Holiday Gift Guide for the _______ Designer

UNWIND — for the overworked designer
We all know how grueling and demanding this time of year can be. With ridiculously tight deadlines and countless hours trying to meet them, it’s easy to get burnt out. While these gifts might not resolve everything, they should at least calm you down, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Yamazaki 12 Year Whisky
Yamazaki Whisky 12 Year — $80
No better way to unwind than with a glass of smooth tasting Whisky. As Bill Murray said “For a relaxing times, make it Suntory time.”

Jawbone Big Jambox
Jawbone Big Jambox — $200
Listening to music is always a good way to relax. Whether you’re into jazz, rock, folk or hip-hop, this little cordless portable speaker will project the perfect sound for up to 15 hours. You can also customize your own colors.

A Book Apart
A Book Apart — $25 to $100
Personally I don’t read to relax but if that’s your thing, A Book Apart has a great selection of web design related books written by many industry peers and experts. If you’re not sure what to pick up, they also sell gift cards for $25, $50 and $100.

BREAKTHROUGH — for the designer with creative block
As designers or creatives we’ve all been there. You’re stuck in what seems like a black hole of well, nothing. You can’t seem to focus or come up with any ideas for your project and times ticking away. Sometimes the best thing to do is step away from the computer and try to seek inspiration elsewhere.

Fuji X100T
Fuji X100T — $1,099
When I need inspiration, one thing that helps is to walk around and take photos. With this slick looking, compact and high-quality camera this is the perfect companion to bring along.

Topo Rover Pack
Topo Rover Pack — $198
While you’re walking around seeking inspiration, this heavy duty Topo bag is not only stylish but well designed to carry your stuff.

Wacom Bamboo Spark
Wacom Bamboo Spark — $160
This Wacom pen allows you to take notes or create sketches on regular paper and easily transfer them onto a digital device.

HOOKED— for the obsessed designer
We all have that friend who’s obsessed with something. In this case, it’s the obsessed designer who knows a bit too much about typography and colors and needs the latest gadget just to have it.

Typography Scrabble
Scrabble Typography — $50
While your friends might not notice the difference in this version of Scrabble, to you the font’s a game changer.

Pantone Coffee Pot
Pantone Coffee Pot — $30
Start thinking of colors first thing in the morning with this Pantone Coffee Pot. It’s also available in color 2294, for the digital people that’s #83b13b.

Cubify 3D Printer
Cubify 3D Printer — $999
Stay on top of the game and make your friends jealous with your very own 3D Printer by Cubify. This printer is ready to go out of the box.

Exploring The Underground with WFUV

Last week I had the privilege to speak with George Bodarky of WFUV who runs the podcast Cityscape. WFUV is a Fordham University radio station that’s also an affiliate of NPR. This was my first time doing a radio interview so it was definitely exciting and a bit nerve wrecking at the same time. We spoke about the New York City subway and my project NY Train Project. You can hear the podcast over at WFUV or below.

NY Train Project Rolls On

MTA 6 Train, Borough-Hall

Last year, I launched NY Train Project with all 118 Manhattan stations. Earlier this month, I completed and rolled out all 157 stations in Brooklyn, bringing the total count of stations now covered up to 276. The hours spent riding and waiting for the train is now up to 43 and the accumulation of subway swipes is at 19.

NY Train Project

In addition to the updated stations, users are now able to view the subway stations by boroughs. Of course for now there’s only Manhattan and Brooklyn. I’m also really honored and fortunate to have mentions of NY Train Project on The New York Times, PSFK, Village Voice, and Brownstoner among others.

MTA 3 Train, Crown Heights

L Train, Bushwick-Ave

Explore NY Train Project

Why Instagram Needs to Move Past Square

This past week Instagram rolled out a new feature allowing users to post non-square photos. Users can now post a full size landscape and portrait shot as well. This is a step in the right direction and frankly, one that’s probably long over due. However, Instagram has stated they will always be committed to a square format and I think this is where the issue comes into play.

Instagram Landscape Format

The above image features a landscape shot and you can clearly see a couple superheros on both the left and right side of the frame. Being able to post a non-square photo is great and an example like this shows the advantage of that. I have no problem with this at all, my compliant comes when you view a users grid.

While we’re able to see the entire image above, below on the grid view the image randomly gets cropped back to a square format and does not have the same impact. While I understand having everything the same size might make it easier to quickly scan the grid, if I purposely post a landscape or portrait photo, I expect my grid to show it the same way.

