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Product Pick Of The Week: The Sema Table by Nurus

The Sema Table by Nurus:

The Sema small table series was designed by Alper Boler & Omer Unal for Nurus of Turkey.

above: Designers ömer ünal, 35 and alper böler, 33 of ünal & böler Studio (now operating as separate studios)

"sema" is the name given to the dance of the whirling dervishes which symbolizes the harmony and balance. Sema is a coffee table with a turning top and rotating bars below it which can be utilized in storing books, magazines and newspapers. It comes in various heights and sizes.


The SEMA was a recipient of IF Design Award 2009, where 2,808 products from 39 countries competed. This is the 4th IF award for Nurus, the most ever won by a brand from Turkey.

Nurus website
Price is available upon request from the manufacturer.

If Old MacDonald Had An iPod: The iPig & iPanda

If Old MacDonald had an iPod, he'd probably listen to it on the iPig or the new iPanda docking stations. Cute, but powerful, these spherical docking stations pump out 25 watts of power, are compatible with various mp3 and mp4 players, music devices, gaming consoles and all iPods. They have wireless remotes and are made of green grade "A" eco friendly materials.

Made by Speakal, the iPig received great acclaim and reviews at the 2007 at the consumer electronics show and now, iPanda has joined his swine friend.

The iPig:

The Features of both the iPig and iPanda:

• Highly Compatible: The iPig is compatible with most iPod’s, MP3, MP4, Portable Game consoles (PSP, Nintendo DS), Gaming Consoles (PS2, PS3, Wii, Xbox, Xbox360), Portable and non portable CD and DVD players, Televisions, Personal Computers (Desktop and Laptops), Mobile Phones with Audio playing capabilities.

Humanized Touch Volume Control:

Gently touch the right ear of the iPig to raise the volume and touch the Left one to lower the volume. This patented technology will only react to the human touch and will not be affected by temprature or humidity.

High Quality Sound:

The iPig has a total of 5 speakers including a 4 in. subwoofer, with a total output of over 25 Watts of Raw, Undistorted, Clear Music. It also has a super Hi-Fi Amplifier, an interior dynamic airflow optimizer, and an interior dynamic cooling exchange system with high sound stabilization to produce a clear and powerful sound.

iPOD Docking Station: Compatible with most of iPods. Dock your iPod, charge it and listen to your music without interruption.

RF Remote Control:

One remote control to browse through the different iPOD features and to control the speakers’ Volume, treble and bass.

Smiley Lit Mouth:

The mouth tells you right away by its light if the iPig is on or off. It also tells you whenever it receives a command from the remote control.

Adjustable Bass Control:

Control the level of Base output from the knob control in the back of the iPig

Bass Reflex Technology: Don’t just listen to the music but FEEL it with the Bass Reflex Technology Feel the amplification and output

360 Degrees Sound Spreading: The shape and the placement of the speaker of the iPig allows a 360 degree sound spreading, you will get the same quality of sound from each corner of the room

Standard Mini Jack: A 3.5 mm stereo audio-in connection to connect with other audio and gaming devices

GREEN and RoHS Compliant: The iPig is made of the top grade and environment friendly manufacturing materials. It has no hazardous materials.

Colors: Professional formula of High-Gloss fashionable and shiny three colors: White, Yellow and Pink

Multi Cradles: Fit your iPod with the correct cradle.

Small Footprint: Complement your room. The iPig blends in as a decorative item that will sneak up on you with its wonderful sound quality

Warranty: 1 year manufacture warranty. Warranty terms and conditions apply.

You can buy the iPig or the iPanda here for $129.99 and includes a 90 full days manufacturer’s warranty.

About Speakal Company.
Speakal Company specializes in high performance audio solutions. As the sole distributor of Amethyst products in North America, Speakal will continue to provide innovative audio products for years to come. Founded in 2006, Speakal Company is a privately held company based in Culver City, CA. For more information, please visit

Stephen Magsig's Postcards From Detroit & The Urban Alphabet Paintings, Now Available As Books

Above: 25 of stephen's individual letter paintings

I was happy to see that one of my favorite painters, Michigan artist Stephen Magsig, has compiled two book of his daily paintings; Postcards from Detroit and The Urban Alphabet.

