It’s absolutely amazing what you can see through the window of your computer these days. I won’t lie ~ my high res camera has definitely been my third eye when i’m out and about. Coming home and taking images off my Canon 5D Mark II, I ALWAYS find details i could not have possibly seen with my naked eye ~ at events, off in the horizon, tiny details… it’s unbelievable. Now take that even further… there’s an awe inspiring trend of super high res imagery from view points around the world. With sites like Paris 26 Gigapixels, 360 Cities, Gigapan, and more - the world is literally at your fingertips to spin around, and zooooooooooom into! Think of these as panoramas on steroids ~ with super vision? Take a peek at a few examples of Paris, Dresden, London, and Alpstein on the next page!
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Il San Pietro di Positano looks breathtaking, and was a no brainer to follow up Giraffe Manor. Nestled into the luscious cliffs overlooking Positano’s bay is this beautiful 61 room luxury hotel. Looking through the pictures, the most alluring aspect is definitely being surrounded by the greenery and sea on all sides… perhaps a perfect escape! Take a peek at the surreal views on the next page!
This post is sponsored by American Express Membership Rewards. Visit American Express on Facebook at facebook.com to view all the possibilities with Membership Rewards Points.
When American Express Membership Rewards approached us about sponsoring content around dream things we’ve been wanting to do ~ first thing to come to mind was GIRAFFE MANOR! Not sure why, but giraffes keep coming up lately (i blame the Petite Lap Giraffes) ~ and then the idea of hanging out in Nairobi… in a manor… where giraffes just pop their heads in? Fascinating, right?
When I first heard of Giraffe Manor, I wasn’t sure whether this giraffe lovers paradise could be real. The picturesque 1930’s manor house where you can get up close and personal with a herd of Rothschild Giraffe. The giraffes don’t just wander through the gardens, the may join you for breakfast or even visit your bedroom window like the opening scenes of the children’s cartoon 64 Zoo lane. Set within 12 acres of private land, Giraffe Manor is surprisingly easy to get to, only 20 km from the city of Nairobi. The hotel looks too amazing to describe in words, so check out more pictures on the next page (and the vintage archive pics are pretty amazing too!)
On fun toys that just arrived… i think i’m in love ~ some things just flood your brain with ideas and it’s the best high. So tiny. So simple. Yet does SO MUCH. With a massive dslr and decent mobile pics these days ~ it’s hard to figure out what else is a car/purse worthy photography gadget. Well, i can think of a million ideas of where to stick, hang, clasp, dunk, strap, swing, launch it… this teeny tiny GoPro HD Hero Camera has infinite mount options, waterproof housing is a default, windproof audio, wide angle views, 1080p HD, super low-light sensitivity, interval photo modes, an awesome sounding battery life ~ and so much more. AND - with the LCD BacPac, i can check the pics on the go… So before the fun begins ~ wanted to share the unbox, because on top of all the features packed into the stealthy little cam… it’s well packaged and designed too! Take a peek on the next page…
Smitten Ice Cream. Made on the spot with liquid nitrogen! That used to be made on a Radio Flyer. Now out of a double shipping container. In bio-degradable cups… with spade like spoons. And the cash register is an iPad. And the interiors are wood paneled… Only in SF? Certainly a different take on the Nitro-Ice Cream trend than Chin Chin Labs that Justine checked out for us in London ~ that was a bit more mad scientist with lab coats and kitchen-aid mixers…
Father/Daughter team Chas Edwards and Roma Edwards, indulged my curiosity and took a bunch of awesome cell phone pics when trying out Smitten Ice Cream in Hayes Valley. My fascination began when i saw @Poisson’s tweet about it, which lead to my Tasteologie post… Food’s just more fun with a bit of dramatic looking crazy science, right? Especially in a shipping container? Though apparently the made-to-order process does take some time… and it melts a bit quickly, but it does look fun! Ready to see it all up close? Check out Chas and Roma’s pics on the next page!
So you’ve seen how beautiful my dad’s window seat views flying in to Christmas Island were… well i just raided his SD card full of Christmas Island adventures, and there were so many inspiring nature pics, i had to share them with you! It’s amazing to see how crisp and clear the water is… Take a peek at everything from octopi and shrimp, to sharks and mantas, to frigates and puffers… and more on the next page!
