Read Up: Coolhunting.com

Italian grandmothers have secret ingredients that make their recipes taste that much better. Painters have specific techniques that they’ve learned through all of their practice to make their work more precise. Athletes have special power plays they use as defense against their opponents. These go-to resources are often highly coveted and rarely shared because sharing them would mean giving up a piece of their “edge.”

It is with hesitation and humble awareness of your gratitude that I share with you here, right now, my secret sauce. I have Cool Hunting.com to keep me abreast of the interesting events happening, innovative art and products being made and “IT” places to visit around the world. The site is comprised of six categories for your reading pleasure: Design, Tech, Style, Travel, Culture and Food & Drink. However, if you read it like I do (once a week and from the main page, no category bias) you’ll notice that the categories tend to overlap. Another perk is that they round up each week with their favorite finds from around the web in “This Week’s Picks” so you can get your fill in just one link. Lazy.

I recommend that you add this website to your list of weekly reads. There is certainly something inspiring for everyone, and you’ll be directed to new websites that you’ll start to covet on your own. At the very least, you’ll always have a good conversation piece at hand to make you sound cultured, well-read and/or privy to “underground” goings on, which, as we all know, equals coolness.*

To get you started, I’ve compiled my Top 6 articles of 2011, one from each category from Cool Hunting.

DESIGNHonda, Intersection and Eley Kishimoto 

Honda brings the compact and sporty CR-Z to the table, Intersection is a magazine focusing on car design and Eley Kishimoto is a London-Based designer dubbed “the Patron Saint of Print.” Together, they conceptualize a hip, downright kickass car for the 21st century.


TECH: Screenstagram

As the name suggests, you can now have your Instagram feed or the popular feed routed straight to your screen saver, which is great because, let’s admit it, we all dig the retro vibe of our own Instagram photographs right now.

STYLE: Fail+Canoe

Two Austin based artists showcase their love for the “simultaneously rough and sophisticated” landscape of their native Texas. The joining of their websites, Fail Jewelry and Canoe = Fail+Canoe on Etsy. Give me brass and leather accessories any time.

TRAVEL: Papaya Playa Project

Yes, it’s fun to say. It’s also a really freakin’ cool idea from a group of European “service industry innovators” inspired by retail’s recent sling of pop-up shops. The fancy hotels on this beach in Tulum, Mexico were unfortunately affected by the downward spiraling economy, leaving the community without their necessary influx of tourism. Though this pop-up hotel only plans to stick around for 5 months, I’m sure others will grab on to the concept.

CULTURE: Photobooth

San Francisco’s Michael Shindler might not be as big a fan of Instagram and other digital photography – he has a real appreciation for the art of the photographic process. His new shop/studio/gallery Photobooth in the foggy city’s Mission District encourages walk-in clients and produces “soul stealing” tin-type portraits for a mere $50-$80. The coolest part – tin-types have no negative, so the tin-type itself is the “only record of the moment captured with each subject.” Talk about one of a kind!

FOOD & DRINK : Grand Mayan Tequila

While my tolerance for tequila has significantly decreased since college, I have a great, unadulterated appreciation for Mexican talavera, or painted pottery. This beautiful hand-painted vessel of finely distilled and seriously aged (añejo) tequila boasts no need for lime or the kind of gross tradition of licking salt off of the back of your hand. It also will have a second life as an objet d’art on your bookshelf once it’s been savored. Double whammy.

(You’re welcome.)

*If you’re lucky enough to have an iPad (a.k.a. “oozing coolness”), download the app for a great, viewer-friendly read!

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