Justine seems to be taking over my Operation Window Seat addiction… and is taking it to a whole new level. Armed with her new Canon 60D, on her LAX home to LHR flight, she has started taking some amazing TINY PLANE SPOTTING pics! Found these in my dropbox shortly after she got home. You have to see how incredibly tiny they look! Then let yourself imagine how many people are in there! They are pretty amazing, almost surreal, and i swear i didn’t photoshop them in! So very fascinatingly tiny, check them out on the next page!
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Holiday season is officially here! Happy Black Friday! In addition to the NOTCOT Holiday Coupons and the many Holiday Giveaways that will be unfolding daily… here’s a gift guide inspired by the latest addition to the NOTCOT family ~ NotVentures. I can’t believe it’s been merely a month old already, and since it’s launch i’ve been from LA to San Francisco, Germany, Italy, Japan, and off to New York Monday! Beyond inspiring us with things to see and places to go… it’s also inspired some fun products, perfect for gifting your favorite jetsetter! See my picks on the next page…
It’s definitely Notventures Friday here at NOTCOT! Whether you’re after polar bears or scuba diving between tectonic plates, you’ll find all the inspiration you need for your next adventure at Notventures. To find out more about each post, click on its individual image.
Justine just flew over to LA from London ~ and sadly the upside to terrible turbulence turned out to be amazing clouds! The type that look like a world of their own hovering above ours, as i cleaned up the pics, i couldn’t help looking for care bears in cloud cars. Then again, in the last pic, you will see the bizarre object she looked up to see flying by… turns out it was another plane! But the most fascinating part about this flight was seeing all the ice! And the fractal like patterns and twists and turns of the roads jumping out so crisply… not to mention watching the layers of clouds making incredible shadows on the ice! Take a peek at it all on the next page!
I just went literally around the world in 4 days! And for all who agreed it sounded both awesome and horrifying all at once… Mercedes-Benz managed to make it impressively painless, luxuriously comfortable even ~ i actually may have both seen more and slept far more than usual ~ as i was catapulted between time zones so quickly, my body had yet to completely notice before ending up right back here in LA! So forgive me for going quiet the last few days… i honestly can’t recall the last time i’ve actually had so little internet (and barely enough time to even panic about it!) I’ve just touched back down to LA, though currently in Laguna Beach for a bit before LA Auto Week kicks off. The gist of the trip is “Timeless Design” where we visit 4 of Mercedes’ six global design studios, one after the other! So on weds night i left LA, ended up in Stuttgart Thurs night (via Munich) to see the Sindelfingen studio on Friday, then quickly to a private jet to Milan, where we drive to see the Como studio - spend the night in Milan (next to the duomo!) - saturday morning we take the jet to Frankfurt to hop on the beautiful A380 to Tokyo - pop into the Tokyo hotel for and hour and a half to freshen up before heading to the Tokyo studio - and then hop on another jumbo jet right back to LA… and here i am in Laguna Beach SUNDAY AFTERNOON! …with an hour before the meeting with the futurist, a million pictures to sort out… and we’ve yet to visit the Carlsbad studio, or play with the cars, or see the auto show. So, here’s some quick NotVentures/Operation Window Seating literally around the world on the next page to inspire you… the globe has never felt quite so small or diverse as it does right now, my head is still spinning trying to keep track of all the places we’ve been and things we’ve seen in such a tiny amount of time… surreal to say the least! While this is certainly not everything, and a bunch of flights were in the dark… see some of the most inspiring views i found!
p.s. As for the actual design inspiration and incredible studio peeks… coming soon. Somewhere between catching up on all the pics and making sense of a bigger story as the trip comes to a close!
I’ve always been quite smitten and secretly lusting after Smythson’s Nancy Bag, as well as the darling clutch, and the tote is stunning too! There’s something so architecturally fascinating with the way they’ve managed to perfectly pinch/twist the leather into these square/ninja star like patterns. And with travel on the mind (thanks, NotVentures) and shopping for new bags to hand carry with my new MacBook Air… tonight i’m just staring at this beautiful Smythson Nancy Weekender Bag! See larger pics of it on the next page!
In light of the launch of NotVentures and the recently unboxed MacBook Air… impulsively hopped a flight to celebrate ~ deciding to take a quick overnight trip up to SF… which resulted in some gorgeous midday cliche sunny california weather both yesterday and today! Exciting news ~ NO problems at all with 11” MacBook Air going through airport security in my bag!!! And it’s a breeze to pack, and starts up so quickly… perfect for quick work on the plane and at the airport… perfect to toss into a bag that doesn’t scream “laptop!”. And beyond that ~ being a gorgeous day, both ways, with incredible views, i’d be remiss not to give you another Operation Window Seat post! So mesmerizing watching the patterns that show up when looking at the world from above… and getting some literal distance and mental perspective… take a peek at my awesome mini-vacation on the next page!
