Entries tagged with: luxury

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8 days in 100 Instagrams: Alberta, Canada

use00.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, Shawn, Bucky, and I are loaded up in the NOTFZJ80 spending a week in Alberta roadtripping, camping, and exploring all that we can fit in… follow the series here to see what inspires us along the way!

WOW. It’s surreal to be home in Los Angeles - after putting 4000 miles on the NOTFZJ80 in 2.5 weeks as Shawn, Bucky, and I headed up from LA up through the middle of the US, spent a week in Alberta, Canada, and came home down the west coast… Even as i work on making sense of our many pictures and adventures, SO much has happened and been experienced along the way! One of the most important things i’ve learned on this Alberta adventure - be ready for ANYTHING - from hot weather into a snow storm - from camping to luxury hotels - from stuck in traffic to being alongside amazing creatures. You just never know what might be around the corner…

When I was counting things up, i couldn’t believe how much has happened in our 8 days across the border alone, which i’ve shared in exactly 100 @NOTlabs Instagram pictures! So as fun as breaking it all up is, the epic nature of our adventure seemed like it deserved a post of its own - all 100 instagram pics in chronological order to relive it all in one scroll! See it all from crossing the border to Waterton to Calgary to Canmore to Banff to Jasper to more Calgary to Drumheller and more on the next page.

p.s. Why an Instagram picture roundup of the whole trip? When i look back to remember this adventure - going through hundreds of pictures to make posts is one thing - refiltering it all through a new lens… but the Instagrams in order with their captions… THESE are the things that got us at the exact moments they were happening (or very close to it, depending on cell reception) - looking through/reading all of these are the 8 days as we got excited about things in real time!

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Hotel Arts, Calgary

arts0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, Shawn, Bucky, and I are loaded up in the NOTFZJ80 spending a week in Alberta roadtripping, camping, and exploring all that we can fit in… follow the series here to see what inspires us along the way!

One of our favorite Calgary spots is definitely their designer boutique Hotel Arts in the heart of downtown. Dog friendly, well located, and awesomely designed? Amazingness! And as far as Bucky was concerned, it was his first luxury hotel experience (days after his first hotel experience ever)… and i’m pretty sure he thinks that walking into them now means belly rubs and excited greetings from the valets and front desk ladies are standard. They also spoiled him (and us!) with treats when we got in - that are so beautiful! I’ve never seen a fruit+chocolate platter displayed quite like the one above! And their fun greetings on the plates - even special Bucky ones… so cute. We also got to check out the newly redesign interiors by B+H Architects - including my favorite custom made bedside tables (minimalist with USB and outlets in the base)! Take a peek inside the lovely new rooms and goodies on the next page!

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*notcot in design - 0 Notes

Sexercize: Transforming the Maserati Ghibli

maserati0.jpg When first approached about Kylie Minogue’s Sexercize, I was skeptical at best… as I learned about the special music video by Roman Coppola, Chandelier Creative, and Maserati… my curiosity got piqued. At first glance, this bizarre retro car porn of a film is just that… until you see the original it’s an homage to - the ‘65 piece ‘Kustom Kar Kommandos’ by Kenneth Anger… and to peel back the layers even further, Chandelier Creative and Maserati further indulged my curiosity with a loaner Maserati Ghibli S Q4 and a behind the scenes peek at how much they transformed the Ghibli for the video - and wow! What a process!

To be completely honest, the more i played with the Maserati Ghibli S Q4 all week, the more curious i got as to how they turned the car i was in into the stunner in the video! From the exterior, the front is reminiscent of the Maserati curves i love, and the rear is less recognizable without their iconic triton. As for what’s under the hood - it’s a cute “efficient 3 litre Twin Turbo V6 that delivers a peak of 410 horsepower.” Ultimately the Ghibli feels like your gateway Maserati which gives you a taste of the brand, while leaving you lusting for the roar of the Maserati Granturismo MC Stradale and its 4.7L V8. When you watch the Sexercize video, you can’t help but get pulled in by the mesmerizing wheels, the metallic paint job, dayglo lighting, and the muscle car styled blower coming through the hood… Take a peek on the next page to see the Maserati Ghibli S Q4 in real life and how it was transformed into the Sexercize muscle car!

