Visiting Paris, recommendations welcome

Visiting Paris

To celebrate our 5th anniversary Kyle and I are traveling to Paris from July 24 to August 3 for amazing food, lots of champagne, and some wonderful shopping. The thing is, I’ve never visited before and Kyle hasn’t been for over 10 years. We’re hoping to get some interesting tips on places that are unique, exclusive, off the beaten path, etc. Or if you run a cool design studio, make some cool products, or want us to drink at your secret bar, let us know. We’re looking for experiences that only people in the know would be privy to. Also, we may do a TFIB drinks night as well, so if you’re interested please let me know! Thanks in advance for the advice.

July 13, 2015 / By

The Craftsmen of Ireland

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At the end of last year, I was delighted to hear that Jameson had invited me to Ireland to interact with some of their local craftsman, tour their incredible distillery, and—of course—enjoy some delicious Irish whiskey.

Never having been to Ireland before, I knew I was in for a treat. Telling friends and co-workers about my journey I was told stories about cozy, old pubs that buzz until late into the night, lusciosus green hills that seem to last forever, and encountering folks who were some of the nicest they’d ever met. This was one of the elements that still stands out so vividly to me: how kind the people are.

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The first craftsman we visited was a burly man named Garvan de Bruir, a leather crafter working in the quaint town of Killdare. We drove almost directly from the Dublin airport to his studio and was greeted with a spread of sandwiches, salads, and good beer, which was much needed after a 14+ hour flight. Garvan’s kindness matched his creativity as we snacked in an impressive studio he designed himself, not content only creating objects with leather.

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The De Bruir line of leather goods are fantastic, too. He makes a little bit of everything such as luggage, bags, wallets, keep-all trays, and, most surprising of all, bow ties. I believe hearing the words “leather bow tie” might induce a cringe amongst most but his design is flawless and, when you see Garvin himself wearing one, you suddenly see how well it works.

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We were given the opportunity to make leather aprons for ourselves using De Bruir designs. Watching Garvan and his apprentice work looked simple but in actuality is a lot like watching cooking shows on television: “I can do that, no big deal,” you say in your head. As I learned, leather crafting is not simple. Thankfully we had expert teachers who led us through process with ease as we chatted about other small leather good brands from around the world. It was two days of hard work that led to a beautiful product that should last me forever.

After this, we took off for the town of Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city and home to a number of glass blowers. Waterford might sound familiar and that’s because it was the home of Waterford Crystal. Well, that was until 2009 when they declared bankruptcy and laid off most of their artisans. Still! That didn’t stop companies like The Irish Handmade Glass Company from filling the void with their very in-demand skills.

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If you’ve never seen glass blowing in person, it’s hard to fully understand the beauty of the process. We were treated to Richard Rowe showing us how a master glass blower goes about his craft, tranforming globs of molten glass into precious pieces of art in minutes. It’s an intimdating craft that has an element of danger—or at least you think this from the view of a spectator, which is a part of it’s allure.

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The last leg of our trip was a tour through the Jameson Distillery in Cork, a facility that’s been around since 1795. The distillery is indicative of what I saw a lot of in Ireland: a rich history and heritage now being augmented with contemporary design and architecture. As you walk around you’re overwhelmed by the age of the place, that has been the brand home for hundreds of years.

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They’ve been plying their craft, slowly but surely moving toward the present and future of whiskey. The grounds are mostly lined with old building made of stone and wood, like a Dickensian setting of some sort. This setting continues in the past until the near end, where you’re guided to the new wing of the facility a state-of-the-art complex that resembles a Bond villains lair (but in actuality, distills golden, whiskey goodness).

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They even have (what I would call) a whiskey labratory officially titled the Irish Whiskey Academy. It offers a number of courses on the history of whiskey, how it’s produced, and—yes—extensive tastings. The tastings were particularly interesting because of the variety of flavors and nuance a whiskey can take on. Some had fruit notes, some where quite smokey; others were younger and thus quite potent, a specific taste for specific people. Getting to soak up the details of a whiskey like that is not something that happens very often—especially in such a storied place like the Jameson Distillery.

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In all, Ireland was a fantastic place to visit. The weather was warm, the people were warmer, and the whiskey never stops flowing. You can’t ask for much more than that.

January 27, 2015 / By

The Carry On Cocktail Brings Proper Drinks Back To Flying

Carry On Cocktail

It certainly feels like the glamorous days of flying are over. Free checked bags are history, seats are getting smaller inch by inch, and the food is certainly never going to get better. Thankfully W & P Design and Punch have teamed up to create the Carry On Cocktail, perhaps the cure to inflight mediocrity.

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The kit contains a recipe card, bitters, sugar, a combination spoon & muddler, and to class things up even further, a linen napkin. And because you’re plane bound everything was designed to meet FAA regulations, so there’s no fear of a cranky agent dropping your stash in the trash.

December 2, 2014 / By

The Fox Is Black UK Adventure

The Fox Is Black UK Adventure

Every now and then I have some amazing opportunities offered to me and my upcoming week is no exception. Thanks to the fine folks of Jameson whiskey I’m wandering about Ireland for the next few days spending time meeting local artisans, trying my hands at leather crafting and glass blowing, and of course drinking fine whiskey. I’ll be sharing a few posts about the experience on here though my Instagram will probably be updated the most.

I’ll also be spending a few days in London this weekend so I’m thinking it could be great to do a TFIB Bar Meet-Up somewhere in the city. More information to come!