NotVentures is here! Escapism at its best! Latest section of the NotEmpire ~ dedicated to helping us all indulge our worldly wanderlust ~ regardless of whether we’re ready to book a flight, or just need a mid day day dream destination. With so many incredible places to see and things to do around the globe (and beyond!) ~ as well as incredible products, resources, and services to help us do them… travel has outgrown NOTCOT.org and into NotVentures!
HUGE thank you to my amazing team at Federated Media and ZYNC from American Express for believing in NOTCOT and sponsoring the launch of both Tasteologie and NotVentures. It has been surreal having the extra nudge to get these pet projects of mine off the ground this year ~ and working on them… also pushed me to redesign the footers across all of the grid sites! Also… ROCKET SHIP!!! I adore the incredible logo and banner design that our friends at Dead As We Know It created ~ it embodies how i feel about travel perfectly… (psst - if you’re on a large screen, stretch your browser out for some surprises in the banner design!)
So what IS NotVentures? A collection of amazing curated user submission links for you to explore (and submit to if you wish to share!) focused on everything from places we want to see and places we’ve visited and loved to gadgets and articles and anything that helps you get where you need to go… and enjoy it! See some examples in the mini roundup below ~ and see more on the site!
NOTCOT’s Favorite Places ~ here’s a new series of posts sharing some of my favorite places in (and around!) Los Angeles! This content series is brought to you by the All-New 2011 Kia Sportage. Welcome to the Next Level.
AVOCADO FRIES! and PRETZEL BURGERS! Did that get your attention? Because they really are quite a fascinating treat. SO, this is the final installment of my Favorite Places in LA ~ as sponsored by the All-New 2011 Kia Sportage (Thank you, Kia!)… which is kind of sad, since there are so many more i could share with you, but the weather and timing have been a bit against us the last few weeks! So i’ve been showing you things i really end up doing (even with the raininess we’ve been having on and off) ~ but maybe i’ll keep it going… it’s made me far more conscious of the things i take for granted near home that i seldom write about!
3 Square Café + Bakery
1121 Abbot Kinney
Venice, CA 90291
So for today’s installment ~ take a peek inside the deliciousness of 3 Square Café + Bakery ~ i strongly suggest the avocado fries, mint lemonade (its like a super minty non-alcoholic mojito), and the sampler… the presentation is just adorable and perfectly matching the 3 Square logo as you’ll see! Nothing like sitting outside on the patio enjoying the woody decor, adorable dogs walking by, and a mini Shrimp Grilled Cheese, Pretzel bread burger, and Ceviche in a shot sized bread bowl! Take a peek at it all on the next page!
SHARE! Feel free to comment some of your favorite spots near home that are worth checking out if in your town/city!
NOTCOT’s Favorite Places ~ here’s a new series of posts sharing some of my favorite places in (and around!) Los Angeles! This content series is brought to you by the All-New 2011 Kia Sportage. Welcome to the Next Level.
Have you heard? LA weather has been pretty heinous lately ~ gloomy grey raininess is upon us! So sad, since some of the favorite spots i wanted to show you are definitely more fun outside! So here’s one to mix it up a little ~ though an LA native, and having ended up back here ~ i spent quite a few years on and off living in San Diego! And being a mere 2 hours away, and loving a good drive to clear my head, one of my favorite things to do while in LA, is just pop down, sometimes for a few days, sometimes just for a day trip! And inevitably hit up a few nostalgic spots… this saturday, i popped down to get some much craved Carne Asada Fries (though apparently sometimes referred to as Mexican Poutine as i just found out ~ though they are far better!) from Cotixans… and checking out the harbor seals that haul out at Casa Beach in La Jolla. There is something so incredibly blissed out about the way the pups look when sleeping! So this favorites post is dedicated to some nostalgic comfort food and a dash of nature… it’s also just so calming to be on the edge of the sea as it crashes into the rocks and beach as tide comes in… See awesome pics of seals and fries that Tasteologie editor, Jackson, took on the next page!
