Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Dear Readers, I am leaving for a week of sun and fun in Sayulita, Mexico. I am looking forward to:

1. fish tacos
2. icy cold cervezas
3. quiet but for the breeze through the palm fronds
4. beach that isn't 40 degrees in the daytime
5. friends and good timez
6. local food
7. dialing down the tech-no-lo-gy
8. biggest worry: what tank top will i wear today?
9. swim. eat. swim. eat. drink. drink. swim. lay. read. swim. eat. drink. swim. sleep. repeat.

Those who know me know that I've always wanted to learn to surf. But if you live in Northern California, you gotta put on a damn wetsuit, and there are sharks, and it's cold (beaches are NOT SUPPOSED TO BE COLD). Too much, too much. No fun. So going to warm waters is going to RAWK.

Product Alert:
My good friend L. who is going on the trip just bought me the MOST wonderful, profoundly enjoyable, quietly brilliant, beautifully executed book called "Wave". It brought quite a tear to my eye, and would especially delight new and and not so new moms and their daughters. (Especially the ones who love the beach). It's by artist Suzy Lee. Sniffle.

Monday, June 23, 2008


If you listen to me once in your lifetime, please make it now. I'm about to enrich your life threefold. Sit down.

I am about to tell you of the wonders of SLO Chai. Picture it: I'm ambling along in San Luis Obispo at a farmer's market. It's a balmy day, and after perusing handmade rosemary mint soaps and infused vinegars, I look for some liquid refreshment. The next booth promises some iced-cold chai. The situation looks pretty granolafied: dude with a pleasant North-Face-Birkenstock-wearin' demeanor mans the counter. A vaguely Deadhead lookin' van is parked behind. Why not, I say and plop down my $2.50. I'm thirsty. What proceeds is a half hour smile on my face as I drink THE MOST SUBLIME MIX OF FAIR TRADE SPICE AND TEA AND MILK AND ICE EVER TO CROSS MY LIPS.

Fast forward 3 months. Nary a day goes by that I don't drink at least a cup of this life-giving nectar. Buy these jugs. You'd be a fool if you didn't. You say you don't like chai? Well, do you like music? Art? Rainbows? Kitty cats? Then take my advice: 2 parts chai to 1 part soy milk or regular milk. Ice. Your favorite cup. It's transcendent.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Now Testing: Planet Green Network

There's a new channel in town, and its name is Planet Green. Self-described as the only 24-hour eco-lifestyle network on television (tethered also to its online presence), Planet Green is a sister site of the well-known "green" site TreeHugger.com. More interestingly, Planet Green comes to us from Discovery, who has re-branded their Discovery Home network into the new eco-focused channel. WOW.

Last night I watched a show called "Wasted" and the ever-popular Ed Begley reality show "Life With Ed", both pretty awesomely executed. "Wasted" is a how-to show that takes a homeowner and guides them through reducing their ecological footprint. Yawn, right? WRONG! You get how-to tips and advice on specific situations, and the hook is that at the end of 3 week period, they re-measure the footprint and pay you the amount you could save a year IN CASH! Nice touch. "Life With Ed" is basically like watching a Christopher Guest movie for a half hour. Ed has always been a green pioneer, and watching his whole family deal with his eccentricities is comedy gold. I also caught a snippet of a show called "Alter Eco", which is usually hosted by Entourage hottie Adrian Grenier. Alter Eco is an hour-long how-to show hosted and populated by pretty people. It goes down like iced sweet tea on a hot day.

I'll be watching and testing Planet Green. My initial grade based on branding, packaging and execution? B+!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Would you like some fresh ground pepper with that?

One piece of kitchenware that has eluded me is the "modern" pepper grinder. Why must all pepper grinders look like turned wooden canopy bed finials? Ergonomically speaking, it may be the best shape for grinding, but the hourglass-with-bulbous-top-and-little-metal-grinder-screw is tired, ya'll. Yawn. We actually have an ugly-ass boring birch one that malfunctions, and I've had it. So a little search on the interweb yielded some good results. Some criteria for my search:

1. No perfectly cylindrical stainless steel solutions, a la Peugeot. Too masculine.
2. No fussy knobs or anthropomorphic shapes, a la Alessi or Michael Graves. Too cutesy.
3. No little screw parts, or multi-sections. I just want a nice, flowing, organic shape.
4. No ACTUAL midcentury modern grinders. There's a lot of old stuff out there that's really interesting, but for my purposes, I'm not including them here.

So here they are. Feel free to clue me in on any more that you may find! I'm always on the hunt.

Bollard Teak Salt & Pepper Grinder & Plate De Menage
This one's cute and it comes with a handled plate for carrying around. I like that because it catches all the little ground up bits that end up on your counter. This comes in 2 kinds of wood.

iittala - Collective Tools Pepper Mill
I like these for the proportion of the twist handle, and the three handle colors available. I think this one would feel good, and there's less chance of loose parts (a big problem with some conventional grinders).

Birch Salt & Pepper Mills
If you must have a wooden mill, this is a nice solution. Nice, smooth finish. Not too precious. It knows what it is, and it's working it in a quiet way.