Wow. It’s like an airplane eclipse ~ amazing circular rainbow and shadow of the plane cast on the clouds… apparently it was even more incredible in person, and the camera didn’t even begin to do it justice. This latest Operation Window Seat comes from my dad who just returned from his latest adventures… incredible views as he flies in to Christmas Island… and to Honolulu on the return. The glow of the water and sky ~ the sandy shallows ~ the waves crashing on the shores ~ the dense city by the sea ~ diamondhead crater… and more!
It’s been a while since i’ve done an Operation Window Seat post, timing hasn’t been quite right on a lot of my recent flights… but yesterday when i woke up on my LHR to LAX flight, it was just gorgeously snowing somewhere over central california… take a peek on the next page! (And on a side note, the rear facing biz class seats are kind of strange, no?)
Crumpled City Maps! While these appeared on NOTCOT.org about a year ago, they weren’t available yet. Well, i just ran into them at Selfridges in London, and they are so fun! (If only i wasn’t at the END Of my trip, it would have been great to have these balled up in my purse for Paris, Berlin, Milan, and London the last month!) Truth is, maps always get so wrinkled and abused in my purse and pockets when traveling, i usually grab a city center map from the concierge, and toss it by the end of the trip… these are printed on tyvek, so they should be able to withstand quite a bit of abuse, and hopefully still be readable. They also come with a cute pouch ~ and in fun simple flash card like packaging… and now you can even select your own set of 5 for a Crumpled City Collection Box! Love this 5 pack as an idea for someone embarking on a whirlwind trip… take a peek at more details and the available cities on the next page!
I couldn’t resist. I was totally that girl in the tiny supermarket in the huge line buying 4 jars of Nutella tonight. I mean, these limited edition Nutella Esperienza Italia 150 glasses were cute when they came up on NOTCOT.org, but renders are one thing. These are even more awesome in person! Fun glasses for just about anything… filled with nutella… celebrating Italian unity - specifically DESIGN, Arts, Landscapes & Architecture, and History! On fun design week souveniers, the design themed €1.79 glass of nutella is pretty sweet (even AFTER you eat the nutella)… The story? “Nutella wanted to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of italian Unity together with millions of Italian families and asked ARC’s. to interpretate the project in four themes: Arts, Design, Landscapes & Architecture, Historical topics. Through the “Esperienza Italia 150” limited edition collection, Nutella ideally embraces all italians, from the South to the North, as a sole big family.” Above is a render of the 4 glasses in the set from ARC’s… but on the next page, take a peek at close ups of them all!
p.s. Don’t mind the bizarre hotel/motel feel of the photos… it’s how it feels in here!
We’ve had a beautiful week at NotVentures. You need look no further for your next getaway whether you’d like to spend your next break up a tree, enjoying April festivities in Barbados, getting your adrenalin rush in Vietnam or emigrating to a new country. To find out more about each post, click on its individual image.
Let’s face it, there are a lot of girly looking ipad cases out there. And if they double as a bag they often get a bit too man-purse like. And it’s really not a good look - regardless of gender! So, in light of the new iPad 2 (see our unbox here), we decided to take a peek at what new options are out there (and which old ones are iPad 2 updated)… From machined wood and thick hand-stitched constructed leather to stamped and CNC metal to ballistic nylon and even water repellent twill and tough canvas, there are so many well crafted gadget protector options these days. And most importantly, It should age well, do its job and make you look good! Browse over a dozen options on the next page!
A 10 hour nap, a quick stop in frankfurt, and suddenly here i am in gloomy Berlin. More specifically, currently curled up at Soho House Berlin ~ the german outpost of the international member’s clubs and boutique hotel. For fun history - “Originally opened in 1928 as a department store, the property was seized by the wartime government before being occupied by the post-war, Communist regime until 1956. It was then used to house the Communist Party archives and the Central Committee’s Historical Institution. After German reunification the building was legally returned to the descendents of its original owners, but has remained derelict until now.” The boutique hotel aspect has 40 rooms, and while you still can’t take pictures anywhere (restaurants, bars, rooftop pools, gym, spa, art in the lobby, etc), here’s a peek into my room… it’s all the lovely little vintage product details that are adorable… also adore all the Cowshed goodness… and there’s a “Time To Tease” minibar of toys under lock and key (which include a dumbell-esque lolly-for-two)… and even tampons/condoms in cute little linen bags in the bathroom… check out all the fun details on the next page!