Perhaps the most amazing room service experience yet… OWC stands for One While Changing. You know, that drink that you have while getting all primped and ready… maybe if you’re lucky, the bartender will even help zip you up after shaking up that martini? Since i couldn’t make it this weekend, I sent Anna from Sub-Studio down to the opening of Soho Beach House Miami ~ much like the rest in the collection, this part hotel, part membership club, part restaurant is the latest in the stunning Soho House group worldwide. But before i tell you more about that, back to the OWC!
You call down to room service, and up pops a lovely bartender and rolling bar! (In the case of this launch weekend, she also got a bonus gentleman rolling up with some savories…) Even though Anna is quite pregnant, she knew what Liqurious needed, and still ordered them up ~ and they were kind enough to indulge her in “anything non-alcoholic and pretty”, resulting in a citrusy, minty delight ~ perhaps a virgin mojito of sorts? Along with caviar with creme fraiche and tuna tartare on toast! Divine, isn’t it? Even if not going out, it sounds like a lovely service ~ such a nice way to bring the experience of cocktail right into the room. Take a peek on the next page of the process, the lovely carts, and the bartender in action!
10.10.10 was the perfect day to celebrate 10 Years of Prius! Hosted by Toyota, along with Shift.com, WIRED Magazine, Outstanding In The Field, and Reverb ~ up on the Wright Organic Resource Center in the hills of Malibu, home of grandson of Frank Lloyd Wright, Eric Lloyd Wright - architect and founder of the center. Firstly, there couldn’t be a more stunning Los Angeles day ~ sun beaming, clear skies, and the s-curves up to the house were stunning… and at the center, being surrounded by mountains and the whole of Santa Monica bay to look down on… they set up a series of sustainability workshops, live music, talks, and the coup d’etat ~ a special Outstanding in the Field dinner (remember i wrote about them recently?) As you can imagine, with such a stunning celebration underway, i ended up with hundreds of pictures, all of which could easily become many a post… or one huge epic one… so here’s the plan. On the next page ~ check out the pictures for an overview ~ think of it as a day in the life… walking through 2-10pm with me! And i’ll have more to show you on the stunning Outstanding in the Field dinner HERE! Absolutely incredible day, so nice to have a beautiful day outside surrounded by the sea, the mountains, music, food, drink, tech, and great people ~ coming together to celebrate 10 years of the Prius! SO! If you’re ready… check it out on the next page!
Amazing Operation Window Seat pics from Justine and Charles just in! SO jealous i wasn’t there to see the view, it looks stunning! Honestly, this all makes me wonder if we have too much tech going on IN our planes sometime ~ there’s something about looking down at the teeny tiny world from this perspective that really makes you see life and existence in a whole new light… also the fractal nature of how incredible things look from afar and as you zoom in closer is just mind blowing ~ here’s what Justine has to say: “For the latest installment of Operation Window Seat, we bring you highlights of an incredible daytime flight from Singapore to London Heathrow. Here are a few shots from the journey which started by crossing the Bay of Bengal, offering views of stunning coastline and winding tributaries, and included passage over desert mountains in Afghanistan and Turkmenistan and incredible arrangements of fields across eastern Poland before finally bringing us home to London.” Really, really stunning landscapes, take a peek at the pictures on the next page!
Valencia! Spain! Design Week! This year, Valencia Disseny Week invited lots of design writers out for design week, which unfortunately overlapped exactly with my Scotland adventures! Luckily Leo was able to pop over there to help me see what was going on…. and take lots of pics! Sounds like there was LOTS of food, design talks, and quite a bit of exploring and getting to know their city ~ so, from his adventures, i’ve pulled some of my favorite pics, and he’s explained what’s going on in them on the next page! Ready for a designer look through pictures of Valencia? Take a peek on the next page!
p.s. Cute detail on their part branding logos and names on customized moleskines…
This morning, we attempted to create our ideal whisky from (amongst others) the samples we collected from 12 year old casks of The Macallan. Bob Dalgarno, The Macallan Whisky Maker, taught us so much about the art of whisky making, and the complicated challenge of smelling, tasting, and seeing how to make the perfect bottles of The Macallan, to that perfect smell/taste/color we’ve come to know and love. As he explained the difficulty of making something so consistent from so many varying casks of whisky, and even deciding which casks are decided to be set aside to age longer and such ~ the most creative aspect to emerge was his challenge to us to smell the differences between an array of samples to attune our palates… only to ask us to create in our minds… our ideal whisky. What does it smell like? What does it taste like? What does it make you think of?
