Gift Guide time! In addition to the NOTCOT Holiday Coupons and the many Holiday Giveaways that will be unfolding daily… here’s my latest gift guide dedicated to beautiful BOOKS! As much as people claim print is dead ~ it’s so so not, and gorgeous glossy coffee table books, surprising analog interactive kids books, stunning magazines, design books, graphically awesome cookbooks and more are still launching constantly. On the next page, you’ll see a pick of some of my favorites for gifting this season!
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Surprise holiday gift arrivals: Jimmyjane’s Little Afterglow Sampler - a beautiful box set of 6 playful minis (that are not so mini!) of their Afterglow massage oil candles. They smell absolutely divine, and come in the prettiest little porcelain containers with perfect pouring spouts. On a side note, does anyone else ever wonder how fun it would be if Jimmyjane went into dinnerware? or vases and votives? It really is so tempting to use these porcelain dishes for dressing on the side or sauces… honey perhaps? Their designs are so subtle yet edgy, and the porcelain is so delicately beautiful in the modern shapes! Ok but back to the unboxing at hand, “this collection provides six enticing scents that explore the essential elements of attraction - WIT, CHARM and KINK. Included Scents: Cucumber Water, Grapefruit, Pink Lotus, Dark Vanilla, Bourbon, Truffle + Gardenia.” And best of all ~ as a gift to encourage experimenting, it even comes with a Experience Guide to help lead you through some of their favorite scent combinations to get you started! Take a peek at all the little design details on the next page!
Working on upcoming gift guides, i was checking out what was new at Best Made Co. with the axes and axe slings and it seems they have expanded their store quite a bit! And in it - i was smitten by the Best Made All Purpose First Aid Kit, the image of all the contents laid out especially. And the case itself is quite lovely in that minimalist designer way… As they say “OSHA certified. Approved by the US Forest Service. Made in the USA. An all-purpose first aid kit specifically designed for woodsmen, loggers,and Best Made customers. Comes securely packed in a sturdy metal dust and moisture resistant box with hanging brackets. Not only makes for a indispensable life saving tool,but will also look great hanging on your wall.”
The first question of course that came to mind when i saw this was… why did the Axe company need to suddenly go into the First Aid business? I wonder if there were any incidents? Then again, i guess it is a pretty awesome looking accessory to have around the studio/house. See a close up of the box on the next page.
Holiday season is officially here! Happy Black Friday! In addition to the NOTCOT Holiday Coupons and the many Holiday Giveaways that will be unfolding daily… here’s a gift guide inspired by the latest addition to the NOTCOT family ~ NotVentures. I can’t believe it’s been merely a month old already, and since it’s launch i’ve been from LA to San Francisco, Germany, Italy, Japan, and off to New York Monday! Beyond inspiring us with things to see and places to go… it’s also inspired some fun products, perfect for gifting your favorite jetsetter! See my picks on the next page…
Blackbox Case has just launched! Beautiful wooden Macbook Pro cases hand made in Colorado and just sent over an awesome email with some great pics! Weighing in at a mere 1.5 pounds, its pretty light, AND apparently hard to crush… but most intriguing of all are the stunning details you have to see up close on the next page! Each is hand numbered, comes with a typographically stunning card welcoming you to their family by their Chief Dreamer! Each case is hand oiled with high end Tung oil finish that takes four days to complete. “It just feels velvety smooth.” Each case is precision cut, hand sanded, hand rubbed, and personally inspected throughout the crafting process. “Your case starts as two pieces of hardwood that are milled on our CNC machine. This means that your computer will fit in your case perfectly. Not tight. Not loose. Just right every time.” Stunning, right? Sadly only available for macbook pros right now, i could really use one for my air!
Here’s an excerpt from the email i received:
Why the name Blackbox?
~Because I am a flight instructor in my spare time and it will keep your computer safe like the infamous blackbox in an airplane.
Who the heck are you? Do you really make these?
~Yep. We’re serious. We have engineers, woodworkers, and artists handcrafting these full-time. We’re making these with love in Golden, Colorado.
What’s with the branding-iron-logo?
