Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Green jeans?



Make: Levi’s Eco
Model: Skinny 511
Size: 32x32
Color: Eco Blue Flame
Part: 18511
MSRP: $69.50
Paid: $36.48
Made in: Hong Kong

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Date purchased: 10/29/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: When I bought my first pair of Levi's 514's I quickly became a Levi's convert. I fell in love with this all-American brand that had been trampled by a wave of expensive designer denim. The two pair I have are doing fine, but they are starting to show some wear and tear. I decided to add another pair to my wardrobe cycle to slow the deterioration from wearing and washing them. My friend Eric works at the Levi's store, so I decided to pay him a visit. He was generous enough to hook me up with his discount—which happened to be 50% off this week. He convinced me to slim down to a pair of 511's and came across the new Levi's Eco line of denim.

The style I bought are made with 20% recycled cotton (which I'm sure is canceled out by its trip from the factory in Hong Kong), while the other styles are 100% organic cotton. Although the 20% recycled content seems a little greenwashed, I don't know what kind of manufacturing restraints exist with using recycled cotton—so it may be the best they can do at this point. But they fit great, look great, and cost much less than Paper, Seven, or nudies.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bathroom reading



Title: The Big Necessity
Author: Rose George
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
Date Published: 2008
Printed: USA
ISBN: 0-8050-8271-9
List: $26.00
Paid: $0.00

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Date 10/15/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: Since I got back from my trip, I have been spending time in multiple places, and all of the tags, packaging, etc. that I need to post items I bought for my trip are in one of the places I haven't been too recently. So I decided to forge ahead with what I have bought recently and just back post when I get the chance.

This was another free book. My father works for a media outlet, and publishers continually send new books to them in hopes that they will get reviewed and plugged. He recently found out that the mail room had just been throwing them out, so he began saving them. I was looking through the stack of books recently and this one really stood out. It's a fascinating look at the world's sanitation. This book covers everything from the 6000 miles of sewer under NYC, to the toilet technology in Japan, and the fact that health related deaths—caused by poor sanitation—are higher than that of AIDS among children in third world countries. I am absolutely enthralled by this book despite it's "taboo" topic.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm back in the States and behind on posts.



I'm sorry it's been so long. Everything wrapped up so quick in Chicago that I didn't take the time to keep up with posts. I purchased a number of things that I needed for my trip to Africa, some of it I left there and I even had a pair of sunglasses stolen (imagine my luck). At this point I'm kind of a pro at having things taken, so it upset my host much more than myself.

The trip was amazing, eye-opening, heart-breaking, humbling, and life-changing—just to be brief. I want to thank everyone who supported this trip, which I have dreamt about for years. I am already looking forward to going back in the future. I have made many friends there, who I already miss dearly. I have much I could say about the trip, but for now I'll let my photos do the talking. Stay tuned for more updates and back posts on all the gear I purchased for my journey.

>>My photos from Kenya

Friday, August 22, 2008

Buy from Brian (goodbye Chi)



I'm coming up on the one year anniversary of zero day and I'm having a sale. As Rob Walker would say, I'm "unconsuming." There are many reasons why—less than a year after losing everything involuntarily—I am voluntarily getting rid of more stuff. If you've noticed the lack of posts recently, it's because I have reached a new place in my consumer mentality that has afforded me much more control over what I buy. Don't get me wrong, there are still loads of things I want to buy, but I've been learning to enjoy the things I already have—instead of hording a giant collection of stuff that I never have the time to enjoy.

One thing I've learned in the past year is that I value experiences much more than any material possessions I could ever acquire. I would rather travel to new cities, enjoy dinner with friends, and spend time outdoors. None of which really require a home with an attic, basement, and garage filled to the ceiling with junk.

So to follow through on this life lived for experiences instead of a collection of material things, I am downsizing significantly again—this time on purpose. In a week, I'll be hopping on a train headed east and then catching a plane to Africa. When I return, I will be moving to NYC to finally call that great city home (at least until I can no longer ignore my desire to return to SF). I'm looking forward to living someplace—for the first time since college—where I will actually know some people. I will be reconnecting with some great friends and fellow designers who have already been enjoying "the center of the universe."

All of my furniture is for sale on craigslist, and half of it has sold or is spoken for. But everything else I own is up for sale too, if the price is right. I will also be selling things at a fundraiser yard sale (for my trip to Africa) this Saturday in Chicago.


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This is my mulligan on the past year. I want to leave Chicago with as little as I arrived with and head to Africa, where I can do my part in helping those who never had anything to begin with. Thanks to everyone who has followed this over the past year, I plan to continue writing and evaluating what I buy, but I am considering new directions. Since I hope to buy much less in the near future—aside from the gear I will be buying for my trip—things may get boring around here.

Also, jobs in NYC...?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The world without me (almost)*



Title: The World Without Us
Author: Alan Weisman
Publisher: Picador
Date Published: 2007
Printed: USA
ISBN: 978-0-312-42790-0
List: $15.00
Paid: $15.00

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Date 08/4/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: This book has been on my "must read" list since it first came out. I almost bought it at the airport during my last trip, but it was still in hardcover and I didn't want to lug it around. However, on my most recent trip—with a delayed flight and nothing to read—I was happy to see it had been released in paperback. This book is a fictional look at how the world would recover if one day every human being on Earth vanished. As sci-fi as it sounds, it sets the stage for a very researched view of how nature would take back urban landscapes and how quickly everything we have built would crumble without our constant upkeep. The lessons in ecology as well as the physics of nature are incredibly inciteful and they create a fascinating new perspective on the "permanence" of our great cities and all our monumental accomplishments.

I also really love this book's cover, the simplicity is brilliant.

*There were a few moments tonight, during our second attempt at landing in Chicago's stormy weather, where I thought this would be the last thing I ever bought. While we were only a few hundred feet from the ground—and approching fast—the plane suddenly dropped like a rock, making the passengers experience a few seconds of weightlessness before the plane shot straight up into the air. The pilot informed us that he didn't think a third attempt was wise and we would divert to St. Louis and wait the storm out there. Good call chief!

Friday, August 1, 2008

*Unbelievable III* (a wrench in things)



This morning when I was trying to catch my flight back east I had a little altercation with the TSA—sadly not my first—and almost missed my flight. I want to let everyone know—who like myself, hasn't read and memorized the list of all 347 prohibited items on the TSA website—that any tool over 7 inches in length is not allowed in your carry-on. Even if it's just barely over 7 inches. Even if it's less dangerous than a 6.99 inch screw driver, which happens to be allowed.

The TSA are robots, trained to respond to all situations in a scripted manor without any use of judgement, common sense, or rationalization. After speaking with three different agents(one who was a supervisor) and being informed three times of all of my options (none of which were viable), I told them to just keep the wrench so I could catch my flight. They promptly stopped me and asked, "Sir, are you voluntarily surrendering the item?" No, I'm not. You guys are confiscating it. I don't want to give it to you. It's mine. It's not dangerous. I need it to put my bike together when I arrive at my destination. There is nothing voluntary about this situation.

