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MAGAZINE

BLU EXPLOITS

INDULGENCES

DECADENCE...SHARED

ISSUE 02

Easing into

Autumn

PLUS:

Stylish Denim French Dressing Reflections of Texas Date-Ready Living Spaces Cowboy Cuisine Seaside Luxury Ahhh! Vodka Art of Audi Boston

$4.95 US $5.95 CAN

Dude in the Desert www.magazineblu.com

A Very Special Introduction to an Airman in Afghanistan

SOU R C E B O O K F O R D I S C R I M I N A T I N G S I N G L E MEN & WOMEN


Mother Nature has some magical ways to restore and rejuvenate …now you do too.

Before

After

RADIESSE® has found a way to use a little of nature’s restorative power to correct facial wrinkles, giving you back a natural, younger look immediately. If it sounds like magic, that’s because it really does have a magic ingredient. And that ingredient is you. RADIESSE stimulates your body to produce new collagen to replace lost volume and smooth out the signs of aging…and in many patients, the results may last a year or more*. Visit us online at www.radiesse.com to find a local RADIESSE provider near you.

The magic ingredient is you.

Patient images courtesy of Dr. Bentkover and Dr. Calkin. *Individual results may vary. Copyright © 2007 BioForm Medical, Inc. All rights reserved. Radiesse is a registered trademark and BioForm Medical and the BioForm Medical logo are trademarks of BioForm Medical, Inc.


AUTUMN 2007 PUBLISHER’S LETTER

Forward Momentum When asked about the progress of Magazine BLU, the most appropriate word I can think to say is, “Wow.” For years now, this publication has been in development, starting in my brain cells, eventually moving into the design and relationship building phases. Finally, we launched the first digital issue. What has been the most common response regarding that launch, by readers, potential advertisers, industry folks and the general public? “Wow.” In my wildest dreams, I don’t think I could have fathomed the rapid, exciting, intriguing momentum that we are seeing as a new publication. Ours is not an easy industry in which to succeed. But, we seem to be growing, thriving, developing, increasing, building and achieving. Wow. We had originally planned specific goals and dates for certain accomplishments, such as the digital release, launch events, advertiser acquisition and other such milestones. But, ever the entrepreneur, I have been reminded that a business plan is just that, a plan. It is not rigid, nor set in stone. One must follow the ebb and flow of everyday business and work with achievements and around obstacles, as part of an ever-changing approach to development of the organization. We have morphed in some ways, made additions we didn’t expect and subtracted some features and goals that became inapplicable. Wow. This is fun! I am so pleased to bring our second digital issue to our readers, via the MagazineBLU.com website. I fully believe that our capabilities, outlook, quality and presentation are growing exponentially and positively, as we move forward. This issue is better than the last. Yet, everyone at Magazine BLU knows that the next issue will be better than this one. Each day brings improvement, just as it should. Current and past editions have showcased our photographic and design capabilities, as an initial benchmark and to provide everyone insight regarding Magazine BLU’s mission and purpose. We have also displayed some of our writing quality and potential, but you will see a great increase in editorial inclusion in future issues. Our biggest goal is to become a publication the reader treasures opening, enjoys reading, then wishes to place on the coffee table for others to explore. Thank you to everyone who has encouraged and supported Magazine BLU. It is for you that we enthusiastically continue on our path toward becoming a Top 100 Magazine in the North American market. I hope you enjoy this issue and become even more excited about the next one, as we move into bookstore shelves and mailboxes coast-to-coast. As always, we welcome your input, comments, questions and suggestions at any time.

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MAGAZINE

BLU

Autumn 07 Volume 1 Issue 2

FEATURES

07 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.

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13 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.

19 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.

07

24 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.

30 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.

38 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.

41 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!

43 DUDE IN THE DESERT

We are pleased to introduce you to our newest blogger extraordinaire, our very own Desert Dude, who comes to you almost daily...live, from somewhere in Afghanistan.

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AUTUMN 2007

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DEPARTMENTS

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45 COWBOY CUISINE

Cowboys don’t just eat steak and ribs. Yes, sometimes they have fish or chicken, as our Texas dining experience proves.

49 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.

55 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.”

77 INDULGENCES

From cookies to shoes, styling gel to something for the bedroom closet, we have checked out all of these special things and bring them, BLU approved, to you.

96 A BRIGHT STAR

Hankering for a trip to the back forty? Stay in style near Dallas, enjoying those big, bright stars in Texas skies we’ve heard so much about.

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IN EVERY ISSUE

02 PUBLISHER’S LETTER 06 CONTRIBUTORS 100 JEFF WYATT’S MUSINGS

Writer/comedian Jeff Wyatt reflects on dating and dishes out his perspective on women. By Jeff Wyatt.

102 THE QUEST OF JOSH

Josh Kauffman is thirty-something, single and in New York City. But, before you start calling him Mr. Carrie Bradshaw, get to know him. He doesn’t have a shoe fetish and is just an ordinary man. By Josh Kauffman.

104 KATIE DID IT!

What is Katie up to? Is she facing her fears through adventuresome socialization, making observations, or has she just recovered from another really “interesting” date? By Katie O’Neal.

