Everyday Inspiration: 100 places to get ideas

Whenever someone asks me, “What inspires you?” I tell them literally everything. Which isn’t super helpful, I realize, but here’s the trick: I look for inspiration in the daily, everyday moments that would normally go unnoticed.

Of course, it’s obviously important to seek out new experiences. I love a good Lollapalooza weekend, or a hike in the Grand Canyon. But you don’t always need a life-changing adventure. Sometimes, nothing sparks the mind like a five-minute walk. Or an ice cream flavor. Or the country music coming from the bar next door. The packaging of a makeup product. The mall. The gym. The bubbles in your bath…or your champagne! When you keep your eyes open to the ordinary, the ordinary suddenly becomes the extraordinary. And there’s your inspiration.

When you keep your eyes open to the ordinary, the ordinary suddenly becomes the extraordinary. And there’s your inspiration.

To get you started on finding your extraordinary in the ordinary, I’ve listed a whopping 100 sources of inspiration you can probably find across the street or even your own room. Now you have no excuses. Deep breath, here we go:

100 Places to Find Everyday Inspo

  1. The shower

  2. Live music

  3. A new neighborhood

  4. Tequila

  5. Magazines

  6. Museums

  7. Dreams (day or night)

  8. Art galleries victor-lozano-227612

  9. Documentaries

  10. Horror movies

  11. Rom coms (with life lessons of course)

  12. Comedy clubs

  13. The library

  14. The gym

  15. Plane flights

  16. Road trips

  17. Full Kanye West albums

  18. Full Beatles albums

  19. Full Pink Floyd albums

  20. Full Daft Punk albums

  21. Chinatown mariano-rossi-330641

  22. The mall

  23. The toilet

  24. The elevator

  25. The laundromat

  26. Yoga class

  27. Beauty products freestocks-org-209882.jpg

  28. The weird part of YouTube

  29. Reading the entire Harry Potter series from the beginning as an adult

  30. TED talks

  31. Listening to a new music genre

  32. Farmer’s markets

  33. Flowers ornella-binni-106373

  34. Architecture

  35. A walk around the block

  36. The Food Network

  37. The fancy stationery store

  38. The zoo katie-treadway-253591

  39. Bath and Body Works

  40. Free People catalogues

  41. Netflix musicals (try Chicago, personal fave)

  42. Community theater musicals

  43. Broadway musicals

  44. High School Musical

  45. Spotify

  46. The ocean anastasia-taioglou-244880

  47. The lake

  48. The pool

  49. The bathtub…anywhere with water is good

  50. Champagne

  51. Champagne. IN the bathtub. Double whammy. You’ll be writing novels in no time.

  52. A frat party

  53. Pizza. Pizza is always inspirational.

  54. Donuts. See above rationale for pizza. bethany-newman-61417

  55. Starbucks, obviously

  56. A blank canvas

  57. Whatever new Urban Decay Naked palette is out

  58. Gossip Girl

  59. A globe andrew-neel-182861

  60. Pottery Barn catalogues

  61. The park

  62. Football games

  63. Disney movies

  64. Fashion shows

  65. Windows jonatan-pie-235783

  66. New restaurants

  67. A blank notebook

  68. Canned soup (hey, it worked for Warhol)

  69. Pinterest quotes

  70. Dance class

  71. A new shade of lipstick ian-dooley-298769

  72. Lightning bolts (the inspo for my logo)!

  73. Pilates

  74. Old cookbooks

  75. Old books in general (Tip: Visit one of those tiny bookstores with vintage books.)

  76. Mexican restaurants

  77. Antique stores

  78. Flea markets

  79. Candy stores delfi-de-la-rua-133880.jpg

  80. Little Italy

  81. Walmart

  82. Reddit

  83. The self-help section of Barnes and Noble

  84. The classics section, if feeling ambitious john-mark-kuznietsov-266552

  85. The aquarium

  86. Bike rides

  87. Driving along the coast

  88. Driving through cornfields, if in Midwest and cannot access coast

  89. Corn mazes!

  90. Carnivals hannah-morgan-95342

  91. Haunted houses

  92. Roller coasters

  93. Horse races

  94. Casinos

  95. Your closet

  96. 24 hour diners dani-king-261235

  97. Trains

  98. Candles

  99. Cameras

  100. Coffee shops…naturally…

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Whew! So much inspiration, so little time…better get cracking and start appreciating your Walmart!

