Wow. There is a definitely love of light bulb clusters at the Gramercy Park Hotel ~ particularly in this room that opens up to the Roof Club… but also in my bathroom! While it does feel a littler overwhelming, it is also completely mesmerizing, and makes for some fun pics! See more on the next page!
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I must admit i was skeptical when one of the most common words that came up regarding the Gramercy Park Hotel Roof Club… was “Magical”. Sure some of the women who uttered the word seemed like the type that may use it in daily conversation, but some of the men who did, most certainly didn’t seem like the type.
Sure enough ~ as i stumble off my redeye, and at 7am find myself at the Gramercy Park Hotel, which was kind enough to invite me to visit their world while here for NY Design Week, my room wouldn’t be ready till 10. With the limited amount of energy, my options were minimal ~ but breakfast with wifi on the roof sounded like a good place to start. Take the elevator to the top, step out, and get lead to a ridiculously adorable and comfy couch to curl up on while breakfast comes up… and as i order and process where i am… i can’t help but notice the beautiful lights, the ivy hanging and intertwined above me, how much greenery and the variety of pots i’m surrounded by… and as my eyes focus, suddenly i realize what a stunning view i’m waking up to. No joke. It’s pretty magical. Everything seemed to sparkle in that early morning glow! It felt as if you were in a large intimate garden/deck at home… and i hear its even more stunning at night, so, i’ll have to find a night to see it glisten as you overlook all of manhattan… So take a peek on the next page of how pretty the Gramercy Park Hotel Roof Club looked bright and early!
New sponsored content series ~ this time Las Vegas is letting me rant and share some vegas awesomeness NOTCOT style! As usual, my pics, my story, they just give me an excuse to talk Vegas.. and share some of my favorite bits!
There’s something so nostalgic and beautiful about the early days of Las Vegas and the incredible neon signage that was unmissable. Sadly as more and more of these come down, they tend to end up in the Neon Graveyard! Which is only a PART of the Neon Museum which is trying to save this critical part of Las Vegas history. Graphically they are absolutely stunning ~ i’m particularly a sucker for those which move… They Neon Museum has even been reviving some of these signs and have them up around vegas, with 10 amazing ones from the 50s and 60s up on Fremont Street ~ in what they are calling their gallery… but they are basically on the main street 24/7 for your viewing pleasure! So on the next page you can take a peek at some of my favorite neon signs spotted around Las Vegas from a few trips ago…
It’s fun to step back from the design madness here in Milan during the design week ~ and really just appreciate how AMAZING details in and around the city are too… so in the evening we popped up to the roof of the Hotel Dei Cavallieri at sunset and the views are truly awe inspiring. Then a late night wander lead us through the Duomo and Galleria ~ and with big camera in tow, naturally couldn’t help snapping away… it’s just breath taking ~ even after seeing it so so many times on a daily basis for over a year… But the best details? Bizarre mylar ballons that escaped some poor child’s reach, only to create a silly juxtaposition in all my pics of the Galleria grandeur… there’s a tiny hot pink unicorn/pegasus up there… and in the hallway the next day… a tank. See it all on the next page!
About to run out to try and actually check out the insane fiera filled with design goodness ~ but wanted to leave you with some of the many stickers and street art bits that keep grabbing my attention as i wander through the city! Some fun silly craziness on the next page! Enjoy!
As we warm up to Milan Design Week, it’s been awesome having a few days to just catch up with the city! On todays few hours of walking/shopping ~ here’s more randomness that caught my eye besides the Hermés Paper Sculptures! From slightly evil wooly sheep ~ to the milan marathon i ran into by the castle and throughout the city ~ to the giant camera lens screens at Tod’s ~ to rekindling my door knocker and gargoyle obsessions ~ tv sunglasses! ~ the blue cubes popping up around sculptures being restored ~ awesome signage ~ and these beautiful linen lamp like structures that fill Monte Napoleone, some designed by fashion designers!… and so so much more! See it all on the next page!
The Mercedes-Benz Museum ~ you’ve seen the elevators and tornado and while the cars and exhibitions are amazing, there are so many parts of the architecture that were surreal and beautiful! From the way they play with the constant combination of sun and artificial lighting, to the way the building is constantly leading you to swirl downwards from past to present, to the engraved concrete markings to denote what section you’re in, to the horse ~ the first… pre-automobile? It’s much like a car museum meets history museum meets sweeping art gallery filled with surprising textural juxtapositions at every turn… so take a peek at the next page for a full gallery of images ~ it’s less about the cars and more about the amazing images the space creates for you.
