*notcot - , 04:35 - 12 Notes

The Macallan Ice Ball Machine

iceballs0.jpg Sure its 4am, but i couldn’t go to sleep before showing you the magic of the Macallan Ice Ball “Machine”. Did you know it runs on GRAVITY? Yes, high tech stuff… also the magical frictional heating of copper also comes in to play somehow just perfectly at room temperature. Really you stick a roughly right sized chunk of ice in between the two heavy pieces, and let gravity go to work on it. And with in moments ~ right before your eyes ~ it melts down to a perfectly glossy sphere. It’s magical really. This incredible device was discovered in japan (side note: where the macallan team also discovered japanese taking straight razors to carve perfect spheres of ice) ~ and they have exclusive rights to the device for a few years! I’m secretly wanting one to play with at home… See the pictures on the next page…

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*notcot - 01.04.10 , 21:45 - 7 Notes

Adorable Aladdin Sake Bottles

alladinsake0.jpg As delicious as certain liquors are… you all know that spontaneous packaging based impulse buys are how the weird stuff often ends up here. Well recently at Mitsuwa, the adorable little sakes were calling out to me and i couldn’t resist. I also couldn’t resist shaking up the nigori ones… which of course meant i then had to let them sit for a day or so in my fridge so they’d fully settle (all that unfiltered sediment sinking to the bottom) so i could show you the difference when i took pics! But how amazingly cute are these Aladdin Sake bottles? They’d make the prettiest little vases for your desk… And the way the top opens is fascinating as well. So take a peek at them all on the next page! (And no, i haven’t tasted any of them yet ~ too tired tonight, but wanted to show you the packaging first!)

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*notcot - 01.02.10 , 01:40 - 1 Notes

Magners Pear Cider Exclusive for Bungalow 8

magners.jpg On more things i’ve been meaning to post for a while. Here’s a brilliantly fun idea… how do you take a normally boring average looking bottled Magners Pear Cider and elevate (or catapult) its status instantly? Give the awesome Bungalow 8 in London an exclusive stunning bottle that is only available there, and only 500 bottles are produced. The new design was created for Magners by their brand entertainment agency, Cake. They were even kind enough to send one over so i could take a look at it in person - and its lovely! Its a sleek black bottle with 5 gloss silver sticker stripes wrapping the bottle and the Bungalow 8 ‘8’ etched in the silver pear. Honestly, it’s hard to look at the original bottle the same way after seeing and holding this. Actually, it’s hard to look at any cider or beer the same. Why don’t they all look this stunningly designed? See more pics on the next page…

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*notcot - , 00:35 - 4 Notes

Cregg - Egg Decapitator/Holder

cregg0.jpg Black and White. Angel and Devil. Fun illustrations. Hilarious how to on the back, showing how this egg topper (with the three little blades inside) can even double as a napkin ring (won’t it slice up your napkin possibly? if used right?)… and brain sperm logo. And it’s both the egg decapitator AND the holder. Genius. So of course you understand that i couldn’t resist this adorable german pair of Brain Stream Cregg & Cregg while in Stockholm… and i only just got around to testing them out ~ pictures of the experience and details on the next page!

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*notcot - 12.30.09 , 23:30 - 3 Notes

Absolut Packaging THEN & NOW

absolutthen.jpg Apologies for going a little quiet on you. Tried to take a little bit of a break this week ~ reassess the amazing year that passed, trying again to hit inbox 0 before 2010 officially arrives… and in doing so, also finding some gems i’ve been meaning to post that sadly got buried in the chaos of my inbox. SO, here’s one of my favorites!

