Entries tagged with: unboxing

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Patagonia Provisions

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Whoever says it’s difficult to eat healthy, didn’t realize you could grab pouches of delicious, organic food at Patagonia… and the hardest step might be adding hot water. Whether for camping/adventures, dorm room living, or just the chaos of every day life… Patagonia Provisions is a solution to easily feeding yourself healthy, tasty meals and snacks. While the packaging and photo/illustrations look great, i must admit i was hesitant at first. Patagonia makes incredible gear and clothing, but food? So when they offered to send some samples over, i had to try it! And it tastes as good as its packaging looks! Detailed looks at what we sampled (from hot breakfast grains to smoked salmon to buffalo jerky, savory grains, and more) on the next page ~ in its packaged and finished forms.

Back in 2014, we reviewed Good-To-Go gourmet dehydrated food, which was some of the better tasting, just-add-hot-water instant meals we’d had. These packs from Patagonia Provisions are certainly another option we’d add to the packing list when heading on NOTFZJ80 adventures as well as back up easy food in the kitchen at home. While most Patagonia Provisions can be seen as snacks or meals on their own, they can also be considered a base or an ingredient depending on your creativity. Their instagram contest “How Do You Top It” shares lots of pictures of what people add to the soups and chili. There’s even a Recipes Section filled with things you can cook using breakfast and savory grains (i.e. scones, pancakes, tabbouleh) as well as their smoked salmon.

While packaging and taste are only some of the factors to love about Patagonia Provisions, you can also dive into the whole story of WHY Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard, wanted to get into food. “What we eat does more than just fill our stomachs and nourish our bodies; good food lifts our spirits and helps us understand the world a little better.” Patagonia Provisions not only aspires to feed people well, but help find solutions to repair the food chain - with everything from the sourcing of products, to causing no unnecessary harm, helping environmental crises, and more. After trying these, i’m tempted to gift a few packs to friends who can’t stand cooking and think healthy eating is hard… maybe these can be a gateway to helping people understand where food comes from, and what’s possible in the realm of sustainable, delicious, and healthy eating.

Now for the unboxing and details of our Patagonia Provisions sampling… to the next page!

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*notcot in design - 0 Notes

hmbldt #GO420 Kit

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Have you noticed how the mystical and intergalactic seems to be inescapable these days? And no, it’s not just because it’s “festival season” - it’s like a throwback to hippie, natural goods and styles with a modern twist mixed with a fascination with outerspace, from galaxy imagery on workout leggings to cakes as the eccentric uber-wealthy book trips to space. These magical trends can’t be a coincidence. Maybe it’s a reaction to the state of global politics and climate change… maybe it’s just where society is in it’s current cycle? But nonetheless, it couldn’t be more perfectly timed with the quick cultural evolution of cannabis! Watching it legalize step by step, state by state, and even country by country has been fascinating (especially the advances in design, user experience, and science!) - and it doesn’t hurt that it’s fitting right in with this magical, natural, other-worldly trend.

420 - what was once giggled about by stoners, is now becoming a more commoditized “holiday” of sorts on April 20th… every dispensary/brand has special deals (actually i’ve even been getting emails from non-cannabis related stores with limited 42% off codes) and special cannabis infused dinner parties and many events are popping up all over today. BUT - hmbldt (which we shared a closer look at) is currently leading the #GO420 charge (with quite a few friends) to change that stoner cliche, to helping people realize how cannabis can help - especially for medical reasons like epilepsy, pain relief, PTSD, anxiety and more - and focus on how “It’s the cannabis holiday, a day to honor the healing powers of the plant.” So they launched GO420.com, and filled it with 420 ways to make this the healthiest day of the year (after all, who can be anti-that?) And to help spread the word, they’ve even created fun GO420 Kits - so head to the next page to see the details!

p.s. Another surprisingly fascinating design aspect of the evolving cannabis industry is seeing how companies tackle advertising - often without really showing the actual product or any cannabis related imagery!

