‘The Spades’ New Bag’ by Amy Larocca

There was a great article published last week about Andy and Kate Spade called The Spades’ New Bag which was about their rise and… well, continuing rise to success. I never really knew about the history of this talented couple, so it was great to hear their story. As some of you know, Kate Spade started her name brand, hi-end women’s bag line back in 1993 and was an instant hit. In 1998 Andy Spade started Jack Spade, the men’s bag line that is still a huge hit with men wanting cool bags. But over the years they sold a percentage of the companies to Neiman Marcus, who then bought the companies from them and then sold them both to Liz Claiborne. Phew.

Nowadays though Kate is just a mom, raising their daughter Bea, while Andy runs Partners & Spade, the brains behind J.Crew’s beautiful Liquor Store. I’m just amazed by their sheer talent and the fact that more than anything they’re just doing things that make them happy. This is my favorite part of the piece:

A decade later, of course, it’s hard to see any of this as unique; Spade’s aesthetic has been knocked off all over the map, but Soho, circa 1999, was in the throes of the clunky heels, the color black, and the addition of spandex in places it really had no right to be.

And in the end there is something especially accessible—and enduring—about the Spade brand: It is friendly, and it is almost goofy, and, most important, it offers a way of being fashionable without looking absurd. Twenty years from now, you’re not going to look at pictures of yourself in a button-down and cords and wonder what you were thinking. And it manages to be preppy without the whiff of the restricted country club: It takes much more delight in the world than that. “It’s the world of Dobie Gillis,” says Andy’s friend Glenn O’Brien. “It’s just a more casual and user-friendly experience.” It’s preppy, yes, but it is definitely not Republican.

To read the entire article click here.


February 23, 2010 / By

‘Sea Legs’ A Collaborative Journey of Jolby & Ashley Forrette

My friends Jolby, a duo made up of Colby Nichols and Josh Kenyon, have teamed up with photographer Ashley Forrette for an art show called Sea Legs. The show is a combination of both of their work, with Ashley’s photos providing the backdrop while the boys do their illustrative thing. The combination of the two is pretty beautiful, as you can see above.

The show will be at the Together Gallery in Portland and it opens Thursday, February 25. If you happen to be in Portland be sure to stop by and say hi for me!


February 23, 2010 / By


Phew, can’t believe it’s already Monday afternoon already! Time certainly is flying today. I was able to grab a few new records over the weekend which I think are pretty great, so that’s what I’ll be sharing today.

1) The Radio Dept. – Yes, I know I wrote first about The Radio Dept. last week, but I was able to grab a copy of their new album Clinging to a Scheme and I can’t stop listening to it. Like their other albums it’s quite melodic but has that My Bloody Valentine drone to it. You absolutely need to hear the song Heaven on Fire (which will probably be on the next Mixcast).

2) Joanna Newsome – I was really excited for this album, especially after hearing Good Intentions Paving Company. But I have to say that the whole thing just kind of sounds the same so far. And it’s like 30 songs long… 30 songs of the same thing over and over. It’s not exactly a bad thing, I was just hoping for a bit more musical diversity. I shall listen to it more and see if I this opinion changes.

3) Lawrence Arabia – This was such a great find over the weekend. Lawrence Arabia is basically James Milne, a New Zealand based musician who’s like Dr. Dog with a Beatles twist (hear: The Undesirables) to it, make sense? The guy is a genius and will be featured on this week’s Mixcast as well. I highly suggest checking out his newest Chant Darling, that is if you can find it.

As usual feel free to add me on Last.fm by clicking here.


February 22, 2010 / By

How Can We Save Newspapers? Make Them Personal.

In the most recent issue of Monocle there’s a story about the Swiss Post that got me thinking. The first few paragraphs talk about how the Post has teamed up with a start-up called Syntops which “greeted their customers (“Guten Morgen Herr Graf”) and offered an individually tailored mash-up of the day’s stories.” Which led me to this idea: If old school news wants to survive, they need to become personalized.

In my mind there are two big reasons why newspapers are failing. The first is that there’s no reason to pay for your news, not when it’s free online, and the second is that by the time it hits your doorstep it’s already old. But what if your morning paper was custom tailored to just the things you wanted to read, much like the Swiss Post is doing?

For example, when I got to The New York Times website (I don’t read the actual paper) I tend to browse the front page, then head over to the arts section, browse technology, hit up Fashion and Style and end with T Magazine. Sometimes I might even check Food & Dining and Science if I’m bored. But, I don’t own stocks, so I don’t visit the Business section, and I don’t live in New York, so I don’t really care what’s going on there… you get the point.

So imagine a profile page, or something like Google Reader, where you could choose from a list of sections that you’d like to have delivered to you every morning. Take that idea even further and you could create a list of people, places, things that you enjoy that would be pushed to the front of your news. Or on the flip side, you hate hearing about the Octo-mom or Jon and Kate so you exclude them from your news. Perhaps based upon your selections there are articles that are suggested based upon your interests, and even the advertising is sorted to fit your likes.

It could also be interesting if you could add or reduce content to the paper, which in turn would add to or decrease the cost of the paper accordingly. Everyday you could manage the flow of news coming to your doorstep, so while it may be old, it would be exactly what you want to read.

I’ve obviously overlooked the technical limitations of how papers are printed or problems like the newspaper boy delivering the wrong paper to the wrong house, but the idea is far from impossible. This discussion is meant to be about possibilities, not about naysaying, and if print wants to keep going they’re going to need to start innovating.


