*notcot - 04.06.09 , 23:25 - 6 Notes

Monocle LA

monocle1.jpg So last night i finally got to meet Tyler Brule!!! Pretty sure he has no clue who i am, but he was totally on my list of people i looked up to (as far as fun lives and awesome careers…) Unfortunately people are seldom as amazing as you build them up to be in your head, right? (Perhaps this is why i freak out about meeting readers!) I was slightly saddened, although not all that surprised, that Brule said LA was casual to a fault… (more juicy details coming up in the LAist interview Kemp did while there)… and can you believe it’s all run on only 35 people? Tyler and his super nice PR folks popped in from Tokyo and London, and many were popping off the next day already…

ANYHOW, the most exciting thing of all? The second international Monocle store has opened! And right in one of my childhood hangouts, the Brentwood Country Mart! In fact, i still hang out there, the food and shopping is so delicious and chill (mmm mrs beasleys, burritos, james perse, and that awesome apothecary). But i digress… adorably cute shop, set up like a little living room you can settle in to, read some Monocle, browse the website, and the best part? Finally we have a local shop to check out those gorgeous Porter bags, notebooks, candles and more! Personally i may need to go back and grab some of the adorable posters! They wouldn’t let me take pics inside the shop, but you can however see just about everything from outside the super cute space! Take a look at more pics on the next page!

p.s.
I was surprised how incredibly low key and what a mixed crowd this event was! It felt more like a picnic than a launch party…

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*notcot - 04.05.09 , 04:21 - 2 Notes

Operation Window Seat: Changi to LAX

changi0.jpg I’m back to real life now ~ 18 hour direct flight was surprisingly less painful than expected… also the all business class flight with lay flat beds certainly didn’t hurt… 4-5 movies and like a 10 hour nap… and i am home! (You can take a peek at some of the pics on the LAX-Singapore flight here) Took off at 4:15pm landed in LA at 5:00…

It was a good trip, putting in some family time to pay my respects to my grandmother and help with family affairs… nice chance to step out of my NOTCOT life for a few days… but of course i couldn’t help myself and i have a little pile that just jumped out of my suitcase waiting to be photographed and shared! With the perfect timing on the flights this trip back the views were so gorgeous i couldn’t help taking a few snapshots and mini videos with the point and shoot… so check it out on the next page! Also some fun details of Changi airport… i love the backlit walls of hanging plants and the giant robotic flower fan!

(ok videos are taking forever on Vimeo ~ will add those when they are up!)

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*notcot - 03.31.09 , 06:25 - 11 Notes

Singapore Garden Moss

moss0.jpg Singapore’s landscape is this crazy juxtaposition of incredibly lush green rain forest with a fascinatingly modern/urban shopaholics dream mixed throughout… for some reason, this latest trip i’ve been completely drawn in by the beautiful color palettes - staring upwards out of the car windows into the trees on every drive… and while taking a breather between things, i started noticing the tiny details like the incredible textures and colors of the MANY types of moss found in just one part of the yard… so here are some close up looks at some of my favorite mossy details (and my grandmother’s tiny orchids) on the next page!

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*notcot - 03.19.09 , 16:40 - 6 Notes

President Obama Town Hall - Los Angeles

mainth.jpg SO freshly back and hundreds of pics and still kind of spinning trying to process the last few hours of my life… ~ on the next page you’ll find a visual walkthrough of the chaos that was the President Obama Town Hall meeting in Los Angeles ~ i was lucky enough to snag a ticket (#0010!!!)… Not going to go into the politics, but it was an incredible thing to experience in person ~ so here’s a look at how it felt to be there… and while i’m not the best at playing “spot/name the politician” many around me were remarking about how the event was a real who’s who of politics in California… the chairs around the stage were VIP, and us ticket holders were in the bleachers. Also, i’ve never been SO close to a president before… it was kind of trippy sitting so near the stage, and having him enter just a few feet away!

p.s.
for the full text of the meeting check out the LA Times

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*notcot - 03.17.09 , 18:01 -

Chrome Bags Giveaway!

chromeit.jpg
WINNER!!! Janeen in Gainesville, FL

Yes! Giveaway time! We’re giving away 2 Chrome Bags… Here are the two ways to win:

(1) Leave a comment on this post with (a) why you need the weatherproof goodness and (b)which size/color you love most!

(2) TWITTER! Follow @notcot and tweet your favorite size/color with #chromebags in the tweet!

