We recently disconnected from the world (and our technology) and disappeared up to Rock Creek up in the Mammoth Lakes area at the foothills of the Sierras. About a 5 hour drive from Los Angeles, 4 humans and 2 dogs went to go play in the woods! It dumped snow the first night we got in, but luckily it started after we were tucked away in our cabin - and the NOTpuppy, Bucky was lucky to catch his first taste of snow (which he LOVED jumping chest deep into) and the last snow of the season. The highlight was definitely good times with good friends and a chance to watch the dogs run free - frolicking through the streams and meadows till they just couldn’t handle anymore… which resulted in coming home and sleeping for a few days! Along the way we also found some amazing jerky, delicious pie, and had a near catastrophe with some flying carrion. Take a peek at the adventures (and a taste for what the NOTFZJ80 will hopefully lead to!) on the next page!
Entries tagged with: california
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Here’s the latest from Shawn Sims, our automotive loving NOTlabs Director! He just got back from adventures with Mercedes-AMG in the desert. A pair of Mercedes-AMG C63 507 editions (sedan vs coupé) donut duel in the California desert during the Best of AMG at Willow Springs.
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!)
Happy 2013!!! To ring in the new year, we suddenly decided to hop in the car and escape to Palm Springs, relaxing and celebrating an incredible 2012 in the brilliantly colored Saguaro Palm Springs. While it still has the layout and feel of a roadside motel of day’s past, the classic Joie de Vivre style of livening and updating it certainly breathes new life into the space. From the hallways to the patios to the lobby, you can’t escape the playful rainbow that follows you everywhere… the color palette just screams HAPPY all over! Take a peek at the details on the next page… from looking inside our room, to running around with my cell phone, and more!
Since my first visit to the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, i’ve been hearing about the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center that is nearby in Irvine… we finally made it over there yesterday, getting a peek not only at the pristinely restored cars both on display and for sale in the lobby, as well as a look at what’s waiting in line in the garage and what is currently being worked on in the workshop… and WOW. It is beyond breathtaking. The curves. The colors. The multiple generations of history all in the same room… and to see the wealth of knowledge and incredible attention to detail, as the technicians and engineers inspect not only every part of the car, but also the vehicle’s legitimacy - from verifying its history, and tracking down exact paint colors down to the original chemical mixtures used, to spending years reviving barn finds into “authentic, as-new” conditions. With a small team of around 21 men, it was great to hear that the Irvine Mercedes-Benz Classic Center is a mix of seasoned Mercedes-Benz technicians as well as a few newer apprentices, coming from McPherson College’s Auto Restoration Degree (which is the first degree program in the world available in auto restoration founded in the 70s, and Mercedes-Benz has been a big supporter of it over the years.)
On the next page, take a walk through the garage as well as the incredible Classic Center Workshop and get a peek at what is currently being worked on or in line to be next!
This post is sponsored by Merrell shoes and clothes. For more great ways to enjoy the California outdoors, check out the Merrell blog for information on their Vendemmia Collection inspired by the grape harvest.
As a born and raised Angeleno ~ since walking the few blocks to the beach in Santa Monica with my parents as a toddler, nothing has ever felt more calming and invigorating that being near (or in!) the ocean… especially the pacific! Even during college and on and off in San Diego, i bounced through various apartments and houses that seldom left me far from the beach… When living in San Francisco, as brisk and foggy as the beach was, we always went regularly! And now, having my home base be back in LA the last few years, the beach is merely a roll down the hill once again… and whenever i need to clear my head i usually hop in my car, and depending on the amount of time i have - head up/down along the 1, aka Pacific Coast Highway which spans up and down the California coast. While often, heading up to SF or down to SD means hopping the 5/405, whenever time permits, nothing beats taking your time cruising along the ocean as closely as possible! The rolling sound of the waves, the sparkling sea right beside you, that smell of fresh ocean air makes you forget everything (even if you’re in traffic!) and just enjoy the beauty of the moment!
