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What is Burning Man?

What is Burning Man? This is something I’ve asked in the past. Being from the UK means I often miss big parts of US culture so when doing my initial research on Burning Man, I thought it was just another music festival. How wrong I was.

Burning Man is a music festival bit it’s more than that too. So much more. The location is set up a one big city full of art, music, self-expression and community. It’s a culture in its own right and while the festival itself only takes place once a year, Burning Man lives on in so many other ways throughout the year.

In order to understand the event and the culture in its truest form, you have to go along. Attendees are participants and to participate in the festival could mean anything from creating an art installation to doing something nice for your neighbours in the camp site.

 The art

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There are all sorts of art installations in the Black Rock City during the festival. From the massive to the slightly less obtrusive. It’s all about expression and freedom and that kind of environment is going to be inspirational for everyone.

As well as the art people set up theme camps, give gifts to strangers and perform random acts of kindness. Strangers are welcomed and the whole thing seems to have a very primal, ritualistic feel to it. People express themselves through art, costume and music.

The Man

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This is a quote from an article on the Burning Man website by Molly Steenson. It describes the act of burning the man in the way only someone who’s experienced it could write. Molly writes: “You’re here to celebrate. On Saturday night, we’ll burn the Man. As the procession starts, the circle forms, and the man ignites, you experience something personal, something new to yourself, something you’ve never felt before. It’s an epiphany, it’s primal, it’s newborn. And it’s completely individual.”

If that doesn’t make you want to visit the Burning Man festival then I don’t know what will.

Find out more about the festival read Molly’s article, I think it tells you everything you might need to know.

Etsy picks: Fitness gear

Etsy might be the go-to place for vintage dresses and gorgeous accessories but there are actually some great gems out there if you’re looking for cute fitness gear too. Click on the pictures to see the product on Etsy.

1If you need a little inspiration in your life, then how about this print to remind you just how awesome you are. This would look great in a home gym.

2Tell the world just how strong you are.

3This is a balance board that will help you to improve your strength, coordination and balance.

4These galaxy print workout leggings are just stunning. The short length means they’re great for a sweaty gym workout or a summer run.

5This seems like a good motto for a lot of us.

6Finally, another great workout tank. Mascara and muscles, both a girl’s best friend.

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The Internet of Everything

This is a phrase that you’re going to be hearing everywhere for the next few years. It relates to the fact that more and more everyday items are becoming internet connected. Part of this is the wearable tech we talked about last week but there are so many other items out there that have internet connectivity that you’d never have imagined. From pens and notebooks to cookers and refrigerators.

Here are some of the more interesting products that are already out there on the market.

Whirlpool’s Green Kitchen

This is a whole kitchen system that will help you live a more green lifestyle. Clean water will be captured, undergo anti-bacterial treatment and then be stored in an external water tank under the sink. This water will be used for the dishwashing cycle, saving up to 7 litres of water per cycle.

This recycled, purified water can also be drawn from the same tank to water plants, wash the floor and so on. The tank will be connected to the fridge compressor, this will heat the water for use in the dishwasher.

AGA iTotal Control

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This British icon has be redefined and brought right up-to-date with the iTotal Control cooker. This is a cooker that you can control with you smartphone or computer. Let’s say you’re out and you’ve decided you want cook a big dinner when you get home but don’t want to spend time waiting for your AGA to heat up. Simple, just go to the app and turn your cooker on before you get home.

The same goes if you want the AGA’s ambient heat when you arrive home. Just tell it to switch on and start heating up your house. When you walk through the door, you’ll be met with a beautifully warm home.

Dietrich Zoneless Induction Hob

This is known as the piano hob. Place your pan or pans wherever you want on it and it’ll instantly recognise where the heat needs to go to. The color touchscreen allows you to control things like the heat, whether or not you want different zones across the hob and small object detection.

Livescribe Smartpen

This Smartpen is a pen in the same way an smartphone is a phone. It does so much more than that single purpose. It digitizes everything you write on special dot paper and saves it to Evernote. It’ll even convert your writing into text. This is great news for students, novelists, secretaries and anyone else who has to sift through a ton of handwritten notes every time they need to find something. I don’t think I’ve ever needed anything like I need this.

The smart home with SmartThings

To begin with you download the SmartThings app. From there, check out what’s on offer from the brand on Amazon and start building your smart home. The whole thing is fully customizable so you can track as much stuff as you want in and around your home. You can set up different notifications and actions too. This means you’ll know exactly what’s going on in your home, even when you’re not there. You could set up motion sensors, link the app to family members’ phones to see when they’re at home and control things like lights an appliances.

