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June 2014

Which liquor best defines your father?

Cuckolds Lighthouse Making a Difference

Travel Titan Pamela Hurley-Moser

Contents Paris Like An Heiress


Thai Curry Mussels a la


Cirque Du Soleil’s Totem

The Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse

10 Weekend of Wine in Napa

Hotel G - Great New San Francisco



Lifestyle Hotel

Worldwide Wine Tips & Sips–Get Your 47 International Sip On

Mughal Magnificence: India’s Taj Mahal

18 Signature Sandwiches...Why They 48

Lexington, Kentucky Bourbon,


Are So Popular

Breeding and Brewing Chef Jetzabel Rojas Reinterprets 50 The Definitive Booze Guide


Indigenous Mexican Cuisine

for Father’s Day Penthouse Pampering at 52 Technology: What It Really Means


Wailea Beach Villas

to Be Connected There’s No Place Like “Home” When 58 Global Etiquette


You’re Staying At Sri Panwa, Phuket

Meet Travel Titan Pamela Hurley-Moser


Divine ModesTee Simply Ideal 60

The Triton, Micronautix’s Luxury


Octogenarian Artist Joanne Turney 62

Aircraft Masterpiece

Excels In The Art Of Living

Cirque Du Soleil’s TOTEM Soars High In 38

What Do Mamie Eisenhower,

Kitchen With Mia Messier

Ronald Reagan, And Queen Elizabeth II Have In Common? 2


SHERRIE WILKOLASKI Editor-in-Chief and Managing Partner MARALYN D. HILL Executive Editor BENJAMIN BENNETT Creative Director

Real Life Wonder Women



Luxe Beat Featured Contributor-


Allan Kissam


Review of “Margaret Thatcher, 71


The Authorized Biography, from LINDA KISSAM

Grantham to the Falklands” A Collector of Affections Book Excerpt

Global Wine & Travel Editor-at-Large


DALE SANDERS Senior Travel & Lifestyle Editor/ Director of Photography COURTNEY LOWDEN Fashion Editor-At-Large KATHY WANAMAKER Sales Associate CONTRIBUTORS Allan Kissam Bonnie Carroll Chef Lance Seeto Chloe Dickson Dana Rebmann David Beebe Debbi Kickham Debbie Stone Debi Lander Dena Roche Dr. Kathy Gruver Gigi Ragland Gillian Nicol Gina Carroll Howard Graeme Kemlo Herve Laurent Inka Piegas-

Luxe Beat Magazine is published in English. Our audience is a global market with global contributors. Each writes, using the form of English with which they are familiar. So you’ll see US, UK, AUS, CAN, versions, etc. We hope this eliminates any confusion on spelling. 3

Quischote Ivan Flowers Janice Nieder Jason Dumas Jenna Intersimone Jessica Skropanic Karen Catchpole Katherine Frelon Kurt Winner Lacey Reeves Larry Larsen Lillian Africano Mandy Rowe Marc d’Entremont Marilyn Green Mark Juddery Marti Mayne

Mary Haban Michael Cervin Nancy Mueller Nikki Mayer Nina Africano Norman Hill Rachel Weil Renee Phillips Sandra Chambers Sonja Hegman Stacey Wittig Susan Lanier Graham The Cooking Ladies

Tim Cotroneo Urmila Ramakrishnan

Editor’s Lettter


theme for this June 2014 edition and our contributors have left no stone unturned for this issue. When you look how the luxury market has evolved over the last decade and even the last few years, it is not surprising that our expectations are growing along with modern advances. From high-tech fashion, decadent private luxury vacations, and the elite opportunity for extravagant air travel that can take you from one continent to the next. Why not take it even further and think about going into another atmosphere? There is no curbing our taste for contemporary luxury. Cutting edge isn’t enough. We want it all and more. Aviation is a featured focus in this progressive edition. We’ll take you from the Earth to the Moon, all from the comfort of your electronic reading device. Plan your next private guided European tour, discover where citizenM Hotels is planning their next hottest location, and find out which fashion line is using technology that will revolutionize how we adorn ourselves. Luxury can be all that you desire. It is your destiny.


Join an exclusive global travel club with standards as high as your own. As a Passepartout Homes guest we want you to feel reassured about every aspect of your trip - from the moment you book until the moment you arrive home. What you want is a place where you can kick off your shoes and be yourself. Somewhere comfortably luxurious where you can spend unforgettable moments with family and friends. As a member of Passepartout Homes private travel club, you can choose from a selection of unique, luxurious private homes owned by people like you. Our portfolio includes chic city apartments, relaxing beach resorts, stylish ski chalets and luxury farmhouses in some of the world’s most sought-after locations. Our Diamond and Concierge services make you feel cared about and special. Tell us what you need and we’ll do it.

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Immediate access to our exclusive portfolio of luxurious properties from all over the world.  range of tailor made extras from our Concierge A and Diamond services. Personal help and guidance from our team.

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Paris Like An Heiress By Leah Walker


f loving Paris is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. A mere mention of the French capital and I am Walter Mitty soaking up the scene on Saint-Germaindes-Prés. Shoulder-to-shoulder, I sit at a sidewalk café drinking Bordeaux, while second-hand smoke pervades my lungs. I stroll along Haussmann’s grand boulevards with my head on a swivel, not wanting to miss a single bakery, buttress, boutique or flower box.

I may be from Texas, but an oil heiress I certainly am not. However, during my recent trips to the City of Light, I gladly stepped into that role. Paris provides plenty of opportunities for those looking to exercise their AmEx Centurion cards, and in the name of research, I did my best to adopt that mentality. Chauffeured cars, private guides, luxury hotels, exclusive experiences and gourmet

visitors demanding the best are still spoilt for choice.

meals all helped mimic what a trip to Paris must be like for the average Russian billionaire’s daughter. The private jet and haute couture souvenirs, however, were tragically missing.

Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière

Simply being on the corner of Champs-Elysées and Avenue George V brings with it a certain cache. And even with the flagship Louis Vuitton store as a neighbor, Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière holds its own as a beacon of luxury.

Paris is a place that evokes strong emotions. Love or loathe, it’s arguably the most glamorous city in the world. Here, quality is revered, whether in fashion, food, wine, jewelry, art or accommodations. This is not only demonstrated in the number of famous French design houses, but also in the amount of Michelin-starred restaurants and luxury hotels in the city. Currently, there are about 85 eateries that have earned at least one star from Michelin, as well as over fifty five-star hotels. Even with three of its best hotels--Hôtel de Crillon, Ritz Paris and Hôtel Plaza Athénée--closed for renovations until later in 2014,

Although the hotel didn’t open until 2006, the legendary Fouquet’s Restaurant has been around since 1899. Since the 1930s, Fouquet’s has been closely associated with the French film industry, hosting nominee luncheons and afterceremony dinners in conjunction with the César Awards, France’s version of the Oscars. A classic Parisian brasserie, Fouquet’s remains true to its glamorous roots and has influenced the design and feel of the hotel.

To be fair, I was smitten with Fouquet’s before I even stepped foot on to the red carpeted entrance.

To be fair, I was smitten with Fouquet’s before I even stepped foot on to the red carpeted entrance. Just after my reservation


was confirmed, a two-page questionnaire requesting my favorites appeared in my inbox. Prior to arrival, the butler team curates the suite according to my preferences--bedding, chocolate, refreshments, flower color, newspaper and music—basically everything short of tissue brand. The butler even takes care of the pesky tasks of packing and unpacking. Personalization such as this is new to me, though certainly commonplace for an heiress. Fouquet’s is a modern throwback, if such a thing exists. Seemingly oxymoronic, it’s a young hotel with a rich history. Famed French designer, Jacques Garcia, took the Paris palace hotel mold and broke it with Fouquet’s. Geometric shapes pair beautifully with upholstered, curved walls. Carrara marble floors gleam, while the massive mirrors reflect light from Murano glass chandeliers. Oversize, quilted sofas form a golden wave along the walls that are filled with black and white photos of screen legends. For me, Fouquet’s public space is reminiscent of the Auntie Mame penthouse. I half expected to see Rosalind Russell descending the

Travel in the middle of the hotel. For me, this fanciful and zen-like space is the crown jewel in the Mandarin Oriental’s tiara. Certainly unlike anything I’ve seen in a city hotel, the tree-laden, butterfly-filled garden is ideal for a leisurely café latte or pre-dinner cocktail. The best table is found inside of the massive, whimsical birdcage--quite literally in the catbird seat.

staircase in one of her glamorous getups. Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière has all the amenities that this pretend heiress expects from a luxury Parisian property—opulent spa, Michelinstarred restaurant, lovely linens, exquisite room furnishings, stateof-the-art technology and an accommodating staff. So what sets Fouquet’s apart from its equally fabulous counterparts? It’s their commitment to the environment.

Considering the sleek interior, it’s difficult to imagine that since the 16th century, the building has served as a monastery, theater, royal riding school and office space, before opening in 2011 as one of Mandarin Oriental’s few European locations. The hotel has hints of its Asian lineage, but the design is unmistakably influenced by Paris’ Art Deco period and its glamorous location between the Tuileries Gardens and Place Vendôme.

Having been awarded Condé Nast Traveler’s coveted World Savers Award in 2013 and certified Leading Green, Fouquet’s provides guests electric bicycles, a charging station for electric vehicles, a hybrid limo and will even request hybrid taxis. Reducing their carbon footprint is a priority and extends into every aspect of the hotel—LED lights, fair-trade or locally sourced organic produce, organic linens and recycling are just a few notable efforts. Fouquet’s even serves its guests an eco-friendly Champagne called Pop Earth.

No expense was spared in designing the public space of the hotel, but it’s what’s behind the elevator door that’s truly remarkable. Seriously, thoughts of sequestering myself à la Howard Hughes crossed my mind more than once.

So to Fouquet’s for their dignified luxury vision, I raise my Baccarat Champagne flute and say, “Santé.”

Rooms have a romantic and feminine feel, though not in a Laura Ashley floral-explosion-sort of way. Instead, it’s the sensual artwork, clean-lined furnishings and sophisticated jewel tone palate of pink, purple and orange, which provide this feeling of femininity.

Mandarin Oriental, Paris

My first experience with Mandarin Oriental, Paris occurred nearly a year before I became a guest. Shopping along rue Saint-Honoré, I had my nose firmly planted against the Chloé window. Lost in lust for the latest collection, my daydream was rudely interrupted by shrieks. The source of this commotion came from the front of Mandarin Oriental, where a hundred screaming preteens waved Canadian flags and held signs professing their love for Justin Bieber.

Mandarin Oriental encapsulates everything I didn’t know I liked in a Parisian five-star hotel. My vision of what modern luxury looks likes has since been redefined: haute couture with an avant-garde attitude, quite like the fashion filling the windows along rue Saint-Honoré. How apropos.

Take away the legion of Beliebers, and the stylish Art Deco façade of Mandarin Oriental doesn’t scream for attention, instead opting for understated elegance. Flanked by designer boutiques, the goldenframed entrance discreetly displays the hotel group’s signature fan, a symbol of luxury recognizable around the world.

Hotel Napoléon

Though intimate and impeccable, the marble, silk and velvetdrenched lobby is overshadowed by the interior, open-air garden. Yes, in a city renowned for its cost per square foot, Mandarin Oriental has carved out a green space squarely

Shortly after Hotel Napoléon’s opening, wealthy Russian businessman, Alexandre Pavlovitch Kliaguine, was looking for the perfect wedding gift for his Parisian bride. Apparently, jewelry from Cartier or crystal from Lalique

Having recently earned its fifth star, Hotel Napoléon is steeped in both luxury and history dating back to the 1920s. Dubbed “The Palace” by Errol Flynn, Hotel Napoléon quickly became the place for Paris’ high society and literary types to see and be seen.


wasn’t quite right, so he purchased the Art Deco hotel for her to entertain society’s elite. As one of the few luxury independents left in Paris, Hotel Napoléon has remained in the Kliaguine family, having been passed down from generation to generation. The appropriately named Hotel Napoléon is located in the 8th arrondissement, where it’s been keeping watch on the Arc de Triomphe for nearly a century. Before some of Paris’ other notable luxury hotels even existed, Hotel Napoléon was making its mark on the city. Once inside the hotel, it’s easy to envision a time when it was filled with luminaries like Ernest

Hemingway, Salvador Dalí, Ella Fitzgerald and John Steinbeck. Since I am certain that I was born in the wrong era, the idea of walking in their footsteps intrigued me.

as loyal guests, that home-like feeling could be by design. Classic in every sense of the word, Hotel Napoléon has retained the French charm of a bygone era and combined it with the modern conveniences expected by today’s discriminating guests. None of the 102 rooms, half of which are suites, are identical. Though harmonious, they have varied layouts, color palates and décor. Decorated in the Directoire style, the hotel is covered in rich colors with golden accents, silk fabrics and stripes— lots of stripes. Museum-quality Napoleonic art is prevalent, but it’s the painting collection of regal-looking dogs dressed in military garb that I remember and appreciate most. It just goes to show that luxury doesn’t always have to equate to uptight.

Hotel Napoléon feels like a palais owned by your best friend’s well-heeled father, if you’re fortunate enough to know such a person. A refreshing change, the hotel didn’t slap me in the face with its ostentatious furnishings, though upon closer inspection, the luxury details are quite apparent. Hotel Napoléon is comfortable, a place that reads like a lavish home rather than a luxury hotel. And considering many of the art pieces are gifts from the owners, as well

The two-starred Michelin restaurant, Le Cinq, ranks among my best dining experiences

Approaching the historical entrance of Four Seasons George V makes me instantly throw my shoulders back and stand a bit taller. On any given night, the 244 rooms situated off the Champs-Elysées are filled with names ripped from the pages of Forbes and Vanity Fair. The front drive is littered with luxury-Bentleys and Bugattis mingle with Mercedes and Maybachs. Respectfully behind the fantasy cars are the autograph seekers, paparazzi and the just plain curious. Want to know who’s a guest? Ask the people waiting on the sidewalk. If there was ever such thing as a perfect first impression, George V is it. The chic staff clad in classic black and white exudes sophistication. The entire ground floor, with its gilt and crystal accents, ornate carpets and marble floors, looks as if it were plucked


Hotel Napoléon is further proof that a true classic never goes out of style.

Four Seasons George V, Paris



directly from Sofia Coppola’s version of Versailles. And like Coco Chanel’s string of pearls, the innovative floral designs serve as a flawless finishing touch. The two-starred Michelin restaurant, Le Cinq, ranks among my best dining experiences, having qualified on the cheese

There’s no telling whom I’ll see or what I’ll hear.

selection alone. One of my favorite places in the city is Le Bar, but not just for its handcrafted cocktails. Oozing classic, Parisian elegance, Le Bar also offers great people watching opportunities. I slip onto a bar stool, order a Blurred Lines, nibble on the olives and get lost in the mahogany-drenched moment.

A night spent in the lowest tier room at Four Seasons is still better than most others in the city. But the Penthouse, with its two terraces overlooking the Eiffel Tower, well, that’s the stuff of French fantasies.


For this temporary heiress, variety is the spice of life. And if Parisian luxury hotels were Ladurée macarons, I’d indulge in every flavor. Honestly, I’ve never considered myself particularly picky. Just like Winston Churchill, I’m easily satisfied with the best. And Paris has plenty of that.

The Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse By Maralyn D. Hill



During 1892, the fog signal station and keeper’s house had $25,000 appropriated to construct a building that could stand up to the heavy storms. In 1907, a light tower was added and that increased visibility to 13 miles.


ow many of you have thought about a private island or really staying in a lighthouse? Not a rugged lighthouse like in “Eye of the Needle” or “Vertigo,” but one that has been historically restored to perfection on the outside, with every modern luxurious amenity on the inside. The Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse makes this dream a reality.

Let’s look at its history first

During the 19th and early 20th century, Boothbay Harbor was a busy fishing port. In The Lighthouse Board Report for 1890, it noted the need for a fog signal:

Main Image: The Inn At Cuckolds Lighthouse Above-top: The Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse Dining Above: Sitting Room with Sofa


“The Cuckolds consist of two rock islets rising about 59 feet above high water in the westerly edge of the channel at the entrance to Boothbay. They are dangerous of approach on their southern side on account of the reefs in that direction, and the shoals also extend half a mile to the westward of the western rock, but the eastward side of the eastern rock is quite bold-to. The flood current sets right on these rocks. They are much dreaded by mariners in thick weather and are a great peril to a large number of vessels.”

During 1892, the fog signal station and keeper’s house had $25,000 appropriated to construct a building that could stand up to the heavy storms. In 1907, a light tower was added and that increased visibility to 13 miles. In the late 90s, keeping up lighthouses was becoming an expensive challenge for the Federal government, when a tower could replace them. In June 2000, The National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 (NHLPA) was enacted. In June 2004, also under the NHLPA, The Federal government let it be known that “Interested and eligible entities apply to acquire the Cuckolds Fog Signal and Light Stated...Deemed

excess to the United States Coast Guard, and threatened with destruction.”

The journey to today

Janet Reingold and Philip Yasinski love the water and all it entails. When Janet asked Philip what he thought about restoring a lighthouse, he said, “No.” With persuasion, she said, “We don’t necessarily need to go through with this deal, it is just a letter of intent.” So 48 hours before the deadline, the 542-page application was filed in August 2004. In June 2006, they were granted the deed. Now came the work. They had to deal with seven Federal agencies, State

The Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse is scheduled to open June 27, 2014. It will be seasonal and remain open until October 15


agencies, and Local agencies, all with different requirements. In addition, they had to follow a list of historical guidelines, Coast Guard guidelines, etc., as well as recruit volunteers and raise funds.

are now ready. Reingold and Yasinski kept the their focus on restoring and building the project to be sustainable. This approach will ensure that Cuckolds generates its own revenue in the future.

As Janet said to me, “We created a council of ‘crazy people’, private citizens for our non-profit 501c, historically accurate endeavor. We discovered thousands of volunteers were willing to join in our effort.”

They still have a wish list for restoration: Restoration of the Helipad Rebuilding the Bell Tower A fund for maintaining and sustaining the property.

This included local residents and newcomers, regional businesses and amazing support. It enabled plans for restoring the light towers, rebuilding the keeper’s house and boathouse to historical specs with modern materials and techniques. It has taken ten years, but they

The present

The Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse is scheduled to open June 27, 2014. It will be seasonal and remain open until October 15. Inside radiant heating is in the floors, so your feet will stay toasty

on those cool Maine mornings. Yes, you will have WiFi and flat screen TV. I can envision curling up with a book, as I hear the wind blowing and waves crashing on the rocks. There are two suites, each with a sitting room and bath. One suite does have a couch that pulls out, so you could sleep six if necessary. Guests will enjoy a delicious breakfast and high tea in the afternoon. If you want dinner catered in, that can be arranged or the innkeepers will take you in the Inn’s launch into Boothbay.

Meet the Innkeepers Barbara and Dan Aube reside on Cuckolds Island during the season in a small apartment in its lighthouse. Both hold

Ariel View of The Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse

Merchant Mariner Limited Masters Licenses and American Red Cross First Aid Certification. They love to cook and entertain, so they make ideal innkeepers to welcome guests to the Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse.


