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Miss Universe, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters - The fairest of them all --- More on Page 14 12 Upscale Living Magazine | DECEMBER 2017


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Miss Universe 2017, 66th Miss Universe, Telecast, Top 10, Evening Gown. Photo by Matt Petit.

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emi-Leigh Nel-Peters was Miss South Africa for a short eight months before she had to relinquish her crown. Scandal? No, this beautiful 22-year-old business management graduate is now sporting the Miss Universe title and crown. Upscale Living Magazine spoke to the stunner about life before and after the most impactful moment of her life.

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ou are only the second Miss South Africa to wear the Miss Universe crown. Congratulations! Margaret Gardiner was crowned 39 years ago. Do you see yourself ‘following in her footsteps’ or how do you see your reign as Miss Universe?

Little 10 kilometre races? There’s nothing little about running 10 kilometres!

She is definitely a big inspiration to me and I’m really so fortunate to be following in her footsteps as only the second Miss South Africa to wear the Miss Universe crown. I have my own ideals and goals that I would like to achieve and do as Miss Universe. One thing that I will definitely be borrowing from Margaret is to always be the best that I could possibly be. I will aspire to be the best Miss Universe that I could possibly be.

What is your beauty routine? You have the most flawless skin, your hair is flowing and shiny – how do you maintain your outer package?

You are from Sedgefield, a beautiful small town on Cape Town’s Garden Route. With so much interest in you and where you are from, what are your fondest childhood memories? I always used to go to the beach with my mom and stepdad and my dog. The best thing for me was that before we got home, we always had an ice cream at the ice cream stall. That is definitely one of my fondest memories. And still being able to play in the street like children should be free to do these days. You have two families and thus double the support. Who is your biggest cheerleader? I definitely can’t distinguish between any of my four parents as who is my biggest cheerleader as they have been the greatest support throughout my Miss South Africa and Miss Universe journey. They were with me in Las Vegas when I was crowned. My dad and stepmom joined me in New York for the first few days to see where I’m staying and explore the city; they are much more at ease to leave their daughter behind in a city that I had never been to. This marks your first time to America, New York City and Las Vegas. What are your first impressions? I loved Las Vegas even though it’s definitely not the true representation of the whole of America, I think all the states differ a little bit as well, but so far I am loving New York. It’s a lot to take in, coming from a small town. The buildings are so high you barely see the sun but it’s fantastic – it’s so vibrant and such a cosmopolitan city. Is it your opinion that confidence makes a woman more beautiful? Yes, I definitely think that. I also think a woman that is confident in who she is as an individual, that it makes someone beautiful. If you are confident in who you are, it shines from within. You love food, especially sweet things. How do you stay in such fantastic shape with a self-confessed sweet tooth? Everything comes with balance. If you have a slice of cake you will have to eat veggies and chicken breasts for dinner (laughs) and not a bowl of pasta. Or just run an extra kilometre or two. I’m all about having a balanced, healthy lifestyle. I love sweet things but you just have to have some selfdiscipline to know that you can’t have that all the time. Moderation is key. As a child, I used to play hockey and also partook in athletics – the 400metres, 800 metres and cross country running. I’m fortunate that I love running, I love the outdoors, I love hiking and doing little 10 kilometre road races. 16 Upscale Living Magazine |

Yes, but it’s not a marathon. I gym quite often and do weight training; it has to be about balance – I like to switch it up otherwise it gets very boring.

Thank you. I always try to stay hydrated. Glowing and beautiful skin comes from with what you put into your body. I try to drink a lot of water and I never sleep with make-up on. I invest in good facial and hair products, because your face is your canvas; that is how you express yourself. Eat healthily, try not to eat too many chocolates, never go to bed without having removed your make-up, use a good product and just take care of your skin. You were hijacked / carjacked at gunpoint a month after being crowned Miss South Africa and turned a negative experience into an empowering one. What did you take away from such a horrible ordeal? After the incident, I was truly traumatized and it was a really difficult time, so much so that I was almost too scared to drive again. I realized that by doing that, I would allow them to have control over me and imprison me by living the rest my life in fear. I decided there and then that I would not see myself as a victim of crime and violence. You then started an initiative to empower women to take back their control? My phone got stolen in the carjacking and when I got my replacement phone and switched it on, I had thousands of messages from women asking me about the course I was speaking about that empowers women. I did a course that taught me how to handle situations like these and how to handle it. I decided to start my campaign to host these workshops for women in South Africa to empower them. Will you continue this now that you have the platform as Miss Universe to speak out about not becoming a victim of crime? I really hope that I can continue this all over the world. What were you immediate thoughts when you heard your name being called as the new Miss Universe 2017? Oh goodness! It sounded like a big relief, excitement and happy tears all in one. I felt a lot of emotions, but it was a dream come true. It was something I have wanted since I can remember. It’s something I have worked really hard for my whole life. I have always known; should I not become Miss South Africa or Miss Universe, I have always wanted to a Miss Universe type of woman. In that sense, I have worked hard to be that kind of woman. In what sense have you worked hard? By working hard in school, by making sure I had the best grades to be able to get into college. Just being a leader in my generation and a leader in my community and in my country. This is exactly what this platform is about. You must still be pinching yourself that this has happened to you! I definitely am. To see your life change in seconds is very hard to comprehend. I am still trying to soak all that in.



Miss Universe 2017, 66th Miss Universe, Telecast, Win. Photo by Patrick Prather.

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P R O F I L E You seemed very much in control of your emotions after the win and incredibly happy. How did you not, like so many before you, resort to the ‘ugly cry’? (Demi-Leigh laughs). I don’t know. To me, it wasn’t the most beautiful cry – I think I looked like a racoon, but I couldn’t help it, it was happy tears. I didn’t really care if it wasn’t a pretty face, but it was a dream come true. Apart from sport uniting the nation, you winning Miss Universe has garnered the support of the whole of South Africa – we couldn’t be more proud. What message do you have for your fellow citizens? I can’t wait to get back home to celebrate with everybody and to see friends and family that have supported me from day one ever since I started this journey. To everybody that has been following me, that is the magic of social media to be able to share this with each and every one of you. I hope this inspires every young girl out there – if they have a dream, to follow their dreams and reach for their goals. A year in a New York apartment - how exciting! It’s the polar opposite from Sedgefield – they couldn’t be more different. How do you envisage settling in and making your apartment home? I’ve got my South African flag that I am about to hang up somewhere and I will be bringing a few souvenirs back from home that I can put up in my apartment. The apartment is beautiful and it’s very homey. I must just say I think the cold weather is a big adjustment, but I’ll work through it and hopefully get used to it! You have quite a busy time ahead. What do you look most forward to? I have made so many wonderful friends across the world that I really hope to visit all of their countries and experience the different cultures. I love traveling and exploring and that is something that’s very exciting to me. Any specific countries or places that are on your bucket list that you would like to visit?

Miss Universe 2017, 66th Miss Universe, National Costume. Photo by Patrick Prather.

America has been one of them, which I’m busy discovering now and it’s a lot of fun. I would love to visit some of the European countries. Indonesia – I’ve never been there and some of the South American countries I hope to get to experience and learn more about them. Spending so much time with all the beautiful girls from each country was amazing! Did you make good friends during your pageant? I definitely did. I hope to turn them into lasting friendships. Any parting words? I just want to say thank you to everybody, not only South Africans, but all over the world, for supporting me and following me. It really means the world to me. It’s so amazing to be able to share this journey with everyone. After a jam-packed first couple of days with interviews galore and a relocation to the ‘city that never sleeps’, Demi-Leigh has taken it all in her stride. The Universe is her stage after all.  18 Upscale Living Magazine |

Miss Universe 2017, 66th Miss Universe, Swimsuit, Swimwear, Yamamay, Chinese Laundry. Photo by Matt Petit.

Follow Demi-Leigh’s Miss Universe journey on Instagram at http:// or



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TADASHI SHOJI Fashion First! | By Angela Sara West

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He has clocked up nearly four decades in the fashion industry, dressing everyone from Katy Perry, Paris Jackson and Miranda Kerr, to Kate Hudson, Helen Mirren and Michelle Obama for prestigious events including the Academy Awards. This contemporary women’s designer is a leading lifestyle brand, with established collections offering ready-to-wear, kidswear, lingerie, shapewear and sunglasses, while he debuted his luxury bridal collection in the spring and leather handbags in the fall. American designer, Tadashi Shoji, talks to Angela Sara West about his famous designs, his favourite Fashion Week, his first fragrance and his tips for EVERY woman wanting to look red-carpet ready! What sparked your interest in fashion? I trained formally in art school and worked for the artist, Jiro Takamtsu, which was one of the most memorable experiences of my life, but I realized this wasn’t the path I wanted to take… In 1973, I decided to move to the US, leading me to fashion design. You studied fashion design in Los Angeles… How has the city influenced your work? I love LA and it has become a second home. I get inspiration everywhere... from people watching, to exploring the latest exhibits at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), The Getty or the Hammer Museum at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles). You set up “Tadashi” in 1982. What was your big break? One holiday season, I was walking by Saks in LA and saw a window display consisting of all of my white dresses. Seeing my large collection in the window was so memorable and special! You launched the “Tadashi Shoji” Runway Collection for Fall 2007 during New York Fashion Week to rave reviews… I always look forward to NYFW and the challenges and excitement it brings. Many things have changed in my years showing at NYFW… The overall production of the show has become more organized and streamlined. I want a calm atmosphere. I focus on the beauty of the clothes and the women who wear them. Who inspires you? Bill Whitten, the first person to give me a chance in this industry. I also admire the multi-faceted French interior designer/creator, Philippe Starck, and American conceptual artist, Sol LeWitt. Apple is at the forefront of innovative design and development. All of the imagery they use… billboards, print ads, television commercials… is consistently on brand. My favourite news sources are The New York Times, the Financial Times, The Business of Fashion and Japanese newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun. You’re originally from Japan... Do you look to Japan for inspiration? Although I don’t generally have any Japanese aesthetics in my designs, I continue to keep my love of the country and its culture. I’m so inspired by the people and visit Japan often.

Where else do your travels take you? For work, I fly between LA, NY and Shanghai, where I have offices. For work and pleasure, I’ve been to Qatar, Dubai, Philippines, China, Japan and Istanbul, just to name a few destinations! As my work takes me all over the world, expanding internationally makes sense for us as we’re in department stores worldwide and there is universal brand recognition. I’m greatly influenced by art and travel. If I’m struck by a particular piece or location, that’s what lays the foundation for a collection. You’re known for designing for all ages, ethnicities, sizes and shapes and for using figure-flattering techniques… I want to make every woman feel beautiful; that’s been my intent since the beginning. I want to design for real women of all shapes and sizes. As the average woman in the US alone is a size 14/16, it’s important now, more than ever, to offer stylish designs in plus-size clothing. My designs are comfortable and flattering for different shapes and sizes. My customers want to feel confident and beautiful; they know I can create something that makes them feel selfassured, no matter what walk of life they’re from. Nothing is worse than feeling insecure and uncomfortable. You’re well known for your red-carpet gowns and evening wear and your designs have been seen on numerous celebrities… I’ve had the pleasure to dress many influential women and those powerful, strong, graceful personalities have shaped my designs. I enjoy dressing up-and-coming talent such as Yara Shahidi and Paris Jackson. I believe they have very bright futures. One of my greatest achievements was dressing the former First Lady, Michelle Obama. Her beauty, grace and influence will leave a lasting legacy. You couldn’t ask for more than dressing Michelle Obama… she is the epitome of class, style and sophistication and there is no higher honour. How does it feel when big names wear your designs at prestigious events?

