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!
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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…
CES is always madness, but in recent years when there have been more and more people i get excited to meet up with there, you’ll notice that my posts about the technology become more discriminating (and there’s less awesome to share, sadly) ~ and i actually end up finding more inspiration in the unexpected and beauty in the chaos. The other night patterns seemed to be my thing… large crazy vegas patterns that were popping up and screaming to be photographed… Or maybe me + drinks that night = pattern obsessed, but really i blame the mandarin oriental bar. It started with dinner hosted by HTC (where i might have gone unexpectedly fangirl when next to me was PCMag’s Sascha Segan mentioned his wife is the awesome artist Leontine Greenberg)…. great conversations with some fun journalists, the HTC marketing and design folks (SO fun and sweet)… followed by “O”… then regrouping for drinks at the Aria with the boys of Cool Hunting… then drinks at the Mandarin Oriental… and as the group dwindled down, and the drinks and inspiration kept flowing… you can take a peek on the next page of the visuals that captivated me!
I’m a bit obsessed with print recently. I mean, i always love/d print, but extra aware of it and all its design nuances at the moment. Beyond that, i can’t seem to help fixating on the way digital/online medias can translate back out to print in the real world well ~ and how integrated ads can be beautiful and/or enhance the content. Ran into this little booklet for the first time at a hotel and love not only the concept and execution, but also the design!
Daily Candy has a beautiful Los Angeles pocket sized city guide that is perhaps one of the most thorough (SO many of my favorites and many more are included!) guides to places to eat, sleep, shop, and more in LA! Design is fun and readable, adorable little icons and extra notes and illustrations tucked away in each page. It’s also light on the branding/advertisements Only a few Jet Blue ads inside with fun creative and copy of course! On the front it mentions it is in partnership with the Viceroy Group and Urban Retreats. As far as positioning, seems like great positioning to get Daily Candy in front of boutique hotel guests ~ particularly those who may not know the mailing list yet. Lovely idea, beautifully executed, i’d rather grab one of these than a Wallpaper guide, etc. if i’m sending a friend off to explore LA ~ now i’m curious what other cities exist! And how to find them! Take a peek inside this LA guide on the next page…
UPDATE: Just in from Daily Candy - there are NYC and LA guides. the NYC guides were made last year and can be found at the 5 W hotels in NYC. The LA ones just arrived in the Viceroy and Urban Retreat hotels last month! “They were penned by the NYC and LA editors respectively. It’s the first time we’ve printed our favorites in such a fashion and they are being well-received in both markets. The great thing is it’s everything we love — Not just the “latest and greatest” but they also include mention our tried and true favorites.”
Ready to take off for the holidays? Well wejetset wants to hook you up.
What can you win? + 1 Hideo Bean 19 (Green) Luggage + 6 Wallpaper City Guides + 1 Arkitip x Incase Curated Laptop Sleeve for (15” Macbook Pro) Steven Harrington + 1 WeSC Bongo Blue Headphones + 1 pair of Sunglasses by Super See pics of it all in the feature as well as details on what to do for your chance to win!
I showed you my dad's experience at the Mercedes AMG Driving Academy at the Laguna Seca track in Monterey... but as i went through his pictures, this carbon fiber wrapped Mercedes AMG SLS really deserved a post of its own. It's stunning! It's so overwhelmingly carbon fibered! Biggest downer for anyone lusting after it enough to try to purchase one, they aren't for sale, but i'm sure you can get someone to get it done for you, or even DIY it yourself if you're feeling handy. I can't seem to stop staring at the pics on the next page... see for yourself!