(This is provided by the Inn. See website for car, air and train information) Guests are transported to the Inn by Coast Guard licensed Captains aboard a restored Navy motor whaleboat. The Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse is located on a private island, one half-mile off shore from Southport Island’s Newagen Seaside Inn. The Newagen Seaside Inn is a 6-hour drive from New York, 3 hours from Boston, or 90 minutes from Portland.

By Yacht

There are five moorings at Lighthouse. These will accommodate those arriving by private yachts up to 180 feet in length.

Things to do


Guests may wish to relax on their own private island, but others may want to explore. Your innkeepers can take you into Boothbay.


This maritime village has harbor cruises, lobster bakes, deep-sea fishing, or sailing on a local schooner. In addition, it features some of the best sea kayaking, nature trails, golf, and the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. The Railway Village and Antique Auto Museum is always popular, as well as professional and summer stock at the Opera House and two playhouses. Shoppers, you are not left out. Boothbay is home to plenty of boutiques, art galleries and specialty stores that feature locally crafted goods, fashions, books, and naturally, nautical home décor. What if you have more than six people but want to use The Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse? Because this will be such a great gathering spot for corporate meetings, family gatherings, lobster-bakes, or just get-togethers of friends or associates, I would use the Newagen Seaside Inn for the overflow.

today’s requirements. Then, make a tax deductible contribution. How come I’m featuring somewhere I’ve not experienced myself? As you know, Luxe Beat Magazine prides itself on our journalists having visited the destinations we feature. It’s impossible to experience something not yet open.

If you have a private helicopter and want to use the helipad later this year or early next year? Check with Janet Reingold or Philip Yasinski to see what the cost would be to restore the helipad to meet

In my case, I lived in New England for twenty-two years and made many trips to nearby areas. In the past five years, I’ve visited this area of Maine at least five times. I know


some of the individuals involved in this project, as well as the quality of materials that were used in restoration. For example, to name just one, Harbor Master Windows, a division of Anderson, were donated and used throughout. Another reason is that I simply have always been partial to lighthouses and I’m delighted that one will be restored and open to the public. Plus, I felt our readers would like to be the first to know about this exciting new private escape. I would be very interested in hearing your feedback on this type of article.

When Indy’s Libertine Liquor Bar landed on Esquire’s “Best Bars in America” list, it was acknowledgment of not only a bar, but a scene that has been building. From our breweries raking in gold at the Great American Beer Festival to our chefs stirring up buzz over our dining scene, Indianapolis is serving up more than the race cars and hoops we’re known for. Take a long weekend and discover the Midwest’s best kept secret for yourself.

For what to see, do, and eat, go to | BLOG: | FOLLOW US: @VisitIndy

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Hotel G Great New San Francisco Lifestyle Hotel

By Janice Nieder


an Francisco’s downtown Theater Row is now home to the cleverly renovated, Hotel G, a hip hotel offering without the slightest tinge of attitude. Their Union Square location make this an ideal lodging choice for a shopaholic girlfriend getaway, a romantic date night or for out-of-towners in search of a relaxing home base. Originally built as The Fielding Hotel in 1909, the redesigned guest rooms perfectly marry something old (rustic cement or polished wood plank floors, re-upholstered Victorian settees, antique school desks and chairs) with something new (complimentary Wi-Fi, 42” SMART TV, Nespresso coffee maker, Mascioni linens and robes, plush beds with tufted denim backboards and fair-trade hand woven rugs). Cool touches are scattered throughout, starting with your friendly welcome by “G-Hosts”, happy to share insider sightseeing suggestions, as well as Californiashaped bed pillows, and humorous floor signage: “Rumor has it that the ninth floor is divine”. Fun happenings will include a free “Beer & Bites”, which will showcase two San Francisco classics: Anchor Steam beer and “G”-shaped pretzels made by Boudin Bakery.

Hotel G 386 Geary Street, San Francisco CA 94102, United States T:415-738-0589 Toll Free: 1-877-828-4478 Reservations: 1-844-986-8017 *For special promotional rates please see website.

Huge kudos to Hotel G for partnering with San Francisco-based Creativity Explored, a nonprofit arts center for developmentally disabled adults, to curate, showcase and sell artwork. A diverse mix of paintings, colorful ceramics, folk textiles, and mixed-media sculpture will adorn guestrooms. All of the artwork is available for sale, with proceeds going directly to the artist.

The 153 suites range from Good Queen, Great King, Greater Double to Greatest King, but no matter which category you select, they are all comfy, cozy and very cool. Additional conveniences will include a meeting room for casual gettogethers or formal board meetings, in-house eateries, complimentary morning car services and a Technogym.


Mughal Magnifice India’s Taj Mah By Debi Lander



ence hal


sat in utter amazement, nestled in the back seat while my driver, a Sikh wearing a turban, somehow maneuvered the car through a free-for-all frenzied traffic jam of epic proportions. Seven jumbled lanes of misaligned vehicles squished within three officially marked lines. As far as I could see, no rules of the road existed. A cacophony of honking and beeping horns seemed to simply announce, “I’m here.” Bicycles, rickshaws, motorcycles, hundreds of tiny Tok-Tok three-wheeled cars (occasionally overstuffed with people like clown cars at the circus) plus regular size vehicles, buses and trucks and ox carts vied for space. Every once in a while, a stray cow would wander in. I’d been warned the traffic in Delhi is insane; multiply that times ten. It’s sheer madness, but for some reason I didn’t feel anxious.

ITC Mughal Hotel Entry Way

As I child, I dreamed of touring Paris and the Eiffel Tower, the pyramids of Egypt and India’s Taj Mahal. I longed to visit the places I’d see on TV: California’s Disneyland and the Wild West, where I imagined cowboys and tumbleweed rolling across streets. My family never traveled to any of these famous places, although at sixteen I explored Niagara Falls...and was totally enthralled. Still, my dreams remained, so you can imagine how excited I was to recently make my way to India. While my itinerary called for adventures in the southern part of the country, my tour of this distant land would absolutely have to include India’s most famous landmark.

ITC Mughal Hotel Pool

Following a series of long flights and late night arrival, I wasted no time. The next morning, it was off for Agra, home of the Taj Mahal. Although Agra lies only 130 miles from Delhi, the trip takes four hours. You need at least one hour to get out of the congested city, two on the new expressway and another hour to get to your hotel once you arrive on the outskirts of Agra.

India’s Taj Mahal in Agra

Catching my first glimpse of the Yamuna River (considered a sacred river) thrilled me as did a distant view of the Taj across the way. Taj Mahal means “Crown Palace” and it is in fact the most well preserved and architecturally beautiful tomb in the world. The English poet, Sir Edwin Arnold, described The Taj as “Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passions of an emperor’s love wrought in living stones.”

ITC Hotel Gardens

To understand the building, you must know the background story. The Taj Mahal was built by the fifth Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan in 163, in memory of his third but the most favorite wife, in fact his soul-mate, Mumtaz Mahal. Shah Jahan was utterly devoted to Mumtaz Mahal, who was his constant companion and


trusted confidante and their relationship was intense. She died after giving birth to their 13th child, while accompanying him on a campaign. Her death so crushed the emperor that all his hair and beard were said to have grown snow white in a few months.

There was not enough time to visit in the late afternoon, especially since I was still adjusting to jet lag. So I checked into my hotel and had a few hours to relax. However, the property transposed me into another world, one of great luxury. The ITC Mughal Hotel is itself a paradise. Removed from the assaults of the street, I was enveloped in a calm retreat, including 35 acres of gardens. The surrounding beauty enthralled me. I couldn’t rest in my elegantly appointed room. I had to wander the grounds, sit by a secluded fountain and climb the observation tower for another peak at the city’s pride. I was told however, that there was no need to photograph the great monument at night, the Taj is not illuminated.

Taj Mahal at Sunrise

There was not enough time to visit in the late afternoon especially since I was still adjusting to jet lag. So, I checked into my hotel and had a few hours to relax. However, the property transposed me into another world, one of great luxury. The ITC Mughal Hotel is itself a paradise. Removed from the assaults of the street, I was enveloped in a calm retreat including 35 acres of gardens. The surrounding beauty enthralled me; I couldn’t rest in my elegantly appointed room. I had to wander the grounds, sit by a secluded fountain and climb the observation tower for another peek at the city’s pride. I was told, however, that there was no need to photograph the great monument at night; the Taj is not illuminated. Sometime later, I ate my first Indian meal alone. The next morning, I would be picked up at 6:15 am for a sunrise visit to the shrine. A tray that included a small dish with almonds soaking in water had been left in my room. A note said to eat them for healthy hair, glowing skin and good eyesight. I also found a small bottle of Himalayan water to pour into a copper cup, which should sit overnight and be consumed in the morning to prevent skin problems, anemia and depression. Instead of a chocolate on my pillow, these gifts seemed so appropriately Indian.

Gateway to the Taj

I expected the pre-dawn streets to be quiet, but I was totally wrong. In fact, I would quickly learn almost all my preconceived ideas about India were wrong. Residents in India arise very early. The park near the entrance to the UNESCO World Heritage site was bustling like an American high school at dismissal hour, except daylight was barely

Sitting On Princess Diana Bench Playing with the Taj First Glimpse of the Taj Mahal


Interior Tombs


Finally, I slowed me down and stopped myself. I needed to simply stand still and contemplate the renowned building with its indefinable beauty.

Detailed inlay

Light through the Lattice Work


I strolled through the gardens and was very glad that I had come at dawn. Within a few hours, tourists had mushroomed like well watered weeds, pushing forward and disrupting the serenity. The area outside the ticket office was now a disorderly swarm.

After entering the queue, my camera equipment and handbag were scanned. (Tripods are not allowed.) Guides know the select spots for snapping photos and mine promised to direct me. The trick is to move along and shoot with quick confidence. You will be pushed out if you take too much time. First came a red brick building, the gateway to the Taj. Here, you nab the first glimmer of the majestic marble dome through a grand arched doorway. Whoa - the hair on my arms rose in excitement. The sun’s rays, just beginning to project from the East, cast an array of pale pinkish hues. And me... literally tickled pink to be there.

can inspire a ruler to commission such a luxurious shrine? Granted, the indulgence came from an overflowing treasury and political power of that era, but still. A monument representing such intense love is emotionally gripping, especially if you are a woman visiting alone. Having no love at this time, I felt true sadness and loss, but I wouldn’t let myself stay in the bittersweet moment.

I moved forward to the front of the reflecting pool and felt under pressure to capture the ethereal light as it was changing by the minute. All too quickly, more and more people were entering the property and my photos. Yikes! I rapidly fired off my camera. Finally, I slowed me down and stopped myself. I needed to simply stand still and contemplate the renowned building with its indefinable beauty. No high definition photos or videos do justice. Seeing this structure in person becomes a moment of awe. Graceful and delicate, clean and pure, literally shimmering like a fiery diamond ring - the Taj Mahal is a true wonder of the world.

I decided to become playful instead - opting for the touristy pic and hamming for the camera. The ticketed area is a complex of structures with the white domed marble mausoleum as its centerpiece. The main building rises on a red sandstone base, topped by a huge white marble terrace flanked by four tapering minarets. The outer dome rises to 115 feet in height; the inner is 80 feet, an architectural and technical feat or its day. Within the

People react to the Taj differently, but as I took my turn and sat on the Princess Diana bench, I felt, as her photo depicted, great loneliness. What measure of love and devotion


dome lies the jewel-inlaid cenotaph of the queen. The only asymmetrical object in the Taj is the casket of the emperor which was built beside the queen’s as an afterthought. Construction of the Taj began in 1631 and was completed in 1648. About twenty thousand workers were recruited: sculptors from Bukhara, calligraphers from Syria and Persia, inlayers from southern India, stone cutters from Baluchistan, a specialist in building turrets, another who carved only marble flowers. The outlying buildings and gardens were finished five years later in 1653. I was pleased to see preservation a concern. Everybody must place cloth booties over their shoes before climbing the stairs and walking on the marble terrace. The detailed inlay work beckons closer observation and nearing it, I could discern exquisite detail. My guide


breaking. Throngs of kids were huddled together chatting, others were playing ball, and many were busy walking back and forth to buses.

Travel After leaving the interior, I walked toward the river and gazed across where the merest foundation for the Black Taj remains. Shah Jahan intended to build a replica in black marble opposite the current monument. However, a war with his sons interrupted his plan. The sons placed him under house arrest as they were particularly opposed to his lavish spending for another shrine. As you glance further upriver, you see the red sandstone fort of Agra; the location where the father was imprisoned.

Left: View from Terrace to Gateway Right: My Last Look Below: Ticket Office at 10am Bottom: Beautiful ITC Hotel Spa

A red brick mosque sits on the left hand site of the Taj, used only by locals, and a symmetrical structure stands on the right, formerly used as lodging. No touring inside either building is permissible. I strolled through the gardens and was very glad that I had come at dawn. Within a few hours, tourists had mushroomed like well watered weeds, pushing forward and disrupting the serenity. The area outside the ticket office was now a disorderly swarm. Other photographs of this site show its varying moods from dawn to dusk. The guide told me a full moon gives the Taj a golden, sensuous appeal and that it shines like a pearl. All I can say is see it for yourself. The romanticism and sheer majesty of the structure is undeniably real. ***** Photography by Debi Lander. pointed out the gems, the harmonious curvature in the vines and depth in the blossoms. Each is neatly etched, cut and inlaid to perfection. He said one special flower on the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal is inlaid with 35 different precious stones. Such perfection simply leaves one mesmerized. Marble lattice screens, which are elaborately cut in oriental designs, enclose the cenotaphs. The actual graves lie below in the basement, undisturbed in quiet environs. The play of the sun’s filtering rays reflecting off the river and through the lattice work creates a mood of solemn respect. I admit I did not notice the inkwell over Shah Jahan’s tomb or the slate on top of Mumtaz Mahal’s. The official website says they were placed there because “a man writes his desires on the woman’s heart.” Hmmm.

Disclosure: My trip to India was self funded, however, the ITC Mughal Hotel in Agra generously provided overnight accommodations. Before I left the hotel, I toured their Royal Spa, Kaya Kalp, and must say, it is the most fabulous treatment center I have ever seen. Polished dark wood decor is blended with pomegranate colored accents, secluded lighting, marble baths, flowing fountains and the plushest rooms imaginable. No wonder the spa wins major awards. My recommendation for visiting the Taj Mahal is to spend two nights in Agra, allowing extra time to bask in the splendor of the hotel and spa. I, of course, would also suggest going back to photograph the Taj at sunset. For further information on the Taj Mahal: html For information on the 5-star Hotel: aspx


Lexington Bourbon Breeding & Brewing By Norman Hill


e explored what Lexington is famed for, bourbon brewing and horse breeding, in an area known as the “Bluegrass Region.” The hint of aristocracy that goes with these two specialties seems consistent with Lexington once being described as the “Athens of the West,” (west of the Alleghenies, that is).

bourbon for “medical purposes.” Dignitaries often gathered there to discuss politics, dine on stew, and nurse their ailments with bourbon.

Distillery and Brewing

The name, “Buffalo Trace,” is derived from buffalo herds that once roamed the Lexington area, just as they dominated the Great Plains. Herds crossing a river would congregate where, today, four Kentucky roads join, routes 60, 460, 421, and 127. Today, the distillery is close to this intersection.

The Buffalo Trace Distillery is one of the oldest continuously operating bourbon distilleries in the U.S. Our guide, Jimmy Johnson, provided a fascinating history of this institution. Even during the Prohibition of the 1920s, the distillery was allowed to prepare

Johnson mentioned that during the Civil War, two establishments were protected from attacks by either Union on Confederate troops. These were hospitals and distilleries, as both were considered a necessity.

Jimmy emphasized one key point, “All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon.” By law, liquor must conform to certain requirements to be labeled “bourbon”: At least 51% corn ingredients; no artificial color; and aged in a barrel from 3 to 23 years. Other well-known whiskeys are derived from rye and wheat grains.

against heat and keeps the aging bourbon at desired temperatures. The process uses white oak barrels, using wood from the Ozarks. The phrase, “Shot of redeye,” has always meant a glass of bourbon. When back in Phoenix, we were pleased to see Buffalo Trace as one of the bourbons being featured in the liquor cabinet at a five-star hotel.

Johnson is part of three generations of men who worked at the distillery. His father was active in the organization until age 92. Even during racial segregation, the Buffalo Trace workforce had a degree of diversity, racial and sexual.

Another distillery, the Town Branch of Alltech (Distilling Company, Kentucky Ale), doubles as a producer of both bourbon and beer. It is the first distillery to be built in Lexington proper in nearly 100 years. Our guide mentioned that bourbon, as distinguished from whiskey, has been legally defined in the U.S. since 1964. For bourbon stock, it relies

One area where Buffalo Trace barrels are stored is heavily insulated



Craft brewing is going wild, with brewing companies opening rapidly

heavily on limestone water that had been associated with bourbon in the 1800s. Town Branch considers itself the largest Kentucky brewery. It makes two beers, light and ale. The ale variety is kept six weeks in barrels originally filled with bourbon. Kentucky has a lengthy Bourbon Trail and Lexington has quite a few distilleries on it. However, the two we visited were not on the trail. Distilleries near Lexington on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail include: Woodford Reserve Distillery; Four Roses Distillery; Wild Turkey Distillery; Town Branch Distillery (in downtown Lexington). Barrel House Distilling

Main Image: Three Chimneys Individual Horse Grazing Areas

Sixth Brewing, and Country Boy Brewing that gave us a taste and inside view of this booming craft beer industry in Lexington.

(downtown Lexington) is on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour. Craft brewing is going wild, with brewing companies opening rapidly.

Horses, Breeding and History

The following 6 Breweries are now open and part of the Brewgrass Trail: West Sixth Brewing; Country Boy Brewing; Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company (Kentucky Ale); Blue Stallion Brewery; Beer Engine; and Rooster Brewing. Chase Brewing is scheduled to open mid-summer. Its taproom is already open, but they are not brewing their own beers till later this summer.

Three Chimneys Farm has seven divisions, all related to various equine functions, such as breeding and others. It covers about 2300 acres and is home to 11 full blown stallions. Jen Roytz was our knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide. Each stallion is kept in his own stall and pasture area. As with other male members of the animal kingdom, the aggressive nature of stallions dictates that they be kept separate

In addition to Kentucky Ale mentioned above, we visited West


from each other. Mares, on the other hand, can congregate in groups without undue dissension. Jen pointed out several stallion toys to us. These are, of course, larger and more durable than those for dogs and cats. But they serve the same purpose, to keep the volatile stallions contented. On average, horses live about 25 years. Racing life may last about 5 years, before they can be converted to breeders. Breeding is big business. Each offspring of these eleven stallions has top notch genes. The Farm receives a $35,000 fee for each successful breeding. Since each stallion can breed about 125 times per year, this translates

Each guest room has an amazing view of the Sound from its room wide floorto-ceiling picture window.

Buffalo Trace Hand Processing

Three Chimneys Breeding Room

Country Boy Taps

into multi-million dollar annual fees. The breeding room is large and well padded. Attempts are made to keep both stallion and mare calm during the process. Artificial insemination is never employed. Usually, the union is completed within 15 minutes. When horses retire, they are still well cared for and some are adopted out to deserving institutions or individuals.

