November 2007 Archives
Like luggage at an airport carousel, most laptop bags can be pretty conventional - black, brown, maybe grey. Acme Made defies convention and brings style and color into the mix. Using colorful textiles and a sleek, slim design. This Designer Slim bag is a really stylish alternative for you and your laptop.
If you consider yourself a technophile then you probably already heard, seen, maybe even ordered Amazon's wireless reading device, called the Kindle. I think this is extraordinque because while e-books have been on the market for many years and Amazon sells books online in many different formats, the Kindle is a revolutionary device that may allow people to read books, newspapers and other traditional and new media content (blogs, for example) in a way that "looks and reads like real paper."
What I love about this product is it does not require a computer. It has no cables and doesn't require you to synch up in order to get the content you'd like. This reading device is completely wireless allowing you access to more than 90,000 books online to purchase and download. There are even free book samples to "try before you buy" the whole book.
This device with an electronic-paper display offers a high-resolution for easy reading; holds over 200 titles and is lighter and thinner than a typical paperback at only 10.3 ounces! You also get access to 250 top blog feeds and the New York Times, Wall Street Journal as well as top business magazines like TIME and Forbes.
All of this content is delivered wirelessly via WIFI. You can even access Wikipedia online to view the most up-to-date encyclopedia.
This device is an interesting development for Amazon, the leading seller of books and newspaper/magazine subscriptions. The Kindle positions Amazon now to offer books and other publications like Apple did with music through iTunes and the iPod. Offering a proprietary device that delivers this content to you digitally is a major step for Amazon to maintain ownership of this marketshare.
To me, this is a sign of the times and while competing with already in-use internet-enabled WIFI devices like the web-friendly iPhone, this move for Amazon is very telling where the future is headed for books, reading and accessing content from anywhere, anytime, without tethers thanks to WIFI.
I am also encouraged that this is a direction that may be adopted as a true paperless option for publishers making this a good clean alternative for the environment as well.
PS - As of today, the Kindle is temporarily sold out. Amazon notes that you can place your order now to reserve your "place in line" for the next available. Amazon notes the Kindle will not arrive by December 25 and cannot be sold or shipped to customers living outside the U.S.
They had me at "Sprout Pouch." I love the way their soft and stylish baby slings keep mom and baby so connected and close. Designed simply as an over the shoulder sling, the Sprout Pouch baby carrier is designed to fit every mom to carry baby above the hip. The Sprout Pouch baby sling can grow with your baby from infant to todder (up to 35 lbs.), changing their position as baby grows and reducing the strain on your back. Sprout Pouch designed its baby slings to allow you to hold baby snugly for hands-free activities and warm face-to-face interaction.
Sprout Pouch baby slings are a smart, stylish, and versatile option to hold baby close. They also have really gorgeous "mama bags" that store all baby's needs while on the go. Loving this!
There are so many amazing new options for wallcoverings and Maya Romanoff surpasses convention using "extraordinary surfacing materials" like flexible glass beading, inlaid shell, precious metals and fabric to make a living space or workplace a reflective piece of art.
I am totally awestruck with their Beadazzled collection, which is completely handmade in their Chicago studio. Light can reflect and provide a texture of this surfacing material that, to me, surpasses anything I've ever seen.
If you are looking for something totally different and unique to create a room with impact, check out Maya Romanoff's diverse collections of "surfacing materials." They are extraordinique!
Devi Kroell has an amazing Fall/Winter line and I am absolutely in love with her crystal-laden wooden clutches. This unique wooden clutch comes in varied tones and the crystals complement any cocktail dress with sparkling silver, gold, black, red and more. This clutch will stand the test of time and would be the ultimate accessory for any night out on the town. Extraordinique!
Recently, I stopped into one of my favorite boutiques in East Sacramento, La Maison Marche. If Extraordinque was a brick and mortar boutique, La Maison Marche would be how I would envision it. Drawn in by their fragrant candles and artistic furnishings and unique decor and gifts, I was captivated by their wall of Sid Dickens wall tiles, known as "Memory Blocks." Enamored with each design, color, texture and style, I wanted each and every one of them.