And from that, The Macallan NOTCOT Edition was born… can it ever be recreated? Probably not. But i have one little bottle of it! I apparently like my scotch smooth with a deliciously dark maple flavor amidst the spicy woody spanish sherry oak… (Macallan 18 is my everyday favorite ~ but the upcoming Masters of Photography series, omg, deliciousness)… in my head i imagined a cozy comforting log cabin, and since it was early, on not too much sleep, and after a light breakfast… i was loving the maple aromas, i think i had pancakes on my mind…
Anyhow, it is unbelievably hard trying to decipher the aromas, figuring out which samples to mix, finding the right notes to layer for that drinkable delicious whisky with a nice long finish… but we tried. And bonus points to Evan from Cool Hunting who was definitely the whisky maker with the most potential in our group! His smelled divine! And delicious too! Don’t get me wrong, NOTCOT edition is yummy as well ~ my bottle of that is coming home with me! It was incredibly fun and fascinating to play with the awesome syringes to mix samples in our bottles, measure the percentage of alcohol, taste test, and more ~ while i’m no master whisky maker in the making, i definitely have a new appreciation for exactly how much work is going into even just mixing the right casks to make the bottles that show up on the shelf! But, that’s enough rambling for now ~ you really must see how incredible The Macallan lab/Bob’s office is! And the process we went through making our own Macallan whisky ~ all on the next page!
SO! As you probably know by now, The Macallan has me out in scotland, exploring and learning and playing with all things scotch. In fact, they’ve kept me so excitedly busy, it’s been hard to find enough time to process and post! Or even figure out where to start… so here’s how its going to go, i’ll share the most unique bits as i can! And one of the most exciting places to start is ~ SAMPLING!
With so many thousands of casks in so many warehouses with all these slight variations in wood, in atmosphere, in unexplained magical natural occurrences that may make even casks from the same batch differ in flavor, colors, and more, the only way to find and create the perfect single malt is through sampling, tasting, and keeping an eye on each cask as the whisky within matures over time (so anywhere from 5 years to decades?)… on amazingly awesome experiences, we got to go along with the Macallan boys (Thanks, Jim and Gary, and apologies for the times i accidentally squirted whisky on you!) and actually get our hands dirty and help do the sampling! From drilling holes, pumping out samples, filling vials, (maybe sneaking a taste here and there) and plugging the hole! See the process we experienced in the warehouse on the next page!
p.s. The picture above? Can you believe that is the Macallan 1964 that is filling the Lalique Cire Perdue - This 1946 cask became 64 years old in January 2010!
p.p.s. i can’t even begin to tell you how incredible these warehouses smell.
Update! Hi. So here’s the deal ~ its 2:30am in scotland ~ i’m with The Macallan exploring their distillery and estate for a few days, and there’s SO much incredible stuff i took pics of and got super excited about today ~ but i’m supposed to be up in a few mere hours for another full day! SO, not being able to quite organize a proper post on any of that yet ~ you can keep up on some of the craziness via twitter and also see pics coming in from my phone over at Life.NOTCOT.com…
… and for tonight? I just wanted to leave you with one of my latest happy inspiration obsessions. Highland Cows! On the next page you can see some of my various run ins with them over the last week and a half. Brown ones, white ones, black ones, light brown ones… big ones and little ones, HUGE ones on bridges in the dark, and close ups with The Macallan herd as well… they just have the most adorably shaggy coats (which keeping them warm, means they have super lean meat)… the emo-est moppy hair that flops over their eyes… and apparently they are quite docile and are some of the smartest bovines! Anyhow, i’m off to sleep, but check out the pics on the next page!
Took a little walk down to the British School of Falconry at Gleneagles today (ok, so, i crossed the maze of hedges - seriously, like a maze for kids to play in - and the tennis courts, and was at the falconry school!) ~ and it was absolutely mesmerizing watching the birds that were out in the viewing cages! So gorgeous… there’s something incredibly inspiring about these stunning birds of prey… also, i realized they almost always look sad/angry, but do make some impressively stern expressions… and i took a ton of pics. There are Steppe Eagles, Golden Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, and Harris Hawks. Go take a peek on the next page for some falconry fun!
