Windowshoppist - Pressing Our Noses Against The Internets

Friday, December 11, 2009

"Waterfall" Print ($30)

Via Dooce. I would kill, or at least be willing to trip someone on an escalator, to own the original of this print. But I'd be pretty happy just to own the print, too. Photo embiggened so you can see all the wonderfulness. By Jon Klassen, from Nucleus.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Angel Chimes ($13)

The heat from the candles makes the little propeller go around, which in turn makes the tiny bells ring. When I was little, I thought this contraption was magic. I still kinda do. From Plow & Hearth.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sanrio's Sinister Side. Also, Some Hello Kitty.

Sometimes, you need whimsy to get you through the day. Fortunately, Sanrio products are scientifically proven to contain at least 98.9999% whimsy. The other 1% is generally pink dye. What you may not know, though, is for all their kawaii-ness, Sanrio characters also have mysterious agendas, unspoken rivalries, and terrifying powers. Except for Hello Kitty. She's just cute. So we'll start with her.

First, you think, this seems a bit serious for a Hello Kitty product. But this is part of its charm. It is cute, as it were, on the DL. Literally.

See? Surprise cute! $69 at Sanrio.

Now let's talk about Chococat. Chococat is HK's brown nemesis. Or friend. Possibly frenemy? It's not clear. Like Hello Kitty, Chococat has no mouth. Also like HK, Chococat has mad cool products. What you are looking at above is a spiral notebook. You are unimpressed? Prepare yourself.

Bam!'s okay. You didn't know the Paralyzing Cuteness that awaited you within. I'll wait patiently while you gather together the shreds of your mind. By the way, this notebook is $5.75 at Sanrio.

This item represents the other cat of the Sanrio family. Charmmy Kitty is, according to the Sanrio website, "a white persian cat that Papa gave to Hello Kitty as a gift." Papa (sugar daddy? actual daddy? cat or human?) gave a cat to a cat. It's all a little meta. Charmmy Kitty likes lace, bedazzling, and apparently, the letter M. This is the "Charmmy Kitty School Pack: Cosmetics". It is $12.50. It contains absolutely no cosmetics and nothing of a remotely cosmetic nature. This whole "cat for a cat" thing and this puzzlingly titled product hint that Sanrio is toying with us, or perhaps that Sanrio is questioning the very nature of reality.

My Melody is a rabbit wearing a hot pink rabbit-head-shaped hat. Or at least this is what Sanrio would like you to believe. Knowing what we know about Charmmy Kitty, I think we have to assume that My Melody may actually be some kind of double agent, perhaps from a different species altogether. Has anyone ever seen under the hat? I rest my case. This mug, which features My Melody's cast of friends (or victims), is a reasonable $17.

This is Kuromi. She is "My Melody's friendly rival." For some reason, Sanrio provides us with the information that she is "hooked on romantic short-stories" and that her "favorite food is shallots." Please note she has a devil tail. I also think she may be the only Sanrio character with visible teeth. I don't like any of her products, but props to Sanrio for being willing to explore the dark underbelly of cuteness. That harlequin collar is genuinely creepy.

I hope we've all learned something today. Namely, that you should buy the whole Sanrio product line, but also that you should beware. We're not sure of what, so our advice here at Windowshoppist is just to beware in general. Maybe of choking hazards? Or just of shallot-eating rabbit impersonators with diamond-shaped ears.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Full Thanksgiving Dinner For Eight To Ten People ($60)

I'm going to make an exception to my "online only" rule for shoppables to mention this deal from this week's Target circular because I'm rather impressed by the idea of feeding 8-10 people a full Thanksgiving dinner for a cool sixty bucks. The "Thanksgiving Feast" includes a cook-in-bag turkey (or ham, your choice), and also mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, stuffing, cranberries, rolls, and pie. Plus a coffee sampler. Basically, it comes in a tote bag and you're all set. No last-minute run to the store because you forgot about the canned pumpkin. Only available at Super Targets, of course, since this involves groceries.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Vintage Sound Horn Now Sign ($50)

Shoppista has a weakness for old signs. This one encourages people to make noise, which is doubly appealing. From Arthur's Circus, which has lots of other neat stuff too.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pictorial Webster's Giveaway

This gorgeous book is a compendium of the dictionary illustrations that appeared in Victorian-era Webster's dictionaries, and Chronicle Books is giving one away. Enter here. Contest ends November 15th.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Air Plant ($13)

Seriously, stop messing around with potting soil and "plant food" and so on and just get one of these weird beauties. From Pigeon Toe Ceramics (And Plants).

Monday, October 26, 2009

Other Shopping Blogs: Round-Up

Monogrammed Tea Towel ($12)

Baker's Twine & Clothespin Set ($3.75)

Hand-Carved Cedar iPhone Docking Station ($78)

Via Rare Bird Finds. Buy here. From Woodtec.