La Maison Marche is now featuring Sid Dickens new Fall Collection. I didn't even know where to begin. Which wall? Which tiles? These tiles make a perfect accent in any room, pick one, pick twelve. You can really do so much with them. Don't even get me started on what I wanted to buy for our office as well.
Sid Dickens is an acclaimed artist and has an extraordinary history experimenting and evolving his art through varied mediums, organic materials and periodic and cultural influences.
Sid Dickens over time found his preferred medium of plaster and created the first prototypes for his series of 6 by 8-inch decorative wall plaques, naming them "Memory Blocks". These Memory Blocks are finished to a porcelain-like quality, cracked to create an aged look and feel.
Now, with a group of 30 young emerging artists, Sid Dickens Memory Blocks are internationally acclaimed and are sought by avid tile collectors.
Sid Dickens will retire various tiles this year as he does each year. The 2007 Retirement List has been announced. The last day to order these hand-crafted tiles will be December 1, 2007 through the Sid Dickens website.
After lots of back pain, I made a decision this summer to stand while I work and I was amazed by the difference. I joked not long after I started working this way that all I needed next was a treadmill underneath me and I would really be burning through the work day.
Not longer after I said this, the buzz around the Web started to point towards Steelcase, a leader in workplace furniture and office environment design. Steelcase notes "climbing the corporate ladder just got healthier" integrating movement in the very sedentary lifestyle of office workers today.
While this won't be a 2008 fixture in our offices yet, I'm excited about the opportunities. The Walkstation was created by Dr. James Levine, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic. The Walkstation has a maximum speed of 2 mph and lets you burn calories comfortably while accomplishing the work you would normally do while seated.
Dr. Levine says, "Walking while working will burn calories, potentially alleviate stress, increase productivity, and increase focus while promoting good ergonomics to improve the overall health of employees and the companies for whom they work."
As the holidays are here, I think everyone will agree walking to work or walking while at work is a healthy and essential part of your work day. If you are lucky, you'll be "whistling while you work" walking on a Walkstation soon.
Picture sound and the KEF Muon is intended to deliver. KEF, a world-leader in loudspeaker engineering partnered with Ross Lovegrove, a pioneer and visionary industrial designer, to create these "super formed" aluminum speakers. These ultra-exclusive speakers are a limited edition with only 100 pairs manufactured. At six-feet tall, the eight-speaker set-ups weigh 253 pounds each. Each speaker starts as a block of solid aluminum and is transformed using computer-aided manufacturing. In Lovegrove's style, he uses his "fat free" design approach to trim the form down to its essentials to deliver the ultimate in form and function. While these speakers are lean and mean, at $140,000 a pair, these speakers deliver high-impact sound for those with high-impact bank accounts.
Since the summer, I've read that gin is making a new "taste" for itself. From Gourmet Magazine to hip, lifestyle and fashion magazines, the same message was being touted, "the bar is no longer reserved just for premiere, high-end vodkas and tequila."
Gin is back in -- largely as a result of the efforts of visionary food and wine entrepreneur, Leslie Rudd, who revived "Registered Distillery 209" of San Francisco. Gin's long history has gone from "excessively sweet" to very dry and "junipery," often appealing to distinct tastes or used in various cocktails as a base. Now, the team at Distillery 209 is taking gin's flavoring a step further fusing it with citrus, exotic fruits and spices. It's making the taste of gin more flavorful, tastefully.
In June 2007, Gourmet magazine rated tonics for the perfect Gin & Tonic. They put No. 209 at the top of their list and quoted the flavor, "Intense but balanced, it had a citrus sweetness and a pleasant herbaceousness." Gourmet magazine paired No. 209 with Fever-Tree tonic, which is more on the bitter side, but goes well with subtle gins. Gourmet said Fever-Tree is the elegant option to make the perfect G&T.