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Unboxing: BioLite SiteLight Mini and XL

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BioLite makes the great outdoors so playful and FUNCTIONAL! What started with their first product the CampStove (that was innovative in letting you not only utilize all the twigs and material found around camp to power your stove while also let you charge your devices!) has quickly expanded to quite the product line! Also - they always have such great packaging.

On recent product trends that have been exploding - LEDs in versatile, portable, outdoor lighting have been EVERYWHERE! And it’s been a fun space to follow (remember the Luminoodles i’ve been loving?) - From buying led strips to hack into our NOTFZJ80 Land Cruiser, to working them into various client projects and experiments - they are just ridiculously easy to work with, and getting cheaper and more accessible constantly. Which naturally means that they are a great place for designers to get even more creative! When BioLite offered to send some of their new lights over, i couldn’t resist. How adorable are these SiteLight Minis? They are like adorable glowing macarons that plug right into a USB port (via a headphone jack). They also sent over the SiteLight XL which pops up like a lantern and can be daisy chained with the minis or stand on its own! And to power it all (though you can power them from any USB battery or plug too!), they also sent over the Base Lantern XL which is INSANELY bright (but can be dimmed,color changed and more with the buttons and app!) Anyhow, the whole collection is adorable, functional, and definitely on my gift list for outdoorsy folks (or even for use on patios or stringing up for a happy hour picnic under a tree!) Take a look at all the unboxing and details on the next page!

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Unboxing: Vertty Backpack

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For anyone that loves triangles, facets, and popping colors ~ there’s Vertty. I wrote about their super fun towels back in 2014… and now they even have backpacks and bikinis! And the fun folks at Vertty just sent over one of their Vertty Backpacks to play with!

While i must admit, i haven’t been much of a backpack person since high school, the faceted nature and unusual mix of materials on this bag had me intrigued. I’m also a sucker for multipurpose bags with unique features - like the bottom zip flap to shake the sand out! Growing up by the beach in LA, and going to school practically on the beach in San Diego, my cars are never without a beach blanket/towel and flip flops! That also means more often than not, sand can be found in the car, garage, and most likely some of my totes too. (I bet this might actually work out pretty well for parents as a kid bag too - all those snack crumbs could find their way right out of the bottom!) Also eye catching - the COLORS! The fun faceted dust bag and lining pop beautifully. You can’t peek in your bag and not smile as you hunt for things! Here’s how Vertty describes it: “With its structured design and adaptive functionalities, the Vertty backpack is an inviting bridge between the carefully planned urban spirit with the demanding and impulsive thrill-seeking aspect of adventure.” Ready to take a peek at it up close? To the next page!

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Unboxing: Fidget Cube

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The folks at Antsy Labs launched their Fidget Cube Kickstarter back in August 2016, and it was one of the highest funded projects yet, raising nearly 6.5 million dollars! As expected, hiccups come up along the way with manufacturing, and the Dec 2016 delivery slid a little, and it just arrived (in March! Not too bad?) though it was definitely a project that spurred MANY knock offs… in fact, i didn’t even realize that there were people like this one: 24-year-old made $345,000 in 2 months by beating Kickstarters to market and it is even sadder (but eye opening! especially for designers… ) to see stories like this first hand account of finding knock off Fidget Cubes all over China, not long after the campaign ended! Perhaps the hardest thing to stomach, is how many of these “fake” fidget cubes have flooded the global and online market. You can find them all over instagram, amazon, and in lots of you tube video reviews even… but the saddest, is when you read about people who actually like the MUCH cheaper knock offs BETTER (like 3-5x the price.)

Needless to say, the Fidget Cube has been a fascinating case study to follow - and it was definitely exciting to finally get ours in person! First thing i realized? It does FEEL nice in your hand, and i’m pretty sure Shawn might disappear mine quickly… it’s INSANELY annoying as a by stander if i anxiously click, spin, roll, etc while working… and really not that quiet.

Ready for an unboxing? To the next page…

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*notcot in design - 0 Notes

Unboxing: hmbldt bliss dose pen

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It’s no secret i’ve been fascinated researching the current state of the Cannabis Packaging/Branding world lately (as is apparent from this ever-growing post from January!) It’s so fun to watch a whole new category work towards legalization… it opens up so much potential from a design/user experience side!