I'm jealous. Above is a pic of what my dad just told me is the "US-Spec AMG SLS for us to play with on the drag strip, slalom course and time trials." So, while i was traveling, my dad (i blame my jetsetting inclination on him) took off to the Laguna Seca Raceway up in Monterey for the Mercedes AMG Driving Academy. He got to drive the brand new AMG SLS and was lucky to be one of the first to experience the new AMG Driving Academy launched in the USA. 16 cars were specially flown in from Germany to accompany the 20 full time cars availble for the course. Luminary driver/instructors included: Tommy Kendall (USA), Bernd Maylander (F1 pace car driver) and Susie Stoddart (Mercedes DTM team driver from Europe). Basically i came home to emails of his incredible adventure... from giddy stories about how mindblowing the drives were (teasing me how much fun i would have had going 160 around the track in one of those beauties) to tales of the chef grilling alongside the track for lunch to inside looks at the stunning carbon fiber drive shaft to the amazing friends he made on the trip and stories he heard... bottom line? The course was totally worth it, and he'd do it again in a heartbeat... in fact, there are 5 levels of courses happening around the US as well as Europe... i think he's caught the bug, since he's already dreaming about Sweden. I think i might have to try and convince him to take me along next time! But for now... i've convinced him to let me share his pictures with us ~ take a peek on the next page to see the experience!
There is also the amazing carbon fiber wrapped car that looked amazing ~ pics to come of that one soon!
The Ace Hotels practically radiate visual inspiration at every turn... but at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs add being at the foot of the mountains in Palm Springs with that crisp desert sky at night as you float in the pool and hot tub ~ only to run out and press the "Make Fire" button on one of the many fire places surrounded by adorably designed chairs as you look up at the Stan Bitters ceramics ~ or wander to the bar where what appears to be the coolest sunglass wearing stuffed bear you will ever see is perched behind the bottles ~ challenging the coolness of the coyote of a mascot above the reception whose silhouette is all around the hotel... and the THINK signage in the lobby "compliments of IBM corporation" is just priceless. OH! And there are yurts too... with beautiful domed skylights colored with geometric gel patterns... and hammocks too! So as you can see, there was too much besides my room, that i couldn't help but share with you... so MANY pictures on the next page. I hope you enjoy them as much as i do!
While in Palm Springs at the Ace, i was told that i HAD to go see the Integratron. How good a word is that? I didn't even know what it meant, but was instantly intrigued. So, while on super secret brainstorm adventure in Palm Springs this weekend, we jumped in the car, took off an hour into the desert not quite sure what to expect... although we did know that it had something to do with amazingness, alien abductions, domes, a sound bath, and something about our neurons getting massaged. Dome + sunset + desert = gorgeous pics.
So while i'm still on my thing about circles lately ~ and concentric circles from directly below... the architecture of the Integratron blew my mind to wander around in... and honestly, i think there must be something wrong with me, because the Sound bath (you lay on the mats in the dome, and they "play 9 quartz crystal singing bowls live, each one keyed to the energy centers or chakras of the body, where sound is nutrition for the nervous system." and it's on Rolling Stone Magazine's 2009 Hot List) ~ i couldn't lay through the whole thing, it made me feel like i wanted to scream and dissonant sounds vibrating through my head just started to hurt. BUT that being said, it was pretty amazing the way they resonated around the space... really staring at the architecture and lighting as the sunset around us was far more fascinating to me. So take a peek at the random pics on the next page... LOVE the colors in the desert sunsets...
Don't mock. It's friday night. I know. It's friday the 13th even! And honestly, as many events and people are convening in LA for a combination of art events, MOCA anniversary, and so much more this weekend ~ after that endless travelfest the last month and a non stop week since i touched back down ~ i couldn't help myself when a few fun folks said "Ok!" to having our own top secret brainstorm session where we'd clear the weekend and meet up in Palm Springs. So after a delicious (intellectually and nourishingly) breakfast meeting at Chateau Marmont, i hopped back in the car and drove east... running super low on sleep and high on ideas, i stumbled into the Ace Hotel Palm Springs, and into Room 214 with only my laptop/camera bag and purse... and have been sucked into photoshopping and before i wander back out to feed myself and see whats going on with the wedding folks right outside... i just had to share this little oasis with you. Stepping in, life slowed down, mind felt clearer, body felt calmer. And the welcome card tells me "Life is not about surviving the storm, but learning to dance in the rain." Wise words to live by ~ so let's dance? I have a feeling there will be much more to share this weekend... the Ace family always does manage to get me so inspired with their attention to details, great design, and just awesome experiences...