As for Distillery 209, they have a great list of recipes for their spirit. With the holiday's upon us, I thought "The 209" was a great cocktail to try this season:
- 2 oz of 209 Gin
- 1 oz Honey syrup*
- .5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
- Dash of Angostura Bitters
- 1 Lemon Twist
- Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add Gin, honey syrup, lemon juice, and bitters. Shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
- *Honey Syrup
- .5 Cups of Honey
- .5 Cups of Warm water
*Created by Arne Hillesland, Technical Director of Distillery No. 209
This post started with research for our doberman/shar-pei mix who gets awful cold now on our morning walks as it gets colder and colder. I was searching for a coat that would keep him dry and warm, but found it's actually hard to find larger breed dog apparel that isn't flannel or boring. Then, we found a very cool boutique, Trixie + Peanut with an online store and a flagship boutique in New York City.
While our vision for Extraordinique has been to feature the artists, designers and innovators who are personally creating new things, I thought Trixie + Peanut founder, Susan Bing, had the backstory that carries the extraordinique perspective we are looking for. As an art director and graphic designer for over ten years, Bing became the Art Director for Tiffany & Company's marketing department, designing and overseeing production of all catalogs, publications and advertising. Through her freelance assignments and in-house positions at other firms, Bing has worked on projects for clients including Saks Fifth Avenue, Bill Blass and Estée Lauder.
In the six years since founding Trixie + Peanut, Bing has transformed a small catalog business into a complete lifestyle brand for today's pets and the owners who love them. She carries great products and notes they are for "pets + people" which is a great perspective to have when it comes to all "pet parents" we know.
What people do and what they can create is the vision of Extraordinique. We are glad to have sniffed out Trixie & Peanut and this SNIFF Jumper is definitely more our pup's style!
One of my friends, who happens to be an amazing photographer, graphic artist and all-round awesome mommy concerned about the world her kids will inherit, brought SIGG Swiss-Engineered water bottles to my attention. After subscribing to Extraordinique, she said I needed to check them out!
Cal said, she sought out Sigg bottles for her and her family because she felt it was time to put an end to buying bottled water in plastic disposable bottles. Being concerned about water quality and some of the recent reports on chemical seepage in plastic bottled water, she said it was time to find an alternative that would be good for the environment and good for her family. This is her collection of the four Siggs she bought for her husband and kids.
SIGG bottles are innovative, functional, go-anywhere water bottles totally suited for leisure and sporting activities. SIGG bottles are eco-friendly by design -- reusable and 100% recyclable.
Not only are there various exterior design to match your taste, but you can select the type of bottle tops to meet your needs and the size you wish to carry. These stylish "lifestyle water bottles" are functionally-designed for all ages and activities.
Coming back from smoke-filled hotels in Las Vegas, I came home and started juicing and drinking as much green tea as I could to help fight the effects of all those "free radicals." Going through my make-up drawer, I realized I had a Calme Essentials collagen facial mask that claims a plant-based collagen pack to restore skin's suppleness while smoothing fine lines and wrinkles.
Trying the face mask out for the first time, it was a gel-like cooling sheet that you place on your face for 15-20 minutes. It's extremely refreshing and a good opportunity to relax and restore. Calme Essentials touts this as a "use anytime, anywhere" face mask. I will definitely buy this again. It's a good pack to keep on hand for every "pick-me-up" occasion.
For the bicycle and music enthusiast comes the cy•fi. It is a wireless speaker for your bicycle that was made for the ipod. No more earphones or wires to hassle with. Plus, better for your safety by allowing you to hear what is going on around you as you ride.
The cy•fi easily mounts on your bike frame and purportedly provides CD-quality audio. It is configured to work with an Apple iPod or iPod Nano.
The cy•fi will be available in stores in early 2008. Keep an ear out.
