digboston via Flickr CC /

Once the customary hairstyle of ballerinas and librarians, the bun has been making a comeback - this time on the heads of lads. Man buns have even topped the heads of Hollywood stars like Jared Leto, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Chris Hemsworth, and have trickled down to the streets of Brooklyn, LA, Portland, and even into Middle America. 

But not everyone covets the Man Bun. Many people, including Brian Moylan of TIME and James Corden, host of the Late Late Show, have been ready to end the trend – but as anyone walking through Williamsburg or Bushwick can see, their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. 

steve lodefink via Flickr CC /

We are of course smack in the middle of summer, a great time to get out and play lawn games like croquet, cornhole, or bocce – games that have survived in some cases for thousands of years. Today we dig in to those games, along with some alternatives that are on the rise. Then, technology has altered the way we experience the present and past – so we ask, are iPhones really ruining summer camp? And, according to a recent analysis, pop music is getting stupider. But, does music have to be smart to be good? 

Alan Levine via Flickr Creative Commons /

Nationally, only 17% of students who enter community college seeking a bachelor’s degree reach that goal within six years. Today, we learn about a new program in Orlando, Florida that aims to solve the problem of community college attrition. Then, you’re locked in a dark cell with a group of strangers – there’s a zombie on the loose and you’re running out of time…oxygen…and solutions. It’s not a video game, this is real life…and you paid to be there. Welcome to the new trend in adventure recreation: the escape room.  

Good Gig: Color Expert Lee Eiseman

Oct 22, 2014

Good Gig is a series of conversations with individuals who have landed their dream job.

The Art Of The Emoji Translation

Apr 3, 2014
Emoji Dick

While researching our story on why there isn't a hot dog Emoji (it's more complicated than you think), we came across the interesting phenomenon of people translating things into Emoji. Here are some of our favorites:


As we look back at 2013, we’re struck by the number of mishaps made by politicians, celebrities, athletes and companies…followed of course, by the oh-so-heartfelt public apology. Word of Mouth's senior producer Maureen McMurray and producer Taylor Quimby join Virginia Prescott to talk about the year of saying sorry…or in some cases, the year of the non-apology.

Phil Nolan via Flickr Creative Commons

New Year’s Eve is a day of indulgence, the last chance to gorge on delicious treats and beverages before cleaning the slate. What’s on your menu tonight? Does it involve kale or Siracha, or a Cronut? According to our guest J.M. Hirsch, food editor at the Associated Press, those were among the hottest foods of 2013.

bhautik joshi via Flickr Creative Commons

New Year’s Eve is a day of reflection and celebration and each December we mark the passage of time by inviting NHPR’s own Brady Carlson on the show to share his list of the year’s biggest web trends. Last year his list included: Kony 2012, Kickstarter, and Gangnam Style. Seems so long ago, doesn’t it? Brady joins us again to reflect on the web trends and memes of 2013, and what they reveal about our collective state this year.

sheeshoo via Flickr Creative Commons

Whether it's a blinking laser gun, a noisy video game, or a robot doll that cries real tears, chances are this year's biggest selling holiday toys will be high-tech, battery operated, and chock full of bells and whistles.

Fighting back against the trend toward bright, noisy toys is Thierry Bourret of the toy company Asobi and founder of Slow Toy Movement, a website dedicated to promoting toys that educate and engage without plastic or power sources. Later this month, he will be announcing the winners of the 2nd annual Slow Toy Awards, and joins us for a preview. 

The advertising industry has made a bundle pitching feminine hygiene products, but even that expression, “feminine hygiene products,” illustrates how ads for tampons and pads avoid addressing what they are actually used for. But maybe you’ve seen the viral video that bucks the tradition of menstruation stigmatization…no blue liquid, no white tennis outfits, just a sassy twelve year-old girl, telling it like it is...

100% Taylor Quimby

The success of The Hunger Games and the Divergent series opened the floodgates for young adult novels set in a dystopian future. Readers are gobbling up dark stories set in bleak landscapes where the authorities can’t be trusted and young protagonists rebel against a world built to subdue them. And of course, there is room for romance to rise from the ashes.   Margaret Bristol is an editor at Bookish where she wrote the article, “What I Learned About Getting Married From Dystopian YA.” A dedicated fan of the genre, she’s here to discuss the sometimes valuable, sometimes hyperbolic messages people can glean from the dark world of dystopian fiction.

kinggloobie via Flickr Creative Commons

You know those Hummels your great aunt had covering every available surface of her house? Worthless. Those Cabbage Patch Kids that were never taken out of their box? Similar ones can be found on E-Bay for just over retail price. It turns out, a great many collectibles that once commanded high-prices and fantasies of early retirement haven’t lived up to their promise.

TheQ! via Flickr Creative Commons

Long lines are a part life for most of us…at the DMV, grocery store, post office… we line up by choice for some things…maybe you’ve heard of people queuing up for hours outside the New York City bakery that sells the “Cronut” – an apparently delicious cross between a croissant and doughnut.  Francesca Gino wrote about new research suggesting that one reason we’re willing to wait in long lines for midnight movies, the latest smartphone, or bizarre baked delicacies is because they help us learn more about ourselves.  Francesca is a behavioral scientist and associate professor at Harvard Business School. She wrote about the psychology of waiting in line for Fast Company, and joins us now on the line.

As farming takes off for a new generation of hip young homesteaders, beautifully crafted farm photos have made an impression in digital media – who hasn’t seen an adorably old-fashioned photo of sun-drenched pasture on Facebook… or a picturesque sunrise over a dewy, field of grazing grass-fed livestock on Instagram?

