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A BLU Retrospective Quarters Relations Libations Exploits Cuisine People Style Art
Looking Back to Launch Ahead
New | Classic | Smart
The Toys You Love
SOURCEBOOK FOR DISCRIMINATING SINGLES
A Timely Introduction So many people have asked, “Why has it taken so long for you to develop Magazine BLU?” I’m so very pleased to answer that question, as I know that everything does have its season, and our season is upon us. The specific truth is that hundreds of magazines fail each year. New ones fail beyond their first or second issue, veterans close after tens of years - not a failure by any means, but an end all the same. In order for us to have a chance at any success, I knew that we must have several things in our favor: a winning concept, a stellar team, and the hunger to achieve where “survival of the fittest” is entirely applicable. To move toward our future, we started the research behind our emerging demographic (the singles) in 2003. We have become as close to expert in what singles want as possible for anyone at this juncture. We found many of our beliefs about singles were true, while many beliefs are common stereotypes that will take time and effort to disprove. All in all, we have learned that the Magazine BLU demographic is much larger and more eager for media representation than we could have ever imagined, through media delivered precisely the way they want it. If we had rushed to start without this foundation for our readers, we would not be able to deliver, at all. Our team is indeed stellar. We’re pleased with our original photographers, stylists and writers, as well as a huge group of new ones with vast experience and many journalistic accolades on their trophy shelves. The “original team” has worked long and hard together to produce a Magazine BLU style and approach that I know will endure. They have been patient, supportive, and encouraging while we have learned each others’ idiosyncracies, work methods and personalities. They deserve success. As for the newbies on the BLU block, I can’t wait to see what they produce! Together, they comprise an amazing group of talent.
As for that hunger to achieve, could there be any doubt? I don’t now know how I came up with this concept so many years ago. It just happened. I can’t exactly recall how it is that this team was brought together so easily, with so many who were willing to work so hard toward a long-term goal. They just happened. All I can say for sure is that we collectively happened upon the greatest adventure of my life. I hope it has been and will be the team’s greatest adventure of their lives, and ultimately, we want to be a great accent to the adventure of each of your lives. I think all 35 million of us were hungry for this, whether for the recognition of our existence as a powerful consumer group, or to enrich our single selves day by day. To all of you, thanks for sticking with us for so long. Thanks for looking forward to our official beginning and for hoping for our collective future. With that, I am very pleased to introduce the new Managing Editor of Magazine BLU, Scott Pruden. He has been with us from the beginning of our testing days, since 2006. His vision, experience, and dedication will prove invaluable, insightful, and intriguing for all of us - readers and Magazine BLU staff, alike. He will drive us forward, and I am so very glad to have him leading our editorial team. This is our last “sample issue.” I thought it only fitting to usher us into Launch with a look back at the beginnings of Mag BLU. We’ve come a long way, and you will see major improvements from the very first official issue of 2010, including many more writers, an assortment of quicker reads mixed with feature editorials, and continuously updating web content to accent each quarterly print edition. As we grow, do not hesitate to provide feedback. As a marketing person, I know that even negative feedback paves our pathway to success, and welcome any and all constructive input. Until Launch, enjoy this look back at our formation, and have an enriched single life!
Scott Pruden Managing Editor BLU Since March 2006 Scott Pruden aspired to become a published writer as early as age ten. Upon graduating from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Journalism, he launched his career in the world of newspapers by covering local news, politics, business, crime and public interest. He then progressed into a weekly opinion column, as well as to writing for lifestyle and feature magazines. The consummate professional with extremely fine-tuned journalistic capability, Scott has written highly favored pieces that have brought in many emails of appreciation and admiration. Always willing and on the ready, Scott has delivered for us repeatedly and will continue to do so, as the Managing Editor of Magazine BLU.
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Style HIS FASHION: FRENCH DRESSING Gentlemen, it is the time in your life when you must acknowledge that looking good brings power, success and...the ladies! Jeff Wyatt shows you the way, with a little help from Hugo Boss. By Jeff Wyatt. HER FASHION: SUMMER SWEETNESS We hit the streets of Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco’s family neighborhood, to catch a glimpse of flirty fashion styled by Jessie James Boutique and donned by a sweet blonde with aspirations of her own. HIS & HER FASHION: AUTUMN EASE Relax. Don’t rush off to rake those leaves, just yet. Enjoy cooler air and still-warm, sunny afternoons. These fashions are relaxed, easy and perfect for the “Indian Summer.” LINGERIE: WHO IS IT REALLY FOR? The founder and designer of CLO Lingerie reveals who she designs for, and in turn, who benefits. DUDE, WHERE’S YOUR STYLE? Jeff Wyatt outlines some “do’s and don’ts” for the male gender to follow when dressing in summer’s more relaxed style. INDULGENCES We found some of the greatest things for your living space, lifestyle, wardrobe...and even your pet. We bring them, BLU approved, to you.
Special Section: Fashion That Binds RESTRICTIVE HISTORY Once symbolic of aristocracy, socioeconomic stature and discipline, corsets evolved over hundreds of years, then fell out of fashion as women rebelled against restrictive and uncomfortable garments. Men, however, embraced the utilitarian necktie, quickly transforming it into a bold fashion statement that thrives to this day. By Kimberly Toms with Kristen Held. ROMANCE BOUND Captivating corsets to inspire admiration and romance. HANDS, WRIST, NECK Bind yourself in decadently in metals, gems, textures and colors.
Toys SEXY, SLEEK & READY TO ROLL Man has long had a love affair with automobiles. Beyond the aerodynamic styling and crash-test ratings of today’s cars remain memories of the classics that just make you want to hit the road. By Scott Pruden. ARTFULLY AUDI With designs inspired by both royalty and the thrill of the race, it is no wonder that Audi consistently delivers on quality, performance and luxury. By Curt Riedy. DRIVING WITH SMARTS Sometimes being small and economical is actually quite socially intelligent. We prove that, tooling around Manhattan in this new little machine. By Kimberly Toms.
Pre-Launch VOL 2 ISS 2
Quarters SOCIAL DWELLING: LOFTS AND BROWNSTONES Lofts and brownstones have become the preferred city dwellings of so many single socialites. Some Philly residents give us a glimpse into their spaces that entertain in style. By Kimberly Toms with Profiles by Kate Wright. SEASIDE LIVING The Jersey Shore sets the scene for the new style of seaside living. No longer are beach houses rustic weekend retreats. We explore a few palatial getaway homes that are ready for you, if you can afford the price tag. By Scott Pruden. DATE-READY DWELLING HGTV’s Krista Watterworth provides advice for ensuring that your home is ready to be explored, and snooped around in, by your next date. By Krista Watterworth. FASHION FORECAST FOR YOUR HOME Following hints provided by Rohm & Haas paint experts, we reveal the hot new interior design fashion colors. So, get that paintbrush ready!
Relations CURING THE BREAK-UP BLUES The split was destined to be, as otherwise you would not be, well...broken up. The end of a true relationship is almost always painful, but there is light at the end of that tunnel of temporary gloom, courtesy experts and those who have been there, before. By Felicia Coley. SEX TOO SOON? How long should you wait to have sex with your new “friend,” for the first time? Most of us agree the first date is not optimum, but who really knows when the time is right? By Felicia Coley. NOT JUST FOR THE BOYS, ANYMORE? Gentlemen’s clubs have seen an increased occurrence of women in the audience. But, who are these women and why are they there? By Helene Golembek.
Arts NATURE IN THE LENS A focus on the motivation of an adventurous financial planner with a strong talent for capturing the wilds on film. By Curt Riedy.
JEFF WYATT’S MUSINGS Writer/comedian Jeff Wyatt reflects on dating and dishes out his perspective on women. By Jeff Wyatt.
BLU Cuisine & Libations MICROBREWS OF THE NORTHEAST Whether your fave is porter or stout, pilsner or dark...we discovered some of the best beers in the U.S. are made in the Northeast. Hope you’re thirsty, because we’re serving them all to you. By Curt Riedy. IT WORKS! Philadelphia’s newest dining experience inhabits one of the City of Brotherly Love’s favorite landmarks. AAAH, VODKA! A good vodka can set the perfect vibe, creating just the right mood through a unique aroma or taste sensation. A good vodka can create a blissful world of its own, from a go-for-broke upscale bash to a relaxing night under the stars on your favorite beach. By Curt Riedy. COWBOY CUISINE Cowboys don’t just eat steak and ribs. Yes, sometimes they have fish or chicken, as our Texas dining experience proves. CIGARS & WHISKEY Some pairings are better than others, whether in romance or libations. Cigars and whiskey offer a timeless union that will have you raising a glass and toasting to “forever after.” By Curt Riedy. WHISKEY TASTES & TOASTS Bushmills Irish Whiskey’s Master Distiller Colum Egan explains how to properly taste whiskey; some worldwide brand favorites; charming toasts from Tullamore Dew.
Exploits THE COUPLES’ WEEKEND Boston combines old and new in a revolutionary mix that revitalizes the experience of getting away for the weekend. By Scott Pruden. FLORIDA, FOR GROWNUPS St. Augustine proves Florida is historic, elegant, and sophisticated...and not just about Spring Break and Early Bird Specials. A RETURN TO TOURISM “AS USUAL” We put aside the collective memory of that femme fatale who breezed through New Orleans, packed our bags and decided, Laissez les bon temps rouler!”
People CAPTIVATING SINGLES A man and a woman, both members of Generation X, single and quite remarkable. We found and bring them to you. By Kimberly Toms.
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BLU KIMBERLY TOMS PUBLISHER ADDRESS / INQUIRIES: 4847 HOPYARD ROAD SUITE 4344 PLEASANTON, CA 94588 www.magazineblu.com email@example.com
Magazine BLU is published quarterly by Nola Blue Media, LLC of Pleasanton, CA. SUBSCRIPTIONS: US: $8.95 per issue; Canada: $8.95 per issue. Copy and unauthorized distribution prohibited. Reprints available through inquiry at firstname.lastname@example.org. All rights strictly reserved, and reproduction in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without prior written permission from the Publisher. Copyright 2009. Printed (both digitally and hard copy editions) in the USA. Byline contributors' views do not necessarily represent opinions of the Publisher, Principals, Employees, or Nola Blue Media, LLC. MAGAZINE BLU: Pre-Launch 2009 / VOL 2 ISS 2
SCOTT PRUDEN Writer Scott Pruden aspired to become a published writer as early as age ten. Upon graduating from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Journalism, he launched his career in the world of newspapers by covering local news, politics, business, crime and public interest. He then progressed into a weekly opinion column, as well as to writing for lifestyle and feature magazines. The consummate professional with extremely fine-tuned journalistic capability, Scott has written highly favored pieces that have brought in many emails of appreciation and admiration. Always willing and on the ready, Scott has delivered for us repeatedly and will continue to do so, as the Managing Editor of Magazine BLU.
MARK MARGRAFF Photographer Mark Margraff lives, breathes, and exudes his own commercial artistic style. He shoots regularly around Philadelphia and works with top advertising agencies and publications. He is passionate about both his work and his family.
CURT RIEDY Writer Curt Riedy began his writing career at Kutztown University, where he graduated with a BA in Professional Writing. He has since written for multiple newspapers and magazines with a focus on the arts, film and music.
JAMES JACKSON Photographer James Jackson has been communicating his message through photography since 1995. Currently, James is expanding in advertising and fashion photographic styles and is working with major fashion and catalog clients as a photographer and photography assistant both in studio and on location. James is also continuing to work with event clients such as Comcast SportsNet and the American Cancer Society, commercial clients such as Lincolnmotorsport for vehicle and product photography, local bands such as NorthernHues for promotional and album photography, and local models and actors for portfolio expansion and head-shots.
DANIEL MEZICK Photographer Daniel Mezick graduated with a BA in Studio Art Photography from Lycoming College. He has worked on shoots ranging from corporate portraiture to editorial magazine spreads, commercial products, advertising campaigns and large book publications.
RAFAEL HENIN Photographer Sundance Films and QVC are only two of the esteemed clients for whom Rafael Henin has worked. Utilizing a great eye for color and composition, he shoots subjects and in settings ranging from highly commercial to creative.
JEFF WYATT Writer A New York writer/comedian with a wit ranging from jovial to acerbic depending on the subject, Jeff has spent the past year delighting audiences, be it in a comedy club or his first passion, poetry readings.
All photos courtesy HUGO BOSS (ÂŠ2003) Hugo Boss AG, Dieselstrasse 12, 72555 Metzingen, Federal Republic of Germany.
Dressing By Jeff Wyatt
entlemen, if we may be honest with one another, bigger is always better. More is more! Give me six patties of meat on my cheeseburger, and while you’re at it, put six slices of cheese on there, and when it comes to women…may we have seconds? The genetic makeup of Homo sapiens (Americanus) man says that we have to want bigger, more powerful, and just flat out, more! But when it comes to the clothing in our closets, it iss time for a change. Now, I know that because of events surrounding one of the greatest tragedies in American history, we are supposed to be patriotic and hate the French. But alas my manly American brothers, it is time for us to embrace the French once again. Yes, the French, the same ones who gave us the Statue of Liberty, the novels of Proust, the Champs-Elysées and of course, the ability to order a Royale with cheese, a la Samuel L. Jackson, naturally. So why is it that I ask you to turn your gaze eastward and subscribe to the French way of dressing? It is the simple idea of less is more. Less is more? That’s not a capitalist enterprise! I want you to close your eyes and think to yourself… Now open them, because you haven’t yet read what I’m asking you to think about, Silly Goose. Envision the way your coworkers dress. Then, check out those you see on your commute to work. Look at them, dressed in ill fitting clothing: suit jackets too large, making the shoulders appear as though they magically float away from the body; pants so oversized that the break of the pant hits closer to the concrete than the ankle, and on top of that, they’re cuffed! These people wear dress shirts that have so much fabric attached to them they look better suited to sailing a zephyr on the open sea than to clothing a man dressed upon dry land. Now, realize you have the same poor choices in clothing and fit as all of these people, and that how you look at them is how people look at you. “For whatever reason, a lot of men dress as though they weigh 40 pounds more than they actually do,” says Manhattan based Amanda Longton, former Director of Stores for the W Hotel Boutiques and currently the Retail Director for Mavi NYC.
It’s a simple proposal: less is more. Think: fewer clothing options, less fabric in your clothing and more stolen glances when you step into a room. There is a reason James Bond will always be a la mode, his clothes fit him! And so we get to the heart of French dressing. It is impeccable fit and a lesser wardrobe. We must forego the American approach to everything, that of a plethora of choices, and narrow down our wardrobes to pieces that (every time you step out the door) make you look damn good. You may not be Sean Connery, but at least you can fake it. The building of a cohesive wardrobe is essential not only to French
dressing, but also to making life simpler. Each piece needs to be interchangeable with others. T-shirts, cardigans, flat front dress pants, button down shirts, jeans, suit jackets etc… “The more effort you put into selecting great pieces, the less effort you need to expend in order to look good at all times,” states Longton. Step 1: Clear out the rubbish. I know it’s difficult to purchase something and then to have to admit defeat in your ability to properly clothe yourself. But, it must be done. If you don’t look good in it, then what exactly is the point of wearing it? Clothing most certainly is art and we have to face the fact that not all art is created equal. If you’re wearing a God-awful print, or something that has too much fabric and doesn’t fit you properly, you need to cleanse yourself and donate it to charity. Step 2: Honor thy tailor. It’s time to take clothing from the status of necessity, to the status of an investment in self. Ask any petite woman who her favorite person is (after her hair stylist) and you will probably be told the name of her tailor. Pants need to be hemmed, suit jackets need to be taken in, and you’re not doing it! There’s a reason tuxedos look so damn good on 007: He has a tailor. This, more than anything, is the essential requisite of French dressing. If you’re just going to present yourself in an overgrown sac, then why are you dropping $150 on a Hugo Boss dress shirt? Not even Tom Ford can make a man who wears a medium shirt look presentable in an extra large. “The biggest thing with men is to convince them they are not that big. A shoulder seam at mid-bicep doesn’t look good, and they don’t understand that,” says Amanda. That brings us to our next point… Step 3: Size matters, Sweetie. Harkening to our male instincts of more is more in this country, it’s time to accept the fact that you aren’t an extra large shirt. Hell, most of you aren’t even an extra medium! How sad is it to see a man drowning in a shirt? When there is enough fabric to comfortably wear a sympathy belly underneath…well, you just look like crap. Clothiers generally pander to the masses, and America’s masses are massive, but you aren’t. You’re single and need to get laid. So, stop dressing like a fat man and start dressing like the classy bitch you think you are. Think slimfit. Step 4: Flaunt it. And you know what the best part is? When you have great pieces that fit you properly and are interchangeable, it takes zero effort to flaunt it. Nothing turns a woman’s head faster than a well dressed man. Face it, most men look pretty atrocious naked. Brad Pitts we are not. So the reality is, when a woman sees you, she doesn’t imagine you naked. A shock, I know. She notices a man’s attention to detail, his ability to present himself in the best manner possible. And that doesn’t mean the ability to tuck your shirt into your pants, and your back pockets at the same time. “A man, who carries himself well and is in
en français, s'il vous plaît
a classic, tailored suit, will draw me into a conversation faster than a man who doesn’t dress well. It shows me he pays attention to detail and knows how to take care of himself, which ultimately makes me think he’d know how to take care of a relationship properly,” says Miss Amanda Longton. You only have one chance to make a first impression with a woman, so you need to ask yourself, do you want to impersonate George Clooney or Woody Allen? These are four exceedingly simple steps to presenting yourself in a much more put-together way. If you still feel at this point you are lost when it comes to what clothing to choose, hire a personal shopper. They’ll go over your budget with you and determine what would suit you best, pardon the pun. You pay for a realtor when you’re buying property. Just why do you do that? Because you don’t know crap! Though clothing is, in theory, a bit simpler to pick out, the same principles apply. If you don’t know what you’re doing, then get the help of someone who does.
The French certainly know how to wear it. But, some of Jeff’s favorite designs are actually German. What can we say...Mr. Wyatt is eclectically Euro!
Les choix de Jeff: Five ensembles for the perfect fall closet, all from the German fashion master Hugo Boss and favored by our own Jeff Wyatt:
Et les souliers... (And the shoes...)
Jeff’s favorite Hugo Boss selections for a well-rounded, yet precise closet include pieces from both the Black and Selection collections of Fall/Winter 2007/2008.
All photos courtesy HUGO BOSS (©2003) Hugo Boss AG, Dieselstrasse 12, 72555 Metzingen, Federal Republic of Germany.
The Hugo Boss Black collection highlights Asia-Pacific regional influences, as well as cool-Mod styling of the 1960’s and today’s cutting-edge music scene, but with a light touch that is understated and sophisticated, reflected in a balanced and restrained color palette, design details and delicate graphic touches. Tailoring for the city is clean, sharp and elegant, freshened by an emerging sportswear aesthetic. The two-button single-breasted suit is the dominant shape, although three-button suits and three-piece looks are also in the mix. For urban menswear, jacket lengths are notably shorter and colors are dark, with black and grey at the forefront. Fabrics with structure are back, including cashmere, silk, angora and mohair. Tonal stripes dominate suitings, with a slight hint of color. The Hugo Boss Selection collection is relatively new, but is growing in both offerings and popularity. Its primary emphasis is that of a well-balanced and fully-appointed closet for sophisticated yet youthful consumers. All depicted Hugo Boss pieces are available for Fall/Winter 2007/2008. See www.HugoBoss.com for details and store locations near you.
The newest evolution in fitness!
Sleek, sophisticated styling, complemented with state-of-the-art engineering, is the essence of a new standard in elliptical trainers â€“ the CenterG series from Keys Fitness.
Setting a new and higher performance benchmark, the new CenterG elliptical series redefines the elliptical category. With breakthrough design and technology, they deliver what is most important in your elliptical workoutâ€Śa smooth and natural motion.
Ellipticals are all about providing you effective cardio training with low impact to your body. The new, patented center-drive technology of CenterG delivers improved performance in this area over conventionally designed ellipticals. And, by keeping the drive system centered around you, CenterG allows you to maintain proper spine alignment and better posture. Translating into a better and more comfortable workout.
ummer weetness Flowing Fabrics and Femininity In the Very Neighborhood Where Princess Grace Became a Lady
Photographs by Mark Margraff Model: Regina Ivoskute Hair/Makeup: Susan Margraff Creative Direction: Kimberly Toms Fashion Styling: Jessie James Boutique www.jessiejamesonline.com
Lorick parrot print chiffon circle skirt dress with matching scarf, $369.
Walter tiered sleeve blouse, $236. Sass & Bide black highwaisted jeans, $252. Monserat DeLucca bag, $364. Volare ring, $72. Hat, sunglasses, shoes, stylistâ€™s own.
Yumi Kim floral print blouse, $144. Walter high-waisted, wideleg denim trousers, $196. Carolina Amato purple leather driving gloves, $132. Sunglasses, stylistâ€™s own.
Tulle yellow linen dress with pockets, $68. Bangles, hat, stylistâ€™s own.
Falls long purple prairie dress, $308. Volare gold ring, $68. Shoes, necklace, stylistâ€™s own.
Lorick blue scoop back fitted dress, $488. Carolina Amato black leather opera gloves, $132. Belt, hat, shoes, stylistâ€™s own.
Lodice black silk jersey one-shoulder dress, $342. Ophelie feather headband, $62. Handbag, stylistâ€™s own.
Chloe and Reese black v-neck silk faille party dress, $458. Carolina Amato white leather opera gloves, $86. Shoes, stylistâ€™s own.
Relaxed andEasy Chic
Model: Jeff Wyatt. Hair/Makeup: Suzan Margraff. Assistant: Emily Money.
When the weather is still too warm for fall fashion, yet summer wearables leave you feeling naked, upscale denim and natural fabrics provide a comfortable, yet stylish transition from the heat of summer into the briskness of autumn. So, pull on those jeans or skirts, don breathable shirts and top pieces, jazz it up with light accessories and get ready for gorgeous fall colors and that inevitable crispness in the air. Photos by Mark Margraff.
Models: Jeff Wyatt and Krystal Friday. Hair/Makeup: Suzan Margraff. Assistant: Emily Money. Wardrobe 2nd Assistant: Denise Workman.
This page: Victorian Turtleneck, XCVI (xcvi.com); Denim Skirt, Nature vs. Future (naturevsfuture.com); Channel Clutch of purple embossed iguana leather, Cammie Hill, (cammiehill.com), $325; Carmen Necklace, Erika Pena (erikapena.com), $90; Rosa Maria Earrings, Erika Pena, $58. Large photo, opposite: Shirt, Modelâ€™s Own; Jeans, Kasil Jeans, $190, (kasiljean.com); Boots, vintage Tony Lama, courtesy Crimson in the City, (crimsoninthecity.com).
Model: Krystal Friday. Hair/Makeup: Suzan Margraff. Assistant: Emily Money. Wardrobe 2nd Assistant: Denise Workman.
This page: Lavender tee, True Love & False Idols (trueloveandfalseidols.com); Smock, XCVI (xcvi.com); Jeans, Blue Heights Skinny, Paige Premium Denim, $169, (paigepremiumdenim.com); Puzzle Earrings two-tone, $115, and Puzzle Necklace two-tone, $170, by Marjorie Victor Jewelry (marjorievictor.com).
Model: Krystal Friday. Hair/Makeup: Suzan Margraff. Assistant: Emily Money. Wardrobe 2nd Assistant: Denise Workman.
This page: Wool shirring top, Nature Vs. Future (naturevsfuture.com); Jeans, Fidelity Lotus (fidelitydenim.com; Silver Dynassis Earrings, Erika Pena Designs (erikapena.com).
Models: Monica Seaton and Krystal Friday. Hair/Makeup: Suzan Margraff. Assistant: Emily Money. Wardrobe 2nd Asst: Denise Workman (helipad shot only).
This page, left: White Obi Belt Shirt, Nature Vs. Future (naturevsfuture.com); Jeans, Fidelity Lotus (fidelitydenim.com); Earrings, Charm Bracelet, both Rimistyle (rimistyle.com). Right: Asymmetrical 3/4 Sleeve Crew Top, Nature Vs. Future (naturevsfuture.com); Fidelity Denim Low-Rise Trouser (fidelity.com). Necklace and Earrings, Rimistyle (rimistyle.com); Blue Wristlet, Bozano Handbags (bolzanohandbags.com).
Models: Jeff Wyatt and Monica Seaton. Hair/Makeup: Suzan Margraff. Assistant: Emily Money.
This page, large photo: Sunglasses, Bebe (bebe.com). Jeans, Blue Heights Skinny Cut by Paige Premium Denim, $169, (paigepremiumdenim.com); Top, Victorian Turtleneck in Flame Orange, XCVI (xcvi.com). Rosa Earrings, Erika Pena Designs, $200 (erikapena.com); Necklace, Erika Pena Designs (erikapena.com); Bag, Cecilia by dePalma Handsewn Leathergoods (depalmahandsewn.com).
This page: Organic Cotton Crepe Shirring Top in Leaf, $130, Nature Vs. Future (naturevsfuture.com); Jeans, Blue Heights Skinny Cut by Paige Premium Denim, $169, (paigepremiumdenim.com); Ramon Necklace by Erika Pena Designs, $98 (erikapena.com) .
Both Pages - Model: Monica Seaton. Hair/Makeup: Suzan Margraff. Assistant: Emily Money.
This page: Lace Empire Tank, Paige Knits (paigepremiumdenim.com); Las Palmas Pintuck Hoodie in Vineyard, Paige Knits; Long Puzzle Necklace in sterling silver and gold, $210, Puzzle Earrings in sterling silver and gold, $115, Puzzle Bracelet in sterling silver, $160, all Marjorie Victor Jewelry (marjorievictor.com); Fidelity Denim (fidelitydenim.com).
Model: Monica Seaton. Hair/Makeup: Suzan Margraff. Assistant: Emily Money.
This page: Dramatic lace hemmed babydoll tunic, Paige Knits (paigepremiumdenim.com); Earrings, Erika Pena Designs (erikapena.com); Fidelity Denim (fidelitydenim.com).
Model: Monica Seaton. Hair/Makeup: Suzan Margraff. Assistant: Emily Money.
This page: Silk/cotton Holiday Shirtdress, $228, Sweet Tater (sweettater.net); Feather Necklace, Erika Pena Designs (erikapena.com).
Model: Jeff Wyatt. Hair/Makeup: Suzan Margraff. Assistant: Emily Money.
Female: Wool Double Collar Sweater, Nature Vs. Future (naturevsfuture.com); Black Draped Tank, Paige Knits (paigepremiumdenim.com); Hammered Bar earrings, sterling silver, $55, Marjorie Victor Jewelry (marjorievictor.com); Kasil Denim (kasiljean.com). Male: White shirt, modelâ€™s own; Paper, Denim & Cloth Khaki Jacket, courtesy of Crimson in the City of Dallas (crimsoninthecity.com); Fidelity Denim (fidelitydenim.com). Models: Jeff Wyatt and Monica Seaton. Hair/Makeup: Suzan Margraff. Assistant: Emily Money.
Model: Monica Seaton. Hair/Makeup: Suzan Margraff. Assistant: Emily Money.
Black Draped Tank, Paige Knits (paigepremiumdenim.com); Juana Lucite Star Earrings, $58, and Cecilia Daisy Pendant on gold chain, $90, Erika Pena Designs (erikapena.com); Kasil Denim (kasiljean.com); Cherry Red Leather Cocktail Can-Can Purse, $225, Cammie Hill Handbags (cammiehill.com).
In Medellin, Columbia, a raven-haired girl was raised amongst sewing machines, fabrics, trims and workers who toiled to produce quality garments. Somewhere amongst those tools, supplies and people of her family’s business, young Claudia Ochoa absorbed the love of design and undying ambition to take over the world fashion market, one pair of lace panties at a time. After graduating from Columbia’s foremost design school and working for ready-to-wear fashion houses in her native country, Claudia moved to New York City in 1999. By 2003 CLO was launched, with the interest of producing feminine, flattering lingerie influenced by the sophisticated modernity of the New York woman, but maintaining the passion, color and sensuality of her South American roots. Considering that many lingerie lines are seemingly designed for the enticement of the viewer, versus the comfort or confidence of the wearer, CLO is conceptualized and constructed to enhance the beauty of the woman under the garment. By creating fashions that appeal to the lady in the lingerie, Claudia has perfected the art of designing pieces that successfully heighten a woman’s sex appeal through the building of natural confidence one feels as CLO fabric softly hugs each curve and accentuates femininity. The benefactor of this confidence is not only the wearer herself, but those who look upon her, absorbing and innately responding to sexuality exuded. In essence, CLO lingerie is designed for the woman. Men simply reap the benefits. As Claudia says, “Lingerie companies think they know what men want. But, men often are interested in something more subtle,” less hard-core. “If the design is more for the man, lingerie feeds a woman’s insecurity and the man will see that. As women, I don’t think we want just fantasy. We want to come back to ourselves truly, to wear things that make us feel good, confident and successful. You give the guy more, when you design for the girl.”
Who is it really designed for? Photographs by Daniel Mezick Model: Rebecca Fox Hair/Makeup: Marnee Simon Creative Direction: Kimberly Toms
CLO lingerie is available throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. For shopping information, please refer to the company website at clostudio.com. Pieces range in retail price from approximately $18 for panties to over $100 for chemises. wwwm . agazn i ebu lc . om33wwwm . agazn i ebu lc . om34
â€œOur designs are for the person wearing the garment: How is she going to feel? How flattering is the fit?â€?
“When she tries our lingerie on, we want the woman to think, ‘Oh, it fits me so closely...it is very comfortable. It was designed for somebody like me!’”
â€œMost lingerie lines think they know what men want. But, guys are often more interested in subtlety.â€?
â€œWe design from outerwear inward. Our pieces are supportive like a bra, but can be worn as a top.â€? www.magazineblu.com
“In our pieces, sexual confidence is exuded.”
Dude, Where’s Your Jeff Wyatt offers quick advice regarding summer style, for men on-the-go.
Don’t over-accessorize. Nothing kills a summer vibe more than a busy look. Do subtract a few things. Lose the belt and the pocket square, forget the shoelaces and leave the messenger bag behind. Nothing screams “summer” like a man who knows how to appear relaxed, in style and attitude. If more pocket space is needed when losing your bag, look for a cargo short to pick up the slack. If you absolutely must have a bag, lighten it up with a canvas beach version.
Don’t wear a heavy scent. Are you going to eat beef stroganoff on a 95-degree day? Then, why wear a scent that packs the same kind of heavy weight?
Do wear a scent that breathes. For summer, keep it light and airy. A floral or citrus-like dance should emanate from your neck. The lighter the scent, the better, as it will make the ladies need to come a bit closer to experience the full effect.
Don’t wear a cap. You aren’t in college anymore, Frat Boy. If it has adjustable plastic pegs on the back, it is only allowed during lawn mowing. And, don’t even get me started on your visor collection, you boy band wannabe.
Don’t go for perfection. This is not the season for crisp, James Bond-esque perfectionism. Do go for put together. You can be polished while seeming carefree. Opt for linens and light cottons. A little wrinkle in the summer looks amazing, as long as it is not a wrinkled power tie.
Don’t forget your sunscreen. I’m no dermatologist, but I do know that your skin will be your greatest accessory. Robert Redford was one of Hollywood’s greatest sex symbols, and now he looks like a dehydrated kiwi. Do forget your hairspray. Leave the hair a little tousled. Summer will never be about a perfect coif, so there’s no need to try.
Don’t forget your pedicure. Nothing is nastier at a picnic than a yellow toenail that looks like something from the Paleolithic Period. Man up and get those cuticles pushed back. Nasty piggies make you look like a nasty piggy. Do wear sandals. In the spirit of keeping things simple, opt for sandals this season. They keep the feet so much cooler and allow them to get some much needed air. Plus, the right pair looks savvy and sophisticated, as long as they are worn with a pedicure and replaced before they are worn-out.
Don’t dress like a dessert. Yes, those stylish seersucker suits may be of a neon color. But, dammit man, eighties day-glow has long passed go and pocketed the $200. Do dress like summer foliage. Though technically of the same color palette as a dessert, the greens, pinks and oranges will serve you much better when taking on the subdued tones held in nature’s exuberance. Remember, be bright, but don’t be obnoxious.
Don’t be that guy. You know the one: ridiculous tan lines with sunburned skin, wife-beater tee shirt, Hawaiian board shorts, and sandals falling apart.
Do follow the above instructions. Don a positive, relaxed look this summer, so when “that guy’s” girlfriend sees you, she smacks his wife-beater wearing, sunburned shoulder and asks why he can’t be just like you.
Do wear a hat. A lightweight (cotton or straw) fedora is what should be utilized during the summer months, if the head is to be covered. Not only is it classically styled, but it is a tool rarely used in the modern man’s wardrobe. 109
EXPLOITS, INDULGENCES, DECADENCE... You are single, in the prime of both your social life and career. You have just about everything you could want, with those few exceptions that you are aiming for, your lifelong “wish list” of the ultimate in spoils. Until the Ferrari is in the garage, and just before you leave your posh loft or McMansion for early retirement in a Hamptons palace, the little things you buy are what bring you joy-that excitement generated in spending just a little of your amassed net worth on something you hadn’t heard of before yesterday. The pleasure is in knowing that you have just about made it, because you are able to indulge your whim for something special just for you or someone with whom you enjoy spending time. We have a few suggestions here, things we have tested, enjoyed and believe will suit your discriminating taste. So, go ahead! You know you deserve it.
INDULGENCES AT HOME
Designed and crafted by Skip Horton, these lovely red and tan spiral Picnic Shakers will bring more than just salt and pepper to your table. Blown borosilicate glass with a screw top makes this artwork entirely functional with the uniquity and slight variations that make each set one of a kind. Available at The Artful Home (artfulhome.com) for $65.
Both blue and sexy - two things that make us smile! This sake carafe with deep blue ice reservoir keeps either your sake or white wine decanted and undiluted by melting ice. So gorgeous, practical, and sets the deep, blue mood you are probably looking forward to, with every pour. Please toast to us, for this fabulous find! Available at Korin Japanese Fine Tableware and Knives (korin.com) for a mere $8.
Green and red gorgeousness for your table, as designed and crafted by Nina Falk, presents easily, cleanly, and with a refined style, courtesy this Square Nest Bowl. Place it as an art piece, or use it to serve favorite hors dâ€™oeuvres. 12â€? square bowl. $270 at The Artful Home (artfulhome.com).
INDULGENCES AT HOME
This set of four 9.25” plates declare that it is time for a wonderful dessert, salad, or brunch. Each depicts a different clock scene, with a gold rim for upstated elegance mixed with whimsy. By Ralph Lauren, available at ralphlauren.com for $108 for the set.
A bottle full of tongue-in-cheek references based upon consumer goods labels, and regarding life and emotion, are depicted upon glass sculptures with acid etching that defines “core truths,” according to InVerse Studio’s designer Jeff Crandall. Called “Poet’s Bottles,” each have a fine, satiny sheen that resists fingerprints and invite interaction and conversation. “Dreams” reads, “Drink deeply and imagine”; “Sin” sexily conveys, “Contains indulgence, wicked pleasures, wild abandon and 1/10 of 1% of guilt.” “Love” sweetly states, “Warning: Causes dizziness.” Available at The Artful Home (artfulhome.com) for $85 per bottle.
INDULGENCES AT HOME
Pottery Barnâ€™s white Aquis towels are not only stylishly reminiscent of your favorite spa, but are made of ultrafine microfiber, which creates more surfacearea for greater absorption than an ordinary towel. They also dry more quickly between uses, keeping them fresher, longer. Potterybarn.com and Pottery Barn stores.
To add extra shine and luxury to your stainless place settings, or for chicly monogrammed individuality atop your bar, these double-metallic banded tumblers are made to order. Dishwasher safe in two sizes (12.7 and 16 ounces), the smart presentation cleans without a headache. Available at West Elm (westelm.com) in sets of four, starting at $24.
INDULGENCES AT HOME
Have a gorgeous, wood-grained, custom bathroom and donâ€™t wish to place a metallic monster in there for your morning weigh-in? This birchwood scale is the perfect answer! It will maintain a lower profile on your beautiful hardwood floors, yet elegantly depicts your status while on that diet, or day-to-day. Weighs up to 330 pounds, auto shut-off and easily wiped clean. $59.99 at Linens & Things (lnt.com).
Leave it to Ralph Lauren to bring an equestrian flair to your table service. These lovely, braided stainless steel flatware pieces handsomely depict both heritage and upscale country romance. Each 5-piece place setting is $70, at ralphlauren.com.
INDULGENCES AT HOME
Archipelago Signature Collectionâ€™s boxed scented candles burn for approximately 50 hours and beautifully present such scents as Jasmine Hibiscus, Bergamot Tobacco, Pineapple Ginger, Pink Grapefruit, Bamboo Teak, and Pomegranate Citrus. $25 each at Bloomingdales.com.
Since 1887 in Portugal, Claus Porto has been creating and crafting luxuriously lathering, wonderfully scented soaps for the priviliged few. These soaps, consisting of 100% natural, vegetable-based ingredients, are exclusive to Red Envelope and packaged in a set of three, including honeysuckle, red poppy, and Bulgarian rose and blackberry. Available at redenvelope.com for $30.
INDULGENCES AT HOME
Chef Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill developed these authentic Mexican-American barbecue rubs, exclusively for Crate & Barrel. In coffeelaced Spicy Redeye for ham, pork chops, ribs and burgers; Tangy Smoky Cider for chicken, ribs, shrimp and chops; smoky-sweet Chipotle Honey for any meat, poultry or seafood. Coordinate well with the sauces, below! $6.95 each, at Crate & Barrel (crateandbarrel.com).
Chef Rick Bayless created these three sauces for your barbecue, including Spicy Redeye, Tangy Smoky Cider, and Chipotle Honey, for your grilling and finger-licking pleasure. $9.95 each, at Crate & Barrel (crateandbarrel.com).
You’ll love it, or you’ll hate it. Yes, the first sips are surprising and (for some) difficult, but the key is to just drink it and not linger in doubt. Without additives, sugars or refined ingredients, it is organic, raw and vegan...with many touted positive effects upon your body, including improved digestion, strengthening of the immune system, healthier skin and hair, and much more. We didn’t prove any of that in a scientific study, but after three or four at a rate of one per morning, we developed a habit that pleasantly started each day. The best flavor for getting your feet wet is the Divine Grape Synergy. The Kombucha line is 100% organic raw Kombucha. Synergy bottles are 95% Kombucha, 5% real fruit juice. For more information, go to GTsKombucha.com. Biggest benefit: Seems to help thwart hangovers!
INDULGENCES AT HOME
Sterling Caviar is farm-raised, white sturgeon caviar that absolutely bursts in your mouth. From Sacramento, California, it is likened to Osetra, with nutty flavor that is both smooth and robust. From $62 for 30 grams (Classic Caviar), up to $88 for 30 grams (Imperial Caviar). Order at SterlingCaviar.com. See MagazineBLU.com for a Sterling Caviar recipe.
Every part of this Horchow Collection â€œFill Me With Loveâ€? gift box cake is delightfully edible, including the red chocolate roses, gold-edged and satin-finished white chocolate ribbon, lid of Belgian white chocolate with dark chocolate scrollwork, and the box base of white- and bittersweet chocolate cheesecake with raspberry swirls on a chocolate and macadamia nut crust. $124 at horchow.com.
Layers of chocolate decadence cake, caramel toffee buttercream and silky chocolate buttercream make this beautiful zebra-striped handbag more than a fashionable accessory! This completely edible Horchow cake is available at horchow.com, for $220.
