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!
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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…
It’s the details that get me… like, given the option to have breakfast “Placed in your hatch” while at Hotel Tremoille in Paris ~ how can you NOT select it? And it’s AMAZING! So from the outside of the room, there are two doors, the main one you go in, and a half width one that’s just mysterious. From the inside, there’s a door next to the main door that opens to what feels like a closet with some shelves… Well, come morning, you hear a door open (which could be next door!) and then a light knock, and that’s it. It was like waiting for santa to come. Then you run over, open the HATCH, and suddenly, there it is ~ breakfast!
Ah, the simple things in life. So amusing, had to share! Also, it looks like your shoes and laundry may be deposited like that as well… check out pics to make sense of what i’m talking about on the next page!
Thanks to Veuve Clicquot, i’m currently curled up on a cloud of a bed here in Paris after a beautiful flight from LA today! Left around 3:45pm got in to Paris around 11am ~ and in between? headed up past vegas/salt lake/etc through canada over greenland/iceland/uk and ended up in paris… and so many gorgeous views… lots of dramatically lit mountains, even flew over some pretty crazy fires, gorgeous scottish/british countryside, french coast… and glowingly red clouds… nothing like a flight to remind you how little all your emails and errands and life is ~ floating above the clouds really throws things back in perspective! Take a peek at some of my favorite views in this latest addition to Operation Window Seat on the next page!
This could easily be a post about amazing photographs of seemingly endless dinner tables trailing off into breathtakingly magnificent landscapes… in fact, i have a hard time just getting past the images you’ll see on the next page enough to tell you why, beyond the table imagery, Outstanding In The Field is SO spectacular! (Quick side note: How fun is their LOGO?) The main image above is at County Line Harvest, Petaluma, CA ~ the swing just makes me smile.
Ok, but moving beyond the beautiful images of endless tables… (You can see plenty more of that on the next page too!) A friend of mine was telling me about these a few months back, but i had forgotten the name, and just discovered the website tonight! Outstanding In The Field hosts incredible farm dinners, bringing together farmers, celebrated chefs, and eager diners alike. From humble beginnings of “farmers dinners” in Santa Cruz hosted by chef and artist (whose work you definitely know if you’re reading this!), Jim Denevan in the summer of 1998… which coupled with his brother, Bill, a “pioneering organic grower in California was one of those farmers that brought his ingredients and his story to the restaurant.”… evolved into dinners on the farm! Now, over a decade later it has grown into a series of traveling around the world hosting Farm Dinner events as well as private events. Are you hooked yet? I’m seriously bummed right now that the remaining Los Angeles dinners are sold out already… perhaps we will need to think about a NOTCOT private dinner? Let’s discuss that more in the comments though… for now ~ go fall in love with the images on the next page!
Scotch and Photography go together so perfectly! Is it any surprise that the Macallan is incredibly inspirational to photographers? And has inspired Rankin to make a breathtaking series of 1000 polaroids of their estate? The Macallan Masters of Photography collaborations are incredible ~ after Rankin, the latest is with Albert Watson! But back to the topic at hand…
Upon moving, many things i meant to write about got hidden in boxes, and have been resurfacing bit by bit! Amongst them, this incredible book, A Photographic Essay of The Macallan Estate ~ which includes the 1000 polaroids taken by incredible photographer Rankin! These polaroids were part of the 1000 bottle series of Masters of Photography Rankin edition 30yr Macallan project, each bottle with a different polaroid image on the label, and boxed with the polaroid itself. Truly one of a kind! But sadly, when viewing the bottles a few at a time, you simply don’t get the whole picture that Rankin’s photographs as a whole tell of the place! He shot photos all around the Macallan Estate ~ of the buildings, of the stills, of the greenery, of the cows… and in many his nude muse/wife posed amongst them. I love that Rankin sees this project of 1000 polaroids more as a poem than a narrative as he created an amazing portrait of the Macallan world. It feels so meta to be sharing photos of a book of photos with you, but you really must see how amazing some of these images are! And i can’t wait to experience it all first hand! Take a peek at some of my favorites from the Rankin/Macallan experience on the next page!
Got to love the random inspiring emails that show up. Today’s from Alessandro Loschiavo Design just said “Hi everybody … believe me: it’s hard to forget a holiday in Andalusia! Alessandro” ~ and then attached a ton of pictures. And i couldn’t stop staring at them all! So here are peeks at some of the lovely design details, patterns, and colours he spotted on vacation! See more collections on the next page!