As a goat farmer and freelance photographer based in Vermont, Stephanie Fisher worries her own idyllic farm photos might be sugarcoating a job that’s often tougher than it looks.  She spoke with word of mouth producer Taylor Quimby about her recent article in Modern Farmer, “The Side of Farming You Won’t See on Facebook”.

lightplays via Flickr Creative Commons

Depending who you ask, the literary genre known as street lit began when Charles Dickens published Oliver Twist …or in 1969, when Iceberg Slim came out with Pimp. These gritty, slightly lurid, often violent stories focus on the underside of city life.

People like Wahida Clark, a New York Times best-selling author three times over, are becoming more and more successful as thug lit comes into its own. Other popular titles in the genre include Brother and the Dancer and The Ski Mask Way. Now, with several new imprints and tie-ins with the hip hop market, street lit is making a play for the mainstream market. Darren Sands is a New York based writer and a freelance reporter for the New York Observer, where he wrote an article called “Holler if You Read Me: African-American Writers -- and Readers – Fret Over the Future of Thug Lit.” We spoke with him about the state of thug lit and its rising popularity.

10ch via Flickr Creative Commons

Time for a high school confessional…the digital edition. Teenagers and young adults often get stern warnings against over-sharing on social media…one incriminating photo or post could torpedo a college or job application, after all. Now, students across America are turning to online confession pages – anonymous forums for relaying painful experiences, grievances, and the baring of souls.  The appeal of anonymity and ease of use found on Facebook makes confession pages extremely popular among young adults. For example, UNH’s Facebook confession page has more than sixty-four hundred followers.  Justine Sharrock is West Coast editor at; she joined us to talk about high school confession pages.

veiled lady Flickr Creative Commons

Bathing suit anxiety takes on a whole new dimension for Muslim women…so do skinny jeans and other body-conscious fashion trends.  A spate of blogs and podcasts aimed at Muslim women have grown along with the fashion blog trend. Blogs like Hijab Trendz, Dianrainbow and Slice of Lemon feature tips and creative approaches to dressing with style as well as modesty.

Mariam Sobh is a Chicago-based journalist and public radio colleague from WBEZ in Chicago. She created Hijab Trendz in 2007, which averages 2 million page views a month.

Steven Andrew Photography via Flickr Creative Commons

Clay Wirestone is Arts Editor for the Concord Monitor and our favorite video game freak. He joins us to run down what's coming in gaming in 2013...and kills the screen on the trends of 2012.

Nina J. G.via Flickr Creative Commons

In December and January, programs like ours will be littered with nostalgic end-of-year material designed to help put 2012 behind us. 

Poe Was Totally Steampunk

Oct 11, 2012
Rebecca Lavoie

One of the events that took place earlier this week at the Bosacwen Public Library was the Edgar Allan Poe Steampunk Workshop which linked Poe’s artistry to the “steam-punk” subculture that is quickly growing  among fans of fantasy fiction and Japanese animation. 

Britta Conroy-Randall

The fashion world runs on new trends and we discovered one that’s  a little more practical than 5-inch heels – fashion trucks. Like the fleets of food trucks now selling everything from gourmet tacos to artisanal soft serve, ‘fashion trucks’ capitalize on the ability to move to where their customers are. Producer Britta Conroy-Randall visited a mobile boutique for a peek  at what could be the next big thing in the fast-moving fashion industry.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

When celebrated Concord resident and high school teacher Christa McAuliffe died in the Challenger explosion in 1986, an out-of– state donor offered $500,000 to build a monument in downtown Concord. As then-mayor Jim MacKay remembers, the city declined. Instead, the state built a planetarium. Today – 26 years after the state opened the McAuliffe Planetarium — the facility is on its way to becoming a private, nonprofit institution.

Boys and Ballet via Flickr Creative Commons

We’ve recently noticed a trend of all-boys ballet classes popping up in dance schools, including the Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater in Bedford. Word of Mouth Senior Producer Rebecca Lavoie, herself the mother of two boys, wanted to find out more about all-boys ballet, so she reached out to that school’s artistic director, Patricia Lavoie (just coincidence…no relation) for more on their all-boys ballet program, and the trend of these classes popping up all over the country.

Today's Hunters of Tomorrow's Cool

Jun 18, 2012
(Photo by Mandiberg via Flickr Creative Commons)

Have you ever suspected that your taste and style decisions are being manipulated without you even realizing it? Turns out that the trends all around us are the result of lots of money and research aimed at molding our opinions and desires. It’s called trend forecasting, and it’s a multi billion dollar industry. Reporter Britta Conroy-Randall visited some trend forecasters and found out about the mysterious world of cool hunting.



Mead in New Hampshire

Mar 29, 2012
Photo by Todd Bookman for NHPR

Starting a small business is always a challenge.  Starting a meadery? Yeah, that’s not easy either. Just ask Michael Fairbrother

“I talk to people about mead, and they go, ‘What kind of meat do you make?’ I’m like, ‘No, I don’t make meat. I make mead.’ And they don’t understand what that is.”

In 2010, Fairbrother opened Moonlight Meadery in Londonderry, NH.

He’s more than happy to explain that mead is a wine made from honey, not grapes. And like traditional wine, you can’t rush it.

Photo by (cup)cake_eater, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Produced by Chris Cuffe

With Christmas and Hanukkah wrapped-up, we've officially reached the pre-New Year's lull. This brief respite from the regularly scheduled holiday cheer is when many people take the opportunity to consider their accomplishments and failures over the past year, and resolve to do better in the future. Other people just go to work for a few days and get really, really bored at their desks as they countdown to their next party.

Either way, it's a bit of a restless period, isn't it?