November 17, 2014 / By

Places To Visit: Barcelona’s Delicious Looking Praktik Bakery Hotel

Praktik Bakery Hotel

You know that underlying feeling of spontaneously running away from everything and living somewhere new and different? Those feelings have been stirring around for a while, particularly focused on the cities of Madrid and Barcelona. Through a little research and bit of Internet digging I stumbled upon the enticing Praktik Hotels, located in the Eixample district of Barcelona.

The Praktik Bakery, a hotel that has the fully operational Baluard Bakery at it’s heart, sounds like a dream come true to yours truly. You can imagine how enchanting it must be to wake up to the smell of freshly baked bread wafting through your window.

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Complimenting the delicious aromas is a cleanly designed hotel that’s lined with white tile and rustic brick throughout. The tiles in the bathroom (as seen below) are phenomenal as well. How could you not take a selfie with those luscious blues as the backdrop?

Praktik Bakery Hotel

Prakitk Bakery Hotel

Praktik Bakery Hotel

Praktik Bakery Hotel

Praktik Bakery Hotel

Praktik Bakery Hotel

If you’re one of those people prefer to drink your meals then perhaps you should check out the just opened Praktik Vinoteca who’s theme is centered around wine. A boutique hotel similar to the Praktik Bakery, here you’ll find an ambiance made up of warm woods decorating the space, a clear reference to the iconic wine barrel.

October 21, 2014 / By

David Benjamin Sherry’s Mono-Color Landscapes Are Far From Monotonous

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New York’s illustrious photography gallery, Danziger, has inaugurated its new space at 521 West 23rd Street with the first NYC showing of David Benjamin Sherry’s mono-color landscapes. Featuring a series of photographs that Sherry shot over the course of 2013 and 2014, it’s a heartfelt look at the world in a post modern sense. Having turned classic American landscapes into panoramas of vast and vivid color, Sherry’s renditions reminds us the importance of color in design and how much it can influence the perception of your work. The body of work is stunning and its presentation falls inline with the recent release of Sherry’s book.

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David Benjamin Sherry was born in 1981 in Woodstock, NY and currently lives and works out of Los Angeles. Having received his BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and his MFA from Yale University, he has seen much success and presented forth an impressive body of medium challenging work. I’ve heard him referred to as the modern day Ansel Adams. If that’s not saying a lot, then I don’t know what is.

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You can view his art as a part of the permanent collections at the Wexner Center of the Arts, Columbus, Ohio, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and the Saatchi Collection, London. Sherry’s most recent success occurred just last month, where he published Earth Changes in collaboration with Mörel Books, London. The book challenges categorical photography ideologies and questions photography’s truth.

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In his latest, Sherry used a traditional handmade wooden camera and shot with the beloved f/64 aperture (admired by classics like Edward Weston and the aforementioned Adams). Sherry adds his signature chromogenic hues by then altering the film in the darkroom. These exaggerated hues are simultaneously surreal, monochrome, and painterly.

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Often acidic and futuristic, they implore the viewer to question the classic landscapes and the role of nature in the world, or rather, what role we have towards nature. This work demonstrates that Sherry is not only a master of bold, sensual color, but also exploration, as seen by the West and SouthWestern American landscapes he reimagines. He portrays geological phenomena such as rock formations and sand dunes with those vivid and unexpected colors, which are a departure from their natural presentation.

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Strolling through the gallery you begin to feel a rhythm to the show, as directed by Sherry’s syncopated palettes of color. It’s a direct engagement with the viewer and an invitation to turn the mind’s eye inward. Sherry’s landscapes remind us, without preaching, of the inherent value that exists in nature—what it offers, what it represents, and ultimately, its ability to connect us to a broader experience. You can even goes as far as concluding that the tones, in combination with the landscapes, are critical of mankind’s relationship to recent climate change.

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike… This natural beauty – hunger is made manifest … in our magnificent National Parks … Nature’s sublime wonderlands, the admiration and joy of the world.”
– John Muir

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I could probably take a page from Sherry’s book and not be so preachy about our relationship with Earth, but seeing works such as the photographs on show at Danziger fill me with passion and insight that I can’t resist. It’s so refreshing to see artists such as Sherry take another look at such a classic and beloved medium, and stock it loaded with contemporary commentary. A must see.

Sherry’s work is on show till October 25th. If you’re unable to drop by, you can order his new book here.

October 1, 2014 / By

Interview with an Editor: Serena Guen of SUITCASE Magazine

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I’ve always thought that with the decreasing readership of print it wasn’t that it needed to keep up with the times but rather retarget itself. It seemed to me that print could be kept alive not by dumbing down but by smartening up and aiming itself at a new audience. You only need to take a look at some of the most recent additions to the magazine world to see I might not be far off. Editors and Designers are putting far more emphasis on creating something that will be read rather than skimmed. Filling a niche for a quality travel magazine aimed at women is SUITCASE, run by 23 year old Editor-in-Chief Serena Guen. With its feet in culture and fashion, SUITCASE has received much accolade and without sounding superfluous looks on track to perhaps become the feminine Monocle.

I spoke to the adventurous and ambitious Serena on the origins of SUITCASE and her outlook on learning and work.

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February 6, 2014 / By

Randy P. Martin’s photos act as a therapeutic getaway

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Photographer, Randy P. Martin, (featured here before by Bobby) has a new series titled We Are Tiny. Humbly referring to his photography as simply, ‘Travel Documentation,’ Martin captures his adventures to the corners of the globe in charming snapshots of the people and locations he encounters a long the way. What really captured my eye (or rather my mind) in Martin’s new set was the therapeutic nature of the work. We Are Tiny envelopes our need to travel while also highlighting the paltriness of our existence.

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January 23, 2014 / By

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