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…
“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!
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…
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…
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!
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!
Ok, 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!
NOTCOT 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!
Ok, this one is going to sound a bit weird, i probably should have looked things up on the internet before i scared myself at the Desert View Tower & Boulder Park… b/c now that i’ve had the time to sit and search i totally wish it hadn’t been super windy and SUPER creepy when i stopped by… to be fair, we’re cruising along the 8 in the middle of the desert, suddenly from sand dunes it turns to crazy mountains of boulders, and then i see a little castle tower, and we decide to pull off and go see what’s up… pulling off, we head up what we’re warned is a dead end (really early on!) but keep going to see what’s up there, pass a creepy abandonedish feeling rusty trailer park, with an underpass with giant scarecrow like branches (think giant blair witch twigs) with hoodies and clothes on them blocking the way… then we see a very desolate tower with a few pretty old cars in the lot. Really it all looked super spooky! But according to the internet its a fun place where kids run around on boulders…. Anyhow, now that i’ve done my research i kind of want to go back… but with a large group of friends, since the place really gave me the chills! Check out the pics from the place and a few other random roadtripping pictures from Tuscon to San Diego on the 8 yesterday!
While recollecting my thoughts and trying to take a bit of a break ~ i’ve also found myself cleaning up my computer, and while doing so, discovered a lot of posts in the making… that never quite made it! So here’s some more catch up. I spent most of yesterday running around LA (and the outskirts) hunting and researching for the house i’m working on (under construction! i get to move in soon!) ~ and in doing so, finding myself thinking about so many details i hadn’t paid such careful attention to before, and things that reminded me about the Manoir de Verzy ~ the Country House of Madame Veuve Clicquot that we visited, and i’m ashamed that i hadn’t gotten these pictures up for you sooner!
There were so many fascinating details to this house and its gardens and being able to visit the actual vineyards ~ consider this a photo essay of sorts taking you through some of my most memorable images while there. This house is where we learned about vintages (even tasting our birth years! mine was a delicious vintage in ‘82) and DÃ©gorgement Ã la volÃ©e in the Vieux Pressoir with Cyril Brun, the wine communications head and wine maker ~ followed by aperitif and specially crafted, perfectly paired lunch with StÃ©phane Gerschel - International Communications Director, Andrea Crippa - International Marketing Director, Cyril Brun, Felix Bocquet - Quality and Environment Director, followed by a walk through the vineyards with the Veuve Clicquot Vineyards director, Christian Renard. (All before taking off to our surprise helicopter ride!). It was at this lunch that Andrea gave us that sneak peek of the Ice Cube and i showed you some of the tile i loved. Anyhow, so on house shopping, and all the little details that make a house a home, take a peek at some of the quarters where VIPs stay with Veuve Clicquot, and the beautifully inspiring views across the vineyard on the next page!
On feeling too giddy not to share ~ i just popped down to the Montage Laguna Beach for the night thanks to Toyota (i can’t wait to tour Calty - their design studios in the morning and learn more about the new Toyota crossover car the 2009 Venza!) ~ and the views here were far too breathtaking not to share quickly. Also the bed and bathtub too ~ you know how i can’t resist posting quick hotel pics. Anyhow, if i get a bit quiet tonight/tomorrow you know where i am…
Even just an hour here, i can’t stop staring out at the ocean ~ in contrast to paris, this is definitely confirming i’m far more of a calm, rolling oceans, beach kind of girl than a city girl.
I’ve updated this post four times now ~ so images of bunnies, sunsets, and their insane mosaic pool at night… and 6am shots of moonlight peeking through the clouds… on the next page…
I saw the Veuve Clicquot Globalights designed by Karim Rashid in their true light… honestly, seeing them in press photos and at the launch did not do the design justice… the juxtaposition of the sleek modern pink glow, with the ancient, history filled caves, give them an incredibly surreal context… they were absolutely stunning in the dark depths of the roman limestone caves that double as cellars underneath Reims for the delicious Veuve Clicquot… and as such, i couldn’t help taking photographs of its mesmerizing light, as it provided an incredible glow as our hand held lanterns as we toured the caves and learned about the process in the perfectly cool (same temp all year round!) space… looking at the pictures, i’m amazed how incredible the lighting turned out for what seemed so incredibly dark at the time… now if only we could PLAN some incredible photoshoot down there to make use of the space even more creatively (in addition to making champagne, of course!)… see the photo spread on the next page!
unfortunately the only thing missing in these pictures is having an actual bottle IN the Globalight… ironically we were surrounded by bottles constantly though!
I’ve thought and rethought and dreamt about how to describe this trip, how to break up the posts, how to tell you about all of the incredible things that have happened in the last three days, and somehow it all comes across sounding quite possibly a bit gushy and cheesy. So, you know what? I’m just going to be completely honest with all of you, and even though i have about 1000+ pics of so many insane adventures and stories, here’s the plan: i’m going to work my way through them in images, sharing with you piece by piece, scattered with little stories as i remember them.
