Entries tagged with: travel

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*notcot in home+decor - 0 Notes

NOTlabs: Nashville Project House


The NOTCOT Nashville Project House is done! And we are finally home in LA. For those who have been following along this summer, you know what an adventure it’s been for Shawn, Bucky, and I!!! (For those who want to catch up - you can see our Nashville Project House and inspiration posts as well as the Instagram hashtag.) We loaded up the car and drove out to Nashville early in June to close on a house, then proceed to fix it up, subdivide the lot, and rent it out before driving back across country. We weren’t exactly sure what we were embarking on, and naturally hit a few bumps along the way - but never stop learning more and more than we ever imagined!

As for how it all started - Shawn grew up in Nashville, and over the last 5 years, I’ve joined him on countless trips there. It’s incredible how much the city is transforming even month to month. As we’ve watched it all happen, after our Dec 2015 trip, we started watching the house listings out of curiosity thinking it might be a fun project to buy a house or a plot of land there… we’ve both long dreamed of building a house, and we love the city. Well, being us, the what-ifs didn’t last long, and in February we found one that intrigued us. Tiny house (650 sqft), but amazing lot (nearly half an acre!), super near a lot of our favorite bakery/chocolate/restaurants/cafes/bars as well as gorgeous parks, river, farmer’s market and downtown… with some amazing changes coming soon (i.e. Envision Cayce) and in a fun neighborhood with lots of nice folks. We basically spent March in talks with the seller’s realtor, and landed the house on Shawn’s 30th birthday! We gave the seller a long closing to get his affairs in order, and drove out at the beginning of June to close on the house. I thought THAT was the beginning… fixing up the house and subdividing the lot (a whole other story)… then we decided to find a renter while we figure out what the bigger plan is! Well now it’s rented out and we’re home… it turns out THIS is really the beginning (or another beginning) as we dream up our dream house for the empty lot!

So here it is - a peek at the before and after to put the last few month of process shots into perspective! See it all on the next page!

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*notcot in travel - 1 Notes

Inspiration: Nashville + Project House (V)


This may be the last update before the house reveal! We’re that close to having it all done! Subdivision is finally in and accepted and we’re just waiting on them to register the mylar!!! We drove out 3 months ago to buy a house and now we’re nearly headed home to LA with a house and two pieces of land! It’s surreal - but a hell of a learning experience. We took no short cuts on this project and really dove in to learn as much as reasonable - we joke that it’s been a summer of Nashville internships! But we’re going home with far more knowledge and experience that we’re just itching to apply to more of our creative projects to come! So take a peek at the latest house updates and some of the other Nashville randomness on the next page!

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*notcot in food+drink - 0 Notes

Green Door Gourmet Local Farm Box CSA


On finding things that are uniquely local - i’m currently obsessed with the Green Door Gourmet in Nashville, TN - particularly their CSA Local Farm Box! Traditional CSA (community supported agriculture) models rely on customers to buy subscriptions for weekly boxes, pay up front, and essentially fund the farmers to buy seed, grow crops and do their thing. Super awesome, but terrible for people like me who have rather sporadic schedules and are terrible with planning.

While Green Door Gourmet has a traditional CSA option, they also have a limited number of “Flexible CSA model (Pack-Your-Own)” boxes! Which is awesome for those with crazy schedules or go through cooking bursts , commitment-phobes, and even travelers passing through! Sure you could go to a normal market or a farmer’s market, but there’s something so nice (and so much more delicious somehow) about popping by the farm, and picking deliciously fresh produce from the baskets. To join in, just get on their email list, and every week you get a message about what this week’s box includes, and you can place your order and prepay the $27 by Thurs to pick up Sat or Sun. They’ll happily explain what everything is to you, share recipes and tips, and tell you more about who, how, where they were grown and more.

Take a peek at how fun the Pack-Your-Own process is, as well as the amazing market/general store is on the next page!

