*notcot - 10.19.15 , 11:50 -

Inspiration: LA-SF-LA Roadtrip


Just home from roadtripping since wednesday… and going through @NOTlabs instagram and the pictures on my phone, i can’t figure out where to start! So many different adventures from catching up with old friends and making new ones while reviewing Artist in Residency projects at Autodesk’s Pier 9 and running around to see whatever surprises we could find in between! Shawn and i drove from LA up the 5 (through the middle of CA) to SF, then worked our way back down the coast. We stayed in Potrero Hill, Oakland, Santa Cruz, and Cambria. Played with 1 month old ostriches (and some beastly adults and emus too!)… unboxed Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator in the car… watched sunset over Sutro Baths… lusted after robot arms, CNCs, water jets, swing conference tables and so many more toys at Autodesk Pier 9… discovered the craziest central california glazed almond treats… have a CW&T Pen Type-B we’re putting through the paces (donut magnet!)… discovered Bravo Farms with the Flavor Farmer, Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream, BBQ, market and more as quite the pitstop… buying more rare succulents at Grow… and so much more. See why it’s near impossible to sum up quickly? But one thing is for sure - we’re home, we’re rested, and thoroughly inspired to make more awesome happen!

So to get a taste of the most inspiring randomness, robots, packaging, views, creatures and more from LA to SF and back… see the next page!

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*notcot - 10.13.15 , 11:11 -

Inspiration: Mexico City

df0.jpg Mexico City!!! Yes, this trip was 2 weeks ago - but part way through i got a pretty wicked virus that took me out for the last 2 weeks… and until my body (and mind!) started feeling almost all better, i wasn’t quite ready to work on this post! But, that being said - feeling almost human again… so check out the fun, colorful, inspiration we found on our quick adventure!

The main reason we ended up in Mexico City on such short notice was… Shawn was invited to speak on a panel at design school CENTRO at the launch of their new building. While making our way down there, it was also the perfect time to catch up with friends and finally visit Publicis Mexico and see all the magical awards the Nescafe Cap Project won in person… as well as see the sights and indulge in some deliciousness along the way of course.

Coming from drought filled Los Angeles… what i was most in awe of constantly was the greenery and all the amazing vines and luscious moss covered trees… if only i could have brought it all back! See what caught my eye on the next page!

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*notcot - 09.07.15 , 15:12 -

Inspiration: Nashville


Nashville adventures!!! It has been an amazing vacation to getaway and just get excited and explore a city that has become another home away from home. Being Shawn’s hometown, we get back there somewhat regularly, but it isn’t every trip that we have time to run around and see what’s new - you’ve seen some of our Nashville and Memphis finds here and even more Nashville discoveries here, but this the longest trip we’ve had to run around and relax yet!

So take a peek on the next page for a taste of what we enjoyed - from visiting maker/design studios to incredible murals, taking in some music at the new amphitheater, trying new coffee trends, visiting cute shops and more…

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*notcot - 07.19.15 , 15:20 -

NOTFZJ80: Taylor Creek + Lake Isabella


We needed to go get lost… in the woods… away from all our screens for a little bit. So Shawn loaded up Bucky and I in the NOTFZJ80, and we headed north! The California drought is no joke… so we weren’t sure what to expect on our hunt for greenery and running water, but luckily we found a bit (though not as much as there once was!) up at the Kern River, and found an amazing camp site alongside Taylor Creek. Falling asleep to the sound of the creek rushing by was amazing - and Bucky just couldn’t get enough of the fresh snow melt and spring water flowing through. While we didn’t do much other than relax and explore - i couldn’t help snapping a few pics on my phone - so take a peek at what we found on the next page!