What do you do with these "surrendered" items anyway? Is it thrown in the garbage and sent to a landfill? Does it get auctioned off? Do you guys grab some beers at the end of the day and divvy up all your loot? Is it donated to a charitable organization? Or do you blow it up to make sure it wasn't a bomb? Inquiring minds must know.

I ask all of these questions because I'm sure that the confiscation of my possession is not a rare occurrence and people who are in a hurry are constantly "surrendering" their items, never to be seen again. But this forces the victim to purchase a new item just to replace a perfectly good one that the victim already owned. This really aggravates me. I even asked if they could place it in the Lost and Found so I could retrieve it on my way home (like my lost keys a few months ago). But I was told they "couldn't be responsible for doing that." It's great to know that we have irresponsible people protecting our airports. Heaven forbid something occurs that a script has not been written for, we will all be doomed at the hands of the almighty TSA.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Everyone's nuts



Make: Nuts for Obama
Model: T-shirt
Size: Medium
Color: White
Part: 0002
MSRP: $20.00
Paid: $0.00
Made in: El Salvador (Printed in San Diego)

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Date purchased: 07/30/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: Sorry for another delayed posting (with a few more to follow). I was traveling last week and a couple work outings and friends visiting have kept me busy ever since. I'm excited to finally share this little side project I recently finished. This is a shirt that I designed and had printed for a collaborative project with my father. After the whole Jesse Jackson debacle, he called me up and asked if I could design him a shirt that said "Nuts for Obama." Over the next 48 hours I got to work on shirts, a website, and acquiring quotes for the production. It all came together pretty fast and without a complete plan of how to get the word out—especially in a market full of 1000's of Obama related shirts. However, I think the provocative nature and double entendre in the message make for a great shirt. You know you want one. Yes I am shamelessly plugging my own wares for sale. Even if you don't buy one for yourself or as a gift or to burn in effigy—atleast visit the site so my late nights weren't spent in vain.

www.nutsforobama.com

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A book by its cover



Title: Pollution and the Death of Man
Author: Francis A. Schaeffer
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Date Published: 1970
Printed: USA
SBN: 8423-4840-9
List: Unknown
Paid: $0.00 (Gift from Mark King)

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Date 07/9/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: Aside from this book having one of the most amazing covers ever, it also discusses a topic I have been hungry for information on. Ecology, sustainability, treehuggers and Christians don't go together very often. Most Christians seem to believe that being given dominion over the earth is a free pass to plunder it of all it's resources and trash it like a rockstar in a cheap motel room (but without as much style). However, I believe it's our responsibility to take care of it, being that we are the only species who can reason and solve problems outside of our natural instinct to survive. My pastor gave this too me, following a conversation we had about investing in solar panels for the roof of the church. He had an extra copy laying around and thought I would enjoy reading it. What I find fascinating is that it was written in 1967 and it's foresight and relevance is incredible. We've known about the issues we are facing now 40 years ago and have made little to no moves to curb any of them. With our population growth out pacing the regeneration of our natural resources, we really need to start thinking—and more importantly—living differently. Alright, enough preaching from me.

Since it seems like it's been so long between posts recently, I wanted to bring up the catch 22 of writing a blog about the things I buy, while I'm learning to buy much less in the process. I talked about this issue in my interview with Murketing, and it can be frustrating because I enjoy writing and sometimes I feel compelled to buy something, just so that I can make a new posts. And with my recent announcement and solicitation of support for my trip to Africa, I have been even more conscious than normal about what I buy and how I'm spending my money. I will need to start buying gear for my trip soon though, so be on the look out for that—unless anyone has some camping/backpacking/safari gear they would love to loan or donate to the trip. I'm also interested in getting a portable solar charger for my camera, anyone have experience with the Solio? I plan to capture my upcoming journey as best I can for everyone who will be interested in reading about it when I get back.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Allergy free from Gary



Make: Clean Rest
Model: Allergy Free Pillow
Size: Standard
Color: White
Part: RN117729
MSRP: $39.99
Paid: $0.00 (Gift from Gary Goldberg)
Made in: China

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Date purchased: 06/28/2008
n/w?: Need

Comment: This could be my first unofficial sponsorship. After discovering my blog and reading about my mystery allergy, Gary Goldberg (the CEO of Clean Rest) was generous enough to send me one of their new allergy free pillows. As I've said before, I love free stuff, especially if it's something useful that I would have bought anyway (and I needed an extra pillow for guests coming to visit). The most ironic part of receiving this pillow in the mail today, was that I had just come home from an appointment with an allergist, where they did a full skin test to find what I'm allergic too. But—not surprising to me—the results all came up negative. So far, whatever is causing my eye lids to swell up on a quarterly basis, is still unknown. I happened to have another reaction last week (almost 4 months to the day of my last episode...right on schedule), so I called an allergist to try to solve the mystery, once again.

I actually looked at these pillows when I purchased my Tempur-Pedic, but it's hard to really test out a pillow when it's on a shelf at the store. I remember feeling the Clean Rest (with my hand) and thinking it was too soft, and I would need to buy more than one. Since they each cost $40, after buying a couple I would have been paying as much as I would for the Tempur-Pedic. I went with the space-age memory foam based on family recommendations. It took me a couple weeks to get use to the firmness of the foam, but (sorry Gary) I've grown to love it. However, the Clean Rest pillow is much better for lounging on the couch and napping. If I had a few of these on my bed, they would be great. It definitely simulates the soft fluffiness of down remarkably well for being synthetic and the health benefits from the pillows allergy barrier are great. This is also not as crinkly and plastic feeling as the allergy covers you would put on regular pillows, a huge plus if you've ever experienced those. Thank you so much Gary for sending me the pillow and protecting my sleep.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Journey to Africa



Title: Culture Smart! Kenya
Author: Jane Barsby
Publisher: Kuperard
Date Published: 2007
Printed: Malaysia
ISBN: 978-1-85733-349-7
List: $9.95
Paid: $9.95

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Date 06/14/2008
n/w?: Need

Comment: If you are one of the few people who have followed this project from the beginning or have just found it recently and actually took the time to read back through all the old posts, you may remember, while I was defining the purpose of this project, I voiced my desire to do mission work in Africa. At the time, though I would have loved to do so, the opportunity wasn't available. However, less than a year later, a door has been opened that will lead me to Kenya this fall. I have known about it for a couple months now, but just committed to the trip yesterday. I am very excited to finally make this journey and I have a lot to do in the upcoming months to prepare for it. For the last few years, faith has been an important part of my life and it has played a large roll in how I've dealt with this experience and how I've grown from it. We are such a privileged society, and far too often we take those privileges for granted. I know that this trip will have a profound impact on my evolving perception of our consumer culture as I experience first hand what it means to have not.

