*NOTCOT in travel - 02.24.15 - 0 Notes

Ice Climbing with Yamnuska - Johnston Canyon

climb0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, we roadtripped up from LA for a fall adventure. In Part II, we are experiencing all that Alberta Winter has to offer! Follow the series to see what inspires us along the way!

Ice Climbing! As far as our itinerary for this adventure, I knew that the intro to ice climbing with Yamnuska Mountain Adventures would be the most ambitious new experience on the list. Based in Canmore, they are over 30 years old, and have an impressive (intimidating?) team of incredibly qualified guides. In fact, as i research to write this post, i’m still floored by the background of our ice climbing instructor, Barry Blanchard, who has been with Yamnuska since the beginning! A quick internet search, shows he’s pretty much a legend in the alpine world… and as Shawn and I know, he’s also one of the nicest, most patient, passionate, intelligent teachers we’ve experienced! I don’t even know where to start - so take a peek at his wikipedia entry for the highlights, he’s also one of Patagonia’s first ambassadors, just published his memoir, and is a go to by Hollywood for alpine related films.

But all that aside, before we got to know Barry, we knew little about ice climbing at all. We met with him, learned the gear basics, put our crampons on, and hiked into Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park to the upper falls. Once there, he walked us through the basics, and got us climbing! The experience was AMAZING - also made me realize how much i need to get into shape so we can get even further next time! Take a peek on the next page for the experience, and the breathtaking icy falls of Johnston Canyon.

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*NOTCOT in nature - 02.21.15 - 0 Notes

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep

sheep0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, we roadtripped up from LA for a fall adventure. In Part II, we are experiencing all that Alberta Winter has to offer! Follow the series to see what inspires us along the way!

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep! Absolutely surreal to see them walk across the highway and jump over the railing towards the frozen lake. Usually the males and female herds are separate unless it’s mating season, but somehow we found the group of females and young on the right side of the highway, only to look up and see the males crossing the highway not far ahead. Remember on our last trip to Jasper we saw SO much wildlife, and Bucky got his first introduction to so many species. Well this trip, perhaps because it’s winter and snowing quite a bit, we haven’t seen nearly as many creatures - so when we came across this large herd of bighorn sheep, our jaws dropped. The backdrop of a frozen Abraham Lake (which is apparently known for its frozen methane bubbles beneath the surface!) and snow falling all around us, made the scene all the more dramatic. Take a look at our encounter on the next page!

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*NOTCOT in travel - 1 Notes

The Prairie Creek Inn - Aspen Tree House

tcpi0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, we roadtripped up from LA for a fall adventure. In Part II, we are experiencing all that Alberta Winter has to offer! Follow the series to see what inspires us along the way!

Everyone needs a relaxing, magical getaway - the type that forces you to stop, relax, and just revel in the beauty around you and the company you’re with. We just found that at The Prairie Creek Inn in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, which is about 3 hours east from Banff and Jasper. Even spending a mere 20 hours there, Shawn and i feel rejuvenated to continue on our epic Alberta adventure! This luxury B&B is actually a group of cottages spread throughout their large property (there’s even a creek running through!), so you feel more like you’re staying in a private cabin in the woods… only with a delicious restaurant, wonderful hosts, and all the amenities you could need (firewood, snacks, movies, and more.)

We had the chance to stay in the Aspen Tree House - just up the hill from the main lodge, and it truly is magical… from the moment you walk up to it in the clearing between the trees, to waking up in the morning and pulling back the curtains to expose the windows on two sides of the cabin that make you feel like you’re right in the woods. How anyone can watch the tv in the corner over the fire place between the two HUGE windows when snow is falling, is beyond me. The tree house interior is that perfect balance between comfortably homey, and spaciously modern. Even with just a few hours there, we had to make use of the fire pit (i’ve never done a fire in the snow!) It was fantastic to chop some wood and curl up by the fire after dinner as the snow fell around us. Take a peek into the Prairie Creek Inn Aspen Tree House on the next page…

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*NOTCOT in nature - 1 Notes

Athabasca Glacier + Skywalk

glacier0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, we roadtripped up from LA for a fall adventure. In Part II, we are experiencing all that Alberta Winter has to offer! Follow the series to see what inspires us along the way!

If there’s one thing that can truly make you feel small, it’s a visit to the Athabasca Glacier at the tip of the Columbia Icefield in Jasper National Park. While pictures are beautiful, i haven’t found that they even remotely do it justice… they mostly end up very white. It is so large, that unless you zoom way out and the people are tiny specs, you can’t even see most of it in frame. The glacier covers an area of nearly 2.5 sq miles and can be up to 1000 ft thick. Regardless of whether you are there in winter or summer, you have to climb up on it to see how incredibly LARGE it is. When you see the signs of where it USED to reach as you walk up the trails… you quickly realize that this monstrous glacier may not be here for many future generations to see. In the past 125 years, it has receded nearly a mile, and lost over half its volume! Every year it recedes another 16ft or so.

