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CH Gift Guide: Back At It

Eight items to help you ease into the daily grind after a beautifully carefree summer

by CH Editors in Design on 01 September 2014

CHGG, Gift Guide, Home, Productivity, Shopping, Supplies, Work, Desk Accessories, Office, Style

Another summer has come and gone for those living north of the equator. In the States, Labor Day sadly signals the end of weekends at the beach, long lunches in the park, carefree bike rides and any other casual outdoor activity in which bare skin is almost the only rule one needs to abide by. To help embrace the daily routine that winter so unfairly lends us, we've pulled a few items from the Cool Hunting Gift Guide that fulfill that "back to school shopping" excitement for adults. With a little primp, polish and some new supplies, you'll be back at it in no time.

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Professional Style

Murray's Original Pomade

The pomade of choice for music legend DJ Harvey when he's going for a "Jewish gangster" hairstyle, Murray's Original Pomade was developed in 1926 by Chicago barber C.D. Murray, who wanted to make a high-quality but inexpensive wax-like grooming aid. ($3)

Wood and Flower Soaps

Brooklyn floral and garden design firm Fox Fodder Farm may be city-based, but they've got their two signature outdoor scents—wood and flower—down pat. Organic soaps are hand-poured containing palm and olive oils, with walnut powder and white willow bark in the wood scent and rose and clover in the flower variety. ($12)

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Fresh Supplies

Designer Mod

Designers—or, really, anyone who uses a variety of gadgets and doodads throughout the day—will live a life of stylish organization once the Mod by This is Ground lands in their hands. The handsome leather folio disguises a magnetic spine which allows for customization of pockets and straps to hold your erasers, rulers, notebooks or other essential tools. ($260)

Happy Food Notebooks

Pizza, ice cream and a convenient place to write your thoughts—the Happy Food Notebooks from Yellow Owl Workshop bring you all three. The pair of pocket-sized pads come emblazoned with artist Christine Schmidt's characteristically whimsical renditions of a triple cone and a slice topped with the works. Inside are 32 perforated, 100% recycled pages. ($8)

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Jazzy Workspace

Oon Power Outlet

Oon is a handsome take on the multi-outlet power cord. With a playful yet unobtrusive aesthetic, the functional cord replaces the unsightly standard orange color commonly found under desks and behind appliances. Designed and manufactured in the USA by emerging designer David Okum, the flexible power cord uses wood, metal, plastic and woven fibers for a cord you'll actually want to show off. ($79)

Perpetual Calendar

Counting the days until your next well-deserved vacation is decidedly more fun with Fruitsuper Design's Perpetual Calendar. The handcrafted solid maple structure is accented by porcelain time-keeping beads which indicate the month, day and date. Form and function happily meet in this elegant desktop accessory. ($120)

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Lunchtime Tools

Glass Food Storage

Lifefactory's BPA-, BPS- and phthalate-free glass food containers come in a variety of sizes, each with its own colorful silicone sleeve that uses button tabs to secure on the lid. They’re safe to use in the oven, microwave, freezer and dishwasher, making lunches and leftovers easier and more attractive than ever before. ($15+)

If This Isn't Nice, What Is?

One of the most influential voices in contemporary literary history also happened to be pitch-perfect with advice. "If This Isn't Nice, What Is?" compiles Kurt Vonnegut's graduation speech wisdom in a collection of enduring missives capable of inspiration at any stage of life. ($17)

Images courtesy of respective brands

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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Reimagined

Illustrated by Olimpia Zagnoli, a new and bold interpretation of the classic story

by Katie Olsen in Design on 01 September 2014

Books, Children, Gifts, Illustrations, Italian, Graphic Design, Olimpia Zagnoli, Wizard of Oz

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One of the world's best-known stories, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" was published way back in 1900 by L. Frank Baum (who went on to write 13 more Oz books) and it's remained a favorite for both children and adults—thanks in large part to the 1939 musical-style film starring Judy Garland—ever since. While the original books were beautifully illustrated (by William Wallace Denslow and then John R. Neill), a new iteration of the classic quasi-fairytale just released by Rockport Publishers and illustrated by Olimpia Zagnoli is sure to thrill new readers and those returning to the story.

