Tanja M. Laden Contributor

Tanja M. Laden

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The Icelandic Phallological Museum

Tanja M. Laden Contributor

By Tanja M. Laden in Cool Travel on Wednesday 27 March 2013

Tucked inside the city of Reykjavík is a sleek, modern-looking little museum that just so happens to display nearly 300 phallus specimens from water and land mammals, including (supposedly) those from Iceland’s “Huldufólk,” i.e., elf-like “hidden people.” The Icelandic Phallological Museum features clean lines and a tidy installation that make it look like it could […]

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Shreveport-Bossier City: Louisiana’s Other Side

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By Tanja M. Laden in Cool Travel on Tuesday 4 December 2012

In northwest Louisiana, one of America’s weirdest communities is actually closer to Texas and Arkansas than it is to New Orleans. There’s still plenty of Cajun flavor in the mini twin cities of Shreveport-Bossier, but there’s also a lot of other stuff you won’t find down in NOLA, including the annual Shreveport Zombie Walk, meat-filled “muffy” sandwiches at Fertitta’s, and the Touchstone Wildlife and Art Museum — a family-owned roadside attraction devoted to the fine art of taxidermy. 

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Rabbit Air makes art that helps you breathe

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By Tanja M. Laden in Tech on Wednesday 3 October 2012

You know those ugly, clunky air filters that take up too much space and just sit there like the bland, utilitarian items that they are? Consider them a thing of the past, because Rabbit Air makes sleek, sexy, slim, and super-quiet HEPA air purifiers with optional wall mounts, customizable filter packs, and — get this — attractive designs that turn each unit into a work of art.

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Scents inspired by HP Lovecraft, Jim Henson and more

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By Tanja M. Laden in New Products on Saturday 18 August 2012

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is an online-only perfume purveyor that makes potions, tinctures, elixirs, and specialty oil blends that defy the commercial fragrance industry. Beloved childhood characters come to life with lines inspired by the likes of Fraggle RockHellboy, and Labyrinth. While Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn smells like frosty lilac petals, white chocolate, wild lettuce, and oakmoss, the combination of elements in the Lab’s role-playing game series is practically endless. 

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La Sardinia: a DIY analogue film camera

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By Tanja M. Laden in New Products on Tuesday 31 July 2012

While former film heavyweights continue to struggle in the face of the so-called digital revolution, Lomography continues to build a business based solely on analog photography. Its success is mostly due to the fact that Lomos are cheap, user-friendly, and adorable — qualities one usually doesn’t associate with cameras, digital or otherwise.

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World’s first brain-controlled cat-inspired headgear

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By Tanja M. Laden in New Products on Tuesday 17 July 2012

Unveiled at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Necomimi is the world’s first brain-controlled feline-inspired headgear that uses forehead muscles to control the movement of a pair of cat ears. After a brief calibration period, the battery-operated, skull-mounted stuffed animal/fashion statement perk up, flatten, or flutter a pair of furry ears while picking up subtle movement from the head. Japanese fashion and electronics company Neurowear created Necomimi after the founder’s shyness resulted in a lot of alone time. She studied her cat’s physical communication and replicated it with Necomimi, which sends bio-sensory feedback to others. (Note: hair gets in the way.)

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Mustache Monocles: a custom line of face-jewelry

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By Tanja M. Laden in Video on Wednesday 11 July 2012

Remember monocles? Neither do we. But just because bifocals and contact lenses haves replaced the antiquated piece of eyewear doesn’t mean we need to give up the fob and chain altogether. It’s something the Geek Chic furniture-design company is hoping to revive with a new custom line of face-jewellry called Mustache Monocles.

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DJ Kutmah curates a volume of the Worldwide Family series

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By Tanja M. Laden in New Music on Wednesday 13 June 2012

Illustrator and dublab DJ, Justin McNulty, aka Kutmah, was recently deported from his homeland of the United States to Great Britain. His Scottish father and Egyptian mother moved to the US when Kutmah was 12, but their son was never naturalized. So after keeping Kutmah in detention for more than two months in 2010, US immigration authorities sent him back ‘home’ to England, even though Kutmah considers himself a Los Angeles native.

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Hot springs of the Beitou District in Taipei City, Taiwan

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By Tanja M. Laden in Cool Travel on Friday 8 June 2012

Beitou is bewitching – quite literally. The northern Taiwanese Ketagalan Aboriginal group historically referred to the region’s flurry of volcanic activity as ‘patauw,’ which translates to ‘witch.’ There are more than 30 hot springs in Beitou, which is located along two faultlines that meet at the dormant Datun Volcano Group.

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Clever design work by Brazilian studio: Romeu & Julieta

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By Tanja M. Laden in New Design on Friday 8 June 2012

Jean Campos and Patricia Palma own and operate the four year-old, Brazil-based design studio, Romeu and Julieta, which specializes in advertising illustration and fashion marketing. This imaginative design is a multidimensional cross-section of a human head, organized into handy compartments that store different forms of information for the digital age.

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Socially conscious jewelry design by The Love Project

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By Tanja M. Laden in New Eco on Thursday 7 June 2012

The Love Project is both an eco-friendly jewelry line and a charitable collaboration between a pair of Washington DC-based designers. Jennifer Elizabeth Miller and Melissa Lew are the eponymous Jem • Lew: two socially conscious artists who designed The Love Project’s signature piece: a four-heart logo that’s hand-painted on bamboo and stainless steel. Percentages of sales from each of the baubles are donated to various non-profit organizations. It’s finally possible to buy jewelry and say it’s for a good cause. And it’s true.

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New art by Taipei-based No2Good

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By Tanja M. Laden in New Art on Wednesday 6 June 2012

It’s not easy to pigeonhole an artist like No2Good. The Taipei-based, Taiwanese illustrator, painter, sculptor, and designer works in just about every medium, with a multidisciplinary approach that’s meant to create a new kind of artistic language. His visual lexicon is defined by a cartoon-like nostalgia for prepubescent innocence, punctuated with the sobering reality of a typical adult’s artificial identity, which often supplants the vibrant imagination of childhood.

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NXNE and LuminaTO in Toronto

Tanja M. Laden Contributor

By Tanja M. Laden in Cool Travel on Wednesday 6 June 2012

If you’ve always wanted to visit Toronto, but never really had a reason to go, now’s the time to head north by northeast, in more ways than one. The so-called little brother to SXSW, NXNE is a full week’s worth of nonstop live indie bands, film programs, and much less attitude than many other music-fueled juggernauts. Happening from June 11-17, NXNE also overlaps with LuminaTO, another Toronto-based arts festival that focuses on the latest creativity coming from the biggest city in Canada.

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Sleek furniture design by KAVANTE

Tanja M. Laden Contributor

By Tanja M. Laden in New Design on Wednesday 6 June 2012

Bespoke furniture might be a luxury nowadays, but it’s still something most of us secretly desire. While vintage-inspired and IKEA accessories might make decent accent pieces, for timeless items that last a lifetime, KAVANTE carries a custom line of sexy designs for the home: from sturdy, streamlined furniture to elegant lighting and decor. Best of all, it’s all made with you in mind.

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Pop Curious: unearthing the curious side of pop culture

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By Tanja M. Laden in Cool Websites on Wednesday 6 June 2012

As a freelance writer in Los Angeles, one of the only benefits I have is the ability to keep all the rights to my work. And since I’m a big proponent of ‘evergreen’ material, I decided to create PopCurious in order to do my part to recycle. But since I launched in October 2011, the […]

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