INDULGENCES AT HOME
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INDULGENCES AT HOME
Whether your living space is traditional or art deco, we have a seat for you. So, grab a book and cup of tea, or ready yourself for a deep conversation with an old friend. These chairs, if to make a statement or simply add to your seating arrangement, will certainly add some style to your home! 1. “Spring’s Throne” steel and copper limited edition by Rachel Miller and Tim Miller, $4000 at The Artful Home (artfulhome.com); 2. Brooks Slipcovered Chair in Serafina Floral, by Pottery Barn (potterybarn.com), $679; 3. “Tiger” Chair with hardwood frame, $699 at Neiman Marcus (neimanmarcus.com); 4. Natural Hemp Slipper Chair by West Elm in flax color, $399 (westelm.com); 5. Crate & Barrel’s Petrie Chair in stain-repellant brushed cotton, $899 (crateandbarrel.com); 6. Anthropologie’s Antwerp Chair in bloom fabric, $1498 (anthropologie.com); 7. Jacaranda Lounge Chair in dark banana bark and lampacanai rope with bentwood mahogany frame, $1699 at Frontgate (frontgate.com); 8. Damian Barton’s Petal Chair in maple, oak, beech or metal, $2600 at Plush Pod (plushpod.com); 9. Ethan Allen’s Berwick Chair, $1129+ (ethanallen.com); 10. Cameron Van Dyke’s steel and leather Dr. Star Chair, $3875 at The Artful Home (artfulhome.com); 11. Old Hickory Tannery Zebra-Stripe Armchair in stripe-dyed hairhide, from Horchow (horchow.com), $1499; 12. Michael Puryear’s bubinga wood and black leather Barrow Chair, at The Artful Home (artfulhome.com), $6700; 13. Fernando and Humberto Campana’s handcrafted wood pieced Favela Chair, $2985 at Plush Pod (plushpod.com). www.magazineblu.com
INDULGENCES GROOMING: UNISEX
If it’s true that we can never be too rich or too thin, then it certainly goes without saying that we can never be too fresh. Body Mint is the first all-body freshening tablet taken orally (like a vitamin) to keep people who are “on the go” feeling sparklingly clean and comfortable throughout the day. Simply popping the little green tablet once in the morning and once in the evening reduces breath and perspiration odors before they start, allowing people to get closer, play harder and live an unrestrained life. Body Mint’s unique manufacturing process uses a highly specialized, all natural and water-soluble derivative of chlorophyll. Starts working in as little as 2 days. Retails for $19.95 at Whole Foods, Long’s, Eckerd’s and other drug stores. BodyMint.com.
Needing a spritz on the beach or while under the hot, hot sun? Don’t just spray water, make the mist count and enjoy a new beauty treatment for hair and skin. iTech introduces the “e” energy water system; a specially designed spray bottle that features an all-natural filtration system. It quickly and easily converts regular tap water into a hair and skin-friendly mist charged with healing negative hydrogen ions and vitamin C, at the prime pH balance for optimum fighting of frizz, maximum shine, damage repair and color retention for your mane, and softening, toning, clarification, and refreshment of skin, all the while protecting both from microorganisms, wind, and pollutants. The scent is relaxing and scrumptiously woodsy (suitable for either sex), and the bottles come in three sizes - including one for the bathroom, one for the beach tote, and one for your cutest little handbag or the saddle bag on your Harley. Retails for $40 to $60. eenergywater.com.
INDULGENCES GROOMING: UNISEX
Giovanni offers a great line of skin and hair care products that help you look your summer best. Frizz Be Gone fights summer hair frizz and imparts shine, detangles, conditions and locks in color. Giovanniâ€™s Sugar Scrub in decadent Hot Chocolate and Salt Scrub in Mint Lemonade warm, exfoliate and polish yourskin soft, while gently moisturizing. Biodegradable, organic, moist towelettes refresh and rejuvenate on the go, while killing germs on hands, feet, legs and more. For the towelettes, relax with soothing Lavender Calm scent, or refresh with cooling, crisp Peppermint. Most Giovanni products available at Drugstore.com, Target, and other drug chains nationwide. GiovanniCosmetics.com.
iWhite takes at-home teeth whitening to a whole new psychedelic level with its neon blue Electroluminescent energy and light. This patented system includes a lighted mouth tray and disposable whitening gel foam strips. With the touch of a button, the blue light on the mouth tray activates the gel foam strips, to deliver the fastest and most effective results possible (unlike other take-home products that rely solely on hydrogen peroxide and tooth contact time). Clinical tests show little or zero sensitivity. iWhite is used for just 20 minutes per day for five days in a row. As only five days are required for your brighter smile, this system makes flashing your pearly whites in the moonlight a quicker possibility, and without the bad aftertaste of disposable strips! Retails for $45 at varied drugstores and Drugstore.com. The company website is iWhitesmile.com.
INDULGENCES GROOMING: HIS
Start to Finish
Clinique’s twice-daily facial soap is dermatologist-formulated for a man’s dry to medium skin. This 6ounce bar leaves skin fresh and clean before the morning shave, as well as at the end of the day. $10.50.
The Art of Shaving Unscented PreShave Oil softens the beard and preps skin for a close shave. Aromatherapy-based, this blend of botanical ingredients and essential oils does not leave an oily residue and is ideal for sensitive skin, ingrown hair, razor burn, or tough beards. Unscented is hypoallergenic. 2 ounces, $22.
Clarinsmen After Shave Energizer calms, tones, and purifies skin following your close shave, while instantly invigorating. The alcoholbased, fresh Energizer is $24 for 2.5 ounces.
Clinique Scruffing Lotion exfoliates and polishes your face, while also controlling oil and helping your skin renew with a healthy glow. 6.7 ounces is $11.
Protect your skin from irritation and razor burn, leaving it smooth and moisturized. That is easy with The Art of Shaving’s thick and rich Lavender Shaving Cream, that softens and lifts the beard for a close, comfortable shave. Use with a brush or by hand. 2.5 ounces, $14.
Advanced eye therapy is yours, in this Anthony Logistics Eye Cream for dry and damaged skin. It protects, firms, and fights dark circles and fine lines. 0.75 ounces, $28.
INDULGENCES GROOMING: HIS
Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25 is a nourishing balm consisting of natural mint, avocado oil, shea butter and green tea, in a fragrance-, colorant-, and paba-free moisturizing formula. It immediately soothes dry, irritated and chapped lips, providing not only relief, but SPF 25 sun protection. 0.25 ounces, $7.
Zirh Clay Mask rejuvenates and detoxifies by cleaning pores, absorbing impurities and excess oil, and by providing five minutes of soothing for the face. 4 oz, $17.
Separation, direction, and a light, flexible hold are easy with John Allanâ€™s Pomade Blu. And yes, we love the name! Pomade Blu provides detail and shine, without weighing the hair down. The water-based formula washes out easily, too. 2.4 ounces, $21.
To wipe away dirt, de-shine and refresh your face anytime, anywhere, these Lab Series Oil Control Towelettes provide a quick remedy and relief for normal to oily skin, in a convenient travel package. 30 wipes are $15.
Billy Jealousy Golden Gloves Therapeutic Hand Cream softens rough, dry, manly hands, while nourishing and protecting with a tropical blend of botanical extracts. 3.8 ounces, $28.
For 225 years, Kent has been known for their superior grooming products. This ebony wood based, boar bristle, fantastic quality Rectangular Hair Brush for Men provides excellent performance with unsurpassed quality. Each, $125.
Burberry Summer For Him is a limited edition summer fragrance of pineapple, citrus, frozen mint, thyme, woods, cedar, white musk and tonka bean. 3.3 ounces is $55. www.magazineblu.com
INDULGENCES GROOMING: HERS
Mean So Much
Clinique Liquid Facial Soap brings all the benefits of Clinique’s famous dermatologist-developed facial soap in a new liquid formula. Cleanses without stripping protective lipids. 6.7 fl ounces, $14.50.
Designed to keep skin soft, smooth and glowing, mix with water to create a fully customized, gentle exfoliator that is formulated to help remove dry surface patches and encourage skin cell turnover. .99 ounces, $40.
SK-II Facial Radiance Mask enhances radiance and moisture, revitalizes, comforts, and soaks skin with a fusion of vitamins, amino acids, minerals and organic acids. Skin is immediately hydrated, leaving it refreshed and cool. 10 masks, $110.
Estée Lauder Re-Nutriv Ultimate Lifting Serum is a twice-daily, luxurious application that encourages a noticeably more lifted look, brilliant clarity and newly refined smoothness. 1 ounce, $200.
When skin has been overexposed to the sun, prevent visible damage and minimize peeling with this cool, refreshing, oil-free Clinique After-Sun Rescue Balm. Suitable for use throughout the body, one or more times per day. 5 ounces, $18.50.
Lancôme Le Rouge Absolu Base Revitalizing Lip Treatment is a continuous, deep moisturizing lip treatment with SPF 10 sunscreen in lipstick form, that can be applied alone day and night for treatment, or under your favorite lip color to revitalize, protect and accentuate your lips with satiny shine. $26. 97
Don’t have time for a seaweed wrap, but want to infuse your skin with moisture? La Mer Body Creme saturates skin, comforts, and renews upon contact, calming and cushioning even the driest of skin as it is enveloped in the therapeutic effects of the sea. $195. www.magazineblu.com
Philosophyâ€™s siliconebased eye and lip area brightening balm with light diffuser technology reduce the appearance of unsightly shadows around the eye and upper lip area as it instantly helps reduce the appearance of baggy, puffy eyes. 0.5 ounces, $33.
Yves Saint Laurent Radiant Touch Concealer highlights or conceals signs of fatigue from the eye area, hollow of the chin, contour of the lips and sides of the nose. $40.
INDULGENCES GROOMING: HERS
Sephoraâ€™s felt tipped French manicure pen makes achieving perfect, professional-looking nails simple. $8.
Diorshow Mascara is a legendary favorite, providing super volume, length, and curl. Makes eyes look catwalk-ready! 0.38 oz, $24.
Shu Uemura light brown false eyelashes enable a glamourous statement, or may be trimmed to suit a more subtle, natural look. $16.
Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Beige Collection of lipsticks are available in a vivid, unreplicated, richly textured palette of colors in wearable, 8-hour lasting, moisture-rich comfort. $23.
Frederic Fekkai Summer Hair Zero Humidity Frizz Control fights frizz and flyaways all day, in this convenient, water- and alcohol-free, spray mist with UV protection. $22.
Clarins Sun Blush is a featherlight blush powder with a subtle shimmer that highlights face and cleavage with a touch of sun-kissed sparkle for an instant healthy looking glow. $27.
Lancome Color Fever Gloss spans 15 shades of ultra-shiny, curvaceous radiance for your lips, with a smartly angled applicator for color precision. $23.
Ojon Restorative Hair Treatment instantly rejuvenates, hydrates, and reconstructs dry and damaged hair, providing long-term benefit, beauty, shine, manageability, volume, and health. 5 ounces, $55. 98
INDULGENCES SHOES: HERS
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1. Prada Capretto Tri-Color Waves open-toe, ankle strap Mary Jane. 4 3/4” heel. $690. 2. Michael, Michael Kors Astor Grommet buckled slingback with lace front detail. 4 1/4” heel, $120. 3. Boutique 9 Bisson peep toe buckle pump.3” heel, $85. 4. Christian Louboutin Mouche Zeppa pleated platform pump of blue chiffon with leather trim. 4 7/10” heel, $875. 5. Prada peep toe jeweled pump adorned with Swarovski crystals. 4” heel, $850. 6. Emilio Pucci satin pump with bow detail. Crescent toe on a covered stilletto. $410. 7. Gucci Roma platform slide. Leather with bamboo detail on heel. 5” heel, $535. 8. Ralph Lauren platform sandal in glossy patent leather. Peep toe with buckle ankle strap. 4” heel, $595.
INDULGENCES SHOES: HIS
1. Calvin Klein Paul slip on leather loafer with bit hardware detail. $130. 2. Ralph Lauren Adamson penny loafer in in calfskin. $475. 3. Hugo Boss Orange whipstitch leather loafer in soft sheepskin, $195. 4. Dior Homme classic Mocassin Loafer in leather, $570. 5. Cole Haan Aircourt Woven Sneakers in leather, $195.
INDULGENCES BAGS: HERS
2 8 6 7 1
1. Badgley Mischka Emma Satchel in black leather, $645. 2. Cole Haan Genevieve Clutch with custom antiqued brass hardware or brushed nickel on leather, $295. 3. D&G Dolce & Gabbana Regina Satchel in brown calf leather with ruching detail. $1270. 4. Michael Kors Embossed Leather Bow Clutch in caramel, $595. 5. Miu Miu Nappa Patch Petals Satchel of leather with silvertone hardware, $1240. 6. Ralph Lauren Striped Ricky 33 in silk dupioni and patent leather, $2895. 7. Jimmy Choo Malina Leather Satchel with suede detailing and brasstone hardware. $1895. 8. Nancy Gonzalez flap clutch in crocodile, $1400. 101
INDULGENCES JEWELS & ACCESSORIES: HERS
INDULGENCES JEWELS & ACCESSORIES: HERS
Ladies, you work on your summer glow, fight seaside hair frizz, put on your sexiest shoulder-baring summer dress, and want to take your cutest new handbag to the restaurant or nightclub just off the boardwalk. But, we all know how dirty and sticky public dining and drinking establishment floors can get - and, with identity theft on the rise, you donâ€™t want to simply place your purse on the floor, out of your line of sight. Solution? These bejeweled Luxe Link purse holders have a stylish chain that wraps around an anchoring, snazzy top, holding your latest Marc Jacobs or other designer handbag securely to any table surface. Each Link comes in a luxurious suede pouch, that is smaller than a compact. $35 to $79, at LuxeLink.com.
Previous page: 1. Pink Chalcedony Cabochon Ring. Bronze setting with beaded detail.
1 1/2" diameter. Made in the USA of imported material. By Steven Dweck, at Neiman Marcus. $680. 2. Alexis Bittar Lucite Cocktail Ring. Sleek and dramatic lucite cocktail ring sparkles with a bold reverse-cut crystal quartz in a rhodium-plated setting. By Alexis Bittar, at Saks Fifth Avenue. $215. 3.David Yurman Lavender Amethyst Cerise Ring. Cerise ring in sterling silver cable with faceted lavender amethyst center and pavĂŠ diamond bezel. 0.79 total carat weight. Neiman Marcus, $1900. 4. Yves Saint Laurent Macadem Heart Ring. This black heart gold tone metal ring is inscribed with signature YSL on bottom. $295 at Saks Fifth Avenue. 5. Kapow Silver & Resin Ring, by LuLu Smith. $175 at The Artful Home (artfulhome.com). 6. Lord & Taylor Sterling Silver Ring with Jade Center, Stone and Marcasite Border. $50. 7. Sterling Silver and Turquoise Global Ring, $158 at Anthropologie. 8. Cubic Zirconia gem in earthy green within 18k gold-plated setting. Anthropologie, $88.
INDULGENCES JEWELS & ACCESSORIES: HIS
Top to bottom, this page: Giorgio Armani Bifold Wallet. Stamped croco-
dile pattern on calfskin leather with credit card slots and bill compartment. Available at Saks Fifth Avenue. $275. Weston richly mahogany-toned leather cigar case, monogrammed lighter, cigar cutter. Red Envelope (redenvelope.com), $84. Ruth Avra’s “Garden Wall” sterling silver and stingray hide belt buckle, on a black leather belt. Limited edition of only ten buckles in existence! $770 at The Artful Home (artfulhome.com).
INDULGENCES JEWELS & ACCESSORIES: HIS
Clockwise, from bottom left: Ward Wallau created and crafted these New York City Subway Token Cufflinks, which arrive in a subway map gift box and with a certificate of authenticity. At Lord & Taylor, $145. Emporio Armani Braided Leather Bracelet with sterling silver accents, $250 at Saks Fifth Avenue. Gucci Dog Tag Necklace, sterling silver, $315 at Neiman Marcus. Nathan McPhersonâ€™s Three Dot Copper Ring. Brushed stainless steel, $255. With diamonds in each copper dot center, $560. The Artful Home (artfulhome.com). Ralph Lauren Button Cuff Links in sterling silver, $325 at ralphlauren.com. Murano, Italy cuff links in glass with layered gold leaf, $28 at Red Envelope (redenvelope.com).
INDULGENCES PET PAMPERING: CAT
Meow! Top to bottom, this page: The Cat Livin Climber hangs on the back of a door, keeping occupied, safe, and mentally stimulated. No hardware is required, as the Cat Climber hangs on a door much like a coat hook or wreath hanger! Space saving, sturdy, and easy to relocate to keep cats interested in the scenery around them. $200. Cat Livinâ€™s Garden for kitty is a stainless steel container of 100% organic oats, wheat, rye and barley that grows in 4 to 6 days, keeping your fave feline in good digestion, without hairballs, and away from your houseplants. $18. Both products available at Cat Livin (catlivin.net).
INDULGENCES PET PAMPERING: DOG
From bottom, clockwise: Polkadog Bakery Treats Box is a twocan set of 12 ounces each of Meat Lover’s and Peanut Butter Medley all-natural, artisanal quality dog bakery treats, developed by dog owners from Boston. $30 for two cans, Red Envelope (redenvelope.com). For the remainder of the summer boating season, keep your pup’s head above water. This working lifejacket is available at UnitedK9s.com. Pricing varies according to breed size. Ralph Lauren’s adorable navy and lime green Big Pony Mesh Polo makes a clear statement style. Available in other colors, too, at Ralph Lauren (ralphlauren.com), $45. The SunSpa is a brand new product recently developed for your indoor pets, to provide them with sunlight-quality stimulation and keep their little moods upbeat, while enriching their lives with sunlight they might otherwise miss. Pricing to be announced, at ParadiseImage.com. Red Envelope’s personalized pet bowls bring whimsy to feeding time. Three sizes are available, according to your animal’s breed and appetite. From $50 to $70, available at redenvelope.com.
The newest evolution in fitness!
Sleek, sophisticated styling, complemented with state-of-the-art engineering, is the essence of a new standard in elliptical trainers â€“ the CenterG series from Keys Fitness.
Setting a new and higher performance benchmark, the new CenterG elliptical series redefines the elliptical category. With breakthrough design and technology, they deliver what is most important in your elliptical workoutâ€Śa smooth and natural motion.
Ellipticals are all about providing you effective cardio training with low impact to your body. The new, patented center-drive technology of CenterG delivers improved performance in this area over conventionally designed ellipticals. And, by keeping the drive system centered around you, CenterG allows you to maintain proper spine alignment and better posture. Translating into a better and more comfortable workout.
Model: Patricia Reh (self-portrait).
Restrictive History The Evolution of Corsets and Neckties By Kimberly Toms with Kristen Held Photographs by Patricia Reh
As one mentions the word “corset,” one of two images generally appears in the mind of anyone within earshot. The first is that of a pre-Civil War debutante, as she grasps a post on her canopied bed, trying desperately to maintain balance while her housemaid struggles with full force to tighten the laces and cinch the already tiny waist to suit fashionable finicality. The second, more modern image, is that of sleek, shiny, black vinyl and steel clasps, as the dominatrix cracks her whip. How is it that one garment evolved from one end of the fashion spectrum to the direct opposite, first being an article required of the most chaste and elite ladies, then being a symbol of ruthlessness and sexual provocation? Very ironically, primarily individualists, those who are neither inhibited nor afraid to make a fashion statement, now wear what was originally conceived to produce heightened feminine beauty in women of society, and then eventually distorted into a tool of vanity, fashionable conformity and discipline of the female form. In modern times, the wearer is sometimes even an overt sexual disciplinarian and anything but softly feminine. What is less frequently realized than the Gone with the Wind scene of tugging and lacing to obtain an 18-inch waist, is that the corset was originally designed in the 1500s as a fashionable cylindrical form not meant to cinch the waist so much as to support and spotlight the breasts. As depicted in popu-
Shakespeare in Love, the average corset wearer was a lady of society, a blueblood, a member of the elite. She is frequently depicted with a heavy bosom, adorned with large baubles and gems. It was not until over three hundred years later, in the Victorian era, that women became competitive in their waist size, cinching ever tighter and training their torsos into an exaggerated hourglass shape that reminds one of Who Framed Roger Rabbit’s Jessica Rabbit physique. This obsession with obtaining the most curvaceous figure and smallest waist possible raged out of control, starting from the 1840s and lasting well into the early 1900s, as part of the Edwardian era. Clear examples of this look are historically accurate movies, such as Anna and the King, Little Women, Gone with the Wind, Tombstone, The Age of Innocence and Titanic. This mass desire of 19 th and 20 th century women to appear up to par for a certain fashionable and societal expectation is quite similar to the modern woman’s desire to be thin and fit, a size 4 or 6. Many women of today have utilized methods to achieve the same goals as the Victorian and Edwardian ladies, except through dieting (even starvation) versus binding. Most still strive to wear the smallest size possible, have the most sought-after physique and to be just a little bit better than those around her. The only difference is that the woman of yesteryear tightened the laces and women of the past thirty years skip meals, crash diet and workout excessively to obtain similar results. www.magazineblu.com
The majority of us can recall hearing tales of the negative physiological affects of corsetry and tight lacing on the female body. But, little is regarded about how diligently advocates of corsetry, such as the Corset Manufacturers Association, fought to keep women in such garments beyond 1900. Clearly, manufacturers, retailers and salespeople had incentive for continuing to sell their products, thus utilized a massive marketing campaign to ensure longevity in manufacture and sales, despite the growing desire of women to shed the structured wear. As women were rejecting, the industry was scrambling. Initially, industrialists fought the woman’s desire to “go corsetless” through mention of femininity, morality and respectability within advertising campaigns and editorials. As the fight to retain a foothold in the early 1900s undergarment market intensified, claims turned from such Victorian ideals to those of pure vanity, such as perpetuation of youth, concealment of physical imperfection, reversal of gender inferiority and even compensation for evolutionary inadequacy. It was an era during which there was a clear shift from employing simple moralistic opinion and arguments to influence women to those supposedly backed by scientific fact. As late as the 1920’s, corset manufacturer trade journals declared that the “corsetless evil” could result in dissipation of muscular strength, injury to internal organs and even destruction of American sovereignty. By 1917, as the Suffragettes converged upon the White House and birth control became a hot topic of political and scientific debate, hemlines slowly shortened, women showed their legs, and in the process, a new movement toward freedom in women’s dress, behavior and rights surged forward…into the era of stretch fabrics, nylons and, eventually, spandex. Christian Dior revisited the corseted silhouette (without an actual corset) as part of his “New Look” of 1947. The standard for the next decade thus became a small torso, shoulders and waist, a large bust with almost indefinable hips under flowing, mid-calf length skirts-just as popularized by Ava Gardner.
Perhaps it is Vivienne Westwood who deserves most credit for both the resurgence of the corset into modern fashion, as well as its frequent consideration in the collective consciousness as one of the basic fashion elements of fetishism. Westwood designed the clothing worn by the Sex Pistols for their first gig, utilizing punk-wear staples such as spiked collars, bondage gear, safety pins and outrageous styling. In 1987, she was the first designer to introduce corsets as outerwear, as part of her Harris Tweed Collection that included the “Stature of Liberty” corset adorned with Swarovski crystals. Westwood’s study of fashion history led to her philosophy that clothing is about “changing the shape of the body, about having a restriction,” versus the more conventional expectation that clothing should fit the shape of the body. Since Vivienne Westwood’s modern debut of corsets in 1987 and Madonna’s many appearances in varied versions of her own whim during the nineties, corsets have become much more mainstream, while maintaining their edgy and fetishist appeal. They are now prevalent in high fashion, as prominently designed and utilized by Christian LaCroix, Jean Paul Gaultier and Alexander McQueen within their lines of the past six years. As time progresses, corsets are more accepted as outerwear and less the whispered-about clothing of a rare brave soul. According to Amanda Violett, an online corsetry group moderator and corset model from Dallas, “Corsets make every part of your body look more refined.” That is parallel to the original objective behind conception and wear of corsets, of hundreds of years ago. However, she also has a more modern perspective. “Wearing a corset makes a statement about your sexuality and confidence. Women of all sizes can improve their feelings about themselves, once they [don] a corset. A small busted girl gains a boosted bust line. A curvier gal has a more defined and tight waist. A busty girl gains a tall and firmly voluptuous shelf.” Amy, a 40 year-old corset wearer, claims, “I love the tightness of the binding, the way it feels like I am being forced to be more aware of my posture. Every movement feels more graceful and even calculated, like a cat walking atop a picket fence. Everything about a corset makes me feel powerful and incredibly sexy.” So, clearly, wearing a corset can boost a woman’s self esteem and sense of personal power. For a man, or other observers of the corseted frame, such a garment may be attractive due to the refinement of a woman’s physique to conform more closely to old fashioned societal standards of curvaceous, Marilyn Monroe-esque femininity. In addition, a confident wearer is sexually appealing, as confidence is key to one’s own heightened sex appeal. Framed and Strangled In the world of men’s fashion, nothing compares to the constrictive nature of the corset like the ever-knotted necktie. Although now more commonly referred to as “neckwear,” ties became fashionable in the artistic sense around the necks of the elite and royalty in France during the mid-1600s. The exact origin of the necktie, however, is of great debate. Some historians have attributed neck scarves to Shih Huan Ti, China’s first emperor, who died in 210 B.C. Others claim Trajan, the militaristic Roman emperor, commissioned statues in 113 A.D. to commemorate his forces’ victory in what is now Romania, with the figures donning at least three versions of the modern necktie. Perhaps the most popular perspective is that of Croatian mercenaries having worn silk kerchiefs around their necks during the reign of Louis XIII, as part of the Thirty Years’ War that ended in 1648. According to lore, Louis was so captivated by the look of what was then termed the “cravat,” he took to wearing one himself, launching a global fashion that has endured through today.
Model: Megan Oliveira. www.magazineblu.com
Whatever its origin, the necktie was labeled a Steinkirk in the late 1690s, after the Battle of Steinkirk in Flanders in 1692. Once puffy and using up to six feet of expensive fabric as the Steinkirk, the tie has settled into the thin, simpler form we see today. In the process, the necktie took on a similar status appeal as the corset had for women. Men used neckties of expensive fabric to separate themselves from the lower economic classes they referred to as “social inferiors.” Neckwear became a symbol of organizational allegiance, military membership, occupation and status. Until 1845, cravats were primarily solid colored or stark white. Then, a Cambridge University cricket club is believed to have utilized their flag colors of black, red-orange and gold as a necktie. This was the beginning of sports color wear in ties, followed in 1880 with the school tie birth, at Oxford University’s Exeter College. Since that time, school color ties are widely accepted on both sides of the Atlantic. Designer brands had their birth in the men’s neckwear genre in the 1920s, with sales primarily geared toward women. In the 1960’s, fewer men wore traditional clothing as part of the Peacock Revolution against formalized standards of attire. After exhibiting a comeback in the 1970’s and a resurgence of suit wear in the 80’s, neckties have experienced solidification in the wardrobes of upwardly mobile and accomplished white-collar men, despite the advent of “Casual Friday.” With suits being somewhat standardized and traditional in the corporate realm, many men find an outlet for self-expression in the style and colors of neckwear that they select and wear as part of workday attire. Politicians convey messages through which tie they don, including an option of a red “power tie” or a blue conservative option. Of course, everyone remembers President Bill Clinton’s affinity for neckwear, including the message he sent out via national television to Monica Lewinsky, by wearing a tie she presented to him as a gift. Critics of the simple, yet typically colorful, fashion statement have called the American tie “one of the most obvious phallic symbols in history.” However one feels about the look of neckwear, or the wearing of a tie, this one piece of silk knotted at the Adam’s apple frames the man’s face as it cinches at the throat, just as a corset frames the figure of a woman as it cinches at the waist. Both articles of attire are also physical expressions of individual taste and personality. Tied and Laced Beyond the similarities of restriction, idealism and conformity, as well as popular origins within a hundred years or so of one another, the man’s necktie and the woman’s corset were not bound on a parallel path. Women, with the aid of prodigious fashion designers of the 20 th century, in part due to women’s liberation and with advancement in fabric construction, determined comfort and accentuation of a natural female form as an element of beauty to be preferred, thus shedding the under-armor that once so heavily constricted. Men, for the most part, have continued to don and even embrace the necktie as a symbol of power, with little change in its form or appeal as a basic fashion element of the past hundred years. Little is ever really known about the direction of fashion in the future. However, if history is indeed a proving ground for coming standards and events, it appears that women’s undergarments will continue to become less binding and ever-smaller. Corsetry will probably remain popular in the world of fetishism and as a bold, yet occasional, fashion statement, as modern women seem more apt to prefer comfort over conformity. On the other hand, neckwear appears to be firmly rooted in the future of men’s attire. Although wear may continue to decrease as a standard only for important meetings and formal events, it seems that men enjoy the individuality and power that can be exuded from the selection and wear of one’s neck tie. For the time being and near future, men are likely to continue in acceptance of the slight discomfort of a bound throat, in exchange for the polish and style presented through a few feet of colorful silk fabric. 51
Bound Captivating Corsets You Will Both Love
Historically influenced yet elegantly modern, corsets are naturally seductive, sleek and confidently sophisticated. Designed by Delicious Corseterie, these dramatically feminine pieces are sure to inspire admiration and romance. Photographs by Patricia Reh.
All Corsetry Courtesy Delicious Boutique (DeliciousBoutique.com) 53
Model: Megan Oliveira Makeup: Kim Norris
Model: Jennifer Tracy Makeup: Kim Norris
Both Pages: Model: Jennifer Tracy Makeup: Kim Norris
Both Pages: Model:Megan Oliveira Makeup: Kim Norris
Model: Melissa Strawley Makeup: Kim Norris
Model: Megan Oliveira Makeup: Kim Norris
Bind Wrap Clasp Buckle Strap
Background Photo by Patricia Reh. Model: Megan Oliveira. Hair/Makeup:
In Silver, Gold, Watches and Gems
Escada Chain ($5260) and Pendant ($2780); Escada Wrist Bands ($2890 to $7200).
All fashions courtesy Bernie Robbins Fine Jewelry, 10 Locations Throughout PA and NJ (www.BernieRobbins.com).
Clockwise from left: Bernie Robbins White Gold and Diamond Necklace with Pendant ($8690), White Gold and Diamond Cuffs (Left: $7100/Right: $14,500) and Cuffs in White Gold, Rose and Yellow Gold with Diamonds ($11,750 to $13,950).
Background Photo By Kimberly Toms www.magazineblu.com
Clockwise from left: John Hardy Necklace ($2550) with Pendant ($1795), Bracelet ($1695) and Ring ($995).
Background Photo By Kimberly Toms www.magazineblu.com
Bernie Robbins Necklace ($6920) and Cuff ($11,000).
Clockwise from left: Judith Ripka Silver and 18k Yellow Gold Necklace ($650) with Pendant ($1050), Bracelets (Top: $950, Middle: $700, Bottom: $1800), Heart Ring ($500) and Gemstone/Diamond Rings ($650).
Background Photo By Kimberly Toms www.magazineblu.com
Clockwise from left: David Yurman 16â€? Box Chain Necklace in 18k Gold ($2575) with Oval Mosaic Enhancer in 18k Gold with Blue Topaz, Blue Chalcedony, Iolite, Sapphire and Diamonds ($3800), Oval Mosaic Cuff in 18k Gold with Blue Topaz, London Blue Topaz, Lavender Amethyst, Blue Chalcedony and Diamonds ($9500), Oval Mosaic Ring in 18k Gold with Blue Topaz, Milky Aquamarine, Iolite, London Blue Topaz, Blue Sapphire and Diamonds ($2300).
Background Photo By Kimberly Toms www.magazineblu.com
David Yurman Rings-Top: Exotic Stone in Sterling Silver and Pietersite ($700), Middle: Sterling Silver and Black Onyx ($550), Bottom: Exotic Stone in Sterling Silver and Tiger Iron ($650). Dog Tag Necklaces on Box Chains-Left: Sterling Silver and Tiger Iron ($575), Right: DY Logo in Sterling Silver ($350).
Top: David Yurman Belmont Watch in Sterling Silver and Stainless Steel with Corded Dial on Bracelet ($2550). Middle: Belmont Watch in Stainless Steel and Sterling Silver with Checkerboard Guilloche Dial on Black Rubber Strap ($2100). Bottom: Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer II in Stainless Steel ($5000).
Background Photo By Kimberly Toms www.magazineblu.com
Clockwise from left: Heston Men’s Bracelets($450 to $5440). Sauro Gioielli Oltre Men’s Bracelets ($840 to $2490). Sauro Gioielli Oltre Keychain and Money Clip (Both $200).
Background Photo By Kimberly Toms www.magazineblu.com
Background Photo By Kimberly Toms
Ladiesâ€™ Watches, Top: Baume & Mercier Diamant with Diamond Bezel, Mother of Pearl Dial (Pricing Available Through Retailer), Right: Tag Heuer 33mm Link Chronograph with Diamond Bezel and Diamond Mother of Pearl Dial ($3995).
Ladiesâ€™ Watches, Left: Fendi (Pricing Available Through Retailer). Right: Carl F. Bucherer Alacria Midi with Diamond Case ($6200). Bottom: Chanel (Pricing Available Through Retailer).
Background Photo By Kimberly Toms
Menâ€™s Watches, Top: Jaeger LeCoultre Master Geographic ($8750). 2nd From Top:Baume & Mercier Hampton Milleis with Power Reserve Indicator ($2795). 3rd From Top: Breitling Cockpit on Steel Pilotâ€™s Bracelet ($4000). Bottom Left: Breitling Navitimer World ($4660). Bottom Right: Cartier Pasha Seatimer with Steel Case on Rubber Bracelet ($5100).
ROAD TRIP Manâ€™s Motivations Behind Ownership and Adoration of Vintage Automobiles
By Scott Pruden With Photographs By Rafael Henin
The garage of Porsche restorer Christopher Radbill is as full of stories as it is cars – maybe more. Situated in the suburbs of West Chester, Pennsylvania, among an innocuous cluster of light-industrial buildings along a quiet side road, Chris Radbill Automotive Repair and Restoration doesn’t overtly speak of the power of a classic automobile to restore lives. That’s up to Radbill. He points to one 1967 Porsche 912 that at one point had been blue before time and the elements wore the body paint down to the primer. The customer had owned it since before he and his wife married, but it had been in storage for years as the couple raised their family. After going through a scary period of heart trouble that threatened his life, the owner had decided to celebrate his recovery by restoring the car to its former glory. Because the customer’s budget was limited, Radbill said he would do just enough to the car to get it back on the road. Then one day Radbill called the customer’s home and his wife answered. “She said, ‘You know, my husband says I married him because of that car. And he’s probably right, because we lived in California and we used to cruise up and down the Coastal Highway and I just loved the sound of that car,’ and it was like a whole thing for her.” The result was that the budget conscious owner’s wife gave Radbill the go-ahead for a complete makeover on the iconic Porsche. “They had hung onto the car through raising a family and everything else, so it has a lot of meaning to them,” he says. “And it makes me glad to do that for people. I think that probably the biggest kick for me is when someone comes in here and is excited about what they’ve got. You can really increase the quality of their life.” And the stories keep coming, all centered on the vintage Porsches Radbill restores as a hefty percentage of his work on primarily German vehicles. There’s the high-powered pharmaceutical sales rep who uses his vintage Porsche 912 Targa as a lunchtime stress-management tool, speeding up and down the suburban Philadelphia highways until the muscles in his shoulders unclench and sanity returns. The same customer has bought a car specifically to restore with his pre-teen son, Radbill says. The son wasn’t impressed with the idea until the dad drove him to school one day and the son’s friends remarked on his dad’s cool car. “It’s creating something he can do with his son, who’s not a couch potato, but is a computer potato. So the father’s thinking that this is an opportunity to get him outside of that into something they can do together.” That cross-generational interest doesn’t just stand as a single anecdote, since Radbill and many others associated with collecting classic cars have noted a boost in the number of younger adults – almost entirely men – filtering into this thriving American sub-culture.
Witness Daran Thomas, a successful and handsome (think former model, which he was) marketing executive in the Raleigh suburb of Apex, N.C. He admits to a lifelong fascination with classic and exotic cars that he can now afford to extensively indulge. “There’s something everlasting about an old car that today is still beautiful. It has a lot more longevity than a new car,” he says. “Something that had stood the test of time, that really appealed to me.” That doesn’t mean he waited until he hit it big to purchase his first vintage car – a used BMW 525, bought when he was 25 years old. He admits it was a more affordable placeholder for what he really wanted, a 1972 BMW CSI. It took 10 years and vastly improved fortunes for him to begin searching for his dream car again. After a few years he found one – in California. A friend on the West Coast examined it, deemed it worthy of purchase and it was shipped east. It’s now a work in progress at Automotive Restoration, the shop Thomas co-owns with a friend who restores cars professionally. In addition to satisfying his childhood dreams, his acquisitions allow him the very grownup luxury of relief from the stresses of his “day job” creating promotional and marketing material for the pharmaceutical industry. “If I’m working on a big project that isn’t going as it should, I can go out to the shop and focus on a piece of metal that is tangible,” he says. “Doing something that has instant gratification, it helps in a business that is so long-term oriented.” Thomas’ story isn’t an unusual one, says Dennis Gage, host of the SPEED cable channel program My Classic Car with Dennis Gage. As someone whose job is to cover the classic car circuit, he’s noticed that collectors like Thomas represent a subtle, but significant, shift in the collector subculture.
“People want to stand out. They want to make that personal statement.” - Dennis Gage, Host My Classic Car With Dennis Gage
“I find a lot of young people driving these cars,” he says. “They’re going after the cars for the same reason as our generation – they want to stand out. People want to stand out. They want to make that personal statement.” The difference is that, because they are pursuing the cars of their youth, a whole new segment of restored and collectible late 1960s and early 1970s muscle cars are becoming more and more collectible. Auction company Barrett-Jackson has, in the last few years, seen a spike in demand for well-kept models like the Dodge Charger, Chevy Camaro or Pontiac GTO, with buyers bidding higher for those models than for glamorous standbys like Ferraris. New money plays a big part in the infusion of younger blood, but so do different priorities from those of the masses, especially with Generation Xers, he says. In large part, those who have made it big are “either going for the Porsches or the Beemers – they’re the new yuppies,” he says. “So if you don’t want to be such a yuppie, you go back and get one of these old models. It’s a cool thing, and the cool factor is very high in these cars.” But what, for lack of a better way to phrase the question, is the drive? What possesses grown-up men – and they are by and large men – to spend so much time, energy and money on what, when it comes right down to it, are obsolete modes of transportation? Gage chalks the already huge popularity up to the massive demographic wave of which he admits he’s a part. “The hobby has historically been driven by aging Baby Boomers, but there is a new focus on youth in collecting,” he says. “These guys are finally able to relive the past they never had. They can have that Shelby Mustang. They couldn’t afford them when they cost $3,000. Now, when they cost $80,000, they can afford them, because they’re statements. They’re extensions of self.” Barry Dougherty, an avid collector and appraiser who lives in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, takes a different but no less philosophical point of view. “I don’t see it as [nostalgia],” he says. “To guyswho grow and mature in the hobby, it’s like artwork. You develop an eye and a feel for what’s valuable and why it’s valuable.” 41
A good example is Nicola Bulgari, he of the Italian luxury watch and jewelry empire. Among the monied set, Bulgari’s fascination with vintage Buicks is legendary. His love goes back to his first car – a 1937 Model 8 that he found rusting in his home city of Rome and bought for $30. Since then, he’s amassed a huge collection, portions of which are stored in Italy, New York and Allentown, Pennsylvania. He has also donated a number of rare cars to museums. Bulgari, who once described Bugatti and Ferrari as “shit” to a Forbes Magazine writer, doesn’t seem to know why he loves American heavy metal, but he knows he does. Call it nostalgia or call it appreciation – or a mix of both – but it’s clear that the man knows what he likes, is passionate about it and puts plenty of money into it. Dougherty, a good friend of Bulgari’s through a mutual collector friend, can pull up to various low-slung warehouses in unassuming light industrial neighborhoods throughout Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, open a garage door and reveal rare gems of automotive design and beauty, all marinating in a delicious bouquet of motor oil and leather. In Allentown, he stops into Precision Motor Cars and chats for a moment with the technicians before heading next door to reveal a piece of Bulgari’s collection – a few thousand square feet of nothing but gleaming General Motors steel, all the product of one very wealthy man’s single-minded fascination.
