Today’s obsessive research has been on chocolate ~ chocolate BARS to be precise… and the beautiful packaging delicious artisanal goodness comes in. Ready to see what i’ve found? To the next page! Know of any i’ve missed and should try? Leave a comment!
Entries tagged with: shopping
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The latest from London-based editor, Justine Aw.
Here’s a peek inside a gift pack we received from Zubrowka decorated with the beautiful illustrations of Kristjana S Williams. I was intrigued by the “Bison Grass Vodka”, a rye vodka with a herbaceous taste. The box contained not only a bottle of Zubrowka, but also an apple corer, three pink lady apples (lovingly wrapped in illustrated protective tissue paper) and a test tube of the aromatic grass that grows in the mysterious Bialowieza Forest in north-east Poland. It is this grass that gives the vodka a slightly organic smell and taste and the grasses in the test tube are aromatic cocktail decorations that have a hint of almond or vanilla as well as grass scent. While the traditional Polish way to drink the vodka is neat on ice, it was definitely complimented by apple juice! More photos on the next page.
In Istanbul all week, and while we’re here for one of my dearest friend’s wedding ~ amongst the festivities, it has been hard to figure out what to do and where to go to really get to know Istanbul! Surely there are the usual monuments, museums, bazaars and other must see spots that you find in the touristy guides… then there are the high end luxury shopping sections with brands you can probably find in any major city… and even the Wallpaper guide had a bunch of the same old stuff… but finding resources to share the fun, unexpected in betweens has been surprisingly tough! Even chatting with local friends of the bride, it’s not always easy for people to step back and help direct you to the uniquely different little shops, galleries and spots that they may take for granted…
Thanks to twitter and the internet in general making travel and exploration a smaller world than ever ~ i got the sweetest tweet from the folks at Jotun the other day, which lead to a magical little package arriving on the hotel room bed hours later! Artist, Emel Kurhan, has created a set of guide books (Emel Loves Istanbul and Emel Loves Paris!) that feel like a scrapbook of favorite spots (and why they are loved, which turn to take/door to open for secret spots, etc) leading you into a whole over side of Istanbul! “The 2 Guides are for sale together the price for 2 books is 40TL, the money will be donated to different animal shelters, they come with a ribbon(each has a different color), only 2000 books has been printed and has been numbered by myself!” she says on her site.
So while i still may not get a taste of all facets of Istanbul in this week ~ we’ve done a few cliche tourist things, attended a stunning wedding on the edge of the Bosphorus (and ended up on a boat on it till 4am) with our hand carried NOTlabs photobooth guestbook setup, hidden out at the House Hotel Galatasaray… regardless of what the remaining 3 days hold, this adorable little book is definitely helping fill in more of the blanks! Take a peek inside it as well as a cute video teaser for them on the next page!
The details of Project Squadt toys are just incredible. From the design to the fashions to the weapons and more… they are just stunning! Remember my first Squadt NKD Jack? Well thanks to a little mix up and an incredibly kind offer from designer, Ferg, when the shipments got mixed up for my fr0g s001 + K11 spot [swamp dwllr] and the fr0g s003 with K11 spot [frozn whole] were sent instead, 3 generous options were given: 1. Keep the frog s003/k11 2. Send the frog s003/k11 back and receive your fr0g s001/k11 as ordered. 3. Keep the fr0g s003/k11 and pay an additional $115 and receive your fr0g s001/k11 in addition. Naturally, i couldn’t resist keeping the s003 and paying the difference to get the s001! The scuba diver in me adores this series more than the others ~ having a soft spot for the velcro on scuba tank/helmet and those adorable fins ~ especially cute on the surveillance camera headed dog of a K11 spot… and the tiny zipper work, and the side pouches velcro off… even the speargun has the most unbelievably thin spear that fits inside it! Take a peek at all the details and a few other Playge/Squadt goodies on the page!
… and if you’re here at SDCC too, go get the gohst s003!