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*notcot in travel - 0 Notes

Inspiration: Nashville + Project House (III)


It’s been a truly eye opening adventure the last few MONTHS (?!?!?!) here in Nashville. Unfortunately we’ve been taking the time to tackle a less visually inspiring process for the recent leg of the NOTCOT Nashville Project House - so the posts have been extra sparse as we slog through it to lay the foundation for SO MUCH CREATIVE POTENTIAL! I’m pretty giddy about the possibilities brewing, but first things first. Got to get the house cleaned up and the basics covered… including diving into adventures with the metro government, planning commissions, and the bureaucratic world we’re catching up fast on (sink or swim, right?) Also, the more time spent in a city of this scale, the longer we’re here, the faster we blast through the exciting new inspiration to share, and currently my real world inspiration seems to be lots of details in nature and street art (as you can see via @NOTlabs Instagram) While some might see this hands-on-creative-inspiration drought as a travesty, i’ve been surprised and delighted that it has sparked even MORE ideas, MORE drive, and MORE clarity regarding what we’re itching to design and create - SOON! So don’t worry, more crazy fun and back to normal after this summer vacation house adventure!

It’s also been a weird few weeks in the real world. Pokemon. RNC. DNC. Prisma. And so many heartbreaking attacks around the world. Weird times for sure. So if you’re ready - dive in on the next page to see what’s been keeping me busy and inspired IRL.

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*notcot in travel - 1 Notes

Nashville Craft Distillery + Naked Biscuit


Field Trip! We’ve been trying to mix up construction worker schedules and manual labor exhaustion from the Nashville Project House with mini adventures to keep the random inspiration flowing… today i convinced Shawn to swing by the brand new Nashville Craft Distillery! The architecture and signage were enough to draw our attention alone… but once you step inside, the mid-century inspired design continues, a stunning copper still will mesmerize, and then there’s their first spirit - a truly unique Naked Biscuit!!! Unlike anything i’ve tasted - it’s a 45 proof spirit made from 100% pure sorghum syrup. I got caught up on sorghum - “Sweet sorghum cane has been grown in Tennessee for generations. Unlike sugar cane, it is well adapted to our state’s climate, making it an ideal ingredient to ferment and distill into a delicious, locally sourced specialty spirit. Our inaugural batches were produced using 100 percent pure sorghum syrup from Muddy Pond Sorghum Mill, in the Tennessee hills midway between Nashville and Knoxville. For decades, the Guenther family business has kept up with the growing demand for sorghum syrup.” Apparently a lot of people use sorghum syrup on pancakes and biscuits - totally trying that soon! As for their Naked Biscuit Spirit, it falls into the rum/tequila family, but you have to taste it to understand the subtleties of the flavors! And this is only the first release of this nascent distillery.

Wandering in midday, we has the chance to chat, taste, and tour the facilities with founder, Bruce Boeko. His story is pretty fascinating - from forensic scientist, musician, homebrewer - to a distiller with a passion for design and doing things right! He’s taking no shortcuts as he and the team learn and craft their spirits from scratch while supporting local farms (and designers) whenever possible! The results promise to be something distinctly Tennessee thru and thru. In a world where things are getting more and more accessible and similar globally, it’s always inspiring to find things that are truly a product of their unique environment. I can’t wait to taste their whiskey in a few years (must be patient as it ages!) - but for now - take a peek into the beautiful Nashville Craft Distillery and check out their Naked Biscuit Spirit on the next page.

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*notcot in travel - 1 Notes

Inspiration: Nashville + Project House


This post is long overdue! But WOW. (As you can see on @NOTlabs Instagram…) Real life got a bit crazy the last two weeks - Bucky, Shawn and I hopped in the car and drove from LA to Nashville… for a whole new adventure!!! Since we’ve arrived, we’ve been getting our hands dirty on the new NOTCOT Nashvillle Project House! An cute little post WWII bungalow on a half acre of overgrown jungle in adorable East Nashville - with some of our favorite spots minutes away, and the huge park and river SO close! And of course, we’re also exploring and finding new inspiration all over the city - as often as we come back, there’s always more to discover and so much that has changed (even since December!) For those who keep asking - are we moving to Nashville? Probably not. Will we be back and forth between LA and Nashville more? Possibly…

Anyhow - if you’re ready to see the fun, madness, and laborious adventures - to the next page!

