A magical thing happens when plants get legs. They take on a whole new character! While dividing up some overgrown succulent pots, i was hunting for just about any vessel that could be a new home for the little guys… and when i came across some Android Rainbow Minis that had been rescued/adopted after some casualties at comic-con long ago, drilling a quick drainage hole or two made them the perfect bodies for these little succulents! They even get posable arms! And would probably be pretty fun as a desktop/planter army. This got me researching what other clean, simple, little vessels give plants legs - so take a peek at some of my other favorites found on the next page!
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I haven’t been able to get these Lotus Belle Tents out of my head since i ran into one while exploring Mercado Sagrado. They feel part “normal” tent + part yurt + part awesome inflatable structure looking shape… that all fits in a duffle bag (or two! depending on size) - and it’s SO spacious! They come in 16ft and 13ft sizes - and “The 16ft Lotus is 56% bigger in size than the 13ft and fits everything but the kitchen sink!”
Of course the part that was intriguing me next - HOW do you assemble it? And of course they have an adorable instructional video… and the cutest hand drawn pdf instructions! It’s also surprisingly simple to assemble, even alone (though i’m sure help would speed things along nicely.) Basically you lay the waterproof floor down, pop the walls up, pop the roof up, poke the pole up to hold the center up, and velcro wall and roof together… and you’re done! Depending on your needs, they have a few variations - adding various doors, screens, and other luxuries. Take a peek at it all on the next page - i’m so tempted to pop one up in the yard, or for our next adventure!
Loopholes designed by Fermetti & Oskar Vermeylen for Atelier Belge - currently smitten with this clean, simple, modular wall panel system! Starting with a rectangular grid system, you have a range of options to mix in - wood, metal, acrylic shelves, boxes, lights and more. Take a peek at the lovely details on the next page - and the full pdf cataog here.
“IF IT’S BROKE, FIX IT!” That’s the motto of the Patagonia Worn Wear initiative. While the creation of new things can not be 100% waste/harm/etc-free, we can do our part by using things for as long as possible and consuming less! And a huge part of that comes from taking care of the things we have - from cleaning and caring to repairing when needed, especially when it comes to clothes! So yesterday we joined Patagonia at their Ventura, CA HQ for the launch of the Worn Wear TOUR!
The incredible Delia is setting off across the US - and this stunning Worn Wear Rig designed and built by Jay Nelson is a biodiesel ‘93 Dodge Cummins D250 fitted with salvaged redwood wine barrels and sewing machines inside! It is also being followed by a truck with an adorably woody store of used/vintage Patagonia goods inside! Meet up with the tour across the US and bring your broken clothes and they will help you fix it up - from rips and tears to broken zippers and more… it doesn’t even have to be Patagonia. Take a peek at the great design details on the next page…
The iBRIDGE from Leef just arrived! Mobile memory for your iphone/ipad! This little gadget ranges from 16-256GB, and has a USB 2.0 on one side and an Apple Lightning connector on the other. Think of it as a super USB key.
Just like the Mophie Space Pack we tried out before, you need to download an iOS app to be able to interface with iOS 8. This basically means you can transfer photos between the iBRIDGE and iOS device with ease, take photos straight to the iBRIDGE, and even play music and videos off the iBRIDGE!
There’s a very specific use i’m most interested in the iBRIDGE for… transferring a few photos between my phone and laptop for posts! Currently my options are… Airdrop (it works once in a while, but not consistently enough not to be a pain), syncing all photos into iPhoto/iCloud (but i like Lightroom to manage photos - and if i plug in and import from lightroom, it takes forever to scan 10,000 photos), emailing myself (ugh), dropbox/google drive (slow), and ultimately i end up messaging myself (which still needs wifi/data! not always possible traveling or on a plane)… so ideally, i’d use the iBRIDGE to choose travel photos to transfer on to the stick to my laptop! So far for that - it is AWESOME. Also as a USB key to fill with movies/music for travel and sharing across iOS devices, it’s perfect!
My one problem so far… my phone had ~11,000 photos on it. So testing out their backup took quite some time! (Make sure your phone is fully charged, since you can’t charge and transfer simultaneously.) Also now when i try to load up the photos in their app to see the photos in the backup - it takes quite a bit of time (likewise to load up the photo preview of the ones on my iphone). The backup function doesn’t currently copy videos over, though select/transfer does move videos. I assume i need to either not use the backup function, or if i backup and move the file off the iBRIDGE, then it loads up pretty fast. It’s also nice that you can ‘move’ files from iOS to iBRIDGE and have it delete them… so maybe it’s really time for me to clear off a few years of photos from my iPhone?