Impressive! Recently bought the Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Pro before heading out to Bonnaroo ~ mostly to ensure that if i got separated from the rest or my phone battery was dying and i needed more power to play with the camera, etc i’d have an easy solution for iphone/htc sensation/anyone else with their usb charger… and not knowing what the weather would be like (since often it can become a rainy, muddy, mess) ~ “the IP65 rating means that this device is totally dust-proof (with the ports closed) and resistant to water being sprayed at it with a water-jet. Getting the powerstation PRO wet is no big deal (even in the shower*), but don’t try taking a bath with it.” Sounded perfect! It also has a 6,000 mAh capacity and up to 2.1amp, high-output charging which has been holding up wonderfully for traveling and having the ability to charge both my HTC Sensation and Shawn’s iPhone 4S from flashing red battery meters. Take a peek at unboxing and detail pics on the next page!
LASERS! NOTlabs is now outfitted with a Rabbit Laser 80-1290 laser cutter that has an 80 Watt laser tube and a 4’x3’ cutting area! This (in combination with our Makerbot) means we can create 2D+3D designs and start cutting, prototyping, and playing with them immediately. The machine works by bouncing a laser beam off of 3 mirrors to a focusing lens that directs the beam downwards into the material. Essentially it is an extremely precise and powerful upgrade from our hand held X-acto knifing that can cut through things such as 1/2” wood or acrylic. Since the beam is very thin we are able to make very precise cuts, as well as etch intricate details (like the etching you’ve seen on moleskines, MacBooks, etc.)
We explored whether to build our own (i.e. LASERSAUR), or go for a smaller Epilog or Universal laser cutter which Shawn has worked with extensively in the past… and the Rabbit Laser 1290 model with an 80 Watt laser tube was the best option. It’s been nice having the 10” Z-height as well as a pass through for when we want to send larger objects through the machine. It can reach up to 1000 dpi (which is plenty since we’re focusing on cutting versus engraving). On nice design details, the parts tray is a great catchall below the workbed which you can easily slide out to empty scraps or find valuables which may have fallen through.
The story behind Rabbit Laser USA distribution is a fascinating one: short story being that Ohio engineer, Raymond Scott, was looking for the best quality with greater affordability and when ordering his own, ended up taking over a full shipment of machines (which he then needed to sell), learning about importing/customs(re)crating/etc, and exploring the factories in China, and more… and a few years later, it has evolved into a family business, where he and his wife Carol (and even his young daughters help out!) have a warehouse in Ohio, carefully inspect and test each machine that comes in, they come out and personally install the machines and train you for a day with each purchase, and have a great feedback loop with King Rabbit in China to constantly improve the design details and software needs for the laser cutters. In the day that Ray came out, i learned more than i ever imagined about not only how a laser cutter works and how to take care of it, but so much about the business side and interaction with the King Rabbit manufacturing standards, facilities, and more as well. But back to the UNBOXING… or uncrating, rather… it was quite the adventure, so take a peek on the next page to see the uncrating and setup!
NOTlabs (the NOTCOT physical, experimental, play/make/hack/exploratory studio of sorts) has been quietly evolving faster and faster… recently you’ve seen the new Makerbot Replicator that just joined us… and i’m a bit overdue in sharing some of our other machines and projects with you… And loving skateboards (remember our Skateboard Swing?) first up ~ staring at the ugly, boring ceiling fan that hung above us led to the idea of of skateboards as fan blades! And sure enough a few days later, skateboards and a nice simple ceiling fan was acquired to test with! take a peek at our skateboard ceiling fan experiment on the next page.
It has been quite the (educational) adventure joining our NOTlabs director, Shawn Sims, and Golan Levin as they launched their Free Universal Construction Kit project… from learning about toys and 3d modeling, to the different 3D printing techniques and materials, to Intellectual Property and Patent law! One of the most exciting and interesting aspect of the project to me personally has been what the average person without access to top of the line manufacturing machines can really 3D print at home, and how does it work? Thanks to the amazing folks at MakerBot, today we got to find out through their Replicator (with dual extruders)!