You can read more about my upcoming trip at journeytokenya.info

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Advantage consumerism



Make: Wilson
Model: Advantage Court II
Size: 10
Color: White
Part: WRS2960
MSRP: $45.00
Paid: $29.99
Made in: China

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Date purchased: 06/12/2008
n/w?: Want
_________________________

Make: Nike
Model: Fit Dry Short
Size: Medium
Color: Black
Part: RN56323
MSRP: $35.00
Paid: $28.00
Made in: Thailand

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Date purchased: 06/12/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: First off, I feel terrible for buying two pair of shoes in less than 3 days (part of the reason I delayed making this post). It's funny that I now think of a pair of shoes as a substantial purchase. It's something that is used frequently (or should be) and has a substantial lifetime (compared to so many other things in our disposable culture). My problem with shoes is that my lifestyle tends to warrant having many pair. It's like my growing collection of bikes, they all serve a specific purpose. I can't run in laceless Converse and I can't play tennis in running shoes (although that's debatable). Tennis is one of the few things in my life that I will undoubtedly say that I was really good at. Was being the key term. I spent many summers in tennis camps and taking private lessons, honing my skills (i.e. a wicked serve) only to quit playing my sophomore year in high school because of a bad relationship with my coach. Much to my father's chagrin, I gave up tennis for a guitar and a punk rock band (we played two terrible shows before breaking up). I have only played tennis once since then, my freshman year of college, and I've continually told myself that I am going to start playing again.

I dug my old racket out of my dad's basement, last fall while I was back east visiting, and it has been sitting in my closet ever since. Last week I finally dropped it off to be restrung, picked up some balls, shorts (the only pair I had were cut off jeans), and my second pair of shoes in a matter of days. I decided that tennis balls and string fall under the category of disposables, since they don't retain any value once you begin using them. I also learned that Penn (America's #1 selling ball!) is the only tennis ball made in the USA. So next time you are in the market for balls, be a patriot and buy Penn.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Grün ist das neue Schwarze



Make: Adidas
Model: ZX500 Grün
Size: 9.5
Color: Fresh Green
Part: 30243
Serial: n/a
MSRP: $80.00
Paid: $80.00
Made in: Vietnam

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Date purchased: 06/10/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: I'm not much of a sneaker freak, occasionally I come across a pair of Nike Dunks that I love, but they're just not my style. Sneaks are a lot like vinyl toys, I love the idea of them, but I could never see myself having my own collection. However, when I came across the new Adidas Grün collection I fell in love with both the medium and the message. Since I decided to start running again and my laceless Allstars won't do, I was in the market for a new pair of shoes. What better then a classic runner made from the latest recycled materials?

Coming from a company like Adidas, this collection is similar to the Nike Considered project. When it's such a small percentage of their total shoes it seems like a greenwashed "me too" ploy. But the shoes do show a genuine effort, even if the practices aren't implemented across their entire line. These shoes use recycled cork in the soles, PLA (corn polymer) for all the plastic like details. The mesh upper, lining and laces are recycled PET (plastic bottles), while the tongue uses bamboo. All of these sustainable materials come together to create a really fresh looking shoe, far from the aesthetics of Simple and Veja, which have their own respective appeal. One thing to note though is that there was a small tag tied to the shoe with the following disclaimer:

Adidas Grun is a collection that aims to reduce our impact on the environment. To do so, natural and recycled materials have been used in the construction of these products. This means that the products unique construction and use of materials does not guarantee that they will perform like Adidas athletic shoes. These materials may require special care. Some recommendations include avoiding damp environments, prolonged exposure to sunlight and other conditions that may stress the materials.

I figured with a lack of history using the materials this serves as a liability disclaimer for Adidas, but I still plan on running in them as if they were any other pair of shoes. It's discouraging that a company as large as them won't stand confidently behind their product. I guess I'll see how well they hold up.

Some love from the Treehug



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A couple weeks ago I was interviewed for Murketing.com and then Lloyd Atler, over at Treehugger picked up on my site and made a post there last week. That was pretty exciting, since I've been an avid Treehugger reader for years (way before Discovery bought them) and they have a very large audience, which means I have many more people looking at photos of my socks and underwear than I ever expected.

However, everyone I have heard from who admires the consideration put into my purchases, and who long to remove themselves from their own overwhelming collection of possessions is always encouraging to hear. It's good to know that something many would perceive as tragic, can be used to inspire others to contemplate their own consumption habits.

Enjoy.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Pocket size nav guide



Title: Not For Tourists Guide: New York City 2008
Author: Various
Publisher: Not For Tourists, Inc.
Date Published: 2007
Printed: China
ISBN: 978-0-9793945-2-2
List: $15.95
Paid: $10.00

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Date 06/07/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: I bought my first Not For Tourists Guide back in early 2006, it was for NYC then—and though I live in Chicago—it's for NYC now. I've visited Manhattan more than any other city that I've not lived in. I had a poster of the city hanging over my bed throughout highschool and I had planned on moving there after graduating from design school. I made frequent weekend trips, via the Chinatown bus, while in college and I loved every moment of them. However, my plans have been very organic and I've had the pleasure (minus this past winter) of living in some of our countries other great cities. That doesn't mean I've lost sight of the Big Apple, NYC is still in my future (*cough* jobs anyone?).

If you've never used an NFT Guide, check one out next time you are at the book store. The information design is incredible. Each neighborhood is broken down into three maps, each one highlights a different type of infrastructure (entertainment, essentials, and transportation). This keeps the maps uncluttered and legible. There is also a fold out map of the subway in the back. The books are called Not For Tourists because—unlike tourist guides—there are no photos of landmarks or instructions on how you should explore the city. It's a functional tool to help navigate the city yourself. I had planned on buying this before my last two trips to NYC, but always remembered before it was too late to order on Amazon (I wanted to save a few bucks). But this weekend I was at the Printer's Row Book Fair (where I got to meet Rob Walker) and they were being sold for $10, so I took advantage of the savings (and avoided the unnecessary shipping). It does bother me that NYC is the only book that fits in your pocket. When I asked about the sizing of them, I was told that it has to do with relative area of the city (which makes sense) and that the LA book is the largest because it's meant to be more of an auto resource, since no body leaves their vehicles there. It's good to have this back for future trips to NY.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

BuyByBrian x Murketing



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I was just recently interviewed about my project by Ada Puiu, for Rob Walker's blog (Murketing.com). Rob writes a column called, "Consumed," for the New York Times magazine and is the author of the book Buying In, which is about the relationships between consumers and the things we buy (I was lucky enough to get a free advanced copy at Likemind last week). The books subject matter happens to strike quite a parallel with what I discuss here and I look forward to reading it while I'm traveling this weekend.

I want to welcome all of the new readers and visitors and let you know that you can start by reading about what happened and why I'm doing this by following the corresponding links.