FoodParc just opened in NYC at 6th Ave and 29th Street ~ it’s like a high tech foodcourt of sorts, and Anna and Sean of Sub-Studio popped by to take a look for us! Of course they also tasted a bunch of food for us too.. and it sounds like quite the unique bacon-fest! From Bacon Snack and Hash browns with bacon and cheddar and onions inside to Benton’s Smoked Bacon Egg Rolls and Steamed Shrimp, Bacon & Watercress Dumplings… luckily there were also beautiful juices and flatbread sandwiches to even it out as well! “FoodParc is a serious, yet fun, accessible culinary destination. It has 4 distinctly different food and beverage concepts and a full-service bar that includes: The Press, RedFarm Stand, Fornetti, and 3Bs (Burgers, Bacon, and Beer)” The Press is you go to cafe, RedFarm Stand is an asian concept with a twist by Joe Ng of Chinatown Brasserie, Fornetti has italian salads, sandwiches, pastas and more, and 3Bs is exactly as it sounds! All housed in a 20,000 square foot indoor/outdoor, modern space ~ futurist and conceptual designer, Syd Mead (of Blade Runner, Aliens, and TRON) created the environment… and it’s no surprise that in addition to old school ordering, you can also order from all 4 restaurants at once at the self serve monitors! Take a peek at it all on the next page…
So, now that you’ve seen the gorgeous scenic Scotland roadtrip ~ here’s a peek at the Loch Ness Monster, fondly know as Nessie. On one hand, sure, it’d be awesome to catch a glimpse of a sea monster popping up from this vast loch (which apparently holds 3-6 times the world’s population - depending who you ask)… on the other hand, it was breathtaking to drive up along the Loch Ness and understand what it is that is so beautifully mysterious about this place that has enamored so many from around the globe. Then almost as if in a parallel universe, the tourism which has emerged around Nessie over the decades, was fascinating ~ seeing so many graphical interpretations of Nessie on everything from cafes and inns to boats and car sized moving replicas… Sleekest design interpretation? The Loch Ness Centre’s logo. So i picked up a walking stick badge… it was adorable, simple, and hey, maybe it’d be amusing on one of the pool cues that we’re playing with customizing… more pics as well as looks at the Loch Ness itself on the next page…
Between trips, i’m currently hiding out at Gleneagles in Scotland, before joining up with the Macallan on Monday… while here, i just ended up on a surprise of an epic one day road trip all over the highlands to go find Nessie… and the scenic drive, seeing so many towns and villages, lochs and locks, glens and munros, castles and churches, not to mention a run in with a flock of pheasants in the middle of the road, a lone stag running through a field, gorgeous rainbow (though it was no double rainbow), sheep and chickens and cows, oh my! I adore the lumpy bumpy rolling hills (don’t be fooled, they are HUGE mountains up close) really feel like they are covered in the lushest of carpets… It was the most incredibly eye opening journey to see so much of the gorgeous countryside ~ architecture ~ signage ~ and more ~ in a day! And Pat caught me up on much Scottish history, phrases, and stories, it was incredible to get lost in Scotland for a day! (Pat! It was amazing! Thank you so much!) So, while, i’ll show you nessie over here ~ firstly, take in some of the views on the next page!
Manege de Reims “Jeu de société” - Sometimes it’s as much HOW art work is displayed, as what it actually is. In this case, that’s what grabbed me first. We were hungry and wandering Reims in a pack of 5 trying to find dinner ~ and suddenly we find ourselves walking alongside these bizarre photographs [tons of them!] around a construction site and it was like… is this a Gap ad? Are these billboards that got posted up? And we even touched them, and they were really nice all weather prints… and the contents were bizarre, it was a bunch of images of people in this tiny space, where there seemed to be a door on one side they cam in from,and a window on the other, they went out of… like a super flipbook of sorts… then after making it around two sides of them. It was that epiphany of “Oh! it’s Art!” “Jeu de société” is an art exhibition making beautiful use of the boarded up construction site around the Halles du Boulingrin. It is a collaboration between photographer Arnaud Baumann, and choreographer Stephanie Aubin, as directed by the Armoury of Reims. It is all about a person initiating a movement, then the next joins in, and connects, and it keeps continuing all around the building with over 100 shots, showcasing various types of people in the community, from kids and parents, to lovers, to priests, to military, and more… See the fascinating display on the next page!
It’s harvest time of year! And the nice folks at Veuve Clicquot brought me out to Paris/Reims once again for harvest ~ and blame it on Tasteologie, with food on the mind, i just had to share with you some of the yummier side of laborious grape picking Veuve style! For the look at the whole Harvest process, check out these pics from last year. And this year we had cheeky, chic black Harvest Staff tee shirts ~ most amusing of course was watching how the fashionable crowd immediately took to our limited resources out on the vineyard to start cutting them up with grape cutting shears to personalize them… so browse on to the next page to see a peek at what the food is like throughout the day… a slight twist on what “real” harvesters eat throughout the season…