Entries tagged with: sponsored

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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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Beakerhead 2014, Calgary

beaker0.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! I know, i’m jumping around a little, but with so many pictures and experiences to share with you guys from this Alberta adventure, i’m working through it bit by bit!

The most inspiring things to me have always been exploring nature and art+tech+design. So while exploring all that Alberta has to offer (or what is possible in a mere week with such a HUGE province)… when we were heading out of the Alberta National Parks to Calgary, I heard about Beakerhead, a “smash up of art, science, and engineering”… which is right up our alley! They describe it as when Calgary turns into a hands on laboratory - “it’s a time and place where engineers show their creative sides, and artists get technical, where science hits the street, and everyone gets ingenious.” Throughout the week, there were workshops for kids and adults, engaging talks and performances, and it sounds like all around playful inspiration! They even had “Canada’s first sustainable energy ferris-wheel-turned-dining-room. The 16-bucket wheel gently rotates while diners are treated to a multi-course molecular gastronomy meal created by esteemed Calgary chef Nicole Gomes, a contestant on Top Chef Canada,” called the Periodic Table - unfortunately all the tickets were sold out!

We managed to get back to Calgary just in time to see the displays at Little Big Street and Beakernight. They felt a bit like a mini Makerfaire/Burning Man/Design week combo of sorts with a Calgary flair. Even The Uncommons (which we just featured) had a pop up shop in a Pod shipping container! There was a huge discoball on a crane, a structure made of sticks, an inflatable living room, interactive/3D printed Absolut installations, a rideable hippo, a flame shooting octopus and more… take a peek at what we found on the next page!

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Inspiration: Glacier Water Blue...

lakes0.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!

This trip I may have found a new favorite color: that magical Glacier Water Blue! My first taste was the incredible Moraine Lake. And then i’ve shown you the powerful Sunwapta Falls! Well on the drive up the Icefields Parkway from Banff National Park into Jasper National Park, almost anytime we saw the word lake/creek, we tried to pull over and check it out. Sure, it made the drive a bit slower, but each and every one was worth it! No matter how many we saw, the color really doesn’t get old. The varying shades of minty turquoise of sorts… a greenish robin’s egg blue? a saturated Tiffany blue? As for what causes the unique colors, it comes from the light refracting off the rock flour suspended in the water from the melting glaciers. It varies from lake to lake, depending on the not only the rock flour, but also the lighting/weather/time of day… but the color is always spectacular. See some of the incredible Glacier Water Blues we encountered on the next page.

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Animals of Jasper National Park

animal0.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!

As you know, we’re pretty animal obsessed over here at NOTCOT. So when we heard there we lots of critters to see in the National Parks, I was skeptical but hopeful to get to see at least a few! When at Mount Engadine Lodge we were lucky to see a few moose, deer, and a mama and baby black bear… but when we went to Jasper National Park… driving around we found Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, Elk, Mountain Goats, Black Bears, Canadian Geese, and some monster crows. Far more than I expected, and so many of each! The one elusive creature we tried to find, but will have to come back for? Beavers! Check out the amazing animals we found on the next page…

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Sunwapta Falls, Jasper, Alberta

sunwapta00.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!

Sunwapta Falls - another favorite so far that I definitely need to get back to next time we’re in Jasper National Park (Notice, we haven’t even left, and i’m already planning a trip back?)… We debated whether we were losing too much sun to pull off when we saw the sign, but decided to rush over and see what we could anyhow… and WOW. So worth it, though I can’t wait to see it in bright sunshine! The glacier blue falls come down and around an island then rush into quite the drop before swooping onwards. I could have stood and stared at it all on the bridge for ages… also the tree roots that form steps down to the falls are mesmerizing in their own right. Check it out on the next page.

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Moraine Lake in Banff, Alberta

moraine0.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!

The BLUE! That Glacier Water Blue… to be honest, I thought most people’s pictures were over saturated or photoshopped, but no. It really is THAT blue. It’s amazing how quickly the weather changed - from our snowy adventures at Spray Lakes to heading up into Banff National Park. My first stunningly glacier blue lake was Moraine Lake. We’d heard rumors that it is even more breathtaking than Lake Louise, so we detoured over first, and WOW. It is AMAZING. And beyond the lake views as you wander around… the Chipmunks! I’ve never seen such chubby little chipmunks run right up to you. Even crazier, they run up to BUCKY! And stand up in his face. You’d think a pup like him would go after it, but when it came right up to HIM, he had no idea what to do. And once you wander up past the chipmunks, the view down at the lake is just incredible. It was hard to leave Moraine Lake, but I had to keep reminding myself this was just the beginning! Check it out on the next page.