Friday, October 23, 2009

More About The Nook, & E-Readers In General

Depressing news from the Times: You may only be able to loan out your e-books on the Nook one time. Here's the relevant quote:

One of the differentiating factors of the Nook is that customers can “lend” books to friends. But customers may lend out any given title only one time for a total of 14 days and they cannot read it on their own Nook while it is lent.

It makes sense to me that you wouldn't be able to read the book you loan out while it's lent; it's gone, just like a paper book. No complaints there. But you should be able to loan out books as many times as you like, because having bought them, you own them.

Music companies struggled with this concept when they ventured into digital files. Surely, they thought, we can control how users use the files! But it turns out users get very annoyed when DRM keeps them from burning a file to a CD, or listening to it on a second computer in their house, or whatever the digital lojacking scheme du jour is.

When are e-book sellers and e-reader manufacturers going to realize, just as iTunes and CD-makers finally did, that DRM just keeps people from wanting to buy their stuff?

Here is the e-reader and e-book scheme that will win my consumer loyalty forever:

  1. An e-reader that reads ANY e-book I purchase, whether it's from Amazon or B&N or Bob's Tiny Dusty E-Book Emporium, and reads common file formats like PDF, E-Pub, and Word as well.
  2. An e-reader that lets me install third-party apps, which is to say, an e-reader that is open to the internet to some extent. It's fine if the third-party apps have to be approved (so, for example, they can't be apps allowing me to rip pirated copies of e-books), as long as the approval process is reasonable.
  3. An e-reader (and e-book format) that recognizes that once I buy a book, I own that book. I can lend it to someone else (although it seems reasonable enough that I can't read it while I lend it). I should also be able to give it to someone else, just as I can give a real book to someone in the real world. Again, I'm fine with enough DRM that when I do so, I no longer have access to the book.
I understand, I think, why e-book publishers are not happy with the idea of #3. If you loan a real book, you probably do so less promiscuously than you might loan an e-copy. If you give away a real book, it's a used copy, so you wouldn't do it, e.g., as a gift, and eventually the book falls apart. These real-world limitations on lending and gifting mean more sales for the publishers.

That said, if e-books catch on, and books can sell for less because of reduced printing and distribution costs, people will buy more books. I buy audiobooks constantly because they download quickly and they're very portable on my iPod. If e-books had the same format mutability (audiobooks can be ripped to CD for my car and played across multiple computers and devices), I would buy far more e-books than I do print books, because at the lower price with an instant download, I would view them as disposable entertainment.

Also, to some extent, publishers just need to accept that electronic formats for books are here to stay, and like music-makers, they are going to have to adjust to the risks of copying inherent in a digital marketplace. Right now, I could download bestselling books in digital format for free; I know where to look, and the e-copies are out there for the taking. I buy because it's right, not because I have to. But the more book publishers chain up electronic copies, the more tempting it is for people to get instant access by pirating, both because they feel less sympathetic toward book publishers as a result of the DRM and because buying an e-book takes on extra layers of complication and onerousness.

Free the books! And when you do... I'll buy them. That's the paradox of digital content, I guess. In the end, you have to trust your customers, and it's high time e-book and e-reader sellers learned that lesson.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Barnes & Noble's New E-Reader ($259)

Ohmygod. This? This is what I want for Christmas. Do I love "Nook," B&N's new e-reader system? Let me count the ways.

1. You can buy over 1 million e-books from B&N's bookstore, most $9.99 (and some less). Amazon only has 350,000 e-books available (actually, less, because that number includes other content available on the Kindle, like blogs).

2. Sexy design. Cute little color touch-screen at the bottom shows you your bookcovers in color and doubles as a typing surface for taking notes on books; reading screen is sensible black-and-white E-ink (I know I griped about the black and white screen on the Kindle and the Sony reader, but I think this is a clever mix of easy-on-the-eyes E-ink and hot color bookcover action). The Nook is a smidge thicker than the Kindle, which may actually make for easier gripping, and the page buttons are much more sensibly designed.

3. YOU CAN LEND BOOKS. Just like in the real world, you can lend what you buy to friends. Unlike in the real world, the content returns to you automatically in two weeks, which, if you've ever lent a beloved book and never seen it again, is actually sort of an improvement on real-world book-lending conditions. I also wonder if this won't make the Nook the first library-viable e-reader.

4. Promiscuous format. Do I mean the Nook sleeps around? Sorta, in the best possible way. You can lend your books not only to other Nook readers, but also to anyone with a Blackberry, iPhone, iPod touch, or computer. This is a rare moment of sanity in a "use my hardware only" -crazy e-book market. In addition to this hardware generosity, Nooks can read not only eReader-formatted B&N eBooks but ePub books, which includes every public domain book available free through Google Books. Also, the Nook reads PDFs without Kindle's tedious reformatting hassles.