West 6th Tasting

There are approximately 450 thoroughbred farms in the Lexington area, but there are only a few that will allow visitors. You can find a comprehensive list if you scroll down to the bottom of the above link. In all cases, you do have to make appointments.


We also visited the Kentucky Horse Park. This organization is also home to several prize stallions. For example, Cigar earned almost $10 million during his racing career, even though he was unable to breed. Another new building on premises is the Horse Museum. It illustrates how horse sizes have been bred over the centuries, ranging from dog size to draft horses, the large Clydesdales and the elegant Arabian variety. Arabian horses were bred by Bedouins for grace and speed, along with durability. In battle, they performed well against the heavier armor-carrying horses of Europeans. Variations of Arabian horses may have been used by Hun and Mongol


Three Chimney’s Caleb’s Posse

Years ago, the trophy was smuggled out of Russia, probably during the Bolshevik Revolution. Such a rare piece has a priceless value.

warriors, who for centuries were the scourge of Europeans and Arabs too. Right before we were due to leave the Horse Museum, our IFWTWA media group was permitted to view a new addition before public display. It arrived the day before from a Texas donor. The Museum now has on loan for a considerable period a Faberge creation, a magnificent racing trophy that is a punch bowl. This is the same Faberge who is noted for his many eggs created for Russian royalty.


One common denominator we noted in the owners and guides of these establishments was their educational and well-traveled backgrounds. Another recurring characteristic was the passion for what they did, along with a deep affection for Lexington. Since the population of Lexington’s


Buffalo Trace Bonded Storage

Altech Town Branch Bourbon


area is about 400,000, not gigantic by U.S. metropolitan standards, it seems further evidence of the commitment of talented people to Lexington. In our brief tours, we saw how Lexington’s nationwide fame for bourbon, breeding and now brewing is well deserved. Disclosure: We were guests of VisitLex.

The Definitive Guide for Father’s Day

With Father’s Day just around the corner the question is buzzing, “What to get dad this year?”. If a tie won’t do, why not find a liquor that suits his personality. This year, get dad the exact bottle of liquor he wants and deserves — a gift that will put a smile on his face long after it’s gone. Caskers co-founder, Steve Abt, shares his top picks to win you favorite child status that will last the whole year long. Steve is getting his father the Amrut Fusion and the description was actually written with his dad in mind because he loves to travel every chance he gets. Which liquor best defines your father?

1. If Your Father Is An Explorer

Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky

Steve says, “Has your dad traveled around the world and then some? I’m jealous, and he is going to love this single malt. Amrut Fusion is a marriage of whiskies made from peated Scottish barley and unpeated Indian barley making it an incredibly complex whisky. And you can’t go wrong a single malt that scored an incredible 97 points in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible, which named it the third best whisky in the world.” Tasting Notes: Complex and chewy, it has a nose of milk chocolate, oak and almonds. Light on the palate, with notes of coconut and fruit. A medium long finish with hints of vanilla and peat.

for nearly 10 years under the intense Kentucky sun, this bourbon has an aroma of spicy oak, cinnamon and clove that leads into notes of caramel, pecan, and roasted nuts.” Tasting Notes: Aroma of spicy oak, cinnamon and clove that gives way to notes of caramel, pecan and roasted nuts on the palate. Initial flavors lead to touches of creamy vanilla and honeyed oak, and finish with a hint of cinnamon spice. Awards & Accolades: Wine Enthusiast: 97 Points 5x Time “Whiskey of the Year” Winner

3. If Your Father Is A Whisky Connoisseur

Awards & Accolades: Whisky Bible: 97 Points

Glenmorangie Signet Single Malt Scotch Whisky Steve says, “First, that’s awesome and you should bask in his knowledge. Second, buy him this bottle of Scotch. The Glenmorangie Signet is aged up to 40 years, has full-bodied notes of coffee, almonds, cinnamon and orange and earned the Best Single Malt Scotch Trophy at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in 2013.” Tasting Notes: Aroma of mocha,

2. If Your Father Loves Winning

Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey Steve says, “If losing is not in your father’s vocabulary, then this is the bourbon for him. Having won “Whiskey of the Year” five times over and scoring 97 points from Wine Enthusiast, this single barrel isn’t familiar with losing either. Aged


milk chocolate and tiramisu. Chewy, full-bodied notes of coffee, almonds, biscotti, ginger, cinnamon and orange on the palate. Finish ends with waves of creamy vanilla. Awards & Accolades: San Francisco World Spirits Competition: 2009, 2010 & 2011 Double Gold Medals International Wine and Spirits Competition: 2013 Best Single Malt Scotch Trophy Wine Enthusiast: 95 Points

4. If Your Father Is Stealing From The Cookie Jar Barr Hill Gin Steve says, “For the father with the sweet tooth, Barr Hill Gin is the way to go. Made using raw, organic Vermont honey, this gin is a celebration of one farmer’s special connection to his land and earned the Double Gold Medal at the 2012 New York International Spirits Competition.” Tasting Notes: Round and viscous on the palate with notes of juniper and honey lingering on the finish. Awards & Accolades:



teve is not a father, but he is getting his father the Amrut Fusion. That description was actually written with his dad in mind because he loves to travel every chance he gets.

New York International Spirits Competition: 2012 Double Gold Medal

5. If Your Father Is A Pirate (Or Wishes He Was) Kirk and Sweeney Rum Steve says, “One, get him this rum. Two, don’t tell him where you got this rum. Hailing from the Dominican Republic, Kirk and Sweeney earned its name from a wooden schooner best known for smuggling rum from the Caribbean to the United States during Prohibition. While today’s imports are legal, they are no less desirable. This 12 year old spirit is aged in oak casks and scored 95 points from Wine Enthusiast [which also named it a Best Buy].” Tasting Notes: Aroma of earthy sugar cane and vanilla. The initial flavors of sweet nectar and honey give way to notes of oak and toffee. The finish, which is bold and ripe, ends with a smooth vanilla kick.

Awards & Accolades Wine Enthusiast: 95 points Top 50 Spirits of 2013 One of the Best New Rums of 2013

6. If Your Father Is Intense

Lagavulin 16 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Steve says, “Lagavulin Single Malt Scotch Whisky is known as one of the most intense, smoky single malt whiskies ever made. Powerful aromas of peaty smoke, wood spices and Earl Gray tea are signature to this Scotch, which comes from one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland. Aged for a minimum of 16 years, this whisky was named the “Best Single Malt Whisky” at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2013.” Tasting Notes: Intense aroma of peaty smoke, wood spices and Earl Gray tea. Notes of peat, rich smoke


and salty tang, which are balanced by subtle hints of vanilla and honeyed oak. Finish is incredible and intense, with complex notes of sweet caramel and fruits belying bolder notes of peat and smoke. Awards & Accolades: San Francisco World Spirits Competition: 6 Double Gold Medals 2013 “Best Single Malt Whisky (13 - 19 Years)”


7. If Your Father Is All About Presentation

Spherical Ice Molds Steve says, “If your pops loves style, class and just a touch of elegance then these spherical ice molds need to be in his spirit repertoire. Not only are they are awesome to look at, but they keep drinks colder, longer. This mold creates the perfect sphere of ice with less surface area than traditional ice cubes, allowing it to melt more slowly while still cooling drinks.” Caskers enables consumers to discover unique and extraordinary craft spirits from around the world for delivery to their door. Full disclosure; this means we get to taste every spirit that goes on our site...and more, it’s kind of awesome. Members can choose from our curated selection that’s updated daily or click autopilot by joining one of our clubs that delivers three full-sized (750ml) bottles every three months.





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Technology: What it Really Means to be Connected By Sonja Hegman


’ve always had a thing for technology. Sometimes it’s a love/ hate thing, but a “thing” nonetheless. I used to dream of the day I’d fit a computer in my pocket, but thought I’d be much older and much grayer when it happened. It took spending some time in my hometown a few months ago to realize that “being connected” doesn’t always include WiFi. Sheldon, Wisconsin, is not what one would call a metropolis. When I was a kid, it was a little more bustling than now, but not much. We had a corner store, actually called “The Corner Store,” and a bar. When my parents and I moved there when I was 8, I assumed the kids in my class

wouldn’t know what a computer even was, let alone be smarter than me. Yes, I was a snob. Coming from the “big” city of St. Paul, Minnesota, I didn’t know that life existed anywhere else. It was really a marvel to me that my classmates even knew what Sears was. I got that same feeling on my last trip there. My father was not tech savvy. My sister went so far as to get him a newish computer a few years ago. He never turned it on. Then it’s no surprise he didn’t have an Internet connection at his house that I would be stuck in for about a week. When you work virtually, as I do, lack of a reliable WiFi connection is not necessarily the end of the world,

but when you factor in that I couldn’t even get cell phone reception there, it’s a bit of a problem. The reason for my last trip was to clean out my childhood home. Instead of beginning the grieving process (my father died on Halloween), I did nothing but bitch about how I couldn’t get any work done. My clients were aware that I was out of commission for awhile, but work gave me an excuse to get away from my siblings for five minutes. We all need that. You can probably imagine that no coffee shops with WiFi exist in little Sheldon. The closest place I found was a McDonald’s in Ladysmith, roughly a half hour drive away. Since we needed RV antifreeze (don’t ask), I


used it as an excuse to get out and said I had to do some work that required Internet. Plus, it would probably be the last time I drove that route I had driven hundreds of times during adolescence. I took the “back way.” Really, every way is the “back way” when you live in the sticks, but I took what was the less beaten path from when I was young. The road was paved now-nice. The old junk yard was still there. It was actually a house with piles of junk in the yard, but my Dad had always called it “The Junk Place” or “The Sty.” The old cheese factory was now a car dealership-- weird transition? And then the memories came flooding back.



I ran over a dead skunk, yes dead, in front of the cheese factory, not long after getting my driver’s license. I was laughing with Jill so I didn’t notice it. After I ran over it, we laughed even harder. Fortunately, it didn’t smell up my car. Then there was the ditch I spun into and took out a row of corn. Again, not long after I got my license, I was driving home from cheerleading practice when my windows fogged up. It was one of those muggy latesummer days and I didn’t know that air conditioning could fog up windows. Instead of pulling over to let it clear, I decided to look through the bottom of the windshield. Doing so caused me to drift to the right

side of the road. Realizing it, I over corrected, spun around across the other lane of traffic and landed in the cornfield. The farmer who owned the field pulled my car out with his tractor. Only a tiny piece of plastic from the front bumper broke off in the ordeal, which my dad noticed a couple of days later. If he knew what happened, he never said anything. Then, for some reason, I remembered when he gave me a lecture about my future.

“You’ve been using computers since kinniegarten,” he said. “You’re going to be one of the smartest people in the world because of that. Do something with it.”

Being an auto mechanic, my Dad never understood why I wanted to be a writer. He thought I should be a lawyer or engineer, or work with computers.

He always worried about my writing career. When people asked him what I did for a living, he said, “She works on computers.” Technically true, but he didn’t know that “working on

“You’ve been using computers since kinniegarten,” he said. “You’re going to be one of the smartest people in the world because of that. Do something with it.”


computers” meant something different than “writing.” The people at his church would ask about my work, realizing that my dad was proud of me for “working on computers.” “I’m a writer,” I’d reply, and then explain that I wrote about business, technology and other things. They’d smile. They knew the 21st Century was lost on my Dad.

Technology And while I could have worked, I just sat there, staring at my screen, and I burst into tears. In that moment, I realized that I was an orphan, as much as one can be in their mid-30s. Pulling into the McDonald’s, I saw people wearing their barn boots. Yep, nothing had changed. It was a big deal when that McDonald’s opened when I was in high school. Many of the kids in my class got jobs there. When I knew they were working the drive-thru, I’d go there just to torture them, making it sound like the speaker was breaking up and other things, like trying to order Chinese food. I wanted to work there too, but Dad didn’t want me to waste money on gas.

Sonja and Dad, Sheldon, 1987 The cheerleader who went in the ditch (insert joke here), 1995. PHOTOGRAPHY BY SONJA HEGMAN

Walking in, however, the place was not the same. It had counters that were conducive to people with laptops, complete with outlets. It seemed smaller, somehow. I ordered breakfast to feel less guilty about using the WiFi. People stared. I clearly looked like I didn’t belong there in my oversized beanie, Macbook and Uggs. Wait, that wasn’t it. I looked like a dirty transient who hadn’t showered in days. And while I could have worked, I just sat there, staring at my screen, and I burst into tears. In that moment, I realized that I was an orphan, as much as one can be in their mid-30s. I’d kept it together for as long as I could. The drive and the memories that resurfaced were too much. While I had many good memories, I had plenty of bad. And I knew that I’d never be in Ladysmith or Sheldon, ever again. Nothing was left there for me. Once the house was cleaned out, that was it. I was losing my childhood. When I got back to the house, it was buzzing with people I’d never seen before. I didn’t see one family member and suddenly felt panicked. When I finally found my aunt, she told me the people were from my Dad’s church. It made me feel a little better, but it still felt like they were ransacking the place. My brother kept himself busy in the garage. “What the hell is all this?” I asked him. He shrugged and kind of rolled his eyes, and went back to going through his newly inherited tools. Clearly, our sister had set this up and didn’t tell either one of us.


Going back into the house, people kept asking me where my sister was. When I asked what they needed, as I was perfectly capable of making decisions, I was met with, “Oh, we better make sure that’s ok with your sister.” OK. I wasn’t needed. I went into the backyard. The house sat on five acres of land. A river ran through it and we had a basketball court. I was the only one of my siblings to grow up there. In that moment, I realized how lucky I’d been and that I actually cared about Sheldon. When I walked down the first hill to the basketball court, I looked out over the rest of the property and the river. We used to play football there. Over there, Dad showed me how to shoot a gun. Trish and I walked back there to sneakily smoke cigarettes. More tears started flowing. I walked down the second hill to the river and wailed. The river was always a calming place for me. It’s where I sat nearly 20 years earlier when my Mother was dying. But this day, I think the river knew I needed to cry. It was the only one who understood. I pulled out my phone, knowing it was a brick. I didn’t want to call anyone, but felt the uncontrollable need to take as many pictures of this place as I could. Dad was fascinated that I had a computer that fit into my pocket. “So this thing is a camera?” he once asked. “Sort of, it’s a phone with a built-in camera. It’s just easier than carrying two things around,” I said. “I’ll be, in my lifetime. Do you work on that thing? I always knew you’d be good with computers.” And on the conversation would go. In that moment by the river, I felt thankful. I’d never felt thankful for Sheldon. I always blamed it for holding me back, but it made me who I am. The people there made me who I am, for better or worse. And those people were in my old house, cleaning out my Dad’s bedroom because I couldn’t bear to do it. Being connected suddenly meant something different.

Global Etiquette International behavior awareness makes your travel more pleasurable, whether business or personal. My interest piqued on this topic in the 80s when traveling to S.E. Asia, while working on my Master’s degree. I continued to ask, read and learn more on the topic. It is our hope with this monthly column to cover dining etiquette, gestures, gifting, greetings, and customs in general. It is my hope that our readers will share some of their own experiences, as that is what really brings the importance of this issue to life. Etiquette could can make

or break a business deal or social connection. We also know several consultants who teach etiquette and protocol courses and hope they will contribute to this column in the future. Etiquette and customs vary from culture to culture, state to state, as well as within generations. Dining etiquette has as many variables and gestures require a great deal of knowledge or caution. Manners were drilled into my head from the time I was a small child. So let’s start with gestures, as that is where I made my greatest faux pas. I talk with my hands a lot and never thought much about doing so. It was in the early 90s and I was in Fortaleza, Brazil, meeting with the Governor of Ceara. My goal was to bring some Brazilian and American investors together. There were about fourteen of us in the room including a reporter and cameraman. The two-hour plus meeting went so well, we were all happy. Fortunately,

the press had just left when we were breaking up and I gave the classic American okay sign—thumb and forefinger forming a circle and the other fingers pointing up. The look on everyone’s face was shock and my interpreter appeared horrified. As she explained to me, this was equivalent to an insulting sign meaning “your anus” or f—you. My face turned beet red. She went on to explain the American meaning, and everybody except me laughed. I was just glad that the photo in the newspaper the next day was not of my giving the Governor the finger. This is viewed the same in most Latin countries and France. I try very hard not to use gestures now. Another common gesture is the two fingers V for victory sign. While visiting Australia, President George W. Bush was trying to indicate the peace sign. However, since his palm was facing inward instead of outward, it was equivalent in the US to giving one the third finger. This is also true in the U.K. Holding one finger up is considered


one of the most offensive hand gestures worldwide. The upward pointing middle finger is viewed as obscene. Some Arab and Mediterranean countries consider holding the index finger up to be the same obscene gesture. There are many other gestures that can embarrass you. This is just a start. Feel free to share your experiences with us. It’s much more interesting when you know the circumstances surrounding the experience, do please share. Now I usually hold a pen in my hand, but I’ll never forget my biggest faux pas.


By Maralyn D. Hill


Meet Travel Titan Pamela Hurley-Moser

s someone who does a lot of travel research, I couldn’t wait to interview travel titan, Pamela Hurley-Moser... after hearing about her, I knew I had to meet this woman. One of only 120 worldwide representatives qualified to sell Virgin Galactic’s Sub-Orbital Space Flights, Pam focuses on the extraordinary and runs a profitable business at the same time. When others faltered, Pam soared. The best way to share her journey is to share our interview: Maralyn D. Hill: Pam, share a little about yourself and Hurley Travel Experts? Pamela Hurley-Moser: I’ve been in the travel business for twenty-five years, and my mission continues to change, as I journey through life. The one thing that stays constant is my commitment to offering the finest travel services we possibly can. Raising the bar is very important to me – and surrounding myself with fun, positive people. MDH: You’ve grown a business 30% in spite of the recession in the economy. It’s amazing you started a Travel Agency in 1993 during excessive fare wars, commission caps in 1994, and Internet pricing availability. Can you elaborate on your insight? PHM: I targeted and started in adventure travel. I didn’t know it at the time, but the experiential travel area lacked agencies with travel expertise. I was a world traveler at a young age. When earning my own money and going to Travel Agencies, I would say, “I want to go hiking in

Nepal.” They wanted to sell me a Carnival Cruise. I realized there was a need for experiential travel. I liked making people happy and travel is exciting, travel makes people happy. Back then, I was all about the vacation traveler. I got into travel incentives, business retreats, as a client was talking about this vision he had about trying to sell more liquor. Suddenly, we had several hundred people going to Cancun, Mexico. I learned as I went along. I started my own agency and was getting press around the adventure and experiential travel aspect of the business. Corporations called me to come in and meet with them and I thought, “Okay, corporate travel, that’s interesting.” What was interesting is I remember getting three requests for proposals within a couple weeks for large corporations in Maine. I thought it would be neat if I got one, and I landed all three. It was a good problem to have. I got into the corporate business overnight and basically delivered. I made promises on these RFPs and was determined to keep them, and did. In 1994, when commission caps came, I was working hard, learning how to run a business. A fax came through from Delta Airlines, saying, “Dear Valued Travel Partner, as of midnight tonight, we will be reducing your revenue by 20%.” The first was 10% to 8%, and I knew my profit margin was around 10%. While not a financial genius, I realized I would be losing money when I opened the door. I called my customers and set up

meetings, asking them to pay more money. I was charging $5 service fees for tickets before anybody else. That was one of the reasons I was able to grow. Now, it would be $10. Nervous about asking for more money, it was an “a-ha moment”—the value of relationships, face-to-face, connecting with people, having them understand your vision. You have to constantly redefine, invent yourself, and change your business model to respond to the marketplace. MDH: Reading your website, you’ve targeted the corporate travel market, retreats, luxury vacations, travel for tourism. Having written travel incentive programs, I believe breaking into that early was good for you. How did you discover what was involved for an Accredited Space Agent? PHM: My Director of Marketing brought it to my attention. An email from Virgin Galactic stated that there was an essay contest. Richard Branson was going to select 50 people to represent his new space product. Richard Branson is somebody I have admired for his entrepreneurialism. I met him when I was in my 20s and I have a photo with him on my desk. Interestingly, my Director said, “I think you should fill out this application. If selected through an interview, you go to Kennedy Space Center for mission training.” I looked into it for January. Well, it was a snowy end of November and I was nine months pregnant. Wondering how I could manage, I applied, and was accepted. I had my interview while going into the hospital in labor.