I’ll pick a random winner for each one on Monday (so get those in by Sunday midnight PST)!!!

OK, so moving along, WHY are we giving away Chrome Bags? Well they have a lifetime warranty, seatbelt buckles and straps, and a SECRET POCKET and are totally weatherproof! And that’s just the classic messenger bag… that beat up one in the picture with the rabbid stashed away is my personal one that i’ve had for around 4 years now… that thing will survive about anything and has traveled the world with me… so when Chrome reached out saying they were into NOTCOT, i was absolutely giddy. And together we decided it would be fun to share the love with a giveaway to you!

Their company philosophies sum it up nicely: “Chrome was founded in Boulder, CO by a couple of guys who needed a bag that lasted forever. They began sewing in their garage using the toughest material they could find. A company came out of that with a philosophy of building stuff that would function well in tough conditions and would last a lifetime. There’s not a lot of nonsense in our gear, just materials and construction that serve a purpose and last a lifetime. We stand behind everything we make.” It’s great to see they’ve been expanding the line, working their way into performance apparel and more new bags for 09 in the works… so for now take a peek at the details options on the next page!

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*notcot - 02.10.09 , 15:27 - 5 Notes

Ace Hotels : NYC

aceny0.jpg It’s just not possible to get mail with retro/official booklets from the Dept. of Cultural Engineering with the Technical Specifications for Ace Hotel Properties… pop them open and see pages with figures that remind me of grade school readers… and not post about it! Two booklets just showed up showing off and explaining the latest additions to the Ace Hotel line up ~ first was Seattle, then Portland, Palm Springs opens this weekend, and New York City in March! While i’ve yet to see any of them in person STILL ~ i’ve been wanting to get to Seattle and Portland and stay at them since… 2006? SO, on exciting news ~ we will be staying at the Ace Hotel NYC in May for ICFF and Design Week!!! (Also, if you’re doing the ICFF thing and don’t have a place to stay yet, check them out ~ they are doing promotional $99+ promotional rates)

Anyhow, i digress, the booklet! It’s so cute, you have to take a peek at the cover and insides on the next page! And ok, i’ll admit ~ the Smeg fridges, customized Gibson guitars, record players, and free wifi are huge draws to me… all of their hotels are so different down to every room, yet seemingly homey for design/detail junkies ~ they support passionate incredible independent businesses like Stumptown Coffee Roasters and Ken and April of The Spotted Pig which will both be in the NYC hotel! And they have one of the most adorable/tempting looking minibars and Smeg fridges filled with everything from vitamin water to mini kegs to coke in classic bottles… not to over-gush, but i love the concept ~ and these quotes seem to sum it up so nicely… so before i send you off to the pics on the next page: Re:Up Magazine said “… a highly developed sense of how culture functions best when left unmolested by over-production”, and Best Designed Hotels in North and South America said “… the Ace clientele - hip urbanites in for a visit who like a lick of luxury, but don’t necessarily need all the indulgences of a typical high-class hotels”… basically these feel chock full of character, but with a designer’s eye, without sacrificing functionality…

But, back to the booklets! So cute! Check out the details and cover on the next page… and maybe we’ll see you in NY!

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*notcot - 02.06.09 , 23:46 - 4 Notes

Natural History Museum First Fridays

firstfridays1.jpg Wow. There is something so magical about having the Natural History Museum as the backdrop for a friday night filled with science, food/wine, live music and exploration… especially when in between all of that you add some wild lighting and simple glowing modern furniture… As part of the Los Angeles Natural History Museums First Fridays, tonight we got to see The Bird and The Bee with a bison diorama as the backdrop! Listened to DJs spin in front of elephants… learned about “Evolution: What the fossils say and why it matters” from Dr. Don Prothero in front of some moose. Got wine from in front of some apes… Saw projections on and around the skeletons of a t-rex and triceratops… All in all it was a hell of a night, and a fascinating multisensoral experience. Check out images of some of the very surreal situations encountered on the next page!