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Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles

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Mercedes-Benz CLA: Animalistic Affordability?

cla00.jpg It has been impossible to ignore Mercedes-Benz’s targeting of the “younger” market with their new entry level CLA model… from the fantastic Super Bowl spot “Soul” featuring Willem Defoe as the devil tempting a young man… to “Kate Upton Washes the All-New Mercedes-Benz CLA in Slow Motion”, which is pretty much what you’d expect… there’s even the Ryan McGinley film featuring model, Karlie Kloss, “Mind of Its Own” that debuted during fashion week… and how can you forget the “Untamed” spot where the car faces off with a wolf? Basically the marketing of the CLA seems to have its target on the younger/college crowd, playing heavily on the affordability and animalistic nature of the car… so when given the chance, i was too curious to see what this affordable, animalistic, compact car (the little sister of the CLS) feels like in person.

Hopping over to St. Tropez to give it a spin, felt like stepping into the “Soul” ad - being given an other worldly experience to play with the car while exploring the south of france… see a peek at our stay at the Hotel de Paris which just reopened. On first impressions - i was first drawn to the grill that seems spotted from afar… and the lights are just stunning up close (both front and rear), with such aggressive eyes that illuminate in the front, and incredible red gills that fill the back lights, they are definitely my favorite features. As for the interior, the dash seems to be where the affordability compromises were made, or my taste has aged me out of the younger demographic they are targeting… and the neon stripe options on some seats were surprising. As far as drivability, it would definitely make a fun little city car ~ and we even tried taking it to an impromptu flea market we found while driving around the french countryside, and it fit in easily (though drawing quite a bit of attention as well)… take a peek at the adventures and details with the Mercedes-Benz CLA on the next page!

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Hotel de Paris, St. Tropez + CLA

deparis0.jpg This weekend’s adventures lead me from LA to St. Tropez by way of Paris and Marseille to try out the new Mercedes-Benz CLA. While there, Mercedes-Benz took over newly redone, iconic Hotel de Paris St. Tropez, which barely reopened the doors before Mercedes moved in for this round of drives. Mixed into the sculptures throughout the lobby, we were greeted with displays of the new CLA Dashboard, Direct Steer System, various engines and more… which fit right in! In the main courtyard, the new CLA and it’s larger influence, the CLS were on show. Apparently the Hotel de Paris was one of THE first hotels in St Tropez back in the 1930s, and was THE spot to be seen in the 60s and 70s (think artists, starlets, and more). Freshly redone by interior designer, Sybille de Margerie, it is quite a mix of design styles, and the hardest things to miss are the stunning spherical chandelier of metal petals of sorts in the lobby… and the nearly ready glass bottom pool that is suspended over the lobby which is viewable from all floors! Take a peek at the details of the Hotel de Paris St. Tropez with its Mercedes-Benz CLA flourishes on the next page!

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*notcot in tech - 2 Notes

Mercedes-Benz Ener-G Force Concept Car

realenerg0.jpg Mercedes-Benz Ener-G Force Concept Car - it’s like the cartoon super hero car that someone between the Fisher Price Rescue Heroes/Team Fortress/Duke Nukem would drive… with an Xterra-esque rear, an FJ like feel, and the illustrations remind me of Kimberly Wu’s JOY concept from 2008. While I was intrigued by the concept images that have been floating around when it surfaced on NOTCOT.org, i didn’t expect to love it as much as i did in person! The sketches are stunning. The attention to details - fascinating! And in person, in the glow of sunset, it really is hard to take your eyes off of. I love that they created the concept and sketches situations of it for Desert, Polar, and Jungle situations using camel, penguin, and monkey icons - even on the tires, which sadly didn’t make it into the final model. However, they did slip in the side view mirror warning: “Penguins, camels, and other wild animals in mirror may be closer than they appear.” Mercedes, please make this into a toy car model - or an R/C car - or a 3D printable R/C car shell… because it is adorable, and would make for some ridiculously fun photoshoots with action figures.