This started out as an easy way for me to catalog my things as I re-bought them, but has evolved into an introspective look at my consumer habits and our consumer culture in general. We all have way too much stuff, and the problems we face in the future won't be solved by buying even more of it. However, it's in our nature to consume and we work hard in order to enjoy certain luxuries, but it's time that we really start to consider the lasting impact our habits have, now and in the future.

Enjoy.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I got the magic stick



Make: Oxo Good Grips
Model: Soap Dispensing Dish Wand
Size: n/a
Color: Clear
Part: 1050162
MSRP: $6.99
Paid: $6.99
Made in: China

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Date purchased: 05/18/2007
n/w?: Need

Comment: I never bought proper drinking glasses when I moved into my new apartment. Instead I began collecting and reusing Pom Tea glasses and eventually glass peanut butter jars (that I can't seem to get the labels off of). The bottles that Pom Tea come in are designed to be reused as drinking glasses, but they're fairly narrow and I can never seem to get a sponge or my hand deep enough in them for a thorough cleaning. This never caused too much of a problem, as I usually just drink water out of them, but occasionally a glass of milk would leave behind a trace of dairy that I couldn't seem to reach, leaving my next few glasses of water tasting like skim milk. I had been meaning to get a bottle brush for a while now, but kept forgetting to pick one up when I was out. But now I've finally got the perfect tool for cleaning all of my jars (as well as my Klean Kanteen). I love that it's Oxo, but I hate that it's plastic. I had the option of a natural bristle and wood brush, but wasn't sure how long it would last. The Oxo wand allows me to replace just the sponge head when it's been worn out (although a portion of the sponge is plastic that screws on to the wand). So, I'm not sure which was the more responsible choice in the long run. But this seems to serve it's purpose well and should last me quite a while.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Beaming with soy



Make: Soybeam
Model: 6: Lemongrass & Cedarwood
Size: 10oz
Color: Green
Part: n/a
MSRP: $44.00
Paid: $35.00
Made in: USA

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Date purchased: 05/17/2008
n/w?: Want

I think I may be more embarrassed posting this than I was about the tweezers. I don't buy candles often and I surely don't spend this much for them when I do. However, I had been considering buying one recently to freshen up my apartment and add a little accent to my otherwise bare furniture. I actually read about Soybeam candles back in February on Treehugger, but never followed through to their website. When I came across the Soybeam booth at the Chicago Green Festival, it was a beautifully designed oasis, void of the Papyrus, earthy, organic, fair trade, vegan, world-saving hippy crap that most of the other companies shouted equally loud. The thing is, Soybeam is pretty much all of these things (sans crap and Papyrus). The candles are made from soy grown in the USA (instead of crude oil like paraffin wax candles). The aromatherapy scents come from organic essential oils, and the glass comes from repurposed wine bottles (which can be used as a drinking glass after the candle has run it's course). But the Earth-loving thoughtfulness doesn't stop there. The packaging is not only well designed, it is printed with soy ink on 100% recycled, bleach free paper. The box is folded together, instead of using glue (making it completely biodegradable), and the candle seal is made with seed paper that can be planted to grow your own mini wildflower garden. I don't think I would ever buy one of these at full price (at least not for myself), but I think they would make a great gift for any candle loving hippy in your life.

Loopy purchase



Make: Klean Kanteen
Model: Stainless Loop Cap
Size: n/a
Color: Black
Part: n/a
MSRP: $5.95
Paid: $4.00
Made in: China (Responsibly)

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Date purchased: 05/17/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: When I bought my Klean Kanteen a couple months ago, the size I wanted came with a plastic sport cap. I probably could have just swapped the cap with one of the larger bottles, but it didn't seem right. The store I was at didn't carry the individual caps for sale either, so I just settled. The problem with the sports cap is that it's plastic. It's non-leaching plastic, but if I choose to drink through it, I would still absorb the plastic taste, rendering one of my main reasons for buying this bottle obsolete. You also can't squeeze steel, well I can't, so the water kind of dribbles out unless you suck on the vacuum sealed cap like a baby's bottle. Not cool. This cap is stainless steel on the inside so my water never comes in contact with the plastic and the loop allows me to clip it on my bag with a carabiner or twirl the bottle around my finger when I'm bored. I looked into ordering this online, but it retails for $6 and then I had to pay another $5 shipping, making a new lid cost almost as much as the bottle. But while I was at the Chicago Green Festival this weekend, I came across the Klean Kanteen booth and was able to pick one up for just four bucks. Win win.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Buying in for free



Title: Buying In
Author: Rob Walker
Publisher: Random House
Date Published: 2008
Printed: USA
ISBN: 978-1-4000-6391-8
List: $25.00
Paid: $0.00

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Date 05/16/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: I am always a fan of free things, especially when they are useful or something I would have bought anyway. I was recently introduced to a blog called Murketing, which is run by author and New York Times Magazine columnist Rob walker. Rob's blog serves as an introduction and on-going observation of the ideas outlined in Buying In, which comes out in June. I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy at Likemind, which is a monthly gathering of strangers in different cities around the world, who meet up for coffee and conversation. I found out about Likemind through Murketing and decided to check it out. So I showed up at 8am at a coffee shop downtown and met a whole group of friendly people who met for no other reason than to have a cup of coffee and talk with other interested people. There is no agenda or schedule or mission to adhere to. Our discussions ranged from new blogs we'd found, the price of gas and where to store your bulk toilet paper from Costco when you live in a downtown condo. The diversity of age and professions kept the perspectives interesting and the conversations engaging. It was a great way to start a Friday morning and I look forward to future Likemind gatherings. However—to be honest—my initial reason for going was solely because Random House (Rob's publisher) was sponsoring this month's Likemind with free coffee and an advanced copy of the book. But you could say after attending that I've proudly bought in to Likemind.

I'm really excited about this book because it parallels this project of mine quite a bit. It focuses on consumerism and what makes us buy the things we do, and how that defines who we are. It dissects the new consumers who—like myself—consider themselves immune to marketing, but at the same time become evangelists for the brands they themselves embrace. This emerging market leads to the kind of unexpected and often unexplainable explosion in the popularity of brands ranging from Hello Kitty to Pabst Blue Ribbon (which I was a loyal consumer of in college). Read my review of this book on Amazon.

Monday, May 12, 2008

What a tool



Make: Spin Doctor
Model: Essential Tool Kit
Size: 18 piece
Color: Gray
Part: 40-2451
MSRP: $79.99
Paid: $44.99
Made in: Taiwan

--
Date purchased: 05/12/2008
n/w?: Need

Comment: I use to have this same tool kit and a few of the items that I always carried in my back pack actually survived zero day (pedal/15mm wrench, allen wrenches). The quality of these tools aren't the greatest, but they get the job done. Some of them better than others. However, if I bought some of these tools individually—three of them alone would cost as much as this whole set. So I opted for frugality. Between this kit and my newly purchased bike stand, I have all I need to do all of my bike repairs and maintenance myself. I think it's ideal for anyone who rides or commutes on a bike to learn minimal maintenance—like changing flat tires and cleaning /lubing their chains. Knowing how to adjust your brakes would be convenient too, but gets a little more intimidating for most people. One of the richest resources for learning about bikes and bicycle maintenance is the late Sheldon Brown's website. If you ride, or are thinking of riding—Sheldon's website has the most reliable information you will find on the web.

