Monthly Archives: September 2009

Speakerboxx – Logitech’s Squeezebox Radio

Logitech Squeezebox Radio

Logitech Squeezebox Radio

You don’t have to listen to your mp3s on your computer anymore. Try this great radio set from Logitech, the Swiss company providing digital products for your computer and more. The digital stereo plays internet radio, subscription music service like Rhapsody and Napster, plus all of your digital music files. The Squeezebox connects to the internet through a port connection or wi-fi network, and includes an auxiliary plug for your iPod. Now you can listen to kcrw.org and then shift to Pandora with a turn of a knob. It’s a small package measuring 5.1” x 8.7” x 5”,but promises to boost a robust sound. It’s basically perfect for the desktop. Show your music some respect and listen to it on a dedicated radio like this.

The Squeezebox Radio is $199 and can be ordered directly at www.logitech.com.

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Filed under Accessories, Gadgets, Hardware, Music, Office

Fashionable Bands – Rubber Bands

Russell+Hazel's designer rubber bands

Russell+Hazel's designer rubber bands

Here’s a great way to add a simple detail to your binders and notebooks. Russell+Hazel makes these great heavy duty rubber bands printed with very cool graphics for a dash of color. You might be thinking, why would I ever use a rubber band around my notebook? Let me share. For some reason, many marketers like myself have an infinity to spiral notebooks and three ring binders for all of the note-taking during those long brain/brandstorming sessions. I never thought anything of it until my colleague in Austin mentioned it when I walked into the conference room with a Mead spiral. She, too, was holding a similar notebook. Since then, I’ve upgraded to Moleskin journals and Muji binders for a more professional presentation, but nothing will beat the joy of writing on college-ruled lined paper. Jumping from meeting to meeting, I’m often handed additional paperwork during those conferences and I’m placing them in the pages of my notebook. A large rubber band can help keep everything in place and address the dreaded accident of letting pages slip out.

Use it to secure your binder.

Use it to secure your binder.

Get two in a set when ordering directly from Russell+Hazel for $8.

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Real Simple Tip – In The Closet

Closet Before

Closet: Before (photo:Nikolas Koenig)

I can hear my friend laughing right now about my days “in the closet,” being so evasive, yet innately obvious. After reading about this tip from Real Simple, I actually don’t think I’d mind going back into hiding as long as I had the closed quarters decked out like this (image below). The magazine’s design director Ellene Wundrok converted her entryway closet as a hidden home office. If you don’t require much work surface and really need dedicated space for web surfing and e-mails, then you might want to tackle this weekend project by creating a similar work station. I love the idea of going vertical with the space – printer, boxes, paper, all can be stored above the desk on shelves.

A great trick offered by Real Simple as shown below – Use coat hooks to cradle wrapping paper rolls. Note: I actually keep wrapping paper at my desk for special last minute gifts for a colleagues birthday or a corporate client memento. You may want to do the same.

Converted closet for a home office

After: Converted closet for a home office (photo:Nikolas Koenig)

Grant it, this version is quite femme, but I do think you can create something neutral and just as interesting with the use of a bold graphic imprint. Even out of the closet, I still have issues with pink. Perhaps gray, blue, or even turquoise might work. I think this is a great solution for those living in challenged spaces. You see, anyone can have an office of their own.

Get more ideas about converting your closet at www.realsimple.com.

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Not All Junk – Custom Stamps

Custom Stamps at Expressionary.com

Custom Stamps at Expressionary.com

It’s amazing how much junk mail is delivered daily. From supermarket sales to postcards from local real estate brokers, the amount of paper tossed in the recycling bin is outstanding. I was convinced that one of the major criminals of such crap was Valpak, the envelope full of discounts and announcements for random products and services. I’ll be so happy to never see another mailer from Closet World again. Usually, this packet would be tossed in the trash upon arrival, but when working from home, I’ve noticed the sudden urge to comb through everything and anything delivered to us. My neurosis has kicked in to high gear. Luckily, I did find something of interest.

Expressionary.com is an online retailer of some generic custom stationery and other household products. Their advertised custom stamps are actually practical and the 40% discount makes for a rather good buy. Choose from a large variety of design options and make yourself a stamp to keep deskside for a variety of needs. Use it to stamp the wrapping paper for a gift you’re about to give. Stamp the inside corner of a book you’re about to lend your co-worker. Place the stamp on the corner of an envelope for your return label. Whatever the need, you’ll find a suitable need for it.

If ordering before November 4, 2009, use specialoffer in the code section at checkout to receive 40% off the original price of $45 for the custom stamp. Take a look at your options by clicking here, expressionary.com. Please do me a favor and avoid the cutesy ones, like Piglet, Pooh, etc.

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Design File – DIY Filing Cabinet

DIY Tip from Design Sponge

DIY Tip from Design Sponge

The great thing about writing a blog is finding other like-minded sites for ideas and inspiration…or in this case, to provide a referal. Thank you Laura for turning me on to Design Sponge, a design blog featuring before and after projects ranging from rooms, gardens, and file cabinets. This submission shows how you can revamp an old metal file cabinet into a contemporary accent in your office. With paint, wall paper and new hardware, you can total transform a stale piece of furniture and do it on the cheap. Keep this in mind for an upcoming weekend project.

Get the list of materials and directions at Design Sponge.