Take a look at all the details on the next page!
I’ve been researching far too many decks, patios, gazebos, hammock structures, mesh pavilions, building codes and more as of late… i guess i’m itching for a new LARGER design project to toy with, as well as an excuse to spend more time lounging in the yard. On fun inspiration, currently loving this new KETTAL Cottage by Patricia Urquiola! In some ways it feels like an old school platform tent you can rent at some camp sites, in other ways it’s like a mini house/cabana to chill poolside. What’s especially nice is how versatile your options for the side panels and roll down covers are! Also thinking that Bucky would totally try to hop in and splay out taking over the whole thing… perhaps a mini or a platform attachment for the dog would be a fun add on. Take a peek at far more pictures on the next page.
Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw!
Last week we made our way out to the new London Bridge showroom of Buster and Punch for the launch of their new designer LED Buster Bulb. We first met Massimo and the team at Clerkenwell Design Week where we loved their heavy metal light switches. This time, they have announced a stunning designer LED bulb that is 2 years in the making, and designed to look as attractive off as it does on thanks to the metallic sheen! In addition to mood lighting, it also shoots a brighter spot down making it restaurant/desk perfect. Take a look at the stunning display and our first look at the LED Buster Bulbs up close on the next page.
This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, we roadtripped up from LA for a fall adventure. In Part II, we are experiencing all that Alberta Winter has to offer! Follow the series to see what inspires us along the way!
The last leg of our winter adventures in Alberta landed us in Calgary for about 24 hours. On fun discoveries, in Inglewood, look for the red barn. Inside is the new Livery Shop - an awesome little shop in the front, and the studios of Camp Brand Goods and Coutu Kitcsh. The shop naturally carries both of their lines, in addition to some other fun local brands like Treeline Outdoors and Fiasco Gelato , as well as other camping accessories and dog friendly goodies. You might also get lucky and meet their adorable dogs in the back (Otis the sheepdog pup even modeled one of their caps for us!) Ooooh and the shirts are SO SOFT and so well cut. We just wore them on the flight back (we looked like - Team Bison!) - and the women’s tees have such a nice scooped neckline (I hate the ones that feel like they are going to choke you.) Take a peek inside the adorable barn of a store on the next page!
We’re excited to launch our latest NOTlabs Experiment - the NOTCOT In Plain Sight Collection of blacked out leather retroflectors! These subtle black on black striped leather accessories turn into unmissable high visibility items when flashed (be it with a camera flash or the lights from a car). Whether you use them as a decorative accessory, safety add on, a prop to liven up flash photos… or all of the above, is up to you! The collection contains a small and large keychain and bag tag - all handmade (by us!) in Los Angeles at NOTlabs from vegetable tanned leather.
Ok launching a collection sounds far more serious than it is - what actually happened was I wanted to make something fun to celebrate 10 YEARS OF NOTCOT! … and we have been experimenting with lasers + leather (+ reflective materials)… and Shawn and I wanted new keychains and a bag tag, so we started there and ended up with designer leather retroflectors! We’ve been using them the last few weeks, meaning inevitable design tweaks leading to the final designs. I adore mine, as does Shawn, so we decided to make more to share with our friends and family! Which of course includes all of you!!!
So THANK YOU for all of your incredible support and inspiration over the last decade. You’re so awesome, we’ve discounted the price for Friends & Family (like you!) for a few days over in the STORE!. For the discount, select the Friends & Family price in the drop down before you add to cart. [UPDATE: Friends & Family deal ended 2/9/2015]
No joke these are handmade by us at NOTlabs (yes, i’m sewing them!) and will be a limited edition (of not very many, or until we move on to another exciting project!) Hope you like them! See lots of fun detail shots and animated gifs on the next page…
On more Instagram inspiration (yes, i’ve been finding a lot of that lately) - the @GoRumpl #BeerBlanket made me wish a tiny bit that i went to Outdoor Retailer. So, Rumpl is a “high performance blanket” company - that started making blankets and throws out of sleeping bag type materials. They remind me of the unzipped rectangular sleeping bags… but without the zipper! (You may have seen then before on NOTCOT.org.) And on unique, adorable tradeshow swag - their Beer Blankets are mini versions (stuff sack and all) for your beer!
