Nashville adventures!!! It has been an amazing vacation to getaway and just get excited and explore a city that has become another home away from home. Being Shawn’s hometown, we get back there somewhat regularly, but it isn’t every trip that we have time to run around and see what’s new - you’ve seen some of our Nashville and Memphis finds here and even more Nashville discoveries here, but this the longest trip we’ve had to run around and relax yet!
So take a peek on the next page for a taste of what we enjoyed - from visiting maker/design studios to incredible murals, taking in some music at the new amphitheater, trying new coffee trends, visiting cute shops and more…
This advertorial feature is brought to you by Infiniti. Huge thanks to Infiniti for supporting NOTCOT!
For the second of two innovative films that debuted at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Infiniti’s Executive Design Director, Alfonso Albaisa, takes viewers into the design process of the QX30 concept car. “From Pencil to Metal” brings you into the studio to see initial sketches of the vehicle being scribbled in thin air, as the car is created around you. From CAD files to clay modeling to the impeccable finished product, the team at Infiniti has put the driver first, creating a virtual reality experience where the car takes shape around you—literally; thanks to YouTube’s 360o video playback, users can look around the car as it comes to life. The team behind the project tells us, “Traditional media can be one-sided, and seem to talk at consumers. But VR allows us to literally bring them inside of the Infiniti brand, an Infiniti car and an engaging story.”
UPDATE: The great branding was designed by Fuzzco!
I just discovered Bulls Bay Saltworks while meandering about online and these amazing line art logos of sea creatures taking on lighthouses pulled me right in. Aren’t they adorably incredible? As i started to get past that… the SALT! From how it looks, to how it’s made, to the story and incredible couple, Rustin and Teresa Gooden, behind it all… i’m late night smitten and wanting to go to South Carolina.
Here’s how they explain the salt making process, “On our home property, we evaporate water in a big greenhouse that we call the solar tunnel. Our salt is crystalized using solar and wind evaporation, harvested by hand and set aside to complete the drying stage.” As for why their saltwater is extra special, “Bulls Bay is located in Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, which contains a Class One Wilderness Area and is home to one of the healthiest saltwater ecosystems and known for its acclaimed oyster clusters, clams and other seafood.” For even more details, go read up on the Bulls Bay Saltworks FAQ. For now - go lust after the lovely packaging of their products with me on the next page!
Saturday marked the opening of the Venice Pop Up Park at 1021 ½ Abbot Kinney Blvd! On fun NOTlabs projects, Shawn and I had the pleasure of helping the latest 72U group (ad agency 72andSunny’s 12 week creative residency program) bring this park to life. An idea sparked at TedX Venice Beach was to turn a 1,500 sq ft dirt lot where a house once stood just off the uber-hip Abbot Kinney Blvd into a community co-working park of sorts where people can meet, collaborate, relax, have lunch, and more!
72U brought us in to lead their diverse group of 6 creatives (artists, engineers, architects, and everything in between) from around the world - who had never built something of this scale before! It has been an incredible journey the last 2.5 months… from ideation and concepting to prototyping and planning, and the final few weeks of hardcore manual labor in the hot LA sun! There is no detail they didn’t get their hands dirty with.
All their hard work has created an incredibly inviting pop up park due to their innovative FENCE! Tasked to fence in the park (it’s on private property) when closed, they found a work around to keep it feeling as open and inviting as possible to passersby by having the fence transform into tables. When open, the fence panels hinge inwards to make tables and bars. The design is further highlighted by their geometric mural that hides the table tops in plain site. Take a peek at the making of, the fence/tables, and the launch party on the next page.
The Leatherman Tread in real life! I’ve been far too curious and excited to check out this “wearable multitool” in person since it was announced - and it’s here! Leatherman just sent this over, and we’ve been test driving it the last few days. First impression? It feels great, and definitely attracts a lot of attention. As a hefty (somewhat heavy) stainless steel linked bracelet with up to 29 tools that you can get through airport security (or into Disneyland with - which inspired the Tread!) the more you wear it, the more useful you find it. So far i’ve opened many a bottle at the 72U Pop Up Park launch party, tightened a few hex screws (IKEA sizes on your wrist!), popped the sim card out of my iPhone, cut paracord with ease, and popped sockets onto it. While i have been using my Original Leatherman Wave since the late 90’s and added the matte black New Wave with Bit Kit to my purse a few years back - the Tread complements them nicely.