One of the most unique brands/products I found was definitely hmbldt - from concept to product design, packaging to scientific approach… even down to the experience of what a dose is, and how to help new users understand (and trust) a more consistent result and quality as they figure out what cannabis combinations work for them. While their first products are discreet disposable vaporizer pens, it sounds like they are working on a metered-dose oral spray as well as a rechargeable pen specifically for hmbldt formulas. Their initial offerings include 4 hmbldt formulas for Bliss, Sleep, Calm, and Relief - and just in time for Valentine’s Day, they’ve also added Arouse and Passion. For more on the scientific and future sides of hmldt - our friends at Cool Hunting have an interview with hmbldt’s Chief Scientist Samantha Miller that is a fascinating read.

So between all the pictures and information online, we got too curious, and had to play with it in person… and the packaging, the product, and the experience is impressive. Take a look at the details up close on the next page.

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Linksys Velop Unboxing

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Full disclosure - Daniel Frysinger works on the Linksys Velop, and he also founded NOTCOT with me and we’ve been friends for nearly 20 years! Weirdly enough, that means instead of being positively biased, we’ve been even MORE critical of the product (what else would you expect from designers?), and have let him use our home and studio space as testing areas, and turn us into UX guinea pigs while working through the design process! So when it finally made it to store shelves, we had to share unboxing it with you!

So that being said - i’m totally in awe of how good my internet connection finally is in the garage workshop and the pergola/deck… and every corner of the yard/driveway… even the furthest bedrooms are solid now! Mesh networks are definitely a hot trend/evolution in the home wifi router space, and they all seem to advertises how many nodes you need based on the size of your home to properly reach ALL the spots we hang out - both inside and out! With 4-5 Linksys Velop Nodes we cover ~13,000 sqft inside and out amazingly well, and it’s nice that you just need a power cord and close enough proximity to another node to expand coverage. Each node has 2 ethernet ports, so you can easily hook up an ethernet drive or other hard wired accessories where needed. Also, all nodes are equal - no master/slave situation, so they are completely versatile. In other words, if you move and find you need less nodes, you can always share them with a friend, or use them for better wifi at your vacation home.

The other fascinating wifi router trend is an industrial design one! They are finally getting prettier and more interesting as designers help consumers display (instead of hide) their routers. It makes perfect sense, the more exposed and centrally located they are, the better signal you get! Yet somehow, many of us have had them stashed in closets and behind objects on shelves and more. So while the Linksys Velop Nodes aren’t the tiniest, they are filled with thoughtful design details. (Also, when it comes to my wifi, i’ll take slightly larger router with WAY better signal any day.) While most press photos show you the plain, solid, white side with a logo, my favorite view is actually the back at an angle. There’s something almost sculptural with the perforated white square/squircle (?) tower with the cut out corner!

On to the unboxing and up close with the design details! To the next page!

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*notcot in food+drink - 1 Notes

SPYTAIL Ginger Rum

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SPYTAIL Ginger Rum!!! The most stunning press kit just arrived from our friends at Biggar & Leith - you know, the folks behind the delicious and beautiful Malfy Gin we tried last March. Well SPYTAIL Ginger Rum taps right into all my childhood loves of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus, Tintin’s Shark Submarine, Bathyspheres and undersea adventuring (and the amazing gear that goes with it)… It blew my mind to open up a box and see a porthole staring back at me! Of course with a stunning bulbous bottle of rum staring out from within.

Sipping it straight while i work on this post, it’s deliciously warming, with quite the gingery punch. As for the story ~ “SPYTAIL Black Ginger Rum - Caribbean Rum blended and bottled in Cognac, France. SPYTAIL is based on a 19th Century traditional recipe of aging fresh ginger root and spices in barrels of Rum - resulting in a rich, spicy and complex spirit. SPYTAIL is named after a legendary submarine - plans for which were discovered by our distillers. The first mechanical submarines in the world were invented in France - and tested on the Charente River which flows nearby our distillery. These were the submarines which Jules Vernes used as the inspiration for his famous novel - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.” From a packaging standpoint, the bottle is so beautiful, even those who don’t love ginger might want it on their bar!

