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Test Drive: All-New 2015 Ford F-150

We take the all-around impressive aluminum truck for an on- and off-road ride through the heart of Texas

by Graham Hiemstra in Design on 01 October 2014

Cars, Ford, Test Drive, Trucks, Made in America, 2015, Automobiles, Off-Road

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Until just a few days ago, the only people to have driven the all-new 2015 Ford F-150 were employees and select dealers of the storied American automaker. In fact, few outside of Detroit had even laid eyes on the truck. This fact helped make sense of the countless curious stares and enthusiastic hoots we encountered on our way through the Texas countryside. The attention meant one thing: an unofficial stamp of approval from the brand's biggest market, even before we had the opportunity to really test the truck for ourselves. As the day of driving progressed, we too had the chance to be convinced. Over highways and along country roads, through shallow rivers and deep mud pits, it became clear the 2015 model is in fact "the toughest, smartest and most capable F-150 ever," as Ford excitedly claims.

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In the past year we've covered hundreds of miles off road on some of America's most demanding trails with Land Rover and hit the track with a range of this year's top sports cars. Such experiences came in handy as we easily propelled the massive aluminum-bodied vehicle—which weighs in up to 700 pounds less than 2014's model—to over 90mph on the highway and rallied over rocks and through the mud with care-free control. Throughout each test, the cabin remained exceptionally quiet, and maintaining control was never in question.

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As an entirely re-designed automobile, the car's every nook and cranny has been newly considered. Compared to today's truck, the 2015 F-150 can tow up to 1,100 more pounds, haul up to 530 more pounds and is projected to get between five and 20% better gas mileage (official EPA ratings will be released in November 2014). And while there's a range of optional, specialized packages that emphasize towing, fuel economy or payload, we're most excited about the FX-4 off-road package, which is a must if you live anywhere that nasty weather strikes. Hill descent, 360° cameras and comprehensive undercarriage coverage by way of metal skid plates made easy work of the off-road course.

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The redesign encompasses everything from a sophisticated new interior to multiple new engine designs and the advent of multiple exterior add-ons, including exterior LEDs to assist in tire changes and a stock step that hides away nicely in the tailgate. Visit Ford for more specs and a comprehensive list of design tweaks in the new, American-made F-150. And for a closer look at the range of models we experienced on our drive, see the slideshow.

Images by Graham Hiemstra

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Preloved Roots Garden Nursery

A haven for neglected plants offering a chance at a second home

by David Graver in Design on 01 October 2014

Australia, Gardening, Gardens, Planters, Plants, Potted Plants, Sydney

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Not everybody has a green thumb—and sometimes it takes a plant-related failure to realize this. As a resource for such situations, Sydney, Australia's Preloved Roots provides an alternate ending. In a way, it's an orphanage for plants needing revitalization, but that maintain hope at future ownership. Conservationist David Hannan opened the nursery to save greenery that would otherwise find itself in the trash or the side of the street. Preloved Roots accepts donations of unwanted plants, herbs and trees—as well as anything pertaining to the garden (be that a pot or a gnome). They'll also send someone to pick it all up.

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Preloved Roots nurses unwanted plants back to health, or simply maintains them if they were received in good condition. Plus, as they're basically a thrift shop for flora, their resale prices are much cheaper than a traditional nursery. As of now, the organization currently stocks over 60 different types of plants, in a myriad of pots and planters. There's a lot of love within the glass nursery walls, and an emphasis on keeping things circulating locally. And they even sell plants online.

Found thanks to Broadsheet Sydney, images courtesy of Preloved Roots

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Chilli Beans x YACHT Collaborate on Fun Eyewear

The creative duo have designed sunglasses and optical frames to make you smile

by Nara Shin in Style on 01 October 2014

Chilli Beans, Eyewear, Frames, Optical, Sunglasses, YACHT

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Earlier this year, casual Brazilian eyewear brand Chilli Beans collaborated with bounce music artist Big Freedia on a collection of sunglasses and optical frames. They've hit a home run again working with YACHT, a playful duo—Jona Bechtolt and Claire Evans—that makes dance music amongst other creative and thought-provoking endeavors (Evans also works as a science journalist, for example). The new "Make Your Face Smile" collection surprises with its subtle details, from architectural nose bridges to YACHT's signature "smiangle" (a smiling triangle). Not to mention the high-quality frames and cases, which seem far and away worth their affordable price point of around $65.

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"The collection is all black and white, because we always like to begin with a set of constraints when we make albums or tackle design projects," Evans tells CH. "That, and being a creative duo, duality and contrast make sense to our brains—finding ways to make opposites complementary is what we're all about. Each pair of sunglasses in the collection represents a little bit of both of us." The unisex frames are sturdy, wearable and of course create some seriously good vibes—making them the perfect accessory.

With upwards of nine frame designs, the impressive collection offers everything from silly to simple. The "Eskimo" glasses for example, feature smiley-shaped cut-outs inspired by the slits in the first known sunglasses ever made (carved from ivory or wood to prevent snow blindness in the Arctic regions). Other styles pay homage to clear '90s telephones, Groucho Marx and even the Memphis Group. Peruse the rest of the collection, now available for between $65 and $75 at Chilli Beans online.

Images by Cool Hunting

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