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*notcot in travel - 3 Notes

Eastern SoCal Bday Adventures!


Shawn (+ Bucky) and I love a good road trip - exploring new places, finding new spots in old places, and just seeing where the road (or dirt paths) take us! For his 30th birthday, we decided to carve 60 hours out of our busy schedule to hop in the NOTFZJ80, and aim southeast… exploring our way out to Murrieta and Temecula on our way to hide out in Julian (for pie! and nature time in a little cabin on top of a hill amongst 30 acres of wildlife refuge!)… with a day trip to the Salton Sea and off roading to/thru The Slot in Anza Borrego… and swinging back home through Ramona, Poway, and up the coast via San Diego.

It was an amazing and rejuvenating trip filled with surprises! Also… Julian Pie Co. is still worth the drive after all these years. Mmmm that dutch apple pie. (Also the cherry pie. And the take and bake chicken pot pie was divine in the cabin on a rainy night!) There were far more breweries and wineries than we ever expected out there! Best find was definitely the Refuge Brew Blood Orange Wit! So delicious, and the can is gorgeous! Apparently Bucky is more interested in bunnies than squirrels… and deer and horses just aren’t that exciting anymore to him. We found a lot of similar Land Cruisers out at the Slot and squeezed through as far as we could!!! Who knew there’s even a Camel Dairy in Ramona along the highway!

Check out our mini adventure in pictures on the next page!

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*notcot in travel - 1 Notes

Timothy J. Reynolds for North Face 2016


The North Face Homestead Collection grabbed me instantly with the popping faceted, shadowy graphics… which are by 3D illustrator Timothy J. Reynolds. They feel like a modern digi-camo taken to a whole new level… you’d blend right into a vintage video game campsite made of polygons? Somehow the Americans get red, and the UK get green (and their tent comes with the Tentertainment system?!?!) - but both are pretty stunning. Discovering the Homestead Collection on Timothy’s twitter, i had to know more! See the pictures and more details of the collection on the next page!

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*notcot in food+drink - 1 Notes

Martinis in Tins


What’s up with marTINis? Literally martinis in tins… stumbling around the internet last night, i found the adorably packaged martini tin from Continental Delicatessen in Newton, NSW… then hunting for more i found the Fisherman’s Can Martini from Hotel Megaro’s Bar in London. But that’s pretty much it! Have you had any? Take a peek at what i found on the next page - they are both more interesting because they have lovely labels of course too!

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*notcot in travel - 1 Notes

NOTFZJ80: Off-roading Arches National Park


There’s an incredible 20+ miles of unpaved/4x4 trails in Arches National Park! And it’s especially spectacular on a sunny, snow covered winter day! Also incredibly - while there were tons of tourists packing ever view point on the main roads, we spent hours off-roading and taking in the stunning rock formations without seeing another car - or person! The funny thing is that we’d tried to go find some of the off roading trails around Moab, but many of them were heavily snowed in and pretty unpassable, so on the way home we figured we’d cruise through Arches quickly to get a peek at what to explore next time… but then we looked down at the map… noticed the 4x4 trails… and a few hours later we popped back out of the park! The trail put our NOTFZJ80 (and our driving skills) to the test - and it handled fantastically. Take a look at our adventure - and if you find yourself that way, we definitely recommend it. Lots of pictures and videos on the next page.