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*notcot - 01.20.09 , 20:14 - 15 Notes

The 56th US Presidential Inauguration

inaug1.jpgWow. Well, today was quite a day. We are now in the era of President Barack Obama ~ and we’re quite anxious to see what happens in this first 100 days… Currently curled up in a hotel room watching CNN, getting a peek at the many balls taking place throughout DC and the country tonight… and i’m exhausted! I can’t even imagine how the Obamas must feel! Beyond the info you can get just about anywhere ~ on the next page you can get a peek at what our experience here was like today ~ from the 4am vendors setting up shop ~ to the humvee outside the window by 7am ~ to the masses of people traversing the city streets to and from the ceremony ~ to an inflated spiderman! One thing that definitely stands out today ~ i do not think i’ve ever been in a crowd of so many people in my life ~ and there was something incredibly moving about the energy of it ~ everyone so excited and literally from everywhere! Seeing them all come together, being in the midst of the cold for hours, and having millions sing taunting good-byes to Bush and come together with hopeful screams for what the future holds… it was quite an unforgettable day.

… and we’re headed back to LA tomorrow ~ so back to regular random postings in no time!

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*notcot - 01.18.09 , 18:22 - 2 Notes

We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration

crowd0.jpg Curiosity meant i couldn’t resist seeing what the scene was like at today’s concert at Lincoln Memorial ~ We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration. NPR had exclusive live broadcasting of the concert ~ and they have a great photo gallery (of things close up that i wasn’t able to see in person!) ~ with a star studded line up and the national mall filled with jumbotrons ~ we wandered over towards the end and caught barack obama’s speech from a nice spot near the washington monument ~ the real spectacle was the sheer number of people as we looked out from the massive obelisk down toward the teeny tiny lincoln memorial (live view 10x helped me see what was actually going on down there through the 5D!). It was pretty incredible how tens of thousands of people became dead quiet as he spoke. Silly as it sounds, just being a part of the masses was a fascinating experience ~ even the national park rangers were giddy about how many people were there! So here are some pics from our perspective to give you a feel of the (incredibly civilized!) crowds ~ and some fun tech amusements ~ from the awesome star wars feeling “ICx Tactical Platforms” police cherry-picker like high tech viewing towers, to the masses climbing on the jumbotron generators, to the people in trees… it was a pretty insane number of bodies out there! I can’t even image what Tuesday is going to be like…

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*notcot - 01.17.09 , 22:23 - 2 Notes

It’s Real Change in DC

change1.jpg “It’s Real Change” ~ really! At the “real change exchange” - aka the US Mint! This truck cracked me up when we were wandering around the national mall today… wasn’t sure what to call this post ~ but basically on the next page you can see a range of pictures from our adventures in the cold on foot today ~ some fun ones of the Capitol with tons of chairs and jumbotrons set up out front ~ plastic bags frozen into a the reflecting pool ~ carousels ~ people freezing and jumping up and down behind Spike Lee and the MSNBC team that basically lit the WHOLE of the national mall with blinding lights ~ the washington monument and its circle of flags ~ and more!

UPDATE! Just found out that the “It’s Real Change” Truck was part of - “United States Mint Introduces Native American $1 Coin to Open National Museum of the American Indian Multicultural Festival” ~ where you could switch 1$ bills for the new 1$ coin! Unfortunately when we wandered past they were parked and closed up!

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*notcot - 01.15.09 , 20:25 - 5 Notes

Obama’s Inauguration Parade Booth

pres.jpg Firstly, omg its so cold… so when we headed over to Old Ebbitt’s Grill for dinner we couldn’t resist wandering by on the walk back to the hotel. (Ebbitts was established in 1856, and has a Beaux-Arts facade, mahogany and velvet booths and bars set in marble, brass and beveled glass.)… when we wandered across the street seating and portopotties were all set up, and it looks like they just got the huge booth for the Obamas to view the parade from up! The cop/guards were telling us that they even take the whole thing down the day of! So here are some quick pics we snapped with the little point and shoot, where we were sooooo cold we didn’t even want to take our gloves off… Although this is a few blocks from the hotel, unlikely we’ll get this close again on inauguration day, but pretty interesting to take a look at up close! Also see some pics of the white house behind it as well all on the next page…

p.s.
I’m also taking this week in DC off from most work/email ~ so posts from me might be lighter, but i’m still editing posts on the other sites like usual…

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*notcot - 01.05.09 , 14:16 - 3 Notes

Liquid Image ~ ProHD350 Camera/Video Mask

li1.jpg UPDATE!!! Saw these in person (but no pics, b/c they were shutting down the booth) ~ they are incredibly light! (that was the main question i was getting asked when discussing it with some diving buddies)

Heading to vegas tomorrow ~ CES time already! And so far, one of the things i’m most excited about seeing in person is the latest from Liquid Image ~ the ProHD350!!! Seriously, an awesome jet black dive mask that shoots 5.0 megapixel stills and HD video up to 30fps (with audio!)… it even runs on 4 AAA batteries! has 64MB internal, but takes up to a 32GB microSD/SDHC… and has light attachments (both on the sides and/or headlight)!!!

