Canopy & Stars

This site is so much fun to browse. Talk about wanderlust. Alistair Sawday, author of the Special Places to Stay travel guides, has a new site called Canopy & Stars that features very off-the-beaten-path, notch-above-camping lodgings, including yurts, a houseboat, shepherd’s cottages, and old campers/RVs (like the red truck above) in incredible locations where you could never have an actual hotel (or you could, but then it wouldn’t be special).

(Did you notice I avoided the word ‘glamping?’ That is one of the worst recently invented words I’ve hear in a while. But it is sort of what this site specializes in, and they’ve gracefully embraced the word. I’m still working on it.)

A few of my favorites are in the gallery, but check out the site for more, as well as more info on each property and where it’s located. It will majorly give you the glamping travel bug.

Tasty Hotels

If you need to do some armchair traveling this weekend, I suggest you check out photographer Alex Profit’s site Tasty Hotels, a collection of beautiful hotels he has photographed.

Above (and below) is my favorite from the site, La Feline Blanche, which is at the base of Mont Blanc. Check out the gallery for more from this hotel and others from his site.


I also found the below video on Profit’s portfolio site– a video for Lancome’s Tresor campaign– and it’s a beautiful stop-motion compilation that takes you “around the world in 2000 photos.” Definite must if you have the armchair travel bug.


found via Emma’s Design Blogg

Introducing: Cultivate Wines

Finally, I get to share this with you! Get ready for a long post, this is the project I’ve been working on for the last several months, and there’s lots to tell you!

Started by my sister and brother-in-law, I’ve been working with a great team of people to get Cultivate up and running. In short, Cultivate makes (awesome) wines and gives 10% of sales to non-profits supporting education and basic human needs. It’s our hope that in ten years, American consumers will insist, by how they spend their dollars, that the companies they buy from have some sort of socially responsible model. In twenty years, we hope that “buying American” is restored as a positive phrase because American companies will be known for their socially responsible models.

One of my favorite things about Cultivate is that we decided that rather than us choosing where the money we would go, we would let the buyers choose, so we’re setting up a voting platform on our website. First, non-profits submit themselves to have a project at their organization funded by filling out a form and creating a video, and then anyone can vote on which projects they think should be funded.

Another cool thing: in addition to wine in bottles, we’re making wine that comes in really beautiful boxes. That’s right, boxed wine. (And no your eyes do not deceive you– there’s a wine called Wonderlust, named after this blog!!)

Yes, we know there’s still a stigma attached to boxed wine, but sooner or later y’all are going to have to come around– it’s the responsible way to consume wine– it has half the carbon footprint of a bottle due to shipping efficiencies and the material!

Also, if you’re like me, when you want a glass of wine with dinner, you don’t necessarily want to open a whole bottle knowing you’ll pour half of it down the drain later. A boxed wine lasts for up to 6 weeks in the fridge!! So you can have a glass any time you want (ha) without worrying about having to waste wine.

Eventually, people will come to see the box as just another packaging format for wine instead of seeing “boxed wine” as a different thing from bottled wine. There’s no such thing really as “boxed wine”– it’s the same wine you could put in a bottle, but it’s in a box instead. So anyway, all that is to say, a ton of companies have made a lot of headway in dispelling bag-in-box wine, but we’re on a mission to get rid of the stigma for good.

Yet another cool thing about Cultivate: we’re using different designers on each label/box. The bottles and boxes you see above are by 6 different designers/artists!

Shout outs to Lindsay McCabe for Dream Walking, Alvin Diec for Double Blind (remember him from this post? I pulled him in to design a label for us! So fun!), famed photographer Fred Lyon for the Gambler photo (along with Catherine Ray on the text and layout), Leigh Nelson for the Feast, Cynthia Warren for the Copa Cabana and Wonderlust labels (Remember Cynthia from this post? Another Wonderlust hall-of-famer I got to pull in for this project), and Catherine Ray for the Copa and Wonderlust box designs and our LOGO!!

Above is a screenshot from the video below, which is integrated into the banner of the homepage on the site. I’m super excited about this video– stop-motion animation and a chalkboard– two of my favorite things! Thank you to Catherine Ray for writing and drawing the entire thing and to Chip Lay for executing the photography and editing. (Post it to facebook/twitter and help us make it viral!)

Finally, be sure to check out the website to learn more, there are lots of fun things to explore– for example, very non-traditional wine descriptions, non-traditional team bios (mad-libs as bios), and a great blog getting underway. Yesterday’s post was by our winemaker about how to taste wine. I’m so happy with how the site came out (and is still coming along, certain pieces are yet-to-be-launched), so huge thank yous to Leo Basica for designing it and Chip Lay for building it!

PS- you can follow Cultivate to stay up-to-date on everything related to the Cultivate lifestyle (wine, social entrepreneurship, giving, recipes, etc) on twitter and facebook. Follow us/like us!

