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!
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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!
Wow. I just landed in the absolutely breathtaking Chateau Les Creyeres in Reims... after a helicopter ride (my first!) over the champagne region... which was preceded by visiting the presses and the vineyards... and an incredible lunch at madame cliquot's country house where the food was created (and inspired) by the champagnes with which they were paired... and learned about the "confusing sex" alternative to pesticides... getting a sneak peek at the latest porsche design collaboration on an "ice cube" to launch next year... tasted champagne vintages including one from my birth year... ok basically, TONS to share with you, and minimal internet connection... so everything is going to be a day or so off...
...but for now, i got some pictures up before i left the hotel this morning so here's a peek at last nights adventure! Incredible boat ride up and down the seine for dinner last night - on the next page are images of the experience - including the absolutely gorgeous Riva boat collaborations with Veuve Clicquot in person, seeing the eiffel tower lit up blue with the stars of the EU while sparkling to mark france's term as EU president, meeting Lia Riva and hearing stories of life in Monaco and her childhood of gorgeous boats, and ultimately this was the start of our getting to know the Veuve Clicquot family, and truly understand how rich the history of this brand is, and experience how passionate the individuals involved are in quality products, experiences, and DESIGN! Ultimately it's becoming very clear that more than just a brand, Veuve Clicquot is a lifestyle, and the lifestyle they have created, is certainly one i'm sure we could all get used to!
So yesterday was a whirlwind day of hopping on air france in LA, finding myself in Paris, whisked from CDG to Le Faubourg Sofitel, and before i even get into meeting everyone - drinks with Christophe Pillet - meeting the veuve team - dining on a yacht up and down the Seine - and more... here's what i first encountered upon arrival ~ breathtaking clouds, quite possibly the most comfortable bed i've ever lay in, gorgeous Veuve Clicquot gifts and notes awaiting on the desk, adorable awesome packaging for the Hermes soaps in the bathroom, and the Buddha Bar outside my window... take a peek at the photo series part one on the next page!
For now... its 7:30 am, and i have to run to meet everyone at 8, so more images as i find time/internet!
[Above is my latest new toy - a mis-colored helmeted Astro-Krieg Rhino and my random capsule machine egg/rabbit at the fireplace in Park Chow] Next time you're in the SF area, you MUST stop by T.A.D. Gear at 660 22nd Street in SF - what they don't show you in their pics of the store is the Rocket World section, which is like the holy grail of Rocket World I.W.G toys and prints, and not only do they do all online fulfillment for both brands in this space but also have their design studio upstairs! So on the next page, i have a peek at the store, the gallery space, and the design studios... if you thought Shepard Fairey's studios were cool, you'll drool at how inspiring this space is!
So before the onslaught of images to walk you through our experience at the incredible converted warehouse space, here are a few quick points to note.
1) For anyone that like the great outdoors (or is a special op, or just likes being well shielded from the extremities), but has a NOTCOT type of aesthetic (love matte black? lack of logos? incredible attention to every detail?) - you have to check out T.A.D. Gear's jackets, pants, and backpacks before you reach for the next Patagonia catalog. Dan just ran off with his to Burning Man, so i'll try to get you some detail pics later.
2) If you don't need the hardcore gear, they have an amazingly well curated selection of quality outdoor accessories that had me giddy to shop even though i didn't really need more mini flashlights, otter boxes, knives, dental floss, and more...
3) Sure stores like A16 are all rugged and designy in their own right, but T.A.D. Gear feels museum-esque as you browse through the space - which leads to
4) Rocket World I.W.G creatures have their own dedicated section, and while at first it may sound odd to have some of the coolest vinyl toys showcased and designed by the same crew that makes some of the most impressive tactical gear i've seen... if you go, it will all make sense. Especially once you find out that Patrick Ma (aka "Otter X") has a background ranging from the army to a masters in art, a love of the animal kingdom to a calling towards fashion design... is it any wonder that all of his passions have perfectly fused into an incredibly well kept secret lair of custom designed tactical gear as well as some of the cutest most detailed badass animal toys out there?
Ok, sorry i'm rambling, but as you can tell, i was totally giddy there - blown away by the products and toys initially, and from a business/inspirational perspective, hearing Patrick's background and philosophies on business and how he's managed to keep focus on doing what he loves (as many varying things as that may be) for over 10 years now, without giving in to the many temptations to sell out along the way and still be extremely successful - especially when you're pursuing new and uncharted concepts/ideas!
Go see the pics on the next page!
"July 30th Whiskey Blue at W Los Angeles - Westwood debuted a month-long Piscine experience which is complemented by an installation by world-renowned Spanish designer Jaime Hayon - whose work transcends the borders of art and design. Crafted from Suryln, a material commonly used in molded luxury goods, the striking piece morphs into a satellite champagne bar that is inspired by the brand's iconic and extravagant red color. "
Is it weird that i wish i had this in my future studio? NOTCOT regulars know how i love the glossy lacquered clean modern look of Jamie Hayon's designs ~ (and am still lusting after that bath tub!) Remember his previous collaborations with Champagne Piper-Heidsieck? He created a beautiful champagne bucket and champagne bowl, and has continued the styling and colors of those pieces into this larger piece which i suppose is more like a champagne bathtub and lamp in one. The glossy quilted texture of the lampshade just keep drawing me in. See more images on the next page!
NOTCOT Note: This is the sixth in my series of Ultimate Accessories posts which have been sponsored by the new Infiniti G Sedan! As with any sponsored content ~ these posts are done - my way - my product choices, my content, and they help me keep doing what i love!