P R O F I L E It feels great! But it feels just as wonderful seeing a non-famous woman wearing one of my designs at an important moment in her life. Do you design your own fabrics? Yes, I design and develop my own fabrics. It takes approximately six months minimum to source, receive, develop and modify the fabrics and embroideries. Your top styling tips? Cut and fit are very important; if a dress is fitted in the right places, it makes a flattering shape. It’s all about playing with illusions and keeping everything in proportion. With the right fit in the right place, any figure can be proportionate. Women come in all shapes and sizes and I can make any woman look and feel beautiful. How can we add drama and sophistication to our wardrobe and what are your tips for looking redcarpet-ready? Add in some red-carpet drama with a sequin floorlength gown or midi velvet cocktail dress with a coloured fur stole to top off the look. Adding a faux fur coat (like the one from my current collection) also adds an element of glamour. How about wardrobe essentials? What should be our must-have pieces… classic staples? You can never go wrong with a little black dress. Just swap out the shoes and jacket for something more night-time appropriate and you’re ready-to-go!

would rather put that money towards something like a destination wedding or a down payment on a house. What’s the secret to your success? Any tips for readers looking to enter the fashion industry? As a designer and entrepreneur, you’re constantly learning new things; it’s a matter of adapting and finding what works best for you. Making mistakes and learning from them and continuously pushing your boundaries is part of the process. Finally, what’s next for Tadashi? Global expansion is an important and ongoing push for us. The Middle East is a fashion forward region and the perfect market for Tadashi Shoji to expand. We also just celebrated the 65th Anniversary of Rustans, a department store in the Philippines, with whom we’ve been working with for over 25 years. The future of fashion is always evolving, so that’s yet to be determined. We’re working towards becoming a lifestyle brand with a full-range product offering. We launched our Spring/Summer 18’ bridal collection and our first fragrance all within the first quarter of 2017, shapewear and lingerie in late spring, and leather handbags at the end of summer. The introduction of these new categories, in addition to our classics, is a natural progression of the brand. I’m thrilled to bring affordable luxury to a wider range of consumers!

In this selfie-obsessed society, how can women be accepting of their non-filtered, natural looks? Every woman is beautiful in her own way. It’s important to embrace what makes each woman unique and not try to blur those attributes with a filter. You recently launched your first fragrance, Eau De Rose... I’d been wanting to create my own fragrance for several years… It just made sense since I’m launching my other categories to become a lifestyle brand. The hardest part of getting the fragrance right was the scent. Fragrances are long in development because the progress phase is very personal and emotional. I wanted my Rose scent to be just right and perfect for all markets I sell to. How has your new bridal collection been received and what sets it apart from similar high-end collections?

FACTBOX Tadashi’s brand is sold in over 1,000 major department and specialty stores worldwide, including Neiman Mar cus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and Harvey Nichols Dubai. Tadashi’s fragrance, Eau de Rose, is now available on his website and all Tadashi Shoji boutiques. For further information about Tadashi and his collections, visit www.tadashishoji. com

The collection has been very well received. The latest collection was on last month’s cover of Women’s Wear Daily. It’s a really exciting time for me because of the recent launch of our affordable luxury bridal collection online and in my stores. Our dresses are selling more than ever; bridal was just the next logical step. Modern brides are more savvy than ever before and don’t want to spend money on expensive gowns – they 28 Upscale Living Magazine |



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PEGGY FUCCI Modern Day Woman


| By Heléne Ramackers

he draws her motivation from modern day women and with a very successful business empire, Peggy Fucci is a true inspiration. Upscale Living went in search of Peggy’s secrets to achieving the possible in a male dominated world.

When, where and how did your journey as a real estate strategist and broker begin? I was working in banking in the area prior to beginning my real estate career. I was managing the accounts of very prestigious people, and I would see the real estate commissions that were paid out for one transaction were more than my annual salary. I knew that I could sell, and decided to take a chance and leap of faith and leave banking to venture into real estate. My very first listing was for a multi-million dollar home in Key Biscayne, which I was able to sell for full price after just one open house - I was hooked. Shortly thereafter, I joined WCI Communities in pre-construction sales and worked my way up to managing and overseeing the sales and marketing of various properties with one of the largest publicly traded developers in the state. I was able to really dive deep into the inner workings of pre-construction sales and got a true understanding of the development process. I developed a wide range of skills that enabled me to venture on my own. Armed with the experience of selling and marketing, a strong network and the support of those around me, I was confident I would succeed.

In 2008, I founded OneWorld Properties, a fullservice real estate brokerage firm, with the goal of creating a new kind of brokerage with honesty, drive and enthusiasm that would deliver fresh and innovative ideas during troubled times in the real estate market. We started with the sales of Plaza at Oceanside and soon thereafter I was appointed as the Senior Vice President and Director of Sales and Marketing for ST Residential to oversee and relaunch the largest nationwide portfolio of over 40 properties. Together we sold more than $4 billion and 10,000 units in just over three years. This was a great experience and effort with a goal of helping to restore confidence in the real estate market. Today, OneWorld Properties has become one of Florida’s most respected brokerages known for its international reach. We currently oversee the sales and marketing of prestigious projects such as PARAMOUNT Miami WorldCenter, PARAMOUNT Fort Lauderdale Beach, 100 Las Olas and the recently closed Brickell Ten.

and buyers in markets around the world including Asia, Europe, South America and throughout the US. All these experiences have been very impactful on my life and have allowed me the unique opportunity to have a wide array of expertise under my belt. How has starting your own company and the lead-up to it shaped your business acumen? OneWorld Properties has established a team of trusted employees, which continues to grow. We’ve established a network of affiliates around the world and closed over $300 million in sales this year alone, along with successfully closing out two luxury buildings. We’ve taken extra measures to separate ourselves in the real estate community by being experts in topics such as EB-5 funding so that we can successfully guide buyers through the entire process. This has really created a unique niche to tap into buyers who are looking to invest in South Florida or move here permanently.

In less than a decade, I have been able to grow OneWorld Properties to over 50 employees and What / who do you draw inspiration from? have established close relationships with brokers I draw my inspiration from the modern day 15 Upscale Living Magazine | DECEMBER 2017 www.upscalelivingmag.com33 33 Upscale Living Magazine | DECEMBER 2017

P R O F I L E woman. Women are natural multitaskers and that gives us an advantage in business. Being able to use our natural talents and abilities in our professional lives is something that I believe we all need to hone in on. Women have come a long a way and have broken the glass ceiling, and I feel it’s important to encourage others to be the best they can be. Being able to mentor and guide other women really inspires me to live my best life, both professionally and personally. What are / have been your biggest challenges in your career? My biggest career challenge is balancing work and family time. I travel a lot for work and don’t have a set schedule because I do businesses around the world in various time zones. My family is my biggest support system so luckily they keep me grounded. No matter what, I always do my best to make it to my kid’s performances. Important lessons along the way? Due to life circumstances, I had to come to the United States as a teenager by myself. I had to be my biggest support system, so I worked hard to learn the language and finish high school. Having to overcome that barrier put me in a position to not be afraid of failure. I had to take risks, I had to fail and I had to pick myself up. I’ve used that same attitude in my professional life and I have found success. One of the things I try to instil in my team is that you have nothing to lose by simply trying. The favorite part of your job? My favorite part of my job is that I never know where the day is going to take me. I can be talking to people in Argentina in the morning, having a business lunch with developers in the afternoon and then make business calls to China before going to bed. Each day is something new and interesting. What is the best thing about being a business owner? The best thing about being a business owner is being able to instil personal morals and values into the company. My team is like a family, and being able to lead and mentor them is very rewarding. I was mentored a lot when I was starting my career, and I learned a great deal. I hope that the tools and valuable insights I have given to my team allow them to be the best they can be.

elements of projects around the world and bring this knowledge back to developers to consider incorporating into their projects. How do you balance such a demanding career and a family life? Work/life balance is extremely important to me, and I truly believe it is critical to being successful. I destress by doing yoga and going to Orange Theory Fitness. By far my favorite thing to do is spend time with my family. We love to plan occasions to bring everybody together. Describe yourself in three words. Focused. Ambitious. Motivated. What do you do for fun? I love to spend quality time with my family and my children. My children are my world so anytime we are together we are always having fun. I love to BBQ on the weekends and bring everyone together for a good time. It’s moments like these that I cherish most. Giving back is also very important to me, so I’m very involved in a number of charities like Miami Bridge and Friends of Birch State Park. Miami Bridge holds a special place in my heart because they give a second chance to young kids who may not have any other support system. I can relate and am so happy to help these kids realize their potential. If you hadn’t become a real estate strategist and broker, what would you have become? I would work as a photographer traveling around the world for National Geographic. What exciting projects do you have in the pipeline? We have a number of South Florida projects in the pipeline including 100 Las Olas, Paramount Fort Lauderdale and Paramount Miami Worldcenter. In the coming year, I also want to expand my international reach and be able to build meaningful partnerships that share the same vision as OneWorld Properties. 2018 marks the 10-year anniversary of the company, so we are focused on celebrating our success thus far and finding fresh ways to continue to elevate the brand.

My job has also enabled me to travel quite a bit and see new and astonishing parts of the world. These opportunities allow me to provide valuable insights to my developer clients. I am able to witness and experience unique amenities or 34 Upscale Living Magazine |



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STEPHANIE HOLLMAN Family First | By Heléne Ramackers


est known for her role in Real Housewives of Dallas, Stephanie Hollman’s most important and favorite role is that of mom to sons Chance and Cruz and wife to husband Travis. She spoke to Upscale Living magazine about life as she knows it.

Our family’s motto for charitable giving is to pick your passion and make a big impact rather than spread yourself thin and do little for a bunch of organizations. Right now, we are heavily involved with The Family Place, the largest domestic violence agency in Texas, as well as Big Brothers Big Sister which is all about mentoring. Women and children’s issues are the focus of our family and companies’ charitable contributions. I also recently donated bone marrow and through that I developed a passion for speeding awareness on bone marrow registry with DKMS.

Tell us a bit more about yourself. My name is Stephanie Hollman. I am a mom to two little boys, Chance (8) and Cruz (6), I am a wife and a cast member on Real Housewives of Dallas.

You are probably best known for being a reality star in The Real Housewives of Dallas. Please talk us through the filming of such a series – is it grueling, lots of fun – what really goes on behind the scenes? It is a blessing and a curse, just as most things are in life. There are definitely things that I enjoy about the show such as some of the fun trips that I get to take with my girlfriends or filming silly scenes with my boys, but there are also forever long parties that we have to attend, and what seem like never-ending confessionals. With the confessionals, I think you can tell when I start to get restless, and that’s usually when I say things that get me in trouble. Overall, I absolutely love the experience and I am very thankful that I get to call this my job!