Above: Stephen Magsig, Palace Detail, 2006, oil on canvas, 60" x 42"

Stephen, known for his photo-realism work of exteriors in oils, joined Daily Painters a little over a year ago and has had two beautiful series of works he's been creating simultaneously on a daily basis in small format works. One is "Postcards from Detroit", a collection of images, some urban, some suburban, and some rural, many seemingly abandoned and dilapidated -- all beautiful, if not a little eerie and lonely.

He sells these small paintings through Daily Painters and ebay and if you're not fast enough, or don't bid high enough, you won't get one of his 5" x 7", 7" x 5" or sometimes 5" x 5" renderings in oil on thick board. But if you do (and I'm lucky enough to have acquired three of them), you won't be disappointed.

His second series, is that of individual letters (some of which are shown at the beginning of this post), found on various signage - be it neon, painted or plastic- that he has painted in faithful reproductions with his beautiful painterly style (looser than his larger works). As a fan of these Letters from his Urban Alphabet series, I actually have purchased three of them; the A, The O and the K.

Now, much to my delight, Stephen has translated his daily painters work into book form, both the Postcards from Detroit series as well as his Urban Alphabet collection. Available on Blurb, you can choose from soft cover, hardcover with dust jacket or image wrap. A wonderful option for those of us who cannot afford his stunning large canvases available at either of the galleries that represent him.

Postcards from Detroit, Volume #1
Contains 80 pages of paintings posted from Aug 2007 -Dec 2007

Buy it here.

In the artist's own words:
Postcards from Detroit is a daily diary in small paintings by American artist Stephen Magsig. The inspiration came from Duane Keiser's innovative A Painting a Day blog, and Julian Merrow-Smith's Postcard from Provence. I am not new to daily painting. I started doing daily artwork, drawings, sketches, collage, polaroid images and paintings in 1987, and continue to work daily. Most of the work on this site will be Detroit based paintings. A visual diary of Detroit in paintings. I started to do paintings of Detroit more than 20 years ago, and continue to find inspiration in the place I call home. I will frequently post images of larger paintings that are available at the David Klein Gallery and the George Billis Gallery. Please contact them if you are interested in the larger paintings.

The Urban Alphabet, paintings by Stephen Magsig

Buy it here.

Below are a few examples of Stephen's large format oils, from the David Klein Gallery and the George Billis Gallery in New York, which I wish I could afford, but cannot:

About the artist:

Born in 1946, Steve studied at Ferris State College and the College for Creative Studies. As a painter he is really self taught, and has been painting for over 30 years. He's had more than 20 solo shows and numerous group shows. He currently shows with the George Billis Gallery in NY and LA and with with the David Klein Gallery in Birmingham, MI. His work is in over twenty corporate and museum collections and in hundreds of private collections. He lives and works with his artist wife, Janet Hamrick and their two studio cats, Artie and Bella, in Ferndale, Michigan. They also sublet a painting loft in New York City.

See his Daily Painters gallery here.
David Klein Gallery in Birmingham, MI
George Billis Gallery in NY
Magsig's Postcards From Detroit blog
Stephen Magsig on artnet

Louis Vuitton, Deitch & Rizzoli Continue To Love Stephen Sprouse

Artist and design pioneer Stephen Sprouse may no longer be with us physically, but you'll see more of his work in January, 2009 than you may have ever before thanks to a retrospective show at the Deitch gallery, a new limited edition Book by Rizzoli and a new tribute collection from Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton.

The Hottest of What's Hip: My Top 12 Posts of The Past Year

As I reflect on 2008, I'm very flattered and fortunate to have had lots of nice press for my blog, my social shopping picks and my taste during the past year. Some of these include this recent article in Businessweek, an appearance on KTLA, an article in the LA Times and wonderful mentions from fellow bloggers, design sites and designers.

I wanted to share with you the 12 posts of the 540 posts I wrote in 2008 that garnered the most interest. Not that these were my most well-written posts, nor the most researched, but simply based upon web metrics (hits, page views, links from other sites, etc.)