As you’ve noticed by now, i have been recently fascinated by the world from above ~ and not in just a google satellite view ~ but amazing views of cities and the in betweens as dramatic sunsets and sunrises hit them… So thanks to Mercedes who was incredibly kind to bring me to Stuttgart to learn more about their world (even when i needed to come from Singapore and leave to Milan)… here’s another installment of what my friend and i have been calling Operation Window Seat! Doing it backwards, on the next page you can see pics as i come in to Milan from Stuttgart… then Stuttgart on my way from Singapore… amazing how the terrain changes ~ and the lighting!
Just finished my last dive of the trip ~ and this whole trip has definitely reinvigorated my childhood love of nudibranchs and frogfish! Frogfish have the coolest elbows ~ and the way they walk… and eat (with their signature anglerfish family style lure!)… and the variations they come in! (So fascinating, saw about a half dozen color variations this week! And soooo many nudibranchs i haven’t seen before too. So in this last installment of fun creatures from the Lebeh Strait ~ check out frogfish, nudibranchs, and more (including a super tiny baby lion fish!) on the next page!
Octopus obsession is only growing more with each one i encounter! Two today so far! One good sized amazing Wonderpus octopus (Wunderpus photogenicus) on a dive (they are pretty rare and only found here in bali/sulawesi! Only recently named/officially discovered)… and then during lunch we spotted another octopus hiding a few feet from us in the low tide! So waded out to it with a camera and it was so tame and incredibly docile… i even pet it! So lots of fun pics of both the octopus and wonderpus on the next page!
UPDATE: We’re now pretty certain that the other octopus is a Mimic Octopus, Thaumoctopus mimicus ~ which was only officially discovered in 1998 in sulawesi. It is the one that the Wonderpus is commonly mistaken for… and it mimics everything from flounders and eels to lion fish and sea snakes… and ours impressively becomes one with the rock as well as the sand… see an amazing video i found about them on the next page!
On visual inspiration, there is something about the overwhelming sense of calm serenity with nothing but the sound of your own bubbles and the occasional boats overhead… as you just swim about watching the most incredible and mind blowing creatures going about their daily lives all around you… so, on “vacation pictures” ~ here are some of the many (there are hundreds of photos, here’s just a selection of fun ones!) creatures i’ve been encountering diving the Lembeh Strait of Indonesia this week (hiding out at Kungkungan Bay Resort)… and besides the diving creatures, you also get a peek at the large crab i ran into, and the impressive Tuna statue in the center of Bitung (tuna capital of indonesia?)… see it all on the next page!
p.s. and on design inspiration ~ it sounds silly, but i’ve totally been dreaming up redesigns, proposal ideas, and more while watching the creatures under the sea… also photo credits go to my dad who’s the photographer (i’ve been tasked more with helping find things in our team!)
I’m having one of those, sensory overload, exhausted yet giddy moments… sometimes we all need to step pretty far out of our daily lives to simultaneously reset, reflect, and find inspiration in the unexpected. For the next 5 days, i’m hiding out in the Lembeh Strait of Sulawesi, Indonesia… and they have awesome wifi, so when i’m not drop dead tired or diving exploring all the creatures around… the regularly scheduled content may be coming on vacation with me! So today was a morning flight to Manado from Singapore, followed by a 1.5 hour van ride through Bitung out to the dive spot, and now i’m curled up in my adorable cottage at Kungkungan Bay Resort. Certainly quite the contrast to the design overload i’m looking forward to in Milan in a few weeks! Although i thought about crashing after the day of travel, when i stared out at the possibly full moon with the intense clouds over the ocean… i couldn’t help taking a few pics, and i’m so in love with the view, i had to share them with you before i got some sleep! Isn’t it amazing how the palm trees and clouds look in the moonlight? See a few more pics of the night… some of the view on the flight in… and another random pic or too…
Heading off to Milan tomorrow… well… via a few weeks in asia and a quick stop in Stuttgart… but i’ll be in Milan April 8-19!!! And i can’t be giddier. It’s hard to believe the last time i was in Milan was when i was living there for a little over a year doing grad school… all pre-NOTCOT (the sites, the name was used on lots of random stuff for years before!)… so FINALLY, making it back for the salone, and to go see some of the old spots… but, that being said, its been 5 years!
SO! If you’re in Milan, or have some awesome recommendations, i’d love any ideas on what not to miss ~ people to meet up with ~ events at the Salone to check out ~ and more!
p.s. that image above? i found my old huge map of Italy… i totally forgot i used to highlight all the cities and towns i’d visited… so many left to see! Maybe if there’s time i ought to pop out and explore a bit more too!