Much talk on twitter this morning about clones… especially of the mentally networked type… so i could be in multiple places around the globe at once! One of the recent moments i wish i could be in NY and LA at the same time (or actually, i suppose teleporting would be ok too) ~ when the email came in with subject line: “CHANEL J12 Marine invites you to Montauk for Fireside Cocktails - Aug 21st”
As if i wasn’t bummed enough not to go see it in person, the pictures came in this morning ~ and it was just too picturesque not to share! Something fun about the way they were shot, it looks like the matte black and white Chanel logo’d surf boards were the stars of the party… in addition to their new brand ambassador, and the new J12 Marine watches of course! “Like CHANEL’s newest brand ambassador, Laird Hamilton, CHANEL has allowed themselves to be swept away by the beauty of the waves, and has incorporated these elements into the design of the J12 Marine, the newest addition to CHANEL’s fine timepiece collection.” I have a fascination with watching brands and experiences you don’t expect merging beautifully to create a whole new experience… Chanel + Surfing? Definitely quite the contrast to the socal surf scene and the art/design i usually imagine coupled with it… But lovely in its own way! Take a peek on the next page of the dinner Chanel’s J12 Marine and Laird Hamilton hosted in honor of “The Wave” by Susan Casey to benefit the Surfrider Foundation…
p.s. the email with pictures said “…dined on fresh seafood at wooden tables and then gathered around the fire pit for cocktails and smores.” How lovely does that sound right now?
On silly late night fascinations ~ last night we were playing with my microscope and a US Visa and Border Crossing card… and the TEENY TINY strips with all of our US Presidents (up to clinton) and all of the state flags in alphabetical order on it. It is… amazing. And then we ran into John Quincy Adames… feeling like a bad american here, but isn’t it Adams? Is it a microscopic typo? Beyond that it really is fascinating to see how detailed each tiny flag and presidential portrait is up close, especially when you can barely see them with the naked eye! See more pictures on the next page!
On fun unexpected inspiration ~ RUGenius sent over some pics of London department store, Harvey Nichols’, latest elaborate window display, ‘Everyday Things’, which certainly does not disappoint. The window series consists of everyday objects (pencils, clothespins, nails, cassette tapes and plastic toys) to create more elaborate sculptural pieces. Piano’s made of cassettes of all shapes and sizes, dresses of clothespins, cars of toys, men made of books, bikes made of tools, and more! Stunning! See the close ups on the next page!
AMAZING! I joked about an idea like this with people… bags that could protect my camera when needed, disappear to nearly nothing when i’m using the camera? Inflatableness to the rescue?!?! Kata ABS-HD inflatable protective casing comes folded up in a pouch. I love that they say “When on board with your camcorder it takes approximately 1 minute to inflate, wrap up your camcorder and stow it in the over head bin.” So you can basically sneak on seeming like you have very little, then poof you fill the bin? Slightly shady. But then again, perhaps you can use it as a flotation device in case or emergency? I also wonder how it handles the air pressure? Sadly they also say “This is inflatable protection not a camcorder bag, so while on the go use the camcorders strap or handle to carry and upon arriving at your destination it should be deflated and packed away in your working bag.” I’d love a purse/messenger bag fitting version for my dslr for those emergencies if i had to pack it in my check in, or let someone else handle my bags… see more images on the next page!
The snatching of purses happens far too often ~ and no matter where you are, you can never be too careful. So consider this french I Lock You device, like hand cuffs for your purse. Lock it to the super market cart, cafe chair, bike basket, etc. If someone thinks they can just grab it and run, they’ll be in for a surprise. Though this design doesn’t exactly “lock” in a way that someone who knows can’t open it… it will at least deter someone looking to walk by and grab your purse along the way. Though, i guess you could actually use real handcuffs for this too… See pics of their design and some use cases on the next page!