XO,

CC

Beer & Takeout Pairings

After a less-than-great morning, I decided to do something out of character and spend an entire day in bed watching Netflix.

I realize this is completely normal behavior for half the human race, but for me it usually makes me anxious and feels like I’ve lost a whole day. Nevertheless, when I decide to do something, I don’t do it halfway. Seven hours went to the entire first season of GLOW, which turned out to be fabulous (I’m into the 80’s), and another four went to re-watching the best episodes of Mad Men.

After a day of bingeing on both TV and takeout, I realized the day wasn’t completely lost– I’ve discovered a special talent for selecting takeout and beer that go well with each other and with unhealthy doses of television.

Panda Express + Sapporo

At first I wrote Budweiser, but that just seemed un-American considering it’s paired with Chinese takeout. Sapporo is the Japanese Budweiser anyways. Seems as close as I can get.

Pizza + Fat Tire

Disclaimer: Of all the suggested beer/takeout pairings, this is the only one that has made me eventually puke. I’m sure the pizza played a larger role than the Fat Tire. In any case, proceed with caution.

pizza boxes.jpeg

Chipotle + Corona

You can at least try to feel like you’re eating Mexican food if you drink a Mexican beer with it. Bonus: Chipotle sells beer now.

Taco Bell + Modelo

Continuing on the theme of pairing Mexican(ish) takeout with Mexican beers, Corona is an excellent complement to your Chalupa. Truly fine dining here. I sincerely congratulate you if you’re actually eating Taco Bell with Corona.

Jimmy Johns + Natty Light

I can only assume that you’re eating Jimmy Johns because it’s 2 a.m., in which case you’re likely drinking the can of Natty Light you found in your purse.

Portillo’s + 312

Because pairing a Chicago hot dog with a Chicago beer is the only real option here.

Panera + Bud Light

If you’re going to attempt to eat healthy, you might as well do the same with your beer.

In-N-Out + Stone IPA

As a former southern Californian, I have it on good authority that In-N-Out goes well with any beer out there. However, if I must choose, it would have to be Stone, since a West Coast burger deserves a West Coast beer.

McDonald’s + Budweiser

Ah, there we go: the ultimate American meal.

If you need more wisdom on having a drink with your food, this article offers plenty of valuable insight.

In the meantime, stay tuned for my next post on beer and donut pairings!

XO,

CC

Work Playlist of the Week: Uplifting Electronic Goodness

Every week, I bring to you a batch of the hottest non-hits that get me through the work day. Fair warning that my musical taste ranges from Blondie to Bassnectar to Britney Spears.

Week of 6/19: A rough week that called for uplifting electronic goodness.

“Not Alone,” Matt & Kim

I haven’t listened to Matt & Kim in a hot minute, but this kept me bouncing in my seat through some stressful stuff.

“Life Itself,” Glass Animals

I first saw Glass Animals at Lollapalooza last year, and I was impressed with their ability to not sound like every other alternative band out there at the moment.

“I Can Change,” LCD Soundsystem

It’s like the 80’s came back! Enjoy this keyboard-driven song that’s both laid back and upbeat.

“We Are Your Friends,” Justice

I can always use some Justice in my life. Fingers crossed I get to see them at Lollapalooza this year, which is (of course) in the park across the street from my office building. And then I can hear them FOR REAL from work! Just kidding. That would be more depressing than cool.

“DVNO,” Justice

More Justice because you can never have enough.

“Oblivion,” Grimes

The nice thing about Grimes is that the music doesn’t distract you too much. Sometimes music makes me want to dance a little too much, but this song is perfect for when you need to be in the zone and crank it out.

“Ready for the Floor,” Hot Chip

Hot Chip is another band I’ve had the pleasure of seeing at Lollapalooza, and they never disappoint. I must just be in the music festival mode, with Taste of Chicago and Pitchfork both coming up soon…

“Where’s Your Head At,” Basement Jaxx**

Just a great electronic head-banger. Also see below.

**BONUS: “M.E.,” Gary Numan

THE ORIGINAL SONG THAT BASEMENT JAXX SAMPLED. I actually discovered this when looking for new 80’s music, and this guy was so ahead of his time. Holy wow.