On more gorgeous neon signage ~ somehow ended up at The Griffin in downtown vegas ~ although we later realized there is The Griffin in Los Feliz too, pictures made it look like this vegas one has the prettier neon/fonts for sure! And they even have Griffin tiles in the bathrooms! Take a peek at their adorable branding and beautifully simple brick arched ceilings and interiors, lush red leather booths to sink into, awesome 360 fire... its like walking into that classic den... only slightly more hipster than retro... lots of pics on the next page!
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This has been a strange strange trip ~ in a nutshell, its been the least CES-y ces trip ever ~ and to be honest, we never made it to the main show floor (just ran around the sands part for an hour or two) ~ but with the extensive coverage just about EVERYWHERE online right now (yes, we too are lusting after the Palm Pre), i feel like we've been seeing the best of's all over! Instead we ended up indulging in some exploring of vegas, meetings/dinners/etc... so to everyone i never got a chance to meet back up with at the main show floor ~ apologies! Next time, perhaps?
So back to the random adventures around Vegas ~ i've seen the highway signs for Alien Fresh Jerky for years... so we went on the way back to LA! It is like a highway stop Alien 7-11 filled with jerky, alien paraphernalia, honey, nuts, hot sauce, you name it... there was a ufo crashing into it, and a family of aliens parked in the parking lot... and clearly they've been having a LOT of fun with their packaging/branding! So see the pics on the next page... and you can even order online for the next time you need some Alien stocking stuffers...
Here's what i love about vegas ~ you just never know what or where you'll end up ~ tonight led us on an adventure into the vegas off-strip suburbs where we ended up tossing the latest ioSafe Solo external hard drive into the color changing rock fountain pool... pulled it out by a cord... then set it on fire! Only to cool it (with clouds of steam) with a hose... and take it all apart to show off the pristine hard drive contained with in... and of course we also cooked a standard hard drive as well, which didn't fare quite as nicely...
Beyond the obvious fascination and amusement from the demo itself ~ it all lent it self perfectly for some fun photographing and video too! Luckily dan came with ~ so we have full video of all the excitement for you to see on the next page, and i've summarized the whole scene in a gallery of pics as usual! Fire in the dark is SO fun with the my new 5D ~ and as for the ioSafe Solo external hard drive, i think i'm sold. In this line of "work" i can't imagine losing all my files... lifetime of photos... design work... the websites!... you name it! Granted its one of those problems you hope you never have to worry about, but if there *were* to be a flood or fire, i'd certainly feel better knowing my data would most likely survive it! While ioSafe is primarily known for their enterprise level products (massive, hefty "disaster proof hardware") ~ this is their first introduction into the consumer space, and the pricing is impressive ~ the 500GB ioSafe Solo external hard drive is only $149, and the 1TB is $199 and 1.5TB is $299!
Go see the pics and videos as well as more details on how they work on the next page! (The first video shows the destruction of it... the second one shows you how to get the hard drive out of it after!)
So for some background ~ i've been in love with the work of Shag since i was a kid (early high school perhaps?) ~ and to stumble into Frankie's Tiki Room upon the suggestion of Hugh at Unica Home, and then to see not only all the amazing art/interiors, and the exclusive mugs... and in the corner there is this playful "VICE TESTER" machine calling out to me... and as i get closer, the whole thing is covered in Shag's illustrations! Every single side of it and all the options too! It's only getting in to the hotel and hooked up to some wonky internet that i got caught up on all things Frankie's Tiki Room, including the little snippet on their site that says "And the 'Vice Tester' carnival game, designed and built by Shag, must be seen to be believed." It's no joke, you really must see it... and since i can't show it to you in person, on the next page you will see a bunch of pictures of every side of it as well as a little *sideways* video (sorry, we did what we could between the very dark bar and the very strong drinks)...
I popped a quarter in, grabbed the handle as instructed, and apparently my vice at that moment was "drugs"... and i love that lincoln quote on the side "It has been my experience that those who have no vices have very few virtues"... so anyhow, go see the pics and vid on the next page!!!
