Shawnimals never ceases to bring a smile to my face. I mean, little plushie ninjas. Who can resist that?!?!?! It’s a Ninja Empire for sure… from the early days of the Wee Ninja ~ to Pocket Ninja ~ to a whole town of ninjas… and a Nintendo DS game even… i’m so delighted and honored to announce his latest amazing ninja announcement just before NINJA DAY (yes, Dec 5th, this saturday. prepare yourself!), NINJA OF THE MONTH!!! Seriously. I kid you not. You can magically have ninjas appear in your mailbox monthly. Perhaps the awesomest yearlong gift yet? So YES, you get a chance to win a year long subscription of ninjas… AND Shawn was nice enough to let us peek behind the curtain to see where ninjas come from… ready to see inside the studio? Peek at potential ninjas in the making? See the next page….
Entries tagged with: gifts
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On completely unexpected pieces of mail ~ Anthropologie really knows how to add those special little touches to the customer experience. While i was mixed on joining and getting an Anthro Card when i was at the Man Shops Globe event (and couldn’t help buying something) i gave in and signed up. The benefits weren’t quite clear… but i just recieved a pretty little bubble wrap envelop from them containing the cutest birdthday wishes with a cupcake made from piercings (a fun change from the letterpress trend) and a candle necklace… as well as an in store discount. But presentation matters! And it was such a surprising and adorable card. So thanks, Anthropologie, that was a pretty cute move. Check out close ups on the next page… even the copy is playful.
Oh how i <3 Rocket World. But most NOTCOT readers should know that by now. Patrick Ma is definitely one of the guys to look up to when it comes to putting your passions first and finding a way to grow an amazing company pulling in all of them as diverse as they may be… from a military background to a love of toys and eye for fashion… add a great design sense, some business savvy, and an impeccable attention for detail… surround with a bunch of great people. And poof Rocket World and TAD Gear! SO i’m thrilled to show off this special photoshoot they’ve done for us to showcase their new jewelry pieces! As modeled by my favorite plushie bear, Titus. (I couldn’t resist, so snuck in a few picks of my Titus at the end of the post to share with you too!) Oh, and they too love you guys enough to want to giveaway some of their gorgeous new pieces…
The giveaway: Sterling Silver Mean T-Skull bead and Pineapple Grenade necklace. Details on the next page!
Another friend of NOTCOT and fellow socal native (although she’s in NY now, her mom/biz partner/designer of this awesome new canvas duck bag is still in La Jolla) ~ Emily of Baggu shares the story of how she and her mom came to start this stylishly simple reusable bag line… as well as showcase their latest foray out of ripstop nylon and into the classic canvas bag: the Baggu Duck Bag! I must say i wasn’t sure from the photos at first, but once i played with it in person, i’m smitten. It’s so soft, yet strong ~ just wide enough on the bottom ~ perfect length ~ and LOVE how it looks when you button it and hide the shoulder strap! Anyhow ~ see their story on the next page… and they too have been super generous with a big Baggu giveaway!
Giveaway! It’s a Baggufest ~ you can win one green duck bag, a set of green Baggu X3, 2 Baby Baggus, one small and one large produce baggu, one BIG baggu, and two patterned baggus. Giveaway details on the next page!
For those who love books, what a perfect boardgame to gift! I forget who first sent this to me, but i’ve had these pics waiting in photoshop on the desktop for some time now! Have you played Bookchase? While the original wasn’t as visually appealing to me, i have always loved the look of penguin classics, and these adorable little penguin books on shelves with the penguin covers on the board… so cute. All packaged in a giant book of course! So here is The Great Penguin Bookchase!
Here’s the official description “The fist edition of BOOKCHASE® was launched at the Hay International Literary Festival in 2007, to rave reviews. Bookchase is the perfect game for anyone who has ever read a book. The game can be played with questions or without - fast or slow. Ever dropped a book in the bath, or lent a book to someone and never got it back?? 2-6 players aged 6 and upwards - the perfect family boardgame. First to collect, beg, borrow or steal 6 books is the winner.” See more pics on the next page!