~I’m from a small cow town in Eastern Colorado, so I thought it was fitting. That and it just looks sexy.
Can it really survive being dropped from an airplane 20,000 ft. in the air?
~I’m pretty sure it couldn’t but I can’t wait to try.
What computers does it fit?
~It is designed to fit a 15 in. and 13 in. MacBook Pro. You could try shaving the sides off that old PC laptop, but I don’t think that’s gonna work.
Take a peek at more details of the new Blackbox Case on the next page!
P.S. Use code “givethanks” will get $20 off at Blackbox Case.
Who doesn’t love a perfectly glimmering glass bottle? Somewhere between a studded crystal bottle and a discoball lies this Absolut Glimmer limited edition bottle ~ this comes following the Absolut Disco, Absolut Masquerade and Absolut Rock Edition of the previous holiday seasons. i must say, it feels even better in person than you’d expect ~ and i love that this design is the actual glass forming the texture, not something overlayed on their classic bottle! They threw a launch dinner for the bottle in NYC, which the lovely Sean and Anna of Sub-Studio attended for us! And of course the event was all sparkles as well ~ from the chandeliers and candles lighting the bottles to the glittering skyline views across the Hudson River from the Chelsea Art Towers. Beautifully ornate plexiglass tree-like chandelier of Absolut Glimmer bottles constructed behind the bar ~ Simon Ford mixing deliciously complex cocktails! With edible flower garnishes, 8-10 ingredients and more… and to end the night, Cee-Lo performed… on a sparkly floor! So take a peek at their adventures, as well as some of my close up pics playing with the bottle that was waiting for me when i got home from the round the world adventures!
Black and white? Wood blocks? Golden Ratio? How could i not give in to it? Besides, a gorgeous desk toy to help distract and inspire while i work my way through the fun and craziness that is the upcoming Holiday Gift Guides and Giveaways… perfect! Swiss company, Naef, makes some of the nicest quality wood toys, and they appeal to the beautiful simplicity of geometric shapes to create unthinkably inspiring complexities. Their description of the Naef Tectus? “Impressive architecture This cube is divided several times in adherence to the golden ratio and surrounded by black shapes. During play, these become foundations, walls or roofs and a player the architect. Everything fits into each other harmoniously.”
Ok i keep getting far too distracted constructing buildings across my desk as i attempt to write this post. So go take a look at the unboxing of this gorgeous Naef Tectus on the next page…
Leave it to a Louis Vuitton case, a beautifully sleek sculpture… and a retro modern manta ray meets metropolis feeling beauty of a concept i couldn’t stop staring at during the LA Auto Show. Though it debuted in Geneva in 09, there is something so striking about it in person i couldn’t resist. The Infiniti Essence Concept! “Celebrating 20 years as a creator of performance luxury vehicles, Infiniti introduces a vision crafted to embody our core values and inspire future design: the Infiniti Essence. This dramatic styling, technology and performance statement is a 592-hp gasoline/electric hybrid coupe defined by exterior lines sculpted to express fluidity and speed. Destined to influence production models of the future, the Infiniti Essence vividly captures the balance between grace and power, and the unrestrained possibility of Inspired Performance.” What IS new however is this 300 piece, limited-edition, solid resin, Infiniti Essence model which costs $300, and it can be ordered with a Louis Vuitton carrying case, available at Infiniti Lifestyle. For now see more pics of the case, sculpture, and concept car on the next page.
It’s 3:30am, so please forgive the random nature of the images for this post, but wanted to give you a peek from tonight’s launch before i went to bed… Here’s a look at the new Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG in addition to the new Ducati Diavel ~ and during the press event, Gabriele del Torchio, President and CEO of Ducati came on stage together with Ola Kallenius, CEO of Mercedes-AMG, they announced their new partnership to be working closely together! From AMG becoming one of the Moto GP team sponsors to starting to include Ducati bikes at AMG events and vice versa. It was interesting to see both machines in matte finishes, the CLS 63 in a matte grey, and the Diavel in a matte black/matte carbon fiber… both having such strong lines, the curves definitely stood out well in the lighting…
Ok, seriously, have to get some sleep before ending up at the press conferences in four or five hours, so sweet dreams, and there are lots of random picture details to feast upon on the next page!