From Unica Home we made our way to Frankie's Tiki Room... and WOW. Seriously. While in Vegas, wtf are you doing on the strip? Go to Frankie's! It is dripping with tiki bar lore, and art works from many of our favorite contemporary tiki loving artists (so much SHAG-aliciousness!)... and even an exclusive set of custom Tiki Souvenir Mugs! Not to mention the awesome old school neon signage on the front of this 24 hour joint that just opened last month! Soooooo, there will be three posts on Frankie's since there was too much to show you in just one!
First up ~ photographic look at Frankie's and my very strong drinks and giddy view of the tiki wonders... so go see the pics on the next page, and i'll slip more info in there, but you really need to see more first!
First stop into vegas... UNICA HOME! The showroom/shop! Stepping into their new 3 month old 12,000 sq ft space felt like going to design heaven ~ so many things i've written about... beautifully laid out for hours of oooooohs and ahhhhhhs followed by debating and purchasing... i'm currently debating the Artimide Melampo Lamps! Unica Home in person manages to strike a delicate balance between being incredibly accessible and touchable, while still feeling as if you're in the presence of a museum like space versus a store, as silly as it sounds, you can feel the care that is taken in showcasing the products with the utmost respect. When you meet founders Bonnie & Hugh, you'll quickly grasp their passion for each and every object in the store, and their excitement over what is yet to come is infectious! And really, 12,000 sq feet is HUGE! They have one of their two warehouses in the back of the store, so don't hesitate to ask if there's something you've been eying online that you're curious to see in person... The Detroit natives have been running Unica Home for 10 years, and have surprising backgrounds ranging from molecular biology, advertising/marketing, and antique sales as well as serving on the board of the legendary Neon Museum... and Hugh pointed us towards some off the Strip spots to check out... you'll see more about Frankie's Tiki Room when i get the next post ready... but first ~ click on to the next page to see a tour of the incredible Unica Home, there are over 30 pictures!!! There was just far too much to show you! This is definitely a MUST SEE when you're in vegas!
Happy 2009!!! I must say i'm extra giddy about this year starting ~ it feels like a good one! To kick it off we decided to do some of the things we're hoping to do more of this year! So Dan, Linhchi and i started it off by sleeping in... waaaaaay in... then cooking fluffy delicious waffles, eggs, and veggie sausages that we enjoyed out on the deck... and then off to an adventure wandering on a trail in Topanga for a few hours... with our cameras, random ideas, and not much else... So now as we relax (they are playing Little Big World + i'm posting this!) ~ i think we're ready to do 2009 right! Basically my resolution is to do more of what i love, and less of what i don't. What are yours?
And as for adventures ~ check out the massive number of pics to see what we found on our wander ~ amazing sunset and fun crazy darkness pictures playing with our led flashlights... as well as closeups of teeny tiny flowers and moss... and more!
TO WIN: Leave a comment ~ with where you would go if you could jet set anywhere! ENTER BY 12/15. WINNER: Rabbit in NC!
NOTCOT Holiday Giveaway #27 ~ and it's a big one! Wejetset is ready to hook one reader up with the ultimate travel upgrade, and their founder Taj knows my tastes far too well, since he picked so many NOTCOT faves in this bundle... From the incredibly sleek, can't be missed, minimal Hideo Wakamatsu Wave (Red) Carry-on, to one of my favorite laptop sleeves, Incase Krink 15" Laptop Sleeve, to the Baxter Travel Kit from our favorite men's line, to the adorably understated Field Notes to doodle during your trip, and even STPL Socks, so that during the security line, even your socks are looking good! Clearly Wejetset does not mess around when outfitting you for your next jetsetting adventure... here's one way to go home for the holidays in style (and pampered comfort!)
So here's what you can win in this instant travel makeover of a bundle (over $500 of goods!)
+ Hideo Wave (Red)
+ Baxter Travel Kit
+ Incase Krink 15" Laptop Sleeve
+ Field Notes (3 pack)
+ STPL Socks (Grey & White - 2 pairs)
So are you ready? For a chance to win this, leave a comment about where you would go if you could jet set anywhere tomorrow! I know we could all use a vacation right about now!!!