Taking a stand



Make: Spin Doctor
Model: Pro G3 Repair Stand
Size: n/a
Color: Black
Part: 40-2198
MSRP: $199.99
Paid: $149.99
Made in: China

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Date purchased: 05/12/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: I finally gave up trying to tune, clean, and mess with my bike while propping it up in various positions against my wall or trying to wedge it in a corner. I have enough black marks on my wall to warrant repainting before I move out. Spin Doctor is one of the house brands for Performance Bicycle, and the quality varies depending on the item. This is their higher end bike stand and it's made really well. It's an almost identical design to the Topeak Prepstand Elite, but this was cheaper and in-stock. This will definitely get a lot of use for keeping my bikes clean and in good running condition. It also folds down to the size of a large tripod and can be hidden away in my closet when it's not being used. Big plus.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Nau on sale



Make: Nau
Model: Nori SS Tee
Size: Small
Color: Clay
Part: 108M825
MSRP: $65.00
Paid: $32.50
Made in: Turkey

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Date purchased: 05/3/2008
n/w?: Want




Make: Nau
Model: Introverted LS Shirt
Size: Small
Color: Mushroom
Part: 108M827
MSRP: $110.00
Paid: $55.00
Made in: Thailand

--
Date purchased: 05/3/2008
n/w?: Want




Make: Nau
Model: Patrol Relaxed SS Shirt
Size: Small
Color: Mushroom
Part: 108M829
MSRP: $98.00
Paid: $49.00
Made in: Thailand

--
Date purchased: 05/3/2008
n/w?: Want




Make: Nau
Model: Merino1 SS Henley
Size: Small
Color: Soot
Part: 108M527
MSRP: $85.00
Paid: $42.50
Made in: China

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Date purchased: 05/3/2008
n/w?: Want




Make: Nau
Model: Gauzian LS Shirt
Size: Small
Color: Clay
Part: 108M825
MSRP: $110.00
Paid: $55.00
Made in: Thailand

--
Date purchased: 05/3/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: If you read the previous post about Nau closing shop, you know how bummed I was about the news. Today was the last day their stores would be open and everything was 50% off, so I went on a shopping spree. I am really picky about my clothes, which translates to me not buying much more than Levi's and American Apparel t-shirts. I hate being a walking billboard and most of the clothing out there fits like a potato sack or has some lame trendy print on it. When I discovered Nau last year, I loved their clothes, but couldn't afford them at the time. After moving to Chicago, I was thrilled to find out that there was a storefront here—and even better—it was walking distance from my apt. I finally had access to clothing that fit great, looked great, had no logos and were produced by an amazing company. Now I will no longer have that. So I took the opportunity to buy more clothing than I have in a long time. It was time to add more than just t-shirts to the mix anyway. So here you have it, the last Nau purchase I will ever make (with 5% going to my preferred non-profit, Kiva.org).

Friday, May 2, 2008

Goodbye for Nau



Make: Nau
Model: Succintshell Jacket
Size: Small
Color: Fresh
Part: 108M207
Serial: n/a
MSRP: $150.00
Paid: $102.99
Made in: China

--
Date purchased: 05/2/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: It's been raining a lot and now that I'm riding to work again, I wanted to be prepared for all the warm spring rain that I'm sure Chicago will throw my way. If you don't remember why I love Nau, you can look at some of the things I've purchased from them in the past. I love this company and in less than one year, my loyalty to them rivals that of my loyalty for Apple (that's a pretty big deal). However, after getting this in the mail today, I went to show a co-worker their website and learned the terrible news that Nau will be closing their doors. I was in shock, devastated even. They just opened their 5th storefront 2 weeks ago in LA. When I purchased my jacket last weekend, the employees were all excited about the eco-lovin' stars who would be wearing their gear. I was just as excited with them. The company is incredible and the clothes reflect that in both quality and design. I never thought the loss of a brand would break my heart, but this did. The employees only found out last night and have less than 48 hours to close up shop. Tomorrow will be their last day open and will basically have a 50% off fire sale to clean the store out. All of their items are now limited edition collectors items, left to remind those who believed that there is a better way to do business. In the one year that Nau was open they donated over $220,ooo to non-profit partners who customers would choose to donate 5% of their purchase price to. They have also helped to build-up the infrastructure for manufacturing eco-circle and other recycled clothing products. They were on track to open a store in SF and NYC this summer, but the economic downturn and hesitance of investors at the current time has dealt them a fatal blow. It's a sad day for the clothing industry, green movement, and everyone who made a place in their heart for Nau.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Been around the block



*SOLD*
Make: n/a
Model: Butcher block
Size: n/a
Color: Oak
Part: n/a
MSRP: n/a
Paid: $0.00
Made in: China

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Date purchased: 04/27/2008
n/w?: Need

Comment: I got this butcher block and the book shelf (pictured below) from a co-worker who transferred to our New York office. She was just going to toss the stuff out in her alley if no one wanted them, so I rented a Zipcar and went to check out what she had. I wanted to get a butcher's block when I first moved into my apartment because I have no counter space and very limited drawer space in my kitchen. So this works out great and it will give me much more room to prepare food while I'm cooking. It has three drawers and wheels, so I can move it around easily when I need to. Being able to furnish your apartment for free is always a good thing. I got both of these items for the cost of my car rental ($13.50).

_________________________

Make: Brooks
Model: Canvas bag
Size: n/a
Color: Beige
Part: n/a
MSRP: n/a
Paid: $0.00
Made in: n/a

--
Date purchased: 02/9/2008
n/w?: Need

Comment: I actually got this back in February on my trip to Portland, but I completely forgot about posting it. This was a free swag bag I got from the Brooks exhibit at NAHBS. I found it in my closet the other day and remembered grabbing one to use as a grocery sack. Now if I could only get the baggers to not put my purchases in a plastic bag without me having to remind them 10 times, "I don't need a bag!"

