Remember those Highland Cows i fell in love with in Scotland? The ones i spent the most time with were Craig, Ella, Archie, and a few others that lived at The Macallan Estate! Well after a few silly facebook messages about how the cows were doing in the snow these days ~ some fun pics showed up in my inbox! Aren’t they adorable? Check out snowy Scotland as the Highland Cows (pronounced coo ~ like moo!) hang out at The Macallan on the next page. Thanks, Annabel! Totally made my day!
I can’t even begin to tell you how giddy i am tonight. One, its 2am. Two, REINDEER! And there is an inexplicable joy when ad campaigns that i adore and would write about anyhow, are supporting NOTCOT! Firstly, let’s look at Project Reindeer minus the Gap involvement. There’s a page where you can watch the Reindeer Webcam, see their GPS tracked movements, watch fun Reindeer videos, and get to know a bit about each of the 8 reindeer in the herd as well as Zoologist, Josh, who focuses on North American Caribou… all the way out in Lake Crystal, MN. That alone is pretty awesome. Now, add the rather bizarre but interesting layer Gap has added on this. Each deer is assigned a specific deal (i.e. Emma = 40% off your purchase). Each day there is a new goal (i.e. Shortest Distance Within 24 hrs). Whichever reindeer reaches that goal, you get that discount the next day. See? A bit bizarre, yet strangely fascinating when you mix it all together?
So, inspired by Project Reindeer, I can’t help but wonder… who is this Zoologist Josh? How did they find him? Are they sponsoring his research? Is there an interesting public way advertising and academic/zoological research can come together? How can we further evolve mutually beneficial relationships of academic research, design inspiration, brands, and more… we’ve often mused over here at NOTCOT about finding ways to get more involved in that side of things. Then again, Justine, our NOTCOT.org editor who is also a research zoologist with a doctorate in animal behavior, coupled with our never ending fascination with nature and creative inspiration at NOTCOT… hmmmm. Much to think about! And who would have thought this late night ramble would be sparked by Gap? And Project Reindeer? Ok but back to the topic at hand ~ check out some screenshots on the next page of their fun simple page… as well as some of the absurdly amusing video bios of the various reindeer!
p.s. For full disclosure, this isn’t a sponsored post. Just something that i discovered because they are supporting NOTCOT, and was such a fun concept, i would have written about it anyhow! I guess it’s a perfect fit!
UPDATE: Project Reindeer is a Gap/AKQA project by Deep Local, the awesome post-digital shop that helps brands create remarkable experiences that bridge the online and physical worlds, who also did the awesome Saatchi LA NogPong!
NOTCOT’s Favorite Places ~ here’s a new series of posts sharing some of my favorite places in (and around!) Los Angeles! This content series is brought to you by the All-New 2011 Kia Sportage. Welcome to the Next Level.
Have you heard? LA weather has been pretty heinous lately ~ gloomy grey raininess is upon us! So sad, since some of the favorite spots i wanted to show you are definitely more fun outside! So here’s one to mix it up a little ~ though an LA native, and having ended up back here ~ i spent quite a few years on and off living in San Diego! And being a mere 2 hours away, and loving a good drive to clear my head, one of my favorite things to do while in LA, is just pop down, sometimes for a few days, sometimes just for a day trip! And inevitably hit up a few nostalgic spots… this saturday, i popped down to get some much craved Carne Asada Fries (though apparently sometimes referred to as Mexican Poutine as i just found out ~ though they are far better!) from Cotixans… and checking out the harbor seals that haul out at Casa Beach in La Jolla. There is something so incredibly blissed out about the way the pups look when sleeping! So this favorites post is dedicated to some nostalgic comfort food and a dash of nature… it’s also just so calming to be on the edge of the sea as it crashes into the rocks and beach as tide comes in… See awesome pics of seals and fries that Tasteologie editor, Jackson, took on the next page!
