Growing up and living by the beach, my cars are never without a beach towel and flip flops. You never know when the mood might strike you! So i’ve been super intrigued by these Vertty Beach Towels since they surfaced on NOTCOT.org. Vertty just sent over a bright orange one today ~ and first impressions: awesome packaging, lightweight (1.5 lbs) , and love the unusual geometric shape with popping colors! They are “Dreamed in Australia, Born in Portugal” and handmade and eco friendly. It’s a thin 90% cotton with a terry cloth like feel that is quite nice to lay on and supposedly fast drying, and the waterproof zipper pocket is a nice detail! Take a peek at the full unboxing (and takeover by Bucky) on the next page… as well as a peek at their playful bus and business cards!
The Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen (short for Geländewagen aka cross country vehicle) is a design icon in its own right. Love it or hate it, that shape is unmistakeable, and has definitely has quite a history. It even has a fascinating Wikipedia page - apparently it was originally created as a military vehicle in the early 70s and the first civilian version emerged in 1979. And it’s the “longest produced Mercedes-Benz in Daimler’s history, with a span of 32 years. Only the UNIMOG beats it.” Amazing right? And unlike most other vehicles, the general body shape and style has changed minimally! And to take the G-Wagen to the next level?
The nice folks at Mercedes loaned us the stunningly powerful Mercedes-AMG G63 all murdered out in matte black down to the wheels… complete with a diamond quilted black leather interior. First things first - yes, the monstrous and powerful G63 is totally absurd… it’s faster than most sports cars, sounds like a beast (we scared many a mini), and it’s unlikely many will ever explore proper 4x4 terrains… BUT, that being said, it is so much fun. Take a peek at our adventures with the G63 as well as fun details with it on the next page… it’s one of the first press cars i’ve been missing since it got picked up!
When first approached about Kylie Minogue’s Sexercize, I was skeptical at best… as I learned about the special music video by Roman Coppola, Chandelier Creative, and Maserati… my curiosity got piqued. At first glance, this bizarre retro car porn of a film is just that… until you see the original it’s an homage to - the ‘65 piece ‘Kustom Kar Kommandos’ by Kenneth Anger… and to peel back the layers even further, Chandelier Creative and Maserati further indulged my curiosity with a loaner Maserati Ghibli S Q4 and a behind the scenes peek at how much they transformed the Ghibli for the video - and wow! What a process!
To be completely honest, the more i played with the Maserati Ghibli S Q4 all week, the more curious i got as to how they turned the car i was in into the stunner in the video! From the exterior, the front is reminiscent of the Maserati curves i love, and the rear is less recognizable without their iconic triton. As for what’s under the hood - it’s a cute “efficient 3 litre Twin Turbo V6 that delivers a peak of 410 horsepower.” Ultimately the Ghibli feels like your gateway Maserati which gives you a taste of the brand, while leaving you lusting for the roar of the Maserati Granturismo MC Stradale and its 4.7L V8. When you watch the Sexercize video, you can’t help but get pulled in by the mesmerizing wheels, the metallic paint job, dayglo lighting, and the muscle car styled blower coming through the hood… Take a peek on the next page to see the Maserati Ghibli S Q4 in real life and how it was transformed into the Sexercize muscle car!
In continuing this year’s trend of trying new things ~ for the last two weeks Shawn and I led a workshop with the 72U Winter Session 2014 class to create a Social Impact Project to make people smile. 72U is a special project inside global ad agency, 72andSunny, which takes place right in the middle of all the action in their Playa Vista office, which is housed in the old offices of Howard Hughes. Self-described as “an intensive one-of-a-kind learning experience designed to open people up to new ways of thinking, collaborating, and tackling modern communication problems,” 72U feels like a creative take on The Real World (yes, there’s even a 72U house), where around half a dozen chosen applicants from around the world, with a myriad of backgrounds, are fully immersed in the world of 72andSunny (assisting and learning on various accounts), inspirational guest speakers, workshops/projects, field trips, and more for 12 fast paced weeks! Even spending a mere 2 weeks with them, I’m amazed at the pace they are running at! It’s no surprise that the majority of participants who survive the program become a part of the 72andSunny family.
But back to the Social Impact Project NOTLabs just completed with 72U! The group was tasked to ‘engage people and make them smile’ - to ultimately create an object that can also be easily shipped and activated around the world. Of course the biggest challenge of all wasn’t concepting or creating, but being realistic about what is feasible in the short time frame to bring an idea to life ~ and they were armed with the new 72andSunny laser cutter! Keep in mind that beyond this project, they are simultaneously planning a HUGE mural, an art show, and assisting on various secret projects and more… So head to the next page to see what they came up with!
