*notcot - 01.14.14 , 09:00 - 0 Notes

Inspiration: Portland (Thanks, Delta!)

deltamain.jpg Thank you to Delta® for sponsoring this article. Book Delta® Economy Comfort™ on your next trip and make each and every departure and arrival “worth it.”

When Delta® reached out wanting us to experience their Economy Comfort™ seats, and figure out what’s #worthit, the first question was - where should we go? Well the perfect way to kick off 2014 was to find somewhere new and inspiring (and not too far) to take a quick trip - and Portland, OR came to mind. Just back from the madness of holiday travel, Shawn and I needed to properly unwind, relax, and explore, so we happily hopped up to Portland for 2 quick nights! The second question - when to go?!?! So after a bit of poking around the Delta site to figure out which types of planes fly where and what wasn’t fully booked up to get some decent seats (aka Economy Comfort™ and non-middles where possible!) we were set for Jan 6-8. Then came the research phase, as I oriented myself with Portland digitally (and asking friends for advice) this google map of dots emerged to help us figure out what to explore when wandering the city. Feel free to suggest more spots that can’t be missed on our next Portland adventure! Take a peek on the next page at some of our discoveries, as well as the stunning views out the window flying!

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*notcot - 11.21.13 , 10:45 - 0 Notes

Homesickness Fighting Tech

sheratontech.jpg This post is brought to you by Sheraton. Click here to explore Sheraton Club.

It’s amazing what you can do at home… while away from home these days! In fact, it feels like it gets harder and harder to get homesick even while bouncing around the globe. With internet available while flying, even that oasis is a tough one to claim being completely disconnected. With cell phone roaming getting cheaper and simpler, you don’t even have to worry about changing phone numbers or gasp being completely out of touch. In our first post in this travel series sponsored by Sheraton, I shared ways that internet resources can help you explore new cities like a local. This time, let’s take a peek at the little things you can use that keep you grounded and feeling like home no matter what time it is wherever you are or how many planes you just hopped around on… see the next page!

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*notcot - 11.14.13 , 08:00 - 0 Notes

Hotel Hibernation Days

sheratonbed.jpg This post is brought to you by Sheraton. Click here to explore Sheraton Club.

After a work trip, be it a long arduous one or a quick overbooked one, I don’t know how other people feel, but i’m exhausted! And to be honest, coming home isn’t always the most relaxing thing. As soon as you get back, there is the whole process of unpacking, catching up, and the reality of laundry, cooking, dishes and more might kick right back in. My solution? Hotel Hibernation Days! That extra buffer day that helps you transition back to reality without being terribly behind and desperately in need of rest! More about my perfect plan to stay sane with a crazy schedule on the next page.

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*notcot - 11.07.13 , 09:00 - 0 Notes

5 Different Perspectives to find while Traveling

sher0.jpg This post is brought to you by Sheraton. Click here to explore Sheraton Club.

One of my favorite things to do when traveling and exploring new cities is to find new perspectives of that city. Often (especially if traveling for business or a convention) it is far too easy to get stuck in a giant building with nearly no windows or bouncing merely between the hotel and talks. If you don’t have time to get out and explore, at least try to see the city/town in at least ONE new way! On the next page, check out 5 of my favorite options…

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*notcot - 10.31.13 , 01:08 - 0 Notes

Seattle Adventures: The Sheraton

sheraton0.jpg This post is brought to you by Sheraton. Click here to explore Sheraton Club. As our hosts in Seattle a few weekends ago, here’s a peek into our room and Sheraton Club first hand!

When the Sheraton reached out to us to write about our adventures beyond work meetings, etc. when visiting a city that had Sheraton Club amenities, I didn’t know what to expect. And having not been to Seattle since i was too young to remember much more than going clamming, I had no idea what i was in for! So, thank you Sheraton, for helping us make a weekend of the trip instead of a quick one day type of thing, it has been quite the fun weekend of exploring. You can see how we planned where to explore, and peek into our Seattle adventures, but first, back to the Sheraton!

