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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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.
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…
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!
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!
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!
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…
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!
This post is presented by Virgin Atlantic ~ Clubhouse [kluhb-hous] (v): The art of enjoying one’s time before a journey in an exquisite manner unique to Virgin Atlantic. How do you Clubhouse? Send us a picture of you enjoying your favorite Clubhouse experience on Twitter or Instagram, using the #HowIClubhouse. Well, to see how WE clubhouse, Virgin Atlantic invited us to check out their latest lounge in EWR (Newark, NJ).
It seemed only appropriate that with all of this twitter/instagram fun around #HowIClubhouse, that we share our adventure lounging at the brand new Virgin Atlantic Newark Clubhouse through Instagram photos! From the fun decor (tons of designer seating, lighting, and more) - to the beautiful mirrored, geometric bar (and delicious drinks) ~ to the screening room ~ to the Mirror Cube of infinite instagram mirrored madness of an installation we built right here in our NOTlabs… We hear that this lounge is so coveted that the British Airways passengers in the lounge next door often try to buy their way into the Clubhouse because, “every night seems like a party.” Rumor has it that with two flights a day at 8am and 8pm, people come straight from work to have a few drinks before their flight, as well as dinner (or breakfast if you’re there for the 8am)! It’s a beautiful space to relax and unwind pre-flight, and there are so many fun design details… take a peek at how our friend and photographer Jessica clubhoused for us on the next page!
Here’s the latest from our NOTlabs Director and car lover, Shawn Sims. This post is brought to you by Volkswagen. It’s not the miles, it’s how you live them. Read our stories or share your own at whyvw.com.
Early morning. Malibu canyon. Incredible S curves. Stunning views of the ocean and mountains. And over 2 dozen GTIs. I kid you not. So when Volkswagen reached out to NOTCOT to share our VW story, Jean pulled up my instagram pictures and insisted i share this Malibu adventure with you. First things first, let’s backtrack a few steps…
I love my 2012 GTI. It’s like a fast little go cart - handles great, has great balance, and from an engineering/design perspective, the build quality of the car is top notch. (And after endless test driving, Jean gave this one her approval as she fell for all the design details too.) As a car lover since before I even started driving at 15, you’d never believe that life lead me to do a few years in London and New York — carless! And it wouldn’t be until i moved to LA that i’d buy my first new car.
Moving to LA a car is a must-have. I was told make sure you get something you will enjoy, can be comfortable in, and be fun to drive because you will be in it more than you think. So when heading to LA after grad school in Pittsburgh, before even looking for an apartment, the perfect car had to be found… white 2 door with a manual transmission and sunroof. Not as easy as expected! But along the way, many dealers were called, arrangements were made, and paperwork was signed before I even landed in LA. My GTI agonizingly waited across the country in a lot for me until I got there. The day before new years eve, I hopped on an evening flight to LAX, and the next morning I had the keys to my new VW GTI!
Adjusting to life in LA, Jean and I frequently took our cars out to Malibu to play in the canyons. Having the VW GTI as my newest gadget, naturally internet research took me all over, learning about possible tunes, tweaks, upgrades and more… even stumbling upon various GTI communities (Apparently a lot of the vocal owners online are architects, engineers, designers, etc. Who knew?) So when a GTI meetup through the Malibu Canyons popped up, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to meet some new LA folks and find out more about what others were doing to the cars in person, and regardless of how it was, it was guaranteed to be a fun drive!
I have gone to plenty of car meets and seen car clubs caravanning around LA, but I was not expecting to find more than 2 dozen GTIs in a parking lot at 8:30AM. First, the casual meet and greet over coffee as we huddled up to go over the proposed route. We were set to cruise Stunt Rd, Mulholland Hwy, Malibu Canyon Rd, Piuma Rd, PCH, and whatever fun roads we could find in between. The plan was one canyon run, usually 20-40 min and then find a spot to regroup and snap a few photos. There were 3 generations of GTIs there, some untouched and others heavily modified. While at one of the lookouts along the way an automotive journalist even pulled up reviewing the new Golf R. The huge group of GTIs made him do a double take, much like the new Golf R turned the heads of the GTI drivers. As quickly as people came together, the group drifted back to their respective parts of socal… but for those few hours of blissful canyon driving as a pack of GTIs, i certainly learned a ton about what my GTI could do (and become).
The pack of GTIs (and the view!) was quite the sight, as you can see in the pictures on the next page… If I was driving by the group, I know my curiosity would have the best of me and it would have been hard not to stop too!
This post is sponsored by Ted Baker London, which just opened their new NYC ‘Grand House’ Fifth Avenue store! Thank you for supporting NOTCOT, Ted Baker!