_________________________



*SOLD*
Make: n/a
Model: Book shelf
Size: n/a
Color: Black
Part: n/a
MSRP: n/a
Paid: $0.00
Made in: n/a

--
Date purchased: 04/27/2007
n/w?: Want

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Invisibility cloak



Make: Invisible Shield
Model: 60GB iPod Video
Size: 60GB
Color: Clear
Part: APL6007
MSRP: $24.95
Paid: $24.95
Made in: USA

--
Date purchased: 04/23/2008
n/w?: Need

Comment: I use to have this cover on my old ipod (which died not long after zero day) but after getting it replaced by Apple Care, I had just been using my iPod with the factory plastic wrapper that it came with. That was supposed to be a temporary solution that took me 6 months to replace. This stuff is amazing though, it's a thin film that's been laser cut to wrap your iPod, iphone, whatever—perfectly. It even covers the scroll wheel and center button. It's great because it doesn't add any bulk like most cases do. It's completely scratch proof and guaranteed for life. The material it's made from was originally used to protect the leading edge of military helicopter propellers and now all of those tax dollars invested in military research, has been repurposed by a company called Zagg to create Invisible Shields for a range of various products.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Trashy nightstand



Make: n/a
Model: n/a
Size: n/a
Color: Black and Silver
Part: n/a
MSRP: n/a
Paid: $0.00
Made in: n/a

--
Date purchased: 04/12/2008
n/w?: Need

Comment: In the last few weeks, a number of people have been moving out of my building and they've been abandoning a variety of things in the garbage room. A lot of it is shocking and illustrates the problem with our disposable consumer culture and the idea that a place called "away" actually exists. I have seen everything from printers, sofas, rugs, mirrors, dressers, lamps, brooms, and more–just abandoned as useless. These things, most of them plastic, will go sit in a pile somewhere for much longer than our children and grandchildren will ever see. I have done my best to salvage things that I needed and others I've actually carried to the thrift store that's just 2 blocks away. I considered keeping a working microwave, but decided that I enjoy not having one. It forces me to cook instead of relying on frozen meals when I get lazy. Anyway, I've wanted a bedside table for a while now, but haven't considered it a necessity, and haven't gone out of my way to find one I like. So, while this is not something I would have paid for, it serves a functional purpose and will be kept out of the waste stream for a little while longer. If you have the time, this video The Story of Stuff, takes an informative look at our cultures production and consumption habits.

Banana pana fo fana



Make: Calphalon
Model: Classic Large Loaf Pan
Size: 5”x10”
Color: Grey
Part: BW 4010
MSRP: $16.00
Paid: $7.99
Made in: China

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Date purchased: 04/12/2008
n/w?: Need

Comment: I love banana bread. It's a great snack, breakfast, etc and I was tired of paying $2 a slice at the cafe. I also had some bananas on my fridge that were no longer green (which means I won't eat them). So I picked this up to make and (possibly) sell my own banana bread for $2 a slice—any takers? I've also learned that TJ Max is an awesome place to go for kitchen items. Lot's of quality stuff for a good price, and quality matters–as I've already learned–when buying cookware.

New socks, new Timberland (atleast to me)



Make: Timberland
Model: Casual Wear Socks (3 pair)
Size: 9-12
Color: Various
Part: TM30415-999
MSRP: $18.00
Paid: $9.99
Made in: Taiwan

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Date purchased: 04/12/2008
n/w?: Need

Comment: Most of the socks that survived zero day were ankle socks that I wore riding all year round in SF, but since winter in Chicago doesn't seem to ever end, I decided to increase my sock numbers to decrease my wash frequency. I really wanted a few more pair of the Puma socks I bought last fall (super comfy), but the store only carries white ones now, and white socks are just...no. So I picked up these instead, which wasn't a bad trade-off. I learned while reading Stirring It Up that Timberland worked hard to be a more responsible company. They have room to grow, but they are doing some cool things; like offering a $3000 incentive to employees who buy hybrid vehicles. They also offer approved, 6 month paid sabbaticals to employees who wish to pursue a dream of theirs that benefits the community in a positive way. I was really surprised to learn that they use recycled and renewable materials, as well as water-based adhesives in the production of their boots and their manufacturing plants are powered by solar and wind energy. They've also introduced a "nutrition label" to the footwear industry that shows what materials are used in the production of their products. When I thought of Timberland, I always thought of "Tims" being worn loose-laced with baggy jeans. Who knew they were a devoted outdoors company? Oh ignorance.

Monday, April 7, 2008

A buyer's dilemma



Title: The Omnivore’s Dilemma
Author: Michael Pollan
Publisher: Penguin Press
Date Published: 2006
Printed: USA
ISBN: 978-0-14-303858-0
List: $16.00
Paid: $16.00

--
Date 4/7/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: I know that my plan was to borrow this from someone, but I finished the book I was reading and found myself in the airport today with nothing to keep me occupied. This was next on my reading list, so I impulsively bought it. But now, when I finish it, I can pass it on and help more people educate themselves on where the food we eat comes from. Fair enough?

Hell yes Helvetica



Title: Helvetica
Directed by: Gary Hustwit
Produced by: Swiss Dots Ltd.
Copyright Date: 2007
List: $24.98
Paid: $0.00 (Gift from Christina Hicks)

--
Date 4/7/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: This was a belated birthday gift from my beloved friend Christina, who never stops surprising me (this one was slipped in my bag when I wasn't looking). I love Helvetica and I loved this film (saw it twice in the theater...yes it was in theaters). I know a lot of designers who hate it, but I'm a modernist who appreciates function and minimalism. Helvetica is used for so many things that it is usually labeled as generic, but I think it's prevalence speaks to its effectiveness. There are thousands of typefaces at a designers disposal, and 99% of them are crap. I see no need to reinvent the wheel. Give me a handful of weights in Helvetica and I'm set.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Lotsa flash, little cash



Make: Kingston
Model: DataTraveler 100 Flash Drive
Size: 4GB
Color: Black
Part: n/a
MSRP: $39.99
Paid: $0.00 (Gift from Treasa Parakkat)
Made in: China

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Date purchased: 3/21/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: I noticed over Christmas that the size of flash drives had increased dramatically, while the cost had plummeted. I made a comment to my brother Don that I should really pick up a new flash drive, because my 128mb was about as useful as a floppy disk. So his girlfriend, Treasa, overheard me and picked one up for me as a Birthday gift. Donny assured her that I was so adamant, I had probably picked one up for myself by now. I don't know who reads this blog, but now I know someone who doesn't. Thanks Treasa, Thanks Don.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Swee(dish) dreams



Make: Tempur-Pedic
Model: The Symphony Pillow
Size: 17”x25”
Color: Eggshell
Part: n/a
MSRP: $99.99
Paid: $79.99
Made in: USA

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Date purchased: 3/19/2008
n/w?: Need

Comment: The doctor recommended that I get rid of my down pillows because I may be allergic to them, but he also suggested dust mite proofing my pillows as well. The Tempur-Pedic kills both proverbial birds with one stone. This pillow has no down, and its case is dust mite proof. My brother and parents both have Tempur-Pedic mattresses and swear by them. I think they feel like concrete, but I've never slept a whole night on them. The original Tempur pillow was designed for back sleepers, so I never would have been able to use one, but now they have multiple designs to accommodate different sleepers. I really like sleeping, so I figured I would indulge myself and buy a quality pillow that claims to improve my sleep, and hopefully prevent my eyes from looking like a prize fighter.