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*notcot in travel - 0 Notes

Epic Holiday Road Trip: LA-Nashville-LA


It has been QUITE the holiday season this year. 2015 will definitely be remembered for all the labs in our life… from Shawn’s Beast who lived to 12.5 years old, our Bucky the NOTpuppy, and the brand new Caleb! With Beast getting ill, family situations, and more - an Aspen christmas turned into an epic 3 week 5000+ mile road trip for Shawn, Bucky, and I in the NOTFZJ. We quickly went from LA to Kingman, AZ to Albuquerque, NM, Fayetteville, AR over to Nashville where we spent a week and a half with his family before venturing back west slightly slower. On the way back we bounced from Nashville through tornado weather over to Columbia, MO to amazing BBQ in Kansas City, spending the night in Burlington, CO… venturing to dim sum and dog parks in Denver/Boulder for Christmas, out to Grand Junction, CO… then ending up in a tiny cabin high in the La Sal Mountains in Utah for two nights… offroading the incredible trails in Arches National Park… then on to St George, UT and finally back home to LA yesterday. PHEW Exhausting and amazing to recap all the places we’ve been, the things we’ve seen… and on the next page is only the @notlabs instagram highlights! The journey as been incredibly fun, exhausting, eye opening, and thought provoking on so many levels - so jump in and see what we’ve been up to on the next page while i go relax and reflect on how awesome 2015 has been!

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*notcot in playful - 0 Notes

Bass Pro Toy Sets and Ride-on ATVs

bpstore0.jpg Driving across country from LA to Nashville, we had to stop at the epic Bass Pro Pyramid (Bass Pro moved into the Memphis Pyramid downtown) - and it is truly a disney style adventure inside… giant outdoor store with hotel (where rooms have screened in porches with rocking chairs), aquarium, ponds, nature dioramas, waterfowling heritage center, a fish themed bowling alley, restaurant, shooting ranges, an elevator to the top of the pyramid and more. And during holiday time, it was even more over the top. But what was most surprising (beyond seeing it all in person) - was the TOYS. I had no idea that they had so many toys… from their own brand… representing all types of outdoor activities (for adventure boys and “girlz”) from camping and kayaking, to fishing and hunting, 4x4 and rafting, motocross and more! They even have a “Sporting Dog Vet Set”! Also adorable ride-on ATVs for toddlers… which as far as how you ride them goes, it looks a lot more realistic than the mini Mercedes and Porsche ones! Take a peek at what grabbed my attention on the next page.

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*notcot in travel - 0 Notes

INSPIRATION: North Park, San Diego


Sometimes you just need to get away… catch up with an old friend… take a day trip… for tacos… and donuts on the beach… and check out some fun new shops… and that’s just what we did! Day trip to San Diego to see the new spots in North Park… and cruising up the coast to see what’s new in Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Oceanside… and stopping off in the OC for soup dumplings and puffles! Check out the inspiration and goodies we found along the way on the next page!

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*notcot in tech - 0 Notes

Inside Autodesk Pier 9


There’s a magical place hidden in plain sight in San Francisco right on the water… between the Ferry Building and the Exploratorium, you will find Autodesk Pier 9. You’d never guess that half of this pier is filled with the ultimate creative workshop for design & fabrication - a dreamy, lust-worthy space filled with designers, engineers, artists, fabricators, and every machine they could need - from rooms filled with huge CNCs and water jet machines to 3D printers of every variety, sewing machines, photo studios, welding setups, test kitchen, electronics, industrial robot arms, and much much more. It’s also no surprise that this is where the Instructables team lives. Launched in 2013, it was designed as a state-of-the-art digital fabrication work shop to dissolve the boundaries between software and hardware while inspiring Autodesk to develop tools for the future of making! If you are interested in making something (anything!) odds are good that they will have what you need to make it from start to finish - on the pier!

Shawn and I were invited to review projects from the current group of Autodesk Pier 9 Artists-in-Residence (AIR). (Thanks, Madeline and Vanessa!) What started in Instructables, grew and evolved once they became part of the world of Autodesk. Today, every 4 months, 1-2 dozen artists, designers, engineers, scientists, etc. come to Pier 9 to bring their ideas to life. They get 24/7 pier access, $2000 monthly stipends and project supply budgets, and retain IP and physical work created during the residency… in exchange they must publish their work on Instructables and make a presentation at the end of the program. Not a bad deal, right? The current group will be presenting on November 12th. If you’re in SF, they will definitely be worth a peek - they actually shut down the workshops and present the pieces throughout (Yes, possibly even on or near the machines that made them!)