To celebrate and announce the opening of Ted Baker London’s ‘Grand House’ store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, we’ve already shown you their Maids & Butlers that were let loose on the city! Well, now, here’s a peek inside the actual STORE! Equally playful and funky, it has everything from a dining table setting along the register, tea sets on the ceiling, jello lighting hanging down… gears in motion in the windows… and of course their maids and butlers were there for the opening as well as playful scavenger hunts, instaprint photobooth, and more! See the fun (in pics and video!) on the next page!
Renting a vacation home versus going to a hotel often means foregoing the convenience of room service… and if you were to pick a gorgeous remote spot, you may not be able to find all your gourmet favorites either! But this doesn’t necessarily mean giving them up, instead, when we day dream a NOTCOT team getaway somewhere like Big Sur, we think it would be the perfect excuse to try all kinds of packable gourmet treats and condiments and other experiments on vacation! See some of the fun we’d love to play with on the next page!
Ok, so i’m sure you’ve seen this camera floating around all the design/tech sites. The new Pentax K-01 been hard to avoid… after all, it’s a new hybrid of dslr-like cameras ~ mirrorless, yet uses most of the Pentax lens line up ~ it has a 100-25600 ISO range, shooting amazingly in the dark ~ it even does HDR IN CAMERA ~ shoots 1080p video ~ oh, and it’s designed by Marc Newson. He even designed the super crazy thin pancake 40mm lens that goes with it! Ready to take a peek at our first look? To the next page!
I’m amazed and mesmerized watching Rob Whitworth’s video! His view of Ho Chi Min City is an unbelievable look at the flows of a densely urban area, and it’s fascinating to see how much flows through the intersections and ports… and especially the incredible roundabouts! “Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is an amazing up and coming city. This time lapse is a culmination of 10,000 RAW images and multiple shoots capturing some of the cities relentless energy and pace of change. Everyone who has visited Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam knows part of the magic (love it or hate it) is in the traffic. Ever since I first set foot in HCMC I have been captivated by the cities energy. Saigon is a city on the move unlike anything I have experienced before which I wanted to capture and share.”
Clemens Wirth’s Macro Kingdom III is a video poem of sorts diving into “a special place, unseen microcosmos within a unseen universe bind us together.” The way the sounds pull it all together is mesmerizing! See the video on the next page…
This post is part of NOTCOT Having Fun In The Dark series sponsored by Canon Powershot’s Your Second Shot While taking pictures in the dark means standing super still, you may still end up with more graininess than usual …armed with Canon’s low-light HS SYSTEM, you can trust the tech to help you capture the perfect shot the first time!
A month and a bit ago the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans became the Mercedes-Benz Superdome… it is also the largest fixed domed structure in the world, designed New Orleans modernist architectural firm of Curtis and Davis. And our Tasteologie Editor, Jackson, had quite the view of it from the New Orleans Hyatt this weekend ~ coming home with some stunning pics and a video of the light show that takes place on at night… it glows through a rainbow of colors! Take a peek at some of the variations on the next page!
First things first, if you haven’t seen it, you must check out The Third & The Seventh. It is a stunning film ~ and I love that Alex Roman asks you to “Fullscreen it, please.” A masterful mix of 3D modeling and rendering of both designer objects and places that exist in reality (Like Kahn’s library at Phillips Exeter Academy) seamlessly combined with the fictitious through 3dsmax, Vray, AE and Premiere. But surprisingly, when it reaches the uncanny valley side of the digital, it’s hard to appreciate just how much went in to this film… until you see the incredible making of below!
This is a rare NOTCOT sponsored post from Anonymous. These only occur when an advertiser strikes my fancy and feels like a fun fit!
Sex. Power. Secret identities. Shakespeare. Shakespeare? Yes! It turns out the Elizabethans were up to their frilly collars in conspiracy. We’ve all read William Shakespeare’s works in school. But maybe those plays weren’t written by Shakespeare … maybe there was no Shakespeare. What if the plays weren’t just works of art? What if they were tools of political manipulation and evidence of a secret affair? Was Shakespeare a fraud? Anonymous: in theaters October 28
This post is part of a series presented to you by Nivea for Men. Look like you give a damn! (As usual, post content is all NOTCOT ~ they are enabling this excuse to round up some of our favorite men’s stores!)
So much SHOPPING! Well, when exploring to make a starter list of some of our favorite men’s stores (relevant whether you’re a man shopping for yourself ~ or a woman shopping for a man) ~ the list just kept growing as i worked on it and people kept reminding me over im and twitter of awesome online stores around the globe. (Thank you for all who helped!) So if you’re ready to fall into a blackhole of awesome men’s shops… head to the next page! I’d love to add to the list as well, so feel free to comment some of your other favorites as well!