What were your formative years like? I was raised by a very religious, middle class family in Coweta, Oklahoma. I always played by the rules, never snuck out of the house, never drank. I am the oldest, so I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to set a good example for my sister. I was very shy until you got to know me, and I guess you could say I am still that way today. I was all about my grades, church and family! You obtained a degree in psychology from Oklahoma State University. What made you decide to study psychology? My mom had her masters in social work, so growing up I always helped her make food baskets for clients or help babysit clients’ children while she was in meetings. I loved watching her help people and the life change she was about to bring to someone else life. Going into college, it just seemed like a natural fit for me. You then worked as a Social Worker. That must have been a challenging and rewarding experience. Talk us through the highs and lows of that. I love it because I worked with children and their families with Head Start. I spent most of my time at the school, which was so much fun for me. During the evenings, I would work with homeless pregnant women and that was the best and worst job I have ever had. I loved it because I got to work with babies, but I hated it because a lot of the mothers were dealing with addictions, so to see someone relapse while pregnant was very tough. Knowing that a baby is born with a drug addiction is heart breaking.

You donated stem cells earlier this year to save someone’s life. That could be seen as the ultimate sacrifice. What happened and how did it make you feel? Four years ago I was at a cancer walk with Chance, my oldest son, when DKMS approached me and asked me to swap. I did it without really thinking, but 4 years later I got a call that I was the perfect match for a patient in need! I was on vacation at the time with my family, in the car when I got the call and Travis was sitting right next to me just picking up context clues from what he could hear and when I got off the phone, before I could say anything he said “If you want to do it, we support you 100%”. It wasn’t before a second thought crossed my mind that I called DKMS back and started to make arrangements. Having the support from my family was everything for me. DKMS made the process so easy; they helped me through every step of the process and really made me feel at ease about my decision to donate. I can’t say enough good things about my experience! You seem to have a perfect family life – an adoring husband and two gorgeous children. We would like to know more about them. It is so funny to me that you say that because I definitely do not try to portray that I have a perfect life whatsoever! When I agreed to film a reality show, Travis and I sat down and agreed that if we were going to

You also have a philanthropic side. Please share your most profound experiences of that. 37 Upscale Living Magazine |



do this, we were going to be 100% authentic and show our honest, true life. The truth is I have two young boys that like to make messes, I am crazy unorganized and we have a chaotic life. I try to juggle it all to the best of my ability and there are many days that I would wake up at 5am, do hair and make-up, take the boys to school at 7:30am in full glam and a dress then come home and start filming my confessionals by 8:30 so that we could be done in time for me to pick them up from car pool. It’s a crazy life that we are living, and it is not perfect by any means, but it is my life and I love it! What is it like being a Mom to two boys? The biggest blessing that I have received in this life was the gift of my two boys. If they asked me to give it all up for them, I would do it in a heartbeat. I live and breathe for those two little guys! My favorite job is not being a Real Housewife or a reality star, it is being their mom! I thank God for that blessing every day! How do you balance family life with everything else that goes on in your day? It is tough, but just like with anything you have to set boundaries and keep some sort of routine. We have constantly changing sports practice schedules; I have a long day filming, someone is home sick, so we just roll with the punches and handle whatever is thrown our way. The one thing that I keep consistent every day, no matter 38 Upscale Living Magazine |

what is going on, is carpool! That is my absolute favorite time of the day, when I can sit in the car and talk with my boys about their day while we are sitting in traffic, before we get back to the crazy of our everyday lives. Important tips to make your marriage work? Communication! And that is so easy to say, but as my schedule got busier, and Travis got busier with his work, we had to start finding more creative ways to communicate with each other because we were not seeing each other nearly as much as we used to. Sometimes, when I have an extra 10 minutes, I will run up to his office and leave a sweet little note for him on his desk while he is in a meeting, just to let him know I am thinking of him. Or he will go into work a little late and we have a coffee date before he starts his day; it is just little things like that, that makes me smile and keeps our communication going. How do you go about maintaining the gorgeous girl-next-door look – your shape, fitness routine, beauty regime – what are your secrets? The one thing that drives me nuts about having a more jam packed schedule is not having time to work out. I literally will put on my workout clothes first thing in the morning and I figure if I am dressed, I will eventually do something with those clothes and find time to get on the treadmill. It sounds funny, but it is true. I will


come home from carpool, answer some emails, get some stuff done around the house, but I make time for working out just like I do fixing my hair. I know I have to use these clothes before I change out of them so I work in a 20 minute workout before I change clothes for the day. Are you a fashionista? Please elaborate. I would not say I am a “fashionista” but I am a girl that loves fashion! I try to always pair affordable pieces with some more classic investment pieces. I launched my fashion blog,, about a year and a half ago and I have really had fun with it. Funny enough, in Season one of Real Housewives of Dallas, I wore a lot of Lululemon, but I would always get questions about some of the outfits I would wear when I wasn’t in athleisure. That kind of pushed me to start my fashion blog and the amazing response encouraged me to continue. I then started to hunt for some more fun fashion pieces for my everyday life that I could post for my readers and that pretty much broke me of the athleisure phase. Shoe Addict and Wine Lover? You have quite the shoe collection. Is there a favorite pair? Do you even own a pair of flats? Okay, I do own a pair of flats, but that is just as of recently. Christian Louboutin definitely makes the prettiest shoes, and I do have quite a collection of his creations, but my favorite

P R O F I L E pair is probably a pair of metallic silver Jimmy Choo’s that I purchased about a year ago. They are so comfy and surprisingly go with just about everything in my closet; I absolutely love them! Your Home Office is absolutely gorgeous! What are key pieces you cannot be without? When I was re-doing my home office, I wanted to create a space that prompted creativity and thought. I sit in my office and write my Bravo blog posts as well as my fashion blog posts so I wanted something fun, fashionable and girly. I call it my Girl Cave because I have these two fabulous pink chairs that the boys refuse to sit in so it is like my quiet little corner in the house where I don’t have Pokémon or Legos at my feet! We would love to see the areas of your home you would like to share with Upscale Living magazine readers. Favorite room(s) and why? My favorite room in the house has to be our kitchen! We spend more time in the kitchen than any other room in the house. The boys do their homework on the island while I get dinner started after school, we have family game night around the kitchen table, it’s just our go-to room and I love it! What are your future plans? I am not sure what the future holds. We are only a few weeks away from moving into our new house so we are really looking forward to that. The boys are very excited to be closer to their schools and I am excited to unpack all of these boxes that we have been working on for about a month now! | Photographs by Bobby Quillard

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Sheraton Grand Pune Bund Garden Hotel, a newly renovated property is ideal for both business and leisure guests visiting the vibrant city of Pune. The new hotel joins a portfolio of 36 Sheraton Grand properties, the brand’s premier tier of hotels recognized for its exciting destinations, distinguished designs, and excellence in service and guest experiences. Owned by BrahmaCorp, Sheraton Grand Pune Bund Garden Hotel is the second ‘Sheraton Grand’ hotel in India and the fourth Sheraton hotel in the country.


e are thrilled to expand the Sheraton Grand presence in India with the opening of our second premier-tier hotel in the country. As Pune continues to make it possible for business travelers to find success as the IT capital of India, Sheraton is committed to delivering luxury to guests through excellence in service,” said Jaswinder Narang, Complex General Manager of Sheraton Grand Pune Bund Garden Hotel. “Through this renovation and opening, we have worked diligently to solidify Sheraton as a leading global hotel brand of choice.” Sheraton Grand Pune Bund Garden Hotel recently completed an extensive rebranding and renovation, featuring a complete transformation of its 177 well-appointed guest rooms, lobby and public spaces as well as added meeting facilities and a total of 13000 square feet of banqueting

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space perfect for weddings and events. The sophisticated design pairs old world charm with contemporary design and comfort, while a palatial exterior embodies architectural concepts that originated during the Peshwa dynasty. Revitalized guest rooms combine a streamlined elegance with panoramic views of Pune and all of the Sheraton brand’s signature amenities and services, including a premium sleep experience. “Pune has seen a growing demand for internationally-branded hotel experiences in recent years, said Ajay Aggarwal, Managing Director, Brahma Corp. “We are confident that the Sheraton Grand Pune Bund Garden will become a preferred destination for both business and leisure travelers to the city of Pune.” A stay in one of the 28 Sheraton Club Rooms gives guests exclusive access to the Sheraton Club Lounge, a relaxing, upscale space featuring complimentary American breakfast, afternoon cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres and a variety of beverage options. I was put up in one of the hotel’s elegant suites which boasts of elegant and classy interiors. During my recent stay in this hotel, I was pleasantly surprised to be welcomed by a platter of amenities such as fresh and dry fruits, beautiful flowers and delicious pastries accompanied by a welcome note by the General Manager. The hotel is equipped with a four-story health club which boasts an extensive range of cardio and training equipment, aerobics and yoga classes and a squash court. Additional recreational facilities include a scenic rooftop pool and the signature Shine Spa with five treatment rooms. In my suite I noticed a cute little pillow which had the spa’s menu imprinted on it. 42 Upscale Living Magazine |

Sheraton Grand Pune houses several food and beverage outlets showcasing a diverse range of cuisines under the guidance of Executive Chef Nader Shaikh. The hotel’s signature restaurant, Feast, boasts a lively, fun and family-friendly atmosphere, offering international cuisines at the all-day buffet. An interactive all-day dining restaurant, Feast has three walls of windows that create a grandeur feel with an abundance of natural light, while offering guests views of the surrounding activity in the hotel. The ambiance has a very international look and feel to it what with the relaxing influence of the natural wood tones, warm lighting, crystal chandeliers, contemporary touches and soothing green and beige velvet upholstered chairs. While on your way out of this vibrant restaurant, don’t forget to pick up a handful of the papaya and mint flavoured mouth freshener presented in beautiful wooden containers. Bene, an upbeat and friendly Italian trattoria headed by Italian Masterchef Roberto Boggio features a rustic menu of salads, soups, antipasti, pastas, rotisserie meats and homemade bread that can be savored within the old-world ambience. This restaurant transports food lovers to Italy- the land of passion, intrigue and mystique. Based on family-style traditions, dining at Bene feels like being invited to someone’s home in Italy. Located directly off the hotel lobby, the white and brick-coloured space is flooded with natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows and the show kitchen—all of which add to the inviting oldworld ambience. Bene is known for hosting some of the most popular wine dinners in the city with both domestic and international wine companies. Chingari, an all-Indian cuisine rooftop restaurant has consistently good food, efficient service and a breathtakingly beautiful ambiance. Located by the poolside, with an open kitchen where chefs are constantly dishing up various mouth watering


kababs and biryanis, one can enjoy a great meal at Chingari. Spread out in three areas, a covered formal seating, an open air seating and casual dining by the pool, Chingari is a favorite with most Puneites. The seating area is covered by a high wooden roof and separated from the pool by beautiful open latticework screens. The wide wooden floor is embellished with ebony inlay and square wooden tables are flanked with locally crafted wooden armchairs. Copper-colored water goblets sparkle in the candlelight adding to the earthy rustic charm of Chingari. This unique restaurant is a great place to dine when you are in the mood for some robust fare from the North West Frontier. There is always a cool breeze that sweeps over the rooftop restaurant every evening thus creating a pleasant atmosphere. The openair kitchen affords a great view of Master Chef Ghulam Qureshi at the grill, creating his daily assortment of signature marinades and savory Indian breads. Link@Sheraton located in the hotel’s lobby is a great place to enjoy a cup of chamomile tea with delicious teacakes while working on your latest presentation. This elegant space has high speed internet, workstations with printers comfortable couches for those who wish to combine work with pleasure. Healthy sandwiches, sinfully delicious pastries, gourmet ice creams and a range of goodies all showcased in elegant glass cases entice guests. This is a great place to pick up freshly baked breads, croissants, muffins and puffs while on your way out of the hotel.