But it is not in the super-rich collectors like Bulgari or designer Ralph Lauren that Dougherty sees the hobby’s future. Instead, he sees much of the hobby’s evolution coming from younger collectors entering through the segment of “tuners” – stock (mostly Japanese) automobiles that have been tricked out with more powerful engines, thunderous sound systems, elaborate lights and other cosmetic and technological embellishments. “This new wave … that’s involved in tuner cars, they’re going to get older and make money,” and as they do, their senses that have already been attuned to what makes cars special will turn to items that are more rare and valuable. While collectors might view their cars as art, Philadelphia-based painter Frederick Yohe creates art out of classic cars. His almost photorealistic paintings of vintage automobiles are as highly detailed as the cars themselves, and the collectors, celebrities, and car manufacturers who serve as a good portion of his client base recognize that. For Yohe, his love of cars comes from an appreciation of their looks rather than from fiddling under their hoods or restoring their chassis. “It’s purely aesthetics with me. I really do not know too terribly much about cars,” he says. “I simply look at the photographs, and if I see a really fine design in that photograph I go after it.” He finds that among the collectors who appreciate his work, much of the appeal is in the level of detail he is able to capture in his paintings. It’s that attention to the minutia of the machine that he believes drives many in the hobby. “I’m really only able to satisfy the guy who is into the detail,” he says. “They’re really looking at the painting to see if they can find anything that’s not right.” Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, a psychiatrist at Duke University Medical Center who is friends with Daran Thomas, says that it is hard to pin down the motivations of a vintage car collector or owner. The collector’s attention to detail – which he calls a mild and socially appropriate form of obsessive/ compulsive behavior – is about the only common factor that links vintage car owners. “Is it any different from a person who’s restoring
an ancient painting? Probably not,” he says. “Most of them are highly accomplished, successful, well-balanced people who are not letting their car collections interrupt their normal lives. The car collectors I know seem to come in all different flavors.” Still, Thomas, who is single, admits that it takes a special woman to put up with the depth of his interest in his restoration projects. A former girlfriend was with him during much of the time he was restoring a 1969 280 SL convertible Mercedes two-door coupe as a retirement gift to his father. His hobby, he says, did contribute to some friction over the course of their three-year relationship. “Obviously, she would have liked that attention on her,” he says, laughing. “And aside from car parts in the sink – because I like to do a lot of the stuff at home – like anything, she could have blamed the car. But if it wasn’t the car, I probably would have spent that time working on the house. It would have been nice if she’d had the same level of enthusiasm, but I haven’t met that many women that had that much interest in the car.” In fact, if it’s not a wife or girlfriend supporting her significant other, or a midriff- baring model paid to shill for a specialty brand of car wax, women aren’t a big part of the collector hobby. Doraiswamy notes that much of vintage car collecting does involve a bit of “alpha male” behavior, including competition for bragging rights that helps serve as an ego booster, particularly for a population that is so heavily steeped in testosterone. Mechanic and restorer Radbill speaks from experience. As someone who regularly attends car shows and parts swaps, he’s seen the extremes of male competitiveness. Negotiation sessions can last all day, with customers repeatedly returning to vendors in an attempt to get better prices. Ego wars ensue, and have occasionally ended only with threats of bodily harm. A look around a show and swap like the annual Spring Carlisle Event in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, leaves little doubt that this is a hobby for guys. The sight of adult men pulling their kids’ modified Radio Flyers full of seemingly random parts is a reminder that many of them are living their childhood fantasies of “cool car” ownership. Women are sparse and often accompanying the kind of men who would refer to them as their “old lady.” Others are middle-class couples indulging a husband’s fascination, or fathers/daughter pairs indulging in quality time before the girl’s interests turn toward make-up and boys. The women, it seems, are less interested in the minutia of collecting and restoring and – as cliché as it sounds – more in the extensive social and shopping aspects the shows offer. Every second booth seems to offer either car-related kitsch or some auto-themed antique, and it’s obvious many couples are reconnecting with people they only see at car shows. To listen to Radbill, who knows better than anyone that there’s a story under the hood of every classic automobile, it’s obvious that along with the hefty dosage of male hormones, the hobby is quietly helped along by a smidgen of estrogen. His own wife, Charlotte, fondly recalled the Porsche 912 he owned back when they first began dating. “I let her drive it and she just loved it, and then I just let her drive it [all the time],” he says. “I knew it was in good hands because she had so much fun.” That car eventually succumbed to the demands of family life. When he recently found a similar model to restore for himself, Charlotte asked for one of her own. Radbill is now restoring a Targa for her. The levels of their interest still remain at significantly different degrees, but it’s something they can share and indulge in together. And Radbill says that is a big part of the appeal to doing what he does, and is also a big part of what the hobby offers. “I’m happy to see it bring people together like that,” he says. “My wife likes to say, ‘You restore cars, but in the bigger scheme of things it’s a restorative thing for people, for their lives.’”
Art Audi of
Beyond the Four Rings By Curt Riedy
Never Follow. A slogan that both inspires and defines. A short, sweet phrase that defines the legacy of an automobile that spans both generations and the world itself. A tagline that, in all honesty, really couldn’t be more perfect. Since its American debut in 1969, the Audi has remained dedicated to providing drivers from every facet of the world with an unmatched desire for innovation and design. This inspiration is also matched by Audi’s continuing domination of racetracks all around the globe, evident in their consecutive wins throughout the decade at both the American Le Mans Series Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. After celebrating Audi’s 25th anniversary in 2005, there’s certainly been quite a bit of history to look back on. From the introduction of its frontwheel drive sedans to the unveiling of their Quattro permanent allwheel drive – Audi has remained a constantly evolving force in the automotive industry. It’s a force that proves unmatched in not only innovation and quality, but overall fun...a gratification which can be witnessed through the awesome beauty of the machines themselves. Like age-old stories of true artists who defied fakes and oppressors, Audi has fought a longstanding battle against the evil that is automotive mediocrity…a battle in which they have been the steadfast victor for decades.
Photographs by Mark Margraff
The Beginning of the Design Revolution. The Audi legacy began in 1899, when engineer August Horch founded A. Horch & Cie, his first company, and went on to create his first automobile two years later. Eventually (after a falling out with coownership that was so severe he was refused the right to use his own name on his creations), Horch founded his second company, which he officially entitled Audi, a name loosely translated to “Hark!” in German. Proudly representing two of the four rings seen in its legendary symbol, Horch’s companies are an integral mainstay in the evolution of the Audi. That’s right, folks, you read that right…those four rings actually have nothing to do with the Olympics. Instead, the symbols represent the juncture of four German auto companies (Horch, DKW, Wanderer and Audi) who were forced to ally as the Auto Union in 1932 due to depressed market conditions. After Horch’s company finally took the name Audi (which also happens to be a translation of his own name), he kept the Auto Union rings. In fact, this theme of four has remained consistent throughout Audi, and has come to represent a significant amount of their achievements. Aside from the rings themselves, the number is prevalent in their famous Quattro (Latin for 4) all-wheel drive, the four brands of the Auto Union, as well as the benchmark A4/S4 models…cars which were absolutely essential in Audi’s modern resurgence. “Some people still perceive us as a glorified Volkswagen. But, that’s simply not the case”, said Rob Javoronok, a Top Performing Audi Salesman from Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. “We build the best sedans and all-wheel drive cars out there. No question.”
The Redefining of Car Design. Be it through power, efficiency, or just its sheer promise to stay at the peak of modern technology, Audi has long remained a creative force unmatched in the automotive field. Still, there is one extremely evident aspect to these cars that continues to capture the imagination of many a car enthusiast...the exquisite design. “A much more emotional design philosophy has dawned,” said Wolfgang Hoffman, Audi’s Director of Product Planning. As stated in many a product sheet, the design of the Audi may be a creature of constant evolution, but their ongoing mission remains the same, “Deliver an edge. Make a difference.” An automobile viewed as “the perfect whole,” every machine that Audi has ever sent down the assembly line has exuded its own distinctive blend of sportiness, raw dynamism, and aura of elegance. “We focus on our three brand values - progression, sophistication and sportiness - and on our brand core, Vorsprung durch Technik (German Translation: Progress through Technology), in everything we do,” said Hoffman. “Every Audi has to have these brand values. Otherwise…it is NOT an Audi.” In 2002, these values were allowed to reach even greater heights with the introduction of new chief designer Walter de Silva, who was recruited from Italy’s Alfa Romeo. “Another very important factor for creativity is obviously the working environment and the leadership team,” states a confident Hoffman. “With Walter, we have probably the best car designer in the world heading our design teams.” 15
How it All Comes Together. So where does the conceptual process begin? Well, to be exact, conceptualization begins about five years before actual production even starts. The complete 5-step process is initiated with a competing series of ideas amongst the designers, thus setting the first visionary themes into place. The process then evolves into an elaborate series of steps, from sketch-making, model-building and color concepts, to the final step of full realization. “Our designers come from the best automotive design schools in the world,” boasts Hoffman. “They’ve been students of the Art Centre College of Design in Pasadena, the Royal College of Art in London, the University of Pforzheim in Germany, just to name a few.” For the Audi design process, having the best of the best is absolutely essential. The journey itself, while grueling at times, is one of continual mental challenges. Designers peel away at their existing knowledge of technology, sales and marketing, fusing these essential elements to one of exquisite style and creativity that has defined the Audi for decades.
Influence. Year after year, what has truly defined the Art of the Audi can be found in this incorporation of high-concept automobile design and pioneering attitude, an attitude that helped spawn the creative evolution of what now defines the modern car. Inspiration behind some of the company’s most recognizable models have been some of the most unconventional muses in the history of machination – from film, music and literature, to the forces of nature itself. Designers keep a close eye on the essential elements of life, such as the things that keep us going, make us stronger, or bring us joy. These elements are put on the table and dissected, subjected to extreme modification, evolving into an adaptation of life’s beauty…fully translated into the ultimate driving experience. “With the new Audi A6, we started a new era in our design language,” proclaims Hoffman. “Not just the new front design was introduced with this car (which is now present on all Audis), but also a much more emotional design philosophy dawned. We’re now showing more flowing lines, moving surfaces, and big, bold shoulders. The cars are more of a statement.” One inspirational example? Well, even the late Grace Kelly has had an enormous impact in the history of Audi, her unique beauty and grace being one of primary inspirations for their premium flagship vehicle the A8, the all-aluminum luxury sedan originally introduced in 1994. “We believe that our cars are timelessly elegant and beautiful, just like Grace Kelly was and even is still today,” said Hoffman. “[I noticed] just the rear window the other day…and I fell in love with her once again.” This incorporation of aluminum within the A8 changed the entire outlook of passenger cars, not only in design, but through many other aspects as well – aspects that include comfort, performance, safety and weight.
Innovation. Never satisfied with complacency, Audi’s inclusion of aluminum is also in a constant state of evolution and design, growing increasingly stronger than its predecessors, and now incorporating an even higher standard with new bonding technology and innovative alloys. “We never compromise on our interior design”, said Hoffman. “The materials we choose are of the highest quality. The fit and finish is second to none in the industry. We even employ nose teams to find the right smell for each and every Audi.” Don’t even think he’s kidding. During the production process, the interior of the cars themselves are even tested within a haptic lab for textural sensations, with every touch, scent, and feeling put through a series of rigorous testing. “Hands down, the interior of an Audi is the best interior there is,” said Javaronok. “Everything is in its right place, without tons of unnecessary lights and buttons.” It certainly appears that Audi will be staying in the right place for some time to come, especially as evidenced in their 2007 line, which offered an excellent representation of remarkable infusion of science and design, an old standard for the company. In 2007, Audi once again reinvented the Quattro with the all-new Audi Q7, a vehicle which takes the typical conventions of the SUV and turns it on its head. Sleek and stylish in its rendering and design, the Q7 offers a coupelike look with an almost lion-like ferocity to its sleek exterior. The standard boxy look of the typical SUV is replaced with a design manipulated to angular perfection, something quite unseen in this type of vehicle. The Q7 also features Audi’s second V8 with FSI Direct Injection, a fuel-saving technology that can also increase power. The first car with this capability was their highly acclaimed R8 (often called the most successful race car of all time), a vehicle which took home first place in 2000’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. “For me, it’s the fact that their handling is predictable, and [unlike other cars in its class] it’s actually easy to drive,” boasted Javaronok. “I was able to drive one on the Autobahn once…amazing. An Audi is just a different way of driving.” Another example was 2006’s A3, a loving tribute to some of the best designers in the automotive field. The vehicle exuded all of the characteristics of true grace and athleticism, all portrayed through features that strike onlookers as overwhelmingly feline and incredibly determined. Then, of course, we also have the aforementioned A8. The new A8. The utmost exemplification of the Audi philosophy, this car pushes everything that needs to be pushed in terms of innovation. It’s lighter, stronger, quicker, more efficient and a helluva lot more responsive. Its newest aluminum structure guarantees a better performance and an endless amount of safety and comfort. More effective than Atkins, the structure of the vehicle has even allowed the old girl to shed a quite a few pounds as well. “I’ve often found with Lexus and BMWs that the cars can eventually start to look the same. Audi doesn’t bend to design fashions,” said Audi Brand Specialist James Murphy. “The cars have always been very elegant. They want to look good.” 17
However, Audi doesn’t want their influence on elegance and artistry to stop at cars alone. Aside from their own material, Audi has provided an excellent resource for artists in general, and is a strong supporter in heightening creativity and design on all levels. An employer of some 53,000 people, Audi is extremely aware of its own social responsibility, and regards the promotion of all things art as a highly crucial element to corporate well-being and, most importantly, that of society as a whole. In some ways, Audi’s support of the art community is a “giving back” of sorts, a way of saying thanks for the enormous design inspiration wrought from just about every creative outlet imagin-
able: from film to music, fine arts to architecture. All of those bear a mark on the Audi brand. Under the moniker “The Audi Art Experience,” the company brings together its endeavors in the promotion of art and culture, and has provided financial support for several cultural happenings since 1985. Their sponsorships have included the establishment of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, as well as its gracious support of the world-renowned Glyndebourne Festival Opera.
Looking Forward. So what does the future hold for the Art of Audi? Perhaps the clearest demonstration of Audi’s ongoing perfection in design can be seen in their highly anticipated R8 model, the brand’s first ever mid-engine sports car, new in 2008. Making its debut at the Paris Road Show, the vehicle earned its stripes through various motorsport victories all over the world. It was on these tracks that Audi tested the limits of the R8’s mid-engine Lamborghini Gallardo platform, including it in some of their more highend racecars. The technology uses a 420 horsepower high-revving V8 engine and all-wheel-drive, a combination which ended with remarkable success and fantastic results on the track. “You will see even more emotional and sporty cars from Audi,” said Hoffman. “The R8 is the best proof for the new Audi. Its bold statement utilizes our racing heritage and our passion for the sports car. It shows the future of our company.” You can expect Audi will stick with this winning strategy and that their continually evolving design process will forever be one of the key differentiators for the legendary car company as we move further into the new millennia. As car lovers everywhere continue to chart the aweinspiring progression of the company signified by those four rings, it looks like we might be going against the “Never Follow” rule, after all.
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By Kimberly Toms Photographs by Mark Margraff and SmartUSA Photo, this page: SmartUSA
Gaining eye contact, a smile, a nod, or a wave of acknowledgment from passers-by in America’s largest metropolis is rare, whether one is walking or driving. Yes, in New York City, one can feel isolated in a crowd. This is not an affront by the good people of Manhattan; it is simply a fact of life. Spend thirty minutes behind the wheel of a Smart Fortwo in the same city, however, and the driver is suddenly Miss or Mister Popularity. After living five years around New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia, I was astounded by how magnetic I suddenly was, while tooling about the Big Apple in a cherry-red Smart Passion Cabriolet. Yes, the one-time strangers of the island suddenly embraced me, wanted to talk to me, and even told me how cute I was, in the 106.1” long, 61.38” wide fuel-sipper.
Nonexistent was the claustrophobia that scares me out of a Beetle or hard-top Mini, the same sensation that urged me to turn down the bright red, t-topped, bitchin’ Camaro my father excitedly had me test-drive just before my sixteenth birthday, way back in 1986. Yes, you heard me right: I turned down the potential of a spanking new, leather-infused, t-topped, ‘80’s speedster teen’s dream due to my impression that it felt like (as I described it to my father back then) driving a red “toilet paper tube.” I’ll never forget the look on his face, as his five-foot four-inch small Daddy’s Girl said, “No thank you” to such generosity, because of lack of spaciousness. The Smart Fortwo did not play upon my dislike of tight spaces. It felt downright roomy, in fact.
It was Earth Day, 2008. The city was bustling as much as ever, at just before 2:00 p.m. I was offered a test drive of the tiny Mercedes derivative that is only a foot longer than a golf cart and over three feet shorter than a Mini Cooper. Yes, you read that right. It is three feet shorter than a Mini! Imagine the parking possibilities.
I zipped around Manhattan, at first wary of taxi cabs and other fast-moving SUV bogeys that dwarfed me. Soon though, I forgot how small I was in the grand scheme of gridlock and mid-afternoon traffic, as I effortlessly traversed through lanes, around trucks, past stoplights and pedestrians.
Before climbing into the cockpit, I seriously doubted there would be manageable comfort in the two-seater. I have to admit, however, I was incredibly surprised by the headroom, legroom, elbowroom and all-around spaciousness of the little powerhouse.
I did not experience a feeling of inferiority or size-envy when around larger counterparts that day, but people on the street did experience whiplash. The social marketability of Smart Fortwo goes beyond cuteness, economy, and fuel savings. It is pure, unadulterated magnetism, the sort that some men feel when taking a
young niece or nephew out on the town to scam for single chicks in the grocery aisles. I was scamming. Scamming and scooting. Turning heads, gaining waves. I got a “thumbs up” from a lady crossing Broadway. A large and somewhat intimidating-sized delivery man started a conversation with me over the din of traffic and to my left (across three more lanes of traffic), as I sat at a red light on one busy street. That was just after my passenger and I had finished telling a big guy in the Mercedes luxury sedan to our right side that, yes, the Smart Fortwo is the little sibling to his big four-door status car. He was raving about the car’s appeal, just as he was multi-tasking – maneuvering into a parking space and talking with us through his open window – at the same time. The big delivery guy to the left was not satisfied to just find out what the car was called. He bound down the sidewalk closer to us, still across three lanes of traffic. Next thing we knew, questions flying through the air, his deep Italian-American accented voice resonating over street noise and construction, he was directly to our left. The conversation switched to pick-up compliments about the compatibility of the vehicle’s color with my blonde hair. Yes, the Smart Fortwo is one social car. Screw online dating or coffee houses. Just give me a set of keys and I’ll be content to meet and greet without leaving the comfort of the surprisingly roomy interior. At an average 33 miles per gallon in the city and 41 during highway travel, I could socialize quite a bit on the 8.7 gallon tank. Beyond its curb appeal, the Smart is, well, smart. It is amazingly priced at approximately $11,590 for the base Pure model, $13,590 for the wellstocked Passion coupe, and $16,590 for the Passion convertible. Lacking sticker shock is one thing. Fuel savings adds to the appeal. The coolest surprise, however? How about fully-replaceable, pop-on, pop-off body panels? Yes, you can meet another Smart Fortwo driver at Starbuck’s for coffee, and then trade your car’s body panels in the parking lot. How very Lego-esque! Within about five minutes, you can switch your ride from red, to blue, to yellow, multi-colors, or whatever suits you that particular day. An entire body kit costs just below $1,000. Yes, you can even
Photo, opposite page: The Smart Fortwo Cabrio tools around NYC easily and efficiently (courtesy SmartUSA). This page, top: Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe in blue; 2nd from top: Passion Cabrio in red; Bottom right: Smart’s Passion interior, nicely appointed; Bottom left: The Passion Cabrio dash offers utility combined with comfort and a little whimsy of design. All photos, this page by Mark Margraff. www.magazineblu.com
coordinate your Smart to your mood, an outfit, or even the Partridge Family’s bus.
Smart Fortwo Passion, Passion Cabriolet, and Pure models are available at Smart Dealerships and designated Mercedes outlets in the United States. For more information: www.SmartUSA.com.
Despite the switchable panels and a 95% recycled composition, the Smart does not compromise on safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety provided the highest approval ratings for front and side impacts, with the rear receiving the second-highest rating. The 2008 coupe received four of five stars for driver protection and three stars for passenger. Side crash rating was a perfect five stars. This safety can be attributed to dual front and side airbags, the trademark Tridion safety cell (like a roll cage) with front and rear crush zones, antilock brakes, stability control, and traction control. The Fortwo’s engine is a 1.0 liter, three cylinder, automanual fivespeed that can reach 90 miles per hour, achieving 60mph in 12.8 seconds. Admittedly, the transmission has been considered its leastattractive feature, with a little jarring between gear shifts. The Smart handled dips and bumps well, but potholes are a little intimidating at this size. On the fly, however, driving through urban areas and in and out of traffic is quite fun. It is a zippy micro-vehicle with a lot of charisma. Best for urbanites, trendsetters, stoplight commuters, and as a second vehicle to a luxury model (for affluents), the Smart Fortwo definitely brings socialization back into the driving experience. An added bonus might just be the fact that the Fortwo is built for only two people (as the name clearly implies). So, put on your best smile, drop the top of the Cabriolet, zip about the city, and find yourself a new friend to smartly position in that passenger’s seat.
Top photo: Backstage at the Live Earth concert in London, the Black Eyed Peas explore the spaciousness of the Smart Fortwo; Bottom: The Smart Fortwo Cabrio is sporty, stylish, socially inviting and offers 12 cubic feet of rear compartment space for groceries, storage, or general cargo. Both photos courtesy SmartUSA. 27
Photo courtesy EB Realty Brokerage of Philadelphia (www.ebrealtysales.com).
Imagination revives dilapidated factories and
spaces ready-made for entertaining.
With Profiles By Kate Wright
worn-down warehouses into chic new living www.magazineblu.com
Since the 1950s in America, artists have utilized the high ceilings, vast expanses and massive windows of former commercial buildings as their optimum live and workspace. Once upon a time, these windows pulled the attention of sometime dreaming assembly line workers toward the light and activity outside. Later, the same windows directed warm beams of light inward, to illuminate color placed passionately by the artist on white stretched canvas, in the same rooms that had been vacated by the industrialists. How ironic that the former workers, often impoverished individuals who were stuck in a cycle of lower class struggle, used their imagination to focus on what was outside of the walls and windows, whereas artists of the loft movement brought their focus to the interior of the same former warehouses and factories, to bring their own imagination to life. New York, Boston and Chicago were the first American cities to embrace the transformation of empty commercial and warehouse structures within downtown areas into what are now referred to as lofts. Initially, these residences were reformed illegally, as they were commercially zoned. However, by the 1980s, zoning had changed due to the popularity and overwhelming public acceptance of the loft lifestyle. Now, cities from coast to coast have experienced a surge of loft development, including in Philadelphia’s Center City, New York’s Soho, Portland’s Pearl District, Dallas’ Deep Ellum and Chicago’s Printer’s Row. Even smaller cities, such as Chattanooga, Lexington and Des Moines have joined the movement. As part of the revitalization of formerly vacant or dilapidated buildings into living spaces, the urban environment as a whole is reenergized. When people move into downtown areas and warehouse districts, their need for easy access to basic necessities accompanies them. Grocery markets, salons, restaurants and cafes, boutiques and galleries soon follow the new residents into reclamation of a neighborhood that may have previously existed as empty buildings, parking areas and overgrown lots. Not only the loft occupants benefit from the changes, as downtown developments bring a certain “joie de vie” to areas once frequented only by corporate workers hungry for new places to dine, shop and relax for lunch and after work.
Loft dwellers are, for the most part, single adults and married couples without children, who enjoy living without the responsibilities of suburban life, including lawn maintenance, longer commutes to work and general house upkeep. Further, these typically college-educated, affluent residents of urban environments enjoy being within walking distance to their favorite areas of socialization, dining, cultural attractions, entertainment, shopping and business. The beauty of lofts is the ease with which one may personalize and decorate the space. Most inhabitants opt for gourmet-style kitchens with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, and bathrooms with large showers (or massive tubs) and the same quality appointments as the kitchen. Beyond those two rooms, the loft becomes more about the use of furnishings adequately scaled to the vastness of the overall space, as well as how each living and functional area are appropriated. Although there is generally an absence of internal walls dividing rooms, placement of furniture and rugs can dictate how the space is divided without obstructing views or freedom of movement. As for entertaining, the social benefits of living in a refurbished commercial space are many. Ceilings are high, creating an atmosphere wherein laughter, boisterous voices or music can dictate the mood of an event, as sound resonates clearly throughout the space. Kitchens are generally open to the rest of the floor plan, so the host may continue their duties without missing out on festivities or conversation with guests. Mingling is easy and unencumbered by walls, lack of floor space or furnishings. In a loft, parties are never just simple gatherings, as from most areas of the apartment one can hear and see all of the action, effortlessly creating a lighthearted, jovial vibe. According to Kay Toms, Interior Designer and Instructor of Etiquette and Protocol in New York, “Lofts encourage social gatherings by their openness of design wherein one area flows into the next. Use of color and placement of furniture can not only force the eye to move from one area to the next, but encourages traffic flow where guests may fluidly move, discover and interact.” Lofts are clearly large, airy and open spaces suitable for entertaining and socialization, but can a person who prefers a cozier atmosphere find peace and tranquility within a loft? Kay clarifies that “the industrial flavor of some lofts may at first appear intimidating to decorate, but can be warmed into cozy living space.” In order to section areas into more intimate surroundings, “Unpretentious, simple furnishings, large pieces of art, strong color and accessories lend themselves well to the loft and can aid in defining each area, such as the kitchen and dining spaces from conversation, work and sleeping areas.” Preceding page, top right: Abbotts Square Luxury Condominiums kitchen. Bottom: Lofts 640 living area and kitchen. This page, top: Abbotts Square living area. 2nd from top: Marine Club bedroom. 3rd from top: Marine Club living and kitchen areas. Bottom left and right: Marine Club living area. Photos, both pages, courtesy EB Realty Brokerage of Philadelphia (www.ebrealtysales.com).
Profiles of Loftiness By Kate Wright The Cigar Factory, located in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia, gives its history away in the name, but today it has been converted into a residential building filled primarily with professionals aged 25 to 40. The current residents of this space perfectly portray the change of pace for loft living from artists and students to attorneys and bankers. With its fourteen-foot ceilings and hardwood floors, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, visible brick, overhead piping throughout the living area and exposed beams in the walls and ceilings, these loft areas are just as original as their predecessors but have become too upscale for the starving artist or college student. It is hard to find a loft this nice for less than $500,000. Maintaining the respectability of its 90 year history, the bare bones of the building remain intact, yet the grand additions earmark its upscale reputation. “Unique is the only way to describe the Cigar Factory,” says loft owner, Randy Stern. Randy, a 25-year-old district sales manager for the financial provider HSBC, works long 60hour weeks and spends his free time taking his dog to the dog park and going to the art museum with his girlfriend. He enjoys a night out on the town, although he prefers bringing people to his place for socialization. He designed the layout for his loft with an architect, so he was able to plan for entertaining without jeopardizing his personal space. Eight foot walls separate his two bedrooms, so although his privacy is not perfected, he has maintained a significant amount of respect for it. Stern coined his loft “late night central” where he and his friends can get together, drink, eat, and party for as long as their tired eyes will allow. He occasionally throws a dinner party for an intimate group of friends, but with 1700 square feet, his loft can fit fifty people comfortably. The open space that designates his home as a loft creates a setting conducive for conversation and comfort for everyone present. Lacking the walls that traditionally divide a home, and most likely the people, all of his guests are able to mingle in a way that is not as easy in a house with separated rooms and quarters.
Photos, this page: Randy Stern’s Cigar Factory kitchen (top) and living space (bottom). Middle: Randy Stern. Mark Margraff, photographer. 85
Vinnie and Michael, a couple living at Lofts 640 of Philadelphia, are the personification of the loft’s own union of the professional and the artist. Vinnie works as a sales promoter at a posh restaurant in downtown Philly; Michael is a painter and sculptor. This combination of what once was the sole inhabitant of the loft space, the artist, and what is now becoming the majority of loft dwellers, the businessman, mimics the presentation of the old and new that exists inside all refurbished lofts. Lofts 640, located six blocks north of City Hall, was originally a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant and then became a clothing factory where, rumor has it, the original “Members Only” jackets were made. Michael appreciates the preservation of the “original integrity of what the building once was” while gratefully accepting the modern-day conveniences that have been added. The 640’s lobby décor is eclectic in both old and new - a large painting of oranges suspends next to old doors carved with Asian symbols. The combined scheme works well, and the artist and the professional live well within it. Both men agree that the kitchen is the favorite part of their home, seconded by their three enormous walk-in closets that are each large enough for a small office. The kitchen has stainless steel appliances and plenty of cupboard space to fit their culinary gadgetry and espresso machines. Most of all, these two love their kitchen because they can cook while entertaining. The stove sits on an island facing the living room with a connected bar where three or four guests sit and chat while drinking a glass of wine or beer from the tap. The open, multifunctional area lightly sectioned into the kitchen, living and dining rooms also encourages mingling among guests, even after the cooking has ended. Comfortably seated, their home fits six to ten people, although twenty can gather for a louder, more raucous time. Fondue dinner parties are what make Vinnie and Michael famous, Friday nights bring homemade pizza night, and often you will find them karaoke singing with a small group of their friends. As their events, large or small, are so warm and inviting with infectious laughter and conversation, it is difficult to determine whether the loft itself encourages heightened socialization, or if Vinnie and Michael are just outstanding hosts. Perhaps it is a combination of both. Photos, this page: Vinnie and Michael’s Lofts 640 residence. Top: Exterior of Lofts 640 of Philadelphia. Middle left: Kitchen leading into Vinnie and Michael’s living area. Middle right: Vinnie and Michael. Bottom left: Living area. Bottom right: Vinnie and Micheal’s Bedroom. Mark Margraff, photographer.
Photographs by Mark Margraff
Homes that once were symbols of status and style for our
founding families are being returned to their
Profiles By Kate Wright
original glory as the chic dwellings of todayâ€™s
Vastly different from lofts, the brownstone is another favorite type of revived dwelling in Northeastern cities. These beautiful, big old homes have housed generation after generation of families, and the history that lives inside can hardly be appreciated without further exploration. Walk down Elfreth’s Alley in Philadelphia and you will gain a clear perspective of life in the United States during the time of our founding fathers. A National Historic Landmark, this cobblestone alley is the oldest continually inhabited residential street in our country, dating back to the early 1700s. Elfreth’s residences are early rowhouses, now commonly referred to as brownstones, a name that derived from the reddish brown sandstone of which many such dwellings were constructed. This architectural style is simply a row of homes that share side walls with neighboring residences and are characterized by fairly uniform exteriors. Windows tend to be placed evenly from one home to the next and doorways are similar, as are front steps leading to the sidewalk. Such homes do range from the simple, working class design and construction of Elfreth’s Alley, to more extravagant, larger buildings such as in Society Hill or Rittenhouse neighborhoods of Philadelphia. Brownstones are also found in other cities, such as Brooklyn, Boston
and Washington DC. Rowhouses became the dwelling of choice in American cities during the birth of our nation and through the nineteenth century, as community populations expanded and homes indicative of industrial prosperity became desirable. The purpose of a brownstone home was simply that – to be a comfortable home, while occupying a small footprint in fledgling cities. Brownstone spatial arrangements gave flexibility to a family and allowed for entertaining guests as well as respecting the need for privacy. The houses were cut up into rooms and hallways, most commonly on three floors, with each floor and space designed for a specific purpose. The ground level housed the kitchen and family rooms; the parlor (second) floor, was intentionally designed for entertaining, with high ceilings and comfort for groups of people in the living and dining rooms; and the third floor consisted of bedrooms. Modern buyers of brownstones are not just purchasing a rowhouse, but also all of the original elegance of a home with wonderful spaces and centuries-old architectural ingenuity invested within the floor plan. They also have the added benefit of spatial flexibility. With room for both friends and solitude, brownstones allow for social, yet private lifestyles.
Photos, this page: The rooms of Ed and Caroline George’s Philadelphia brownstone home clearly evoke both history and modern comfort. Photographs by Mark Margraff.
A Work In Progress By Kate Wright Philadelphia-based architect Jim Branch of DPK&A Architects has worked on numerous buildings in the city, and in his spare time, designs and refurbishes his own home located at 21 st and Naudain Street. Just north of famed South Street, these avenues are lined with threestory homes with brick facades and wonderful twists and turns on the interior. Jim has gutted most of his home but has managed to keep the original feel of the building. On the first floor lie the living room and kitchen. To the left, a spiral staircase twirls all the way up to the third floor. On the second story, Jim has created an office and entertaining space by separating two smaller rooms with double doors that open wide to create one larger room if necessary. He considered making this a spare bedroom for family and other guests, but decided against it so he would have more room for himself and for spending time with friends. More
and more, people living in these homes are renovating extra bedrooms into living areas for entertaining. On the third floor, the bedroom awaits. This is the only finished room in the house so far, and Jim has done an exceptional job. The original fireplace has been kept intact with new artwork above and on top of it. Entering this room feels like walking into a different time period that should require candles for lighting and heavy blankets for warmth. Jim has added a comfortable cleanliness that combines with the old to welcome him for rest and relaxation. His work does not leave much time for socializing in the present, but when Jim finishes his home, he will have the perfect space â€“ enough room for dinner parties or movie nights, along with his own separate
quarters to retreat as the party nears its end.
Photos, this page: Restoration of a historic home is no easy undertaking and requires time, patience and perserverance, as exhibited in the progress of Architect Jim Branch (pictured below). Jim is personally andlovingly restoring his own home, despite a hectic schedule as part of DPK&A Architects of Philadelphia. Photographs by Mark Margraff.
Social History By Kate Wright In the midst of Society Hill, historic brownstones are plenty. Years ago when Philadelphia was a baby, Society Hill was so called because William Penn donated the area to the Society of Free Traders. It was not upscale, but rather was filled with brothels and bars. Now Society Hill is a different place, and although the homes have been maintained in their original state, the area itself has grown in sophistication and class. Caroline George, residing at the John Drinker house at 2 nd and Pine, is proud of her brownstoneâ€™s original trim and cabinetry, hardwood floors and staircases. Every piece of her home is over two hundred years old, creating wonderful holiday warmth regardless of the time of year.
Caroline and her husband, Ed, enjoy throwing parties, implying that just about anything can be cause for celebration in their home. Whether it is their annual Christmas party or summer parties, in which they excitedly open both the inside of their home and small backyard to guests, they often welcome up to ninety five people, although they are also fond of a smaller gathering with co-workers or close friends. Their residence is conducive to entertaining, with its many rooms and spaces for people to congregate. Various groups of people will meet each other, and voices, loud and soft, resonate throughout the house. The individual rooms create a cozy atmosphere with intimate places for conversations. As most people will find, Caroline swears the kitchen is the favorite meeting place, where the Georges always provide plenty of food, ranging from bowls of tortilla soup to catered hors dâ€™oeuvres.
Caroline appreciates the historic value of her property and the uniqueness of the experience of owning such a home. She feels that she and her husband are simply “stewards of this home,” that it is their job to preserve the integrity and the spirit that lies within. They want to share their space with others so their family and friends can appreciate the history, beauty and antiquity that adds to the atmosphere of their parties. But Caroline believes that the brownstone itself does not make a party good or bad. “As long as the right people are there, everyone will have a good time regardless of the space that surrounds them.” She loves to entertain because of the residence she and her husband occupy. But, the excitement and the happiness gained from her parties could be found in a loft, two-bedroom apartment, or single family home, as long as good people are involved.
Photos, both pages: The Brownstone home of Caroline and Ed George of Philadelphia is a perfect example of modern warmth and comfort in a layout conducive for entertaining of guests. Frequently misconcieved as cramped and crowded, brownstones can indeed feel spacious and provide adequate space for a lifestyle of socialization, as the George’s home exhibits. Photographs by Mark Margraff.
hore S omfort C
Off season at the Jersey Shore is deadly silent.
Along the ocean, the emptiness is broken only by the cries of gulls and the crashing waves. On the bay, the occasional late-season fisherman motors by, enticed back onto the water by unseasonably warm temperatures and calm waters. Nearby, the sound of a seagull cracking an oyster on the asphalt heard from two stories up can be the only thing that breaks the silence for minutes at a time. The streets are deserted in a way usually only seen in post-apocalyptic science fiction movies. Six story tall landmark Lucy the Elephant gazes out to sea with little company, the I Love Lucy Snack Bar – along with what seems like half the restaurants and retail stores – closed for the season. A few beach-combing stalwarts roam the sand or recline on folding chairs to take advantage of the wide expanse of shoreline that is now theirs for the taking.
But along with a conspicuous absence of human activity comes the steady hum of commerce continuing just beneath it. Stand on the beach and listen. Not far away, beneath the roar of the waves and the whipping
wind, there are the sounds of circular saws and hammers wielded by men in the midst of creating the Shore’s next wave of luxury homes – often on the demolished footprint of the modest beach cottages that preceded them. Hidden behind the doors of real estate offices, meanwhile, agents and assistants bustle with a stream of high-end buyers and sellers that continues unabated even in the face of a real estate market that for most everyone else has turned a bit sour. “Teardown” is the latest buzzword, usually describing as many as three 1950’s-vintage homes, usually on the “beach block” just off the ocean, giving way to make room for one expansive new one. It is confirmation that even in these seller-unfriendly times, there will always be a market for homes that combine either historical charm or modern luxury appointments with a spectacular view of water. So if you are tired of renting for those few months each summer and have $3 million-plus on hand to drop on home No. 2, we’re happy to help you spend your money. Just don’t hold it against us if we ask to crash at your place for a few days when summer rolls around.
By Scott Pruden
All Photos By James Jackson www.magazineblu.com
Photo, this page: Oceanfront deck of 9835 Sunset Drive, Stone Harbor, New Jersey. 30
10 East 12th Street Avalon, NJ $4,195,000 No one likes the idea of suburban sprawl, but Shore home sprawl is something everyone has likely hoped for towards the end of a family vacation in too-close quarters. There will be no danger of falling over aunts, uncles, cousins or inlaws at this Avalon beach block stunner, with seven bedrooms, five full baths and two half-baths spread over three stories to keep out of each other’s way. The best part is the space isn’t limited to just inside. Five decks – two each on the first two stories and a private area off the master bedroom – give everyone plenty of room to spread out, congregate or be alone. The home is designed with an “upside down” floor plan that is popular with beach homes because it places most bedrooms on the lower floors, while reserving the second and third floor for living spaces and bedrooms for owners who want to take better advantage of the stunning ocean views. But that doesn’t mean the first floor is all about utility. It is freely acknowledged that a full beach house, particularly when there are kids and teenagers present, will not always agree on a sole source of entertainment. That’s why the designers of this home have paid special attention to the lower level family room. Custom built-in book cases house the flat-screen TV and DVD setup, with room to spare for video game systems. And if the kids want a drink, there’s no need for them to have to hike upstairs to get it. The entertainment unit comes equipped
with refrigeration drawers for keeping a steady supply of beverages ice cold and within easy reach. Other details abound, including granite countertops throughout, an interior that has been completely professionally decorated (and that includes all furniture and décor) and a professionally landscaped yard that is downright expansive for a piece of Shore property. The views alone should sooth nerves shattered by pre-vacation stress and a little too much holiday family togetherness, and it’s comforting to know that the blissful solitude of Avalon’s broad beach awaits within easy view and a short walk away. The prime corner lot location also means there are fewer neighbors to be on top of – or to have on top of you. For those who don’t feel like getting sandy and salty, the home features an inground heated swimming pool with a deck big enough to accommodate plenty of summertime partiers. For the owners, privacy is a key consideration, with the expansive master suite tucked away on the third level with its own private balcony. From here you get best views of the reason you came in the first place – the ocean – as well as constant reinforcement that you made a very good home buying decision.
