Chinese New Year

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Chinese New Year traditionally has meant for me a pilgrimage to a more sunny and peaceful locale. This year I am leaving a little later than usual, shortening my stay, and skipping the peaceful relaxing beach scene. But a break is a break so see you in a couple days as I travel about with the new Tom Bihn bag that arrived today – it’s very well designed! Happy Chinese New Year!


Vintage Luggage Tags

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Though I tend to stick a Canada flag tag on most of my luggage to milk that “just a harmless Canadian” vibe when I am travelling it certainly lacks the coolness of carrying around this collection of vintage luggage tags from the Container Store. Watch out what info. you put on the tag though. Put just enough to identify the luggage to you but not enough to have an unwanted guest follow you home. The tag comes in six assorted hotel logos – they choose for you. $3.99US each.
From the Container Store.


Final Home Jacket

After thankfully surviving both what was called 921, a 7.6 earthquake that struck here back in 1999, and the sars outbreak which paralized this Island I have gotten a taste for wanting to be ready for the next natural disaster to befall us. “Made of nylon, this clever coat is designed to serve as a nomadic “home” in the event of a disaster. The ample pockets may be filled with newspapers for warmth, or used for storing personal belongings, food, maps, and other survival gear. Hand-wash with cold water or dry clean. One size fits all.” Nylon coats generall are unadvisable in this region as the cause you to sweat from the locked in heat but the concept is a good one and it might be a great jacket to keep on hand. $215.00US from MoMA.


Suba Lingual T-shirt

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Heading to Thailand to go diving? Philippines? Inspired during a diving trip to Thailand, Dive Junkie of Singapore make a line of t-shirts marketed specifically for those who like to dive. The suba lingual t-shirt features suba diving in a number of differentr languages spread out across the front and back of the shirt because “when you get underwater everyone speaks the same language”. Tees are made with 200 gsm preshrunk combed cotton with renforced stitchingat the shoulders and sleeves. Available for the guys and girls for about $24 (singapore dollars).
Buy it on their site.


Ben Sherman Retro Street Bag

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Ben Sherman calls this retro and I agree. These bags are hugely popular here with old men still doing shift work at local companies. Sure they got them for free from the last tour group they joined and they aren’t Ben Sherman but still. The bag does have a great classic style like many of these bags with their influences from the 70’s – these were the days before all bags had to have 50 pockets to carry God knows what. It’s cheap too – $32.00US.
At Ben Sherman USA.


MUJI Large Pouch

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Yes this looks very much like a ladies cosmetic bag and yes it likely is. If it’s any conciliation it is available in black in the stores. This minimalist large zipped pouch from Muji stands in stark contrast to the usual travel bags we buy with all the included doodads – the mirrors, hooks, and pouches that never really seem to fit what you are carrying. Great design doesn’t have to be expensive and it should be as simple and as beautiful as most things created at Muji. $10.00US.
Available at MoMA.


Rooney Stainless Steel Traveller Shaving Brush

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When I was taking inventory of essentials for traveling over the upcoming holidays I came across my old shaving brush that I bought a few years back. I remembered when my father used to use one and seeing as their was only one brush available in the whole city I bought it. Not just the brush but the whole soap, bowl, and brush kit. The only problem was that I could never get comfortable using the cream and my face would always be a mess of cuts and scrapes. So my attempts at being retro. cool with my shaving have been shelved.
But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a cool part of your morning get up kit.
With the Rooney Ivory / Stainless Steel Traveller Brush you can impress your lady with your new found English colonial style. This travellers version of my fathers venerable shaving brush features super grade badger fill set into stainless steel. The whole brush is designed for travel as the brush sits inside an imitation ivory tube protecting your bag from the residue of your shaving cream.
R A Rooney, London brushmakers have been in business for over 2 centuries with Rooney opening their first branch in 1796 in London at Bishopsgate.£88.99.
Buy it at the Gentleman’s Shop.


Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Dress Shirt

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If I had my way we would all be wearing short and long sleeve comfortable tees everyday all day. But when traveling sometimes we want to eat in a nice restaurant or have to meet an old school business type who wears a three piece suit to bed. I’ve come to like the off-the shelf non-iron shirts from Brooks Brothers to help me fit in and keep me from lugging a 5lb iron around in my bag. I have no idea how these shirts work but they do work. They are 100% cotton (2-ply broadcloth) and remain virtually wrinkle free. Just throw them in the washer and dryer and they come out with all the creases in tact. My only complaint is that they tend to be a bit heavy for wear in the hot seasons. $75.00US.
Available online at Brooks Brothers.


T. Anthony Alligator Framed Duffle

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Chinese New Year approaches which means that the annual pilgrimage to places other than here is upon us. Blocked highways, crowded airports, and lots and lots of que jumping abound. As with any upcoming travel many people will review their inventory of travel gear – bag and outdoor outfitters are doing a killing this time of year. Though I’m pretty much set for adventure travel type gear lets pretend for a moment that I was not a starving designer living in Asia but a busy old monied socialite off for a week at the Rania Resort in the Maldives. I wouldn’t want to carry a simple sports duffle with Bangkok custom stickers (well I would but lets pretend) all over the handles but something alon the lines of T. Anthony’s Alligator Framed Duffle would be more to my liking. This alligator-framed duffle bag, 19″ x 13″ x 9″, with interior zippered pocket and double strap closure, is the ultimate in luxury (and arguably bad taste). It’s yours for the modest sum of $7,800US.
You can buy it online at T. Anthony’s site.