H O T E L Sheraton Grand Pune also offers a range of function spaces including elegant venues, state-of-the-art-facilities and conference rooms. Its 6,100 square foot Majestic Hall and Sovereign Room both add undeniable character to any event at hand with its intricate murals as a centerpiece. Pairing elegance with convenience, all of the rooms are equipped with state of the art audio-visual technology and high speed internet, ideal for corporate and social gatherings. Shine Spa for Sheraton Pune features five treatment rooms including four single treatment rooms and a couple treatment room. Designed with vibrant interiors that combine classic and contemporary elements, this is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate. Spaces are enhanced with lush colours, metallic materials, and lively details to create a warm setting for guests to mingle and connect. While awaiting treatment or just enjoying the spa experience, light-hearted music provides a playful backdrop to an otherwise upscale atmosphere. Expertly-trained and knowledgeable spa associates at Shine

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Spa exude a genuine warmth and unmatched hospitality, whether it is while performing signature treatments or advising guests on the spa’s various product lines. Signature treatments at Shine Spa include the Shine Massage, Shine Facial, Shine Body Treatment, Shine Hands & Feet, and Shine for Two, which is a relaxing experience intended for couples. While I was in the hotel, I tried the signature treatment, the Shine Facial and the back relief treatment all of which worked very well in chasing away my stress levels and I came out of the hotel feeling extremely relaxed and rejuvenated. Sheraton Grand Pune is the perfect hotel for both leisure and business travelers and also a great choice to consider for relaxing staycations! ď ľ




44 Upscale Living Magazine | DECEMBER




Tetyana Kovalenko


ELITE STONE Rocks Architectural World | By Tim Cotroneo

During a long distance phone interview with a U.S. journalist, it sounded like Tetyana Kovalenko, the CEO of Italy’s Elite Stone, was smiling. Maybe her positive tone had something to do with the fact that Kovalenko was holding her infant son. Maybe it had to do with her sharing the story of Elite Stone’s amazing international growth. Or maybe it was because Kovalenko knew a secret held only by marble industry insiders.


lite Stone is based in Verona, Italy, the world’s leading supplier of marble, onyx, and semi-precious stones for luxury residential and commercial projects. Kovalenko relocated her operation to Verona in 2013 after first planting entrepreneurial roots in Rome, followed by a move to Carrara, Italy in 2007.

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“Carrara is world-renowned for its white and blue-grey marble ever since the 17th century. Carrara’s quarries gave us the marble seen in the Pantheon and Michelangelo’s David. With the city’s history and reputation, it was great establishing a business base there,” Kovalenko said. Elite Stone’s motivation for moving on to Verona was twofold, first to connect with the region’s extensive architectural design community, and secondly the opportunity to purchase its own quarry. An Eye for Romancing the Stone Kovalenko’s industry expert reputation stems from her discerning eye when choosing the best of the best stones. Picking marble or onyx from a quarry is a high risk, high reward occupation. “We often invest huge sums on the front end when purchasing a stone before cutting it into slabs, checking for purity, and tailoring each piece to our designs. There is always that moment of truth when we learn if the stone I chose will exceed my client’s expectations,” Kovalenko said. This buoyant mother of two young children discovered a passion for stones while working a 48 Upscale Living Magazine | DECEMBER

part-time job for a quarry equipment manufacturer. This led to Kovalenko attending college at the University of Rome in the late 90s. She fortified this hands-on marble quarry experience by studying university classes relating to geology and mineralogy. Kovalenko’s Elite Stone residential and commercial showrooms in Verona and London are the culmination of everything she’s learned about the process of selecting marble, design, fine craftsmanship, assembly, and installation. Since opening in 2000, Kovalenko’s business also prides itself in showcasing the latest in marble technology. Today’s Elite Stone offers a new design element that has the luxury architectural market bordering on breathless. Seeing the Light in Marble Elite Stone’s 300-square meter, two-story Verona showroom now includes something Kovalenko calls the E-Light System. This patented element features not only the latest in design and product technology, but also the ability to create an ultra-light layer of marble bonded to an ultra-light layer of glass. Add backlighting to these Elite Stone creations, and you have an


architectural aesthetic that is one of a kind for your home, outdoor space, or business. Elite Stone success stories now reach nearly every corner of the globe. Highlights from Kovalenko’s portfolio include the spectacular Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg, the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem Hotel, and the St. James Hotel in London. Elite Stone has also completed luxury residential projects around the world ranging from amazing kitchens, baths, spas, stairways, walls, pools, waterfalls, wellness areas, and Zen Gardens. In 2017, Kovalenko’s team of artisans wowed their clients by introducing an element of motion into their designs. Elite Stone completed recent residential and commercial projects that feature floating marble floors and sliding onyx walls. These new design options, capped by Elite Stone’s rainbow of stone colors, has the luxury market buzzing. By adding their patented lighting technology to the mix, Elite Stone believes the sky is the limit for future clients. “We are always seeking to improve upon our designs. We love hearing about a client’s vision and making their marble dreams come true,” Kovalenko said.



In Never Out Looking back, Kovalenko acknowledged that her entrepreneurial story began when her boss at that first quarry company gambled on someone untested. “When I worked in purchasing for that first company, they took a chance on a young girl. That job introduced me to the marble industry, pursuing a degree in Geology, and ultimately starting Elite Stone in 2000,” Kovalenko said. That first position also revealed an industry secret that would prove prophetic. “The Director at my first job told me that once you get into the marble business, you never get out,” Kovalenko said. As you listen to the ever-upbeat Kovalenko share this self-fulfilling forecast about the industry she has grown to love, her voice sounded like she was wearing an ear to ear grin.


LONDON SHOWROOM 74 Margaret Street London W1 W 8SU.

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JONATHAN ADLER The Modern American Glamour Designer | By Heléne Ramackers 50 Upscale Living Magazine |




is belief that your home should make you happy, inspired Jonathan Adler to establish his namesake in 1993, creating quintessential pieces in celebration of Modern American Glamour.

When and how did your journey as a designer begin? I was fortunate to grow up with two very creative, artistic parents. My father was a lawyer who spent every spare moment painting, and my mother’s ebullient sense of design inspires me to this day. But it probably began at summer camp when I was 12 and tried pottery for the first time. What made you choose pottery when there are so many other materials to work with? I’m not a spiritual person, but from the moment I first touched clay I felt a connection. Pottery is the still the core of my business – I am, most authentically, a potter – but I now work in myriad materials from acrylic to brass to wood to vellum to textiles. What / who do you draw inspiration from? Paul Smith is a lovely person and he’s the model for someone who has managed to create a company in which he stays completely true to himself and totally normal. He’s unimpeachably chic and cheeky at the same time,  so he’s like my hero. Vivienne Westwood has kept her whole punk rock attitude the whole time and Rei Kawakubo is amazing. They’re all incredibly mature brands where a single person’s creative vision is crystal clear.

What are / have been your biggest challenges in your career? Logistics. Any time your business is based on shipping large, heavy, fragile things around the globe, there will be logistical nightmares to deal with. Important lessons along the way? The best advice I ever got was my from my father, who told me not to listen to advice. The favorite part of your job? Spending every day surrounded by hilarious, talented people. We call our office the Fantasy Factory after Warhol’s factory, and it’s true – it’s a fabulously creative and inspiring place. What is the best thing about being a designer? Being able to make the pieces I want to surround myself with. Tell us about your own decorating style and who decorated your home? I use three words to describe my company and my aesthetic: Modern American Glamour. And I decorated my homes, of course. Key pieces you cannot live without? My husband Simon Doonan and our rescue mutt FoxyLady. The rest is just stuff. How do you solve / negotiate difference in taste between yourself and your partner? I don’t need to. He’s perfectly happy letting me do what I want.


Is there a right and wrong when it comes to decorating? Please explain. No. If you love it, it will work. How does one keep things modern without having to break the bank? Buy what you really want from the start. Don’t waste your money on things that are “almost” as good. Do you also believe in repurposing dated pieces or should one just shop for new ones? If you don’t like it, get rid of it. If you like it, keep it. It’s easy. Describe yourself in three words. Potter, designer, author. What do you do for fun? Paddleboard, read, and watch TV (not all at the same time). If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have become? A failure? I had no other choice. Tell us about your partnership with luxury online marketplace 1stdibs? I love 1stdibs, even though they’ve basically ruined my life because all I do all day is obsessively scour the site. Their customers are the smartest, most design-savvy folks around and I’m so thrilled to have my favorite pieces there.

How important is it to accessorize? I think you should start with a chic foundation and then accessorize with abandon. 51 Upscale Living Magazine |



CHRISTMAS DUO ZBAR by ZCHOCOLAT | The Duo zBar, part of the zChocolat brand, is the newest ultra-sophisticated chocolate bars launched October 16th, 2017. An exciting way to experience what is already being heralded as the world’s finest chocolate bars; the Christmas Duo zBar includes one each of the milk chocolate zBar and dark chocolate zBar. Boasting exceptional quality in a classically compact size, perfect for stocking stuffers, party favors or unforgettable gift toppers.





WHISKEY APPRECIATION CRATE GIFT - IN THE BOX | containing 2 Personalized, Heavy Bottom Rocks Glasses, 9 oz 2 Tovolo Ice Sphere Molds, 2 Slate Coasters, 33 Drams Whiskey Drinking Journal and a Luxury Grub. It also comes with a Squirrel Brand Spiced Peppercorn peanuts, Salted Pistachios and Sahale Snacks Cranberry Pecans. Perfect for that special someone.