DIY in style, revamped metal cabinet

DIY in style, revamped metal cabinet

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Green Thinking – Glass Jars

Real Simple Tip - Reused Glass Jars photo, Antonis Achilleos

Real Simple Tip - Reused Glass Jars photo, Antonis Achilleos

Green is the new Black. Well, not quite, but being eco-friendly is a growing trend that seems to be making large strides with the masses. Try this tip from the editors at Real Simple magazine. Adopt the three R’s of the green lifestyle – reuse, renew, re-purpose – and give new life to your glass jars you would otherwise recycle. Peel off the jam and tomato sauce labels from the containers and wash off the sticky residual. Now use them for storing your pens, push-pins, paper clips and such on your desk. You can create a collection with the assortment of jars sitting in your cupboard. It’s a great way to add something of interest to your work surface while being considerate of the amount waste you contribute to the world. And with this, you’ll have your co-workers “green” with envy that they didn’t think of it sooner.

Save the world…well, at least help reduce the amount of trash we produce. If you’re cooking often, you can start saving multiple jars for your co-workers. Standardize the office with this quick idea.

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She Has Curves – Mirren Desk Lamp

Mirren Desk Lamp from Crate and Barrel

Mirren Desk Lamp from Crate and Barrel

With a marble base and a sweeping steel arm, Crate and Barrel’s Mirren Desk Lamp reminds me of a modern classic that is an icon for many designers. The Arco Floor Lamp with its marble base and large overarching steel arm hovers above low profile furniture in picture-perfect modern homes across the world. There is something quite harmonious about the design and I’m pleased to see the inspiration executed so well with the Mirren lamp. The glass shade with its clean, thin pointing handle is just as pristine as the anchor and knob for controlling the position of the adjustable steel arm. The combination of the white marble, white glass shade, and the brushed stainless steel body is very polished and perfect for any desk.

Priced at $199, you can order it directly from crateandbarrel.com .

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Just a dash of wallpaper – Osborn and Little

Osborn & Little Talisa Wallpaper

Osborn & Little Talisa Wallpaper

Remember the post from a couple of weeks ago, Bold Expressions? I started thinking about wallpaper and wanted to give you a source for some great graphic backdrops. One company that is famous in the residential market for decorating is Osborn & Little. They release a collection of new prints for each season and continue to add to their large catalog periodically. If taking on the challenge of applying wallpaper to your office, remember the golden rule, “less is more.” One feature wall with the wallpaper is enough to make a bold statement. For those of you in a corporate office with company policies forbidding the application, try applying the wallpaper to a large thumb-tack board. Or use it as art work and frame it above your desk.

Here are a few of my favorites from Osborn Little’s collection.

Osborn & Little Clarendon

Osborn & Little Clarendon

Osborn & Little Amarsagar

Osborn & Little Amarsagar

Osborn & Little Maharani

Osborn & Little Maharani

Palais-Chinois

Palais-Chinois

Perroquet Strip

Perroquet Strip

Richmond

Richmond

Each roll is 11 yards x 21.5 inches. This will provide you with approximately 54 sf or slightly less. Prices vary, but expect to pay $150 a roll. Check out the collection and find a retailer by visiting, www.osbornandlittle.com.

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Sheesham Shazam – Wood Paper Box

Sheesham Wood Paper Box from The Conran Shop

Sheesham Wood Paper Box from The Conran Shop

One of my favorite stores is The Conran Shop located on the Upper East Side of New York, right under the 59th Street Bridge. Founded by Sir Terence Conran, the British designer and retailer, the store is like walking through a mini mall museum of classic design and contemporary objects for the home and office. I would frequent the shop whenever overseeing a photoshoot in NY, walking out of the store with plenty of great options for staging. What’s fantastic about this place is the range of products and price, making good design accessible for everyone. Now, mind you, it’s not Target, but a few steps above with regards to quality and price-point. For example, this paper box made of sheesham wood with its hand-carved ridges is a great executive-style piece for your desk or credenza and on sale for $57 (not including shipping). Sheesham is an exotic wood from the forest of India with natural rosewood qualities. The two-drawer box is great for storing specialty paper or hiding the clutter of paper work on your desk.

detail of sheesham box

detail of sheesham box

As for the shop’s namesake, Sir Conran is quite an interesting businessman. With a small empire of stores, restaurants and a design studio, he lost controlling interest in the company back in 1990. He then created the Conran Shop and has since launched a few other projects.

Get your box while it remains on sale at www.conranusa.com.

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MSFW – Mayer Hawthorne

Music for the office - Mayer Hawthorne's A Strange Arrangement

Music Safe For Work - Mayer Hawthorne's A Strange Arrangement

My recent New Music Tuesday find inspired me to write this post and a new series of entries for the near future. Some of my friends think I have good taste in music, but I must admit to the indulgence of some horrific pop and dance grooves. Despite the occasional Christina remix and various one-hit wonders, I do alright finding some great talent. When I need to crank out a deadline, I need my music to be another background layer to compliment my work space. It’s great for ambiance and can easily be cranked up for drowning out the annoying boss. MSFW – Music Safe/Suitable For Work is a recommendation of some artists that you might overlook or not have the pleasure of hearing on mainstream radio.

I just downloaded the debut album from Ann Arbor-native Mayer Hawthorne that comes equipped with a true modern reinterpretation of old school Detroit soul. The 29-year old artist plays all of the album’s instruments as well as sing, sounding much like his childhood influences including Smokey, Curtis Mayfield and Isaac Hayes. We’ve seen a resurgence in this retro-style of music, but you can’t deny this man his gift to create something so pure and enjoyable. It reminds me of the late 70s when my older cousins would use me as a decoy to take my aunt’s Monte Carlo and go cruise Whittier Blvd. What were my parents thinking?

I think you’ll really appreciate his music and love playing the download at the office.

For more info about Mayer Hawthorne, check out his record label, Stones Throw.

Below you’ll find two embedded videos of one of his tracks. Pick up his new release on iTunes.

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