It was absolutely breathtaking to see the Lladró Parrot Party Collection in person (They launched in January at Maison et Objet). They are spectacular, and they truly capture those moments of curiosity, intrigue, and playfulness parrots are known for… and the pairing with such modern yet simple shapes and colors, mixtures of matte and glazed glossy porcelain goodness create such fascinating contrasts. This is apparently the first collection in the Lladró Atelier concept, “a world of new experiences in porcelain under the guidance of Jaime Hayon, conceived to showcase the creative potential of the brand’s designers.” As a contrast to the usual press photos, and while i still insist these are worth seeing in person if possible ~ take a peek on the next page of how incredible i found the details and lifelike character of the Parrots!
So far when asked what my favorite thing is at ICFF ~ this is what jumps to mind!
Sandy Vohr has been making the most adorable luscious little leather bean bag creatures for the last 30 years. In fact i think i even received one of her beautiful little leather frogs as a paperweight as a kid! The site even says, “The animals are made from cowhide and deerskin, and filled with various combinations of fiberfil and beadlike materials.” When i spotted the Bunny Bookends at Barneys, i got nostalgic and ended up looking up Sandy’s site… where i discovered so many new adorable leather creatures ~ from moose to dragons, robots to octopi! See some of my favorites on the next page! Looks like she’ll even do customs!
Just finished my last dive of the trip ~ and this whole trip has definitely reinvigorated my childhood love of nudibranchs and frogfish! Frogfish have the coolest elbows ~ and the way they walk… and eat (with their signature anglerfish family style lure!)… and the variations they come in! (So fascinating, saw about a half dozen color variations this week! And soooo many nudibranchs i haven’t seen before too. So in this last installment of fun creatures from the Lebeh Strait ~ check out frogfish, nudibranchs, and more (including a super tiny baby lion fish!) on the next page!
Octopus obsession is only growing more with each one i encounter! Two today so far! One good sized amazing Wonderpus octopus (Wunderpus photogenicus) on a dive (they are pretty rare and only found here in bali/sulawesi! Only recently named/officially discovered)… and then during lunch we spotted another octopus hiding a few feet from us in the low tide! So waded out to it with a camera and it was so tame and incredibly docile… i even pet it! So lots of fun pics of both the octopus and wonderpus on the next page!
UPDATE: We’re now pretty certain that the other octopus is a Mimic Octopus, Thaumoctopus mimicus ~ which was only officially discovered in 1998 in sulawesi. It is the one that the Wonderpus is commonly mistaken for… and it mimics everything from flounders and eels to lion fish and sea snakes… and ours impressively becomes one with the rock as well as the sand… see an amazing video i found about them on the next page!
On visual inspiration, there is something about the overwhelming sense of calm serenity with nothing but the sound of your own bubbles and the occasional boats overhead… as you just swim about watching the most incredible and mind blowing creatures going about their daily lives all around you… so, on “vacation pictures” ~ here are some of the many (there are hundreds of photos, here’s just a selection of fun ones!) creatures i’ve been encountering diving the Lembeh Strait of Indonesia this week (hiding out at Kungkungan Bay Resort)… and besides the diving creatures, you also get a peek at the large crab i ran into, and the impressive Tuna statue in the center of Bitung (tuna capital of indonesia?)… see it all on the next page!
and on design inspiration ~ it sounds silly, but i’ve totally been dreaming up redesigns, proposal ideas, and more while watching the creatures under the sea… also photo credits go to my dad who’s the photographer (i’ve been tasked more with helping find things in our team!)
Another Dear NOTCOT surprise ~ this one comes in from Lou Mora ~ awesome photographer, and apparently between seeing the matte black penguin and the Oscars last night… he got inspired and decided to take some sand paper to a blue penguin and make a GOLDEN PENGUIN!!! Ready to see the evolution? See all the pics he sent over on the next page…
How can you resist squirrels… on retro fabulous bodies… on a bag of not-crisps… holding sweet chillis? The graphics were just too irresistible not to buy a bag of the baked goodness when we were at Waitrose earlier. And then upon discovering their website, there are even MORE fun graphics, and the most adorable site as well. So take a peek at my Crips on the next page… pics of the bag and snacks themselves as well as a look at their beautifully laid out newsletter and site!