DACOR MODERNIST COLLECTION Dacor Modernist Collection reimagines the kitchen through TechCraft – the fusion of technology, craftsmanship and beautifully provocative design features. The collection has 6 Dual-Stack Sealed Burners + Electric Griddle, Powerful 22K BTU and true simmer burners, continuous grates, Illumina™ knobs and ambient light and includes brass and black burner caps. Available in graphite stainless steel and silver stainless steel finish. Sizes available: 48” and 36” rangetops/modernist-gas-rangetop

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Building on its reputation for award-winning excellence, Hestan® reimagines the premium cookware category with its newly launched NanoBond™ Cookware. Its unique line of premium quality bonded stainless steel cookware features patented titanium nanotechnology for the ultimate in cooking performance, durability, longevity, and beauty. The cookware’s 18/10 stainless steel interior and induction-suitable stainless steel exterior (which are both enhanced by thousands of nano layers of titanium alloys) are permanently bonded to a pure aluminum core. Due to the uncompromising purity of the aluminum core, NanoBond is 35 percent more heat conductive compared to other aluminum-clad cookware, ensuring pans heat up with Ferrari-like speed and heat is distributed evenly from the base to the rim to prevent hotspots that can mar cooking results.To learn more about Hestan NanoBond and other Hestan sub-brands, please visit Available at Williams-Sonoma.

Bourbon fans? Ethel M mixes real, premium bourbon into the creme centers of milk and dark chocolate barrels. You’ll taste the spirit-filled bite in these and other Creme Liqueurs, infused with rum, orange liqueur, Irish Creme, amaretto and coffee liqueur. The perfect adult after-dinner treat to keep on hand for last minute holiday entertaining. (Residents of certain states must be 21 years of age to purchase) (12 pieces for $19.99).


NEW DRINKMATE™- SPRITZER Drinkmate™- Spritzer is the FIRST and ONLY portable carbonation system that sparkles-up ANY beverage from juices, sodas, water, sports drinks, cocktails, wines and even flat beer.

Features a float that seal the wine creating a physical barrier between this and oxygen in the air, preventing oxidation. The Lid with rubber seal prevents spills. The wine saver carafe was designed to maintain fresh wine for up to a week, and it holds a standard bottle of wine (750ml). It is also available in glass and plastic for outdoor adventures. MSRP: Glass- $49.95, Plastic$24.95. Available online at

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Temple St Clair 18k lion coin pendant with diamond pave

CHAFOR F/W Women Fashion




HOLIDAYS 54 Upscale Living Magazine |


Fratelli Rossetti Shoes

Dooney Bourke Tiverton Brielle handbag

Seamless hibiscus clutch by Judith Leiber Couture.

Women’s Miguasha Low Nubuck FG | Ideal blend of support, protection and all day comfort.

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Based in Paris and made in France, the Otis Skincare For Men is aimed at upscale, active and accomplished men.

Blue Ella Planar Magnetic Headphones




HOLIDAYS Amazon Echo 2nd Generation

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GoPro HERO6 Black

Hackett’s long-standing partnership with Aston Martin showcases their third luxury capsule collection Aston Martin by Hackett for Autumn Winter ‘17 offering its customers an elevated sports performance collection.

Buenos Aires Collection Weekender

Volt Heated Slipper

Bose SoundLink Micro Waterproof Speaker 57 Upscale Living Magazine |



Wilderness Safaris



| By Heléne Ramackers

58 Upscale Living Magazine | DECEMBER



Known for its sprawling verdant grasslands, the Okavango Delta is hailed as one of the most spectacular wilderness destinations in the world. Occupying a number of camps in the expansive World Heritage Site, Wilderness Safaris originated in 1983 in Botswana, bringing about an abundance of experience and expertise.


y two day visit to the luxurious Wilderness Safaris Vumbura Plains Camp commences on a Monday morning. I am flying with Airlink, and the Embraer 135 is waiting on the tarmac to fly us from Cape Town International Airport directly to Maun International Airport in Botswana. With only two hours and thirty-five minutes travel time from Cape Town to Botswana, you cannot go wrong with Airlink. The friendly flight attendant today is the delightful Dedrè Engelbrecht, who, like all Airlink staff, goes the extra mile to make everyone feel comfortable. I land at Maun International Airport just after 1pm and proceed through passport control to have another stamp added by a friendly immigration official. Clearing customs and out the other side, I check in for my Wilderness Air flight to Wilderness Safaris Vumbura Plains Camp. The Cessna Grand Caravan is gleaming under the African sun and soon we are up in the blue yonder. Seated next to the pilot, I have a bird’s eye view of the rolling wilderness, stretching for miles. We approach the Okavango Delta and I am awe-struck by the beauty and size of the tributaries that feed into the Okavango River Basin. At the airstrip, I am collected by a driver from Vumbura Plains, who transports me to camp. Along the way, we are forced to stop to take in the unscheduled sighting of four lions having a slumber under shaded brush while a breeding herd of elephants take respite from the heat with a cooling mud bath. The matriarch of the herd doesn’t like the very close proximity of the lions and with a primal rumble she sends the lions on their way. Upon arrival at camp, I am introduced to my Safari Guide, Emang Letlhare who will be showcasing the bush and the animals that occupy it. I have made it just in time for High Tea and we all gather to help ourselves to the most delectable herbed chicken on velvet (phyllo pastry), vanilla eclairs, zucchini frittas and the refreshing raspberry and chai lollipop. The first game drive is always the most exhilarating as you are able to gauge which animals inhabit the traversal territory. We see plenty of feathered creatures – slate egrets, little egrets, copper tailed coucals, striped kingfishers and cardinal woodpeckers.

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The tiniest elephant stands alongside its enormous mother, dwarfing in size. Getting all shy after all our ‘oohs and aahs’, he hides under his mom’s belly to shield him from the burning rays of the sun. A lone reedbuck looks over his shoulder as I eavesdrop on the animated conversation between Emang and another guide. Not being able to understand Setswana, something exciting must be happening as Emang seems to be driving with a purpose. As we turn the corner, a tree comes into view and Emang turns off the engine and picks up his binoculars. I scan the tree and see nothing. He is also struggling to find whatever it is he seems to 60 Upscale Living Magazine | DECEMBER

be looking for. Then he points to the fork in the branch but none of us can see what he is wanting to show us. A miniscule shift from the tiny body and then we realise it’s a leopard cub, fast asleep with the sun’s rays warming up his back. We wait for him to descend but he is not moving anytime soon. ‘The leopardess has two cubs’, Emang discloses. ‘We will try again tomorrow’. The sun has started setting and we make our way back to camp. For the first time, I can have a proper look at my accommodation, Tent no 4. I slide the door open and am immediately impressed with what I find – an outside sala, a plunge pool and a very large dwelling where comfort and low


impact is key. Made of natural materials, the wood finishes blend in seamlessly with the environment. My bed is raised on a wooden platform and in the sunken lounge, I can watch the passing traffic of wildlife while sipping on a cool drink from my inclusive mini-bar. The enormous shower overlooks the riverine habitat and your privacy might be interrupted by a semi-aquatic animal taking refuge in the reeds in front of your window. Tonight we dine around the campfire and after traditional dances and singing, we feast on butternut soup, beef seswaa samoosas, bread sticks, oxtail, pap, spinach, sweet potato wedges, tomato & onion relish, aubergine curry with brown rice,

od nt. he of inoks inuge

ter utks, ato ce,


peri-peri chicken kebabs, vegetable kebabs and malva pudding, custard slices and fruit kebabs. After dinner, I am escorted back to my room; walking alone at night is not allowed as animals can venture into camp at any time. The mosquito net has been dropped and I cannot wait to indulge in the wonderfully fragrant Africology products for my shower before retiring to bed. There is excellent ventilation in the room and despite the heat and humidity, I soon feel comfortable enough to cover myself with the soft white duvet and close my eyes. My dreams are occupied by leopards – my favorite animal in the whole world. I wake up realising that I might have

developed a slightly unhealthy obsession with leopards. To put it mildly. There, I said it.

the swampy grassland in front of my room. Splish splash and he’s gone!

Rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I awaken before the 5am wake-up call. This isn’t your average wake-up phone call – someone physically walks to your room and calls until you answer. The most beautiful birdsong heralds the start of a brand new day. An African fish eagle joins in the choir as the sun makes its appearance, promising another unforgettable day in Africa. As I leave the confines of my suite, I am inspired by the magnificent colors that are unfolding in front of my eyes – hues of pinks and orange. A sudden splashing grabs my attention; it’s a red lechwe, bounding about in

Breakfast is served in the dining area and apart from cereal, bread, fruit salad, yoghurt, cold meat & cheese, muesli, juices, coffee and pancakes, you can order any hot breakfast to get you going.

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Emang has us all eager about what we will discover today and around every corner there are new impala lambs, having been born after the first rains. They are so cute with their brown eyes and big ears it’s sad to think they are easy pickings for predators. A tsessebe is grazing on the plains and Emang quietly discovers a leopard footprint. He drives us DECEMBER 2017


back to the area where we saw the cub the previous day, picks up his binoculars and scans the region. There is nothing where the cub was and he examines the other trees. He starts the engine and my enthusiasm reaches fever pitch – “Have your cameras ready!” he exclaims. A cub is fast asleep, shrouded behind the leaves and momentarily peers at us. “I have something much better”, Emang announces. Out in the open, Miss Leopard Cub is perched on the bare branch of a tree, nonchalantly posing for us. I am speechless. She is so beautiful and is positioned as only a cat can be – no sense of comfort, just perfect balance from a vantage point to see what might be approaching. On our way back to camp, we see a giraffe taking a drink and further along the route, a herd of elephants revel in the cooling mud. After a languid brunch, I enjoy the refreshing water of my private plunge pool while taking in the incredible scenery.

A chacma baboon is barking in the distance and then we see her silhouette – the most majestic leopardess running for cover with her two cubs, trying to escape the aggressive sounds of a warning call. The playful cubs follow her pursuit and under the cover of darkness, she looks for safety for herself and her offspring. We encounter her the following morning, sans cubs, on the hunt. She walks silently, pauses by a tree and with the effortless grace that only a leopard can display, scales the tree to search for prey. I ask Emang if she has a name and he says “We saw her for the first time as a cub and named her Selonyana, which means ‘something little and cute’ in Setswana”. We follow her for a while until she disappears into the thick brush and all hope that she will raise her three-month old cubs to independency, just like she has become. For a complete digital detox without compromising on luxury, Wilderness Safaris Vumbura Plains Camp is the perfect choice for a reconnect with yourself and other people. Sitting around the campfire talking to other guests, hearing their interesting stories without someone checking their phone every few minutes is truly liberating. Going back to basics of face-to-face conversation - who knew having no Wi-Fi or cellphone signal could be so freeing? | Photos courtesy of Heléne Ramackers and Wilderness Safaris. ***Views expressed are the author’s own.