After a long week, sometimes you just need something totally random and silly to reset you… tonight that ended up being…. grabbing a friend to get food, suddenly fog rolls in, and as we drive by the little santa monica airport… we vow to go wander around it if its still foggy on our way back (she was hungry, so food naturally had to come first). Well it only got foggier in the interim, so it was on! And here are the pictures that came from that exploration… driving around the parking lots, tiptoeing through bushes, and trying to find that perfect light that made the fog covered planes glow so awesomely. And suddenly we heard shouting and laughter… and as we got pretty close to the insanely foggy brightly lit soccer fields… we saw there were people playing! (Yes, it was foggy enough you had to get rather close to be certain!)… There’s something so other worldly about the way things felt in the ominous fog… see it all on the next page!
On travel obsessions, someone just reminded me one of the few items that has made my MUST PACK list ~ i’ve been so busy using, i have yet to write about it. humangear’s GoToobs have been indispensable. Sure they are similar to Paul Koh’s Bubble Bottles ~ but they are much better. A more airport security 1 quart ziploc bag friendly shape for packing… the ring allows you to select Soap, Shamp., Cond., Lotion, Sun, … so no sniffing to figure out what’s in there, and no need for labels… wide mouth opening for cleaning/filling… the one thing i never thought i’d use, yet have many a time ~ SUCTION CUP! So far they come in green, blue, clear, pink, and a newly added orange! See more pics on the next page…
Good morning 3am London ~ it’s been quite the evening with Nike Football/Soccer, running around and ending up on buses with ~400 international press folks ~ ending up at Battersea Power Station in the rain with its huge purple projections, only to delve deeper into what some felt was like a bat cave or villainous lair of lights and steps and shiny new products to tempt us with. But the main attraction announced tonight (with the help of Cristiano Ronaldo) ~ was what all this purple was about! And my favorite part of course is not only the new shoe, the Nike Mercurial Vapor SuperFly II… but the magical glowingly purple glass/cement box that looked like an apple store in a shipping container. The purple dots on the glass became smaller and smaller until you could see the wall of shoes hung upon them… On the next page see pictures of the installation, the new Nike Mercurial Vapor SuperFly II, the new Nike Football+ iphone app (with twitter/facebook integrations), design sketches… and the full press release!
On unexpected surprises… did you know the Soho Grand Hotel will provide you with a roommate? An adorable little black goldfish? Strangely though, no food… i guess i will have to trust that housekeeping comes by and feeds the little guy? Their cheeky website says “If travelers cannot bring their pets, the Soho Grand offers surrogate animal companionship in the form of a goldfish in your guestroom.”
For those that asked on twitter ~ no i haven’t named it. No need to get attached, i don’t think i get to bring him with me to london… But i do wonder if there’s a mysterious room in the hotel somewhere with wall to wall goldfish bowls… do they really have enough for EVERY room? Or if you have two kids, can you request two? Or can you ask for two in the same bowl just so they dont get lonely while you’re out? Cute idea though ~ providing a bit more life to often sterile feeling hotel spaces! See more pics on the next page…
Laguna Beach ~ so many surf brands have their home base in the OC ~ and recently so many hotels with special designer suites ~ but somehow i never heard about the Casa Surf Project over at La Casa del Camino until now! The hotel is perched less than a block from the beach, has an old spanish styled look and feel… and somehow the smell and hallways remind me of college… something frat house-y about it? Or maybe that was the crowd too… fascinating thing about the Casa Surf Project is that they gave 10 brands and their designers 10 suites, and let them have their way with it - “Action sports icons like Billabong Men’s and Billabong Women’s, Rip Curl, etnies, Roxy, Quiksilver, L* Space, Lost International along with Riviera Magazine and Glaceau have teamed with Southern California’s finest designers to create the Casa Surf Suites with a portion of the proceeds from each room donated to key charities for the first year.” I love the moroccan inspired Lost room… how far they took the decor, and the furniture choices… you have to see how fun the lights looked at night! And the way they really customized the walls… so beautiful! Billabong and Quicksilver are my other favorites ~ see more pics on the next page, and see full information on each suite here!
During the #time4wine tweetfest up in Napa this weekend ~ Julie and Jonathan brought me to their Nickel and Nickel Single Vineyard Wines open house… at first i questioned whether i wanted to be up at 9 after a full day of travel and tastings to go to another tasting… essentially, for breakfast! But those two know their stuff… and thus begins my new fascination with wooden wine boxes! Of all of the ones i’ve seen (and the wines i tasted this weekend) ~ Nickel and Nickel’s are my favorite. Also their stunning barn gone mod is beautiful! I couldn’t stop staring up at the beams ~ and the way they’ve carved out a lab within the space. The juxtaposition of sterile meets rustic is stunning. So take a peek at their attention to detail through every visual element of their brand on the next page…
(quick aside: Truffle Tremor. Awesome name, delicious cheese.)