JBL was kind enough to surprise me with some JBL J46BT Bluetooth Headphones. I’ve been curious about Bluetooth earbuds for some time, but this is the first time test driving some in real life… perfect for workouts, running around the house/yard/after the dog untethered, and probably for airplanes so i don’t trip over the cord when getting in and out of the seat! First impressions ~ sound quality isn’t the greatest, it certainly lacks range. BUT i’m fascinated by some of their design details - especially the way it charges with a little clip to two contacts to the ear buds. See the full unboxing and details on the next page…
Epic. If you’re in the LA area, definitely check out Jeremy Fish’s Hunting Trophy show at the Mark Moore Gallery that just opened tonight. All the details and the feeling of walking into his “hunting lodge” like room ~ complete with mini woodland creatures painted into the faux log cabin walls are not to be missed. In classic Jeremy Fish style, the creatures take on surreal forms ~ sometimes unzipping like nested russian dolls, evolving into vehicles, or an interpretation of a bear skin rug, or some of his amazing creature/vehicles! So many tiny amazing details! The fish scales are little fish! Go peek inside the hunting lodge on the next page!
The Highland Park Hero’s Chest Dinner was on Thursday night, and it has possibly moved up to one of the most inspiring evenings… of my life… so far! At precisely 7pm, 10 designers/creatives were invited into the gate of Magnus Walker’s Urban Outlaw Garage in Downtown LA. As we mingled over cocktails, the group quickly found familiar faces, and those they didn’t know personally, they definitely knew of… and more often than not the admiration was mutual. From the men behind Baxter of California and Icon 4x4, to Oakley and BasecampX… from Triple Aught Design (and new secret project, Prometheus Design Werx) to Acquire and KILLSPENCER and Johnnyswim… and more! As giddy as I was to see each of these folks, it was inspiring to see how thrilled they were to see one another! It was beyond an honor to be able to sneak in as one of the few women amongst these inspiring men. Over Highland Park Mint Juleps, the mingling filled with anticipation and you could hear the awe and cameras clicking as soon as the garage door opened to unveil Magnus’ collection of vintage racing Porsche 911s… and then up to dinner… which includes tastes of a Highland Park Whiskey from 1968! Also Show & Tell was mandatory ~ “Please bring an item of yours that says a little about you - something that you can’t live without.” See it all on the next page…
I’ve been learning a lot from Shawn and have come a long way since we first got our Laser Cutter! My latest little project is for last night’s Highland Park Hero’s Chest Dinner (inspiration overload!) ~ etching table and bar signage into real spanish sherry oak cask wood that was used to create the delicious Highland Park Whiskey we tasted during the evening! And the added bonus was that with each cut and etch, you could smell the complex aromas absorbed into the wood over the years… The challenge was to laser etch the aged (and very curved!) wood, but keep the final outcome looking just as aged… Take a peek on the next page!
Packaging isn’t everything, but gorgeous, playful, happy graphics, branding, and simple inforgaphics never hurt… and with Skoop it definitely grabbed my attention ~ enough for a post on NOTCOT.org and a few inquisitive tweets. Well one thing lead to another, and next thing i know, a box of Skoop goodies arrived on the doorstep! And as far as supplements go, compared to what you find in a look at GNC or Whole Foods, these will definitely stand out and make you look twice!
Though the graphics were the first things to grab my attention, the proposition of the Skoop A-Game “Super Simple Superfoods” are intriguing in their own right. These powdered supplements you shake up mixed with anything from water and chocolate (almond) milk or oatmeal or yogurt are being positioned as a playful path to SUPER you! It’s less about diets or meal supplements but that extra something to help boost your potential… and nothing says that like comparisons to fueling up with premium… or a cape on a human icon. For those years when it felt like i was living on airplanes and in hotel rooms, i used to always have some Macro Greens on hand to help balance things out. They were the best tasting at the time… though that wasn’t saying much. So i was skeptical and curious about how Skoop would taste! First reaction, definitely sweeter and more palatable than expected, yummy even in the chocolate milk combination. So far we’ve only tried milk, chocolate milk, and almond milk - all not bad with both variations.
Also fun, they included some of our favorite Blender Bottles in the surprise package! The design of the BlenderBall, which is a springy, spherical wire whisk has always made me smile - and they work wonderfully when shaking things up. So this week we will be taking the Skoop 5-Day-Challenge to get SUPER and it couldn’t be better timed with the endless projects and sleepless nights, i can use all the boosts i can get! Take a peek on the next page for all the unboxing and details!
