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Connexting CONTRIBUTORS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Manny Velasquez-Paredes CREATIVE DIRECTOR Xioger Sandoval FEATURED WRITER David Duran CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Lilly Chris Ross Christianson H. Luiz Martinez Carlos Mayorga Aaron Paiva Leyton David Perry JJ Vega Manny Velasquez-Paredes Sarah Stanley-Evan Read Connextions Magazine online: ConnextionsMagazine.com Write to us: Have a question or comment regarding this issue or future issues of Connextions Magazine? We would love to hear from you! E-mail responses and press releases are always welcomed. mvp@connextionsmagazine.com All submissions become the property of Connextions Magazine. The views and opinions stated throughout this magazine are not necessarily the opinions of staff at Connextions Magazine. Connextions Magazine, LLC publishing mailing address: PO Box 242 Calverton, NY 11933 Connextions Magazine and Connextions Magazine en Español will not knowingly publish or advertise text which is fraudulent or misleading. The publisher reserves the right to edit, limit, revise, or reject any text without cause. Connextions Magazine assumes no financial responsibility for typographical errors. If any errors are found, please notify Connextions Magazine immediately. Materials in this publication may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher. ISSN 2160-4347 (print) ISSN 2160-4355 (online)

Connextions Magazine Issue 19: Travel Lite, published on August 2015, features resources for your trip on a budget! We take you on a journey to New Orleans and Las Vegas, where the parties never stop. A budget-friendly European adventure through Barcelona and London. Plus “15 Vacation on a Budget Tips!” Our LGBT Family takes you on an eco-friendly and unplugged trip to the Poconos.

Cover Photo by: Xioger Sandoval Model: William Rootpeter Location: Starlight Charter, Sag Harbor, NY Actor, Model, Entrepreneur, Student & World Traveler William Rootpeter sits down with Connextions Magazine for an in-depth interview. He opens up about growing up, sexuality, and the future. Starlight Charter in Sag Harbor, New York is the perfect backdrop for William’s photo shoot. He has worked with celebrities, has been photographed countless times, and he now graces the cover of Connextions Magazine Deluxe Life issue. Captain Toby of Starlight Charter was our host for this exciting cover shot!

Read Starlight Charter article on page 84 & William’s interview on page 90.

Find us, Follow us, Like us, Tweet us, Pin us, Share us on all social media sites @ConnextionsMag #ConnextionsMag

Connextions Magazine, the Travel & Lifestyle magazine for the LGBTQ Traveler since 2010, is a proud member of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, Gay European Tourism Association & National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, as well The travel Media Sponsor of HRC Greater New York.

Deluxe Life

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December 2015


Letter from the Editor Lima, Peru was founded on January 18, 1535. Known as the Ciudad de los Reyes (City of Kings), it became the capital and the most important city in the Republic of Peru. Lima, with almost 10 million inhabitants, houses around one-third of Peruvians, and is the most populous metropolitan area of Peru, and the third largest city in the Americas, just behind São Paulo and Mexico City. Lima is also where I was born a few decades ago. My father passed away when I was a child, and my mother decided my sister and I needed a change of scenery and moved us to the United States. 25 years later, I decided to return to visit. This was the most exciting and scariest trip I have ever taken. Exciting - because I was looking forward to all the new adventures and seeing all of the changes in the past 25 years, and of course to see family members I had not seen in decades. Scariest – because the last time I was there, I was so young that I had not even realized I was gay. I wasn’t sure at all what it would be like to return after coming out of the closet abroad. As a Writer and Editor, I write about my personal experiences, and therefore, I have been very open about my sexuality and family. So returning to the place that witnessed my birth, and seeing relatives who have read my articles featuring my husband and our kids, was a worrisome time for me. However, luckily for me, I had an absolutely wonderful experience. Although I have family in Peru, I decided to connext with Aaron Paiva Leyton of “TOURGUIDEPERU Tours tailored by Aaron” in order to make this trip an unforgettable one. Aaron guided us on where to stay and visit, and how to truly enjoy Lima. Aaron and his team at Tour Guide Peru, took the time to help me and to ease my worries and concerns during the planning process and while in Lima. The Connextions team enjoyed this adventure so much that we decided to choose Peru as the “Top Luxury Destination” and we highly recommend contacting Aaron and his Team to help you to create your Peruvian adventure. Deluxe Life, Connextions Magazine issue #20, features the most luxurious destinations. For a vacation to be considered “luxury travel,” a lot of factors must be taken into consideration, but the main one is where you will rest your head and body. The hotel or resort you choose will determine just how luxurious your trip will be, this is why in this issue we are focusing on those places that scream Deluxe Life! For this issue, we traveled all over the world and had lots of fun at photo shoots from Oslo in Norway, to California, Maui, Connecticut, Lima in Peru and Florida where Connextions Magazine visited the Diplomat Resort & Spa for an unforgettable photo shoot with Lithuanian Model Paulius Paražinskas. We also take you to the DANDI Awards ceremony, where Connextions Magazine was the winner in the Media category; and introduce you to Starlight Charter, an LGBT owned and operated sailing experience providing you with unique and private adventures, which served as the location for this issue’s cover photo shoot with French Model William Rootpeter. MVP

Editor In Chief

ConnextionsMagazine.com

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Contents Winter 2015 LIVE

The Food Trail How to Cook that $#@% Turkey

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In Review Books “The Christmas Truck”

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TRAVEL Maui: A Foodie’s Dream Destination Hawaii Food & Wine Festival in Kaanapalil

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Oslo: The Grand Trip A visit to The Grand Hotel in Oslo

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Peru: The Hidden Jewels in the Land of the Gods Lima: The World’s Culinary Capital HOTEL B: The B Is For Beauty JW Marriott: The Crown’s Jewel

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California: The Pink’s Lady Facelift La Valencia Hotel

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Florida: It’s So Beachy! The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island Diplomat Resort & Spa, Hollywood

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LGBT Family Travel: Connecticut Delamar: A Weekend Getaway

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CONNECT Cruising Through Life Meet Toby Stull, Owner of Starlight Charter

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William Rootpeter: Under the Spotlight Interview with Model, Actor & World Traveler

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Letter from the Editor

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The Hidden Jewels in the Land of the Gods Peru is the “Top Luxury Destination� to visit in 2016 according to Connextions Magazine 7


The Photographer’s Portrait

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Capturing Your Love

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10 Photo by: David Duran

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Capturing Your Love A Foodie’s Dream Destination

Kaanapali

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t’s no secret that I consider myself a part time resident of Maui, and find myself never leaving the island without having a return trip already in the works so that I wont be so sad when I board the plane.

Written by & photos: David Duran

David is a culinary, hospitality and travel writer who focuses on both domestic and international travel destinations for several different markets. His love for discovering cities and travel spots is evident as he is away from his favorite place and home base of New York City the majority of the time.

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It used to be that I could just go, without any plans and just enjoy all the magical paradise the island has to offer, but as of late, the events on the island have been drawing me more and more. At the start of the summer I found myself attending the Maui Film Festival over in Wailea, and tasting amazing culinary delights by Chef Ryan Urig, Executive Chef at the Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, at the “Taste of Summer” Film Fest Opening Night party, which was attended by Hollywood heavyweights Colin Farrell and Scott Eastwood, in addition to others. On a side note, I also ran into Farrell by my pool cabana the next day, which was also a highlight of the trip.

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At the end of this summer, I headed back to Maui for another massive event, The Hawaii Food & Wine Festival, held over in Kaanapali. Being the foodie that I claim to be, I knew I was in for a week of non-stop amazingness because after reviewing the list of invited chefs, I was salivating at all the possibilities of food creations that each one could come up with, using only the freshest and most creative ingredients Maui has to offer. The Kaanapali side of the island is a bit livelier, with resorts lining the beach-front, filled with activities and restaurants. I opted to spend my time at the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas (KOR) because they were at the end of the strip, in a more relaxed setting, but still easily accessible to everything, especially with their free shuttle service that runs on a regular schedule. The resort was also playing host to one of the major events of the festival, and since it was a boozy event, I figured it would be conveniently located just steps from my villa, where I could catnap before later events.