About the Sheraton Club, I’d never tried one of the club lounges or club floors before. Basically, it’s like a hotel version of an airport lounge; free Wifi, lounge space with tvs, newspapers and magazines, and a buffet that varies on the time of day. As far as how that fits into your hotel time, think of it as your room on a floor that conveniently has a little lounge on the same floor, and breakfast and wifi are complimentary, as well as happy hour hors d’oeuvres! But back to the adventures, take a peek on the next page to see inside our room, our stunning downtown Seattle views, and our experience in the Sheraton Club Lounge!

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*notcot - 10.18.13 , 11:00 - 2 Notes

5 STEPS TO EXPLORE LIKE A LOCAL

sheratonmain.jpg This post is brought to you by Sheraton. Click here to explore Sheraton Club.They are hosting us in Seattle this weekend, so it seems only appropriate that I share my process of diving into a new city between meetings as it applies to my first time in Seattle since i was too young to remember! First first step, figure out the neighborhoods… maps like this one from These Are Things for Seattle are a great start.

I love exploring! But having a mere few days in a new city (and minimal free time between business meetings) ~ is seldom enough to get to know it like a local! Unless… you find optimal ways to plan out what to go see! Diving into a brand new city you know next to nothing about is always both an adventure and completely overwhelming. Traditionally there are tourism boards and guide books to give you a feel for the touristy “usuals” that out-of-towners tend to cluster at, but i always get more curious about what locals are doing, what’s up and coming, and what is most unique! So, beyond asking friends and friends of friends and your hotel concierge for suggestions, here are some techniques we’ve been using! Usually i’m hunting for fun restaurants, shops, galleries, and events! Below take a peek at my usual process to navigate and discover the local side of things!

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*notcot - 09.24.13 , 10:15 - 1 Notes

Café Grumpy’s Ford Transit Connect

grumpymain.jpg This post is sponsored by the Ford Transit Connect. For this next Transit Connect adventure, I was sadly stuck at home on jury duty, so Shawn Sims hopped out to NYC to join the folks at Café Grumpy as they did super early morning deliveries. See our first adventure with the Butler Blue Mobile Transit Connect here.

Café Grumpy was founded in 2005 (just like NOTCOT!) with a passion for quality coffee and it has been amazing seeing how they’ve grown over the years. With the opening of the latest (5th!) Café Grumpy in NYC last week, we knew we had to head over and check it out when we heard they too use a Ford Transit Connect to deliver their coffee and pastries! Beyond their cafes, they also have the  Café Grumpy Roastery, where they hand-roast small batches of specialty-grade coffee on a restored vintage Probat, and the Café Grumpy Bakery, where they bake their pastries and other deliciousness! And all of this goodness gets transported in their Ford Transit Connect to the cafes… with the launch of the latest cafe in the Fashion District in NYC and more to come, Caroline told us that she’s thinking about figuring out custom shelves (which the Transit Connect is ideal for) to better optimize the space for their deliveries. So we tagged along for their bakery and roastery deliveries to see what their process is like and what their dream Ford Transit Connect set up might be… as well as tasting some delicious coffee, pastries, and checking out the adorable stuffed grumpy beans! Check out our adventures with Cafe Grumpy on the next page!

p.s. If you’re feeling some de ja vu, but have never visited a Café Grumpy, perhaps you’ve been seeing/hearing about them in Girls, where some of the main characters work.

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*notcot - 09.06.13 , 12:35 - 0 Notes

Butler Blue Mobile Ford Transit Connect

blue0.jpg This post is sponsored by the Ford Transit Connect. When they first approached us to profile some fun, inspiring Ford Transit Connects, we weren’t sure what we would find. Well our first stop lead us to Butler University in Indianapolis, IN to visit Butler Blue III who rides around in the Blue Mobile 2010 Ford Transit Connect!