9835 Sunset Drive Stone Harbor, NJ $4,395,000 Life at the Shore isn’t all about the ocean, particularly for those whose enjoyment comes primarily aboard a watercraft. There’s plenty of beauty to be appreciated along the Great Channel, what with the stunning sunset views, the deepwater boat landings and the quiet that comes with not having a public beach at your front door. Of course, life “on the bay” would be made that much better with a luxurious home from which to appreciate it. But why scream about your luxury acquisition like some insecure kid when you can instead bask in the understated elegance obvious only to the discriminating eye? That’s a perfect description of this New England-style home. It sits modestly on a corner lot on one of Stone Harbor’s most dreamedabout streets, envied because of its proximity to the water, dining and shopping, says real estate agent Holly C. Rennie of Ferguson Dechert Real Estate Inc. But you wouldn’t know the home was held in such
high prestige from its initial appearance. That is until you begin looking closely. Certainly the house is beautiful. Just walking around the corner from the bay, it’s easy to see what sets this two-story, 3,000-square-foot home apart. But again, the details tell the story. Ledgestone facing adds to the rich detail of the exterior, as do the solid wood doors on the exterior storage area. The cedar shake shingle siding is specially prepared to resist the brutal onslaught of coastal weather. Unfortunately, unlike its beachfront cousins, this home can’t accommodate a swimming pool. That doesn’t mean, though, that the residents can’t enjoy a little outdoor living. The two-level weather-resistant deck built from TREX material guarantees that there will be plenty of room for the party to move outside. Guests will be well served from the indoor cabana with its own refrigerator (including two separate beverage drawers), dish washer, trash compactor and ice maker. Off the deck, there’s plenty of room in the boat slip for a craft up to 25 feet long, as well as space for personal watercraft like Waverunners or Jet Skis. Inside, things only get better. The opulent details continue with granite countertops in the kitchen, the four full and two half-baths and
even the laundry room. The Andino cherry wood floors throughout the home gleam, and fit and finish is at luxury levels in all parts of the house. And perhaps best of all, the purchase price gets you not only the home itself, but its tasteful furnishings and décor, too. But some of the best features are hidden – or at least not immediately evident. Take, for instance, the home’s high-tech electronic Smart House system, that includes built-in iPod “docks” in each room. These handy electronic ports allow a guest to plug in their MP3 player and hear their digital music through the room’s built in speakers. Elsewhere, flat-screen TVs (wired to digital cable) are featured in the common areas and almost every bedroom. Upstairs, the kitchen is a cook’s paradise, with a Sub-Zero refrigerator, plus two supplemental refrigerated drawers that let you grab a cold one without worrying about reaching past leftovers in the big fridge. The Wolf gas cooktop will ensure gourmet meals are at least a possibility, even if the gang feels like ordering pizza (again). A beautiful custom mosaic backsplash adds a burst of color and individual style. Those who prefer to make their Shore visits in the cozy winter months – or who just plan on living here year ’round – will appreciate the radiant heat floor in the master bathroom after they step out of a drenching shower in the oversized, mosaic appointed stall. In the second-floor great room, the exterior ledgestone theme is brought inside around the fireplace, mantle and chimney. Vertically oriented “palm frond” ceiling fans above are a constant reminder – kind of like the ceiling fan version of a Jimmy Buffet song – that you’re living the life to which others simply aspire.
107 S Pembroke Margate, NJ $5,750,000 Prudential Fox & Roach real estate agent Paula Hartman is the kind of woman you imagine doing nothing other than her chosen job since birth. Her striking red hair and gleaming smile make it certain that she’ll be noticed in a crowd, and her tendency to highlight a home’s sheer fabulosity by asking a question, having it answered, then asking it again for emphasis (“Is this a great place, or what?” “Yes, it is fantastic.” “No. Isn’t it? Isn’t it great?”) makes her damn near unforgettable. But when she says a property is stunning, it’s not just because she’s trying to sell you. Chances are excellent that opinion won’t even come into play about the home of which she speaks because it is, based on all empirical evidence, wonderful. One such gem in her portfolio is 107 South Pembroke Avenue. A quick look will call to mind Philadelphia’s Main Line, known for its regal estates that recall the glory and glamour so wittily portrayed by the Stewart-Hepburn-Grant troika in A Philadelphia Story. Who knew that the same feeling could be transplanted to within yards of the Atlantic and a short drive from Lucy, the town’s famous giant pachyderm? This sprawling early 20th century brick beauty brings old world charm and workmanship almost up to the beach, combining Georgian-inspired architecture with modern amenities that rival any of its newer neighbors. The home sits perpendicular to the street, allowing for a private side entrance, a coveted two-car garage and room for more parking in the driveway. The spacious sun porch, lit by arched windows that cross the width of the house, looks out onto the (nodoubt jealous) homes across the way. Inside, enjoy the peaceful sounds of water burbling through the mosaicbacked fountain as the roar of the nearby ocean is audible in the background. The outdoor pool is accessible from the house by a grand brick porch with dual stairways leading down to the deck. And yes, it’s important to make the distinction because there’s another one – a two-lane lap pool – inside the adjacent cabana/pool house combination. Taking that early morning dip won’t mean you’ll miss breakfast, though, because the intimate breakfast nook just off the kitchen looks out through a double window into the enclosed pool area. If you happen to be the person stuck inside toasting a couple of bagels, rest 35
assured that you’re equipped to do plenty more. The kitchen maintains many of the features that made it functional back when the home’s owners employed a staff to keep things running smoothly – an intimate design and multiple work stations that include two separate sinks being the most obvious. But don’t think this space – or the rest of the house, for that matter – hasn’t benefited from some modern updates. The kitchen is fitted with a restaurant-quality range just right for preparing Sunday morning bacon and eggs for a huge summer crowd still a little bleary from tanning and tippling. Throughout the three stories there seem to be bedrooms (there are six) and bathrooms (six and a half) at every turn. All of the bathrooms have been updated from their original Spartan turn-of-the20th century style to accommodate nearly anyone’s needs, and some have even been fitted with luxurious steam showers – a sure reminder that you’re enjoying 21st century hospitality. Guests staying in the former servants’ quarters above the garage even have their own second laundry room and a direct route to the kitchen via the back staircase. Living spaces have kept pace with the times, too, with a surround sound system complementing the flat-screen television in the living room, which also features original fittings like a marble fireplace with a mahogany mantle. Hardwood floor will beckon bare feet all summer long, and custom stained glass adds to the rich, antique feel. It’s truly the best of several worlds, combining old-world luxury with modern living in a glorious resort setting. When do we move in?
By Krista Watterworth
Photo Courtesy Rohm & Haas
Your living space says a lot about you to a date or partner. Krista Watterworth, Designer and Host of HGTVâ€™s Save My Bath gives expert tips for preparing your home for a new romance.
Dreamy Romance Begins In
Seeking a “dreamy” romance? The first step toward a healthy, happy relationship is to ensure you are healthy and happy, yourself. Your home’s condition directly influences your stress level and emotional well-being. Your home should also reflect the best of who you are, inspire you, encourage relaxation and comfort both yourself and your dreamy date.
Start by creating an inspiration room - a place where you escape to feel good about yourself, your life and your surroundings. When you are relaxed, you are naturally a more attractive, giving mate. Inspiration rooms should have elements that positively affect the five senses. This space should provide a relaxing end to a stressful day or a rejuvenating jaunt into another state-of-mind. For the sense of smell, try lavender incense. It is often used as a homeopathic remedy for anxiety. A tabletop water fountain or relaxing music provides a soothing sound for your ears.
Get rid of clutter and get organized. It not only looks better but you will find things more easily and quickly. Clutter equals stress and decreased productivity for you. It also feels chaotic and unwelcoming to your guests.
Tactile fabrics such as silk, cotton, or cashmere for blankets, pillows and upholstery provide a welcoming texture. Cool blues and greens are settling and peaceful for your eyes, while ornaments such as Buddhas evoke feelings of hope and safety. A framed photo of your favorite place to travel encourages relaxation.
One of my favorite projects was to create homemade storage boxes. I began saving boxes from holidays and deliveries. I collected decorative papers, stationary, wrapping paper, and interesting looking art magazines. I put together all the papers with a similar color scheme and complimentary patterns, and voila! - instant designer storage boxes! I labeled each one and I can now store items in open shelves, on tabletops, and counters by using my gorgeous new boxes. Everything is in its place and there’s a place for everything!
Krista Watterworth’s Date-Ready Design
Your home should provide inspiration, energy and relaxation. It should reflect positive notions of your sense of self, soften your edges as well as resonate with your sense of style. It’s easier than you think to create your very own dreamy, romance-readyhome!
A pitcher filled with filtered water, organic mints or even peppermint tea will please your sense of taste.
Transform your bedroom into your sanctuary. After all, it is the most intimate room in your home (next to the bathroom). Remove, cover or store all your electrical equipment - or better yet, don’t have any. This room has the greatest effect on your health and well-being because sleep and romance are essential to a balanced life. Electrical items create a conflict of energy, and your bedroom should nurture your soul and feel inviting to both you and your partner.
Snoop PProof roof YYour our Bathroom You’ve had a few great dates and now that special someone is coming over for a visit. Don’t let your romance fizzle before it even gets started! Your date will most likely snoop when he or she heads to the bathroom (wouldn’t you?) and scary personal products or a scummy shower curtain may well lead Mr. or Ms. Right right out the front door! According to Krista Watterworth, design guru and host of HGTV’s hit show Save My Bath and Biggest Decorating Mistakes, the state of your bathroom is a tell tale sign of your personal hygiene and could be seen as an indicator of the care you’ll put into your relationship. She offers the following quick tips for making the best impression: 39
Clean & tidy is the way to go! Don’t leave dirty, wet towels hanging in the bathroom and make sure all surfaces are clean and mildew-free. Make sure there is hand soap and toilet tissue. Empty the wastebasket. Gentlemen: CLEAN THE TOILET SEAT…THOROUGHLY, including under the seat and around the bowl! Ladies: get rid of any knotty, linty hairbrushes and sweep up those strands of hair.
Rid the medicine cabinet of your “dirty little secrets.” If you aren’t ready to let your date know what medication you take, don’t leave it in the medicine cabinet.
2. Too Many Pillows. A few decorative pillows are great, but an overload is uncomfortable and makes it seem like a child’s romper room. 3. Knick Knack Overload. There’s no need to display a snow globe from every place you have ever been. Just keep to a few select things that truly have meaning or are beautiful to you. 4. High Art. Place artwork at eye level only. Just because you have a large photo or painting, you shouldn’t hang it way above the eye line of the average person. 5. Tacky Couch Covers. Don’t follow in your great aunt’s footsteps with plastic covers, an ill- fitting, sloppy slipcover or throw. Try to keep your sofa tailored. 6. Pushed Back Furniture. Make the pieces work for your space, not the other way around. Arrange furniture to create a cozy environment. Don’t use your furnishings to cover wall space. 7. Everythings Matches. This can kill a space. There is no reason that the rug, sofa and curtains have to be the same print. This is a dated look that overwhelms the eye and causes anything slightly out of place to stand out. 8. Ignoring Window Dressing. The most sleek homes often have the worst white blinds as “window treatments.” Coordinate window treatments with the rest of the décor, or they will be an eyesore and your place will appear unfinished.
Television personality Krista Watterworth is the energetic host and designer of HGTV’s hit show Save My Bath, now in its fourth season. She has helped transform over 52 of America’s ugliest bathrooms into contemporary, functional and beautiful spaces. She is also founder and lead designer of Urboeclectic Design (www.urboeclectic.com) and co-founder of Inspired Urban Spaces (www.inspiredurbanspaces.com). A designer “for the people and of the people,” Krista believes your home should reflect who you are, not someone else’s idea of who you are. Her vivacious and fun-loving personality, coupled with her gift for design and uncanny natural ability to transform spaces into inspired havens through simple, creative steps, has captured a loyal fan base. She was recently featured on HGTV’s You Should Live Here, Kitchens and Baths 2007, Ultimate Bathrooms, as well as 25 Biggest Decorating Mistakes, and has had guest starring roles on As the World Turns (CBS) and All My Children (ABC).
9. Furniture That Doesn’t Fit. Don’t try to squeeze the huge sectional couch from the ‘burbs into a compact city apartment. Instead, opt for a loveseat. Oversized or undersized furniture can have a huge impact on a room.
Edit your personal care products! Nothing screams “I’m high maintenance” like a bathroom overrun with products. Keep the illusion that you’re a “natural summer beauty” by storing away all but a few essentials. You may use six different moisturizers, four different hair gels and two different acne creams, but your date doesn’t need to know this! And a tip for the organizationally challenged – if you haven’t used it for a few months, it’s probably time to say goodbye to it.
Photo Courtesy Rohm & Haas
1. Fake Flowers. A huge mistake! Get rid of them immediately. Fresh flowers or real plants ONLY!
Décor counts! Even your bathroom can express your sense of style. Have a fresh and clean set of neutral colored towels available and display a scenic image in a photo frame. It’s a great sign to a potential partner, when a date cares about the details.
Turn the romance up a notch. One nice scented candle or even a simple tea light can make a big difference. Everyone loves a little romance so always keep some floss and mouthwash on hand, in case your date wants to freshen up for smooches. Oh and that spare toothbrush may come in handy!
Krista Watterworth’s Date-Ready Design
Deal-Breaking Design Mistak es Mistakes
Fashion Forecast For Your Home
Fashion runways have long been the inspirational source for home furnishings and decorating color choices. Debbie Zimmer, paint and color expert with The Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute shares 2008’s trendy paint palettes. “Consumers’ increasing color confidence and personal style makes any color fashionable for 2008,” Zimmer says. “From glass-like blues, botanical greens, dramatic black and white and whisper soft pink, color directions will drive towards individual self-expression, glamorous living experiences or an increasing awareness of important environmental causes.”
Go Green Classic Elegance 41
“Green may just become the newest ‘neutral’ color,” Zimmer says. Used as a subtle backdrop to reflect an enhanced ecoconsciousness and social responsibility, green will be representative of the growing environmental movement. Midtone hues of fern, palm, pine and sage will be used on their own or coupled with clear blue or aqua to create a living space that conjures up a sense of outdoor-friendly living. Sandy tan and adobe brown can be intermingled to complete that earthy and eco-friendly feel. While suitable for all areas of the home, these combinations are an especially good choice for bathrooms, kitchens and family living spaces. Gaining popularity in 2008, black and white paint hues will enhance opulent living spaces filled with accessories, lighting, mirrors and rich fabrics. Silver metallics and high sheen finishes along with rich textures benefit from the sophistication of this striking palette. Zimmer suggests, “For an unexpected color punch, add cause-related hues such as dramatic red or maintain the room’s classic undertones with subtle pink or taupe.” Dramatic and sophisticated, black and white is becoming the backdrop of choice for glamorous spaces. Master bedroom suites and living rooms are two of the spaces that can benefit from sophisticated elegance.
Zimmer’s Top Three Color Palette Choices for 2008:
Many consumers continue to strive for simplicity in their technology-driven overloaded lifestyles and seek a return to a gentler way of life. The crewel color palette reflects consumers’ returning interest in crafts, home cooking and family-focused activities. Like a rich and color filled needlepoint pattern, these hues add a soulful and personalized feel to any space. “Handcrafted items create a sense of stability and security and these warm, creamy rich colors will do the same in your space,” says Zimmer. Rich cranberry reds, warm browns, along with pumpkin orange help to create a nurturing and caring environment. Mix in deep-toned blue and the tapestry is complete. Crewel colors remain an excellent choice for kitchen or dining areas and can be warming, like a knitted afghan, in family spaces.
Break-Up Blues By Felicia Coley
Summer 2008 has us slipping on fashions with the aquatic names of “petrol” and “Olympian.” So if blues are the new greys, is bitter the new black when it comes to a breakup? Marcia of West Palm Beach, FL is wearing her emotional breakup on her sleeve, dipped in the hues of bittersweet memories. In the fall of 2004, she met the love of her life while teaching English classes in Spain. “After partying nightly for a week straight, I was forced into being the third wheel to two couples one night, which I had to do since my girlfriend and I had made a pact not to separate,” says the 32-year-old executive assistant to a global investment firm. “Not feeling well at all, I looked across the room and saw the most amazingly handsome man. He caught my glance, and when we spoke, I was smitten,” she recalls fondly. “He was like an instant prescription, because I immediately felt better.” Ending her teaching gig did not end their involvement. A one-year, long-distance relationship blossomed; along with the decision for Marcia to relocate to Spain once she secured her visa papers (and tied up loose ends in Chicago, where she resides). But as fate would have it, the visa papers took longer than expected, along with Marcia delaying the move six months to ensure a more stable financial situation. Those delays caused her Spanish lover to become impatient, and in January 2006, he broke off the relationship with a telephone call. “He respected me wanting to get everything in order, but at the same time, he was ready for a relationship right then,” she recalls. “As hard as that telephone call was, he was attentive to my feelings; refusing to hang up until every question I had was answered. It was the longest, hardest conversation of my life.” When asked if she has gotten over the breakup, Marcia has no hesitation in admitting her feelings. “I don’t think I will ever get over him, because I feel I missed out on a great guy. A breakup is like a death - maybe not as harsh - but just as traumatic,” she states candidly. While www.magazineblu.com
she did not ball up into a fetal position with a week’s worth of ice cream (“I forced myself to go on a date two weeks later”), Marcia realizes that time does heal all wounds. That brings up the subject of climbing back up onto the saddle of dating. According to relationship journalist Lisa Steadman, author of the book, It’s a Breakup, Not a Breakdown, it can be an intricate balancing act. “If you date too soon, you run the risk of rebounding and that just muddies your emotions further. Or, you run the risk of meeting someone amazing who you’re just not emotionally ready to get to know,” Steadman advises. “If you wait too long, you may start to develop fears and phobias about getting back out there that aren’t based in reality. That’s why it’s crucial to regularly check in with yourself to see how you’re feeling.” Marcia did get to see her ex last December, while visiting friends in Spain. “We went to dinner, at which time I poured my heart out to him in an attempt to rekindle what was lost. But he let me know that he was too deep into his current relationship with a girl who was about to move in with him. A girl he admittedly confessed to not being in love with,” she sighs. “He had actually been in an argument with her right before he came to meet me for dinner. The argument was about me.” Indeed, a breakup is a complicated web of emotions for both the dumper and dumpee. But to say the one being dumped 28
is the only one who hurts is painting with too broad a brush. Yes, for the dumpee, the view of a breakup is often blindsighted, especially when coming from a person who once voiced their undying love for you. But for the dumper, the guilt of knowing you are responsible for breaking someone’s heart is often at battle with the responsibility of ending a relationship that just wasn’t meant to be. For Mike Haro, his breakup came in shades of both black and blue, which his girlfriend sustained as the result of a head injury from a car accident. “We moved out to California from Virginia to live together, and when she was involved in that car accident, her whole personality changed,” says the 43 year-old writer, now residing in Memphis, TN. “She decided to move back to Virginia at the request of her parents, and she told me she desired to attend college there. But when I suggested I move back with her, she wouldn’t respond.” His gut feeling also sensed there was another person in the picture. “I was working three jobs at time of her accident, so I never really had time to spend with her while she recovered in the hospital,” Haro regrets. “I feel that had a lot to do with her shutting down on me. But at the time, I had no choice. I had to provide income for us.” Feeling like he never received a heartfelt explanation, Haro stayed in California and turned his pain into poetic prose and music beats for 1½ years, until he happened upon his next love. That indeed is the slippery slope of being dumped; not giving in to the knee-jerk reaction of a scorned lover. Getting even should be left for the movie scenes (who didn’t cheer for Angela Basset’s character in Waiting to Exhale?). But, when you are able to transform the emotional pain into a productive act (versus destructive) is when the defining moment of your character resonates. Having said that, some use a breakup to make a dramatic revision in their personal lives. Men tend to upgrade to reduced passenger seating - usually in the form of a drop-top roadster. Women tend to change their hair color and/or style. A select few may even change their minds (see boomerang sex), where, if not consensual, ends up being a whole different topic (see restraining order).
Do I Need To Slap You? How To Avoid Stupid Relationship Mistakes. Hickford offers both comical and realistic advice on ending repetitive dating mistakes. She is currently happy in a dating relationship, but realizes the happiness didn’t come from the presence of another. “I learned that I was absolutely responsible for my own happiness - that no one could make my happy, only happy-ER. I realized that I was mourning the Dream, not the Reality - as I say in my book, often that’s what makes us sad when relationships end. It’s the loss of the Dream (of happily ever after) because the Reality was pretty crappy, or we wouldn’t be breaking up in the first place.” Speaking of reality, while most of our breakups are not played out on the unrealistic sets of reality TV -which uses the poetic license of editing for more dramatic segments - we still may feel like the whole world is laughing, judging, and aware of the demise of the relationship. But in reality, the pain of the breakup is often magnified by the shame. Kitty* of Los Angeles, CA found herself dumped after a three-year relationship. “The breakup was mutual because it turned into a long distance relationship (when I moved to LA). It was hard to keep up ... but in the end, I was the one who got dumped.” In terms of recovering, Kitty bounced back easily. It wasn’t that hard to get over because it had been such a long time since I saw him (long distance thing),” says the 27-year-old Community Manager for Fashion & Beauty for ThisNext.com. “But it was hard to get over being able to talk to someone everyday about everything. I leaned on my girlfriends a lot and just made sure I was out on the town - a lot. I also talked about the breakup to
After her breakup, Michele Hickford was feeling the need for Sicilian, in the form of a 23year-old model wannabe. And by leaving London, where her ex husband resides. “We’re still in touch (me and the ex, not the model),” says the writer, who authored the book, 29
people and on the web (Product Therapy-The Single Life),” Kitty states. Having a support system is highly recommended by Steadman. “If you feel stuck, ask a friend for help getting you back on the dating scene. Go out with your single gal pals and just have fun. There’s safety and strength in numbers.” “One of the greatest challenges of re-entering the dating world following a breakup is that we have a tendency to compare the person we’re on a date with to our ex,” Steadman continues. “And no matter how wrong for us our ex was while we were with them, suddenly the bad disappears and we only remember the good. That’s why it’s so important for us to be conscious of this habit and turn down the volume on those comparisons. They’re incredibly sabotaging.” Although statistics are unclear on the average length of time the standard dating relationship (i.e. heterosexual couple in a monogamous commitment) lasts, in the Denver Family Development Study, couples dated on an average of 32 months prior to marriage. This study, conducted by Dr. Howard J. Markman (professor of psychology at the University of Denver), involved 100 couples planning first-time marriages, who were followed from its inception in 1980 for over a time span of 13 years. Internet dating relationships, on the other hand, last an average of seven months, according to a study by Dr. Jeff Gavin of the University of Bath’s Psychology Department (UK February 14, 2005 Press Release). Statistics for LDRs (long-distance relationships) report that of dating relationships, an estimated 1 in 7 (14%) were longdistance, and 3.5 million dating couples are involved in long-distance dating relationships (The Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships, A Division of JF Milne Publications.) Even though his attempt to create a long distance relationship was rejected, Haro does see the silver lining from his breakup. “If you feel like your breakup has you going downhill real fast, it’s because you need speed to get a bigger hill. And always remember, if you’re about love, don’t give up on love,” he advises. For Gomez, she reflects u p o n h e r breakup experience by comparing it to the movie Evening, starring the stellar cast of Vanessa Redgrave, Meryl Streep, Toni Collette and Claire Danes. In the movie, the daughters of an elderly woman are surprised to find out about their mother ’s secret. From her deathbed, the dying woman calls out for the man she loved more than any other from some fifty www.magazineblu.com
years ago, yet never pursued. “Knowing that I did all I could do, I’ll try to make it (love) work here in the states,” she confirms. Kitty took the high road in terms of keeping the lines of communication open. “I am still friends with my ex, we talk online every now and again,” Kitty confesses. “When something is funny I still call him and we talk on holidays to wish each other a Merry Christmas and all that jazz.” Experiencing breakup blues is a life-shattering experience for both the dumper and dumpee. Whatever your position is in the matter, the correct timeframe for getting over it is never in black and white. Like death, there will be phases in experiencing the breakup process: shock, denial, sorrow, anger, pain, and finally, acceptance. The key is to not remain stuck in any one phase prior to acceptance. The end of a relationship can, however, open up a spectrum of colorful opportunities, such as moving to a new city to start a new life, jumpstarting a new career, or finding out how amazingly resilient you are. But, the most promising opportunity is another chance to get love right. *Fictional name 30
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Eat your dessert first.
While that may be music to the ears of the young at heart, those of us in the know realize the ramifications of spoiling our appetite. Yet when it comes to sex, the same folks who know better don't necessarily do better, opting to go straight for the goodies. In true form, the eyes are bigger than the gut instinct.
30 year-old Margot* sees it as being all about the connection. "Sex right away can be a By Felicia Coley definite boost of excitement," says the Miami-based healing arts specialist. "With my current lover, it was her list of “Ten Myths About Singles.” love at first sight. Getting to know someone can happen very quickly, and in my case, she and I dove right in to a physical connection that “There is another point that often gets short shrift in our culture that is so preoccupied with sex," says DePaulo. has evolved into a mental and emotional bond." As far as thinking women hold a standard rule of restraint, Margot disagrees. "I have dated both men and women, and I really don't see a difference. As long as two people are on the same page, there shouldn't be a reason to have a set time frame. Just know with the physical involvement comes responsibility.” Author Bella DePaulo, Ph.D. (Visiting Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara) wrote the book, Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. Her book expounds on the very subject within
“There are people for whom sex really is not all that important. That doesn't mean there is anything wrong with them. Many of them care about intimacy, but that intimacy does not have to be physical." "Among some people with certain religious beliefs, it is not old-fashioned at all to wait to have sex; it is the right thing to do," DePualo continues. "Among others, it is considered old-fashioned to wait until marriage. With people generally marrying at later ages than ever before (if they do marry), there can be many years between the teen years and marriage."
Photographs © Marin Conic/Dreamstime.com
The dilemma for many singles may be in gambling on the risk of quality over quantity; years of giving into the lust of new relationships, only to reflect back to see that sexual attraction was the common denominator for most of them. And after a life of hookups and flings, does the view of a long-lasting relationship (i.e. marriage) become blurred? Marriage may not be the goal for Fashion Photographer Jonathan D. Orozco right now, but in his dating experiences, he has felt the sting of ulterior motives. "Not to be touted as someone who is looking to just sleep around, I have been surprised in the past to find out that I was used," says the 32-year-old Atlanta resident.
Whether it's at first glance, the second date, or after the main course, sex too soon can ruin more than just your appetite; it can be doom a budding relationship. "I usually advise people to wait a bit," notes Dr. Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. (aka "Dr. Romance"), psychotherapist and author of Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage and The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again. "Sexual attraction won't go away if you get to know each other (if it does, then it was pretty insubstantial to begin with). The suspense of abstaining can really up the intensity of sex when it finally does happen," she states. "And, you have the chance to bond, to develop the infrastructure you'll need if you want a serious relationship. If you eliminate the mystery too soon, you may also eliminate any future for this relationship."
"Yes, it happens to guys too...what a pity right? There have been a couple times that I really liked the girl and I was just being used as a The question then arises; what are the foolproof signs to confirm a boy toy. Lesson learned? Women and men are a lot alike...both have relationship is ready for sex? wants and needs. Sometimes you are on the same page and other times you are chapters apart." "If you have been dating for a while, and have had a chance to bond a little, if the interest feels mutual and not one-sided, if you survived Orozco does see the means to an end in dating. Chalking up his boy a disagreement and worked it out, if you feel mutual respect and toy experiences as water under the bridge, he has moved forward in caring, then you probably have enough foundation to take the risk anticipation of two simple factors which set the tone for a newbie re- of being sexual," Dr. Tessina advises. lationship: the first kiss and body language. Those admitting to having a sweet tooth will agree that this guilty "I believe this [the first kiss] is a magical moment. You never know pleasure was developed in childhood. Sex, on the other hand, can what is going through the other person's mind. You are in reaction just as easily be remembered by most as a habit induced and intromode but want to make sure that that reaction is the right one. In the duced in their teen years. moment, so much goes on within seconds of touching lips that "What both women and men often fail to understand when they once you sort through all the ‘what ifs,’ by the time you know it you have sex early is that they may not feel the same way about it are moving in closer and now kissing. Here is where I take note of; is it passionate? Is it just okay? Or does it need improvement? Quick note: There is no such thing as a bad kisser. Both of you are just not compatible smoochers. Enough said," explains the creator of the website AskJonathanOnline.com. When it comes to body language, Orozco says it starts with the eyes. "If her eyes are bigger and wider than normal and she just can't take them off of you, if she is in any way trying to put her body close to or onto yours, she touches you more than usual, she draws more of your attention in crowds, she plain out tells you that she wants you- that’s your sign.” There are more, but this is not a "How to Read Signs" article right?" he jokes. Orozco summarizes his methods in tried-and-true form. "Thus, we have the second date being more kissing and maybe some light petting. The third [date], more of the same and you just might get lucky but don't push it...take note of the body language she is giving you...remember we can't read minds but some of us are receptive to body language. Orozco gives this advice to men. "Pay attention to what a woman is telling you verbally and physically...you might be missing the signal to run the bases. Love is not a two way street. It is a one way in which two people travel at the same time and speed to get to the same goal together," he concludes. 49
looking back as they do at the time," informs Depaulo. What I mean by "early" is in the teenage years, especially before age 18. Lots of men and women have sex in their teens, but in one study, 70% of people looking back said that they now think they were too young. Their reservation is not so much moral as psychological. They think they were not emotionally ready to have sex. It is not just the women who say this," she continues.
your interest in getting to know each other in any other way. Waiting a while, at least several dates, before becoming intimate gives you a chance to form some of the infrastructure of a relationship: how to talk intimately with each other, a chance to learn your difference in styles, and how that will work together, an interest in each other that is more than just physical and immediate. Also, if you fall in love easily, you are asking to get your heart broken by having sex before you determine if your partner is truly a quality person and 22-year-old Nathalia of West Palm Beach, FL is one of those young interested in a relationship," Dr. Tessina concludes. at heart-turned-wise-old-soul. "At age 16, I thought sex was something special shared with the one you truly loved," says the interior Orozco offers this advice to females. "Some of us really do like you decorator. and want more from a relationship...those are the keepers and you will know it. All the rest are just batting their eyes, agreeing with "But by age 18, I thought it was okay to have sex just for fun. But you, and telling you how beautiful you are in hopes to convince now at age 22, I think it's something sacred. You should definitely you that they are into you enough to actually commit to the sheets. be friends first, get to know one another and grow some type of Again, there are some great guys out there. Be smart and use proconnection other than sexual chemistry." tection," he cautions. Mike of New York couldn't disagree more. "I think a lot of people The influence of the Sex and the City, we-date-like-men phenoms have moved have literally past this oldkicked the fashioned idea Pollyanna, of courtship, good-girlswhere you go don't-put-out on dates to get theory to the to know one curb. Even another and so, the dissex is the endconnect bepoint," says tween emothe 32-yeartions and inold graphic stant gratifidesigner. cation is few and far be"To me, sex is tween. the beginning, and afterwards "What seems as time passes to matter to you find out women is not whether your so much the relationship amount of works.” time they have been But lest you with their think all men partner, but want only one whether they thing, Orozco feel close to does practice the art of restraint, albeit calculated. that person," says Depaulo. "If I am serious about a dating relationship, then I would expect to wait at least three dates. This normally translates into three weeks for me since dating is usually left to the weekends. During this period of time there is a lot of communication via email, texting, IM, etc. Again, listening to what she is saying will give you an idea of when the appropriate time will come," he admits. Orozco goes on to say,"Too soon would be when you are not listening to her signals and you think you can just jump the gun and go for it all. This usually leads to a slap in the face, a cold bed, and a reputation as ‘...all he wanted was sex!’ Lesson learned? 'Easy, tiger.'"
From the man's point of view, don't be fooled. They, too, are aware that at the end of the day, emotions trump motions. "No matter how good in bed you both are, in the long run, it's the communication that will make any relationship last," states Orozco. A sentiment echoed by Dr. Tessina. "Most men are very sexual creatures and focused on the hunt, and getting what they want. Women have veto power, and also the power to be seductive and transmit non-verbal cues to let him know the time is right. On the other hand, if he's not interested, there's only so much you can do -- the chemistry just may not be there."
The icing on the cake may be enticing to all, but in the long run, the “When you decide to become intimate is an important choice, be- woman still decides when dessert will be served. cause it sets the tone of your relationship," states Dr. Tessina. "Becoming intimate right away tends to eliminate the possibility of *Fictional name getting to know each other -- you're then focused on sex; a man may assume you're just one-night-stand material; and lust overtakes www.magazineblu.com 50
Photo: Kimberly Toms
[Gentle]Men’s Clubs Not Just for the Boys Anymore? Helene Golombek
Gentlemen’s clubs, strip joints, cabarets, topless bars, show clubs, Bada Bing! To many women, these words conjure up the worst possible images – lascivious dens of mostly naked women gyrating for dollars, meat markets where sexual acts can be bought for the right price. But, is that really the case? Are these clubs so scandalous, dirty and perverse, or are they simply pseudo-theatrical venues wherein many women are enjoying visually seductive foreplay as part of a monogamous relationship? Whatever the reason, more and more women are finding their way into gentlemen’s clubs and, quite often, they go without their men. Perhaps mainstream values are changing, in this time when celebrities are sometimes made not exclusively by talent, but also by an ability to make headlines. As such, media-watchers are becoming desensitized to actions that once were considered scandalous, but are now thought of as mere accidental exposure of a very mortal person’s private life. More often than not these headlines refer to some sort of sexual exploit, often as a public relations effort: a breast that popped out at an opportune time, an explicit bedroom video, or a steamy kiss caught by the paparazzi. Would Paris Hilton be on anyone’s radar if her infamous sex tape had not forged her way into the mainstream consciousness? Watch almost any video on MTV and you will see nearly the same amount of flesh that you would see in a typical topless bar. The lyrics to top songs with radio airplay speak of freakiness, kink and sexual activity as naturally as one used to mention being innocent and “sweet sixteen.” We are bombarded with images of sexuality at every turn – on billboards, magazine covers, in print, on television and Internet ads. Even advertisements in women’s magazines show females (and to a lesser degree, men) in provocative poses, sometimes naked, pouting at the camera. Yes, one might say that women have become desensitized, but is that really giving the “softer sex” enough credit? Could it really just be that women are admirers of beauty, and not unlike men, we find the female form attractive, even arousing?
Since the sexual revolution of the 1960’s, women have had the luxury of being more fluid with their sexuality than men. With the growing culture of overt sexuality, it is only natural that those things that were once eschewed by “polite” society are now becoming the norm. There are DVDs that will teach you to striptease, lap dance and pole dance like a pro, right in the comfort of your own home. If that does not do it for you, lap dancing and strip tease classes are offered at gyms across the country. You, too, can easily buy and install a dancer’s pole in your bedroom. It would be easy to dismiss the trend of ladies visiting gentlemen’s clubs as just another way of showing how far back women seem to be willing to push the feminist movement. But that is not necessarily the case. Women use gentlemen’s clubs as a way to learn how to express and explore their own sexuality. And, according to therapists, women visiting these clubs can actually learn quite a bit about themselves and their sexual triggers, while learning what to do to turn men on at the same time.
went to a topless bar with a potential client, it was not my idea. It was the late 1990’s, when few women spoke of even stepping into a men’s club, much less considered going into one for a contract negotiation. But, in agreeing to go, I felt a certain strength and advantage within my deal, as the three men truly expected me to flinch at the prospect. “Before the suggestion had been made, I could see the guys were distracted and not into listening to a traditional pitch. But, as we walked into the club, I could sense that the clients were actually feeding off of the attention generated by having me with them. Almost every man in the room turned to see who these guys were, who were bringing the girl into their domain. I think it made the clients feel important. As I bought a round of drinks, I didn’t have to initiate any conversations about business. One of the guys jumped right in and started negotiations toward a signature. By the end of the evening, I had the deal and fully retained my dignity. I even gained a certain unexpected boost of esteem, both in their eyes and my own.”
On a more basic level, gentlemen’s clubs give women the opportunity Gentlemen’s clubs offer an atmosphere in which women can unabashto look at other women’s bodies. For the most part, even heterosexual edly share a sensual experience with their partner, whether it is a partwomen enjoy looking at other women. And from experience I can tell ner for the night, a month or a long-term relayou it is not fun to be caught looking at another tionship. In fact, according to Arlene Goldman, woman in the gym locker room! But at the club, PhD, a licensed psychologist and sex therapist, the women are on stage, mingling with the crowd Could it really just be that and co-author of the book Secrets of Sexual Ecand they know that the audience is there to see women are admirers of stasy, gentlemen’s clubs bring novelty to sexual them, enjoy the moment and even learn from the interactions that otherwise have the potential to overall experience. Dancers typically do not beauty, and not unlike become staid. It offers couples the chance to play consider a female patron twice (except maybe to men, we find the female with ideas they might not be able, or willing to, wink knowingly), if they catch us looking at them. really act on. “Visiting a gentlemen’s club is a form attractive, even safe way of playing with the idea of a third perAnother reason women visit gentlemen’s clubs arousing? son in the relationship,” she says. Women may is to better understand the allure of such places find themselves aroused after leaving a club, not to men. This is an especially strong motivator necessarily because of the dancers they have seen, but because of the for women who have, or have had, partners who visit these types of environment itself. It can be fun to take this arousal home and put it places regularly. As one woman told me, she has visited clubs in the past to prove to herself that “all the women who work there are sluts!” to use with a willing partner. Maybe this makes her feel better about herself in some way, or makes It is not only women in relationships who can benefit from a visit to a her able to dismiss her partner’s behavior when he wants to go. “He bar noir. In that setting, women are offered a chance to explore their wouldn’t want to be with one of those women,” she tells herself, “beown sexuality, while becoming empowered to use that sexuality, as cause they’re not good in the way I’m good.” While some women may well. While this may go against what a lot of women think gentlemen’s feel this way, others go because it helps demystify for them what reclubs offer, consider evidence in support of the theory. Club dancers ally happens there. This is actually a healthy approach, and one that on stage are practiced in the art of seduction and use their sexuality to was voiced by several women with whom I spoke. Many men get what they want. Successful visual seduction is the key to heightenenjoyspending time at gentlemen’s clubs, and there are a number of ing of a dancer’s income. There is a reason the strippers on stage play women who feel, that if their partner is going to be there, then they to the crowd, lean into the pole in specific ways, connect with the will be there with them. audience the way they do. Each action is proven to have worked for Strip emporiums also offer men and women “the opportunity to comdancers before them, for years, as men (and now women) have thrown municate with one another about what turns them on in a way that is money on the stage in response to the showgirl’s movements. Most not personal,” according to Caroline Robbey, MSW, LCSW, CAS. female patrons are not going to be empowered to run out and buy pasties Being able to talk about what arouses you is important in a relationand 6-inch heels to wear to the office, but they can learn how to move ship and can lead to greater intimacy. Many couples have problems their bodies in a way to which men react. In gaining positive response with this, and anything that can help open the lines of communication in using what they have learned, women are naturally going to feel is something that should be explored. more confident and in control. As a matter of fact, many women who visit gentlemen’s clubs do so for the explicit reason of learning how to So let’s say that you, as a woman, have decided to try going to such a turn men on, how to move and be seen as a sensual being. club. Or, as a man, your lady has agreed to go. You get a group of friends together, both sexes or not, and hit one of the local topless Like schmoozing on the golf course, men have been taking potential bars. There are a few things to keep in mind before you walk in the business associates to men’s clubs to loosen prospects to the point of front door. actively considering a pitch or deal. Often, board rooms do not offer a setting conducive to forging a bond with potential clients, partners or First, there are different “classes” of gentlemen’s clubs and they can sponsors. Given the overall experience and relaxed atmosphere of a differ in areas such as the type of women who work there, the cleanlitopless bar, many a business relationship has been solidified while ness of the club and just how naked the dancers get. Based on my exalso considering the female form, cocktails and the exhilarating feelperience, most ladies prefer cleaner clubs, where the dancers are ating that one is sharing in a male experience with a like-minded associtractive and, most importantly, not completely nude. These are the ate. clubs that do not have the reputation of excessive “Champagne Court” behavior. Some women have also been empowered to utilize upscale strip clubs as a setting for negotiating tough business deals. Emily, a 36 year-old Seemingly as important is what the dancers are wearing, and how inadvertising consultant from Philadelphia, admitted, “The first time I
teractive they are with the audience. In one club I visited, there was no nudity, except for maybe when men went to the back for a lap dance. Since I did not get such a private dance, I cannot be sure.
may be the catalyst that some women need in order to ratchet up their confidence level. Again, almost paradoxically, a club may also help bring greater intimacy into a relationship.
It was disconcerting to me to see the dancers walk up to men, rub their backs for a second and then hold their g-strings in a way that let the men know they were expecting money just for having talked to them. Equally as disconcerting was the number of men who felt it was their job to rub the girls’ backsides as vigorously as I would rub a stain I was trying to remove from my carpet. While other clubs may have offered more nudity, there seemed to be more boundaries in place – and more women in attendance.