Travel: Maui

The one-bedroom villa I occupied provided me with an abundance of space, with a full kitchen, living/dining room and even a washer and dryer, located next to the oversized bathroom.

The Westin KOR is also home to some extraordinary chefs. Executive Chef Francois Milliet has done a tremendous job of taking the dining experience at the AAA four-diamond resort to new heights of success. And one of the major successes was in the addition of Chef Matt Skaletsky, Executive Sous Chef at the resort. Both Chef Milliet and Chef Skaletsky have an abundance of experience and are elevating the Westin KOR with exciting new menus and dining options. Pulehu, an Italian Grill, is one of Maui’s best Italian restaurants, and recently appointed Chef de Cuisine, Alvin Savella to spice things up with his own touch. I had the opportunity to test out some of the new menu which was introduced this past September, and Chef Savella has not only surpassed every


A Foodie’s Destination expectation of wonderfulness we all expected, but has also brought a new flavor and style to Pulehu, which I expect will continue to keep it as one of the island’s favorite places to eat. Sous Chef Jesse Pita is also killing it over at the Ocean Pool Bar & Grill which happens to have a very cost friendly happy hour…I personally know this from my many visits, but my favorite place to grab some grub at the Westin KOR is at Pailolo Bar & Grill. The open-air sport bar serves up food truck style offerings from an eclectic menu of local, contemporary twists on classic food truck favorites, all which highlight the farmers, growers and products of Maui. The Hot Honey Sriracha Wings are unbelievable but my top pick is hands down, the “Bi Bim Bap Style” Tots, served with kalua pork, tater tots, tobiko aioli, sesame seeds, micro cilantro, kale kimchi, and a farm fresh egg. I may have over indulged in those tots a few times, especially from my poolside cabana that was located just steps from Pailolo. The Westin KOR hosted the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival’s Moscow Mule Maui Style event, a mixology pairing lunch, located at the award winning Pulehu, an Italian Grill. I was able to learn about the history of the Moscow Mule, but then was able to taste variations of this classic cocktail, prepared by a panel, including Jason Vendrell from Monkeypod Kitchen Wailea, who demonstrated how to make your own ginger beer, the staple ingredient in a Moscow Mule. The Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa’s Black Rock lawn was the location for the Maui on my Mind event which featured eight renowned chefs serving up gourmet delights, inspired by the best of what Maui has to offer – its beauty, bounty of locally grown, raised and caught products, as well as its talent for a truly unforgettable experience. The craft cocktails here, paired with the beautifully set up food stations, performance artists, music and perfect backdrop, made this a really great evening to share with other foodaholics.

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The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa played host to the final dinner of the back-to-back events in Kaanapali. The Hawaiian Airlines Presents Legend of Shep Gordon Dinner was a tribute to legendary chef Gordon. From managing the careers of prominent musicians such as Alice Cooper to celebrity chef, Emeril Lagasse, Shep Gordon has more than earned a documentary movie about himself. Supermensch: Legend of Shep Gordon was produced in 2013 by Mike Meyers to honor a kind and gentle soul, who has coached, counseled, supported and helped many of his friends in the entertainment business. Mensch means gentleman in Yiddish. To celebrate his life and achievements, the Festival honored Shep with a six-course dinner created by six of his chef friends. The lawn at the Hyatt was another gorgeous location with stunning views of the ocean. The entire food and wine festival in Kaanapali was a food-filled few days of gluttonous indulgence, but in the very best way possible. It was hard not to taste and try everything being offered because the chefs who were invited were truly masters of their ConnextionsMagazine.com

craft, each bringing something so special to the Kaanapali while complementing the specialness that Maui already has. With events like the Food & Wine Festival, as well as the Film Festival, Maui is proving to be not only a leisure destination, but also a festival and event destination for all LGBTQ travelers and allies. Of course, I’m happy to go and just be a bum in a cabana for a week while sipping on cocktails all day long, but having these types of events makes it possible to do just that, while also experiencing some pretty epic events. The Hawaii Food & Wine Festival is the premier destination event in the Pacific. The festival took place over two weeks on multiple islands, featuring a roster of over 100 internationally renowned master chefs, culinary personalities, and wine and spirit producers. Co-founded by two of Hawaii’s own James Beard Award-winning chefs, Roy Yamahuchi and Alan Wong, the festival showcases wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, one-of-a-kind excursions, and exclusive dining opportunities with dishes highlighting the state’s bounty of local produce, seafood, beef and poultry.

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16 Photo by: Xioger Sandoval

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Capturing Your The Grand TripLove

Photos: The Grand Hotel Oslo & Xioger Sandoval

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orway is a very liberal region in regards to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights. It became the first country in the world to enact anti-discrimination laws protecting homosexuals in certain areas. Same-sex marriage, adoption, and IVF/assisted insemination treatments have been legal since 2009. Oslo is Norway’s capital, and is considered to be a city where nature meets urban pleasures. The Grand Hotel in Oslo is Norway’s best-known and most prestigious hotel. The Grand Hotel was founded in 1874 by the pastry chef Julius Fritzner, and for over 140 years it has been host to the people of Norway, international guests, world leaders, celebrities and the Nobel Peace

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Prize laureates. Henrik Ibsen, the world-renowned Norwegian author made the hotel one of his favorite daily haunts. The Grand Hotel has 292 rooms, including 54 Suites that are a blend of historic design, two restaurants with its own distinct style, one sky bar with magnificent views, 19 meeting rooms, Artesia Spa, fitness room and parking. The Grand Hotel, with the best location in Norway, remained as a striking landmark in Oslo ever since the city was called Kristiania. Proud and venerable situated at the corner of Karl Johans Street and Rosenkrantz Street. Here, Henrik Ibsen and Fridtjof Nansen have received ovations on the famous corner balcony. The Grand Café still offers generous open-faced sandwiches, and the Royal Guard still parades in front of the hotel, on its way to the Royal palace.

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Capturing Your Love

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Connextions Connextions Magazine Magazine | | Deluxe Deluxe Life Life | | December December 2015 2015


The Photographer’s Portrait

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Photo 27 Photo by: by: Manny Manny Velasquez-Paredes Velasquez-Paredes 27


Capturing Love Hotel B: TheYour B Is For Beauty

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ima was founded on January 18, 1535, and was dubbed the Ciudad de los Reyes (City of Kings). It became the capital and the most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru, later becoming the Republic of Peru. The metropolitan area of Lima is composed of Lima and the main seaport of Callao. With almost 10 million inhabitants, it houses around one-third of Peruvians, and is the most populous metropolitan area of Peru, and the third largest city in the Americas, just behind SĂŁo Paulo and Mexico City.

By: Manny Velasquez-Paredes Photos: Hotel B & Manny Velasquez-Paredes Manny Velasquez-Paredes (MVP) is a social media junkie and avid traveler, who brings the traveling LGBTQ family’s perspective to Connextions Magazine. MVP has visited 5 continents, lived and studied in three of them. MVP and his family enjoy traveling and creating memories.