Take a look at the sketches, details, teaser video (the video is pretty epic) - then the unveiling of the full sized model at Mister C in Beverly Hills tonight. There are a LOT of pictures, but there was too much fun not to share! See it all on the next page…

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Spitz Hotel, Linz, Austria

spitz0.jpg We just moved into the Spitz Hotel in Linz, Austria, which is a stone’s throw from Ars Electronica, and a spacious boutique designer hotel that i’m currently giddy about. Take a peek inside our room and you’ll see why… Also, i’ve never moved to a hotel in part because of their SPONGE and awesome branding… the use of the Spitz Hotel red star/burst is all over the room in tiny details that just give it a fun playful spark! And the details of their custom desks - with cut acrylic inlays for stationery and hotel information and a cutout of their burst logo in the powder coated steel of course too. Anyhow, must run off to help set up for the exhibition, but wanted to give you guys a peek into our new room first! See it all on the next page!

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*notcot in wearable - 1 Notes

Mulberry Wild Things

monster0.jpg Mulberry - wha??? I just flipped through all 900+ pages of adverts in the latest (largest EVER) issue of Vogue… (hard to believe its sept issue time already!) and the one thing i could not forget after closing it… the YETI/WILD THINGS of Mulberry. WHAT is going on in these ads? How creepy is the giant eye peeking at her? And what is that green thing behind them?

Naturally, all of this lead to some quick photos to share with you… and taking my questions to the internet! The Monsters were introduced in February - “Our Autumn Winter 2012 collection was inspired by Maurice Sendak’s book Where The Wild Things Are, as well as textural furry fabrics and mysterious prints. Our own monster was created exclusively for us, based on a commissioned illustration by Emma Houlston and was made into giant set pieces for our catwalk. He also popped up on drinks, cushions and the London Fashion Week tote.” Mulberry shares more about Emma’s inspiration on their blog… she even sent them amazing monster cupcakes! See it all on the next page, including the coachella poolside party monsters, catwalk monsters, and more!

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The House Hotel Galatasaray, Istanbul

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Currently in Istanbul! While here, decided to try The House Hotel Galatasaray. One of the three House Hotels (all in Istanbul), this is the four-storey mansion built in 1890′s and renovated by renowned Autoban Design. The result is a beautiful and unexpected mixture of late 1800 turkish styles with lots of geometric patterns which feel like modern takes on more traditional tile patterns… from the reception area to the closet to the ceiling of the bathroom. Additionally the juxtaposition of modern (custom!) furnishings, chandeliers, tvs and more to the wood flooring and ornate walls and ceilings leave you in a beautifully unique space! As Mr & Mrs Smith says, “The House Hotel Galatasaray in Istanbul is a masterfully modernised mansion, elegantly imperial with a hint of contemporary magic.” Take a peek inside our room on the next page!

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*notcot in design - 0 Notes

2012 Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé

rolls1.jpg Strangely fascinated by the images and video of the 2012 Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé… you pop open the trunk and you’re greeted by the teak flooring you’d expect on your yacht… which then pops open further to reveal a “comfortable picnic seat for two adults” as well as a mini fridge and a set of “full-sized hand-engraved glasses that were designed by the team at Rolls-Royce.”

As for the inspiration behind the design… “The latest expression of Phantom Drophead Coupé demonstrates a more relaxed and less formal side of Phantom. It displays a sociable character and its convivial interior evokes the feeling of being aboard an elegant motor yacht. Inspired by the J-class racing yachts of 1930s (known for their performance and use of natural materials) the result is a car that epitomises romantic, performance motoring.”

“The optional teak deck was inspired by classic racing yachts. Each deck is hand-made from 30 separate pieces of teak cut from the same tree for consistent grain. Grooves are precision-machined into the wood then hand-finished with black yacht builders’ caulk. This is followed by two sealing coats and a finishing coat of liquid wax to create the elegant tonneau cover for the soft-top when it is lowered.”