This mite help



Make: Clean Rest x2
Model: Standard Pillow Encasement
Size: 20”x26”
Color: White
Part: RN 117729
MSRP: $19.99
Paid: $19.99
Made in: China

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Date purchased: 3/19/2008
n/w?: Need
_________________________

Make: Allergy Luxe
Model: Premium Allergy Barrier
Size: Full
Color: White
Part: RN 112506
MSRP: $89.99
Paid: $89.99
Made in: China

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Date purchased: 3/19/2008
n/w?: Need

Comment: Since I was about 13 years old, I've had this random and extremely inconvenient condition where my eye(s) will swell up. Sometimes they just get puffy, but sometimes they will swell completely shut. It's usually just one of them (either one) and on two rare occasions both eyes swelled shut (you can imagine how much that sucked). It seems to happen every three or four months with no obvious trend in the things that I've eaten or come in contact with. I've been to multiple doctors about it before, but they've had no idea what it is, or why it happens. They all assumed I was allergic to something, but all of the blood tests always came back negative and I've never had any known allergies my whole life. This happened about a month ago, so I left work early and called a doctor here in Chicago who was able to see me right away. When the doctor finally came into the room his responses were far from comforting. I got everything from "wow, I've never seen this before" to "hold on, the other doctors have got to see this!" Everything checked out fine as usual and the only advice I was given was to take some Benedryl and apply a cold compress (both of which don't help at all). He told me I should go to an allergist and get a full allergy patch test done (which I plan to do when work slows down). He also asked me to stop by the eye doctor on the floor below him to double check that my eyes were fine. The eye doctor's response wasn't much different. He suggested I visit an allergist, but then asked if I sleep with a down pillow (I have since sometime in my teens) and if I knew anything about dust mites. He suggested I Google them to find out more about their gross reality, as well as replacing my down pillows and buying dust mite proof covers for my bedding. So this is what I've done, we'll see if it works.

Friday, March 14, 2008

In defense of another book



Title: In Defense of Food
Author: Michael Pollan
Publisher: Penguin Press
Date Published: 2008
Printed: USA
ISBN: 978-1-59420-145-5
List: $21.95
Paid: $15.36

--
Date 3/14/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: Another book, this one's about the food we eat and why we eat it. I plan on reading Michael Pollan's previous book The Omnivore's Dilemma when I am done with this one. However, since everyone and their brother has already read it, I figured I would buy his latest book (it was on sale, making it cheaper than the former) and then find someone willing to swap with me.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Gotta get, that, dirt off my bike



Make: O Cedar
Model: Hand & Nail Brush
Size: n/a
Color: White
Part: 4053006
MSRP: $2.99
Paid: $2.99
Made in: China

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Date purchased: 3/13/2008
n/w?: Need

Comment: Aside from this being the worst title of all the posts, there's not much to say other than I needed a brush to scrub all the winter grime from my bike chain. My old toothbrush wasn't cutting it, so I moved up to something a little more industrial.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Foodie fun 101



Title: New York City Restaurants 2008
Author: Zagat
Publisher: Zagat Survey, LLC
Date Published: 2007
Printed: USA
ISBN: 1-57006-869-8
List: $15.95
Paid: $0.00 (Gift from Sandy Alexander)

--
Date 3/12/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: I was in NYC all week for a press check at Sandy Alexander and when we were deciding where to eat, our rep Chris gave us all copies of the new Zagat guide. It is one of the better promotional gifts I have seen—it's actually useful. It doesn't show off their capabilities as a printer (because they didn't print it), but it is a good indication of their generosity. I've never been treated so well by a printer before. It was a great trip, and the piece being printed—Allstate's annual report—looks great. I had almost 3 full days to enjoy the city and spend time catching up with all by buddies from ThreeAre (Katie, Mike, Eric and Jung). Oh, and I lost my keys at security on my way out to NYC, but thankfully they were there when I returned to Ohare.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

A clean canteen



Make: Klean Kanteen
Model: Stainless Steel bottle
Size: 18oz
Color: Silver
Part: K18PPS
MSRP: $16.95
Paid: $16.95
Made in: China (Responsibly)

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Date purchased: 3/1/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: I use to own a Nalgene. Like most people who drink a lot of water and enjoy the outdoors, the iconic Nalgene was always the obvious choice for staying hydrated. I have been reading a lot in the past year about these polycarbonate bottles and their potential to leach Bisphenol A (BPA), a toxin known to cause brain damage and cancer, into the water that you drink. This is amplified when exposed to heat and or abrasion caused by washing them. The amount and severity is debated by different studies, however any amount of a toxic chemical is more than I want to ingest. Thankfully mine was stolen and needed to be replaced. My office has a refrigerator stocked with beverages for all of the employees and the number of plastic bottles they go through daily is staggering. I have been drinking tap water from a glass, but between the dust falling from our ceiling rafters and flying Nerf footballs, it was no longer a safe option. I also like carrying water with me between destinations, so I needed something to prevent me from buying bottled water. The Klean Kanteen, from my research, is the best option for avoiding BPA as well as buying something that can be easily recycled when it reaches the end of it's long life. The bottle is made of stainless steel, is easy to rinse out after uses to avoid bacteria build up, and it has no coatings or resin's that can potentially leach chemicals into your water. It also maintains a crisp clean taste, unlike plastic bottles. I was also looking at Sigg, which are beautifully designed, but are lined with some kind of resin. Their website assures that the resin is FDA approved and will not leach, but I'd rather not take the chance. So for once, design takes a back seat.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Big Polluter reduces waste*



Make: BP
Model: Thermos
Size: 18oz
Color: Silver
Part: n/a
MSRP: Unknown
Paid: $0.00 (Re-Gift from Brock Conrad)
Made in: China (Most likely)

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Date purchased: 1/15/2008
n/w?: Want


Comment: *Well, they reduce my waste by supplying me with a coffee mug to reuse on my occasional stop at Starbucks (who have sadly quit using ceramic mugs). BP happens to be one of my favorite clients at VSA, so when my co-worker was getting rid of this while cleaning off his desk I was glad to take it off his hands. It was a brand new mug and I figured it would be a nice ironic accessory on my bike rides to the coffee shop, where I'll most likely be reading something along the lines of Cradle to Cradle or Stirring it Up.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mister Meister



Title: Things I Have Learned In My Life So Far
Author: Stefan Sagmeister
Publisher: Abrams Books
Date Published: 2008
Printed: China
ISBN: 978-0-8109-9529-1
List: $40.00
Paid: $24.00 (Gift from Stephanie DeSocio)

