For those of you who are constantly seeking the best deal out there, free service Frucall may just streamline your price research method a bit. When you go shopping and find something you want to buy, but just know that you can get it for a better price somewhere else, just dial up 1.888.DO.FRUCALL, enter the barcode number, and Frucall will spit back the best online prices it finds for the specific product. If you become trigger happy during the call, Frucall gives you the option to buy directly from online merchants; if not, you can bookmark the results for later access on your laptop. It’s a pretty neat mobile phone meets e-commerce app, if you ask me.
Every summer, my friends and I make it a point to take a camping trip. Then, at the end of every summer, we whine about how we never made it happen. Maybe it’s because my friends secretly have no interest in the wild outdoors; maybe it’s because I lack sufficient planning skills; maybe it’s just that we’re lame, and really fooling ourselves in thinking we’ll ever wind up anywhere but a bar on the weekends. Whatever it is that holds me back from actually going camping, I’m still allowed to appreciate the Eureka N!ergy 1210; an 8-person, 3-Season, power outlet-equipped tent that might make it easier to get our tech-obsessed friends out into the real world every so often. When you connect the N!ergy Tent to it’s power-pack, the three 12-volt power-plugs located inside the tent can help to rev up the things you just can’t live without, like cameras, computers, and, um, hairdryers and stuff (seriously, though, I hope none of our readers are “that girl”). I don’t think this baby’s realistically set up for anything other than car camping (hiking in could be rough with those extra power-pack pounds) but for those looking to get away — but not necessarily away from it ALL — the N!ergy may be just what you need.
If creativity were a thing we could turn on and off (or for that matter, a thing we had any control over whatsoever) making a living as any sort of artist might strike less fear in the hearts of our mothers. However, as it currently stands, creativity is the kind of thing that’s hard to count on when we need it the most, yet graciously pops up when we least expect it. Those savvy to this common turn of events generally take to carrying a pocket-sized notebook everywhere they go, but others who have yet to adopt the habit still stick to an old standby: the paper napkin. In celebration of this desperate form of mind-jotting, The Gallery Soho in London is hosting an exhibition based solely on the napkin-doodlings of over 40 well-known UK-based designers, illustrators, typographers and artists. The resulting exhibition — fittingly called Napkin — will display the artists’ work, all of which will be offered for sale to benefit charities fighting against food crises. Napkin will open its doors to the public on June 28th, and will run through the 13th of July, so if you’re in the area, stop by for what sounds like a fun, yet potentially complex, exhibit.
There’s something at MIT, wouldn’t you know it, called the Aesthetics + Computation Group, whose aim is “the design of advanced system architectures and thought processes to enable the creation of (as yet) unimaginable forms and spaces.” Two thoughts. First, can somebody tell me where this annoying ‘+’ for ‘and’ thing started? Second, isn’t it interesting that to imagine something we have to first have a language to imagine it in? Kind of like before there could be Funk, James Brown had to invent the Funk vernacular, or like this New Yorker article on the PirahÃ£ from a while ago.
One of the languages that the Group has created is Processing, “an open source programming language and environment for people who want to program images, animation and interactions.” Basically, Processing is a non-proprietary tool that computer programmers and visual artists can use to create things that they couldn’t previously. There are a lot of great examples of Processing’s potential on their exhibitions page — Josh has previously covered the use of Processing at Flight 404, and I particularly enjoyed this little gem, which is fairly mesmerizing and looks to me like the rapid construction of some very gnarled muscles. Also check out the Muon Launch, Grass and Circle Packing pages. This stuff will keep you entertained for quite awhile, and true to its origins, probably leave you grasping for words to describe it.
A few months ago Heather wrote about COTO, a sustainable accessory line born from a collaboration between an ex-Burton Snowboards marketer and an investment-banker-turned-artist. Their site showcasing their Fall/Winter ’07 collection has finally launched, and while the actual product won’t be available until August, you can still get a closer look at the ties, hats, suspenders, and tote bags all made from reclaimed organic sources. COTO is making use of some rare, hard to find materials (like fallen rack antlers) to make sure their products are as special as they are earth-friendly, which gives their products a sophisticated, woodsy flair. I get a kick out of these suspenders, and an even bigger kick out of the materials used to make them: organic cotton; natural rubber, low impact color elastic; and vegetable dyed leather. Take that to the farm.