February 22, 2010 / By

Jamie Oliver’s TED Talk

Whenever there are new TED Talks it’s always interesting to see who ends up speaking and finding the most interesting of conversations. I think this year there was easily one man that caught my attention the most, and that would be chef Jamie Oliver. I remember Mr. Oliver from his very first cooking show, The Naked Chef, which I was quite excited about because he’s very cute, but sadly he was never cooking in the nude, no matter how dangerous that may be.

The reason Mr. Oliver was speaking was because he’s currently trying to fight the rising tide of obesity here in the United States and across the world. Obesity is becoming one of the major causes of death around the world and especially here in the States and this is because of a few reasons. The first is that our diets are comprised of mostly fast food.

100 years ago if you were overweight it was a sign of wealth, that you were able to feed yourself well and probably ate three meals a day. These days it’s the exact opposite. Fast food has given the country an endless supply of calories to consume, thus getting fat, while the wealthy are able to by organically grown produce and eat finely crafted, healthy meals which keeps them trim.

As Mr. Oliver points out this isn’t entirely our fault. There’s a severe lack of knowledge about food and options when it comes to fast food and the foods we can buy at grocery stores. Basically we’re killing ourselves because of our diets and something needs to change.

I’ve kind of just summed up the main ideas but I implore you to take 20 minutes and watch the video above. I cooked all of my meals yesterday, thinking about each ingredient I used and checking every label, seeing just what I was consuming.


February 22, 2010 / By

‘Build On’ by Gestalten

A few weeks ago (I know, I’ve been behind on my book posts!) I was also sent a new book from my favorite publisher Gestalten called Build On. I had seen the book in one of their email blasts and asked if they’d send me one (and they did) and it’s as rad as I thought it would be.

The book is about transformative and converted architecture, taking an existing building and modifying it in some way. Take for example the Selexzy + Dominicanen Bookstore by Merkx + Girod Architects, which graces the front of the book (and which I posted about back in 2007). The structure itself is a thirteenth century church which had a giant, steel, three story bookstore put inside of it. To me it looks like it absolutely fits in the space, makes full use of it’s vertical space and lets you see the ancient friezes that line the ceilings.

They’ve split the book into three sections; As Found, Insideout and Change Clothes. The first is about using the existing structures and transforming them into spaces that make sense for people of today. Insideout is about adding onto buildings in unique ways that fully merge the old buildings with their contemporary additions, adding to the buildings built-in characteristics. The final chapter is Change Clothes which is about changing one entire aspect of a space drastically, take for example the High Line in New York.

When I first got this book I poured over all of the projects. I’ve seen a few of these online, but I’d say that 90% of these I had never seen before, so it was quite a treat. Build On totally makes me want to move to some tiny nordic town and create my own little paradise in a 300 year old building.

Click here to grab yourself a copy.


February 22, 2010 / By

‘The Invention of Hugo Cabret’ by Brian Selznick

A couple weeks ago my roommate lent me a book he was reading called The Invention of Hugo Cabret, written and illustrated by Brian Selznick. He prefaced it by telling me that it was kind of kids book with illustrations but it was a clever story and quite a quick read. I flipped through it and was immediately intrigued by it. You see, Hugo Cabret is like a picture book told like a movie. In fact, the first page is a detailed, close-up drawing of the moon, and the next 40 pages (all two page spreads) are drawings which lead you into the story.

The story is about a young boy named Hugo Cabret who lives in a train station, keeping all of the clocks running since his uncle mysteriously vanished three months ago. Since his uncle disappeared though he’s been obsessed with rebuilding a mechanical man, an automaton, which for some reason he has a hidden connection to. Add to that an old man who works at a shop in the train station and his curious goddaughter who have a mysterious connection to the automaton as well.

Overall I loved the book. I think it’s certainly meant for children but I enjoyed it without a doubt. The story takes some twists and turns I didn’t foresee and the illustrations are pretty well done. It’s definitely a quick read, I think I finished it in two nights. It’s also kind of interesting because Mr. Selznick ties in real history to the story, though a few things were invented to make the story more exciting. I’d definitely suggest checking this book out, especially if you have older kids around 8-10.


February 21, 2010 / By

Kitsune Noir Mixcast / No.026

For this week’s Mixcast I didn’t really have any sort of theme, it’s pretty just what I’ve been listening to lately. It definitely has an undertone of electronic music and it’s probably peppier than most things I do. There also isn’t a lot of singing on this one, it’s mostly good beats.

I do think though that there’s a pretty good mix of really popular artists mixed with rather unknowns, so hopefully you can find some new tunes on this as well. A couple notes, I did narrate this one and I may have made myself laugh a couple times. This is probably due to the fact that I’m totally exhausted right now. The second thing is that I’ve put the track listing in the lyrics part of the metadata. I’ve had a few people ask for it, so there you go. I hope you enjoy this mix, I think it turned out really well, kind of surprisingly so.

Here’s this week’s tracklist:
Giant Squid by RjD2
Hypertexan by Ben Benjamin
Plastic People by Four Tet
Pleasant Experience by Small Black
7 by Collections of Colonies of Bees
Nitetime Rainbows by A Sunny Day in Glasgow
Alley Cats by Hot Chip
James’ Second Haircut by Caribou
All Dried Up by Phantogram
The Screens by Atlas Sound
Dawn Chorus by Boards of Canada


February 19, 2010 / By