As we slip in to the new decade ~ here are two of my favorite slides from the presentation given by Absolut at the Absolut Art Collection anniversary event in Stockholm a few months ago. On the top you see the state of vodka packaging design when Absolut first entered the market with its shockingly apothecary styled bottle (which i adore!)… Below you see the state of things today. Yes yes, sure it may be a little biased in how things were picked, but you can’t deny that the overall trend is true, and that the it’s a great illustration of the shift in vodka packaging design over the decades! As 2010 comes upon us, i wonder how things will shift next…

absolutnow.jpg

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*notcot - 12.21.09 , 22:18 - 4 Notes

Wine Tasting by Mail Sample Tubes

winetube1.jpg Love of wine + packaging + test tubes? When i spotted these wine tasters over at Springwise. This example of Tryvertising (i must admit that word pains me quite a bit)… comes from Brixr in San Francisco. These 50mL vials are adorable ~ though some people seem to be debating whether 2ozs are enough to know which one you like best… see a few more packaging pics on the next page!

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*notcot - 12.10.09 , 11:32 - 6 Notes

MicroSmores and Israeli Marshmallows

smores0.jpg Let me level with you. It was my birthday and i totally tried to take the day off a little. Got some extra sleep. Went for a walk and caught up with a friend on the beach ~ a beach walk complete with ice cream and taco truck tacos (in that order of course!) ~ did super chill dinner and… met up with Linhchi for the most ridiculous microwave experimenting we’ve done in a while… People claim i’m hard to shop for, but really you just have to keep in mind that i’m pretty easy to amuse? Besides, this little as seen on TV number even has CORE FUSION TECHNOLOGY!!! (Ok, so to me, it feels more like magical gravity weighing down on my poor explosive marshmallow) AND she brought adorable marshmallows that are products of israel covered with adorably anthropomorphized illustrated mallows that would make the sanrio crowd squeal. The cuteness does make it easier or harder to consume them (depending on how you react to the cuteness!) Impressive? Their mallow jumping and squishing the barcode. LOVE IT. But i digress… we microwaved up a few of these babies, watched them mushroom up, and then the MICROSMORES machine (read: plastic container with weighted platform on a stick that you don’t even get to PUSH) did its thing, making magical smores. Now if only there was some liquid smoke or fire involved in the process, you’d truly recreate the campfire smore experience…. ok even then, a bit is still missing, but that didn’t hold us back from sticking whatever else we could find in there!

I know i have SO many things i want to post and show you that i’m behind on this week (that life balance thing kicked in ~ you understand, right? this week life won a bit more than usual ~ but don’t work, workaholic me will be back, and might need some assistance, but more to come on that soon perhaps)… but figured we should start with the fun crazy stuff first… anyhow! Check out these awesome marshmallows and the MICROSMORES magic on the next page… good times!

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*notcot - 11.23.09 , 18:10 - 3 Notes

Click for Art - Cups & Saucers

cups0.jpg Click for Art has branched into Cups & Saucers ~ and i’m totally smitten by the Nanami Cowdroy Suspended Animation black and white goldfish one as well as the Si Scott Lovebirds. Can you imagine cuter cups to serve espresso in? Staring at these just makes me dream up the most adorable little cafe ~ with an outdoor patio of course. And we haven’t even started to look at the packaging! Such a lovely gift idea ~ and they are each a limited edition of 250 - shipped with a sequentially numbered mini art print signed by the artist and a Certificate of Authenticity! See more pics of my favorite two on the next page…

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*notcot - 11.10.09 , 14:45 - 5 Notes

The Grilled Cheese Truck LA

grilledcheese0.jpg NOTCOT Field Trip? Posted The Grilled Cheese Truck earlier this week on NOTCOT.org, and when we noticed it was going to be on this side of town for lunch, simply had to pop out to see what all the commotion was about. (Also, i have a soft spot for grilled cheese… and their logo reminds me of The Magic School Bus… i half expected to see Ms. Frizzle pop out to take us on a cheesy adventure)… With website, twitter, and facebook page (like many of these social media savvy specialty lunch trucks) the updates were constant as their precise location kept changing down to the minute, and we finally found them at the Los Angeles Fine Arts & Wine Storage Company parking lot, only half an hour into it and quite the line had already formed, inescapable scent of delicious greasy cheesiness omnipresent. Even CBS news was there tasting and shooting away… With a mix of your classic grilled cheeses, to your gourmet grilled cheese (add in mac+cheese, bacon, avocado, bbq pork and more) ~ and even dessert options (marshmallows, nutella, bananas) ~ as well as tomato soup shots and more ~ it was hard to choose! As with all of these specialty twitter happy lunch trucks, the lines are long, ordering seems to be the bottleneck, and it seems best to meet up with a bunch of friends to hang out with in line… also, go early! Because depending on zoning/landlord regulations, they can usually only stay put for a limited amount of time, so not everyone will get fed! So take a peek at more pics of both the truck and the food ~ this is the first time i’ve peeked INSIDE the truck! And since it took quite a while to get the food, and i promised to get Linhchi back to her house by 1:40, we shot the food pics in the car (sometimes at red lights)…