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Mount Engadine Lodge + Spray Lakes

engadineMAIN.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!

The one thing you can count on on a multiweek road trip is running into the unexpected. In this case the weather took a turn to the cold and snowy for a few days! Like wake up to half a foot of snow sticking kind of snowy… and that didn’t stop us from genuinely, excitedly trying to go find a camp site by Spray Lakes. The camp sites are THAT stunning just off the water nestled in the trees. But like in a fairy tale ~ we headed to dinner at the Mount Engadine Lodge around the lake, which appeared like an adorable Swiss chalet mirage through the low visibility of the snow and trees… and with dinner, they offered us a spare room and told us not to be silly instead. By the time i woke up and saw the inches of fresh powder everywhere, i think we made the right decision!

Honestly, there is something just magical about Mount Engadine Lodge. Beyond the adorable chalet style, the people both running it and guests immediately treat you like family as you curl up by the fire, play games, and join the communal dining area. The first thing you are offered is to get out of your wet shoes and slip on some colorful hand knit slippers. Then you hear “BEAR” and “MOOSE” and then “TWO MOOSE!” within moments of arrival… and it’s not joke. Staring out the vast windows overlooking the meadow, sure enough there is a mama and baby bear sauntering down, and two moose chowing down in the mud pit. Often you read things are “like the Serengeti for wildlife viewing”, but to pop in and have all of this happen so fast… magical! See our adventure to Spray Lakes, Mount Engadine Lodge, and the rather precarious drive out on the next page!

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Canmore Quarry Lake Dog Park

dogparkMAIN.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!

I can’t even begin to sum up how much i’ve learned since Bucky joined us less than 2 years ago. We’ve all been learning a lot on this epic road trip… he’s been learning to take in all the newness, calm down a bit more with new folks, and adapt like a trooper to camping and hotels for the first time… and it’s our first serious trip with him. But along all of it - it also means less free roaming running around time for him to get his energy out and stretch his legs properly. SO - on unexpected awesomeness, we’re loving the Canmore Quarry Lake Dog Park. There’s a huge off leash area - as well as on leash trails surrounding it. And better than the beautiful land and views around it… the people! Who knew that pulling up our beast of a car with CA plates and having Bucky romp around with so many other big dogs would be such a great spot to connect with locals and travelers alike. Also crazy - we went two days in a row, the first with a little snow on the ground, the second covered in snow and snowing heavily! Both days you couldn’t stop Bucky from sprinting from end to end with a ridiculous puppy grin. Take a peek at the site and his giddy puppiness on the next page… and as we continue traveling with him, figuring out good off leash areas will definitely be high on the list.

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The Uncommons, Calgary

uncommons1.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!

It’s been a while since i’ve popped into a store and found myself wanting things from almost every shelf! Well it happened! When in Calgary, you have to go see The Uncommons in Inglewood for awesome giftiness and designer goodies! While there were many of my friends and favorites on the shelves, what made me even more giddy was the amount i hadn’t seen! Amazing way to discover some local Alberta goodness. Sadly much of what is there isn’t on their website… yet! So it’s a store definitely worth popping into in real life. Take a peek on the next page for a look inside the store as well as the taste of Alberta they gifted us!

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Inspiration: Waterton Lakes National Park

watertonMAIN1.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!

We made it! We crossed the US/Canada border in the NOTFZJ80 with dog and all with no problems, and even finally got to make use of our passport cards. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited Shawn and I are to embark on the adventure we’ve dubbed the NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape. As you know, the NOTFZJ80 Project was all about building a rig that could take us to experience new things and get inspired in a whole new way. So when Travel Alberta asked us to come explore their province - and were cool with us not only roadtripping up from LA (allowing for some fun adventures along the way) but also bringing Bucky along as he turns 2 next week… we couldn’t say YES fast enough. After crossing the border, we headed to Waterton Lakes National Park, which is essentially the Canadian side of Glacier National Park. In fact, in 1932, the United States and Canada joined together to create the world’s first International Peace Park: Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park to commemorate the peace and goodwill our two nations share. In 1995, UNESCO even designated it a World Heritage Site. What more perfect place to cross over and start our adventure? See what we found on our first day into Alberta on the next page - from Bison to stunning lakes, to Pop Shoppe, to our campsite and more!