Finally, men must respect the comfort level of the lady with whom they attend such a place, and women must respect both each other and the dancers. One must admit that, while women may find each other attractive, there is a fine line between viewing a woman as beautiful or sensual and the other extreme of exploiting a female. For example, young women have been known to exploitatively cheer each other on to bare it all for professional cameras, such as the Girls Gone Wild videos, alongside the same encouragement by men. Although both sexes may currently consider what was once “edgy” as more mainstream, there is no excuse for pressuring someone into overt behavior, whether in general interaction, for visiting a men’s club, or performing in one.
Cleanliness is especially important to many women when visiting a gentlemen’s club. Why would I want to spend my time – and my money – at a club that does not respect its dancers or patrons enough to keep to certain standards of cleanliness? Let’s face it, no matter what you think of them, there’s a degree of tawdriness associated with these types of venues. It is in the club owners’ best interest to keep the areas the patrons visit as clean as possible, so one does not have to wonder about what could be on the floors, chairs or in the dark corners (think seedy “adult” movie theatres). Most topless bars are not the dens of iniquity that many women think them to be. Although it sounds like a paradox, gentlemen’s clubs just
Sitting at home and discussing visiting a gentlemen’s club with someone – a significant other, a platonic friend, a group – is a different experience than actually being in one. Once actually within the club setting, there may be feelings of jealousy, inadequacy, or just plain discomfort. It is important to acknowledge these feelings and leave if that is what you really want to do. Among the many good reasons there are to visit a gentlemen’s club, being coerced into it is not one of them. So ladies, if you are not feeling it, or (as a man) the lady you are with seems uncomfortable, simply get out!
The Flip Sides: What Do You Think About Women Visiting Gentlemen’s Clubs?
“I feel the same way about men or women going. I understand going with a group, to have fun. Also, I think it is cool if a girl is comfortable with that. To me, it shows she has an open mind and is probably a fun person to hang out with. But, I truthfully don’t understand men or women going just to hang out and look at the women. I think there are better ways to spend an evening.” - Rob, 35
“I have never had any interest in visiting a gentlemen’s club. However, I do enjoy nudity in movies. Does that count for anything? If I want to see DDs, I just look in the mirror. Most every man I have dated has not been into gentlemen’s clubs, either.” - Jennifer, 34
“I have no problem with women visiting gentlemen’s clubs. I think that seeing a woman there is a huge turn on, especially if she seems to be enjoying it. It escalates the male fantasy of two women ‘together.’” - Dan, 32 “I like seeing women at a strip club. I think it is incredibly sexy to see a dancer giving a lap dance to a girl. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it at all.” - Joe, 37 “I have gone to clubs with girls before and I think it is a blast! One time I went with two girls and another guy. We bought a lap dance for all four of us and the girls picked the dancer. One of the girls was really into it, the other not so much. I think it is a nice way to spend the evening, but it helps when everyone is into it and having a good time.” - Mike, 32 “[If a woman wants to go,] it is her choice. The more, the merrier. If my lady went with me, I would be a little uneasy at first. But, it would be interesting after a couple of drinks. I would want her to act like she is enjoying herself. She doesn’t have to be into the women, but if she likes watching her boyfriend getting turned on, then I think both parties benefit later in the night. I think women should feel comfortable with men going to a strip club -- more than once a month is too much, but once in a while is fine. It’s not like the [dancers] are going home with these guys. It’s fantasy, almost like watching porn. It can only go so far and you always come back to reality.” - Tom, 30 www.magazineblu.com
“The only thing I have to say about a woman visiting a club is that, if she is in a relationship, I think she should take her partner’s feelings into consideration. Some guys might not like it. But, other than that, I don’t see what the big deal is.” - Sharon, 32 “I personally think it is strange for a woman to go to a gentleman’s club. I have no desire to visit one and don’t know why women would want to.” - Lisa, 34 “I think that there are different reasons why women go to gentlemen’s clubs, whether it is because they are into it or because they want to go with their partner. Regardless, I don’t think it is a bad idea or a good idea. It is a decision each person must make for themselves.” - Jennifer, 34 “I was initially intimidated by the prospect of going into such a club. But, once I went to one, I saw it was no big deal. I saw how much fun the dancers were having on stage and I relaxed and enjoyed myself quite a bit.” - Kate, 37 “I go with my boyfriends and do not see a problem with it. I am even secure with them going without me. There have been many times that I have gone, [such as] with my boyfriend to purchase him a lap dance for his birthday, with male friends when one has broken up with a girlfriend, or is about to get married or divorced. If I am invited to go, why not?” - Dani, 30
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The New Definition of Dutch
It was a true New York first date. I arrived at her place casually around 8 p.m. and we took a cab from SoHo into Chelsea for an 8:30 meal, which stretched on until about 11:30. We shared a great deal of conversation over those three L.A.-based Comedian Jeff hours, not to mention two bottles of Wyatt muses upon love’s wine and a litany of food. It was rapier-like charm in a amazing to be on a date with someone viciously paced world who actually held my interest for the where relationships have entire evening. The awkward become more disposable pauses, the blank stares, the eyes than celebrity and more meandering to other p e o p l e ’s desirable than diamonds. dates never materialized. It was simply simple. First dates are never this easy or enjoyable. Despite its inevitability, I am still rattled when I realize I have to tip the waiter ninety dollars at the end of dinner. Maybe it is my modest Midwest upbringing; an upbringing of moderately priced restaurant meals being a splurge and the common courtesy of a twenty percent tip for adequate service. I secretly wager that it is because my parents only frequented one restaurant when my brothers and I were growing up. They knew that one day we would make a scene and the only thing that would save them from complete humiliation was having the wait staff know an appropriate tip awaited them. This proved to be quite the perspicacious P.R. move on my parents’ part. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a pair of dentures thrown into a 70 year-old woman’s cleavage, but at age 11 it seems a perfectly acceptable tableside practice. Those twenty percent tips came in handy that night. As I reached into my coat pocket, and was ready to kiss that new iPod goodbye, a funny thing happened on the way to the forum, the forum being the waiters’ hand, that is. Before I could retrieve my card she had already placed hers into the waiter ’s possession and off he went. I stared at her blankly for a moment, the first silence of the night between the two of us. She did not let it linger. Her explanation could not have been any simpler: “I don’t care. I asked you out. Deal with it.” I was floored. Not only was that shiny new iPod back in my life, but a new definition of “Dutch”
Musings was introduced to me. I am sure my grandmother was spinning like a rotisserie chicken in her grave at the notion of me not paying for a first date; she who spent countless hours instilling in me what it means to be a gentleman when out with a woman, simple courtesies: order for her, pull out her chair, stand when she leaves and arrives at the table, and most of all, pay the bill! And here I am, kicking back and saying to myself, “This feels pretty damn good. I could get used to this. Do I have to put out now?” Because let me tell you, I’m not that kind of girl… As I was kicking back and allowing myself to be treated to this exorbitantly priced meal, I came to a frightening realization. This is how women are planning on taking over the world! From birth we, as men, are genetically predisposed to being taken care of by a woman. We are feeble, weak, and exceptionally co-dependent. By “being the man” we could easily lose our power to women. As a whole, the male species would love to subscribe to our own lethargy. If we had to do very little work to be afforded the same comforts we are accustomed to now, we would succumb at the drop of a hat. But, the question remains, could I realistically go from wearing the pants in a relationship to wearing a super cute new pair of culottes? The resounding answer was an unequivocal, “Hell yes!” And why am I okay with that? First off, I have great legs, compliments of my grandmother, and can rock a pair of culottes better than any man should. Secondly, I honestly don’t care. Being “the man” in the relationship is just fodder for insecure pricks or those who are so entrenched in the way they think it should be that they lose sight of how it could be. Here I am, dating a wonderful woman; we have amazing conversations, compliment one another very well and most importantly, we challenge each other. That challenge is the sexiest thing about her. Not the attempt to impress her, not at all. But, the allure of being even more of a man than I am now for her. None of which requires me covering a tab. It is simple to stay even in our relationship. I generally cover the small things and a few select nights out, but when she wants to take in an opera or the symphony, she takes care of it. That is the wonderful thing about this, when she wants to do something, we do it. I couldn’t be happier to be rid of my “male ego” as it were. Being on equal standing with the person you are intimate with opens so many doors to a relationship. I have dated one too many women who leave the decision making process up to me. Yes, it is okay to defer from time to time, but when she never makes a decision, that’s when I make the decision that I am better off without her. So let us recap here: I have admitted to being the one too timid to make the first move by being asked out by a woman for a first date, been paid for on said date, and let all of you know that I have sported a pair of culottes in my relationship. But, I still feel like a man. I still know my “man” part works. Not that part you sick-minded pervert— my right thumb, the one that controls the remote. I don’t care how many dinners she covers in our relationship, or holidays we enjoy together on her buck, there is one portion of my manhood that is not up for sale or dismissal, the ability to change channels. If you think I am stupid for holding onto that one last sacred piece of guy-dom, I have one simple statement for you. It rings absolutely true in allowing myself to not be “the guy” in my relationship, and just as true in relation to my opposition of my remote being controlled by estrogen: “I don’t care, deal with it!” 102
Morning Glory, Photo By Murray Peters
Seein eeingg Nature
in a whole new light By Curt Riedy, with foreword by Kimberly Toms
Everywhere we go, throughout each day of our lives, Nature surrounds us. Despite its ever-presence, we tend to bypass beauty and remark little on awesome and spectacular intricacies of every scene, creature and beam of light. Dawn blurs into day, day into dusk and evening into dark. The routine of our lives brings about a cycle that allows for little notation of what lies beyond the sidewalks and streetlamps of our ever-encroaching and sprawling cities. Occasionally we might step into our walking shoes or muddy boots and head down a dirt path for a day of fresh air and sunshine. But, do we, as the general public and sometime aficionados of the outdoor experience, really see the complexity and wonder of the Earth upon which we exist? One man does make note of every ray of light, palette of color and depth of scenery that he possibly can, both for himself and, thankfully, for those of us more inclined to stay within the bounds of our own front lawn or parkway. That man, Murray Peters of Utah, captures Nature in his own time, way and vision that is aptly named Illuminature. Imagine yourself high on a knife-edged ridgeline. Before you, a breathtaking display of light emits from a setting sun, illuminating the clouds that hover at your feet. You sit perched, completely mesmerized by beauty as the sun drops beyond the horizon. As dusk looms, the realization occurs that you havenâ€™t any tangible form of light with you, neither a headlamp nor a flashlight. While scrambling desperately to traverse rocky edges and racing toward the trail, darkness envelops you. This may sound a little risky and perhaps borders on suicidal. But, for landscape photographer Murray Peters, just as long as he brings his camera, the experience will be worth itâ€Śfor all of us. 93
Water Rhythms, Photo By Murray Peters www.magazineblu.com
Despite being his great passion, photography is not Murray’s profession. He’s been an independent financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial for over ten years. Regardless of having to maintain the day job, Peters’ primary reason for creating his art comes from an unrequited love for photography and the breathtaking surroundings that make up his current home of Salt Lake City. A native of Texas, the 42 year-old single father has a deep affection for capturing the beauty found in the American West. In particular, the bulk of his work involves the Colorado Plateau that extends into the Beehive State of Utah, where he now lives with his 14 year-old daughter, Madison. Peters’ love for photography awakened in junior high and his current artistic passion grew out of hiking, with both hobbies forging together toward initiation into nature imaging in 1996. “I loved to hike, to be out there with nature,” recalls Murray. “One day, it finally just dawned on me, ‘God, I really need to bring a camera.’” As a single parent, Murray takes advantage of any opportunity to share his hobby with Madison. In fact, his daughter has naturally developed a love of photography and recently acquired her own digital camera. Although Madison occasionally accompanies her father on his shoots, the result is generally that of her becoming tired during the associated trek, as well as that classic anecdote one would expect to hear while hiking with their teenage daughter, “I’m bored.” Peters has developed a portfolio of incredible material. For instance, his depiction Across the Waters captures a breathtakingly vivid reflection of a sunrise in the waters of a mountainside lake. The shimmering reds, yellows and golds in both the lake and night sky provide an equal balance that perfectly illustrates Peters’ talent. Another fan favorite is the piece entitled Sanctuary, which explores the exquisite beauty of cavern rocks. The imagery of the piece takes a firm hold on the viewer’s eye, and makes perfect use of the cavern’s natural color palette. Like the giving nature of Peter’s photography itself, his website, Illuminature.com, also plays a much-appreciated role in benefiting the landscapes from which it lovingly borrows. He supports the beautiful lands he photographs by contributing a portion of the website’s profits to charitable organizations that dedicate themselves to the preservation of our environment as a whole. As he claims, one of the main goals of Illuminature is to provide more than an aesthetically pleasing collection of images, as a “reminder of the condition of our world” in both its beauty and suffering. Photos by Murray Peters: Below - Teton Thirst Top right - Final Approach 2nd from top, right - Sandcurrents 3rd from top, right - Subterranean Bottom, right - The Journey
While it’s easy to see how Peters plays a vital role in the planet’s betterment as a photographer alone, the uncommonly honest artist will openly admit to mistakes made along his way. “One day I loaded up my gear and cruised down to Southern Utah, which was a good couple of hours away from home,” recalls Peters. “Once I arrived, I began to unload everything and realized I forgot my mount for the tripod, which is one of the most important tools for capturing exposures that often take several hours. Needless to say, I had to pack everything up right there and head back.” Even some of Peters’ most admired photos were accidental. This is most notable in the piece entitled Teton Thirst, which features a moose settling down to an afternoon drink. “I was in Grand Teton National Park, setting up this really beautiful angle and at the last moment he just walked right into frame,” Peters noted, laughing to himself. “That moose really ended up making the shot.” A testament to the painstaking art of landscape photography, the moose from Teton Thirst demonstrates the awe-inspiring results derived from the perseverance required for every single picture. Another fantastic example of Peters’ patience is Aurora, a photograph taken in the Upper Antelope Canyon in Arizona. “To capture [the canyon’s] natural beauty, you need to wait for the different beams of natural light to appear,” states Peters, explaining the shot process. “You just sit for hours, watching them move. It’s all incredibly beautiful.” While the photographs themselves require an endless amount of skill, the task of naming his creations is, for Peters, a much simpler process. “Sometimes the subject is a formation with a specific name, and I just go with that. Often, it’s a name of my own creation, a stream of consciousness thing. Just clear your head and it’ll pop in there. No method, just whatever evokes.” Next up for Murray is a road trip to Yosemite National Park, a very iconic location for the artist. The park brought endless inspiration to a major hero of his, the great photographer Ansel Adams. Although he might one day venture to locations elsewhere (camera in tow, of course), Peters’ main inspiration will always be the American West. “I could spend years knocking out national parks around here. It’s just endless beauty.” As for any international aspirations, Peters sees himself heading to the Himalayas in Nepal, but not right now. “Obviously, I think I’d like to wait for the political situation to calm down a bit.” His other photography plans for the future? “Continue to sell through private collectors and decorators. One day I’d like to have a physical retail store, but I don’t know how much of a reality that will ever be.” What’s most important to Peters is the desire to continue his craft in the most sincere of forms, to keep the romance alive and bustling. “It’s an outlet, not a vocation. Most of all, I want to continue to love it. I’d like to swap my professional positions [from Financial Advisor to Professional Photographer], but it’s really something I do just because I love to do it.” Although his initial methods were a bit askew, Murray sees real potential in just how far he can take his photography. “I put it out there backwards,” he admits. “I was learning how to do it as I went. My friends and family would encourage it, and I’d just keep pushing. Basically, what motivated all this was a desire to share, to expose the public to just how wonderful and beautiful this part of our country can be.” Peters’ photographs are displayed and available for sale at www.illuminature.com.
Photos by Murray Peters: Far left, bottom - Wavelength Left, bottom - Gatekeeper Top, right - Angel Tears Middle, right - September Bells Bottom, right - Thor’s Hammer
Microbrews of the
Northeast by Curt Reidy
“Everybody has to believe in something... ...I believe I’ll have another drink.” - W.C. Fields We think we will too, Mr. Fields. While we’re at it, were going to go ahead and try some microbrews. Now, don’t get us wrong. Opening up a frosty can of Miller, Coors or Budweiser is perfectly fine, but we live in a world where our options are anything but limited, a world in which choices are available where there were once no choices to be found. So, why downplay our right to choose when it comes to the glorious gift that is beer, one thing in life that truly brings us the most joy (well, besides love, children, family and all that other “important” stuff)? Magazine BLU proudly presents our picks for the Top 10 Microbrews of the Northeast. We scoured down the East Coast (well, about half-way to be precise) to find you the best this area has to offer. Sure, they may be a little different. But, damn, they make the freedom of choice taste good!
Victory Brewing Company
Smuttynose Brewing Company
Downingtown, Pennsylvania An American microbrew with a deeply European flair, the brew masters of Victory pride themselves in a higher understanding of traditional German-style recipes, combined with a distinct (and very non-traditional) creative freedom that makes their brews so unique.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire An increasingly popular microbrew, Smuttynose earns its notoriety by keeping its traditional brewing style and dedication intact, while offering the consumer a wide variety of unique flavors.
The Golden Monkey, unquestionably one of Victory’s strongest selling beverages, packs a punch both in its signature taste and alcoholic content (10%, which we’re sure has absolutely nothing to do with its popularity with college students). A livelier, spritzier beer, this Belgian-style Tripel gets its taste from its bottle-conditioned fermentation, as well as its fruiter afterthoughts of crushed coriander seeds and orange. Another notable entry is Victory’s Hopdevil, a very successful India Pale Ale with a scent characteristic of pine and orange blossom. Its candied flavor flows into a grapefruity aftertaste, providing a specific roundness that really cleanses the palette. Bottom Line: Strong, tasty and very original. Top Left: Alan Pugsley, Master Brewer (left) and Fred Forsley, President of Shipyard Brewing Company. Top Right: Harpoon Brewery Founders Dan Kenary (left) and Rich Doyle. Bottom: The magnificent Harpoon Brewhouse.
One of the more notable brews in the Smuttynose line is its classic Old Brown Dog Ale, their flagship beer. OBD offers dark, roasted malt, a chocolaty scent and a lot of body for brown ale. Another favorite is their Robust Porter, which works as a hybrid porter/stout. The Porter offers chocolaty, coffee aroma and quite a bit more hop than most. More of a sipping or dessert beer, the Porter satisfies as a very satiating brew with a rather formidable share of body. Bottom Line: A traditional line-up with a big difference...utter satisfaction.
Barley Creek Brewing Company
Allagash Brewing Company
Tannersville, Pennsylvania Serving as both a brewery and mini-vacation of sorts (the establishment offers various outdoor drinking games and live music), there’s a lot to love about the Barley Creek Brewing Company. Offering a truly delicious assortment of original brews and a dining environment filled with a fun staff that truly understands good food, good beer, and (most importantly) a good time.
Portland, Maine With a primary focus on Belgian-style beers and an authentic bottle-conditioning method referred to as the Methode Champenose, Allagash is proud to stray away from the pack. Their recipes are an experimental hybrid of several European styles, with a yeast strain very similar to Belgian wine, beer from Germany, and the wine culture from France. Rest assured, all of it leads to a very unique drinking experience.
Highly recommended is the Old 99, a specialty-sipping brew that is aged six months with a mix of Belgian candy and brown sugar, making for a deliciously sweet experience. Their Antler Brown Ale, a bestseller, also adds a particularly sweet equation to the mix with its delicious caramel aftertaste. Notably unique, this English-style ale is a dark beer with a surprisingly light taste. Bottom Line: Excellent brews and good times make a visit to Barley Creek well worth the trip.
Casco Bay Brewing Company Portland, Maine Casco Bay strives toward crafting quality American-style ale. Based out of Maine (a state commonly known for the brewing of British-style ales), Casco Bay delivers a highly drinkable beer that’s neither overly sensational or experimental...it’s just a damn good brew. The notables consist of Casco’s widely popular Pale Ale, a brew patterned off Chico, California’s Sierra Nevada, which is a West Coast pale ale often described as the definitive American-style ale. Another example of Casco’s distinctive taste is their Hopback, an ale which takes advantage of the under-utilized (and generally expensive) hopback process. The process brings a fresh aroma to the brew without any of the associated bitterness, bringing a true essence to the hops that the drinker can truly notice.
Bottom Line: American-style done exceptionally right, which is never an easy task.
The first of Allagash’s experimental Barrel Aged series, the Curieux stands as the perfect introduction to the innovation of the brewery. The Curieux is their Tripel blend, aged in Jim Bean Bourbon barrels and carrying an assortment of new flavors and aromas, such as vanilla and coconut. For those interested in the Tripel on its own, this distinctive brew is a Belgian-style wheat beer with heavy undertones of coriander and orange peel. The mix carries just enough hop to balance the sweetness of the malt, making for a long-lasting (and surprisingly smooth) finish. Bottom Line: Both distinctive and defined.
Shipyard Brewing Company Portland, Maine Under the watchful eye of Englishman Alan Pugsley (who, ironically, was called the most influential brewer in North America), Shipyard offers beer lovers truly traditional English-style ales with a lot of taste and one hell of a lot of drinkability. Originating from the Ringwood Brewery in Yorkshire, Shipyard uses an authentic English system, which features directly shipped Ringwood yeast that transitioned here to the US with flawless results.
The Export Ale, Shipyard’s flagship brew, provides a classic golden ale taste akin to the ones found in Molson’s Export. With more color and more hops, the Shipyard Export works as a bigger, lighter and much more drinkable beer than most. Another classic Shipyard brew is without a doubt their Old Thumper, an extra special bitter licensed by Ringwood itself. It is a bit sweeter upfront than other English-style beers, but provides a deep backbody that keeps you coming back for more. Bottom Line: The next best thing to getting a passport to Merry Ol’ England. It’s that good.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Harpoon Brewing Company
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware Judging by motto alone, Dogfish’s credo of producing “Off-Centered Ales For Off-Centered People” is quite a big leap from the traditional home-style ales of breweries like Casco Bay and Shipyard. Producing big, exotic microbrews since its original incarnation, Dogfish prides itself in its utterly bizarre attitude, beer names and brewing methods, which range from extreme yeast regiments on their stronger beers to continual hopping methods on their Pilsners and IPAs.
Boston, Massachusetts The largest craft brewer in the Northeast, Harpoon offers four year-round brews, in addition to four special seasonal ales. Formed to offer American drinkers the same number of choices C.E.O. Rich Doyle had previously found in Europe, the brewery strives to bring a richer beer culture to the Northeastern States.
The Shelter Pale Ale, their flagship brew, offers a versatile, malted beer that leaves a strong hold on your taste buds. Its nutty flavor derives from hints of walnuts and molasses, and goes great with standard on-the-go foods like burgers and pizza. For something a little darker, highly recommended is their Chicory Stout, which leaves a true assault on the senses with its bizarre blends of roast, chocolates, and hints of pepper. The unique tastes come courtesy of the Stout’s blend of chicory, coffee, licorice and other assorted flavors.
Bottom Line: Bizarre, but in the most delicious way you can imagine.
Penn Brewery Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Producing over eight different award-winning beers, Penn Brewery and its impressive lineup of authentic German-inspired brews have been referred to as “the BMW of beer.” Pioneers in the microbrewery movement, Penn was the first craft brewer in Pennsylvania and the first restaurant to open in the state to operate under a brewing license since before Prohibition. Now that’s innovation.
Especially good is their German-styled Penn Dark, a 2000 Gold Medal in the World Beer Cup (the Olympics of Beer). Often referred to as the “Best Dark Beer in the World,” its flavor derives from hints of chocolate and coffee through its burnt roast and Munich malts, in addition to a very distinctive bread-like character. Also recommended is their Penn Weizen, a wheat beer with a banana-clove aroma (otherwise known amongst brewers as “the bubble gum flavor”). Made with 50% barley malt, the Weizen is light in color and body, highly carbonated and highly refreshing. It is as close to a beer garden in Munich as you can get. Bottom Line: A good American brew…German-style.
Their best selling beer, the Harpoon IPA offers a medium body and a lot of distinct hop behind it. Its floral scent and citrusy taste fully round out the overall sensation, making for a rather unique IPA. Even better is their UFO Raspberry Hefeweizen, an addition to their UFO line, which adds a natural raspberry flavor to the unfiltered wheat beer taste. This is an excellent choice for the beer buff with a more fruit-centric taste. Ladies, we’d be lying if we said we weren’t talking to you. Bottom Line: A rather common selection with an uncommonly distinctive taste.
Sly Fox Brewing Company Phoenixville, Pennsylvania Now in its 10 th year of operation, Sly Fox offers craft brew aficionados a wide assortment of traditional beers, a full-scale brewery and two pub eateries, which bring out visitors from all over the East Coast. A great addition to the Sly Fox line is the introduction of their new 12oz can versions of the popular Phoenix Pale and Pikeland Pill brews, offering microbrew fans a unique change of pace and portability.
The Phoenix Pale Ale, their medium-bodied and highly spiced version of the Great American Pale Ale, is a great example of an excellent mainstream craft beer. Made with British Pale and Crystal malts, and hopped with Cascades from the Pacific Northeast, the Phoenix offers microbrew drinkers a truly great beer available bottled and canned. For a slightly different drinking sensation, Sly Fox also offers their spritzy Saison Vos, a 7% alcohol Belgian-style brew (otherwise known as a Farmhouse Ale). Cork-finished, dry, and champagne-like, the Saison goes with just about any food you can think of, and is an interesting mix for beer fans and non-beer fans alike. Bottom Line: Traditional, with a healthy dose of innovation.
An ample and varied water selection is a natural aspect of the menu and service at Philadelphiaâ€™s newest grand restaurant, The Wa t e r W o r k s . T h i s page, bottle storage graces the r e s t a u ra n t â€™s wa l l s . Right, a bottle of Bling is the water choice for those who have the cash, or the attitude, to back up their selection. Both photos by Daniel Mezick.
The Entrepreneurial Spirit is Flowing At The Water Works Restaurant of Philadelphia By Kimberly Toms
Several years ago, Cornell and Michigan State Universities concluded that after the first year of business, 27% of restaurant startups fail. At the three year anniversary, 50% were closed. Five years saw 60% out of business and ten years equated to 70% no longer operating. This is not as bad as the ninety percent fail rate that one generally hears on the street. But still, the business of preparing and delivering cuisine is a difficult one.
In meeting Michael Karloutsos, the restaurant business neophyte behind The Water Works, I quickly realized that insanity is not necessarily the motivator behind the polished yet exuberant gentleman founder. He is not crazy. He is a visionary. Coupled with his business partners (wife Anastasia, sister Sophia and her husband, Leonidas Agorastos) and an exceptional staff, such as Chef Adan Trinidad and award-winning Pastry Chef Chad Durkin, he is a man with a good plan.
For The Water Works Restaurant and Lounge of Philadelphia, added to that typical difficulty were the pressure of a $3.5 million renovation as part of a National Historic Landmark location and the general political struggles associated with occupation of the structure so long held dear by Philadelphians, The Waterworks of 1812.
No sooner did I walk through the door and gain an introduction to Michael, an obviously experienced fellow networker formerly involved in politics, than I was seated and plate after intricately fashioned plate of colorful cuisine started flowing to my table. The style of Water Works’ cuisine is described by the owners as “Inspired Neo-Classical.” It is, indeed, inspired. It is also infused with generations-old flavors from the Karloutsos’ roots, as well as ethnic flair representative of the wide-ranging taste of America.
The Waterworks municipal water system was built in the early nineteenth century by engineer Frederick Graff. It was one of the first municipal water systems in America and continued to provide fresh resources to the city through 1860. Although the facility had a solid purpose, its Greek Revival architecture, layout and overall beauty have attracted hundreds of thousands of people to walk its grounds since its opening. Situated on the Schuylkill River, also home to beautiful Boathouse Row, the Waterworks first utilized steam engines to lift water to the reservoir that was once located where the Philadelphia Museum of Art now stands. When a dam was eventually built across the Schuylkill, the original steam engines were replaced by river-powered water wheels. As the population of the city outgrew the functionality of the original Waterworks, and as the Industrial Revolution facilitated pollution of the river waters, the pump station was closed in 1909. Since that time, there have been several efforts to revive the beautiful facility and honor it with varied business ventures, but none have outlasted the ebb and flow of the river. Clearly, it takes guts to venture into any new business, particularly in the fickle food service genre. To open a grand restaurant at one of the most cherished National Historic Landmarks of a major city, surely the restaurateur must be either highly experienced in the business, with many dining properties under his belt, or simply crazy.
I started with the Grilled Octopus appetizer. Typically, I am wary of ordering octopus or even calamari from an unsampled menu, as I have had some really horrible experiences of not only poor flavor, but odd texture that one knows immediately upon first bite is not supposed to be part of the experience. This Grilled Octopus, however, was highly encouraging. 18
Second was the Grilled Haloumi Cheese in a Roasted Hot Pepper sauce. The Haloumi was amply proportioned and drizzled effectively with the sauce that still allowed the cheese’s salty flavor to permeate. The Oysters Three Ways followed, a dressed trio of my favorite appetizer staple. Generally, I prefer oysters on the half shell, as I believe they require very little alteration from their natural state. However, this offering of a panko-crusted oyster with feta and spinach fondue, half-shell with mignonette and shooter with mint and Granny Smith apple was certainly a desirable variation on my typical style. The panko was just as it should be, slightly crunchy and light, and the shooter was actually refreshing, with the flavors of both the mint and the apple finding their place. Meatballs bring to mind football games and Sunday pasta, as they seem to be quite a staple here in the Northeast. I would typically not consider ordering meatballs at a restaurant and only think of them when they are placed before me. Yet, these Meatballs with Roasted Eggplant and Smoked Yellow Tomato Puree were delicately presented, if “delicate” and “meatball” may actually exist in the same sentence. They had a lightly spicy sauce, were manageable in size and served in a series of six. Grilled Lollipop Lamb Chops were equally delightful, tender and certainly worth revisiting. My absolute favorite sampling, however, was hands-down the Seared Watermelon. As a child, I was the stereotypical Southern girl, in my sundress on Grandmother’s porch, with a wedge of watermelon in my hands and juice dripping on my delicately-stitched yoke. In those days, I added salt to the fruit, as is common. There is something balancing about the sweet and salty. This balance is presented in a very classic and grown-up manner, by means of the aged balsamic vinegar, red onion and feta that dresses each manageable slice. As the watermelon is, naturally, only available in season, I cannot wait until the patches have provided enough fruit that I can enjoy this delicacy at The Water Works once more. It is a simple and light starter when compared to other menu items, but simplicity definitely has its place. Lunch fare is equally intriguing as the dinner menu, adding sandwich offerings to the other, more elegant entrees. The Crab Cake Sandwich with whole grain mustard aioli, sliced avocado and pickled Napa cabbage, and the Water Works Burger, an ample Angus beef patty stuffed with Boursin cheese and bacon, are both filling and excellent variations on a typical business lunch theme. Desserts are most often left untouched when I visit any restaurant, as they generally consist of the obligatory cheesecake, “ultimate” chocolate cake and sorbets. I have to say, though, that in several visits back to The Water Works, I have managed to enjoy most of the dessert menu. None of the items have failed to impress. Being from New Orleans, I was particularly fond of the uniquely concocted Chocolate Beignets, as created by Chad Durkin. The beignets were light and fluffy, as they should be, but in the form of a ball, with a creamy warm chocolate sauce. Equally as delightful, yet not as decadently sweet, is the Strawberry Basil Sorbet. Sorbet is generally refreshing, but this combination of the fruit and the herb were quite soothing and brought the evening to a graceful close. I have likewise sampled about a half dozen other Water Works dessert specialties in the past four months and none have disappointed, to say the least.
brand, Trump’s water, or that in which Sylvester Stallone has personal involvement, Sly. If your fluid needs to have kick, sample a martini or other libation of the adult kind, whether it is the amusing “Schuylkilltini,” complete with a red Swedish Fish at the bottom of the glass, or an award-winning scotch. Generally speaking, a restaurant’s success is primarily based upon the quality and taste of menu offerings, service, atmosphere and price. Michael Karloutsos has managed to make his first venture in the food business a valiant and commendable effort. The culinary team is creatively skilled and it seems involved executives are open-minded enough to allow taste to win over convention. The pricing seems effective and appropriate. Service is charming and interlaced with interesting personal stories that, when prompted, grace the dining experience. The Water Works’ atmosphere is describable only through a myriad of adjectives, ranging from “historic” to “romantic.” Somewhere in the list one must also incorporate elegant, yet unpretentious, refined, yet youthfully enthusiastic. The property itself is one that should never have been vacant, as it was for about 25 years. Perhaps now that the Karloutsos and Agorastos families have arrived, life will continue to be pumped into the old Engine House and the initial vision of the original Waterworks can be appreciated with greater longevity. Banquette seating in The B r e e z e w a y, and the barrel ceiling over a wall of water in The Engine House add sophistication to the historic space now occupied by The Water Works restaurant. Photos by Daniel Mezick. Famed Boathouse Ro w lends the backdrop for dining on The Water Works’ outdoor terrace. Photo by R. Kennedy, courtesy GPTMC / gophila.com.
The wine list is certainly ample and offers a steadfast and encouraging selection from which to choose. Of notable mention is the water list, wherein even the most finicky natural beverage connoisseur may find complete satisfaction, whether it is Perrier, the expensive and flashy Bling 19
There’s a revolution stirring amongst us. The sweetest, most delicious revolution you’ve ever tasted. In fact, the beginning of it all could be swirling around it your martini glass right this second. With its various flavorings, colorless appearance, and a notorious reputation for remarkably high alcohol content, there is one drink that has long held prominence as one of the world’s most consumed “distilled beverages.” Perceived as a blessing to those of us who happen to dislike the taste of beer, vodka has been the top choice of innumerable night-life outings for hundreds of years. The spirit’s popularity can be attributed to several factors, most of which can be found in its many concoctions, from the Screwdriver and Bloody Mary, to the countless martinis that have accompanied us as we cozied up to the bar. Its genuine appeal is undeniable. A good vodka can set the perfect vibe, creating just the right mood through a unique aroma or taste sensation. A good vodka can create a blissful world of its own, from a go-for-broke upscale bash to a relaxing night under the stars on your favorite beach.
Vodka. Lifting Our Spirits: The Reawakening of the Vodka Culture
The Basics: Sure, it may be all the rage now, but don’t think for a second that this esteemed beverage has suddenly gained its relevancy as one of the world’s top spirits. While some have identified Poland as vodka’s initial birthplace, its origins have mostly remained unknown. Earliest traces date back somewhere within the Middle Ages, where it was largely used for medicinal purposes. For centuries, vodka earned quite a mixed perception for itself. In fact, it wasn’t until the late 70’s that vodka begun to take precedence over other spirits, acquiring its own true sense of purpose and overcoming common perception to become a top luxury beverage. Its birth is deceivingly simple. When deprived of oxygen, a yeast cell can turn sugar to ethanol and carbon dioxide, thus initiating the process of fermentation. Once distilled, our friend vodka can be born (in addition to a few dozen other friendly spirits). While the actual process of making the spirit isn’t exactly rocket science, there is an unquestionable and definitive art to making it right.
Britt West, Grey Goose Senior Marketing Manager. “They appreciate the know-how that goes into every bottle, while embracing a bit of joie de vivre (the cheerful enjoyment of life).” Belvedere, another vodka with similarly esteemed origins, hails from the small town of Zyrardów in the Mazovian plains west of Warsaw, Poland. Following traditions dating back over 600 years, Belvedere is handcrafted in small batches to ensure superior quality. It is this desire for quality that can allow even the most drastic precautions. Belvedere’s particular blend is distilled four times, the optimum number for enhancing the character of the blend. In particular, Belvedere will often go to extremes to ensure quality, even destroying an entire batch if a taste sampling shows even the slightest hint of imbalance.
Staying on the Edge: In the world of high-end luxury vodkas, the drive and desire to stay on the edge of public demand is of absolute importance, and the constant need to push the envelope of the spirit is incredibly vital to all brands involved. Luxury vodkas such as Grey Goose, Skyy, Belvedere, Stoli and countless others have all done their part to raise the public perception of the centuries-old concoction, bringing the spirit from a mere addition to your favorite drink to a bona fide extension of the joy of life.
From molasses to whey, vodka can theoretically be made from any fermentable substance, but it is how the fermentation process occurs, and the specific ingredients used, that makes the good ones so damn good.
Unique Distillation: For over 400 years, the most common tradition of producing the purest and most distinct vodka is to exclusively use grain for the distillation process. Absolut, for instance, uses grain, as well as a continuous distillation method, to ensure its beverage remains smooth, in addition to keeping it low in unwanted by-products.
Since its North American introduction in 1996, Belvedere’s consumer demand and world-wide recognition has increased at an incredible pace. In fact, the vodka proudly boasts to have singlehandedly created the rapidly-growing luxury vodka segment, offering a luxury experience to a broad international consumer base of vodka enthusiasts and connoisseurs. From sponsoring afterparties for superstars such as Jamie Foxx, to being a constant presence at sporting events and premieres, Belvedere keeps its eye on the pulse of today’s culture.
Absolut’s history actually dates back to the earliest production of distilled spirits, beginning in southern Sweden more than 400 years ago. From there, it went from a 19th century Swedish entrepreneur’s vision to Sweden’s modern vodka-making expertise (in fact, the entire story of Absolut’s origin can be found on the bottle itself). Now, when the Beverage Tasting Institute declares you “The World’s Best Tasting Vodka”, there’s usually a pretty good reason for it. Such is the case for Grey Goose Vodka, whose measure of success can be greatly attributed to the watchful eye of its Maitre de Chai, Francois Thibault. In fact, the Maitre’s contributions have made Grey Goose the first and only vodka brand to place its entire production in the hands of a skilled artisan. The distinctive taste that Thibault has brought to the Grey Goose brand draws heavily from its origins in the Town of Cognac, located South Westerly region of Poitou-Charentes, France, where it is distilled and bottled. The oft-celebrated town of Cognac is extremely well-known for its highly developed history of expertise in various spirits, such as its namesake. With excellent growing conditions and an exceptionally dry climate, the area is ideal for the production of vodka, drawing in the world’s leading experts in spirit distillation for centuries. Grey Goose’s creation begins with 100% fine wheat sourced direct from the acclaimed Beauce region of France (a region known for its to-die-for pastries). They then incorporate a 5-step distillation process, maximized at each step to retain the qualities of the French wheat, as well as ensure the essential characteristics that define the Grey Goose flavor. Each step leaves the vodka smoother and more refined. After the fifth step, the proof is so strong that the palate cannot properly taste it, and is then naturally filtered with artesian spring water from the Massif Central Mountains. “The Grey Goose consumer is one who appreciates quality,” states
Grey Goose also maintains this specific relevance by remaining a strong presence in the public eye, from sponsoring major PGA tournaments and backstage celebrity gatherings, to some of the most important charity benefits. In 2005, The company launched its own entertainment arm with a focus on producing original content for music, television, and film. “We constantly seek to bring new things to our consumers,” said Witt. “Recently, our efforts have included such productions as Iconoclasts Seasons III and the Artist’s Den, under our production arm of Grey Goose Entertainment.”
The Flavor Rush: Another boundary-pushing method to stay prominent in the public eye is, of course, flavor. Flavored vodka has played an incredibly vital role in producing the outstanding sales achieved by companies such as Grey Goose, Belvedere, and Absolut. As consumers’ taste matures and the public’s desire for the unique
continues to increase, new flavors are often introduced to appease the masses, and allows beverage-makers the opportunity for countless new sensations to sweep the world over. One especially notable brand constantly pushing the boundaries of the medium is Absolut. Absolut has established itself as a vodka of many choices, running the gamut of essential fruit flavors, from Rasberri to Mandarin to Kurant, each one retaining the vodka’s original rich taste and smooth flavor. Both Grey Goose and Absolut have recently added two new flavors to their ever-growing families, both taken from the same fruit...the pear. Grey Goose La Poire, the first pear-flavored vodka to hit the market, is a super-premium vodka with blends together a lightly sweet flavor with the unique scents of wildflower and honeysuckle. The new flavor was created after Thibault tasted a tarte poire from a local French patisserie, and immediately wanted to capture the essence of the flavor. The essence of Buerre d’Anjou (Anjou Pears) is creatively blended by Grey Goose’s Maitre de Chai with the vodka to create the distinct flavorings. The other pear-infused selection, Absolut Pears, offers the consumer a natural, full-bodied sensation that captures a distinctive sensual aroma, as well as a decidedly long, fruity aftertaste. Also taking inspiration from the Anjou Pear, Absolut’s creation emits a freshness that’s both rich and bold, while still retaining its own definitive flavor. One inspiration of both of these brands is to introduce their new pear flavors as a way to offer both bartenders and the consumer a chance to experiment. A new flavor can open up a plethora of possibilities and creativity as new cocktails are discovered and enjoyed. Another exciting aspect of the products is the new dessert-inspired category that both Absolut and Grey Goose have opened up with their new pear flavors, something entirely different for the vodka industry as a whole. The distinct flavor of this fruit offers a compliment and inspiration to the Cosmopolitan, the Martini, and other classic drinks of old, creating an unlimited and decidedly sweet plethora of new recipes on the horizon. “Innovation is about staying relevant,” said Grey Goose’s West. “We constantly seek to bring new things to our consumers.”
