m not a huge fan, but here’s an interesting history of how they became so popular in the US.

The whole concept of “vintage” clothing started with Davy Crockett’s hat and the lure of old fur.

Speaking of fur, here’s an interesting idea for how to preserve some clothing/history related to Dorothy Parker, the American poet.

Who didn’t read Goodnight Moon  as a child? There’s a new biography out about the author Margaret Wise Brown that I’ll be bumping up my To-Read list, but in the short time, this article gives some history and insights about why it’s such an everlasting book for children.

Speaking of books, as a lover of libraries and a follower of rules, I don’t remember the last time I had a library fine ( I’m such a square). Nevertheless, many libraries are now waiving late fees which I give two thumbs up.



Friday Finds November 2016

I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving yesterday. It’s my favorite holiday by far and it was spent with family and friends.

I loved this piece about the many ways people celebrate the holiday and what they make to bring to their annual feast.

Have you watched the Netflix series The Crown yet? I binge watched it in one day as I’m a sucker for 20th century English royalty. Also as a fashion historian, I thought the clothes were great.

Speaking of royalty… the super secret archives of the British royal family, namely Queen Victoria.

The history of the Wellie– from functional boots to fashionable footwear. 

Both my partner and stepson are sci-fi guys. We watch a lot of Star Wars, so I really appreciated this article about female Star Wars fans.

In case you need some inspiration about the state of women and politics, here’s a really interesting website about women who ran for office prior to 1920.


Friday Finds October 2016

I knew it! Writing to-do lists helps your brain.

A guide to the real-life places of your favorite childhood books.

Jackie Kennedy’s wedding dress designer is no longer the best kept secret in fashion history.

Cruising with a purpose. Maybe it’s because I work in the non-profit world, but at this stage in my life, I can’t quite get behind volunteering while on vacation, though this idea sounds amazing for retirement.

So cool- the hidden, secret apartments of the New York Public Library.

Who knew?!? The Hallmark Company has one of the best collections of modern art. Article also has interesting bits about the card-making process.

Friday Finds September 2016

Did you watch HBO’s Boardwalk Empire? If not, I recommend. The reason I bring it up is because of the character Richard Harrow is a World War I veteran who has lost a portion of his face and wears a sculpted mask to hide his disfigurement. When I watched the show, it was the first time I had seen anything like it and found it fascinating that there were sculptors who specialized in “portrait masks” during the post World War I era. A new book about the war highlights some of these sculptors, and I am fascinated by this female, Boston-based sculptor who took on the task.  There’s a really interesting video towards the end of the page of her working on a soldier.

The politics of pockets on women’s clothing.

I’m very excited for the newest member of the Smithsonian museum family- the National Museum of African American History and Culture. There are lots of articles going around about the museum, its mission, and collections, but as always, I enjoy learning about the lesser known people of history who made an impact that we never hear about. Here’s one woman whose collection is a part of the museum and story is being told: Mae Reeves and her hats.

Women of the CIA.

Japanese war brides. 

Barack Obama’s “exit interview” by the amazing historian and author Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Step parents are parents too.  This made me teary because I take my role as Little Man’s Bonus Mom very seriously.


Friday Finds August 2016

Red lipstick has a tumultuous past.

Have you ever bought food at TJ Maxx or Marshalls? I definitely have, especially around the holidays when they have so many random, yet special things that are perfect for stocking stuffers and gift baskets. Interesting article about the intentional chaos scheme they seem to have going on there.

Speaking of food- spray food. Confession: I used to love Cheez Whiz in college.

The history of skyscraper climbing.

I used to read entire books in the car when I was little. Now, I can barely look at a street sign or the GPS when I’m the passenger. Apparently it’s not just me– car sickness is your brain thinking you are being poisoned.

Librarian Olympics.

You’re not meant to do what you love, you’re meant to do what you’re good at. This was has me thinking… I’m good at making sure lightbulbs are in proper working order, supplies ordered, and so on, but I don’t want to do this with the rest of my life either!


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