While there, we had a chance to tour the facility before the reviews, and it is pretty mind blowing. So as we walked and talked, i snapped iPhone pictures along the way for all of you to get a peek inside this wondrous place. Ready? Dive in to the pictures on the next page!

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*notcot in food+drink - 0 Notes

British Museum of Food: Bompas & Parr


Here’s the latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw as she shares more awesome happenings in London!

There’s no arguing the fact that Sam Bompas and Harry Parr are passionate about food… and architecture, technology, experiences, and where they all intersect! Their projects have dabbled in the cutting edge of food and food science as well as its history and role in our culture, and you can we’ve been covering their incredible adventures for the last 5 years. They are now embarking on a new adventure, the British Museum of Food with the tagline “from field to table, mouth…and beyond”. Get a first peek inside the opening in London’s Borough Market on the next page! You won’t believe the British menus, stunning buttferflies, massage chairs and more…

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*notcot in nature - 0 Notes

Ostrichland USA - Solvang, CA


OSTRICHLAND USA! Last time i stopped off here was on a spontaneous roadtrip in 2008… and i’m SO HAPPY we decided to pull off highway 1 and check it out on the way home on the latest LA-SF-LA roadtrip! I was hesitant to drag Shawn over, but we were too curious not to stop.

Good thing we did! Since i was last there, it has gotten fancier signage, seems to have far more ostrich/emu pens to wander and feed… and we got lucky getting to see a lot of 1 month old babies!!! Did you know ostriches grow a foot per month until they reach around 8-9 feet tall? And they live until 75 or so? So if you’re ever cruising up or down the CA coast, hop off at Solvang (even if you don’t make it into the funky town) and check out OSTRICHLAND USA (especially if it’s summer baby season) - it’s definitely worth the $4 entry fee and $1 per dog-dish-glued-to-dustpan of food. See what we found on the next page!

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*notcot in travel - 0 Notes

Inspiration: LA-SF-LA Roadtrip


Just home from roadtripping since wednesday… and going through @NOTlabs instagram and the pictures on my phone, i can’t figure out where to start! So many different adventures from catching up with old friends and making new ones while reviewing Artist in Residency projects at Autodesk’s Pier 9 and running around to see whatever surprises we could find in between! Shawn and i drove from LA up the 5 (through the middle of CA) to SF, then worked our way back down the coast. We stayed in Potrero Hill, Oakland, Santa Cruz, and Cambria. Played with 1 month old ostriches (and some beastly adults and emus too!)… unboxed Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator in the car… watched sunset over Sutro Baths… lusted after robot arms, CNCs, water jets, swing conference tables and so many more toys at Autodesk Pier 9… discovered the craziest central california glazed almond treats… have a CW&T Pen Type-B we’re putting through the paces (donut magnet!)… discovered Bravo Farms with the Flavor Farmer, Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream, BBQ, market and more as quite the pitstop… buying more rare succulents at Grow… and so much more. See why it’s near impossible to sum up quickly? But one thing is for sure - we’re home, we’re rested, and thoroughly inspired to make more awesome happen!

So to get a taste of the most inspiring randomness, robots, packaging, views, creatures and more from LA to SF and back… see the next page!

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*notcot in playful - 0 Notes

ANA Samsonite Amenity Kits


Fun packaging still makes me happy and totally brings out the little kid in me. My dad just got back from one of his Singapore trips and just dropped off these adorable ANA Samsonite Amenity Kits. Apparently Samsonite is the new Rimowa when it comes to first class amenity kits that look like mini suitcases. (See more on Rimowa Amenity Kits here.) In fact ANA used to have Rimowa ones until they switched. The new ones are minis of the Samsonite Cosmolite luggage line (which i think i might actually have the carry on of stashed away somewhere…) Inside the kit are all the usuals - eye mask, toothbrush/paste, ear plugs, and a large set of Shiseido Ginza Skincare. Take a peek at all the details on the next page.