Just got back from the midnight showing of Quantum of Solace... and as a total bond junkie... i still stand by my opinion that the last one was one of the worst... and this one... well, it was off to a good start! Decent intro graphics ~ like the color palette and sandy look ~ awesome techy glass wall and table touch UIs (details like having him spell out "G R Double E N" over the phone, and as he says "double" a W shows up and changes to EE) ~ the aston martin DBS chase scene in the intro ~ tom ford did an incredible job dressing him... The prada dress she wears through the desert is awesome... but seriously, no gadgets? at all? Painfully annoying semi background integrated text telling us when we were in russia, etc? (wtf was up with some of those fonts?) Range Rover was one thing, but Ford? The fight scenes were so badly chopped up, you couldn't follow what was going on... And could sony's product placement have been more blatant? I think the sony phones and terrible microPC must have been his only "gadgets"... and the villains weren't nearly amusingly villainous enough either! Ok ok, anyhow, i think i just needed to vent! BUT... seeing it was a nice excuse for me to post more of Justine's pictures (she seriously sent me TONS from her National Geographic night out in London).
Here are some quick snap shots of the fun Harrod's Brompton store windows as they closed up the Bollinger champagne bar... as well as the Aston Martin DBS, the Sunseeker speedboat, Tom Ford suit and black Prada dress worn by Daniel Craig and Olga Kurylenko and the latest Omega. Front and center of the bar you can also see the limited-edition Champagne cooler in the shape of a Walther PPK bullet that was featured on Liqurious. Perhaps better than the gadgetry in the film is the motion activated display at Harrods, where upon walking by you trigger clips from the film to play... Anyhow, check out more pics and info on the next page!
Ok, i need a teleportation device. Please! Today, National Geographic opens their first retail space and it is a 3 story 1,800 square metre world of its own on London's Regent Street. We were lucky enough to get an invite to the launch party, but i was unlucky enough not to be able to teleport over for this stunning event! However, my sister, Justine (Rugenius) and her boyfriend, were kind enough to take a break from her PhD thesis writing to pop over and give us her take of it... and i think her animal loving, scientifically minded side really came out and fell in love with the space! She even has me excited about the upcoming talks, as well as dying to go shop the store in person...
So here's the deal, she's done a very thorough, visual walkthrough of the store for you on the next page, and she sent me SO many pictures that i've pulled out a few for the post, but you can view them all in Gallery NOTCOT. A few standout things to take note of? The layouts! Incredibly fun use of crates, industrial feeling containers, gorgeous gallery spaces... no one will be able to resist going into the magical red chamber with the GIANT block of ice to try on cold weather gear, and see where their heat is escaping on the screen... it looks like whether you're planning a trip, looking for an adventure, or just escaping for a quick snack, this museum-esque store is going to be a hit. So, check out our first look on the next page!
NOTCOT Note: Lucky! Sub-Studio was invited to go see Chicago through the eyes of Volkswagen, specifically while cruising around in their new 2009 CC, while dining on molecular gastronomy goodness, and checking out the humble abode of Frank Lloyd Wright ... and all we got is a post filled with pictures of Anna's adventures! I'm so fascinated by the studio and foodie pics on the next page!
A few weeks ago, I made a trip out to Chicago to review and test drive the new Volkswagen 2009 CC. Along the way, we got to see Chicago, have a 20-course dinner at molecular gastronomy restaurant Moto, and visit Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio in the Oak Park suburbs of the city. Check out my adventures through pictures on the next page!
Ok, this one is going to sound a bit weird, i probably should have looked things up on the internet before i scared myself at the Desert View Tower & Boulder Park... b/c now that i've had the time to sit and search i totally wish it hadn't been super windy and SUPER creepy when i stopped by... to be fair, we're cruising along the 8 in the middle of the desert, suddenly from sand dunes it turns to crazy mountains of boulders, and then i see a little castle tower, and we decide to pull off and go see what's up... pulling off, we head up what we're warned is a dead end (really early on!) but keep going to see what's up there, pass a creepy abandonedish feeling rusty trailer park, with an underpass with giant scarecrow like branches (think giant blair witch twigs) with hoodies and clothes on them blocking the way... then we see a very desolate tower with a few pretty old cars in the lot. Really it all looked super spooky! But according to the internet its a fun place where kids run around on boulders.... Anyhow, now that i've done my research i kind of want to go back... but with a large group of friends, since the place really gave me the chills! Check out the pics from the place and a few other random roadtripping pictures from Tuscon to San Diego on the 8 yesterday!