Update! Hi. So here’s the deal ~ its 2:30am in scotland ~ i’m with The Macallan exploring their distillery and estate for a few days, and there’s SO much incredible stuff i took pics of and got super excited about today ~ but i’m supposed to be up in a few mere hours for another full day! SO, not being able to quite organize a proper post on any of that yet ~ you can keep up on some of the craziness via twitter and also see pics coming in from my phone over at Life.NOTCOT.com…
… and for tonight? I just wanted to leave you with one of my latest happy inspiration obsessions. Highland Cows! On the next page you can see some of my various run ins with them over the last week and a half. Brown ones, white ones, black ones, light brown ones… big ones and little ones, HUGE ones on bridges in the dark, and close ups with The Macallan herd as well… they just have the most adorably shaggy coats (which keeping them warm, means they have super lean meat)… the emo-est moppy hair that flops over their eyes… and apparently they are quite docile and are some of the smartest bovines! Anyhow, i’m off to sleep, but check out the pics on the next page!
Took a little walk down to the British School of Falconry at Gleneagles today (ok, so, i crossed the maze of hedges - seriously, like a maze for kids to play in - and the tennis courts, and was at the falconry school!) ~ and it was absolutely mesmerizing watching the birds that were out in the viewing cages! So gorgeous… there’s something incredibly inspiring about these stunning birds of prey… also, i realized they almost always look sad/angry, but do make some impressively stern expressions… and i took a ton of pics. There are Steppe Eagles, Golden Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, and Harris Hawks. Go take a peek on the next page for some falconry fun!
Between trips, i’m currently hiding out at Gleneagles in Scotland, before joining up with the Macallan on Monday… while here, i just ended up on a surprise of an epic one day road trip all over the highlands to go find Nessie… and the scenic drive, seeing so many towns and villages, lochs and locks, glens and munros, castles and churches, not to mention a run in with a flock of pheasants in the middle of the road, a lone stag running through a field, gorgeous rainbow (though it was no double rainbow), sheep and chickens and cows, oh my! I adore the lumpy bumpy rolling hills (don’t be fooled, they are HUGE mountains up close) really feel like they are covered in the lushest of carpets… It was the most incredibly eye opening journey to see so much of the gorgeous countryside ~ architecture ~ signage ~ and more ~ in a day! And Pat caught me up on much Scottish history, phrases, and stories, it was incredible to get lost in Scotland for a day! (Pat! It was amazing! Thank you so much!) So, while, i’ll show you nessie over here ~ firstly, take in some of the views on the next page!
Just finished my last dive of the trip ~ and this whole trip has definitely reinvigorated my childhood love of nudibranchs and frogfish! Frogfish have the coolest elbows ~ and the way they walk… and eat (with their signature anglerfish family style lure!)… and the variations they come in! (So fascinating, saw about a half dozen color variations this week! And soooo many nudibranchs i haven’t seen before too. So in this last installment of fun creatures from the Lebeh Strait ~ check out frogfish, nudibranchs, and more (including a super tiny baby lion fish!) on the next page!
Octopus obsession is only growing more with each one i encounter! Two today so far! One good sized amazing Wonderpus octopus (Wunderpus photogenicus) on a dive (they are pretty rare and only found here in bali/sulawesi! Only recently named/officially discovered)… and then during lunch we spotted another octopus hiding a few feet from us in the low tide! So waded out to it with a camera and it was so tame and incredibly docile… i even pet it! So lots of fun pics of both the octopus and wonderpus on the next page!
UPDATE: We’re now pretty certain that the other octopus is a Mimic Octopus, Thaumoctopus mimicus ~ which was only officially discovered in 1998 in sulawesi. It is the one that the Wonderpus is commonly mistaken for… and it mimics everything from flounders and eels to lion fish and sea snakes… and ours impressively becomes one with the rock as well as the sand… see an amazing video i found about them on the next page!
On visual inspiration, there is something about the overwhelming sense of calm serenity with nothing but the sound of your own bubbles and the occasional boats overhead… as you just swim about watching the most incredible and mind blowing creatures going about their daily lives all around you… so, on “vacation pictures” ~ here are some of the many (there are hundreds of photos, here’s just a selection of fun ones!) creatures i’ve been encountering diving the Lembeh Strait of Indonesia this week (hiding out at Kungkungan Bay Resort)… and besides the diving creatures, you also get a peek at the large crab i ran into, and the impressive Tuna statue in the center of Bitung (tuna capital of indonesia?)… see it all on the next page!
p.s. and on design inspiration ~ it sounds silly, but i’ve totally been dreaming up redesigns, proposal ideas, and more while watching the creatures under the sea… also photo credits go to my dad who’s the photographer (i’ve been tasked more with helping find things in our team!)