Staying local in Los Angeles lately, i’ve noticed a bit of randomness surfacing on Instagram worth rounding up here! (What do you DO with all your instagrams? It really doesn’t feel like the best place to keep things you want to find again later… So pulling some favorites here helps me find them later!)
Here’s a peek into some recent east side of LA adventures (Yes, coming from the coast, DTLA is definitely east side to me!) - from wandering Downtown LA and driving around in the LA Aqueduct (that you have seen in many a movie/tv show) to going to my first NHL game with Travel Alberta (Go, Kings, Go!) and wandering around Silver Lake to peek into the brand new Mission Workshop and Shinola stores… and more!
In early November, Shawn and i decided to try a challenge: for 30 days could we go carb free (yup, no rice, pasta, tortillas, etc!), no processed, minimal sugar (minimal! not none - we were trying to be realistic and set ourselves up for success), and no alcohol? We were curious how it would make us feel, how our bodies would react… of course a week into it, i’m already going stir crazy (i get bored easily!) and need to figure out how to mix things up a bit. Thank goodness for his self control (enough for both of us!) or i clearly never would have made it.
To keep it intellectually interesting i also needed different missions weekly to learn some new skills, acquire some new tools… which kind of turned into a cookbook reading mania and kitchen upgrade. I wanted to find ways to essentially short cut to having an understanding and intuition about what i’m cooking and how things work - not simply follow directions. So with this approach to learning while experimenting for our nutritional lifestyle change - i began exploring a different side of cooking reference books. Amazingly, after the 30 days, we’ve been feeling energized, lighter, and healthier - so we’re going to try to keep it going! Surprising side effect - i’ve dropped about a dozen pounds, and he’s dropped 20 something. Crazy, right? Anyhow, rounding up some of what NOTlabs instagram followers have been seeing peeks of - see the deliciousness, tools, and cookbooks that have i wish i had long ago!
Ok, so by now, it’s pretty well known that BioLite with its “Energy Everywhere” tagline - has everything you need to not only survive, but charge your gadgets whether you’re camping or weathering inclement weather. With their first product, the CampStove you can get things heating with twigs - no fuel needed! AND the energy can be used to power your devices via USB. The Portable Grill is the perfect add on to expand its capabilities… and my favorite, the KettlePot is a brilliant multipurpose piece that not only serves as a pot and kettle, but also a brilliant case/space saver for the CampStove itself! As they keep expending the line - there is now also a Base Camp stove, as well as the KettleCharge for those times when your power goes out, but you can still light the stove - simply boil and charge!
So yes, they are all incredibly functional for a multitude of situations. And our NOTFZJ80 Land Cruiser feels just a bit safer with them packed - just in case! But what i love even MORE than that about the line - is the packaging and design details! Everything is so thoughtfully created… from the minimal recycled packaging that just pops off the shelf (making them extra awesome holiday gifts!) to the playfully elegant color choices, and smart details that make them intuitive to use. They were kind enough to send over the CampStove and Portable Grill before our epic Alberta Adventures, and we had to add the KettlePot into the mix too! Check out all the packaging and design details on the next page!
A friend needed to go pick something up in Ojai yesterday, so i tagged along so long as he let me check out some of the newer little shops in town… We found the adorable Summer Camp in an old gas station, FIG down an incredible vine covered walkway (above!), and picnic store Tipple & Ramble under a bright red woodpecker… see some of the fun products (many of which aren’t online) we discovered on the next page!
For those who love fun surprises in the mail - you’ll love The Original Grab Bag. They just sent a fun box filled with goodies I both knew about (but hadn’t yet indulged myself with) and things i’ve never seen! Which is basically the perfect combo of surprise gifting… I believe the perfect gift to be things that the recipient wants (or will want) but wouldn’t buy themselves. Also fun, i totally forget what options i checked when they asked what i was interested in, although i have a suspicion that they know more about what i’m into than most having reached out as NOTCOT fans…
None the less - the box is filled with awesomeness… from Omnivore Salt that i’ve been dying to try, to Herb Lester awesomeness… a map of how to find old LA (where i was surprised how many of our usual favorites are listed) to Secret Audio Club Wax Packs and more! Take a peek inside this super curated grab bag on the next page.