A “Pear” of Recipes: This summer, the Pears are everywhere. Chill out with a few pearcentric recipes featuring the new Absolut Pears flavor, as well as three of the newest cocktails created by Grey Goose Master Mixologist, Nick Mautone, especially for the new Grey Goose La Poire. They’re guaranteed to help ease the tension of those hot summer days...especially when you drink, well, a pair.
Grey Goose La Poire: Peartini – Signature Martini 2 parts GREY GOOSE® La Poire ¼ parts Disaronno® ¼ parts simple syrup ½ part lemon juice Pear slice for garnish Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker is frosted and beaded with sweat. Strain into martini glass and garnish with pear slice. Fall Classic 1 ½ parts GREY GOOSE® La Poire ½ part crème de banana (substitute with Licor 43®, Galliano® or triple sec) ½ part simple syrup Pinch of clove Pinch of cinnamon Pinch of nutmeg 4 parts dark malt beer Pear slice for garnish In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the first six ingredients. Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker is frosted and beaded with sweat. Strain into Pilsner glass filled with ice, top with beer and garnish with pear slice. Pear-n-Berry Frappe 2 parts GREY GOOSE® La Poire 1 part simple syrup 1 part blackberry brandy 1 part fresh lemon juice 3 large blackberries (or 4-5 small) In the bottom of a shaker place blackberries and syrup; muddle well. Add ice and the rest of the ingredients. Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker is frosted and beaded with sweat. Strain into rocks glass and garnish with blackberries.
Absolut Pears: Smitten Pears 2 1/2 parts ABSOLUT® PEARS 1/2 part diced plum 3/4 parts honey syrup 1/2 part fresh lemon juice Fresh ginger to garnish Truth or Pear 2oz ABSOLUT® PEARS Top club soda Build over rocks in a Collins glass. Garnish with a Lime Squeeze. A Lovely Pear 4 parts ABSOLUT® PEARS ½ part apple juice 1 part white grape juice 1 ½ part peach puree 1 part lime juice Combine all ingredients, shake and strain into 2 martini glasses. Garnish with a pear slice.
Cocktails Change with the Season: As the cold weather sets in, the back patios start to close and outdoor rooftops shut down, bring your party inside and entertain with the new GREY GOOSE ® Vodka Fall Cocktails. Created by the GREY GOOSE Vodka master mixologist, Nick Mautone, author of Raising the Bar, these drinks combine seasonal ingredients and are quick and easy to prepare – making them perfect for entertaining at any party. With drinks like the Fall Gala, the Pumpkin Divine and the Shiso Sangria, the GREY GOOSE Vodka Fall Cocktails are the freshest pours of the season and will help ease you and your guests into the chilly weather.
1 part GREY GOOSE® La Poire 1 part Cointreau ® 3/4 part lime juice 1/2 cactus pear, peeled and diced 3/4 part agave syrup Lime twist for garnish
2 parts GREY GOOSE® Original 1/4 part dry vermouth Dash of simple syrup Dash of bitters Splash of orange juice Splash of lemon juice Long zest of orange, for garnish
In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, place the syrup and cactus pear; muddle well. Add ice and the rest of ingredients into the shaker. Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker is frosted and beaded with sweat. Strain into a wine glass. Garnish with a lime twist.
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add all ingredients. Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker is frosted and beaded with sweat. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with orange zest.
Fall Gala 1 ½ parts GREY GOOSE® Le Citron 1 brown sugar cube 1 dash orange bitters 1 lemon wedge 1 part apple schnapps Apple chip and grated nutmeg, for garnish
Place the brown sugar cube into the martini glass. Add the bitters and squeeze the lemon over the sugar cube. Discard the lemon wedge. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the GREY GOOSE Le Citron and apple schnapps. Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker is frosted and beaded with sweat. Strain into martini glass. Grate nutmeg over the top and garnish with apple chip.
1 part GREY GOOSE® La Vanille 1 part pumpkin butter 1/2 part triple sec 1/2 part simple syrup Pinch of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and ginger Grated nutmeg and apple chip for garnish In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add all ingredients. Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker is frosted and beaded with sweat. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with nutmeg and apple chip.
Shiso Sangria 1 part GREY GOOSE® L’Orange 1 part plum wine 1/2 lime, cut into wedges 3/4 part simple syrup 1/4 plum, diced 4-6 shiso leaves In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, place the plums, shiso leaves, limes and syrup; muddle well. Add ice and the rest of the ingredients to the shaker. Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker is frosted and beaded with sweat. Strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with plum slice and shiso leaf.
You know, cowboys don’t eat just beef. Yes, they know beef – and a great steak, at that – better than most anyone. But, what else can be considered authentic cowboy cuisine? We have the answer, in the form of upscale yet finger-lickin’ fare of Culpepper Steak House of Rockwall, Texas.
Onion Rings, served with Habanero sour cream and garlic ranch sauce; then, the Flash Fry Calamari Steak served with mango Thai chili sauce. Of these, we collectively opted for Saffron Black Mussels, Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes and, of course, the Breaded Texas Torpedoes, Poblano Strips and Onion Rings.
We called late in the dinner hour, at about 8:30 p.m. to be exact. It was a Monday night and the restaurant business is historically quietest on Monday nights in “these here parts.” I meekly asked if we could bring in a large party for an impromptu party at about 9:00 p.m. Manager Joel Johnson’s answer was a confident, kind, “Yes, of course!”
The Saffron Black Mussels were the standout favorite of our table, both in presentation and flavor. We actually counted the number on the platter and equally delved them out to those wanting to taste, as who wants to start a steak house brawl over mussels on a Monday night, right? Muscles in a bar on a Friday, perhaps, but that is another story. There was one lone mussel that had refused to open, served on the platter. Knowing what could be in store for a diner silly enough to challenge Fate and pry the holdout open to eat it, we all refrained. Also considering the exceptional flavor of the others on the platter, as well as the late hour, we certainly didn’t find the oversight reason for complaint. Overall, the Saffron Black Mussels will be a reorder, if our little group ventures into Culpepper again. Second on our Starter preference list is the Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes. Now, these crab cakes are not what one would consider “pretty.” But, what they lacked in presentation, they made up for when eaten. The crawfish etouffé was exactly as it should be and a delightful topper for the hearty crab. There was distinct separation of the delicate, light cake flavors from the etouffé upon your palate, yet they married well in a concise union.
I hadn’t yet told him we wanted to review the cuisine of Chef Chad Bowden. I thought I would be subtle and appreciative of their last-minute kindness, without adding any additional stress.
We settled into our table after meandering through Culpepper’s renowned, eclectic mix of “ranchana” and collectibles from miles around, including several taxidermic masterpieces such as an African lion. It is the kind of place you want to explore, as you wait for your appetizers to arrive. Giant stone fireplaces provide both warmth and ambience, while animal rugs and an abundance of wood and brass are cozy themes. Yes, you can immediately tell from your surroundings that you are in Texas. We were a fairly large group, so collectively we decided to test the kitchen by ordering as much from the menu as we could. Well, in reality, we were just hungry and wanting our first authentic local meal, outside of the fast food we had to order throughout our three-day fashion shoot. So, order we did. The “Starters” menu includes: An Iced Seafood Platter of lobster medallions, prawns, smoked scallops, New England oysters and king crab; Saffron Black Mussels served with a toasted torn baguette, carrots, celery, onions, and saffron broth; An Artisan Cheese Platter of imported and domestic daily selections; Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail with a cracked pepper cocktail sauce; Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes under a crawfish etouffé sauce; Breaded Texas Torpedoes, Poblano Strips and
Finally, the Texas Torpedoes platter was typical of a Lone Star State presentation. Basically, you cannot go to a steak house down here without expectation of some sort of stuffed jalapeno, fried appetizer or onion ring. They delivered, true to the cliché and yet presented in a more enticing and artful manner than the typical “piling” on a round platter or in a paper-lined straw basket. If in Texas, you must have a stuffed pepper or two. It is the law. Kudos to me for bringing my newfound Yankee taste buds back home to the South on this trip, as I was actually able to spread some nuggets of knowledge a few of the non-Northeasterners on the trip had apparently not yet acquired in their dining notebooks. Who knew that Tomato Caprese Salad was not staple fare south of the Mason Dixon? Well, I knew it is not as common down yonder, so I ordered it as part of our Salads selection for the next course. My first twenty-four years were as a Southerner, so I did not learn of the delight known as a “Caprese” until I hit Philadelphia in my mid-thirties. Imagine my excitement when the Caprese arrived, with giant red to-
matoes alternating with gorgeous, memory-laden light green tomatoes I grew up eating fried and peppered! And yes, the mozzarella was authentic, fresh and the likes of which I had never known until dating an Italian American decades after leaving Texas. Topped with aged balsamic vinegar, oil and fresh basil, Mamma Mia would be proud. Others in the group ordered common House Salads, consisting of baby field greens, marinated cherry tomatoes, onions, candied Texas pecans and honey-lemon vinaigrette. Options from Soups & Salads fare included Homemade Soup of the Day; the Award Winning! Caesar Salad with sourdough croutons and Grana parmesan; The Iceberg Wedge of tomatoes, buttermilk blue cheese, egg, and apple-smoked bacon; and the Baby Spinach Salad of fresh figs, goat cheese, pancetta, and white balsamic vinaigrette. When ordering our main course, we had all decided to overlook beef. It was very difficult, though, with choices such as the Mesquite Wood-Grilled Steaks & Chops with aged Prime and Premium Gold Angus, served with roasted garlic smashed potatoes; a 16-ounce Prime New York Strip; 24ounce T-Bone; Filet Mignon in both 8 and 12-ounces; a 14-ounce Ribeye; 10-ounce Flat Iron; or pork favorite Natural Cut Pork Chops in honey tamarind sauce. In that we opted against these, we were not qualified to add surf to our turf, including the 12-ounce Butter Poached Australian Lobster Tail or local legend 6-ounce Chicken Fried Lobster Tail. Yes, folks…Chicken Fried Lobster Tail. Other house features, and selections awaiting us, were the Cedar-Smoked Cedar Plank King Salmon, Chilean Sea Bass, Chicken Fried Lobster Tail & Chipotle Glazed Quail, Roasted Duck Breast, Smoked Baby Back Ribs, Grilled Texas Shrimp, Mesquite Grilled Texas Quail, Culpepper Chicken & Half Grilled Lobster Tail, Baked Grouper en Papillote, and Garden Rigatoni Pasta. We opted for Grilled Texas Shrimp, Mesquite Grilled Texas Quail, Chilean Sea Bass, Culpepper Chicken & Half Grilled Lobster Tail. Yes, we ventured forward. Although, at this point and with as little stomach capacity as we had left to spare following the delightful first two courses, I doubt most real cowboys would even have the ability to continue eating! The Grilled Texas Shrimp was nicely presented, arranged alternately with homemade cornbread wedges around a center of the black bean sauce and Pico de Gallo. All hail the Pico! Wait, all hail the cornbread! There are certain things a child of Texas misses after leaving home…and for me, cornbread and Pico are high on the list. These did not disappoint, as I sang to myself, “Take me home, country roads…” The Grilled Shrimp was perfect, too. Chilean Sea Bass served atop pine nut risotto and lightly sauced in jalapeno beurre blanc was a crowd pleaser. The monochrome presentation begged for adornment of even a subtle burst of color in my mind, but the flavor and textures combined well to leave us happy. Culpepper Chicken & Half Grilled Lobster Tail in garlic chive compound butter was exactly as expected, a delicious “standard” wonderfully grilled and tame enough for cowboy fare-wary cowpokes. Now, we get to the quail. I ordered the Mesquite Grilled Texas Quail with orange chipotle glaze, as I have had no quail, nor chipotle, of any kind, since about 1985. It was time for some quail and I was hoping for the quality my father once delivered to the dinner table, courtesy a first-class hunting excursion. I loved the presentation of three birds intertwined atop my chosen garlic smashed potatoes, to the point that, even as my stomach cried out for me to abandon the fork, I had to press on and have some. I must admit that the bird was worth every painful bite. I could only partially explore the flavor of one fowl, but managed to victoriously clean a few leg bones and a little of the breast. Upon tasting, I was regretful that we had indulged so heavily in the Starters and my Caprese, as well as the sampling of every shared main course platter at the table. Collectively, our recommendation is that you, at some point, venture to Texas and just on the outskirts of Dallas, to Rockwall. The setting is a perch atop Lake Ray Hubbard and makes for a wonderfully flavorful end to a day of business or whatever takes you to Big D, in the first place. Yes, it is off the beaten path just a tad, but I promise you will not fall off the end of the Earth as you work your way through commuter traffic and across the reservoir. You may choose to sample some of the standard cowboy fare of steaks, chops or ribs. But, if you choose to do something unexpected, as we did, you will not be disappointed in the pleasures that are fowl and seafood…prepared true to the form of authentic cowboy cuisine.
More information about Culpepper Steakhouse is available at www.culpeppersteakhouse.com.
Cigars & Whiskey A Pairing Primer
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There are plenty of pairings in the food and beverage world, such as peaches and cream, peanut butter and chocolate, surf and turf, vodka and olives. Quite some time ago, one such pairing was discovered by our forefathers, as they indulged in two of life’s most decadent adult treats: cigars and whisky*. Part of Christopher Columbus’ legacy is that of introducing tobacco to the Europeans. From that point on, cigars have had constancy in the upper class domain. Whether mild, medium, or fullbodied, each brand and type of cigar exhibits its own distinctive taste and sensation, just as these early imbibers discovered with pleasure. The same can be said of whisky, which has an endless number of variations, including everything from Scotch, Scotland’s self-proclaimed “Water of Life,” to bourbon, the corn-based heart and soul of Kentucky. Both highly coveted indulgences within the luxury world, cigars and whisky can often be found in close company – mingling together in the hands of the elite who require the “finer things in life.” When enjoyed as a pair, this powerhouse duo offers unsurpassed pleasure, working together to enhance the imbibing experience of those who treat themselves. The combination of cigars and whisky is particularly heightened when the drink being consumed alongside the cigar is a single malt Scotch. Widely considered to be the liquid counterpart of the Cuban cigar, a single malt Scotch is the perfect drink to have in hand when one decides to light up a favored stogie. Without a doubt, there is something that is just plain magical about this pairing. In fact, outside of Laurel and Hardy, Batman and Robin, or (as blasphemous as this may be) peanut butter and jelly, you would be hard-pressed to construct a pairing that competes with the genius of this dynamic duo. We had the privilege of speaking with both Simon Brooking, the “Scotch Master Ambassador,” and Fred Booker Noe III, a Kentuckian and seventh generation family member and great-grandson to the God of Bourbon himself, Mr. Jim Beam. These two men are perhaps the greatest sources of experience and knowledge for offering tips on the proper pairing of cigars and whisky. “The similarities found in whisky and cigars really parallel one another,” said Simon. “There is a great communal culture between us. It is all about sharing.” There are two roads most often traveled when one explores the blending of a cigar with whiskies (or any beverage, for that matter): coordinating weights (heavy with heavy or mild with mild), or contrasting weights (heavy with mild) paired. Just as in the world of dating and human pairings, it can be said that like-mindedness is more compatible or “opposites attract.” Both can be the best route, but which is the best route for you is according to your own style and taste. Intimidated, yet? Imagine a child dressing himself for the first time. He goes to the closet, selects pants, then a shirt. The boy dresses, then proudly appears at the breakfast table. The rest of the family notes his pride and enthusiasm, just after noting that the brown corduroy pants are not really suitable for summer and the red and white striped golf shirt does not quite coordinate with the bottoms, either in color or weight. Still, the child dressed himself. It was a first. He learned from the experience and was soon coordinating outfits like Hugo Boss, himself. The first instance may not have been a pairing of optimum appearance or suitability for the season, and it may not have flattered his frame. But, it was a step in the right direction. It was a learning experience. He quickly noted he was too hot in the corduroy, then changed into cargo shorts, feeling much better after the switch. Yes, he learned much about texture, weight, volume, and personal taste that day.
Story by Curt Riedy with Kimberly Toms Photo by Radde Suvakov www.magazineblu.com
Similar to this is one’s first attempt at pairing of a good beverage with a favored cigar. The humidor and liquor cabinet present so very many possibilities, to an intimidating degree. Finally, you just have to make a selection. It is a leap of faith, this cigar with that whisky. It could be a golden pairing. It could be the worst matchup you’ve ever experienced. But, this is a bold step forward for your palate. Soon, you will be a connoisseur, pairing with confidence and ease, just like a kid with a closet full of Garanimals. The general idea behind the art of pairing cigars with beverages is that the drink (however 34
weighty) should bring out flavors in the cigar that one might not note when the cigar is smoked without the glass in hand. Likewise, the cigar should heighten the drink experience, bringing out sensations and flavors that otherwise were not so noticeable when the liquid is enjoyed in solitude. For example, a cigar with a good drink may suddenly taste more chocolaty, or sweeter. The beverage may offer strong flavor notes like orange or oak. Where to start? For which bottle do you reach? How about a light bourbon? As an illustration, there is the Basil Hayden, from Kentucky. The Basil Hayden is a light bourbon made with twice as much rye as most, and is enriched by peppermint. With notes of pepper and citrus, ending with a spicy warmth, it is an ideal candidate for pairing with a light cigar. A strong bourbon can sometimes be daunting to those new at sampling of pairings. For this, Fred offers simple advice: “If you taste a bourbon and make a face, you need to cut it back. If you cannot take it straight, then don’t fear. There is a lot you can do with…bourbon.” Try cutting the strength with water, anywhere from a splash to equal parts water and bourbon. Just as one might need to lighten the punch of a bourbon with water, the pungency of the cigar itself can be subdued with the lighter sensation of a mild single malt Scotch. The delicate balance of the single malt allows its aural sensation to properly step in and present itself. In such a pairing, the cigar retains its flavor and the Scotch simply becomes more enhanced. Somewhere in the middle, the full body of the smoke and mild body of the drink meet, allowing a unique, rewarding result that is sure to please any aficionado. For a near-perfect example of an extremely mild Scotch for your stronger cigars, one cannot do much better than a Dalwhinnie. Known for its incredible smoothness, the Dalwhinnie exhibits a very aromatic, slightly peaty flavor that is almost as sweet as honey. This Scotch makes for a winning combination with the La Aurora 100 Anos, a cigar made from a very rare Corjo tobacco that delivers distinctively strong flavor and body. Working together, the Dalwhinnie and La Aurora provide a sublime balance of strong and mild sensations. “With a single malt Scotch, you enjoy it the way you like it,” said Simon. Scotch is “a very personal experience. You simply have to find the flavor profile you enjoy, and the cigar that corresponds with it.” “Depending on the occasion, a lighter style [beverage] works exceptionally well after dinner,” said Simon. “However, there are certain occasions, such as when you’re out on the golf course, for instance, that you’d probably want to go with something a bit more robust.”
splash. Synonymous with the word “mellow,” a Macanudo is known to emit a soothing sense of calm. When paired with Laphroaig, the Macanudo works with the Scotch to offer a distinctive mellow peatiness that the user will find to be quite relaxing. Another Laphroaig marriage that is highly recommended by Simon is its pairing with the Cohiba, a very hearty smoke. The Cohiba provides the definitive compliment to a ten year old bottle of this Scotch. For those in need of a bit more pep, there is also the Laphroaig Quarter Cask. A younger, livelier version of whisky aged in small barrels, the Quarter Cask possesses a genuinely sweet oakiness, with a coconut aroma and zesty orange finish. When paired with a medium-bodied cigar, this Laphroaig’s sweetness is highly enriched. There has been quite a bit of research conducted by experts to determine top choices in pairing of drink and smoke. Fred and Simon, who have conducted several cigar and whisky pairing events together, know well the rules behind combination of the two. The beginning connoisseur should be wary before diving into exotic couplings, as while some cigars can create an ideal complement to a single malt Scotch or bourbon, others are known to severely contrast. Still, depending upon the situation and specific taste of those who choose to indulge, contrast isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For some, contrasting equations equal satisfaction. “At a cigar club, everyone will offer something different to you, which is also true with the whisky culture,” says Simon. “We like to share. This creates a window of opportunity, with different flavors forming from region to region.” Just always remember that (again, just as in a human pairing or relationship) an ultimate coupling for one may not be enjoyable for another. Despite the accepted norms and rules, “Everyone is trying different things,” proclaims Fred. “When they see new brands, they want to try them. A lot of people are more open-minded, and a lot of bartenders are coming up with a great selection of unique new mixes to experiment with.” As the pairing neophyte launches a personal quest for finding their own favored combinations, an open mind should be maintained. Jumping straight into self-pairing is often the modus operandi of those with stocked home humidors and liquor cabinets (and for some, highly stocked egos). But, the best path is probably that of first following in the footsteps of those who have paired before. Try mixes that have been reviewed by experts and are considered top pairings, then after gaining a fuller perspective of cigar weights and whisky flavors, as well as what works best together for your palate, you can set out to forge your own path and discover new combinations to enjoy.
For those occasions, the Laphroaig is known to go very well with a big, full-bodied cigar. Typically aged for over ten years, it is fairly easy to see why the Laphroaig single malt Scotch is amongst the strongest flavored Scotches around. The Laphroaig is more ideal during colder temperatures, and is known to be very heavy.
Invest in a simple journal or notebook and keep it handy when sampling. Make notes regarding each pairing, flavors experienced in the drink before introducing the cigar (and vice versa), as well as heightened flavors noted when enjoying the two together. By keeping notes, you will soon realize that there are parallels and preferences that suit your individual taste buds.
Offering a rather peaty aroma, a Laphroaig Scotch is perhaps best suited to the nonsmoking palette when cutting it with a bit of water. However, to many that is simply not an option, as they prefer their Scotch served in its entirety. Amongst the cigar crowd, the Laphroaig is better enjoyed with a Macanudo, versus cutting it with a little
Successful pairing is both a science and an art form. It is not simple and can be slightly overwhelming, so educating oneself first will lead to more enjoyable moments of cigar in mouth and glass in hand. After all, if luxury and quality taste as a combination were
easy to obtain between cigars and whisky, the marriage of the two would not hold the stature that it does, in smoking dens, cigar bars, social circles and living rooms worldwide.
*The most widely accepted Irish and American spelling is “whiskey,” a Victorian-era defiance of the traditional Scotch version “whisky.” For simplicity, and according to the 1968 directive of the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms regarding “official” spelling, we are going with the traditional version for this article. After a sip or two, we may be more inclined to spell it as “whiskey.”
Jernigan’s Tobacco Village, Scotch and Cigar Bar in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania offers the following spirit and cigar pairings as their favored selections: SPIRIT
Knob Creek Bourbon
Dalmore 21 Single Malt Scotch
La Gloria Cubana
Macallan Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch
Partagas Black Label
Glenmorangie 10 year Single Malt Scotch
H.Upmann Vintage Cameroon
Laphroaig 10 year Single Malt Scotch
Partagas Serie S
Basil Hayden’s Bourbon
Photo by Quentin Houyoux www.magazineblu.com
How to Taste According to Colum Egan, Master Distiller Of Bushmills Irish Whiskey
Colum Egan, Master Distiller of Bushmills Irish Whiskey, is naturally passionate about whiskey. For him, becoming Master Distiller of Bushmills Irish Whiskey was fate. When he visited the distillery as a paying customer almost a decade ago, he fell in love with the distillery and the process of making the world’s oldest whiskey. “The history, heritage and magic of the distillery intoxicated me,” he says. “I immediately felt at home.” Egan also points out that the source of the water supply used to make the whiskey is St. Columb’s Rill; his first name is derived from the word “Columb” and is pronounced the same way. Purely coincidence? Colum thinks not. Egan grew up in Portarlington in County Laois - the heart of Ireland’s barley-growing country where he graduated from the University of Limerick with a degree in production management. After a series of jobs in food and beverage production, Egan started working in bottling, vatting and blending at Irish Distillers Ltd in Dublin. He later joined the Old Bushmills Distillery and was soon appointed Head Distiller. “Moving from bottling and blending to distilling and processing was a natural progression,” Egan says. Recognized for his true devotion to Bushmill’s, leadership and innate ability for whiskey making, Egan is now the Master Distiller of Bushmills, following a year-long tutelage under the previous Master Distiller, David Quinn. “I have one of the best, most exciting jobs in the world,” he says. “It is a dream come true.” Below, Colum Egan shares his thoughts on how to properly taste the spirit: To taste whiskey, you will need your senses of sight, smell and taste - plus a little guidance and an open mind. Remember, taste is a personal experience, so there is no “right,” or “wrong.” 37
Step 1: Prepare for the Tasting. The tasting room should be free of extraneous smells and should have good lighting. The right size and shape of the glass is vital, and makes a huge difference in the ability to nose effectively. Do not use traditional whiskey tumblers. Instead, use a snifter, which allows you to swirl the spirit and gather the aromas around the rim. Step 2: Note Appearance. Pour about an ounce of whiskey. Hold the glass to the light, or against a white napkin, and take note of its color, depth and clarity. The whiskey’s appearance should be a guide to how it has been matured and for how long, since the color comes from the wood. Step 3: Add Water. Almost all whiskeys benefit from the addition of water, which will open up the spirit, in most cases. It is always best to add water a little at a time. Older whiskeys (more than 20 years) or whiskeys aged in sherry can be damaged by the addition of too much water; the aromas break up and the flavor becomes flat. The water used to dilute the strength of your dram should be still and not too high in minerals. At professional tastings, distilled water is normally used. Step 4: Nose the Whiskey. The aroma of a whiskey is called the “nose.” To determine the nose, tilt the glass, swirl the whiskey and inhale slowly. Do not sniff too intensely or too often, because the alcohol can inhibit your sense of smell. The aromas are often complex and multi-layered. With a little practice, you will learn to break smells down and identify what they are. Step 5: Taste the Whiskey. Take a sip large enough to fill your mouth, then roll it over your tongue. It is important when tasting, to hold the liquid in the mouth and to make sure it coats the tongue thoroughly to help determine mouthfeel. First, register the texture and smoothness of the whiskey. Then, try to identify the primary tastes - the immediate flavors your tongue collects. The finish, or the aftertaste, refers to the sensation experienced after swallowing, as well as the flavors that linger in your mouth. www.magazineblu.com
Popular Whiskeys, On the Go-Go! A Quick Guide to Worldwide Favorites
Bushmills Irish Whiskey The Original Bushmills Description:
An authentic, premium Irish whiskey, made with the finest malted Irish barley and pure Irish water drawn from St. Columbâ€™s Rill, whose distinctive character is gained as it rises in peaty ground and flows over basalt rock.
Bushmills is distilled three times to achieve its purity and smoothness, and aged in aromatic warehouses for a minimum of five years in American Bourbon and Spanish Oloroso sherry casks that impart its golden color and distinctive characteristics.
Nose: Begins with scents of barley grains, followed by the presence of malt. Very clean sherry notes. Hints of age with some oaky character filtering through. Taste: Strong maltiness on the palate with dark chocolate oaky notes. Finish: Begins with chocolately notes, completed by lingering hints of grain.
Wild Turkey Bourbon Wild Turkey 101 Description:
Americaâ€™s best-selling premium Bourbon, Wild Turkey 101 is the flagship brand in the Wild Turkey portfolio and the first Wild Turkey Bourbon ever produced.
Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon uses the finest natural ingredients, including at least 51% corn, along with barley and rye. Crystal-clear, limestone-purified water is used for distillation. It is aged in new, charred white oak barrels.
Tasting Notes: Taste: Distinct caramel and vanilla flavors. Finish: Very
long, rich and full-bodied. Powerful, yet soothing.
Jameson Irish Whiskey Jameson Irish Whiskey Description:
Jameson is a world-class whiskey whose global status among a handful of prestigious premium brands defines it even more than its position as the worldâ€™s No. 1 Irish whiskey. It has been produced in Ireland according to the highest standards since 1780.
Jameson is made with the finest ingredients, including pure Irish water and a combination of malted and unmalted Irish barley. The malts are dried in closed kilns, retaining the natural flavor of the grain, setting it apart from the smoky taste associated with Scotch, which is dried over open peat fires. Triple distilling in large copper pot stills makes Jameson smoother than most other whiskeys, and its maturation in Bourbonseasoned American oak and sherry-seasoned Spanish oak casks gives it a superb mellow bouquet.
Nose: Mellow pot-still whiskey with toasted wood and Sherry undertones. Taste: Round and smooth with sweet, spicy and toasted wood notes. Finish: Dry, yet incredibly smooth, with a lingering crispness from the pot still. Jameson 12 Year-Old
Jameson 12 Year-Old is carefully aged to achieve its peak of perfection. It has a mellow, sweet, nutty character, resulting from the extensive use of sherry-seasoned Spanish oak casks during its maturation.
Nose: Spicy and warming with a prevailing Oloroso Sherry undercurrent. Taste: Fills the mouth first with sweet Sherry, then adds th e delights of old pot still coupled with a short, but effective flypast of spice. Finish: Begins with hints of the pot still, followed by Sherry and ending with a contribution of intense vanilla.
The Glenlivet The Glenlivet 12 Year-Old Description:
The Glenlivet 12 Year-Old is the quintessential Speyside malt and has become the benchmark by which all other malts are measured. Crafted in the remote Livet Valley since 1824.
Made with the finest ingredients, including barley and yeast, The Glenlivetâ€™s distinctive character is also enriched by the mineral-rich water that the ancient site of Josieâ€™s Well still provides. Twice distilled in copper pot stills, only the finest spirit from the second distillation is considered good enough to be filled into seasoned American and Spanish oak casks for maturation. After 12 patient years of aging, the result is the richly balanced malt that is The Glenlivet.
Tasting Notes: Nose: Perfectly balanced, fruity aroma with delicate floral fragrance and
vanilla/honey sweetness. Taste: Classically Speyside, a soft, smooth balance of sweet summer fruits and the floral fragrance of spring flowers. Finish: Lingering and gentle.
The Glenlivet 12 Year-Old French Oak Finish Description:
This malt whisky is uniquely finished in French Limousin Oak, from the Dordogne region of France, renowned for bringing flavor to fine wines and cognacs.
The specially selected malt whisky receives a final polish in new Limousin casks, characterized by a wider grain than the American Oak casks that Scotch is typically aged in.
Tasting Notes: Nose: Rich, with floral scents and a fragrant spicy oakiness. Taste: Rich
floral and soft fruity flavors, with a scented sweetness that develops into a dry, nutty and spicy oakiness. Finish: Warming, mellow spiciness.
The Glenlivet 18 Year-Old Description:
After more than 18 years in selected casks, The Glenlivet 18 Year-Old becomes a malt whisky of unmistakable honey-rich maturity and depth.
Tasting Notes: Nose: Rich, with sweet and floral flavors. Taste: Honey-rich and toffeed
onthe palate with nutty, spicy overtones. Finish: Exceptional length of flavor.
Royal Salute Scotch Whisky Royal Salute 21 Year-Old Description:
Royal Salute was created in 1953 to honor the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. It is a magnificent blend of rare whiskies, which are aged for at least 21 years.
Tasting Notes: Nose: Rich, fruity aromas and the sweet fragrance of au-
tumn flowers. Taste: Full, deep fruity flavors with a subtle smokiness. Finish: Rich, long and lingering.
Chivas Regal Chivas Regal 12 Year-Old Description:
Chivas Regal is a 12 Year-Old whisky that can be enjoyed anywhere, anytime, with a renowned smoothness and a honeyed, fruity taste.
Tasting Notes: Nose: Aromatic infusion of wild herbs, heather, honey, and
orchard fruits. Taste: Round and creamy on the palate, Chivas Regal has a full, rich taste of honey and ripe apples, with vanilla, hazelnut and butterscotch notes. Finish: Rich and lingering.
Chivas Regal 18 Year-Old Gold Signature Blend Description:
Chivas Regal 18 Year-Old Gold Signature Blend is a unique blend of grain and malt Scotch whiskies, at the heart of which are very special Speyside malts.
Tasting Notes: Nose: Multi-layered aromas of dried fruits, spice, and but-
tery toffee. Taste: Exceptionally rich and smooth, with a velvety, dark chocolate palate. Elegant floral notes and a wisp of smoky sweetness. Finish: Magnificently long, warm and memorable finish.
Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey Tullamore Dew Description:
One of Ireland’s finest and most widely distributed whiskeys, Tullamore Dew was first distilled in 1829 in the small town of Tullamore in County Offaly in the heart of Ireland. The name derives from the initials of an early owner, Daniel E Williams DEW. Tullamore Dew is a favourite among Irish whiskeys for its distinctive, accessible taste, enjoyed on its own, over ice or with a little water.
The flavor of golden barley is retained through careful drying in enclosed kilns. Tullamore Dew is distilled three times and aged in fine quality oak casks until mature.
Taste: Pleasant maltiness with charred wood undertones and the natural flavor of golden barley. Finish: Gently appetizing lemon grass finish.
The Glenrothes Scotch Whisky The Glenrothes Description:
John Ramsay, The Glenrothes’ Malt Master, has crafted a selection of The Glenrothes which typifies the distillery house character – ripe fruits, citrus, vanilla and hints of spice. The Select Reserve is a first for this Scotch Whisky. A nonVintage-specific selection carefully chosen by John and produced to the same high quality standards as The Glenrothes Vintage selections; with a selection and vatting from casks from different years.
Tasting Notes: Nose: American oak, vanilla and coconut with a hint of plums.
Taste: Full, malty flavor, medium sweet, vanilla and orange zest. Finish: Medium length, medium dry.
Whiskey Toasts Courtesy the Fine Irish Folks of Tullamore Dew
“Toasts should be like a woman’s skirt short enough to be interesting, yet long enough to cover the subject.”
Friendship/Drinking May misfortune follow you the rest of your life, but never catch up. May you always have a cool head and a warm heart. May you live as long as you want, may you never want as long as you live. May your home always be too small to hold all your friends. May all your troubles be little ones. As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point the wrong way. May the hinges of our friendship never grow rusty. May you get all your wishes but one, so that you will always have something to strive for!
Holidays/Events May you live to be 100 years old, with one extra year to repent. Be to your virtues a little kind, be to your faults a little blind. Never above you. Never below you. Always by your side. Here’s to the day of good will, cold weather, and warm hearts. Here’s wishing you more happiness than all my words can tell, not just alone for Christmas, but for all the year as well. May you never be without a drop at Christmas.
May your neighbors respect you, trouble neglect you, the angels protect you, and heaven accept you. www.magazineblu.com
Irish/Traditional May the roof over your heads be as well thatched as those inside are well matched. Here’s to the women who love me terribly, may they soon improve. May the Good Lord take a liking to you, ... but not too soon! If you’re enough lucky to be Irish... you’re lucky enough! May your fire be as warm as the weather is cold. May you never forget what is worth remembering or remember what is best forgotten.
Here’s to women’s kisses, and to whiskey, amber clear; Not as sweet as a woman’s kiss, but a darn sight more sincere!
May the doctor never earn a pound out of you. May you taste the sweetest pleasures that fortune ere bestowed, and may all your friends remember all the favors you are owed. May there be a generation of children on the children of your children. May the roof above you never fall in, and those gathered beneath it never fall out.
May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, the foresight to know where you’re going, and the insight to know when you’re going too far.
All rise and raise a glass, to the land we love and the love we land! May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door. May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light. May good luck pursue you each morning and night. May the holes in your net be no larger than the fish in it. May the sound of happy music, and the lilt of Irish laughter, fill your heart with gladness, that stays forever after. May your blessings outnumber the Shamrocks that grow. And may trouble avoid you wherever you go.
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Boston By Scott Pruden
Revolutionized The City That
The Couples’ Weekend
Somewhere, amidst the driving rain, the mist and what the locals hope will be the last spring chill, is a side of Boston that caters to lovers of both history and each other. It’s just a little hard to see it past all the umbrellas right now. In one of those freak fluctuations of New England weather, the 80degrees-and-sunny weather appropriate for late May has decided to indulge in a little time travel, casting back to the dreary, wet days of late March. That hasn’t stopped everyday Bostonians from going about their daily business and hasn’t even begun to stop the swarms of tourists and students – many leading parents in town for the various graduations that are looming – from getting out and paying homage to the nation’s founders at the various shrines, memorials and historic sites. It’s late, though, and my stomach signals that it needs attention, so I hop a cab to the Back Bay section of town and Boston’s version of The Palm restaurant, located in the Westin at Copley Place. My spirits are immediately improved by the arrival of a key lime martini – a creamy, tart concoction that brings to mind tropical sunsets and warm sand rather than the dreary weather lingering outside the dining room’s glass wall. With a customer base that includes captains of industry and rock stars, it’s safe to assume that the guy in the nylon track suit at the next table might be either a local heavyweight or a well-known music mogul, with no clue his neighbor in the suit and tie is just a humble scribbler. The family history of impeccable service emphasized in all the Palm restaurants means the friendly and helpful staff here treats everyone with the same high regard. With reservations I pass on the two-pound Nova Scotia lobster in favor of the Fillet Oscar special, a perfectly seared nine-ounce filet mignon served with tender, buttery crab meat. After it arrives, my server, Travis, even takes a moment from his busy shift to suggest a few after-hours spots to hit during my stay. One of his personal favorites – due in no small part to his friendship with the owner – is City Bar, a leather upholstered haven for both the after-work and late-night crowd tucked into the Lenox Hotel at the corner of Exeter and Boylston streets. His preference might also have to do with the exceptionally attractive wait staff and Chef Robert Fathman’s cocktails. Try the Dark and Stormy – Gosling’s Black Seal rum mixed with A.J. Stephens ginger beer – or the locally famous selection of infused liquors, listed on the bar menu as “Infusions Diabolique.” The Infusion Diabolique Rum, flavored with lemon, orange and ginger – will no doubt put you in a sunnier and more amorous frame of mind. And since being around beautiful people can by extension make you feel like one of them, the see-and-be-seen vibe makes it perfect for couples looking to spark a little interest once they return to their hotel rooms.
