I “needed” a new hydration/trail pack. And while i’d been curious about ACRE (a special division of Mission Workshop) since they launched back in Fall ‘13… the website has such stunning images! But it wasn’t until i ran into the packs in person in Portland that i couldn’t get them out of my head. So i finally gave in and ordered The Hauser Weatherproof Hydration Pack 10L and couldn’t be happier! This biggest seller for me on this bag in person was the material - photos just don’t do it justice. The Dimension-Polyant 210d nylon VX ripstop with waterproof laminate has such subtle diamonds that add another dimension to the simplicity of the Hauser’s design - which is packed with such thoughtful, useful details… from the perforated padding to the tool roll, the multiple anchor points to the watertight zippers, the flap down to the rolltop option, and more! Check out the details up close on the next page!
Entries tagged with: gifts
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Here’s the latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw!
Our highlight from Pulse this year was the “Made in Korea” stand showcasing a number of designers respresnted by NoTag that had lots of playful items including fold-your-own paper toys, a dog-shaped bookstand and more. Check it out on the next page!
Life is all about balance ~ and it should be no surprise that the more time we all spend glued to screens (yes, phones count), the more we need the great outdoors! As you may have heard, between our endless 3D printing/soldering/etc. recently, we impulse started the NOTFZJ80 Project. While Shawn has been sharing endless Overlanding videos, forum discussions, and most excitingly — the gear, i’ve been fascinated by creative design solutions we keep finding!
The world of Overlanding is all new to me. Wikipedia defines it as: Overlanding is self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal. Typically, but not exclusively, it is accomplished with mechanized off-road capable transport (from bicycles to trucks) where the principal form of lodging is camping, often lasting for extended lengths of time (months to years) and spanning international boundaries. I grew up with my first few cars being SUVs. When living in LA, SD, and SF, throwing everything in my car and spontaneously moving or roadtripping was never out of the question. I love the idea of your car being ready to handle anything and take you anywhere and back.
Overlanding fits nicely on the spectrum between luxury hotel jetsetting and backpacking around the world… in that spot that is more luxurious than camping, more self sufficient than glamping, as equipped as an RV, but everything is more efficiently packed, multifunctional, and far more capable to get you through just about anything… it’s the perfect combo of man/machine teaming up to explore the outdoors to reach amazing remote spots. What i didn’t expect was how many fascinating design solutions pop up around the basics of what you can fit in/on/around your 4x4 vehicle, and how much of a fun designer project the process can be! Take a peek on the next page at some of the fun gear/setup possibilities i’ve been learning about while we research it all…
An amazing surprise arrived today from Highland Park Whisky. Remember this Cynthia Rowley Flask Bangle that i posted on NOTCOT.org a while back? Well the awesome folks at Highland Park made a special version and sent one over! I can’t even begin to describe how curious i was when i started to open the box and saw the silver flask bangle with a subtle little H logo on it… and it’s a perfect fit. It even holds around 3 fluid ounces! Perhaps we WILL need to do a ladies’ Hero’s Chest Dinner yet… see all the details on the next page!
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!
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…
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!
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!
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…
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!
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.
Valentine’s day is around the corner, and the Kraken Rum just surprised us with a V-day card, adorably mini rum, and a black rose! For their Kraken vs Cupid campaign, the lucky folks in London have a chance to pick up a bouquet of black roses paired with a bottle of Kraken (vs champagne)! How do they do it? “The black roses for sale are created by placing dark red roses in vases filled with a Kraken’s ink in place of water. This ink is then transported up the stem, via the xylem, to the leaves and petals turning them black, a scientific process that will also be showcased in the space. For dramatic effect some of the flowers will also be turned black using special floristry dyes.” and they will be paired with “… Calendula Lily Eclips and Queen of the Night Tulips, both darkest purple in colour looking visually black to the human eye.” Take a peek at details of the gorgeously dark surprise we received on the next page! And if you’re in London, visit the Think Ink Florist on Feb 14th!
In the “wish someone told me this earlier” category ~ you should have 3D printing material test kits on hand before your client has to decide which to use! We’re currently crunched on time for a big project where we need to order a few hundred 3D prints sooner than later… and as we shop around various 3D printers, you forget how many types of materials and colors and options exist! Even if some places have the same materials/printers - they will all vary depending on whether they are dyeing or polishing them… you just can’t do big orders without getting test prints… and before even deciding which material(s) to test print in… samples of various materials are extremely helpful! Beyond simply how it looks and feels in real life - it’s great to test how flexible they are, how light shines through, how they dye, etc etc etc… And on a time crunch, i’m still getting used to how slow printing and shipping for projects can be ~ especially in this spoiled Amazon Prime world we are in…
So, I wanted to share these amazing Materials Sample Kits from Shapeways. They have three kits, the Color & Finish, Basic, and Metals, and each kit comes with samples on a 3D printed safety pin of sorts and coordinating trading cards with stats on each material as well as images of some prints using them. I also appreciate that they encourage people to explore and understand the various materials by including a $25 Shapeways credit with the basic kit, which ultimately sets you back $5 if you were planning on ordering something anyhow! While these kits don’t cover ALL of their materials, it’s a great start. Take a peek at the unboxing and details on the next page.
Happy Chinese New Year! As we celebrate the new year ~ and also start working on some hardware projects… fun fact i learned this week is that Chinese New Year not only shuts down a lot of businesses in asia, but if you’re trying to get things shipped or manufactured, this is a bad week to do it! So long story short, our order of Microduinos should have been made 24 hours before… and we could have had them NOW instead of a few weeks from now. Luckily, thanks to the power of the internet, the very nice folks at Microduino met up with us in person yesterday to get us a few modules to get the project going!
THEY ARE SO SMALL! Impressively small in fact… and stackable! While i can’t tell you what we’re working on (yet!) i had to share how adorably tiny they are! They are even open source and Arduino compatible. Microduino started on Kickstarter and were successfully funded back in October, and are steadily growing their module capabilities. Take a peek at them up close on the next page!
Here’s the latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw ~ in addition to her other Top Drawer finds, we LOVE these semi DIY cards that use Bare Conductive’s Electric Paint.