Loving these holiday features, it’s been SO much fun to get a look into the worlds of some of NOTCOT’s favorite brands and designers this year. They’ve been awfully kind to pull together pictures and stories to share with us amidst the crazed holiday season, AND add giveaways too? All of these folks are pretty special to us! Today James over at Hard Graft gives us a visual peek into a Day in the Life of Hard Graft. I want their life! We couldn’t bear to tarnish the amazing pics they sent over with text ~ the pictures certainly speak for themselves, so take a look into their stunning Austrian studio on the next page!
Also ~ today is the debut of their brand new X Sleeve + Add-On Pouch! Isn’t it stunning? Guess what? You can also WIN IT! They have one to giveaway to us!
Happy Cyber Monday! I’m so excited to share this holiday feature with you! Our friends at Bittersweets NY have sent us an incredible look inside their studio, sharing not only a peek at their space, but also the making of their latest diamond rings inspired by nature - resembling twigs holding the diamond! From sketches to final product, it’s fascinating to see how it comes to be. AND, on top of that, they have been generous enough to offer one of their 14K Gold Diamond Twig Bands for a giveaway as well! See the story on the next page as well as details on the giveaway!
I am mesmerized and fascinated and suddenly feeling the need to pick a color and dye things. Don’t mock, but i’m SO giddy because i think i’m finally nearly caught up on email for the first time in… YEARS? 1300 to under 100!!! Took me something from 11am to 6am yesterday… but nearly there! and in it i just found this gem from a friend…
“I was in Paris last week and I spent 2 hours in the 180 grammes store in la Bastille and I thought it could be of interest for you. They are making painted clothes and shoes. They have a deal with Nike and are making super cool shoes. In the store, the clothes they have (for men and women) are amazing and custom made. I bought a pair of nike and pants but frankly, with more money I would have bought everything. Apparently, they are submerged with request from people… it was tough to have make my pair of shoes in 1 day!”
On Stockholm discoveries ~ between all the Absolut festivities, while chatting with the global PR lady for Absolut, couldn’t help noticing her lovely dresses all weekend ~ and it turns out they are made by the up and coming Swedish line, House of Dagmar! Who have an great story of being founded and run by three sisters with perfectly complementary skills - “Dagmar was founded by the Swedish sisters Kristina Tjäder, Karin Söderlind and Sofia Malm. Kristina Tjäder is designer, educated at ESMOD École Superieur de la Mode in Paris. Previously, she has worked for Christian Lacroix, H&M and other Swedish brands. Karin Söderlind supervised purchasing and product development for H&M during eight years and has been operating as a brand manager and PR-consultant for many years. Sofia Malm, a textile economist, is Dagmar’s head of sales with many years of experience in retailing.” On on crazy coincidences, they also happened to be the her neighbor, so in addition to checking out their collection when i wandered NK, Karin Söderlind joined us at the Absolut event and we had a lovely chat about the line and design philosophies while perusing the Absolut Art! And on how the name came to be ~ “The principal source of inspiration - and muse - is the sisters’ late grandmother by the name Dagmar. She was herself a tailor and inspired the sisters to develop their interest for fabrics and design at young age.”
I love their style ~ which they describe as “arty chic”, but that is a very swedish, clean, modern arty chic which i adore. Not to mention the photography for their collections is so fun too! Take a peek on the next page of some of my favorites from their new Spring/Summer 2010 collection.
p.s. Upon realizing the brand felt familiar when i got home ~ of course you can find it at Revolve Clothing and Fred Segal ~ and in addition to many swedish awards, it has also won a 2007 fashion show by Gen Art-NY during NY Fashion Week!
HAPPY BLACK FRIDAY!!! To kick off the holiday season, i’ve decided to do something a little different this year. We’ve invited a few people and companies that we’ve grown to love over the years and inspire us constantly to share their stories, processes, and/or a behind the scenes look at their world and the amazing products that come out of it. Also, they love you guys enough that most of them also wanted to give you guys presents ~ so this year it’s about feature stories and giveaways! And i might not be able to resist and might make a few new gift guides or more products as well. Additionally we’re working on bringing back and cleaning up the gift guides of the previous years, since 99% of those products i’d still gift in a heartbeat! So i’m working and shopping this black friday, expect to see the new NOTCOT Gift Guide 2009 section evolve a bit over the next few days, its my fun sandbox to play with some new ideas…
First up! is the amazing Scott Hansen of ISO50. He has not only given us a peek into the way his breathtaking prints are hand made and cut in his studio… but also offered a generous bundle of prints and more for you to win! So take a peek at the featured post for his story, as well as details on how to enter for a chance to win all the goodies!