Anyone can download the variety of Free Universal Construction Kit pieces on Thingiverse, send them to their 3D printer, and shortly after have toy adapters to play with! Of course depending on the resolution of the printer and the printing technique, some pieces will work better than others, so it was thrilling tonight to get to try them out on the MakerBot (the originals were made on an Objet) ~ on the next page you can see a full unboxing and the preparation of the MakerBot Replicator as well as our first “home” printing of some Free Universal Construction Kit toys! (And yes, this is the kind of project that has kept us busy in the NOTlabs till 4:30am!)
There’s a new way to experience Sonos! Previously, it was difficult to get the full experience of a synced Sonos system without installing it at your home/work, or trying it at a friends. Now, they have launched the Sonos Studio an “acoustically-designed gallery that celebrates music listening. The space serves as the best place in Los Angeles to experience Sonos, with events designed to explore the intersection of music, art and technology through creative collaborations.” When Sonos shopping, it’s great to get a chance to play YOUR music and test out the various systems and combinations in their acoustically optimized space (you’ll notice the installation of foam pyramids lining some walls and the ceiling as well as various slanting walls!) I popped in the other day to check out the new SUB in action (you have to go see the nickel they balance on top not move as the sound blows your mind!)… it’s a fun setup, and there seem to be events, musical performances, and art exhibitions filling the space regularly! Definitely pop into the bathroom to check out the skateboard lined walls too! Take a peek at all the fun on the next page!
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Perhaps one of the fun parts about plants is you can grow them just about anywhere (given a reasonable amount of space/etc) ~ whether you toss seeds into the ground (or seed bomb!) or your growing things on your balcony, in your apartment, or landscaping your estate… just about anything is possible if you get creative! Lately i’ve been debating doing a larger container garden, perhaps a raised bed even… thinking vegetables and berries might be fun. There are tons of options, and i just got lost wandering the images Bing found me - how awesome are these strawberries in the half wine barrel?!?! Well from various raised beds, wooden structures, huge sacks and felt bags, wooden wine boxes, balcony options, upside down planters and more… see some of our favorites on the next page!
It seemed like a good Sunday afternoon, home alone activity… i’ll install/upgrade a few outlets i impulse bought at Dwell On Design! Moans and groans and installing in spots other than i had planned… i’m wondering if these were just a novelty or truly adding a much needed convenience. So in theory, with SO many things charging via USB (and i love the USB charging ports in cars!) ~ having some added to outlets is a wonderful idea! And theoretically easy enough to switch! Right… and wrong. How old your home/wiring is will make a difference… i just learned which parts of my house have older outlets from probably 50+ years ago, and which parts have brand new ones… the electrical boxes are different sizes, and these new USB ones nearly fill newer ones… and don’t fit the older ones. Also, when they cut your countertops/backsplashes, if it doesn’t line up EXACTLY, these may not fit. (argh!)
On the upside ~ these U-Socket USB Power Outlets are supposed to reduce energy costs and minimize that vampire power issue when you leave things plugged in that don’t need to be sucking power. And it is like turning your 2 outlet into a 4… (or a 4 into a 6, but those don’t seem to be available yet!) So i’m still debating whether i need more… or whether a power strip does the trick in most spots… but i am totally charging my phone via USB outlet next to me as i type this! See more pics on the next page!
The latest from our friend, Joey Roth, is the Self-Watering Planter he just debuted at Dwell On Design! Naturally, as yard space increased, and gardening began and quickly turned into an obsession, leave it to designers to start problem solving with new products! In this case, this is a self-watering planter for use indoors or out which is made from naturally porous unglazed earthenware ~ much like those tea pots i’m sure you’re picturing right about now! Like many other reservoir/clay based planters ~ you simply fill the reserve, and the plant/soil will naturally pull the water out as needed, so you simply have to check and refill the center! See more pictures on the next page!