This post is sponsored by Nordstrom. Shop the Anniversary Sale: Next Season on Sale Now. Prices go up August 1.
When picking products that were tempting us at the Nordstrom sale ~ Marcia and I couldn’t help going for all the black. Iconic little black dresses ~ little black trenches and coats ~ black tuxes ~ you know the drill! Take a peek at what we’re loving on the next page!
This post is sponsored by Nordstrom. Shop the Anniversary Sale: Next Season on Sale Now. Prices go up August 1.
The universe works in mysterious ways ~ like when i was drawn in while walking home across the gaslamp district ~ i was pulled in by the glow of these windows and the merchandising as well as the labels and the way they were attached… only to realize they were for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale ~ which i needed to write about tonight! So snapped a few pics of the displays to share with you here ~ there’s something so fun about how much more large window displays pop and come alive in the night… additionally check out some fun picks from the sale we’re liking!
This post is sponsored by Nordstrom. Shop the Anniversary Sale: Next Season on Sale Now. Prices go up August 1.
When prompted to go shop the Nordstrom’s sale for this ad campaign and share what tempted us ~ it definitely sounded fun and silly enough. After all, we’re perusing Nordstrom often anyhow ~ and you can check out the catalog online… while they do sponsor this post, they picks are all stuff we’re liking and shopping anyhow… i seem to be on a boot hunt tonight ~ from thigh high boots to wedged wellies to strappy biker flat boots… take a peek at what’s grabbed my eye on the next page…
I find myself staring into the sky a lot lately ~ especially in dense cities like New York, i can’t help but to stare upwards often. The clouds are just different! And the sunsets and Manhattanhenge have been awesomely dramatic… so when looking for home inspirations for this latest Lowe’s sponsored post, it seemed like the perfect excuse to see the color palettes we can pull out of these many sunset pics i’m finding on my phone this week! Take a peek at some of the stunning views on the next page!
p.s. I’m also playing with and very impressed with the camera/UX on the new HTC Sensation! These sunset pics were all snapped with its 8mgp camera!
A picture’s worth a thousand words, right? Or more? And at 30fps, video must be worth millions! Now geolocate those photos and video … and they’ll be worth trillions! Vacation photos and videos are dreamy escapes you have for the rest of your life… as for how you share them, options keep expanding and the latest is the Memory Mapper application at the Facebook.com/Visa. Merging your photos and videos with Google Maps satellite technology (think of that fun flying feeling you get playing with Google Earth as you zoom in and out from one place to the next!) all set to music, essentially creating a whole visual experience to share with your friends!
How it works: Upload your photos and videos, enter personalized captions and the addresses of where the action took place then choose a soundtrack. Memory Mapper will merge Google Maps satellite technology with your content to create a multimedia travelogue. You can even post your creation on your friends’ walls, tweet to your followers or email to friends and family to make sure they don’t miss it. Besides sharing memories with this app, when Visa cardholders use their cards from now through October 31, they will be automatically entered for a chance to win $100,000 to plan their ultimate trip of a lifetime.
Head to Visa’s Memory Mapper at http://www.facebook.com/visa to turn your travel tales into stories of legends.
NO PURCHASE OR OBLIGATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THE VISA 2011 TRIP OF A LIFETIME SWEEPSTAKES. Open to legal U.S. residents, 18 years or older as of 4/27/11. PIN-based and ATM transactions are not eligible. Void in Puerto Rico and where prohibited. Sweepstakes ends 10/31/11. For complete details on non-purchase entries, http://on.fb.me/jBn2PD.
This post is a NOTCOT Exclusive sponsored by Honda as part of their Super Civic Quest running across the internet. Odds are you either found this post like a normal NOTCOTer or found your way here through the Super Civic Quest!
You found it! The hipster lumberjack and his squirrel, the ninja asian girl, the luchador, the monster, and the zombie! What do they all have in common? 2012 Honda Civics - one customized for each of them! How fun is the idea that amongst all kinds of crazy new features, your car can be a super digital photo frame? Yes, you can actually set wallpapers on your car dash with the i-MID system (available on the EX model with navigation) - so instantly flip over from checking your mileage range, making phone calls, exploring your mp3 player… back to any picture of your choice! And Honda’s given us an exclusive set of wallpapers with their latest characters as part of this secret quest spread throughout the internet… Their videos crack me up too! So check out the videos and wallpapers… and maybe the clue to your next destination… on the next page! Happy hunting!