Observations from our (ongoing) trip to the swiss alps…

I apologize for the sudden hiatus in posting. This little family traveled to the swiss alps and things got a little hectic as the trip was approaching. We, once again, did a house swap with a swiss family. I can not recommend this way of traveling enough. We are staying in a *beautiful* 2 bedroom apartment in St.Gallen (north east of Switzerland) with a beautiful view over the old town and the alps. And our hosts even left us the key to their car! I was chuckling when we entered our temporary new home for the first time as there was a sign above the main entrance that said ‘built in 1907′. Our place in Brooklyn was built in 2007. A whopping 100 years difference. Ha!

A few first observations:

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- Ella used her new Trunki for the first time and it was a big hit. She ran around with it on the airport and made quite a few heads turn.

- One thing that makes G and me laugh every time we travel to Switzerland is the fact they never (!) even open his passport upon arrival in Zurich. They would not open it. Just wouldn’t. They always wave us through. Not quite the experience one has when traveling to the USA, for sure.

- I can’t get over how amazing tap water tastes here. Both G and I go into raving mode every time we fill our glasses and start drinking. One could think we are talking about a really expensive bottle of red vino.

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- Swiss public transportation is a delight; Clean, well designed, on time. (I think it would be reason enough for G to move here.)

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- Switzerland is the land of indoor pools, it seems. G and I are always looking forward to our ‘swimming adventures’ especially now, with Ella getting into it. I am wondering, why swimming is not more part of american (youth) past time? And I don’t mean straight up swimming, I mean just going to pools and hang out, have fun, go on slides, play on the big inflatable toys they put out. It’s such a huge part of swiss culture. Growing up, I’d at least go to a pool once a week.

- When at a supermarket, you need to weigh your veggies and fruit yourself. (each item has a corresponding number that you need to hit when putting your selected items on the appropriate scale in the veggie/fruit department.) I forget this *every* single time and earn angry, impatient looks upon check-out. Oopsie!

- I love that they have tiny shopping carts at most swiss supermarkets. Ella’s smile, when pushing one of these around, is priceless.

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- The swiss sure are organized to the core. Check out this drawer in my (crazy cool) aunt’s kitchen:

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- Jet lag going *to* Europe with a little one is not the problem, it’s coming back to the US. For some reason, Ella adjusts to swiss time right away, every time we make it to Switzerland. Going back is a different story.

- Oh, and: Traveling with a toddler *can* be fun!

swisstweets.ch

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Swisstweets.ch is a directory of all Swiss Twitter Users. Check out the Directory page. Obviously Twitter has not really taken off yet in Switzerland…

WebStencil and Safari Notepad

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DesignCommission sent me one of their ingenious WebStencil and Safari Notepads. I instantly asked them if the pads were for sale. They put a huge smile on my face.

Felt SnowFlake

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Felt SnowFlake Ornaments, made in Germany. (When I hear ‘made in..’ I instantly expect to hear China these days. How refreshing to hear a European country for once!)

The Iridesco Stimulus Package: Out of Many Ideas, One Hundred Dollars.

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Iridesco started their own version of the Stimulus Package today: An experiment to get some good small business ideas that can help other small business owners out: They ask a question. You contribute an idea. They will round-up the best answers on the Iridesco Watercooler and let you, the voting public, decide who deserves to receive $100 for their thoughts. They’ll spread the best ideas to help businesses work smarter and the winning contributor will receive $100 from us to stimulate the economy.

Question for employers: While conserving cash, what grand gestures can you offer your loyal employees for the holidays?

CreativeMornings Video: Zach Klein and Casey Pugh


12/12/08 Zach Klein and Casey Pugh on Physical Computing from CreativeMornings on Vimeo.

Horray we have a movie of last week’s CreativeMornings with Zach Klein and Casey Pugh! Thanks to Roland Lazarte, a freshman at NYU, you can now enjoy the talk at home. Thank you Rolo!

We will try our best to keep the filming of these talks up. I know many of you are interested in seeing them. Roland is not going to be around on January 9th, when our next CreativeMorning is happening (announcement will be coming shortly). Do you know anyone that might take Rolo’s place that day?

Abstract christmas greeting card from the folks at AKQA.

(via misterstarfish)

Coolest Beret ever. Beret12

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I *love* PlayFoam!

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So, here’s a product, I would have never bought, did I not have the chance to try it at a friend’s house the other day. PlayFoam
always looked messy to me. But you know what, it’s way less messy than Play-Dogh. In fact, it’s not messy at all and quite addictive to play with. I just picked up a box for our plane ride to the swiss alps tomorrow. Little Ella will be thrilled. And if not, I’ll have fun playing with it. Whee! (I admit thought, I do question if it can be harmful, it sure does smell toxic!)