Grabbing for a paper napkin to capture a spark of inspiration and creativity, Matthew Waldman, award-winning artist and designer had a flash-back to his first grade math class while staring at a large wall clock in a London hotel. Struck by the limitations of how we display time, Waldman conjured up a new less linear, more intuitive way to view time.
Nooka wristwatches show time as a visual mass increasing as time passes. Nooka seeks to redefine the modern experience of time telling. This is extraordinique!
While in New York City earlier this year for a conference, I learned of a chocolate company that is bringing cacao to the masses - sweetriot. sweetriot uses 'peaces' of the cacao bean (what sweetriot refers to as "true chocolate") and covers it with dark chocolate.
I had the opportunity to meet Mastermind and Chief Rioter Sarah Endline, view the sweetriot office and taste the nibs. Every sweetriot tin provides you with healthy antioxidants, only 1-2 calories per crunch, and a great little snack for that fix of chocolate.
While researching innovative skateboard companies, I also found Arbor Snowboards. Arbor is another cutting-edge company committed to "eco-technologies" using environmentally-friendly materials to provide high-performance for your winter rides.
We only have one ski resort open, Boreal, so far on this very mild Fall season in Lake Tahoe. I'm hopeful we'll get some good snow in soon so that I can ride "goofy and green." The Formula looks like a good fit for me. I am also eyeing the Roundhouse for my husband.
As gas prices are reaching $4.00 a gallon here in California, we've noticed a lot more "commuters" getting from place-to-place by skateboard and scooter. Wondering what skateboard companies are up to today, I came across a lot of innovative companies. Comet Skateboards is one of them; creating very cool skateboards using sustainably-harvested materials, like poplar and hickory for the core and durable bamboo and maple for the veneer. Comet also uses all water-based low VOC coatings to reduce the risk to their staff, their customers and in a collective effort to reduce the effects of global warming.
Located in downtown San Francisco, Comet Skateboards are designed and manufactured in the world's only solar-powered skateboard factory. Comet Skateboards is actively working with companies and universities worldwide to assist in developing "green" bio-based epoxies, reinforcements, and coatings for the future.
I give a lot of credit to this company's efforts and those buying a product that's good for the earth and good to ride. Check them out.
In Sacramento, Ettore's European Bakery & Restaurant is one of my all-time favorite bakeries and cafe. Every time I walk in the door, I'm always impressed with the delicious and beautifully presented treats they bake up every day. We have always loved Ettore's and this year we are excited to try their newest Thanksgiving White Pumpkin Cake.
The cake is molded with fondant, filed with vanilla sponge cake, rasberry preserves, pastry cream and finished with real whipped cream. The chocolate stem is hand-molded to perfect this masterpiece.
Ettore is also offering a full Thanksgiving Take-Home Dinner from their Holiday Menu. Hmmm...now that's intriguing.
We are rushing around this weekend, the weekend before the Thanksgiving holiday, to spruce up the house and be ready for guests to arrive. This summer, while in Beverly Hills, we found Kitson was carrying some beautiful soaps by CLAUS PORTO. These scented soaps still remain in my mind because they had such a beautiful, aromatic fragrance-- so good you could almost taste it.
Thinking about my guest bathroom, CLAUS PORTO's Guest Soap Pastilles would be the perfect touch. As I look out my kitchen window, our citron tree is ready for picking. This makes me think the scent of Banho Citron Verbena would be perfect to complement the natural fragrances of the season.
CLAUS PORTO notes on their website that the final soap product, and more importantly the base ingredients (many soap producers cannot make this claim) are never tested on animals. CLAUS PORTO notes their soap is completely natural and 100% bio-degradable and environmentally-friendly.
We admit it proudly. We are gadget geeks. So, when I was introduced to the Flip Video last week by Jim Kukral, I immediately had major gadget envy. I loved the simplicity, size and contemporary design. It is so plug-in-play (see USB plug-in on the side) even more than our digital cameras at this point. Doing a little more research, I see that Oprah featured the Flip Video recently and even posted some videos from her show using the Flip to interview guests, like YouTube star, Esmee Denters and Flip Video - Pure Digital Technologies founder, Jonathan Kaplan. Check out Oprah using the strawberry Flip.