While us Yanks may not have the opportunity to appreciate O2′s Cocoon flip phone first hand, it’s worth noting for its superior design and intriguing features. O2 is a big player in the European mobile market, but recently wanted to introduce a distinctly styled handset of its own to energize their brand. So the story goes, O2 approached Amsterdam trendspotters Streative Branding and Swedish industrial designers Syntes Studio to collaborate on a design concept and narrative that transcended the ho-hum phone/music player market. Inspired by consumer feedback from Steative’s “Super Moles” (leading edge trendsetters), Syntes developed a beautiful piece of technology that feels infused with both beauty and utility. A chief example of how these two elements come together is in the “Nest” – a docking station and charger that automatically activates the clock radio feature and display on the phone’s LED screen when the Cocoon is placed within it. Finally, while some phones win on style, they fall flat on functionality – but seemingly not the Cocoon. It boasts a 500 song capacity MP3 player, FM radio, 2MP camera, and other impressive features… all wrapped up in one uber-sleek package.
Ya Ya, I know I’ve been touting boat shoes a lot lately as the essential summer set of kicks, but I just had to give a nod to these Common Projects Achilles Mid-Top Model 1528′s. And thanks to Refinery29′s Loryn Hatch for writing the great article that perked my interest, I actually know something about these shoes beyond what I can see in a jpeg: A collaboration between designers Prathan Poopat and Flavio Girolami, the Common Projects label emphasizes form, which sticks to the basics, function, which is undoubtedly utilitarian, and material, which is always luxe. The Achilles mid-top perfectly exemplifies the brand’s criteria, with the stylish rise, uniform gray color and stitching, supple Nappa leather base, and signature model number stamp"”the label’s only indicator. One look at these all-weather winners, and it’s clear this season’s sneakers are altogether seasonless, making the choice, at least this time around, an easy one. As much as I’m enjoying the long, sunny days of summer, these sneaks make me not-so-scared for Fall.
My inability to motivate myself out of bed this morning had nothing to do with the sinus infection I’ve been battling for the last week, the presence of some Adonis-like character (or any man, for that matter) there with me or even just pure and utter exhaustion; it had everything to do with my brand new set of Legna linens. My interest was initially piqued with the line because of the use of Lyocell — a cellulose fibre derived from wood pulp, noted for its sustainable and green qualities — but I was absolutely blown away after feeling the sheets and chancing upon such thoughtful details as subtly embroidered buttons at the pillowcase closures. Generally, I’m a die-hard high-TC cotton linen person, but now that I’ve discovered the buttery, silky goodness of Legna, I doubt I’ll go back. Same thing goes for the towels, which along with being oversized enough to fit almost two people (not that you’d want to, though), are super-absorbant, ultra fluffy and feature gorgeous rounded corners, which lends fantastic draping qualities and look just as good hanging off the back of your bathroom door as they do covering up your nakedness. SDH offers a myriad of other lines, including several for babies and children, and judging by the quality and workmanship of Legna alone, they’re definitely worth checking out. you can find a store locator on their site here, and my fellow NYCers can peep SDH’s goods at Gracious Home and ACB Carpet and Home. Who’d've thought such luxury could come from something as humble as wood pulp?
During college I had a brief love affair with a manual Nikon and a hopeful image of myself as the next Annie Lebowitz. Sadly, due to my inability to hold my arms still, an inherent aversion to darkrooms and irreconcilable differences with the light meter, the union was never consummated. But for those of you who managed the marriage of talent and skill and consider yourself a superstar shutterbug in the making, you may want to enter Surface Magazine's Avant Guardian competition. Now celebrating its tenth year, the competition touts itself as the premier promotional outlet for American photographers and is meant to bolster emerging artists up the career ladder to commercial photography success. To submit, visit the Surface site, where your goods will be Tim-Gunned by the mag's creative team and a panel of international industry judges. While the $50 entry fee may seem a little steep for starving artists, the rewards are certainly worth the investment. A handful of hotshots, whose work embodies the balance between art and marketability, will be chosen and given the chance to spec shoot using Surface's network of studios, stylists and fashion clients. These shots may or may not be used. Only the best work will be chosen and winners will either be published in the magazine's annual Avant Guardian issue or travel in a touring exhibition that visits arty urban locales New York, L.A. and Miami. Some pieces will be chosen for both. Since it is only open to up-and-comers, if you have been published prior to 2006 in magazines with a circulation of over 100,000, you’re ineligible to enter (and apparently, are no longer "emerging," so congrats). If you are interested, get snappy! The deadline for entry is July 9 and you can submit up to 20 images.