Monday, December 29, 2008

2008 in Review...



With 2009 around the corner, it seems like as good a time as any to do a 2008 retrospective.  This has been such an amazing year that I can't even imaging what 2009 might bring. 


Secret Agent Launches
After years of working for the man, I finally got the courage to start my own business.  Since March, Secret Agent has acquired a talented roster of clients that includes architects, interior designers, and even eco-entrepreneurs.

de LaB turns one
What started as a drinking circle among friends has developed into an official EVENT.  Throwing a successful fundraiser at the neutraVDL house in Silver Lake was probably a personal highlight for me.  With the success of the recent City Listeningevent in December, de LaB is hoping to become a non-profit in 2009 and to expand the fun even more!



First Foray into Public Speaking
I spoke at Loyola Marymount University at Professor Ramona Wright's PR class about the reality of pr, writing, and blogging, and shared other assorted pocket philosophies.  A room full of hungry students is the toughest crowd one could ever face, but I survived!  This public speaking gig ain't so bad!


The Obama-rama Green Carpet That Never Was
For the first time ever, I participated in a green political fundraiser volunteering to secure and organize the Obama Green Carpet That Never Was.  It was grueling and none-too-rewarding, but at least our candidate won!  

     
'Writing' Years of Wrong
For years I've lamented about how much I want to write, but just never acted.  This year, I finally 'writed' years of wrong.  Besides being a regular contributor for Inhabitat, I've been writing regularly for The Architect's Newspaper and I should have a new story coming out in Pasadena Magazine in 2009.  I'm no Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, but it's definitely fun finding my own voice.


Face-time with Joseph Giovannini
It was pretty amazing meeting Joseph Giovannini in person this year, touring the Daly Lofts, and actually being able to talk to him intelligently about design and architecture.   I have to admit, I was a bit star-struck.



Azure-wish
For years I've been wanting to get one of my clients into Azure Magazine, Canada's greatest export (other than Strange Brew, of course!).  Finally this year, I was able to get tec into the October issue.  tec was also featured in the November issue of Hinge Magazine, Hong Kong's coolest design magazine, making tec officially internationaly uber-cool.



Secret Agent HQ
A few coats of white paint and a great knock-off Saarinen tulip table from Amsterdam Modern and suddenly Secret Agent HQ is intern ready!  It looks almost as cool as this!

Thanks to graphic designer extraordinaire, the new Secret Agent Network is finally LIVE.  The new site is comprehensive and undeniably swanky.

Entering the Guild-ed Age
I'm also proud to note that during this first year, I've been lucky enough to find great freelancers to help support Secret Agent's work.  Thanks to Special Agents Amy Gardner and Aunny De La Rosa.

Saturnfly Continues to Report
From activities to articles, events to edibles, Saturnfly Report continues to be a fun outlet for me.  Who knew I'd have anything interesting to talk about?  


Green Wedding Book Finally Hits Shelves!

About a year ago, I worked with New York Times writer Mia Navarro on an un-related story. When it came up in conversation that she was working on a book all about green weddings, I couldn't help but pitch her on Brian's and my "Camp Nuptials" wedding.  To my surprise (and glee), Mia actually got a kick out of our story and added us to her book, Green Wedding: Planning Your Eco-Friendly Celebration, which hits stands in January 2009!  The book is a great source of general eco-party tips, whether you're planning a wedding or an anniversary or a regular fete.  Reliving our wedding has reminded me that I never sent out thank you notes!  So belated thanks to everyone who made the 4-mile trek with us back in 2006.  Our wedding would not have been as magical and memorable were it not for our amazing friends!  Brian and I may very well plan an Arboreal Anniversary in 2011 for our 5-year!  Maybe this time, we won't trust the mules with the beer!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Caipirinhas - Come to Mama!


After twisting Brian's arm and finally picking lovely Brazil as the destination for our much-needed vacation, then resolving - to the best of my ability - a debacle with the tickets (never book anything on multiple airlines, it's inevitably going to be a clusterfrack), and almost forgetting to get our tourist visas (duh!), I'm ecstatic to say at last...Brasil, nos vimos!

Worth a note, the Brazilian Consulate was amazingly efficient and the clerks downright NICE compared to their American counterparts who have a knack being generally mean, condescending, and maliciously unhelpful.  And that is if you are an American citizen. When you're not, it's only worse. 

 


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Precious Scandanavian Vintage


I was skimming one of my faves, Bloesem, today and spotted the most amazing re-born vintage furniture.  Norwegian furniture designer Precious takes old pieces of furniture that have seen better days, refurbishes them  and gives them new life as bright new centerpieces of conversation.  As a trained graphic designer, Katherine really has a knack for picking great fabrics.  I covet the Ra Kokko and the lovely Bla loungestool.  A set of these definitely take the blah out of a formal dining room.  I also love the Silvia black board.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Inside the M Cube

video
As I think I mentioned before, Inhabitat has been working toward posting more video content. Over the summer, we visited Mark Baez's M Cube in Venice.  It's essentially a giant fiberglass and steel cube that houses six apartments.  Completely prefabricated, the Cube can be built for a relatively affordable price per square foot.  Designed by using traditional Tatami and imperial units of measurement, the interiors stark but completely livable.  The project has received some negative attention from the local community and irate neighbors (related to its height and the photovoltaics that may one day be installed), but rather than focus on the negative, we went there to look at the design - which is all in all, positively cool.  There's constant light and constant breeze, at least from what I saw when I was there.  I probably couldn't survive with the size of the closets (where would I hide my Imelda-like collection of flip flops?) or the lack of walls (where would I stick all my badass decals?), but I can totally see the Cube design working as a commercial space or a college housing.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Design for the Snarky


It's that time of year that trees and postal workers fear and dread - the season of holiday cards and obligatory gifts.  Normally, it's kind of stressful.  But this year, I rediscovered snarky and am having fun with the whole gifting ordeal.  Check out Knock Knock Stuff's snarky paper goods.  Ok, so they happen to be a client.  But this is not shameless promotion, simply a friendly tip to anyone looking for cheap, funny gifts that you can order online.  The desk top stuff makes the perfect gift for co-workers, moms, annoying people, other people's kids who you don't really know, pretty much anyone you might know.  My personal favorites (and soon-to-be office purchases) are the poopy clips, funny folders, and the uber-useful "Pardon My French" stickies.  

