Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pen monogamy? Surely, you jest!

Ok...ok...ok. So, when it comes to my pens, I cheat all the time. One minute I'm whispering sweet nothings to my Faber Castell, and the next I'm off frolicking with my Jimnie (actually, they're Craig's but...shhh).

Well, I was just given a gift that might make me change my cheatin' ways. It's the Pilot Hi-Tec C Coleto 3 Color Multi Pen (a mouthful, I know). The actual pen you purchase is just an empty skeleton that you add any color ink cartridges to it that you want. What's great about it is that you can load different color combos as well as different pen tip diameters. So, now I can have a .3, .4, and a .5mm pen at all times! Coleto, I do!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Spend Money to Save Money?

Now, this may be just the savings plan for me... You can sign up to earn cash to pay down your student loans (and for the Art Center alums, this ones for you!) and sign up your loved ones so that their purchases also go towards paying down your loans.

It all started as a way to build brand loyalty in college students just entering the workforce and parents saving for their children's futures and has grown to have over 8 million members. Also, it was just acquired by Sallie Mae so that's good news for me!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Falling Down the Rabbit Hole...

Well, I was surfing the internet for inspiration and here's what I found.

It all started when I actually checked my spam folder this morning and noticed an interesting mass mailing about an art feature. A link on it led me to Behance, a creative network for design professionals. It had these great features and interviews with various designers around the world and provides a place for people to share ideas and network to actually "make ideas happen."

From there, I clicked on links for these two magazines.

Rojo (left) promotes the arts in Barcelona and Sao Paulo. It's full page images of art are great for finding inspiration!

Theme (right) is a lifestyle magazine that focuses on contemporary Asian culture. It's online site is beautiful and their take on design is refreshing. Each issue revolves around a single theme...for example, this months issue titled "I Want" includes editorial on "Scrumptious Product Designs" (definitely check out these photos!) and interviews with Naoto Fukasawa and Tobias Wong.

And then I found myself surfing the Wooster Collective blog which I think I got to from the Theme site. The Wooster Collective is based in New York City but their site features street art from around the world.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

2 by 2...Happy Valentine's Day

My little tribute to a life lived in pairs.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Taipei Snack City

So, Craig and I just got back from a 5 day trip to Taiwan where we visited my parents and ate 24/7. It's amazing how much food the human stomach can fit but when the snackage is sooo tasty, who can resist?! Not me.

Our first stop -- Jio Fen, an old mining town in Northern Taiwan. It was cold and rainy but our tummies helped us navigate this gauntlet of umbrellas in search of snacks.

These little nuggets are flavored rice gluten (like mochi) that you put into a sweet soup (red bean, ginger, green bean based)

See! Here they are...the yellow ones are sweet potato and the other pale purple ones are taro. yummmm.

These huge mushrooms (on the right) are bbq'd or fried. The fried ones are the best and are a nice vegetarian variation on the old Taiwanese favorite -- fragrant fried chicken.

At some point it was so cold and wet outside that we had to seek shelter in this tea house. The building itself is over 100 years old and the site of the tea pots roasting over an open flame was simple and beautiful.

These buns are unlike normal buns because they have a sticky exterior (again, like mochi). They are steamed on these huge crates above an open fire and are each placed on a separate pomelo leaf.

Stuffed inside are pickled, salty vegetables and minced meat.

These are those famous friend chicken pieces...soooo tasty. If anyone knows the secret recipe, please please please fill me in!

This block of peanuts and sugar is grated to create the peanut powder that gets places into a crepe-like wrapper (below). It's a smart representation of adapting a food to your intended purpose. If they had just grated the individual peanuts, this process would be so much more tedious. This way, the shavings are fresh and flaky and shaved to order.

So, those peanut and sugar shavings are placed onto a thin crepe-like wrapper, topped with cilantro and then two scoops of ice cream! This is a case when you don't think the combo would be tasty but it actually is. (Lesson to be learned: what we think and reality are often at odds so you have to try try try and experiment to get beyond our pre-conceived notions.)