But on to the press kit ~ through the porthole ~ and into all the packaging details on the next page.

p.s. On amazing little details - hidden within the bottle porthole are the co-ordinates of the final resting place of Jules Vernes.

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*notcot in playful - 0 Notes

Art of Play Curiosity Box 2016

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The Art of Play Curiosity Box 2016 is a magical and wondrous thing that promises “unique & clever amusements” - just what you need to help kick off your 2017! Especially the 3D Card Star of laser cut magicalness designed by mathematician George W. Hart (father of one of my favorite youtubers - Vi Hart)! There’s nothing like a good puzzle to get me out of a funk - though of course all the good ones drive you a bit more mad and frustrated to make solving them THAT much more satisfying. Also the Curiosity Box has delectable dark chocolate - that is ALSO a puzzle (though one that doesn’t last long.) Oh and the spring! So elegant, so pretty… then i handed it to Shawn and he solved it in seconds - reminding me the puzzle is basically a problem he’d accidentally run into when working on cars…

2016 was a funny kind of year, and while 2017 is full of uncertainty thus far - i’m feeling hopeful. And silly, fun amusements like these definitely help - so thank you, Art of Play for the surprise box of hopeful happiness! Ready to dive into the unboxing and details? To the next page!

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Power Practical Luminoodle

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The Power Practical Luminoodle! Essentially an LED strip that you can power via USB - and before you just buy a basic LED strip and hack it together yourself, they’ve already done the work to make this waterproof with a nice light diffusion, attached adjustable magnets, included straps to attach it to things, and a little white stuff sack that can turn into a lantern. Basically - it’s an awesome stocking stuffer and gift for your campers, road trippers, cyclists, and more. Also, being USB powered, its easy to plug it in to anything from a USB wall or car charger, computer, or even that back up battery you probably carry for your phone… and for those who don’t already have somewhere to plug it in, you can also buy the Luminoodle Plus that includes one. (Ooh and for last minute shoppers, they are available and slightly cheaper with Amazon Prime!

While skeptical at first, i got curious while black friday shopping and impulse bought one… and i’m delightfully impressed with it! Such a simple idea, executed so thoughtfully, they’ve really elevated the LED strip in a lovely, functional way. Also, nice packaging! Take a peek at the details and unboxing on the next page.

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Designed By Apple In California

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It’s been a very Apple filled 2 days. Macbook pro arrived last night, Designed By Apple In California today. My macbook air has been long overdue for an update, but waiting for the new macbook pros has taken far longer than most rumors the last year! So, while many are complaining, i’m actually kind of loving the new macbook pro. Sure, the keyboard and mouse will take a little getting used to (and as far as loudness while typing, it doesn’t bother Shawn much compared to the noise when my nails would clink on the old one!) - and the touch bar is actually kind of fun - as for USB-C dongles, sure its a smidge more work, but i’m finding i don’t need them THAT much (other than for photos) - basically i’ve been ready for some newness, and i’m ready to adapt my workflow a bit to try it out… but not ready to jump to having a windows machine be my primary.

Anyhow - love when their shipping arrives a day early and surprises you! And while playing with the new machine, i was reading about the Designed By Apple In California coffee table books - a compendium of beautiful imagery of apple products from 1998-2015 as photographed by the amazing Andrew Zuckerman (behind Creature, Bird, Flower, and more). It’s a pricey coffee table book that comes in small (10.20” x 12.75”) and large (13” x 16.25”), and i can’t imagine a designer who wouldn’t welcome it into their design library. It’s rather over packaged, but unlike coffee table books from amazon, there’s no way it will get dented or dinged en route. And flipping through it, it’s stunning - and full of designer nostalgia. So much tech i’ve used from high school through the last decade of NOTCOT is in there. I’m tempted to scribble in the dates of the various machines i’ve owned that are no longer with me, just to remember all the tools that have helped get me where i am today when i look back on it all in a few decades. It’s a beautiful tribute to Steve Jobs and the stunning designs of Apple in its prime.