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*notcot - 05.03.15 , 22:10 -

Mercado Sagrado - Malibu

mercados00.jpg I can’t imagine a lovelier way to spend a Sunday than laying out on a grassy field in a Malibu vineyard filled canyon surrounded by chill live music, delicious treats, happy people, horses, ducks, and more… while being inspired by unique artists and the incredible structures they’ve popped up! This was the scene today at Mercado Sagrado - a relaxing festival founded by photographer Heather Culp and artist Carly Jo Morgan - spread out in the Oak Grove at Saddlerock Ranch. Our highlights were definitely seeing more of the geometric wood sculptures of Aleph Geddis (also - his instagram is amazing) and getting our aura photos taken in a geodesic dome by Radiant Human (which has only sparked a fascination with the 70’s polaroid tech behind aura pics. Apparently the tech hasn’t changed much?!?!) Take a look at the relaxing inspiration we found on the next page…

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*notcot - 03.31.15 , 12:45 -


leef0.jpg The iBRIDGE from Leef just arrived! Mobile memory for your iphone/ipad! This little gadget ranges from 16-256GB, and has a USB 2.0 on one side and an Apple Lightning connector on the other. Think of it as a super USB key.

Just like the Mophie Space Pack we tried out before, you need to download an iOS app to be able to interface with iOS 8. This basically means you can transfer photos between the iBRIDGE and iOS device with ease, take photos straight to the iBRIDGE, and even play music and videos off the iBRIDGE!

There’s a very specific use i’m most interested in the iBRIDGE for… transferring a few photos between my phone and laptop for posts! Currently my options are… Airdrop (it works once in a while, but not consistently enough not to be a pain), syncing all photos into iPhoto/iCloud (but i like Lightroom to manage photos - and if i plug in and import from lightroom, it takes forever to scan 10,000 photos), emailing myself (ugh), dropbox/google drive (slow), and ultimately i end up messaging myself (which still needs wifi/data! not always possible traveling or on a plane)… so ideally, i’d use the iBRIDGE to choose travel photos to transfer on to the stick to my laptop! So far for that - it is AWESOME. Also as a USB key to fill with movies/music for travel and sharing across iOS devices, it’s perfect!

My one problem so far… my phone had ~11,000 photos on it. So testing out their backup took quite some time! (Make sure your phone is fully charged, since you can’t charge and transfer simultaneously.) Also now when i try to load up the photos in their app to see the photos in the backup - it takes quite a bit of time (likewise to load up the photo preview of the ones on my iphone). The backup function doesn’t currently copy videos over, though select/transfer does move videos. I assume i need to either not use the backup function, or if i backup and move the file off the iBRIDGE, then it loads up pretty fast. It’s also nice that you can ‘move’ files from iOS to iBRIDGE and have it delete them… so maybe it’s really time for me to clear off a few years of photos from my iPhone?

Take a look at all the details on the next page!

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*notcot - 03.21.15 , 15:40 -

Laguna Lodge: Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

laguna000.jpg Sometimes you need a place to truly relax, hide away, and gather your thoughts. Since we were in Guatemala for Jackson’s wedding, we decided to add on a few days to do just that… and Shawn found the eco-luxury 6 room resort and nature reserve, The Laguna Lodge at Lake Atitlan - the perfect getaway add-on to our Antigua plans. Since the lodge is in Santa Cruz La Laguna, Lake Atitlan, on the western highlands of Sololá, you take a car to Panajachel and then hop on a boat for about 10 minutes. To get anywhere from the lodge you can either hop on another boat, or walk along the pathways along the lakeshore. Though, I honestly can’t tell you much about waving down the boats to hop from town to town, since once we were situated, we realized the ultimate break was really to just hide out at the lodge, explore the 100 acres of nature reserve, delicious locally grown, organic, vegetarian fare, and watch the sunsets over the volcanoes and the lake! Of the 6 suites, the majority of couples we met did seem to be American 20-30 somethings as well - but this was the part of our trip that was more about a stunning oasis tucked away from the chaos of everyday life. Two nights at the Laguna Lodge, and we were feeling rejuvenated, relaxed, and ready to get back to reality! Take a look at the stunning space on the next page.

