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Beyond Earth Day: Great Wines for Sustainability
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Can You Taste the Blood in Your Mouth?
Fun with Words ... Really?
Remember When Music Was Exciting?
Details Names Paul Kahan's Salsa Best in U.S.



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NOVEMBER 09, 2006
Paul Smith No. 9 Albemarle Street

Paulsmith

Paul Smith is one of my favorite designers. So when I was walking through the London neighborhood of Mayfair (just steps away from posh shopping district Bond Street) and saw his unmistakable signature gracing the sign of a furniture shop, I had to dive in. The shop is classic -- selling art, antiques, furniture and other "curiosities" Smith has found during his global travels. Many of the pieces are originals -- and some have even spent time in other Paul Smith shops around the world -- while others have been retouched or recovered with a splash of PS flair, color and whimsy. This weekend marks the year anniversary of the shop's opening. Wish I could be there to help celebrate.

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OCTOBER 04, 2006
First Look: Moto KRZR

Krzrsg The KRZR, the newest style offering from Motorola, hits stores in the US this (K1m CDMA model for Verizon) -- but has been available online since the weekend and is in Orange stores in the UK already. I received a K1 (GSM model) last week, right before leaving for London and I love it. The phone works perfectly over here -- no dropped calls, text messages come through without a problem and super fast. I was texting with a friend in Chicago last night and 30 seconds after hitting send, I got a response.

Its gorgeous blue metallic reflective case is eye-grabbing and the sleek design fits perfectly in your hand, pocket or wherever you want to put it. It's a little thicker than the RAZR, but slimmer in width overall.

The K1 has a 2 mp camera (with 8x zoom!) that is hardly noticeable in the case yet takes great images -- and the phone's 1.9-inch display with 176x220 resolution is crystal clear. Plus the phone features streaming bluetooth stereo with incredible sound for downloadable MP3s. The one feature that is surprisingly missing from this "advanced" model is the music control keys that sit on the front of the K1m. Not sure why Moto wouldn't incorporate that, especially if they built in the streaming stereo. [Note to Verizon customers: the K1m only has a 1.3mp camera and no streaming stereo.]

Overall, I'm really pleased with the phone's performance thus far, especially the ergonomic fit in my hand while talking. And apparently Sprint just announced it's adding the KRZR, RAZR and SLVR in November.

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AUGUST 26, 2006
bya denim

                      Bya_denim

This September, a new denim line for men and women will debut in stores throughout Chicago and its neighboring states, including Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. bya Denim, launched by CEO Glen Schwartz and designer Stiles Anderson, is possibly the first-ever Chicago-based denim brand and it's freaking hot.

Glen and Stiles came by my place earlier today so I could try on the two men's styles: Emmet and Aiden. Both styles will come in two different washes, but each pair will have its own unique touches. The guys have been working toward this launch for close to two years and are, surprisingly, pretty relaxed. The jeans, as Stiles said, "are just a pair of jeans" that talk to the everyday person who wants a great pair of quality denim without all the bullshit enhancements and embellishments. The main difference: each pair of bya is handmade over the course of 6-8 hours and has a truly great wash.

Putting on both styles, I immediately was sold. They fit better than almost any pair of jeans I've tried on in the last couple of years (save a couple of G-Stars I have), and while one was a lower-rise boot cut (Emmet), it didn't encroach on my mid-section (read: package) like so many others do. They fit perfectly in the thigh and are long enough that I can take them to a local tailor and have them hemmed to my length. And while the Aiden had slight distressing in the upper thigh, it didn't bother me because, honestly, they made my ass look great -- and what better reason to buy a pair of jeans than ones that show off your assets?

bya, which stands for Billions of Years Ago, is one of a handful of denim lines being produced at Sights Denim Systems out of Kentucky (along with RRL and Levi's Vintage). Stiles, who is only 24 and used to work in the financial world, has added some great touches that make the denim characteristically bya, like the signature antique-looking button* (shown) and the green patchwork lining the inside of the pockets, a pattern Stiles modeled after one he saw on a chair at his grandparent's house.

bya will have a soft launch, producing only about 300 pairs of men's denim for September and will ramp up from there. The men's jeans, which will range from $185-$220, will be available starting Sept. 15.

* more on the button, which shows the dedication to the brand, straight from the designer:
"I spent a good 5 months and went through 2 fastener development companies trying to create this button.  Really wanted something authentically aged and unique; the oxidization is different on every piece, so no two buttons are exactly alike.  The best part of the button, and it's really only consciously noticeable by people who know buttons, is that it's the first button where four different elements have been used simultaneously:  (1) Asymmetrical edges used to show age and hammered-on effect, (2) concave surface, and both (3) raised lettering and (4) engraved lettering.  Although most people would not be able to recognize the one-of-a-kind contraction, I think the elements do balance the button and make it visually stimulating."

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db clay's puzzle line for holiday 2006

Puzzlesplash1_2

db clay, a Portland, Ore.-based wallet-design shop that makes edgy, fashion-forward, waterproof wallets out of highly durable gaffers tape canvas, is launching a unique line for holiday called Puzzle.