By Maralyn D. Hill

Technology I never told them I was pregnant. My six-week old daughter accompanied me down to Kennedy Space Center, sharing such a milestone in my career. People ask how long I’ve been an Accredited Space Agent. I know how long because it’s exactly her age. MDH: Do you have any insight as to when the space travel may be offered in the U.S.? PHM: It’s being offered now in the U.S., Sub-Orbital Space Flight, and they’ve been selling tickets. The space ship and the mother ship have been built, they’re in testing phases right now, and realistically, in a very short time, the first flight to orbital space will be going up. MDH: Your company recently celebrated 20 years in business and you continue to grow including opening an office in Naples. Can you tell us about that? PHM: In the past two decades Hurley Travel Experts has grown from a company with a single full-time employee to one with 48. Based in Portland, Maine, the company opened a second office in Naples, Florida, in 2011. I tried to create an environment that was energy-infused and which attracted the best travel advisors, and the result was a dream team. The company did $40 million in business last year, specializing in Corporate Travel Management, Luxury and Experiential Vacations and Meetings and Incentive Group Travel. The Naples office has been an important addition to the business, and we have truly enjoyed servicing our great clients in that area. Our success has partly been achieved by recruiting an experienced team of travel experts, which we have done in Naples. This team ensures exceptional customer service for our clients, keeping us in line with our mission. MDH: From your website, it is obvious you have exceptional people. How do you find them? PHM: The largest part of our training program is customer service, true added value, going the extra mile, and raising that bar. I’ve hired people who said, “Wow, I thought I was best, but I come here and I’m not best.” We really feel they have to be retrained regardless of their experience, because of the high demands of being exceptional. MDH: You have 100 on-the-ground representatives? PHM: Through Virtuoso, we have two affiliates. BCD is 100% corporate


business travel management and Virtuoso is Executive VIP. We also feature customized experiences. MDH: How does it feel being the largest employer of travel consultants in the State of Maine? PHM: It feels great. I love Maine and I do everything I can to keep my business in the state’s that we do business in, Maine and Florida. At the end of the day, it’s about supporting your community. MDH: What did you do to celebrate 20 years in business? PHM: Being involved with the community has always been a part of the company culture and mission. In honor of our 20 years of success, and to give back to the community, we created a“20 for Twenty” online travel auction. A Viking Danube River Cruise and an all-inclusive 7-day Caribbean cruise for two aboard Silversea’s Silver Spirit were just two of the luxurious trips put up for bid, with proceeds going to nonprofits. This campaign raised more than $50,000 for local charities, including the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. MDH: You were awarded the annual Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts and you were a Girl Scout. Was this a total surprise? PHM: It was a total surprise. I was very honored. I looked at the list of whom they honored in the past and it was humbling. MDH: You do emphasize a return on investment, ROI for corporate accounts. Did you realize, in the beginning, you had to put it all together? PHM: I think managing travel, as the environment of being a Travel Agency and Management Company, became more competitive with the Internet. The separation was between having a service or doing it yourself, separation between one that didn’t cost anything and one with a service fee. We continually had to prove our worth, our value, and show our customers what we were doing for them. We evolved. We started saving our customers money, but weren’t telling them. It was exciting to show what we were saving. I thought instead of just showing, let’s save them more. It comes down to streamlining, educating, guiding, and modifying travel behavior and funneling business through one source. Saving companies money, improving their bottom line, and enhancing the experience of the travelers are our goals.

The Triton, Micronautix’s Luxury Aircraft Masterpiece By Jenna Intersimone




uring the golden age of commercial flight in the 1960’s, airline travel was a luxury in itself. Surrounded by beautiful blonde waitresses, well-off clientele dressed professionally and enjoyed top-shelf drinks, plus an experience not offered elsewhere. However, the 2000s have been cruel to the extravagance of commercial airline travel. Instead, we are shoved into sardine-sized cabins next to strangers in sweatpants, our elbows banged by passing carts serving tap water. With the unveiling of the Triton, a luxury aircraft concept designed by Micronautix, a Templeton, California-based company, at the 2014 Aviation Summit presented by Lift Event Management, those days could soon be over.

Instead of peering through about 15 x 11 inches of window on a 747, the Triton offers panoramic, breathtaking views, making for a distinctive flying and sightseeing escapade. On a normal commercial flight, passengers count the minutes until their plane lands in the destination, however on the Triton, passengers will get unsurpassed views of their favorite mountain ranges, beaches, and landmarks. “The Triton will provide panoramic views and luxury car-like accommodation in a fighter jet-like environment that sitting in the back seat of today’s average GA aircraft just can’t provide,” said Charlee Smith, founder of Micronautix. Marco Parotto, President of Lift Event Management, added that in terms of well-being and relaxation, “The goal is to make the passengers, many of whom will be taking their first flight in a small aircraft, as comfortable as if they would be sitting in a $40,000 mid-size sedan.” Usually, these types of views are only afforded to single-seat high performance aircraft

and military pilots. The model could be a huge hit for owner-flyers, air taxis and air tour operators.

looking to fly over beautiful destinations such as the Grand Canyon, Hawaii, Lake Tahoe, and Key West. About ten years later, the idea and configuration evolved into a stunning design and was then refined into what is now the Triton.

The Triton offers panoramic, breathtaking views

Equipped with three accommodated cockpits, the Triton houses one pilot and passenger in the center cockpit, and is then surrounded by up to two passengers in each of the two side cabins, similar to a sidecar on a motorcycle. The aircraft uses a sleek, aerodynamic design which doesn’t stray too far from a typical model, so that issues such as balance and CG control (which is caused by varying passenger loads) can be managed appropriately.

As of now, however, the Triton remains a concept rather than a production. Micronautix has approached several original equipment manufacturers, including General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Extra Aircraft and Aurora Flight Sciences, but the feedback insists that they would be happy to assist but first, Smith needs to come up with millions to finance it.

With a wingspan of 42 feet, the Triton is powered by a 450 horsepower turboprop, swinging a large prop at lower RPM for reduced noise and added comfort. Given that the aircraft was created for these luxury purposes instead of speed, Micronautix gave the Triton a cruise speed of about 193 miles per hour and a range of 932 miles, with an empty weight of 2546 pounds. The company plans to offer several models, including an amphibian and electronic hybrid, “which will ­provide up to 20 minutes of near silent flight over noise-sensitive areas,” such as national parks, said Smith and reported by

To further purify the engineering and have an outside company construct the tooling and produce a full-size flying prototype would require a $5 to $7 million investment, said Parrotto. This would depend upon whether it is equipped with a fixed or retractable main landing gear and the level of avionics. Smith said, “I would be willing to hand over the design rights to the most suitable company, just to see the Triton become a reality.”

Micronautix, which includes Smith, Parrotto, and Brian Reed, a contractor who created the computer aided design, developed the Triton as a result of the obvious hole in the aircraft marketplace. Being that airplane simulators and video games still maintain high popularity, it was clear that the urge to be in the air still existed, yet an aircraft that offered an unparalleled view was lacking. Even in popular flight sightseeing, passengers remain behind the pilot and their only opportunity is to view scenery from a side window, giving obstructed views that lack interesting angles.

Since the design is complete, the next step is to find a reputable aerospace firm that understands the hole in the marketplace for luxury flight so that engineers can bring the Triton to life. Fittingly, a one-sixth and one-tenth model will be unveiled at the 2014 Aviation Summit from October 31 to November 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center, where 10,000 international pilots and industry experts will attend to learn about new products, receive technical

Micronautix believed that a safe and quiet design such as that of the Triton would present a spike in sightseeing passengers,


advice from manufacturers and participate in hands-on demonstrations. Besides the significant sums required bringing an aircraft to fruition, Smith understands the other challenges faced and the possibility of failure, but he isn’t giving up yet. He said, “Aviation history is filled with failed concepts that designers have attempted to bring to market by themselves. I feel the positive impact the Triton can have on aviation is more important than my own personal gain.” Smith sees the greater good in his design and is hopeful and positive about its creation following the 2014 Aviation Summit. He said, as reported by Scott Oxarat in Aviation Digest, “Most people who experience flying in a Triton will feel the magic of flight and want more. Many will be inspired to work toward becoming a pilot because of this.” According to Parrotto, the Triton’s key impact will be the end of today’s trend of most people being content with virtual flight experiences beyond flying an airliner from one point to another. He said, “The average person on the street will say ‘I want to fly in that airplane,’ which will be an experience that will be the seed to the revitalized growth of general aviation.”

Cirque du Soleil’s Totem Soars High in the Kitchen with Mia Messier By Michelle Winner up with Mia in Portland, Oregon recently and sat down for lunch and an interview in the heart of TOTEM’s little gypsy village, the food trailer “dining room,” surrounded by many of the show’s star athletes and performers.

Mia left music after several years to attend Quebec Tourism Institute, focusing on food and catering management. For 10 years, Mia worked catering movie sets, cooking in bistros, hotels and private kitchens and opened her own pizzeria in Montreal.

What fuels those high-fliers and ethereal acrobats of Cirque Du Soliel’s TOTEM traveling show? A varied menu and mostly Mia Messier. At TOTEM a traveling show of Cirque Du Soleil, this part chef, part caterer, part business manager Mia Messier is the Kitchen Manager. Mia, a creative culinary phenom, was born in Cambodia and grew up in Montreal. An affinity for the musical arts led her to Vincent D’Indy Musical Institute of Montreal, where she studied violin and piano.

LBM: With a traveling show of over 120 people including support staff, spouses and children of artists from 21 different countries speaking 11 languages, what special considerations, be they diet, religious preferences or performance fuel do you provide via your menu? Mia: Yes of course, we try to balance the menu for the artist. We have to be open to all cultures. The menu is also based on availability from suppliers. We try to make this more homey as we travel all over the world. Sometimes they (the artists) will ask if I can prepare something special from their culture. I try to do that. I also get inspiration from restaurant meals on my time off in each city, cookbooks and magazines.

Forward to 2003 and Mia was looking for a new environment. Cirque Du Soleil’s traveling shows hire local cooks at each city on the tour. At the Montreal tour stop of the big-top production Dralion, Mia accepted a temporary position as a cook. The work suited her. At the end of her contract, Mia joined the tour as a full-time chef for seven months. Fast forward seven years and Mia was still traveling with Dralion as a cook. Five continents later, she was offered the Kitchen Manager position on tour, moving her full circle to take advantage of her culinary training and catering management experience. She manages employees, budgets, plans schedules and sources local suppliers in each city the tour visits. She does cook once in a while, in a way still fulfilling her need for artistic creativity.

LBM: What is the most requested food item? Mia: Here it is so diverse we just go with what we have. But I have been told it’s the Pho and General Tao Chicken.

Since 2010, Mia has been Kitchen Manager of the current show TOTEM. Luxe Beat magazine caught

LBM: When you get to go home to


Cuisine Quebec a couple times a year, what is your favorite food? Mia: My mom’s Quebec food, comfort food; Mac and Cheese, Shepherd’s Pie. LBM: What are you passionate about? Mia: Oh my God, my work is my passion. I meet people around the world, different nationalities, cultures, personalities. LBM: What do you like about life on the road? Mia: That my work is always well done. LBM: What is difficult on the road? Mia: We lose some friends, as people quit the tour from time to time. But I make more friends, I keep them all close. Thank God for technology. LBM: When you move the show to the next venue, how does your job work? Mia: The entire show moves; we pack up our entire little village and only asphalt is left. I will arrive one day before we transfer. I will set up the barbecue because there will be nothing there. If we have to, I have the food catered for a couple of days. We have a schedule and we have all the suppliers in each city. As soon as the kitchen is set up, deliveries are made and we begin. It is all on schedule. Cirque Du Soleil has been doing this for thirty years. I have been doing this for eleven. It is all about the schedule. LBM: What are the five qualities that make you perfect for this job? Mia: I have passion. I can multitask. I keep an open mind. I have management skills; time, personalities, budgets. And trust, if your co-workers trust you, it makes your job easy. LBM: It seems that your life here with TOTEM is good... Mia: Yes, my life is a touring show and I so enjoy it. Life on the road is so different that when I return home to visit I have culture shock. Besides that, when I visit each city, I see old friends and I think, “My life is complete.” We are putting on the best show possible, one, two sometimes three times a day. There are challenges and we work very hard; the artists have to go to work and everyone knows what they have to do. I love it and can do it for another ten years, but if I ever come to work one day and I am not happy, I won’t do it (anymore). Happiness is the key.



Thai Curry Mussels a la Cirque Du Soleil’s Totem By Michelle Winner


irque du Soleil’s Totem Kitchen Manager Mia Messier serves 200 to 250 meals a day each week to the traveling show’s 120 artists, staff and families of artists. Her repertoire includes cuisine and favorite dishes from the many cultures that make up the show. The day we visited, she served several entrées for lunch, one of which was a delicious fresh mussel dish, Thai Curry Mussels. Serve by itself or with rice or over pasta.

Thai Curry Mussels

2 tbsps peanut oil 1 stalk lemongrass, crushed 3 tbsps Thai red curry paste 1 tbsps chicken base 1 can unsweetened coconut milk (do not shake the can) 2 tbsps fish sauce (Squid brand is best) 2 tbsps fresh lime juice 2½ pounds mussels, de-bearded and scrubbed 1 tbsps palm sugar or brown sugar in a pinch 4-8 tbsps very thinly sliced Thai basil, to your taste

In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat the peanut oil on medium high heat and add the curry paste and coconut (cream part only, reserving the milk).

and add the mussels and cover the pot with a heavy lid. Check the mussels after four minutes or so. When they have opened they are ready to be served.

Heat until the oil separates and the curry starts to become aromatic, you are releasing the essential oils to improve the taste.

Please note if none have opened continue to cook, if only a few have not opened they may be bad and should be discarded.

Next add the reserved coconut milk, sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, lemongrass and chicken base.

Discard the lemon grass stalk and serve over rice or Chinese style noodles in ramekins garnished with the Thai basil. If Thai basil is not available, either mint or Italian basil will work as a substitute.

Mix to incorporate all the ingredients. Turn the heat to low

The Cirque Du Soleil kitchen serves dishes from all over the world reflecting the many artists from all over the world in Totem



la ferme de la lochère

bespoke culinary & wine holidays in Burgundy

with Chef Katherine Frelon (33) 672865609 la ferme de la lochère 6 rue de la lochere 21150 MARIGNY LE CAHOUET France QUOTE: LUXEBEAT

Images: Jessica Pearl and Kristin Hettermann. Aerial Photo:


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Weekend of Wine in Napa By Dena Roche


apa Valley is the quintessential wine country vacation with good reason. The concentration of quality wineries, bucolic landscapes and amazing hotels and restaurants make it an ideal getaway to relax and recharge.

A Sweet Suite at Hotel Milliken The Hotel Yountville is a charming place to base in Yountville

The charming town of Yountville is the epicenter of Napa. Despite a population of just under 3,000 people, it boasts three Michelin star restaurants including the venerable French Laundry. With nearly impossible to get reservations, Thomas Keller fans can still experience the chef’s magic at his other establishments in town including Ad hoc, Bouchon and Bouchon Bakery. The bakery is a perfect breakfast stop, but expect


Travel lines out the door no matter the time of day. For dinner, the Michelin star etoile at Domain Chandon makes for a memorable meal. Surprisingly, it is the only fine dining restaurant within a Napa Valley winery. The four and six course tasting menus pair delectable dishes like Moroccan spiced octopus, Hawaiian Onaga and Duck breast with the famous bubbles and the red and white wines also produced by Domain Chandon. For a simpler dinner focused on winecountry cuisine try the chefowned Hurley’s. You came to Napa for wine and you can find several tasting rooms in the heart of Yountville. Hestan Vineyards showcases their wines, which have been served at the White House during a state dinner, in a newly built tasting room. The family behind the wines got its start in cookware and today makes lines for Williams Sonoma and chefs like Napa’s Michael Chiarello, and Rachel Ray. But at the tasting room the wine is the star, especially the Stephanie Cab. Just down the street Priest Ranch pours wines from its Priest Ranch, Highflyer and Somerston labels. Many of the wines score well over 90 points by Wine Advocate. A relaxing vacation wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the spa and Yountville has a good one in Spa Villagio. The tone is set

The charming town of Yountville is the epicenter of Napa. Despite a population of just under 3,000 from the minute you step inside and have a sit-down check-in with the spa concierge while sipping on addictive, non-caloric strawberry mint water. In the locker room take advantage of the unique lemongrass steam room before heading towards one of the spa suites for a knotrelieving deep tissue massage. Luxuriate in the suite after the service sipping champagne and nibbling on cheese and fruit while in the hydrotherapy tub.

Auberge du Soleil


The Hotel Yountville, with its French inspired stonework façade and large, luxurious rooms is the ideal home base in Yountville. A major perk for hotel guests is the partnership the property has with wineries throughout the Napa area providing complimentary tastings for two or other discounts on tastings and

purchases. This saved my friend and I over a hundred dollars in tasting fees alone during our stay. Heading north, you’ll pass wonderful wineries like Clos Du Vol, Pine Ridge (try the Chenin Blanc/Viognier), Silver Oak and Frank Family to name just a few. In Rutherford, stop for lunch at the Michelin star restaurant at Auberge du Soleil, highlighting local produce and wine with a Mediterranean twist.

The Spa Loft Suite at Spa Villagio Gourmet food and wine reign at etoile at Domaine Chandon

Luxuriate in the suite after the service sipping champagne and nibbling on cheese and fruit while in the hydrotherapy tub. If you’re in the area with your significant other dedicate a night to romance removed from the hustle bustle tucked away at the exclusive 12- suite Milliken Creek Inn & Spa. Situated on three acres you can relax on lounge chairs creek side or soak up the luxury of your room featuring a hydrotherapy tub, rain shower, sitting area, and fireplace and. During the evening enjoy Magic Hour, a complimentary wine and cheese tasting featuring a local vintner pouring and talking about his wines. Breakfast comes to you in the morning. A weekend in wine country will increase your appreciation of the grape and decrease stress levels built up from the real world.