See more pictures of these fascinating details on the next page… and imagine the picnic you could have when cruising around…

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Republic Bikes at the Mark Hotel NYC

mark1.jpg Adorable black and white bicycle loaded up with the “ultimate picnic in the park created by celebrated chef, George Vongerichten” ~ how could anyone resist? This is park of the latest luxury amenities added to the Mark Hotel including The Mark Restaurant and Bar by Jean-Georges Vongerichten; a shoe shine kiosk by John Lobb; martial arts gym Punch Fitness Center; and a Frederic Fekkai salon… this fleet of bikes are bespoke Republic Bikes with a striped chaincase and monogrammed bicycles, MARK1 license plates, signature black helmets and baskets! As for the ultimate picnic lunch - “Steamed Shrimp Salad, Avocado and Enoki, Champagne Dressing; Fresh Mozzarella, Marinated Roasted Peppers and Arugula; Black Truffle Pizza with Fontina Cheese; Mini Vanilla and Chocolate Éclairs Red velvet cupcake; and Artisanal Cheeses. Lunch-to-go also includes half a bottle of Champagne and a bottle of San Pellegrino. The picnic basket, together with blanket, plates, cutlery and glasses all fit neatly into the bicycles front basket, with a specially designed drink bottle cooler.” Adorable, isn’t it? See more picture on the next page!

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Hotel Tonight San Diego Escape

beach0a.jpg 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!

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Rimowa x Moncler Go On Holiday

rimonc0.jpg It’s as if my Moncler jacket got eaten by my Rimowa suitcase… and somehow fused into a strange luxurious chimera of sorts… It doesn’t look the most functional ~ yet i can’t stop staring. And wondering what else it would transform into if we fed it some other branded goodness… my Macbook Air perhaps? Or Louboutins?

Here’s how Moncler describes it on their site: Rimowa x Moncler Go On Holiday “Moncler is travelling - with the new Moncler Rimowa costumized suitcase. The German travel case producer completely reinterpreted its classic cabin trolley ‘Classic flight’. The result is a light and functional case, essential in its design, versatile in its usage possibilities. Ultraresistant, chrome-plated aircraft aluminium exterior including a brushed Moncler logo, padded handles and a special Moncler address tag.The Moncler trolley comes with typical padded black laqué interior including a unique set of soft accessories: shoe bag, laundry bag, utility bag and a small beauty case. Roomy, handy and compact. Perfect, in its dimensions, as air travel hand luggage and with two TSA combination locks. The world of Moncler in a trolley case.”

See more images of the new suitcase on the next page. The soft accessory bags are tempting…

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Bronze Bones Dominoes

domin1.jpg Bronze Bones! I don’t think dominoes have ever made me swoon… until now. Leave it to The World’s Best Ever’s Dave to dream up something so spectacularly lust worthy! “The first collaboration between The Principals and The World’s Best Ever looks to redefine the domino as a unique geometry, crafted from a more substantial material: bronze. The weight, shape and numbering have been refined, resulting in an original design that retains the spirit of the domino while capitalizing on its serial potential as an artistic object.” From the naming (Bronze Bones!) to the packaging (who doesn’t love anything hidden away in a BOOK?) to the material choice (bronze!) to the thoughtful inclusion of a pencil, sharpener, and paper to keep score (white pencil + black paper of course)… it’s all incredible. Take a look at the details on the next page!

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*notcot in design - 2 Notes

Peter Gronquist "The Evolution Will Be Fabulous"

gron5.jpg Last night, popped by the latest show of Peter Gronquist, The Evolution Will Be Fabulous at Gallery 1988 in Venice. It’s AMAZING, definitely something worth checking out in person, because the mix of gilded luxe brands, weaponry, skeletons and taxidermy are just something you can’t completely comprehend through pictures… the shear scale of things is pretty mesmerizing in real life. But for now, take a peek at some pics and details on the next page!