Ok, first you got a kaleidoscopic tour of the bathroom at my room here in Le Royal Monceau, Paris. Well, are you ready to see room #620 that goes with it? From the faces in the sheets… to the mind boggling parisian map on the desk… to the silver on the outside, pink on the inside “good” vs “bad” mirrored minibar… to the guitar in the corner… tv hidden behind the one way mirror… and the Royal Monceau Pizza from room service with Iberico, mmmm… art on all the walls… there is so much care taken in each and every detail of the room… take a peek at the pics on the next page to soak it all in!
For my final night in Paris, popped into the newly redone Le Royal Monceau… and it is an understatement when they say this luxurious hotel designed by Starck is meant to embrace and inspire artists… my head couldn’t stop spinning from the moment i checked in with all of the tiny visual details and surprises tucked EVERYWHERE! (Yet somehow it still pulls of a beyond 5 star luxury lusciousness…) So as i curl up jetlagged from a non stop week into the ridiculously comfortable bed (details to come on that) ~ and while you could probably sit in me in a corner of the hotel with my camera and multiple inspired posts would appear… let’s start with the bathroom. A wonderland of mirrors… fun amenities… an inviting tub…. AND there are vintage swimmers in black and white hidden behind the mirror! As well as a silver lobster over the loo… Don’t believe me? Check it out on the next page!
This weekend ~ to kick off spring and celebrate the 200th Anniversary of Boutique champagne house, Perrier-Jouët, they brought 200 people from around the globe to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts… what a beautiful space! Skip the red carpet for a Perrier-Jouët grassy green path… and upon entering, you encounter a mysterious box popped up in the center of the cavernous space covered in projections… and surrounded by flowing bubbly and black and white old hollywood glam Harcourt Studio photos specially commissioned for the gala showing important people and someone they are passing their legacy to, and the Daniel Arsham limited edition piece to go with this concept. The surroundings were surreal to say the least, you must see a video on the next page of the projections from within, as well as all the lovely details!
A fun mix of materials and geometric, multifaceted textures… the ESPA Spa: Istanbul EDITION Hotel. Designed by Hirsch Bedner Associates, it is “inspired largely by Turkish traditions, with design elements that echo the Hammam customs and atmospheric elements of Istanbul” to create a contemporary, luxurious space filled with embossed bronze floors, chocolate brown marble, cast bronze sinks, walls of crystals, horsehair walls, mirrored glass tiles, and more. Almost an intentional aversion to straight lines, paths and corridors lead you through kinks everywhere, creating a mysterious effect as you explore the unknown relaxation space… Take a peek at some of the design sketches before, and a peek at the newly realized Espa on the next page!
There’s something so refreshingly lovely about the champagne region of France. Is it the air? The people? The stunning champagne houses and the lifestyles inspired by champagne over the centuries? And there’s something particularly magical about the chalky caves below the area that millions of bottles of champagne are hiding in awaiting their time… While some say, once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all… Perrier Jouët’s is particularly visually enticing… those signature belle epoque flowered bottles (and with their pastel green bottle caps during the process) just pop so beautifully, breathing life into the otherwise damp colorless chalky caves. SO take a peek into the cellars with me on the next page!
From surreal bent wood cocoons, to augmented reality projections on the screens outside the pod windows showing you real time views of the Eiffel Tower… even though you are UNDERGROUND… to a stunning living wall… the Six Senses Spa Paris is transformative on so many levels. Oh! And it even has its own secret elevator from the Westin, Place Vendome, for tose who wish to drop down to their subterranean oasis without stepping foot outside. The interior is designed by French architect Pierre David, integrating the elements of light, wood, stone and earth. The vertical garden that greets you as you enter from street level is created by landscape artist Patrick Blanc. The combination of greenery, gorgeous eco-centric design, and technology had me visually inspired as it was… combine one of the most diving massages, and it was hard to leave the cocooned underground haven… if only there were bird’s eye view looks at the Eiffel Tower projected BELOW your head when face down looking through the massage table hole… i kept being tempted to peek to stare at the projected views outside my pod window! See pictures of this Six Senses oasis on the next page!