This might sound a little Big Brother but having your home fully connected can make you feel safer (the app will let you know when doors are open when they shouldn’t be). It can also make you more energy efficient as you won’t be leaving electricals on all the time.

 

Jess is a blogger, fashion lover and owner of many shoes. She loves to write, take photographs, and shop for stationery.

Is it too early to think about coats?

 

Where I live, the sun has gone in and we’re being treated to grey drizzle. That’s left me thinking about all the snuggly coats I could be wearing rather than stubbornly heading out in shorts and t-shirt just willing it to be warm.
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This beautiful red fur coat would look great over a simple black dress. I have the perfect leopard print shoes that would go with this.BJ13117 (1)

This kind of contrast is going to be very big this winter. I love the leather sleeves and big buckle details.BJ13073 (3)

This is a great take on a really classic shape. This blazer-style coat would look great over a shirt and simple trousers.
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Biker style in a full length coat, what more could we want?BJ13034 (3)

Not ready for a coat? How about this blue, wool gilet. This is a great transitional piece.BJ13030 (1)Finally this faux fur coat. Great autumnal colors but super warm so you can wear it into the coldest of winters too.

All these coats are from Urbancode and range from $250 to $350.

Have you got your eye on a winter coat yet or is it just too early?

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Eight American destinations that inspired classic stories

Today we have a guest post from author C.E. Smith all about the gorgeous places in America that are a must-visit for any book lovers.

Love to read? Love to travel? Love fun road trips? Then stay tuned, because America’s got a lot to offer for the bookworm traveler!

8. Tarrytown, New York

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Step into a horror story if you dare! Tarrytown is a region of New York where the most famous town of Sleepy Hallow was set in. Are you brave enough to go looking for the headless horseman?

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7. Jonesboro, Georgia

Bless your neighbor’s heart and snack on a peach as you venture to the Southern state of Georgia. Jonesboro is believed to be where the fictional plantation of Tara was located in Gone With the Wind. 

6. Hannibal, Missouri and the Mississippi River

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Let Google guide you on a special journey to follow Huck and Jim’s journey down the Mississippi River. Google maps explains the significance of each stop in relation to the famous tale of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

And Mark Twain fans be sure to stop at his birthplace in Hannibal, MO for some extra Twain celebrations.

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5. Forks, Washington

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Love or hate Twilight, there’s no denying the influence it had on the modern young adult classics. And in multiple interviews Mrs. Meyer said the name of the town Forks played a big role of her famous story’s setting. So if you’re traveling in Washington, after you hit Seattle for the first ever Starbucks…check out Forks if you’re traveling with or are a Twilight fan.

Die hard Twilight fans be sure to book your trip September 13th, as the whole town celebrates Bella’s birthday!

 

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4. San Antonio, Texas

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Davy Crockett fans best not forget to visit the Alamo! One of the most popular tourist attraction in Texas is home to one of America’s oldest battle grounds and inspired popular songs like Remember the Alamo and The Ballard of Davy Crockett.

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3. Chicago, Illinois

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Holy Midwest, Batman! The Windy City not only has the best hotdogs in the world but inspired dozens of popular stories as well…including the dark defenders home city of Gotham.

Not to mention Veronica Roth’s smash hit Divergent series is set in Chicago as well as numerous films and TV shows and even a Broadway hit named after the city.

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2. New Orleans, Louisiana

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Jazz, great Gumbo and lively history — what’s not to love? It’s no wonder this city inspired so many stories.

Although stories can most likely be found around every corner of New Orleans, one of the most famous can probably be hailed as Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. A Streetcar Named Desire is also a notable story set in the jazz city.

Another fun story that might be more family-friendly set in New Orleans, although a movie, is Disney’s Princess and the Frog.

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1. New York City, New York

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While other cities like L.A. and Vegas also has an impressive list of popular stories set in their metropolis streets, New York is one of the countries most iconic city of them all.

It’s easy to think about TV shows and movies set in New York City from How I Met Your Mother, Friends, Sleepless in Seattle to King Kong, NYC is a popular image on the American screen. But it is also a popular city between the pages of American literature. From Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Catcher in the Rye and of course one of the most popular American novels of all time: The Great Gatsby.

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What about you? What cities do you think about in the USA when you think of American Literature? Share in the comments below!

About the Author:

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C.E. Smith is author of the Duke’s Trumpet, which is soon to be re-released in October 2014! Visit Claire on her blog, Life, Muse and Coffee!