Worldwide Wine Tip and Sips By Linda Kissam PHOTOS: ©TVM TODD MONTGOMERY



have a tip for you...there is life and great sips beyond California wines. I am serious. I know, I know, it’s easy to cruise the wine aisles and load your cart up with familiar Sauvignon Blancs and Cabernets. Heck, I‘ve done that lots of times myself. What I’d like to suggest to you is to slow down and take time to explore your favorite wine store or online merchant for some exquisite – and affordable- wines from some other countries. I promise you, there is some really good stuff out there. And if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, be courageous and pair some interesting foods with your new found wine finds. I sense some hesitation out there and an eye roll or two. Looking down or shrugging your shoulders does not mean I can’t see you. Not feeling quite up to the whole Indiana Jones of wine adventure? OK. Let me make it easy for you. Here are my suggestions for three wines and food pairings that are easy to find, affordable and are most certainly going to rock your wine world.

1. Kaiken Terroir Series Torrontes 2012, $15

Pairing: Medjool Date Chicken Salad Torrontes is considered the most distinctive of all white Argentine wine with a showy nose that is both crisp and fruity. The wine has an elegant nose with a medium aromatic intensity and a touch of Muscat and tropical fruits aromas. In the mouth, it’s a fresh sassy wine with a smooth texture, balanced acidity and a long and pleasant finish. What this means to you is a white wine that goes with just about any food you might be having – even red saucy items like pizza and chili. This is my number one recommendation for you to seek out.

2. Kaiken Corte Malbec (80%) – Bonarda (12%) - Petit Verdot (8%), $9 Pairing: Bison Sliders Stellar wine with intense red color and violet hues. Ripe black fruit on the nose, such as blueberries and blackberries, is going to delight and

entice you. You’ll be able to identify with the distinct Malbec type floral aromas. In the mouth, this big bodied blend brings out all the silkiness of a Malbec backed by the structure and freshness of Petit Verdot, ending with a mineral finish provided by the Bonarda. Expect a long and lingering finish. From the Uco Valley.

3. Montes Twins Red Wine 2011, $18 Pairing: Spicy BBQ chicken breast followed by a coconut cookie chaser Meet the twins! A masterstroke of varietal blending from Chile’s winemaking legend, Aurelio Montes. On their own, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon shine, but when paired up, these two classic varieties complement each other perfectly. It’s a dramatic double bill: wonderful richness, structure and fruit from the Cabernet, with smooth, velvety texture from the Malbec. These varieties add up to a wine that’s greater than the sum of its parts. The oak aging contributes subtle notes of vanilla and earth, and its


From left to right: Kaiken Torrontes and pizza make a great match The Malbec pairs well a variety of bites Montes Twins Red Wine

soft tannins provide an especially elegant finish. One critic gave it this verbal award, “This 50% Malbec, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon (hence, the “twins”) is a magnificent blackberry, licorice and spiced specimen of tightly wound Cab and velvet-gloved Malbec. The bodies are textured and in motion, empowered by grace and elegance.” Yup, that just about sums it up. International wines are one of the world’s greatest pleasures. In terms of complexity, longevity, soulful sense of place and sheer refreshment. Wines outside of California are not merely a great sip, but a benchmark taste on your wine journey. So my wine warriors, grab you credit cards and let’s find some great international wines to add to your wine cellar and dinner table.


Signature Sandwiches – Why are they so Popular? By French Master Chef Hervé Laurent SIGNATURE SANDWICH BY FRENCH MASTER CHEF HERVÉ LAURENT

Why Signature Sandwiches Are So Popular? They are convenient; you can include all food groups, and savor the taste - fast, good, slow food.

Like everything we eat, presentation makes a difference, and making your sandwich appealing to the eye is more appealing to the recipient.

Point of interest: They were originally named after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich (1718-92). It was said that the Earl ate sandwiches so he would not have to leave the gambling tables to eat.

Serves: 4 4 Whole bread 4 slices of bacon 2 golden delicious apples 200g goat’s cheese 1 cucumber 4 tomatoes 2 lime juice 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil few drops Tabasco 1 bunch basil

Signature Sandwich with whole bread, bacon, gratinated goat cheese and apples The Why... Did you know Europeans eat sandwiches with a fork and knife? This sandwich can also be eaten like salad, tapas or simply bites.

In a hot oven, dry the bacon between 2 baking sheets, until brown.

Balance of flavors is the key: Salty bacon, sour goat cheese, sweet apples (Golden Delicious), and spicy basil dressing.

Cut the cucumber in strips and also cubes. Cut the tomatoes in cubes (both vegetables without seeds). Season with salt, lime juice, olive oil, Tabasco and basil.

Combination of textures is also important: Crispy bacon, melted cheese, crunchy apples and cucumber. Sandwiches take on so many forms. Often, people think of a product between two slices of bread. For years, they have been served in all different forms from open-faced, finger sandwiches, sandwich loaves, or an all American hamburger.

Cut the bread, add the goat cheese and gratinate. Decorate the sandwich according to the picture. Slice the apple at the very end.


S C A R T S School of culinary arts With french master chef hervĂŠ laurent

Graduates' placement is our success!

Chef Jetzabel Rojas Reinterprets Indigenous Mexican Cuisine By Janice Nieder Chef J preparing for bbq




he award-winning Viceroy, Riviera Maya continues to rack-up endless “best of” accolades, but perhaps their most powerful secret weapon is their talented Chef, Jetzabel Rojas Barragán. I managed to catch up with this busy young woman after she had just knocked them dead at the 2014 Cancun-Rivera Maya Wine & Food festival. It’s interesting (and a little sad in this day and age) to note that she was the only local female chef that participated in this gourmet event. Jetzabel (which means “Queen”) grew up in a big family, surrounded by a bevy of females who cooked and were all fabulous cooks. One grandmother, who lived in Veracruz, instilled in her a deep respect for seafood, while the other granny, in Nogales, taught her how to use various chilies to produce amazing sauces. Jetzabel, who realized early on that cooking was her life’s passion, enrolled in the Culinary Institute of Mexico in 1999 in Puebla, to further hone her skills. Upon graduation, she headed to the United States where she was exposed to a variety of new cuisines and talented chefs, namely Thomas Keller, who has greatly influenced her cooking style. Since she started cooking at The Viceroy, Chef Jetzabel Rojas Barragán’s mission has been to take back her culinary heritage. After having the pleasure of dining on her creative cuisine, I’d say she completed her mission with flying colors. When did you first know you wanted to be a chef? I always enjoyed cooking with my family. I was an only child so I hung around with my aunties a lot. My father grew up in Oaxaca with five sisters. When we went to visit, I would get up with them at 4AM to make masa for tortillas. My parents were both teachers, so we had two months off each summer where we would visit my grandmother on the coast in Veracruz and eat marvelous seafood. My mother wanted me to get a job doing something like being a reporter, but I always knew I wanted to be a chef. But she’s very proud of me now and loves my tamales. Do you travel much? Not really, because I’m too busy putting in long days here overseeing both restaurants., so now I “travel the web” for my inspiration. We have

Banana Leaf Steamed Halibut

many international guests here who have eaten all over the world, so I want to make them happy. I have traveled to the United States, where I had some wonderful food, particularly in Santa Monica. Although I didn’t get to meet him, one of my biggest influences is Thomas Keller. I like the way he works with his suppliers and growers and he really loves what he does. Was that your proudest moment? No, it’s probably when after trying my food, many guests beg me to write a cookbook. Also, I was very excited when Chef Daniel Boulud, who was being honored at this year’s Cancun-Rivera Maya Wine & Food festival, tasted my salad and said he really liked it and asked me what was in it. I told him, “Braised sweet potato salad, foam of goat cheese, ground of pumpkin seeds, native melipona honey and kastacan vinaigrette, oil of xcatic and chaya, fresh watercress”. Is there a culinary trend that you would like to change? Yes, I think people eat way too much meat. I would like to expose them to more seafood. Some years down the line, I would like to open my own seafood restaurant. Is there a cuisine you would like to learn more about? I would like to learn how to cook Indian food. What three ingredients would you bring to a desert island? Tomato, garlic and epazote (a pungent Mexican herb). If you could cook for anyone, who would it be? I would love to cook for the Pope. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not in the kitchen? I take my iPod and read on the beach

and then grab a bite at one of the seafood beach shacks.

pepper on brunoise, add salt and pepper.

What advice do you have for other women who want to become chefs? Be very sure that you really want to do this because it’s very hard work. You have to work twice as hard as the men and give up a lot. You’ll be working holidays and will not be around for birthdays, anniversaries, and other family occasions. But if you’re prepared to work hard, it can be very rewarding.

Blanching the chaya leaf and filled with the plantain puree.

If you were going to get a tattoo, what would it be? I already have a few. My favorite is a big skeleton wielding a big knife and whip, saying “Born to be a chef.”

To serve put coulisse piquillo pepper on the bottom, them the chaya-plantain and finally on the top the sea bass.

Slow Fire Pan Seared Sea Bass

This is one of the Viceroy’s most popular seafood dishes courtesy of Chef Jetzabel Rojas. Total Time: 1hr Active Time: 1hr Makes 2 servings 1 Fillet of Sea Bass Achiote (as need) Amaranth 80g Plantain 15g butter Ground Nutmeg Ground Cinnamon 1 piece of red pepper 4 pieces of chaya leaf Piquillo coulisse Salt and pepper Season the Sea Bass fillet with salt and pepper. Marinate with the achiote. Set aside. Bake de plantain with butter, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Mashed and mixed with red bell


Crusted the Sea Bass with amaranth seed and seared. For the coulisse, with a red bell pepper take off the skin and seed, blended and stain, simmering with salt and pepper to check it the seasoning.

Viceroy Riviera Maya Playa Xcalacoco Frac 7 77710 Playa del Carmen Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo Mexico Guestroom Reservations: 800 578 0281 Phone: +52 984 877 3000 Fax: +52 984 877 3001 Additional Reservation Contact Information: vrm.reservations@

Penthouse Pampering 52



y alarm clock had gone off at 2am. I’d hauled my way up to Haleakalā National Park in search of a spectacular sunrise and found only bone chilling fog. A drenching rain turned my bike ride down the volcano into something more like a sea kayaking expedition on wheels. When I arrived at Wailea Beach Villas, it’s safe to say signs of my rough morning were pretty apparent. It was a couple hours before checkin time, but the pampering began immediately--iced tea, hot tea and an orchid lei. The sun was coming out and it looked like the afternoon might be salvageable, if I could only get out of my wet, squeaky shoes.

Left: Wailea Beach Villas Makai Pool Below: Lush Landscapes

The bad news was my villa wasn’t ready. The great news was, it was close to being ready. If I didn’t mind making friends with housekeeping, I was welcome to settle in to the bedroom and bathroom that had already been cleaned. (I could also use the dryer in the laundry room. Hooray!) The manager made a few quick calls and walked me to my penthouse perch.

Up a key access elevator to the 5th floor, when the doors opened, I couldn’t help but exhale in relief. I’d been on the move in Hawaii for six days. I had two more nights in Maui and I could tell it wouldn’t take much to feel spoiled at Wailea Beach Villas. After getting into dry clothes, I did my best to stay out of way of the two housekeeping staff cleaning the master bedroom and kitchen. But I couldn’t resist the urge to explore the villa. I say explore, because at 1900 square feet, it might be bigger than the actual homes of some of the guests that come to stay, especially the city slicker set. But it might as well have been a shoebox. The large balcony, complete with table, room to lounge and Viking barbeque grill has a view next to impossible to walk away from. A loaded with fruit and goodie basket, sitting on a stretch of the gourmet kitchen’s granite countertop, offered tasty snacks to tide me over until dinner. And speaking of dinner, all welcome baskets come with some great,

The grounds at Wailea Beach Villas are extensive; 11 acres of lush tropical landscaping and tiki-lit pathways

By Dana Rebmann


Left: Wailea Beach Villas Penthouse Second Bedroom Right: Beach Time

Wailea Beach Villas in Bloom

practical gifts including a $20 dining certificate to Ruth’s Chris Steak House, $20 dining certificate to Tommy Bahama Restaurant (both located at the neighboring Shops at Wailea), a complimentary insulated lunch sized tote bag and a discount card for use at Hawaii’s Foodland grocery store.

Welcome Goodie Basket


The kitchen is fully equipped with a range of cooking supplies, wine glasses of every shape and size, a sub-zero refrigerator and other high-end appliances. Upon request, staff will do your grocery shopping

Wellness The Wailea Beach location can’t be beat, but at the end of a beautiful day in the sun, neither can the perks that come along with your stay at the Wailea Beach Villas

and have the kitchen stocked before your arrival. The loaded coffee bar with whole bean coffee and grinder, ground coffee and decaf, and specialty Hawaiian teas delivers caffeinated vacation boosts on demand. I got hooked on the Pineapple Waikiki and Mango Maui black teas, and stocked up at Foodland before my flight home. The grounds at Wailea Beach Villas are extensive; 11 acres of lush tropical landscaping and tiki-lit pathways. You could spend hours just wandering. With blooming

another and there’s some fun snorkeling waiting on Ulua Beach.

tropical beauties like water lilies, ginger and heliconia set among gurgling streams, it reminded me of a botanical garden complete with chirping birds. Where ever you are headed, give yourself extra time for distraction.

The Wailea Beach location can’t be beat, but at the end of a beautiful day in the sun, neither can the perks that come along with your stay at the Wailea Beach Villas. You’ll appreciate the shaded garage parking that comes with penthouse suites and the complimentary WiFi and high-speed internet access in individual rooms and throughout the resort. There’s a pool table not far from the family pool and a separate adults only infinity pool steps from

The beach is waiting. You could head right for the sand, no one would blame you. Complimentary cabanas, beach loungers and umbrellas are ready for you on Wailea Beach. But if you’re up for a bit of exercise, the beachfront walking trail rewards active ones with one view after


the beach, a concierge for assist with tours, dinner reservations, tee times and well, pretty much anything you can think of. Daily housekeeping, complete with evening turn-down, means you’ll never have to make your bed. E Komo Mai! Welcome to paradise. Dana’s stay at the Wailea Beach Villas was organized by the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau, but as always, Dana’s thoughts and opinions are her own. All photos by Dana Rebmann.

What was, is

Island of Hawaii 866.977.4589

Blending personalized service, stylish spaces and an alluring atmosphere to deliver an uncommon Hawaiian experience.


There’s no Place Like ‘Home’ When You’re Staying at Sri Panwa, Phuket By Janice Nieder

Feeling quite omnipotent as I look down from my private villa




he minute I stepped out on my private deck, it became crystal clear how Sri Panwa scored, “Hotel with the Best View in the World”- by Beach Tomato - The Best Beach Property Awards (UK). If you’ve always dreamed of a secluded island retreat, but unlike Richard Branson, you can’t afford to buy a private island, here are a few reasons why Sri Panwa will fill in quite nicely:

1. You just can’t take a bad picture here Located in the most South-Eastern tip of Phuket (a large island in the Andaman Sea- roughly an hour’s flight from Bangkok), Sri Panwa is perched high above Cape Panwa, surrounded by a 40-acre rainforest. It doesn’t get much more private than this. 2. Warning: The private villas will spoil you forever The 52 luxe villas offer breathtaking views from your comfy bed, oversized jet-stream Jacuzzi bath, the kitchen…well, just about everywhere except from the toilet! The two separate sides, one for living/dining and the other for sleeping, felt very homey with minimalist, handcrafted décor. Out back is your own private infinity swimming pool (perfect for a midnight skinny-dip under the stars) rain shower and sunset pavilion with a comfy sofa bed. Settle in to enjoy the background music from the state-of-the-art entertainment system (the owner’s son has incredible taste in music and put

Loved eating meals overlooking the brilliant turquoise waters

together some fab, eclectic mixed tapes) while watching the sunset. Other hospitable touches include (all complimentary) high-speed wireless Internet access, mini-bar stocked with beer, soda, snacks, and a selection fresh fruits, a personal espresso machine with a variety of exotic teas and coffees and even a freezer full of fruit popsicles.

with Parma ham and bok choy) then take a stroll down the buffet line for assorted fresh juices, tropical fruit, cereal, pastries, and at least four different curries. I was addicted to my morning crab in green curry over rice noodles-yum! Take a short walk down the steep hill (or chauffeur driven tuk-tuks, like golf carts, are readily available to scoot you around) to enjoy a tasty Thai dinner at Baba Soul Food, or head up the hill (burns as many calories as about 20 minutes on the Stairmaster) in time for panoramic sunset views while sipping cocktails at the Baba Nest.

3. Fabulous Food & Drink There’s no better way to start the day than with a full buffet brekkie at the outdoor BABA Poolclub, which sprawls out over 5,000 square meters, featuring a 25-meter infinity-edge lap pool. Other Baba delights include the Baba Pool Bar, BaBaQ, Baba Cooking School, and the Baba88 Disco, which has a great rep for their changing roster of international DJs. For breakfast, you can check off your faves from the ala carte menu (loved the Eggs Benedict

4. Indulgent pampering awaits at the Cool Spa Although I gave serious thought to working off some of my breakfast with a workout at the fitness center, a game of tennis, or at the very least

Trying to decide if I like the view best during the day


a yoga class, I opted instead to go for some indulgent pampering. Great choice! I was greeted by my lovely therapist, Lee, who handed me a cup of chrysanthemum tea, had me do a sniff test to choose from six fragrant massage oils, before leading me to my private room via gorgeous lily pad ponds, and Zen sounding waterfalls, where for the next 90 minutes I gratefully succumbed to Lee’s intuitive hands of velvet/steel. Next time, I’m going all out for the decadent sounding Moët & Chandon treatment that invites you to soak in a rose petal and champagne bubble bath while drinking a bottle of Moët. For more info go to: Sri panwa Estate, 88 Moo. 8, Sakdidej Road Tambon Vichit, Muang Phuket Cape Panwa, Phuket 83000, Thailand


Divine ModesTee Simply Ideal By Maralyn D. Hill


ivine ModesTee simply ideal for me. I field many inquiries for various products. One recently came in that I passed on to our fashion editor. However, when Divine ModesTee crossed my screen, I was intrigued. No longer in the “sweet young woman” category, nor rail thin, these suits looked flattering and perfect.

mister in between.” This swimwear has over fifty-five mix and match designs. Now, the test was to determine if they were manufactured as well as they looked.

Most women, no matter their age, want to look stylish and comfortable. As Johnny Mercer said, “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and don’t mess with

The verdict is in; I love my new bathing suit. It has hit the pool, hot tub, and washing machine. It is made extremely well. The company did send one size larger than I would have ordered, but it is perfect. There are no pulled seams or loose stitches. I pushed, pulled, stretched, crushed, and crumbled. The navy blue is as vibrant as ever and the bathing suit looks brand new minus the tags.

I sent my height, age, weight, coloring, and measurements and a note saying, “Please send what you think will be the most flattering, so I can test it out.”

I have three pieces similar to that shown above, first the bandeau halter-top with ruffles around the top of the bust line. This is not a style I would have picked, but one that is very flattering. There is extra folds in the material that provide a slimming profile. It also has a low cut pair of pants so it looks like a one piece, or a skirt I can slip over to provide a different look. All in all, I am sold on the product. Enough so, that I may purchase another one. Living in Arizona and traveling as much as we do, I am always in need of good swimsuits and I love these styles. They indeed accentuate the positive. Swimwear photos courtesy of ModesTee.