Take a look at the unboxing on the next page.

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*notcot in food+drink - 1 Notes

Bon Puf Cotton Candy

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The Original Bon Puf Cotton Candy has an online store now! For those who have been trying to taste the candy floss fluffiness through instagram for years, but haven’t been close enough (or managed to make it to an event the adorable cart has popped up at) - you can now had organic sugar cotton candy in fun flavors like Champagne Sparkle (edible glitter and all!), Pop Puf (pop rocks!), Sugar Cookie, Salter Caramel, Watermelon, Mango and more show up right at your doorstep. I’ve been a bit slow writing this post, because my fingers keep getting sticky as i taste the various flavors and type right now…

If you haven’t peeked at the Bon Puf Instagram yet, you must. Let’s face it, sadly, a picture is worth more than a thousand words (and perhaps more than the experience itself at times) today. And while Bon Puf has mastered the instagrammable, happy, fluffy, colorful deliciously playful world of cotton candy digitally - i was so curious how the organic cotton candy fluff actually is! So… yes, it’s super tasty! Can i taste the difference of organic sugar? I’m not sure - but if definitely tastes better than that county fair vendor stuff! Also, it’s so adorable with the subtle toppings sprinkled throughout and I’m still excited to one day see the super cute cotton candy cart in person! But for now - it makes a fun surprise to send to a friend (or to yourself) now that you can order Bon Puf Online! And if somehow you end up with too much - clearly you can use it as a topping, or in lieu of sugar in things like my espresso in the gif up top!

Take a look at the unboxing and some of my favorite pics from their feed on the next page.

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*notcot in design - 0 Notes

Unboxing: Saint James Press Kit

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Oooh a surprise arrived from Saint James - and to be honest, i knew little about them until this fun (and very informative) hands on box of goodies arrived. The branding, illustrations, and playfulness of the kit let you play with the various stages of wool (from raw to washed to combed) while learning about how their sweaters are made and what goes on in the french atelier… since 1889. There’s even a canvas scroll of their historical timeline!

Fun facts from the timeline - “From the mid 17th century, fishermen from Brittany and Normandy would go to the Channel Islands and to England to sell vegetables during the fishing off-season. They traveled the England countryside to mostly sell garlic, and wore these long wool shirts, often dyed indigo (one of the only shades resistant to sea air). As soon as they reached a hamlet, they shouted out for auction, “Marchand d’ail! Marchand d’ail!” (Garlic seller) but the locals only held on to the word “chandail”. As time passed, this wool shirt took on the name “chandail”. Fascinating! It went on to become the iconic striped sailor shirt/sweater we imagine today.

Ready to take a peek inside the fun press kit? To the next page!

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Unboxing: Kleenex Facial Cleansing

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So, it seems Kleenex is branching out… to new Kleenex Facial Cleansing, which is currently only available on their own online store. Firstly - this post is about PACKAGING. (Because i’m not feeling the cleansing products so much. I even made Shawn try the wipe - and I tried the rest… and well, anything that isn’t cleanser free has a bit of a chemical scent/feel. So now that that’s out of the way… back to the packaging!) When i first saw pictures of this new line, i thought it was a student branding/packaging concept. It was so pretty - and it just didn’t seem like what i’d expect from Kleenex. So when i realized it was REAL, i had to poke at it all in person.

The Kleenex Facial Cleansing line has 5 products: exfoliating cushions (just add water and scrub), moist facial wipes, cotton soft pads (huge!), moist eye makeup removers, and shine away sheets. The branding is lovely and clean/fresh, and the products and packaging show that quite a bit of design and thoughtfulness went into each one. It’s cute that the exfoliating cushions, wipes, and eye makeup removers come in solid clear/white plastic containers (complete with o-rings to keep moist things from drying out!) - each is refillable by popping in a fresh pack. In reality - the refillable boxes are of much higher quality than i expected. Biggest surprise of all - the bottoms all have holes! If you expected to use these containers later for anything else, think again! (Though you could keep an empty plastic refill pack inside.)