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*notcot - 03.19.15 , 13:00 -

7 days in 50 Instagrams: Guatemala!

gua0.jpg WOW. What an adventure our week in Guatemala has been! Headed down to Antigua for our Tasteologie editor’s wedding, so of course we had to explore a bit while there, but the amount of different experiences we’ve had still blows my mind. From landing in darkness at GUA and watching the sunrise (and volcano erupt a little) on our drive to Antigua, to exploring (and tasting) Antigua, to the beautiful wedding and before/after events… to heading out to Lake Atitlan and the stunning waterfront, super-eco, all vegetarian Laguna Lodge on 100 acres of nature reserve… to a pit stop at Iximche ruins… back in to Guatemala City, where we end up getting an amazing look at the city thanks to one of our long time readers (and old friend’s of the bride!)… from a peek at the older city center, to the newest city within a city, Paseo Cayala… tasting award winning Guatemalan coffee and even more fantastic food at Flor de Lis… before heading back to LA.

OH! And there are penguins! You know our Puma Penguins (from 2009) - they inspired Pingüi, the mascot of Flor de Lis! Which is even tattooed on the chef’s forearm! But more on that later…

So first things first - here’s a look at our quick, epic Guatemalan adventures in 50 @NOTlabs and @RShawnSims Instagrams as it all happened in real time. My head is still spinning from how many different things we’ve seen and experienced - and HUGE congrats to Jackson + Tish on their special super-pi-day wedding! Yay for 3.14 15!

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*notcot - 03.16.15 , 16:34 -

Guatemala - BRB

backsoon.jpg Hi! We’re currently in Guatemala the last few days with minimal internet… but back super soon! To see what we’re up to while exploring Antigua, Lake Atitlan, and Guatemala City, take a peek at the @NOTlabs Instagram! … and adventure/inspiration updates coming here soon of course!!!

*notcot - 03.02.15 , 10:27 -

11 days in 100 Instagrams: Winter in Alberta

winter0.jpgThis 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!

First things first - THANK YOU, Travel Alberta! I’m sad to say our Alberta adventures have come to a close. It has been a fantastic journey - exploring incredible places, meeting amazing people, doing new things, and road tripping to clear our minds, and get reinvigorated for the second decade of NOTCOT! Shawn (and Bucky) and I had a blast - with amazing animal encounters, feeling tiny amongst the stunning Rockies, climbing walls of ice, and so so much more… So a huge thank you, for helping for me to step out of my comfort zone, and get out of my head a bit while still simultaneously working. It has been so much fun to explore and share it all as we went! And we’ll definitely be back! (Canmore, Jasper, and one day catching those northern lights are on my list…)

So while there are proper feature posts on our adventures - for the super preview with all the crazy little details and inspiration along the way - see it as we shared it in real time on the NOTlabs Instagram. You can see Part I rounded up here - 8 days in 100 Instagrams - Alberta Summer, and Part II - 11 days of Alberta Winter in 100 Instagrams on the next page!

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*notcot - 02.28.15 , 09:30 -

Operation Window Seat: LA + NOTCOT HQ!

home0.jpg The YYC - LAX flight had a gorgeous path through the rockies and cruised the coast along LA. This last trip, i had some stranger LA questions than usual - hearing “Is this your first time in snow?” and “Do you live downtown/in the city?” and “Do you like ocean or mountains?” I’ve also had so many people assume that NOTCOT is based in NY, SF, LONDON, and so many other places over the years…

So to set the record straight - NOTCOT is based in LA! I’m a born and raised LA kid who has bounced around all over and landed back in LA the last few years (it really is my favorite home base to live in and travel out of!) And as for LA - for those who looked at me perplexed this last adventure - you can see within minutes you can run up mountain trails or roll down to the beach… and see snow on the mountains in the background!

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*notcot - 02.24.15 , 22:00 -

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 - 02.21.15 , 18:20 -

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 - 02.19.15 , 23:30 -

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 - 02.18.15 , 09:50 -

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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