At Nine Zero, the most chic of Boston’s boutique hotels, the return is made even more pleasant by the romantic accommodations the staff is happy to make. The entire hotel prides itself on its emphasis on impeccable design and low-key elegance, and the rooms reflect that. Headboards are upholstered in rich leather and earth-tone colors that reflect ambiance of serenity and romance. The in-room martini bar, complete with mixers, glass rimmers, a cocktail shaker and an ice-bucket filled at turndown, can easily be the romantic deal-closer after your evening of rubbing shoulders with Boston’s movers and shakers. The next morning, with the slate gray sky still overhead and the upper floors of this historic city’s mid-rise towers shrouded in lowhanging clouds, it would be all to easy to decide to crawl right back into Nine Zero’s exceptionally comfortable bed. It’s a tempting option – forsake the founding fathers, turn on some movies, order room service and raid the mini-bar. Meanwhile you let the rain fall while you forget whatever trials and tribulations you left at home. But down across Beacon Street in one of the city’s oldest burial yards (don’t call them cemeteries, because the cloth-wrapped bodies were stacked one on top of the other back in the day), the earthly remains of many of our nation’s founders lie beneath the damp earth and the dripping wet headstones. It’s this side of Boston that beckons in spite of the inclement weather, and if nothing else the lingering chill and damp will encourage your partner in exploration to snuggle in a little closer. On a normal day the Granary Burial Ground on Tremont Street, where you’ll find the grave sites of Revolutionary heroes like Paul Revere and John Hancock, would be swarmed with tourists and schoolchildren to the point where the departed founding fathers might feel the earth rumble above them. Today, though, the tours seem thinner as professional photographer Saba Alhadi, author of Boston in Photographs, leads us through the headstones delighting in the texture and detail the rain has revealed on the wet markers. Her Photo Tours of Boston follow several different routes – ours this morning departed from the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial across from the gold-domed State House
and followed the Freedom Trail – and in each one she helps shutterbugs see Boston with the eye of a photographer rather than just a tourist. While the Freedom Trail is one of those “must-do” items on the agenda of any Boston visitor, it’s refreshing to get the requisite dose of history combined with unexpected professional expertise and without the occasionally hokey re-enactor dressed in authentic Colonial garb. It turns out Alhadi is knowledgeable about her history and her photography, and points out a number of interesting angles to take advantage of glistening stone and water dripping from the hand of a child on the Irish Immigrant Memorial in the center of the city’s Downtown Crossing section. On the way, we stop to step out of the drizzle and increasingly gusty wind to admire the lobby of the Boston Omni Parker House, the oldest continuously operating hotel in the U.S. Members of our humble group rub their hands together for warmth while admiring the mid-19th century architectural details and the cavernous main lobby. It’s this same building that has hosted great writers and thinkers like Charles Dickens and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, politicians and presidents going back to Ulysses S. Grant and up to Bill Clinton, one presidential assassin – John Wilkes Booth – as well as employed in its kitchen a couple of revolutionaries – eventual Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh as a baker and Malcolm Little, later to become black activist Malcolm X, as a busboy. The name Kennedy has also become synonymous with the Parker House, with John F. Kennedy a regular presence from childhood through the bachelor party that preceded his marriage to Jacqueline Bouvier. It’s tempting to abandon the tour here and poke around, especially since there’s more modern history to be found at every turn. But our extremities warmed and our photos taken, we move on. The Downtown Crossing section of Boston can be almost overwhelming in its history – it’s impossible to turn a corner or take a step without treading on some spot significant to the birth of the United States.
I leave the tour at Quincy Market, built in 1826 to expand the capacity of Faneuil Hall, built in 1742 to serve as a public market and indoor public square for Bostonians to sell their wares and spout off publicly even in the coldest of New England winters. After years of disrepair in the mid-20th century, the market was rehabbed and converted into more of a central shopping mall. What the area would offer on a nicer day – scads of free outdoor entertainment in the form of street performers and people watching, along with outdoor dining at a number of restaurants – is woefully absent in the cold and wet today. Under more pleasant conditions it would be an ideal spot to just camp for lunch and watch the sites or pick up a gourmet picnic and push on to nearby Waterfront Park, which offers stunning views across Boston Harbor and easy access to the New England Aquarium and the rest of the harbor waterfront. North from Waterfront Park is North End Park, which adjoins Copps Hill Burial Ground and the Old North Church, from where Paul Revere was signaled on the night of his historic ride. The city’s compact size and extensive parks, many of which serve as jewels in urban planner Frederick Law Olmsted’s “Emerald Necklace,” a chain of parks and public spaces that include Boston Common and the Public Garden at its center and various other open spaces interspersed along the waterfront and central portions of the city make it easy to spend several days here just strolling. Though not part of the original Emerald Necklace, the Charles River Esplanade now serves as yet another one of Boston’s premiere public spaces, running along the Boston side of river from just across from the dam at the Museum of Science at Monsignor O’Brien Highway west for nearly 17 miles. For Boston residents, it serves very much as the city’s back yard, offering views of rowing and sailing on the river, paths for biking, in-line skating and jogging and the Hatch Shell, a public outdoor performance space that serves as the centerpiece for the city’s annual Independence Day celebration. The park can also serve as the perfect launching point for an exploration of two of Boston’s most interesting neighborhoods, Beacon Hill and Back Bay. Your first steps into Beacon Hill might prompt a gasp just from the sheer urban beauty of it all. Tall, narrow brick townhouses line the wide boulevards for miles, and many of the side streets still feature cobblestones left over from the horse-and-buggy days. To get an idea of the opulence in which Beacon Hill residents once lived, stop by the Otis House Museum, former home of Harrison Gray Otis, the colonial developer who helped create the neighborhood itself. But, as with most couples, there might come a time when you either choose to part ways for a while or compromise on an activity that might fall more into your companion’s area of interest. That’s when it’s time to head to Back Bay, home of Boston’s most exclusive shopping, most prestigious museums and its long-suffering baseball team.
Locals describe Newbury Street to outsiders as the “Rodeo Drive of Boston,” and indeed it does share a healthy dose of ultra-luxurious retailers at which most of us could only window shop. At the same time, though, I’m easily reminded of how small Boston can be sometimes when I spot a preppie 20-something couple in an Audi SUV blocking traffic at the corner of Arlington and Newbury talking to an older woman walking her Jack Russell terrier in front of the Burberry store.
is an excellent option. Gardener, a mid-19th century progressive, spent scads of her own money compiling a staggering collection of art in her newly built Venetian palazzo. The entire home is now a museum dedicated to displaying her diverse collection.
A local suggested I take note of the progression of stores as one heads west on Newbury, how the level of prestige eases downward from high-end to mid-market. But what really strikes me is how the street goes from the near absolute exclusivity – those stores that seem like they might very well require a credit check before you can enter – to more neighborhood-oriented businesses. Five blocks down, the neighborhood has become homier, with hardware stores, pizza shops and less chi-chi cafes tucked into the gorgeous brick row homes.
While shopping and museum hopping might have satisfied the gentler half of your couple, those carrying a Y chromosome might also be interested in Fenway Park, the temple to the Red Sox. And while stadium tours – not to mention regular old stadium seats – are readily available on most days, the neighborhood itself holds some attractions not completely tied to baseball.
Dining along Newbury runs the gamut, as well. Expect to pay for the experience at Bouchée Urban Brasserie a few blocks into the more elegant stretch, where you’ll pay $18 for steamed mussels and pommes frites with warm aïoili. Two blocks away, tuck in at Joe’s American Bar & Grill for a half-pound cheddar cheeseburger – with hand-cut fries and homemade onion rings on the side – for $8.99. Two more blocks take you to the door of DeLuca’s Market, boasting its overstuffed sandwich for $5.99.
And perhaps best of all, the museum features a lovely café that features outdoor seating and is one of the loveliest spots in the city for an afternoon dessert or drink. But watch your time – the café closes at 4 p.m.
For instance, the TOMB interactive archaeology adventure, presented by 5W!TS (as in the five wits of Renaissance literature: common sense, imagination, fantasy, estimation and memory) will not only give you and your companion a little taste of interactive, Indiana Jones-style action, but it might very well test your compatibility as a couple. The scene is this: You and your party – referred to as “volunteer archaeologists” – have been chosen to discover the fate of a professor who disappeared inside the recently discovered tomb of a powerful pharaoh. Once you are led inside by your guide, the spirit of the longdead pharaoh issues a challenge to solve his riddles, lest you face the same fate as the professor, whose skeleton you pass on the way in.
Many spots also offer extensive outdoor seating, the better to people watch and be watched. Given the persistent precipitation, few restaurants have even put their tables out and those that have don’t have What follows is a series of puzzles that can challenge kids and adults alike and forces even recently introduced strangers to work together as many takers. a team. Those who “die” are sent out of the attraction early through a For a more cultural spin on things, I head to the Museum of Fine Arts side exit. Those who pass are rewarded by seeing the pharaoh finally after lunch only to find the much heralded Edward Hopper exhibit laid to rest. has just sold out. Not discouraged, I press on and investigate the art and culture of everything from the ancient Etruscans to modern war- Skip breakfast and arrive early enough to beat the crowds of school fare, spending a good portion of the afternoon there without even children that mob the place during the school year – the 5W!TS folks keep a selection of coffees and baked goods on hand. making it to the second level. For a multi-museum afternoon, splitting the Museum of Fine Arts with its smaller counterpart, the Isabelle Stewart Gardener Museum
Afterwards, your hunger stimulated by solving metaphysical riddles and calming the souls of ancient Egypt, travel a few blocks up Brookline Avenue to the flagship location of Boston Beer Works, where for 11 years the staff has been cranking out tasty craft-brewed beers (16 on tap and counting), as well as hearty new American cuisine and a relaxed atmosphere that’s sports-fan friendly but not sports bar obnoxious. The light-to-dark sampler is an excellent survey of Beer Works’ offerings and a fine way to toast this historic and welcoming city that, even in the chilly rain, has enough spark to make love burn hot.
Couples Excursions In Motion · Duck Boats – Reviled by locals but loved by tourists, these repurposed World War II amphibious vehicles take riders on a motorized tour of historic Boston while quacking all the way, then plunge into the Charles River for a scenic water tour. www.bostonducktours.com · Swan Boats, Public Garden – One of the most charming of Boston’s water trips, these flat catamarans have operated in one form or another for 120 years and allow for an easy-going tour of the Public Garden lagoon. www.swanboats.com · Charles River Canoe and Kayak – For those with a more adventurous bent, head west to Allston and rent a two-person kayak for a self-propelled trip along the Charles River. www.paddleboston.com · Paul Dudley White Charles River Bike Trail – Head to Boston Bicycle at 842 Beacon Street to rent your ride, then head to the river to take advantage of this scenic 14-mile loop that runs from Boston’s Museum of Science to historic Watertown. www.cambridgebicycle.com
At Rest · Hotel Marlowe – On the Cambridge side but convenient to both Boston and Harvard (and, depending on where your room is, stunning views of each), the Marlow will treat you so well you might not want to leave. A traditional feel combines with modern details and an attentive (but not intrusive) staff to make it a perfect travelers’ home base. Lovers take note: the City Love package sets the stage for an evening of indoor fun. www.hotelmarlowe.com · Rialto – This Cambridge dining highlight lies on Harvard Square and continues to offer some of the most innovative cuisine this side of the Charles. Now under the ownership of Chef Jody Adams, the recently renovated space is open yet private with sexy curved-back banquettes and sheer curtains arranged to foster intimacy. www.rialtorestaurant.com · The Bristol Lounge, Four Seasons Hotel – Overlooking the Public Gardens, the Bristol Lounge offers upscale luxury in a relaxed atmosphere that’s perfect for high tea or an afternoon cocktail. On Fridays and Saturdays the lounge features a Viennese dessert buffet with (step away from the scale) more than 30 types of cakes, cookies, crepes and other sweets. www.fourseasons.com/ boston · Moodz Day Spa, Salon, Boutique – After a few long days of sightseeing and partying, indulge in an 80-minute couple’s shiatsu massage in the spa’s special couple’s suite. www.moodzspa.com
The former Ponce de Leon Hotel is home to Flagler College. Photo courtesy St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches VCB.
St. Augustine By Kimberly Toms
Florida, For Grown-Ups
I am a grown-up. At least, I came to that conclusion a few weeks ago when I was watching television and saw a 40-ish woman being interviewed. First I thought, “Wow, she looks good for her age.” Then, I heard her age and thought, “That’s only a couple of years older than me.” The realization set in. I am a grown-up. Time for me to admit it. I had already realized I have very specific taste. I just hadn’t equated it to being a specific age. It just is what it is:
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I can’t pull off junior clothing styles anymore (and who really wants to?). I wouldn’t be caught d-e-a-d standing in line to get into a nightclub. When I hear reality show kids bickering on MTV, I want to ground them and send them to their rooms.
I don’t eat at places you can “drive thru.”
Slang words perplex me.
I have – and this one really, really troubles me – looked longingly at “comfort” bras, thinking that if I ditched one of my sexy ones, “nobody would know the difference.”
Yes, I am officially a grown-up. As makes sense, when going on vacation, I want to go on a grown-up vacation. In other words, lying on a beach where spring break television is filmed is not enticing to me. I want to be comfortable (pampered, even), entertained, well fed, dressed up, dressed down, worked out, manicured, provided with many shopping options, educated about the places I visit, kneaded like dough, and pretty much left to do whatever it is I wish to do. That is a vacation. Fittingly, when I was approached with the option of taking a trip to St. Augustine, Florida, my first thought was of repulsion, just as the image of bikini bunnies and buff dudes bounced in my head, with crowded beach sand under their feet, loudly drunk revelers all around, and flea-bag waterfront motels looming cheaply in the background, along with boardwalk souvenir and “mix-andmatch your swimsuit” shops. But, one of St. Augustine’s tourism industry folks, Jay, insisted that St. Augustine is not the cliché that is very often Florida. He was right. I didn’t see even one plastic, pink flamingo. In fact, I cannot report seeing a single Recreational Vehicle in motion (although I am sure they were there, somewhere), nor a Speedo stretched to its death on a body about five sizes too big for it. So, go back to your office, Jay. I have some exploring to do! 11
Decompression In the Old and New Since September 1565, people have been landing and remaining in St. Augustine, establishing it as America’s oldest continually occupied European settlement. It was first inhabited by the Spaniards, then the English, the Spaniards again, followed by pre-Victorian Americans in 1821. Rarely is ownership of a possession so disputed, without having great appeal, beauty, and value. St. Augustine has all of those traits, whether in the eyes of a real estate owner, political leader, or vacationer. Upon driving down King Street into the town of just over 12,000 full-time residents, one first notes St. Augustine’s architectural uniquity. Looming hotels, museums, educational institutions, places of worship and other facades are
distinctly and grandly European, while residences of old are clearly settlement houses that once held practicality of survival high with the hopes and promise of the New World. Present day museums echo both the grandeur and bare necessity of old, like two sides of a coin, as evidenced by the Lightner Museum on King Street – three floors of costumes, furnishings, Tiffany glass, and other artifacts of 19th century opulence, and St. Augustine Historical Society’s Oldest House and Museum – the Gonzalez-Alvarez House on Francis Street, a National Historic Landmark and the area’s oldest surviving Spanish colonial dwelling. Reminiscent of New Orleans and cobblestoned villages of the Old World www.magazineblu.com
are the housing districts. These quaint and endearing neighborhoods are ones in which you can stroll and sightsee unguided. In doing so, you pass current residents who have clearly dedicated themselves to preserving these treasured homes that quietly encase historical, cultural, and even warfare-surviving emotional significance that modern Americans rarely experience firsthand. These housekeepers live within that rich history every day, knowing only pieces of the full story the walls certainly could tell. Political leaders, business owners and inhabitants of St. Augustine have done a superb job of maintaining the Spanish colony’s integrity, with an attention to (and love of) the details of period architecture and daily life. It is that www.magazineblu.com
which makes the town so quaintly appealing, in a way that larger cities of old, such as New Orleans, unfortunately have not. This is an attentively-manicured and pristinely-kept version of “Once Upon a Time,” without so many smells and creepy corners that might keep a tourist in their hotel room at night. In fact, it was while on a walk down St. George Street after a sumptuous dinner that I realized life in the big city has frayed my own nerves. I had eaten, then cancelled my limousine service back to my hotel, desiring to walk off both calories and metropolitan stress. I wound and turned down many streets, my heels clicking on the cobblestones, my mind fully engaged in a pure lack of thought, head clearing with fresh
ocean air and evening breezes of midApril, as I window shopped and made mental notes of places I would explore the next day. It was dark, about 11:00 p.m. As a truck slowly ambled past and the driver said, “Hello” from his window, I became suddenly aware that I had neither been instinctively watching my back, nor stressing over whether personal safety was at risk. Yes, this is a place where a solo traveler can explore in full peace. It is a place where decompression comes easily. Photo: View of St. George Street. More than 2 million tiny white lights glow in St. Augustine during the annual Nights of Lights Celebration. Courtesy St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches VCB. 12
No Luxuries Spared My gracious hotel was the Hilton on Avineda Menendez and the bayfront, just a short walk from the Castillo de San Marcos, one of the most historic attractions of the area. I know exactly what you’re thinking: “You’re in a history-laden village and you stay at an international chain hotel?” Why yes I did, and with zero regret! Well, no regret except that of sleeping alone in my giant, comfortable bed. It was a superb choice, as this is not just any “branded” hotel. It is the smallest Hilton in the world, with only 72 rooms cozily contained within the Spanish Colonial façade of nineteen buildings. The hotel is adequately designed and constructed to fit well within surroundings dating back to the 17th century, yet with all of the modern comforts a somewhat spoiled traveler might desire. Most enjoyable was the lack of crowds in places such as the hotel workout room, a facility I enjoyed twice per day during my stay, as I could work out in solitude – something rarely enjoyed in a larger hotel or membership gym. I could
have also enjoyed a solo dip in the pool that overlooks the bay, but I was so preoccupied with the sights of the town that I missed my opportunity. Although the Hilton was well-suited for my wants and needs, if sumptuous luxury and pampering within the City Gates is your objective, the Casa Monica Hotel at the corner of King and Cordova Streets is historically suited to answer your every desire. Originally designed, built and opened by Bostonian Franklin W. Smith (founder of the YMCA) in 1888, Casa Monica was quickly sold to railroad pioneer and local magnate Henry Flagler, who renamed it The Hotel Cordova. Now again under the regal name Casa Monica, one of the Kessler Collection of unique hotels, and a member of Preferred Resorts and Hotels Worldwide, Casa Monica is a Four-Diamond landmark offering exceptional comfort and world-class amenities. A boutique hotel with Spanish Moorish grand design and Victorian appointments of cobalt blue, deep red and gold, it resembles a European castle. The lobby showcases chandeliers, gilded furnishings, columns, arches, and a fountain. A penthouse view offering sweeping, panoramic views of the ocean, town, and bayfront entice one into the not-sosubtle upgrade. Casa Monica boasts an outdoor swimming pool and hot tub on a 4,000 square-foot deck, a 164-seat fine dining restaurant (the award-winning 95 Cordova), Café Cordova with convenient and standard fare such as sandwiches, salads and soups, Starbucks Coffee, the Cobalt Lounge, 8,000 square feet of retail shops, valet parking, 24-hour fitness facility, and much more. Photos, opposite page, from top: Built in 2005, Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront replicates colonial Spanish architecture. Bottom: The luxurious Casa Monica Hotel. Both photos courtesy St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches VCB. This page, from top: Raintree Seafood & Steakhouse. 2nd from top: Raintree’s dining patio. Bottom left and right: Raintree’s cuisine is as artful as it is enticing. All Raintree photos courtesy RaintreeRestaurant.com.
Colorful Cuisine, Cultured Flavor I have to admit something very, very personal. That is that during my St. Augustine travel, I was in the middle of a very structured diet and my biggest fear was that of packing on the tons of pounds one accumulates when being enticed and treated on a typical grown-up vacation. Yes, I feared the cheesecake. Knowing restaurants are a pivotal part of any getaway, and perhaps one of the greatest indulgences known to man, I could not ignore the significance of local cuisine. So, I did what any good travel writer does, and sucked it up (quite literally, “Hoovered,” if you will), allowing myself to partake as if I was unencumbered by guilt or calorie counts. Oh, the struggle of it all. Once I hit the doors of Raintree Seafood & Steakhouse, an award-winning casual restaurant within an 1879 Victorian home, all signs of a struggle had disappeared. The staff of Raintree were approachable and friendly, atmosphere romantic – yet not intimidatingly romantic for the solo or platonic diners. Both the structure and owner Lorna MacDonald have their own unique, romantic stories to tell about how Raintree came into being. It is a story you should inquire about, while visiting and enjoying the delightful fare. www.magazineblu.com
I started with 2004’s Australian Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet and Smoked Salmon Crustini. Pesto, capers, onions, tomato, mozzarella, and caviar all intermingle and dance upon the crustini, an appropriate accompaniment to a delightful wine. Also offered are Bruschetta with Roasted Tomatoes; Baked Scallops on the ½ Shell with sake ginger vinaigrette; Spicy Seafood Roll served with spicy garlic aioli and a Mirin teriyaki glaze; Portobello Mushroom Stack of wilted spinach and Crab Imperial on a pepper lentil coulis; Maryland Style Lump Crab Cake with slaw and tropical fruit salsa; Baked Oysters topped with roasted red peppers, scallions, bacon, and parmesan cheese; Escargot Broiled with Champagne in garlic butter sauce with French bread Melbas; Quail Legs wrapped in bacon, served with barbecue sauce, and set on shoestring onions; or a soup of the day selection. My salad of choice was the day’s arugula with raisins, pine nuts and low-fat raspberry vinaigrette. It led me well into one of the evening’s special entrees, that of Scallops, Shrimp, and Lobster on Bowtie Pasta in a Champagne Cream Sauce. Yes, I realize that a cream sauce is one of the most decadent selections I could make (forgetting the diet), but simply could not resist. I did make a special request that was very nicely honored: “Hold 75% of the pasta, please?” 14
When I took the first bite, I knew holding most of the pasta was a good idea, as I would have eaten every single bowtie. The champagne sauce was that brilliant – creamy, but not like an Alfredo. It was buttery, flavorful and indulgent, yet not heavy. Just enough sauce lingered upon each taste of seafood and pasta that the mouthful was well-dressed, never masked.
My first course was Almond Crusted Goat Cheese Salad with Organic Greens and Balsamic-Apricot Reduction. It was too delightful to call it a salad, but that would be its category in layman’s terms. An option for that evening (as the menu changes daily) was the Roasted Beet and Organic Green Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette and Pickled Red Onions.
That brings me to the subject of the seafood: Every prawn, scallop, and lobster portion included in the entrée absolutely burst upon biting. I question if I have ever had such succulent seafood, but don’t tell anyone in New Orleans that I said that! There was actually a little “pop” as my teeth pierced the seafood’s surface. Have I not been adequately experiencing seafood until this meal?
As the ballet that is Opus 39’s experience continued, the second course brought the largest Pan Seared Scallop I have ever seen, with Warm Purple Potato Salad, Micro Greens and Truffle Peppercorn Vinaigrette. I am quite fond of the Warm Purple Potato Salad, something I had never even fathomed until that evening. I selected this over the Sauteed Shrimp with Grilled Asparagus, Jicama and Roasted Poblanos.
Other entrees from which to choose range from bouillabaisse, salmon, Ahi tuna, mahi-mahi, Chilean Sea Bass, Pecan Trout Meuniere, duck, shrimp, pork, chicken, lobster, prime rib, lamb, filets, sirloin, ribeye, and so much more. Vegetarian selections are also available, such as a wonderful Stuffed Eggplant with fresh vegetables, ricotta, mozzarella, balsamic reduction and red lentil puree.
My third course was Seared Day Boat Cod with Polenta Cake, Zucchini-Stinging Nettle Ragout and Thyme Pan Jus. That is quite a mouthful to speak, one that also was quite a pleasure to savor. The alternative was Seared Hawaiian Pumpkin Swordfish with Sweet CornOkra Saute, Bacon and Arugula.
Another famous staple in my native New Orleans is the Bananas Foster. I refuse to compare that to any other, so I will simply attest that the Bananas Foster Crepes dessert of Raintree beckons me back, right now…perhaps evermore. Will its lingering memory ever leave me in peace? Perhaps that is a question that can only be answered through another sampling.
Fourth brought Pan Roasted Duck Breast with Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Sugar Snaps, Dried Cherry-Fingerling Ragout and Scallion Puree. It also brought a second glass of my Cabernet. There were two other choices for this course, including Roasted Quail with Cannelini Beans and Roasted Tomato-Picholine Olive Broth, or Grilled Beef Tenderloin and Braised Shallot Sauce over Root Vegetable Puree and Braised Swiss Chard.
My second evening found me at Opus 39 Restaurant & Food Gallery, a culinary destination founded by nationally acclaimed chef Michael McMillan, a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. Within the unimposing yet artful structure of 39 Cordova Street is a meeting of quarterly-changing art exhibitions and a five course tasting menu, accompanied by a superbly and selectively stocked Wine Gallery, of over 400 selections.
I chose the duck, because I had yet to ever encounter a duck that met the requirements of my palate. I simply had never enjoyed the fowl. I felt like taking a risk, as by the fourth course, who could go wrong if something was not a favorite? After all, I had five other courses to rely upon, if this one went awry. I would fully recommend just such a tactic of trying something new, if you find yourself in Opus 39, as I doubt anything could be less than perfection. In fact, I loved the duck.
Opus 39 is an experience, not simply a restaurant or meal. One should always arrive unencumbered by time and desiring the most from the full experience of upscale, innovatively designed daily menus. At a fixed price for the evening, each diner selects from a couple of offered plates for each course. This is done for five courses (including dessert), or six if you opt for the cheese course to be included prior to the sweet ending. The meal begins very interestingly, with a walk to the wine room where Chef Michael provides insight and explorative assistance with the massive selection. I chose my longtime favorite, Silver Oak’s Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003. I do love the oak flavor of that particular cabernet and enjoy it immensely, every single time. 15
The optional cheese course was next, that of Humboldt Fog with Orange Honey, Fennel Pollen (so delightful), Frisee and Walnuts. Definitely opt the cheese course in! I was abstaining from a third glass of blessed red at this point, as I wanted to lighten up for the dessert selection, if that makes any sense at all. A wonderful iced tea (I am Southern, remember) accompanied my Passion Fruit Custard Chocolate Mousse Bombe with Vanilla Bean Crème Anglaise. Goodness sakes, it was passionate! Again, there were two additional selections: Coconut Cheesecake with Coconut Macadamia Nut Crust and Tropical Fruit Compote, or Citrus Crème Caramel with Pedro Ximenez Macerated Berries. How did I make my menu selections, for the most part? I went with instinct, leaning toward those I had never come close to experiencing before, and even selecting the duck – which I typically cannot eat. For the dessert, I did what any sweet tooth should do when faced with three very luscious selections: I asked my accommodating and smiling server which was his most favored choice. He certainly did not lead me astray! This second evening, after the meal drew to a close, I again walked the city streets, window shopping and people-watching in the safe, moonlight breezes. I was officially relaxed and well-fed. I feared the bathroom scale, but would worry about that tomorrow. Imagine my complete amazement (after those meals and many others almost as decadent), when I stepped onto the scale in my metropolitan home and found that I had actually lost two pounds that week, due to all of the walking and touring! I think that was probably the most delightful and inexplicable weight loss I have ever experienced. I certainly would be willing to test the validity of that, again!
An Escape of Historic Opulence Well beyond the City Gates and on the famed Ponte Vedra Beaches is Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, a distinguished choice for anyone seeking unparalleled service, opulent surroundings and upscale amenities, as well as a selection of recreational, dining, shopping, and relaxation activities that are rarely experienced within such unencumbered proximity to a historic sight of St. Augustine’s caliber. At Ponte Vedra – with its Five Diamond accommodations and pristine white beaches – 36 holes of golf, tennis, top-notch workout facilities, heated swimming pools, fishing and seaside enjoyment are all daily offerings, along with sublime spa treatments and your choice of meals at one of their four restaurants and three lounges (or in your incredible room). As I had explored so much during my time in St. Augustine, I was completely wiped out and sank immediately into Ponte Vedra Inn & Club’s delightfully comfortable bed with soft sheets and four fluffy pillows, remote control in hand and oceanic views with swaying palm trees just through the room’s large window. After sleeping some of my exhaustion and the early evening away, I awoke with zero guilt and quite a bit of hunger, finding their 24-hour room service menu neither sparing nor without struggle, in deciding which of the many options to select, as well as which of the eye-catching rich desserts I should avoid. After eating too much and indulging in that cheesecake I tried unsuccessfully to talk myself out of, I immersed myself completely in the spectacular space that was the bathroom. The giant tub beckoned me that night, with midnight bubbles, and the separate, large shower being the option for morning. Before leaving at checkout time the next day, I spent at least an hour longer than usual primping, as the vast dressing vanity in the bathroom encouraged me to sit, take my time, and start my day feeling as pretty as I desired. My only recommendation for improvement upon my time at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club? That would be to linger much, much longer and explore so much more.
Photo, opposite page: St. Augustine Nights of Lights celebration takes place each year from mid-November through January. This page: The Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, a Florida landmark since 1928, offers a world of deluxe accommodations, fine cuisine, top recreation, and the finest in classical service. Both photos courtesy St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches VCB. www.magazineblu.com
Recommended Hotels Hilton Hotel St. Augustine Historic Bayfront Conveniently situated on the bayfront, this hotel is only steps from the Castillo de San Marcos, as well as all that Old City St. Augustine has to offer. The facades of 19 historically accurate (yet recently constructed) buildings house 72 guest rooms, an outdoor pool, lounge, and restaurant. 32 Avenida Menendez, St. Augustine, FL 32084; 904.829.2277; www.hilton.com.
Casa Monica Hotel An 1888 landmark, the Casa Monica Hotel is the cityâ€™s only AAA Four Diamond accommodations. 138 rooms and suites are welcoming to guests seeking inspired service and regal beauty, along with the 95 Cordova Restaurant, lounge and heated outdoor pool. 95 Cordova Street, St. Augustine, FL 32084; 904.827.1888; www.casamonica.com.
Ponte Vedra Inn & Club Opened in 1928, this 250 room resort is far more than just a place to stay. The upscale resort offers 300 acres of amenities and recreation, including 36 holes of golf, 15 hydro tennis courts, 4 heated swimming pools, bicycling, boating, fishing, oceanfront fitness center, full-service spa, 10 boutiques and shops, four restaurants, three lounges, and much more, not to mention the sandy shorefront on the Atlantic Ocean. 200 Ponte Vedra Boulevard, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082; 904.285.1111; www.pvresorts.com.
Favorite Restaurants Raintree Seafood & Steakhouse Raintree is not only our favorite restaurant in St. Augustine, but is one dreamt of fondly, due primarily to their succulent seafood and wonderfully decadent Bananas Foster Crepe dessert. Of course, dinner comes before dessert and you will not be disappointed there. Dress is dinner casual, which suits the overall vibe of St. Augustine very well. Shuttle service is available to and from most area hotels, but the distance is walkable from most locations in town. 102 San Marco Avenue, St. Augustine, FL 32084; 904.824.7211; www.raintreerestaurant.com.
Opus 39 Restaurant & Food Gallery Opus 39 is a second “requirement” when in St. Augustine. Their menus are planned daily with such attention to detail, and the wine selection is absolutely superb! This five- to sixcourse dinner extravaganza is enjoyable in and of itself, but the quarterly art showing throughout the dining space is food for the creative part of your soul. 39 Cordova Street, St. Augustine, FL 32084; 904.824.0402.
95 Cordova at the Casa Monica Hotel 95 Cordova features New World Eclectic Cuisine, fusing American, Middle Eastern and Asian flavors. Top shelf martinis and other beverages compliment the extensive, seasonal menu that is enjoyed in richly extravagant surroundings, including deep colors and 24 karat gold accents. 95 Cordova Street, St. Augustine, FL 32084; 904.827.1888; www.casamonica.com. Photos, both pages, clockwise from top: Cuisine takes on the form of art at 95 Cordova, in the Casa Monica Hotel, just as (bottom right) 95 Cordova’s dining room is a sumptuous and regal experience. Bottom left: A four poster bed awaits guests of Room 203 (and others) in the Casa Monica Hotel. All photos courtesy Casa Monica.
Enlightening Museums and Historic Places Castillo de San Marcos National Monument A local stone called coquina – a limestone rock formed of tiny seashells bonded together over time – was utilized as the masonry for the Spaniards to construct the Castillo from 1672 to 1695, upon the orders of the Queen Regent Mariana of Spain. Its primary purpose was to defend the city and port, particularly from neighboring Charleston, recently founded only two days’ sail from St. Augustine. The Castillo is the oldest remaining European fortification in the continental United States. Open everyday except Christmas, from 8:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. (last tickets are issued at 4:45 p.m.), the entrance fee is $6.00 for age 16+, 15 and under are free. For more information, visit the National Park Service website at www.nps.gov/archive/casa.
City Gates Directly across from the Castillo are the City Gates. Constructed of coquina in 1808, the existing gates were an improvement upon the original access point of 1739. It was the only entry to St. Augustine through the defense line on the north side of the Spanish settlement. Today, these gates lead you right to St. George Street and all of its history and shopping possibilities.
Flagler College One called the Hotel Ponce de Leon, this campus was a very exclusive luxury resort, built by Henry Flagler the railroad magnate in 1887. It is widely known for its Tiffany glass windows, artwork and interesting architecture. An active college campus, tours are offered daily. 74 King Street. 904.819.6400.
St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum Built over a span of three years from 1871 to 1874, the Lighthouse offers panoramic views of St. Augustine and the surrounding shoreline. The lightkeeper’s house also contains a museum. 904.829.0745.
Lightner Museum Once the Alcazar Hotel of 1888, this museum houses Victorian memorabilia, Tiffany art glass, paintings, sculpture, toys, porcelain, and furnishings. 75 King Street, in the City Hall building. 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.
Desirable Shopping Historic St. Augustine Shops are everywhere you turn, within the Old City and Historic Downtown of St. Augustine. They range from souvenir stores to treasured antiques, jewelry, leather goods, shoes, clothing, cigars, art, and much more.
Uptown San Marco Just outside of Historic Downtown St. Augustine, about half a mile to be exact, is a strip of art galleries, antique shops, clothing and furniture stores, all lining San Marco Avenue. The last Saturday of each month is “Uptown Saturday Night,” when stores and galleries remain open until 9:00 p.m.
Art Galleries of St. Augustine AGOSA is a membership organization of art galleries. Every month brings “First Friday Art Walk,” when 29 galleries stay open until 9:00 p.m., holding receptions and parties for new and known artists. These galleries are spread throughout Historic Downtown and on Anastasia Island, just across the Bridge of Lions.
Outlet Malls There are two outlet complexes in the vicinity of St. Augustine. Prime 1 Outlet Mall is located on State Road 16, 7 miles northwest of Historic Downtown, just before the I-95 overpass. Famous brands are featured, such as Guess, Liz Claiborne, Coleman, Pacsun, Adidas, and many more. St. Augustine Premium Outlets is 8 miles northwest of Historic Downtown, just past the I-95 overpass. There, you will find 95 branded stores, such as Gap, Coach, Nine West, Osh Kosh and others. 19
Intriguing Guided Tours Ghost Tours of St. Augustine – “A Ghostly Experience” A walking tour held nightly through the streets of the Old City (365 days per year), Ghost Tours of St. Augustine is one of several such tours of the area. We believe, however, they are the best – just as it seems the ghosts do, as evidenced by the company’s website, as well as on the Discovery Channel and Travel Channel. Take your camera and click away almost constantly. We did, and lets just say that we have an odd photograph as a keepsake. Even if you’re not a “believer,” the tour is exceptional, as it encompasses much of Old St. Augustine, the Castillo and the City Gates. Many tales are told and with dramatic flair by one of over 20 costumed storytellers. A great night out in the ocean breezes and moonlight, particularly after some decadent dessert! Other ghostly tours are also available through the same company, such as a riding tour and a sail aboard the 72’ Schooner Freedom. 904.461.1009. www.ghosttoursofstaugustine.com.
The Schooner Freedom The 72-foot Schooner Freedom, a tallship, embarks daily from the City Marina for a two hour day sail, an evening sail and a one hour ghost cruise by Ghost Tours of St. Augustine. $35 ages 13+; children 2 to 12 years are $25; children under age two are free. 904.810.1010. www.schoonerfreedom.com.
Old Town Trolley Tours With over 20 stops for getting on or off the trolley, all located conveniently throughout St. Augustine, this trolley-style tour covers over 100 points of interest and provides an easy ride to most of the city’s sightseeing, dining and shopping. The tour boards at the Old Jail located at 167 San Marco Avenue (free parking). 904.829.3800.
Convenient Beaches St. Johns County boasts 42 miles of beaches for relaxation and fun in the sunshine, from Ponte Vedra Beach to the county’s southern end. North of St. Augustine is Vilano Beach. Anastasia State Park and St. Augustine Beach are very active areas, whereas Crescent Beach and Summerhaven (to the south) are quieter, despite having been vacation destinations since the Victorian age. Photos both pages, from top: Castillo de San Marcos. The Castillo was built in 1672-1695 to protect and defend Spain’s claims in the New World. Center: One of the dramatic views at the Castillo de San Marcos. Stroll along Avilles street, the oldest street in the city. Enjoy shopping, art & dining. This page, left: Flagler College balconies and tower. Beach of Matanzas Inlet. All photos courtesy St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches VCB.
Photo courtesy of New Orleans Convention and Visitorâ€™s Bureau/Photographer Jack Edwards.
The St. Charles Streetcar line, a major mode of transportation and sightseeing for locals and tourists alike, is now back on track on some of its historic routes and is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2007.
Desire Amidst the Diminishing Rubble and Despite Their Pain, New Orleans Misses Us
Almost six months after the storm I made the trip back to New Orleans, as I needed to see with my own eyes that the city, the people and my heritage were going to be alright. Much like when visiting a sick family member in the hospital, you go not just to assure them you are hoping for their best, but to solidify in your own mind that they will pull through the illness and return to their normal state of being. I made travel arrangements and for the entire week prior to departure had horrid nightmares about an apocalyptic scene, something of a combination of the wrath viewed on television news and an almost lunar landscape. I felt all of New Orleans wailing, within my own breaking heart. I had always been so proud of my little history, where I am from and everything about my family that is so deeply rooted within the archives and cotton fields of Louisiana. I invited a friend along for the journey, one who had never been to Nola. I thought she would make a great travel companion and that her sense of humor would help see me through my anxiety, while I could play tour guide and show her some of the nuances my parents had shared with me. While the plane prepared to land, I looked through the clouds to the terrain below. Just as newscasters had focused heavily upon the tarps
covering rooftops of houses in every neighborhood, I noted how drastically the vibrantly colored coverings seemed so very out of place. The city beneath me appeared like a jigsaw puzzle, one with lost pieces in the place of which a bright blue tabletop peered out through the gaps. I mechanically led my friend through the little airport and out to a hotel shuttle. I felt overwhelmingly emotional, yet did not want her to see that side of me. After all, who was I to cry, when I had a home, all of my family and possessions to which I could return? I had a certain survivorâ€™s guilt, a textbook response of which I felt no motivation to control. Neighborhood after neighborhood was dotted with those blue plasticcoated tarpaulins. But, as we arrived onto Canal Street, familiar scenes of pseudo-normalcy started to appear. People were shopping, palm trees budding and the streetcar I rode as a child clanged down its historic path. The waterlines on building fronts were ever-present, yet I could smell a certain vibrancy in the hot, humid, musty air. As the cab buzzed into the French Quarter, there were, of course, signs posted in many windows stating special post-hurricane hours of operation and menu limitations, yet restaurants were open and bell hops bustled luggage at hotel entrances. People were actually smiling, laughing and acting quite energetic all around. They seemed to have purpose and a light spring in their steps. I had expected gloom and desperation.
Hallowed Halls The Hotel Monteleone welcomed us with a regal faĂ§ade and warmly
Photo courtesy of New Orleans Convention and Visitorâ€™s Bureau/Photographer Richard Nowitz.
Not long after Katrina hit New Orleans, my own nightmares about effects of the devastation on that city, the place of my birth, started. I was supposed to have been in The Big Easy at the time of the storm, but luckily was unable to travel due to an illness in my family. Despite being safely in the Northeast as the turmoil hit, my little southern city was all I could think about. I felt as if I had somehow let her down by not being there to share in her pain.
sumptuous lobby. The hotel’s front doors have opened to so many legends that you can practically hear the footsteps and conversations of former guests who have adored the “sparkling jewel of Royal Street” since 1886. Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Truman Capote, Eudora Welty and Ernest Hemingway are just a few of the writers who found inspiration and enjoyment in the now 600-room Grand Dame of the Vieux Carre. Faulkner is written to have called Monteleone his favorite hotel and Williams mentioned the property in The Rose Tattoo. Capote joked he was born in Monteleone, when indeed his mother went into labor there, prior to her transport to the hospital. Just as the hotel is a literary landmark of days long gone, more recent writers have also found inspiration in her halls and beds, such as Winston Groom (Forrest Gump) and Richard Ford, who included a passage about her in A Piece of My Heart. As we checked in, walked to our suite and navigated the intriguing hallways, I warmed to the idea of possibly writing in one of the rooms where such masterpieces may have been born. My friend warmed to the idea of changing our flight clothes and heading out for a rambunctious night on the town. Within the hotel walls, and as the hot sun gleamed onto our suite’s window panes, I could almost easily forget my apprehension and emotion surrounding a return to New Orleans. But, as soon as we turned on the televisions to start prepping for our first evening in town, we were again bombarded by the broadcasted misery and desperation of the landscape and a sampling of residents. We dressed quickly and excitedly, eager to walk the historic neighborhoods surrounding Jackson Square and to talk to some locals about their experiences of the past months.
