*NOTCOT in food+drink - 09.06.13 -

Summers Juice & Coffee, Brooklyn

summers0.jpg While Shawn was in NY earlier this week, he came home taunting me (and my juice addiction) with pictures of Summers Juice & Coffee that was just opened by one of his closest friends, Alex Kleinberg. So, here’s a peek at the fun design details and deliciousness. Congrats, Alex!!!

On happy places, you can’t help but smile when you arrive at the freshly opened Summers Juice & Coffee in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We’ve enjoyed following their Instagram all summer as Alex Kleinberg and Christopher Taha (and their friend, Steffan Elzinga, of Wood Mgmt.) got their hands dirty and converted the 50 year old bodega space into their adorably refreshing neighborhood juice/coffee/pastry/sandwich spot. They found surprises like exposed brick and a large window under the drywall, which combined with some reclaimed wooden fence planks (which turn into herringbone ceiling and counter facade) and the addition of concrete flooring and counters, projection surf flicks, a stunning red surfboard on the wall, and a fun surf mural on the roll gate… it’s easy to forget there was a bodega there!

As for the food and drinks, Summers isn’t just fun decor, Shawn swears by the egg sandwich. (Here’s a peek at the making-of THE Egg Sandwich!) Part of the secret is definitely the parker roll from Clinton St. Baking Co. and the spiral of sriracha… also the bacon + avocado… oh, and the cheese folded in the fried egg. But i digress, with Alex’s history at his family’s award winning Clinton St. Baking Co., it’s no surprise the food and juice is delicious. (For Clinton St. fans, they also carry their pastries!) And as for coffee, they brew Brooklyn Roasting Company goodness. But, back to the visuals - take a peek inside Summers Juice & Coffee on the next page!

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*NOTCOT in sponsored -

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 in wearable - 09.04.13 -

Ignoble Rutledge + Sternwood Wallets

ignoble0.jpg A fun package arrived from the nice LA based guys at Ignoble. We’ve been quite a fan of their Cora Classic Rucksack for a few years now ~ the elegant simplicity with such nice modern details in all black gets me every time. Now, i think i’ve fallen for their new “wallets” even more! It doesn’t even seem fair to call them wallets, they are more like smart, simple little zippered pouches made of fully lined 400D nylon and closed with heavy YKK zippers, with their lovely signature leather zipper pulls. The larger Rutledge Travel Wallet happens to be perfectly passport/iphone sized, and the smaller Sternwood Card Wallet perfectly fits american bills/cards/etc. However nothing about the pouches dictates what you use them for, and as soon as i unboxed them, i easily found endless uses for them to ease the mess in my current monstrous wallet, purses, travel set ups and more! Also, it’s hard to resist how lovely their greytoned colorways look together, offered in white, silver, charcoal, and black. If i were to pick just one, the white with black zips are definitely the most striking solo, but if going for more than one, they all look fantastic together! Take a peek at the details of them on the next page… i kid you not that they are surprising in how useful they can be!

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*NOTCOT in home+decor - 08.28.13 -

Alite Mayfly Chair

alite0.jpg On fun packages that just arrived… We’ve seen pictures online of the Alite ultra-lightweight chairs for some time now, but it wasn’t until trying them all in person at OR that we truly understood how awesome they are… and how incredible the tiny design details are! For starters, i thought my 13” macbook air was light (not even 3lbs)… their three chairs range from 1.1 to 1.6lbs! With their butterfly logo and the sling style of their chairs, it’s hard not to have the iconic butterfly chair come to mind. With a similar single piece fabric sling and a collapsible thin metal frame, merged with the materials/tech from outdoors goods like aluminum tent poles and ripstop nylon, the result is a collection of incredibly versatile, ultra-lightweight, sling chairs that are perfect to pop up just about anywhere! They have used them on kayaks and canoes, rocky waterfalls and paddleboats, and more! I felt like Goldilocks as i tried each model out, the Monarch, Mayfly, and Mantis, my favorite is definitely the MAYFLY! While the Monarch is lightest, you’re constantly on your feet and rocking… and the Mantis gives you the stability of a traditional chair with it’s 4 feet firmly planted on the ground, but no rocking… the Mayfly gives you the best of both! You’re stable on the ground, you can tilt back and rock, AND you can even remove the front leg for a rocking-only Monarch style seat! From most of the pictures i’ve seen online, it has been easy to overlook just how tiny and lightweight these things are since they support full grown folks (up to 250lbs) with full back support. So, take a peek at my unboxing of the Alite Mayfly on my DESK (alongside my 13” macbook air and bulleit water bottle) to see all the design details on the next page! (As well as their fun video! and a peek at the other models!)

p.s. These would be amazing at music festivals!!!