Octogenarian Artist Joanne Turney Excels In The Art Of Living By Renee Phillips

“I now face all challenges with gratitude because I know they are my teachers and they give me opportunities for positive growth and guidance.”

Joanne Turney

Joanne Turney is an active octogenarian and accomplished abstract painter, author, and classical pianist. I’ve had the good fortune of knowing her for almost 20 years. She has

Her successful art career includes many international exhibitions, including a one-person exhibition at La Casa de Cultura, Estepona, Spain, and several gallery exhibitions in New York, NY.

served as an important positive role model for me and many other individuals who are blessed to know her. Turney’s dramatic awardwinning art has been influenced by her extensive world travels, having lived in the colorful Costa Del Sol, in Spain. She currently lives in Washington, D.C. and maintains a pied-à-terre in New York, NY.

Her art work is in many private collections worldwide such as International Resources Corporation, in Washington, D.C.; Mallorcan Properties International, Palma de Mallorca, Spain; and Hyatt Hotel, Arlington, VA. Far left: Detail of “The Ballet of the Unhatched Chickens” by Joanne Turney, from her “Pictures at an Exhibition” series. Left: “The Art of Joyful Aging”, a book by Joanne Turney. Above: “Home Free”, by Joanne Turney. Top-right: “Il Vechio Castello”, acrylic on canvas, 48” x 36”, from Joanne Turney’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” series. Far right: Transformation and Metamorphosis, acrylic on canvas, 48” x 36”



“Pictures at an Exhibition” Paintings

The artist’s unbridled color palette ranges from passionate vermillion red to cool cerulean blue. Throughout her canvases we witness tactile crackled surfaces as they erupt and coalesce with fluid pools in a continuous symphony of harmony and contrast. Turney’s background as a classical pianist and teacher is a key influence in her art work. In fact, a recent series of paintings were inspired by “Pictures at an Exhibition”, composed by Mussorgsky. These paintings exude her mastery of color, composition and rhythm. They exemplify her spontaneous painting process that combines her technical prowess with innate trust that allows the creative process to flow without interference.

“The Art of Joyful Aging”

This exuberant red-haired woman shows no sign of slowing down. In a recent conversation she discussed her plans to create another new series of paintings in addition to

volunteering in a major art museum. In addition to her charity work she has served as a volunteer for the White House during two different administrations.

Her book “The Art of Joyful Aging” should be within hand’s reach on everyone’s book shelf and coffee table as a constant reminder of the how to excel in the art of living.

Turney declares emphatically, “My thoughts create my life!”. She refuses to accept the notion of “old age” and refers to this time in her life as “advanced youth.”

“The Art of Healing” Paintings

Turney’s spiritual foundation has provided strength during challenging times. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer she explained that her initial reaction was shock and devastation. Shortly afterward she asked the question: “God, what shall I do about this situation?” She recalls, the answer she received was loud and clear: “Paint.”

Determined to replace the negative stereotypes that society attaches to aging she created a book titled “The Art of Joyful Aging”. This book contains more than ninety color life-affirming “Teeny Turney” paintings that celebrate the positive benefits of aging.

This life-changing event gave birth to her extraordinary series titled “The Art of Healing” -- thirteen paintings that depict the emotional stages of her battle against and eventual recovery from breast cancer.

Adjacent to her paintings in the book are quotations from famous people through the ages as well as ordinary folks, friends and relatives. A famous quotation by Pablo Picasso appears: “It has taken a long time to become young.”

This important series expresses the universal feelings associated with loss, suffering, fear, faith, hope and healing. During the painting process Turney experienced a healing transformation. She is pleased that the paintings also serve as

Turney has presented many inspirational talks and has raised money for different charities through sales of her book and her art work.


inspiration and hope for viewers. She plans to donate these paintings to a healing facility. Joanne Turney is the only woman I know who was married to the same man for 63 years. Sadly, he died a few months ago. In her inimitable spirit she is facing this difficult time with tremendous courage and credits her faith for providing the comfort she needs. She greets the dawn of each day with an expression of appreciation and recites approximately sixty positive affirmations. A favorite one of hers is, “I now face all challenges with gratitude because I know they are my teachers and they give me opportunities for positive growth and guidance.” Turney knows the importance of living life fully guided by a generosity of spirit, faith, creative expression, and positive purpose. She reminds us of this statement made by Eleanor Roosevelt that appears in her book: “I could not at any age, be content to take my place in a corner by the fireside and simply look on.” To learn more about Joanne Turney’s book visit

What do Eisenhower, Regan and Queen Elizabeth II Have in Common? L

By The Cooking Ladies

ouisville Stoneware records show that Mamie Eisenhower used the popular Bachelor Button pattern in her every day dishes.

Ronald Reagan received a small scale Louisville Stoneware replica of the White House, filled with jelly beans. In 2007, when she visited Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby, Queen Elizabeth II received a Louisville Stoneware music box that played My Old Kentucky Home. By changing with the times, by continuing the American tradition of transforming clay into enduring, functional art forms, Louisville Stoneware celebrates 200 years in 2015. For two centuries, their creative designs in stoneware have reflected the ever-changing story of the United States.


In 1815, preserving food was a necessity. Salt-glazed stoneware crocks protected precious baking supplies like sugar and flour from critters and decay. By 1820, stoneware jugs packaged another valuable commodity, Kentucky Bourbon. Up to that time, bourbon was sold in wooden barrels. Stoneware jugs not only saved the consumer money by being re-fillable,



Louisville Stoneware Bachelor Button pattern

Louisville Stoneware My Old Kentucky Home Music Box

they provided a marketing tool for the vendors by providing space for printed labels. As communities grew, Louisville Stoneware met demands for bakeware and serveware with stoneware designs for plates and bowls. Flowerpots became popular, as did cookie jars, bird houses, and garden ornaments. Over the years, numerous companies like Kentucky Fried Chicken, have commissioned Louisville Stoneware to create unique designs that reflect their industries. Dinner plates and salt and pepper shakers in the image of the Colonel are collector items. The C21 Museum Hotel in Louisville, voted top honors five years in a row by Condé Nast Traveler’s annual Reader Choice survey, recently turned to Louisville Stoneware to create “Proof” dinnerware for their Proof on Main restaurant. Louisville Stoneware miniature red penguins were inspired by the 4-foot tall limited edition plastic penguin sculptures exhibited throughout the C21 properties. We toured the Louisville Stoneware art factory in the Paristown Pointe district of Louisville. The company uses natural stoneware clay up to 250 million years old. Pale grey with an earthy aroma, it is as fine as icing sugar. Under the guidance of Nancy Stephen, the Director of Communications & Tourism Development, Louisville Stoneware is playing a major role in the marketing of Louisville to the world.

“Everyone who works at Louisvile Stoneware has the opportunity to have personal satisfaction on every piece,” Nancy said.

chopped small ½ cup (125ml) shredded Parmesan cheese Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour, whisking constantly until smooth.

No fewer than 20 people touch each stoneware creation as it transforms from clay into functional art. The artists work visually, sensuously, intuitively, and passionately to perfect each design.

Continue to whisk while slowly adding the milk. Place the saucepan back over medium heat.

Factory tours bring the history of stoneware to life. Visitors can work hands-on to creatively complete mugs, bowls, and figurines.

Whisk constantly until the sauce is thickened and the flour is cooked. Stir in the white pepper and grated cheddar cheese. Stir until the cheese is completely melted.

The Louisville Stoneware Hot Brown Baking Dish is a popular souvenir with Louisville visitors. A Hot Brown is a hot sandwich originally created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville. Most Louisville area restaurants serve their version of the smothered-in-sauce dish. The variations on the Hot Brown are as inventive as the chefs’ imaginations.

If the cheese sauce needs to be thinned, add milk 2 tablespoons at a time. Toast the sourdough bread. Divide and layer the turkey slices evenly over the slices of toast.

This is our version of the Hot Brown.

Spoon the cheese sauce over the sliced turkey.

Louisville Open–Faced Hot Brown

Top the cheese sauce with the chopped bacon and chopped tomato.

Makes 2 large servings

Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the bacon and tomato.

2½ tbsp (37.5ml) butter 3 tbsp (45ml) all purpose flour 3 cups (750ml) milk ⅛ tsp (0.625ml) white pepper 1½ cups (375ml) grated mild cheddar cheese 2 large slices sourdough bread 8oz (227g) thinly sliced smoked turkey 6 slices crisp cooked bacon, chopped small 2 medium fresh tomatoes,


Baking dishes stay hot after removal from the heat. Platters and wine coolers stay cool long after removal from the freezer or refrigerator. April 10, 2014, the Louisville Stoneware Art Factory unveiled its newest dishware pattern—the Mercantile Collection, The thinner, lightweight dinnerware and serveware are designed to complement today’s home chef and entertaining lifestyle. The bold, solid colors include cantaloupe, cornflower, iceberg, mustard, onyx, parchment, plum, stone, and tomato. Expanding on its earth-to-table tradition, Stoneware has partnered with other Kentucky craftsmen to showcase and sell their products out of the renovated retail space inside the art factory. Demonstrations in the renovated retail store will utilize a GE Monogram Experience Kitchen to allow customers to smell, touch, and even taste the results of The Mercantile Collection in action. The new four-ounce dessert bowl is designed to bake the 1815 Mercantile Dessert Drops-a no mix, convenient way to bake individual servings directly in Stoneware in less than 30 minutes.

The Graffiti pattern created by David Mahoney represents Louisville Stoneware’s recent infusion of new design and style. In this pattern, the artist uses free-flowing playful brush strokes in a simple green and white color scheme.

By adapting to consumers’ needs and appealing to their artistic appreciation, Louisville Stoneware has survived two centuries to become an important part of Americana. Stephen Smith, the present steward of Louisville Stoneware, describes Stoneware as “a national treasure.”

Stoneware can be put into the oven, microwave, freezer, and dishwasher.

Real Life Wonder Women By Norman Hill

When writing about women in history, it is virtually impossible to name all women who have made a large contribution to Western society. That would take years of research and selection. Instead, what I’ve done is to note some whom I believe have made a substantial impact and what I call real life wonder women.

Julia Child

A great American chef, born in 1912, was the first female to graduate from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. After Child and her husband returned to the U.S., she wrote recipes for American cooks to show how French cooking was possible and practical in American homes. In collaboration with two other French women, she wrote “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” a two volume book that was the first to explain French cooking in a step-by-step manner. After appearing on TV to promote her book, the PBS station set her up as a host for the first television cooking show, “French Cooking.” When subsequently appearing on more TV shows and writing more books, Julia Child became the first

and her husband received the 1903 Nobel Prize.

woman to be inducted into the Culinary Institute Hall of Fame. In 2002, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History installed the kitchen where Child had filmed three of her popular cooking shows.

Curie began teaching in Paris in 1900. She became the first female full professor of physics at the renowned Sorbonne in Paris. She succeeded to her late husband’s Chair, after his untimely death in 1906.

After her death in 2004, the life of Julia Child was celebrated in an excellent movie. It showed how she had brought both fun and fresh food into the American kitchen.

Marie Curie continued work with intricate scientific experiments. After isolating pure metallic radium in 1910, she received a second Nobel Prize, this time in chemistry. She continued to travel extensively and, in the U.S. received numerous acclaim and monetary awards.

Marie Curie

She is considered the greatest female scientist, whose achievements included discovery of radium. Born in Poland in 1867, she continued her education at the Sorbonne Institute in Paris. While choosing her doctoral dissertation subject, she focused on invisible radiation from uranium salts.

By the time of her death in 1934, Marie Curie had received 8 prizes, 16 medals and decorations, and 104 honorary titles and degrees.

After she married her husband, Pierre Curie, in 1895, they continued this study and made numerous experiments together. By 1898, they were able to isolate two new radioactive substances, polonium and radium. Despite considerable skepticism from other scientists, by 1902, they were able to isolate this radium completely. As a result, she

Marilyn Monroe

This beloved American actress conveyed a sense of joyous life, innocence and yet, sexuality on the screen. Her qualities were widely popular despite critical skepticism and dismissal about her acting (and singing) ability and her own tragic life.


History Born Norma Jean Miller in 1926, Marilyn achieved some notoriety for posing nude in an early Playboy issue. Partly from this publicity, she later starred in roles such as “Niagara”, “River of No Return”, and then “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” with Jane Russell. The film, “Some Like it Hot”, is probably her best known role, where she played Sugar Kowalcyk, the beautiful, but alcoholic 1920s singer in a girl’s band. As Marilyn developed a reputation for being difficult to work with and for perennial tardiness to shoots, her final starring role was with Clark Gable in “The Misfits.” In her private life, it seemed that Marilyn Monroe was searching for a father figure. Her 1954 marriage to Joe DiMaggio, twelve years her senior, lasted only a short time. He may have wanted her to give up or curtail her career, to coincide with the decline of his own. In any event, she seemed to have feelings for DiMaggio that continued after their divorce. There were even rumors that they would reconcile. Her next marriage, to playwright Arthur Miller, seems to have stemmed from her attraction to his intellect. But after their divorce, Marilyn appeared more disturbed than ever and, possibly, drug-dependent. In the early 1960s, Monroe seems to have carried on some sort of affair with President Kennedy and, later, with his younger brother, Robert. Her 1961 rendition of “Happy birthday, Mr. President,” is still remembered, but not positively. The unexpected 1962 death of Marilyn Monroe has never been completely explained. Joe DiMaggio showed special grief over the death of his ex-wife and


regularly sent flowers to her grave.

We The Living.

Today, it’s difficult to imagine Marilyn Monroe growing old. She’ll always be remembered for her beauty and a wonder of what she would have been like—or whether she would have found happiness-- as an older woman.

Born in 1905, Rand and her family suffered under the Bolshevik regime that followed the 1917 Russian revolution. Partly due to the vagaries of a vicious totalitarian regime, she was able to obtain a 6 months student traveling visa in 1925. By leaving the Soviet Union and reaching the U.S. (her real destination) through Europe, she vowed to expose the Communist regime. Rand adopted her name, “Ayn Rand”, to protect her family in Russia against retaliation.

Sandra Day O’Connor

She was the first female U.S. Supreme Court justice. Born in 1930 on a ranch outside El Paso, Texas, Sandra Day O’Connor grew up knowing the land and its people. Her early childhood may not have been poor, but was certainly not luxurious. After graduating from Stanford in 1950, she became an attorney at a time when there were few female members of the bar. She then moved to Arizona, and served in the state senate from 1969 to 1974, including the position of majority leader. O’Connor then became a judge, including a spot with the Arizona Court of Appeals. In 1981, President Reagan appointed her to the U.S. Supreme Court, the first female to hold that position. In her opinions, she was considered a moderate conservative on economic issues, but more liberal on social issues, such as abortion rights. O’Connor retired from the Court in 2006, to care for her ailing husband. Her well-written legal opinions and integrity in the U.S. judicial system will be long remembered.

Ayn Rand

Russian born U.S. author, who developed the first complete philosophical system, Objectivism, since Aristotle, Plato, and Kant. This was necessary to validate the individualistic philosophy enunciated in her fictional novels, Atlas Shrugged, Fountainhead, Anthem and

After marrying actor Frank O’Connor in 1929, Rand struggled during the 30s as a screenwriter, playwright, and then as an author, trying to have We The Living (her Soviet expose) published, despite critical hostility. In the early 1940s, The Fountainhead described a young architect of unbending integrity, who succeeds despite incredible obstacles from his profession and society. After numerous publishers had rejected it, MacMillan decided to publish it. Despite critics’ negative reviews, the novel wound up a best seller. This led to The Fountainhead being made into a movie, with Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal. Later, while working as a screenwriter in Hollywood, Rand was inspired to write Atlas Shrugged. This project arose from her contemplating what would happen if men of ability decided to strike against a collectivist society that claimed the right to control their talents and minds. It was then that she saw the necessity for completely articulating her philosophy, simultaneously with writing the novel that depicted it. Atlas Shrugged was published in 1957 and remains a favorite on the New York Times Best Seller List, being outsold only by the Bible.


History Harriet Tubman

Along the way, “We the Living” was re-introduced and became recognized as a classic denunciation of all forms of totalitarianism. After writing her novels, Rand spent most of her time writing philosophical articles and speaking. She was a frequent speaker at the Ford Hall Forum in Boston. From her writings and talks, she always drew large crowds and volumes of written comments. Some were filled with admiration, others expressed almost hysterical opposition. Her last public appearance was at a Sound Money conference in New Orleans in November, 1981. At that point, her health started to fail and she died in March, 1982. Ayn Rand’s influence on our culture today is evident in many areas and seems to be quietly growing.

Margaret Sanger

She advocated and popularized birth control and women’s control over their own bodies and destinies. For her views, she was denounced and harassed by authorities and even imprisoned briefly. Unfortunately, Sanger epitomizes the concept of mixed premises, found in so many people, both famous and obscure. She possessed many admirable principles, but at the same time, advocated some that make one recoil. Sanger later wrote that she was struck by an episode when she was a young woman. A male immigrant whom she knew came to her, frantic with desperation. He and his wife already had several children. Her physician had warned them that giving birth to any more children would surely kill the wife. The man deeply loved his spouse and now had apparently impregnated her again. In those days, abortions were strictly criminal and were often administered by unsavory characters with little or no medical or sanitary skills. Because Sanger could offer no help, the couple attempted to undergo one of these abortions and the man’s beloved wife died during the procedure. This motivated Sanger to find solutions for women to avoid unwanted childbirths. Initially, Sanger started to lecture publicly on the need for birth control. She apparently did not advocate legalizing abortion, but instead, focused on other means of birth control. Sanger founded Planned Parenthood, the organization that continues a primary focus on this control.

Her writings and lectures drew the wrath of Anthony Comstock. This man, a vile maniac, was secretary of a private New York organization, The Society for Suppression of Vice. He used his contacts with the Post Office to seize Sanger’s material as illegal and immoral. At one point, he succeeded in having her imprisoned for indecency. Later, after her release, he realized that Sanger had become sufficiently popular so that his further harassment of her was unwise. By the time of Sanger’s death in 1966, birth control pills had reached the market. This revolutionized the culture and, for the first time in human history, made family planning feasible. Although legalized abortion followed seven years later, with Roe versus Wade, Sanger’s primary contribution to birth control was already in place. Her views on eugenics, forced sterilization of undesirables, and similar means of mandatory birth control are unfortunate. But rejecting these should not minimize her above contributions.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

U.S. author, wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1852, depicting the horrors of slavery. Its immense success in the North showed that, even though political practice hadn’t yet caught up, Northern moral sensibilities were starting to see that slavery, somehow, must end. Stowe was the wife of a seminary teacher and daughter of a prominent New England minister. In her novel, characters such as Tom and, especially, Eliza, were based on actual characters from the Underground Railroad whom Stowe studied. Uncle Tom’s Cabin brought slavery, the Underground Railroad, and the Abolitionist movement to the forefront of American consciousness. Much more than sermons and religious fervor from Abolitionist leaders, it presented the journeys of escaping slaves along the Underground Railroad as romantic, as well as moral, endeavors. The graphic depiction of Eliza’s escape across the frozen Ohio River, while pursued by slave catchers, made many Northerners seethe with indignation over slavery in a way that previous writings and sermons had not generated. Naturally, her novel was despised in the slave states. Uncle Tom’s Cabin was banned there and U.S. postmasters in the South were diligent in keeping it


out of delivered mails. Later, during the Civil War, President Lincoln invited Stowe to the White House. While uncertain, he may have introduced her as “The little lady who wrote the book that made this great war.” She had.