Upon heading out from the lobby, one simply cannot pass the Monteleone’s renowned Carousel Bar without stopping in, as it is a sophisticated yet whimsical playground for grown-ups, an actual 25seat carousel bar that turns as you comfortably sit during a slow, peaceful and liquid rotation. Many of the famed and historic authors enjoyed drinks in the unique barroom, among other celebrities of past and present, including Liberace, Michael Jordan and Dennis Quaid. We decided to sit for awhile and my friend, Megan, turned on her reliable wit and charm as we engaged the bartender and some other visitors in varied conversations. As we sat, rotating slowly and sipping the best Bloody Maries I have ever had, Megan flirted with some gentlemen about 35 or forty years our seniors, dubbing them “Pete” and “The RePetes,” as we couldn’t remember the names of two of the three. We finished our drinks, said our goodbyes and stepped out onto the storied streets of the Quarter. As we walked, stopped into stores and more than a few quaint pubs, we kept bumping into Pete and the RePetes, as there were so few people on the pre-Mardi Gras streets that faces became increasingly and eerily familiar. Megan wowed a crowd (myself included) by jumping onstage at a local karaoke bar and belting out a tune. She wanted to experience the much-popularized, wilder side of my city. I wanted to take in the familiar history, sounds of horse hooves and smell of café au lait. We compromised and combined the two agendas seamlessly over the next several days, strolling through Audubon Park, Lafayette Cemetery and the French Market for me, also visiting voodoo and mask shops, hurricane beverage vendors, tee shirt shops and Bourbon Street for her. She even managed to flirt her way into the heart of a very odd character who likened himself to a vampire, albeit with his Bluetooth lodged conveniently in his right ear. Left: Hotel Monteleone’s front doors have opened to so many legends that you can practically hear the footsteps and conversations of former guests who have adored the “sparkling jewel of Royal Street” since 1886. Top Right: Monteleone’s Carousel Bar. Both photos courtesy Hotel Monteleone. www.magazineblu.com
Within the Bubble, Let it Roll I was surprised about the business-as-usual appearance of the “touristy” section of the city, as if it existed within a protective storm bubble. Vague and less frequent reminders of Katrina’s wrath did exist, but they were greatly less noticeable than residential parts of town and outlying areas. We walked everywhere and talked to everyone who would let us speak to them, including tourists on the streets, bartenders, engineers and workers enjoying a night out after reconstructive work of their daytime, even bouncers at a couple of adult venues. When we asked, “How are you doing,” the resounding and consistent answer was that of, “We’re doing great. We’re rebuilding and are ready to let the good times roll!” Laissez le bons temps rouler, “Let the good times roll,” is a familiar cry of Cajun origin in The Big Easy. It is the age-old mantra of revelers, particularly during Mardi Gras. It was odd to hear that phrase repeated throughout our visit, but it echoed the residents’, shopkeepers’ and restaurateurs’ overwhelming desire to revive the pulse of the city, welcome visitors and share their amazing resiliency. We spent five days in the French Quarter, on Canal Street, throughout the Garden District, even in the famed Ninth Ward and devastated neighborhoods on beautiful Lake Pontchartrain, where my own father proposed to my mother. Many buildings of the Gulf were flattened, vastly destroyed and families devastated. The effects remained clear. But, somewhere within the heart of all that is New Orleans, residents seemed to take extreme pride in welcoming outsiders, not just for added revenue from which to aid rebuilding, but because they really miss us. They want all of us, whether we are from their city originally, or first-time tourists such as Megan, to step into their home, however it was damaged, so they may bring a smile to our faces upon our tasting of the amazing cuisine, enjoyment of Mississippi River breezes while sipping chicory coffee at the Café du Monde, feeling our feet tap to the magical rhythm of authentic New Orleans jazz or sinking into the cool pillow of a sumptuous and historic hotel. In all that they have suffered and endured, the City of New Orleans is ready, poised and wanting to show others the reality, resiliency and magnetism of their Deep South. My nightmares gave way to peaceful sleep and nightly anticipation of seeing more of my favorite city. Although she was shaken, heavily bruised and dotted with blue bandages, New Orleans was not going to feign death. Throughout all of the countrywide political arguing, finger-pointing and blame associated with lack of timely and appropriate response to her demise, the remaining residents of New Orleans seemed to quietly bind together in an unspoken, unwritten pact of survival, despite the odds and excruciatingly difficult work ahead.
Above: French Quarter street (Photo by Richard Nowitz/Courtesy New Orleans CVB). Below: Jazz trumpeter on a French Quarter street (Photo by Jack Edwards/Courtesy New Orleans CVB).
One by one – as the arguments and extensive devastation continued to grab headlines – cultural venues, sports arenas, shopping centers and corner stores swept up their broken glass and restocked supplies to welcome patrons, tourists and friends. Not all of the former residents, businesses and workers have yet returned. But, for the tourist, the majority of what makes Nola an enticing travel destination is awaiting visitation. As for the remaining damage, politics and watermarks, these are lessons we as humans should absorb, react to and always remember. In combination, the good, delicious, historic, legendary and even the bad, ugly and devastated pieces of post-Katrina New Orleans continue to warmly welcome both new and old friends for a trip, vacation, lesson in life or journey of the heart that one will never forget. 25
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Royal Treatment, Regal Hotels New Orleans has always offered so many choices of hotels for even the most discriminating traveler. Finding one that is luxurious and convenient to most attractions is not difficult, beyond the initial decision of whether to stay in a grand property with resort amenities, a boutique historic inn or a romantic bed and breakfast with courtyard views, wherein you may be awakened in the morning by the sound of horses’ hooves on the cobblestone streets. After deciding which type of lodging you prefer, a good starting place for recommendations is the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation’s website, at www.neworleansonline.com. Magazine BLU recommends time-honored favorites where we have received the most honorable service over the past decades, as well as after Katrina: Grand Hotels
Since 1886, the Hotel Monteleone has been a French Quarter Legend. Classically elegant and recently freshened through a multimillion-dollar renovation, the Monteleone has preserved its history and grandeur that originally attracted such renowned individuals as Liberace, Louis Prima, Elvis Presley and even James Gandolfini. The hotel is one of only three in the United States to be honored with the distinguished Friends of Libraries, USA Literary Landmark designation, as the Monteleone has hosted William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote and others. Three of the city’s finest dining establishments are within the hotel, including the Aft Deck Oyster Bar, The Hunt Room Grill and Le Café. Spa Aria, also within the 600-room property, offers a complete menu of luxury spa services, not far from the rooftop pool and workout facility with sweeping views of both the Mississippi River and the Vieux Carre. Beyond the obvious, the regal property offers some legendary surprises, such as a host of purported resident “ghosts” attributed to varied guests who remain loyal and attached to the property after many years (we personally did not experience any such activity). Hotel Monteleone is a AAA FourDiamond Hotel, only steps from Bourbon Street. 214 Rue Royale; 800.535.9595; www.hotelmonteleone.com.
The Royal Sonesta, also an AAA Four-Diamond Hotel, occupies an entire city block amidst all of the excitement of the French Quarter. It consists of over 500 rooms housed around the perimeter of the block, with the courtyard and pool in the middle, where one can find quiet in the private, tropical surroundings. Four-Diamond Restaurant Beque’s offers Creole and French specialties with Friday seafood buffet and Sunday champagne brunch. Also renowned, the Desire Oyster Bar offers fresh Louisiana Seafood and Creole delicacies in a streetside bistro. Two cocktail lounges, the Coffee & Champagne bar and the Daiquiri Delight Shop are other well-known stops within the property, for both locals and visitors. 300 Bourbon Street; 800.766.3782; www.royalsonestano.com.
Top Right: Hotel Monteleone Lobby. Middle Right: Hotel Monteleone Rooftop Pool (Both photos courtesy Hotel Monteleone); Bottom Right: Royal Sonesta Lobby. Bottom Left: Royal Sonesta Courtyard Pool. Bottom Center: Royal Sonesta Courtyard Fountain (Sonesta photos courtesy Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans). 27
Le Pavillon is a third AAA Four-Diamond Hotel, with a 100 year history of elegance, luxury and romance just adjacent to the French Quarter. The hotel’s lobby of chandeliers, marble and even bronze cherubs evokes the utmost of historic sumptuousness, while a personal touch of peanut butter and jelly sandwich snacks served each evening on silver platters adds a warm, genteel touch. An especially nice aspect of their offerings is the year-round rooftop pool (heated in cooler weather), hot tub, sun deck and private cabanas, with pool service menus and views of the Crescent City at your feet. 833 Poydras Street; 800.535.9095; www.lepavillon.com.
Chateau Sonesta is a unique, 251-room luxury hotel, located in a formerly nationally-renowned retail establishment opened in 1849 and closed in 1989. The pre-Civil War era building was then gently renovated into an upscale hotel in 1995, while preserving many unique architectural elements the original owner, D.H. Holmes, reigned over within his highly fashionable department store. The hotel now occupies a grouping of eighteen historic buildings and houses just under fifty original works of art within its structure. Three courtyards, an outdoor heated pool, sundeck and fitness center offer the balance one often needs when engaging in the ever-present culinary indulgences that make New Orleans famous. A breakfast café, cocktail bar and reputable Ralph Brennan’s Red Fish Grill are conveniently located within the property. 800 Iberville Street; 800.766.3782; www.chateausonesta.com.
Originally a grain warehouse, the Bienville House Hotel is derived of its predecessor, the North American Hotel, which had converted the grain facility for overnight stays by 1835. The Monteleone family (also of the grand Hotel Monteleone) purchased the property in 1972 and ensured its continuance as a charming, intimate boutique hotel of 83 rooms and suites. A flagstone courtyard surrounds the private pool and distinctively New Orleanian elements such as wrought iron balconies and four sundecks add warmly romantic touches. The Louisiana Heritage Café and School of Cooking is part of the hotel’s offerings, with culinary lessons offered on Fridays and Saturdays by Chef Joseph Faroldi for guests and other visitors to learn about Cajun and Creole creations…or to simply enjoy a sumptuous meal of Crawfish Etouffee, Rajun Cajun Omelets, Seafood Beignets, Blackened Catfish or other distinctive culinary presentation. 320 Decatur Street; 800.535.9603; www.bienvillehouse.com.
Maison DuPuy is conveniently and spectacularly positioned within the heart of the true Vieux Carre, in the section originally established as the French Quarter in 1722, along the Mississippi River. The first-class boutique hotel is built on the original site of the nation’s first cotton press of 1602 and carries a certain aura of history and authenticity that is becoming evermore unique in American hotels. In passing through the lush courtyards with fountains (particularly during the evening), through the Maison’s rooms or while enjoying a sumptuous meal at renowned Dominique’s Restaurant, one can easily sense the European flair, unique history of the city and whispered notes of authentic New Orleans jazz in the air. 1001 Rue Toulouse; 504.586.8000; www.maisondupuy.com.
Top Left: Chateau Sonesta New Orleans facade (Photo courtesy Chateau Sonesta Hotel); Middle Left: Bienville House Guest Room. Bottom Left: Bienville House Courtyard Pool. Bottom Right: Bienville House Facade (Photos courtesy Bienville House Hotel New Orleans). www.magazineblu.com
Angels and Devils Visitors to New Orleans often imagine themselves in one of two scenarios as tourists, that of Girls Gone Wild, bead-earning and Mardi Gras partying, or as wanting to take in the plentiful historic and palate-pleasing attributes of the Deep South. For those who pride themselves as angelic by nature, yet with a devilish side (or vice versa), it is possible to combine both scenarios, particularly after partaking of a few of the famed Hurricane cocktails consisting of juices and plenty of alcohol. Perhaps the biggest challenge for a visitor is to narrow down the overwhelming selection of activities to the most optimum agenda that will provide a glimpse into the real New Orleans, while allowing for a little adult recreation after nightfall. After years of sampling, partaking and partying (in younger days) in the city, we can recommend several must-see and must-do items to add to any agenda: Food and Drink – New Orleans is the ultimate land of colorful cuisine. There are so many exceptional and famed restaurants that one cannot cover all, or even most, of them. So, our recommendations are our favorites, some time-honored and well-known throughout the world, some known primarily within Nola. We do not ask or expect a culinary tour to be limited to these selections, but the four restaurants, café and two lounges listed below should definitely be included on your itinerary.
Café du Monde – Good grief, enough cannot be said about the addiction that is Café du Monde! Until Hurricane Katrina, the Mississippi riverfront Café had not ceased its 24-hour operations since 1862. Very quickly back on its feet and serving its delectable staples of beignets (a distinctive New Orleans pastry and state doughnut of Louisiana, dusted with excessively delightful clouds of powdered sugar) and chicory café au lait, Café du Monde is a muststop for breakfast, late night sweet-tooth satisfaction, or that sugar and caffeine high that you need in order to ensure the energy required to continue seeing and experiencing all of New Orleans. Both the dessert and the coffee bode well after a Hurricane cocktail or two! While in New Orleans, be sure to purchase a box or two of beignet mix and a couple of cans of French Market Chicory Coffee to feed your post-vacation addiction at home. Attire is “come as you are.” Walk-in, no reservations required. 800 Decatur Street; 504.581.2914.
Olivier’s Creole Restaurant – Although barely known outside of New Orleans, Olivier’s is greatly worth mention as one of the most personable and authentic Creole dining experiences in the world. Chef Damian Banks lends his talent and expertise to time-honored recipes passed down through many generations of the Olivier family. The atmosphere is more modern than Antoine’s, Brennan’s or Court of Two Sisters, yet the Oliviers incorporate their own brand of warmth and gentility that provide for a historic dining experience. Attire is listed as casual but more deserving of dressy. Reservations recommended. 204 Decatur Street; 504.525.7734; www.olivierscreole.com.
Court of Two Sisters – Always delightful and authentically New Orleans, the Court of Two Sisters offers the largest dining courtyard in the French Quarter, complete with gaslights, lush foliage and fountain. Particularly wellknown is their daily Jazz Brunch, with so many authentic and flavorful delights from which to choose that one is able to ensure a tasting of all of the foods for which New Orleans is famous, while enjoying a strolling jazz trio and the warmth of a genuine, attentive staff. Gourmet Creole a la carte dinners are also available, if the indulgent buffet brunch is too much of a temptation for your waistline. Attire is dressy and reservations are recommended for dinn e r. 613 Royal St r e e t ; 504.522.7261; www.courtoftwosisters.com.
Brennan’s – Due to an amazing 35,000 bottle wine cellar
Top: The historic Cafe du Monde (Photo courtesy New Orleans CVB/Photo by Carl Purcell). Middle: Beignets and cafe au lait at the Cafe du Monde (Photo courtesy NewOrleansOnline.com/Photo by David Richmond); Bottom: Court of Two Sisters Restaurant (Photo courtesy Court of Two Sisters). www.magazineblu.com
and sumptuous meals such as the famed “Breakfast at Brennan’s,” a longstanding New Orleans tradition of three courses including their worldfamous Bananas Foster or other delightful sweet as dessert, Brennan’s has enjoyed a colorful history of serving residents and guests of the Crescent City for decades. Whether for the renowned breakfast, or for a highly romantic candle- and gaslight dinner in one of twelve elegant dining rooms dating back to 1795, the experience is unforgettable and distinctively New Orleans. Attire is dressy and men should wear a dinner jacket. Reservat i o n s a r e r e q u i r e d . 4 1 7 R o y a l S t r e e t ; 5 0 4 . 5 2 5 . 9 7 11 ; www.brennansneworleans.com.
Antoine’s – The country’s oldest family-owned restaurant, Antoine’s was established in 1840 and is world-renowned as the birthplace of Oysters Rockefeller, Eggs Sardou and Pommes de Terre Souffles. Visit their website to view photographs of amazingly historic and uniquely designed dining rooms that are symbolic of New Orleans herself. Attire is dressy and men must wear a jacket at dinner. Reservations are highly recommended. 713 Rue Saint Louis; 504.581.3003; www.antoines.com.
Old Absinthe House – Home of libations and people-watching for almost 200 years, Old Absinthe House is a definite destination during a French Quarter pub crawl. Pirate Jean Lafitte and Andrew Jackson are rumored to have met in the upstairs while planning the victory of the Battle of New Orleans. Weathered and quaint, stop in with a casual attitude and time to sit and watch New Orleans pass by the corner of Rue Bourbon and Rue Bienville. Pizza and other pub dinner fare is available, but lets face it…its all about the drinks, sights and sounds around the House! Clothing of some kind is expected. 240 Bourbon Street at Bienville.
Pat O’Brien’s – A requirement when visiting New Orleans, Pat O’Brien’s offers the famed courtyard, knock-you-down Hurricanes and authentically New Orleans piano music within its unique setting. The Main Bar is very typically pub-like, complete with over 500 beer steins hanging from the ceiling and photographs of past patrons all over the walls, with a jukebox and sports television adding to the casual and comfortable appeal. The Patio is the most known location with Pat O’Brien’s, where lush foliage, glass-topped iron patio tables, a flaming fountain (with both fire and water) and open-air drinking of specialty drinks, beer and, of course, Hurricanes. The Courtyard Restaurant serves the Nola version of an extended bar menu, if the munchies or justified hunger pangs take over. Another option, The Piano Bar, is always inviting yet crowded, but one simply must endure the wait for a seat, as the dueling pianos and Hurricane service to green-cushioned chairs are definitely worth the visit. Finally, the Restaurant Bar is also part of Pat O’s and fashioned after the Main Bar. There, you can have your drinks and satisfy your stomach with some pub fare from the Courtyard Restaurant while engaging in interesting, intoxicating conversation mixed with Hurricanes or other beverages. Whatever your poison, you will always leave Pat O’Brien’s with a trademark signature Hurricane glass, so although you may not be fully coherent at the time of your departure, you will inevitably be reminded of your visit, as you raise the glass in subsequent toasts. Casual attire. Open until 5 a.m. on weekends, closes early at 4 a.m. on weekdays! 718 St. Peter Street; 504.525.4823; www.patobriens.com.
Top Left: Brennan’s Restaurant facade. 2nd From Top: One of Brennan’s dining rooms (Photos courtesy Brennan’s Restaurant). 3rd From Top: Antoine’s Restaurant Facade. Bottom: Antoine’s front walk (Photos courtesy www.NewOrleansOnline.com). 30
Gray Line Tours – Onboard the Steamboat Natchez, one of only six remaining historic steamboats on the Mississippi, enjoy an authentic river cruise reflective of the days of cotton plantations and gentility on the mighty river, while live jazz is played by the ship band. Sights include the Chalmette Battlefield, where Jean Lafitte and his buccaneers joined Andrew Jackson’s forces to defeat the British in the Battle of New Orleans. Have a traditional New Orleans breakfast of beignets and chicory coffee at the Café du Monde first (you’ll end up wanting to do that every day), enjoy the paddlewheel river tour that embarks just steps from the Cafe, then stop into the Jax Brewery for some light shopping after your cruise, while you regain your land legs. Boat tour reservations should be made one day prior (by 4pm) and the cost is approximately $50 per person, including 2-hour cruise, 2-hour tour and onboard Creole lunch. Gray Line also offers a variety of other tours, including swamp boats, ghosts & spirits tours and many more. 800.535.7786; www.graylineneworleans.com.
“Cities of the Dead” Cemetery Tours by the Save Our Cemeteries, Inc – A very worthwhile and surprisingly low cost of $6 affords a tour of famed Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 or $12 for St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, hosted by a highly knowledgeable and engaging local volunteer. New Orleans has buried its dead in a very unique manner for centuries and these deeply historic settings provide for peaceful, quiet mid-morning walking tours that will be remembered for a lifetime…and perhaps beyond life! This is a must-do for lovers of history, religion, forensics, culture, society and any preservationist personality. Tours begin at 10:00 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. on particular days, so do research and make arrangements either prior to departure for Nola, or early in your stay. Don’t forget your comfortable shoes! 504.525.3377; www.saveourcemeteries.org.
Horse-Drawn Carriage Tours – Both Royal Carriage Tours and Good Old Days Tours offer mule and horse-drawn carriage rides around the French Quarter. As often as you might pass one of these by within other cities, opting to not ride, New Orleans is a city in which the $50 (for up to 4 people for a half hour) or $100 (up to 4 people for a full hour) is definitely a worthwhile expenditure. A personable and colorful guide will route your carriage slowly and artfully through the Quarter’s historic streets, pointing out shops, galleries, historic sites and other places you’ll want to note, such as Tennessee Williams’ house, the famed “Stella!” Annual Shouting Contest balcony (a tribute to his A Streetcar Named Desire), places visited by Napoleon, courtyards, iron-lace balconies and so much more. Our lovely guide even stopped at a historic pub, whistled for a server and ordered beverages for us, served while we remained comfortably relaxed upon our tufted velvet seats! Be prepared to be social during your ride, as it seems everyone wishes to say “hello” and converse with you as you clip-clop down the quaint streets. Do not forget the camera. No reservations needed, simply approach a parked carriage and driver. Across from Café du Monde (a hint to have more beignets and chicory coffee), Decatur Street at Jackson Square; 8:30 a.m. to Midnight daily, weather permitting; www.neworleanscarriages.com.
Cultural / Historic Institutions, Music Venues and Museums
Audubon Zoo – More often thought of as a place for taking young children, the New Orleans Audubon Zoo is also actually a relaxing, entertaining and educational option for adults. In particular, unique exhibits of over 1500 animals of 360 species, including albino alligators and white tigers add interest to the more than 50 acres of pathways and boardwalks accented by sculptures, lush foliage, Spanish moss, flowers, historic trees, bamboo and boardwalks. Chirping of birds, both wild and exhibited, fresh breezes and the rustle of leaves can be a welcome diversion to a hectic touring schedule, particularly when the leisurely pace bodes well for working off some of the region’s gourmet indulgences. The zoo is located on an 18 th century sugar plantation and the 1884 World Exposition and contains the Louisiana Swamp Exhibit, the world’s only urban swamp that showcases South Louisiana animals such as Louisiana black bear, bobcats, foxes and albino alligators. A relaxing afternoon at the zoo combines well with a morning of shopping and sightseeing on famed Magazine Street, due to their close proximity to one another outside of the Quarter. Other options within the Audubon Nature Institute’s organization are the Aquarium of the Americas, IMAX Theatre, Parks and other educational and research centers. 6500 Magazine Street; www.auduboninstitute.org.
Preservation Hall – Located only three blocks from the Mississippi River, Preservation Hall is the ultimate New Orleans music experience. Originally a private residence in 1750, the Hall has housed music legends of Jazz since 1961, in an effort (as the name reflects) to preserve the authenticity of original New Orleans Jazz. Always crowded and lively with the sounds of both young and veteran musicians, go prepared to tap your feet and open your heart to the real sound of the South. Louis Armstrong said, “Preservation Hall. Now that’s where you’ll find all of the greats.” 726 St. Peter Street; 888.946.JAZZ; www.preservationhall.com.
Plantation and Historic Homes – There are so many to mention that we must recommend browsing the “Things to See and Do” section of NewOrleansOnline.com, as from the Edgar Degas House to Longe Vue House and Gardens, Hermann Grima House to Pitot House, we simply cannot narrow down the choices to just one or two! www.neworleansonline.com (link to Museums and the Arts / Museums / Historic Homes). Left Page (Courtesy New Orleans C V B ) -To p : Steamboat Natchez (Photo by Richard Nowitz). Middle: Cities of the Dead (Photo by Ann Purcell). Bottom Right: Carriage in front of St. Louis Cathedral (Photo by Carl Purcell). Bottom Left: Carriage in front of Royal Cafe (Photo by Carl Purcell). This Page-Top: Preservation Hall (Courtesy GNOTCC/Photo by Michael Te r r a n o v a ) . Middle: The famed Preservation Hall Jazz Band (Photo by Rick Olivier). Bottom Left: Nottoway Plantation Home (Courtesy New Orleans CVB/ Photo by Richard Nowitz).Bottom Right: Tennessee Williams’ Residence (Courtesy NewOrleansOnline.com).
Jax Brewery – Located in the heart of the French Quarter, right on the Mississippi River, the Brewery dates back to 1891 and now houses four floors of modern shops and a convenient food court. It is the perfect place to enjoy casual shopping before a dinner reservation, or before or after a Mississippi River cruise onboard the Natchez Steamboat. 600 Decatur Street; www.jacksonbrewery.com.
The Shops at Canal Place – Whether Saks Fifth Avenue, Adrienne Vittadini, Banana Republic, BCBG Max Azria, Coach or Gucci are your style, or you wish to find the ultimate New Orleans souvenir, The Shops at Canal Place offers all of the fashionable and well-known brands you love. Start your day at the wonderful Aquarium of the Americas, visit The Shops at Canal Place for lunch and browsing (or buying!), then slip into your just-purchased cocktail wear for an evening of Hurricanes, dinner and, perhaps, Preservation Hall Jazz. 333 Canal St r e e t ; www.theshopsatcanalplace.com.
The Riverwalk Marketplace – Ann Taylor Loft, Banana Republic, Gap, The Body Shop, Brookstone and dozens of original shops grace this riverside shopping (and eating) experience where both typical retail goods and the ultimate i n l o c a l s o u v e n i r s a b o u n d . 1 P o y d r a s St r e e t ; www.riverwalkmarketplace.com.
Magazine Street – A uniquely New Orleanian experience and great place to find treasured items to enjoy for years to come, eclectic and trendy boutiques abound for six miles along this famed and quaint street. It is particularly convenient to combine a morning of shopping and browsing on Magazine with an afternoon at Audubon Nature Institute (the zoo), or in a cemetery tour, as once you leave the Quarter in a rental car or by taxi, you’ll want to make the most of the excursion and not zigzag back and forth from one part of town to another. The Magazine Street Merchants Association offers a block-by-block shop map, so do research prior to departure for Nola and develop that shopping plan of attack! www.magazinestreet.com.
Royal Street and French Quarter Boutiques, Galleries and Shops – If staying in the Hotel Monteleone or Royal Sonesta, you’re basically already there! Royal Street is aptly named, as so many treasures, antiques, galleries, original garments and adorable boutiques are located on these famed blocks that the shopping is fit for royalty, although the prices aren’t necessarily only for bluebloods. While going to and from Quarter restaurants, tours, hotels, museums and other places, shops will catch your eye for a later return for extended browsing and buying. For a leisurely day during which to catch your breath and rest for additional combat-sightseeing on days to come, incorporate a Royal Carriage Tour or Good Old Days Tour by horsedrawn carriage and some culture-laden cuisine along your route.
T o p : Riverwalk M a r ke t p l a c e sign. Middle: Storefront on Royal Street (Photo by Ric h a r d Nowitz). Bottom Left: French Market Hot S a u c e s (Photo by Carl Purcell). B o t t o m Right: Art displayed for sale on the D e c a t u r Street side of J a c k s o n Square. All photos courtesy New Orleans CVB.
On Common The space between two cities so geographically distant is bridged by a glimpse into small things they have in common.
Philly In 1890, the Fairmount Park Association bought Emmanuel Fremiet’s bronze statue of Joan of Arc. It was first placed in a location where it was “unappreciated,” then moved to its present Center City area stance, after being gilded at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Nola In 1959, Charles de Gaulle presented the exact copy of France’s own 1880 Emmanuel Fremiet equestrian statue of Joan of Arc to the City of New Orleans, as a gift from the people of France. Originally located in front of the International Trade Mart, the statue was moved in 1999 to be “better appreciated” in the heart of the city, at the Place de France on Decatur Street, just adjacent to the French Market. Left: Joan of Arc photo Courtesy New Orleans CVB.
The first electric streetcar system in Philadelphia was introduced on Catharine and Bainbridge Streets in 1892. Trolleys still run through parts of Philadelphia today.
Since September 1835, streetcars have been a major mode of transportation in New Orleans. The St. Charles Streetcar Line, still in disrepair following Hurricane Katrina, is the oldest continually operating street rail line in the world. Left: Streetcar photo by Harry Costner, Courtesy New Orleans CVB.
Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Bridge was completed in 1926 and connects Philadelphia with the entry to New Jersey, over the Delaware River. At the time of its construction, then called the “Delaware River Port Authority Bridge,” the Ben Franklin was the largest suspension bridge in the world.
The first bridge across the Mississippi into the heart of New Orleans, what was once known as the “Greater New Orleans Bridge,” is now known as the Crescent City Connection. It was opened in April of 1958. Upon opening, it was the longest cantilever bridge in the world.
Philadelphia was the Capital city of America, as of 1790 (through 1800). Originally founded in 1682 by William Penn, the first inhabitants of the area were the Delaware Indian settlement of Shackamaxon, along the Delaware River.
New Orleans was the Capital city of French Louisiana, as of 1792. Originally founded in 1718 by the French, the area was originally inhabited by Native Americans, along the Mississippi River, Bayou St. John and Lake Ponchartrain.
With roots dating back as far as 1642 and once a pre-Lenten celebration, the Mummer’s Parade on New Year’s Day brings together the traditions of Swedes, Finns, English, Welsh, Germans and even Southern Plantationers as part of the oldest folk parade in America. Gangs work together to produce organized pagentry as part of the overall parade and festivities, including elaborate costumes, floats, three-tiered parasols, brass bands and strutting to the theme tune, Golden Slippers.
Although its heritage dates back to the French of New Orleans and approximately 1718, the first organized Krewe was established in 1857 to orchestrate organized pre-Lenten celebration. Contrary to popular belief, and much to the dismay of New Orleans residents, the French Quarter is not the heart of Mardi Gras tradition and activity each year. Although crowds flock to the Quarter after the parades, popular media has improperly represented the Bourbon Street area as the hub of Mardi Gras. Also much to the dislike of locals, ladies’ shirt raising is a relatively new activity, not a tradition. It is an action created by drunk and unihibited party-goers, not one with roots or tradition in Mardi Gras history.
PHILADELPHIA & NEW ORLEANS
Laurel Hill Cemetery was founded in 1836 and is the second major rural cemetery in the United States. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1998 (one of the few such designations in the country). Laurel Hill is laden with graves of major figures from throughout American history. The grounds encompass 74 acres, 33,000 monuments and 11,000 family plots. Laurel Hill is perhaps most widely known for its aboveground tombs and elaborate mausoleums.
Lafayette Cemetery was officially established in 1833 and is the scene of many Hollywood movies, such as Interview with a Vampire. Lafayette is most well known for above ground tombs and “society tombs,” those erected by society groups for their members. Lafayette is also the final resting place of many war heroes, dignitaries, famed families and even ladies listed as “consorts.”
Originally, iron fences only adorned the finest of homes and buildings in Colonial America. By the early 1800s, Philadelphia blacksmith shops were crafting architectural iron that was of a quality competitive with ironworks available from England. Wood & Perot of Philadelphia, famous cast-iron fence maker of the Victorian era (1860 to 1890) was one manufacturer of several in Pennsylvania known for providing print catalogs of dozens of different fence, gate and balcony designs to the homeowners of New Orleans. The ordered products were crafted, then transported by train to become a well-known feature of the homes and other buildings of New Orleans, particularly the French Quarter, where they are a daily subject of photographers.
New Orleans is world-famous for its French Quarter balconies fashioned ornately with filigrees of scrolls, twists, plant designs and geometric shapes, crafted in wrought iron and most often painted either black or dark green. Left: New Orleans
Hoagies are the traditional submarine sandwich, as they are known throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. This sandwich consists of an elongated roll (similar to a baguette), cold lunch meats and cheeses, dressed with lettuce, tomatoes, onion, hot peppers, sweet peppers, mustard, oil, vinegar or mayonnaise. Toasted, they are called “grinders.”
Po’ Boys are traditional submarine sandwiches, as they are known throughout Louisiana. They consist of meat or seafood, served on a baguette. The main difference between a Philly Hoagie and a Po’Boy is that the Louisiana French bread is denser and chewier. Above: Po’Boy
The Philly Cheesesteak was invented in 1930 by Pat Olivieri, owner of Pat’s King of Steaks. Consisting primarily of thinly slice pieces of grilled steak, grilled onions and melted cheese on a long roll, cheesesteaks are the comfort food of Philadelphia. Pat’s still serves the original Cheesesteaks today, as do Geno’s and Jim’s.
balconies. Photo by Carl Purcell / Courtesy New Orleans CVB.
and beer. Photo by Kurt Coste / Courtesy New Orleans CVB.
Muffulettas were invented at Central Grocery in 1906, which was operated by Sicilian immigrant Salavatore Lupo. A Muffuletta consists of a large, flat 10-inch loaf of bread split horizontally, marinated olive salad, capicola, salami, mortadella, emmantaler and provolone cheese. Central Grocery still serves these famed sandwiches today, as do Jason’s Deli and Murphy’s.
Name: Robert Romanino Age: 30 City: New York City, NY Work: Screenwriter, Actor, Producer, Bartender Where We Met: www.myspace.com/romancelt The Romans have always been known for their production and appreciation of the ultimate in male physical form and chiseled features, as well as a propensity toward the arts. To the Irish, credit may be given to the milky fair complexion and witty sparkle in lively eyes, storytelling and humorous appreciation of libations. Combine the two cultures and bloodlines and the result is Robert Romanino, a stylish personification of New York City, a handsome collective of sincerity, intelligence and humility, perhaps a man neither fully aware of the unending promise of his future, nor the legacy he may one day leave. Originally from Patterson, New York, Robert aspired first to be an archaeologist, after his dad presented a gift of a book about ancient Egypt. In its pages, he says, “A photograph of a mummy struck a chord.” Indiana Jones further ignited his fire. Armed with a Bachelor’s in Ancient History and Archaeology from SUNY at Albany in 1996, Mr. Romanino seemed destined to travel a path somewhat parallel to that of Indiana Jones, the character. But then, the art behind development and presentation of that character seems to have become more attractive to Robert than the idea of actual archaeological pursuits. Could it be that, in urging him toward a future in storytelling’s modern sibling (that of film), his Irish heritage was pushing forth? Well, as he tends bar to support his chosen direction as a screenwriter of both short films and epics, occasionally acting – gigs that he enjoys as they prove both challenging and lacking of monotony – it becomes apparent that yes, he will be storytelling. Bartending is what so many screenwriters and actors before him have done to make ends meet while developing and growing within their craft, so that is no surprise. It also offers Robert a probable environment in which he can do something else he enjoys that might actually influence his pen. Of his work and socializing in general, he says, “I enjoy funny, outgoing, engaging people. Most important to me are the traits of honesty and loyalty.” “I lost my mother to breast cancer in 2004. That was my first ‘kick in the face’ of reality,” he softly divulges. Of her, he writes, “My mother is my hero. She lived with dignity and grace, with a smile on her face, while she knew she was dying. Her example is one I will never forget.” His inspirations, in addition to his mother, father and even grandpar-
ents he never met, are big ones: Julius Caesar, because he must have been one of the most charismatic people who ever lived; Jesus Christ – this has nothing to do with being religious, I'm not – It is entirely [based upon] the curiosity of someone who loves to learn and the fact that he must have been one of the most original thinkers to have lived; Martin Luther King Jr., as everything I have ever read, that he said, moved me; John Ritter, because he made me laugh a million times and continues to, every time I see him on Three's Company; Audrey Hepburn, the epitome of a beautiful person and a perfect movie star, if you had to make one up. Many more. I am not struck by great stars, but by great achievement. Although his direction is in screenwriting and includes acting and even producing (as he is, now), influence of that original mummy photo is not far behind. Utilizing his degree in Archaeology and Ancient History, Robert has written both an epic screenplay based upon a historic occurrence and a history-based television show treatment. He is still finessing the treatment, one which granted him contact from a network. Just as we start to think he is more heavily Irish than Roman, he states, “I have no delusions about the business of acting and screenwriting. I know the risks, but I believe in what I have to offer and know in my heart that I would regret, later in life, not having given it a go.” Well, there it is: the persistence of the Italians before him. As we look forward to the day when we will inevitably buy tickets to his major motion picture premiere, his attitude, appearance, bloodlines and traits may all be summed up with the moniker he has so aptly given himself, “RomanCelt.”
Name: Hollace Metzger Age: 31
Poetry, now published in her recent release, “Observing the Labyrinth from Heaven,” is a written presentation of her artistry, as in her words “it defines a sense of space, just like architecture.”
City: Williamsburg (Brooklyn), NY Work: Architect, Painter, Poetess, Photographer Where We Met: www.myspace.com/13243695 A remarkably creative soul was born east of Cleveland 31 years ago. Yes, Cleveland. Her resiliency was first tested at 13 months of age, as pneumonia almost killed her. Perhaps it was this experience that freed the spirit of an angel from its mortal shell, to explore the earth with a perspective one would expect to find only in Heaven, at a table reserved for da Vinci, Picasso, Pavarotti, Frank Lloyd Wright, Marie Taglioni, Vivaldi, Emily Dickenson, Thoreau and, occasionally, the Great Moderator of the Table Debates, Einstein, himself. For now, she remains bound to the terrestrial as Hollace Metzger. Grandfather an architect and contractor, father a contractor, Hollace was exposed to urban artistry from a very young age. These two men are named as some of her greatest influences, as she wanted to study architecture to appease her hunger for both deconstruction and reconstruction. Art, though, must sometimes evolve, both in the mind of the artist and in its produced form. Her evolution began through dance and television commercial acting, both in high school and later in New York City. In college, painting became a passion. Through college, she very convincingly committed to continued, fulfilling self-discovery and education. She graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1999 with a degree in Architecture (having been Student Body President), which included a stint at John Carroll University in Cleveland to study Advanced Physics. Finally, her Masters Degree in Architecture was completed in 2005, at the Architectural Association of London.
Whether it is photography, painting, writing, work as an architect, or dance, Hollace prefers large canvasses. In a recent conversation with her, she divulged about her urban existence, “I live in a 17th floor apartment over Manhattan. I find that I spend too much time on my computer, which is wasting a lot of my own life and preventing interaction with other people,” to the degree that her easily mused spirit finds suitable. She continued, “I need many different types of people to remind me of what life is. So, it is my time to blossom.” But, how does such a worldly, inspired soul further blossom? World travel. So in July of this year, not for the first time, Ms. Metzger packed her bags for Europe. It is not long ago that she contemplated her thirtieth birthday in the same method. She was 29 when she realized that there was a sudden, heavy worry about turning 30 and needed to “find my own way and who I am. So, I spent time in Glasgow and Venice. I feel embraced in Europe, safe – despite being pick-pocketed and having to sleep in a train station by myself. Regardless of that, there I am understood.” Of being single, Hollace says, “I forge friendships through openminded and spirited interaction. I need many different types of people to remind me of what life is. Being single for five years has given me time to figure out who I am. I concentrated upon myself.” Judging from her evolution within her arts, those five years of self-discovery have not been misspent. But, that pride and happiness are interlaced with a familiar yet subtle longing for an intimate sharing of her heart.
For now, “my ultimate dream is to design a modern art gallery and to be able to show a piece of my own, even if it is just in a back room! But, if I could take away the politics involved, I would be an architect forever.” As she travels about Europe, we receive periodic correspondences from Ms. Metzger. They are always full of cheer and warmth: I have been traveling for almost three months now, reading my poetry book at different venues, beginning in Dublin and Scotland, then onto Venice where I fell back in love with my favorite city of cities…then hooked up with the band Method of Defiance and was a temporary tour manager in Athens and private photographer in both Athens and in Paris...still single (although very difficult in Europe!), and just received a painting commission for a professor at Columbia University which I hope to begin in my new home (for this month) in Montmartre, Paris! Quite inspirational walking the same streets as Picasso and all the rest who once blessed/cursed these streets! This is all very crazy and beautiful and a dream, really. Each and every email take us back to one thing she said during our first conversation. That statement of eight little words reminds us of the true nature of most artists, those engaged in their humble, never-ending exploration for the meaning of life, nature of humanity and selfdiscovery. As she spoke, I could sense a lock of her hair being twisted insecurely around her tiny fingers. “Maybe I am pretty good at some things,” she softly conveyed. It
is that childlike sentence that epitomizes the awakening of a true artist, as she quietly and independently travels the path of Masters before her. One day, Ms. Hollace Metzger will sit at that table in her Heaven…and, as she interjects with boldness and self-assuredness of twice her once physical size, Einstein will proudly moderate.
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