Where I'm at: ZAAZ

It's been pretty quiet over here on the blog since 2012 kicked in. There is a good excuse for that.

Just a month ago, I joined ZAAZ (pronounced z•ah•z) a digital ad agency that prides itself on not only the work they do for clients like Audi, Microsoft, Coca- Cola and Nokia but also on their core values.  Values like passion, kindness, perspective, integrity and results.  Values that many people and companies talk about embracing but don't.

There is something different about ZAAZ.  Something real and genuine that made me jump in and say yes.  I am so fortunate to be a part of a team of incredibly smart and engaged people who I've already been able to collaborate, build and stretch with.  There is a reason why Ad Age named us one of the best places to work.  We have lots of exciting things in store.  Stay tuned.



The Perfect Sunday: Marlow and Daughters

031410_NYC_138I have a crush.  The sort of crush you just can't stop talking and thinking about.  Yes, I have a crush on the whole Marlow and Sons, Diner, Marlow and Daughters, Romans empire. We've been spending a lot of time out in Williamsburg enjoying the excitement that comes with exploring new neighborhoods.  Along the way, we've made it a point to acquaint ourselves with other local shops and restaurants.  And while all the discoveries have left us gitty with excitement and very full bellies, our trip to Marlow and Daughters was made extra special thanks to two amazing friends that gave us a gift certificate for our birthdays.

We were torn about whether to be practical or extravagant (ground beef or steaks).  The butcher's consensus was "buy things for yourself that you would normally buy," so we went for two beautiful filet mignons, fresh ricotta, house made pate, smoked goat cheese, fancy fig crackers and a few other odds and ends to round out what was the perfect Sunday night dinner.

Discovered: Mast Brothers Chocolate

1 Some of you may remember this post I did a while back with the amazing photos that The Selby took as part of the advertising campaign for Cole, Rodd and Haan. Well folks, he has gone and done it again.  This time, The Selby takes us on a beautiful tour of one of my all time favorite chocolate houses, Mast Brothers Chocolate.  Rick and Michael Mast are the handsome duo behind these delicious chocolates that are handmade in Brooklyn .   These boys are true artisans and are one of the few "bean-to-bar" chocolatiers, which means they own the entire process of making their chocolate from sourcing the cocoa beans from Venezuela, Ecuador and Madagascar to roasting, grinding, molding and eventually packaging it all up.  The Selby does a wonderful job of illustrating the whole process from start to finish, so please check out the whole series here.


Not only is this some seriously delicious chocolate (my favorite is the Dark Chocolate with Almonds and Sea Salt), but every bar comes beautifully packaged in Italian wrapping paper; it's like unwrapping a gift each time.


You can find their chocolate at any of these amazing little shops:

A Little of What You Fancy 19 Newtown Lane, East Hampton, NY 11937 Bedford Cheese Shop 229 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211 Bierkraft 191 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217 Branford Green Grocer 1036 Main Street, Branford, CT 06405 Brooklyn Larder 228 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217 Dean & Deluca 560 Broadway, Manhattan, NY 10012 France 44 4351 France Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55410 Grab 438 7th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215 Marlow & Sons 81 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211 Miette Confiserie 449 Octavia Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94102 Murray's Cheese 254 Bleecker Street, Manhattan, NY 10014 Park Slope Food Coop 782 Union Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215 Provisions 150 Beekman Street, Manhattan, NY 10038 Rubiner's Cheesemongers    264 Main Road, Great Barrington, MA 01230 Spuyten Duyvil Grocery 218 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211 Stinky Bklyn 261 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231 Stone Barns 630 Bedford Road, Pocantico Hills, NY 10591 Urban Rustic 236 North 12th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Team Work: Leica + Hermes

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Seriously, Leica?   Does it get anymore gorgeous than this?   This classic M7 35mm gets the special treatment with a silver chrome finish and thanks to Hermes, a choice of either orange or tan calfskin leather.   Orange please!  This beauty can be delivered to your doorstep in a linen-covered, silk-lined box for a mere £8,550 (about $14,250).

*via engadget

Yes Please. Cole, Rood & Haan

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Ok.  This is kind of brilliant.  While there have been a number of brands that have launched heritage collections, I've found a lot of them uninspiring and pretty forced.  However, Cole Rood & Haan, a footwear collection inspired by Cole Haan's 1920's Chicago roots and taken directly from the historic archives, proves different. They have managed to update some vintage designs with modern touches and great leathers.   Not only do the shoes look great but I love the way they have chosen to market and brand the collection.

The marketing campaign highlights an entrepreneurial lifestyle.  They made the very wise decision to hire Todd Selby aka The Selby to shoot the campaign, which features entrepreneurs in NYC who run businesses that take old things and make them new again in a fresh and innovative way.  The shoot takes place at four places: The Smile- a Cafe and Mixed-Use Concept Store, Jack's Coffee-the inventor of the "stir brew technique," Maryam Nassir Zadeh, an amazing boutique carrying things that are both new and old and Black Sheep and Prodigal Sons, an edgy, beautifully crafted jewelry line.  By using real people in real life situations the whole line just feels more authentic.  These are shoes you want to wear on your way to the studio for a day of brainstorming and bags you want to cram full with a notebook, pens, magazines and bits of inspiration you find on the street.  You can see the full shoot here.

Discovered: Butterfly and Spider Glass Set

propoganda glasses This set of glasses consisting of a butterfly, spider and spider web are simply beautiful individually or as a prey vs. predator scenario. They were created by design group Propoganda, which was established in 1994 by of group of advertising executives who set out to instill the innate sense of Thai playfulness into every day products.

*via Mr. Matt Spangler via devincastro


drysoda I've always loved and been inspired by well designed packaging.  One of my greatest sources of inspiration in this area is the blog, Lovely Package.

I was particularly taken with a recent post on the new bottle designs for DRY Soda by Turnstyle Studios.  The creative brief from DRY was that they wanted the bottles to look at home in an upscale restaurant or at a five star hotel. Turnstyle intentionally kept the bottle minimal yet sophisticated - modern with a twist. I think they were spot on with the design, it conveys the message of the brand and makes me want to drink up.

Meet Dave.

56285791 This is Dave.  Our pilot today on Virgin America flight 409 JFK to LAX.

About 20 minutes prior to boarding, Dave got on the intercom, introduced himself as today's pilot, thanked us for flying with Virgin America and then kindly said he would come over on the other side of the gate to meet us personally and answer any questions.  Matt and I looked at each other and said, "is this a joke."  I mean no offense Dave, but I've been flying for 25 years now and I've never seen a pilot reach out to his passengers in this sort of way.  At most, I've experienced a "hello from the cockpit, hope you are enjoying today’s flight."

So it was an additional surprise when Dave did in fact come over to our seats to reintroduce himself and then proceed to answer several questions from passengers.  People wanted to know if food was served on board, how long the flight was, is turbulence dangerous etc... Each of his answers were thought out, genuine and more than anything, positive and reassuring.

I wonder, was this courtesy extended by Dave himself or perhaps a new marketing initiative that is being rolled out across Virgin America's flights nationally?  Either way, Dave, I give you props.  Thanks for kicking off my trip to LA and my first experience with Virgin America in such an upbeat way.  I guarantee is this won't be my last time on board.

P.S. Did I mention I'm writing this post at 25,000 feet over the fine state of Ohio using Virgin's inflight Internet service?