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AUTUMN 2007


MAGAZINE

BLU KIMBERLY TOMS PUBLISHER EDITOR-IN-CHIEF kimberlytoms@magazineblu.com OFFICE / INQUIRIES: 4217 RIDGE AVENUE LOFT 2 PHILADELPHIA, PA 19129 267.286.7466 info@magazineblu.com Magazine BLU is digitally published quarterly, following availability ov Volume 2 Issue 2 in September 2007 by Nola Blue Media, Philadelphia, PA. SUBSCRIPTIONS: First issue FREE via the World Wide Web. Subsequent issues, US: $4.95 per issue; Canada: $5.95 per issue. Copy and unauthorized distribution prohibited. Reprints available through inquiry at info@magazineblu.com. All rights strictly reserved, and reproduction in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without prior written permission from the Publisher. Copyright 2007. Printed (both digitally and hard copy editions) in the USA. Byline contributors' views do not necessarily represent opinions of the Publisher. MAGAZINE BLU: AUTUMN 2007 / VOLUME 1 ISSUE 2

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M a r k M a rg r a ff l i v e s , 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.

Josh Kauffman has been writing on Internet journals and bulletin boards for nearly ten years. That said, his last published work was a poem in his high school's literature journal. THAT said, he's a produced playwright and burgeoning fictionist, a Midwesterner transplanted to New York, and a working actor and successful waiter. He’s an ordinary man in the city, on a continuing quest toward his most fulfilled future.

AUTUMN 2007 CONTRIBUTORS

A N e w Yo r k 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.

Curt Riedy began his writing career at K u t z t o w n U n i v e r s i t y, where he graduated with a BA in Professional Wr i t i n g . H e h a s s i n c e written for multiple newspapers and magazines with a focus on the arts, film and music.

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. Currently, Scott writes for several lifestyle and feature magazines. Suzan Margraff is an internationally trained stylist and makeup artist. She often collaborates with her husband, Mark, on projects throughout the United States. Suzan also coowns and operates a salon in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

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James Jackson has been communicating his message through photography since 1995 in a professional and artistic manner. 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.

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Boston By Scott Pruden

Photo: Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau 07

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Revolutionized The City That

The Couples’ Weekend

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.

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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

Photo: Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau

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.

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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.

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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.

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Photos, opposite page, from top: Lined with beautiful landscape, Commonwealth Avenue is often street often termed "Boston's Grand Boulevard." Bottom right: Faneuil Hall Marketplace, the lively core of Boston's historic waterfront, and the nation's premier urban marketplace is housed in 3 beautifully restored 19th century buildings. Bottom left: Head of the Charles Regatta. This page, top: Boats on the Charles River. The Charles River is one of America’s most beautiful rivers which offers spectacular views of the Boston and Cambridge skylines. Bottom: Beacon Hill Street is an elegant neighborhood with cobblestone sidewalks, antique shops, gourmet restaurants and beautifully maintained townhouses. All photos courtesy Greater Boston CVB.

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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

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Photo, below: Visitors work through clues at TOMB (photo courtesy TOMB).

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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

This page, top: Beer Works burger and onion rings. Bottom: The Beer Works line of beers. Both photos, this page, courtesy Boston Beer Works. www.magazineblu.com

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Art Audi The

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.

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Photographs by Mark Margraff

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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

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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.

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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

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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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All photos courtesy HUGO BOSS (Š2003) Hugo Boss AG, Dieselstrasse 12, 72555 Metzingen, Federal Republic of Germany.

French

Dressing By Jeff Wyatt


G

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

Oui!

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

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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:

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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.

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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 – 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 workout‌a 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.

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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 By Curt Riedy

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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 25

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

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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.”

Immediate left: Jamie Foxx dashes down the red carpet during an appearance at a Belvedere Vodka sponsored promotions event, in Philadelphia in early 2007. Photograph by Mark Margraff. www.magazineblu.com

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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.

Che

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)

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.

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. 27

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ers!

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.

Desert Flora

Martini Piccata

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

Pumpkin Divine

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. www.magazineblu.com

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Brazilian Swimwear www.shopledoux.com • 888.284.2420


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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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?

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Design Date-Ready

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 HGTV’s Save My Bath gives expert tips for preparing your home for a new romance.

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Dreamy Romance Begins In

Your Home

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.

2.

1.

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!

3.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo Courtesy Rohm & Haas

1. Fake Flowers. A huge mistake! Get rid of them immediately. Fresh flowers or real plants ONLY!

Krista Watterworth

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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.

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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!

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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.

Crewel Colors

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.

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Desert Consciousness: DIARY OF AN AIRMAN IN AFGHANISTAN

Not unlike many Americans, my life is touched by thoughts of a loved one serving overseas in the military. I have known and deeply cared for this man for fifteen years. He has been a pivotal person in my life. Now he is in Afghanistan. Every evening I listen attentively to the news, with that silent prayer that he is safe and nothing too major has occurred within that extremely volatile part of the world. Daily I communicate with this friend via email, and it was during one of those back and forth exchanges that I learned he has been keeping a “stream of consciousness” journal of his daily life. It is primarily as “Tell a letter to his closest family members, but he ‘This shared recent entries with me.

In doing so, he asked only a few things. First, he wants you to know that these words are all his own - his personal perspective, opinions and feelings about life. They are not the words of other military members, leadership or the United States at large. Second, he wishes to remain anonymous for now, so people will not know exactly who or where he is in Afghanistan. Finally, he said something that shows how selfless these men and women serving for us really are: “Tell them, ‘This is just the diary of a dude in the desert.’”

them, is just the diary of a dude in the desert.’”