The activity after High Tea is a mokoro (dug-out canoe) excursion. The canoe takes two people and a poler does the rowing and steering for you. Our poler, Casper Olatotswe ensures that we are comfortable before guiding the mokoro over the calm waters of the Delta. We encounter red lechwe, a stunning painted reed frog and many colorful water lilies. Not wanting to miss out on any land-based game viewing, we convince Emang that we are ready for a postmokoro safari. 62 Upscale Living Magazine | DECEMBER 2017


HOW TO GET THERE: Airlink – is a privately owned airline business. The Regional Feeder Airline, offers a wide network of regional and domestic flights within southern Africa and operates as a franchisee to SAA Route Specific Information: Direct scheduled flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town to Maun, Botswana. Connectivity: Through our alliance with SAA travellers can connect conveniently with SAA, their Partner airlines and other carriers throughout Southern Africa and the world. Frequent Flyer Programme: Airlink is a member of South African Airways (SAA) Loyalty programme -Voyager. Website: Flight Bookings:  online, booking agent or SAA Central Reservations  +27 11 978 1111. Thank you to Wilderness Safaris for hosting me

TRAVEL TIPS: Malaria precautions are required from travel to Botswana; speak to your healthcare practitioner about prophylactics. Visas are required for travel to Botswana. Botswana’s currency is the Pula. US Dollars, MasterCard and Visa are accepted as means of payment.

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MATHEW KNOWLES Multi-award winning entrepreneur and The Brains Behind Beyonce’s success | By Angela Sara West

This iconic international business leader/ best-selling author/speaker/college professor/ mentor has made an unprecedented global impact on music. He’s not only the founder, president and CEO of hugely successful Music World Entertainment, but is also the secret behind his daughter Beyoncé’s phenomenal career.


athew Knowles talks to Angela Sara West about the secrets to his success, his tips

for entrepreneurs, his inspirational book and his daughters, Solange and Beyoncé. Record producer/music executive, Mathew Knowles, is widely recognised for his business acumen and unique management style and has played a key role in transforming the music and entertainment industry. He has executiveproduced over 100 award-winning platinum and gold albums in multiple genres and his brainchild, Music World Entertainment, is one of the world’s largest music and entertainment conglomerates, with record sales exceeding 300m worldwide. 65 Upscale Living Magazine |

Credited with the “360° model” for records; management, branding and endorsement, merchandise and touring, he is the powerhouse behind his multi-GRAMMY-award-winning daughter Beyoncé, and her girl band Destiny’s Child’s, success and has strategised the recording careers of numerous other artists, including Chaka Khan, Kool and the Gang. “I’ve always had a passion for music,” he tells me. “Derived from the word muse, music fills our soul. It’s an intimate individual experience through sound. Growing up, my idols were Earth, Wind and Fire, Marvin Gaye DECEMBER 2017

P R O F I L E my passion and began to search out my true passion. Around the same time, Girls Tyme (Beyoncé and Kelly Rowlands’ group) lost on the US TV talent show, Star Search, which allowed me the opportunity to transition into the music industry.” In 1992, Mathew launched Music World Entertainment. He wanted a global name, allowing him to enter into records, management, media and publishing, all of which are trademarked limited liability corporations. Expanding his company through successful acquisitions and partnerships, he garnered countless music and business awards… “2007 International Executive of the Year”… “2011 Living Legends Foundation Award”… The City of Houston even declared a “Mathew Knowles Day”! 2017: A MILESTONE 25 YEARS IN THE MUSIC BIZ

and Gil Scott-Heron, because of their social consciousness.” Mathew has tremendous gratitude for his life successes. “From being on championship basketball teams in high school and college, and a top sales rep at Xerox Medical (being one of the first African Americans to sell CT and MRI scanners in the US) to owning a successful hair salon for 18 years and creating our family’s clothing lines, House of Deréon and Miss Tina… Our family created all of Music World Entertainment’s successes in gospel, country, pop and R&B, but particularly the successes of Destiny’s Child, Solange and Beyoncé.” MUSICAL ICONS, IDOLS & INSPIRATION A self-described “small town country boy” from Alabama who wanted to be a businessman from a young age, he launched his first business selling candy at just eight years-old. He was among the first African Americans to attend the University of Tennessee and graduated from Fisk University with degrees in Economics and Business Administration, and also holds an MBA and PhD from Cornerstone Christian Bible College. The music mogul attributes his self-made success to his entrepreneurial parents: “They were my inspiration at a young age and throughout my entire life, as mentors teaching me the true meaning of entrepreneurship.”  As the top sales rep of medical equipment worldwide for Xerox Medical, Mathew led over 150 marketing and sales seminars for the sales teams. “When the medical industry, where I was a neurosurgical specialist, was going through a change called ‘manage care’, I simply lost 66 Upscale Living Magazine |

This year, the music industry stalwart celebrates 25 years of superstar-making power under his belt. “I still look back and pinch myself at what both Music World Entertainment and myself have accomplished. We’ve had many successes working with incredible talent and a great team.” Indulging his passion for “the creative process” and leaving corporate America to create Music World Entertainment was clearly his best career move. His worst? “Selling my company in 2002 and partnering with a much larger international entertainment conglomerate with a totally different ethos and culture. I’ve since bought it back, in 2007.” He made it to the top by building a great team, having a passion for what he was doing plus a great product. “Worth Davis, a branch manager at Xerox who mentored me in my early corporate years, taught me the value of relationships in business. Columbia Records’ Donnie Ienner and Tommy Matolla mentored me in understanding the various aspects of, as well as how to manage in, the music industry.” GROWING THE BRAND Mathew’s entrée into the music business was as a father assisting his daughters’ desires and aspirations and realising his own objective. “It was a combination of supporting my kids’ dreams and living my own personal passion. I knew that Beyoncé had a God-given talent and, at a very young age, was truly passionate about music. I always believed in Beyoncé and knew that with hard work, the right team, a strategic short and long-term plan plus great songs, that she could become one of the best female artists of all time.” Mathew grew global pop phenomenon Beyoncé and his other brands by partnering


with Walmart. “We built a unique strategic partnership for Solange, Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child and for Music World Entertainment, in the areas of toys, apparel, music, electronics and fragrance. For example, today we talk about Beyoncé’s recent video album, yet we did the first Video Anthology exclusively with Walmart on her first album.” There have been numerous other collaborations... “McDonald’s, Pepsi, Samsung, L’Oréal, Nintendo, American Express, DirecTV, VIZIO TV, Coty... Branding is critical. It’s what you or your business represents.” FAMILY TIES… Mathew co-wrote Destiny’s Child’s No.1 international megahit, Survivor. “Sometimes, it’s as simple as being in the studio at the right time! The song came about from the on-air negativity of a local Houston DJ, due to Destiny’s Child member changes.” How has he found working with family? “Solange and Beyoncé started this journey at around 9-10 years of age and were treated as such when they were that young. Looking back, working with family had its pros and cons… One of the pros is that you have complete trust; a con is having to separate business from family.” Mathew says the most rewarding aspect of what he does is seeing the impact of his involvement in his students’ and recording artists’ careers. “Especially my daughters, Solange and Beyoncé. My proudest moments have been seeing my daughters become the women, mothers and artists they have become. Both doing it totally differently, yet remaining humble and true to their fans and themselves.” Can we look forward to a Destiny’s Child reunion? “I’m sure, one day!” Mathew mentions several projects in the works. “Books telling the Destiny’s Child story... I also see it on film and theatrically”. He has big plans for a Destiny’s Child stage play, with Idris Elba possibly playing Mathew. “Stay tuned!” “I’m on the second chapter of the autobiography and hope to have the book out the first quarter of 2018.” He’s recently been researching his roots for another new book, and discovered that twins run in the family. “That’s right! My new book, Racism from the Eyes of a Child, can be pre-purchased on my website.” A FASHION-FORWARD FAMILY WITH A SKY-HIGH LUXURY PROPERTY PORTFOLIO The Knowles’ family’s clothing line, House of Deréon, launched in Selfridges in 2011. “Agnes Deréon (Beyoncé and Solange’s maternal

P R O F I L E grandmother) was the “soul”, Tina (Beyoncé’s mother/stylist) was the “couture” and Beyoncé was the “kick” of the brand. I headed up all marketing efforts. We were able to sell the brand for a sizeable profit.” Mathew’s empire’s also expanded into real estate with Music World Properties, which includes investment holdings from high rises to luxury homes across the US, and Skybar, Houston’s largest night club. “Well, I can tell you the Skybar investment turned out to be a mistake, and we just recently sold the entire city block I owned in mid-town to BMW.” ALL IN THE DNA... Throughout his career, Mathew’s encountered individuals who have motivated, encouraged and contributed to his success, inspiring his modern blueprint for success in any industry, as detailed in his best-selling book The DNA of Achievers: 10 Traits of Highly Successful Professionals, in which he explores the challenges of creating a global brand for one of the world’s leading entertainment companies. Focusing on common characteristics among successful people from all walks of life, it features illustrative true-life experiences and numerous essays by luminaries in every area of entrepreneurship, music, entertainment, sports and philanthropy. “I began to see common characteristics in some professional associates, as well as in myself. As an educator, I saw it as an opportunity to write my first book and share what I had observed from many successful professionals.” “First and foremost, it advises you to live your passion, in coexistence with work ethics. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Failure is an opportunity to grow, not a reason to quit. Always think outside the box with a great team. You are the visionary!” MAXING EVERY OPP & BUSINESS BOOT CAMPS Mathew says the first challenge of running your own business, regardless of the industry, is identifying and understanding the needs of your customers. “Exceed their expectations and give them a superior product.” Another challenge is putting together the right team. “I’m somewhat ‘hands-on’ with my businesses. I’ve learned the importance of developing my staff’s skill set.” The music biz innovator advises maximising every opportunity. “Keep overheads low; that’s money that could be going into your pocket. Life doesn’t give us the opportunity to change what has happened… we can only be positive, learning from our mistakes and moving forward. Let your business be one that you are passionate

about. When you live your passion, you never work a day in your life!” Mathew speaks at conferences worldwide and holds a professorship at Texas Southern University, where he has taught Entertainment, Recording and Management courses for nine years. “I’m inspired by my students. When I see their potential to impact the world, I’m motivated to be an even better teacher.” His hot new online enterprise, The Knowles Institute for Entrepreneurship, Entertainment & Music Business, will teach essential skills on everything from marketing and communications to e-commerce management and kickstarting a business with crowdsourcing. “It’s an e-learning platform which will have 900-plus courses,” he explains. “More to come!”        BUSINESS GROWTH & TRAVELS “Early on in my career, I grew too fast, causing logistical, cashflow and growth problems and losing focus on my core business. Now, however, I’m in the business of downsizing as I’m 66.”

a reality show.” Since the show will be from Bunim/Murray Productions, the Emmy award-winning production company behind Keeping Up With The Kardashians, the Blushhh girls look set for sensational international stardom! How will the music industry evolve? “The digital evolution’s impacted the way we purchase and experience music. The industry evolution, in my opinion, means we will SEE music rather than just hear it. Video will change the way we experience music in the future.” STILL TO COME… Mathew has starred in TV reality shows including MTV International’s Breaking From Above, while his movie credits include executive producing the No.1 box office hit, Obsessed and there are plenty more projects in the pipeline for this legendary superstar-maker and prolific philanthropist. “More teaching, public speaking, TV and film projects... Destiny’s Child projects…”

So, he’s kicking back a little, but up until recently, 50% of his travels were international. The challenges to running a global business? “Travel and time zones for telephone calls. When I travel domestic or international, I take only a carry-on bag. It’s important to have airline club memberships, TSA and Global access, to get through security check lines. I always travel with my wife now, which makes it more fun, except when she is shopping!”

