Where My Ideas End Up

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Generic Packaging for Toiletries January 19, 2015

Filed under: Objects — lauraherberg @ 6:33 pm


I try to keep my toiletries in this little cabinet in my bathroom so that I don’t have to look at their ugly exteriors. I hate the mish-mash of colors, font, and information on them.  They just look so tacky, especially all together.

Here’s the idea:  what if we could have toiletries in sleek, solid-colored packaging?  Like toothpaste in a completely white container?  Face wash in a completely white container?  Shampoo in a completely white container with an ‘S,’ conditioner in a white container with a ‘C’.  All of a sudden bathrooms would be a lot less cheap looking. The problem is, how would you accomplish this?

It seems to me that a lot of the ugly information on packaging may be required by law: ingredients, directions for use.  Also half of it is there to get you to buy the product – it’s an ad sitting right there in the grocery store – so I recognize it wouldn’t really be in the manufacturers best interest to do away with this. But nonetheless, here are a couple ideas I have that could lead to us getting better looking toiletries in our bathrooms:

-Print all the ugly packaging info on an easily removable sticker. I’ve already seen this in use with supplementary packaging info, but let’s make it for the whole thing.

-Retailers could sell the products in bulk, like they already do with foods like peanut butter, granola, coffee and teas. I even used to shop at a health food store where they sold oils in bulk and you could bring in your own container, you just had to weigh the container first. This could be a great solution for pourable products like soap, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, body wash and more.

-Toiletry makers could sell their products in bulk and market their own smaller sleek cases.  For example, you could buy a giant ugly bottle of Herbal Essence shampoo with all the necessary information and gross catchy advertising words on it to get you to buy it. But then they could also sell a sleek, clear smaller bottle to pour some of the Herbal Essence shampoo into and keep in your shower, while you keep the ugly bottle in your closet.  This already kind of happens with soap except the small container sold by the manufacturer is still pretty ugly.  But then there’s the below option…

-You can already buy liquid soap in an ugly container and then pour it into the sleek glass or metal container that matches your toothbrush holder and your cup set (as pictured here).  So maybe the solution is as easy as selling a line of sleek generic containers for all kinds of toiletries.  The problem is this may be unrealistic when it comes to make-up items like lipstick and eye-shadow that aren’t easily transferable from one container to the next.


All the Wild… July 18, 2014

Detroit WildflowersSo, basically, I think the wildflowers in Detroit should be capitalized on, or at least have more attention paid to them.  The only thing I know about is this Kickstarter-funded App that exists called Wildflowers of Detroit.  Which is cool.  But I think there’s room for so much more.  Here are some ideas I’ve had milling around in my head related to Detroit’s wildflowers:

Bouquet Bombing

I think it would be fun to go out with a group and pick a bunch of wildflowers, make several bouquets, and then drop them off on the doorsteps of the neighbors near the lots where you picked the flowers.

Wildflower Walks

These are a common occurrences on nature preserves that have fields of flowers.  Well we have fields of flowers too.  Ideally you’d want to find out who owns the lots and check in with the neighbors before leading wildflower tours but you could also just pick a more isolated area and kinda go rogue.

Phoenix Flowers

Someone should pick the pretty, dried up flowers that you find poking out of the snow in the winter and sell Detroit dead flower bouquets at Eastern Market and online.  The great thing about selling them online is that you wouldn’t have to worry about the flowers dying when you ship them.  This sounds a little morbid but myself and all my lady friends legit think that these dried up wildflowers are beautiful, and there’s no way we’re the only ones. The biz should be called “Phoenix Flowers” as a reference to Detroit’s city motto: “We Hope For Better Things; It Shall Rise From the Ashes”

Wildflower Bouquets

This idea is like the above one but with the fresh-cut flowers.  Again, they could be sold at Eastern Market and online, I think for a huge mark-up. I picked a bouquet of dill and wildflowers from the lot next to my house the other day. My boyfriend came over and thought the bouquet was from Whole Foods.





Bar of Living Rooms

Filed under: Food,General Ideas and Concepts,Parties/Social Gatherings — lauraherberg @ 2:09 am

living roomI’d say most of my friends don’t have TV.  Sure, now that you can use stuff like X-Boxes and lord knows what else to stream the internet on flat screens, many of my friends can once again watch TV shows in the comfort of their own homes, but I’ve noticed us still running into problems when it comes to watching live TV.  Sure, maybe that’s what sports bars are for.  But they don’t always have the sound on for that big game and they won’t usually play this week’s episode of Project Runway.

Enter the Living Room Bar.  It’s like one of those Japanese-style karaoke bars where you can rent rooms for karaoke except here you rent a living room by the hour.  Each one can be tricked out with its own design theme.  1990s family style, mid-century modern, IKEA – whatever.  The living room looks like a typical living room set up.  There are a couple couches, maybe a recliner, end tables and a coffee table.  Nearly every channel will be available to watch and there will also be DVD and VHS players in case you want to bring your own or rent something from the bar.

Then there’s the food.  Imagine a cross between home comfort food, movie theater concessions, and if the super bowl were every day.  We’re talking a classy hamburger helper, buttery pop-corn, or a platter with a trio of guac, spinach artichoke and buffalo cheese dip. And of course there will be lots of ice cream available by the pint.