Half awake in the airport lounge at Arlanda ~ going through pictures, and since i'm not over it yet... more chandeliers that grabbed my attention at the Grand Hotel, Stockholm (that became my home for the last 4 nights!). According to their website (and everyone i encountered in Stockholm), it is "Scandinavia's leading hotel and much appreciated meeting place. The hotel opened in 1874 and has a long and fascinating history." And it truly is quite the opposite in style of the Lydmar Hotel next door which i adored. Part of what made this trip so fun was the stark contrast between the two! I must admit they took incredibly good care of me, had lightning fast wifi, and all the rooms (peeked into a few others!) were quite unique ~ but all with a consistently luxurious historical atmosphere... so on my last night when i ran out in hope to get some pictures of the black cube, i also got distracted by some of the crazy abs on the men holding up the building, the amazing glow of the building itself, and the chandeliers i couldn't believe i'd missed as we rushed between events! Can you believe it was dark out when these were all taken? That image above still blows my mind when i stare at it and realize the sun had fully gone down by then... see more on the next page!
Biggest tease was that the full spa and pool are opening in 10 days!
Absolut Icebar!!! I've always been curious, i'm still dying to visit the Ice Hotel some day ~ and ironically, this little excursion wasn't even part of the official Absolut event/weekend. Apparently the Icebar changes its design twice a year, and it happened to be closed Oct 26 to Nov 1, so today was the first day it reopened, but, just barely! (Opening party is tomorrow night!) Luckily, i was able to stay an extra day, and they managed to get us in today. So here is a first look at the latest ~ "Factory" designed by Sofi Ruotsalainen and Nille Nilsson. Along with the completely new space, there is also a brand new menu! It's quite amazing, you enter through the little store passageway where you see racks of ponchos with gloves clipped on... then into the airlock... and into the ice bar! Within the ice bar (which is literally wall to wall ice) there are ice sculptures, an ice display (looking like an upright arcade game), the bar and more... the giant red "Don't Push" button - is totally ok to push. As long as you're cool with the light flashing! (So fun!) Also playful are some of the Icebar goods ~ you can buy a replica glass (that won't melt!), a puffy jacket of a laptop sleeve, matches, and other silliness... This is one of three Absolut Icebars ~ the first was in the Ice Hotel, this one is in the Nordic Sea Hotel and is open year round, as is the one in Below Zero London. See all the fun on the next page, as cold as my fingers got, i couldn't help taking a bunch of pics, and they even let me take pics from behind the bar!
While i seldom do party pics, i'm fascinated by Absolut and the way they brand experiences so nicely... This was their big 30th Anniversary Party for the Art Collection... and the lighting in the giant black cube they constructed for the party next to the Lydmar Hotel was this ominous mysterious structure that popped up while we were staying there, and they wouldn't let us peek in until the event itself... so once in there with such cool lighting and visualizations and bands/djs playing... the pictures of the bar, the bottles and glasses, the scene, and the straws even! I just had to share! The colors came out so beautifully!
Also ~ i ran out tonight (day after the party) but was a bit too late to get black cube pics, however did get some very cool mid-deconstruction pics! If you see the pics on the next page, just imagine that covered in black...
Sometimes you desperately run around the city all evening, desperately hunting for an open restaurant after having two drinks at the ice bar for "breakfast", almost genuinely considering buying 7-11 food, tweet for help, call for suggestions, and almost everything that comes up is closed... then you stumble upon the adorable red cozy outdoor section of Grodan, and peek into a stunningly ornate dining room that smells delicious... and there it is. Froggies! Everywhere! On the menu... embroidered on the napkins, on the door - a simple red silhouette of a frog! (Yes, i now know Groda means Frog in swedish)... but the most intriguing instance of this little red frog i encountered was as i sipped my water... there it was on the bottom of my glass! And it looked so fun with its reflection and prismatic colors projected on the table... I had to share... and i'm so tempted to make mini vinyl stickers to apply to the bottom of my glasses to surprise people when i get home... see more of the pics on the next page!