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*NOTCOT in playful - 08.24.13 -

So Ill Holds

soillmore0.jpg I haven’t been able to get these insanely awesome rock climbing holds out of my mind - So Ill Holds! First spotted them when we were exploring the very inspiring Outdoor Retailer Show… and every time i run into their tab that’s been open on my computer, i realize how fun and unusually designed (and still super functional) they are. Their choices in naming, geometries, and collections are noteworthy - whether you like/agree with them or not, they definitely make you think differently. Staring at the bumps(steroids) and curves (lockjaw) hanging from the walls of their booth was what first pulled us in. From afar they looked a lot like giant 3D prints… in fact they got my mind racing with all kinds of forms you could 3D print or mill that could be turned into awesome and unusual rock climbing holds, and how they can be quite the art form… Additionally, their branding is strong and playful (though the green cross does initially make me think of medical marijuana dispensaries), their medicinally themed packaging for other products is quite fun, there are LED enabled holds, and they even have recycled billboard bags! Take a peek at more details as well as a fun video with a parking attendant putting their holds to a whole other use on the next page!

p.s. See more of our Outdoor Retailer Show adventures here!

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*NOTCOT in playful - 08.23.13 -

Petswag’s Lucky Dog Swag Bag

luckydog0.jpg On new goodies that just arrived for Bucky, the super sweet folks at Petswag Inc. sent over one of their Lucky Dog Swag Bags. Every month means a new selection of surprises that make for perfect dog gifts packaged up a lovely silk screen canvas drawstring pouch. This month’s includes a Jax and Bones Good Karma Lobster Rope Toy (choice of small or large), Burt’s Bees Breath Drops, MetroPaws Poop Bags, Cloud Star Grain-Free Chicken Buddy Biscuits, and a Petswag coupon. And a nice bonus… this month (every month differs) Petswag is partnering with Best Friends Animal Society and donating all Lucky Dog Swag Bag profits to help them! Ready to take a peek into the unboxing and details? To the next page!

p.s. The Petswag instagram is one of our favorite dog (and black lab!) filled feeds.

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*NOTCOT in wearable - 08.21.13 -

Erin Loechner for Rivet & Sway

glasses0.jpg Loving these images that Erin Loechner (and her husband, Ken) of Design for Mankind created for Rivet & Sway. What a fun idea! There’s something so elegantly simple yet evocative with the personalities they’ve created for each glasses frame through hinting at the life that goes with them through the carefully curated objects… see all of the images on the next page!

p.s. How cute is the Rivet & Sway logo?

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*NOTCOT in nature - 08.18.13 -

Knopper Galls

gall1.jpg Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.

As we move into late summer, fruits and nuts seem to be forming everywhere in all sorts of shapes and colors. While walking through London, these oddly-shaped green acorns caught my eye, with their ridges, knobs and slightly sticky appearance. On closer inspection, most of the acorns were covered with these intricate, ridged growths, called Knopper Galls. The galls result from a chemical reaction in response to the gall wasp (Andricus quercuscalicis), which lays its eggs on the developing acorns. The shapes and textures of the resulting galls are fascinating (and quite variable). The degree of ridging on the gall is thought to be related to the number of larvae competing within the gall and we found as many as three separate galls on a single developing acorn. Their name “Knopper Galls” comes is thought to be derived from the English word ‘knop’, meaning “a small rounded protuberance, boss, stud, button, tassel or the like” and German ‘knoppe’ meaning “a kind of felt cap or helmet worn during the 17th-century”.

Galls like the ones we found occur on the Pedunculate or Common Oak tree (Quercus robur), but the wasp also requires a second oak species, the Turkey Oak (Quercus cerris) in order to complete its life cycle. Like aphids, the wasp undergoes both a sexual and asexual components of its life cycle. The knopper galls we observed are part of the agamic (female only) generation. Only adult females will emerge from the Knopper galls in the spring and these females will go on to lay their eggs on the catkins of the Turkey Oak. It is from these small conical galls that a sexual generation of male and female wasps will emerge, mate and produce further knopper galls. As a result, knopper galls are only found where both Common and Turkey Oaks grow. While galls have a negative effect on the reproduction of the trees, they don’t appear to harm other aspects of the tree’s health and in a typical biological twist, the wasps themselves are also often parasitized by a number of hyperparasites! You can find out more at ARKive, The Wildlife Trusts and Hedgerow Mobile, but for now see more pics (and my dissection) on the next page!