Take a look at the unboxing and product details on the next page!

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*notcot in home+decor - 0 Notes

Rumpl Down Puffy

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Wow. The Rumpl Down Puffy is SO WARM. The kind folks at Rumpl sent one over last week, and taking it up to the Cowboy Cabin in Julian, CA was the perfect test! At a “trekking size” of 54”x80” (like a slightly short twin) with 600 fill duck down insulation - it weighs in at a mere 1.12 lbs. And it is WARM. I overheat curled up with it on the couch at home, but in the cold rainy mountain night in a 1940’s cabin… it was perfect! I ran around outside in a tank top wrapped in the down puffy and stayed cozy. I curled up in it as we got the fire going, and it felt SO good! And when we needed an extra layer on the bed at night - it warmed us up fast! Though being made of 200 Ripstop Nylon (like a sleeping bag) is it incredibly slippery, so we had to retrieve it from wherever it would slide off to in the night. We’ll be tossing the Rumpl Down Puffy in the car for future road trips and adventures for sure! Check out the pictures and unboxing on the next page!

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Unboxing: Malfy Gin con Limone

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Mmmmm… a beautiful press kit just arrived from Malfy Gin, a new spirit from Biggar and Leith. Did you know that Gin was invented in Italy - In the 11th Century?!?!?! Italian monks in Salerno infused alcohol with Juniper berries and gin was born. Over the years, my friends tend to fall in the gin lovers and the not-a-fan of gin folks… Hendrick’s was one of the first to start converting the not-a-fan group (myself included)… but Malfy Gin! It’s so… zesty? refreshing? delicious! Beyond the branding and colors that just scream summer - my first sip tasted like summer too! The crisp refreshing lemon filled flavors hit you long before you realize you’re sipping gin.

It brought me right back to being 20 in Cinque Terra. Distracted by glistening ocean views, we hiked up the trail further than we realized without packing water (i blame the last night’s activities)… and luckily came upon an older Italian man tending to his garden, who offered us a huge lemon that he cut up with his pocket knife. In any other situation, i can’t imagine devouring it as easily as we did, and while it was tart, it was incredibly sweet and juicy! That first splash of Malfy Gin on the rocks tasted just like that. Italian Riviera Summer… in a bottle? Honestly, while it looks lovely with a twist - it certainly doesn’t require it!

So back to this delicious new gin… or delightful lemony liquor (for your “non-gin” friends) - “MALFY G.Q.D.I. (Gin di Qualita Distillato in Italia) is distilled by the Vergnano family in Moncalieri, Italy, using a traditional stainless steel vacuum still. Malfy Gin’s is made from 6 botanicals including Juniper (Ginepro in Italian) and lemon sourced from the Italian Coastline,” says Biggar and Leith. I’m fascinated by the story, delighted by the branding (those colors!) and packaging (the stopper is Italian Oak!), and reaching to refill my Malfy on the Rocks as i write this.

Take a peek at all the details on the next page!

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*notcot in design - 1 Notes

Made by NOTCOT: Nextbit Robin Press Kit

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You know you’re a designer when… watching people unbox something you MADE is even more of a thrill than unboxing incredible packaging and designs? Those following along the last decade already know that i love unboxing great products in great packaging - especially mind blowing press kits! So, NOTCOT has jumped to the other side (again) and we put all that press kit love to work for Nextbit!

Shawn and I are so excited to finally share the Nextbit Robin Press Kits we designed and built! You’ve seen the teasers and making-of post… now see the actual press kit, delivery, and a peek at some of them in the wild! Made of wood, foam, SF Fog paint, and a piece of elastic, these boxes present the stunning phone, sheep mascot vinyl toy (which we unboxed earlier), charger/cable, and sometimes cases to prominent media outlets. The beautiful design and branding of Nexbit set the bar high - just where we like it. Ready to see all the details? To the next page!