Freshly launched, an adorable series of prints ~ Amanda Visell’s Posters for Girls… while my natural inclination towards things too girl focused is that it’s reverse sexist against boys… (and really, i’m just not that girly pink kind of girl)… i do find myself wanting to gift these prints to a bunch of my friends who are new moms with adorable baby girls. Seriously, what girl doesn’t need the poster of the knight? To grow up remembering the importance of having the ability of self-saving (also dragon-friend-making is key!) - granted whether/when you USE that ability is a whole other lesson. I look at the maverick one, and i just think of poor goose. and iceman… but she is looking pretty bad ass with the parachute and aviators. And the captain is pretty cute too ~ though, the wild bigfoot beast frightens me a tiny bit, but the trees are so happy! See them all on the next page!
The Tegu guy made me a castle! With a draw bridge! Out of magnetic wood blocks! LIVE! That was my silly excitement this morning as they let me put in the first request as Tegu LIVE! went… well, live. These playful magnetic wood building blocks made from sustainable tropical hardwoods in Honduras are inspired by the gorgeous european wood toys… with a magnetic twist. While kids of all ages can make anything they can dream up, to help inspire everyone, Tegu and Poke NY have teamed up to build a non stop live stream of a mysterious man in a tegu lab coat of sorts who will take your requests via Twitter, Facebook, and livestream for things to build. And poof just like that, he builds them for you! And then sadly deconstructs them as quickly as they came to be. Though, i’m told not to worry, since all designs will be archived for future viewing! If you’re curious what they are capable of, go make your request at Tegu LIVE!. They sent me a few cases to play with, and their packaging is awesomely fun as well… so take a peek on the next page for the products, packaging, AND my castle in action!
So, you saw the pictures of the Kahlúa diner at Zarela as well as the new ad campaigns ~ well, naturally, when Sean sent over his pics, i got fixated on his teaser pics of the Kahlúa Shaker they gifted him… and then begged for more pics! It’s such a minimalist bullet of a shaker in acrylic, but so playful too! And love the matte black paired with the vibrant firey red that the lid looks like it nearly floats on! Close ups on the next page!
Is Moonshine ready to try an take on tequila that’s been the new vodka as of late? The Original Moonshine from Stillhouse is the latest to launch, and i must say, i’m loving the bottle… from the XXXX on the fancified jug (somewhat like our Liqurious favicon/twitter avatar) to the howling wolf logo… and to be honest, i do love bottles with the finger loop (like Kraken that has two!) This is an 80-proof clear corn whiskey handcrafted in Culpeper, Virginia, using the only operational Prohibition-era copper pot still in the US. It’s the brainchild of entrepreneur Brad Beckerman and chef and restraunteur, Adam Perry Lang. They say the flavor is “most noticeable when sipped just shy of neat with a splash of pure water. When well bruised with ice, it transforms into a creamy, voluptuous, satiny texture.” But i have yet to taste it for myself. Other fun facts? It’s all natural, gluten free, and charcoal filtered!
The story of how the 3 year adventure designing this whiskey came to be - “I became obsessed with clear whiskey years ago when a fellow barbecue competitor shoved a jar in my face and said ‘drink this’ at a competition in the south, ” says Perry Lang.
Take a peek at some close up pics of fun old photos as well as the bottle on the next page!
Lelo INSIGNIA ~ the Swedish brand’s latest line of luxurious pleasure objects launched this week, marked with the triple loop infinity symbol! Taking the pleasure out of the bedroom, they even include a beautiful INSIGNIA Brooch in each gift box, which can easily be worn in plain view, as if part of a secret society, where anyone who responds or reacts to it, you’ll know they too… love… pleasure… and beautiful objects? The symbol also houses the three buttons on each of the objects in the collection (Alia, Isla, and Soraya) and each has a void through the shiny metallic core that you can slip your fingers through to easily grasp them. All are waterproof, powerful, and discreetly quiet, and come in a gift box that looks topographically inspired when the object is removed. See a close up of the design details as i unbox the Soraya on the next page, as well as a peek at the Alia and Isla.
