Illustrated Arabic Typography

When my parents made me spend Saturday afternoons in Arabic school instead of playing sports, I thought I'd never overcome my resentment toward them.

I never got great at sports, for one.

But now I am someone who can read and write in Arabic.

Mostly.

What I mean is:

I speak like a Lebanese mountain villager who just emerged, Encino-Man-style, from a 1960s time capsule.
I read at about a 4th grade level on my best day.
My handwriting has been described by Lebanese children under the age of ten as "adorable".


I mean. I'll take it.




It's a good enough foundation for a native speaker who has lived her whole Americanized life on a different side of the planet.


Maybe eventually I'll polish my vocabulary, step up my literacy game, start watching Middle Eastern news channels oooohtheytalksofast, and use these skills to help people. It't not yet a game plan, only a possibility, if my current job, which I still love, unexpectedly quits on me or something.



For today, I'll share the amazing work of designer Mahmoud El Sayed, who illustrated Arabic words based on their meaning:








Aren't these beautiful?! They made me so, so happy.

In My Brain // Snow Day



Happy snow day! I'm working from home and catching up on the grading pile I've been stupidly saving. Stay warm and cozy and enjoy yourself some Internet:



// A genre I love is Writers Writing About How They Write. So of course a piece by George Saunders captivates me.


// I love me some Cold War education films, and Disney's 1946 The Story of Menstruation maybe takes the cake.


// Everybody! Everybody! Homestar Runner mirrors the history of the Internet.


// Always excited for, inspired by, and proud of this beautiful artsy weirdo: Erica Taylor <3


// The above photo is from Cory J. Popp, whose work you should be following if you love Philly or talent in general.

Portrait Doodles

I've been really inspired by these mixed media portraits that have been showing up lately. I kind of want to find a way to bring this idea into the classroom.










1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

In My Brain // Valentine's Day



This is the first year in a long time that I didn't make a zillion cards and send them to my friends all over the country for Valentine's Day. I'm really bummed that I didn't get it together to do that. It's one of my favorite things.



Here are some other current favorite things:

Mystery Cove // We can't stop spinning Monster Rally's record at our house. We love its beautiful tiki vibes on these dreary winter days. Listen here.

What's old is new // Mini-backpacks are here again and I am shamelessly on board. Coveting this one (and its price point).

George Saunders // I get to see one of my favorite authors at the Free Library tonight! I'm finally finishing Tenth of December and can't wait to read his new, weird novel.

Townsend // We just made our reservations for East Passyunk Restaurant Week

Diversity // Read the transcript for Roxanne Gay's speech at WI12. I love her writing and am grateful we're on the planet together so I can read it in real time.




The Hand-Drawn Infographics of W.E.B. DuBois

I've revisited this post from Public Domain Review multiple times since I came across it last week. In addition to his extensive and important work as a historian, sociologist, activist, and author, W.E.B. DuBois apparently had some solid design chops.

Check out some of his hand-drawn infographics:








I'm so enjoying this cool new lens to see an already brilliant figure. I've just added this two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning biography to my list

Your Recommendations // Budapest & Prague

Remember that time we ditched the honeymoon plan in our whirlwind move to Philadelphia? Well, we decided that 2.5 years later is a terrific time to finally take a trip together.


This April we're going to Budapest, Prague, with maybe 24 hours in London. We're ready for all of your recommendations. Where should we stay, eat, and play? Tell us your greatest hits.