I was immediately captivated. It is this detailing of day-to-day life that those of us awaiting a soldier’s safe return crave. We want to know the fine points, not the horrid sights one sees during warfare, so much as the simpler moments. For example, what sort of sleeping arrangements does he have? How do our soldiers and airmen spend their down time in the sandy deserts? Do they ever meet local citizens? What do they miss most about being Stateside? I asked this dear friend if I could publish his writings. After clearing the subject matter through his Public Affairs Officer, I was given permission to share his experiences with you. 43

He has provided us all with a window through which we can see, feel, hear and taste all he does. This window is one that we (as citizens) generally do not experience, until a flag-draped casket has returned home to the U.S. and a soldier’s grieving widow or mother is kind enough to share personal letters with the evening news.

We, at Magazine BLU, are proud of our Dude in the Desert and hope for his prompt, safe return. Until then, we bring you his words, written exactly as they spill from his thoughts, without editing, so you may sense all that our dedicated soldiers, airmen, seamen and other troops live through for us, every day. You can read his journal, updated daily (barring any military actions) through the Magazine BLU Blogs at www.MagazineBLU.com. ~Kimberly Toms, Publisher www.magazineblu.com


The World’s Most Beautiful Vodka.

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Photo, this page: The private wine cellar dining room of Culpepper Steak House. Next page, left to right: Chilean Sea Bass; Mesquite Grilled Texas Quail; Culpepper Chicken and Half Grilled Lobster Tail; Grilled Texas Shrimp. 45

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Review by Kimberly Toms Photos by Mark Margraff www.magazineblu.com


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.

boy uisine

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

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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-

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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. 47

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Photo, this page: The eclectic Texas-style warmth of Culpepper Steak House. Next page, top to bottom: Saffron Black Mussels; Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes and Tomato Caprese Salad; Breaded Texas Torpedoes, Poblano Strips and Onion Rings. www.magazineblu.com

More information about Culpepper S t e a k h o u s e i s a va i l a b l e a t culpeppersteakhouse.com. 48


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Robert

Photos Courtesy Robert Romanino

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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?

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.”

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 grandparwww.magazineblu.com

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Photo by Stavros Vlachakis

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Name: Hollace Metzger Age: 31 City: Williamsburg (Brooklyn), NY

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.” The cover of Hollace Metzger’s new book, below. Click on the image for more information or to purchase.

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.

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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:

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.

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

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Relaxed and Easy Chic 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. Photographs by Mark Margraff.

Insets: Shirt, 7 Diamonds, courtesy Crimson in the City of Dallas, $110; Jeans, Paige Premium Denim (Doheny Straight Leg), $189. Large photo: Shirt, model’s own; Jeans, Paige Premium Denim (Doheny Straight Leg), $189; Boots, vintage Tony Lama, courtesy Crimson in the City of Dallas (crimsoninthecity.com). 55

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Model, both pages: Jeff Wyatt. Hair/Makeup: Suzan Margraff. Location: Waresville Hall, Greenville, TX. waresvillehall.com.

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Model: Jeff Wyatt. Hair/Makeup: Suzan Margraff. Assistant: Emily Money.

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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, Model’s Own; Jeans, Kasil Jeans, $190, (kasiljean.com); Boots, vintage Tony Lama, courtesy Crimson in the City, (crimsoninthecity.com).

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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).

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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).

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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).


Model: Jeff Wyatt. Hair/Makeup: Suzan Margraff. Assistant: Emily Money.

This page: Gucci Sunglasses, model’s own. Jeans, 7 For All Mankind (7forallmankind.com); Shirt, Island Soft, $185, courtesy Crimson in the City (crimsoninthecity.com).

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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).

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Models: Jeff Wyatt and Monica Seaton. Hair/Makeup: Suzan Margraff. Assistant: Emily Money.

This page, large photo: Sunglasses, Yves Saint Laurent (ysl.com). Jeans, Stone Canyon Cut in Tuscan Blue by Paige Premium Denim, $189 (paigepremiumdenim.com); Shirt, True Love & False Idols (trueloveandfalseidols.com). Boots, vintage Tony Lama, also courtesy Crimson in the City of Dallas.

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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) .

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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).

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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).

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Model: Jeff Wyatt. Hair/Makeup: Suzan Margraff. Assistant: Emily Money.

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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, model’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.

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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).


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PureOrganic Technology™

BEAUTY ON FIRE Giovanni Organic hair care delivers exceptionally formulated shampoos, conditioners, treatments and styling tools… all as organic as possible; all promising you salon performance.

Now that’s HEAT.

24 premium, certified organic products: shampoos, conditioners and styling tools.

For more information on Giovanni Organic Cosmetics, visit us online at www.giovannicosmetics.com For a retailer near you, please contact Customer Service at 1-800-563-5468 © Giovanni Cosmetics, Inc. All rights reserved. 07-046


THE EXTRA TOUCHES

Buckled Up

Peter Harper, sculptor and brother to music’s Ben Harper, designs and creates unique belt buckles in bronze and stainless steel using techniques dating back to ancient Egyptians. Pictured

below (clockwise from top right) are: Crop One in bronze, Daisy in stainless steel, Dream Catcher in bronze, Cow in bronze and Sheriff

in

bronze.

All

buckles

retail

for

$60

at

www.peterharperart.com.

