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Miscellaneous

Everything that doesn't fall under the other categories that Mary Kay McBrayer has written.

I set out to make a framed piece of artwork that could be lifted or lowered to reveal or cover the TV, like a soft-closing toy box lid.

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Hitting up an estate sale is the perfect way to start decorating your apartment for a few reasons. For one, there are some truly unique pieces at estate sales. Not only can you find amazing things, but a lot of times, the companies running the show price the items competitively — meaning that you could have beautifully curated décor at a fraction of what it would cost to buy the same furniture new. Plus, secondhand shopping is much more sustainable.

As the timeworn saying goes, what’s old is new again, and a younger generation is starting to embrace estate sales, too. But this time, they’re sharing their finds on social media — sometimes to thousands of followers as estate sale influencers.

Before I was an English professor, I was a student in a masters of fine arts program in creative writing, which meant I had to write a master’s thesis. 

This was a long time ago, back when the sitcom 30 Rock was releasing new episodes. There’s one episode in which the character Jack Donaghy is hunting for his next moneymaking idea. He explains his method of “innoventing”— a term he just “innovented”— to his mentee, head writer of sketch comedy TV show and all-around mess Liz Lemon (Tina Fey).

 

I identified with Liz Lemon hard. She, too, was strapped for ideas and on a hard deadline with other creatives who give ambiguous feedback. She — and I — were all ears for Jack Donaghy’s “shower principle.”

He claims this concept is responsible for “moments of inspiration that occur when the brain is distracted from the problem at hand — for example, when you’re showering.”  You’re probably wondering: Is this professor telling me to take life advice from an old-timey sitcom? The answer is, kind of.

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Queen Mary’s official guide says that miniatures should “be fitted up with perfect fidelity, down to the smallest details, so as to represent as closely and minutely as possible a genuine and complete example of a domestic interior with all the household arrangements characteristic of the daily life of the time.” I know that she was the queen, but I’m an American, and I reject that “fidelity.” Sure, with unbounded access to money and artists, an exact replica might be worthwhile, more useful even than the actual artifacts of the time because no one actually uses them. But this is my fantasy; this is my house; this is my metaphor. This is me playing the violin while Rome burns.

Six estate sales specialists share their best practices for everyone, from first-timers to aficionados.

There are a lot of things to love about estate sales, but my personal favorite is seeing how someone else once lived. It’s like walking through a museum exhibition of a person’s life…except everything on display is for sale. 

If you have never shopped at an estate sale before, let me briefly explain why they’re the absolute gold standard of shopping

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Bottom line: cursed or not, when it comes to the contents of the tombs, You need that for later. The curses associated with mummies in real life are to protect the bodies so that souls can later reinhabit them.

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In 1794 the people of Guadeloupe briefly tasted freedom. A woman named Solitude decided she’d rather die than go back into chains — but her heroism was nearly lost to history.

“Jolly Jane” Toppan overcame a miserable Dickensian childhood to become a medical professional patients adored. She was also slowly murdering them one by one.

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This is what happens when they try to make people into characters. In real life, there is no fourth wall separating their self-sabotage from their audience, and they don’t realize that although they imitate characters on a screen, this is no performance.

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