Just a little late night update… I know it’s been a bit quieter here as of late… and while the firehose of inspiration is still flowing strong over at NOTCOT.org, i’ve been saving things that get me beyond excited and giddy for here, and lately instead of endless jetsetting, shopping, and hotel living ~ it has been an amazing change of pace to be head down, designing, soldering (omg. somuch. soldering.), 3d printing, laser cutting, debugging, strategizing, and really just getting involved and learning SO much about every part of creating things from sketches to reality. Also insane problem solving on ridiculous deadlines… Of course this means less crazy posts, but also more tweets and instagrams of what i can share from some of the process (and random inspirations in daily life).
It’s all about the pendulum… and swinging between extremes, and currently i’m loving bigger, complex projects! It’s a whole different kind of up all night lifestyle from the last few years for sure… Getting back into the design process has also helped rekindle my appreciation for the hard work that goes into product design, thorough R&D, and making experiences that really change peoples lives… and raises the bar even higher for the things i fall in love with and need to share with you on NOTCOT!
Whiskey Barrel Coffee! So many things i love in one thing i don’t even know where to start. I love beautiful packaging (and a good skull graphic! and a well designed glass bottle!) I love good whiskey… and i’ve been learning to appreciate and love good coffee. I love good dark chocolate. Artfully combine them all, and you have Espresso Smith’s Whiskey Barrel Coffee ~ and chocolate covered coffee beans ~ in wax sealed glass bottles… the idea alone makes me swoon… but the deliciousness and beautiful branding make me need to share the details with you!
Two and a half years in the making, Espresso Smith now ages green coffee beans in authentic bourbon barrels in Colorado prior to roasting to create a coffee “the goal was not to create a whiskey flavored coffee… the goal was to create an experience that starts with coffee and finishes with bourbon.” Mind you, there’s no alcohol (though you can add your own back in) in the final product but the aromas are definitely present and delicious. Take a peek at the unboxing and details on the next page!
Spiralizing is AMAZING. “How did we not do this as kids?” was the first thing Shawn and i wondered the first time we played with it. Inspired by Vangie Ogg’s Instagram, i impulse bought the Benriner Spiral Slicer (more info in japanese at the Benriner site.) The first time, we were having so much fun, i forgot to take pictures! Who knew it was so easy to make Zucchini Pasta?!?! And today, the NOTpuppy, Bucky, even got some yam pasta! And these “noodles” can be as long as 7-8 feet even! Ridiculously fun and delicious. Take a peek on the next page at the Spiral Slicer and some of our creations.
UPDATE: Eep! Bad news ~ though a NOTCOT first? I’ve never had to do a REboxing! Just heard from MakerBot that we’ve got to box the machine up and send it back to get it sorted…and thank you so much to the super nice guys over at MakerBot support for being so patient with us while working on this!
SO excited to get our hands on the MakerBot Replicator 5th Gen Desktop 3D Printer ~ it’s amazing to see how far things have come since the Cupcake, Thing-O-Matic, and even the early replicators! (You can see our Replicator 1 unbox here.) We are definitely getting closer to having 3D printers feel closer to the inkjet (2D printers?) of today… unfortunately, it’s still a bit more complex than popping it out of the box and popping out objects! New features we’re excited about include the optimized setup for PLA printing, camera (to keep an eye on your progress via app/mobile), magnetic extruder head, spring loaded nozzles, easier build plate leveling and more! And luckily, the arrival of this new machine is perfect for one of our big NOTlabs project deadlines!!! Take a peek on the next page for a full unboxing and some of our first experiments with it…
Here’s the latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw!
This afternoon was all about crafting as I visited the Knitting and Stitching Show to get a bit of inspiration. It was a glimpse into the world of not just sewing and knitting, but braiding, felting, weaving and much more. Displays included vintage sewing machines and all sorts of beautiful prints and patterns. There were alpacas made from alpaca fibre, sheep made from wool, as well as some adorable crafting kits for felting and crocheting. More photos on the next page.
Here’s the latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw!
This year we visited Crufts on the day of the Working and Pastoral (Herding) Groups. There were no Gamekeepers present like last year’s Gun Dog day, but the day did mark the judging of some amazing dogs, including towering Great Danes, Mastiffs and St. Bernards in the working group, as well as some impressively dreadlocked Komondors and perfectly fluffed Old English Sheepdogs in the herding group. We met some fantastic dogs and dog lovers and as always, the sweetest moments were always, those little interactions between dogs and their people. More photos of Day 1 at Crufts on the next page.