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Veuve Clicquot Hotel du Marc

hdm0.jpg Embargoed until a few hours ago ~ it’s been driving me crazy to sit on these pictures from my few hours in Reims, France for lunch a few weeks ago! Veuve Clicquot’s Hotel du Marc, which is barely a hotel at all ~ more of a magical guest mansion of sorts in Reims that Veuve Cliquot uses for special occasions ~ has recently finished its restoration/remodel which now includes some lovely themed guest rooms filled with modern art as well as hints of its past! From the beautiful staircase and the Chanel like faceted mirrors, to the Veuve-yellow Smeg and wall of champagne… the ornate chandeliered dining rooms to the modern portraits lining the hallway to the guest rooms… there is so much to take in, but here’s a first peek into their world!

p.s. you can also catch me in a few reflections rocking the super yellow veuve apron…

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*notcot in tech - 4 Notes

Wiesmann at IAA 2011

wiesmann5.jpg Going through the many pics from the last month of euro-madness ~ i couldn’t stop staring at these pics from the Wiesmann booth at IAA. If i were a Batman: the Animated Series character, i’d totally drive a matte metallic GT MF5. It’s so cute. I couldn’t stop staring at the show ~ and looped by the booth a few times for unknown reasons… it just pulled me in over and over. And now i can’t stop staring at the pics, so clearly they needed to be shared! And the jeweled lizard logo is just stunning and brings out the little kid in me too… take a peek at them on the next page…

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La Residencia in Deia, Mallorca

resroomMAIN.jpg On great escapes, the Orient Express (and their Journey Like No Other) seems to know how to do it ~ this week in particular we’ve been hiding out at La Residencia in Deia, Mallorca, Spain in between trips (See the madness surrounding this escape and a peek at the views at night). I can guarantee your stress levels will drop ten fold even from the drive in from Palma (or via private jet)… the softly twisting roads bring you deeper into the island’s canyons and terraced lush green hillsides. The hotel and surrounding town have apparently changed little over the last few decades, and before joining the Orient Express family in 2002 was owned by Richard Branson since the late 80s, and a favorite escape for many high profile clients over the years. Luxurious accommodations, great service, and breath taking views… not to mention divine tapas… while you have multiple pools, tennis, spa and lots of hiking, sailing, and more available, it’s hard to beat taking a few hours curled up on the patio of our suite staring out at the mountains and ocean… so take a peek inside the Alfabia suite, our ridiculously large bathroom, luscious four poster bed (with tv that pops out from the foot of the bed)… in addition to a few other fun details ~ from the call buttons that are poolside… to the various donkeys, sheep, and olive groves around the property (which they make their own olive oil from!) as well as an organic garden next to the spa!

p.s. You have to see the amazing little cove that is a quick walk/hike down into the canyons to the water…

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Hotel La Residencia at Night

res1.jpg In exactly a week i’ve gone from LA to Frankfurt to a few hours at the Auto Show, doing a live interview with the heads of global communications for Mercedes, to Paris and directly into a car to Reims to visit the Hotel Du Marc of Veuve Clicquot for a few hours, only to be back in Paris by dinner, then driving through France, stopping by a chateau, sleeping on a ferry, only to wake up in the UK and end up at Goodwood, crash for a night in London, and have ended up in Mallorca yesterday. Phew. What. A. Week. Is your head spinning as much as mine right now just reading that?

Well before another week not too dissimilar than the last, the Orient Express has invited me to experience one of their relaxing escapes, and the timing seemed perfect to see the world of Hotel La Residencia, nestled in Deia, Mallorca, Spain while catching my breathe. Currently curled up on the patio lounge chair in a bathrobe with laptop staring out at the most serene town, mountainside, and peeks of ocean 5 minutes away as i write this post. And last night after getting in, you can see the delectable tapas and wine we indulged in… before coming back to a nice bottle of bubbly cava they kindly left for us… at which point i couldn’t not grab my camera and share the stunning star filled night and glow of the town. So before i give you a peek into the room ~ take a look at the breath taking night! Exactly what i needed after quite the euro-whirlwind of a week!

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*notcot in tech - 0 Notes

Behind the NOTlabs Bentley Experiments

bentleycontour.jpg Nothing quite like new toys, new cars, good friends, and a day of experimenting in beautiful LA weather with Mister C being the home base for the day… two weeks ago we brought our new Contour+ mini HD action cam with us to meet up with Bentley’s fleet en route to Monterey… armed with suction cups, we had far too much fun mounting the camera and driving all over beverly hills, bel air, and late night through the tunnel in santa monica and on pch… take a peek at the setups, as well as the beautiful 1936/37 Mercedes Roadster we found!