We could all use some "Mental Togetherness" ~ lovely sculpture by Truls Melin outside of Swedish art space Magasin 3 (A philanthropic activity by Swedish investors, Proventus - also investors of Brio, Artek, o2, Tom Dixon). Whether this sculpture is about chasing the pipe dream or creating that continuous flow between us or visualizing the paths we take... i leave that to your interpretation... all i know is that as tempting as it seems, you can not climb on it... but it is fascinating to wander into... see more pics of it on the next page!
I know. I go rather quiet for a few days as i travel far too much the last few months, still not sure what day or time zone i'm in most of the time, but one thing i'm sure of... it's 5:30 am and i should be sleeping, but i'm staring at such an awesome bathroom here in the Lydmar Hotel, i just had to share it with you before i go sleep. The slate tiles floor to ceiling... the incredible lighting... the way the fixtures all seem to float... the contrast in textures... the hardcore thick grey blinds... I suppose the part that i'm smitten with most is the inset mirror that then doubles as a shelf, as well as a beautifully lit frame (only lit by two strips of light along the sides), and everything on the shelf looks so dramatic! So take a look at more details... including the packaging of their Byredo Parfums Tailor's Cotton line of toiletries...
you also have to see the room key... it looks like a car key... and they all have different keychains!
There's something so magical about being able to wander around the Chateau de Versailles after dark in black tie garb with only a handful of people around... and free flowing Dom Perignon. Actually, there's something so magical about Versailles at any time, but this was particularly surreal... and while there, i think i've discovered a new obsession. Chandeliers. From directly below! Particularly with mesmerizingly mind bending shadows and/or ridiculously opulent and stunning ceilings... and yes, there was a point where i became that girl who handed off her glass of Dom to lay on the floor in the middle of an empty room in my dress, louboutins, and clutching my massive camera to see just how much ceiling my wide angle could ingest from directly below the center of the chandelier. It's a bit dizzying at times shooting straight up and getting lost in the concentric circles ~ but it's such a fun perspective... Ami from Cool Hunting is calling them our 'chandelier mandalas' (and huge thanks for Ami for resisting iphone-pic-ing me while i was laying there on the floor!)... so take a peek at *some* of the chandeliers (and a few bonuses!) from perhaps (but hopefully not!) the most magical night i will ever spend in Versailles...
I was heading to Petaluma from the Broad Summit ~ and just as i was getting out of Sebastapol i did a double take, pulled the car over, made a u-turn, and popped into California Carnivores in hopes it was open (it was late afternoon on a sunday) ~ and it WAS! And it is AMAZING. Apparently it is the "largest carnivorous plant shop in the united states"!!! AND omg. wow. you HAVE to see how stunning (and huge) this place and their plants and their kiddie pools filled with more plants in the process are... Good news is that they are carnivorous plant obsessed, extremely informative, super nice, and you can order online and they will ship anywhere in the US (he was even describing their intense packing process for shipping, and after hearing about it i'm confident to order more soon!) ~ but for now, i couldn't resist and currently have a box of 4 in my car... SO beautiful. They are so incredibly inspiring, take a peek at the pics of many species i have never seen up close before!
On unexpected discoveries, next time you're up in wine country california style ~ California Carnivores is a definite stop not to be missed!
Just a quick peek at last nights festivities ~ i'm currently at the Broad Summit at the Boon Hotel up in the Russian River Valley ~ what is it? "So. You may be wondering what this party is all about. In short, The Broad Summit was an idea hatched over Margaritas at SxSW. Maggie has "organize a retreat" on her life list, Aubrey is a party planner, Laura Mayes is a conference organizer, and Helen Jane supplies wine and cheese for the entire Internet. We talked about how fun it would be to have our blogger friends in one place for the weekend. Tipsily laid plans don't often come to much, but we're an unusually efficient group." Basically its like a blogger/tech ladies summer camp (fall camp?) of sorts, but with wine, massages, bonfires, pajama parties, hot tubs, and fun sponsors! So, yes, i'm totally at a tech conference north of SF... and the bonfire was so pretty, had to share a few quick pics with you! (More random pics keep popping up over on my twitter) ~ so first take a peek at the awesome fire, and the surroundings on the next page!