Georg Jensen Twist Salt & Pepper Mill
Here's a little somethin' special. Why not? Hopefully it's ergonomically sound. Whatevs. I just wanted to throw something interesting in the pot.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Extra Fancy:

Here's a fantastic collection of cards from Chronicle Books (you know, the folks who bring you the Yoshitomo Nara, Wanderlust, and Cine Mexicano postcard packs): "Uptight All Night". Jordan Crane is a cartoonist/artist whose spare yet powerful use of color is on display in his comic series and books; some snippets of his current "Uptight" quarterly book series are featured in this wonderful package. It's worth the $10 alone for the production of the cards. They're a nice, thick weight, and the printing is first-rate. It has the feel of a limited edition 2- or 3-color screenprint. As it says on his site, they are "tiny, but perfect". Collect 'em all, and share them with friends!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

boom, boom, POP

Here's a little hip-hop flava for yo' ass. Surfing the cable as I often do, I came upon the "Like I Love You" video from JT, and I think we would all agree that the choreography is SICK. I wondered, does JT come up with this stuff himself, or is he directed? A little research yielded some nifty choreography footage from the man responsible: a dancer named Marty Kudelka. Here he is dancing "My Love" with 3 other of JT's backup dancers: Nick Bass, Sky Hoffman, and Eddie Moralez.

Plush toys=pillows

Today's recommended daily dose of plushness comes courtesy of The Container Store. I love The Container Store. Why do I love The Container Store? Because when I want to contain things, I know where to go to purchase such containing products. Used to be I went to Target, and with some certainty, I knew I would find something fairly attractive or at least appealingly generic. I mean, Target owns that angle. But it was a roll of the dice just the same: you never knew if your Des Moines Target Greatland might be out of stainless steel pasta containers with the transparent peephole. And God help us all if they were. Then, with little fanfare, The Container Store entered the arena and they were Clean! Well-ordered! Well-managed! Well-merchandised! and they had the same sense of generic-to-modern style that Target so capably executes. Huzzah! (<--who came up with this exclamation? It's so 18th century.)

So featured above are the Comfort Creature Travel Buddy Pillows. You can also get the Comfort Creature Travel Blankets. These are geared to small children--and me.

Look how cute! These ain't just for travelin'.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Ok. I know you mean well. Really. I know you want the best for us and it may seem doable in your minds, but please. I cannot afford to buy the near-one-million-dollar house that I am currently RENTING. There's an episode in Sex and the City where Charlotte dates a guy who may or may not be gay. So all through the episode, folks are trying to figure out if this guy is gay or straight--he loves her Cynthia Rowley dress, but flirts incessantly with her. He gives her props in front of Carrie and Stanford, then kisses her on the...forehead. Right before making the "magic" happen, Charlotte asks him straight out (heh) if he's gay, to which he replies, "Charlotte, I am a 34 year-old pastry chef living in Chelsea. If I were gay, I would be gay." So to all my sweet and caring friends who currently own their house in the Bay Area (and God bless you if you do), if I could buy this house, I wouldn't BE RENTING IT, NOW WOULD I?

We will miss you, sweet Chattanooga apartment.

Design for Pets!

For all my fuzzy feline friends out there (and for those who love them), here's a site with awesome cat trees and scratchers. Good colors for the modern-minded. Who says cat trees need to be gigantic carpeted eyesores? Not Everyday Studio.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Another gym membership? YES!

Friday's cool new thing came via a co-worker's exclamation. Seems there's a new gym in the neighborhood: Craft Gym. And I couldn't be more delighted! Imagine frequenting a gym devoted to the art of craft and DIY. Come in, sit down, start crafting. 12 sets of 10 reps of bookmaking, knitting, beading, you-name it. Craft Gym provides the location, supplies, classes and workshops. I love it!

I think I shall take the class on tshirt printing. Or perhaps Linocut 101.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Ryde

New cool stuff in the tshirt arena. I don't know about you, but I am reaching maximum saturation point for graphic tees. I love 'em dearly (read: Threadless) but somehow this site got on my radar and it's a breath of fresh air. Not least because it focuses on surf style circa 1970's, but also because they are simple line illustrations (for the most part) on fresh colors and have lots of inventory for kids. The site is well packaged (thank you). Dig the sizing charts! Oh yes, you can also submit art for consideration.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Open houses suck

Some things overheard during our apartment open house this evening:

"There's only 1 bedroom!!" (said incredulously). DUDE. If you're in this apartment, you have seen the listing and made an appointment to be here. You know full well it's a 1 bedroom, you ASS. Dumbass. ASS.

"I think it must've been built in 1920." WRONG. It's 1900. You're off by twenty. Get the fuck out.

"There's a ton of storage for a building this old." Uh-huh. So buy it already.

"Can we play through?" -said by broker as he passed by us in the living room. Actually, I appreciated his good humor. He wasn't smarmy when he said it. And he was a cute old guy. You're okay, Brokerman.

Now for the cool shizz for Wednesday. Here's a great book by American artist Charley Harper, who in the mid-century created these super-cute graphic illustrations. No surprise they're all the rage by modernist interior designers wanting to get their sweaty paws on some prints for their client's nurseries. Todd Oldham helped to design this book in collaboration with Harper.