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Date 2/28/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: I got this book a week ago, but I wasn't able to open it for a few days because I have been so busy with work. If you aren't a designer, there's a good chance you don't know who Stefan Sagmeister is, so I'll just tell you that he is a brilliant man. Stefan is arguably the most inspirational designer alive today. His work aesthetic often borders the realm of fine art, but it always communicates in a powerful and clever way. This book redefines what a design book could and should be. It is made up of a laser-cut slip case that contains 15 self-covering booklets of his work. Each cover can be arranged in the front of the stack to change the face of the book. The projects captured in each book illustrate the things Stefan has learned in his life so far (which happens to only be 20 things). After zero day happened some of my amazing friends reached out—unsolicited—to help me recover some of the things that meant the most to me. My friend and fellow designer Stephanie DeSocio wanted to help me re-establish my library of design books and sent me an Amazon gift card. I've held on to it for the last six months trying to choose something that would be a cherished part of my new collection, I've found that with this book. Thanks Stephanie.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A mole worth keeping



Make: Moleskin
Model: Squared Notebook
Size: 3.5”x5.5”
Color: Black
Part: MM712US
MSRP: $10.45
Paid: $0.00 (Gift from Christina Hicks)
Made in: China

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Date purchased: 2/17/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: Once again, the giver of amazing unexpected gifts (Christina), introduced me to the world of Moleskin. Yes, I went through art school without ever having one, I was a Rhodia kind of guy. I'm really excited to have a new place for writing down all the brilliant ideas that will help me reach early retirement, as well as cheesy one-liners and blog post titles. You also get a peek at the awesome etched and hand printed card that came with it. Now, I can see the Golden Gate bridge every morning again. Thank's xTina.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A cup and Chuck



Title: Fugitive and Refugees: A walk in Portland, Oregon
Author: Chuck Palahniuk
Publisher: Crown Publishers
Date Published: 2003
Printed: USA
ISBN: 1-4000-4783-8
List: $16.00
Paid: $11.00

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Date 2/11/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: This was a book that Erik suggested I read (before I left for Portland) but I got busy and never picked up a copy. This was my first Chuck Palahniuk book, which is a guide of sorts, for Portland. I didn't have as much free time as I hoped for exploring the city, but with the time I had on Sunday morning, I went to Oldtown and checked out the original Powell's books store, which is amazing and serves the best mocha I've ever had. I wanted something to read for the flight back home and came across this while browsing. I figured since I didn't get to explore as much as I wanted to, I would read about all the things I missed on my way back to Chicago. I finished the book just as the plane landed and felt as if my trip to Portland included much more than it had. There is a whole side to that city that I never would have noticed just walking around in the afternoon. It paints Portland in a light that most visitors will probably never know about and shows how well Chuck can experience a city in it's entirety.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Rollin' with Rapha



Make: Rapha
Model: Portland Roller Races T-Shirt
Size: Medium
Color: Black
Part: n/a
MSRP: $20.00
Paid: $20.00
Made in: USA

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Date purchased: 2/9/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: Rapha (for all of you non-cyclists) is the king of bike clothing. Their magazine Rouleur is full of lust worthy photos of epic races, epic rides, and the stories that accompany them. They capture the beauty of cycling so well that they send riders into a state of reverie and can make a non-rider think about visiting their local bike shop. Everyone I know who rides, longs for that one jacket, jersey, or hat, but few can silence their conscience long enough to spend the money on any of them. This weekend I went to Portland, Oregon for the fourth annual North American Handmade Bike Show and Rapha was there sponsoring a series of events throughout the weekend. On Saturday night, in a studio displaying an exhibition of Rouleur's photography, Rapha held a party featuring gold sprints and tons of fun for everyone who was lucky enough to get in. They were also selling these t-shirts to commemorate the night. Although it's just a printed American Apparel shirt, it's a step towards my first real Rapha purchase.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Lot's of green



Title: Stirring it Up: How to make money and save the world
Author: Gary Hirshberg
Publisher: Hyperion
Date Published: 2008
Printed: USA
ISBN: 978-1-4013-0344-0
List: $24.95
Paid: $0.00 (Gift from Zipcar)

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Date 2/7/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: I've been a Zipster for about a year and a half now and I've always been completely happy with my membership and their customer service. Though I don't own a car (nor do I want to own one) having one can be convenient at times. In SF I would rent a car when I wanted to take drives along the coast, or rent a truck when I needed to pick up some furniture. I only had to rent it for the amount of time I needed it, and insurance, gas, and parking are all included. Though I haven't used it as much while I've been in Chicago, Zipcar has remained convenient and available every time I've needed it. Occasionally I get an email update on new features, new cars added to my neighborhood and other bits of interest. A few weeks ago, they were giving away a copy of Gary Hirshberg's new book to the first person in each Zipcar city to respond to the newsletter, and I happened to be the quickest gun in Chicago. Gary is the CEO of Stonyfield Farm and is a very influential and successful man in the world of responsible and environmental business practices, as well as yummy organic yogurts.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Saving my sole



Make: Converse
Model: Allstar by John Varvatos
Size: 9.5
Color: Army
Part: 1Y247
MSRP: $95.00
Paid: $45.00
Made in: China

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Date purchased: 1/26/2008
n/w?: Need

Comment: I have been looking for new shoes for months. I used to be ridiculous about shoes and at one point in college, I had 18 pair. When I moved to SF I had scaled that down to 4 pair, but since zero day, I've only had one pair of daily wear shoes (not including my cycling or dress shoes). But today a hole wore through the sole and all the wet slush from the sidewalks started flooding in and soaking my sock. I hate wet socks more than a lot of things, so I could no longer procrastinate about buying shoes. I really had my eye on a pair of Veja Volleys, which are made with organic cotton, natural amazon rubber and produced with fair trade standards in Brazil, but no one in Chicago carries them. They are also a European company, so after the exchange rate, they are pretty expensive shoes and would need to be shipped (again) half way around the world. Another option I considered were Simple shoes, but again, I couldn't find anyone who sold them. So I sloshed my leaking shoes over to DSW, and after what seemed like hours of pacing down the isles of shoes I would never wear, I found the John Varvatos designer collection of Allstars. I havn't had Chucks since I was in the 4th grade, and I just remember them being really uncomfortable. I'm also not a fan of the glaring white toe. But I really like this laceless version, and thought I'd give them another try. Hopefully they are more forgiving on my feet. I will most likely wear these until I absolutely have to buy a new pair of shoes. Maybe by then, some of the more responsible choices in footwear will be more available.

Another book, wild



Title: Into the Wild
Author: Jon Krakauer
Publisher: Anchor Books
Date Published: 1996
Printed: USA
ISBN: 0-385-48680-4
List: $13.95
Paid: $11.16

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Date 1/26/2008
n/w?: Want

Comment: This is a book my friend Erik suggested I read, so when I finished Cradle to Cradle I went to pick up a copy at the Chicago Library. I got a card last week so I can decrease the amount of books (especially new ones) that I buy, but my neighborhood branch has a horrible selection of fiction. Majority of their fiction section were romance novels and paperback fantasy series, so I ended up going to Barnes and Noble in the end. I was excited to find one last copy of the book with the original cover instead of the "now a major motion picture" cover, those are always so horribly lame.