NOTCOT Note: SO, jealous that linhchi (shade elaine) had a chance to get into the California Academy of Sciences! But luckily she took some gorgeous pics to share her experience with us!
I'd been waiting for the new California Academy of Sciences to open in Golden Gate Park for over a year, and when opening weekend finally rolled around late in September, I wasn't willing to combat the crowds. Luckily the company I work for was invited to a party there (hosted by AOL) this past Monday evening, and though we didn't get to check out the entire place, it was awesome being able to wander around the rain forest dome (I missed the planetarium show!) and get a glimpse of the other parts without enormous amounts of people, and to get a unique view of the place at night! My favorite pic (you'll see it after the jump) is from inside the rain forest dome looking up at the ceiling & lights. I'll definitely have to go back and check out the entire place for real. See a lot more pics after the jump!
Remember those amazing photographs of nudibranchs David Doubilet shot for National Geographic where i couldn't stop gushing about how amazing they were on pure white, like a model or product? Well in our ever shrinking world, i get an email from my globetrotting explorer of a dad, who happened to be in Manado at the Lembeh Strait on North Sulawesi, Indonesia at the Kungkungan Bay Resort scuba diving ~ with pictures of him holding the mini underwater studio setups David Doubilet used for those shoots! He even said that the resort folks were encouraging him to use them, but he decided they were too much of a hassle, but thankfully he took some pics to indulge my curiosity about the set up.
On the next page you can see more pics of the mini studio, as well as some of his scuba diving discoveries i loved ~ i've picked out my favorites of my dad's nudibranchs and frog fish pics!
While recollecting my thoughts and trying to take a bit of a break ~ i've also found myself cleaning up my computer, and while doing so, discovered a lot of posts in the making... that never quite made it! So here's some more catch up. I spent most of yesterday running around LA (and the outskirts) hunting and researching for the house i'm working on (under construction! i get to move in soon!) ~ and in doing so, finding myself thinking about so many details i hadn't paid such careful attention to before, and things that reminded me about the Manoir de Verzy ~ the Country House of Madame Veuve Clicquot that we visited, and i'm ashamed that i hadn't gotten these pictures up for you sooner!
There were so many fascinating details to this house and its gardens and being able to visit the actual vineyards ~ consider this a photo essay of sorts taking you through some of my most memorable images while there. This house is where we learned about vintages (even tasting our birth years! mine was a delicious vintage in '82) and Dégorgement à la volée in the Vieux Pressoir with Cyril Brun, the wine communications head and wine maker ~ followed by aperitif and specially crafted, perfectly paired lunch with Stéphane Gerschel - International Communications Director, Andrea Crippa - International Marketing Director, Cyril Brun, Felix Bocquet - Quality and Environment Director, followed by a walk through the vineyards with the Veuve Clicquot Vineyards director, Christian Renard. (All before taking off to our surprise helicopter ride!). It was at this lunch that Andrea gave us that sneak peek of the Ice Cube and i showed you some of the tile i loved. Anyhow, so on house shopping, and all the little details that make a house a home, take a peek at some of the quarters where VIPs stay with Veuve Clicquot, and the beautifully inspiring views across the vineyard on the next page!
DWR's second Tools For Living store launches tomorrow, and i just popped into the Santa Monica store for a quick press preview... it is GORGEOUS. And in this heat wave, you won't want to leave the lovely, spacious, air conditioned store filled with designer goodies that are fully functional in your everyday life!
While i can't even imagine picking all of my favorites and temptations from the store quite yet (perhaps we'll save that for the gift guide!) ~ i couldn't help myself when taking pics, and ended up with about 30 on the next page to give you a feel for the store in person. There really is something so great about being able to spin around a store ooohing and ahhhhing about products i've only seen online, or have been unable to find in the US that i saw at foreign trade shows. So especially for those who aren't close enough to pop into the DWR Tools For Living Santa Monica or SoHo stores, take a browse at the gallery on the next page! With holiday shopping around the corner, i can already tell this will be one of my new last minute gift stops...
On feeling too giddy not to share ~ i just popped down to the Montage Laguna Beach for the night thanks to Toyota (i can't wait to tour Calty - their design studios in the morning and learn more about the new Toyota crossover car the 2009 Venza!) ~ and the views here were far too breathtaking not to share quickly. Also the bed and bathtub too ~ you know how i can't resist posting quick hotel pics. Anyhow, if i get a bit quiet tonight/tomorrow you know where i am...