You've seen the other Target Gift Cards ~ but the incredible detail of the artwork and illustrations on the Winter Fishing Hole Game Gift Card deserved a post of its own! Full scan of the game board as well as the pieces/packaging are on the next page in addition to some fun closeups. From the signature on the game's board, figured out that the design is by brothers, Don and Ryan Clark, of Invisible Creature ~ who posted about the project earlier this month. They do some amazing gig posters, illustration work, and more ~ in particular i'm loving their monsters and creatures tonight! Take a peek at one of the coolest gift cards i've seen in a while on the next page ~ and if you think about it, it's a pretty cheap piece of art that is practically free... you can load it up with $5 to buy the gift card, then use that to buy something else and have the fun game to play or pin up somewhere! Details on the next page aren't to be missed!
Would you believe that pile up there contains 4 different Target Gift Cards? After seeing a magazine ad for some of the new gift cards this season, Linhchi and i took a little field trip to 2 targets tonight to see what there was... i'm absolutely in love with the beautifully illustrated Winter Fishing Hole Board Game of a gift card as well as the adorable wind up dog that pulls a woody sleigh gift card ~ both of which are new for this year! Unfortunately between those two targets we weren't able to find the remote controlled mouse in a shopping cart, but you can still see pics of that on the next page. We're also now very familiar with exactly where around the whole layout of their stores you can find gift cards (different ones in different sections, often at the ends of aisles)... also found were a really fun coloring birthday card with a box of crayons as a gift card ~ and a relaxing car with a bathtub on a box filled with bath salts! I'm impressed with what playful and thoughtful ways target has come up with to enhance the often boring gift card giving experience. While this isn't a new phenomenon (remember the light up Target Wii gift card we dissected?) ~ this year's did seem particularly noteworthy for fun design! See closeups and others on the next page...
Some packaging just makes you smile. Almost doesn't matter what's inside... this line of adorably illustrated bears on the Life NK line of bath and body products are too cute not to share. See them all on the next page!
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...
I love products to play with during breakfast. Perfect way to start the day? I had a chance to poke at Ultimate Ears (recently added to the Logitech family, and locally based in Irvine!) over breakfast at King's Highway with a guy who works for Logitechin Palm Springs at the Ace and he let me keep them to play with (especially after they'd been in my ears!) and just to be super clear, no, i'm not writing about them because of that! As for why i'm including them in the netbooks section ~ every netbook totally needs a good pair of headphones to go with them ~ since often when netbooking, you can be somewhere pretty public (be it at the cafe or in an airplane)!
On top of the nice sound quality ~ it's the design details of this particular set that grabbed me. I love how subtle, tiny and pill like these Ultimate Ear 700s are ~ they totally reminded me of my chill pill necklace and capsule pills in general when i saw them. So tiny! Not the kind of headphones that basically end up looking like funky earrings... Also while the packaging leaves a bit to be desired (bit too much plastic and not all too interesting box graphic design) ~ the case is perfect to protect your buds in your netbook case or bag and at the very bottom in the inside has the cutest little infographic showing you to wrap the cord around your fingers. Silly, but someone clearly spent a bit of time on the details! Also extremely subtle, the right side earbud is red, the left is black! Take a peek at the unboxing and design details on the next page!
On breathtaking gallery openings ~ SHAG's "Autumn's Come Undone" show at the Corey Helford Gallery is incredible. I showed you a preview earlier, and now the full show preview is available here... the show consists of new paintings as well as huge 6-foot wide panoramic giclee panels on canvas ~ in singles, pairs, and triples ~ these larger than life panoramas have so many details going on at once you can literally stand and stare at them constantly discovering more and more! The way they are displayed in the gallery is beautiful in and of itself ~ take a look at the scene on the next page!