Ok, Santa - Can I add this to my wish list too? I've been nice! I promise!
Just returning from a week in Las Vegas, I went there with my eyes wide open in hopes to find something truly "extraordinique." I really expected to find all things extraordinary and unique in a place like Las Vegas. I was surprisingly disappointed until I found Vosges • Haut Chocolate. Gazing into their chic boutique, their window was dressed with unique messaging describing the various exotic spices, herbs and ingredients added to these chocolates. I was immediately drawn in.
I was like "a kid in a candy store," literally!
There's no perfect way to describe all the various chocolate collections Vosges offers, but each one is truly tantalizing. Take, for example, their absolutely mouth-watering collection of milk or dark chocolate truffles. Imagine savoring their "Black Pearl" truffle which has ginger + wasabi + dark chocolate and black sesame seeds on top. What about "Mo's Bacon Bar" with 41% cacao + applewood smoke bacon + Alderwood smoked salt and deep milk chocolate. When the chocolatier asked me to try truffle with Tallegio cheese, I was ready to pour a glass of red wine and take a seat on their lounge! I got to tell you, it's hard even writing about this without my tastebuds responding!
Owner/Chocolatier, Katrina Markoff, personally chooses every spice, flower and chocolate that is flown into their Chicago kitchen. Markoff spoke at TASTE³ in Napa earlier this year and this video really gives an deeper insight to how she finds inspiration from beautiful people, places and things across the globe.
Where image is everything, Hollywood writer and producer, Kevin G. Boyd, took note that everything carried by the Hollywood elite represents status right down to their bottled water of choice. Bling H2O was created to offer the exclusive alternative to run-of-the-mill natural spring waters. Bling H2O was created to be the "Cristal" of bottled water.
Straight from the famous Tennessee English Mountain Natural Spring, Bling H2O is described as a slightly sweet sparkling water. Touted as water "couture," the water is presented in a frosted glass bottle adorned with Swarovski Crystals.
Ready for the upcoming holiday season, Bling H2O is now offering their Limited Edition "Christmas" Bling H2O in festive in crimson or peridot green "bling" to make your next holiday party shine.
This Thursday, we'll be at a party at the super-fabulous Tao Nightclub in Las Vegas. Bling H2O is served at Tao, so we'll have to give it a try. At $90 a bottle, I hope we can report back that it truly is extraordinique.
Baby stuff always makes me "ooh and ahh," but when I saw women and nannies strolling along the streets of Cenral Park this spring, I was totally cooing over these innovative baby strollers. The structure of the baby stroller is what first caught my eye. It seemed for as many as I saw, each one had a unique configuration, color and accessories.
Stopping to talk to a group of moms, each raved about their Xplory. Learning about what mom's liked best and then reading more into what makes Stokke™ Xplory® so special, I can see what makes them so popular and award-winning. Stokke™ found a way to keep mom, dad and baby closer and more connected with higher, more flexible positioning. The entire design seems ergonomically-focused for parent and child. The structure is built to be easily accessible and positioned appropriately for parent and child needs.
Where Stokke™ differentiates itself, beyond its sleek and modern design, Stokke notes that "while most strollers carry your child low and facing away from you, Stokke™ Xplory® is designed to enhance the interaction and connection between parent and child." This stroller's features and overall design was built on supporting the connection between parent and baby which is extraordinique.
I absolutely cannot get over the exquisite beauty of Christine J. Brandt's work. My heart literally races as I scroll through her jewelry collection. An amazing blend of wood, stone, and minerals, her inspiration comes from the beauty these natural elements provide. Viewing her gallery, it was no surprise that her work comes from the vibrant colors and fluid lines of a coral reef or the lush leaves in an organic garden. Her pieces are wearable pieces of art. Truly extraordinique!