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NOTFZJ80: Test Trip, Big Bear II

map0.jpg The NOTFZJ80 Project is being sponsored by our friends at AutoNation: America’s largest auto retailer with 270 stores selling 33 brands nationwide backed by industry-leading policies like SmartChoice pricing and no-hassle money back guarantee. They are helping us turn our 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser into an overland adventure rig to go discover inspiration off-grid! Follow the progress here as we build up to our first trip.

So for Part I of the NOTFZJ80 Test Trip, we focused on Camping… in Part II, it’s time for off roading! And in this case, we decided to explore the Forest Service Roads around Big Bear further and really put the NOTFZJ80 through its paces. So from paved roads and highways… we headed down Forest Service Roads to find our campsite. They varied from paved to dirt to rocky… as we used the yellow post sites as an excuse to weave our way through the mountains as we checked out a few more spots, we arbitrarily picked service roads to explore! The result? everything from easy scenic routes to steeper routes… super steep rocky routes… weaving from peeks of lake views… through once burned forests starting to get lush with new growth… coming across a surprised family of deer… and more! Most importantly? It was fun, relaxing, and the NOTFZJ80 handled like a tank! you can see our route on the map above - the X is where we camped, and the rest is where we wiggled before popping out in Fawnskin. Take a peek on the next page…

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NOTFZJ80: Test Trip, Big Bear I

maincamp0.jpg The NOTFZJ80 Project is being sponsored by our friends at AutoNation: America’s largest auto retailer with 270 stores selling 33 brands nationwide backed by industry-leading policies like SmartChoice pricing and no-hassle money back guarantee. They are helping us turn our 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser into an overland adventure rig to go discover inspiration off-grid! Follow the progress here as we build up to our first trip.

I can’t believe we’re finally at this stage… TEST TRIP! For our first quick test trip there are two big things that need testing: #1 Camping! #2 Offroading! It still blows my mind how quickly we’ve gotten here, and how much we’ve done. It looks like such a different car from when we first brought it home. Looking back for a moment - we’ve been asked “Why THIS project car?” quite a bit, and without a doubt, it’s all about the experience for me. This isn’t exactly the type of setup you can just rent - and there’s something different when you do it all yourself bit by bit to make your ultimate setup! And as NOTCOT closes in on 10, I can’t even count how many incredible experiences i’ve been exposed to as i’ve run around covering events, exploring brands, testing (new) cars all over the world, but what has been lacking are the random vacations and goal free explorations I used to have. So the NOTFZJ80 is our way to do something that none of our other vehicles can do, and a reason to simply venture out, get lost, and get inspired by the unplannable unknown. Will it work? I can’t wait to find out!

So back to first test trip… having just gotten back from Atlanta, and heading to Iron Mountain, Michigan tomorrow… we didn’t have much time to squeeze in a little test trip. So it had to be close to home! A bit of research landed us on Big Bear! Only 2.5 hours away, gorgeous lake, and an easy spot to camp for a night and off road a bit… so take a look at part one (Camping!) on the next page!

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NOTFZJ80: PART IV

fzjupdate.jpg The NOTFZJ80 Project is being sponsored by our friends at AutoNation: America’s largest auto retailer with 270 stores selling 33 brands nationwide backed by industry-leading policies like SmartChoice pricing and no-hassle money back guarantee. They are helping us turn our 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser into an overland adventure rig to go discover inspiration off-grid! Follow the progress here as we build up to our first trip.

Wow. We’ve so much has changed since the last update on our NOTFZJ80 Project. When you last saw it, we installed the front bumper + winch and were in a holding pattern as it got some work done at TLC. Well - it’s back! It’s had front axel, transfer case, bushings, and differential rebuilt and new Old Man Emu suspension, DBA brakes, radiator and rear bumper installed. Since it’s been back we’ve also installed a 40” LED light bar and snorkel on the front - awning off the passenger side and annex under the rooftop tent - and filled the rear bumper with jerry cans, spare tire, MaxTrax, and grill! Needless to say - we’ve been busy, and we’re just about ready to go test out camp with the NOTFZJ80. Check out our progress on the next page.