I’ve always been quite smitten and secretly lusting after Smythson’s Nancy Bag, as well as the darling clutch, and the tote is stunning too! There’s something so architecturally fascinating with the way they’ve managed to perfectly pinch/twist the leather into these square/ninja star like patterns. And with travel on the mind (thanks, NotVentures) and shopping for new bags to hand carry with my new MacBook Air… tonight i’m just staring at this beautiful Smythson Nancy Weekender Bag! See larger pics of it on the next page!
Ok ~ still waiting for files to transfer, so currently tethered to my desktop while the macbook air and macbook pro do their thing beside me… one is so tiny, the other now seems SO HUGE. So how about taking a peek at the actual Macbook Air unboxing? It’s lovely how streamlined the packaging is getting these days ~ this one could probably be slipped right into a shirt box! Also its ridiculous seeing the ipad stacked over 11” macbook air over the 15” macbook pro… honestly the iPad looks like its losing this war. Especially if the air can handle photoshop at least decently (my previous netbooks never quite managed this well enough to become a primary travel machine). And shaving a few pounds of my hand carry is something my back would LOVE. Also it opens up a whole new world of purse/carry on options… also lovely that the TSA is saying ok to not having to remove the 11” Air to go through security! I can’t even remember the last time i had the luxury of only having to remove my shoes and toiletries! As for why i had to try one out for myself ~ opening up a bunch of safari windows and loading up as many tabs as i could find for each simultaneously working wonderfully in the apple store convinced me… Keep in mind: air = .67 x 11.8 x 7.56 = 2.3 lbs vs ipad = .5 x 9.56 x 7.47 = 1.6 lbs oh and the mac book pro is just so much heavier and bigger, it’s no comparison. SO! Ready to see inside the box? And the size comparisons? To the next page!
Far too much excitement today ~ there’s the NotVentures launch for starters! Then Mr. FedEx showed up with a Mac Book Air 11”! And while i giddily have to sit back and wait for it to take over my MBP for a few hours parasitically sucking data ~ i’m way too amused by the adorableness of the USB restore key… and the packaging of it! Have you see this thing up close? Held it? It’s kind of awesome. And reminds you how silly it is that other USB keys are any bigger… you can see it above next to my SD/USB cards i always have in my wallet/cameras/etc. There’s really little need for it to be any bigger, other than to make a toy out of it or something? Though i suppose it’s cute they evened out all 4 contacts ~ instead of the rocker fist of my SD/USB one… Anyhow! Before showing you a proper unbox, i found myself taking too many pics of the key… so here’s an unbox of that! See the many pics on the next page…
Masashi Kawamura has found a beautiful way to mix typography and couture with the ‘T’ Shirt line. As his site describes so well - ‘T’ shirts are T shirts that was designed to have the silhouette of 5 famous typefaces; Helvetica, Caslon, Baskerville, Courier, and Cooper Black.
In the world of typography, terms such as typeface, character, body, etc are used to describe the form of a letter. The reason why they use expressions closely related to a human body, is perhaps because each different letter has a distinct quality and personality, in a similar way that us humans are all unique.
In the designing process of these shirts, I aimed to capture the character of each typeface and tried to give them a unique look and presence once worn. By collaborating with Itaru Yonenaga, I feel we were able to produce a collection of shirts that is not only conceptual, but wearable as real clothes. I hope you will find your favorite shirt/typeface.
And they are beautifully wearable and actually for purchase from No Control Air in January. With halloween being tomorrow ~ i wish i could have this as my costume! See the rest of the collection on the next page…
“Cire Trudon, the oldest candle company in the world, is opening its very first shop outside its native Paris in New York’s Nolita neighborhood at 54 Bond Street at Bowery. This will be the first boutique to open since the Paris shop, located in the 6th arrondissement at 78 rue de Seine, opened in 1884.” That is quite a bit of history behind these amazing candles. While i have yet to smell them for myself, Anna was able to make it over to the opening to check it out first hand for us! For some reason there is something about a pouty Napoleon bust of a candle that just makes me smile. Also that the store makes you feel like you’re stepping into another world ~ in another time! Anna mentioned, “They put glass jars over the candles for display, which was a smart way to capture the smell and allow us to get a whiff without being totally overwhelmed by a million different scents in the store.” Take a first look into the stunning store on the next page ~ and perhaps soon i can show you some of their Stink Bombs that sound incredible… but more on that to come ~ to the next page!