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*notcot in playful - 0 Notes

Unboxing: Nextbit Black Sheep Toy

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Surprise from Nextbit just arrived! An adorable BLACK SHEEP! When you hear Nextbit, you probably think of the Nextbit Robin - that rockstar kickstarter of a phone that’s all about smart, magically efficient use of the cloud - and it’s coming really really soon to all the backers and buyers! While i could easily delve into all the fun details of the phone… that’s not what we’re here about. In addition to the Robin, Nextbit also turned its cloud logo into an ADORABLE SHEEP MASCOT… then had our friend, Andrew Bell turn him into a vinyl toy! In fact, if you couldn’t afford or didn’t want the phone, but wanted a sheep toy - that was even an option on their kickstarter. Take a peek at some of the fun, playful branding and an unboxing of this adorable sheep on the next page.

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*notcot in tech - 0 Notes

Triggertrap Mobile Packaging

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I played with the Triggertrap Mobile App a while back - and it’s pretty fun! You can use it to control your phone camera in timelapse mode, sensor modes (clap, move, whistle, face recognition, etc!), HDR modes, remote modes (wifi! wearables!)… and if you buy the cable adapter to your proper camera you can turn your phone into a remote trigger/shutter controller for all kinds of cable release modes! To be honest, i played with it for a while, totally intended to buy a cable to try it with my Canon 5D MKIII… and one thing lead to another and i forgot.

… until i was over at Photojojo the other day, and shopping around, i stumbled back across the Triggertrap camera cable and decided it was time to play with it! And yes, it’s so so fun! It also arrived crazy fast and with a surprise toy dinosaur (Thanks, Photojojo!) But what REALLY surprised me, was how awesome their packaging is! How had no one shown me that part first… i probably would have impulse bought it even earlier. It’s also such a cute, easy stocking stuffer! It actually reminds me a lot of the Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator Unboxing. What i love most? It’s JUST A CABLE… but they’ve packaged it to feel like so much more as you “Rip it like it’s hot” to get inside to the nicely molded case… and even then there’s info printed inside the sleeve and a sticker inside. Nice details. Fun colors! And a simple, powerful, easy to use app UI! Awesome experience all around!

Packaging aside for a moment - i like that Triggertrap sells additional connection cables. So when you have the basic set, but buy a new camera, you just buy the piece you need. Also open source licenses! They are sharing the Triggertrap v1 and Triggertrap Shield for Arduino source code, schematics, and even eagle files.

But pack to the packaging… see the details on the next page!

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*notcot in design - 0 Notes

Unboxing: Parabo Press Engineer Prints

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Parabo Press recently launched from the folks at Photojojo, and of course the whole experience has the same fun, happy vibe. Through an app on your phone, Parabo Press lets you pick phone/instagram photos to turn into things like engineer prints (the big black and white architectural floor plan type pages), risograph prints, newsprint, accordion zines, shaped prints and more. So far my favorite thing to turn phone pics into have been Social Print Studio’s Tiny Books, and with Parabo Press’ unique offerings of larger, lower res prints combined with magnetic wood poster rails, i had to try it! They were nice enough to offer me a $30 coupon, and i just wanted to make something HUGE to see how it all comes out… so found my favorite pic of the NOTFZJ with roof top tent popped open on its first camping trip and turned it into a 3’x4’ engineer print paired with wooden rails.

As for the experience - the app is pretty straight forward (though not as robust as Social Print Studio… yet?) and about 2 weeks after ordering, a fedex arrived direct from Mumbai with print and rails! In those anxious two weeks - i finally told Shawn what i ordered (his inner architecture student came out and reminded me that those are the types of prints we could make easily and quickly!) and i saw far too many DIY Engineer Print options… basically you can get a 3’x4’ engineer print at Staples for about $7! And while doing so much milling and playing with wood while waiting… once they arrived, we were instantly dreaming up other variations of magnetic wood poster rails we could make even from the gorgeous hardwood scraps and lots of rare earth magnets lying around NOTlabs! So all in all - fine, it probably would have been cheaper and faster to DIY for a similar outcome - but it was still fun to have Parabo Press send me down an internet rabbit hole about Engineer Prints and Wooden Rails… and for a customized gift, it’s a nice set up! See all the details and unboxing on the next page!

