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.
Excited to try out the new and improved Dyson Cool Desk Fan. Favorite details ~ it is far quieter than it’s predecessor! And there’s a remote (that magnetically attaches to the top of the desk fan like the floor models always had) - and a new super subtle digital display in the fan base, as well as a sleep timer! They also say it’s 75% quieter, and consumes 30% less power! Take a peek at the full unboxing on the next page!
I have to admit, it’s been terribly difficult (and also weirdly freeing) to be working on so many projects and doing so many things i CAN’T share on NOTCOT… yet! So of course, where i can, peeks at the process and inspiration and randomness encountered along the way sneak on to the NOTlabs Instagram. I’m currently sitting in the lab surrounded by excessive amounts of electronics parts and awaiting the arrival of more before it’s time to become our own little assembly line to build the ______ i can’t wait to share with you! Soon! I hope! It’s getting there…
I have been learning SO much the last few weeks. Random things like, outsourced 3D printing lead times are insanely slow (relative to my love of instant gratification). Chinese New Year WILL interfere with electronics orders coming from China - a few days turns into a few weeks. Some stores can’t ship more than 2 (if it has to fly - 12 if shipping ground) lithium ion batteries per package. And UPS will put your mountain of small boxes in a tied up plastic bag for delivery. Super tiny limit switches are hard to find. As are tiny, stumpy 4 way joystick buttons - especially if you want a click button in the center too. Just because there are 14,000 of something in stock, doesn’t mean it will stay there till the next day… and restocking may take weeks. Companies that use only paypal are not the best setup when international clients need to make massive payments on a credit card… so many limits and complications! Sparkfun’s red boxes make me smile every time they show up. And so much more i’m sure i’m not even remembering right now!
None the less, the craziness has barely begun ~ prototyping done, ordering in progress, awaiting all the parts, then comes days of soldering, assembly, etc… so take a peek at what we’ve got so far on the next page
On fun surprises, Simplethings has fun messages inside their pie boxes! The new Simplethings in Westwood just soft opened on saturday, and we popped by to check it out for lunch and brought some mini “cutie pies” home! Inside the tiny cutie pies box is “life is short. enjoy the simplethings.” and inside the simple pies box is “you make good decisions.” ~ ahhhh validation by pie box. Take a peek at the fun on the next page!
On fun surprises, the nice folks at Mophie just sent over their new Mophie Space Pack! And honestly, it’s kind of magical! As is expected from Mophie, it boosts your battery life ~ but now it’s also adding an additional 16GB to 32GB of storage! And by storage, i mean that more like an external harddrive or flash drive that both your computer and a compatible iPhone can read. It isn’t exactly letting your iPhone fill up and then automatically use the space on the Space Pack. Their Space App enable you to browse files, take photos straight to the Space Pack, listen to music and watch videos (with airplay!), airdrop files to other iphones, and more. It’s definitely an easy way to transfer photos from your computer to iPhone to then open in Instagram, etc.
In the past we shared our unboxing of the rugged Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Pro, which we still carry around to events, on trips, etc and use regularly. What i love about that one is that you can charge anything via USB and it’s easy to share. Similarly with the new Mophie Space Pack, as long as your friend/colleague/etc has a compatible iPhone and grabs the Space App, you can share both power and storage easily. In fact, i love that this sample came preloaded with all of the press photos and documents, far more efficient than additional print outs or another USB key! Take a peek at the unboxing and details of the Mophie Space Pack on the next page!
Oakley’s performance eyeware turned 30! And to celebrate and launch the beginning of even more fun in the next era of their company they threw a #DisruptiveByDesign party last night. In the goodie bags? These special edition Disruptive By Design Oakley Eyeshades. These are part of their Heritage Collection which “salutes the evolution of a revolution by bringing back vintage rarities for a limited time.” In the collection are Eyeshades, Razor Blades, and Frog Skins. And while these resemble the classic Eyeshades, they have been updated with an improved nose pad, and come with both curved and straight ear stems… and details like the 2014 inside the frame, and ‘Disruptive by Design’ etched into the bottom of the lens! The special Microclear bag for storage/cleaning has a special sketch of the original design on them, and the packaging and bag have fun retro Oakley logos. They also look pretty amazing on NOTpuppy, Bucky! Check out all the details on the next page…
I’ve been so intrigued by the Philips LED SlimStyle A Shape since we first posted it on NOTCOT.org, so when i saw them in person at Home Depot, i couldn’t resist! While they are certainly slim, they are far thicker than i imagined ~ but the plastic and lighting (both color and brightness) feel great. But my curiosity didn’t stop there, after testing it out in a few lights, i had to see what was inside! What allows for this unique design is the brilliant move of eliminating the large heat sink for this LED Bulb by spreading out the LEDs on the disk (and giving each its own tiny flat copper heat sink) ~ less weight, less space, less energy, and as far as i could tell, the lighting was comparable to the other incandescent bulbs around. All in all, i’m definitely tempted to replace more bulbs around the house with these ~ and they even work with dimmers! Take a peek on the next page for a closer look at the packaging and dissection.