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NOTFZJ80: PART III

update0.jpg The NOTFZJ80 Project is being sponsored by our friends at AutoNation: America’s largest auto retailer with 270 stores selling 33 brands nationwide backed by industry-leading policies like SmartChoice pricing and no-hassle money back guarantee. They are helping us turn our 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser into an overland adventure rig to go discover inspiration off-grid! Follow the progress here as we build up to our first trip.

Seems about time for a NOTFZJ80 Project update! This update is a combo of accessorizing and… waiting. So much patient waiting… as the Land Cruiser heads in to TLC to get some work done. But just because the car isn’t here doesn’t mean there aren’t NOTFZJ80 Project related tasks to be done. In this update we’ve got the front bumper + winch installed, dropped it off to the shop, started the scavenger hunt for parts (which even brings us over to AutoNation Toyota in Irvine), amusement with jigger siphons, jerry cans, MaxTrax, D-ring shackle bracelets, marine grade battery and more… check out the latest progress on the next page! We are nearly adventure ready!

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NOTFZJ80: ARB Simpson III Roof Top Tent

arbtent0b.jpg So excited to announce that The NOTFZJ80 Project is being sponsored by our friends at AutoNation: America’s largest auto retailer with 270 stores selling 33 brands nationwide backed by industry-leading policies like SmartChoice pricing and no-hassle money back guarantee. They are helping us turn our 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser into an overland adventure rig to go discover inspiration off-grid! Follow the progress here as we build up to our first trip.

On NOTFZJ80 updates - the truck is currently in the shop at TLC and we have put in an order for some OEM parts over at AutoNation Toyota Irvine - so big updates to come in the following weeks! Currently the biggest update is the addition of our ARB Simpson III Roof Top Tent we received, installed, and climbed around in… (No, i haven’t spent the night in it yet!) I’m still in awe of it - so fun, so BIG, and i love the way it opens and closes. While rooftop tents have long been the norm in places like Australia and Africa (keeps you up above the creepy crawlies and such) - they are starting to pop up more and more in the US lately. It took Shawn a bit to convince me it was the way to go - until our adventures at Overland Expo where i got to climb in and around a few models to fully understand how this was so different from camping in a regular tent… and picked this one!

So what’s so different? Firstly, THE VIEW! Everything looks so different peeking out from the windows up above the car. And they say a shift in perspective can do wonders - i’ve even heard that taller beds often changing the way you dream! There’s also something treehouse like about being perched up there. Secondly, the nearly queen sized foam mattress! Yup, this isn’t just sleeping on a sleeping pad in a sleeping bag. You can even close it up with your bedding in there. And thirdly, the way it opens and closes with ease - just pull off the cover, slide out the ladder, and pull it open! With a little practice, we’re getting faster and faster with it!

Oh, and yes the cantilever is super secure - and no the ladder is not structural. (First thing everyone asks as they climb up in there!) Ready to see all the details of it up close? To the next page!

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Inspiration: Portland (Thanks, Delta!)

deltamain.jpg Thank you to Delta® for sponsoring this article. Book Delta® Economy Comfort™ on your next trip and make each and every departure and arrival “worth it.”

When Delta® reached out wanting us to experience their Economy Comfort™ seats, and figure out what’s #worthit, the first question was - where should we go? Well the perfect way to kick off 2014 was to find somewhere new and inspiring (and not too far) to take a quick trip - and Portland, OR came to mind. Just back from the madness of holiday travel, Shawn and I needed to properly unwind, relax, and explore, so we happily hopped up to Portland for 2 quick nights! The second question - when to go?!?! So after a bit of poking around the Delta site to figure out which types of planes fly where and what wasn’t fully booked up to get some decent seats (aka Economy Comfort™ and non-middles where possible!) we were set for Jan 6-8. Then came the research phase, as I oriented myself with Portland digitally (and asking friends for advice) this google map of dots emerged to help us figure out what to explore when wandering the city. Feel free to suggest more spots that can’t be missed on our next Portland adventure! Take a peek on the next page at some of our discoveries, as well as the stunning views out the window flying!

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Homesickness Fighting Tech

sheratontech.jpg This post is brought to you by Sheraton. Click here to explore Sheraton Club.

