Dispatches from the desert

Charming coffee shops, luxe puzzles, being your true self and more

Hi friends, Bobby here. I’m writing to you from the high deserts of Southern California, enjoying the extra-terrestrial views, intense sun rays, and cool breezes. If you’ve never been out here I’d highly recommend it as it offers a unique sense of calm and tranquility that you can really only find in a few places in the world. In the mornings we’re woken by the sounds of neighboring roosters and at night you see small rabbits wandering and little bats fluttering around the starry skies.

Hope this week treats you well!


My next-life goal is to open a coffee shop in Europe. It’s something I’ve been working on slowly for the last couple of years now though the pandemic has made it more challenging to explore. In my mind I envision a super small little corner shop where I make a handful of coffees and teas, very simple menu, and really let the charm and ambiance (read with a French accent) of the space itself be the thing that draws people in and back again.

A perfect example of what I mean is Bode’s new Bode Tailor Shop, a coffee shop and tailor in-one. Situated next door to their shop on the Lower East Side of New York, they have, in a sense, adopted The Classic Coffee Shop which was run by a man named Carmen Morales for over 40 years. They’re keeping the affordable coffee, the original ceiling tiles, and subtly making the petite space their own, thanks to Emily Bode’s partner Aaron Aujla, who runs interior design and furniture company Green River Project with his partner Benjamin Bloomstein. It gives me hope that we’ll start to see more projects like this which really continue on the legacy of things that were special, continuing to celebrate what was while looking toward what can be.


Throughout the last year we’ve all had to find different ways of entertaining ourselves and puzzles are certainly back in fashion. I wonder if, like records, puzzles have seen a huge resurgence in popularity? Anyhow, Piecework Puzzles makes what I would call “gourmet puzzles” with dynamic, high-contrast, high-saturation images that stand bring puzzling into a contemporary light. The pieces themselves also feel luxurious as there’s this matte coating on them and I feel like they’re slightly thicker than your run of the mill puzzle. They even offer playlists themed to each puzzle while you put it together. How fun is that?


I’ve been enamored with Marc Jacobs since I was about 19, when my friend from home Heather introduced me to him and his incredible world. This was further fueled by Logic Prigent’s documentary Marc Jacobs Louis Vuitton which showed the inner workings of the previously mentioned world. Recently, Thora Siemsen wrote a piece on him for SSENSE which goes quite in-depth on his personal life. He’s lead an incredibly interesting life and his current outlook and advice on really being yourself was quite inspiring for me.


Related to the above, Olga Khazan wrote a piece titled You Can Be a Different Person After the Pandemic where they write about ways you can change aspects of your personality. It’s been said that an old dog can’t learn new tricks but studies now show through repeated exercises and therapy. h/t kottke


✖ — Long time friend of TFIB and a wonderful designer/illustrator Olimpia Zagnoli has released a new anthology book looking over the past 10 years of her work titled Caleidoscopia. Her work has always been bold and super graphic, full of confidence and playfulness, and it’s so exciting to see it all collected into a volume like this. You can purchase a copy through Lazy Dog Press here.

✖ — IKEA has released a free book titled IKEA ScrapsBook (love that name) dedicated to “cooking with the little things we usually throw away.” Food waste is a big issue in terms of sustainability and the environment and it’s great to see the big blue retailer helping play a part in changing the mindset of how we utilize food.

✖ — I had no idea macOS had a built-in color picker! I’ve been doing some janky Photoshop trick for the last couple decades and this makes it so much easier.

✖ — The Louvre in Paris has uploaded and released their entire collection of works to the public, over 480,000 pieces, and it’s being updated daily. I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface in my searches.

✖ — Seth Armstrong paints these life-like paintings of the Los Angeles canyons and I’m so impressed how spot-on they feel. When people talk about the Hollywood Hills these are them and this is exactly what they look like early in the morning or late in the evenings.

✖ — I came across the type work of Beasts of England and was really impressed with the work they do. Such a beautiful range of typefaces, I’m really partial Adams Italic and Mrs Carter.

✖ — Kind of obsessed with this logo for Brasserie Diagonale and how complex and weird it is. You know designers put those BS grids over their logos and it makes no sense? This wacky logo has that feeling except the grid makes total sense. That G is a thing of beauty.

✖ — I had no idea Mickey Drexler (famous for making J.Crew, Gap, and Madewell huge businesses) named Old Navy after a now closed bar in Paris that he passed while riding in a taxi on St Germain.