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Lima is divided into different towns, called districts. Each district has its own spirit and essence. Lima’s most vibrant district, considered by many to be the most bohemian of all, is Barranco and it is best-known as a hub for artists, musicians, designers, photographers, creatives and more. Barranco is where the 19th-century fashionistas

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and aristocracy vacationed. Gorgeous Grand Belle Époque and Republican style houses and mansions were built surrounding the Malecón, which is a six-mile stretch of parks situated along the cliffs high above overlooking the majestic Pacific Ocean. During the 20th century urban expansion, the wealthy Limeños moved out and squatters took up residence in the abandoned, decaying mansions. But, as everyone knows, the true value of real estate depends on location, location, location, so the tides turned again reviving this gorgeous district and once again Barranco started to experience the vibes of a dynamic arts community. Creatives including fashion photographer Mario Testino, Nobel Prize winning author Mario Vargas Llosa and art gallery Lucia de la Puente, which is a must-exhibit for every up-and-coming Peruvian artist, moved in to help restore Barranco to its glory

Travel: Peru

days and it is now a vibrant, hip and gay-friendly bohemian district.

The Malecón is adorned with statues created by Peruvian artists, and it is the perfect spot for jogging, biking, walking, enjoying the view or stealing a kiss from your love interest. Nestled in the heart of Barranco and just a block away from the Malecón is one of the most stunning mansions, the Hotel B, which was restored to its magnificent architectural masterpiece without altering the essence of the original house. Acclaimed French architect Claude Sahut, who had remodeled portions of the Government Palace, and many of Lima’s main avenues, parks, theaters and other public buildings and spaces, was originally commissioned to design the property and construction was completed in 1914. The property showcased imported Italian marble


and exotic woods, along with an ornate façade, stratospherically high ceilings featuring teatinas (a unique style of skylight), open balconies and expansive terraces. The B, as it’s commonly referred, was transformed to house 10 large rooms plus common areas and an annex was built next to the mansion to house and additional 7 rooms. The original mansion consists of two floors, however, the new addition has three floors with a strict height limit, and to resolve this height issue, a stunning staircase, which is now recognized as an iconic space, was created taking the concept of the cylindrical design of the original entry. The B, as it’s commonly referred, was transformed to house 10 large rooms plus common areas and an annex was built next to the mansion to house and additional 7 rooms. The original mansion consists of two floors, however, the new addition

Travel: Peru has three floors with a strict height limit, and to resolve this height issue, a stunning staircase, which is now recognized as an iconic space, was created taking the concept of the cylindrical design of the original entry. The new annexed building is contemporary, with a vertical garden and glass spiral staircase as its centerpiece. Art plays an important role for the B, which houses a collection of contemporary art in all the areas of the hotel, providing a completely new experience for culture lovers. The roof terrace offers a relaxing atmosphere with a view of the ocean and the district, a great place to people watch or enjoy a pisco sour. Also, the roof terrace is a great place to sunbathe in private and still enjoy the ocean’s salty aroma right in the middle of Barranco. The B’s restaurant, bar and lounge were designed to complement the beauty of the hotel, in what appears to be a


The B Is For Beauty library, the art continues to be the centerpiece, which is only shadowed by the cuisine. During my stay at the B, I was able to enjoy the restaurant/lounge, which offers inventive Peruvian-Mediterranean small plates, such as charcoal-grilled octopus and crostini with avocado and anchovies, as well as comfort foods like Pepper loin medallion with escalibada. During the breakfast buffet, I decided to try a little bit of everything and the spread was delicious, from tamales (made from corn), the local cheeses, fresh baked bread and pastries, fresh fruits, local meats and more, all topped with Peruvian coffee, which is unlike any other coffee in the world. The strong taste and aroma can wake up even this writer, who spent the previous night at the B’s bar. El Lonche (teatime), is a must for every Peruvian and from 4-6 pm the B invites guests to drop in, meet old and new friends and mingle with other fellow travelers, as they partake in fresh Italian coffee, a selection of green and black teas, a special family recipe Peruvian hot chocolate plus fresh seasonal fruits and traditional pastries. As I was staying at the B for work, I had to spend a few nights at the bar and lounge to taste and critique, the delicious meals and the tasty and refreshing drinks, which were created by Gianfranco, who happened to be the bartender on duty during my stay. His personality and enthusiasm were super contagious and his genuine smile lit the bar. The bar boasts a vast array of South American wines, Peruvian Piscos, pints of Peruvian craft beer and fresh seafood in a lively meeting point with a traditional club service. Meals and drinks can also be enjoyed on the adjacent terrace, which is also the smoking section. On the night before I left, I met a lesbian couple who had just arrived for a destination wedding. It was great to meet an open same-sex couple, but what made the experience even better was that no one in the bar even bothered to look their way when these two young ladies kissed each other. At that point I realized, just how gay-friendly the B was and how comfortable I felt during my stay there. I can’t wait to return to the award winning B, where I personally feel the B stands for BEAUTY.

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Lima: The World’s Culinary Capital Capturing Your Love

By: Aaron Paiva Leyton Photos: Aaron Paiva Leyton Aaron Paiva Leyton, founder of Peru Magic & Mystery, started this adventure in 2002 with the idea of promoting Peru through the eyes of a local Peruvian. In addition to his tours, Aaron has produced and directed several well received documentaries including “Peru: Magic and Mystery” and “From the Heart of Peru: My Mother’s Kitchen”. Involved in various projects promoting Peru around the world, Aaron has become an unofficial ambassador of the land he loves. TOUR GUIDE PERU - Tours Tailored by Aaron TourGuidePeru.com

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hat is a foodie? A foodie is someone who is interested with large enthusiasm in the preparation and consumption of food. In the last 5 years Lima Peru, has become the center of dining experiences in Latin America winning several culinary awards, including “The World’s Leading Culinary Destination 2015” by the

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World Travel Awards. Peru has actually won this category for the past 4 years, something that no other country has achieved. One of the largest food festivals takes place the first week of September, “Mistura.” This is a great opportunity, especially for travelers and foodies, with few options to experience and taste the different regional dishes. Traveling from Lima to the nearest regional area, Ica, the cooking is influenced by Pisco grapes distillates. Currently Peru not only provides to the world, champagne and beer, but it is also known for its famous Pisco Sour. But what happens when a visitor visits Peru in another month? Well that’s a great question. Any good foodie, is not only spellbound by four or five star restaurants, the true foodie researches, tests, experiences, and goes to the local markets.

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A foodie buys a kilo of fruits, and purchases foods he/she has never heard of and tries dishes that cannot be pronounced or easily explained. Here are some tips on where to eat while visiting the World’s Culinary Capital – Lima Peru. Breakfast Breakfast is the most important meal and in Lima, Peru this is a hearty task. Start your morning with an aromatic cup of freshly brewed coffee accompanied by a crackling sandwich filled with deep-fried pork, sweet potato fries and sautéed onions. Here are some places where you can start your morning like a true Peruvian. Miraflores: La Lucha, La República or Pasquale Barranco: El Chinito San Miguel: Kio´s

Travel: Peru After that delicious, but perhaps not too healthy breakfast, we must do some exercise ... so walk to the nearest district. Just a few blocks from downtown Miraflores is Surquillo Market, which showcases an interesting sample of the variety of products, vegetables, fruits, herbs, stews, but beware if you have a sensitive nose because in the meats section you will find hanging chickens, beef and pork. My recommendation would be to buy fruits you are not familiar with, such as: Chirimoya, Guanábana, Granadilla, Plátano Bizcochito, Aguaymanto. Mercado: Distrito de Surquillo Lunch Let’s continue our culinary tour with Barranco District, which is known for its bohemian spirit, I would call it the “new hipster” of the local cities. The Museum of Mario Testino (MATE) and its permanent exhibition of photographs, for