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THE EXTRA TOUCHES

Booted

The end of summer brings heavy footwear, but why break in a new pair of boots or shoes when you can have the authentic, easy, wear-with-everything style of vintage boots? The Tony Lamas, below, are from retailer Crimson in the City of Dallas, Texas (www.crimsoninthecity.com). New Lamas are available at

Photo by Mark Margraff

tonylama.com.

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THE EXTRA TOUCHES

Banded for Time What is it that they say about a man who wears a big watch? In the

U.S. for just under a year, these authoritative, powerful, oversized timepieces by U-Boat Premium Italian Watches have broken the rules of watchmaking by changing the diameter of the face. Where most watch faces measure 32 to 35 mm, theirs are 55mm and weigh in at a hefty 6 ounces. James Bond-meets-MacGyver accessories, they appear sophisticated yet powerful, and can be read in any light or weather condition.

Swiss

m o ve m e n t

inner

workings are visible from the underside, making them even more alluring to the mechanically inclined. Depicted are the

Classico

AB

(large photo) and the Flightdeck 50 ABO. Average retail pricing for U-Boat Premium

Italian

Watches is $2000.

Photos by Mark Margraff

www.u-boatwatch.com.

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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.

...Shared

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INDULGENCES FRAGRANCE

Abinoam Fragrances are inspired by "the eternal inner-struggle between darkness and light." A family of five unisex perfumes, they all are tied together by the use of notes that have been historically described as aphrodisiacs. Our own Katie O'Neal loves Abinoam's Cobice Eau de Parfum, composed of notes of apple, bamboo flower, orange flower, floral and leather, with accords of patchouli. Of this scent, she wrote in her blog (see www.magazineblu.com), "I smell so damn good that I can't concentrate. I'm going to have to go wash it off in order to get anything accomplished today!" Abinoam is available at Henri Bendel on Fifth Avenue in NYC, Searle NYC and varied stores coast-to-coast, as well as online at www.abinoam.com.

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INDULGENCES TIMEPIECES

Watches are not just for telling time. A timepiece speaks volumes about the wearer, their style and personality. So don’t be caught in anything but the best! Pictured to the right are the Rolex Cellini Classic in 18k white gold, $4600, and Rolex Cellini Danaos in 18k white gold, $7450. Bottom right are the Fendi Large B with black dial and diamond markers, $695, and the Fendi Small B with pave diamond dial, $1295. Fendi’s Large ceramic Quadro with diamond bezel, $1850, and Small ceramic Quadro with diamond bezel, $1850, are below left.

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INDULGENCES TIMEPIECES

Ladies and gentlemen, Van Cleef & Arpels presents a truly artfully designed timepiece that should never be called just a “watch.� This is an investment for your wrist, or for the lady in your life as a message about your future together. Sure to become a family heirloom, 18k white gold is adorned with diamond florals and borders atop a quality leather wristband. The actual timepiece of white mother of pearl transitions from thecasing, also with diamonds set in 18k white gold and with a delicate diamond flower dangling from the bezel. $43,600.

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Hugo Boss’ Fall/Winter ‘07 men’s accessory line has both a serious side and one of whimsy, drawing upon the days of disco and the Cure. Remember when cassettes were all the rage and 8-tracks were out? Well, the little plastic dual reels are long gone, but you can reflect upon your youthful days spent jamming to favorite tunes in your Camaro or on shag carpeted bedroom floor, headphones plugged into the giant stereo. Offering large-link bracelets, cuff links and long neck chains with coordinated pendants, you can look really sharp and keep your sense of humor. For stores, see www.hugoboss.com. 81

Photos, both pages: Courtesy Hugo Boss (hugoboss.com).

INDULGENCES JEWELS

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INDULGENCES JEWELS

For the ladies, the Hugo Boss Black line’s accessories are polished, sophisticated, and simply golden. All of the pieces are chicly refined yet playful, with multi-strands, beads, links and mesh being prominent throughout the designs. For stores, see www.hugoboss.com.

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INDULGENCES JEWELS

NANIS Italian Jewels’ Crumple XL line offers almost rough, hammered, crumpled gold, in the form of long chains, big links, and with delicate diamonds. Sometimes the simplest shapes make the biggest statement! Long chain, top left, $2790. Chain, top right, $1440; diamond and gold oval pendant, $4225. Diamond and gold oval earrings, bottom left, $1690. Diamond and gold chain earrings, bottom right, $2400. Available at Saks Fifth Avenue stores throughout the United States.

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INDULGENCES JEWELS

Adding a little flair to that strapless dress is never a problem with these freshwater pearl bra straps by Margarita Couture. They are lightweight and stay put nicely due to adjustable jewelry chains at the back connection to your favorite convertible brassiere.Available for purchase at www.brastraps.com, they retail for $35 per pair and arrive packaged in a sweet velvet pouch and jewelry-style box.