Bottom line - it’s basically the ultimate functional charm bracelet. You can remove and rearrange links as needed. I had to give up 2 links/6 tools to get the fit right! People who noticed and asked about it either wanted to have it, or buy it for their significant others. Those who didn’t notice, probably only saw a chunky metal bracelet.
Take a look at the full unboxing and detail shots of the Leatherman Tread in action on the next page.
Cards Against Humanity “A Party Game For Horrible People” has become a fascinating cultural phenomena to watch spread and grow. And when you dive in beyond the simplicity of their black and white cards, the folks behind it definitely seem like a intelligent, cheeky bunch that i can’t help admiring. From their business model, to their holiday surprises, and events to their designs… and now Blackbox? I’m endlessly fascinated. [Hey, CAH team - if you’re reading this - let’s chat!]
Anyhow - Dan, co-founder and head of all tech here at NOTCOT has been filling up his CAH Bigger Blacker Box with every holiday pack, expansion, etc… so when the Design & Science Packs came out, I had to see what was inside… Shawn thought (hoped?) that the Design Pack would be filled with design words and phrases. Nope. Design Pack is “contains 30 fully-illustrated cards by some of the best graphic designers in the world, including Milton Glaser (I <3 NY), Susan Kare (the Apple Macintosh), Erik Spiekermann (MetaDesign), and legendary printmakers including Jay Ryan, Yann Legendre, Olly Moss, Mike Mitchell, and Sonnenzimmer.” Basically illustrating NSFW cards (You’ve been warned! Not that you didn’t already expect that!) Science is also a super fun one to mix into the normal deck. So head on to the next page to check out what is inside the packs!
It’s here! Exploding Kittens! The wildly (8.8 million dollar) popular Kickstarted card game by Elan Lee, The Oatmeal, and Shane Small. Filled with ridiculous illustrations and promises to take a mere 2 minutes to learn and 15 minutes to play a round + it even has a NSFW add on that is for “Ages 30 and up?” Take a peek inside on the next page - the packaging “surprise thingie” is too fun.
I can’t stop staring at this Alabama Chanin Collection at Heath Ceramics - They describe it as “The point of intersection between stitch and clay. A collaboration between Natalie Chanin and Heath ceramics yields an anthology of carefully crafted modern heirlooms in a new and permanent dinnerware line.” They are too beautiful to eat off of. Too fragile to hang on the wall in case of an earthquake. Yet they make we wonder if its pieces like these people put on registries, to collect up those stunning pieces you can already imagine passing on generation to generation. The white Camellia etched serving pieces and dinner plate - wow. Maybe i’ll give in to just one dinner plate? Take a peek at the rest of the stunning collection and savor the details on the next page!
Just stumbled across these pictures in my phone and had to share!
Imagine ordering drawers, and they arrive in a big laser cut (and etched or stamped - depending on size) wood crate. With the panels interlocking like a puzzle, and screwed to the drawers themselves to minimize any damage or excessive packaging! And bonus? Looks like after unboxing, the pieces would easily pop back together as a coffee table or kids play table. Apparently Front Runner Outfitters HQ in South Africa is testing out this new packaging, and I got to see a few in their US showroom and warehouse. The rope handles are a nice touch too! And when unboxing it, unlike a crate where you might need a crowbar and be careful avoiding nails, for this one you simply need to undo the screws.
I love the concept of packaging that minimizes waste, protects the product well, shows of the branding nicely… and can be easily upcycled by the end user! Also fun to see such creative use of laser cutting. See more pictures of them on the next page.
p.s. FYI while i’d be tempted to order some of these just to play with the packaging… not all of them are packaged this way… yet?
We needed to go get lost… in the woods… away from all our screens for a little bit. So Shawn loaded up Bucky and I in the NOTFZJ80, and we headed north! The California drought is no joke… so we weren’t sure what to expect on our hunt for greenery and running water, but luckily we found a bit (though not as much as there once was!) up at the Kern River, and found an amazing camp site alongside Taylor Creek. Falling asleep to the sound of the creek rushing by was amazing - and Bucky just couldn’t get enough of the fresh snow melt and spring water flowing through. While we didn’t do much other than relax and explore - i couldn’t help snapping a few pics on my phone - so take a peek at what we found on the next page!