“Dreams and passions are synonymous to me. Never give up!”

How does he keep fit and healthy? “Age doesn’t matter to me. I ride an exercise bike 4-5 times a week, eat lots of fish, fruit and veggies, and have reduced meat consumption. I try to reduce stress as much as possible.”

• •

CHILLIN’ IN CABO… When it’s time to switch off from A&R for welldeserved R&R, the music magnate heads for his vacation home in Cabo, where he owns a timeshare. “We love the weather, the people and the food! I’ve owned a timeshare for years but my wife and I love staying at Las Ventana’s and recently shared our four-year anniversary there. I also love Italy, Greece and Barbados. It’s very hard for me to switch off unless I go somewhere where my ‘phone doesn’t work, though!” MUSICAL MUSINGS… BLUSHHH! The next big thing in music? “Blushhh Music, the first-ever rap female trio with two rappers and a vocalist.” The latest girl group to sizzle off Music World Entertainment’s hotplate is doing well. “We hope, in the next month, to make a major announcement regarding them in

Where does he see himself, and his businesses, in five years’ time? “At the top!”


• • • • •

First and foremost, it has to be your passion. Focus on one area of the business or artistry and become great at that. Then you can branch out. Build a team. Practice, practice, practice. Realize this is not microwave success. It takes a minimum 5-6 years to get traction. Dreams and passions are synonymous to me. Be prepared for mistakes, failures and rejection, but never give up. Follow me on social media!

For further information about Mathew’s book, The DNA of Achievers: 10 Traits of Highly Successful Professionals, visit his website at, where you can also find a free article about his Walmart Strategic Partnership. Follow Mathew on Twitter: @MathewKnowles.

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t one time or another almost everyone has dreamed of being a prince or princess. In Victoria, B.C., even if your name is not Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, or Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, you can experience a night of royal treatment. The city, sprinkled with Victorian architecture, sets the stage for visitors to bask in royal traditions. Sip tea along the Tea-riffic Trail, dine on enticing top-quality farm-to-table cuisine at 10 Acres Kitchen, and sleep in opulence at the Magnolia Hotel & Spa where staff eagerly awaits to meet every guest’s needs. After a restful night of sleep, begin the day with a lavish breakfast at Catalano Restaurant & Cicchetti Bar.

into comfy chairs at one of the intimate tables, we selected tea and ordered the Signature Afternoon Tea Course.


We proceeded to our room and were pleasantly surprised by its extravagance. The elegant corner fireplace gave the room a sense of warmth and home, and the pristine bedding and sheets emanated cleanliness. A bottle of wine chilled in a bucket and a deep sunken tub beckoned us.

My daughter and I recently traveled to Victoria as part of a girls’ weekend away and we experienced the royal treatment. We began by visiting a few stops along the Tea-riffic Trail. At Silk Road Tea staff explained how frequent tea consumption can improve health. Daniela Cubelic, hailed as “Canada’s Queen of Tea” by the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, owns and operates Silk Road Tea. The shop specializes in organic teas and produces their own special blends for people to enjoy. Expertly labeled shelves make it easy for customers to find teas that provide relief for various ailments like sunburns, headaches, and other conditions. Sign up to attend a workshop or event while visiting to learn about the benefits of tea. HIGH TEA Later we meandered over to Venus Sophia Tea Room & Vegetarian Eatery and partook in the long-standing English tradition of high tea. Settling

The feast, presented on a three-tiered tower, came loaded with luscious finger sandwiches, desserts, and customary scones with jam and clotted cream. Mini quiches, dainty cakes and tiny slices of fruit pie made for a delicious assortment of tastings. This lavish tradition of high tea is certainly worthy of anyone’s royal agenda. THE LUXURIOUS MAGNOLIA HOTEL & SPA After tea, we checked in at the Magnolia Hotel & Spa. The tastefully decorated lobby with rich, dark, wood-paneled walls, comfortable chairs and couches, and an elegant fireplace created an ambiance ripe for relaxing, reading and visiting.

The hotel offers a variety of “trails” with maps to guide guests. Whether choosing to participate in the Tea-riffic Trail, Magnolia’s Tapas Trail, or one of the other designated city walks, these trails give the inside track to delights within the city. The hotel is located two blocks from Victoria’s Inner Harbor, the perfect distance for an evening stroll to view the stunning parliament building framed in lights. THE SPA MAGNOLIA If there is extra time before dinner, enjoy a body treatment, facial, or massage in the spa, or get in a workout at the hotel’s well-equipped fitness center. After relaxing in the spa or working off calories from high tea at the fitness center, head across the street from the hotel to 10 Acres Kitchen.

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DINNER AT 10 ACRES KITCHEN 10 Acres Kitchen has three distinct rooms or styles of dining to choose from — the 10 Acres Bistro, the Kitchen, and the Commons. Each room receives regular deliveries of meat, eggs, and fresh produce from the restaurant’s farm. Management designs unique menus for each place striving to mirror what the Pacific Northwest offers. By supporting local seafood purveyors, farmers, and producers, 10 Acres Kitchen assures customers that what is on their plates did not travel far from its source. Pair a perfectly mixed French 75 or Moscow Mule with the restaurant’s house-made charcuterie, pickled vegetables, and purple potato chips. The Farm Grain Bowl is an excellent entrée with tender chicken, earthy barley and lentils, vegetables, and a poached egg all bathed in a delicious curry sauce. For a great pasta dish, savor the freshly made tagliatelle with assorted mushrooms, and other vegetables. The ingredients are all tossed in a citrus brown-butter cream sauce. Finish dinner with apple pie a la mode; the farm-fresh apples make this dish exceptional. After a peaceful night’s sleep at the Magnolia, eat breakfast at Catalano Restaurant. Order off the menu or participate in the lavish buffet. The West Coast Omelet with eggs wrapped around wild smoked salmon, caramelized onions, lemon cream cheese, and a side of roasted potatoes and toast is heavenly. The Catalano Waffles come stuffed with double-smoked bacon and Swiss cheese for a rich and filling start to the day. Enjoy a delicious cup of hot coffee and fresh-squeezed orange juice while the friendly and professional staff make you feel like royalty. Victoria is known for its outdoor activities and beautiful gardens. Visitors with more time should take advantage of and wander through the famous Butchart Gardens, peruse the spectacular Craigdarroch Castle, and engage in nearby water activities of whale watching, kayaking, and sailing. The city boasts a plethora of activities and fine dining establishments to enjoy, so visit Victoria and relive those dreams of being a prince or princess while enveloped in Canadian hospitality.  70 Upscale Living Magazine |


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Offers the Ultimate Tuscan Luxury Vacation | By Alona Martinez

Ferragamo, the high-end shoe and handbag company from Italy, has been capturing women and men’s hearts since first founded by Salvatore Ferragamo in 1927. Travel enthusiasts will be thrilled to learn the family expanded their love of finer things to the hospitality and wine industry when son Ferruccio purchased the rundown medieval village of Il Borro, leaving it in the capable hands of his son, Salvatore, to oversee its transformation into the thriving luxury resort it is today.

“It was in terrible conditions, practically abandoned,” Salvatore explains of the decrepit state of the village when the family acquired it in 1993. “It took us seven years to restore.” It goes without saying that a restoration done by the Ferragamo family leads to only exquisite results, and in this case, that included a Relais & Chateaux hotel as well as extensive vineyards producing extraordinary wines. Set on 2000 acres (130 of which are planted with vines) Il Borro has five charming villas and offers outdoor activities such as horseback riding, mountain biking, archery, tennis, or simply hiking on the trails throughout the property. There’s also hot air ballooning and golf practice on the driving range, or, for those seeking relaxation, an infinity pool and exclusive La Corte Spa & Wellness Center. The peaceful and romantic

setting serves as an ideal backdrop for weddings, which is the only time you’ll encounter a car. “It’s a hilltop village and the only access to it is through a stone bridge. The roads are very narrow, so for weddings, we have little Fiat 500s that drive up. You can only get through with that car!” Regardless if you want to be active or just lounge by the pool, Ferragamo insists everyone must visit the state-of-the-art winery, a highlight of Il Borro. Guests will enjoy wine-tasting with the sommelier as well as learn about the varieties of wine used, particularly Sangiovese, the traditional grape of Tuscany. Salvatore’s passion is evident and clearly linked to his long-standing history with wine.

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“I’ve been born and raised in Tuscany, where we drink wine all our lives! My grandmother made a little wine when I was growing up and I’ve always been fascinated by the process.” Ferragamo is also committed to giving back. His face lights up as he discusses one of his proudest accomplishments at Il Borro –becoming completely sustainable as of 2015. “The main message I always like to give is that Il Borro is contributing back to the world positively. We produce three times as much solar energy than we consume, so we’re actually generating a negative carbon footprint to the world. I think this is a very important aspect.” Everything grown at Il Borro is done so organically, including the wine, the olives used for olive oil, and the honey. This type of farming not only produces more flavorful food, but is healthier for you. Ferragamo explains the benefits to the wine. “In conventional farming, all the chemicals that go into the soil are reabsorbed back into the grape. It is in the grape and therefore in the wine,” he pauses, gathering his thoughts. “Maybe because I am a father of three and getting a bit more mature,” Ferragamo smiles and his electric blue eyes grow pensive. “I think it’s a responsibility for future generations to come. It’s an important message to give.” 74 Upscale Living Magazine |

Chef Andrea Campani is in charge of creating the property’s award-wining food. Osertia del Borro offers both casual and upscale dining options. The Tuscan Bistro, located on the lower level, is dedicated to lighter meals and traditional Tuscan breakfasts as well as Italian and international wines. For dinner, head upstairs to savor dishes like wild boar, truffle, polenta, crispy vegetables and celery root cream; potato dumplings, grilled pumpkin, herbs and pecorino cheese; and mackerel with lemon, Florentine tripe sauce, and black cabbage. All harken to traditional Tuscan cuisine revisited with a contemporary twist. “Andrea actually does some fantastic cooking classes where you can enjoy the products farm-to-table which is always a lot of fun.” Ferragamo explains, revealing yet another activity available at the resort. Vin Café, a third dining option by the pool, is the ideal place for a light lunch or to sip a glass of wine while taking in the picturesque landscape of the medieval village. With all that Il Borro holds, it is tempting never to leave. However, those that choose to go off-property will appreciate how close it is to mustsee sites in Italy. “We are 45 minutes south of Florence, 40 minutes east of Siena. Our closest town is Arezzo, just 15 minutes away. Beyond that you have Cordona,


Top: Photos of Ferragamo’s II Borro Bedrooms villa. Courtesy of Ferragamo’s II Borro.


where they made the movie, ‘Under the Tuscan Sun.’” Rome is a mere 2-hour drive, and if shopping is your pleasure, Ferragamo says you’ve come to the perfect spot. “We have all the factory outlets near us!” The biggest challenge may be deciding what time of year to come visit. Ferragamo struggles to give one answer, explaining they are all memorable for different reasons. “Harvest time in fall is fantastic. We collect the olives and guests participate in the harvest. You go to the crushing facility, take a piece of bread, toast it on the fire place that’s right there, put a little garlic on top and, of course, our olive oil- fresh olive oil directly from the press. It’s wonderful!” His mind shifts to a warmer season. “In the summer it is nice tooeverything is very green. You can relax by the pool.” It is clear the Il Borro holds wonder, beauty, and luxury all year long. And there is more to come, with Ferragamo revealing they are expanding the property, including the acres used for vineyards. He stops to introduce his family, who have come to join him for lunch. “These are my children, Massimo, Wanda, and Leone,” he beams as his wife Tini looks on.

it’s always difficult for me to tell the story of it because there are so many different elements. How do you condense it into a few seconds to explain Il Borro? It’s a winery, but it’s also a resort, but it’s also a farm that is sustainable.” It is true, Il Borro is all these things, and, under the upscale touch of the Ferragamo family, it’s also the ideal luxury vacation, regardless of when you choose to visit. To visit Il Borro’s website, click here.