To my surprise, this is really a summer stop to do the full Columbia Icefield Glacier tour and to walk out on the Glacier Skywalk. In the winter, you can still walk out to the Athabasca Glacier on your own though, and its certainly far quieter than tour bus season when we first went by in Sept. Beautiful to see it in both seasons - its so different! Take a peek at the pictures of Sept vs Feb on the next page!

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*NOTCOT in travel - 02.19.15 - 0 Notes

Maligne Canyon Icewalk

ice0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, we roadtripped up from LA for a fall adventure. In Part II, we are experiencing all that Alberta Winter has to offer! Follow the series to see what inspires us along the way!

Firstly, wow. ICEWALK!!! Today we went on an Icewalk in Maligne Canyon in Jasper National Park with Maligne Adventures and it was unbelievably beautiful. I’ve always known ice is beautiful - who doesn’t love or admire an impressive ice ball in their drink? But WOW. I’m still spinning with how inspiring and impressive the ice formations we walked over, under, and through are! From the walls of ice forming on the mountainsides, to the shelves of ice we precariously walk across, to the incredible patterns of what almost looks like bubbles of ice that form from water dripping down… I honestly can’t find the words to tell you how beautiful it all is - so go see the pictures on the next page!

Side note - while you can go wander Maligne Canyon on your own, i’d definitely suggest doing a tour the first time. They provide you with crampons/boots if you don’t have them, and the experienced guide is a wealth of knowledge… not to mention there are a lot of beautiful areas to see off trail as well as more precarious areas that an untrained explorer may not know about. Anyhow - to the next page for all the pictures!

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*NOTCOT in food+drink - 0 Notes

Duchess Bake Shop & Provisions

duchess0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, we roadtripped up from LA for a fall adventure. In Part II, we are experiencing all that Alberta Winter has to offer! Follow the series to see what inspires us along the way!

If there’s one place that keeps coming up on Edmonton lists that you HAVE to try, it is Duchess Bake Shop, as well as their specialty baking store Provisions by Duchess, next door. The bakery has clearly become a destination for foodies and macaron lovers everywhere, and as soon as you step in, it’s easy to see why. Tucked away in a strip of shops, you enter an ornate, yet modern, parisian feeling spot filled with world class pastries made daily from scratch. And if you’re inspired to make your own, Provisions is filled with the who’s who of pastry cookbooks, specialty ingredients, baking tools, and even their new self published Duchess Bake Shop Cookbook - complete with 80 recipes for their most loved pastries from the bakery.

While our culinary adventures in Edmonton surprised us - so many delicious new restaurants filled with modern interiors I loved, and incredibly nice folks. Heading to Duchess near lunch hour was a bit more like Disneyland! But worth the chaos. One thing to note if you make the pilgrimage to Duchess is that they are not open Mondays, and if Monday happens to be a public holiday (in this case Family Day), they are also closed Tuesday. Luckily, we were driving to Jasper on Weds, so managed to squeeze in a quick stop to check it out, have a quiche and croque monsieur, and pick up a box of treats to enjoy on our road trip! Of course, once i got there and peek at the cookbook, it warranted a longer read… so check it all out on the next page!

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*NOTCOT in roundup - 0 Notes

NOTCOT.org + Tasteologie Roundup

roundup notcotorg #59188 notcotorg #59148 notcotorg #59177 notcotorg #59135 notcotorg #59176 notcotorg #59143 notcotorg #59151 notcotorg #59169 notcotorg #59171 notcotorg #59210 notcotorg #59208 notcotorg #59149 notcotorg #59141 notcotorg #59147 notcotorg #59154 notcotorg #59196 notcotorg #59159 notcotorg #59168 notcotorg #59140 notcotorg #59197 tasteologie #71200 tasteologie #71216 tasteologie #71212 tasteologie #71292 tasteologie #71188 As we adventure around in Alberta - here’s what’s been inspiring us across the world and the web this week! Click the pics to find out more!!!

*NOTCOT in design - 0 Notes

Making Cutting Boards with Oliver Apt

_cutting0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, we roadtripped up from LA for a fall adventure. In Part II, we are experiencing all that Alberta Winter has to offer! Follow the series to see what inspires us along the way!

I made a cutting board! On fun ways to explore a city and get to know the people and find out more about life - i’ve now learned that a workshop is incredible! Edmonton Tourism definitely knows how to appeal to our designer side by mixing in a special Oliver Apt Cutting Board Workshop into our itinerary. While at first glance i wasn’t sure how it fit in… after the fact? Genius move!