p.s.
was reading up last night on this Lunch Truck Phenomenon that seems to be sweeping the nation lately ~ some fun resources to note: Find LA Food Trucks and California Taco Trucks (run by dan’s old boyscout friend, Cyrus Farivar!)

p.p.s.
While fun and amusing ~ i think overall, if i’m going to spend an hour+ at lunch with friends, i’d rather do the sit down thing ~ but good times, and a fun chance to catch up with some old friends!

p.p.p.s.
From an im conversation right now, we’ve decided that when the process of getting the food and hanging out with friends is a lot of the fun… where is our champagne and oysters truck?

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*notcot - 11.06.09 , 09:45 - 6 Notes

Veuve Clicquot Yellowboam

veuveboam0.jpg Some packages just leave you speechless. You sit. You stare. You open it. You poke at it. You close it. You stare a bit more. This was one of those packages. Veuve Clicquot sent over one of their 1200 limited edition stingray skin Yellowboams (there are 3600 in the edition, 1200 each of ostrich, alligator, and stingray) ~ yes, a 3L (4 bottle equiv) bottle of Yellow Label Champagne… in a stunning handcrafted metallic lacquered wood box (with adorable little round hinges and magnetic closure) ~ with a stand for the monstrously large bottle… and the bottle itself has a yellow label made from ostrich, alligator, or galuchat, sealed with 22.4 ct gold and a 24 ct plated muzzle engraved with Mme. Clicquot’s signature. A little over the top, in a completely surreal, “how is this enormous bottle sitting on my counter right now, and how amazing is this paint job?” sort of way. Next question of course was, “How will we ever pour this? Or chill it? And who will have to come help drink it?”

So take a peek at more pictures on the next page ~ once you get past the extravagance, it’s really one of the sweetest most unexpected gifts to arrive, so, thank you, Veuve Clicquot. And don’t worry i will certainly document it when i open it… i’m terribly curious what is under that golden muzzle… and the adorable notebook that was included mentions that you can send in the leather label to have it turned into a card holder… intriguing…

p.s.
This launched me into that hunt for the names of various bottle sizes, so for those curious: Magnum = 2 bottles, Jeroboam = 4 bottles, Rehoboam = 6 bottles, Methuselah = 8 bottles, Salmanazar = 12 bottles, Balthazar= 16 bottles, Nubchadnezzar = 20 bottles. And most are named after BC kings… and “A useful mnemonic for these big bottle sizes is: My Judy Really Makes Splendid Belching Noises” says Champagne Magic.

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*notcot - 11.04.09 , 09:42 - 8 Notes

Party People Vacu Vin Glass Markers

partypeople1.jpg These Vacu Vin Party People Glass Markers were first as NOTCOT.org #20816 ~ and when i ran into them in Stockholm, they were even cuter in person! So i had to buy some to play with! They are so adorably tiny with their little suction cups and fun packaging! So next time, instead of sharpie markers to a solo cup, or wine tags, or stickers, here’s a new option! Let your guests pick which adorable little gummy looking character they want to channel… they all even have names! (see pics on the next page!)

p.s.
Apparently there are also Creepy Creatures and a Christmas Crowd available! (just noticed they are available on amazon)