The World’s Culinary Capital example the room called Alta Moda (Haute Couture) and its photo collection of Lady Diana, but let’s focus our attention on its Café where my recommendation is to try the delicious lemon pie, prepared on site with Peruvian limes, the experience is complete with a Sauvignon Blanc. Dessert: MATE in the Barranco District Continuing through the Barranquinas streets, we come across the main square, and a few meters away, we find an artisan brewery “Beer Company Barranco.” The first time I visited this place, I asked for a board with 9 different shots of beer, each with its own character and flavor, but I’ll stick with what they call “The Combi” a combination of lager and red ale. Of course, all that beer tasting will make you hungry, the pizzas are delicious. We recommend the Andean Salchipapa, which is a native favorite, grilled sausages with roasted potatoes accompanied with spicy sauces. Beer: Beer Company Barranco - Barranco District If you have a sweet tooth and desire a typical Peruvian dessert, we just have to cross the square towards El Puente de los Suspiros (the Bridge of Sighs) and you will find the Songoro Cosongo. The Peruvian version of donuts are “picarones.” The base of the recipe is sweet potato and pumpkin, and brown sugar (solidified molasses). Dessert: Songoro Cosongo - Barranco District Dinner Undoubtedly the Peruvian ceviche wins all the medals, this dish is made with raw fish, onions and spices. Cooked only by lemon juice, it is the best excuse to accompany any summer afternoon or the day after any hangover. One place that not only prepares one of the best ceviches in the capital, but also presents a show while preparing it is Javier Wong. There aren’t words to describe this delightful dish and the experience as the ingredients are mixed in front of your eyes. Make a reservation or you will not pass through the door. Ceviche: Chez Wong - District Victoria If you visited Peru and did not try the Pisco Sour, then why were you there? is what any Peruvian would tell you. One of the best places to try the famous Pisco Sour is the Hotel Bolivar, located in the historic center of the city opposite the popular San Martin Square. Besides the great architecture of this old hotel, you will enjoy one of the most representative cocktails of Peru. Pisco Sour: Hotel Bolivar - District Lima

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Capturing JW Marriott:Your TheLove Crown’s Jewel


By: Manny Velasquez-Paredes Photos: JW Marriott & Manny Velasquez-Paredes

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eturning to Lima, Peru, my birthplace, for the first time in 25 years of living abroad was an extremely scary and exciting idea. As a young child, after my birth father’s death, my mother decided she needed a change and she took my sister and me to live in the United States. I left Peru at such a young age that I did not even realize then that I was gay. So returning to see my birthplace and experience life there after 25 years was an extremely scary and exciting experience. I have family in Peru, and they had advised me on how to navigate my arrival, so I will share those tips with you. If you are traveling to Peru for the first time, I would definitely recommend asking your hotel’s

Travel: Peru concierge to assist you in arranging transportation. There are plenty of taxi cabs outside of the airport, however, please be extra careful, as you will find unmarked cars which may or may not be legitimate cabs. I have heard many sad tales of tourists and locals getting robbed or ripped off by drivers. Therefore, the best way to be safe is if your concierge can assist you in arranging transportation. I made reservations to stay at the JW Marriott in Lima, and they do not provide shuttle service, however they arranged to have a transportation company pick me up from the airport. Prior to my arrival, the hotel’s concierge provided me with a detailed email that clearly informed me as to the steps to follow upon arriving. The email even included a diagram of the customer service counters, so I would know exactly where to meet my driver.


The Crown’s Jewel

Upon arriving to Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima, I changed a small amount of dollars into Nuevo Soles (Peruvian currency), just enough to buy lunch or tip my driver. I wouldn’t recommend carrying around large amounts of money and some vendors/drivers will accept dollars or euros. In fact, some people would prefer it because they can exchange the money at a higher exchange rate.

I quickly realized just how much the city had changed in 25 years, and how some things had remained the same.

Once I went through customs and found my driver, he carried my luggage to the Mercedes Benz that was waiting for me. The driver explained to me that he would lock my doors for my safety and not to worry because the car had bullet resistant windows.

I was invited to experience the JW Marriott Hotel Lima, which is ranked among the top 25 hotels in South America by Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2015 and number 1 according to TripAdvisor. This luxury hotel is in the district of Miraflores, which is located within walking distance from top fine dining, notable historic sites, and picturesque public spaces. Directly across from the hotel is Larcomar shopping mall, which is right on the Malecón facing the Pacific Ocean, and it’s considered to be one of the most popular and most visited malls in Miraflores.

I wasn’t sure whether this made me feel safe or scare, but after the initial shock, I decided to let go of my own insecurities and allowed myself to experience the city that had witnessed my birth.

The guest rooms and suites at the JW Marriott Lima feature ceiling to floor windows with spectacular ocean views and include amenities like marble bathrooms and designer bedding. I had the


Capturing Your Love


Travel: Peru

pleasure of staying in one of the Executive Rooms, which gave me exclusive access to the Executive Lounge. The Executive Lounge is a private lounge with many amenities, such as: free buffet breakfast, snacks, hors d’oeuvres, desserts, complimentary wine and pisco tastings and light dinners, among other amenities.

is served in many different variations and flavors, including one made with coca leaves. Coca leaves are used to make cocaine, however, the alkaloid content of coca leaves is very low, which means that chewing the leaves or drinking coca tea leaves does not produce the high people experience with cocaine.

Fine Peruvian cuisine can be experienced at one of the two acclaimed restaurants in the hotel. During my stay at the JW Marriott Hotel Lima, I had the pleasure to witness one of the Chefs at the JW Sushi Ceviche Lounge making sushi, which quickly turned into an impromptu sushi making class! It was such a delight to experience the pride the Chef took in preparing the sushi, which also features classic Peruvian seafood dishes with an Asian twist.

The spa, health club and sauna offer state-of-the-art fitness equipment are ideal for complete relaxation with services like body scrubs, body wraps, facials, fitness classes, massages, steam room, pool and more. I would strongly recommend charging items to your room or using a credit card, however, the hotel has an ATM by the casino where you can withdraw soles. This will allow you to better keep track of your money and to have less cash on hand.

The bar features beers from all over the world, as well as Peruvian beers, wines and liquors. Of course, while in Peru you must try the Pisco, which

Enjoy everything, there are plenty of nearby spots to visit, you can dance the night away or enjoy an amazing meal all within walking distance.


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June 2015


The 2015 DANDI Awards The 2015 DANDI Awards ( Diversity and inclusion) were awarded on Friday, November 13, 2015 in New York City. The awards are given to companies or individuals who demonstrate exceptional commitment and leadership towards creating a more diverse and inclusive world. 40 companies were nominated in 14 categories at the annual DANDIs and Connextions Magazine was honored in the Communications and Media category, and was the only LGBTQ media company nominated.

Arts and Culture Asia Society

Brooklyn Museum of Art **

Hospitality Keith Lorren Marriott International

Communications and Media

International

Pei, Cobb, Freed & Partners

Connextions Magazine ** Univision US News World Report Consumer Goods

Carol’s Daughter ** Kraft Foods Walgreens

Education Institute for Cultural Diplomacy Linkage

Out & Equal ** Entertainment ABC

Discovery Communications ** HGTV

Entrepreneurship Nadine Vogel

Springboard Consulting **

Sodexo USA **

Aspen Institute Diaspora Investment Alliance** Ernst & Young Unesco Non- Profit

Dignity and Respect Campaign **

Filipino Women’s Network Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media Social Responsibility Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) Millennium Development Group

National Urban League ** Sports

Institute for Diversity & Ethics in Sports ** Major League Soccer Professional Golf Association (PGA)

WeWork

STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology & Math)

Environmental and Sustainability Center for Diversity & the Environment

National 4-H Council Stemconnector

Leapfrog Project **

Great Minds in STEM **

U.S. Green Building Council

Special Honorees

Health Care C.I.S. Training System (D. Lipscomb) Health NY

Lifetime Achievement: XG Samper Arquitectos

Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” **

Legacy: Geoffrey Holder

**45 Winners


The Photographer’s Portrait

United States - United Kingdom - Canada - Brazil - Germany - Kenya - Indonesia - China - Russia - France - Japan - Italy - Netherlands - Australia - Spain - South Korea - Mexico - Turkey - India - Philippines - South Africa - Pa-