So that plane i hopped on instead of checking out the skull engraved in a cube of uncut currency has landed me in Paris! At the Westin Paris… to celebrate Perrier-Jouët’s 200th Anniversary… greeted in the room by a lovely bottle of their Cuvée Belle Epoque Champagne in the signature Flower Bottle, invitation to tomorrows festivities, and a schedule for the next 3 days, which will take me from Paris, back to Epernay, to learn more about where it all came from. So first, a look at the bottle that awaited me, and the gorgeous graphic design on the invitation! After all… it’s a philosophie de vie… take a peek on the next page!
The Grant Museum of Zoology has always been one of my favorites. Tucked away on Gower Street (near Euston Square tube), the Grant Museum is open to the public on weekday afternoons. The eclectic zoological museum is part of University College London’s teaching collections and one of only a handful of university zoology museums.
I’d visited the museum before and was amazed by the hidden gem, packed full of spirit collections and skeletons. When they closed 8 months ago for refurbishment, I have to admit I was worried about what changes it would bring. I have a soft spot for the quirky, cluttered, Wunderkammer style it had embodied. So when I re-entered the newly refurbished museum today, I wasn’t sure what to expect; but as you can see from the photos, they’ve done a fabulous job of creating a great space that plays to the strengths of their weird and wonderful collection. Take a little tour through the fascinating collection and space on the next page!
The idea of a staycation is bull. It has recently been brought to my attention that i spend so much time in hotels in every city except my own (LA!) that i should get to know some of the ones in my backyard better. Ugh, questioning whether this is a ‘staycation’ (i recoil similarly to “jeggings”) led to discourse on what a “vacation” really is… and you can’t knock it till you try it, so when the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills offered me a suite, it seemed like the perfect excuse to give it a try.
So what IS a vacation? A change in perspectives. A break from your everyday. A chance to explore, relax, indulge, be pampered, be left alone, enjoy room service,… whatever it is you need! The Online Etymology Dictionary says: vacation - late 14c., “freedom or release” (from some activity or occupation), from O.Fr. vacation, from L. vacationem (nom. vacatio) “leisure, a being free from duty,” from vacare “be empty, free, or at leisure”. Staycation implies that location matters. But to me (and from the etymology), vacations are merely a state of mind! As i wrote over at OpenForum, vacations can be minutes or hours even, it’s all about perspective!
Anyhow, that is the last you’ll hear of staycations here. Upon arriving at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons, not at all far from home, i was on VACATION! Impeccable service from their kind and friendly staff, new toys to play with (Jambox!), the surprise of a stunning suite on the 15th floor facing east… giving me views over Beverly Hills to Sunset Strip, Hollywood sign, Downtown, and snow capped mountains glistening in the horizon, dining room resulted in a little impromptu dinner party with delectable room service from Culina downstairs (the burrata…mmmm), gorgeous weather meant poolside relaxing to catch up with old friends… Vacation! A definite much needed perspective shift both physically and mentally has left me even more inspired and energized this weekend! So take a peek at the gorgeous views and into suite 1518 on the next page!
Sketches! I love when fun sketches come through the inbox ~ these are from the much anticipated Mondrian Soho that just opened in NY. Fun to see the direction the designers headed with it and where it evolved to. Morgans selected Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz, the visionary behind the re-imagined Mondrian Los Angeles, to create Mondrian Soho in collaboration with their in-house design team.
“Noriega-Ortiz’s design for the hotel draws inspiration from Jean Coucteau’s 1946 romantic French fantasy film “La Belle et la Bête.” A powdery French blue color palette unifies the hotel interior and a custom carpet adorned with a rose vine design provide entryway to the jewel-box guest rooms, whose interiors features large dramatic mirrors, 10-foot ceilings and floor-to ceiling windows. No decorative art is hung in the rooms as the views are intended to be adornment enough and set the tone and scene for the guest.”
Sounds like a dream ~ and now i keep help imagining Beauty and the Beast (yes, the old disney one) and some of this lovely designer furniture coming to life… can’t wait to see it in person, but for now, take a peek into their world on the next page!
It’s back! I felt so free again this morning when my passport came back. There’s something about not having a passport on hand that feels like being trapped… albeit trapped in a HUGE country. On fun firsts, i finally reached the point where i had to add passport pages. One of the silly things i have been curious about since i was a kid, it now looks a bit frankensteined with completely different pages sewn and taped into the center! So, of course i had to take some pics to share the details of how it turned out! Take a peek on the next page… they even had some fun with the quotes and graphics!