So when Merrell approached us to share some of our California outdoor loves, it seemed like the perfect time to pull together some of our favorite spots to stop along the coast… focused between San Diego and San Francisco, these are some of my favorite roads i’ve spent countless hours cruising along at every which hour since i got my drivers license at 16! So take a peek on the next page at my top 10 from the best beach spot to pull up to in SD, to malibu hideouts, to the elephant seals, otters, monarchs and more… on the next page!
Unbelievably soft. We just wandered in to Marine Layer in Hayes Valley in SF today and like the sign says “Get Grabby. Stop! And feel the fabric.” - we did. And it is SO SOFT. And coming from from a hot, sunny LA and landing in a super foggy/misty SF, the name couldn’t be more appropriate! And again - seriously - they are ridiculously soft! Also amazing about them - “every step of our production process occurs in California. This minimizes our environmental footprint and supports 3 American factories that have been in business for over 25 years.” and “Our custom fabric is a blend of two yarns, Pima Cotton and MicroModal, produced by Lenzig AG. Modal is a bio-based fabric that comes from recycled Beech Wood.” Everything is made locally - and you can read about the whole process. They also have such an adorable store (the vintage shufflepuck table in the center, chalk board logo, fun rope lamps) and really cute bags! As well as a vintage VW VAN! Take a peek inside Marine Layer (cell phone pics since i didn’t expect to be shooting it!) on the next page…
We love succulents here at NOTCOT ~ remember the amazing patterns and incredibly gummy looking ones? The geometry of the patterns they create and emerge in are just mesmerizing… not to mention the colors and flowers and how tiny they start out and how adorably they evolve! Anyhow… while driving back down the 1 from Monterey to LA, we got curious and started pulling off to see the main streets of the towns along the way, including Cambria! And my eyes did a double take when i saw a bright, playful sign reading “Rare and Unusual Succulents” ~ we HAD to stop! And it is amazing. First you go through a house of garden goods… through their large patio… then you see it. Another house! With another “Rare and Unusual Succulents” sign on top… and within the Grow Nursery is loads of air plants (even in bubble gum machines!)… and out to ANOTHER patio FILLED with truly rare & unusual specimens. It was like a succulent wonderland, and we met the lovely Jan Moon, who blew our mind with her knowledge of them, rattling off scientific names and families and lots of information on which were new hybrids, what to expect, how to water, and more!
So check out the adorable and amazing space of Grow Nursery’s Rare & Unusual Succulents as well as the assortment we gave in to on the next page!
Random sunday spontaneous drive landed me heading south to the new(ish) OC Mart Mix, a fashion/interior/foodie variation of the nearby Lab and Camp. There’s a nice write up on it over at the LA Times blog. Although some of the tenants have been around for over a year, others are quite new, and as you wander through the mixed use space both indoors and out there are lots of empties as well as people painting and prepping the next boutique to move in! Beautifully done, and lots to see (but far more to come) it sounds like friday and saturday are the best days (as most are closed on mondays, and quite a few closed on sundays) ~ it’s like a mini oasis amidst a sprawling ring of larger interior design showrooms encircling a large parking lot with the Mix hidden in the center (and all right up against the 405!) Fun find of the day ~ Savory Spice Shop. Based in Denver, they have franchises starting to pop up across the country, and the amount of spices, exotic seeds and chocolate powders, shelf full of salt, endless rub and marinades were mind boggling… and the gift set displays and packaging were so fun i couldn’t resist! Take a peek on the next page ~ (and excuse the cell phone pics from this random little excursion!)