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Zagnoli (who graduated from Istituto Europeo di Design in 2006) has created striking work for an impressive list of clients including The New Yorker, Monocle, Taschen, Vanity Fair and has designed everything from playfully rude T-shirts to erotically inspired plates and just about everything in between. This tome is a testament to her unique, bold style and undeniable talent.

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As part of Rockport's Classics Reimagined series, this new edition of Oz—aptly saturated in emerald green—modernizes the story, while paying homage to the past. Zagnoli's vision permeates the book, adding moods and angles perhaps never seen within the pages before. She conveys a lot through simple shapes and repeated patterns; the sometimes sparse pages are only bolstered by their blank spaces. From the simplistic curl of the winged monkeys' tails to the golden hot air balloon, Zagnoli's illustrations are made up solely of black, white, green and gold—creating a powerful, contemporary visual story that perfectly matches the 114-year-old tale.

The Rockport Classics Reimagined version of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" is available for purchase online for $25.

Images by Cool Hunting

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ListenUp

Christopher Owens, The Gotobeds, Homeboy Sandman, Kilo Kish and a Cool Hunting #PrivateJam in the music we tweeted this week

by CH Editors in Listen Up on 31 August 2014

Albums, Hip-Hop, ListenUp, PrivateJam, Rock, Stones Throw, Christopher Owens, Girls, Kilo Kish

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Kilo Kish: Locket

The imitable and charming Kilo Kish has returned with "Locket," off her Kitsuné-released Across EP. In her trademark dreamy style, Kish offers a chilled out track—her vocals floating atop the slowed-down beat. To match the song, there's now a video aptly depicting a time-lapsed party which happens around a somewhat detached Kish. It's the perfect blend of melancholy and sweetly optimistic, cruise-y, summery sounds.

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The Gotobeds: Poor People Are Revolting

The team at NPR Music has a serious knack for finding new talent, and this week they highlight that in their album stream of Poor People Are Revolting, the debut LP from Pittsburgh's energetic shredders, The Gotobeds. Described as "a rowdy, ramshackle party house of a band," the foursome's tuneful riffs are a welcome change from the ubiquitous electronic scene. Clever lyrics match their frenetic pace, yet the vibe is simple. It's clear these guys just want to rock hard, and throughout the 11 tracks on …Revolting, you'll find you do, too. Pick up the album from Austin-based record label 12XU.

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Mamas Gun: Red Cassette

For this week's #PrivateJam, we finally take our turn to share. Cool Hunting founder Josh Rubin (whose eternal jam is likely Shuggie Otis' "Inspiration Information") tells us he's recently become smitten with the London-based five-piece Mamas Gun. "Summer always includes lots of time in the car driving with the windows down and music blaring. I usually have a favorite song, or sometimes even a favorite album, on repeat. This summer has been sadly lacking an anthem—until now. 'Red Cassette' by Mamas Gun is fun, a little funky and easily listened to over and over. Thanks to our new friend Larry Flick for the tip."

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Christopher Owens: Never Wanna See That Look Again

In anticipation of his second solo album, the former lead singer of now-disbanded Girls, Christopher Owens, shared yet another track from the LP. "Never Wanna See That Look Again" has potential to be a sappy addition to an indie film's soundtrack, but the tenderness from Owen's voice in the most unexpected turns—and the track's immaculate production that indicates it's contemporary, not old-school—make it a brilliant take on the classic Americana genres of country and rock'n'roll. A New Testament releases on 29 September 2014 and features contributions from Owen's former bandmates.

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Homeboy Sandman: Problems

Queens, New York's Homeboy Sandman is a true MC's MC. The University of Pennsylvania grad ditched law school to pursue his career in music after earning his stripes performing live in clubs and releasing mixtapes adored by hip-hop heads and industry influencers alike. Sandman's latest release "Problems" sees the 33-year-old MC slowing down his normal up-tempo delivery over a minimalist beat. Hitting topics from sexual health to hipster culture, the verses are an honest, thoughtful, if not humorous, take on the little issues that swirl around our heads. Sandman's fifth full-length Hallways is out 2 September 2014 on Stones Throw Records.

ListenUp is a Cool Hunting series published every Sunday that takes a deeper look at the music we tweeted throughout the week. Often we'll include a musician or notable fan's personal favorite in a song or album dubbed #PrivateJam.

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