On late night art lusting ~ these 4"x 4.5" laser engraved wooden ovals with one of a kind drawings with colored pencil were Audrey Kawasaki's contribution to the give away gift bags at Baby Tattooville (which, yes, i'm very sad i wasn't at this year!)... see a few more of these mini's up close on the next page as well as a stunning medical curiosity themed complimentary limited edition giclee print...
Adorable! Brain Pattern Egg Qee ~ hand painted by Emilio Garcia. I've loved his brainy frogs ~ and this egg is too cute ~ its fun to see the creation process step by step ~ see pics on the next page!
Shu Uemura Art of Hair finally got their online store going ~ i've been obsessed with their moisture velvet conditioner and masque ~ they quickly made the list of products i actually end up buying again and again. I've also been anxiously waiting for the black glossy Shu Uemura paddle brush ~ which has finally arrived on the webstore! While this in and of itself wasn't all that extraordinary, what struck me was the packaging when it arrived. Black shipping box, sealed with black on white Shu Uemura Art of Hair tape sealing it ~ upon opening, black and white typographic logo pattern ~ and custom tissue paper as well... and each object individually wrapped and buffered in tissue paper padding. I can't even imagine what they would do for gift wrap! It was so beautiful, i had to photograph first and open after, as hard as that was! Also a few peeks at the paddle brush ~ while i usually use wood brushes with wood bristles, i'm loving this one! So see it all on the next page...
Dayna Decker Chandel Couture ~ the same way looking up at chandeliers has been mesmerizing recently, looking down at the wide woody crackling wicks of Dayna Decker Chandels. They smell divine, but i can't get over the lovely glass votive lined in black with the patented EcoWood Wick is "made from organic wood via a natural manufacturing process, and burns cleaner than an ordinary cotton wick. When lit, the EcoWood Wick displays an intriguing "teardrop" shaped flame and emits a soothing crackling sound." Quick video to share the crackling with you on the next page as well as unboxing and product shots of the chandel!
Undergrowth Design "Wash Away All Sins" Soap Dispenser ~ designer Tina Tsang describes it as "Angled for a perfect scrub to cleanse away all your naughty secrets! Resembling a 'foaming' bar of soap sinking into the sink top, the 'Wash Away All Sins' Soap Dispenser is hand-made in England with ceramic earthenware. On the reverse side, a definition of 'clean' to remind user of new state of 'cleanliness', innocent of all their little sins."
Joby Gorilla Mobile for iPhone 3G/S ~ perfect for those who want the versatility of both a simple black matte/rubbery case and the ability to mount their phone just about anywhere for any reason... whether that is on the steering wheel of your car (look! handsfree!), the handlebars of your bike, wrapped around a pole, or perched on the table as a tripod... or in my case, i wrapped it around the nearby bottle of scotch as a tripod. As you can see on the next page, the packaging for this one got far more apple styled with the matte white box ~ and i do love that the signature ball jointed gorillapod legs are ALL black this time! Take a peek at all the details on the next page...
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...
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.
Inspiration comes in so many forms, and can feel so good in your hand... like these solid graphite pencils from the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. The weight is SO nice! And then combine it with great colors from your usual graphite options to gold, silver, and purple!!! And on top of that, add great quotes from some fun and inspiring artists... does it get more NOTCOT than this Warhol quote? "I never read, i just look at the pictures." ~ Well that just about sums up how i feel about why i needed NOTCOT.org in my life, sometimes we just need pictures to float through us to interpret as we wish...
Max Ernst: All good ideas arrive by chance
Marc Chagall: Great art picks up where nature ends.
Robert Rauschenberg: "Now" is my competition.
Robert Rauschenberg: A canvas is never empty.
Pablo Picasso: Everything you can imagine is real.
Diane Arbus: Nothing is ever the same as they said it was..
Salvador Dali: I don't do drugs. I am drugs.
Salvador Dalí: Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it.
Luckily the Moderna Museet has a webshop too! See more pics on the next page as usual...
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!)