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A Marshmallow A Day…

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Ailments can come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes all you need to feel better is a delicious, fluffy marshmallow prescription. At least, that’s what the Robin Collective based their recent “Marshmallow Apothecary” pop-up concept on, open in a space in Kingly Court, London from February 12-23. In addition to doling out marshmallow flavors for winter colds or romantic let-downs, the Robin Collective (purveyors of curious events and experimental food) created a marshmallow haven, with fluffy pillows, warm, glowing pink light, special cocktails and hot chocolates.

Oddities on Display

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Many people collect things. And some even organize them in interesting ways. But taking it to the next level – presenting these collections, in an educational and contextual way – can turn almost any collection into a museum. Fans of these odd displays of quirky origin will love the Kazoo Museum in Beaufort, South Carolina, which dates the kazoo back to 1840. Or there’s the Museum of Jurassic Technology in LA, which defies description, mingling an array of objects and poetic stories. There are so many chocolate museums that there is a top-10 list as a guide here. Many more off-the-beaten museum path finds are here, including a Clock Museum in Vienna, a Ramones Museum in Berlin, and a lunch box museum in Georgia.

(Image of the Chocolate Museum, Barcelona)

Travel Well

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New sites and businesses are constantly popping up to help make travel escapes into richer experiences. Nectar & Pulse is a “personal travel guide,” where you can choose a travel “soulmate,” whose recommendations help guide you through several choice cities. Staydu connects visitors with locals for housing, which can be paid for with help, work, or money. Atlas Obscura collects unique, wondrous and weird places to visit – Museum of the American Cocktail anyone? And Designtripper and DesignHotels.com both help the design-inclined find and book the most interesting and beautiful places to stay.

(Image of the Pantone Hotel)

School of Life

Philosopher, professor and writer Alain de Botton is bringing his famed take on life – espoused in books, classes, and some great TED talks – to a very functional, wonderful level, with the “School of Life.” The school in Melbourne is open to the public, with classes like “How to have better conversations,” and “How to make a difference,” along with a one-day intensive on “Generating Creativity.” In addition to classes and intensives, there are communal meals and holidays, sermons (lectures), tours, and special events, like a session with an improvisation master. In the School of Life – there is something for everyone to learn.

Fatherly Love

The joys of fatherhood are being looked at in a new way, judging from a recent article in the Atlantic on dads embracing “parenting” over old norms of “babysitting.” And a new magazine, “Kindling Quarterly,” celebrates the lives of creative fathers, instigated by two new fathers who wanted to “present a thoughtful dialogue about fatherhood that is missing from our cultural landscape.” Issue number one includes features on father-ly style, a photo series on artist Dan Funderburgh and his daughter, and an essay on traveling through Istanbul with a baby.

Easy Giving

When cleaning out closets, there are always those items that sit in limbo – do they go in the trash, or to the Goodwill? A Dutch design agency came up with a simple way to dispose of these unwanted goods, designing a designated bag to recycle them, which goes right out by the garbage. One side of the bag smartly has a bright yellow band, making it easily recognizable, while the other side is a clear window, showing what’s inside – for passers-by to grab and give a new home.

Doctor is in

Going to the doctor is not necessarily the most pleasant or efficient experience. So, unfortunately many choose to pass it up, opting instead for advice from WebMD and chat rooms. For this reason, Healthspot has designed a new way to visit the doctor that is reliable and trustworthy – but worth your time, all through a kiosk. Well-equipped with teleconferencing, plus stethoscopes, blood pressure monitors, dermascopes, and more, patients can ‘see’ a doctor in the kiosk, send their vitals, and get results and recommendations in minutes.

(Image of Future First Aid Kit)

Taking Time

London department store Selfridges is taking a surprising turn with new campaign “No Noise.” Using our cluttered, harried and digital-focused lives as an inspiration, the company is encouraging calm and quiet through various experiences throughout the store. With the “Quiet Shop,” they offer a collection of minimalist, understated designs from Jil Sander, Uniformwares and others, alongside “de-branded” products, iconic wares without their flashy branding. They also partnered with meditation experts Headspace to create pods scattered in stores, each offering different guided meditations. For more, check out their site.

Off the Wall

Most parents believe their child’s art is a potential masterpiece. Now they can cherish kids’ artwork even longer by transforming it into 3d form. Crayon Creatures is a 3D printing company that offers to rapid prototype kids’ creations on paper, making them come to life as sculptures. Artist Wendy Tsao started a similar business with Child’s Own Studio, creating stuffed animals based on children’s drawings, allowing kids’ imaginations to become reality.

Well-Designed Learning

New research supports the concept that a well-designed learning environment improves academic performance. A new study released by the University of Salford in Britain, and UK architects Nightingale Associates, shows that well-designed classrooms can boost elementary school children’s performance by 25 percent. The group  evaluated classroom environments, measuring natural light, noise levels, temperature, air quality and classroom orientation, and compared with student’s abilities in various subjects. In 34 classrooms tested, the researchers found that there was an 11-point average improvement in core subjects of well-designed classrooms compared with others.

(Image of Teikyo Elementary)

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