It’s not everyday that we find ourselves popping out to Indianapolis, to spend some time with some very social media saavy bulldogs. Butler Blue III and his predecessor, Butler Blue II (who we also had the pleasure of meeting) have with quite the following… of course it doesn’t hurt that their “dad”, Michael Kaltenmark, is Director of Web Marketing and Communications at Butler University, and a natural at sharing the adventures of these amazing bulldogs both in real life and digitally. With huge support from the community, these dogs are also living quite the life thanks to some amazing sponsors, including their local Ford dealer, who offered them a Ford Transit Connect to get around in. Of course, in addition to bulldog roadtrips, the Blue Mobile has become the perfect billboard, both around town and on the road at away games. In fact even doing errands, people will wave at the Blue Mobile, and sometimes even peek in to see if the dogs are on board. The bulldogs have their own hammocked back seat, tons of space, a flashing blue light to pop on top of the car, and quite the car wraps and stickers! We join Michael and Blue III (aka “Trip” - short for triple!) in the Blue Mobile, to see what life with their Ford Transit Connect is really like! Take a peek on the next page to see our adventures ~ from box destruction and shopping at the bookstore, getting a bath, celebrating at the vet’s with cake, checking out the renovations at Hinkle, and dreaming up the NEXT Ford Transit Connect to come…

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*notcot - 02.20.13 , 07:45 -

Never Miss a Thing with the DROID RAZR MAXX HD by Motorola

newest.jpg This post is sponsored by DROID RAZR MAXX HD by Motorola. Check out everything you can do with the longest lasting 4G LTE smartphone. Thanks for supporting NOTCOT, Motorola! (Ooh and a side note - i love the kevlar fiber backing!)

There’s nothing more frustrating than missing a vital call or text because your phone ran out of juice. Motorola is aiming to make that notion a thing of the past with its DROID RAZR MAXX HD, the longest lasting 4G LTE smartphone, with an incredible 32 hours of battery life.

How significant is that? Take a look at some of the things you can accomplish on a single charge. How about 214 uploads, downloads, and streams (even re-watching the “Gangnam Style” video yet again if you haven’t got enough)? You’ll be a well-informed citizen, too, because you can follow 623 breaking news stories. And, your fingers will be properly exercised after the 4,288 taps, swipes, and pinches you can perform.

But it’s not all about the numbers, of course. The new you, with your DROID RAZR MAXX HD, can actually enjoy a three-hour flight delay because you can sit back and catch up on an the last few episodes of “The Walking Dead.” You’ll have to hide your amusement, though, as you watch your fellow passengers duke it out for the last remaining outlet in the airport terminal.

Imagine not having to worry about a major event taking place right in front of you — like a flash mob that breaks out at the mall — and not having enough power to whip out your phone and capture the moment. Even better, you can be the first one to instantly upload it to all of your social networks, and start the next viral video craze!

And just think: You can be everyone’s hero the day your friend gets lost on the way to the big concert, since you have enough battery power to GPS the trip, with plenty left over to live Tweet the performance and the after-party shenanigans.

Wondering what else you can do with 32 hours of battery life? Learn more at Motorola.com.

Disclaimer: DROID is a trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd. and its related companies. Used under license. LTE is a trademark of ETSI. 32 hours claim based on average user profile. Actual battery performance will vary depending on signal strength; network configuration; features selected; and voice, data and application use. Visit motorola.com for more information.

*notcot - 02.14.13 , 10:12 - 0 Notes

Gift Guide: 32 Hours of Fun

droidnew0.jpg This post is sponsored by DROID RAZR MAXX HD by Motorola. Check out everything you can do with the longest lasting 4G LTE smartphone. Inspired by the qualities of this new mobile phone, here’s a fun gift guide of sorts dreamt up around 32 hours of fun!

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! An aside - working on this post made me realize I wished my phone lasted 32 hours without a charge! There’s nothing worse than those endless crazy days where you don’t have a chance to charge up properly and keep running around from amazing event to amazing event (especially when there are so many fun moments to share and capture!) I just got back from a mini road trip to SF, and imagine that 32 hours of charge would last through forgetting to charge my phone while i slept, 6 hours of roadtripping LA-SF with phone calls, emails, and music streaming, running around all day… and night… forgetting to charge it again while sleeping… driving back down to LA… and you might still be good for a little bit!

So - inspired by the DROID RAZR MAXX HD by Motorola’s 32 hours of unbelievable battery life, we’ve created a special gift guide filled with fun! From hiking with the puppy, to relaxing at the beach, to going out for drinks, to bouncing between gallery openings, and ending up at concerts, to celebrating Valentine’s Day… explore some dream scenarios to shop for on the next page!