Thank You

kistan - Malaysia - Poland - Argentina - Belgium - Sweden - Finland - Norway - Denmark - Israel - Taiwan - Singapore - Thailand - Portugal - Ukraine - Algeria - Ireland - Austria - Switzerland - Vietnam Puerto Rico - VenezuBecause of- YOU

ela - Romania - Bangladesh - Czech Republic - Egypt Connextions Magazine

Colombia Greece -&Peru - Estonia -Magazine Hong Kong - Saudi the -Travel Lifestyle Arabia - Slovenia - United Arab Emirates - Chile - Latvia continues to celebrate

LET’S STAND WITH - Yemen - Sri Lanka - NigeriaAMERICA’S - New Zealand - Hungary the LGBTQ Traveler! Iran - Lebanon - Morocco - Qatar - Bulgaria NEXT -GENERATION, SO- Serbia THEY Côte d’Ivoire - Dominican Republic - Ecuador - Jordan We ON are your connextions CAN STAND THEIR OWN. - French Polynesia - Turks & Caicos Islands - Bahamas -

to travel and new adventures. We are your connextions - Bosnia & Herzegovina - Bahrain - Costa Rica - Cyprus to over 350,000 readers - Georgia Guatemala - Croatia Sudan - Trinidad & ToIn America, it is estimated -that up to 1.6 million youth -are homeless each year. Up to 40% of them identify as gay,in or transgender (LGBT). 135bisexual, countries. bago - Uruguay -lesbian, Albania - Angola - Bolivia - Botswana Yet, just 7% of the general youth population identifies as LGBT. We are your social media- Mozam- Jamaica - Cambodia - aLibya - Martinique The True Colors Fund is working to reduce that disproportionate percentage from connextions to 20,000 - Namibia - Paraguay - SenegalFollowers - Uganda - Koso40% to none. bique and -ranked among the - Belarus vo - Afghanistan Aruba - Barbados - Bermuda Visit www.truecolorsfund.org to learn how you can make a difference. - BelizeTop - Cuba - Djibouti - Ethiopia - Fiji - Grenada 5% of Social Media Users.- GuinKuwait - Macedonia - Oman - Slovakia - Syria - Tunisia

ea - Bissau - Iraq - Jersey - Cayman Islands - Kazakhstan - Lithuania - Luxembourg - Mongolia - Macau - Malta @ConnextionsMag on all social media channels

New Caledonia - Nicaragua - Panama - Somalia - El SalConnextionsMagazine.com 48 vador - U.S. Virgin Islands - Venezuela - Vanuatu - Zambia


The Photographer’s Portrait

LET’S STAND WITH AMERICA’S NEXT GENERATION, SO THEY CAN STAND ON THEIR OWN. In America, it is estimated that up to 1.6 million youth are homeless each year. Up to 40% of them identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). Yet, just 7% of the general youth population identifies as LGBT. The True Colors Fund is working to reduce that disproportionate percentage from 40% to none. Visit www.truecolorsfund.org to learn how you can make a difference.

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Photo by: La Valencia Hotel


Capturing Your Love The Pink Lady’s Facelift

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he modernization of classic hotel properties can come with a hefty price tag because at times, the integrity of the architecture or décor can be compromised when structural updates take place, but today, luxury travelers are not only wanting, but expecting even the most historic hotels to be fully equipped with every modern convenience one could ever need. And who can blame them?

By: David Duran Photos: La Valencia Hotel David is a culinary, hospitality and travel writer who focuses on both domestic and international travel destinations for several different markets. His love for discovering cities and travel spots is evident as he is away from his favorite place and home base of New York City the majority of the time.

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With so many choices for travelers, even the most classics need a facelift every once in a while. La Valencia Hotel, affectionately referred to as the “Pink Lady” or “La V” by many who have stayed there, is located in the heart of La Jolla, overlooking Ellen Browning Scripps Park with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean in California. The 114 newly renovated guest rooms and villas, as well as the entire property, just underwent a

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major enhancement with the hotel’s recent $10 million “reimagining” project. The most impressive change to the iconic Pink Lady was the introduction of a new luxury room category known as the Icon Collection. The new category consists of three unique “wings” of the hotel, which were completely transformed to bring an unparalleled level of luxury to the hotel. The Sky Suite, located in the Tower Wing underwent the biggest transformation, as it’s located in the former footprint of the Sky Room Restaurant, circa 1957 and the Sun Deck, circa 1928. The one-bedroom suite is designed in a modern version of sleek 1940’s Hollywood style. The 180-degree ocean views of the Pacific and La Jolla Cove from retractable window walls allow the breezes to casually flow in and envelop the senses.

Travel: California The 1,000 square feet of space is filled with a hardwood floor entry that opens to a living room, dining area and wet bar. The bedroom has a Juliet balcony perfect for that first fresh breath of ocean air in the morning. The bathroom includes an oversized shower with multiple rain and shower heads, granite counter tops and dual sinks. The Sky Suite also can connect to an Ocean View Junior Suite with matching décor and views from its own retractable window walls, to create nearly 2,000 square feet of total living space. Guests looking for the ultimate in “top of the world” luxury can also secure the entire 10th floor which includes six different rooms: the Sky Suite and its connection Classic Junior Suite, two Vintage Rooms, one Classic room and another Classic Junior Suite, all with stunning ocean views. The entire floor provides rooms for a family or group of up to 16.


The La Valencia Villa, in the Villa Wing, was inspired by coastal décor and is suspended just about the beach level, overlooking the horizon of the Pacific Ocean. The villa features 1,200 square feet of living space, which includes a spacious living room with fireplace, vaulted ceilings, and a butler’s kitchen just off the dining area. The master bedroom adjoins to the wraparound terrace, and comes with a lavish marble bathroom with Jacuzzi tub, separate shower and dual sinks. The villa is also decorated with La V’s finest collection of original oil paintings, to compliment the comfortable coastal décor. The Pacific Suite located in the Cabrillo Wing is an apartment-like 1,000 square foot suite with dramatic vistas of the ocean and coastline. With a more residential feel and secluded location, the suite’s entry opens to a spacious living room with wet bar, and the bedroom leads to a large

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marble bathroom with spa shower, Jacuzzi tub and dual sinks. The suite includes a full master bath and separate powder room, making it ideal for entertaining. In addition to the guest rooms and villas, La Valencia focused on their culinary options which include THE MED, a signature ocean facing restaurant and terrace, with a New American Cuisine, with the adjoining La Sala Lounge, and the street facing bistro, Café La Rue. La V is located in the center of the Village of La Jolla and is conveniently located just steps away from premier retail shopping and dining. The Icon Collection amenities include complimentary parking, fresh flowers and a welcome amenity from the culinary staff as well as the invitation to enjoy the “Pink Lady’s” renowned dining options, array of nearby activities and mesmerizing ocean views, and personalized and intuitive service is as dependable as the exquisite accommodations.

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Photo by: The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island


Capturing Your Love The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island

By: Manny Velasquez-Paredes Photos: The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island

the public areas, gourmet cuisine, and personal touches.

