What a week it has been! Here in Istanbul for the wedding of one of my friends since high school… we were supposed to be on vacation… but of course even while running around, Shawn and i couldn’t resist snapping and sharing pics of all the inspiration and amusement on our cell phones… many of them making it to our NOTlabs instagram (and his personal one too)… As far as proper features go ~ so far you’ve gotten a peek at our flight in to istanbul as well as inside our room at the House Hotel Galatasaray… and the adorable Emel Loves Istanbul city guide that arrived! So for all the other randomness ~ from touristy adventures to Blue Mosque and Ayasofya to the leeches and peacocks near the spice bazaar ~ to random shopping inspiration and museum finds ~ to the wedding on the bosphorus and boat ride ~ to cafes, tiles, graffiti, and so much more… get a flash overview of what we’ve experienced on the next page!
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In Istanbul all week, and while we’re here for one of my dearest friend’s wedding ~ amongst the festivities, it has been hard to figure out what to do and where to go to really get to know Istanbul! Surely there are the usual monuments, museums, bazaars and other must see spots that you find in the touristy guides… then there are the high end luxury shopping sections with brands you can probably find in any major city… and even the Wallpaper guide had a bunch of the same old stuff… but finding resources to share the fun, unexpected in betweens has been surprisingly tough! Even chatting with local friends of the bride, it’s not always easy for people to step back and help direct you to the uniquely different little shops, galleries and spots that they may take for granted…
Thanks to twitter and the internet in general making travel and exploration a smaller world than ever ~ i got the sweetest tweet from the folks at Jotun the other day, which lead to a magical little package arriving on the hotel room bed hours later! Artist, Emel Kurhan, has created a set of guide books (Emel Loves Istanbul and Emel Loves Paris!) that feel like a scrapbook of favorite spots (and why they are loved, which turn to take/door to open for secret spots, etc) leading you into a whole over side of Istanbul! “The 2 Guides are for sale together the price for 2 books is 40TL, the money will be donated to different animal shelters, they come with a ribbon(each has a different color), only 2000 books has been printed and has been numbered by myself!” she says on her site.
So while i still may not get a taste of all facets of Istanbul in this week ~ we’ve done a few cliche tourist things, attended a stunning wedding on the edge of the Bosphorus (and ended up on a boat on it till 4am) with our hand carried NOTlabs photobooth guestbook setup, hidden out at the House Hotel Galatasaray… regardless of what the remaining 3 days hold, this adorable little book is definitely helping fill in more of the blanks! Take a peek inside it as well as a cute video teaser for them on the next page!
It’s been a while since a Operation Window Seat has come along… but it was pretty spectacular flying in to Istanbul this week not to snap a few shots. Unfortunately it snuck up on us (after a long long direct flight of a nap from LAX!) so the pictures are from the iPhone! Take a peek on the next page…
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Currently in Istanbul! While here, decided to try The House Hotel Galatasaray. One of the three House Hotels (all in Istanbul), this is the four-storey mansion built in 1890′s and renovated by renowned Autoban Design. The result is a beautiful and unexpected mixture of late 1800 turkish styles with lots of geometric patterns which feel like modern takes on more traditional tile patterns… from the reception area to the closet to the ceiling of the bathroom. Additionally the juxtaposition of modern (custom!) furnishings, chandeliers, tvs and more to the wood flooring and ornate walls and ceilings leave you in a beautifully unique space! As Mr & Mrs Smith says, “The House Hotel Galatasaray in Istanbul is a masterfully modernised mansion, elegantly imperial with a hint of contemporary magic.” Take a peek inside our room on the next page!
Impressive! Recently bought the Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Pro before heading out to Bonnaroo ~ mostly to ensure that if i got separated from the rest or my phone battery was dying and i needed more power to play with the camera, etc i’d have an easy solution for iphone/htc sensation/anyone else with their usb charger… and not knowing what the weather would be like (since often it can become a rainy, muddy, mess) ~ “the IP65 rating means that this device is totally dust-proof (with the ports closed) and resistant to water being sprayed at it with a water-jet. Getting the powerstation PRO wet is no big deal (even in the shower*), but don’t try taking a bath with it.” Sounded perfect! It also has a 6,000 mAh capacity and up to 2.1amp, high-output charging which has been holding up wonderfully for traveling and having the ability to charge both my HTC Sensation and Shawn’s iPhone 4S from flashing red battery meters. Take a peek at unboxing and detail pics on the next page!