Hungry In Taipei is a good blog for finding out more about food culture in Taiwan.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Frolick Yogurt is F*ing Good

Craig and I were walking through Holland Village heading to dinner and one-by-one people kept walking by me digging ferociously into these little white cups. As we rounded the corner, I spotted it -- a white wall speckled with colored dots and right in the middle was a man with a smile from ear to ear saying softly "would you like a free sample of yogurt?". Hell yeah I would! And before we knew it we had run through traffic and were holding our very own free samples of Frolick Yogurt. (Side note: just the other day I was talking about how I kind of craved a pink berry for some it made Frolick all the more tasty!)

The cheeky phrases plastered on buttons embedded in the exterior wall and over the tabletops only add to the charm of the place. Yogurt with likey.

There it is...

Simple graphics, use of color...nice. The little dots are button tops with funny little phrases (highlights are below).

Meet Ken and James! They were super nice and their smiles say it all...opening day was going great!

Look at this cute biz-card from Frolick with a built in scoop. It's made of paper though so don't try using it...still, a good concept and sweet detail.

Good thing the tables are too tall for the kiddies to read.

Hahaha...Frolick wages war on ice cream!

Here are some of the button tops which I liked the most but there are plenty more on the wall worth noting so stop by if you're in the area.

Like I said, Frolick is f*ing good. "Kiwi...the fruit, stupid!" hahahah...

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Luxury Brands + Social Responsibility?

This report, published by the WWF-UK on the role of luxury brands and social responsibility is an interesting look into how slow-moving this high-end market has been to catch up with the sustainability movement. There's a downloadable version of the report on the Deeper Luxury website that includes rankings of the various brands included in the study but also an argument for why this market segment should change its ways not merely because it would be the right thing to do (no one would listen to that) but because it would mean better business for them.

An element of this report which I think is great is the one concerning the role of celebrities in enforcing social responsibility. It's a point which I don't think has been stressed enough in our media/paparazzi/Britney crazed world. Celebrities are in a position to shift views and force change, so why aren't they doing it more often? Why are they still clad in diamonds, fur, and driving SUVs? Why do we (the public) let them get away with it? They could greatly benefit and implement positive change if they tried.

Toys of Yore

We went to the Mint Toy Museum in Singapore today. It's a 5 floor modern building that houses a collection of the owner, Mr. Chang Yang Fa, who has been collecting toys since grade school. The museum itself is a walk down memory lane and beyond, housing a wide range of collectibles from ray guns to a first edition Snow White poster. It's magical seeing these toys in such pristine condition and the entire museum from layout to graphics is put together very style.

Floor to ceiling glass cases stuffed with toys
Astro Boy and his sister! It's one of the only collectibles left of Astro Boys' sister.
I couldn't get enough of the old school graphics. They're great and put the blister packs of today to shame.
We were lucky enough to catch these otherwise dim displays with their lights on (for another tour group that we leeched onto).On the left: two robots from different parts of the world (one from Germany, the other from Japan) discover that they are long lost twins.
On the right: An original Peter Rabbit from 1906! He even has his little red slippers.
Popeye. Look at all that character achieved with a needle, thread, and some ink.
A welcome sign anywhere.
I love the Beatles comb for big heads! hahaha!
Standing at attention, these wind up robots represent only a small fraction of the entire collection.
Ray guns! No need for batteries, charging, or reading a manual. There's something very enticing about that and sadly, very foreign to most of todays kids.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Sustainable Diningware

The other night, some of us went out for dinner at Sammy's Curry on Dempsey Road in Singapore. The food was good, the atmosphere that of a military mess hall, and the prices to high. ($5 prawns are a bit too much guys!)

You'll notice that there isn't any styrofoam or disposable stuff in this joint...everything is washable or bio-degradable (completely, not that "it takes a decade" kind). And (as is the case throughout Singapore) you have to bring your own napkins if you tend to make a mess because in this place, you'll only get one. So use it wisely, hungry one.

The way it works is that you walk in, they lay a piece of banana leaf in front of you (it's thick and durable) and then before you know it you're being bombarded with food containers being waved in your face and someone asking "do you want this?" while they are already spooning it onto your leaf. It's quite a feast but just be careful because the food and the bill racks up pretty quickly and before you know it, your tummy will be stuffed but your wallet won't be.

Look at that nice clean table setting.
Where did all that food come from?! Oh well, too late to turn back now...
Shovel, shovel, vision is getting blurry and I think my pant button just popped.
While I utilize the spoon-shovel technique...others opt for a faster mode of intake ;)