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iOS: Friends and Surprises Edition!

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Check out our latest release for iOS!  We are making it easier for you to get out and explore the world and share the places that mean the most to you.  

What’s New?

+ Snazzy new prompts to inspire you to leave notes about the places you love, discover new destinations, and follow local experts.

+ ‘Surprise Me!’ search feature. For those times when you are just in the mood to explore.  How about beaches in Maui or street art in Chicago?  Bam! You’re there.

+ It’s now easier to find and invite your friends on Findery!

+ We’ve added a new swiping feature.  You can now swipe in the expanded note view, so you can see more of the notes you enjoy, faster.

+ Improved Photo Picker: it’s faster to load, and if you have photos in your library which are stored in iCloud, they will be automatically downloaded as needed.

Download the latest version from the App Store, and check out the latest and greatest. And if you’re on the web, or Android, we’ve got you covered too!

So friends, surprise us with your notes on Findery!

Tiny Slivers of Awe

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Every once and awhile a note gets left on Findery that makes us all feel lucky. Lucky to be a part of Findery, lucky to have travel experiences and a community of adventurers to share them with. A few days ago, Stefanie Payne left one of those notes. She forecasted luck with a note that started like this:

So, I’m sitting on top of the largest King penguin colony in the world and in comes this rainbow… It was one of those “whoa, pinch me, is this for real or am I truly losing it?” moments in my life.

We have all had those moments. Honestly, I don’t think most are THIS amazing, but we have time!

I gave a lot of thought to social sharing, and to sharing in general, that day and it occurred to me that @findery is the very best place for where to share these tiny slivers of awe that occur in life, because Findery is full of “whoa, [call to action],

, [suggest alternative possibilities to reality.!?] moments in life.

On St. Patrick’s Day, in between sips of green beverages, chasing rainbows, and leprechaun traps, leave a note about a place that made you feel lucky. We could all use a tiny sliver of awe.

Coming soon! Findery on the Apple Watch

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The Watch is coming! The Apple Watch ad puts Findery front and center at :40.

Apple announced the Watch at their keynote on March 9th. Apple is calling the Apple Watch their most personal product, because it is the first one designed to be worn.

Our goal has always been to make powerful technology more accessible. More relevant. And ultimately, more personal. Apple Watch represents a new chapter in the relationship people have with technology. It’s the most personal product we’ve ever made, because it’s the first one designed to be worn.

We are still celebrating. Working hard… and celebrating!

Intersection of Art and Tech

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Caterina Fake with Deirdre Bolton on Risk and Reward

Caterina Fake with Deirdre Bolton on Risk and Reward

On a very windy morning, Caterina Fake joined Deidre Bolton for a West Coast edition of Risk and Reward to discuss technology, innovation and (of course) Findery.

With the Golden Gate Bridge backdrop, the interview looks at Findery and the intersection of art with technology. Caterina shares the need for humanity and meaning online. From self-driving cars to home-based 3d printing to urban planning, Caterina also shares how fascinating it is to live in the science fiction novel that we call San Francisco.

Watch the full interview here and join Deirdre Bolton weekdays from 1-2pm ET, on Fox Business.

Findery App featured on Risk and Reward

Findery App featured on Risk and Reward

Living Life to the Fullest in Italy

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If there is one characteristic that describes Italians, it’s their ability to enjoy life. If you are looking for ways to enjoy the sweet life, la dolce vita, take tips from the Italians, or better yet, head to Italy.

Photo courtesy of Katja Presnal

 

One of the best things about Italy is actually the people, and, on your next trip, you should take time to get to know the locals. I have been very fortunate to make friends during my multiple trips to Italy. For example, meeting Lorenzo Bonoldi is reason enough to travel to Italy. Lorenzo is a fine-arts guide in Mantua, a historic city in the Northern Italian region of Lombardy. He likes to call himself a “gossip historian” because he shares scandalous historic gossip to make learning about art history more interesting! Mantua is a great destination, not just for Lorenzo, but also for multiple historic sites like the Palazzo Te (just make sure to go there with Lorenzo!).

Photo courtesy of Katja Presnal

 

Once in the Abruzzo area of Italy I was invited to a dinner party in a home, where Nonni was making pasta in the kitchen. A local band showed up and started playing music in the kitchen. It was a big happy mess with everyone dancing around the table! When Italians have a party at home, the focus is in having a good time and good food, not in the party decorating or goodie bags!