Firstly, the workshop is with Oliver Apt and the founder, 3rd generation carpenter, Landon Schedler, who beyond knowing just about everyone in the creative community, has a portfolio that nearly completely overlaps the Edmonton ‘must try’ lists! (i.e. Woodwork, Meat, Duchess Bake Shop) Also, how awesome is it to not only get to tour someone else’s studio, but to also try out their tools? Secondly, a magical thing happens when you have a physical goal/project in front of you. As much as all parties want to focus on the tour and interview or talk about their work… the common goal occupying your hands and mind - somehow makes the conversation far more fluid - and fun! I learned more about the local creative community and the inspiring people and culture of Edmonton in that few hours making a cutting board, than most of my trip!

And the bonus? Cutting board! Which will always make me think of my Alberta winter adventures! And it’s hand made by me… with the clear expertise of years of woodworking know how from Landon. While i definitely learned a lot about wood, tools, laminating, planing, and more… perhaps throwing a workshop is the ultimate humblebrag. It’s only when you TRY to do what experts do, that you realize just how amazing experts really are!

Ready for a peek into the Oliver Apt wood shop/studio and a step by step look at how to make your own faceted cutting board on the next page!

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*NOTCOT in nature - 02.18.15 - 0 Notes

Elk Island National Park

elk0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, we roadtripped up from LA for a fall adventure. In Part II, we are experiencing all that Alberta Winter has to offer! Follow the series to see what inspires us along the way!

You know i’m not one to pass up a visit to see some bison! (Remember the baby ones at Waterton?) When I found out that Elk Island National Park is just outside Edmonton (maybe a half hour drive), I had to go see! While we were warned to keep our eyes open as we cruised the highway through the park for Bison, and as promised, on the highway we saw a good two dozen or so bison along the fences! Both when coming and going! I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that once inside the park, we only found one - seeing as we knew exactly where most of the others were. It was also surreal to see a coyote jumping so high as it ran through the snow across the road! The visitors center is a must stop too - so many funky taxidermied creatures and fun gifts. I adore their stress bisons - see the stress bisons above in lieu of the herds of bison along the highway i couldn’t get pictures of.

According to the Elk Island National Park site, “Elk Park was first established in 1906 as a federal game preserve to protect the declining elk populations of the Beaver Hills. Some of the last Plains Bison in the world were reintroduced to Elk Park in 1907. In 1913 Elk Park joined the Parks Canada family. Since that time Elk Island National Park has been Canada’s source of disease free bison for re-introduction and conservation initiatives throughout its former range.”

On a longer trip (or the next time we’re in Edmonton), we’re definitely coming back to Elk Island National Park - perhaps to camp, hike, or snowshoe around the lakes! See what we saw on the next page!

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*NOTCOT in travel - 0 Notes

Edmonton Silver Skate Festival

snow0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, we roadtripped up from LA for a fall adventure. In Part II, we are experiencing all that Alberta Winter has to offer! Follow the series to see what inspires us along the way!

When i think winter and snow - first things that pop to mind are skating on a frozen pond and making a snowman. So when we first got in to Alberta for this Winter adventure, it seems only appropriate to start things off at the Silver Skate Festival in Edmonton at Hawrelak Park - and on Family Day no less! The free festival was a plethora of all things winter fun - so many families skating together on the frozen lake (even pulling each other on sleds across it), bundled up kids running around through snow mazes and sliding down ice slides, beautiful huge snow sculptures, snow blocks you could move and build forts out of… and watch out for the dogsleds coming around the lake! (FYI, that ringing bell, isn’t a bike behind you - the dogs are coming! Learned that one fast!) In addition to all the demos (from blacksmithing to curling and more) there was live music in a few spots, ongoing performances, and even a zombie 5k and triathlon. With an incredible staff of volunteers and supporters, Silver Skate Festival is now in its 25th year and still free for all to enjoy. It’s hard not to love the snow with such a vibrant, energetic festival! Take a peek on the next page for my highlights…

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*NOTCOT in travel - 02.16.15 - 0 Notes

Inspiration: YEG - Edmonton Airport

yeg0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, we roadtripped up from LA for a fall adventure. In Part II, we are experiencing all that Alberta Winter has to offer! Follow the series to see what inspires us along the way!

We’re back in Alberta! This time it’s nearly 2 weeks of wintry adventures! Lots and lots of NOTCOT firsts (perfect for kicking off decade 2!) that i can’t wait to experience (and share!) with all of you. But first… instead of roadtripping up from LA like last time, we’ve flown up and rented a car to explore the snowiness properly.