I know, it seems silly, but the more handsfree you can go while scuba diving the better ~ and to take what look like pretty awesome images without too much added hassle sounds ideal! Oooh and best part, the Pro model is good up to 330ft/100m!!! Well i wrote about their original model about a year ago ~ and since then, they are launching a few other models as well ~ ranging from working at depths to 10m/33ft, 5m/15ft and with and without HD video shooting… but really, the ProHD350 is definitely the most appealing! See more pictures and info on the next page!!! It would be awesome if there’s a demo to play with this at CES!

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*notcot - 12.13.08 , 00:52 - 12 Notes

Unique LA & Adventures Downtown

unique1.jpg Freshly back from adventures in downtown LA, with our excuse being the Unique LA VIP night ~ which was honestly a bit bizarre ~ lets get the weirdness out of the way first, most vendors less than friendly and not quite prepared, meh music, and a strangely super bright spacious layout ~ BUT, that being said, still found some really fun randomness i’m super giddy about, and it was an awesome excuse to finally meet up with our winter intern, Alyssa, in person finally after all her help keeping me afloat with the gift guides, giveaways, and coupons ~ and finally check out The Association (that new dark, moody, retro cocktail bar ~ delicious!) and grab a bite at The Standard… random animal sightings: massive rat trying to climb its way out of a trash can, and a mouse darting towards the car and into a drain….

Things i’m most excited about and possibly worth getting over to Unique LA for this weekend? Imaginary Friends Inc. with the gorgeous nature inspired prints, cards, clothes, and more… has a secret stash of overprints to pick from (you can see an example above, and a few more scans below)… and i’m trying to convince them to make more woody ones (also see below!)… Designer Poptarts from Cake Monkey ~ yum! The meringue samples were yummy too. I Heart Guts did not disappoint, adorably cuddly innards and really cute sticker packs (see scans below!) ~ anyhow, see pics of some other finds and an overview of some of the what you’ll find there!

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*notcot - 11.13.08 , 19:27 - 8 Notes

First National Geographic Retail Store

natgeomain.jpgOk, i need a teleportation device. Please! Today, National Geographic opens their first retail space and it is a 3 story 1,800 square metre world of its own on London’s Regent Street. We were lucky enough to get an invite to the launch party, but i was unlucky enough not to be able to teleport over for this stunning event! However, my sister, Justine (Rugenius) and her boyfriend, were kind enough to take a break from her PhD thesis writing to pop over and give us her take of it… and i think her animal loving, scientifically minded side really came out and fell in love with the space! She even has me excited about the upcoming talks, as well as dying to go shop the store in person…

So here’s the deal, she’s done a very thorough, visual walkthrough of the store for you on the next page, and she sent me SO many pictures that i’ve pulled out a few for the post, but you can view them all in Gallery NOTCOT. A few standout things to take note of? The layouts! Incredibly fun use of crates, industrial feeling containers, gorgeous gallery spaces… no one will be able to resist going into the magical red chamber with the GIANT block of ice to try on cold weather gear, and see where their heat is escaping on the screen… it looks like whether you’re planning a trip, looking for an adventure, or just escaping for a quick snack, this museum-esque store is going to be a hit. So, check out our first look on the next page!

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*Sub-Studio - 10.29.08 , 15:27 - 2 Notes

Chicago: Volkswagen Style

1023vw01.jpgNOTCOT Note: Lucky! Sub-Studio was invited to go see Chicago through the eyes of Volkswagen, specifically while cruising around in their new 2009 CC, while dining on molecular gastronomy goodness, and checking out the humble abode of Frank Lloyd Wright … and all we got is a post filled with pictures of Anna’s adventures! I’m so fascinated by the studio and foodie pics on the next page!

A few weeks ago, I made a trip out to Chicago to review and test drive the new Volkswagen 2009 CC. Along the way, we got to see Chicago, have a 20-course dinner at molecular gastronomy restaurant Moto, and visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio in the Oak Park suburbs of the city. Check out my adventures through pictures on the next page!

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