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*notcot in tech - 0 Notes

Unboxing: Teenage Engineering PO-12

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So far we’ve loved everything Teenage Engineering for years… from afar… or through the internet. The design, photography, and ideas are always incredible! But between getting in to SF and meeting friends for dinner, we managed to squeeze in a few stores in the Mission, one of them being the unmissable Dijitalfix. Drawn in by the Freitag pop up in front, and sucked further in by so many design brands we adore… before i knew it, i lost Shawn. Turns out he ended up in the backroom completely engrossed by all the Teenage Engineering toys. And while he was busy pushing buttons and learning how they all worked, i couldn’t stop staring at the products themselves… and the packaging… and the displays! So that was settled… we had to buy one! While it was tough decide, we’re starting with the PO-12 rhythm

And of course, in the small amount of time between procuring the PO-12 and meeting for dinner… we couldn’t resist buying batteries, parking, and unboxing it in the car so we could play with it! So here’s a first for me… an iphone camera unboxing in our car parked on the street at night. Ready to see how awesome it is? See the pics on the next page!

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*notcot in wearable - 1 Notes

Leatherman Tread - Wearable Multitool

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The Leatherman Tread in real life! I’ve been far too curious and excited to check out this “wearable multitool” in person since it was announced - and it’s here! Leatherman just sent this over, and we’ve been test driving it the last few days. First impression? It feels great, and definitely attracts a lot of attention. As a hefty (somewhat heavy) stainless steel linked bracelet with up to 29 tools that you can get through airport security (or into Disneyland with - which inspired the Tread!) the more you wear it, the more useful you find it. So far i’ve opened many a bottle at the 72U Pop Up Park launch party, tightened a few hex screws (IKEA sizes on your wrist!), popped the sim card out of my iPhone, cut paracord with ease, and popped sockets onto it. While i have been using my Original Leatherman Wave since the late 90’s and added the matte black New Wave with Bit Kit to my purse a few years back - the Tread complements them nicely.

Bottom line - it’s basically the ultimate functional charm bracelet. You can remove and rearrange links as needed. I had to give up 2 links/6 tools to get the fit right! People who noticed and asked about it either wanted to have it, or buy it for their significant others. Those who didn’t notice, probably only saw a chunky metal bracelet.

Take a look at the full unboxing and detail shots of the Leatherman Tread in action on the next page.

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*notcot in tech - 2 Notes

Unboxing: Roland MODELA Pro II MDX-540S

rotest0a.jpg There’s a CNC mill in NOTlabs! While Shawn has been playing with (and missing) the full shop of 6-axis robots, huge CNCs, Objet 3D printers and more in his grad school days - i’ve been catching up and getting my hands dirty with it all through our NOTlabs projects! So when the awesome folks at Roland offered to lend us their Roland MODELA Pro II MDX-540S desktop mill, we were ecstatic! While we’ve been doing a lot of 3D printing (remember the Nescafe Alarm Caps and Free Universal Construction Kit?) - as crazy as you can get with additive processes, there’s a lot that subtractive can do (and in some cases, do better!)

We’ve been in the getting-to-know-you phase with this “desktop” beast of a CNC recently, but to catch you up - here’s the unboxing of what two shipping palettes in the driveway is like. We definitely needed to bring in an extra pair of hands to help move the machine itself. In addition to the Roland MODELA Pro II MDX-540S main mill, there is the case, the automatic tool changer, the rotary (4th axis!) and then a starter set of various bits… and of course, Roland’s software to get to know. Ooh and then there’s also various materials to try!

First impression? SO MESMERIZING! We’ve been spending hours and hours working alongside the machine to keep an eye on things, and experimenting with a few models to test out how it handles various types of curves, materials, and details. See the full unboxing and a peek at our experiments so far on the next page!

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*notcot in travel - 1 Notes

Leef iBRIDGE

leef0.jpg 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!

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*notcot in travel - 0 Notes

Packaging + Design of BioLite

biolitemain.jpg 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!

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Design and Concept Copyright NOTCOT INC 2005-2017. Work in Progress - So be nice.
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