Jeff Bridges’ Photography

Who knew Jeff Bridges is into photography and takes photos chronicling his experiences on the films he works on? I just discovered that he has a very friendly, diy-looking website where he shares the photos, and I spent a solid hour browsing his portfolio.









I love Jeff Bridges, the photos are great, and the whole concept makes me happy. I love that he is into sharing his personal behind-the-scenes take on his work, and it doesn’t have a promotional feel at all, it just feels like he loves photography, loves his job, and wanted to share it with whomever cared to seek it out.

All the photos have captions describing the scene and people, and their tone is like something you would write in an album you were going to show your kids some day. He even has hand-written/drawn intros (like the one below) to each part of the site, adding a folksy flair to the whole thing.

Most of the photos here are from Crazy Heart (because I loved it), but the True Grit ones (like top right) are great too and there are tons on the site!


Cowboy Junkies

This well-rounded piece on The Bold Italic about the best places in San Francisco to listen to classic country music got me in so many ways.

It first caught my eye because of the graphics used for the story– creations made out of paper by artist Chloe Fluery that somehow remind me of the work of  Wayne Thiebaud.

Then, the wonderful intro essay (below) by Sasha Darling about coming around to classic country music later in life after an early education by her dad totally sucked me in. I too developed a love of the music I grew up listening to with my dad– though it was more along the lines of The Rolling Stones, early soul, and anything with a good beat to dance to– and Darling put it more eloquently than I ever could have.

Finally, I love reading a good city guide (or really reviews of anything, also inherited from my dad) in the same illogical way that I love reading a cookbook cover to cover. It doesn’t make a ton of sense to read such things as leisure reading, when they’re meant for specific research. You can’t take advantage of the acquired knowledge at that moment. But still, just immersing yourself in the details takes you on a little escape as your imagination creates a preview of the thing you’re going to do/cook/go to/read/etc. Point being, I loved reading the descriptions of all these country joints that I now definitely want to check out in SF!

Below, the essay by Darling, and click over to the article to read about the spots she highlights.

“My dad bought me my first turntable when I was in third grade, and searching for records was our bonding activity. We spent all weekend hitting up record dealers and flea markets in search of rare scores. We agreed on almost everything when it came to music – except that I refused to listen to country.

Country was for rednecks and I was becoming a little new wave, punk rock girl. I couldn’t understand how my incredibly cool father could listen to such crap. He insisted that when I grew up I would appreciate country music. I firmly stated, never!

Of course as I grew older, I ate my immature words. In my late teens I got involved in the budding rockabilly scene. This new world of ex-punks turned hillbilly opened my mind to honky-tonk. As the years went on, I found myself putting on George Jones and Patsy Cline more often than the Descendents or The Smiths.

I was shocked at how connected I felt to the music. As much as I tried as a child to block out the lonesome and rebellious crooners, I knew the words to every country standard by adulthood. I still love all types of music, but these days I’m definitely a little bit more country and a little less rock and roll.

In this rock- and electronic-heavy city, it can be hard to find some good honky-tonks to hang out at, but with a little country know-how, you can find that hillbilly spirit within these urban confines.”

This one’s for my dad – if there’s a country singer, or rather duo, he loves, it’s Waylon and Willie, and particularly this song. He bought me an album of their duets before a cross country road trip, and I’ll forever associate the album with that trip. We even made a detour to go through Luckenbach, TX, just so we could listen to this song there.

Make Her Say

Loving the art direction for the Kid Cudi song “Make Her Say” featuring Kanye and Common– retro and spare with a seriously consistent color palette. I would love to see what the barcode would look like for the colors in this!












It’s really no surprise that this video would be cool, he’s got style.

Also, related but unrelated, I’m obsessed with Vidque, and I think you should know about it. I tweeted about it couple of weeks ago, but in case you missed it, it’s like youtube or vimeo, but with a focus on users curating the content for a focus on really quality video.

All of the content is actually from youtube and vimeo, but videos are only pulled over to vidque if they’re quality (ie, not home videos). You can save videos you like (really useful if you’re researching for a video project!) and follow users you like to see what videos they’re saving. I love trailers, short films and music videos, so it’s sort of my new addiction.

I’m going to stop myself after this, because this is sort of a ridiculously long endorsement, but I also love the interface– you can watch videos right in the search results or “news feed” that you see when you login– it doesn’t take you to a separate page like youtube does.

You can follow me (see the videos I’ve saved) on Vidque here.

Here’s another one from Vidque I liked. I’m all about these conceptual products and technologies!

Modern Love

Yesterday I was telling my roommate the story of my parents’ engagement, which involves a telegram, and I couldn’t stop thinking afterward how much the world has changed since then.