I’ve loved the Lladró Parrot Party collection since they first debuted in 2010 and i saw them in person at ICFF… well, their latest additions i just saw at Dwell On Design are adorable as well! The Parrot Vanity mirror is especially tempting! They have also added the Parrot Romance and Parrot Treasure. See them all on the next page!
Another Dwell On Design discovery ~ love the packaging of COATT’s Morse Code Jewelry. While a little cryptic to translate on the fly (it’s hard to tell where one letter ends and the next begins!) ~ the minimal dot and dash beads in gold fill, gold, or silver on silk cord make for lovely necklaces and bracelets which are a beautifully simple gift for any occasion. And the use of Wasara disposable paper plates/etc as displays are a brilliant idea! See it all on the next page!
Kohler always has such fun, playful booth designs when it comes to design fairs. This year at Dwell On Design, they made great use of a shipping container, big bright colors (a perfect fit with their new Jonathan Adler collaborations), and super fun, colorful bathtub love seats around charging stations! See pictures of the fun on the next page!
Strangely fascinated by the images and video of the 2012 Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé… you pop open the trunk and you’re greeted by the teak flooring you’d expect on your yacht… which then pops open further to reveal a “comfortable picnic seat for two adults” as well as a mini fridge and a set of “full-sized hand-engraved glasses that were designed by the team at Rolls-Royce.”
As for the inspiration behind the design… “The latest expression of Phantom Drophead Coupé demonstrates a more relaxed and less formal side of Phantom. It displays a sociable character and its convivial interior evokes the feeling of being aboard an elegant motor yacht. Inspired by the J-class racing yachts of 1930s (known for their performance and use of natural materials) the result is a car that epitomises romantic, performance motoring.”
“The optional teak deck was inspired by classic racing yachts. Each deck is hand-made from 30 separate pieces of teak cut from the same tree for consistent grain. Grooves are precision-machined into the wood then hand-finished with black yacht builders’ caulk. This is followed by two sealing coats and a finishing coat of liquid wax to create the elegant tonneau cover for the soft-top when it is lowered.”
See more pictures of these fascinating details on the next page… and imagine the picnic you could have when cruising around…
On unexpected deliciousness with awesome packaging ~ you have to try Spodee! Packaged in milk bottles and sealed with a (difficult to open!) cork ~ this mulled wine/moonshine/hooch concoction is delicious on its own or mixed with just about anything (they have a variety of suggested recipes, all with fun pictures!)
“Spodee was a Depression era hooch that mixed up homemade country wines with garden herbs, spices and moonshine. The resulting brew was then put into whatever containers they happened to have lying around…hence, the milk bottle. It may not be fancy pants, but it sure is tasty!” Take a look at all the details on the next page!
The Adidas Samba is classic… and it has been since 1950!!! On the other hand, golf shoes have tended to lean towards the comfortable over aesthetically pleasing to a fault… so what happens when you mash the two together? Adidas GOLF Sambas! So fun in the classic white stripes on black (so NOTCOT!)
They have also been doing special limited editions to honor the US Open, Open Championship, and PGA Championship ~ each color way in a limited 1950 numbered pairs to commemorate the Samba’s birth year! The folks at Adidas Golf were kind enough to send some over, take a peek at the unboxing and details on the next page!
One of my favorite things about traveling has always been hotel bathrooms and amenities. With such variety in bathroom fixtures and shower designs it always feels like shopping and testing bathroom layouts and details for my future home design… and the same goes for amenities! You get the chance to test so many different scents and brands and products as you bounce from hotel to hotel.
So while surprise toiletries are often a hotel luxury, when doing a vacation rental, there’s no reason to forego the playful newness and experimentation of toiletries! So instead of packing your usuals and making mini bottles of everything currently in your bathroom, why not have a little fun and grab a set from an awesome brand you’ve been curious about? On the next page i’ve rounded up some favorites, some i’m curious about, and an awesome site that’s bound to have something you’ve yet to try!
Catching up on things while hanging out in Nashville today, i found more fun inspiration lost in my camera from Maker Faire a few weekends ago… i love their branding for the faire this year, and the fun products with the adorable robot logo on it… as well as other Maker Shed goodies to see in person!