So after a bit of hotel horrors ~ and bouncing in and out of the vitale over the last week ~ with sf gift fair and macworld happening, SF hotels seem a bit packed… just decided to check out the Clift Hotel in San Francisco which is part of the Morgans Hotel Group (with those awesome “The world needs to discuss it over drinks. The world needs more interesting.” ads i adore.)… they were nice enough to upgrade me to experience one of their suites, and i’m currently working at that “through the… orange… looking glass” feeling table above… and really, between the bizarre world within it and the stunning city views here, it’s hard to focus! It’s also incredibly calming and relaxing with it’s lavender entry way, light grey carpeting, and light wood furnishings… exactly what i needed after quite the crazy last few days! Go take a peek into their fun, spacious, suite i’m living in for the next few days on the next page!
Looking down out this huge concave window in my Hotel Vitale room, has been strangely mesmerizing and inspiring to stare out of… from the spiderweb mess of bus cables to the curved arcs of the road and diamond of the cross walk and just watching the traffic/people flow through it… it kind of looks like a math or physics diagram…
Anyhow, Hotel Vitale has been one of my favorite spots to hide out in San Francisco since i moved out of this city… and while i’ve been in quite a few different rooms, this is definitely one of the most unique. I sleep better than usual in their beds… this room has a nice tub with a view… and this ridiculously large window! As well as the usual nice huge desk space to work at… and chaise to lounge on. Take a peek at a few pictures of the view in both day and night, as well as a peek at the room!
I passed out as soon as i sat down on the plane from SLC to LAX ~ i barely remember take off ~ and then suddenly when turbulence jolted me awake somewhere in between, all i saw out the window were surreal and stunningly dramatic shadows on snowy mountains… and i was so mesmerized, then something kicked in, and i half awakenly grabbed my camera, and felt like i was dream shooting all the way back to LA. So fun to see the world from that view ~ such a nice perspective shift from what’s felt like a very conceptually nazel gazing last few days. I love the way the snow transitioned into dessert… and into cities… and the way roads are carved into the snowy tree filled mountainside… the way the city glowed with the hollywood sign and downtown popping out as we landed… Take a look on the next page!
So i’ve been getting a little double, triple booked lately ~ trips overlapping ~ but all so tempting i try to do them all. Until i can’t. So i’m trying to find some help! Thank goodness, NOTCOT’s new features editor + giveaway coordinator + writer + friend + inevitably more to be added to this list shortly, Marcia Simmons, was able (and willing) to pop over for two nights in Paris with a mere few days notice. While we’re still working on finding a nice pretty new way to show you posts my friends share with us on NOTCOT, for the moment, we’ll first get you the great content ~ and time + energy permitting, we’ll transition in to some new way to denote it. For now you will have to just bear with silly introduction notes from me! So on the next page, we have a bunch of pics and stories from Marcia of her whirlwind adventures in Paris for the first Maison Martin Margiela Perfume launch! And i’m already envious of the amazingly packaged press kit (with flowers!!! and feather pens!!! and books!) ~ and the stunning presentation of the new perfume. I’ll have to sniff the goods myself next time i see her in person!
p.s. i adore that they went all dot matrix ascii art print out on the press kit. TOO FUN.
Mmmmm. Doing that bicoastal commmute again, this time thanks to the Macallan folks who have brought me out to NY for an event tomorrow night, more to come on that later though. Long day of travel ~ popped over on JetBlue (i miss Virgin America, they spoil me with wifi. I thought i might be happier without it when flying, but i was wrong) ~ luckily i feel like i’m at home away from home as i slipped in to The Mercer Hotel ~ another Andre Balazs property, this one in the heart of Soho… and i absolutely adore it. Got in, got room service, and got to work! Well, after taking a bunch of pics of all the little design details that grabbed my eye. Also bonus points to them for super fast room service and bringing me some benadryl at midnight. They’ve been so kind and taking such good care of me here already! And so many details of this room make me want to go home and remodel already… Ready to take a peek?
I think i now feel for any ant that gets stuck in a kaleidoscope. While often CES has a slew of ginormous booths with pyramids of TVs… Samsung got a little more creative this time… and… WOW. That picture above is just one view as it kept changing colors… i literally couldn’t help standing inside the huge booth spinning around in awe of the experience. I would have made a video for you, but i think i may have fallen over as people kept bumping into me (it was a sheep feeling kind of day at CES… if you stand still for too long the crowd just moves you)… also their rainbow wavey stripes for the netbook/laptop displays (the GOs looked so adorable mounted!) are fun to take a peek at too! See more pics on the next page…