The London Design Festival provided some great opportunities to see some of the great designs we’ve heard about! I was thrilled to find Poligon exhibiting at Designjunction and have a chance to see their incredible flat-sheet foldable metal sculptures in person and to meet RCA grads Rodrigo Solorzano/N&R Foldings and Matthew White. The first series included a gorilla, elephant, whale and penguin. In addition to those, they were showing off the new insect series following a successful Kickstarter campaign. Production is currently underway for supporters and will hopefully be available to the wider public soon!
How easy is assembly? “The metal sculptures arrive in flat sheet form. The individual components are chemically etched to produce perfectly cut parts. We have also etched in fold lines which makes it very easy to fold and to achieve great results. Magnets are already fixed onto the sheet so that the individual elements of the sculpture are rapidly assembled into the final piece. We have developed the process into something that can be achieved by hand, with no additional tools.” Take a look at the details (pre and post assembly) as well as a video on the next page.
Just home and jetlagging after my first completely work free vacation in some time to Tokyo! Arrived to this adorable orange wooden mini crate from Nomadix, a local Southern California based startup that has created the ultimate versatile, stylish pack towel that can be used for everything from camping to yoga to beach adventures and more! I’m used to the usual boring single color pack towels - lightweight, absorbent, quick drying towels for camping/backpacking… i even used to leave one in the car for beach and other spontaneous adventures. The dimensions however were never quite right to lay out on. So far, beyond the stylish designs (even the bottom has a lovely print!) these Nomadix towels are 100% recycled and rigorously tested to hold up for years. Love their motto - “Own less. Do More. Buy one towel that does it all, instead of three that don’t.” They had a successful Kickstarter funding, and now you can purchase Nomadix Towels on Indigogo! Take a peek at details of the unboxing on the next page, and you can be assured that this towel will be packed for our NOTFZJ80 adventures!
Bucky is now 2! Here’s hoping that everyone’s right that 2 is the magic number where labs chill out a bit. Then again, the 2.5 week road trip all over the US and Canada seems to have helped him learn a lot and relax a bit too. Lucky dog just came home to some surprises, including the hardcore, super stealthy Otis Dog Collar from the nice folks at Defy Bags based and made in Chicago, IL. Throughout their bags and accessories, their signature is definitely the AustriAlpin Cobra Load Bearing Quick-Release Buckle, “which can support 2,000 lbs. These are the same solid steel & brass imported buckles used by U.S. Special Forces. There is no finer buckle on earth,” says the tag. Excessive for a dog collar? Most definitely. Awesome looking and feeling? Indeed. As they say, “Life’s too short for cheap buckles.” Ready to see the details? (I’m also a fan of their branding and tape!) To the next page…
This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, Shawn, Bucky, and I are loaded up in the NOTFZJ80 spending a week in Alberta roadtripping, camping, and exploring all that we can fit in… follow the series here to see what inspires us along the way!
It’s been a while since i’ve popped into a store and found myself wanting things from almost every shelf! Well it happened! When in Calgary, you have to go see The Uncommons in Inglewood for awesome giftiness and designer goodies! While there were many of my friends and favorites on the shelves, what made me even more giddy was the amount i hadn’t seen! Amazing way to discover some local Alberta goodness. Sadly much of what is there isn’t on their website… yet! So it’s a store definitely worth popping into in real life. Take a peek on the next page for a look inside the store as well as the taste of Alberta they gifted us!
So it all began with the adorable Mexican Loteria espresso/shot enamelware set our friends gave us… combined with the NOTFZJ80 progress and camp gear shopping… which lead to Shawn admitting his nostalgic side wanted some old school enamelware… which lead me down an internet rabbit hole of all things enamelware… so since i fell all the way down there ~ what i found was everything from gaudy to adorable, hipster to classic, and even the Polish manufacturer that seems to be behind many of the recent ones popping up now! Is enamelware the new mason jar? Take a peek at some of the best ones i found on the next page… they come in all shapes and sizes, with printing around the exterior, interior, handle, and even base!
