February 5, 2011
Nothing, that’s what.
I find myself having little to offer in response to that question, at parties, at the gym. Instead of my ‘big move’ to a bigger, more exciting city, I’ve maintained my boomerang kid status. By no means have I not thought about what the next step is…I just haven’t moved my foot.
Nonetheless, due to a complex of anxiety and nervous productivity, I continue to toil at the resume expeller, the blog dispenser…and I continue my enjoyment of all things beautiful and detailed, curious and surprising, efficient and precise. I thought I would briefly outline a selection of the coolest stuff I’ve seen, purchase, or listened to in the past few weeks.
Burkman Bros, of Canadian descent. Everything about this collection is beautiful and inventive. They mention Asian influence in their “about” – I see a lot of nautical, work-wear, Asian, Canadian, and Tropical influences, in the colors, cut, and materials. Very cool!
Kirk Originals. An eyewear company that I’d never heard before Thursday. Of course, The Optic Shop here in Tampa carries some of their pieces (they have all the best stuff – Barton Perreira, SALT, J.F. Rey, ic!Berlin, Gold & Wood Paris, and many others). Asymmetrical glitter retro frames, designed with enterprising young gentlemen like me in mind? Yes please!
Apolis Tea-Dyed Linen Tie and Of A Kind. Unearthed two precious gems at once – this great tie and this great blog/site. The site: essentially, it is a forever-changing “pop up online store” where the editors pick a different designer to showcase each week. This designer creates a piece specifically for Of A Kind readers, available for a limited time, in limited quantities. This tie, made by Apolis, is made of gorgeous linen, dyed with tea to make it more rustic and worn looking. I didn’t need more than a few clicks to sell myself on it. And $65 isn’t bad for a tie these days. For some light and enjoyable reading, Of A Kind also provides a good bit of context to each of its products and designers…not a detail to be overlooked or overshadowed by the product itself. Anyone can sell a product, hawk something beautiful…but few can package it so thoughtfully, with the story and people behind the magic. Of A Kind is doing what traditional small retailers have done for ages: bringing quality production and discerning tastes together with a dash of whimsical tale (a convention that is dying out very quickly in brick-and-mortar stores).
I’ve been consuming a bit of quality music lately, as well. At times, my most recent selections bring me to tears. Have you ever cried at the gym? Try it sometime…it’s a good way to break up the reps. Recommendations are below.
I’m loving Adele’s new album. To qualify myself…I’ve only had the pleasure of hearing a couple of tracks. They were both lovely and I imagine the remainder of the album will be as well. My favorite song right now is “Set Fire to the Rain.” Absolutely swoon worthy.
Of similar appeal is Sky Ferreira. Her style is less defined than that of Adele, but her melancholy “American Dream” is equally beautiful as tracks by other, more polished and established artists.
A funky, half disco, half blues track by Calvin Harris (“Stars Come Out“) has been getting a lot of play on my iPhone. I love this style…it is the perfect blend of thoughtfulness and danceability. In that same vein, I’ve been playing Phoenix’s “Everything is Everything” back to back as an upbeat soother to my troubles.
For a bouncier, clubbier, rapidly-flickering-light experience, try “Hands by The Ting Tings (Ralphi Rosario Mix).” An acquaintance of mine recommended this song on his Facebook page so I found it by chance. He drinks more than I do, goes out more than I do, and has a more tragic story to tell the world. But I like him a great deal and wish he would expand his horizons beyond his usual group. But, I digress.
Enjoy this great music and check out those great links/goods. I would love to hear that something I’ve suggested has brought another person some happy.
January 25, 2011
Brain dump of today: Flickr picks, cars, fashions, and other things.
House in Rio Vista, Fort Lauderdale, overcast skies. (homeless one)
Canal Corner Lot, Venice, CA. (Ken Shelton)
Three Mercedes (C123, W123, W212) parked in Hamburg garage. (Michiel2005)
ShopStyle. Although I am an obsessed-shopper-in-denial, I fully espouse the idea of mass-searching online retailers from a centralized location. On the ShopStyle site (and the ShopStyle iPhone app), you can browse all types of item categories, refine your search by color, cut, brand, or store, and review item price, details, photos, and even set up a push alert telling you one of your favorites has gone on sale. The one thing that I haven’t discovered how to do is comparison shop; choose one item you’re interested in and search other sites for the same item, or slight variations of it. Nonetheless, I have had a ball browsing the blindingly large selection of watches, shoes, jeans…it’s a massive ‘database’ of clothes. Below is a screenshot of my ‘favorites’ on the iPhone app.
BMW 135i M-Sport. Even though the rest of the range is more modern, has more tech, and costs a lot more, I love the 1-series. It is quick, simple, and no-frills – the way a performance coupe should be!
BMW X5 xdrive35D. I was discussing high-end SUVs with a friend the other day and realized that the X5 stands out for its style, size, diesel engine option, and high build quality.
January 16, 2011
I gave these as Christmas gifts this year. They’re attractively packaged, smell amazing, and are an affordable luxury at $12. Check them out.
January 16, 2011
If you don’t follow auto industry news, you probably haven’t seen the redesigned Mercedes SLK yet. Here is a preview, and some comments.
Exterior: decidedly more aggressive and sporty, but without the certain clean, classic look of a Mercedes sports car. I like some elements individually, like the rear lamp clusters, the wheels, the front end grille and headlamp clusters, but they don’t work well when taken together. At first glance it could be a Lexus.
This seems to be Mercedes overall design direction…which doesn’t bode well for ‘timelessness’ or longevity of relevance.
Interior: Take away the Mercedes emblem on the steering wheel…would you guess this was a Benz? Aside from certain interior parts pulled from (as they say in auto editorial lingo) the corporate ‘parts bin’ and certain elements that nod to the SLR supercar…this interior is much too busy and unfocused for my taste.
The duo-tone leather, the contrast stitching, the oval-shaped cupholder cubby, the retro air vents, and the dash-mounted racing timer…it’s all very frenetic and unconvincing.
For comparison purposes…the BMW Z4 and Audi TT. The BMW is sporty and beautiful simultaneously…as is the TT. If I had to pick one I’d most likely end up in the Z4.
January 11, 2011
Every so often I feel a deep-down urge to live, work, and play in Miami. For me it is the height of urban fray, Deco and Mediterranean architecture, extreme wealth, South American influence, and great nightlife. Plus I love the tropical greenery – in Tampa we get a bit of Miami and a bit of Atlanta.
I would probably get sick of it after a period, but every time I’ve visited I have enjoyed every minute of the people-watching, the culture, and the lifestyle of “work hard, play hard.”
Here are some of my favorite photos of Miami, pilfered from Flickr.
The following photos I downloaded long ago, also from Flickr, but without owners’ names. If your photo is posted here and you would like it removed, please let me know.
January 11, 2011
As I’ve made clear in my previous posts, I don’t care for the typical American mall experience…a tired, unsustainable, and generally unpleasant formula repeated hundreds of times across the landscape. However, I am not immune to the wooing of upscale malls, set in urban settings, and designed with fantasy and sensory overload in mind.
One example of such a place: the newest luxury mall in Las Vegas, built as part of a multi-use development of residences, offices, retail, and hotels…containing a well-edited list of the covetable and obscure. This place is called Crystals.
The clean, museum-like floors, coupled with the whimsy and bold strokes of color, glass, and metal make the indoor shopping area feel more like a museum. If you’re going to drop thousands of dollars on an outfit for the casino, you might as well be walking among some great visual fantasy.
Photos from Flickr: 180360, Brendan O’Connor, and wwcooper.