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*notcot - 01.02.13 , 19:50 - 0 Notes

#HowIClubhouse: Virgin Atlantic EWR

ERWmain.jpg This post is presented by Virgin Atlantic ~ Clubhouse [kluhb-hous] (v): The art of enjoying one’s time before a journey in an exquisite manner unique to Virgin Atlantic. How do you Clubhouse? Send us a picture of you enjoying your favorite Clubhouse experience on Twitter or Instagram, using the #HowIClubhouse. Well, to see how WE clubhouse, Virgin Atlantic invited us to check out their latest lounge in EWR (Newark, NJ).

It seemed only appropriate that with all of this twitter/instagram fun around #HowIClubhouse, that we share our adventure lounging at the brand new Virgin Atlantic Newark Clubhouse through Instagram photos! From the fun decor (tons of designer seating, lighting, and more) - to the beautiful mirrored, geometric bar (and delicious drinks) ~ to the screening room ~ to the Mirror Cube of infinite instagram mirrored madness of an installation we built right here in our NOTlabs… We hear that this lounge is so coveted that the British Airways passengers in the lounge next door often try to buy their way into the Clubhouse because, “every night seems like a party.” Rumor has it that with two flights a day at 8am and 8pm, people come straight from work to have a few drinks before their flight, as well as dinner (or breakfast if you’re there for the 8am)! It’s a beautiful space to relax and unwind pre-flight, and there are so many fun design details… take a peek at how our friend and photographer Jessica clubhoused for us on the next page!

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*notcot - 12.18.12 , 10:20 - 1 Notes

Music Video Inspiration

gilli.jpg This post is presented by MasterCard. When they reached out to us about sharing some fun Grammy inspired posts, naturally, i turned to our NOTlabs director and music lover, Shawn Sims. First he shared a bit of what we’ve been listening to around the lab in our Winter Inspiration Mix. Now he’s got a bunch of inspiring music videos for us! Advertisement

Whether its the toy octopus from Wax Tailor’s Time To Go, the never ending panorama shot in The Peach King’s Lonely, OK GO playing music with a car, or the cast of Fraggle Rock making a cameo for Ben Folds Five, there are plenty of surprises in these videos to keep you inspired. Some are simple animations and others highly detailed computer graphics. There are some videos that are shot beautifully and others are packed with high-tech wonders. Bell’s video for Chase No Face is an entire video of projection mapping onto the singers face using the Microsoft Kinect to sense movements and custom software that controls the graphics on her face. Take a look on the next page for all that and more, including dancing ghillie suit people!

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*notcot - 12.14.12 , 09:47 - 1 Notes

The Chill Winter Inspiration Mix

NOTCOTwinterMIX2.jpg This post is presented by MasterCard. When they reached out to us about sharing some fun Grammy inspired posts, naturally, i turned to our NOTlabs director and music lover, Shawn Sims, to share a bit of what we’ve been listening to around the lab! Advertisement

At NOTCOT we always have music playing, and with the 55th Annual Grammy Awards just around the corner, it seems like the perfect time to share favorites playing lately. Whether you are working hard or just relaxing a bit over the holidays we hope that this mix inspires you too. There is a lot of music on it, including The Lumineers, The Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons, Alabama Shakes, and the quartet of Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, and Stuart Duncan, all of whom are nominated for Grammys. There are a few other songs included from artists we enjoy, some older and some new, but all awesome! Check out playlist and some fun videos on the next page!

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*notcot - 10.24.12 , 07:00 - 0 Notes

2 Dozen Volkswagen GTIs in Malibu

vw0.jpg Here’s the latest from our NOTlabs Director and car lover, Shawn Sims. This post is brought to you by Volkswagen. It’s not the miles, it’s how you live them. Read our stories or share your own at whyvw.com.

Early morning. Malibu canyon. Incredible S curves. Stunning views of the ocean and mountains. And over 2 dozen GTIs. I kid you not. So when Volkswagen reached out to NOTCOT to share our VW story, Jean pulled up my instagram pictures and insisted i share this Malibu adventure with you. First things first, let’s backtrack a few steps…

I love my 2012 GTI. It’s like a fast little go cart - handles great, has great balance, and from an engineering/design perspective, the build quality of the car is top notch. (And after endless test driving, Jean gave this one her approval as she fell for all the design details too.) As a car lover since before I even started driving at 15, you’d never believe that life lead me to do a few years in London and New York — carless! And it wouldn’t be until i moved to LA that i’d buy my first new car.