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INDULGENCES SHOES

Shoes, shoes, shoes. The turn of every season brings bright promise for the closet and to the heart of every shoe-loving woman. Clockwise, from middle left, Cole Haan brings multi-plaid texture to you via the Lisanne Pump ($225); Hugo Boss Black presents chocolate crocodile texture (middle top) and a wonderfully swirled and whirled take on black and white tweed (top right); BCBG’s quilted leather pump is edgy yet sophisticated with rounded toe, a patent cap, and metal-tipped bowtie shoelace ($225); Hugo Boss Black buckles black snakeskin flats with a brass snake charm; Cole Haan’s Scarletta Tall Boots introduce woven intricacy on dark chocolate leather to a sexy heel ($850). For stores and pricing, see www.hugoboss.com, www.bcbg.com, and www.colehaan.com. 85

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INDULGENCES SHOES

Classic black oxfords are reintroduced in uncommon elegance through Hugo Boss Black’s sumptuous interpretation of the standard (top left); Cap-toed brown leather boots and black boots with olive tweed texture and fur lining are sexy yet sophisticated versions of highlaces (both, Hugo Boss Black). Cole Haan’s Black Calf Air Lucarno Penny Loafer is a timeless classic at $365 and Haan’s Air Lucarno Split Toe oxford in brown proves simplicity can indeed be well-heeled ($365). For stores and pricing, see www.hugoboss.com and www.colehaan.com. www.magazineblu.com

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INDULGENCES BAGS

Even the big bags are a little less hobo and a little more uptown chic this season. Clutches, too, are prominently adding femininity back to the vocabulary of fashion lovers. Clockwise from top left: Bolzano Luxury Handbags are storming onto the US scene by way of Miami (from Europe), including this classic black Alisse with city stitch trim and polished grommets ($365); Hugo Boss Black brings a new twist to black patent, gold-chained flap bag sophistication, as well as to a chocolate leather satchel with large exterior pocket, city stitching and logo pendant. Cole Haan presents Kaylie Leather Small Dome Satchel in moss with a large side zip and grommet detailing ($295), in addition to a truly elegant must-have Aerin Croc Clutch in brandy ($250). Hugo Boss Black’s sweet black pebble leather satchel is just the touch for suiting and the season’s pencil skirts. For stores, visit www.hugoboss.com, www.bolzanohandbags.com, and www.colehaan.com. 87

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INDULGENCES BAGS

For men jetting away for the weekend or just traveling to and from the office, these bags exude style and sophistication, with an individualized statement of fashion. Clockwise from top left, Cole Haan’s Sebastian Collection Duffle in black leather is a classic choice ($895); Cole Haan’s Matteo Duffle in Brown is understated yet sexy ($795); A duffle is not just a duffle with the smooth lines and subtle detailing of Hugo Boss Black’s design in supple black leather; Hugo Boss Black’s brown tweed flap and buckle bag is traditional with updated elegance. For stores and pricing, see www.colehaan.com and www.hugoboss.com.

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INDULGENCES BEVERAGES

We opened the package and that scent hit us: the aroma of premium fresh coffee. It was not even five minutes later that the brew was percolating, even though it was midday and no one needed a fix. Andiamo Coffee smells and tastes that good. It is simply irresistable, even to those who are not normally big coffee connoisseurs. Whether brewed for a hot morning cup or chilled as an ice coffee, once you go Andiamo, you’ll never want to go back to grocery market brands! The Publisher’s favorite is Kenya AA, but all are top notch for even the most discriminating coffee enthusiast. Pricing varies per flavor, per pound. Available for your home or office at www.andiamocoffee.com.

The Black & White Cookie Company brings the famed Manhattan-style black and white cookies to the world. The 5" round all-natural cookies are topped with Callebaut Dutch cocoa icing on one half, pure vanilla icing on the other. Delightfully soft and sweet, as well as large enough to cure any sugar tooth, these stylish black and whites are available online at www.blackandwhitecookies.com. A box of one dozen (original flavor) are $36.

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INDULGENCES HAIR CARE

Yes, the quality of your hair brush does make a difference. We went from flat and dull to full of body and shine with iTech’s Magnetic Tourmaline Boar and Nylon Brushes. The boar bristles provide the shine, while the nylon grip without tangling. The bright red handles feature comfortable grips and a patented magnetic handle that acts as magnet therapy to ease tired and painful wrist joints (also allowing you to hang the brush from a metal surface for easy access and storage). Brushes range in price from $13 to $15 and are available through salons.

Also an iTech favorite, the new Wet & Dry Tourmaline Iron saves about 20 minutes of style time by both drying and straightening or curling your hair, all at once. The iron’s tourmaline crystals lock in color and hair’s natural moisture, also generating up to six times more negative ions upon heating than regular irons. This gives hair a healthy, shiny sheen. The ceramic surface allows you to control temperature up to 410 degrees, assuring even heat distribution and fast heat recovery. Finally, those crucial vents on the top of the iron allow excess water to evaporate as steam, so it escapes instead of damaging your hair. Suggested retail is $200, also at salons. For more information about iTech’s products, visit www.itechproducts.com. www.magazineblu.com

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INDULGENCES HAIR CARE

Environmentally friendly hair products can actually be superior, as proven by Giovanni Organic Cosmetics. Their patented PureOrganic TechnologyTM blend of organic oils, proteins and the purest natural ingredients actually took our hair from fly-away and frizzy to sleek and polished, even in the most humid of weather. We use the Frizz Be Gone, Straight Fast! and More Body Hair Thickener on a daily basis. But, there are Giovanni remedies for just about any hair issue. Available at select chain drug and natural product stores around the United States. For retail locations, visit www.giovannicosmetics.com.