One team of the Puma Penguin Army stands guard in my house, roaming between the hallway and office, to the media center and fireplace… a second team has gone on an adventure with the amazing Birds of a Feather photo-blog photographers Lou Mora and Sarah Yates. Where they will go and what they will get up to is in their hands now! First i got a mysterious messaged that they were getting carded by security… next i get these pictures. Somewhere on their roadtrip between LA and San Diego they seem to have stopped off outside the refineries near El Segundo… See the super fun pics on the next page!
Merry Christmas ~ it’s been quite the branded animal holiday season for crazy packages here at NOTCOT this year, and as that “last day before christmas” delivery chaos kicked in, the most beautiful and mysterious box arrived from White Rabbit Inc. (via Fallon and Syfy) ~ you know, that special recon team that the Queen of Hearts has? With the fun microsites and awesome Alice mini series? So now i can BE part of that crazy team, and run around as a White Rabbit too!!! Check out my new latex rabbit head? I must admit its a little freaky up close, but i can’t stop poking at it. Also what better gift to receive than vials of Clear Conscience, Hope, Reassurance, Flying High, Desire, and Serenity to ring in the new decade? One can only dream that they’d perform as labeled if sipped ~ but the fun little legal note warns me otherwise. Just in case. Imagine if it were as easy as it is in Wonderland? Where the Queen lures (ok, traps) humans from our world into her casino, only to pull raw emotions out of them and through their feet to create essences for bottling by the Wonderland Tea Shop ~ they are afterall “Tea for the soul, from the soul.” So take a peek on the next page for a full unboxing as well as some Rabbit-Penguin shots…
They’re heeeeeeere!!! Meet the Puma Penguin Army that arrived yesterday. Sorry i lost a few hours of my day yesterday to unpacking the fort of 20 massive boxes that showed up. And then carefully pulling out each of its foamy filled box… only a few casualties. 1 poor orange guy totally shattered (we’ll consider him a sacrifice in the name of science to see what’s inside a Puma Penguin)… one green guy lost a foot (don’t worry he’s being superglued as you read)… another orange guy has a special sunburst like color fade with a cracked neck (watching him carefully to make sure not to snap his head off!).
PUMA - i just have to say, you guys are amazing. Like, best christmas present ever amazing. THANK YOU! Now that being said ~ go see the many photos of where i first spotted these guys, how they arrived, and just how fun they are en masse. Now the question is, what to do with them???
So you've seen the Day In The Life of the White Rabbit so far... well, here is more of the campaign that Fallon has put together for Syfy. This is one of those posts that took me a while to figure out how/what to show you because while i love each part individually, conceptually all together its fun to see how this one crosses in and out of online, tech, and real world! See if you can follow it all...
1. 50 Real human Rabbits run around NYC
2. Real human rabbits disappear and a huge building sized projection shows the rabbits climbing the wall...
3. Rabbit projections and real rabbits continue to run around NYC prompting people to "FOLLOW ME" which of course means twitter... and real life... (nice use of alice in wonderland meets twitter, fallon.)
4. On the twitter account you can find the link to The White Rabbit Inc, a detective agency of course. The man-rabbit is there again teasing you to follow.
5. Clicking him takes you to Wonderland Tea Shop, where he causes some havoc and teases you to follow once again.
6. Now you end up at the Happy Hearts Casino, faced with an eerie Kathy Bates Queen of Hearts backed by some show girls... and he escapes again, waiting for you to follow.
7. Where you finally land at Syfy's Alice.
Oh, but wait, that's not all... Also fascinating, Kay jewelers is sponsoring the miniseries, and they've done even MORE silliness to integrate with them... There is also Alice's Jewelry Box, where you essentially click on each of the Kay jewelry pieces to get to the "fabled Stone of Wonderland" ring of Alice's, which then lets you see concept art for the film...
I can't help but wonder, what's next? Where can i get a Rabbit mask? Will the miniseries live up to the campaign? There is so much talk these days of ways to integrate social media, ways to use twitter, how to innovate on really engaging people (in both real and online worlds) for campaigns... and i'm loving what Fallon and Syfy have pulled off with this one. With so many ideas floating around, they've definitely taken it further than most would expect, and it feels like everyone has had a blast doing it! So take a peek to see the different parts of this campaign (and a fun video too!) on the next page!