5. Everything the Kindle has, and more. 3G network and WiFi? Check. Free samples? Audio capability? Dictionary, highlighting, note-taking? Check, check, check. It also has an expansion slot for a memory card allowing you to store up to 17,500 books on it (way more than the Kindle), and a replaceable battery.

6. Adorable accessories. No one really needs a hot pink Kate Spade cover, but still.

Ogle and/or pre-order at Barnes & Noble. Available in stores November 30th.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Legendee Coffee Beans ($17)

You may have heard of that really expensive coffee that's supposed to be super-mellow because it's first eaten and then—gack—pooped out by these little wild animals, whose digestive juices take out some of the coffee berry's natural acids. Upsides: amazing coffee, supposedly. Downsides: hella expensive, and also see "pooped out of a little wild animal."

That's where Legendee coffee comes in. It's coffee that's been taken through a synthesized enzyme process to mellow it out, but which is at no point fed to an animal. So, you know, the taste of poop coffee, but without the poop coffee expense. Also, without the poop. Man, that should be their slogan.

From Trung Nguyen.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Reversible Bookstop ($28)

This is one of those handy things you never wind up buying for yourself, but that you certainly should buy for a book nerd you love. Think of all the times you've found yourself trying to keep a book open with odd things at hand—a stapler, a remote control, a (saddest of all) 'nother book. From Levenger, home of all kinds of accessories for le nerderie.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Asus To Join Sony & Amazon Kindle In E-Reader Market

The Kindle has been a bit of a lust object for this avid reader since it first came out. But the proprietary E-book format that locks you into Amazon-only content forever, plus clunky design, black-and-gray screen, and the depressing beige color made the whole thing seem... sad, somehow. Sony's E-Reader is cuter, better-designed, and embraces open formatting, but has a tiny bookstore and still, that gray-and-black screen.

Now Asus, maker of the Eee PC (which I have, tote everywhere, and adore), is jumping into the fray. It looks like it's going to be cheaper, in color!!!, and a dual-screen setup. I can think of so many uses for the dual screen -- running reference (Wikipedia and on the right while reading a hard book on the left; taking notes or even working on an essay or blog post about a book on the right while reading the book on the left; or just using both screens to double up on pages in a much more familiar two-page book format.

I'm not sure e-book readers will ever completely take the place of books. I, for one, am partial to reading trashy fiction in a bubble bath and on the beach, and e-readers are always going to be too delicate for that kind of abuse. But the Asus reader is moving in the right direction, I think: a form factor more familiar to readers, a move away from the depressing black-and-white format, and maybe a more affordable price.

Now if only Amazon would realize they're really not hardware people and open up the Kindle format to competing e-readers, we'd finally have a really good bookstore for e-books, too, and this blogger might finally feel reader to take the plunge.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Montgomery Task Lamp ($119)

This lamp has tons of personality. The curvy, graceful neck and tilt of the shade make it look a bit curious (what are you reading?) and a bit parental, too (do you have enough light?). From Pottery Barn.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Hello Kitty Sewing Machine ($110)

If you like the famous Sanrio kitten and also crafting, say "hello" to this adorable sewing machine. From Target.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Helen Sandals ($90)

These are part of the whole new less-is-more "barefoot shoe" craze, but I love them simply because they look like the kinds of things People Of The Future are always wearing in movies. We come in peace to your primitive time! Wearing so-ugly-they're-cute utilitarian sandals! From Terra Plana.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Trophy Hangers ($40)


Reg $50. Because it's very important to use the whole animal, people. From A+R.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Moisture Cream ($5.69)

I just recently discovered this stuff, and it's pretty much the perfect anti-itchy lotion: hypoallergenic, fragrance free, with colloidal oatmeal. It's thick and very soothing on rough feet, but not greasy and thus okay for your face as well. Recommended! From

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Crocs Endangered by Economic Downturn?

It looks like Crocs, beloved of nurses and cooks and other on-their-feet professionals everywhere, may be bankrupted by our crummy economy.

Yes, yes, some people (okay, a lot of people) think their clogs are ugly. But Crocs has more to offer than their fashion-challenged clogs. This blog has sung the praises of their insanely comfortable Mary Jane shoe. And in posts below, there are a few more top picks from Crocs' ever-expanding (well, until now) shoe catalogue.

Besides, toddlers look so cute in them! All in all, we hope the Crocs find a way to swim into safer economic waters.

Crocs Men's "Santa Cruz" Slip-On ($50)

Shoppista sees no reason for boys to have all the fun, and would gladly order a pair of these herself to go with jeans or similar. Maybe some for Mr. Shoppista too, if he's good. From Crocs.