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy Birthday de LaB!


de Lab (design east of La Brea), an informal drinking circle of creative Eastsiders in LA who live, work, and play on the 'right' side of town, turned ONE this month!  Founded initially because a bunch of us resented always having to drive to the west side for 'designy' events, de LaB has certainly evolved over the past year and we've all had a lot of fun along the way.  From a fashion show at MAKE, to a design walkabout in Hollywood with Spacecraft, to a successful fundraiser for the neutraVDL, to the first-ever Out of Your Gourd Pumpkin design competition at Lettuce, to inside peeks at LA Mill, Rubbish Interiors, and M&A - we've been busily invading creative labs all over the eastside.

To mark the one year anniversary and round the year out with a reflective note, Alissa put together an outstanding cast of readers for our first-ever City Listening event at GOOD Magazine; an event that - judging by the full crowd, busy bar, and happy chattering people before and afterwards - was a huge success.  We'll definitely have to do this again in 2009 so hopefully people will be inspired to pen and share their thoughts.  

Here's to another great year in 2009!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Brian Joins the Blogosphere



So Brian has officially joined the blogosphere this week with Aural.Audacity, an audio insider's insight on game audio in general.  Borne from eighteen months of grueling hard work, sleepless nights, and blood, sweat and at times tears, his new blog is part industry obligation and part therapy.  He and his team put a lot of work into stitching together a vibrant aural tapestry, which I will probably never appreciate since I don't play war games, so the blog is a great way to get a peek inside his head without getting mine shot off by a DP28.  Check it out if you like sound, video games, techy stuff, or the sounds of war.  With that, we're off to attend Treyarch's much-deserved wrap party celebrating Quantum of Solace and Call of Duty 5: World At War being released.  Yay for Sin City!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Be Benevolent This Year



My friend, the inimitable Ms. wRight, and her partners from Mozaic Media and Communications are celebrating their one-year anniversary in true cosmopolitan style with a much-deserved, much-needed, and (best of all) guilt-free par-tay that will benefit the Weingart Center (which is also celebrating an important anniversary - their 25th!).  Join the festivities on December 17th from 6pm to 9pm at the lovely O Hotel downtown.  For a paltry $20, you'll get to imbibe, nosh, and even hobnob. KCRW's velvety voiced, DJ extraordinaire Garth Trinidad will be spinning the evening away.  Have fun and do your small part to break the cycle of homelessness downtown.  



Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Guilt-Free Holiday Shopping


Inhabitat just released the 2008 Green Gift Guide.  Whether you're a light green, bright green, or dark green, the new gift guide offers tons of great ideas that will surely please your friends and family.  Curated according to different themes, Inhabitat sent out its intrepid writers to cover all the green shopping bases.  From For Him and For Her to Handmade, DIY, and Under $20, this guide practically does the shopping for you.  I researched the Under $50 category and would gladly accept anything on any of these lists from anyone (hint, hint - j/k).

Monday, December 1, 2008

COD 5: World At War


Ok.  It's time for a shameless plug.  I'm proud to announce my handsome husband Brian's sound directorial debut with the launch of Call of Duty: World At War.  While I missed him dearly during the eight months that he was holed up at work - recreating the sounds of war, blowing stuff up, shooting guns, recording Kiefer Sutherland + Gary Oldman, cutting watermelons, etc. -  I'm proud of him for working on what is being largely hailed as a fun-@ss game.  I, personally, have a love-hate relationship with video games.  I love them when they're fun.  I hate them when they steal Brian away for months at a time.  However, when South Park (see episode: The Ungroundable) actually spoofed the game, I gained a new respect for the craft.  I just wish I could actually play this game.  Unfortunately, World at War is way too advanced, stressful and realistic for my gaming abilities.  Give me Shen Mu 2 and some virtual noodle shops any day! But DAMN it sounds good.  Kudos to Brian and his amazing team at TreyArch. Go forth and play the new game and let us know what you think!
  

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Solar Vertical Lamp




I just wrote a post on Inhabitat about these solar vertical lamps that we found on Yanko Design.  They're essentially vertical blinds with mini photovoltaics that gather solar energy while you're away at work.  When you get home, you just close the blinds to light your space with these LED pixels in the shape of table lamps, floor lamps, or chandeliers.  You save tons of money on your energy bill, and they're definitely a conversation piece.  The only bad thing is that you'd have to have vertical blinds in every single window....and vertical blinds are just so ugly.  Still, a brilliantly simple idea.

Friday, November 14, 2008

REDCAT's Rooftop Bash


I ventured out this week to REDCAT's Rooftop Bash at the Standard downtown where I learned how to spot the Artsie hipster (as opposed to the Natural, the Dilettante, the Newbie, etc.).  We got there just in time to snag a pod and catch the tail end of the underwater live art installation (which looked to my art-ignorant eye like the drowning of a woman wearing a feather head dress projected onto a neighboring building).   At least the cocktails were delicious and free.  Never a dull night in Los Angeles.