Did you see him running around last night? Love this video of the projection of the White Rabbit running through NYC… Fallon has really gone all out with a Syfy for their latest flick, Alice! (Can’t wait to check it out on sunday)… before i share more of the campaign, check out more pics!
Or perhaps some of you in NYC even saw him running around today? Before i even begin to show you what else i’ve found, let’s just take a look at these really fun and surreal pics of a day in the life of the White Rabbit… See pics of the White Rabbit/s doing everything from sitting in the office, to photocopying, to doing the crossword, to ice skating… and more! on the next page.
On unexpected inspiration and another random close up look at Oxford... how about some Moss and Spiders? And also praying mantis and silk worms... (And yes, moss fascinates me, remember the Singapore Moss?) So here are some fun little adorable moss clumps on the bridge... and then a huge spider that i found there too... then exploring into some of the zoology labs where i was whisked away to see some very cool (and insanely fly/web filled) space of pretty massive spiders and silk worms which are being researched to understand the magic of their silky webs... see the many pics on the next page!
On random Monday inspiration from Oxford (out here for Justine's phd graduation!) we took a walk over to The Goldfish Bowl, and since my camera was with me, i couldn't help shooting some of the adorable underwater creatures... you have got to check out the adorable turtles and rather pissed ray and much more!
The Kraken Rum: How can you NOT drink from a bottle that says "As seen through the eyes of imagination"... such a lovely description, also any bottle that has Bizarre & Fierce Sea Creatures on it is just hard to deny. You've seen the unboxing of the incredible packaging, design, and other goodies (like Kraken teeth in vials, ink in bottles, etc)... and now for close ups on the actual Kraken Rum bottle design from Kevin Shaw of Stranger and Stranger... The amazing thing i love to watch is putting it in unsuspecting hands, the bottle has presence! It's hard not to pick it up, slip two fingers through the holes, and then suddenly while rotating and reading the label ~ the bottle jokingly raises up to your lips as if you are going to chug it... and many make sounds channeling their inner rum drinking Johnny Depp a la Pirates of the Caribbean. It's happened more than once. I love how an object such as a mere bottle of rum through design and packaging can evoke such a delightful user experience! So take a peek at the packaging design and graphic details on the next page ~ The Kraken Rum is definitely a perfect gift if you need a sippable conversation starter to bring to a party (and loosen people up in more ways than one ~ it's 94 proof!)...
I was heading to Petaluma from the Broad Summit ~ and just as i was getting out of Sebastapol i did a double take, pulled the car over, made a u-turn, and popped into California Carnivores in hopes it was open (it was late afternoon on a sunday) ~ and it WAS! And it is AMAZING. Apparently it is the "largest carnivorous plant shop in the united states"!!! AND omg. wow. you HAVE to see how stunning (and huge) this place and their plants and their kiddie pools filled with more plants in the process are... Good news is that they are carnivorous plant obsessed, extremely informative, super nice, and you can order online and they will ship anywhere in the US (he was even describing their intense packing process for shipping, and after hearing about it i'm confident to order more soon!) ~ but for now, i couldn't resist and currently have a box of 4 in my car... SO beautiful. They are so incredibly inspiring, take a peek at the pics of many species i have never seen up close before!
On unexpected discoveries, next time you're up in wine country california style ~ California Carnivores is a definite stop not to be missed!
On adorable discoveries in London Design Week, Matt Pugh's wooden owls are adorably irresistible! Available in oak or walnut and a variety of colors, they certainly demonstrate the power of simplicity done right. Definitely worth adding to the potential gift list, although the hardest part really is how to pick the perfect color... or group of colors? (They are quite nice in little flocks!) See a few more gorgeous wood pieces from Matt Pugh on the next page as well!
While i can't possibly imagine having one of these replacing the joy of having an adorable little bird accompanying you... it's an intriguing concept mixing nature and technology, and it's certainly fascinating to watch... so take a peek at more pics and a quick video i made while at the show on the next page!