Moving to LA a car is a must-have. I was told make sure you get something you will enjoy, can be comfortable in, and be fun to drive because you will be in it more than you think. So when heading to LA after grad school in Pittsburgh, before even looking for an apartment, the perfect car had to be found… white 2 door with a manual transmission and sunroof. Not as easy as expected! But along the way, many dealers were called, arrangements were made, and paperwork was signed before I even landed in LA. My GTI agonizingly waited across the country in a lot for me until I got there. The day before new years eve, I hopped on an evening flight to LAX, and the next morning I had the keys to my new VW GTI! 

Adjusting to life in LA, Jean and I frequently took our cars out to Malibu to play in the canyons. Having the VW GTI as my newest gadget, naturally internet research took me all over, learning about possible tunes, tweaks, upgrades and more… even stumbling upon various GTI communities (Apparently a lot of the vocal owners online are architects, engineers, designers, etc. Who knew?) So when a GTI meetup through the Malibu Canyons popped up, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to meet some new LA folks and find out more about what others were doing to the cars in person, and regardless of how it was, it was guaranteed to be a fun drive!

I have gone to plenty of car meets and seen car clubs caravanning around LA, but I was not expecting to find more than 2 dozen GTIs in a parking lot at 8:30AM. First, the casual meet and greet over coffee as we huddled up to go over the proposed route. We were set to cruise Stunt Rd, Mulholland Hwy, Malibu Canyon Rd, Piuma Rd, PCH, and whatever fun roads we could find in between. The plan was one canyon run, usually 20-40 min and then find a spot to regroup and snap a few photos. There were 3 generations of GTIs there, some untouched and others heavily modified. While at one of the lookouts along the way an automotive journalist even pulled up reviewing the new Golf R. The huge group of GTIs made him do a double take, much like the new Golf R turned the heads of the GTI drivers. As quickly as people came together, the group drifted back to their respective parts of socal… but for those few hours of blissful canyon driving as a pack of GTIs, i certainly learned a ton about what my GTI could do (and become).

The pack of GTIs (and the view!) was quite the sight, as you can see in the pictures on the next page… If I was driving by the group, I know my curiosity would have the best of me and it would have been hard not to stop too!

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*notcot - 09.19.12 , 04:31 -

Sponsored: HP + Intel + Project Runway Contest

HPpost.jpg This post is sponsored by the sleek, stylish, lightweight HP Spectre XT Ultrabook™, inspired by Intel. Vote for your favorite bag design!

On interesting collaborations ~ HP + Intel + Project Runway have created a contest challenging fans to design an HP Ultrabook Bag. The designers have a chance to win the grand prize of $10,000 and an HP Spectre XT Ultrabook™. The top 5 will each receive an HP Spectre XT Ultrabook! And now that the entries are all in ~ our friends at Inhabitat and Core77 with Project Runway’s Mondo Guerra (Season 8 “Project Runway HP/Intel Challenge”) have picked the final 40 bag designs and now it’s all up to you to vote for the winners!

There are some fun designs mixed in there, and looking at the idea makes me think through the MANY laptop/ultrabook/macbook air/tablet cases and bags i’ve gone through over the years… it’s always such a difficult task to find that PERFECT bag! Everyone has different criteria (and for different situations/use cases!) ~ it’s a delicate mix between fashion, design/materials, and the technology you’re housing within it (and who knows what else is inside!) Personally i’ve always loved tech bags that are highly protective of my tech on in the inside and super versatile and discreet on the outside! Think, awesome padding for my laptop and camera with enough room for my wallet and phone and such… but simple enough to pass for a normal purse or tote bag on the outside! Nothing like screaming - “I’ve got lots of tech in here,” to passersby. Anyhow, i digress…

Go support your fellow designers and vote for your favorite! You can vote for 1 design each day - view all of the 40 designs and VOTE here! You only have until Sept 26th!

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