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Aston Martin Estate in Monterey

astonestate0.jpg We ended up at an unexpected oasis amongst the madness of Monterey Auto Week when we drove up into Monterra Woods to join friends at the Aston Martin Estate. They took over a beautiful house and filled it with a brilliant mix of lifestyle brands from Far Niente Wines and Louis Roederer Champagne, to Emanuel Andren’s Chocolates from Sweden… Vizio 3D tvs and CxC Driving Simulators, to Flexjet by Bombardier and Worth magazine… There was even a tailor, diamonds, non-alcoholic cocktails (test drives happening!), and of course Aston Martins ~ from the V12 Zagato and One-77 to Virage Coupés, Vantage S Roadster, and Rapide. They created a beautiful space with relaxing indoor and outdoor areas, and endless things to do. Favorite? While waiting for test drives, the garage had two 3-large-screen simulators with racing seats that throw you around almost as hard as a real F1 car. (Of course, had we planned a bit better ~ i’m sure test driving the Astons would have been the favorite!) All in all, there was so much to see and do, and it was the perfect way to get a feel for the lifestyle they imagine around the marque. There were even herds of deer and flocks of turkeys roaming nearby! Take a peek and explore the estate and details on the next page!

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*notcot in tech - 0 Notes

Bentley and the Quail

1927_bentley0.jpg Having spent the day with the newest Bentley’s all over LA on wednesday ~ and then being convinced to spontaneously pop up to Monterey Auto Week… the time warp to see Bentleys of the past amongst their contemporaries is quite a trip. While I wasn’t sure what we’d be able to attend on such short notice, but Bentley swooped in and have been helping guide us through the week. They were kind enough to invite us in to the world of The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering, which we were told was an event not to be missed amongst the endless car events of the weekend. They weren’t kidding. It was an incredible introduction to the classic cars, while still getting to play with the supercars of today… all while lounging on golf courses… without playing any golf. Driving cars along golf cart paths and all over greens felt so wrong, yet is so normal here! One of our surprising favorites of the show turned out to be this green 1927 Bentley 6.5L coupe! So take a peek at the awesome car above in detail… as well as a silly unboxing of the jacket that saved me from the windy/mistiness that is the monterey peninsula… on the next page!

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*notcot in tech - 1 Notes

Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 Skeleton

lamboskel0.jpg Spotted at The Quail, this Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 is a beast of a car ~ and not just visually… one of the most fascinating things at the Quail was seeing the car stripped down to its carbon fiber chassis and all that is inside it. It’s their fastest production car Lamborghini has ever made ~ and drew quite the crowd of enthusiasts and buyers. On a sillier note, their uniforms were polo shirts with the Lamborghini signature bull looking much like the Big Polo Ponies ~ even with the orange matching the Aventador popping off their blue. Check it out on the next page…

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Bentley Supersports - It's Different At Night

IMG_7668.jpg It’s a beautiful thing when a brand wants to encourage passionate, playful exploration. When Bentley invited us to join a fleet of their cars, Brian Gush - Head of Drivetrain and Motorsports, Robin Page - Head of Interior, a skeleton film crew, designer Cory Grosser, and former lead designer of Nokia/founder of Vertu - Frank Nuovo at Mister C in Beverly Hills, to just “be creative and play,” how could i resist? So we loaded up a bunch of new (and old) toys ~ and spent the day all over beverly hills and bel air playfully exploring these cars in new and inspiring ways… and while there is much to come from that… first things first!

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At around 11am we ended up borrowing the Bentley Supersports Convertible ~ jetting back out to one of my favorite bluffs near home, and had fun playfully shooting it underneath the unbelievably bright moon and stars while overlooking pacific coast highway far below and the vast expanse of ocean and ~ it’s definitely different at night! Shawn managed to take some stunning shots of the car ~ and while he patiently took those, you can also see some of the silliness i ran around shooting in between on the next page! The car simply glows in the moonlight…

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