Whether it was because my posts were 'picked up' by such widely read sites as NOTCOT, Racked, Boing Boing, FFFound, Designboom, Dezeen, Trendhunter, Core 77, as well as several large international sites in Japan, the Netherlands, South America and the UK, or because the subject matter simply generated continual interest throughout the year, here are the stories, in no particular order, that seemed to pique the interests of my readers the most in 2008:

Read it.

Read it.

Read it.

Read it.

Read it.

Read it.

Read it.

Read it.

Read it.

Read it.

Read it.

Read it.

addendum: One of my most widely read posts of 2008 was actually written in 2007, about belgian artist Wim Delvoye's tattooing of pigs.

Read it.

It was clearly my most controversial post to date and the updated post in 2008 continued to generate a great deal of interest - and yes, more controversy.

I promise to continue to bring you unusual posts related to art, design, style and fashion throughout 2009. Thanks so much for reading and I hope you continue to enjoy if It's Hip, It's Here.

To make it easier to stay hip, you can:

follow me on twitter

join the facebook group

see my shopping recommendations on this next

read my friend feed

my submissions on NOTCOT

subscribe to the blog via an RSS reader

download a flash widget of my blog to place on your own site or blog!

For those of you who generously submit things about which you'd like me to write, please search the blog first at the top in the google search box to see if I've already blogged about it, because I receive several emails with submissions for things about which I have already written.

In regards to advertising and affiliations, I will be creating a press kit and price list this year to furnish potential and interested parties.

Happy New Year!
May your 2009 be filled with happiness, health, love and art.

with love,
Laura (and Indie, the Jack Russell)

iPhone Apps To Help You Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

The above iphone apps will help you to keep those New Year's Resolutions for 2009

When it comes to New Year's resolutions, we all know how easy it is to see that resolve fade from determination to a distant memory as we shrug it off with a defeated "Oh well, I tried."

But Jedi Master Yoda had it right: "Do or do not. There is no try."

Above: Yoda gives a whiny Luke Skywalker advice we all need (photo: Lucas films)

Your iPhone could offer a little hand-held help in really doing it this year. Heck, you might consider your device a changing, er, force (sorry) that could be your greatest tool or fiercest tormentor.

The resolutions themselves haven't changed much over the years. You know the ones: be better with money, get organized, live a healthier lifestyle, become more environmentally conscious, be sure not to break new laws. (OK, so maybe being a law-abiding citizen isn't really on your list, but it should be!)

Here are apps we think are the best to give you a fighting chance in making changes that stick.

1. Managing money:

Whether the focus is earning, saving, investing, spending or tracking, money often tops most resolution lists. offers a free app that highlights Mint iPhone app helps track your money monetary movement (in occasionally frightening detail). After you input some account log-in info online, Mint analyzes where your money is going or has gone: check balances, budgets, transactions and investments.

What sizzles: Seeing your funds in living color and detail can force you into better habits. At a quick glance once the app launched, I learned that red is the thematic color of the month for me -- quite a lovely seasonal match for green, but not in line with my financial plans.

It tracks spending trends. So if you eat out more or buy more clothes this month than last, expect to see it pointed out in the alerts tab.

What fizzles: The only thing missing is a way to lock access from prying eyes. The blessing here is that the app only shows money movement; you can't transfer funds.

Bottom line: Ultimately, I've never been so excited to know where my money is going. For those of us who have no idea where to even start, this app is, well, money.

2. Being more hands-on (the steering wheel):

Starting Jan. 1, we Californians are legally prohibited from texting and e-mailing while driving. Sure, in some cars this could lead to twitching thumbs as they deal with wireless withdrawal -- but, however angry and twitchy those thumbs may be, the law will probably help keep more eyes on the road and make for safer driving. If you must communicate, Vlingo is the voice-powered app to tap and talk to. (It's still legal to tap as long as it's not person-to-person communication. Check out this Q&A with California Highway Patrol for more details about the new law.)

What sizzles:
Vlingo learns your speech patterns and actually can learn words or names that you use regularly. Results pop up fairly quickly. While the voice search on Google's iPhone app is impressive too, it doesn't seamlessly integrate as many functions as Vlingo does. With it, you can call from your contact list, search Google or Yahoo, find locations on Google Maps and update your Facebook or Twitter status.