I’m having one of those, sensory overload, exhausted yet giddy moments… sometimes we all need to step pretty far out of our daily lives to simultaneously reset, reflect, and find inspiration in the unexpected. For the next 5 days, i’m hiding out in the Lembeh Strait of Sulawesi, Indonesia… and they have awesome wifi, so when i’m not drop dead tired or diving exploring all the creatures around… the regularly scheduled content may be coming on vacation with me! So today was a morning flight to Manado from Singapore, followed by a 1.5 hour van ride through Bitung out to the dive spot, and now i’m curled up in my adorable cottage at Kungkungan Bay Resort. Certainly quite the contrast to the design overload i’m looking forward to in Milan in a few weeks! Although i thought about crashing after the day of travel, when i stared out at the possibly full moon with the intense clouds over the ocean… i couldn’t help taking a few pics, and i’m so in love with the view, i had to share them with you before i got some sleep! Isn’t it amazing how the palm trees and clouds look in the moonlight? See a few more pics of the night… some of the view on the flight in… and another random pic or too…
On unexpected surprises… did you know the Soho Grand Hotel will provide you with a roommate? An adorable little black goldfish? Strangely though, no food… i guess i will have to trust that housekeeping comes by and feeds the little guy? Their cheeky website says “If travelers cannot bring their pets, the Soho Grand offers surrogate animal companionship in the form of a goldfish in your guestroom.”
For those that asked on twitter ~ no i haven’t named it. No need to get attached, i don’t think i get to bring him with me to london… But i do wonder if there’s a mysterious room in the hotel somewhere with wall to wall goldfish bowls… do they really have enough for EVERY room? Or if you have two kids, can you request two? Or can you ask for two in the same bowl just so they dont get lonely while you’re out? Cute idea though ~ providing a bit more life to often sterile feeling hotel spaces! See more pics on the next page…
On unexpected inspiration and another random close up look at Oxford… how about some Moss and Spiders? And also praying mantis and silk worms… (And yes, moss fascinates me, remember the Singapore Moss?) So here are some fun little adorable moss clumps on the bridge… and then a huge spider that i found there too… then exploring into some of the zoology labs where i was whisked away to see some very cool (and insanely fly/web filled) space of pretty massive spiders and silk worms which are being researched to understand the magic of their silky webs… see the many pics on the next page!
On random Monday inspiration from Oxford (out here for Justine’s phd graduation!) we took a walk over to The Goldfish Bowl, and since my camera was with me, i couldn’t help shooting some of the adorable underwater creatures… you have got to check out the adorable turtles and rather pissed ray and much more!
I was heading to Petaluma from the Broad Summit ~ and just as i was getting out of Sebastapol i did a double take, pulled the car over, made a u-turn, and popped into California Carnivores in hopes it was open (it was late afternoon on a sunday) ~ and it WAS! And it is AMAZING. Apparently it is the “largest carnivorous plant shop in the united states”!!! AND omg. wow. you HAVE to see how stunning (and huge) this place and their plants and their kiddie pools filled with more plants in the process are… Good news is that they are carnivorous plant obsessed, extremely informative, super nice, and you can order online and they will ship anywhere in the US (he was even describing their intense packing process for shipping, and after hearing about it i’m confident to order more soon!) ~ but for now, i couldn’t resist and currently have a box of 4 in my car… SO beautiful. They are so incredibly inspiring, take a peek at the pics of many species i have never seen up close before!
On unexpected discoveries, next time you’re up in wine country california style ~ California Carnivores is a definite stop not to be missed!
So now you’ve seen the creatures of the California Academy of Sciences ~ ready to see what the scene was like for NightLife (their Thurs late night party/events ~ with drinks, food, djs, and more)… basically imagine going to an incredibly awesome museum/science center… but no kids! and the scene is like a 25-55 singles/date night! and as the evening progresses, the drunkeness runs a bit rampant… definitely have to feel for the poor museum folks who had to chase a few inebriated folks through the rather steep planetarium… and those starfish in the tidepools where it’s one hand in the tank and the other holding your beer with your arm around your girl… Interesting scene. And BEAUTIFUL space! Definitely worth doing the VIP tour if you’ve never been, since you get some behind the scenes sneak peeks, checking out the roof in a tiny group of about 15, skipping the rainforest queue, a look in the Vault, reserved passes for the planetarium show (and they let you in first!)… oh, and open bar too. Anyhow, take a peek at the experience!