Margaret Thatcher

She has often been called the “Iron Lady” or, by the Soviets against whom she stood up, “Iron Maiden.” As U.K. Prime Minister, 1979-1990, the first female in this position, she brought her country out of dismal status as a European sick man, similar to current Greece. Against strong opposition, even within her own party, Thatcher promoted free market principles. By selling off money-losing state properties and confronting Marxist labor unions, she helped revive the U.K. economy. Thatcher supported Reagan in fighting Soviet ambitions, which ultimately brought Cold War victory. Also, she enhanced U.K. morale by taking a firm stand in the Falkland Islands conflict with Argentina. Although the islands were quite small, their psychological impact was large. A recent movie, “The Iron Lady,” described Margaret Thatcher’s life.

Harriet Tubman

Born into slavery in 1822, Tubman escaped from a Maryland plantation to freedom in the North. She served as a fearless conductor along the Underground Railroad, not just with finding shelter for escapees in Northern cities, but guiding them along trails in the South. Despite a price on her head, she returned to the South again and again to help slaves use “Railroad” facilities to reach freedom in the North. She successfully freed several members of her own family. After the Civil War, later in her life, Harriet Tubman founded and raised funds for a home for indigent and aged African-Americans in upstate New York. When she died in 1913, age 91, she had outlived her known contemporaries, white and black, who had served in the Underground Railroad. Unfortunately, Tubman remained illiterate all her life, and her speech patterns were always crude. Thus, there are no personal memoirs of her life and exploits. But her many friends and colleagues, along with people she rescued from slavery, have assured her of a place in American history.

Featured Contributor

Allan Kissam By Maralyn D. Hill and Sherrie Wilkolaski


llan Kissam has experiences that give him insights when writing that may not be obvious to most people. His first job after college was a deputy in the uncuff and search cage of the Orange County times it was cage fighting. Turning in the badge, he headed to six years at sea, managing nautical charting surveys and environmental studies. Often this involved scuba diving for recovery of instruments or checking navigation hazards. Today, Allan specializes in information systems security as a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and a Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH). He has published in technical journals and is awarded two U.S. patents. Focused on travel writing, his publications have been selected as the Feature Article by editors of travel online blogs. These publications include print magazines for aircraft owners or for engineering readership. Allan continues searching out the interesting aspects and unusual perspective of travel destinations that cause people to take note. He is a member of the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA). Allan is venturing into a new writing space and is currently working on a sci-fi book.

If you could be anyone else, who would it be? Nobody. People all have problems and issues, along with outward appearances, so I prefer mine to theirs.

Where have you traveled over the course of your career? In my work, I have traveled over most of the world, including Bahrain. The African continent, South America, China, and Russia have my interest for planning ahead. That is enough to fill a lifetime.

What motivates you to be a luxury journalist? Luxury travel creates lasting memories and opportunities to write about the unusual.

Which do you prefer, writing, or photography? Writing, because I can correct the disappointment when reading the draft. A photo opportunity is often a fleeting moment where one is either very skilled or lucky.

Tell us about a favorite travel experience. Standing on the southern shore of Australia, looking across the ocean, and knowing that I have gone from the Arctic and almost to the Antarctic.

How do you go about writing? I start with general notes about a destination that are gathered off the internet. Destination stops are usually preset by the tour, but I try to locate local historical events and topics of interest to me and my readership. Usually, I do no writing while traveling and may take several days of reviewing photos to do a first draft. My drafts are reviewed again after a day or so, picking up errors or new thoughts, before a final publication.

How do you enjoy spending your free time? I am working on a fiction novel. At one time I was a stockbroker, so investing is a daily interest for me. The business of luxury is always changing. Where do you see it going? Luxury is attracting more people of high income but not independently wealthy. Many of these people experience luxury on business travel or company performance reward events. Boomers coming into retirement defied parents in youth, and expect them to be less frugal

When you get the chance to pick a travel destination, where do you like to go? Someplace with history and cultural significance.


than their Depression-era parents in retirement. If you were stranded on an island, name one person and three items you would bring. Why? A generator, generator fuel, and a radio set with antenna. The best person to have is an armed Marine with experience in communications. If we came to your hometown, what would we do? Attractions? Restaurants? Tell us about your favorite places. Seal Beach is in Orange County, California, and in two hours, you can go from the beach to the snow. We would have Negra Modelo beer at a Mexican restaurant near the pier, stop at the World War II Submarine Memorial on Seal Beach Blvd., and decide where to go in Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, or San Diego. What are three necessities you won’t travel without? Credit card, passport, and medicines. What does Luxe Beat Magazine mean to you? A one stop reading destination for generating travel ideas and enjoying others’ experiences. Allan D. Kissam

Book reviews

Margaret Thatcher, The Authorized Biography By Norman Hill

In the late 1800s through the start of World War I, Turkey, the old Ottoman Empire was often called “The sick man of Europe.” This referred to its ongoing losses of geographical territories and states, its deteriorating military capacity and a perceived general collapse in its cultural and social stability.

Heath’s leadership led to Margaret Thatcher’s ousting him as Conservative Party leader.

In the 1970s, a less likely nation sometimes received this unfortunate description—the United Kingdom. This nation, often referred to as the mother country of the U.S., our staunchest European ally, was in very bad shape, economically and, to some extent, socially. Basic heavy industries, nationalized since shortly after World War II, were throwing of heavy financial losses. Labor unions, often in local areas only, were calling strikes that caused great inconvenience and losses for the country. In the early part of the decade, the Conservative Prime Minister, Edward Heath, was sometimes described as “symbolizing national decline, even while he futilely tried to ward it off.”

Some in her party urged Thatcher to move slowly against longstanding features of the country’s semi-socialist structure. But she disregarded this advice. She sold off ailing nationalized industries and curbed the power of labor unions and many local governments long dominated by Labor leaders. She reduced the country’s punitive personal income tax rates. Later, in a 1983 U.S. conference, a former spokesman of hers said that she also wanted to take on the nationalized health system, but it was too entrenched.

The author, Charles Moore, aptly describes in this first of a two volume biography, how Margaret Thatcher stepped into this daunting situation and served as the U.K. Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990. He admittedly had always been sympathetic to Thatcher’s political views, both before and after her tenure in office. But this does not prevent him from covering some of her faults, such as in dealing with people. Moore stresses that Thatcher gave the utmost cooperation in allowing him access to her own voluminous papers and paving the way for him to have access to many still classified state papers. But she did not interfere or “look over his shoulder” while he was writing this text. One part of their agreement was that neither volume of this biography would be released until after her death. Many in the U.S. were surprised when the Labor Party won the U.K. election of 1945 and ousted war hero Winston Churchill. Party leaders were passionately committed to socialist doctrine and proceeded to implement many of its platforms. A program of “cradle to the grave security” included nationalization of basic industries, very stiff personal income taxes and, above all, socialized or national health care. By the 1970s, cracks in this system were evident. “Labour does not work” was a Conservative Party motto used at the end of the decade. The winter of 1979, plagued by strikes and a failing economy, was referred to as the “Winter of discontent.” General Conservative unrest and disagreement with

The general economic disarray in the U.K. led to Thatcher’s victory in 1979. She became the first female Prime Minister and, eventually, would serve the longest term of any in the 20th century.

Economic recovery from her programs was slow and led to no end of hysterical denunciations of her policies. “Margaret Thatcher, the milk snatcher” was a common epithet, to symbolize her actions as taking milk out of the mouths of babies. Moore shows how the 1982 Falklands dispute with Argentina greatly increased Thatcher’s popularity and united the nation with the greatest pride since World War II. Although the Falklands were a small group of islands in the south Atlantic, Argentinean claims and occupation stirred British patriotism to a pitch. Thatcher’s firm military stand to retain Falkland control increased her approval ratings as never before. Presumably, Moore’s second volume will devote more to Thatcher’s role in the Cold War with the Soviet Union and her close ties throughout the 1980s with Ronald Reagan. If Reagan often came across as laid back in dealing with Brezhnev, Thatcher was quite the opposite, purposeful and unflinching. The Soviets bestowed on her the nickname “The Iron Maiden”, hardly a term of endearment, but one of very grudging respect. This second volume hopefully will shed more light on how the mutual efforts of Reagan and Thatcher led to Soviet overspending and collapse of their economy, whose well-touted strength had always been very questionable. Thatcher remained a most


controversial figure, even after her role as Prime Minister was over. Her title was always “Mrs. Thatcher”, never relying on the “Ms.” Similarly, she never used her maiden name in her political career. Mrs. Thatcher was ousted from Conservative Party leadership in 1990. Reasons always struck me as petty. But she did not engage in personal attacks against her younger opponents who had replaced her. Eventually, the Labor Party, through Tony Blair, regained the Prime Minister position. But he never tried to restore the doctrinaire socialist policies of the 1940s. In fact, he supported President Bush in much of the early stages of the Gulf War. Arguably, this represents part of Margaret Thatcher’s legacy and evidence that her doctrines did work. As indicated before, Margaret Thatcher had no end of ardent admirers and hateful critics. Some revisionist historians have asserted that she really didn’t do anything to aid the British economy. Upon her death, Glenda Jackson, award winning actress and doctrinaire Socialist, uttered in Parliament passionate denunciations of Thatcher and all her policies. To Jackson, she had turned “vices into virtues.” On the other hand, the actor Michael Caine, born in the London East End Labor Party stronghold, said that Mrs. Thatcher’s income tax rate reductions enabled him to move back to his beloved London from the U.S. It has been reported that the bust of Margaret Thatcher was removed from the White House in 2009. To this, I say passionately, “Put her back, Barack.”

A Collector of Affections By Judith Glynn

The bucolic and pastoral scenes en route to Madrid blurred as Leah’s eyes drooped and finally closed after the exhausting visit with Javier combined with her lingering jet lag. When the bus jerked to a stop at the AutoRes station, she rubbed her eyes awake and was the last person to get off. Just being in the city again gave her an adrenaline high to walk the few blocks to the subway station where she swiped her multi-ride ticket at the turnstile. Tirso de Molina was her stop, close to the center of Madrid. Although familiar with the area, she still ran her finger over the subway platform map and counted the number of stations before she’d get off the train.

1500s, which some interpreted as a depiction of the perils of life’s temptations. Leah drew inspiration from the creativity of others, especially insightful paintings that told a larger story. She hoped to create equally beautiful scenes in her novels where exquisite surroundings, combined with challenges for her characters, filled page after page.

Checking the caller ID, no name appeared, only a sequence of nine numbers. She hesitated, trying to remember the last four digits of Javier’s phone. When she was convinced it wasn’t a call from him, she answered.

But as she neared her apartment building, she became increasingly despondent about being alone. Once inside the slow birdcage-elevator that inched upward, she was disgusted with herself over the Javier reunion. She flipped open her cell phone and scrolled to his name.

“Well hello, seatmate Miguel,” she said, trying not to gush and reveal her delight. What a wonderful surprise to hear your voice. So you didn’t forget me?”

She exited the subway and walked the few blocks to her apartment building. She planned a good night’s sleep. The next day she’d stroll her favorite streets. Fresh thinking and a much-needed sea change in her life were on the agenda. Leah adored Madrid. She acclimated quickly whenever she arrived; the city had remained in her heart long after her feet first touched its soil. First stop would be the Museo del Jamon restaurant for a bocadillo doble with Jamon Serrano and a beer. It wasn’t a fancy place with hundreds of cured ham legs dangling from the ceiling but she liked mingling with the standup patrons. A visit to the Prado Museum was obligatory to view her favorite painting – Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights triptych. A small crowd usually formed in front of the oil masterpiece painted in the

Leah went straight to the bedroom when she entered the apartment and pulled at an overhead chain to light the ceiling fixture. Her large suitcase was on the bed with the airline’s luggage tag still looped around the handle. Many older Madrid apartments didn’t have closets. Instead, an ornate walnut armoire stood across the room, sturdy on its clawed wrought-iron feet. She turned the antique key and the doors squeaked open. She hung up what she could and crammed smaller items into the bottom drawer. When it finally occurred to her that the bedroom was too dark for the bright Spanish morning, she opened the red velvet drapes and rolled up the outside metal shutter. She didn’t hear her cell phone ring until the room had brightened. How odd. Not many people had her Spanish number.

“Welcome back, Leah. Recognize this voice?” the male caller asked.

“Forget you? Never. I’ve thought about you ever since you left for Salamanca. How’d it go, by the way?” he said but didn’t wait for her response. Instead, he continued about his day at the Prado Museum, made all the more wonderful with a personal guide who highlighted the fourteen must-see masterpieces. Miguel then paused, leaving Leah to anticipate his next sentence. “You up for a flamenco show with me tonight?”

“Here’s to the death of good intentions,” she said and deleted his number, pressing harder than necessary.

If she told the truth, she wasn’t up for anything but a slow walk around Madrid, a solitary dinner at a restaurant with an outside terrace, people watching, some fine Spanish wine and a good night’s sleep. “Of course I’ll go. I love flamenco. It will be great to see you again.” Leah remembered how he had intrigued her on the plane – enough to keep her talking until the Spanish dawn. He made her feel alive. She became a young girl enchanted with his flirting despite their middle-aged hearts. Well, maybe it wasn’t flirting. She wanted it to be. Whatever it was,


it was magic. She wanted more. He’d be a fun distraction after the brutal reality of Javier. ~~~~ It was a short walk from her apartment to the Puerta del Sol where she’d meet Miguel under the clock tower. Should she tell him about Javier? Probably not since she might cry. Maybe he’d forget to ask her again. Leah was a strong woman and could discuss practically anything with anybody but she preferred to forget the Salamanca event. “There you are. You look wonderful,” Miguel said after he maneuvered through a small crowd to greet Leah. His hug thrilled her. A whiff of cologne trailed as he brushed his smooth cheeks against hers with two kisses that escaped into the air. What an infectious and upbeat attitude he had. “Before we go to the tablao, let’s have a quick bite. I discovered a terrific tapas place on my way to meet you.” “How about we go to the Museo del Jamon? It’s a block away. I’m due for my first bocadillo in Madrid. Agree?” He did. “You seem a little off,” Miguel said as they walked along. “Is everything okay?” “I’m fine. Just pensive, which I can be sometimes,” she said and led him into the restaurant, pointing out the deli selections and dangling cured ham legs. Leah loved flamenco. Miguel hadn’t seen the dance performed live nor did he know much about its origin. As they sat at a small table close to the stage,

Book Extract she explained that flamenco’s birthplace was Costa del Sol, the region running the length of Spain’s southern coast. Many of the dancers were descended from Gypsy families. They’d been coded at birth to understand flamenco’s language and music. The only requisite needed for the rest of the world to experience this exquisite art form was a passion for flamenco’s beauty, sorrow and pain. “How do you know so much?” Miguel asked as the tablao filled with animated patrons. “When I lived in Spain years ago, I’d go to Andalucia to see flamenco performed by the pros. I’m a true devotee. This was the perfect invite for me tonight.” She then explained flamenco’s three elements: the song, which was most important; the dancers, and the music, primarily guitarists. The clapping hands of the performers, who sat onstage in a row of simple, rustic chairs, were the magical accompaniment to the flamenco dancers’ feet. The tapping in flamenco music imitated the sounds made in a forge. Many Andalucian men worked as blacksmiths. The lyrics sung during flamenco were often impromptu and composed on stage. “If you give me your scent, I will give you my soul. How’s that for sexy? It’s the best I’ve heard,” Leah told Miguel. Before he could answer, the lights dimmed and several guitar players sauntered on stage followed by six women dancers. Each flung a fringed shawl over one shoulder. The women had jet-black hair slicked back into a bun, highlighted with a red flower tucked behind one ear. “Olé,” some audience members shouted as the dancers’ castanets found their beat alongside the plucked guitars. After the show, Miguel and Leah strolled in the midnight mist until they reached the city’s Plaza Mayor, a massive main square like Salamanca’s dating back centuries. It felt so right and so peaceful as he motioned for them to sit under a table umbrella and enjoy a nightcap. “This is none of my business, and you can tell me that, but what happened with Javier in Salamanca?” Miguel asked when he stopped raving about the beauty around them. “Our blissful rendezvous was a disaster. He wants me as a quasicompanion, an occasional lover. He still grieves for his deceased wife and

black tights and shoes, complemented with a white shirt and a colored sash representing the wearer’s college. When they left their table to serenade another couple, Miguel suggested it was time to leave.

wants to be a full-time and unattached widower with children.” “So what did you say?” “I wanted us to be a committed couple.”

“What a beautiful night, Leah,” he said, and reached for her hand.


They lingered outside her apartment building. She wanted to invite him in but resisted the impulse. Instead, she wished him well in his travels through Castilla y Leon and Castilla-LaMancha that would begin the next morning. He’d be gone for two weeks and fly back to Virginia without stopping in Madrid again.

“It’s not going to happen. I’ll never see or talk to him again. And to think all those years we’ve known one another went poof. I’ll miss the friendship. Oh well.” “I didn’t expect that answer.” “You’re a guy with good instincts. Why did he want me for so long and then reject me? I know he loves me but not enough.”

“Call me from the road if you remember. I’d love to hear your impressions of Spain,” Leah said in parting.

“La familia is exceptionally important to Spaniards. It can withstand a lot. You can kiss him good-bye if he brought his family into the picture. Ask yourself if you want to get involved in that scenario for a lifetime. His wife’s memory and their children will always come before you.”

“How about breakfast tomorrow before I drive to Segovia? Maybe you can give me some travel tips,” he said hesitantly. “I’d love that. You know about the aqueduct in Segovia. Right? Oh, and be sure to eat lamb or roasted pig. I’ll think of some more things,” she said,

“Is it also cultural differences? He brought that up.” “That, too, but mostly he lacks courage when it comes to women. I know many men in Spain like Javier and even some in America. How others perceive them and their marriage is important. He loves you. I’m sure of that. But don’t expect him to change. You’re too independent for him.”

“Happy to have you aboard, madam,” he added and saluted. Once on the road, Spain’s magnificent and billboard-free highway opened up before them with panoramic views of the Meseta, the massive central plateau in the center of the Iberian Peninsula. At times, stark brown and gray tones highlighted the parched earth. Square bales of khaki-colored hay were piled into stair-like forms while others were placed randomly on the farmlands. It was a delightful ride. The conversation included his favorite literary characters, many names new to Leah. Mostly they laughed and shared anecdotes from their lives. But there was more going on than conversation, and they knew it. They were well-schooled in the art of seduction and its consequences. When they ran away to Segovia, Miguel broke his commitment to a trusting woman back home. Leah betrayed her, too, though neither of them mentioned that. Despite being successful business people with a few gray hairs, they acted like carefree teenagers, stretching each hour to its fullest. They arrived in glorious Segovia in

“If you give me your scent, I will give you my soul. How’s that for sexy? It’s the best I’ve heard,” Leah told Miguel. elated at his request to see her again. ~~~~ “Have you seen Segovia?” Miguel asked Leah at the end of their breakfast. “Yes. Beautiful place.”