The official aspect of this Veuve Clicquot France trip has come to an end, and most of the other bloggers are headed back home, my new Veuve Clicquot family has been kind enough to put me up for 5 more nights so i can cover Paris Design this week at Maison & Objet. So about that family thing, i kid you not that it feels like we were all adopted by the Veuve Clicquot family, everyone from the president, to communications, to brand managers, to sommeliers, and more welcomed us with open arms, and were so kind (and insanely playful, passionate, and full of life) - it felt far more like hanging out with your long lost aunt than meeting with the president of multinational, centuries old, champagne powerhouse. Also, what’s more inspiring than constantly hearing the lore of Madame Clicquot, and in a one liner… a woman who was widows at 27, who manages to revolutionize the champagne industry through a multitude of innovations, and becomes the richest woman in europe in a time where women held few rights? (So, at 25, i guess i have a lot of work to do to catch up someday!)
Ok, but, moving along ~ HELICOPTER RIDE! I’d never been on a helicopter, and the crazy, secret loving itinerary planners of this trip worked in massive surprises for us everyday where even the drivers didn’t know what was up until we arrived. So imagine the looks on our faces when we pulled up to L’aerodrome Reims Prunay? And when we are whisked into “the rolls royce of helicopters” (leather seats, Bose headsets, etc), and soon peering over at the champagne region from bird’s eye view, watching all of the tiny people, vast vineyards, circling the mountain… then suddenly you see it. Madame Clicquot’s historic Boursault Castle. Mind. Blowing. Go see the rest of the images on the next page!
UPDATE!: The bathroom was so gorgeous and huge as well i’ve added pictures of that as well….
Ok, we’re going to jump out of order a bit, but i am far too excited by the gorgeously inspiring chateau Veuve Clicquot moved us to today… imagine waking up from a jetlagged nap and feeling like you fell into a time warp? Welcome to Chateau Les Crayeres in the heart of the Champagne of France… the grounds, decor, rooms, lounge, restaurant…. it’s all breath takingly stunning. Don’t believe me? You have to take a look at the rest of the pictures on the next page… wow. I’m sitting on that bed in the pic right now, and i can’t help staring off every few minutes discovering new details, from the paintings, to the wallpaper patterns, to how ornate the extra high ceilings are!
Basically for the ultimate escape, i can’t imagine a more surreal and beautiful space to relax and catch my breath in… and the whole “room” is probably three time the size of tiny SF apts i’ve ended up in…
The pics on the next page of the circular bar areas with the petticoat like curtains are so sweet!
Wow. I just landed in the absolutely breathtaking Chateau Les Creyeres in Reims… after a helicopter ride (my first!) over the champagne region… which was preceded by visiting the presses and the vineyards… and an incredible lunch at madame cliquot’s country house where the food was created (and inspired) by the champagnes with which they were paired… and learned about the “confusing sex” alternative to pesticides… getting a sneak peek at the latest porsche design collaboration on an “ice cube” to launch next year… tasted champagne vintages including one from my birth year… ok basically, TONS to share with you, and minimal internet connection… so everything is going to be a day or so off…
…but for now, i got some pictures up before i left the hotel this morning so here’s a peek at last nights adventure! Incredible boat ride up and down the seine for dinner last night - on the next page are images of the experience - including the absolutely gorgeous Riva boat collaborations with Veuve Clicquot in person, seeing the eiffel tower lit up blue with the stars of the EU while sparkling to mark france’s term as EU president, meeting Lia Riva and hearing stories of life in Monaco and her childhood of gorgeous boats, and ultimately this was the start of our getting to know the Veuve Clicquot family, and truly understand how rich the history of this brand is, and experience how passionate the individuals involved are in quality products, experiences, and DESIGN! Ultimately it’s becoming very clear that more than just a brand, Veuve Clicquot is a lifestyle, and the lifestyle they have created, is certainly one i’m sure we could all get used to!
So yesterday was a whirlwind day of hopping on air france in LA, finding myself in Paris, whisked from CDG to Le Faubourg Sofitel, and before i even get into meeting everyone - drinks with Christophe Pillet - meeting the veuve team - dining on a yacht up and down the Seine - and more… here’s what i first encountered upon arrival ~ breathtaking clouds, quite possibly the most comfortable bed i’ve ever lay in, gorgeous Veuve Clicquot gifts and notes awaiting on the desk, adorable awesome packaging for the Hermes soaps in the bathroom, and the Buddha Bar outside my window… take a peek at the photo series part one on the next page!
For now… its 7:30 am, and i have to run to meet everyone at 8, so more images as i find time/internet!