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Why We Envy "The Lost Girls"

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Here at T+L, we’re fortunate enough to have the world’s most fascinating destinations on our radar at all times—but we still have to come back to reality, and our desks, eventually. So when I received a copy of The Lost Girls: Three Friends, Four Continents, One Conventional Detour Around the World recently, it felt a little eerie. Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett, and Amanda Pressner were three twentysomething Manhattan media types—including two magazine editors, just like me!—who plotted to leave their fast-paced careers and relationships to backpack around the world for a year. Were these girls really going to live my dream, then shove it in my face in an epic 591-page tome?

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Maine Sleepaway Camp for Wannabe Furniture Makers

201005_moserchairjpgThos. Moser, the furniture-making firm, many of whose handmade pieces have achieved American icon status, runs a Customer-in-Residence program that could make the perfect Father’s Day gift for the would-be woodworker in your family.   Never mind bringing home an ashtray or lanyard from camp—graduates of this weeklong program come home with a piece of furniture that they’ve built under the tutelage of a master woodworker.

The lucky five carpenters accepted into each session (applications are considered and previous Moser customers are given preference on the waiting list) are put up at the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport, Maine, land of the outdoorsy outlet shop.

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Get Amped for the World Cup With Local Music

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South Africa is on the radar these days as the countdown to the World Cup begins. Curious about the country but don't have the time or money to fly half way around the world? Try traveling through music.

Putumayo's latest country-themed release, "South Africa" is—in the classic fuzzy-wuzzy style of America's most ubiquitous world-music label—a "celebration of the diversity" of the destination. Admittedly, I have mixed feelings about Putumayo. While I enjoy the company's intentions (introducing people to music they might otherwise never know, giving charitably to the countries whose music it publishes, etc.), I'm not always the biggest fan of its sampler-style take on breaking international acts, or on the insistently feel-good focus, or on, well, of the commoditization of countries-as-musical-products.

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Yelp Yack: Humorous Illustrations of Real Reviews

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This weekend in San Francisco I met an illustrator named Jessica Wassil who has an amazing new project: creating illustrations based on anonymous reviews on Yelp. She takes the characters in the reviews, both the narrators and the subjects, and brings them to life in her drawings, with hilarious results. My favorite begins:

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OPENINGS: Baryshnikov Dances into the Spotlight...Again!

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One of the biggest names in dance, Mikhail Baryshnikov, is the force behind one of the best-kept secrets in New York City…but not for long.  The Baryshnikov Arts Center located on West 37th Street in Hell’s Kitchen, recently opened the Jerome Robbins Theater.  The 238-seat, intimate performance for dance, music, and theater (it's also the home of the avant-guard theater company The Wooster Group) is state-of-the-art, ravishing to look at, and, most important, has crystal-clear acoustics and perfect sightlines. Now through May 26, the BAC inaugurates the theater with a remarkable mini-festival, May Nights that will show off the space to advantage.

Festival highlights include:

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Message from the Titanic: Send More Polar Bears!

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Last December we told you about the new Titanic Museum, a half-scale, three-deck replica of the doomed ocean liner, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Well, the museum has finally opened and in its first three weeks it ran out of souvenir polar bears in the gift shop!

I suppose if that’s the worst fate to befall the nascent attraction, it’s doing pretty well. In fact, the museum clocked 50,000 “passengers” in the first 21 days. And what is it everyone wants to see? “Guests are interested in the only Titanic lifejacket tied to an actual passenger (below)—it's the only one in the world,” says Mary Kellogg-Joslyn, owner of the Titanic Museum. “The passenger's name was Madeleine Astor, married to the richest man aboard the ship.  The value of this artifact is really priceless. It has been insured for a million dollars.”

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Downtown L.A. is Where It’s At

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Downtown Los Angeles has transformed from one of L.A.’s “whatever” neighborhoods to a must-do that’s on everyone’s list. With the recent opening of the brand new JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels and an influx of hot restaurants in the surrounding blocks, the area is set for visitors to do more than just park and beeline to the Staples Center for a concert or sporting event, it’s now a place you want to get to early, stay all day, and maybe even spend the night.

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Argentina's "Abuelas" Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

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Argentina’s Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo, the civil rights group that fights to track down and identify children who were “disappeared” during the country’s military dictatorships, have been nominated for a 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

The Abuelas (Grandmothers) originally formed as an offshoot of the Madres de La Plaza de Mayo—mothers who, dressed in matching white kerchiefs and toting posters of missing people, staged sobering daily protest marches in Buenos Aires’ main square for over three decades. But whereas the latter group seeks justice for the sons and daughters kidnapped during the military dictatorships, the Abuelas focus on what happened to the offspring—born and unborn—of those desaparecidos. From the mid-1970s and through the early ‘80s, approximately 500 Argentine children were abducted (along with their parents) and raised by military families or by other government sympathizers. In their 30-year history, the Abuelas have managed to recover 47 of these niños robados.

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Virginia is for (Flower) Lovers

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As a Maine girl through and through, I’ve been a bit confounded lately by my new blossoming obsession with the South—plotting long weekends in Charleston, pouring over my new subscription to Garden & Gun magazine (for the record, it’s more lifestyle than weed-whacking and ammo), and daydreaming about the rolling green hills, gracious historic pockets of Virginia—and the serious bloomage happening there right now. But, I'm rolling with it.

While the Northeast (and probably other parts of the country) has just a few new-season daffodils, cherry blossoms, and electric-yellow forsythia bushes right now, the Commonwealth is ablaze with heart-stopping flora—everything from Osage orange trees and wisteria-laden trellises to rare rose breeds and Elizabethan herb gardens. And this coming week marks its apex: Virginia’s Historic Garden Week (Apr. 17-25), now in its 77th year.

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Old School: Celebrate "Record Store Day"

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When was the last time you bought a new album at an actual brick and mortar record shop? In the age of iTunes, it’s become the norm to download music from the internet. I'm guilty, too, even though you can frequently find me and my camera jammed in the front row covering concerts for various music publications.

Tomorrow, take advantage of the spring weather and head over to your local record shop for Record Store Day, a celebration of independently owned record stores in the United States, and other countries worldwide, now in its third year.

In addition to special vinyl and CD releases being made exclusively for Record Store Day from the likes of Phoenix and Jamie Lidell, there will also be a number of in-store appearances and performances from a wide variety of musicians, including Slash, Emmylou Harris, and Yeasayer.  Search for your local participating stores here. I’ve put together a short list of standout events after the break.

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