So first stop was YEG, and while the flight from 85 degree weather to below freezing was a smidge nerve racking… and i did feel ridiculous in the LA heat in snow boots (but it was easier to wear than pack them)… I must admit i’ve been excited for a taste of winter, but i never expected to feel so inspired simply stepping off the PLANE! The Edmonton Airport manages to make even waiting in line at immigration more pleasant with a luscious, tall, green living wall! And when you pass through that to baggage claim - there are fun sports dioramas within them - complete with tvs to inform and occupy your time while you wait. Even those who aren’t into sports can’t help but be fascinated. So take a peek on the next page to see what grabbed me (and distracted me) from just how cold it looked as we flew in…

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*NOTCOT in roundup - 02.09.15 - 0 Notes

NOTCOT.org + Tasteologie Roundup

roundup notcotorg #59133 notcotorg #59118 notcotorg #59109 notcotorg #59117 notcotorg #59126 notcotorg #59107 notcotorg #59082 notcotorg #59098 notcotorg #59102 notcotorg #59087 notcotorg #59086 notcotorg #59092 notcotorg #59121 notcotorg #59081 notcotorg #59084 notcotorg #59124 notcotorg #59120 notcotorg #59128 notcotorg #59112 notcotorg #59134 tasteologie #71003 tasteologie #70957 tasteologie #70812 tasteologie #70877 tasteologie #70965 What a week it’s been - we’ve been having a blast and are so thankful to all of you for the support of our In Plain Sight Collection - it has been a really fun NOTlabs experiment! From material experiment (leather + lasers + reflectiveness!) to real product - and we’ve been busy stitching them up all weekend between popping to the post office! Super excited about more projects to come!

Here’s a peek at some of the many things that have been keeping me inspired over at NOTCOT.org and Tasteologie… you know the drill - click the pictures to find out more about any and all of them!

*NOTCOT in playful - 02.04.15 - 2 Notes

Made by NOTCOT: In Plain Sight

mainNOTCOT1.gif We’re excited to launch our latest NOTlabs Experiment - the NOTCOT In Plain Sight Collection of blacked out leather retroflectors! These subtle black on black striped leather accessories turn into unmissable high visibility items when flashed (be it with a camera flash or the lights from a car). Whether you use them as a decorative accessory, safety add on, a prop to liven up flash photos… or all of the above, is up to you! The collection contains a small and large keychain and bag tag - all handmade (by us!) in Los Angeles at NOTlabs from vegetable tanned leather.

Ok launching a collection sounds far more serious than it is - what actually happened was I wanted to make something fun to celebrate 10 YEARS OF NOTCOT! … and we have been experimenting with lasers + leather (+ reflective materials)… and Shawn and I wanted new keychains and a bag tag, so we started there and ended up with designer leather retroflectors! We’ve been using them the last few weeks, meaning inevitable design tweaks leading to the final designs. I adore mine, as does Shawn, so we decided to make more to share with our friends and family! Which of course includes all of you!!!

So THANK YOU for all of your incredible support and inspiration over the last decade. You’re so awesome, we’ve discounted the price for Friends & Family (like you!) for a few days over in the STORE!. For the discount, select the Friends & Family price in the drop down before you add to cart. [UPDATE: Friends & Family deal ended 2/9/2015]

No joke these are handmade by us at NOTlabs (yes, i’m sewing them!) and will be a limited edition (of not very many, or until we move on to another exciting project!) Hope you like them! See lots of fun detail shots and animated gifs on the next page…

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*NOTCOT in design - 02.02.15 - 0 Notes

NOTCOT on Instagram

insta0.jpg As more of more of the random day to day inspiration ends up on our @NOTlabs Instagram - it seems like a shame not to share it here with more context! So here’s a peek at everything from trying out the leather MOD organizer from This Is Ground to the fun concrete dog dish and minis from IN.SEK Design… trying out the new Plumen 002 bulb in our lasered cardboard light to adventures with my new Samsung Slide-In Gas Range/Convection Oven… and of course more adventures tinkering with the NOTFZJ80 which is getting some electronics upgrades and perhaps a baja trip? See it all and more on the next page!

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*NOTCOT in food+drink - 02.01.15 - 0 Notes

Slingshot Yogurt Drink

slingshot0.jpg On packaging based impulse buys at the supermarket… was intrigued by this Slingshot “Yogurt protein drink with a crunchy shot”. The strange ring around the neck of the bottle is filled with toasted oats, chia seeds, and almond bits . It’s like a Yo Crunch in drink form (before YoCrunch apparently turned into candy/cereal/super sugary branded mix ins?). I tried the peach flavor which was pretty bleh - but the packaging is most intriguing! See details on the next page.

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