Instagram Landscape Format

If an image has a tree in the center of the photo but 10 flying pigs on the left side of the frame that’s cropped out in the thumbnail, many people might not click on that photo. They might not care for just a tree shot but they don’t know their missing out on 10 awesome flying pigs. As long as Instagram is committed to a square format, I think this will always be an issue for people who are picker with their photos and how their presented.

For now, I’ll stick with borders to show my images in their entirety.

Instagram Grid View

Deception Pass State Park

Deception Pass State Park

This weekend we took a short trip up to Deception Pass State Park. The drive there was roughly an hour and a half and reminded me a bit of Highway 1 in Big Sur but of course a PNW version so more trees, fog, etc. There was a beach area at the bottom that we didn’t get a chance to check out this time but hopefully next time.

Deception Pass State Park in Washington
View of Deception Pass from the highway

Bridge at Deception Pass State Park
The infamous Deception Pass bridge

Deception Pass State Park

On the way back we drove through Whidbey Island. It was a nice little town with restaurants, little shops, etc. The Island is about a 15 minute ferry ride from Seattle. You can either drive onto the ferry with your car or walk on.

Washington State Ferries
Washington Ferry

View more on my Instagram @Sametomorrow

Exploring British Columbia

Nakusp, British Colubmia

Last week my wife and I took a road trip to a small town in British Columbia called Nakusp . We drove from Seattle which was about 8 hours including a 30 minute ferry ride. The scenery was nice but the roads are really winding and you are constantly going up and down huge inclines, so in other words you have to slightly pay attention the entire drive.

Nakusp is primary known for their hot springs. We stayed in a cabin at Halcyon Springs which had 3 hot springs with various temperatures. However, the best hot spring was one we came across in the middle of the woods. We got lost a couple times trying to find it but I’m glad we never gave up and kept searching for it, it’s definitely an experience I won’t forget.

Cabin at Halcyon Resort

St. Leon Hot Springs

Another highlight of our trip was hiking at Idaho Peak. I surprised how much snow was on the ground considering it was pretty warm outside. The hike was relatively easy but be warn if your afraid of heights. The trail near the top was literally just a thin path with a huge drop off on both sides. The views were amazing!

Idaho Peak

Idaho Peak

Idaho Peak

Sandon Ghost Town
Sandon is a small ghost town that is on the way to Idaho Peak. There were so many old buses lined up.

Canoes at Nakusp, British Columbia

Follow me on Instagram @Sametomorrow for more photos.

Big Sur

About two weeks ago I took a quick trip to Big Sur for the first time and it was a really nice and relaxing trip. We met up with a couple friends from California and spent most of the time just driving around, eating and hiking. Below are just a couple photos from the trip, check out my instagram feed for more.

Big Sur
The views along Highway 1 are amazing.

Cabin at Big Sur
I really liked the house we stayed at. Getting to it was tricky but I loved how it was pretty much off the grid with no cell phone service. The house was literally up a huge dirt road in the middle of the woods.

relaxing in the hammock

sunset at big sur

Pfeiffer Beach
Pfeiffer Beach

Big Sur California

Cliff Climbing
Climbing Cliffs along the coast

River Inn at Big Sur
River Inn is a store / inn / restaurant. Once a week they load up the grills outside with BBQ, Burgers, etc. There’s also a little river next to this with chairs that people can relax in. Reminded me a bit of my past trip to Austin, Texas.

Big Sur

Mcway Waterfalls
McWay Waterfalls

Bixby Bridge
Bixby Bridge

Big Sur Woods
We managed to get a hike in around Golden Hour and the result was amazing.

Korea Street Food Vendors

Korean Street Food

I’ve been to Korea twice and both times one of the things that I remember the most was all the street food scattered throughout the city. Recently after looking through my older photos, I noticed I took a lot of photos of the food vendors. I don’t know if I was hungry and wanted to document the food or if I was drawn into the way the food stands were set up, probably a little bit of both.

Anyways, I put together a new post on VSCO Journal documenting the Korean street food vendors.

Weekly Photos 04.29.15

I want to thank everyone who helped vote for NY Train Project for the Webby Awards. Although we came up a little short, it was a great effort and I am really appreciative for all the support. We definitely had a great run!

And now a few photos from the past couple of weeks, sorry for the lack of updates lately.

Pioneer Square

Big 4 Ice Caves
Outside of Big Four Ice Caves

Rattle Snake Lake
Rattlesnake Lake

Elliot Bay, Seattle WA
Elliot Bay

Follow me on Instagram@Sametomorrow for daily updates