I can't think of a better gift to give to someone who has everything or is hard to please. While small, these specimens aren't just bits of random fossils or rock samples, they're truly a part of history. My personal favorites from this collection are the pieces of an SR-71 Blackbird, first transatlantic cable, and a “slice” of Charles and Diana’s Royal Wedding Cake. How crazy is that?
While not a true fidgeter, I always carry a few things in my pockets to mess around with when I get bored. J.L. Lawson makes some cool and useful stuff (for fidgeting or otherwise) and this is the latest to come out of their shop. I'm especially a fan of the art and style. Reminds me of something a member of a secret order would carry as a key or something. And yeah, as crazy as it sounds, I actually liked the National Treasure movies.
I want this sheet framed and hanging on my wall. Why? I think it just would look awesome. And maybe add a "break glass in case of emergency" plaque or something.
I'm new to Simon Sinek but I really like the way he thinks. Here's an interview with him about millennials in the workplace and here's a quote I recently stumbled across: "The single best machine to measure trust is a human being. We haven't figured out a metric that works better than our own sort of, like, 'There's something fishy about you.'" His book on leadership is supposedly scented in the scent of "optimism." I need to check this out.
Photo by I Lead, Therefore I Am
A fancy magazine focusing on adventure bundled with some extra goodies? It’s like they made this package just for me. I like that they understood a flask doesn’t just have to hold alcohol. “Fill your Stanley flask with booze, spring water, hot tea, or tears of joy. Whatever you like to have 8 ounces of, it's your call.” I just recently discovered these guys but we’re off to a great start.
— Check out past Items of Want —
Below is a list of various items I bought over the past 12 months that I feel I can recommend to others. I don't like wasting money and neither should you.
I've had a couple of flights out of the country in 2016 and paired with Global Entry, this belt is a lifesaver. Its simple design has no metal parts and weighs next to nothing, making it perfect for traveling through airport security as well as being comfortable while on the flight. I went with the Midnight (all black) belt but the Green/Navy Blackwood belt also caught my eye.
If you're technically inclined and in the Apple ecosystem, go for the Apple Watch. There's also some deals on Craigslist to be had if you look. I got my Apple Watch (1st Generation) for $180 in the summer, well before they announced the new models. I talked the guy down from $250.
New Cost: $269+
Used Cost: ~$175+
But if you're a horological fan, go with the Maratac Pilot Watch from County Comm. It's a solid design with a true automatic movement, and you can easily swap the straps out for any number of nylon or leather styles. I prefer the Large size but they make a Medium if that's more your fit.
Note: I initially paid under $200 for the Maratac Pilot Watch but after checking the price for this article I realized it’s now listed a bit higher. If I were in the market again, I’d be more interested in going for the Lum-Tec Huckberry Combat B33 GMT ($498). Or go on the budget side and consider the Standard Issue Instruments Pilot Mission Timer ($134). Yes those are both quartz but they seems pretty solid to me.
This is a great gift for that outdoorsy person in your life. If they don't live near a National Park and they don't have plans to visit one, it may not be an awesome idea but it might also jumpstart search for adventure. I've been on a few trips this year where I just brought it with me and it's saved a ton of money.
Cost: $80 (annual pass)
As a bonus, or even an alternative, pick up an REI membership. It's only $20, good for life, and you get 10% back on most things in the form of an annual dividend. And that's in addition to fairly frequent member only events and discounts throughout the year.
You don't have to be a designer to appreciate good design and I'm speaking from experience. It's no surprise that I'm a fan of Field Notes and I certainly appreciate a lot of how Mr. Draplin thinks. I can't pinpoint it but for some reason, I enjoy poring over this book. Even though I don't plan to "design" anything, I'm inspired by the graphics and stories throughout. And if it's still available, I recommend getting the DDC “Everything Else” Enhancement Kit to go along with it.
"Fancy" Magazine Subscriptions
I've always had a thing for magazines and I've been stoked recently since they've made a huge comeback. But these aren't the ones you're used to with ads on every other page, these are much better. Well, to be honest, a couple of the ones I like are almost completely made up of ads but it's a much more tasteful presentation. Here's a few that I recommend:
You can buy them individually (around $15-20 per issue) or through a subscription. From the photography to the stories, you won't be disappointed. Oh and they’re more like coffee table books than anything else. The physical material is top quality.
I saw the movie first and instantly loved it so I scheduled some time to read the official book version next. You know how movies based on books can be, often never stacking up to the book version. But surprisingly enough, this audiobook pared quite well with the film. I think seeing Robert Redford and Nick Nolte in action helped me visualize the characters in the book form. I highly recommend reading or listening to this book. And watch the movie too.
[Acquired] Field Notes "Black Ice" Edition
Field Notes does it again. Orange and black are my favorite combination of colors and this edition looks incredible. They also use a new binding technique for this notebook. For those unfamiliar, they usually just have 3 staples holding things together but the process in use here is more like a traditional book. The only thing is that since I always carry my Field Notes in my back pocket (in a DDC Stuff Sheath), I wonder what it would feel like when sitting.
[Acquired] Sanborn Canoe Company Red Enamel Camp Mug
I have an interesting fascination with mugs as I strongly prefer them to elicit some sort of feeling in me and can't just grab one willy-nilly. I can't even pinpoint what exactly it is but I'm quite choosy when it comes to picking out the perfect mug for a cup of coffee. And I don't always like it when people use my mugs so I have a few that are for sharing but a select couple are all my own.
I currently have a 40L GORUCK GR2 that can handle just about anything I throw at/in it. On a recent trip to Thailand, it held everything I needed (including a mini backpack) for 10 days. That said, I'm always on the lookout for better solutions. I really appreciate the variety of carry methods available in this Tom Bihn bag. It’s of course a backpack foremost but you can also carry it like a duffel and even unzip the top to be used as a smaller personal bag (which itself can convert to a mini backpack; too cool). The only thing I’d change would be to cut off the zippers and make some silent zipper pulls.
I grew up in love with all things "space" and even would write letters to my nearest NASA office (Goddard Space Flight Center) explaining my interest. They were kind enough to send me printouts and photos of various space related projects which I kept in a special folder and carried everywhere. And even though I'm not a designer, I appreciate good design when I see it and NASA has some of the coolest stuff around, in my opinion. This reproduction of the 1974 re-branding standards manual may be the ultimate coffee table book for any “space geek,” myself included. The static shielding pouch is a really nice touch too.
Over this past year, I’ve been getting into sending brief letters to people typed on my typewriter and it seems that a normal everyday stamp just isn’t good enough for something like that. I’ve been using some vintage Barnum & Bailey stamps but I’m running low so while on the hunt for a new design, these stamps from the World Stamp Show caught my eye.
— Check out past Items of Want —