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*NOTCOT in wearable - 08.17.13 -

SPY Optic Happy Lens

spy0.jpg SPY Optic and the Happy Lens! Thanks to the magical box of goodies that arrived from SPY today, get close up with Happy Lenses in the Helm in matte blue (designed with drift/rally driver, Ken Block), the Crosstown Haight in dessert tort, and the new Fold in matte black (created for professional surfer, John John Florence)! While i’ve been super curious to try out the magic of the Happy Lens, first things first, the packaging and awesome design details worked into their products are delightful!

If you’re ever unsure of whether your lens is happy… just look for the teeny tiny happy face in the top corner of your lens. Want to run out without a wallet, no worries, because the carrying case for the Fold glasses once folded up, also has a slot in the back ready for credit cards/id. The Crosstown case is quite a unique button sleeve that protects only the lens section of the glasses. Even the bright blue Happy Lens sleeves have a smiley face on the drawstring. And as for why the Happy Lens is so happy, “The SPY Happy Lens lets in the good rays that promote balance in the body, increase alertness, and have an uplifting effect on mood, while simultaneously blocking the bad rays. As an added bonus, it’s also a polarized and color contrast-enhacing lens, giving you the best visual experience possible.” Intriguing, right? I’m excited to try them out properly, but first, take a peek at all the awesome tiny design details on the next page, as well as the playfully animated SPY Happy Lens video!

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*NOTCOT in travel - 08.16.13 -

Inspiration: 14 Hours in Indianapolis

indy0.jpg Phew! Reminder to self, no more red eye in, fly home in the evening trips… We just did a day trip to Indianapolis, getting in at 5:30am and flying home at 7:30pm… which means we were back in LA in under 24 hours. While we were there for a very specific purpose (hanging out with Butler Blue III, the bulldog mascot of Butler University, and checking out his Blue Mobile - more to come on that soooooon!) we also got to run around and see a bit of Indy! From watching the sunrise, to a delicious breakfast at Patachou, my first drive-in experience (Mug ‘n Bun!), my first architectural salvage (wow!), finding “Don’t Be Afraid Of The Space Rays” signage in a random yard, discovering locally made goods at Homespun and more… check it all out on the next page!

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*NOTCOT in food+drink - 08.13.13 -

Lobster West, Encinitas, CA

lobsterwest0a.jpg On delicious surprises, today’s LA to San Diego road trip lead us to the discovery of the new Lobster West in Encinitas. As their site says, “Lobster West is bringing New England’s love affair with lobster to the West Coast! As a family business, we are proud to offer fresh, sustainable and delicious Maine lobster rolls (along with crab rolls, shrimp rolls, seafood chowders, locally-grown organic salads and more).” As for where their lobster comes from, “We source all of our lobster directly from our friends who fish the icy cold waters of Maine and then we ship them overnight to Southern California, ensuring freshness in every bite! Our sweet and delicious Maine lobster is 100% certified and sustainable, and is served up in our favorite form - the lobster roll!” And you can taste the fresh deliciousness while you watch footage on their TV hanging over the door of their fishermen (lobstermen?) in action! We had to try their shrimp and lobster rolls… and couldn’t resist trying their monstrous whoopie pie… Looks like this one may make the list of our usual socal roadtrip pit stops between our usual taco/burrito joints! OH! It’s also worth noting that you can ask for Gluten-Free rolls! They use Udi’s. Take a peek at all the details and their menu on the next page!

p.s. Spontaneous trip = spontaneous pics, so all the pics are from the HTC One (vs giant dslr!)

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*NOTCOT in food+drink - 08.12.13 -

Baileys Chocolat Luxe

newbaileys0.jpgHere’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.

Our adventures with Baileys began a few weeks ago, at the enigmatic Dennis Severs House, where we joined Bompas & Parr for a secret event which promised Culinary Alchemy, marbled foods, chocolate and rhapsodomancy. We didn’t know much, but marbling was suggested and a touch of alchemy… Once inside, we learned about the years or development behind Baileys’ Chocolat Luxe, which officially launches today at Harvey Nichols and will be available more widely from October. The new liqueur combines Belgian chocolate, Irish whiskey, and cream (alongside Madgascan vanilla and other delicious ingredients).