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INDULGENCES SKIN CARE

MenScience Androceuticals manufactures skin care and grooming products, as well as nutritional supplements, just for men. Their products are professional-grade, recommended by doctors, skincare professionals, and nutritionists to achieve optimal health and visible results. The Daily Shampoo is formulated with professional ingredients and pure, gentle cleansers, providing extraordinary performance, biological exfoliators and nutrients that support vigorous growth for healthier looking hair. $26 per bottle. Anti-aging products are just for the ladies, anymore! MenScience's Anti-Aging Formula is in high demand, as a once or twice-daily product that is gently massaged into the face until fully absorbed. It is a dermatological-grade anti-aging treatment that contains the most advanced ingredients used by doctors to significantly reduce and prevent the signs of aging. The Anti-Aging Formula's Idebenone is recently scientifically proven to be the most powerful antioxidant currently available. GABA, a naturally-occurring amino acid that relaxes tissue, works to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Peptides in the formulation aid in cell renewal, reenergizing the skin and reducing the appearance of those fine lines. They also reduce roughness and promote collagen production, supporting the skin's structure. 1 ounce is $58. The Advanced Antioxidants Daily Supplement is a tablet that is taken once daily. It rounds out a healthy skin and body regimen, by providing a combination of the most advanced and effective antioxidants to help support the body's defense against free radicals that can damage cells and accelerate the aging process. 60 tablets are $28. All MenScience Androceuticals are available online at www.menscience.com, as well as at Barney's New York, Nordstrom, fine skincare retailers and spas in the U.S.

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INDULGENCES IN THE BEDROOM

Being naturally naughty is very possible and a whole lot more fun with Astroglide’s new glycerin and paraben-free personal lubricant. This condom compliant product was developed by a rocket scientist, a biochemist who formerly developed super-lubricants for the space shuttle Enterprise. His formula will help you see stars by providing water-soluble, water-based moisture for hours. In fact, in her book To Be Alive, Dr. Carol Runowicz says, “Men call it Astroheaven.” At a suggested retail price of $7.99, Heaven is affordable, too. Visit www.astroglide.com.

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Spring 2008

940 W. Washignton Blvd Los Angeles, CA.90015 (213)745-2250 mochafashion.com


Aww, Shoot! Whether seeking a weekend getaway, passing through on business or shooting fashion for a national magazine (as we were!), Bright Star Bed and Breakfast of Northeast Texas is a delightful Western-style retreat. Here, we share our country weekend scrapbook from our stay at Bright Star. All photos by Mark Margraff.

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Owned by innkeepers and custom home builders Kevin and Marilyn Wineinger, Bright Star Bed and Breakfast is a gem of a bed and breakfast in Greenville, Texas. The newly constructed (2004) inn offers a magnificently relaxing and fully-wooded backyard with comfortable furnishings under a large patio, as well as a large stone fire pit adjacent to a hammock and swing perfectly built for two. Offering three large bedrooms with ample private baths, luxury appointments, inviting living and dining areas and other tasteful, thoughtful touches, Bright Star surprised all of the Magazine BLU staffers and models by providing a social, inviting and relaxing atmosphere for our first major shoot. Bright Star’s location is in close proximity to over 40 area restaurants, small museums, area attractions and things to do in the small town where the rich, black soil made cotton “king” and the New York Yankees used to play the home town team. If you need a bigcity fix during your small-town stay, Dallas is only about 45 minutes away, with all of its southern glamour, cowboy charm and nightlife.

Previous page: Bright Star Bed and Breakfast’s outdoor relaxation area. This page: Bright Star’s guest living area (left) and dining room (above). Photos from around the town of Greenville, Texas (below and right page). All photos by Mark Margraff.

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Astroglide makes sex even better? ®

Makes sex even better.

Most guys could have sex in a hurricane. But total pleasure for a woman requires the total sensual comfort Astroglide personal lubricant provides. And enhanced sensitivity makes everything a guy does right seem even righter. So make water

based, water soluble, condom and latex-safe Astroglide a regular part of your sex life. It’s available where you already shop, so get some today. You’ll thank us tonight. To get a free sample, call 800-848-5900, or visit astroglide.com.

© 2007 BioFilm, Inc.


Jeff Wyatt Jeff Wyatt muses upon love’s rapier-like charm in a viciously paced world where relationships have become more disposable than celebrity and more desirable than diamonds.

This life, this love, fractures each and every one of us, challenging our beleaguered fates with graveyards of regret and sins left pleading for their atone. Our headstones amass, crossing from hillside to hillside yearning for infinities end, and when those distant horizons are finally greeted, find there remains a lifetime of roads left to tread. When we come to, and our interstice from these pasts and future presents begins its narrow, that is when we may revisit the moss which has subdued these stones. Each love, each fleeting opportunity, bestowed a marker to which we may once more place a lily, but never awake the old bones. For we know full well, no good can come from that which is better left laid to rest.

spring break. I offered her my place in the queue and she kindly accepted, with a smile that reminded me of a firefly; a brilliant, shining light which captivates your attention fully, and then fades much too quickly into the recesses of a darkened memory. She, however, was the one firefly whose light I wanted to hold onto. It was March 27th, spring love had just dusted off its most comfortable shoes to take a leisurely stroll through my life, and I was twitterpated, as Thumper would put it. Never in my life to that point had I been so compelled to chat someone up. It was that desperate feeling you get in the pit of your stomach, knowing that if you miss this opportunity, it will be a moment you will never forgive yourself for letting pass by.

