Listen/Watch/Read Nice Life Reminders Pip-Life

12 (Non-Whimsy) Blogs That’ll Make Your Day HEAPS Better

Image source: Yu Square’s work on The Etsy Blog


Many of us are addicted to the pretty pictures and curated clicks that Instagram and aspirational lifestyle type blogs can offer. I totally get that. For sure. We’re probably also more familiar than we’d like to be with sites that offer alarming or mean-spirited content. Yep.

As an online writer – and a lover of good and simple things – I have weird, neurotic concerns about online content that might be… disposable. More and more, the headlines and images we click on are designed to bait us for exactly 4 seconds. (Yes I know that’s why it’s called clickbait!) My thinking is that the value of those interactions doesn’t matter to their publishers – it’s just the click that counts.

Not to be all hoity-toity and up myself, but on my own blog I really DO TRY to write stuff that’ll be useful in the long run (not just for the next 4 seconds.) I reckon there’s WAY TOO MUCH litter online and I try not to contribute to the rubbish pile when I write here. Hopefully.

For me it’s not JUST the click that counts – although I love visitors, of course. The measure of the worth of my work is that I said/posted something I loved and cared about, that people want to read it and that they might share it with their friends. If they keep coming back to it, that’s a bit of a win too.

This is how I measure the stuff I read, as well. Did it make me feel something big? – not just due to cynically crafted click-baitery. Did it make me wonder? Or remind me of something? Or encourage other ideas? Did it make me feel excited or delighted or admiring or inspired or transformed or surprised? These are the kinds of feels I’m going for here. (Probably I don’t always succeed, but I do my best.)

So in the spirit these excited/delighted/admiring/inspired/transformed/surprised feels. In support of non-trashy, useful writing, here are a bunch of ace types that are posting good stuff written with heart, smarts and hope.

We need bright ideas and clever acts to stop us in our tracks and get us thinking about what me might think/feel/do in our own lives.

It’s so much better than those 4 second clicks, IMO.


1. Austin Kleon – almost daily posts on living an ace life and being creative from the Steal Like An Artist author.
You could start with: Just Don’t Lose The Magic

2. Brain Pickings – not always super cheery, but always super interesting providing thoughtful perspectives via the lives of artists, writers and other clever cookies.
You could start with: Sister Corita Kent’s Timeless Rules For Learning And Life

3. Rookie – Rookie is an irreverent, intelligent site for teenagers – but I love it because it shows how smart and sensitive kids and young adults are.
You could start with: How Not To Care About What Other People Think Of You

4. Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls – Another site that’s meant for teenage girls. I know. I know. The thing is, a lot of the blogs for grown ups have not caught up with issues of diversity and the rise of technology. Getting down with the kids is sometimes the best way to cut to the chase, find out what the REAL issues of the day are – and how we might think about dealing with them.
You could start with: Meet The 11 and 13 Year-Old Founders of Books And A Blanket

5. Science Of Us – I love this blog so much. It’s part of NY Mag and they post interesting and up-to-the minute articles on how we tick (biologically/psychologically) and why we do what we do. Such a great antidote to all the faux-science, wellbeing wu blogs out there!
You could start with: So You Probably Have 3 Selves

6. Colossal – Because ‘Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.’ Colossal features daily updates of rad things amazing people have made. It’s a hopeful and delightful place.
You could start with: Pirate Printers – Shirts and Totes Printed Directly On Urban Utility Covers

7. GOOD Magazine – This is a long-time favourite of mine. A safe place to go when you need to find out that the world is actually going to be kind of okay. Sort of. We hope.
You could start with: Italian Policemen Comforted An Elderly Couple With Homemade Pasta.

8. It’s Nice That – This genius blog covers art, culture and design in a non-tossy way. They’ve always got the scoop on the beautiful things that people are coming up with and I read it most days (and feel instantly more well-informed and awe-struck about the world.)
You could start with: Charles Fréger’s Enigmatic Island Of Scary Monsters and Super Creatures

9. Etsy Blog – If you want to take a peek into the lives of artists and crafters, Etsy are very good at throwing back the curtain. They spend a lot of time and energy profiling creative people and I for one LOVE seeing what makes those types tick.
You could start with: Featured Shop: Yu Square

10 Dumbo Feather – I’ve written for Dumbo Feather a couple of times, so let’s say that up front. I love these guys because they publish the work of interesting writers and profile people I might not otherwise know much about. It’s great to find out how other people think and feel and DF does this in spades.
You could start with: How The Dying Can Teach Us To Live

11. ABC Australia – This is a bit of a broad recommendation and indeed a non-blog – and you have to dig through a lot of newsy bits – but pretty much without fail I find a story on the ABC that makes me go ‘Cooool!’ Because they have great shows like (one of my very faves) Landline in their stable, as well as direct links to ABC Local Radio and Radio National, they are constantly publishing local stories that are inspiring or impactful (or both!)
You could start with: World-class Leatherworker Doug Kite Donates Collection to Museum of Victoria or Sea Lake (which is really amazing!!)