Grado SR 225 Headphones

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When I am working on a schedule and feeling a bit sleepy there is nothing like a strong dose of coffee and loud music to keep me going. Headphones being my output of choice I have come to love the sound of my pair of Grado SR 225 which are amongst the best-sounding open-backed headphones available at their price. They are perfect for punchy loud music and possess a bass response which sounds very “tight”. The SR225 really needs to be used with an amp – an iPod just won’t be able to power the headphones effectively. A headphone amp will give the sound added detail, punch and authority. Some people don’t find the headphones very comfortable and I have read some reviews stating how unattractive they seem. I think with a little adjustment they feel fine for extended periods and the no nonsense looks are part of their charm. Not everything has to have the usual “star trek” high tech. look. You should note that these are open-backed headphones and as such any loud playing of music will be shared with those near to you. They might not share your same taste in music. $195.00US.
Grado SR 225


Domke J-803 Digital Satchel Camera and Laptop Bag

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In my ongoing search for combination camera and laptop bags I came across the Domke J-803 Digital Satchel yesterday at Taipei’s FNAC. Domke has long been a mainstay of professional photographers. Their bags are usually known for their high quality and from what I saw yesterday this satchel is no exception. The smallest of Domke satchels have also gained a large following among photographers who don’t want to call attention to their expensive equipment. It’s of those category of bags that don’t scream out – steal my camera! The Domke J-803 is designed to carry the laptops, electronic organizers and digital cameras; all the standard gear we carry today. It comes with 11 compartments and pockets to organize the equipment. The outer shell is made with 1050 denier ballistic nylon, while the back panel uses 420 denier oxford nylon. I think the specs I have seen of the web overstate the protection afforded on the bottom. You are certainly going to want to put your laptop in some kind of sleeve when you carry it in this bag. The bag uses this same strap that I saw on the other Domke bags they had on display. I don’t think it works that well with the added weight that a laptop will bring. You might want to invest in another as it doesn’t seem to be very comfortable. $80.00US.
Check out the Domke J-803 Digital Satchel Camera Bag


Bumbakpaks Street Flow Laptop Messenger Bag

It can be a drag when racing around the streets with a bag on your shoulder to have a constant struggle keeping your bag on your shoulder. Sure you can do what I do and just loop around your body but that that still leaves one other problem: putting the full weight of your 7lb laptop on one shoulder. Bumbakpaks Street Flow Laptop Messenger Bag offers a rather unique approach to solving this problem and they just may help save your back. By utilising what they call the bumbakstrap carrying system your bag hangs low near your torso/hip and its lowered center of gravity puts less strain on your back whenever you move. It allows you to use comfortable backpack straps, of which we are all familiar, but also allows you to convert the bumbakstrap into a traditional single strap when you need it. An added bonus of this system is that it keeps the bag off your back thereby helping to eliminate that whole back sweating thing. Walking to a business meeting on the streets of Bangkok with a laptop is a sure fire way to look “icky”, perhaps this can help remove that unsightly problem. They have a few different designs of which the Streetflow is my favourite. Comes in five different colours for about $75.00US.
Check it out on their site.


Are you a pirate? Maison Georgette Pirate Tee

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It’s pretty hard to think about t-shirts when the weather is hovering around 14˚C – it’s the dampness that kills you here – but at least these fashionable tee’s from Maison Georgette are long sleeve, making them a pretty good underlayer for today. With a “sexy” pirate graphic like this you will want to buy one for all your friends so that on warmer nights you can all go out, wearing the same shirts, kidnapping young damsels from your local watering whole. With enough draft I’m sure almost anything is possible. Those days may be over for me so I will rely on their coolness and the enhanced pirate play with my daughter – she’s always the pirate captain and I am the one she saves. As all the Maison Georgette tees, the pirate tee is hand-screened, made of an extra soft cotton that slightly stretches for comfort. With its long sleeves, consider it more like a soft light sweater than a tee.
Available from illico.


MEC Phantom Jacket

The weather this time of year is enough to make one crazy – and sick. One day it’s sunny and 23˚C the next it’s raining and 13˚C. We are in a cold wet snap now and I could really use a great weather proof shell to protect against the elements. The MEC Phantom Jacket is a lightweight emergency storm shell designed for alpine climbers. If it works for them it must be fine for braving the streets of the city. The extreme light weight makes it a perfect choice for including in your pack on those days when you just can’t judge which way the weather is going. The fabric maximizes the exceptional breathability of the GORE-TEX® XCR®. The result is a jacket that perfectly complements a soft-shell garment when wind and/or wet necessitate a separate shell layer. All this and it has the rare feature of being made in Canada. $200CAN.
Available from MEC’s online store.