Even just an hour here, i can't stop staring out at the ocean ~ in contrast to paris, this is definitely confirming i'm far more of a calm, rolling oceans, beach kind of girl than a city girl.
I've updated this post four times now ~ so images of bunnies, sunsets, and their insane mosaic pool at night... and 6am shots of moonlight peeking through the clouds... on the next page...
While in Paris i stumbled across a new store (new, as in there are 6 currently open around paris, and quite a few others in the process of opening around france), The Kooples. I suppose what struck me first was the black and white interiors, bright white lighting (apparently the designers were adamant about making sure the lighting didn't interfere with the perception of the clothing colors), and the slightly american apparel feel with the candid photography - but with a far more... London rocker meets Saville Row with a Parisian twist? It's hard to describe, you have to go see it ~ but the tailoring of every detail is impeccable, yet these perfect jackets and shirts had fun subtle yet hardcore skulls on metal buttons... and when unfortunately a jacket i loved didn't have my size in the color i wanted, i couldn't help myself and got a really fun necklace (pics on the next page). As for the branding, beyond the black, white, and photography ~ the packaging is nice too, see the bag on the next page! And like Acne, they even have a magazine/newspaper that is just starting off as well...
Their site describes it as: "The Kooples, c'est le retour du chic de rue, un état d'esprit Paris-Londres, une inclinaison musicale, la mode comme manifeste, et un vestiaire pour deux. Depuis cinq minutes ou depuis quinze ans, pour une nuit, pour un certain temps, c'est un mode de vie, un jeu." The Kooples is the return of street chic, a Paris-London mindset, a musical inclination, fashion as a manifest, and a cloakroom for two. For five minutes or the last fifteen years, for one night, for some time, it is a way of life, a game.
I saw the Veuve Clicquot Globalights designed by Karim Rashid in their true light... honestly, seeing them in press photos and at the launch did not do the design justice... the juxtaposition of the sleek modern pink glow, with the ancient, history filled caves, give them an incredibly surreal context... they were absolutely stunning in the dark depths of the roman limestone caves that double as cellars underneath Reims for the delicious Veuve Clicquot... and as such, i couldn't help taking photographs of its mesmerizing light, as it provided an incredible glow as our hand held lanterns as we toured the caves and learned about the process in the perfectly cool (same temp all year round!) space... looking at the pictures, i'm amazed how incredible the lighting turned out for what seemed so incredibly dark at the time... now if only we could PLAN some incredible photoshoot down there to make use of the space even more creatively (in addition to making champagne, of course!)... see the photo spread on the next page!
unfortunately the only thing missing in these pictures is having an actual bottle IN the Globalight... ironically we were surrounded by bottles constantly though!
VIDEO (on the next page)! So i woke up bright and early this sunday morning and decided to wander around Paris, quickly realizing that stores weren't really open today, i went hunting for outdoor markets once the rain stopped, and found myself wandering around St Germain for some time, crossing through Notre Dame... and as i turned, i heard tons of sqwaking, and followed the sounds... i ended up in the most bizarre and amazing little outdoor flower and bird market, which apparently also has ferrets, chipmunks, chinchillas, piles of hamsters, super fluffy bunnies, all kinds of beautiful little birds, and even a poor little yorkie decked out in more denim than most people...
See the video for the best feel of the craziness, and lots of pics on the next page!
On fascinating lore (surrounded by rumors and speculation) ~ in Notre Dame de Reims (where nearly all the kings of france have been crowned) in the stained glass windows of the south transcript... there are yellow labeled champagne bottles which we heard from someone who heard from someone that Veuve Clicquot played such a large role in the history of the region over the centuries that you even see it in the stained glass. Speculate as to whether its complete fabrication, conspiracies of the past, the first product placement, etc as you wish... i'm just showing you what we found in those windows, so you can join in on the fun too. See larger images of these wine making panels on the next page!
By the way, standing in such a large cathedral, late for the bus, trying to play the equivalent of 'where's waldo' on a huge wall of stained glass is harder than expected...