Speaking of Italian food – there actually is such a thing as bad Italian food, as we sadly discovered in several touristy restaurants in Venice. It’s best to trust food recommendations made by locals and eat where they eat! Now our favorite restaurant in Venice is Da Mamo, where I discovered my new favorite pizza: apple gorgonzola! It’s also fun to learn how to make pizza from scratch at home so you can “travel to Italy” on any weeknight. We have taken several cooking classes in Italy and cooking authentic Italian food is one of our family’s favorite ways to teach global lifestyle to our children.

You might be surprised to learn that you will not find Spaghetti Bolognese in Italy, but you will find “tagliatelle al ragù” or “ragù alla bolognese,” meat sauce with tagliatelle. And what could be more living life to the fullest than eating a real Bolognese sauce in Bologna? I recommend stopping at Osteria del’Orsa in Bologna for an authentic tagliatelle al ragù experience.

Photo courtesy of Katja Presnal

 

And when in Rome… drink coffee like the Romans do. In Rome you can even stop at the cafe most favored by the locals, the Sant’Eustachio Il Caffé. Did you know that drinking coffee with milk typically only happens in the mornings in Italy? And even in the mornings, be careful not to order a “latte.” In Italian “latte” means milk and you might end up getting just a glass of hot milk! (Don’t ask me how I know!) In Italy, when you order a “cafe,” you’ll received a tiny cup of espresso, or you can get an “Americano,” an espresso with hot water added, reminiscent of drip coffee. Italians make short visits to cafes to drink a quick espresso shot, and then move on. Don’t even think about asking your cappuccino or cafe latte in a to-go cup!

Photo courtesy of Katja Presnal

 

Traveling by train in Italy and visiting several cities on the same trip is easy. I also highly recommend getting outside the big cities, renting a car and getting lost in the Italian countryside. Just don’t rent a car without GPS or you might not find your way back! Some of our best vacation memories are from our random day trips exploring the Italian countryside, renting vacation homes and truly living like Italians.

Photo courtesy of Katja Presnal

 

Once, inspired by the movie Under the Tuscan Sun, we rented a villa in Tuscany. And of course that’s not the only thing in Italy we have done inspired by so many greatmovies filmed in Italy.

There are many agrotourism farms where you can stay to experience more authentic Italian living. In these farms you can go olive picking, truffle hunting, or see how wine is made. In Navelli, Abruzzo, you can even go saffron picking.

Photo courtesy of Katja Presnal

Last but not the least, it’s OK to be a tourist in Italy. The locals might give you hard time for not knowing all of their customs, but at the end of the day, tourism is an important industry in Italy and everyone wants you to visit. In fact, even the Italians themselves mainly only travel domestically. So go ahead, take the gondola ride in Venice and snap those touristy photos next to the Leaning Tower of Pisa stay in a luxury hotel, and enjoy your time in Italy. Life is too short to be taken seriously!

Discover more great travel destinations. Follow Katja Presnal on Findery.

 

 

 

 

 

Germany, Off the Beaten Path

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Germany is full of beautiful cities, such as Berlin, with its cosmopolitan flair and bustling art scene; Leipzig with its architectural diversity and inspiring revolutionary spirit; and Frankfurt, otherwise known as Mainhattan, for its incredible museums and breathtaking parks.

Crossing the Helbeing Bridge in Frankfurt (Image by Girl Gone Travel)

These are all worthy of discovery and showcase a lot of what the world knows and loves about the country and the culture. But if you want to see Germany in a different way, take the train or rent a car and head to the south to the countryside.

Like its cities, each region is as diverse as the next, varying in traditions, landscape, and even dialects.

Here are three unique ways to take in German culture off the beaten path.

Visit a legendary cuckoo clock maker

The cuckoo clock has a long tradition in the Black forest and the Rombach and Haasclocks has a history going back to 1894. Handmade from beginning to end, and in their fourth generation of clock makers, the design of these timepieces range from antique to contemporary. Walk into the shop and meet the clockmakers to learn the history of these world-celebrated Black Forest Clocks.