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The brand even has a credo to follow: • The Ritz-Carlton Hotel is a place where the genuine care and comfort of our guests is our highest mission. • We pledge to provide the finest personal service and facilities for our guests who will always enjoy a warm, relaxed, yet refined ambiance. • The Ritz-Carlton experience enlivens the senses, instills well-being, and fulfills even the unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests.

he history of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company begins in 1983 with the purchase of The Ritz-Carlton, Boston and it has grown to 81 hotels worldwide with plans for further expansion in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas. The Ritz-Carlton is synonymous with customer service, attention to details and luxury, from neatly uniformed staff, to fresh flowers throughout

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As I was aware of the brand’s luxurious image, I was expecting nothing less when I checked in at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, which is located just off of Florida’s northeastern coast. Spoiler alert: my actual adventure was nowhere near to my extremely high expectations – but I was happily surprised. Located on a barrier island just thirty minutes from Jacksonville International Airport, The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, is the perfect excuse for a vacation! With its oceanfront setting on 26 acres and 1.5 miles of dune lined beaches bordered by state ConnextionsMagazine.com

parks, the setting immediately offers a relaxing atmosphere. All 446 guest rooms and 43 suites feature coastal views, fresh decor and personal balconies with floor-to-ceiling glass doors to access soothing seaside breezes. The luxury resort offers the largest meeting space in the region with 48,000 square feet of divisible meeting space, ballrooms, an ocean front lawn and courtyard, an 18-hole golf course is just steps away from the front door. Golf Club of Amelia Island is a private club catering to the exclusive

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Travel: Florida

surrounding community of Summer Beach, and guests of the resort receive playing privileges. Designed by Mark McCumber and Gene Littler, the course’s breathtaking landscape is as beautiful as it is challenging. With four restaurants and four lounges on site, and among them the fine dining restaurant, Salt, holds the AAA Five Diamond designation. Salt features diverse and wide-ranging tastings including, classics like Diver Scallops, Smoked Rainbow Trout and Salt’s famous Mac and Cheese. Salt has quickly become renowned as a true foodie Mecca. Don’t forget to make your reservations. Before enjoying all the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island has to offer, I recommend setting aside a couple of hours or afternoon to simply relax in the luxurious Amelia Island Spa. The Heaven in a Hammock treatment combines the therapeutic benefits of floating weightlessly in hammocks and unwinding in luxurious relaxation lounges, rocking and stretching, this treatment soothes tension and induces deep relation. If you do not want to try any of the treatments, you can just spend the day soaking in the sun at The Spa’s salt water, adult-only pool, or the rejuvenating in the eucalyptus- infused steam room and wet lounge. If you get tired from all of the relaxation, then perhaps you can partake in any of the activities on site, such as: tennis, horseback riding on the beach, kayaking, sailing, The Ritz Kids® Programs and a lot more. Staying at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island is as if time stops, heals, replenishes and refreshes you, your mind and your body. You will want to return even before checking out.

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Diplomat Resort & Spa


Travel: Florida Model: Paulius Paražinskas Photos by: Xioger Sandoval and Diplomat Resort & Spa

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ocated directly on the Atlantic Ocean, Diplomat Resort & Spa Hollywood is South Florida’s largest convention resort offering over 200,000 square feet of meeting space and is conveniently located on the beach between Fort Lauderdale and the international hub of Miami. Diplomat Resort & Spa Hollywood is a top of the line luxury brand, award winning resort and part of Curio – A Collection by Hilton. It has received top honors from Conde Nast Traveler and Trip Advisor, along with being named a top 100 Meeting Hotel by Cvent. Opening in 1959, the ritzy and opulent retreat quickly made Hollywood, Florida a popular destination for the rich, famous and anyone seeking a little glamour with their surf and sun. With 998 guest rooms, Diplomat Resort & Spa recently underwent a $100 million enhancement to significantly enrich the dynamic oceanfront property and offers an array of amenities including, unforgettable views, and several cuisine options from award-winning seafood, AAA Four Diamond rated The Diplomat Prime, along with a new spa overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Featuring two beach-front pools, poolside cabanas and beach-side rentals with Jet ski, ocean kayak, paddle board rentals, a fitness center, kids club, charter fishing and private marina and so much more, make this the ideal luxury spot to relax with the family or a romantic getaway. The resort features an outdoor-bridged pool with infinity-edge, see-through bottom and waterfalls flowing into the 240-foot lagoon-style pool below, and an outdoor Jacuzzi. The 14,000 square-foot facility, full-service spa offers 10 spa treatment ConnextionsMagazine.com

rooms, a luxurious Duet Room overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, a Halotherapy salt steam room, a relaxation area featuring a wall-of-rain and private, chaise lounges, a spa café overlooking the ocean and so much more. The 36th floor features two exclusive Presidential Suites (2,550 square feet), each with one million dollars in appointments. Both suites feature large balconies with both Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean views. On the 31st & 33rd floors are four Governors Suites, which also feature large balconies with both Intracoastal and Atlantic Ocean views. Celebrities have been drawn to this resort since it was first built: • In 1965, Senator Robert Kennedy, his wife Ethel, and his mother Rose Kennedy attended the John F. Kennedy Memorial Ball. • In 1966, Judy Garland played the hotel’s Café Crystal. • Sammy Davis, Jr. and Liza Minnelli did their first joint concert, to a record audience of 3,200 in 1967. • Bob Hope and President Ronald Reagan presented events in 1984. • In 2000, The Spa at The Diplomat opens to the public: 30,000 square feet of relaxation. • January 2002, opening of the main beach-front 1,000-room hotel, adjacent 209,000-sq. ft. Convention Center and the Diplomat Landing, a connected retail center & marina. • October 2014, the hotel joins Curio – A Collection by Hilton Worldwide and announces a $100 million enhancement initiative. • 2015, Connextions Magazine photo shoot with Lithuanian Model Paulius Paražinskas and featuring the stunning Diplomat Resort & Spa as the background and inspiration for the photo shoot. For more pictures visit: ConnextionsMagazine.com

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¡Tan pronto aterrizamos en México, nos sentimos como si estuviéramos en un paraíso!


¡Tan pronto aterrizamos en México, nos sentimos como si estuviéramos en un paraíso!


¡Tan pronto aterrizamos en México, nos sentimos como si estuviéramos en un paraíso!


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Photo by: Delamar Hotel


LGBT Family Weekend Getaway


Travel: Connecticut By: Manny Velasquez-Paredes Photos by: The Delamar & MVP

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s the leaves began to fall, we decided to take the family for a quick getaway. Unsure of where to go, and with only a weekend to travel, we decided we didn’t want to drive too far, but we wanted to go somewhere where we could enjoy the radiant colors of the leaves as they begin to finish their lifespan. We enjoy taking trips that can also be educational for our kids, and therefore, travel to places with lots of history. We feel that traveling is a great educational tool for everyone and our kids seem to pay attention to historical facts, when they are actually seeing them in person and taking their

own pictures. As a matter of fact, our 7 year old daughter just informed us that she would like to create her own scrapbook of our trips. We have decided to get her a camera to take her own pictures and to keep a journal of the trip through her eyes. We are sure our 5 year old boy will quickly follow suit, as he tends to copy everything she does. Off to Connexticut we went, I mean Connecticut; Greenwich, Connecticut to be more precise. This little town is located on the harbor of the Long Island Sound consisting of 67 miles. Greenwich is actually the first city you encounter on your way to Connecticut from New York, therefore it was right on our route. Larger in size than its neighboring more populated city, Manhattan, Greenwich is surrounded by history and welcoming store fronts inviting those


who visit to explore this town. Greenwich is known as a large film city, 42 movies have been filmed during the years. It is surrounded by unpopulated islands that sort of become their own version on a Cape Cod escape. Dating back to 1902, the romantic Greenwich Harbor prides itself on its rich maritime heritage. The award-winning luxurious place to stay while visiting Greenwich is The Delamar Hotel, which is surrounded by the harbor and nearby shops. The picturesque views and easy access to beaches, shopping and local attractions offered are perfect for a romantic getaway, family retreat, business meeting, elegant wedding, or savory sojourn for foodies. Delamar Greenwich Harbor and Delamar Southport are a family-owned business that provides a superior experience with first-class service and extremely LGBTQ-friendly, family and event pet-friendly. ConnextionsMagazine.com

Upon check-in, you will be received with complimentary champagne and water for the kids. Other complimentary amenities include weekend wine and cheese receptions and during season harbor cruises, continental breakfast served ever day in the lobby, Bvlgari bath amenities in all rooms and suites and high-speed internet access throughout the property, in addition to coffee, tea, hot cocoa throughout the day in the library. The Delamar’s contemporary and luxurious rooms, alongside breathtakingly priceless waterfront views are a must for any visit to Greenwich, CT. The property boasts 75 guest rooms, 7 luxury suites, a private dock for yachts up to 150-feet long, and the award-winning Spa at Delamar. After enjoying the beautiful views and rich history, the renowned I’escale restaurant, where celebrated Executive Chef Frederic Kieffer has paired a succulent menu with an alluring ambiance that captures the essence of Southern

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¡Tan pronto aterrizamos en México, nos sentimos como si estuviéramos en un paraíso!