“I wasn’t before. Why did he remarry his ex-wife?”

“Want to see it again?” he said softly.

“They probably had an odd marriage but, in his own way, he loved her. Forget him, Leah. He won’t live the life you need. I’m a Spaniard, too, but I’ve lived in America long enough to appreciate a woman like you. Forget Javier.”

“Now?” she asked incredulously. She’d seen the famed city with the Roman aqueduct several times, but she accepted his offer with excitement. What was going on? Her emails would be left to languish; her pledge to write, sabotaged; her friends neglected and long walks abandoned. Instead, she’d spend the day in Segovia with tender Miguel. He’d later reveal how his invitation had become a struggle when Susan, his Virginia girlfriend, flashed across his thoughts. He invited Leah anyway.

His insight startled her. Before she could respond, strolling La Tuna musicians stopped at their table to serenade them. The minstrel group recreated a twelfth-century tradition begun when struggling university students supported themselves through donations given by appreciative listeners. The group still dressed in traditional costume: black jackets with slashed sleeves; black calf-length or shorter trousers;

“Seatmates again. Destination Segovia,” Miguel said as they buckled their car seatbelts.


the afternoon. Absorbing it all, they sat at an outdoor cafe in a cozy, embracing plaza where stone buildings were adorned with wrought-iron balconies covered with geraniums. As the day slipped into early evening, they strolled arm in arm, stopping often to laugh along the stone streets and to window shop. Miguel had a comedic sense of timing and would act out dramatic parts. One moment he’d be a boisterous, angry Spaniard jamming his hand into the bend of his elbow. Then he’d drop his voice several octaves and become a gravel-voiced old man. Rounding a corner, they came upon Segovia’s multi-spire, sixteenthcentury cathedral where the spotlights illuminated and spilled into the Plaza Mayor and over its ornate wrought-iron bandstand. Absorbed by the beauty of the city, Miguel and Leah missed the tolling of the Town Hall’s hourly bell. When they finally checked bus and train schedules, it

was too late for her to return to Madrid. “How about we have dinner in Segovia? I’ll change my double-bed room for one with two singles. You can return to Madrid in the morning,” Miguel suggested. “Sure. That sounds like a good plan,” she said hesitantly. The reality was that she didn’t have a quick answer and didn’t know what to do. His two single beds suggestion made her feel a little trapped. Being intimate with Miguel wasn’t what she had in mind. She assumed he didn’t either. Nothing about their day hinted at romance. His hotel invite didn’t have a sexual nuance; otherwise, she’d have opted for her own room. She had made love with Javier in Salamanca and wasn’t ready to make love to a different man so soon afterward. And

draped over one arm, matching the tablecloths draped on the tables. Talavera de la Reina ceramic artesania wall plates encircled a photo of Spain’s King Juan Carlos shaking hands with the restaurant owner. And while the crowd buzzed with animated talk, Miguel and Leah spoke softer and sweeter words as the hours passed and the wine flowed.

“Here’s my answer,” he said and placed her hand on his hidden erection.

“I love your face and eyes,” he said. “I really like you a lot, Leah.”

“I want you,” she sighed when their eyes met.

“Beautiful compliments, Miguel. Don’t stop them.”

He walked slowly over to her bed, lay down beside her and slipped one arm under her neck while the other drew her closer to him. They murmured endearing words on their shared pillow, words that neither had said aloud. When their naked bodies touched, it was the inevitable continuation of their minds connecting on the plane. His first kisses were short and awkward, like those of a schoolboy’s. The window shutters were slightly ajar, and the golden light reflecting into their room from the nineteen-century outdoor lantern was their bed cover. If the room was cold, they didn’t notice. Words vanished as their kisses intensified.

“I thought so,” she whispered as they kissed briefly at the bathroom door before she pulled away. She walked into the bedroom with the two single beds and chose the one closest to the wall. Miguel stood in the shadows watching her.

“Can you believe we’re having dinner in Segovia? When I sat next to you on that plane, my trip didn’t include this night with you. Every day had a purpose; every night had a hotel room for one.” “Hey, sometimes we get sprinkled with magic dust when we travel. Maybe that’s what happened. Celebrate life. We’re living the best of it right now.”

“Hey, sometimes we get sprinkled with magic dust when we travel. Maybe that’s what happened. Celebrate life.” it wasn’t her style to be coerced into a suggestion like his. She was too worldly for that nonsense. She couldn’t imagine he’d be so naïve to think she’d sleep with him. They were new friends, seatmate buddies now in Spain. She liked it that way. But resisting Miguel’s charm had become difficult for her, especially when he spoke to Spaniards in their language. He sounded so gallant and polished. She listened and smiled as he stopped a sweet, arm-holding pair of elderly women to ask for their perfect restaurant suggestion. The evening had a cool nighttime breeze. Leah’s arm was linked into his, and she pressed closer to feel his warmth. The women’s choice was the nearby José María Restaurant. It had a four-foot-wide, cast-iron suckling pig on its outside wall lying in a roasting pan with its head and legs hanging over the rim. Skilled waiters could cut through the regional cochinillo asado dish by making blunt cuts with a dinner plate turned sideways. Miguel and Leah were led to a back table. Hundreds of wine bottlenecks, some covered in dust, protruded from an aqueduct-style wine rack attached to the wall. Black-suited waiters scurried about with white napkins

“Te adoro, Leah,” he whispered as his tongue moistened her ear. “I adore you,” he repeated in English. “What is happening to us?”

Leah fed Miguel from her plate, tracing her lips with her tongue. The long, enchanting dinner ended with a nightcap, compliments of their waiter. As they left the restaurant, Leah realized she’d never intended to find herself falling in love with Miguel – never – but under the stars, a teasing moon beckoned them to their hotel, a short walk along a street lined with vintage hitching posts.

“I don’t know,” she sighed. He cupped her head with his gentle hands, met her eyes with his, smiled his love for her and then gently slid his tongue inside her mouth that he had squeezed into a tight opening. She accepted it and pushed her body against his, returning his passion. His moist tongue encircled her nipples, eventually moving down her body until she could see his adoring eyes gazing up at her from between her legs. Miguel was a superb lover, a giver.

Arriving at Room 104 became a blur in her memory. Her first clear recollection was of stepping out of the hot shower with her nipples erect. Since she didn’t have a nightgown, she borrowed Miguel’s T-shirt and pulled up her lace panties for the walk to her twin bed. She had a crucial decision to make about the intense desire that was heating and moistening her as intensely as the shower had done. She decided to share her confusion.

“This changes everything,” she gasped, as he tasted a different Leah. When he raised her legs to inch himself over her, he rubbed his erection against the wetness between her legs. The only sound she heard as he found his way inside her was the flow of her own sweet juices assuring Miguel he was finally home that night. When she rolled on top of him, his fingers stroked her hips. Later, she caressed his thighs, gently spreading them so her lips could take him into her mouth.

“Miguel,” she called, as she opened the bathroom door. He approached wearing a T-shirt and shorts. “I’m confused. I don’t know what to do. We’ve had a wonderful day. I don’t want it to end. Now we’re alone in this room. What will happen to us if we make love?”

“You know what you’re doing,” he moaned and whispered. “You’re an


eighteenth-century courtesan.” Leah jokingly asked if an eighteenthcentury courtesan translated into a modern-day whore. “Not at all. You’re beautiful, intelligent, and you love to make love. You’ve been made love to very well.” It was a supreme compliment. A gold medal bestowed to her on a pedestal of sheets. She imagined the sensuous women of years passed who loved the noblemen in the books Miguel carried in his head and heart. “One man would never have been enough for you,” he said as Leah climaxed. When he drifted off to sleep, she lay awake shaking her head against the pillow. What had she done? What had they done? And what would come next? Spain’s nightlife is infamous and Segovia’s youth lived up to its reputation through the wee hours of the morning. Young women on clicking high heels and rowdy young men paraded beneath their semi-opened windows as Miguel slept. Leah didn’t. The Calle de Isabel la Católica stone walkway below honored Spain’s fifteenth-century queen who financed Christopher Columbus’ journey to the New World. Was Leah about to take a new journey with Miguel? How did their lovemaking happen so fast? She’d just broken away from a man she’d wanted to be her lifetime companion. Miguel had a girlfriend at home. Maybe the alcohol at dinner had lowered their resistance. Maybe hot, sexy Spain enticed them into bed. Or maybe not. Her single life had its merits, but what was she doing in bed with a seatmate she’d just met? “Let’s make love again,” he suggested when he awoke slowly and reached for Leah just as the phone rang. “Don’t answer that,” he said quickly and sat upright. His request was too late as her hello passed through the receiver. “It was my wake-up call. Don’t you remember I’m taking the bus back to Madrid this morning?” she said when she hung up. An all-too-familiar sensation came over her as she saw Miguel staring straight ahead. A committed man in another woman’s bed is terrified if he thinks he’s been caught. “It’s quarter past two in the morning in Virginia. Your girlfriend is probably asleep in your bed, and you’re in mine,” Leah said. “I don’t want you to go,” he said pulling her close as he placed his erection between her legs. The night had transformed them into

Book Extract instantaneous and moist lovers, which again placed him inside her with ease. His lustful climax came from a place in his heart, body and soul that had lain dormant for years. The Spanish words he gasped between gritted teeth called out to the deities in the heavens. “I haven’t cum in Spanish for years,” he said and slumped to one side of their bed. ~~~~ Riding the stuffy bus to Madrid sickened Leah. The rushed breakfast coffee and pastry she shared with Miguel curdled in her stomach. The abundance of wine the night before created a pounding headache. She placed her forehead against the cool windowpane as the crowded bus bounced along. How did a simple invitation to Segovia result in an overnight with Miguel, being hung over and so sexually aroused with his memory that she was still moist? She wasn’t that impetuous to run off willy-nilly with a stranger but that’s exactly what she did. She was a seasoned woman with an attuned instinct for choosing lasting bedmates and not one-night stands. Her Madrid trip was supposed to resolve issues that gnawed at her psyche, not create new ones. But what incredible joy Miguel gave her. When the bus pulled into the Madrid bus station, Leah had already been in and out of the city twice despite being in Spain for only four days. She’d contacted none of her Madrid friends or her family back home. The refrigerator was empty; her emails unanswered. She was flat out exhausted, physically and emotionally. She’d slept with two men and neither was permanently at her side. Leah’s apartment building with its balconies overlooking a green plaza and a gushing fountain was a welcomed sight. Once inside, she went directly to the bedroom, lowered the metal shutters, took a shower, slid naked under the bed covers and slept for the entire day. ~~~~ “I need to talk to you right away,” Leah said to her friend Rocío. It was the first call she made when she woke up. She was still in bed when she reached for the phone. “Welcome to Madrid, Leah. Or should I say welcome home. Where are you? I lost your cell number and was getting nervous when you didn’t call.” “Oh my God, Rocío. The most amazing thing happened. I don’t know why I did it. Can I see you in an hour?”

“Of course but give me a hint. You always have a story. This one sounds extra special.” “Hint? Think seatmate, Segovia, lust and confusion.” “What? Oh, never mind. Come visit me. I’ll make paella. I know, I know, no shrimp for you, only chicken. Hurry.” “Great. I’ll bring the wine.” Refreshed and eager to see her friend, Leah dressed quickly and took a cab to the wealthy Salamanca district and Rocío’s apartment on Calle de Lagasca. The building had a potero who opened the door for her, modern elevators and slick marble hallways. Rocío had decorated her spacious two-bedroom home with exquisite taste. Leah adored her friend but not her cats. The friends had remained in frequent contact that evolved with Skype and email. A favorite topic was men. “Guapa,” Rocío greeted Leah as she opened the door with a flourish. “You look marvelous. Come in, come in,” she repeated after they rocked back and forth in a bear hug. “Let’s uncork your wine and you can tell me your fantastic story. Or should I only ask his name? Wait, don’t tell me just yet. First we need full wine glasses. Wow! Look at that smile on your face.” Leah walked out onto Rocío’s terrace while her friend prepared their drinks. Any skyline view was limited since the apartment was located in a congested neighborhood. Instead, she peered over the railing, remembering the many times Javier treated her to shopping sprees on the upscale street below. “Okay, my dear, begin,” Rocío said when she joined Leah, and they toasted. “Who’s the mystery man?” “Miguel Santiago,” Leah said and blew out his name between pursed lips. “He was my seatmate on the flight over. We talked the entire way. I never expected to see him again, but we ran away to Segovia where we made love. It’s incredible this happened to me. Javier and I slept together in Salamanca, too, but we’re finished. Completely finished.” “You’re talking too fast, Leah. Slow down, please. I can’t follow you. One lover at a time.” Rocío never took her gaze away from Leah, sitting stone-faced as a cat jumped on her lap. She still had a shapely body with narrow hips, rounded breasts and long legs. Her

flawless skin contrasted with her jet-black hair pulled back in a bun with an exotic Spanish comb tucked in it. Her expensive clothes came from the top shops on Calle Serrano accented with scarves purchased at Loewe. Rocío wore 18-karat gold bracelets and Majorica pearls.

“Absolutely. Why ask me that? You know you did. Move on. You deserve better. Now tell me about Miguel. This one might have some promise.”

She was also a seasoned woman so Leah felt at ease discussing her sexual escapades of the past few days. Although her friend had had several romances in and out of marriage, she’d soured with age and was judgmental.

“He’s incredible. What a charmer. What a lover. I’m crazy about him. It was lust for sure but something else was going on. He’s got a girlfriend in Virginia.”

“Listen. Javier is like most men,” Rocío said. “He didn’t want an emotional conflict with you and took the line of least resistance. He reverted to what was comfortable and familiar behavior. You were his mistress, even after his wife’s death.” “So you don’t like affairs. Is that what you’re saying? Or no affairs with married men or Spanish men with deceased wives?” Leah questioned a bit annoyed with her friend. “You should only be involved with single men who want a new woman. Learn from my mistakes, Leah. Don’t you remember the delirious and painful affair I had with Ricardo?” He was a fellow Spaniard, married to a Spanish woman and lived in New York. He and Rocío were lovers when she was married and living in New York. “I’m still disgraced behind my back and hurting. We were deeply in love. But when our affair was discovered, I lost my husband, his wealth, my standing in the Spanish community and self-respect. Ricardo only lost me.” “And guess what?” Rocío asked Leah. She tried to laugh but tears came instead. “Ricardo and his wife are still married with memories of a long life together, me being one of them. My husband and I separated for years until Spanish law let us divorce. Would I have had the affair if I had known the outcome? No. I should have known better. I’m a Spaniard but love and lust have no conscience. La familia, Spanish marriages, infidelities and no divorce are an engrained way of life for some of us.” “Did I do the right thing by leaving Javier?” Leah asked.


“Truthfully, you may not like this story,” she said and relived the plane ride and Segovia.

“Oh, come on, Leah. A girlfriend back home?” Rocío said and looked down her nose, shrugging her shoulder. “Not nice behavior for the two of you?” “I know, I know. But he’s not engaged or married. She sounds like a sister or best friend. For me, it was sexy and perfect timing after the dump from Javier. I don’t expect to see Miguel again. I just wanted your reaction to this far-fetched seatmate story. So what’s your advice on affairs? What should I do?” “Truthfully? I think lustful love where you lose your sense of direction is a sickness. Avoid it. Cultivate deep friendship, then make love but not when either party is involved with someone else. The relationship works better without a lie as the foundation. Miguel will be back. Mark my words. But let’s forget men for now and eat paella. I prefer to hear about your family and your daughter’s wedding plans,” Rocío said as she took the wine glass out of Leah’s hand and led her to the kitchen.

COMING SOON Maha’s dates and the other fabulous foods of the Middle East played an important part in all our lives – I had blissfully forgotten about most of the things I’d cooked in my previous life. However, I was still receiving my censored editions (think Maggie Beer in a Texta-ed black abaya) of the Australian Gourmet Traveller. The recipes and new ideas in that magazine still excited me. One day when I was talking to Maha about a recipe for Peking Duck, she casually mentioned that she’d never tried it. I couldn’t resist the urge to cook it, so I organised a dinner in her honour as a thank-you for the date deliveries. It was to be a girls’ night, so I invited Robbie and Aruna, my Indian cooking teacher, to join Maha and me. I fed the kids and prepared a meal for Shane so that he could make himself scarce. Maha would not be dressed in her abaya: he had to secrete himself upstairs so that he couldn’t see her. But I saw her – and she looked gorgeous. When she arrived and removed her abaya and headscarf, she revealed a most exquisite two-piece ensemble in soft blues, mauves and grey. The fabric was a kind of gauze that I’d never seen before. She’d completed the outfit with a simple grey pearl necklace that looked so elegant and right. Maha had a way of always looking as if she’d stepped out of the pages of Harper’s Bazaar. She had such an abundance of grace and poise that I’m sure she would have looked perfectly splendid in a hessian sack. Aruna also looked beautiful in her magnificent sari, and Robbie looked resplendent – as always – in a cerise coloured blouse that coordinated perfectly with her glamorous hot pink fingernails: after all she was the queen of manicures. Robbie was good friends with Maha and was overjoyed at the dinner invitation. Being a natural conversationalist, she held court and kept the mood buoyant while I cooked. I couldn’t resist wearing one of my precious pinnies, but I did stick to a conservative number so as not to offend Maha. I presented the duck, which was a triumph, and followed with a rich sticky-date pudding – using Maha’s dates, of course. The meal that I’d made from my muchloved source of inspiration was perfect, and I was delighted with the result. Aruna asked for the stickydate pudding recipe, which I’d borrowed from the great British cook Delia Smith. I’d tweaked it a little and added a few variations, so I had no compunction in calling it my own. Sorry, Delia, but mine’s better. I always take it as a great compliment when someone asks for my recipe. It means that the dish was a success and that my creation will be reborn in someone else’s kitchen. The person can modify the recipe as they wish, but the request means that they liked it enough to reproduce it, and I am always happy to oblige. But Maha was more interested in my apron. She asked if I’d mind teaching her how to paint in a similar style to the flying woman, and of course I took her request as another great compliment. I was now considered a good enough artist to teach others! I blushed and said, “Of course. When would you like to have your lesson?” I was so excited about returning Maha’s favour.

The end of the summer break was a time thatthan would Coconut Bliss is more just one man’s journey to the edge of the world. It probably work well for both of us, so she opened her diary and gave me a few options. is leather aI thumbed story of transformation; cultural contrasts and a clearer understanding of through my own diary and shuffled a few less important engagements to settle on one of the dates how diet she’d given me. and disease are inextricably linked to the seeds of agriculture and “Okay, this date is good,”eat. I said, writing the words the food we Against the backdrop of one of the world’s most exotic and ‘Painting with Maha’ on the page. ancient civilizations, Coconut Bliss shines a magisterial spotlight on humanity It was September 12 2001. Or – as the Americans would now say – the day after 9/11. and the foods of life.

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Luxe Beat Magazine June 2014  

MODERN LUXURY is our theme for this June 2014 edition and our contributors have left no stone unturned for this issue. When you look how the...

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