Go to the other carnivals

Mention carnival (Karneval, Fasching, and Fastnacht) in Germany and most people will immediately think of Cologne and the Rosenmontag, the largest and most popular masquerade parade in the country.

Though the traditions of carnival have mostly Catholic and Protestant roots, how they are celebrated varies. The most authentic experiences can be had in areas such as Schramberg and Rottweil in the state of Baden-Württemberg, in the eastern part of the Black Forest.

Narrows walk the city during Fasnet in Schramberg (Image by Girl Gone Travel)

They are not heavily visited by tourists which makes it easy to mingle with and learn from the locals. If you’re lucky, you might even get a cultural lesson or two from local dignitaries, all of whom spend the day among other members of the community in celebration.

Have lunch in a farm in the Black Forest

A visit to Reinertonishof, a family-owned farm house built in 1616, is like a step back in time.

Enjoy a typical Black Forest meal at their restaurant, rides from ponies in the farm, and other outdoor activities like snowshoeing and skiing in the surrounding grounds. The farmer’s wife is usually the one to greet you, and though her English is limited, her smile is contagious and her welcome, warm.

Image by Girl Gone Travel

When traveling off the beaten path, English speakers may be harder to come by, but not impossible to find; a car may be required, and it’s often best to recruit local guides to help you navigate through the area. But experiencing some of the unique cultural elements of Germany will only make you love the country and its people even more.

Discover more great travel destinations. Follow Girl Gone Travel on Findery.

Valentines, Goats & Vacations

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Don’t leave us February! This month was full of love, Chinese New Year celebrations, exotic locales and ski trips on Findery. Our map has never been so colorful. Thanks for leaving such beautiful notes and for sharing your family’s traditions.


— AWESOME PEOPLE TO FOLLOW —

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Skimbaco: I left my home country Finland without a return ticket. I met my American husband in Germany, and we have been traveling together since 1997.

AnAmericanInGermany: Live in the Kaiserslautern Germany now but I’m originally from US. I Love to travel all over Europe. I’ll try my hand at highlighting great places to eat visit or experience…got a question? Let me know I’ll be happy to talk about any place I’ve been.

Wanderlustliving: I’ve climbed an ice tower, bungee jumped, skydived, zip-lined, para-glided, para-sailed, trapezed and swam naked in the grotto at the Playboy Mansion (which was probably the most frightening of all).


—  NOTEMAPS TO CHECK OUT —

CNY 2015 Trip: Findery’s own, Tommy Singh, travels to Singapore and Indonesia to celebrate Chinese New Year and introduce his family to his new baby.

Taiwan Sojourn: Memories from my time in Taiwan. From quirky oyster shacks to remnants of a Golden Age, check out Alexander Synaptic’s tour through Taiwan.

London Underground Stations: Hop on the Tube and give yourself time to check out these neat details at various stations through London.


— Gong Xi Fa Cai! 恭禧发财! 

May the Year of the Goat bring you good luck and good fortune! We have a fondness for goats around here, so we are excited for the future.

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New Sharing Tools: Buttons and Widgets

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It’s Time To Get Social:  Introducing New Findery Sharing Tools. Add buttons and widgets to your website or blog. Let your visitors find you and your notes on Findery.

Follow buttons and icons: Findery now has follow me buttons and icons to add to your blog or website. Just a simple snip of code to let people find your notes left on Findery. Check out the “Follow on Findery” button on Girl Gone Travel:

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Findery Embed Widget: Make sure your website visitors never miss your Findery notes by adding our new widget. It’s easy to add the code and the notes will update automatically on your site. The “Find me on Findery” widget is embedded on Skimbaco Lifestyle:
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Our Findery Sharing Tools are available now. If you have any issues or just want to show us how pretty your website looks, drop us a line at hello@findery.com.

Introducing Findery 2.0 for Android

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Findery for Android is better!  More beautiful, more streamlined–it’s great.

What’s new?

+ Simplified user experience and easier navigation.

+ Browse nearby places and explore faraway destinations with Near and Far.

+ New search feature. What are you looking for and where? Street Art in Chicago? Beaches in Hawaii? Bam! You’re there.

Download the latest version from the Google Play Store, and check out Near and Far. And if you’re on the web, or iOS, we’ve got you covered too!