Sucked in by a gorgeous point of sale display, then the packaging, then the scents… and before i knew it, i was cruising down highway 1 with cherry bourbon lip balm and ‘excess’ hand cream… Tokyo Milk Dark is hard to resist!
After a delicious meal with always stunning views at my favorite, Nepenthe, in Big Sur, shopping Phoenix below was a must. So when i came across the fun black and white displays with cute cotton pouches and glass tubes… i was sucked in. And then upon smelling the scents of the Tokyo Milk Dark Femme Fatale and Fate & Fortune collections, they had me. Favorites became a mix of graphics (yes, packaging can make all the difference at times) and scents… absolute favorite being the Cherry Bourbon No. 77 lip balm (just sweet enough without smelling too edible). Take a peek at it all on the next page!
Art In The Age has brought us delicious liquors: Root, Snap, and Rhuby (Rhubarb Tea!) so far… and it was amazing to meet them at their organic distillery (GreenBar Collective) in downtown LA last week to try the fourth flavor, Sage! And not to play favorites, but Sage is definitely coming in as my favorite after Root! It’s delicious ~ especially in the Sageside (SAGE, simple syrup, fresh lime juice, and mint) that renowned bartender, Charlotte Voisey, created! They describe it as “Instilled with organic botanicals including thyme, rosemary, lavender, fennel and, of course, sage. Warm on the tongue with a dry and splendidly smooth finish. Inspiring aroma with floral, woodsy notes. A deliciously unique way to reinvent vodka or gin-based cocktails.”
GreenBar Collective (previously Modern Spirits Artisan) is an organic distiller born and raised in LA and one of the first parts of the city of Los Angeles’ Clean Tech Corridor downtown. In addition to distilling the Art In The Age spirits, GreenBar is also home to the organic TRU, Crusoe, Ixå, Fruitlab, and Bar Keep brands. It was fun to be some of the first to taste the new Art In The Age: SAGE while admiring it’s beautiful still (it’s a copper beauty!)… take a peek inside GreenBar and at the details of Sage on the next page…
The plastic briefcases are based on a 1965 design by Pio Manzù, the man behind the Fiat 127. The briefcases were initially designed as a promotional material for Fiat sales reps, but has been redesigned by Giacomo Manzoni. The plastic briefcases are made from a single mold with a 95% polystyrene and comes in the black, white and red. They are available through the Made in Bergamo e-store. See more pictures (and the packaging!) on the next page…
We love succulents here at NOTCOT ~ remember the amazing patterns and incredibly gummy looking ones? The geometry of the patterns they create and emerge in are just mesmerizing… not to mention the colors and flowers and how tiny they start out and how adorably they evolve! Anyhow… while driving back down the 1 from Monterey to LA, we got curious and started pulling off to see the main streets of the towns along the way, including Cambria! And my eyes did a double take when i saw a bright, playful sign reading “Rare and Unusual Succulents” ~ we HAD to stop! And it is amazing. First you go through a house of garden goods… through their large patio… then you see it. Another house! With another “Rare and Unusual Succulents” sign on top… and within the Grow Nursery is loads of air plants (even in bubble gum machines!)… and out to ANOTHER patio FILLED with truly rare & unusual specimens. It was like a succulent wonderland, and we met the lovely Jan Moon, who blew our mind with her knowledge of them, rattling off scientific names and families and lots of information on which were new hybrids, what to expect, how to water, and more!
So check out the adorable and amazing space of Grow Nursery’s Rare & Unusual Succulents as well as the assortment we gave in to on the next page!
New York Design week has just passed, and as always, design events and products took over the city… with emails and coverage and goodness appearing all over the internet, even though i didn’t make it to NY this week, i’ve been following along and here’s a roundup of designs that grabbed me! From wheelbarrow chairs and bot like modular lamps… beautiful tables made of stunning wood or grassy tops… lamps both generative and basketball inspired… and more! See it all on the next page!