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November 29, 2011 at 9:57 pm Leave a comment

If SUITE 2046 had a kitchen…

…this Revol cocotte would surely have pride of place.

A thing of beauty

October 20, 2011 at 10:32 pm Leave a comment

Happy Camper

I recently found myself stuck in a Marriott Residence Inn in Orange County with a baby and no car.  (Don’t ask.)  On day one I pushed a stroller to the South Coast Plaza, one of those mega-mall fortresses with identikit department stores for turrets.  As a New Yorker, I thought the novelty of the enclosed retail playground would be a welcome way to while away the hot summer days, but in reality I had “done the mall” in half a day and was bored to death before the sun even set.  Thankfully it turned out that there was a much better retail experience nearby that I didn’t even have to cross a freeway to get to.  It was called The Camp, and was an exceptionally well-executed “eco mall”.

One doesn’t typically think of a strip mall across from an El Pollo Loco as cutting edge, and yet here this was, a ten minute walk from the Residence Inn.  The Camp’s sustainable architecture was both beautiful and utilitarian, with green roofs and beach grass growing in the sandy walkways.  Patagonia held court over a number of refreshingly unique retailers and restaurants, the most interesting of which was the Seed People’s Market selling an eclectic hodgepodge of well-designed sustainable and socially-conscious wares like “wildcrafted” Juniper Ridge soaps, Kauzbots, Sseko sandals from Uganda and Lunchskins.  In short, this place sold cool shit that also happened to be environmentally and socially responsible.  Score!

What most impressed me about The Camp was its attention to detail: succulents growing atop garbage bins, crunchy little phrases like “eat tofu” and “say hello to others” written in each parking space, breezy semi-outdoor seating that made the most of minimal air-conditioning.  It came as no surprise that the developers behind The Camp are also the same people behind The Lab, its sister strip mall across the street known as “the anti-mall” — the O.C. hipster’s alternative to the South Coast Plaza and Fashion Island.  Ultimately I was able to survive a couple more carless (that’s CAR-less, not careless) days in Orange County without losing my mind, thanks to the retail therapy and ghost chili tacos at The Camp.  It ain’t Magic Mountain, but these pair-o-malls are definitely worth checking out.

August 29, 2011 at 11:34 pm Leave a comment

Bad Situation

Hilarious report in the WSJ blog about Abercrombie & Fitch paying Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino of the Jersey Shore to NOT wear its brand due to “deep concern” over negative brand associations.  It’s like when so-called “chavs” started wearing Burberry tartan as the uniform of choice across the UK back in the mid-noughties.  That was one hell of a nightmare for the Burberry brand, though that brand is decidedly more aspirational than A&F which is more known for their barely clad models and politically incorrect T-shirts.   Which then begs the question if A&F is genuinely concerned about the Situation bringing down their image with all the tacky Jersey Shore associations or if they just want to fire up some good ol’ fashioned controversy for buzz.  After all, it sounds like they were the ones that released a statement about it.  If I were Snooki, I’d start wearing head to toe A&F and refuse to stop wearing any of it until they paid at least triple what they paid the Situation.  Work it, girl.  For real.

August 16, 2011 at 11:42 pm Leave a comment

A.P.C. Quilts

Nice upcycling by A.P.C. Got a lot of leftover fabric from last season?  Make some awesome limited edition quilts out of it and voila! — you can charge $515-$955 a piece for the results.  Very nice, very smart.

March 24, 2011 at 12:04 pm Leave a comment

Paying for Content: It’s About Time

The New York Times announced today that – surprise! – starting March 28, people are going to have to pay for their content beyond a generous 20 free articles a week.  No doubt a lot of people out there on the interwebs are decrying the injustice — What? Pay for news content? Ridiculous! — but I firmly stand by the side of the Gray Lady on this one.  If anything, I feel like it’s something that should have been done ages ago (and I’m not talking about the ill-conceived TimesSelect function that they thankfully axed in 2007).

Look, the concept of “you get what you pay for” applies just as much to media as it does to anything else in our capitalist culture.  If you seriously think that reading the minimally researched and un-fact-checked insights of a 22-year-old blogger is anything like reading the dispatches of Nicholas Kristof, then go ahead and keep refusing to pay for anything.  But the fact of the matter is that actual journalism is an expensive endeavor. If a society starts taking it for granted (and we’ve clearly already started going down that slippery slope), then you can essentially start saying goodbye to checks and balances.  The more a media outlet begins to rely on “clickability” and subsequent online ad revenue over a core subscription base, you get into the kind of sensationalist title-bating that you find in deeply irresponsible headlines like this gem from Slate.

The Times was arguably starting to fall into the same trap as well.  I mean, how do you compete with the HuffPo’s 40-pt fire-engine red font surrounded by thumbnails of Charlie Sheen?  Ironically, these all-caps headlines usually just link you back to the Times anyway, only it’s Huffington walking away with the most clicks.  So please people, listen up.  Don’t be so cheap that you don’t want to pay $15 a month to have unlimited access to quality news on your $300 iPhone.  The world needs good journalists…and guess what?  Just like you they need to get paid!

 

March 17, 2011 at 1:01 pm Leave a comment

20×200: Japan Earthquake Relief Edition

I’ve been a long time fan of Jen Bekman’s 20×200.  Just check out my hallway if you want proof!  All those are prints I’ve bought over the years from Jen’s 200 limited edition prints for $20 scheme.  As her motto says, “Buy art. It’s good for you.”

Imperial Palace Gardens with Wall, Tokyo - by Emily Shur

Today I was particularly pleased to get an email from 20×200 featuring a photographic print by LA artist Emily Shur with all proceeds going towards Japan Society’s Earthquake Relief Fund.  It’s great how quickly artists always respond in times of crisis.     And never underestimate the power of a graphic image to galvanize support — a poster can be more effective than a statistic in inspiring compassion.

20x200 prints in my apartment hallway

Help Japan print by Rob Dobi

March 15, 2011 at 2:49 pm 1 comment

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