It’s amazing what you can do at home… while away from home these days! In fact, it feels like it gets harder and harder to get homesick even while bouncing around the globe. With internet available while flying, even that oasis is a tough one to claim being completely disconnected. With cell phone roaming getting cheaper and simpler, you don’t even have to worry about changing phone numbers or gasp being completely out of touch. In our first post in this travel series sponsored by Sheraton, I shared ways that internet resources can help you explore new cities like a local. This time, let’s take a peek at the little things you can use that keep you grounded and feeling like home no matter what time it is wherever you are or how many planes you just hopped around on… see the next page!

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Hotel Hibernation Days

sheratonbed.jpg This post is brought to you by Sheraton. Click here to explore Sheraton Club.

After a work trip, be it a long arduous one or a quick overbooked one, I don’t know how other people feel, but i’m exhausted! And to be honest, coming home isn’t always the most relaxing thing. As soon as you get back, there is the whole process of unpacking, catching up, and the reality of laundry, cooking, dishes and more might kick right back in. My solution? Hotel Hibernation Days! That extra buffer day that helps you transition back to reality without being terribly behind and desperately in need of rest! More about my perfect plan to stay sane with a crazy schedule on the next page.

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5 Different Perspectives to find while Traveling

sher0.jpg This post is brought to you by Sheraton. Click here to explore Sheraton Club.

One of my favorite things to do when traveling and exploring new cities is to find new perspectives of that city. Often (especially if traveling for business or a convention) it is far too easy to get stuck in a giant building with nearly no windows or bouncing merely between the hotel and talks. If you don’t have time to get out and explore, at least try to see the city/town in at least ONE new way! On the next page, check out 5 of my favorite options…

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Seattle Adventures: The Sheraton

sheraton0.jpg This post is brought to you by Sheraton. Click here to explore Sheraton Club. As our hosts in Seattle a few weekends ago, here’s a peek into our room and Sheraton Club first hand!

When the Sheraton reached out to us to write about our adventures beyond work meetings, etc. when visiting a city that had Sheraton Club amenities, I didn’t know what to expect. And having not been to Seattle since i was too young to remember much more than going clamming, I had no idea what i was in for! So, thank you Sheraton, for helping us make a weekend of the trip instead of a quick one day type of thing, it has been quite the fun weekend of exploring. You can see how we planned where to explore, and peek into our Seattle adventures, but first, back to the Sheraton!

About the Sheraton Club, I’d never tried one of the club lounges or club floors before. Basically, it’s like a hotel version of an airport lounge; free Wifi, lounge space with tvs, newspapers and magazines, and a buffet that varies on the time of day. As far as how that fits into your hotel time, think of it as your room on a floor that conveniently has a little lounge on the same floor, and breakfast and wifi are complimentary, as well as happy hour hors d’oeuvres! But back to the adventures, take a peek on the next page to see inside our room, our stunning downtown Seattle views, and our experience in the Sheraton Club Lounge!

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5 STEPS TO EXPLORE LIKE A LOCAL

sheratonmain.jpg This post is brought to you by Sheraton. Click here to explore Sheraton Club.They are hosting us in Seattle this weekend, so it seems only appropriate that I share my process of diving into a new city between meetings as it applies to my first time in Seattle since i was too young to remember! First first step, figure out the neighborhoods… maps like this one from These Are Things for Seattle are a great start.

I love exploring! But having a mere few days in a new city (and minimal free time between business meetings) ~ is seldom enough to get to know it like a local! Unless… you find optimal ways to plan out what to go see! Diving into a brand new city you know next to nothing about is always both an adventure and completely overwhelming. Traditionally there are tourism boards and guide books to give you a feel for the touristy “usuals” that out-of-towners tend to cluster at, but i always get more curious about what locals are doing, what’s up and coming, and what is most unique! So, beyond asking friends and friends of friends and your hotel concierge for suggestions, here are some techniques we’ve been using! Usually i’m hunting for fun restaurants, shops, galleries, and events! Below take a peek at my usual process to navigate and discover the local side of things!

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Café Grumpy's Ford Transit Connect

grumpymain.jpg This post is sponsored by the Ford Transit Connect. For this next Transit Connect adventure, I was sadly stuck at home on jury duty, so Shawn Sims hopped out to NYC to join the folks at Café Grumpy as they did super early morning deliveries. See our first adventure with the Butler Blue Mobile Transit Connect here.