France, should be on your “to-experience” list. I’escale, which translates to “port of call,” is a gorgeous place to enjoy a dinner, or as my kids call it, a “reason to get dressed up!” Greenwich, Connecticut, is home to many historically rich attractions including: The Greenwich Polo Club, The Bruce Museum of Science & Art, local art galleries, The Bow Tie Cinema, Bush Holey House, as well as a shopping mecca along Greenwich Avenue or “The Avenue”, as locals calls it, all just a short walking

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distance from Delamar Greenwich Harbor. Just 45 minutes to midtown Manhattan, and transportation within a three mile radius, you can literally arrive into the Greenwich Metro North Station and request to be picked up. Just a short 45 minutes away from LaGuardia Airport, 60 minutes from Kennedy Airport, 90 minutes from Newark Airport, 10 minutes from Stamford Amtrak & Acela Trains and just a 2 ½ hour drive from Boston in a gay-friendly town make this the ideal Weekend Luxury Getaway!

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Live: The Food Trail

HOW TO COOK THAT @#$% TURKEY By: H. Luiz Martinez

Pic: FreeImages.com/Stella Levi

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he holiday season is fast approaching and I already know that you’re going to be flooding my email, social media handles, phones, and ears with “How do I prepare this damn turkey?” That really is the number one question I get when I do my “Thanksgiving Prep” videos on my Youtube channel: YouTube.com/hluizpresents/. This Christmas, New Year’s Day or Three Kings Day don’t make another whole turkey. Wow your entire family and guests with a turkey roulade. It is a lot easier and less time-consuming than baking an entire turkey. I’ve been making turkey roulades for Thanksgiving and Christmas for the last 8 years. Now, I try to convert others into doing the same because I truly believe once you try a roulade, you’ll never go back to cooking a whole turkey. That’s not to say that I am leaving behind my dark meat lovers. If I know they’re coming, I throw in 2 to 4 turkey legs in the oven with the roulade. Turkey breast can be bought with or without bone and turkey legs can be bought separately. It’s also more economical to buy turkey this way. What exactly is a roulade? Well, a roulade is a dish

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cooked or baked and served in the form of a roll – think jellyroll. It’s typically made from a piece of meat, fish, or cake, flattened out or “butterflied” then spread with a filling, then rolled up into a spiral. I make my turkey roulade in that same manner. I butterfly both turkey breasts, spread my homemade stuffing onto it, and rolled it up like a jelly roll. I tie it with kitchen string to help retain its shape then bake it for less than two hours. There are two turkey breasts so I make two turkey roulades. It’s also a great way to “stretch” your dollars and “stretch” your turkey meat and stuffing portions. A typical turkey roulade yields about 6 -7 portions a breast so two turkey roulades can still feed a horde of people. We also find it a healthier way to go since you don’t tend to overeat. I serve my turkey roulade with grilled asparagus or Brussels sprouts when it’s just my little family of three. If I’m expecting more family and friends, I usually do all the typical sides you’d find at the holiday table. I promise you, try this once and you will never go back to waking up at 6am to start baking your holiday whole turkey. Plus you’ll never run out of stuffing because it’s baked right in the turkey roulade. Talk about portion control during the holidays. ¡Buen Provecho!

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The Photographer’s Portrait

Your What, When & Where For NYC LGBTQ Events, Arts, Entertainment, Culture & More!

NYCUpAndOut.com ConnextionsMagazine.com

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STARLIGHT CHARTERS: CRUISING THROUGH LIFE

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magine busting your ass going to law school, getting a job as a lawyer, only to realize that you need more out of life. For some people, becoming a lawyer is a lifelong dream, but for others, it’s just the launching pad for other things. This is exactly what happened to Captain Toby Stull. One day, he realized that he needed more than just being a lawyer and he walked into his superiors’ office and informed them that he was leaving. Fearful he might be going to another law firm, his superiors asked him about his plans and he informed them he was leaving everything to sail the world! And sail the world he did!

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With over 35-years of sailing experience, Captain Toby learned to sail on his family’s 14 feet East Wind sailboat alongside his father. By third grade, he was sailing and racing collegiate class dinghys and he spent his youth sailing and racing a range of small boats and cruising with family and friends aboard the 31-foot family sloop. He holds a USCG Master Captain License and several American Sailing Association Instructor certifications and he began teaching sailing during college. His extensive sailing resume includes many regattas and experience sailing throughout the Eastern US Coastline and Virgin Islands. Captain Toby spent decades restoring and living aboard several sailboats including a C&C 35 Mark 1 and Beneteau First 42 before Starting Starlight Sailing Charters and purchasing Starlight. He has held several professional crew positions aboard vessels up to 140 feet. Growing up on Eastern Long Island Sound and New England, he says he was on boats before he could even walk.

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Cruising Through Life Proud to be an LGBT owned company, Captain Toby and Captain Will, welcome all guests, from couples, to all types of families and groups. Appropriate ages range from eight months to the young at heart. Chef/Steward yachting professionals can be hired upon request. Starlight Sailing Charters provides private day charters and sailing vacations in Sag Harbor and the Virgin Islands that are surely to excite and relax even the most stressed, while providing a unique and private vacation experience. Starlight sails from Sag Harbor and nearby ports from June through September. Charters are available out of Saint Thomas, Saint John, the Virgin Islands and other Caribbean destinations from December through May. Starlight is an elegant 52-foot cutter-rigged sailboat manufactured by Tayana Yachts and it’s the perfect platform for an intimate group of up to 8 guests for day charters and 2-4 guests for overnight charters. Starlight is a large, safe and capable world-class yacht with a large outside seating area and luxurious overnight accommodations for up to four guests plus crew in private cabins. Starlight features an exceptionally rich and spacious solid teak interior. Three private staterooms allow guests and crew to sleep in privacy and

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enjoy separate space. Her well-equipped galley (kitchen) and two separate heads (bathrooms) create a luxurious platform to entertain aboard. Sag Harbor, Starlight’s summer home, provides a picturesque and memorable experience, along with fantastic dining and entertainment. Sag Harbor, is centrally located amongst many amazing destinations including Shelter Island, The Hamptons and Montauk, The North Fork wine country tours can also be arranged. Your own private cruising experience begins with Starlight charters in the Caribbean and other destinations. Raging from $850/ night or $6000 per week base, you could be sailing along the Hamptons, start your holiday, honeymoon or getaway to the Northern Caribbean including the British and Spanish Virgin Islands, the French West Indies, Grenadines, Turks & Caicos, Bahamas, New England, Cape Cod, and so much more. Expanding worldwide, Starlight’s crew: Captain Toby, Captain Will and Bamboo, the ship’s furry princess and coconut retriever, who is extremely friendly and loves to sit behind the helm and give orders under sail and watch the activity from her perch atop the cabin while at anchor, will soon begin to also cruise the pacific in the next two years and they are waiting to help you create your own unique vacation.

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INTERVIEW WITH: ACTOR MODEL ENTREPRENEUR STUDENT & WORLD TRAVELER

illiam Rootpeter, cover model for this issue, sits down with Connextions Magazine for an in-depth interview following his photo shoot.