So traveling Veuve Clicquot style is quite a trip, they started us out on the yacht, flew us around in the helicopter... and now here's the most impressive car... Who knew a 1960's yellow and purple Bentley S3 could be so appealing? I love fast cars, i love beautifully designed cars, and apparently i love the vintage woody not at all discreet Veuve Clicquot Yellow and Purple Bentley? I couldn't resist taking two rides in it with Stephane Gerschel as we drove around Reims... and every time i sat fascinated not only by the tiniest details (from the jeweled fuel light to the insane speed of the windows to the amusement of seeing a GPS in a car of that vintage)... You have to check out the rest of the pics!
You would never believe how hard it is to cull from the hundreds of pictures from each day to figure out what to post!
I've thought and rethought and dreamt about how to describe this trip, how to break up the posts, how to tell you about all of the incredible things that have happened in the last three days, and somehow it all comes across sounding quite possibly a bit gushy and cheesy. So, you know what? I'm just going to be completely honest with all of you, and even though i have about 1000+ pics of so many insane adventures and stories, here's the plan: i'm going to work my way through them in images, sharing with you piece by piece, scattered with little stories as i remember them.
The official aspect of this Veuve Clicquot France trip has come to an end, and most of the other bloggers are headed back home, my new Veuve Clicquot family has been kind enough to put me up for 5 more nights so i can cover Paris Design this week at Maison & Objet. So about that family thing, i kid you not that it feels like we were all adopted by the Veuve Clicquot family, everyone from the president, to communications, to brand managers, to sommeliers, and more welcomed us with open arms, and were so kind (and insanely playful, passionate, and full of life) - it felt far more like hanging out with your long lost aunt than meeting with the president of multinational, centuries old, champagne powerhouse. Also, what's more inspiring than constantly hearing the lore of Madame Clicquot, and in a one liner... a woman who was widows at 27, who manages to revolutionize the champagne industry through a multitude of innovations, and becomes the richest woman in europe in a time where women held few rights? (So, at 25, i guess i have a lot of work to do to catch up someday!)
Ok, but, moving along ~ HELICOPTER RIDE! I'd never been on a helicopter, and the crazy, secret loving itinerary planners of this trip worked in massive surprises for us everyday where even the drivers didn't know what was up until we arrived. So imagine the looks on our faces when we pulled up to L'aerodrome Reims Prunay? And when we are whisked into "the rolls royce of helicopters" (leather seats, Bose headsets, etc), and soon peering over at the champagne region from bird's eye view, watching all of the tiny people, vast vineyards, circling the mountain... then suddenly you see it. Madame Clicquot's historic Boursault Castle. Mind. Blowing. Go see the rest of the images on the next page!
UPDATE!: The bathroom was so gorgeous and huge as well i've added pictures of that as well....
Ok, we're going to jump out of order a bit, but i am far too excited by the gorgeously inspiring chateau Veuve Clicquot moved us to today... imagine waking up from a jetlagged nap and feeling like you fell into a time warp? Welcome to Chateau Les Crayeres in the heart of the Champagne of France... the grounds, decor, rooms, lounge, restaurant.... it's all breath takingly stunning. Don't believe me? You have to take a look at the rest of the pictures on the next page... wow. I'm sitting on that bed in the pic right now, and i can't help staring off every few minutes discovering new details, from the paintings, to the wallpaper patterns, to how ornate the extra high ceilings are!
Basically for the ultimate escape, i can't imagine a more surreal and beautiful space to relax and catch my breath in... and the whole "room" is probably three time the size of tiny SF apts i've ended up in...
The pics on the next page of the circular bar areas with the petticoat like curtains are so sweet!
So, in the last post you had a chance to see the incredible boat and views and the Riva/Veuve Clicquot collaboration, but what did they serve us? Here is a walk through with pics of the menu to explain all of the deliciousness served... from the Crab tasting in gazpacho juice, to the Morels in asparagus cream and beef consomme with a lobster medalion, to Veal filet mignon with truffles, potatos mousseline with truffles and baby onions, served with a spicy juice, to the two desserts - wild strawberries in a small cookie with a red berry ice cream macaroon, and a hazelnut in a caramel and dacquoise ice cream....... to the cigars and cognac that finished off quite a spectacular culinary feast and quite the introduction to the playful leisure loving Veuve Clicquot lifestyle... So feast with your eyes on the next page!