Café Grumpy was founded in 2005 (just like NOTCOT!) with a passion for quality coffee and it has been amazing seeing how they’ve grown over the years. With the opening of the latest (5th!) Café Grumpy in NYC last week, we knew we had to head over and check it out when we heard they too use a Ford Transit Connect to deliver their coffee and pastries! Beyond their cafes, they also have the  Café Grumpy Roastery, where they hand-roast small batches of specialty-grade coffee on a restored vintage Probat, and the Café Grumpy Bakery, where they bake their pastries and other deliciousness! And all of this goodness gets transported in their Ford Transit Connect to the cafes… with the launch of the latest cafe in the Fashion District in NYC and more to come, Caroline told us that she’s thinking about figuring out custom shelves (which the Transit Connect is ideal for) to better optimize the space for their deliveries. So we tagged along for their bakery and roastery deliveries to see what their process is like and what their dream Ford Transit Connect set up might be… as well as tasting some delicious coffee, pastries, and checking out the adorable stuffed grumpy beans! Check out our adventures with Cafe Grumpy on the next page!

p.s. If you’re feeling some de ja vu, but have never visited a Café Grumpy, perhaps you’ve been seeing/hearing about them in Girls, where some of the main characters work.

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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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Never Miss a Thing with the DROID RAZR MAXX HD by Motorola

newest.jpg This post is sponsored by DROID RAZR MAXX HD by Motorola. Check out everything you can do with the longest lasting 4G LTE smartphone. Thanks for supporting NOTCOT, Motorola! (Ooh and a side note - i love the kevlar fiber backing!)

There’s nothing more frustrating than missing a vital call or text because your phone ran out of juice. Motorola is aiming to make that notion a thing of the past with its DROID RAZR MAXX HD, the longest lasting 4G LTE smartphone, with an incredible 32 hours of battery life.

How significant is that? Take a look at some of the things you can accomplish on a single charge. How about 214 uploads, downloads, and streams (even re-watching the “Gangnam Style” video yet again if you haven’t got enough)? You’ll be a well-informed citizen, too, because you can follow 623 breaking news stories. And, your fingers will be properly exercised after the 4,288 taps, swipes, and pinches you can perform.

But it’s not all about the numbers, of course. The new you, with your DROID RAZR MAXX HD, can actually enjoy a three-hour flight delay because you can sit back and catch up on an the last few episodes of “The Walking Dead.” You’ll have to hide your amusement, though, as you watch your fellow passengers duke it out for the last remaining outlet in the airport terminal.

Imagine not having to worry about a major event taking place right in front of you — like a flash mob that breaks out at the mall — and not having enough power to whip out your phone and capture the moment. Even better, you can be the first one to instantly upload it to all of your social networks, and start the next viral video craze!

And just think: You can be everyone’s hero the day your friend gets lost on the way to the big concert, since you have enough battery power to GPS the trip, with plenty left over to live Tweet the performance and the after-party shenanigans.

Wondering what else you can do with 32 hours of battery life? Learn more at Motorola.com.

Disclaimer: DROID is a trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd. and its related companies. Used under license. LTE is a trademark of ETSI. 32 hours claim based on average user profile. Actual battery performance will vary depending on signal strength; network configuration; features selected; and voice, data and application use. Visit motorola.com for more information.

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Gift Guide: 32 Hours of Fun

droidnew0.jpg This post is sponsored by DROID RAZR MAXX HD by Motorola. Check out everything you can do with the longest lasting 4G LTE smartphone. Inspired by the qualities of this new mobile phone, here’s a fun gift guide of sorts dreamt up around 32 hours of fun!

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! An aside - working on this post made me realize I wished my phone lasted 32 hours without a charge! There’s nothing worse than those endless crazy days where you don’t have a chance to charge up properly and keep running around from amazing event to amazing event (especially when there are so many fun moments to share and capture!) I just got back from a mini road trip to SF, and imagine that 32 hours of charge would last through forgetting to charge my phone while i slept, 6 hours of roadtripping LA-SF with phone calls, emails, and music streaming, running around all day… and night… forgetting to charge it again while sleeping… driving back down to LA… and you might still be good for a little bit!

So - inspired by the DROID RAZR MAXX HD by Motorola’s 32 hours of unbelievable battery life, we’ve created a special gift guide filled with fun! From hiking with the puppy, to relaxing at the beach, to going out for drinks, to bouncing between gallery openings, and ending up at concerts, to celebrating Valentine’s Day… explore some dream scenarios to shop for on the next page!

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