NY trips aren’t complete without a stop over to The Standard Hotel New York to catch up with everyone ~ right after the Absolut Brooklyn launch, popped over to finally see the pool on the 18th floor of The Standard Hotel New York in action ~ and WOW is it different compared to when empty in the day! Floor to ceiling black glossy tiles, a diamond shaped, large hot tub sized 4ft pool surrounded by endless NY views glittering in every direction. It’s incredible how the cave like darkness of the space is literally lit up by the NY skyline! For this night, a fun mix of internet week and lifestyle and travel industry folks ~ all coming together to celebrate the launch of location based members only site, TopGuest ~ “Topguest gives travelers real loyalty program points from top hotels and airlines for geo check-ins on all major applications, automatically.” Basically, it’s a membership program that will connect up your foursquare, gowalla, google buzz, yelp, twitter and more and sync it up with existing and upcoming partnership rewards from major hotels, airlines, and more. Fun potential with the concept, and i love that they are targeting carefully curated brands and experiences first ~ during the preview, their exclusive launch partner is the Standard Hotel group, and they’ve issued a challenge: check in to all 4 (NY, LA-downtown, LA-hollywood, Miami) Standard Hotels in a week to earn a free week stay! But first things first, you have GOT to check out the views from the glossy jet black Standard NY penthouse pool!
While in NY ~ popped out to DUMBO for the Absolut Brooklyn Launch Party with Spike Lee! Spectacular views on such an ominous night as the sun set through the on and off thunderstorms rolling through… They cleared out the Powerhouse Bookstore ~ and with the large altered seal on the windows, i must admit it reminded me of Starbucks at first. I suppose i’m just not quite used to their playing down the iconic bottle shape? They transformed the steps inside the space into a cute life sized stoop matching the one on the bottle! Perhaps the most visually intriguing are the water tower shirts the bar tenders wore with text and graphics creating the image! So for packaging design closeups, you can see my post here ~ To take a peek at the adventures with Absolut Brooklyn ~ see the next page!
Just experienced the Royalton Hotel while in NY for the Federated Media Conversational Marketing Summit (my annual catch up with my FM folks and intellectually immerse myself in the marketing/ad world)… since it’s practically in times square, the Morgan’s Hotel Group helped me try out the Royalton Hotel… and from the website i was already obsessed with seeing their soaking tub in person. It is HUGE and pretty deep. You could probably fit about 5-6 of me in there… comfortably. And it’s like being in an inverted discoball… Also noteworthy, it is the perfect luxurious NY hideaway, if you need a super comfy, cozy place to hibernate in NY. It can stay surprisingly dark in the room (with lots of nearly blackout curtains, dimmers and candle like lighting) regardless of what time of day/night it is. After a few too many late nights out, it was an incredible place to just curl up and catch up on sleep and work in a timeless space. And the bed is divine (pillows and duvet you just melt into!) with fun beautifully lit bedside port hole like shelves cut into the headboard which extends wall to wall and floor to ceiling including the closet and drawers. And that impressive darkness i was telling you about? It also flows through the hallways and into the lobby (which is an enticing lounge/bar space that leads to the restaurant) ~ so it’s a bit of a shock to the system every time i had to head out ~ back into the real world (or the chaos so near times square!)
Take a peek at my experience of the Royalton Hotel’s Room 904 on the next page ~ lots of pics of favorite details!
Baxter of California has opened an impressively adorable little retro barbershop in Los Angeles - the Baxter Finley, Barber & Shop at 515 N. La Cienega Blvd. (Already soft opened, the official launch party is next week!) Seems like the natural extension of their men’s skincare/shaving line ~ and what better way to learn about the products than actually experience the lifestyle of the brand as Jason or Shane treat you to the shave or haircut of your life? The incredibly carefully collected/restored vintage chairs are such a beautiful work of art in and of themselves… but even though i couldn’t get a shave, i couldn’t resist sinking into one while my friend offered himself up (and a few days of unshaveness) as my shave model!
A few fun facts - “The shop was designed and built with old world charm and is adorned with chairs from the early 1900’s (restored ultra-rare Koken “White King” models), reclaimed Douglas Fir flooring, and custom made oak & marble bars. All Baxter Finley barbers will don custom made gingham check shirts by Steven Alan. At the service‐ helm, Jason Simao (of Freeman’s Sporting Club fame) is the lead barber and manager for the shop.”
I want to drag all my guy friends in to experience a shave here! And Ladies, don’t be shy, grab a man in need of a shave and head on over for an excuse to check it out! I had way too many pics i loved, so take a tour through the amazing details of the Baxter Finley, Barber & Shop on the next page.