TL: Il Borro restaurant Ostria Del Borro. TR: dolce osteria del borro dish. Ferragamos II Borro vineyard and swimming pool.

“Il Borro is such a beautiful property, 75 Upscale Living Magazine | DECEMBER



CHEF MARK GARCIA Unexpected Mastery of the Fine Art of Sushi Found in Astoria | By Doug Singer


or starters, a top-rated omakase restaurant is certainly not the first thing that springs to mind when one thinks of the Astoria section of Queens, New York. This area is best known for its celebrated Greek community and has evolved into the most diverse population anywhere on the planet.

Gaijin, literally translated, means “outside person,� and as a nonJapanese master of the fine art of omakase sushi, Chef Mark Garcia certainly fits the bill. With that said, Chef Garcia is leaving connoisseurs of fine sushi no choice but to stand up and take serious notice. 76 Upscale Living Magazine |

Upon entering Gaijin, you are greeted by a modern warmth that is welcoming from the get go. Featuring a sushi bar up front where Chef Garcia spins out jewels of sushi like a Japanese wizard, you are welcomed by a knowledgeable and friendly staff. Towards the back of this 30seat eatery, you will find a bustling team in an open kitchen preparing a different assortment of appetizers and hot plates to most assuredly tantalize your taste buds. Dishes like the Onsen Tamago (soft cooked egg, uni and ikura) and the Negima (chicken thigh, shio koji marinade and scallion) are sure to quicken your heartbeat, but for me, this night was all about the sushi.


A Chicago native, co-owner and Executive Chef Mark Garcia fell in love with Japanese cuisine while working at the famed Sushi Samba under Chef Kaze, a veteran Chicago sushi chef with a 30-year history of opening innovative and wildly successful sushi restaurants including Heat, Mirai and Macku Sushi. Approaching Chef Kaze to formally train and mentor him proved to be successful and a decade-long relationship during which Chef Garcia himself rose to the top of the Chicago restaurant scene. Most recently, Garcia collaborated with both Chef Kaze and Michelin-starred Chef Jeff Ramsey (renowned culinary engineer of BABE), to develop the menu and design the sushi bar for the opening of Momotaro, a multi-dimensional sushi spot that quickly became one of the hottest new restaurants in the area. Following his success in Chicago, Chef Garcia felt it was time to bring his culinary inspiration to New York and Gaijin is hitting the mark in a rather meaninful way.


The focus of the menu is six and 13-piece omakase offerings that brilliantly blend Japanese tradition with Chef Garcia’s thoughtful and inspired panaches. The term omakase is a Japanese phrase that means “I’ll leave it up to you,” and in this instance, that is certainly sage advice. To verbally delve into the intricacies of

the bite-size masterpieces that were delivered during our omakase experience will simply not do them justice, so with that I offer a pictorial of what was quite simply one of the best sushi experiences of my eight year history as a food writer. 77 Upscale Living Magazine |



Scott Conant’s SCARPETTA Teaching Food Lovers of His Best-kept Secrets | By Alona Abbady Martinez


cott Conant could have been a movie star. Between the luxurious chestnut hair, cropped beard, soothing voice, and charm, he’d have no problem on the big screen. Luckily for us, he can also cook, and cook well, as is evident from his illustrious 30-year career which established him as one of America’s top chefs and restauranteurs. His South Florida restaurant, Scarpetta, located in Miami Beach’s glamourous Fontainebleau hotel, opened in November 2008 offering what the James Beard Award winner calls, “Italian soul food.” Items on the menu include Conant’s legendary spaghetti with tomato and basil, a dish whose heightened simplicity has become a brand in and of itself. Other favorites are duck and foie gras ravioli with marsala reduction and short rib agnolotti dal plin, Piedmontese for “to pinch” because of how the pillow-shaped pasta is made. Conant admits he is so busy these days he rarely has time to make pasta himself unless it is with his two young kids. Still, he does enjoy spreading his passion and knowledge of this art form, something he acquired from his grandmother in Italy. “She had this huge board and she’d make tagliatelle, orecchiette, and things like that. Those are my first memories.” Under the direction of Conant’s Chef de Cui78 Upscale Living Magazine |

sine, Neil O’Connell and expert pasta maker Roberto Fernandez, Scarpetta will be launching an interactive cooking class and demo this Saturday, December 2nd. The class will be offered the first Saturday of every month from noon1:30 p.m. and is open to adults and children 12 years old and up. “Neil does a great job, he doesn’t need me here!” Conant offers with a hearty laugh. “It’s been 9 years since we’ve opened and the team is strong.” He turns around to face the breathtaking view of the ocean that serves as a backdrop for those taking the class. “I wish I were here more often, because…”, he points at the azure water and breaks out a boyish grin that explains it all. Attendees of the class will be privy to learning trade secrets of Conant’s signature dishes, like the epic tomato sauce. “The seeds and juice [of the tomato] are strained and I crush it with a potato masher, which I should refer to as a tomato masher. That way it has texture to it, it’s not necessarily pureed. When it’s tossed in the pasta, it maintains its level of freshness.” Conant adds extra virgin olive oil and butter to the sauce as well, to give it richness. As he explains, his fun-loving nature comes out. “And miraculously, it has no calories!”, he jokes.


The short rib agnolotti is luxuriously decadent with tender, flavorful meat, smoked bone marrow, and red wine reduction all blended to create a show-stopper filling. Shaping the dough, something guests will learn to do, takes one’s appreciation of the exquisite dish to a whole other level. Roberto Fernandez, who has worked at Scarpetta as pasta maker since its inception, serves as a patient and skilled instructor. “He does this a mile a minute chatting with his co-workers. He’s the best.” The class, which is $75 per person, will teach pasta lovers how to make basic dough, tomato sauce, ravioli, and spaghetti, including the proper way of filling, handling, cooking, and serving pasta all in the luxurious setting of this AAA Four Diamond Award Winning Italian restaurant. Guests receive recipe cards for the coveted tomato sauce and pasta dough and end the class with a tasting of all the delicious recipes they create, and although Conant may not be leading the class, his passion and knowledge are undeniably there. “I could talk about this stuff all day!” Conant confesses, confident that after an afternoon learning to make pasta from his team at Scarpetta, you will too.



TEPERBERG LEGACY PETITE SIRAH 2013 Other reds may play to larger audiences, but Syrah (famed Old World grape of the northern Rhone) refuses to be forgotten. Inspired by the 1950 Paramount Pictures classic, Sunset Boulevard, this Alexander Valley release is as complex as the character of Norma Desmond and is definitely ready for its close up. You will find it smoky, perfumed and dark at heart, with lucious black fruit and a long, satin-dressed finish. Guests will be equally happy sipping this Syrah at the table or during cocktail hour.

CARMEL LIMITED EDITION A powerful yet elegant Bordeaux-style wine, the Carmel Limited Edition represents the best of Israeli winemaking. Its distinct Mediterranean notes are bold and earthy, characterized by a rich, smooth, fruity taste. Carmel Winery was founded in 1882 by Baron Edmond de Rothschild, owner of the legendary Château Lafite-Rothschild, and the Limited Edition is a tribute to its origins.



TEPERBERG LEGACY PETITE SIRAH The Legacy Petite Sirah showcases why Teperberg is a rising star among Israel’s wineries. Their flagship wine is not only delicious but also intriguing. Aged in French oak barrels, this deep red offers a soft flavor and rich texture with a complex balance of fruit and roasted oak.


LVOV VODKA “SAY IT WITH LVOV” GIFT BOX (1.75 LITER) LVOV’s premium Polish vodka offers the best value for the money. Crafted in the old tradition from potatoes (and thus gluten-free), it is distilled and filtered four times for a hint of mineral taste with a touch of sweetness with a slightly herbal aroma. A refined, mellow sip as part of your favorite cocktail or enjoyed its own. LVOV Vodka Gift Boxes are available in a choice of six “expressive” options that will definitely convey “Thank You.” 81 Upscale Living Magazine |

BARTENURA SPARKLING MOSCATO ROSÉ | Bartenura is the most popular Italian Moscato in the U.S. market and beyond. With its luxurious taste, appearance, and mouthfeel, the Sparkling Rosé is like upgrading from coach to first class. Slightly sweet, it’s a festive companion to cheese and dessert. And its “couture fashion” inspired gift bag is a feast for the eyes, too. DECEMBER 2017






1/2 cup apple cider 1 cups hard cider 1 cup Sparkling Ice Crisp Apple 1/4 cup bourbon 1/4 cup lemon juice Cinnamon sticks, for garnish Cinnamon sugar rim, for garnish



1 bottle of Santa Margherita Chianti Classico Riserva 1 large orange, sliced 1 large pear, chopped Seeds of 1 pomegranate 4 cinnamon sticks DIRECTIONS


Add fruit to a large pitcher. Top with Santa Margherita Chianti Classico Riserva. Place in fridge for an hour before serving. Spoon fruit into glass before pouring wine. Garnish with cinnamon stick. Add ice to top (optional).

Rim the glass with a lemon and dip into cinnamon sugar, set to the side. Combine ciders, bourbon, Sparkling Ice Crisp Apple, and lemon juice in a pitcher- stir to combine. Fill glasses with ice, then punch. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and serve.

SPARKLE AND SPICE INGREDIENTS 750ml bottle aged rum 1/2 cinnamon stick 1 clove 1 cardamom pod 1 star anise pod 1 vanilla bean 3 allspice berries Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg Sparkling Ice Lemon Lime DIRECTIONS Combine rum, cinnamon stick, clove, cardamom, star anise, vanilla bean, allspice berries, and nutmeg in an airtight jar. Split vanilla bean and scrape seeds into jar along with the bean pod. Close jar and allow infusion to sit in a dark place for at least 3 days. Strain rum into an airtight jar with a fine-mesh strainer, discarding spices. Over ice, pour 2 ounces of rum infusion. Top with Sparkling Ice Lemon Lime and garnish with blackberries. 84 Upscale Living Magazine |


December 2017 digital issue of ulm  
December 2017 digital issue of ulm  

Upscale Living Magazine is a luxury lifestyle publication that takes you to experience the best products and services life offers. Enjoy rea...