StickyScreen – a digital post-it in your web browser

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Very much like Jack Cheng, I have a habit of putting sticky notes on the edge of my monitor. His new project StickyScreen takes the note off the edge of your monitor and puts it smack dab in the middle. The idea is to set StickyScreen as your homepage so that your ‘note to self’ shows up whenever you open a new tab or browser window. Lovely. Now, can we have a white background, please?

gridr buildrrr

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Designer Tom Genoni offers up a quick tool for creating layout grids, with fine-tuned control over gutters and margins, and drag-and-drop placeholders for advertising units: gridr buildrrr

(via subtraction)

There’s something up in blog-ville

I just stumbled across the below paragraph in JohnsonBanks’ thought of the week: There’s something up in blog-ville:

Some of the original design blog stars are still there, like Swiss Miss, but the charm of observing the batty observations of a European in Manhattan are now regularly peppered with posts about it’s editor being featured here, or there, or speaking somewhere. But no-one can blame Tina Roth Eisenberg for turning her anonymity into some more marketable – she doubtless felt that years of posting about cool products had to lead somewhere, eventually, and her blog-fame may well help her design-fame. Maybe it makes sense to ‘monetize’ after all.

And funny enough, just last week, I had a conversation with two friend’s of mine about whether posting about my speaking engagements and press pieces could be damaging and upset my blog readers. Not sure how I feel now having come across this mention in JohnsonBanks much respected Thought of the week.

How NYC is like the internet…

“Serendipitous encounters between people who know each other well, sort of well, and not at all. People of every type, and with every type of agenda, trying to meet up with others who share that same agenda. An environment that’s alive at all hours, populated by all types, and is, most of the time, pretty safe. What he was saying, really, was that New York had become the Web. Or perhaps more, even: that New York was the Web before the Web was the Web, characterized by the same free-flowing interaction, 24/7 rhythms, subgroups, and demimondes.”

How NYC is like the internet, in “Is Urban Loneliness a Myth? New York Magazine.

(via everythingontheinternetistrue)

Falling words.

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Who is this image from originally? Wonderful image by Marina Camargo. Found it over on szymon. Made me smile.

This.Is.Stunning. (gasp)

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Innovative and stunning paper-cut illustrations of Yulia Brodskaya, graphic designer and illustrator from Russia.

(via chrisglass)

Viral Marketing at Death Star

(via unfolded)

YES!! FontFont catalogue can be viewed online over at issuu

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The entire FontFont catalogue can be viewed online over at issuu. You can flip through the 2009 catalogue, zoom in for higher resolution, and even download it (though you’ll need to sign up). Fantastic!

(via ILoveTypography)

Antique Carpenter Wood Letters

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Handcrafted Antique Carpenter Wood Letters (set of 17)

Making Modular Layout Systems

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Jason’s My 24ways article is online: Making Modular Layout Systems.

Socket Deer

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Socket Deer outlet covers let you put your mobile phone on the wall as it recharges. The antlers for all three types of deer are already the perfect shape to hold things, so Nendo hardly had to modify the forms at all. The tough urethane rubber they used for the cover holds handsets tightly, and also protects the antlers from breakage should you bump into them. Socket-deer can also be used as a cover for light switches, and the antlers make an excellent hook for keys or accessories. I am in love!

(thank you natalia)

5 Inspiring Web Design Conference Speeches

Chris compiled 5 Inspiring Web Design Conference Speeches you Shouldn’t Have Missed in 2008. I was lucky enough to see Paul Boag’s speech On how to get clients to say yes live at this year’s FOWD here in Manhattan.

Perfect Gift for a traveling 2-4 year old: Trunki

Christmas came early for our little EllaBella: Her fabulous aunt sent her a Trunki . Designed for family holidays, children can pack, sit-on and ride their own luggage, whilst parents can keep them in tow. It’s been a huge hit already. We had to pull Ella up and down the hallway. Trunki will definitely keep us and E entertained next wednesday at the airport, waiting to board a plane to the swiss alps. (YAY!)

LOGO FAVES | logo design inspiration

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Logos! Lots of them. Here, at LOGO FAVES.

My 3 favorite books to give this holiday season:

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Wisdom by much admired photographer Andrew Zuckerman.

ABC3D. (I just got my copy two days ago and I am at awe. I seriously do not understand how they were able to keep the price this low. I would have been willing to pay double. This is a must-have!)

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The Incredible Book Eating Boy