Not so long ago, my parents got engaged via telegram, the only method of communication available to them, and in the dating world of today we are all constantly connected to the ones we love (or the ones we met Saturday night, or the ones we wished love us) via Facebook, texting, email, Twitter, etc. Add to that the ever-present potential to find love from your couch while surfing online dating sites, and the array of forms of modern dating becomes potentially overwhelming.


Chas, via the above personal ad (for lack of a better term, though I’m sure Urban Dictionary will coin one soon), has created another potential route to love, one that also capitalizes on modern technology and communication, but adds crowd-sourcing to the equation. Ready to settle down and with some extra cash to help him do it, Chas has set up a website describing himself and offering $10k to whomever introduces him to his future wife.

It’s just so clever. Sure, it might seem crass to offer money to find a wife, but if that is what will motivate the crowds to source a wife for him, and the point is that he’s ready for love but can’t seem to find it, isn’t it also quite romantic? All this work in the quest for the right woman?


I’ll admit, there’s a chance I’m also just swayed to argue on behalf of this guy’s efforts because of how well the website was done, because this guy executed the same concept in a very different way and the whole thing really grosses me out! But on Chas’s site, the storytelling style of the photography is excellent, the site itself is very clean and cool, and the copy is amazingly endearing considering what it is. Simple, witty, charming, and refreshingly not overwrought. Even the name of the site is funny.

I did a little investigating on this guy, and he is actually an advertising exec, which makes perfect sense, since he created such an impressive advertisement for himself! Surely if he doesn’t find love, he’ll at least get a lot of freelance work out of this!


And one final note, his last name is McFeely. So I’m hoping if this thing goes viral, he’ll be the new McDreamy/McSteamy… First there were the hunky guys on Grey’s Anatomy, now there’s the clever ad exec committed to finding love. Could the name McFeely be any more perfect for his mission?

Google Art Project

Have you seen this? Google’s new “Art Project” site uses their street view technology to allow you virtually tour participating art museums (right now 17 are on board)! You control where you move and “look” by clicking the in-picture arrows (just like on google maps street view), and you can click on a work to zoom in on it– and you can really zoom– check out the still from the video below showing the zoom on Starry Night.

I’m pretty sure this is a closer-up view than you could get even in-person since you have to stand a couple feet back when you’re in the museum and can’t put your eye three inches from the canvas!

Here’s a screenshot showing what it looks like when you’re “in” one of the rooms. See the arrows on the floor? That’s how you pan around.

Check out the video to see how it works…

Even though I think this is super cool, I’m not sure I can totally tons of practical uses for this, except, I have to say, as an art history major at NYU, this would have been amazing for those assignments when you were instructed to go to a particular room at the MET or MoMA and pick a work to talk about it because you of course didn’t know exactly what was in that room, and hence there was no way around actually going to the museum. Which was fine, since I love museums, except when it was freezing and snowing and I hated having to trek uptown. Then, this little gizmo would have been AWESOME.

And regardless of the practical uses (or lack thereof), I love that Google used all its technology and wizardry to create something related to making art accessible!  [via]

Club Montrachet

Wine can be an intimidating world, and few parts of it are as intimidating as Burgundian wines. That’s where Club Montrachet comes in. Club Montrachet is owned and run by a handful of people from Burgundy who are plugged in and know their stuff, and they curate a rotating selection of wines that you order six at a time.  As an additional benefit, as a member of the club, you get the wines at a discount because you are bypassing the markups tacked on by distributors.

On top of that, their site, designed by Shane Edelman, is just really awesome and totally breaks the mold of what you might imagine from a French wine club. Fresh, approachable, and hip.

I particularly loved this little video, with it’s charming writing-on-photos + voiceover approach and Amelie-style music (I’m pretty sure that actually is a Yann Tiersen song playing!).

Lastly, I have to tell you, when I emailed Philippe Faraut, the president, about writing a post on Club Montrachet, expecting that maybe I would hear back, maybe not, he personally called me back about an hour later to talk about the company and to hear about Wonderlust! He clearly has a passion for this project, which is just a side hobby for him, and if I didn’t already love the concept, I certainly do now! How’s that for a personal touch?

“TeuxDeux: A new, designy, simple TO-DO app”

I LOVE this to-do browser app.  It is exactly what is says – simple and designy, which makes sense, as it was designed by Swiss Miss (the blogger, not the hot chocolate).  It’s a per-week view, which I love, and after you type in to-do items, you can cross them off or move them to another day.  I even love the name, my to-dos seem friendlier and more appealing as teux-deuxs. 

There’s also the “someday” list that hovers at the bottom, which is brilliant b/c I always have those kinds of things and usually forget about them as they linger on days gone by in my planner.

If you set it as your home page, you are confronted with your to-dos every time you open your browser!

TeuxDeux here.

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