The 50 one-of-a-kind wallets, which debuted at the POOL tradeshow in New York, have the gaffers tape base, but what sets them apart is that each one has a totally unique exterior that features a custom piece of art. The company is able to essentially "burn" the graphics into the wallet because gaffers tape is fairly porous, allowing for the print to seep into the canvas. While the outside is truly yours, the interior will always be identifiable as a Puzzle by its black and gray thread, sewn white label and distinctive neon green lining.

The Puzzle wallets will be available this fall and if you're in NE Portland, drop by and visit their new showroom to view the Puzzle installation.

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AUGUST 22, 2006
ThisNext

Logo_1 My pals over at ThisNext officially launched their beautiful new site this week. They had been in beta and what turned out is a fantastic community of people sharing things they love. It's kind of like a community of SomethingGloriouses coming together to discuss, recommend, blog and review items they have found out in the world and want to tell everyone about.

I initially was turned on to ThisNext by Aunt Beep who has a great blog of her own (she has a Hasselhoff festish -- how bad can she be?!). In this day of MySpace, YouTube and tagging, it was only time before a site like this popped up. It's really easy to get started on ThisNext and as my friend Josh points out, setting up a list of your own to talk about anything you want, is a snap.

So when you're looking for something interesting or new to buy or give as a gift, hit ThisNext. You'll be amazed at how much time you'll spend browsing. It's a great way to blow off an afternoon of work. I'm really just getting started with mine, but it could easily become addictive.

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AUGUST 17, 2006
Would you like to Tango?

08182006_tango_lrg

I just stumbled upon a new car that could likely change the way we look at the rising price of gas. The Tango, which is currently in slow production, is an 800-hp fully electric car, measures only 39-inches wide, can hit 60 mph in four seconds from a dead stop, is made for commuting and can fit in virtually any parking space that dares challenge it.

This zero-emissions vehicle comes in three styles -- the T100 ($18,700), T200 ($39,900) and T600 ($108,000) -- and charges up a lead-acid battery in three hours that can travel up to 80 miles. With its steel roll-top bar, the tandem two-seater blew away safety ratings. George Clooney rolled the very first one off the lot and has become somewhat of a poster child for the car.

You can head to the website to download a registration form, which requires a fully refundable deposit.

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AUGUST 03, 2006
Materialust

08042006_materialust_lrg

I recently discovered Materialust -- a newer SoCal T-shirt line -- and immediately fell in love. The shirts -- made of deliciously soft Pima cotton -- are so worn in that they feel like you've had the shirt for years. Years! The graphics, all travel themed, are inspired by road signs, pamphlets, travel brochures, cocktail napkins and other everyday items found in cities around the globe. Materialust's second season just hit stores this week and depict adventurous times spent in places like London, Moscow, Bombay and Cairo. While not cheap, the shirts, priced between $50-$60, are worth it -- especially if you're the kind of person who drops $250 on denim without blinking. If you are a traveler and have ever spent any time backpacking or jet-setting, you'll relate to this fantastic product. And as soon as you touch one, you will understand why the word lust is in the company's name.

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JUNE 14, 2006
Stelton i:con biz card holder

Icon_bizcardLaunched in the 1960s as a tableware design collective, Danish company Stelton has championed stylish lifestyle products for the last half century. Stelton has brought style and function to homes with their line of stainless steel products, including tea and coffee pots, cocktail shakers, bottle openers and serving knives. They just introduced a new line called i:cons targeting on-the-go, stylish movers and shakers. My favorite pieces in the line are the ergonomic charcoal business card holder and money clip. You can pick up the items at a few stores in North America or online at UnicaHome.

via JoshSpear.

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The Tinpod iPod Case

Tinpod
If you're over all the wood-rendered, plastic-coated, gimicky iPod cases and feel like your inner art hipster is aching to be heard, you need to check this out.

The Tinpod is a unique new iPod case. Created out of tin (it looks and feels like an Altoids box), the Tinpod features three different multi-layered, limited-edition artistic re-creations by painter Kurt Ketchum -- "Die Blechdose," "L'Orange Lune" and "Change Attitude" -- and only 5,000 of each have been produced.

The Tinpod supports 3G, 4G and 5G iPods with the ability to plug in through the top. And the interior is padded with neoprene to cushion your iPod should you drop it while jamming out on the street.

Tinpod creators Kollective.de will donate $1 to CITYarts for every Tinpod purchase. And for a limited time, you can get two cases for $29.95.

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MAY 16, 2006
Orbino Leather iPod Case

Orbino_ipod
I found out about Orbino's leather iPod cases awhile back. This is truly the most gorgeous case to hold your beloved music mechanism -- with handcrafted leather, intricate stitching, precious metals adorning the spin wheel and a handful of colors from which to choose.

There's a reason Italian design always causes such a stir -- just look at the details on this sucker! And the price tag -- seriously, what would you pay? $150? $200? Try $65. No, honestly. This case, which fits iPod Video, Nano and Shuffle, retails for a ridiculously low $65.

Stop rubbing your eyes. You know you want to go buy one now.

Orbino also makes leather bags and laptop cases. I'm holding out for the textured caramel leather Linea Slimcase for my G4.

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