This super stormy socal weekend, we decided to wander down to San Diego… having lived there for years i’d walked/driven by so many of the la jolla hotels but never stayed in them! After months of vicariously browsing the HotelTonight app on our phones around noon to see what hotel offers popped up each day, it finally seemed like the right time to be spontaneous about it! And San Diego Beach Cities were a recent addition as far as deal locations ~ also love that you can even book a deal for up to a few nights (for that spontaneous weekend away or so!) Take a peek on the next page at our spontaneous La Jolla adventures thanks to Hotel Tonight which landed us at La Valencia and the super new Pantai Inn… as well as a look at their lovely app and UI! It was hard not to book another random night and stay longer, but alas, it was time to get home!
More fun that just came in via email from my Dad ~ this time after he checked out the Art Center Car Classic over the weekend… i loved this map visualizing where the many post WWII automotive design studios of southern california are. We definitely have no shortage! Take a peek at a bigger view on the next page.
Last night we stayed at the Dream Inn Santa Cruz, and from the balcony there was an amazing view of the wharf, boardwalk, and the bay… and all night we heard a mix of waves crashing, fog horn going, and what sounded like tons of sea lions barking… but we never saw them! When i asked about the upon check out ~ i didn’t believe the woman that they were all tucked away on the pylons beneath the wharf… so, first stop was the wharf! And she wasn’t kidding… you have to see it for yourself ~ they balance and nap beneath the wharf on the thin pylons. They even leap up on to them (sometimes after many tries and much splashing) ~ and you can get closer to all of them than at a zoo, etc. It’s fascinating. They are SO loud with the echo created under the wharf. You can peek at them at a few spots ~ under the wharf, on the floating barge near the boat launch, and through various areas in the center of the wharf near the far end… Endlessly amusing, and a gorgeously sunny day in Santa Cruz ~ take a peek at our post-car-weekend adventure on the next page…
Having just touched back down in LA after a week of NY time ~ i must say, i do love california! And there is something strangely awesome about the shape of our state for a desk of coffee table apparently! Just discovered this new line of California Desks and Tables by J. Rusten Furniture Studio in my inbox. Aren’t they lovely? You have to see more of the details on the next page… and i’m tempted by the coffee table! I imagine leaving a pocket knife on the table with an invitation to all my california friends and companies popping by to etch their names where they live… though the clusters around the big cities might be a bit dense, there must be a fun way to turn this wooden map of a table more interactive! Or imagine if you had other states as well that would interlock nicely to turn from desk to US conference table? Anyhow ~ detail peeks on the next page… will keep dreaming up more ideas.
It’s a little absurd that it takes Mercedes-Benz inviting me to a German press trip that starts with a night in the Shangri-La in Santa Monica… to take my camera out and get some new perspectives on a place blocks from where i spent the first 5 years of my life… and minutes from my current house. But it also seemed too perfect not to show you some fun car shots too! So i wandered out after dinner across to the park and to one of the bridges that goes over PCH tonight, and i forgot how absolutely mesmerizing it is staring out at the views and the cars zooming past you in both directions. Take a peek on the next page…
On weekend adventures ~ the timing couldn’t have been more perfect with the GoPro HD Hero and Bentley arriving at the same time. So, while cruising around, mounted the GoPro upside down suction cupped to the center ceiling console and took off. Tested out photo still mode (making pics like above!) as well as video mode for the majority of the drive… took about 40 minutes of driving and compressed it 20x into about 2 minutes. Ready to take a lightning fast tour from the tops of Malibu’s canyons down to the ocean, along pch, through the tunnel, on to the 10, to the 405, to Sunset and back around to Pacific Palisades? It’s a fun drive ~ pieces of many of my favorite roads in LA. Video on the next page ~ see it in HD even!
p.s. I left the audio unaltered ~ it sounded like a crazy video game…
Though almost TOO hot and sunny with santa anas and a heatwave passing through, it did look like quite the glorious LA weekend. And the perfect time to joy ride with the flaming orange 2012 Bentley Continental GT up the coast. So far i showed you some of my favorite little design details, and as promised, here’s a look at the exterior. The glowing orange in the bright sun definitely highlights the crisp lines beautifully… and something about that orange with the endless blue of the sky and ocean coupled with the green of Malibu Canyon made for the perfect backdrop for an impromptu photo shoot… between the glowing car and the serene view, it took the roar of the engine to snap me out of how gorgeously mesmerizing it was! But as soon as i heard that roar, i remembered instantly why i love driving… more to come on the mini roadtrip around LA, but first, take a peek at the 2012 Bentley Continental GT exterior shots on the next page!