Biosphere 2: Real Life Reality TV

The 30th season of Survivor, premieres on February 25th. For 15 years, I have indulged in my guilty pleasure of watching castaways try to outwit, outlast and outplay each other for a million dollars. I am comforted by the ratings: I am not the only sane educated woman who can’t get enough of this ridiculous show. What fascinates me so much? The “confined environment psychology.”

Watching a diverse group of people thrive or crack under the merciless conditions brings me back to Psych 101 class. How would I behave after sleeping in the rain? Who would I find comforting while living on rice and doing impossible physical challenges? Would I lose my mind if sent to Survivor’s famed exile island? I recently discovered a real human isolation experiment at Biosphere 2.

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Image courtesy of Jessica Reid

Biosphere 2
Thirty minutes outside of Tucson, Arizona lies Biosphere 2, the Earth’s largest closed system science research facility ever created. The Earth, of course, is Biosphere 1. Biosphere 2 is on a 40 acre plot of land surrounded by mountains and desert landscape- the ultimate survivalist environment. In the 1980’s a group of scientists and investors came together and built a structure of biomes filled with greenhouses, a living sea, desert and rainforest, savannah and living quarters for people. Two controversial missions tested survivability by sealing people (known as Biospherians), birds, goats and insects into this incredible glass structure. This project had noble goals of environmental research, but the larger aim was space colonization. They hoped to patent a system that could be set up on other planets. No doubt, the Biospherians inspired Mars One, the upcoming human settlement on Mars.

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Image courtesy of Jessica Reid

Living in Biosphere 2
I have visited Biosphere 2 a few times. The most fascinating person involved in this experiment is Jayne Poynter. She was in charge of food production on Biosphere 2. She makes the science come alive in quotes and videos throughout the tour. Plus, she is funny and has a cool British accent. A couple of the living areas, including Jayne’s bedroom and the kitchen, are preserved as a museum that you can visit. Her book, The Human Experiment: Two Years and Twenty Minutes Inside Biosphere 2, chronicles the problems of hunger, low oxygen and conflict. (Spoiler alert: she married one of her fellow Biospherians.) The Biosphere 2 tour shares her story along with everyday dramas including a severed finger, an ant invasion and a raid on of the emergency food supplies!

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Image courtesy of Rafe Sagrin

The Living Sea
I wonder if the Biospherians ever skinny-dipped in their own private ocean? I hope so! The living sea, complete with coral reef, was created for Biospherians to manage waste and provide food for the people and fertilizer for their crops. Weird and awesome, right? The 700,000 gallon saltwater tank is the largest contained ocean in the world. The University of Arizona, along with a crowd funded research project led by Rafe Sagrin, is currently transforming the ocean into a “Desert Sea” that will highlight the ecology of the Sea of Cortez. It’s pretty incredible to think that no matter how hard we try, we can’t compete with the real thing- our Earth, Biosphere 1.

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Image courtesy of Biosphere 2

The Tour
Biosphere 2 has tours daily from 9-4. Tickets are steep at around $40, but the tour is unforgettable. I recommend taking the weekend tour if you want more history on the early closed-mission years. You might even meet a former Biospherian! The tour route is about a mile long and includes over 150 stairs, so accessibility is an issue for the full experience. Bring a large water bottle, comfortable shoes and sunscreen. The desert is unforgiving. Photos are encouraged and the docents love to answer questions. When you take the tour you will pass the trees with coffee beans that were harvested for the Biospherians coffee. It’s these little details that really connect you to the real Biospherians. There are also art installations and solar energy experiments throughout the grounds. The gift shop has a great selection of unique gifts for science lovers, including many local products made from rocks and plants in the desert. The mementos are an excellent reminder that you have one of the best happy hour stories to tell.

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Image courtesy of Hi-SEAS/Ross Lockwood

Simulated Mars Mission on Hawaiian Volcano
I have found that people young and old are intrigued by the story of my Biosphere 2 visit. Like Survivor, it brings out the curious in all of us. Could you survive a year in Biosphere 2, on a Hawaiian volcano at Mauna Loa or in a research center on Antarctica? Personally, I think the producers should consider Biosphere 2 for the 31st season of Survivor. I am working on my audition tape…just in case they decide to go for it.

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