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*notcot - 11.02.09 , 04:14 - 7 Notes

Absolut Icebar Stockholm: Factory

icebar0.jpg Absolut Icebar!!! I’ve always been curious, i’m still dying to visit the Ice Hotel some day ~ and ironically, this little excursion wasn’t even part of the official Absolut event/weekend. Apparently the Icebar changes its design twice a year, and it happened to be closed Oct 26 to Nov 1, so today was the first day it reopened, but, just barely! (Opening party is tomorrow night!) Luckily, i was able to stay an extra day, and they managed to get us in today. So here is a first look at the latest ~ “Factory” designed by Sofi Ruotsalainen and Nille Nilsson. Along with the completely new space, there is also a brand new menu! It’s quite amazing, you enter through the little store passageway where you see racks of ponchos with gloves clipped on… then into the airlock… and into the ice bar! Within the ice bar (which is literally wall to wall ice) there are ice sculptures, an ice display (looking like an upright arcade game), the bar and more… the giant red “Don’t Push” button - is totally ok to push. As long as you’re cool with the light flashing! (So fun!) Also playful are some of the Icebar goods ~ you can buy a replica glass (that won’t melt!), a puffy jacket of a laptop sleeve, matches, and other silliness… This is one of three Absolut Icebars ~ the first was in the Ice Hotel, this one is in the Nordic Sea Hotel and is open year round, as is the one in Below Zero London. See all the fun on the next page, as cold as my fingers got, i couldn’t help taking a bunch of pics, and they even let me take pics from behind the bar!

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*notcot - , 01:41 - 0 Notes

Absolut Black Cube Party

absolutbox0.jpg While i seldom do party pics, i’m fascinated by Absolut and the way they brand experiences so nicely… This was their big 30th Anniversary Party for the Art Collection… and the lighting in the giant black cube they constructed for the party next to the Lydmar Hotel was this ominous mysterious structure that popped up while we were staying there, and they wouldn’t let us peek in until the event itself… so once in there with such cool lighting and visualizations and bands/djs playing… the pictures of the bar, the bottles and glasses, the scene, and the straws even! I just had to share! The colors came out so beautifully!

Also ~ i ran out tonight (day after the party) but was a bit too late to get black cube pics, however did get some very cool mid-deconstruction pics! If you see the pics on the next page, just imagine that covered in black…

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*notcot - , 00:19 - 1 Notes

Grodan, Stockholm

grodan.jpg Sometimes you desperately run around the city all evening, desperately hunting for an open restaurant after having two drinks at the ice bar for “breakfast”, almost genuinely considering buying 7-11 food, tweet for help, call for suggestions, and almost everything that comes up is closed… then you stumble upon the adorable red cozy outdoor section of Grodan, and peek into a stunningly ornate dining room that smells delicious… and there it is. Froggies! Everywhere! On the menu… embroidered on the napkins, on the door - a simple red silhouette of a frog! (Yes, i now know Groda means Frog in swedish)… but the most intriguing instance of this little red frog i encountered was as i sipped my water… there it was on the bottom of my glass! And it looked so fun with its reflection and prismatic colors projected on the table… I had to share… and i’m so tempted to make mini vinyl stickers to apply to the bottom of my glasses to surprise people when i get home… see more of the pics on the next page!

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*notcot - 10.26.09 , 21:20 - 3 Notes

Yelp Elite Lunchbox

yelpLunchbox0.jpg On awesome design that they clearly had far too much (or just enough?) fun with… how cool is this Yelp Elite Metal Lunchbox and Thermos?!?!?! In fact, Michael Ernst, an ex-Yelp-team-er who worked on the design project and sent this awesome gift over even took that main picture up top ~ emailing, “I actually went to a gravel pit in my tiny hometown of Minocqua and asked if I could shoot this there. The guy who ran it was utterly confused at my request. I wanted it to look like another planet.” ~ how coudl i not use the pic after a story like that??? So take a peek at more close ups on the next page ~ its the details that will really get you chuckling at your screen…

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