Baileys Chocolat Luxe was revealed among a sumptuous brunch of treats from Lily Vanilli with a marbled theme. The swirling marbling, mixing of chocolate, whiskey and cream is key to the new Chocolat Luxe as is its decadence, captured beautifully by the venue of the launch, which even included a dining room train! More photos of the teaser launch and Chocolat Luxe on the next page!

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*NOTCOT in travel - 08.07.13 -

The Scrubba

scruba0.jpg On another OR product… The Scrubba caught my eye for it’s playful branding, packaging, and concept. The idea is that when you’re on the go (and washing machine free) you can use this enhanced dry sack to wash your clothes nearly as effectively as a washing machine, and far more effectively than hand washing. Basically The Scrubba is a dry sack with a built in washboard, air vent (think beach ball valve), and a non slip bottom. Toss in your day or two of clothes, some soap, some water, and scrub away for 30 seconds to 3 minutes, then drain, rinse, hang dry! Simple, right? Perfect if you’re backpacking… or even a mom on the go with some kid messes at the beach/etc? Paired with a hairdryer that can pull from the car battery, you might even be able to wash and dry smaller things quickly for on the road emergencies?

The packaging (by Happy Studio Co) and design are super cute as well… the logo, well, i can’t seem to stop seeing a maxi-pad of sorts… and the concept, it is fun! It works! But part of me feels like it could have been designed simpler? Is it really so different than using a dry sack you already have? And maybe some dryer balls, etc instead of a built in washboard? But i do like the idea as an alternative to hand washing, even when at home, to get a more effective clean, use less water, and have less of a splashy, soapy mess. Take a peek at The Scrubba details on the next page!

p.s. See more of our Outdoor Retailer Show adventures here!

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*NOTCOT in wearable - 08.03.13 -

STR/KE MVMNT: United By Motion

strike0a.jpg Another Outdoor Retailer find ~ did a double take when we walked by the STR/KE MVMNT (Strike Movement) booth with brightly LED lit wooden boxes that opened up to showcase their sneakers and workout clothes. The most striking thing about their designs and display were the simplicity and thoughtfulness of their details, color palette, and photography. And it’s easy to see the influences - as the founder, Marc Morisset, says, “I always felt there was a need for an athletics brand that was relevant to where our demographic was coming from. We grew up in cities; skateboarding and going to punk rock and hip hop shows. It’s hard for us to relate to shoes that look like fishing lures.” Also, the detail of their “pleasure pocket” where you tuck your tied laces so they don’t come undone. They are also incredibly light… and the colors and designs are hard to ignore. Take a peek at the details and booth on the next page!

p.s. See more of our Outdoor Retailer Show adventures here!

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*NOTCOT in tech - 08.02.13 -

Ford Racing + 2014 Fiesta ST + Rallycross

fordRacing000.jpg This post is by our LA based, NOTlabs running, automotive loving, Shawn Sims! He just spent the day with Ford and came back with quite the grin on his face…

When Ford reached out to us and asked if we would be up for checking out the new Fiesta ST and their Ford Racing X Games rallycross team I did not expect to take a ride in the fastest machine I have ever been in. The first thing I noticed when I arrived were all the mechanics and support teams running around preping the cars, changing tires, pumping race fuel, and crawling under the cars. I immediately realized I was in for something intense. I signed all the necessary paperwork, grabbed my helmet, and tried to mentally prepare for the g-forces to come. This 600HP 4 wheel-drive race car is not the Fiesta show room model that you can walk in and test drive. It does 0-60mph in 1.9 seconds! It is a fully custom built championship winning car and behind the wheel was Toomas “Topi” Heikkinen, a Finnish rallycross champion, 3 times X games medalist, and arguably one of the most most aggressive rallycross drivers out there. I climb through the roll cage and one of the crew members hooks up my 4 point harness. We chat for a second before he asks me how hard he should drive and I instantly respond saying “full race speed!” Before I know it we are doing almost 100mph with a turn rapidly approaching and he is not slowing down at all. He flicks the wheel and we go sideways, back on the gas, another turn, hard braking just before we go sideways again around the hairpin. At this point my face is melting and my internal organs are moving all around. We are going through turns sideways and only inches from the barricade. The braking is just as impressive as the acceleration, giving you no relief from the g-forces. When it was over it took me a few seconds, but I realized that driving (or riding) like that is truly as amazing as I have always imagined. The human-machine connection I experienced on that track was sublime.

Check out videos and pictures of the adventure, cars, design details, and their tool boxes on the next page.

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