What fizzles: It takes one more step than it should to get directions to a location.
Bottom line: The design of the app is driver-friendly. From the home tab, the button you tap to trigger the voice-recognition is fat. So your thumb, however svelte or thick, can't miss it even if you aren't looking.

3. Getting organized:

Every year, so many of us promise to unclutter and inventory all the stuff in our homes and lives.

Once you've done the out-with-the-old portion of the exercise, you can log the keepers with the iOwn app. The price recently dropped to $2.99, and there's a free version.

What sizzles: It walks you through the kinds of information you should hang on to with its four existing templates. You can create your own for items that don't fit, such as wine. And there's no limit to the number of locations, rooms and items. So you're set whether you have a studio or 12 homes.

If you're nervous about walking around with all the details of your belongings in your hand, you can add a passcode to keep the casual peeper from easily discovering what you've got where.

And because our devices can walk away, having a backup that doesn't is important. (Isn't that why we do the inventory in the first place?) The iOwn Backup feature requires you to create an online account for your data to be stored. That way you can access your data from any device with the app. You get five years of 100 megabytes of storage with the app, and you can set up as many devices as you'd like with the backup. So spouses can have the same information on separate devices.

What fizzles: What happens after five years? And it'd be great to be able to create a hard copy for filing away in the lock box.

Bottom line: A solid app for creating a database of your valuables.

4. Getting fit:

This goal is perpetually on so many resolution lists, whether it translates into exercise more or weigh less. The App Store has a host of health and fitness applications that could fit your specific needs, and many of them are free (such as the Calorie Tracker from, Lose It and iMapMyRun apps). Then there's Weight Watchers Mobile , which is a decent mobile version of its program -- and you can add a link to your home screen for quick launching.

But honestly, nothing has completely bowled me over with all the components of a fitness application for iPhone. They are either food diaries that allow you to note that you've worked out or workout diaries that indicate you had a bite to eat.

One app I have found universally useful for an old pro at the health-and-fitness resolution is iShape.

What sizzles: When you launch the program, you answer a few questions about height, weight, age and weight goal. The app lets you log your eating and exercise habits as well as your weight. Ishape

Its food database allows you to select from what's there or exercise a bit of control by adding your own items. Based on what you tap in, the app will analyze your intake of the kinds of nutrients you're ingesting. You can also set weekly weight-loss goals.

As inspiration (or humiliation), you can add your own "before" picture -- and, when you reach your goal, an "after" photo. (And, yes, you can password-protect the app.)

One of the nicer features is the ability to export the data you're gathering. You can e-mail it as a PDF file. There's also an option for those of us who track "points" rather than calories.

What fizzles: It supposedly offers the ability to download foods and exercises, but I didn't see anything there to download. This feature depends on the kindness of strangers -- so, it's like the Napster approach to food and fitness information. But that take-and-give approach works only if others are in the sharing mood.

Bottom line: For 99 cents, it's filled with a lot of helpful features to help your physical bottom line. It's got room for growth.

5. Going green:

Becoming more environmentally savvy seems to be in fashion. The GoodGuide app can help GoodGuide for iPhone you navigate through the labels, ingredients and impact of more than 65,000 toys, personal care and household products. This guide grades products on their major impacts to human health, the environment and society.

What sizzles: Since we initially reviewed GoodGuide in our going green roundup, it has added a toys category: a catchall for just about anything your kids might get their hands (or mouths) on. A nice tool for parents who have enough trouble keeping up with little Leela or Lawrence.

When you launch the app, it lists two highly rated products with their ratings. If you tap a product, you get details of what the rating really means and which ingredients to avoid. You can look up more stuff by category (say, household cleaners) or by brand. The app links to an iPhone-optimized version of the main site for additional info.

You can create shopping and "avoid" lists as well as share the ratings with others via e-mail.

What fizzles: With the number of product recalls, it could be interesting to include that information, particularly in the "toys" category. It's not really the core mission of the app, but there is a connection.

Bottom line: If you buy the notion of being green, it's helpful to be armed with some info.

The above article below was written by Michelle Maltais for the LA Times

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