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*notcot in travel - 1 Notes

Inspiration: Mexico City

df0.jpg Mexico City!!! Yes, this trip was 2 weeks ago - but part way through i got a pretty wicked virus that took me out for the last 2 weeks… and until my body (and mind!) started feeling almost all better, i wasn’t quite ready to work on this post! But, that being said - feeling almost human again… so check out the fun, colorful, inspiration we found on our quick adventure!

The main reason we ended up in Mexico City on such short notice was… Shawn was invited to speak on a panel at design school CENTRO at the launch of their new building. While making our way down there, it was also the perfect time to catch up with friends and finally visit Publicis Mexico and see all the magical awards the Nescafe Cap Project won in person… as well as see the sights and indulge in some deliciousness along the way of course.

Coming from drought filled Los Angeles… what i was most in awe of constantly was the greenery and all the amazing vines and luscious moss covered trees… if only i could have brought it all back! See what caught my eye on the next page!

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*notcot in travel - 0 Notes

Inspiration: Nashville


Nashville adventures!!! It has been an amazing vacation to getaway and just get excited and explore a city that has become another home away from home. Being Shawn’s hometown, we get back there somewhat regularly, but it isn’t every trip that we have time to run around and see what’s new - you’ve seen some of our Nashville and Memphis finds here and even more Nashville discoveries here, but this the longest trip we’ve had to run around and relax yet!

So take a peek on the next page for a taste of what we enjoyed - from visiting maker/design studios to incredible murals, taking in some music at the new amphitheater, trying new coffee trends, visiting cute shops and more…

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*notcot in travel - 1 Notes

NOTFZJ80: Taylor Creek + Lake Isabella


We needed to go get lost… in the woods… away from all our screens for a little bit. So Shawn loaded up Bucky and I in the NOTFZJ80, and we headed north! The California drought is no joke… so we weren’t sure what to expect on our hunt for greenery and running water, but luckily we found a bit (though not as much as there once was!) up at the Kern River, and found an amazing camp site alongside Taylor Creek. Falling asleep to the sound of the creek rushing by was amazing - and Bucky just couldn’t get enough of the fresh snow melt and spring water flowing through. While we didn’t do much other than relax and explore - i couldn’t help snapping a few pics on my phone - so take a peek at what we found on the next page!

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*notcot in home+decor - 1 Notes

Lotus Belle Tents + Assembly

tent0.jpg I haven’t been able to get these Lotus Belle Tents out of my head since i ran into one while exploring Mercado Sagrado. They feel part “normal” tent + part yurt + part awesome inflatable structure looking shape… that all fits in a duffle bag (or two! depending on size) - and it’s SO spacious! They come in 16ft and 13ft sizes - and “The 16ft Lotus is 56% bigger in size than the 13ft and fits everything but the kitchen sink!”

Of course the part that was intriguing me next - HOW do you assemble it? And of course they have an adorable instructional video… and the cutest hand drawn pdf instructions! It’s also surprisingly simple to assemble, even alone (though i’m sure help would speed things along nicely.) Basically you lay the waterproof floor down, pop the walls up, pop the roof up, poke the pole up to hold the center up, and velcro wall and roof together… and you’re done! Depending on your needs, they have a few variations - adding various doors, screens, and other luxuries. Take a peek at it all on the next page - i’m so tempted to pop one up in the yard, or for our next adventure!

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*notcot in travel - 0 Notes

Mercado Sagrado - Malibu

mercados00.jpg I can’t imagine a lovelier way to spend a Sunday than laying out on a grassy field in a Malibu vineyard filled canyon surrounded by chill live music, delicious treats, happy people, horses, ducks, and more… while being inspired by unique artists and the incredible structures they’ve popped up! This was the scene today at Mercado Sagrado - a relaxing festival founded by photographer Heather Culp and artist Carly Jo Morgan - spread out in the Oak Grove at Saddlerock Ranch. Our highlights were definitely seeing more of the geometric wood sculptures of Aleph Geddis (also - his instagram is amazing) and getting our aura photos taken in a geodesic dome by Radiant Human (which has only sparked a fascination with the 70’s polaroid tech behind aura pics. Apparently the tech hasn’t changed much?!?!) Take a look at the relaxing inspiration we found on the next page…