And so with renascent swagger, love once more raps upon my chamber door. Love, knowing full well the graves of its past and treacherous future, attempts to rouse me for another go. And inexplicably, in I complimented her. She blushed. a recondite haze, I extend my hand to the knob and As timid as a toddler presented with a vast ocean for once again find myself releasing the door; even though the first time, I decided to only tap a toe to the water. a prescient view pervades and the outcome of such Love! She is a Unlike the toddler, however, I knew it wasn’t safe. But foolishness is known full well to both the heart and just as curiosity cajoles a child into doing that which is overridden mind. The stone formed round my heart motherfuck, unknown, it also beckoned me towards a love that was begins its deliquesce and once more Cupid’s arrow no? but a fools’ errand. Standing before the vast ocean, penetrates my core. my only option was to drown in her waters. Or more simply stated, “Love! She is a motherfuck, no?” The bliss of springs’ ether had enraptured both our beings. We set And much like love, that last line sounds infinitely more enticing with out at a torrid pace to learn each and every intricacy of the other’s past. Marathon phone calls and four hour walks through Chicago’s a French accent. architectural masterpieces passed at such a pace it made the heart It is in our past ineptitudes and inadequacies we find each and every ache for more hours in a day. Needless to say, I was screwed. reason to spurn love. Torched trails and fallen trees litter a past we all wish would fall to forgot. And yet we forge ahead, each and every It wasn’t supposed to happen this time, I wasn’t meant to fall in love. spring, hoping that this is the spring that leads us to our blissful sum- But I did. I was dating the girl that every man secretly fears. The girl mers, our resplendent autumns, and ultimately our brief, but fulfilled with whom marriage seems the only option because if she gets away, winters. To sleep beside the one who enveloped us in that fleeting, we know there isn’t going to be another like her. My heart exalted and gave me a perpetual glow. I had never in all my days fallen this yet eternal spring. hard, this quickly for someone. Just as in nature, love must allow for decay. Death must be allowed to take its charted course so that the newness of life, and in this case The summer floated into fall as lightly as the breeze from spring ushlove, may flourish. Though our pasts may not heal as easily, or as ers in the warmth of summer. The year which followed that fall was quickly, as the snow which falls over an autumns’ bed of leaves, we like no other I had ever experienced. Christmas and New Year’s still allow our hands to reach for the door, and turn the handle to be blended together in one seamless breath as we raced once more into met by a biting winter chill, knowing that one day our faces will once spring. If there were ever a drug created that could give that feeling of euphoria at any given time, this world would never accomplish a more be greeted by the warm spring breeze. (continued next page) thing. She never knew all of this, but that is how she came to be known during each intimate moment we shared as, “my spring breeze,” a nickname she abhorred, but one I bestowed with great adoration. A serendipitous meeting if there ever was one. Our paths intertwined on line at the market check out. She had but a few items in her basket, and I doing my weekly shopping, had my cart packed tighter than a VW bug filled with college kids attempting to win a beer bong at www.magazineblu.com

Musings 100


She made me feel as though any and every good thing in this world could be easily found inside the bond we shared. And so, on a crisp fallen leaf of fall, I knelt down, took her hand in mine and asked her to keep it there for every season’s change which followed. She broke my heart. Her hand recoiled and tears streamed from both our eyes. My spring breeze succumbed to frost, and there I was, without a coat. One wonders after such a life-altering rejection what their life could possibly hold in store for them after that moment. For myself personally, I took my fate into my own hands, and decided to seek out Cupid. We met up early one Saturday morning at a Starbucks on State Street and proceeded to have a rather terse discussion on love and its wonderful highs and harrowing lows. Then things turned sour. We began to argue about the merits of his work and the pain he inflicts on those he decides to strike with his bow. Our voices escalated, and with biscotti in hand, we were asked to leave the establishment. The argument carried out onto the street. In a rage which had never before come over me, I blacked out. When my heart of darkness subsided five minutes later I was being whisked away in handcuffs. I had stabbed Cupid in the heart 19 times with his own arrows. Cupid may have destroyed my life, but I saved 19 others that day‌ As the winter snows have once more subsided into the blossoming spring, I find myself inexplicably longing for the piercing sting of Cupids bow once again. Though I honestly fear all that it may bring, I would gladly accept one thousand shattered hearts to feel that love that I held all those years ago. My only explanation for this longing is that there truly is no better feeling than the soft kiss of a spring breeze. Love, she truly is a motherfuck, no?