12. Bust – The blog of feminist magazine Bust is a pick and mix of politics, music, art, pop culture and more. I check it out every single day and it never fails to get me thinking/giggling.
You could start with: Martha Stewart And Snoop Dogg Squad Up To Host Reality TV Show


I hope this post has been helpful and taken up more than a dirty 4 seconds of your time! Have a rad day!

pip signature

Footnote: It’s worth remembering that you’re creating your own bubble via sneaky online algorithms – if you click on crap, Facebook and Google think you love crap. They will work hard to show you more crap – and filter out the stuff that is of more value to you. If you DO LOVE crap, you’re all sorted, but if you’re just clicking idly as you crack your gum and roll your eyes, you are sending a message you might not want to send to the cogs and wheels within the internet that choose what you see. Uh-oh.




  • Reply
    October 4, 2017 at 4:23 PM

    Much appreciated, sometimes it is hard to find stuff that feels like it is my version of genuine! Keep doing your great job and thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Darla at HeartWork Organizing
    August 19, 2016 at 6:17 AM

    Nice to meet you, Pip, via Annie Sloan. Love your eautiful site. Love this list. Love the advice to watch what you watch/read, because the Internet gods will decide that you get more of the same. Have a lovely, colorful day!

  • Reply
    Sara Khamkoed
    August 15, 2016 at 3:46 PM

    Thanks for this post Pip! I love that you included blogs aimed for younger people. I’m not that young myself (29) but write fiction for children and young people. I also read LOTS of YA novels and often find them a lot more interesting that novels for adults. I hadn’t thought of reading YA blogs before, but will check them out now. Looks interesting!

  • Reply
    August 12, 2016 at 9:27 PM

    Pip! Thank you for this list! I follow a few on this list and I am always on the hunt for more blogs like them…I like feeling that my brain has grown a smidge or my mind has opened after reading something. Off to add all of these to my Feedly, you are the best! =)

  • Reply
    August 12, 2016 at 8:05 PM

    Thank you for writing this post. I have been wondering the same things. I love blogs where the writer has real passion for the subject and ambition to write and picture good posts. I admire people who are taking the time to teach new skills, share information and try to influence the world. But then when you want to find new blogs or sites that have this interesting content you will find just the popular (by the rate of clicks) ones, same and same sites appearing again and again. It is so sad how much good work is left without the credit and readers.

  • Reply
    August 12, 2016 at 11:52 AM

    This is great – thanks Pip! I do get a bit disheartened with those ‘award winning’ blogs out there that seem to be made of fluff and air. It makes me question my own work and think I’ll only ever get followers if I join the click-bait wagon – and that would make me unhappy. I will spend a happy weekend wandering about in this list and re-filling myself with inspiration.

    • Reply
      Meet Me At Mikes
      August 12, 2016 at 3:03 PM

      Yeah… it’s tough isn’t it? My advice is to stay true to yourself and the things you love and care about. Don’t worry too much about strategy – heart and humanity is what counts. x

  • Reply
    August 12, 2016 at 11:23 AM

    My blog reader was full this morning of new and interesting reading. Thanks for sharing and introducing me to new things.

    cheers Kate

  • Reply
    August 11, 2016 at 9:57 PM

    Wow, I’m so glad I came to your site tonight. Really.
    Thanks for the suggestions, a few that I’ve visited and a few new ones for me to check out. As a blogger, I sometimes feel disillusioned that I get caught it the social media wormhole instead of reading stuff from people who I’ve sort out myself (as i used to back in the good old days!). Thanks for helping me remind myself of all the good stuff that’s out there if you just go and look for it! x

  • Reply
    August 11, 2016 at 7:18 PM

    What a great blog post- I find myself doing too much clicking lately. Looking forward to checking these out.

    • Reply
      Meet Me At Mikes
      August 11, 2016 at 7:44 PM

      Oh I am so glad it’s useful to you! Thanks for reading, and for taking the time to comment! x

  • Reply
    August 11, 2016 at 6:30 PM

    Thanks Pip… a fine list that made me feel good as I read (hope that Facebook/Google/whoever pay attention to this post and keep sending more ‘nice & bright’ my way!) Cheerio to you!

    • Reply
      Meet Me At Mikes
      August 11, 2016 at 7:44 PM

      Hi Karen! Nice and bright are a FINE way to start the day! Thanks for reading, too! xx

  • Reply
    August 11, 2016 at 6:26 PM

    Ace post – ta much!

    • Reply
      Meet Me At Mikes
      August 11, 2016 at 7:45 PM

      You are SO welcome! xx

  • Reply
    Little White Dove
    August 11, 2016 at 5:53 PM

    Well that is a really useful & helpful post Pip! I love having a nicely curated list of go to blogs that have some substance and give us the good stuff in life… pet hate= clickbait crap! ANNNND it’s so nice to know you are also a landline lover, it’s seriously one of my fave things to watch on tv, in fact landline and gardening aust are my only two ‘must watch’ shows every week. And how good was Doug Kite?! As I’m sure you know leather plaiting is very close to my heart with hubby being a plaiter and all and we were thrilled to see this beautiful traditional old time craft on the telly (for maybe the first time ever!). Charlie met Doug once years ago at a market and he would just about give his right arm to spend a day with Doug now. Thanks for always putting the good stuff out into cyberworld. x

    • Reply
      Meet Me At Mikes
      August 11, 2016 at 7:45 PM

      OH MY GOSH. Landline is so good, isn’t it?! Such great stories, beautifully told!!

  • Reply
    August 11, 2016 at 3:27 PM

    Noice, Pip. Noice. Oh, and remind people to clear their caches and search history on browsers AND apps. That way you can see more of everything and less of the same thing.

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