WILLIAM ROOTPETER: UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT Production Credits Model: William Rootpeter Location: Starlight Charters and New York City Photographer: Xioger Sandoval

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Connextions Magazine (CM): William, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. It’s been a long, hard day for you. William Rootpeter (WR): Oh yes, (he laughs, flashing that great smile) it’s been grueling being on this luxury yacht posing for pictures the entire day. CM: Can you tell us about your ethnic background? WR: My father is French and Algerian and my mother is French. CM: What was growing up like? WR: I was relatively happy, I had a happy childhood. My parents raised me as a Christian but, very early on I had the chance to develop my own convictions and beliefs. I am very lucky to have grown up with my siblings; we are all very

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William Rootpeter: Under the Spotlight close and connected to each other. When I was 14, my parents sent me to St. Tropez, France to work with a family friend, I was cleaning windows of these amazing villas and I felt so frustrated, so I used the money I earned to buy myself a camera. I wanted to become a photographer or some sort of artist, then I wanted to be a spy, or a teacher, I wanted to be so many things that it became clear I should try acting, which I did in Paris. I like to think that the acting career chose me, auditioning and acting through high school. After graduation, I had to make money to help out, so I stopped auditioning and moved to Germany to work. I knew I wanted to eventually live in New York City, so I started to work in an Italian theater company to earn money. Then I started to work in an art gallery located both in Berlin and Koln. I wasn’t sure about whether the path I was

choosing was the right one, but I was fine with my decisions. I have never been scared, even though I was alone in a new city and my German was awful, but I absolutely liked the adventure and of course, I started to save money for NYC. New York is home for now, but I don’t plan on living here forever. It is home I guess because of the new friends I have made here. They have become my second family; also, all the memories accumulated in this city make it hard to leave for good. But, I am a world traveler and like to runaway on the weekends to escape the restless city, but when I am away, I miss it very fast, and I absolutely love the feeling of heading back home after a long weekend. I think living in New York has improved my personality and develop a very eclectic personality, which will help me to become an accomplished business man in the near future. CM: Where in the world have you traveled?


¡Tan pronto aterrizamos en México, nos sentimos como si estuviéramos en un paraíso!


WR: I have lived and traveled mostly in big cities Germany (Berlin, Koln) London, NYC. I have traveled through Europe. I loved Egypt, Los Angeles, but my favorite place to visit is Iceland. It is so clean and close to nature, the people conserved a very old culture and are amazingly welcoming. I first went to Reykjavik when I was 12, to visit family, and it was my first trip alone ever. I can’t think of anywhere more peaceful in the world. I can’t wait to visit Peru, Bogota, Tokyo, I have not yet visited those places, and I made a few friends ConnextionsMagazine.com

in school willing to show me around their cities, so I will def jump on the occasion, but I have to wait ‘till the end of semester first. I’m currently studying Business Management and Accounting. CM: Who have you worked with? WR: I have worked with great artists. Recently, I worked with Adam Lambert, Photographer Yoram Roth, and Director Alex Roman. Every time there is good teamwork, I feel that it is rewarding for me. Last year, I worked with Fred Armisen on a workshop for improvisation theater and I loved it. I would love to work with Queen B of course,

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not just because I like her music, but because I just think she is such an extremely influential and powerful woman. CM: Do you label yourself? WR: I guess it isn’t obvious and I kind of like to be asked that question. I like to think that at any given time, I have the ability to determine based on the person I am with; for me it’s priceless. I am very lucky that the concept of coming out is foreign to me, I think it can be a tedious process. My parents were against it, but I have always been open about liking both boys and girls, even before high school, and they just had to accept it. I thank my parents for that, even though I am aware it was hard for them. CM: You have a huge online presence with lots of followers. Your wit and sense of humor shine

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through with your posts, but your gorgeous looks receive tons of compliments. You were even featured on Logo’s “New Now Next” because of your online success, how does that feel? WR: I don’t think on the concept of followers. I don’t want to create followers, I want to create leaders. I think wearing the right shoes are the key to any success. Just kidding, my mantra is to believe in people, not in money, not in fame, because people and leaders are the most powerful resource ever. So for me, respecting people, and helping them to make positive changes are a must for any success. Check out more pics of William on ConnextionsMagazine.com Be sure to follow William: https://www.instagram.com/williamrootpeter

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December 2015


In Review THE CHRISTMAS TRUCK By: JJ Vega

Illustrated by award-winning illustrator Cassandre Bolan, The Christmas Truck further distinguishes itself through breathtaking illustrations that normalize gay families and traditions against the backdrop of iconic Christmas imagery. Traditions like decorating a Christmas tree, wrapping presents by a glowing fireplace, and discussing the meaning of Christmas with their child, but for many LGBT parents this will be the first time they see their family represented. When asked if there are more adventures in store for the characters in his book, Blankenship hinted at a possible yes. “I’ve been playing with a couple ideas” he said cautiously. “What I can say is that Grandma has a sister, and she likes adventure.” Connextions Magazine loves adventures, so we will continue to keep an eye on J.B. Blankenship, Papa, Dad, their child, and of course Grandma.

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he Christmas Truck tells the story of Papa, Dad and their child, whose gender is ambiguous on purpose. This holiday picture book was created for all families and it is the first Christmas children’s picture book to prominently feature a same-gender couple. J.B. Blankenship, the author, explains he wanted to tell a story about a kid that happens to have two gay Dads. The focus of the story is not about being different, it’s about existing in a world where unconditional acceptance exists and flourishes. The story follows the family, alongside the retired Fire Chief Grandma and how they are able to save Christmas for a family in need. It teaches us that even when things don’t go your way, the spirit of the holiday season allows magical moments and adventures.

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Growing up in the mountains of Appalachia, J.B. was bullied so much in school his parents made him transfer schools every year with the hope that the bullying would end. He came out at the age of 13. When he got his driver’s license, he would often visit the regional airport and pretend that he was one of the travelers. Sitting in the small airport café, he wrote in his journal about all the places he dreamed of visiting, but never actually expected to see. But J.B. did get to see those places and a whole lot more that he would never imagine. He sailed around the world while working for the Semester at Sea program and described getting lost on a mountain in rural Japan and having to be rescued by Buddhist monks. He spent summers on cross-country bicycle rides volunteering as a counselor for Decycles, an interfaith youth summer camp and his winters taking ice climbing classes where he climbed frozen waterfalls in Northern Wisconsin. As a live-in high school home-school teacher, he took his students backpacking around

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December 2015


the world. As if by destiny, it was his journeys and adventures, which led J.B. to meet people around the world, which would later help with the translation of The Christmas Truck into Italian, Dutch and soon to be published in Spanish. One of his best friends, an Italian citizen who holds a Ph.D. in economics, translated the book into Italian while on a flight to Rome because “he wanted to share the story with his nieces and nephews.” The Dutch version came to be because Blankenship was visiting a remote macaw research center in the Amazon rainforest of Peru with a group of friends. To pass the time on the 8 hour boat ride up the Tambopata River, his Belgian friends translated the book into Dutch. Currently, he spends his free time volunteering with SitStayRead, a Chicago based literacy organization that brings therapy dogs into struggling public elementary schools. Kids read stories to the dogs about dogs and then write their own stories. “Every week I get to help these awesome kids create their own stories that reflect their world. And I get to play with dogs. It’s pretty amazing” he exclaims. The Christmas Truck includes some of J.B. Blankenship’s holidays’ traditions, for example: oyster stew, the tradition of fulfilling the wish list of a needy child is something he started with his partner. Definitely a must-have for ALL families! ConnextionsMagazine.com


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Issue20 Deluxe Life  

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Issue20 Deluxe Life  

Our special Deluxe Issue features the most Luxurious Destinations in the world! The hotel/resort you choose determines how luxurious your tr...