It’s been a while since i’ve done an Operation Window Seat post, timing hasn’t been quite right on a lot of my recent flights… but yesterday when i woke up on my LHR to LAX flight, it was just gorgeously snowing somewhere over central california… take a peek on the next page! (And on a side note, the rear facing biz class seats are kind of strange, no?)
Today has been kind of amazing in socal, 70 degrees and sunny in LA, and the perfect day to cruise down to San Diego to meet up with Mercedes-Benz AMG… came down a few hours early wanting to skip rush hour and get some work done… but it’s hard not to relax when you pull into the world of Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa in Rancho Santa Fe. So between conference calls and emails, how could i not share this HOUSE of a “room” i just checked into? So very california bungalow; comfy, cozy, and far too much space to have to myself! And truly, the perfect weather for what looks like it will shape up to be a glorious weekend to drive around with the new CLS 63 AMG. Take a peek inside my bungalow on the next page…
In light of the launch of NotVentures and the recently unboxed MacBook Air… impulsively hopped a flight to celebrate ~ deciding to take a quick overnight trip up to SF… which resulted in some gorgeous midday cliche sunny california weather both yesterday and today! Exciting news ~ NO problems at all with 11” MacBook Air going through airport security in my bag!!! And it’s a breeze to pack, and starts up so quickly… perfect for quick work on the plane and at the airport… perfect to toss into a bag that doesn’t scream “laptop!”. And beyond that ~ being a gorgeous day, both ways, with incredible views, i’d be remiss not to give you another Operation Window Seat post! So mesmerizing watching the patterns that show up when looking at the world from above… and getting some literal distance and mental perspective… take a peek at my awesome mini-vacation on the next page!
I feel like such a tease. I keep showing you parts of Oakley HQ, but not the insides… well not the normal insides, just the secret bar so far. And since these are in fact their real offices with 1500 people or so… there is a lot of work going on, and the majority of it confidential… so for everything i CAN show you, just know that there were probably 10 things i was dying to take pics of to share with you… whether they were prototypes, new designs, renders, sketches, or even amazing future wall tiles that i’m still lusting after… BUT that being said, take a peek at how awesome the architecture is, a peek down memory lane of Oakley’s history, the ejection seats CEO Colin’s waiting room… and his mine… camouflage covered cubicles… a few allowed sketches… the GI Joe looking guy dropping out of a helicopter on me when i looked up… machine gun in the hallway… AWESOME diorama’s to put your childhood shoebox setups to shame… and a bit more.
On Oakley fun facts: Did you know the name came from that adorable dog up there? And you can see the original 70s acorn logo from their bike grip days on the next page too!
Ok, so i have been calling One Icon, Foothill Ranch - Oakley HQ, but part of me feels like i should be calling it Oakley’s Secret Lair. or Oakley’s real life video game set of a compound (it’s very steampunk industrial massiveness)… or… yea, you get the idea. And since its friday, and closing in on Happy Hour in my time zone… next up i had to show you their SECRET BAR!!! Seriously, its behind a secret panel, in a secret location, that i promised not to share… so long as they let me show you some of the awesome lustworthy details of their bar… like the Marais stools i loved (which so happen to be on sale at DWR today)… the floor plan of the Secret Lair etched into the glass table… the walls covered in signatures and notes of what i imagine are Oakley folks and friends… their amazingly design taps (made by Oakley designers of course)… SO ~ if you happen to find your way over to Oakley, see if you’re lucky enough to go have a drink in their inner sanctum… the ER. Or perhaps you can have a top secret meeting in there, amongst the buzz and humm…. oh, i’ve said too much. Good luck finding it! See the few pics i got permission to share on the next page…
So, today was incredibly inspiring. Popped down to Oakley HQ in Foothill Ranch ~ and was quickly overwhelmed with everything from the beautiful view on the drive into the space… to the entrance… to the design studios… architecture… ejection seats… history… future… and secret bar… but, lets start outside. Between the Helipad and the Tank out front… POMEGRANATES! Tiny clementine sized pomegranates growing on the more adorable bushes lined the pathway between. And i was tempted to climb on the tank… but didn’t, and in retrospect, i’m now extremely curious what those little pomegranates taste like. But before we get inside the building… take a peek at at the fun outside Oakley.