I was impressed to see Globe-Trotter partner with J. Crew for an exclusive line of vintage inspired luggage, the Centenary Collection... and the black collection had me swooning... and now they even have a Centenary Ivory color option that is nice and fresh and expected to ship Aug 20th!
So i took a bit of an internet break the last few days (blame the Sands motel in Bird Rock ~ but the relaxation and beachiness was awesome)... so unlike most die-hard comic-con-ers, we just popped by for a few hours on thursday - then went to the zoo for a few hours, and then found ourselves at the G4 + StrangeCo party for the new "Wonder Women of America" book which featured a few hundred photographs of the cosplay women of comic-con 2007... and many were present! They also had Nerdcore performances, and the place was a madhouse! But what grabbed me that you'll definitely want to see... the boys of Polite in Public, have come a long way since we last saw/talked to them. (Catch up here for their back story and to see the old set up.)
So what's new with this young revolutionary photobooth company, Polite in Public? With their impressive hollywood and technical backgrounds - they have taken their glossy, gorgeous imagery filled with props and sets and real prints on the fly! - to a whole new level. Instead of laptops, screens, printers, and more set up on a desk, we were amazed by their new set up with one large sleek machine that took the pictures, processed them from original form to the glossified form, and had a nice interface for their photobooth attendants to quickly browse and print from. It seemed like a large simple UI, and i was dying to run up and poke it, if only they weren't SO busy! Also, from only being a small 2-3 man operation, sounds like they are expanding quite a bit, since on the same night as the San Diego event, they were also doing events in SF, NY, and LA! I got a few pics of the crazy scene - and some video of their impressive automated photoshop like filtering on the fly to give you a feel for how incredible their process is - check it all out on the next page!
Just noticed over at Acquire that Tumi has given in and joined the polycarbonate suitcase trend ~ which i've definitely been quite obsessed with the last few years - there's just something about that sleek lightweight glossy polycarbonate i can't resist in black and silver - so far i've indulged in a carry-on Hideo Wakamatsu and Zero Halliburton check in... and i've lusted after Rimowa and also even checked out the Samsonite Black Label X-Lite Collection... And now to add to the list is the Tumi T-Tech Polycarbonate collection - noteworthy details (see close ups on next page) are the twisted zipper locks and the foot brake.
When Urban Daddy ~ mentioned that these "luxury teepees in the Yukon" has Solar-Powered DVD Players, i had to look twice. And any location with wifi is immediately flagged for me as somewhere i can work from! But aren't solar dvd players a bit much? So i had to research more to see what life in a luxury teepee suite are like... (pictures on the next page!). And its looking pretty sweet! They even have outhouses that compost...
These luxury teepees are one of the few options available from Perfect Earth Tours - other options including their spa and log cabins. As for the specifics on the Teepees: "Each of our guest Teepees are furnished with two queen sized luxury beds and bedding. We exclusively use mattresses, bedding's, linen and accessories from the worlds most luxurious organic suppliers. The rooms also include an individual sitting and reading area, a fireplace center piece, personal dresser, original art, complimentary stocked bar, a variety of non - alcoholic drinks, a vanity table, two DVD players with wireless headsets, satellite radio and wireless internet access. First of all, each teepee has their very own personal "outhouse". They are state of the art organic composting toilets with absolutely no similarity to the old fashioned "outhouse". They are odorless and extremely easy to use, just like your your toilet at home." I'm so intrigued! See more pics on the next page...
Flipping through a free issue of Malibu magazine that i grabbed from our usual thai place... i noticed an ad for Surfmonk... and while i have managed to live in many a beachy cities/towns, i never did manage to get on a surfboard, but do feel most at home bumming out on the beach... (the TasteSpotting drama that has yet to die down has been tormenting me for about 2 months now... maybe that's why i'm suddenly finding myself hunting for cozy, comfy, relaxing products/environments lately).
Anyhow, Surfmonk! A line of eco-friendly bamboo terry robes, cover-ups, blankets, and more for men, women, and even kids! They range from full length friar tuck/jedi robes to these shorter cover-up hoodies i'm coveting, and i love the way their cozy looking beach blanket has a padded shoulder strap... also check out the cute knee length fanny wrap and more close ups on the next page! So tempting, to grab some, a good book, and road trip down the coast stopping and laying out on the beaches all the way down...
How could anyone say no to that? And what do you have to do in return? Simply DO something ~ with your life, with your abilities, with yourself... all they want is to bring together some brilliant minds, great speakers, musicians, and more for 4 days of pure inspiration while taking in some gorgeous wilderness. I want to go!
We change nothing by just talking and moaning. words need actions. They need Do. Dick Dastardly was right, 'don't just stand the, DO something'.
So how do you get into this seemingly life changing experience? Read all the info on the next page, and sent a letter to apply!
*Phew* ~ i've been running around since May 15th, and finally got back home, and as fun as the trip which ended up taking me through 9 states... it sure feels nice to be back. Been a long day driving up from charlottesville to DC then flying back to LA, unpacking, feeding myself, and trying to make sense of the slew of emails... yay for virgin america though, it is far to fun to watch loads of current tv, cartoon network, and Ocean's 12 on the way back - hope you don't mind if i call it a night and try to get back on track tomorrow... it's going to be a busy week with events popping up to fill this whole week already!
This is a quick pic out the window as we started descending into LA ~ the mountains looked awesome at sunset.