I’m a sucker for smart/fun uses of reflective materials… and often the are far more satisfying to play with in person than any picture. Such is the case with these JBL Audio Synchros Reflect Headphones that just showed up from the nice folks at JBL Audio! These work out headphones come in a Bluetooth and Wired version in iOS and Android versions - and while i loved the design, but was iffy about the sound quality of the JBL J46BTs - i’m curious whether the sound quality of the Synchros BTs will be better. As for the JBL Audio Synchros Reflect Headphones that are wired - i’m loving them! The design details - from the flat cables with double sided reflective coatings to magnetic earbuds, the way the remote buttons FEEL to the sound quality… to the thoughtfulness of a shorter cable for use with armbands, and an extension cable (also reflective!) for use in normal situations. And the nicest touch - even the packaging has a shimmering foil to denote the reflective nature of the cables. Oooh and i almost forgot, the earbuds! Surprisingly comfortable and they lock in nicely, so they aren’t going anywhere. Ready to see all the details? Head to the next page…
So the last few weeks has been quite the learning experience for me - decades of over computer usage seem to have caught up with me and my occasional eyeglasses for late night driving/etc are being used a bit more frequently. So when i got my new prescription and needed new lenses, an email from long time NOTCOT reader, Dave Barton of David Kind, seemed perfectly timed! Beyond the stunning cork packaging (swoon) and the high quality, luxury frames, what has been most exciting is learning about the advances in eyeglass lens technology! When i got new lenses in my old glasses updated to the new prescription, there was no question about what type of lens i wanted besides anti glare, transitions, etc… I didn’t even know what to ask about! Shawn on the other hand, has been in pretty thick glasses since he was 4, and is never without his glasses/contacts. While in Nashville we even found his stash of old glasses and how the lenses have been slowly evolving and getting thinner/lighter, from glass to polycarbonate and now on to High Definition and Trivex.
Luckily for us, David Kind is based right here in Venice, CA! With years in the eyewear industry, Dave Barton spent a lot of time at Spy+ and Oliver Peoples/Luxotica as well as starting another eyewear company before launching, David Kind - so it’s been great getting caught up on the options. From first touch - it’s easy to see and feel the quality of the frames and the attention to detail on designing and perfecting every little thing. But it wasn’t until i just got my glasses in my prescription that i understood the clarity i’d been missing with my old lenses. While the frames and process may feel like other online ‘try at home, then buy’ eyewear stores - what has surprised me the most is how much attention to detail and how knowledgable the team at David Kind has been along the whole process. They work with you to find the right pair, make sure to find the best lens for your prescription, get everything aligned and adjusted and customized as needed… and the packaging is just awesome too. Take a peek at what i’ve learned and all the details on the next page!
What happens when a professional chef (Jennifer Scism of Annisa and more) has to spend a lot of time in the backcountry? Good To-Go gourmet dehydrated meals! I’ll admit i was first drawn in by the bright, bold, playful packaging - especially that background pattern! But when it comes to dehydrated meals it’s all about the taste - and the ease of rehydration. Think of it as fancy cup o’noodles? They say “Each recipe was developed with one goal: to elevate your expectations of what trail food can taste like.” Currently there is Thai Curry (Spicy yellow coconut curry with vegetables and jasmine rice), Smoke Three Bean Chili (Traditional chili with corn and caramelized onions), and Herbed Mushroom Risotto (Classic risotto with sautéed mushrooms and basil pesto). We received one of each to try and had a little faux-backpacking dinner out in the yard last night to try it out. Basically just tear it open, add boiling water, zip it back up, let it sit for 20 minutes - then bon appetit! See all the close ups on the next page!
Design inspiration comes from all over the place - regardless of price - and this time i was inspired/intrigued while at CVS needing to grab a disposable razor. It’s been hard to miss the ridiculously annoying tongue in cheek (literally) Gillette Shave Face ad during the World Cup but on product design weirdness - have you seen the Gilette Venus Snap? I had to poke at it… and honestly, in a world of Harry’s, Dollar Shave Club, etc - i get curious and poke at a bunch, but i’m finding all these strange product design innovations/solutions far more interesting (and functional). So take a peek at the design details of this little clamshell compact holding a tiny razor handle (that fits all their blades, thought not all blades on the handle will fit in the case) and a single blade. How this compact takes up less space than a traditional, simple disposable I don’t understand - but from an ID stand point it is intriguing. The center of the handle is even like a bouncy, rubbery trampoline of sorts. See more (and vids!) on the next page…