Alternative New Year’s Eve January 1, 2014

Filed under: Activities,General Ideas and Concepts,Parties/Social Gatherings — lauraherberg @ 3:03 am

I no longer want to spend New Year’s Eve hoping to land at the best party in town just so I can get super wasted and find someone to kiss at midnight. Call me crazy. And yet, staying home and watching the ball drop on TV sounds equally awful.  So what are people like me supposed to do on New Year’s Eve?

Enter the “Alternative New Year’s Eve.” Now this concept is not something I came up with.  But, this year, as I was hoping to find something different to do on December 31st – my google search of that phrase wasn’t really turning up very many good suggestions.  So here are my own personal ideas for outside-the-box, yet, perhaps equally satisfying, ways of spending the last holiday of the year.




Host a “Make A _____” Party 


The blank could be “story,” “movie,” “painting,” “song” – whatever creative pursuit strikes your fancy.  The idea would be find other people who are excited about spending New Years Eve on the chosen craft, get a bunch of coffee and snacks, and get together and GO! Work, work, work… through midnight, through the morning, until you pass out.  Ideally wherever you guys are creating would also be somewhere that you could all crash. Then, the next day, have a presentation party where you all show off to each other what you made.


Move Through It 


Some major cities host runs or bike rides that start at or around midnight on New Year’s Eve.


Get Spiritual 


At midnight, focus on your breath without worrying about having to kiss someone.  It’s becoming more and more popular for yoga studios to offer late night classes on New Years Eve.


Work It 


Get paid to “celebrate” New Year’s Eve.  Try to find a catering or bar tending gig. Or, if you lack experience in those areas you should still be able to find some kind of “event staff” gig – working a coat check or something like that.  If not, sign up to baby sit or to be a group’s designated driver for the night.


Act Natural


Being out in nature seems to me like the antithesis of a typical New Year’s Eve party – which can be pretty nice.  Try camping, ice fishing, snowmobiling – maybe even just have a bon fire out in the woods or down by a river.


Document Someone Else’s 


Instead of experiencing your own New Year’s Eve, spend your night recording someone else’s.  Use your iPhone or just an old fashioned pen and paper to document what this person does. This would probably still be interesting if you just followed a friend around at a party but I would challenge you to go a little bit outside your comfort zone and document, say, someone driving a cab, working at a 24-hour diner or maybe a toll booth. Tell the person you’re a “freelance reporter.”


Host A New Year’s Day Brunch 


Spend all night prepping for the most fabulous New Year’s Day brunch ever.  Then be ready to be entertained as all your friends trickle in around 1pm the next day and tell you about their nights. If you feel like it, go ahead and become the most drunk person at brunch. You deserve it.


Avoid It All Together 


If you plan a flight strategically enough it should be possible to fly across the International Date Line without ever hitting midnight on December 31st.  Or if that’s too expensive, then wherever you are you can just pull an all-nighter on December 30th so that on New Year’s Eve you’re so tired you fall asleep before midnight and wake up on January 1st.


Article Club August 18, 2013

Filed under: Activities,Parties/Social Gatherings — lauraherberg @ 9:22 pm

Wish you made more time to read articles but it’s hard to incorporate that into your routine? Or perhaps you’ve always wanted to join a book club but you feel like you just don’t have the time to squeeze another book in your life?

Introducing the “Article Club.”

You choose how often you want to meet but I think weekly or bi-weekly seems reasonable.  One person chooses the article each week, makes sure everyone gets a copy of it, and they also choose where the meet-up should happen.  Then you meet and discuss.


Jello Shop

Filed under: Food,General Ideas and Concepts — lauraherberg @ 9:12 pm

Coffee shops blew up in the 90s.  Then somewhere in the 2000s cupcake shops went out of control.  Inspired by my mother’s ceaseless love for gelatin creations, I think it’s time for Jello products to once again have their hey-day.  This time, as part of the consumer dining market.


This is what I’m picturing:

Probably a diner-like place with 50s decor, but also maybe a sleek, modern joint.  Everything on the menu is a Jello product, except some of the beverages.  These are some of the things we might see on the menu:

-Large items made from fun Jello molds, to take the place of birthday cakes

-Jello cocktails.  You’ve heard of Jello shots, but what about a sophisticated Jello Cocktail that you eat with a spoon.  Gelatinous Pina Colada anyone?

-Those pudding grave yards with gummy worms and the Oreo dirt.

-Tomato aspic and other savory Jello’s


-Jello jigglers

-pudding pops

-Jello with a gourmet twist – say, raspberry Jello with organic, local basil and black peppercorn

-Any kind of insane, kitschy Jello or pudding treat you can dream up

I think treats could be available at the counter but it might be fun to also explore a kind of sit down model where you get waited on – that way you can be appropriately served your Jello item and it will just add another layer to the experience.


Dance Party Instead of Aerobics Class (Preferably in the Morning)

Filed under: Activities,Parties/Social Gatherings — lauraherberg @ 8:49 pm

This idea challenges two core social norms:

1.  Dance parties have to happen at night.

2.  Aerobics classes need to be guided and structured, like “simon says.”

But here’s what I’m saying:

1.  Dancing is a great work out.  I break a sweat so hard after a night of dance partying and am usually sore the next day.

2.  Aerobic activities commonly happen in the morning.  Dancing should be no exception.

I’m not saying kill late night dance parties or cancel that 6am tae-bo class (do people even still do tae-bo?), I’m just saying sign me up for that 8am sober dance party.  Now THAT’S an aerobics class that I’ll look forward to getting out of bed for.