Dyson DC-26 Multi floor It’s the tiny vacuum… the one you’ve seen the ads for that fits on an A4 piece of paper! All the sucking power of a full sized… in a mini! Well, the rolling part that you drag along the floor anyhow. First impressions? AWESOME! and SO CUTE! It really does feel a bit like the chihuahua of vacuums though ~ especially as i pull it along while vacuuming… it’s just that tiny! And half the time while using it, i found myself just picking it up in one hand, while i was vacuuming and holding the extension/handle with my other! At those moments, i wish it had backpack straps, so i could just vacuum like a Ghostbuster. (Really, it’s that awesome and i’m that tempted to just put some straps on it!) There are also amazing faces that pop out of this vacuum while i was taking pics… doesn’t it look slightly evil up there? Very Marvin the Martian or Clamps from Futurama… On fun details to note ~ it has anti-static carbon fiber brushes! And like the other Dyson vacs, it has fully articulating heads, so you can easily slip it under the bed, desk, etc when cleaning, but it weighs in at a mere 12 pounds. Take a peek on the next page for a full unboxing ~ as well as a comparison of it to the dustbusting handheld DC-31!
Hard Graft’s Phone Fold Wallet in Grey is so lustworthy… for those moments when you can’t grab a full purse/wallet, and only need to run out the door with your phone, cash, and a few cards (key’s will have to be figured out separately!) ~ how cute is this nice grey version of the Hard Graft fold wallet (originally in brown). So tempting. I love the attention to detail: Metal snap keeps wallet closed (snap is not exposed to phone) and the headphone jack even has access! And it can fit your iPhone 4 with bumpers, albeit a bit more snugly… perfect to grab and toss into a clutch for a night out… see more pics on the next page!
On fun surprises ~ just received a retrotastic Mr. Bartender easy pourer… and the packaging is amazing! You have to check out the unboxing pics on the next page. And not to waste any of the good stuff, we hooked it up to an empty bottle of Kraken (which makes it even more fun with the finger holes to grab on to) ~ it’s addictive, we kept pouring shot after shot ~ of water… while playing with it. Super simple, it just fills up with one ounce of liquor before pouring that perfectly measured amount into the glass. What’s fascinating is really how pretty it is and the amazing Mr. Bartender branding! Take a peek at it on the next page!
I have Hookmakers all over my house ~ someday, maybe i’ll even have a wall of them like the Design Glut ladies… or a living wall of them filled with succulents and air plants? But i digress, how exciting is it that the Hookmakers have now been joined by Jar Tiles!!! So take a peek at their latest on the next page…
p.s. also worth taking a look at ~ their new jewelry line that needs some kickstarting!
Oooh, more fun pictures just showed up in the inbox! Gabe Brosbe went by to visit my friends at the Mission Workshop in The Mission in San Francisco! (If they sound familiar ~ it may be because this is founded by the original founders of Chrome Bags!) And he’s been test driving one of their Rambler backpacks for a few weeks on his crazy daily 9 mile bike commute (even through the ridiculous rainy season we’re having in cali these days!)… check out his pics on the next page! I love the oil drums in the interiors! Also awesome? A peek at the adorable soles of their collab with DZR on bike clip in shoes…
Today Jackson, our Tasteologie editor, popped by Artisanal LA and discovered the delicious world of I Heart Pies! And i’m currently smitten by their adorable octopus logo and their Gang of Gentleman Utensils (which you can see on the next page). He reported back that the Pecan Pie was awesome and not too sweet ~ and sadly the peanut butter s’mores pie sold out too quickly for him to try! Take a peek at the pics of the branding and booth… and PIE that he brought back on the next page!