Feng Shui desk set:

The ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui places certain objects in favorable locations in order to achieve a balance in the environment. Feng Shui practitioners say that the principals of the art form can lead to all sorts of good stuff. Traditionally the dragon represents new beginnings and opportunities, the phoenix symbolizes positive perception and recognition, and the tiger helps with completing projects. Even if there's not even a bit of truth to this, these three modern, white-resin animals from Red Envelope are very cool to look at.


Cat Cocoon

The Cat Cocoon is the invention of Warren Lieu, a Dallas designer who also created a dog "shelter" he calls The Leading Edge.
I discovered this ingenious postmodern replacement of ugly scratching posts (and, one would hope, hopefully scratched furniture) at Design Within Reach. But in doing some research to learn more about who designed it, I discovered a great online pet store, PostmodernPets, where they sell the cocoon for $50 less than DWR, making it a reasonable $250 (Bri, don't tell me that $250 is too much to spend to prevent future furniture destruction!). PostmodernPets offers the best dog beds I've seen, along with the cat Archipod, a totally funky cat house/scratching post designed by Elizabeth Paige Smith, who made the first cool feline furniture, the Kittypod. Compared to the price of the Kittypod and Archipod, the Cat Coccon is a bargain.


Harman/Kardon SoundSticks II

These "sleek and sexy" Harmon/Kardon speakers (and subwoofer) weren't made just for Macs, but they look so good they might as well have. I won't pretend that I know anything about what makes a speaker system good or bad, but most reviews say these have a gorgeous, sharp sound. And I like the way they look. So, since the speakers that came with our Mac are partially dead, these are my choice for replacements.


Stockholm Groom Center by Hommage:

Industrial and product designer Wolfgang Joensson, who has worked at Pentagram (the design firm responsible for the look of Jon Stewart's book America and the Pantone brand identity) and with Louis Vuitton Moët-Hennesy, has created the coolest shaving tools around. The Hommage line of luxury shaving tools are smart, too. Stockholm’s ergonomically-crafted, cast zinc alloy razor and brush magnetically attach to the weighted stand. The razor has an inner weight that gives it "perfect balance" and it's compatible with Gillette MACH3 blades, which ensure a great shave. Ah, the perfect marriage of function and form.


Nikon D200 digital SLR camera:

A wise former New Yorker keeps updating me on newer and better digital SLRs (much to Bri's chagrin, I'm sure). A few months ago he turned me on to the Canon EOS 20D, which is a super fast (up to 5 frames per second) 8 MP SLR. I had my heart set on it (along with the Canon Zoom Wide Angle-Telephoto EF 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, which would allow me to take night photos almost anywhere) until he told me about the amazing new Nikon. It is just as fast as the Canon but has has 10.2 MP, the highest number available in a non-professional digital SLR ("professional" ones basically only mean thay generally cost at least $2500 for the body, without a lens). And the high quality Nikon lenses typically run hundreds of dollars less than the Canon ones, for some reason. The Nikon Zoom Wide Angle-Telephoto AF Zoom Nikkor 24-85mm f/2.8-4.0 would be a perfect starting point.


Gossen Digipro F digital light meter

I have recently become addicted to taking night photos from pedestrian walkways of the Manhattan Bridge. From the South side of the bridge over Manhattan, there are amazing views of Chinatown and in somespots you can look right into some of the garment factories and kitchens. Over on the Brooklyn side there are the earily empty streets of DUMBO. The only problem is that I don't have a light meter, which is imenselyy important for night shooting. When the kid started to take photography in school this September, I lost out on the old light meter I had given to him several years ago but we had managed to share. That's fine, though, since it means I can get a new digital one. The Digipro is small and affordable and manages to measure incident light and flash. Jut what I need.


Epson Stylus Photo R1800

Despite the cool HP photo printer TV commercials (the ones that show photos morphing into people morphing into photos), the printers really suck. The one we currently own has never printed a full frame photo, no matter how hard we try. That means I have often resorted to useing printing services— even thought the printer was supposed to end that.
The Epson R1800, however, prints borderless photos as large as 13" x 19" with fade-resistance inks. The $500 price tag ($469 at Amazon.com) would surely pay for itself quickly, if only because of the lag of sweat and agitation it would bring.