Laguna Beach ~ so many surf brands have their home base in the OC ~ and recently so many hotels with special designer suites ~ but somehow i never heard about the Casa Surf Project over at La Casa del Camino until now! The hotel is perched less than a block from the beach, has an old spanish styled look and feel… and somehow the smell and hallways remind me of college… something frat house-y about it? Or maybe that was the crowd too… fascinating thing about the Casa Surf Project is that they gave 10 brands and their designers 10 suites, and let them have their way with it - “Action sports icons like Billabong Men’s and Billabong Women’s, Rip Curl, etnies, Roxy, Quiksilver, L* Space, Lost International along with Riviera Magazine and Glaceau have teamed with Southern California’s finest designers to create the Casa Surf Suites with a portion of the proceeds from each room donated to key charities for the first year.” I love the moroccan inspired Lost room… how far they took the decor, and the furniture choices… you have to see how fun the lights looked at night! And the way they really customized the walls… so beautiful! Billabong and Quicksilver are my other favorites ~ see more pics on the next page, and see full information on each suite here!
Looking down out this huge concave window in my Hotel Vitale room, has been strangely mesmerizing and inspiring to stare out of… from the spiderweb mess of bus cables to the curved arcs of the road and diamond of the cross walk and just watching the traffic/people flow through it… it kind of looks like a math or physics diagram…
Anyhow, Hotel Vitale has been one of my favorite spots to hide out in San Francisco since i moved out of this city… and while i’ve been in quite a few different rooms, this is definitely one of the most unique. I sleep better than usual in their beds… this room has a nice tub with a view… and this ridiculously large window! As well as the usual nice huge desk space to work at… and chaise to lounge on. Take a peek at a few pictures of the view in both day and night, as well as a peek at the room!
I'm jealous. Above is a pic of what my dad just told me is the "US-Spec AMG SLS for us to play with on the drag strip, slalom course and time trials." So, while i was traveling, my dad (i blame my jetsetting inclination on him) took off to the Laguna Seca Raceway up in Monterey for the Mercedes AMG Driving Academy. He got to drive the brand new AMG SLS and was lucky to be one of the first to experience the new AMG Driving Academy launched in the USA. 16 cars were specially flown in from Germany to accompany the 20 full time cars availble for the course. Luminary driver/instructors included: Tommy Kendall (USA), Bernd Maylander (F1 pace car driver) and Susie Stoddart (Mercedes DTM team driver from Europe). Basically i came home to emails of his incredible adventure... from giddy stories about how mindblowing the drives were (teasing me how much fun i would have had going 160 around the track in one of those beauties) to tales of the chef grilling alongside the track for lunch to inside looks at the stunning carbon fiber drive shaft to the amazing friends he made on the trip and stories he heard... bottom line? The course was totally worth it, and he'd do it again in a heartbeat... in fact, there are 5 levels of courses happening around the US as well as Europe... i think he's caught the bug, since he's already dreaming about Sweden. I think i might have to try and convince him to take me along next time! But for now... i've convinced him to let me share his pictures with us ~ take a peek on the next page to see the experience!
There is also the amazing carbon fiber wrapped car that looked amazing ~ pics to come of that one soon!