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*notcot in food+drink - 1 Notes

Flor de Lis Restaurante - Guatemala City

flor0.jpg The ultimate meal isn’t just about the food. It’s about the flavors, the plating, the ambiance, the decor, the company, the conversation… and it all came together perfectly at Flor de Lis. Though, you know what’s impossible? Taking photos that do it all justice while armed with just an iPhone and bouncing between great conversation and delicious bites you need to taste as soon as they reach the table. So consider this post a teaser of the reality of a meal at Flor de Lis… but honestly, you need to get to Guatemala City to properly experience it for yourself (or if you’re lucky, we can get them to come do a pop up in LA! or NY? or Miami?)

Backing up a moment - i’ve shown you our amazing Guatemala adventures as well as the story of Flor de Lis’ Pingüi and our Puma Penguins… so you’ve seen peeks of Flor de Lis, but a proper post is definitely overdue! The plating is so stunning! And it all tastes… SO GOOD. To be honest, when Harold reached out about the penguins, with our few hours in Guatemala City, I had to find my way to Flor de Lis, so of course we happily accepted when Harold invited us to dinner with his fiancè and Chef Diego Ruben Telles. Chef Diego is originally from Guatemala and after cooking in Spain and training in Denmark at NOMA, he’s returned to experiment with modernized Guatemalan cuisine.

I’m not kidding when I say the meal was one of the best i’ve had in some time. Situated in Guatemala City’s modern Paseo Cayala (think mini city with-in the city complete with private security - it reminds me of a huge Santana Row with luxury shopping, homes, offices and more which will continue expanding the next few years) - Flor de Lis is a delicious modern twist on traditional Guatemalan flavors and ingredients. While Chef Diego often described the plates as ‘simple’ with regards to the minimal ingredients used, the way he transforms a single ingredient (like a carrot!) into multiple textures (think charred, powdered, saucey) on the same plate is a masterful transformation that i’d consider molecular gastronomy. In addition to using local ingredients (as local as the plants growing right next to our table!) their stunning plating includes traditional Guatemalan pottery, wood, ceramics and more in a whole new context. They want you to truly experience and enjoy the food - so while the plates may look too pretty to disrupt at first, the smell will pull you in, and once you grab a piece with your fingers and taste the sauces, the ultimate compliment is for the chef to see you licking up every last drop! Flor de Lis serves up a delicious, relaxed, beautifully modern experience all around that can’t be missed if you’re in Guatemala City. See the iPhone pics of our experience on the next page!

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*notcot in travel - 1 Notes

Laguna Lodge: Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

laguna000.jpg Sometimes you need a place to truly relax, hide away, and gather your thoughts. Since we were in Guatemala for Jackson’s wedding, we decided to add on a few days to do just that… and Shawn found the eco-luxury 6 room resort and nature reserve, The Laguna Lodge at Lake Atitlan - the perfect getaway add-on to our Antigua plans. Since the lodge is in Santa Cruz La Laguna, Lake Atitlan, on the western highlands of Sololá, you take a car to Panajachel and then hop on a boat for about 10 minutes. To get anywhere from the lodge you can either hop on another boat, or walk along the pathways along the lakeshore. Though, I honestly can’t tell you much about waving down the boats to hop from town to town, since once we were situated, we realized the ultimate break was really to just hide out at the lodge, explore the 100 acres of nature reserve, delicious locally grown, organic, vegetarian fare, and watch the sunsets over the volcanoes and the lake! Of the 6 suites, the majority of couples we met did seem to be American 20-30 somethings as well - but this was the part of our trip that was more about a stunning oasis tucked away from the chaos of everyday life. Two nights at the Laguna Lodge, and we were feeling rejuvenated, relaxed, and ready to get back to reality! Take a look at the stunning space on the next page.

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