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Quest ofJosh The

There’s a popular sentiment that all babies are cute. I don’t buy it. Of course there are cute babies. There are also babies that look like angry old men in miniature. I’ve seen babies that look like hairless cats, shaved Ewoks, and heartbroken raisins. My own baby picture looks like a sunburned Eskimo choking on a lemon. My brother, of course, was cute like babies are supposed to be cute. That’s fine. I got better with age. My brother now looks like Bigfoot. Babies, also, are loud. I don’t know where the volume knob is on a baby, but the only setting I could ever find seemed to be “Louder.” Moral: Don’t twist the noses or fingers, or even the outties, of a baby in hopes of quieting it down. (You’d think the outtie had to be good for SOMEthing, but it really seems to just be a mini love handle.) Don’t even get me started on “messy.” I’ve been in the homes of people with children. Everything worth playing with is at least four feet off the ground, and one out of every five places to sit are stained with juice, baby food, or…something else. You have to wear your shoes all the time, to avoid impaling yourself on the shard of a broken toy; and at the same time you have to tread lightly, to avoid breaking some miraculously-unbroken item, or, even worse, tripping over the unsuspecting baby as he/she/it sits blithely relaxing or crying in the middle of the hallway, room, or yard. Baby-houses are terrifying places to try relaxing in. And that’s before you even try picking one of the spitting, peeing, vomiting little creatures up. It doesn’t come as a surprise to the reader, then, to learn that I’m not a fan of babies. Or, to clarify, have not been. At the same time, looking at the tirade I just offered to you, I’m reminded of the famous Shakespearean quote, “Methinks the columnist doth protest too much.” I can’t explain it, and I can’t honestly say I like it, but I find myself being increasingly charmed by babies and little kids in recent months. Not all. Many babies still look like pissed-off aliens. But, enough of them that I’m forced to pause and do a bit of reflection. Everyone talks about the biological clock. Women can’t have babies after a certain age, unless they luck (or un-luck) out and beat the odds, and at any rate there are significant health risks for both mother and child. When a woman starts to look a bit wild-eyed for a serious relationship in her early to mid thirties, or sometimes even younger, the standard excuse she gives is “My biological clock is ticking! I need to get married and have babies!” This is usually said out of the earshot of most men, to the relief of all, but we all still know it’s true. No one talks about a biological clock for men. The pump might slow down, but it never stops. Some people actually believed that J. Howard Marshall was Danielynn’s father. (I personally was pulling for Charlie Chaplin.) There’s no popular opinion that men should mind their age when hitting the sheets. Thank goodness for the Internet. Now I know that while I don’t have menopause to worry about, there’s a thing called “andropause” that is waiting for me as I near forty. Dr. Harry Fisch is responsible for spreading this new vocabulary word, in his book The Male Biological Clock: Startling News about Aging, Sexuality and Fertility in Men. If one were to take Fisch seriously (and he gives compelling reasons to do

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so), men are twice as likely to be infertile at 35 as they are at 25. Not only that, but Fisch and his peers have linked all kinds of health issues, from Down’s syndrome to schizophrenia, to the male half of the reproductive process. Enough of the textbook crap. Point is, even though we can have kids at any age, the biological concerns in baby making don’t stop with the woman. That’s right, boys! Something else to blame on us! So maybe, under all our machismo and “I don’t know nothing about birthin’ no babies” bluster, there is a bit of a biological drive that makes fatherhood more appealing in our thirties, as opposed to our forties or even later. If there’s anything scarier than the thought of a toddler tearing around my apartment, it’s the thought of a schizophrenic toddler tearing around my apartment. But there has to be more than that, hasn’t there? Just because I’m edging past my peak years for procreation, suddenly I feel like I should? I hate being told what to do. Even by my own body. The thing is, I’ve been noticing a lot more men with their kids in recent months. A father on the subway, doing his best to read with his three peacefully sleeping daughters piled up on his lap like stuffed animals. The guy trying to teach his little girl how to throw a ball, while his little boy tries to climb him like a tree. The guy ruffling his son’s unkempt mop of hair, while the toddler beams up at him like having his hair messed up was the best thing in the world, as long as Dad was doing it. Very movie-about-a-father-and-his-kid stuff. And instead of the familiar old “There but for the grace of God go I,” I find myself thinking, “I can totally see myself doing that.” Whaaaat?? I am a selfish man, a private man. My relationships fail because I keep to myself more than my partners would like. I work and play well with others, but I prefer to live alone. So now I’m thinking kids? Back to the Net. What’s up with this sudden wistfulness for the bringing-up of a Mini-Me? What psychological explanation can there be for my sudden shift in perception? But in this search, I came up with nothing. No justification for this misplacement of my wits. Under “paternal instinct,” the only thing I could find was countless reviews of a Canadian play called “Paternal Instinct,” about two gay men raising a child together. Out of curiosity I Googled “maternal instinct” too, and the fourth entry listed it as the title of a “Stargate: SG-1” episode, so that made me feel a little better. Nothing, then. On my own for answers. Either the link between this strange new “andropause” and my increasing fascination with the idea of fatherhood runs more deeply than I give it credit for, or I’m evolving (I hate the word “maturing”) into a place where I’m more ready, and willing, to give that idea more attention. The strange thing is that I feel more ready for fatherhood than I do for marriage, which poses problems because single parenthood is not my first choice. Besides, women can go to the sperm bank. My options are more limited. A close friend and I have an agreement of sorts. In about two years, if we’re both still childless, unmarried, and living in the same city, we’ll try raising a kid together. Pretty sweet deal, because she’s no more excited about marriage than I am. We’d figure out the logistics somehow, but that kid would have two active parents, my friend and I would have one more way to be close, and we’d all live happily ever after. How much of that pact was found at the bottom of the second bottle of wine, I couldn’t honestly say. But at least there’s hope. At least I have an emergency plan. My poor father might actually get to take his grandkids to Disneyworld someday, after all.

By Josh Kauffman

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The World’s Most Beautiful Vodka.

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Magazine BLU Fall 2007  

Magazine BLU Vol 1 Iss 2: Easing Into Autumn ~ Stylish Denim, European Dressing, Date-Ready Living Spaces Reflections of Texas, Cowboy Cuisi...