PERSONAL

Shopnic

Goodness knows there’s plenty of totes to choose from nowadays, but this shopper is slightly different in that it has an internal spring to provide structure. When you’re not using it, it folds down to store easily in the back of your car or in a cabinet.

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Purchase Information:

Price: $90.00
Available from: Plastica

Lunch Pot

Soup-for-lunch lovers rejoice, for Black+Blum has brought you the perfect vessel. This two-pot canister is watertight (so your liquids won’t leak), lightweight and BPA-free. The carry strap and spork are included, and when you’re done with your meal, the smaller pot fits into the larger one for a compact carry back home. Available in white/orange, white/lime, and black/red.

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Purchase Information:

Price: $22.00
Available from: A+R Store

The Satchel from Linus Bike

I like how this satchel can be worn on your back securely with a waist and shoulder strap or, if you’d rather be unencumbered, you can easily hook it to your bike rack. Magnetic closure and a padded sleeve for your laptop finish out the function.
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Purchase Information:

Price: $85.00
Available from: Linus Bike

LightCap: Solar Powered Lantern & Water Bottle

Add some solar power to the top of a water bottle and voilà, you have yourself a lantern. FastSolar technology allows for up to 8 hours of light time and the one liter bottle could also double as a waterproof container for your wallet or cellphone. It’d be perfect for camping, wouldn’t it? More details below.
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Purchase Information:

Price: $29.95
Available from: Useful Things

MUJI Hard Carry Suitcase

MUJI rarely goes wrong, and for that very reason I’m extremely curious how well these suitcases will stand up to the tests of travel. While they don’t meet FAA carry on guidelines (45 linear inches is the maximum), they do look durable and are much more affordable than some other similarly attractive hardcases. More info below.

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Purchase Information:

Price: $197.50
Available from: Muji

Bürowolfgang Bag

If you tote around your vinyl records occasionally, you’ll be pleased to know that this bag is big enough for that plus a front pocket for a laptop or tablet. Music producer Paul-David Rollmann collaborated with designer Patrick Koenig on the Bürowolfgang Bag, so rest assured your records will be transported appropriately to the specifications of a pro. Available in blue or black leather. (If you don’t tote around records, just think of the larger sketchbooks/magazines/newspapers that would easily fit instead.)

From Airbag Craftworks of Germany.

Purchase Information:

Price: $325.00
Available from: A+R Store

That Blows Hanky set

So, now that most of us have eschewed paper towels in favor of clever/artistic washable tea towels in the kitchen, is it time to convert back to cloth when it comes to our noses? Before paper tissue became de rigueur, everyone had a handkerchief for personal hygiene, and perhaps all we need to return to the old fashioned habit is a little encouragement from this set. I especially like the idea of giving this as a gift to someone going through a semi-tough time (Dear John letter = heartache, Insufficient funds statement = broke, etc.).

Set of 5 hankies: a bad report card, a pink slip, and insufficient funds statement, an actual war-time Dear John letter, and a parking citation.

Purchase Information:

Price: $20.00
Available from: House8810

Pencut by Raymay Fujii

Running around with scissors just got a whole lot safer. This pen-like device houses a pair of compact scissors: remove the cap, slide up/out the flexible handles and cut away. Handy addition to a pencil case, I’d say. Green appears to be sold out, but black and pink still have some in stock.

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Purchase Information:

Price: $15.25
Available from: JetPens.com

Source: Cool Hunting

Great Balls of Wire

Here’s yet another option to consider in your battle against messy cords. The tennis sized ball can hide (or “swallow”) up to 5 feet of cable, cutting down on all that extraneous cordage that most of us have behind/around our desks and media centers. Designed by Søren Refsgaard and manufactured by Bald & Bang.

Available in red, orange, pink, grey, blue, black, yellow, green, and white.

Purchase Information:

Price: $18.00
Available from: Finnish Design Shop

Spacepak™ Toiletry Bag

If your current travel bag is worse for the wear, consider the Spacepak™, as it’s currently on sale at MoMA Store. The tri-fold case has mesh pockets and compartments to organize your stuff easily and a built-in hook means you can hang it anywhere. If you don’t mind bright orange, it’s a good price for a durable travel toiletry bag.

Made of durable 100% nylon with a bright orange exterior and handle and a gray interior.
Hand-wash only.

Purchase Information:

Price: $29.95
Available from: MoMA Store

Expedition Wooden Tripod

Amateur or pro, this wooden tripod would no doubt become an heirloom in any photographer’s toolkit. Built in the same way for over 100 years in Germany by Berlebach, the tripod is made of sustainably harvested ash wood and extends from 2 to 6 feet. An aluminum core keeps it light at 6.20 lbs, meaning you can tote it around semi-comfortably at events or short hikes. Also, did you know that wood absorbs vibration naturally? So, less worries about shaky pics.
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Purchase Information:

Price: $290.00
Available from: Photojojo

The Glif

Do you need yet another gadget for your iPhone? Maybe. This little guy makes your iPhone mountable on a tripod as well as giving you various viewing angles. It’s made from recyclable rubberized plastic and is small enough to fit in your pocket. Might make a good gift for a fellow photo-taking-iPhone-fan, perhaps?
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Purchase Information:

Price: $20.00
Available from: BiteMyApple

Tattly Temporary Tattoos

You’ve most likely seen or heard of the recently launched Tattly, a site offering decently designed temporary tattoos compiled by none other than Tina Roth Eisenberg, otherwise known as swissmiss. My favorites: Knucks by Frank Chimero, Tattone by Josh Smith, Cursors also by Josh Smith, and Rabbit by Marc Johns.

$5 for a set of 2 or all 15 for $35.
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Purchase Information:

Price: $5.00
Available from: Tattly

Global Entry Program

If you travel to international destinations more than a couple of times a year, you might want to consider the Global Entry Program. It’s a trusted traveller program that allows speedy passport checks and customs declaration. Upon arrival, you’re able to go straight to the Global Entry kiosks where your passport is read, fingerprint verification is taken, and customs declaration is printed out, all of which takes about 3 minutes. You completely skip the long lines for passport checks, which are usually half an hour or longer (as you might know), and proceed directly to the baggage claim and exit.

I applied/joined last year, as I travelled back and forth from the UK to the US several times, and I fully recommend it. You do have to go through a background check and interview*, which most likely takes an hour total, and it costs about $100 for the application fee, but that quickly becomes well worth the time and money. It’s been incredibly convenient to skip right past the long line for passport checks, and I’ve noticed lately that airports are increasing the amount of kiosks as more people apply (even so, with airports that have two or three kiosks instead of a dozen, I’ve never had anyone in front of me). Interested? Global Entry: How to apply. Also, to check and see if your home city has enrollment centers and kiosks, see the kiosk & terminal maps.
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Purchase Information:

Price: $100.00
Available from: Global Entry

IDEA Dynamic Headphones

These minimal headphones look very similar to the Ashidavox ST-90, but have been reworked for better sound and comfort. Music to your ears, right?
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Purchase Information:

Price: $140.00
Available from: Vetted