One of my favorite things about traveling has always been hotel bathrooms and amenities. With such variety in bathroom fixtures and shower designs it always feels like shopping and testing bathroom layouts and details for my future home design… and the same goes for amenities! You get the chance to test so many different scents and brands and products as you bounce from hotel to hotel.
So while surprise toiletries are often a hotel luxury, when doing a vacation rental, there’s no reason to forego the playful newness and experimentation of toiletries! So instead of packing your usuals and making mini bottles of everything currently in your bathroom, why not have a little fun and grab a set from an awesome brand you’ve been curious about? On the next page i’ve rounded up some favorites, some i’m curious about, and an awesome site that’s bound to have something you’ve yet to try!
We love succulents here at NOTCOT ~ remember the amazing patterns and incredibly gummy looking ones? The geometry of the patterns they create and emerge in are just mesmerizing… not to mention the colors and flowers and how tiny they start out and how adorably they evolve! Anyhow… while driving back down the 1 from Monterey to LA, we got curious and started pulling off to see the main streets of the towns along the way, including Cambria! And my eyes did a double take when i saw a bright, playful sign reading “Rare and Unusual Succulents” ~ we HAD to stop! And it is amazing. First you go through a house of garden goods… through their large patio… then you see it. Another house! With another “Rare and Unusual Succulents” sign on top… and within the Grow Nursery is loads of air plants (even in bubble gum machines!)… and out to ANOTHER patio FILLED with truly rare & unusual specimens. It was like a succulent wonderland, and we met the lovely Jan Moon, who blew our mind with her knowledge of them, rattling off scientific names and families and lots of information on which were new hybrids, what to expect, how to water, and more!
So check out the adorable and amazing space of Grow Nursery’s Rare & Unusual Succulents as well as the assortment we gave in to on the next page!
Renting a vacation home versus going to a hotel often means foregoing the convenience of room service… and if you were to pick a gorgeous remote spot, you may not be able to find all your gourmet favorites either! But this doesn’t necessarily mean giving them up, instead, when we day dream a NOTCOT team getaway somewhere like Big Sur, we think it would be the perfect excuse to try all kinds of packable gourmet treats and condiments and other experiments on vacation! See some of the fun we’d love to play with on the next page!
Adorable black and white bicycle loaded up with the “ultimate picnic in the park created by celebrated chef, George Vongerichten” ~ how could anyone resist? This is park of the latest luxury amenities added to the Mark Hotel including The Mark Restaurant and Bar by Jean-Georges Vongerichten; a shoe shine kiosk by John Lobb; martial arts gym Punch Fitness Center; and a Frederic Fekkai salon… this fleet of bikes are bespoke Republic Bikes with a striped chaincase and monogrammed bicycles, MARK1 license plates, signature black helmets and baskets! As for the ultimate picnic lunch - “Steamed Shrimp Salad, Avocado and Enoki, Champagne Dressing; Fresh Mozzarella, Marinated Roasted Peppers and Arugula; Black Truffle Pizza with Fontina Cheese; Mini Vanilla and Chocolate Éclairs Red velvet cupcake; and Artisanal Cheeses. Lunch-to-go also includes half a bottle of Champagne and a bottle of San Pellegrino. The picnic basket, together with blanket, plates, cutlery and glasses all fit neatly into the bicycles front basket, with a specially designed drink bottle cooler.” Adorable, isn’t it? See more picture on the next page!
The perfect camera bag is hard to find. I even have categories of them ~ functional for travel (hand carry and/or check in) ~ perfect incognito bag (usually a big purse!) Lately i’ve been needing a good solution for the travel/hand carry side of things. Something padded to carry my usual amount of tech and basic purse essentials when paired with a roller carry-on for quick (or efficiently packed) trips. Intrigued by the Incase Camera Collection, i was also overwhelmed and baffled by the sizing and options… when narrowing it down, most alluring were the DSLR Sling Pack and DSLR Pro Sling Pack. But was the Sling big enough? Was the Pro Sling too big? The pictures on the site were hard to decipher for sure… SO ~ the kind folks at Incase sent both over for me to compare and share! Take a peek at the sizes and how they seem as i cram things into them on the next page!