On exciting finds at London Design Week ~ my favorite discovery at Designersblock is definitely Masako Sugar and her Mushroom Hooks! I feel like i've been hunting for years for the perfect coat rack or hallway hooks ~ in fact i had a big post during my hunt back in 2007! Well i wish these had existed back then! Even though i'm not exactly sure where they will go when i get home, i couldn't resist buying three of the red ones ~ made of silicon rubber, it is nice to your clothes, far softer aesthetically than many of the harsher powder coated steel options omnipresent these days, and they are all one of a kind mushrooms (slightly different in spots, etc) ~ not to mention they look absolutely adorable on the wall, and i love the packaging! Also brilliant is the simplicity of the metal mount, and you can simply slip the silicon shroom over... or perhaps someday she'll expand the line to different hooks you can swap in? But for now. LOVE the mushroom hooks, take a peek at close ups on the next page!
Veuve Clicquot was generous enough to bring me to Reims again this year to join their intimate harvest festivities (read: honored they let me come do a day of manual labor with their friends/family). I kid you not. I spent half a day in the beautiful hot champagne region sun from the break of dawn fighting jetlag clipping grapes and working my way through the rows while chatting with friends old and new. So there you have it, my excuse for why posts slowed down and got so quiet. Also minimal wifi. But really, it turns out that the best way to slow me down is tire me out! Because i certainly had no problem running around, drinking late, and still posting before bed on the last trip...
So on the next page you can take a look at my experience from sunrise to learning how to pick grapes, to wine breaks (at 9am!), to crating the grapes away, to seeing them pressed... all the missing steps from last year... it's fascinating really to see what happens between the fresh grapes and the bottling to spend time in les crayeres. And we were back at the Verzy country estate which has some of the finest grapes behind it ~ the grapes we picked will be in the 2019 Veuve Clicquot La Grand Dame if we're lucky, so far they are saying it is a phenomenal harvest! And if nothing else, they've at lease guaranteed that i will have to purchase a bottle (or case!) just to see where my grapes went! So see the process first hand on the next page!
I dont think that bear with crazed eyes and spork in hand could sum up how i'm feeling today better... unless maybe he was sipping some Balvenie 21yr Portwood as well... yes, let me level with you, it is most certainly that kind of a tuesday after a long weekend. BUT, on the flipside, it makes for an awesome excuse to share pics of this adorably crazed Rocket World T.A.D. Griz Lee Bear with you. T.A.D. Gear stands for Triple Aught Design ~ and is truly some of the best designed tactical you'll find... not to mention it's the brain child of Patrick Ma alongside with my favorite Rocket World creatures. While i have much more to show you from my latest stop up at their store/studios in SF, lets start with the spork wielding Griz. Check out the fun packaging and details on the next page...
So now you've seen the creatures of the California Academy of Sciences ~ ready to see what the scene was like for NightLife (their Thurs late night party/events ~ with drinks, food, djs, and more)... basically imagine going to an incredibly awesome museum/science center... but no kids! and the scene is like a 25-55 singles/date night! and as the evening progresses, the drunkeness runs a bit rampant... definitely have to feel for the poor museum folks who had to chase a few inebriated folks through the rather steep planetarium... and those starfish in the tidepools where it's one hand in the tank and the other holding your beer with your arm around your girl... Interesting scene. And BEAUTIFUL space! Definitely worth doing the VIP tour if you've never been, since you get some behind the scenes sneak peeks, checking out the roof in a tiny group of about 15, skipping the rainforest queue, a look in the Vault, reserved passes for the planetarium show (and they let you in first!)... oh, and open bar too. Anyhow, take a peek at the experience!
So many pictures i didn't even know where to start ~ while in SF, i finally got to check out the California Academy of Sciences ~ did the Nightlife VIP tour (really, if you can, its perfect! You actually get to have the fun of Nightlife, but without the lines, so you can see everything in the few hours ~ including reserved spots for the planetarium ~ and an open bar)... The space is beautiful! So first, CREATURES! A look at some of the critters encountered... and in the next post you can check out the space... check out the pics on the next page! Everything from (what look like) hummingbird lollipops, frogs galore, living walls, albino gators, dino poop and more...